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CUOMO PRIME TIME

Florida Judge on Recount Fight: "Ramp Down the Rhetoric;" Trump Alleges Voter Fraud in Florida Without Evidence. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired November 12, 2018 - 21:00   ET

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


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: The news continues. I want to hand it over to Chris for "CUOMO PRIME TIME." Chris?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Beautifully said, Anderson, thank you for that.

I am Chris Cuomo. Welcome to PRIME TIME, everybody.

Another key race was just called. Not good news for Republicans. Meanwhile, the Florida recount is getting ugly, may get worse. What is true? What is trite? We don't need more opinions from pundits about what might be going on. We need the players and have them on both sides making their cases directly to you. What are their issues? What proof do they have of the same? And then you decide. The President has weighed in. Is he really proposing breaking the law in two different states? Facts first. Straight ahead.

And this story, this photo blowing up online. What the heck are these high school boys doing? A Nazi salute with a black classmate in attendance?

And also as veterans -- as Anderson just reminded us, it's Veterans Day. Thank you. We will never forget. Tonight's show is in your honor. We have a special closing tonight that you're not going to want to miss. There's only way to start the week, my friends. Let's get after it.

All right. There's just been another concession as I said. Democrats picked up a seat in the United States Senate. In Arizona, Republican Martha McSally is just conceded the race to Democrat Kyrsten Sinema. Here's some sound.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, everybody, I just called Kyrsten Sinema and congratulated her on becoming Arizona's first female senator after a hard-fought battle. I wish her success as she represents Arizona in the Senate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: McSally handled it with dignity. Dog seemed OK with it as well. Sinema is going to be the first woman to represent Arizona in the Senate. We'll going to have more on that milestone in a moment. But first let's get to Florida. The recount fight has gotten toxic,

in fact, the judge in one of the ongoing legal fights told both sides to tone it down. Why? Well, despite all the talk from people you're supposed to be able to trust, there is no proof of real fraud. And that doesn't mean that there are not counting issues and legitimate concerns.

Tonight, we're going to test both camps that are going on in this ongoing counting, you know, situation. Let's begin with Brad Todd, a Senior Adviser to the Rick Scott campaign. I didn't want to condemn the entire process, but look it's always frustrating when we see the sausage being made. I want to ask you though, do you agree with the judge that enough with the fraud talk? It should be open, it should be transparent, you should count every vote that legally should be counted. Save the implications until you have proof of the same.

BRAD TODD, SENIOR ADVISER TO THE RICK SCOTT CAMPAIGN: Well, in the case you referenced today in Broward County, the judge also agreed with the Rick Scott campaign that the ballots needed to be more secure. He's requested three more sheriff's deputies be assigned to the ballots when they're not being used in the recount which was really the remedy we were seeking. And so I --

You were asking to impound the machines. You also asked for more security. The judge said you go come up with a plan, you said we want more deputies. You already had people watching them. In fact, you had people there in advance of the voting in Broward County. The Democrat side, Rick Scott and senator nelson's side, agreed to this remedy. Fair points?

TODD: That's fair point, but Chris, you know, the real problem in Broward County here is that the County Election Supervisor, Brenda Snipes, has not complied with the law. We have these laws in place to prevent fraud. When you don't comply with the law, we can't be certain there is no fraud.

CUOMO: She wasn't complying then the judge told her she had to. She missed the initial deadline to do so last Friday at 7:00 but then comply. You looked at it, it actually more proof for you.

TODD: Wait a minute, Chris. Wait a minute, Chris. Tuesday night, she's supposed to issue a count of how many votes she has left to count.

CUOMO: Right.

TODD: She can still -- by the way, many other states you have to actually shave those early votes already counted by the time the election ends at 8:00.

CUOMO: Right.

TODD: She merely has to tell us how many she had.

CUOMO: Right.

TODD: The numbers she gave us she did not abide by. She continued to find 70,000 votes over the next few days.

CUOMO: Right.

TODD: You can't find votes. That's her entire job. She has two years to prepare for this, to be in position to tell us how many votes there are to be cast.

CUOMO: I hear you on that.

TODD: That's concerning.

CUOMO: I have a question for you, actually I have two on this. One is, just to be clear, what that Democrat -- and let's call her that, right? Because that's one of the reasons you guys are suspicious.

TODD: She was elected by the Democrats.

CUOMO: She is. She was also asked to start the job by Governor Bush.

TODD: Correct.

CUOMO: She's been under Governor Scott for eight years. If he really had a problem, he could have asked her -- you know, she's got to be elected but he could have suspended her if he wanted to. He chose not too. So that case was about conspiracy, not fraud. The judge didn't find any fraud. There was no allegation that was credible of any fraud. It was about transparency. And that matters as well. But I just want to be clear about it.

TODD: No, Chris, but the reason we have that law if place, the reason you have to tell us exactly how many more ballots there are to be cast --

CUOMO: Right.

TODD: -- is so we can make sure you don't add some after you find out --

[21:05:00] CUOMO: I totally hear it. I totally hear it.

TODD: That's a very important law to abide by.

CUOMO: 100 percent.

TODD: She did not abide by it.

CUOMO: It's actually also referenced in your Constitution. So there's no question that it is a really important mandate and it needed to be adhered to. You went to court. You won.

I have another question, though. She found more votes. All right, let's put that into the true context. All right? Voting is sloppy. It's certainly sloppy in your state. It doesn't matter what kind of upgrades we do, we know that anywhere you look, anywhere in this country, if a race is close, you're not going to love the process. But there's something that I keep hearing that I don't know how legitimate it is. We should count every vote. We should count every vote. Every legal vote, I want counted, got to be full clear, open.

So now you're saying they're slow, there are real legal legitimate votes that they have. They may not make their deadline, but they are real legal, legitimate votes and you're saying don't count them?

I'm saying you don't know what votes were delivered to the elections office by the time the polls close, and if any of those votes were added at a later time. You don't know that because she had not abided by the laws that are designed to prevent fraud. She also, by the way, Brenda Snipes admitted on television that she co-mingled ballots that were invalid and potentially fraudulent --

CUOMO: Potentially.

TODD: They'd been deemed invalid and potentially fraudulent by the canvassing board. She co-mingled --

CUOMO: Not potentially -- she has a hard date. I get the date. I respect the date.

TODD: Wait a minute, though, Chris. She admitted she co-mingled them and counted them anyway and said it was my decision. So she has counted ballots that he knows --

CUOMO: Well, she said it was a mistake.

TODD: She knew at the time that she put them in the bucket with the legal votes they were not legal.

CUOMO: I have not seen anywhere that she or any county commissioner has admitted to wrongfully and intentionally co-mingling votes. And I don't think you have, either. I just don't think you need to put a fraudulent spin on things. It's bad enough as it is. There's going to be a lack of faith in this outcome regardless.

TODD: Well, Chris --

CUOMO: And then we still have to see what the governor does about it.

TODD: We certainly ought to have a little lack of faith in Brenda Snipes because she already a judge, already found her guilty of destroying ballots illegally.

CUOMO: True.

TODD: She has a history of poor administration of elections in Broward County.

CUOMO: Right. Not in this race -- but the people keep electing her.

TODD: Tonight on Anderson Cooper's show earlier, Congressman Deutch, a Democrat from Broward County refused to say that he would fully support her continuing in that job. That tells you that she has proven that she's not quite capable, not quite up to this job, and her entire job performing that job --

CUOMO: Why didn't Governor Scott make a move on her and suspend her?

TODD: Well, Governor Scott takes his responsibility on honoring the will of the voters very seriously. That is not a step any governor should take hastily. He did send monitors to Broward County. He tried to surround the situation. No governor should immediately willy-nilly overturn the will of the voters of the state.

CUOMO: Well, but that --

TODD: You have to absolve her --

CUOMO: You say that. Hold on a second. You say that and got some high ground given where she is and her past. There's no question. But you are projecting the past onto the present. And before we put a halo on the governor's head, he came out with allegations of fraud, he didn't have a damn bit of proof. He told the Florida law enforcement people to look at it.

They went to the secretary of state who's a Republican, and he said, I have no specific allegation for you to look at. So these are all Republicans. The Florida law enforcement goes, they say, we have nothing to look at. They reconfirm that this weekend. No halo for the governor on this. He said that there was fraud, that it was trying to be stolen from him, that there was cheating. You can't prove any of that.

TODD: Chris, the reason we have anti-fraud laws is to make sure fraud doesn't happen. When you don't abide by the anti-fraud laws, that's how fraud happens.

CUOMO: That's different than saying there is fraud. You have to have proof to say there is fraud. You want transparency, otherwise there's a chance of fraud. But you can't say there is fraud --

TODD: We want you to abide by the laws that are designed to prevent fraud. It's that simple. She has two years to get ready for this. It is not a complicated job to be supervisor of elections. She's an experienced supervisor.

CUOMO: I got you.

TODD: She's been through many elections.

CUOMO: I'm not saying she did the job well. I'm saying let's assume she didn't do the job well. Let's say she didn't. Let's say the job's not being done well. You now have the canvassing board there which includes local judges so if you take away confidence in the process from this point forward you're taking away confidence from these judges and this canvassing board as well. You don't want to do that, I'm sure. You now have your monitors there. It's been added to by the judge today. So now you have eyeballs on it. But what I'm saying is, don't say there's fraud when you can't show there is fraud.

TODD: Let's talk about the fraud the Democrats are trying to commit out in the open. Right now, Marc Elias, he is a lawyer for the democratic side on this, he has asking the state of Florida to overturn the Florida procedures for verifying absentee ballots.

CUOMO: Yes.

TODD: Now, that's fraud in the open. He's asking for them to count ballots that canvassing boards have already deemed invalid or fraudulent.

[21:10:01] CUOMO: Right.

TODD: And that is the -- by the way, it's the same lawyer who two years ago objected to this process. The Florida law --

CUOMO: Right.

TODD: -- during the Hillary Clinton campaign. He was --

CUOMO: Do you have a legal right to appeal the decisions of the canvassing board?

TODD: You do, but he --

CUOMO: All right.

TODD: Hold on.

CUOMO: How is that --

TODD: Hold on, Chris. He went to court during the 2016 election.

CUOMO: Right.

TODD: He objected to Florida's absentee ballot verification laws.

CUOMO: Right.

TODD: The judge in that case, an appointee of Obama, Judge Walker, gave him the remedy he sought. Florida abided by that. The legislature in a bipartisan and unanimous fashion --

CUOMO: Right.

TODD: -- codified his answer. They put his procedures in place from that case.

CUOMO: Right.

TODD: Those are the procedures we have followed in this election. Those are the procedures--

CUOMO: He says they weren't followed. That's the whole point of the law.

TODD: Those are the procedures that we have followed.

CUOMO: I understand but their argument of the lawsuit is you're not handling them uniformly in different counties. TODD: He has had 16 -- that was going to always be the case after the judge's order and in the statute. He doesn't like the statute that he asks for.

CUOMO: But did -- right but can't argue it both ways. It's that you're admitting they don't do --

TODD: He -- exactly.

CUOMO: -- it uniformly and well and you're saying, well, but this is the rule he asked for. Now he's asking for a further modification because it's still not done well.

TODD: And you know, you know what else he did, Chris. He waited to see if his side won or loss before he decided of which side he was going to be on in the lawsuit.

CUOMO: And that's why people don't like lawyers. It doesn't mean he doesn't have the right to create that kind of lawsuit --

TODD: He doesn't--

TODD: -- and try to get the rule right.

TODD: But it's wrong for Bill Nelson to try to overturn the will of Florida's voters. You know what's going to happen on Thursday, is on Thursday at 3:00, this machine recount's going to end. Rick Scott is going to be ahead. Still the will of the Florida voters to send him to the senate and Bill -- Bill Nelson --

CUOMO: Maybe. Maybe. He's up, like, 12,000 votes.

TODD: Bill Nelson is going to have to decide, does he want to end his career paying Marc Elias' legal bills as a sore loser or does he want to go out as someone who dignifies and respects the will of people.

CUOMO: If politicians didn't pay lawyers when things were tight and they had fights to make, none of you guys would be anywhere. What I'm saying is this, you talk about having to make a decision. The governor has a decision to make.

He is supposed to certify, I believe it's him and one or two members of the legislature have to certify these results at some point in the future. Is he going to do that or will he recuse himself because of his own conflict in this?

TODD: The governor respects the process. He respects the law in Florida --

CUOMO: Even if he loses?

TODD: He is only asked that the law be followed in Florida. That is his job. That's where you use the law.

CUOMO: What if he loses? TODD: The governor -- Governor Scott has always been someone who's abided by the law. He's not going to lose unless they steal it from him in court. He is of the will --

CUOMO: But what if he loses and he thinks they stole it from him but they also -- but--

TODD: It's the will of the Florida voters that he be elected senator. It's been done in the countless -- it's here in the recount, and we'll see in another recount --

CUOMO: All right, I hear that. I hear that. And I heard what the President said. The President says you should have stopped counting on election night. Imagine if that had happened. You wouldn't know who won the race. He wouldn't have any idea who won this race if you stopped counting on election night because you know those are all raw estimates and people don't even have their ballots in hand. But that's the President. You don't have to answer for him tonight there with Governor Scott.

TODD: In Florida, you continue to count the ballots that you announce on election night in the days following --

CUOMO: That's exactly right and it's like that in most states. And you'd think the President would know that, but, again, he's not on your tab tonight.

The President is -- he speaks for himself. The governor is going to have to decide whether or not he certifies this because if he has the position you're outlining right now. That if they tell him, hey, they won their lawsuit, we have to review these signatures, it turns back -- we contacted the people and they verified that these are their ballots. We're going to count them. If he were to lose and he thought it was unfair, would he still certify the results?

TODD: Chris, the governor is going to be the senator. He is focused right now on what he needs to do for the people of Florida in Washington. He's won this election fair and square. He's going to win the recount. If the question is only in Senator Nelson's Court. Is he going to abide by the will of the voters or will he drive this to court --

CUOMO: They both are going to have to deal with the moment when they're going to have to accept results they may not like. That's why I'm asking you. I'll give you the spin tonight on it because we're still early in the process. We'll talk about this again. You're invited back. Give our best to the governor.

TODD: I will.

CUOMO: May the man with the most votes win. And I look forward to having you back.

TODD: Thanks a lot, Chris.

CUOMO: All right. Be well. That's Brad Todd. He represents Governor Scott. This is going to be an ongoing process and, again, the governor at the end of it, he's got to certify the results under Florida State Law. What happens there?

All right, let's take a little breather and then the other side.

An attorney representing Florida's Democratic Party, he's a veteran of that 2000 infamous ballot showdown. Can he defend the complaints about Democratic officials and the counting? Next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[21:16:01] CUOMO: No matter how many times the President tweets or speaks about election fraud in Florida, just know this, there is no proof. A judge said it today. The secretary of state has said it.

Florida law enforcement has said they haven't been asked to investigate any specific allegation, all right. The secretary of state is a Republican, just know that. My next guest is in the thick of all of this going on.

He is on the Democratic side. He was a special counsel during 2000 he is now Special Counsel to the Florida state Democratic Party, his name is Mitchell Berger.

Sir, good to have you on the show.

MITCHELL BERGER, RECOUNT SPECIAL COUNSEL, FLORIDA STATE DEMOCRATIC PARTY: Wonderful to be here. Thank you for having me.

CUOMO: All right, so the mainline allegation is this that your opponent can sustain. Boy, does this democrat in charge of Broward County stink at her job, she can't get anything done on time, she co- mingled ballots, she wouldn't abide by the law of transparency, she made the have to go to court, she's doing a sloppy job and now we have doubts about her accuracy.

BERGER: OK, well, look, the lawsuit that was won against the supervisor of elections was a public records request. She was given 24 hours to comply while at the same time everyone was asking her to count the ballots. To say that she is -- we would prefer more efficiency is absolutely correct, but she's still got all of her votes counted before Phoenix got their votes counted.

No one is condemning Phoenix for the orderly process they went through. In urban areas, you have trouble when there are extra votes. We had about a 20 percent higher turnout than was expected.

We don't put the budgets in to help. That doesn't mean that she shouldn't be doing it more competently and efficiently, but it does mean there is no fraud. I was in front of the canvassing board yesterday and I said after coming out of testing the machines with my Republican colleague that everyone is working hard, everyone is doing a good job and while we would prefer for it to be more efficient, neither my Republican colleague nor I who inspected the machines found any fraud.

CUOMO: All right.

BERGER: It is dangerous -- it is dangerous to the process to constantly say the system isn't working.

CUOMO: No, understood.

BERGER: It is --

CUOMO: Understood, but you need to have confidence in the system that comes through efficiency and finding ballots that weren't supposed to be co-mingled that were co-mingled hurts the confidence in the process. And now we're hearing that they may not have all the votes counted in time.

BERGER: That was 22 ballots. I would like to do have that efficiency in my checkbook every year. It was 22 ballots.

CUOMO: I don't know. I don't know that it's that casual thing. If they're are 22, how many did they not find? That's the problem with inaccuracy.

BERGER: Well, no, I appreciate that, but the real reason fraud is being talked about in Broward County is a precursor to have an argument that when the 25,000 under-votes in Broward County --

CUOMO: Under-votes are those where people filled out ballots but didn't vote in every race they were suppose to, it's called an under- vote. An over vote is where they're voted for somebody twice, so they voted twice in one race. So those are ballots that may be examined in certain recount situations.

Go ahead.

BERGER: Correct. So in the machine recount, during the machine recount phase, the under-votes, if the machines weren't calibrated correctly, the under-votes are going to be now counted. And in Broward County in a particular area, 25,000 people did not vote for the United States Senate who voted in the governors' race.

CUOMO: Right.

BERGER: That's an anomaly that's hard to explain. So the governor's people are constantly picking on Broward County and saying, fraud, fraud, fraud, because they are concerned if the 25,000 votes turn out to be correctly voted when the machine recount is completed. They want to have something to say about those votes.

[21:20:20] And the only thing they're going to be able to say other than if the votes are legitimate and come through Bill Nelson's way is that they were created by fraud. And why discredit the system? Why do that when all we need to do is calmly and succinctly do a machine recount, which is required by law?

CUOMO: Well, that is what's going to happen, and we're going to monitor it and we're going to watch it and we're going to test it. And I'm going to bring you back and we're going to discuss the issues as we move forward.

BERGER: Thank you.

CUOMO: All right. Counselor Mitchell Berger, thank you very much. I appreciate it. It's the way you got to do it. You got to hear from both sides, what they're putting out there, not just theories about what's going on and feelings about it because you've been there before. Let them make the case to you. Let's see how the facts fall on the bones on both sides. We'll go from there.

So, you know, you're going to hear this mudslinging. You've been hearing it on TV all day. You're going to hear it for days to come. The facts in Florida. I threw a lot of information at you there. Let's do a facts first. We're going to lay out everything that needs to happen and when. Next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CUOMO: All right. So this big news about what just happened in Arizona, you know, gives us a little different perspective than what we had on election night, 51-47, there are more two seats. You got the runoff in Mississippi and you have what's happening in Florida. Even if both of those go to the Republicans, you wind up having a 53- 47. So they will have netted two seats, they picked up two seats.

[21:25:09] But think about it, the President is getting all these pats on the back about he won, too, he got his base out. Manchin won in West Virginia, right? That place is all Trump all the time. Tester won in Montana. All Trump all the time. And in Arizona, you know, that was Jeff Flake's seat. They should have been able to keep it and they didn't.

So, as this story has evolved since last Tuesday, it's not looking as good as it was for the President, 53-47. Look, that's a much easier passage point for them the next time a judge comes up if it's on his watch. But remember this, the map worked to their advantage in the Senate this time on the Republican side. In 2020, it worked to the Democratic side. So, good they get some of those seats back, maybe, maybe not, it's a long way away.

All right, that's Arizona, and that's the state of play. Let's turn to Florida.

Officials are racing to finish a recount into three statewide races in Florida, Senate, governor and agriculture commissioner. Here's what you need to know and watch for with each of them, 3:00 p.m., all right, 3:00 p.m. Thursday. Thursday is going to be a big day. State law mandates that all 67 counties have to have their votes counted, 8.5 million votes. It's a big population surge in Florida. Can they handle it? Seems, no. And they're going to have to recount, get it done, give it to the secretary of state, all right? All of these races are going through this recount because they're within 0.5 percent. That's the state law that triggers an automatic machine recount.

Now, you heard the argument. In the Senate race, hold on a second, what if in Broward county, you do have these votes that the machine miscalibrated. If they can show that and it goes through and Scott can't stop it legally, you could have a change there. Other than that, 12,000 votes, even out of 8 million, that's not easy to overcome. All right.

Now, if any of these recount results though go from 0.5 percent to 0.25 percent or less, then you get a hand recount. More time, but more exacting, right? I know machines are supposed to be better. Not when it comes to voting. They want to do it by hand. Look at all the different ballots especially with the mind on two things, under-votes and over-votes. What are those?

They are ballots in which voters either didn't pick a candidate for every race, OK, or over-votes is when they choose more than a candidate in a race. The under-votes are the ones the Democrats are playing to right now and saying maybe the machine got it wrong. Did that come up in 2000? It did, but it wound up going to the Supreme Court and we know what happens. All right.

So, it seems pretty straightforward, but here's the problem. Many are wondering why is Florida so bad at this, 2000 all over again. Not really, OK? Here's why, some perspective. You show me the state, we're in a tight race. When they revealed their process, it doesn't reveal a lot of warts along with it. We have a problem in the arcane way that we vote. It's just true, you know. It's important -- It's an important part of our lives and it's the only one that has not been significantly upgraded by technology.

Think about it. The problem in Florida now as I referred to earlier is volume. These deadlines were put in place when Florida's vote pool was about 5 million. This Thursday, they're going to have to count 8.5 million votes. It's a lot more votes. They don't have more staff. They don't have different budgets. You don't have the manpower. You're going to get caught short. That's what's going on. Then you have more ballots are on the way, all right? Now, this is something important.

One of the reasons the President got pushed back so aggressively is not only because it's absurd to say that the voting should have been over on Election Day. They don't even count all the votes then. Those are estimates that come in, in almost every state. Especially in states sometimes where it's like three-quarters by mail. They could have never done it. But if you stopped then, you would have totally gypped overseas and military ballots because they're due later under law so you couldn't have stopped on Tuesday. It would have been unfair to the men and women who are fighting for our freedom somewhere else right now.

So, the counties are going to have to submit their final returns by this Sunday. The state is set to certify the election results by next Tuesday, November 20. So Thursday, then the weekend, then the 20th, OK? Those are the big dates. The big date on the 20th is going to be a really big deal and I'll tell you why.

There are lots of problems. You got the Palm Beach County supervisor coughing up the issue to old machines, right? You saw that argued for you tonight. The only recount that might be done in time is the Senate race as a result. Meantime lawsuits are mounting out all sides.

The governors, one of the candidates in that close Senate contest, right, but he's also the guy who's got to certify the results on November 20th. So what happens if he doesn't like the result? What if he decides he doesn't want to certify them? So the Democrats today sued him to refuse himself given the conflict. Will they win? Some 20,000 provisional and mail-in ballots are also at stake.

There's a hearing this Wednesday to determine whether those votes will count. The law says that they can't, but you have the right to appeal. Will they win? We'll see.

[21:30:00] So, now, the last point, you've got the governor, his Republican supporters and even the president have all made allegations of fraud without proof. You see what happens when I test them on that. They don't have the proof. They say, we suspect there could be fraud because the transparency wasn't in place. But that's different than saying there is fraud. You have to be able to show it. We only know what you can show.

So, just think about it. It's the governor's race, it's the Senate race, but its also the agriculture commissioner, so what does that mean that the fix was in so deep by Democrats in a Republican-led state that they even fixed the agriculture commissioner race? That sound compelling?

Now, none of that stopped the President and he loves making up voter fraud and he went the farthest saying the election should be decided by the votes tallied last Tuesday. No state had a real tally last Tuesday. Just know that. OK? Yes, he's the President, yes, you got to respect the office, but you don't have to respect everything he says because a lot of it is just bogus and this is one point of proof of that. All right? The process never ends on Election Day, by law anywhere. The President is dead wrong. Again, facts first. All right?

So Trump is now trying to raise money off his fact-free claim that the elections are being stolen. What do you think about that? Stolen or legit? You really want to put democracy to that kind of test? Let's put it to the test in a great debate, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[21:35:18] CUOMO: To our great debaters, Jennifer Granholm and Ken Cuccinelli. Let's see if we can start out on a point of mutual agreement. Does anybody agree that the election should have ended last Tuesday and all counting stopped on that day? Do we all agree that is an absurd notion? Yes, yes, yes?

JENNIFER GRANHOLM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes.

CUOMO: Good. We'll move on. Ken, I'll give you silence as acceptance.

KEN CUCCINELLI, CNN LEGAL AND POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, if all the ballots are there. Yes.

CUOMO: They're not all there, though. That's the point. And the President obviously was not over his skis or --

CUCCINELLI: No, I get it.

CUOMO: -- or he was looking to create chaos instead of consensus. All right. So let's talk now about the matters at hand. In Florida, Jennifer Granholm, you Democrats are sloppy, you're sloppy in charge of that Broward County. You're sloppy in charge of --

GRANHOLM: Hey, don't broad brush all of us. Come on.

CUOMO: Palm Beach, all with the same brush who represent them all today. Good for you. So do they have a point that there was a lack of transparency? They had to sue to get information they should have had under law and there is a right for -- there is a right and a reason for Republicans to be worried about the authenticity of the votes?

GRANHOLM: I think that they are right in that it must be transparent, but as you pointed out, this is not about -- that is not fraudulent. That she couldn't get it out in time is not -- does not mean that there are improperly cast ballots or ballots that are being miscounted or added. And that is a huge difference. A mistake or an inability to abide by it because of the speed of which -- with which the law requires is totally different than saying that there's a corruption, that votes are being stolen, that there is fraud. That, to me, is beyond the pale.

This President is cutting the legs out from under our election system overall by casting doubt on this. And, hey, isn't that why we're doing a recount to begin with? The recount has a Republican and a Democrats looking at every vote. You got to take anything to a judge. It is all transparent. It's being watched. That's why we should let every vote be counted and then accept the results.

CUOMO: Like the judge said today, relax, Ken. You guys, enough with the fraud talk. Tone it down. Let's see what happens.

CUCCINELLI: Yes, look, let's talk about this in terms of justice. As we do the court system. There are two elements to it. There's being right and the -- and everyone else on the outside having confidence that the conclusion is right. Of course, we want the right vote count, but the way this has unfolded, as Jennifer just said, you know, it encourages a certain lack of confidence to say the least. The President certainly has jumped on that, but the lack of transparency in violation of their own laws --

GRANHOLM: He's gone beyond that --

CUCCINELLI: -- by a person who has a track record of that, creates real doubt --

CUOMO: Well she's an easy target.

CUCCINELLI: -- in an environment like we live in today -- let me finish, Chris.

CUOMO: Go ahead, go ahead.

CUCCINELLI: Let me finish Chris. In an environment like we live today, that kind of doubt is viewed on the other side as negatively as it can be and that shouldn't surprise anyone.

CUOMO: Well, but that doesn't make it responsible, especially from a governor and a sitting President. Right? It's one thing to say, hey, the transparency's off, Ken. They should have been better, they went to court, she lost, good on them for bringing the suit. Governor Scott said there is fraud. The Democrats are cheating and trying to steal the election. He has no proof of any of that.

The President went even farther. In truth, I don't really want to entertain what the President said. I don't like that this day has come, but he is so ridiculous in what he said. He has so little basis for it that it's not even really worth our time.

So, Ken, I get you on the transparency 100 percent. I get you on wanting the monitors and more monitors, 100%. But you said there was fraud.

CUCCINELLI: Well, and obeying the law.

CUOMO: And you have no proof.

CUCCINELLI: And obeying the law.

CUOMO: But that is not proof of fraud.

CUCCINELLI: Right. But --

GRANHOLM: Can I --

CUCCINELLI: -- you're zeroing in on the loss of confidence just to lack of transparency, but there's more than that. There's violation of their own law. There's a court ruling against them so far. And this is an office that has a track record of this sort of --

CUOMO: All understood and granted, I'm just saying, Jennifer, that it's one thing -- everything Ken just said it true. It's all true, but they said something else. They said, and, therefore, there is fraud, and they are stealing votes and they are cheating and trying to win the election. We've seen no proof of any of that.

GRANHOLM: Right. I mean, talk about undermining confidence in the election system, Ken. I mean you've got now a judge who is a Republican judge, this morning, who said there is no proof of fraud. You've got the election's division saying in Florida those are appointed by Rick Scott, there is no proof of fraud. Even in Arizona, the President was saying the same thing. Their elections managers are saying there is no proof of fraud. So what you have is a President who is trying to undermine confidence in the electoral system.

[21:40:08] And what if Rick Scott wins? What if -- what does that mean? So he ends up winning and the President has completely trashed Florida --

CUCCINELLI: So we end up --

GRANHOLM: -- election system and now you've got people who are wondering whether he's legitimately there.

CUOMO: Ken?

CUCCINELLI: We had him do this on election night in 2016 in the run- up to it and he sat in the same result except it was his own election and here it's -- here it's Florida now, and Florida inevitably, we're going to be looking at Florida two years from now in the next presidential election as well, and yet we see competency issues that the whole country has seen for a long time in Florida that are the responsibility interestingly enough --

CUOMO: Only because we examine it.

CUCCINELLI: -- so more of local officials in Florida than, say --

CUOMO: Only because we examine it.

CUCCINELLI: -- where I live in Virginia.

CUOMO: I bet you if we looked at Virginia --

CUCCINELLI: Well, that's right because they're continually at the point of the fulcrum, Chris.

CUOMO: Right.

CUCCINELLI: And, you know, the constitution does give primary responsibility for elections to states.

CUOMO: It does. No question.

CUCCINELLI: And Florida keeps falling down on the job here.

CUOMO: Well -- but I think that it's also --

GRANHOLM: That's what the recount is all about.

CUOMO: -- because they get examined because they're so important. They have mechanisms in place --

CUCCINELLI: I'm not arguing against the recount.

CUOMO: Right.

CUCCINELLI: I've had it myself.

CUOMO: They may have two. They may have two. And look, in Virginia, if Tim Kaine hadn't been running against the bigot, and the race had been really close, so we started looking at Virginia's tally down there, I bet you would have seen it as well. I think it's a function of examination, not of anything endemic to Florida. Look, all of us are voting in arcane systems. Technology rules our lives everywhere --

GRANHOLM: Yes.

CUOMO: -- except when it comes to the franchise, which is odd. But you know, just to give one beat --

CUCCINELLI: Chris, they're not all arcane systems. They're not.

CUOMO: Who votes online?

CUCCINELLI: They're good reliable systems that count quickly.

CUOMO: Who votes online?

GRANHOLM: Nobody.

CUCCINELLI: Nobody.

CUOMO: That's my point. That's where you pay your mortgage. That's where all your money is. It's all digitized. You haven't seen a stack of whatever lucre (ph) you've been able to -- you know, to put together. We all trust everything to online services, but not this. That's all I'm saying.

GRANHOLM: Preach it. Preach it. I love that.

CUCCINELLI: No way.

CUOMO: No, but look, I know we have seen --

GRANHOLM: We have blasting technology --

CUCCINELLI: No way.

CUOMO: I know. I know. People say no way, but it's OK for all of our banking. It's OK for the Fed. It's OK for the treasury. You know, they have their gold back.

CUCCINELLI: Not our elections.

CUOMO: They're doing so much online, but not our election. Fine. Conversation for another day.

But just imagine, you know, when it comes to confidence, Ken and Gov. -- Jennifer, I'm glad that we started on this. You know, the President came out, I know he likes to swing big. I know that voter fraud is ripe for the picking because people already don't trust the process 100% and with good reason to a certain extent. But for him to say in Arizona it should have ended on Tuesday, they vote by mail, Ken. They vote by mail. You would have three quarters of your votes.

CUCCINELLI: Yes, three quarters of them vote by mail. Yes, three quarters of them vote by mail in Arizona. And I don't like that. I don't appreciate it, but that's their system.

CUOMO: Well, do you appreciate him being so grossly incorrect in what his remedy was for this situation?

CUCCINELLI: Back to my earlier, where there's correct and the appearance of being correct, first of all, I appreciate being correct. And McSally obviously conceded today.

CUOMO: Yes.

CUCCINELLI: Because she's comfortable with the way the process has gone.

CUOMO: Right.

CUCCINELLI: And really, she's the ultimate judge of her own race.

CUOMO: True.

CUCCINELLI: So, I think we need to accept that. And I agree with you about the comments that are really out of bounds under the circumstances. I will tell you, I was a person who watched that count roll in, and then immediately started making calls into Arizona. Why did this stop? And they did have some hang-ups.

CUOMO: Yes.

CUCCINELLI: But they're within the boundaries of their own --

CUOMO: 100 percent.

CUCCINELLI: -- law.

CUOMO: Any state that we examine --

CUCCINELLI: 100 percent as far as I know and that gives you a lot more confidence in the final outcome.

CUOMO: Well, look, you know what gives confidence? Confidence gives confidence. Don't knock it. Don't say there's fraud. Don't say there's bad things. Let the process play out. Ken, Jennifer, thank you very much.

And you know, they're not just on -- they're good on TV. Ken was an A.G., Jennifer was a governor. They understand this process. They know --

GRANHOLM: And an A.G.

CUCCINELLI: And an A.G., thank you. I forget. Of course you're better than Ken. I knew that going into it. All right.

CUCCINELLI: Oh, I heard that.

CUOMO: A time of great concern about the rise of white nationalism in America. OK, this is real. This isn't just about what the President says or what he gives some confidence to. All right? It is real. It's on the rise and there's a photo that surfaced that demands an explanation. A disturbing prom picture of all things, next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[21:47:41] CUOMO: All right. Here's the photo I wish I didn't have to show you. OK? It's from a high school in Wisconsin. It's going viral. We blocked their faces for obvious reasons. It was taken last spring, it just emerged. Those are dozens of high school kids giving the Nazi salute. One boy even appears to flash a white power hand sign that looked kind of like an OK sign. He's dead in the middle of your screen in the first row on the bottom.

The school says the photo was not taken on school property or a school-sponsored event. Like that ends the problem? There's an investigation into the circumstances. It's going on right now. This morning the Auschwitz Memorial Organization responded to the photo with a message on Twitter. They wrote this and it's something to listen to. "This is why every single day we work hard to educate. We need to explain what is the danger of hateful ideology rising. Auschwitz with its gas chambers was at the very end of the long process of normalizing and accommodating hatred." Let's bring in D. Lemon on this.

Don, one student in the picture who wished to remain anonymous, said the photographer, instructed the boys to raise their hands. That's their excuse.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Uh-huh. Well, I don't know, when I was -- how old are they, 17, right? I wouldn't have done it when I was 17. I don't know why -- why do we have to block it out?

CUOMO: Because a lot of them are minors.

LEMON: They put it on social media.

CUOMO: I know.

LEMON: They put it on social media for everyone to see, so why do that?

CUOMO: Because sometimes you protect people even from themselves.

LEMON: I don't know why you do that because if they are old enough and bold enough to do a Nazi salute symbol and to say the things that I've heard, if you look at the comments under that and also other young people, some of them anonymous, some of them not, talking, making the claims of what happens at that school, allegedly.

CUOMO: Right.

LEMON: And how some of the school officials overlook bigotry and talk of hatred and on and on.

CUOMO: There was also a suggestion that during the election that same community was getting propaganda from white nationalists as well. So they may have a problem there because, look, let's, to your original point, it's not the kind of thing that just pops into your head to do in a prom picture. You know, if you're going to do a spooffy prom picture, even if you don't want to be serious, even if you don't mean it, that's still not the first thing to pop into your head.

LEMON: No, it's not the first thing to pop in your head and if someone tells you to do that, you go, wait, what?

[21:50:03] So, listen, I have gone back and forth about this all day, meaning thinking about it. I know how they feel -- I feel about what they did. I'm just waiting for the excuse for people to start saying, oh, why ruin all these kids' lives or whatever? Well, they did it to themselves.

By the time you are that age, you should know better when it comes to these matters. And they have to learn it from -- the things that I hear they're saying, begin, allegedly, if they're indeed true, and there are enough students who are saying it is, they've got a real problem there. And they're learning this behavior from someone else. So it doesn't happen in a vacuum.

CUOMO: Right.

LEMON: It wasn't just a bunch of kidding come around saying, oh, let's do this. They learned it from their parents and from people they're in close proximity with.

CUOMO: Right.

LEMON: This is just -- it's a whole new crop of bigots that they're creating with these young people.

CUOMO: I understand, and that school, they may say it didn't happen here. It wasn't at one of our functions. It's not the end for them either. They have a duty to teach these kids and it's going to have to be something they deal with one way or the other. D. Lemon, I got to jump. I'll be with you at the top of the hour.

LEMON: Valerie Jarrett coming up to talk about Michelle Obama's new book, the former first lady.

CUOMO: Strong.

LEMON: Yes. See you.

CUOMO: All right. So when we come back, Veterans Day yesterday. We celebrate it today. What does it mean to you, what does it mean to me? They may be a little bit different, may be a little bit different. I'm going to tell you a story when we come back that I haven't told you before. I have shared it in the past, but it really matters today. And I have an argument to make to you. Please, you're going to want to see this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[21:55:37] CUOMO: Veterans Day, born on the cease fire, the armistice, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, 1918. That marked the end of fighting in World War I. Our fighting men and women and their families gave so much then and ever since. In fact, we honor them twice officially, now and of course on Memorial Day for special homage for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

Here's the problem. If you're honest about it, for too many of us, these occasions have become increasingly passive. It's a day off. It's a long weekend. Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer. Thank a vet. Support the troops. Never forget. These are phrases, and they're good phrases, and we should say them. But often they carry no further connection and certainly no further commitment.

Less and less of us have kids, siblings, loved ones in the service. But this isn't about casting blame, and it's only a touch about shame and mostly on me. Really it's about me asking myself and all of you to walk the talk. We have over 100,000 troops right now around the world. We have close to 15,000 in Syria and Afghanistan. They're in nasty situations. I don't report on it much, especially Afghanistan, because you don't care enough to watch. Now, that's kind of a copout, and I'm going to address that in a moment.

But our men and women are fighting, and they're sometimes dying over there in Afghanistan. We've had 100 lose their lives in the last few years. A hundred. Advise and assist, the missions are called. That gives you a wrongly benign thought about the reality.

I told you about Major Taylor. Remember him, the Utah mayor? Seven kids, the youngest one, Caroline, is 11 months. He died defending elections in Afghanistan and he asked us all to vote. He's just one who are over there who sacrificed everything.

Now they go home. The pledge we and so, so many politicians make is to give the vets the very best, and it falls short way too often. The V.A., that's an obvious one for you. It's not where it needs to be. There's controversy surrounding the Trump administration handling of who runs it, how it operates. Eighty thousand vets have not gotten G.I. Bill payments recently because of I.T. errors. You know how important that money is to them?

Congress was messing with veterans' ability to use those benefits for their own families. Cost-cutting on their backs. Tens of thousands of vets battle homelessness. Did you know that? Many of their families struggle financially when deployed. Twenty service members a day commit suicide, a problem that we haven't been able to reduce in recent years despite efforts. We just don't match our talk with our walk.

That's what I'm arguing. Just care more. Me too. Especially me. I have more ability to do what I'm asking from you, and I am going to do more, whether you watch or not. It matters. I'm making a mistake not doing it. It's not why I do the job.

Now I also have a special debt that many of you don't. I've been in many conflicts abroad since 9/11. I've seen ugly realities and I have a special reason to give back. Back when I was in Iraq, I was there with my photographer and a producer, and you're going to see what happened. Now, this was just after there had been a big argument about having up armored doors on humvees and whether they made a difference. It saved us in a very, very way. That's me there. We were in a convoy that got the business end of a very big IED, a body bomb in Iraq. We were firsthand witnesses and beneficiaries of American excellence.

And then there was the part that I've just never forgotten. After what they did for me, these men and women, they sent me, the one they kept safe, the one who did nothing to help protect his own life -- they sent me a combat pin and a flag from the vehicle that I was in and a congratulatory letter. The irony. These soldiers told me that I was one of them now, that I had seen combat, and then there was a note. We just want you to know we went right back to the same place the next day, and we were hit again, and we'll keep going. And they did. They fought on. I don't know how many ultimately made it back and how many were hurt that day.

I'll never forget what they showed me and what they did for me. I owe them, and I will do more. I promise you that. I promise you that. So to the troops, to the men and women who serve us, to the sacrifices of their families, thank you so much for what you do for all of us and what you did for me and my family. I owe them, and I will do more. I promise you that. I promise you that.

So, to the troops, to the men and women who serve us, to the sacrifices of their families, thank you so much for what you do for all of us and what you did for me and my family. I will never forget.

Thank you for watching. Thank you for thinking about it. I appreciate that. Got "CNN TONIGHT" now with Don Lemon straight ahead.