Microphones will be muted during Thursday’s presidential debate to allow 2-minute responses

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President Donald Trump speaks during the first presidential debate against Joe Biden on September 29.

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WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden will have their microphones cut off during Thursday’s debate, as their rival delivers his opening two-minute response to each of the debate topics.

The 90-minute debate is divided into six 15-minute segments, with each candidate given two minutes to make uninterrupted remarks before proceeding to a public debate. The open discussion portion of the debate will not have a mute button, but interruptions by either candidate will count for their time in the second and final debate on Thursday.

The Non-partisan Presidential Debates Commission announced the rule changes on Monday, three weeks after a chaotic opening confrontation between the two presidential candidates that involved frequent interruptions – most by Trump.

The commission faced pressure from the Trump campaign to avoid changing the rules, while Biden’s team hoped for a more orderly debate. In a statement, the commission said it “had determined that it was appropriate to adopt measures to promote compliance with agreed rules and that it was inappropriate to make changes to those rules.

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