posted at 7:01 pm on September 24, 2016 by John Sexton
Yesterday, Jake Tapper fact-checked a claim about Russian nuclear arms made in two different Hillary Clinton campaign ads this year. One of the ads, which was aired thousands of times in Colorado and Virginia back in April, claims Hillary secured “a massive reduction in nuclear weapons.” FactCheck.org looked at that claim at the time and concluded, “the record doesn’t show that Clinton was responsible for ‘securing a massive reduction in nuclear weapons.’”
A new Clinton ad, which is airing in seven states this month, echoed the previous claim saying Hillary “got the treaty cutting Russia’s nuclear arms.” Here’s the image that accompanies that claim in the video:
But as Jake Tapper points out nearly all of this is false. It’s true that there is a treaty called New START which sets limits on the number of strategic nuclear weapons Russia can deploy. However that treaty doesn’t say anything about short range nukes or the number of total nuclear weapons Russia can have. It doesn’t require a single nuclear weapon be destroyed.
Even more striking, Tapper notes that Russia was already under the agreed limit when the treaty was signed in 2011. Russia has since increased the number of strategic nuclear arms by nearly 200, from 1,537 to 1,735. “Not only did it not cut the number of nuclear weapons,” Tapper says, “there’s actually been an increase.” Here’s a chart created by FactCheck.org back in April showing the number of strategic nuclear arms held by the U.S. and Russia. Note that the number of warheads held by Russia is up:
Tapper and FactCheck.org both grant that the treaty has value but the claims Clinton is making about the treaty reducing the number of Russian arms is false. Here’s the full fact-check: