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Interview With Clinton Press Secretary Brian Fallon; Election Day Coverage. Aired 4-4:30p ET

Aired November 8, 2016 - 16:00   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Jake Tapper in Washington, D.C.

And there is just one single lead on THE LEAD right now, national, global, political, metaphysical, all wrapped up in one millions of Americans going to the polls, choosing either the first female president or the first president to have never served in government or in the military beforehand and a true outsider.

Whomever wins, it will be one for the books. And signs are, voters know that. Turnout appears to be quite heavy. We have seen Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and their respective running mates casting their ballots. We are about an hour away from the first exit poll data and three hours from the first statewide poll closing.

We have also seen the Trump campaign fire the first legal shot over actual balloting in Nevada. And we have just seen a judge answer.

We have correspondents out across the country.

Let's begin with Sara Murray. She's at Trump election night headquarters in Midtown Manhattan.

Sara, you're there at Trump election night headquarters in New York City.

What is Trump doing today? Where will he be watching the returns?

SARA MURRAY, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, Donald Trump is at Trump Tower today.

And I just want you to think for a second about what it is like for him in these final hours. He has spent nearly a year-and-a-half running for president. He has never done this before. At this point, really all you can do is wait. Your ads are on the air. Your field staffers are out in battleground states.

So Donald Trump is there in Trump Tower. He passed through the war room they have set up there earlier. I'm told he was greeted with a standing ovation at Trump Tower. He is, you know, touching base in some battleground states. He did a couple of radio interviews, but essentially just waiting. We are expecting him to stay there this evening to watch the returns

there and then later on he is going to head over to the Hilton for his official victory party.

TAPPER: Sara, the Trump campaign filed this request with a Nevada court to try and preserve and separate the ballots from voting machines in four early voting sites in Nevada. Why did they do that and what is the status of that request?

MURRAY: That's right.

We saw Donald Trump himself talking about this over the weekend when he was campaigning in Nevada. They were particularly concerned about a number of polling places. They told CNN that they stayed open so that the people in line could vote. The Trump campaign felt like they had unfairly stayed open late.

And that's why they put in this legal challenge. But the judge did rule from the bench essentially denying their request. And, look, these are areas where we saw heavy Latino turnout in Nevada. Obviously, there is going to be a big Election Day vote there as well. So we're waiting to see how that all pans out for the Trump campaign.

But it was certainly something they were worried out going into today, Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Sara Murray, thanks. Stay there. We're going to check back with you in a little bit.

Hillary Clinton will be heading out any moment now from the family home in Chappaqua, New York, for perhaps, perhaps, maybe, the last time before her life changes in ways that no American woman's life has ever changed. She will be spending the afternoon in a Midtown Manhattan hotel, a very nice one, before going to New York's big convention center, which is named for one of her Senate predecessors, the liberal Republican Senator Jacob Javits.

CNN's Jeff Zeleny is covering the Clinton campaign and joins us now live from New York.

Jeff, we saw Hillary Clinton voting this morning near her home in Chappaqua, New York. What's she been doing since then?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, she did vote this morning early on.

And that was just a few hours after flying back to New York after a final midnight rally in Raleigh, North Carolina. And as I watched her get off the plane, you could see that there was a bit of confidence in her as she is closing this campaign.

They believe this campaign is in a better position than it was a few days ago. But you get a sense of where they are still trying to turn out the vote by the number of radio interviews she has done throughout the day. Detroit is one. Charlotte is one. Raleigh is one, New Hampshire stations. So those are states she is definitely trying to get her voice into.

And she is trying to get out the vote there. Now, she will be coming to Manhattan to watch those returns in the Peninsula Hotel. And then she will be coming here to the Javits Center, where thousands of people will be gathering here beneath a glass ceiling, if you can see it above me here.

And, of course, that's a metaphor that I am guessing we will hear throughout the evening. And the stage that she will be speaking on behind me here as well is in the shape of the United States of America here. So, once we see those shots later on this evening, that's some of the theatrics and stagecraft that will be happening here at the Javits Center for what they hope will be a victory party. But it's far too early to know that yet, Jake.

TAPPER: Jeff, Clinton obviously getting updates from her war room, taking in all the information about where they think voter turnout is not as high as it needs to be.

Has the Clinton campaign indicated to you which states they feel most confident about in terms of these very contested battleground states and which ones they are still concerned about?


ZELENY: Florida seems to top the list when you talk to a lot of advisers here and on the ground in Florida as a state that they feel confident about, largely because of the boost of early vote.

So much has changed since that Florida recount 16 years ago. So much early voting has happened. So, Florida, they believe they have an advantage because of the early vote. Other votes that they are keeping an eye on and other states they're keeping an eye on, Michigan.

Michigan has emerged as sort of a ground zero battleground state really in the final hours, final days of campaign. They are slightly nervous about what's happening on the ground in Michigan, as well as North Carolina.

If there is one battleground state they think they can definitely win, but they're not sure, those 15 electoral votes in North Carolina are on their mind. They're trying to get out the vote there for several hours yet. We're talking about this already, and there are several hours left of voting, or at least a few hours left of voting. So those are the states they're focusing on right now, Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Jeff Zeleny, thanks.

Here is something you might have noticed, especially if you are a New Yorker. For the time that we can remember, both election night headquarters will be in Manhattan, and not just Manhattan. Both of them going to be in Midtown Manhattan.

You can walk the distance if the weather is nice and that pizza-eating rat doesn't hassle you in about 20 minutes. Joining us now, Clinton press secretary Brian Fallon.

And, Brian, thanks for joining us.

Polls have been tightening in the recent weeks. What's the one state that you're most concerned about right now?

BRIAN FALLON, CLINTON CAMPAIGN PRESS SECRETARY: Well, Jake, to be honest with you, we're feeling pretty good right now.

Just to give you a sense of one of the critical battlegrounds that we have been watching all day, Florida, a state Donald Trump must win. If he doesn't win Florida, it's game over for Donald Trump.

And not only did we see strong performance in terms of the early vote, where you saw Latinos in particular, a million Latinos voting in the early voting phase in Florida. That's more than double 2012 early voting levels.

And then in terms of the vote that we're seeing today, if you look at a heavily Democratic county like Broward County, home of Fort Lauderdale, a big county along with Miami-Dade in Southern Florida, which is key to any Democratic victory in the state of Florida, as of 3:00 today, we were looking at about 98 percent of the ballots returned already.

And that's even before the afternoon post-work shift. Similar numbers in terms of the pace compared to 2012 in Hillsborough County in the Tampa area. Again, close to 100 percent already at 3:00 today compared to 2012 levels of turnout.

And so if we can stay on that pace and we have that type of turnout in those Democratic-performing counties in Florida, we think that this could be a very strong night for Hillary Clinton.

TAPPER: OK, so, Brian, of course, I asked you about the state you're most concerned about, and you told me about the one that you're least concerned about in terms of the battlegrounds.

Let me ask you about Ohio. I have heard that turnout in Cuyahoga County, Cleveland, is not where you want it to be. Are you worried about Ohio?

FALLON: Ohio is a state that Donald Trump absolutely needs. At this point, if we're able to win a state like Pennsylvania and hold on to Michigan, both of which we feel very confident about, it requires Donald Trump to essentially run the table of the states that remain.

He is going to have to win Ohio. He is going to have to win Iowa. He is going to have to win North Carolina. He is going to have to win Florida. So, Ohio is a must-win for Donald Trump.

As we have been monitoring the vote today, we were pleased with the early vote patterns in Ohio. We have seen turnout numbers in Cuyahoga County, Franklin County, Hamilton County that make us optimistic. But we will have to watch closely as the night proceeds. TAPPER: So, this afternoon, a Nevada court denied a request from the

Donald Trump campaign to issue an order directing a county registrar to preserve and separate ballots from voting machines in four early voting sites in Clark County.

Do you expect that there are going to be more legal challenges like this one, perhaps even many more, before this is all over?

FALLON: Well, Jake, this challenge was completely frivolous.

And we are pleased that the judge acted so quickly to smack it down. I mean, it is a fact, everybody knows and everybody watching your program that is thinking of still turning out later today should know, if you are in line at the time when polling closes, you are allowed to vote as long as you're in line.

And that's all that they were accommodating in Clark County, Nevada, that's now coming under challenge from the Trump campaign. And they're suggesting that that somehow was some unlawful extension of the voting hours in Clark County. That's not at all the case.

They were just following the rules. It was another example of Nevada of you seeing record Latino turnout. In Clark County, you were seeing those long lines. They were being tweeted out at the grocery market last Friday night. And that's a big reason why Jon Ralston, who is sort of the guru about Nevada, is saying that essentially Donald Trump has an insurmountable deficit at this point.

So, the Trump campaign was waging a completely frivolous challenge there. We wouldn't be surprised if they try it in other states too. It's not going to work.


He may be trying to sow the seeds for trying to question the legitimacy of the outcome tonight. But you have already seen Republicans distance themselves from his efforts to do that.

TAPPER: Brian, just one last question for you.

I know you don't know what's going to happen tonight. None of us have any idea what's going to happen tonight. In the event that Hillary Clinton does win, there has been talk about whether or not Donald Trump will concede.

How much are you considering that in terms of what you do going forward if the networks do declare the race won by her?

FALLON: Well, you just made a great point, Jake, which is the networks like CNN, the Associated Press, news organizations, they make the judgment call about who the winner is based on the raw vote totals. That's how it should be made.

Nothing depends on Donald Trump making a -- refusing to make a concession, even in light of compelling data that the race has been won. And so that will be a big part, I think, in resolving that, even if Donald Trump refuses to acknowledge reality.

Another thing I think that will suppress Donald Trump's ability to try to call anything into question is the fact that so many of these battleground states, the elections there are administered by Republican secretaries of state, who themselves have spoken out in the weeks leading up to today, saying that there is no basis to question the integrity of the election results in their state.

These are people that are going to be out there in the days after saying that these elections were properly conducted. And I think that national Republican leaders like Reince Priebus and Speaker Ryan are not going to indulge any of these attempts by Donald Trump to litigate this if the result is decisive tonight.

TAPPER: Brian Fallon, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

A lot more ahead, as we count down to our first exit polling, and then to the actual results.

We are going to take a quick break. We will be right back.



[16:15:37] JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Fewer than three hours until the first statewide poll closing. Six states at 7:00 p.m. Eastern followed by a batch at 7:30. We're also about 45 minutes from our first exit poll data.

Plenty to cover. Turnout appears heavy. Looks like voters want to be a part of history today one way or the other.

Again, we have correspondents across the country tonight. Let's go now to Gary Tuchman. He's in Charlotte, in the battleground state of North Carolina -- Gary.

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jake, in this battleground state, there are about ten million people who live here. Of the ten million, 6.9 million are registered voters. And those 6.9 million people are coveted by the candidates. And these people know they're coveted and that's why so many are turning out at polling places across the state.

This is the Mount Moriah Baptist Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, in the heart of Charlotte. But it is now one of the 2,700 precincts.

The way the voting works here, no voter ID is necessary in the state of North Carolina. People come to this table. They fill out a form with their name and address. They take the form to this table where it's verified that they are in this precinct.

Folks, you excited about voting?


TUCHMAN: They didn't ask to (INAUDIBLE) they may kick us out of here. You followed the election?


TUCHMAN: You followed it closely?


TUCHMAN: You are excited?


TUCHMAN: They're motivated. There has been a line the entire time. They get their address confirmed and they come here to the video screens. They have only the presidential election here in North Carolina, which has brought up voters, but they also have a very close gubernatorial race and a close U.S. Senate race. The decision about the Senate race could ultimately determine which party controls the Senate.

Jake, one thing I do want to point out to you that's very notable. Elaborate early voting here, lasted 16 days, 3.1 million people already voted early. That's 45 percent of the total number of registered voters even before anybody turned out today. So, they're going to have a big turnout here in the state of North Carolina -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right. A lot going out in the Tar Heel State. Thank you so much, Gary Tuchman.

Let's check in now with Miguel Marquez. He is the great commonwealth of Pennsylvania, south of Pittsburgh -- Miguel.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. It is very, very -- it's gone from busy here in Washington County to ridiculously busy. We have a drone up so you can see how long the line is now. It's actually gotten longer in the last few minutes.

This is Trump county and this will give you an idea of what this area is like. This is the last bit of politicking that voters see as they walk into the polls here. And this gentleman, the line is so long, he has the right idea. He brought the chair. He -- no beer and chicken, but he is enjoying it while he can. The line I can show you goes all the way down here.

This is about an hour-long line to the end of this sidewalk. And now it's snaking around back into the parking lot. This is almost as long as we've seen it all day. That's probably about an hour and a half, two-hour line at this point.

This is a county that has more Democrats than Republicans but tends to vote Republican. Hillary Clinton opened an office here, but Donald Trump needs voters in Washington County and other rural counties to come out in huge numbers to keep up with her in the cities, both Philly and in Pittsburgh. Very, very heavy turnout here. No early voting across Pennsylvania, as you know. So, we will know what Pennsylvanians think at 8:00 p.m. tonight -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Miguel, thank you so much.

The Trump forces are counting on doing at least all right in western Pennsylvania. While the Clinton campaign needs to pile up votes on the other end of the state, namely the areas around Philadelphia and the city of Philadelphia. We're going to be watching both ends of the state. There are plenty more crucial spots on the map.

CNN "INSIDE POLITICS" anchor John King joins us now with a quick overview -- John.

JOHN KING, CNN "INSIDE POLITICS" ANCHOR: Jake, let's start with some of the things we'll look at early, 20, 30, maybe 40 counties I'll be looking at through the night depending on how close it is. But, you know, the polls close early. I'll go back to the 2012 map here as we wait to fill in the 2016 map.

We start to get early poll closings in the 6:00 hour and into the 7:00 hour out into Indiana. Indiana we expect to be red, right? Mike Pence is from Indiana, traditionally red state.

But Vigo County in western Indiana has a pretty good track record. It's only been wrong twice in the last 100 years. Fifteen elections in a row, it has picked the winner in presidential politics, just barely for President Obama last time. But Vigo County has a pretty good track record. So, we'll watch that as the Indiana results start to come in early.

Then you move to the east just a little bit. We'll also get some Kentucky results. Now, again, Kentucky is most likely going to be red for Donald Trump. But we can do a little CSI, some clues. How is Donald Trump doing in coal country down here? Because communities like this, you can find them in southern Ohio. You can also find them, Jake, over in Virginia, which we will get in the 7:00 hour.

Clinton has been consistently ahead in Virginia. But we'll want to watch. Is Donald Trump running it up here in the rural areas? And how is he doing in the Washington suburbs like Prince William County not far from here. Used to be Republican. Look how much President Obama won it four years ago, 57-41. Why? Democrats are doing better with the college-educated suburban white voters, but there's also been a Latino explosion in Prince William County.

Now, even if Clinton is winning Virginia, the margin may tell us a lot about how Donald Trump is going to do in some other places, notably North Carolina to the south and the suburban vote might tell us a lot about, you mentioned, Philadelphia, the Philadelphia area.

No question. They call it the T. You may have another at the table. This is your home state. You know it very well. See all this red? Donald Trump is running it up out here. Miguel was just talking about it. So, Hillary Clinton has to do well out here.

The vote count tends to come in a little slower here, but as it starts to come in in Pennsylvania in the 8:00 hour, first, we look at Center City, Philadelphia, she has to run it up by 400,000 or more votes in that area. The mayor can talk about that I think.

And then you come here to Bucks County. That's Montgomery County and then to Bucks County. This is the more blue-collar county. You see President Obama winning it but just barely, 50 to 49. The last time Republicans won your great home state of Pennsylvania was 1988, George H.W. Bush won these suburbs.

That's we're going to watch tonight. A, is Clinton winning the city big? Is she winning the suburbs? If she is winning the suburbs, by how much? In a close race, the margins matter.

TAPPER: And, John, obviously, Donald Trump wants to crack Hillary Clinton's blue wall which includes the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Are there other areas where you'll be looking to see if he is making those cracks in the blue wall?

KING: Absolutely. Let's start in Pennsylvania. Again, it's an 8:00 state. Donald Trump went to Scranton just yesterday. Lackawanna County happens to be the home town, the birthplace of Vice President Joe Biden.

So, look at this, that's 1988. Let me bring it forward into the more recent elections, 63-36. This is an area where again Democrats need to run it up in Pennsylvania where you have the Democratic voters.

So, let's see. Is Donald Trump going to carry Lackawanna County? I don't think that's a safe bet. But are the margins closer? That's how we'll know if Pennsylvania is in play and if the blue wall might be cracked, because if you start to see that in a place like the Scranton area, guess what? Then, you might see it as well, A, across in Ohio, which is more Republican. But then when you get to Michigan a little bit later in the night, what about Macomb County just north of Detroit, home of the legendary Reagan Democrats back in the day?

So, the Scranton area, north of Detroit and the suburbs, that's where we'll look for early evidence of whether that blue wall is indeed cracking or if Clinton is holding.

TAPPER: All right. John King, thanks.

Let's bring in the panel. We have with us, CNN political commentator and conservative writer Mary Katharine Ham, CNN senior political reporter Nia-Malika Henderson, CNN political analysts David Gergen and Kirsten Powers, Trump supporters Kayleigh McEnany and Andre Bauer -- they are on the far left and far right of your screen. Andre is the former lieutenant governor of South Carolina. And in the middle of this table, Clinton supporters Dan Pfeiffer and former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter.

Mr. Mayor, let me just start with you because we were talking about Pennsylvania. You heard John King say that the Clinton team needs to rack up 400,000 in the city of Philadelphia.

Is turnout that heavy? Are you going to be able to do that?

MICHAEL NUTTER, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: It's significantly heavy. When we talk about my own polling place, folks were lined up at 6:30 this morning to get ready for polls opening at 7:00.

TAPPER: Is that abnormal?

NUTTER: It's unusual. So, but other reports are being analyzed and we'll get election official report. But overall, turnout is significantly up in Philadelphia. We expect the same in the suburbs as well as at least in Pittsburgh, Harrisburg and up through the Lehigh Valley.

Those are the key areas for Secretary Clinton.

Kayleigh, are there any specific areas that you're going to looking at tonight as the results start to come in to give you an indication -- I know you're a numbers person, you an indication about how well Donald Trump is going to do?

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, Pennsylvania is always kind of that elusive state that Republicans think they can get and it's never quite within reach. Donald Trump, though, I think he is a different kind of candidate. He has more of a populist streak. He might get it.

For me, what I am looking at is New Hampshire, because I think, if you look at the Real Clear Politics averages, we can get 265 with Nevada, Florida, Ohio and Iowa. We can get 265, Donald Trump is winning the averages narrowly. But we need one more state, and that one more state I think can be New Hampshire plus Maine's second congressional district.

So, New Hampshire is an early state that's polls close early. We're doing well there. I'm very happy.

TAPPER: Nia-Malika, let me ask you. How is early voting going? Have you heard reports of irregularities or things preceding smoothly?

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. I mean, there are also irregularities that pop up. I mean, we're going to have millions and millions of people who are going to vote today. And I think it's hard to know based on, you know, kind of anecdotal reports of long lines or not long lines.

You know, we have no idea what's going to happen. We've seen in the early vote sort of a pattern that might benefit Hillary Clinton in some states like Florida and Nevada. We've seen a tightening of polls in places like New Hampshire, places like Michigan as well.

[16:25:01] I mean, you always hear on a day like this -- and we've heard it throughout this campaign -- that this is the most consequential election ever. But at this point, it really does feel like this with this election, with history on the line for either of these candidates. With the Supreme Court, obviously, on the line and a real guess as to what the future of the Republican Party looks like as well.

And at this point, all we can do is sit and wait to see what these hundreds of millions of voters are going to say. TAPPER: David, what are you going to be looking for tonight?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Florida. For starters, it will come in early. We'll have a very good clue of where this is going. I think there are two things about this avalanche of voting that we're seeing.

One is the Latino vote. That may be the sleeper story of the campaign, of the election tonight. You know, if Florida comes -- is delivered by Latinos, that puts it away. But Nevada and Colorado, all the other states. Maybe even North Carolina.

The other thing is, I have been wondering during the day with this great outpouring, is -- with so many people voting, will this possibly be a catharsis for the country? That people feel they finally have had a chance to give voice and the people who win will feel like we've taken back our country. People on both sides are so angry about this. But I think there is something encouraging about the fact that so many people are turning out.

TAPPER: And, Dan, let me ask you. What are you looking for? You are a numbers guy. You were on Obama team in '08 and '12 and you -- you know, the Obama team didn't -- that was a pretty famous team in terms of analyzing the numbers.

DAN PFEIFFER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Sure. I think the ball game tonight is really Michigan and Pennsylvania because the CNN map has it 268. The Clinton team and Obama folks who've looked at the early vote numbers in Nevada say Nevada gone. Clinton has that in the bag. She is above 270. You still have Michigan and Pennsylvania. I think that's very, very hard if not impossible.

TAPPER: What do you think, Andre?

ANDRE BAUER, TRUMP SUPPORTER: I think it's, number one, for our country it's great to have this high participation for a change. People have really paid attention this time and hopefully are getting engaged in the process, starting at a polling, and then supporting candidates in the future. I mean, that's the really key to this country, if you want change, getting engaged. So, that's what I take away more than anything.

It's been a divisive race from both sides and both candidates are flawed. No matter who you're supporting. Tomorrow I hope we all wake up with a positive outlook that our country is going to move forward and we're going to try to all be a bigger part of what makes this country great and that is all having a voice.

So, I'm refreshed. Florida is big to me, to see what happens. We talked earlier about Marco Rubio looking like he is doing very well in Florida. I think that's interesting to study as well. But many days after this election is over with we'll all study this thing, scratching our heads.

And the Republicans are going to have to look at how to tap into that Latino vote no matter what happens today, to write that much of the electoral vote off I think is wrong. And those people I think will really come home to the Republican Party in the end.

TAPPER: Mary Katharine, you voted in Virginia. I won't ask you who you voted for. But were the lines long? Was there an active, excited electorate?

MARY KATHARINE HAM, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, there's some early vote in Virginia, when I was at there at mid-morning, the lines were not long. But they've never been long in northern Virginia during presidential elections. I've never had that particular issue.

But the thing that strikes me about this race is that so much has to fall for Donald Trump, like a couple lucky breaks and to get a little southern on you, it's like covering your grill in a hurricane. There is only so much you can hold down at one time. And like, some corners will fly up. I think that's the challenge that he faces.

TAPPER: And you voted also. I'm not going to ask you who you voted for. But what are you looking for tonight, Kirsten?

KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think the same as David. I mean, Florida, it comes early and I think it's going to tell us a lot. Obviously, he can't win without Florida. So, Democrats are actually feeling pretty good about Florida. It could be over early if that happens.

But in a sort of broader sense, I am really interested, we're watching the Latino vote, but the women's vote, to see what happens. It's possible to Hillary Clinton could win married woman for the first time in 20 years since a president -- since her husband --

TAPPER: For the first time a Democrat won.

POWERS: A Democrat last time won was her husband. So, we're going to watch the swing, probably from Romney being up among college white women, educated women, to maybe swinging in the favor of the Democrat. This is momentous.

TAPPER: Yes, lots more to talk about.

Some breaking news: we just learned Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina has voted, and he did not vote for Donald Trump. Instead, he voted for conservative Evan McMullin. That and more to talk about ahead.

We are expecting to get the first wave of exit polls in about 30 minutes. These are still early hours in a marathon night of election coverage. Our political team and correspondents are spread across the country to bring you all the developments as they happen.

Stay with us.