Things You Should Know Heading Into the Final Presidential Debate
By Adam Uren | October 18, 2016 | SOURCE: GoMN | PHOTO: AP/Rick Scuteri
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will go head-to-head for the last time before next month’s election in the final presidential debate on Wednesday 10/19.
The candidates will be questioned on six topics during the debate, moderated by FOX News’ Chris Morris, more on which you can read here.
It’s been another turbulent week for both candidates in the run-up to the debate, here are the storylines to catch you up ahead of Wednesday night.
Clinton’s emails back in the spotlight
The FBI on Monday released a cache of interview notes and summaries from its investigation into Clinton’s use of private email servers while Secretary of State, which was used to send dozens of emails that were classified.
Although the FBI recommended against filing charges against Clinton, saying she was careless rather than negligent, the email scandal has been Trump’s most successful point of attack against her.
The latest release revealed that a top State Department official asked the FBI to declassify a single message, CBS News reports, an FBI employee said they felt “pressured” to change it as part of a “quid pro quo” with the department, although ultimately the message was left as it was.
Expect Trump to revisit this as an attack during the debate on Wednesday night, possibly during the “foreign hot spots” or “fitness to be president” sections, though it could be brought up at anytime.
Trump’s ‘rigged election’ claims
Trump has drawn criticism from both sides of the aisle this week by repeating claims that should he lose, it would be the result of the election being “rigged.”
He has taken a scattergun approach to who is responsible for the rigging, suggesting at various times that the Clinton campaign, federal government, media (including Saturday Night Live), and the women accusing him of sexual assault as being part of a conspiracy to “steal” the election.
House Leader Paul Ryan and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio are among those who have rejected Trump’s talk of a rigged election, as CNN reports, asserting their faith in the system after many have pointed out that elections are primarily organized and carried out by bipartisan volunteers at the local and state level. National Public Radio also has a story about five reasons not to worry about a rigged election, read that here.
There are fears that continued attacks on the process could undermine faith in democracy and delegitimize the government.
Wikileaks releases from Clinton campaign
Something else Trump could bring up is the ongoing release of information from Wikileaks, which has been over the past few weeks publishing emails between Clinton campaign staffers that have been obtained by hackers.
The releases have somewhat been overshadowed by Trump’s comments on women, with the Los Angeles Times contending the information might have been more significant in any other election, but Trump’s behavior and comments have ensured they don’t dominate the news cycle for long.
The newspaper says while the emails don’t contain a “smoking gun” that would destroy Clinton’s campaign outright, despite Trump’s claims to the contrary, they are still a source of embarrassment for Clinton.
Comments she has made in private to major investment banks undermine her stance on cracking down on Wall Street, for example, and the LA Times points out they also show “the inner workings of a campaign so cautious that several top advisors weigh in before it settles on the joke the candidate will tell at a dinner.”
Trump and women
Trump’s “hot mic” comments dominated the second debate, during which he was asked if he ever used his fame to make unsolicited sexual advances on women, as he described in his recorded conversation with Billy Bush.
Trump denied this during the debate, but since then more than 10 women have come forward accusing him of various sexual indiscretions dating back years.
The Republican candidate has denied all of these accusations, saying he is a “victim of one of the great political smear campaigns in the history of our country,” Business Insider reports.
His wife Melania Trump also appeared in an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Monday, during which she admitted her husband and Bush were acting like “teenage boys” in the tape, but accused Bush of egging her husband on and denounced the media as “dishonest” and “mean” for publishing the tapes.
Actual policies being brought up
Given the deeply personal tone taken in much of this election from both sides, you might not be aware that since the last debate both candidates have been talking policy.
In Green Bay on Monday, Trump brought up a five-point plan for “government ethics reforms,” which NBC News reports would include a ban on former government executive officials from lobbying the government for five years after leaving their posts.
He also wants to do the same for members of Congress and their staff, as well as expanding the term “lobbyist” so people can’t get around the rules by calling themselves “consultants and advisors.”
Clinton meanwhile was joined by Al Gore last week in Miami, Florida, as they expounded their pro-environmental message in a state that is at more risk than most from rising sea levels resulting from climate change.
The pair spoke on the science behind sea-level rises, the impact of storm surges on cities such as Miami, and how global warming can impact the spread of infectious disease such as Zika, in speeches Time reports were designed to appeal to the millennial audience.
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