Things seem to be falling apart for Trump after his raucous, incoherent debate behavior

In a major shift, Republicans have distanced themselves from Trump over his failure to unambiguously condemn white supremacists during the presidential debate on Tuesday night. Trump faced a torrent of criticism, including a rare rebuke from the Senate’s top Republican, Mitch McConnell.

McConnell, the majority leader and a close ally of the president’s, told reporters he condemned Trump’s refusal to categorically denounce white supremacy during the presidential debate.

McConnell said, “It was unacceptable not to condemn white supremacists and so I do so in the strongest possible way.”

Trump’s raucous, interruption-filled debate performance also led the Commission on Presidential Debates to say Wednesday that it would make changes to the format of this year’s remaining debates. Among things they are considering is turning off the mic when Trump attempts to interrupt against the agreed-upon debate rules.

Trump’s continued efforts to sow doubts about the integrity of the vote, both at the debate and on Wednesday, also alarmed election-monitoring experts who said that they feared that he was laying the groundwork to delegitimize the election results.

CNN has an extensive fact-check of the debate which documents all of Trump’s repeated lies.

All these developments suggested that the debate was shaking up the campaign with a little over a month left until the election in a way not to Trump’s advantage.

Trump paid no US income tax 10 of past 15 years, tax records show

LONG-CONCEALED RECORDS SHOW TRUMP’S CHRONIC LOSSES AND YEARS OF TAX AVOIDANCE

Donald Trump paid no federal income taxes in 10 of the past 15 years, according to a report Sunday in The New York Times, largely because he reported losing much more money than he made.

Trump, who has fiercely guarded his tax filings and is the only president in modern times not to make them public, paid $750 in taxes to the federal government the year he was elected, 2016, and $750 again his first year in office.

The disclosure, which the Times said comes from tax return data it obtained extending over two decades, comes just prior to the first presidential debate Tuesday, and 5 weeks before the election.

Trump’s finances are under stress, due to losses and hundreds of millions of dollars in debt coming due that he has personally guaranteed.

The records also show that Trump depends more and more on making money from businesses that put him in direct conflict of interest with his job as president.

A lawyer for the Trump Organization, Alan Garten, and a spokesperson for the Trump Organization did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press on the report.

The Times summarized its report:

“Mr. Trump’s finances are under stress, beset by losses that he aggressively employs to avoid paying taxes, and hundreds of millions in debt that he has personally guaranteed, which comes due in the coming years.

“He paid $750 in federal income taxes in 2016, and nothing in 10 of the previous 15 years — largely because he reported losing much more money than he made.

“Also hanging over him is an audit battle that he has long been waging, out of public view, with the I.R.S. An adverse ruling could cost him more than $100 million.”

Trump Again Refuses To Abide By Election Results But Top Republicans Promise Peaceful Transfer of Power

Trump’s refusal to commit to accepting the results of November’s election — something no other modern president has put in doubt — led several prominent Republicans, including Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, to insist Thursday that there would be a peaceful transfer of power come January.

“The winner of the November 3rd election will be inaugurated on January 20th,” Mr. McConnell wrote on Twitter. “There will be an orderly transition just as there has been every four years since 1792.”

Trump also went on to question the integrity of “the ballots” — apparently referring to mail-in voting, which he has falsely called rife with fraud — and added that if he were able to “get rid of” the ballots and ensure a “continuation” rather than a “transfer,” it would be peaceful.

The peaceful transfer of power and accepting election results are fundamentals of democracy.

Many Republicans, including McConnell, distanced themselves from the remarks and insisted that there would be a peaceful transfer of power if Biden wins the presidency.

Senator Dan Sullivan, Republican of Alaska, declaired, “of course we’re going to have a peaceful transition of power. We’re the United States of America. We’re not a banana republic.”

“I don’t know what his thinking was, but we have always had a controlled transition between administrations,” said Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine. She said “the peaceful transfer of power is a fundamental tenet of our democracy, and I am confident that we will see it occur once again.”

Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina said, “People wonder about the peaceful transfer of power,” he said. “I can assure you, it will be peaceful.” He added, “I promise you as a Republican, if Joe Biden wins, I will accept the result. If Republicans lose, we’ll accept the result.”

Trump escalates, breaks voting laws, and encourages others to as well; North Carolina officials outraged

North Carolina officials condemned President Trump for encouraging North Carolinians to try to vote twice, an attempt to “sow chaos” in the state’s election, according to the state attorney general.

On Wednesday, Trump told supporters in the state they should try to vote twice, once by mail and once in person, as a test of the security of the election process — and incidentally a way to have their vote counted twice if election officials mistakenly allow it.

Voting twice is illegal — as is encouraging others to do so.

“So let them [mail] it in and let them go vote, and if their system’s as good as they say it is, then obviously they won’t be able to vote. If it isn’t tabulated, they’ll be able to vote,” Trump said when asked about the mail-in system in the swing state, adding, “So that’s the way it is. And that’s what they should do.”

Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the North Carolina State Board of Elections, issued a statement Thursday reminding residents that voting twice is a Class I felony.

“Attempting to vote twice in an election or soliciting someone to do so also is a violation of North Carolina law,” said Bell. “There are numerous checks in place in North Carolina that prevent people from double voting. Electronic pollbooks with information about who has already voted are used at every early voting site. If a voter tries to check in who has already voted, they will be prevented from voting a regular ballot.”

Trump’s comments Wednesday generated enough confusion that the N.C. Board of Elections issued a statement saying that it is a Class 1 felony to intentionally vote twice. The board also noted that it is illegal to solicit someone to vote twice.

In a statement, Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the board, also discouraged voters from coming to the polls on Election Day to verify that their mail-in ballots had been counted.

“The State Board office strongly discourages people from showing up at the polls on Election Day to check whether their absentee ballot was counted,” Bell said. “This is not necessary, and it would lead to longer lines and the possibility of spreading COVID-19.”

Separately, Facebook announced that it would delete a video of Trump’s original comments.

“This video violates our policies prohibiting voter fraud and we will remove it unless it is shared to correct the record,” the company said in a statement.