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CUOMO PRIME TIME

Trump Offers To Give MAGA Crowd A "Big Fat Kiss" In Return To Trail After COVID-19 Diagnosis; Johnson & Johnson Pauses Coronavirus Vaccine Trial Due To "Unexplained Illness" In Volunteer; Fake Ballot Drop Boxes Prompt Investigations In California. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired October 12, 2020 - 21:00   ET

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


[21:00:00]

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, ANDERSON COOPER 360: Tomorrow will be Day Two of the Barrett hearing. Don't miss the full day of coverage here on CNN.

The news continues. Want to hand it over to Chris for "CUOMO PRIME TIME." Chris?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST, CUOMO PRIME TIME: All right, thank you, Anderson.

I am Chris Cuomo and welcome to PRIME TIME.

Trump was in Florida tonight, a state with more than 5,000 new cases just this past weekend. And he's heading to several other states this week that are also struggling in this pandemic.

And he's doing it for one very obvious, if odious reason. He believes this is good for him and his campaign. That's what he thinks. What he knows for sure is that he is creating risk for the people who care most about him in this country, everywhere he goes. And he does not care. How can I say that?

Look at the proof. He says nothing about the spacing at the rallies. He says nothing about the maskless nature. In fact, he celebrates contact.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I went through it. Now they say I'm immune. I can feel - I feel so powerful. I'll walk into that audience.

(CROWD CHEERS)

TRUMP: I'll walk in there. I'll kiss everyone in that audience.

(CROWD CHEERS)

TRUMP: I'll kiss the guys and the beautiful women and the - everybody. I'll just give you a big fat kiss. When you are the president, you can't lock yourself in a basement, and say "I'm not going to bother with the world." You got to get out. And it's risky. It's risky, but you got to get out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: That's completely untrue. It's risky, so you don't get out.

The worst part is I'm thinking about the people, not the President, to be honest. They're exposing themselves for all bad reasons. They either don't know or pay attention to the risk. They think they're showing support for Trump by not wearing a mask.

And the part that gets me the most is listen to the supporters themselves. Listen to what one says they would do if Trump said to.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You saw what happened at the White House recently, where so many people who were outside an event got Coronavirus, including the President ended up with Coronavirus. That doesn't concern you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why doesn't that concern you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm healthy. I have no underlying health issues, and that seems to be the people that are most prone to getting the disease. If you have an underlying--

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well the President was healthy too though. And he had to take a helicopter to the hospital.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: --time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right. He had good medical care, right?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. Well and--

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You think you'd have care that good?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I - no but I have - I take care of myself.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why not just put on a mask? What's the difference?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. A mask can actually do more harm than good to individuals.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You think it'll do more harm?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It can because people - people don't - can faint because there's too much carbon dioxide going back into their system.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You think that's a big problem, people fainting all over the country from masks and dropping dead?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well it - just enough. Enough people are getting ill because they're wearing a mask.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Really?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, yes. No what you've--

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where does that come from that actually?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Common sense.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you believe you won't get sick from it?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't care if I do because I know I'm not going to die from it. That's ridiculous.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How do you know? How do you know that with all due respect?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know what, if I do, I do. I'm not afraid.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I believe in God and that's - I trust that if I get the virus, then that was God's will.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've also seen the numbers drop every single day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well the numbers are going up now though.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In this - in here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean Mr. Trump says it's disappearing, but it's not. That's not the truth.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well I'm debating on whether what the truth is for that because of the - what I can see it's - all the numbers that I have read have been down. And I'm seeing that the flu is taking more people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, that's what you believe?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me ask you this. If President Trump, at the rally, said, "Everyone put on their masks," that good?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would put it on.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CUOMO: That kills me. It just does.

Mr. President, what else do you have to hear? Tell them to put on a mask. You were throwing packages of them out there. Just say, "Listen, put them on. Make the scientists happy. Just put them on. We don't want anybody getting sick. I need you all to vote for me. So, put the mask on. Maybe you are not as tough as I am. You're not going to beat it. You won't be immune."

And I put this "Immune," why? Because he doesn't know that he's immune. I don't know that I'm immune. We don't know anything. Nobody told him he's immune, OK? But his refusing to give the right message on masks matters. They listen to you. They would act differently. They'd be safer. Why don't you want that?

You refuse to respect the mask rule yourself that made you sick, and you lied about it before the debate. You said, "Well, we took tests." You didn't take a test, and you knew you didn't take a test, and you lied anyway. And you were clearly willing to have contact before you were "Immune."

How do we know? Well, because we don't know when he last tested negative before he tested positive for COVID. That is the actionable space. That's when he was likely contagious. Why don't they - won't tell us? "Privacy concerns." Please!

[21:05:00]

If it's not too private to say when he tested negative on consecutive days, since having COVID, so he's able to do these things, then why won't they tell us when he tested negative before he got it? What is this, selective privacy? It's exactly what it is.

Look - and I hope the President is free from the virus. But nowhere in America is really free from it. Look at the damn map. He knows this map. He gets briefed on it every day. He just doesn't give a damn.

New cases are up 41 percent from last month nationwide. And he's on a four-state blitz this week, gathering largely maskless MAGA crowds? You are making your own people sitting ducks. "Oh, we've never had a problem at a rally." That's BS. We know they have. Why do it?

His own top Infectious Disease expert warns Trump, "You're asking for more trouble."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: We know that that is asking for trouble when you do that. We've seen that when you have situations of congregate settings, where there are a lot of people without masks.

The data speak for themselves. It happens. And now is even more so a worse time to do that because when you look at what's going on in the United States, it's really very troublesome.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: And look, the shame is if he would get on the other side of this, and start being aggressive about what kind of testing we should have, what kind of protocols we should have, hey, maybe there is a better way. Maybe you can be more selectively protective.

But that's not what he's doing with these rallies. You got the old and the frail in there with the young and the strong. Where is a better plan? Instead of ignoring the reality, help shape the reality. He's been warned. He is more worried about losing this election than losing a few supporters to COVID along the way.

And those in the Right have bought in, which is why Senator Mike Lee from Utah, who tested positive 11 days ago, couldn't be bothered to wear a mask today at the Supreme Court confirmation hearing. He could still be contagious. It's hard to believe we are where we are now after all we know.

Let's bring in Dr. Ashish Jha for the state of play, and also, Axe - David Axelrod, just for what the political calculus, the plus/minus is on this.

Little bit of breaking news, Dr. Jha. Did you hear about what just happened with one of the drug trials?

Johnson & Johnson said today it's pausing the advanced clinical trial Phase 3 of its experimental Coronavirus vaccine because of an unexplained illness in one of the volunteers. They say this happens. It's an expected part of any clinical study, especially a large study.

But this is the second Phase 3 Coronavirus vaccine trial to be paused. AstraZeneca is in the same situation. That's something that Operation Warp Speed, they're a believer in AstraZeneca, and they're hoping about - that that will go well.

Now, this news matters, especially in the specific context of the political pressure on the FDA just last week to not do anything to slow down the approval process of these vaccines. What does this breaking news today mean?

DR. ASHISH JHA, DEAN, BROWN UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: So, Chris, thank you for having me on.

The Johnson & Johnson trial is the biggest trial of the vaccine that I know of, 60,000 people. Within that trial, you'd expect a few positives.

So, on one hand, they're right, this is completely expected. And it's just a reminder of how ridiculous it is to try to meet a political timeline of having a vaccine before November 3rd. That's just not how it works. These things take time.

We want the vaccine to be safe, and we've got to let the process play out. And it's going to take a while, and we'll see these kinds of bumps on the road. To me, it's reassuring that companies are acting responsibly, and pausing when they need to.

CUOMO: Quick follow, we just heard a Trump supporter, I don't believe, was saying it sarcastically when she says, "Yes, if he told me to put on the mask, I would." That confirms our absolute worst suspicions.

What do you think it could mean, if he started saying at the rally, "Look, I want you to come together. We're going to try and keep you apart, a little bit and wear the mask. Wear the mask." What kind of difference do you think that could make?

JHA: Well, Chris, I think that'd actually save probably tens of thousands of American lives because it wouldn't just be the people who come to his rallies. The symbolism, all of his supporters, who have so far not been wearing masks, would get the message.

And the data is very clear. If everybody wore masks, if 90 percent of Americans wore masks, we'd have tens of thousands of fewer deaths over the next few months.

CUOMO: And we're barely like 60 percent or something like that.

[21:10:00]

Axe, what is the basis for the political play to continue to play down the pandemic even now? Not that you subscribe to the theory, but what is the theory that they're acting on?

DAVID AXELROD, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, this is a microcosm of the whole saga, dating back to January. He believes he can spin this virus. He believes he can impose his will on the story.

Just consider the ad in which Dr. Fauci was misquoted or taken out of context, the beginning of the ad starts like this. "He's recovering from the Coronavirus, and so is America."

And that is the message that he wants people to receive in these final weeks of the campaign. It's the same message he was trying to deliver in February, and it's just not true. And the danger of it is in trying to promote this fiction, he is encouraging people to act irresponsibly.

Did you know that Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida, who's presiding over another upsurge of cases in Florida was standing there in the middle of the crowd without a mask tonight?

CUOMO: Yes.

AXELROD: I mean it's really extraordinary. It's incredible. It's irresponsible. But it's very familiar, Chris. This has been the story from the beginning. And it's one of the reasons why he's double-digits behind right now.

CUOMO: The states he's going to, and the states Biden is going to, they're going to reach states. Explain what a reach state is. We're going to go more in-depth later in the show. But what is the play, and why does it matter?

AXELROD: Well, look, I think what's happening, actually is that Trump is playing defense and Biden is playing offense.

I mean, there are six states really, Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Arizona that are the core battleground states. But you are seeing candidates travel to other states, to states like Georgia, Ohio.

Biden was in Ohio. That is a state that no Republican has ever lost and won the presidency. And now it's an even state. And I think it tells you a little something about the state of play here.

The fact that the President is going to Des Moines, Iowa, a state that he won by 9 points last time is pretty telling. And he's on the defense, and Biden is on the offense. Biden is expanding his math. And I think that's the story of this race.

It's more likely that Biden will win a substantial, maybe a landslide victory in the Electoral College than it is that Donald Trump will get 270 electoral votes.

CUOMO: Yes. It's - we're going to go into depth, and it's most - more - later in the show. We have a whole pathway analysis about what could happen on Election Night.

But just as a little bit of a taste, the idea that Biden is going to Ohio, he's got no business in Ohio. Looking at 2016, Trump won by 8 points - almost 9 points. So, the President going there, on defense, when he won it by close to 10 points tells you something.

So Ashish, the idea that things are getting worse, people say "No, no, no, you're just playing it up because we're getting near the election. And you want to scare us. We already went through it. Now it's the flu. You are confusing COVID for the flu. That's what we're seeing. That's the time of year it is."

What is the reality that you see in the numbers?

JHA: Yes. So, the reality is very clear, Chris. The flu is not what's surging right now. What's surging is COVID. We're up about 20 percent over the last month.

And you know everybody always says "Well it's just cases, not hospitalizations." Guess what? Hospitalizations are up about 10 percent. They always lag. And unfortunately, we know where this story goes. Deaths are going to start climbing in the next week or two.

We've played this movie over and over and over again. We're playing it really the third time, and it's not a good movie. I don't think any of us want to see it end this way. So, we can still turn it around.

We've talked about what we need to do. Avoid the indoor gatherings, wear the masks, wash your hands, fix testing. But we just don't seem to be able to pull the political will to do that as much as we need to.

CUOMO: Hey, is there a middle ground that hasn't been explored yet that you, where you can, allow the young or the not-at-risk to go back to work, and school, and do more to protect those who are vulnerable?

You have an older teacher? They don't have to do it. They get to work from home. They get protected. Older people, nursing homes, and all the places where they are, you keep them safe. If you have households, where you have mixed generations, you treat it differently. Should we be thinking about that approach more?

JHA: Well, first of all, no doubt about it, we should be doing more to protect vulnerable people, absolutely. But this--

CUOMO: No. But while letting other people go, and go to work, and go to school, you know how I feel about schools, Doc, right?

JHA: But that's the--

CUOMO: I want my kid in school. I think they should be able to be in school.

JHA: Yes. So, schools are a different issue, Chris. But let's get back to the idea of letting young people just get back to work and do their own thing.

[21:15:00]

The problem with that theory is if you let the infection kind of rip in the young, it turns out you need workers in nursing homes. They get infected, nursing home workers - nursing home residents get infected. People - elderly people need to go to the grocery store. They're going to encounter younger people.

You can't segregate an aspect of society. People have thought about this. They've tried it. It just doesn't work. So--

CUOMO: It's just not that simple.

JHA: --by protecting the vulnerable, protect everybody.

CUOMO: It's not that simple. I hear you.

Axe, quick prediction. What do you think turn-out is like?

AXELROD: Massive. Over 150 million voters, largest turn-out since 1960, is what I predict.

CUOMO: Were you ready for that question? I didn't even prep it. That was a very quick answer, Axe. I'm surprised by that. Thank you very much, David Axelrod, as always. Thank God you are healthy. You and the family be well.

AXELROD: Thank you.

CUOMO: Dr. Ashish Jha, as always, thank you for understanding and teaching us what the straight path is. Appreciate it. Thanks for helping us stay on it.

JHA: Thanks, Chris.

CUOMO: All right, now look, Republicans are making a big bet. What is the bet? That getting another SCOTUS Justice will bring people more relief than anything else, even than passing an actual relief bill at a time that we have more people standing in line all over this country for food than any time you can remember. The hearings just started on Judge Amy Coney Barrett today. A Senator who was there is here now to argue how dangerous the hearing was, literally, and politically, next.

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TEXT: CUOMO PRIME TIME.

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[21:20:00]

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TEXT: LET'S GET AFTER IT.

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CUOMO: Not a single senator has gotten to ask the Trump nominee for the Supreme Court a question, and the Chairman of the Committee, Lindsey Graham, Senator, of course, has already set a date for the vote, and he refused to let the Members of the Committee take a COVID test before starting the hearing.

Think about how crazy the second part is. Look, we know they're going to jump the process. So, that's just impolite. But can you believe, "No, no testing. We don't need to know." Really?

Let's get some insight from one of the key players on that Committee, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker. He was in the room with Judge Barrett for Day One.

Senator, thank you for joining us on PRIME TIME.

SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ): Thank you for having me. It's good to be on.

CUOMO: What was your level of confidence in a room where you knew none of your colleagues were tested? Senator Lindsey Graham said, "We're all CDC-compliant. We're good. We don't need the tests."

BOOKER: Well again, a number of them were at that super-spreader event, which where we assume that Mike Lee, Thom Tillis got the virus, which - and they're on the Committee.

The responsible thing to do would be to have a testing protocol, in which all senators will be tested, not just for ourselves, but remember, there are dozens and dozens of people from the security area to people who are wiping down and cleaning the room. It's irresponsible.

And look, when a senator gets sick, they have great healthcare. And I think what we try to make clear today was that unfortunately there are, with COVID rates going up now, in the majority of our states, so many Americans are struggling. And many Americans, should this nominee get confirmed, in time to hear the oral arguments, for the Trump Administration's push to invalidate the Affordable Care Act, we could have millions of Americans losing their health insurance in the middle of a pandemic. And that's outrageous.

CUOMO: Lucky for them, the President has no plans, so maybe he wouldn't be able to move that quickly, even if he is re-elected.

Let me ask you something. Did you have a chance to ask Senator Lee why he didn't wear a mask?

BOOKER: I did not.

CUOMO: I'd love to know what his rationale is. What do you think is behind the recalcitrance, the "I don't need a mask," the "We don't need to be tested?" They're not stupid people, OK?

I mean you know Senator Mike Lee from Utah. He's not a dumb guy. Senator Lindsey Graham certainly is not a dumb guy. What is motivating the madness?

BOOKER: Somehow, from the very beginning of this pandemic, doing the right thing often got politicized.

And we saw from governors to the President themselves saying outrageous things that didn't just put lives at risks but in many ways could have cost us to have such a higher rate of death in this country than most other nations on the Planet Earth.

It is unfortunate. We are a country that really lack leadership, especially a President who's uniquely unqualified for this crisis in history.

CUOMO: It's just crazy. Can you imagine what I would do to you, if you were in Senator Mike Lee's position, and you decided not to wear a mask, and show up at a Committee, because you didn't think it was necessary?

I mean as big a guy as you are, and as powerful, and as much respect as you deserve, that would go ugly early. And, yet, they are celebrated. And it went to something you said today.

I want to play it for the audience in case they missed it. Will you please play the Senator's sound bite about normalcy?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOOKER: Nothing about this today is normal. This is not normal. What is going on in America today, in the midst of a deadly pandemic, in an ongoing election, having a rushed Supreme Court nomination hearing is not normal, and we cannot normalize it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: Getting a lot of traction. Is it true? What is normal? If it's what's accepted, Trump was

elected, right? He's got tons of support. I know there are polls, but it could be a very, very tight race. He could win. Then wouldn't that make this normal, because this is what people want normatively.

I mean, where do you really think we are right now? I get the passion of the argument. But have we moved past that point with his election?

BOOKER: Well, Donald Trump has shattered so many of our democratic norms, but this is exceptional. We right now are not - we're not 22 days out from an election. Millions of people are already in the process of voting.

CUOMO: Yes.

[21:25:00]

BOOKER: The only time that we've ever seen a Supreme Court Justice die, during a Presidential election, was under Lincoln. And him, a model of grace, did not put a Supreme Court Justice up. He waited until after the election.

But the problem is that there is so much clearly at stake. Donald Trump said "I will only put justices up that will overcome Roe v. Wade, criminalize abortion, and that will tear down the ACA." He said they will do the right thing, and end the ACA.

So, people know what's at stake, and they are out there voting right now. They should have the opportunity to speak. And for him to rush this through in this process, as you said, in an environment that's not even safe, as it should be, this is unacceptable, not normal and wrong.

CUOMO: Will you give me a yes/no on whether or not your Party, if you get control of the Senate, should consider packing the court?

BOOKER: I've learned a long time ago not to speak for my Party. And you and I both know, I think, that's alluring us into a false debate. We've got to win the Senate back. We've got to win the presidency.

We've got to win enough Senate seats because clearly there is going to be a divergence of opinion on it. So, I think we're so far away from that hypothetical and hypothetical and hypothetical, and it's exactly--

CUOMO: So, you don't have any personal opinion on it, Senator? Forget about the Party.

BOOKER: So, yes. I have a lot of personal opinion. I'm looking forward to a lot of vibrant debates about that and about D.C. Statehood, about--

CUOMO: Are you open to that discussion?

BOOKER: I'm open to winning. I'm focused on winning. I'm tired of my Party, Democrats, jumping to debates that are really moot right now. What everybody should be focused on is getting people out to vote and winning an election to try to undo the damage of--

CUOMO: I think it's hurting Biden. That's why I ask you, Senator.

BOOKER: OK.

CUOMO: I think it's hurting Biden. I think when he was asked "Would you consider it," Kamala Harris asked, "Well we don't want to talk about it. We don't want to --" why? Why not? Doesn't he need a better answer than that about what's going on here?

I mean, I could think of two or three answers that are better than that one, just off the top of my head is, I'm not going to answer it good enough if you want to get people's votes on - and that issue matters?

BOOKER: Well, your job is that.

My job as a Democratic Senator is, we're up for re-election, I'm focusing on what's important. And I'll tell you this. This, you do know, Chris. You shouldn't should all over the nominee of your Party.

He's doing a great job. He's campaigning incredibly hard, and he is earning people's trust. They trust him more than the guy who's in office right now. So, far be it for me to should all over him. I'm simply going to get out there and work for him, work to take back the Senate, work to send Mitch McConnell into the minority.

CUOMO: Did you just say you shouldn't should all over your candidate? Is that what you just said?

BOOKER: Yes.

CUOMO: All right.

BOOKER: Yes, I did.

CUOMO: I wanted to make sure I had that because you're one of the - you're one of the cleanest guys I know. I want to make sure. On this show, you never really know that it could have gone a different way. So, thank you. I just wanted to clarify that. But--

BOOKER: You might have saved me tonight from getting a call from my mom.

CUOMO: No, you don't - I can only get you in trouble. The only let - one more beat on this, which is they trust him because he's straight with them. This issue matters. If he won't give an answer, if Harris won't give an answer, are they being straight with the American people?

BOOKER: I just want to tell you right now, Chris, and you know this. This is a legislative move. He's running to be President of the United States. And, again, I think it's a distraction.

Right now, what I want from my president, tell me how you're going to deal with saving and expanding the Affordable Care Act, tell me how you're going to protect people in the midst of a pandemic?

CUOMO: What if his answer is by expanding the court to make up for the fact that they are going to have a 6-3 advantage?

BOOKER: He doesn't have the power to expand the court. That's a decision of the United States Senate. It's going to have to make. We have to change the rules of the Senate to even get that done. There is so many hypotheticals stacked upon hypotheticals before something like that would ever get to his desk.

I think he's doing the right thing by focusing on what he can control, what he can promise, and say he's going to do. He will keep us safer in this pandemic. He will expand health insurance. He will get more people back to work.

These are the things that a President of the United States can do. That is hypotheticals stacked on hypothetical. They're trying to make (OFF-MIKE) that. They're trying to do everything they can to change the subject from a President, who is uniquely unqualified for the crisis that we're in.

CUOMO: Senator, once you guys get through the hearing, I'd love to have you come back with your take on the Judge, and what substantiated your feeling.

BOOKER: I appreciate it. I promise I won't should all over anything, if you have me back.

CUOMO: You know you keep playing with it, when you say it too fast.

BOOKER: I'm sorry, brother, I'm sorry.

CUOMO: I'm good.

BOOKER: It's been a long day.

CUOMO: And look, Senator, look, I appreciate it. I know it has. And I know, coming on this show isn't easy, and I appreciate you doing it. Thank you, Senator Cory Booker. God bless you and the family. Stay healthy.

BOOKER: Chris, God bless you. Thank you for saying that. Thank you.

CUOMO: All right.

[21:30:00]

Look, the President keeps insisting "We are not going to know the winner on Election Night." I'm not a fan of what he's selling you because I think he's pushing you to not trust your institutions, OK, especially with all the ballot drama that he concocts. There's such a good chance that it isn't true. But there is something that is true, which he may be responsible for in part.

Now, no magical thinking involved, but I will enlist the help of a Wizard to show you what you may not see, next. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TEXT: CUOMO PRIME TIME.

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TEXT: LET'S GET AFTER IT.

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CUOMO: So, first of all, big piece right after this about what's happening in California that shows maybe some ballot impropriety, all right? Big investigation. Got that.

And guess who I have on at the end of the show? You know that viral TikTok with the guy who's making everybody feel better with the Fleetwood Mac with the "Dreams" and the Ocean Spray? I got him. He's here on the show to tell us the whole story. Awesome! And we need it.

[21:35:00]

But first, Joe Biden made two stops in Ohio, looking to expand his reach into Republican territory. Is he nuts? What's he doing in Ohio? Trump won it by almost 10 last time.

Then the President is in Florida. Why Florida? Hasn't he seen the polls?

This is a window into the dynamic of desperation on one side and the desperateness of opportunity to be had on the other. There is math to the apparent madness. The Wizard of Odds, Harry Enten, says the answer is within reach, as in reach states.

Wiz, thank you very much. Compliment my writing later. What is a reach state and what are we seeing?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN POLITICS SENIOR WRITER & ANALYST: First off, I just want to say I don't even know what TikTok is.

But look here is what a reach state is. A reach states is essentially the states outside of the main six that each side hopes to perhaps bring into their column if there is a blow-out.

So, on the Democratic side, right, the reaches are essentially those states that Trump won by 4 or more in 2016, while Trump is hoping to win those states that Clinton won by 3 points or less in 2016.

But take a look at these polls on your screen right now, the polling average in these states. In the Biden reaches, he is up, even if by a small margin in Georgia, Iowa, Ohio. Texas, very, very close.

While in the Trump reaches, the places perhaps he would hope to put in play, in a neutral year, he's not close in any of them. The closest is Nevada, where he's down by 7, and Biden has double-digit leads in Minnesota, New Hampshire, and Maine.

CUOMO: Now, the President says it's not going to be over on Election Night. You say "Not so fast." All right.

So, lay the ground work for this potential pathway based on what you guys in the analysis business believe are a kind of putative or built- in ceiling that each candidate comes in with on Election Night. Explain.

ENTEN: You're right. I mean look, here's the situation. Take a look at the six closest states that Trump won in 2016, right? And what do you see there? The key nugget there is Florida. That's a 5-point lead for Joe Biden right now.

We know, and we can get to it in a little bit more in a second, but we know that Florida counts its votes very, very quickly. And we know also that if Joe Biden wins in Florida, there are very few scenarios in which Donald Trump can win the presidency.

So, the fact that Joe Biden has a clear lead there right now, his ceiling, that is part of his ceiling, and the fact that he's ahead right now could be an indication that we may in fact have a very good idea on Election Night who wins.

CUOMO: So, if Biden wins Florida, and fill in the blank, you will know on Election Night likely that he won?

ENTEN: I mean the fact is if he wins Florida, and basically doesn't lose any states that we're expecting him to lose, then that's basically your fill in the blank, right?

CUOMO: Like what? Like what's the best chance? Like Florida-plus what, Arizona?

ENTEN: Look--

CUOMO: That he almost certainly wins? What is it?

ENTEN: Right. I mean, basically it's Florida plus any of the states on your screen right now would get him plus the Clinton states to 270 electoral votes, and he's ahead in all of them. The problem of course is that the vote counting in those states may be slower, so we might not necessarily get Biden to 270 electoral votes on Election Night.

But I really do crack the numbers, Chris. That's all I do in my day. There's nothing else I do. And if Joe Biden wins Florida, even if he doesn't reach 270, even if we can't get a call, folks like me will say, "Look, we haven't called this race yet, but there's a very good shot that Joe Biden has won the presidency."

CUOMO: Wait, let me get one more step on the "What," then we'll get to the "Why." On the "What" of Florida, OK, what is the counting deal there in terms of what we'll know on Election Night? ENTEN: Right. So, if we could skip ahead to the ballot process slide, what you will essentially see is that early votes and absentee votes, right, some states will process those votes earlier than Election Day, while others will have to wait until Election Day or later to count them.

Florida is one of those states, where those votes will be processed on Election Day. So, they'll count them very quickly. You'll see as soon as the polls close a bunch of mail-in votes come in.

And more than that, if we go one step further, remember, most of the votes in Florida, unlike some of these other states, you have to have the votes postmarked - the ballots have to be postmarked and in. They have to be in on Election Day, which is very different than some of these other Midwest, say, battleground states, where all it has to be is postmarked by Election Day. Florida, the ballots must be received.

So, received and they will be processed, so we'll have a fairly good idea, on Election Night, what has occurred in Florida.

CUOMO: Boy, I got to tell you, there are a lot of important states that have a little bit of weird rules here, right? Not weird, but, just in terms of timing.

[21:40:00]

Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, you are not going to know on Election Night because they won't have their count finished. And Michigan is split in half, Harry. You got the big cities you can count before Election Day. But the rest of the state you can't count until after Election Day. So, do you know Michigan?

ENTEN: Yes. I mean look, we are in a very weird time, right? A lot of these states have not traditionally had large early votes or large mail votes.

Florida is the one that really has. So, we are not exactly sure how long it's necessarily going to take to count the ballots in a lot of these states. States like Wisconsin, states like Pennsylvania, we just know the rules that have sort of laid out.

And remember, back in the primary, it took a very long time for those votes to be counted in a place like Pennsylvania. So, I would buckle in, but that's why I'm saying to you, and I've said over and over again, Florida, Florida, Florida, just like Tim Russ had said back in 2000.

CUOMO: And also because Florida should have them counted on Election Night. That's going to be a very closely-watched counting situation down there.

Harry Enten, thank you very much. You made it obvious, and I appreciate that. The President--

ENTEN: I love you, buddy.

CUOMO: Love you.

The appreciation - the President - the appreciation! The appreciation is all over, got to. Got to love each other.

The President keeps saying he doesn't love our balloting process, that it makes it too easy this mail-in balloting. You can collect and manipulate votes. You know what? He may be right.

But the problem is he may be right about what his own Party is doing in California. Some serious allegations against the GOP in that State, California's Secretary of State knows the case, next.

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CUOMO: This is really interesting. There is a new investigation underway tonight by California election officials into boxes like these.

Show the box.

It's a fake ballot drop-off box in Los Angeles, they found them, Orange County, Fresno County, big counties in California. Some of them designate themselves as official ballot boxes. But they're not. They're unauthorized at a minimum.

This is what you should be looking for, bright orange boxes. Any other boxes, you should not put your ballot in. That's what California's Secretary of State says, so he has sent a cease-and-desist order to the responsible Party for the fugazi fixtures.

That Party, the state's Republican Party, according to California's Secretary of State, Alex Padilla.

Mr. Secretary, thank you for joining us.

ALEX PADILLA, CALIFORNIA SECRETARY OF STATE: Thank you, Chris. Thanks for having me.

CUOMO: Are you sure it's them?

PADILLA: Well they have admitted as much, so it's not just the state Republican Party, but looks like some of their local committees participating as well.

So, we sent the cease-and-desist letter also to the Fresno County Republican Party, Los Angeles County Republican Party, Orange County Republican Party, while we continue to gather information.

We hope it's been contained. We certainly hope they comply with the cease-and-desist orders. But we're inviting people to submit information if they continue to see these very problematic fake drop boxes.

CUOMO: One more step down the process, and then we'll have the argument about why this is the right move. Have they said they will comply?

PADILLA: They have not said they will comply with the terms of our cease-and-desist yet. Although, we have heard that many of the drop boxes have been removed. So, I do think that's going to be a little bit more back-and-forth here before we find complete resolution.

In the meantime, we're just reminding voters that there are multiple options to vote, and protect their health during this COVID-19 pandemic. Vote-by-mail is a pillar of it. But when you return your ballot, voters deserve the confidence knowing it's in secure hands and it's going to be counted.

CUOMO: Here is the counter argument offered by them. "More boxes, more better, Mr. Secretary. We're just trying to help you do it."

"If a congregation/business or other group provides the option to its parishioners/associates/ or colleagues to drop off their ballot in a safe location, with people they trust, rather than handing it over to a stranger who knocks on their door, what's wrong with that?"

PADILLA: Look, here is the truth, Chris.

In California, Californians have multiple options for how to return their vote-by-mail ballot. And yes, every active registered voter is getting a vote-by-mail ballot because of the COVID-19 pandemic. They can return it by mail. In California, we cover the return postage, so you don't even need to find stamps.

Secure official drop boxes is another good option. Voters can also deliver their ballot to any in-person voting location, either during early voting or on Election Day, so multiple ways to do it.

If a voter finds himself in a pinch, or needs assistance, in returning their ballot, they're empowered to decide for themselves who to turn it over to. But whoever is assisting them in returning the ballot also has to sign the envelope. And that's what's lost with these fake drop box--

CUOMO: No accountability.

PADILLA: --seeing errors (ph).

CUOMO: You don't have a chain of custody. PADILLA: Don't have a chain of custody, and we don't have the requirements or regulations for these fake drop boxes, as you do for the official drop boxes.

Number one, the security and integrity of the box itself, somebody who is being misled that this is an official box, turns their ballot in. They don't know who's collecting it. They don't know how quickly it may return to the county, or if it gets returned to the county.

We have a ton of requirements on official drop boxes. That's where we should be driving voters to.

CUOMO: Are you just busting their chops because it's the Republicans? And you wouldn't do this to the Democrats? And maybe they're doing the same kind of thing, and you're not doing anything about it?

PADILLA: No. This is wrong no matter who is doing it. And it's not just the security of the ballot that's in question here. It is the transparency, voter confidence itself.

So, one of the messages we've been reiterating today, anybody who believes they might have been misled because, as your picture showed, several of these fake drop boxes were labeled as "Official."

[21:50:00]

If you might as turned your ballot into one of these, go to vote.ca.gov, sign up for "Where's My Ballot?" It's our ballot-tracking tool available to all voters in California, not just to confirm the status of your ballot, but to get confirmation, when it's received and when it's counted.

CUOMO: Mr. Secretary of State, thank you very much. We are unusually hawkish when it comes to the process this year because there is so much riding on the integrity of it. We expect such a big turn-out, and thank you for taking the opportunity to explain this situation.

PADILLA: Hey, voters deserve no less. Thank you, Chris. We'll be back soon.

CUOMO: All right, be well. God bless. Stay healthy.

PADILLA: You too.

CUOMO: All right, so one more reason to be like "Ohh" right, now if you live in California, right? Or you're just worried about the outcome right - outcome, right? Why? Because there is no relief. There is no sign that any time soon everything will seem to suck less. There is nothing that can just cut through all the nasty, all the division.

Or maybe there is! Have you seen the viral sensation? Have you seen this cat with the cranberry juice that just blew up TikTok? Why have tens of millions decided to watch this? Why did the song that he was playing, re-launch Fleetwood Mac as a popular conduit of pop music, although they're really a rock band? Why is it that Ocean Spray wound up hooking up this guy with his luxurious moves on the Longboard for his own video? We've got him. He's with us, next.

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CUOMO: Brothers and sisters, boy do we need a break! Everything is Frowntown, isn't it? And that's why our next guest is exploding. A TikTok sensation that isn't some dance I hate my kids doing to a song that is lewd and loud. Nope. This one works for everyone by the tens of millions and, boy, did we need it and him!

Welcome to Idaho resident, Nathan Apodaca. Video that he made has so many captivated and just feeling good. And I'm one of them.

Little backstory, his truck broke down, 2005, I think it was a Durango. That's what you get for having a Dodge! No, I'm kidding.

So, it breaks down, but he says "No deal. So what?" He decides to hop on his Longboard, and start videotaping himself, singing the word - the song "Dream" from Fleetwood Mac, while he is drinking Ocean Spray cranberry juice.

Watch this.

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CUOMO: I don't know what it is. I don't know what it is exactly, but I feel it absolutely. Apodaca posted the video to TikTok. Within days, it had over 27 million views.

It generated a cover by Fleetwood Mac Co-Founder Mick Fleetwood. Take a look at this.

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CUOMO: I love everything about it. Nathan joins us now. Welcome to PRIME TIME, brother.

NATHAN APODACA, VIRAL TIKTOK STAR: Yes. How's it going, man?

CUOMO: Better now. Better now.

Let me jump to this part. What's the "Why" for you? Why do you think so many people are sharing this video and just, you know, it's bringing on the joy?

APODACA: I think it's mainly because everybody just needs a break from something different than the chaos that's going on in the world right now. There is just too much of it.

And yes, this just gave them a quick time to relax, and just look at something different, and smile, and go out and do something as well, you know what I mean? Because a lot of people are doing a parody of it, and it's awesome.

CUOMO: I love that you're just like just jump in there, and start singing all the sudden. And one of the - I think, look, I think it's a hundred different things. And it's all beautiful. There's no reason to get scientific about it.

But it's, to me, one of the things that grabbed me, once I saw the video, is as you and I both know, as fans of Fleetwood Mac, that is one of the harshest, bitterest breakup songs ever, "Dreams." She is singing about all kinds of ugly about what happened in life and with her love.

And you were singing it in a happy way. And it was kind of a--

APODACA: Right.

CUOMO: --beautiful demonstration of how the suck is real. We're dealing with real suck right now. But you can still sing your way through it, and enjoy the journey. And that's what you were doing, brother.

APODACA: Oh, yes, oh yes. Just - you know what I mean? Just trying to get out there, put out some content, and I'm glad this one caught on to everybody, as it did, because like I said, I was just trying to get something out there to make my soldiers all just smile, and like I said, this one's blew up.

CUOMO: So, you're in the truck, you have like a 2005 Durango or something like that. "You had," I emphasize that word for a reason. We'll get to it in a second. And it occasionally gave you trouble, right? So, what happens?

APODACA: Oh, yes. Oh, yes. Just occasionally, it would go off. You know what? I'd just be driving, and I'll turn, and then it would shut down, in, like I said, this was one of those days. And it would just start right back up.

It's like I said. It wasn't - it was just a nuisance. You know what I mean? Because it would - it would always just start back up occasionally.

CUOMO: So, you leave the car, and you decide to just jump on the Longboard and grab the Cran Raspberry and go?

APODACA: Yes. I always have my Cran Raspberry or - you know what I mean, with me. I don't drink the full bottle in one day. But like I said, it takes me a couple days to drink it. But yes.

And I always have my Longboard with me, Chris, you know? You never know, you might need it to take off. You know what I mean? But again, I always have a Longboard or a Penny Board with me or a Skateboard, something, a different set of wheels.

CUOMO: So, the success has been crazy, is so much it says--

APODACA: Yes.

CUOMO: I like that, a little dog action there. What does that dog - well what did he have in his mouth, that dog? What did he have?

APODACA: A pillow, neck pillow.

CUOMO: You relax man, you see. Hey you all, life is about chilling out.

APODACA: Yes, right.

CUOMO: Even your dog--