Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. Details His Fight Against the ‘Collusion’ Keeping Him Off CNN’s Debate Stage

AP Photo/Josh Reynolds

In a surprising move, President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump agreed to two televised debates earlier this month that will take place in June and September on CNN and ABC respectively.

Both Trump and Biden have rejected the proposal from the Commission on Presidential Debates, which normally hosts three in the lead up to the election, in favor of this avant-garde approach. Another thing both presumptive nominees agree on? Being the only two presidential hopefuls on stage.

That is not sitting well with independent challenger Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., who is now calling the efforts to prohibit him from partaking in the June 27 and September 10 events “collusion.” On Thursday’s show, he joined Megyn to discuss why he believes he should be part of the debates and how he is fighting back.

The Controversy

As of now, the only two candidates who will be on-set at CNN’s Atlanta headquarters with moderators Jake Tapper and Dana Bash on June 27 are Biden and Trump. Kennedy, however, would like to change that. “I would love to see you in this debate… but they are doing their level best to keep you out,” Megyn said. “Both Trump and Biden have said the terms are the terms. It’s a two man debate. That’s it.”

Megyn asked Kennedy if he is seeking help from the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to essentially force CNN’s hand. “The FEC rules say that candidates cannot collude, particularly with the networks, to exclude other candidates,” he said. “Otherwise, it becomes an illegal campaign contribution.”

Additionally, Kennedy said the FEC rules also require the rules for the debate be pre-existing. “In other words, the candidates have no input in them and also that they be objective,” he explained. “So, they can’t be designed to exclude somebody.”

Potential ‘Collusion’?

Kennedy believes there is a coordinated effort to keep him on the sidelines, in part because of reporting by The Washington Post that referenced conversations between the Biden and Trump teams and CNN. “[The campaigns] were adamant that the rules needed to be designed to keep me out of the platform,” he alleged.

With that in mind, Kennedy said his staff sought clarity from CNN as to how the arrangement came to be. “Now when we asked CNN after hearing that, ‘Did you then create the rules?’… CNN said that was privileged, which, of course, it’s not privileged,” he explained. “It’s the opposite of privileged – it should be very transparent and available to the public.”

The independent hopeful said he has been in touch with the FEC in hopes of ultimately being included. “If you do collude with them, it becomes an illegal campaign contribution,” he concluded. “And we’ve filed a complaint with the FEC to address that and to make rules that allow me into the debate.” 

You can check out Megyn’s full interview with Kennedy by tuning in to episode 806 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.