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Biden Says Trump's Refusal To Concede Is An Embarrassment; Joe Biden Ahead By More Than 4.5 Million Votes In The Popular Vote; Biden Campaign: Voting Fraud Accusations Are "Theater"; Georgia Race Could Determine Balance Of Power In The Senate; More Than 128,000 New Coronavirus Cases Reported Today And At Least 1,347 Deaths; COVID-19 Hospitalizations At An All-Time High. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired November 10, 2020 - 20:00   ET


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: And Dr. Fauci says it could get worse.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: We could get into a lot of difficulty if we don't adhere to the public health measures.


BURNETT: As more states are tightening restrictions tonight, Dr. Fauci says, wear your mask.

Thanks very much for watching. It's time now for Anderson.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening. The President and his enablers are escalating their cries of election fraud when the only fraud continues to be the one they appear to be perpetrating themselves instead of accepting the reality that they lost this election, plain and simple.

President Trump lost the Electoral College count and he lost the Popular Vote by more than four and a half million votes and those votes are still being counted. Joe Biden is President-elect of the United States, but President Trump and the people around him who are too afraid to tell him he has lost are casting doubt on the voting process in ways that are absurdly transparent and well, just kind of sad.

Let's be perfectly clear. The very thing they're trying to say was stolen in the dead of night, we all watched up close, ballot by ballot, moment by moment, day after day, for five days in fact.

We saw a video of Democratic and Republican observers in the counting rooms. We got bulletin after bulletin from election officials in both parties in red states and blue states as votes were being counted. Not a single one of whom reported seeing any widespread irregularities.


of the day, we are counting eligible votes cast by voters. The controversy surrounding it is something I don't understand. It is people making accusations that we wouldn't count those votes or people are adding fraudulent votes or just coming up with just all sorts of crazy stuff.


COOPER: That is Al Schmidt, a Republican election official in Philadelphia talking to "60 Minutes" about the baseless accusations he is hearing, in some cases along with references to the Second Amendment, death threats in other words.

He sees no fraud, nor does Georgia's Republican Lieutenant Governor.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: You haven't seen any evidence of any widespread systemic voter fraud or irregularities?

LT. GOV. GEOFF DUNCAN (R-GA): We have not seen any get to our office yet. And certainly, we'll make sure that every sort of legal opportunity to make sure that that's -- you know -- if there's -- if there's an issue out there, we want to make sure we understand it, investigate it, and be able to make sure that we were able to rectify it.

BERMAN: But there hasn't been any, correct?

DUNCAN: We've not had any get to our office yet.


COOPER: So he sees no issues in the state that Joe Biden narrowly leads in. Georgia, by the way was especially transparent in keeping the public up-to-date on how many ballots were counted, how many remained, where the outstanding votes still were. They let all of us see democracy in action and they weren't alone.

That in a nutshell is what the President and his enablers are calling into question, and those enablers include Georgia's two Republican sitting senators, David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler.

When the top election official in the state, another Republican, by the way, called allegations about illegalities there, hoaxes and nonsense and urged people, quote, "Don't buy into these things." Those two senators called on the man's boss to resign.

We should note that both the Republican senators in Georgia are up for re-election and both need and want President Trump to continue to back them.

As for Pennsylvania, the President claims and I quote, "Pennsylvania prevented us from watching much of the ballot count." Twitter flagged it with a warning message calling the claim quote "disputed." It's not even that. Take a look. There's video of observers looking on

as ballots were counted in Philadelphia. We saw this day in and day night -- day in and day -- night after night, day after day, and so did the President.

Remember in the first debate, he even talked about having poll watchers carefully watching and he specifically talked about watching what was happening in Philadelphia.

Nevertheless, the Trump campaign went to Federal Court about this. Judge Paul Diamond, a George W. Bush appointee heard the arguments, and by the end of the hearing under questioning from the Judge, the Trump campaign lawyer admitted contrary to his initial complaint that yes, there were in fact, observers present.

Judge Diamond also noting that the case appeared to be an appeal of a state issue making it completely out of place for a Federal Court to handle.

Similarly, a State Judge in Michigan dismissed a lawsuit over access to ballot counting. She cited a lack of admissible evidence on whether the campaign had even sued the right party.

In Georgia, the campaign sued over late mail-in ballots allegedly being counted. The Judge dismissed it again for lack of evidence.

As for the Pennsylvania dispute over mail-in ballots received after Election Day, which has made it to the Supreme Court, the number at stake isn't even enough to change the outcome, even if they all went for the President.

And just a few moments ago, "The Washington Post" had this item about a Postal worker named Richard Hopkins who had claimed that a Postmaster in Erie Pennsylvania instructed employees to backdate ballots mailed after Election Day.

Well, the Republicans latched on to it as evidence of widespread fraud. This guy's claims were widely quoted. Quoting now from "The Washington Post" reporting, but on Monday, Hopkins 32 told investigators from the U.S. Postal Service's Office of Inspector General that the allegations were not true and he signed an affidavit recanting his claims.


COOPER: So bottom line, no matter what you see being alleged online and social media posts when evidence has actually been presented in court, it has either been thrown out or in cases still pending, the number of potential votes affected is small and wouldn't impact the final outcome.

So there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud, no evidence of widespread flaws in the mail-in voting process and little evidence that courts are buying into the President's fantasies. Just like when the President said that millions of illegal immigrants had voted in the 2016 election pushing Hillary Clinton in California to win the popular vote. There is no evidence of that and his own Commission setup to find it disbanded because they found nothing.

This time, all we've got is a lot of corrosive half-baked allegations and insinuations by the President and Rudy Giuliani. What's worth noting is that people who actually do know better, Republican senators are not trying to stop the President. They are egging him on.

Listen to Lindsey Graham, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): It would be insane for President Trump not to look at all this stuff. I don't know if it will flip the election, but I do know this, it deserves to be looked at and this election is by no means over.


COOPER: He does know it won't flip the election. Lindsey Graham is an Air Force JAG. But let's be real, he has no reason to risk the ire of the President or his followers, nor does the Senate Majority Leader.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): Let's not have any lectures, no lectures about how the President should immediately cheerfully accept preliminary election results from the same characters who just spent four years refusing to accept the validity of the last election, and who insinuated that this one would be illegitimate coup.

If they lost again, only if they lost.

So let's have no lectures on this subject.


COOPER: Just a point of fact, Hillary Clinton called Donald Trump to concede the night of the election and the Government Service Agencies administrator that same night, signed off on the results permitting the Trump transition team to get to work the next day, to have office space, to pay staffers, to begin doing government background checks, security checks so they could get people hired, get security briefings and use secure communications.

Right now, because the current General Services Administrator, a Trump-appointee named Emily Murphy -- that's her -- has not given the go ahead. The Biden team has been able to do none of that, and that's not normal nor is it normal for the Attorney General to tell Federal prosecutors as he did last night that they should examine allegations of voting irregularities before states moved to certify the election results.

Lindsey Graham called the memo reassuring. The Director of the Justice Department's Elections Crime Branch had a different view of it, he resigned in protest, again, not normal.

Nor is this from the Secretary of State who represents this country to the world and who has spoken out frequently about thuggish or authoritarian threats to democracy around the world.


QUESTION: Is the State Department currently preparing to engage with the Biden transition team? And if not, at what point does a delay hamper a smooth transition or pose a risk to national security?

MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: There will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration. All right, we're ready. The world is watching what is taking place here.


COOPER: Well, the world sure is and on one level, what they see must seem terribly serious and awfully sad. On another level, it is kind of a low comedy. It's the same grief that brought us Trump University, now disbanded; and the Trump Charity now dissolved; and Trump stakes which are now long past their expiration date.

For days now, the Trump campaign has been blasting out e-mails, sending people to this site soliciting money to help defend they say the integrity of the election to pay for recounts. That's what they say.

If you look at the fine print, you see that for ordinary small donors, the money goes elsewhere. Only after you give more than $5,000.00 -- $5,000.00 does a single penny of that go toward funding any recount efforts. Anything under $5,000.00, you know, money that hardworking people might send in that actually doesn't go toward recount. That goes to that split between the Republican National Committee and a new Political Action Committee set up to fund the President's future political ventures.

In short, it's another bait and switch.

On this day, four years ago, President Obama welcomed President-elect Trump to the White House. It looked awkward, probably was uncomfortable for both of them, but they did it because that's the tradition.

It helps the continuation of our democracy which has lasted as long as it has because people did things like that. They upheld the norms and the traditions. Just as President Bush did for President-elect Obama eight years before.

And as for Joe Biden. Well, here's a tweet from four years ago on this day. It is a photo of him and Mike Pence. And the message reads, "I just met with Vice President-elect Pence at the White House to offer our support for smooth and seamless transition of power."


COOPER: Four years ago today.

More now on the breaking news in "The Washington Post" and the postal worker who has recanted. Jacob Bogage shares the byline. He joins us now. So Jacob, explain what you've learned through your reporting.

JACOB BOGAGE, STAFF WRITER, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Yes, Anderson, this video of this Postal worker, Richard Hopkins had been kind of circulating online, especially in right-wing circles for a few days now.

And one of my colleagues, Shawn Boburg, who shares a byline with me got a tip that maybe some of these allegations didn't add up. And as we were able to report this out, we learned through a combination of both Postal sources and sources in Congress that the Inspector General's Office at the Postal Service says these allegations don't stack up, and in fact, the Postal worker made them. Richard Hopkins recanted these allegations in sworn statements to Inspector General agents on Monday.

COOPER: So just to be clear, the claim of election impropriety from a Postal worker which as you said had been touted by high level Republicans, initially came through a right-wing group, that same Postal worker is saying the claim is entirely false.

Is it clear why he made the claim in the first place?

BOGAGE: That's not clear, Anderson. What we were able to report is that the Inspector General's agents had a long cut -- well, first interviewed him on Friday in Erie, Pennsylvania, had another very long, like a three-hour interview with him on Monday, at the end of which he made sworn statements recanting the allegations he made.

Speaking with sources today, you know, the kinds of words they used to describe that conversation was overly embellished or totally made up. These allegations, they said that he completely walked back, the idea that he overheard his Postmaster or other supervisors talking about manipulating ballots in a certain way.

I should mention that Mr. Hopkins this evening with Project Veritas, a right-wing group that has tried to run sting operations against credible journalists and catch them in errors has put out a video where Mr. Hopkins denies denying the allegations.

But we also know through credible sources that he did the exact opposite with Inspector General agents.

COOPER: Okay, so that's weird. Is there a -- and I understand there is a GoFundMe page for this person? Do you know the circumstances around that and what happens to him now?

BOGAGE: Yes, I haven't looked closely recently at how much money had been raised, but it was a significant amount of tens of thousands of dollars raised for this gentleman who purportedly was going to be under legal duress or lose his job or some sort of misfortune associated with being a purported whistleblower.

We've been told by GoFundMe this evening that that's been deactivated. We're not sure if any money has been disbursed.

COOPER: Jacob Bogage, appreciate it. Thank you. Fascinating reporting. I want to get the latest now on what the Biden transition team has

been up to. CNN's Jeff Zeleny now joins us from Wilmington. So, what has President-elect Biden and the transition team have been saying about their next moves?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, President- elect Biden is moving full steam ahead. They are having transition meetings. They are beginning to form their government, despite all of this Republican resistance that we really have seen all day long from the White House to the Senate.

We saw Mr. Biden for the first time today holding a news conference for the first time since his election, and really had a confident smile as he talked about all of this. He said, look, he is not in favor of any lawsuits at this time. He wants to keep moving forward. Yes, they would like access to Intelligence briefings. Yes, they would like access to these government agencies, but they are just going to keep moving forward.

Now this would be different if he was not familiar with Washington. Of course, he spent his whole life and career in Washington. So he is up to speed on a lot of things.

But Anderson, watch this response when Joe Biden was asked today, what he thinks the country is thinking of this.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: I just think it's an embarrassment, quite frankly. The only thing that -- how can I say this tactfully -- I think it will not help the President's legacy.

I think that I know from my discussions with foreign leaders thus far that they are hopeful that the United States democratic institutions are viewed once again as being strong and enduring.

But I think at the end of the day, you know, it's all going to come to fruition on January 20th.



ZELENY: And then when asked right after that, if Republicans will finally accept this, a big smile broke out on his face, and he said, "They will. They will." So he is confident that eventually, this is going to work itself out. But the question is, at what cost?

I mean, he is trying to fill his administration and his government, but there are National Security implications and interest here.

So, we'll see how this plays out. But Anderson, no question, Joe Biden, at least was trying to cool the temperature, try and play it cool, like, you know, not engaging with Republicans and President Trump.

COOPER: And what have they been able to do so far as part of a transition effort?

ZELENY: Well, a big part of his day today, he was not busy on the phone with Republican leaders, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. I asked if they had spoken, he said not yet. He hopes that he will speak to him soon.

But he was talking to world leaders: the British Prime Minister, the French President, the German Chancellor, on and on and on, and we asked him what his message was. He said, my message is, "America is back."

So Joe Biden, a longtime member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, someone who traveled around this globe constantly as Vice President was, you know, again, had a smile on his face because he has been talking to world leaders. So he does believe that these Republicans will come around.

And Anderson talking to a variety of people today, Republicans in Washington, one thing became clear, they are not afraid of President Trump. They're afraid of his voters, particularly that Georgia Senate race and other things. And Joe Biden said he would campaign in Georgia, if necessary, if they asked him so that is one more chapter here.

But for Joe Biden's point, he is moving forward. He is setting up his transition government. He'll be President in 71 days -- Anderson.

COOPER: Jeff Zeleny, appreciate it. Thanks.

Now, the President, President Trump who has not been seen much lately. CNN chief White House correspondent, Jim Acosta joins us with more.

So Jim, the President refusing to concede, many Republicans backing him up, parroting the misinformation, the lies. Where does it go from here? What's the end game?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, we're in a battle right now between denialism and reality. And it is difficult to see who is going to win at this point, you have the President tweeting out things like, "We will win," but you also have Republican lawmakers up on Capitol Hill saying the President may have not lost this race, and that it's not time to congratulate Joe Biden or talk to the President-elect, because he may not have won the race.

They are living in a different reality right now inside the Republican Party. I talked to a Trump advisor this evening, Anderson, who said that inside the campaign, they are still pinning their hopes that one of these core challenges in one of these battleground states, I guess, former battleground states, they sort of have been basically decided for Joe Biden at this point, will somehow reverse decisions, reverse outcomes in certain states.

It is such a -- you know, it is such a hope, against all hopes that this is going to work in the President's favor, that even people inside the campaign believe it's over. You even had the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo saying earlier today, and you played this just a short while ago that they're going to make a smooth transition to a second Trump administration.

At this point, it is just extraordinary to hear the Secretary of State really sounding like Baghdad Bob at this point to President Trump's Saddam Hussein.

COOPER: But isn't this just coddling the President? I mean, senators -- Republican senators who have been around, they know what the deal is. They know why.

And, you know, a lot of his supporters may not realize what's going on. But I mean, they are coddling him. They need -- they don't want him to turn against them, because he is capable of doing that. They don't want his supporters to be motivated to turn against them. And so they are taking their cues from him.

I mean, if he wasn't pushing this, it's not like there would be a ground surge of Republican senators saying, no, keep the election alive. You know, there was probably fraud. It's all just fear of the President, isn't it?

ACOSTA: It really is, Anderson, AND I think what the Republican Party is starting to behave like, it is starting to behave like a party that knows that Donald Trump is going to remain on the scene for another four years.

Obviously, there are people inside the party up on the Hill, inside the White House, inside the campaign who believe that the President is going to ultimately lose this race. But there is already talk of the President running again in 2024.

And people like Lindsey Graham, and all of the others, they are not going to jeopardize their relationships with this President if he is potentially, the -- you know, odds on favor to win the nomination in just four years from now.

That is why you're starting to see rumblings of a Donald Trump, Jr. and Kimberly Guilfoyle trying to take the reins over at the R.N.C. That's why you have the President establishing a leadership PAC so he can continue to flex his muscles and raise money in that way.

This party is behaving, Anderson, as if they know that they're not going to rid themselves of Donald Trump. They are stuck with him potentially for another four years and that is why they are now living in his alternate reality, just as the rest of the country and the rest of the world for that matter when you have foreign leaders and so on talking to the President-elect.


ACOSTA: The rest of the world is moving on. The Republican Party, which has essentially become the resistance at this point has not -- Anderson.

COOPER: And is the President actually, you know, doing presidential duties? Where is he? I mean, is there anything he is working on, on coronavirus given the huge numbers that we are now, you know, every state essentially 44 states, you know, going the wrong direction on this?

ACOSTA: Yes. I mean, besides those outings on the golf course over the weekend, we have not seen the President since last Thursday when he had that wild briefing in the Briefing Room, wild statement in the Briefing Room when I asked the President if he is behaving like a sore loser.

We believe that we will see the President tomorrow recognize Veterans Day, but that will be you know, a carefully choreographed photo opportunity where reporters you know, by and large, will not have the chance really to press the President on any of these issues.

He is staying out of sight. He is laying low, tossing out grenades from the social media bunker and talking to his base. And right now the base is listening. The base is right there with him.

You know, Thelma and Louise-style over the cliff, even as the President trashes what remains of his term in office.

COOPER: Jim Acosta, appreciate it. Thanks. Perspective now from CNN political commentator and former Obama adviser, Van Jones; also CNN senior political reporter, Abby Phillip; and CNN chief political correspondent, Dana Bash.

Dana, what are you hearing from sources about how all this is playing out among congressional Republicans and inside President-elect Biden's transition team? Because again, correct me if I'm wrong, but, I mean, don't -- I mean, these senators know the deal, don't they?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: They absolutely know the deal. What you were saying to Jim Acosta is exactly right. They are worried about retribution from the President, which equals retribution from his supporters, who are the same supporters that got each of these Republicans elected?

There's no other way to see it. There's no other way to put it and privately, that's what Republicans on Capitol Hill admit in a candid way. That is the reason this is happening. Full stop.

As for the Biden campaign, what is interesting or the transition, I should say -- it is interesting as that I've talked to sources there who say that the sort of air of calm that the President-elect put out there today really is at this point, reflected inside the transition. They're not getting funds from the GSA for now. It's okay.

They're not getting a briefing on the PDB, the Presidential Daily Brief about the Intelligence situation, that's okay, for now. If that is the case in the next few weeks, then maybe the Biden transition is going to have to get more aggressive.

But I'm told that they believe that if they did that now, it would only backfire for a lot of reasons.

The other thing I'm told that they feel is really working for them is this air of inevitability. The fact that the President-elect talked to world leaders today, that helps to kind of get ingrained in the psyche of the American people and people around the world that this is going to happen.

And when the states all begin to certify Joe Biden as the official President that is also going to help tremendously. So for now, they feel comfortable and confident in just being patient.

COOPER: And Abby, I guess, it's also the Senate race, the two races in Georgia, that, you know, all Republican senators want the two Republican senators in Georgia to get re-elected, because they, you know, they want to maintain control in the Senate.

And I mean, is it that they're afraid that President Trump will, you know, if they kind of move along, are going to attack the Republican senators in Georgia or not, you know, or diss one of them.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I definitely think that is a possibility that President Trump could turn on Republicans if they were to turn their backs on him. But I also think that they're concerned about demoralizing his supporters.

One of the things that's happening because of these baseless accusations is that it's creating an enemy for the President's supporters to rally around. It is really causing them to have something to fight against. And that has always worked in the President's favor, not just because he personally needs somebody to punch back against, but I think his supporters side with him when he is aggrieved.

And I think that Republicans want to harness that energy in Georgia, but you know, also Anderson, this is about power. Politics maybe about principle for some people, but for a lot of politicians, it is about power and remaining in power.

And I think that's why you see Mitch McConnell taking the stand that he is taking. He understands that what is at stake is not just, you know, the next couple of weeks, but the future of the Republican Senate. He wants to remain Majority Leader and he'll do what it takes, just like he did what it took when it came to a Supreme Court seat that came open under President Obama. He held that seat open for a long time knowing that there could be consequences.


PHILLIP: But wanting to get that seat under a Republican administration. I think you're seeing the same kind of -- the same kind of power politics that McConnell does very well play out here as well.

COOPER: You know, Van, on both sides of the political aisle, you know, there are parties that are beholden to others. We're talking about Republican senators being beholden to President Trump and fearful of him.

When you look at the Biden administration, how beholden are they going to be to, you know, the activists who turned -- who got a lot of, you know, new voters to come in, who helped them -- you know, put them over in in some of these states? VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I mean, they should

deliver for the people who voted for a better access to healthcare, Criminal Justice Reform, and Police Reform. The thing is that those things would be good for Americans. But where we are right now is dangerous.

A transition of government is very, very tough to pull off. You imagine a trapeze artist. You're throwing America's government up in the air, somebody has got to catch it. And it is an unbelievable -- it's more than 24 hours a day. I was a part of the Obama transition. It is literally more than 24 hours a day. It is an unbelievable task.

And the fact that we've been able to pull this off, you know, term after term for a couple hundred years is a miracle in human history. It's really tough to do.

These guys are shortening the runway and holding money hostage, which could really jeopardize the health and safety of every single American. Everybody overseas, all of our diplomatic corps, all of our soldiers, sailors, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, everybody is at risk, and the whole world is watching this and our enemies know that we are making ourselves really vulnerable.

Anybody who thinks that that they believe in an ideology called America First needs to raise their hand and put America First, not Trump first, not Republicans first, but America first. America is in danger right now.

COOPER: I do want to play, Van, just part of your reaction when the presidency was called for Biden on Saturday, if that's all right.


JONES: It is easier to be a parent this morning. It's easier to be a dad. It's easier -- it's easier to tell your kids character matters. It matters. Telling them the truth matters.

Being a good person matters and it's easier for a lot of people, if you're Muslim in this country, you don't have to worry if the President doesn't want you here. If you're an immigrant, you don't have to worry if the President is going to be happy to have babies snatched away or send DREAMers back for no reason.

It is a vindication for a lot of people who have really suffered.

You know, I can't breathe. You know, that wasn't just George Floyd. That's a lot of people who felt they couldn't breathe.


COOPER: I mean, clearly, you know, very emotional for you. I'm wondering just over the last few days since the administration has basically been trying to take that back, how you've been thinking about it?

JONES: Well, I mean, it's -- I hope -- it's terrible for our new generation of Americans, for this to be their first election they are paying attention to, and for them to think of this is how grown folks are supposed to act or Americans are supposed to act. This is not.

And if you're -- if you're a kid, if you're a young person, if you're watching this right now, the person in this morality play, the person you should act like is Joe Biden.

The guy who shakes your hand, the guy who is kind even when he wins. The guy you shouldn't be like, is a sore loser who won't shake the other person's hand, who won't admit defeat, who cares more about himself in the rest of the team.

And as a parent, you know, it's just -- it's just horrible to watch this happen to America. This is -- it has been very difficult for teachers, it's been very difficult for parents and guardians to explain to children why somebody who acts like a bully, and who is so mean to people is our President, and I will be very glad when he is no longer our President so we can get back to raising our kids the right way.

COOPER: Abby, you know, there was all that talk before the election about sort of whether, you know, reckoning in the Republican Party after you know, President Trump loses and, you know, is Trumpism still there, or do they return to something?

It doesn't seem like there's going to be much of a reckoning at all. I mean, it just seems like Trump is going to remain in you know, Mar-a- Lago with a megaphone and they are going to be beholden to him hanging over their heads that he might run again. There will be fundraising for them, you know, if they do what he wants?


PHILLIP: Yes, I think you're right. I don't think there's going to be a reckoning, at least not anytime soon, the President is already, even while he's claiming that he won this election, telling people that he may run again in 2024. And if he doesn't run again, his son or children, any number of them might do it.

Or you're already seeing the President's children, pressuring other 2024 hopefuls, and saying, if you don't back us up, now, you know, you what business will you have running for president in four years? So, I think it's very clear who has the power in terms of this Republican Party right now.

And Anderson, I do want to say one other thing, just in response to what Van was saying. One of the things about this election is that it really does highlight that a lot of the things that we had taken for granted in terms of the passing of the torch from one administration to another in terms of people conceding gracefully close to the day of the election. We can't take those things for granted anymore.

So, for the younger people who are paying attention for the first time, it is a reminder that a lot of things in our system are not written in stone. They are not written in our laws, they are customs, and they are traditions and they only work when we all agree to act in that way. And I think we're seeing the consequences of what happens when people deviate from those traditions.


PHILLIP: It can really upturn the applecart.

BASH: and Anderson, let me just say about your comment, and question about the President and the reckoning that clearly is not happening with the GOP. The fact that he won almost 71 million votes nationwide wide in the popular vote. The Republicans who I talked to see that and know that this is Trump's political party, and will be for a long time, whether he is president or not, whether he runs in 2024 or not.

He has a platform as you said at the top of the show, he wants to continue his political situation with it with the pac. And there are a lot of people who I talked to say they're worried that he is gone or they believe that he's going to start some television network where he's going to have another place for that megaphone besides Twitter and elsewhere.

COOPER: Yes. Dana Bash, Abby Philip, Van Jones.

With all the news and all the noise it's easy to forget the votes are still being counted. CNN's Phil Mattingly is at the magic wall for us tonight. Even going through the map has more votes to come in. Where does it stand?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, I think the interesting element right now is just pulling back a little bit Anderson, right. If you've been paying attention to counties have been paying a lot attention to potential legal challenges, but pull back and look at where the map is right now. And I want to start with Pennsylvania.

Obviously, CNN is called this for Joe Biden. This is what put him over the top. But look at the margin right now. Joe Biden ahead by 45,673 votes. And the reality Anderson in Pennsylvania it's going to grow the outstanding vote. The majority of it comes from Allegheny County, comes from Philadelphia. That's Democratic stronghold. Joe Biden's margin is going to grow by a couple tens of thousands of votes at this point.

But flip back to 2016. Donald Trump won the state by 44,000 votes. Joe Biden has already surpassed that total and it's going to grow. You flip down to the state of Georgia. Anderson, when you and I were talking about the state. I want to say Friday afternoon sometime, Joe Biden was up by maybe 1,500 votes. He's currently up by 14,000 votes right now it has grown 1,500 votes over the course of the last couple of hours.

For comparison, let's go back to Michigan. Back in 2016, Donald Trump won Michigan by 10,000 votes, 10,000 votes. Right now, Joe Biden is winning the state of Georgia by 14,000 votes, it's likely headed to a recount but that is a recount safe margin right there. And we flip in Arizona to this has also been changing a lot over the course the last couple days. Joe Biden's margin has narrowed a lot. President Trump now down by about 13,500 votes. But the reality is

President Trump in this state is going to have to win somewhere between 61 to 63% of the outstanding ballots, probably about 54, 55,000 outstanding ballots left Anderson. Biden team feels comfortable about Arizona. Reality is it's a pretty tall hill for President Trump to climb and Arizona.

And if you put all of that together, you put the margins together. Obviously, everybody's talking about how large the popular vote is. That would get Joe Biden if he wins Georgia, if he wins the state of Arizona to 306 electoral votes. And 306 electoral votes is exactly what President Trump had in 2016.

So there's a lot of talk about challenges, a lot of talk about how tight races have been within the margins that they're actually sitting in right now. But if you pull back a little bit from popular vote on down, Joe Biden's in a pretty good place here, both historically and if you just want to compare it back to President Trump's victory in 2016.

COOPER: Yes, Phil Mattingly, I appreciate it.

Coming up next, a conversation with Jon Ossoff, who's run off for race in Georgia could decide who controls the Senate.

Later, after another brutal day in the pandemics, very hopeful words from Dr. Anthony Fauci about the new Pfizer vaccine. Also, what the country needs to do to save lives until it becomes widely available. We'll talk to Dr. Sanjay Gupta ahead.



COOPER: Control the Senate potentially America's agenda for at least the next two years may rest in a pair of Senate races in Georgia. Both seats Republican held and likely headed to a recount. As we mentioned the top of the program the President's desires to inflate baseless claims of voter fraud has apparently compelled both GOP senators to do so as well. They demand at the top state election official who's a Republican resigned for not following along, his response, no.

He appeared to twist the knife in saying that one of the senators David Perdue was simply irritated he was in a runoff. Now, despite President-Elect Joe Biden the lead in the state Georgia is not elected Democrat in 20 years. At least one Republican strategist in the state tells CNN that a battle within the party could give the window Democrats may need to pull off an upset.

Joining me now, the Democratic candidate opposing Senator Perdue, Jon Ossoff. Jon -- Mr. Ossoff, appreciate you being with us. So, a lot of eyes on your state in your Senate race, both you and the Democrat in the other Georgia race need to win to get Democrats to a 50 Senate with Vice President Harris being the tiebreaker. You're behind your competitor David Perdue by more than 86,000 votes in last week's election results. How do you expect to make up the lost ground? JON OSSOFF (D), GEORGIA SENATE CANDIDATE: Hey Anderson, good evening and call me Jon. And thank you for having me. And that doesn't worry me at all because Democrats in Georgia right now are invigorated like I've never seen. And this is the culmination of 10 years of voter registration and organizing a lot of this hard work led by Stacey Abrams. We have a lot a lot of momentum in this state right now.


And the Georgia GOP is in disarray as you just said. They're not even willing to confront the reality of what's happened in this election, let alone prepare for these high stakes run offs for control of the U.S. Senate.

COOPER: But isn't the Republican voter in Georgia also probably motivated in a way they haven't been before? If they have are being told that there was fraud in the last election?

OSSOFF: An overwhelming majority of Georgians want the president-elect to have the chance to govern, to lead us out of this crisis. Joe Biden just defeated an incumbent president with the most significant popular vote margin since FDR defeating Hoover in 1932. They are in denial right now.

But the longer that this temper, tantrum drags out, and importantly, the more that it disrupts the transition of power in the midst of a crisis, the more support the GOP here in Georgia will continue to lose. The people of my state need leadership out of this pandemic, a strong public health response, a strong economic response, not indulgence of Donald Trump's denial that he's lost reelection.

COOPER: Obviously getting people out to vote in a, you know, in a runoff election is more difficult than even in, you know, the general election. Does it favor one side or the other? I mean, I know you said, you know, Democratic voters in the state are highly motivated, but just in terms of a turnout, you know, organization, how are things on the ground.

OSSOFF: But we just had a huge and by the way, public health compliant rally, there is a massive sense of enthusiasm and momentum. And not just opportunity, but also obligation here in Georgia, because we are keenly aware that for the Biden-Harris administration, to be able to govern, for them to be able to enact the policies that they've got a clear mandate to pursue, to empower public health experts like our own CDC here in Georgia, to jumpstart this economy with a strong jobs package. In order for them to be able to do those things. There has to be an orderly transition, and they need the capacity to pass legislation.

And even beyond this pandemic Anderson, for us to pass voting rights laws for us to pursue criminal justice reform, for us to make investments in clean energy. All of these things require the capacity to govern. The people of the United States and the people of my state don't want two months of Donald Trump kicking and screaming on his way out the White House. While were politicians like David Perdue, pretend that he won. What we need is a focused response to this national crisis. And that is motivating Georgia Democrats to get out and vote and finish the job in January.

COOPER: The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported that it was the President and his allies who pressured senators Perdue and Kelly Lafleur to make that statement calling for the Georgia election official to resign or else they were losing his support in the election. Perdue spokesman denied it. How scared do you think Republicans are of the president turning on them before the run off in January?

OSSOFF: The level of cowardice is astonishing. I mean, they don't want this guy to tweet on him. He's a lame duck who's just been defeated by a commanding margin. And they're worried about maintaining his favor. When people are dying, people are losing their jobs. But as the dust settles on this, we can't lose sight of the fact that we're in the midst of a pandemic taking nearly 1,000 lives per day.

And at some point, some folks in the GOP are going to need to stand up and say, look, we were just sent a very powerful signal by the American people that would Donald Trump offered is not working for us politically and did not serve the public interest. And we have an obligation to the country now to ensure that there is an orderly transition to stand up to the Trump family and to support policies that help us out of this mess.

COOPER: Jon Ossoff, I appreciate your time tonight. Thank you.

OSSOFF: Thank you.

COOPER: President Trump's last public appearance was at the White House briefing room where he alleged without presenting any actual evidence that his opponents were trying to steal the election. Moreover, he claimed that mail-in voting was as he put it, a corrupt system. And later saying again without proof there was quote, tremendous corruption and fraud.

Bob Woodward spent a great deal of time on the phone in person with the president course researching his best-selling book Rage. He joins me now.

Bob, President Trump has kept a low profile since the election, his plan no public appearances since Thursday, you said the day after the race was called that you think he's lapsed into self-pity. Do you think there's a real strategy mixed with that? I mean, do you really think he believes he can stay in or is this all just about setting up his post presidential after life of, you know, grievance and retribution?

BOB WOODWARD, AUTHOR, "RAGE": I think the Trump presidency has been strategy free from the beginning. The theory of the case for Trump is to do what he wants on the latest impulse. He's obviously wounded here. I was very struck by what Secretary of State Pompeo said I don't know whether it was a joke. I think and he's thought to be a serious man. But he said he's preparing, they are preparing the State Department for the transition to the second Trump administration.

[20:45:26] Now, I know for a fact that Pompeo really thinks one of the President's job is to bring the country together. And what's going on here, with Trump in the Republicans one of Pompeo's favorite expressions is that in Washington, there's lots of stray voltage. It's like in the movies, you see the sparks arcane, and you think, oh my god, we're in for trouble. I think all of the shenanigans here and the brooding and self-pity by Trump and the legitimate fear Republicans have from him, is really stray voltage.

COOPER: It is remarkable, though, just how many senators are going along with these Republican senators who do know better and who know, you know, who know the reality of what happened of the results of the election, and know that there isn't widespread voter fraud, and the President has alleged widespread voter fraud for years.

And there's not evidence of it his own commission was disbanded, because without finding any evidence of it, and it's just -- it's really surprising. I guess it shouldn't be surprising, but it is alarming. And I'm not sure that -- I mean, just how President Trump has set this up really, kind of masterfully.

Again, I don't know if it's a strategy or just a chaos theory, but he has the Republican Party is still beholden to him. There is no reckoning of the Republican Party.

WOODWARD: Yes. But think of those 71 million votes and step back a little bit. That's not just 71 million people thinking, well, I'll take Trump over Biden, that is a devoted group, as we know. And a very potent group politically, as Trump has demonstrated, just in this election, in losing the way he did, and it was close to a certain extent. And but indeed, it's over.

But, I mean, think of yourself as a Republican senator, who wants to have a future in politics, you are not going to publicly cross the President. And is your correspondence accurately reported. And I find from talking to some Republican senators, they know they get it that this is going nowhere, unless there's something really unexpected that happens, but they are in survival mode.

And again, I think the theme here, it's all stray voltage, it may be arcane away and making lots of noise, and people are nervous for weeks or months. But I don't think it's going to go anywhere.

COOPER: Your own sense of obvious about President Nixon's final days and how Republicans confronted him, you know, toward the end to tell him he lost the support of the party and he was doomed. There's, you know, there's some people had kind of talked about something like that possibly happening. I mean, it's clear, that doesn't seem to going to do you think something like that is how this ends it? It's hard to imagine that.

WOODWARD: It is and who would go they don't have to wear three or four masks. So Trump wouldn't be able to figure out who is sending that message. It was a different time in the Nixon era. And it was Barry Goldwater, who led the charge there and went to Nixon and said, look, you're going to be impeached, charged in the house. If there was a Senate trial, you and he said, I've counted the

Republicans, and you have four votes, and one of them is not mine. And the next night Nixon announced he was resigning. I don't think that's going to be replicated here. And we're just going to have to report it out and let it dissipate as I think it will naturally.

COOPER: There are still 71 days left in President Trump's term, how much -- I mean, he still can do really what he wants to do. We've seen you know, Secretary Esper being terminated. Others in the Pentagon have gone. His public schedule is empty for now he doesn't seem engaged with Coronavirus Task force at all anymore. I know he played golf twice this past weekend. Do you think he's actually doing the job of being president? Or do you think his focus is this 100%?


WOODWARD: But well, it's this which is him, it has always been. And unfortunately, I mean, this is a catastrophe with the virus now. And as I reported going back to January 28th, which should have been a day that changed the Trump presidency, when he was warned about what was coming, that it was airborne, that hundreds of thousands of people who were likely to be killed, and he did nothing and went into this denial, which he's replicating now, with the election in his denial and avoidance. And it's very sad for the country.

Happily, I think the strategy in the impulses that Biden has are, OK, let's just move ahead. We won. We're going to point people, we're going to talk to foreign leaders. It's extraordinary. The foreign leaders, if called Biden they see the writing.

COOPER: There's a book in the final days of this administration. I mean, I don't know if you're already writing it or somebody is, but, you know, these the last 71 days, it's, it's, I mean, once the story is told it's going to be remarkable.

Bob Woodward. I appreciate your time, as always. Thank you.

WOODWARD: Thank you.

COOPER: Just ahead, Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins us to discuss the latest about Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine, just how soon it may be ready for everybody for most Americans. Also new numbers and underscores just how dire the situations become our nation's hospitals.



COOPER: Rather stunning declaration by Dr. Anthony Fauci today and what is becoming day by day one of the darkest moments the coronavirus pandemic, discussing the overwhelmingly positive results so far for Pfizer's vaccine. Dr. Fauci mentioned a possible end to the virus.


ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NIAID: With the vaccine that has this potential. This together with the continuation of the public health measures really should get us out of this very difficult situation we're into. So the vaccine is a very, very important tool in ending this pandemic, both domestically and internationally.


COOPER: So, saying that and the other tools, mask wearing, social distancing. He said a very, very important tool ending this pandemic, we've late word tonight of just how dire the pandemics become a record number of hospitalizations now being reported. According to the COVID Tracking Project, almost 62,000 people are currently hospitalized in the U.S. with COVID-19. That's more than at any time. Exact number is 61,964. It's the first time it's ever been above 60,000 over the course of one day, at any time, this entire pandemic.

You can see from the chart that all previous days were in the 59,000 range during previous spikes in April and July. Just moments ago, we learned that just today we've recorded more than 128,000 cases and more than 1,300 deaths, 1,300 deaths just today.

I'm joined now by CNN Chief Medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta. So, the thought that the vaccine might be coming relatively soon. It's obviously incredible. We're all remaining hopeful. But we've now surpassed more than 10 million plus cases in this country alone 239,000 plus deaths. How long could it take if this is effective, and it can be distributed to enough people to gain control the virus?

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's going to take some time still Anderson in part because, you know, by the time this starts getting distributed this vaccine to the general public, we're probably talking about, you know, sort of spring, summer of next year. Part of the concern for this new spike, this new surge in cases that we're going through is people are primarily inside because the weather is cooler, very harder, very hard to be outside, that's the problem.

And the vaccines not going to come during this time period when the weather is cold. And we're having this surge. So, we're going to go through this, this Apex and I was modeling this out over the weekend with a few different epidemiologists, I think it's pretty clear that the numbers are going to continue to go up 61,000, you just cited almost for hospitalizations, we're still very much in the upward part of this curve. Those previous peaks were the peaks, were still on the upward slope here.

So, it's going to go on for some time. After the vaccine comes out, I think within seven days after you get the second shot, you have immunity. But it's going to take months for us to have enough immunity within the country to really say that this is behind us.

COOPER: And just ensures the distribution. I mean, what's complicated, what complicating it is just the sheer volume of number of people who would need to be vaccinated. It's also going to be two shots, and also the refrigeration it's not just normal refrigeration, right?

GUPTA: Yes. This is going to be a really complicated distribution. I mean, it is super cold storage and negative 100 degrees Fahrenheit, two shots. I mean, there's refrigerators football fields full of refrigerators right now across the country in certain cities. So, you know, it's going to be quite laborious. And I will say there are other vaccines that are sort of coming behind Johnson & Johnson, for example, as a type of vaccine that does not necessarily require the super cold storage, it's one shot.

So there may be other options that come up behind. But for this one, the Pfizer one that's out of the gate pretty quickly. It's going to be challenging. And by the time we can get to again, that general public vaccination, you're talking, you know, April, May sort of timeframe.

COOPER: And just convincing people and Dr. Fauci said, you know, people may need to be convinced to get the vaccine. That's going to be an issue as well.

GUPTA: Yes. You know, I will say this though, Anderson, you tell people something's 90 percent effective. And the metrics change in terms of how they evaluate it.


GUPTA: And they say, hey, look, you know, there's risk reward lot a lot of reward here.


COOPER: Yes. Sanjay, appreciate it. Thank you. Good information.

News continues. Let's hand over to Chris for "CUOMO PRIME TIME.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: All right. Thank you, Coop. I am Chris Cuomo and welcome to "PRIME TIME".