WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, joined CNN’s New Day with Alisyn Camerota to discuss the impact of Georgia’s election results on the Senate and future COVID-19 relief.

“I think this is great news for the people of Georgia, for the United States, and for the incoming Biden and Harris administration. Obviously, these are not final, because the votes haven't been tallied to the very last vote, but I think that Georgia has made history both in electing Reverend Warnock and – I think when these votes are finally tallied – in electing Jon Ossoff,” said Senator Coons. “I think that sends a clear message to the American people from the voters in Georgia that they want us to focus on meeting their real needs and not on chasing President Trump's conspiracy theories, not on further divisiveness, but in finding ways to come together to protect their health care, to respond to the pandemic, and to build our economy back better, to be more inclusive and more vibrant.”

On Senate-confirmed positions in the Biden administration, Senator Coons said, “Well, it means that everyone that Joe Biden has picked to join his Cabinet is likely to have an easier time getting confirmed in the Senate. It means that the confirmation process can't be slow walked or obstructed, and that he'll be able to have the talented and capable and seasoned group that he's already chosen serving early in his administration.”

On COVID-19 relief, Senator Coons added, “Mitch McConnell, if he is no longer the Majority Leader, won't be able to block bills coming to the floor that would move forward things like the $2,000 stimulus check. I'll remind you, in the last year, we had a bold stimulus relief package passed by the House nine months ago and it didn't get to the floor in the Senate until a bipartisan group of senators finally crafted a solution that broke Mitch McConnell’s obstruction and moved us forward. We're going to have similar challenges, because of the rules of the Senate, but I think the chances that we'll be able to move forward on Joe Biden's agenda, which is delivering real relief to the American people, just went way up.”

Full audio and video available here. A transcript is provided below.

Q: Joining us now is Democratic Senator, Chris Coons, a longtime Joe Biden friend and supporter. Senator, good morning. What do you – if you're just waking up to these results – what are your thoughts? 

Sen. Coons: Good morning, Alisyn. I think it's a good morning. I think this is great news for the people of Georgia, for the United States, and for the incoming Biden and Harris administration. Obviously, these are not final, because the votes haven't been tallied to the very last vote, but I think that Georgia has made history both in electing Reverend Warnock and – I think when these votes are finally tallied – in electing Jon Ossoff. And I think that sends a clear message to the American people from the voters in Georgia that they want us to focus on meeting their real needs and not on chasing President Trump's conspiracy theories, not on further divisiveness, but in finding ways to come together to protect their health care, to respond to the pandemic, and to build our economy back better, to be more inclusive and more vibrant.

Q: Let's talk about exactly what this means for President-elect Joe Biden. Does this – if Jon Ossoff holds on to his lead – does this make President-elect Biden's pick for attorney general easier?

Sen. Coons: Well, it means that everyone that Joe Biden has picked to join his Cabinet is likely to have an easier time getting confirmed in the Senate. It means that the confirmation process can't be slow walked or obstructed, and that he'll be able to have the talented and capable and seasoned group that he's already chosen serving early in his administration. Given the ways in which the delays over the last two months since the election have hampered the transition, I think this is good news for the administration. I think it also gives him broader options for who to choose for attorney general. My hope is that he'll choose my colleague from Alabama, but he's got a number of very capable, seasoned folks who have experience in the Justice Department and in law enforcement and in the judiciary in front of him as potential choices.

Q: Here are the names that have been floated: Federal judge Merrick Garland. We know what happened with him with the Supreme Court. Your colleague, whom you just referred to, former Alabama senator, Doug Jones. And then, the – I guess wild card – former acting attorney general, Sally Yates. Do you think that he is inclined towards Sally Yates and this will make that pick easier?

Sen. Coons: Look, I think the President-elect has very carefully weighed and considered different options for his Cabinet broadly and for attorney general in particular, because of the urgency of restoring a sense of professionalism and independence to the Department of Justice. The attorney general will play a key role in that. We also have unresolved challenges around policing and racial justice in our country, and the attorney general will play a critical role in that, so I respect the process that the President-elect has been following. Remember, as a former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and former Vice President, he has deep and broad experience in this, and I'm confident he'll make the right choice. 

Q: How about some of his more controversial picks, such as Neera Tanden for OMB? Does this morning that become more of a reality?

Sen. Coons: That becomes much more of a reality. If there are 50 Democratic votes in the Senate and a tiebreaking vote from the Vice President-elect, that means we can confirm Joe Biden's Cabinet. Because of the rules changes in recent years, it just takes a simple majority to confirm a member of the Cabinet. I do think that we will continue in the direction that Joe Biden has already laid out, which is bringing our country together, working across the aisle, but focusing on his agenda, which is delivering a competent response to this pandemic, restoring our economy, addressing things like climate change and racial inequality, and moving our country forward.

Q: On Monday, President-elect Joe Biden went to campaign in Georgia and he said to the crowd, the power is in your hands. It's you, Georgia voters. You have all of the power, and you make the difference between those $2,000 stimulus checks getting to people and them being squashed. And so, if this looks – if this goes in the direction it looks like it is this morning, should we expect $2,000 relief checks in January going to Americans?

Sen. Coons: Alisyn, we should expect, first, that Mitch McConnell, if he is no longer the Majority Leader, won't be able to block bills coming to the floor that would move forward things like the $2,000 stimulus check. I'll remind you, in the last year, we had a bold stimulus relief package passed by the House nine months ago and it didn't get to the floor in the Senate until a bipartisan group of senators finally crafted a solution that broke Mitch McConnell’s obstruction and moved us forward. We're going to have similar challenges, because of the rules of the Senate, but I think the chances that we'll be able to move forward on Joe Biden's agenda, which is delivering real relief to the American people, just went way up. I also have to say, someone I've known for decades and long admired, Stacey Abrams, former House Minority Leader in Georgia, played an absolutely essential role in organizing statewide grassroots efforts that made last night's victory possible. She and two very strong candidates running for the Senate as Democrats deserve a huge amount of the credit for making last night's win possible.

Q: What was bigger? What Stacey Abrams did in turning out the vote or the Trump rigged rhetoric that kept people away from the polls?

Sen. Coons: Well, I do think there's a lesson here for Republicans that simply lashing yourself to the mast of Trumpism and ignoring the concerns and the issues that working people from your state are trying to raise with you is not a winning strategy. Donald Trump continued to campaign both for the two Republican candidates and against the Republican leadership of the state of Georgia, attacking relentlessly the governor and secretary of state. And I think following that famous hour-long rambling and, frankly, completely and wildly inappropriate call that President Trump had with the Republican secretary of state of Georgia, where he was trying to persuade him or beg him or threaten him into finding 11,000 votes is a reminder that President Trump's unconventional and divisive style of leadership did not produce the results Republicans might have hoped for in Georgia.

Q: Senator Chris Coons, thank you for your time. We really appreciate talking to you this morning. 

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