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Donald Trump Refuses to Concede; D.H.S. Says 2020 Election Most Secure in History
by ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES - CNN
 Published on Saturday November 14, 2020 - 6:38 AM
POLITICS
* US Presidential Election *
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Donald Trump Refuses to Concede; D.H.S. Says 2020 Election Most Secure in History
ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Donald Trump Refuses to Concede; D.H.S. Says 2020 Election Most Secure in History; DHS: Election: "Most Secure" In History; Trump Refuses To Concede; Biden Ahead By 5+ Million In The Popular Vote; Coronavirus Model Predicts Deadly Winter; Former Pres. Obama Reacts To Pres. Trump's Baseless Election Fraud Claims. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired November 12, 2020 - 20:00 ET

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

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: About those things were.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Right. All right, well, thank you both very much. I appreciate it.

And thanks very much to all of you for joining us. AC 360 with Anderson starts now.

[20:00:12]

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, ANDERSON COOPER 360: And good evening. There are no available ICU beds left in the State of Utah. None.

Nearly 3,900 new COVID cases just today in a state with only 3.2 million residents. No ICU beds available.

The top health official in Mississippi says the same about his state capital, Jackson, no ICU beds available there.

In Iowa, the governor is reporting a positivity rate of 21.8 percent.

For the third straight day, Illinois is reporting more than 12,000 new cases.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. J.B. PRITZKER (D-IL): We're running out of time, and we're running out of options. Our growth in new cases is now exponential. The numbers don't lie. If things don't take a turn in the coming days, we will quickly reach the point when some form of mandatory stay-at-home order is all that will be left.

With every fiber of my being, I do not want us to get there. But right now, that seems like where we are heading.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: As he said, the numbers don't lie. Nationwide, tonight, the data science team at Johns Hopkins University is reporting nearly 124,000 new cases for the day, more than 1,200 deaths for the day. And remember, those numbers will not be final for hours yet. They will rise in the next few hours.

In the hour that I'm on air tonight, more people will die.

Yesterday, 1,435 Americans died due to COVID according to Johns Hopkins count, and maybe all the numbers are starting to sound the same, day after day, the numbers. They shouldn't though, they can't.

We owe it to the dead and to their families. We owe to the sick to pay attention, to mourn, to do whatever we can to bring the numbers down, to lessen the suffering of our fellow human beings, our fellow citizens, our fellow neighbors, our countrymen and countrywomen.

This is the most important story in America. This is the most important story of our time.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta pointed this out to me today. Remember the horrific tsunami in Southeast Asia in 2005? That killed more than 227,000 people. The earthquake in Haiti in 2010 killed at least 220,000. The Somali earthquake that took nearly 260,000 lives.

COVID has killed more -- nearly -- excuse me -- nearly as many Americans or more Americans than that. So with the ICUs filled and the death toll rising, you might wonder what did the sitting President say about it today, or at least tweet about it?

It should come as no surprise, but it is shocking, nonetheless. He said nothing. Not a word.

Aides telling CNN that he is now dejected and downcast, not about the lack of those ICU beds in Utah, I should point out, he is accordingly -- apparently dejected over losing the election.

Sources also telling us his children are split over what to do next. Not what to do next about COVID, mind you, no. Not about those 1,435 Americans who died yesterday, what to do about that. No, the children are split over what their daddy's next move should be.

Should he accept defeat and try to salvage something of his legacy or continue to make up claims of widespread voter fraud and lie to the very people who believe him most, his base?

Keeping them honest, accepting defeat, we should point out is not up to him. He was defeated. He lost. He lost. An election that his own Department of Homeland Security today calls the most secure in American history. Let that sink in.

The Department of Homeland Security calls it the most secure in American history. In other words, this shouldn't even be a thing. But it is and as a consequence, we are watching America First give way to Me First, and suspecting it was always that way anyway.

The President has not spoken publicly for a week. He hasn't received a National Security briefing since October 2nd. As far as we know, he's not met with his COVID Taskforce since August 4th.

However, he has been sending out one rage tweet after another and for a change, we're going to read you one just so you can get an idea of what's on his mind the day after more than 1,400 American lives were lost. What he is thinking about.

Here's the tweet "@FOX News, daytime ratings have completely collapsed, weekend daytime even worse. Very sad to watch this happen, but they forget what made them successful, what got them there. They forgot the golden goose."

The golden goose. The most powerful man in the free world in the middle of the worst mass casualty disaster since the 1918 flu is tweeting about the ratings of cable news shows and weekend cable news shows and he is tweeting not even in the third person, but in the third goose.

This guy has checked out, at least when it comes to anyone but himself. Think about what he said in that tweet. Very sad to watch this happen.

[20:05:10]

COOPER: Now, he is not talking about COVID. He is talking about ratings of cable news programs. And he says that a lot, very sad to watch this happen. It is the same as, oh, we'll see what happens as though he's always just a bystander or a viewer looking at a show, just changing the channels, watching us all live and die, get sick.

Just watching, just watching the show, criticizing, of course, as you do with shows, but taking no responsibility for any of it.

Last night in the program, "The New York Times" Maggie Haberman, who began covering Donald Trump back in his real estate days said something along those lines. She was referring specifically to his state of mind regarding his election defeat.

But I think it speaks to more than that. Here's what she said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: He doesn't want to face the fact that the election is over and that he has lost. He also -- there is a part of him and I know that this is hard to grasp for people, even after all these years, but he sort of just likes watching the show and he likes seeing what's going to happen and whether it's going to turn out differently for him, maybe if he just keeps going.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Just keeps going, watching the show. The President she says just likes to watch the show. I mean, think about the level of detachment that suggests.

Then remember what he said back in early August about the pandemic.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think it's under control. I'll tell you what --

QUESTION: How? A thousand Americans are dying a day.

TRUMP: They are dying. That's true. And you have -- it is what it is.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: "It is what it is." Easy to say if you feel no connection to or responsibility for others. But for someone who just likes to watch the show, well, he can just change the channel and say yes, it is what it is. What else is on?

Or as he later told Bob Woodward, nothing more could have been done. When he said that on the 14th of August, 168,427 Americans had died. Nothing more to be done.

The numbers now fast approaching a quarter million and the C.D.C.'s new combined forecast projects that by December 5th, just three weeks away, as many as 282,000 Americans will have died.

New forecasting from the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation now is projecting 438,000 deaths by March 1st.

The President said nothing more could have been done. Really. Nothing. He couldn't think of a thing.

Never mind actually developing a national testing and tracing strategy or coordinating supplies of PPE. He couldn't have maybe, you know, stopped holding mass rallies. He couldn't have said perhaps a few words about wearing a mask. Other than quote, "I don't see it for myself," which is what he said when he actually was announcing the C.D.C. guidelines all the way back months ago.

He immediately undercut it by saying oh, yes, not for me. But yes, sure for you all, if you want.

Now, that's -- now that he has lost the election, he can't perhaps let the incoming team which seems to be taking the pandemic very seriously, get briefed and coordinate with their government counterparts. He won't allow that.

I mean, that would be something he could do. But the answer, of course, is no. Not for the COVID team, not for anyone. In fact, not even the President-elect for the safety and security of the country. The country's future, I mean, that's a big deal.

But for a President who has checked out, except perhaps for taking a hatchet to The Pentagon Intelligence Committee, it's really no biggie. If it weren't so sad and so consequential, it would be funny.

But for that, there's always White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany. Bless her heart, as they say in Mississippi, taking us completely through the looking glass and then beyond to a galaxy far, far away. Remember, this is the spokesperson for the White House. Listen to what she said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRIAN KILMEADE, FOX NEWS CHANNEL HOST: Kayleigh, while this is happening, it has been brought up by Senator Lankford, a Republican. He said listen, give Joe Biden the presidential daily brief. After all, Senator Harris gets -- she is on the Intel Committee. She is getting -- she has high level security access. Has the President considered that?

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I haven't spoken to the President about that. That would be a question more for the White House.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: "That would be a question for the White House," says the White House spokesperson. That is next level stuff.

CNN's chief White House correspondent, Jim Acosta joins us now. She is still the spokesperson for the White House, right?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: As far as we know, Anderson, she has not held a briefing in some time. She was with the President for that nutty statement he gave in the Briefing Room one week ago tonight.

But I think she is of the same mindset that the President is right now. They are dug in talking to advisers this evening. Anderson, we do not expect the President at this point, barring some kind of big turnaround on his part to give up these challenges, and so after they make their way through the courts in about a week or so from now.

COOPER: Yes. I mean, most of them are making their way through the court. You know, like, you know, stuff makes its way through a golden goose.

I mean, they are going through the court pretty fast because most judges are just tossing the stuff out because there's no there, there.

[20:10:10]

ACOSTA: You're right. And falling flat on their face. And when the President is talking to his advisers, yes, he is dejected, he is upset about all of this. He is lashing out at FOX News.

He wants to settle scores with people like the C.I.A. Director and the Defense Secretary and the F.B.I. Director and so on, but they are also considering some other nutty ideas.

For example, this evening, I talked to a Trump advisor, who said that they have been talking about the prospect of whether electors in some of these individual states could go rogue and choose the President over Joe Biden in some of these states that went Joe Biden's way. Joe Biden's

I mean, that takes you to the level of, you know, insanity, really, that they're contemplating at this point, because the President cannot accept the fact that he lost.

At this point, you know, this adviser I spoke with earlier this evening, this adviser said that the President is starting to grasp the reality that he is not going to find a way out of this, and that we are nearing the next phase in the words of this adviser.

But, you know, it doesn't sound like it's going to come fast enough. It sounds like the President wants to drag this out, as long as possible to see as you put it earlier, see what happens.

COOPER: You also have some new reporting about a top official behind the D.H.S., the Department of Homeland Security statement tonight calling the election the most secure in American history. What are you learning?

ACOSTA: Yes, well, one individual official that we're focusing on these days, Anderson is an official by the name of Chris Krebs. He leads an office called CISA, which is basically the cybersecurity arm of the Department of Homeland Security.

He has been on Twitter over the last several days debunking Trump world conspiracy theories, upsetting a lot of people inside the President's orbit. And I talked to somebody earlier this evening, an official earlier this evening, who said, Krebs has been telling people around him, he doesn't care if he is fired at this point.

And in the words of this senior administration official, what they're going to be doing in that office and across the Department of Homeland Security, according to this official is making sure that the integrity of the democratic process is protected. Not one individual -- meaning, the President -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right, Jim, stay with us. I want to bring in our chief political analyst, Gloria Borger as well.

So Gloria, the conflicting advice the President is apparently receiving from his family, what have you been learning on this?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, you have his two adult sons, Eric and Don, Jr, who are gung ho, fight to the finish, do whatever you can, because you won this election. It was a rigged election, and on and on and on.

And then you have Jared and Ivanka, who are a little bit more difficult to decipher. They have been more measured, I would say, from our sources, and I should say this is a story I did with Pamela Brown and Dana Bash, and we spoke to a bunch of sources who said that, look, they know that their legacy is tied to the President's legacy.

Jared believes he has achieved a lot, say in terms of foreign policy. So they are trying to look for a way to say to the President, on the one hand, you know, you're great. You started a movement. You should be proud of this.

And on the other hand, acknowledging privately that there has got to be an exit strategy and maybe that's November 20th after the Georgia recount or November 30th when Arizona is certified, nobody knows.

Some people accuse Jared of being on both sides of this, first being more aggressive, and now not being as aggressive as reality sets in.

But the family is, at least the two of them are trying to figure out just how to deal with the President without insulting him in a way or making him feel that his legacy is any less great than they believe it should be because after all, they got more than 71 million votes.

COOPER: Well, also, I mean, they're going to be stuck with him in exile, you know, when he's an exile in Mar-a-Lago, you know, whatever -- doing, you know, putting up a media empire, or whatever he will do, and I'm sure it'll be very successful.

I mean, they are going to be the ones who, you know, are still going to be in his orbit. Does anyone, Gloria, around the President believe he is putting the country first right now?

BORGER: No.

COOPER: I mean, he doesn't seem to actually be working.

BORGER: Yes. Well, we can all see that. As Jim points out, and our White House correspondents point out, we haven't seen him publicly.

I spoke to a Republican who is close to the President, I would say, and he said to me, and let me let me quote this to you. He said, "He is not worried about the Republican Party. He's worried about how he can commercialize and monetize all of this."

COOPER: Well, yes.

BORGER: Yes. So the TV, maybe has had rallies, maybe he will and start charging for them bigger than Oprah's. Who knows? Who knows what's in his future? But that is what is on his mind.

If you see his tax returns published in "The New York Times," he has a lot of debt.

COOPER: Jim, I mean, the idea that there would be more Republican pressure for the President to concede after the Georgia recount is completed. I mean, do you buy that? They are obviously scared about the election in Georgia and the President turning against, you know, the two Republicans who are up for re-election in Georgia for the Senate.

And they should be scared because he is very capable of trying to, you know, he is now -- you know, biting -- attacking and seeking to destroy FOX News. He has no loyalty to any of these people.

[20:15:23] ACOSTA: Right. I think, Anderson, that's why some of these Republicans are being so, so careful. I mean, we've seen some statements come from a few senators here and there saying that it's time for Joe Biden to start getting the Intelligence briefings and so on.

But I think what we're heading into, Anderson, and it's already probably begun, is yet another hostage drama, starring the President, instead of the nation being held hostage, it will be the Republican Party held hostage. And that is how so much of this is playing out at this point.

Why would some of these Republican lawmakers want to go against the President at this point, when he is talking about firing the C.I.A. Director and the Secretary of Defense -- he has already done that -- and the Director of the F.B.I.? They don't want him lashing out at them too, because of that potent base.

But I will tell you, Anderson, you know, one of the things that stands out, as we move forward here is just how long the President really thinks he can he do this. How long he can last in all of this, because at some point -- and it may not be people inside the Republican Party, it may just be these court cases, falling flat on their face.

The reality of the recounts that are going to be happening in states like Georgia, he is going to have to endure, essentially losing this election all over again, which is something I am told by some advisers is a prospect they just don't want to see.

They think that's further humiliation, further embarrassment for the President and reminding people everybody out there that he lost this election, something he doesn't want to repeat.

BORGER: You know, Anderson --

COOPER: Yes, go ahead, Gloria.

BORGER: Anderson, I think with Donald Trump, he always has to be the hero of his own story, and so what I think we're watching play out is him trying to formulate how he becomes that hero.

And is it the man who got more votes than any Republican, whoever ran for the presidency, the election was stolen from him and he rose from the ashes and he became -- you know, has a great following and has become a TV star and runs again in 2024, by the way, freezing the entire Republican field I might add, who might be looking to think about 2024, is that how he does it?

We just don't know the ending to this other than the fact that Joe Biden will be sworn in as President of the United States on January 20th.

COOPER: Glory Borger and Jim Acosta. Appreciate it.

Coming up next, "Art of the Deal" author, Tony Schwartz on what he thinks is going on with the President, if there's any strategy there and what he fears you might do in the coming weeks.

And later, Dr. Chris Murray on the new grim COVID projection his Institute just put out and what can be done by this administration and the next and all of us to save lives.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:20:31]

COOPER: Earlier in the program, at the top of the program, I mentioned an earthquake in Somalia back in '92 and the death toll there -- it wasn't an earthquake, it was a famine and I made a mistake on that. I appreciate that. Thanks.

With the pandemic raging, the President is tweeting about FOX TV shows and moping around the White House and reportedly getting conflicting advice from his grown kids about what to do next.

In addition, there's new reporting from "The New York Times" Maggie Haberman saying that if the race is certified for Joe Biden, the President will announce a 2024 campaign shortly after.

Joining us right now is Tony Schwartz. He is the author of "Dealing with the Devil: My Mother, Trump and Me." And of course, "The Art of the Deal." So Tony, first of all, the idea that the President would announce he is going to run on in 2024. What do you make of that?

TONY SCHWARTZ, AUTHOR: Totally plausible. It makes sense that that's what he would do. He does not want to lose his ability to reach the public. He wants to be the person who is at the front of this -- at the front of the line. And I have no idea if that's in any way realistic.

You know, one of the things that we're not talking about, Anderson, is that this man is going to walk out of office into a flurry of potential criminal indictments, and I don't see this as being Gerald Ford, you know, pardoning Richard Nixon.

I see this as a time where it is critical that the legal process play out the legitimate legal process, and I think there's a very good chance that Trump is going to find himself both indicted and potentially convicted.

COOPER: On the day the race was called, the President-elect Biden tweeted that this was quote, "The worst moment of Donald Trump's life." The idea that he is a loser in this race, I mean, that is one of the things that's his, you know, one of the go-to -- you know, that's one of his harshest criticisms of somebody that they're a loser, however, he defines that.

SCHWARTZ: Yes, I mean, in Donald Trump's binary narrow world, you are either a winner or a loser. You can't be both. You either dominate or you submit.

So for him to be a loser, for him to submit, for him to be humiliated, is the equivalent of obliteration. It's as if he doesn't exist at all, which is obviously intolerable to him.

So yes, I think this is a man going through an incredibly difficult time, not that he's aware he is in a difficult time. What I think is, he is moving between delusion, so I think there are literally periods where he believes no, either I won this or yes, it's true that I was cheated.

And then he moves out of that. He has a brief moment of reality and what normal people would feel is depressed. Donald Trump doesn't do depression, so what he feels is rage and blame.

COOPER: It's just exhausting. I mean, it just must be exhausting to be around him.

SCHWARTZ: Listen, I could hear it in your voice. I certainly feel it myself. I thought that we'd come out of this election that if Biden won, that I would feel a tremendous sense of relief, maybe even an exaltation. I don't.

Because if a few votes had turned, we would have an autocratic leader in the White House without question, every bit as autocratic as the worst of them around the world. And he isn't going away.

He is not going away. One way or another, he will keep his hold on the Republican Party. He will keep his hold on the media because the media will continue to respond to hit the more outrageous things he says.

And we are in for a very difficult period ahead at a time when as you've said earlier tonight, we're in the worst pandemic and you know, certainly in the last hundred years and maybe one of the worst pandemics we've had.

So this is a time to be sober and reflective, not to be punching your fist in the air.

COOPER: CNN has reporting that there's a split between his children about what to do next or I guess the children who weigh in on these things. Donnie Jr. and Eric Trump, apparently urging the President to, you know, keep fighting and Ivanka Trump asking if it's worth the damage to his legacy and business to continue to refuse to concede.

I don't know how true that is. But that's the word, I guess, we've been getting. Does -- I mean, does what his kids think matter to him?

[20:25:19]

SCHWARTZ: No, I was just going to say that, Anderson. It doesn't matter a whit. You've seen him whittle away the influence of person after person after person over four years. I think he has -- you know, he's looking, as you can see, so clearly, for the people and institutions he can blame so FOX, but also, I think you're going to see him begin to find many, many more scapegoats because he can't tolerate the notion that he is responsible for losing.

So no, he has, I mean, you know, he'll listen to it, but he won't pay any attention to it. He has moved into that state of believing that only he knows best, and he should trust his instincts. And that's all he has to trust, because he is not capable of really putting together two thoughts to come up with a logical conclusion.

COOPER: Something -- and the lack of loyalty though, I just find fascinating. You know, turning on FOX News. I get it. He's annoyed, you know, that they took, you know, polling and things like that, and that they actually have some people there who report the news.

But, you know, he has no loyalty to the G.O.P. He has no loyalty to any of these senators. I mean, they have every reason to be scared that he would go after or not support the candidates in Georgia if, you know, he was really annoyed and felt like he wanted to really stick it to the G.O.P. who he felt didn't support him.

SCHWARTZ: No conscience, no empathy, no heart, no loyalty, because absent a conscience and a heart, absent the capacity for empathy, for love, why would you be loyal to anyone?

His loyalty is to his own survival. We've known that now, of course, for a long time. Now we're seeing it play out.

I don't think you are surprised. I'm certainly not surprised in any way that he is behaving exactly as he is. This is who Donald Trump is.

It's a sad fact in America, and this is also what a sociopath does. He is a sociopath and he is behaving in that extraordinary way that a very small percentage of the population do and it's bewildering to the rest of us.

COOPER: Tony Schwartz, I appreciate being with us. Thank you, as always.

Just ahead, more proof this time from Arizona officials that the voter fraud President Trump claims exists just does not and we will speak with a top Republican election official in just how far the President and his allies may take these claims.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:31:55]

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Breaking news now on the election, is not just the federal government coming out today and saying as Jim Acosta reported earlier that this election was safe, fair and secure. Arizona officials are just the latest to state clearly and definitively that contrary to President Trump's baseless claims, there is no evidence of voter fraud. Secretary of State's office there says more than half of all counties have conducted post election audit, they found absolutely no evidence of voter fraud.

Earlier today, Trump tweeted that if the votes were audited, quote, we will easily when Arizona. For more in the state of ballot counting want to go to the magic wall as CNN's Phil Mattingly. So where do things stand tonight? Is there any indication that the vote count in any state is going to drastically change?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The short answer is no. And I think Arizona is actually a great place to start to underscore that Joe Biden as more votes are being counted is only serving to solidify a pathway to likely 306 electoral votes. You see Arizona Anderson, is a place where President Trump has actually made up ground. Over the course of the last several days closing on Joe Biden by several thousand votes. Right now, Biden's lead sits at 11,000. However, this is the reality on the ground in Arizona, there are only about 16,000 votes left outstanding. In other words, President Trump would have to win roughly 85% of what's outstanding in order to catch up to Joe Biden. And right now the majority of the outstanding votes are from Democratic strongholds.

Republicans, Anderson on the ground tell me the only thing that's left right now is for this to end. They know Arizona is likely not going to end up in their pathway. The other state obviously still outstanding the state of Georgia, Joe Biden again adding to his vote total now at 14,149. Obviously, this state is headed into a hand recount. And Anderson 14,000 votes, that is not the type of margin that gets flipped by a recount that is not something that just miniscule errors would start to change. 14,000 is a very, very comfortable lead, likely adding at some point another 16 electoral votes to Joe Biden's total. And obviously we continue to check in on Pennsylvania because the Trump administration, the Trump campaign has paid so much attention on the legal side of things to Pennsylvania. Well, what's happened here, Joe Biden today has added another couple thousand votes to his lead, now sitting at 54,726. And just as a reminder, President Trump back in 2016, one of the strongholds from his victory breaking through the blue wall, won the state by 44,000 votes, Anderson.

COOPER: And just updated on the popular vote if you could.

MATTINGLY: Yes. I think this is important context for what's going on right now. Joe Biden right now up by 5.2 8 million votes. And if you want to put that into context over the course of the last 20 years, only one other presidential election has had a margin that that's that why that was President Obama back in 2008. Joe Biden has had more voters vote for him than any other president in history. And also another fact to pay attention to, right now he's at 50.8% that is expected to go up above 51%, probably around the 52% area when New York and California are fully counted, the only challenger in the history of the last hundred years to approach this or any higher, Franklin Roosevelt back in 1932. This is a definitive victory for Vice President Biden, I think it underscores even though there are close races and several states around the country, Joe Biden on track for 306 electoral votes and on track for one of the largest margins we've seen over the course of the last 20 years, Anderson.

[20:35:07]

COOPER: All right. Phil Mattingly, appreciate it. Thanks.

Perspective from Ben Ginsburg, a top Republican election attorney who's worked on two presidential campaigns. It was a key figure in the 2000.Florida recount. Ben, thanks for being with us. What do you make of not only an arm of the Department Homeland Security saying this election was the most secure in American history, but also these audits in Arizona's largest counties that have turned up no evidence of voter fraud?

BENJAMIN GINSBURG, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, it's very significant for the overall narrative. And the reality that President Trump and his campaign have to face. I've been in this stage on losing recounts before and it is a hollow and empty feeling. And what you want to do, what you're doing is hoping against hope that something turns up. The reality is has Phil pointed out, you're not going to make up the margin in the recount. And it is accepting the obvious that comes next.

COOPER: I'm not sure how much of a strategy there is for the Trump campaigns, you know, legal maneuvers. But how have they gone thus far? I mean, how have, you know, you've looked at sure the presentations that are actually being made in court, because that's really what this all boils down to? How do they differ from what people are seeing on social media and sort of all the, you know, the hype around it, what are they actually arguing in court? And how is that going?

GINSBURG: Well, the social media narrative that somehow this election has been stolen, is not at all backed up by what's being presented by the Trump campaign in court. In court, with their lawyers are doing is presenting very broad, very generalized statements about the process somehow be blocked. But the reality is to win these cases, you have to present individual ballots that were either fraudulent or irregularities that took place. Their complaints are very, very scan in that area. And judges are basically being very dismissive of the Trump arguments in court, combined with what you heard from Homeland Security. Anderson, I think his lawyers are closer to being sanctioned than they are to success at this point.

COOPER: When you say being sanctioned, what do you mean?

GINSBURG: Well, when you present evidence to the court, in the form of affidavits, it better be accurate. And if you present inaccurate information to the court, judges take a dim view of that. What happened in Pennsylvania with the postal worker who was really the core of their original case, and him recasting his affidavit saying that there were no destroyed postal ballots is an example of that becomes a pattern in these cases, then judges are going to be pretty upset at that point.

COOPER: There's this report in the Wall Street Journal that the Trump campaign could try to stop certification in key states that have been called for President-elect Biden. Can you explain that legal strategy? Could that actually work?

GINSBURG: Sure. So it is the longest of longer shots, but it appears in these states, what they're trying to do is to say that the counts aren't accurate. And they will or could eventually go to court and ask for the court to enjoin the secretary of state from providing an official certification of the votes. There's no official certification of the votes by the December 8th safe harbor deadline. Then there is a case, again, a case that's never been made before, but exists in theoretical possibility that the legislature should step in and name a slate of electors. So that the state is at least represented in the Electoral College, if you'll note, the states where these cases are being brought, all have Republican legislature.

COOPER: Is that? I mean, is this just a wild fantasy? Or I mean, the way you explain it, it does seem like that's an actual path. I guess it --

GINSBURG: I'm encouraged the lawyers. I'm encouraged, the lawyers are allowed to have fantasies. And in this case, I think this is a legal fantasy that that would take place. For case like that to work would mean that a judge would be willing to basically disenfranchise the popular vote in the state and just sort of throw it to the legislature to come up with a subjective judgment. I don't think a court is likely to do that. And I don't think legislators are going to want to disenfranchise their constituents.

COOPER: Ben Ginsburg, appreciate your expertise. Thank you.

GINSBURG: Thanks.

COOPER: Up next, the actual crisis the president is not addressing. We have new coronavirus projections from well regarded models suggesting just how deadly this winter will be in the United States. The director of the University Institute who conducted this research joins us when we continue.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:43:11]

COOPER: We have breaking news on the coronavirus pandemic as cases and hospitalization spike. The latest projection of a model from the University of Washington says the U.S. will reach 439,000 deaths from this pandemic by March 1st. That's if most states abide by social distancing and other mandates. Otherwise the projection is 587,000 deaths. Let me say that again. 587,000 lives lost this pandemic. That's a projection. Hospitalizations set a new high for the third day in a row. Currently 67,000 just for today. Again, case trends currently looking like this headed straight up. Look at that straight up. Setting new highs almost daily as well.

In fact, today's nearly 124,000 cases could pass the new high said yesterday of 144,133. Today Michigan's governor Gretchen Whitmer said her state is in the worst part of the pandemic to date and that hospitals are nearly at capacity and burning through personal protective equipment. All of this as the administration today said widespread vaccination should occur by April.

I'm joined now by CNN's chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Dr. Chris Murray, Director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington which released the new projection.

Dr. Murray, appreciate it as always, you've been with us. So, the newest forecast predicting most likely scenario 439,000 deaths from COVID by March 1st. Crucially, as I mentioned, that's assuming 33 states will impose or re impose social distancing other mandates. You predict that without those mandates, we could be looking at a staggering death toll of 587,000 deaths by March 1st. Can you explain what's behind those numbers? Because 587,000 deaths I mean, that's getting close to the death toll in America from the Spanish flu pandemic?

[20:45:01]

CHRISTOPHER MURRAY, DIRECTOR, INSTITUTE FOR HEALTH METRUCS AND EVALUATION: Well, what's driving it is the same thing that we've been seeing for many weeks now Anderson which is the fall winter surge, you know, driven by people going indoors having more indoor contact. And, you know, it's what we've seen play out in Europe. And now we're catching up. So we're seeing the huge exponential rise in cases, deaths starting to follow suit. We're already at over 1,000 deaths a day, quite a bit more than that. So our numbers that see us getting to, you know, 2,200 deaths a day in mid-January, are perhaps conservative, and that does require 33 states to put in mandates. So, absolutely, it can go much worse than that.

COOPER: Dr. Murray, the daily death count, and the new forecast expects in the most likely scenario that daily deaths could reach 2,200 in mid-January, then slowly declined to 1,750 on March 1st. Is that because you're factoring in the possibility of a vaccine by that time? Or is it weather related? Or what are the factors?

MURRAY: No, we've not yet factored in a vaccine. We think that and we will be in the next couple of weeks building explicitly the Pfizer vaccine, and perhaps some of the other vaccines that come out. But we don't think the timing of the vaccine is really going to change the story between now and March 1st. Some health care workers will get the vaccine, but it won't be in the numbers to reach the general public to really change the course of this winter surge. The decline after mid- January is that we expect seasonality to start to go down in some states, every state will have a different peak. But that's the main driver of that decline. But it's going to be a very slow, like it was in April in New York, it'll be a very long, slow decline we suspect.

COOPER: You know, Sanjay, I think what's so scary about the numbers is that, you know, as always the data, you know, accounts puts into account the idea that that states, in this case now we're going to impose some new social distancing mandates. Michael Osterholm, who's a member of President-elect Biden's Coronavirus Advisory Team talked about a four to six-week national lockdown, which a transition aid later said is not in line with the President-elect Biden's view. From a medical perspective, do you think some kind of regional lockdown is going to occur, if it's not if there's not a national one?

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I don't know if it'll occur. Anderson. I mean, I think there's so many things at play here. But I do think that, you know, it would work. I mean, I'm not necessarily advocating for that. But I think these circuit breakers sort of lock downs, if the goal is to try and break the cycle of transmission as effectively as possible, separating out all the potential hosts, which are us as much as possible, would make a big difference. But, you know, we are learning other things as well, in terms of how to make that more targeted. There was this paper that came out in nature, I think, just over the last couple of days, basically saying, OK, now we study the viral dynamics, we have a much better idea of the locations within our lives within our communities where most of virus continues to spread.

And, you know, sorry, in cities, for example, gyms and cafes, and restaurants and hotels, if you really look at mobility there again, according to this paper from nature, Dr. Murray may know more about this than I do. If you kept maximum occupancy in these places to 20%. Maximum occupancy, you would actually probably decrease viral overall transmission by 80% they say. So, that's not answering the question necessary about the lockdown. But I'm saying that there's other strategies to employ. But I am curious, Dr. Murray, along those lines, when I look at your models, it seems that that once death tolls hit a certain mark, certain trigger that the model sort of assumes some of these mandates will go back in place. Is that true? And how confident can you be that, you know, as Anderson is asking that people actually abide by those mandates?

MURRAY: No, absolutely. We believe and I think that's what we've seen in Ireland, in France, in Belgium, in Britain, the Czech Republic, or in many places in Europe, even though politicians said they weren't going to put mandates back in when the hospitals get overwhelmed, things get really bad they do and we keep testing, what's the threshold? And since the beginning, that threshold has stayed pretty clearly around about eight deaths per million per day. It varies up and down a bit. But, so far, people really, you know, respond. Our leaders in various countries do respond when things get really grim. We didn't see a response in North and South Dakota, they hit that threshold and didn't really do very much. But in most places, we do think that's what will happen. If they don't, things will be worse.

COOPER: Dr. Murray, Sanjay, as always appreciate your time. Thank you.

Up next, we have more breaking news, former President Obama speaking out on President Trump's baseless claims of election fraud.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, FMR PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: It is one more step in delegitimizing, not just the incoming Biden administration but democracy generally. And that's a dangerous path.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[20:50:05]

COOPER: This is in advance of the first volume of his memoirs A Promised Land to out next week.

Up next, more of what he had to say and some of what he wrote.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: Breaking news tonight from former President Obama he's adding his voice to the rising chorus of concerns about the baseless election fraud claims by President Trump and his allies. Speaking to CBS News in advance of the publication of his memoir A Promised Land. Former President Obama not only criticized Trump but also Republicans who have joined in.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What are these false claims of widespread election fraud doing to our country right now?

OBAMA: They appear to be motivated in part because the president doesn't like to lose and never admits loss. I'm more troubled by the fact that other Republican officials who clearly know better are going along with this are humoring him in this fashion. It is one more step in delegitimizing not just the incoming Biden administration but democracy generally. And that's a dangerous path.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[20:55:28]

COOPER: That new book President Obama ties President Trump's 2016 election victory to racial fears. Obama writes, quote, It was as if my very presence in the White House has triggered a deep seated panic, a sense that the natural order had been disrupted. Which is exactly what Donald Trump understood when he started peddling assertions that I had not been born in the United States and was thus an illegitimate president. For millions of Americans spooked by a black man in the White House, he promised an elixir for their racial anxiety.

Perspective now from Van Jones, former senior adviser to President Obama's, a CNN political commentator.

It's really fascinating Van to hear these comments from the former President about race and how he believes it played as Donald Trump's election in 2016, especially now, just days after Americans elected Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Do you think many Americans are still seeking President Trump's elixir for racial anxieties President Obama put it.

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, I think that change is hard. Change is hard for everybody. Even change that you want, I mean, you work hard to get your kids well educated the day they graduate from high school, you break down crime. And that's changed you want it and work for. So, I do think that there. We have technological change, demographic change, ecological change, it can create a background of anxiety and unacknowledged grief and sometimes fear that demagogues can exploit. And I think that it's fascinating to hear President Obama speak about that phenomenon from his point of view.

COOPER: I want to get your reaction to former President Obama's comments about the election results. He says he's more troubled by other Republicans going along with what President Trump is doing. You know, we're on what six days past when the election was called, what do you think is going to happen both in the short term and the long term? Because, you know, clearly, even with a Georgia recount, there were some people say, oh, well, the President may, you know, admit defeat after the Georgia recount, you know, he could hold on for as long as he wants. I mean, up until the time he actually has to walk out the door because of the Georgia reelection, you know, running of the two Republicans there. The all these Republican senators are going to stay silent because they're afraid he's going to sabotage them.

JONES: You know, I think everybody's just baffled. Just, I mean, nobody knows what to say or what to do. This is unprecedented in the history of our republic. The president is embarrassing himself. It's embarrassing the country. Biden is showing extreme patience, extreme calm. Luckily, he -- you know, he understands America's government very well. He's beloved around the world, he can he can begin the process. But I want to say every time I can, if you believe in America first. And that was one of the great slogans for 2016. America first. This is not America first. This is Trump first. This is me, myself and I first. Republicans who believe in America first need to be clamoring for at least a fair, preparatory runway for the Biden administration. Even if you believe it's got to be overturned by the Supreme Court, nothing, there's no harm in allowing a potential for a transaction to take place.

The funds should be released. Biden's team should be getting briefed, just in case. If you love the country, you would say just in case, it's a reason you buy insurance, you don't know what's going to happen. But you want to be sure that you're prepared in any eventuality. What you have right now is the President has strapped the country onto his own little Kamikaze plane, and he wants us to go down with him. That's not America first.

COOPER: For President Obama was also talking about both transitions he was part of from George W. Bush's presidency in 2008 and to the Trump presidency in January 2016. Mr. Obama writes, the President Bush did all he could to make the weeks in between the election inauguration goes smoothly and promised himself President Obama promised himself he would do the same, which he did for the incoming Trump administration. You know, again, it's just an example of the pettiness of this of this president that, you know, the way he was treated is not how he is treating his predecessor. We only got a few more seconds, but it's just stunning to me.

JONES: Look, I was a part of that Obama transition, the worst thing that W did to us, some of them pull the W's off the typewriters just a tease us and that was the worst they did.

COOPER: Van Jones. Appreciate it. Thanks very much.

[21:00:00]

The news continues right now, I want to hand it over to Chris for "CUOMO PRIMETIME". Chris.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Great conversation. Great to listen to, thank you as always Anderson.

I am Chris Cuomo and welcome to "Primetime".

I really do want.