Return to Transcripts main page

CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Interview With Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro; Biden Widens Lead Over Trump. Aired 3-3:30p ET

Aired November 4, 2020 - 15:00   ET

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


[15:00:00]

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: We're back with our coverage of Election Day in America continued. I'm Wolf Blitzer.

Former Vice President Joe Biden has widened his edge over President Trump in the race for the White House. Biden now projected to win the critical battleground state of Wisconsin and its 10 electoral votes. That leaves seven states where the presidential race is still too close to call, as the process of counting every legal ballot continues.

Biden with 237 of the 270 electoral votes needed to win the White House, Trump holding at 213 electoral votes.

Let's get a key race alert right now.

Let's start in Michigan, a key battleground state with 16 electoral votes; 94 percent of the estimated vote in Michigan is in. Biden maintains a lead of about 37,000, 49.5 percent to 48.8 percent.

In Arizona right now, 86 percent of the estimated vote is in. Biden has a lead right now of about 93,000 votes, 51 percent to 47.6 percent, 11 electoral votes in Arizona. In Nevada, with its six electoral votes, 86 percent of the estimated vote is in, and Biden has a very narrow lead of about 7,600 votes over Trump, 49.3 percent to 48.7 percent.

We have got some more states right now. Let's take a look at Pennsylvania, still un -- we have not been able to make a projection yet, 20 electoral votes in Pennsylvania. In Pennsylvania, 81 percent of the estimated vote is in. Trump is ahead by about 435,000 votes, 53.1 percent to 45.6 percent.

In Georgia right now, 93 percent of the estimated voter is in. Trump is ahead in Georgia by almost 80,000 votes over Biden, 50.2 percent to 48.5 percent. In North Carolina, 95 percent of the estimated vote is in there. Trump is ahead still by about 76,000 votes, 50.1 percent to 48.6 percent.

And in the 2nd Congressional District in Maine, where there's one electoral vote, 59 percent of the estimated vote is in. Trump retains a lead, almost 21,000 votes, 51.6 percent to 44.9 percent.

Let's go over to John King at the Magic Wall.

These races are really, really significant right now, John. And there's a lot of uncertainty right now, even though we have projected Wisconsin going to Biden.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: But that's a giant projection. That's a flip, 10 electoral votes key to Donald Trump's victory four years ago. We flipped those divided, which makes -- look, counting every last vote today is critical and in the days ahead in these states.

But there are three states where you might say it's more important than others. And they are Michigan, they are Arizona, and they are Nevada. Now, why do I say they're more important? Every Americans' vote counts.

But where we are right now in the Electoral College math, if Joe Biden holds his lead there, holds his lead there, and holds his lead there, he can get to 270 electoral votes and be the next president United States, even without winning the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Biden campaign thinks it can make up the math there.

We will look more closely at in a second. But the Biden campaign hasn't given up on Georgia. The is president is leading there. There are still some votes to be counted. But the significance of this day is the counts in Michigan, the counts in Arizona, and the counts in Nevada, because if Biden holds his leads right there, that would be enough to get to the finish line, which is why we're going to watch these states closely.

So let's break them down and take a look at them. Again, Pennsylvania, Trump leads. Michigan, Biden leads. Wisconsin, we project to Biden already. So, that's one, rebuilding the so-called blue wall that made Donald Trump president.

Let's move up Michigan. And, look, and it's very close here, right? If you just look at these numbers, 49.5, 48.8, so round it up, 50 to 49, 37,350 votes. So, the Trump campaign says they think they can come back here. He needs about 55 percent, somewhere ballpark there of what's left.

The issue is where we know they are. And, again, just want to come in here. You see by circles here is population. And the bulk of the votes, we are told by the secretary of state, Wayne County, heavily Democratic, Joe Biden getting 67 percent of the vote. So, we will count them.

Sometimes, you're surprised. But if you have a lot of votes here to count, then history tells us they will be predominantly Democratic votes, which is why the Biden campaign is confident about its math there, but also why it's critical that we advance that math throughout the day.

Other places we're told that these votes are, we're told Genesee County, which is Flint, Michigan. This one's relatively close, 50-48. So you watch those votes come in. That's one of the places where they're going to come. Another place we know, we have some down here in Kalamazoo, 54 to 44 there, so Joe Biden can expect -- again, you have to count the votes to see if the trends continue.

But the trends, especially in these mail-in ballots, have been Democratic. Do you watch that come up?

And just one more place. We know there are some votes missing -- not missing -- sorry -- still to be counted, in Kent County. That's Grand Rapids here. You see the red there. And your first reflex would be, president might pick up some votes here. And that's possible.

But we do know the votes you have to be counted are right here in the city of Grand Rapids, not in the suburbs around it. The suburbs tend to be more Republican, especially as you move out away from the city. In the city itself, the vote there has been Democratic so far.

But there's a possibility. We will watch the votes.

[15:05:03]

But, again significant, when you come back out here, that Biden has that lead, because if Michigan holds -- and the secretary of state was on our air a bit earlier. She says they hope to make good progress today. So we should have a very good sense of Michigan in the hours ahead.

So, if those hold, and those 16 go to Biden, then you're coming out here, Wolf. This would be a takeaway, like Wisconsin, from the Trump 2016 map. If you can get Wisconsin -- I mean, if you can get Arizona -- excuse me -- and another flip, then you're adding to the Biden Count, 93,518 votes, 51-48, if you round up.

Again, the bulk of the votes in this state, Maricopa County, Phoenix in the suburbs around it, you just look at the math, Joe Biden is getting 52 to 46 for the president. This is where most of the votes are missing, be still to be counted here. They're still out, 86 percent. So, you wait on this one.

Again, Trump campaign says they think they can come back. We will watch that play out. Then you move, lastly, over to Nevada. It'd be really interesting to see if we get more votes out of Nevada today, because, again, that looks very close. And it is very close, 7,647 votes.

But we know, A, more than seven and 10 votes in any race in Nevada come here, Clark County. As much as 72 to 73 percent of the vote will come out of here. Number two, we know it is trending Joe Biden's way right now, 53-45. And so, as they count the votes in Clark County, it will be really fascinating to see by the end of the day, do we get another chunk of votes out of Clark County that tells us, can the president narrow that lead, or does Joe Biden stretch it out?

Because, again, I will just walk over here, and we will go through this map. Here's where we are, 237-213; 270 is the finish line. Can somebody make it to the finish line today? The way for Biden would be, if you do Michigan, there it is. There it is.

We expect -- we're still waiting on Alaska. The president leads right now. It's not done. It's not done. I know Democrats get mad when you do this hypothetical. The president leads there and there. We believe -- I think you were just talking about the president has a lead in Maine's 2nd Congressional District.

But, so for the sake of argument, if it's light -- you see the dark reds. Those, we're projecting for the president. The light reds, we're just leaning that way. For the sake of the hypothetical, even if the president gets Maine 2, North Carolina, Georgia, and Alaska, that would get him to 248.

And if Biden can hold here, Michigan, Arizona, Nevada, that's why it's so important, because we're going to have a fight. Right now, the president is leading. We're going to have a fight for Pennsylvania. If it goes blue, Joe Biden would pad it. But even if the president held it -- that's what is so significant about the counts in Michigan, Arizona, and Nevada, because even if the president held Pennsylvania, the Biden campaign thinks, they're going to count the rest of those votes, steep hill.

They have to win about two-thirds of them. The Biden campaign thinks they can pull off the math in Pennsylvania. But, as you can see right here, they don't need it. If they hold Michigan, Arizona, Nevada, they don't need it.

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: And they're pretty confident that that is very much doable as far as the Biden folks, if you listen to what they're saying.

KING: Right. Both campaigns, A, they understand, and they've been in touch overnight with what's out, right? What has yet to be counted in these places.

Most of what has yet to be counted, not all, but most of what has yet to be counted as the mail-in ballots. And in most places around the country, the mail-in ballots were disproportionately Democratic. We know Biden voters were more likely to vote by mail. Republican voters were more likely to show up on Election Day.

Again, you want to just check. Every now and then, there's a -- you get a surprise. But if you look at the publicly available data, plus the current election returns in all of the places where you have a big amount of votes out, big amount about still to be counted today, Biden is leading in most of those places.

So, the math tells you they're comfortable, but we have to finish it.

BLITZER: And they're talking, the Trump folks, the Trump campaign, of raising some legal -- potential legal challenges in, what, Pennsylvania and Michigan.

KING: Right. I'm going to switch maps and come back over here. And we expect to see them. They also said they would do a recount in

Wisconsin. Now, we will see. Look, what people say and what they do -- I don't mean any offense here. This happens in all campaigns. This is a very emotional day. This is a very emotional day.

Late last night, the Trump campaign had reason to be optimistic. The overnight counts, especially Michigan, Wisconsin, and out in the West, have moved away from them. It's an emotional time. So, no matter who you support, you should respect the emotions of the other side.

But the Trump campaign, number one, they have officials going up to Pennsylvania today, the president's daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, Corey Lewandowski, his former campaign manager back '16, familiar faces. They're going to Philadelphia today. They claim that there's vote- rigging going on in here.

Local Republicans are on the scene. Our correspondents are the team -- on the scene. Philadelphia has cameras in the room where they're counting the votes. So we will listen to see what the Trump people say. They say there's something nefarious happening there. There's zero evidence of that right now.

Again, we will listen to what they say. They say out here that they're -- oh, sorry about that -- they say out here that they're already going to ask for a recount in Wisconsin. That is their right. We will see what happens if that's -- if they actually follow through with that.

But, Wolf, you know, Governor Scott Walker, loyal Republican, he has tweeted a couple of times, saying that that's a steep hill, if you look at the margin, right? I have been through a lot of elections. Very rare is it that, in any recount, you overturn A 20,000-vote margin.

[15:10:01]

Scott Walker tweeting, a couple of recounts, in his experience, 300 votes changed in one, a hundred and something votes changed in another.

So, again, it's within their rights. And, as we want -- as we try to respect the count, we should also respect everybody's right to say, we're going to look at this, we're going to scrub this, we're going to look at state law. Can we get a recount?

We should watch all that play out. But I have been doing this a long time. That's a very hard number to overcome. And so we will watch it play out. Again, the Trump campaign today spending a lot of time talking to their local people on the ground, spending a lot of time talking to their lawyers.

From both sides, don't believe everything you hear today. There is a lot of emotions in play. We will watch how it plays out.

BLITZER: Pennsylvania right now, Trump has a significant lead in Pennsylvania right now. Potentially, if you listen to the Biden campaign folks, they think they have a real chance of winning Pennsylvania. What do you think? How does that happen?

KING: How does that happen is, again, you look at this.

Now remember, just, if we -- if we rewound the tape late last night, there were times when -- that lead is 424,000 now and change. There were times last night when it was above 600,000. So there has been a trend toward Joe Biden.

Can you get enough? When you're at 82 percent -- I mean, most elections, you would look at the 82 percent, 424,000 votes, and say, that's too steep of a hill. But remember how different this election is, right? But people voted three different ways

Election Day turnout, President Trump, whether you like him or not, give him credit. The Trump rallies around the country in Pennsylvania, in North Carolina, elsewhere, there's no question the president's frenetic travel at the end turned out Republican votes. That's one way people voted.

The other way was in person early voting, people waiting in long lines. You saw the pictures, remarkable, for a long period of time. And then people voted by mail. We know Democrats disproportionately voted by mail.

So, again, I'm going to come back to Philadelphia, which is a place where we know the Trump campaign is going to complain today. We're only at 64 percent of the vote. So you're looking at that lead. It's a huge lead. But you have got almost 40 percent, about a third of the vote, to be counted in Philadelphia.

You just look at this right now, there's no guarantee it holds up this way, but if Joe Biden's winning 78 percent of the vote, and you still have got 30 plus percent to count, right, you still have a third of it to count, there's -- reason tells you Joe Biden's going to pick up some more votes here in Philadelphia.

If you move over here, Montgomery County, one of the suburbs in the collar around Philadelphia, we're at 88 percent. You got 10, 12 percent of the vote still to come in. Joe Biden's winning six out of 10 votes there in Montgomery County. So, there's more votes, potentially.

If they continue at the trend we see them, or maybe even more so, because of the disproportionate Democratic mail-in ballot -- balloting -- and, again, Chester County, this one's a little closer, but still ballots to be counted.

So, if you pull this out, and you look at the number, one more out here, another Democratic county. There are some Trump counties where they're going to count these ballots to, the mail-in ballots. So it's possible the president picks up some votes in some places. We will see.

Are those Trump voters who voted by mail? Are they Democrats in Republican places who voted by mail? We will know more. Pennsylvania is moving through this, but you got to do more in Allegheny County as well.

So, you look at the big number, now down to 403,000. It's moving. They're counting votes even during this conversation, 403,000. Our math is that Joe Biden, in the ballpark, has to wait about two-thirds of what's left to be counted. We will see.

We will know a lot more. They're doing it. They're trying to move fast in Pennsylvania today.

BLITZER: They think there may be a million votes still outstanding.

KING: Yes.

BLITZER: And so they're looking very closely at that. We will see what happens in Pennsylvania -- Jake, back to you.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: All right, on the subject of Pennsylvania, let's talk now with Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro.

General Shapiro, thanks for joining us.

President Trump leads by almost 500,000 votes in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. When do you expect to have all the votes in Pennsylvania counted? And how many ballots remain outstanding and uncounted as of now?

JOSH SHAPIRO (D), PENNSYLVANIA ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well, Jake, as to your first question, all the ballots won't be counted until past Friday.

The reason for that is, ballots, provided they were postmarked by Election Day, can be received up until Friday at 5:00 p.m. So, we know for sure that we're going to have to wait until then.

Then, of course, we want to make sure all the military ballots, provisionals, what have you, are counted. So it's going to take a few more days.

But, as John King indicated in his report just a moment ago, you can see the numbers changing. You can see the clerks in our communities doing their jobs, and they are working around the clock to count these ballots, because, at the end of the day, Jake, we want to make sure we have an accurate count, we want to make sure we follow the law, and ultimately respect the will of the people.

And that's what these folks are doing right now in communities all across Pennsylvania.

TAPPER: I believe that the townships and counties throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania are segregating the ballots that arrive after Election Day, just in case there is a lawsuit about them.

How many -- so let's just, for the sake of conversation, exclude them. I understand that you're not excluding them, but for the sake of conversation, how many ballots that arrived by Election Day remain uncounted as of now? SHAPIRO: Yes. And I'm sorry. You asked me that a moment ago, Jake.

Look, that that's a number that the secretary of state can provide. I don't want to go into that territory and give a number that's not accurate. The secretary said earlier today that the number was in excess of a million.

[15:15:09]

Again, I will leave it to her to clarify and indicate what the exact number is.

But I do want to come back to the point you made a moment ago. Those ballots that are being segregated, the directive is to segregate and count those ballots. It has been reviewed by our state Supreme Court and said that they are valid eligible votes, they ought to be counted.

And, twice, Republicans have taken that issue up to SCOTUS, up to the United States Supreme Court, and asked them to intervene and stop the county of those ballots. And, twice, they refused to intervene.

State law governs on this, Jake. And the state Supreme Court indicated the ballots postmarked by Election Day received by Friday should be counted.

TAPPER: So, just in the last few minutes, the Trump campaign released a statement that they are planning to -- quote -- let's move the teleprompter up there a second, so I can read the quote.

They are planning to -- quote -- "suing to temporarily halt counting" -- this is their words -- "until there is meaningful transparency and Republicans can ensure all counting is done above-board and by law."

Do have a reaction?

SHAPIRO: Look, I think that's probably more of a political document than a legal document.

There is transparency in this process. The counting has been going on. There are observers observing this counting, and the counting will continue. I recognize that, right now, the campaign wants to spin, they want to say whatever they're going to say.

But, Jake, here's the deal. The campaign is over. The candidates made their case. And now, under the laws of this commonwealth, the votes have to be counted. And that's the process that's going on right now. And we will not let anything interrupt that process of counting.

We're going to follow the law, we're going to count the votes, and we're going to certify a winner based on the will of the people.

TAPPER: Excluding smaller ideas, smaller issues, like signs being posted too close to a voting center, and that sort of thing, have there been any irregularities in voting?

SHAPIRO: No, we said leading up to Election Day that it was our job in the office of attorney general to make sure that we secure, protect, and count the vote.

There was a lot of litigation, as you know, leading up to Election Day. We were successful in defending the rights of Pennsylvanians to vote. And then, of course, we were planning on litigation Election Day. And there were a few minor what I would call more localized issues that came up and were mostly addressed.

And now, apparently, I guess, according this press release, they're contemplating some other legal action.

I want to assure the people of Pennsylvania, indeed, people all across America who are looking to Pennsylvania for answers right now, that we will count all legal eligible votes. We will make sure that they are tallied up, and we will make sure that the will of the people is respected.

TAPPER: Josh, in addition to being the attorney general of Pennsylvania, you're also a Democrat and you are also up for reelection on the ballot.

You tweeted a week ago that -- quote -- "If all the votes are added up in Pennsylvania, Trump is going to lose" -- unquote.

Do you still believe that? And do you understand why some folks expressed concern that that hurt your credibility as a law enforcement official of Pennsylvania?

SHAPIRO: Yes, look, Jake, that was a political statement made during a political campaign.

What I have proven time and time again is that I will protect the rights of all Pennsylvanians, no matter what you look like, where you come from, who you love, who you pray to, or who you vote for. And I have said many times that we are going to respect the will of the people of Pennsylvania, whomever they choose.

Right now, we have to let this process play out. We have to make sure that the clerks in our communities, the volunteers and the county officials are given the opportunity to do their job to count these votes.

Understand, Jake, these were individuals who, two, three weeks ago, maybe because they were afraid of COVID, or because they had disability, or because they wanted to vote from the comfort of their own home, cast their ballot.

These are legal, eligible votes. We need to make sure they are counted. And as the attorney general, I'm going to continue to make sure that all of these ballots are counted, no matter who the voters chose.

TAPPER: All right, Josh Shapiro, the attorney general of Pennsylvania, thank you so much. Appreciate your time.

So, let's talk about this, because, Dana, I mean, first of all, we should just say, as we set the table here, we still don't know who's going to be elected. We don't know.

I mean, Biden is leading in some states. Trump is leading in some states. There are thousands of ballots to be counted.

That said, there -- that's a big margin that Trump is leading by in Pennsylvania, 500,000 or so votes. Pennsylvania Democrats say that they think there are enough outstanding ballots that they can reach that chasm and actually win, Biden will win. But we don't know.

[15:20:11]

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: We don't know.

And what makes it even more difficult for people trying to discern is that Democrats, from party officials in the state and nationally to the Biden campaign, are as confident as you can imagine that they are going to make up that deficit, when you count the -- they actually count the ballots, particularly those that came in early that the attorney general was just talking about.

And that is the case kind of in a lot of these battleground states.

Having said that, the Trump campaign is equally as bullish and as confident and as, you know, absolutely, sure, in their conversations with us and with some of their surrogates that they will win, which is why we just have to be patient. Let them count the votes. We don't know until the votes are counted.

And it could take until -- if Pennsylvania is the one that's going to be determinative, he just said it could take until after Friday.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, but, I mean, what is notable about what's happened just in the last couple of hours is that the Trump campaign is now explicitly saying in two states, in Michigan and in Pennsylvania, they want to stop the vote counting right now, stop the vote counting.

They're citing the need for more observers in the process. But that's not the position that you would be taking if you felt like counting more votes would help you in this process.

TAPPER: Right.

PHILLIP: This is what you do when you think that adding more votes to the count is going to continue to have the margins be what they are.

And, interestingly, in Pennsylvania, they're going back to this issue of accepting ballots three days after the election. Legally, in Pennsylvania right now, they can accept ballots that were postmarked on Election Day up to three days after the election.

BASH: That's right.

PHILLIP: They are saying in the document today that they're saying they will file in court. They're going to take that. They're going to intervene in a case that is pending and take that up to the Supreme Court to relitigate that issue.

So we're going back to some of these issues that we were talking about before the election, where the Trump campaign now is saying pretty explicitly they're trying to limit the universe of ballots that can be counted in Pennsylvania, because, Jake, as you said, in Pennsylvania, Trump has a lead.

It's a very large lead. But what is larger is the number of ballots that have not been counted that have legally been cast in that state as of today.

TAPPER: Yes, ones that arrived by or before Election Day, not even counting these ones that arrived after Election Day.

PHILLIP: Exactly, not even counting these next -- and not even counting military ballots that are -- can legally be accepted a week from now. So--

TAPPER: Right.

So many states allow ballots after Election Day, including Ohio, including Florida, as long as they're postmarked by or before Election Day.

We should also point out that, while the Trump campaign is talking about stopping the counting votes in Pennsylvania and Michigan, they're talking about continuing the process in Arizona and Nevada and doing a recount in Wisconsin. It is not consistent at all, except for an attempt to get votes for Trump.

The spotlight is now on seven states that are still too close to call. Will we be able to make any new projections anytime soon? We're standing back for that.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:28:29]

BLITZER: We're watching what's going on, especially the race the 270 electoral votes.

You see right now Biden has 237, Trump has 213; 270, that's the magic number needed to win.

Let's go over to David Chalian, taking a closer look at Arizona and Michigan right now.

The ballots that still have not been counted, what do they suggest?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Exactly.

Take a look, Wolf, at the state of play right now in Arizona. What you see here is Joe Biden leading the state by 93,000 votes, 51 percent to 47.6 percent. What we're trying to figure out is, how many votes are left to be counted?

So, back of the envelope, this is a rough estimate, but you see here, we believe there are roughly 600,000 votes still to be counted in Arizona. So, we're doing exactly what the Biden and Trump campaigns are doing right now. We're trying to figure out, what sort of percentage of that uncounted vote of those 600,000 votes would Biden need to hang on to that lead and win that state? What would Trump need to overtake him?

Joe Biden would need between 43 and 45 percent of that uncounted group of votes in Arizona. And we think the majority of those votes are mail votes. And if he got between 43 to 45 percent of them, he would likely hang on to his lead and win Arizona.

Now, on the other hand, Donald Trump would need 52 to 55 percent of those uncounted votes in Arizona in order to overtake Joe Biden and actually win the state of Arizona. That's well above the 47.6 percent he currently has in the state.

We're looking at Michigan also in this way. So, the current state of play in Michigan right now, as you know, Joe Biden has a lead of about 37,000 votes.