EVENT ENDED

Democratic Debate live updates: MSNBC/Washington Post host

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

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
SUBSCRIBE

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

Buttigieg hits on security and artificial intelligence

Buttigieg warns the U.S. is falling behind on artificial intelligence, and that this poses a serious national security risk. Those fears are bolstered by warnings from people like the former head of U.S. Naval Special Warfare Command.

This is the kind of argument that has built momentum in recent years, particularly as China has invested aggressively in the technology. And while that has sparked some comparisons to the Cold War nuclear arms race with the U.S.S.R., some academics that follow China closely warn that the country’s AI expertise is getting overblown.

Fact check: Harris takes on the gender pay gap

Raising a point about the ineffectiveness of the Equal Pay Act, Harris noted, “Women are paid 80 cents on the dollar, black women — 61 cents, Native American women — 58 cents, Latinas — 53 cents.”

Harris appears to be drawing these numbers from a 2019 report by the American Association of University Women, which compared the earnings of women across several racial demographics to the earnings of white men. 

Her data is just slightly off, according to the AAUW’s report. According to the report, women are paid 82 cents for every dollar men earn. Black women make 62 cents on the dollar, Native American women make 57 cents and Hispanic women, 54 cents.

Biden offers a difference on Obama foreign policy — and it’s Saudi Arabia

Biden was asked a question earlier on where he’d differ from Obama on foreign policy and deflected to points on where he’d differ with Trump.

Soon after, he did offer a policy difference — on Saudi Arabia. It was in response to a question on whether he’d punish the Saudi royals for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

"Yes, and I said it at the time,” he said, adding he thinks the killing happened at Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s order.

Biden said he would stop U.S. weapons sales and that there was “very little social redeeming value” to the country.

Stopping weapons sales to the Saudis would certainly be a break from the Obama administration, which offered the country more than $115 billion in weapons, military equipment and training, according to a Reuters report from 2016. At the time, it was the most of any U.S. administration in the more than 70 years of the U.S.-Saudi alliance.

Castro's fans remind Twitter he's still in the running

Even though Julián Castro didn’t make it to the debate stage, his supporters tried to keep him visible with the hashtag the campaign adopted for the night, #JulianDebates.

Castro’s backers and the campaign made the hashtag a top trending hashtag by posting positions Castro has taken on issues that were raised in the debate.  His campaign also used it as an opportunity to raise donations.

Castro used the hashtag in his posts too, including when debate moderators asked candidates about housing, an issue he has been pushing debate organizers to include in their questions.

“Finally, housing question,” Castro tweeted. “Wonder who could have answered that?”

Fact check: Gabbard's claims about past presidents and 'regime change wars'

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, said there was an "ongoing Bush, Clinton, Trump foreign policy doctrine of regime change wars, overthrowing dictators in other countries." 

This is mostly false. President Donald Trump hasn’t started any wars that can be considered regime change wars — he’s actually focused more on getting out of military engagements. President Bill Clinton didn’t start what could be considered "regime change wars," either, though he did order some military strikes in Iraq and support a policy of ousting Saddam Hussein, the country's president. But it was President George W. Bush who famously launched a war in Afghanistan and one in Iraq, which resulted in the removal and execution of Hussein.

It’s possible Gabbard is referring to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who served under President Barack Obama, but that's not clear, and wouldn't be correct. The secretary of state — while crucially involved in foreign policy — is not the decision maker, the president is. 

Yang on his first phone call with Putin: ‘Sorry I beat your guy’

Yang seemed taken aback by one of the rare questions he’s gotten in the debate when he was asked what he’d say in his first call with Putin as president.

After a pause, he said: “First I’d say I’m sorry I beat your guy,” earning some laughs in the crowd.

He went on to say he’d push back on Russian interference in U.S. domestic politics and discussed his data policies.

Lots of praise for the moderators tonight

Here's more about your moderators tonight.

Fact check: Klobuchar's boast about bills

“I am the one who has passed over 100 bills as the lead Democrat in that gridlock in Washington," Klobuchar said on Wednesday night.

This claim, one she's made during several previous debates, appears to be true. When asked by NBC News for proof of Klobuchar’s claim that she was a sponsor or co-sponsor of 100 bills that were ultimately enacted, her campaign produced a list of 101 bills and amendments that were enacted or that were consolidated into other bills that were later enacted.

Kamala Harris loves to attack Trump. She's not alone.

So far tonight, Donald Trump has been attacked more times than any of the other candidates have attacked each other, combined. This isn’t quite new: Trump has received double-digit numbers of attacks in every Democratic presidential debate this year.

In the previous debates, Kamala Harris has attacked Trump a total of 18 times, the most of any candidate. Julián Castro and Amy Klobuchar trail Harris with 16 attacks on Trump each.

Follow the attacks on Trump on our live-updating debate attack tracker.

A scene from USC