Miami Herald

Biden and Trump agree to debates in June and September


Joe Biden and Donald Trump have agreed to two debates on June 27 on CNN and Sept. 10 on ABC News, the first onstage clashes between the former president and his successor in more than three years.

While some of the details were still being hammered out, the agreement to the two debates, reached in a series of social-media posts Wednesday morning, raises the likelihood of the earliest general-election debate in modern history and immediatel­y delivered a jolt of electricit­y to a campaign that had settled into something of a rut.

Biden opened the exchange on Wednesday by saying he was willing to debate Trump twice before the election, and as early as June, but only on the condition that the arrangemen­ts bypassed the nonpartisa­n organizaPr­esident tion that has managed presidenti­al debates since 1988.

Biden and his top aides want the debates to start much sooner than the dates proposed by the organizati­on, the Commission on Presidenti­al Debates, so voters can see the two candidates side by side well before early voting begins in September. They want the debate to occur inside a TV studio, with microphone­s that automatica­lly cut off when a speaker’s time limit elapses.

And they want it to be just the two candidates and the moderator — without the raucous in-person audiences that Trump feeds on and without the participat­ion of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. or other independen­t or third-party candidates.

Shortly after the Biden campaign announced that they would consider invitation­s from news organizati­ons seeking to host the debates, Biden posted on the social platform X that he had accepted an invitation from CNN for a debate with Trump on

June 27 in Atlanta.

“Over to you, Donald. As you said: anywhere, any time, any place,” Biden wrote.

Trump quickly responded, telling Fox News Digital that he would “be there” and was “looking forward to being in beautiful Atlanta.”

Biden’s gambit, laid out in a letter sent to the debates commission, gave Trump what he has openly clamored for: a televised confrontat­ion with a successor Trump has portrayed, and hopes to reveal, as too feeble to hold the job.

The proposal suggests that Biden is willing to take some calculated risks to reverse his fortunes in a race in which most battlegrou­nd-state polls show the president trailing Trump and struggling to persuade voters that he’s an effective leader and steward of the economy.

It is the first formal offer by the Biden campaign for debates with Trump, who has declared repeatedly that he will debate his successor “anytime and anywhere,” and has demanded as many debates as possible. Biden recently indicated he would debate Trump, but had until now declined to give any firm commitment or specific details.

The letter, signed by Biden’s campaign chair, Jennifer O’Malley Dillon, and addressed to the Commission on Presidenti­al Debates, notifies the group that Biden will not be participat­ing in the three general-election debates sponsored by the commission, which are scheduled for Sept. 16,

Oct. 1 and Oct. 9.

It is a striking decision for Biden, an institutio­nalist who has tried to preserve the traditions of Washington.

Instead, O’Malley Dillon writes in the letter that Biden will participat­e in debates hosted by news organizati­ons. The move opens the doors for the Biden team and potentiall­y the Trump team to negotiate directly with networks — and with one another — for possible debates.

In a video announcing his offer, Biden taunted Trump. “Make my day, pal,” he said, adding a reference to the one weekday Trump’s Manhattan trial is generally not in session. “Let’s pick the date, Donald. I hear you’re free on Wednesdays.”

Trump, in his insultlade­n response, said he would like to see more than two debates and for “excitement purposes, a very large venue.” Calling Biden “the WORST” debater and “crooked,” he accused the president of being “afraid of crowds.”

A federal judge rejected Hunter Biden’s bid to delay a trial on gun charges in Delaware that is set to begin on June 3.

Biden’s attorneys had asked U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika to move the trial to September. His lawyer Abbe Lowell had suggested he may ask the Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and even the U.S. Supreme Court to weigh in.

Noreika rejected the arguments, citing her jurisdicti­on under case law, adding the case against Biden was not “terribly complicate­d.”

Lowell sought to delay the case as he said Biden’s legal team is searching for experts on addiction and chain of custody details for a supposed cocaine pouch found allegedly belonging to President Joe Biden’s son. Prosecutor­s are charging that the younger Biden had the pouch with him when he purchased a weapon in October 2018.

“We have not been delaying, we have not been tardy,” Lowell told Noreika on Tuesday, according to Politico. “We have been trying. People are reluctant to become involved in this case.”

Noreika, an appointee of former President Donald Trump, reminded Lowell that he had previously agreed to the date and chastised him for not being prepared for trial in June.

The case, originally brought to special counsel David Weiss, charges Biden with three felony counts for allegedly owning a gun while using drugs and making a false statement on a form when he bought his gun in 2018.

Earlier this month, a three-judge panel from the appeals court rejected efforts by Biden’s team to get the gun charges dismissed.

 ?? THE TENNESSEAN USA TODAY NETWORK file, 2020 ?? Former President Donald Trump, left, and President Joe Biden are expected to have two debates this year before the general election in November. The two presidenti­al rivals also had two debates prior to the election in 2020.
THE TENNESSEAN USA TODAY NETWORK file, 2020 Former President Donald Trump, left, and President Joe Biden are expected to have two debates this year before the general election in November. The two presidenti­al rivals also had two debates prior to the election in 2020.

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