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

Biden says he would not prosecute Trump after he leaves office

Biden said that he would not prosecute Trump after he leaves office because it’s not his job to decide who would be prosecuted or exonerated. He said it’s the attorney general’s decision, and if the independent conclusion was to pursue prosecution, then “so be it.”

He argued that the attorney general is not the president’s attorney.

Gabbard answer gets praise from Team Trump

Klobuchar jokes about the ‘Name your favorite woman president’ game

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, responding to questions over her recent criticism of Buttigieg (she said earlier this year that if female candidates like herself had the amount of experience that Buttigieg did they wouldn’t be taken as seriously as he is), backed down on her assessment — but still delivered a sharp line about gender that got the audience’s attention.

“First of all I made very clear that I think Pete is qualified to be on this stage,” she said. 

“But what I said was true,” she added. “Otherwise, we could play a game called ‘name your favorite woman president.’”

She closed her answer with another line that prompted loud applause from the audience.

“And if you think a woman can’t beat Donald Trump, Nancy Pelosi does it every single day,” she said.

Don’t call it a comeback

Yang hasn’t gotten much screen time, but he did get the attention of the tech crowd.

He advocates bringing back the Office of Technology Assessment, which helped advise on technology policy until it was defunded in 1995. But bringing back the OTA, as it was colloquially known, already has some supporters in Washington, D.C. — and among the technorati.

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...