National and election security discussed in final presidential debate

Presidential Debates

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (NewsNation Now) — Domestic issues of the pandemic, economy and race in America have been key issues in the 2020 presidential election. National security hasn’t received as much attention until Thursday night, when President Donald Trump and Democratic Nominee faced off in the final debate before the Nov. 3 election.

The section of the debate began with the news announced Wednesday by the U.S. government that Iran and Russia had taken actions to interfere with the election, ranging from obtaining voter registration information to sending emails meant to intimidate American voters and sow unrest.

Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said the two countries took “specific actions” to manipulate public opinion regarding the election, particularly on the internet.

Ratcliffe said Iran has sent “spoof emails” to intimidate voters. Additionally, Iran is distributing other content to say individuals could cast fraudulent ballots from overseas. He called the actions “desperate attempts by desperate adversaries.”

The two also discussed President Trump’s tax returns and New York Post articles on purported emails from Hunter Biden that allegedly link the former vice president to his son’s business arrangements in Ukraine.

The section of the debate also touched on U.S./China relations.

Trade, technology and health relations with China have become a key national security discussion in the last year. A trade dispute between the two countries hurt several industries, including America’s farmers and agriculture sectors. The popular China-based TikTok app was nearly banned in U.S. until a proposal was announced for American software firm Oracle to become a technology platform.

They also discussed threats from North Korea.

After the six topics for the debate were announced, President Trump’s campaign asked the Commission on Presidential Debates to include “Foreign Policy” as a topic in the debate.

“We write with great concern over the announced topics for what was always billed as the ‘Foreign Policy Debate’ in the series of events agreed to by both the Trump campaign and Biden campaign many months ago,” campaign manager Bill Stepien wrote in the letter.

Watch this section of the debate in the player above.

This is one of six topics planned for Thursday’s debate, including Fighting COVID-19, American Families, Race in America, Climate Change, National Security and Leadership.

The debate features six 15-minute segments with two-minutes of uninterrupted opening statements. During the two-minute period, NBC News White House correspondent Kristen Welker will mute the microphone of the candidate who is not supposed to speak.

The open discussion portion, which counts for the other 11 minutes of each segment, will not feature a mic-muting option, though the commission noted that “time taken up during any interruptions will be returned to the other candidate.”

The nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates announced the rule changes Monday in an effort to combat frequent interruptions seen in the first debate. In a statement, the commission said it “had determined that it is appropriate to adopt measures intended to promote adherence to agreed-upon rules and inappropriate to make changes to those rules.”

NewsNation provided unedited sections of the debate all night, so you can see what both sides said.

For more election coverage, tune in to NewsNation and download the NewsNation Now app.

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