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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Trump And Biden Push For Votes With Election Day Hours Away; Storefronts Boarded Up In Case Of Election Unrest; Record-Breaking 99- Plus Million Early Votes Cast; Federal Judge Rejects GOP Bid To Toss 127,000 Ballots In Texas; Plaintiffs Immediately Appeal Case; Early Voting Records Being Set In Georgia. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired November 2, 2020 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MICHAEL MCDONALD, PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA: And he doesn't need as much juice in those states in order to get him over the top.
So it's -- he has got to get into the trenches. It's like state by state. And some of the states like Michigan that we were just talking about earlier, that state is going to still have a lot of Election Day vote. So there's still room for him to win the Electoral College with that Election Day vote when you get down in the states.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: All right. Well, Professor McDonald, I really appreciate your time. Thank you so very much.
And thanks to all of you for being with us in this historic night. Anderson starts now.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: And good evening, we are now just hours away from the election of a lifetime in the middle of a once in a century pandemic at a make or break moment for democracy as we come to know it. It is on the line as candidates make their closing arguments.
The President tonight in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Joe Biden and Pittsburgh. We will be live in both over the next hour.
The President earlier in Biden's hometown of Scranton; Biden this morning in Cleveland. The President in North Carolina, then Biden in Beaver County, Pennsylvania. Kamala Harris in Philadelphia, Mike Pence in Erie. Former President Obama in Florida, but also in Georgia, a new and surprising battleground in addition to the rest -- all the heavy hitters taking their hardest shots just as we've come to expect, but that is where normal pretty much leaves off because more than 96 million Americans have already voted and some of their ballots are being processed or even still being cast as we speak.
Also, today, a court ruling on nearly 127,000 drive-thru ballots from the Houston area, Republicans trying to get them thrown out. A Republican appointed Federal Judge throwing out their case, instead the day after Republican controlled state Supreme Court unanimously did the same. The plaintiffs say they are not stopping, they are appealing. But the legal battle is still just beginning especially in
Pennsylvania. The President is spoiling for fighting across the country, people are bracing for the impact of what they don't yet know.
These are pictures you never thought you might see on the eve of an election, at least not in this country. Stores and offices boarding up windows. The White House building a wall around itself, the People's House just hours away from what is supposed to be the People's Day.
CNN's Arlette Saenz is in Pittsburgh for us with Joe Biden at a Joe Biden and Lady Gaga event. CNN's Jim Acosta is in Grand Rapids, Michigan where the President is scheduled to close out his campaign later tonight.
Let's start with the Arlette Saenz. Arlette, Vice President Biden is in Pittsburgh, what's his final message to voters?
ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, Joe Biden throughout the day has been talking about the power of people's votes, urging them to get out there and vote tomorrow in order to determine the course of this country for generations to come. He is arguing that they could help end the division and chaos that he believes has been seen under President Trump's watch these past four years in office.
And Biden returned today on this final day of campaigning to Pennsylvania, a state that will be critical to the Biden campaign's path to the nomination. The Biden campaign says that their easiest path to the nomination is through those northern industrial states, that blue wall that President Trump broke through back in 2016, the Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan and they've invested a lot of time in those dates in the past few days.
But they are also seeing some signs of hope down in the Sunbelt in Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina as this election nears. The Biden campaign says it is not impossible for President Trump to win, but they see themselves in a position of strength heading in tomorrow.
They think that this is fueled by the strength of their supporters, which they believe is a wide swath of voters from suburban women to Latino and black voters and also people who supported President Trump back in 2016 that they've tried bringing on to their campaign this time around.
And ultimately, the Biden campaign believes that that along with what they've been seeing in early voting is putting them in the driver's seat heading into Election Day. And you know, Joe Biden started -- had his very first campaign rally here in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in April of 2019.
And at that time, he said that if he's going to beat President Trump, it's going to be in an area like this. And you see that reflected today from the fact that he returned here for his very last night rally of this campaign -- Anderson.
COOPER: All right, Arlette Saenz, appreciate it. I want to go to now to CNN's Jim Acosta in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Jim, the President had five rallies in four states today, what is he focused on for the final push and the plan? What are the points the next 24 hours or so?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Anderson, I will tell you this has been one of the ugliest closing messages for a presidential candidate in a lifetime. He said it was an election of a lifetime. This was the ugly closing message of a lifetime for President Trump.
He has been airing his grievances all day long at a slew of rallies across these blue wall states that he needs to carry to win re- election. We heard the President airing his grievances about the Russia investigation, the impeachment saga, even going after Mitt Romney and Lady Gaga at one point, yes, Lady Gaga.
But perhaps the most menacing part of the day, Anderson, came when the President was threatening the Governor of Pennsylvania warning him that there are eyes on him not to try to cheat in this election when the Governor of Pennsylvania obviously has no intention of cheating, but just an outrageous threat from the President on the eve of the election.
ACOSTA: In terms of the next 24 hours, I will tell you, Anderson, the campaign is confident at this point, cautiously confident that they may have closed the gap somewhat with Joe Biden with these raucous rallies that we've seen over the last several days.
I will tell you, I've been to several of these rallies. They have been packing in thousands and thousands of Trump supporters, obviously not social distancing, not wearing masks, possibly spreading the coronavirus around, and many of them catching a cold perhaps in the middle of the night as they have been freezing waiting for their buses to go home.
But they do believe that that is mobilizing the base, getting these Trump supporters out to the polling places, out to the voting booths and they are hopeful that that can close the gap as it did last time around with Hillary Clinton.
But as you know, Anderson, you know, the gap, the margins between Joe Biden and Donald Trump this time around are larger. He has a larger gap to close.
But in terms of where he is going to be tomorrow night, he is going to be at the White House tomorrow night, celebrating Election Night with some 400, yes, 400 Trump supporters on the State Floor of the White House.
Organizers say that's more room to spread out inside, but also if they are going to be inside, Anderson, and not wearing masks and not social distancing as we've seen at other White House events, they will be super spreading that coronavirus. Of course, in recent days, they have been trying to have more
precautions, in effect, more wearing of masks, more social distancing. We'll have to watch that scene tomorrow night to see exactly how that plays out -- Anderson.
COOPER: Jim Acosta. Appreciate it. Thanks very much. You see John Legend there on your screen. There are campaign events happening live throughout the hour. We'll be taking you there as they happen.
In the meantime, CNN's John King is at the magic wall for us tonight. All right, john. Let's talk about 270, the latest paths for both candidates. What feels solid? What feels unknown?
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What feels solid? What feels unknown? Yes, great question on the eve of an election. Look, we all lived through 2016. So let's just walk through it and let's walk through it slowly.
Let me start with 2016 for a minute, because of where Jim Acosta just was. We know it was Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. Right? They put the President over the top last time. Racine County, look how close it was, south of Milwaukee. Donald Trump wins there.
Where is the President right now? Kenosha County. Look at this 47.5 to 47.2. The President is trying to recreate the magic, if you will, and he needs, too, Anderson, plus, he needs a bigger comeback that he had four years ago because of Joe Biden's lead in the battleground states.
So how does that translate into the math that will matter most as we start counting votes tomorrow? This is the 2016 map. This is the Trump map. So let's start essentially from the last battlefield and walk through here.
Joe Biden right now has a comfortable lead in Michigan, fairly comfortable lead in Wisconsin and just outside the margin of error lead in Pennsylvania. If he can do that, that's why Joe Biden is in Pennsylvania all day. That's why the President has been camping out there as well in recent days.
Just those three states, if he can keep the Clinton states and add those three, Joe Biden is the next President of the United States. He is there in the final days so much because he knows that's the foundation, if you will, those are the building blocks.
Now, if you believe the battleground polls, if you believe what Democrats think they see in all of this record turnout, Joe Biden has a chance. He has a narrow lead in North Carolina. Tied, competitive, maybe a little ahead in Florida. That one is a tossup, as always, ahead out in Arizona.
Look, I'll stop right there. That would get Joe Biden if he held these and picked up those, 333, and Anderson, Democrats tonight, Joe Biden started to stay in Ohio. They think maybe. Beto O'Rourke was just on television last hour saying maybe in Texas. That's more of a dream for Democrats, but they think they can pull it off. Georgia again, Barack Obama there again today. If African-American
turnout breaks records and the suburbs turn, it's a possibility. But let's just stop there.
This is priority one for Joe Biden. The question is, how does the President recreate that 2016 magic? It would have to be with overwhelming turnout. Let's just game out a little bit, then we can talk more about it as you wish throughout the hour.
Look, the President has to hold Florida. If he loses those 29, the math gets really hard to do. The President needs to hold North Carolina, again, 16 there, the president needs those in his column, 15 there. So then you're back up here again, to the same three states. Joe Biden -- I should have done this in the beginning. Joe Biden thinks he is going to pick up this congressional district in Maine. So you think that one goes Democratic.
And so then you're looking at this, 290 to 248. Congressional District in Nebraska, normally, you don't think one matters, but they might matter. One just might matter on this night. So where are we now? What if the President then gets Pennsylvania back 271 to 267.
So even if the President won Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Florida, he still needs one more. So you either get it in those congressional districts or you try to get Wisconsin, Arizona or Michigan. That is why we're going to be counting votes, and to the point I know you're going to make it throughout the night and all day tomorrow, in a State like Pennsylvania, we're probably going to be waiting a few days if it's very close.
But Joe Biden has an easier path, many more -- many more fall backs, if you will. Donald Trump again, has to be perfect and the hill is even steeper this year.
COOPER: We are on the eve of a remarkable moment in American history. John King, thank you. We're going to keep you with us.
I want to bring in CNN senior political commentator, David Axelrod, a veteran of the 2008 and 2012 Obama presidential campaigns.
COOPER: Also CNN Chief Political Analyst, Gloria Borger; CNN, Political Commentator Van Jones and former Republican presidential candidate and U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania, Rick Santorum who is also a CNN senior political commentator.'
David Axelrod, both candidates have a path for the presidency, what do you think of John's math there?
DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, I think, you know, the map, I think speaks to the challenge for the President right now. He has to -- everything has to work right for him tomorrow, and the thing I'd be worried about, if I were over in the Trump headquarters, a hundred million people came out. We're headed for a record turnout that goes back a full century, and
you have to ask yourself, if you're a President with a 45 percent approval rating, are all these people coming out to affirm your leadership? Or are they coming out to vote against you?
Some of the early vote certainly suggest that they are coming out to vote against him, and the question is whether there is some miraculous turnaround tomorrow, but I would be concerned when I put all of the information together.
But you know, this is the night when you suspend all of that and you think about what -- you know, you persuade yourself that you can make it happen if you're in that headquarter. And I'm sure there's a lot of brave talk over there and at the other headquarters, and the great thing, Rick and I were talking about it is, tomorrow, everybody has to turn their cards over and we'll find out.
COOPER: Yes, Gloria, obviously, both campaigns are, you know, projecting confidence. You know, the Biden campaign -- you know, Biden at the end of the last debate had the thing about fracking and about fossil fuels. The Trump campaign felt that was a real big thing that was going to help them in Pennsylvania.
I mean, yet again, it comes down to just a handful of states.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: It does. And I think, in talking to the Biden people, I think that they feel very confident about Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, while they're ahead, not as confident about Pennsylvania, Rick, I know you can talk about that a little bit later. That's why they've spent so much time there. And that's why the President's trying to drive up his numbers in more rural areas of Pennsylvania.
But I think the one thing that the Biden people feel very confident about is the stability of this race. This race all along, has been serving eight to 10 point race. The President's approval number, as David is talking about is what -- 44 to 45 percent. Never, he never went above 50 percent, and so the Biden people are saying, you know, that's about where we are and that's where we are in the battleground state.
COOPER: The President just got off the plane in Milwaukee. Let's listen in.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Tomorrow morning, we're going to go probably over to one of our offices, but for the most part, I think we'll be in you'll be coming with us, I imagine. But we'll be going over to one of the offices perhaps in Virginia.
It's been an amazing day. It's been an amazing two days. I don't think anybody has ever seen crowds like this. We're getting very good results from early voting and from ballots and we'll have to see how it all works out.
We won't know for a little while. I think the Pennsylvania decision by the Supreme Court is a very dangerous decision. I think it's a decision that allows tremendous cheating to go on after the fact, before the votes are tabulated. I think it's a very, very dangerous decision for our country. And I hope it's going to be readjusted, we'll be asking for that.
But it is horrendous decision for our country. It's a mistake. It allows cheating.
It allows cheating at a very high level, and very easy cheating, too. They have much commentary about it on television, I noticed on the way over, they have a lot of commentary about it. How it totally opens up Pennsylvania for cheating, and we can't let that happen to the people of Pennsylvania or to the people of our country.
So we'll see what happens. We'll see what happens. But we cannot let that -- and I'm saying this before the fact not after the fact. We can't let that happen to the people of our country. So, thank you very much.
COOPER: The President making comments before his event. Senator Santorum, is there widespread shooting in Pennsylvania?
RICK SANTORUM, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think if you talk to any Republican he would tell you that Philadelphia is -- it can be a very tough place to monitor. There's a lot of -- a lot of --
COOPER: Where's the evidence?
SANTORUM: Well, again --
COOPER: Because there's been voter Commissions and they don't find widespread voting fraud.
SANTORUM: Well, I mean, again, all I can tell you is that, you know, you see turnouts and you see percentages.
COOPER: But people saying stuff, though, is not -- it doesn't amount to anything.
SANTORUM: Well, I'm just telling you as someone who's run for office there and who has talked to people about how they pass around money and do things, this is --
COOPER: Are you comfortable with the President on the eve of an election saying that?
SANTORUM: I am not comfortable with the President. I have had my own experiences and they are real. And so let me just say that.
But having said that, I don't agree with what the President is saying with respect to, you know, the Supreme Court decision opening it up for cheating.
SANTORUM: The reality is, I disagree with the Supreme Court. I think the legislature should make the rules with respect to when the votes are counted, not the courts. But the court has allowed this counting to go on for a longer period of time.
I don't think it's going to be -- there are going to be that many votes that are going to come in after the election, but --
COOPER: The high level cheating, because of this vote, you don't that -- that is not true.
SANTORUM: I don't think this decision is going to open up a whole lot of cheating. Do I believe that there are problems in some of our areas?
COOPER: Do you think the President will win Pennsylvania?
COOPER: Do you think he will win Pennsylvania?
SANTORUM: You know what? I came into this week thinking that it was just maybe a bridge too far, but I can tell you -- look, something happened that I'd never thought I'd see happen in my lifetime, which was the "Pittsburgh Post-Gazette," one of the most liberal newspapers in the country endorsed Donald Trump. And the reason was jobs and fracking.
And because Penn -- Western Pennsylvania, Northeastern Pennsylvania, two areas that were historically tough for Republicans that are trending more Republican now, that will shove those counties firmly into the Republican hands, because it's going to be devastating for them, and that's what --
COOPER: But Joe Biden it isn't saying he wants to --
SANTORUM: But Joe Biden --
COOPER: ... fracking.
SANTORUM: I can understand, but you know, Joe Biden says some things and his party is saying things that clearly -- Governor Cuomo in New York has banned fracking. Governor Wolf in Pennsylvania has limited -- I am just saying --
COOPER: I am not for banning fracking.
SANTORUM: I understand but, his party is and many in his party are advocating for it.
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You know, it's a tale of two cities. I know people in Philadelphia. I know what they're going through on the ground in Philadelphia.
They are not cheating in Philadelphia. They are fighting through COVID in Philadelphia. They've got a Postal Service that is not serving them in Philadelphia. They've got intimidation brigades going through Philadelphia. They've got a sense that even if they do their very best, the
President of the United States is more interested in lawyers and judges than voters in Philadelphia, clawing away from them their victory. You have groups like it's the Vote for Me, who are grassroots young men who are signing up not to register voters, but just to protect the voters, because they are so terrified by the President saying he is going to send in all of these people. They are afraid they're going to come in there with guns.
You have groups like the Working Families Party on the ground and other groups on the ground in Philadelphia terrified that this President is going to do things that will cause harm to human beings who just want to vote.
And so to sit here and listen to how people are cheating and cheating, hey, it's hard enough to get one person to vote. It's hard enough to get -- in this environment -- let alone they're going to vote a hundred times or 50 times. That's not the reality.
And I think people are tired of having a President lie on them when they are trying to fight for this country. They have a right to vote in Philadelphia without being intimidated, without having -- without -- they should be able to talk to grand mamas and get them to go from the nursing home or from the church to the polls without being having to hire security firms to deal with so-called poll watchers.
So this -- the tensions are high in this country because of stuff like that, and the stuff that he is saying. He has to cut it out and encourage everybody to vote safely and fairly, and he is not doing it. He is not doing it.
SANTORUM: The President isn't saying anything about stopping people from voting.
VAN JONES: He has 30,000 poll watchers.
SANTORUM: Well, poll watchers are legitimate. You can have poll watchers.
COOPER: They are trying to stop a hundred thousand people's votes and they have already been cast in Houston.
SANTORUM: I have no idea.
COOPER: This is a widespread, ongoing Republican thing. Republicans don't want ...
SANTORUM: I don't think it is widespread.
COOPER: ... a lot of people to vote.
SANTORUM: You're talking about one incident. Okay, one incident is what you're talking about.
COOPER: It seems like everywhere the President -- the Republicans seem to be on the side of limiting voting as much as possible. SANTORUM: What the President is talking about --
COOPER: One drop box ballot in a place in Houston.
SANTORUM: What the President is talking about is after the election that we've seen happen, we saw it happen in the Senate race in Minnesota, you've seen it and other places where we saw it in Bush v Gore, which is you count until we win and you just keep going.
COOPER No, you're interpreting what the President is talking about.
SANTORUM: But that's what the President is talking about. We hear what the President is talking about and what he is saying is BS. It is complete BS.
BORGER: But he wants the election --
AXELROD: That was a recount, Rick. This is a count.
SANTORUM: I understand.
BORGER: He wants the election to end at midnight, miraculously, somehow, okay, it's midnight, and the election is over. And if he doesn't win, and people are still counting votes that means it's a rigged election.
That's not the way elections work in this country.
SANTORUM: I don't know if -- maybe the President is making -- you know, not making the most cogent argument. But I can tell you that I don't know if any Republicans don't think that all the votes should be counted as legally as it should be counted.
COOPER: Wouldn't this have the opposite impact the President would like it to have? I mean, do Americans like being threatened? Do Americans like being --
AXELROD: Well, I would just point you to what's happening in Georgia, where people are waiting on long lines for hours and hours. You have record turnout among older African-Americans, who I think were offended by what happened two years ago in the Governor's race down there and are expressing themselves not just because they want to vote, but as an act of defiance against people who would try and deprive them of their rights.
So yes, I think there is that, but I also want to amplify the point you made before, Anderson, the President as we remember, contended that the three million votes he lost by in the 2016 election were fraudulent. He put a commission together, headed by Kurt Kobach, who is not a radical left person, and they could find nothing.
So, you know, it is really insidious --
COOPER: Who is a Republican lawyer who has done this for years. AXELROD: It is so insidious. I think this is such an inspiring day for
this country, the fact that so many people are coming out under difficult circumstances, to express themselves and be part of this election, and to have the President, you know, sully the whole process by suggesting that it is all rigged.
Now, the bottom line, and I'll stop here, the bottom line is, it is clear that a lot of Democrats voted by mail. And therefore, the President would like to see some of those mail ballots discounted because it improves his chances of winning by disqualifying qualified voters. That is not -- that is not the way to win an election.
JONES: One more thing too is, the slower you go, the more accurate you can be. I've done a lot of election work or whatever. You want to have, as you're going to have, you're going to have a Republican and you're going to have a Democrat looking over the shoulder of everybody.
And the slower you go, the more you can make sure.
It is so nuts. If you were to rush, that's the way you cheat, rush, because then you're not matching any signatures.
COOPER: By the way, whoa, sorry. I'm told the President just sent out a tweet that we should look at. Let's put it up on the screen. "The Supreme Court decision on voting in Pennsylvania is very dangerous one. It will allow rampant and unchecked cheating and will undermine our entire system of laws. It will also induce violence in the streets."
BORGER: That's what he's doing. That is what he is doing with.
SANTORUM: The President is referring to the Supreme Court decision.
BORGER: He is inciting violence with that. He is predicting that.
SANTORUM: Not the U.S. Supreme Court. I think that's what he is referring to. Yes, he is referring -- I thought it was referring to the U.S. Supreme Court. He is referring to the PA Supreme Court, and that what they're talking about here is that the PA Supreme Court has allowed and this is one area that Republicans are very concerned about is that the signatures don't have to match.
So in other words, people can send a ballot and they can check signatures, and if the signature on the absentee ballot doesn't match the signature on record, they still accept the ballot and that's the area that the President is saying --
COOPER: But the differences on signatures that they argue over is miniscule if somebody ages three years and their hand is a little more wobbly that can get --
SANTORUM: I understand that.
COOPER: What you're ignoring in that is the -- you're trying to put lipstick on a pig, what you're ignoring is the President talking about violence in the streets. I mean --
BORGER: Why is doing that?
SANTORUM: I don't agree with the violence in the streets.
COOPER: He is talking about this will induce violence in the streets.
BORGER: Why is he --
COOPER: I don't understand why a President of the United States is attacking democracy effectively. Why he is doing this --
COOPER: Well, it's to stay in power.
BORGER: He is predicting -- right -- to stay in power.
COOPER: He doesn't care about democracy.
BORGER: And the difference that everybody in this country understands, I think innately, it's going to take longer to count votes this year because there are more of them, because there has been a pandemic and more people voted by mail and state legislatures and governors made it easier for people to vote by mail.
COOPER: As they should.
SANTORUM: As they should.
BORGER: As they should. As they should.
SANTORUM: And that's the point.
BORGER: The court --
AXELROD: Although the legislature in Pennsylvania to make it easier because they could have allowed them to process the ballots like other states ...
BORGER: Start processing sooner.
AXELROD: ... early and they said no.
COOPER: All right, we have a lot more to talk about with everyone tonight. Next breaking news, reaction to what the President just said about Pennsylvania in his tweet warning of violence there. The woman in charge of elections in there joins us ahead. Let's see what she thinks about that.
Later, towns and cities, even the White House itself bracing for impact showing signs of the one emotion no one is supposed to feel in a democracy on the eve of an Election Day, which is fear. We'll be right back.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [20:26:03]
COOPER: ... at the Biden event in Pittsburgh, Kamala Harris's rally with John Legend in Philadelphia. The President is expected shortly in Kenosha, Wisconsin, then later in Grand Rapids, Michigan. People are still casting early ballots, more than 99 million so far. Erica Hill is in North -- she's not.
Let's go to see -- who is standing by? Let's go to Congress -- Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee told reporters today -- let's keep going.
Before the break, the President weighed in on the battle for Pennsylvania in the fight to keep certain mail-in ballots from being counted despite the okay from the courts. Before he spoke, he tweeted and the tweet contained a warning about possible violence.
He wrote, "The Supreme Court decision on voting in Pennsylvania is a very dangerous one. It will allow rampant and unchecked cheating and will undermine our entire system of systems of laws that will also induce violence in the streets. Something must be done."
Joining us now is Kathy Boockvar, Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and our John King.
Madam Secretary, what is your reaction to that tweet from the President tonight?
KATHY BOOCKVAR, SECRETARY OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA: I have no idea what he is talking about. But to say anything about inciting violence is completely inappropriate. We want to make sure that every voter, every qualified voter has the right and the opportunity to vote. And honestly, I can't imagine what he is talking about.
COOPER: The President has also said just when he got off the plane a short -- a few moments ago that having all these ballots waiting to be counted is just a recipe for cheating, a recipe for high level cheating at very high levels and it's going to be totally fraudulent.
BOOCKVAR: You know, Anderson, this is the kind of thing that is -- we've been fighting disinformation, you know, for years, right? But this year, it's just incredibly rampant -- that disinformation.
So let me tell you, Pennsylvania has such strong processes in place. It would be incredibly hard to do any kind of fraud or cheating and the President knows that.
You know, we were in Federal Court, as you may know, before that Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision came down, before the U.S. Supreme Court. The Trump campaign sued me and we were in Federal Court before a judge that President Trump appointed. And that judge looked at, you know, I don't know the entire universe of alleged fraud that the Trump campaign offered to the court and found that there is no evidence whatsoever of fraud. It produced no evidence.
COOPER: That's because there isn't -- there is no -- I mean, there is not widespread evidence of voter fraud. It just -- it does not exist in this country.
BOOCKVAR: Absolutely not. Absolutely not. And that's thanks to all the dedicated election officials across the Commonwealth and across the nation who take this incredibly seriously and make sure that every vote -- every voter is eligible, and every vote that is validly cast is accurately counted and that's what this country is all about.
COOPER: I know John has a question for you because he has been watching Pennsylvania for a long time -- John.
KING: Madam Secretary, here's my question. I got the Pennsylvania map up here from 2016. You have 67 counties, 67 counties, six of them have said they do not plan to count the mail-in ballots until after the election because they are worried they will be overwhelmed on Election Day.
All six of those counties were carried by President Trump four years ago. One of them is here, Cumberland County. I'm just bringing up one, but there are six of them.
I went through the math tonight. In those six counties, if you add up the 2016 vote, President Trump carried them by just shy with the net -- the net Trump vote was 98,000. Right? Just shy of that, 97,997 -- ninety eight thousand votes.
In this one county, you see in the state, I mean, 44,000 to win. This, more than twice the President's lead. Are you worried, if they don't count these votes tomorrow -- I know you've asked them to do that -- if they don't count them that these -- we know from the data, the mail-in ballots are disproportionately Democratic votes, so the President's lead could be even bigger on Election Night.
These counties, he will have bigger leads in these Trump counties if it is Republicans voting on Election Day, those Democratic ballots sitting to be counted and that's the scenario people are worried about that the President says at midnight, I am winning Pennsylvania even though these six counties have not even touched their mail-in ballots. Is there anything you can do about that and are you worried about that?
BOOCKVAR: I have to say, I'm not done. And I'll tell you why. You know, 2016, we didn't have x77. We didn't have the ability for all Pennsylvanians to cast their ballot by mail without an excuse. So in 2016, we were talking about 260,000 Pennsylvanians who voted absentee, we today exceeded 2.4 million Pennsylvanians who have already cast their ballots by mail. If you look at the numbers and where they come from, those six counties account for a very, very small percentage of the statewide mail-in ballots.
What I want to talk about is the other 60 some odd counties that are not only going to be starting the moment that they can, but are going to be counting 24/7 to get this done, they've staffed up, they've gotten equipment, they've best practices in place, and they are on timelines, recognizing that first and foremost, what's most important is that every ballot is counted accurately, but secondly, counted accurately as quickly as humanly possible. I think that those six or seven counties are not going to change the timeline for when we get results. I think the counties are working around the clock to make sure it happens as soon as possible. And I'm not worried about it.
COOPER: Kathy Boockvar, John King, appreciate it. Thanks very much.
Kamala Harris is just taking the stage in Philadelphia, let's listen in.
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: -- to be, that's what's at stake. It is all on the line. This is the most consequential election of our lifetimes. And the decision we make well, without any question last for generations. And I'll tell you as I travel around, one of the biggest issues on everyone's mind is the pandemic that is ravaging our country.
And remember, back in January, Donald Trump knew just how bad the coronavirus was. That it was deadly and airborne. But what did he do with that information? He looks straight into the cameras at the American people and lied about it. He covered it up. Now, can you imagine?
Can you imagine what you would have done if you had known on January 28th what he knew what you might have done, what your family might have done to prepare? Can you imagine how our businesses, how our schools might have been able to prepare? How we as a country might have been able to prepare? But Donald Trump doesn't think about what's best for America. He only thinks about what is best for himself. And as a result, we have lost 230,000 lives to COVID. So many people forced to die alone because of the nature of this virus. 230,000 Americans.
COOPER: That's Kamala Harris talking right now in Philadelphia.
Joining us now, is Pete Buttigieg, former Democratic presidential candidate and former mayor of South Bend, Indiana.
Mayor Buttigieg, thanks for being with us. Less than 12 hours from the polls opening. How do you see this race? How optimistic are you about the vice president chances?
PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), FORMER MAYOR, SOUTH BEND, IN: Well, we're very optimistic. But, you know, the encouraging poll numbers are just pulling numbers unless everybody gets out and votes. The turnout has been fantastic. The early vote has been fantastic. But we need everyone who hasn't yet voted to make a plan and get out there tomorrow. And if you have voted to check on friends, loved ones anybody you think might not have done it yet. There's great information on iwillvote.com, learning about how to vote near you.
Look, the system we have, for better for worse means that even with a potentially double digit lead in the national numbers doesn't come too much unless it actually happens in these key swing states, which is of course why you see Senator Harris tonight and Joe Biden as well out there working so hard to motivate every voter that we can get out in those critical states.
COOPER: As you know, President Trump has been trying to undermine mail-in voting in Pennsylvania. He just made a statement on the tarmac, saying that the system in Pennsylvania is going to allow for widespread or high level I believe was his term voter fraud. There's obviously no evidence of that that he was producing. He also talked about the dangers of possible violence in the streets.
BUTTIGIEG: Look, this is the chaos presidency and it almost sounds like he's rooting for chaos or for violence. But America has held elections through thick and thin through pandemics and wars and America is a lot bigger than this spirit that Donald Trump's trying to put out there. We've seen amazing turnout so far.
It shows that Americans are not discouraged by this messaging that's trying to undermine or attack our democracy. It should be unthinkable that the American president would resort to undermining the American election system just because he thinks he's going to lose. But as we've seen, often things that used to be unthinkable are par for the course. But it does bear mentioned one more time that this is not the behavior of a president who's confident of being reelected.
COOPER: The Biden campaign today said, quote, under no scenario, will Donald Trump be declared a victor on election night. They don't actually know that. I mean, anything could happen tomorrow night?
BUTTIGIEG: Well, anything could happen. I think, you know, really, what we're going to be looking at is these key states, you know, if he can't win, Florida, for example, makes it extremely unlikely that he has a path to victory. Look, the reality is, there's a good chance that there will be no declaration of a victor on election night. And one of the things as a country we've got to get ready for is the possibility of it taking a little while to count the votes.
And I know as well as I think anyone, the feeling of really wanting election results the night of a vote. But in this case, if it takes a little time, that's just a sign of election workers with integrity, doing their jobs, and making sure that they've thoroughly counted everything. And, you know, we're used to that kind of instant gratification. But in election like this, with the kind of early voting, the pandemic, all of these circumstances, we're going to have to buckle up potentially for it to take a while to know for sure.
COOPER: You know, I think when a lot of people see these large rallies that the President has been holding, they say -- they see, well, this is kind of emblematic of the recklessness he has had throughout this pandemic, both in terms of policy and also just in terms of his own behavior. But it's a border see enthusiasm supporter see excitement. And I guess they interpreted that the President, you know, showing up as some form of strength. Do you think these large rallies have helped the president to mobilize to bring it closer in some of the states?
BUTTIGIEG: I doubt it. Look, any president of the United States can get a lot of people to come into one place to see him speak. The question is, you know, not whether you can, but whether you should, and in many ways, I think these rallies have just gone to symbolize how little regard he has for the health and safety, even of his own supporters, who also would have been literally left out in the cold due to logistical problems that they've had at the rallies, which I think kind of symbolizes more broadly, how he treats working people who vote for him.
But also that there's a real concern that these events have gone to spread the disease to people who have caught it. Some of them have lost their lives after attending these rallies. And, you know, this is a kind of a case of show versus tell. We've done a lot of things to explain as a matter of policy, why Joe Biden will do a better job at handling the pandemic. But really all you got to do is look at the difference in the events.
You know, our side is figuring out ways to do these events that actually respect the health and safety of the voters. We're trying to persuade and the supporters we're trying to rally. He's doing the reverse.
COOPER: Mayor Pete Buttigieg, I appreciate your time. Thanks.
BUTTIGIEG: Same here.
COOPER: And just ahead, more on what the high early voting turnout can tell us. We'll go live to Nevada State both campaigns believe they can win.
HARRIS: We will begin the work of healing and repairing and uniting our nation, Democrats and Republicans and --
COOPER: Election Day almost here, people are still early voting nearly 100 million so far. Our Erica Hill is in North Las Vegas dine at the only ballot drop off box in the entire county. So, Erica what does it look like where you are and how is turnout been overall in Nevada.
ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's been really busy. So I think you can see this line of cars behind me, now it's just a steady stream of headlights. This ballot drop off location was supposed to close at 5:30 but we just spoke to the Clark County registrar Joe Gloria, who said they will keep this open as long as there are cars in that line. They're going to work to get everybody through tonight. Voting overall in the state of Nevada has already surpassed -- surpass the total turnout for the 2016 election.
Now, everybody in the state 1.8 million active voters was sent in mail-in ballot this year because of the pandemic. About half of the ballots returned. A little over half are mail-in ballots the other are -- part may not absentee, in-person early voting. And when we look at the numbers, Democrats accounting for just over half of those mail-in ballots. But Republicans really taking the advantage when you see who's turning
out for early in-person voting. Two weeks of in-person voting early voting wraps on Friday. The polls will reopen of course tomorrow morning here in Clark County. A major focus on this area it's the most populous county in the state home to Las Vegas, it leans heavily Democratic and has about 70% of the state's voters.
As you know there will be a huge focus here also in Washoe County, which is home to Reno in northern Nevada. As you mentioned, this is the one drop off site today Anderson for those ballots, but tomorrow, every polling station in Clark County, all 125 of them will accept them. And one more note, if your ballot is postmarked by Election Day in the state of Nevada, as long as it arrives by November 10, it will still be counted.
COOPER: Fascinating. Erica Hill, appreciate it. Thanks.
Back to an earlier story we report on regarding voting rights. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee told reporters today the next Congress will examine the voting rights case where a federal judge rejected a Republican led challenge to invalidate 127,000 votes already cast at drive through ballot boxes in her locations in Houston.
Tonight, as we mentioned, that same group of Republicans appealed the decision, other Republican led cases are also complicated -- complicating voter paths to the ballot box one we just mentioned in Nevada, today where a judge denied an attempt to change voting procedures in the state's largest county. And there of course, are the cases in states like Wisconsin, Pennsylvania. North Carolina that have tried with some success to (INAUDIBLE) extended deadlines for mail-in ballots.
Pamela Brown is here with latest on that Texas case. So, what have you learned about the Republican plaintiffs appeal to the Circuit Court in their drive-thru voting challenge?
PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: So these Republican plaintiffs Anderson are making this last minute push to get these 127,000 drive-thru ballots tossed out in Texas Democratic leaning Harris County. They're doing this even after losing in both the conservative Texas Supreme Court and now with this federal George W. Bush appointed judge.
And of course, it comes just before, look 10 drive thru voting locations in Harris County, were about to open for election tomorrow. This was an accommodation made because of the pandemic. And we should note that just because they're appealing, this doesn't mean it's going to be taken up. And if you're wondering about the plaintiffs why they're continuing this?
Well, some of these are Republican candidates and also one of the plaintiffs is a Republican activist with a long history of making bigoted comments and bracing, conspiracies, filing incendiary lawsuits and peddling unproven medical theories. Anderson.
COOPER: What about the case in Clark County, Nevada, where Erica was. What's the latest on that?
BROWN: Yes, so that case too is another loss for Republicans today and a win for Democrats. In fact, that judge in Nevada dismissed the Republicans case. The Republicans went to the judge, to filed this case, arguing against the signature matching machine that officials were using there, and also claiming they weren't giving enough access, getting close enough to the election officials to make challenges if need be.
But that judge in Nevada simply didn't buy it. This was of course in Clark County where we were just hearing Erica talk about Clark County is the home of Vegas. It is a Democratic leaning county there in Nevada. So, no surprise that that Republicans are so focused on that area. Anderson.
COOPER: All right. Pamela Brown, thanks very much.
Perspective now both political and legal, Gloria Borger and Van Jones are back. Also joining is CNN election law analyst Rick Hasen, author of Election Meltdown, Dirty Tricks, Distrust in the Threat to American Democracy.
So Rick, the statement from President Trump that quote, as soon as the election is over, we're going in with our lawyers. As vague as that may be the person is almost guaranteeing the vote in Pennsylvania and other states is going to be challenged, isn't it?
RICHARD HASEN, CNN ELECTION LAW ANALYST: Well, I think he is, if it's not close on election night, in terms of the Electoral College, I don't think much of it will matter. But if it does come down to a state like Pennsylvania, I think his latest tweet is saying that they're going to try to block the counting of any ballots that arrived between November 3rd at 8:00, which is when the statutory deadline was and November 6th, which is the new deadline that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court had put in place.
The U.S. Supreme Court didn't want to get involved before the election. But Justice Alito speaking for three justices said, there's a potential that they get involved after the election. So, it's not about the counting of the ballots after Election Day, but about late arriving ballots that would come between the third and the sixth.
COOPER: And Gloria, the President also said today that the counting mail-in votes past Election Day may be quote, physically dangerous. He also just, you know, talks about the potential for, you know, for violence in the streets.
BORGER: I mean, growing up in this country, presidents I thought were the ones who tried to calm the country down, when you're facing in any kind of issue. And this president seems to be stirring the pot at every single opportunity. And so, he says, you know, counting ballots is going to be dangerous, the President's urge calm when the country is going through any kind of unrest, except for Donald Trump, who keeps saying that unless he wins, the election is rigged, and there's going to be violence.
COOPER: Van, how do you think Democrats or anybody should be readying themselves for voting tomorrow? I mean, there's got to be some people who are weary and scared about what they'll find out on the streets.
JONES: Look, I think there's some anxiety, I think there's also some pride and some determination. We're talking about American values that you count every vote every voter count, and I think you're going to see basically this pride and determination. You know, Trump is a funny kind of populist, didn't he? Populist is supposed to want the people's voice to be heard, you know, let the people rise up. He is relying on lawyers and judges more than he's relying and trusting the American people. I think that that's going to come back to bite him in a serious way.
But I think, I just want to say is, you know, when you when you find somebody like a Donald Trump, who just does not seem to understand that it is a right in this country, people fought and bled and died for people to be able to vote. You want as many people as possible to be bought into that they have walked down the street and put their thing and so they're a part of the country. You start shoving people out of the system, you start grabbing people's votes and throwing them overboard. People feel like they don't have a stake in the country that's much more dangerous than taking the time to count the votes right.
COOPER: You also Van thinking about all the people who throughout history have, you know, died to get people the right to vote. And then who have faced, you know police attack dogs and racist sheriffs and laws that, you know, made it impossible for them or tried to make it as difficult as possible to vote. All of that, you know, it is so easy for us to go and vote now.
BORGER: Should be.
JONES: It should be. And I think what you're going to see is a lot of people who may not have wanted to go vote, people are getting angry now. These caravans, these road rage caravans that Trump had gone all over the country yesterday, in Memphis, in L.A. or whatever going into liberal areas trying to provoke people. People are starting to get frustrated now. I think people got to go vote now in defiance.
BORGER: Well, yes, I have a question. What does it say about the Republican Party disenfranchisement is not a political strategy
COOPER: Gloria Borger, Van Jones, Rick Hasen, thanks very much.
Up next, offense going up around the White House. Retailers boarding up windows anxiety high over possible civil unrest. We'll talk about all that as well as President Trump's own role in fueling this climate when we continue.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: Showing a lot of anticipation for tomorrow's from fear and anxiety as well. You can see in that fence we reported on earlier that's going up around the White House tonight building wall. Preparation for any potential protests around in the election.
Major retailers also preparing for civil unrest of any kind stores like Target, Macy's Saks Fifth Avenue among the chains boarding up some stores windows and cities across the country. Already we've seen some unrest massive numbers of pickup trucks waving Trump 2020 flags surrounding a Biden campaign bus in a highway in Texas. And on Friday, apparently trying to force it off the road or to slow down and stop. The FBI is now said to be investigating and as Van mentioned earlier reports of Trump trains blocking traffic across the country as well.
Then there's the President himself who not only praise those supporters, but is implanting this idea in the minds of his supporters that if he doesn't win that it perfectly legal late arriving ballots boost the totals of Joe Biden, that is evidence somehow of massive voter fraud.
I'm joined now by our senior national security correspondent Alex Marquardt on the preparations in D.C. tonight. So what is D.C. like tonight? What's going on?
ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Oh, Anderson, this is downtown D.C. This is the -- we're right next to the White House. So, right smack in the middle of the city. It's just an extraordinary scene to witness right before a U.S. election yet got again a wall as you mentioned, a fence has now gone up around the White House in circling the entire White House complex or at least a will in the coming hours.
This is new fencing that has gone up. You can see down there are crews that are still installing it. I spoken a number of guys on the crew, they said that they're going to be working overnight until around 5:00 clock in the morning, installing more than a mile of fencing. As you can see, it's pretty tall. It's very solid. This is the fencing that we saw earlier this summer, during and after the George Floyd protests, and it is -- it's very effective, obviously keeping protesters away.
If you are a protester in the coming days trying to get down to the White House you'll only be able to get within a block of the White House at most. This is Pennsylvania Avenue, that is 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. And if you were among those protesters back in June, you will know that it will be quite easy for any sort of officers on the other side to lob, pepper spray, tear gas or flashbangs, anything like that. So, certainly preparations for potential violence in the coming days. Anderson.
COOPER: All right, Alex Marquardt, thanks.
For more on the threats of violence and how the election is shaping out in Georgia. I'm joined by Democrat Stacey Abrams, former Georgia State Representative who lost a very close election for governor, now heads group fighting voter suppression especially all the more apt because President Trump's recent refrains about cheating in some state ballots.
Representative Abrams, the President tonight is saying this Pennsylvania court decision is going to quote induce vile or may induce violence in the streets. What do you say to that?
STACEY ABRAMS (D), FORMER GEORGIA STATE REPRESENTATIVE: I would say Balderdash is that was a phrase we use anymore. Essentially, he is doing his best to continue his pattern of sowing chaos and disinformation. But we know that what's happening in Pennsylvania is not only supported by the law, it's supported by history.
We count ballots, if they are submitted in time and in the state of Pennsylvania, what the courts have said is that they're following their rules. We've never known the answer to an election on election night, we've had projections, but never actual knowledge. And what is the best thing for Americans is for us to have a slow, steady, accurate decision instead of something that's fast and wrong to appease one man's ego.
COOPER: What do you say to voters who might be concerned about going to the polls tomorrow on any side, Trump voters, Biden voters, whomever?
ABRAMS: I would say go to the polls, and do not be intimidated. The hope from the Trump campaign, and it began with their arguments that they were going to have 50,000 poll watchers to intimidate voters is that they want to scare you away from using your fundamental rights. But we are prepared for this around the country. This is America, your right to vote is sacrosanct. And you need to show up and fulfill your mission, which is to let America know what you need. That can only happen if we go to the polls.
And so, I would say number one, don't panic. We've heard, we've heard about what they intend to do, but we know what we must do. And that is, number one, don't panic. And number two, don't leave the line. Once you get in line stay in line until you cast your ballot.
There are election protections officials who will make certain that your right to vote will be protected. Fair fight is working in our battleground states through the infrastructure that we've set up. And we know that they're good intended people on both sides of the aisle who want to make sure that your vote gets cast and your vote gets counted.
COOPER: Georgia, as you know, hasn't gone blue since 1992. What do you see as Vice President Biden's biggest challenge in flipping tomorrow?
ABRAMS: It's -- this is going to be a matter of turnout. I mean, the nature of a battleground state is that there is no clear winner. And we know that Georgia has been moving steadily towards the blue column. We've gotten very close in 2018. Unfortunately, the purging of 1.4 million voters kept us away from knowing for sure what could happen in Georgia. But what's happening this time is that we are seeing turnout that is
unprecedented, and that is diverse. And that diversity of turnout is what is so exciting. We are hearing from voices that normally are left out of the conversation. And I believe those voices are going to choose Joe Biden. They're going to choose Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff. They're going to send Carolyn Bordeaux to Congress and they're going to flip the statehouse tomorrow.
COOPER: Is there a place in Georgia in particular tomorrow night that you will be looking at in terms of like early returns that you think are -- is important for all viewers to look at?
ABRAMS: No. And here's why we had 56% of Georgians cast their ballots early either by mail or in-person. Those numbers are not going to be reflected during early returns. And I think for everyone, it's important that we reset how we view elections tomorrow. We are going to be getting a snapshot of a sliver of the election. And so, we need to be patient, we need to not prognosticate. We don't know what people have decided until they tell us when we actually open those envelopes and process and tabulate those ballots.
But I will say that we expect turnout to increase dramatically. We are already nearing our high watermark of 2016 to 4.1 million voters, and I think will far exceed it. And as long as we know that those voters reflect the diversity of Georgia. I think Democrats are in good place.
COOPER: We have just about a minute left. But there's been some reporting from CNN and others about Democrats being concerned about African-American and Latino early voter turnout so far in some key battleground states around the country, Florida, Arizona and others. Do you think the party should be worried about turnout?
ABRAMS: Not yet. I know that for a number of communities, including Georgia, Florida and other states, black and Latino voters often face higher rates of rejection when they vote by mail. And we know that their steady traditions of voting in person on Election Day in those states.
And so, what I would look for is making sure that those voters start to show up next -- on tomorrow, that they are casting their ballots and that they have the ease of performance that other communities take for granted. If our communities are sufficiently invested in and if the resources are available, not based on zip code, but based on the fact that we're American citizens who deserve to vote, then I think we can get it done.
COOPER: Stacey Abrams, appreciate your time. Thank you.
ABRAMS: Thank you.
COOPER: Reminder after race like no other, join us for special coverage tomorrow on the election, the way only CNN can bring it to you from the critical count to a breakdown of what's happening in your state and across the country, Election Night in America. Our live coverage starts tomorrow 4:00 pm Eastern. Our coverage continues right now. We'll return for a special edition of "360" to 11:00 p.m. Eastern tonight.
The news continues, let's hand over to Chris for "CUOMO PRIME TIME", Chris.