Return to Transcripts main page


Race for the White House Narrows as Votes are Counted; Trump Campaign Files Lawsuits in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Georgia. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired November 5, 2020 - 04:30   ET



HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL WRITER AND ANALYST: Although I will point out that now we have the background of a global pandemic. Right? That's adds an extra variable to this. And now we have Donald Trump who is obviously prone to volatile statements on Twitter to say the least who may be burning the flames, a little bit.

So, we're going to have to wait and see on that. Wait and see what the ultimate result is. If it goes in the direction it looks like it's going, let's see how the current president reacts to potentially losing an election. I don't know how it's necessarily going to go. But at this point, at least, as John was pointing out, it's been mostly peaceful since the votes have been cast.

CUOMO: John Harwood had a good phrase there. He said the dog that's not barking. Part of that is also how much attention do you give the dog when they do bark. Right now, I as one of the anchors in the mix, I'm making a definite choice to ignore the noise.

And yes, you can all come at me and say you should have been doing this all along, I don't agree with that. I think that is a dynamic that you have to engage. But right now, idle threats and an attack on a system that are baseless in proof, they'll be made manifest by litigation, and when that happens, we'll cover it. What will change though, is you won't be able to silence the President. What he will say about the process is going to wind up having a heavy hand in how his followers judge it. So, we will wait and see just like every other level of this.

Right now, I want to take a break. But first, I thank John Harwood, I thank Harry Enten and Nia-Malika Henderson. Thank you for helping us talk through what we're living together. More results, more context and one step closer to some type of conclusion about where our country is headed next.


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: I want you guys to pay attention to this because it's very telling, it's very illustrative.

[04:35:00] One of the ironies about the vote fallout is Trump is trying to get states to stop counting where he's winning and keep counting where he's losing. And there's video of his supporters chanting stop the vote. This was in Michigan as Biden was gaining more votes. Listening to this.


CROWD CHANTING: Stop the vote, stop the vote, stop the vote.


LEMON: OK, but then there's Arizona. In Arizona there were new votes that were coming in for Trump, cutting into Biden's lead, we heard Trump supporters protesting shouting count that vote.


CROWD CHANTING: Count those votes, count those votes, count those votes, count those votes, count those votes, count those votes,


LEMON: So, let's talk about this. With us now, former presidential candidate Andrew Yang, also, S.E. Cupp with us here, obviously from CNN, and John Avlon as well. Hello, to both of you. Good morning, evening, it's good to see you both.


LEMON: Whatever it is. S.E. I'm coming for you because I want to know how Republicans are feeling right now. There's sort of a whiplash kind of what do we do, depends on what's favoring us, stop or go, keep counting.

CUPP: Well yes, I mean, a lack of intellectual consistency has marked this entire four years, that's not new. But what is remarkable is this feat that Trump has managed to pull off. It's tragic, but it's also really remarkable. He has so distorted the idea of what democracy means. He has gotten a not insignificant number of Americans to believe that stopping the vote count is democracy.

I am old enough to remember when Republicans believed that America was the greatest country on earth. It was the Toby Keith era of American exceptionalism.

LEMON: Wow, that was great.

CUPP: And Sean Hannity last night on Fox News was asking if you believe in free and fair elections anymore. He was asking if you will support this sham election. I mean, it's not just whiplash, it is a total repackaging of what democracy means, and a lot of people have bought it. My question is, what next? We don't know who's going to win tonight, today, tomorrow, this week. We don't yet know.

LEMON: This year. CUPP: But we hope this year. But if Donald Trump is out, will you have

walked a lot of people, his supporters to the precipice of a cliff, off of which democracy doesn't exist anymore.

LEMON: Which is true.

CUPP: When he is gone to tell you what to do next, where do you go with that, what becomes of our ideas of what democracy means? They used to be steadfast, now they're whatever Trump said last.

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Look, we're going to need to rebuild and reunite as a nation and restore a sense of democracy as a bedrock that isn't about situational ethics and lying loudly, which is what we've seen. I mean, last night, in addition to these crowds yelling discordant things, and the only flow through is whatever is better for my team at this moment. Which is the opposite idea of democracy, and bedrock principles in a Democratic Republic.

I was stun when all the different minions in the Trump orbit started bleeding at the same time via social media, Trump won Pennsylvania with exclamation points. Based on nothing. But it was clearly the dictate they had gotten from top down, and it reflected kind of the approach of this administration. Lie loudly and get enough people to believe you based on nothing.

CUPP: Because he hereby claimed, John --


CUPP: -- that he had won a number of states last night on Twitter.

LEMON: There could be four more years of this, and as she says we're in the precipice of going over the cliff, right, of our democracy. Can we stand four more years of nonreality, what a democracy, what is a real Republic. Can we take four more years, what happens?

ANDREW YANG, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Polarization is here to stay. But I remember running against Joe in Iowa and New Hampshire, and the question on everyone's mind was who can defeat Donald Trump? And it turns out that Joe Biden can defeat Donald Trump. That's the way the numbers are heading. I feel a world better today than I did.

LEMON: You're a lot happier. My first question was you look worried. You looked nervous. But you're in much better spirits.

YANG: The math has trended up, Don, let's put it that way.

LEMON: But it's not over yet.

YANG: And I agree that Trumpism is going to be here for quite some time. He got 5 million more votes this time than he did in 2016. So, on an absolute scale, it's actually grown. And you have QAnon friendly new members of Congress who are going to be getting sworn in in January.

CUPP: That's what betrayed us, that he's left. But when and if Trump is gone, the ideas he left behind and the mechanisms for dealing with polarization, tribalism, and angst and anger, those remain.


He's left these, you know, white elephants and the Republican Party will have to decide, do we demolish them or do we try to find a new Trump to sort of take his place.

LEMON: I think the latter is -- I'll tell you why in a second.

AVLON: Look, Gollum only turns on its creator and that's the problem that we're dealing with. But let's not lose sight of two things. First of all, Joe Biden and the numbers are trending in his direction. Is if you take out the expectations gain that Democrats feel bad about, right, because they looked at the map, and they said, this is going to be a landslide. And instead, he's likely to win more votes than anyone who has run for President.

CUPP: Biden.

AVLON: Biden. He's likely to flip a couple of considerable states in his realm and we're still counting -- we should commit to the counting and not have the outcomes -- with the message of national unity. You've heard it again last night. I mean, the core campaign speech is, I'm running as a proud Democrat. but I'll be an American president, but you have a duty to care. It's a nonpartisan office. That's a reputation of Trumpism.

LEMON: This is a generalization but for the most part, here's what I'm hearing. I'm hearing Democrats saying I'm glad this is turning out this way, let's hope it's Joe Biden obviously. But what they're saying is -- because Joe Biden knows these people in Washington, and he wants to work together. He's going to try to get them to work together.

But then you hear, especially on other channels and conservative media, the elites and they're making fun of the folks on CNN and making fun, and I hear Democrats saying, we got to come together. It's time to come together. And somehow, I wish the other side would work with us. Not everyone, but that's the general consensus that I'm getting. So, something's got to give, and something has to change in it country because otherwise we're going to just blow each other up.

YANG: It's one reason why many people were hoping for a mandate. There were many folks in the House who thought the Democratic majority was going to grow, and instead they lost six incumbent seats in the House. They thought that they could get the Senate, and it looks like they're going to fall a little bit short.

So, you're going to have a divided government no matter what, and that's not what you need when you're trying to recover from a historic pandemic, a loss of millions of jobs because of the recession. So, the disappointment is very, very real among Democrats. And the fact that 68 million Americans decided to reup with Trump, deeply disappointing for many people.

LEMON: Don't you think Democrats know, because, you know, listen, there are Republicans who are opposed to how this particular President has divided the nation. Most of the ones in power are not saying anything about it. Don't you think Democrats will be more open to, OK, listen, people, this must stop, we've got to work together somehow more so than the people who have just sort of sold their soul to the metaphorical devil.

YANG: Democrats rightly believe we need a very robust agenda. The problem is that you're going to have Mitch McConnell the Senate majority leader playing the obstructionist role that we're familiar with from the Obama years.

One thing that I do think we need in the worst way is a stimulus package. It's the second relief bill. Mitch said yesterday he thinks it should pass before year end. I think this might have helped Democrats nationwide because everyone knows that Democrats are the party of government helping you out and many people around the country have been upset about the fact that there has not been a relief bill.

LEMON: Known to many Republicans as socialism, it's not really, but.

CUPP: But I think that, you know --

AVLON: That's the irony.

LEMON: It's socialism. Hang on, hang on. Roads and libraries and whatever, that's somehow socialism, but we all need them.

AVLON: That's a robust American government. I mean, just to pick up on your point, and I'll pass the ball to S.E. Look, you know, Trump won on the economy, but this has not been a fiscal conservative approach. Yes, he cut taxes but he's increased spending dramatically, and the deficit and debt with it. And if a Democrat did it, they'd actually be called a socialist. Instead Donald Trump is seen as someone, you know, somebody who does --


CUPP: Well, the anger and disappointment that Andrew talks about in the Democratic Party is real. And I think that the message that Joe Biden had about looking at our opponents politically, not as enemies, is just as much Republicans as it is for Democrats. I think he truly does want to unify the country, and I think we saw over the course of the Democratic primary, some Democrats did. Other Democrats running for President wanted to make people pay. And that divide between wanting to make people, like, punish people, and wanting to bring the country together will be under a potential Joe Biden administration I think that's a struggle.

LEMON: You guys are here for a lot longer, so we'll continue this conversation. The numbers are changing, and we are watching all of it, so don't go anywhere, we got you covered.



CUOMO: One of the big pieces in what happens next puzzle is any potential litigation. Kristen Holmes at the voting desk, what do we see on the potential horizon?

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, Chris, the Trump campaign and the RNC has continued to try to bring litigation before the election, and we knew there was going to be litigation post- election. And one thing to note before we even go through the cases is that we have spoken to numerous legal experts about these cases that have been brought or filed or pending. And all of them say that it is too thin amount of evidence and it does not affect that many ballots to decide a presidential election. So, just keep that in mind when we go through this.

Starting in Pennsylvania, this is about that ballot extension we saw in the Supreme Court before the election. Pennsylvania officials had put in place a three-day extension on ballots to allow for those mail- in ballots to come in and still be counting because of all the issues with the coronavirus pandemic mail system.

Now those conservative judges had left the door open. The Trump campaign is going back to the Supreme Court to see if there is any way to deal with these ballots. Now, if the margin in Pennsylvania gets so slim that this amount of ballots that comes after the election is in play, this might be an issue. But right now, the Supreme Court is just deciding whether or not to take this up. There's no indication that the margin will be that narrow.

So, take a look in Michigan. Now, the Trump campaign, the RNC, Republican officials filed a suit to halt the counting of votes statewide. Of course, we know that part of this was because we saw Biden's lead growing because of those mail-in ballots. They wanted access to observe the mail-in ballot processing. They said that they wanted to be there to be able to challenge anything that was going on as these votes were being counted.

Another one in Nevada. OK, this one's interesting. Because it's been shot down twice. But they're bringing it again. They're suing Clark County, that is Las Vegas, a big Democratic stronghold here, to stop counting because they wanted to look at the software that they were using to match signatures. Now, a judge already shut this down and then another judge shot this down. Now they're having a hearing on this on Thursday. But again, they're just trying to stop the counting here.


And then in Georgia, now, this one was brought by two Republican officials and some poll watchers there. They say that filing a suit over a small amount of ballots that they were trying to process but apparently were slipped into a pile that was already ready to be scanned before they were process.

But again, please let me be very clear, every legal expert that we talked to says that these are not enough to actually impact the election in any way. They could stop voting temporarily or cause chaos or sow distrust. All of those things are real, but in terms of actually deciding the election, there's no indication that any of these could do that -- Chris. CUOMO: Well, that is a very good analysis, You know, one of the

problems here is that unlike with other litigation in general, you don't have to worry about frivolous lawsuits. You know, when you file federal lawsuits, if it's an unsubstantiated thing and it seems to have been done with not really malice but knowledge there was no basis, sometimes you're vulnerable to sanctions and other financial penalties. That won't be a problem here for the President.

And look, this is his strategy. This is somebody who sues as a tactic, and it sends a great political message for him, great defined as a good step towards more chaos. However, we're going to have to evaluate them. I think the best instruction is to ignore the noise going on around them. Let's see what the lawsuits actually are when they get filed. That was a really nice summary. Thank you very much.

Let's take a little break. When we come back, we're going to look at the paths to victory, all right. There aren't as many as there were. What are the variables? We have them, next.



CUOMO: A reminder here of our key race alert, what we are tracking right now in realtime. Pennsylvania, 20 electoral votes, the margin, 164,000 votes between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. This number has been moving down. There are enough votes outstanding for Biden to meet or beat the President in this all important state. One of the reasons the President has been targeting it. We'll stay on it. Still about 10 percent of the vote out to be counted.

Georgia, 16 electoral votes, about 5 percent of the vote still outstanding. The President holding a 23,009 vote lead. This race, a likely candidate for recount depending on the outcome of the election.

So, we will keep counting in realtime and giving you context of what is shaping this race in realtime, you see there. Electoral votes, 253 to 213. No man is really that close yet. At least a couple moves away. Stay with CNN. We'll get you through.


CUOMO: Welcome to 5:00 a.m. in the East, 2:00 a.m. in the West. Maybe you're waking up. Maybe you're thinking about whether or not to go to sleep.