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Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton Battle Again in Second Presidential Debate 2016: Everything That Happened

The second 2016 presidential debate is behind us (much like a certain GOP candidate just might be)! Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton battled it out on Sunday, October 9, as the #TrumpTapes controversy continues to rock the nation. And fear not: Plenty of time during the debate was spent discussing Trump’s shocking comments about women to Billy Bush that were caught by a hot mic in 2005.

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Here is Us Weekly‘s by-the-minute roundup of everything that happened during the tense event, moderated by Anderson Cooper and Martha Raddatz. Be sure to start reading at the bottom if you want to get it in chronological order. 

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10:44 p.m. ET: And finally, incredibly, the discussion ended on a positive note — albeit a begrudging one. An audience member asked each candidate to “name one positive thing you respect in one another,” and we’ve gotta give both Clinton and Trump credit here for doing their best.

Clinton, for her part, complimented Trump’s children.

“His children are incredibly able and devoted, and I think that says a lot about Donald,” she remarked. She then ended her time on stage with some more familiar messaging about her intentions if elected.

And Trump? Although he couldn’t resist suggesting that Clinton’s compliment wasn’t really a compliment, he said he respected his opponent’s refusal to quit: “A very good trait.”

And despite a very, very tough 90 minutes, the event ended better than it began: With their time on stage officially finished, the candidates shook hands. 

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10:39 p.m. ET: After a relatively uneventful round of questioning about the Supreme Court, the second-to-last question in this wildly contentious debate was quieter: How will these candidates meet our energy needs? (Let’s all thank a certain Ken Bone for offering that question — and providing the debate with one of its key memes.)

Trump’s reply is, unsurprisingly, an attack at the outset:

“Hillary Clinton wants to put all the miners out of business.”

However, he did have some meatier specifics: Namely, Trump intends to pay off every deficit in the U.S. with energy — whereas he believes the current climate is putting our best energy industries out of business.

Clinton’s reply mirrored Trump in that it also focused natural gas, and the importance of being energy-independent (i.e., not dependent on Middle Eastern oil to keep our country running). Her plan: to channel resources into clean, renewable energy while revitalizing our current industries, i.e. coal. As always, she urged people to go to her website to check out her plan.

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10:31 p.m. ET: The question of Trump’s temperament ended up front and center once again after the moderators brought up the subject of his recent middle-of-the-night tweetstorm (including the memorable phrase “Check out sex tape”). Trump’s response? For one, he wanted to point out that it’s quite presidential to be awake at 3 a.m. in the first place — you know, to answer that ringing phone that was ubiquitous in campaign ads the last time around.

His final word on the subject, and on tweeting in general: “I’m not un-proud of it, to be honest with you.”

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10:26 p.m. ET: The conversation veers to foreign and military policy: What are we doing about Aleppo? What should be done?

Clinton responded with an answer focusing on the need to negotiate from a position of power — but also with a wee jab at Wikileaks.

“What is at stake here is the ambitions and aggressiveness of Russia,” she said. “They’ve also decided who they want to see become president of the United States too, and it’s not me.”

Her plan? “I would go to the negotiating table with more leverage than we have now,” said Clinton. But she said she supports an effort to investigate the apparent war crimes currently taking place at the hands of Russian and Syrian leadership.

Trump replied, consistently, by attacking Clinton first:

“Everything she’s done in foreign policy has been a mistake — it’s been a disaster,” he said. But the real surprise came when he disagreed not with Clinton, but with his own running mate. After a repeat of the question and a reminder that Mike Pence, the GOP vice presidential nominee, stated in his debate vs. Tim Kaine that the U.S. should be prepared to fight against the Assad regime, Trump’s reply was actually slightly shocking:

“We haven’t spoken, and I disagree.”

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Did Trump just admit on live national television that he and his running mate aren’t talking?

The rest of the GOP candidate’s answer was familiar — namely, that he feels we’re giving away too much information by announcing military strategy, rather than bombing places like Mosul in secret.

Meanwhile, on redirect, Clinton went into additional detail about how she would and wouldn’t approach the problem of Aleppo.

“I would not use American ground forces in Syria,” she said. “I don’t think American troops should be holding territory as an occupying force.”

Clinton supports more tactical involvement: special forces, enablers and trainers. She also hopes that by the time she becomes president, ISIS will have been pushed out of Iraq. And she supports an alliance with Kurdish forces, although she acknowledged it’s controversial.

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10:05 p.m. ET: A question from the audience: What would our candidates do to make sure that the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share of taxes?

“One thing I’d do is get rid of carried interest,” Trump replied — which was the first and only specific plan he outlined before pivoting into attack mode. His complaint, roughly, was that Clinton is at fault for not changing the tax code while she was a senator, which he accused her of doing so that she can now use the money she made to run negative campaign ads against him. (This would require a near-magical level of foresight on Clinton’s part, but let’s just go with it.)

Clinton’s response was the same one she’s used multiple times throughout the night — for which she apologized.

“Well, everything you’ve just heard from Donald is not true. I’m sorry I have to keep saying it.”

Her answer referenced the Buffett Rule — a popular bit of the tax plan proposed by President Barack Obama in 2011 — and a surcharge on folks making more than $5 million per year. She also took this opportunity to remind the audience, and the nation, that Trump may well not have paid a penny in federal income tax for 20 years — along with underscoring who loses out (soldiers, children, the elderly) as a result.

Trump’s rebuttal was another bold claim:

“I understand the tax code better than anyone who’s ever run for president.”

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9:52 p.m. ET: The question is, “How will you fight Islamophobia?”

Trump’s answer is: RADICAL ISLAMIC TERROR. As in, he wants our leaders to say these words — and intends to say them as president. What does this have to do with combating bigotry toward peaceful, nonterrorist American Muslims? It’s not entirely clear, but his answer briefly bumped up against the idea that cooperation from the Muslim community (in the form of reporting their radicalized members) is our first step toward getting along.

Clinton’s response was more on-topic, and hit on some very fundamental American ideals.

“We’ve had Muslims in America since George Washington,” she said. “My vision of America is one where everyone has a place, if you’re willing to work hard, do your part and contribute to the community.” She also described it as “very shortsighted and even dangerous” to say the kinds of things Trump has about Muslims, when we need them on our side to combat terrorism at home.

“I intend to defeat ISIS, to do so in a coalition with majority Muslim nations,” she said, going on to make the point that comments like Trump’s alienate our potential allies. “We are not at war with Islam, and it is a mistake — and it plays into the hands of the terrorists — to act as though we are.”

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9:41 p.m. ET: Topic: ObamaCare. There was more friction at the start of the question as Cooper tried to give the first response to Clinton (who was talked over by Trump for much of her prior answer); she declined, and then Trump stepped in: “You can go first — I’m a gentleman.”

Clinton admitted at the start that not everything about the Affordable Care Act is working; among other things, premiums have gotten out of control. However, she doesn’t want to completely repeal the plan; Trump does. His message: “Repeal and replace.”

If you ignore his repeated midsentence sidebars to call ObamaCare “a fraud,” this is, in fact, the most substantive answer Trump has given so far tonight. His argument is that encouraging competition among insurance companies, including opening up the system across state lines, will bring prices down and quality up. 

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9:32 p.m. ET: For the past 10 to 15 minutes, Trump has essentially ignored the moderators’ questions, taking the kitchen sink approach to debating Clinton: He’s attacked her on everything from her work as a defense lawyer, to her husband’s problems with women, to her senatorial campaign, to her email scandal. But hey, we’ve seen most of this before. What might just be unprecedented: a straight-up threat from Trump about his plans to nail Clinton to the wall if and when he becomes president.

“If I win, I am going to instruct a special prosecutor to look into your situation,” he said, referring to Clinton’s email scandal. (Is that constitutional, given she’s already been investigated?)

Clinton mostly refused to take the bait, despite many, many attempts by her opponent to get under her skin. However, at one point — smiling but also visibly annoyed — she shot back, “I know you’re into big diversion tonight — anything to avoid talking about your campaign and how it’s exploding and how Republicans are leaving you.”

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9:24 p.m. ET: The second question was the one we’ve all been waiting for, and moderator Anderson Cooper didn’t hold back.

“You bragged that you sexually assaulted women. Do you understand that?” he asked of Trump.

To be fair, there’s no answer Trump could give to this question that would make him look good — only one that might have made him look slightly less bad. This, alas, was not that answer.

“This is locker room talk,” the GOP candidate replied before pivoting into a lengthy diatribe about ISIS — who are “really bad” — and his intent to defeat the terrorist group. (Pro tip: When you’ve gotta compare yourself to ISIS to make yourself look good, you probably … shouldn’t.)

Called back on topic by the moderator, the rest of Trump’s response was of a kind that we’ve heard him say throughout this campaign: “I have great respect for women — no one has more respect for women than I do.”

Clinton, given her turn, compared Trump to other political opponents she’s faced.

“I never questioned their fitness to serve,” she said. “Donald Trump is different.”

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9:12 p.m. ET: The tone has been set: Clinton not only politely declined to shake Trump’s hand upon taking the stage, she looked at it like she wanted us all to think very hard about what he may or may not have grabbed with that hand back in 2005. However, the first question was only an oblique reference at best to Trump’s taped remarks, which have dominated the news cycle since Friday, October 9. The candidates were asked: Do you think you — and your campaign — have been a role model for children?

Clinton went first:

“I think it’s important to make clear to our children that our country is great because we’re good.”

What does that mean to the Democratic nominee? Respect, diversity, collaboration and, of course, her campaign slogan: Stronger together.

Trump’s response was a bit of a surprise:

“Well, I actually agree with that. I agree with everything she said,” he said, although he didn’t talk about his own campaign’s positions. Instead, the somewhat meandering response was a long complaint about the shortcomings of ObamaCare, the Iran deal and our trade deficit. 

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8:30 p.m. ET: The candidates haven’t taken the stage yet, but Trump may have tipped his hand as to just where and how he wants to hit Clinton in tonight’s debate. The GOP candidate, who is still under serious fire for his 2005 caught-on-a-hot-mic remarks about groping women, held a press conference shortly before the event with Paula Jones, Juanita Broaddrick, Kathleen Willey and Kathy Shelton. The first three women had previously accused Clinton’s husband, former president Bill Clinton, of assault and/or unwanted sexual advances; the latter was the 12-year-old victim of a rapist who Hillary Clinton was assigned to defend during her days as a court-appointed attorney.

Trump didn’t take questions during the conference, but the four women have evidently been saved seats at the second presidential debate tonight, lending additional weight to the rumor that Trump intends to take a figurative swing at Clinton by going after her husband’s checkered past.

8 p.m. ET: If you thought the first 2016 presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton was intense, buckle up for round 2! With the GOP candidate’s recently leaked 2005 comments to Billy Bush continuing to dominate headlines, the second debate on Sunday, October 9, is sure to make the feathers fly. 

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The debate starts at 9 p.m. ET and will air on all major television networks, and you can also catch it above in our livestream. As with previous debates, this event will run for 90 minutes without commercial interruptions — but unlike the prior ones, this will be a town hall event, which means the candidates will be mingling with and taking questions directly from the audience, rather than being confined behind their respective podiums.

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images / Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The debate’s first questions are likely to focus on the #TrumpTapes scandal, as the candidate’s lewd remarks to Access Hollywood‘s then-anchor Bush were picked up by a hot mic back in 2005 and surfaced on Friday, October 7. The comments, which included the real estate mogul boasting about hitting on Nancy O’Dell and groping women, have led some members of Trump’s own party to call for him to exit the race, although the former Apprentice host says he won’t drop out. 

The task of keeping the candidates on message in the first showdown fell to just one man, Lester Holt, but the October 9 event will be helmed by both Martha Raddatz, coanchor of This Week on ABC, and Anderson Cooper of CNN. 

In addition to fielding handpicked questions from members of the 900-person audience, the moderators will be looking to social media for guidance on which issues the American public wants to see Clinton and Trump address. Therefore, this debate, compared to the policy-heavy first one, will likely center a lot more on social issues, including abortion and LGBT rights; it also means we’re likely to see more discussion of racial bias and/or violence in policing.

The second 2016 presidential debate airs live on all major networks on Sunday, October 9, at 9 p.m. ET. 

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