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Trump's Lead Narrows In Pennsylvania; Biden Takes The Lead In Georgia; Trump Stages Attempt To Undermine Votes As His Path To 270 Evaporates. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired November 6, 2020 - 05:30   ET

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


[05:30:00]

AL SCHMIDT, CITY COMMISSIONER, PHILADELPHIA (via Cisco Webex): Morning, and we've been counting for the past several hours. And I expect you'll see another update in the next hour or two.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: In the next hour or two, you think we'll get it. So sometime between now and 7:30 a.m., right? How many votes?

SCHMIDT: I can't say just yet.

LEMON: OK.

All right, so we have been watching these votes come in from Philadelphia through the night and it's helping Joe Biden close the gap. You heard where Phil Mattingly said that they were coming in, a lot of them from the Democratic strongholds in the southeast -- in the southeastern part of the state, which includes Philadelphia.

So how long before the counting is complete, do you think?

SCHMIDT: Well, the counting in Philadelphia has continued uninterrupted from the beginning. We had a brief pause yesterday for about two hours as a result of some litigation, but it's just critically important that we continue counting every eligible vote cast by voters in Philadelphia.

We got about 360,000 total mail-in ballots in Philadelphia. We've counted about a little over 306,000 -- around 306,000 and have 50-some thousand yet to report. And as I've said, we've been counting for the past few hours and we'll have another update for you shortly.

LEMON: OK. So listen, all 50,000 -- there's 50,000 in the next couple of hours.

Let me just -- let me just go through the numbers here because I just -- I just looked them up. So, you said it was -- let's see, its own site showing there in Philadelphia, about 305,939 votes counted. That's the almost-400,000 that you talked about, correct?

SCHMIDT: Yes, and just to clarify, we have about 50,000 left to report. We will have an update in the next couple of hours. That's not the full 50,000, that I know -- but I can't say -- I can't say just yet how many that will be.

LEMON: OK, that was my next question then is would it be all the 50,000, and you cannot -- why can't you say that? Is it just you don't know or you're being coy, you'd rather not. Why can't you say it?

SCHMIDT: Well, we all have -- you know, it's important that we all do this in the right way and that we report information in the -- you know, the official channels like we -- like we always do.

LEMON: And do you agree that they're going to come in from the Democratic strongholds, correct -- what Phil said?

SCHMIDT: Well, in Philadelphia County, applications for mail-in ballots were roughly 16 to one Democratic to Republican.

LEMON: OK.

SCHMIDT: And while not everybody votes, you know, their party affiliation, the results certainly skewed that way.

LEMON: OK.

Let's talk about what we heard from the president not too many hours ago, out saying last night that votes there in Philadelphia should be thrown out because observers haven't been able to do their jobs there. His tweet has already been labeled misleading.

You are a Republican. You have been there every single day. You actually helped out with how this would all work. Give us the truth, please, Commissioner.

SCHMIDT: Well, my party affiliation doesn't and shouldn't affect what's true and what is not true.

Observers from the Democratic Party and Republican Party from the Biden campaign and the Trump campaign have been in our counting area observing right up against where the process is taking place from the very beginning on election morning when the -- when we began this.

LEMON: So, observers have been there the entire time, including Republicans?

SCHMIDT: The entire time, entire time.

LEMON: So then, what is this dispute? Why are Republicans saying this -- not all, but some? Why, then, is the president saying this if observers from both the Republican Party and the Democratic Party have been there the entire time?

SCHMIDT: I can't really speak to what their motives might be.

I do know that we went to federal court yesterday and a federal judge agreed with our position. You know, we want to make sure that campaigns and parties have the transparency that they are -- you know, deserve and are obliged to have in the Pennsylvania election code. I would also add that we have a livestream on our election counting process 24 hours a day, and if you have trouble sleeping you should take a look at it. It's very calming, it's very mechanical and methodical --

(LAUGHTER)

SCHMIDT: -- going on. Although I doubt any of us are going to have trouble sleeping.

LEMON: OK.

Listen, I've got to run. But real quickly, what do you want people to know out there because there are a lot of concerned people, both Democrats and Republicans? You've got the president's supporters saying this is -- they're listening to the president -- this is somehow a fraudulent process. And then you have Democrats worried that their rightful votes may be taken away.

SCHMIDT: You know, all these election boards in the country, including ours, have to just stay focused on our jobs and continue counting votes. It does feel sometimes a little like you're under siege right outside.

[05:35:09]

Last time I joined you from our counting room floor. Now, it looks like I'm joining you almost from an undisclosed location somewhere, which is just my office here.

But just so many people working so hard to count the votes of voters who cast eligible votes on or before Election Day.

LEMON: All right.

Thank you, Commissioner Al Schmidt. We appreciate it.

And viewers, you heard from --

SCHMIDT: Thank you.

LEMON: -- Al Schmidt there. He is saying there are about 50,000 votes left to be counted there. There should -- we should know something in about two hours -- within two hours. Not all of the 50,000, he said, but he wouldn't tell us how many.

So, things are changing in real time here and if you're just waking up, you probably went to bed seeing some numbers and now they are all different. Joe Biden has now pulled ahead in Georgia -- ahead of the president -- and there is still a very small margin with Trump leading in Pennsylvania.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:40:42]

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right, welcome back to our coverage.

We have a developing situation here. Joe Biden has, at least for the moment, taken over the lead in Georgia, and Pennsylvania may have some new information for us soon.

Phil Mattingly and I, Chris Cuomo, we were listening to a local official in Philadelphia talk about when more votes may be coming. It could be soon. And we now have a better idea of how much.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and I think those are the two important items here. We know that Philadelphia is going to report sometime in the next hour-hour and a half. We don't know how much they're going to report but we know what's left, and we know what's left is 50,000 votes.

So I just want to do some of the back-of-the-envelope math here when you're looking at where Pennsylvania stands. President Trump, right now, up by 18,229 votes. Philadelphia, right now, has an outstanding vote, all absentee ballots, of 50,000 votes.

So you look at this margin right now, 80.5 percent to 18.6 percent. Let's say out of that 50,000 votes you put that margin into those 50,000 votes. You would say based on that, Joe Biden would net -- would net 30,000 votes out of that group if you're going 80-20. And what I want to say here is 80-20 in Philadelphia, right now, in the mail-in ballots is conservative.

We've seen Philadelphia reporting over the course of the night. The last batch came in sometime around 1:00 a.m. It was somewhere between 86-87 percent for Joe Biden, so we're being conservative when we do this kind of back-of-the-envelope, top-of-the-head math.

If Joe Biden nets 30,000 votes just in Philadelphia -- and keep in mind, there is still outstanding mail-in ballots being tabulated right now in the other blue counties surrounding it -- the collar (ph) counties. Thirty thousand, when you're trailing by 18,229 --

CUOMO: Lead.

MATTINGLY: I'm not a -- not a math major --

CUOMO: Right.

MATTINGLY: -- but that will give Joe Biden a lead and a solid lead that is only, if you look at what is still outstanding in this area right here -- if you know there's still 36,000 votes to be counted in Pittsburgh and those votes have been 77-78 percent to Joe Biden -- that gives him a 12,000-13,000 vote lead. With all that outstanding still, probably about 100 -- roughly 100,000 ballots left outstanding in the entire state.

This is why we've been talking about this all night. I've been a little bit forward on this in terms of where Pennsylvania is going, likely over the course of the next couple of hours because I and my good friend, Harry, over there -- we've been trying to work through this thing. It makes pretty clear the pathway that we're about to follow in the next couple of hours.

CUOMO: Tell us.

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR WRITER AND ANALYST, CNN POLITICS: There ain't no way that Joe Biden doesn't take the lead in Pennsylvania based upon what is left in Philadelphia, right?

CUOMO: Why so confident?

ENTEN: Why I'm so confident? For exactly the reasons that Phil is talking about, right?

You have 50,000 votes there. You've got Joe Biden, who is netting a 60-point margin of those votes. It should jump him out based upon that math, even if you are conservative, right? A 60-point margin, 80 to 20, just based on all of Philadelphia.

And we know the mail-in votes lean even more Democratic than the overall Philadelphia population. It should net him, say, 30,000 being conservative. And right now, the margin in the state of Pennsylvania for Donald Trump is 18,229. And I wouldn't be surprised based upon what I think is probably the distribution of the vote-by-mail that, in fact, nets him closer to 35,000 or even 40,000 votes.

So it's just, to me, clear -- it's just math, Chris -- it's just math. It's just there for him right now. I don't -- I just don't know what else to say.

CUOMO: Well, try to say the answer to this, which is then after Philadelphia, based on what we suspect is left overall in the state, what could it mean for Joe Biden at the end of the day?

ENTEN: I wouldn't be surprised at the end of the day, if the current math holds, that Joe Biden ends up with a margin in the state of Pennsylvania. Again, if it holds.

CUOMO: Yes.

ENTEN: A 50,000 to 100,000-vote margin in the state of Pennsylvania, to me, seems quite doable based on the math that is out there.

CUOMO: So why wouldn't it hold?

MATTINGLY: So -- well, let me show you where Harry's getting that from, first, OK?

CUOMO: Yes.

MATTINGLY: So we went through Philadelphia. Let's go next door to Philadelphia -- Delaware County. There is nine percent hanging out here and I think about 9,000 votes -- maybe 9,000 ballots. Again, I'm trying to go off the top of my head.

You look at that margin there. The margin has been more generous to Joe Biden in the mail-in ballots. So, that's Delaware County.

You come up here, still give percent left in Chester. That's obviously blue.

You still have five percent left in Montgomery. It's a little bit here. It's not a huge amount of vote. We're talking 4,000 or 5,000 votes here.

Still a little bit in Bucks. A little bit of a tighter margin here but Bucks has moved heavily Democratic as they have started counting mail- in ballots. Bucks was leaning Trump -- was a President Trump lead yesterday, at this point in time, and now it is blue.

[05:45:07]

So that's where Harry is getting it from. He's going through where the vote is outstanding. The vote is outstanding, strongholds, and the vote is all vote-by-mail.

So to your question. If you are President Trump and you're looking at the state of Pennsylvania right now, what is your hope? Well, you look at where there's still vote outstanding and there's not a ton -- there's not a ton left. And you're looking at the red -- here's the problem. The red -- even the vote-by-mail is coming in Democratic.

So, you've got problems in the Trump campaign but have to count, have to wait and see. We'll see what comes in over the course of the next couple of hours.

CUOMO: An exhaustive analysis, and thank you, and thank you. The short answer is Pennsylvania may change hands and do so in the next few hours.

What a night we've had. Let's see what happens next, together.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:50:05]

CUOMO: What will be the state of play between these two campaigns when they wake up this morning and they see what has changed overnight?

Let's discuss with Errol Louis, Margaret Talev, and Alex Burns. Good to see each and all.

Margaret, what do we know about how the president and his team are dealing with the news about Georgia changing hands and Pennsylvania getting dangerously close to the same fate?

MARGARET TALEV, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST, POLITICS AND WHITE HOUSE EDITOR, AXIOS: Well, Chris, good morning.

A lot has changed overnight but, of course, the president and his team could see a lot of this coming last night. And so, you may have been watching the president at the podium last night and thinking what is going on over at the White House?

My colleague, Jonathan Swan, has some overnight reporting that shows that behind the scenes just before President Trump went out there and made several baseless claims about election integrity, there are recriminations, concerns, angst, fear, frustration both among White House staff, the campaign, and many of those surrogates who you see usually go out on T.V. and support the president.

There's tremendous frustration inside Trump world at Fox News, both for calling those Arizona results early and setting a tone on election night. And also, intense frustration and fear last night.

They're concerned that Fox might actually be the one to call the race for Biden overall. No one has done that yet. These numbers are moving, of course, as we speak. But that's the real frustration because the feeling is if it were Fox to call it, it would be tremendously bad for optics -- which, as we know, is really important to the president.

And these surrogates, when they look back at George W. Bush's time in 2000, remembering James Baker being the face out in front -- a really credible voice who could reach across the partisan aisle. These surrogates saying now having Rudy Giuliani, and Pam Bondi, and Corey Lewandowski as your version of Jim Baker are also maybe not what the country wants to see.

So a lot of unraveling behind the scenes.

CUOMO: You know, Errol -- first of all, Margaret, thank you very much for sharing that with us and thank your colleague as well.

Errol, let's take another step down crazy town here for one second. Because this isn't just your run of the mill President Trump pernicious lie where he's trying to tear something down. This is, by definition, seditious.

This is the president saying you should not trust this, you should be angry. It is intentionally against me.

And by the way, correlation is not causation, but then, what do we find in Philadelphia -- the same place that was worried about having more Trump folk too close to the people counting ballots? A Humvee is detained by authorities. They find a weapon and they arrest somebody who wanted to get into the polling center, and not for good reason.

Just how high on the list of bad acts is what we heard from the president last night?

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, POLITICAL ANCHOR, SPECTRUM NEWS, HOST, "YOU DECIDE" PODCAST: Well, it is historic. It's really very far beyond the usual kind of mistruths that we hear from the -- from the White House. This is really dangerous territory, as you suggest.

It's also an interesting challenge to news organizations. I mean, I was struck by the fact that the broadcast networks cut away from the president as he was speaking about a very important topic in real time.

I think a lot of folks have really decided that this is just not worth giving the benefit of the doubt to somebody who has abused that doubt -- has abused that benefit over and over and over again.

I don't know if he expected or wants to see disruption at the polls. It would certainly, I think, lend some credence to his otherwise baseless claims if he felt that a lot of people, as the president likes to say, think the election was stolen.

Now, he was telegraphing this for weeks. We know exactly what was going to happen.

CUOMO: Yes.

LOUIS: We know that there are mail-in ballots that happen routinely in many, many states -- probably most states, actually -- and a lot of that is by operation of state law so that nothing illegal is happening.

He has, nevertheless, chosen to try and divide people and act as if something is happening that is illegal. And he said it only -- I mean, he really telegraphed it, again, Chris. He said weeks ago that if he was behind -- if it looked like he was losing, this would be his tactic, and we're watching it play out in real time -- very unfortunate.

CUOMO: As the name of the podcast goes, you decide. And he decided to go after early voting as illegitimate and waved his people away from it. And now, he can thank that for not having the ability to compete in early vote -- early voting -- mail-in voting with people who wanted to vote for Joe Biden.

So that -- Alex Burns, that takes us to what's the next step. What can he do if his theory is the only way I get to add here is by subtracting from Biden, and that means getting rid of his votes?

[05:55:06]

ALEX BURNS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST, NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Well, Chris, based on what we know now, the answer is he can't do very much. That there have been all of these lawsuits filed over the last couple of days. None of them seems to carry much weight legally and they've gotten a pretty chilly reception in the courts so far.

He can request recounts. They've already -- the Trump campaign has already said they will do that in Wisconsin, but you're looking at a margin of more than 20,000 votes in that state. And when there was a recount there four years ago, it changed -- it changed 131 votes in the presidential race. So not much for him to work with there.

The litigation that we were so focused on before Election Day in Pennsylvania where the president and Republicans were stepping in to try to stop the counting of certain mail-in ballots all concerned ballots that arrived after Election Day. So those are not even the votes that we're talking about right now in Pennsylvania.

So the president doesn't have a whole lot of options and that's why I think you are hearing this focus from him and his allies, as Margaret was describing, on the optics of this.

This fixation on who is calling what states and when strikes me as almost totally misguided because a television network saying that a state has gone for Joe Biden is not what makes the state go for Joe Biden. The votes are what make a state go for Joe Biden. And right now, it doesn't look like, based on the math that we have in front of us, like the president has enough votes or enough pathways to get votes in order to change the tide of the election.

CUOMO: Alex Burns, Margaret Talev, Errol Louis, thank you to each and all, and appreciate living a day in history with all of you.

The vote is still taking shape. The moment that we get new results, and we just got flagged by a Pennsylvania official that they may happen on our watch, we will tell you as well.

Let's take a quick break. Stay with CNN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)