First 2020 presidential debate

By Melissa Macaya, Veronica Rocha, Kyle Blaine and Jessica Estepa, CNN

Updated 1324 GMT (2124 HKT) September 30, 2020
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11:58 p.m. ET, September 29, 2020

CNN Poll: 6 in 10 say Biden won the debate

From CNN's Jennifer Agiesta

Six in 10 debate watchers said former Vice President Joe Biden did the best job in tonight’s debate, just 28% say President Donald Trump did, according a CNN Poll of debate watchers conducted by SSRS. 

In interviews with the same voters conducted before the debate, 56% said they expected Biden to do the better job while 43% expected that Trump would. 

The post-debate result is about the same as the outcome of a post-debate poll in 2016 after the first debate between Trump and Hillary Clinton. In that poll, 62% thought Clinton won the debate, 27% said Trump did. 

About two-thirds said Biden’s answers were more truthful than Trump’s (65% Biden to 29% Trump), and his attacks on the President were more frequently seen as fair. Overall, 69% called Biden’s attacks on Trump fair while just 32% said Trump’s attacks were fair. 

The survey is designed to be representative of those registered voters who watched tonight’s debate; it does not represent the views of all Americans. The voters who watched the debate were more partisan than Americans as a whole, 35% identified as independents or non-partisans compared with around 40% in the general public, and the group of debate watchers was more Democratic than a typical survey of all adults, with 39% identifying as Democrats and 25% as Republicans.

The CNN post-debate poll was conducted by SSRS by telephone and includes interviews with 568 registered voters who watched the Sept. 29 debate. Results among debate-watchers have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 6.3 percentage points. Respondents were originally interviewed September 22-27 either by telephone or online, and indicated they planned to watch the debate and would be willing to be re-interviewed when it was over. Respondents initially reached online are members of the SSRS Opinion Panel, a nationally representative probability-based panel.

11:53 p.m. ET, September 29, 2020

Kamala Harris: Trump is "dog whistling through a bull horn" 

From CNN's Maureen Chowdhury

Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, greets diners at Trophy Brewing and Pizza during a campaign visit in Raleigh, North Carolina, on Monday, September 28.
Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, greets diners at Trophy Brewing and Pizza during a campaign visit in Raleigh, North Carolina, on Monday, September 28. Gerry Broome/AP

Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris blasted President Trump for not condemning white supremacists during tonight's debate.

"Dog whistling through a bull horn is what he's doing," Harris told CNN's Jake Tapper.

Harris went on to say that the President has created policies that would end training against racial bias and contrasted the stark difference between Biden and Trump.

"On the one hand, Donald Trump continuously, throughout his campaign for president, throughout his presidency, spending full-time trying to sow hate and division, trying to get the American people to turn on each other.
On the other hand, a Joe Biden who speaks with a calm voice, respecting the dignity of all people, recognizing the kind of division that has taken place in our country because of Donald Trump and there with a genuine, genuine goal of unifying our country once, God-willing, he wins this election," the California senator said.

1:20 a.m. ET, September 30, 2020

Fact Check: Biden claims eliminating Affordable Care Act would take away health insurance for 20 million people

From CNN's Tami Luhby

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden participates in the first presidential debate against U.S. President Donald Trump.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden participates in the first presidential debate against U.S. President Donald Trump. Morry Gash/Pool/Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden turned a question about the Supreme Court into a defense of the Affordable Care Act, which was enacted while he was in office. 

“He’s in the Supreme Court right now, trying to get rid of the Affordable Care Act, which will strip 20 million people from having insurance,” Biden said of President Trump’s support of a case coming up before the justices that could overturn the landmark health reform law. 

Correction: An earlier version of this graphic incorrectly stated that Biden’s claim was misleading. The claim is true. Health care experts say this figure is roughly accurate. It is an estimate from the Obama administration as to how many people gained coverage under the Affordable Care Act.


11:57 p.m. ET, September 29, 2020

Kamala Harris: Biden will debate again

From CNN's Josiah Ryan

Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris batted down speculation that Joe Biden might decline to participate in future presidential debates, after President Trump derailed tonight's exchange with insults and interruptions.

"Joe Biden is never going to refuse to talk to the American people and have any opportunity that he can to talk directly to American families and speak about the issues, and speak the truth and address the facts of where we are now," she told CNN's Jake Tapper, when he asked if Biden would debate again. 

Currently, Trump and Biden are slated to face off twice more before the election, once in Miami and once in Nashville.

When pressed by Tapper, Harris said she believed Americans benefited from the contrast clearly visible in the candidates' behavior on stage.

"Joe was trying to have a mature conversation," she said.

Harris continued: "Then on the other hand you had a Donald Trump who spent full time interrupting, bullying the moderator and lying to the American people."

"I do believe that the American people benefited from a clear contrast of what they've got right now but also what they they could get and what is possible," she added.

Watch the interview:

2:02 a.m. ET, September 30, 2020

Fact check: Trump claimed “military people” died because of Biden's Senate record on healthcare

From CNN's Curt Devine

During a discussion on health care and insurance, President Trump claimed 308,000 “military people” died because Biden “couldn’t provide them proper health care.”

11:22 p.m. ET, September 29, 2020

Fact check: Trump's claim on Hunter Biden receiving money from Russians

From CNN's Daniel Dale and Jeremy Herb

President Trump claimed that Biden’s son Hunter Biden got a $3.5 million payment from the wife of the former mayor of Moscow. “Why is it, just out of curiosity, the mayor of Moscow's wife gave your son $3.5 million?” Trump said.

11:16 p.m. ET, September 29, 2020

Sheriff disputes Trump's claim of endorsement

From CNN’s Andy Rose

President Trump’s claim tonight that he is being supported by the sheriff in Portland was disputed by the sheriff himself. 

In a tweet sent as the presidential debate was still going on, Multnomah County, Oregon, Sheriff Mike Reese said, “As the Multnomah County Sheriff I have never supported Donald Trump and will never support him.”

A spokesperson for the sheriff’s office confirmed the tweet.

During a tense discussion about violent protests in Portland, Oregon, Trump said, “Portland – the sheriff just came out today and said, ‘I support President Trump.’”

Multnomah County includes the city of Portland, whose municipal government does not have a sheriff.

11:12 p.m. ET, September 29, 2020

Fact check: Trump claims Biden called him xenophobic for travel restrictions

From CNN's Tara Subramaniam

Defending his response to the coronavirus pandemic, President Trump referenced the travel restrictions his administration imposed on foreign nationals who had been in China, then attacked Biden for remarks he had made the same day.

Addressing his opponent, Trump said, “I closed it, and you said, ‘He's xenophobic. He’s a racist and he’s xenophobic,’ because you didn't think I should have closed our country.”  

11:33 p.m. ET, September 29, 2020

Van Jones: Trump failed to condemn white supremacists on the global stage, in front of my children

From CNN's Maureen Chowdhury

CNN's Van Jones slammed President Trump for not condemning white supremacists during the debate.

"Only three things happened for me tonight:

  1. Donald Trump refused to condemn white supremacy.
  2. The President of the United States refused to condemn white supremacy.
  3. The commander-in-chief refused to condemn white supremacy on the global stage, in front of my children, in front of everybody's families and was given the opportunity multiple times."

Jones added that the President gave a "wink and a nod" to the Proud Boys, the white supremacist group.

Jones also said that Trump failed across the board during the chaotic debate.

"Everybody I know is either disgusted, sad or angry. I don't know a single person, even my Republican friends are disgusted," Jones said, "I don't know what he was doing up there, but there's not a single thing that he needed to do tonight that he did, except offend a lot of people."
See the moment: