|Trump Losing Fight in Court; Biden Worries Over Escalating COVID Cases; Joe Biden Wins Georgia; Trump Blocks Transition|
by Don Lemon - CNN
Published on Saturday November 14, 2020 - 7:20 AM
Trump Losing Fight in Court; President-elect Biden Worry Over Escalating COVID Cases; Joe Biden Wins Georgia; National Mask Mandate May Help; Georgia Runoffs in High Suspense; President Trump Not a Fan of Lockdowns; President Trump Blocks a Smooth Transition. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired November 13, 2020 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: You know, Friday the 13th is always to be spooky because of the unknown. These days what's so scary to us is what we're all too aware, right? That's what we got to work on. And that starts with CNN Tonight and its big star, D. Lemon.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: I thought you were going to make a cheap joke about me. But you are right, so.
CUOMO: Don't confuse us.
LEMON: Because you're going to say something about scary Friday the 13th. Yes, you're right. It is scary, that's what I have to start with because it's the truth. We thought everybody, the election is over. COVID is not over. Those numbers we're looking at and it is frightening out there, don't you think?
CUOMO: I'll tell you what is scary to me in talking with the expert and is the new task force and the old task force is, they knew there was going to be increase this fall. They expected it later. But going back to school, having people back at work, increasing socialization, you are going to see more cases. OK. But they didn't think it would be this kind of peak and they didn't think they would have the built-in problems that they do, like what?
They didn't think hospitalizations would be this peaked this soon because now you're going to be over capacity for a long time.
LEMON: That's the number, that's the number we need to look at right now.
CUOMO: That's a problem. Another problem is, they didn't expect a culture of deconditioning the way we've seen where people using masks less and less as the risks go up and up. Because they didn't factor in the Trump factor of him compelling people not to wear masks by making a political statement.
CUOMO: You know, did you see that -- the tweet from the new Georgia Republican member of Congress, the QAnon lady?
CUOMO: Masks, masks, masks, my body, my choice. I'm not wearing it.
LEMON: free your face or something like that.
CUOMO: But that stupidity added into this with schools, with holidays, with people kind of being over it because of politics, scary about whether or not the peak comes up and goes down or plateaus superhigh.
LEMON: I don't even know if stupidity is a word for it. I don't know if there is a word for it. But yes, you're right. And that's what -- that's what I got to talk about. And that, you know, not to scare people, but we have to give them the reality. I mean, even the vice -- even the president-elect is warning people, this is frightening. We got to do something. We're going -- we're going a bad way. And I'll see you. I'm going to get to it.
CUOMO: I love you, D. Lemon.
LEMON: Thank you, sir. I'll love you too, brother.
CUOMO: I'll see you this weekend.
LEMON: Nice suit. You change your outfit. I'll see you later. That's a joke. You did not. You never changed.
CUOMO: Friday the 13th, everything is whacky.
LEMON: This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon.
So, you know, I always -- I always tell you, I'm going to give you the truth, try not to scare you and all of those things. But this is s -- look, Thanksgiving is coming up, the holidays are coming up, there are major restrictions happening all over the country. Major restrictions happening overseas now.
That's a reality of what's going on. This is bad, people. And if you're concerned, you should be. It's going to get worse before it gets better. How much worse? I don't know. But I'm going to try to help you out. I mean, this, it's not good. You should be concerned.
So, we have to begin with this breaking news. At the end of a very long week, really, a nonstop first two weeks of November with an election like we have never seen before, a deadly pandemic spinning out of control, and now it's Friday.
And we take a minute and we have to look at where we are right now. As I said, it is -- it's not good. It's grim. It's scary. Where are we headed and what's going to happen along the way? So far, the day is not over and more than 175,000 new cases have happened nationwide. That blows well past yesterday's record of more than 153,000 cases.
There's talk of new restrictions, which will just become something else to fight over, unless we can come together and start looking at them and -- not as lockdowns, but as life-saving measures, measures to save our economy. Measures to keep our kids in school. Measures to save lives.
Maybe our language is all wrong about this. We know we have the wrong person talking about it, trying to lead the effort to either pretend that it's, you know, it's not happening, but we got -- we got to figure this out and we have to do it soon.
You want to keep your business open? You want to keep your livelihood? You got to do some things. You got to do some things that the current president made you believe you didn't have to do. You have to come to the realization. You have to wake up now. And you have to do these things. It is not political to realize now that you have to wear a mask.
And by doing it, it isn't someone telling you what to do or to take your freedom away from you. That is a stupid -- come on, people. But it is to allow everyone to live as freely as we can without dying.
The president-elect Joe Biden tweeting tonight, I'm alarmed by the surge in reported COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and fatalities. The crisis -- this crisis demands a robust and immediate federal response which has been woefully lacking.
I am the president-elect but will not be president until next year. COVID-19 does not respect dates on the calendar. It is accelerating right now. Urgent action is needed today, now, by the current administration.
OK, so, it doesn't -- it doesn't help the president-elect by speaking the truth right there. He's saying all along, he's been telling you what to do. He has a task force already in place. He's already been elected. So, he's telling you the truth.
The current president doesn't want this to happen on his watch. Right? He wants to still pretend that it's not happening. Take all of the credit for the good things, like the drugs and the -- that are on the horizon and the vaccines and all that, but that has not happened yet.
The best way to stop anyone from getting this, from your loved ones from spreading it around, is for you to take these preventive measures. That's better than anything that is in the future that we are not sure when it's going to come and what's going to happen with it. But we know the science tells us what we need to do now. The race for the White House -- the race is over. He's the future
president. It is time to stop humoring a sore loser and it's time for us to look to the future. It's been 10 days since election day. Six days since we and just about every other media organization projected Joe Biden the winner.
And all of that time, people have been counting and they've been tallying your votes. Today the final two states were projected. The map is all filled in, people. And the map says, Biden wins the state of Georgia. President Trump wins the state of North Carolina. That gives Biden a total of 306 electoral votes to 232 for Trump.
Three hundred and six for Biden. That number clearly rings a bell for Trump. You know why? Because he won 306 electoral votes in 2016 when he beat Hillary Clinton in the final electoral vote tally that year. And despite his refusal to concede this election to Biden, Trump repeatedly called his electoral win in 2016 a landslide. Yes. He boasted that 306 electoral votes equal a landslide.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We did actually well in almost all of the states. But we had a tremendous landslide Electoral College victory like people haven't seen in a long time and it's a great honor.
They're fake press and they should be ashamed of themselves. And they hurt our country. And to be honest with you, I think it's a great tribute to all of those people in swing states and all of those people in this country, we had an electoral College, as you know, congressman, we had a landslide. Three hundred six to 223. We had a landslide.
You know what it is, it's a crooked deal. This is like the fake dossier. This is like everything else. These are crooked people. They lost an election and they lost it big. It was really a landslide from the electoral College standpoint.
We had a massive landslide victory, as you know in the Electoral College. I guess the final numbers are at 306, and she, you know, down to a very low number.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: You know who is not rubbing President Trump's nose in the mud, that is Joe Biden. You know why? Well, he's a bigger person. But he's busy at work behind closed doors. His transition is underway despite President Trump's refusal to cooperate, blocking much needed funds and resources and preventing Biden from receiving high-level national security intelligence briefings.
Trump's own former White House chief of staff John Kelly calling Trump's delay -- this is his own White House chief of staff -- perhaps I gloss over that, OK, he's calling this delay in approving Biden's transition potentially catastrophic, especially for national security. Despite the roadblocks, though, Biden's transition team moving forward.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEN PSAKI, BIDEN TRANSITION OFFICIAL: We're not interested in having a food fight with the GSA administrator or anyone, really. We just want to get access to intelligence information, to threat assessments, to the ongoing work on COVID so that we can prepare to govern.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, as for the president, it is time to stop coddling him. He's not a child. He may act like one. But he's almost 80 years old. Getting close to 80. Not a child. Stop coddling him. You can feel it. Don't you feel it? I know he does. His day -- his day has come and gone.
Yes, he gave a statement today in the Rose Garden. There were -- his first public -- they were -- excuse me -- his first public comments on anything in more than a week and millions of Americans tuned in to see if finally, finally, maybe he was going to be presidential enough to publicly admit that he lost the election to Biden. But he didn't do it. Couldn't say it. Almost let it slip.
Are we waiting for a concession speak from President Trump -- speech from President Trump that is never going to happen? I don't think it's going to happen -- so I'm not waiting for it. I really don't care if he concedes. I do care how he handles the transition. That he gives information to the incoming administration, the information that they need.
Do I care if he concedes? No. I'm sure you don't either. Why would we care? Do the right thing, make sure Americans are safe. But if you don't want to concede, that's your business. Go on about your business. But leave because Americans voted you out. This might be as close as we're ever going to get right here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: This is administration will not be going to a lockdown. Hopefully the -- whatever happens in the future, who knows which administration it will be, I guess time will tell.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: That was a little slip almost right there. We've been hostage to his whims, to his tantrums, to his rantings, to his vulgar speech, to his racism, to his immaturity to, you know, all of it. It's been grading. It's been grading even for supporters of the president. You know how I know? Because they tell us. He's been defeated. We as a country are moving on. His campaign's legal arguments, wobbly to begin with, collapsing into the dust.
Today, judges in Pennsylvania throwing out a half dozen court cases brought by the Trump campaign over absentee ballots. In Michigan, a judge rejecting demands to block certification of Biden's win in Detroit and denying a request for an audit of the election. Just keep getting thrown out. Spinning wheels, just spinning. I want to stay. Can't.
Prosecutors in Trump's own Justice Department calling on the Attorney General Bill Barr to rescind his order that they investigate allegations of voting irregularities saying, quote, "it's not based on fact." And their claims are about those dead voters, you know those so-called dead voters you've been hearing so much about, my gosh, I got affidavits about this and there's dead voters.
I really want you to pay attention, gather around everyone you know. Call them really quick. Text them. You need to see this. Check out this, it's from our affiliate WXIA, their chief investigative reporter Brendan Keef. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRENDAN KEEF, CHIEF INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, WXIA: Mr. James Blalock of Covington, Georgia, a World War II veteran voted in the election. The president's campaign tweeted. The only problem, he passed away 14 years ago. Sadly, Mr. Blalock is a victim of voter fraud. That claim was amplified on national television.
TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: And no one quite embodies that story like James Blalock of Covington, Georgia. Mr. Blalock was a mailman for 33 years until he passed away in 2006. Fourteen years later, according to state records, he was still mailing things. James Blalock cast a ballot in last week's election.
KEEF: False. James Blalock did not vote in last week's election. Mrs. James Blalock voted in last week's election.
AGNES BLALOCK, JAMES BLALOCK'S WIFE: It's not vote -- he didn't vote.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was you?
BLALOCK: It was me.
KEEF: Agnes Blalock voted using her married name, Newton County confirmed. Her voter registration was signed as Mrs. James A. Blalock, Jr. and that's exactly how she signed her name when she voted in the November 3rd general election.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The President of the United States was accusing you of voter fraud, essentially.
BLALOCK: I know it. I knew it wasn't fraud.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is there anything you would like people to know about your husband? Because I'm sure he's dearly missed.
BLALOCK: Best man I ever knew. Best one to me. I couldn't have had a better one. CARLSON: In his case, maybe voting from the grave wasn't really fraud,
it was just commitment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: That is some good stuff. Not only are the false claims of dead people voting wrong and insulting, but -- I want you to listen to see who gets the last word.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who did you vote for? You don't have to share that.
BLALOCK: I voted for the Democrats, for Biden.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I see. And so.
BLALOCK: I guess I voted against the other one, really.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: All the false claims of widespread voter fraud are being exposed for what they are. It's bogus. I know it's scary for a lot of people, those who are on their state TV, conservative media. There's a fraud. Every legal vote must be counted. Every legal vote was already counted.
Are there voter irregularities, absolutely, every election? This is no different. But this one, according to Trump's own government, this one went off better than anyone in history, they believe. But if you've been doing this for so long, just saying whatever the president wants, it's tough to break. I know it's hard. It's always therapy. You can always go to a therapist instead of spreading lies to the American people.
So, Joe Biden won the election. He is the president-elect. I know it. You know it. And I think somewhere deep-down Donald Trump knows it too. You can see it in his demeanor, the way he's carrying himself, how he's speaking these days. He knows it.
Winning is hard. Losing is harder. Joe Biden, though, winning 306 electoral votes, racking up more than 78 million in the popular vote. His victory is solid. His transition is underway. But President Trump still not conceding that he lost. Stay right here.
LEMON: CNN projecting President-elect Biden will win the State of Georgia, giving him a commanding 600 -- excuse me -- that would be a lot -- 306 electoral vote victory. President Trump takes North Carolina, putting his tally, his final tally at 232 electoral votes.
Let's discuss now, CNN chief political correspondent Dana Bash is here, White House correspondent Kaitlin Collins. So good to see you. Kaitlan, I have seen you, so forgive me. Dana, how
are you? I haven't spoken to you since the election. Have you gotten any sleep?
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: A little. What day is it?
LEMON: I know. I'm just kidding. It feels like jet lag. Like we've had jet lag for a week.
BASH: That's exactly what I've been saying.
LEMON: Yes. Yes. So, Dana, listen, let's talk about this. Three hundred six electoral votes for president-elect Biden. By President Trump's definition he calls it, he called it when he won in 2016, a massive landslide victory. So why is everyone going through this whole farce? Does this end today? When is this going to end?
BASH: Well, Kaitlin might be able to answer that better than I. But I will just tell you from my purge in the sources I'm talking to, it really depends on the minute, it depends on the hour, it depends on what kind of mood at that precise moment the president is in.
He fundamentally feels as though he needs to fight like he is known to fight for the 72 million people who voted for him. The question, Don, which is obviously what you're getting to, is why the Republicans in Congress are feeding into that. And the answer is, the same reason they fed into so many things over the past four years.
Because they share constituents. And those constituents and that allegiance that they have to Donald Trump, that's not going anywhere. And it's been pretty clear over the past week that the whole grip that Donald Trump has had and tightened and tightened and tightened over the four -- past four years on the GOP is even tighter and tighter than it's ever been and it's not going away and neither is he.
LEMON: Yes. So Kaitlan, similar question because Dana said you may -- you are probably equipped to answer it. And let me just preface it by saying, the president today didn't look like his usual self. He didn't take questions. He didn't interrupt the experts. So, what's going on? Is it really hitting him here? Is this -- does he realize it's over?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: He knows it's over, but he's not publicly saying that. And today -- that was the first time we had seen the president directly, you know, where he was actually speaking to us since over a week. That is really rare for Donald Trump to not be in front of cameras, not interacting with reporters in a situation like that. And he didn't take our questions. He knew we had them, we started shouting them the minute the president started to turn around, after the vice president finished, and he didn't answer that.
But, as far as how long this is going to go on, I think today we started to see the president edge a little bit closer to it by tweeting, talking about a very close loss, as you noted in that sound bite earlier, he's talking about a next administration, what they're going to do when it comes to the pandemic.
The question is, how long can he keep it up? I think with Georgia being called for Joe Biden and Arizona being called for Joe Biden, it's going to get a lot harder for them to keep arguing in states like Pennsylvania because even of course if Pennsylvania was overturned, the president did win it, he's still not going to be president again, he's still not going to win re-election.
So, they're running out of paths here to actually mount these legal challenges as dubious as they've been to go forward anywhere.
LEMON: I was just --
BASH: And you know --
LEMON: Hang on, Dana. And you can respond to this.
LEMON: I was sitting here as we were doing this thinking, how, what kind of world is this and what kind of -- I don't know, anxiety or -- it's just weird for me to sit here and say, has the president realized what is reality yet? Have we figured out? Does he know -- like is anybody going to tell him? Like, what is -- what is going on -- and then the whole -- the whole -- the whole of America is affected by this person's, whatever it is that he can't figure out within himself.
He lost, move on. That's how most people deal with it. But yet this man who is in charge is taking us all through this -- his own madness. Why are we putting up with this? Go on. Sorry.
BASH: No, that's OK. I just want to, first of all, I was told this week and I think Kaitlan heard the same that the expectation is that the president won't make it clear however he decides to do that. I don't think we should ever expect a concession in any traditional sense of the word.
But the date to circle on the calendar is a week from today because that is the date by which Georgia has to finish the recount. And that is a Republican-led state and it's going to be the center -- already is the center of the political universe because of the two-Senate race that is are still being contested there.
But to answer your question, you know, the world is moving on. Joe Biden is moving on. He is moving forward with this transition. The president doesn't really have to do anything and he doesn't have to say anything.
And on January 20th at 11.59, Joe Biden is going to be standing outside of the Capitol and whatever, you know, COVID careful kind of inauguration we're going to see, and he is going to be the next president of the United States no matter what Donald Trump does or doesn't say. The difference is, and the danger that you're clear alluding to is the
fact that as we've seen, Kaitlan has been to more Trump rallies than she can count. I've talked to more Trump supporters than I can count, and they believe everything he says. So, sowing the seeds of doubt as he is, even though he doesn't really believe that. He's playing a role here. It's really disruptive to the basic structure of democracy. And that is what is so jarring, obviously, to you and to so many people.
LEMON: It is and also -- but look. Here's what's so frustrating. Because last -- when the president won in '16 we prioritized Trump voters. Right? Let's go talk to the Trump voters. Let's talk to the person in the Midwest. We really don't understand them. Well, he lost and we're still prioritizing Trump voters as if they won and as if -- why are -- why are people who clearly --
BASH: Well, there were 72 million people who voted for Donald Trump --
LEMON: I understand that. But that doesn't mean that they're right.
LEMON: That doesn't mean that they're living in reality. I'm not saying all 72 million of them are. But clearly there's a large -- there's a group of people in this country who won't accept reality, who won't accept facts, who will say that we shouldn't be wearing masks when the science said so, when the electoral map is right there on the scene and it's been counted and everyone is saying there's no widespread voter fraud but yet they still won't believe it.
Why don't we continue to call these people? They're wrong. They're living in a fantasy land. So why should -- why should they affect us? If they don't want to come along, then we need to just move on and stop prioritizing things that are not real.
So, I understand that 71 million people voted for him, but the people who aren't living in reality aren't living in reality. And I think we need to -- we need to point that out. We need to move on. If they don't want to come along, bye-bye.
LEMON: Kaitlan, I got to ask you. I'm going a little long here. But what is it like for you and for the people who work there to be living with someone who is like who is not living in reality, walking on egg shells, like, well, today is he going to concede? Can somebody please get to him? Can someone tell him the truth? What's he going to do? I don't know. It's ridiculous. This is ridiculous what we're doing.
COLLINS: Well, and it's not just the president. It's not one of those situations where aides are kind of quietly behind the scenes, you know, we don't really know what to do, we're waiting on him. That is true for some of them.
But you're seeing people whose salaries are paid by taxpayers come out and talk about this delusional world like President Trump has won the election. And that was evident today in Kayleigh McEnaney, the press secretary, talking about Donald Trump attending his inauguration in January that we should be clear is not happening. It just isn't happening. And people know that. The president knows that.
Yet, publicly, that's what they're saying. It's not just the president saying these things. We saw Peter Navarro, the president's top trade adviser saying today they're operating as if they're going into a second administration.
LEMON: My God.
COLLINS: Same with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. These are high- ranking officials. These aren't nobodies or someone like a Rudy Giuliani saying this on television. These are high-ranking, senior government officials who were acting like the president has won a second term knowing full well that he has not.
So, it's not even just the president. It's also, you know, going down to his senior levels of staff as well.
BASH: You know, one of the things, Don, just real quick, that you brought up which is an understandable point, does speak to how President-elect Biden is going to fulfill one of his primary promises during the general election campaign which is to be the president of everybody.
BASH: And we're just not used to seeing that. It's what we used to see pre-Trump because he really just focused on his base and really not much more. And the -- it is going to be even more of a challenge, even harder for Joe Biden to fulfill that promise the way that Donald Trump is exiting the stage.
LEMON: Yes. Well, listen, thank you, both. And I'm speaking for myself. I'm not speaking for my colleagues up here on the screen. I'm speaking for myself. We have to give people -- tell people the truth. And I know, you know, for the --
BASH: And we do.
LEMON: -- for the 71 million people who voted for Donald Trump, he lost. He's not going to be president again. There's no widespread voter fraud. There's -- he's not telling you the truth. The people around him, Kayleigh McEnany knows better. And so, you should know better as well. Stop believing this you know what. It's not true. Thank you, both. I'll see you later.
We got a lot coming up. We're going to talk about COVID and we're going to continue to talk about this. A lot in the show. We'll be right back. [22:35:00]
LEMON: So, we got to talk about the coronavirus spiraling out of control. More than 244,000 people have now died from the virus in the U.S. And tonight, the country shattering yesterday's daily record, reporting more than 175,000 new cases. Hospitalizations are also setting records.
Let's discuss now, Dr. Ashish Jha is here, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health. Dr. Jha, good to see you. Thank you so much for joining.
You know, we know increased testing isn't responsible for the surge in case rates and the hospitalizations are setting records around the country. Do people realize what a crisis this is right now and that the medical system may be overwhelmed if they get sick?
ASHISH JHA, DEAN, BROWN UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: Don, thanks for having me on.
I think most Americans don't fully understand how bad things are. We have more infections right now in America than I believe any point in the pandemic, including more than April and May when things were really bad. And we're heading towards two very hard months ahead of us. I expect an additional 100,000 Americans are going to die between now and inauguration day.
JHA: And we're just not taking this seriously enough.
LEMON: Yes. Listen, I say we probably need better language or different words than lockdowns because it sounds like prison. That's not what is. But opponents of these restrictions and advocates of herd, of so-called herd immunity point to Sweden saying we wouldn't see a second wave there, but right now they're having a huge increase in cases. Is this conclusive evidence of how dangerous the herd immunity strategy is?
JHA: Absolutely. I mean, it's been absurd. And again, no serious person has advocated for herd immunity. It's been a small group of people who largely have little to no expertise in this and it's been -- it's been really striking. Because basically what they're arguing for is a strategy that will kill many, many hundreds of thousands, if not millions of Americans and likely won't even work.
So, I think thankfully most people see it as sort of nonsense that it is. But we are in the middle of a really bad wave right now and we got to do things to bring this virus under control.
LEMON: The current president seems to be giving up on any kind of immediate virus response in mitigation and instead talking about the vaccines. The President-elect Biden's message just tonight is, I renew my call for every American regardless of where they live or who they voted for to step up and do their part on social distancing, handwashing and mask-wearing to protect themselves and to protect others. His incoming chief of staff says that he'll implement a national mask mandate on day one. What do you think about a national mask mandate?
JHA: Look, I think, first of all, there's no question in my mind that every single person in America needs to be wearing a mask when they head out door -- head out the door. Now, will a national mask mandate do that? I think it will help. Probably won't be enough. And we have to not just have mandates.
We also have to have an effort to win the hearts and minds of people and get people to understand that this is not about listening to the government or giving up your freedom, this is about taking care of your neighbors, and your friends, and your family and your community and caring for them. And if we can get that message across more effectively, I think you can make a big difference. But, you know, mask mandates, sure. But we got to do more than that.
LEMON: Doctor, always a pleasure. Thank you so much.
JHA: Thank you, Don.
LEMON: Who will control the senate? Georgia is going to make that decision with two runoff elections. The stakes are so high. Things are getting really, really ugly. I'm going to speak with one of the candidates, next.
LEMON: CNN calling the presidential race in Georgia for President- elect Biden, but the runoff races for the two open Senate seats in Georgia just beginning to heat up. And one of the races, incumbent Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler facing off against the Reverend Raphael Warnock, a Democrat.
For the past 15 years, Reverend Warnock has led the congregation at Ebenezer Baptist Church of Martin Luther King, Jr. It's a historic church in Atlanta, and he joins me now. My former hometown. Well, I should say my former town of Atlanta.
Reverend, it's good to see you. It's been a long time. I haven't lived there a bit. I used to see you all the time. I don't get to see you, but it's good to see --
RAPHAEL WARNOCK (D-GA), U.S. SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: Good to see you.
WARNOCK: I miss bumping into you.
LEMON: Yes. It's good. Thank you for joining. So, let's talk about this race. You got the most vote the first time
around to get to this runoff. But with Congressman Doug Collins out of the race, that could leave Loeffler consolidating the Republican vote. What's your strategy this time, Reverend?
WARNOCK: We are entering into this runoff in a very strong position. Remember there were 21 people in my race and while everybody was focused on the folks, you know, at the top, there were 10 Democrats in my race, twice as many Republicans, five Republicans. And all of the names on the ballot were listed alphabetically. Because my last name was Warnock, I was the name -- next to the last name on the ballot. And I finished well ahead of Senator Loeffler.
The people of Georgia are responding to my message. I'm someone who grew up in public housing. One of 12 children in my family. I'm number 11. The first college graduate in my family, the result of Pell grants and low-interest student loans. I know how to stand up for the challenges that ordinary people are facing. And as we put forth that message, it's clear that Georgians are responding.
LEMON: Well let me ask you. Because, you know, there's got a lot of attention, a lot of focus, a lot of money, a lot of big names are probably going to come down to help you. Are you expecting any campaigning with president-elect or even the former President Barack Obama?
WARNOCK: Well, I'm deeply honored to have received the endorsement of President-elect Biden and also President Obama. But this is a Georgia race. And what I've been doing is moving all across the State of Georgia. I live in Atlanta, of course, but I'm from Savannah. My mother is from Waycross. I've been moving all across this state, stopping in small, rural towns.
And, you know, they're surprised when I show up. And I'm surprised that they're surprised. But they're saying that they're not accustom for folks running for the U.S. Senate or serving in the Senate coming by their little town.
But I'm a pastor and I believe in walking alongside the people as they deal with their everyday struggles. I was down in Acworth, Georgia, those folks are deeply concerned that their hospital recently closed in the middle of a pandemic. I don't see anything that Senator Loeffler is doing to respond to the needs of the people on the ground. They're the ones who are going to carry us the victory.
LEMON: I have to talk to you about some of the things that happened during campaigns. Because that's the part -- this is where people win and lose. For Democrats it did not work according to the studies and high-level Democrats, defund the police, how Republicans were able to cast Democrats as socialists. There's a new campaign ad that Loeffler has out trying to tie you to Marxism, accusing you of hosting a rally for Fidel Castro over two decades ago. How do you respond to those attacks? WARNOCK: It's very clear that Senator Loeffler is feeling very
desperate. And she's engaged in the politics of division and distraction, intentionally misrepresenting my record. I do not think that we should defund the police and my record showing someone who has worked alongside law enforcement and those who we know that we need criminal justice reform to help us build a more perfect union.
And so, that will be my focus in the days head. I believe in our great American system of democracy. I think it's unfortunate that she is trying to diminish the trust that we have in our democracy right now to the secretary of state to resign, calling questions on this election.
It's clear that Joe Biden won here in Georgia and when we finish tallying the votes again, it will be clear that he won here in Georgia. And so, I'm focused on the people that I'm running into all across our state, who are wondering who is going to give them some relief from COVID-19. They haven't seen any in months and small businesses are closing and my commitment to our free enterprise system will be demonstrated by my commitment to small businesses.
LEMON: All right. Thank you so much, Reverend. We have to run. We'll see you back here soon. You be safe. Thanks.
WARNOCK: Thank you.
LEMON: I'd like you to know that we invited Senator Loeffler to appear on the show tonight. She declined. Welcome any time to come on, OK? We'll be right back. James Clapper.
LEMON: New tonight, General John Kelly, the former chief of staff to President Trump speaking out against Trump, holding up the transition of power to President-elect Joe Biden.
He says, and I quote here, "the delay in transitioning is an increasing national security and health crisis. It costs the current administration nothing to start to brief Biden -- Mr. Biden, Ms. Harris, the new chief of staff, and all identified cabinet members and the senior staff. The downside to not doing so could be catastrophic to our people regardless of who they voted for."
Let's discuss now, the former Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper. Good to see you, Director. I'm sure you agree with what General Kelly had to say. He said it would be catastrophic, it's not right or moral thing to do.
JAMES CLAPPER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, I absolutely do agree with General Kelly. I just wish he had referred to Joe Biden as President-elect Biden. And you can conjure up all kinds of potential situations here.
Notably in the national security arena involving the Department of Defense. You know, we don't exactly have the 18 deployed there in the form of the acting secretary, the acting undersecretary for policy or the acting undersecretary for intelligence.
So, you can think of scenarios if they occurred in the next 70 days or so, provocative Chinese move against Taiwan, an incident on the Korean peninsula, a Russian move into Ukraine or against the Baltics. There's any number of situations like that that the incoming administration should be fully up to speed on.
So, I think this is very concerning. Even greater than that, though, is we already have a catastrophe in the form of the pandemic which is completely out of control and the White House is pitched out of the fight. So, we already have a catastrophe on our hands.
LEMON: Ys. And if there's a catastrophe of some national emergency or international attack or something, I just wonder if, you know, the president who is in office now will be held responsible and if there would be any ramifications for him for not sharing information.
CLAPPER: Well, I think, you know, if something God forbid does happen like that, when the history is written, it's not going to -- Donald Trump is not going to fair well --
LEMON: It's not going to fair well for him.
CLAPPER: In the history of -- in the history his one term in office.
LEMON: Yes, let me ask you before we run out of time here. What do you think, maybe it's perhaps, our only option. What do you think about the Biden transition team reaching out to former officials who work with former Defense Secretary Mattis? Is that what they need to do to be ready on January 20th?
CLAPPER: Well, you know, I know some of the people involved in this and they are good people, they are experienced and a lot of them involved in the administration which ended just four years ago. So, if I were in their position, I would be reaching out any way I could to gain some insight into what the current situation is. You know, GSA, aside.
So, I think it's entirely appropriate. And I hope former officials particularly who have left the Trump administration will open up to them because they need that information to prepare -- to take up the reins of government.
LEMON: Thank you, Director. Always a pleasure. Have a good weekend.
CLAPPER: Thanks, Don. Same to you.
LEMON: We'll be right back.