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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Biden Takes Lead in Pennsylvania, on Verge of Presidency. Aired 10-10:30a ET
Aired November 6, 2020 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: And let's get another dramatic key race alert right now. Take a look at this, in Pennsylvania, with its 20 electoral votes, Biden's lead over Trump is increasing. It is now up to 6,737 ahead of Trump, 49.4 percent to 49.3 percent. 95 percent of the estimated vote in Pennsylvania is in. But Biden's lead is increasing.
Let's walk over to John King at the magic wall. We also just got, and you want to write this down John, some numbers from Bucks County in Pennsylvania.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Let me bring it up for you, as we do. I'll bring this out. We'll do this as well.
BLITZER: These are the specific numbers why the increase in Biden's lead over Trump right now. We're talking about Bucks County in Pennsylvania, 2,949 votes -- don't write this down yet -- just came in. Of that nearly 3,000 vote that just came in from Bucks County, Biden got 2,016. Trump got, 897. In other words, Biden got 68 percent of that vote that just came in, and that's why his lead has increased over Trump in Pennsylvania.
KING: And so I'll get you to the statewide lead at the moment. When you see it, it's modest. So you think the president can still come back, and, yes, he can, except the math here is beginning to look inevitable. Because, again, look at what's happening in this county, this is all of the vote, right? Joe Biden is getting 51 percent, Donald Trump is getting 48 percent if you round that up. This is the most conservative of the Democratic-leaning suburban collar counties around Philadelphia. It's a Democratic county, but Republicans, as you can see are competitive.
And yet in the mail-in votes, okay, when you add them up, Donald Trump is getting just shy of 48 percent, but the mail-in votes, disproportionately Democrat, look at that. Donald Trump has to start winning. He has to start getting more votes, as we get 2,000 votes here, 3,000 votes here, like this. The president has to start winning and start winning it like 52, 53 percent to come back in this race.
So you're watching these votes right now, and, again, in a place where the president is much more competitive than in other places in places in Pennsylvania, he's getting walloped, 68 percent of the votes coming in. So, at this point, the math becomes -- you just run that out of here. The math, you have a theory of inevitability here.
Now, again, 3.2 million of nearly 7 million votes counted when we're done, 6.5 million, anyway, Joe Biden has a lead of only 6,737 votes. We say, only, but there are more votes to be counted from down here, what do you notice about this map, from out here, what do you notice about that, and up here. They're all blue.
Now, there are some small, pockets of votes still to come in from the red as well but most of the outstanding votes are in these counties that Joe Biden is already winning. And just as we just showed you in Bucks County, even in competitive places, the mail-in votes are coming in lopsided, 60 percent, close to 70 percent in Philadelphia City itself, 80-something, 80-plus percent, 87 percent last time we did that. So if you're looking at the map, there's an inevitability to this as it grows.
Now, one point I do want to make, look, right now, if you look at this map, nothing changes on this map, Joe Biden is the next president of the United States, all right? That's just a simple fact and that is where we are headed today as this plays out. We'll keep counting votes.
I just want to come back in to the conversation. This is the challenge for the candidates and, frankly, for the countries, in the moments ahead. If this were flipped and that were President Trump with a 6,700-vote lead in Pennsylvania, what would Democrats be saying at this moment? Everybody calm down. There's a process called a re- canvassing. It happens in every state anyway.
But when an election is this close, they're going to go back and check the machines. They're going to go back and check all the notes that people took. That's part of the process. Just like counting votes. We've counted the votes. The president is mad about that, he shouldn't be. We've counted the votes, Joe Biden is now ahead and the math appears inevitable.
But there's a process here, Wolf. There will be a process in Pennsylvania. There will be a process in Georgia, where the vote is 1,098, and, again, more votes to come in here from Democratic places. The likelihood is that lead will grow. And the likelihood is, in the hours ahead, it will be more and more clear that Joe Biden has on the table more than 270 electoral votes and is most likely the next president of the United States. By the end of this day, he will likely be the president-elect of the United States because things will start to project.
But there is a process here, and that's the interesting, political moment for the country. They will re-canvass here. They will re- canvass here. The president has the right to ask for recounts. And, again, what he said yesterday at the White House was reckless. He says there's cheating. There's no evidence of that on the table. But there are courts if he wants to try to prove it.
So I think this inevitability of the math is quite clear, the challenge now is how both candidates, how does each candidate handle this moment? What do they say at this moment? Because, by the end of the day, if this math continues, Joe Biden will have every right to come out and speak to the American people as the next president.
BLITZER: Yes. His lead now, 6,737 votes. There's still, what, another 125,000, 130,000 votes outstanding in Pennsylvania right now. We're going to be getting a lot more of those numbers coming in in the hours ahead. Some of them fairly soon, we're told. And that lead that Biden has, 6,737 right now, that could grow dramatically.
KING: Yes. It continues to grow. And so I don't want to, at all, rain on the former vice president's moments. As I said, the math has been methodical and steady. And just that's why you have a lead for the president has disappeared and Joe Biden now leads here. The very same thing happened in Georgia. The president still leads in Nevada and still leads in Arizona. We're still counting votes out there. The president has narrowed Biden's lead a little bit in Arizona so we'll watch this play out.
But the president cannot be re-elected without these two. They have flipped to Biden in recent hours. All of the evidence before us tells us the lead in both states, Georgia and Pennsylvania, is likely to grow because the ballots they're counting, legally cast ballots, they've been in secure wrap, they're just counting, the mail-in ballots last and we expect it to grow here and grow there.
But that does not mean that they won't go back and check the machines, you have a process when you have close elections. Just like counting the votes happens every time, going back and checking the machines, making sure nobody had a -- writing down the numbers had an error. But I've been at this for a long time. When they do that, sometimes 12 votes change here, 18 votes here. Very rarely do you see a swing even in a close election like that, right?
But the process is going to play out and we're at a contentious moment now because the lead is narrow, even though it's likely to grow. Some people think it could get as high as 50,000 or more as we get through the day. But the challenge is what does the president say, what does Biden say. And after what the president said yesterday, what is his team telling him?
If you thought it was just one state -- I want to come over here for a second. If you thought it was just one state, you think, as in, Florida, 2000, one state on the board, we fight over that, what happens if Joe Biden is winning here, winning here, winning here and winning there? It's both a different legal calculation and an incredibly different political calculation if Joe Biden gets not only to 270 but north of 300.
BLITZER: And right now, he's leading in all four of those states right now.
Go back in Pennsylvania because I think the increase -- we just got a little more increase for Biden in Pennsylvania. Take a look, it's now 6,817. It was 6,700-plus a few minutes ago. So the numbers keep going up slowly but almost certainly it's going to continue to grow. KING: And that is what has happened consistently. Again, you have counties that are reporting -- some of them are reporting a couple hundred votes, some of the reporting in Philadelphia, thousands of votes. And it's just been an inevitable march and it just has not changed, and every one of them as has come in. Joe Biden has more at a time when Joe Biden is ahead. It's the president who has to start outpacing him as they count these new mail ballots. It's just simply not happening.
BLITZER: What did Trump win four years ago in Pennsylvania when he beat Hillary Clinton? What was the margin?
KING: So, you come back, and, again, it was 44,000 votes, 49 to 48, if you round up there. 2.9 million votes for each candidates, 2.97. This one is this close. That's where you are. You're coming over and going through the decimal points, 2.97 to 2.92, 44,000 votes. And you come back here to where we are now, it's 6,800 votes right now but Joe Biden is at 49 to 49.
Again, one thing in this campaign, turnout is up. Another thing in this campaign, the third party candidates are not having the influence they had four years ago. Joe Biden is on top there. And, again, 44,000 for the president four years ago, based on everything we know about where the votes are out, 36,000 here, still 20,000 or so in Philadelphia, others in these blue (INAUDIBLE), that lead is going to grow. That lead is going to grow. Does it get to 40,000, does it get to 50,000, does it get higher, that's what today is about.
And that's very important, because the point I was making, recount provisions and state law, re-canvassing, the likelihood that ten votes change here, 20 votes, just because somebody wrote something down wrong, no ill-intent, it just happens, human error. If you get to 40,000, 50,000, then the likelihood of anything being reversed, even if they find a transcription error or two, it just never happens.
BLITZER: It's so, so important, Pennsylvania, 20 electoral votes. If Biden doesn't win anything else, if he just wins Pennsylvania, 273, he is the president-elect of the United States. That's why it's so important.
David Chalian, you're getting some new information. What do you think?
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Wolf, well, as John just was walking through this sort of march of the math, now that we're at that 6,817 vote lead for Joe Biden over Donald Trump in Pennsylvania. We continue to see -- crunch the numbers inside of that to look for where are we expecting the next batch of votes to come from in Pennsylvania.
When the next batch of votes come in, how big of a batch will that be? And are they performing exactly like John just walked you through? Are they performing as these mail-in ballots have been performing in this huge advantage for Joe Biden?
If indeed a large number of returns come in and it is matching up with that kind of performance, it will increase our decision desk's level of confidence about whether or not Donald Trump will be in a position as the number two candidate to actually be able to take the lead again in Pennsylvania.
Once our decision team can get to that high level of confidence that that won't be possible with what is outstanding, then a projection can be made. We're not at that point at this particular moment, but we are looking at the math, looking where the outstanding vote is and trying to see what else is needed to get to that confidence level that the number one candidate right now, Joe Biden leading, will remain so with what is outstanding.
BLITZER: And it's smart, you know, John King, for us, CNN at the decision desk, take it easy, there is no rush, let's see what happens, the votes are beginning to come in in Pennsylvania and Biden's lead almost certainly is going to increase.
KING: Caution is the great watch word here. There's no need to rush this account but there's also no need to deny the math and no need to deny the momentum and no need to deny what we're seeing. Again, let's be conservative, right? Let's be conservative. The presidency of the United States is at stake here. President Trump cannot be re-elected if he loses this state. That is simple math. But to David's point, you see the lead going up.
And, again, what have we done in the last hour or so? We came into Philadelphia, we got some votes, the president received 87 percent of those votes. Then we went up to Bucks County, one of the suburban collars where it's much more competitive, the president -- I mean, Joe Biden received 60-plus percent of those votes.
President Trump has to start winning in this vote -- when we get these vote installments the president has to start winning because he's behind, right? So, Bucks County, it's above 60 percent. In Philadelphia, it's above 80 percent, almost to 90 percent.
So, more votes came in recently here, Harrisburg, Dauphin County here. This is the state capitol. And, look, again, it's more competitive, right? This is not Philadelphia where Joe Biden is getting 80 percent of the vote. This is a place where the president is competitive. But even here, when the mail-in ballots come in, they're lopsided in favor of Joe Biden because Democrats disproportionately -- overwhelmingly disproportionately voted by mail.
And if you're the president of the United States and you're looking, they're coming from here, here and here, they're blue. Most of the votes that are outstanding are coming from places that Joe Biden is already winning and he's winning the mail-in ballots by even more.
BLITZER: The drama continues in Pennsylvania, 20 electoral votes at stake. We're going to see how quickly the numbers keep coming in.
Jake, back to you.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks, Wolf. Well, Joe Biden is on the verge of being declared the president-elect. But we are told by Kaitlan Collins at the White House that President Trump has no intention of conceding.
Let's go to Jeff Zeleny now who covers the Biden campaign for us. He's in Wilmington, Delaware.
It's not unexpected that President Trump would refuse to go graciously, Jeff. But is the Biden campaign contemplating how they're going to react to this news?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, this is something that has been telegraphed for so many weeks, if not, months that the president would question the legitimacy of this election. In fact, the Biden campaign, in responding to the reports just a short time ago, that President Trump may refuse to concede, should he lose this presidential race, should Joe Biden be declared the winner. They're actually referring back to a July statement that they made. They are making the point that they have been waiting for this for a long time.
Let me just read this statement to you from a campaign spokesman who said, as we said on July 19th, the American people will decide this election. And the United States government is perfectly capable of escorting trespassers out of the White House. That's from a campaign spokesman, Andrew Bates.
So, the point here, Jake, is the Biden campaign is proceeding along at course here, not getting ahead of matters, they are waiting for these votes to come in Pennsylvania, in other states as well. But they are clearly also not ignoring what is going on. They are preparing on a variety of fronts here.
The transition team is moving forward with its work. They are preparing for a speech for Joe Biden to give here in Wilmington, likely late this afternoon or perhaps this evening and they are pushing back on the president. They are also responding in legal lawsuits and other fronts. So they are keeping an eye on all these balls.
But, interestingly that how the Biden campaign decided to respond is by going to an old statement from a few months ago, making the point that this is not a new argument from the president. Jake?
TAPPER: All right. Jeff Zeleny, thanks so much.
And that is true, the U.S. Constitution does not require a U.S. president who has been defeated, should that happen to President Trump, to be mature or patriotic. It doesn't matter if he concedes or not, other than for his supporters and the tenor of what happens in this country.
Let's bring in Ben Ginsberg now. He's a Republican lawyer, a long-time widely respected Republican lawyer here in Washington D.C. He also now is a CNN consultant also.
And, Ben, with the one exception of this case having to do with ballots that arrive in polling places after Election Day in Pennsylvania, with that one exception, I have not seen any lawsuits or legal actions taken by the Trump campaign that I would view as having any merit, whatsoever.
They all seem frivolous to me.
I'm not a lawyer. What do you think of what you've seen? Are there any credible cases for any legal action by the Trump campaign?
BEN GINSBERG, REPUBLICAN ELECTION LAWYER: So far, no. I mean, to contest an election, what you need to do is to challenge enough individual ballots to throw the results of the election in that state into doubt. And that's a standard they have not come close to meeting yet. It does have to be filings in court or in a state contest or recount proceedings. So they have some time.
But in my experience in trying to piece together election contests, you have to have the evidence on Election Day. Trying to get affidavits and sworn statements about fraud and irregularities after the fact just doesn't work.
And so, there may be a lot of noise and a lot of statements about how there are illegalities, but so far, the really difficult job of amassing proof that will stand up in court, they have not made public or evident and so far does not exist.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: And, Ben, it's Dana Bash again. Given your experience over so many presidential campaigns, working on behalf of Republican candidates, do you believe the notion that there could be widespread fraud given the fact that other Republicans on the same ballot as the president seemed to do quite well? Would that make sense?
GINSBERG: Yes, I mean, that -- it does make sense. The other factor to remember there is the 50,000 poll worker army that the Trump campaign talked about. That means they had representatives in every polling place in the country that they wanted to. And so, if there was that fraud, it should have been raised. And the fact that Republicans control the Senate still, picked up gains in the House, did just fine in state legislative races would suggest that the fraud is just not going to be there if they try and present it in court.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: And, Ben, this is Abby Phillip. You said earlier that the Trump campaign strategy should be put in quotes for strategy but we know what they're going to do they've said publicly they want to take this whole thing to the Supreme Court. What do you think is the likelihood that they would be able to do that in the places where they are down right now, several states, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Arizona, and Georgia? Is that a realistic strategy?
GINSBERG: Well, so far, based on what we've seen, Abby, it's not a realistic strategy. Again, it's the very difficult job of coming up with specific instances in particular precincts. The Supreme Court is not going to note original jurisdiction on any of this. There has to be the disputes that move their way through the state system. So that actually does suggest another possible strategy, which is to stir up so much dust about the way the election was conducted, albeit in the absence of proof so far, that states are not able to certify their results, in time to choose the slate that goes to the Electoral College. So that's a strategy to keep our eyes on as this unfolds.
TAPPER: I just want to make sure that our viewers who are watching understand who you are, Ben, because, obviously, I know who you are, Abby and Dana do. You are a widely respected Republican attorney who has an expertise in election law. You have been waging these fights on behalf of Republicans literally for decades. You are not here to be a mouthpiece for the Biden campaign, for the Democratic Party. You're just here to call balls and strikes.
GINSBERG: That is absolutely what I see my role as. Look, I spent 38 years being in polling places on Election Day or running the nationwide voter operations for them. In every one of those elections, we had people in the polls whose job was to look for fraud and irregularities. It's an important part of the validation of our results that both parties under the laws of the state have people in the polls to look for those things. That's the Trump 50,000-person poll watcher army that they talked about.
But that evidence simply is not there to claim our elections are rigged, that the results are fraudulent, that there's cheating going on. That evidence has simply never been amassed. It's not been amassed this time.
And so my real disappointment with the Republican Party has been that its standard bearer, the president, has said that our basic institution of elections is fraudulent without the proof to back that up. That's harmful to the country.
TAPPER: All right. Ben Ginsberg, a proud Republican, also a proud son of Philadelphia, if I might also --
GINSBERG: Yes, indeed.
TAPPER: -- add that.
Pennsylvania is emerging as a key steppingstone in what appears to be Joe Biden's path to victory, and new numbers continue to come in. And we're following it all. Our special coverage continues, next.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: And you are looking at the state of the race in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Vice President Biden is up by 6,819 votes.
More votes still to be counted, some 100,000 or so, we believe, left to go in the state. As we said, the Biden campaign has put out a statement, they say, quote, as we said on July 19th, the American people will decide this election and the United States government is perfectly capable of escorting trespassers out of the White House, that just a short time ago.
The president earlier today was tweeting statements from some Fox anchors, from Stuart Varney, saying, Philadelphia has got a rotten history.
It seems odd that, I mean, one of the things that -- if the president had a ton of evidence, you would think that is what would be tweeted out, that is what he would be showing the American people. If what he's doing is basically just quoting anchors on another network, that's not necessarily bolstering his case.
DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, but it sort of reflects what we've seen for four years. Just look at his Twitter feed. It's just a bunch of conspiracy theories that are recycled that he throws out into the arena.
I will say on the quote from the Biden campaign, I'm not sure I would have gone there. It may be that people are feeling uneasy about the situation because of what the president is saying. But, you know, I don't think you need to go -- I don't think they need to be --
RICK SANTORUM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Poking people, yes.
AXELROD: -- that aggressive at this point. They're going to win this race. It seems pretty clear they're going to win the race. And there is no question that Donald Trump, whether he likes it or not, is going to leave the White House.
The fact that the security has been amped up around Vice President Biden in anticipation of this tells you that the government is now -- the agencies that are responsible are doing their job --
COOPER: We should point out, that's a standard procedure.
AXELROD: That is standard procedure. It's not in response to any, you know -- I'm sure every presidential candidate, every president has threats. But that is standard operation procedure.
I remember when Barack Obama was elected, and immediately there was a much larger phalanx of security when I went to see him the night of election. We had to get off the elevator two floors below him and walk up the stairs past a lot of guys with weapons, and it was a whole new thing. And it was like, wow, things have changed in the last few hours.
So, no, this is -- that's typical. And all I'm saying is I have some faith in the institutions of our government to do their job.
COOPER: Rick, how do you see this sort of -- I mean, beyond the arguments, just playing out today, tomorrow, I mean -- SANTORUM: Okay, a couple of things. First off, we're going to look at those numbers. And if those numbers get to be big numbers in blue, then I think some of the air will go out of the balloon. I don't know whether they're going to be big numbers. We don't know that. But like in Michigan, I mean, the numbers are 150,000, 160,000-some. It's hard to figure against -- unless you can point out some real specific case of fraud, 160,000 votes --
COOPER: And that the argument on that is if there are isolated incidents of somebody doing something, you're not talking about massive fraud.
SANTORUM: Yes. I think what they're going to do, what they need to do, and I think what they're going to do, is they're going to track down all of these accusations that are coming, they're accusations about dead people voting and they got -- and so put it out there. Have the media track it down, which they will. And, you know, you have other types of these types of accusations. Let's track them out, let's see how substantial they are.
The president has -- I think one of the areas he has a legitimate case is on the issue of transparency, the fact that they were putting up pizza boxes in Detroit so people couldn't see in --
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Which is explainable. I'm happy to explain if you want me to. But --
SANTORUM: It's explainable because people are afraid. People are --
JONES: And also because people were starting to videotape people opening up the things and it's not allowed. So all of that can be litigated in court.
SANTORUM: I understand that. But it's one of those things where we'd all do a lot better if we had really good laws that everybody enforced to the letter on these things so people didn't go -- so you don't have these types of accusations. So let's walk through them all, let's see.
But, again, if he loses Pennsylvania, by -- if there are 100,000 votes out, I don't know, that's what you said, let's 100,000 votes, and he's getting 80 percent of the votes, then Joe Biden is going to win Pennsylvania by 70,000 votes.
COOPER: So just for -- I hear exactly what you're saying.
The litigating those arguments, finding out what is real, what is not, stuff floating around the internet.