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Arizona, Nevada Race To Count Votes With Senate In Balance; Trump Attacks DeSantis, Claims Credit For Florida Governor's Rise; Federal Court Strikes Down Biden's Student Loan Forgiveness; Tumult & Chaos Escalates Inside Elon Musk's Twitter Takeover. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired November 11, 2022 - 05:00   ET




KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Whether you're ready or not, here we go.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: They're like, hey, heads up. Happy Friday --


LEMON: -- means, wake up anchors. Speak people. That's what happens in the studio. You guys have no idea so we're explaining. Good morning, everyone.

HARLOW: Good morning.

LEMON: It is Friday.



HARLOW: Hey, man.

LEMON: Friday and it's been a big election week. It's the Friday after the election. Congress is still undecided on Friday. The election happened on Tuesday. We have results out of Arizona to tell you about in the Senate race there.

Today, Maricopa, Arizona's most populous county is set to start releasing the first results of outstanding ballots. Where they're coming from? We're live on the ground in Phoenix.

HARLOW: Also, an average Governor, that's a quote, also this quote, lack of loyalty. Donald Trump tearing into Florida's Governor Ron DeSantis and claiming credit for DeSantis' sudden rise. This is just days before Trump's, quote, big announcement that he'll make Tuesday night at Mar-a-Lago.

COLLINS: And it's a high stakes meeting on the backdrop of Russia's war in Ukraine and growing tensions over Taiwan will tell you what's on the table between President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping when they sit down face to face in just a matter of days.

LEMON: But we're going to start with what is a slow, slow, slow drip. New vote totals are trickling in from Maricopa County.

Let's start now with Josh Campbell. Josh, he is live in Maricopa County at the election center. By the way, good morning to you. Josh, do you have any news for us? What can we expect this next wave of votes that are supposed to drop?

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes, good morning to you, Don. Very slowly. Votes are being counted here behind me here in Maricopa County. This is the central voting center. We did get a new batch of votes released last night about 80,000 new votes that didn't really move the needle that much on these two key races that we've been looking at.

Of course, a race for the U.S. Senate, Mark Kelly up just about 115,000 votes over Venture Capitalist Blake Masters in the gubernatorial race. That is a lot narrower in that margin. We're seeing here Katie Hobbs as Secretary of State just about 27,000 votes over Kari Lake. There are still about 540,000 votes left to be counted. And that includes 290,000 votes that voters actually dropped off on election day.

They received their ballots by mail. But for whatever reason, maybe they didn't know who exactly who they were going to vote for. Maybe they decided it was more secure to actually hand it to an election official. But that is going to take some time. Officials here haven't given us a specific deadline when they expect to have all of the votes counted. But of course, all eyes here on the state, Don.

LEMON: And what about the candidates, because you know, they've got to be nervous. Are they saying anything?

CAMPBELL: They are. I mean, as is expected, we're hearing optimism from essentially all four of those candidates that I just mentioned, saying that they believe in the end, they will come out on top. But it's specifically comments from Kari Lake, the Republican candidate for governor here that is actually drawing the ire of election officials.

She has described this process as possibly being deliberately slow rolled for political purposes, that causing officials here to speak out. Take a listen.


BILL GATES, CHAIR, MARICOPA COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS: Quite frankly. It is offensive for Kari Lake to say that these people behind me are slow rolling this when they're working 14 to 18 hours. So I really hope this is the end of that now. We can be patient and respect the results when they come out.

ALLIE BONES, ARIZONA ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE: It's ironic to us that people who are calling, you know, into question the integrity of this election and want faster results, don't understand that those -- it's actually those processes that add the integrity to our election process.


CAMPBELL: And, of course, Bill Gates, who was the head -- of course, Bill Gates, the head of the Maricopa County Elections, he's a Republican, and he is furious at these claims that somehow these officials are acting politically in this process. They continue to say it takes time to count these votes.

But of course, it's those conspiracy theories that -- that's the reason, Don, that this building behind me is surrounded even at this hour by sheriff's deputies. That's something that has become quite commonplace here in this modern era of conspiracy theories that officials that are coming to count votes, including volunteers who were just volunteering their time to help the election process, they have to have heavy security because of these conspiracy theories, Don.

LEMON: And they're working really, really hard to try to get everything done in a timely fashion. So patience, patience patience. Thank you, Josh Campbell. Appreciate it.


HARLOW: Good for Bill Gates speaking out like that. It's important for people with power to do that.

Let's go to Nevada, Democratic Senator Catherine Cortez Masto is closing the gap on her Republican challenger Adam Laxalt. On the House side, MAGA Republican Lauren Boebert of Colorado is fighting to hold on to her seat as the GOP and she's closer to control of that chamber.


Our Senior Data Reporter Harry Enten is here with the totals. Good morning, Harry.


HARLOW: What can you tell us? Let's start with Nevada.

ENTEN: Well, you know, first let's just zone out a little bit and give you the idea. Democrats need to pick up two Senate seats to get the majority right. They're up in Arizona. Let's go into Nevada, which could be the second one. What do we got here? We got Adam Laxalt up by a point.

But as you were hinting at in your read, this margin has been closing, closing, closing, closing, closing. Catherine Cortez Masto was once down about three points. She's now down just about one. Let's go down south, southern part of the state Clark County. This margin now six points. The presidential race back two years ago, it was nine, but it was five points when we spoke yesterday as more male votes have come in from Clark County which is the home to Las Vegas.

Catherine Cortez Masto's vote toll has gone up. She has closed the gap with Adam Laxalt. Will also go up here to Reno, to Washoe County. Few days ago, Adam Laxalt was ahead here. Now Catherine Cortez Masto, as more mail votes have got counted, she's up by three. There are tens of thousands of male votes still out. I would not be surprised if she continues to close, close, close and eventually jumps out ahead.

Now, also a gubernatorial race in the state of Nevada. Right here, Joe Lombardo, the Republican has a somewhat larger lead than Adam Laxalt. It's a three-point advantage. This margin may hold even if the Senate margin flips. This could be another state where we sort of have this split ticket voting, right, where there's just enough people out there and just enough independents in the electorate who say, you know what, I'm going to choose the Republican gubernatorial candidate, and maybe I'm going to go democratic for Senate.


ENTEN: We'll have to wait and watch and see what happens. But right now in Nevada, it's looking better for the Democrats on the Senate side than the gubernatorial side.

HARLOW: The splitting of tickets this election has been fascinating. Let's talk about the House, Harry. First of all, just sort of broadly, people waking up this morning, where do Democrats stand? Where do Republicans stand? And then you got to tell us what the numbers are in that race in Colorado, Lauren Boebert's race?

ENTEN: Yes. So let's start off on sort of this broad view of the House, right. Right now, Republicans in the call race is 211, to Democrats 198. If we look at the seats in which they're ahead, right, this includes uncalled races, Republicans leading 222 seats to Democrats 213. I think there's a question as to whether or not the Democrats could actually take the lead in some of those uncalled races where they currently are.

I just want to go into California for a quick second, and give you an idea of how many votes there still are to be counted. So David Valadao in this district, California 22nd, is up by about 9 percentage points, or -- between a 9 percentage points. But look how much of the estimated vote is reporting. It's just 32 percent. It's just 32 percent.

There's two-thirds of the votes still to be counted there. Who knows that race might flip? Or how about here where John Duarte is up by a little -- well, less than a point. Look at that, just 44 percent of the vote is reported. So don't be surprised if some of these California races flip. I'm not saying that they will. But I'm just saying that there's plenty of room (INAUDIBLE) in those races.

Finally, you know, we'll just go on to Colorado here. We'll go on to Lauren Boebert district. Yesterday she was trailing, but look now, she has a slight advantage 99 percent of the vote. And I'm not sure there's enough out there for Boebert to lose her lead. But still, one incredibly close race, a close race that nobody thought would be close.

HARLOW: You know, when they say every vote counts.

ENTEN: Every -- this election proves it, right? Every vote counts. Folks, if you didn't vote, I don't know what to tell you.

HARLOW: Don't complain. All right, Harry, thank you.

ENTEN: Thank you.

COLLINS: All right, fresh off his reelection when in Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis is under attack from former President Trump who is unloading on the governor that he said he voted for on Tuesday and, of course, once endorsed. Now Trump says, quote, "Ron DeSanctimonious is playing games. The fake news asks him if he's going to run, if President Trump runs and he says, quote, I'm only focused on the governor's race. I'm not looking into the future. Well, in terms of loyalty and class, that's not really the right answer."

Trump, obviously, also taking credit for DeSantis' win in 2018. He said Ron was going down 10,000 votes a day. I sent in the FBI and U.S. attorneys and the ballot that immediately ended, of course, referring to what happened in 2018 with the vote count in Florida.

But to talk about what is actually happening now is CNN Senior Political Analyst and CNN -- and Senior Editor at The Atlantic, Ron Brownstein.


HARLOW: Good morning.

LEMON: Good morning. I like your election outfit.

BROWNSTEIN: Thank you. Yes, yes, yes.

COLLINS: If you've been speaking to people in Trump's orbit, none of this is a surprise. This is all been happening behind the scenes. It's just now bursting out into the public because Ron DeSantis cruised to victory to reelection on Tuesday.

BROWNSTEIN: You know, in polls, they've been asking whether you are a supporter of Donald Trump or supporter of the Republican Party. Donald Trump is a supporter of Donald Trump, not the Republican Party. I mean, the idea that he would take the -- really the biggest Republican victory of Tuesday night was the magnitude of DeSantis' win in Florida and immediately, you know, turn it into about him and attacking DeSantis is kind of an indication of what the party has ahead if they move on from him.


Look, I think running against -- there's nothing in American politics that can prepare you for running against Donald Trump. You know, we saw Donald Trump break Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz in a way that they still seem broken politically to him. I think that, you know, Ron DeSantis is getting an early look at what -- I mean, it's the Mike Tyson rule. Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.

And I think that on paper, there's a lot of reasons for DeSantis to be optimistic about his ability to challenge Trump in 2024. But you've got to do it every day. And this is a reminder of what it's going to be like.

COLLINS: No one knows that better than DeSantis, though.


HARLOW: But is it different Now? I mean, I love when you write about the Mike Tyson rule.


HARLOW: And I think you're right. I mean, just human nature is different than, you know, what your resume looks like, or what's on paper.

BROWNSTEIN: Right. Or the --

HARLOW: But is it different now with all of these Republicans, not all Republicans, but a number of big name Republicans and publications --


HARLOW: -- media walking away from Trump? Does his punch still carry the same weight?

BROWNSTEIN: Yes. So let's the ledger. On the positive side for DeSantis, there's no question the elites of the party, especially after Tuesday, are ready for an alternative to Trump. 60 percent of voters in the exit poll said they had an unfavorable view of Trump and that was in an electorate that is going to be -- that was more Republican than the electorate will be in 2024.

And he said 60 percent negative there. There's clearly infinite money for Ron DeSantis a run. But there are two big problems for anyone to be Trump. One is that the rules in the Republican primary -- you know, the Republican primaries are fought under different rules in the Democrats.

And the Republicans really advantage whoever has the biggest block, even if it's not a majority, and Trump has a very loyal base. In 2016, Poppy, he was the presumptive Republican nominee. He had pulled away from the field before he won 50 percent in any state. He only won about 40 percent vote.

And the other problem is that the base in the party that is resistant to Trump are college educated Republicans. They were resistant in 2016. He only won about 35 percent of them, continuing to be resistant now. Can anyone unify that --


BROWNSTEIN: -- against him.


BROWNSTEIN: Two big questions.

LEMON: I'm going to be the skunk at the garden party.


LEMON: Cynically and not cynically, why do we care? When I saw this Donald Trump thing and Ron DeSantis, I was at dinner, it's just like --


LEMON: I think most people feel the same way.


LEMON: It's just like -- I think Donald Trump would be standing at the edge of the ocean screaming into the ocean to Poppy's point. He doesn't have a New York Post. He doesn't seem to have all the Rupert Murdoch thing. He doesn't seem to have Fox News. Conservative media is turning against him.

The only people are talking about him are us. I think the average person is like, I'm sick of Donald Trump's BS, and they just -- their eyes is kind of glaze over. So, why do we care?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, the question is what --

LEMON: That's a serious question.


BROWNSTEIN: No, no, I totally -- and, obviously, the movement and kind of elite conservative circles after 2022 is going to be, they don't think Donald Trump can win. I mean, if you look at what happened -- and we talked about this the other day, OK -- if you look at what happened to his candidates in the key states that made Joe Biden President five states flipped from 2016 to 2020, Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Trump nominees did pretty poorly across the board.

LEMON: You're giving me all the technical stuff, Ron. I'm just saying --

BROWNSTEIN: But we're done.

LEMON: We're giving him his power.


LEMON: You don't think we give him the power?

BROWNSTEIN: No, because --

LEMON: Because otherwise --

BROWNSTEIN: There is still a formidable base in the party that is with him, and that is the power.

COLLINS: Look at the primary.

BROWNSTEIN: And that is, you know -- right, exactly. The fact that his candidates were able to win. And that has always been what has intimidated and made Republicans --


LEMON: He's not even said he's going to run. We don't know if he's going to run. Why can we say this --

COLLINS: He can stay night at 9:00.

LEMON: Why don't we say this until he says, I'm going to run?


LEMON: I feel like when we do this, it's again, like 2016, this is the equivalent of saying, Donald Trump is about to hold a rally. Let's put a camera on it and hold it and see what happens. Why don't we hold the camera, talking about things that are actually happening now. And when Donald Trump says I'm going to run, then this actually becomes real, instead of like, giving him his power, and doing exactly what he wants us to do. Because he doesn't have Twitter.

BROWNSTEIN: He doesn't have Twitter.

LEMON: He's losing the other thing, so --

COLLINS: Maybe none of us --

HARLOW: He will soon have Twitter days around.


LEMON: I know.



BROWNSTEIN: By the way, there are a lot of --

HARLOW: On Wednesday.

BROWNSTEIN: There are a lot Republicans who would like to exactly be in that space.


BROWNSTEIN: But he is signaling to them. I think that he is not going to go quietly if he goes at all.

LEMON: A little cranky after the election. So only because of the hours and the morning, but you know.

COLLINS: But we love having you on. BROWNSTEIN: Thanks.

LEMON: Thanks, Ron. Good to see you.

BROWNSTEIN: Thank you. Good to see you, guys.

COLLINS: Ron, thank you.

LEMON: Thank you.

There's another setback for the President's Student Loan Forgiveness plan. A Trump appointed federal judge striking it down. So, what is the next move for the Biden administration?


HARLOW: Yes, this is a really interesting case. Also, an ultimatum essentially from Elon Musk to Twitter employees and a warning about difficult times ahead.


HARLOW: Welcome back to CNN this morning. Another blow this morning for more than 26 million borrowers hoping for student debt relief through the President's forgiveness program. This is after a Trump appointed federal judge in Texas has ruled that the policy violates the Constitution, that it's illegal.

Arlette Saenz joins us now. So, walk us through sort of the judge's argument here, the way right it is, it's an overstep here. You don't have this power, Mr. President. And then I think more importantly what it means for all these folks who thought they were going to get this relief.


ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, good morning, Poppy. Well, this federal judge down in Texas ruled that the President's Student Loan Forgiveness program is unlawful and must be vacated. He argued that judge, that 2003 law that the White House has used to justify the enactment of the program doesn't actually authorize them to create it.

And he further argued, quote, "In this country, we are not ruled by an all-powerful executive with a pen and a phone. Instead, we are ruled by a constitution that provides for three distinct and independent branches of government." Now, it's important to note that this student debt relief program had already been on hold on a temporary hold, as there were other cases being considered. But certainly, this is another setback for the administration.

HARLOW: It's expected that this will likely reach the Supreme Court whether they take it up, that's another question. But I wonder what the White House is saying this morning.

SAENZ: Well, the White House last night issued a statement saying that you strongly disagree with the decision and the Justice Department acted very quickly to file an appeal. But even as this program has been on hold, the White House has noted that 26 million people have applied for this program, and they've already approved 16 million borrowers applications.

Karine Jean-Pierre, the Press Secretary saying, quote, "The Department will hold on to their information so it can quickly process their relief once we prevail in court." So the White House and President Biden has made clear that he thinks this will stand up in court. But let's not forget that out on the campaign trail over the course of the past few weeks, the President was touting this plan as one of the ways he could offer economic relief to millions of Americans. But now those borrowers, the student loan borrowers, remain in limbo.

HARLOW: It's the people, millions of them hanging in the balance. Arlette, thank you for the reporting from Washington.

LEMON: So this is being called Twitter's moment, a titanic moment for Twitter, I should say. In just two weeks since Elon Musk took control of the social media giant, he's fired half of Twitter's employees, some by mistake, many of them sued. He cracked down on users impersonating him. He wants to change people -- charge people, I should say, for a blue checkmark.

And now he is telling employees Twitter could face bankruptcy, and he is declaring an end to remote work. That's a lot.

Marc Stewart is here, CNN Correspondent. Marc, thank you so much for joining us. So this is -- I'm going to -- I'll ask you what, you know, this is Poppy's expertise, because she's like she knows him --

HARLOW: Elon Musk is my -- wait, I could understand.

LEMON: Well, I mean, you've interviewed him before so you know him.

HARLOW: Yes, this is true.

LEMON: But just for people who are using social media and who are using Twitter, people at home are saying, what's in it for me, or what's going to happen to my Twitter? What does this mean for me?

HARLOW: And the workers.


MARC STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And the workers. Let's just say big question mark because when you were just reading that introduction, I was getting out of breath. It's a lot to take in. But really, despite this very high profile, CEO now owner, despite some of the antics that we have seen, Twitter is no different than any other tech company right now. It is competing for eyeballs.

And what I mean by that, there are a lot of offerings on the digital landscape right now. And we've seen this competition. Facebook earlier this week talked about layoffs, because it's hard to get people on the platform. It's hard to get advertisers. It's no different really than the challenges that Peloton has had to get people to sign up. I mean, that's a digital platform as well. So I think Twitter is in that same space.

HARLOW: I just think I hear you, but I think there are two distinct things that are different than Twitter three. One, advertisers are scared because of the misinformation --


HARLOW: -- and increased hate speech. So why would they put their company there? B, Musk didn't actually want to buy this company. In the end, he was contractually obliged to. And I was thinking about it, guys. Elon Musk has never run a company before that he didn't found or co-found. PayPal, Tesla --


HARLOW: -- SpaceX, the boring company. It's different to parachute in.

STEWART: Well, and that's perhaps one reason why we're seeing this kind of clearing of the Titanic, if you will. I think that the real question is, where is he going to take it? And I mean, that's the question we're all wondering, where is he going to take it?

And maybe he is going to be an innovator again. He's talked a lot about making Twitter, this X platform as he calls it. And what he means by it, in Asia, for example, there's a very popular app called WeChat. Not only can you have like these discussions that you have on Twitter, but you can video message with your friends there, you can go shopping there.

So if he wants to make his mark and do something innovative, maybe that's where he's going. I also find it curious, as you said --

LEMON: Hold on one second.


LEMON: Excuse me. Could we have done that without Twitter? Can he just created a platform --


LEMON: -- himself without Twitter to do that --


LEMON: -- and sort of taking on all that debt and then trying to parachute in, as you say? Because a lot of people --


LEMON: -- it's common to parachute into companies. Do you think it's easy and then most people find out it's not so easy, right?

STEWART: But here's what Twitter has that something starting from the ground up may not have, analytics.


And what I mean by analytics --

LEMON: Got it, got it.

STEWART: -- Twitter knows exactly when people are logging on from where, what are they looking at and what is the attention span.

LEMON: So that's what he bought?

STEWART: So I think that's what makes this platform attractive. That's already established.

COLLINS: But the big question is, is Twitter even going to exist? Because, you know, Oliver Darcy did a great job in his --


COLLINS: -- newsletter about this. But he said, Musk is already floating the possibility that Twitter could collapse, saying in his first all staff email that he warned the economic picture ahead is dire. And without significant subscription revenue, there's a good chance Twitter does not survive the upcoming economic downturn.

STEWART: I think that's a very valid point. But I'm going to go back to this whole notion of analytics. I mean, it still has some value, and it still has some worth. So maybe, even though it may not exist in its current form, there will be pieces of it that he will perhaps be able to sell off, that would have some value.

LEMON: Do they need to pay $44 billion for those (INAUDIBLE)?

HARLOW: No, he tried not to.


STEWART: Isn't everything inflated in price these days?

COLLINS: Oh my God, in Twitter?

STEWART: Look, it's hard to value a tech platform right now. It's still relatively new phenomenon.


LEMON: Thanks, Marc.

HARLOW: Thank you, friend.

LEMON: Good to see you.

STEWART: Good to see you.

COLLINS: All right, the first high stakes sit down is set between President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping next week. We'll tell you what to expect and what Biden might be able to get out of that meeting.

HARLOW: Also, this just in, we are getting word that Russian troops are right now leaving Kherson in a major win for Ukrainians.