This Fact Can’t Be Debated. Thursday’s Verbal Throwdown Could Decide Election

This combination of photos shows President Donald Trump, left, and former Vice President Joe Biden during the first presidential debate at Case Western University and Cleveland Clinic, in Cleveland, Ohio on Sept. 29, 2020. A staggering 97 percent of the jokes Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Fallon told about the candidates in September targeted President Donald Trump, a study released Monday found. That's 455 jokes about Trump, 14 about Democrat Joe Biden, according to the Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

There is no question about the importance of Thursday’s second and final presidential debate, a heavyweight fight to seek support from within a divided nation.

When the metaphorical bell rings and moderator Kristen Welker, an NBC News White House correspondent, begins proceedings from Belmont University in Nashville, the strategies planned by both camps should quickly become clear.

The verbal punches will be thrown immediately.

President Donald Trump’s campaign appears to have its primary attack in place: focus attention on opponent Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, and his dealings with the Ukrainian energy company Burisma.

The New York Post story that brought these allegations last week was based on emails allegedly coming from the hard drive of a laptop that once purportedly belonged to Hunter Biden. Trump campaign adviser Jason Miller said he thinks Biden may be in trouble.

“I think Joe Biden is compromised … Joe Biden has now dodged this multiple times,” Miller said on Fox Business’ “Mornings with Maria.” “Are you the ‘big guy?’ Are you the ‘chairman?’ Is Hunter Biden handling family expenses and setting aside money for you?”

The Biden campaign and his supporters say Biden has not been involved in any of Hunter’s business dealings. Further, they discount the idea that Joe Biden made money from his son’s business dealings.

The emails raised concerns, too, because of the Post’s sources: President Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani and former Trump advisor Steve Bannon.

On CNN, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), said the emails fit a smear campaign coming “from the Kremlin.” Trump’s director of national intelligence, John Ratcliffe, told Fox Business on Monday there is no intelligence to support Schiff’s assertion.

And here’s another hint as to where Trump may take this debate: Miller, the Trump campaign representative, criticized the Commission on Presidential Debates for failing to spotlight what Miller believes a major Trump strength.

“We were supposed to have a debate largely focused on foreign policy this next Thursday, which would be perfect especially as we talk about the issue of Joe Biden potentially being compromised,” Miller said on “Fox News Sunday.”

Biden’s team likely plans to continue attacking Trump’s handling of COVID-19, among other familiar strategies.

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