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Voters in Virginia Prepare for Statewide Elections of State House and State Senate Seats; Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin Claims to have Found Key to Republicans Regaining Suburban Voters; Ohio to Vote on State Constitution Protecting Abortion Rights. Aired 8-8:30a ET
Aired November 07, 2023 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: On Friday as news of an imminent bankruptcy filing started to spread, the company once worth nearly $50 billion is valued at less than $45 million. In a statement, Neumann called the collapse of the company he founded disappointing and said it has been challenging for me to, quote, watch from the sidelines since 2019 as WeWork has failed to take advantage of a product that is more relevant than ever before," not taking responsibility for that.
CNN THIS MORNING continues now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. GLENN YOUNGKIN (R-VA): We are delivering, and I think results matter. So now it's time to put it in the hands of the voters to ask them to send a team to Richmond that can work with me and not against me.
I believe that we're going to hold our House and flip our Senate. And I think that we have demonstrated is that that's a license that voters should extend to us after 2021 where we swept in across all the state races and flipped the House.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: That was Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin on a consequential Election Day, particularly in his state. We are about to find out where voters stand ahead of 2024. Today abortion rights are taking center stage in key races across America. In Virginia the state legislature up for grabs. Republicans are seeking full control in Richmond as Youngkin pushes to restrict abortion after 15 weeks. In Ohio, voters are deciding if abortion rights will be enshrined in that state's constitution.
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN ANCHOR: We're watching key races for governor. In Kentucky, where a Democrat is fighting for reelection in a deep red state, and in Mississippi where the Republican incumbent is facing a tougher than expected challenge from Elvis's cousin. Harry Enten is here to break down the most significant races. Harry, you are not Elvis's cousin.
HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICS WRITER AND ANALYST: No.
MATTINGLY: These are the days you were made for.
MATTINGLY: Tell me what is most important to you today?
ENTEN: Off-year elections are my jam, as I like to say, because everyone is into presidential, but I love off year. Let's go to Ohio first where there is a constitutional amendment to enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution. Now, we have a decent clue on how this will go because of another ballot measure that took place in August. It was Ohio's issue one, where the no was seen as a proxy vote for abortion rights. No won in that situation with 57 percent.
This time around, of course, the wording is flipped. You actually have to vote yes for abortion rights. There has been some sort of haggling over the ballot leverage in Ohio. The secretary of state, the Republican secretary of state, didn't actually put the amendment's language in, he put his own language. That worries some abortion rights folks. We'll just have to wait and see what happens.
But I want to put this in some context nationally, because there have been six other ballot measures since the Dobbs ruling on abortion rights, and the abortion rights side has won every time from the deep red states likes Kentucky to the very blue ones like Vermont. If, in fact, it passes in Ohio tonight, that will become the seventh state to enshrine abortion rights, or at least vote on the abortion rights side since Dobbs.
HARLOW: It's so interesting to see those numbers in red states on those ballot initiatives. What about the governors' races that are key?
ENTEN: So there are two governors races that I am keeping my eye on. Kentucky, Andy Beshear, the Democratic incumbent versus Daneil Cameron, the Republican challenger, the attorney general. Look, we all know that Kentucky is a very red state these days. Trump won Kentucky by 26 points back in 2020. But keep in mind, it's ensestually (ph) Democratic. There have been only three GOP governors in the state in the last 75 years. So Kentucky, Beshear perhaps a slight favorite. But you go to Mississippi, Tate Reeves, the incumbent Republican, taking the Brandon Presley, the Democratic candidate. No Democrat has won the governorship in the state since 1999. But keep in mind, Presley is, as you put in that tease, Elvis's second cousin. So maybe that might get him over the top. We'll just have to wait and see in the state of Mississippi.
MATTINGLY: Harry, you're going to hear the word "trifecta" a lot today. Maybe you go to the racetrack. But mostly as relates to Virginia. Why?
ENTEN: Why. Because Republicans are going for the trifecta. They currently hold the House. Dems currently hold the Senate. The GOP holds the governorship. House of delegates, all 100 seats up in the State Senate, all 40 seats up. This could be one of our best clues heading into 2024 where the country stands. We'll just have to wait and see what happens. Guys?
MATTINGLY: Harry Enten, this is his jam, off year elections.
HARLOW: Did you notice he pointed to the side?
MATTINGLY: Yes, he loved that. He is prepared. It's his jam. Harry Enten, thanks, buddy.
It is Election Day, and I just want to make clear you were looking at dueling magic walls if you looked at what was just on the screen, because John King has his own personal wall. He doesn't let Harry or myself or John Avlon or John Berman touch the magic wall. It is only John King's personal wall. And he joins us now, chief national correspondent. John, you have been traveling around the country, speaking to voters. How is the issue of abortion resonating in what we were just talking about with Virginians?
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is a fascinating test case for the abortion debate. As Harry just noted, the abortion rights forces have won everywhere, even in red states, even in purple states. Joe Biden two years ago, he won Virginia three years ago, he won Virginia by 10 points.
Then Glenn Youngkin comes along just a year later and sneaks in a victory. The Republican governor says, look, I have found the way back for Republicans in the suburbs. If you look, northern Virginia around Richmond, Youngkin didn't win those suburbs. But he ran five or six points stronger than Donald Trump, enough to make the difference.
Now, even after all those adoption defeats, Glenn Youngkin says I have a path back to the suburbs and I will win the suburbs become even by pushing new abortion restrictions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KING: A change of seasons in Loudoun County, and a choice that will echo well beyond Virginia.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Abortion is tough. I have two girls. I feel personally that every woman has the right to do what she feels is right for her with her body.
KING: Nenette (ph) Nees (ph) is a registered Republicans, but one of the suburban voters who changed Virginia from red to blue.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Abortion and guns, those are two big things.
KINGS: Nees (ph) Voted early for the Democrat in a critical state Senate race here.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Flyers every day for the last month. It's a lot of money wasted.
KINGS: Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin is among those spending millions.
GOV. GLENN YOUNGKIN, (R) VIRGINIA: Hold in the House, flip the Senate!
KING: Youngkin is not on this year's ballot, but his presidential ambitions are. Youngkin thinks he can reverse the Republican collapse in the suburbs, even while backing new abortion restrictions. If voters give him a full Republican legislature, Youngkin says Virginia will ban abortion after 15 weeks with exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of the mother.
YOUNGKIN: No more are we going to allow bureaucrats to tell folks that parents don't belong in the classroom.
KING: Yet no abortion mentioned in his rally speech.
You said you're for tax cuts, you're for parental rights, you're for more funding for police. Isn't strong leadership to say I'm for this, too?
YOUNGKIN: It's very clear where I stand on this. We are running a big advertising campaign.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Here is the truth. There is no ban. Virginia Republican support a reasonable 15-week limit.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: MAGA Republicans want to ban abortion in Virginia. Criminalizing abortions is wrong.
KING: It is a giant test of whether Republicans can end a streak of punishing election losses since the Supreme Court tossed out Roe v. Wade.
YOUNGKIN: Discussion around abortion is one between an extreme position from the left and a reasonable position from all Republicans.
KING: The Youngkin events look like a presidential test run. This is him in Henrico County, the fast-growing Richmond suburbs. Democrats hope to unseat a big Youngkin ally and prove the abortion debate still cuts their way.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is nothing reasonable about banning abortion, but that's exactly what Republican Siobhan Dunnavant wants to do.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: During the COVID lockdowns, it was Siobhan Dunnavant that really worked to get our kids back in the classrooms. And I'm deeply appreciate for that.
KING: Rachel (ph) Kolack (ph) calls herself a conservative independent, supports Donald trump, prefers a six-week abortion ban, but is open to compromise.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't support abortion. But if you get it to 15 weeks, I think perhaps that's a fair middle ground. KING: Loudoun County is 40 miles west of Washington, D.C. It still
leaned red when Xi (ph) Van Fleet (ph) moved here 18 years ago. Loudoun was home to shy of 100,000 people then. It is more than four times that now and 20 percent of the county's voters are Asian.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My neighbors are Indians, Vietnamese, Korean. And I'm Chinese. And if you talk about diversity, this is a very diverse area.
KING: It's also become more Democratic out here. Does that bother you?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That bothers me, yes.
KING: South Carolina born Gladys (ph) Burke (ph) is part of Loudoun's evolution. She is an independent who leans blue, owns a promotional products business, and takes issue with Youngkin's education agenda.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This thing about not teaching black history in the schools, not recognizing our black history, because I lived it.
KING: But still undecided on the State Senate race that could tip the balance of power.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have never been torn before.
KING: But you are open to some restriction?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely.
KING: On abortion?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, absolutely.
KING: Even if she votes Republican this time, Burke (ph) says Youngkin is wrong to think Virginia will return to red year.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely Biden, Biden, Biden.
KING: You like him?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely. I think he has sone a great job.
KING: Nenette (ph) Nees (ph) is the face of Virginia's suburban shift. Her last Republican vote for president, George W. Bush back in 2004. That is the last time the Republican nominee carried Loudoun County and Virginia. Still a registered Republican, but ready to cast a fifth consecutive Democratic vote for president next year, but with hesitation.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't think he is the perfect one, but if I have to pick between him and Trump, who I would never, ever, ever vote for, it would be Biden, and just pray.
KING: That's for next November. First, this year's big test.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
KING (on camera): But that big test today is going to tell us a lot about 2024. If you look up here, Loudoun County, that's where you just saw Nenette (ph) Nees (ph), she would vote for Biden again against Donald Trump. But you heard her hesitation, saying he's not perfect.
Phil and Poppy, abortion is on the ballot today, but so are the suburbs, the American suburbs. Do they stay with abortion rights forces? Do they stay with President Biden? And what is Governor Youngkin, is he on to something here? This is one of the places we'll watch on a very big day, not only for abortion rights but for the climate in America's suburbs as we head into next year.
HARLOW: Yes, and John, you really know every county and every state, but let's talk about the counties in Virginia. When we wake up to results in the election, or get them tonight, what is that going to tell us? What is Virginia going to tell us about 2024?
KING: Number one, on the abortion issue, has governor Youngkin found the compromise spot? Can you keep the Trumpy, anti-abortion base that would like maybe a total ban, or would like a six-week ban like Florida. Can you keep them onboard for 15 weeks and then pick up swing voters. You saw Gladys (ph) Burke (ph), the African American woman at the end of that pieces. She is a devout Christian. She does not want abortions, but she also doesn't want to judge other women. So she's wrestling. I talked to her last night. She said she is still undecided. It is going to be a gameday decision.
One other thing I want to show you. I just want to show you the diversity in Loudoun County. We often talk about the black vote, we often talk about the Latino vote. The Asian population has exploded in this part of Virginia in the last 20 years. It is a giant swing constituency. Often, the tough Donald Trump language on immigration has turned Asian voters away from the Republican Party. When we were out in Loudoun County, you do see evidence they are starting to drift back. This is a giant, growing swing constituency not only in Virginia. It's something to watch tonight.
HARLOW: John King, thanks, great reporting.
MATTINGLY: Red Sox and county level Democrats, that's what John King does.
HARLOW: I always think when is he going to talk about the Red Sox.
HARLOW: I have no idea.
MATTINGLY: This is going great. We have fun sometimes.
Donald Trump's contentious testimony ripping the judge instead of answering questions. Did he help or hurt his fraud case? We're going to ask Trump's defense attorney in his second impeachment trial. That's next.
HARLOW: Also, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu again rejecting calls for a ceasefire, saying that will not happen unless Hamas frees all the hostages. But he did say he was open to short humanitarian pauses. We will be joined by John Kirby from the White House on where things stand.
HARLOW: Welcome back, Ivanka Trump is set to testify tomorrow in the New York Attorney General's Civil Fraud Trial against her father and the family business. Her testimony will come after Trump yesterday turned a Manhattan courtroom into a marathon day of testimony.
During nearly 4 hours on the stand, Trump continuously clashed with the Judge, Arthur Engoron, quote "I'm sure the judge will rule against me because he always rules against me." The judge responded, quote, "You can attack me, you can do whatever you want, but answer the question."
Then things started to get heated, with the Judge asking Trump's lawyer to control his client, warning that this was not a political rally, quote, "Mr. Kise, that was a simple yes or no question. We got another speech. I beseech you to control him if you can. If you can't, I will. I will excuse him and draw every negative inference that I can. Do you understand that?"
At one point during testimony, Trump leaned into the microphone and said, quote, "This is a very unfair trial. Very, very, and I hope the public is watching." The civil fraud trial brought by New York's Attorney General Letitia James is seeking $250,000,000 in damages and to bar the Former President from doing business in the state of New York which could spell the end of his business empire.
David Schoen is with us he was an attorney on Trump's defense team in the second impeachment trial and speaks with the President regularly. Good morning, David. It's good to have you. I thought it was interesting that Chris Kise, one of the President's attorneys, said, quote, "In my 33 years, I have not had a witness testify better." Do you agree?
DAVID SCHOEN, TRUMP'S LAWYER DURING 2ND IMPEACHMENT TRIAL: I don't have any idea what he means by that, but I think that from President Trump's perspective, it was a good day for him and that he stood up to what he believes to be a very unfair proceeding when much of America believes to be an unfair proceeding.
I'm not sure why they called him as a witness, frankly. This case is quickly becoming, or has become already a circus. And I think this just added to it. I think the judge sort of one of his comments epitomized the entire situation when he said, I don't want to hear what he has to say.
I'm not sure what purpose was served; except I do think it will help President Trump in the polls. I think he stood up to a court that he believed to be unfair and sort of like every American who supports know he called him a bully and that sort of thing.
I think that serves him well in the polls politically.
HARLOW: But David, you're forgetting the second part of the judge's statement, quote, "We are here to hear him answer questions, and most of the time he's not." I take you on your point about what the judge said, but that's the totality of what he said.
Would you have advised Trump then to take the fifth if you were his counsel?
SCHOEN: Well, first of all, that's not in his personality as you know ---
HARLOW: He did it a lot in the deposition a number of times.
SCHOEN: Yes, but this is a very public forum, and I think that he wanted to stand up for this judge. Listen, this is one of the cases in which I think much of America feels it's unfair. You have an Attorney General who campaigned on getting Trump, and then you have a case with a very unusual law, Executive Law 6312, we hear fraud, but it doesn't require any showing of materiality, any showing of any losses, any showing of any victims.
And so, it strikes people as unfair, and he kind of spoke for those people yesterday.
HARLOW: Have you talked to Trump since yesterday, since his testimony?
SCHOEN: Talked to or communicated with?
SCHOEN: I have communicated with him yesterday.
HARLOW: Any form, text, what did he say?
SCHOEN: I wouldn't say what he said, nor would I say what I said. But I think now he feels he needs to stand up to this kind of thing. He thinks he's being treated very unfairly.
And he also listens, as you know far better than I, this case and all of the cases are being tried on at least a couple of fronts, and he's the leading candidate for the Republican Party, for President, and I really think you're going to see him soar again in the polls after what happened yesterday.
HARLOW: Does he care if he loses this case, if it helps him politically?
SCHOEN: Of course, he cares. He cares about all these cases; he takes them quite seriously. But he thinks that fundamentally they're politically driven by a political agenda and that they're very unfair, and he feels very strongly about that. HARLOW: I want to ask you about the law in particular on one part, it
seems like the prosecutors for the AG's office got some admission from the President when they basically got him to say absolutely when they asked repeatedly, did the banks review these documents in valuation?
And then I want to read you a quote from Trump talking about the valuations that were presented to him before they went to the banks, quote, "I would look at them, I would see them, and I would maybe on occasion have some suggestions." Do you think that the prosecution made some headway there in trying to get toward intent with that admission from the president?
SCHOEN: I would think that that had to be sort of their central purpose, was to put him directly into the statements.
But I think I have to say I admire the fact that he didn't shy away from that. Look, there's so much more going on here with the banking business. I think I talk to developers all the time about this. Some of them feel very strongly about it.
Some real never-Trumpers feel very strongly about it. The banks were making a lot of money on this. They ended up making money, nobody lost anything. And if to the extent the AG argues, well, had he actually stated the values properly, the banks could have made more in fees.
Number one, I don't think you find a very sympathetic audience for that. And number two, he would have gone to a different bank. There were a lot of banks that wanted to make these loans.
HARLOW: It doesn't matter if there's a sympathetic audience for the banks, but the other point is, you give these numbers, you get more favorable loans. That's really the crux of it. And there doesn't need to be a victim for him to be held civilly liable.
I wonder if, you know, Trump said yesterday also on the stand that the quote, "Big bankers are going to come in and straighten this all out." Who are the big bankers?
SCHOEN: I really don't know what their plan is for the defense, who they intend to call as witnesses. I'm sure they'll find know persuasive witnesses.
HARLOW: Final question on this debate over the worthless clause. Trump testified, quote, "There's a disclaimer clause where you don't have to get sued by the Attorney General of New York." He knows, you know, this judge ruled months ago that that worthless clause is worthless as a defense.
It is, right?
SCHOEN: I don't think it's worthless as a defense, but he knows that the judge ruled that. I think the banks clearly have an independent obligation of due diligence. This is more evidence of that, you know they've given a disclaimer. No bank is lending him money without doing their own due diligence on
HARLOW: David Schoen, always good to have you, thank you so much.
SCHOEN: Thank you very much.
MATTINGLY: Well, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu weighs in on who should control Gaza one month after the war against Hamas began. John Kirby from the White House joins us live next.
HARLOW: And three men have been arrested in a drug bust in Massachusetts. Look at that, that is fentanyl-laced, heart-shaped candy. That's right, in total, more than 220 pounds of it, or $8 million worth, was taken. It is believed to be one of the largest single-location seizures of drugs in the Northeast.
Attorney General Garland said the Justice Department will not stop until everyone responsible for the fentanyl poisoning epidemic is brought to justice.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL: I think Israel will, for an indefinite period, have the overall security responsibility, because we've seen what happens when we don't have it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHIL MATTINGLY: One month into the war with Hamas, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is giving his first indication of Israel's plans for Gaza after the fighting ends. This comes as more airstrikes could be seen slamming Gaza City overnight.
The IDF says it has secured a Hamas military stronghold in Northern Gaza and struck a cell of about ten terrorists in an antitank missile cell.
oining us now is White House National Security Council Spokesman John Kirby.
Admiral, I appreciate your time. I -- I want to start with what we heard -- just heard from the prime minister. There has been a lot of discussion about what would happen after the military conflict is done. The president has made very clear. He believes that holding Gaza, that -- that a -- a -- a -- essentially, a reoccupation is a not a good idea. What was your takeaway you heard from the prime minister?
KIRBY: Well, the president still believes that a -- a reoccupation of Gaza by Israeli forces is not good. It's not good for Israel, not good for the Israeli people. We'll let Prime Minister Netanyahu speak to whatever his post-conflict plans are. I can tell you, though, that one of the conversations that Secretary Blinken's been having in the region is, you know, what does post- conflict Gaza look like? You know, what -- what does governance look like in Gaza? Because whatever it is, it can't be what it was on October 6th. It can't be Hamas.
So I think a lot of these questions are being asked amongst ourselves, amongst our partners and with our Israeli counterparts, and -- and we'll keep having those conversations.
MATTINGLY: Now, one the -- the countries, or one of the nations that would likely be involved in some type of post-Hamas governance is Saudi Arabia. They're hosting a summit of Muslim leaders this weekend. There are reports that Iran's President Raisi will attend that summit. What does that tell you? What's your response to his attendance?
KIRBY: I -- I don't know that it tells us anything too specific, Phil. It -- it -- it has -- I think we're going to have to wait to see how this plays out and see what kind of a role -- if they actually show up, what kind of role they play.
I mean, what our -- our perspective is -- Iran is a destabilizing actor in the region. They support groups like Hamas and Hezbollah. They're supporting these militia groups that continue to fire rockets at our bases in Iraq and -- and Syria, and they're -- and they're also supporting Putin's war in Ukraine.
So it's difficult for us to see where Iran would have some sort of meaningful, constructive, productive discussion about -- about conflict resolution at this point, given that they're the arsonists here. But again, we'll have to see what happens at this -- at -- at this meeting this weekend.
MATTINGLY: You mentioned the -- the rocket attacks on U.S. personnel. There've also been one-way drone attacks, as well. I believe there's...
MATTINGLY: ... as many as 38 or 39 U.S. personnel who have been injured in those attacks, or -- or a number of attacks that have occurred. Does the U.S. believe that at this point, the -- the threshold for an expanded conflict has not been crossed yet?
KIRBY: We -- we are still working very hard to keep this conflict from widening, deepening, escalating. The attacks on our troops obviously are deeply concerning. You've seen us retaliate in -- in the last week or so. We will evaluate what we're going to do in terms of next steps. We're obviously going to do whatever we have to do to protect our -- our troops in Iraq and -- and -- and Syria; make sure that we make a -- a strong statement about force protection and how much that means to us.
But we haven't seen another nation-state or actor move in demonstrable major-muscle-movement ways to try to deepen and widen this conflict as yet. That's one of the reasons why the president has added so much more force posture to the region, now including a -- a, you know, an Io- -- a Ohio-class submarine, which is now in the Central Command Area of Responsibility. We're going to keep watching this. If we have to make additional force posture changes, well, we'll do that, too.
MATTINGLY: Did you think you'd see the day where CENTCOM would tweet out a picture of an Ohio-class submarine in transit?