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Biden Expands Lead in Nevada, Closes in on Presidency; Biden Lead in Pennsylvania Grows, on Verge of Presidency. Aired 11:30-12p ET

Aired November 6, 2020 - 11:30   ET

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


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[11:30:00]

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Let's get a key race alert right now. Take a look at Nevada, a large number of votes just came in and Biden's lead is there. You see it, 22,076, he's got 49.8 percent to Trump's 48.1 percent. We hadn't received a lot of votes from Nevada lately but all of a sudden a whole bunch just came in and Biden's lead has grown to 22,076. Six electoral votes in Nevada right now.

Let's go to John King at the magic wall. Nevada, it's an important state and we're watching it very, very closely, six electoral votes but all of a sudden the lead increased a bit for Biden.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: All of a sudden we have more votes. We think we're up to 91 percent now, you see that 22,000 votes. And, look, that's a modest lead, right, but just as in the other states when we get the new votes. What do we do? We look at the trajectory of the race.

So let me show you what just happened in Clark County, Joe Biden, 19,995, President Trump, 9,357, so 65 percent, 65 percent for Joe Biden. So this tells you all you need to know. In the new vote, Joe Biden gets 65 percent. Statewide, he is just shy of 50 percent. He is 50 percent if you round that up. So new votes come in, Joe Biden is doing better, he builds the lead, right?

Donald Trump right now knowing that he's behind in Pennsylvania, behind in Georgia, behind in Arizona, if the dynamics of this race are going to change, Donald Trump cannot keep coming in underneath Joe Biden and they certainly can't keep coming in with Joe Biden getting 65 percent when we get a batch of new votes.

So this is just more evidence, again, move this -- sorry, let me just bring this up a little bit and move it out of the way, these came from Clark County down here. It's the overwhelming chunk of the vote, 70 percent or more of the vote in Nevada comes out of Las Vegas and the growing suburbs around it.

The president made a strong argument here on the economy, saying, the coronavirus economy, just Joe Biden is for lockdowns after reopening, distorting Joe Biden's position a little bit. This was a key test, really, of one of the coronavirus arguments in the campaign.

[11:35:01]

In Clark County, Joe Biden getting 54 percent to 45 percent, if you round up.

And let's slide this over a little bit so we can go back in time. I just want to show you Secretary Clinton, pretty close, 52 then to 42, and so you come forward here now. And the president is doing a little bit better, right? The president is doing a little bit better.

You take the third party candidates out, maybe selling the coronavirus lockdown argument a little bit, but still the trajectory here is, as more votes come in, let's come back out to statewide, it was pretty narrow lead, a pretty modest lead, if you're in the Trump campaign, things are going against you right now, so you're looking for hope somewhere.

There's been a little narrowing in Arizona, this is Joe Biden stretching the lead. Still a modest lead, we still have votes to count in Nevada. But when you see this, and we've seen it in Pennsylvania, we've seen it in Georgia, Arizona has been the only state when we're getting new votes, it's the president getting more in Maricopa County. So the dynamic right here overall in Pennsylvania, in Georgia and now Nevada, trending in Biden's favor, perhaps a little bit of growth for the president in Arizona.

Factor all of that in and what does it mean? Again, the trend line of the race right now is that's all Joe Biden needs, he's the president of the United States if he wins it, he's leading there and he's leading in both of these and he's growing his lead right there at the time moment. So the dynamics of the race overall continue to be favorable to Biden, to continue actually to grow in the favorability to Biden.

BLITZER: An impressive batch of new votes coming in favor of Biden.

I want to check with Dana Bash. She's got an update, getting some new information about the balance of power in the U.S. Senate. Dana?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf, a Democratic pickup in the state of Arizona. CNN can project that Mark Kelly, former astronaut, gun control advocate and husband of former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords will be the next senator from Arizona. This is john McCain's old seat. He's defeating Martha McSally, who was appointed when John McCain passed away, but it is now going to go into Democratic hands.

What does this mean right now for the balance of power? 48 Democrats, 47 Republicans, there are five seats yet to be called for the 2020 election in the U.S. Senate. Wolf?

BLITZER: Important pick up for the Democrats, John, in the U.S. Senate, an impressive win for Mark Kelly. KING: An impressive win for Mark Kelly. Again, this was John McCain's Arizona, right? She was an appointed senator. Mark Kelly, Democratic win. The Democrats have not had a lot of good news to cheer when it comes to the bell for control of the Senate. But this is good news for the Democrats to cheer here in a state where Martha McSally, the Republican leadership thought, was the best candidate in that state, 52 to 48, where we are right now.

I just want to make a distinction here. Just remember this number right here. The last time the president was out there, he sort of mocked Martha McSally. He was having a rally in Arizona and he was like, Martha, Martha, Martha, come up here, nobody wants to hear you but come up here, I'll give you a minute, 1,497,199, right? That is the Senate race. So often, Republican statewide candidates track the president in a presidential election year.

Well, let's shift this over, turn this off, shift this over to the presidential race. The president is getting more votes in Arizona right now than the incumbent Republican senator in Arizona, 1,517,368, 1.4. It's not a huge difference there but Martha McSally, the Republican incumbent senator in Arizona, is underperforming the Republican president of the United States. He's losing Arizona as well at the moment.

This is an impressive win for Mark Kelly, obviously, as Dana just noted, the husband of Gabby Giffords, who was tragically, the Democratic congresswoman tragically shot in a district down here by Tucson. And so this is good news for the Democrats and the battle for control in the Senate after a couple of days where they have been discouraged (ph).

BLITZER: Yes. It was really humiliating when the president was out in Arizona and he sort of treated her with such disrespect.

KING: Look, this is the Trump party, more than it's the Republican Party, that's just the fact. Most of the Republican -- there are a lot of Republicans who privately -- Wolf, we've been through this for four years, even today, as the president makes these allegations about the White House briefing room, about cheating and fraud and people trying to steal an election from him, Republicans talk so negatively about this president in private.

The question is going to be, in the hours ahead, look, there is a conversation in this town happening right now, we are not at the finish line in the presidential yet, but there's an inevitability to the math right now, it certainly appears.

And there's a conversation in this town about the, quote, unquote, post-Trump Republican Party, the way he treats people in his own party who are loyal to him. She is incredibly loyal to him, he does not return that loyalty. He demands it, loyalty to him, he does not return it. He simply doesn't. And he didn't, in that case, on the ballot in a competitive race in the final days, and he spoke so critically, mockingly of her. There's a conversation in town right now.

But remember, again, as we have that conversation, I just want to come back to this number really quick, and pull it out as Republicans say, well, maybe, finally, the Republicans who don't like the president, maybe finally he's gone. He may not be in office in three months, he's not gone. He's going to get close to 70 million votes in this election. There is no indication he's going to go anywhere even if he loses.

BLITZER: Biden is increasing his vote in Nevada right now. We're about to get more votes in Pennsylvania, that key battleground. We're going to continue our special coverage right after this.

[11:40:00]

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ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: And latest numbers from Pennsylvania, Joe Biden ahead 8,867 votes at this point in Pennsylvania, still, though, tens of thousands of votes to come in.

[11:45:01]

See the other leads in Georgia, he's ahead 1,585, Nevada, 22,076, and Arizona, 43,779, and, again, more votes still are being counted, votes that have yet to be counted.

We're getting some response -- some further responses from a couple of senators, Lindsey Graham on a Zoom call, according to our Manu Raju said, and it's incumbent on Trump's team to detail specific instances of voter irregularities. He said that he had spoken to the Trump team today and expects more of these -- of whatever cases they have to be detailed in the next 48 hours.

Also Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri said, you can't stop the count in one state and decide you want it to continue in another state. That might be how you want the system to work, that's not how the system works. Asked if he'd seen widespread voter fraud in different states, Blunt said, there is always some fraud, en quote. I think you have to look at the margin in various states and see if it could possibly be any correlation between that and the gap between the candidates.

RICK SANTORUM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. I mean, that's pretty much what I've been saying here. I think that -- as I said last night, I think that's what most Republicans are going to -- were going to come down. I mean, there is concern, a widespread belief out there that there were a lot of sketchy things going on.

And we pointed out to one of them, which I can tell you in the state of Pennsylvania, the state party and the state legislature, they're very concerned about how the secretary went out and violated the Pennsylvania Supreme Court order, violated the Pennsylvania law, and instructed counties to cure ballots that came in that were -- mail-in ballots that came in that were defective. Under Pennsylvania law you can't do that. Many other states you can. But in Pennsylvania you can't. And there's no procedure in the statue to do so.

And so for her to go out and say to Montgomery County, which is a suburban Philadelphia county, yes, you go ahead and contact these people. You just can't say, go ahead and do whatever you want. I mean, that's just not how you run elections. And that's -- so the people -- I can tell you people in Pennsylvania are hot.

If this race is 100,000 votes, well, they're not 100,000 cured ballots that you worry about. But if this race stays at this level -- I don't think it will, but if it does, then you have got real concern, could fraud have had an impact? The answer is, the actions of the secretary of state could have had an impact to prejudice the elections. Yes.

COOPER: And John King was saying it could be in the neighborhood of, you know, 40,000 or 50,000 lead. Again, the votes --

SANTORUM: That's why Roy Blunt's comment is a comment I made yesterday. It all depends on how big the margin is and what the allegation of fraud is.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Let's read between the lines here and see what's going on. Lindsey Graham was a little more hot headed last night. This morning, he is saying put up or shut up. You've got to show us the fraud within the next 48 hours. You have Roy Blunt, whom as you all know, speaks for the leadership in this case because Mitch McConnell isn't going to speak.

And one other thing he said that was really interesting to me was he said, part of the obligation of leadership is you should always have in your mind how do I leave? Win or lose, both candidates should have been thinking about transition now for some time, and we will have a transition. And I think this will all be settled within the next ten days or so.

SANTORUM: And so --

BORGER: Let me finish. So they are trying to sort of take the temperature down, talk to the American public, this is going to get settled, and, in a way, as you were saying before, Rick, eventually they will say to the president, take credit for all that you've achieved in other Republican races. You've done a great job, Mr. President. And that's how I think they're going to move him across that --

COOPER: Just explain --

SANTORUM: And that's -- in time (ph). That's the only point I want to make, is just give people time --

BORGER: Right. They're starting it.

SANTORUM: -- to do -- well, don't say -- I know people say, why aren't Republicans going out there and -- give people time to work this process.

BORGER: I think that's what they're trying to do.

SANTORUM: That's what they're doing.

COOPER: Explain -- you said Roy Blunt speaks for -- BORGER: Mitch McConnell.

COOPER: Explain what --

BORGER: Okay. So Roy Blunt is in the leadership and he is --

SANTORUM: He's very close to Senator McConnell.

BORGER: As Rick Santorum knows also, an institutionalist, who cares about the institution. Mitch McConnell is not being as forward, I think, at all, as Roy Blunt, who was more blunt, excuse me --

COOPER: You're saying bluntly speaking --

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: He's as blunt as McConnell --

BORGER: I didn't want to make the dad joke.

COOPER: You're saying Blunt is speaking on behalf of Mitch McConnell?

BORGER: He is, I think. I don't think he would go out and say this stuff on his own.

COOPER: And it's constructed --

BORGER: But I think they're sending messages to the president and saying, you've done a great job, everybody needs to think about transition, in life, in politics, in whatever, and so I think it's a clear message.

[11:50:07]

SANTORUM: Just to be clear, I've talked to a lot of -- they are very grateful for what the president did. I mean, they feel very bad for the president. They do, because this guy went out there and laid it all on the line. I mean, he campaigned like a maniac.

BORGER: But not for them.

SANTORUM: Well, he did. But the point is he did and they benefitted from that. And there's a feel, a genuine feeling of affection to what the president did.

COOPER: David, one of the problems is that the president's kids are going out on television, Rudy Giuliani is going out. So for every Roy Blunt sort of --

AXELROD: Well, there's also Donald Trump who tweeted 11 minutes ago with the attack of by the radical left Dems on the Republican Senate, the presidency becomes even more important. And that's his message back to them. So we'll see how it goes.

I appreciate exactly where you're coming from, and I hope that he responds. But, again, I said this before, I don't think he is not someone that cares that much about institutions, including, and you can disagree with me, but I think including the Republican Party. I think he puts himself first. And right now, his priority is Donald Trump.

And the question is you said the other day, he loves his country and he will put the country first and we'll see. And I sincerely hope that that is the case.

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I do too. And I just think part of the reason that this is an important conversation is that democracies are fragile. Democracies can fail. We have people here from around the world, they'll tell you what happens when the institutions get bumped around and people start to have massive distrust in the processor or whatever.

You don't want to be in that. It is hard to put the toothpaste back in the tube once you have tens of millions of people on both sides who just no longer respect the system. We are very lucky here that we've had 200 years of this stuff to get it right.

And as sick as it is at the top, at the bottom, people are acting right on the whole. But it's starting to get hot. You're starting to see these bubbles coming up on both sides as people seeing this tug- of-war happen, and what you're describing, it's a tug-of-war at the top of the Republican Party.

You've got some bitter enders who seemingly are willing to burn the house down, and other Republicans say, hey, can we calm down and get ready for transition. How that plays out at the top is having an impact at the street level. Now, at the street level, this weekend this could get rough if we don't get more signals that we're headed to a normal transition.

BORGER: And I think it's all a matter of doing what Rick Santorum says should be done, whichs is, in some way, they have to convince the president that he was a success and not a failure.

JONES: But that's not that. But hold on a second.

BORGER: That's okay.

JONES: Listen, giving him an honorable way out is not a bad thing. Everybody gave Hillary Clinton that 24 hours that she needed to get herself together. Again, I think Hillary Clinton legitimately needed that moment. She didn't have a history of going and doing bad stuff. But I think what we've got to do as a country, let's create an off ramp, give him his roses and let him move on, and then we still have got to clear the deck for Biden to be able to govern.

Don't forget, big game here is we've got to put a new team in that building and they have got every problem in the world. So it's easy right now to kind of get it all stirred up. Guys, we've got people dying right now across the country, people who don't have jobs, people who are standing in line for food. Can we just get past this moment of crisis and get back together as a country to solve real problems? I think that's what we've got to -- AXELROD: I think the most important thing, Donald Trump, first of all, it won't matter what the margins are here, and it will matter if these four states come in and Biden wins all of them and he -- Georgia we won't know for some time, I think it's close enough, we're going to wait for a runoff. They've already announced that they'll -- not a runoff but a recount. They've already announced that.

But it may well be that he ends up with the same exact margin that Donald Trump had four years ago and called a landslide. He is going to win by far more votes than Hillary Clinton did in the popular vote. And, hopefully, that will send a message.

But the most important thing right now is not to Van's point, for the president of the United States not to send coded messages to people who believe in him and who believe in all their heart that there was no way that he could lose except if it was rigged, because that's what he told them, and now believe that somehow they have to take action. That's what we want to avoid.

BORGER: I understand all of that. But you're in politics and there's a winner and there's a loser. That's the way it is in politics. I'm sorry. You get into the arena, and we all know this, Rick knows this, but you win or you lose.

And I understand the notion that people are trying to sort of communicate with the president and say, okay, let's give him a graceful exit should he lose.

[11:55:04]

But he ran for president and he lost. Let's just say if he loses, he has got to accept that because he's in that arena. And there's only one of two outcomes.

And so I understand giving him the space and all the rest of it, but come on, he ran for president.

SANTORUM: I would also say it is not just him. I mean, Van and I get at it here and one of the reasons that you see this election be as hot as it was is because both sides have convinced themselves that this is an -- the other is an existential threat. How many times did you hear Democrats say, Joe Biden, this is -- Donald Trump, and what he is, authoritarianism and fascism. And then ours, socialism and communism.

So, to say, okay, we have a very close election, let's move on, that's a hard step for people to sort of go with. It would have been a hard step for the left to go over with. And I don't think it is fair for the winners to say, well, you know, it is an institution, let's just move on.

It is a time of -- I can tell you a lot of people are on edge. Van is right. A lot of people are one edge. They want to fight because they think this is an existential threat and that we need to fight this battle until we're sure. Margins will matter and evidence will matter and that's what we have to wait for. And let's not push it too fast. BORGER: I understand that. The margin particularly in Pennsylvania will matter. The two men at the top need to behave well. That is what I am saying. I didn't like that tweet we were talking about earlier from the Biden campaign. I did not like that. But Joe Biden, when he has spoken about this, has been very correct --

SANTORUM: Well, one is a conventional politician, one is not.

AXELROD: That's the point. That is exactly the point.

SANTORUM: I get it.

AXELROD: That's the point. Hillary Clinton, we talked about this earlier, Hillary Clinton, believe me, she felt as aggrieved four years ago as Donald Trump does now and she had some justification, but she believed in the institution and she did what was -- you said 24 hours. I hear you on that. But I hear you talk and I admire you for the way you're talking about this but it should not be a hostage drama to get the president to acknowledge what is manifestly clear.

SANTORUM: So, here would be another message to the president. Do you think Hillary Clinton's grievance that she's carried has been a good look for her and that she's held her in high regard with the country? And so holding a grievance or a grudge and feeling like you were cheated and sort of complaining about that, which --

BORGER: Do you think that would work with Donald Trump, holding a grievance is not a good thing?

SANTORUM: Just -- I'm not saying that to Donald Trump, but I am saying it to Trump people. You think if that's a good look, if you think that's been a good look for her or for the country, it is not a good look for us or for Donald Trump, is my point.

COOPER: Coverage continues in a moment.

BLITZER: The election suspense intensifies as we wait to see if Joe Biden locks up the presidency in the hours and perhaps even the minutes ahead. I am Wolf Blitzer.

The former vice president on the brink of a victory over President Trump as his lead in crucial Pennsylvania grows wider. We're monitoring the vote counting in Pennsylvania and standing by for new results that potentially could be decisive.

The presidency is now coming down to Pennsylvania, as well as Georgia, Arizona, and Nevada. They are all battlegrounds where Biden is leading. He just widened his advantage in Nevada. If Biden wins Pennsylvania or two of those other states, he would climb above the 253 electoral votes he has now and reach the winning number of 270. Trump trails with 213. And although he made some gains in Arizona, Trump's path forward looks very, very bleak.

Let's get a key race alert right now. Let's look at Nevada right now. Trump's lead in Nevada -- excuse me, Biden's lead in Nevada increases a bit. He's got a lead over Trump, 20,548 with 92 percent of the estimated vote in. He's got 49.9 percent to Trump's 48.1 percent, six electoral votes in Nevada.

In Arizona, where there are 11 electoral votes, Biden maintains his lead 434,779, slightly less than it was awhile ago but it's still 43,779, 50 percent for Biden, 48.6 percent for Trump.

[12:00:05]

93 percent of the estimated vote in Arizona is in.