Trump’s GOP challengers to hold first debate: Campaign update

Gregory Korte and Bill Allison
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There will be at least one Republican presidential primary debate – but President Donald Trump won’t attend, it won’t be televised and it’ll cost $49 and a round-trip ticket to Nashville, Tennessee, to watch in person.

Politicon, a nonpartisan annual “Unconventional Political Convention” that brings together politicians and satirists, announced Tuesday that former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld, former South Carolina Representative Mark Sanford and former Illinois Representative Joe Walsh will meet Saturday for their first debate.

Republican presidential candidates; former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld, from left, former South Carolina Representative Mark Sanford and former Illinois Representative Joe Walsh will meet Saturday for their first debate.

The Nashville event will be just the second joint appearance by the three challengers, who gave a three-way interview to MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Sept. 23.

The trio has struggled for attention and money. They’re polling at a combined 7.9% in the RealClearPolitics average of national polls, and raised a combined $1.3 million. Trump has 85.3% support from Republicans and has raised $97.8 million.

O’Rourke Backs Limiting Presidential Pardoning (7:35 a.m.)

Beto O’Rourke proposed limiting presidential pardon power and strengthening a constitutional prohibition against elected officials using the powers of their offices to enrich themselves.

O’Rourke, a former Texas congressman whose presidential campaign has struggled to gain traction among Democrats, said on Tuesday he would seek to make it a federal crime to attempt to secure or accept “assistance from a foreign power for personal profit or political gain” and that he’d also bar non-financial assistance from a foreign state in an election.

He also proposed a constitutional amendment banning presidents from issuing pardons to people connected to investigations in which the president or a family member is a target, subject or witness.

O’Rourke renewed his call for lawmakers to remove President Donald Trump from office and said the other measures he rolled out Tuesday would help ensure “that Trump – and every president who follows – will never be above the law, or able to welcome foreign interference in our democracy.” – Katleen Hunter

Coming Up

  • Cory Booker is scheduled to speak at the National Press Club in Washington at 1 p.m. on Wednesday.
  • Julian Castro, Beto O’Rourke and Bernie Sanders are to attend a town hall hosted by the League of United Latin American Citizens on Thursday from 7-9 p.m. local time.
  • Biden, Booker, Buttigieg, Castro, Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Sanders and Warren are set to attend a forum hosted by the Bipartisan Justice Center in Columbia, South Carolina, Oct. 25-27.

With assistance from Kathleen Hunter.

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