How to watch the first 2016 presidential debate Monday night

On Monday night, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump face off in the first general election presidential debate that could become the most-watched in U.S. history.

The first debate -- held at Hofstra University on Long Island in Hempstead, New York -- will be moderated by NBC News’ Lester Holt at 9 p.m. ET and will last for about 90 minutes with no commercial breaks. Clinton won the coin toss, so she’ll get the first question, CBS News’ Steve Chaggaris confirmed.



Last week, Holt announced that the debate’s three main topics cover “America’s Direction, Achieving Prosperity and Securing America.”

The bipartisan Commission on Presidential Debates recently announced that only Clinton and Trump had qualified for the first presidential debate while Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein did not qualify.

The commission determined who was eligible by averaging support among five different general election polls and it also required that each candidate must have constitutional eligibility -- like being at least 35 years of age and a natural born citizen of the U.S. Each candidate must also have his or her name appear on enough state ballots “to have at least a mathematical chance of securing an Electoral College majority” in November’s election.

With less than 50 days remaining until Election Day, polls have shown the race has been tightening in recent weeks, especially in several battleground states. A CBS News battleground tracker poll released Sunday found the race in Colorado is a toss-up while Clinton still maintains a lead in Virginia.

Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, told CBS’s “Face the Nation” Sunday that he’s confident the GOP presidential nominee will “absolutely” tell the truth at the debate Monday.

Over the weekend, there was talk about the possibility that Trump might invite Gennifer Flowers -- a woman who claimed she had an affair with former President Bill Clinton -- to the debate. The idea spread when Trump tweeted that he might invite her to sit alongside Clinton supporter and billionaire investor Mark Cuban. On Sunday, Trump’s campaign manager Kellyanne Conway shot down the rumor and said the campaign did not invite Flowers.

Over the weekend, CBS News confirmed that longtime Clinton aide Philippe Reines has been playing Trump in debate preparations with the Democratic presidential nominee.

The New York Times and Los Angeles Times endorsed Clinton over the weekend, and former Trump rival Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, endorsed Trump for president.


→ What: First general election presidential debate

→ Where: Hempstead, New York

→ When: 9 p.m. ET

→ On TV: CBS News, other broadcast/cable news channels

→ Online: CBSN, among many websites, will live-stream the event

→ CBSN will cover the debate beginning at 7 p.m. ET