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Biden Cuts into Trump's Lead in Georgia, Pennsylvania; Race for White House Narrows as Votes are Counted; Official: Some Fulton County, GA Results could be Moments Away. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired November 5, 2020 - 11:00   ET

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


[11:00:00]

JESSICA DEAN, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: But for the Biden - from the Biden campaign's perspective, they feel very, very good and very, very confident that when all the votes are counted, that Joe Biden will be the next president of the United States.

Now, I'm also told by an adviser that we do expect to see Biden at some point today. And then again, if and when this race is called. Again, we don't know when that might be. But they are trying to keep him out front and they continue to hammer home this message that every vote should be counted.

Again, their counter to what President Trump is saying right now. But the Biden campaign and the vice president himself saying every vote should be counted, that everyone needs to have patience and it was interesting to note yesterday, Erin, when Biden spoke here, he talked about unity and bringing this country together. We can expect to hear more of those themes as the days go on.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. And obviously, very different strategies from the two men in terms of they have handled this speaking publicly by Biden versus Twitter for Trump.

Jessica Dean, thank you very much.

Anderson, you know it's amazing. You look at all eyes on Pennsylvania, you know Jessica is reporting that the Biden campaign thinks they're going to win it by a sizable margin.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Yes.

BURNETT: Look, if you take the gap that Trump has now, 136,000 votes but still 700,000 outstanding.

COOPER: Yes.

BURNETT: Those - those -- a lot of those mail-in ballots, right, have run towards Biden. 60 percent of them if you give them to Biden, he still wins and that's a lower percent than he's been getting in many of those counties. So, certainly, the math would show their optimism. They've got reason for it at this point as we wait for the count. COOPER: Yes. I loved what Jessica Dean earlier was saying that the fact that they were below a million votes still to be counted was a sign of progress.

(LAUGHTER)

BURNETT: Yes.

COOPER: Still 700,000 plus votes is extraordinary.

BURNETT: Fair. Fair.

COOPER: Erin, thanks very much. The stakes are rising with every ballot counted. They're being counted as we speak. You see them counting in Georgia and Pennsylvania. As we talked about, the presidency hinging on just a handful of uncalled states. A lot is happening.

Let's check in back with John King. So, John, the race continues to tighten. Three crucial states, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Arizona. Let's take a look - I guess, well, wherever you want to go. But I'm interested in Arizona to see how things are tightening.

JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: All right. We'll look at Arizona first. I think we're waiting here because it's the West Coast where I think we're going to wait more for the count. But you see Joe Biden at 68,390 votes ahead. You can look at that if you haven't been with us the last few days and say, OK, that's a pretty healthy lead. If you've been with us for the last few days, that's a shrinking lead.

And then we can go back and play that out for you here. Let me just pull this up for you. Bring this out. When you go back and play it out, it's pretty interesting, right? Let's bring up Arizona, and let's go back.

This is Wednesday 12:00 a.m., you see Biden has a 207,000 votes lead. You move it forward now to 1:00 a.m., it's 185,000. At 3:00 a.m. - 2:00 a.m. excuse me, it's down to 155,000. And then as they counted votes throughout the day yesterday, 130, 93, down to 97. And then you come out to real-time now down to 68. So, if you're in the Biden campaign they keep saying they're confident they're going to win this but the trendline there is going in the other direction.

So, then you come over here to Georgia where you just showed the pictures of the live counting of the vote. It's just the flip side here. The president had a huge lead midnight on election night. Just Tuesday gave way to Wednesday, the president had a huge lead way, way up there. And now it's down to 18,000 votes.

We're talking a bit early about this. 60,000 votes left. Joe Biden needs to win about two thirds of the remaining votes. He needs to win about two-thirds, 65-66 percent, depending on the exact number out there. They say roughly 60,000. He's 18,146 down. Now, can he do that?

If you look at that, you think two thirds, we'll he's only getting 49 percent statewide. That's unreasonable, right? No, it's not. We don't know that Joe Biden can get there, but we know, Anderson, 17,000 of those votes are here in Chatham County. Joe Biden is getting 57 percent, 58 percent if you round up in this county. But he's even doing better than that in the mail-in ballots or he has been. Let's let them count the rest but 17,000 of the 60,000 are right here.

Then you come back to the Atlanta Metro area, Fulton County. 11,000 I believe, yes, 11,000 and a couple hundred of those votes are here. You see Joe Biden is getting - he needs two thirds of the remaining votes he's getting above 70 percent here.

Then you move over here to Gwinnett County Joe Biden is getting 58 percent total you have 7,300. 7,000 of the votes are there. So, then you move out here. The secretary of state, the election officials also talking about if you move further down in Atlanta here, Fayette County is here, down here. I think they're close to being done. You move over here. You come over here.

So, most of these other counties are done. But some of the counties we're still waiting for votes. Some of them are -- they're red. And so, the question there is does the president add up to his total or does he not?

Now, so we're going to watch Georgia. We're watching Pennsylvania. We were starting to have a conversation earlier. Again, 135,000. 600,000 still out. While within reach for Joe Biden because we know, Anderson, as I walk over here Joe Biden has been winning disproportionately, in some cases 70 percent or more of those mail-in ballots. So, does this matter? Because this could be the decisive day in this long count.

You asked me about the president's path a little bit earlier.

COOPER: Yes.

[11:05:00]

KING: There is just no way the president of the United States cannot lose the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Cannot lose the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. If Joe Biden wins it, he's the president. He doesn't need it to win the presidency. Biden does not. The president does. Let me show you what I mean.

And we go through this math right now. Because it is 20, right? So, we clear this out. The president is leading right now in Maine's second congressional district. We start with the one. We don't know he's winning it but he's leading right now. The president is leading North Carolina. It is a little bit but it is held up so far. Let's assume he gets it there.

The president, we have full expectation when we finish the count in Alaska. The president will get that. So, then let's say the president gets Georgia. That gets him to 248. And if the president comes over here, even if the president comes back in Nevada - he gets it to 259 -- I mean, Arizona, excuse me, he gets to 259. Nevada would get him to 265.

The president is out of options then. The president - now you're upto 265. The only thing left on the board is Pennsylvania. The president cannot get to the finish line without the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. So, he has to win more than Pennsylvania but once you get that 20 your math gets better. Without that 20 you don't have a path. So, you come back to Joe Biden who's at 253.

Again, if by the end of the day, we can say that, Joe Biden is president no matter how the rest of them end up. So, Pennsylvania with 20 is the biggest prize still on the board. If Biden gets it game over and then he's counting up from there. If the president does not win Pennsylvania he's done. It's an absolute essential state for him as we watch that lead shrink.

COOPER: If Biden gets Arizona, continuous to hold on to Arizona and Nevada --

KING: That also gets him.

That's it. You don't even have to finish the thought. If Joe Biden is at 253, he holds Arizona and he gets Nevada, that's 270. The rest is gravy after that. You want a bigger win but, of course, once you get to 270 you can't take it back.

COOPER: So, if we know Nevada -- it's not clear if we'll know Nevada by the end of today or Arizona either.

KING: It is not. And so, that's why if you talk about today as a potentially decisive day the key point is how many votes when we get more out of Nevada how much is it and what do they tell us about the universe still out there? Can you make a projection based on what you have? We will leave that to the data people but we need to know. So, come back to where we start. If Arizona and Nevada keep us waiting, which is perfectly conceivable. Can Joe Biden get there without them? Yes, he can get there with just Pennsylvania. That will be it --

COOPER: Although Pennsylvania, that's -- 700,000 plus votes still to be counted there, and also military ballots still coming in.

KING: Right. So, if by the end of the day they counted two thirds of those, and Joe Biden surged past the president maybe the decision people feel comfortable enough to make a projection. We don't know that. We're going to be obviously incredibly cautious in this environment because of the stakes.

Number one because of the unorthodox nature of this campaign. But Georgia would be another one. If Joe Biden gets Georgia that gets him to 269, right? If he can pick up that. And you're looking around. Again, can he come back here? Doesn't look that way but we'll keep counting votes and congressional district.

So, the big prize is Pennsylvania. So can we -- your question, I think if you boil it down, is today the decisive day? We can't say that for certainty. We can't. We have to keep counting. There's the potential, if they speed up the count in Pennsylvania a little bit and if we get Georgia and if one of the southwestern states gets us a little bit more. Perhaps. We'll at least know the trendlines. We'll have a better sense of the trendlines if Joe Biden overcomes the president's leads in Pennsylvania and in Georgia. At least we'll know the trajectory. We might not be at the finish line.

COOPER: And Nevada too, slim lead. It's just fascinating to watch the numbers there. John, thanks very much. Erin, Georgia. It just -- the whole thing is just fascinating to watch.

BURNETT: Right. I mean, you know, there is no state that is more important than another right now. They're all equally juggling them in the air to see which ball is going to land first with answers here. Just moments ago, Anderson and I, all of you watching the Georgia secretary of state saying there are over 61,000 ballots that need to be counted throughout that state, and the margin between Trump and Biden is razor thin. Just moments ago, it did narrow even a little bit more.

So, the big question is when are we actually going to know what these numbers are? Richard Barron is the Fulton County elections director. Fulton County includes Atlanta and of course, Richard, we have been seeing your updates. I know you're exhausted. I know you haven't slept because you've been trying to get answers for us on all of this. So, where are you in Fulton County? I know we were anticipating an update from you around 11:00, do you have the final tally?

RICHARD BARRON, FULTON COUNTY, GA ELECTIONS DIRECTOR: We sent thumb drives over to our warehouse probably about 20 minutes before I got on this call. And we had -- we had scanned 140,083 ballots before I got on this call with you. So, we're close to being done. I think within 2,000 at this point.

BURNETT: So within 2,000. OK, so just to make sure I have the comparable right. You're saying 20 minutes ago you sent the ballots over for tabulation, I would presume, right?

[11:10:05]

BARRON: Yes. We sent them over, yes.

BURNETT: OK. So, the number that we had from your secretary of state half an hour ago was you had 11,200 ballots outstanding in Fulton you're saying that's down to about 2,000 is that right, apples-to- apples?

BARRON: I believe so.

BURNETT: OK. All right. So, now I understand that. That's obviously really important. So, how long do you think it takes for that tabulation to happen over at the actual counting center? Do you have a sense of that, Richard?

BARRON: Once it arrives there usually is a low percentage of the ballots that get adjudicated by the vote review panel. Once those are adjudicated, the tabulation doesn't take any time and then we just -- we publish those. So the results may be up already if not, it'll be momentarily.

BURNETT: All right. So momentarily, look, the whole country - the world is watching to see that from Fulton County. One other question, though, Richard, because I know when you say you've counted all in about 143,000, you have about 2,000 left to go. I had the understanding that there was an additional group of ballots, provisional overseas military, do you know how many those are? Are those included in your numbers? Or is that a separate group that ends up mattering if this is indeed that tight?

BARRON: We'll take care of any come in, right now we don't have any outstanding, but we can receive some today and tomorrow. And the provisional ballots are being researched and processed now and then we'll tabulate those tomorrow. We have I believe 2,893 provisional ballots. And we don't have any to process right now. They're all within the absentee ballots that we're processing.

BURNETT: OK. So then again just to make sure I have the math right because the math here may be so important. Your overall sort of unknown right now. You have a bunch being tabulated but your overall unknown is about 4,800, 4,900 correct?

BARRON: Yes. That sounds right.

BURNETT: OK. All right. Thank you very, very much for laying that out so clearly. We'll be awaiting those results momentary. Richard, thank you for your time.

All right, so we're waiting for those to come up. That's going to be crucial. You now have an exact sense of what these numbers are. That is Georgia, Fulton County in Atlanta.

Just ahead, Pennsylvania's attorney general, on the legal challenges to the count there. We will be right back.

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[11:17:26]

COOPER: As you just heard, Erin was interviewing an election official from Fulton County in Georgia. We are expecting to see some results momentarily from Fulton County. That is the Atlanta area. Obviously, that is very important to see where this racing is going in the state of Georgia.

Let's go back to John King. What are the latest results? Where do things stand as we wait for the latest batch.

KING: So, we think we could get those momentarily, Anderson. That's hugely significant moment in the count. Georgia in the sense that you look, the president's lead is 18,146. Erin was just talking to the election director here, Fulton County, that is the largest county in Atlanta, about 10 percent of the statewide vote. It has at Atlanta and it has the suburbs around it.

And as you see it, it is voting disproportionately for Joe Biden, more than 70 percent. When we last talked 11,200 votes there. The election official telling Erin he expects 9,000 of them. They're at the tabulation center right now. So, we'll get momentarily 9,000 more votes here. 9,000 more votes here. Joe Biden has been winning at least 70 percent of them, right? So, just do the math at home. 9,000, if Joe Biden won them all, he's not going to win them all. But if Joe Biden won them all, you can cut that lead in half.

So, the question is Joe Biden is going to win, if we assume the trends continue as they have been overnight, the overwhelming majority of those votes of Fulton County. How much when those 9,000 are tabulated, how much does that lead shrink and then we'll know what's left, right? There are still a couple thousand in Fulton County.

And then over here in Chatham County, we know there are 17,000. I'm going to check my notes because we're at decisive moments here. I want to make sure I get it right. 17,000 still to be counted here in Chatham County which is going Democratic, right? You see 58 percent to 41 percent.

Joe Biden, we know needs about two thirds of the remaining ballots. So, we're going to see, number one, how many does he get of these 9,000 in Fulton County and how much does that shrink, the percentage Joe Biden needs if he gets an overwhelming number of these 9,000 it cuts that lead down significantly then the math gets better for Joe Biden. It's pretty simple. We need those votes to know.

COOPER: Hey, John, you said Chatham County. I just want to be sure. I think you might have said 17,000 there's 1,700 in Chatham County.

KING: 1,700 I'm sorry, thank you for correcting me. I have a card in front of me, that's a smaller number then.

COOPER: Well, now I'm being told it's 17,000 maybe I'm wrong.

KING: This is -- and look, in this time it's careful we'll correct each other and get through it together. That's what's hard we're at the decisive moment. You have more votes to count here. The best part is the transparency of the officials coming out and telling us.

[11:20:00]

When we get to Fulton County this is incredibly important. Again, you get 9,000 of the 11,000 votes any minute now that will tell us is Joe Biden still continuing the trajectory he needs and is he exceeding? In this county he needs to exceed than what he does statewide because you can expect him to do as well when you move out to some of the red counties in Georgia. Even if he's winning.

One of the things that gets hard when you look at red and blue, you say there's still votes out here, right? Well, there's still votes to be counted here or there's still votes to be counted here. There's still votes to be counter here. And you think the president is going to get those.

Yes, but we do know that Joe Biden in the absentee balloting - the mail-in balloting is doing well, even in places where he's losing, he's doing better in that type of balloting. The mail-in ballots. But this again is we're going to take this one step at a time because we are so close to the potential of knowing what's happening. Georgia alone cannot settle the race, don't get me wrong, but if Joe Biden takes Georgia away from the president it makes the president's math incredibly difficult. So that's why this is so significant.

And again, you're talking 10 percent of the statewide vote, you're talking about a place Joe Biden is getting in excess of 70 percent of the vote. Even a higher percentage among these mail-in ballots as they're counted.

So, when we get those 9,000, we're going to have a very good sense of if Joe Biden's math is continuing and if his path to cutting into that lead is continuing. And again, this lead has been shrinking every time we get a big report of a large number of votes from any of these counties but particularly the blue counties, Atlanta and the suburbs around it we've been cutting into the lead. This is a decisive moment. Which is why both campaigns are so anxious as Georgia and Pennsylvania are updating on the fly. The states in the west we have to wait a little bit more. It's going more slowly out there.

COOPER: You know in some states Pennsylvania, military ballots can be -- I think they have ten days or so in order to come in. Do you have a sense, is it just through history, has that ever really made a difference? I'm not sure the total number of military ballots in a state like in a commonwealth like Pennsylvania.

KING: You can go back to 2000 in florida, settled by just over 537 votes. If you get that close. You can find some state races in history, whoever had a presidential race or you're waiting until the last minute, 2000 is the only one you have to find every last ballot and in that case they fought over the ballots, the two campaigns did. But that will be a question.

So again, it's not a question we're going to settle today but we might have a better answer at the end of the day. Looking at 18,000 Georgia, several military bases here, a great military tradition across Georgia and across many other states. But a very high percentage of military tradition here because the number of military installations.

In the states, you're raising a question, if it's down to several hundred at the end of the day we have to wait and let the clock run out and see how many more ballots come in. We're going to have to be patient and see. If it's a couple thousand then you ask officials what the universe of ballots was requested by the military. Then you know. Once you know the universe of possible votes still to come in you can just do the math and say is it enough to be decisive. And if it is, you wait. If it's not, then we'll know.

COOPER: In terms of North Carolina looks pretty much -- I know you said it had been tightening a little bit, but the president has a comfortable lead there.

KING: It's 76,737 votes. You know it is 50 percent to 49 percent. If you round up Joe Biden's total. So, it's a very competitive state but one of the things you look for, unlike the other states, Anderson, Pennsylvania has been moving toward Joe Biden. President still ahead. Georgia had been moving toward Joe Biden. President is still ahead. North Carolina has been pretty stubborn. It's come down in fits and starts, and you count here, and you count there but the president has a healthy lead here. The indicator I take, you email people, call people in the state and ask them. But when you ask the two campaigns, the Biden campaign said count all the votes, we'll keep an eye on it. But there's no sense in the Biden campaign that this one is going to flip.

They hope it does, they want to count the votes but there's a lot of anxiety and anticipation when it comes to Georgia and Pennsylvania. When we move out west to Arizona and Nevada. I'm not going to -- when we're done, I'm not going to get a text from the Biden campaign saying hey why did you say that about North Carolina because they think it's going to stay that way. Doesn't guarantee it does we'll count the votes, but the campaigns understand.

We know what we know. We have reporters on the scene, talking to officials all the time. The campaigns know even more than we do, they have people in the key counties, their own data analytics team and they're pushing it. Again, the Biden people say keep counting the votes here but in doing their math how do we get from 253 where they are now to 270, there's not a lot of conversations about North Carolina in the Biden campaign. You could be certain to that.

COOPER: We are waiting, as John said, some 9,000 votes from Fulton County, from the Atlanta area. Very interesting. As soon as they come in, we'll go back to John to see how it changes things in Georgia and nationwide. Let's go back to Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Yes, as you say, razor thin, 18,586 about I think the margin in Georgia might have come down 500. But that Fulton County 9,000 could really, really matter as they're counting.

OK. So, David Chalian and Nia join us now just to talk about this latest reporting. I want to ask you, Nia, that we're getting in from Kaitlan about the president.

[11:25:03]

That the president's team, it is starting to sink into them that these numbers are not going in their favor, right? The margins are narrowing. You look at what's ahead in Pennsylvania. It is going to narrow. And yet the president is defiant and in denial wanting new legal strategies, telling his children, instructing his children to go out and cast doubt on the validity of the vote. And yet, we haven't yet heard from him physically speaking here about it.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: That's right. He's been tweeting a bit. I think we tweeted something a few hours ago, stop the counting now. You see a real divergence here. President Trump thinking he can key create his own reality and those closest to him, his children, trying to carry that out for him. Whatever his wishes are. You see them in Pennsylvania and Philadelphia, specifically, trying to do his bidding.

But then you see the sort of institutions here are holding the voting is continuing, primarily because if you're a Republican official, on the ballot perhaps in the some of these down ballot races you do want a legitimate process, you do want the counting to continue.

I think David Perdue, who's on the ballot in Georgia said he wants the counting be to continue. If it goes to a runoff, he's perfectly fine with a runoff. He thinks he'll win in a runoff. So this is interesting to see the president try to do what he always does, create his own reality, be on a fantasy island, invite as many people to that island as he can, and at this point it is down to a select few people with this president as he watches his lead dwindle in some of these states. This was his strategy to discount those mail-in ballots. I wonder if he is regretting, essentially telling his voters not to do mail-in balloting. Now you see mail-in balloting are really making a difference in some of the states.

BURNETT: You're getting totally mixed messages out of the Trump White House, David, right? You're getting Trump saying stop, stop the counting. But then obviously they want the counting to continue out west. You have people like Kellyanne Conway saying if it takes three days or three weeks who cares. We want to know a winner. The messaging is all over the map. That does reflect a state of disarray.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: It does. Let's make something really clear, Erin. This notion that Donald Trump seems to be sharing with friends on the phone and his family member that is he thinks that Joe Biden is stealing this election because these votes are coming in. There is no stealing of this election going on. There's vote counting going on.

And I just -- it is just amazing how much he has convinced himself that what he's witnessing, instead of being actually the very core of our free and fair democracy, right, a free and fair election, the core of our democracy, the foundational principle, the critical building block, he is convinced that that process is somehow stealing the election because the vote totals in some of the states are going in Joe Biden's direction. But as you note in Arizona, they're going in Trump's direction that's why you have Kellyanne Conway out there saying let all the votes be counted. It's just so -- I know it doesn't surprise anyone anymore, but it is so disheartening to hear the president of the United States speak that way about the very thing that is at the center of who we are as a democracy.

BURNETT: I also just wonder whether his team will -- they prevented him from coming out and speaking, right? We saw the tone of what we got on election night talking about stealing the election and cheating. Will they be able to prevent him from doing something that could be damaging frankly at this point as the final counts do come in?

HENDERSON: Well, so far, so good. He made the initial statement and you saw Republicans really push back on him. Also, I think what has been good is that his supporters, his followers haven't been out in the streets, haven't been really raising a are you cuss. You did have the incident in Arizona but by and large some of the uprisings that people might have feared haven't happened yet. There clearly isn't a winner at this point. So we hope that continues after there is a winner declared but the president doing what he always does, being paranoid trafficking in conspiracy theories in tweeting those things and then having people with the last name Trump advance those theories which obviously, as David said, have no basis in reality at all.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you both very much.

Next Pennsylvania's attorney general is going to join us, give us the very latest sense of the race there, legal developments and votes outstanding. We'll be right back.

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