Return to Transcripts main page

ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Twitter Flags Trump's Tweet About Violence; Texas Federal Judge Rejects GOP Complaint on Drive-thru Ballots; Trump Claims Rampant and Unchecked Cheating. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired November 2, 2020 - 23:00   ET

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


[23:00:00]

RICHARD PILDES, CNN ELECTION LAW ANALYST: I'm just a lawyer.

(LAUGHTER)

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Thank you, Rick. I appreciate you joining. Thank you so much. Well, everyone, that's it for me for now. Thanks for watching so much. I really appreciate it. I'm Don Lemon. Our coverage is going to continue now with Mr. Anderson Cooper.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Just an hour to go until the first actual votes on Election Day, and the president of the United States is warning of violence in the streets if he doesn't get his way. It is just that simple.

Naturally, he said in a tweet this evening which twitter promptly flagged with a warning. He was complaining about the U.S. Supreme Court allowing Pennsylvania to accept mail-in ballots for several days after tomorrow.

The court, refusing a plea from commonwealth Republicans to decide the ultimate fate of those ballots before Election Day. The president writes, "The Supreme Court decision on voting Pennsylvania is a 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. Something must be done."

And as you look at live pictures, the president's final rally of the night in Grand Rapids, Michigan, let that sink in for a moment. He did not directly threaten to unleash that violence, but he didn't have to.

He simply said what he's wanted, said what would happen if he didn't get it. And of course, there is no evidence that idea that this is going to result in widespread rampant voter fraud. There is no evidence of that.

A wall has been put up around the White House tonight. Think about that a minute. There are boarded up stores and offices in Washington and across the country. There is a pandemic of course that's taken more than 230,000 lives.

And in the midst of all of this, somehow Americans are taking part in their democracy, our democracy in a way not seen in generations. The candidates are making their messages heard and the people are making their voices heard as well.

And in the tiny town of Dixville Notch, New Hampshire, in just under an hour, voters will cast the first ballots of Election Day itself, joining nearly a 100 million others who voted early. We'll focus on all of it tonight and we will take you to Dixville Notch lager in the hour.

First tonight, we're joined by Pennsylvania's lieutenant governor John Fetterman. Lieutenant governor, thanks for being with us. I know you were on CNN earlier tonight before the president's tweet, before they were (inaudible) when he came off the plane.

JOHN FETTERMAN, LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR OF PENNSYLVANIA: Sure.

COOPER: What's your response to what the president said about violence in the streets?

FETTERMAN: Well, we -- I just think we should tweet less and vote more, and that's what we're committed to doing in Pennsylvania. And, you know, we plan on counting all the votes and we're going to have an accurate true count that's going to reflect the Democratic will of our residents.

And that's a fact. Another truth is that voting in Pennsylvania is already going very smoothly, actually. The one documented case of voter fraud in this cycle in our state was actually a Republican in Lucerne County who attempted to vote for his dead mother.

So, the truth of the matter is, voting works very much so in Pennsylvania and it really is going to continue to do so.

COOPER: So, what happens to the votes that the president is talking about? Are they going to be counted now or are they just going to be just put aside?

FETTERMAN: Yes. They're being sequestered right now, the ones that would come in after the election deadline, the three-day deadline that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled was acceptable as long as those ballots were postmarked.

And ultimately, if that decision ends up at the Supreme Court, of course, that would be the concern given the way the court is stacked in favor of a conservative presidential viewpoint at that point.

COOPER: On the night before election, the president is continuing to spread totally debunked claims about widespread voter fraud and suggesting there is going to be violence in the streets. How worried are you about the safety of people, or to anybody in your state who -- in your commonwealth, who is worried about what may happen in the polls? What do you say to them?

FETTERMAN: I'm not concerned, to be quite frankly, because I think everyone in Pennsylvania understands that regardless of what side they're on and who they're going to vote for, that there is not going to be any violence, there's not going to be any widespread incidents like that. I mean, sure, there might be an isolated case. When you have tens of

millions of people doing anything, there might be very much a case. But the bottom-line is this, is that I think Pennsylvania's election on balance. It's going to go smoothly and we are going to deliver a result that your viewers and our nation are going to be able to count on.

Our top three or four counties have already determined that they're going to count the ballots relatively quickly and be able to determine a result. Philadelphia might take a little bit longer than the others because it supports the largest.

But other counties like Allegheny and Montgomery and Chester are really actually quite confident that they're going to be able to deliver results much quicker. And on ballots, I don't anticipate we'll see any widespread incidents.

[23:05:06]

COOPER: When you say much quicker, do you have any sense of how long it may be before we know the results in Pennsylvania?

FETTERMAN: Well, Montgomery County tweeted out just today that they could expect -- they could report this time tomorrow, election night. Chester County, same. Allegheny County, I can say that during the June primary, they reported their results very rapidly on election night back during the primary.

So -- and I also want to add that during our June primary, not one documented case of voter fraud was detected. So, it's a secure and safe process, and the president can tweet whatever he wants, but that's not going to change the underlying dynamic of the integrity of our voting systems here in Pennsylvania.

COOPER: Lieutenant Governor Fetterman, I appreciate your time. Thank you very much.

FETTERMAN: Thank you for having me.

COOPER: I want to go next to the campaign trail and CNN's Jim Acosta at the Trump rally in Grand Rapids. So, the president speaking at the finally rally of the night. And is it more what he has been saying all throughout the day, and also, what do we expect from him tomorrow on his schedule?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Anderson, I think we're going to hear much of what we've heard from the president so far. I mean, I think that they are hopeful that this Grand Rapids rally will have the same effect that it had four years ago. Remember, the president ended his campaign when he was then-candidate Trump back in 2016 in Grand Rapids.

Vice President Mike Pence is on stage right now as he was four years ago. We expect to see Trump family members doing that as well. But the message is dark, it is ugly, it is divisive, and it is potentially dangerous as you heard the president out on the campaign trail earlier today warning Governor Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania, we have eyes on you, we're watching you, don't engage in any election fraud.

Of course, the governor has not been accused credibly of any kind of election fraud. And Anderson, we should remind our viewers the president has been talking about election fraud since before he came into office. He was saying at the last election in 2016 was going to be rigged.

He put together a task force to study the issue of election fraud and that task force did not come out with any report of widespread voter fraud in the U.S. So, this is a tired old horse that he has beaten to the ground time and again, and he's doing it one more time.

But, Anderson, I do think it is worrisome that you have a president trying to fight a battle for re-election and talking about something that could be physically dangerous just having the votes being counted in the state of Pennsylvania where, of course, he's trailing in the polls right now.

The other thing we should mention, Anderson, is that after the president wraps up this rally tonight, he's expected to be at the White House tomorrow and is going to be having an election night party inside the White House on the state floor of the White House, which is an area that is a bit more roomy than I suppose the east room or other sections of the White House.

But you're going to have about 400 Trump supporters inside the White House celebrating on election night, potentially, I suppose, if the president comes out on top.

But it's just another example, Anderson, just like this rally the president is using here in Grand Rapids, another example of the irresponsibility of the president and the Trump campaign bringing in all these supporters who could potentially be spreading the coronavirus around to one another.

We're seeing that once again tonight, no social distancing and hardly any masks in sight, Anderson.

COOPER: Yes. It's not surprising but it's still stunning. Jim Acosta, appreciate it. Thanks.

Joe Biden began the day in Cleveland. He ended in Pittsburgh. CNN's Arlette Saenz is there for us now. So before we get to his final messaging, I understand the vice president responded to the president just now. What did he have to say?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Anderson. Before Joe Biden took off from here in Pittsburgh, he was asked by reporters about the president's claim, including his suggestion that there could be election-related violence.

And Biden said he didn't, you know, really want to give oxygen to those claims from the president, but he did say he expects things to remain peaceful. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOE BIDEN (D) PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I'm not going to respond in any

he has to say. I'm hoping for a straightforward, peaceful election and a lot of people showing up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAENZ: So that has been one of Biden's key messages today as he has encouraged people to get out there and vote. He's talked about the power of Americans' votes and also argued that they -- that President Trump will not be able to stop the people from voting on Election Day.

Now, Biden here in Pittsburgh, which is actually the same place that he held his very first campaign rally as a 2020 candidate, he ended the night before the election right here and predicted that he believes that people are going to come together to deliver a big win for Biden tomorrow night.

You've seen Biden and his entire campaign hone in on the state of Pennsylvania, which is part of that blue wall that Biden is trying to reassemble, and the Biden campaign has said that it's not necessarily impossible for President Trump to win.

[23:10:01]

But they believe that they are entering tomorrow with a strong advantage due to the wide support that they've gotten and also what they are seeing in early voting. But Biden tomorrow is still keeping his eyes on Pennsylvania.

He'll be holding some get out the vote events in his home birthplace of Scranton, Pennsylvania and then also in Philadelphia before ending the night in Delaware.

COOPER: Okay, Arlette Saenz, appreciate it, thanks.

In addition to the president's talk of violence over Pennsylvania ballots, there is his open threat to send in the lawyer's tomorrow night, whatever that means exactly.

Also, a federal ruling on Republican efforts to disqualify almost 127,000 ballots from in and around Houston, our Pamela Brown joins us now with more on all of that. So walk us through the legal wrangling going on in Harris County, Texas.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. So, this is a case that was brought by Republican plaintiffs and how they do with the drive-thru voting, Anderson. These Republican plaintiffs, basically, were arguing to the court that it was like curbside voting in Texas which is only reserved for those who are disabled or sick, and therefore, it shouldn't be allowed for the general public.

So, they have tried through multiple avenues, through the state courts, and went up to the Texas Supreme Court. That conservative court dismissed it, rejected the Republicans' argument. And then again today, a judge who was appointed by George W. Bush rejected the Republicans' argument and did not think that they had standing in this case, but they're not giving up.

They have filed an appeal and this appeal has to do with keeping these 10 locations closed, these drive-thru locations closed on Election Day tomorrow. It seems like they've given up on trying to get these other votes that have already been cast, around 127,000 that have already been cast in these drive-thru sites.

It seems as though they're giving up, trying to get those tossed out and now focusing on trying to close these sites for tomorrow, but it's unclear what's actually going to happen or if it will be taken up, Anderson.

COOPER: That federal judge you mentioned rejected the Republican argument. He did have a message to voters that sort of muddies things a little bit. What did he say?

BROWN: Yes, it does. So, he said, again, he did not accept the Republicans' argument and said they did not have standing, but he did make clear that he's not a fan of these drive-thru voting sites. He pointed to Texas law and he said that voting needs to happen in buildings and that these tents set up for the voting drive-thru doesn't constitute that.

And he said, basically, sort of a warning shot, saying that if it was me, I wouldn't go to that, you know, cast my vote at these drive-thru sites because of whether or not it's legal, whether there is a question of that.

So, it was sort of interesting. He said on one hand, look, he's not going to throw out these votes that have already been cast, but on the other hand, he's sending a warning to voters ahead of tomorrow that it could be illegal, Anderson.

COOPER: Yes, although, we should just point out, these sites have been approved in advance by authorities in Texas, and now the courts have ruled the 100-some-odd thousand votes will count, but again, as you said --

BROWN: Right.

COOPER: -- muddies the sort of idea for them all. The whole idea of this is to try to get as many people as possible able to vote.

BROWN: Right. I mean, these were set up because of the pandemic. This was just another accommodation that was set up for people to allow them to vote in Harris County, which is one of the largest counties in Texas. It's Democratic leaning.

And so that's what the purpose of this was, and the Democrats argued that, look, this is just giving people another option. The Democrats argued that it is okay within the law, it does fit in the law to have these drive-thru voting sites.

And one last thing which is interesting ist that this judge today also said that these sites need to keep a good record of everyone voting in case there is an issue with those votes later on, which is unusual for him to reject it on standing but then leave that door open.

COOPER: Pamela Brown, appreciate it, thanks.

Staying up late with us, CNN senior political commentator and former Obama campaign adviser among other duties, David Axelrod. Also, CNN chief political analyst Gloria Borger.

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I can't sleep, anyway.

COOPER: Yes, I know.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Too excited.

COOPER: What do you -- I don't know. How do you feel on the eve of this?

AXELROD: Well, look, I mean, here are my observation. First of all, you never know, right. So -- but you have to look at the body language of these campaigns. The fact that Republicans all over the country are trying to invalidate votes, the fact that the president is already laying the groundwork for mischief in Pennsylvania after tomorrow, doesn't convey a great sense of confidence about where this thing is going.

COOPER: Does it work, though? I mean, to suppress the vote, you know, in Texas, these Republicans continue to file court challenges even though Republican judges continue to say that you have no standing, what are you doing.

It does sort of, I would think, make people question, oh, is it okay to go to these drive -- even if the votes have already been cast? It muddies the waters just as in Pennsylvania where the president is saying, you know, this is voter fraud, there could be violence. It might scare away --

[23:15:02]

AXELROD: Well, he's really referring, in that case what the president is trying to do, is get as many ballots that were cast, writ-in ballots in Pennsylvania. There are about a quarter of the vote, third of the vote in Pennsylvania is write-in. It's an unusually high number there, and by all estimates, about three-quarters of it have come from Democrats.

So, he's looking for the opportunity to invalidate as many of those ballots as possible because it improves his chances. So -- but, I mean, you know, I heard the lieutenant governor, by the way, say -- and he should. There's not going to be a problem, things are going to be peaceful.

I do know because just speaking to governors, that governors have been talking to the FBI, the FBI have been reaching out to governors because there is concern about people who react to the results with violence, and the president is definitely sending a signal with his words, which is unthinkable, really, unconscionable. BORGER: Yes.

COOPER: If anything, I would think it would mobilize more people to go out. I just think Americans of any stripe do not like being intimidated like --

BORGER: Right, or told they can't vote.

COOPER: Yeah, or told they can't vote or intimidated or sort of, you know, tactics to kind of scare them off. It just seems completely un- American.

BORGER: Right. And when you are, you know, in my experience in covering politics, when you think you're going to win, you don't spend as much time complaining about the rules as Donald Trump does. And it shows, to me, that he's really insecure about what's going to occur.

And I know he complained about a rigged election last time, but this is worse this time because he is actually inciting violence. He is saying, you know, I can't guarantee a peaceful transfer of power, remember that? And what struck me, I just have to say this because it struck me just watching Mike Pence at that unmasked rally tonight.

I mean, tonight Deborah Birx, who works alongside him or maybe worked alongside him at the Coronavirus Task Force, sent a memo internally reported by the "Washington Post" about how this country is headed into a very dark time with COVID because there hasn't been good management of the disease at the federal level. And there is Mike Pence tonight at this rally unmasked.

COOPER: Yes. Much more to talk about after the break, including breaking news on the Texas ballot issue that we've been talking about and the question of what happens going forward.

Republicans are now asking a federal appeals court to block a drive- thru voting tomorrow. Phil Mattingly is at the magic wall. He'll walk us down each candidate's road to 270 electoral votes and both candidates do have a path.

And later, with nearly 100 million ballots already in, we'll ask Democratic senator, Chris Murphy, about the president's complaints about mail-in voting, the possibility he'll declare a victory when he hasn't won yet, election security and a lot more.

And later, we'll take you to Dixville Notch so you can see it all live as election eve actually becomes Election Day and the first votes are cast of the race. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:20:00]

COOPER: The final election eve rally of the president's campaign, he's in Michigan, one of three rustbelt states he narrowly won four years ago and he's focused again on them now. The question tonight, is it a different road to 270 electoral votes for him this time and what about for Joe Biden.

CNN's Phil Mattingly has some answers at the magic wall. So, tomorrow night at this time the wall will be filled with results. Walk us through the path to 270 for both candidates.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. So, Anderson, I have 2016, the map that President Trump won in 2016 with 306 electoral votes because it helps serve to provide information about everything that's going on right now.

Obviously, you mentioned where the president is going in his final day. Kind of a most deja vu moment to 2016, but also the reality of the Trump campaign and what they need. It's also similar for the Biden campaign,

Look at the blue here. The Biden campaign is going into tomorrow expecting and needing to win every single state that Hillary Clinton won back in 2016. However, of course, that would leave them short.

Here's where the Trump campaign runs into problems when you talk about the rustbelt. You talk about Pennsylvania into the Midwest. All the Biden campaign has to do, and it's not talking like this is a minor thing, but flip Pennsylvania, flip Michigan, flip Wisconsin, and guess what, there are over 270 electoral votes.

Rebuild the blue wall and that's all you need to do. I think one of the questions going into tomorrow is right now based on the strength and polling, based on the effort to rebuild the blue wall, there is some expectation that perhaps Joe Biden wins Pennsylvania or wins Wisconsin and wins Michigan.

Obviously, we've been talking a lot about Pennsylvania and President Trump's focus on Pennsylvania. What if President Trump wins the state of Pennsylvania? Even if he loses Michigan and Wisconsin, he's still over 270 electoral votes.

That -- that --- particularly when it comes to when you'll find results. It's about the state of Florida. It is so important. It's a jump ball, it's a toss-up. It is within the margin of error. But if Joe Biden wins Florida, there is almost no pathway for President Trump to get to 270 electoral votes that looks viable at this point in time.

The other big difference even if you use this as your base line for going into tomorrow, the difference between 2016 and 2020, different candidate on the Democratic side and different states that are in play. I talked about Florida. That's always a jump ball, that's always a toss-up.

But right now Democrats are looking at Georgia. They are looking at Nevada. They feel confident in Nevada that Nevada may finally flip towards their way. So what happens if Joe Biden wins Georgia, Joe Biden wins Arizona?

All of a sudden he starts rolling up actual Electoral College. He's lengthening that lead a little bit. You add the state of Florida, you add the state of North Carolina, which is also right now considered a toss-up. And to be frank, you saw Joe Biden go to Ohio.

Republicans don't think Ohio is in play, but obviously the Biden campaign is seeing something. Perhaps the Biden campaign also closes Pennsylvania. If you're winning Ohio, you're likely winning Pennsylvania.

And here's another thing, Texas is a legitimate toss-up right now. Both sides of the aisle say that. They didn't expect that, but after that surge of early voting. So I'm laying out here, Anderson, is a couple of things.

One, Donald Trump has a very clear pathway. It would match up not necessarily to the electoral vote, but largely the map from 2016. Joe Biden also has a clear pathway over 270 just winning these three Midwestern states, Pennsylvania up into the Midwest.

But there's also another thing at play here. When you look at the polling, when you look at where things stand, when you talk to Democrats who believe the organization they've built and support they've seen in suburbs, the African-American votes, all across what's happening in the country, that this is a possibility, too.

[23:25:08]

Now, this is not the likely possibility, necessarily. Texas, I think everybody assumes, will probably end up over here. But based on what they've seen in the early vote, based on how everything has happened over the course of the last couple of weeks and even months, anything is possible at this point in time.

One thing I do want to point out, though, you have seen both candidates focus intently over the course of the last couple of days on the state of Pennsylvania. Now, one thing we know about Pennsylvania, it is very unlikely we're going to have the full results of Pennsylvania early in the night.

However, keep an eye on western Pennsylvania. There will be counties that come in. Margins -- margins are what you're looking at. Can Donald Trump match or do much better than what he did in 2016 in these Republican-friendly counties? That will tell the story of tomorrow night in the state of Pennsylvania, Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Phil Mattingly, appreciate it. Back now with David Axelrod, Gloria Borger. Also joining us again, CNN political commentator Van Jones, former special adviser of President Obama and CNN senior political commentator Rick Santorum, former Republican U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania and presidential candidate.

Dave, this happened just a few minutes ago in Texas, that Republican- led group, they are now asking a federal appeals court to block drive- thru voting tomorrow. They already lost the bid to get the 127,000 drive-thru ballots that have already been voted, get those ruled ineligible. They're not.

But now they're going to try to get it blocked. Basically, it seems like taking the lead from the judge himself who sort of intimated that he didn't like the idea of drive-in voting.

AXELROD: And that's a pretty conservative appeals court down there so, we'll see what they do. But I'll just repeat what I said before. These are not the actions of a party that feels terribly comfortable about where they are.

And you speak to Republicans and Democrats in Texas, and they think this race is going to be a few points either way. No one is expressing tremendous confidence, certainly not about any margin. And, look, that's mostly true around the country.

One of the things I'd be concerned about if I were on the Trump -- at the Trump headquarters is that all these polling margins in many, many states, even states he's going to carry, are much smaller than they were four years ago, and that's been pretty uniform. So, if you do the math in the states that were close a few years ago, you worry about them turning against you.

BORGER: Why do you want to be the party of voter suppression?

RICK SANTORUM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, let's be clear. It's not the party here. The party isn't behind this suit.

BORGER: But these are Republicans who are ---

SANTORUM: Well, it's an individual Republican (inaudible).

BORGER: -- who are, a few of them, who are trying to stop these voters from getting --

SANTORUM: But the party is not behind it and the party is not supporting it.

COOPER: But I don't hear a lot of Republicans in Texas in the party condemning these guys for doing this.

BORGER: Are they opposing it?

SANTORUM: Oh, yes, they are. I mean, I think -- I don't see any Republicans, any leadership in the Republican Party that's supporting with this case.

COOPER: Right, but they're not like -- they're just sitting there watching it.

SANTORUM: Well, I don't know.

BORGER: It's not --

SANTORUM: I think its bad messaging.

BORGER: It's a bad (inaudible).

COOPER: Do you think that -- do you see a difference between, you know, not invalidating those 127,000 and then eliminating -- do you think it's okay to try to eliminate the actual drive-in voting sites? SANTORUM: Look, I mean, it appears that they've been able to run

those voting sites in a responsible way. We are in a pandemic, and I think it's a reasonable thing to do. I don't understand why they're doing it.

I don't know that there is any basis that they're claiming that there is a problem here, and it's disappointing that they're doing it because I think it just makes for a bad story that we talk about right before the election.

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: But it fits in with a bigger pattern, and I think that's the problem. You know, when I was growing up in the '90s, you had the Republican Party said, you know, we're part of the moral majority.

And increasingly, the course of this election, this past several weeks, they look like the immoral minority. They seem to be willing to do anything to win this election.

The post office seems to have been corrupted. That is horrible. You've got intimidation tactics coming and apparently signaled by the president of the United States, stuff you haven't seen since the 1960s. Terrible.

And then at the end of the day, they seem to be prepared to claw back away from people their hard-earned vote. They're relying on the courts. So, if you have an immoral minority party clinging to power, will use any tactic at all to hang on, there is something wrong with that party, because you should be able to compete straight up and win, and you can't. And so that's -- you're going to see tomorrow whether or not that's true.

SANTORUM: I can tell you, in Pennsylvania, you could say that a party clinging. The reason the president is upset with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court is because the Democrats went in and tried to change the rules of the game.

JONES: In a pandemic. You said this several times.

SANTORUM: But it's not -- but the legislature and the governor couldn't negotiate. In fact, they did. They did actually negotiated something --

BORGER: And they extended the deadline.

SANTORUM: Well, they did negotiated and changed the one-party voting. They changed the absentee rules to allow people to not have any excuse to absentee.

BORGER: Right.

[23:29:59]

SANTORUM: But they didn't go as far as the Democrats wanted, so they went to court and the court then changed the rules. That's why Republicans are complaining. JONES: And to be clear, what was the change? The change was with a

slowed down post office, if you are able to turn your ballot in on time, and the post office is going too slow, you don't get disqualified. That is not horrible. Why is that horrible? Why is that horrible? I don't understand why you're pointing (inaudible).

SANTORUM: That was on of -- that's not the one. I can tell you, it's not the one. When I talk to people in Pennsylvania, that's not the one they're concerned about --

JONES: That's the one the president is concerned about.

SANTORUM: No, the one he is concerned about where he thinks there is fraud is the signatures

JONES: But everybody knows. Listen, you can't ---

BORGER: He doesn't like any of it.

SANTORUM: I'm just telling you that --

JONES: Go ahead.

SANTORUM: -- that the law in Pennsylvania says that you have to match the signature on the registration card and the signature on the ballot.

BORGER: So, here is the message though. Here is the message, Republicans there want to win by reducing the number of votes that are counted.

SANTORUM: No, we want a fair election.

BORGER: That's not a good strategy.

SANTORUM: We want election that is not fraudulent. That's all -- I mean, it's there for a reason.

JONES: It kinds of let you think.

SANTORUM: Most states have that type of requirement. It is not there because we want to suppress the vote. We want to make sure that people aren't fraudulently voting.

COOPER: What fraudulent election has there been in modern American history? What is the fraudulent election that we are all worried about?

SANTORUM: Well, if you have laws in place --

COOPER: No, I just want to know what the example is. You are talking about a fraudulent election as if it has actually happened.

SANTORUM: I said we don't want a fraudulent election because there are laws in place right now in most states that actually do prevent fraud and we don't want to remove them. COOPER: I do not want the moon to fall in the earth, but I'm not going to try to pass the law so that we can't walk on the street in case the moon falls on the earth. I mean there is no evidence ---

SANTORUM: Are you suggesting we should just let anybody vote and there shouldn't be --

BORGER: No, but you have secretaries of state.

AXELROD: No one is suggesting that. I think what people are -- Rick, rick --

SANTORUM: But I'm saying there has to be rules as to when you vote or when it counts. You know, what --

COOPER: The problem has been that there are --

(CROSSTALK)

AXELROD: What is being suggested is that people who vote and vote legally should have their vote counted. And what the president has been saying is he did not really want them to count anything that is beyond --

SANTORUM: I disagree with that.

AXELROD: I understand, but that is what he's saying.

COOPER: I just don't understand when people talk about fraudulent election as if it's happened.

AXELROD: And he is alleging that those votes would be --

SANTORUM: I am not talking about a fraudulent ---

JONES: The problem that you have with the signature piece is that unless you are a handwriting expert, it is very hard to pull that off and what happened over and over again is that people -- listen, I sign my checks differently -- and that turns out to be a very good way to suppress the vote, so the court steps in and says we are not going to worry about that as much.

But let me just say something else, why are we even having a conversation about Texas at all? Arizona at all? Florida at all? Because there is a tidal wave coming. There is a reckoning coming. And you think a place like Arizona, Arizona should be off the map. Why is it not?

Two things. One, a bunch of people had to leave California because of the wildfires, but internal to that state, they picked on the immigrants -- and they picked on the immigrants. They have the SB- 1070, a terrible bill. Sheriff Joe Arpaio was horrible to people and that community had to organize itself.

Lucha, Mi Familai Vota, the black folks, Our Voice, Our Vote, the Native Americans, the (inaudible), got together to defend their human rights and now they are coming. They are coming. And so you've got a reckoning coming.

You've sowed these seeds of disrespect all across the country and now you are about to rip the whirlwind, and that is why we are even talking about the Sunbelt. The Sunbelt is in play because Puerto Ricans had to flee their island to be in Florida.

They are organizing a fight back. There is something happening beneath this and you are seeing the Republicans pushing back, but this wave is coming.

COOPER: Everyone stay right there. Some more ground to cover tonight including Senator Chris Murphy's thoughts on the Presidential Race plus those comments by President Trump about violence, possible violence over mail-in ballots.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:35:00]

COOPER: We are looking again the live shot of where Election Day basically begins. Dixville Notch, a small town in, township I should say, New Hampshire. Voting starts after midnight in about half an hour. This is a tradition on Election Day. Results are tallied and announced hours before anywhere else.

As we wait for those returns, we've also been discussing President Trump's predictions or warnings of potential violence because of mailed-in ballots, he does not want it counted in Pennsylvania. He actually made multiple references to some form of violence or difficulties over ballots while in the key battleground state today.

For instance, he warned of a "physically dangerous response" to the Supreme Court's decision regarding these ballots while at a rally in Scranton, Pennsylvania. And then of course this tweet flagged by Twitter as misleading and I just want to show it again.

The Supreme Court, this is a quote, "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 systems of laws. It will also reduce violence in the streets. Something must be done."

Democratic Senator, Chris Murphy, of Connecticut joins us now. Senator Murphy, thanks so much for being with us. Twitter has flagged President Trump's tweet as disputed, might be misleading. It's more than that, isn't it?

SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT): Well, what you have to understand is that there are right wing extremist (inaudible) for months who are pushing Trump's order to violence, making claims there is going to be a Democrat coup on Election Day.

And so when these individuals who are likely already a bit unhinged start to hear the president suggest violence is the way in which we deal with the way the votes are being counted, some really dangerous things can happen. And so when the president starts to connect the counting of ballots to

violence, he may end up incentivizing some of his more unhinged supporters to do some really, really dangerous things. And it's just worth repeating.

Anybody that shows up tomorrow with the intent of harassing a voter to interfere in the election is committing a state crime, but also committing a federal crime. You are going to get arrested, you are going to do jail time.

You should not be listening to the president nor your favorite right wing website. If you are thinking of going to intimidating anyone, stay home.

[23:40:02]

COOPER: And in terms of anybody who is sitting here at home tonight, thinking about oh, do I want to go out tomorrow, you know, deal with somebody yelling on a bullhorn or, you know, whatever, what do you say to somebody of any political stripe about their right to vote and about going out to vote tomorrow if they have not voted so far?

MURPHY: Listen, voting is going to be safe tomorrow and I think the president in this tweet today is, you know, trying to create this impression that tomorrow may be ugly and, thus, giving reasons for people to stay home.

And, in fact, of the 40 lawsuits that the president's legal team have brought over the past several months, most of them are just designed to create an impression of chaos so as to kill everyone's interest in voting.

So, you know, you just have to remember that the president is trying to create an environment in which people choose to stay home. The impression he is creating is not reality. Voting is going to be safe tomorrow. There might be a few yahoos in some parts of the country that do something silly.

But in 99.9 percent of the polling places tomorrow, you are going to show up and it is going to look about the same as it always has, maybe a little bit more crowded, but you are going to be able to vote.

COOPER: What States are you feeling good about for your candidate for Vice President Biden in terms of battleground states?

MURPHY: Yes, I mean we spend a lot of time talking about Pennsylvania, but because of the way the Pennsylvania has chosen to count the votes, and particularly these Republican counties that are not going to count the mailed-in votes until Wednesday, it is not likely that we are going to get a result there unless it is so definitive for Vice President Biden.

Thus, you know, I think I'll be looking at North Carolina. Polls close there at 7:30. The president is showing a little bit of a lead. There is a senate race there as well. I mean, obviously our hope is that we're not going to have to rely on Pennsylvania. And if we do, then, you know, we all have to understand that it's really unlikely that we'll know that result tomorrow night. So, I think we'll be looking on the east coast, Florida and to North Carolina in particular and Georgia and hope that there are a win or two in those states so that we don't have to worry about the president's legal claims about when ballots are counted in Pennsylvania.

COOPER: There has been some concerns that we've heard about from Democrats about early voter turnout among Latino voters, African- American voters in Florida and Arizona and a couple other states as well. Are you concerned?

MURPHY: You know, what's interesting, you know, we now sort of operate under this premise that it's Democrats that vote by mail and it's Republicans who show up on Election Day. That's actually not historically how it works

For one thing, it's usually Republicans, older voters who tend to vote by mail and its Democrats that show up on Election Day. And so, I think you're going to have a huge turnout tomorrow of Democratic voters, young voters, black voters, Latino voters, populations that often wait until Election Day to show up.

I think we'll be there tomorrow. So, I don't accept this premise that all of Donald Trump's voters have been waiting at home for tomorrow to vote. I think there are (inaudible) Joe Biden supporters who are going to be out there tomorrow including me.

I had the chance to vote by absentee ballot here in Connecticut, but I like voting on Election Day. I think I can do it safely, so I'll be out there tomorrow casting my ballot.

COOPER: Senator Chris Murphy, I appreciate your time. Thanks.

MURPHY: Thanks.

COOPER: State election officials are having to deal with not only the ramifications of President Trump's talk of violence over mail-in ballots, but also his allies' lawsuits over those same ballots. We're joined now by Minnesota's secretary of state, Steve Simon. His state decided not to appeal a federal court decision that could potentially prevent ballots arriving after Election Day from being counted.

Secretary Simon, thanks for being with us. So, on the eve of the election, the president of the United States is saying that the way Pennsylvania is handling voting, which is entirely legal, is going to induce violence in the streets and also result in massive or high- level voter fraud. What do you say to that?

STEVE SIMON, SECRETARY OF STATE OF MINNESOTA: Well, I can't speak for the laws of Pennsylvania, but based on what he's saying, it seems reckless and irresponsible. That's not the way it's going to go down in Minnesota.

Minnesota is number one in the nation in voter turnout for a reason. We always find a way to vote and that's been something that's been embraced in the bipartisan basis. So, I expect good things in Minnesota. I can't speak for other states, but I'm really optimistic about tomorrow.

COOPER: So, in terms of this court ruling affecting mail-in ballots in Minnesota, what's the strategy behind not challenging it?

SIMON: Well, we're going to challenge it. We're just going to challenge it after the election. What the judge said last week, unfortunately, in what I think is unfortunate and disruptive decision, was that our postmarked rule, which allowed Minnesotans to postmark it by November would kind of hit a snag.

It means that we're going to have to segregate and put in a separate pile ballots that come in after Election Day. That runs counter to rules that have been put in place embraced by all political parties for months in Minnesota.

[23:45:00]

So we have to segregate the ballots. But we're gearing up for post- election litigation and we got to really train out sights on that. We got to pick our battles, and that is the battle we want to pick, making sure absolutely every single vote that is validly casted is counted, up and down the ballot for every race.

COOPER: So any ballot that is sent in, that is mailed in, postmarked within November, like November 1st, November 2nd date on it that gets put aside?

SIMON: Anything that comes in at all after 8:00 tomorrow night is set aside in a separate pile.

COOPER: Okay.

SIMON: What the court said was someone is going to do something. Nothing is going to happen automatically, but there is going to be the segregated pile of ballots that comes in over the course of days, up to a week, and somebody could choose to do something to those ballots.

The Trump campaign or anyone else could choose to try to invalidate those ballots. We do not want that to happen. We do not think it is fair. We do not think it is justified by the law, so we're choosing to focus our efforts there on a potential post-ballot election litigation.

COOPER: And, do you have any sense of how many ballots that might be? I mean obviously you have not received them yet.

SIMON: Yes. No. So hard to say. We'll know a lot more in about 24 hours, but at this point we don't know. The smaller, the better obviously, but it is going to be a real fight if someone is going to try to invalidate those ballots. They're not just ballots --

COOPER: Tonight, Minnesota is reporting that 297,000 outstanding mailed-in ballots that haven't been received yet. Do you think that the number could be that high or do some of those people who, yes, what do you think?

SIMON: No, I think it's going to go down considerably. A lot of those folks are going to vote tomorrow, a lot of those are folks whose ballots came in today and haven't been processed yet or will come in tomorrow. So I think that numbers are going to shrink.

We want it to be as small as possible. And again, those are not just ballots. It is not just as called detached clinical thing. It is not a pile of paper. It is people's votes. It is people's choices in a consequential election.

And anyone seeking to invalidate those ballots is going to have to make the case that they're getting rid of people's votes, not just a pile of paper.

COOPER: Secretary Steve Simon, appreciate it. Thanks. With Election Day only minutes away, we are looking at what is becoming American tradition. The first votes in the nation are about to be cast by voters in the township of Dixville Notch, New Hampshire. Back with their election team when we continue.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:50:00]

COOPER: You are looking at what is becoming American tradition. The township of Dixville Notch, New Hampshire, where voters cast the first ballots in the Presidential Election, just after midnight, Eastern Time, back now with our tireless and sleepless panel of election experts. Gloria, you've actually been to Dixville Notch.

BORGER: Well, yes, but I wasn't there when I was a kid reporter. I got sent there, but not at midnight, like the afternoon.

COOPER: You were like a newsy?

BORGER: I was like a newsy, right, and I went, but they are very proud of it and I think Hillary Clinton won last time, and so it is not predictive of anything. It is just a nice tradition.

COOPER: So, what do we see? Do we see people actually casting their ballots or voting?

BORGER: Yes.

COOPER: Yes, I guess they are casting their ballots.

BORGER: They're voting.

AXELROD: They are putting them in the box.

COOPER: Okay. There we go. So, in terms of --

SANTORUM: And they all gathered together. So, they do it. Everybody comes in, they vote, and then they count them right away.

COOPER: That is so cool.

BORGER: So you will know tonight the popular vote.

COOPER: So, in the few minutes --

AXELROD: The president raised questions about it, but I don't think its --

COOPER: Since this is the start of the election. David, let us talk for just a couple of minutes about anticipation and what to look for tomorrow?

AXELROD: Well, I think one of the things you need to look for is where the turnout is coming from. There is a sense that because Democrats voted heavily early that somehow this will be a disproportionate turnout. But it turns out that 100 million people voted and in many states, Florida being one of them, Republicans did a pretty good job on early vote.

So it means that it may not be as disproportionate tomorrow and I think that is where are going to be looking for. I think you are going to look for turnout in cities because that was where Hillary Clinton fell down.

In Pennsylvania and particularly in Michigan and Wisconsin, you're going to want to look at that turnout. So, it's really now a matter of evaluating where the votes are coming from.

COOPER: And when you think about it last time, it boiled down to what, 70,000 votes in three states.

BORGER: Three states. And I think, this time, it is -- those three states are still going to be very, very important, but we are not going to get the results from Pennsylvania, for example, early. So I think what people are going to be looking to very early tomorrow night is the state of Florida.

COOPER: Yes.

BORGER: Because everybody knows that if Joe Biden does very well or wins the state of Florida, which is already counting ballots, as we speak so, we would get a result from Florida, presumably. If it's clear and if Joe Biden were to win Florida, then he'd be well on his way.

If Donald Trump were to win Florida, then I think it would be a longer night and he'd have a better shot at the presidency. So, I think the first, big thing we're going to look at is Florida, and then, perhaps, Georgia, and then, perhaps, North Carolina.

AXELROD: A longer night or a longer week if you --

JONES: Yes, and a longer month.

SANTORUM: I would make the argument that you have to look at Ohio too because Ohio's always very similar to Pennsylvania. And if you look at the vote in eastern Ohio and you see Trump just blowing it out in eastern Ohio, then it's going to blow out in western Pennsylvania, too. I mean, they're two sides of the same coin.

So, if Ohio is tight and it's looking like a one or two-point race, then I just don't see how Trump wins Pennsylvania. It's just -- Ohio is a more reliable Republican state than Pennsylvania. Now, Pennsylvania maybe changing and the fracking issue is bigger in Pennsylvania than it is in Ohio.

BORGER: Right.

SANTORUM: And so that may offset it, but Ohio would be a very key state to look at early.

JONES: I'm going to -- tomorrow is it going to be a youth quake, you know, or not? Every election, it's like, oh, the young people are coming. The young people are coming. And usually, they don't come. And so it's like a big nothing.

COOPER: I remember in 1996, my first election at ABC News. I was the youth-vote reporter. I didn't have a lot to talk about.

JONES: Exactly. But it's going to be interesting. Once you start pulling this stuff apart, it seems like some of the youth-led energy in the summer is translating over into the campaign.

[23:55:01]

It's translating over into the ballot. So, that will be very interesting if for the first time, a big, big youth quake actually hit.

AXELROD: You could see it in the early vote.

JONES: Right.

AXELROD: I mean, the early vote was impressive in terms of youth participation. So, young people are clearly motivated here.

SANTORUM: I'm just curious to see how -- because there are two worlds when it comes to COVID. Republicans, you know, mask is a sign of, you know, defeat and Democrats who are taking this very, very seriously and are very -- is that going to have an impact on Election Day?

Will there be Democrats who will simply not go to the polls because, you know, they hear there's big crowds? And, you know, everybody's talking about a big turnout Election Day. Is that going to scare some people away? It won't scare any Republicans away, but it might scare some Democrats.

BORGER: It might scare senior citizens away who like Biden more than Trump these days.

JONES: There is another dimension as well, but Democrats have been so COVID cautious on all of the GOTV stuff or whatever, so we weren't knocking on doors. We were doing text stuff. The Trump people were out there knocking on doors.

So we took a big gamble, we're going to be COVID cautious in terms of doing all the pre-stuff. We're going to use text messages, whatever. We might get punished for that.

Look. Michigan. Detroit, there are neighborhoods in Detroit that used to get knocked on all the time. They're used to having little things on the door to tell you where to go vote. That stuff is coming now late. So, is the COVID caution of the Democrats going to hurt us tomorrow? We don't know.

SANTORUM: They are doing it. I mean --

JONES: We're doing it now.

SANTORUM: Yes, the last six to seven weeks, they've been doing it. But Republicans have been doing it all summer long.

JONES: You guys never cared.

SANTORUM: We've been knocking doors. We've been registering voters. If there's one area --

AXELROD: But on this crowded turnout issue -- on this crowded turnout -- I'm sorry, Rick.

SANTORUM: I said, if there's one area that's been telling is in Pennsylvania, we closed the registration gap this summer because we were knocking doors and getting their registrants and the Democrats weren't and it could pay a big difference.

JONES: No good deed goes unpunished. No good deed goes unpunished.

AXELROD: I was just going to say that on this turnout issue tomorrow, I mean, 100 million people have voted, already. At some point, you max out. This is going to be a smaller turnout. Even if it's a good turnout, it's going to be a smaller turnout than we saw at the polls in 2016 because so many people have voted already.

BORGER: And, you know, I have to say, the one characteristic that has run throughout this election is how stable it has been. It has been sort of eight to ten points for Biden. You have seen the numbers for seniors. You've seen the numbers for young people. I mean, it's been so --

COOPER: That's the only stable thing about this.

BORGER: But it hasn't changed. So, if there is an earthquake that was unpredicted or that we didn't see tomorrow, that's going to be remarkable.

SANTORUM: The only -- I would argue with that is there is a group of pollsters. We all know who they are who poll the silent-Trump vote.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. SANTORUM: And there are a group of pollsters out there. You can say

they're wrong and they may be, but they have seen the race change. And whether they're right or not is going to be a real question.

COOPER: I want to thank everybody. Our election coverage continues. I want to hand it over to Chris for "Cuomo Prime Time."

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: All right, my friend. This is it. This is the moment we've been waiting for. Just a few minutes from now, Dixville Notch. Hey, you got to start somewhere, right? And this is one of the beautiful traditions of our democracy.

We're watching it in realtime. We like it for a couple of reasons. One, it's quaint, right, that this starts in such a small way in this little ville in New Hampshire. It has a ceremony aspect to it and it's quick. People come into Dixville Notch. They vote.

The population there according to 2010 census was 12 people. So, they come in -- what's' interesting is there was actually a little troika. There are three little villages up there in the northern part of New Hampshire that always did this early. Not like since the 1800s. This is since the 1900s.

I think 1948 was the earliest of the three towns to start it, but they didn't do it uninterrupted. So, Dixville Notch is the place that we start with. They have a dozen people. You got nearby Millsfield. They have like twice as many people, but they don't do it up as much as Dixville Notch does. So, we use them first.

Predictive? No, not really. New Hampshire as a state is -- let's bring in Chris Cillizza. Chris, let me know with your encyclopedic memory whether or not this is close. You got Chris Cillizza and Chris Cuomo here on CNN to begin CNN's Election Day coverage.

It starts out with this really lovely tradition of going up and remember, small places matter. This is a place that began as accommodating the votes at midnight for railroad workers. And it's a beautiful tradition. We'll be watching it here. New Hampshire has voted with the winner of the popular vote, like, almost every time, right?

CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. It is -- it's a pretty remarkable bell weather. You're right, 12 votes in any state, Chris, don't tell us all of that.

[23:59:58]

CUOMO: No, not Notch. The state overall has voted with the popular vote.

CILLIZZA: Yes. Yes. Absolutely.

CUOMO: They voted with Clinton by like .37. I mean, she lost the election but she won the popular vote.