CNN laid out new rules for the presidential debate it will be hosting between Donald Trump and Joe Biden on June 27th, including a provision that they will mute the candidates’ microphones until their allotted speaking times and will promptly switch them off again when their time is up.

“Microphones will be muted throughout the debate except for the candidate designated to speak,” the memo reads, which was provided by CNN to the presidential campaigns and was obtained by The New York Times.

The venue will not grant time for the candidates to have opening statements, and each candidate will have two minutes to answer questions, with one-minute rebuttals and then one-minute responses to the rebuttals.

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When the candidates have five seconds on the clock, a red light will flash indicating that their microphone is about to turn off. The light will flash solid red when their turn has ended.

There will be two commercial breaks allowing the candidates to take pauses, but they will not be permitted to speak with their advisors.

The debate, scheduled to last 90 minutes, will take place in Atlanta, Georgia, and will be moderated by Jake Tapper and Dana Bash. The memo from CNN says that “moderators will use all tools at their disposal to enforce timing and ensure a civilized discussion.”

The former chief of staff of the Biden administration, Ron Klain, will be preparing Joe for the debate. According to sources spoke to by The New York Times, Klain aims to prepare candidates by predicting what types of questions will be asked.


Shane Devine is a writer covering politics and business for VT and a regular guest on The Unusual Suspects. Follow Shane’s work here.

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