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    Presidential debate begins with clash over Supreme Court nominee

    BREAKING NEWS: Joe Biden tells Donald Trump ‘will you shut up man!’ as presidential debate turns into ugly brawl with Trump attacking moderator Chris Wallace too as candidates fight over healthcare, Supreme Court and Covid

    • Donald Trump and Joe Biden took the stage in Cleveland for their first debate on Tuesday night 
    • The 90-minute debate will be divided into six segments, selected by Fox News’ Chris Wallace, who is moderating 
    • Major topics will include Trump taxes and SCOTUS nominee Amy Coney Barrett
    • Trump and Biden did not shake hands because of COVID restrictions
    • There are no opening statements and first question went to Trump
    • A small audience of around 80 will be in the room and will have gotten a COVID test and must wear a mask
    • Meanwhile VP Mike Pence and second lady Karen Pence attended a watch party in Lititz, Pennsylvania

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    Joe Biden has started the first presidential debate by going straight on the attack against Donald Trump claiming his SCOTUS nominee Amy Coney Barrett will strike down Obamacare.  

    The 90-minute show down between the presidential contenders proved early on that it would a be a knock-out, drag-down match. 

    Trump has signaled he’ll hold nothing back – hitting Biden where it hurts with attacks on his son Hunter and his mental abilities. 

    Trump even got into a short spat with moderator Fox News’ Chris Wallace within the first half hour of the night.  

    The Democratic nominee has been practicing maintaining his calm in the face of the expected verbal punches but is also preparing a few of his own – particularly on the president’s taxes.   

    Team Trump is prepared for the president’s taxes to come up first thing after a bombshell New York Times report that Trump only paid $750 in taxes for 2016 and 2017.  

    Joe Biden has started the first presidential debate by going straight on the attack against Donald Trump claiming his SCOTUS nominee Amy Coney Barrett will strike down Obamacare

    The 90-minute show down between the presidential contenders could prove to a be a knock-out, drag-down match

    Trump has signaled he'll hold nothing back - hitting Biden where it hurts with attacks on his son Hunter and his mental abilities

    The 90-minute show down between the presidential contenders could prove to a be a knock-out, drag-down match. Trump has signaled he’ll hold nothing back – hitting Biden where it hurts with attacks on his son Hunter and his mental abilities

    U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden participate in their first 2020 presidential campaign debate

    U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden participate in their first 2020 presidential campaign debate 

    Team Trump is prepared for the president's taxes to come up first thing after a bombshell New York Times report that Trump only paid $750 in taxes for 2016 and 2017

    Team Trump is prepared for the president’s taxes to come up first thing after a bombshell New York Times report that Trump only paid $750 in taxes for 2016 and 2017

    Melania sits in the crowd for the debate. She originally was wearing a white face mask, but later removed it

    Melania sits in the crowd for the debate. She originally was wearing a white face mask, but later removed it 

    Vice President Mike Pence and Second lady Karen Pence wave during a watch party for the first presidential debate in Lititz, Pennsylvania

    Vice President Mike Pence and Second lady Karen Pence wave during a watch party for the first presidential debate in Lititz, Pennsylvania

    UFC fighter Colby Covington takes his seat as a guest of President Donald Trump

    UFC fighter Colby Covington takes his seat as a guest of President Donald Trump

    Audience members separated for social distancing because of the coronavirus disease pandemic wait for the start of the debate

    Audience members separated for social distancing because of the coronavirus disease pandemic wait for the start of the debate

    The second section turned to the Covid-19 pandemic, with Biden pointing out Trump retorted ‘it is what it is’, as more than 200,000 Americans have died from the deadly virus. 

    Biden then launched into how Trump praised China’s handling over the pandemic back in February. 

    Trump had arrived in Cleveland with first lady Melania Trump, who wore a $3340 Dolce & Gabbana black pinstriped pantsuit while Biden arrived solo. Jill Biden had been campaigning in Michigan earlier in the day and joined him later. 

    President Trump had all his adult children and several of their significant others with him when he landed in Cleveland, including Ivanka Trump, Lara Trump, Eric Trump, Tiffany Trump, Donald Trump Jr and Kimberly Guilfoyle.

    On the staff side, National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, campaign manager Bill Stepien, Rep. Jim Jordan and adviser Hope Hicks also accompanied the Trumps on Air Force One.

    Some of the Trump’s guests to the debate accompanied him, including Alice Johnson, the woman he pardoned from her life-in-prison drug conviction. Other guests will include UFC fighter Colby Covington and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

    A senior Trump campaign official told reporters on Air Force One that the president is ready for the debate and would not be doing any last minute prep on the plane. ‘He’s ready to go,’ the official said.

    Team Trump is prepared for the president’s taxes to come up first thing after a bombshell New York Times report that Trump only paid $750 in taxes for 2016 and 2017.

    Trump, meanwhile, is expected to try and shake Biden’s composure by attacking him through his son Hunter.  The president has used Hunter Biden and his work on the board of a Ukrainian gas company to attack Biden and cast doubt on his presidential credentials. ‘Where’s Hunter?’ is a popular line at his rallies that has his supporters clapping and cheering.

    In his own pre-debate punch, Biden released his and running mate Kamala Harris‘ latest tax returns on Tuesday to troll the president ahead of their meeting.

    Biden’s taxes showed that he and his wife Jill paid more than $346,204 in federal taxes and other payments for 2019 on an income of $944,737 before seeking a refund of nearly $47,000, giving them a total tax bill for the year of $299,346.

    President Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive in Cleveland for the first presidential debate

    President Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive in Cleveland for the first presidential debate

    Joe Biden arrives in Cleveland for the first presidential debate

    Joe Biden arrives in Cleveland for the first presidential debate

    Donald Trump Jr. and Kimberly Guilfoyle walk across the tarmac to board Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base before flying to Cleveland

    Donald Trump Jr. and Kimberly Guilfoyle walk across the tarmac to board Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base before flying to Cleveland

    Ivanka Trump at the Cleveland airport; she will watch her father in Tuesday's debate

    Ivanka Trump at the Cleveland airport; she will watch her father in Tuesday’s debate

    President Trump invited UFC fighter Colby Covington - seen above with the president in a file photo - to the debate

    President Trump invited UFC fighter Colby Covington – seen above with the president in a file photo – to the debate

    Joe Biden is waiting for the debate to begin at a private residence in Cleveland

    Joe Biden is waiting for the debate to begin at a private residence in Cleveland








    The 2019 tax returns for Biden’s running mate Senator Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, a lawyer who has taken leave from his position as a partner with the firm DLA Piper, were also released. The couple paid $754,809 on an income of $3,018,127. 

    In the lead up to the debate, Biden has characterized the race as a clash between Scranton, the working-class city where he was born, and Park Avenue, where Trump made his name.

    Documents show the president, who says he is a billionaire, paid no income tax in 11 of the 18 years studied, according to a report by The Times. He was able to minimize his tax bill by reporting heavy losses across his business empire, including at his golf courses.  

    That’s despite receiving $427.4 million through 2018 from his reality television program and other endorsement deals. The president could also face mounting financial pressure in the years ahead. The tax records show he’s carrying a total of $421 million in loans and debt that are primarily due within four years. 

    Trump, in response, said he has paid millions in taxes but has released no documentation to back up his claims. 

    The president’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court is also expected to be a major debate topic as are his charges mail-in balloting will lead to a ‘rigged’ election. Numerous studies have proven that is not the case.  

    Meanwhile, Melania Trump and Jill Biden will come face-to-face for the first time this election year at the debate.

    The two women have been at the same events in the past, including Trump’s 2017 inauguration and the December 2018 funeral for George H.W. Bush, where the Bidens sat a row behind the Trumps.

    But Tuesday marks the first election meeting for the two women, who have taken different approaches to the campaign trail this year. 

    National Guard block intersections as security measures are put in place before the debate

    National Guard block intersections as security measures are put in place before the debate

    Police line the streets in Cleveland

    Police line the streets in Cleveland

    A protester holds up a sign in honor of the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

    A protester holds up a sign in honor of the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

    Protesters hold a 'Make Handmaids Fiction Again' sign, likely in reference to Amy Comey Barrett's Supreme Court nomination, as some critics have compared her views to those held by oppressors in the fictional novel 'The Handmaid's Tale'

    Protesters hold a ‘Make Handmaids Fiction Again’ sign, likely in reference to Amy Comey Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination, as some critics have compared her views to those held by oppressors in the fictional novel ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ 

    Protesters rally against President Trump at the debate

    Protesters rally against President Trump at the debate

    The Baby Trump balloon was at the protest in Cleveland

    The Baby Trump balloon was at the protest in Cleveland

    Police line up in front of the debate hall in Cleveland

    Police line up in front of the debate hall in Cleveland

    The Ohio National Guard directs traffic away from the debate hall in Cleveland

    The Ohio National Guard directs traffic away from the debate hall in Cleveland

    Protesters take to the streets in Cleveland as the city calls in National Guard in anticipation of riots ahead of the first presidential debate

    The city of Cleveland set up barriers and called in the National Guard in anticipation of protests and riots ahead of the first presidential debate Tuesday evening. 

    Cleveland has been preparing for the first presidential clash of 2020. There will be two more debates – in Nashville and Miami – and a vice presidential debate in Salt Lake City.

    Protesters swarmed the area around the debate hall with police on hand in case things got out of line. 

    The signs were varied: Black Lives Matter, the more than 200,000 deaths from COVID in the United States and for the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. 

    The secret service, the lead agency for security at the event, set up a perimeter around the Samson Pavilion, the building where the debate will be held. There are numerous road closures in place.

    Mayor Jackson said: ‘Cleveland has been a peaceful city lately so let’s keep it that way and show the people the way Cleveland is.’ Lt. Col. Audrey Fielding of the Ohio National Guard added: ‘Members of this task force are specifically trained and equipped and prepared to support law enforcement in protection tasks.’

    Military trucks have arrived on the scene Monday and images show there is a heavy police presence on the Cleveland Clinic campus where the two candidates will meet. Overhead on Monday a small plane circled the area with a ‘Black Lives Matter’ sign.

    Public Safety Director Karrie Howard said: ‘I assure the citizens of Cleveland that we have taken every precaution to make sure that while people exercise their First Amendment right to free speech, it will be done in a safe and secure manner.’

    Police are said to be on 12-hour shifts with days off canceled.

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    Biden, who has years of experience as a political spouse, has been an active campaigner for her husband, keeping her own travel schedule, conducting interviews, and making the case for his election. She and Joe Biden will launch a train tour through Ohio and Pennsylvania on Wednesday. 

    Melania Trump, who was a political neophyte in the 2016 campaign, made the case for her husband’s re-election bid at the Republican National Convention in August but hasn’t appeared at a campaign event for him since then.  

    The 90-minute debate will into six segments, selected by Fox News’ Chris Wallace, who is moderating.  They include: the pandemic, the economy, the Supreme Court, election integrity, the candidates’ records, and ‘race and violence in our cities.’ 

    The candidates will not shake hands when they take the stage at 9 pm ET on Tuesday night because of the coronavirus pandemic. Instead they will stand at podiums that are socially distanced from one another while Wallace sits at a desk in front of them.

    There will be no opening statements and the first question will go to Trump. 

    There will be a ‘small’ audience in the room, all of whom will be tested for COVID, according to Peter Ayre, senior adviser to the Commission on Presidential Debates. 

    Chairs are lined up but signs have been placed on two of every three chairs that read: ‘Thank you for not sitting here in observance of social distancing.’

    Each campaign was given 20 tickets to hand out to guests. There will be about 100 people total watching. 

    Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson urged protesters to remain peaceful but said he will not issue a curfew for the city. 

    ‘Cleveland has been a peaceful city lately so let’s keep it that way and show the people the way Cleveland is,’ Jackson said.  

    Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine sent 300 members from the Ohio National Guard to Cleveland. 

    A security perimeter was set up around the Samson Pavilion, the building where the debate will be held. There are numerous road closures in place for the debate sponsored by Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Clinic.

    The two candidates have taken different approaches to their preparations.

    Biden has been hunkered down in Wilmington with briefing books and mock debate sessions.

    Trump, meanwhile, has done less than two hours prep time, CNN reported, including a short Q&A session on Sunday where advisers used flash cards to try and stump the president. Trump also played golf on Sunday morning.

    Polls show Biden leading Trump nationally and in a number of key battleground states ahead of the debate, which is their first face-to-face meeting this year.

    ‘I am looking very forward to the debate,’ Trump told reporters at the White House on Monday. 

    It is the first of three scheduled presidential debates. Vice President Mike Pence and California Sen. Kamala Harris, Biden’s running mate, will debate in October. 

    Trump suggested in a tweet on Sunday that Biden will be on performance-enhancing drugs during the debate, which could be a prediction of how he’ll try and rattle Biden during their face off.








    Joe Biden released his tax returns on Tuesday ahead of the debate in a move seen as a troll to President Donald Trump

    Joe Biden released his tax returns on Tuesday ahead of the debate in a move seen as a troll to President Donald Trump

    Jill Biden spent Tuesday campaigning in Michigan and will join her husband in Cleveland

    Jill Biden spent Tuesday campaigning in Michigan and will join her husband in Cleveland

    Melania Trump, exiting Marine One at Joint Base Andrews with President Trump, will have her first face-to-face meeting with Jill Biden this campaign year

    Melania Trump, exiting Marine One at Joint Base Andrews with President Trump, will have her first face-to-face meeting with Jill Biden this campaign year

    Pictures show preparations underway in the city Monday after the mayor, Frank Jackson, urged protesters to remain peaceful. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine sent 300 members from the Ohio National Guard to the city

    Pictures show preparations underway in the city Monday after the mayor, Frank Jackson, urged protesters to remain peaceful. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine sent 300 members from the Ohio National Guard to the city

    Security fences have been installed around the debate site

    Security fences have been installed around the debate site 

    Biden and his aides are rehearsing for any possible attacks from the commander-in-chief and the Democratic nominee has said he hopes he won’t get thrown off by any Trump allegations.  

    The president has insisted repeatedly – and without proof – that Biden took performance enhancement drugs ahead of the Democratic debates. He’s challenged him to take a drug test ahead of their debate here while offering to take one himself.

    ‘Joe Biden just announced that he will not agree to a Drug Test. Gee, I wonder why?,’ Trump tweeted Monday morning.

    And the president said during a press conference at the White House on Sunday that he wasn’t joking.

    ‘No, I’m not joking. I mean, I’m willing to take a drug test. I think he should too,’ he said. 

    On Sunday, when asked by reporters if he would take a drug test, Biden replied:  ‘No, I have no comment.

    And his campaign put out a statement saying if Trump ‘thinks his best case is made in urine, he can have it.’  








    The stage of the first presidential debate is seen at Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Clinic on Monday

    The stage of the first presidential debate is seen at Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Clinic on Monday 

    Tuesday's clash in Cleveland, Ohio, the first of three 90-minute debates, represents the first time voters will have the chance to see the candidates facing off against one another directly

    Tuesday’s clash in Cleveland, Ohio, the first of three 90-minute debates, represents the first time voters will have the chance to see the candidates facing off against one another directly








    Mounted police patrol around the Samson Pavilion as workers prepare for the first presidential debate

    Mounted police patrol around the Samson Pavilion as workers prepare for the first presidential debate

    The Samson Pavilion on the main campus of the Cleveland Clinic, where the debate takes place

    The Samson Pavilion on the main campus of the Cleveland Clinic, where the debate takes place

    Biden is rehearsing and studying his briefing books – in their Arial typeface, 14 point type.

    Bob Bauer, a senior Biden adviser and former White House general counsel, is playing the role of Trump, according to The New York Times.

    Trump is weighing trying to bait his rival with talking about his son Hunter Biden’s business dealings – a popular applause with his supporters on the campaign trail – and mentioning Tara Reade, who accused Biden of sexual assault in the 1970s when she worked in his office, which he has denied. 

    Biden is practicing keeping his temper and not being defensive.

    ‘I hope I don’t get baited into getting into a brawl with this guy,’ he told donors at a fund-raiser earlier this month.  

    Bauer has not actually donned a Trump costume in line with Trump stand-ins from previous years, but he is representing his style and expected strategy, the AP reported.

    Trump has decided to skip formal preparation, though he said Sunday that former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and his former 2016 primary rival, Chris Christie, are helping him.

    ‘We had a little debate prep before we came here,’ Trump said at a White House press conference as Giuliani and Christie sat to the side. 

    The president also brushed off questions about whether he is engaged in formal debate prep, saying he debates every day.

    ‘What I do is debate prep every day. I’m taking questions from you people all the time,’ he told reporters. ‘I mean, I’ve taken a lot of questions from you over the last number of years, and he doesn’t.’

    He added: ‘I’m running a country.’ 








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