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Robert F. Kennedy Jr. files complaint over CNN rules that could exclude him from presidential debate

The independent presidential candidate is accusing CNN of colluding with the Biden and Trump campaigns to prevent him from taking the debate stage.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
Posted at 11:27 AM, May 30, 2024

Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has filed an official complaint with the Federal Election Commission over his potential exclusion from next month's presidential debate hosted by CNN.

The complaint accuses the network of violating federal campaign laws by colluding with the campaigns of President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump to set guidelines that would effectively prevent Kennedy from taking the stage. The complaint also accused CNN of making prohibited corporate contributions to both the Biden and Trump campaigns.

The complaint echoed comments Kennedy made in an exclusive interview with Scripps News one week before the official complaint was filed.

"There's strong evidence that's been reported in the mainstream media of collusion between the Trump campaign, the Biden campaign, particularly the Biden campaign, and CNN," Kennedy said.

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Earlier this month, the Trump and Biden campaigns agreed to the June 27 debate. To qualify, candidates must have at least 15% support in four separate polls recognized by CNN, and be on enough state ballots to reach 270 electoral votes.

"The law in virtually every state provides that the nominee of a state-recognized political party will be allowed ballot access without petitioning," a CNN spokesperson said in a statement. "As the presumptive nominees of their parties both Biden and Trump will satisfy this requirement. As an independent candidate, under applicable laws RFK Jr. does not."

Kennedy asserted that he will meet the criteria to join the presumptive Republican and Democratic candidates on stage next month. But time is running out as the window to meet CNN's requirements closes one week before the debate.

"We will have enough signatures for 343 electoral votes, so we'll qualify," Kennedy said.

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Scripps News Exclusive: Trump willing to include Kennedy in debates with Biden

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Former President Trump told Scripps News earlier this month that he would be willing to share the stage with Kennedy if he meets the requirements.

“I would have no problem if he got whatever the threshold is,” Trump said. “But he’s very low and seems to be heading in the other direction, in the wrong direction.”