CNN Confirms That Only Joe Biden And Donald Trump Will Be In Debate — Not Robert Kennedy Jr.

Donald Trump and Joe Biden will be the only two candidates participating in next week’s CNN presidential debate, the network said, as independent Robert Kennedy Jr. failed to qualify.

The qualification window closed just after midnight today, the network said.

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To qualify, candidates had to be on enough state ballots to reach 270 electoral votes, or enough to win. They also had to receive at least 15% in four separate national polls, among those specified by the network.

Kennedy had reached that threshold in three polls, but was on the ballot in only 10 states, short of the 270 electoral votes, according to NBC News. The Kennedy campaign had said that it had enough signatures in 23 states, with 310 electoral votes. But those signatures still need to be verified by state elections officials.

Kennedy will have more time to qualify for the next presidential debate, scheduled for Sept. 10. ABC News is hosting that debate with similar criteria to CNN’s guidelines.

In a statement, Kennedy said, “Presidents Biden and Trump do not want me on the debate stage and CNN illegally agreed to their demand. My exclusion by Presidents Biden and Trump from the debate is undemocratic, un-American, and cowardly. Americans want an independent leader who will break apart the two-party duopoly.”

Kennedy filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, claiming that the network colluded with the campaigns to set pre-established debate criteria to freeze out other candidates. He also claimed the CNN’s debate amounts to an illegal campaign contribution and that the the network’s event does not fall under a news media exemption.

The network did not comment.

The last independent candidate to participate in a general election debate was Ross Perot, who took part in the 1992 debates along with Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush. Perot ran again in 1996 but did not qualify to the debates that cycle.

Jake Tapper and Dana Bash will moderate the June 27 debate from CNN’s Atlanta studios.

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