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Balance of Power in Limbo as House, Senate Too Close to Call; Biden Declares Good Day for Democracy After Midterms; Pence Releases Book Excerpt Critical of Trump After Midterms; . Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired November 10, 2022 - 07:00   ET



DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: It is November 10th. Welcome, everyone, to CNN This Morning. And we've got a lot to get to this morning.

Two days out from the election and control of Congress still up in the air with races in three states too close to call right now. Republicans are two seats short of taking back the Senate. A runoff election in Georgia next month could ultimately decide the control of the chamber. And in the House, Republicans secured 209 seats, nine short of the magic number 218 that's needed for control.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: That means that the red wave most Republicans had been banking on turned out to really be more of a ripple. It was a very rough night for election deniers as well, something that left President Biden reenergized as he came out in front of the press yesterday.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: It was a good day, I think, for democracy. And I think it was a good day for America.

Here's what we do know. While the press and the pundits are predicting a giant red wave, it didn't happen.


COLLINS: All right. But we are still waiting to see what happens in some of these really close races. We have Poppy at the magic wall to tell us what is happening.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Don't worry, I'm not touching the magic wall, I don't know how to use the magic wall, but we have Magic Berman who is. You've been so great at helping us understand it. Let's start in the Senate, what are we looking at.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I do require being called Magic Berman from now on, by the way.

HARLOW: I know. That's your nickname.

BERMAN: All right. Here's the situation. There are three Senate races that are still uncalled at this point. We know Georgia is going to a runoff. So, the two that we're focused on are Nevada and Arizona. And things changed a little bit overnight in these two contests. First to Nevada, you can see Adam Laxalt, who is trying to unseat the Democratic incumbent, Catherine Cortez Masto, his lead is smaller this morning than it was when you went to bed last night. Why? They counted some more mail vote in Clark County right here and in Washoe County right here. And that closed that lead down to 15,000. There's about 110,000 mail votes left to count --

HARLOW: In clark?

BERMAN: In the state overall.


BERMAN: And if the margins for those are what we saw last night, Catherine Cortez Masto could, could potentially take the lead.

Arizona now, I want to spend some time here. This changed overnight. Mark Kelly, the incumbent, leads by 95,000, which is a greater lead than it was last night. If you went to sleep yesterday, this is what you saw. You saw Mark Kelly ahead by 89,000. But then there were votes released overnight from Maricopa County and Pima County down here, his lead grew to 95,000.

Now, I'm going to tell you this, you are going to have to take my word for it, there's about 560,000 at least, 560,000 votes at least left to count largely from Maricopa County here and Pima County down here.

Now, what these votes look like we're not sure. Two years ago, that vote, that batch was a little more Republican. So, Blake Masters has a chance here to close this gap and maybe overtake it. I did some math. If he manages to win 60 percent of the remaining vote -- if, that's a tall order but not impossible -- that would net him a total of 112,000 votes, okay, which is more than 95,000. So, his target is actually right around 58 percent. It's a high bar, not impossible. So, this race not over.

And just to remind people, if Democrats take both these seats then the runoff in Georgia won't matter in terms of determining control, likewise for Republicans. If one party can win either of these seats, then Georgia doesn't matter for control.

HARLOW: I think also a question about Masters is does he get all the traditional Republican votes, the different Republican candidate would get? That's a big question. But let's move to the House and 64 votes as a difference here in one of the races.

BERMAN: You're right. That race you are talking about is Colorado's third congressional district, where Lauren Boebert, the controversial election denying conservative, she's trailing by 64 votes. This race is tied. You know, we don't know everything we'd like to know about where the votes remain at this point. We do know one place, which is Pueblo County. Our friend, Brianna Keilar, was on the phone with them overnight and was told there's at least 2,000 votes remaining to be counted from Pueblo County. And you will see that Adam Frisch, the Democrat, leads here. So, this is skewing a little bit Democratic. In the last presidential election, this was a D plus about two district. So, maybe he can expand the narrow lead.

HARLOW: Well, wasn't this not even supposed to be close like this for him?

BERMAN: It wasn't on our list of competitive races. This is one of those races outside the scope here. But she's very controversial. He ran a very tight race, tough race, he's a conservative Democrat and he's done well in the district. We just need to get a better sense of where the votes are left in this.

I can show you one thing. So, 95 percent reporting overall, if I take this down to -- that shows 90 percent.


The only counties that don't have 90 percent reporting, we think, are Pueblo, which I just showed you, and this county here, Otaro County, which is a Republican county, but you can see there aren't many votes there. We just don't know.

HARLOW: Yes, it's a special skill that I don't have. So, we're glad we have you, Magic Berman.

BERMAN: Thank you very much. Can I apologize to Kaitlan also? By the way, I said bad things about Alabama, the football team. That wasn't my intention.

HARLOW: See. You were way too rough on her. We can talk about the Vikings 7-1, if you want to.

BERMAN: She triggered me by the Patriots' comments. But I like Alabama.

LEMON: Join the club. I've been cranky. We've worked for seven straight hours. We're cranky and --

COLLINS: Yes. But Berman knows like it's personal when Berman talks about Alabama football because he knows how deeply emotionally invested in it I am. So, I take it more personally.

HARLOW: Don't do it again to my girl.

BERMAN: I didn't even mean it. That thing is just a trigger response when you say anything about the Patriots. I just (INAUDIBLE). I didn't mean it. I'm sorry.

COLLINS: I'm burning my sweater, it's fine.

HARLOW: Thank you, Magic Berman. Thank you very much.

Next hour, we're going to talk to the head of the Arizona county about when we can expect the next results from that county, from Maricopa County, which is what we were chatting about.

LEMON: I hate it when mommy and daddy fight, but we'll move on.

President Joe Biden cautiously optimistic at a post-midterm conference, even though the balance of power in the House and Senate still undecided at this point.

M.J. Lee joins us this morning from the White House. Good morning to you. What is the president saying and the folks around him?

M.J. LEE, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPOPNDENT: Well, Don, as you know, a number of President Biden's predecessors after their very first midterms have had to the next day show real humility and promise a dramatic course correction for the country. This is clearly not the position that the president found himself in yesterday as he offered a roadmap for the next two years and also fielded some questions about his own political future.


BIDEN: My intention is I'm going to run again but I'm a great respecter of fate and this is ultimately a family decision.

LEE (voice over): President Biden looking ahead to a possible re- election bid in 2024 after a better than expected results for Democrats in Tuesday's midterm elections.

BIDEN: It was a good day I think for democracy.

LEE: Biden taking a victory lap during a rare press conference on Wednesday.

BIDEN: While the press and the pundits are predicting a giant red wave, it didn't happen.

Democrats had a strong night. And we lost fewer seats in the House of Representatives than any Democratic president's first midterm election in the last 40 years.

LEE: The president touting his administration's accomplishments during its first two years but also conceding that many Americans are still worried about the economy.

BIDEN: The voters were also clear that they are still frustrated. I get it. I understand it's been a really tough few years in this country for so many people.

LEE: Biden vowing he will not change course on his agenda and also saying if Republicans do take control of Congress, he plans to hold firm on a number of issues.

BIDEN: Under no circumstances will I support the proposal put forward by Senators Johnson and the senator from down in Florida to cut or make fundamental changes in social security and Medicare. That's not on the table. I will not do that. I will veto any attempt to pass a national ban on abortion.

LEE: With the balance of power still uncertain in both the House and the Senate, Biden speaking by phone Wednesday evening with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who is hoping to be the next speaker. The White House saying it is prepared for a possible investigation into Biden's administration and his family, and even ready for impeachment efforts.

BIDEN: I think the American people will look at all of that for what it is. It's almost comedy. I mean, it's -- but, you know, look, I can't control what they're going to do.

RON KLAIN, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: I think one reason why Republicans faded at the end of this campaign is they stopped talking about what they could do for families and started talking about what they were going to do to the president's family.


LEE (on camera): Now, after this huge week for President Biden on the domestic front, tonight, he travels abroad in part to attend the G20 summit in Indonesia. And he said yesterday the foreign leaders are often asking him, Joe, when are things going to get back to normal in the United States? He said that's part of the reason that if Donald Trump does decide to run again, he wants to make sure that he isn't re-elected president one more time. Don?

LEMON: M.J. Lee, thank you very much. I appreciate that.

COLLINS: As Trump is facing unusual blame from many in his party after the midterms, his former vice president, Mike Pence, is using it as an I told you so moment. The Wall Street Journal has just published an excerpt from Pence's forthcoming book detailing his final days with Trump and what happened behind the January 6th.

Five days after the attack, when Trump had essentially called Pence a coward, though it was more explicit than that, Pence says that Trump asked him how -- his family when he was inside the Capitol as it was being attacked.


Trump acted as if he had just learned about that, asking Pence if he had been, quote, scared. Pence answered no, not scared, angry.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mike Pence has betrayed this president and he has betrayed the people of the United States, and we will never, ever forget.


COLLINS: Of course, remember Trump never called Pence that day to check on him. An aide later testified Trump had actually approved of those hang Mike Pence chants.

Pence writes in his new book, quote, President Trump re-tweeted an obscure article titled Operation Pence Card. It alluded to the theory that if all else failed, I could alter the outcome election on January 6th. I showed my wife, Karen, and rolled my eyes.

Keep in mind, on New Year's day, Trump called Pence about a lawsuit that had been filed by Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert aimed at forcing Pence to help overturn the election. Pence says that Trump told him, quote, I don't want to see Pence Opposes Gohmert Suit as a headline this morning.

But Pence says he told Trump he did oppose it. Trump responded, quote, you're too honest. Hundreds of thousands are going to hate your guts. People are going to think you're stupid. Pence goes on to write that he challenged Trump's attorney, John Eastman two days before January 6th actually happened, saying Eastman didn't even believe his own advice he was giving Trump.

Pence writes, quote, I turned to the president and said, Mr. President, did you hear that? Even your own lawyer doesn't think I have authority to return electoral votes. Then on the eve of the insurrection, Pence says, quote, I had a feeling January 6th, 2021 was going to be a very long day.

Of course we all know what happened next, Pence was rushed to safety as rioters broke in looking for him personally. Pence told his Secret Service agents at the time, quote, I'm not leaving, I'm not giving those people the sight of a 16-car motorcade speeding away from the Capitol. Pence writes, quote, I heard footsteps and angry chanting, making our way to the basement of the Capitol, took a few extra minutes, because I insisted that we walk not run.

As they were hiding from the rioters, an assistant to Pence showed him what Trump had tweeted right in the middle of the attack. Trump said, quote, Mike Pence didn't have the courage to do what should have been done. Pence writes, he ignored the tweet and got back to work.

Eight days later, Pence says he stopped by the Oval Office and that the night before Trump had, quote, unequivocally denounced the violence at the Capitol, Pence congratulated him on his address and Trump said, I knew you'd like it. Pence writes, he said he seemed discouraged, so I reminded him that I was praying for him. Trump's response, don't bother.

Pence's book comes out on Tuesday. That's the same day Trump has promised to make an announcement at Mar-a-Lago teasing a presidential run. Pence is also scheduled to participate in a CNN town hall on Wednesday.

So, joining us now, who better to discuss, Georgia Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan. David Urban, you had a fascinating quote yesterday that I want to read about what happened. You said, talking about the Republican anger after Tuesday, you said, quote, it's clear the center of gravity of the Republican Party is in the state of Florida and I don't mean Mar-a-Lago.

DAVID URBAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, sure. I mean, it's the elephant in the room, right? Ron DeSantis crushes in the state of Florida, builds an incredible coalition that can be -- if he can replicate it nationwide, would be very formidable. And so I think if you're a Republican in America today and you're looking to have a Lincoln day dinner and you're looking for a speaker, it's not going to be Donald Trump. They're going to want Ron DeSantis to come.

So, my point is, no, it's shifted to Tallahassee from Mar-a-Lago. Ron DeSantis is De-Future, as the New York Post said so eloquently.

LEMON: De-Future?

URBAN: Yes, De-Future. Well, I mean, it's the prognostication of rumor.

LEMON: Well let me ask you. You're saying Ron DeSantis, and Kaitlan just said this whole thing on the book, Why isn't it Mike Pence? Is it --

URBAN: Yes. So, I think, look, I like the vice president, he's a good man, nice man, honorable man, that day, he stood in the breach and kind of --

LEMON: So you're saying there's a chance?

URBAN: Yes, exactly, just the movie. There's always a chance. Look, I mean, that's the beautiful part about elections. Democracy was on the ballot this time and that democracy won. We have a huge election, tons of people voting. Democrats are very concerned about all these -- the myriad of bad things that could happen and they didn't. That's the great part.

LEMON: My point is we did the whole thing. Mike Pence has a book coming out, right? He's doing the thing here on CNN. But then you pivot it right to Ron DeSantis. No one is talking about Mike.

URBAN: Well, listen, there's obviously going to be a lot of people running, right, for president. And as we saw last time, there's a giant field, 16, 17 people, no one thought Donald Trump was going to be the nominee when that started out, right? That's why they have this process, right? the lieutenant governor can tell you, when he ran, I'm sure a lot of people, may have been, may not have been the favorite at the end.


That's why we have elections.

HARLOW: I thought your interview with Kaitlan yesterday was really the interview of the day yesterday. I think what you said was so important for America to hear, for many Republicans to hear, and you talked about not maybe a pivot but a definite turn and pivot. And I just wonder if a Mike Pence is enough of a pivot for the party, right?

Yes, he's writing this now, and saying this now, yes, he did and stood up for the Constitution on that day. It's critically important. But he also stood up by the president's side and didn't say things through so many moments during the presidency.

LT. GOV. GEOFF DUNCAN (R-GA): Yes. There's no way to deny Donald Trump got fired Tuesday night. And the search committee has brought a few names to the top of the list and Ron DeSantis is one of them. I think Ron DeSantis is being rewarded for a new thought process with Republicans and that solid leadership. We watched that play out in Georgia. Brian Kemp beat the brakes off Stacey Abrams because he really got to put leadership on display through a pandemic and economic upheaval and whatnot. And in Georgia, I think we're going to watch this play out over the next four weeks.

My advice, if anyone in the Herschel Walker wanted to listen would be to make three successful phone calls. One is to tell Donald Trump to stay out of Georgia for four weeks. He's toxic and he would do nothing to help the ticket. Secondly, I would pick up the phone and call Brian Kemp and ask him for his help and apologize for not endorsing him during the primary against David Perdue. And third, I call Ron DeSantis and ask him to come to Georgia as often as he possibly can the next four weeks. That would be a winning recipe for Herschel Walker.

URBAN: He's smart.

HARLOW: Mike Pence wasn't in any of those three recommendations.

DUNCAN: I think, look, just my opinion, I think Mike Pence has got a difficult, you know, hole to thread because he's going to have to explain the four years of being alongside Donald Trump, right? And there's a process there that is an angry and vile process that we're having to move past. I think Republicans are now in a window of opportunity where if we don't actually get stuff done. If we just complain about stuff, right, if we just complain about immigration, if we just complain about health care, if we just complain about all of these issues but don't actually do something, then we have got problems. Then 2024 becomes blurred and it doesn't become an easy target.

The first 100 days of our Congress, if it's a Donald Trump, you know, wish list, we have got problems. But if we go to work for the actual average American that's going to be worried about getting laid off in the next two hours, then I think we have got a chance to really move the needle.

LEMON: To Poppy's point and to your point, Brian Kemp stood up to Donald Trump and said, look, the election was not stolen, right? He stood up to Donald Trump. Mike Pence did not do that. He did stand up for the Constitution but he's going to have a lot to answer to when it comes to what happened with Donald Trump and why he didn't stand up.

DUNCAN: There's this -- I don't know what's the right term for it, maybe a Trump drag factor, right? Everybody who is tightly associated with Donald Trump, and we watched it play out all over the country in these races. I certainly watched it play out in Georgia. I mean, the drag factor is tangible. It was eight or nine points between Brian Kemp and Herschel Walker. And we've seen it play out all over the country. The Trump drag factor is real and it's only getting worse.

COLLINS: And can I just say quickly, because I just double checked myself, Pence backed Kemp while Trump was backing Perdue in that race. Pence was behind Kemp at the time.

David, when you talk to the Republicans, I think the question is, we, the royal we, always talk about Trump when something happens as if it's over, his grip on the party is completely gone, that's not true clearly if you watched the primaries. He's got the voters. So, is it just bad headlines that Trump will survive ultimately?

URBAN: I mean, I don't know. It's a little different than the past. And people are saying, why not on January 6th? I can't tell you. It's like -- you know, it is until it isn't, right? That's how this president -- how he's operated. And this just feels different. People like -- they don't like losing. Ben Shapiro is on social media saying, look, we have got to re-evaluate, Candace Owens, right? These are Trump loyalists, right?

HARLOW: Can we pull up The Wall Street Journal --

URBAN: I mean, incredible, Wall Street Journal, the biggest loser, right?

HARLOW: Well, the New York Post is one thing but to see The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board write the Republican Party's biggest loser, I think is -- right?

URBAN: It is important. But you know what? There are so many people back in Pennsylvania, in Florida, in Kentucky, in Iowa, that are ride- or-die Trumpers, right, and they're not going to leave this guy. And, listen, President Trump has a loyal base of probably right around 30 percent in the Republican Party that aren't going anywhere, until maybe somebody else gives them an alternative or an option. And, literally, nobody has stepped up yet. So, President Trump is going to announce this next coming week. Governor DeSantis hasn't announced. Vice President Pence hasn't announced. So, there is nobody else in the mix as of yet.

LEMON: You mentioned too the extremists in the party. You're talking about Ben Shapiro and Candace Owens, right? But those aren't the people who are deciding elections right now. They may be the loudest voices of the MAGA folks, right, but they're not necessarily the folks who are going to the polls and deciding the election.

URBAN: And to your point, Don, friends of mine back in Western Pennsylvania, right, good friends of mine, they're ride-or-die Trumpers.


I keep sending them information. I said, look, here's what happened. David, do you really believe the president lost? I said, yes, he lost. I would have liked him to win. I wish the guy would have won in 2020, but let me explain you how he lost. No, you're wrong.

And even this past -- on Election Day, they're giving me anecdotes about people being sent extra ballots and look at how bad things are, and I'm like, those are just anecdotal, I run them down and fact check them for and try to help them, but you can't persuade them. LEMON: You think he'll announce?

URBAN: Yes. I think the former president is going to run for a variety of reasons, right?

LEMON: Do you think he should run?

URBAN: Look, it's America, everyone gets a chance to run.

LEMON: That's not an answer.

COLLINS: I see a lot of Republicans getting in. We'll wait to see that. Geoff Duncan, David Urban, as always, thank you.

HARLOW: Thank you both.

Let's talk about the Nevada Senate and governor's races still too close to call. Thousands of mail-in ballots came in overnight. So, we have a ways to go. We will have a live report from Clark County, from the election center, next.

LEMON: Plus, here is what we're watching. It's Tropical Storm Nicole down in Florida, as the state braces for high winds and flooding.



LEMON: So, this morning, the Nevada Senate race is still too close to call. Democratic Senator Catherine Cortez Masto is facing a strong challenge for Republican Adam Laxalt, which could tilt the balance of power in the chamber.

CNN's Rosa Flores live for us in Las Vegas for CNN This Morning. Good morning and what's the very latest on the ground?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Don, good morning. The headline here overnight is that the tight U.S. Senate race here in the state of Nevada just got tighter. Republican Adam Laxalt was ahead by 2.7 percent. Now, that is 2.44 percent against his opponent, Democratic incumbent Catherine Cortez Masto. All this as we learned that there are tens of thousands of ballots that haven't been processed, they're not part of the results yet, just here in Clark County where I am, the most populous county home to Vegas.

Don, I want to break down where these ballots are exactly and where they came from so that we get an idea of what we're talking about. This is according to the Clark County registrar. He says 12,700 mail ballots were picked up at the USPS on Wednesday alone. Those are beginning to be processed. There were 300 drop boxes on Election Day that were only picked up, they were not counted, they were only secured by police. They're working on those as well, Don. And then you have 5,396 ballots that need to be cured. Voters have until Monday to do that. And then there are 5,555 provisional ballots, that, of course, voters have to figure out the registration. That has to be settled out. So, when there is a race with a margin that is this razor thin, Don, you and I know that every single vote counts, and it's not just the U.S. Senate race here in the state of Nevada, it's also the governor's race. So, we're going to be here. We're going to follow everything to make sure that all of those votes are counted.

LEMON: I know you will. Rosa Flores, thank you very much.

HARLOW: Bringing the energy at 4:26 in the morning out there, Rosa.

The governor's race in Arizona is also still too close to call. Democrat Katie Hobbs leads Republican Candidate Kari Lake by just 13,000 votes this morning, but a quarter of all ballots still have not been tallied.

Let's talk about this with National Political Enterprise Reporter for The Washington Post Ruby Cramer, who's not only been on the campaign trail with Kari Lake, interviewed her a number of times, but also wrote, I think hands on, the best, most insightful, eye-opening profile of her. It was fantastic. Kaitlan and I were talking a lot about it.

LEMON: High praise. High praise.

LEMON: So, okay, you've been in touch with Kari Lake's campaign since Tuesday. What are they saying?

RUBY CRAMER, NATIONAL POLITICAL ENTERPRISE REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Just a little bit. Tuesday night, radio silence. I think the margin was so wide that I think people in the room at least at the election night party where they were, they were supposed to be celebrating this big red wave blowout victory were feeling a little spooked by Wednesday or by late Tuesday. Something seems to have shifted. The word that I got back inside her campaign was they feel amazing. And it was sort of back to that very brash, very confident posture that we've come to know from Kari Lake basically at all points, yes.

COLLINS: One thing, of course, that we've all been talking about here is what the results are going to actually look like, but also the questions of whether or not she's going to dispute them. She's already been raising some unfounded concerns so far about it. What is your sense given how closely you followed her around, her husband around? You know the way they tick, based on this reporting. What do you think could happen there?

CRAMER: I think one important thing to understand about Kari Lake, and it's something we've seen from the moment she got in this race last summer, more than a year ago, is that election denialism is fundamental to the campaign apparatus that she has built. And it's fundamental in an operational sense in what she talks about on the campaign. It's also fundamental stylistically. So, it's sort of the linchpin or the vehicle in which she's able to express loyalty to Donald Trump. It is the vehicle through which she's able to stage a lot of these confrontations she has with the press. And as you know, she picks fights with reporters at every opportunity and then videotapes them, puts them online and gins up this huge online following on social media. So, it's also the vehicle for her to create online support.

So, I think it's worth asking, does Kari Lake, the campaign, candidate exist without this fundamental election denialism thing that was sort of there from the beginning? So, that's on my mind as now we wait to see what happens in this race. If she loses, does she concede? I think Republicans in the state don't know her to be a kind of candidate who would do that. If she wins, I think back to her Republican primary election this summer, where she won that race -- it took a while but she did eventually won.


And when she came out in front of cameras the next day to announce her victory, she said we won because we outvoted the fraud.