Final 2020 presidential debate

By Meg Wagner, Kyle Blaine, Jessica Estepa, Melissa Macaya and Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 2:27 p.m. ET, November 23, 2020
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10:27 p.m. ET, October 22, 2020

How Trump and Biden compare on police reform

From CNN's Mackenzie Happe and Kate Sullivan

President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden participate in the final presidential debate at Belmont University on Thursday in Nashville.
President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden participate in the final presidential debate at Belmont University on Thursday in Nashville. Chip Somodevilla/Pool via AP

President Trump was just asked about the Black Lives Matter movement, which has rallied for police reform across the US.

Here's a look at how the two candidates compare on the issue of police reform:

  • Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has said he does not support calls to "defund the police," which picked up steam after the police killings of George Floyd in Minnesota and Breonna Taylor in Kentucky, as well as others. But he does support some of the principles the phrase's advocates champion. Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates has said that Biden supports "the urgent need for reform -- including funding for public schools, summer programs, and mental health and substance abuse treatment separate from funding for policing — so that officers can focus on the job of policing." Biden's campaign has said he backs proposals to increase spending on social programs separate from local police budgets, but he also wants more funding for police reforms such as body cameras and training on community policing approaches. Biden has called for an additional $300 million in funding for the Community Oriented Policing Services program, which would allow more officers to be hired and would pay for training on community policing approaches.
  • President Trump has declared himself "your president of law and order" amid nationwide protests over systemic racism and police brutality in America. He has lambasted efforts to defund police departments and has said police were owed respect for their work. In June, he signed an order to enact modest reforms in a move to confront the outcry over police brutality, including a tracking program that will encourage localities to submit information on officers who have been fired or found in court to have used excessive force. The Justice Department will also direct federal grants toward police departments that are credentialed for having use of force and de-escalation policies and banning the use of chokeholds, except when lethal force is authorized. Working with federal health officials, the department will increase training on programs that pair social workers with police to answer mental health and homelessness calls. The Justice Department's political leadership under the Trump administration has endorsed a policing policy that prioritized stamping out a national uptick in violent crime and boosting the morale of street cops, who the Trump administration claimed had been antagonized under the Obama era.
10:22 p.m. ET, October 22, 2020

Fact check: Trump falsely claims Joe Biden received $3.5 million from Russia

From CNN's Jeremy Herb 

President Trump claimed that Joe Biden received $3.5 million from Russia and that it “came through Putin because he was very friendly with the former mayor of Moscow, and it was the mayor of Moscow’s wife. You got $3.5 million. Your family got $3.5 million.” 

Facts First: This is false. Trump was seemingly trying to raise an allegation previously made against Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, but there’s no connection to Joe Biden. Hunter Biden also denies the allegation he received $3.5 million. Hunter Biden’s lawyer, George Mesires, told CNN that Hunter Biden was not an owner of the firm Senate Republicans allege received the $3.5 million payment in 2014.  

partisan investigation conducted by Senate Republicans, whose report was released this month, alleged that Elena Baturina, a Russian businesswoman and the wife of late Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov, sent $3.5 million in 2014 to a firm called Rosemont Seneca Thornton, and that the payment was identified as a "consultancy agreement." The report did not provide any further details about the transaction. 

Hunter Biden was a co-founder and CEO of the investment firm Rosemont Seneca Advisors. But Mesires said Hunter Biden did not co-found Rosemont Seneca Thornton. It's not clear what connection exists between Rosemont Seneca Advisors and Rosemont Seneca Thornton. 

Neither the Senate report nor Trump have provided any evidence that the payment was corrupt or that Hunter Biden committed any wrongdoing. 

2:23 a.m. ET, October 23, 2020

"Bidencare": Biden lays out his health care plan as Obamacare is under attack

From CNN's Gregory Krieg

Asked what he would do if the Supreme Court strikes down the Affordable Care Act in November, Joe Biden touted his plan to build on the law, commonly known as Obamacare, by adding a public health insurance option.

It will “become Bidencare,” the former vice president said, suggesting he would seek to pass a beefed up version of the current law.

The nuts and bolts would be the same, but Biden said he wants to put more money into the system and add an option for people to buy-in to a Medicare-like program. A similar idea was originally part of the landmark health care bill passed in 2010, but it was cut out before Obama could sign it into law.

Biden also pushed back against the claim that he wanted to bring socialized medicine to the United States. Biden ran hard against “Medicare for All,” a progressive plan to insure every American as part of a government-run system, during the primary and called Trump’s claim “ridiculous.”

He also framed the public option as just that — an option for people who can’t get covered through work or choose not to purchase plans through private insurers.

The Medicare for All legislation was written by Biden’s primary rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders. Trump, when he jumped in, suggested that Biden wasn’t being honest about his plans and pointed, confusingly, to his running mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris, saying she was more liberal than Sanders. Harris dropped her support of Medicare for All during the primary.

After some more back and forth, Biden tried to put a stamp on the conversation.

“People deserve to have affordable health care, period. Period, period, period,” he said. “And the Bidencare proposal will provide for that.”   

Watch the moment:

10:21 p.m. ET, October 22, 2020

Trump vs. Biden on immigration: Here's how their stances compare

From CNN's Mackenzie Happe and Kate Sullivan

President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden participate in the final presidential debate at Belmont University on Thursday in Nashville.
President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden participate in the final presidential debate at Belmont University on Thursday in Nashville. Jim Bourg/Pool/AP

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden supports a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. He has also called on Congress to immediately grant citizenship to some undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children.

At the first Democratic presidential debate in June 2019, Biden said that undocumented immigrants with no criminal records "should not be the focus of deportation." In an interview with CNN in July 2019, Biden said he opposes decriminalizing crossing the border without documentation, something other candidates in the field have supported. "I think people should have to get in line, but if people are coming because they're actually seeking asylum, they should have a chance to make their case," Biden said.

During his 2016 campaign, Trump proposed the construction of a wall along the US-Mexico border, and has made it a tenet of his immigration policy as President. After taking office, he issued an executive order suspending the entry of people from a number of Muslim-majority countries for 90 days; the order went through several iterations in court before it was upheld. The administration's "zero tolerance" policy in 2018 — criminal prosecutions of adults who illegally crossed the border — resulted in thousands of family separations at the border as parents were detained.

Under a court order, the government must identify and reunify certain separated children. The President has proposed a merit-based immigration system, establishing a points-based system for green card holders and restricting sponsorship to spouses and minor children. Trump also officially ended Obama-era protections for undocumented immigrants who were brought into the country as children, a decision that has now been taken to the Supreme Court. In June, the Supreme Court blocked the administration's attempt to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

10:14 p.m. ET, October 22, 2020

Trump and Biden respond to recent news of election interference by Iran and Russia

From CNN's Maegan Vazquez

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks during the second and final presidential debate on Thursday in Nashville.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks during the second and final presidential debate on Thursday in Nashville. Julio Cortez/AP

Both presidential candidates were asked during Thursday’s debate to respond to the recent news that Iran and Russia obtained US voter registration information in an effort to interfere with the election.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said, “I made it clear, that any country, no matter who it is, that interferes in American elections will pay a price.”

“They will pay a price if I’m elected,” Biden continued, specifically referring to interference by China, Russia and Iran. “They’re interfering with American sovereignty. That’s what’s going on.”

Biden also accused Trump of not confronting Russian President Vladimir Putin over election interference efforts and brought up a recent report indicating that the President was warned by his national security adviser that Trump's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, was the target of Russian disinformation.

“And then you find out that everything that’s going on here about Russia is wanting to make sure that I do not get elected to the next president of the United States because they know I know them. And they know me. I don’t understand why this President isn’t willing to take on Putin when he’s actually paying bounties to killed American soldiers in Afghanistan,” Biden said.

Asked how he would deal with election interference in a second term, Trump deflected to discussing purported details about Biden’s son’s dealings with Ukraine.

The President also said he was informed of the recent election interference efforts, and underscored Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe’s assessment that the efforts by Iran and Russia and were done to undermine Trump’s candidacy.

“I knew all about that,” Trump said.

Trump claimed Ratcliffe told him, "They both want you to lose, ‘cause there’s been nobody tougher to Russia."

Here's how the question played out:

10:13 p.m. ET, October 22, 2020

Fact check: Trump falsely claims he was "kidding" when he suggested injecting bleach

From CNN's Daniel Dale and Holmes Lybrand

Joe Biden attacked President Trump on comments he made over disinfectants and the coronavirus.

“What did the President say? He said don't worry, it's going to go away. Be gone by Easter. Don't worry…Maybe inject bleach,” Biden said. “He said he was kidding when he said that but a lot of people thought it was serious.”

Trump replied that he “was kidding on that.” 

Facts First: This is false. There was simply no indication that Trump was being anything less than serious when he made comments in April in which he wondered if it would be possible for people to inject disinfectants to fight Covid-19. The next day he claimed he was being sarcastic. 

During an April 23 press briefing, Trump expressed interest in exploring the possibility of “injection inside or almost a cleaning” with disinfectants. Here’s what he said:

“[T]hen I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in one minute. And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning, because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it’d be interesting to check that, so that you’re going to have to use medical doctors with, but it sounds interesting to me.”

The next day Trump claimed he was "asking a question sarcastically to reporters like you just to see what would happen."

Read a longer fact check here

2:21 a.m. ET, October 23, 2020

Biden and Trump discuss how 545 children separated from their families should be reunited

From CNN's Priscilla Alvarez

President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden participate in the final presidential debate at Belmont University on October 22 in Nashville.
President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden participate in the final presidential debate at Belmont University on October 22 in Nashville. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden engaged in a heated debate about how more than 500 children should be reunited with their parents after they were separated at the US border over the past few years.

"The children are brought here by coyotes and lots of bad people, cartels, and they're brought here and they used to use them to get into our country. We now have a strong a border as we've ever had. We're over 400 miles of brand-new wall. You see the numbers. We let people in but they have to come in legally," Trump said.

In terms of reuniting these children with their families, Trump said his administration has a plan and "we're working on it very — we're trying very hard."

"But a lot of these kids come out without the parents. They come over through cartels and through coyotes and through gangs," Trump said.

Biden fired back against Trump, calling the actions of his administration "criminal."

"Five hundred plus kids came with parents. They separated them at the border to make it a disincentive to come to begin with. We're tough. We're really strong. And guess what. They cannot — it's not coyotes didn't bring them over. Their parents were with them. They got separated from their parents. And it makes us a laughing stock and violates every notion of who we are as a nation," Biden said. "Their kids were ripped from their arms and separated. And now they cannot find over 500 sets of those parents and those kids are alone. Nowhere to go. Nowhere to go. It's criminal. It's criminal."

Some context: Lawyers have not been able to reach the parents of 545 children who had been separated from their families by US border officials between 2017 and 2018, according to a court filing on Oct. 20.

Hundreds of parents may also have been deported without their children.

The filing from the Justice Department and the American Civil Liberties Union is part of an ongoing effort to identify and reunite families separated by the Trump administration, more than two years after the "zero tolerance" policy was created.

While a federal court order forced the reunification of many of those families, an explosive government watchdog report released last year revealed there could be thousands more who hadn't previously been acknowledged by officials.

A court-appointed "steering committee" has tried to locate those families. As of October 20, the committee has attempted to reach the families of 1,030 children. Of those, the committee has not been able to reach the separated parents of 545 children, according to the court filing.

"Approximately two-thirds" of parents are believed to have been deported without their children, the filing adds.

Watch the exchange:

2:20 a.m. ET, October 23, 2020

Trump says he has a "very good relationship" with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un 

From CNN's Kate Sullivan

President Donald Trump participates in the final presidential debate against Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden at Belmont University on October 22 in Nashville.
President Donald Trump participates in the final presidential debate against Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden at Belmont University on October 22 in Nashville. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Trump on Thursday night touted what he described as a “very good relationship” with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. 

Former Vice President Joe Biden meanwhile onstage criticized Trump for legitimizing the dictator and the hermit nation, which has long been a global pariah for its dismal human rights record and nuclear ambitions. 

“He's talked about his good buddy who's a thug, a thug, and he talks about how we're better off. And they have much more capable missiles, able to reach US territory much more easily than they ever did before,” Biden said. 

Biden said at the debate that he would only meet with the North Korean leader “on the condition that he would agree that he would be drawing down his nuclear capacity.” 

“The Korean peninsula should be a nuclear-free zone,” Biden said. 

Trump made history as the first sitting US leader to set foot in North Korea, and has held summit meetings with Kim Jong Un. 

“Having a good relationship with leaders of other countries is a good thing,” Trump argued. 

Biden shot back: “That’s like saying we had a good relationship with Hitler before he in fact invaded Europe, the rest of Europe. Come on.”

Watch the moment:

 

10:40 p.m. ET, October 22, 2020

Biden reminds Trump he isn’t Bernie Sanders: "He thinks he’s running against somebody else"

From CNN's Dan Merica

Joe Biden went after a frequent talking point from Donald Trump on Thursday, reminding the President that while he likes to attack Bernie Sanders' plans for socialized medicine, he is not running against the Vermont Senator.

After a lengthy comment from Trump where he inaccurately accused Biden of backing “socialized medicine,” Biden fired back: “He’s very confused. He thinks he’s running against somebody else. He’s running against Joe Biden.”

Trump and Republicans often attempt to cast Biden as a radical by linking him to some of the leaders on the left of the Democratic Party, like Sanders. But Biden often fires back by noting that he defeated Sanders and other candidates during the primary.

“I beat all those other people because I disagree with them,” Biden said on Thursday night. “(It’s) Joe Biden he’s running against.”

Watch the exchange: