Joe Biden and President Trump just wrapped up their brutal first debate

CNBC.com reporters and editors contributed to our live blog of the first presidential debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee former Vice President Joe Biden. Live coverage has new concluded.

After weeks of attacks, posturing and expectations-setting, Trump and Biden finally faced each other as they attempt to sway a diminishing pool of undecided voters. Election Day is Nov. 3, but many people are already casting their ballots. Tonight's debate, the first of three between the two men, could be a tipping point. There will be a vice presidential debate, between Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris, next Wednesday. 

Read the highlights here.

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That concludes CNBC.com's live blog of the first presidential debate between Trump and Biden. Please continue to keep reading our coverage of the 2020 Election, and be sure to subscribe to our CNBC Politics newsletter.

Thank you.

– Mike Calia

Market pros say debate did not advance either candidate

U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden participate in the first 2020 presidential campaign debate held on the campus of the Cleveland Clinic at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S., September 29, 2020.
Olivier Douliery | Reuters

Market strategists say there was no clear winner, but Joe Biden held his own in the often raucous debate.

"The tone of the conversation was as expected, relatively hostile and largely devoid of content, and the reality is that it's hard to have a strong takeaway that this debate was moving the needle towards either candidate," said Jon Hill, fixed income strategist at BMO. "I haven't picked up anything discreet or major that has come out. It appears to me Biden is largely holding his own. We have two candidates with very different views of the future, and that's been the case."

Marc Chandler, chief market strategist at Bannockburn Global Forex, said he thought the candidates likely scored with their own bases. "I think the dollar softened a little bit but it wasn't much. Most people come away from it thinking it was an ugly experience. I don't think it changed people's minds really," he said.

He said Trump hit issues on law and order, socialism and the idea Biden was a Trojan horse for the left. For Biden, he spoke directly to the people, and he had to defend himself from the far left, on law and order and the green new deal. During the debate, stock futures were higher but gave up gains after it ended, an inconclusive market move.

Separately, electionbettingodds.com has Biden rising 3.5% in last four hours and Trump down 2.9%.

– Patti Domm

Biden urges voting, Trump warns of ‘fraud like you’ve never seen'

Near the end of the debate, the moderator turned to the topic of election integrity.

Wallace asked how confident Americans should be that the election will be fair. Biden urged citizens to vote, whether in person or by mail. He cited Trump administration officials as he assured that there's "no chance at all that mail-in ballots are a source of manipulation or cheating."

Trump has repeatedly warned, without evidence, that an expected flood of mail-in ballots due to the pandemic will lead to massive fraud in the 2020 election. Just last week, Trump refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he lost to Biden in the election.

"He's trying to scare people into thinking that it's not going to be legitimate," Biden said of Trump. "Show up and vote. You will determine the outcome of this election."

VIDEO1:1801:18
President Trump urges his supporters: 'Go into the polls and watch very carefully'

In his response, Trump continued to sow doubts about the election outcome. "This is not going to end well," Trump said. "This is going to be a fraud like you've never seen." He also returned to his well-worn attacks against the Obama administration for "spying on my campaign."

"They came after me trying to do a coup," Trump said. "We've caught 'em all." "President Obama, he knew about it, too," Trump added, "So don't tell me about a free transition."

– Kevin Breuninger

Trump would not explicitly condemn White supremacists

Trump would not explicitly condemn White supremacists and tell them not to "add to the violence" surrounding unrest in the U.S.

Moderator Chris Wallace asked Trump if he would publicly "condemn White supremacists and militia groups and say they need to stand down and not add to the violence."

Trump immediately turned to an attack on what he calls the "radical left" like antifa, referring to antifacist demonstrators.

"I would say almost everything I see is from the left wing," Trump said, referring to the violence.

Pressed by Wallace to state his condemnation for White supremacists, Trump said, "Proud Boys, stand back and stand by. But I'll tell you what, somebody's got to do something about antifa and the left."

The Proud Boys is a far-right organization deemed a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Social media companies like Facebook and Twitter have suspended accounts and removed pages of members affiliated with the group for hate.

—Lauren Feiner

A brutal debate comes to an end

The first debate between Trump and Biden was an acrimonious mess, full of interruptions, insults and anger. Will this move the needle in either direction? There are still two more presidential debates to go. 

Stay tuned. We'll have more blog entries to come tonight.

– Mike Calia

'He's afraid of counting the votes'

After Trump again said mail-in ballots are going to lead to electoral fraud, Biden hit back, saying: "He's afraid of counting the votes."

– Mike Calia

Trump and Biden fight about protests over systemic racism

VIDEO3:4403:44
President Trump and Joe Biden debate violence at protests over systemic racism

– Jeff Morganteen

Trump and Biden spar over their children

VIDEO2:4702:47
President Trump attacks Joe Biden's son over Ukraine ties

Biden and Trump sparred over their children, with Trump launching a misleading attack on Biden's son Hunter Biden over his consulting business.

"China ate your lunch, Joe. No wonder, your son goes in and he takes out billions of dollars. Takes out billions of dollars to manage. He makes millions of dollars," Trump said.

"That's simply not true," said Biden.

Trump continued with another unfounded claim: "Why is it, just out of curiosity, the mayor of Moscow's wife gave your son $3.5 million?" 

"None of that is true," Biden said again.

"He didn't get $3½ million?" Trump demanded. According to Politifact, there is no evidence that Hunter Biden had anything to do with the partnership deal in question.

This kind of sparring continued for several minutes, until Biden pivoted.

"Here's the deal. You want to talk about families and ethics? i don't want to do that. His family, we can talk about all night," Biden said, referring to Trump's adult children.

"My family lost a fortune coming down and helping with government," Trump shot back. "Every single one of them."

"This is not about my family. It's not about your family. It's about the American people," said Biden. 

Wallace then changed the subject. 

— Christina Wilkie

‘Are you in favor of law and order?’

VIDEO4:2304:23
Trump challenges Biden over stance on crime: 'Are you in favor of law and order?'

– Jeff Morganteen

'He's the racist'

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden participates in the first 2020 presidential campaign debate with U.S. President Donald Trump (not pictured), held on the campus of the Cleveland Clinic at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S., September 29, 2020.
Morry Gash | Reuters

The debate's intensity didn't die down, even an hour in. After Trump teed off on racial sensitivity training in the government, calling it "racist," Biden fired back and said: "He's the racist."

– Mike Calia

Biden and Trump battle over the economy

Both candidates took turns trumpeting their qualifications to navigate the U.S. economy through the Covid-19 pandemic.

Trump highlighted his business-friendly tax cuts and stock-market gains while Biden noted significant job creation while he was vice president in the Obama administration.

Trump: "When the stock market goes up, that means jobs. It also means 401(k)s."

Trump at Biden: "If you got in, ... if you ever became president with your ideas — you want to terminate my taxes [tax cuts], I'll tell you what. You'll lose half of the companies that have poured in here. ... They'll leave."

Biden: "We were able to have an economic recovery that created the jobs you're talking about. We handed him a booming economy. He blew it."

He continued: "Even before Covid, manufacturing went in the hole. Manufacturing went in the hole."

"I'm the guy that brought back the automobile industry. I was asked to bring back Chrysler and General Motors. We brought them back right here in the state of Ohio and Michigan. He blew it."

— Thomas Franck

Trump says he has paid 'millions of dollars' in federal income taxes

Trump pushed back on New York Times reporting that he paid just $750 per year in federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017.

"I paid millions of dollars in taxes, millions of dollars in income tax," Trump said.

Trump said he paid $38 million in taxes in one year, and $27 million in another.

"You'll see it as soon as it's finished, you'll see it," Trump said of his tax records.

Biden said the current tax code puts Trump in a position to take advantage of it.

"I'm going to eliminate those tax cuts. I'm going to help the people who need help," Biden said.

– Lorie Konish

VIDEO4:4304:43
Trump says he paid millions of dollars in federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017

YouTube homepage shows altered Joe Biden teleprompter ad during presidential debate

YouTube homepage displays Trump's altered video of Joe Biden ahead of presidential debate.
YouTube.com

YouTube's homepage is displaying a video of Biden reading off of a fake teleprompter on Tuesday evening.

The video advertisement by the Trump campaign shows a simulated teleprompter text and graphics over video clips of the Democratic candidate speaking. It alleges Biden "Can't Speak For Himself" and features a video clip of Fox News Anchor Dana Perino saying "Joe Biden possibly reading his responses from a teleprompter."

YouTube featured the video on its "masthead" through the night and it racked up more than 4.1 million views by the beginning of the debate. The company said it does not consider the fake teleprompter graphics as manipulated media.

"Our policies are meant to keep advertisers from running ads that are fundamentally edited to distort reality (like deepfakes, or photoshopped images)," company spokeswoman Charlotte Smith told CNBC in a statement. "This ad complies with our policies, and is logged in our Political Ads Transparency Report, as is the case with all political ads that run on our platforms."

It comes as the Google-owned company tries to contain misinformation and political bias ahead of a contentious U.S. election. The company approves all masthead advertisements before they go live.

Ahead of the first night of the presidential debates Tuesday, the Trump administration promoted a false theory that Biden would wear an electronic device in his ear during the  debate, which was amplified by conservative news outlets. Pew Research found this week that a quarter of U.S. adults get their news from YouTube.

– Jennifer Elias

Trump on holding rallies during Covid-19: We have had no problem whatsoever

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Trump on holding rallies during Covid-19: We have had no problem whatsoever

– Jeff Morganteen

Biden says Trump didn’t take Covid-19 seriously until it hit stocks

Biden swiped at Trump over the president's early handling of Covid-19, alleging that the administration only started to inform the public of the disease's severity when it hit the stock market.

"Do you believe for a moment what he's telling you in light of all the lies he's told you about the whole issue relating to Covid?" Biden asked. "He still hasn't even acknowledged that he knew this was happening — knew how dangerous it would be back in February — and he didn't even tell you."

"He panicked, or just looked at the stock market, one of the two," Biden added. "Because guess what? A lot of people died and a lot more are going to die unless he gets a lot smarter or a lot quicker."

– Thomas Franck

VIDEO4:1904:19
Biden slams Trump for putting pressure and disagreeing with his own scientists on Covid-19 vaccine timeline

'You would have lost far more'

VIDEO5:1905:19
Joe Biden and President Trump discuss Covid-19 in first debate: 'You would have lost far more'

— Jeff Morganteen

Biden loses patience with Trump

Biden appeared to lose his patience with Trump's aggressive interrupting style in the first 10 minutes of the debate. 

Biden had just been asked a question about whether or not he would "pack" the Supreme Court with more than nine justices, when Trump jumped in with personal insults. 

"You want radical left," Trump said. "Who is on your list? Who is on your list?" 

"Will you shut up, man," Biden replied. 

"You're not going to give a list," Trump interjected. 

"We have ended the segment," moderator Chris Wallace said.

– Christina Wilkie

'Will you shut up, man?'

VIDEO1:2401:24
Joe Biden and President Trump spar in first debate: 'Will you shut up, man?'

– Jeff Morganteen

Trump interrupts moderator Chris Wallace: 'I guess I'm debating you'

As moderator Chris Wallace asked the second question of the night, President Donald Trump interrupted the "Fox News Sunday" anchor who tried to keep the debate moving along.

Wallace began asking about health care, and Trump interrupted Wallace to dispute his line of questioning about having not introduced a comprehensive plan to replace the Affordable Care Act implemented by former President Barack Obama. Wallace continued to try to get through his question, asking Trump to let him finish.

After a few moments of cross-talk, Trump said, "I guess I'm debating you, not him," referring to Democratic nominee Joe Biden. 

— Lauren Feiner

Early fireworks

The debate had barely begun before Trump and Biden locked horns.Asked about the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to fill Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's seat on the Supreme Court, Trump began by arguing he had every right to do so. "We won the election," Trump said. "Elections have consequences."

Biden responded: "The American people have a right to have a say … 'we should wait.'"

Trump jumped in before the former vice president had finished his answer. The two candidates started sparring, first over Barrett's record but quickly moving on to other territory.

Moderator Wallace jumped in after a few exchanges, and himself began to bicker with Trump.

"Please let the vice president talk," Wallace admonished Trump at one point.

The two men continued to interrupt each other. "Would you shut up, man?" Biden snapped at Trump.

As Wallace moved onto the coronavirus, Biden said with a laugh: "That was really a productive segment." 

–Kevin Breuninger

'He has no plan for health care'

"The fact is this man doesn't know what he's talking about," Biden said about Trump after an extended argument over Obamacare and health insurance in general.

– Mike Calia

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Biden on Trump's healthcare plan: He does not have a plan and doesn't know what he is talking about

Trump and Biden open first debate with question on future of Supreme Court and Affordable Care Act

VIDEO5:1005:10
Trump and Biden open first debate with question on future of Supreme Court and Affordable Care Act

First question is about the Supreme Court

Moderator Chris Wallace wasted no time in getting to the major story of the moment, beyond Trump's tax returns: the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.

– Mike Calia

The state of the economy and markets

Biden and Trump will take the stage with the U.S. economy in a far different state than it was four years ago as growth continues to rebound after a short-lived, but dramatic recession earlier in 2020.

Though most economists expect U.S. GDP to post double-digit growth in the third calendar quarter, an uptick in Covid-19 cases at the end of September has some worried that the disease could force governments to reimpose business closures to help slow the spread of the pandemic.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell has also cautioned that without additional stimulus from Congress, unemployed Americans could finally deplete their savings toward the end of 2020 and curb not only their discretionary spending but face more serious problems like paying for housing.

  • The U.S. unemployment rate is 8.4%
  • Those claiming unemployment (two weeks or more): 12.58 million
  • Total U.S. debt: $26.8 trillion
  • Atlanta Fed's GDPNow model growth for Q3: 32%
  • Goldman Sachs GDP growth forecast for Q4: 3%
  • S&P 500 gain in 2020: 3.2%
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average loss in 2020: 3.8%

– Thomas Franck

The stock market cares most about taxes, but not Trump's

The market focus of the debate will be squarely on what Joe Biden has to say about raising taxes.

"What we're trying to get at in this debate is when does Biden want to raise taxes. Getting that clarity would be important," said Dan Clifton, head of Strategas policy research.

The former vice president proposes raising taxes on the rich and corporations. He would also raise the tax on capital gains, something some analysts say could prompt investors to sell stock holdings should he win the election, to avoid higher taxes in the future.

Biden would raise the corporate tax rate to 28% from 21%. Some analysts say it's likely Biden would not raise taxes immediately, and instead let the economy heal before seeking increases.

Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial, said if Biden were to focus on helping the economy recover before raising taxes that would be straight from former President Barack Obama's playbook. But she said the market is worried that a Biden victory could help Democrats sweep the Senate. With congressional control, Democrats could easily implement tax increases and other policies that could hurt corporate profits.

She said this debate is very important since Americans are already voting. "If Biden does very well and it's a clear knockout, the market could go lower," she said.  

Patti Domm

Debate holds the promise of a huge fundraising bump

Both Biden's campaign and Trump's operation know the debates carry the promise of a huge fundraising bump, and they're each going after that money in their own signature ways. 

In the past 24 hours, the Trump campaign has sent at least nine text message donation requests and a handful of emails. Most of them are hyperbolic, and some are openly dishonest, like promising donors that Trump will be personally handed a list with that donor's name on it right before he takes the stage in Cleveland.

The Biden campaign is taking a gentler approach, with just one text this morning that opened with, "It's Joe. Hope I didn't catch you too early." 

But these contrasting styles belie what's really going on in the 2020 presidential money race.

In reality, Biden's campaign is on a fundraising juggernaut, having raised a record-setting $364.5 million in August together with its joint Democratic committees. Trump, meanwhile, has watched his $300 million plus fundraising advantage disappear over the past nine months. A lot of Trump's reversal of fortune has been driven by the coronavirus pandemic. But not in the ways you might think. 

CNBC took a deep look at how the pandemic has changed the nuts and bolts of campaign fundraising and spending this year.

– Christina Wilkie

What Biden needs to do

Biden has spent nearly a week diligently preparing for what is likely to be one of the most watched presidential debates in modern history. Read more here.

– Christina Wilkie

The debate stage is set for U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden to participate in the first presidential debate at the Health Education Campus of Case Western Reserve University on September 29, 2020 in Cleveland, Ohio.
Win McNamee | Getty Images

What Trump needs to do

Despite his incumbent advantage, Trump may not be heading in with the upper hand. Read more here.

– Kevin Breuninger

Biden jokes about false earpiece and drug test conspiracy theories

The Biden campaign poked fun at a seemingly coordinated conspiracy that popped up on social media earlier Tuesday, which falsely alleged the former VP would be using a hidden earpiece and performance-enhancing drugs in the debate.

"It's debate night, so I've got my earpiece and performance enhancers ready," Biden's campaign account tweeted, accompanied by a picture of … iPod earbuds and a carton of ice cream.

It's unclear whether the pint of Salted Peanut Butter with Chocolate Flecks will boost Biden's performance – but the choice of Jeni's, an artisan ice cream maker headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, might win over some in the Cleveland debate hall tonight. 

– Kevin Breuninger

Biden leads Trump in national polls ahead of debate

Biden led Trump in national polling averages ahead of their first presidential debate.

Biden, who's polled ahead of his Republican rival for months, now leads Trump by 6.1 percentage points, according to an average calculated by RealClearPolitics.comFiveThirtyEight's national polling tracker gave Biden a 7.1-point advantage, while NBC News' average showed the Democrat with an 8.1-point lead.

— Thomas Franck

What voters want to hear

CNBC talked to voters in swing states about what they want to hear from President Donald Trump and Joe Biden on Tuesday night. Not surprisingly, coronavirus, the economy and racial inequality topped their list. Read more here.

– Thomas Franck

Biden earpiece conspiracy theory looks coordinated

NBC News' Ben Collins is reporting that a coordinated conspiracy theory about Biden planning to wear an electronic device in his ear, and then declining to be inspected for an earpiece, popped up across social media hours before tonight's debate. The theory spread far and wide, including on Facebook, YouTube and Fox News. The Trump campaign also pushed it. Read the full NBC story here

– Mike Calia

Trump and Biden reveal debate guests

Trump and Biden officials both revealed the names of some of the guests they have invited to the debate – an early indication of the starkly different ways the two candidates are approaching the event.

A press release from the Biden campaign listed three guests, including Kristin Urquiza, an environmental activist whose father died of Covid-19. Urquiza was highlighted at the Democratic National Convention. Biden is also bringing Gurneé Green, a small business owner from Cleveland Heights, and James Evanoff Jr., a Cleveland-based service technician and yearslong member of the United Steel Workers union.

The president's guests include his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, and Ultimate Fighting Championship fighter Colby Covington, a senior Trump campaign official told reporters on Air Force One, according to a White House pool report.

– Kevin Breuninger

Biden campaign warns Trump on Hunter Biden

Trump is widely expected to bring up allegations against Biden's son, Hunter Biden, in the debate.

In an email sent out Tuesday morning, the Trump campaign compiled a list of 17 questions Joe Biden "must answer in the debate." First among them: a question about an allegation from a GOP-led Senate report on Hunter Biden, which accused him of receiving a $3.5 million wire transfer from the wife of the former mayor of Moscow. A lawyer for Hunter Biden has denied the allegation.

Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden attend an NCAA basketball game between Georgetown University and Duke University in Washington, January 30, 2010.
Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

Ahead of the debate, Biden's campaign fired a warning shot to Trump.

"Joe Biden is ready for anything. But if Donald Trump goes there, it will backfire," said Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates in a statement.

"The country is reeling from the pandemic because of Donald Trump's erratic leadership, which has plunged our economy into the worst downturn in 90 years. We don't but that even Donald Trump is stupid enough to think he can dodge these emergencies with smears about Hunter Biden," Bates said.

He added: "For Donald Trump to demonstrate that the only case he can make for himself is to lash out at Joe Biden's children would be the ultimate admission that his presidency is a weak, pathetic failure."

– Kevin Breuninger

Biden releases his 2019 tax returns

Joe Biden released his 2019 tax returns today, revealing that he and Jill Biden paid an effective rate of 31% on their income last year. 

The Bidens reported $944,737 in taxable income in 2019 and paid $299,346 in federal income taxes. They also reported making $14,700 in charitable contributions.

It's no accident that the Biden campaign decided to drop the tax returns today. Candidates' tax returns are always sensitive, and campaign strategists aim to release them when they will help the candidate the most – or, if the returns amount to a political liability, when they'll hurt the candidate the least.

For Biden, it's hard to imagine a better time to release his own returns than Tuesday afternoon, two days after The New York Times published a bombshell investigation on Trump's tax returns, showing that the president paid just $750 in individual federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017.

Expect Biden to use Trump's tax details on the debate stage as Exhibit A in Biden's argument that Trump represents Park Avenue while Biden represents the hard-working, blue-collar people of Scranton, his Pennsylvania hometown. 

– Christina Wilkie

Welcome to CNBC's debate live blog

Follow along with us tonight as CNBC.com reporters and editors contribute to our live blog of the first presidential debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden. After weeks of attacks, posturing and expectations-setting, Trump and Biden will finally face each other as they attempt to sway a diminishing pool of undecided voters. Election Day is Nov. 3, but many people are already casting their ballots. Tonight's debate, the first of three between the two men, could be a tipping point.

The debate begins at 9 p.m. ET.

– Mike Calia