CNN White House correspondent John Harwood joined Friday's CNN Newsroom to peddle the media's latest favorite talking point: that insisting on the enforcement of election laws is a Republican tactic to ensure that Democratic votes are not counted.
This time, the context was an Eighth Circuit ruling on Thursday that held that Minnesota's secretary of state does not have the power to rewrite the state's election law that absentee ballots must be received on Election Day in order to count. This win for constitutional government was described by host Poppy Harlow in partisan terms, "But the Republicans just won a huge court victory overnight when it comes to voting in that state."
Harwood agreed with Harlow's analysis while holding out hope that ballots that arrive after Election Day may still be counted, "They did. The appeals court suggested that ballots coming in late after election day can be segregated and maybe challenged legally."
He continued by asserting that following the law was a Republican plot: "That is a big victory for Republicans who across the board are trying to limit vote counting, especially those mail-in ballots that they know are likely to lean towards the Democrats. They're pretty unapologetic about the way they're going about it."
Harwood would then change topics to condemn President Trump for holding "potential spreader events" in the state, but he did so because his employer demanded he show up on time and not days late (and despite the fact that deep dives like those by the Daily Caller found the opposite). If a Democratic state official's unlawful acts caused their voters to procrastinate on returning their ballots, that could be argued as their fault (instead of the law's for seeking to eliminate the possibility of election shenanigans).
This segment was sponsored by Google.
Here is a transcript for the October 30 show:
CNN Newsroom with Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto
October 30, 2020
10:04 a.m. Eastern
POPPY HARLOW: John Howard at the White House. Good morning, John. Minnesota one of the stops on the President's schedule today, he is ripping state officials there over the limits on the number of people who can attend. But the Republicans just won a huge court victory overnight when it comes to voting in that state.
JOHN HARWOOD: They did. The appeals court suggested that ballots coming in late after election day can be segregated and maybe challenged legally. That is a big victory for Republicans who across the board are trying to limit vote counting, especially those mail-in ballots that they know are likely to lean towards the Democrats. They're pretty unapologetic about the way they're going about it. But the trip to Minnesota by the President is one of the few pieces of offense the President is playing. Because, as Jeff mentioned, Hillary Clinton barely won that state four years ago. This is one of the few opportunities on the map, Nevada, New Hampshire possibly are other ones where the Trump campaign has some hope of taking a state away from the blue column and putting it in the red column. He's also defending Wisconsin and Michigan, which are states he won that put him in the White House in 2016. Now, of course, one of the ironies here, the President is complaining about the restrictions on his rallies but CNN's looked at the aftermath of 17 Trump rallies that occurred in August and September and found rising COVID cases after those rallies and one of them was in September in Bemidji, Minnesota. So, the President has helped to make the coronavirus spikes worse, not simply by his inaction at the federal level but also by the physical presence and the holding of these rallies that have become potential spreader events. And that's one of the reasons why, in Minnesota, as in Wisconsin, as in Michigan and Pennsylvania, he is not only behind by a significant margin to Joe Biden, Joe Biden is over 50 percent, so all of those are uphill fights for him.