Trump 'knows he lost' but wants to fight election results 'tooth and nail': Rachel

ABC News' Rachel Scott discusses Trump's latest election comments on "This Week."
11:53 | 11/15/20

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Transcript for Trump 'knows he lost' but wants to fight election results 'tooth and nail': Rachel
Let's bring in the powerhouse round table. ABC news white house correspondent Rachel Scott, ap Washington bureau chief Julie pace and senior national correspondent Terry Moran. Julie, I want to start with you. We began this program with a tweet by Donald Trump. It seemed like he was moving towards saying he lost because he said he won, referring to Joe Biden we assume, because the election was rigged. Well, just a short time ago he tweeted again and this time he said, rigged election, we will win and that was followed by he only won in the eyes of the fake news media. I concede nothing. What do you make of that, Julie? Was that an accident where he said he won? Did he not mean to say that or is it just a typical day in tweet world? It seems like a typical day in tweet world with big consequences. This is the second time we saw the president inch up to the line and publicly acknowledging what we all know and what we know the president knows privately is that Joe Biden has won because he won thest number of states and the most number of electoral college votes, not because the election is rigged. The president wants to keep pushing that message because he wants his base of loyal supporters who have been there for him on his side largely for whatever comes next. There are real consequences to him not acknowledging Biden's victory publicly. One, the transition can't move forward. There are national security implications to that. Two, those voters you talked to Martha, were so powerful, there are millions of Americans who are not going to accept Joe Biden as a legitimate president and that is dangerous. Rachel, is Donald Trump the only one in the white house who thinks he still might win even if he actually does believe that? Do you think he really believes Julie doesn't. No. I think the president himself knows he has lost this election, but still wants to fight it tooth and nail. Advisers close to the president also have contended with the fact that Joe Biden will be the next president of the united States. I think you have two groups around the president. You have one group that doesn't want him to wave the white flag just yet. They want him to energize the president's base. Then you have the other group who is looking at the projected wins for Joe Biden in Arizona and Georgia. They're looking at the department of homeland security who called it the most secure election in American history. They're looking at the four states where judges threw out the president's post-election lawsuits because they didn't have evidence of widespread voter fraud. They're seeing the writing on the wall and that Joe Biden has cemented a presidential victory with 306 electoral votes, the same number that president trump got in 2016. Back then, Martha, he called that a landslide. Terry, give us the reality check on legal challenges, whatever they may be, that trump keeps talking about. Rachel just said it. The president claiming the election is rigged is a lie. It's a lie. We can say that because in our country we test claims like that in court under rules of evidence developed over centuries to distinguish truth from falsehood. Hearsay and authentication of evidence, materiality and relevance and things like that. There's an adversarial process. At the end of the day you figure out what happened. In almost every single case -- he's brought more than 20 cases along some kind of fraud. Judges, state and federal, Republican, Democrat, have almost unanimously thrown these cases out instantly with scorn. What's remarkable in reading some of these judicial opinions, including by trump appointees, they dismiss these cases saying there's no credible evidence. It's stitching a web of conspiracy theory. No eye witness testimony that holds up under the most minimal legal examination. We prove these things in court. He hasn't. He's lying. Let's bring in the new Yorker's Evan osnos. We had some technical difficulties earlier. He's a pulitzer price winning author. Also the author of a biography on Joe Biden "The life, the run, and what matters now." Evan, you describe Donald Trump as leading these past four years in the register of force. Explain that and what that means going forward. You know, from the very beginning of this administration he has believed if you can't persuade people, well then you can try to bully them. You can try to prevail over them. That's really where we are in this process. You know, the vote counts are clear. The lawsuits are clear. As you just heard from Terry, he's losing in the courts. Now he's going to the public. I'm reminded of the words of his late lawyer and mentor Roy Cohen who used to say don't tell me what the law says, tell me who the judge is. In this case Donald Trump is saying I'm going to go to the judge of public opbecause he knows the facts are against him. Really, the fact is it's clear what's going to happen on January 20th. Joe Biden is going to take the presidency. Donald Trump right now is bidding for something else which is to try to establish a narrative that will give him a life beyond the presidency. The stakes for that are enormous. They represent the credibility of American democracy. Julie, let's talk about the hill. As you know very few Republicans have admitted that Joe Biden won. You heard John Bolton say he thinks Republicans are getting ready to come forward and say Joe Biden won the election. Are you seeing any evidence of We saw a little bit of movement towards the end of last week where we saw some Republican senators, even if they didn't acknowledge Biden's victory, saying it was time for him to get intelligence briefings. That's a recognition on their part of the national security risks of the incoming president not having a full picture of what's going on with our adversaries. You saw some Republicans in key states around the country starting to accept the reality of this election. I do think you'll start to see some movement this week, a few more Republicans coming forward. Notably the S of the Republican party, Mitch Mcconnell, Kevin Mccarthy are still publicly in lockstep with the pres we want to look at what they're saying to the president privately. Are they pushing him to accept realities so they can do the same. Terry, let's talk about Joe Biden. He isn't taking the bait on any of this. He's just charging ahead. He is. He doesn't want to get in the muck of what we have lived through for four years, which is this trumpian brawl on social media. Throwing out wild claims without evidence, just trying to get the opponent to take the bait and sink into a mud fight where most opponents lose with Donald Trump. I think what Joe Biden wants to do is answer what I think is a craving among a crucial middle of America for a kind of alcy and to repair the torn fabric of our governance. People don't trust the government. They don't trust us. They don't trust the courts. Too many people are locked into partisan world views and don't trust anybody. That's one of the main jobs Joe Biden is going to have, repair the fabric of the democracy. One place he might find the opportunity to do that is with local officials. You do see that people trust their mayors, their local public governors to an extent, more than anyone in Washington. Some kind of demonstration that Washington can work with those more pragmatic officials who seem to have maintained the trust of voters might help Joe Biden do what is his main task, which is calm the waters and repair the fabric of the democracy. Rachel, you're covering the Biden campaign as well as covering the white house. He's going to make a lot of cabineces soon. He has his priorities straight. You heard Jeh Johnson talking about the possibility of being defense secretary. Joe Biden's cabinet will look different than Donald Trump's cabinet. Dramatically different. Joe Biden has promised to have one of the most diverse cabinets and one of the most diverse administrations in American history. He's starting with the agency review teams. Half are women. 25% are being led by black men and women. Joe Biden is aware it was black voters in South Carolina that helped him get the democratic nomination and black voters propelled him to the white house. He's going to be looking to make his administration look a lot like America. You've been on the road, so have I, talking to voters. Minority voters say representation is great. It's a step in the right direction. What they actually want to see is real change and the challenge for Joe Biden will be working with Republicans on that. There's only so much he can do on his own. Evan, some presidents want their cabinet in lockstep with them. I think we're in that phase right now. Does Joe Biden want that or does he want pushback? You talked to him over the years. You know him well. What do you th I think we have Evan not there. Evan, can I repeat that? Can Evan hear me? All right. Terry, you talk about that. There's no question that Joe Biden is a different kind of leader. He's tryinake that clear every day. A confident leader hears conflicting opinions. That's one of the ways you make good decisions. With 50 years in P life understands that. One thing you know about Joe Biden, whatever you think about him, at this point he knows his own mind and himself. He doesn't need it echoed constantly. He understands he needs to reach out. He's a politician from a different time, a time when constituencies were gathered in a smoke-filled room to essentially voice their views. You can hear it still in his langua when he talks about different groups. He doesn'tabout -- he almost talks about it like he wants people in the room to cut a deal, find where their area for compromise is. I do think you're going to see a different kind of cabinet, different kind of president with that. Julie, we have just a minute here. I want to go back to coronavirus. You mentioned it at the top. The fatigue is very real. Trump has really only talked about the vaccine. Can Biden really pull people together on this? This is going to be the challenge of his presidency. This is what his first year in office is going to be about. He has some ability as president to set the nation on a new course, but so much of our response is based on gov, local officials and Americans getting on board with this different approach he is going to call for, a national mask mandate, perhaps more restrictions in states. He can't do that alone. I think we're going to learn very quickly how persuasive he can be in getting this country to change course in the opening months of his presidency. Thanks, Julie. He does have his work cut out for him given what we've seen on the road. Thanks to all of you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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