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CNN TONIGHT

Republicans Lose The Governor's Race In Kentucky; Democrats Starting To Gain Momentum; Election Day In Kentucky, Mississippi, And Virginia; Donald Trump Impeachment Inquiry. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired November 5, 2019 - 23:00   ET

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


[23:00:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.

There's a lot going on tonight and we're going to catch you up on the big headlines.

It is election night in America. And Democratic Andy Beshear declaring victory in Kentucky's governor's race. Key races like that may offer clues as how Americans will cast their ballots in the all-important presidential election one year from now.

Also, President Trump former top White House communication aide weighs in on tonight's election results.

And a key figure in the impeachment investigation makes a stunning reversal admitting to a quid pro quo between the U.S. and Ukraine. Hundreds of millions in U.S. military aid in return for dirt on Joe Biden.

But it is a big night for the Democratic candidate in Kentucky in the governor's race there. Let's get right to John King. John King is at the magic wall. John, good evening to you. Again, Kentucky is our main event tonight. What is the latest?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The latest is that the Democratic Attorney General, Andy Beshear is going to go to bed tonight believing he is the Democratic governor elect of the State of Kentucky.

The republican incumbent, Matt Bevin, we see him on the downside here. About 5,600 votes behind. If you round this is 49, 49, so it's close. But 5,600 vote lead for the Democrat Andy Beshear. Matt Bevins says I'm not going to concede tonight. We'll see what happens as that one plays out.

But everyone in the state seems to believe Andy Beshear comes out on top here. How did he do it, Don, in a state that has been red? The main foundation? Run it up. We've seen this throughout the 2018 midterms. We're seeing it in Kentucky tonight. Run it up in an urban area. Sixty-seven percent here in Jefferson County. It's the largest

population center, urban Louisville a lot of populated suburbs around here. Run it up and run it up big. That's an impressive start.

Then you come out to another major are in the commonwealth of Kentucky, Lexington. Again, run it up and run it up pretty big for this area. So, where the people are the Democrats especially in the suburbs increasingly good.

Suburbs again appear in the northern part of the state. You bring this up. Not a huge win there. But go back in time, when Matt Bevin was elected governor, he won this part of the state, Campbell County up here.

When President Trump was elected president, he won big time in Campbell County up here. But tonight, the Democratic candidate this is the Cincinnati Ohio is right here. The Cincinnati suburbs, if you will, the Democrat doing it there.

And in the close race where you're winning only 5,600, I mentioned the urban areas, I mentioned the suburbs. Andy Beshear also did very well out here. Just a little bit of history. Eastern Kentucky look at these rural counties. You might say that's not that much blue, but it's more blue than four years ago.

You had a Democratic candidate who went out into what has always been rural. Used to be Democratic country, then it became Republican. Now we call much of it, Trump country because it's so important to the president of the United States.

If you look at Donald Trump's map in 2016, in the presidential race. You're all red out here. Well the Democratic candidate for governor tonight went out and competed in small counties too. So, a complete race, if you will, for Andy Beshear, who again goes to bed tonight a little horse after that big speech and believing he wakes up the Democratic governor-elect.

LEMON: John, can you talk to me about Mississippi and the gubernatorial race there. Any developments?

KING: Sure. I can take you down there. That is one that Republicans feel good about. Because if you look at the vote count this has been consistently, Don, all night long. Sometimes races bounce around, especially close races bounce around.

This one has been a 10-point race where whether it's 10 percent than 20 percentage up. Eighty percent of the vote in now. The Republican Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves with a comfortable lead here. Fifty- four percent to 45 percent if you do the rounding there.

If you look at the map nothing terribly extraordinary about this. In the meaning that in Democratic areas like Jackson, Mississippi where the county is -- where the capitol is -- excuse me. Rankin County.

You have Hinds County over here. Sorry I hit the wrong county. You have the Democrat winning quite big. So, the Democrats are winning where you think the Democrats would win. But the Republicans running it up.

The only thing I would say about this is again, at a time when we are seeing Democrats outperform prior races during the Trump ages in the Kentucky governor's race most likely leading to a victory.

In Virginia the Democrats rebounding that state has been moving more and more blue in the legislative races. The Republican is ahead here in the Mississippi governor's race. I just want to make the point. This was a blow out four years ago. It's still a big race and a big win. Big lead for the Republican candidate there tonight. But everything even in the places where they're winning it seems a little harder for Republicans during the Trump years.

LEMON: Thank you very much, Mr. John King. I appreciate that. I want to discuss all of this now with the former Virginia governor, Terry McAuliffe and CNN political commentator Scott Jennings. Gentlemen, fascinating evening. I'm sure you both will agree.

Governor, I'm going to start with you. The Democrats are having a really big night in Virginia. They flipped both the Senate and the House tonight. How did they do it?

[23:05:02]

TERRY MCAULIFFE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, Don, this was a huge night for us. This the first time in 26 years since 1993 that the Democrats have controlled the House, the Senate, and the governor's mansion. It's a huge win for us. Democrats ran on issues that people care about. Lowering prescription drug prices. Investing in education.

Donald Trump was humiliated tonight. He was humiliated in Kentucky where he went down and campaigned and lost the governor ship. He was humiliated in Virginia. He couldn't even come to Virginia where 1.4 miles from the White House. And he couldn't step foot in the commonwealth of Virginia.

It was a big night for us. The first time in 26 years. You look at Virginia, you look at Kentucky and you look at the votes we got in Mississippi. It's a tough night for Donald Trump. It's a good night for the Democrats. Why? Because we lead on the issues. Fight non- prescription drug prices, fight on the issues of economic, growing the economy, investing in education. Great night for Democrats.

LEMON: Scott, it's a bit of a smirk there when the governor was speaking when he said that Donald Trump, I think he said was humiliated. You, apparently you disagree with that?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, obviously Democrats did great in Virginia. Over here in Kentucky where I'm sitting Republicans had a perfectly fine night. There were lot of races on the ballot for state constitutional office. From attorney general in a race that Donald Trump personally got involved in all the way down to secretary of state, auditor and commissioner. Republicans swept every single race on the ballot except governor which it looks like the Democrats are going to win that race. Bevin is not conceding. We had a branding issue here in Kentucky but it had nothing to do with

Trump or the Republican Party. It had everything to do with Matt Bevin who had in fact becoming exceedingly personally unpopular.

But the rest of the Republican ticket was running around 60 percent. And so, it looks to me like Bevin had his own problems. But Trump having endorsed the other candidates in Kentucky who did fine.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Scott, let me --

JENNINGS: And they got a perfectly fine night.

LEMON: Let me ask you this. But Trump was very active in that governor's race. They're holding a rally for Bevin in Lexington last night. This is what the Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale had to say about tonight's election.

He said, "President Trump -- President Trump's rally helped five of six Kentucky Republicans win clear statewide victories. The president just about dragged Governor Matt Bevin across the finish line. Helping him run stronger than expected in what turned into a very close race at the end. A final outcome remains to be seen."

The message it's not our fault. What do you think?

JENNINGS: Yes. I think they are saying it's not their fault because Bevin had a real popularity issue here. He touched an issue that got him in trouble which was our state pension system, specifically teacher pensions.

And although I think it was a correct idea to reform the pensions, the way he went about it, his bedside manner, some of the things, some of the language and rhetoric he sued about the teachers it wasn't good and it didn't help hip.

Now that didn't apply to other Republicans who run much better races and all run very close to Donald Trump. The attorney general's race here millions of dollars were spent in that race by Democrats and Republicans.

Donald Trump personally got involved in that race as well. Daniel Cameron, the new A.G. got 58 percent of the vote. So, I really do believe this is confined to Governor Matt Bevin here and his personal popularity issues. They did have a big rally last night and he did get personally involved for Bevin. But I have to say, I think if Trump hadn't come Bevin would have not gotten within 4,600 votes. I think he was destined to lose by several more points.

LEMON: Governor, are there lessons for Democrats in these races the Kentucky candidate was a centrist?

MCAULIFFE: Yes. I lost audio for a few minutes but I'm now back. I have to tell you. The idea that the Republicans lost the Kentucky governor's race is astounding. This is a state that Donald Trump carried by 30 points. And there's no way Scott or any Republican can try to make this look good.

They lost big tonight in Kentucky. They lost the governorship. The most important statewide race. They lost in Virginia. Both chambers the first time since 1993. This is a repudiation of Donald Trump and his policies. And this bodes very well for him as we go into 2020.

People want to see Democrats in control. They see the success the Democrats have had here in Virginia. They want to take it to the next level. But there is no other way to say this. Bad night for Donald Trump losing the Kentucky governorship. A closer race for the governorship in Mississippi, and literally crushed in the commonwealth of Virginia. Bad night for Donald Trump. He was humiliated tonight.

LEMON: Let me get you to talk more, Scott, about the Virginia legislature. Because Democrats have taken control of both chambers there. The Senate and House of delegates. I mean, how do you read that? It's not a good night for Republicans in Virginia.

JENNINGS: Absolutely true. Look, Republicans didn't do well. They didn't obviously do well in the election in Virginia last time around either when Ed Gillespie lost the governor's race.

[23:09:57]

And So that state is trending away from the Republican Party. I mean, it used to be a state that we kind of counted on in presidential elections. It doesn't look like it's going to be in play in 2020.

So, I think that we have these states that are basically trending blue that re continuing to go that direction. And we have states that are trending red. Tend to -- Trump tends to be popular there. So, it doesn't feel like we have that many, you know, some of this old school purple states like Virginia just seems drifted away from the Republicans at least for the present time. So, I wouldn't --

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Does that concern you?

JENNINGS: -- with much about Virginia politics -- absolutely. Look, it is concerning. Except it still doesn't shut off all the avenues of Donald Trump to get reelected. I mean, Virginia is not Pennsylvania, Michigan or Wisconsin. Virginia is certainly not it look like a lot of the other states that Trump won and would need to win to get to 270 votes.

But yes, of course. I'm a big tent Republican. I want to be able to compete everywhere. I'm sure McAuliffe would like to be able to compete in a lot of states where Democrats can't campaign either, but that's not the major --

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Let me ask you about McConnell and then I'll bring -- I'll bring the governor back in. How do you think Mitch McConnell is going to handle this? I mean, he's up for reelection as well. You know, trying to navigate impeachment. Does he -- does he have to think twice now?

JENNINGS: No. Number one, McConnell is most -

(CROSSTALK)

MCAULIFFE: Well, let me tell you. This is a bad -- this is a bad night for Mitch McConnell. This is a bad night for Mitch McConnell. So, his home state they lost the governorship which is the most important race you have in the state. Because the governor runs your state. He is the most important person in the state in Kentucky. And they lost that tonight.

And Scott talks about it's trending away the Republicans. I'll tell you why here in Virginia. When I became governor, I inherited the biggest deficit in the history of the state from the Republicans. I left the biggest surplus. Record job creation. Record investment in education.

The Republicans spent their time on anti-women, anti-LGBTQ, anti- environment, progun. You know what? That message doesn't work here in Virginia. And it doesn't work anywhere else in the country. They're not only losing Virginia; they are losing America because they're not fighting on the issues that matter to the American people every single day.

Lowering prescription drug prices. Infrastructure. Job creation. They're out of the game on this. It's not just Virginia. They got a problem in the country.

LEMON: Scott, your look said it all. That's got to be the last word because I'm out of time. You disagree, I'm sure. Thank you, Scott. Thank you, Governor. I appreciate it.

JENNINGS: Yes. Thanks, Don.

LEMON: A big night for Democrats in Kentucky and Virginia. What should Republicans take from all this with election night 2020 just one year away. Anthony Scaramucci weighs in, next.

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LEMON: Well here's our breaking news. Major upset in Kentucky's governor's race. The Democrat Andy Beshear declaring victory over incumbent Republican Matt Bevin in that state that Donald Trump won by 30 points in 2016.

Joining me now is President Trump's former White House director of communications, Mr. Anthony Scaramucci. Good evening, sir.

ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Hi. It's not a good evening. It's a great evening. It's a great evening.

LEMON: What's your take away? Are you surprised by this race in Kentucky? SCARAMUCCI: Yes, I was definitely surprised by it. Remember the

president went down there a couple days ago, he said, you know this is all about me. Of course, everything is all about him until you got a vote for Governor Bevin. Send a message to everybody. And they did send a message. If you look at the voting, I mean, it's a clear repudiation of Trumpism. So that's a great message for Republicans.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Listen to what the -- this is the president talking about Bevin last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: You're sending that big message to the rest of the country. It's so important. You got to get your friends, you got to vote. Because if you lose, it sends a really bad message. It just sends a bad and they will build it up.

Here's the story. If you win, they are going to make it like ho, hum. And if you lose, they are going to say Trump suffered the greatest defeat in the history of the world. This was the greatest. You can't let that happen to me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Well, Trump won in Kentucky by 30 points as I said in 2016. Brad Parscale -- that was in 2016. Brad Parscale is saying tonight that Trump almost dragged Bevin across the finish line. But you heard what he said they'll say --

SCARAMUCCI: Was he going to say that he didn't help him?

LEMON: Yes.

SCARAMUCCI: Let's be fair to the president. Maybe he did help him. Maybe he was going to lose by 15 points and maybe some Trump supporters came out. I have no idea. But the bottom line is look what happened in Virginia. Look what happened in Kentucky. Look what happened with Ambassador Sondland today.

Every day is a bad day for the president. And so, if you are a stock market investor like I have been for 30 years and you're watching the differential and you're actually watching the chart of dissent of Trump's presidency. It's very, very bad for him. And it's compounding.

LEMON: But the markets, I mean, despite all the chaos it's going on so far.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARAMUCCI: Well, the stock market is being levitated by the Federal Reserve. You got three cuts by the Federal Reserve and they're also purchasing assets now. But I'm just using a stock market metaphor in the analogy to explain what's going on with the president. Last month he had a very bad month. He went from 43 percent impeach

and remove to 49. That's a 15 percent increase. And so next month we're in to the mid-50s and then the month after that, we're into the low 60s. It's going to be very, very bad for the Republicans. And the Republicans are nervous now. Those congressmen --

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: But that's not -- I was going to say are they going to begin to distance themselves from this president?

SCARAMUCCI: How can they not -- how could they -- not yet. Not yet. Because that's what I was trying to say last night. It's a whole David Koresh like, you know, bonding and cult like behavior. He shames people that leave him. You know, he'll out them on Twitter, he'll bully them. And they're very fearful of him. OK. And their lives rely on this guy in many ways.

And so, what will happen, though, they're going to want to keep the Senate. They're going to say OK, the White House is probably gone if we go with President Trump. I don't think they have the bravery to do what needs to be done. It's to seek his removal and to get him replaced by a qualified functioning adult. OK.

LEMON: Yes.

SCARAMUCCI: It could be any Republican in good standing frankly. And so, they're not willing to do that, and so they're probably going to lose the White House next year but they're going to want to keep the Senate. So, they're going to start to disavow themselves from him.

LEMON: OK. I'm wondering if it's starting to weigh on Republicans? Because if you look at the reception that the president gets publicly when he's not at a rally. Right?

[23:20:00]

If you look at how Republicans continue to support this president. But then you see what's happening in, you know, in Kentucky and Virginia, what have you. Is this -- are they -- is this going to going to weigh on Republicans and enough to distance themselves from the president?

SCARAMUCCI: I do believe that. Yes. I don't think it's going to happen right away. But I do think you're now, like I said at 49 percent goes to 50, goes into the low 60s. And it's clearly going to happen.

Also, again, every week is a worse week for the president. Every single week. Next week we've got the anonymous book coming out. And the anonymous person is promising to use the president's own words in describing his aberrant and unlawful behavior inside the White House.

And so, I don't know. Is that going to be a good week for the president, Don? I predict that it won't be. And then the following week will be worse than that. And so, that's what we're watching right now. And this was a big, big blow for the Republicans, particularly in Kentucky.

LEMON: Yes.

SCARAMUCCI: Come on, that's a fairly red state. Senator McConnell is up for reelection next year. I like Senator McConnell. I've been a donor in his campaigns before. I know his wife very well. Like her a great deal. And --

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: But are you disappointed his actions lately?

SCARAMUCCI: Well, how could you not be.

LEMON: Yes.

SCARAMUCCI: OK? Because at the end of the day you got to take the country and patriotism over party. And so, I'm a little disappointed in that. But he's going to want to win that reelection. This is his last go around likely as a senator and he's not going to want to be in the minority as a senator. And he just lost the great state of Kentucky.

LEMON: Yes.

SCARAMUCCI: So, to me, I think they're going to start to explain to the president that it's sort of over. And if they can do this by March, it will be very, very good for the Republican Party. Because the Democrats have moved so far to the left. You know, they could still win --

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: John Kasich his response saying, this shows you that Democrats can win if they run a moderate Democrat.

SCARAMUCCI: Yes.

LEMON: Because he believes that the country is center left, center right. I don't know if --

(CROSSTALK)

SCARAMUCCI: Exactly. I told you I watch every --

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: And everything else is noise pretty much.

SCARAMUCCI: Look, he is a very common-sense oriented guy. And he's been around a long time. And so just a moderate functioning adult will beat President Trump next year.

LEMON: You have said that Republicans don't speak very highly of this president behind closed doors.

SCARAMUCCI: We both know that's true.

LEMON: Yes. But, so, are the results a reflection of that disconnect? Because you get all the president's -- the people who -- as these are your words, you said the cult like. You said it was David Koresh sort of bonding. Right? The people who will never say anything --

(CROSSTALK)

SCARAMUCCI: Are you watching the same stuff that I'm watching. I mean, it' a --

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: No. You're the person -- I'm asking the questions.

SCARAMUCCI: You know it's like that.

LEMON: So, this a disconnect. You think this is a disconnect between the sort of --

SCARAMUCCI: Yes. I think what's happening now is that it started to breakthrough. So, they're looking at people that are fairly rational and well thought out, you know, thorough people analyze the situation and say, wait a minute, a lot of the stuff is being said whether it's here on your show or other shows is actually logically true.

And the president's lies are like so far off the chart now they start to question themselves. And once the cognitive dissidents kicks in, they just need a little bit of affirmation. You know, I spend a lot of time reading about deprogramming. OK.

So, we're working it very hard. OK. I don't think the president understands or his campaign team understands how much damage has been done since August in various swing states and in various public opinion polls about how abhorrent the president's behavior is and how there is literally an awakening going on around the nation. And this should be signal to them tonight.

LEMON: Deprogramming.

SCARAMUCCI: Deprogramming.

LEMON: You're reading my mind. I see a lot of that happening.

SCARAMUCCI: No. You don't need to be deprogrammed. You look very rational.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: No, no, I'm not talking about me. But I do see a lot of people who would not say one --

(CROSSTALK)

SCARAMUCCI: No more.

LEMON: Now they're saying no more.

SCARAMUCCI: They're saying no more. Yes, it's enough. A name they know it. I mean, he knows. And by the way, he is going to be cornered he'll be tweeting like a raving lunatic tomorrow. And he'll be self- congratulating himself.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: He'll misspell, we'll figure out.

SCARAMUCCI: Spinning it and doing all the stunts. And people are tired of it now. There's Trump fatigue out there, Don. You saw tonight. It's great night for America.

LEMON: Thank you very much.

SCARAMUCCI: It's good to be here.

LEMON: Good to see you.

SCARAMUCCI: Thank you.

LEMON: A lot more on our breaking news. A big night for Democrats declaring victory in the Kentucky governor's race. Flipping both chambers in Virginia. What does this tell us about 2020? We'll discuss.

[23:25:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: So, we have some breaking news on election night. Democrat Andy Beshear declaring victory in the Kentucky governor's race. So, what does this mean for 2020 with the election now just a year away?

Let's discuss. Toluse Olorunippa is here, Matt Lewis, Alice Stewart. Hello, one and all. Surprising what happened in Kentucky, right? How big of a blow is this race for the Republicans? You first, Toluse.

TOLUSE OLORUNNIPA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Republicans were definitely watching this race closely. The president went down there and had a rally. It is a number of the latest in a large number of governorships that have flipped from Republicans to Democrats.

And you know, several Republicans have pointed out that the lower ticket ballots all went in favor of the Republicans. But there's nothing as important as a governor's race and this was a key state that the president was watching very closely. He had gone down to hold a rally for the incumbent.

Having an incumbent kicked out in the year before a presidential election is not a positive sign for Republicans. There's no way to split the apple on that. But it does appear that Republicans have something that they can point to in some of those lower ticket races.

But losing the governorship is going to be tough for the president, tough for the Republicans to stomach having a Democrat there for the next four years who can do a number of things with his executive authority. And the fact that healthcare was on the ballot. The fact that education was on the ballot and the Republican governor was kicked out.

[23:30:00]

It's something that should send chills up the spine of a large number of Republicans who haven't been able to put forward a strong health care plan despite the fact that they have been in control in Washington for the last three years.

LEMON: So Matt, David Gregory said earlier that Trump isn't on the ballot but trumpism is. What do you think? Are people fed up with all the chaos?

MATT LEWIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, SENIOR COLUMNIST FOR THE DAILY BEAST: Yeah, totally. That was a great line because Matt Bevin is very Trump-like. I know Matt Bevin had some unique problems, specific problems in Kentucky. Well, guess what? Donald Trump has got some unique problems, too. And Donald Trump went to Kentucky, campaigned. Matt Bevin tried to nationalize this race, tried to say that it was about impeachment.

So I think this does matter. Something is going on. Don't want to overplay it. Something is afoot. I think, look, the other side of the equation is Democrats. If we want to, you know, extrapolate this and try to make it mean something in 2020, that's always dangerous. But if we do, you got to do the other side of the equation, too.

Democrats had a good candidate, someone who had seemed competent, family name, and someone who seems to be a moderate. I think that matters as well.

LEMON: Yeah. Alice, listen. Like Matt just said, people keep saying that Bevin had issues because he is controversial and disliked there. Does that sound like any other politician you might know who is going to be on the ballot in 2020 controversial and disliked?

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, the difference between Bevin and Donald Trump is Donald Trump won that state by 30 points and Matt Bevin just lost. Look, Bevin was behind by about 10 points just a few weeks ago. The fact that he lost by a few thousand points goes to show that the --

LEMON: Two thousand votes.

STEWART: -- the president's visit did help. Look, it is not right. He rallied the troops. Look, it's not a good look for a president that won a state in double digits to have to drag (INAUDIBLE) to the state the night before. It's not good.

But as we have said several times this evening, Matt Bevin suffered from self-inflicted wounds, battling the teachers union, fighting against Medicaid expansion, fighting against the media, fighting against Republican in his own state house was not helpful. And at the same time, Beshear is a popular candidate. He has a legacy in the state. And what he said in his election acceptance speech tonight was what he has been saying all along throughout his campaign that he will work for the lost and the lonely and those left behind. That's an important message. That resonated with the people there.

The fact that he is popular and Bevin is so unpopular, that's the big factor, that's more of a takeaway than Trump. Look, the reality is Trump was not on the ticket and Matt Bevin was, and that is what lost here. It's not -- I don't see this specific race as a reflection on Donald Trump at all.

LEMON: OK. So, your Republican friends aren't saying that either. What are they saying tonight? Are they worried about what this means for Republicans and their chances in 2020?

STEWART: The thing to take away from this is where we lost votes, where we lost pockets of support. Look, the Democrats did well in the urban areas, in Louisville, in Lexington and in Bowling Green. They also gained ground in the suburbs, which are traditionally a republican stronghold and certainly a Trump stronghold.

So there is an opportunity to learn here, that we need to double down and reinforce and engage voters in those areas because that is something that we cannot continue to see a trend like this taking into 2020. This is something that the RNC, the Trump re-elect has the resources and the manpower, and now they have the motivation to double down in those suburban areas.

LEWIS: This is the big key. I think Alice is right --

LEMON: Can you hold that to the other side of the break?

LEWIS: I can hold.

LEMON: I will bring you guys back over. OK. I'll see you on the other side of the break. We'll continue this conversation. Don't go anywhere.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:35:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: We have more breaking election news tonight. CNN projects Republican Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves will defeat Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood in the Mississippi governor's race.

Back with me are Toluse Olorunnipa, Matt Lewis, and Alice Stewart. So, the Republicans won Mississippi but what kind of night is this for Republicans when that's, you know, the big success, especially considering that this is, you know, much better margin for the Democrat than in the last race there? I'll ask that to you. What do you think, Toluse?

OLORUNNIPA: As Alice said before the break, it's clear that Republicans are suffering in a couple of places that they're going to need to perform well if they're going to do well in 2020, including in the suburbs that they struggled in in 2018. We're seeing that continuing in Virginia where the suburbs have really fled from the Republican Party and Democrats were able to flip a couple of chambers there.

Places that are in the Deep South that are rock red Republican remain pretty strongly red except for Kentucky, the governor's race, which was a little bit of an aberration. But there are some signs, some warning signs for the Republican Party. There are some warning signs for the Democrats as well. They're not doing so well in rural areas.

But if Republicans continue to bleed some of the suburban votes, it is going to be difficult for them to win in a number of states that are either swing states or trending toward swing states. Even Texas has been one of the places where we are seeing this so-called (INAUDIBLE) where Republicans in suburbs have struggled to hold on to their seats, several retirements.

[23:40:02]

OLORUNNIPA: So this night is not a good sign for Republicans who are trying to reverse some of the losses that they had in 2018.

LEMON: OK. So let's get back now to Kentucky and talk specifically about that. That was about Mississippi. Matt, you were saying on the other side of the break, you were ready to make a point before the break. What was it?

LEWIS: I think he just made my point.

(LAUGHTER)

LEWIS: Let me just -- it's an important one. So I think it bears repeating. By the way, there was this New York Times/Siena poll yesterday that I think is confirmed a bit by the results in tonight's election. Basically, what you have is this polarization in two Americas (ph), right?

So areas that are rural places like Mississippi, Donald Trump actually probably does better than a normal Republican. But in Virginia, places like Virginia, places like Texas, and places like Kentucky, there's a huge problem. What we have seen is this suburban wipe out. If you are college-educated person, you are much less likely to vote for Donald Trump than you used to be to vote for Mitt Romney or John McCain.

If you live in a rural area, you're still a Trump voter probably. The more close you get to a city, the more likely you are to not like Donald Trump. And so you can pretty much go across the country and look at the map.

That's where The New York Times/Siena poll gets interesting, right? Those states that really matter, the Electoral College states, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, those states, you know, that's where I think Kentucky should be worrisome to Donald Trump because these are states that are still -- the Rust Belt states, the working class states, probably not a huge percentage of college-educated -- college graduates there.

But, all Donald Trump has to do -- he won by 70,000 votes. He won three states by 70,000 votes. So the margins are so tight. If you look at what happened to Matt Bevin, it has to worry you if you're Donald Trump.

LEMON: Yeah. Alice, which of the Democratic candidates might be getting another look after tonight's results?

STEWART: I look at 2020 different than the individual governor's races. But the reality is when you have someone like Bevin winning or losing to someone democratic candidate there who was a much more moderate candidate, it should send a huge signal to the Democratic Party that people will resonate toward someone who is more moderate and not far to the left.

I think that's a huge takeaway for the Democrats coming out of Kentucky because this is someone who was certainly not as progressive as a lot of the Democratic candidates we are seeing in 2020.

And the DNC should recognize while the AOC wing of the Democratic Party is really pushing to go far left and progressive like with the Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders and the like, someone more moderate like Joe Biden and those who are certainly more middle of the road are going to be much more successful in the general election. Tonight is an indication of that.

Clearly the Democratic Party has taken a strong shift to the left and they are all in on progressive issues. They do tend to gravitate toward a candidate like Elizabeth Warren who is for big ideas and makes you feel really good. But that's only going to make them feel good through the primary. It's going to give them a headache on the general election night if that's the direction.

LEMON: Matt, Beshear focusing on the issues. Democrat and Republican alike have said exactly what Alice has said on tonight's show.

LEWIS: Yeah. This is an area where Alice and I completely agree. Like if we are going to extrapolate, like make this a model, here is a guy who -- Donald Trump won that state by like 30 points a couple years ago, a few years ago. And now a Democrat wins statewide albeit narrowly. How does he do it? Well, you know, Donald Trump went there, Matt Bevin tried to make it about impeachment. You had a candidate who is competent, who is moderate, and --

LEMON: Also has name recognition as well. That helped.

LEWIS: Doesn't hurt.

LEMON: Yeah.

LEWIS: Doesn't hurt. LEMON: Thank you all. I appreciate your time. Big developments in the impeachment inquiry. Gordon Sondland, ambassador to the E.U. and a million dollar Trump donor, now admitting there was a quid pro quo after all.

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[23:45:00]

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LEMON: A key figure in the impeachment inquiry changing his testimony to Congress and admitting there was a quid pro quo between the U.S. and Ukraine.

Let's discuss now. Asha Rangappa is here as well as Harry Litman. Good evening to both of you. Harry, we now have Ambassador Sondland's amended testimony. I just want to read the key part where he admits to a quid pro quo.

He says, "I now recall speaking individually with Mr. Yermak, where I said that resumption of U.S. aid would likely not occur until Ukraine provided the public anti-corruption statement that we had been discussing for many weeks."

There's the shakedown. What does this mean for President Trump who says over and over again no quid pro quo?

HARRY LITMAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: Yeah, it's a big one. It pretty much forecloses that argument and it's coming here from a political partisan. To date, we've had the civil servants, who actually should be the most credible, but whom Trump has left to attack.

[23:50:04]

LITMAN: But here's a guy firmly on team Trump who was just caught in a lie. You know, I don't think he became conscience-stricken. He huddled with his $1,000 an hour lawyers and realized he had to clean this up, and he did last Monday. Now, he's stuck because in his previous testimony when he said, I didn't do anything like this, he went on and on about how terrible and illegal it would be.

So there's no way of trying to say he did it but it's not so bad. He really has to live with it now. He did his best to still keep Trump at arm's length and put it on Giuliani and be vague where Trump is concerned. But as for the facts, I think it's all she wrote.

LEMON: Wow. Asha, I wonder what you think because you made an excellent point on Twitter about Sondland's testimony, and how they wanted a public announcement of the investigation. And here's part of that that had you screaming from the rooftops.

It says, "OK. You do not know where that interview would have occurred?" "I don't." "Or on what network?" "I don't know, but something President Trump would obviously see." "OK." "Fox. On Tucker."

The fact that the president wanted a public announcement, that would explain why this is so consequential, right?

ASHA RANGAPPA, CNN LEGAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST, FORMER FBI SPECIAL AGENT: Yes. And I think that's so important is that what they really wanted was Zelensky to state publicly that he was going to be investigating the Bidens and the basis of the 2016 election interference.

It wasn't a commitment to actually investigate, which, you know, could have happened, you know, quietly, which is how normally these kinds of law enforcement things would happen.

And why that's important, Don, is the purpose was to shape the perceptions of American voters, to make them believe that Ukraine had independently come to this conclusion that there was some reason, something suspicious to investigate.

There was not going to be anything in the public statement that indicated that the U.S. played any role in that statement. So it's basically propaganda. This is a (INAUDIBLE), a way to influence, you know, voters as we go into 2020.

And by the way, the U.S. government cannot conduct that kind of psychological propaganda operation. It's actually against the law. They can't do it to influence, you know, media or political processes in the United States.

LEMON: All right. So, Harry, let's just be clear here. She's saying this was all for political gain, what happened. But this revised testimony is coming from a Trump loyalist. Sondland donated $1 million to Trump's inaugural committee. Republicans seized on Sondland's no quid pro quo text message, right?

But this changes things in a big way. I watched people today who had said, well, Sondland said no quid pro quo the first time. And then today they tried to say that, oh, well, he's got credibility issues now. So, this changes things in a big way, don't you think?

LITMAN: Yeah. You know, I really do. And they're twisted like a pretzel now trying -- there's nothing on the other side, by the way, right? Witness after witness, you know, Taylor or Hill have all substantiated what the whistleblower had to say. But now you did have Sondland trying to say nothing had happened, of course.

By the way, what a thing to forget. I mean, no one is going to believe that he just forgot it. When it happens with a witness, it just puts it in neon, quid pro quo, quid pro quo. He's got more. It's clear from other witnesses that he's involved in toeing this line earlier and later, July 10th, September 1st. And as to those, he just said don't recall, don't recall, don't recall.

But this one, he was stuck. He had to disavow it. It means that there's basically no credible place now for Republicans to go as far as the facts. They're left with some kind of argument maybe it's not impeachable, maybe it's OK. But, of course, Trump is insistent that he be defended on his substantive terms, which is that it was a perfect call.

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LITMAN: That's just not a plausible thing. Any politician who wants a future with credibility can say now.

LEMON: Yeah. Hey, Asha, I've got 15 seconds. House investigators want the acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, to testify on Friday. What's the likelihood of that happening and could this become part of the obstruction case?

RANGAPPA: I expect that they'll, you know, invoke executive privilege, which is what they do for, you know, everybody and their dog. But, yes, I mean, I think the House has made clear that if they continue to try to stonewall, that those will become a part of the obstruction case if there's not a valid privilege underlying it or other reason to not come in.

[23:55:00]

LEMON: Every day, there's something in the impeachment inquiry and then on the election as well, 2020, a year away, and here we have a Democrat, the projected winner by the secretary of state and also by the one who is projected to have won, saying that he won the governor's race in a ruby red state. Thank you both. And thank you guys for watching. Our live coverage continues.

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