It’s absolutely certain that Donald Trump will constantly lie and fabricate during tonight’s Cleveland debate with Joe Biden. Yes, Biden will have many opportunities to call Trump on his whoppers, but do I understand that absolutely no clarifying information will be offered to viewers as Trump goes into his usual b.s.?

Debate moderator Chris Wallace has told N.Y. Times reporter Michael Grynbuam that fact-checking will be “a step too far” and that he doesn’t want to be “a truth squad“, and that it’ll basically be up to Biden to challenge Trump on this and that. Biden will therefore have to spend a good deal of his camera time shaking his head and saying that Trump is confused, a chronic liar or a dishonest sociopath, or a combination of all three.

Barely 100 people will attend in person. Each candidate has two minutes to respond to a question. No opening statements. The first question will be asked of Trump.

NPR’s Domenico Montanaro: “Debates can go very far south when a moderator isn’t in control. How and how much will he fact-check both candidates, Trump in particular, given that he can be so combative and is fine with running with things that aren’t true? How will Trump respond to Wallace pushing back?”

University of Pennsylvania historian Mary Frances Berry to NPR’s Domenico Montanaro: “The people who just want to get rid of Trump will be satisfied if Biden shows up, if he doesn’t collapse in the middle of the debate, and whatever he says, even if it’s erroneous or a gaffe — like 200 million [who have died from the coronavirus] — they’ll dismiss that, and people will just give him a pass.”

It’s now 3:30 pm Pacific. The Biden-Trump debate begins at 6 pm or 9 pm Cleveland time.