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Wisconsin Supreme Court Rules Against Trump Lawsuit; The Electoral College Is Casting Its Votes For President. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired December 14, 2020 - 12:30   ET



WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: There's breaking news we're following, the Wisconsin Supreme Court just issued yet another ruling in a case involving a Trump campaign challenge to the presidential election. CNN's Adrienne Broaddus is joining us from Madison, Wisconsin right now. So tell us about this ruling, Adrienne.


ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, the Supreme Court here in Wisconsin ruled four to three, it was a four to three decision, essentially ruling against that lawsuit from President Trump trying to overturn the election results here in Wisconsin. This is at least the third time. One of those lawsuits here in Wisconsin has been thrown out the third time in December alone.

Meanwhile, in that split decision, I want to read to you what the court wrote. The Justice has said in part, we conclude the campaign is not entitled to the relief it seeks. The challenge to the indefinitely confined voter ballots is meritless in the face. And I'm paraphrasing here. That's what they said in part. This ruling coming about 30 minutes before the 10 electors are set to meet here at the state capitol in Dane County.

I spoke with one of the 10 presidential electors earlier this morning. And he told me they've received some death threats, some of the electors, at least three out of 10. And because of that, security has been stepped up. They don't even know what room they will meet in to cast that ballot today for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. They will be escorted to the State Capitol by Capitol security.

And the elector that I spoke with said everything that's happening, the drama of President Trump trying to overturn the election and try to change the results in only two counties here, Dane County where we are right now in Madison and Milwaukee Counties has overshadowed this historic moment. Dane and Milwaukee Counties are primarily Democratic. Here in Dane County, it's a college town. Milwaukee is not only Democratic, but a large majority of black and brown people live there.

And that elector we spoke with earlier today said he's so honored to be among more than 300 casting votes for Joe Biden. But the significance of this moment and voting for the first black female vice president has been taken away. But he says nothing will stop him. He thought about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and how crosses were born on the lawn of Dr. King. And he said he is carrying the spirit of John Lewis with him as he cast that vote today as a black man, Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes. It's hard to believe these patriotic electors here in the United States of America, Adrienne, are actually receiving death threats on this historic day. It's simply, simply awful. Standby, we'll get back to you.

The Electoral College in Pennsylvania is cast its 20 electoral votes. President-elect Biden turned the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania blue and it was key, certainly key to Biden's win. Brian Todd is joining us right now from the Capitol in Harrisburg. So set the seat over there because we're about to get the results in Pennsylvania.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, the decisive moment is at hand. They're calling a roll right now, the electors are going up to the stage and depositing their votes in a ballot box as they call that role. We might be able to take a shot of it here. Again, this is a very exciting moment for Pennsylvania, we've talked to two electors who are there doing that right now, including Nancy patton Mills, the president of the Electoral College, the first female president of the Electoral College in states history.

They're all just very excited to be here, because they were the ones who put Joe Biden over the top, the day that you called the vote, Wolf, for the President-elect on November 7th, Pennsylvania was the state that allowed him to cross the threshold and get those 270 electoral votes. So they're placing these votes in a ballot box right now, as you see. And then the ballots will be counted by so called tellers that are present to certify that, you know, the count is accurate and correct. And they all kind of backstop each other.

And then the electors will sign six certificates. These certificates all are basically if one certificate, six copies of it, those will be then filed with the Secretary of State. And they will send that to the U.S. Capitol for Congress to certify on January 6th, Wolf. But you see the shot there. I believe they're about to announce the vote very shortly, Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes. Pennsylvania with 20 electoral votes, and the box by the way that they're putting the ballots in was a box actually designed by Ben Franklin, clearly a long time ago. All right, we're going to watch what's going on in Pennsylvania, Arizona, and New York, these other Wisconsin. But I want to go to Erin right now for more on what's going on. Erin?

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: I love that statistic that Wolf just shared, right, the ballot box from Benjamin Franklin just gives you the power of what we're watching here. This is part of the Constitution, something we all have taken for granted, and I would venture to say almost no one watching has ever watched this before and yet here we all are riveted by this process. I'm here with my panel. Kirsten Powers, it is pretty incredible to watch that. And as Wolf said, to be able to tie that thread all the way back to Benjamin Franklin, that is what this comes from. This is the process by which we elect a president in this country.


KIRSTEN POWERS, FORMER CLINTON ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Yes, I mean, it's -- we just can't stress enough how unusual it is that actually, that we're watching this, that this is normally something that does not get a lot of public attention. It's just taken for granted, that things will go the way that the founders intended them to go.

Of course, Donald Trump has sort of turned all of that on its head by refusing to concede and continuing to claim that he did not lose the election, that there was election fraud, and he's managed to get a large number of Republicans on board with that argument.

And so this is I think, should be reassuring to people. I think that even, you know, looking at the court cases, the dozens of court cases that the Trump team has lost, that the judiciary seems to have survived the stress test that's been put on it by President Trump and now we're watching democracy playing out as it was meant to play out.

BURNETT: And Alice, it is pretty incredible, because in the swing states where Trump has targeted so much of his irony, and his rigged, and his fraud where he has been dealt all of these legal losses, right, and he also, of course, at the Supreme Court, they have shot this down with his nominees unanimously.

You still have in Michigan, you know, they had to shut down the government offices today, you know, in part because of an elected GOP representative there, who was organizing protests, who said when asked, it's going to be violence, it's going to be protests.

But he was removed if his responsibilities on committees by GOP leadership. Are we going to start to see more of that today Republican stepping up to say, this is over?

ALICE STEWART, FORMER TED CRUZ COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: I would hope so. I don't know how many times they need obvious signs of permission to accept the ultimate outcome election night. We had many recounts that certified those results. We had countless lawsuits that have been thrown out being devoid of any factual basis. And now we have the Electoral College casting their votes.

And if this is not a big sign of permission for these Republicans to finally acknowledge that Joe Biden is a President-elect, I don't know what it is. And Erin, it's a sad darn day in America, when there are threats against electors who are doing a key cornerstone of our democracy, they should be going in to cast these ballots today with a ticker tape parade and not armed security guards.

And I think that's an important aspect that we need to make sure that moving forward, the stop the steal efforts, and any effort to question the integrity of our election needs to be focused on the actual fact that here we see it right before our eyes. It's not pretty, it's rather boring. It is how the sausage is made. It is watching the paint dry, but it is how our wonderful democracy works. And right now there should be no other outcome of this election.

BURNETT: Yes, of course, in state after static, of course, Georgia, Karen, the, you know, the big example recently, right, with Republican leadership. And yet here we are, Karen.

KAREN FINNEY, FORMER SR. ADVISER, HILARY CLINTON CAMPAIGN: Well, but it's and it's shameful. I mean, in Georgia, you also, you know, we have these threats against the electors. But in Georgia, you have poll workers who are actually being threatened, people who have been trying to again, as we've all been saying, do their civic duty trying to volunteer to be part of the process. And, you know, well, I think on the one hand, absolutely, this is a triumph of our democracy.

Let's be clear about what Donald Trump is asking people to do. Donald Trump is asking to undermine our very democracy where which where power comes from the people according to our Constitution. And yet he wants us to -- he wants his folks to just throw that out and to ignore that fundamental value of our democracy. All right, all of you, stay with us. Let's get back to Wolf for a moment.

BLITZER: It's interesting. Connecticut's Electoral College members just cast their seven electoral votes. Let's watch.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Madam Chair, I would like to announce that the Connecticut electors have cast seven ballots with Joseph Biden, Jr. for President of the United States. Madam chair the teller would like to announce that seven ballots have been cast for Kamala Harris as Vice President of the United States.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The electors have chosen Kamala D. Harris for the Office of Vice President --



BLITZER: So there you have it, Connecticut seven electoral votes for Biden. We're standing by for New York, Pennsylvania, the countdown to 270 continues right now. We're also awaiting Arizona but some of the very first coronavirus vaccines are also happening right now here in the United States. We'll update you on that stay with us.


BLITZER: All right, you're looking at live pictures from New York from the Capitol there, Albany the Governor Andrew Cuomo just adjourned the meeting moments ago. New York State cast its Electoral College ballots, watch this.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please go ahead.

HEASTIE: Mr. President, I announce, I'm proud to announce that 29 votes have been cast for the honorable Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. of Delaware for President of the United States.


BLITZER: Carl Heastie, the New York State Assembly Speaker making the announcement. Also just a moment or so ago in Pennsylvania, they cast their Electoral College ballots.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, Madam President. It is my pleasure to announce to you and to the members of the college that the tellers agree in their count. The electors of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania have cast 20 votes for the honorable Joseph R. Biden, for President of the United States, and 20 votes for the honorable Kamala D. Harris, for Vice President of the United States.


BLITZER: So there you have it, 20 Biden from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 29 from the state of New York. Jake, it's moving along fully as anticipated, no surprises yet. They're getting towards the end later today.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: That's right. And there was a big effort by the Trump team to overturn the results in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, of state or Commonwealth that Trump won in 2016, was not able to win this time.

I think he lost by somewhere around 88, something like that, 1,000 votes and a big effort by the legal team there to do everything they could before Election Day, on Election Day, after Election Day, to disenfranchise Pennsylvanias, including that Texas Attorney General lawsuit that the U.S. Supreme Court just brushed aside like a gnat, which called for the 20 electors from Pennsylvania for all the voters who voted for Biden to be disenfranchised and those 20 electors to be replaced with 20 electors that would vote for somebody that this -- that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania did not pick, Donald Trump.

DANA BASH, CNN HOST: That's right. And Pennsylvania, like so many states, the President's attempts to disrupt and overturn what we are seeing as a free and fair election, were stopped at the state level in the courthouses and at the federal level in courthouses, even by people he appointed to the federal bench, saying, no, no, we're not even going to hear this.

We're not even going to acknowledge this. And in some cases, like one of the cases in Pennsylvania on the federal level, the President and his team were admonished by the judge who was appointed by this president for interfering and for not really giving any evidence --

TAPPER: No evidence.

BASH: -- at all for the case that they brought against him.

TAPPER: Time after time, they go before the court, dozens of times, and they don't present evidence. They say something on Twitter, but then in court where they are under penalty of perjury, they have no evidence. While this is all going on, this momentous moment in presidential history, there is a momentous site today, as the first Americans outside of clinical trials are receiving the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine. Let's bring in CNN's chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

Sanjay, you've been covering the pandemic since day one. When you see these pictures of the first Americans getting vaccinated, tell me your reaction.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: It's not a day that I thought what happened this year, Jake. I mean, you know, I think we were all sort of following the development of this vaccine for some time. And, you know, we're optimistic and hopeful. But, you know, somebody described this to me a month ago, as sort of the moonshot of infectious diseases. And this is a person who's not hyperbolic at all. And I think it's a very apt description.

I mean, I think what you see is so mundane, when you actually just see the shock going into the arm. But all the science behind it is quite remarkable. So Jake, I mean, it feels like the best of times and the worst of times, best of times, scientifically, the worst of times as the numbers continue to grow. And, you know, I think we're, we should take a moment to celebrate the scientific achievement, but continue to buckle down, because we know that the end is in sight.


TAPPER: All right, Sanjay Gupta, thank you so much. We're standing by for the top of the hour. Electors from six more states will meet to cast their votes. We're going to take a quick break. We'll be right back.


BLITZER: Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer in the CNN Election Center. Today we are witnessing history. Electors from every state and the District of Columbia are meeting. They're casting their ballots for President of the United States. Today will confirm President-elect Joe Biden's win while President Trump has been pressuring officials all around the country to try to overturn the will of the American voters.

In just a moment, six more states are convening, Minnesota, New Mexico, Wisconsin, Alabama, Kansas, and South Dakota, 270 is the magic number to secure the presidency. Joe Biden right now has 108 electoral votes. Donald Trump has 56. Let's walk over to John King over at the magic wall. So set the scene for this hour, John, what are we looking for?

JOHN KING, CNN HOST: We're looking essentially for the math that gets Joe Biden closer and closer and closer. It's going to be the 5 o'clock hour here in the East Coast when California and its 55 electoral votes are counted. That will put Joe Biden officially over the top. There's no drama about the outcome today. We're not trying to create any drama about the outcome. But we are having a celebration of the democracy, Wolf.


And you mentioned the hour ahead. Let's look back to the hour. We're just saying goodbye to and then we'll look forward. Just to remind people of the stakes here. And why, you know, all of these states matter.