Return to Transcripts main page


Biden Inching Closer to Victory; Interview With Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D-PA). Aired 3-3:30p ET

Aired November 6, 2020 - 15:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Let's start with Phil Mattingly.

A number of tight races that are important to look at right now. What do you want to show us?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, first, let's look at the big picture.

Obviously, we're paying attention to Pennsylvania. We're paying attention to Georgia. We're waiting on Arizona. We're waiting on Nevada. That's really the big outstanding right now.

And to give you a sense of how things are going, Georgia just had 40 votes drop in. So we're getting down to the end here a little bit.

COOPER: Biden is that almost 74 million. He's at 73,985,000.

MATTINGLY: You can keep an eye -- we have been doing this for the last couple days. You keep an eye on this top line, and all you have seen is the margin here grow.

Right now, Joe Biden leading the popular vote by 4.1 million votes. I think the biggest thing everybody is focused on right now and waiting, as we wait for the Georgia press conference, we wait for more votes to come in, in Georgia, is the state of Pennsylvania.

This is the ball game. If Joe Biden wins Pennsylvania, Joe Biden is over 270 electoral votes. And the reality right now, Anderson, if I just -- going to pull this up here, let's track back, track back to Wednesday at midnight. Donald Trump was ahead by 548,000 votes.

Now, follow with me. You and I were on air at various points throughout the course of this process. Then his lead went up to 589,000 votes, skipped ahead a couple there, then to 435,000 votes. Now, what happened here? Why did this start to move down?

Well, the state of Pennsylvania, not unlike Wisconsin and Michigan, both states won by Joe Biden, counted the Election Day vote first. The Election Day vote was very strongly Republican. The Democratic vote went very heavily mail-in ballots. Mail-in ballots were counted last. COOPER: And part of that is, the president is as much responsible for

that as anybody. I mean, Democrats were telling their people, vote early vote, when you can by mail.

The president was telling his people, vote on Election Day. Don't trust this mail-in ballot stuff.

MATTINGLY: Yes. And credit where it's due. The Election Day turnout for Republicans across the country was huge. The president has gotten the second most votes in the history of a presidential election.

Unfortunately for him, Joe Biden has gotten the most votes for that. But, to your point, mail-in balloting has skewed so heavily Democratic, as we have seen it, as the votes have been counted and it's come out.

So, we will keep going, and you just watch the margin drops, down to 182,000 Wednesday at 11:00 p.m., down to 146,000 Thursday at 9:00. Keep going, 108,000, 73,000.

COOPER: And just -- it's important, again, just to reiterate. This is not new votes coming in, more people voting.


COOPER: This is votes that had already been sent in that they are just finally getting around to counting.

MATTINGLY: It is purely the construct of how the state counted. They counted the Election Day vote first. Then they counted the vote by mail.

And take it as the inverse of Ohio. You remember, on election night, Ohio started off very blue, to the point where everybody was looking around and saying, wow, Ohio, we thought maybe it was off the swing state map after what President Trump did in 2016. And it was super, super tight.

And then they started counting the Election Day vote. And all of a sudden, President Trump ended up winning Ohio by eight points. There's a similar type of story here in the inverse. And, in the inverse, what has occurred over the course of the last 12 hours is, Joe Biden has eaten away and taken the lead.

Now, the big question for President Trump here, as Joe Biden now leads by 13,662 votes, is, is there a chance, one, to stop the bleeding, and, two, to come back? And the reality on the ground right now, because primarily of vote by mail, the mail-in ballots, are pretty much what's leftover to count and report, but also where those ballots come from, is President Trump has a problem in Pennsylvania.

That has been very clear now for several, several hours. And the reason why, you just heard from Kate. Kate was talking about Philadelphia. Philadelphia has about 3,000 votes outstanding that we expect to be reported. And she was talking about provisional ballots as well. I think she said something between 20,000 and 30,000. Philadelphia right now, you look at this margin. Look at this margin.

Anderson, this is not the margin that is translated in the vote by mail. When vote by mail has come in for Philadelphia, it has been 86, 87, 88 percent for Joe Biden. So, that means, when this comes in, even if it's two or 3,000 votes, that is in bulk going to Joe Biden.

And that's not just the case here. You can move up through Southeast Pennsylvania into the suburbs. We saw some from Bucks County earlier. You talked about Allegheny County, which has got about 30,000 votes outstanding. Everything that comes in is coming in at a margin that benefits Joe Biden.

Right now, Donald Trump needs to win basically somewhere like 56 percent of everything that comes in from here on out to be able to win. That is not happening. And where the vote is outstanding, and that it's all vote by mail, is a significant problem for him in the state.

COOPER: Yes, in Allegheny County, Brian Todd was saying 35,000 votes outstanding; 3,000 of them have already been counted, but they haven't been reported. They haven't been sent in. So we don't know what those 3,000 that have been counted are.

And in Philadelphia, 20,000 mail-in ballots still to be counted, 20,000 provisional ballots still to be counted, and there's about 1,000 or so segregated ballots.


And so I want to -- you make a good point about Allegheny. Look at the margin in Allegheny right now, home to Pittsburgh, pretty much Democratic stronghold. They're going to win Allegheny election by election, 58.7 to 39.7 percent. That is including the in person vote. Mail-in ballots in Allegheny County, they have been going 77 percent of Joe Biden, on average.

And so that underscores this point. Even in Democratic strongholds where Joe Biden has a good margin, it's coming in much higher. And we know that's where the majority of the outstanding vote is in Pennsylvania. And that is why Joe Biden right now is looking at Pennsylvania and the campaign feels good, and the Trump campaign has got a problem in Pennsylvania.


COOPER: And if all the -- if the trends hold that we have been seeing on all these votes which have yet to be actually counted, Vice President Biden's lead is just going to be growing.

MATTINGLY: So, there's 112,000 votes left over right now or still to be reported. These votes have all been submitted. They have all been cast. They're being counted. And we're waiting for them to be reported out, 112,000 votes left over.

And the way things are looking right now, when you look at the outstanding vote, and you consider the fact it's all vote by mail, is, you're looking at this margin to grow by tens of thousands of votes, barring some unforeseen change, based on every trend we have seen over the course of the last 12 hours.

COOPER: And the current challenge that they're talking about going to the Supreme Court, which is essentially challenging the counting of some of the votes, that's affecting maybe 2,000 to 3,000. That's votes that were cured, I think it was, wasn't it?

MATTINGLY: Yes, it's when they were cast in terms of when they -- and went to a Supreme Court case.

COOPER: Right.

MATTINGLY: And the details of that, not to get too in the weeds, but the reality of it is, not to break news here, but 2,000 to 3,000 votes is not going to matter if Donald Trump is losing by 40,000 or 50,000 votes.

COOPER: Right.

MATTINGLY: So, that's not likely, as you were talking about.

Is that going to move the needle? Unlikely, based on the way things are headed.

Let's listen to the Georgia secretary of state.


BRAD RAFFENSPERGER, GEORGIA SECRETARY OF STATE: -- a clear line of communications with the media, the county election officials, and our voters.

Our office will continue to give unprecedented access. The voters of Georgia deserve transparency. Georgia voters deserve accurate, real election results. Election workers around the state are working with integrity to ensure every legal ballot is counted and no illegal ballots are counted.

Right now, Georgia remains too close to call. Out of the approximately five million votes cast, we will have a margin of a few thousand. The focus for our office and for the county elections officials for now remains on making sure that every legal vote is counted and recorded accurately.

As we are closing in on a final count, we can begin to look toward our next steps. With a margin that small, there will be likely a recount in Georgia. Interest in our election obviously goes far beyond our borders.

The final tally in Georgia, at this point, has huge implications for the entire country. The stakes are high, and the emotions are high on all sides. We will not let those debates distract us from our work. We will get it right. And we will defend the integrity of our elections.

In some states, there are complaints about monitors not being allowed to watch the count. In Georgia, this process is and will remain open and transparent to monitors. If any member of the public raises legitimate concerns, we will investigate those.

We are committed to doing anything and everything to maintaining trust in our electoral process here for every Georgian, regardless of partisan preference.

Thank you.

GABRIEL STERLING, GEORGIA VOTING SYSTEM IMPLEMENTATION MANAGER: Afternoon. Again, I'm Gabriel Sterling, statewide voting system implementation manager.

You keep putting your microphones where I put my computer.

Essentially, right now, the outstanding ballots are about the same as they were this morning, not too much change on that front. But what we do have is a little more information on some of the provisionals and the UOCAVA ballots that are out there right now.

So, let's see. We will start with -- let's just start with the margin right now. We're looking at 2,448,796 votes for President Trump, and 2,450,381 votes for Vice President Biden. And that gives us a margin of 1,585.

That's where we stand right now as of 3:08 p.m. on -- yes, it's Friday, Friday now.

We do know that today is the day for the UOCAVA deadline for those military and overseas ballots that would have been postmarked by Tuesday, Election Day, to be accepted and counted in the state. We do have some updated numbers on that. Let's see.

On the overall side, we have 18,008 of those ballots have been accepted. And it leaves 8,410 that are still available to be received. Now, again, I want to re emphasize this. That does not mean there's a bucket of 8,410 votes ready to be counted. That means that there are 8,410 votes that could have been postmarked on Tuesday and could be received by the elections official today.

So, as I said earlier, it's going to be more than zero and less than 8,410. So, it will be somewhere in that range. We don't really know how many that is.


I do have a county-by-county breakdown of available ones. I'm going to give you some of the highlights. Then we're going to try to put this into a release to give the details following this press conference.

So, you all usually want the big ones, so we will go with that.

Bibb, where Macon is, 86 are still out there. Chatham, where Savannah is 395. Cherokee. Do you choose Woodstock? Yes, Woodstock, 171. Clayton County, 241. Cobb County, 569. Columbia County, 247. Coweta County, 99. DeKalb County, 802. And I will take a note of personal privilege for a second for the Yankees in the room. It's DeKalb, not DeKalb, not DeKalb. It's DeKalb. So we have got to pronounce these things.

Dougherty, another one of those, where Albany is, there are 74. Douglas County, 111. Fayette, 149. Forsyth, 153. Fulton, 956. And that's the single biggest number, I believe, right there. Gwinnett, 741. Henry, 238. This is another fun one. It's not Houston in Georgia. It's Houston, Houston County, 196. Liberty County, 173. There's a military base, so it's a little outweighed to its actual size and population.

Lowndes County, where Valdosta is, 141. Muscogee County, where Columbus is, 323. Paulding County, 105. Richmond, where Augusta is, 244, home of the Masters coming up soon. Rockdale, 88 -- is 80. And I think that's all the biggest ones.

So you can take those, add them together, and the balance would be probably about 4,000 for the rest of the 159 counties that I didn't name.

So, after that, we have the provisionals. And I do have the provisional -- an initial provisional report from Fulton County, which is obviously the largest one, which had the biggest potential impact. Their total provisional ballots received was 4,869. They accepted 3,603. So, that means they rejected 1266 of the provisional ballots they had on hand.

The biggest chunks of those were the eligibility was verified, means the voter brought their I.D. in. And that was 1,205 of those. And they voted at a precinct, which means they were inside the correct county. They were Fulton County voters, but they were at the wrong precinct. That's 2,398.

Now, the unfortunate part for some of those voters and some of those candidates means, if they voted out a precinct, essentially, they can only vote on the things that were on the ballot that affected the areas that they shared with the other precincts. So, things like president, senator, those votes will count. But statehouse, county commission, those races would not.

That's the difference when you have the vote out of county like that. We don't like seeing voting out of county. We try to encourage people to be told to go to their correct polling location.

Now, the rejected ballot justifications we saw on this is, out of county 673. You can only vote provisionally inside your own county. Not registered, so these people were not registered voters, 573, and non-citizens attempting to vote was 13.

So that's the initial provisional report from Fulton. I expect that to change somewhat. I was talking to our Fulton County monitor earlier. He said there were some other changes moving on that, as well as some of the absentees that were damaged. They were duping. I don't have a final number on that, but somewhere south of 300 that they were cut when they were using the openers and things like that they had to redo.

But they're going to be scanning those. And those will be added to tallies today.

Let's see, not that one. You start to get crazy looking at all these spreadsheets.


STERLING: They are not. They are not yet. As I understand it, they have not scanned and uploaded those yet.

Justin, Justin, you're getting ahead. Let me get through all this. And you can come back later. All right.

So, the total number provisionals in the state, this is not the total number. This is, we have the numbers from 134 of the 159 counties. And we have a lot of the large ones, but I don't think we have all the large ones. Like, we're still -- I know we have the DeKalb. OK, Clayton. I think we might have all the big ones in here now.

Again, this is a moving target, dealing with elections workers who are doing lots of things at one time. We're very happy when we're working together to get this information to the viewers and the voters out there.

And guess what? Gabe didn't hit the sum on all these things yet. So we're going to take a second while he does that on live television, because that's the exciting television you all came for today.

All right, 13,000--

COOPER: Just been listening to Georgia election officials, earlier from the secretary of state. And then we're just getting a breakdown county by county for Georgia.

So, let's take a look at what we have learned. They said the official margin now is 1,585, the difference in votes between -- that's what Joe Biden's lead is, 1,585. We're saying 1,603 because they have not yet entered into their system the new official number, which we would then update to 1,000? Is that correct, from 1,585?

MATTINGLY: Well, we're -- our data feed is coming straight from the counties. And that's where we have been getting our data from throughout the course of the night.


And, traditionally, the state will follow once the counties report and it comes in. So, we will have to keep an eye on that and see how that goes.

I think there's a couple things, a couple takeaways there that I think are important. One, we have known this, but this is going to go into a recount. This is going to go into recount at some point. We also know that there's still outstanding votes. So, this lead right now for Joe Biden, whether it's 1,603 or what the

state says at this moment in time, there's a decent chance that this actually ends up going up at some point. And the reason why is the biggest outstanding batch of votes that we're waiting for comes from Gwinnett County. They have been talking -- they have been expected throughout the course of the day to release a batch of counted votes in the 4,000-4,500 range.

Gwinnett County, if you look at the margin, 58.3 to 40.4, mostly mail- in ballots, mail-in ballots have been trending towards Democrats throughout, that margin could be better. We will see. We will see. We have to wait for the vote to come in. But that is kind of the main outstanding vote, as it currently stands.

What was also being discussed -- and this -- when the margin is looking at 1,600 votes that may go up, may go down, then, all of a sudden, provisional ballots, military ballots, which he was going through, overseas ballots as well, can become important.

I think there's no question about it. And so one of the things that you're picking up on as he kind of ticked through everything, the one thing that stuck out to me was provisional ballots for Fulton County. And provisional ballots, he actually -- he did a great job of explaining what it is.

You went to the wrong polling place. You -- so you brought your I.D., and they basically have to kind of look at it afterwards, make sure it's OK, and then add it to the count. He was going somewhat county by county. But one of the key points is, of the provisional ballots that they have at this point in time that have been OKed, 3,603 of them are from Fulton County.

Well, pull up Fulton County. Fulton County, big Democratic county, obviously home to Atlanta, largest county in the state, 10 percent of the population, biggest outstanding provisional ballots right now that have been OKed.

So, without getting too complicated into where things are going right now, this is going to be razor-thin. This is almost certainly going to be going into a run-off. But the reality is, right now, given the outstanding votes that they have, and given where the provisionals stand, still waiting to get a better sense of our military overseas stands, there's a decent chance Joe Biden adds to his margin, based on where those votes are located in and where we expect them to come from.

We will see if they stick to trends. But I think the bottom line that everybody needs to know about is, Georgia is razor-thin. It's going to recount.

COOPER: And how long is the process of -- I mean, it can vary. But how long would the process of a recount be? Do we know?

MATTINGLY: I don't know offhand. I don't know offhand. It depends on how the state operates. I think the one thing we know for sure, you heard the election officials say right at the top that this will go to a recount.

And I think you have to keep in mind too everything that's going on in Georgia right now. You have got two Senate races that are going into run-offs, are almost certainly going to run-offs, one for sure, one that looks like it's headed in that direction. You likely have a recount here as well.

And I think the -- go ahead.

COOPER: Yes, I was going to say, the vote -- the differential is, it's a very close race here, obviously, in Georgia, given the sheer number.

I'm you're talking about almost five million votes which have been cast in total. To only be ahead by this long, it's not much. The pool of potential votes out there still to count is not -- the lead will increase. If it goes by the same metrics that we have been showing, Vice President Biden's lead is likely to continue. Just a question of by how much.

If it increases a tremendous amount, that may affect the call for a recount. But it seems like, regardless of what it is, given all that's going on, all the concerns about fairness, it seems like Georgia will go for a recount.

MATTINGLY: And you have heard the state officials make pretty clear that that's where it's headed. You talk to people in both campaigns, they seem to know that's where it's headed.

I think the big question right now, if you work under the assumption that this is going to recount -- right now, everybody on the ground thinks that's exactly where it's going -- it's, what's your Biden's margin when you get to that recount?

Because I think people need to understand, when you go to recounts -- and I have covered several of them over the years -- if you go to recounts, it's not something where you see 10,000, 15,000, 20,000 votes change.

COOPER: Right.

MATTINGLY: It's not something where -- it's administrative errors. You might see a couple hundred votes max change, maybe a little bit less than that.

So, if Joe Biden -- 1,603 would be a pretty significant change in a recount. Now, obviously, there's a ton of vote outstanding. We will have to see how it ends up coming in. But if Joe Biden starts pushing that up 2,000, 3,000, 4,000 votes, you get a little bit more comfortable, the Biden campaign, with a recount right now.

And just because it's going to recount doesn't mean what they end up with is not going to end up being the final total. I think the one thing I want to stress here is recounts don't end up shifting votes by 10,000 or 20,000. Recounts usually shift, if they shift at all, a small degree. COOPER: Should also just point out, Republican governor in Georgia, who I believe was formerly the Republican secretary of state in Georgia.

We're going to have more with Phil at the wall, as we continue to watch the votes being counted.

We will be right back.



ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Republican legal challenge or the widening margin for Joe Biden that Republicans are trying to narrow, 13,709 votes right now. Just ticked up just a few votes bit by bit, 47 votes in the last few minutes. Every vote indeed counts.

All eyes remain on Pennsylvania.

And joining us now by phone, the lieutenant governor of the state, Democrat John Fetterman.


Lieutenant Governor, thank you so much for being with me. And I have got a lot of questions here.


BURNETT: And we will see which ones you are able to answer.

Trying to understand the scale of how many ballots were received after Election Day, right, technically, now legal, but the subject of a challenge. We had had that range being 2,500 to 3,000. But we have some new numbers coming in out of Montgomery and Luzerne counties, upping that amount to as many as 4,000 ballots.


BURNETT: Do you think that that there could be even more? Because that number is starting to get big enough to, looking at the margin we have now, possibly matter.

So, do you think we have them all, or not yet?

FETTERMAN: I spoke to officials in Philadelphia, and it's a small amount. I don't even think it was 1,000 out of Philadelphia.

And if that's the big surprise that the Republicans are pinning their hopes on, it's like good luck with that. It's just -- it's just not going to be a factor in this race, as I see it, especially because the vice president's margin is going to grow.

I mean, like, let's be honest. In Pennsylvania, specifically Pennsylvania, the use of a mail-in ballot in this election was as predictive to -- for Democrats is driving a Subaru. And Joe Biden's margins are going to continue to grow by a factor of 8-1, 7 to -- I mean, like, these are going to keep growing.


FETTERMAN: So I'm not concerned about those ballots that could come under the under the Supreme Court decision.

And that was, I think, their -- they were going to -- that was their ace in -- up their sleeve. And it's like, it's a nonissue.

BURNETT: OK, so let me ask you about one development on that front in terms of what you're doing with those ballots.

I understand you don't think they're going to matter to the outcome. But lawyers for Pennsylvania Republicans now asking the Supreme Court to order your state to -- quote -- "log, segregate and otherwise not take any action on any ballots received after the election."

Again, that number is now up to 4,000. I sort of thought you already were segregating them. So is there anything new in this?

FETTERMAN: It's really nice to them to do that. But the only problem is, is that the secretary of state had already ordered that--


FETTERMAN: -- long before the election that this was going to happen. So this was anticipated.

So their coup de grace is a legal maneuver that we have already preemptively complied with, over probably 3,000 votes, maybe, whether they count or not. So, even if you take them out, let's assume they're successful, or you just say, you know what, we don't care, we're going to throw them out, I don't -- it's not going to have a meaningful impact on the race.

BURNETT: OK, so that answers those questions.

Now, let me ask you about provisional ballots. The House speaker, Republican House speaker in your state, Bryan Cutler, is saying it is his understanding that there are 100,000 provisional ballots out right now in Pennsylvania. That number, obviously, is significant, no matter how you would look at it.

Is that your understanding as well, Lieutenant Governor?

FETTERMAN: It's not my understanding.

But, if there are, let me explain where I suspect the majority of those provisional ballots are.


FETTERMAN: During the Republican misinformation campaign about voting by mail, I think it confused some Democrats. And there was a small, but dedicated minority--

BURNETT: And it sounds like we just lost the connection there.

We are going to try to get him back, obviously, Anderson, because that's a pretty, I think, significant answer that he's giving, right, because you do have the Republican speaker there in Pennsylvania saying there's 100,000 ballots, provisional ballots, and that there should be no results until they're finalized.

So, I do want to give the lieutenant governor a chance to answer that.

But you heard him try to put to rest any questions here that are out about ballots that were postmarked by Election Day, but received after Election Day, that they're already being segregated. And even though that number has ticked up, he doesn't see any situation in which it would impact this race.

COOPER: Yes, I think, earlier, Kate Bolduan, who was reporting out of Philadelphia, was saying that there were an estimated 20,000 provisional ballots in Philadelphia.

BURNETT: In Philly alone.

COOPER: Yes, in Philly alone, 20,000 mail-in ballots there still to be counted--


COOPER: and about -- 1,000 -- estimated 1,000 of those sequestered ballots.

So, what the lieutenant governor is saying, which I think is an important point that he was stressing with you, which is they say that they have already been separating, segregating those ballots.

BURNETT: That's right.

COOPER: And even if the Supreme Court was to say, you can't use them, it wouldn't really amount to that, much given that there's maybe 3,000 or so of them statewide, 3,000 to even 4,000 of them statewide.

BURNETT: So, right, even if it goes up a little bit, absolutely, absolutely.


Erin, I want to go to David Chalian.

I know you're going to try to get the lieutenant governor back.

David, want to talk with you about the decision-making process involved in calling a race. So, where do things stand on that?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yes, I mean, just listening to the conversation you were just having and listening to lieutenant governor, it's gathering all of this information about what is outstanding that is most crucial to our decision desk and others in terms of its calculation.