tv Election Day in America Georgia Senate Runoffs CNN January 5, 2021 8:00am-10:01am PST
and accessoriesphones for your mobile phone. like this device to increase volume on your cell phone. - ( phone ringing ) - get details on this state program visit right now or call during business hours. hello this is cnn's special live coverage of a pivotal 48 hours in american history when georgia voters will determine whether democrats control all the levers of power in
washington and when republican lawmakers will take the extraordinary step of trying to overturn the will of the voters. we begin in georgia where voters are hitting the polls in two runoff races. democrats jon ossoff and reverend rafael warnock they pi gain control of the senate. vice president-elect kamala harris would be able to break any tie. if kelly loeffler or david perdue win either of the races the republicans keep control by a slim margin. the amount of money has been thrown in, more than half a billion dollars, shows how significant this is. gary tuchman is in fulton county. tell us what it's like there at the polls. >> i can tell you here in this county there are 254 polling
places. and 253 of them everything is going smoothly so far. this, the kathcathedral of st. phillips, this is the 254th, we've been here all day, so i can tell you everything is going smoothly also. when the day started there was a line of about 50 people rushing in vote, it's been relatively quiet since then, the same as most of the other precincts but don't think that means people aren't interested in voting or apathetic. but contrary what's happening in this day and age is it's much easier to vote early. for example here in fulton county, there were 15 days to vote early. so if you had a choice of coming today, you can only go to one precinct people come in and are told this is not your precinct but early voting you can go anywhere in the county. for example here in full ton county there were 30 places you
can early vote, you can go to any one of them as long as you live in fulton county. so it's easier because of that there's a huge turn out in early voting. for example, 390,000 people, the number of people who voted early. to put that in perspective, in the presidential election in november where there was intense interest about 524,000 people voted total, not just early, total. it started at 390,000 today and you have more people voting so you have numbers comparable to the november election. statewide, 3 million people voted early. to give you an idea about that, the record before that for a runoff senate election in the state of georgia was 2.1 million total not just early voting. you can see even though there are not long waits, so many people voted early this will be a record runoff senate election turn out here in the state of
georgia. one more thing i want to tell you, the polls close at 7:00 p.m., it's expected as soon as polls close the early votes and the votes today will all be counted together. >> intense interest there in georgia. let's talk about why these two senate races are so important for the balance of power in washington. we have cnn's congressional correspondent phil matting-tly talk about this. tell us where the senate stands now and how this may change tonight. >> let's go back to november, the headline was joe biden became the first democratic president to win in 28 years in georgia. dig beneath that where two the senate races were playing out. the republicans outran donald trump, david perdue outran donald trump. if you counted the votes together of the republican candidates in the other runoff
in the democratic candidates, republicans outrunning the democrats. this is why republicans feel like we may have flipped blue on the presidential side they believe they have an advantage still, georgia's dna is still a red state. depending on what happens tonight if you want to know why all eyes are on the state of georgia, you just laid it out. these are races that have already been called for 2020. you see right now there is one still in gray. and there are two seats there. those two seats, 50 to 48. if democrats pick up both as you noted democrats have the majority in the senate, chuck schumer will be the majority leader with kamala harris serving as the tie breaker. if republicans pick up one or both senate majority leader mitch mcconnell remains leader mitch mcconnell. that's why all eyes are on the state right now, why everybody recognizes the importance of this, that's why you've seen joe biden, kamala harris, vice president pence, president trump, all in the state recognizing the states here not just necessarily for the two races but the entirety of
washington and joe biden's governing agenda come january 20th. >> are there any counties you're keeping an eye on? >> there are. gary makes a point, there's enthusiasm here we've never seen in a runoff race in georgia. it's not necessarily apples-to-apples comparison. we know this isn't about candidates flipping districts, counties that perhaps the other side won for a long period of time. it's about running up margins in their crucial counties. for that if you're a democrat, warnock or aossoff, you want to rep replica replicate what joe biden did here. cobb county, pushing out. i think something to keep in mind here when you look at cobb county and stroll to gwinnett county, look at the presidential, joe biden outran jon ossoff in this county by
2.37 points that's what he's trying to match this time around. obviously democrats want to run up big margins here. that is the ticket to unlocking the state for both of these races. if you're a republican, david perdue, kelly loeffler, you're looking here first, cherokee county, a republican strong hold. you look at the presidential margin, i'll flip down to david perdue's race, he outran president trump in cherokee county. republicans want to run it up here. something else to keep an eye on, donald trump was here, in whitfield county, home of dalton not a huge amount of vote but underscores the strategy for republicans if you can run up margins in the northern part of the state, this is republican country, this is where president trump ran up huge vote they need trump vote, trump support that's the ticket for republicans to win again in georgia that's what they're hoping for. we'll see results in a couple hours. >> we'll keep an eye as you will be phil.
let's talk to david chalian. the stakes are huge in georgia and the country. the polls will close at 7:00 p.m. as phil noted. so when are we going to find out results? >> that's a great question. it took days in the presidential race, you'll recall in november and it took several days to learn in the jon ossoff, david perdue race it was going to a runoff that perdue was not going to get above the 50% threshold. why? because of what gary tuchman was explaining about the way in which we vote in america in the midst of a pandemic. which is there is a lot of mail vote to count. we expect maybe a million mail-in ballots, lots of counties able to process that in advance of today to get that going and counted. we hear from election officials that november was a big test run, if you will, at the counting process and perhaps it'll move more quickly also not
as many races on the ballot but we will start to see votes come in after 7:00. this will take a while, i urge what we urged in november, patience. this could take a while, especially if it's really close and you need to get each of the mail ballots counted and tabulated to know which way the race will go. >> this is the tale of two administrations. if democrats manage to capture both seats and win control of the senate it's going to be a different situation than if the republicans are able to hold one of these seats. how might this shape the first 100 days of the biden administration? >> some ways it'll be different depending which party controls. other ways we're still living in a world with a closely divided senate no matter how today goes. if democrats control the senate, they control the gavels and the committees, set the agenda, obviously getting the
president-elect, then president biden's cabinet nominees confirmed and getting judicial appointments concerned, having control and chuck schumer as leader makes a difference. but having joe biden over the senate whether it's a 50/50 senate or if it's a 52/48 mcconnell controlled republican majority, that's still a really closely divided senate. and when you need 60 votes to get a lot of big legislative agenda items through you have to negotiate your way through a coalition, no matter who controls the senate. and so, i don't think just -- i don't think democrats should take away if they win both the seats tonight all of a sudden joe biden's entire presidential agenda is going to become so much more progressive than it otherwise would have been if it wasn't. we know that both the house and the senate are so narrowly
divided, building coalitions is going to be the critical component to joe biden's success as president legislatively. >> thank you so much for explaining all of that to us. next the president turns up the heat on his vice president ahead of tomorrow's electoral count in congress, electoral college count in congress. so hear what happened behind closed doors. plus was the president's call with georgia election officials illegal? my next guest said it was. a human disaster in california. as states see new surges in covid hospitalizations, ambulances in california are being told to leave some people behind. ld of fees. airlines, hotels, food delivery, and especially car dealers all charge excessive, last-minute fees. when you want something badly enough, it feels like your only choice is to pay up. but what if you had a choice to take a stand instead? at carvana, we believe in treating you better. with zero hidden fees, you can drive off without feeling ripped off.
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campaign stop in georgia. he was there to support the two republican senate candidates in today's runoff races but much of the speech? herred on the georgia results from november and the false claims that the result was rigged. the president has successfully pressured dozens of the members of the senate and house to object to the results tomorrow but last night president trump turned the spotlight on vice president mike pence. >> i hope mike pence comes through for us. i have to tell you. i hope that our great vice president, our great vice president comes through for us. he's a great guy. of course, if he doesn't come through, i won't like him quite as much. no. mike is a great guy. >> joining me now we have jamieg gingal and mike fellow.
explain to us, because the president was laying it out there that he's relying on the vice president. explain to us the vice president's role and what power he has or does not have to stop the count or overturn the vote like president trump is suggesting. >> thanks for having me back. the vice president has no substantive role at all in the determination of electoral college votes under the 12th amendment to the constitution and the electoral count act the vice president's role is purely ministerial. he opens the envelopes. you know, there's the saying in washington d.c. i'm not a potted plant. he is a potted plant. it is symbolic. it is sceremonial. what the president was calling on him to do last night at the president's rally was just as illegal as the president's call
to the georgia secretary of state. it would be against the law. >> so trump tweeted moments ago that, quote, the vp has the power to reject fraudulently chosen electors. what's your reaction to that? >> like so much that president trump says when it comes to the facts and, particularly when it comes to the law, you can take that tweet and assume the exact opposite is probably the truth. in this case, it is. the electoral count act, which was passed to deal with just these kinds of questions when they arose back in the 19th century, it expressly says, the vice president only presides the decisions, all of the decisions are reserved to congress. if there's an objection, it has to be signed by at least one member of the house and at least
one member of the senate. and then they go back to the house and the senate to vote. here, under the law, when you have properly certified slates from the states as we do, unless both houses agree to knock them out, they count. that's the law of the land. and so, totally false that the vice president can do anything. frankly, based on what we know, congress is not going to do anything. this is a fore gone conclusion. joe biden is going to be the next president of the united states. >> real quick then what happens if pence refuses to do his job? >> well, the -- of course, i saw this when i had the privilege to be on the floor of the senate for the impeachment trial. there is a parliamentarian who will be seated in the immediate
vicinity of the vice president. there will be a parliamentary point of order and the vice president's behavior will be ruled out of order. if he refuses to comply even then, those questions are resolved usually by a vote of the house and the senate. we know there are the votes here in both bodies by a majority of each body to count these slates. so in the end of the day, it's not going to work. and the only question is, does the vice president want to behave as illegally as his boss when it is asking when it comes to these slates and as illegally as the president has done elsewhere. i don't think he's going to do that. i hope he's not going to do it. >> jamie, we can't overstate the pressure that the vice president is under. according to "the new york times," mr. trump, this is a
quote, had directly pressed mr. pence to find an alternative to certify mr. biden's win such as preventing him from having 270 electoral votes and letting the election be thrown to the house to decide. you're hearing from republicans, what are you hearing from them? >> correct. so first of all, just to talk about that pressure for a moment. we just heard the pressure that he can put on people in that phone call with georgians. here's what i'm told. let's just put it flatly. there is no secret envelope where suddenly mike pence can say, donald trump is president. as norm said. but this is from two senior republicans that i just spoke to on the hill. quote, pence can't do anything, his role is ceremonial, as norm just said, he does not have the power to overturn the election
and the parliamentarians have explained this. from a second republican, at most he can say something to play up to trump, but he can't change the outcome. he is just sitting in the chair. so, look, brianna, donald trump seems intent on a scorched earth policy here to burn washington down on the way out the door. i think the real question for mike pence is, which side is he going to be on? is he simply going to carry out his ceremonial job smoothly, to the letter, or is he going to try to play up to trump in some way. >> will he be loyal to himself and sort of what he has professed is his beliefs as a politician or is he going to be loyal to trump maybe as he considers the political ramifications of not.
and, you know, we're seeing that with a lot of senators, jamie, playing out. before trump took the stage last night, senator kelly loeffler declared she would object to the electoral college count. is this something she had to do politically in order to have a chance at prevailing in the senate runoff election? >> i guess the question is, do any of them have to do it? they think they have to do it. she thinks she has to do it. ted cruz thinks he has to do it. josh hawley thinks he has to do it. what i don't understand is this, donald trump is clearly leaving office dividing the republican party in two. which side do they want to be on? and what i think we've all seen the last four years but clearly some of these republicans did not get the message, donald trump doesn't care about them. he's not going to give them the
nod in 2024. he cares about himself. and if they have not learned that lesson by now, i -- i don't know what to say. it's -- it is just remarkable. >> it is some kind of choice that they are making today. jamie, norm, thank you so much. it's great to see both of you. really enjoyed that discussion. a pharmacist is accused of sabotaging vaccines and police say she's a conspiracy theorist. we'll take you to california where the crisis has grown out of control and health care is being rationed. and my next guest is a doctor and says it's time to think about delaying the second vaccine dose. so you only pay for what you need? really? i didn't-- aah! ok. i'm on vibrate. aaah! only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪
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police say that a pharmacist accused of sabotaging vaccines is a self-proclaimed conspiracy theorist. he was arrested for removing dozens of vile vials of the moderna vaccine from the refrigerator. >> this incident involves 57 vials of vaccines. that's more than 500 doses that police say were left out of cold storage and sabotaged. police say pharmacist steven
bran denberg is a conspiracy theorist allegedly telling them he believed the vaccines would change people's dna. he has appeared virtually in court. here are the charges he's facing. >> the charges of criminal damage to property in excess of $1,500, recklessly endangering safe safety. >> reporter: this is under investigation. neither brandenberg or his attorney are commenting on the case. but this is one case of vaccine sabotage. and remember it's happening against a much larger backdrop of the nation facing a slow vaccine rollout and facing some concerns about having enough doses to go around. >> jacqueline howard, thank you for that. in los angeles one of the biggest fears surrounding the surge in covid cases is now becoming a reality that health care will have to be rationed. with icu capacity at zero,
l.a.'s emergency medical services agency has told crews not to transport patients who have little chance of survival. ems defines this as no pulse or signs of breathing after at least 20 minutes of resuscitati resuscitation. ambulance teams are also being told to conservative oxygen supply. i want to bring in dr. robert walker, if chair of uc san francisco's department of medicine. this is scary, right. this is a scary low for the pandemic. these are tough decisions that no health care system would want to make. so explain why hospitals are having to make these kinds of decisions. >> because they're packed and they're packed with covid patients and, of course, the other patients haven't gone away. so when a hospital is filled, it's not only do you have enough beds, but do you have enough ventilators, icu beds, nurses, doctors and you have to make tough choices. i'm as worried hearing about the
ambulance story it's just terrible, but i'm just as worried about what it feels like in a hospital overrun with patients. you have nurses and doctors taking care of more patients than they should, they're rushed, stressed and you see mistakes. so the improvements in mortality rates we've seen with covid, no gau guarantee you'll see those in those conditions. >> because youz're talking about people who are exhausted. >> exhausted, overwhelmed, frustrated, because it didn't have to be this way. and they're doing the best they can. they're working their tails off and doing it now for ten months but at some point the system begins to break. you have too many patients they keep coming. and people start -- they have to start taking short cuts. they're not able to do the job the way they know how to do it and want to do it, so bad things start happening. so the situation is just terrible. >> there's a study that's been published this hour by the
journal of american -- by the journal of the american medical association and it says the virus is underreported. that the real number of infections may be four times higher and just over half of the infections were symptomatic. we're thinking half of them being asymptomatic is startling. are those statistics that surprise you at all? >> no. we've known it from the beginning. testing has not been as robust as it should have been. there's a lot of infection out there that we don't see. and that's always been covid's super power in the beginning of this we thought if you screen people for a fever and if they felt bad they got tested you were all good, we know that's not true. a lot of cases go asymptomatic and that means that people can spread the virus when they feel perfectly well. but what we're also seeing is the people coming into hospitals are being diagnosed with covid and we're seeing a huge number of cases all over the country.
as you're seeing in l.a., it really is overwhelming the system. >> we were hearing from our reporter jacqueline who was describing this larger backdrop of a slow vaccine rollout. you wrote an opinion piece for "the washington post" saying it's time to consider delaying the second vaccine dose. tell us why. >> it's a complex argument. i didn't think that two weeks ago. i felt like the vaccine was going to roll out we'll get it out to people quickly and smoothly, and the doses in the clinical trials were the ones you gave two doses first and the second a month later. but the evidence from the trial says after a few weeks after the first dose it delivers pretty good protection, 80 to 90% protection. you get up to 95% with the second dose. but given the slow rollout and this new variant that now we know is in the united states and is more infectious, we're in a little bit of a race. we're slated to have 50 to
100,000 americans die this month of covid. so it struck me and my co-author that if you could give that first dose to twice as many people quickly and defer the second dose for maybe a couple months that the benefits of that might well outweigh the risk. we hope to generate a national discussion about that. it has happened. i still think it's a good idea because right now it really is -- things are out of control and the vaccine is not getting into people's arms as quickly as it needs to. >> it speaks to the choices that no one wants to be making but here is where we are. it has generated that discussion. doctor thank you for being with us. >> thanks for having me. next we'll roll the tape on why republicans on the same ballot as the president acknowledge their own wins but not joe biden's. plus who is on the call with
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loeffler and reverend raphael warnock. so let's check in with our reporters in crucial counties. >> i'm martin savage in savannah georgia, another democrat strong hold in the state. when the polls opened this morning there was a line of about 10 people. now though it's pretty quiet. it's been pretty quiet for several hours and this is a peak voting period of the day. that said they did set records for early voting in this county when it came to a runoff election that about doubled the turn out they normally would anticipate. it's estimated roughly 30% of registered voters in chatham county here have cast their ballots. what will the rest of the day be like? we'll be here watching. >> reporter: i'm ryan young in cobb county, georgia. we saw all morning long people energized about the vote. before 6:00 a.m. there was someone sitting here already in line. there was a line of more than 45 people when the polls did open. talking to voters they told us
health care was a thing they were concerned about. they've also been upset about the talk where the election has been valid. that's been going on since the november election. they're hoping this election finally closes this chapter. >> thank you for those reports. aside from the lies, the conspiracy theories, the delusional nonsense and the desperate begging one sure fire sign that the efforts of president trump and republicans to challenge the presidential election are a scam is the lack of logic. if the election was rigged and the results are suspect, why are trump and his allies only questioning the results in close races where he lost. not a peep about north carolina. the president isn't going good fellas on tar heel republicans. and if the ballots are rigged and that's why the republicans and president say they refuse to acknowledge that joe biden won
why are they accepting the results of their wins. the republican victories in in the house and state races that were on the ballots as the president's race. if the ballots were rigged and render the presidential results illegitimate wouldn't all the races on the ballot be illegitima illegitimate? yes, they would but don't explain to taylor green. >> i believe the secretary of state failed georgia and our elections should be decertified. >> when green was asked if decertifying the election would impact her and over georgia republicans on the same ballot as the presidential race? >> we're talking about the president's race. >> reporter: actually, no. we weren't just talking about the president's race because again she was on the same exact ballot as the president. decertify his race, decertify hers. and then just hours after a top republican election official in
georgia debunked the president's conspiracy theories one by one pleading with voters to show up that the process is not rigged. the republican senator fighting for her seat made this declaration to georgia voters with president trump beside her. >> i have an announcement, georgia. on january 6th i will object to the electoral college vote. >> kelly loeffler has said she thinks the vote should be investigated. but she's repeatedly dodged questions on the fraud issue. so the votes of georgians that put senator loeffler in this runoff election should not count? republicans are tying themselves into knots trying to back president trump. and why? because they're scared of him. scared he'll make pyorrheas of him to his base. he sure doesn't seem to care
much about the republican senate candidates, kelly loeffler and david perdue were supposed to the stars of the show last night and he robbed them of their best appeal to voters that they will keep the balance of power tilted towards republicans in the senate. instead, this was trump's pitch. >> kelly fights for me, david fights for me. >> but does he fight for them? for months he's making voters wonder if there's any point to vote in this process that he claims, wrongly, is rigged. the president's campaign play list last night blaring songs like good-bye yellow brick road. now the only question is, will republicans stay afloat in georgia or will they go down with the president's sinking ship? she is one of the key figures in the president's fight to
overturn the election but who is cleta mitchell? what we're learning that surprised even her own law firm. plus the national guard is being deployed to washington as trump supporters get ready to gather for the electoral college challenge. when a hailstorm hit, he needed his insurance to get it done right, right away. usaa. what you're made of, we're made for. usaa gives you more of what you need to help you lose weight! more simplicity with the what's in your fridge? recipe feature. and more motivation with on-demand workout classes. the new myww+. kickstartyourweightloss with the ww triple play ancestry, with documents, with photographs, i get to define myself through the scores of people who lead to me. bring your family history to life like never before. get started for free at ancestry.com
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it is unclear if president trump will face legal repercussions following the threatening phone call to georgia's secretary of state in which trump pushed them to quote, find votes. republican lawyer participated in the call on the president's behalf, and the law firm where she's a partner is now distancing itself from her over this call. cnn white house correspondent john harwood is here with us to talk about this. tell us more about the lawyer, cleda mitchell. >> she comes from oklahoma where she began her political career as a democrat serving in state legislature. like many conservative democrats, especially in southern and western states, she gravitated toward the republican party, more conservative party. i first came to know her in the early 1990s when she came to washington, became an advocate for term limits. that was a time republicans were attempting to retake the
congress, so especially the house, democrats had held for four decades. over time she has gotten more deeply embedded in conservative ideological causes and politics, so been involved on behalf of the tea party, against the irs, national rifle association, working in conjunction with cpac, and now as the president's circle of advisers narrowed, more and more of establishment mainstream figures have declined to participate in his rattempt o change the election, she was on the call the president participated with with brad raffensperger, secretary of state, and notably pat cippolone was not. he was keeping his distance, in fact, said he wasn't even aware of the call. >> now the law firm, her law firm, is distancing itself from her.
>> that's right. this is a very old law firm founded middle of the 19th century, large, international practice. prominent conservative members of both parties have been associated with it, including former democratic governor of wisconsin jim doyle, for example, and the firm even acquired a firm barack obama served as a summer associate in. this is a firm that is not eager to plunge itself into this particular cause and that's why they've indicated their distance from her. >> thank you so much for explaining all of that to us, john harwood, we appreciate it. president trump's pattern of promising things in two weeks just notched another example as the clock is running out. we're going to roll the tape. plus, an election that will impact how much president biden will be able to accomplish. we're live at georgians head to the polls.
as you watch the series finale of the trump presidency, he is not letting a good tease go to waste. >> watch what happens over the next couple of weeks, you watch what's going to come out. watch what's going to be revealed. >> he's literally had two months to reveal something, anything, proving their baseless claims of widespread voter fraud and he and his allies have not.
just ask the courts that reject their cases over and over. there's a pattern of president trump promising something big in a fortnight. roll the tape. >> we're signing a health care plan within two weeks, a full and complete health care plan. >> we're going to be announcing something i would say over the next two or three weeks that will be phenomenal in terms of tax. and developing aviation infrastructure. we have the plan largely completed, will be filing in the next two, three weeks, maybe sooner. >> i'll be making a big decision on the paris accord over the next two weeks. i think you'll find some very interesting items coming to the forefront over the next two weeks. >> so we're doing well in the fight against isis as general mattis just explained, having a news conference in about two weeks to let everybody know how
well we're doing. i am putting out a tax policy paper in the next two weeks, we are putting them out one by one. >> he rarely follows through on these timetables. we're waiting for the health care plan he promised but never delivered. he is saying watch the next couple weeks. but the tired line is officially out of time. in two weeks and less than a day, we will watch joe biden be inaugurated as 46th president of the united states. hello, it is top of the hour. i am brianna keilar. this is cnn live coverage of a pivotal 48 hours in american history when georgia voters will determine whether democrats control all the levers of power in washington, and when republican lawmakers will take the extraordinary step of trying to overturn the will of the voters.
we begin in georgia, voters are hitting the polls in two runoff rais races that decide who controls the senate. if warnock and ossoff win, they pick up two seats and gain control of the senate for democrats. 50 senators, matching the balance of power with republicans. and vice president elect kamala harris would be able to break any tie. if republicans, incumbent david perdue or kelly loeffler win one of the races, republicans keep control of the senate by a slim margin. one indicator how important today is is the amount of money that's been thrown in. talking more than a 45 billion dollars. gary tuckman is in fulton county, most populous county in georgia. tell us what it is like there at the polls. >> reporter: well, brianna, we want to welcome you to the epicenter of american political drama. the u.s. senate represents the people of all these united
states, but it is the people of this state, the state of georgia who will make the decision who controls the u.s. senate. therefore, there has been a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of attention paid to this election. we're at the cathedral of saint philip in buckhead neighborhood in atlanta, largest city in the state, fulton county, largest county in the state. there's a steady stream of voters coming in. when the polls opened, there were 50 or 60 people waiting in the dark to get in. we have had lines since then, people behind me said people come in all the time. that's not the issue, people voting today. there was 15 days in fulton county of early voting before this. today you have to come to one precinct in the county you're assigned to. for 15 days of early voting, there were 30 locations you could go as a fulton county resident. it was easier to vote. and therefore we have record setting vote totals for a runoff
senate election in fulton county and throughout the state of georgia. one thing that's important to point out, not even all the voters know that georgia is why there are two senate elections taking place in georgia, they're staggered. you have one every two or four years in each state. the reason is one of them is the regular election between perdue and ossoff. the other between loeffler and warnock is a special election being held because johnny isaacson who was the republican senator from state of georgia retired because of health reasons. loeffler was appointed by the governor, she didn't win the election, she's now running to win her first election and continue her term in the seat. but this term for the special election we should point out is only for two years. normally it is six years. this is for two years remaining of johnny isaacson's term. then the person if they want to continue as u.s. senator has to run again in two years. one more thing i want to point out, brianna, it is unbelievable
all of the television advertisements because of the special election. this past sunday, i was watching tv, ready to watch the chicago bears beat the packers, and unfortunately that did not happen. during every commercial break during the game, almost every commercial was for senate races. lots of people have come in enthusiastic about voting and enthusiastic to not see any more political commercials. >> it is like an onslaught. i'm sure in georgia they're not quite as used to that. they'll welcome having regular commercials back on the tv. gary, thank you so much for a look at what's happening on the ground in fulton county, georgia. seven hours left for voters to have a say in the pivotal race. let's take a step back, revisit what led to the high stakes runoff we're witnessing. we have john king, the person to do this for us. let's do first things first, john. how did we get here? >> 2020 won't quit. it wanted to continue into 2021.
that would be one way to put it. let's go back in time. in seven hours we start to get results. these are two incredible consequential runoffs. they determine who controls the united states senate. go back in time to 2020, a couple months ago. number one, narrow biden victory in georgia is a huge deal, the president of the united states still contests it, but joe biden won fair and square. look at the senate races. this is why we got here. back to the senate races, david perdue beat jon ossoff, didn't get over 50%. that's state law in georgia, you have to have over 50% to win the election. david perdue was just short. ossoff was close. that's why you have the runoff for the six year term. david perdue is an incumbent senator. this is for a full six year term. then the more complicated race here, raphael warnock got the most votes in this race, but remember, you had republican congressman doug collins, crowded primary, for the special election to replace senator
isaacson. again, nobody over 50. top two show up in the runoff today to win what is a two year term. whoever wins this seat has to run when that isaacson term expired in 2022. >> we know that early voting in november played such a monumental role. what are the numbers for the runoff races? >> the numbers are off the chart. do not match the presidential election. don't expect overall turnout to match the presidential election. that's when turnout is highest. show you numbers. here's the total numbers. 4 million votes cast early in the presidential election, 3 million cast early in runoffs. that's extraordinary for a runoff election. the question is is it down enough it tilts the race one way or the other? we don't know. that's an extraordinarily high number. shows voters want to play and participate. let me break it down a little bit. in person early voting, remember because of the pandemic across the country, people voting different ways. in person early voting more than
2 million, 966,000 absentee ballots as we count them tonight. number one, how much turnout difference in the runoffs, does it effect the winners in the end and effect county by county tonight. we have to be careful. some counties count quickly, some if they have a big election day turnout focus on that first. we have to count a lot of votes, walk through it all. >> if it is close, you can't extrapolate, you have to wait and wait. we'll see if that happens. our colleague donie o'sullivan, john, interviewed several trump supporters at a rally yesterday for loeffler and perdue. let's listen to some of what they had to say. >> do you think trump will eventually accept biden is the next president? >> no, biden isn't. trump is the next president. >> i'm going to the inauguration for trump. i booked it before the election because i have faith he is going to be there and he is going to be elected. >> so he will be president for two more weeks?
>> no, he will be president until 2024. >> in georgia, republicans run the elections, right? >> yes. >> secretary of state, all that. they said they investigated and investigated and investigated, counted three or four times. >> right. >> they said biden still won. do you accept that? >> no, not all republicans are good people just because they're republicans. >> trump keeps saying he didn't lose, the election was stolen. do you think it is time for him to give up? >> step up and say let's walk away. >> yeah. >> you're the only people today that said that. why do you think that's important? >> because they're showing who's the better person. >> will you accept joe biden as president? >> no, he will never be my president. >> but you accept that he will be inaugurated? >> no, i don't. >> how could it change at this point? >> could be a civil war, you don't know. >> you don't actually want a civil war, do you? >> i don't, but show us the
ballots and that it was a fair election or we'll never accept another vote again ever. >> john, how worried are republicans about turnout because of the president's messaging and this argument that the election in november was ill legitimate? >> number one, it is sad to hear that from good citizens of the united states who believe because of what the president keeps telling them, the president had his chance in court, time and time again, they failed to present any evidence, they failed to. they had chances in court time and time again. i have to emphasize this again, it is close, very close. joe biden won the state by shy of 12,000 votes, he won the state of georgia. even if you flip georgia, he would still be president of the united states in the electoral college count. because of what the president says, you hear that from his supporters. you raise an important question. number one for me, in the atlanta suburbs, a lot of joe biden support comes from bias toward the president in the suburbs. do those republicans, moderate republicans that voted democrat for president, do they play in the senate runoffs now that
donald trump is not on the ballot? that's one question. the other question goes to the point of where was the president last night, he was in dalton, georgia. why? because republicans are looking at the early voting, worried about turnout numbers in conservative parts of georgia, including up here in the northwestern part of the state in northern georgia. that's why the president picked whitfield county for the rally. it is small. 23 of 159 counties. it is not a huge population, but where the trump base must come out. turnout will be down everywhere, it is not a presidential election. the question is is it down disproportionately, do more democrats come out or republicans? if the trump voters say the president keeps criticizing the governor and system, we're not playing, or as a lot think, the president stirs up a fight, his people will come out to play. >> and we will be watching tonight. john king, you're going to be all over this on special coverage. maybe you already started your caffeine regimen.
it could be a late night. >> that's all right. that's why they brew espresso. >> john king, thanks so much. see you later. joe biden's confirmation as next president of the united states is certain. who will control the senate is not. it depends how georgians vote today. joining me, sarah binder, political science professor at george washington university and senior fellow at the brookings institution. sarah, you've written a book on congressional gridlock. what does it mean for democrats if they win both seats tonight? >> well, sure. winning both seats is just critical for giving biden and the democrats' agenda a fighting chance to succeed, right? those two seats would hand nominal control of the senate agenda to a slim democratic majority. there are limits to what small joer majorities because they need super majorities to get big things done. big core democratic initiatives,
those probably wouldn't happen, voting rights, climate change, health care. with a 50/50 senate and vice president harris on standby to break tie votes, democrats could do a couple important things, primarily advance biden's nominees, put his team in place for the executive branch, confirm federal judges, potential supreme court justices for lifetime appointments, and then there are a couple of tools in the senate tool book that allow simple majorities to get things done, they can pair back some trump regulations, but all this requires democrats picking up two seats and sticking together with such a slim majority. >> and then the other scenario, sarah, is republicans keep both seats, they hold onto a seat. how do you expect that to impact the biden agenda?
>> well, it really raises a hurdle for biden and the democrats to get a legislative agenda through the senate. it could even put the basic things like putting cabinet members in place, right, that's going to be difficult when republicans control the agenda in the senate, which nominees might come up, when and how long would it take. i think the bigger issue here is if republicans keep control, are there any issues, right, from infrastructure to more funding for vaccine distribution, right, are there any issues on which republicans will feel electoral pressure to go to the bargaining table with the democrats. if not, the senate becomes a graveyard for the biden agenda. >> very good point. sarah binder, i apologize for pronouncing your name incorrectly when i first said hello. i appreciate the conversation. thank you for coming on. >> anytime, thanks. just into cnn, we learned
senator ted cruz will object to the electoral college results in a second state tomorrow, not just pennsylvania but arizona as well. plus, there are new details about a meeting inside the oval office between the president and vice president as trump turns up the heat on pence to intervene in tomorrow's electoral count, even though actually he cannot. d.c. businesses are boarding up windows ahead of planned protests tomorrow. hundreds of people have arrived already and national guard is being deployed. we'll be there live. (announcer) carvana's had a lot of firsts. 100% online car buying. car vending machines. and now, putting you in control of your financing. at carvana, get personalized terms, browse for cars that fit your budget, then customize your down payment and monthly payment. and these aren't made-up numbers. it's what you'll really pay, right down to the penny. whether you're shopping or just looking. it only takes a few seconds, and it won't affect your credit score. finally! a totally different way to finance your ride. only from carvana. the new way to buy a car.
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georgia by a landslide, president trump tried to turn up the heat on vice president mike pence, saying he hopes he comes through for him. talking about the vice president presiding over the electoral college count in congress tomorrow which is largely ceremonial. today, the president tweeted this. the vice president has the power to eject fraudulently chosen electors. to be clear, no, the vice president does not, he does not have that power. that is according to the constitution. kaitlan collins is at the white house, lauren fox is on the hill. lauren, the vice president arrived moments ago which must be some kind of meeting. what more are you hearing about conversations taking place? >> reporter: i think we're seeing this point in the president's relationship with someone incredibly loyal to him the last several years, reach this boiling point where you don't really know what's going to happen, how the president is going to react because what we are told is this has been
happening between the two of them the last several days have been conversations where the vice president explains what his role is going to look like, and as we noted, he does not have authority to reject electors when it comes to certification tomorrow, but there are advisers telling the president that he does, that pence could take a more significant role in this. clearly as we are seeing from the president's tweet, he is saying something that's not true, saying pence has this authority he does not. you can see which side the president is going with here, instead of the vice president, he is going with the advisers, including people like peter navarro that suggested the vice president does have more to do here than he does. and it is this extraordinary split. while we know what the ultimate outcome of tomorrow is going to be, what we don't know is what the outcome of the president and vice president's relationship is going to be after this because now the president is taking private frustration with him public, not only with that comment last night at the rally but the tweet today. we have never seen the president
treat the vice president in that way. he has gone after other people, lost his temper with other cabinet officials, never saw it happen with the vice president in such a public way as this. ultimately the larger picture is that the president is turning on people not feeding into his sense of victimhood, that he lost the election, that he has been wronged by the election process. you see him take it out on people like the utah senator for not saying he will object tomorrow and to the vice president now, someone that's been loyal to him the last several years. >> lauren, i know you have new reporting how this is going to go down tomorrow on capitol hill. what can you tell us? >> reporter: we are now learning senator ted cruz of texas plans to object to the state of arizona and when he brings that objection along with a house member, that will essentially delay the process even further. we already knew senator josh hawley would be bringing a challenge to the state of pennsylvania, we didn't know how many other senators would join
him bringing objections. remember, every time there's an objection, joint session of congress has to pause. house members have to have debate up to two hours, senators have to have debate up to two hours, then they each have to vote. it takes substantial amount of time, potentially up to four or five hours in the house where they have different voting procedures because of coronavirus, so we're talking about now at least eight hours, maybe more, of debate over these issues. that's going to take a lot of time. i am told senator cruz is objecting to state of arizona, not because of concerns necessarily about trying to disqualify voters in the state of arizona but instead because he is frustrated there hasn't been any agreement to get the electoral commission to study potential voter fraud. now, that is something cruz and ten other republican senators have been pushing for since saturday. we still don't know if any other senators may bring more objections. essentially what we're looking at tomorrow, brianna, is a very
long day. i should underscore this doesn't end in any other way than joe biden will be the next president. it just may take awhile to get there, brianna. >> ladies, we know what's going to happen. let's hold onto our hats and glasses. i think it will be a wild ride tomorrow. lauren, kaitlan, thank you to you both. i want to bring in jw barrett, professor of law at george mason university, served as an adviser to president trump's attention team in 2016. i know you must be watching this with considerable interest, jw. i want to start with the vice president. let's talk about his role, let's talk about the power he does or maybe we should say does not have here. >> yes. so let's start with the constitution, that's where this starts and that's where this end. constitution article 2 says how the president will be elected. it says state legislatures get to decide how electors are
chosen. legitimacy, that decision has been made in december, a month ago. that's been done. that's been completed. then there's largely ceremonial action by congress that's provided for in the 12th amendment and elaborated in a statute in the 1870s to elaborate how this would progress. both of those, both the constitution provisions and 12th amendment and the statute give the vice president an incredibly ceremonial role of opening the results of the election, opening the envelopes that have the results of the electoral college's action and the state certification. he opens the envelopes, that's it. then he also presides over the congress as congress meets to consider this. he is the presiding officer. but that doesn't give him any
power to make determinations, only the congress can count and they don't even make determinations, and he doesn't even do the counting. t tabulators are the ones that do the count. >> not like if he doesn't open the envelope, this does not proceed. important to note. he has a decision to make, right, jw? he does what trump wants, even though what he wants is nonsensical, doesn't stop anything, this is clearly what the president wants from him. he has a choice to make. does he stick to what he said about the constitution and its importance, does he stick to constitutional principles or does he, and we have seen this be something that's very important to him work very hard to please the president and clearly this is someone who has ambitions, right, beyond being vice president, he is clearly eyeing a potential 2024 run, he has to make a calculation about which one of these things will
serve him best. so what do you expect him to do? >> well, first of all, you're exactly right that the constitution says he shall count, not he shall decide whether to count, he shall count. the constitution mandates that he count, open up, start the counting, then the tabulators go on and count. so he has no discretion there. if he were to decide to make some silly decision not to do it, i think you would immediately see the supreme court compel him to do so. let's set that aside. i don't think that's likely. here's one reason why. this morning, politico reports on comments from chief of staff to the vice president, mark shore, who is one of the most careful operators in washington. i have known him over the years. he would never make a comment without his boss' okay. peter navarro says the vice president can do whatever he wants tomorrow. mark shore says peter navarro is
many things, but constitutional scholar he is not. i am certain that must have been approved by the vice president. that speaks volumes to all of us. >> that certainly does, as you highlight that. regardless of what the vice president does, the fact is that there are dozens of members of the house and senate that will stand up and object to a lawful vote count to a democratic process. there's no evidence of widespread fraud. that is clear. there's no question of that. we heard it from trump's justice department. what do you make of senators like josh hawley and ted cruz taking this step? >> they should know better. this isn't the first time members of congress have done this sort of -- some of them take every opportunity to do preening, they did that with barbara boxer, democrats did essentially the same thing, it is regrettable now it is so much larger contingent, but still a small minority in total, 12 or maybe fewer members.
hopefully some will drop out. it would be a series of speeches over a few hours and then final ceremony by congress. what i urge the american people voting, doing this, voting in georgia, ignore this. i would just ignore it. it is hard to ignore it. >> can i ask you, i hear what you're saying, just ignore it because in the end you know what's going to happen, but doesn't this symbolize something about the state of affairs in washington, of the state of division in the u.s.? i wonder if we actually ignore it at our own peril because it is a sign of something. >> well, keep in mind what the objectors want is attention. that's what they're seeking here. i think condemnation is fine but i wouldn't give them more legitimacy than they deserve, that's what i am suggesting. >> that's certainly a good point
and i take that point. jw, thank you. wonderful to see you. >> thank you. so next, florida seniors once again lining up overnight waiting for hours, trying to get a vaccine, but the governor of florida just gets heated when one of our cnn reporters ask why the screw ups keep happening. and a new breaking point in the covid surge in california. >> we are waiting two, three, four hours minimum. used to be seven to ten minute drive to a hospital, now we have to drive even further. >> in l.a. county, some ambulances are even being told not to transport people who have little chance of survival. loves me not. new neutrogena® skin balancing! 3 made-for-you formulas with 2% pha exfoliate and condition for soft, balanced skin. find the one. neutrogena®
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los angeles county is feeling the devastating impact of the out of control spread of coronavirus. hospitalizations are at record highs, icus at capacity. the county is so overwhelmed, l.a.'s emergency medical services agencies has told ambulance crews do not transport patients who have little chance of survival. ems defines this as no pulse or signs of breathing after 20 minutes of resuscitation. dan simon is with us to talk a little about this. this is a scary point these
health systems have gotten to, dan. what was the tipping point here? >> reporter: seems california is facing one major challenge after another. not enough hospital beds, not enough oxygen, overstretched resources, and most pronounced in l.a. county. a person dies of covid every 15 minutes according to officials, one out of five testing for the virus is testing positive. you have the county telling ambulance crews not to transport people to the hospital who have i guess slim chances of surviving. this is the coo of cedars sinai that spoke earlier. >> the order issued by the county emergency medical services really is very specific to patients that suffered from cardiac arrest, are unable to be revived in the field. those patients have a low rate of survival, even if they are transported to the hospital.
so at this time it is deemed to likely be futile. >> reporter: futile or not, if that's your loved one, brianna, that's distressing that you can't get to a hospital, even if chances of survival are slim, you want them to get to that hospital. we're told the situation is likely to get worse in january as we see a surge on top of a surge. that doesn't even begin to account for problems with vaccine rollout, brianna. you have a third of the vaccine available administered to the public. it is a sticking point in california and obviously the governor is trying to make things more efficient. you have hundreds of thousands of doses now sitting on the shelf, brianna. >> dan, as you said, if it is your loved one, it is a terrible thought. thank you so much, dan simon, showing us what's happening there in california. as the trump administration is tossing responsibility for the vaccine rollout to the states, florida's governor ron desantis is doing the same to
local hospitals. the scramble to get the vaccine has websites crashing. there are jammed phone lines, senior citizens waiting in long lines. they obviously should not be doing that. overnight there was a huge traffic jam in daytona stadium, daytona beach. a thousand cars with eligible seniors camped out overnight in hopes of getting the vaccine. when rosa flores asked about these issues, this is how he responded. >> reporter: governor, what has gone wrong with rollout of the vaccine we have seen phone lines jammed, websites crashing. >> a lot of demand. excuse me. excuse me. >> reporter: if i could finish the question. >> you said what has gone wrong. >> reporter: if i could complete the question. >> are you going to give a speech or ask a question. >> reporter: with all due respect, i am trying to finish the question. >> you're giving a speech. you asked a question. you're going to ask how many questions, you get three? they got one question. why do you get three.
>> reporter: i'm asking if i could finish my question. >> you didn't finish the question. >> reporter: i did not. my question is what went wrong with the rollout of the vaccine when we have seen phone lines jammed. >> you're repeating the question. >> reporter: to complete it for you, governor, we have seen websites crash and also senior citizens waiting overnight for the vaccine. >> where was that at? >> reporter: we have seen it in duvall, broward, orange, lee county. >> in lee, why did that happen, did you investigate why? >> reporter: that's my question to you. you're the governor of the state. i am not the governor. >> you didn't investigate why in lee county. why was there a big line. did you investigate why? because we distributed vaccine to hospitals and the hospital said first come first serve, if you show up, we'll do it. they didn't use a registration system, there wasn't anything that was done and there's a lot of demand for it. people want to go ahead and get it. >> reporter: there was no plan from the state to make sure senior citizens didn't wait
outside overnight? >> the state is not dictating to hospitals, we're not dictating to carlos megoia how to run things, that would be a disaster. they're more competent to deliver health care services than a state government could ever be, we are empowering hospitals, 80% of initial doses the first three weeks were to hospitals. you see places like jackson really take the bull by the horns, and yeah, when there's an issue like that, i think the hospital, i think they made a course correction and decided to do it a little bit differently but here's the thing. if you're 74 years old in the state of florida, we have made the decision that we want you to get vaccinated. >> rosa flores is with me from ft. lauderdale, florida. rosa, first off. i saw this this morning. i want to commend you on keeping your composure and for viewers that are not familiar with the totality of your reporting on
coronavirus in florida, i think maybe one of the reasons the governor might have been frustrated is that you have been a tireless questioner of governor desantis as florida has had a number of issues with its coronavirus response, which might be part of the reason why he was being such an ass, instead of just answering your question at a time when floridians need answers and their health and their lives are at stake. so as the governor is trying to claim, rosa, that these lines are being addressed, we're actually still seeing them today. how have local officials responded? >> reporter: you know, brianna, i just talked to the mayor of broward county. he is very frustrated. his constituents are blaming county officials, blaming him. so what he explained to me in interview just moments ago is that it is the governor of this state that is responsible, it is his health department. here's how he explained it to me.
he said look, public hospitals are run by boards that are appointed by the governor of this state. the state gave the vaccines to county health departments, but in the state of florida, the county health departments are run by the florida department of health which is run by an appointee of the governor of this state. now, people in this state are so frustrated, brianna. the mayor just shared with us emails he has been getting from constituents as to how angry they are because of the rollout. they're concerned about seniors in the state. i'll read a few lines for you. this is unacceptable, if broward wasn't prepared to handle volume, it should not have opened the site. phone lines are jammed. the website is crashed. it is frustrating, inefficient, and tension provoking. so the point of the mayor of broward county is that broward is not responsible, it is the governor of this state because the florida department of health according to the mayor is using
the executive order that was issued by governor ron desantis to roll out the vaccine. brianna, i should add after the press conference that this mayor held, i sent an email to the governor's office asking for comment because the county mayor is blaming the governor for this, and i have not heard back. brianna? >> maybe that's not surprising. florida has become a cautionary tale, it didn't have to be this way. rosa, your reporting has been illuminating all along. thank you so much for continuing that for us today. next, president trump's latest efforts to strong-arm georgia election officials are nothing new. putting pressure on lawmakers has been a hallmark of the trump presidency. we'll roll the tape.
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some degree of intimidation in politics is nothing new, right? tale as old as time, twisting arms, back room deals, political threats. but what is new is the president's tony soprano-like behavior as he repeatedly attacks democracy in broad daylight. his call with georgia officials, begging and badgering them to find votes and overturn the election is one example of mob like tactics he used during his presidency. president trump also pressured the speaker of the pennsylvania house of representatives to reverse the loss in his state. he invited republican state leaders from michigan to the white house in hopes of pressuring them to steal a win for him there. he pressured the republican
governor of georgia after the election to replace the state's electors, choosing ones that would subvert the will of the people and select trump. when brian kemp refused. >> i'll be here in about a year and a half campaigning against your governor, i guarantee you that. >> threatening someone's job when they don't do trump's bidding fits a pattern. when republican senator john thune recognized joe biden's win which is reality, joe biden won, the president declared his career over. he said that thune would be primaried. when the republican governor mike dewine called him president-elect, trump went to the future to endorse whoever is running against dewine. when lisa murkowski said before the election she didn't know whether she had vote for trump, he vowed to campaign against her. same goes for senator ben sasse. after he criticized him at a town hall, saying he kisses
dictators' butts, and it is not politicians he threatens and tries to intimidate. he threatens his own appointees. he did it with former attorney general jeff sessions on a number of occasions. when sessions refused, he asked him to resign. trump made sure to get revenge when sessions ran for the senate, endorsing his opponent, tweeting sessions couldn't be trusted, that he was a quote, disaster, that let us all down. trump pressured former attorney general bill barr, asked him publicly to prosecute. >> bill barr, will he be around a second term? >> i have no comment. can't comment. too early. not happy with all of the evidence i have, i can tell you that, i'm not happy. >> he also likes to pressure the fbi, james comey, you know that story, despite lessons learned or unlearned from the episode,
he is publicly pressured his own handpicked director, christopher wray. and when wray didn't comply. >> address christopher wray, will you replace him in a second term? >> i don't want to say yet. it has been disappointing. he talks about even the voting thing doesn't see voting ballots as a problem. >> the president likes to threaten jobs of health officials in the middle of a pandemic, after growing impatient with the fda for not approving vaccine authorization fast enough, the white house told fda director steven hahn to do it by end of the day or start to dust off his resume, according to white house sources. hahn denied it, but it was authorized that day. in trump's last rally before the election when supporters started to chant fire fauci, what did the president do? he gave it oxygen.
[ chanting fire fauci ] >> don't tell anybody, but let me wait 'til a little bit after the election here. i appreciate the advice. >> and of course, don't forget arm twisting that he did that got him impeached, trying to force ukraine's president to dig up dirt on joe biden or 400 million in aid would be withheld. a mob like mentality, the likes of which the white house has never seen. just like in the sopranos, in two weeks, trump's presidency will cut to black. we may all be wondering what the hell just happened. one thing is certain, the show will be over. next, hundreds of protesters
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police and proerltesters arn the move in the nation's capitol. tomorrow, joe biden's electoral college win will be certified, that's what is bringing a wave of protests to washington, so much so the mayor is requesting help from the national guard. cnn's brian todd is in freedom plaza now. we see some activity behind you, brian. tell us what's happening. >> reporter: a lot of energy at freedom plaza, a protest by the
80% coalition, supporters of the president. we'll walk this way, my photojournalist and i can show you the crowd, set the scene a bit. couple hundred protesters here. we're told there will be speakers, already been music chanting, people getting on stage and speaking. the question is what kind of conflict may start, you mention police presence. there's a police corden around the area. they're coordinating with national guard, police, and others. in december, since election day, there have been a few protests here in the district and in at least one, street fights that broke out, people clashing in the streets, there were stabbings. they warned that some groups may try to start conflict with people may descend on the nation's capitol, there may be people bringing guns to the nation's capitol to try to
display them in public. d.c. is not an open carry, anybody doing that will be arrested. let me show you the tight police cordon. there are police vehicles here and down pennsylvania avenue, you can see streets blocked off. they're blocked off just about everywhere. police, national guard is ready for what comes today and tomorrow. >> brian todd, thank you for showing us that live in washington. next, we're live on the final day of voting in what has been a wild election season. voters at the polls in georgia determine the balance of power in washington. robinhood believes now is the time to do money.