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Pennsylvania Poll: Biden Leads Trump Among Likely Voters; Trump Ramps Up Attacks On Biden And Harris; DOJ Asks To Defend Trump In Defamation Lawsuit; Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist (D-MI) Discusses Biden Visiting Michigan, Biden Releasing His Economic And Tax Plan; GOP Politicians Urge Big 10 To Reinstate Football Season; Coronavirus Misinformation Lands In Wall Street Research Note. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired September 9, 2020 - 11:30   ET



LAURA BARRON-LOPEZ, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: He is doing well in the Pennsylvania suburbs, according to the latest poll out today. And college-educated voters are a big driver of that. That's a shift from 2016 when Trump won Pennsylvania suburbs by eight points.

So, yes, his approach so far appears to be benefiting him despite the fact that Trump is trying to play a margin game, particularly with voters of of color in the swing states. But so far, we're not seeing much of an

impact on the polls.

JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: And we're seeing, Seung Min, from watching 2016 and early 2020 before rallies were curtailed some, when the president gets animated before the crowd, he's always caustic and his language is rough. But when he gets animated before a rally crowd, he tends to get more personal in his criticism of rivals. Listen.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: People don't like her. Nobody likes her. She could never be the first woman president. She could never be.


TRUMP: That would be an insult to our country.

Half competent and heading south rapidly.

They want to destroy your suburbs.

They want to indoctrinate your children and implement a ruinous shutdown of the United States economy again.


KING: It is not a surprise, if you have followed this president, that he gets that way. I think one of the challenges this time is: Is it different? He's the

incumbent president of the United States and not the outsider from New York. Does it work as well this time?

SEUNG MIN KIM, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: That's the key question. And also to the comments he was making about Senator Harris, obviously, enough people liked her to vote for her as the Senator from California.

But what I thought last night, his attacks on the vice presidential candidate shows it's an example of the Trump campaign have had the attack message on Kamala Harris that we saw since the Biden campaign announced that he had chosen her to be his running mate.

On the first couple of days, you saw the Trump campaign and Republicans say she has not enough.

And the suburban comments that you saw from the president last night -- and this is a line of attack that he has been on for several weeks that, in a Joe Biden-Kamala Harris America, that the suburbs would be decimated and you would not be safe.

First of all, he is Donald Trump's America. He is the incumbent president. And he is the person running the country right now. But he has been running this message for a couple of weeks.

And if you look at polling, particularly after the conventions, where we saw this message a lot during the Republican convention, and it didn't seem to have moved the needle too much.

So how much the president continues to dig into the message. We know he likes this message. How much he continues to use that and how effective it ultimately is to moving those on-the-fence voters on the suburbs yet remains to be seen.

KING: He thinks it ultimately did work in his favor four years ago. We will test this again as we go through these final weeks.

Seung Kim and Laura Barron-Lopez appreciate the reporting and the insights.

We want to move to an extraordinary legal move by the Trump Justice Department. The DOJ now asking that it be allowed to defend President Trump in a defamation lawsuit. Meaning your money, taxpayer dollars will cover the cost of defending the president in court.

The case involves something quite personal. Advice Columnist E. Jean Carroll, who has accused President Trump of raping her in a dressing room back in the '90s and them defaming her in his response when she filed that claim.

President Trump calls these accusations totally false. He says he has never met her.

Let's get to CNN's Kara Scannell. Kara, this is a huge deal. The criticism of Bill Barr, the attorney

general, that he's supposed to be America's lawyer and not the president's lawyer. And this is the Justice Department saying we want to be the president's lawyer.

KARA SCANNELL, CNN REPORTER: Exactly, John. This is an extraordinary move. You have the president with the Justice Department stepping in and it's taxpayer funded.

The Department of Justice say the president was acting within the scope of his official duties because he was asked about the allegations by E. Jean Carroll when he was president. And they're arguing that is within the scope of this.

Carroll's lawyer called this a shocking move by the Justice Department.

And the timing here is key. This lawsuit was filed in November of 2019, and the president was represented by his private lawyers throughout the litigation.

Last month, a New York State judge had ruled that this lawsuit could move forward.

Carroll and her lawyers were gearing up to make a request to have the president provide his DNA because Jean Carroll says that she has the dress that she wore at the time of this alleged assault in the 1990s and wanted to compare the DNA.

So this case was moving toward the discovery phase. It was getting possible that they might be able to be successful on this merit. We are two months before the election.

Yesterday was the deadline for the Trump's lawyers to appeal it in the state court. But instead, the Department of Justice stepped in and moved the case to the federal court.


And E. Jean Carroll issued a statement last night saying, "Today's actions demonstrates that President Trump will do everything possible, including using the full powers of the federal government, to block discovery from going forward in my case before the upcoming election to try to prevent a jury from ever deciding which one of us is lying."

CNN's legal analyst, Stephen Vladeck, said that not only could this delay this case from moving forward, but it might also kill it because the Justice Department cannot be sued for defamation -- John?

KING: Remarkable development. Kara Scannell, appreciate the latest there. We'll keep track of the story as it makes its way through court challenges.

Kara, thank you very much.

Up next for us, Joe Biden is visiting a bellwether Michigan county to talk jobs. Flipping Macomb County back to blue is critical to Democratic White House hopes.



KING: Joe Biden is promoting a new economy and tax plan today in Michigan. The Democratic nominee says the goal is to encourage made- in-America manufacturing.

American companies with operations overseas would see higher taxes on their profits under the Biden plan. But he would give a 10 percent tax credit to companies that instead create jobs here at home.

The Biden event is in Warren. And that's part of blue-collar Macomb County. President Obama carried Macomb County twice as the Obama-Biden ticket twice carried Michigan. But Hillary Clinton lost the county four years ago. And she, of course, lost Michigan by 10,000 votes.

The Michigan Lieutenant Governor, Garlin Gilchrist, is with us now.

Governor, it's good to see you.

We should have a slim, shady soundtrack as we go through the politics of today and go through this.

You were 6 years old the first time I went to Macomb County and that was in 1988 with Michael Dukakis. And in Warren, Michigan, where Joe Biden will be today and Dukakis took the infamous tank ride. You were a younger man then.

Explain to people how important this is. It's a blue-collar town. You have General Dynamics there and car manufacturers there. And it is where they studied the so-called Reagan Democrats and blue-collar workers. And now you might call them Trump Democrats and Hillary Clinton lost your state.

How is it important that Joe Biden flip that county back?

LT. GOV. GARLIN GILCHRIST (D-MI): First, it is good to be with you.

It's important to note that Michigan was one of the final states that the vice president was able to visit in the primary before this to get put on pause. And it's one of the first states he's going to.

Him showing up for Michigan manufacturing and Michigan workers in Macomb County is critically important. And he's building on what we built in 2018 by delivering to Democrats across the state. And we've been delivering to the people ever since.

Joe Biden coming here to share his plan and vision not only for manufacturing and fixing the economy that Donald Trump destroyed with his failed coronavirus response.

This is the right place to deliver that message. And I think it will resonate in Macomb County, across Michigan. KING: You can go back and look at, whether it's in the governor's race

and the presidential race the way Democrats win statewide, is to do a couple of things.

It's not an either/or. You need to win white union, blue collar votes in Macomb County and you have to turn your African-American Democratic base in Wayne Count and Detroit.

If you look at the turnout in Michigan in 2008, 12 percent in the exit polls, 2012, 16 percent black voter turnout, and 2016, it dropped down a bit to 15 percent.

Are you -- let me ask it this way instead of asking are you worried. Is the Biden campaign doing what it takes to number one, turn out the base in the urban areas and do it in a way that brings over the blue- collar swing voters in other areas?

GILCHRIST: First of all, I can't stress enough that the fact that the vice president is showing up here in Michigan sends this huge message to voters, including black voters here in the city of Detroit where I'm talking with you from today.

The Biden campaign has a full team, more than 19 organizers on the ground working with local partners, building on the momentum that our state parties build. And they're showing up for black folks and showing up for Michigan.

And in a huge way, it feels different. And we're building what we feel is a winning coalition here. Because no strategy that leaves voters out of the conversation is a good electoral strategy.

And that's not what he's running in Michigan and I don't think he's running it in other states either. That's why we are poised to deliver.

And I am so glad that he's making Michigan, ground zero for the east coast.

KING: I know one of the people urging him to come more often is Debbie Dingell, the Democratic congresswoman, who gave it to Hillary Clinton four years ago to no avail.

What are you going to tell him about what he's doing right? And is there anything he's doing wrong or needs to do differently?

GILCHRIST: Well, I'm going to ask him to keep his foot on the gas and ask that he and Senator Harris continue to have their presence felt in Michigan.

Senator Harris' first state-focused events were also in Michigan. And they'll continue to make this a priority.

And I'll make sure he's reaching out to those voters, that it's not just white voters in Macomb County who switched parties.

And increase black male turnout and focusing on things like returning citizens and make sure they have the right to vote in the state of Michigan, unlike other states. And the campaign focusing on that will lead to the turnout.


Because we only have to make up a 10,704-vote difference. And I think the campaign is making the right choices now. And it's time to execute through the fall, through November on to victory.

KING: We will keep in touch as that plays out. And I'm sure the president has a different plan. But we'll see how this works out. And that's why campaigns are fun.

The lieutenant governor of Michigan, Garlin Gilchrist.

Sir, appreciate your time.

GILCHRIST: Thank you, John. Take care.

KING: Thank you.

Up next for us, Republicans politicians putting new pressure on the Big 10 conference to reinstate football this fall.



KING: A group of Republican politicians in key 2020 battleground states now trying to pressure the Big 10 into reversing its decision to cancel fall football.

President Trump tweeted his displeasure over that decision last week.

Now Republican leaders from some big states with Big 10 teams, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, urging and weighing in.

CNN's Carolyn Manno joins us talking about politics and sports mixing -- Carolyn?

CAROLYN MANNO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: That's right, John. I'm the sports reporter. I'm supposed to tell you what the Patriots are going schematically, skill sets, not the other way around, not talking about Republican lawmakers. But this is where we are.

It's sounds, from what I can gather, that the conference is still split with Ohio State making a push to begin football as early as October.

We know for sure that football is big business. It does intersect with politics. It is America's past time. No disrespect to baseball. But it's a key topic politically, particularly with November approaching.

You mentioned the letter sent by the group of Republican lawmakers, the group of 10 lawmakers. They sent the letter to Big 10 commissioner, Kevin Warren, Tuesday and urged him to reconsiders the season's postponement.

The letter penned by Lee Chatfield, the speaker of the Michigan House, not the big House, talking the other House.

The letter applauded testing being done by the conference. But it did stress a financial disadvantage for schools in the conference when it comes to scholarships. It noted that students and parents and coaches who voiced concerns to state officials on the topic are weighing in as well.

On the other side of the aisle, Joe Biden is running ads in Big 10 markets featuring empty stadiums with messaging saying things like the president has put Americans on the sidelines and time to get back in the game.

President Trump's reportedly been actively involved with decision- makers, personally urged Commissioner Warren to return the season in phone calls. Nearly all playing football this fall are in states supporting President Trump back in 2016.

Both political parties trying to leverage the sport's popularity for political gain.

And I would point out, John, while parents and students and faculty and athletic directors are urging the commissioner here to make a decision, they can't do anything about that. And neither can the commissioner.

It's a decision falling squarely on the lead counsel of presidents from universities and chancellor's. And are going to be -- need to be reassured that concerns from the virus, particularly long-term effects for student athletes, are mitigated before a decision is reached.

KING: More evidence, something I try to say every day. The coronavirus disruption is everywhere. Everywhere. Nothing is not disrupted in some way.

Carolyn Manno, grateful for that reporting. We'll see how this one plays out.

Tennis star, Naomi Osaka, is making a giant statement on social justice during the U.S. Open. She wears a different mask to every match. You see some masks out there.

That message being hailed by some of the families who are up and caught in this movement, including the family of Trayvon Martin and Ahmaud Arbery.


SYBRINA FULTON, MOTHER OF TRAYVON MARTIN: We thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Continue to do well. Continue to kick butt at the U.S. Open.

MARCUS ARBERY SR, FATHER OF AHMAUD ARBERY: I just want to tell you, thank you for the support of my family, and God bless you for what you're doing.

NAOMI OSAKA, TENNIS STAR: I'm just trying really hard not to cry. But for me, it's a bit surreal. And it's extremely touching that, you know, they would feel touched by what I'm doing. For me, I feel what I'm doing is nothing, a speck of what I could be doing.


KING: Osaka advanced to semifinals at the open. She'll play Jennifer Brady from the United States tomorrow.

A big controversy now on Wall Street about whether coronavirus misinformation is making its way into some of the reporting there.

Let's bring in CNN's Cristine Alesci with exclusive information on misinformation ended up into Wall Street research -- Cristina?

CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN BUSINESS & POLITICS REPORTER: Right, John. We don't know how widespread the practice is. The mere presence of misinformation in Wall Street research indicates that this campaign to downplay the coronavirus, led by President Trump and his supporters, are gaining traction.

Let me give you specifics behind my reporting. In early August, a widely read and respected research analyst, Thomas J. Lee, who co- founded a fund called -- sorry, a firm called FundStrat, included in his note to clients a very rosy picture of the potential for herd immunity in the U.S.

And he cited for support an ophthalmologist with history of spreading coronavirus information, James Todaro. James Todaro has no expertise in immunology or epidemiology and he actually left medicine to start a cryptocurrency fund.

Another Wall Street insider picked up on this in August. And he wrote in a note to his clients that it was the most disturbing thing he had seen in his 33 years on Wall Street. That's Michael Cembalest from JPMorgan.


I should not that when Lee issued his report, he did put some hedging language around it saying that he was not a health care expert.

I reached out to Lee and FundStrat for comment and I have not heard back from them -- John?

KING: Cristina Alesci, important reporting. Coronavirus misinformation showing up on financial markets, politics, everywhere we look.

Cristina, thank you so much.

And for the latest market news, check out "MARKETS NOW," streaming live 12:45 p.m. Eastern only on CNN business. Coming up for us, the president says America is rounding the corner

when it comes to coronavirus. But the numbers tell us we're not quite there yet.