Tuesday, August 21, 2018
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Jeanine Pirro’s new book falsely declares the Russia investigation over

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In a new book that lauds President Donald Trump and lashes out at his critics, Fox News host Jeanine Pirro declares that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Trump campaign ties with Russia is effectively dead.

Her evidence? Pirro, a former judge, points to what’s missing from a special counsel indictment in February of more than a dozen Russians: namely, the fact that no charges were filed against Americans.

“The Russia collusion investigation is over,” Pirro wrote in “Liars, Leakers and Liberals: The Case Against the Anti-Trump Conspiracy.” “Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced that himself, for all intents and purposes, when he indicted thirteen Russians for interfering in the election and said explicitly that no Americans had been knowingly involved.”

So, did the Justice Department’s No. 2 man announce the end of the Mueller probe back in February? Hardly.

What Rosenstein said

Pirro’s claim turns on an action Mueller took on Feb. 16, 2018 — or rather, an action he didn’t take.

That day, the special counsel charged 13 Russians and three Russian entities with conspiring to defraud the United States and interfere with the 2016 presidential election. No Americans were named in that indictment.

A Justice Department press release stated, “There is no allegation in the indictment that any American was a knowing participant in the alleged unlawful activity.”

To Pirro, this meant that Rosenstein, who oversees the Mueller investigation, reached the conclusion that the Trump campaign did not collude with Russia during the election.

But Rosenstein said no such thing.

While briefing reporters the same day, Rosenstein made clear the investigation was ongoing. At no point did he indicate that the absence of charges against Americans in this particular indictment meant that Americans couldn’t be indicted in the future.

Ironically, Pirro’s claim contains a footnote that severely undercuts her assertion. She cites an article from CNBC that emphasizes the opposite of her point.

The article’s headline — “Rosenstein: No Allegation of American Involvement or Election Impact — In this Particular Indictment” — makes clear that Rosenstein was speaking narrowly about that particular indictment, and not the possibility of indictments against Americans at some future point. Here’s how the lead sentence of the Feb. 16 CNBC article reads:

“When Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein spoke to the press Friday, he repeatedly made it clear that his comments were specific to the federal grand jury indictment the special counsel’s office had just announced.”

Later, the CNBC article quotes a former assistant attorney general who further undermines Pirro’s point:

“The deputy attorney general’s comments were not an “all-clear” signal for the president, former assistant attorney general John Carlin told CNBC.

“What you saw at the press conference is not an ‘all-clear.’ Instead it’s a careful prosecutor sticking to the four corners of the indictment,” Carlin said on “Power Lunch.”

“Carlin, who previously was chief of staff to Mueller when he was director of the FBI, said that the investigation is not over and that Americans will “have to just wait and see.””

Investigation still ongoing

Under the regulations that govern special counsel investigations, Mueller’s probe will end with a “confidential report explaining the prosecution or declination decisions” to the attorney general. There is no suggestion Mueller has submitted his final report yet, meaning the investigation is still active.

To date, the investigation has swept up four members of Trump’s campaign, including three who have agreed to work with with the special counsel as part of a plea deal.

As our timeline of the Mueller probe makes clear, the investigation has continued to evolve since February, when Pirro claims the collusion probe ended.

On July 13, the special counsel indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers for their role in the hacking of the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the Clinton campaign, and the leaking of emails and documents.

The indictment made reference to an unnamed U.S. person who “was in regular contact with senior members of the presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump,” and who communicated during the election with Guccifer 2.0, a front for Russian operatives.

Former Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone acknowledged he is “probably” the U.S. person referenced in the indictment. Stone’s acknowledgement came five months after Pirro claimed the collusion investigation had ended.

Our ruling

Pirro said Rosenstein announced in February that “the Russia collusion investigation is over.”

Rosenstein, who oversees the Mueller investigation, said no such thing. He’s never suggested that an absence of charges against Americans in any given indictment means that Americans couldn’t be charged in the future.

Pirro’s claim that the investigation ended in February is also at odds with how the probe has evolved since then. To take just one example, former Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone acknowledged he is “probably” the unnamed U.S. person referenced in the July 13 indictment of 12 Russian intelligence officers charged with hacking and leaking Democratic documents during the election.

We rate this False.

Misleading Infowars story says UN plans to ‘flood America with 600 million migrants’

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misleading Infowars post claims there’s a United Nations plan to inundate the United States with hundreds of millions of immigrants.

“Revealed: UN plan to flood America with 600 million migrants,” said the headline on a July 24 Infowars story. The site and its operator Alex Jones are known for peddling conspiracy theories.

The story said a 2001 UN strategy document “outlines the need to flood America and Europe with hundreds of millions of migrants in order to maintain population levels.”

There is a UN report on replacement migration, and Infowars lays out scenarios listed in the report. But Infowars deviates from the truth by claiming this has been the UN’s “agenda for decades.” The report explicitly said the scenarios in its study “are not meant to be recommendations in any way, but illustrations of hypothetical scenarios.”

The title of the report — “Replacement Migration: Is It a Solution to Declining and Ageing Populations?” — even questions, not asserts, whether replacement migration is a solution.

This story was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

The UN report said the organization’s population division monitors fertility, mortality and migration trends for all countries of the world, as a basis for its official population estimates and projections. Due to two prominent trends — population decline and population aging — it conducted a study to address whether replacement migration is a solution to those issues.

Replacement migration is defined as “the international migration that would be needed to offset declines in the size of population and declines in the population of working age, as well as to offset the overall ageing of a population.”

It analyzed six replacement migration scenarios for eight low-fertility countries, including the United States, and for two regions, Europe and the European Union. It also offered “additional considerations” besides the scenarios.

Infowars’ post includes a scenario outlined in the report for the United States that said that to keep a certain “potential support ratio” it “would be necessary to have 593 million immigrants from 1995 to 2050, an average of 10.8 million per year.”

Press releases in six different languages accompanied the UN report, countering Infowars’ headline claiming that a “plan” had been “revealed” just recently.

Infowars did not respond to requests for comment.

The UN document at the center of the Infowars post explores “replacement migration” but explicitly stops short of recommendation, much less implementation. The UN has no authority to compel anyone to immigrate. Further, the document that was “revealed” is nearly two decades old.

We rate the headline False.

The CDC is warning people to stop reusing and washing condoms — here’s why it’s dangerous

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The CDC is warning people to stop reusing and washing condoms — here's why it's dangerous
  • The Center for Disease Control warned about the dangers of reusing condoms in a recent tweet.
  • Condoms are designed to help protect you and your partner against sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies. 
  • Reusing condoms makes them completely ineffective, according to experts.

Reusing and recycling household items is an easy way to do your part to help save the environment.

But the Center for Disease Control (CDC) took the unprecedented step to warn about the dangers of reusing one particular item: condoms.

“We say it because people do it: Don’t wash or reuse #condoms! Use a fresh one for each #sex act,” The CDC tweeted in July.

Condoms are designed to help protect you and your sexual partner from spreading sexually transmitted diseases, like syphilis or chlamydia, as well as unwanted pregnancy.

The effectiveness of condoms, however, is eliminated after the first use.

“Incorrect use, such as reusing a condom or using more than one at a time, diminishes the protective effect of condoms by leading to condom breakage, slippage, or leakage,” Dr. Elizabeth Torrone, an epidemiologist at the CDC’s Division of STD Prevention, told Buzzfeed.

AdChoices

Simply washing a condom with soap won’t kill any bacteria or virus lurking on the condom’s surface — meaning, it’s pretty much useless.

Putting a wet, unrolled condom back on would also be a Herculean task.

If that’s not enough to encourage you to throw your old condoms in the trash and rely on fresh ones instead, then maybe the alarming rise in cases of super gonorrhea, an antibiotic-resistant strain of the bug, will.

Did Rescued Thai Boys Opt to Return to Cave Rather Than Meet with Trump? Caught between a rock and a hard place … literally?

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CLAIM

Boys rescued after being trapped in a cave for weeks preferred to return there rather than meet with President Trump.

RATING

ORIGIN

On 11 July 2018, the Burrard Street Journal website posted an article about several Thai boys who had just been rescued after spending two weeks trapped deep inside a watery cave opting to return to that cave rather than accept an invitation to meet with President Trump at the White House:

WASHINGTON, DC — The American President Donald Trump has had his offer to visit the White House rebuffed by the rescued Thai boys, who instead have voted unanimously to return to the watery cave.

The cave which is now over 95% full of water has still been deemed more inviting than the White House especially to young children who would likely be seen as migrants and detained by ICE.

“They’ve been to hell and back and now you want to send them to another hell? No. These boys have been through enough,” said the boys’ soccer coach firmly.

None of this was true, of course.

Although some readers apparently mistook the article for a genuine news report, it was just a spoof of the current administration’s immigration policies offered by the Burrard Street Journal (also known as the “BS Journal”), a well known Canadian entertainment website whose “About” page and disclaimer clearly note the satirical nature of the site’s content:

If you clicked here then you are probably doubting the legitimacy of one of our articles. Well friend, those are some good instincts, as the Burrard Street Journal is a satire news, parody and humor website and is for entertainment purposes only.

All Burrard Street Journal and Burrard Street Football articles are satire news and entirely fabricated.

Any resemblance to the truth is purely coincidental, except for all references to sports personalities and/or celebrities, in which case they are based on real people, but still based almost entirely in fiction.

Florida Passes Bill Legalizing Recreational Use Of Marijuana

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Florida Did NOT Pass Bill Legalizing Recreational Use of Marijuana

Orlando, Fl. – Weed smokers rejoice, The state of Florida can now be added to the growing list of US states that have past bills to legalize the use marijuana.

The bill to legalize marijuana for medical and recreational use in the state was first presented at the state capital back in July is expected to be in place by Easter. Lawmakers have finally given the go-ahead citing it will jump-start the economy and create new jobs.

“This bill is so much more than legalizing marijuana—it’s about legalizing opportunity and prosperity,” said Democratic leader Janet Cruz. “The state budget was due two weeks ago, and Florida simply can’t afford to wait any longer. We deserve a real plan to create new jobs and stimulate our lagging economy, and that’s what this bill is.”

Cruz believes legalizing marijuana will help Florida’s economy, citing statistics from Colorado as an example.

“In Colorado, legalizing marijuana generated $2.4 billion in economic activity and created more than 18,000 new jobs in a single year alone,” Cruz said.

The bill introduced includes providing employment and benefit protections for marijuana users, requiring insurance coverage for medicinal marijuana for terminal illnesses and incorporating marijuana into current alcohol and tobacco educational curricula in schools.

Previous attempts to legalize weed in the state has never received a public hearing or had a Republican cosponsor, Cruz said.

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