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CNN TONIGHT

Sen. Kamala Harris 9D-CA) Was Interviewed About Joe Biden, the Court Packing and the Issue on Coronavirus; Kamala Harris Suspend in- Person Campaign; President Trump's Memory Not Good on Dates; Joe Biden Presented a Clear and Succinct Answers to Voters; Trump Admitted He Owes $400 Million to a Foreign Bank; Former GOP Governor Funding Voting Places. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired October 15, 2020 - 22:00   ET

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


[22:00:00]

DANIEL DALE, CNN REPORTER: I didn't watch that one with myself so I'm relying on the team. I'll go through it further in further detail later. But Biden said that when the first round of enhanced unemployment finished Trump, he said he didn't do anything. Actually, Trump did do something. He signed an executive measure to take billions in federal disaster aid to give $300 a week to the jobless. So that's certainly something.

He said that Trump said that people should inject bleach in your arm and that's going to work. But Trump did of course make weird comments in which he mused about scientists studying the injection of bleach for the virus. That's crazy, but he didn't actually advice people to go do it themselves in that moment.

And Biden suggested that his web site did not say that the Green New Deal is a crucial framework for environmental acts of action.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: He does.

DALE: He didn't explicitly say, but his web site does say it's a crucial framework, so it's misleading.

CUOMO: All right. Daniel dale, thank you very much. I look forward to even more. But thank you for keeping on the straight and narrow.

DALE: Thanks, Chris.

CUOMO: All right. We'll be back at midnight. Right now, it's CNN Tonight with D. Lemon.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: So, let me ask you something. And you can ask me the same question. When was the last time you had a COVID test?

CUOMO: Me? Ten days.

LEMON: Yes. So, me, last Tuesday. So, why can't the president remember that if he had a COVID test?

CUOMO: Because he's lying. LEMON: Before the debate.

CUOMO: Because he's lying.

LEMON: How can he not remember someone either drawing blood for, you know, if he had antibodies or sticking that thing up your nose going to your brain?

CUOMO: I'm with you. I'm with you.

LEMON: Going in your brain.

CUOMO: He absolutely should remember, especially if he wants to say that his opponent is demented and that he's got memory problems and he can't remember what happened last week. But even better, Don, and more material is, he said, you have to ask the doctor, they can give you a perfect answer. We have. They say your privacy rights won't allow them to answer.

LEMON: What is happening is that I believe that someone knew. Right? Obviously, they knew about Hope Hicks since she was experiencing symptoms. And he did not take the test. Somehow, he got around the test for whatever reason and potentially exposed the former vice president, the moderator and the folks who were there in the hall.

The President of the United States. Anyone out there who has had a COVID test in the last any time since this pandemic, you remember the last time you had a COVID test. This is not simply pulling the wool over the American people's eyes.

CUOMO: Right.

LEMON: This is a wink in an eye. It's either he's lying or he has bad memory -- or his -- I don't know. I guess the first one is right. He's got to be lying. He has to know the last time he had a COVID test and the result.

CUOMO: What do you think the big -- the biggest moment of the night is that you hear on both sides?

LEMON: Well, to be honest with you I watched the Biden debate because -- or the Biden town hall because it was very substantive. I have to tell you, I just -- you know, I've heard just about everything that Donald Trump has had to say about everything. I'm sorry.

And for me, listen, I think the American people can watch who they want. But as someone who covers this every single night of their life, I know what he's going to say. I know what he's going to obfuscate. I know when he's going to point to a shiny object. I know what he's going to lie about it. I know what he's going to say about systemic racism.

I know he's going to pretend and lie that he did a good job when it comes to the pandemic in this country. I know he's going to give a wink and a nod to racists and bigots and conspiracy theorists like QAnon. No one should be surprised by that. What I wanted to hear is the alternative, the other person who's been running because I've been hearing from him so long.

CUOMO: Right.

LEMON: That debate was substantive. I got a great answer on the 1990 crime bill that I had never heard before. He actually said it was a mistake. I got great information on COVID. I got great information on what he would do to try to fix systemic racism in this country and what he would do to try to bring communities of color and police departments together and our elected officials.

I'm not sure we heard that. I'm pretty sure we did not hear that from the current president.

CUOMO: No. Look, I thought Biden made some good points. I thought he brought up some good components of what you need to have a better plan on COVID. But it didn't sound like he had a plan that would use those components. I'm very sensitive to that. I think the court packing thing makes him seem way too Trumpery in terms of how he's answering the question. With Trump, without question --

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: You know how I feel about that court packing thing.

CUOMO: I know.

LEMON: And I'm going to tell this --

CUOMO: But we disagree, so we'll leave it alone.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: But the -- without question the President of the United States calling into question the bravery of our SEAL team guys --

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: -- and all the men and women who spilled blood to find Usama bin Laden --

LEMON: It's outrageous.

CUOMO: -- and put them in the ground or in the water.

LEMON: I got to go though.

CUOMO: It's too far. Go ahead. Do your thing.

LEMON: I hate to cut you off. Let me tell you, because I have Senator Kamala Harris.

CUOMO: Go ahead. I'll be back at midnight anyway.

LEMON: Vice presidential candidate right now. CUOMO: I love you.

LEMON: Thank you, sir. I'll see you soon.

This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon.

Here's our breaking news. It's a big night. Big night of dueling town halls on competing networks. The president and Joe Biden each facing questions from voters but not facing each other. Americans forced to choose which one to watch in real time. And that's not the way it's supposed to be.

[22:05:02]

This was supposed to be a debate. But the president pulled the plug on that when he refused to do it virtually after catching the coronavirus. Joe Biden's running mate, Senator Kamala Harris, as I said just a moment ago, she is here. She's going to weigh on tonight's big moments and her decision to pause in-person campaigning through this weekend after a flight crew member and her communications director tested positive for the virus.

But first, I want you to get -- I want you to get -- I want you to hear from both candidates, OK, before we bring the senator on. The president in Miami, frankly, angry, yelling, giving wild answers and retweeting conspiracy theories and apparently totally unable to answer a simple question from Savanna Guthrie. When was your last negative test for the coronavirus?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE, NBC HOST: Let's talk about testing because --

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Sure.

GUTHRIE: -- there's a little bit of, I guess, confusion about this and I think we can clear it up.

TRUMP: Yes, and there should be.

GUTHRIE: Your first positive test was Thursday, October 1st. OK? When was your last negative test? When did you last remember having a negative test?

TRUMP: Well, I test quite a bit, and I can tell you that before the debate, which I thought it was a very good debate and I felt fantastically. I was -- I had no problem before. It was afterwards --

(CROSSTALK)

GUTHRIE: Did you test the day of the debate?

TRUMP: I don't know. I don't even remember. I test all the time. But I can tell you this, after the debate like, I guess, a day or so, I think it was Thursday evening, maybe even late Thursday evening, I tested positive. That's when I first found out about it. GUTHRIE: Well back to the debate because the debate commission's rules

-- and this is the honor system --

TRUMP: Yes.

GUTHRIE: -- would be that you would come with a negative test. You say you don't know if you got a test on the day of the debate.

TRUMP: I had no problem. Again, the doctors do it. I don't ask it. I test all the time.

GUTHRIE: Did you take a test, though, on the day of the debate?

TRUMP: You know if you ask the doctor, they'll give you a perfect answer.

GUTHRIE: Yes.

TRUMP: But they take a test and I leave, and I go about my business.

GUTHRIE: So, did you take a test on the day of the debate, I guess is the bottom line?

TRUMP: I probably did and I take a test the day before and the day before and I was always in great shape and I was in great shape before the debate. And it was only after the debate like a period of time after the debate that I said that's interesting and they took a test and it tested positive.

GUTHRIE: So just to button it up, do you take a test every single day?

TRUMP: No, no, but I take a lot of tests.

GUTHRIE: OK. And you don't know if you took a test on the day of the debate.

TRUMP: Possibly I did. Possibly I didn't.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Come on. This is preposterous. Either his mind is slipping, which he always is accusing his opponent of, or he wasn't tested and can't admit it because it's too reckless even for this shameless, reckless president.

If he took a test that day and it was negative, he would tell us. The president lashing out when the questions turn to his slowness to denounce white supremacy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: You always do this.

GUTHRIE: My question to you is --

(CROSSTALK) TRUMP: You've done this to me and everybody --

(CROSSTALK)

GUTHRIE: Why does it seem like --

TRUMP: I denounced white supremacy. OK?

GUTHRIE: You did two days later.

TRUMP: I denounced white supremacy for years. But you always do it. You always start off with a question. You didn't ask Joe Biden whether or not he denounces antifa. I watched him on the same basic show with Lester Holt and he was asking questions like Biden was a child.

GUTHRIE: Well, so, this is a little bit of a dodge.

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: So are you ready? Are you listening? I denounce white supremacy.

GUTHRIE: OK.

TRUMP: What's your next question?

GUTHRIE: Do you --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Joe Biden is not retweeting conspiracy theorists and racists. And we'll also hear a little bit how he refused to denounce the insane QAnon conspiracy theories, speaking of that, even when it's clearly laid out for him. And then there's Joe Biden in Philadelphia making an impassioned plea, and impassioned plea for bipartisanship. And answer to a question from the son of a Reagan administration official.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My father, Drew Lewis, served as Secretary of Transportation under President Ronald Reagan in his first term.

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes, I'll be darned.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And some of his closest allies and friends were Democrats including House Speaker Tip O'Neill and Senator Ted Kennedy. Sadly today, we have highly partisan and dysfunctional governance, and I believe President Trump is primarily responsible for creating this toxic environment.

As president, how will you avoid the temptation to exact revenge and instead take the high road an attempt to restore bipartisanship, civility and honor to our democracy?

BIDEN: As written by a fellow who won the Pulitzer Prize for a book he wrote about the presidency, he said, you know, I doubt whether Biden is really Irish. He doesn't hold a grudge.

In politics, grudges don't work. They're not -- they make no sense. I really mean it. I have never -- and the second point I would make is everybody talks about, yes, Joe, when you were a senator and a chairman of foreign relations, chairman of judiciary, got a lot of things done, you're able to cross the aisle, but the days were changed.

When you're vice president, you got a lot done, but it can't happen anymore. It can. We've got to change the nature of the way we deal with one another. And it starts off by the way your father was and Tip was and others.

[22:10:05]

You don't question another man or woman's motive. You can question their judgment but not their motive.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Joe Biden going on to call parts of the 1994 crime bill which has been a tough issue for him this campaign a mistake.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's your view on the crime bill that you wrote in 1994 which showed prejudice against minorities? Where do you stand today on that?

BIDEN: First of all, things have changed drastically. That crime bill, I went and vote it, the black caucus voted for it, every black mayor supported it across the board.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, CHIEF ANCHOR, ABC NEWS: Was it a mistake to support it?

BIDEN: Yes, it was. But here's where the mistake came. The mistake came in terms of what the states did locally. What we did federally we said -- and you remember, George, was all about the same time for the same crime.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: We've got a lot to talk about tonight. And joining me now, vice-presidential nominee Senator Kamala Harris. Senator, thank you so much for joining me. I really appreciate it. It's good to see you.

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's good to see you, Don, thank you.

LEMON: So, let's get right into it. So, this is a perfect metaphor for this race tonight. Two candidates on two different channels at the same exact time, completely separate worlds here in a country where two sides are living in different realities. How can you break through that if you become the vice president? HARRIS: Well, you know, I think that Joe, first of all, I thought he

did an incredible job. And he was just -- he's who he is and America got to see it. He answered every question. He wanted to talk more. I don't know if your viewers had a chance to see it.

Even after the debate was technically over, he stayed on the stage --

LEMON: Right.

HARRIS: -- to answer questions and to have follow up conversations. That's who Joe is. but one of the things that he talked about -- and you played that clip -- is about his true and natural and deep desire to unify the country knowing that the vast majority of us have so much more in common than what separates us.

I think that that is part of who Joe is and what's going to make him an incredible president especially at this time, which is that he is not trying to divide the people. He is not trying to sow hate and division the way Donald Trump is.

In fact, he's quite the opposite. He wants to bring people together around both what are collective dreams and hopes and aspirations for our children and our future but also around the struggles that everyone is facing now and has been, including the crisis that is about the public health crisis with the coronavirus, the economic crisis that has been the effect of it, the reconciliation in terms of racial justice in America, and also dealing with the climate crisis.

And Joes sees, if you will, Don, the -- he sees the Venn diagram of it all. He sees that there are those circles and maybe people seem that they're a little different, they live in different parts of the country, they may be different age, different race. But that area in the middle, that overlap is so big and Joe just wants to grow that around bringing people together around their collective desires.

LEMON: I want to -- so let's talk about how you do that then because that's going to take voting to get you to an office if you want to do that.

HARRIS: Yes.

LEMON: As we saw in both of these town halls, Senator, there are still some undecided voters out there. As you said, that may be part of the middle there. What's your message to Americans who are thinking maybe they don't vote because even though they don't love Trump they're not sold on Biden either?

HARRIS: Part of it is, Don, look, to your first question, there are two clear choices here. On the one hand, you have Joe Biden, who worked together with President Obama and built the Affordable Care Act, which brought healthcare to over 20 million people who did not have it, who for the first time created protections for people with pre-existing conditions like diabetes, like high blood pressure.

And Joe wants to build on the success that he and President Obama created and build on it by expanding coverage, bringing down the cost of premiums, lowering Medicare age to 60. That's what Joe does.

On the other hand, you have Donald Trump, who won't, he's literally in court right now trying to sue to get rid of the Affordable Care Act because he's got this weird obsession with trying to undo whatever Barack Obama and Joe Biden created.

So, there are so many clear differences between the two of them. On the one hand, you have Joe Biden who says we need to invest in the American worker and American infrastructure. Joe is supported by labor. And why? Because he will grow good paying union jobs and he honors the importance of collective bargaining and also what we need to build back up roads and our bridges and invest in renewable energy. He talked about that tonight.

LEMON: Yes.

HARRIS: Donald Trump he talked about an infrastructure plan that never took place. He has passed a tax bill benefitting the top 1 percent in the biggest corporations in America. Meanwhile, over 30 million people in our country signed up for unemployment in just the last several months.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Well let's talk about why that is.

[22:15:00]

HARRIS: I want to be respectful of your time because we don't have as long as I want.

HARRIS: Yes.

LEMON: I'd like to go all two hours that I have on the air tonight to go with you. I want to talk about this because this is very important. This is close to you.

Two people in your campaign's orbit tested positive, including your communications director.

HARRIS: Yes.

LEMON: The president brought it up tonight when he was asked where he might have gotten COVID. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Well, I don't know where it came from.

GUTHRIE: OK.

TRUMP: You don't know where it came from and the doctors don't know where it came from. But as the president I have to be out there. I also know --

(CROSSTALK) GUTHRIE: Well there's no one that says you can't be out there but it's just about wearing masks and having, for example, your rallies.

TRUMP: Well, I know this. As an example --

(CROSSTALK)

GUTHRIE: Your rallies don't require masks.

TRUMP: No. I mean, let's see Kamala. She's got people now that people have it. And I'm not blaming her. I'm not saying she did a terrible thing. As president, I have to be out there. I can't be in a basement.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So, he is using your circumstance to make the point that this could happen to anyone, that despite taking precautions, your campaign was hit as well. What is your response to him?

HARRIS: My response is with due respect and being polite that he's just incorrect. And the reality of it is that first of all, his approach to this issue is something the American public are suffering from.

For example, what we did is we have been -- we have had -- and he mocked Joe Biden in their debate about wearing masks and protocols that say we understand, love thy neighbor, wear your masks. We have had protocols that have been about saying that we need to have social distancing. We're not going to bring large crowds together because we don't want people to get sick as they exercise their rights in our democracy.

On the other hand, you have a Donald Trump who has overlooked all of that when he information since January about how serious this was and he did not tell the American people. So, again, you have clear contrast. You want to talk about the difference between the two choices people have in just 19 days. But people are voting right now by the way.

LEMON: Well --

HARRIS: The choice is Joe Biden, who has been saying since March we need to have a national plan for testing, for treatment, for contact tracing. And when God willing, we get that vaccine as soon as possible for distribution of the vaccine, taking into account --

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: I'm glad you mentioned that.

HARRIS: -- (Inaudible) racial disparities and making sure it's free.

LEMON: I'm glad you mentioned the vaccines.

HARRIS: Yes.

LEMON: And before I get to this my next question. But you have tested negative, right? And you have been tested --

(CROSSTALK)

HARRIS: Yes, many times.

LEMON: Many times. OK.

HARRIS: I was last exposed to the folks you mentioned seven days ago. I've had multiple tests since.

LEMON: OK.

HARRIS: I've come up negative. They are all doing well. I'm happy to say.

LEMON: OK.

HARRIS: And, yes, this is where we are.

LEMON: Great. So, listen, I want to -- you mentioned vaccines. At the Biden town hall, he was asked about vaccines, and the voter brought you up. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BIDEN: Hi, Kelly, how are you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Mr. Biden. My question is about the coronavirus vaccine.

BIDEN: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Or potential. Senator Harris stated she absolutely would not take a vaccine from President Trump. And of course, we all know it's not President Trump that would create this vaccine. It would be doctors and scientists that presumably we all trust.

So, my question for you is, if a vaccine was approved between now and the end of the year, would you take it? And if you were to become president, would you mandate that everyone has to take it?

BIDEN: Two things. Number one. President Trump talks about things that just aren't accurate about everything from vaccines, we're going to have one right away. It's going to happen and so on. The point is that if the scientists -- if the body of scientists say that this is what is ready to be done and it's been tested, have gone through the three phases, yes, I would take it. I would encourage people to take it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So, Vice President Biden went on to say that he would consider mandating a vaccine. But do you -- do you have any regret about initially saying that you wouldn't trust President Trump alone in a vaccine or do you think you got -- it got misconstrued? HARRIS: Let me be very clear. I think I have been, but I'll say it

again. I do not trust Donald Trump on the issue of a vaccine. If the public health professionals tell us it's safe, I will take the vaccine. I will be the first in line. If Dr. Fauci says it is safe, I'll be the first line.

I will not take Donald Trump's word on this. He has over and over and over again lied to the American people while he has been equipped with information that if he had shared it could have saved lives. He's been playing politics with people's lives and we're now looking at one of the greatest mass casualty events in the history of our country. No, I will not take Donald Trump's word for it.

[22:19:59]

LEMON: Your running mate Joe Biden said tonight that he is not a fan of so-called court packing, that has become such a big issue recently. But that ultimately, as he said, it's going to depend on how this is handled, meaning the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett.

But we know how this is being handled. Republicans are going to vote on it. She's going to have the votes. Tonight, the vice president promised a clear position before election day. What is your position now that you have heard from the judge in the course of this hearing and that you have heard from Joe Biden tonight about court packing?

HARRIS: Well, as you know, Don, I sit on the Senate judiciary committee, and I was present for the hearings. I will tell you it's probably no surprise to you I plan on voting against her confirmation to the court for a number of reasons. But the biggest reason includes what I've said since the beginning which is, I do believe this to have been an illegitimate process.

The American people are voting. We are not talking about the appoint -- the lifetime appointment to the highest court in our land during an election year or election season. We're literally in the middle of an election. I think as of today 18 million people have already voted. We are 19 days away from the end of the election.

And it is only right and fair that the American people get to decide who will be their president. And then that person should be the one to fill this lifetime appointment to the United States Supreme Court. And I remain very committed to that principle, which is about fairness, about the integrity of this process. They've been jamming through this nominee.

Meanwhile, Don, over 150 days been sitting on Mitch McConnell's desk a proposal to bring relief to the American people around economic relief, around things like what we need to do around moratoriums for people who are about to be evicted. Almost half American renters are worried about not being able to pay their rent by the end of the month. This is serious business.

LEMON: And it is --

HARRIS: People are standing in food lines. And this is what we're doing, jamming a nomination through for political purposes when there's literally a bill that we should be debating about giving relief to the American people.

LEMON: I understand what you mean about -- what you're saying about jamming someone through, and I think the polls show the American people are on your side. But this whole idea, were you surprised to hear the former vice president say that he's going to have -- take a stance or give his position on this court packing before the people vote?

HARRIS: I think that Joe Biden has been consistent about saying that this is not the time right now to have this discussion. And frankly, to be honest with you, Don, and just to be very straightforward if we're going to talk about court packing, which is something that all of a sudden has become a big point of discussion.

LEMON: Right.

HARRIS: I think because our appointee is trying to --

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: The only reason I bring it up because I want to --

HARRIS: -- paint a distraction.

LEMON: I actually think it is a distraction. And I just wanted to get you on the record.

HARRIS: Yes.

LEMON: So, because maybe if you guys answer it, you'll get it behind you and it doesn't become her e-mails. And that's up to the media too to not make it her e-mails.

HARRIS: But I'm not -- and not fall into the trap. Because look, if we want to -- seriously, if we want to talk about court packing, can we please talk about -- and I've witnessed this first hand on the Senate judiciary committee.

They've been one after another nominating people who are unqualified, people who refuse to say that Brown versus board of education is precedent. Do you know that they put 50 people on the lifetime sort of -- federal court of appeals and not one is black? I mean, I just -- I'm sorry but I can't have a conversation about court packing around something that has not even happened yet, which is who is going to be the next president, without dealing with what they've been doing for the last few years.

LEMON: So, Senator, let me ask you tonight about white supremacy, because the president was asked about that and he brushed it off.

HARRIS: Yes.

LEMON: He says that he denounced it and then pivoted to why Joe Biden doesn't denounce antifa. The president's racism is ugly, but it has been effective with a lot of voters, Senator. How much of the president's support do you believe is based on his messages of race, and will they work again this time?

HARRIS: I believe that the American people want in their president somebody who speaks to the goals, the ideals and the spirit of who we are. You know, Joe talks about we are supposed to be the United States of America. And you are right, and I agree with you.

Donald Trump has spent fool time spewing hate and division. He has a pattern of racist talk from Charlottesville through talking as he did on that debate stage to what I heard tonight about what he said or refused to condemn QAnon.

[22:24:55]

So, look, this is a pattern of his and there's no denying that. But I do believe in the American people. And I believe the vast, vast majority of the American people want in their president somebody who sees a unified country, who tries to unify our country and brings us together around our common goals and dreams.

And also, who speaks truth about the history of racism and has the courage to say black lives matter, which Joe Biden does and Donald Trump does not. But we need a president to help us heal. Our country is in pain in so many ways. And I, from the bottom of my heart, believe that it is time to end the pain and to elect Joe Biden.

LEMON: Senator Kamala Harris, thank you. You be safe. I really appreciate you joining us tonight. You're welcome back any time. Please come back as often as you want.

HARRIS: Thank you, Don.

LEMON: Thank you so much.

HARRIS: Thank you. I will.

LEMON: Be well.

HARRIS: I will.

LEMON: The president faced questions tonight about that New York Times report that he has about $421 million in debt, right? And he didn't deny it. Much, much more on that. Tonight's breaking news. Head to head town halls instead of a face to face debate. We'll talk about that next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[22:29:58]

LEMON: Two town halls tonight, two very different visions of America in 2020. President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden facing tough questions from voters. And the contrast in their answers was really stark. I want to discuss now with CNN political correspondent Abby Phillip,

and senior political commentator David Axelrod, a former senior adviser to President Barack Obama.

It's so good to have both of you on. Thank you so much. So, David, give us your assessment, how did the candidates do tonight?

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, Don, we're 18 days out from an election. Joe Biden has a substantial lead on the president. And I don't think anything happened tonight that would upset that dynamic in any way. I thought Biden had a particularly strong night in his town hall. He was substantive. He was connecting. He was empathetic.

And you know, while the president was more -- he less bellicose than he was in that debate, which is setting the bar, you know, rather low, but he was more collected than he was in that debate. And he was energetic, which people, I'm sure, wanted to see given the fact that he's been ill.

On substance, it was more of the same. He's a super spreader of conspiracy theories, and he is misleading on policy on the fundamental things that people care about, the coronavirus, healthcare policy. So, you know, I don't think at the end of the day he helped himself much tonight. And he's running out of time.

LEMON: Abby Phillip, two very different viewing experiences, right?

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I mean, it really could not have been more different. So, one of the president's campaign advisers, Mercedes Schlapp was on social media and she described it as -- described watching Biden as watching an episode of "Mr. Roger's Neighborhood" and I actually think that's a pretty good analogy for what, you know, really the differences between the two. I think that's kind of what Biden is going for. He's going for, you know, a little boring, a little wholesome, a little --

LEMON: Steady.

PHILLIP: Some, yes, steady. And the reality is that if you are a fan of Donald Trump, the more combative Trump that you saw tonight, the Trump that kind of goes back to his normal talking points, some of which or many of which are not based in fact, you would have love what you saw out of Trump.

But here's the thing. I think the American people right now are obviously deciding between these two very different visions. And we don't know which way this is ultimately going to turn out.

But if where we are in the polling right now, if you look at where the president is with women voters and with elderly voters, it seems clear that what the president has been doing hasn't been working. And he didn't change his strategy tonight. He kept the same strategy.

Meanwhile, Joe Biden sort of was like, you know, offering an opportunity to change the channel to something completely and totally different.

LEMON: David, President Trump was asked about that New York Times report that he is about $421 million in debt that will come due in the next four years. Take a listen and then we'll discuss it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I'm very under levered fortunately. But I'm very under levered. I have a very, very small percentage of debt compared -- in fact some of it I did as favors to institutions that wanted to loan me money. Four hundred million dollars compared to the assets that I have, all these great properties all over the world, and frankly the Bank of America building in San Francisco. I don't love what's happening to San Francisco --

(CROSSTALK)

GUTHRIE: Well do I hear you right, it sounds like you're saying --

TRUMP: Throughout (Inaudible) they have one of the biggest --

GUTHRIE: -- $400 million isn't that much.

TRUMP: -- one of the biggest office buildings.

GUTHRIE: But are you confirming that yes, you do owe some $400 million?

TRUMP: What I'm saying is that it's a tiny percentage of my net worth.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: That's not exactly a denial of the New York Times --

(CROSSTALK)

AXELROD: I think the answer was yes. I'm confirming that. I think he's also lying about what percentage of his assets they represent. It's well known that the president has had trouble getting bank loans, and you know, because of his finances.

So, yes, I mean, I think that was actually a little bit of unintended news on his part. And he, you know, continued to kind of dodge the question of whether people shouldn't be a little bit concerned about the fact that they don't know to whom he owes $420 million and who can pull his strings. That is why you want presidents to disclose their finances, why you want them to detach themselves from their businesses, why you want them to reveal their tax returns.

LEMON: Yes. Why you want them to abide by the Emoluments Clause and so on and so forth. Thank you both. A appreciate it.

The president tonight refusing to denounce QAnon, a conspiracy group spreading lies all over the internet even though the FBI has warned it poses a potential domestic terror threat. Stay with us.

[22:35:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Here's the breaking news, President Trump and Joe Biden with dueling town halls tonight. The president refusing to denounce the French conspiracy group known as QAnon.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GUTHRIE: While we're denouncing, let me ask you about QAnon. It is this theory that Democrats are a satanic pedophile ring and that you are the savior of that. Now, can you just once and for all state that that is completely not true and disavow QAnon in its entirety?

TRUMP: I know nothing about QAnon.

GUTHRIE: I just told you.

TRUMP: I know very little. You told me, but what you tell me doesn't necessarily make it fact. I hate to say that. I know nothing about it. I do know they are very much against pedophilia. They fight it very hard. But I know nothing about it.

GUTHRIE: They believe it is a satanic cult run --

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: If you like me to --

GUTHRIE: -- the deep states.

TRUMP: -- study the subject. I'll tell you what I do know about. I know about antifa and I know about the radical left and how violent they are and how vicious they are and I know how they're burning down cities run by Democrats not run by Republicans.

[22:40:03]

GUTHRIE: Republican Senator Ben Sasse said, quote, "QAnon is nuts. And real leaders call conspiracy theories, conspiracy theories.

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: He may be right.

GUTHRIE: Why not just say it's crazy and not true?

TRUMP: Can I be honest? He may be right. I just don't know about QAnon.

GUTHRIE: You do know.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Let's discuss now with CNN senior political commentator Jennifer Granholm, and CNN political commentator Scott Jennings. Good to have both of you on. Good to see you.

Jennifer, Like the white supremacy question, OK, that he got at the first debate, this really should have been a slam dunk question for him. Why can't he bring himself to denounce this fringe lunatic conspiracy?

JENNIFER GRANHOLM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Because this fringe lunatic conspiracy which is followed by a lot of people who follow Donald Trump who go to his rallies who are hold up the letter Q, he doesn't want to offend any of his followers even though these particular followers have been declared a domestic terrorist threat by the FBI. He should denounce it. It should be clear, but he feels like he can't afford to lose a single supporter and given the polls the way they are, he may be right.

LEMON: Is his refusal, Scott, to a disavow French groups like QAnon becoming a turn off even for Republicans?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, first of all, I have to say conspiracy theorists are a dead end for anyone, for Donald Trump, for the Republicans, for the Democrats. I mean, if you're out there wading around in conspiracy theory groups, especially this one, and it's a total dead end. And it is an easy thing to denounce.

That having been said, I will just say I've been a Republican my whole life. I talked to a lot of Republicans. Not a single person has ever brought this up to me, never asked me about it, never asked if I want to look at a web site. I've never seen it on anything that I've looked at. And I would say I swim around in Republican circles a lot more than the average person.

And so, I don't know to what extent it is pervasive, but I would say that if they are promoting conspiracies, which they obviously are, that are as crazy as the ones Savannah Guthrie talk about tonight, then yes --

LEMON: Scott?

JENNINGS: -- it's easy to denounce and I don't know why he wouldn't do it.

LEMON: OK. So, here's the thing. You know we have reporters go out to these rallies and ask people and they -- at Trump rallies and many of them know about QAnon and they subscribe to their views. Also, Senator Loeffler is campaigning with someone else who is running for office who's a QAnon supporter.

JENNINGS: Yes, like I said --

(CROSSTALK)

GRANHOLM: It's insane.

JENNINGS: I've never --

GRANHOLM: It's insane.

JENNINGS: No one has asked me about it. But I don't disagree. If it's a conspiracy theory group then yes --

LEMON: Yes.

JENNINGS: -- it is easy to denounce.

LEMON: I know, but I'm asking you about it now.

JENNINGS: Yes, well and I'm telling you. Conspiracy theories are a dead end for anyone including the president and for any party including the Republican Party.

LEMON: So, if it's a turn off for even Republicans that means yes, that's what you're saying, correct?

GRANHOLM: Should be.

JENNINGS: Yes. It could turn off voters.

LEMON: OK.

JENNINGS: I mean, if you're not willing to take something this simple and say no to it, sure, it could be.

LEMON: Got you, got you. OK. Thank you, Scott. So, this is President Trump on Roe v. Wade. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUTHRIE: Would you like to see Roe versus Wade overturned?

TRUMP: I would -- I would like to see a brilliant jurist, a brilliant person who has done this in great depth that has actually skirted this issue for a long time make a decision. And that's why I chose her. I think she's going to make a great decision. I did not tell her what decision to make. And I think it would be inappropriate to say right now, because I don't want to do anything to influence her. I want her to get approved and then I want her to go by the law.

GUTHRIE: Most pro-life Republicans would like to see Roe v. Wade overturned and abortion banned.

TRUMP: Many of them would.

GUTHRIE: What do you think?

TRUMP: Perhaps most of them would. I am telling you, I don't want to do anything to influence anything right now. I don't want to go out tomorrow and say he's trying to give her a signal because I didn't speak to her about it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: He's suggesting that he doesn't want to influence this issue. What did you think of that answer, Jennifer?

GRANHOLM: Well, obviously he's trying to have it both ways. He doesn't need to ask her because the Federalist Society already reviewed her, vetted her, and her writings are clear on this. This answer, the answer about QAnon, the answer about not knowing whether or not remembering whether he was tested on the day of the debate are all classic Donald Trump not wanting to answer a question that he knows will be hard.

Now if you compare this, Don, to the clarity I think over at the Biden debate where you pointed out that you got a lot of substance, there was so much substance. I mean, people online are saying, my God, it's like a bomb for the soul. It's like a drink and an oasis where you actually get specifics about the economy.

LEMON: You should see Scott's face.

GRANHOLM: About COVID. I mean really, it's true. I mean, you can roll your eyes, Scott. But what did you get on Trump's side? Obfuscation. What did you get on Biden's side? Concrete policies.

[22:45:08]

If you watched it. He was talking about British thermal units.

LEMON: Yes. I've --

GRANHOLM: He was talking about carbon capture. It was just an amazing --

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: I've got to go guys.

GRANHOLM: -- bits of specificity.

LEMON: Thank you. And you'll see why I have to go after this. Thank you both. I appreciate it.

So, this why I have to go. While President Trump spreads more voting conspiracy tonight, former President Barack Obama urging people to vote despite long lines telling them our democracy depends on it.

The former California Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger says he's willing to spend millions to keep polling places up and running. He's going to tell all about it, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: So, here's the breaking news. The president and the former vice president Joe Biden facing off in dueling town halls. That, as 17 million Americans have cast their ballots in the election.

[22:50:04]

President Trump continuing to undermine the election process and make false claims about voter fraud.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GUTHRIE: You have said repeatedly the only way we lose this election is if it is rigged. Now that is simply not true. The fact is either candidate can lose fair and square without ballot fraud.

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: Sure, we can. And you know what?

GUTHRIE: So, will you accept the results of the election?

TRUMP: Win or lose, that's the way I wanted to be. But when I see thousands of ballots, right, unsolicited ballots being given out by the millions and thousands of them are dumped in dumpsters and when you see ballots with the name Trump, military ballots from our great military and they're dumped in garbage cans --

(CROSSTALK)

GUTHRIE: That is a handful -- we could go all night which we won't.

TRUMP: No, it's happening every day.

GUTHRIE: We can go all night.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Let's discuss now with the former Republican Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger. He is fighting for your right to vote, as well as hosting an online summit, "Unfinished Business, Race and Equity in America on Twitch," OK. So that's starting tomorrow. So, make sure you tune in to that. Governor, I appreciate you joining me. Thank you so much.

FMR. GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R-CA): My pleasure.

LEMON: So, the president is continuing to hedge on election results, continuing to lie about voter fraud. He likes to projects strength. What is strong about undermining the election 19 days out?

SCHWARZENEGGER: I think the most important thing is for me that everyone gets a chance to vote. And as you know, that there have been for months now people running around and saying, let's organize so people go out to vote and let's get the message out, you know, and they have stickers and they have hats and they have this and that, t- shirts to go out and vote.

But what if you don't have a chance to go and vote? So that's where I come in. Because I say to myself, there is too much dialogue about other stuff go out and vote but there is not enough action. And the action is that you have to provide the opportunity because we know there's voter suppression and there were thousands of polling bases that were closed since 2013, since the Supreme Court case. And so, there's no real, you know, chance for some people to vote. So,

I said, well, instead of just going out to vote and encouraging people to go out and vote, I said I'm going to offer millions of dollars to open up those polling places that have been closed under the auspices of budgetary reasons.

LEMON: Yes.

SCHWARZENEGGER: So, let's assume for a second it was a budgetary reason. I'm offering now the money for each polling place that was closed to reopen.

LEMON: OK.

SCHWARZENEGGER: And sure enough, there were a lot of people that have taken up the offer.

LEMON: I want to ask --

SCHWARZENEGGER: For instance, in Muscogee County, and Georgia, and Cameron County in Texas --

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: That was the answer to my --

SCHWARZENEGGER: -- the list goes on and on.

LEMON: That was the answer to my question where is that happening. But I just put -- I want to put out these lines of people voting around the country. Seventeen million ballots already, Governor. We are seeing a massive turnout here.

Listen, your institute at USC as you talked about offering grants to keep polling places up and running. You say that you're willing to spend millions of dollars. So, explain to us, how does that work? Where is that money going?

SCHWARZENEGGER: Well, what we did was we basically put out a tweet, we just let people know that we are going to do that. And then we go and send out letters to the various different polling places to almost a thousand to be accurate. It's 989 counties have gotten letters.

And then we have done follow-up phone calls to make sure that they have received the letters so there's no one saying, well, we never received the letter. And then certain places started responding to it and like I said, Muscogee County in Georgia, was one of those places that opened up a supercenter. They think there will be 70 to 80 percent turnout.

I mean, it's huge. And then in Cameron County in Texas, the two super centers that opened up the first day on Monday. They had 10,000 people turn out to vote.

LEMON: Wow. SCHWARZENEGGER: I mean, it's really extraordinary stuff. But on the other hand, we have a state like Louisiana that had zero applications -- I mean, they send applications, they have not responded or they've actually been recalled, shut us down and just said, we are not interested in opening up any polling places. We are not interested in your money or something like that.

So, you have both. So, there's clearly I think voter suppression. And what we want to do is offer everyone a chance to vote. It doesn't matter if you vote Republican or Democrat. It has nothing to do with parties. It has to do with the basic fundamental right to vote. And then also to let the people know you have an obligation to vote and to participate since democracy is not expected, as we always say, it is something that you have to participate.

LEMON: I love your passion because I'm trying to get a worded edgewise. But I love your passion, I love what you're saying. Listen, and my home state is Louisiana and trust me I know what happens down there.

[22:54:57]

So, I have to ask you this since you're talking about voter suppression, right, and ways that people try to keep you from voting and really take your vote sometimes or hide your vote.

You're a former Republican governor of California. I've got to ask you, the California Republican Party says it will not comply with the state's cease and desist order over unofficial ballot drop boxes placed in several counties. This is -- you were governor of the state once. What is your message to them?

SCHWARZENEGGER: Well, we have always (Inaudible) and I even said that in 2007 to the Republican Party at the convention in California that you're dying at the box office. And so, they are off the rail -- first, what they are offering to the people in California, I mean, you cannot see them anywhere when it comes to healthcare. They have no interest in education. They have no interest in any of those kinds of issues.

For instance, women are interested, that's why they lost millions of women in the Republican Party. It's a sinking ship and this is what I said. It's a stupid thing they're doing right now with those ballot boxes and they're creating -- so I think it's just, it's just Mickey Mouse stuff that, you know, has serious kind of like effect.

I think what they should do is really offer people hope and then be out there and really make everyone participate and make everyone go and be able to vote and those kinds of things rather than make those fake ballot boxes and stuff like that.

LEMON: OK. So, Governor, I have a lot to talk to you about. I want to talk to you more about getting people out to vote and I also want to get your reaction to the dueling town halls tonight. We'll talk right after this break. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: So, we're back now with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Governor, I appreciate you joining us again and staying with us longer. So, let's talk about --

SCHWARZENEGGER: My pleasure.

LEMON: -- coronavirus cases and then I want to ask you about the town hall and more on voting. Coronavirus cases climbing to out of control levels. This president continues to attack Dr. Fauci. Is he fit to lead right now on this issue?

SCHWARZENEGGER: Well, I mean, let me tell you that the whole country has, you know, made a mistake with the way they went about it with the coronavirus, from the top all the way down to the bottom.

[22:59:59]

Because I think as much as the federal government was not prepared for this disaster and for this virus, even though they knew that there was a breakup.