Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will participate in NBC’s “Commander-in-Chief forum” tonight. Matt Lauer, who was a prominent member of the Clinton Global Initiative, will moderate the event. Trump, who has a commanding 19-point lead among military voters, won the coin toss and elected to go second.
Stay tuned to Breitbart News for live updates.
All times eastern.
11:00: Trump campaign pushing that Clinton was on the defensive the whole night. Mainstream media journalists like Todd agreed that she was but also slammed Trump for his lack of substance.
10:55: Trump’s performance at the Commander-in-Chief forum has New York mag writer Jonathan Chait thinking that Trump could actually win the election. He, of course, blames Lauer for not questioning Trump tough enough.
And Russian state news is already highlighting Trump's comments about Putin's leadership https://t.co/pDCh5CW9at
— Boris Zilberman (@rolltidebmz) September 8, 2016
10:00: Mainstream media reporters ripping Lauer for not challenging Trump on Iraq. They apparently are not outraged that Lauer did not challenge Clinton on some of her whoppers on “classified” information and Libya.
People not happy w Matt lauer letting trump slide on Iraq pic.twitter.com/ikZizTn8sc
— Hadas Gold (@Hadas_Gold) September 8, 2016
9:45: Clinton responds to Priebus:
Actually, that’s just what taking the office of President seriously looks like. https://t.co/Pyn92mesom
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) September 8, 2016
9:32: Priebus: Hillary “angry” and “defensive” because “she was caught wrongly sending our secrets.”
@HillaryClinton was angry + defensive the entire time – no smile and uncomfortable – upset that she was caught wrongly sending our secrets.
— Reince Priebus (@Reince) September 8, 2016
9:17: Seems very petty that Clinton’s rapid response team is criticizing Trump for saying that 22 veterans commit suicide a day as opposed to 20. Trump pointed to the higher number to highlight the seriousness of the issue.
9:08: On MSNBC, a corporal says he was satisfied with Trump’s answers. But he says he wishes that both candidates would have addressed the homelessness among veterans. He points out that we send billions to Iran and send millions on Syrian refugees, and some of that money could be better spent on ending homelessness among veterans.
8:55: Trump says he Clinton has a “happy trigger” and there will be “no greater burden” than possibly sending American troops into war. Trump says we have to make America great again but we have to make America “strong again.”
8:52: Lauer says nobody would have expected Trump to take “deep dives” into these issues. He asks what types of things Trump is reading and what kind of homework he is doing now. Trump says he has “a lot of hats right now”and he is “studying” and meeting constantly with generals and other experts. He says he has learned but has a lot of common sense to deal with these issues. Trump insists he will be prepared to handle these issues and cites Clinton’s mistake on Libya. “She made a terrible mistake on Libya,” Trump says. Trump says he has “great management talent” and points out that he has found these subjects to be of “tremendous interest” all throughout his life.
8:50: Trump is asked what he would do to support all victims of sexual assault in the military. Trump says it is a “massive problem” and the “numbers are staggering.” He says “we have to come down very, very hard on that” and wants to keep the court system within the military. He says right now, the court system “practically doesn’t exist.” Lauer conveniently has opposition research/follow-up question with Trump’s Tweet from years ago.
8:49: Trump is asked what he will do to stop 20 veterans from killing themselves daily. Trump points out that it is 22 veterans a day, showing some substance. He says he will create a great “mental health division” and the VA is a “corrupt enterprise.” Trump points out that the VA can’t even fire the people who were caught stealing in Arizona.
8:45: Trump is now asked about his remarks about Putin [Trump must be careful not to let his insecurity and his desire for affection from anyone show here]. Lauer asks if he wants to be complimented by a former KGB officer. Trump says he will “take it” if Putin calls him brilliant. Trump says the fact that Putin calls him “brilliant” will have “zero impact” on him. Trump says “if he says great things about me, I’m going to say great things about him.” He says Putin has been a better leader than Obama. He cites Putin’s high approval rating.
Trump on Putin: "If he says great things about me I'm going to say great things about him." Seconds earlier said complements had no impact.
— Benjy Sarlin (@BenjySarlin) September 8, 2016
8:42: Questioner asks Trump if an “undocumented person” who serves in the military will be allowed to stay. Trump says the military is a “very special” thing and it would be a “special circumstance.”
[Trump needed to prepared to answer this question better. Should be a wake-up call to him and his team for the debates. It isn’t rocket science to figure out the types of questions that will be asked in these settings.]
8:38: Lauer presses Trump on his plans–or lack thereof. Trump says he has a “significant chance” of winning and doesn’t want to broadcast to the world his plan for defeating ISIS. He says Obama telegraphs when we are going to leave Iraq and he won’t make the same mistake.
8:36: Questioner, a Democrat, asks Trump what is next if we defeat ISIS so another group doesn’t spring up. Trump points out that Iraq was “somewhat stable” before Obama took over and led to the formation of ISIS. Trump says Iran will be taking over Iraq now and he says that he has always said that we shouldn’t be there but we should have taken the oil. Trump says ISIS would not have come into power if we had taken the oil.
8:35: Lauer asks Trump whether he knows more about ISIS than the generals. He says the generals “have been reduced to rubble” under Clinton and Obama. Trump says he has great faith in the military but he has not faith in Hillary Clinton and the current leadership. Trump points out that Clinton has been in the system for 30 years and “we need change.”
8:33: Lauer asks whether a Commander-in-Chief should keep saying stuff that he later regrets. Lauer says Trump could spark conflicts, destabilize regions, and put American lives at risk and asks if Americans can afford to take that risk with Trump.
8:32: Lauer asks Trump what he has experience in his personal or professional life that has prepared him to be Commander-in-Chief. He cites his experience building companies and dealing with nations that are ripping America off. He talks about Russian planes and Iranian boats taunting the U.S. Trump says he has a history of good judgment and says that was against the Iraq War despite Clinton’s claims. Trump says the Iraq War was a “disaster” and how Obama pulled out of Iraq was also a disaster.
8:30: Trump now on stage with Lauer. He gets a warm applause that Clinton did not receive.
8:25: Clinton says she will do everything in her power to make sure people will be safer in Boston and San Bernardino after her presidency. She talks about taking on ISIS in the “arena of ideas” and engage them in the air, on the ground, and in cyberspace. She now uses the opportunity to push gun control by saying people on the terrorist watch list should not be able to buy guns without going over what happens if someone is mistakenly put on that list. She uses the time to attack Trump on her Muslim ban. Lauer never reminds voters that she vowed not to attack Trump at the beginning of the forum.
8:23: Questioner asks Clinton how she will determine whether American troops should be sent into combat missions. She says we will not put ground troops into Iraq and Syria and will defeat ISIS without ground troops in the region. She says there were 200,000 troops deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan when she was Secretary of State and is glad we have brought “most of those” home.
8:21: When asked about the high rates of suicide among veterans, Clinton says she has put forth a “robust agenda” to prevent veterans from committing suicide.
8:19: An undecided Sergeant asks Clinton about the VA scandal her comments that it was not “widespread.” Clinton uses the opportunity to say that she will not let the VA become privatized. She says that will be “disastrous for our military veterans.” She says she will have a meeting every week in the Oval Office re: VA issues.
8:17: Lauer asks Clinton what would happen if Iran cheats on the nuclear deal. Clinton says she wants to put it into context because it is one of the most important strategic questions we face. She claims Iran was on a “fast track” to get nuclear weapons when she became Secretary of State. She gets testy when Lauer tries to get her off of her talking points and claims the Iran deal put a “lid” on the nuclear program. Clinton says Iran is not playing us on the nuclear deal in response to Lauer’s question.
8:15: Clinton claims she views force as a “last resort” when a progressive questioner asks her about her “hawkish” foreign policy. Also keeps claiming we didn’t lose a single American life in Libya.
Clinton defended her support for 2011 Libya intervention. Most people have no idea what happened in Libya. So she can re-define it.
— Marshall Cohen (@Marshall_Cohen) September 8, 2016
— Raheem Kassam (@RaheemKassam) September 8, 2016
Clinton again says “we did not lose a single American” in Libya intervention. Not sure why she keeps saying this.
— Blake Hounshell (@blakehounshell) September 8, 2016
— Sean Spicer (@seanspicer) September 8, 2016
8:11: Clinton now asked about her Iraq vote. She says the decision to go to war in Iraq was a “mistake.” She says she also believes that it is “imperative that we learn from the mistakes” like after-action reports are supposed to do. She says we must learn what led us down that path so that it never happens again and claims she is in the best position to do that. Clinton claims Trump was for the war in Iraq after promising Lauer she wouldn’t use the time to attack Trump. She says Trump refuses to take responsibility for his support. [Lauer doesn’t call Clinton out. Will he call Trump out if he uses some of his time to attack Clinton?]
[Clinton sounds like a bureaucrat instead of a leader.]
8:09: Questioner asks how he could have confidence in her when she compromised national security. Clinton robotically tries to explain that “classified material is designated” and marked so that “there is no dispute at all” that what is being communicated is classified. She says “what we have here is the use of an unclassified system by hundreds of people” in out government to send information with no markings. She claims she communicated about classified materials on a separate system. She also says she went into tents on foreign travel to view classified information and took it “very seriously.” She claims she did exactly what she should have done re: handling classified information.
8:08: Clinton claims there is no evidence that hostile actors hacked into her email account despite FBI Director Comey’s insistence that her private email server was vulnerable to hacking.
8:05: Lauer asks Clinton about her email scandal. He asks her why her email scandal is not “disqualifying.” Clinton robotically repeats that it was a “mistake” to have a personal account. She says the real question is the handling of classified material. She says she has a lot of experience dealing with classified materials. She says classified materials have headers that say “secret” or “top secret” or “confidential.” She claims that “none of the emails sent or received by me” had such a header. But she admits there were emails involving America’s “covert drone program.”
[Clinton not even winning over her friends in the mainstream press.]
Clinton on private server: “I make no excuses for it” // except she DID make excuses
— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) September 8, 2016
Oh, no, back to "headers." It's like Gore's "no controlling legal authority." Too much parsing.
— Roger Simon (@politicoroger) September 8, 2016
8:00: Hillary Clinton on stage with Lauer as the forum kicks off. Lauer asks Clinton not to use the forum to attack Trump and says he’ll ask Trump to do the same. When asked what is the most important characteristic a commander-in-chief can possess, Clinton answers “steadiness.” She says a Commander-in-Chief must listen and be able to sort out the different options being presented. Clinton keeps talking about “judgment” and “temperament.”
7:30: Chelsea Clinton accuses Trump of making “misogynistic” remarks about her mom.
7:11: On MSNBC, Andrea Mitchell again cheerleads for Clinton, claiming that she has proven that she could answer the 3 AM phone call despite the Benghazi debacle.
7:05: Mainstream media pundits who spent a year lowering the bar for Trump are now complaining that Trump has a lower bar to jump over tonight than Clinton.
7:00: Some pre-game reading. Joel Pollak on the five things Lauer probably will not ask Clinton.
6:55: Even the nasty left-wing Esquire columnist Charles Pierce is worried that, “Politically, I think it is entirely possible that the event may be a net plus for Donald Trump.”
6:45: Trump (he has plenty of stamina to be at a campaign event before his first showdown with Clinton): Hillary not a “real” New Yorker:
"Hillary, she's not a New Yorker," Trump tells NY Conservative Party. "I'm a real New Yorker."
— Candace Smith (@CandaceSmith_) September 7, 2016
Trump's full quote when he said Clinton's not a New Yorker: pic.twitter.com/jargWU4rYv
— Ashley Killough (@KilloughCNN) September 7, 2016
6:40: Very interesting. The New York Times asks readers, “Have You Done Something to Support or Oppose Trump’s Brands?”:
Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign has elicited strong emotions. We want to know how those reactions have influenced people’s behavior toward his products, which range from Trump books and clothing to hotels, golf courses and apartments. Then there are the products sold under the names of his children, like Ivanka Trump clothing and jewelry.
Have you registered your disapproval or approval for his candidacy by, say, discarding or returning Trump-brand clothes — or by booking a night at a Trump hotel?
If so, we’d like to hear from you.
A Times journalist may follow up with you to learn more about your story. Your contact information will not be published.
6:35: Romney trying to remain relevant. But including Gary Johnson in the debates may actually help Trump:
I hope voters get to see former GOP Governors Gary Johnson and Bill Weld on the debate stages this fall.
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) September 7, 2016
6:30: Look for Clinton allies to paint Trump as a “schoolyard bully” and a “hothead” as they have already telegraphed their attacks.
6:25: “Commander-in-Chief Forum” will be held aboard the Intrepid:
Aboard the Intrepid — hours before tonight's NBC/MSNBC forum with Clinton and Trump pic.twitter.com/NzHZdrVyYB
— Mark Murray (@mmurraypolitics) September 7, 2016