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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Biden on Verge of Presidency, Will Address Nation Tonight; Trump Takes Legal Action: "I Will Never Give Up Fighting for You"; Biden Lead Growing in Pennsylvania; Rich Fitzgerald, Executive (D- Allegheny County, PA) Discusses Presidential Race, Ballot Counts; Biden on Verge of Presidency as Lead Increases in Battleground States. Aired 1:30-2p ET
Aired November 6, 2020 - 13:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: 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.
And what a remarkable moment that will be, should we get there. And we think we will.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it will be.
I mean, I think, even that, on a day like today, if Joe Biden ends up being able to give that speech, and Kamala Harris, we're hearing, will also speak tonight as well is what they're planning, that's going to be a historic moment. It is its own glass-ceiling moment.
I mean, Hillary Clinton was not successful in becoming president of the United States.
But there has never been a woman vice president of the United States. There's never been a person of color as vice president of the United States.
It is a huge glass-ceiling moment for women and black women and for South-Asian women.
And, you know, we do have to take a moment and just let that sink in. Because there's a lot of partisan bickering going on.
But in a normal world in which we are not at each other's throats politically, and in the past in this country, we have allowed those moments to be recognized and to be celebrated for what they are.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And hopefully, as you said earlier, they will be, even by people who would have preferred that Kamala Harris weren't the first person just because of her party, first woman to get this role.
This is obviously much, much, much less important.
But the other thing, as you talked about, Senator Harris, is her husband. This will be the first time we'll see --
BASH: -- a second spouse, second man, second dude, whatever they call him, which will be another dynamic.
TAPPER: Not to mention the first Jew in that building.
BASH: There you go. That's true.
There are a lot of norms that are going to be busted, assuming this happens. And we'll have a lot of time to talk about, what it means.
And just the role of -- we've already seen in lots of situations in politics the woman in the spotlight as the candidate, as the front person.
And when I asked Senator Harris about this in an interview that I did a couple months ago about it, she said, well, we're partners, which of course is true. Any man would say that also.
It is a new thing. She embraced that. She said we're going to move things along and represent these dynamics that you're seeing across the country in families everywhere.
It's different now. This is a time we're going to see it in the White House, in the executive branch, and obviously over at the Naval Observatory.
TAPPER: So I think --
BASH: Assuming this happens.
TAPPER: Assuming it happens.
I think the speech that he gives this evening, assuming the race is called by then -- and I don't know that it will be.
But the vice president is leading now in Pennsylvania by 13,371 votes, in Nevada by 20,137 votes, in Arizona by 43,779 votes. Georgia, he's up as well, although that's going to go to a recount because of the slim margin. We could be there.
And I think that's interesting what you're saying about the fact that this cannot only be a speech that appeals to John Kasich. No offense to Governor Kasich out there.
But this needs to be a speech that makes progressives feel good --
TAPPER: -- about Joe Biden being elected.
It's a speech that needs to be -- look, let's be honest, progressives, and in particular, minority groups, minority communities have spent four years being miserable because they felt the president -- not everybody in these groups, I'm generalizing.
Because they thought President Trump, at the least, looked down on them, at the worst, was a racist. And without question, he said racist things.
This is a moment that I think a lot of Americans, liberals, progressives, people of color and others, want to hear that their values are being reaffirmed.
BASH: Yet, we have a new statement from President Trump. I'm going to read it.
"We believe the American people deserve to have full transparency into all vote counting and election certification. And that this is no longer about any single election, this is about the integrity of the entire election process."
"From the beginning, we have said that all legal battles must be counted," rather.
Start again. "From the beginning we have said that all legal ballots must be counted. And an illegal ballot shouldn't be counted. We met resistance for this basic principle by Democrats at every turn."
"We will pursue this process through every aspect of the law to guarantee the American people have confidence in our government."
"I will never give up fighting for you and our nation."
TAPPER: I mean, OK. Where's the evidence of any malfeasance? That's a nicer sounding statement --
TAPPER: -- that somebody crafted for him than what we have been hearing from him the last several weeks and months.
But the same bottom line applies, which is where is the evidence that that has not happened.
BASH: I agree with you. I totally agree with you. Evidence, all of that.
But the fact that he allowed somebody to craft this in his name feels like a little tiny --
TAPPER: No. BASH: -- maybe a toe into the idea that maybe he is coming to grips with what could happen.
PHILLIP: In some ways, Dana --
PHILLIP: -- It feels like what they're actually doing is putting on paper that they believe the entire American election system is corrupt.
PHILLIP: And that's a real problem. I do not think -- beyond there's no evidence for that. You have to have the evidence first before you make such a --
TAPPER: We really are past the point of pivoting. I mean --
BASH: I didn't say pivot. I never said pivot. I -- I -- I --
BASH: What my hope is that perhaps this is the beginning of getting him to the point where he recognizes things.
But you know what? We have a long way to go. They're going to have time, if they find that evidence, to present this in court.
You can make a political statement like this but political statements don't work in courts of law.
In order to challenge an election, you have to do it in a court of law. If you don't have the evidence, it is not going to go anywhere.
TAPPER: The way this works is the evidence comes, then the complaint.
TAPPER: That's not how they're doing this. Trump is doing the complaining and now they're running around looking for the evidence.
BASH: I'm totally agreeing with you.
TAPPER: I'm not going to applaud the president's new tone.
BASH: Neither am I.
TAPPER: Joe Biden's lead in Pennsylvania is growing by the hour. And we're expecting new numbers very soon.
Stay with us. Our special coverage continues right after this. We have no idea what's going to happen next.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Joe Biden took the lead earlier this morning. He still has a lead. It is growing in Pennsylvania. He is 13,374 votes ahead of Donald Trump, 49.5 percent to 49.3 percent.
Brian Todd is in Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, joining us now.
Brian, what's going on there? Allegheny County, second largest county in Pennsylvania.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. We're here with the man at the center of what we hope is not a storm. It's Rich Fitzgerald. He's the Allegheny County executive.
This is the place where they're counting mail-in ballots and everything coming in after Election Day in Allegheny County.
First, sir, I know they -- the return board here was counting ballots that were damaged earlier. And they're starting to count ballots from the military and overseas.
Do you have results for us?
RICH FITZGERALD, EXECUTIVE, (D-ALLEGHENY COUNTY, PA): We don't have results yet. They won't be posting them probably for a few more hours.
But we have about 3,000 ballots being processed that traditional, regular mail-in ballots come throughout Allegheny County. And then it looks like about 3,500 or so military ballots.
I'm told that maybe by 5:00, a little after 5:00, we may post those 6,500 or so ballots.
TODD: And 35,000-plus total mail-ins and other ballots that came in on or after Election Day. How long to take to get through those?
FITZGERALD: These are all before Election Day.
FITZGERALD. I'm sorry. I just want to make sure.
There's 28,000 they'll begin looking at after 5:00 tonight.
They still have about another 3,000 or 4,000 they're still going through, making sure about the secrecy envelope, the signatures, the dates, those kinds of things.
They'll work through the night. They haven't taken a break. They didn't take a break for lunch. They will keep moving on it.
TODD: Have observers reported any problems, complained about anything?
FITZGERALD: No. As a matter of fact, when we swore in the election board this morning, we had the Republican chair, as well as myself, talking and basically thanking the workers.
They're doing it in a good way. They have been doing it with observation. The press is here to watch it. There's cameras everywhere. This is a very, very transparent process.
TODD: A question many ask, not just in Pennsylvania, but Arizona where they're still counting votes and elsewhere, a question many Americans have for places like Pennsylvania, and you have the answer. It is logical, of course.
But can you tell people why it takes so long after Election Day to get through the ballots?
FITZGERALD: Because we were not permitted to begin this process until Election Day. That should change.
I know Florida and some other states pre-canvas. Meaning, days before, they start to open the envelopes. We weren't allowed to do anything with envelops, secrecy envelopes, until Election Day.
That delays the process. We could have had this done and given results Tuesday night. We didn't have to go through this three-or-four-day process if we're allowed to pre-canvas.
I hope our legislature, our state legislature changes that.
TODD: You're frustrated. Are there any other frustrations you have with this?
FITZGERALD: No, that's a frustration. We warned everybody. The governor tried to get it done. Governor Wolf did everything he could.
Twice they came to him, the Republican legislature came to him and said, if you do this, we'll give it to you. And he said yes, and then they still said no. They couldn't take yes for an answer.
TODD: Thank you, Mr. Fitzgerald. Good luck with the count. We'll be here, monitoring it. We'll get the results when we can.
FITZGERALD: Thank you.
TODD: Thank you very much.
So, guys, no results yet. But they'll start to count 28,000, 29,000 ballots that are coming after Election Day starting at 5:00 Eastern time today.
It won't take much longer to upload those and get the results to you. We hope to have them by tonight. Maybe some of the bulk of the vote in this county will be resolved -- Wolf?
BLITZER: Good to know.
Brian Todd, in Pittsburgh for us, Allegheny County.
What do you make of the developments? Allegheny County, the second- largest county in Pennsylvania.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The process and delay in the process because, as the gentleman explained, state law says you can't touch them, you can't touch them.
Delay in the process is flowing down, what we believe to be inevitable. Joe Biden is up 13,374 votes. That's been increasing steadily. Not by huge numbers.
You mention where Brian is standing here, 10 percent, Allegheny County, 10 percent of the vote statewide. Talking 35,000, 40,000 ballots they're trying to count.
OK. Joe Biden is getting 60 percent, just shy of that here. In mail-in ballots, he is getting even higher. Then you drop out. Then you're Joe Biden, then you would like to see the lead grow.
Guess what? When they count those ballots, it will grow. It is a Democratic strong hold. Joe Biden is riding high in mail-in ballots. But they can't touch them until later.
You saw how quickly Florida was counting election night. Because, as the gentleman just explained, they're allowed to take the mail-in ballots, check the signatures, take them out of the envelopes, do everything to verify them.
Then on Election Day, you put them in the scanner.
In Pennsylvania, because of state law, they can't.
It is arcane. You mentioned people are getting a geography lesson, learning about counties across the country. We're also learning different states do it different ways.
Because of that, we're waiting on votes in the state likely to decide the next president of the United States. It's a process we have to go through.
There's no question where the math is heading. If Joe Biden continues to methodically build the lead, the places where we know, like Allegheny County, like over here in Philadelphia, and the suburban collar around it.
I will move it up so people can see it. This is the foundation again. Any Democratic win statewide in Pennsylvania starts here.
That's where the ballots are. There's an inevitability to the map. The question is: How quickly can you process?
BLITZER: Stand by, John.
I want to speak to Senator Bob Casey, Democratic Senator from Pennsylvania, joining us right now.
Senator Casey, thanks so much for joining us.
What's the latest information you're getting? When do you think we're going to get final numbers in Pennsylvania?
You have been upbeat for the past several days that Biden is certainly going to win.
SEN. BOB CASEY (D-PA): Wolf, it is hard to be certain when that will transpire, when you have all the ballots that are mail-in ballots outstanding to process.
As John and you have indicated that lead is growing. I expect it to continue to grow ultimately.
And when I say ultimately, when there's a certification process based upon an official count, that lead should be somewhere around 100,000.
KING: Sir, help us through this. We were going through this with the gentleman in Allegheny County.
People around the country and world are learning different states do it different ways. Sometimes within states they do it different ways.
I want to go through this. Best math, 124,000 mail-in ballots are outstanding statewide. Then there are provisional ballots. Just in Philadelphia alone, about 20,000 provisional ballots.
Provisional ballots, if you show up at the polling place, maybe moved the last couple years, you fill out provisional ballot, then they check to be sure you're legit.
Are those counted anyway or, if the lead is outside the number of provisional ballots at the end in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, do they set them aside because they're not going to impact the outcome?
CASEY: No, provisional ballots will be counted. I think it was the "York Daily Record" newspaper that published a story that said about 92,000 in the state. Those will be processed.
That process takes longer. That's why the difference between the unofficial count a few days after the election usually is a lot lower than the official count.
When I ran in six general elections, often my margin of victory goes up substantially after -- well after Election Day because of that.
So the provisionals, the basic rationale for why you have provisionals is, if you have been approved for mail-in ballot but didn't receive it, you're allowed to cast a provisional ballot. There has to be a review of that.
Then if you received a mail-in ballot but it was rejected, you can vote by provisional ballot. Then they make an assessment whether to ultimately count that ballot. It is a process.
But there are a lot of votes still outstanding. They're not included in the number.
BLITZER: When you say, Senator Casey, that you think, when all of the vote is counted, Biden will win the state by roughly 100,000 votes -- right now, it is 13,374. It's going up -- every few hours, it goes up by a few thousand.
Tell us how you came up with that 100,000 figure.
CASEY: Well, the good news, Wolf, is that the Voter Project came up with that estimate. I'm relying on them.
These are folks who looked at this very carefully. And I think conservatively.
There's just a lot more to be counted before you get the certification. And that's -- that's the way it transpires in every election.
As you can tell -- you had Rich Fitzgerald, the county executive of Allegheny County, on, who knows that process well.
There's still a bulk of votes there. There's still some votes in the southeast corner of the state. So there's still some work to do.
But Joe Biden I think is going to not just be the winner, but he'll win -- he's going to win the state by more than President Trump did when President Trump was certified, certified 44,292. This margin will be much higher than that.
BLITZER: We just got a statement from President Trump. I want to read a sentence or two from it and get your reaction, Senator Casey.
This is an official statement from the White House, from the president:
"From the beginning, we have said that all legal ballots must be counted, all illegal ballots should not be counted. Yet, we have met resistance for this basic principle by Democrats at every turn."
You're shaking your head. But give me your reaction. That's a very blunt accusation by the president of the United States.
CASEY: Well, it's bizarre. It's disturbing. And it's a lie. He knows that.
Every time he does this, he not only undermines our system of voting and our democracy, but he undermines our national security. He should act like a president and comply with the Constitution or
accept the will of the people by virtue of our Constitution.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again. He's either going to stand alongside the Constitution, allow this process to unfold, or he's going to continue to do what he has been doing.
And ultimately, ultimately, the will of the people, by virtue of the Constitution, will just roll over him.
What he should be doing right now is focusing on the fact that we have well over 100,000 COVID cases every day. That's what he should be working on, instead of just obsessing about what his political standing is.
BLITZER: Your Republican colleague from Pennsylvania, Senator Toomey, agrees with you. He says, "The president's allegations of large-scale fraud and theft of the election are just not substantiated."
That from Senator Toomey, the Republican Senator from Pennsylvania.
We'll stay in close touch with you.
Senator Casey, thanks as usual for joining us.
CASEY: Thank, Wolf.
BLITZER: Joe Biden is pulling further ahead in Pennsylvania. We're expecting more new numbers as the former vice president moves closer and closer to becoming president of the United States.
More of our special coverage right after this.
BLITZER: We're nearing the finish line of this historic presidential election.
I'm Wolf Blitzer.
We're told that former Vice President Joe Biden is preparing for the possibility of a victory speech tonight, if, if he locks in a win over President Trump in the coming hours.
That could happen at any time as voting continues in pivotal Pennsylvania, where Biden keeps adding to his lead. We're standing by for more results from that battleground. That's coming up.
Biden also has the edge in close races in Arizona, Georgia and Nevada.
But only Pennsylvania could hand the presidency to Biden on its own with its 20 electoral votes. A win in the Keystone State would push Biden above the 270 needed to win the presidency.
President Trump's options for adding to his electoral vote count of 213 are running out.
Let's get a key race alert.
Let's start out in Pennsylvania where Biden's lead has increased to 13,410 over Donald Trump, 49.5 percent to 49.3 percent, with 96 percent of the estimated in.
Once again, 20 electoral votes in Pennsylvania. If Biden wins Pennsylvania, it's over. He becomes the next president of the United States.
In Georgia, right now, almost all of the vote is in, 99 percent of the estimated vote is in. Biden has a small lead, 1,561. Very, very close. And 16 electoral votes in Georgia. There will be a recount there.
In Nevada, right now, 92 percent of the estimated vote is in, six electoral votes. Biden maintains his lead. It's gone down a bit, 20,137 over Donald Trump, 49.7 percent to 48.1 percent.
And in Arizona, 93 percent of the estimated vote is in, 11 electoral votes. Biden maintains his lead of 43,779, 50 percent to 48.6 percent.
Let's go over to David Chalian. He's standing by at the battleground desk, as we're calling it.
Let's talk about the calculation, the decision that CNN, other news organizations that for that matter have to make, when to project a winner.
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: You just went through the Pennsylvania numbers. Joe Biden is up to a 13,410 lead now over Donald Trump. He's been building that lead since he overtook Donald Trump in the vote count in Pennsylvania.