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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Trump Denies Reports He Plans to Declare Victory on Election Night; Early Voting Shatters Records with 93.5 Million Ballots Cast; Dr. Scott Atlas Apologizes for Interview with Russian Propaganda Network. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired November 1, 2020 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: I'm Erin Burnett. Welcome back to a special edition of OUTFRONT.
Forty-eight hours from now several more states close their polls and tonight a frenzy of activity. The president wrapping up his third rally just moments ago. He is now headed to Georgia and Florida. Still, two more tonight. Joe Biden focusing on Pennsylvania, holding two rallies there, also making a third stop on the streets of Philadelphia.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Folks, in two days we can put an end to a president who has failed to protect this nation. In two days, we could put an end to a presidency that fanned the flames of hate.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They'll terminate your school choice, eliminate your charter schools, defund religious schools, ban prayer in schools, indoctrinate your children, anti- American lives, and force you to subsidize extreme late-term abortion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: OK. That comes as the president is sowing more doubt about the election's integrity.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I think it's a terrible thing when ballots can be collected after an election. I think it's a terrible thing when people are -- states are allowed to tabulate ballots for a long period of time after the election is over. Because it can only lead to one thing and that's very bad. You know what that thing is, I think it's a very dangerous, terrible thing. And I think it's terrible when we can't know the results of an election the night of the election in a modern-day age of computer. I think it's a terrible thing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Of course we don't know when we'll know. I think we should just make it clear, just on the facts of that, right? Places that have done mail-in balloting, by the way, the military, it has always been the case that those ballots could come in after election day and get counted, right? And there's stamps and there's proof of when they were sent. And so there's absolutely no reason that things coming in after election day would in any way indicate fraud. We shouldn't have to say such a thing, but here we are. It does bear saying.
And it comes as a senior campaign adviser tells our Jim Acosta that the president plans to be very aggressive on election night. Those are the words that they are using, saying he's prepared to declare victory if he's close to the 270 electoral votes needed to win reelection, but doesn't yet have them nor has been declared a formal winner. And Biden is responding now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: My response is the president is not going to steal this election.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Our reporters are fanned out across the country tonight in the closing days of this historic race. Jim Acosta is in Georgia where the president will be arriving shortly, Jessica Dean is with Joe Biden.
So let me start with you, Jim, and your reporting, and what you are learning about the president's strategy for declaring victory on election night.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Erin, I think you started off perfectly there, just a few moments ago. The Trump campaign is planning to be very aggressive on election night, talked to a Trump campaign adviser earlier this afternoon who said, listen, if the president is close to the 270 votes needed to clinch this election, they may -- stress, may, not will, may declare victory at that point because they don't want to drag this thing out, let this thing drag out for weeks and weeks.
This adviser cited the case of Bush v. Gore in the year of 2000 when that election battle went on for weeks and weeks and weeks. They don't want a repeat of that. The president was just asked about this by White House pool reporters traveling with him just a short while ago. He said that that is not the case. He's not going to be declaring victory on Tuesday night if he's close but has not clinched that 270- vote threshold.
But, Erin, listen to what the president also had to say, he also said that as soon as the election results start coming in, they're going to send in the lawyers, quote, "send in the lawyers," and on top of that, he complained about how long this ballot-counting process may take. As you were just saying a few moments ago, and so while the president is claiming that he's not going to declare victory prematurely on election night, he is already and still complaining about this ballot- counting process.
Now the other thing we should point out, Erin, obviously, the president of the United States does not get to declare the winner or the victor of Tuesday night's election. That is determined by state election authorities all across the country and so we'll be waiting those returns to come in. The other thing that I should be pointing out and stressed, Erin, as we're standing here in Rome, Georgia, for this rally that's coming up in a few moments, you know, the fact that the president is campaigning in Georgia, a bright red state, this close to an election, just highlights some of the insecurity that is going on inside of the campaign.
I've talked to multiple advisers, associates of the campaign, Republican officials, Republicans close to the White House, they are all saying the president has to come from behind to win this race for reelection, that right now he is the clear underdog and is facing some pretty long odds in terms of overtaking Joe Biden.
One very final thing, Erin, as we've seen time and again at these rallies, no social distancing, hardly any Trump supporters wearing masks, another potential super spreader -- Erin.
BURNETT: Right. All right. Thank you very much, Jim.
So let's go to Jessica Dean with the Biden campaign.
So, Jessica, obviously, Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania. You know, he is -- quite a different strategy. Right? Spending a lot of his final time in a state that he really wants to win and may indeed need to win but is a bit more of an insurance policy at this point to that campaign.
JESSICA DEAN, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Right, Erin. They are all about Pennsylvania as evidenced to former vice president being here in the Philadelphia area all day today and then tomorrow, Vice President Biden, his wife Jill Biden, his running mate, Senator Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff all fanning out across the state of Pennsylvania to all the different corners.
The campaign really, as you alluded to, finds this absolutely critical to their strategy. And you heard from Joe Biden, his response to those reports about President Trump's words about election night. Kamala Harris saying that they want an overwhelming victory on election night. They want to leave no room for doubts. So they are spreading out here in Pennsylvania, taking their message to voters as we close in on the final hours.
A Biden campaign aide telling us they really see Pennsylvania as representative of the broader coalition that they are seeking to build all across the country in order to get Joe Biden elected. That looks a lot like Pennsylvania looks. So it's black and Latino voters, it's suburban women, it's working white-class voters, it's union households. It's people who voted for President Trump in 2016, maybe were giving him a chance because they voted Democratic in 2008 or 2012, and are willing to vote for Joe Biden this time around.
They certainly want to take their base, their Democratic base, and turn it out to the max. That's why you see them here in Philadelphia where they really want to run up the score here in Pennsylvania. But, Erin, they're also looking to expand it and capture some of the voters that maybe President Trump captured last time. Remember, he only won this state by about 44,000 votes in 2016.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Jessica Dean.
And let's go now to Michael Smerconish, host of CNN's "SMERCONISH," Abby Phillip, our political correspondent, and Ben Ginsberg, longtime Republican election lawyer including for the Bush campaign in the year 2000.
So, Michael, you know, we've got this senior campaign adviser telling Jim Acosta that the president may declare a victory before he has victory, right, so if he's close but not yet at 270 electoral votes, which, of course, would deeply break with precedent and be possibly hugely problematic. Now the president gets asked about it on Air Force One moments afterwards, denies it, says he won't do it, but then adds, we'll look at what happens. So what he's doing here?
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN HOST, "SMERCONISH": So Pennsylvania for Donald Trump may earn its nickname as the Keystone State on Tuesday night. But maybe not. Because don't forget, Erin, we may know the outcome in Florida, we may now the outcome in Georgia, North Carolina, and Ohio. He needs to run all of those states. So Pennsylvania only becomes critical if the president can win those four and others.
And now it comes down to Pennsylvania and as you've been explaining quite well, the likelihood is we're not going to know who wins Pennsylvania on Tuesday night because those mail-in ballots cannot be processed until 7:00 a.m. on Tuesday. That's not counting -- they can't be counted until 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday. You've got seven counties that say we're not going to do it until Wednesday.
So it sets up a situation that we've been discussing here where this red mirage may appear on Tuesday night suggesting that Donald Trump is doing better in Pennsylvania than he actually is and you may not know the outcome until all those mail-in ballots are indeed counted. And it sounds like he's seeking to take advantage of that.
What people need to know is this. It will take a while to count the ballots but not because of fraud. So everybody needs to keep their powder dry.
BURNETT: Right. Right. Well, that's the thing. You know, you got to count them and you got to have your paper trail and you got to count them right. And that's what matters.
So, Ben, the Trump adviser, you know, who talked to Jim, was citing the 2000 Bush v. Gore election as the reason that they would be aggressive. Right? That sort of -- the idea being, whoever grabs the ball first, you then got to take the ball away from the person. Right? So it's really hard to undo it once someone announces the victory and it prevents this whole long drawn-out thing.
You were national council for the Bush campaign. So when you hear this going on, this rhetoric being thrown out right now, what do you think? BEN GINSBERG, REPUBLICAN ELECTION LAWYER: Nobody talked about doing
that before the election. The reality of what happened in Florida is that the results on election night where most of the ballots were counted was improbably close and that starts a chain and a process. Yes, it took a long time to do, but that's the way the state laws required that it could be done.
So talking about this now seems to be a questionable strategy. And even if you were going to do it, why would you talk about it before the election?
BURNETT: So, Abby, I mean, this is a question -- look, it's a question for both campaigns in the sense of, if the trends are very clear, do one or both try to declare victory beforehand? Right? Is everyone just going to wait days until an announcement? I mean, these are real questions.
If the president goes ahead and declares victory when there's still a question mark, you know, you heard the former director of the CIA, John Brennan, say, look, his words has resonance as the president. What impact could it have?
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I think it has already had a really corrosive impact on the confidence of the American people have in the process and in the system. One of the reasons that what President Trump is doing is different from what we have historically seen is that he is implying that ballots that are counted a certain way or that are cast a certain way by mail are less legitimate than other kinds of ballots and should not be counted after a certain time.
I don't think there really is any kind of precedent for that kind of broad strokes of a statement from the president and I think that's what makes it so problematic. Yes, both the Biden and Trump campaigns are going to have to decide how they're going to approach this, but there's only one campaign that's making a claim that a certain type of ballot is less valid than other kinds of ballots.
And the Biden campaign is not doing that. They want every vote to count and the Trump campaign should want that, too, because their voters are also casting ballots by mail. We're already seeing both sides of this debate really preparing to -- they're preparing for the worst in this kind of situation when the president really has a role and a responsibility to tamp down the anxiety around this and urge people to just simply have patience until all of the ballots are counted.
BURNETT: Which are all great points. And, Michael, you know, you also raised the point that there's a lot that is going to happen earlier. Right? So when you look at states like Texas or states like Florida, they are counting. Right? So when their polls close, their early ballots, unlike those in Pennsylvania which don't start being counted until after the election, have already been counted. We are going to get a sense earlier on in the evening as to how close this race may be, right? SMERCONISH: And I think Florida, in particular, especially because of
the way in which their mail-in vote gets tabulated -- can I just say that no matter what gets said on Tuesday night, and I don't mean to minimize it, that may impact the court of public opinion. But nothing that the president could say on Tuesday night is going to stop the process. In the end, I believe the rule of law is going to prevail and no matter what he says Tuesday night, in Pennsylvania, I can tell you, they'll continue to follow the law and count those ballots and there will be a victor declared. It just might not be immediate.
BURNETT: So, Ben, what about what we're doing to see in terms of challenges, possibly? Today the Texas Supreme Court denied a Republican attempt to invalidate more than 120,000 drive-through ballots in obviously the crucial county of Harris. These are many challenges that Republicans are bringing around the country. What do you make of all the challenges? Are these all legitimate?
GINSBERG: I don't think most of them are legitimate. But we'll see. Look, the Trump campaign has apparently decided that if all the votes are counted, he loses. And so in the 40 lawsuits that they brought around the country, unfortunately, each and every one of them is about constricting the ability to vote. Not expanding the right to vote.
Challenges in the polling place are similar. That's where you break it down to individual voters who either come in on election day and have their registrations challenged or as absentee ballots are being counted to be challenged on something like signature matches. All of that apparently is designed to reduce the number of Americans whose votes actually count. So you do have to pay attention to what happens in the polling places on election day in terms of challenges.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you all very much.
And next, turnout. That is what it's now all about. Right? Turnout on election day. John King at the magic wall on what he is watching where. Plus, Trump's favorite Coronavirus Task Force adviser Dr. Scott Atlas apologizing after sitting down for an interview with the Russian propaganda network. So how did it happen?
And then, breaking news, caravans of Trump supporters reportedly blocking traffic in several major cities, including a vital bridge outside New York City tonight.
BURNETT: Tonight, early voting shattering records, 93 million-plus voters casting their ballots with two days until the election. And tonight, the most crucial county in battleground Arizona, Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix, already has past the total number of votes that were cast in 2016.
John King joins me from the magic wall. So, John, two days out from election day. You know, that's pretty stunning statistic. You now are down to turnout and who's left and they've got to try to figure out who voted and get everybody else out. What are both campaigns watching?
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And, Erin, you make the best point, the most important point in today's big age, big data politics. They know. They know. You mentioned the big numbers for the headline voting. The campaigns know who they are. The challenge now is can they find the ones who didn't vote and can they execute?
And let's go to the 2016 map as we walk through some of what we're talking about. You were showing the president earlier tonight. He was in hickory, North Carolina, that is here, Catawba County. Look how much he won this county by in 2016. The president knows where his voters live, he knows what I call super Trump counties, places where he wins by big margins. They're not giant, but you get 30,000-plus margin, 20,000-plus in this particular county there.
That's where you go when you know Joe Biden is leading in the early voting. You have to go to the places where you can turn out votes. Last night in Pennsylvania, for example, he was in Butler County. This is a Trump super county north of Pittsburgh. 35,000-vote difference back in 2016.
He knows he's trailing in the early voting. He has to go to places to get his people to show up on election day. So he's going back to where he found them last time.
And same thing for the Democrats. So tomorrow we're going to see a lot of them in Pennsylvania but you're also going to see Joe Biden go to Ohio. And this one's interesting. Joe Biden is going to be in Cleveland, Ohio. This was not close four years ago. 52-44. It was not close. Joe Biden is not wasting time in Cleveland the day before the election unless they have data that tells them they are in play.
So he's going to go to Cleveland to try to turn out votes here, African-Americans, inner city votes, the suburbs, Lake County up here, President Trump won it pretty handily, watch Lake County on Tuesday night and see what happens.
Now watch where the candidates go and I'll close just by coming back to Pennsylvania because we know the Democrats are going to be there tomorrow, too. Joe Biden there tonight in Philadelphia, back in Pennsylvania tomorrow with Senator Harris on both ends of the state our in Allegheny County, Pittsburgh, here.
Again, Erin, they know. They have the early voting data, they know who has not voted. The campaigns tonight using that to reach out to the people they need and the candidates are going there for a reason, the same reason Barack Obama will be in south Florida, to get people who haven't voted. Again I said in the last hour, grab them, literally? No. Figuratively, yes.
KING: Get them to vote. Again, they know who they are. Contact them every way you can and hope a celebrity like an Obama, like a Biden, like a Harris, on the Trump side, Trump and Pence, or the Trump family, get them to vote.
BURNETT: So, you know, there is an expectation and I think it's good there's an expectation, or at least I hope there is, across this country that we may not know for a while who wins. However, there's a lot we may know on election night, even if we don't actually know the winner because a lot of states, every state has its own rules on when they count those early ballots and how they count, what's already sitting ready to be, you know, compiled or, you know, added to the election day totals. So 48 hours from now, 7:21, you got Florida. What do you think we could know?
KING: Well, you've got Virginia, you've got Kentucky, you've got -- so let's just pull it out. You have Indiana. Four years ago we did start to know at this point. I remember, to your point, thought we might not know for a couple of days. What the president is saying is frankly just wrong and it's horrible because they count votes after elections all the time. Both campaigns, as Ben Ginsberg said, have eyes on those votes.
If anything nefarious happens, somebody can raise their hand. This is what happens. And in a pandemic election, it's going to happen even more. But to your point, Kentucky closes very early. Four years ago, this is one of the first places, Erin, we saw, evidence that this is a different year. Not because Donald Trump was winning Kentucky, we knew he was going to win Kentucky. It was the margins. We saw votes starting to come in in these small counties early. Donald Trump 77 percent.
Go back and look at Mitt Romney before, 62 percent. Right? So all of a sudden you saw these small counties and you say, wow, Donald Trump is overperforming Mitt Romney. Now not a big deal. He was going to win Kentucky anyway, right? Except you have the same kind of voters all down here in southern Ohio and the same thing happened, and guess what, then when we got to Pennsylvania, the same kind of voters all down here, and the same thing happened.
So these early states, the Virginias, the Kentuckys, the Ohios, they will give us clues, even though it's going to be different this year because of all that counting, the early states will give us some pretty good clues.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, John King.
And next, Dr. Scott Atlas, the controversial Coronavirus Task Force member, blasting America's response to the pandemic and the platform he chose to blast America's response on is the Russian state propaganda outlet. Plus President Obama heading to Georgia to help a Democrat try to flip a Republican Senate seat. That Democrat is Reverend Rafael Warnock and he is OUTFRONT.
BURNETT: Tonight the most influential adviser on the White House Coronavirus Task Force, Dr. Scott Atlas, apologizing after speaking with the Russian state TV network RT. He apologized for doing the interview but not for what he did during it which is to denigrate public health officials and the American people in the course of what was a 30-minute long interview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. SCOTT ATLAS, ADVISER TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: The lockdowns have been one of the -- will go down as an epic failure of public policy. It's a sad statement on America that as the U.S. is hysterical over this. But the point is that the public health leadership have failed egregiously and they're killing people with their fear-inducing shutdown policies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Important to note, Dr. Atlas did not apologize for those comments you just heard. Just the fact that he said them to RT which is of course a Russian propaganda outlet in a country which has a universal mask mandate, among many other things that the U.S. has now.
Kaitlan Collins is OUTFRONT in Hickory, North Carolina, where the president just held a rally.
Kaitlan, the White House saying Atlas did not have clearance to do this interview but it did take place on the White House grounds and we do know, for example, they have been -- I used the word before neurotic, I'll use it again -- neurotic about everywhere that their public health officials do interviews. So suddenly in this case, nobody knew about it and it just happened by accident? I mean, what is the latest on this you're hearing?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And Erin, the White House is much less restrictive of Dr. Atlas doing interviews because he says things that don't disagree with the president. They're much more restrictive on someone like a Dr. Fauci who of course causes headlines when he does disagree with the president on basic public health measures.
But what is so notable about this and Dr. Atlas apologizing seeming that he doesn't know what RT is they actually do register with the Justice Department as a foreign agent a few years ago because they were also caught up in the Russian interference in the election. They were helping the Russians disseminate that misinformation. So that is what this outlet is that Dr. Atlas did a 30-minute interview with.
And it's just notable because of course as you noted what he said about lockdowns and masks in there, but of course this is the adviser that the president listened to the most if you talk to sources inside the White House when it comes to the pandemic. Scott Atlas is someone who travels with the president often. He is always there with him. And the fact that he did an interview with this Kremlin-controlled state media outlet seemingly without the White House's knowledge, if you're taking what these communications aides are saying is really stunning, Erin, and of course, that's why he is now apologizing for that.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST, OUT FRONT: All right, Kaitlan, the President was speaking where you were, a scaffolding lift was holding up an American flag and it collapsed just sort of a stunning thing to happen -- and we'll show it here -- near where the crowd and members of the press were situated. We will just show it and tell me what happened.
COLLINS: Yes, you can tell it is windy here, as you can see by my hair, but it's actually could have been kind of dangerous. This is in the press pen. And these are these two scissor lifts that were holding American flags, and one of them tipped over in the wind, and luckily went that way and hit the building and not this way to where reporters were seated right in front of it.
But they put caution tape up. They had another one with the lights on actually, and they had to lower it, but it just shows you the conditions here are that windy that they had to move that and it could have been a very risky situation if it had gone and fallen in a different direction.
BURNETT: Right, of course, a lot of win there and the President continuing with that rally now, heading to another one tonight. Kaitlan, thank you very much.
I want to go now to Dr. Jonathan Reiner, who advised the White House medical team under President George W. Bush, currently in charge of the Cardiac Cath Lab at G.W.
So Dr. Reiner, Dr. Atlas goes on Russian state television registered as a foreign interference agent to the U.S. government and does a 30- minute long interview in which he says everything that the United States has done and Fauci has done and supported is wrong, even though I should note, it is what they are also doing in Russia, almost -- almost, you know, to the T. So, what's your take on that 30-minute long interview?
DR. JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Yes, well, Erin, what was more embarrassing than the fact that he did this on Russian television was the steady stream of bogus content that, you know, issued forth from the really de facto head of the Coronavirus Taskforce.
You know, he repeated the President's canard that without the President, 2.3 million Americans would have died. That's what would have happened if we went for herd immunity, actually, what he has advocated from the beginning. He said that we were hysterical about the deaths in the United States.
He was asked, why does the United States have more deaths than, let's say, a country like South Korea, and he invokes some sort of maybe innate biological immunity for the South Koreans. It was really a strange interview.
He also stated that freedom of speech was under threat in the United States, really, an odd an odd mix of statements from a man in that position at the White House.
BURNETT: So then Dr. Fauci is also getting a lot of attention tonight for an interview he gave to "The Washington Post" and he talked about where we are in the coronavirus. He said, "We're in for a whole lot of hurt. It's not a good situation. All the stars are aligned in the wrong place as you go into the fall and winter season with people congregating at home indoors, you could not possibly be positioned more poorly."
He is now saying these things publicly. You know, not that he's ever not been honest. But he is saying them publicly more than he ever has before because obviously, it is Scott Atlas that the President is listening to, not Dr. Fauci.
You have double digit states now with record hospitalizations. Fauci trying to sound the alarm. Is there any way that the relationship between Trump and Fauci can continue in a world where Trump is re- elected? Is there any Fauci in that world?
REINER: I hope so. I think the only person in reality who can fire Tony Fauci is the Director of the N.I.H., and I think Dr. Collins would probably refuse, and he would have to be fired. And then Secretary, Azar would probably fire them both. It's very possible that the President might try and clear the slate one way or the other after the election.
Look, Tony Fauci has worked for six Presidents, and I think he will probably end up working for a seventh President. He's a national treasure and he understands the stakes.
In the last week, cases in the United States increased 19 percent, hospitalizations are up 13 percent. Unless we change what we are doing, it's going to get worse and Tony Fauci knows that.
BURNETT: All right, Dr. Reiner, thank you very much.
REINER: My pleasure.
BURNETT: And next, a Southern black pastor trying to flip a Senate seat in Georgia. The race now a tossup. President Barack Obama is about to campaign with him. Reverend Raphael Warnock is OUTFRONT.
And breaking news, caravans of Trump supporters shutting down major roads and cities across this country now, including a vital thoroughfare right outside New York City. We have details on the ground after this.
BURNETT: President Obama heading to Georgia tomorrow to try to help Joe Biden win the key swing state and appear with Democrats who are trying to flip the states' two Senate seats, which some experts have now put as formal tossups included in the crowded special election. In this case, Democrat Reverend Raphael Warnock who is on the left appears to be headed to a run off against sitting Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler or Republican Congressman Doug Collins.
So earlier today, Biden's running mate, Kamala Harris campaigned in the state with this message to voters.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), DEMOCRATIC VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: This is not the time to let up, this is the time to put our feet on that pedal and go and get this thing done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: OUTFRONT now, Democratic candidate for Senate in Georgia, Reverend Raphael Warnock and Reverend, I appreciate your time. So Georgia has not elected a Democratic senator in 20 years. Zell Miller was at the time with a special election. Georgia has not backed a Democrat for President since Bill Clinton in 1992. And yet, you've got Barack Obama coming to campaign on your behalf tomorrow. Why do you think Democrats are gaining momentum in the final days of these Georgia races?
REV. RAPHAEL WARNOCK (D), SENATORIAL CANDIDATE IN GEORGIA: Good evening, it's great to be here with you, Erin. Listen, we are on the verge of victory, the precipice of change in America and Georgia is at the center of that change. Barack Obama will be with us tomorrow. Kamala Harris was here today for the second time, Joe Biden a few days ago.
And I think, even perhaps more poignant is that of all the places the President of the United States could be tonight, he is in Rome, Georgia, two days before the election in so-called Red Georgia. Georgia is the hinge that swings the door to change in America and I'm deeply honored as a Senate candidate to be a part of that change.
BURNETT: So let me -- so people understand how this works, right? Because I mentioned Senator Loeffler and Congressman Collins. You've got to get 50 percent of the vote to get the seat, and if you don't get 50 percent -- a clean 50 -- there's a runoff in January.
So you know, do you have a preference on who you would face, you know, if there is a runoff, and you're obviously number two, right, so it's you versus Collins or you versus Loeffler?
WARNOCK: Well, first of all, I have not given up on the idea that we could close this deal on Tuesday night.
BURNETT: So, you think you can get 50 flat, yes?
WARNOCK: Yes. Well, I know that there are folks in there, 21 people in the race. That's right. But I think it's quite remarkable that we are sitting where we are with 21 people in the race. And I can tell you, I'm in Savannah, Georgia right now, I'm moving all across the state, there's a lot of energy on the ground.
There's a spirit in the air, the sense that people understand how much really is at stake in this election. I'm sitting in a state where we've got 500,000 people in the Medicaid gap, and the COVID-19 pandemic is really bringing into clear focus the disparities in healthcare. We've got an economic turndown that is leaving people out in the cold.
And I think Georgia is well positioned for change.
BURNETT: So I know you're hoping for more than 50, I guess, I am curious, which you would rather face off against if you don't get to 50? Senator Loeffler or Congressman Collins?
WARNOCK: Oh, it doesn't make a difference. They're both big in the same argument. If you listen to them, they're saying, elect me and I'll be an excellent representative of Donald Trump. Well, I'm running to represent the people of Georgia who are wondering who in Washington is looking out for them, as they're trying to figure out how to get healthcare, how to have a livable wage, how to make sure that they can return their children to school safely.
I intend to represent the people of Georgia. They can represent a man who has never lived in Georgia.
BURNETT: All right, well, Reverend, I appreciate your time. Thank you very much. I know these are going to be a crucial 48 hours for everyone, and thanks for being with us.
WARNOCK: Great to be with you.
BURNETT: And next, a prominent group of experts is that monitor violence across the globe are warning tonight that the U.S. faces unfamiliar danger over the next few days. What specifically?
And Trump about to head back to Wisconsin for another rally. Are supporters concerned about the pandemic statistics there, a record surge in cases?
BURNETT: New tonight, Trump supporters in several cities tonight using caravans to intentionally stop traffic shutting down major arteries. Video of one incident outside New York City shows dozens of cars bearing Trump and pro-police flags shutting down a vital bridge. A similar incident today in New Jersey, several hundred vehicles stopping there on the roadway, the Garden State Parkway and blocking traffic for five miles.
It comes just two days after a pro-Trump caravan surrounded a Joe Biden campaign bus in Texas. The FBI now investigating that incident.
Brynn Gingras is OUTFRONT and Brynn, tell us more about what you're hearing about all this.
BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Erin, exactly where you are showing the viewers. Social media videos and pictures circulating around the internet showing just that cars and trucks and we know they are Trump supporters because they've got -- they've all flanked in the Trump 2020 flags, driving down highways in New Jersey and in New York essentially getting out of their cars at some points and stopping traffic, backing up traffic for several miles, really just downright dangerous.
The New Jersey Turnpike Authority says that there were several hundred of these vehicles that actually met up at one point and drove north into the New York area and then you could see there right there on the Mario Cuomo Bridge which connects two counties in New York just north of New York City, people getting out and stopping traffic, just downright dangerous again and something law enforcement certainly is worried about especially since we're only just a few days and it could get -- before the election -- and it can only get worse possibly.
BURNETT: So Brynn, it comes as the City of New York and other cities are prepared for possible unrest, right? People have noticed stores being boarded up. New warning tonight cautioning that a deeply divided America faces quote, "unfamiliar danger" in the days ahead from security officials. What are their specific concerns of these dangers?
GINGRAS: Well, Erin, I mean, never have we had before a candidate essentially say that he may reject the outcome of this election that basically cause, you know, say that this election may not be, you know, going in his favor, and he might reject it and then we might have armed extremists that we've been seeing as well, who the President, in some cases has tipped his hat at.
These are sort of the things that law enforcement has had there on the radar for the past several months. But of course, we've only seen it heightened and they've only felt more heightened tensions through social media and the rhetoric that is out there as we get closer to this election.
And now we're seeing businesses start to prepare, right? We see a number of them in New York City, big stores like Macy's and Bloomingdale's and the Empire State Building having to board up, something that one law enforcement official told me that he has never seen prior to the George Floyd protest, but in decades before then, certainly not tied to an election.
Security groups are getting calls more and more over the last few weeks, basically, with businesses saying how can we protect our businesses for the, quote, "worst case scenario"? So these are all issues that law enforcement has been practicing for, but the best case scenario is basically a peaceful protest, and the worst case scenario are things that we've been seeing play out in cities all across America leading up to this point.
BURNETT: All right, Brynn. Thank you very much.
Next, we hear from voters in Wisconsin, a crucial state. What's their reaction when the President claims that the U.S. is rounding the coronavirus corner?
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't understand how he can downplay the seriousness of this.
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BURNETT: Tonight, President Trump moments away from taking the stage in Rome, Georgia. It is his fourth rally today and he goes to Wisconsin tomorrow. Voters there reacting to Trump's claims that the United States is rounding the corner on the pandemic. Bill Weir is on the ground OUTFRONT.
BILL WEIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): In Madison, there are so many signs of a vibrant democracy even as they brace for Election Day, like an approaching hurricane. Some are more worried about a repeat of what happened in Kenosha; others fret more over COVID-19 tearing through the state at nightmare rates, and the President who refuses to take it seriously with every visit.
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DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're rounding the curve. We're rounding the corner.
JOHN BORGWARDT, WISCONSIN VOTER: I don't understand how he can downplay the seriousness of this. It just totally escapes me.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's wrong.
ANN HEASLETT, WISCONSIN VOTER: I think Biden is going to win this state. I think that it has strongly affected the way that I would vote. I think Trump has handled this abysmally.
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WEIR (voice over): They are among the thousands poring through this Coronavirus Testing Center in Madison each day, as deaths top 2,000. New cases set records and hospitals near overflowing.
But in Trump's Wisconsin, from farm country up north to the suburbs of Milwaukee, there is a very different level of COVID concern.
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WEIR (on camera): Did it affect the way you think about this election?
MICHELLE ANDERSON, WISCONSIN VOTER: No, not at all. Just stay safe. They have lots of hand sanitizer and they have alcohol wipes. They have glass protection. It's very safe.
My biggest reason for voting for Trump is Biden. I don't believe he is going to live that long. And I am a female, but I just -- I'm not real comfortable with two females in office, and I don't care for Nancy. So ...
JOE BIDEN (D), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Donald Trump raised the white flag, surrendered to the virus.
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WEIR (voice over): After nearly two million absentee ballots were sent out, less than 200,000 are still outstanding. But those could mean the difference. So both sides wonder how many are stuck in the mail.
WEIR (on camera): Election mail has gotten so slow in Wisconsin, a Federal Judge this week ordered the Postal Service to do a statewide sweep starting tonight and if they find any ballots, take extraordinary measures to get them in time. But that's just getting them in.
Back in April, 23,000 absentee ballots were rejected because the voter didn't know to sign the envelope or put the address of their witness on. Now, at actual polling places like this, there are friendly folks to help you avoid mistakes. But Donald Trump won Wisconsin by less than 23,000 votes, so mistakes matter.
BEN WINKLER, CHAIR, DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF WISCONSIN: The thing is that because we had a dress rehearsal in Wisconsin, of how to do a pandemic election, we know how to do it now. And I think we're going to see a much more effective election apparatus than our state has ever seen in these final two days.
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WEIR (voice over): And for those worried about Tuesday's crowds, take heart after testing a quarter million people so far not a single worker here caught the virus.
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KEN VAN HORN, MADISON AND DANE COUNTY EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS COORDINATOR: On any given day, one of our testers is probably exposed to about 80 positive cases, and they're wearing a mask and a face shield and that's keeping them safe.
WEIR (on camera): So knowing that, what do you think when you see these big political rallies with thousands of people without masks?
VAN HORN: I worry whenever I see a large gathering without masks, because I know the virus is going to -- it's going to spread in that community and I worry for them. I wish that people would just wear masks.
BURNETT: Yes, it's pretty incredible to watch this Bill and just with this backdrop. So Trump has a big rally in Kenosha tomorrow. How significant is that campaign stop for him? I mean, you know, we're coming there on the day before the election. That is where he thinks it is worth spending that crucial time.
WEIR: Absolutely, it's significant for a couple reasons. I went on the page tonight. If you click for tickets to that rally tomorrow night, there's a disclaimer that you will not sue Donald Trump, the Republican Party or local officials if you catch COVID-19. This is -- the rate of infection is off the charts in the state.
The other reason is what happened after the police shooting of Jacob Blake, of course Kenosha, it has still a raw wound with this community and Kyle Rittenhouse, the young man who came up from Illinois, and killed two people, two protesters there was just extradited back to Kenosha and he is somewhat of a conservative cause celeb, got a standing ovation, his mom did, from local Republicans there.
So, it looks like Donald Trump's closing arguments, it will be about some of this stickiest most painful issues in America.
BURNETT: He certainly will, head on. Bill Weir, thank you very much.
And thanks to all of you in these momentous historic days, it is good to be with you.
See you back tomorrow. Anderson starts now.