Live Updates
  • Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump faced off for their first debate tonight at 9pm EST/2am BST from Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York.
  • The 90 minute debate, moderated by NBC's Lester Holt, was divided into six 15-minute sections devoted to different issues chosen by Holt.
  • Third-party candidates Gary Johnson (Libertarian Party) and Jill Stein (Green Party) did not participate in the debate.
  • Five general election polls, released on Monday (26 September), show mixed results. Three of the polls have Clinton leading by as much as 7%, one poll has Trump ahead by 4% and one shows both nominees tied at 46%.
  • Read the complete IBTimes UK guide to tonight's debate here.
Clinton vs Trump
The first US presidential debate, between Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump, is one of the high points of the campaign, six weeks from the 8 November elections. JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images

That's a wrap of the first presidential debate between Clinton and Trump. Thanks for following our coverage and stay tuned for more on the candidates and how they did tonight.

Final question: Will the candidates accept the outcome of the election?

Clinton says she will. But she asks for support because she believes livelihoods and families depend on it.

Trump responds: "I want to make America great again."

Now Trump says Clinton "doesn't have the look ... doesn't have the stamina to be president." Clinton takes the opportunity to attack Trump's insults about women, referring to one of his comments about a beauty pageant contestant as "Miss Piggy."

Trump asks her: "Where did you get that?" and tells her she is not being "very nice."

A poll conducted by Monmouth University just last week found that 61% if respondents didn't think Trump "has the right temperament to be president" while 39% said the same of Clinton.

Trump reassures Holt and listeners: "I would certainly not do first [nuclear] strike."

As for judgment, Clinton quotes Trump, referring to sailors taken captive by Iran, as saying: "You know if they taunted our sailors, I'd blow them out of the water."

She adds: "The worst has been about nuclear weapons. He has said repeatedly that he does not care if other countries got nuclear weapons.

"His cavalier attitude about nuclear weapons is so deeply troubling. A man who could be provoked with a tweet should not have his finger anywhere near the button."

Trump: "That line is getting a little bit old."

Clinton: "It's a good one, though."

Trump maintains that he did not support the Iraq War. But as Holt points out, the record reveals the opposite. Interviews that Trump gave before and after the war show he supported the invasion of Iraq. CNN reported that he only began opposing the invasion when US forces got caught up fighting Iraqi insurgents.

In an interview with radio host Howard Stern a month after Congress voted to authorised the use of military force in Iraq, Trump was asked if he supported the invasion. "Yeah, I guess so," he said. "You know, I wish the first time it was done correctly."

Three months later, he was asked about Iraq by Fox News and he responded that Iraq was a problem but did not state his opposition. His first comments against the way came in 2004, CNN reported.

Trump: "I have much better judgment than her, no question about that.

"I also have a much better temperament. I have a winning temperament."

Asked about cyber attacks, Clinton lashes operations orchestrated by states like Russia and "organs of state," and refers to Trump's praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin (at which Trump says into his microphone: "Wrong.")

Clinton adds: "That's why I was so shocked when Trump invited Russians to hack into American" online communication, again pointing to Trump's unsuitability to be president.

Trump responds that he was endorsed by more than 200 admirals and generals "and many more are coming." So "when Secretary Clinton says this... I'll take the admirals and the generals over the political hacks." Trump also casts doubt on the notion that the hacking of Democratic National Committee emails was Russia-backed. He says it may have been China, or bizarrely, a "400-pound person sitting on their bed."

Holt refuses to let Trump off the hook when he again accuses Clinton of launching the so-called "birther" rumour that President Obama was born in Africa. Trump takes credit for forcing Obama to release his birth certificate — but Holt reminds him that he continued to discredit the president's birth certificate for years after Obama released it in 2011.

According to statistics quoted in the federal court case, under the "stop and frisk" policy, New York City police stopped Black citizens 52% of the time, Hispanics 31%, and whites 10%, even though Blacks made up only 23% of the city population, Hispanics 29%, and whites 33%.

"We need law and order," says Trump.

He touts the "stop and frisk" policing strategy which allows police to search pedestrians at will. Holt reminds Trump that the programme was declared unconstitutional in federal court in New York because it disproportionately targeted blacks and Hispanics.

"No you're wrong," says Trump, adding: "It went before a judge who was a very against-police judge."

Holt moves on to the issue of race relations. Clinton calls for restoring trust between communities and police forces, training police officers, encouraging respect by the law and for the law, as well as criminal justice reform and policing reform.

Meanwhile, Trump blames violence on minority communities, particularly undocumented immigrants. The GOP nominee also called for a spread of stop and frisk, which has been a controversial move by law enforcement agencies.

Trump says he's opening a hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue which connects the White House and the Capitol in Washington DC. "So if I don't get there one way, I'll get there another," he quips.

Earlier tonight, Trump claimed he did not blame China for climate change. His Twitter feed says otherwise:

presidential debate
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speak during the Presidential Debate at Hofstra University on September 26, 2016 in Hempstead, New York. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Clinton says she suspects Trump isn't releasing his tax returns, which is standard practice for presidential candidates, because he 1.) may not be as rich as he says he is, 2.) isn't as charitable as he implies and 3.) may be hiding business deals.

She also suspects that he may not be paying any federal income tax.

"That makes me smart," Trump interjects.

Lester Holt asks Trump why he hasn't released his tax returns. Trump responds: "I don't mind releasing. I'm under a standard [IRS] audit and when the audit is done I will release."

Holt reminds him that he's "perfectly free" to release his returns while he is being audited.

Clinton: I have a feeling by the end of the night I'm going to be blamed for everything.

Trump: Why not?

Trump started out calmly but he's getting increasingly angry and talking over Lester Holt.

Trump charged Clinton with trying to fight "Isis your entire life."

Clinton, smiling, said: "Fact checkers, get to work."

Donald, I know you live in your own reality.

- Hillary Clinton

Trump's reference to the "small" loan that launched his empire was a $1 million loan (£770,000) from his dad.

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are on stage and ready for the first segment on: Achieving prosperity with a focus on jobs and putting more money in American workers' pockets.

Clinton calls for: building an economy; higher minimum wage; equal pay for equal work; profit sharing; paid family leave; affordable childcare

Trump, meanwhile, focuses losing jobs to Mexico and China. The GOP nominee says he and Clinton may agree on issues such as paid family leave but not on the numbers. He turns back to losing American jobs to other countries. Calls for reducing taxes for businesses to create jobs.

In response to Trump's remarks, Clinton notes that the US needs trade and that his tax cuts would be trickle down economics and would not grow the economy.

Holt asks Trump how he plans to bring back American companies to the US. Trump avoids answering the question and says Clinton and other politicians are responsible for companies leaving the US. When Holt asks him to come back to the question, Trump says the first issue to tackle is making sure companies do not leave in the first place.

Trump releases stealth campaign ad just before debate using a Clinton tactic: using the candidate's own words against her, hammering at her comments calling some Trump backers "deplorables" and wondering why she isn't "50 points ahead."

NBC interviewer Matt Lauer was harshly criticized in the press for failing to challenge Donald Trump's loose command of the facts at the Commander-in-Chief forum earlier in September featuring both candidates.

The debate, hosted by NBC and moderated by Lester Holt, will be broadcast on C-SPAN, ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and Bloomberg TV. While other television networks will fact-check the candidates' statements in their post-debate coverage, Bloomberg TV has committed to calling out errors or lies in real-time.

In addition, the debate will be monitored online in real time by and PolitiFact. fact check the candidates' statements in real time.

The Clinton campaign has said she shouldn't have to spend her time refereeing Trump's comments, but the Trump campaign has said the moderator should simply ask questions and keep candidates to their time limits.

"I really don't appreciate campaigns thinking it is the job of the media to go and be these virtual fact-checkers, and that these debate moderators should somehow do their bidding," said Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway.

The candidates' families have entered the debate room, including former President Bill Clinton. A number of other key people in each campaign have also filed in, including Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

Tonight's moderator, NBC's Lester Holt, has revealed the three themes of the debate: "America's Direction," "Achieving Prosperity" and "Securing America".

According to the Wall Street Journal, the debate's audience is being asked to remain quiet. There is to be no clapping, yelling or other interruptions during the commercial-free 90-minute debate.

Other rules for the debate, per the Commission on Presidential Debates:

The moderator will open each segment with a question, after which each candidate will have two minutes to respond. Candidates will then have an opportunity to respond to each other. The moderator will use the balance of the time in the segment for a deeper discussion of the topic.

Bill Clinton's former lover Gennifer Flowers will not be in the debate audience after all, according to Donald Trump aides, who said their candidate was just kidding when he vowed to invite her.

Trump threatened a Flowers invitation in retaliation if Hillary Clinton's billionaire supporter and Trump nemesis Mark Cuban was going to attend.

It probably would not have won over any female voters to attempt to make the point that what Bill Clinton did was somehow Hillary Clinton's fault (though that's just what Trump has claimed in the past).

In addition, Trump would have been hurling stones from a glass house. Not only has he frequently boasted about his playboy ways, he very publicly cheated on wife Ivana with Marla Maples before making Maples his second wife, notes the Washington Post.

Welcome to IBTimes UK's live coverage of tonight's presidential debate between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump. The two are locked in a fierce battle for the White House as Election Day looms just six weeks ahead.

Clinton's once comfortable lead has narrowed severely in the last couple of weeks. Several general election polls released today reveal just how close the race has become. The LA Times/USC Tracking poll has Trump ahead by 4%, while polls by NBC News/SM, Monmouth University and Quinnipiac University place Clinton ahead by as much as 7%. Just one poll, by Bloomberg, has the two tied at 46%.

The two candidates also enter the debate with historically high unfavourablity ratings. Republican Judd Gregg told POLITICO: "I think the person who wins this debate is the candidate who is able to increase their likeability and, at the same time, is able to have Americans see them as a leader who will take the country in a positive direction."