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Highlights from the final Trump-Biden presidential debate

Get the latest election news, voting results and polls.

President Donald Trump and Joe Biden faced off in their final presidential debate on Thursday night.

The 90-minute debate, moderated by NBC's Kristen Welker, took place at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, covered a wide range of topics, including Covid-19, race, immigration and climate change.

This live coverage has ended. Continue reading election news from October 23, 2020.

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Read highlights, fact checks and takeaway below:

Photo: Debate's socially distanced seating

Seats marked for the final presidential debate at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., on Thursday.Jim Watson / AFP - Getty Images

 

Trump tests negative for Covid-19 on plane ride to debate

President Trump tested negative for Covid-19 on his way to the debate.

“We tested him on the way here (on the plane) and he tested negative,”said White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.

Also traveling with the president were a mix of staffers and family including Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, Tiffany Trump, Jason Miller, Robert O’Brien, Dan Scavino — with no mask — and Kayleigh McEnany.

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive at Nashville International Airport ahead of the presidential debate.Evan Vucci / AP

 

Biden ready to fight back if Trump goes after his family, campaign says

Ahead of tonight’s debate, the Biden campaign is telegraphing that if President Trump goes after Joe Biden’s family, it plans on attacking him for spreading and amplifying Russian disinformation.

In a pre-debate press call with reporters, the campaign's deputy manager, Kate Bedingfield, said that the campaign expected Trump “to continue to bully” and attack Hunter Biden and his foreign dealings during tonight’s debate. She said that Biden is prepared for those attacks as well, hoping to flip the attention to the fact that Trump is more obsessed with Biden’s family than America's families amid a pandemic.

Joe Biden boards his plane in New Castle, Del., on his way to the final debate in Nashville, Tenn.Angela Weiss / AFP - Getty Images

“Here's the thing, these attacks are backfiring on Trump. You know, despite leveling them in the first debate, poll after poll showed voters resoundingly thought Biden won that debate because voters are sick and tired of Trump's lies and we've heard the same debunked attacks for over a year,” she said.

A senior campaign adviser, Symone Sanders, also commented on the Commission on Presidential Debate’s decision to mute the microphones, saying that the debate will serve as “a test of presidential temperament,” especially for the president.

Biden leads Trump by 10 points in new Quinnipiac national poll

Joe Biden holds a 10-point lead over President Trump ahead of tonight's final presidential debate, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll of likely voters released Thursday afternoon.

Biden leads with 51 percent of likely voters, while Trump lags behind him at 41 percent. The new poll is the third Quinnipiac national survey of likely voters since September that has shown the former vice president with a 10-point lead.

"Three straight polls in the double-digit zone," Quinnipiac University polling analyst Tim Malloy said in a statement. "For Biden-Harris, flush with cash and propelled by consistent support, it remains steady as she goes through the turbulent waters of a bitter, personal, and unsettling campaign."

Beyond the top line, likely voters in the new poll said Biden has a sense of decency by a margin of 64-30, while likely voters said 60-37 that Trump does not have a sense of decency.

Top former Obama adviser: Biden should 'prepare for a bunch of different Trumps'

Trump will vote in-person in Florida on Saturday

President Trump plans to vote early and in-person on Saturday in West Palm Beach, per White House spokesman Judd Deere.

That follows the president’s previously-announced stops in battleground Florida on Friday for events at The Villages and in Pensacola.

Trump releases video of unedited, contentious '60 Minutes' interview that he abruptly left

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Thursday released what appeared to be the full, unedited interview that he did with “60 Minutes” earlier this week that he abruptly walked out of because he said that it showed the media’s bias against him.

Trump released a video of the interview — segments of which CBS was set to air on Sunday — that lasted nearly 38 minutes and showed only the angle of a White House camera that faced him, which White House officials and the network agreed would be used for only archival purposes.

Throughout the interview, the president expressed frustration that the questions posed by correspondent Leslie Stahl would not be asked of former Vice President Joe Biden, his Democratic challenger.

Read more here.

Hallie Jackson shuts down Trump campaign spokesman on election interference, fraud claims

MSNBC anchor Hallie Jackson cut short her interview with Trump campaign spokesman Hogan Gidley after he baselessly floated claims about widespread voter fraud in the presidential election and dodged when asked if the president had confidence in FBI Director Christopher Wray.

"There is no widespread evidence of voter fraud, Hogan. You know that," Jackson said, before reiterating a question about whether President Trump would "back off" claims about fraud in the 2020 race. She added that Wray has said the FBI has not seen evidence of widespread voter fraud.

Gidley did not directly answer a question about whether Trump still had confidence in Wray. Instead, he replied in part that Trump has "confidence the American people want a free and fair election."

In response to a separate question, Gidley said the Trump campaign had not been briefed ahead of time that Iran and Russia were working to influence election, which the FBI announced at a news conference Wednesday night.

Schumer, Wyden call on FBI director to resist pressure from Trump for a political investigation

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., sent a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray on Thursday calling on him not to launch any political investigations that would influence the election. 

They referred in a press release to "a widely questioned article in the New York Post, that alleged to have obtained stolen Hunter Biden emails from the president’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani" and noted that Trump has called on the Justice Department to investigate.

“We are deeply concerned about the possibility that in response to these reports the Trump Administration will take actions before Election Day that would seek to damage the Democratic presidential candidate and undermine the rule of law,” Wyden and Schumer said.

They are urging Wray "to resist pressure from President Trump and other partisan actors to take any actions intended to benefit President Trump politically on the eve of the election. Succumbing to such pressure would deeply undermine our national security interests and the credibility of law enforcement, and could have devastating consequences for the resiliency of our democracy.” 

Biden gets pre-debate pep talk from Brayden Harrington

The Biden campaigned released a new video in honor of International Stuttering Awareness Day. The video shows the former vice president watching a recorded message from Brayden Harrington, the New Hampshire boy he met before the primary in February and who delivered a memorable address at the Democratic National Convention.

In the video from Brayden, he jokes that Biden probably won’t be able to get in a word during tonight’s presidential debate but he’s rooting for him. And if Biden hits a block during the debate, to do what he normally does and “keep faith in his heart.”

Biden met Brayden Harrington at a town hall event in Concord, New Hampshire. His parents told the Democratic candidate that Brayden wanted to hear Biden speak because he [Brayden] also stutters. In a touching moment, Biden tells Brayden to not let his stutter define him.

“I know about bullies. You know about bullies — the kids who make fun. It’s going to change, honey. I promise you,” Biden said. The former Vice President kept in touch with Brayden and his family leading to Brayden speaking at the Democratic convention in August.

Trump allies have been characterizing Biden as declining. Some going as far as mocking his stutter. But, in his video, Brayden reminds Biden that he’ll always be rooting for him.

Poll shows Democrats lead in three Iowa House districts and fourth tightening

New polling in Iowa shows a tightening race in the state’s single Republican-held House seat while Democrats hold leads in the other three districts. A Monmouth University poll released Thursday shows two first-term Democratic incumbents leading in their races while the Democratic candidate leads in an open seat held by the party.

  • Iowa-01: First-term Rep. Abby Finkenauer holds an 8-point lead among registered voters over Republican challenger Ashley Hinson, 52 percent to 44 percent. Women back Finkenauer by a 61 percent to 35 percent margin while men prefer Hinson, 53 percent to 43 percent.
  • Iowa-02: The race to replace retiring Democratic Rep. Dave Loebsack flipped from a slight GOP lead in the summer to a Democratic lead now. Rita Hart leads Mariannette Miller-Meeks by six points, 49 percent to 43 percent among registered. Miller-Meeks had a 47 percent to 44 percent lead in August.
  • Iowa-03: First-term Democratic Rep. Cindy Axne widened her lead over former Rep. David Young in a rematch from 2018 since August — she currently leads 52 percent to 43 percent. Axne has a 25-point lead among registered voters in Polk County, which she won by 16 points two years ago.
  • Iowa-04: The race to replace controversial GOP Rep. Steve King, who lost his primary to Randy Feenstra, has tightened since the summer with Feenstra leading Democrat J.D. Scholten, who lost to King two years ago, by six points, 48 percent to 42 percent. The Republican held a 20-point lead over Scholten in August.

The Monmouth poll was conducted by telephone and online from October 15- 20, sampling 1,547 Iowa registered voters from a voter list file. The results have a margin of error between +/- 4.8 and +/- 5.2 percentage points, depending on the district.

See more Iowa polls here.