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Trump Falsely Claims Victory Despite Several States Still to be Called; U.S. Presidential Race Hangs in the Balance of Key Battleground States; Biden Takes Lead in Tight Michigan Race. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired November 4, 2020 - 09:30   ET

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


[09:30:00]

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Know who the next president of the United States will be, but we do know some things. There are developments now over the course of the last several minutes that tell us where things may be headed. So stand by for a key race alert.

I want you to look at these four states now on the wall. Joe Biden is now leading in these four states. In Michigan, he pulled ahead about 20 minutes ago, he now leads by 11,000 votes. It's growing, albeit slowly. 90 percent of the vote in, 16 electoral votes up for grabs. The outstanding vote we think in urban population centers and vote by mail, that both tend to skew Democratic.

Wisconsin. What happened in Michigan happened in Wisconsin earlier. Joe Biden now leads there by 20,000 votes. Ten electoral votes up for grabs. About 97 percent of the vote in. Again, there's not many votes left to count in that state.

Let's look at Pennsylvania -- no, Nevada. Nevada next is a state where Joe Biden is leading by just 7,000 votes. This is way too close for comfort for the Biden campaign, but this includes all the election day voting. The only vote left to count, vote by mail largely from Clark County. Vote by mail in Clark County in Nevada tend to skew Democratic.

Finally, let's look at Arizona. This would be a crucial flip for Joe Biden, and he leads there by 130,000 votes with 82 percent of vote in. Those 11 electoral votes for Joe Biden if he hangs on to them opens up all kinds of new paths to get to 270.

So Joe Biden leading in these four states. If he hangs on there he gets to 270. He is trailing in Pennsylvania, although it is now closing. Donald Trump leads there by 589,000 votes. The margin was bigger just a few minutes ago. Again, the outstanding vote there was 76 percent in, urban population centers and vote by mail. We do expect Joe Biden to close that margin. We just don't know how much at this point, whether he has enough votes to make up for the 590,000 vote gap.

This is where the map stands right now. Joe Biden 224 electoral votes, Donald Trump with 213. Obviously we're watching these remaining states very closely. If the states where Joe Biden is leading in right now all go blue, he will win. We don't know that that will happen but it stays like it is, that's enough for Joe Biden.

So let's go straight to the White House. Jeremy Diamond is standing by.

Jeremy, what are you hearing this morning from the Trump campaign?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, you know, this is the story of this race is the narrowing that we are seeing in those key, quote-unquote, blue-wall states that the president won four years ago, and when you think about the way that the president talked about those states when he addressed the country at about 2:30 in the morning versus what is going on now, you can tell not only how wrong the president was about claiming victory in those states essentially or saying that he appeared to be on track to win, and what has happened now when many of those mail-in votes for many of those urban population centers in Wisconsin and in Michigan have come in.

If you look at what the president was saying about the state of Michigan, for example, he was saying that we are winning, essentially saying that it's going to be very hard for Joe Biden to catch up to him, and yet that is exactly what we are seeing. When the president talked about this only 66 percent of precincts were reporting. The president was up by eight points at that time around 2:20 in the morning. And now of course we know that the dynamic has completely changed there.

A very similar story in Wisconsin where the president was also enjoying an edge and then you saw the vote come in in some of those urban population centers in the state of Wisconsin and now Joe Biden maintains this narrow edge there. The president was also talking confidently about the state of Arizona which even at the time was leaning in the direction of Joe Biden and now appears to be doing so in a more confident way.

Ultimately, John, what we heard from the president last night, though, beyond the state by state specifics, was this kind of reckless rhetoric where he tried to claim victory, where he suggested that no more votes should be counted even as all of these legally filed votes, ballots that were submitted on time in a legal manner that they should not be counted and suggesting that Democrats are trying to steal the election.

That of course is not only false, but it is potentially dangerous when you think about the impact that he could have on so many of his supporters across the country who we have seen turn out in droves this election and how that's going to factor into their calculus. Ultimately what we know is that this is kind of what was expected. We expected those votes for Joe Biden to come in later because of the mail-in situation in the states of Wisconsin and Michigan as well as the state of Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania, John, another state where the president was expressing some serious optimism at 2:30 in the morning, we know that there is a lot of votes that still remain to be counted, specifically in the Philadelphia area, and that obviously is expected to be heavily in Joe Biden's favor.

[09:35:08]

So a lot still remains on the table here, John, and a lot is still undecided. We haven't heard from the president of course since he made those remarks at 2:30 in the morning but we know that some of the people in the president's camp have already expressed concern at the way that the president was talking about the results. You had Chris Christie saying on another network that he believes the president shot his credibility by talking in such a confident manner about election votes that still really remain to be determined -- John.

BERMAN: Jeremy Diamond for us at the White House. Yes, the president doesn't get to decide this. You do. The American people do. With your votes.

Jeremy, thank you very much.

All right, stand by, everyone, for a key race alert.

So this is an interesting key race alert. I'm at the magic wall with Phil Mattingly. And this is a race, and forgive me, that doesn't actually matter. At least not directly. I'm talking about the popular vote. Because of our founding fathers, we don't actually elect our presidents through the popular vote. They set up this electoral college. Where is the popular vote nevertheless, Phil?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right now popular vote, Joe Biden over 50 percent, about 2.6 million votes ahead, 68 million to about 66 million. And I think that's what you're focused on more than anything else. And that's adding those two together with the full knowledge that there is a lot more vote to come in as they finish counting California, as they finish counting New York, as they finish counting your native state of Massachusetts.

I won't talk about the Red Sox. But this is a lot of vote. Right? This is a lot of vote. And I think one of the big questions that was coming into the day, coming into yesterday and into today based on the surge that we saw in early vote, based on the unprecedented early vote numbers be it vote by mail or in person vote by mail, would election day turnout end up closing the gap and turning this into a turnout election like we haven't seen in a generation, maybe since 1960?

We don't have the exact numbers yet. It's going to take some time for it to come in. But the turnout was huge throughout the night. And I think it's not -- give it time. Give it time. But one thing you can say if you -- when we were going through looking at margins in Florida, looking at margins in Ohio, looking at margins wherever it ended up in the margins, the turnout county by county by county by county was up 2,000, 3,000, 4,000, some places more.

So we'll see how this ends. You might have a better idea of where it is. I've been a little tight into the counties.

BERMAN: It's -- you know, this is roughly where it was with Hillary Clinton. Hillary Clinton won the popular vote roughly by that. MATTINGLY: For about --

BERMAN: What? Yes, 2.5 million, 2.5 million roughly. This will grow. When you get California, New York and Massachusetts, they don't rush. They count there largely because it doesn't factor into the presidential vote that much. It will grow. It could get to four million, five million. Doesn't matter in the outcome.

I will tell you one way it might matter, Phil, because if somehow Joe Biden squeaks out a victory and if the margin in the electoral college is close, you may hear challenges from President Trump to legitimacy there. It's harder to challenge that legitimacy if it's a narrower electoral college win if Joe Biden is also leading by five million or six million in the popular vote. It's a harder case to make. Doesn't mean that Donald Trump won't make it but it might be a harder case to make.

MATTINGLY: Yes. No, it's going to be very interesting to see where it ends up. And I'm also intrigued to see where it ends because national polling on the national level, not in the state by state level, had Joe Biden with a pretty solid lead.

BERMAN: Yes.

MATTINGLY: You know, 10, 12, somewhere around eight or nine, I don't know the specifics. There's more focused on the states. But there's going to be some reckonings going on there, too, as well. And we'll see. Who knows? Maybe by the end of when everything is counted it ends up in that place. It's early. A lot of people made a lot of observations about Florida -- or about California in the 2018 midterms and I think they all wanted to take back by the time the night was over. So we'll see where it goes.

I think by all accounts this is a significantly closer race than people thought going into the night perhaps and how the popular vote ends up will probably reflect that, but we'll see.

BERMAN: All right. All right. Get back to Michigan, get back to Pennsylvania, we'll come back to you in a little bit. In the meantime, I'm going to go to Alisyn. Alisyn?

All right. We're having some audio problems over there, but good thing we're here at the magic wall with Phil Mattingly. The gap has narrowed a little bit in Pennsylvania.

MATTINGLY: It's narrowed by about 20,000 votes. And here's the reason why. You go back into southeast Pennsylvania, Montgomery County, a county that Hillary Clinton back in 2016 won by about 21 points. Closer margin throughout the course of the night, kind of how we understood that more votes was coming in and is likely Democratic. Now that margin has opened up. It's opened up a little bit, 60.5 percent for Joe Biden, 38.5 percent for Donald Trump.

And this -- I want to provide some context as somebody who's been doing this since about 2:30 a.m. and has watched every single step of this. BERMAN: Right.

MATTINGLY: This is what we saw in Wisconsin. This is what we saw in Michigan. This is what we're seeing in Pennsylvania. And it's not just the big urban centers out into the suburbs that are places of strength. Right?

[09:40:05]

We knew Milwaukee County was going to come in. We knew Detroit was going to come in. That's going to happen with Philadelphia. It's also margins in Trump-leading counties right now. And so we want to keep an eye on that as those come in to dictate whether or not that can hold or whether or not Joe Biden has a real shot to overtake Donald Trump.

BERMAN: All right. Get back to the wall. Get back to the counting now. For real I'm going back to Alisyn. Alisyn?

All right. It isn't working the way that Alisyn is hoping it will. Let's bring in David Gergen and Jamie Gangel to talk about where things are right.

David, there are six states that hang in the balance. We don't know who the next president of the United States will be. Give us the 30,000-foot view here.

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: John, the Democrats as you well know have just come through a long night of the soul. When a lot of Democrats went to bad last night they were very, very depressed, but today, this morning, in this dramatic turnabout, you know, Democrats are now seeing a much brighter race out there and at least a couple of pathways to victory. One with Pennsylvania, the other without Pennsylvania.

I have found it fascinating that without Pennsylvania the Democrats could still make it. But nonetheless, I do think it emphasizes how important it is to be patient. There are a lot of people sort of said why didn't we finish it last night, starting with the president? Well, in six out of the last 15 elections the counting has gone well beyond midnight and we've done it very patiently, throughout our history.

We've had long waits. You know, George Washington, when he first -- when he was elected after his second term, there were -- when he first won his second term there was a two-month delay in figuring out who had won the vice presidency. So these things historically are true. We just need to be patient and we need to avoid reckless -- the reckless kind of proclamations that it's all over, we'll have to take it to the courts, the president got engaged with last night.

BERMAN: Yes. Nothing is over. Not even close. And I will say, David, you're right. Democrats at one point last night thought things were quite bleak, the mood was quite dark. It did not turn out the election nearly as well as they hoped. Congressional elections look very, very unimpressive for the Democrats, let's say. One thing that will calm their nerves is if they manage to eke out a presidential victory. Jamie Gangel also with us. David brought up this statement the

president made, the false claim that he somehow won the election overnight, and to stop the voting, literally stop the counting of the votes. You've been working the phones. What was going on behind the scenes at the White House?

JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: So as a Republican source said to me, this is a senior official who is normally an ally of the president, said that Trump had a temper tantrum last night. That he saw that the numbers could start going against him, that he wanted to declare victory while he thought that he was ahead, and this -- you know, as you've been saying, John, this was not a surprise to us. The White House had been sort of forecasting for weeks that this might happen.

But here is the thing, we know how to count votes, as you've been pointing out all morning. What the president did last night was sow chaos, confusion, undermine democracy, and I will tell you, the Republicans I spoke to this morning are not happy with him.

Let me read three quotes from three different officials. The first person said he is behaving as expected, badly. The second person said that Trump is afraid of mail-in ballots, and the third person said that what he said last night was, quote, "indefensible."

And just to reiterate, there is no evidence that we have seen of fraud. These states are just trying to count the vote no matter what Donald Trump said at 2:30 in the morning.

BERMAN: Very interesting reporting, Jamie Gangel. It will be equally interesting to see if any of these Republicans ultimately have the courage to stand up to the president which it may come to that over the next few days if he continues this.

The margins may not give him much of a platform to speak, we don't know yet. That's why we're watching the count which has been going admirably well. These officials are doing great work.

Jamie, David, please stand by. More votes coming in. We're watching Michigan, we're watching Pennsylvania.

CNN's special live coverage continues right after this.

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[09:48:31]

BERMAN: All right. Welcome back to CNN's special live coverage. We are watching the votes come in in several key states.

One of the most crucial this morning is Michigan where about an hour ago for the first time in a long time Joe Biden took the lead with the vote trending in his direction.

Let's go right to Jim Sciutto at the voting desk with an update on where those votes stand -- Jim. JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, I

said it earlier, I'll say it again. Folks at home might wonder why we don't know yet in a state such as Michigan, so central to this election, we don't know because there are still legal votes to be counted, legal votes to be counted, and in particular in key urban areas which in this case tend to favor Democrats.

So let's begin with Wayne County. This includes the city of Detroit. At this point 70 percent of votes have been counted there. That's a big figure, but it still means about a third have to be counted. Many thousands of votes there could turn this into a more solid Joe Biden state. He has a very slim lead there now, but those votes still need to be counted there. They tend to trend Democratic there.

Also Macomb County, just north of Michigan, there a total of 250,000 absentee ballots came in, not clear yet what percentage of those 250,000 have been counted so far. Those will tend to favor Democrats, although that county still, as you can see there, leaning red at this point. This is a county that was key to Donald Trump's victory in Michigan in 2016. He flipped it from blue to red then. As those remaining -- as the remaining portion of 250,000 votes are counted there, does that increase Joe Biden's lead in the state? We're going to be watching that very closely.

[09:50:09]

Here's the key, we're hearing from Michigan state officials now that they expect that the vast majority of ballots in that state will be counted by the end of today. We don't know that for sure, but they believe that to be true. So the state we need an answer from, state that this election could turn on, Michigan, we don't know yet, although Biden has the lead, but we could not by the end of the day -- John.

BERMAN: All right. Jim Sciutto, thanks very much.

Let's dig in a little bit deeper now, Phil Mattingly at the magic wall. Joe Biden leading by 9300 votes. It was up to 11,000, it's narrowed a little bit but still ahead.

MATTINGLY: So I'll explain why it's narrowed and what it means to the extent that we know right now. Macomb County came in. Now Macomb County was the county if you remember back in 2016 every Republican I knew who knew about Michigan saw the count come in for Macomb and were mind-blown because of how well President Trump did. And guess what? 2016, won this by about 11.5 points. 2020, the margin is down. The margin is down.

But this was a Democratic county. This was a Democratic county, and President Trump is holding on to it. However, the margin in Macomb slimmed down as those absentee ballots came in. And I think what it underscores is something we've seen over the course of the last several hours throughout Pennsylvania, and up into the Midwest. The absentee ballot, even in counties that went Republican or look like they're going to go Republican, has largely come in Democratic. That is the case here. Now what are you looking at right now, Joe Biden, 9,393 votes ahead

with 90 percent reporting. You're looking at what's outstanding, you're looking at what's outstanding as more votes comes in, and this, this is the biggest thing outstanding. This is Wayne County. This is 18 percent the entire state. This is a margin that 67 percent to 31.6 percent and this is what matters most, 70 percent is in. That means 30 percent is outstanding.

Almost all of it, if not all of it, is absentee vote by mail, which skews even heavier Democratic than even this 67 percent to 31.6 percent is. We don't know exactly what the compilation of that sample will end up being when it comes in but the reality is Joe Biden has a lot of room to grow in this county right now.

So look at that 9,000 and if you're Donald Trump you're looking around and you're saying, where can I pick up vote given that Joe Biden is going to be picking up vote in Detroit? You're looking at some of these red counties. Is there enough out there? Is there enough out there? You can get a couple thousand perhaps from Bay City. You can get a couple counties from Bay County. We'll see. We'll see.

But as long as Detroit is outstanding, as long as there's 30 percent there, John, Joe Biden, Joe Biden has a pathway in Michigan and that's why it's blue right now, and that's why right now Democrats feel comfortable about where it is. Not totally confident but comfortable about the way things stand.

BERMAN: And with Michigan and Wisconsin and Arizona, Joe Biden has a pathway to the presidency, which is why we're watching it so closely. Keep us posted as you keep on counting, Phil.

Now I'm joined by CNN senior commentator and former Republican Ohio governor, John Kasich. He has endorsed Joe Biden for president.

I don't know if you slept at all overnight, Governor Kasich, but at one point overnight things didn't look so good for Joe Biden. This morning more of the voting is trending in his direction. What are you looking at, what do you see?

JOHN KASICH, CNN SENIOR COMMENTATOR: Well, what I'm looking at is a country that is very, very closely divided. And I think however this turns out, John, there can be no chest-thumping, no big celebration. In fact, both parties need to listen to what the other parties want. It looks as though you have Joe Biden doing well in the very urban areas of the country but what are the people in the rural areas having to say? Can we listen to them?

Can we hear what their problems are and try to solve them? So we have to -- we've got to get this country united. And so that requires listening. One of the reasons why I was for Joe Biden is I think he is a good listener. He doesn't want to divide the country. Now we still have -- it's still out there, a lot of votes yet to be counted, but I would suggest that the leaders of both parties, we need to listen to the voters of the other party and start to internalize that, John, because if we don't, you're going to still have this unbelievable siloed effect in America. And I don't think that's healthy in the long term for our country. So

let's see how it turns out. Note, no big celebrations. Let's be serious about America and let's listen to what people are saying who did not vote for us.

BERMAN: What did you make, given everything you just said about bringing the country together, what did you make the president's comments overnight, where with so much of the vote still to be counted, states still to be decided, no clear winner yet, the president declared victory and said that the states should stop counting and that the votes shouldn't count? Your reaction.

KASICH: It was ridiculous. And he should not have done that. And he's being severely criticized by Republicans as well, that every vote ought to count. I see a number of prominent Republicans who have been tweeting out saying we're going to count every vote. And you know, this is what we have come to expect.

[09:55:04]

But it won't matter, because I think we will count all the votes. The question is, what are the legal challenges that are going to be left over? We look at a place like Pennsylvania, it looks as though Michigan is trending Biden. It looks like Wisconsin is trending Biden. And that, coupled with Arizona, looks pretty good for Joe Biden.

But we still have Nevada out there until they're all finally called, we don't know. Pennsylvania, the interesting thing there, and I have been talking, John, for months now about Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota, and that's what it's come down to. And in Pennsylvania, the question is, those votes that are outstanding in Philadelphia.

So the president was wrong to do that. And, you know, I don't want to call it yet but what I will say is that is not helpful to getting people to respect one another. I just had a friend text me and say, it's so sad about how many votes Trump got. Man, figure out what those people are saying. Those people live in rural America. What are they saying to the country? It appears as though they don't think they're being heard, we need to listen to them.

BERMAN: They certainly made a loud statement last night, louder than a lot of people may have been expecting, maybe not enough to re-elect the president. That's what we're waiting to see.

Governor John Kasich, always a pleasure to speak with you. Thank you very much for being with us.

KASICH: Thanks, John.

BERMAN: All right. Where are we going now? Remind me? All right. We are watching the votes come in. Michigan still counting votes. Pennsylvania still counting votes. A lot of vote left to be counted there. The votes in both states, the vote by mail, urban population centers that tend to trend Democratic. Much more when we come back.

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