Return to Transcripts main page


Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D-PA) is Interviewed about Counting the Ballots; Presidential Race Narrowing in Pennsylvania; Race Narrows As Votes are Counted. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired November 5, 2020 - 06:30   ET




CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Pennsylvania looms large. Still up for grabs. The president with a sizable lead, but there are enough votes outstanding, we believe, for Joe Biden to meet or even beat the president there. And if he does, this election is over.

So, how do we fill in the blanks? Let's start here. Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman is with us.

Governor, thank you for joining us.

LT. GOV. JOHN FETTERMAN (D-PA): Thanks for having me.

CUOMO: One simple question. When?

FETTERMAN: I mean it could be as early as today, but I don't want to give your viewers that guarantee. But I -- my understanding is Allegheny County is finished and a lot of the counties are doing their best. They're all doing their best to process this as quickly as possible for sure.

And for viewers can do the live feed of Philadelphia's voting. They have that available too so they can see for themselves. I know everyone's really working hard and committed to getting a full, complete count of all these votes at this point.

CUOMO: In Philadelphia County, how do you know about the status of how much more wood there is to chop there?

FETTERMAN: Well, I mean, it depends. But I know there's -- there's enough out there, as you were talking about, in the state that as long as those trends continue, there is going to be, I believe personally, a margin that will carry Pennsylvania for the vice president.

CUOMO: Do you have any sense of the numbers? We're hearing like 120,000 uncounted ballots in Philadelphia. Does that sound right to you?

FETTERMAN: Yes. I wouldn't -- I wouldn't dispute that. Yes, that -- that sounds like that could be right. And then there's other counties that are Democratic strongholds like Montgomery and I believe Chester. I heard you mention Bucks. Really some of those collar counties out in Ceba (ph) are traditionally strongholds for Democrats and they trend strongly, more than you would expect, because of the mail-in ballot phenomenon in this particular election.

Have you encountered any problems or heard about them, you know, anything that could be seen as an irregularity?

FETTERMAN: Not at all. Not at all. In fact, you know, we had the highest turnout in the state's history and, you know, during a pandemic. And our election just went incredibly smooth. In fact, the governor said it was the smoothest one he can ever recall. And that's the truth. And anyone that says otherwise, that's a lie and that's attached to an agenda that's trying to create and foment more chaos.

CUOMO: That's why, Governor, I'm very happy that you took the opportunity to come on, talk to us about the state of play. We're not rushing you. We want it done right. And we do know that we're dealing with, you know, a blessing of riches here. That there's been such tremendous turnout in Pennsylvania and in so many of the states that wound up mattering, people have a hand in their own fate. We know it's a lot of volunteer-based counting. We hope you do it right. And when you get it done, we'll be here to report it to everyone else.

Good luck to you going forward.

FETTERMAN: Thank you. Thank you for having me on.

CUOMO: All right, governor, thank you very much.


John Harwood, Lauren Barron Lopez and David Gregory are here now.

John Harwood, the governor there dismissed out of hand the idea that anything's going wrong in Pennsylvania. They're just taking time to do it right. Maybe later today. Maybe not.

Do you believe that this race will come down to Pennsylvania or do you believe it will be over before that comes in?

JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think if Joe Biden, obviously, holds the leads that he has accumulated so far in Nevada and Arizona, he doesn't need Pennsylvania. But it looks like the trends are favorable to him. And it looks like he may end up, if these counts and trends are accurate, with more than enough electoral votes than he needs.

I think it is striking, as the lieutenant governor said, that we have had an election that proceeded smoothly. By all accounts, pretty much across the country, which is remarkable given the pandemic that we're going through, that we were able to have a smooth election.

And the other thing that I think is notable is, as we watch the vote counts, say, in Philadelphia -- in Pennsylvania and in Georgia, we are seeing a slow and granular demonstration of the change taking place in the United States. We are gradually becoming a more diverse country, a better educated country, a more urban country. That has produced a shift in the power dynamic, which is moving power away from people who have held it in the past to a different set of people. And that is slowly, vote by vote, ballot by ballot, being demonstrated. Don't know if that's enough to tip this particular election, but we know where the country's headed long-term.

CUOMO: Laura, you know, I've -- it's a sad suggestion but we have to consider it at this point. It sounds like something we would say about a developing country. But the hardest part of this process may not be the counting, it may be the acceptance period of the counting by the players.

What do you see as the variables in that?

LAURA BARRON-LOPEZ, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, as you've said, Chris, I mean even if the counting ends today, tomorrow, and we ultimately know the winner, this could drag on for a few more days or weeks given recounts, given the lawsuits that Trump is threatening and has been pushing in certain states to try to even halt counting.

And so, I mean, the president himself forecasted it, that he may not peacefully transition power if he loses in the month leading up to the election. He was refusing to say that he would peacefully leave the White House. And so that, as well as any potential pending legal suits that the president and his campaign pursue, are things that we have to keep an eye on and things that we may have to be covering, you know, for the foreseeable weeks.

CUOMO: Hey, David, what impresses you in the state of play right now at this point in the race?

DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, you know, I think it's interesting. I wonder, you know, the Republicans, led by Donald Trump, had a strategy, get out the vote, make sure it's an Election Day event. And, you know, vote -- voter participation has been incredibly high in this election, which is a good thing. Democrats pushed for this mail-in voting because of the pandemic. They did that early and now it's created that heartburn for them as the counting goes on.

But I'm struck, too. You know, the counting seems to be going well. There's not much evidence at all of irregularities. Sure, these are some close races that we're talking about in these states and there may be recounts.

But, you know, the president and his team talking about, you know, suing because they haven't had access, I don't know what the evidence is about. They haven't produced any evidence of any irregularity. And for all of the talk and all of the bluster, people like Ben Ginsberg, who have been at this for decades, see nothing untoward.

And I think the fact that it's taking a while indicates that, yes, we had a surge in what we normally have. You know, mail-in balloting, mail-in voting is nothing new. It's just that there's a lot. And these are close races. So I think it's appropriate that we have states -- you know, we're impatient, but it's appropriate that they're taking their time and counting the votes and not trying to rush the outcome.

CUOMO: All right, David, thank you very much. I appreciate it. Everybody, stand by. We're going to take a break.

Today could be the day that we find out who is going to lead this country into what is hopefully a better tomorrow.

Stay with us.



DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, everyone.

You know, Trump and his supporters have been trying to get states to stop counting where he is winning and keep counting where he's losing. There's video of his supporters chanting "stop the vote" in Michigan as Biden was gaining more votes there. I want you to listen to this.


CROWD: Stop the vote. Stop the vote. Stop the vote. Stop the vote. Stop the vote.


LEMON: OK, but check this out, this is in Arizona, where new votes were coming in for Trump. While cutting into Biden's lead, we heard Trump supporters shouting, "count that vote."


CROWD: Count the votes. Count the votes. Count the votes. Count the votes. Count the votes. Count the votes. Count the votes.


LEMON: All right, so let's discuss what this means here.

Joining us now is a former presidential candidate, Andrew Yang, CNN political commentator S.E. Cupp, and CNN's senior political analyst Mr. John Avlon.

So, S.E., which is it, stop the count or count the vote?

S.E. CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Whatever works for Donald Trump. And that is the, I think, the whole cake of the past four years. Trump's reorienting the Republican Party around whatever his impulses require and demand at the moment.


There's no undergirding, you know, conservative philosophy or principle, it's whatever he needs. And the trick he has pulled off is that he has managed to convince a lot of people that he should win just by saying so. And I remember, I think -- I think I called it earlier, the Toby Keith era of, you know, Republican American exceptionalism, when we would look at countries abroad where quote/unquote sham elections would actually happen, where they were real and the authoritarian, the dictator would say, I won because I said so. And there it was. And we would shake our heads in pity and sadness for those countries. And now, I think, Trump has convinced a lot of people, those countries may have it right. They may have it better. Their idea might be the better one. That's astonishing.

LEMON: Well, what happened to the Republican Party? The constitutionalists, the let everybody vote, right, this is your sacred right as an American? I don't know. I mean which is it? Should we stop the vote or should we --

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: If you're looking for -- if you're looking --

CUPP: Some of us are still here.

LEMON: Yes, S.E.

AVLON: But if you're --

LEMON: Actually, hold on. What happened? What happened?

CUPP: Trump happened.


CUPP: And, you know, Trump -- I used to say four years ago, Trump wore the Republican Party like a rented tuxedo to get through the election. And here we are with the dry cleaning bill. That tuxedo is in the corner, it's crumpled up, it's got cigarette butt stains and, you know, bodily fluids on it and the Republican Party has got to figure out what to do with the rented tuxedo.

I -- you know, they -- they let him wear it for four years --

LEMON: I can hear the people in the control room screaming over the ear buds (ph).

AVLON: Time to get a new tuxedo.

CUPP: I don't know what you guys were thinking I meant.

AVLON: No, no, no. Nobody's think that --

LEMON: She's talking about sweat stains, under the armpits.

CUPP: Sweat.

AVLON: Please. Please!


AVLON: Look, look, the -- CUPP: It was sweaty!

AVLON: The reality is that -- that any pretense to be a constitutional conservative was given up when the party decided to trade principles for whatever Donald Trump's latest impulse controls is. And we saw it -- we see evidence of it every day. Sometimes you see it from staffers yesterday all deciding they were going to tweet at the same time that Donald Trump won Pennsylvania baselessly, just seeing if they could lie loudly and convince enough people. Other times you see people like Senator Mike Lee start to let -- start to try to create an intellectual framework for taking power -- keeping power just by losing an election, by degrading the idea of democracy.

So it -- it is a full-court press. And when they wake up, if Donald Trump loses this election, he's going to still have a powerful constituency. But all the principles that they set undergird the party of ideas have been exposed to be a total sham in the pursuit of self- interest and nothing more. And one person's self-interest.

LEMON: I just wonder what happens. Is it -- will people go with -- I call it the Trumplican party, I don't know if I'm the -- there is no --

AVLON: Trumplican.

LEMON: It's Trumplican instead of the Republican Party.

AVLON: No, it's good. No, I got that.

LEMON: Because he clearly owns the party.

AVLON: Rumpelstiltskin.

LEMON: What happens to all of those people who just sat by -- listen, he could be president for four years. But what happens after the -- after he's president to all of the Republicans who just sort of stood by and just let him do whatever he wanted.

ANDREW YANG, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Trump has redefined the Republican Party, not just during his tenure, but ongoing. You're seeing a QAnon-friendly new member of Congress. And it's been a mixed bag, frankly, like -- it looks like Joe's on track to win, but -- but the House actually went a little bit more Republican, which was a shock to many Democrats.

CUPP: Well, and I think the -- the unsurprising part is what we're talking about with Trump. The tough part for me is all of the Republicans who, just a couple days ago, on Election Day, said they were privately disgusted but publicly silent about Trump's pre- election threats.

AVLON: Of course.

CUPP: That sums up the entirety of their relationship with trump and their experience. And so if post-Trump, whether it's now or in four years, they suddenly want to turn in their chips for like a book deal and talk about how much they were, you know, they were ashamed of Trump at the time. I don't think they're going to have a lot of buyers.

LEMON: Very concerned -- they were very concerned at the time.

AVLON: Yes, no, you can't --

CUPP: They were disturbed, Don.

AVLON: You can't pretend you're part of the resistance the whole time.

The reality is, though, that Donald Trump -- look, we are seeing the counting go forward. We should count ever vote. But, Don, don't ignore the fact that Donald Trump is trying to get his supporters to ignore the results.

CUPP: Right.

AVLON: And that's why all of these votes matter and we should pay close attention to the margins and the way things are going. But, still, the president of the United States is still trying to spread disinformation to try to hold on to power.

LEMON: And, remember, the reason we want everyone at home to remember, the reason we're talking about this is because every single vote should count. You should be able to get out there and exercise your right under the Constitution and have that vote count. No one should be saying, stop the vote, stop the count. Every single vote in America should count.

We're counting them for you as they're coming in and we're going to update you on the other side of the break. Don't go anywhere.



LEMON: So we have a major development in the Georgia Senate race.

We want to get straight to CNN's Boris Sanchez. He is watching the balance of the Senate and possible shake up.

But what's the new scenario here? What do you have?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Don, so, overall, this has been a disappointing election in terms to have Democrats trying to nab control of the U.S. Senate from Republicans. From their prospective, they had a very advantageous map. They couldn't capitalize on it, but there is still one path they can take to take control of the U.S. Senate.

In terms of raw numbers, when we look at the balance of power, they're essentially at a stalemate. Democrats with one pickup in the state of Colorado have 47 seats, including those two independents. And Angus King and Bernie Sanders, that caucus with them. On the Republican side, one pick up in Alabama, 47 seats. Six seats remain undecided. We can take a closer look at all the races, but here are the two keys.

You mentioned that election in Georgia. Take a look at where David Perdue stands right now in this key race alert. He has 50 percent of the vote. He leads John Ossoff, the former journalist, by 117,000 votes.


But we are still getting votes. There's still tens of thousands of votes outstanding in the peach state, 95 percent of the vote in. If he dips to 49.9 percent, that means there will be a run-off election come January 5th. And there's already going to be a run-off election because of that special senate election in Georgia, the one where the reverend, Raphael Warnock is leading incumbent Kelly Loeffler. He's up 317,000 votes, 94 percent of the vote in. As you can see, nobody there really close to crossing that 50 percent margin. So, potentially, as we take a look at the leading the vote number, right now there's only one Democrat leading in a race where a Republican holds a Senate seat. That's in Arizona, where Mark Kelly is leading Martha McSally. The magic number for Democrats is four for them to take control of the U.S. Senate. But that number could change if Joe Biden is elected. If he's elected and these two Georgia races go off to a runoff, there will be an unprecedented amount of spending and attention on these races because they will lead Democrats to potentially controlling the Senate, Don.

LEMON: OK. And Boris Sanchez watching it. If David Perdue falls below 50 percent, an automatic runoff in Georgia.

Thank you very much. We'll check back in with you. Appreciate it, Boris.

All eyes are on the ongoing counts that are happening now in the presidential race and we've got our eyes on it. We're going to bring you the very latest on the other side of this break. Don't go anywhere.