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Democratic Debate live updates: MSNBC/Washington Post host

With impeachment at center stage, Democrats debated their visions to replace Trump.

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NBC News' live blog tracked the fifth Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential election cycle, co-hosted by MSNBC and The Washington Post.

With the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump taking center stage,the 2020 candidates clashed over their visions to replace him. South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg escaped unscathed after it was expected he'd draw heavy fire as the newly minted front-runner, while former Vice President Joe Biden stumbled with gaffes on women, marijuana and race.

Catch up quickly via our analysis and fact checks, and get a look at who came out swinging via our attack tracker. Or, see how the night unfolded below.

Live Blog

Could Pete Buttigieg do what Obama couldn't with a GOP Congress? He says yes

Buttigieg said he sees "extraordinary potential" to enact big policies now that were politically impossible a few years ago.

“We have a majority to do the right thing, if we can galvanize, not polarize, that majority," Buttigieg said when asked how he would overcome the partisan fighting that ground Barack Obama's agenda to a halt.

But in his first two years, Obama had majorities in the House and Senate, including a filibuster-proof supermajority in the Senate for a moment, that a hypothetical President Buttigieg would be unlikely to get.

The Senate is currently controlled by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who has made the chamber a "legislative graveyard" for Democratic bills. Even if Democrats win back the Senate next year, they're highly unlikely to get the 60 votes they would need to break a GOP filibuster. And while Buttigieg has said he wants to scrap the filibuster, many Democratic senators oppose doing so.

So Buttigieg didn't really explain why he would succeed where Obama didn't.

So far, Warren has gotten the most airtime

Which candidate is speaking the most at tonight’s debate in Atlanta? Who's speaking the least? NBC News is collaborating with The Washington Post to track how long each candidate talks throughout the night. Follow along here.

Harris attacks Gabbard

Harris went directly after Gabbard, saying that she spent four years under Obama on Fox News trashing the Obama administration, “buddied up to Steve Bannon” to get a meeting with Trump and cozied up to a war criminal — an apparent reference to Syrian President Bashar al Assad. 

This attack was one of the sharpest yet. Harris said that Gabbard doesn’t have the goods to take on Trump and reunite the Obama coalition to win the election. 

Gabbard shot back by saying Harris is trafficking in lies and was not dealing with the substance of her argument, which is that the Democratic establishment is out of touch. 

Fact check: Did Trump admit to diverting charity money from veterans?

"The president had to confess in writing, in court, to illegally diverting charitable contributions that were supposed to go to veterans," Buttigieg said Wednesday night, responding to a question about impeaching President Donald Trump. 

This is mostly true. The president did admit to illegally misusing the Trump Foundation — in particular the $2.8 million raised for veterans in an event in Iowa days before the 2016 caucuses — in a court filing. Those dollars were controlled and disbursed by Trump’s campaign staff at campaign events, instead of being overseen by the Foundation. But, the money was eventually donated to charitable causes.

Tulsi gets a question... on Hillary Clinton

For her first question of the night, Gabbard was asked about the “rot” she says Clinton inflicted on the Democratic Party. Gabbard said the party “continues to be influenced by the foreign policy establishment represented by Hillary Clinton and others.”

Gabbard began to surge slightly in the polls after Clinton attacked her publicly, with Gabbard capitalizing on the comments in numerous responses.

Meanwhile in Iowa...

Booker goes after Warren’s wealth tax

Booker, who has moved closer to the stage’s edge, had the first direct attack on Warren’s wealth tax plan. He’s talking about minority communities wanting the opportunity for entrepreneurship and said that they don’t just want equality in wealth, but equality in opportunity. He seems to go directly after Warren’s goal to restructure the American economy to help the working class.

He called the wealth tax “cumbersome” and said that Democrats need to talk about how we tax wealth but also grow wealth across the country.

Yang, Gabbard, Steyer silent early

Yang, Steyer and Gabbard aren’t getting any speaking time early. Twenty minutes in and the three candidates have yet to be asked a question.

What we're tracking tonight

We're publishing two live-updating graphics tonight to capture what's happening as it happens on the debate stage in Atlanta.

The attack tracker: We're tracking the number of times the candidates on the stage attack each other, and attack President Donald Trump.

The time talking tracker: We're partnering with The Washington Post to show how long each candidate has spent talking through the night.

Biden says impeachment hearings show that Trump and Putin don’t want him as nominee

In his first answer of the night, Biden said the impeachment hearings have made clear to him that Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin don’t want him to be the Democratic nominee.

“Trump doesn’t want me to be the nominee,” Biden said, pointing to the House inquiry into the withholding of aid to Ukraine as the president pushed for an investigation into the former vice president and his son Hunter.  And “Vladimir Putin doesn’t want me to be president,” Biden added.

Biden argued that the most important consideration for Democratic voters in the race is to choose a nominee who can beat Trump, secure a Democratic majority in the Senate and increase the number of House Democrats. He says that’s him.