Sweet: Trump stunner: He won’t promise to accept election results

SHARE Sweet: Trump stunner: He won’t promise to accept election results
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Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump debates Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton during the third presidential debate at UNLV in Las Vegas, on Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016. | Mark Ralston/Pool via AP

Follow @lynnsweetWASHINGTON — Donald Trump has been complaining that the election is rigged, but at their final debate on Wednesday, Hillary Clinton made the point that it’s Russian President Vladimir Putin who’s trying to throw the contest for Trump.

Trump headed into the presidential debate at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas needing to change the trajectory of this election, with most national and battleground state polls pointing to a Clinton win.

Trump and Clinton didn’t shake hands when they walked on stage or afterward. That move would have been just too phony for either of them to stomach.

The pressure was on Trump to deliver a game-changer. He did not.

OPINION

Follow @lynnsweetClinton prevailed in all three debates. Nothing got under her skin because she was ready for anything. In the scheme of things, Trump calling her “such a nasty woman” wasn’t much.

The big take-away from the debate is that Trump said he may not accept the outcome if he is defeated on Nov. 8. Instead of using the debate to broaden his appeal, he’s now stuck in a bad place: How he will handle his defeat?

He has been complaining that the election is rigged. He vacillates between baseless voter fraud allegations and blames a “dishonest” and “corrupt” media.”

Fox News anchor Chris Wallace, the moderator, asked Trump if he will accept the outcome.

“I will look at it at the time. I’m not looking at anything now,” Trump said.

RELATED: Trump and Clinton clash on Chicago, abortion, Putin, border wall Dem consultant Robert Creamer explains role in Trump rally flap AP FACT CHECK: Trump, Clinton and their debate claims

Wallace pressed Trump on how he is flying in the face of the U.S. tradition of a peaceful transition of power.

“What I am saying is that I will tell you at the time. I will keep you in suspense,” Trump said.

“That’s horrifying,” Clinton said. Trump complains about rigging when things don’t go his way, she said.

“There was even a time when he didn’t get an Emmy for this TV program three years in a row and he started tweeting the Emmy’s are rigged.”

Trump interjected: “I should have gotten it.”

Trump’s vice presidential pick, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, said he would accept the results of the November balloting. Trump’s petulance on this point seems an appeal only to the conspiracy constituency, and he likely has a lock on that bloc.

He was not able to muster a sustained offense against Clinton. Or make more of a case for himself.

He just denied everything when it came to the accusations of sexual misconduct leveled against him, and he said he had nothing to apologize to his wife for.

The fight is over suburban independent women, and Wallace asked about abortion.

Trump said Clinton is for taking a baby out of a woman’s womb “on the final day.” That is called birth, not abortion. His reply was ridiculous.

The trove of hacked stolen WikiLeaks emails, dribbling out in the past few days, provided Trump with potentially fresh material to jab at Clinton’s vulnerabilities.

Clinton jumped on WikiLeaks — and Putin — when Wallace asked her about open borders, based on a speech she made to a Brazilian bank made public in one of the hacked WikiLeaks emails.

The Obama administration has said that the Russians are responsible for stealing the emails, distributed through WikiLeaks.

The more important issue, Clinton said, ignoring the border matter, was that the Russian government “has engaged in espionage against Americans.”

“They have hacked American websites . . . then they have given the information to WikiLeaks for the purpose of putting it on the internet. This has come from the highest levels of the Russian government, Putin himself, in an effort” to influence our elections,” she said.

She put the question of rigged elections to Trump.

“Finally will Donald Trump admit and condemn that the Russians are doing this and make it clear that he will not have the help of Putin in this election, that he rejects Russian espionage against Americans?” Clinton said.

Trump said lamely, “I don’t know Putin.”

Clinton said Trump would be a Putin “puppet” as president.

Trump replied: “You’re the puppet.”

I was waiting for Wallace to say, “Mr. Putin, do you have a rebuttal?”

Tweets by @lynnsweet

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