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RFK Jr. says the two are colluding to avoid discussing 8 years of ’mutual failure.’

The earliest presidential debate in televised history will take place on June 27 on CNN, a press release from the outlet on May 15 confirmed. The announcement came hours after former president Donald Trump accepted an invitation from President Joe Biden earlier in the day for two debates in June and September.

The debate will be held on June 27 from CNN’s studios in Atlanta, Georgia, a key battleground state for the November election. Notably, no audience will be present at the debate “to ensure candidates may maximize the time allotted in the debate.”

President Biden posted on X before the news was confirmed by the outlet that he had accepted CNN’s invitation, adding “Over to you, Donald. As you said: anywhere, any time, any place.”

The outlet said in the press release that moderators for the debate and additional details will be announced at a later date.

The Biden Campaign sent a letter to the Commission on Presidential Debates earlier on Wednesday saying the president would not take part in the commission’s planned debates, preferring earlier debates prior to the early voting period in many states.
The Trump Campaign also sent a letter to the Commission in April, noting they preferred earlier debates as well.

Candidates Agree to Requirements

While the Biden Campaign’s letter to the commission on Wednesday called for the debates to be one-on-one—President Trump in his response said he would prefer a large audience, though the campaign has agreed to the CNN debate with no audience.

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The outlet noted to qualify for participation, candidates must “fulfill the requirements outlined in Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution of the United States; file a Statement of Candidacy with the Federal Election Commission; a candidate’s name must appear on a sufficient number of state ballots to reach the 270 electoral vote threshold to win the presidency prior to the eligibility deadline; agree to accept the rules and format of the debate; and receive at least 15% in four separate national polls of registered or likely voters that meet CNN’s standards for reporting.”

The proposals did not include any mention of Independent candidate for President Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who has in some polls received at least 15 percent of the vote but has not yet qualified on a sufficient number of state ballots to reach the 270 required electoral votes to secure the presidency.

The Kennedy campaign referred The Epoch Times to a post on X by the candidate, which criticized both candidates for keeping him out of the debate.

“Presidents Trump and Biden are colluding to lock America into a head-to-head match-up that 70% say they do not want,” Mr. Kennedy said in the post. “They are trying to exclude me from their debate because they are afraid I would win. Keeping viable candidates off the debate stage undermines democracy. Forty-three percent of Americans identify as independents. If Americans are ever going to escape the hammerlock of the two-party system, now is the time to do it. These are the two most unpopular candidates in living memory.”

Mr. Kennedy added that by excluding him, they are seeking to “avoid discussion of their eight years of mutual failure including deficits, wars, lockdowns, chronic disease, and inflation.”

CNN added that polls that “meet CNN editorial standards” include their own as well as those from ABC News, CBS News, Fox News, Marquette University Law School, Monmouth University, NBC News, the New York Times/Siena College, NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist College, Quinnipiac University, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post.

Candidates must meet the requirements between March 13 and seven days prior to the debate, according to the outlet.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated.