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Nation Awaits a Winner, Biden Closes In. Pennsylvania and Georgia are in Play for Biden. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired November 6, 2020 - 04:00   ET

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


[04:00:00]

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to CNN's breaking news coverage. Election night in America continues and continue it does. I'm Chris Cuomo along with the man D Lemon. And Don, we've had things change overnight in a fundamental way in Georgia.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Oh man, and where did the time go? It went from Monday to Friday in all like one fell swoop.

CUOMO: Got the same suit on.

LEMON: You're right. Listen, even on this early Friday morning the path for Joe Biden is much clearer. It becomes clearer now. He picked up, Chris, thousands more votes in Pennsylvania, that further narrows the gap there while a nervous President is crying, stop the count, is really going crazy on social media right now. And the Trump lead in Georgia, it's only just a few hundred votes apart. Shrinking fast is that lead that the President had just hours ago. So, we've got a lot to watch in the overnight hours.

CUOMO: Boy I'll tell you, what a study in contrast. You have our President shouting baseless claims at the same time fellow citizens volunteering across the country to give a basis to claims about who should be the next President of the United States. And we know why he wants to stop the count except in Arizona because the count is going against him.

And what we're seeing is specifically in the state of Georgia, we have a real situation to watch. It has changed just in the last hour. So, let's get to a key race alert. Here it is, 16 electoral votes, dead heat, 463 votes separate the two men. It just shifted just a few minutes ago. Why? Small batches coming in from Clayton County. All right. So, let's check in there. We actually have Nick Valencia in Jonesboro, Georgia, which is of course, part of Clayton County. Good to have you, my friend.

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Chris, we just got here in the last hour. It appears they may be done for the night. We did try to go in there to go live a little while ago. But there isn't anyone on site to give us permission. So, I did get some footage off my cell phone, which I that we have here to play you. I want to tell you what I saw inside. There was two rooms here separated by a wall. In one room there was

about 20 poll workers who just looked exhausted. I asked one on their way to a break how long they had been there, and they said they didn't remember. What we saw was them counting ballots, it appeared. After that, they stuffed them into a ballot box which was then transferred into a room next door, where it appeared that they were loading them into some sort of voting machine, perhaps a scanner. Where then they're uploaded -- as we understand it -- to the state.

Just within the last 30 minutes activity has essentially come to a standstill. I mentioned that room of 20 workers, well they were sent home, and we saw several of them get into their car looking very tired after what is only -- can only be described as a marathon work shift here counting through the night. I mentioned activity has come to a standstill. There's only about a dozen or so poll workers inside that room.

Just about 30 minutes ago, I mentioned they were scanning those ballots. But right now, I just took a peek and there's absolutely nothing happening in there right now.

With these votes though, we know that the Secretary of State's web site is not going to be updating until later this morning, but they are being uploaded directly to the county's site, which is how we're getting them reported out. And as it stands right now, there's a very slim margin separating President Trump, his lead here against Joe Biden. 463 votes and that margin is closing fast. At this point, Chris and Don, it only appears, or it seems at this point it's just inevitable until we get the next update and Joe Biden slings into the lead here.

CUOMO: Nick, appreciate it. We've seen people coming and going in their cars behind you. Amazing work they are doing through the night. Thank you very much, stay safe, you and the team. State of play, 253 to 213. But it's all about the blocks that aren't colored in. Those are the states that are in play. And two of them will probably make the difference in this election for exactly how to the magic wall with Phil Mattingly -- Phil.

Ms. Dozer said that they were going to work through the night. I think you got to give them some credit for that at 4:00 in the morning. I mean, these folk -- and they've been delivering multiple batches of votes since we spoke to her a few hours ago and they've made a difference that takes us right down to the wire.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right down to the wire.

[04:05:00]

Look, put this in context, this is, what, 4.9 million votes -- 4.9 million votes in the state separated by 463 -- 463 right now. And if you're looking around at the outstanding vote, you're probably feeling a little bit more comfortable if you're in the Biden campaign than you are the Trump campaign. I'll explain why. First, we'll with what we were talking about, just were Nick was, Clayton County. This is where we have been seeing vote throughout the course of the night. It's a Democratic county. It is a big Democratic county. The margin that you see right there is not even reflected in the margin that we've actually been getting in the batches of vote that's coming out. We have had them in a couple hundred at a time. But the hundred at a time coming in, and Joe Biden's been hitting 86, 87, 88 percent in what we have been seeing.

Why does that matter? That is more than enough if he sticks on that track to surpass Donald Trump. We knew based on the last batch we got. We think there's somewhere between 1,500 and 2,000 votes still outstanding in Clayton County. So, we'll see. Maybe they uploaded them. They could come on the site soon. We'll what happens when that happens.

But the reality is when you look at the numbers, when you look at the margins, the remainder of Clayton should put Joe Biden ahead in total on the state. So, I think the bigger question right now is, what's left outstanding outside of Clayton? We know at some point later this morning, Gwinnett County has about 4,700 votes that still need to be recorded. They were counted. We'll see where that comes in. Obviously, a Democratic county. That should be beneficial to Joe Biden.

I think the bigger question -- we've talked about it a couple times -- Forsyth County, Lawrence County, a little bit down to the south, those are Republican counties where President Trump has a pretty decent margin. Those are counties, both of them have a little more than a thousand votes that still need to be tabulated and reported out.

What does that do for President Trump? Is that enough to stop the bleeding? Is that enough to either stop Joe Biden from overtaking him or if Joe Biden overtakes with Clayton County vote or Gwinnett County vote? Does that give him an opportunity to come back and get back into the lead?

The one thing to keep in mind, and I think this has been the case in several state that we've covered over the course of the last couple days, just because it's a Republican stronghold county, and just because Republicans are leading with a pretty wide margin in a county, if it's a mail-in vote, even in those counties it has been trending Democratic. It has been leaning Democratic. So, it doesn't necessarily mean that we have wait and see.

That's the outstanding vote right now. Probably five, six counties, we're expecting a decent chunk, -- not a decent chunk as in tens of thousands. We're talking hundreds and then thousands. That's what's outstanding. We're down to 10,000 or so votes left in the state right now, and then provisionals and military. This is going to be very tight no matter what. It looks, at least based on what Clayton is doing right now. That Joe Biden is going to overtake as some point in the next hour or so.

CUOMO: All right, and we're talking about Georgia because if the President loses the lead here, and it stays that way, he can't win the election. That's why. He has to win Georgia. He has to win other states as well, obviously, but it's a must do for him, not for Joe Biden. But obviously every state Biden gets gives him a much different opportunity.

For Biden we have been talking mostly about Pennsylvania. Why? If Biden wins Pennsylvania, it's won and done. I would be dispositive on the election, He would get 270 plus electrical votes, and that's it. It's over. We saw a couple of changes there. Then it went quiet. What's the state of play?

MATTINGLY: The state of play right now is Joe Biden is down 18,229 votes to Donald Trump. We know that there's about 160,000 votes that we are waiting to be tabulated, counted and then reported out. The issue if you are the Trump campaign right now, is the bulk of the outstanding vote is coming in counties that look like this -- that are blue.

Most notably the only results we've really seen over the course of the last couple of hours have come from the city of Philadelphia. Obviously, Philadelphia County and the city are the same thing. And they have come in big for Joe Biden, 86, 87 percent margins. That is more than enough to put him over the top.

The big question right now in Pennsylvania, I'll be frank, the big question right now is when does Joe Biden overtake. That's the reality on the ground right now. Where the outstanding vote is, is southeastern Pennsylvania. Everything you see that's blue here are counties that have outstanding vote. That's what the Biden campaign is waiting for. That's what they believe will put them over the top, and soon.

CUOMO: All right, you identify the condition. Let's get a little bit deeper into it. We have Kristen Holmes on the voting desk with a little bit of a deeper look into where the vote is in Pennsylvania, which way it could break. Thank you for being with us.

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Chris. So, you know, Phil was talking about all of this being in these Democratic counties, but part of it is also the way that these ballots were cast. And we know there has been a huge outstanding number of absentee ballots that have broke for Joe Biden in the state of Pennsylvania.

So, let's talk about how many are left and what that looks like. 163,501 absentee ballots left to be counted. The margin is still roughly around 18,000 here. So, Phil is talking about Biden overtaking Trump. There are plenty of ballots to go overtake and go beyond that. And again, when we talk about absentee ballots, we are talking about huge margins that we have seen in Pennsylvania going for Joe Biden over Donald Trump.

Now specifically, let's go to Philadelphia. 305,000 mail-in ballots have already been counted.

[04:10:00]

Now we are down to the last 60,000 left to count. Now, we were trying to see if there was going to be some sort of data on this overnight. We've still have not gotten new numbers in hours. But we're watching it very closely here.

Also, in Philadelphia, we can talk about this quickly. We mentioned it last time, is those provisional ballots. Now these are only going to come into play if the margin is really slim. And I'm talking to a lot of Democrats on the ground there who are feeling really good. They don't think that they're going to even need any sort of provisional ballots in areas like Philadelphia because they think the margin is going to end up being so big in Biden's favor because of all these absentee ballots.

The other place we're talking about, of course, Allegheny County, that is Pittsburgh area, 36,000 mail-in ballots left to be counted there, including 29,000 that can't be counted until 5:00 p.m. on Friday. But again, we're talking about margins here. It's not just these two counties. All of the counties that are outstanding or most of them, it's absentee ballots that are outstanding.

As Phil has said multiple times tonight, Chris, you have said as well. Even in those Republican counties, the remaining ballots that are absentee ballots are skewing heavily Democratic. So, any Democrat who is looking at this, any Biden supporter, the Biden campaign themselves, they're feeling very good about where they stand right now.

CUOMO: Let me ask you something, in terms of timing and process, when we talk about the provisional ballots, and the damaged ballots, are people aware, do they have a mechanism in Pennsylvania for you to track your ballot so that you know that your ballot is one of the damaged ones? Provisional is a little different, you probably know if you were given a provisional ballot, and then it becomes whether or not that ballot could be cured. Certainly, cure is going to be the issue, fixing, cure with the damaged ones. What do we know about any of that?

HOLMES: OK, so there's a couple of things about that. The first is when it comes to provisional ballots, they have seven days to go over that, and that's very different. There's not a curing process in that because they still have to get processed, go through all of that. Most of those provisional ballots are done at a voting place. So, it's not the same as mail-in.

So, when we talk about damaged ballot, there's two separate things going on. You have the damage that is just that the scanner couldn't read it. So, it doesn't necessarily mean that a signature didn't match or there's any kind of issue there. What it might mean is that you put an X through one because you made the wrong circle and have to circle the other one.

So, here's what happened. It's actually very, very, interesting. And someone in Erie County told me it's like this across the state and walk me through the process. When that happens, there is a committee that goes through all of those ballots when there are issues, and they try to decide the voter's intent. So, for example, if I put the wrong circle, crossed it out and I circled the right one. There is a committee, bipartisan that looks at it and says, OK, clearly, they wanted to vote for this person. So, they manually put it in, and that is how that vote is counted.

This is a time consuming process and this bipartisan committee, when they talk about how this voter intent was to be, they have to have a majority vote in order to move that forward. So, it is again, a very time consuming process.

Now when it comes to curing ballots. That is when what you're talking about with the signatures or those minor mistakes, this is actually the subject of Trump lawsuit that was a win for the Trump campaign just today. The Secretary of State had said that people had until November 12th, to come back and fix those minor mistakes or to cure their ballot, fix the signature, now it is November 9th and that is because the Trump campaign pushed back on that. So that is a shorter window there, and that was a Trump campaign win in their ongoing litigation -- Chris.

CUOMO: You know, it's just another interesting window into intent here. If you're a populist and you're trying to empower people and get away from the elites and the institutions, why would you cut their time to fix their own ballot unless what you want to do is make sure not one person more votes than absolutely has to.

That was a great answer. Thank you very much for helping us figure that out. Ordinarily, it wouldn't matter but, in this race, this tight, they could come into play. Thank you very much, Kristen. All right let's take a break. Our late night election coverage continues next.

[04:15:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: We're watching the numbers. Let's get this key race alert. And there it is, Pennsylvania. Look at that, competitive as ever. The President has a small lead over the former Vice President so we're waiting on votes there. 95 percent of the vote in but where those votes come from, that can make all the difference there and we believe that it will.

Let's bring in former Michigan governor, Jennifer Granholm, also Scott Jennings and Ron Brownstein. Welcome back. So, governor, we were talking about the changing demographics in Georgia before, and how Georgia is now competitive when it comes to the Democrats. But if you at what's happening in Pennsylvania, the Democrats lost Pennsylvania in 2016. Even if you want to look over to Arizona, Arizona now in play for the Democrats. What is going on here?

JENNIFER GRANHOLM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think one of the reasons is that Joe Biden was really strategic about making sure he did two things, one, is that he got his base out. And the second thing is that he did not turn away from trying to persuade those Obama/Trump voters, both were important. But what he did was cut the margins of those working class voters that Trump won by like in Michigan, 31 points. He cut it, brought it down to like 15 points and even though he may not have won the rural districts, he did less bad and that made all the difference. You cannot just seed the territory like I said before. I think Joe

Biden had a winning formula. And I think he will continue to do that. And when he uses the word all, I'm going to be the President for all America, that really speaks to all America, and it's a wise strategy.

[04:20:02]

LEMON: What's behind the numbers, Ron, because if you look at the numbers that are coming in, Arizona is a little bit different. It seems to be moving, at least trending now in the President's direction. But we don't know if that will hold. If you look at what's happening in Pennsylvania, look at what's happening in Georgia, even in the red counties, the votes that coming back now are mail-in votes, early votes. It's going to -- it's in Joe Biden's favor.

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, yes, and that's really a function of who chose to vote by mail given the President's warnings against it. But to Governor Granholm's point, I think we have a nationalized politics to the greatest, greatest extent I have seen in my lifetime, and we may and possible the 20th since the, you know, dawn of the modern party system. Where basically, we have the same politics in every state.

I mean, in every state now, whether we're talking about Atlanta or Pennsylvania or even now Arizona and Texas, much less Colorado and Virginia, you could draw an imaginary beltway around the metro centers, the biggest population centers of those states and Democrats are doing better within that beltway. While Republicans and Trump are doing better at consolidating outside of that beltway.

As we said in the last hour, the four big suburban counties outside of Philadelphia. Joe Biden is now leading by 275,000 votes, that's 100,000 more than Hillary Clinton, and 150,000 more than Obama in 2012. Montgomery County I think is where the "Philadelphia Story" took place. I mean it's rich people who are like Republicans, main line Republicans where the phrase they used. Lyndon Johnson was the only Democrat who won it in the 20th century until 1992. Even Franklin Roosevelt didn't win Montgomery County.

Right now, Joe Biden is up by 139,000 votes. And that's true as we're talking about in Gwinnett and Cobb outside of Atlanta. It's what's shifting in Maricopa. It's what's shifting even in Dallas, Houston and their suburbs.

But the flip side of it is that Republicans are getting bigger and bigger margins in these nonurban counties as Governor Granholm said, Joe Biden made some inroads, some inroads among blue collar whites in the north but in the south, Don, those margins are still towering for Republicans, and it is the biggest hurdle I think to Democrats ultimately flipping those states. The metro movement is enough now that Georgia's in play, Arizona's in play, Texas didn't quite get there, largely because of the Latinos, but it's on the same moving walkway.

LEMON: You're taking me back to the late '90s, early 2000s when I live in Philadelphia and I worked on the mainline. City Line Avenue separated the city from the mainline. And yes, so in Montgomery County, right there.

BROWNSTEIN: Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart and Katharine Hepburn.

LEMON: There you go. You're going a little bit before my time with that.

BROWNSTEIN: Probably a little bit before your time. That's how Republican it was though.

LEMON: Since Ron didn't really answer my question, Scott, something about the vote. But specifically, my question -- I wasn't as specific as I could have been. Did the President hurt himself by saying, you know, you got to get out there and vote and don't trust the mail and early voting this and pandemic that. Did he actually drive up the voting for Democrats, which may ultimately end up hurting him?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, look, I think culturally even before Donald Trump Republicans always wanted to be a group of people that voted on election day. A lot of Republicans see election day as sacred. They like the idea of putting the ballot in the box. And we saw that manifested itself this year. Now we --

LEMON: You don't think the proof in the turnout?

JENNINGS: Yes, absolutely, I mean look at the election day turnout. But what I was going to say, Don, is when Donald Trump says something, it causes Republicans to want to do it even more. And so, when he said don't vote by mail, vote in person, vote on election day, it exacerbated that even further. Now that's not inherently a bad thing. Obviously, you can win a lot of votes on election day, but you wonder in races that are this close, we've got just literally thousands of votes, you wonder out there, you know, how many votes that were lost that would have been mailed in by Republicans who didn't get to the polls.

Now turnout was quite high and it's probably not a huge number. My advice to the party moving forward is, don't denigrate any method of voting because you need every single vote you can get. Look how close the races are, and to denigrate any method, if it costs even a few votes per precinct, it can obviously be fatal.

LEMON: The two obviously --

GRANHOLM: In fact, I would say -- I mean in fact, I would that Republicans would want to embrace vote by mail -- vote by mail now. I mean the great news about this election is that we have now expanded significantly vote by mail options and it's not going to go back. And I think you can learn a lesson from what's happened in these slow count places like in Pennsylvania and certainly, in Wisconsin.

[04:25:00]

And Pennsylvania where the Republicans in the legislature refused to expand the count of the vote by mail options before the election like they did in Florida or in North Carolina. And what ended up happening is you have all of this stuff late because Republicans thought it would help to feed the President's narrative after the election. And that's really unfortunate. But I think the good news is that vote by mail is here. They've worked out a lot of the kinks and in the next elections you're going to see a huge expansion of participation.

LEMON: Well here's what I -- well, and it happened this time. I thought it was a good thing that Americans have more time to vote. They weren't just rushing out. I got to get back to work and getting out of line because they couldn't stay. They got to go feed their kids and the babysitter has got to leave and all that. I thought it was a good thing that more people got to vote this time, regardless of who they were supporting. Let's stand by, we'll get back to you in a little bit.

BROWNSTEIN: Highest turnout since women were able to vote.

LEMON: Yes, but standby.

BROWNSTEIN: And that's a bit part of the reason. Because mail made it easier. Look at Harris County.

LEMON: Ron, you got to stand back and stand by.

JENNINGS: Come on, Don.

LEMON: I got to get to the break.

All right. Look, how many cliches can I get in here. The votes still coming in. The ground is shifting right under our feet. We're going to keep an eye on it. We'll be right back. We're going to have some key race alerts.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CUOMO: All right we have just had a huge change in the state of this election. Phil Mattingly, what just happened in Georgia.

MATTINGLY: We have a new match of votes. It came in from Clayton County and the development is huge. I'm going to do some math with you. Stick with me for a second. What we have from Clayton County is Joe Biden picked up 1,602 votes, Donald Trump picked up 222 votes. That nets out for Joe Biden, 1,380.