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CNN TONIGHT

U.S. Recorded Highest Coronavirus Cases; Democrats Watching Florida's Tight Race; Coronavirus is Uncontrollable; Trump Focuses on the Future; Mail-in Voting is Unsafe; Biden Camp Trust Their Strategy; Trump Rallies a Perfect Recipe for Widespread Infections. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired October 29, 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]

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: This is me when I'm by myself, I want to be honest. So, I'm running, and I used it along the road where we live and then someone gets close to me and then I do this. And then I take it down and then I do this.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Look.

LEMON: But I try -- I try to do it as much as possible but it's a --

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: You are great with the mask.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: I don't think I've ever seen you outside the place here without one. In fact, when you come into my office you have a mask on.

LEMON: I know.

CUOMO: I'm fine owning that I took runs and I didn't wear a mask and I got called up. But they did the right thing. I'm OK with it. I don't see being wrong as weakness. I see failure to change --

LEMON: What do I tell you?

CUOMO: -- as weakness. You said wear a mask.

LEMON: I know.

CUOMO: But I don't know why you need a mask when you have those lapels. Why can't you just pull those padding to bear huge lapels right over your face?

LEMON: They are huge on TV, aren't they? Listen, you know, you know how I like to, I've got all these great clothes.

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: You double breast it. LEMON: I love clothing, you know that. And so, I usually get to wear all these great suits on TV, but you don't, now you can't really see them.

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: Double breast it with the big lapels.

LEMON: I know.

CUOMO: Is that like a family heirloom?

LEMON: This is the kind of lapel when you wear at dinner. You can wipe it up --

CUOMO: That's strong.

LEMON: Yes. It is.

CUOMO: I got to get one of those.

LEMON: It's a camel, whatever you call it.

CUOMO: I don't know what you call that. It's very nice.

LEMON: But I do you tell you to wear the mask and you're right. But you know, you said that he has to change.

CUOMO: Has to.

LEMON: He should, because he is not going to. If he does win --

CUOMO: Has to.

LEMON: -- then he is going to be more emboldened to bend reality, to shape reality. What do you think?

CUOMO: It is worse than what he was impeached for. What he is doing right now is worse than what he was impeached for.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: You can argue that failing to give people the message to wear masks and socially distance and encouraging them to do the opposite is not criminally negligent if anybody else did it.

LEMON: Well, you --

CUOMO: If anybody else did it.

LEMON: I wasn't getting ready for my show, I wasn't sure if you did it but you saw, Sanjay did the piece on how at his rallies --

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: That's right. Yes, we did it right now. LEMON: Yes, you did it there. I mean, that's science. You cannot argue with the science, even though he is trying to tell you and all of his apologists are trying to say it's a, well, you know, it's fake, and what Dr. Atlas is saying. They are going for herd immunity. They are not being transparent with you about that.

But that is what they are going for, and in order to do that, as the science says, that will kill thousands upon thousands, upon thousands of people, hundreds of thousands of people.

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: Dr. Atlas knows less about fighting pandemics than my chiropractor.

LEMON: Yes. There is also, when it comes to herd immunity, do you know how you get herd immunity? With a vaccine.

CUOMO: By a lot of people getting sick and dying.

LEMON: Well, I mean, no. I mean, you get herd immunity the responsible way is through vaccine.

CUOMO: well, right, right, right.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: I am saying if you let the virus run its course --

LEMON: No, no, no.

CUOMO: -- yes, eventually it runs its way through, but how many are lost?

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: That's just straight up killing people. That's what that is. And that's the straight up --

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: I mean, you know, that's the kind of thing we get mad at people ignoring --

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: -- in developing countries. Look at what's happening to them. We have to help them they are all being killed by this. Now it's happening here.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: It's happening here, right now, at his own darn rallies.

LEMON: You know what the sad thing is? And I'll be honest with you. I have many people who I love in my life. Yes, I come from a red state. I've lived in several red states. There are a lot of friends that I had to get rid of because they are so nonsensical when it comes to this issue.

They have the whole -- every single talking point that they hear on state TV and that they hear from this president. They repeat it and they are blinded by it. And I just can't -- when I said to you the other night there is no way they can't believe it. They can't, you know, I was just goosing you in a way, right? You know what they say, I was, you know --

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: Goosing works.

LEMON: -- breaking your, you know, you know what I'm talking about.

CUOMO: It's not like that, it will all over the news. But continue.

LEMON: But here is the thing. I had to get rid of them, because they are too far gone. I try and I try and I try. They'll say something really stupid and then I'll show them the science and I'll give them the information, and they still repeat those talking points.

And all the while, the state was a hot spot. Many -- if you look at the information that we put up last night that came up yesterday, it showed you how the red states have now taken over where the blue states where people came in because there are bigger cities and there's more transmission. Obviously, where there are where people are closer together.

And so now the red states are the problem. And I just -- I had to get rid of a lot of people in my life because sometimes you just have to let them go. I think that they have to hit rock bottom like an addict. Right? And they have to want to get help, they have to want to know the truth, they have to want to live in reality, they have to want to be responsible, not only for other people's lives, but for their lives.

So, you know what? I've had, it's so sad, and I don't know if after this I will ever be able to go back and be friends with those people. Because at a certain point, you just say they are too far gone and I've got to let them go and if they're willing to come back and if they're willing to live in reality, then I welcome them with open arms. But I can't do it -- I can't do it anymore.

CUOMO: And look, also, perspective is a function of who you are.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: I represent and care about a lot of things that matter to you personally by proxy.

LEMON: Right.

CUOMO: So, it's a different analysis. You know, you know me. You are my family. I'm an -- I add, I don't subtract. People come in whatever they are, I never let them go.

[22:05:04]

But I will tell you this. Ten seconds. I believe in a lot of the people that follow this president because they are so desperate in their own frustration, and they are right to be. They just picked the wrong change agent.

And look, he can change, everybody can change, maybe even me. But on this pandemic, he is lying to them and it's going to make them sick, and I know people who have gotten sick because they listen to him.

LEMON: I will say this.

CUOMO: And it is wrong.

LEMON: I will let you go, but let me say this before I let you go.

CUOMO: Please.

LEMON: Be careful of the decisions you make in desperation. You said they are desperate. But careful of the decisions you make in desperation. Remember, when you are desperate, you don't necessarily have a clear head and you don't think straight. That's it.

CUOMO: You are exactly right. Do you know who doesn't have that excuse?

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: This president.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: Although that's why he is lying to them because he's desperate. But he's been elected to lead.

LEMON: I'm desperate to get to the show. So my producer --

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: Go ahead. I love you, D. Lemon.

LEMON: I love you too, brother.

CUOMO: Great suit.

LEMON: It's just a tie. It's just a jacket.

CUOMO: Whatever.

LEMON: Yes. It's called separates.

So, hi, everyone. This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon.

Are you doing OK? I know everyone is all stressed out and here is my answer. I don't know. So, for everyone who is texting me, e-mailing me, dm-ing me, stopping me on the street, who is going to win, I don't know. I really don't know. And no one knows. The pollsters don't even know.

All they know is what a snapshot in time from the people they are polling. OK? So, we don't know. But I can tell you this, calm down, this is America. We will get through whatever it is. We will be fine on November 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th, and so on and even past that. We're all going to be OK.

But I have to tell you this, because I have never seen anything like this, and guess what, neither have you. And this is our breaking news. This is, today is the highest single day of coronavirus cases in this country since the pandemic began.

Do you want to know how many people, how many cases? There's more than 87,000 cases reported so far today. Four of the top five highest single days of COVID cases coming just in the past week. And every one of those days, people were out voting, they're out voting in droves, more than 81 million of us have already voted.

They stood in those lines, we did the drop boxes, we've put them in the mail. But we've already voted. That's nearly 60 percent of all the ballots cast in 2016.

So, you probably have two questions tonight. As I said earlier, who is going to win the election? And how can we get a handle on this virus without losing hundreds of thousands more lives? Well, I just want you to look at this. This is a split screen and it shows you what's going on in this country.

The president and Joe Biden hauling -- holding dueling rallies in Florida today one with a packed, virtually mask free crowd, the other socially distanced, with masks all around, one living in a fantasyland where a deadly pandemic is no big deal, the other taking the virus seriously and taking precautions that could save lives.

Once upon a time there were two men, both vying for the presidency. One, socially responsible, the other, not. Joe Biden's closing argument, a call for unity, even in the face of the virus.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I've never been more optimistic about America or the American people that I am today. And on November the 3rd, we are going to unite this country and show the world who we really are.

(APPLAUSE)

BIDEN: I know it's hard. These past few months have been so much pain, so much suffering, so much loss, over 225,000 dead Americans because of the negligence and the consequence of COVID, more than 16,000 here in Florida alone.

(END VIDEO CLIP) LEMON: America, America, we have all sacrificed so much, not the least, of course, we have sacrificed dead loved ones. We've sacrificed time with family and friends. We've sacrificed financial security, our kids' education, their childhood past times.

And now, we are being asked by the experts in this pandemic to forego gathering this holiday season -- season. And what is the president doing to honor that sacrifice? Here is what he's doing. He is putting his supporters and the country in danger with his super spreader rallies, abdicating his responsibility and totally failing to lead, which is exactly what got us here in the first place.

[22:10:09]

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are never going to lockdown again.

(CROWD CHEERING)

TRUMP: We lockdown. We understood the disease. And now we are open for business.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: This president has never understood this disease, even when he got it himself. He kept lying about it to you and to everyone. He didn't do it, Chris Christie did when he got sick. He didn't say I was wrong. I should have worn a mask. Here is what we need to do. He has done nothing since then except he's hit the trail, holding a rally after rally in state after state as the virus runs rampant.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We social distance. We do all the things that you have to do. If you get close, wear a mask, always controversial. It's not controversial to me. You get close, you wear a mask, social distance, social distance. You know the bottom line? You are going to get better. You are going to get better. If I can get better, anybody can get better. And I got better fast.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Well, you know what? It's only controversial, think about this, whether you are a Trump supporter or not. It's -- this is the truth. It's only controversial because this president made it controversial. I guess he expects you to ignore what you have heard with your own ears.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Every time you see him, he's got a mask. He could be speaking 200 feet away and he shows up with the biggest mask I've ever seen.

Can you take it off, because I can hear you? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll just speak louder, sir.

TRUMP: OK. Because you want to be politically correct.

I think wearing a face mask as I greet presidents, prime ministers, dictators, kings, queens, I don't know, somehow, I don't see it for myself.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: And he says, now he says, begrudgingly, if you get close, wear a mask. Does he even see his own crowd? I always say does he own a mirror when he's talking about someone else is looks. When he's criticizing people and saying wear a mask if you get close. Does he see his own rallies? Look how close together they are. No masks in sight. OK?

And that audience today in Florida was crowded so close together in the heat of that, several people needed medical attention. Tampa fire and rescue well, they say that there were 16 calls for service with 13 transports. A nearby fire truck had to cool down the crowd there. But was the president sympathetic?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I felt water on my face and I said where the hell is that coming from.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: They may be doing that on purpose. Let's find out if they are friend or foe. And if they are foe, let's take care of those sons of the bitches.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Jesus. I don't -- sometimes I just don't know what to say. Remember when the president left hundreds and hundreds of his supporters in Omaha stranded this week in bitter cold, waiting to be packed into buses that never showed up?

Remember how he complained that he was cold? Always looking out for number one. Right? And then, there's the first lady, with both feet firmly planted in Trump's land of alternate reality.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MELANIA TRUMP, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: In a time when hate, negativity, and fear are the messages the media streams into our homes, and the large tech companies are protecting political censorship, we need to remember what is really important. My husband's administration is focused on the future.

(APPLAUSE)

M. TRUMP: The health and safety of the American people. (END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: What is that? Focus on the future? A dystopian future? Maybe a future with a lot fewer people in this country if we don't get this pandemic in order? Maybe that's the future he is focused on. He isn't even focused on the health and safety of his own supporters.

And I probably don't need to remind you that her husband's administration is focused on exactly the kind of hate, on exactly the kind of negativity, exactly the kind of fear that the first lady talked about.

Some examples. Birtherism, very fine people on both sides, chants of lock her or him up, and let's not forget they can't find the parents of 545 children separated at the border. That's the reality.

For him at those rallies and on TV, that's the spin, because the White House would like you to forget about the 545 children and parents that they can't find.

[22:15:09]

The birtherism, the lies, they hate, the spin. They would like you to forget that, and they would like you to believe that what they are saying is reality and like I said, the land of alternate reality, and alternative facts. Right?

Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows still smarting from his administration earlier this week that this country is not going to control the pandemic. Trying to explain the way the administration's negligence and acting like we could wash away the virus on a sea of hand sanitizer.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does the White House still want people to socially distance, wash their hands and wear a mask?

MARK MEADOWS, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Without a doubt. I can tell you that I've probably have use more Purell than any American here in the United States over the last seven or eight months.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Nice Purell plug but what does that have to do with anything? What does have to do with socially distancing, wearing masks, what does that have to do with anything? What? What?

The face I should tell you of the now sidelined Coronavirus task force, when was the last time you heard from him? I'm talking about Dr. Deborah Birx vowing to sit out meetings with Dr. Scott Atlas, a radiologist with no relevant expertise who has become the president's go-to advisor on the virus by telling him exactly what he wants to hear.

So here we are, days after the election. Here is where we are tonight. Experts ignored. The president lying. Of course, that's not news. It happens so much. Insisting we are rounding the corner. Perhaps we are rounding the corner like the station wagon with a mattress on top, and everything flies off. Maybe that's what he means. I don't know. But that's what it seems like.

The wheels are coming off as we round this corner, this proverbial corner that he talks about. On the highest single day of coronavirus cases in this country since this pandemic began, Joe Biden is saying this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BIDEN: We're expected to lose another 20,000 people between now and the end of this year if we do nothing. This is not a political statement. It's a patriotic duty for God sake. But still Trump refuses to listen to the science.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So, listen to me. Listen to me. Five days to go, everyone. Five days. Five days until election day. You've got to get out and vote. It's probably too late to put in the mail. Don't do it. If you can, avoid it.

And when you, vote whether you do it early or you wait for November 3rd think about where we are in this country right now. Think about the people we have lost. Think about everything we have sacrificed. Sacrificed. Make your voice heard.

I want to bring in someone right now to talk about this. And that is CNN medical analyst, Dr. Jonathan Reiner. Doctor, thank you for joining us once again here. So, help give us some facts here. Nine months into the pandemic, today is the worst day for daily COVID cases, and I should add today's number is still going up, by the way, the day is not over.

Is this a direct result of President Trump taking the country back from the doctors as Jared Kushner bragged yesterday? That he is going to open up. Is this a direct result of that?

JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Yes. I think it's a direct result of two horribly fatal failures. One is our failure to mask up this country at the end of March or the beginning of April and get the entire country to do that. And also, a failure of us to get enough testing out throughout the country, and maybe a third failure of opening up our states too quickly.

And all of this came about by sidelining the professionals who knew what they were doing, who had actually crafted excellent guidelines and letting the president run amok.

The sad thing is, this isn't a president who doesn't understand this. That would be bad enough. But we know from Bob Woodward's book that in February the president knew exactly what was going on, that this was a lethal virus. In his words, five times worse than the worst strenuous flu. I think those are the words he used. [22:20:07]

And that it was airborne. He understood this completely. He chose a different narrative because he thought it was his way to reelection. So, where we are now is a direct result of what happens when you have a narcissist who cares only about himself, who is running the show in this country.

LEMON: He cared about he didn't want to panic people he said. I think what he didn't want to panic was the stock market.

REINER: Right.

LEMON: And he ended up making it worse by not telling people the truth because look at where we are. We will be a year into this and still it won't be fixed or under control.

REINER: Right.

LEMON: Mark my words. Thank you very much, doctor. I appreciate it.

So, Florida, Florida, Florida, the state the president won by just 1.2 percent the last time around, the state where Joe Biden now has a razor thin lead. But is it what it seems?

CNN's Dana Bash and Politico's Marc Caputo break it all down. And they are next.

[22:25:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Just five days to go, President Trump and Joe Biden holding dueling rallies in Florida. One of the most important battleground states with just 29 -- with, I shouldn't say just -- with 29 electoral votes at stake. Trump really needs to win, otherwise his road to 270 virtually impossible.

Let's bring in CNN's chief political correspondent, Dana Bash, and Marc Caputo, senior political reporter for Politico Florida. Good to see both of you. Thank you for coming on

Marc, you first. Because of our new polls -- our poll, CNN poll of polls has Florida 49 percent, Biden, Trump at 46 percent. But you are reporting tonight that Democrats are sounding the alarm in Miami-Dade over weak voter turner. They're telling you, quote, "we've got to stop the bleeding."

MARC CAPUTO, SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER, POLITICO FLORIDA: Right. Well, Miami-Dade is the biggest and most complicated county in Florida. Democrats aren't seeing the turnout they'd like to see. This is a place where Democrats want to rack two things, turnout and margin.

And right now, the turnout is not quite where they want. About 53 percent of registered Democrats in the county have turned out to vote so far compared to 59 percent of Republicans. Now there are more Democrats. More Democrats are actually voting, but as to the rate they really want to get up, they want to raise that rate in order to have a nice cushion here for Biden, because there are other parts of the state where he's just going to bleed votes.

And he need Miami-Dade. He need Broward. He need Palm Beach and some of bigger urban counties in the central and north Florida in order for the Democrats to really compete. Now they are not saying, hey, we are panicking. They are just sounding the alarm saying we need to this because this is last week of in-person early voting.

And then for the past seven or eight days, Republicans have been having their lunch when it comes to in-person early voting. So, it's kind of crunch time for both parties to, you know, head into election day with as bigger margin or with smaller margin, the Republican case as they can muster.

LEMON: Yes. We talked about this a bit last night, Dana, with Alice Stewart. I know you want to weigh in. Biden said today, Dana, if Florida goes blue it's over. If you can grab those 29 points, right, he makes President Trump's raise to 270 near impossible.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. That's right. But just as Marc is reporting with his excellent piece tonight, it is -- it's -- that Democrats are nervous there. And you just have to look at the most important commodity at this point in the race for any campaign. And that is the candidates.

Kamala Harris is being sent to Miami-Dade on Saturday to help get the vote up. To get the turnout really cracking in a way we haven't seen before. I mean, look, part of the issue is that Democrats and the Biden campaign in particular they have a ground game but there's also COVID.

And so, they have been relying on doing things online and on just genuine enthusiasm, natural enthusiasm. The Trump campaign never stops door knocking. They never stop canvassing. They used phones and they used an app that tells them exactly what door to go to and what message to use.

And that could matter in a race that is going to be as tight as we think it will be in a place like Florida.

LEMON: I want to thank you both. Before everyone goes, I just want you to -- I just want to put this up. This is the early vote there. Over seven million people have voted. Right? And if you break it down by party, 41 percent from Democrats, 38 percent of the ballots cast are Republican voters. They are narrowing that gap and it is happening in other states beyond Florida as well.

Lots to discuss. Thank you, Marc. Thank you, Dana. See you soon.

CAPUTO: Thank you.

LEMON: Long way to the polls, late Supreme Court decisions worries about mail-in -- mailing in your ballot in time? Well, the former Attorney General Eric Holder tells you how you can protect your vote. He is going to join us next.

[22:30:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: So here is our breaking news tonight. Republicans claiming victory after a federal appeals court cuts off a weeklong window in Minnesota allowing mail-in ballots to be counted after election day. This comes after a Supreme Court decisions in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

Joining me now, the former attorney general under President Barack Obama, and that is Eric Holder. Thank you, Mr. Attorney General for joining us. I appreciate it.

Before we get into these court cases, you are saying at this point you don't think anyone, anywhere should be mailing in their ballot? Explain that.

ERIC HOLDER, FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES: Yes. I mean, given the way in which the Trump administration, I think we have to admit it, has successfully crippled the postal service, given the Supreme Court decisions that we are seeing and other court decisions talking about, you know, not counting ballots that are received after -- after November the 3rd, I think the safest thing at this point is simply to use early voting or cast a vote on election day.

Don't rely on the mails. I think the risk is simply too high. And we need certainty here. We need people to make sure that their votes are going to be counted. And the only way I think you can do that to make -- to do it certainly is to, as I said, use early voting to the extent that's possible in your state, or vote on November the 3rd.

LEMON: Now to tonight's Minnesota ruling. Voters there have been told up till now that they had extra time to mail in their ballots. Now, the rug has been pulled out from under them. What does this mean for an important battleground state?

HOLDER: Well, you know, it brings in an unneeded amount of uncertainty really close to the election. That was a two to one vote by the court of appeals, I guess for the 8th circuit. And we are in the process of considering, you know, what our options are.

This is an agreement that was worked out in a lawsuit that my organization was a part of involving state authorities and now a federal court is saying that that is not appropriate. I think, you know, people in Minnesota, yet again, you know, he used the abilities to early vote and bring your -- or vote on election day, don't -- don't rely on the mails.

[22:34:56]

LEMON: Mr. Attorney General, these SCOTUS decisions really have been a mixed bag. And Justice Barrett has not been a part of any rulings yet. Are you worried about what happens when future challenges end up in the court? HOLDER: Yes, I am worried about them, only because the court has been

all over the place. I'm trying to come up with, you know, what's the theme that unifies the decisions that they have made. And I am not sure I totally see it yet.

You know, the newest justice is kind of an unknown, so I think we want to make sure that we get our ballots in, get our votes in, so that we don't leave it to the courts to make any decisions here. We would need to exert as much control as we can as individual voters and not let the courts be the ones to decide these cases.

LEMON: All right. So, listen. This is interesting. And you can tell us if it's unprecedented and what you think is going on with this. Because Pennsylvania officials have told counties to segregate ballots received after election day. So the question is, are you worried that those ballots could be discounted if this case comes back to SCOTUS?

HOLDER: Yes. I mean, that's certainly a possibility.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Does it seem like that's what they were setting up here?

HOLDER: Yes. I mean, they are certainly leaving that possibility open so that people who have cast ballots relying on information that they had would not have their votes counted. That's the same thing Republicans are doing in Texas, where they are trying to exclude ballots that people cast from their cars, about 100,000 I understand or so, and trying to say that those are ballots that should not be counted for some reason.

I mean, there is a lot of, Don, let me go straight to it, there's a lot of cheating that Republicans are trying to do here, and they are trying to get the courts to facilitate that cheating. And the way in which we get around that is by voting in person. That is what people got to do between now and the close of voting on November the 3rd.

LEMON: Cheating now. What do you mean by cheating, Mr. Attorney General?

HOLDER: Say again?

LEMON: What do you mean by cheating? Cheating how?

HOLDER: Well, they are coming, they are trying to change the rules at the end of the day. They are -- they tried to suppress the vote all through the process. They have closed 1,700 polling places, you know, since the Shelby County decision back in 2013.

You know, studies show that if you are a black person wanting to vote you are seven times more likely to have to wait over an hour, as opposed to your white counterpart. There's a whole range of things that they have done to make it difficult for people who they perceive to be Democrats to cast votes.

And you know, it is seeing that the Republican Party wants to limit the number of people who want to vote. Democrats are trying to get as many people to vote and have as many votes counted as possible. That is a defining difference between these two parties at this time.

LEMON: And you missed the one drop box, right? And they are huge county? I think Harris County only has one drop box for ballots?

HOLDER: Right. Don, that is cheating. I defy Greg Abbott, the governor of Texas, to explain a good, logical reason why you would have one drop box in Harris County with four million people, bigger than I think the state of Rhode Island. Why would he limit it to one drop box? You are only trying to gain partisan advantage. All the other reasons that they put forth are simply nonsense. They are trying to steal this election.

LEMON: Attorney General Holder, I appreciate your time. I'll probably be seeing you before election day. Thank you so much for joining.

HOLDER: All right. Vote in person.

LEMON: You heard him. Thank you, Attorney General. I appreciate that.

Joe Biden is making his case in the battleground states. OK? But can he flip them blue? I'm going to speak with his campaign, next.

[22:40:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: So just five short days until election day, and there have already been more than 81 million ballots cast, including more than seven million in the crucial battleground state of Florida alone.

Joining me now Symone Sanders, the senior adviser to the Biden campaign. Symone, so good to see you. How are you feeling?

SYMONE SANDERS, SENIOR ADVISOR, BIDEN CAMPAIGN 2020: Good to see you, Don. I feel good. We are five days but tomorrow days until election day. We're ready.

LEMON: OK. So, your candidate, you know, the former Vice President Joe Biden says it is over a Florida goes blue. He is up three points over Trump according to CNN's poll of polls there. But your campaign doesn't need Florida.

Is this time in Florida today? I mean, are you worried that Georgia, he's there. He's in Georgia earlier this week. Should you guys be there more often shoring up this blue wall that seems to be crumbling?

SANDERS: Well, Don, we are fighting for every single vote all over this country. We've been very clear that we feel as though we've opened up as many paths to 270 as possible. But we have not taken our eye off of the ball. That's why Senator Harris will be in Florida on Saturday. Vice President Biden was there today. Former President Obama was just there earlier, all my week spending together.

But earlier this week. I was watching him from event come with Senator Harris earlier this week.

LEMON: Yes.

SANDERS: So, we are fighting for every single vote. And you know what? When Senator Harris is there on Saturday, she is hitting Palm Beach, Florida. She is hitting Broward County. She is Miami-Dade because we are fighting for every single vote, Don.

LEMON: So, listen --

SANDERS: We don't feel like anything is safe.

LEMON: So that, listen, that was me defining it. I don't know if that's fair for me. Do you feel like Florida is crumbling or did you know it was going to tighten up, are you worried?

SANDERS: Don, we have always said that this race is tighter than some of my former pundit friends and the polls may have it.

LEMON: Yes.

SANDERS: And so, look, we know that this is not going to be easy. We're going to have to fight for every single vote, and we don't feel like Florida is crumbling as you noted, we feel that we have to go up there and talk to the voters, which is exactly what we are doing.

LEMON: Yes. So, polling has though, Symone, that Joe Biden is not meeting Hillary Clinton's numbers with Hispanic voters. He is a few points behind where she was. When you look at Florida, when you look at Texas, Arizona and Nevada what's your campaign doing to offset that?

[22:45:03]

I know you said that you are there and you're, you know, everywhere, and you are making sure there's more than one path. But specifically, what are you doing?

SANDERS: Well, look, we are speaking very directly to the Latino and Hispanic community. If you will remember on launching Hispanic heritage month, Vice President Biden was in Florida joined by a number of folks speaking directly to the community about his plans for and with the community.

Look, we are advertising. We have since June 19 we have had a paid media tracks specifically for African-American media, but also Latino and Hispanic media. We are organizing our Latino.com Biden initiative. We are having Charlotte (Ph). We are doing the work done.

Look, we know and we don't, frankly, we don't believe that anyone should blindly give their vote to us. We believe that we have to earn it and that's exactly what we are doing. And so, there is still time. We know people are voting all across this country right now. And we are doing voter mobilization events across the country speaking directly with the community. I was with Senator Harris in Arizona earlier this week where she met

with Latino business owners, talking to them about the issues that they are facing. Vice President Biden has been doing Zooms and virtual events an in-person seeing these Latino business owners, talking to Hispanic business owners, folks who have directly affected by this pandemic.

The last time he was in Arizona that's exactly what he was doing.

LEMON: Do you --

(CROSSTALK)

SANDERS: And so we are going to meet the people where they are.

LEMON: Do you? Do you think that that's enough though? And listen, I know that you, one must be careful. We are in the middle of a pandemic, but to have Zooms and all these socially distancings juxtaposed to which is I think most scientists and, I think I know that most scientists and doctors would say is irresponsible having these giant rallies. Do you think that that is -- is that helping or hurting the Biden campaign?

SANDERS: Don, we are going to be safe. We are going to listen to the scientists. We are campaigning in a way that allows us to get our message out but also keeps our voters, our staff, and the candidate safe.

To be clear, what the -- and I know you know. But for folks out there watching, what the president and the vice president are engaging in is reckless, is irresponsible, and it is deadly. This is a deadly virus that is very real. So, there's not a choice here.

It is not a question of do we acknowledge the seriousness and the gravity and the deadliness of this virus and do everything we can to keep folks safe while still campaigning? Or do we just go out there and hold irresponsible and reckless rallies?

We are going to do what is safe, but what still allows us to get the vote out, Don.

LEMON: Yes.

SANDERS: And I will say that we have seen enthusiasm for our campaign across this country.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Well, let me ask you --

SANDERS: Vice President Biden and -- can I -- we are holding what we call car rallies. And so, while the president is packing people in the tarmac --

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: I've heard the honking.

SANDERS: -- we are doing car rallies.

LEMON: Yes, I've heard the honking, but I just have to say, do you feel like, because listen, I think that your firewalls, so to speak, were people voting early, or Democrats voting earlier, or Biden supporters voting earlier or early around the country.

Do you think that you have banked enough votes as of now, or will you have banked enough votes by election day to have that fire wall? Because you know the president's strategy, Republican strategies to get as many people to show up on election day as possible.

SANDERS: Well, Don, I think we are confident in our campaign operation and the strategy that we laid out. As you well know more than -- nearly more than 70 million people at this point have already voted early.

If you'll remember, Secretary Clinton -- I mean Donald Trump in the race got about 60 million votes. And so, people are turning out there as enthusiasm across this country. And what we believe is that voters know that there's a choice.

LEMON: OK.

SANDERS: And the choices between the leadership that they have seen and the vision that Vice President Biden has laid out. And so we are confident in our strategy. But to be clear, Don, we are not taking anything for granted and we don't feel as though any of our state are quote, unquote, "safe." That's why you are seeing us out there on the campaign trail virtually and in person because we know we have to fight for every single vote --

LEMON: OK.

SANDERS: -- right on down until those polls close.

LEMON: Symone Sanders, I appreciate -- I know it's a busy time for you. Thank you for taking the time. We'll see you soon. I appreciate it.

SANDERS: Any time, Don.

LEMON: Thank you. We'll be right back.

[22:50:00]

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LEMON: Here's our breaking news. This is the highest single day of coronavirus cases in this country since the pandemic began. More than 87,000 cases reported so far today. And we are learning today that two people that attended President Trump's campaign rally in North Carolina last week have tested positive for coronavirus.

At his rallies, many held in states that are COVID hotspots, Trump routinely downplays the virus. There's no social distancing and few bothers to even wear masks. Now a CNN investigation finds that many counties that hosted a Trump rally saw a significant increase in COVID-19 cases.

Here's CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: All you hear is, COVID, COVID, COVID.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: At rallies like these, Dr. Tom Inglesby is less focused on speaking and more on the crowds of people listening.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TOM INGLESBY, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR HEALTH SECURITY, JOHNS HOPKINS BLOOMBERG SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: There seem to be hundreds or thousands of people closely -- closely standing together for prolong period of time, without masks, lots of yelling and shouting.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GUPTA: Inglesby is director for the Center of Health Security at Johns Hopkins. And he's concerned about the rallies.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

INGLESBY The rallies really do pose high risks for transmission.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GUPTA: But I wanted to better understand what that meant, so CNN investigated what happened at 17 recent Trump rallies. Specifically, looking at infection rates and the counties where the rallies took place four weeks before and four weeks after.

[22:55:06]

And then also comparing them to the corresponding rates at the state level. The results were startling. Eighty-two percent of the time, the rate of new cases in the county jumped after President Trump's visit. More than half the time the county rate of new cases grew faster than the state's rate.

For example, September 12, Minden, Nevada. In the month going into that really cases had begun to fall, but fast forward four weeks and the rate of new cases in the county skyrocketed by 225 percent. Far outpacing the 74 percent increase the state experienced.

Or September 18th, Bemidji, Minnesota. Rates of infection rates of infection were already climbing in the month before the rally. But the day of the rally the rate of infection was 6.36 for every hundred thousand people in the country, about half the rate of Minnesota. But a month after the rally the rate of infection in the county had jumped more than 385 percent, and quickly bypassed the state's rate of infection.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

INGLESBY: Those places are already going to be concerned about rising rates of hospitalization, increasing risk of community transmission.

TRUMP: We have had no problem whatsoever. It's outside.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GUPTA: It is true that being outdoors is far safer than being indoors. But take a look at how the virus leaves the nose and the mouth. Like a puff of smoke. Sitting s close, no mask and the risk rises dramatically.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

INGLESBY: None of these in of themselves are a strong barrier to spread but if you take them altogether, they would help to decrease the risk.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GUPTA: Here's another way to think about. It you attend a gathering like this according to new research in most places in the United States, there is now a 99 percent chance the virus is attending right alongside with you. And now at least 70,000 times a day the virus is finding a new home inside one of us.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, reporting.

LEMON: Thank you, doctor. We'll be right back.

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