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Trump Made Several Misleading Claims in Times Interview

WASHINGTON — In a wide-ranging interview with The New York Times on Wednesday, President Trump made a number of misleading and false claims, including statements on health insurance, the biography of his deputy attorney general and French history.

Here’s an assessment.

“You’re 21 years old, you start working and you’re paying $12 a year for insurance, and by the time you’re 70, you get a nice plan,” Mr. Trump said. “Here’s something where you walk up and say, ‘I want my insurance.’”

Mr. Trump’s description aligns with life insurance or Social Security more accurately than health insurance. A 21-year-old who took out a whole life insurance policy, for example, would pay premiums until death, and the amount accumulated over the decades would be paid out to beneficiaries.

A 21-year-old who purchases a health insurance policy is not paying premiums to save up for care 50 years down the line. Rather, the 21-year-old’s premiums help cover the costs of an older person or someone with more expensive medical needs.

Mr. Trump is right that in most situations, a 21-year-old is healthier than a 70-year-old and needs less medical care. But a 21-year-old with a pre-existing condition could have been denied coverage or charged much more before the Affordable Care Act’s passage.

Motoko Rich, The Times’s Tokyo bureau chief, refuted Mr. Trump’s claim. Though Akie Abe, the wife of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, speaks Japanese in many public international appearances, she delivered a 15-minute speech in English in New York three years ago and made a public service announcement on H.I.V./AIDS for MTV in English.

Mr. Trump has a point that the conversation around Russia did not center on potential connections between his campaign and the Kremlin, but discussion of Mr. Trump’s ties to the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin, and Moscow preceded Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting.

Mr. Trump routinely suggested improving relations with Russia during the Republican primary and earned praise from Mr. Putin in December 2015, prompting stories from many news outlets and criticism from political opponents and foreign policy experts.

As The Interpreter column explained in The Times, Russia’s ban on American adoptions of Russian orphans is “practically synonymous” with sanctions on Russian officials. The Magnitsky Act of 2012, named for a young Russian lawyer who died in a Moscow prison after exposing corruption, prohibits Russian officials responsible for human rights abuses from entering the United States and freezes their American assets. The law infuriated Mr. Putin, who retaliated by halting adoptions of Russian children by Americans.

Mr. Trump said that the F.B.I. started reporting to the Justice Department “out of courtesy” after President Richard M. Nixon, but that “there was nothing official, there was nothing from Congress” to cement that relationship.

The F.B.I. was founded in 1908 by Attorney General Charles J. Bonaparte to conduct investigations for the Justice Department, according to the bureau’s website, and Congress expanded its jurisdiction through legislation in the next decade. It officially became the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 1935.

The director “has answered directly to the attorney general since the 1920s,” according to the F.B.I. website, and the Justice Department has guidelines instructing the bureau to communicate with the White House with the approval of the attorney general or other top officials at the Justice Department. Although the director J. Edgar Hoover had close, arguably unethical relationships with six presidents, his successors have tried to distance themselves from the president, according to Douglas M. Charles, a history professor at Pennsylvania State University.

The original version of the Senate health care bill would have repealed taxes totaling $700 billion over the next decade, with most of the money lining the pockets of the richest Americans, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.

The latest version retained two taxes from the Affordable Care Act aimed at the wealthy and was “much less regressive,” the center’s Howard Gleckman wrote. While the wealthy would still have seen the largest dollar amount in tax cuts, lower-income households would have gotten a larger cut as a share of after-tax income.

The White House’s tax blueprint — which lacks the details needed for modeling — would provide modest cuts for the middle class, but the rich and businesses have the most to gain.

If it were to contain the elements of Mr. Trump’s campaign pledges, households in the top 1 percent would get an average tax cut of about $270,000, while the middle fifth of Americans would see about $1,900, according to the Tax Policy Center.

Mr. Trump suggested that Mr. Rosenstein was from Baltimore and might have Democratic leanings because “there are very few Republicans in Baltimore, if any.” But Mr. Rosenstein grew up in Philadelphia and attended the University of Pennsylvania, Mr. Trump’s alma mater. He was appointed the United States attorney for Maryland, based in Baltimore, in 2005 by President George W. Bush, a Republican.

Mr. Rosenstein lives in Bethesda, Md., a suburb of Washington.

Mr. Trump may have been confusing Napoleon Bonaparte with his nephew, Louis Napoleon or Napoleon III, when he claimed that Napoleon “designed Paris.” In 1853, about 30 years after the first Napoleon died, Napoleon III appointed Georges-Eugène Haussmann to carry out his reconstruction project, envisioned to accommodate rapid population growth and to discourage future revolutions, according to the Museum of the City.

“His one problem is he didn’t go to Russia that night because he had extracurricular activities, and they froze to death,” Mr. Trump continued.

While he identified the correct Napoleon, his version of the 18th-century conqueror’s failed attempt to invade Russia is garbled. Napoleon’s 1812 campaign into Russia lasted about six months, not, as Mr. Trump suggested, one night. And the French emperor did take Moscow in September, before withdrawing a month later as food supplies began to dwindle. Of nearly half a million men under his command, only about 6,000 made it back home and the others died in battle or succumbed to disease or the weather.

Asked what Mr. Trump could have meant by “extracurricular activities,” Adam Zamoyski, the author of “Moscow 1812: Napoleon’s Fatal March,” said: “I can’t make head or tail of it. You could argue that all of Napoleon’s activities were ‘extracurricular’! As are Trump’s.”

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