Return to Transcripts main page

At This Hour

Soon: Nevada To Release More Voting Results; Arizona, Nevada Rush To Count Votes With Senate In Balance; Dueling Rallies Mark Launch Of Georgia Senate Runoff; Ukrainian Troops Enter Kherson In Major Defeat For Russia; Biden: Climate Crises Is About Human And Economic Security; Biden: Urgent To "Double-Down On Climate Commitments" Amid Russia's War; President Biden To Meet With China's Leader On Monday. Aired 12-12:30p ET

Aired November 11, 2022 - 12:00   ET



KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES: And we also came together, Democrats and Republicans to support millions of veterans exposed to toxic substances, while working and living near burn pits and other dangerous environments.

The PACT Act, as has been mentioned, is the most significant expansion of healthcare and benefits for veterans and their survivors in three decades. And it was passed because of the leadership of our president and because of the leadership of so many of you, and we are indebted to you for that hard work and success.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST, AT THIS HOUR: It is the top of The Hour. I'm Kate Bolduan. Thanks for being here everybody. At This Hour, we are expecting a key state to release new voting numbers, control of Congress still hangs in the balance of course. In the Senate, Republicans are holding 49 seats and Democrats with 48.

In Arizona, the states are outstanding and remaining the one of the key ones being Arizona, no winner has been declared in Arizona. In that key race, the Democratic Senator Mark Kelly holding a small lead over his challenger the Republican Blake Masters.

We're also moments away from getting these new numbers in Nevada, where Republican Adam Laxalt is narrowly ahead of Democratic Senator Catherine Cortez Masto. But Masto as we've been seeing has been closing the gap as the vote totals have been coming in for watching this one very closely.

Let's look at the House right now. Republicans, they need just seven seats to win back the majority. But more than two dozen House races are still outstanding. So, we will see after that much talked about red wave failed to materialize in the way that was expected.

Donald Trump is waging something of a war against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, as Trump is lashing out. The former president is slamming his fellow Republican just days before he could be announcing a 2024 run for the White House. Clearly a very fluid situation that we've been tracking, recovering all of it for you across the country.

Let's start with John Berman on these outstanding races. What are you seeing now, John?

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Well, I guess we are waiting for some new vote tabulations from Nevada. Not yet. That is still the number from the last six or seven hours. And so, Adam Laxalt, the Republican leads by about 9,000 votes, that gap is shrinking, yesterday it was 15,000. Most of the day, votes had been tabulated and released overnight.

In Clark County, also on Washoe County, which helped Catherine Cortez Masto the Democrat close this to 9,000. Again, I'm very curious to see where these new counts are reported from. And if they close the gap, and Kate, I put this slide together just for you.

I wanted to point out in Nevada, this can be very close. But you know what? It's been very close in Nevada before. This was the 1998 Senate race between Harry Reid and John Ensign, two people who I know you covered actually on Capitol Hill. And just look at the difference in vote total there. Harry Reid won that race by 401 votes, 401 vote. So, things can be very, very close in Nevada.

While I have you, let me just tell you quickly about Arizona. Nearby, you have Mark Kelly, Senator Mark Kelly, Democrat ahead by 115,000 votes, Blake Masters, he is trailing. I put it out last hour that Maricopa County has, you know, 340,000 votes left to report, 290,000 of that are mail ballots that were delivered on election day.

What we saw two years ago, is those ballots tended to tilt more Republican than the other mail ballots. We are very curious. We just don't know if that will be the case this time. So, when those votes are reported, and what we will see tonight from Arizona will include stuff from that batch. We will have a much better sense of which way Arizona is headed. Blake Masters has to do very well. I mean, very, very well, in that vote total to have any hopes of closing that gap of 115,000. Kate?

BOLDUAN: So interesting. I think you're hitting on something really important, which is there's a lot of just like kind of mechanics of how elections are run these days. A lot of lessons to be learned from this whenever - when all the votes are counted and how they're coming in. It's really going to be interesting to see.

So, as John just mentioned, we are moments away from getting a new release, a release of more voting results in Nevada. So, let's go there. Rosa Flores is standing by. She is in Las Vegas for a steal. Rosa, have they updated the vote totals yet?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, we have not seen those totals updated. And my producer Rosalina Nieves (Ph) will be continuing to refresh that page, while I report to you, Kate because we're all looking at these numbers. Once those numbers are updated. The big question is, which way do they go? Are they going towards the Democrats? Are they going towards the Republicans.

But while we wait on that, let me give you a quick timeline. Because this is what we know will happen in the next few days. Today is Friday, it's Veterans Day. Here in Clark County, the workers continue to count those ballots. We're expecting for some results to be posted. Tomorrow Saturday, that's the deadline for mail-in ballots. All the mail-in ballots that arrive by tomorrow that are postmarked on election day, those will be counted.


Here in Clark County, those are about 50,000. Then there are the ballots that need to be cured. Here in Clark County. That's about 7000. The deadline for that is Monday. So, if this race is still razor thin, we might have to wait until Monday, until that deadline, because that's the deadline by statute. And then there are the provisional ballots, Kate, those the deadline for that is on Wednesday. So just depending on how these results go, whether they say one way or the other, we could be here for a few more days. Kate?

BOLDUAN: You know, we're going to need to break out a calendar to start marketing all of this down. Rosa, thank you for keeping track of it for us. Alright, let's just talk more about Arizona. There are some estimated 540,000 votes still to be counted.

Let's go to Josh Campbell. He's standing by in Phoenix, where that vote count still very much underway. Josh, our official saying, explaining more because it's starting to become a question, you've been reporting on it. Talking more about why the vote is taking the amount of time that it is taking. Why people might be asking why is it taking so long?

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Actually, the head of elections here in Maricopa County, Republican Bill Gates told us yesterday that in his words, the goalposts are moving a bit. And that is because they're still trying to process these 290,000 votes that John Berman was just talking about.

And the reason that is key is because if you vote on election day, that is typically tabulated here very quickly that night or the next morning. But what they actually end up finding out in this county, the most populous county in the state of Arizona, is that a record number of people had mail-in ballots, but rather than dropping them in the mail, they decided to take them to a polling location on election day and drop off those ballots.

And so that takes additional time, because they have to go through and look at signatures. They have to ensure that the voting information matches up. And so as far as timing, we're all wanting to know when this will be wrapped up and that is going to take some additional time. Those 290,000 ballots are going to be key for us to watch.

As these tranches continue to come out, we expect another release today, perhaps throughout the weekend, we're going to be looking for patterns. Are they skewing more towards Democrats? Are they skewing more towards Republicans? We're trying to discern where this is possibly going to go because we know that some Republican leaders in the state actually urge their supporters to vote just by this very method to take the ballot on election day to the ballot box. So, we can learn a lot about what is coming ahead. And as John was mentioning, these vote totals are so close these margins and the Senate race and obviously in the gubernatorial race, we're keeping our eyes on the votes here. But election officials are telling us to please be patient. They know that the country wants these results, but they're doing it as fast as they can, Kate?

BOLDUAN: Doing it the right way. They're going to make it work and they're doing it accurately. That's what matters most. So, it's good to have you there. Josh, thank you so much. Joining me right now for more on this is CNN chief national affairs correspondent Jeff Zeleny, and Toluse Olorunnipa, he's the White House bureau chief for The Washington Post. It's great to see you, Tolu. And John Berman, back here sticking with us.

Jeff, let me start with you. What do you think today is going to bring? It's an impossible question to answer, which is why it's so fun to ask.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, we know that it'll bring one thing, Kate, it'll bring more counting. So, what we don't know if it will bring more answers. But again, we should point out that this does not mean the process is not working. It means it is working. But of course, all eyes as Josh was just saying, there are on Nevada. But particularly Arizona, there's a sense that once we get sort of an idea of what that universe of those ballots are that were mailed, the 290,000 ballots.

Once we have a sense of a sampling of those, you know, who has more of a share of those. Mark Kelly or Blake Masters, there will be a sense of where this race is going. Yes, Senator Kelly has the lead and they're pretty optimistic. The Democrats I speak to pretty optimistic about Arizona. But we've seen many examples of how this can change.

And as Josh was also saying, Republicans were urging their voters to vote exactly like this, so late early they call them near election day, and then taking them in. So, we'll just have to wait and see. But Arizona is closer to a resolution or a result most likely than Nevada.

But look, all eyes are on Arizona and Nevada. Even at the same time as Georgia right now, both sides are descending on the state of Georgia to prepare for that runoff. We don't know if that will hinge on control of the Senate. But regardless, both sides are still fighting hard for that and beginning to put their troops in place.

BOLDUAN: Now let's talk about Georgia, kind of separately in a second. But Tolu, what do you think of these outstanding races that Jeff was just talking about?

TOLUSE OLORUNNIPA, WHITE HOUSE BUREAU CHIEF, THE WASHINGTON POST: I think Jeff hit the nail on the head. We're going to have to wait and see and find out what the batches that come in and look like in terms of the vote breakdown between Democrats and Republicans. If Democrats continue to perform well in these late counted votes, then they're in a prime position in both Arizona and Nevada and their campaign seem pretty optimistic. [12:10:00]

You do hear Democrats saying that the path is very clear for them to be able to win both of those seats. And if they are able to win Arizona and Nevada that makes Georgia slightly less important because it doesn't determine who's going to control the Senate. It's still going to be an important race. It's still a six-year term for whoever wins that race.

But if Democrats can win Arizona and Nevada, they'll breathe a very big sigh of relief, even as they try to put in a lot of support into Georgia, did to make sure they win that state as well, and have a little bit more breathing room with a Senate majority of 51 as opposed to just 50-50.

BOLDUAN: Yes. And John, I know you've been looking and watching Nevada really closely is along with well, the entire country. And Rosa saying, we're waiting for more votes to come in. But talk about the lead up to this because then a lot of people expect Cortez Masto to lose and not be - not be making such a run for it.

BERMAN: You know, it's a really interesting question, Kate, because in a lot of the public polling leading up to election day, she was trailing the Republican Adam Laxalt and a lot of Republicans. You didn't have to scratch the surface to find Republicans say, oh, no, we got this one in the bag. Even on Tuesday, election day, they, well, very confident about what was going on there.

But the mail vote, the MAIL vote, the mail-in vote has been very favorable to Catherine Cortez Masto, the Democratic incumbent and she's been getting margin. She's been over 60 percent here in Clark County in the mail-in vote, even though her overall total in this county is right around 51. Her totals for the mail and that's what's being counted now is well over 60 percent.

And if she maintains those margins and the 57,000 votes here, and the 22,000 votes here in Washoe County. Again, she's been getting over 60 percent of the mail-in vote here and she's only at 50 percent. Overall, you know she could overtake Adam Laxalt.

One thing I should point out well, I have control of the wall here. You can see the margins in the Senate race. You know, the governor's races are a little bit different in both Arizona and Nevada. In Nevada, Joe Lombardo the Republicans in a better position than Adam Laxalt. Steve Sisolak, the incumbent governor has more ground to make up there for sure.

And it's the same situation in Arizona. Yes, Katie Hobbs, the Democratic Secretary of State is ahead of Kari Lake, but not by as much as Mark Kelly. A much bigger margin for the Democrats here and there is some feeling that Mark Kelly might hold on even as more Republican leaning votes are counted in Arizona, but that Kari Lake will be able to overtake Katie Hobbs because you see the margin is much, much smaller in the governor's race. Kate?

BOLDUAN: It's so interesting. Jeff, you mentioned Georgia. You spent a lot of time in Georgia and that runoff is now, you know, happening fast and furious, if you will, and it's going to be expensive. I asked the president's contractor yesterday, if he would be campaigning with a Democratic senator Raphael Warnock. We play what Kate Bedingfield said about it.


KATE BEDINGFIELD, WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: The president will do whatever is helpful to Senator Warnock, whether that's campaigning with him, whether that's raising money, whatever Senator Warnock would like the president will do.


BOLDUAN: What do you think Warnock does about that?

ZELENY: I think, we know exactly what he's going to do about that. The president is not going to step anywhere near Georgia in the next month. If they would have thought it would have been helpful, he would have gone during the prior months. It's really interesting. Georgia, of course, narrowly went for President Biden in 2020. Really surprising a lot of people on the Biden campaign and he traveled there repeatedly during the runoff last year.

He traveled there a few times in 2021, earlier this year, but since then, has not been there. But it almost doesn't matter because Joe Biden is so present in Georgia, in television ads, in billboards, in mailers coming up in people's mailboxes, with Republicans trying to tie Senator Warnock to the policies of the administration and to Joe Biden himself.

So, I would be stunned if President Biden went to Georgia. We also didn't see Vice President Harris going to Georgia during this period. Georgia Democrats and the Warnock campaign believe that, you know, they want to try and localize this and make this about Herschel Walker, not make this about the Biden administration.

BOLDUAN: We will see if they are able to pull that off in this final sprint. Again, it's good to see you all. Thank you, guys so much, really appreciate it. So, celebrations in Ukraine after its forces liberated a key city from Russian troops and a major defeat for Vladimir Putin. We have a live report from inside Ukraine next.




BOLDUAN: A humiliating defeat for Russia. Ukrainian troops, liberating the strategic southern city of Kherson. Residents as you're seeing taking to the streets then to celebrate that liberation, CNN's Nic Robertson, one of the first journalist to enter some of those newly liberated areas. He's joining us now live from Ukraine. Nic, what have you been seeing and hearing from people? NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes. This feeling of liberation is so overwhelming for some people that there's a real sense of gratitude and thanks to the Ukrainian troops. And we've seen that on the streets, in other towns outside of Kherson today, people hugging, the troops even waving at us because they hadn't seen people coming in from this side for such a long time.

They are having a very, very difficult time, no water, no electricity. So, their sense of relief that they survived, on top of all of that the repression of the Russian forces. And the accounts that we've been hearing from people today have been absolutely bone chilling.

One young girl who was 15 years old. I spoke to her and her mother, and she said that she had been taken in the last few days by the Russian troops. They'd put a hood on her head, taken her to the basement of a building, threatened to cut off her fingers if she didn't tell them where the Ukrainian troops were. And she said, she thought she was going to be raped and she was only released yesterday.


Another elderly lady, a pensioner. She was in tears when I talked to her. Told me that the Russians had said to her that they would kill her, that they would smash her head and she was clearly so traumatized by it. But on the streets as well, you see people seeing their relatives and close friends again, whom they haven't seen for a while, and hugging each other, and tears rolling down their faces, because they know they survived.

The Russians took people away, took people away, beat them up and torture them. And in some cases, residents we spoke to said that people they knew were taken. They didn't come back. They don't know where they were. So, this was a moment-by-moment fear people had outside on the streets. Now, that's gone. They've got freedom.

BOLDUAN: And these are just going to be some of the stories that you're going to be hearing as more and more people feel comfortable talking, talking after this liberation. Nic, thank you for being there. So, President Biden, he's proclaiming the world to the world that the United States is back as a global leader on the climate crisis. The president speaking a little while ago at the U.N. climate summit in Egypt.

Let's go there. David McKenzie is live in Sharm El-Sheikh for us. David, how were the president's remarks received by world leaders?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, I think they were warmly received here in Egypt. And he arrived. His message was that the U.S. is back in terms of climate leadership. He even apologized for President Trump pulling out of the Paris climate agreement. He went on to talk about his own legislative achievements, including the Inflation Reduction Act, which he said will kickstart a green transition in the U.S.

You know, this year, a lot of people have said that Ukraine war and Russia's actions will mean that people and countries will try to find energy, particularly fossil fuels. Elsewhere, he said the opposite. He says this is an opportunity to make that important transition.


JOE BIDEN, 46TH U.S. PRESIDENT: And the upheaval we're seeing around the world, especially Russia's brutal attack against Ukraine, is exacerbating food shortages, and energy spikes and costs, increasingly volatility in those energy markets, driving up global inflation. Against this backdrop, it's more urgent than ever that we double down on our climate commitments. No action, no action can be taken without a nation understanding that he can use energy as a weapon and hold the global economy hostage and must stop.


MCKENZIE: Now President Biden didn't talk about how specifically the U.S. will give substantial funds to developing nations climate reparations as it were, that's something people here have been asking for. Kate?

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. It's good to see you, David. Thank you so much. Joining me now Max Boot, he's a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, and also back with a CNN's chief climate correspondent Bill Weir. Max, let me start with you. What I want to ask you about Ukraine and what were this extraordinary reporting in the video coming out from Nic Robertson. How significant do you see as this development of Kherson being liberated?

MAX BOOT, SENIOR FELLOW, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: It's quite significant. This was the third major Ukrainian victory of the war, following the battle of Kyiv. And then the Ukrainian counter offensive and counter offensive in Kharkiv and now Kherson. The Ukrainians have actually managed to liberate most of the territory, not all but most of the territory that the Russian sees at the beginning of this war.

It's a tremendous victory for the Ukrainians. It's a blow to Putin. And I think that it will help to keep the anti-Russia coalition together in the west through this difficult winter. So, this is very good news, indeed.

BOLDUAN: And Ukraine is very clearly Max, a major topic for the G20 Summit. That's where the president is going to be meeting face to face with China's Xi Jinping. You're not necessarily optimistic of major progress coming from that rare meeting and rare face to face in person. But do you think there could be something that could come with it?

BOOT: I think the fact that President Biden and President Xi are meeting, it is itself that's good news, because the Chinese cut off a lot of contexts in August after Speaker Pelosi his visit to Taiwan. You know, even if we are in a new cold war with China, remember during the actual cold war, we still talk to the Soviet Union and we need to talk to the Chinese.

There are a lot of issues that we are going to be at odds on and they're not going to be solved in this meeting. But there are possible areas of agreement of overlap, whether it's climate change, or a sneaky subject might in fact be the Russian war in Ukraine because China has given every indication, it is not enthusiastic about this invasion that Putin has launched.


Just a few days ago, Xi Jinping said that there should not be a nuclear conflict, which I think was seen as a rebuke to Putin with his nuclear saber rattling. So, the fact that the Ukrainians are having so much success and the Russians are losing ground in Ukraine. I think could create some fresh impetus for both President Xi and President Biden to discuss, putting pressure on Russia in this war.

BOLDUAN: That's really interesting. And Bill, this gets directly right back to the climate conference in the conversation that we were having last hour. I was interested in. I want to get your take on it. At the climate conference, a first has happened. David McKenzie was touching on a little bit.

The issue of industrialized nations, paying more for the damage that they have created, in terms of the climate. For the first time that issue is actually being - been included on the formal agenda. How significant is this? Are people actually really getting on board? What do you see here?

BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: We're seeing sort of, it's been broken. It was a 10-year freeze out, really this promise was made over a decade ago that will create $100 billion pot for these countries that are suffering the worst of this and have tiny carbon footprints, it's the moral thing to do.

Now, Biden is promising $11 billion a year by 2024. Some other countries are stepping up. Some in Europe, have already put it in. I think Scotland was the very first to say, we're in, we owe them, you know, through a couple of million dollars. And it matters. It matters for credibility, it matters for partnerships and matters in the clip that David played there in terms of imagine, instead of creating empires, the way, you know, it happened a couple 100 years ago.

You go to these countries, take all of their natural resources, the people are worse off. Imagine going there in partnership with these folks to create green empires around the world. Without the colonialism that goes along with it. I think that's the message he's trying to preach right there.

But so much of his promises depend on two people, President Xi and Kevin McCarthy, or whoever is the new speaker of the House because they have to appropriate that $11 billion that goes to those developing countries. And historically, they haven't been that interested.

BOLDUAN: I was going to ask, what is the view? What is the general? We know that the historical split between if you will, Democrats and Republicans on the climate crisis. It is changing, it is different now. But what about this issue?

WEIR: Well, what's interesting is some people are coming from the writer, coming to the climate issue, really driven sort of by profit motive and seeing that there are trillion-dollar industries that are coming going to be uncorked in this new age. There is a delegation of Republicans in Sharm El-Sheikh right now.

Congress, members from the western states, in fact, from places like Utah where there's a lot of uranium, so they're spreading a pro nuclear message. There are policies that may be the trillion trees, you know, reforestation stuff that Republicans have talked about in the past. There may be some common ground now in this next term. But even last night, I think the Democrats that were in Sharm El-Sheikh warned it's going to be much harder to make these promises, if the Republicans take the House and the Senate.

BOLDUAN: Well, we will have at least one answer on that maybe in the coming days on who will be in power of Congress. And this climate crisis still remains is the major issue, they need to tackle regardless of who it is. It's good to see you, Bill. Thank you. Max, thanks. It's great to see you.

So, the 2022 midterms were the most expensive in history. So where did that money go? And did it have an impact? Who did it help? We're going to break down the numbers, next.