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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Trump Holds Rally Tonight In Omaha, Nebraska After Stops Today In Michigan And Wisconsin; Interview With Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC); Early Voting Now Makes Up More Than Half Of 2016 Vote; Biden Campaigns In Georgia, Tells Atlanta Voters There's "No State More Consequential"; Trump Casts Doubt On Alleged Whitmer Kidnapping Plot; WH Falsely Claims "Ending The COVID-19 Pandemic" As Trump Accomplishment, With U.S. Cases Rising. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired October 27, 2020 - 20:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[20:00:00]

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Hey, good evening. In any other presidential election year, we'd begin right now by saying we're just a week away from Election Day. This time, it's more accurate to say we're now a week away from the end of election season.

More than 60 million Americans have already gone to the polls in early voting or filled out mail-in ballots. That's about one in three registered voters. So in that respect, this is already like no other election anyone has ever seen.

As always, of course, the candidates are running and crisscrossing the map and we'll talk about what their destinations tonight say about how they view their electoral destiny. Like Joe Biden, for example, he made two stops today in the normally reliable red state of Georgia.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN (D), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: You know, there are a lot of pundits who would have guessed four years ago that the Democratic candidate for President in 2020 would be campaigning in Georgia on the final week of the election.

[CHEERING AND APPLAUSE]

BIDEN: Or that we'd have such competitive Senate races in Georgia, but we do because something is happening here in Georgia and across America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: We'll talk more shortly about the significance of what he said when it comes to those Senate races there and in neighboring South Carolina, also about the Obama effect the former President taking aim as he did at President Trump today in Florida in a more traditional battleground state of Georgia and far more crucial to both sides.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: More than 225,000

people in this country are dead. More than 100,000 small businesses have closed, half a million jobs are gone in Florida alone. Think about that.

And well, what's his closing argument? That people are too focused on COVID. He said this at one of his rallies: COVID, COVID, COVID, he is complaining. He is jealous of COVID's media coverage.

If he had been focused on COVID from the beginning, cases wouldn't be reaching new record highs across the country this week.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: President Trump meantime making stops in Michigan, Wisconsin, and later tonight in Omaha, Nebraska, who whose single electoral vote went to President Obama in 2008. That speaks too how his campaign views this final week of this race, they expect it to be close.

But beyond the maps and messages, the last-minute gamesmanship and everything else common to all campaigns since Truman, there are factors that make this the only election of its kind in the nation's history.

There is the pandemic, of course as President Obama laid out, and the early voting in response to it, which would ordinarily be enough to set it apart. But there's also this: never before has any candidate, incumbent or challenger from any party in any conceivable way, shape or form matched this President's campaign record for telling lies.

At the risk of sounding Trumpian, we are witnessing dishonesty the likes of which no one has seen before in this country at this level. Lies about his opponent, lies about COVID, which endanger the public which are actually dangerous lies.

Just tonight, for example, a press release from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy touting what they call the administration's first term accomplishments. Putting this one up on the screen so you can see for yourself it reads, again, citing it as an accomplishment, "Ending the COVID-19 pandemic."

Apparently, they are ending the COVID-19 pandemic. No sign of that. Not true. So far today, just today according Johns Hopkins University, more than 850 Americans died today due to COVID.

The self-proclaimed Wartime President says the battle is won, but people are still dying, more than 850 so far today. Final numbers won't be until later this evening. And more than 66,000 new cases again just so far, and they are telling you, it's over.

They think you'll believe it if they say it enough that we're rounding the turn or just going to magically disappear as the President has said. Diamond and Silk hanging around by his side.

One week from the election, their motivations are beyond transparent. It is just so obvious. With new infections at their highest level of any point in the outbreak, hospitalization numbers rising and more members of the West Wing infected this week, the people around the Vice President infected this week, the lies don't come much bigger and more egregious than that.

But the President is in the final days of the campaign to lie about other aspects of his record and get as many people together and as many different states so he can lie in front of them and possibly have them exposed to COVID as well.

If the motivations behind the COVID lies are obvious, the motivations behind some of the others are just plain weird. Here he is in Michigan, the President today trotting out one of his golden oldies.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When I got the Man of the Year, I got Man of the Year in Michigan, a long time like 12 years ago, nothing to do with politics. They wrote, "Man of the Year." I came here and I gave a big lecture.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[20:05:07]

COOPER: The President is not a recipient of the "Michigan Man of the Year" award. He lied about this in the last campaign. There is no such award. It doesn't exist. No "Michigan Man of the Year" award.

And the point, though, isn't really the pathological little lies like that one. It's the big ones, the ones that could make the pandemic worse, that sow doubt in the election and possibly lead to violence in the wake of it, and we'll talk about all of that tonight along with where the campaigns are spending their dollars and what are post- election legal challenges looming to be like. We'll take a look at that tonight.

But first, the campaign map. CNN's Phil Mattingly joins us in the magic wall. So Phil, one week from tonight, take us through right now the path to 270 as it looks.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN U.S. CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, one week from tonight, this map which is currently gray, no data and it, will start to fill in from east to west and start getting some results in crucial battleground states. I think the question going into one week from now is where do things stand?

Now, this is just a snapshot for the moment, Anderson. But where things stand right now is that the Biden campaign feels pretty good looking, at least on the public polling. Now, this is an average of state by state polling that CNN has conducted.

Michigan, nine-point lead for Biden. But Wisconsin, seven-point lead for Biden. Pennsylvania, seven-point lead for Biden. Across the battleground states, Joe Biden is either ahead or within the margin of error, which leads us to this, our race tracker as it currently stands. If you take a look over this side of the screen, you see Joe Biden

based on safe Democratic seats -- and safe Democratic states and lean Democratic states already above the 270 electoral mark.

However, that's a snapshot for today, not for a week from now. Now, how do you know what campaigns are trying to do in this moment to either keep that if you're the Biden campaign, or break through it if you're the Trump campaign? There is nothing more valuable than a candidate's time. And that's why campaign events especially today, where you had the candidates and their surrogates spread out across the country, underscore the importance of what each campaign strategy is right now.

And I want to focus on President Trump's strategy in the Trump campaign. You had Melania Trump in Pennsylvania today. The President was there yesterday. President Trump in Michigan, in Wisconsin, in Nebraska, which also bleeds over into Western Iowa. Why the focus on the Midwest? Well, it's pretty simple.

He broke through the blue wall in the Midwest back in 2016 and that led to his victory, but it's also a math issue. Take a look at the gold states. These are all toss up states at this moment. Say you give every single one of them to President Trump. Say, you also give President Trump Arizona where Joe Biden is currently leading. So you also give him Nevada, which Democrats held in 2016 and Joe Biden is leading right now. He is still above the 270 electoral vote mark.

What this means Anderson is for the Trump campaign, why you see them in the Midwest, why you see them going through Pennsylvania and Michigan and Wisconsin, keeping an eye on Iowa and Ohio as well is there is no path to 270 on this map for President Trump for his re- election that doesn't include at least one of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.

It was about the Midwest back in 2016. While there are a couple different pathways for the Trump campaign, all of them include at least one of those states -- Anderson.

COOPER: And why was Joe Biden in Georgia today?

MATTINGLY: Yes, look, Joe Biden laid it out perfectly. Would you expect one week out that a Democratic candidate would be in a state that Democrats haven't won since 1992? And once again, it's math. There are a couple issues here. One, if you talk to candidate officials on both sides, they acknowledge that this race is very close in the State of Georgia.

This race is within the margin of error in the State of Georgia, and as Joe Biden mentioned, there are two Senate races in the State of Georgia that are very important as well. But when you talk about how limited Donald Trump's pathways are to 270, Joe Biden going to Georgia shows that the Biden campaign believes they can expand the map. They believe that they have very real opportunities.

So let's go back through this again. But go ahead and give Joe Biden the State of Georgia, then give Donald Trump the State of North Carolina -- gives Donald Trump the State of North Carolina, the State of Ohio, the State of Iowa. Give him Maine's second congressional district, the one electoral vote up here.

You see that obviously, Joe Biden has a pretty large advantage. Then give him Florida and give him Pennsylvania, the two most crucial states, Joe Biden still above 270 electoral votes. What Georgia is, it's a map expansion. It's a safety valve. It's another pathway of what the Biden campaign believes right now is very real -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right, Phil Mattingly. Fascinating. Thanks. Now with an eye toward all of that, but also the White House claim about ending the pandemic. We're joined right now by House Majority Whip James Clyburn, Democrat from the Palmetto State.

Congressman Clyburn, thanks for being with us. First of all, what is your reaction to the White House claiming victory over ending the pandemic because it's far from over? If anything -- if we're rounding a turn as the President says that we're rounding a turn that may be, you know, falling off a cliff?

REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D-SC): Well, thank you very much for having me, Anderson. Well, you know, we've been hearing a bunch of, as Joe Biden was saying, malarkey, coming from this White House for a long time, and this is a big pile of malarkey.

I chair the select Subcommittee on the coronavirus efforts, and I can tell you, this pandemic is getting worse. It is spiking in about 40 of our 50 states. And there is nothing to give anybody any indication that this is at an end.

I don't know why they would say this, and I don't know why anybody in this country would believe that. This is just a fairy tales coming from this President. We are in this for the long haul.

[20:10:42]

CLYBURN: I've studied the Spanish flu, how long it took us to get out of that. It was two years before we got any kind of normalcy coming after the Spanish flu. I believe we're in the same situation now.

I wish this President would spend some time given reality, but what he's doing is just a lot of fairy tales.

COOPER: The Biden campaign going to Georgia today with the candidate, does Biden actually have a chance to flip Georgia?

CLYBURN: Yes, he does. He has a chance to flip Georgia and he has a chance to flip North Carolina. And I think he has still got a fighting chance in Florida. So, I do believe that Joe Biden can finish the work in Georgia.

I don't know if anybody who believes that Stacey Abrams did not win Georgia. It was stolen from her, just like they stole these seats on the Supreme Court from Obama.

So Joe Biden is in Georgia to finish the work and put an exclamation point behind a Democratic victory in Georgia.

COOPER: What do you think about Texas?

CLYBURN: I think Texas -- we've got a chance in Texas.

COOPER: But Michael Bloomberg is pouring in a lot of money into Texas.

CLYBURN: And that's what we need, because I think Joe Biden has gotten a bad rap when it comes to Hispanic voters. I think that if you really hone in on the interest of the Hispanic voter, Joe Biden is the much better deal for them.

And so if I could get them to focus on the issues, and not the headlines that may be coming from various places, I think he'll do very well with his Hispanic votes.

All you've got to do is look at the Hispanic representation in the Congress, which party has got the most Hispanic representation in the Congress? It's the Democrats.

Which party has got the most African-American representatives in the Congress? It's the Democrats. So this whole notion that the Republican Party got something better for Hispanics offer blacks than the Democratic Party is just that -- a notion.

COOPER: I want to play something that Jared Kushner told FOX News yesterday about the black community saying that they have to want to be successful. We are going to play that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JARED KUSHNER, SENIOR ADVISER TO DONALD TRUMP: One thing we've seen in a lot of the black community, which is mostly Democrat is that President Trump's policies are the policies that can help people break out of the problems that they are complaining about, but he can't want them to be successful more than they want to be successful.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: What's your response to that?

CLYBURN: Well, you know, the pandemic or the virus has been floating around the White House, and I think that there's something else floating around the White House as well. And whatever it is, Jared Kushner has caught it. He really ought to be ashamed of himself.

I've spent all of my life with various white people telling me what's best for me. Well, I want Jared Kushner to know. I think I've got a pretty good idea as to what's best for me and my children. And I can tell you this, it ain't in the policies of Donald Trump.

I want to see what black man and I'm hearing all this numbers they're coming out with. Some that they expect to get 20 percent of the black vote. Let me tell you something. I want to see the black man who can tell me that he can reconcile President Donald Trump looking in the camera, speaking into my and calling an African-American woman adult, tell me how you reconcile that?

Tell me how you reconcile this President calling the first African- American woman, Asian-American woman to be on a national -- major national party ticket, call her a monster? And you're going to vote for him?

I would like to talk to the person who can get beyond that. I'm the father of three African-American women. I'm the son of an African- American woman. I cannot abide those kinds of insults coming from Donald Trump. And I cannot abide that kind of insult coming from Jared Kushner telling me that he knows what's best for me.

[20:15:35]

COOPER: It seems like the President and a bunch of other Republicans are now going after Senator Harris, not only on her gender, but also just her name, mispronouncing it intentionally over and over again. I just want to play that for our viewers just kind of a show. This is a pattern here.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: By the way, you know, whose further left and crazy Bernie? Kamala, Kamala, Kamala.

Biden even chose as his running mate the most liberal senator in America.

[BOOING]

TRUMP: Kamala, Kamala. Senator Kamala Harris is a sponsor of the socialist Green New Deal.

Biden's running mate. Kamala Harris.

[BOOING]

TRUMP: You pronounce her name wrong, she goes crazy. Kamala, and like a comma.

The Biden Harris -- Kamala. You like Kamala?

[BOOING]

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: I mean, it's like a fourth grade, you know -- you know, in fourth grade, kids making fun of each other, you know, mispronouncing their names. It's just so juvenile, it just -- and of course, it's something, he is targeting a woman of African-American descent. I mean, he is targeting a black woman in America.

CLYBURN: Well, you're being very kind to elevate him to the fourth grade. That's kindergarten stuff. But that's his mindset. He has a very low regard for African-American women. He disrespects women. He disdains African-American women, and I really

feel that the goodness of this country is what's on the ballot. This country, you know, I often talk about what is reputed to be the words -- the lessons of Tocqueville, though I can't find he ever said it.

But it's a tough road, his poster say it that this country is great, because its people are good. And if the people of America ever cease to be good, America will cease to be great.

This campaign is about restoring America's goodness, so that we can maintain America's greatness. Donald Trump is not a good person.

COOPER: Congressman Clyburn, I appreciate your time, sir. Thank you.

CLYBURN: Thank you.

COOPER: Coming up next, more breaking news, a shift in where the Trump campaign is spending money and what that might mean. And later, another presidential untruth is one downplaying the alleged plot against Michigan's governor. You know, the one that his own Justice Department recently charged six people with, Michigan's Attorney General joins us tonight.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: The breaking news tonight on voting is pretty stunning. Early voting has already surpassed the 50 percent mark from 2016. The total so far approaching 70 million with a week to go.

That's not the only breaking news and potentially significant campaign finance moves by the Trump campaign. The question is if money talks, what is it saying?

Political Director David Chalian is here to tell us. So, what are we learning about the changes in the Trump campaign ad spending?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, the ad spending and his travels. Let's just note where he was, Anderson, right. Yesterday, he was in Pennsylvania. Today, in Michigan and Wisconsin. Tomorrow, he is in Arizona.

Now look at the ad spending shifts that we are seeing from the Trump campaign and the R.N.C. It kind of matches up. He has taken down his ad spending by two million or so, net loss in Florida, New Hampshire, Minnesota, Iowa, but look where they are increasing, exactly where he was traveling.

They are going up in Pennsylvania, Arizona, Wisconsin, Michigan, those are all on the rise. What I think you see is happening here is that Donald Trump is leaning into some of those blue leaning states he knows he needs to win back.

He is relying more on perhaps Florida's a bit more natural Republican DNA hoping that it repeats itself. But he is so dramatically outspent there. I'm going to show you now, compared to the Biden campaign. Take a look. Take a look at this. Joe Biden, Anderson and Democrats are spending

$6.8 million in the final week in Florida. That compares to this number here. $2.9 million from the Republicans in Florida. They're being swamped. That doesn't even include the $6 million that Michael Bloomberg has put into Florida on behalf of Joe Biden.

So you what you see here is that Donald Trump is realizing that his path to re-election has to be in winning some of those blue states leaning towards Biden: Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin. That is where he is putting his travel, his ad spending, and he is hoping some of the other states that have been more reliably Republican in the past, just sort of repeat that performance for him.

COOPER: And how much money do they have left? I mean, clearly money is more of an issue for the Trump campaign.

CHALIAN: There's no doubt about it. They're in a real cash crunch. It is one of the great stories of this entire campaign, Anderson. The incumbent President that is usually a huge advantage for them. He's been raising money since his Inauguration Day.

In the last two or three months, Joe Biden has just been walloping Donald Trump in the fundraising. There were a lot of questions about how the Trump campaign was spending. And now you see it in the homestretch here. Biden and the Democrats just crushing him in these closing days with ad spending.

COOPER: David Chalian, appreciate it. Perspective now from our political analysts, Gloria Borger, David Gergen, who has seen his share of campaigns from the inside. Also senior political reporter, Nia-Malika Henderson.

Gloria, what do you make of the net shift in funds this close to the election especially must-win like Florida. Is it just a sign of confidence that the campaign -- Trump campaign has in Florida? They don't need to spend the money there?

[20:25:13]

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: No, I think they are not flush with money, so they had to go to the R.N.C. and they said to the Republicans running the R.N.C., you know, can you help foot the bill for us for these ads? And so they're splitting it with the Republican National Committee because they don't have the money themselves.

And look, where they spend their money, as well as their travel, as David was talking about is like the Rosetta Stone of the of the rest of this campaign. You look at where Donald Trump is traveling, and you look at where he is spending his money: Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Arizona.

They would like to be able to spend more money in Florida, but they don't have the money to spend, which is actually quite stunning, given the fact that the President has spent the last four years raising money for himself, not for Senate Republicans, not for House Republicans, as other Presidents have, but for his own reelection. So now they are stuck. They have a map that seems to be growing

narrower and narrower. So they've got to put their money where they think their best shot is.

COOPER: David Gergen, how do you see their money troubles?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I think the money troubles are immense. What is striking, Anderson, as I recall, back in September, and Donald Trump pledged that he would put in up to $100 million of his own in this race. I don't see him going to his piggy bank finances. He is going to the R.N.C.

You know, once again, he dangles that this possibility of great larges, and then it disappears magically.

COOPER: Well, he certainly has a track record that both in charitable giving and in other ways.

GERGEN: I know.

COOPER: Nia, the President is essentially has been raising money since he started, as Gloria said, does it make sense that his campaigns should be trailing the Biden campaign in terms of money? I mean, they've raised a tremendous amount of money. Was it just squandered?

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Unclear where a lot of that money went. I think there's going to be some lots of reporting done after this campaign is over, where all of those millions of dollars went.

He started out with a big lead, and now he is behind. But we have to remember, in 2016, he was also behind Hillary Clinton who have raised hundreds of millions of dollars more than the Trump campaign. And we know how that ended up, Trump did end up kicking in about $66 million into his own campaign and has promised to do the same. We haven't seen that yet.

He is not as rich as he says he is. He certainly doesn't have a lot of liquid cash to infuse into his campaign either. But I think one of the things he is doing is traveling just sort of make up for the fact that he can't blast the airwaves with ads in the way that Biden does. So you see him doing these multiple campaign stops in Pennsylvania, for instance, and obviously going to these other swing states, the blue wall states.

So yes, I mean, in some ways, it's desperation in a result of this money crunch that is such a surprising turn for this President. Incumbent Presidents should be able to raise hundreds of millions of dollars, and clearly there was some mismanagement along the way that leaves them in this hole right now.

COOPER: Gloria, given the pandemic, do you think these large rallies that Trump is having, which are, you know, super spreader events, potentially, actually, I mean, do they work? I mean, because unlike with 2016, you can look at these rallies in different ways. You could look at them as oh, there's a lot of enthusiasm and the President is energized.

BORGER: Right.

COOPER: Or you can also look at that, oh, my God, this is incredibly reckless of him, and is emblematic of how he has handled the entire pandemic.

BORGER: Well, obviously, we don't know the answer to that. But I think what he's trying to do is motivate his base to get out there and vote. Remember, he has been saying, get out there and vote on Election Day. I think we've got to have the results Election Night. He wants his voters out there at the polls November 3rd.

So what he is trying to do is to say to his base, look, I'm the same guy you loved. I still have these big crowds. And you've got to love me for that.

Remember, he started his inauguration by complaining about his crowd size or bragging about his crowd size. He is still doing it now.

So for his base, he believes this works. I do not believe this is anything that people in his campaign would have suggested at the outset, because they were concerned about COVID. But this is what the President wants to do.

And make no mistake about it, this campaign is being run by Donald Trump.

COOPER: I want to play David something that President Obama said today campaigning for Biden in Florida.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What's his closing argument? That people are too focused on COVID. He said this at one of his rallies: COVID, COVID, COVID, he is complaining.

He is jealous of COVID's media coverage. If he had been focused on COVID from the beginning, cases wouldn't be reaching new record highs across the country this week.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[20:30:14]

COOPER: It's so interesting. I mean, it's hard to gauge a campaign that doesn't really have a campaign. I mean, you don't see Biden in front of crowds? It's not, you know, it's obviously for obvious reasons it's not the traditional campaign. How effective do you think President Obama, you know, he gives a speech here, he gave a speech in Philadelphia a couple days ago. Does it have an impact?

GERGEN: I wasn't -- I think the Trump rallies are more of a holding action, I don't think they've really changed the campaign, and maybe some nibbled away at Biden's lead. And I see no evidence has had a big impact on it. And frankly, I think that Biden is doing something very interesting. I thought in the beginning, when that would not work, you know, staying in a basement, staying off the trail, you know, rarely going on campaign. But we've seen too much of Trump, you know, he's been so much in our faces for so long.

I think a lot of Americans are relieved to have a politician who's not in your face and not yelling at you and not lying to you. You know, so there's something about what he's doing, which I think may turn out to be smarter than I would have imagined just a short while ago.

BORGER: And, you know, Anderson, the contrast is so clear, and so stark, that you have Trump at a rally like he's always been, and then you have Biden actually giving speeches. And today, his speech in Georgia was about bipartisanship and about unifying America. And you listen to a speech like that in a different way when you don't have a crowd.

COOPER: Yes.

BORGER: And you can compare them.

COOPER: Nia, does it make sense to you that the President is going to, to Nebraska?

HENDERSON: Listen, you know, their congressional districts, you know, they're divided up in that way. So he needs one or two electoral votes. And that I think, is a testament to how desperate he is down the stretch. He sees the same polls of it. We see he sees John King at the map and David Chalian at the map as well. And certainly I think his internal polls reflect, a bit Joe Biden is a much stronger candidate at this point than Hillary Clinton was four years ago.

COOPER: Nia-Malika Henderson, David Gergen, Gloria Borgia, thank you very much.

Just ahead, the safety of voting in Michigan after a judge's decision regarding the open carry of firearms at polls on Election Day. Also, what President Trump said about an alleged plot against the state's governor, when we continue,

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:36:54]

COOPER: President Trump's first campaign stopped the day in Michigan again feature attacks against the state's governor Gretchen Whitmer. This time, casting doubt about what federal and state authorities say was an extremist group and its plot to kidnap Whitmer and overthrow several state governments.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: Your governor, I don't think she likes me too much.

(CROSSTALK) TRUMP: Hey, hey, hey, hey, I'm the one it was our people that helped her out with her problem. And we want to see if it's a problem, right. People are entitled to save maybe it was a prop, maybe we.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Again, the President's own Justice Department. Our people, as he says, says this happened his own Justice Department. His comments also come the same day as in Michigan judge struck down a state directive banning the open carry of firearms at polling places on Election Day. The judge said the ban ran afoul of regulations that govern how state laws are to be enacted.

We're going to talk about it, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel. Madam Attorney General, appreciate you being -- when being here when you hear the President, yet again, downplaying and casting doubt on the plot against Governor Whitmer. How do you respond?

DANA NESSEL, MICHIGAN ATTORNEY GENERAL: I don't know what we can possibly say about a president who claims to be pro-law in order and yet seems to be making excuses and justifications for those who are engaged in domestic terrorism and who the allegations are that they hatched a plot to kidnap and then execute are sitting governor. I don't know what to say about anyone who does that, let alone the commander-in-chief who runs our country. It's a really disturbing set of circumstances for sure.

COOPER: I mean, he seems to not only want to downplay it, but which is maybe a an excuse because he, you know, talked about liberating Michigan, he praised the armed, you know, want to be warriors who stormed the Michigan State House threatening legislators and police officers and screaming in their faces. You know, and Trump said they, you know, we're patriotic people find people.

But he's also on the other hand, taking credit for federal authorities thwarting it even though his own attorney general, has not, you know, gotten in front of this and made the announcement and really talked about it, though he has talked about, you know, Antifa as if they are some, you know, well organized domestic, you know, terror threat. Which, you know, they may they may be awful people I don't know. But the evidence is against these guys in Michigan and elsewhere, and he's downplaying it.

NESSEL: Yes. I mean, it's really very concerning when you have groups out there like the boogaloo boys like the Wolverine Watchmen like the Proud Boys. And it seems as though the President is their biggest fan. I mean, it's no wonder that we've seen the exponential rise in membership of these organizations when you have a president of the United States that seemed to support them.

COOPER: At the same rally in Lansing today. The President said that he's saving suburbia and then seems to try to reach out, I guess in his mind to female voters and I just want to listen to how he did that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) [20:40:11]

TRUMP: You know what else I'm also getting your husbands. They want to get back to work, right? They want to get back to work. We're getting your husband's back to work.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: I mean, I'm not sure. You know, I don't know if I'm nitpicking, but he's obviously struggling with suburban women. And he's, you know, made the allegation that, you know, subsidized housing is going to be forced into suburban neighborhoods, and Cory Booker is going to be the one who's in charge of it and is going to destroy your neighborhood. Which is clearly, you know, a dog whistle, you know, racial racist overtones or undertones. But telling women, you know, who he's referred to as suburban housewives before that their husbands are going to be able to get back to work. It's sort of a antiquated vision.

NESSEL: Yes. I think that's an understatement to say that it's antiquated vision. You know, the President is pulling incredibly poorly with suburban women in Michigan, and I think across the United States. And I have to say that it was suburban women, who in large part were responsible for putting women in the offices of Governor, Attorney General and Secretary of State here in the state of Michigan. And I think it's going to be those same women that come out in very large numbers to support Joe Biden for President.

COOPER: So now, a judge in Michigan is struck down the directive that sought to ban the open carry of firearms and polling places on Election Day. So what implications do you think that has for Tuesday?

NESSEL: Well, first of all, I fully support our Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and providing that guidance, the vast majority of Michiganders do not want to be faced with guns at the polls. And even the United States Supreme Court has said in previous decisions, that, you know, the poll should be an island of calm, where voters can peacefully contemplate their candidates that they want to vote for.

And their biggest decision should be who to vote for, and how to fully pull out the oval next to their name, they shouldn't be worried about the guy who's watching them or standing next to them that's got an AR- 15 slung over his shoulder.

So, we absolutely intend to appeal this decision. We think that the guidance for is properly and legally issued. But irrespective of that, you know, we have very strong voter intimidation laws in the state, it's a felony. And so, we plan to pursue any and all efforts to subvert -- to suppress voters, to deter voters from the polls based on any kinds of threats or intimidation, irrespective of what happens with this particular matter.

COOPER: Dana Nessel, I appreciate your time. Thank you.

NESSEL: Thanks for having me. COOPER: Just ahead, the false reality that Trump is trying to create as he fights to win this election and our next guest says undermine our Democratic norms. Conversation with legendary chess player and human rights activist Garry Kasparov, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:47:19]

COOPER: Much of President Trump's campaign strategy relies on a need to create a false reality that mail-in voter fraud is rampant he says or that the balance counted after Election Day are phony or the coronavirus case counts and rising deaths and hospitalizations are fake. The doctors are making it up so they can get more money. That really, that really the U.S. is just fine. It's rounding the turn as the President says. Therefore, as we noted earlier, the administration can cite as an accomplishment ending the Covid-19 pandemic, which they haven't.

Also, the vaccines will be here in weeks or if not weeks, then by year's end. It's all part of the intentional deception familiar to my next guest who grew up in the Soviet Union and says this is how immoral leaders and other countries seek to undermine Democratic institutions by slowly, slowly chipping away at reality, and promoting those around them willing to believe his version of it.

Perspective now, from former world chess champion, Garry Kasparov, a Russian pro-democracy leader and chairman of the Human Rights Foundation.

Garry, one of the things I've heard you say recently is, I thought it was so interesting and important and it's similar to something Tom Friedman had said to me a while ago, but that one of the things you said is that we've learned over the last four years that just how much of our democracy is not enshrined in laws, written laws, it's based on honor, it's based on tradition with Tom Friedman described as being norms.

And I think that's such an important thing to think about, because the honor, the traditions, that is what is being subverted even if the constitution itself is not being up ended.

GARRY KASPAROV, RUSSIAN PRO-DEMOCRACY LEADER: Oh, absolutely. That's why I don't buy arguments recently used by Trump and his GOP neighbors, that it's not unconstitutional when they talk, for instance, about the recent appointment in Supreme Court. Because many things, you know, are not unconstitutional because the symbol not mentioned there, but that's why we're talking not about the letter of the law, but also about the spirit of the law, and also about norms and traditions. And I warned about Trump's gradually removing them from his way back in 2016. Because that's what's typically done it's not you know, a cool overnight. It's a slow motion process of destroying checks and balances.

And as you can see, Trump removed all the people that were loyal to the state to constitution to for American democracy and he replaced them with enablers. That's why you look at the Trump Trump's White House and his supporters in other branches of government and they are loyal to Trump more than they are loyal to American Constitution and to the very base of American democracy. That was presidents Democrats, Republicans over 200 plus years stayed in tact.

[20:50:20]

COOPER: And it's one of the things that I think is so interesting about what you're saying is that it's not overnight, there are armored personnel carriers surrounding the White House. And, you know, moving in on television stations, as happens in some places when there's a coup. But that democracy can die in a much longer, tiny baby steps that at the time, good people who are legislators go along with small tiny steps thinking, OK, well, you give a politician this and then they'll stop.

And then it's only once you've kind of gone down the road and done a bunch of little baby steps that you suddenly turn around and realize, wait a minute, we're in a whole different place.

KASPAROV: Absolutely. And that's why I believe these elections are so important. It's probably one of the most important elections in history, because it's not just about Trump or Biden's not about Republicans or Democrats. It's about the way the government is functions. And the way that the power is being transferred from one, you know, one president to another, if incumbent loses elections.

And it seems to me that Trump is determined to use every trick in the book, and even to go beyond that, to stay in power at any cost. And it's quite unfortunate that many, many of his supporters are in the GOP, who probably had no reservations about Trump's behavior. They turned into his enablers. And in 2016, Trump's election, confirmed his political style. He's reelection will confirm his political practices.

COOPER: One other thing you said before we go is who I wrote it down, because I thought it was a great line. You said, I don't know much about chess. But I understood what you were saying. You said saving your king from being mate it into doesn't mean that you win the game. That basically, it's a long game, that this is not just about voting in this election.

KASPAROV: No, but yes. But let's remember, saving your king from the mate into is a top priority. So, that's why winning elections, this time. So, Biden being elected is the number one priority, because if this game, if this game was lost, then it's the consequences. You know, I don't, I think it's hard to imagine.

But, even if Biden was elected, and if Democrats flip the Senate, it's just the beginning of the long road because Trump would be defeated, but Trumpism the idea that you can turn the corners and you can bend the law, at your convenience, using every loophole that you can find in the books will be very much alive.

COOPER: Yes.

KASPAROV: Trump's success will enable more Trumps whether from the right or from the left to repeat this experiment. And we should be aware of that, you know, new Trump's will be coming and there will be younger, there will be more dynamic, more intelligent, not obese and younger and not corrupt.

And it's very important that the -- that after November, November 4, hope the results will be already announced. So, we'll we'll work hard and that's what I believe are the I -- organizations with the most initiative will be doing. It's to start building the new firewalls against potential Trump is revival.

COOPER: Garry Kasparov. I appreciate your time. Thank you.

KASPAROV: Thank you.

COOPER: President Trump has one more stop to make before he finishes his campaign day he'll hold a rally in Omaha, Nebraska. There's a live shot of the crowd right now. There is exactly one presidential delegate at stake in Omaha. The question you're likely to ask is why is he going there? Well explain ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:56:02]

COOPER: President Trump holding his third rally of the day tonight in Omaha, Nebraska where only one delegate is up for grabs. Nebraska like Maine splits its presidential delegates by congressional district. Jeff Zeleny is in Ohio -- is in Omaha tonight, we'll look at why this one stop is so important to the President.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): One week before Election Day, President Trump is threading a narrow needle.

TRUMP: You know, you have Nebraska, do you have Omaha? And that's something that a lot of Republicans don't get and I'd like to get it.

We are the ending of the road --

ZELENY (voice-over): Never mind the big battlegrounds. He's talking about Nebraska's second Congressional District, which most Republicans actually do get. He wanted four years ago, but now is facing a tough fight with Joe Biden. As the President barnstormed the country, his path to winning 270 electoral votes is so precarious that he's chasing single electoral votes.

In Maine, on Sunday --

TRUMP: He'll be on (INAUDIBLE) tonight.

ZELENY (voice-over): And tonight in Nebraska. These states are the only two in America that split their electoral votes by congressional district rather than a winner take all model. But his visits to both of them highlight how his political path is complicated by political math with early voting already breaking records.

Here's why Nebraska is single electoral vote matters. If Biden gets it, he could win the presidency simply by flipping Arizona, Wisconsin and Michigan from the 2016 map, even if he loses Pennsylvania and Florida.

OBAMA: How's it going Omaha?

ZELENY (voice-over): Barack Obama won this Omaha area electoral vote in 2008. But his path to the White House hardly depended on it. In the final stretch of the race, Democrats are playing on Trump's terrain, hoping to expand the map.

Jill Biden in Maine eyeing an electoral vote that went for Trump four years ago.

JILL BIDEN, WIFE OF JOE BIDEN: So tell me (INAUDIBLE) are you ready to go out and vote?

ZELENY (voice-over): And her husband in Georgia, which hasn't gone Democratic in a presidential year since 1992.

JOE BIDEN (D) PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I believe American, America of hope, not fear, unity, not division. Love not hate.

ZELENY (voice-over): The President is on defense, working to hold ground he won last time.

TRUMP: Go out and vote.

ZELENY (voice-over): Rallying supporters today in Michigan and Wisconsin before stopping in Nebraska. The latest sign he does not have a single electoral vote to spare.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZELENY: Now, everyone at these rallies Anderson without question is already supporting the president. But they're also told to find nine other people over the next week to make their case for President Trump. But that certainly is one reason the President is here in deep red Nebraska on a cold October night trying to make his case.

Also looking across the river to Iowa voters. But Anderson, he wouldn't be here if he didn't need every single vote on this side. Anderson.

COOPER: It's quite a playlist they got. Jeff Zeleny, thanks very much.

After a race like no other, join us one week from tonight for live coverage, the ballot count the way -- the only way CNN can bring it to you. See what's happening in your state and across the country. Our special coverage Election Night In America kicks off next Tuesday 4:00 p.m. Eastern. It is going to be exciting.

[21:00:16]

The news continues. Let's hand over to Chris for "CUOMO PRIME TIME".

Chris?