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Biden on Verge of Presidency, Will Address Nation Tonight. Aired 1-1:30p ET

Aired November 6, 2020 - 13:00   ET

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


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[13:00:00]

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: On this fourth day of the presidential election, America's choice is becoming clearer by the hour. I am Wolf Blitzer.

Right now, former Vice President Joe Biden is on a path to winning the White House as he pushes farther ahead of the president in Pennsylvania, a must win for Trump. More and more votes are being counted and reported in that key battleground state, new results could be revealed at any time.

We're also standing by for an update on the vote counting in Nevada, another important battleground. This nail-biter election is playing out in Pennsylvania and Nevada, as well as in Georgia and Arizona. All those contests are close right now. But Biden certainly has the edge.

The driving question right now, will Biden reach 270 electoral votes soon. He is close to winning that number with 253 right now.

Let's go to a news conference that's under way now. We are watching the latest developments. Let's listen in.

JOE GLORIA, CLARK COUNTY, NEVADA REGISTRAR OF VOTERS: The expected turnout I reported yesterday was incorrect. The 51,000 votes that I reported would be available today is actually a little over 30,000, and here is the reason why. When we processed ballots on the counting board, our tracking mechanism changed from precinct-based ballots to page numbers. For the first time in Clark County, the ballot is so large that our ballot is actually two pages long. And so they have to track that when we scanned ballots so that we can verify that the count on those pages is correct.

My staffer inadvertently and mistakenly reported to me that there were 51,000 precinct ballots to count yesterday, and in actuality, 51,000 pages. So that explains why when you saw the updates today, you only saw 30,000 instead of the 51,000.

However, the universe of ballots that I communicated yesterday is still accurate. The only thing you need to do is take it down approximately 20,500 from the 51,000 to the 30,000. But the 63,000 ballots that are reported yesterday are in the state in the system in various stages. So those will still expected to be reported. Beginning today, we will begin to report our reports two times a day. So, you've already seen the update for this morning. In the afternoon, we will be putting up a fresh report on the mail ballots that have been read into the system sometime before 4:00. We are required to report to the secretary of state first. Once they indicated to us that they received it and it is verified, we'll be able to post on our end. So, rather than give you a specific time, I'll just tell you that it will be sometime before 4:00 P.M.

Now, one more time, I would like to go through ballots that are separate from the universe that I reported. We still have the provisional ballots. All of our laptops from Election Day have been downloaded. So, all of that information is available to my staff. Today, we will start in earnest reviewing provisional ballots. There are 60,000 of those to go through in various categories.

Now, I want to remind you that we have to coordinate with secretary of state because, again, we are not a top-down registration state, we work from bottom up. So, all 17 counties have to report to the secretary. They still have not given me the instructions. I know that they're on the way, but at some point they'll let us know when to send our report up, and that will be the tool that they use to match against the other 16 counties in Nevada to make sure that nobody duplicated a vote in one county to the next because we want to prevent that.

[13:05:06]

Once we do that, we can begin to release the provisional ballots into count. However, that won't happen until the secretary of state verifies that report.

A reminder that the I.D.-required voters, their deadline is today at 5:00 P.M. For those who were required to provide an id, that has to be sent to us by 5:00 P.M. today. We have a cure line available at 702- 455-6552, where we have staff available to assist those individuals with getting that into us.

The U.S. mail update for this morning, we received 241 ballots in today's mail that will be added to the number that I call in my universe of ballots to be counted. It's looking clear that the number of ballots is going to continue to go down.

However, I wanted to assure the general public, we have been working very close with the regional supervisor at the U.S. Postal Service. They are doing an excellent job of reviewing all of the post stations here in Clark County. In fact, they have been sweeping regularly more than once on a daily basis, and if they identify anything that needs to be delivered to the office, they get it to our office within three to four hours. It doesn't go through the process of having set up for us to pick up, they are physically delivering those.

So we appreciate their effort. They're making sure, just as we are, that we're counting every ballot eligible to be counted. So, our thanks to the U.S. Postal Service locally. The cure process is another group of ballots that we need to process. They have until Thursday, the 12th of November, to cure that. My staff will not leave this facility until we have counted all of those ballots that have been identified as curable. AB4 was clear in the legislative special session that we have to have all ballots have to be counted by November 12th.

And with that, I'll open it up for questions. Remember, you need to be at the mic.

Good morning, right there. Right there, you, yes.

REPORTER: Yes. Good afternoon or good morning, Mr. Registrar. Can you tell us the number of ballots that you expect in this afternoon dump? So, you said the 31,000 was the total for this morning. It won't be -- or 31,000. It won't be --

GLORIA: No, it's not 31,000.

REPORTER: I'm sorry. 30 -- so let's just be clear here.

GLORIA: 30,403 was the --

REPORTER: 30,403. This afternoon, before 4:00 P.M., how many do you expect?

GLORIA: Because we're dumping two reports a day, I can't accurately give you that number. The only thing that I can tell you is the numbers that I reported is my universal ballots that need to be counted is still accurate. So we know we're going to need to get approximately 63,000 ballots into the system.

REPORTER: So, still 63 -- go ahead, I'm sorry.

GLORIA: 63,000 over the next couple days will be entered into the system.

REPORTER: Okay. So, 63,000 still outstanding, 30,000 this morning. And, TBD, you don't know how many this afternoon?

GLORIA: No, I can't give you that number accurately because we changed to a two-report in the day. And so they're going to work as hard as they can. They're being very efficient back there in the way they count through the ICCs. So we'll get as many in as we can and then we'll continue to read after that report and there will be another report tomorrow morning with whatever we read this afternoon and evening.

REPORTER: Okay, thanks. This is my colleague, Jolene Kent (ph).

REPORTER: Thank you, Jacob.

I know we talked about the pace yesterday, but there is increasing pressure on your county to count faster. You have the capacity to count 71,000 ballots a day. Why not process that number, Joe? GLORIA: As I described yesterday, the process is very deliberate in the way we process here. So, through Agilis, which is our mail ballot processing system, that's the first step, that Agilis machine will verify signatures and then those that aren't verified as a match, that has to go to a manual physical process. And there are two steps in that process. But we have staff running through those. We have to run those through those two steps. And then at that point it moves to the counting board.

Our counting board then works to verify those records to make sure that our batches are matching and that we are reconciling correctly. And they go through the process of separating ballots and getting them over here for us to count.

So there's no speeding up that process. As I indicated yesterday, we're going to continue to count and make sure that we're being accurate. We are anticipating and hoping that the number of ballots that we see now, we should hopefully be ready to have a final count in the majority of mail ballots by Sunday sometime.

REPORTER: By Sunday. And what's your message to all of the people out there watching Clark County who say, come on, let's go, hurry it up?

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GLORIA: I think I mentioned yesterday that the priority is to make sure that we are accurate in what we are doing. So we're not interested in moving as fast as we can. We want to be accurate. We're very fortunate at this point that we have staff working many days and they're very efficient at what they're doing. So we're confident that the work is being done accurately. And that's what our main goal is.

REPORTER: Can you talk about the circumstances that require an I.D.? What are those I.D.-required ballots, because there's quite a lot of them? And how are those different from the other ballots that need to be cured?

GLORIA: The easiest explanation for the cure is that those voters who send back a mail ballot that is not signed at all or that has a signature that doesn't match all of our history of signatures in the system, they enter into the cure process.

BLITZER: All right. So, we're monitoring that news conference. So, Joe Gloria, the Clark County, Nevada, registrar of voters, giving an update on what's going on. Clark County, as we all know by now, we're learning a lot of geography throughout all of this country right now.

Las Vegas, that's the biggest chunk, 72 percent of the population of Nevada right there. He says there are still 63,000 outstanding votes, ballots that have to be counted in Clark County.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. And so, obviously, if you look, it's 72 percent, it could be as high as 73, 74 percent depending on turnout statewide. Btu this is more than seven in ten votes cast statewide will come out of Clark County, Vegas, the growing suburbs around it. And so this is a big challenge, right? So, you count those 60,000 votes, you see what it does to the winner. Normally, especially if you post a decent win, you get a big win out of Clark County, you're almost always the statewide winner. That is the challenge going forward. And so we'll wait here.

And you could hear in the reporters' questions, there is some frustration of why this is taking so long. It is Friday, I believe, and the election was Tuesday, and they have been very, very slow in Clark County. And, frankly, Mr. Gloria had to correct something he said yesterday, which adds at a time when people want to know the results, it adds to the confusion. So, at least he is taking questions. We applaud the transparency. But he has dug his own hole, if you will, asking the questions about these.

So we are waiting for the vote here. And this is a place where you see that lead for Joe Biden, this actually come down a little bit. Joe Biden is leading in Nevada. He doesn't need it if he wins Pennsylvania, but it's interesting to watch because this was a Hillary Clinton state. This would be a Biden hold.

Just in a few of these counties as they come in in recent hours, I want to come here to Douglas County. I just want to use this as one example. Again, these are not mind-blowing numbers by any chance because you see it is a smaller rural county out here.

But just one little thing here that's happened in the last couple of hours, you get votes coming in, and president gets 3,292 and the former vice president gets 1,663. So, you see the overall Biden lead, right? And you see -- so this is 62 percent for the president.

And so, again, if you're the Biden campaign, you want to protect your lead. You know the president is going to get in these counties that are red he's going to get the votes. And so one of the reasons if you're in the Biden campaign, as you want Clark County to report votes, as you think, we'll count them, but you think that's where the advantage is. And, again, it's more than 70 percent of the statewide vote.

But here is just one example as we go through this in every county in these contested states. Here, the lead, come back to statewide, you see the president getting 63 percent in Douglas County, statewide, for former vice president, Joe Biden has a lead, but it has been shrinking a little bit.

BLITZER: And 92 percent of the vote is in.

Let's take another quick break, much more special coverage coming up. We're taking a close look at Pennsylvania when we come back.

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JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Welcome back to CNN's coverage of the presidential election. Lots going on at this hour, votes are being counted, campaigns are strategizing. Let's check in with Jeff Zeleny, who is in Wilmington, Delaware, where the Biden campaign is. And, Jeff, you reported last hour that the former vice president now possible, possible, we don't know yet, we haven't called anything, president-elect, is preparing for a primetime address this evening. Tell us more.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Jake, that's right. Joe Biden, I am told, is preparing for a primetime address this evening. He will address the nation about the election results. They believe it will be a moment for him to give a victory speech. Of course, that is not in their control. This is one of the many things, presidential campaigns are tightly controlled. This is out of their control now. It is in the hands of election officials, most importantly in Pennsylvania.

I am told there's still this air of confidence that has been with the Biden campaign for the last several days or so. And the vice president, I'm told, is at his home, he's been with his family this morning, also looking ahead, working on possible transition names to be announced, but they're not getting ahead of themselves on that. So, he is going to be delivering a speech.

And, Jake, this is going to be steep in history. As we've said several times this morning, he first ran for president in his 40s. He was the youngest person in that race in 1988. Now, in just two weeks time, two weeks from today, he turns 78 years old, the oldest American ever elected president, if he is elected president. And it is a different time than he could have imagined when he got in this race. He would also be the second catholic ever to be elected president.

So he is someone who likes to go to mass before Election Days, before big primary days. Faith is a big part of his life as well. So, as he prepares for this speech, there's really a sense of calm in Wilmington, but apprehension when this is going to happen. And there's not much anxiety over the outcome, they're not sure on the timing. But one thing is clear tonight in primetime, Joe Biden will be on the stage behind me here where aides are busy setting it up.

TAPPER: And you talked about he will be the oldest president ever elected in the United States when he first ran for president in that 1988 race.

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I was a freshman in college when he dropped out.

Abby Phillip right here a few feet away from me, wasn't even born when Joe Biden first ran for president, so a lot of history going on here.

So let's move on to the Trump campaign -- Trump team. Kaitlan Collins, good to see you. A lot -- we don't even have to ask about Kaitlan. Kaitlan, a lot going on, obviously, behind the scenes. President Trump, you reported in the last hour, not planning on conceding even after, if I should say, the race is called for Joe Biden. What more can you tell us?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Basically, the president is being described as angry and frustrated, often doing two things that he has done throughout his presidency, which is watching television and complaining that enough people aren't out there defending his claim, his baseless claim that this election is being stolen from him.

But, Jake, I am told it is creating this kind of frenzied atmosphere inside the west wing because people are realizing that Joe Biden is on a path to victory here and he is pulling only further ahead of the president by the hour when they have been told by these campaign officials for the last several days, don't worry, we're going to figure this out. By Friday, the president will be re-elected. And that is obviously looking increasingly less likely.

So, what's happening inside the west wing are a few things. Those who are closest to the president are working to manage his frustration and his anger now as he is complaining that there aren't enough people defending him. The chief of staff, Mark Meadows, is playing a pretty big role in feeding the president's claim that this election is being stolen from him, including in places like Pennsylvania where the president is touting off these conspiracies about what's going on there. And some people inside the west wing do not believe what Mark Meadows is doing is helpful.

And, Jake, the other thing is, people are looking for jobs. People are starting to wonder about what their employment situation is going to be, where they are going to go going forward because there really wasn't this idea that the president could lose. Even though he was down in so many polls, people thought it was President Trump and he would find a way to pull this off. And now, they're realizing that that seems increasingly less likely. So it's led to this frenzied atmosphere inside the west wing right now.

One person I do want to note his activities when we have not seen since about 2:30 Wednesday morning is the vice president, Mike Pence, even though he did tweet yesterday, seemingly trying to support what the president was saying at that press conference, even though it did not match what the president said was going on. He, I am told, is one of several people who is making calls today, trying to get donations for a legal defense fund for the president because, of course, they are going to need a lot of money if they're going to follow through these rigged counts, these lawsuits that they're threatening.

And that is one thing that the vice president is playing a role in as he stays behind closed doors today. And we should note, he is one of several Trump allies playing a role in that today.

TAPPER: Kaitlan, before I let you go, we were talking to Ben Ginsberg, the noted Republican election lawyer not long ago, and said that, I hadn't seen credible evidence of election fraud at all, certainly not widespread, certainly not enough that could change an election, but also just, frankly, I haven't seen any evidence of election fraud, period.

When the Trump team makes these allegations, other than the easily debunked stuff that you can read on the dark recesses of the internet, are you seeing anything that rises to the level of this looks real, this looks serious?

COLLINS: No. And I am getting a lot of texts from unhappy campaign officials because we have been calling these claims, these allegations from the president, baseless. But that is what they are, Jake. And they are not able to point to hard evidence that they are taking to court to show that there is this substantial voter fraud that they're talking about.

And there are little ways that you can see through what they're saying, things like yesterday, you saw them bring out this woman in Nevada saying that she had her ballot stolen, she believed. And later, we actually heard from the secretary of state who said they investigated it, they looked into it, they talked to the woman, and the signature on her ballot matched her signature. So they believe that she was actually going to fill out that ballot.

Another thing is, they're talking about how they believe they didn't have poll watchers in certain locations in places like Philadelphia. Jake, a Trump campaign attorney admitted in court yesterday they did have their people in the room, they were just complaining about how close they were. So things like that is not building a lot of credibility for the people that are making these arguments.

And, of course, the White House has long struggled with credibility when it comes to these allegations of voter fraud because the president has been claiming it since the day he took office, the day I started covering him. And now he is ending his presidency potentially by making more claims like this that they are struggling to justify.

TAPPER: All right. Kaitlan Collins, thanks so much, excellent reporting, I appreciate it as always.

And while we were talking to Kaitlan there, Joe Biden's margin in Pennsylvania increased even more.

[13:25:04]

You can see now he has 13,371 votes more than Donald Trump in the Keystone State in Pennsylvania, which is a pivotal state. If Joe Biden were to win that state, he would have 270 electoral votes and he would be the president-elect. We have not declared that, we have not rejected that. But if he were, that would be the ball game.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It would be. And the Biden campaign, never mind Joe Biden and his family, Senator Harris, her family, they're kind of in suspended animation right now. They've been like this for the past 12 hours because they're waiting for the moment when Pennsylvania most likely will have another wave of votes and that the expectation based on the way it is going is that that will increase and it will make it as obvious as it is to them that he will be the president-elect. But, obviously, as you said, nobody is there yet.

In the meantime, what they're doing, Jeff Zeleny reported that the former vice president is going to give a speech later tonight, they're working on that speech. And I am told that the content of that is going to be everything we've heard from the former vice president since the first day that he announced his candidacy, which is the whole notion of bringing the country together. He is going to really lean into that theme, as he has done so many times. And, obviously, given where we are now, it's going to have a lot more

meaning.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. For Democrats right now, they also want to hear from Joe Biden a little bit channeling of their feelings of, frankly, relief after working for four years to get Donald Trump out of the White House. I mean, this has been a stressful week for a lot of Democrats who, on Tuesday, were panic-stricken that Joe Biden had lost. And now, they're looking at the possibility that he might not lose.

And I think that there's a lot of pent up desire for Democrats to feel validated, to not feel like they're going to be pushed aside in the interest of trying to extend an olive branch to bad faith actors, frankly. And so this is the balancing act that Joe Biden is going to need to do tonight. It is a combination of the two things. Yes, reach out the hand but also a validation for his own party that got him here, that their values are going to be taken to the White House, that they are not going to be sort of pushed aside just for the purposes of saying that you want to be bipartisan.

There's a lot of quiet talk among Democrats about what a Joe Biden transition might look like and how far he might go to reach out to Republicans. There was some griping about the convention, about how many Republicans played a role in that convention.

So, you know, I'm sure that the Biden campaign has been thinking about this for quite some time, this is not a new conversation, but it is going to have to be dealt with tonight to some degree, in addition to unifying the country, just allowing Democrats to have this moment because it's been a long time incoming for many of them.

TAPPER: Yes, absolutely. And, look, that's going to be a very difficult needle for the Biden transition team to thread, should it come to that, should it come to them announcing policy proposals, when it comes to announcing a cabinet. It is traditional for a president to have somebody from the other party in the cabinet, in the name of healing. George Bush did it with Norman Mineta, Barack Obama did it with several people, including Chuck Hagel. I don't think that President Trump did it, but healing has not really been one of his priorities. So that will be interesting.

But while they're also running to find a Chuck Hagel or a John Kasich or whoever to put in the administration, they also have other issues and other groups that are important parts of the coalition that theoretically, assuming it happens the way we think it is, got him to the White House, people of color, progressives, Bernie Sanders. There's been talk of Bernie Sanders wanting to be secretary of labor, Elizabeth Warren, there's talk of her wanting to secretary of the treasury. Yes. So, I mean, there are a lot of competing values.

And I just want to take one more moment. You did this earlier, and I want to do it again, which is when Kamala Harris, Senator Kamala Harris gave her speech at her convention, such as the convention was, we all took a moment to acknowledge what an incredible moment it was for girls, for women, for people of color to see themselves represented that way. And we are on track to have this moment, as you acknowledged very eloquently a few hours ago to have the first woman of color vice president in the history of the United States.

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And what a remarkable moment that will be should we get there and we think we will.