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More Arizona Vote Results Expected Today. Aired 4:30-5p ET

Aired November 5, 2020 - 16:30   ET

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


[16:30:02]

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: But when you look at these battleground states, it's a lot especially for places like Pennsylvania, which has never had a culture of mail-in voting. And they were behind, you know, the 8 ball for a long time. People in Pennsylvania even admit that.

And this is the first time even pre-pandemic they decided to make mail-in voting more available. And the fact they're doing it rather quickly given the volume that they have is pretty amazing.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, it's just taking a little bit of time, and what's interesting is so many of our reporters who have been in the field all week have heard from all these election officials in towns and cities across it country and so many of them saying it's been a boring election day. They have not seen widespread problems.

Even the Biden campaign, a lot of Democrats who have been on the lookout for widespread problems, we haven't seen them really alleging anything crazy happening, so now we're just counting the votes and waiting to see what happens, and I was really struck by how Biden in some ways, you heard Rick saying the campaign's over. Biden seemed very much in a post-election mind-set. I'm sure he was thinking about Donald Trump, but it was almost as if President Trump was not a factor in what he was saying as he was going out there.

BASH: Exactly right.

PHILLIP: His mind is clearly in a transition mode. We're not quite there yet in terms of the numbers, but that's clearly where Joe Biden, the former vice president of the United States, who has been in politics and in Washington for decades, that's where he is right now.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Well, if he does want to do what he said he wanted to do as a candidate, which is unite the country and bring everyone together, that's what he needs to do and not poke the bear, as was just said.

PHILLIP: Yeah.

TAPPER: Let's go to Kaitlan Collins, who covers the White House for us.

What are you hearing from the White House, from the Trump team?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, all day yesterday and today, I've heard President Trump has wanted to come out and do just what Joe Biden did there. Appear in front of the cameras, address the nation. Obviously it's a safe bet to say they would say very different things than what Joe Biden just said there about urging calm, counting every vote, confident they are going to win, and waiting to see what the ultimate outcome is.

But here's the concern for Trump world. They've been trying to keep the president from speaking publicly. They've been told him just let the attorneys handle this right now, that's the best message you've got out there so far as we are waiting to see what's going to happen in somewhere like Arizona. Because, Jake, they know that if the president comes out, his message is not going to be much stronger than what it was 2:30 on Wednesday morning especially in somewhere like a Pennsylvania, like a Georgia.

And so, the concern is that seeing Biden go on camera is going to make the president want to go on camera, because that's often how he sees things, he watches them through the lens of the coverage seeing them on television. And we know he's been in the Oval Office today but has not been in public since that surly morning appearance at the White House.

So the question is, are we going to see from the president? It seems far from determined over that the White House. But there is a concern that seeing Biden go in front of the cameras is going to make the president want to do the same thing.

TAPPER: All right. Kaitlin Collins at the White House.

And I think one of the issues here, Abby, is not just -- look, whatever the president says, it's not going to affect the counting of the votes. We have a system where states are in charge of this. States often give that power to counties, and the counting is going on.

The question is, will President Trump's continued desire to inflame tensions by making patently false allegations about this election and about the integrity of our very democracy -- will that inflame his supporters so much that there will be violence? That is the real risk, and that is what the people around the president have got to think about when they keep him from going public because they don't want there to be Americans physically hurt.

PHILLIP: Well, remember five years ago on election night when we were discussing what the president would say, there was a choice beforehand in that moment. Inflame tensions or kind of take a different tone, avoid stepping on some of these land mines. He chose to inflame tensions, and the reporting is that it was against the advice of many of his advisers. Now, we're seeing the consequences of that. I think his base isn't (ph) inflamed. The question is will it go even further? Some of them showed up outside of the place where they're counting votes in Arizona armed.

So we're kind of there already, and now we're at the phase where their path is so narrow, you're seeing a lot of desperation show up. The president's son Eric Trump asking just a few minutes ago on Twitter, where's the GOP, really calling for Republicans who are allies with the president to step up and defend him.

[16:35:01]

And we're going to see a lot more of that. The president and what you're seeing from his children is a reflection of what the president wants. He wants people out there defending and echoing some of the unhinged things that he's been saying.

BASH: You know where the GOP is, with the basic rule of democracy which is count the votes.

TAPPER: Right.

BASH: I mean, even the president's most ardent defenders in Congress that we've seen and heard from on policy issues and even on some of the kind of personality things that the president has had, it's crickets for them. There is a reason for hat. And it is because what we're seeing is each state and commonwealth doing the job that is required of them. Doing it well, doing it slowly.

And one thing I want to add to what Kaitlin was saying is that although there are certainly people around the president keeping him at bay, keep him from going out, because they don't know what he's going to say when he hits a microphone, others I'm told are worried about that he's ceding the presidential space to the person who's hoping to get the job.

PHILLIP: Yeah, I'm sure that's what the president is concerned about that as well.

BASH: Oh yeah.

TAPPER: And all these election workers doing their jobs, some of them Republican, some of them Democrats, the governor of Georgia, a Republican, the governor of Arizona, a Republican, lots of people just doing the work. There are Republican and Democratic observers in all these spaces. That's why there is not this rising up, this revolution of Republican members in Congress and Senate because they know the process is working.

And there are Republicans in the room watching to make sure that it all goes fairly. Pennsylvania is taking center stage in the evolving election drama. It could have its results tonight. We're standing by to hear from the Pennsylvania secretary of state as ELECTION NIGHT IN AMERICA continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:41:06]

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: We're looking -- taking a very close look what's going on in Arizona right now.

Bill Weir is on the ground for us in Phoenix.

What's going on over there where you are, Bill?

BILL WEIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, this is the room where it happens in Maricopa County. They can churn through 6,000 to 8,000 ballots an hour in this location. You've got both Democrats and Republican observers.

They're taking a little break there, but every time there's a discrepancy, they have to agree and then kick it down the chain.

But here's where we stand -- Arizona right now, Joe Biden leads by about 68,000 votes. Of course, the "A.P." and Fox News have called this state for the former vice president, but everybody else, us included, are being super careful and here's why -- of the 400,000 or so votes remaining in Arizona, President Trump would have to win those remaining votes by 17 points to pull things out here.

Well, last night in Maricopa, when they dumped that last 140,000 votes, Donald Trump won those by 17 points.

So when the new numbers come out at 7:00 p.m. local time here in less than five hours, we're going to see if that trend continues, is it a 17-point lead for him here? Does that mean he'll chip away at Joe Biden's lead as this count goes? That's what everybody cares about, but Maricopa County, he may get those numbers, but there's also Pima and Coconino and Santa Cruz counties which are trending bluer. So, it's going to come down to razor-thin margins here in Arizona, Wolf.

BLITZER: Bill Weir, thank you very, very much.

I'm here with John King at the magic wall, with -- the secretary of state of Arizona is joining us right now, Katie Hobbs.

Secretary Hobbs, thank you so much for joining us.

First of all, how many ballots do you believe are still outstanding statewide and how many of those are in the Phoenix area in Maricopa County?

KATIE HOBBS (D-AZ), SECRETARY OF STATE: There's roughly, 400,000 and 450,000 statewide and just under 300,000 are in Maricopa County.

BLITZER: That's a lot. When do you expect we'll get the results of the outstanding ballots in Arizona?

HOBBS: Yeah, it sounds like most of the counties are wrapping up tabulation and the bulk of tabulation by this weekend, Maricopa County included, except for some provisional ballots that they actually have until Tuesday to resolve. And so, we're -- we're going to know results soon.

BLITZER: Let me just press you on that. When you say "soon," do you think we'll get more results today at least?

HOBBS: Oh, absolutely. Maricopa County is posting their daily tabulation every day at 7:00 -- 9:00 for you guys. And they're going to continue to do that until they're done. So I think that after today and tomorrow, we'll have a really more clear picture on where -- what Arizona looks like.

BLITZER: Do you get -- do you get a sense we'll get a significant number of ballots counted by tonight?

HOBBS: Well, they were able to get through 140,000 yesterday. So if they're keeping up that pace then, you know, that should be a good number.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Madam Secretary, it's John King, thank you for your time. I know you're very busy.

I asked a version of this yesterday, so forgive me. But as you understand, the country and the world are watching right now because Joe Biden at 253 and we're trying to take the remaining states off the board to see whether Joe Biden wins the presidency or whether Donald Trump can somehow block him and win re-election.

When you say Maricopa, for example, will do their daily bill (ph) a couple of hours from now here in the East Coast, have there been any conversations about several updates a day so that people did at least see a trend line or what is the reason to do it one time a day?

HOBBS: I have not had that conversation with them so, you know, I think that every time they have to stop to upload data it takes away from counting and they're trying to get through those counts and provide a certainty to the public about when those updates will be provided.

[16:45:07]

BLITZER: Go ahead, John.

KING: I think this came up yesterday, too. But we have seen the Trump campaign understandably watching all of this, but also in a somewhat more curious way in Pennsylvania, for example, complaining a lot and threatening to file suits. In Wisconsin, saying they would ask a recount.

I know you're still in the middle of the count, so nobody ask a recount now anyway. We did see some protests outside the Maricopa County counting center last night. There's democracy and then there's disruption.

Are you worried at all about some of the anxiety you've seen outside of some of these counting centers?

HOBBS: Certainly, we're worried primarily about the safety about the staff involved. They worked with Maricopa County sheriff's office, and as far as we heard, everybody was safe. And I think what these protesters need to understand we are doing --

(AUDIO GAP)

BLITZER: I think we just lost --

HOBBS: That is what we're doing and we're going to do that whether or not they're asking --

(AUDIO GAP)

BLITZER: Go ahead, Secretary. We lost you for a second. Just pick up your thought.

HOBBS: We're going to do that any whether they ask us to or not, and they're being there actually is causing delay and disruption and preventing the employees from actually continuing to do their jobs.

BLITZER: Was that an isolated incident or do you see these incidents occurring elsewhere in Arizona?

HOBBS: We haven't seen them anywhere else in Arizona, but they're out again today in downtown Phoenix.

BLITZER: I take it it's OK in Arizona for people to show up at these demonstrations armed with rifles and weapons, is that right?

HOBBS: One hundred percent.

BLITZER: That's the law.

Go ahead, John.

KING: Just -- in terms of -- as you look, in terms of the pace of the count, you're doing it your way and we're trying to tell our viewers in the United States and all across the world, different states are doing this in different ways.

Do you have any concerns in terms of -- ballots -- provisional ballots being challenged or any other ballots being challenged, or are you moving along smoothly even though it's taken some time because so much of this is on paper and mail?

HOBBS: Yeah. Where it's moving smoothly, we are at the place we expected to be right now. We said from the beginning, this was going to take time and (AUDIO GAP) for the turnout ahead of where we were this time two years ago.

BLITZER: Yeah, we're getting a little bit of technical -- technical issues.

Has there been any -- we know that the Trump campaign has moved -- has threatened various lawsuits in other states. Have they threatened anything in Arizona?

HOBBS: We haven't heard anything at all and they're really, as far as we can tell, there's not really anything he can challenge here. He wants the votes to keep being counted, so there's no reason to challenge that.

In terms of recount, our recount margin is very narrow, and there's no basis to request or recall if it's not within those margins.

KING: And so I just want to walk through it one more time, we just had a glitch in the connection every now and then. So, tonight, how much -- how much of the vote do you expect to be out tonight and when do you think when we'll have if not 100 percent or, you know, 90 percent or more of the Arizona vote tallied and public?

HOBBS: I don't want to put words in Maricopa County's mouth. Yesterday, they were able to tabulate 140,000 ballots. I would hope for a similar number today, but I can't commit to that for -- on their behalf. The other counties are plugging away and updating their numbers when they have numbers to update.

BLITZER: And so, Secretary Hobbs, based on everything you've seen so far, when do you think we will know the winner in Arizona?

HOBBS: I think that if Maricopa County keeps up the pace that we saw yesterday and tabulating ballots, that we will have a much more clear picture of where things stand by tomorrow.

BLITZER: By tomorrow morning, afternoon, evening? Can you give us a little better sense? We're all -- you know, we obviously are anxious that you guys do it, but do it right. But we're just curious when we'll know.

HOBBS: Yeah. I would say by tomorrow evening when Maricopa County does their counting by tomorrow evening.

BLITZER: Because that's the biggest county, John, Maricopa.

KING: Right, Maricopa -- the secretary saying she expects 140,000 today. That would be almost half, 300,000 outstanding ballots in Maricopa County, and again, that's your biggest clue if you pull it up. A, it's leaning Democratic right now, but it's relatively competitive.

Again, President Trump narrowly carried it four years ago. Joe Biden is narrowly carrying it now, 51 to 47. And so, you have 300,000 ballots outstanding.

And here's the question, right, you see Joe Biden with the lead here, 912,000 to 838,000. So, if we have -- if we get 140,000 more today, is it relatively evenly matched like this? When we did get some ballots, the president actually narrowed the lead. But if you look at this, and you think Joe Biden is going to build, we don't know that. We don't know that.

Remember, if you go back in time, Donald Trump narrowly, again, this is very competitive, but Donald Trump carried Maricopa County four years ago. The suburbs have revolted against this president, across America, in some places here.

[16:50:04]

So, we'll see, but if they get 140,000 today, that's about half, Wolf. That would be a pretty good clue. It won't give you to the finish line, but it might give you a direction.

BLITZER: What about that, Secretary Hobbs? Of the 300,000 or so uncounted ballots so far, how many are like the mail-in ballots as opposed to the day of ballots?

HOBBS: We don't have any more day of ballots except for provisionals that are being counted right now. All of the ballots being counted right now are early ballots that were dropped off Monday or Tuesday.

BLITZER: So you have 450,000 uncounted ballots statewide, 300,000 in Maricopa County. Where else -- where else are the -- what about Pima County (ph) -- Pima County I should say?

HOBBS: Pima's got -- Pima's got about 46,000 ballots, Yuma is down to 8,500. Coconino County still has about 13,000, and Pinal County, which is between Maricopa and Pima, has 41,000.

BLITZER: Yeah. Show us those counties.

Hold on for a moment, Secretary. John King will show us those counties and we'll get a sense whether they're leaning for the president or the former vice president.

KING: So here's Pima which is overwhelmingly 60 to 39 -- 60 to 39 in Pima, and then you move up here and Maricopa, we just talked about and then you come this way, and did we mention we have more in Pinal County?

BLITZER: No.

KING: OK. So, we come up here --

HOBBS: Forty-one -- yes.

KING: OK. So you have more in Gila County?

HOBBS: Oh, Gila is very minimal, less than 500 in Gila County.

KING: Right. And here's -- and you said in Coconino, there is still a significant amount?

HOBBS: Thirteen thousand.

KING: Thirteen thousand. Again, so you're looking here at 63 percent for the former vice president.

This is why they're voicing confidence in the Biden campaign because the larger counties that have the larger number of counties are blue counties. Let's just move right through this now.

In Sedona, Yavapai, am I saying that right?

HOBBS: Yavapai, yeah.

KING: Yeah, are there more outstanding there?

HOBBS: Eighty-five hundred.

KING: Eighty-five hundred. So, again, you see, you know, the president is carrying this county.

Can I ask you, Madam Secretary, if we go through this and show the county, in other states, we are seeing, even in the Republican areas, the Democratic preference to vote by mail and to vote early is significantly higher. So, Joe Biden, even like in Pennsylvania, as we've been counting, in Georgia we've been counting, even in Republican counties, the Democrats have a lopsided advantage when it comes to those ballots.

Do you know? Are you seeing the same thing in Arizona?

HOBBS: I'm sorry, you cut out a little bit, so I didn't hear all of your question.

The Democrats here definitely have an advantage in early votes and in the early votes that were turned in early, which is not normal. Normally, they're the ones holding on to them until the end and dropping them off those last couple of days, which is why we don't really know those -- the ballots being counted right now in normal years, they would trend Democratic and that -- we're not sure if that's what's happening right now.

So --

KING: That's a great point. And, obviously, we did see the last time we got an installment from Maricopa County, President Trump actually narrowed Joe Biden's lead. I think that's the point you're making, that in this most unusual election year, the patterns that you've seen in the past are not necessarily playing out as the count unfolds this year. So --

BLITZER: I -- I just want to button up, Madam Secretary, the whole -- you haven't seen any evidence of any major irregularities, fraud, anything along those lines. So far, everything has been completely smooth in Arizona, is that right?

HOBBS: Yes. Absolutely.

BLITZER: That's good to hear. Well, thank you so much, Madam Secretary. Thanks so much for all your good work. We are grateful to you, grateful to all the poll workers and everyone in Arizona. This is really important work.

David Chalian, you're getting new information about Arizona, as well. What are you picking up?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, again, state of play, obviously -- 67,906 votes Joe Biden has in terms of a lead over Donald Trump, 50.5 percent to 48.1 percent. But you just heard the secretary, take a look at the outstanding ballot. It's roughly a universe of 450,000 votes outstanding to be counted and two of this-thirds of that come from the population center of Maricopa County. Out of those 450,000 votes, Joe Biden needs 41 percent to 43 percent

of them, he needs 41 to 43 percent in order to hang on to his lead and win the state. Donald Trump needs 55 to 58 percent of what comes in of the uncounted votes to win. Now, you just heard, if indeed, the trend is that the Monday-Tuesday ballots are leaning a little bit more Trump, perhaps he can over-perform his current statewide 48 percent and achieve that goal.

[16:55:01]

We have to see those votes get counted, Wolf.

BLITZER: We will get numbers, I suspect, at some point and see what's happening in Arizona right now.

The Pennsylvania secretary of state is expected to speak soon as President Trump's lead in the commonwealth drops to what are 90,000 votes, and it has just dropped again, 90,542. Not many left to be counted.

We are watching all of this, ELECTION NIGHT IN AMERICA continues right after this.

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[17:00:00]