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Trump Playing Defense Across Wide Swath of States; Biden Tries to Lock In Support of Pennsylvania Voters; Trump Threatens Legal Action Over Speed of Vote Count; Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D-PA) is Interviewed about the Election; Emergency Hearing Soon on Texas Drive- Through Voting; Trump Suggests He May Fire Fauci After the Election. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired November 2, 2020 - 00:00   ET


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: After a marathon campaign season, a sprint to the finish, both campaigns crisscrossing the country, making their final appeals to voters on what might be one of the most important U.S. elections ever.


Hi, everyone. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you so much for being with me tonight. It is midnight, officially, here on the East Coast, 9 p.m. on the West Coast, and we are live, as we count down to election day in America.

Just over one day remaining until we start seeing results from the U.S. presidential election. President Trump and Joe Biden are campaigning hard to sway those voters who have yet to cast their ballots. The candidates making their closing arguments as they blanket the country's battleground states.

Already -- listen to this number -- more than 93 million Americans have voted. That is according to the U.S. Elections Project. And this Monday, Joe Biden will campaign in Ohio, and then hold three events in Pennsylvania. President Trump will hit North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin, all states that he won in 2016.

And I know, some Americans are feeling anxious going into election week. Some businesses are already boarding up in fear of some potential election-related violence, especially if the vote is quite close.

A Trump advisor tells CNN this evening that the president is likely to prematurely declare victory on Tuesday night, that is, if he gets close to that magic number of 270, 270 electoral votes. That is even if a large number of ballots have yet to be counted. President Trump has since denied that report.

We'll come back to that, but we have talked a lot about key battleground states, one of which, of course, is Pennsylvania. It is the biggest state in play in the Rust Belt. It is also the former vice president's birth state. Both candidates have been pouring resources in there. Jessica Dean is covering the Biden campaign for us tonight, but first,

White House correspondent John Harwood looks at the president's final push on the campaign trail.


JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Joe Biden is closing his campaign with a very strong focus on just a couple of states, principally Pennsylvania, where he hopes to lock down his victory.

President Trump is playing defense over a wide span of the United States. He's also going to Pennsylvania, but so many other places that he won in 2016, but where Joe Biden is either running close behind him or actually has a lead.

Five rallies on Sunday, five more today, the president has been to Iowa, the state where Joe Biden has been running close behind; to Florida, where Biden has had a lead; to Georgia, where Biden has had a lead. Today, he's going to be going to North Carolina. Biden has had a small lead there. And then try to overcome larger Biden leads in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan.

Now, while he's racing around the country, President Trump is also pursuing a legal strategy throughout the Republican Party to try to limit the counting of late-arriving mail-in votes, which we believe are likely to favor Democrats.

And also, raising doubts about the legitimacy of the vote, as he did on Sunday, talking about how late vote counting is going to encourage fraud. This is a candidate who's behind, and he knows it.

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: For the Biden campaign, it all comes down to Pennsylvania. We saw Vice President Biden spending his Sunday in the Philadelphia area at several events, ending with a drive-in rally here in Philadelphia, where they're really hoping to run up the score in this big city with a lot of Democratic voters in it.

Now, later today, Vice President Biden, his wife Jill Biden, Senator Kamala Harris, his running mate, and her husband, Doug Emhoff, will all spread out across Pennsylvania, as the campaign really looks to lock in its support here.

A Biden campaign aide, saying that this is really representative of the coalition they're trying to build across the country, as they try to win this election. That includes white working-class voters, suburban women, black and Latino voters, union households, and, also, people who may have voted for President Trump in 2016, who might come back to the Democrats in 2020.

So seeking to really put all of those people together, into what they hope is a winning coalition. And remember, President Trump won Pennsylvania in 2016 by some 44,000 votes, which is a small margin when you stretch it out all across the state. The Biden campaign really hoping to turn Pennsylvania blue this year.


BALDWIN: Jessica and John, thank you both so much.

Let me bring in Frank Bruni. Frank is a CNN contributor and a "New York Times" op-ed columnist. Frank, thanks for spending your late Sunday night with me. Good to see you.


BALDWIN: Let's start just on the news this evening that CNN has learned, that the Trump campaign plans to be, their words, "very aggressive" on election night and perhaps declare a premature victory, even if the president hasn't hit the magic number of 270, which we totally have to call out, because, for example, in Pennsylvania, you know, speaking of, the law doesn't allow officials to even start processing early ballots until 7 a.m. on election day.

And then, when you look at swing counties like Erie and red ones like Cumberland, they're -- they have to wait until the polls close, or even until the next morning, to start counting.

So that said, and also that the president has apparently refuted these reports. Your reaction?

BRUNI: I believe the reports, because the president has signaled to us for some time that he would do something just like this. And if he does it, I mean, the word "premature" is really key here. Because there are a number of toss-up states -- You just named one, Pennsylvania, which is a biggie -- where there are going to be mail-in ballots that arrive after election day. If they're postmarked by election day, they are legitimate. They should be counted. Those will probably skew Democratic.

The president knows that, and that's why he wants to embrace earlier tallies, if those tallies show him ahead. And he's setting up a situation where he's going to then say that the late-arriving votes are somehow not to be trusted, or fraudulent, or manipulated, which is untrue. But he's just going to use the possibility of that change in the tally to sow confusion and just shed doubt on the outcome of the election.

BALDWIN: As he may potentially do this, and you and I have been talking for months and months, just about how on edge this country is. Right? We're now seeing certain parts of the country actually boarding up store fronts in preparation for potential clashes this week.

You know, I just saw how federal authorities are going to be putting up this mighty large fence around the White House, ahead of and around, you know, election day. What might Trump stepping up to a podium and declaring this premature victory, Frank, actually do to America?

BRUNI: It could be disastrous for America. Because what he would be doing when he does that -- and by the way, he has been doing versions of that now for weeks, for months. He's telling his supporters, Any outcome that doesn't have me as the winner is not to be trusted. He's telling them to -- he's telling them the whole process is illegitimate.

And think about -- I think Joe Biden is probably going to win this thing. That's not a -- that's not a firm prediction if, I learned my lesson in 2016.

But think about what it's going to mean for Joe Biden's ability to govern. If Donald Trump has totaled all of his supporters, that the man who is succeeding him is illegitimate, that they should spend the next year's rebelling against him, but that they shouldn't put any kind of trust. I mean, this is really, really profoundly impactful.

BALDWIN: I just want to remind everyone, as we're all going into this sort of unprecedented seeming week. You know, and I know we are used to having answers, right, on election night, if not the wee hours of the morning. Like, it's OK, if not every single vote is counted by Tuesday night. You know, so, we just all have to navigate this together, and, eventually, you know, have a president declared the victor.

I do want to get to your op-ed, Frank, that you recently wrote about a post-Trump America, right, which we may or may not have, come this week. But I want to highlight what you wrote.

"What has Trump's presidency taken from us? I'm reasonably sure that many Americans feel the same loss that I do, and I'm struggling to assign just one word to it. Innocence? Optimism? Faith? Go to the place on the Venn diagram where those states of mind overlap. That's the piece of me now missing when I look at this beloved country of mine."

I mean, it's all of our beloved country, and you know, can you just -- I'm going to put your question back to you, Frank Bruni. You know, what has Trump's America taken from us? What has this presidency taking from us?

BRUNI: I think it has taken from a lot of people what it's taken from me. And it was -- I believed our country could only go so low, and I believed we could only forgive so much.

And over these past four years, the president has revealed himself to be such a corrupt actor, he has shown such forward cruelty, such overt racism, and yet, his approval ratings haven't changed. Forty-six percent of the Americans who cast votes in 2016 voted for Donald Trump, and that proved to be enough for an Electoral College victory.

If you look at his approval ratings over the last couple of weeks, they're 44 percent, 45 percent. The story of this presidency is he's never lost that support.

And I don't know what to make of my fellow Americans that they have -- that that many of them have stood by him as he has betrayed them, as he has undermined the country, as he has kind of chipped away at our most cherished traditions, our most important norms.

I think we'll turn the page on Donald Trump, but I don't know how I will ever come to terms -- BALDWIN: But just quickly --

BRUNI: -- with what he has revealed about my country.

BALDWIN: But -- but Frank, if he -- if he does win again, fair and square, there are folks, you know, who say, then we deserve it. We deserve it. Quickly, you say what?

BRUNI: Then we do deserve it. I think then we do deserve it. I think -- Donald Trump didn't -- didn't change this country exactly. He revealed things about the country I think a lot of us were unaware of.

BALDWIN: Frank Bruni, thank you very much.

BRUNI: Thank you.


BALDWIN: By the way, CNN, of course, is bringing new coverage, live, around the clock, leading up to election day. And you can watch the culmination of the campaigns Tuesday, on "ELECTION NIGHT IN AMERICA," starting at 4 p.m. Eastern, 9 p.m. in London, right here on CNN.

We mentioned Pennsylvania a moment ago. You know, parts of Pennsylvania are not planning to count mail-in ballots until after Tuesday's election, but President Trump is slamming that plan. Ahead, the lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania weighs in, live.

You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.


BALDWIN: Welcome back. We are live here on CNN, just after midnight hour on the East Coast. And you see him there, the president of the United States speaking at a rally. He is in Opa-locka, Florida. This is his fifth swing state of the day.

More than two million mailed ballots have already been returned in the state of Pennsylvania. But at least nine counties, those ballots won't be counted until after election day. Each vote will be closely watched as the state is considered a must-win for both candidates, so much so that each of them will hold rallies there in the coming hours.

So right now, the former vice president, Joe Biden, has a six-point lead in Pennsylvania. That is according to the latest "New York Times" poll. And CNN's Sara Murray explains why this state is so important.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know what's looking good? Pennsylvania is looking good.

SARA MURRAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's crunch time in the Keystone State. JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: My message is simple.

Pennsylvania is critical in this election.

TRUMP: And if we win Pennsylvania, it's over. It's over.

MURRAY: President Donald Trump eked out a victory by roughly 44,000 votes in 2016, the first Republican to carry Pennsylvania since 1988. The crumbling Blue Wall shocked Democrats as Trump went on to the Oval Office.

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I love you, Philadelphia. Honk if you're fired up. Honk if you're ready to go. Are you fired up?

MURRAY: This election season, both sides are unleashing their loyal foot soldiers in the hopes of notching a win.

CHRISTOPHER NICHOLAS, PENNSYLVANIA GOP STRATEGIST: They know they need this to win. And I think that's why they've been here a lot. And both parties go to bed at night thinking they left a lot of votes on the table here in 2016.

MURRAY: For Joe Biden, it's personal.

BIDEN: I live in Delaware, but I'm a Pennsylvania boy, born in Scranton.

MURRAY: The former vice president was born in Scranton and raised there until his family moved to Delaware when he was in grade school. His Pennsylvania roots stuck, and some dubbed him Pennsylvania's third senator while he was in Congress.

This year, officials across Pennsylvania are preparing for an election unlike any other. For the first time, everyone can vote by mail, and more than three million applied to do so. Officials say they most likely won't know election night who won the state.

KATHY BOOCKVAR, PENNSYLVANIA SECRETARY OF STATE: The speed cannot outweigh the importance of the accuracy.

My staff is working around the clock. I'm working around the clock. None of us are sleeping now.

MURRAY: By law, mail-in ballots can even be opened until the morning of election day. And ballots received up to three days after November 3 are allowed to be counted.

TRUMP: November 3 is going to come and go, and we're not going to know. And you're going to have bedlam in our country.

MURRAY: The state's rules have sent the president into tirades, as his rhetoric draws a jab from the state's Democratic governor.

GOV. THOMAS WOLF (D-PA): If you don't think you're going to win, then -- I did this in Little League -- you -- you call into question the rules. MURRAY: And a sharp warning about voter intimidation from

Philadelphia's district attorney.

LARRY KRASNER, PHILADELPHIA DISTRICT ATTORNEY: This is the cradle of democracy. And I do, in fact, have something for the president if he wants to send people here to break the law. I have a cell. I have criminal laws. And I have a jury, a very diverse jury, that is going to want to hear why these people came to steal our votes.


BALDWIN: Sara Murray there. And let's stay in Pennsylvania. With me now, the lieutenant governor, John Fetterman, joins me live from Braddock.

So Mr. Lieutenant Governor, welcome, sir. Good evening.


BALDWIN: So let's get to the piece that everyone's talking about tonight. That, you know, according to CNN sources, the Trump campaign plans to be pretty aggressive, potentially, on election night, prepared to declare premature victory. That is, if the president is close to, but doesn't even quite hit that 270 mark of electoral votes.

Trump, again, has refuted these reports, but that you know. You are the best person to talk to about this, because in your own state, you know, a number of ballots won't even begin to be counted until the morning of election day. How does this sit with you?

FETTERMAN: Well, I mean, it's not unanticipated. He's been signaling for quite some time that he's going to try to sow this kind of chaos. But the reality is, it's not the truth. And it's unlikely that -- that it would prevail. But it's not -- that doesn't mean that he's going to try -- not going to try.

BALDWIN: You understand the nuances of the various parts of Pennsylvania. Certain counties aren't allowed to count those, you know, early ballots until even later in the day on election day. When do you think we will know the results of the election in Pennsylvania?

FETTERMAN: I think we're going to know sooner than -- than what some of these forecasts so far.

BALDWIN: What does that mean? Put a date, put a time stamp on it for me, Lieutenant Governor.

FETTERMAN: I would say at -- at some point before 8 a.m. in the morning of the 4th. I would say we would have a pretty good idea.

If you look at our top three counties -- Philadelphia, Allegheny and Montgomery -- I think everyone is anticipating and expecting what's at hand. And significant and substantial upgrades have been made in the infrastructure, particularly in Philadelphia. And Montgomery County's looking good. And Allegheny County performed superbly in our June primary. So I think we're -- we're in pretty good shape. But that's not to say that, if the president doesn't like the results

that are coming back in, that he may not try to make a lot of ridiculous and outlandish statements and maybe even to try to challenge things on a legal basis. For sure.

And of course, it's not going to be determined by the common law court or the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. He's going to try to get things to the U.S. Supreme Court. And of course, as everybody knows, with the appointment of Judge Barrett -- Justice Barrett, there is a balance in the Supreme Court that is, you know, it would make most Democrats nervous, I would say.


BALDWIN: I just -- I appreciate that. But again, just to reiterate your point. You know, just for viewers watching who are used to having answers at the end of election night, you know, that we're -- we may not even know definitively what happens with Pennsylvania until the morning of the 4th. We just all need to -- to slow our roll this next week.

When it comes specifically to Pennsylvania, you know, when it comes to that magic number of 270 in terms of electoral votes, you know, Trump's best path to stop Biden, you know, could come down to Arizona and Pennsylvania.

We know that Trump carried Pennsylvania by less than one point in 2016. We know that Trump, Pence, Biden and Harris will all be in your great state, you know, today, Monday. What does that signal to you, sir?

FETTERMAN: Well, I always tell people, don't take my word for it. I say Pennsylvania could pick the president. Don't take my word for it.

The president did four events in Pennsylvania just yesterday. The vice president was in Philadelphia and other parts of the state today. And they're coming back tomorrow. And they're barnstorming the state.

So you have a convergence of both the presidential campaigns converging in Pennsylvania for multiple events. So it's unprecedented, certainly, than anything I can remember, this much attention being directed at our state.

BALDWIN: I want to ask you, if I may, about also your wife. I was reading about your wife, because I think this speaks to a bigger picture of the state of America.

You know, she was recently the target of a racial slur. She filmed the woman. You could hear this woman, you know, calling your wife the "N" word on camera. Your wife tweeted about it. It's being investigated.

And the reason I bring this up is because I want to talk about decency in America. You know, that this isn't about left or right, or Biden and Trump. It's about decency. And to me, you know, no matter who wins the presidency this week, Mr. Lieutenant Governor, how do we restore it? FETTERMAN: Well, I just have to say that that, certainly, wasn't an

isolated incident for my wife, even though she was, of course, very upset by it, and it was, you know, a really terrible situation.

But I just would like to remind everybody that 99 point whatever percent of the interaction that either my wife or -- or I have with the public here in Pennsylvania is -- is almost always positive.

You know, but we definitely do need to turn down the temperature here. That's for sure. You can see it growing online more and more.

BALDWIN: Did we lose you?


BALDWIN: We lost you? Can you hear -- can you hear me, Lieutenant Governor Fetterman?

I heard you on we just need to dial down the temperature online. Do you want to finish your point?

FETTERMAN: Yes. So we need to dial down the temperature and just get to the point where, to your point, whoever wins wins. But it's going to be contentious, and we just can't allow this kind of personal attacks, this kind of, you know, voter intimidation. Or all these things that are -- are being forecast that hopefully won't come to pass.

But we definitely are divided, but we have to move past that. And we all have to come to a common scent [SIC] -- sense of rules and basic engagement. Because these next couple days are going to be unlike anything, certainly, in my lifetime and American political history, for sure.

BALDWIN: Yes. Let's all hope for that common decency, no matter where you are on the spectrum. Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman, thank you so much for your time.

FETTERMAN: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Thank you.

Legal battles are being fought down to the wire. Ahead, drive-through voting under Republican fire in Texas. An emergency hearing is hours away.

And a judge gives marching orders to the U.S. Postal Service to get mailed ballots delivered in time.



BALDWIN: We are coming back live. President Trump still there at the podium, speaking to a crowd of supporters there, Opa-locka, Florida. Again, as we're talking about them barnstorming these swing states, this is his fifth swing state of the day.

And with just one day before election results beginning to come in, mail-in ballots are at growing risk of not arriving at election offices in time to be counted. Just a couple hours ago, a federal judge issued an order mandating extraordinary measures for the U.S. Postal Service to take to get those ballots delivered.

That order came after the Postal Service announced it moved fewer ballots on time Saturday than it did on Friday.

Key battleground states such as Pennsylvania, Arizona, Michigan, and Wisconsin are reporting seeing a slowdown. The worst hit state so far appears to be Colorado and Wyoming, where fewer than half of all the ballots are being moved on time.

And in the coming hours, a federal judge in Texas will hear whether Houston officials illegally allowed drive-through voting. A group of Republicans filed a number of lawsuits, asking that more than 100,000 votes in the Democratic-leaning area be set aside. The Texas Supreme Court denied that request in one case Sunday.

CNN's Ed Lavandera has the details.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Polling locations across the state of Texas will be quiet on Monday as everything gears up toward election day on Tuesday.

But we have seen three weeks of early voting in the state, and we have seen record turnout. Nine and a half million people have already cast their votes here in Texas. That is a record. Already surpassing the overall total that we saw four years ago.

And here in Harris County, there is some legal fighting going on over voting locations like this. This is one of 10 drive-through voting locations that officials here have opened up because of the COVID pandemic. Essentially, people can drive their cars right into these bays and underneath these tents. There will be election workers at these tables. They will then slide the voting tablets into your car, and you can cast their ballot.

Officials say this is legal. It is safe and secure. But a group of Republicans here in the Houston area have been filing suit. A number of cases winding their way through the court. One in the state system, where the Texas Supreme Court has ruled for a second time that this way of voting here in Harris County is -- is legal. There are no problems.

But these Republicans are also fighting this in federal court. And there is an emergency hearing scheduled for Monday morning.


And why is this important? A hundred and twenty-seven thousand people used these drive-through voting sites during the early voting period. That's about 10 percent of the overall total in this county. And those Republicans want those votes set aside, invalidated essentially, because they say this is an illegal way of voting.

Democrats say that's absolutely absurd. There haven't been many top Republicans in the state who have pushed against this Republican group who are filing these lawsuits, but one Republican said that what they are doing here is harmful and patently absurd.

Ed Lavandera, CNN, Houston, Texas.


BALDWIN: Ed, thank you there in Texas.

The FBI is also investigating allegations that Trump supporters in Texas tried to run a Joe Biden campaign bus off the road Friday. A Biden campaign official said people on the road there, displaying Trump flags, tried to slow the bus down as it traveled to Austin.

And separately, in an incident in New York Sunday, about 300 vehicles with those Trump flags blocked traffic on the Mario Cuomo Bridge.

So let's start on all of this. Joining me now, CNN political commentators Scott Jennings, a Republican who recently penned an op- ed, Donald Trump deserves a second term; and Ana Navarro, also a Republican, who has clearly voiced her support for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris this go round.

So welcome to both of you. And Ana, I want to start with. Because, you know, regarding the -- this incident, most recently, you know, in Texas that the FBI is investigating. And then what we saw in New York, New Jersey, specifically to Texas, Trump apparently tweeted, "Those patriots did nothing wrong."

How worried are you?

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, I think it's -- I think it's horrible. You know, it's ironic. I was thinking about this last night after watching all those images. Because, you know, I was born in Nicaragua. And I live in Miami where there are so many political exiles.

And Trump has been talking over and over about how, if you elect Joe Biden, he's good to turn America into Cuba, America into Venezuela, America into Nicaragua.

The places where I have seen this happen, this level of voter intimidation, and the kind of thuggery that we witnessed on that road in Texas yesterday are places where there are dictatorships, where there are people who have to win elections through cheating and intimidation.

I think this is not a joke. I was so disappointed a few minutes ago. And I was walking that Trump rally here in Miami that's going on now. And Marco Rubio was making a joke about it, saying how funny it was what we saw in Texas. And how we do that in Miami every day. And then, you know, Trump came on to, again, talk about how there was

nothing wrong with what we saw on Texas.

Look, it endangers people's lives. It's not just about intimidation and voter intimidation. It is putting people's lives in danger. Trying to run somebody off a road is an illegal and endangerment act.

BALDWIN: Scott, I want to hear from you. You know, again, the FBI is investigating. What do you think of all of it?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it's incredibly stupid and unsafe to surround a large vehicle on a highway. I've been in a lot of campaigns that have had buses just like that, I've ridden on a number of them for thousands and thousands of miles. And -- and they are big vehicles. They're dangerous vehicles. They're just like any other huge semi tractor-trailer you'd see out there.

When something goes wrong and there's a collision or a shimmy or something, it can cause a lot of damage to vehicles and to human lives. So I wouldn't advise it. It's not something to be made fun of. And public safety on highways with vehicles at large is a serious issue.

So it's -- it's not funny, and -- and I don't condone it.

BALDWIN: Scott, let me stay with you, because you know, we just -- we showed the live pictures of the president speaking there in Opa-locka. And I was just handed this latest urgent. So let me just read this to both of you as I'm getting it.

For the first time today -- there he is speaking -- for the first time today, a "fire Fauci" chant broke out when President Trump said, We hear too much about COVID-19 during his rally there in Florida. He said, quote, "Don't tell anybody, but let me wait until a little bit after the election. I appreciate the advice."

And then later, he said of Fauci, "He's a nice guy, but he's been wrong a lot."

And Scott I know you wrote that opinion piece recently where, you know, you say that President Trump deserves a second term. But you know, this notion of going along with the crowd and fire Fauci, you know, would you be OK with that?

JENNINGS: Well, I mean, as a political tactic, you know, Dr. Fauci has pretty good ratings with the American people. And so I mean, that's one way to -- that's one way to do it going into election day. Look, I'm sure there are a lot of his supporters --

BALDWIN: So it's pandering? He's pandering? That's it?


JENNINGS: Look, I'm sure there's a lot of his supporters that would agree with that. I'm just saying, you know, I can read a poll, and I see that Dr. Fauci is pretty popular with the American people. So I -- you know, I mean --

BALDWIN: Why would he want to fire him, as he's helped guide him through --?

JENNINGS: I mean, it's not complicated but, you know, sometimes things are popular. And you go against them, and it hurts you. And I suspect that's what happened in this case.

BALDWIN: Ana Navarro, what do you think?

NAVARRO: Look, I think it's Trump being Trump, and he wants people that say exactly what he wants them to say and that act exactly like he wants them to act.

And Dr. Fauci is a -- is a medical doctor who speaks to science and facts. He has served in seven administrations. He's not a political person. He is a scientist. And I think that bothers Trump, that he doesn't have the 100 percent loyalty to Trump that Trump expects from people but rather loyalty to the American people, to science, and to medicine.

BALDWIN: Scott, back over to you just on the piece of news that's getting really picked up, this notion. We've heard bits and pieces of this for months now, potentially, for the Trump camp. And again, Trump's refuting this, but we've heard, you know, sources telling us that the administration is making the aggressive and -- you know, claim a premature victory on election night if he comes close to 270 Electoral College votes. What would you think if he were to do that?

JENNINGS: Well, I think there's a couple of things. No. 1, calling -- saying you won an individual state is different than saying you won the election. And so some states will obviously have more votes counted than others. And so --

BALDWIN: Many states may not even have ballots counted by then.

JENNINGS: Yes. And so -- so it will depend on the state. But if you have a state where you have a substantial number of ballots uncounted, and it's a very, very close election, it wouldn't be prudent for either campaign to claim victory.

Frankly, it doesn't legally -- functionally, it doesn't mean anything. You could go out and say I won, you know, a state and, if they haven't counted all the ballots yet, and tomorrow when they count them all, you lost, well, you're going to look like -- look dumb for saying that you won when you really didn't.

And so it would only be prudent to claim victory in a state where most of the ballots have been counted and it's clear that you have an insurmountable lead. And so I wouldn't advise going out and claiming any victories anywhere, unless you really knew it for sure.

BALDWIN: I appreciate you saying that, no matter which way it cuts.

Scott Jennings, Ana Navarro, thank you both so much. Listen, this election is historic for a number of reasons, and for many African-American voters in this country, it is deeply personal. Coming up after the break, we'll talk live to some voters about their experiences as black women, seeing hope in Senator Kamala Harris.



BALDWIN: Civil rights groups IN North Carolina say police broke the law as they used pepper spray to disperse a peaceful demonstration Saturday.

The police lieutenant there claims the protesters were blocking the street, but the event's organizers deny that.

The demonstration was billed as a march to the polls event honoring black Americans whose deaths have fueled nationwide protests over racial injustice.

One North Carolina Democratic congressional candidate says the police actions against those protesters was an act of voter suppression.

With me now, LaTosha Brown, cofounder of Black Voters Matter and Alicia Garza, one of the three women who co-founded Black Lives Matter. She's a principle of the Black to the Future Action Fund and author of "The Power" -- excuse me, "The Purpose of Power." There you go. We've got the book up on the screen.

So ladies, it is wonderful to have you both on with me. And LaTosha, if I may, I want to start with you. I know you've been in the thick of it. What are you hearing about examples of voter suppression?

LATOSHA BROWN, COFOUNDER, BLACK VOTERS MATTER: You know, we have witnessed it. We have been on the road for the last 35 days. And so I've seen voter suppression from people who have registered to vote to say that they were not registered. That they never got their registration form. To people actually submitting to get an absentee ballot and never received their absentee ballot. Down to, in Galveston, Texas, where we were about two weeks ago in one of the races, there are three races that are held by Republican incumbent judges. And those three races in Galveston were left off -- they had challengers, and they were left off the ballot.

So we've been seeing it across the board. The good news is that we've also been seeing a certain level of excitement where people are responding, that people are coming out in record numbers.

BALDWIN: I do want to talk about the excitement. And Alicia, this is to you, specifically on the black vote. I saw that the Joe Biden campaign, you know, one final big push in Florida today. They had the souls to the polls event.

We saw Jill Biden standing alongside members of George Floyd's family on the steps of one of Tallahassee's most well-known black churches. But I was reading this one Florida voter said this: "You don't see the

enthusiasm of the two elections with Obama, where you'd see people with bumper stickers and flags and signs. I don't see it this year. I'm not going to say I'm concerned, but it's not the same."

Are you concerned, Alicia?

ALICIA GARZA, CO-FOUNDER, BLACK LIVES MATTER: Well, here's what I think. What I think is that the story of this election is, frankly, that movements made it happen.

And sure, the Obama election was superb. And it was exceptional. But we are in the middle of a pandemic. We are in the midst of an economic recession. We are in the midst of a crisis in our democracy.

And so we shouldn't expect that what we're going to see is 2016-level or I'm sorry, 2008- and 2012-level participation. But we should look at this election as its own particular phenomenon. And I'm really proud of every single person who has gotten out there who's voted early, and every single person like LaTosha who is getting people out there, making sure that people vote, making sure that people know that their votes matter.

And also making sure that people know that whatever happens on Tuesday, that the story of the success of this election is that we participated. And we participated at record levels, given the conditions that we're facing right now.

BALDWIN: Well, LaTosha, let's talk about your personal participation. I mean, obviously, I follow you on all the socials, and I saw your emotional video from the other day, when you cast your ballot. You know, you were talking about hearkening -- just thinking about your mother and your grandmother and the women before you. Can you just talk -- talk to me about your emotions in that moment?

BROWN: You know, I went to vote. I came back. We've been on the road. Black Voters Matter, we actually have been on our -- we got powered bus tour. And so we've been on the road for, I think it's 37 days, and we came home. So I can vote on Friday. And I expected just to go in and vote and get back to business, come back to work.


And while I was in there, I saw Kamala Harris's name. I did not expect to have this reaction at all. I saw her name on the ballot, and I was overwhelmed with emotion. All I could think about was my grandmother and my mother and my grandmothers before them. You know, and in that moment -- and I thought about it, I just voted. You know, for me, I just voted for a black woman for vice president of this country, and I was overwhelmed.

I went in my car, and I sat down for -- for probably about 20 minutes before I could really gather myself, because I knew how significant that moment was. And I also feel that seem kind of --

BALDWIN: Did we lose her? Live TV. Alicia, let me come back to you. We've still got Alicia. It was just

-- she was such a gripping story and just to watch, you know, tears, you know, falling from the corners of her eyes, just -- just thinking about, you know, summoning history and the women who came before her and knowing that she was voting for a black woman, potentially, as vice president of this country.

Let me end with you, Alicia. Because, you know, you and I recently talked, and I just want to -- just -- I want to say this again. You are one of three women who founded the Black Lives Matter movement. And you often emphasize the power of black women in your conversations. You alluded to this a second ago.

But black women have been, you know, disproportionally affected by this pandemic. Black women have shouldered much of that burden at home. Black women have lost children to racial injustices in this country, and as you've said, the rules have been rigged against your communities.

With this election and beyond, how can the tide turn?

GARZA: Well, the first thing is, we have to continue to show up. And black women are showing us the way. And it's women like LaTosha, women like Patrisse Cullors, women like so many black women who are out here voting against all odds in doing what we need to do to make democracy work for us and make democracy work for this country. I mean, that is the story, as I said earlier, of this election.

But the thing that we have to do moving forward is to keep going. We can't let this be one pivotal moment. But we have to actually say this is going to be a sea change in how it is that we hold elected officials accountable, how it is that we engage in the democratic system.

And now we know, right, that fundamentally, this democratic system is not guaranteed to any of us. You know, the honorable Congressman John Lewis said to us that the vote is not guaranteed. It is the reason that he crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge and faced violence, just for our right to vote.

And we need to make sure that we lift up his legacy, but we also need to make sure that we further the legacy of people like LaTosha, people like my grandmother and my mother, people like black women who are staying up late at night, trying to make ends meet and trying to make sure that we can pursue our dreams at the same time.

I hope that what happens in this nation from this point forward is that black women get a chance to pursue our dreams in the daylight. And that is why we are standing in lines for four and five and six hours, to make sure that our voices are heard.

So to everybody who's listening right now, keep going. You're doing exactly what you're supposed to be doing. And frankly, we're not going to stop until we get it done. Take it from me. Take it from our ancestors like Fannie Lou Hamer. We are sick and tired of being sick and tired, and we're not going to stop until we reach freedom. BALDWIN: Pursuing your dreams in the daylight. Alicia Garza, it is

always a pleasure to talk to you. Again, your new book, "The Purpose of Power," is out. Thank you.

And LaTosha, thank you for the moments that we had you, very, very much.

Still to come here, live on CNN, a Trump pandemic advisor goes on TV to disparage coronavirus precautions, but not U.S. TV. Wait until you hear where he took his criticisms.



TRUMP: Don't tell anybody, but let me wait till a little bit after the election.


BALDWIN: So we just turned this around for you. It was a crowd he was responding to, and the crowd was chanting "fire Fauci," as in Dr. Anthony Fauci.

The president seems to be suggesting that he would consider doing that if, in fact, he is reelected. Dr. Fauci, of course, as you know, the nation's top infectious disease expert. The president and Dr. Fauci have been at odds over the handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which is in the midst of a brutal new wave.

Most medical experts say taking precautions against COVID-19 is larger than ever, given the soaring rates in the United States. But not White House coronavirus adviser, Dr. Scott Atlas. He is criticizing measures like lockdowns, not in the U.S. media; on the Kremlin-controlled Russian propaganda TV network, RT.

Dr. Atlas has since apologized for appearing on the network, tweeting in part that he was, quote, "unaware" they are a registered foreign agent. A source adds the White House did not clear the appearance.

But let's go straight to Dr. Jorge Rodriguez in Los Angeles for more. He's an internal medicine and viral specialist.

Dr. Rodriguez, we don't normally talk at this time of day, so I appreciate you staying up late with me very much.

Let me just begin with just the combined chants from that crowd there in Florida. You know, "fire Fauci," and the president almost teasing them. And perhaps he'll consider it after the election, mixed with what we just heard from Dr. Fauci, or rather Dr. Atlas on RT. What do you think?

DR. JORGE RODRIGUEZ, INTERNAL MEDICINE AND VIRAL SPECIALIST: Well, if he fires Anthony Fauci, it will be the firing heard around the world. You know, Dr. Fauci is the most published scientist in the world. He spearheaded the discovery of the antibody for HIV. He has been in every forefront in medicine, really, for the last 40 years.

And Dr. Fauci came out of one of the newspapers a couple of days ago and actually said what a lot of us were hoping he had said a while back, as to how dysfunctional the U.S.'s response to COVID has been.


So he's obviously, along with other doctors now, apparently, you know, on the president's blacklist. So let's see what happens. But it would be a grave mistake, I think, for him to even do anything, with Dr. Fauci's sterling reputation, to him.

BALDWIN: It was "The Washington Post" with whom Dr. Fauci was speaking. He actually gave Mark Meadows a little bit of credit for just being honest in that interview with Jake Tapper, you know, saying that they didn't have COVID under control. And then he was criticizing the -- Scott Atlas.

But here's what he did say, and this is where my -- my ear certainly perked up, just in terms of where we are with -- with COVID-19. He said, "We are in for a whole lot of hurt. It's not a good situation. All the stars are aligned in the wrong place as you go into the fall and winter season, with people congregating at home, indoors. You could not possibly be positioned more poorly."

And that it's not just Dr. Fauci. Former FDA commissioner Dr. Gottlieb said something similar. Listen to this.


DR. SCOTT GOTTLIEB, FORMER FDA COMMISSIONER: Things are getting worse around the country. I think Thanksgiving is really going to be an inflection point. I think December is probably going to be the toughest month.

But when you look at what's happening in states right now, you're seeing an accelerating spread. We're right at the beginning of what looks like exponential growth in a lot of states.


BALDWIN: Dr. Rodriguez, does the U.S. need to consider another lockdown?

RODRIGUEZ: I think that we need to consider some stricter measures and that people really need to -- to wake up.

I have no doubt that we're going to be having lockdowns in different parts of the country.

Look, the U.K. is about to embark on a lockdown. Germany's about to embark on a lockdown. France is embarking, you know, on a lockdown. And we are not special.

We're about to hit 100,000 cases a day. And for those people that say, that's just because people are being tested, that's absolutely incorrect. The percentage of people that are turning out positive continues to skyrocket.

Just look at that graph that's on CNN all the time, in all the medical journals. It will go to approximately 2,000 to 2,500 deaths a day if we don't do something to mitigate it. So --

BALDWIN: I appreciate that. Forgive me. I'm out of time. Let me just jump in. My ears are still back on you saying we're not special. We want to think we are, but when it comes to COVID, we're not.

Dr. Jorge Rodriguez in Los Angeles for me tonight. Dr. Rodriguez, great -- great to have you on. Thank you so much.

That does it for this hour. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Our live coverage of the countdown to election day continues with me after a quick break.