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INSIDE POLITICS

Moore Suit Won't Delay Certification; Moore Asks Courts to Intervene; Alabama to Certify Senate Election. Aired 12-12:30p ET

Aired December 28, 2017 - 12:00   ET

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


[12:00:16] DANA BASH, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to INSIDE POLITICS. I'm Dana Bash. John King is off.

The state of Alabama is ready to officially declare Democrat Doug Jones their next senator. But Roy Moore is not.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has some tough words for Russia. Will that help or hurt any chance of a vote of confidence from the president.

And President Trump is back on the golf course today. Today we caught it on tape. Yesterday we were not so successful because of a mysterious white truck.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president and the White House have tried to obscure the fact that President Trump golfs on a regular basis.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: This president, when he was a citizen, criticized the former president so much and now he is playing way more golf than the former president and --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BASH: Roy Moore is attempting to write a new ending to his story. The plot twist he is hoping for, if at first you don't succeed, blame the other guy for cheating in the 11th hour. Moore is an accused child molester and he is somebody Alabama voters rejected earlier this month. He argues that he won the election and it's actually not so according to election officials who we're hearing for today.

Now, Moore, despite that, filed a lawsuit late last night to stop the state of Alabama from making Democrat Doug Jones Senator Doug Jones. And in just under two hours from now, Alabama's secretary of state, who had already said he did not see irregularities outside the norm, told Moore again, no dice.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED: Doug Jones will be certified today at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time, 1:00 p.m. Central Time. The governor, Kay Ivey, our attorney general, Steve Marshall, and I will meet in the office of the secretary of state, in the executive office, and we will sign the document certifying him as the senator for the state of Alabama. He will be sworn in by Vice President Pence on the 3rd of January when the Senate returns.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BASH: And in a statement this morning, Jones called the lawsuit a desperate attempt to subvert the will of the people. Moore's effort to derail a decided election will likely go down as a fitting final chapter in a book his party would like to close and forget about.

But it revives uncomfortable questions for Republicans heading into 2018 about what kind of candidates they need on the ballot and what kind of candidates they do not.

Here to share their reporting and their insights, RealClearPolitics Caitlin Huey-Burns, Perry Bacon of FiveThirtyEight, "The New York Times's" Michael Shear, and CNN's own Phil Mattingly.

Hi, everybody. Thanks for joining us.

Well, this is an unexpected bit of overnight news from Alabama on an otherwise relatively quiet week.

Phil, I'll start with you. Is this just kind of classic Roy Moore? And do you think there are any ramifications? I mean, obviously, we'll see if -- what the legal implications are. But if it goes the way the secretary of state is saying, probably won't get so far. But just in terms of the politics.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, so it's a race that's over. It's a campaign that's not just dead, it's already been buried, so there's no real shutter that's actually occurring here. There's allegations of voter fraud that didn't exist coming from experts that have no expertise. It's a very lengthy document and a good read if you want to spend some time reading 84 pages --

BASH: Eighty pages, yes.

MATTINGLY: With a lot of interesting theories. But there's no there there. And this is not -- it's not that these state officials would be aligned against him. The state officials, many of them supported him. Many of them -- all of them are Republicans. So there's no conspiracy here. There's no there there.

But I think you made kind of a really key point in the opening, Republicans have been very happy to no longer have to deal with Roy Moore. Whether they liked the fact that their majority in the Senate is now down to 51-49 or not, they are thrilled by the idea that they will no longer have to be answering for Roy Moore, the allegations against Roy Moore, or whatever Roy Moore decides to say on any given day every single day over the course of the next year heading into November.

BASH: And yet, here we are, on a holiday week --

MATTINGLY: Talking about Roy Moore.

BASH: Talking about Roy Moore. Republicans who found themselves booked on television this morning had to do just that, had to sit and be asked about what this means. Listen to what Leonard Lance of New Jersey said on CNN this morning.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. LEONARD LANCE (R), NEW JERSEY: Yes, I think it's ridiculous and I'm sure the authorities will certify the election. I agreed with Senator Shelby. I would have written a name in if I had been an Alabama resident. I'm a strong Republican, but I did not support Roy Moore and he should concede the election.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BASH: And, by the way, the economy's great and tax reform, we passed that, and -- well, I'm not sure.

Yes.

MICHAEL SHEAR, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Look, look, this is an easy one for Republicans now, right?

BASH: Yes.

SHEAR: I mean because the guy lost the race, so there's no -- there -- you know, there's no upside to be defending him now.

[12:05:05] It's also a good moment to remember that elections in this country, there are sometimes irregularities. There are times that you can find a vote here or a vote there or a handful of votes that -- where there's a problem. But elections in this country, those issues only really surface when it's incredibly close. We were reminded of that in Virginia now with this, you know, state delegate race that was now tied and was decided at one point by one vote.

But when you have 22,000 votes separating the candidates, the cries of election fraud, in the same way, you know, that the issues on the national stage, it only becomes important and critical when it's, you know, separated by a handful of votes. And that's just not the case here. And as Phil said, it's just not an issue that anybody on either side is concerned about actually changing the outcome.

BASH: Right. But the fact that he took so much time and space to file this court document, which argues about voter irregularity, which says that way more Democrats than even should exist in areas where -- where the Democratic candidate won and others.

But the other thing that he did is, he said that he took a polygraph test to prove that the allegations, multiple allegations against him for sexual misconduct, and this includes even against at least one minor, a 14-year-old girl. Here's what this part of the lawsuit filed last night says. As I had expected, the results of the examination -- meaning the alleged polygraph, reflected that I did not know nor had I ever had any sexual contact with any of these individuals. CAITLIN HUEY-BURNS, REALCLEARPOLITICS: Well, during the campaign, Roy

Moore sought to discredit these women the whole entire time. He also cited in this document polls that showed he was supposed to win, which actually wasn't exactly the case. You remember the polls were all over the place. Some even showing Doug Jones having a good shot here.

I think this also speaks to the fact about how important candidate recruitment is for Republicans. Remember, before all of these allegations, Roy Moore was someone who was kicked off the Supreme Court twice for not upholding the law. So in some ways it's not entirely surprising that he is challenging this.

But this is someone that Republicans had wanted to distance themselves from even before these allegations came about, actively worked to campaign against him in those Alabama primaries and were unsuccessful. And they're hoping to move on.

But someone like Leonard Lance, who is in a very, very tough reelection fight himself in New Jersey, that's somewhere the tax bill's going to really affect him --

BASH: That's right.

HUEY-BURNS: Among other things happening in this Trump administration, exactly the opposite of what he wants to be talking about.

BASH: I want to read -- I want to read our viewers something that your colleague, Nate Silver, wrote about just that point, about the impact on others, regardless. He said, of course Republicans won't have Roy Moore running in other races, but they have other candidates with characteristics similar to Moore, ignoring for now the sexual misconduct. That is, they'll have candidates who are nominated by the GOP base, against the wishes of party elites, who prove to be disastrous with swing voters.

Now, we -- we're, obviously, yet to see if any of those challengers will topple establishment Republicans. It doesn't -- but just for these purposes, what Nate is arguing is that, win or lose, Roy Moore is an albatross around the Republican neck.

PERRY BACON, FIVETHIRTYEIGHT: And the candidates like Roy Moore, like you said, in some ways who are anti-establishment, who has controversial records and so on, are doing well in primaries. We saw this in 2010. Saw this in 2012. Saw it in 2014. The Republican probably have three or four more Senate seats if they had nominated more traditional people. So I think this will continue to be a problem.

I also wanted to note one thing about -- one thing Trump did more than (INAUDIBLE) here too is, Moore, if you read his comments, were essentially saying, too many black people voted and I'm surprised by that and that's a big problem. And if you look at the counties he picked, they're heavily black counties. And I think it's worrisome when people lose the election and then suggest that it's voter fraud, then suggest it's minorities, which Trump did a bit when he talked about illegal voters in 2016 as well. So I do think there's a broader issue about respecting the integrity of the process and not questioning whenever -- you know, whenever you lose an election and filing a lawsuit the way he's doing here.

MATTINGLY: Yes, and I think that this is -- when you talk about Perry's original point, this is a case file that the Senate majority leader is going to continue to put out to Republican donors and to put out to pretty much anybody in the Republican Party saying, this is what happens when you don't nominate good candidates. This is what happens when you use insurgencies to bring people to the forefront that haven't been vetted or that have been vetted and we already know are not necessarily going to run a great race.

He will regularly, and he did it in his end of the year press conference, he's done it probably 15 times in the last three weeks, talk about Delaware or talk about Indiana or talk about any number -- you talk about 2010, 2012, 2014 where three or four Republican Senate seats probably should have been theirs that they ended up losing. I think there's a lot of concern, whether it be in Nevada or other places, that that could end up happening again this year.

[12:10:05] And I think what Roy Moore means, particularly to the majority leader, is, this is my prime a-one example of why we can't do this again this year, why we need to clear the field, why we need to pick our candidates, why we need to vet our candidates.

I will note, though, that there are some really good candidates that didn't have mainstream support. Whether it's Marco Rubio or Mike Lee or Joni Ernst --

SHEAR: Rand Paul.

MATTINGLY: Rand Paul, exactly, who have become senators that the establishment likes quite a bit and that have been very effective senators. So there's a little bit of a give-and-take here. But every time Roy Moore speaks, Mitch McConnell kind of sits back and says, see, I told you. I told you.

SHEAR: And just -- and just one other thought. The one voice you're not hearing tough his Twitter feed is President Trump, who you would think there would be an interest in saying, enough, you know, you lost, time to move on, right? The time to move on idea is coming from everywhere except the president of the United States' Twitter feed, which you would think it would.

BASH: Right. I mean he did say after he lost that Moore should concede.

SHEAR: He said in the past, after he lost, he said -- that's right.

BASH: But, you're right, this is a new day.

SHEAR: But, I mean, I'm just saying, this is a new day.

BASH: Yes.

SHEAR: You know, he -- you know, Moore has filed this lawsuit you would say and the president's already been tweeting about other things. You would think that there would be an interest in the leader of the party, you know, to sort of push that message as well. Maybe it will come later today.

HUEY-BURNS: And especially since the political fallout is going to be felt by Republicans next year on the legislative front. Now they're down a senator. The president knows they need to work with Democrats to get anything done. Tax reform could be kind of the last big piece of legislation they can get done in this term. So to move on is really critical for this president, especially if he has any hope of passing anything any time soon.

BASH: Everybody stand by. We actually have a spokeswoman for Roy Moore who's joining us now.

Janet Porter, thank you so much for joining us.

Again, you are the spokeswoman for the Moore campaign.

Let's get right to the question. Why do you believe that the Alabama secretary of state, at the 11th hour, is going to take the evidence that you put in this court document, much of which alleges voter irregularities that he's already dismissed, that he will change his mind now?

JANET PORTER, MOORE CAMPAIGN SPOKESWOMAN: Well, there's two reasons. By the way, it's not just Judge Moore on this case. It's actually voters of Alabama that are also listed as plaintiffs on the case. And it's his job to follow the Supreme Court ruling that makes sure that every vote is cast that is -- is that we know that is counted accurately. And when we have evidence of fraud from three -- and, yes, they are experts. Their -- one gentlemen has three degree in mathematics, he's written four books on election fraud and he confirms that there's enough votes, enough fraud that took place in just one county to change the outcome of this election. It is the job of John Merrill to make sure that the elections are free and proper and that they're fair.

And this is -- this is something that people who care about fair and free elections should call the secretary of state at 334-242-7200 and let him know, we don't want you to certify a fraudulent vote. Investigate it. If you think Doug Jones won, well, let's make sure of it. Let's make sure we get to the bottom of what these experts say is clear evidence of fraud.

In fact, this gentleman that I -- that I talked about with all of the degrees, he said there is a one in 15 billion chance that this vote that happened in 20 precincts in Jefferson County occurred naturally. In other words, this election was fraudulent. And what we need to do is ask the secretary of state to do his job and to investigate this before the certification.

BASH: What's the name of the expert that you're referring to?

PORTER: His name is Richard Sharden (ph). And as I mentioned, three degrees in mathematics. He's written four books on election fraud. He's a national expert. And he concurs with the other independent experts.

And, by the way, one -- I talked to one of the researcher. He's a Democrat. He says this is not about the candidates, it's not about whether it's Republican or Democrat, it's about fair and free elections.

BASH: OK.

PORTER: He said, I got involved in election integrity because I felt that Bernie Sanders was being cheated.

BASH: OK, there's another --

PORTER: And so this is not about Republican or Democrat.

BASH: OK. There's another expert --

PORTER: It's about fair and free elections. (INAUDIBLE).

BASH: There's another expert that you rely on in this -- in this court filing named James Condit Jr. (ph). He is somebody who has spoken about Zionist control of world politics, an alleged Israeli role in 9/11, in the terrorist attacks, and other faith --

PORTER: OK, you know what, let me stop you right there. I don't vouch for everybody's opinion on everything. I'm very (INAUDIBLE) --

BASH: Hold on. Let me finish. Let me finish. I can ask the questions -- I can ask the questions and then you can answer. Stand by. I'm not done.

PORTER: All right. All right.

BASH: Because he also claims that he has mathematically proven a conspiracy behind the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

The reason I bring this up --

PORTER: Let me explain -- let me explain to you though --

BASH: Is because this does not sound like somebody who is -- has credible information --

PORTER: It's interesting you're not talking about --

BASH: Credible enough ability to be an expert to say --

PORTER: Just so you know -- may I respond?

BASH: That Roy Moore should be elected to the Senate.

PORTER: May I respond?

BASH: Please do. Please do.

PORTER: OK. It's interesting you're not talking about Richard Sharden, who's impeccable credentials are off the charts.

John Condit, the thing that he admitted into the court, had to do with the voting machines, because we are -- we need transparent and open elections to follow with the Supreme Court has said that we need to know that our vote was properly counted. What happens is, you've got this private company out of Omaha, Nebraska, that has all the votes and the voter images and no one's allowed to see them. That is a violation of federal law and the Constitution.

[12:15:07] BASH: But if you're trying to show that some --

PORTER: So he's -- you know, he's got some views I disagree with. That might be.

BASH: That there are irregularities, what use conspiracy theorists to try to prove that point? It seems to undermine the credibility.

PORTER: Look, look, you know what, not everybody -- I could probably find some anchors on CNN that have some pretty crazy, radical ideas, but that's really not what this is about. His expertise is on the voting machines and he's -- and he's very well qualified on that issue.

BASH: But they're not -- they're not trying to endorse in a court of law the idea that Roy Moore should have been elected.

PORTER: So -- look, it's not about who's elected, it's about making sure the people of Alabama have the right to make that decision. And John Merrill's job -- and, by the way, Secretary of State John Merrill has been on the wrong side of federal law we he says -- arguing before the Alabama Supreme Court that we should destroy the ballot images. In other words, we should destroy the evidence and make sure that nobody has a chance to look at this. That's very suspect and that's why I think people should be calling John Merrill, 334-242-7200 if you want fair and free elections. Don't certify what three independent experts -- and I'm not listing John Condit as one of them, by the way, which I think he is -- he is an expert on voting machines and what he says is valid.

But on the issue of what three independent experts say that there is fraught enough in just one county to turn this thing around. And if I was secretary of state, boy, I'd like to get to the bottom of it no matter who it is that I supported. Because here's the thing that Governor Ivey needs to know, she's up for a re-election too and there's 650,000 people who are watching this very closely, what they do right now. And if they certify what has been proven by three independent experts that says this is fraudulent enough to overturn this entire election, then they're going to be accountable at the voting booth. And I wouldn't want to be -- and, by the way, if they can steal the election from Roy Moore, Governor Ivey, they can steal it from you, or, Secretary of State Merrill, it can happen to you.

BASH: So --

PORTER: That's why voter integrity matters no matter where you stand.

BASH: OK, so -- I just want to say for the record that I mentioned one of your experts, John Condit, has said things like --

PORTER: Yes, you brought this up 100 times. You know what, his expertise on machine -- on voting machines is unquestionable.

BASH: There's Zionist control, but I want to -- but I want to -- I want to just say for the record that it was Richard -- Richard Sharden who has said that there is mathematical proof that he has found that the assassination of John F. Kennedy was a conspiracy.

PORTER: You know what -- look, you know what, he probably -- maybe he got a parking ticket yesterday. That's irrelevant to the case. The case here we're talking about is, is there voter --

BASH: It's not irrelevant.

PORTER: Is there voter fraud. His expertise on voting machines is something you can question. If you want to question, you know, whether he's a Zionist or not, I am. I'm pro-Israel. I'm glad the embassy is in Jerusalem, by the way, good job, President Trump. But the key is this, look --

BASH: I don't think that that's what he was suggesting, pro-Israel. I think he was saying something else. Let's be honest.

PORTER: Right, but I'm saying -- I'm saying, I'm pro-Israel and what his position is, I care about what he is on voting machines.

In fact, one of the -- one of the experts that we turned to, as I mentioned, was a Democrat. He got involved because he felt that Bernie Sanders was being cheated. It doesn't matter what position -- whether you're a Republican or whether you're Democrat, whether you like Roy Moore or whether you like Doug Jones, you ought to care about the fact that the people of Alabama ought to be the ones making the choice. That this should not be done by some secret, private company in Omaha, Nebraska, that destroys the ballot images, which is what Secretary of State John Merrill has argued before the Alabama Supreme Court, which, by the way, is in violation of federal law. Federal law says destroying, defacing, mutilating or altering ballots or official voting records, that you could be facing $5,000 or five years in jail. I mean this is what the secretary of state --

BASH: But the secretary of state has not found evidence that those things have happened. Just the opposite.

PORTER: Well, we are presenting that evidence. And don't you think that the evidence of 84 pages of experts that have said, just one county, we found 20 precincts in Jefferson County. By the way, we found -- the analysts have done the algorithms and they know exactly what districts they targeted and they know exactly what they did. The chances that this was not fraud, one in 15 billion says the nation expert and -- the guy by the name is Richard Sharden.

BASH: So you seem -- you seem to be out on a limb a little bit here. I know you say that there are voters --

PORTER: I don't think I'm out on a limb at all. I'm standing for voter integrity.

BASH: Let me -- let me finish -- let me finish my question please. You have mentioned that there are voters -- and I understand and see that -- on this -- this complaint, on this challenge, that you've -- that you've put in court last night. But just in terms of the raw politics here, the biggest supporter that you've had, Steve Bannon, he's been silent on this. His publication, "Breitbart," is saying nothing about this.

PORTER: Can I tell you something else?

BASH: And that silence is deafening and I think sends a message, don't you think?

PORTER: That doesn't matter to me. But I'll tell you what, what matters -- let me tell you what matters is the people of Alabama. This is not about Steve Bannon. It's not about Doug Jones. This is about what the people of Alabama, the votes they cast. They have a right to cast a vote and to make sure their vote is counted, to know that it's been properly counted. And that's where John Merrill is not doing his job. He's violating federal law by saying, destroy the evidence. Don't let us save those ballot images. And if he certifies this election before -- before we investigate this fraud fully, then he is going to be accountable to those voters in Alabama and there might just be not enough fraud to make sure that 650,000 people plus, all of those who voted for Roy Moore, whose votes have been altered and discounted say all the experts --

BASH: Can I --

PORTER: He's going to be accountable.

[12:20:00] And, by the way, if you care about this, you can call him, 334-242-7200. Tell him not to certify until the investigation is done and not to destroy the evidence, which he has argued to do.

BASH: I need to ask you about this polygraph test that Roy Moore has said that he has taken which proves that he is not lying when he denies all of the allegations that have been made against him, sexual abuse and (INAUDIBLE) the 14-year-old child molester.

PORTER: Sure. Not surprising at all. Not in any way surprising.

BASH: Can you give me the circumstances of that polygraph test? Who administered it? Were there witnesses? So on and so forth. And also --

PORTER: That's all -- that's all been submitted to the court. I think it's connected to the complaint.

BASH: I know. Well, most people aren't reading all 84 pages. Can you -- can you enlighten our viewers?

PORTER: All I know is that it's a renowned independent expert that he went before. He took the polygraph test. And not surprising to anyone who knows Judge Moore, he completely passed it. What do you know, he didn't know any of these women and he never conducted -- engaged in sexual misconduct. What a surprise to those who know him. It's not. It's absolutely --

BASH: Why didn't he take this polygraph test in the -- almost a month between the time these allegations came out and his Election Day?

PORTER: Dana -- Dana, we may not agree on much, but you and I agree on that. I will say, if I had -- if I was the one running the campaign, I would have absolutely seen that that was done.

But where we are right now, he took the test. He passed the test. And he also said, hey, all these -- all these people who have made these baseless allegations, you do the same. Do a polygraph test. And if there's any variation, let's go to an independent. He's willing to go before somebody that is chosen between the two, they both agree upon, and let everybody take a polygraph test. How about that? That would have been something I would have liked to have seen before the election, there's no doubt about it.

BASH: Would you --

PORTER: But it's before the -- it's before the court and we're hoping that this judge, this circuit judge, will look at this and, most importantly, John Merrill, the secretary of state, will do his job, make sure that those votes are properly counted. Make sure that the investigation of fraud is conducted into our fraudulent certification (INAUDIBLE).

BASH: Janet, one more question about the polygraph. One more question about the polygraph. Do you know -- were any of your colleagues on the campaign there with him? Do you know anything more that you can tell us?

PORTER: I was not there and I don't know.

BASH: You don't know who was there?

PORTER: All I know is that he passed the test and I'm not surprised in the least. He's offered that same --

BASH: And the -- and the person who administered this was somebody who was completely credible -- more credible --

PORTER: Completely credible and, beyond that, he's willing to go --

BASH: More credible than the experts that you put out as for voter (INAUDIBLE)?

PORTER: Look, I'm not -- by the way, I've not called John -- by the way, I've not called him an expert on the -- on the election fraud material. He's a guy that knows about the voting machines and the fact that they are done in secret in Omaha, instead of having open and fair and free elections, he's the guy that knows about that and I don't care if he got a parking ticket or where he stands on anything else. But --

BASH: But it's not about a parking ticket. It goes to the credibility of these experts -- PORTER: But Richard Sharden -- by the way --

BASH: And the fact that they have wild claims --

PORTER: Let's -- you have something to say against Richard Sharden? The guy's -- do you have something to say against him? He's the --

BASH: That are just blatantly false. How do you put them up as people who are going to try to prove that you're right about the election fraud?

PORTER: You like to -- like to pick about somebody's personal opinions that are really irrelevant to this case. Let me tell you what is relevant.

BASH: It's not irrelevant.

PORTER: The experts that have done this, independent of each other, Republicans and Democrats alike have said, there is fraud in this election, just one county, 20 precincts of Jefferson County, enough to turn this whole thing around. And if John Merrill turns his back on these experts who independently agree, without even investigation, let's just say we're wrong. Look, it's incumbent upon the secretary of state to make sure. If I was Doug Jones, I'd want to make sure. I wouldn't want a cloud hanging over my head if I was in the Senate. I'd want to make sure that this election was conducted properly, that the fraud was fully investigated, that we -- I mean we've got poll workers that have submitted affidavits talking about people voting twice. We've got all kinds of -- there are 84 pages that right now they're turning their backs on the people of Alabama and all the facts that have been presented.

BASH: One last question -- one last question for you. One last question for you before I let you go. President Trump, at the end of the campaign, was all in. He supported Roy Moore, told voters to go out and vote for him. He then, once the election was over, said that he thought that Roy Moore should concede. And he is another person who is silent on your efforts now.

PORTER: Well, what --

BASH: Doesn't that also tell you something that even the president is not with you on this?

PORTER: Well, by the way, I think the president is also concerned about voter fraud. He's brought it up in his own election. And I think that if he were to read through the 84 pages of evidence from independent experts and the best in the country, by the way, who say one county, just 20 precincts in one county, Jefferson, is enough to overturn this election. If I was John Merrill, and I wanted to run for re-election, I'd make sure that those votes are properly cast and properly counted and that all allegations of fraud, no matter who makes them, are fully investigated before any fraudulent certification occurs. And if people care, 334-242-7200, call Secretary of State John Merrill, tell him, do your job. Investigate the fraud. Do not -- do not certify fraudulent elections until the investigation is full and complete.

BASH: Janet Porter -- all right, Janet Porter, thank you for coming on --

PORTER: Thank you.

BASH: And making your case.

PORTER: Sure appreciate it.

BASH: And we are going to know in an hour and a half, a little more, whether or not the secretary of state is going to delay. But it doesn't sound that way.

[12:25:03] PORTER: Whether or not -- whether or not he has a political future. We'll find out very soon, as well as the others on the canvasing board, including Governor Kay Ivey and the attorney general as well. We'll find that out because, as I mentioned, there are at least 650,000 votes. You know, forget all the fraud for a moment, 650,000 people, despite all the fraudulent allegations, came out and voted for Judge Moore and they are watching very closely, as well as the country on whether or not he'll do his job and investigate this report (ph) (INAUDIBLE).

BASH: It looks like -- whether or not this -- yes, well, you're making very clear whether or not this Republican -- this Republican wins in Alabama, there is a Republican civil war in Alabama that is going to continue.

We're going to have to leave it there. Janet Porter, thank you so much for your time.

PORTER: Thank you.

BASH: So, thoughts?

BACON: 334 --

SHEAR: Did anybody -- did anybody catch the number?

BACON: 334-something something 3200 -- I got most of the numbers, but I don't --

BASH: Listen, I mean I know -- I know that she was pushing back on my questioning on the credibility of the experts, but if you're going to put somebody up to say this is why the irregularities are as we claim that they are and they have background of making wild claims that are not provable --

MATTINGLY: Yes, look, the -- the expert that she held up as being unassailable, Mr. Sharden, who she claimed is a voter fraud expert (INAUDIBLE) also has, I think, a short book out or at least several blog posts on his blog that also talks about his Kennedy --

BASH: Yes. MATTINGLY: Assassination conspiracy theory about how, in reality, President Trump won the popular vote in 2016 as well, which he lost by three million.

BASH: Right.

MATTINGLY: I think we all know at this point it --

BASH: I couldn't even get to all of the specifics with her, but I'm glad you're adding.

MATTINGLY: Yes, look, I just -- it's not -- he doesn't have unassailable credentials. He -- when it comes -- just to put a very fine point on this, voter fraud to the extent that she is talking about is something that just hasn't been proven and does not exist in elections. The number of people, whether it was the Bush Justice Department, whether it's any number of outside groups that have dug into this issue and tried to make this a huge issue, tried to prove this as a huge issue, tried to use this as rational to pass state- based legislation related to voting, nobody has come up with large documented evidence that this actually exists. And I think that at this point nobody has come up, including the Republican secretary of state, the Republican governor, any number of Republican officials, whether their electoral futures matter or depend on this or not, have also not come up with this evidence. And so the individual that one individual -- I respect his degrees immensely, perhaps his work on these areas particularly if you want to look at the 2016 popular vote or this Alabama vote as well. It doesn't necessarily back up the idea that he has unassailable credentials.

BASH: It sounds like they showed -- she showed her hand at the end there what this about.

SHEAR: Yes.

BASH: This is about keeping the base going against the establishment in the Alabama Republican Party.

SHEAR: Right. And it's about essentially, it sounds like, it's very much a sort of political vendetta against the forces that, you know, they perceive to have been, you know, kind of a raid against them in the Republican Party. Not the forces -- the Democratic forces, but, you know, the sort of political leadership in the state, that they don't think sort of helped them win this race and are now willing to certify -- you know, to certify the race. And they are -- and, I mean, you know, reading that -- that phone number off and essentially I mean it was a -- it was essentially a bald-faced (ph) threat to all of the political leadership in Alabama that, you know, you certify this race and we're coming after you politically.

And I'm not sure you even need to get to the credentials. I mean the credentials of their experts are interesting and important. But, frankly, I don't -- I mean it sounds like their -- their allegations are largely sort of mathematically based --

BASH: Right. SHEAR: That not specific instances of voter fraud, but rather this idea that, you know, well, we wouldn't have expected mathematically this number of people to have voted in these great of numbers. But nothing was unique about -- I mean everything was unique about this race. Nothing was normal about this race.

I mean, yes, in Alabama, you generally may not get a -- as many African-Americans coming out in this particular area but like this was a race that had been nationalized. It had a -- you know, an alleged pedophile at the center of the race. I mean there was nothing normal about this. So, you know, it -- the whole thing seems to me to be a tempest that they're trying to create. And I'm not sure it's going to work.

BACON: I find it terrifying the idea that if the secretary of state of my party does not do what I want, we're going to primary him. Think about how that would seem if we did that in every state. The Democrats followed that model in other states. It's just like really worrisome that her solution to an election disagreement is, we need to primary the secretary of state unless he does (INAUDIBLE). We say this is like not what we do in the U.S. traditionally and it's something that I found to be very distressing as I heard that.

HUEY-BURNS: And a secretary of state who said that he voted for Roy Moore --

BACON: Voted for the candidate, right.

HUEY-BURNS: And has already looked to some allegations of fraud and found that they didn't exist. And he came under fire for that.

And so I agree with you, I think you get into very dangerous territory when you are questioning people's -- people who have proven to have some integrity on this issue. That sets a dangerous precedent.

[12:30:00] BASH: OK, thank you guys. We're going to take a quick break. And we should note that Alabama's secretary of state, John Merrill, who just -- we just heard about and just got attacked on CNN is going to join my colleague, Brianna Keilar, in the next hour.