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Fact-checking Trump's claims from his press conference with British PM Theresa May

By Marshall Cohen and Holmes Lybrand, CNN

Updated: Tue, 04 Jun 2019 17:18:29 GMT

Source: CNN

President Donald Trump held a press conference Tuesday with British Prime Minister Theresa May, a highlight of his official state visit to the United Kingdom. Here's a breakdown of some of Trump's comments and how they line up with the facts.

Trump repeats false Brexit story

Trump correctly pointed out on Tuesday that he predicted the surprising result of the Brexit referendum in 2016, but falsely claimed that he dramatically made the prediction one day before the vote while visiting his Scotland golf course.

"I really predicted what was going to happen," Trump said on Tuesday. "Some of you remember that prediction, it was a strong prediction, made at a certain location on a development we were opening the day before it happened. And I thought it was going to happen because of immigration more than anything else, but probably it happens for a lot of reasons."

Facts First: Trump did predict Brexit, which few people saw coming. But he made up a more dramatic story about how it happened, saying the prediction took place one day before the vote at his Scotland property when it was really months earlier in a TV interview from a Florida studio.

In March 2016, Trump was the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, but still fending off challenges from a few candidates. He took some time to do an interview with the British broadcaster ITV, where he was asked about the upcoming Brexit referendum.

"I think that Britain will separate from the EU," Trump said from a Florida studio. "I think it's maybe it's time, especially in light of what's happened with the craziness that's going on, with the migration, with people pouring in all over the place. I think that Britain will end up separating from the EU, that's my opinion. I'm not endorsing it one way or the other, but that's my opinion."

Three months later, in June 2016, British voters approved the Brexit referendum. One day after that vote, Trump arrived in Scotland for a pre-planned visit to celebrate the opening of his golf course in Turnberry, where he praised the result and compared it to his campaign in the US.

"They're angry over borders, they're angry over people coming into the country and taking over. Nobody even knows who they are," Trump said. "They're angry about many, many things. They took back control of their country."

In the three years since the referendum, Trump has repeated this concocted story. He did make the prediction, but he didn't make it in dramatic fashion during the final stages of the Brexit campaign.

Trump calls protests fake news

While addressing a question about protests in London during his visit, the President said he didn't "see any protests" except a "very small" protest before the press conference. "So a lot of it is fake news, I hate to say."

Facts First: While Trump may not have seen the large protests in London, they did occur, as crowds stretched for blocks in protest of Trump's state visit.

It's possible Trump didn't witness any mass protests as he traveled to events in London over the past two days. "He hasn't been exposed to them" said CNN's International Diplomatic Editor Nic Robertson Tuesday. But, as is clear from photos, video footage and reporting on the ground, there have been large crowds of anti-Trump protesters gathered throughout central London for the President's visit.

Trump on London crime

During his press conference, Trump was asked about his criticisms of London Mayor Sadiq Khan. In his response, Trump repeated what he had tweeted the day before, saying that "crime is up" in London and that Khan "should actually focus on his job."

Facts First: Based on police data, crime has increased in London during Khan's time as mayor. While it's difficult to determine what, if any, effect Khan's policies have had on the crime rate in London, the issue has become a bit of a political liability for the mayor, whose critics increasingly use it as a talking point against him.

During Khan's three years as mayor, the crime rate in London has risen by 15% compared to the previous three years, according to data from London's Metropolitan Police.

The increase in knife crimes has been a focus of Khan's and his critics, with the mayor establishing additional task forces, educational summits, increased metal detection at schools and other measures to combat the increase.

By certain measures, including police data, crime has ticked up across England and Wales in recent years. However, the rate is still below those found in the mid-2000s, when crime was continuing to fall from its height during the 1990s.

Khan has blamed government budget cuts for the decrease in police force which, he believes, has contributed to the current knife-related crime increase in London. Prime Minister Theresa May pushed back on this idea in March. "If you look at the figures," she told Channel Four News, "what you see is that there is no direct correlation between certain crimes and police numbers."

This story has been updated.

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