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Everybody knows Thursday’s debate is not a debate between Biden and Trump, it’s a three-on-one – a debate that pits Trump against Biden and the two liberal CNN moderators that the incumbent hand-picked, with format and rule constrictions that Biden demanded to mask his frailties to boot.

All of the questions that moderators Jake Tapper and Dana Bash direct at President Trump will be heavily loaded and confined to three topics: “convicted felon,” “insurrection,” and “retribution.”

Trump can rise above the reflexive bias of the moderators and the rigged format by displaying a tone of genuine sadness at what has happened to America under Biden, and a confident, positive vision about restoring the unmatched progress and results he achieved for the country in his first term.

Trump also can blunt any criticism leveled at him by Biden and the moderators by rising above the fray with a few short sentences that rebut their loaded assertion briefly and matter-of-factly, and then pivoting back to his record and the results he will deliver once again to Americans on their top-of-mind issues, including the economy, the border, crime and global instability that have gone south big-time on Biden’s watch.

Consider the following hypothetical answers:

Q: What’s it like to be the first convicted felon to run for office?

Trump: Jake, everyone across America knows that these four unprecedented indictments directed at me by Joe Biden in liberal jurisdictions are what Joe calls “cheap fakes,” and they’re demeaning to our country. What’s sad for America, though, is Joe’s resorting to this lawfare because he can’t defend his record and he’s shown he’s mentally unfit for another term. Yet I’ll take anything and everything you decide to throw at me, Joe. It’s actually helping me in the polls because the American people – Republicans, Democrats and Independents – recognize these desperate lawfare takedown trials are so transparently fake. They know they are as fake as that letter you ginned up four years ago from 51 intelligence officials to interfere in the last election. They know your track record and this time they’re not buying it. So bring it on, Joe.

But that’s not what I want to talk about tonight, Jake, and neither do ordinary Americans. Whether you’re a veteran, or a hard-working immigrant who waited in line and went through the legal process for coming into our country, you’re looking at your paycheck and the crime you face on the streets, much of it due to over ten million illegal immigrants who have streamed over Biden’s open border, and you know you can’t afford another four years of this decline. With your vote, we will restore the greatness to America that we had four years ago when I was your president. We did X, Y, Z…

Q: Do you regret carrying out the January 6 insurrection?

Trump: Thank you for another loaded question, Dana. Once again, everyone knows that I urged the crowd of patriotic Americans on January 6 to “peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.” And anyone who didn’t, and who instead decided to trespass in the Capitol on that day, should be held accountable for trespassing. Meantime, almost no one was held accountable for taking part in the BLM/Defund the Police insurrection that took place in dozens of cities across the country six months earlier, riots that your own Vice President encouraged. She even worked to bail out those arrested for the violence that resulted in dozens of murders and between $1-2 billion in damage, mainly destroying and burning black-owned small businesses in Democrat-run cities. Yet somehow Nancy Pelosi and Democrats in Congress held not a single hearing into that insurrection.

But that’s not what I want to talk about tonight, Dana, and neither do ordinary Americans. Whether you’re a veteran, a hard-working immigrant…[see above]

Q: Whom will you target first for retribution if you get re-elected?

Trump: I’m glad you asked that question, Jake. Many people forget that less than a month after I was elected in November 2016 your media colleagues asked if my Justice Department would prosecute my opponent Hillary Clinton for destroying classified information including 30,000 documents held in her home on private servers. I said no, that would be too divisive for our country. In declining to prosecute her, I took a lot of flak from some in my base who wanted the law enforced fairly against her. But I was convinced that we should move on as a country, and that prosecuting my former political opponent was not right and would divide the country.

Unlike Joe Biden, I certainly did not cook up bogus lawfare trials in conservative jurisdictions to go after my opponent or anyone else who, in my case, made up endless allegations against me out of whole cloth. So, Jake, look at my record, plain-and-simple, and you tell me if I ever sought “retribution” against anyone in my four years in office. The answer is never.

But once again, that’s not what I want to talk about tonight, and neither do ordinary Americans. Whether you’re a veteran, a hard-working immigrant…[see above]

By remaining above the fray, delivering brief, sharp and matter-of-fact rebuttals to the inevitably loaded questions the moderators and Biden throw at him, and pivoting back to what he will do to restore the positive gains he achieved on front-of-mind issues in his first term, Trump can not only win the debate, he can extend dramatically his lead among voters in key battleground states and around the country.