Facts Matter: Putin twists facts about Capitol insurrection
Following a meeting between President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin last week in Geneva, Switzerland, Putin offered his take on the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol building, suggesting people were arrested on charges of political speech.
"People came to the U.S. Congress with political demands after the election," the Russian leader said. "Over 400 people have criminal cases opened against them, they're facing prison terms of 20, or maybe even up to 25 years. They're being called domestic terrorists and accused of a range of other crimes. Seventy of them were immediately after these events, and only 30 of them are still under arrest, unclear on what grounds."
Putin was wrong in saying those arrested in the Capitol riot were charged for "unclear" reasons, according to The Associated Press. The charges were clear and the information is available to the public.
More than 480 people have been indicted following the attack, mostly on charges of unlawfully entering the Capitol and conspiracy. All suspects were charged by the Justice Department, based on a complaint signed by a federal judge or an indictment from a grand jury.
The court records, minus redactions, can be viewed by the public and the Department of Justice website includes links to charging documents and information about the arrests.
Biden responded to Putin's comments.
"I think that's a ridiculous comparison. It's one thing for -- literally -- criminals to break through a cordon, go into the Capitol, kill a police officer, and be held unaccountable than it is for people who are ... marching on a capitol saying, you're not allowing me to speak freely, you're not allowing me to do A, B or C or D," he said.
However, Biden's comment about killing an officer is unproven.
The medical examiner ruled Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick died of natural causes but said the stressful conditions during the event probably contributed to his death. Two men have been charged with assaulting and spraying a chemical irritant on Sicknick during the insurrection.
G-7 abides by COVID-19 rules
As world leaders got together last week for the Group of Seven Leadership Summit in England, some social media users claimed the group wasn't following COVID-19 restrictions.
"No masks, no social distancing no quarantine before ... They've all come in from other countries. Are you getting it yet? One massive scam on humanity," read a Facebook post.
An Instagram user included a photo of President Joe Biden, first lady Jill Biden and Queen Elizabeth II, all without face masks, and the caption, "Why do the people who make the rules think they can get away breaking those same rules?"
But attendees did follow coronavirus protocols, according to USA Today.
All G-7 summit participants were at least partially vaccinated against the virus. There also was daily testing, social distancing and an emphasis on outdoor gatherings. Leaders greeted each other with elbow bumps, and anyone arriving from a country considered high risk was required to quarantine upon arrival.
"All attendees and delegations have been required to follow U.K. public health regulations throughout the meeting," a Cabinet Office spokesperson told USA Today.
Fauci won't profit from book
The release of a book by Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, titled "Expect the Unexpected: Ten Lessons on Truth, Service, and the Way Forward," is set for a November release.
A social media user claimed Fauci will be cashing in.
"Tony Fauci will make millions off of a new book about 'Truth' while Americans continue to suffer because of his endless stream of lies over the past year," wrote Charlie Kirk, a Wheeling High School graduate and founder of the conservative nonprofit Turning Point USA. "The highest paid employee of the federal government is set to profit even more off this pandemic. What a disgrace."
Fauci will not receive any money from the offering, according to PolitiFact.com.
The tome, by National Geographic Books, will include speeches and interviews by Fauci, but he didn't write anything new. It will be released in connection with a National Geographic documentary film about Fauci. Earnings from the book will go to the nonprofit National Geographic Society.
"(Fauci) was not paid and will not earn any royalties from its publication or from the upcoming documentary," National Geographic spokesperson Chris Albert told PolitiFact.
Pope's message doesn't match subtitles
A video of Pope Francis circulating on social media shows him talking about uniting the church while speaking in Italian, but the English subtitles deliver a different message.
According to the English translation, the pope said he has been "keeping secret for a long time."
The fake subtitles read the secret is the "mark of the beast," a message people will receive from the Antichrist.
"We are living in the end times," the fake subtitles read.
That isn't what the Pope said, according to The Associated Press. The fake subtitles were added to a 2014 clip recorded by Francis' friend Anthony Palmer.
In the version Palmer posted on YouTube in 2014, confirmed by news reports from the time, the pope said, "I am here with my brother, my bishop brother, Tony Palmer."
Francis went on to say, "We have diverse traditions. But we have to encounter one another as brothers."
• Bob Oswald is a veteran Chicago-area journalist and former news editor of the Elgin Courier-News. Contact him at email@example.com.