US presidential debate: Trump may reject election result

Wednesday's third and final live televised US presidential debate saw Republican candidate Donald Trump refuse to confirm he would accept the outcome of the 8 November election. Pollsters say opponent Democrat Hillary Clinton clinched win. Read on for the candidate's key statements.

Illustration of US election campaign
An unapologetic Mr Trump went head-to-head with Mrs Clinton for the last time in a tempestuous 90-minute-long televised debate that concluded with his claims the election is rigged and coloured by recent allegations against Mr Trump of sexual assault.The Republican candidate's apparent distrust of the integrity of the US electoral system came after a discussion that focused more on personal attacks and personalities, as well as accusation of and outright lies, in what has been a negative, often outrageous, campaign.The high-stakes debate, held in Las Vegas and moderated by Chris Wallace of Fox News, recalled Mr Trump's controversial statements from earlier in the campaign, including buttressing the US's borders, the right to abortion and the punishment of women who have them, as well as Mr Trump's racist views.Mrs Clinton too was questioned on her record, particularly on the the issue of missing emails and her record in public office. Observers and polls nevertheless handed a steely and calm Mrs Clinton the debate victory following the broadcast.

Round 1: Trump's v Clinton's vision of the US

Mr Wallace invited Mrs Clinton to reply to the opening question on the role and nature of the Supreme Court.Landing blows early on her opponent in the context of the recent harassment claims and abortion debate, Mrs Clinton had the opportunity to paint a positive vision of a Supreme Court that protected the rights of women and acted in the interest of the American people rather than large corporations.Mr Trump's response to the question on how he would uphold the American constitution focused on gun control and the second amendment, as well as restating the apology Supreme Court judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg offered for commenting on a candidate for public office in July following her calling Mr Trump "a faker". 

Round 2: Trump v Clinton on abortion and rights of women

Mr Trump was asked by Mr Wallace to respond first to the question of whether under his presidency Mr Trump would expect the justices he would appoint to overturn Roe v Wade, which includes a woman's right to abortion."If that would happen, because I am pro-life and because I would appoint pro-life judges, I think that would go back to the individual states," said Mr Trump.Asked to clarify his position by Mr Wallace, Mr Trump continued: "If we put another two or perhaps three justices on, that will happen. And that will happen automatically in my opinion because I'm putting pro-life justices on the court. I will say this, it will go back to the states and the states will then make a determination."In response, Mrs Clinton confirmed her strong commitment to Roe v Wade and a woman's right to make decisions about her health. She went further to add "so many states are already putting in place stringent legislation that blocks them from exercising that choice.""I've been to countries where governments forced women to have abortions like they did in China or force women to bear children like they used to do in Romania," Mrs Clinton continued. "I can tell you the government has no business in the decisions that women make with their families in accordance with their faith, with medical advice, and I will stand up for that right."

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Round 3: Trump v Clinton on immigration

Immigration is a clear hallmark of this presidential campaign, with Mr Trump's commitment to building a wall along the Mexican border as infamous as his other off-the-wall comments relating to women and race. Here Mr Wallace posed the question to both candidates of why they are right and your opponent wrong.Mr Trump's answer showed he had not moderated his views immigration or his loaded language and restated his commitment to the controversial construction project. "We need strong borders. [Murderers] are coming in illegally and killing,' he claimed. "Drugs are pouring in through the border. We have no country if we have no border. Now, I want to build the wall. We need the wall. We stop the drugs, we shore up the borders. We have some bad hombres here and we are going to get them out."Explaining why she believes Mr Trump's policy on the mass deportation of people without the correct immigration paperwork is wrong, Mrs Clinton described a situation where the massive law enforcement operation required would potentially separate 11 million people from their 4 million children who are US citizens, many who have lived and worked in the US for many years."Going school to school, home to home, business to business, rounding up people who are undocumented. Then we would have to put them on trains, buses, to get them out of this country. I think this is an idea that is not in keeping with who we are as a nation. I think it's an idea that would rip our country apart."My plan of course includes border controls and I think we need to put our resources where they are needed. We are both a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws."Mrs Clinton's proposed alternative of an amnesty and a path to citizenship introduced in her first 100 days in office would she believes instead "bring people out of the shadows" so employers "like Mr Trump" can't exploit them and use them to undercut American workers, she said, referring to claims illegal workers helped build New York's Trump Towers.

Round 4: Trump on Russia

Staying on the subject of border control, debate moderator Mr Wallace asked Mrs Clinton to clarify her call for open borders apparently made during a highly paid speech she gave to a Brazilian bank, the transcript of which was then published on the WikiLeaks site.Explaining that the open borders referred to in her leaked presentation related to energy markets and transmission, Mrs Clinton went on to accuse Russia of espionage. She then challenged Mr Trump to denounce Russia and reject its alleged interference in the presidential election campaign.For Mr Trump's part, he seemed to talk up a US-Russia partnership and compliments Mr Putin is reported to have made, and contradict the conclusion of 17 intelligence agencies of Russian involvement while making personal attacks on Mrs Clinton."Now we can talk about Putin. I don't know Putin. He said nice things about me. If we got along well, that would be good. If Russia and the United States got along well and went after ISIS, that would be good. He has no respect for her [Mrs Clinton]. He has no respect for our president."Mrs Clinton responded: "Well, that's because he'd rather have a puppet as president...[Mr Trump] would rather believe Vladimir Putin than the military and civilian intelligence professionals who are sworn to protect us."

Round 5: Trump v Clinton on the economy

After the belligerent discussion on borders and Russian espionage, the debated headed back into more familiar territory with the economy. Republican Mr Trump is looking to roll back the government and cut taxes, while Democrat Mrs Clinton's sights are set on more government spending, greater entitlement to tax benefits and more corporation contributions.Mrs Clinton was invited to respond first to the question of why her policy approach is right, describing her tax-and-spend policies as those that will create jobs and opportunities, building on what she believes to be the current administration's success."I personally believe that the steps that president Obama took saved the economy," said Mrs Clinton. "He doesn't get the credit he deserves for taking some very hard positions, but it was a terrible recession. So now we've dug ourselves out of it. We're standing, but we're not yet running. So what I am proposing is that we invest from the middle out and the ground up, not the top down."Mr Trump focused on renegotiating trade agreements and bringing manufacturing back to the US. "Look, our country is stagnant,' he said referring to the recent economic reports and comparing the US's growth rates with those of India and China. "We've lost our jobs. We've lost our businesses. We're not making things anymore, relatively speaking, our product is pouring in from China, pouring in from Vietnam."We'll pull the country together. We'll have trade agreements that we enforce. I'll have trade prosecutor for the first time in history. We're going to enforce those agreements and look for businesses that help us by buying American products."

Round 6: Trump v Clinton on fitness for presidency

With nine women in recent weeks accusing Mr Trump of sexual assualt after his statement in the second live debate that his talk of grabbing women was "just talk", it was no surprise Mr Wallace questioned the candidate further about this.Mr Trump claimed that these reports had been "debunked" and suggested the Clinton campaign had been involved in setting him up, as well as paying troublemakers to attend his rallies.In reply, Mrs Clinton moved in for the win. "Well, at the last debate we heard Donald talking about what he did to women. And after that a number of women have come forward saying that's exactly what he did to them. Now what was his response? Well, he held a number of big rallies where he said that he could not possibly have done those things to those women because they were not attractive enough. He went on to say 'look at her. I don't think so.'"About another woman, he said that wouldn't be my first choice. He attacked the woman reporter writing the story, called her disgusting as he has called a number of women during this campaign."Donald thinks belittling women makes him bigger. He goes after their dignity, their self-worth, and I don't think there is a woman anywhere who doesn't know what that feels like."Mrs Clinton was also questioned about her involvement in the Clinton Foundation, which was investigated due to allegations donors received special access to Mrs Clinton while she was secretary of state. Mr Wallace wanted to know if it was a case of what Mr Trump called "pay to play"."Well, everything I did as secretary of state was in furtherance of our country's interests and our values," said Mrs Clinton. The state department said that. I think that's been proven."Seizing the opportunity to compare the Clinton Foundation to the Trump Foundation, Mrs Clinton highlighted Mr Trump's failure to reveal his tax returns. This, Mr Trump claimed, was because Mrs Clinton had failed as a senator to change the law to make him do so.In perhaps the most telling exchange of the night, Mr Wallace asked Mr Trump about his warnings at recent rallies that the election is rigged, and if he would respect and accept the outcome of the election."I will look at it at the time," Mr Trump replied. "I'm not looking at anything now. I will look at it at the time. What I've seen, what I've seen is so bad. First of all, the media is so dishonest and so corrupt. It's so dishonest. And they have poisoned the minds of the voters. But unfortunately for them, I think the voters are seeing through it. I think they're going to see through it. We'll find out on November 8."Mrs Clinton said Mr Trump's response was "horrifying," adding: "This is a mind-set. This is how Donald thinks. And it's funny, but it's also really troubling. Before you're even finished, it shows you're not up to doing the job. And let's, you know, let's be clear about what he is saying and what that means. He is denigrating, he is talking down our democracy."This is a pattern, a pattern of divisiveness of a very dark and in many ways dangerous vision of our country where he incites violence, where he applauds people who are pushing and pulling and punching at his rallies," she said earlier in the debate. "That is not who America is. And I hope that as we move in the last weeks of this campaign, more and more people will understand what's at stake in this election. It really does come down to what kind of country we are going to have."

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