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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Crucial Virginia Governor's Race Too Early To Call; Trump Tried To Go To Korean DMZ But Weather Was Bad; Trump Had CIA Director Look Into DNC Leak Conspiracy Theory. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired November 7, 2017 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:00] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: It's a race to watch tonight. We'll have significant potential ramifications down the road.
We have a key race alert right now in Virginia. The governors race too early to call. No projection, no ability yet to take a look. We're getting early results. We're going to share those results with our viewers.
Ralph Northam, the Democratic candidate, Ed Gillespie, the Republican candidate. We'll get those numbers, and we'll share them with you as soon as they start coming in.
In the meantime, let's go over to Erin.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: And welcome to a special edition of OutFront. Thank you, Wolf.
As we are continuing our election night coverage in this crucial race, now that the polls are closing at this instant in Virginia, we can reveal some more of our exit poll results and there are some crucial numbers here. Our Political Director David Chalian is back with new information, and David, what more can you tell us now?
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, Erin, you remember how the incidents in Charlottesville over the summer injected into of course the Virginia governor's race. So we asked voters today about which candidate -- both candidates, how they would handle race relations.
Take a look here, voters would say, would you trust Ralph Northam, the Democrat on race relations? Fifty-five percent of voters today say yes, 40 percent say no. How does Gillespie fare on this score? We asked, do you trust Ed Gillespie on race relations. It's the complete flip. Forty percent say yes, 55 percent say no.
So on race relations, advantage Northam. But then we also asked about the monuments issue. Should they be removed or should these confederate monuments be left in place. Look at those numbers there on your screen. Thirty-seven percent of Virginia voters today say they should be removed. Fifty-nine percent of Virginia voters say they should be left in place. And you remember that Ralph Northam, he said he wanted this to be left to the localities, but he also made it clear his preference was that they would be removed.
BURNETT: All right, David Chalian. Thank you very much. And let's go straight to our team of experts here as more information comes in. Let me start with you, Chris Cillizza, on the point that David was just making.
Confederate statues, an important issue here. When you look at the Democratic candidate, this is something he had been - you know, get rid of the statues and sort of tried to back off of that a little bit. But you look at this, six in 10 voters support keeping them where they are.
CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS EDITOR-AT-LARGE: Yes, fascinating. I think there's a tendency to assume when you think of Virginia that it's Northern Virginia. Now, I live in Northern Virginia, my guess is six in 10 people that I know who live around me are not in favor of keeping up the monuments. You drive 20 minutes west, you get a very different place.
So, Northern Virginia has -- John touched on this. Northern Virginia has grown so much population wise that it can be the dominant factor. But we forget that Barack Obama was the first Democratic presidential Candidate to carry Virginia in 2008 since Lyndon Johnson in 1964.
So, there are still bearing elements that are not progressive in that regard. It's why I think you saw Ed Gillespie turn to MS-13, I'm for keeping them up, he's for taking them down. That's literally an ad from Ed Gillespie. Sanctuary cities, which by the way, there are known in Virginia. Because cultural conservatism outside of Northern Virginia plays quite well.
Now, the question is, does -- what has happened to Democrats in the past is that Northern Virginia is so dominant in terms of vote share. It doesn't really matter all that much unless you lose overwhelmingly everywhere else, and typically, that doesn't happen.
BURNETT: So I want to go over here just to get the partisan view of where we stand. Ryan (ph), let me start with you. Forty-two percent of the voters from the latest exit polls and they are changing moment by moment, but from what we have right now, 42 percent of voters today in Virginia approve of President Trump. Well under water among people who are voting.
Now, that's a better approval rating than in CNN's national poll, 36 percent, but it is well under water. Does that make you think this is going to go for Northam?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, I think it's going to -- it's, you know, you look at what the number represents. It's, you know, after a year of what's happened on the national stage of President Trump, you know, sort of these broad attacks, these culture issues being brought back up. And to be at 42 percent, 43 percent, I think that's not -- it's probably close to -- BURNETT: So you're saying it's a good thing?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's a good thing. I mean, it's -- absolutely in a swing state like this, and the state is not even swing. This is a state that goes Democrat, Democratic governors, Democratic lieutenant governors.
BURNETT: Well, it's the only southern state Trump lost.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And a state that is run by Democrats. You know, two U.S. senators are Democrats. The state wide are Democrats. And so for Trump to be at this standing, it says that the last year of sort of demagoguing him hasn't worked because he really hasn't moved much in numbers here in this individual state.
BURNETT: Robert (ph) you think the Democrats have it? That Northam have it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, no, this is going to be a very close race. You know, the Democrats come in with some advantages in this. Mainly Trump, as you mentioned, his bad numbers. The economy and Governor McAuliffe, the economy is doing well. Governor McAuliffe's numbers are very strong. Those are advantages.
Two disadvantages, it's all about turnout for Democrats. The electorate is less Democratic in these years and these wedge issues work. The MS-13, immigration attacks, the statues attack, they work.
[19:05:01] So the real question here is, you know, can the Democrats run on let's continue going the way we are. Let's resist President Trump, or can the Republicans successfully divide the electorate on cultural issues. That's the question.
BURNETT: And Bakari, cultural issues may matter and -- but you have people coming in with these bad approval ratings for President Trump, let's just be honest. It's bad, but nearly half of the people who voted today said the president of the United States was not a factor in their vote. So they may come in and say I disapprove, but they might still vote for the Republican.
BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Because what we're seeing is that this may not necessarily be a vote about the man. And I think oftentimes, especially in the media, we get caught up in the personality that is Donald Trump. And people are either voting for him or voting against him.
But instead, I believe this is what he stands for. And what Ed Gillespie became, because many of us have known Ed Gillespie since he was at the RNC, but what he became was a candidate who ran on fear in white nationalism. Those are the planks of his campaign.
And the question is, whether or not those things have value, and if you tread in those things, can you be successful? And my concern is that those things have value, and if he wins tonight, then that's a horrible indicator for the rest of the country.
BURNETT: Fear in white nationalism, Kirsten? Fear?
KIRSTEN POWERS, FORMER CLINTON ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Well, I mean, I think definitely the Republicans are testing something out here in this race. And they're testing out the immigration issue. And whether or not, you know, people are going to be scared enough, you know, MS-13 is an issue in Virginia. The question is how big of an issue is it?
I do think Democrats make a mistake when they just dismiss that and sort of write that off to racism because I do think there are a lot of voters who are sincerely concerned about this who aren't actually racist. So, I think that, you know, if Ed Gillespie ends up winning, what the lesson is going to be here for the republicans is that this was something that worked.
You know, it has been a race that he hasn't been favored to win. So I think if he wins, we're probably going to be able to say that this did play some sort of role in that win.
BURNETT: And on this whole point, Ryan, of does he have to win to win in a sense, right? Jake and Dana were talking about this. But, you know, I mean, winning would be incredible for the Republicans, right. This would be a huge statement. But how close does he have to get.
I mean, you're just looking at the situation here in these exit polls that half of the people decided who they were going to vote for just a -- I'm sorry, one in three in the past month, and half of those in the past week.
RYAN LIZZA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think the results tonight, the one group of people they're going to looking at the results are Republicans running next year. They want to know, was Trump and Trumpism a leading indicator? Is this where the Republican Party is going? Is this a road map to win in America now in many states?
Or was Trump sort of a one off And that you won't actually see a lot of candidates like him moving forward. And Gillespie in the last three weeks, he adopted a campaign platform that has Steve Bannon, Donald Trump's former political Strategist called Trumpism without Trump. He knew that Trump personally is not that popular among some voters he needed to capture, but the issues of immigration, of race, of the Confederate monuments really issues that Republicans frankly did not touch in recent elections that Donald Trump has resurrected and that Ed Gillespie, a very establishment Washington guy to a lot of people's surprise, embraced.
And I think, you know, if he comes close or if he wins, a lot of republicans are going to say, huh, this set of issues can work for me too.
BURNETT: And Abby, to the point when you -- Ryan mentions Trumpism without trump, Steve Bannon. To the New York Times, here's the quote, he said, I think the big lesson for Tuesday is in Gillespie's case, Trumpism without Trump can show the way forward. If that's the case, Democrats better be very, very worried. Can Steve Bannon be right if Ed Gillespie comes close but does not win? ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I think if the results show that Ed Gillespie made some progress among Trump voters. I mean, I think one thing to keep in mind about these numbers on immigration, on, you know, on sanctuary cities, on Confederate monuments, is that it's very potent among Republican voters. But it's still a relatively small subsection of the overall electorate.
But for someone like Ed Gillespie who is a relatively moderate type candidate, they wanted to find out, can he bring out Trump voters? These are the people who are very enthusiastic about President Trump, who may not be willing to go out and vote for a moderate. And I think that if the results are that he can get pretty close to winning, it might actually be a validation for that strategy.
There are a lot of Republicans out there who need to find out if they can get Trump voters out, and this is definitely a test.
CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Can I make -- can I just make -- I just want to -- I'm not disagreeing with Abby but my view is, look, in politics, you can like it or you can hate it, but like winning is winning and losing is losing. And so, yes, there are moral victories, but at the end of the day, if Ed Gillespie doesn't win, I'm not sure that it does as much as you might think.
BURNETT: We have to pause there. I started something too big at the end. We have a lot more time, but we're going to take a quick break.
[19:10:01] We do have breaking news here. New results in the Virginia governor's race, as we're waiting to find out who can pull it out.
And we just learned about a surprising move by President Trump. He's in the Korean Peninsula tonight. Some breaking news from there where he just tried and failed to do, ahead.
BURNETT: And we are back with our special election night coverage, and some breaking news on President Trump's trip to the Korean Peninsula.
Let's go to our Senior White House Correspondent Jim Acosta, he is traveling with the president in South Korea. And Jim, look, there have been discussion, and then they had taken the wind out of its sails about the president possibly going to the DMZ, that border zone between South and North Korea, and there is a big development on that front at this hour.
JIM ACOSTA CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Erin. The White House had indicated that the president was not going to be visiting the DMZ during this trip to South Korea. But in fact, earlier this morning, the president did attempt to do just that.
Some fascinating details on this mission that was not accomplished. Earlier this morning, according to the White House pool reporters that travel with President Trump, they were summoned earlier this morning around 7:00 Local Time here in Seoul. Those reporters were told by Sarah Huckabee Sanders that they were heading to the DMZ.
[19:15:03] And as a matter of fact, she informed them of where they were going by scrawling on a piece of paper and holding it up to them the letters DMZ. And then they were hustled into vans and brought out to a nearby area where they were loaded onto helicopters, Chinook helicopters and then they started flying to the DMZ with the president. And according to one of the pool reporters traveling with the president, when they got about five minutes outside of the DMZ, the weather was just so bad according to this pool report that we're receiving from our colleagues traveling with the president that they decided to turn around.
Erin, when they turned around, they went back, they landed. They waited a little bit longer, and then tried -- they were going to try again, but then ultimately, the pool reporters traveling with the president were told, you know what, the weather is not going to work out and so we're not going to make this trip.
But fascinating in that the president appears to have at least on this trip put aside a lot of the fiery rhetoric, fire and fury and referring to Kim Jong-un as "Little Rocket Man" and so on. But yet, just hours before the speech that he was going to be giving to the South Korean Assembly here in Seoul, he was going to unveil this very dramatic moment of him and his team going to the DMZ to essentially send that message to Kim Jong-un that the United States has the backing of the South Koreans and vice versa.
It would have been a dramatic moment, but it didn't happen because of the weather here in Seoul. Erin?
BURNETT: All right, thank you very much Jim Acosta. And certainly would have been a very dramatic moment, Chris. I mean --
CILLIZZA: So --
CILLIZZA: So, I mean, look, in one way we're surprised. In a more honest way, we shouldn't be surprised because what do we know about this president? Number one, he loves showmanship but he loves the steely eyed. I stared across the DMZ and I -- they saw the resolve in my face type of moment.
And we know -- I always remind people, he's a reality T.V. host. That's who he has been in his life prior to being in the White House. What is better than the unexpected twist? He wasn't going but now he is, right
I mean, this is all -- there is a theatrical element to every presidency. This president embraces and I think more than others. So we should not be all that surprised that he had it in mind to do.
BURNETT: Let's just be clear. Bad weather, OK. It's a short drive, I've done it. There is a way to drive it if he really wanted to go, right. It takes a half hour. But he did -- he wanted the Chinook arrival and he clearly did. PHILLIP: Yes, and I think they wanted to have a moment in which the U.S. president and the South Korean president would appear there together. You know, according to the White House, it would have been the first time that had been done. So it would have been a big deal, historic in a real way, and also in a sort of symbolic way.
And I think that given where Trump is with that relationship with South Korea, there is some shoring up to do. And I think it would have been an opportunity for him to show that they were walking hand in hand, literally in the DMZ. Bad weather, mother nature.
BURNETT: I'm just surprised there's these blue houses everyone between the border between North and South. And in you're in there, you can actually walk into North Korea and you stand next a North Korean soldier. It's a pretty incredible thing. I wonder if the president would have done it, and literally what that eye to eye stare would have been.
All right, let's get over to Wolf, because Wolf, in this breaking election night, we have some vote results. What do you have?
BLITZER: Very, very early. We have a key race alert, Erin. Take a look right now, extremely early, not eve one percent of the vote in, but right now, the first numbers coming in. Ed Gillespie, the Republican candidate for governor of Virginia, he's got 64.4 percent. He's ahead of Ralph Northam, the Democratic candidate, 34.9 percent. Cliff Hyra is the libertarian candidate.
There, you see the numbers changing a little bit. But once again, very, very early in this contest. Ed Gillespie is ahead, Ralph Northam, the Democratic candidate in second place right now, but it's still extremely, extremely early.
We're going to get results coming in relatively quickly fairly soon. I'm going to go over and speak with John King over the magic wall. Much more of our special election night coverage coming up right after a quick break.
[19:23:07] BLITZER: Welcome back. We've got another key race alert. Take a look at the numbers coming in, three percent of the vote in Virginia now. And Ed Gillespie, the Republican candidate, he has a slight lead over Ralph Northam, the Democratic candidate, 50.8 percent for Gillespie. 48.1 percent for Ralph Northam. But clearly, it's still very, very early, but the numbers are coming in. It looks like a pretty close race so far.
John King is over here at the magic wall. This is a belt weather state, Virginia. What happens in Virginia today could give us a lot of clues what could happen down the road.
JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: And especially given the fact that Virginia was turning more and more blue. If Ed Gillespie one year after the Trump election, and as we heard the exit polls, the president is largely unpopular in the state that Hillary Clinton won quite comfortably. If a Republican wins this state, it would send shock waves nationally and to the Democratic Party.
But as you noted three percent. Everybody take a breath and strap in. But what does it tell you? It tells you we have a competitive race. And it also tells you, and it's very early, but one of the key questions is will the Trump Republicans come out and vote for Ed Gillespie who's more of a Washington, D.C. establishment Guy?
Eighty-three percent, so only 13 percent of the vote, but 83 percent in this county. If those margins hold up, Ed Gillespie is doing exactly what he needs to do in Southwest Virginia.
Let's look at more of this down here, just stay down here. Now, these are small counties. Look, 0.4 percent of the state population, but 75 percent. If he's above 70 percent, then he's running better than Ken Cuccinelli who is across the room at the table who ran a very strong race four years ago was at high 60 percent to 70 percent in most of these counties. That's what Ed Gillespie has to do.
And if he's up near 80 percent, that means he's getting normal Republicans and Trump Republicans as he's running it up. But here is where we're going to watch even more closely. Fauquier County in the D.C. suburbs. This is where you start, it considered more extra urban areas. Ed Gillespie right now running at 58 percent. If he can keep that red, he's in contention.
You move over here, now you're looking at Prince William County. This was red just a few minutes ago now it has swung back to blue. Sixty- eight percent, we're only at 16 percent here.
[19:25:00] This one here, watch this one to see if it goes back and forth. If Ralph Northam can keep Prince William blue, he's probably the next governor of Virginia. Now, as you watch this, I just want to play this out. You see it right now we're at three percent, one of the most eerie things for Ed Gillespie will has to be, he has lived this night before.
In the sense, he was the Senate nominee. Let's go back to 2014, 49/48, he just barely lost a race surprisingly close to the Democrat Mark Warner. Remember that night? Ed Gillespie ran it up early here. He was leading most of the night. He was leading in some of these D.C. suburbs, and then most of them, not all of them but most of them went back to blue.
Ed Gillespie was able to carry Loudoun County, but just barely. Watch that as the night goes on tonight. And Prince William County, I just showed you, I remember Ed Gillespie was leading for a lot of the night here and he just barely lost.
So, if you're Ed Gillespie, you're having a little deja vu as you look at the early results here in 2017. Three percent in, it is very close. He's ahead, just like he was in that Senate race, but he knows he has to keep running it up down here. The key will be counting the votes up here.
BLITZER: And those counties outside of Washington, D.C., they come in relatively late, the numbers. And those are largely what Democratic counties.
KING: Yes, and we went through this again. President Trump, then candidate Trump, ran it up pretty strong on election night in 2016, and Hillary Clinton ended up winning Virginia by a pretty good margin. But when we were at this point in 2016 and the results were starting to come in, they were mostly down here, and the Republican nominee, Mr. Trump was ahead. Hillary Clinton ran it up really strong if you look at the suburbs in D.C.
And again, this is how Virginia has changed, if you go back, you know, to when the last Republican President George W. Bush won Virginia twice. And again, I just want to show you these numbers. This is why Virginia is so different and so hard for Republicans unless they can be more competitive in the suburbs.
This is since 2000. Up to 72 percent of voter registration in Prince William County. It used to be red, now it trends blue. Loudoun County used to be solid red, 132 percent, the population growth, voter registration growth in just 17 years. The other D.C. suburbs as well. A state that used to be red is blue because of this area right here.
But, because it's blue doesn't mean it's not winnable for Republicans. So that's why we're going to keep checking this vote count at four percent right now. We got a long night of counting.
BLITZER: Yes, we certainly do and we'll see what happens. We'll stay on top of all of these numbers. Erin, there's other important news we're following as well.
BURNETT: All right, Wolf, and of course, as we have that long night of counting these results starting to come in, we are also following breaking news in the Russia investigation.
At this hour, we have new information on something very unusual that the president asked his CIA director to do. It is raising red flags tonight. Our Chief National Security Correspondent Jim Sciutto is with me. And unusual is one word that we could use to describe this. What exactly happened?
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Unusual, alarming, frankly, to people inside the agency. So this is the director of the CIA, Mike Pompeo who took a meeting with someone who is basically seen as a conspiracy theorist in a large part of the Intelligence Community. A man named William Binney who does not accept the Intelligence Community's assessment that Russia was behind the interference in the election.
He says that the hacking of the DNC was in effect an inside job. Something that the Intelligence Community has not found and has found no evidence of. But Mike Paompeo sat down with him, and I spoke to both intelligence officials and to this gentleman himself. His name is William Binney, he's a former NSA official. Mike Pompeo sat down with him for an hour on October 24th, and I'm told by multiple sources that this was at the strong urging of the president over the course of six to eight weeks. He was pushing his director to sit down with him, and the FBI -- and the CIA director did. And his first words to William Binney when he sit down with him were, the president told me I should talk to you.
And I will tell you this as well. The meeting ended, I'm told by William Binney who was in the room with Pompeo, saying to him, would you be interested in meeting with the NSA and the FBI as well.
BURNETT: Wow. So they take this very seriously. Now, one follow up here though. Six to eight weeks of the president urging his CIA director to take this meeting. Should we infer from that that the CIA director felt it was inappropriate, felt he did now want to meet with conspiracy theorist and was pushing back, or would that be a step too far.
SCIUTTO: It's possible. I think it's fair to say that he was not excited about taking this meeting. And the CIA said on the record today to us that Director Mike Pompeo believes that Russia interfered in the election. And I've been told by others inside the building that the CIA director does not believe that the DNC hack was an inside job.
That said, he took the time to sit down with this gentleman who has -- again, like I said, viewed as a conspiracy theorist largely by people inside the intelligence.
BURNETT: Yes, but certainly someone the president of the United States took seriously and wants his CIA director to meet with and now offering the NSA and others.
More breaking news coming from Keith Schiller, a longtime bodyguard and formerly Oval Office chief, testifying today.
SCIUTTO: That's right. And someone very close to the president for years. Both today and prior to President Trump's time in office. Someone who has been with him, who traveled with him, who traveled with him for instance on his trips to Russia. Natural that the committees would be interested in talking to him.
I should say that it's our reporting that Schiller told the committee that the portions of the dossier that said that President Trump was in compromising situations there, et cetera, he denied that those were True. He denied that those portions of the Dossier were true.
BURNETT: The siliceous allegations within.
All right, thank you very much Jim Sciutto.
Let's go over here. Ken, let me start with you. Six to eight weeks the president of the United States urges the CIA director to take a meeting with a conspiracy theorist who believes that it was an inside job and wasn't the Russians involving the DNC hack. How big of an issue is this?
KEN CUCCINELLI, CNN LEGAL COMMENTATOR: I don't think it's a big issue. I think it's weird, but, you know, and I would agree that you can infer that Pompeo wasn't terribly enthusiastic about it, but there's no indication it's changing anything the intelligence community is doing or concluding. And that's my main concern in something like that. I don't have a problem with him talking to him.
BURNETT: Yes, but it, Robby, sending a very clear signal to the world, not as if -- I mean, everyone knows how the president has questioned this, but at this very moment, he spent the past six to eight weeks asking the CIA director to take a meeting with a conspiracy theorist. He's not letting this go.
ROBBY MOOK, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, he's definitely not letting. I mean, he fired the director of the FBI. He's made very clear he wants to potentially get rid of Jeff Sessions because an independent investigator was appointed.
I assume that Director Pompeo took this meeting under duress. His job could be next if he doesn't do what the president insists. So, I think as this investigation gets deeper and deeper, as the ties become more real to the public, I assume the president will get more desperate.
BURNETT: And, Bryan, he's spending time on this.
BRYAN LANZA, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: We don't know how much time. I mean, him saying, hey, look into this --
BURNETT: Well, six to eight weeks of urging his CIA director to take a meeting like this.
LANZA: You know, urging was never used. Somebody just said, hey, take a look into this.
BURNETT: But he's the president of the United States. He's wasting time telling his CIA director to meet with a conspiracy theorist who says the Russians didn't hack the election.
LANZA: He watches cable news.
BURNETT: Not this channel. We're not putting that out there. I'm serious.
LANZA: You realize you can block people.
It's clearly a focus of his. He expressed his concern to the CIA director, and the CIA director saw enough into it that he had to interview this person. And he stated what -- and then he stated that potentially the FBI and other people would investigate. There's nothing wrong with reviewing what took place for a very horrific crime. And I think the family wants something to be settled, I think America wants something to be settled.
BURNETT: OK, but it's a really big deal if the current head of the CIA is going to come out and say that what the rest of the intelligence community, including his own agenda said is not true. He's going to open that door. That is a big deal. It doesn't seem like that what he's doing, but he ends up the meeting, as Jim is reporting, saying, guess what, you want to meet with the head of the NSA, you want to -- go ahead.
BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think it's -- I mean, nothing this president does should shock us any longer. I mean, the president doesn't have respect for normal institutions, and so he doesn't understand that the president of the United States should not be interfering in investigations, should not be telling his CIA director or the Department of Justice what to do and who to prosecute and who to investigate.
But on a more fundamental level, I mean, there has to be humanity because this conspiracy theory is a very vile and despicable conspiracy theory that they're chasing where someone lost their lives and their parents are having to deal with that. So, I just think that -- you know, and to my colleagues on the right, and it's not just the two that are here, but the Republican party has literally set his hair on fire any time you talk about Barack Obama, Loretta Lynch, and Eric Holder.
Any time you mention that, and I just think, I do a what if? What if Barack Obama instructed the CIA director to do something like this, like investigate the RNC? I mean, Republicans would literally be setting themselves on fire.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can I comment?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Imagine Barack Obama --
BURNETT: I have to just -- hold on, just have to interrupt because we have a key race alert, and where want to get to Wolf.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Yes, we have a key race alert right now and take a look at this -- 10 percent of the vote, 11 percent of the vote now actually in. Ed Gillespie, the Republican candidate for governor of Virginia, still maintaining an advantage, a lead over Ralph Northam, the Democrat, candidate, 51.7 percent, 47 percent for Ralph Northam. Gillespie is up by 12,906 votes right now. You can see a slight advantage, still early. Only 11 percent of the vote in, but it's coming in relatively quickly.
We'll have a lot more numbers coming in. There's much more ahead. More election results. We're going to bring you the president's big speech, a major address in South Korea after he tried and failed to visit the heavily armed demilitarized zone.
We'll be right back.
[19:38:21] BLITZER: We got another key race alert right now. Take a look at this, 11 percent of the vote is in. The Republican candidate for governor of Virginia, Ed Gillespie, still maintaining a slight lead over Ralph Northam, 51.8 percent, 46.9 percent. He's ahead by 13,588 votes, 11 percent of the vote is in. Still early. Could be a long night -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Wolf.
And OUTFRONT now, the current governor of Virginia, Democrat Terry McAuliffe, also the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
Appreciate your time, Governor.
Look, we've got Ken Cuccinelli sitting on set with us talking about this race. You guys had a hard fought race. What was it -- he was just telling me, it ended up 47.5 to 45. Tonight's race, do you think it will be that close?
CUCCINELLI: I don't think he heard you where.
BURNETT: Governor, can you hear me?
GOV. TERRY MCAULIFFE (D), VIRGINIA: I hear you now, Erin. A lot of noise in here.
BURNETT: Yes, I know there is. I was saying, how close do you think tonight will be, right? You pulled it out by 2 1/2 percentage points. Tonight, Northam and Gillespie, how close do you think it will be?
MCAULIFFE: Well, I think if you look at the numbers who have showed up to vote today, it's a record vote turnout. More than we ever had in a gubernatorial election. You look at the votes, Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax, the largest they've ever had. This is going to be a big night.
The Democrats are going to sweep all three statewides tonight, and I do believe we're going to pick up a bunch of House of Delegates as well. But you can't have that kind of turnout we're having in Northern Virginia, Richmond, and Hampton Roads. This is going to be a great night for the Democrats.
Just look at the raw data on how many people have voted. It's going to be an incredible night.
[19:40:01] BURNETT: OK.
MCAULIFFE: And tonight, we're going to have a new governor in Ralph Northam.
BURNETT: So, let me ask you, Governor. Steve Bannon said that this just needs to be close in order for it to be a game changer and empowering for Republicans. He said Trumpism without Trump, referring to Gillespie, who, of course, campaigned on Trumpism without using Trump's personal support, he said it can show the way forward, if that's the case, Democrats better be very, very worried.
And, of course, Governor, you're well aware, when you look at the national numbers, even in your own party, Democrats' perception of Democrats is terrible. It's been dropping. It was 82 percent in March. It's dropped to 69 percent. Right now, only 37 percent of the country have a positive view of Democrats.
Isn't this of great concern to you?
MCAULIFFE: Well, I can speak about Virginia, Erin. I mean, a poll came out the other day. I had a 56 percent approval rating, which is a very high approval rating. Donald Trump was at 31 percent. The reason is a record amount of jobs, the largest investment, $18.7 billion in new capital, $6 billion more than any governor in the history of the commonwealth, record investment in K12.
So here in Virginia, people are very happy. We're safe, and I'm going to -- tonight, I tell you, we're going to reject Bannon. We're going to reject Trump. We're going to reject Ed Gillespie, the campaign of fear, the campaign he had of fear and division.
It just doesn't work here. The gutter politics that they ran in this campaign is not who Virginians are. It is going to be a big night. We're going to sweep all three because people are happy.
We're safe in Virginia, and the ridiculous ads that Ed Gillespie -- he couldn't run on the economy, he couldn't run on education, he couldn't run on health care, so he had to get in the gutter and run these horrible ads. He's going to get rejected tonight.
Donald Trump is going to get rejected. He did robocalls here today. Steve Bannon, no place for their politics. Tonight, the message for Democrats and for the country is fear and division and hatred do not work. They don't work here in Virginia and they're not going to work in America.
BURNETT: Governor McAuliffe, thank you very much. I appreciate your time.
MCAULIFFE: Thanks, Erin.
BURNETT: And as we're watching these results come in here, right now looking over, we're about a percentage point apart in Virginia, a crucial night. North Korea also making new threats at this hour. President Trump is about to speak on Kim Jong-un's doorstep, a major speech tonight. We're going to go live there ahead.
[19:45:58] BLITZER: We've got a key race alert. Take a look at this. The Democrat Ralph Northam now in the lead, 25 percent of the vote is now in. Quarter of the vote is now in. Ralph Northam with 50.2 percent. Ed Gillespie with 48.6 percent. Northam is ahead by 10,000 votes right now.
Let's go over to John King.
They're counting the votes pretty quickly over there in Virginia, John.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is a count coming in faster than we have seen in prior elections. It is a count that in the last few minutes has shifted dramatically in favor of the Democrat Ralph Northam.
What do we mean by that? Let's just start up where it counts, in the D.C. suburbs. Loudoun County, look at the margin there, 59 percent to 39 percent. And this is right now, this is the vote in 2017.
You heard the governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe, talking about it. In his race, a close race four years ago, he just got 50 percent in Loudoun County. The Democrat getting nearly 60 percent this time and the population there has been growing. That's good news for the Democrats, 65 percent, Fairfax County, one of the big counties just outside of Washington, D.C. very early in the vote count, but Ralph Northam getting 65 percent. Four years ago, Terry McAuliffe getting 58 percent.
So, the Democrats at the moment over-performing in the vote rich Washington suburbs, Arlington County, 72 percent for Terry McAuliffe four years ago, 78 percent for Ralph Northam right now. So, we got a lot of counting to do, but as you look at the early math, normally, Wolf, the early count in a Virginia race state-wide, the Republican is leading. And we're waiting to see what happens in the Washington suburbs.
If you're in the Northam campaign right now, you're not ready to celebrate, but you're happy with the count. A very close race, but with the vote count up here, he's running well ahead of the Democratic governor. In the Virginia Beach area, an area that's normally more of a swing area, this is where Ralph Northam is from down there, 50 percent here. Go back in time four years, the Republican, Ken Cuccinelli, narrowly won here.
So, the early map looks good for the Democrat, Ralph Northam, but we'll keep counting.
BLITZER: You see 30 percent of the vote is now in and Northam is slightly ahead.
Erin, over to you.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you, Wolf.
Let's go over here. Kirsten, you hear John going through these crucial vote-rich Washington suburb counties, Loudoun, Fairfax, Arlington, and in all of them, the Democrat outperforming what the Democratic governor did just four years ago.
KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Which sounds like good news for the Democrats. You know, I think that -- we have to remember, he was favored to win this race. This is a Democratic state.
And if you look at the returns, the little information that we have, and if we take also that with what Governor McAuliffe is saying, then it would suggest a good night for the Democrat. I mean, if you're getting those kinds of numbers in northern Virginia, then it's a good night.
And I think then the question is, you know, what will Democrats take away from this? We have been talking a lot about what will Republicans take away if they won? And in this case, you know, there's this fight going on in the Democratic Party about what kind of Democrat you should run. In this case, they ran a Democrat that fit the state.
And you know, the progressives turned against him at the end, and I think, so, this will be sort of on the side of the people saying we need to pick a more centrist person for a centrist state. But that would be seen as a win --
BURNETT: And, Ryan, how much does the margin matter here, right? We expected this to be very close, and likely, it will be. But, you know, all of a sudden, if you're looking at five points versus three points, it starts to make a bigger statement.
RYAN LIZZA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it's breaking a bit of tradition here, because usually on election night, Virginia, what happens is the Republican candidate has a huge lead early on and then northern Virginia comes in very late, if the Democrats win, it all comes in late in the night. That's not happening now. But it also seems like northern Virginia is actually just returning earlier than usual.
LIZZA: And so, I mean, I think, look, the Democrats, it was just assumed, sort of the default story out of tonight was the Democrats are going to win Virginia because Virginia is now a Democratic state. So, I think the idea in the run-up to the race as it tightened, the Democrats one year into Trump, and with Trump's approval ratings where they are, that the Democrats might lose this race and lose it to a candidate who ran on this set of issues that a lot of people in politics thought were toxic.
So I think, you know, you have a lot of Democrats slitting their wrists if they lost this. Now, the data looks a little bit --
BURNETT: At this moment, it certainly does.
LIZZA: I think one of the questions is, was this a referendum on Trumpism? And what does that mean going forward?
BURNETT: So, Ken, on that point, we're looking at the numbers four years ago.
[19:50:02] CUCCINELLI: Right.
BURNETT: And right now, Ralph Northam is doing better than Terry McAuliffe did against you in some of these crucial northern counties. You have been talking about how a few weeks ago, no one cared about this race in Virginia.
BURNETT: Now you heard Governor McAuliffe say he thinks we're looking at record turnout. What does that mean if you get record turnout and Northam wins strongly?
CUCCINELLI: Well, first of all, until three weeks ago, I can't tell you how many reporters were calling me asking me a version of this question, why is this so boring? And, I was struck by how much that was getting repeated.
Well, in the last three weeks, that has not happened and the open fire has taken place. Now, Virginia races break late. People think of the political season being after Labor Day. In these odd year elections in Virginia, it's really October. And the first few days, of course, November running up to Election Day. It's really kind of a five-week election typically that really swings the state and it lit up here in the last three weeks.
BURNETT: Well, it certainly did light up.
All right. Pause there. We're betting closer. Not just more results coming in but the other breaking news this night. The president's speech in South Korea live tonight. Stay with us for that.
And the polls also about to close in New Jersey, another governor's race testing President Trump's political clout.
[19:55:34] BURNETT: We got another key race alert in Virginia. The governor race.
Take a look, 36 percent of the vote is now in. The Democrat Ralph Northam maintaining his lead over the Republican Gillespie. He's got a lead of 50.8 percent to 48.1 percent, got a lead of almost 25,000 votes, 36 percent of the vote is in, in Virginia.
We're nearing the top of the hour when polls close and one of the key races tonight. That could send a message to President Trump and to both political parties about the mood of voter in the country right now.
In New Jersey, the former Goldman Sachs executive Phil Murphy is hoping to take back the governor's office for the Democrats after two terms under Republican Chris Christie. He faces Republican Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno.
Both Christie and President Trump and the controversies surrounding them are casting shadows over this race.
We're also following a major store overseas, President Trump in South Korea. He's preparing to give a highly anticipated speech about the nuclear and missile threats from North Korea. How far will he go to put pressure on Kim Jong-un and his regime in the dictator's own backyard? We're going to carry the president's speech live that's a little over an hour from now.
In the meantime, let's bring in Anderson Cooper -- Anderson.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Wolf, thanks very much. Welcome to a special edition of "AC360". We are now moments away from the first results in the New Jersey's governor's race.
I want to check in with CNN's Athena Jones at the headquarters of the Democratic candidate Phil Murphy -- Athena.
ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Anderson.
A short while ago, we spoke with a member of Murphy's team, they said they were in the war room checking numbers. This official says that early turnout numbers are good. Rain has been a concern, but the officials said we're cold front we had a strong thorough statewide campaign with tens of thousands of volunteers canvassing the state in ponchos to get out the vote.
I also spoke with the campaign, an official from the Guadagno campaign. They also said that they are confident. I was told just a few minutes ago that they are that campaign is hitting their targets, confident our voters are motivated to get to the polls despite the weather.
But as we heard Wolf mentioned one key factor driving down Guadagno is Chris Christie's unpopularity, his approval rating in the teens. Guadagno, of course, was his lieutenant governor for eight years -- Anderson.
COOPER: Yes, polls set to close there at 8:00 in New Jersey. They close at 7:00 in the commonwealth in Virginia.
Let's go back to Wolf and John.
BLITZER: Thanks very much, Anderson.
You know, John, in Virginia, this race now, 42 percent of the vote in. They're counting the votes pretty quickly. Ralph Northam, the Democrat, still maintaining a slight advantage.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Slight advantage, and you say right now, advantage Democrats, in part because as you see the votes come in here in vote rich Washington suburbs, Loudoun County used to be bellwether, used to be very competitive, actually not too long ago, used to be Republican, we got 99 percent of the vote in, expected vote, nearly 60 percent for the Democratic candidate.
Again, just go back to the governor's race four years, which is a close race, Terry McAuliffe got 50, the Democrat tonight getting 59. It appears to us right now, Wolf, we'll keep counting, the Democrats did what they needed to do most, turn out voters in their most Democratic areas, up here and the margins are overwhelming.
One other thing we're beginning to keep an eye on, I'm seeing this on more and more counties at the south. This is Smyth County down here, it's tiny, 0.4 percent of the population. That looks great for Gillespie right there, 76 percent of the vote.
But so far in a lot of these small counties, he's either just matching or slightly behind the vote total. Never mind the percentage for a minute. The question is here, are Republicans coming out to vote? I look back at Ken Cuccinelli's performance four years ago, Ed Gillespie either just matching in some of the small counties trailing of the performance. So, there could be an indication the voters aren't turning out.
If you're looking at the map now and you're at the Northam campaign you're doing what you need to do in the Richmond suburbs here, big margin. You're doing what you need to do in Richmond proper, the African American vote, the Democratic base right there and you're looking at the map filling in roughly up to 42 percent of the vote, you're ahead. Traditionally in Virginia races, the Republican takes an early lead, and the northern Virginia suburbs tilt it back for the Democrats.
If you're Ralph Northam right now, you're nervous because this is close but the map's filling in how you want it to.
BLITZER: Approaching half of the vote in Virginia. What about New Jersey? The polls are about to close within a minute or two in New Jersey.
KING: Remember four years ago. Right now, This is Chris Christie's lieutenant governor. She is not favored to win in this race. The Democrat Phil Murphy is favored in this race. If you go back four years ago, this is the stunning victory for Chris Christie. We're talking about how can a moderate Republican win in a blue state, by such a huge margin right there.
Four years later, Wolf, it is Chris Christie's legacy that has Democrats so heavily favored in New Jersey as we get ready to count the votes, Wolf.