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Trump moves to ban fact checkers from Presidential debate

CHASING VOTES: Donald Trump talks with customers at Geno's Steaks in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
CHASING VOTES: Donald Trump talks with customers at Geno's Steaks in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Evan Vucci

DONALD Trump has said he would rather not be fact-checked or challenged on veracity for anything he says during the first US presidential candidates debate on Monday.

With a potential to draw 100 million viewers, the first of three debates could prove a break-out moment for either of the candidates - who are close in the polls.

Earlier this week, the Hillary Clinton campaign said it wanted the moderators of each debate to feel free to interject if they believed either candidate had said something factually incorrect.

A pivotal moment in the 2012 campaign came when CNN's Candy Crowley, who was the moderator in one of the debates, contradicted Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee, when he asserted President Barack Obama had not referred to what had happened in Benghazi, Libya, a few weeks earlier as terror attacks.

"He did call it an act of terror,” Ms Crowley said.

Speaking on Fox on Thursday night, Mr Trump said that when Lester Holt of NBC News took the moderator's chair on Monday, he did not want to see that happen again.

"I think he has to be a moderator,” the Republican nominee said. "I mean, if you're debating somebody and if she makes a mistake or I make a mistake ... we'll take each other on. But I certainly don't think you want Candy Crowley again.”

In the end it will be up to Mr Holt to decide how vigor- ously he holds the candidates to a standard of truth.

He will, however, be keenly aware of the ruckus that was triggered by his NBC colleague, Matt Lauer, who was widely seen to have allowed Mr Trump to lie unfettered during a forum about national security in New York two weeks ago.

Specifically, Mr Trump used that occasion to insist that in contrast to Mrs Clinton he had never voiced support for the Iraq War. It was an untruth he had articulated many times before and it was hard to imagine that Mr Lauer might not have seen it coming. But when it did, he said nothing.

The fear at Clinton HQ is that something similar might happen on Monday.

They are similarly concerned that as was the case at the Lauer event, their candidate will be subjected to a far stricter and more rigorous set of questions from the moderator than Mr Trump will.

Mrs Clinton's communications director, Jennifer Palmieri, shared these worries with reporters this week.

Mrs Clinton thought "moderators should play a role in making sure that the audience knows the truth” she said.

Ms Palmieri also addressed the perception that interviewers generally tended to go softer on Mr Trump, a political beginner, than on Mrs Clinton.

"My biggest concern is not a view of any moderator, but just that people (adjust) their questions ... to suit the candidate in front of them,” she said.

Mrs Clinton has been taking days away from the campaign trail to prepare and rehearse ahead of Monday's debate, which will be held at Hofstra University on Long Island.

THE INDEPENDENT

Topics:  donald trump, editors picks, fact check


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