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Biden Team Pushing GOP, Allies To Validate Result If He Wins; Trump Pushes Baseless Claims Of Massive Voter Fraud. Aired 7:30-8a ET
Aired November 6, 2020 - 07:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: With Jeff Zeleny. He's in Wilmington, Delaware for us right now with the Biden campaign. Jeff, tell us that latest. What is the strategy for the Biden team today?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, good morning.
The Biden campaign, of course, is waking up to watching these results just the same as everyone else is, but they are doing something different.
They took note of the president's dire tone last evening in the White House, I'm told, and they are beginning to mount a different type of campaign here at the end of this race. And that is to reach out to old friends from the Senate, old allies from a lifetime in public service, and to get them, once this race is called, to speak to the legitimacy of this election.
This is something that Joe Biden, likely, could never have imagined after first running for president more than 30 years ago that he would, indeed, have to try and validate his own election win, but that is what I'm told is going to happen.
So we will see -- if this race is called today or when it is, we will see a variety of old friends. They are looking for Republicans, as well, to speak to the legitimacy of the vote in Pennsylvania, in Georgia, in other states, as well as the overall sanctity of this process.
So even as they are preparing for what's ahead -- a transition, if that should happen -- they're also trying to prepare to make the argument here that this was a fair process. They are very well aware of what's happening back at the White House, Jake.
TAPPER: That's right. We're hearing a lot of false allegations with no evidence behind them from Republican leaders --
TAPPER: -- going on the president's favorite channel talking about things with a whole bunch of lies and misrepresentations. Joe Biden, there, taking the lead to try to beat that back. Jeff Zeleny, thanks so much.
Let's check in with Kaitlan Collins right now at the White House. Kaitlan, what is the president's team thinking today? They wake up if they went to sleep at all and Georgia is now in -- Biden has the lead there and the president's lead in Pennsylvania has been winnowing down quite a bit.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, and Jake, what really gives you an indication of how the president and his team are viewing what could be the final hours of this race since Biden has now taken this lead, I'm told that overnight, the Trump campaign attorneys were working at their headquarters in Arlington in an attempt to justify the president's, so far, baseless claims that this election is being stolen from him.
And in this attempt to do that, I'm told that they've set up a room dedicated to a hotline they created to take calls about voter fraud. Though, of course, there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud despite the insistence that you are hearing from the president and what you are hearing from his Republican allies who are now spouting his talking points.
And, Jake, this is something that we've seen so often in the Trump administration -- in the Trump years of this White House where the president makes a claim and then his aides have to work overtime after the fact to try to justify it.
And that appears to be what the president's campaign attorneys are doing right now, trying to find any kind of allegation of voter fraud so they feel like they have a leg to stand on here. But so far, of course, they have not found that. And they are trying to do that overnight. That's why they set up this hotline, I'm told.
But that really gives you a look into the window of how the Trump campaign is viewing this and how they're seeing the state of this race, and not saying hey, let's wait to see if we're going to get this lead in Arizona. Let's wait and see what the military ballots in Georgia say.
It's clearly evidence that they believe this campaign is slipping out of their hands and they are trying to make any kind of claim that they can to try to hang on to it while they still can -- even though we should note no evidence of widespread voter fraud in this race, Jake.
TAPPER: None at all despite all the false accusations being repeated on the president's favorite cable news channel.
Kaitlan Collins, thanks so much.
And let's talk about this. We should -- we should just underline this again. The nonsense that we're hearing from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Sen. Ted Cruz, Sen. Lindsey Graham is -- there's no evidence behind it. And beyond that, if you remove Donald Trump from the equation, Republicans had a great election night.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes.
TAPPER: A great one.
TAPPER: They picked up seats in the House, they held on to the Senate. Not a single House Republican -- not a single one was defeated.
Republicans kept all of their state legislators -- legislatures. Democrats didn't flip any of them in the entire country.
TAPPER: So this vast conspiracy that they are alleging with no evidence would suggest that Democrats, and the media, and big tech, and everybody did this but we all wanted Republicans to keep control of everything else.
TAPPER: It was just about Donald Trump.
It makes zero sense. Beyond there being no evidence, it makes zero sense and it just underlines how empty the whole argument is.
BASH: And a lot of that Republican strength was in states where the president is battling. In states that are presidential battlegrounds, not just places where Republicans did well on the congressional level.
And, you know, Kaitlan alluded to this but this is such a typical, classic Trump pattern, which is that he makes a claim and then searches for the evidence. There is no evidence. And you know what? That has worked for him in business, in politics, but it's really hard to get that done in a court of law because they demand evidence.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: And keep in mind the campaign actually had had poll watchers in all of these states. They were -- they tried aggressively to recruit thousands and thousands of Trump supporters to go look for this evidence as people were voting.
So the idea that they're now going back and saying well, if you saw something let us know tells me that in the process of actually voting, they weren't able to find this evidence. They're trying to gin it up right now.
And that's not a strong position to be in for a number of reasons beyond just how it doesn't make any logical sense that we would believe that Democrats somehow managed to give Mitch McConnell more time as Senate majority leader and -- you know, they did that but they also rigged the election.
TAPPER: Keep Lindsey Graham as the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. PHILLIP: Yes, right. They rigged the election against Donald Trump
but they kept Lindsey Graham and Mitch McConnell. Not only does that not make any sense but I think this is going to be a problem for them when they get into the courts.
The Trump campaign, just this morning, announced a legal team in four states --
PHILLIP: -- four states. They have to launch a massive legal undertaking to invalidate, frankly, a lot of votes in four states and that is really an uphill climb for them.
BASH: And --
TAPPER: And let's -- and let's keep in mind Arizona, Republican governor; Georgia, Republican governor; Nevada, Republican Secretary of State. And --
PHILLIP: Georgia -- the Republican Secretary of State in Georgia where Joe Biden is now leading.
BASH: Can I --
TAPPER: Right. So, I mean, there's no evidence of it.
But I think we need to even take a step back here. Donald Trump burst onto the political scene by lying and pushing forward a conspiracy theory that Barack Obama, the nation's first African-American president, was born in Africa. That was the suggestion -- that he wasn't an American citizen. Not true, a complete lie.
The last we heard from the president on that before he started running for president was he was going to send an investigator to Hawaii to get the evidence. As far as I know, that investigator's still looking for the evidence.
This is a person who puts forward lies, claims that they're true. We could go one after the other. Ted Cruz -- Donald Trump suggested that his dad had something to do with the Kennedy assassination. One after the other, after the other. Now he's doing it about the election. It -- there's no evidence for that, just like there was no evidence regarding Ted Cruz or Barack Obama.
BASH: And now, that very senator from Texas you just mentioned is out there doing the president's bidding. And this is just a reminder that no matter what happens at the end of the vote-counting, Donald Trump still has a stranglehold --
BASH: -- on the Republican Party.
Not only was there not an intervention, you had a number of enablers going out on the president's favorite network -- cable network -- or maybe it's not the favorite anymore now that they called Arizona -- and claiming that what the president's false allegations are are true.
TAPPER: And let's also just take a moment here to acknowledge the fact that Joe Biden is on the cusp of becoming the 46th President of the United States.
He's not there yet. We're still waiting for a projection of Pennsylvania. We're still waiting for a projection of Georgia, and Arizona, and Nevada.
He's not there yet but he's in a much better position than Donald Trump is. And that's likely going to happen today.
PHILLIP: Yes. And if you're Joe Biden, right now, you're looking over this landscape of a country that is not only deeply divided but where you have a sitting president who is doing what he told us he would do -- not accepting the results of the election. And thinking about how to lead in that kind of environment is really, I know, based on what I'm hearing from Democrats, top of mind for Joe Biden because this is an important time.
We're going to -- we're going to get some more information this morning about where things land. But then, the country is not going to be all there. The president is steeping his supporters in, as you pointed out, profound falsehoods, and that's not going to just go away just because Joe Biden gives a speech. I don't know what the answer is to that problem but it's a real one.
BASH: It is. You know, one could argue that any of the Democrats who ran for president for the Democratic nomination, Joe Biden is the most prepared to deal with this just because of his very long experience of working with Republicans, which got him in trouble during the primary when he was running.
TAPPER: Sure, absolutely.
BASH: But it's not just rhetoric that he reaches across the aisle -- he's done it. We've all watched it in the Senate and then in the White House when he was Obama's vice president.
And so, the question is going to be, assuming that this moment happens in any of these four states on the screen right now -- particularly, Pennsylvania is the one we're watching the closest -- how he's going to immediately go about that and then also keep the balance within his own party because there are a lot of progressives who are not going to be happy if he reaches out too far across the line.
TAPPER: It's a challenge for Joe Biden. It's also a challenge for Republicans who need to really come to grips with the fact --
TAPPER: -- that they need to decide which matters to them, the affection of Donald Trump or the United States of America. Because it's decision time now. You can't -- you can't -- you can't do both. If there is evidence of malfeasance, the Trump campaign should come
forward with it. Otherwise, they should stop the heated rhetoric. Somebody's going to get hurt. And in the meantime, it's time for Republicans to grow spines and talk to the president about what is best for the nation.
Thousands of votes are being counted right now in Philadelphia as Joe Biden closes in on President Trump's lead in Pennsylvania. We're standing by for new numbers expected soon, as our special coverage continues. Stay with us.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: And I want to show you live pictures of the votes being counted in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at 7:44 a.m. on the east coast. One hundred sixty-three thousand five hundred one votes still to be counted in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Trump, right now, up at 18,049 votes, though that lead has been shrinking steadily now for the last 24 hours or so. We should have an answer or at least a greater indication from Pennsylvania shortly.
Back here with our panel. A difficult day for both President Trump's campaign and for the Biden campaign.
Let's talk about the Biden campaign. It's very likely they will, today, have a pretty firm understanding of where the votes lead.
What are the -- how do -- how do they go about talking about the vote count where at the same time acknowledging this court battle that's about to take place?
DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, FORMER OBAMA SENIOR ADVISER: Look, I don't think they should -- they can acknowledge that a court battle is going to take place. I don't think they should necessarily dignify the court battle. They should acknowledge that that's the right of the president to do whatever he sees fit and the courts are open to him like any other American.
But when they get the votes, they should -- you know, when they get the Electoral College votes, they should -- I think they should acknowledge it.
I thought the reporting that Jeff Zeleny did was interesting, that Biden is going to reach out to old friends and allies, presumably on both sides of the aisle, and talk about ensuring a peaceful transition. I think that's very smart -- it's smart on the substance of it. It's also smart that Jeff knew about that and that he's reporting on it.
AXELROD: Because they're sending a message, which is this is a new day. We're putting this country back together. We're going to move past this regardless of what the president does. And it's time to turn the page.
COOPER: And for the Trump campaign, we -- there's reporting that attorneys for the president have been working the night at headquarters in Arlington. They have a room dedicated to a hotline taking tips about alleged voter fraud.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: But it sounds to me when they're doing that that they are sort of soliciting stuff. That already, they've told the country this is an illegitimate election and we've got problems. The president has been tweeting about it all morning, saying he easily won this election and they're not allowing observers in, which is not true.
And it seems to me that it's -- you know, they put the cart before the horse because this is what Donald Trump has done throughout his entire presidency. He goes out there and makes these charges, and then he sends people scattering all over to try and prove that what he has said is actually accurate, and that's not the way to do it.
As Chris Christie said this morning, you have to have the evidence first. You don't make the charge and then go out and say to people come prove it for me because we've already said this.
AXELROD: I woke --
BORGER: And that is what is occurring.
AXELROD: I woke up this morning to an e-mail from the Trump-Pence committee. I'm on their mailing list.
BORGER: Who isn't? Yes.
AXELROD: And it says David, the Democrats are trying to steal (in caps) the election. We will never let them do it. Votes cannot be cast after the polls are closed.
So, you know, they're not -- they're not standing down, they're -- you know, they're raising money off this. They're going down this path.
RICK SANTORUM, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, (R) FORMER U.S. SENATOR: No, they're not standing down and they -- you know, they are -- they are convinced because you say there's no evidence. So the answer is -- to that is -- and I'm sure the president has seen it because people have sent me lots and lots of information about, you know, here -- look at this. Look at this video, look at this testimonial.
I mean, there's all sorts of things out there across the Internet. I mean, we've all seen them. And so, what they're saying is look -- look at all this out here. Look at what's going on. That's --
BORGER: Look at these individual examples of things, yes.
SANTORUM: Look at all these individual examples.
BORGER: But is this -- does that mean there's this --
BORGER: -- widespread conspiracy to delegitimize Donald Trump's --
SANTORUM: Yes, so --
BORGER: -- victory here?
SANTORUM: Well, this gets back to the -- to the issue that Dana and I were talking about oh, six or seven hours ago, which is you say why are they picking on the city of Philadelphia? Why are they picking on the city of Detroit?
And I think -- and the answer is sort of -- what was it Jesse James says? You know, why do you rob banks? Well, because that's where the money is.
And we talked about how it's really hard to do fraud in America. One of the biggest reasons it's hard to do fraud in America is because they're all locally-run elections. Every little community runs their own election. Every -- and so, if you want to find massive -- if you want to find a lot -- a scale of fraud, you've got to go where there's lots of people where one group is running the election.
BORGER: But --
SANTORUM: And so that's why you -- I mean, look, I lived in Pennsylvania for a long, long time and we always said oh, in Philadelphia, they're doing it. Now again, we could never prove anything, right?
BORGER: That's right.
SANTORUM: It's never been proven. But the reason you point to there is because it's really the only place where there's a scale to impact the election.
BORGER: But, Rick, these videos you get, they can be manipulated. Welcome to America. Welcome to the Internet, OK?
SANTORUM: I understand that -- I understand that.
BORGER: So --
SANTORUM: But I can tell you I'm hearing from lots of people saying look, there's so much out there. Look at what's going on. And that's why it's important, in my opinion -- look, in a FISA court --
BORGER: Many people are saying, as Donald Trump would say.
SANTORUM: I understand that. That's why it's important to pause, check this out, walk through it, examine. I mean, I can't tell you the number of things I've gotten and I've checked it out. And I said you know what?
BORGER: But that's not what the president's --
SANTORUM: That's not true.
BORGER: But that's not what the president's doing.
SANTORUM: I understand what you're saying.
BORGER: He is saying it's a done deal, it's illegal -- that there's a conspiracy out there against me. Even though all these Republicans, by the way, did very well, as you pointed out last night and continue to point out, rightly so.
BORGER: But even though all these Republicans did really well, it's a conspiracy against me. So that means that what? I don't -- I can't even understand that.
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, FORMER OBAMA ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Whoa, whoa -- it means -- it means -- it means that we are really bad at conspiracies because we managed to like -- but I -- but I think that what the senator is talking about is important.
We're in a crisis of trust now. On our side, we feel like there's voter suppression.
JONES: That you guys don't want us to vote. That this is all just sort of like ginned up.
On our side, you feel like there's this evidence out there, whether -- you know, some of this stuff gets disproven very quickly but it's out there.
This is a moment, I think, for the country that we've got to take a pause and listen. Here's -- from my point of view, we're going to have a lot of Democrats who are in Washington today -- their Facebook feed is going to be full of this stuff. I want to empower all Americans to push back on the worst of it.
I -- the reason that this stuff -- the count is slow is because of anti-fraud measures and because, frankly, the president wanted this thing structured a certain way.
Some places you have some -- there's more people voting than were on the rolls. That's because of same-day voter registration. People are following the law.
So look, I think we've got to be able to push back on the worst of this stuff and when there are some isolated things -- and I'm not saying that 100 million people voted and nobody did anything wrong. Where there are isolated things, we should support the president going and challenging those. I think it's the broad brush that it's completely irresponsible --
SANTORUM: And you point out something that's very, very important, which is this lack of trust. And there -- you know, we are living in divided America and there's different silos. And we don't interact with each other and so we don't trust each other.
SANTORUM: I mean --
JONES: And that --
SANTORUM: -- I can tell you, I've heard this so many times. People say they will do whatever it takes to win --
JONES: That's how we feel.
SANTORUM: -- because they believe they're right and they are going to -- and they think anything justifies them --
BORGER: I see that.
SANTORUM: -- winning.
And now, I hear you say that about us.
SANTORUM: We hear it -- we say it about you. And so there is this automatic they have to be cheating --
BORGER: Which is why the courts --
SANTORUM: -- as though you'd do anything --
JONES: But --
BORGER: are a good place.
AXELROD: But here's -- I'm reading this e-mail. I want to make sure that I didn't misread it. It doesn't say that Democrats are trying to steal this election and as soon as we find evidence we'll let you know. They said the Democrats are trying to steal the election. So if people are not trusting maybe it's because they're being told that.
The president -- when the president --
SANTORUM: Both sides -- you can't play me on both sides.
AXELROD: If the president -- wait, Rick. The president has spent four years retweeting the wildest conspiracy theories and when you ask him about it -- and people believe it -- they read it. He's got a huge following. And then you ask him about it and he says well, I don't know, that somebody said -- I just -- I'm just passing it along.
BORGER: People are saying. Yes.
AXELROD: I mean, you can't be --
JONES: Look, I --
AXELROD: -- casual about these things and then -- and then say well, we don't have enough trust. That does not foment trust.
BORGER: So you would --
AXELROD: What's he doing right now isn't fomenting trust.
BORGER: That's right. And the courts are -- you want to take these things to the courts.
BORGER: I think that is -- that is perfectly legitimate.
SANTORUM: And they're doing that. And I think it's appropriate they do that.
BORGER: Right. But -- so, you have this one track where legitimately, they may take some things to the court, which I think they should. Then you have this other track which David is talking about, which is the President of the United States saying this is -- you know, I easily won this election. And observers are not allowed in, claiming widespread fraud.
And the question is, is there widespread fraud that has delegitimized his win, or is this a) just the way votes are counted, and b) just what the narrative Donald Trump wants --
JONES: What --
BORGER: -- to make sure people don't think Biden won?
COOPER: The positive thing is that a lot of the allegations -- you know, the videos that are floating out there online -- all that stuff is pretty easily investigable.
COOPER: I mean, if there's a video of a lady taken from above doing something on a panel --
JONES: Put her in jail.
COOPER: It's pretty clear who that lady is to everybody who works there. I'm sure there's cameras in the room.
So all of this stuff -- I just think -- I think it's very easy for everybody -- and I'm guilty of this as well -- getting carried away with the outrage of things the president says or -- [07:55:03]
AXELROD: It is deeper than that.
COOPER: -- concerns about the other side.
Doesn't it just seem like this is the time you would wish everybody -- the president and Biden -- everybody --
JONES: Yes, 100 percent.
COOPER: -- think things --
JONES: I think 100 percent.
The reason this is hard -- and listen, I think this kind of battle back and forth between me and Sen. Santorum has been very deeply educational for me.
There is a big split in this country. Could I just --
COOPER: Yes, go.
JONES: Listen, it's on everything. It's -- are rioters the problem or is the militia the problem? I'm like -- I have a whole list now that when at some point when I go through it -- so people can understand why is your cousin acting this way? Why is your ex-boyfriend acting this way? There's a deep, deep split that we've got to get to at some point.
COOPER: All right.
Philadelphia now has the potential to put Joe Biden ahead in Pennsylvania. Votes are being counted right now -- votes which have already been cast -- legally cast. They are counting the votes. We anticipate new numbers very soon -- numbers that could change the game.
Stay with us as our special coverage continues.