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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Biden Takes Lead in Pennsylvania; Fox News Memo Released. Aired 9:30-10a

Aired November 6, 2020 - 09:30   ET

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


[09:30:00]

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The votes are coming from places where Joe Biden is getting 80 percent or more of the vote. So the probability meter tells you that's not likely to happen.

We'll continue to count the votes. (INAUDIBLE) as well. Montgomery County, a small number of votes left. But, look, blue, 62 percent, 63 percent if you round up for Joe Biden in the mail-in ballots. His total consistently in the last 24 hours has been higher.

Bucks County, suburban county around Philadelphia, this one, more competitive. This is the more conservative suburban county just outside of Philadelphia. It is more competitive when you look at the total vote. But, again, as we've seen consistently, even in Republican counties, Joe Biden, when they count the mail-in votes, that portion of the votes, he is going up. So as these votes are counted, counted, already cast, legally cast, in there by the deadline, Joe Biden continues to go up.

So Pam also noted, we're waiting for more votes, Allegheny County. What do your eyes tell you about Allegheny County, blue, voting Democratic by a lopsided margin in the total vote, even more so in the mail-in vote. So 35,000 or so to be counted here. Look, the president has some support out here. You see Allegheny County surrounded by red.

The president will get some votes. But we've been looking for days now, for the last 24 hours now as they count these mail-in ballots and, again, consistently, from county to county, even in these red counties, the president is winning when they count the mail-in ballots, the last piece of the ballots being counted, Joe Biden's getting 60 percent, 70 percent, in many of these counties 80 percent of the vote even in Republican counts because Democrats chose to vote by mail.

Just going around the map, Erie County, northwestern Pennsylvania, blue collar battleground, you can see, it's very competitive. But, again, when Erie County votes came in last night, this county was red yesterday. The president had a lead. When they counted the mail-in ballots, Joe Biden, again, getting upwards of 70 percent, closer to 80 percent or more. That's what we have seen consistently. Now, there are still ballots to count and sometimes you get a change in the trajectory, but as you look right now as you come through, just got a little stuck there, there we go, we're back, 5,587 votes. The president, at one point, had a lead of more than 600,000 votes in this state because they counted the Election Day totals first, people who voted on Election Day. Now they're counting the mail-in ballots. They're getting closer to the finish line, Wolf. And, again, the trajectory here is clear and convincing.

And when you pull it out and put it into context, Pennsylvania, moments ago, Georgia, just as the sun came up, two states the president was leading in yesterday, as they count the mail-in ballots, they have flipped. Donald Trump cannot win re-election without both Pennsylvania and Georgia.

They are both blue. And, just to button it up, Joe Biden also still leads, they're counting in Arizona still, they're counting in Nevada still. So Joe Biden, that would get him to 273 if he wins here, there and there, that would get him to 306. Two hundred and seventy is all you need to win. The rest is gravy.

BLITZER: Three hundred and six is what the president won four years ago.

KING: Right.

BLITZER: That put him over the top, 306 electoral votes.

And it was so fascinating, when we got that $31,412 -- 31,412 batch of votes from Philadelphia a little while ago, 87 percent, 27,396 went to Biden, only --

KING: Let's me bring it up. Let -- yes, let's do it -- let's just do it again. So --

BLITZER: And it was so amazing --

KING: So people can see. Run through the numbers, just people can see as these counties come in.

BLITZER: Yes, Biden got 27,396. Trump got 3,706. Biden got 87 percent of the 31,412 vote count that came in from Philadelphia.

KING: Right.

BLITZER: And that's not extraordinary. We've been seeing that in other counties as well.

KING: Over and over and over again because Democrats chose to vote by mail, disproportionately. That's the way it worked. The president deserves all the credit in the world. I'm going to move this up a little bit, offering his voter turnout. Sorry about that. Turn this off. Move this up a little. Doesn't want to go. Let me see. We're a little stuck right there. All right, we'll leave it right there for you. The president deserves all the credit in the world for his turnout in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. He exceeded his vote total from four years ago. But Joe Biden time and time again -- again, the president needs 53 percent of the vote to come back in Pennsylvania.

We are seeing this not just in Philadelphia, not just in Democratic strongholds. Democrats voted by mail in this election. That was their choice because of COVID safety precautions and the like. That's what is being counted. The rest of the Election Day vote was counted on Election Day and into the wee hours of Wednesday morning.

They've counted the early vote. Everything left in Pennsylvania are mail-in ballots. That was a disproportionately Democratic vote. Again, this is Philadelphia. You expect it to be Democratic. But we're seeing this number there, Wolf. That's not the only place we're seeing it. We are seeing it across the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Even in red counties, that is what is happening.

I just want to come over here, just to emphasize this point. You know, this, in the end, is about math, right? This, in the end, is about math. Joe Biden is at 253. We had no changing yesterday because these states were counting their mail-in ballots, right?

So this is how we started the day yesterday. We were waiting. These states are taking their time, frustrating to people who have a stake in the game. Democrats want this over with. Republicans believe the president was leading yesterday. Why won't this happen? Well, we want to count votes. That's what you do, you count every last vote.

As we count them, one, two, that happened overnight, those changes.

[09:35:02]

That alone would get Joe Biden to 289. The president has narrowed the lead some here in Arizona, but Joe Biden still leads and Joe Biden still leads.

We have some vote counting to do out here. That's not done. But that is the possibility for Joe Biden right now. As we go through this, the president is leading. It's not a done deal here either, but the president is leading, let's be fair to him, in Maine's second congressional district, that's one because Maine allocates Electoral College votes by congressional district. The president is leading here. The president is expected to win here in Alaska as they count the votes.

So if you look at this right now, that is the mirror image, if you will, of four years ago when Donald Trump had 306, Hillary Clinton had 232. That's the potential. We're not done yet.

But the key point, Wolf, the president cannot win. He needs these two to win. And in the recent hours, first in Georgia, now in Pennsylvania, Joe Biden has passed the president and all -- every indication we have is that those leads in both Georgia and Pennsylvania will grow as they count more ballots.

BLITZER: That's absolutely true.

We're standing by for more vote counts from Pennsylvania where Joe Biden is now leading and on the verge of victory in this truly historic election. Our special coverage continues right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[09:40:34]

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Extraordinary moment in American history right now. Joe Biden is in the lead in Pennsylvania. There are still more than 100,000 votes to be counted, but Biden has the lead there with some 5,000 -- more than 5,000 votes at this point. And as I said, more than 100,000 votes still to be counted.

Let's take a look across the country. In Pennsylvania, 5,587. In Georgia, 1,097 vote lead -- Biden in the lead there. We have been watching both Georgia, Nevada, Arizona, Pennsylvania, of course, now for the last 24 hours. Nevada, Biden's in the lead with 11,438.

It is -- it's a remarkable moment really for the Biden campaign, for Kamala Harris, for Joe Biden. This has been long sought. He's run for president numerous times, to -- to come this far at this stage of his life.

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR AND FORMER OBAMA SENIOR ADVISER: Yes, incredible in so many ways. You know, when I was a kid reporter just starting out covering politics, Joe Biden was newly elected to the Senate. He was the youngest member of the Senate. And he was already being heralded as a future president. That was 47 years ago.

COOPER: Wow.

AXELROD: He tried twice. He didn't make it. But this was his time because, you know, the moment means everything. Joe Biden was the right candidate at this moment because he is the antithesis of Donald Trump. And generally Americans look for the remedy to what they have. Even if they like the president, they -- when they make a change, they look for the remedy.

And when you think about Biden and the way he ran and the qualities that he has, he ran as a uniter. He ran as someone who could work across party lines. You know, he touted his experience at a time when people are feeling the need for that. He's an institutionalist.

I can tell you, having served with him in the White House, he has great reverence for these institutions of the democracy. And, of course, he has this palpable sense of empathy that's born of his own tragedy and struggle and loss. And at a time when the country is feeling that, he -- and when we have a president who frankly is -- does not display those qualities, that worked very well for Joe Biden here in this race.

So, yes, it's remarkable. I don't think that he probably thought when he walked out of the White House in 2017 for the last time that he would walk back in as president of the United States in 2021, but it appears that's what's going to happen.

COOPER: We anticipate that he will be speaking at some point --

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes.

COOPER: At some point today.

BORGER: He will. And you think of Joe Biden, as David is saying, you know, he first, in 1988, as you were saying, everybody thought he should be president except maybe Joe Biden. Now acknowledges, maybe he wasn't ready to be president. And in 2008, he ran into someone named Barack Obama. Didn't do so well. And now, at the age of 77, November 20th is his birthday, he's going to turn 78 --

COOPER: Wow.

BORGER: His son and soulmate Beau Biden spoke with him before he died and said, you know, you have to find a purpose. Make sure. He was worried about his father. He told that to Todd Kofman (ph), Biden's friend, I'm worried what my father's going to do if I die or when I die. And I think that's part of the thing that's driving Joe Biden this time, that he found his purpose.

COOPER: Purpose.

BORGER: And he said to me and others that it happened after Charlottesville, that he had no intention of running whatsoever for the presidency again, but he saw President Trump's reaction to Charlottesville, fine people on both sides, and decided that he had to get back into the arena.

And that's what drove him. And it turned out that, as David is saying, the temperament that Joe Biden has that is the opposite of Donald Trump -- I asked him, are you the polar opposite of Donald Trump? And he crossed him said and, I sure hope so.

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR AND FORMER OBAMA ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Ah, that's great.

BORGER: And that is it.

JONES: You know, heroes are hard to come by. Heroes are hard to come by. And he's -- he's stepping up. And to I think to play a heroic role as a leader, as a healer.

[09:45:05]

It's not -- it's not his policy agenda that I think is most present in people's minds, it's just his person. It's who he is.

You know, we lost John Lewis. Again, heroes are hard to come by. And there's just some beauty in the fact that it was, you know, in John Lewis' district that they go those last votes, I believe, to get across the finish line. I heard people talking about that earlier today. You know, people across the country I think are still wary. This has

not been called. But there's a little bit of joy starting to come in. You know, a little bit of joy, a little bit of relief. And I think, you know, people inspired by people like John Lewis, where they talked about black voters matter, all these different groups that have been doing all this great work, I think feel good today.

Also, Jim Clyburn, let's not forget, I -- and this -- I was one of the people -- I said, you know, I don't see Biden getting there. I was making jokes about him. He went from a joke to a juggernaut. And part of how that happened was because Jim Clyburn stood up and said, this is the guy America needs. And African-Americans rallied behind Jim Clyburn and rallied behind that cause and African-Americans I think have a great deal of pride to have the wisdom and the judgment to pick someone like him and put him in position to do what he's doing.

COOPER: It's also very easy, given all the -- the drama that is escalating, to overlook and not kind of just remark on this moment for -- about Kamala Harris --

AXELROD: Yes.

COOPER: As the first woman, the first person of color to be vice president --

JONES: Who I've known forever. I remember -- look, Kamala Harris, if we can just do a little bit of memory lane. When I was a young (INAUDIBLE) in the Bay area, Kamala Harris took on a local legend as district attorney. A guy named Terrence Halihan (ph). Terrence Halihan was a local institution but he had come out the wrong way on some police brutality issues and it opened the door for Kamala Harris to come in.

And people say, who is this kid? She's young. She -- she knocked his -- he lost. And she was a force. And she was young enough to relate to the young people. You had, you know, some of the local activists who had never had a relationship with the DA's office at all except negative. She brought them in. Latifa Simon (ph) and others and empowered them and began to come up with programs and creativity.

Then she goes on, runs for statewide office in California as a woman of color. I remember sitting and the right wing came after her like nobody's business. We were sitting and talking to her and she was a little bit frustrated. I said, Kamala, they've got to bury you here in California or you're going to be in the White House.

She goes, no, no, no, no, that's not (INAUDIBLE). I said, Kamala, they've got to bury you here or you're going to be in the White House. And she's about to be in the White House. Kamala Harris has been a force of nature in California politics since she started.

BORGER: It only took 243 years for a woman to become vice president. Never mind a woman of color, as Abby so eloquently was talking about just a few moments ago.

JONES: Right. BORGER: It's quite a -- it's quite a moment.

AXELROD: And not just -- not just any vice president. She is a uniquely -- she's in a unique position, not just because she's the first woman, not just because she's the first south Asian and black American to be the vice president, but because she is -- she's serving a president who's, as you pointed out, is going to be 78 years old and she may be the candidate for president.

Joe Biden may run again. He hasn't said he isn't. But people are going to be looking at her as not just as the vice president, but as a potential president, as putative -- perhaps the putative frontrunner, certainly if the vice -- if the president -- if Biden as president decides not to run. So this has never happened before where a vice president takes office and is right in the middle of the next election picture.

COOPER: So how much -- how much do you think it matters that Joe Biden has been vice president and an active vice president with President Obama --

AXELROD: Yes.

COOPER: And how that might inform how he looks to Kamala Harris?

AXELROD: Listen, first of all, I've said this many, many times, he was, in my view, one of the great vice presidents of all time because he was impeccably loyal in public and he was -- he was unstintingly honest in private. And he gave the president his best advice. He spoke out. He made his views known. He helped inform decisions. And I would think he'd want that same kind of partnership. He'd want her input and he'd want her involvement. I don't think he -- he's -- he asked her to join him as a partner just in the campaign.

BORGER: Except the difference this time, of course, is that Biden has so much more experience and longevity in government, whereas with Barack Obama was sort of the new kid in town. But I think he'll probably do what Obama did for him, which is give big assignments. Maybe it's justice reform.

[09:50:01]

Maybe it's be my partner in COVID. But, you know, Obama put Biden right away, economic recovery, Iraq, Afghanistan , boom, right out of the gate.

AXELROD: Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.

JONES: I -- I worked -- I worked for Biden on that middle class task force and the thing about Biden, he was loquacious. I mean he would talk about the why -- you know, why was he talking so much? He really was really trying to put in each of us the passion he had for regular people.

AXELROD: Yes. JONES: I mean, you know, because, listen, it's -- I mean he wanted -- he didn't want us just to do the job. He wanted us to do the job for the right reason. And you would, you know, you'd say, geez, I want to go, but it would get in you and you would have that passion and you would (INAUDIBLE).

AXELROD: Yes. When we were -- we've got to run?

COOPER: No. (INAUDIBLE)

AXELROD: When we were -- when we were in the discussions of the early part of the financial crisis, you know, there's a lot of concern Wall Street was going to collapse and his -- he always took the roll.

What about the guys who were losing their homes and the gals who were losing their homes?

JONES: Yes.

AXELROD: And, you know, what about the people who were losing their jobs.

JONES: Do enough.

AXELROD: What are we going to do for them?

COOPER: Let's take a quick break.

Joe Biden now leading in Pennsylvania, moving closer to winning the White House. More votes from the keystone state are coming in. Our special coverage continues next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[09:55:32]

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is on the cusp of possibly being declared the next president of the United States. Part of the Trump era has been marked by the president's relationship with right wing MAGA media, especially his favorite cable channel Fox.

And we bring in our media reporter, Brian Stelter, right now with some breaking news about the decisions being made at Fox about the fact that there is no credible evidence of widespread fraud and that it looks as though Joe Biden is about to become the president-elect.

Brian, what are you learning?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: That's right.

Two memos obtained by CNN from three different sources all around Fox News say that when Joe Biden reaches the point where he crosses the threshold of 270, Fox will not identify him as president-elect.

Now, Jake, other newsrooms are working through this right now, all preparing for this possibility. And president-elect is the common language that would be used in any situation like this. However these memos at Fox News say they will stay away from the description. These memos direct Fox stars, anchors, pundits, talk show hosts to avoid language like president-elect because of the president's legal challenge.

Of course, these are long-shot legal challenges. You've been talking about this on the air. But Fox is taking these challenges very seriously, showing shocking deference to the president. After 25,000 false and misleading claims from this president, Fox still assumes he's telling the truth.

They're promoting voter fraud innuendo, they are denigrating cities like Philadelphia and they're treating these long-shot lawsuits, these toothless suits, like they are serious pursuits. It is troubling because Fox's coverage influences tens of millions of people who ultimately are misled, including, Jake, the most important viewer of all, the president of the United States.

TAPPER: And, Brian, just to clarify though, they do anticipate that they will call one of these states that we're watching, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, and they will project 270 electoral votes at least for Joe Biden, they just won't call him president-elect because of these rather frivolous lawsuits?

STELTER: Because of these frivolous lawsuits, that's right. This is the guidance that's been given out to the leaders of the channel, the top anchors, the top people at the channel. It is striking guidance. And it gets to this broader issue about how Fox is informing or misinforming the public.

The Fox decision desk is widely well regarded in this industry, having the same standards as CNN and all the broadcast networks have. But these opinion hosts and these news anchors at Fox are showing shocking deference to these toothless lawsuit threats.

And, by the way, Jake, you mentioned earlier, the Murdoch's are ultimately responsible, Rupert and Loughlin Murdoch are responsible for what's on this network in the coming hours. And one member of the Murdoch family weighed in a few minutes ago, agreeing with what you said here on CNN, Catherine Murdoch (ph), wife of James, one of Rupert's sons, said she agrees with you, that the Murdoch's have to show responsibility in this key moment.

TAPPER: All right, Brian Stelter with that breaking news.

It's so odd because there is no credible evidence of widespread fraud.

BASH: Yes.

TAPPER: None. So if you are a Fox reporter or anchor, somebody not on the opinion side, and you're going to abide by this crazy instruction, you might as well hand in your press credential at the same time because you can't be taken seriously as a journalist.

PHILLIP: Yes, I mean, look, Fox is acting as an arm of the Trump campaign. And the Trump campaign is treating Fox like an arm of their own campaign. They've been on the phone all week haranguing senior people over at Fox about that Arizona call that, as Jim Acosta has said, they are furious about. The Trump campaign wants Fox to get in line, and it sounds like, based on Brian's reporting, that they are getting in line.

BASH: I think you're exactly right, Abby. I wonder if this would have gone out, this memo, had the president and all of his family members and aides not completely freaked out on Fox for calling Arizona because from everything I'm hearing, they're -- I mean and we're seeing it on the air, there is a -- despite what some commentators have said on that -- on the air, the reporters have galvanized behind that call saying that they feel confident in it. And sounds like they're bowing to pressure from the president. There's no other way to put it.

TAPPER: Meanwhile, the counting continues in those four outstanding battleground states.

Let's go to Wolf Blitzer for more on that.

[10:00:03]

BLITZER: And let's get another dramatic key race alert right now. Take a look at this.