CNN Announces Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s Status For Debate

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CNN announced Thursday that the presidential debate scheduled for June 27th will be a head-to-head matchup between Donald Trump and Joe Biden.

Thus, independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. did not qualify for the debate stage.

“The debate qualification window closed at 12:00:01 a.m. ET on Thursday, with Biden and Trump meeting the constitutional, ballot qualification and polling thresholds set by the network,” CNN stated.

Per CNN:

In order to qualify for participation, candidates had to satisfy the requirements outlined in Article II, Section 1 of the US Constitution to serve as president, as well as file a formal statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission.

According to parameters set by CNN in May, all participating debaters had to appear on a sufficient number of state ballots to reach the 270 electoral vote threshold to win the presidency and receive at least 15% in four separate national polls of registered or likely voters that meet CNN’s standards for reporting.

Polls that meet those standards are those sponsored by CNN, ABC News, CBS News, Fox News, Marquette University Law School, Monmouth University, NBC News, The New York Times/Siena College, NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist College, Quinnipiac University, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post.

Biden and Trump were the only candidates to meet those requirements.

CNN released additional details about the debate earlier this week.

CNN Releases Additional Details For Trump-Biden Debate

The debate, moderated by Jake Tapper and Dana Bash, will be 90 minutes and include two commercial breaks.

Campaign staff may not interact with the candidates during the commercial breaks.

“Both candidates agreed to appear at a uniform podium, and their podium positions will be determined by a coin flip,” CNN wrote.

“Microphones will be muted throughout the debate except for the candidate whose turn it is to speak. While no props or pre-written notes will be allowed on the stage, candidates will be given a pen, a pad of paper and a bottle of water,” the outlet added.

NBC News reports:

Last month, Kennedy’s campaign filed a Federal Election Commission complaint against CNN and the Biden and Trump campaigns, alleging the way they set up the June 27 presidential debate was illegal. Stefanie Spear, press secretary for the campaign, said it is “considering” further legal action ahead of debate night.

“President Trump said repeatedly he had no problem debating RFK Jr. and he believes any candidate who qualifies for the ballot should be allowed to make their case to America’s voters," Trump campaign national press secretary Karoline Leavitt said in a statement Thursday. "It’s Joe Biden and the Democrats who are using financial and legal resources to prevent RFK’s access to the ballot because they know RFK Jr. is a radical leftist who pulls more votes from Biden than President Trump.”

Kennedy has already used the prospect of his omission from the stage to argue the election is rigged against political outsiders, with his campaign booking $100,000 in TV ads on the day of the debate.

Kennedy still has a chance to qualify for the Sept. 10 debate, hosted by ABC News. That debate has the same ballot access and polling criteria as CNN’s, although it’s unclear when the polling window will open. That will also provide Kennedy with additional time to secure access on more ballots around the country.

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