back to top

Debate Live Updates: Clinton Vs. Trump Was Most Watched In US History

Kyle Blaine, Ruby Cramer, Darren Sands, Adrian Carrasquillo, McKay Coppins, and Rosie Gray reported from the debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. BuzzFeed News also covered the debate on Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook Live.

Originally posted on
Updated on

Highlights from the big showdown!

  • Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump faced off at Hofstra University on Long Island in the first of three presidential debates. NBC's Lester Holt moderated the highly-anticipated 90-minute debate.
  • Clinton and Trump sparred over terrorism, cyber security, gun control, tax cuts, foreign trade, and, of course, transparency in the form of emails and unreleased tax returns.
  • The candidates clashed over policing reforms and disagreed on the effectiveness and constitutionality of stop-and-frisk.
  • Trump defended questioning for years whether President Obama was born in the United States, saying "I think I did a good job."
  • BuzzFeed News provided emoji commentary of the action on Facebook Live and a roundup of the night's biggest moments.
  • The debate stakes were high. A new Wall Street Journal–NBC poll said that around 34% of registered voters said the candidates' performance at this debate will have a significant influence on who they vote for.
  • And finally, one candidate seemed to have the sniffles and people were concerned.

Missed the debate? Watch it in full here:

Updates

Posted at

More than 80 million people tuned in for Monday night's debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, making it the most watched presidential debate in US history.

According to early data compiled by Nielsen, a total of 80.9 million viewers watched the debate live across 12 television channels.

The record number does not include PBS, C-SPAN or viewers who watched the debate on the internet, CNN reported. The audience topped the previous debate ratings record of 80.6 million in 1980 between incumbent President Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.

On cable, Fox News Channel had the largest audience with 11.8 million viewers. CNN came in second with 9.81 million viewers, while MSNBC had 4.9 million. In total, 26.1 million watched Monday's debate on cable TV.

The Clinton-Trump debate also easily beat President Obama and Mitt Romney's first debate in 2012 that drew 67 million viewers.

—Jon Passantino

Posted at

The former Miss Universe pageant winner — whose weight gain Donald Trump on Tuesday said had been a "real problem" — said she cannot forgot being insulted and mistreated by the businessman, but is finally ready to fight back.

Alicia Machado, a former Miss Venezuela who won Trump's Miss Universe pageant in 1996, was cited by Hillary Clinton during Monday's presidential debate as a particularly shocking example of her opponent's past comments about women.

Speaking to reporters Tuesday in both English and Spanish during a call set up by the Clinton campaign, Machado said she was surprised to hear her name come up during the most-watched debate in American history — but even more surprised that Trump said he didn't remember her.

"Mr. Trump doesn't even remember me. He doesn't remember me. He doesn't remember a lot of the things that happened, that he said to me, it was evident.

"Maybe he doesn't remember a 19-year-old girl that he insulted and mistreated for many times for years. I always remember it.

"He always treated me like nothing, like trash, and now his face [during the debate] was like, 'This trash is coming back.'"

Read the full story here.

—David Mack

Posted at

Near the end of the first presidential debate on Monday, Hillary Clinton went after Donald Trump for repeatedly mocking the weight of 1996 Miss Universe winner Alicia Machado.

"He called this woman 'Miss Piggy.' Then he called her 'Miss Housekeeping,' because she was Latina," Clinton said.

Trump responded at the debate with, "Where did you find this?" and the next morning told Fox News, "She was the winner and she gained a massive amount of weight, and it was a real problem. Not only that — her attitude. And we had a real problem with her."

In fact, Trump made a huge spectacle of Machado's weight gain after she won the competition in 1996. During a February 1997 interview with Howard Stern uncovered by BuzzFeed News, Trump laughed as Stern viciously mocked Machado for gaining weight. Trump called her "eating machine" and said "she ate a lot of everything."

Read his full comments here.

— Andrew Kaczysnki and Nathan McDermott

Posted at

Clinton responds to Trump's defective mic comments

Hillary finishes press gaggle on her plane, walks away, stops, turns around, comes back, twists the knife.

In a post-debate interview on her campaign plane Tuesday morning, Hillary Clinton fired back at Donald Trump for partially blaming his debate performance on a "defective mic."

"Anybody who complains about the microphone is not having a good night," Clinton said.
Ooooooh
s could be heard from those around her, appreciating her sick burn.

Clinton made the comment when she was walking toward the back of the plane and a reporter asked her how her microphone was.

Immediately following the debate Trump told reporters that he was having issues with his mic, saying, "My mic was defective in the room ... I wonder, was that on purpose?"

Video: @realDonaldTrump says Holt did "fine job," claims his mic was "defective"

Clinton said repeatedly Tuesday morning what a "great time" she had during Monday night's debates, and how much she was looking forward to the next one.

She discussed Trump's "winning temperament," which last night Trump accused her of not having. Clinton said Trump made charges and claims last night that were "demonstrably untrue," but that it was ultimately up to viewers to "draw their own conclusions" about his temperament.

"The real point is about temperament and fitness and qualification to hold the most important, hardest job in the world," Clinton said. "And I think people saw last night some very clear differences between us."

—Ema O'Connor

Posted at

The first presidential debate was held some nine months after Trump had called for a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims" entering the US.

So it's no surprise Muslim Americans were holding their breath watching the debate.

Despite both the Trump and Clinton camps having spoken a lot about Muslim American communities during the campaign, the first mention in the debate wasn't until just after an hour in. And it was when Trump said how he let African-Americans and Muslims into one of his golf clubs.

People were left baffled.

Read more here.

—Aisha Gani

Posted at

Tim Kaine said Trump seemed "rattled" during the debate

WATCH: "Hillary told the truth and Donald told some whoppers." - @timkaine on last night's #debate https://t.co/sz4zdVdiLo

"Hillary answered questions and Donald avoided them," Kaine told Good Morning America on Tuesday. "Hillary told the truth and Donald told some whoppers. He just seemed rattled the longer the debate wore on."

Kaine also said that Trump wasn't prepared and offered "very few specifics on policy issues."

"He didn't show a command of specifics. He didn't answer basic questions, like questions about his tax returns, and he showed that he was easily rattled," Kaine told the Today show.

Kaine said that Clinton's best moment at the debate was when Trump was challenged on the "stupid comments" he made about her not looking presidential.

During the debate, Trump responded to his comments about her looks, saying she did not have the stamina to be president. Clinton replied, "Well, as soon as he travels to 112 countries and negotiates a peace deal, a cease-fire, a release of dissidents, an opening of new opportunities in nations around the world, or even spends 11 hours testifying in front of a congressional committee, he can talk to me about stamina."

"In the split screen I was watching that moment, she looked like she was ready for another 11 hours of debate," Kaine said. "And he looked like he had run out gas and was leaning up against the ropes. That showed a temperament and preparedness issue and really worked to Hillary's advantage."
— Tasneem Nashrulla

Posted at

Trump on sniffles: "There was no sniffles"

video-cdn.buzzfeed.com

Donald Trump had people questioning his health during last night's debate when he audibly and repeatedly sniffled.

Asked about the sniffles during an interview on Fox News on Tuesday morning, Trump said he gets a cold "every once in a while" but is not currently sick.

"No, no sniffles. No," he said. "You know, the mic was very bad, but maybe it was good enough to hear breathing, but there was no sniffles."

—David Mack

Posted at

Mike Pence thought the "whole evening was an avalanche of insults by Hillary Clinton"

"The whole evening was an avalanche of insults by Hillary Clinton." -@mike_pence #debatenight https://t.co/Q77jSbjiF6

Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence told the Today show Tuesday morning that Clinton spent the entirety of Monday's debate insulting and attacking Trump.

"The whole evening was an avalanche of insults by Hillary Clinton," he said. "I was seated in the front row but from very early in the debate, there was one line after another leveling personal attacks at Donald Trump."

Pence said that Trump showed "restraint." He said that Trump had a "great night because he was himself on that stage."

"I think what people saw what last night was two different styles on the stage," he said. "One was very scripted, a politician 30 years in public life, and here on the other side you saw a businessman, a doer, someone who has spent a lifetime building, speaking straight to the American people."

Pence said that Trump laid out a "positive vision for America."

"It was quite a contrast to Hillary Clinton who spent two to one the amount of time attacking my running mate that she did actually talking about her plan," he said.

Pence also said he was disappointed that Holt did not question Clinton about the FBI investigation into her emails, the Clinton Foundation, and "the whole disastrous events in Benghazi and Libya."

"What impressed me most about last night was that Donald Trump took command of the stage and I think the American people saw his leadership qualities," Pence told Good Morning America.

—Tasneem Nashrulla

Posted at

Trump Said Lester Holt Gave Him "Unfair Questions," Should Have Asked Clinton About Emails

Donald Trump said Tuesday morning on Fox and Friends that he believed moderator Lester Holt gave him unfair questions.

He said he attempted to press Clinton on the emails she sent using a private server, but added, "Lester should have brought up the emails. That should have been a question."

Trump also said that other questions Holt asked made it difficult for him to segue into other topics.

"You're asked a question as to progress, or as to something, and it's hard to get off to Benghazi, sometimes, the way the questions were framed," he said.

He ultimately graded Holt with a C or C+ as debate moderator, noting that he thought the NBC anchor gave better questions in the first part of the night.

"I thought Lester was really good for the half because he was bringing up general and main subjects that were important. Things like the economy," Trump said.

"And then at the end, they start bringing up 45-year-old lawsuits."

Trump also said Tuesday that the Miss Universe winner Clinton mentioned during the debate, Alicia Machado, was "the worst we've ever had," and that she had gained "a massive amount of weight."

Trump added that after she won, "they had a tremendously difficult time with her as Miss Universe."

Trump was responding to a dig Clinton took at him during Monday night's debate, when she brought up the way he speaks about women.

He also said that he considered bringing up Bill Clinton's history with women when Hillary criticized him but refrained because her daughter was there.

"When she hit me at the end with the women, I was going to hit her with her husband's women, and I decided I shouldn't do it because her daughter was in the room," Trump said.

"I think did the right thing. It's not worth a point," Trump said. I didn't feel comfortable doing it with Chelsea in the room. I think Chelsea's a fine young lady."

Tamerra Griffin

Posted at

Trump says Miss Universe contestant gained "massive amount of weight" and was a "problem"

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

The Miss Universe contestant that Donald Trump infamously called "Miss Piggy" and "Miss Housekeeping," gained a "massive amount of weight," which was a "real problem," Donald Trump said on Fox & Friends Tuesday.

Trump called former Miss Universe, whom Clinton identified as Alicia Machado, "the worst we ever had," adding that she was "impossible."

"She was the winner and she gained a massive amount of weight and it was a big problem," he said.

Donald Trump called her "Miss Piggy" and "Miss Housekeeping." Her name is Alicia Machado. #DebateNight

Following the debate, Clinton tweeted this video of Machado talking about her time as a Miss Universe contestant in 1996.

In the video, Machado said Trump would yell at her all the time. He'd say "you look ugly" or "you look fat."

In an interview with reporters, Trump was recorded saying, "she weighed 118 pounds or 117 pounds and she went up to 160 or 170, so this is somebody that likes to eat."

—Jessica Simeone

Posted at

Photographers captured the mixed reactions of people around the US and beyond as they watched Clinton and Trump last night.

Have a look here.

– Matt Tucker

Posted at

Bernie Sanders Posted A Picture Of Himself Watching The Debate And Became A Heartbreaking Meme

It's #debatenight so it's time to #DebateWithBernie.

This picture of #DebateWithBernie gave people plenty of Feels for Bern, and brought many, many beautiful memes.

Read more here.

— Alan White

Posted at

"We move into our next segment talking about America's direction," Lester Holt told viewers during the first presidential debate.

"And let's start by talking about race."

The momentary pause that followed the transition sent people on social media into a defensive crouch. Since the summer shakeup of his campaign, Trump has gestured in the direction of black and Latino voters, mostly in front of white audiences, lamenting in harsh language his dismal view of America's cities.

And on Monday night, Trump offered up to the biggest audience possible his greatest hits on the topic, a long setlist of bumps, gaffes — and one new surprise.

Read more about Trump and Clinton's competing visions of race in America here.

— Darren Sands

Posted at

Monday night's presidential debate was an opportunity for Donald Trump to turn a new leaf in the race. The polls have tightened up after Labor Day, and his first one-on-one was a chance to come across as presidential and unflappable.

But even if the debate comes out as a wash, Trump made a few very significant errors: Each time Hillary Clinton baited him, Trump reacted, resulting in a series of Trumpian moments that are sure to give the Democrats fresh ammunition against him with just a few weeks to go before Election Day.

Read the full story here.

— Rosie Gray and McKay Coppins

Posted at

Rudy Giuliani Says Lester Holt "Unethically" Interfered With Debate

LIVE on #Periscope: The spin room is crazy right now!! @MattNegrin and @AlexanderTrow are all over it! https://t.co/AP3IJd4S2p

Rudy Giulliani said after the debate that it was "outrageous" moderator Lester Holt interfered with the debate, when he questioned the legality of stop-and-frisk.

"First of all, Lester Holt's interference in that discussion was outrageous" Giuliani said when asked about Trump's support of stop-and-frisk. He compared Holt to 2012 presidential moderator Candy Crowley, who famously corrected Mitt Romney.

"He completely contradicted Donald Trump and he was totally correct. Stop and frisk is not unconstitutional," Giuliani said.

During the debate, Trump said stop-and-frisk should be implemented in cities like Chicago to bring down the crime rate, citing New York where he said it "worked very well" when former Mayor Guiliani implemented it.

Holt pointed out that stop-and-frisk was ruled unconstitutional because it “largely singled out black and Hispanic young men.” Trump rejected that assertion, telling Holt, “you’re wrong.” He said the case was ruled on by a judge who was "very against police."

When Holt said people viewed stop-and-frisk as racial profiling, Trump responded that guns had to be taken away from "bad people" and "you have to have stop-and-frisk."

"I think it's outrageous Lester Holt interfered in a legal discussion he knows nothing about," Giuliani said in the spin room. "On the side of Hillary Clinton."

"If journalism has ethics, Lester Holt acted unethically in interfering in an area of law he knows nothing about," he reiterated.

Giuliani said Trump should skip the next two debates unless he receives assurances by the moderators.

"If I were Donald Trump I wouldn’t participate in another debate unless I was promised that the journalist would act like a journalist and not an incorrect, ignorant fact checker,” Giuliani said.

—Michelle Broder Van Dyke

Posted at

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump had a sharp first presidential debate on Monday night — they battled fiercely over race and policing in America, over Trump's unreleased taxes, and over trade. Here's the takeaway: Clinton took charge while Trump was winging it.

Trump committed several whoppers. He said Clinton has been fighting ISIS her "entire adult life" — which is impossible — repeated the lie that he was against the Iraq war, and lied about denying climate change.

The tone and body language of each candidate firey. Trump repeatedly interrupted Clinton, while she appeared incredulous at times.

Read the full story here.

Posted at

On Monday night, Lester Holt asked Donald Trump the following question: "On nuclear weapons, President Obama reportedly considered changing the nation's longstanding policy on first use. Do you support the current policy?"

Obama, the New York Times reported earlier this month, had considered vowing that the United States would not use nuclear weapons first in a conflict; he later ruled this policy out, according to the Times, because of concerns that the move would embolden Russia and China.

Trump's answer left many people confused.

Read more here.

—Katherine Miller

Posted at

Speaking to reporters in the spin room after the debate, Donald Trump complained that his microphone was defective and questioned whether it was intentional.

Viewers of the presidential debate had joked about what sounded like sniffles coming from Trump at the beginning of the event. Trump didn't address what that sound may have been, but he told reporters that debate organizers gave him a defective mic.

"They also gave me a defective mic, did you notice that? My mic was defective in the room," Trump said.

"I wonder, was that on purpose? Was that on purpose?" he added. "But I had a mic that wasn't working properly."

—Claudia Koerner

Posted at

For nearly all 90 minutes of Monday's debate, it didn't seem like Hillary Clinton, the first female nominee of a major political party engaging in her first presidential debate, would have the chance to reference gender. But in his second-to-last question of the night, Lester Holt asked Donald Trump about his comments that Clinton "doesn't have a presidential look."

"She doesn't have the look," Trump responded. "She doesn't have the stamina. I said that she doesn't have the stamina and I don't believe she has the stamina."

Clinton was ready for the question. "Well, as soon as he travels to 112 countries and negotiates a peace deal, a cease-fire, a release of dissidents, an opening of new opportunities and nations around the world — or even spends 11 hours testifying in front of a congressional committee — he can talk to me about stamina," she said.

Read more about the exchange here.

—Jess Testa

Posted at

Responding to Hillary Clinton's accusation about his "cavalier attitude about nuclear weapons," Donald Trump called them "the greatest threat."

Trump also suggested that China invade North Korea to "solve that problem for us."

"You look at North Korea, we're doing nothing there," he said. "China should solve that problem for us. China should go into North Korea."

As for the role the US plays in maintaining peace, Trump said we're "losing a fortune."

"Just to go down the list, we defend Japan. We defend Germany. We defend South Korea, we defend Saudi Arabia. We defend countries. They do not pay us what they should be paying us, because we are providing tremendous service and losing a fortune," he said.

—Tasneem Nashrulla

Posted at

Donald Trump repeatedly insisted Monday night that he opposed the Iraq War from the outset, despite ample evidence that he supported an invasion in the run up to the conflict.

During Monday's debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, Trump flatly stated "I did not support the war in Iraq" when confronted by moderator Lester Hold.

"I was against the war," he said again, adding a moment later, "I was against the war in Iraq. Just so you put it out."

Despite Trump's claims, he was recorded in 2002 telling Howard Stern that he supported invading Iraq.

"Yeah, I guess so," Trump responded when asked about the invasion. "I wish the first time it was done correctly."

Read more here.

—Jim Dalrymple II

Posted at

In the final question of the debate, Trump tried to pivot from having to respond to a sexist comment about Clinton's "look" to doubting her stamina.

But struggled when the former secretary unloaded even more disparaging comments he has made about women in the past, leading to one of roughest moments of the debate for the real estate mogul.

"She doesn't have the look," Trump said. "She doesn't have the stamina. I said that she doesn't have the stamina and I don't believe she has the stamina."

"You have to be able to negotiate our trade deals," he continued. You have to be able to negotiate. That's right, with Japan, with Saudi Arabia, I mean, could you imagine, we're defending Saudi Arabia, and with all of the money they have, we're deened iffing them, and they're not paying. All you have to do is speak to them. You have so many different things you have to be able to do, and I don't believe that Hillary has the stamina."

Clinton responded by first addressing his concerns about her stamina. "Well, as soon as he travels to 112 countries and negotiates a peace deal, a cease-fire, a release of dissidents an opening of new opportunities and nations around the world, or even spends 11 hours testifying in front of a congressional committee, he can talk to me about stamina."

She then addressed his sexist comments, which Trump only made worse when he tried to defend.

"He tried to switch from looks to stamina," Clinton said. "But this is a man who has called women pigs, slobs and dogs. And someone who has said pregnancy is an inconvenience to employers. Women don't deserve equal pay unless they do as good a job as men."

"And one of the worst things he said was about a woman in a beauty contest, he loves beauty contests, supporting them and hanging around them. And he called this woman miss piggy. Then he called her miss housekeeping, because she was Latina. Donald, she has a name."

In his response, Trump went on to complain about the millions Clinton and her allies are spending against him in commercials and out of nowhere brought up Rosie O' Donnell.

"Hillary is hitting me with tremendous commercials, some of it said in entertainment, somebody who's been very vicious to me, Rosie O'Donnell, I said very tough things to her, and I think everybody would agree she deserves it, and nobody feels sorry for her."

He also hinted that he was going to bring up other personal attacks on Clinton but decided against. "I was going to say something extremely rough to Hillary, to her family, and I said to myself, I can't do it. I just can't do it. It's inappropriate," Trump said.

—Tarini Parti

Posted at

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump accused Hillary Clinton of fomenting ISIS's rise by pulling US troops out of Iraq, a deal that was struck before she became Secretary of State.

"They wouldn't have even been formed if they left some troops behind like 10,000 or maybe something more than that," Trump claimed. "Then then you wouldn't have had them."

As Clinton soon pointed out, the agreement to withdraw US troops from Iraq was negotiated under the Bush administration. Attempts to renegotiate that agreement collapsed over Iraq refusing to provide immunity from prosecution to the soldiers who remained behind. Al Qaeda in Iraq, which was formed right after the US invasion and would later become ISIS, was pushed into Syria at the time, where it would reform and regrow, taking advantage of the civil war that begun there in 2011. The last US soldiers left Iraq at the end of 2011 — ISIS began its push into Iraq in 2013, years later.

For more on the exchange, go here.

—Hayes Brown

Posted at

The presidential debate on Monday covered a lot of expected topics and ground (job security, the environment, that goddamned tax return). And then it was time to address racial tensions in America.

That's when moderator Lester Holt made the transition with this quote: "Let's talk about race. How do you heal the divide in America?"

And you could hear the country collectively hold their breaths, clutch their pearls, and/or release a low, deep, helpless groan.

Look at the reaction here.

—Tanya Chen

Posted at

Donald Trump had some sniffles during Monday's presidential debate, and a lot of people noticed.

One of them was Howard Dean, former governor of Vermont and Democratic National Committee chair.

You remember, the guy who lost his shot at the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004 after letting out this weird scream.

Read more here.

—Claudia Koerner

Posted at

Hillary Clinton singled out Russia while speaking about recent cyber attacks on the Democratic National Convention and political figures, saying she was "deeply concerned about this."

"We will defend the citizens of this country," she said. "The Russians need to understand that."

Clinton then said she was "so shocked when Donald publicly invited" Russian President Vladimir Putin to hack US political organizations.

"That is just unacceptable," Clinton said.

But Trump questioned whether recent hacks on US political organizations and figures were in fact backed by Russia.

"I don't think anybody knows it was Russia that broke into the DNC," Trump said. "Maybe it was. It could be Russia, but it could also be China or lots of other people, also could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds."

"But what did we learn with DNC?" Trump added. "We learned that Bernie Sanders was taken advantage of by your people."

—Emma Loop

Posted at

While Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton agreed that race was still a challenge in the US and that police and community relations needed to be improved, they disagreed on policing reforms, specifically the effectiveness and constitutionality of stop-and-frisk.

Trump suggested that stop-and-frisk should be implemented in cities like Chicago to bring down the crime rate. He said that it "worked very well in New York" when former mayor Rudy Guiliani implemented it.

"We have gangs roaming in the streets, in many cases they're illegal immigrants who have guns and they shoot people," Trump said. "We have to be very strong. And we have to be very vigilant."

When Holt pointed out that stop-and-frisk was ruled unconstitutional in New York because it "largely singled out black and Hispanic young men," Trump told him, "You're wrong."

He said that the issue went before a judge "who was a very against police judge" and the case was "taken away from her." When Holt said stop-and-frisk was viewed as a form of racial profiling, Trump said that guns needed to be taken away from "bad people that shouldn't have them."

"You have to have stop-and-frisk," he said.

Trump also accused Clinton of not using the words "law and order" and said that African Americans and Hispanics in inner cities were being "decimated."

Clinton said that it was "unfortunate" that Trump painted "such a dire negative picture of black communities" in the country. She said that there were "right ways" of protecting communities and there were "ineffective ways."

"Stop-and-frisk was found to be unconstitutional," Clinton said. "And in part, because it was ineffective."

She also addressed the "systemic racism" in the country's criminal justice system and called "the gun epidemic is the leading cause of death of young African American men." She spoke of the need of "common sense gun safety measures."

Both candidates agreed on prohibiting those on the no-fly lists and terror watch lists from getting guns.

—Tasneem Nashrulla

Posted at

The National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council endorsed Donald Trump on Monday, not the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as the GOP nominee said during the debate.

The union represents 7,600 ICE officers, agents, and employees working for the federal agency

In a statement posted on Trump's site, the union said they supported the Republican after he asked them for a meeting.

"In his immigration policy, he has outlined core policies needed to restore immigration security," the union said. "Including support for increased interior enforcement and border security, an end to Sanctuary Cities, an end to catch-and-release, mandatory detainers, and the canceling of executive amnesty and non-enforcement directives."

—Adolfo Flores

Posted at

Donald Trump has no regrets in questioning for years whether President Obama was born in the United States, and on Monday repeatedly credited himself for getting the president to release his birth certificate.

"When I got involved, I didn't fail," he said. "I got him to give the birth certificate. So I'm satisfied."

When pressed by host Lester Holt on why he continued to push the birther issue after the certificate had been released, Trump said: "Nobody was pressing it. Nobody was caring much about it, but I was the one who got him to produce the birth certificate, and I think I did a good job."

Trump also insisted that Hillary Clinton's aides pushed the birther issue even though "everyone in mainstream is going to say its not true."

Asked what he wanted to say to Americans on the issue during a segment about racial healing, Trump replied: "I say nothing…I think I developed very good relationships with the African American community, and I think they wanted me to come to that conclusion."

Trump finally acknowledged recently that Obama was born in the US after years of questioning it.

Clinton responded to Trump's exchange with Holt by saying: "Well, just listen to what you heard."

"He tried to put the whole racist birther lie to bed," she continued. "But it can't be dismissed that easily. He has a really started his political activity based on this racist lie that our first black president wasn't an American citizen."

"But remember Donald started his career back in 1973, when he was sued by the Justice Department for racial discrimination when he would not rent apartments in one of his developments to African Americans…He actually was sued twice, so he has a long record of engaging in racist behavior. And the birther lie was a very hurtful one.

"Barack Obama is a man great dignity and I could tell how much it bothered him and annoyed him that this was being touted and used against him."

Trump then accused Clinton for treating Obama with "terrible disrespect" during the 2008 Democratic primary debates.

"You were after him…when you try to act holier than thou, it really doesn't work," he said.

—Tarini Parti

Posted at

NBC's Lester Holt moderated the first presidential debate on Monday, taking center stage in one of the most widely anticipated moments of the 2016 campaign.

But as Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump began to go head-to-head, some people stopped to wonder: Where you at, Lester?

Read more here.

—Claudia Koerner

Posted at

At Monday's presidential debate at Hofstra University at Hempstead, New York, Hillary Clinton accused Donald Trump of claiming that climate change was a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese.

"Donald thinks that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese. I think it's real," Clinton said.

"I did not say that. I did not say that," Trump replied.

Twitter users quickly found a tweet from Trump that was posted in 2012, where Trump did, in fact, claim that the concept of global warming was invented by China.

A few minutes after Trump's tweet started going viral again, a Twitter user falsely claimed that the Republican nominee's team had deleted the tweet.

Read more here.

—Ryan Broderick

Posted at

Republican candidate Donald Trump accused Hillary Clinton of "fighting ISIS your entire adult life," which is literally impossible since the group only came into existence after the invasion of Iraq.

Read more here.

—Hayes Brown

Posted at

Clinton says Trump says "crazy things"

Clinton attempted to shut down interruptions from Trump by accusing him of "saying crazy things."

Earlier in the debate, Trump accused Clinton of spending her "whole adult life" fighting ISIS, even though ISIS was founded only in recent years. Trump then blamed Clinton and current political leadership for setting business tax rates that scare away companies looking to invest.

"I have a feeling by the end of this evening I'm going to be blamed for everything that's ever happened," Clinton responded.

"Why not?" Trump cut in.

"Why not, yeah," Clinton said. "Join the debate by saying more crazy things."

— Emma Loop

Posted at

At the presidential debate on Monday night, Hillary Clinton took a shot at Donald Trump's father giving him $14 million to start in business. Trump shot back that the "very small loan" was actually $1 million.

The $14 million that Clinton cited is the figure the Wall Street Journal reported that Trump owed his father in a 1985 casino license application.

However, even if it was only $1 million as Trump claimed, people online were kind of confused about the candidate calling it a "small" amount.

"My dad's idea of a small loan is $8 for Chipotle," one person posted on Twitter.

For more reaction, go here.

—Stephanie McNeal

Posted at

Trump says he will release his tax returns if Clinton publishes emails

Trump said he will release his tax returns after he's audited on one condition: if Clinton releases 33,000 of her deleted emails.

"I will release my tax returns against my lawyers' wishes," he said during the debate. "When she releases her 33,000 e-mails that have been deleted, as soon as she releases them I will release — I will release my tax returns and that's against my lawyers' they say don't do it," he said.

Trump also repeatedly pointed to the financial disclosures he filed with the Federal Election Commission as evidence of him being transparent on his finances.

"I filed a 104 page essentially financial statement of sorts, forms that they have it shows income, in fact the income I just looked today, the income is filed at $694 million for this past year," he said.

Trump later added when pressed more on not releasing his returns: "You don't learn a lot from tax returns I can tell you."

Clinton responded that Trump's lack of transparency on his tax returns was "another example of bait and a switch here."

"You have to ask yourself, why won't he release his tax returns?," she said. "I think there may be couple of reasons. First, maybe he's not as rich as he says he is. Second, maybe he's not as charitable as he claims to be. Third, we don't know all of his business dealings, but we have been told through investigative reporting that he owes about $650 million to Wall Street and foreign banks. Or maybe he doesn't want the American people — all of you watching tonight — to know that he's paid nothing in federal taxes."

—Tarini Parti

Posted at

Clinton and Trump clash on NAFTA deal

Clinton and Trump clashed on the North American Free Trade Agreement with Trump calling it the "worst trade deal ever signed anywhere."

"Your husband signed NAFTA which was one of the worst the things that ever happened," Trump said to Clinton

"That is your opinion," she retorted.

Trump also confronted Clinton about the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which Clinton called the "gold standard" before announcing her candidacy, but came out against it during the primary.

"You were totally in favor of it then you heard what I was saying about how bad it is and you said 'I can't win that debate,'" Trump told Clinton. She responded saying that she was against it once it "was finally negotiated."

Trump said that Clinton called it the "gold standard of deals" and "one of the finest deals."

"Then you heard what I said about it all of a sudden you were against it," he said.

"Donald, I know you live in your own reality but those are not the facts," Clinton said.

—Tasneem Nashrulla

Posted at

Hillary Clinton said that Donald Trump called climate change a hoax invented by the Chinese. He denied that, but it's true:

The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.

As BuzzFeed's Dino Grandoni reported last week, the candidate has repeatedly doubted climate change.

Trump has repeatedly voiced doubts about climate change. He told the Washington Post that "there's a change in weather," but also that he is "not a great believer in man-made climate change." Perhaps most famously, he has said that the Chinese invented global warming.

He has also made clear as a presidential candidate that he intends to "cancel" the global accord signed in Paris last December, which President Obama and Hillary Clinton both tout as among their most significant foreign policy achievements.

"This agreement gives foreign bureaucrats control over how much energy we use on our land, in our country. No way," Trump said in an energy policy speech in North Dakota in May. By July, the Republicans codified the rejection of the Paris agreement in their official party platform.

—Virginia Hughes

Posted at

Hillary Clinton didn't waste much time reminding voters of Donald Trump's family wealth to draw contrast between her humble upbringing.

When responding to the billionaire's economic plan, she said: "Donald was very fortunate in his life and that's all to his benefit. He started his business with $14 million borrowed from his father he really believed that the more you help wealthy people, the better off we'll be and everything will work out from there."

"I don't buy that," Clinton said, going on to detail her father's job.

"I have a different experience, my father was a small businessman, he worked really hard. He printed drapery fabric one long tables where he pulled out those fabrics and he went down with a silk screen and dumped the paint in took the squeegee kept going.

"So what I believe is more we can do for the middle class, the more we can invest in you, your education, your skills, your future. The better we will be off and the better we'll grow, that's the kind of economy I want us to see again."

—Tarini Parti

Posted at

People are loving this reporter who yelled "Thanks a lot bitch" at the debate

vine.co

A reporter at the presidential debate has become the hero we all deserve by yelling "Thanks a lot bitch" at another woman while chasing an interview.

The unidentified reporter was apparently trying to get an interview with Mark Cuban when she was pushed out of the way. She was nahhht happy.

Read more about the drama here.

—Stephanie McNeal

Posted at

Police departments are loving the presidential debate

REMINDER We realize politics can make emotions run high, but being mad at a presidential candidate in a debate is NOT a reason to call 911.

Some police departments on Twitter are really into the highly anticipated presidential debate, posting some ~advice~ about how to take in Trump v. Clinton.

For more on what they're saying, go here.

—Ellie Hall

Posted at

Here's a photo of Clinton's aide playing Trump during her mock debate

There are multiple Trumps. But only one Philippe. (h/t @jmpalmieri)

Philippe Reines, Clinton's longtime aide, played Trump during her mock debate, down to the red tie and Trump's famous "cobra" hand gesture.

Reines, who was Clinton's senior adviser in the State Department, is someone familiar with her strengths and weaknesses and is known to "speak his mind" in Clinton's own words.

In Clinton mock debate, Philippe Reines wore red tie & did "the cobra" -- a hand gesture Trump often makes, per aide

— Tasneem Nashrulla

Posted at

Journalists have to pay $200 for WiFi in the debate media room

$200 for WiFi at tonight's debate. $600 for a seat, WiFi, and Ethernet. #Debates2016

Hofstra University is charging journalists $200 to use the Wifi in the media filing center. Reporters are prohibited from using their personal WiFi dongles, according to those present there.

In fact, the university got technicians to patrol the press file with a device to detect and shut down hotspots.

So the $200 per person WiFi in the media room is down ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ #Debates2016

Technicians patrolling #debatenight press file using this device to detect & shut down hotspots, so they can sell $… https://t.co/e5AgPxtFx6

And people were not happy when the $200 WiFi went down in the media room.

So the $200 per person WiFi in the media room is down ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ #Debates2016

—Tasneem Nashrulla

Posted at

The media just mobbed Mark Cuban in the spin room

Trump? Pence? Kaine? Clinton? Nope, that media mob is for Mark Cuban

Reporters swarmed the billionaire investor and Shark Tank star as he arrived to take his front row seat at the debate after being invited by the Clinton campaign. One reporter asked him if he was planning to make "any gestures or faces" during the debate.

Cuban has been a vocal critic of Trump, saying Clinton was going to "overwhelm" Trump in what he described as the "Humbling at Hofstra."

— Tasneem Nashrulla

Posted at

Donald Trump has officially arrived at Hofstra University on Long Island, the site of tonight's debate.

Just three hours to go until showtime.

— David Mack

Posted at

Republican National Committee Reince Priebus said Trump's tweet saying he might sit a former model who had an extramarital affair with Bill Clinton in the 1980s in the front row of the presidential debate was funny and showed Trump was willing to play games with the Clintons.

The prospect of Flowers attending the debate was raised on Saturday when Trump tweeted that he would put her in the audience, if billionaire and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban sat in the front row. Flowers' assistant told BuzzFeed News she accepted the invite, only for the Trump campaign to say the invite wasn't formal.

"First of all, it's not not gonna happen, because the debate commission has made it pretty clear, and I think they're right — each campaign as I understand it, Laura, is going to have, outside of family, veto power over who's in the screenshot behind the moderators," Priebus said the Laura Ingraham Show. "So, when the moderators is asking questions — obviously everyone understand you see some people behind the moderators — each campaign is not gonna allow for the other side to do something like that."

Priebus blamed the Clinton campaign for starting it, but said Trump showed he could punch back.

Read the full story here.
— Andrew Kaczynski

Posted at

If any of the fun-loving, social youth want to use a Snapchat filter to support their candidate tonight, there is only one option as of the early afternoon: A red, white, and blue "Donald Trump vs. Crooked Hillary" one with Make America Great Again along the bottom, paid for by the Trump campaign.

Not exactly the message the Clinton campaign wants young people sharing without any filters that show support for Clinton. Three other generic debate filters do not attack or show support for a particular candidate.

But the Clinton campaign says Trump might as well have lit the reported half a million dollars for the ad on fire.

"Rather than actually try and persuade people, the Trump campaign is throwing money into a fire pit by spending an estimated $500,000 — more than twice as much as they spent on field offices all last month — on an untargeted national filter featuring a joke that, given Trump's deep unpopularity with young voters, will be used mainly at their own expense," said Clinton spokesman Tyrone Gayle.

The Clinton campaign said they plan to run Snapchat video ads featuring highlights from the debate targeted to voters in battleground states and their own filter tomorrow in Raleigh, North Carolina for its post-debate rally.

And many Snapchat users took to Twitter to complain about the company letting Trump use its platform to reach them.

But some young voters — reached where else — on Snapchat, in key states like Florida, Ohio and Arizona said the Clinton campaign was missing an opportunity by ceding crucial filter territory to Trump.

"They need to get their filter game up," said Elizabeth Sky from Palm Beach, Florida who supported Bernie Sanders in the primary. "Trump is on point with social media," she added, noting that she sees his content on her Instagram feed as well.

"I don't think it was very smart of her campaign because she's trying to capture the millennial vote," said Kayla Velasquez, a black and Mexican Clinton supporter from Columbus, Ohio, adding that Clinton should have had an "I'm With Her" filter.

For others Trump's filter wasn't that big of a deal — just funny.

When asked her thoughts about Trump's filter, Belen Sisa, a DREAMer activist who worked for Sanders in the primary, responded only with several crying laughing emojis.
— Adrian Carrasquillo

Posted at

BuzzFeed News has compiled a list of lies, half-truths, and shady statements you might just hear from Clinton and Trump tonight.

Read it now so you can yell at your TV screen (or to your Twitter followers) later tonight.

— David Mack

Posted at

The co-chair of Donald Trump's campaign in New Hampshire wrote in a Facebook comment on Saturday that Trump-haters are "just afraid of losing the Obama phones and their EBT cards."

"All I can say is the party is over…" Doucette wrote on Sept. 24. "The truth is going to sting a few people… Great turnout today great support for Mr. Trump… Rick keep up the good work the first amendment of the Constitution allows you to do exactly what you're doing…. As for the haters they're just afraid of losing the Obama phones and their EBT cards they are all in for a rude awakening…"

In a phone interview with BuzzFeed News on Monday, Doucette said the comment was part of an "inside joke," but expressed regret for having written it, adding that he grew up on public assistance.

Read his full comments here.

—Christopher Massie and Andrew Kacyznski

Posted at

Donald Trump adviser Al Baldasaro says he spoke to the Secret Service after he said that Hillary Clinton should be shot in a firing line for treason.

Baldasaro, a New Hampshire state representative who advises Trump on veterans issues and was a delegate for him to the Republican convention, commented on his conversations with the Secret Service, which took place after BuzzFeed News reported his comments that Hillary Clinton should be put in a firing line and shot for treason on the Jeff Kuhner Show in July.

He now says he stands by his comments — though he contends they were misunderstood.

"What I'm saying is nobody is above the law. We're a nation of laws. I spoke as a veteran and what I said was in accordance with the U.S. Code 18 and the Constitution on treason," Baldasaro said on Liberty RoundTable radio on Friday.

Read the full story here.

—Andrew Kaczynski and Nathaniel Meyersohn

Posted at

Ahead of the first presidential debate tonight, some recent polls are showing Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in a tight race.

New CNN polls suggest Trump and Clinton are tied 46% to 46% among likely voters, and are neck and neck in crucial battleground states of Pennsylvania and Colorado.

The latest national poll from Bloomberg even shows Trump leading the overall race by two points.

And the polling averages and forecasts — what you should really be looking at, rather than individual polls — are close.

The visceral reaction from some people to this reality was a loud and resounding "HOW THE…"

Read the full story here.

—Tanya Chen

Posted at

Ted Cruz defended his decision to vote for Donald Trump on Monday in an interview with conservative radio host Glenn Beck, but again did not say that he considered Trump fit for the presidency, casting the decision mainly as a vote against Hillary Clinton.

The Texas senator announced in a Facebook post on Friday that he'd vote for Trump after declining to endorse his party's nominee in a speech at the Republican National Convention in which he encouraged voters to "vote your conscience."

On Monday, Beck, who supported Cruz's candidacy during this year's Republican primary and who is among Trump's staunchest conservative critics, noted to Cruz that he didn't say after endorsing Trump that he believed the businessman was fit to be president.

"What I said is this is a binary choice," Cruz responded. "I wish it were not a binary choice. As you know, I tried very very hard, as did you, to prevent it from being a binary choice between Hillary and Donald Trump and I think it is fair to say there was no other Republican candidate who left more on the field and did more to stop Donald from being the nominee than I did, but the voters made a different decision and you have to respect the democratic process even if you may not be terribly happy with the outcome."

Read the full story here.

—Christopher Massie

Posted at

BuzzFeed UK reporters Hannah Jewell and Tom Phillips' breakdown the debate for British people.

After what feels like 1,000 long and wintry years of campaigning, tonight Clinton and Trump finally get to talk shit to each other's faces.

If past performances are anything to go by, Clinton risks coming off as awkward and stilted, and Trump risks coming across as a man who might literally explode into a million tangerine pieces.
Posted at

No one has gotten more credit (or blame) for the recent turnaround at the Trump campaign than Kellyanne Conway, the always-on-TV Republican pollster who was promoted last month to campaign manager.

In the five weeks since Conway took the job, Donald Trump has grown gradually more disciplined and adult-like as a candidate — reading speeches from teleprompters, backing away from pet conspiracy theories, even dialing down the frequency of his signature Twitter rants. And as the race has narrowed, Conway has emerged in the popular imagination of politicos and pundits as the deft handler who's finally succeeded in domesticating Trump. When the candidate gives a measured TV interview, it is assumed that "Kellyanne must be standing off camera with a tranquilizer gun." When he exercises restraint on Twitter, the joke is that "Kellyanne changed the passcode on the old Android." In one soft-focus profile after another, she is presented as the "Trump-whisperer."

Read the full story here.

—McKay Coppins

Posted at

Clinton has narrow lead over Trump heading into first debate, according to polls

Going into the first debate, Clinton leads Trump by 2.1% in the RCP polling average https://t.co/RbKgo4Aj7K… https://t.co/RCOAsV8hIQ

Posted at

A pro–Donald Trump political action committee has stopped soliciting donations through radio advertisements as it faces a class-action lawsuit and an inquiry from the Federal Election Commission.

A BuzzFeed News review of multiple closed captioning tracking tools reveals Liberty Action Group PAC — a group which has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars by running radio ads soliciting donations to help elect Trump — has not run advertisements since Sept. 9. The day before, BuzzFeed News reported the group was the subject of a class action complaint in federal court.

Liberty Action Group's FEC filings show little evidence that it has spent any of its donations to help elect Trump.

The group removed two names from its amended FEC filings, submitted on Friday. Henok Tedla has been removed as the PAC's treasurer and Rob Reyes, a former contact for the PAC, was also removed from the group's filings.

Read the full story here.

—Andrew Kaczynski

Posted at

Donald Trump agrees with Russian President Vladimir Putin: No one should say that the United States is exceptional.

BuzzFeed News has previously reported that Trump has both praised and defended Putin in the past for bashing the term "American exceptionalism." In a previously unreported interview from 2014 with Jeffrey Lord of the American Spectator (and now of CNN fame), Trump called the use of the term "dangerous" and approvingly cited Putin's criticism of it.

"Well, I think it's a very dangerous term in one way," Trump said in the interview. "Because I heard Putin saying, 'Who do they think they are, saying they're exceptional?' You can feel you're exceptional, but when you start throwing it in other countries' faces or other people's faces, I actually think it's a very dangerous term to use."

Read the full story here.

—Andrew Kaczynski

Posted at

When moderator Lester Holt steps onto the Hofstra University debate stage on Monday night, he'll find himself between two campaigns with opposing visions of his role — and at the center of a months-long media debate about fairness and truth in the 2016 election.

The 57-year-old anchor of NBC's Nightly News has the honor (and the burden) of moderating the first 2016 presidential debate — an unprecedented television event in modern American political history between Republican nominee Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton that is expected to draw tens of millions of viewers.

In the days and weeks leading up to Monday's presidential debate, the campaigns and journalists have engaged in a debate of their own: Should Holt fact-check the candidates in real time?

The fact-checking debate has been a persistent one throughout an election cycle in which Trump, in the span of a single interview or speech, will lie about his past positions, make unfounded accusations against his opponents, and give credence to crazy conspiracy theories.

Read the full story here.

—Kyle Blaine

Posted at

During the US presidential conventions held by the two major parties in July — a month that NASA would later declare the hottest ever on record — it looked as though climate change had, for once, moved into the spotlight.

The Democrats aired a short film by James Cameron and Maria Wilhelm that warned of severe drought and floods if global warming went unaddressed. The party's candidate, Hillary Clinton, held up the Paris climate agreement as among her most significant achievements as secretary of state, adding in her acceptance speech that she believes "climate change is real" and "we can save our planet while creating millions of good-paying clean energy jobs."

The Republican nominee had raised energy issues throughout the campaign — in his own way. At various points Donald Trump had oscillated from tepid acceptance of human-caused climate change (saying "perhaps there's a minor effect" of burning fossil fuels) to sarcastically asking for "a big fat dose of global warming" because it was cold outside.

It seemed like both candidates would be devoting more airtime to climate issues than their counterparts in the 2012 election had. Neither Mitt Romney nor President Obama ever showed much of an appetite for discussing it.

But in the months since the conventions, with Bernie Sanders gone and Trump taking center stage, climate change has faded from the race, disappointing Democratic donors, environmental activists, and climate scientists.

Read the full story here.

—Dino Grandoni

Posted at

Gennifer Flowers, the former model who had an extramarital affair with Bill Clinton in the 1980s, says she'll accept an invitation from Donald Trump to sit in the front row of Monday's presidential debate, according to an assistant.

The prospect of Flowers attending the debate was raised on Saturday when Trump tweeted that he would put her in the audience, if billionaire and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban sat in the front row.

"If dopey Mark Cuban of failed Benefactor fame wants to sit in the front row, perhaps I will put Gennifer Flowers right alongside of him!" Trump tweeted Saturday afternoon.

An assistant to Flowers told BuzzFeed News in the past she had declined such invitations, not wanting to be a "sideshow," but said she would forward the invite to Flowers.

In an email to BuzzFeed News, Judy Stell, Flowers' personal assistant then confirmed she will attend. Trump's campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, told CNN Sunday morning that the Trump campaign did not formally invite Flowers to the debate and that they don't expect her to be there as a guest of the campaign.

Read the full story here.

—Andrew Kaczynski