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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
FBI Unlikely to Wrap Clinton Email Review Prior to Election; Clinton Campaign Accuses Comey of Double Standard; Trump: "Clinton Is A Terrible Example for My Son"; Trump Makes Major Play For Michigan; Source: Comey Stands By Decision on Clinton Emails. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired October 31, 2016 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:09] ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next, the breaking news. The Clinton campaign determine to take Comey down seizing on new reports that discredit the FBI director. CNN learns the FBI's verdict won't be revealed before Election Day.
Plus, new polls tonight showing the race tightening around the country as Donald Trump says, thank you, Huma.
And Trump's path to victory includes North Carolina, but will sex assault allegations kill his chances there? Let's go OUTFRONT.
And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, the breaking news. Clinton versus Comey. Hillary Clinton campaign tonight tearing into the FBI director making the case that he's playing politics. The campaign seizing on news reports from CNBC and the Huffington Post that James Comey refused to publicly call out Russia for meddling in the U.S. election. They say he said it was too close to Election Day. Clinton's campaign manager moments ago holding a conference call with reporters.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBBY MOOK, HILLARY CLINTON CAMPAIGN MANAGER: It's impossible to view this as anything less than a blatant double standard. That Director Comey would show more discretion in a matter concerning a foreign state actor than one involving the Democratic nominee for president is nothing short of jaw dropping.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: CNN has not been able to corroborate this CNBC and "Huffington Post" reporting but this comes as the FBI, the investigators there are racing to sort through thousands of e-mails found on the Anthony Weiner's laptop computer. We have learned that agents are using specialized software to isolate e-mails that they think may be pertinent to Hillary Clinton's personal server. That entire review process just on that front obviously could drag on well past Election Day. Hillary Clinton moments ago questioning the timing of the FBI director's actions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: There is this new e-mail story about, you know, why in the world the FBI would decide to jump into an election without evidence of any wrongdoing with just days to go. If they want to look at some more e-mails of one of my staffers, by all means, go ahead, look at them, and I know they will reach the same conclusion they reached when they looked at my e-mails last year. Right?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Meanwhile, Donald Trump not letting go of this issue. Hammering it home.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: The investigation will last for years. Nothing will get done. Government will grind to a halt. And our country will continue to suffer. Hillary's corruption is a threat to democracy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Pamela Brown is OUTFRONT tonight. And Pam, I know you've been talking to sources and you have some new information on the FBI director tonight.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: That's right. I spoke to a former colleague with knowledge of Director Comey's thinking before and after the controversial letter was sent on Friday and I'm told that Director Comey, despite all the controversy, is doing okay and that he still firmly believes that he did the right thing, that he was faced with two bad options and he did the lesser of the two bad options. But tonight he remains silent and we're told by people that it's unlikely we're going to hear any specifics from Director Comey any time soon on this investigation.
BROWN (voice-over): Tonight, the FBI is in a race against the clock. CNN has learned a team of agents is using special software at FBI facilities in Quantico, Virginia, to sift through thousands of newly discovered e-mails to isolate those relevant to the investigation of Hillary Clinton's private server. Those e-mails will then be searched for classified information. A process that likely won't be resolved until after the election. In July, when Director Comey initially recommended no charges, he said no reasonable prosecutor would bring a case against Clinton despite finding classified information on her private server.
JAMES COMEY, FBI DIRECTOR: We don't want to put people in jail unless we prove that they knew they were doing something that they shouldn't do.
BROWN: CNN has learned some of the e-mails found in a computer belonging to Anthony Weiner, a estranged husband of longtime Clinton aide Huma Abedin, passed through Clinton's private server. A source says, Abedin has no idea how her e-mails ended up on her husband's computer. Law enforcement sources say several weeks ago agents stumbled upon the new e-mails while investigating Weiner's alleged sexting with a 15-year-old girl. Comey found out amid October but wasn't fully briefed until last Thursday.
A day later he went against Department of Justice policy sending a vague letter to Congress revealing the discovery of the e-mails over the objection of DOJ officials. Tonight he's taking heat from every direction, even from his former boss, Republican appointed Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez.
ALBERTO GONZALEZ, FORMER ATTORNEY: I didn't understand it. I didn't understand what he was saying. What he was trying to say. I didn't understand the purpose of the letter. All of us somewhat perplexed about, you know, what director was trying to accomplish here.
[19:05:05] BROWN: Now Comey is under intense pressure to publicly release more information before Election Day.
COMEY: We are in a very unusual situation, and it may be that in order to protect the integrity of this election, that he may need to say something else about what is -- in relation to this investigation.
BROWN: Tonight, the White House spokesman say he would neither defend or criticize Comey but acknowledged he's in a tough spot.
JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: He's the one who will be in a position to defend his actions in the face of significant criticism from a variety of legal experts including individuals who served in senior Department of Justice positions in administrations that were led by presidents in both parties.
BROWN: And at this point, we're told that investigators have no reason to believe that Huma Abedin was trying to obstruct the investigation by not turning over all the necessary e-mails initially. And to be clear, Erin, there's still a lot we don't know. There could be something in those new e-mails.
BROWN: There could be nothing. We just simply don't know, but what we do know is that process is well under way to figure out what is in those e-mails.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Pamela Brown. Interesting as you heard. Pamela breaking the news that someone who's talked to Comey since all of this says as he very much believes he did the right thing, he's standing by his decision. Obviously this is something that has Hillary Clinton angry, the campaign very angry.
Joe Johns is in Cincinnati, Ohio, where Hillary Clinton just wrapped up her rally. And Hillary Clinton, Joe, is pushing back against the FBI, doing so very strongly today. Also though, she's been trying to change the conversation back to Trump.
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. She has been pushing hard to try to change the conversation back to Donald Trump accusing him of trying to confuse, to mislead the American public as well as suppress the vote. By the way, that is a charge that has been coming out of the Trump campaign, directed at Hillary Clinton as well. She was in Kent, Ohio, earlier today, among other things, essentially saying, I should say, making the case that there is no case that the FBI has and at the end of the day once they look at the e-mails, this new trove that's been discovered, they will determine as they did before that there was simply nothing there.
Hillary Clinton, by the way, not traveling here in Ohio with her longtime trusted aide, Huma Abedin. Traveling instead with an individual who happened to be her director of protocol when she was at the State Department. So she's wrapping up here in Cincinnati. Going back to New York then tomorrow to another battleground state, once again, the state of Florida. We're expecting three stops there, Hillary Clinton hitting this issue hard, not shying away from it at all and trying to put the focus on both Donald Trump as well as the FBI Director -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right, Joe Johns, thank you.
And OUTFRONT now, Jackie Kucinich, Washington bureau chief of the Daily Beast. Clinton supporter Keith Boykin, a former Clinton White House aide. Trump supporter Jeffrey Lord who served as White House political director under President Reagan. Clinton supporter Angela Rye, former executive director of the Congressional Black Caucus. Trump's supporter Parish Dennard who served in the Bush White House. And criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor, Paul Callan. Also with me, Chris Swecker, the former assistant FBI director for the Criminal Investigative Division.
And quite a few questions to try to understand here. But let me just start with you, Jackie, on this base issue. You just heard Pam reporting, the FBI director is not backing down.
JACKIE KUCINICH, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, THE DAILY BEAST: No.
BURNETT: He thinks he did the right thing and he stands by it. So if the Clinton campaign thinks and the Democrats think that they're going to scare him into saying, oh, there's nothing there, quickly, it doesn't sound like that's the direction he's going in.
KUCINICH: Well, and that doesn't sound like Director Comey. He doesn't really scare easily. We've seen him in these positions, you know, over the course of his career and he doesn't really have the tendency to back down. And you know what, they, politically, have every reason to fight this tooth and nail as --
KUCINICH: -- vigorously as they possibly can, because we're in a crunch time. And they know, they can see that around the margins maybe not against their core supporters, but they want the people that are thinking of voting for them to show them they're willing to fight for this.
KUCINICH: And that's what we're seeing.
BURNETT: And there are some Clinton supporters that this could be an issue for. I want to talk about those polls in just a moment.
But Chris, first, let me ask you. Basic question here which is why can't this be resolved more quickly? I understand, there are lots of e-mails here, right? Thousands and thousands of e-mails. But say for example, some of these e-mails are duplicates of ones that the FBI has already reviewed, right? Do they have the ability to check that quickly, and say, wait, actually we've already seen all of these e- mails, and there really is nothing here, and they can do that very quickly or is that not possible?
CHRIS SWECKER, FORMER ASSISTANT FBI DIRECTOR, CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIONS: Well, with the volume of emails that they're dealing with. Six hundred and fifty thousand, they may be able to identify some duplicates pretty quickly. But if you go back to Comey's original press conference where he talked about going back to the originating agencies, and getting their classification levels from the originating agencies. And some of these documents may not be marked classified but they are, indeed, classified because of the content. So that's what takes a lot of time. And I think he mentioned that in his first press conference.
[19:10:15] BURNETT: All right. So that could take time. The other question that I have, Chris, that came out today, I know we are talking about, you know, a very significant number of e-mails. Huma Abedin has said she has no idea that her e-mails were even on this device. She says it was her husband's device. She doesn't know that they were there. Is that possible when we're talking about the sheer volume, is there a situation under which that explanation would make sense?
SWECKER: It's possible. I don't think they're talking about a backup situation. I checked with some tech people and from my own investigations, most of the time what you're dealing with is a synced up computer, a computer that's been synced up to through a mobile device and that's probably what happened here. Where everything that's goes through your mobile device ends up on your laptop, there's also a web server. And sometimes even backed up in the cloud. So there's a lot to work with here. It's possible she didn't know. That's something that we went know for quite a while.
BURNETT: Of course. And it's a backup, perhaps that it was duplicates. But Paul Callan, you know, you hear tonight the Clinton campaign seizing on those reports saying, look, FBI Director Comey, these are reports we have not corroborated. Didn't want to name Russia as meddling in the U.S. election because he doesn't want to influence the election. But now he seems they have no problem, you know, which is a few days before the election in coming out and saying, I got more emails from Hillary Clinton.
You know, Harry Reid came out today and say he thinks Director Comey may have violated the law. There is a law, the hatch act that says, high-level government officials other than the president, Vice President can't engage in political activity. Could he have broken the law?
PAUL CALLAN, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Well, you can make the argument that he did but two requirements are present themselves. One, he has to influence the presidential election with his action. Obviously he's done that in a big way.
CALLAN: But secondly, he has to have no reasonable explanation, no good cause for having done what he did. Now, Comey, of course, says this was to clarify prior Congressional testimony. I had an obligation to clear the record up. That's why I did it in the interest of openness and not to try to influence --
BURNETT: And this is a former deputy attorney general. This is a guy who certainly knows these laws very well and is standing by it.
CALLAN: So, I don't think he violated the hatch act.
BURNETT: Angela, you know, 63 percent of voters, new "Washington Post" poll say this e-mail bombshell isn't going to influence their vote, okay? That's good news for you. But then seven percent of Clinton voters say it makes them seem less likely to support her. That's a lot of people. Seven percent. That would be the whole election.
ANGELA RYE, HILLARY CLINTON SUPPORTER: It is a lot of people, that's why I want to get back to the hatch act. Sometimes you don't have to violate the actually letter of the law, you can violate the spirit of the law. There's a CNN piece about this very thing. I think the reality of it is the numbers you just raised made it very clear that he could have very well could have influenced the election. You know, earlier this year, Julian Castro who sits at the HUD. The HUD -- why can't I think the cabinet --
CALLAN: Cabinet secretary.
RYE: Thank you. The cabinet secretary at HUD. They said that he violated the hatch act by endorsing Hillary Clinton in an official interview at HUD. So if that is influencing the election, why wouldn't this be influencing the election? We're talking about an agency, a department -- the Department of Justice says, don't put anything out like this within 60 days. We're less than two weeks out. How is that not influencing the election?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, it's influencing the election. But the question is, did he have good cause for revealing --
BURNETT: Was he waiting to put something that would be very important for the qualifications of a sitting president until after the election, right? I mean --
RYE: It was so vague. This letter says that there may be something that he hasn't even seen yet. We don't even know if those e-mails are addressed to or from Hillary Clinton. That is a lot to put out there.
PARIS DENNARD, TRUMP NATIONAL DIVERSITY COALITION MEMBER: At the end of the day, this is the problem of Secretary Clinton. Had she been forthright, had she been honest, had Huma done what she was supposed to do, had they not taken hammers to devices? Had they not deleted 33,000 e-mails to begin with? None of this would have happen. So, they can be upset with Director Comey all they want to. Senator Reid can complain.
But at the end of the day, this goes back to the negligence and the incompetence of Secretary Clinton who should have known better. She sent an e-mail out to employees at the State Department saying what she should not do. And so, she should have known better. So, they can complain but at the end of the day the buck has to stop with her.
BURNETT: All right. Thanks to all. And also, you're also staying with me through the hour.
Next, new polls showing the race tightening in key states. Does Trump now have a cleaner, clearer path to 270?
And how sex assault accusations against Trump could kill his chances in a must-win state?
And by the way, who is Jim Comey?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COMEY: I get a tenure term to ensure that I stay outside of politics. But in a way it's easy, I lead an organization that is resolutely apolitical.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[19:18:06] BURNETT: Tonight, Donald Trump making it personal, bringing up his young son at a rally to say why voters should elect him and not Hillary Clinton, after FBI Director Comey's bombshell e- mail announcement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: You know, I have a son named Baron, and I want to tell you, she is a terrible example for my son and for the children in this country, that I can tell you. Hillary's corruption is a threat to democracy and the only way to stop it is for you on November 8th to show up at the polls and vote.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Does Trump now have the upper hand? Jim Acosta is OUTFRONT.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's the subject line for all of Donald Trump's rallies this week. Hillary Clinton's e-mails.
TRUMP: I think we hit the mother load.
ACOSTA: Trump is heaping praise on FBI Director James Comey for announcing late last week that federal investigators will be examining a new batch of e-mails possibly linked to Clinton.
TRUMP: It took guts for Director Comey to make the move that he made. I was not his fan. What he did, he brought back his reputation.
ACOSTA: Trump's newfound respect for Comey follows months for harsh criticism for the FBI director who said back in July that the bureau would not seek charges against Clinton.
TRUMP: I think the biggest rigging of all is what's happened with the FBI and the Justice Department with respect to Hillary Clinton because she is so guilty in so many different ways she that shouldn't be allowed to run for president. So, right there the system is really rigged.
ACOSTA: OK. And Trump suddenly has kind words for disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner and his estranged wife Huma Abedin, a top Clinton aide. It was Weiner's alleged sexting with the minor that prompted FBI interest in his laptop and rekindled the Clinton email probe.
TRUMP: Thank you, Huma. Thank you, Anthony Weiner.
ACOSTA: And Trump is pushing back on Democrats who blamed Comey.
TRUMP: This is the biggest scandal since Watergate. Hillary wants to blame everyone else for her mounting legal troubles but she's brought all of this on herself.
ACOSTA: It's unclear just how much Trump will benefit from the new email questions for Clinton especially with Republicans like former Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez taking issue with Comey's actions.
ALBERTO GONZALES, FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL: To throw out this kind of letter without more information, without really knowing what the facts are, with respect to these additional e-mails, I think was a mistake.
ACOSTA: But polls show Trump is closing in on Clinton so he's expanding his own electoral map strategy with events in Colorado, New Mexico, Michigan and Wisconsin. States that once seemed out of his reach. Still, Trump advisers worry he could spoil this moment by wandering off message with overheated rhetoric. In Michigan, he warned Clinton will bring about a third world war.
TRUMP: Now Hillary trapped in her Washington bubble, that's blind to the lessons, wants to start a shooting war in Syria. In conflict with a nuclear armed Russia that could drag us into a World War III.
ACOSTA: And in a message that sounded out of a Halloween horror movie, he warned of ballots being cast by dead voters.
TRUMP: Get out and vote by the millions so they can't do anything. We can't let them take it away.
ACOSTA: And not all the headlines tonight are working to the advantage of Donald Trump. Sources close to John Kasich confirm the Ohio governor has cast an absentee ballot. He wrote in John McCain, Erin, not Donald Trump and we should also point out for all this talk of Trump's blue state strategy, he's shifting his focus back to more competitive battlegrounds. He has a full slate of events scheduled for Wednesday in Florida -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Jim. My panel back with me.
Our presidential historian Tim Naftali joins me as well. Jackie, interesting, John Kasich as we all know, steadfastly refused to support Donald Trump, didn't go to the convention. And yet to come out now and say he's voted and he wrote in John McCain. There's a lot of people, Republicans and even some Democrats, who had seen John Kasich as somebody they admired.
KUCINICH: I've talked to people who've written in John Kasich --
KUCINICH: You know, when they've actually voted. So, yes, he definitely represents a part of the Republican Party that never could find it in their heart to support Donald Trump. Now, is John Kasich looking down the line, maybe for his own political ambitions down the line? Not to be too cynical. But I would have been more shocked if I heard that he had voted for Donald Trump than him writing in John McCain.
BURNETT: And Jeff, you know, look, this is now someone coming with the name, a lot of people have said, there are people, we all know people who say, I don't know what I'm going to do until I walk in the voting booth.
JEFFREY LORD, DONALD TRUMP SUPPORTER: Right.
BURNETT: And I don't know. Maybe I'll write someone in, or I'm not sure, will I write in Mitt Romney, will I write -- disaffected Republicans who were talking about that. And now, I have John Kasich coming out saying, look, I did it.
LORD: So, John Kasich voted for Hillary Clinton, effectively that's what he's done. And believe me, Republicans will remember. Republicans who want to run for president, who think they could be for president and refuse to support the presidential nominee of their party, duly selected by their voters, are saying to people, frankly, folks, I don't care. He doesn't care. He's made it perfectly clear. We get it.
[19:23:03] BURNETT: And this comes, Keith, as Donald Trump has been ramping up his rhetoric. Look, he stayed on message today. He talked about a lot about the e-mails. Okay? He didn't start down some cul- de-sac and do something totally different but he did bring up World War III again, this is the second time he said Hillary Clinton could start a World War III. And some of his supporters are saying some pretty horrible things. Way now en route. One of them speaking yesterday before Trump spoke at a rally in Las Vegas. Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The peasants! The serfs! The taxpayers with pitchforks, jackhammers and blow torches are headed for Washington, D.C. We're coming to kick your ass! And we're coming to put you in prison.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: He continued to say he wanted to see a Thelma and Louise ending for Hillary Clinton and Huma Abedin. Is this going to turn anybody off who isn't already turned off to Donald Trump?
KEITH BOYKIN, HILLARY CLINTON SUPPORTER: It's so sad where we are today that we've come to the point that even this kind of outrageous language is considered predictable, considered acceptable almost because it's Donald Trump. We've never had a candidate like this before. And unfortunately, we have this guy who's threatened 2nd amendment solutions. The idea of assassinating a candidate for president as an option for political discourse.
LORD: Who said that?
BOYKIN: Your candidate, Donald Trump, threatened an assassination of Hillary Clinton.
LORD: That is not true.
BOYKIN: Second Amendment remedies.
LORD: That is absolutely not true.
BOYKIN: And that's where people like his surrogates --
BOYKIN: When the fish rots from the head, when the candidate, himself, is speaking like that --
LORD: Meaning 2nd Amendment supporters will turn out to vote against her, that's what it means.
BOYKIN: You know exactly --
LORD: I do know exactly.
BOYKIN: And it's shameful that you and others would continue to support someone like Trump.
BURNETT: By the way, a joke that Democratic presidents -- candidates for president have made, not this one, but others in the past. I mean, totally inappropriate but it has happened.
Angela, let me ask you, there was an issue at a Trump rally on Saturday. Horrible chant that came up. And a Trump supporter was chanting, the campaign manager Kellyanne Conway did come out and say it was disgusting. Let me just play how it went down.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(CROWD CHANTING "USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA!")
KELLYANNE CONWAY, DONALD TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: That man's conduct was deplorable, and had I been there, I would have asked security to remove him immediately. Clearly, he doesn't speak for the campaign or the candidate. And, you know, I think what he had to say was disgusting.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Is that enough?
RYE: No, it's not. I think, you know, first of all, I applaud Kellyanne, you know, making it very clear that they want to distance themselves from this deplorable behavior. Unfortunately, she's failed to distance herself from her candidate's deplorable behavior which we saw from the very beginning of the 5th campaign. The very first thing -- not the first thing that he said, but the very first press conference announcing his candidacy, he called Mexicans rapists and drug dealers, and every turn since then, and in so many instances before he ever decided to run for president, he's used some of the same rhetoric.
About women. About Black people. About Latinos. This is the reality of this particular campaign. Keith hit the nail on the head. This is something where it absolutely comes from the top. And this person has demonstrated consistently that he doesn't respect people with different ideals, women who are his peers on the stage, he cannot handle Hillary Clinton being that way. She's a nasty, nasty woman.
BURNETT: Right, his words.
DENNARD: It's very simple. Secretary Clinton doesn't respect the law. Secretary Clinton --
RYE: Oh, that's not true, Paris.
DENNARD: Her team doesn't respect the law.
BOYKIN: Donald Trump, 75 pending lawsuits against him? You actually have the audacity to say that?
DENNARD: I have the audacity to point out the FBI is not investigating Donald Trump.
RYE: It doesn't sound that way. It sounds like Paul Manafort -- DENNARD: Well, I'm waiting for -- well then maybe Comey will come out
and talk about -- Donald Trump but he hasn't done that. He's had it twice for Secretary Clinton because she continuously --
RYE: I wonder why.
DENNARD: -- goes down this path and weaves this spider web on Halloween of deceit and lies and hiding behind the truth.
RYE: I don't think that Hillary Clinton is the one that's been deceiving and lying.
DENNARD: Her team.
RYE: Actually, if you look at PolitiFact, it's very clearly Donald Trump. You all --
DENNARD: No, no, no, not true.
BURNETT: All right. Pause there. All staying, next.
Donald Trump campaigning in three states today and tomorrow. All of them leaning Democrat. But he doesn't think so. What is behind this strategy?
And evangelical voters in battleground North Carolina struggling with a difficult choice.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not a big Donald Trump fan. I'm a pragmatist who is also a Christian.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[19:31:06] ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, a dire warning from Donald Trump as he makes a major play for Michigan which is, of course, a traditionally blue state.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Hillary Clinton's immigration plans mean generations of terrorism, extremism, and radicalism spreading into your schools and communities all over Michigan.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Our political director David Chalian is OUTFRONT.
And, David, Trump in Michigan obviously making a state against Clinton, a pretty terrifying one, as you just heard. Look this is a state that leans Democrat.
Why is he there? Why was he there thinking he can turn it?
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: And not just Michigan, other blue states he's been visiting recently, as well, Erin. It's both because of seeing an opportunity and because of the mathematical necessity.
So, you noted Michigan today, he's headed to Wisconsin, Pennsylvania. This weekend, he was in Colorado and New Mexico -- all territory leaning blue, leaning in Hillary Clinton's direction.
And here's why. This is the battleground. This is where things stand. All those yellow states are the tossups and remember, if we give every one of them, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, to Donald Trump, if he were to sweep them all, he's still not there.
So, he's got to go someplace into Hillary Clinton's turf to try to turn some blue state red and we have new poll out tonight, if you look up here in New Hampshire, this is part of her firewall, and look at this. Brand new poll numbers tonight out of New Hampshire, 46 percent to 39 percent. Hillary Clinton still has a seven-point lead in New Hampshire which means her blue wall of defense is holding right now.
BURNETT: All right. So, if that's holding, obviously a lot of this comes down to, what's going to be the impact of the e-mails, sexual assault allegations. Look, more than 20 million Americans have already voted. It's a really high number. When you look at that, David, what you see, in terms of who is it better news for right now?
CHALIAN: Well, yes, look at this. 23,131,076 ballots have been cast. We're still a week away from Election Day, or eight days away from Election Day. We're seeing a slight advantage to the Democrats in the early vote.
And look at North Carolina specifically, one of the key races that if Hillary Clinton is able to win North Carolina, which Barack Obama lost four years ago, she would throw up a significant road block to Donald Trump. And take a look at some of the early voting numbers here.
You see here, you got about a 15-point lead in terms of allots versus Republican ballots. It's not as big as the 19-point lead 4 years ago. And in fact, Democrats are slightly underperforming where Barack Obama was four years ago.
But look at that. That is a significant advantage right now. Democrats hope as early in-person voting continues to increase to even make up more ground and that would be a huge victory if Hillary Clinton can pull that together in North Carolina. That would block Donald Trump from the White House.
BURNETT: Right. A must-win state for Donald Trump. Thank you very much, David.
And with Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump locked in such a tight race for North Carolina, all eyes are on the evangelical vote, because that's really what could decide it. It is a vote that is now split over whether to back the Republican nominee.
Jessica Schneider is OUTFRONT.
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Inside North Carolina evangelical churches, the mood joyous.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a season in our country where we're so divided.
SCHNEIDER: Leaders acknowledging, though, the faithful are struggling.
PASTOR CHAD HARVEY, RALEIGH FREE ASSEMBLY CHURCH: I'm seeing stress this year like I've never seen before.
SCHNEIDER: Pastor Chad Harvey (ph) leads the Raleigh Free Assembly Church.
HARVEY: Now, Genesis Chapter 12.
SCHNEIDER: Most of his members are rallying for Trump.
MARQUIS PACE, EVANGELICAL VOTER: Oh, it wasn't easy at all. It was a very difficult decision because if I just look at Donald Trump as a man, there's no way that I would even consider voting for him but I have to look at the much bigger picture.
SCHNEIDER: For Marquis Pace, it comes down to his own antiabortion stance and future of the Supreme Court.
[19:35:01] But with Trump's three marriages, and the release of that "Access Hollywood" tape --
TRUMP: You can do anything.
BILLY BUSH, TV HOST: Whatever you want.
TRUMP: Grab them by the pussy.
SCHNEIDER: Some are now asking, is the Republican ticket the pious pick? White evangelicals propelled Mitt Romney to a narrow victory in the state in 2012. They made up about a third of all voters.
JESUS MORALES, EVANGELICAL VOTER: His lifestyle hasn't been one that is representative of values I hold. I don't believe he's honest when he takes -- says he's pro-life.
SCHNEIDER: Jesus Morales is never Trump. He and his wife plan to vote for Evan McMullin, the Republican running as an independent. He's on the ballot in 11 states but not North Carolina, so they'll have to write him in as their vote.
JENNIE MORALES, EVANGELICAL VOTER: I can't vote for someone who has been so ignorant in his behavior towards women and towards handicap people, especially.
SCHNEIDER (on camera): And you are handicap.
JENNIE MORALES: Yes. I'm legally blind and it's insulting to me that he can make fun of the handicap community and no one has called him out on it.
RACHEL MILLER, EVANGELICAL VOTER: I personally plan to vote reluctantly and, like, for Trump. And not that I in any way, like, would want to, like, endorse him as a person.
SCHNEIDER: So, it's been a hard decision for you.
MILLER: Oh, absolutely.
SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Rachel Miller is 22 years old, a millennial and a prime target for the Not Who We Are PAC, a super PAC devoted to defeating Donald Trump. Releasing this music video ad featuring popular Christian musician William Matthews.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Trump is dangerous.
SCHNEIDER: Radio host Steve Noble voted early for Trump. It's a pick he struggled with.
STEVE NOBLE, EVANGELICAL RADIO HOST: I got to do what I can to stop Hillary. So, I'm not endorsing Donald Trump. I'm not a big Donald Trump fan. I'm a pragmatist who is also a Christian.
SCHNEIDER: And Steve Noble cast his ballot for Donald Trump on Friday. He tells me he doesn't feel good about that decision, in fact, joking that afterwards he felt the need to confess and repent. But nevertheless, he is advising his listeners to vote for Donald Trump who he sees as the lesser of two evils.
Now in the latest CNN poll conducted October 20th through 23rd, 72 percent of white evangelicals are breaking for Donald Trump with 21 percent for Hillary Clinton. And Erin, a lot of the people I spoke with on Sunday do say they plan to vote early to make official a decision that has been very tough for them -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Jessica, thank you.
And I want to bring back my panel.
Jeffrey, let me start with you. A fascinating report there, but that is a group he needs to win overwhelmingly. He's getting the majority of them. He needs those voters.
JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: They're going to have to make the decision here in terms of religious liberty, the control of the Supreme Court by people, originalists who believe in the Constitution. Hillary Clinton's election would plunge immediately, because of all of this e-mail business, into a constitutional crisis. And they really got to make a decision here because in effect, if they choose not to vote for Donald Trump, they are voting for Hillary Clinton, however, they might wish to persuade themselves otherwise.
BURNETT: Which is the case you're trying to make for John Kasich and others.
Tim, let me ask you, because you heard that man there at the end of the Jessica's piece say I'm a Christian but I'm a pramatist, all right? And I feel like I have to confess but I'm telling people to vote for Donald Trump.
Technically, Peter Thiel, Trump supporters, openly gay, giving millions of dollars, been slammed for it in Silicon Valley, spoke out today about why he supported Donald Trump and it made me think of him when I heard that man. Let me just play what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PETER THIEL, FACEBOOK BOARD MEMBER; TRUMP SUPPORTER: Nobody thinks his comments about women were acceptable. I agree, they were clearly offensive and inappropriate. But I don't think the voters pull the lever in order to candidates' flaws. It's not a lack of judgment that leads Americans to vote for Trump. We're voting for Trump because we judge the leadership of our country to have failed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: I thought what he said there was fascinating. "People don't pull the lever in order to endorse a candidate's flaws."
TIM NAFTALI, FORMER DIRECTOR, NIXON PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY: I'd like to say two things. One, to Jeffrey's point, the e-mail business matters. But it is wrong to say it will pull us into a constitutional crisis.
Let's keep our scandals separate. It is a problem. I've just written about it. I think it matters. But to compare it to a constitutional crisis such as Watergate is not historically accurate.
To get to Mr. Thiel's comments, what's fascinating for all of us who care about politics in this country is that when evangelical Protestants became activists, politically active in the 1970s, they cared about something called the character issue. They came and said, we want -- we care about the content of the character of the person we're voting for.
Now, the pragmatic argument that Jerry Falwell Jr. made on this program meant that it didn't matter so much anymore, that now they -- and that's interesting.
[19:40:07] BURNETT: Right, that's what he was saying, I want a CEO, not a pastor. NAFTALI: Fascinating to those of us who care about politics, is that
young evangelicals are saying, no, we're not going to walk along this road with you. We do still care about the content of the character.
So, Mr. Thiel's comments aside, what's fascinating is we watch the evangelical vote is the extent to which the older pragmatists, the veterans of the moral majority years, are going to have sway over the younger people who are saying, wait a second, there's deep hypocrisy here on us supporting someone who is violating every moral tenet we hold dear.
LORD: That would be Hillary Clinton.
JACKIE KUCINICH, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: But so --
BURNETT: Quick final word to you, Jackie.
KUCINICH: At Liberty University, Jerry Falwell Jr., where he's the chancellor, I'm going to say that wrong, a group of students were revolting because they were angry about the Trump endorsement. And they wrote a letter and it was actually pulled from the student paper.
So, to your point, this is happening not only in North Carolina but across the country with young evangelicals who won't accept this.
BURNETT: All right. Thanks to all.
Next, a former attorney general who worked for George W. Bush on why James Comey is wrong. Michael Mukasey is my next guest.
Plus, who is Huma Abedin? And should Hillary Clinton part ways with her?
BURNETT: Breaking news: FBI Director James Comey has just told the FBI and Justice Department officials that he does not plan to provide the public with additional updates. He does not plan to provide until the email investigation is over.
[19:45:00] Now, Comey is now a target of scathing and bipartisan criticism tonight. He's being hammered over the timing of the announcement that the FBI was reviewing the Clinton e-mail investigation. And it is now putting his past back in the spotlight as well.
Tom Foreman is OUTFRONT.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): "Careless", "he may have broken the law:" and he should "resign" -- just some of the furious cries piling up around James Comey.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think this was a terrible err in judgment by the director. FOREMAN: The attacks mainly by Democrats have been nonstop since the
FBI director said more e-mails have come to light in the Clinton investigation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If he thinks they're significant or not significant, let him come forward and say why.
FOREMAN: But if anyone can withstand the pressure, it may be Comey, who is as a teenager was held at gunpoint in his family's New Jersey home by a notorious criminal.
Now 55, a graduate of William and Mary and a family man, he's handled plenty of high-stakes cases, prosecuting the Gambino crime family, investigating terrorist activity, even sending Martha Stewart to prison.
And he's not afraid to stand up to power. When former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft was gravely ill in 2004, some officials in the George W. Bush White House tried to get Ashcroft to approve a controversial wiretap program. Comey raced to his hospital bed to back them down.
JAMES COMEY, FBI DIRECTOR: I was very upset. I was angry. I thought I'd just witnessed an effort to take advantage of a very sick man who did not have the powers of the attorney general because they'd been transferred to me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Secretary Clinton said, "I did not e-mail any classified material to anyone on my e-mail, there is no classified material." Was that true?
COMEY: There was classified material e-mailed.
FOREMAN: Comey was just as steely when he announced no criminal charges against Hillary Clinton. Republicans rage he was covering for the Obama administration. Comey's response --
COMEY: I lead an organization that is resolutely apolitical:
FOREMAN: He was a registered Republican most of his life, although he says not anymore. And President Obama is offering at least a little cover from Democratic fire.
JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president doesn't believe that Director Comey is intentionally trying to influence the outcome of an election.
FOREMAN: But does Comey even want such support? It's hard to say. He rarely answers critics directly and he once told Congress decisions like those the FBI has to face should be made by people who don't give a hoot about politics -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Tom, thank you.
And OUTFRONT now, the former U.S. attorney general under President George W. Bush, Michael Mukasey.
Thank you very much for being with me.
So I want to get to this. FBI Director Comey says if he didn't notify Congress about these new e-mails, he felt he could be hiding relevant information before the election. And our reporter Pam Brown is now saying that tonight he still feel he did the right thing, he has no regrets about this letter that he sent to Congress on Friday.
Do you think he did the right thing?
MICHAEL MUKASEY, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well, given that he was where he was, he may very well have done the right thing because remember, he had said that no charges should be brought, that the case was closed, that no further investigating was going to be done.
In those circumstances when you he there are tens of thousands more e- mails, you have to do something. My issue is he should not have been where he was.
BURNETT: Right. And I want to give you a chance to talk about that because I know you think he made the wrong decision when he said there was no reason for charges, but I think it's very interesting what you're saying. It was different than what former Attorney General Gonzalez said. You're saying given where he is when he found out about these e-mails, you think he did have an obligation to come forth and let the public know.
MUKASEY: He's at a situation where not saying something is as much of a statement as saying something. Not saying something is saying there's nothing there.
BURNETT: He doesn't know.
MUKASEY: I.E., not disclosing it.
MUKASEY: When he doesn't know. If it comes out later on that there were tens of thousands of e-mails, there would be some question about the legitimacy of the result of the election, if Mrs. Clinton were elected.
BURNETT: So you think he may have well done the right thing.
Now, obviously, Comey has said, this is what Hillary Clinton is now saying, fine, look at the e-mails, you came to the conclusion of my e- mails there was nothing there. You're going to come to the same conclusion now. He said he found no reason to charge her after a full year-long investigation and he was very definitive about it. Here he was.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COMEY: The appropriate resolution of this case was not with a criminal prosecution. We went at this very hard to see if we could make a case. We did not find evidence sufficient to establish that she knew she was sending classified information.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: He was definitive.
MUKASEY: I know, he was definitive in what he said. What he said was not accurate.
BURNETT: Now, how -- why do you think -- why do you think it was not accurate?
MUKASEY: When he said we went at this very hard to see if we can make a case, I know what it look like when the FBI goes after something very hard to see if they can make a case. They ask the Justice Department to use a grand jury to get evidence. They interview the subject of the investigation at the beginning, not at the end, and they doggedly pursue evidence.
[19:50:03] Here, none of those things was done.
BURNETT: So, you don't think they did their full job at that time. But, you know, a lot of people defended him at the sometime. Obviously, now, everyone's sides have switched. But Peter King, a Republican who back then when Donald Trump obviously was slamming him every time he got a chance.
Here's what Peter King said about Comey.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: I think it's a mistake for Republicans to somehow think Comey was in on a fix or he was rigging something. He's of unimpeachable integrity. Listen, he could have indicted Hillary Clinton if he wanted to, there was enough evidence there. He made a very good case saying why he didn't.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MUKASEY: I like Peter King. Peter King is a friend of mine. Peter King knows nothing at all about investigating cases. OK?
Number one, this wasn't Comey's call. It is not his function. As director of the FBI to decide who gets charges and who doesn't. It's his function to gather evidence and he didn't fulfill that function very well, but it's certainly not his function to get up and pronounce whether charges should be brought or whether a reasonable prosecutor would ever bring them.
BURNETT: So, it would sound like then from your thinking about July, that you actually would celebrate what he's doing now. Because now, he's coming out and saying he certainly no bias for Hillary Clinton by coming out with this ten days before the election, right? I mean, in fact, he's being accused of the opposite, Harry Reid saying he's violating the Hatch Act and playing politics.
MUKASEY: That's baloney. No, I'm not celebrating it. I don't think he should have been in this
fix. I don't think he should have put either himself or the bureau or Justice Department in this way.
BURNETT: The issue of the Hatch Act just to be clear, baloney, you do not think there's any violation there?
MUKASEY: No. It's sort of an amusing talking points for about 3 1/2 seconds, but it's not serious.
BURNETT: All right. Well, thank you very much. I appreciate your time, Michael Mukasey, as we said, former attorney general.
And OUTFRONT next, top Clinton aide Huma Abedin off the trail again today. She's always by Hillary Clinton's side but not in the past few days. Can Clinton cut ties with a woman that she's called her second daughter?
[19:55:05] BURNETT: Tonight, Huma Abedin, again, not on the campaign trail with Hillary Clinton, the third day in a row she has stayed behind after being a constant shadow for Clinton. There's no word on whether she'll return one week out from Election Day. It is no secret, Clinton and Abedin are incredibly close -- so close, Clinton's called her a second daughter.
But will Clinton cut Abedin loose now?
Brian Todd is OUTFRONT.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight, one of Hillary Clinton's closest confidants may have become one of her biggest liabilities.
HUMA ABEDIN, CLINTON AIDE: I'll be making no further comments. Thank you.
TODD: Huma Abedin, who has spent much of her career in Clinton shadow is again being pushed unwillingly into the spotlight after the FBI director said e-mails related to the Clinton server investigation showed up on a laptop computer owned by Abedin's estranged husband, Anthony Weiner.
Sources tell CNN the FBI discovered those e-mails when it was investigating a report that Weiner exchanged sexually suggestive messages with a 15-year-old girl. A source familiar with the investigation says Abedin was surprised that Weiner's computer contained e-mails that may belong to Abedin and there's no indication at the moment that Abedin did anything wrong.
JOHN PODESTA, HILLARY CLINTON CAMPAIGN CHAIRMAN: I think Huma's been completely cooperative with the authority.
TODD: But tonight, she is off Clinton's plane. Sources say she is lying low. There are reports that she is hunkered down at home.
Abedin and Clinton's relationship stretches 20 years. Dating back to when Abedin was a White House intern. Stolen campaign e-mails released by WikiLeaks show she is at times both Clinton's helper and historian. It was Clinton who reportedly encouraged Abedin to go on a date with then-New York Congressman Anthony Weiner. They married in 2010. Bill Clinton officiated.
But then came Weiner's sexting scandals starting in 2011, when Breitbart News posted racy images of Weiner in his underwear which he allegedly sent to another woman. Weiner resigned from Congress. Abedin stayed by his side.
Two years later while Weiner was running for New York mayor, more explicit images were revealed. He used a pseudonym "Carlos Danger" to send sexually charged messages to other women.
ABEDIN: I love him. I have forgiven him. I believe in him. As we have said from the beginning, we are moving forward.
TODD: Some in the Clinton orbit believe Abedin should have broken ties with Weiner then and were especially frustrated when they learned she had agreed to participate in a behind the scenes documentary of Weiner's mayoral run. At one point in the film, Abedin clearly looks agitated as Weiner apologizes to his staff.
ANTONY WEINER (D), FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN: The level of guilt and pain that I feel, I'm very sorry I put everyone in this position.
TODD: Now, just moments ago, I received a statement from Huma Abedin's attorney, Karen Dunn. Ms. Dunn says in the statement that from the beginning, Huma Abedin has been fully and voluntarily cooperating with State Department and law enforcement firms, that that cooperation has been praised by members of Congress.
The attorney Karen Dunn said Ms. Abedin only learned for the first time on Friday from press reports of the possibility that a laptop belonging to Mr. Weiner could contain e-mails of hers and she says that while the FBI has not contacted them about this, Ms. Abedin will continue to be, as she has always been, forthcoming and cooperative.
The headline there, Erin -- the FBI according to the attorney not contacting them yet about this part of the investigation.
BURNETT: Which is a fascinating development.
All right. Brian Todd, thank you.
And I want to go straight to David Gergen, adviser to four presidents including Reagan and Clinton. David, the big question here, you know, Huma Abedin is always by
Hillary Clinton's side. They are friends. They are colleagues and psychologically obviously she's very important to Hillary Clinton.
Is there any way that she would cut ties with her?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: She should not now. Huma has been intensely loyal to Hillary for 20 years, and in turn, Hillary must be loyal to her now. And frankly, you don't want to do this right before the election, anyway.
What I do think is that during the transition, if there is a transition, if Mrs. Clinton is elected, they're going to have to let this investigation play out and see whether it has, removes all the clouds over Huma, which case I think it's a lot easier for her to come back and be by Mrs. Clinton's side, or whether, in fact, she's going to face legal issues of her own which it will be difficult to come back.
There's the additional question, Erin, can she get security clearance if she comes into the government and has anything to do with national security?
BURNETT: Which, of course, I know is a question Comey raised about Clinton, herself.
Thank you very much, David Gergen.
BURNETT: Thanks for joining us.
"A360" starts right now.