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New CNN/ORC Polls: Race Tightening in Key States; Pres. Obama Knocks FBI Director on Email Decision; Pres. Obama Urges African- Americans To Protect His Legacy; Trump Encourages Early Voters To Change Their Minds. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired November 2, 2016 - 20:00   ET


[20:00:04] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. Thanks for joining us.

We are six days away from filling the job opening down there behind us. The race tightening. The candidates maneuvering both, holding late events in key states. Hillary Clinton in Arizona, Donald Trump speaking now in Florida.

The Clinton campaign no longer running out the clock throwing money, resources and big name surrogates back into states they once considered safe. Former President Bill Clinton, Vice President Biden, President Obama. Some key Trump surrogates out as well, including most of his family.

And while the Clinton campaign has shifted out of "play it safe" mode, Donald Trump appears to be leaning towards it, staying on prompter and on message, saying just moments ago to the crowd and to himself, quote, "stay on point Donald, on point."

Each campaign now calculating, recalculating, and it goes without saying, crunching what's become a flood of polling data, which is where we begin with CNN "INSIDE POLITICS" anchor John King breaking its down by the numbers.

So, a ton of new polling today in battleground and other important states. What's the bottom line, John?

JOHN KING, CNN "INSIDE POLITICS" ANCHOR: The bottom line, Anderson, as you can say tonight, something you could not last week, and that is that Donald Trump is back in the hunt. Still a steep hill but back in the hunt.

Let me go through some of these polls you. We'll start with CNN polling.

CNN polling today in the state of Florida -- look at this. The ultimate battleground, the closest state between Romney and Obama four years ago, looks like it's going to go to the very end again. Hillary Clinton up 49, 47, but that's a statistical tie. Slight advantage Clinton in the state of Florida.

This one is the biggest surprise today. A blue state that hasn't gone Republican since 1988. Yes, Clinton still leads in Pennsylvania but by just four points among likely voters. So, keep an eye on Pennsylvania in the final weeks. Democrats didn't think they would have to speak that sentence.

Now, let's move west, Anderson. Hillary Clinton is in Arizona tonight. A week ago, there was a public poll showing her ahead, but look at our new data. Among likely voters, Donald Trump at 49, Hillary Clinton at 44. What has been a ruby red state out in Arizona.

Here's another surprise, next door in Nevada -- Latino votes, key for President Obama. He won twice and won it pretty handily twice. Look at this, 49-43 among likely voters, Donald Trump leading in the state of Nevada.

So, let me move this way. Few other polls out today, non-CNN polling. The most significant, a Quinnipiac University poll in the state of Ohio, absolutely essential to Donald Trump.

Plus five, North Carolina, Hillary Clinton ahead but plus three. That is a very close state. And in Wisconsin leading by six, but that state has been a little bigger than that when you look at previous polls. So, little bit closer in a blue state.

That's a lot to digest, so let me bring it to you this way. Seven polls, here's we have the race. If Hillary Clinton can hold these blues, we may have drama in the final day, she still wins.

But watch this, if Donald Trump holds Nevada, holds Arizona, wins Ohio and let's assume because he's consolidating Republicans out west, let's assume that's enough and many Democrats would agree to overcome the never Trump challenger Evan McMullin in Utah. That gets Donald Trump to 220.

That's why these two states the most important battlegrounds over the next several days, if Hillary Clinton can hold them, a little drama at the end, but she's the next president. If Donald Trump can get Florida and get North Carolina, that gets Donald Trump to 264, Anderson -- 264 is within striking distance.

At that point, Hillary Clinton is looking at the blues. Looking at the blues, can you stop him from taking any one of the blues at this point? Anyone of the blues at this point, except this one. Don't want to add too much drama to the conversation. But if Donald Trump won New Hampshire, where he's going twice in the next several days, that would give you 268-268, and we'd be looking for congressional districts here and here to see who wins or whether we get 269, 269.

COOPER: And you are saying it is plausible for Trump to win North Carolina and Florida, obviously. Democrats would say wait she leads in both states after a few tough days. So, why is it plausible? Is it a trend?

KING: These are just two of the toughest states in American politics.

Let me come back to the other map and show you, if you go back to Florida in 2012. This is our 2016 map which will start fill on Tuesday. But if you go to this, this was the closest state, 50 to 49 between Obama and Romney in 2012. A very competitive state.

Now, Hillary Clinton is ahead right now. They think early voting especially among Latinos will help them, but it is entirely plausible to think Donald Trump could still win Florida. If you are down one or two, then you are in the hunt into the final days. A very tough state for Democrats, for anybody. It's a very competitive state.

North Carolina, same thing. Remember Obama won it in '08, Romney took it in 2012, and a very close race here. And we do know that in the early voting, so far, the Democrats say they'll catch up by the end of the week. But in the early voting so far, African-American turnout is down.

So, you'd have to say North Carolina is in play as well. Yes, a slight advantage for Clinton. She has more money. She has a better organization, we believe, but they are definitely in play, without a doubt.

COOPER: And Hillary Clinton more than doubling ad spending in the final week, from $14 million to more than $30 million. Is that polling that drove that decision?

KING: Absolutely. Remember, they see these numbers before we do. Campaigns are polling every night. They did see these numbers way before us.

So, she's back on the air in Colorado. She's back on the air in Wisconsin. She's increased her ad buys in Michigan. She's increased her ad buys in these battleground states we just talked about.

But she's trying to protect the blue. If she can protect the blue, she'll be the next president. But this is not where they thought they would be.

Plus, their ads are highly negative. They thought these would be the ads of let's come together. Let's think about governing. Let's unify the country. Instead, these are ads whacking Donald Trump at every turn, trying to protect the biggest advantage she has keep in these final days, suburban woman.

[20:05:04] COOPER: Fascinating. John King, I will see you on the panel.

Now, let's see how this is playing out in the campaign trail. CNN's Sunlen Serfaty with the Trump campaign in Florida, CNN's Brianna Keilar traveling with Hillary Clinton in Arizona.

First, Sunlen at the Trump event in Pensacola.

So, back in Florida, Sunlen, Trump was, he and campaign seem to understand, it's a must-win. They have been saying that all along. What's his message tonight?

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, certainly is a must- win. And I think the fact that this state is so critical for him is reflected, Anderson, in the final closing message that we're hearing from Donald Trump. His message is very disciplined and very squarely focused on keeping up the attacks on Hillary Clinton.

He's trying -- it appears, to stay on script. He's reading more from the teleprompter. Clearly, the calculation from the Trump campaign here is do not deviate from this message over Hillary Clinton. Do not try to make a headline that steals the headlines over this message squarely focused on her.

And it was interesting, Trump opened up his rally here tonight in Pensacola, addressing this kind of talking about his newfound restraint in final days. Here is what he said moments ago.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We are going to win the White House. Going to win it. It is feeling like it already, isn't it? Just we're going to be nice and cool. Nice and cool.

Stay on point, Donald, stay on point. No side tracks, Donald. Nice and easy. Nice -- because I've been watching Hillary the last few days. She's totally unhinged. We don't want any of that. She has become unhinged.


SERFATY: Almost there, Anderson, likes Trump was in real time remembering things that his campaign advisors are telling him as they approach the final stretch. Don't do anything in essence to rock the boat.

COOPER: And he obviously I assume continues to go after Hillary Clinton's credibility or lack thereof in his opinion.

SERFATY: That's right. This is such a key part of his closing message, really trying to paint Hillary Clinton as a person and candidate that is not credible. He just today has alone has called her unhinged. He says that she's a cheater in reference to allegations that she received some debate questions or was tipped off on some big questions ahead of time.

And they are really trying to capitalize even more on the FBI investigation and the WikiLeaks, the hacked WikiLeaks e-mails. These are two things that the Trump campaign really believes in final days is a big opening to paint the picture of Hillary Clinton as not credible -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Sunlen Serfaty -- Sunlen, thanks.

Now, Hillary Clinton and a reversal from yesterday's campaigning which saw Donald Trump looking to turn a blue state red and Secretary Clinton in Florida. Tonight, it's her turn, campaigning tonight in traditionally red-leaning Arizona, expected to take stage soon.

CNN's Brianna Keilar joins us now from Tempe.

So, the Clinton campaign bringing out the big surrogates they can, including President Obama in the last days of the campaign. Is it all part of a bigger push to win over still undecided voters?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Undecided voters, as well as trying to secure African American voters. Something she's struggling with compared to how President Obama did in the last two cycles. He was in North Carolina saying to people that everything he's done is dependent on Hillary Clinton winning the White House, on passing the baton to her.

Hillary Clinton today has been hitting Donald Trump hard. She's going for those voters repelled by Donald Trump but not so sure she can cast a ballot for her. Here's what she said.


HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: On January 20th, either I or Donald Trump will be sworn in as the next president of the United States. A lot of people are still considering who to vote for. I think people who are considering voting for him say to themselves, you know, I don't like everything he says, and I don't like a lot of things he's done in his life but maybe he'll become different when he becomes president.

And then I think some people are saying, well, maybe I'll just sit this one out. You know, I don't -- I can't really make up my mind. Nothing will change if he's elected because we know who he is. As Michelle Obama says, the presidency doesn't change who you are. It reveals who you are.


KEILAR: It is not the positive message, Anderson, that Hillary Clinton was hoping to end this campaign on before Friday when her e- mail controversy exploded again. She had the breathing room in the polls to go positive. No longer is how the campaign feels.

COOPER: And as we talked about, she's also doubling ads, even in states leaning toward her. Is the campaign commenting on that? I mean, or are they just running scared here?

KEILAR: Well, that is interesting because the campaign, one of her top aides Jennifer Palmieri, saying today, look, we raised more money than we thought that we would be able to into these states that we didn't necessarily think we'd be advertising in Michigan and Wisconsin.

But make no mistakes: a lot of this is buying insurance that perhaps Hillary Clinton didn't need before Friday but that the campaign feels that she needs now. They are still pretty cautiously optimistic I think but certainly much more concerned because of the news that broke on Friday.

COOPER: Yes. Brianna Keilar -- Brianna, thanks.

John King is back. He's brought the panel with him. CNN political analyst and "USA Today" columnist Kirsten Powers, CNN chief political correspondent Dana Bash, CNN chief political analyst Gloria Borger. Also, Trump supporters Kayleigh McEnany and Corey Lewandowski,

alongside Clinton supporters Paul Begala and Maria Cardona. They travel altogether. Paul advises a big pro-Clinton super PAC. Maria was a top adviser to 2008 Clinton campaign. Corey Lewandowski ran the Trump campaign.

Dana, I mean, are the Democrats just trying to run out the clock? Or can they no longer do that. Are they now --

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I don't think they can do that anymore. I mean, it's pretty clear all of the signals show that they are in a fight for their lives. And that Hillary Clinton is really trying to make sure all of the things they were banking on actually come true.

Early voting, we've been talking about for a couple of nights now, it's good but they are having issues with African American voters in Florida and North Carolina and elsewhere where they need to rack up that vote, millennials as well.

And the bottom line is as you were showing on the map before, a state like North Carolina. I was just talking to a Republican source who was very pessimistic, genuinely pessimistic about Donald Trump having a real path, who said that -- this source said that North Carolina is probably doable, like we can actually get North Carolina just even looking from four years ago. Mitt Romney was down in the polls going into Election Day, and he ended up winning North Carolina.

COOPER: Again, for people who now see those polls shifting, you know, it seemed like a week or two ago, there was no path to 270 for Donald Trump. Is this just -- are polls just completely unreliable or is this a real sea change because of the e-mails, because of the Obamacare premiums?

KING: Let me start with a couple of things. Number one, never invest in one poll. You show you our new CNN data today. I showed you some new Quinnipiac polls. Those are one poll. Don't think, OK, because Quinnipiac says Donald Trump is up five in Ohio, Donald Trump definitely up five in Ohio.

But it's different from -- look at trend line. If you look at the trend, it is moving towards Donald Trump. Since I finished over there, how long ago, about three minutes ago --

COOPER: Polls changed already?

KING: A new poll just released in Colorado showing a tie race. A tie in Colorado.

Now, again, it's one poll. And it's been a Democratic leaning state. It's a state built for Hillary Clinton in terms of the new Democratic coalition. So, don't go running to Vegas and increase your bet on Donald Trump because of one poll in Colorado.

But again, we're having a conversation we couldn't have with a straight face last week. That Donald Trump is in the hunt and he has a plausible path and if Colorado is tied, he has more than one possible path to 270 electoral votes. Why? There's a simple answer for this. When the race is about her, she struggles. When the race is about Trump, she does well.

But when it's about her, if you look at the internals in our poll, there are many polls to me to go through all this, when you look at internals on the polls, he leads on the biggest issues. All of our swing states, he leads on who would best handle the economy, just important. That's what voters care about. And number two, her honest and trustworthy numbers are even worse now than a week so ago. That is a recipe for Trump --

BASH: And the other thing I just want to add, if I could real quick. It's not just about the public polls, it's about what our sources are telling us that they see in their private poll. The ones they don't make public but that determine where they buy ad space, which is Clinton is everywhere.


KING: And they saw this yesterday and the day before. The Clinton campaign saw this. They are moving a day or two ago to do this.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: You mentioned Colorado for about the last five or six days, I've been talking to Republicans who say Colorado is a tie. And I've been talking to Republicans who also say Michigan is within one point.

I know Paul Begala thinks that's absolutely nuts but there is such -- and he will say it. But there is such disparity sometimes between the internal polls of each camp. Democrats say you're crazy. Republicans say it's one point today. Colorado poll that looks like --


COOPER: Also interesting, Kirsten, Donald Trump has been very much on message the last couple of days and we heard him giving himself, you know, I'd guess a pep talk or whatever it would be, or just speaking out loud but with his internal voice.

I mean, he's been doing that and now saying Hillary Clinton is the one who is unhinged. She's the one who's attacking his character. He's sort of, you know, staying, not making -- trying not to make any mistakes.

KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. I mean, I think, you know, John laid out a path and I think that we have to give Donald Trump his due, honestly. Because I don't think many people thought he would be here at this point. Now, granted --

COOPER: These two did.

POWERS: Yes. Well, but granted, we have to remember that something did intervene and that was FBI Director Comey coming out and doing what he did.

KING: Also Obamacare. Obamacare thing started.

POWERS: Yes. But I think her biggest problem has been the trustworthy issue. And I think that of all the things that could happen to have that be what happened, I think has definitely harmed her.

And the other issue she's having trouble with millennials and millennials are not really going to be motivated by the "be scared of Trump" message.

[20:15:03] They need hope. There are these Obama surge voters who turned out base they believed in Obama. And so, she's going to have to give them some other message to get them to turn out.

BORGER: But that's what Obama is doing.

POWERS: Right.

BORGER: Obama is out on stump, giving them hope and saying, if you want hope, you better elect her.

COOPER: But, Corey, do people vote for a surrogate? I mean, it seems like they don't vote for surrogates. They vote for the candidate.

COREY LEWANDOWSKI, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, I think that's right. And I think what you see is this president is probably being more political than any president in recent history, when they're trying to get someone else elected following them in a term.

But what I think you also see and John didn't mention is the latest poll in Virginia, which is done by a university, has Donald Trump up three points in the state of Virginia. This is a state where Tim Kaine, the U.S. senator, is the vice presidential nominee for the Democratic Party.

If that state becomes in play, I'm not saying it is, but I think it is one poll of many. That means the path now could go through Virginia, can go through Colorado, can go through Michigan. It gives Donald Trump the opportunity to expand the map.

And what I think the campaign is doing for the first time in the last seven to ten days is they are on the offense. The Clinton campaign is on the defense. It's a very difficult thing.

And campaigns are about momentum. When you come down to the last six or seven days of a campaign, you want the wind at your back. You want the people to feel I'm going to support the winner. And right now, whether you believe all the polls or some of the polls, Donald Trump has that momentum. The polls are showing it. I think the team feels it and they are pushing as hard as they can to keep that momentum.

COOPER: Paul, I don't see you rocking in your special place. So --


PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: People say things like this to make themselves feel better when they are losing. But look to data, OK? And I look at the data.

Look at the CNN polling that John just walked us through. In Florida, CNN has Hillary up by two. The last CNN poll in Florida, she was down by three. So, that's momentum to her. That is plus five for Hillary there.

In Pennsylvania, she's three points better than the last CNN poll. She's up in Pennsylvania, in our poll, the CNN poll, by four. Last one, she was only up by one.

In Nevada, she's had a eight point erosion. So there is a real problem in Nevada for Hillary. Real gain for Trump.

There's real reporting about the actual vote in Nevada, early vote more encouraging for Hillary but this is real.

In Arizona, Trump's still up by five in the CNN poll. That's two points worse than the last time CNN polled it.

Here is my advice. Don't cherry pick, right? Don't -- cherry pie. Look at the aggregates. OK? And/or trust the trend.

If CNN has been polling for several months in Florida, look at how she's been doing in the last poll compared to this one. And I look at all that, she's -- we ought -- Democrats ought to sprint to the takedown, fight like the future of the country is on it because it is. But I'd much rather be her than him.

KELLY MCENANY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: But there's countervailing data, I think it's important to point out. Let's look at the aggregate. In Florida, for instance, he's up 1.3 percentage point, RealClearPolitics average. He's up in early voting as well.

Ohio, he's consistently up. If he wins Florida and Ohio, and if he keeps North Carolina, that is important. If he wins North Carolina, wins Ohio, Florida, wins Nevada as the CNN poll shows, wins Iowa, then he has multiple paths.

He essentially needs to flip one blue state, like Frank Luntz said. Hillary has hemorrhaged 60 electoral votes in one week. He needs to flip one blue. Yes. Here's where I grant you with --

BEGALA: If Hillary wins everything from Maine to Hawaii, she'll win the election.


MCENANY: Here's where I grant you. He has to be perfect in this. So these narrow leads have to come out. He has to be perfect. He can't lose North Carolina. He can't lose Florida.

But this is what we've been saying time and time again. This vote that doesn't want to come out and tell pollsters they are for Donald Trump, that vote can be the deciding factor.

COOPER: John, what do you think of -- KING: I don't know about the secret Trump vote. A lot of Democrats

think there could be potentially out there in some states. We'll see if that happens.

There are a lot of people won't say they are for Hillary, because of her problems, afraid to have that conversation. So let's -- we'll figure that out on Election Day.

I do think -- look, there is actually agreement over there in the middle of the disagreement that the trend line is moving Donald Trump's way. And Paul is right --

BEGALA: I don't think that's what I said --

MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I don't think that's what Paul said.

BEGALA: Nevada.

KING: Nevada is moving --


KING: If you look at -- this now looks on the map very much like the Obama/Romney race. The states aren't the same but it's a very close --

CARDONA: We'll take it.

KING: -- and it's going to come down who wins Ohio in the last two days, who wins North Carolina in the last two days, who wins Florida in the last two days.

COOPER: Maria, to that point.

KING: In 2012, Obama won two of the three.


COOPER: If John is saying look at the trends, I mean, if the concern is for Democrats that the trend line is going towards Trump, you still got six days left to go.

CARDONA: Well, except for you do have to look at the state by state. And so, I will underscore what Paul said, you know, in Florida she was down two points in the Bloomberg poll just last week. So, if you're going to look at that trend --

KING: Florida was always -- I don't mean to interrupt but Florida was always going to be like this. The issue is, she's in Arizona today. This was supposed to be part of the mandate.


COOPER: We actually got to take a quick break. We'll have more with Maria. We've got two hours. Don't worry. More ahead, including President Obama breaking his silence, taking aim

at FBI Director James Comey. Some sharp words are for his e-mail announcement which shook the Democratic campaign.

[20:20:00] Also an adviser and defender of his on why the director did what he did. He's been talking to him. He knows.

A busy night. Both candidates on the stump, voting six days away. Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock.

Be right back.


COOPER: Fireworks tonight at the Trump event in Florida, and from the White House. President Obama with some tough words for FBI Director James Comey's decision to go public on the Anthony Weiner/Huma Abedin's emails, speaking to now this news for an interview released today, he did not want to meddle with how the FBI does its job. However, listen.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I do think that there is a norm that, you know, when there are investigations we don't operate on innuendo, we don't operate on incomplete information. We don't operate on leaks.


COOPER: President Obama did not mention Director Comey by name. However, the implication seems clear.

Joining us now, a defender and director, and we should point out, an adviser to him as well, Columbia University law professor and former federal prosecutor, Daniel Richman.

Thanks so much for being with us.

Dan, when you hear President Obama saying FBI Director Comey operated on innuendo and incomplete information, leaks here. What do you make of that?

DANIEL RICHMAN, COMEY ADVISER: I didn't hear exactly the way you did. Less of an allegation with regard to the director and more as a general statement they got to say makes perfect sense. You know, you generally do complete investigations and speak only after them.

The only complication here is that the director did announce the completion.

[20:25:02] And it turned out that the investigation had to be continued because of new e-mails.

I also have to say that the president was right about being careful about innuendo. You know, the fact that some new e-mails have been uncovered which the bureau has not at least according to reporting looked at, means that there is some new e e-mails to look at. Nothing more.

I mean, I keep reading this swirl of claims about what might be them and what might not. The director didn't know when he made the statement. It doesn't appear that he's in a position to be clear about it now.

But to jump to conclusions that these say anything different what's already been seen seems strange.

So, I think the president is right to sort of dial this back and the only difference being the president's wish that announcing a completion meant completion. Just didn't happen to be true in this case.

COOPER: Should Director Comey have made that clearer in his announcement? I mean, he said he hadn't seen them and, you know, he doesn't know the significance if there was any. But should he have been clearer. Because there's certainly a lot of critics who said that his letter, his statement to Congress basically raised more questions than it answered.

RICHMAN: I got say, I read the criticism and I don't know what more one could do, when one has been told of a trove of possibly pertinent e-mails and that's all you know, particularly subject to warrant process that would allow further review and that is being done.

But at the time he gave the heads up, it sounded all clear and it probably isn't going to be the case that before the election we know what's in them. So, the question is, do you stay silent and let people trust your statement that you completed the investigation when in fact you are going forward? Or do you just say I've got some new e-mails too look at?

Do you put maybe we really mean that we haven't seen it asterisk? I guess. I speak English and I think his letter conveyed what people are looking for. And if they want to read more into it, you know, I got to say this is an amazing election. So, one can never predict.

COOPER: For you, how much is what Comey did about protecting the independence of the FBI? And protecting it for whoever comes into the office in a couple weeks?

RICHMAN: I think that is his main focus here. What people seem to forget is there is nothing he could have done once he heard about the email that would not have political ramifications.

To stay silent is to let people assume that the investigation was closed because he had said it was completed, where it turns out there is reason to go forward. To speak is to run the risk, as we are seeing now, of people saying he's interfering.

So, no matter there is a political valence to it. The only question is, are we going to be aware of it or not? And I think he opted for transparency. COOPER: I think some of our reporters have question.

BORGER: I want to go back to some -- Gloria Borger here.


BORGER: I want to go back to something that Anderson was asking you before, which is at the outset of this, Dan, why didn't the FBI director specify, just what you were saying, that we don't know who sent thesis these e-mails, we don't know if these are duplicates, we don't know if there is any there, there? But there is this trove of e-mails that we feel we need to investigate. Why wasn't he more specific out that?

RICHMAN: I think he was trying to walk that fine line between giving people room for speculation and articulating some position. The fact is he doesn't know whether they are duplicates or not. I as a citizen am speculating. I think that Americans all over can draw their own conclusion.

As a voter my position is, is there any reason to think what here is different? And if not, just wait for them to do their thing. As the director, his words actually I'd like to think carry a lot more credence, importance and credibility than mine do. And when he speaks, he's got on the sure of what he says and not speculate.

You know, as a lawyer, when we use the word "pertinent", we are dialing down our understanding of something's connection to something else. When you say maybe pertinent that's as dialed down as one can get.

And when one hasn't seen anything other than knowing that agents have found what they think might be pertinent and need to stop at that point, that's the information you have. And yes --

BORGER: Why didn't he say that though? Why didn't he say we haven't read them? We don't know what's in them?

RICHMAN: I thought his letter was pretty darn clear about that.

COOPER: Dana, you have a question?

BASH: Yes. Mr. Richman, it's Dana Bash.

So, you talked about the fact that he allowed for speculation, which when you are a week out of an election is the worst thing politically that you can do obviously because it allows her opponent to, you know, sort of say what they think it is, which is, of course, that she committed a crime.

[20:00:12] So given the fact that he found this information. He wanted sort of follow-up and make sure it got out there, so he wasn't accuse of covering it up afterwards.

Why didn't he get a warrant, get all the agents that he possibly could on this and figure out the answer to the question that he doesn't know the answer to sooner so that there wouldn't be so much of a gray area. Go through the documents, find out if they are duplicates, found out if there is actually is a "there" there.

RICHMAN: I got to say I'm not aware of the exact time line. I only know from the press reports of what happened before it came to the directors' attention. What I do know is it came to his attention last Thursday and he acted immediately on that. And at least again according to press reports it doesn't look like they are going to be reviewed before the election.

So the idea that he could have answered these questions that are on everybody's mind is a great hope, it just doesn't look like it is something that could have been accomplished and will not be accomplished. You know, we have to deal regularly as grown ups with uncertainty. And I think it's great for us to speculate and we need to, one of the things we need to do as humans is speculate.

I think his job is to be absolutely clear about his position when he says an investigation is complete. It's complete. When it's no longer complete, he should inform the American public that it is no longer complete. That there is something else to look at. Is there any reason to believe there is something else to look at that there is something else of pertinence? Maybe. We don't know what's in the box. That is the point.

COOPER: Professor, we have time for one more from John King.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Professor when you know the history in this town and you know Director Comey very well. During the Bill Clinton administration there was open feuding with FBI Director Louis Freeh and led to Louis Freeh leaving. After this -- excuse me, when Hillary Clinton has essentially said and some aides have directly said they think what Director Comey is doing here is putting his thumb on the scale and trying to influence in election, if she wins the election, let's set aside the investigation, we don't know what's going to happen. If she wins the election and the investigation leads to no other incidents, can they have a functioning relationship? Or would he have to leave?

RICHMAN: I imagine they will have a functioning relationship. He certainly has I believe near eight years left on his term. I have to say that deep closeness between the head of the FBI and the president is always going to be a little complicated in a world that we live in, where criminal investigations are mix with politics all too often.

If the director of the FBI is seen as the servant of the White House that's a problem. So, I think they can work together? Yes. I certainly think that one of the -- the one thing that at least to me is clear about the director's actions here is that he's focusing on the governments project. I'd like to think who ever is president next will also be focusing on the need for credibility with Congress. The need for credibility with the American people and the need to let people be sure their federal enforcement agencies are not involved in politics. Is that hard? Yes. Is it understandable for a new president? I would think so.

COOPER: Professor Richman, appreciate your time tonight. Thank you very much. We got a much more to talk about with the panel.

Just ahead more on President Obama with a tightening race in North Carolina. He hit the trail there today. Telling voters his legacy is hanging in the balance. We'll talk about it that in a moment.


[20:37:07] COOPER: More breaking news tonight. A new Quinnipiac University poll has North Carolina too close to call, Hillary Clinton has a 3-point lead over Donald Trump and that s within the margin of error. Gary Johnson is in the single digits. Well a CNN poll of polls in North Carolina shows Clinton leading Trump 46 to 42 percent.

Today President Obama paid his third visit to the crucial state since July in Chapel Hill. He urge college students and African-Americans to vote for Clinton and condemned efforts to suppress turnout.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A few years ago in North Carolina, Republicans passed a law to make it harder for African-Americans to vote. That is not my opinion. Earlier this year a federal judge said that based on the evidence, those who voted for these laws targeted black voters with -- and I'm quoting "surgical precision". It was one of the worst voter suppression laws in the country. Here in North Carolina. Not back in the 1960s, now.


COOPER: President Obama also expressed concern that fewer African- Americans are voting early this year than in 2012. In a radio interview with Tom Joyner, he warned that his legacy is hanging in the balance.


OBAMA: But if we let this thing slip, and I've got a situation where my last two months in office are preparing for a transition to Donald Trump whose staff people have said that their primary agenda is to have him in the first couple of weeks, sit in the Oval Office and reverse every single thing that we've done?

And so if you really care about my presidency and what we've accomplished, then you are going to go and vote.


COOPER: President Obama will be back in North Carolina on Friday. Another measure of the stakes and uncertainty. Here is Randi Kaye.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: At Mama Dips Kitchen in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Voters are crossing their fingers that African- Americans show up at the polls.

NAY HOWELL, CLINTON SUPPORTER: We absolutely need you at the polls. We need you voting.

KAYE: Nay Howell has already voted for Hillary Clinton and is working hard to get others in the African-American community to do the same.

HOWELL: And some push back that I've received is the two presidential candidates are just the same. They both lie. They both this, they both that.

KAYE: How different was it when Barack Obama was on the ticket for the African-American community?

HOWELL: Oh my goodness. I cannot describe to you the sense of wonder.

KAYE: President Obama is appealing to black voters to support Clinton on Election day. It part he says, so we can pass the baton to someone who believes in the same things he does.

You do feel like you owe it to the president, do you support Hillary Clinton this time around?

BRYON VICKER, CLINTON SUPPORTER: Yes, yes and so many words I do feel that. I don't think he was given a fair shot the whole time. We've come a long way. We still have a long way to go and hopefully Hillary will take us the west rest of the way that we need to get there.

[20:40:04] KAYE: And that is why you feel you owe to it him?

B. VICKER: Yes, ma'am. That is one.

KAYE: To continue his work?

B. VICKER: Yes, ma'am.

So when President Obama says it would be an insult to his legacy if you don't vote for Hillary Clinton, do you believe that?

HOWELL: I absolutely do. Because Secretary Clinton is going to continue much of the work that the two of them have been doing for the past eight years. Whether they saw eye to eye on everything or not.

KAYE: This voter agrees.

WARD FAULKNER, CLINTON SUPPORTER: I think it would take away from some of his legacy if you don't support some of the issues that she's raised. And I think she's just a person to do it with all of her experience.

KAYE: Does the idea of continuing Barack Obama's legacy motivate you to vote for Hillary Clinton?

STEPHANIE VICKERS, CLINTON SUPPORTER: It does. The night that he got elected I was on the phone with my grandmother and she said she never thought in her lifetime she would ever see an African-American be president. And now she's saying that about a woman. So, same thing.

KAYE: So motivates you too.

S. VICKERS: Yes it does.

KAYE: Motivation is key in the Tar Heel state where Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are virtually tied. African-American voters could make the difference. But this man feels he owes nothing to the president and won't vote Clinton just to preserve Obama's legacy.

Are you considering not voting?


KAYE: Are you friends considering not voting.

COUNCIL: Oh yeah. A lot of them does.

KAYE: What do they all tell you? What is the general feeling people don't want to go to the polls.

COUNCIL: They may it's a choice thing.

KAYE: They don't trust either?

COUNCIL: They don't trust the candidates , they don't trust what they are saying. They feel like they are just being lied to do gain votes.

KAYE: And to all those suggesting Hillary Clinton will just be another four years of Barack Obama, her supporters here say bring it on.

HOWELL: I think that she will support the same platform issues that he did. And I think that it would be a type of victory for what he was trying to accomplish in eight years.


COOPER: And Randi joins us now from Chapel Hill, North Carolina. So what are voters you spoke with doing to get out the vote in their communities?

KAYE: Anderson, one woman told me she has a 90-year-old mother who lives in assisted living two hours away from here and the other day she drove that two hours got her mother out and got her mother out to vote specifically for Hillary Clinton. That's how important it is, because so many African-Americans here like you heard in the story there have said they are not going to vote. That's because they feel frustrated. They disillusioned regarding President Obama. They feel that he was mistreated in Washington, he was disrespected by Congress and even by the country. And they sense racism happening even at the highest levels. So it is so important to this community that people do get out to vote that African-Americans here do get to the polls, vote for Hillary Clinton to preserve President Obama's legacy, Anderson.

COOPER: Randi, thanks very much. Back with the panel. Joining the conversation, CNN political commentator Bakari Sellers, a Clinton supporter, former South Carolina law maker. Bakari, let's start with you. As a Clinton supporter, you know, to hear that gentlemen speaking about not going out and vote, how worried ...

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well I think it's disturbing and it worries you a little bit. But what worries me even more is what the president was talking about when he talked about the surgical precision that government -- Governor McCory in the North Carolina legislature went about rooting out early voting and discriminating his African-American. Let me read to you something really quick.

The justification in North Carolina uses says, counties with Sunday voting in 2014 were disproportionately black and disproportionately Democratic. That was their justification for pulling back on the early voting locations.

Since last Thursday we've seen those locations open up. In the last three days 108,000 African-Americans have voted. That's up 6 percent from the same period last year. And so African-Americans once we get past that impediment of the voter suppression. And let me just tell you one thing, we've come a long way when it comes to the right to vote in this country. And I'm not sure that African-Americans in North Carolina are going to let Governor mcCory or anybody else prevent them from doing that.

I love the narrative that we're pushing, that all of a sudden I think the new term is that African-American turn out is soft. Absolutely I love it. Because what it does is it makes it seem like the house is on fire. And that is what we need for everyone to show up and vote, because if we don't vote on November 8th then the house is going to burn down.

COOPER: Kayleigh?

MCENANY: All right, you are making a strong man argument. And it's laughable. This is like -you're your criticizing Obama for saying the election is rigged. Now it's voter suppression when black turn is down. Let's me give you an example.

SELLERS: No, no, no, no, that's not what I said ...


SELLERS: ... I just quoted ...

MCENANY: Let me finish.

SELLERS: ... I quoted the stated of the North Carolina.

MCENANY: In "New York Times" I suggest you pick a copy up. Today had an article all about Barack turnout being down. We all know the "New York Times" is hardly a friend of conservatism. Let's go to Florida where early voting was expanded by days to account for the hurricane. In Florida black turnout is down from 25 percent last time around ...

SELLERS: Because that's...

MCENANY: ... in percentage.

SELLERS: It's a share.


SELLERS: Use wrong numbers.


SELLERS: You are conflating.

MCENANY: It's down 10 percent.

SELLERS: No, no, no, you're conflating, because what we have right now is the fact that the wrong numbers in Florida. And yes you're not going to have what happened in 2012 or 2008. Hillary Clinton's coalition is going to look different but the raw numbers show that African-Americans are still turning out. But you know what I want you and everyone else to continue to push the narrative that African- Americans are going stay at home because that just energizes the base that's been disenfranchised in this country for a long time.

[20:45:08] And if you want to talk about voter suppression we can, because what Governor McCory did what I read to you from the state of North Carolina is what George Wallace did, what Bull Connor did. It's the same thing of suppressing the vote. But this time they are not using war hosed, they used the legislature.

MCENANY: But turnout is going to be down and here is why. Here's why. I listened to Obama today and he said about six times they refrain that choose hope, chose hope, choose hope. Well guess what voters chose hope two times around and guess what they got. 24 million working aged folks out of the labor force half of people on Obamacare, are canceling appointments because they can't afford, they go to doctor.

Obama chose hope ...

SELLERS: Let me -- but let me just tell you ...

MCENANY: ... well guess what, African-American those hoping ...

SELLERS: Let me tell you what.

MCENANY: ... he has failed this community.

SELLERS: Let me tell you what black people got from Barack Obama. Let me tell you what they, they got insurance. They got somebody who cares about clemency. They got an example in the White House. There is a picture that everyone at this table has seen of a young black boy who set there and the president has to lean over and he reached up and touched his head and told his parents that his hair feels like mine. That is an example. That is what people vote for.

And yes we had gains and we lad a lot of gains because what he came in with after the bush presidency. You cannot talk about the desperation and despair. And where we are now. We want to build on those gains. We still want -- we want people to talk about criminal justice reform. I love my insurance. These are positive things. We're going to build on those gains. This is not ...

COOPER: So overall do you believe African-American turnout -- you're saying there is no doubt it will be lower than 2012, 2008 just by ...


COOPER: ... nature of the candidate.

SELLERS: I believe it will be lower than 2008, 2012. But for example in Florida and Gloria and I have been talking backstage about this a lot. But in Florida the percentage of registered voters is 13.9 percent African-American. They're going to on par with that, it's 11.5, 12 percent now. They're going to run on par with that in Florida. You know, what's going to happen when they run on par because of the up tick of Hispanic vote, you're now going to have a more diverse electorate than 2012. So, please keep saying the house is on fire.

All my friends are saying, oh my god win that voting, you know, what they doing they know (ph) nothing, we're early voting right now, like crazy.

BORGER: Well the Latino electorate is not just an up tick.

SELLERS: No it is ...

BORGER: It's huge.

SELLERS: It's a tidal waive.

BORGER: Yes, it's a tidal -- it's more -- it's double. At least.

COOPER: Let's take a quick break. We're going continue the conversation when we come back. More ahead.


[20:50:46] COOPER: Take a look there. We're waiting for Hillary Clinton to speak in Tempe, Arizona. That's a live picture. We're talking about early voting who is and who is not and whether or not African-American voters are going to stay home in larger numbers and they have in the past.

President Obama again in North Carolina. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: Those who wanted to suppress the vote, they're going to fail. The law was struck down. Your rights have been restored. Right now, there are more one stop early votes sites in North Carolina than ever before. You can register and vote at any sites in your county, as long as you do it by Saturday. It's easier to vote than ever in North Carolina. But if you don't vote, then you've done the work of those who would suppress your vote without them having to lift a finger. Come on.


COOPER: Is it clear how much impact President Obama can have? I mean out on the campaign trail to get voters out?

BASH: When he makes it personal like he has been, a little bit less so there but much more on the Tom Joyner show that he was on earlier. That could what he said to the CBC and Congressional Black Caucus Center a couple weeks ago which is very blunt. This is about us. This is about me. Even if you're not -- I mean he doesn't say this explicitly. But it's pretty clear he saying, even if you're not crazy about her, do it for me. Make it -- he is making it incredibly personal. It's hard to imagine that's not something that is going to make a voter like the one -- of the ones that Randi Kaye talked to in North Carolina who is just sort of fed up with all of them, think twice about it.

COOPER: And it clearly seems like he is trying to target obviously African-American voters. I mean he was on Tom Joyner ....

BASH: Sure.

COOPER: ... he was on Swayze (ph) Show, I think on Sirius, I think the other day.

KING: The first lady has done more independents and suburban woman to the president has been more in terms of the radio. Although when he goes to this places, the young people, too. Young peoples vote -- but this is an untested question. Dana is exactly right, he's making it more personal. But that's actually untested in the sense that in 2010 and 2014, the Democrats got spanked. Now the Republicans want everything.

Legislative seats, the House, the governor's races, the Senate majority in 2014. Now the president wasn't campaigning as much as this, he wasn't welcomed by a lot of Democrats in a lot of places in those cycles.

So this cycle he is all in. Plus on steroids. I mean he is everywhere and he's doing everything they ask him to do. He's doing the radio and everything else. So we're going to find out. We're going to find out. If Bakari is right, the numbers are down right now for Democrats and African-American turnout in Ohio, in North Carolina and other places, he has his reasons, your right, fewer polling places, fewer dates, we'll see what happen, we'll see if they catch up in time. Well Tuesday night we'll settle this question but we don't know, but we don't know he certainly. Hillary Clinton will not be able to say it is his fault because of what he's doing. I mean there is nobody working hard.

COOPER: And Michelle Obama as well.

KING: She'll be back this weekend.

BORGER: And he is popular. You know, Barack Obama is his ...


BORGER: ... which is his highest rating ever. And so he's in the stratosphere. Michelle Obama is higher than that. And so together they're quite a team when they try to get out women voters, when they try and get out African-American voters, when they speak to Democrats. And say you can't sit home and by the way, his tone is so different now. He was joking about Donald Trump before. He is not joking anymore. This is serious. This is about his legacy and your life. He's one of the only candidates out there actually talking about what this means to your future.

BASH: And just to quickly add to it Corey I think you were saying earlier that the fact that it is unprecedented how political this president has been. That might be true but it is also unprecedented how welcome he is ...

BORGER: Right.

BASH: ... by his own party. I mean it has been a long time since a sitting president, especially second term president, Republican and Democrat. John McCain could not get far enough away.

SELLERS: If Ronald Reagan was very active in the campaign.

BASH: That was a long time ago.

SELLERS: But I mean that still -- that's not ...

BORGER: You remember that?


SELLERS: The point of the matter is, that this isn't something that hasn't happened before. The fact is that yes that Ronald Reagan was very active in the campaign for George H.W. Bush and yes it was 1988, it was a while ago. But let's not act like that part of history didn't exist.

LEWANDOWSKI: But Anderson, you still have to look at the American public say. Is Washington, D.C. doing right thing by the American public? Do people want to change? That's the fundamental question that people are face with. Do they want a change agent in Donald Trump or do they want more the same with Hillary Clinton? When you look at the country and you say are we on the right or the wrong track? Overwhelmingly by 50 points, the American people Republicans and Democrats combined say the country is on the wrong track.

KING: But for different reasons. (CROSSTALK)

[20:55:07] LEWANDOWSKI: No, I understand that. But you can't blanketly say that Barack Obama is going to go and change the outcome of an election because fundamentally, people out there believe that Washington, D.C. is broken. He is part of the problem at some level of this. Whether it is Obamacare and the increasing premiums, you can keep your doctor or you can't keep your doctor. Look, he is popular. But at the end of the day ...


LEWANDOWSKI: You know why you have to see (ph) Republicans, because Hillary Clinton is getting less support from the Democrats than Donald Trump is off the Republicans. She needs all the ...

COOPER: Paul, does this boil down to change or just boil down the character?

BEGALA: It boils down to motivation. Now, this thing is baked in. Republicans, that people for Trump, similar for independents. They love Donald Trump. People for Hillary, they love Hillary. And they hate each other. This now is just about motivation. And there's something we missed talking about the president going to North Carolina, I saw a report that he drew 16,000 people there, he electrifies that crowd. But then they don't just dissipate, Hillary actually has a ground game. I guarantee you there are folks there with cars mains (ph) and buses ready to take folks straight to the polls right then because they have early voting in North Carolina.

LEWANDOWSKI: A nice small rally.

BEGALA: Yes, small rally.


BEGALA: And the president, this is an unfortunate thing for Scott Walker, that go who's Scott, and he did a tweet today ...

SELLERS: I saw that.

BEGALA: ... a picture of Hillary -- Secretary Clinton and President Obama hugging. And he's like she just before he said right to things are terrible. Do you want a third term?

In today's market, university of law school (ph), in Scott Walker's state of Wisconsin, the president's approval rating is 10 points higher than Scott Walker's. So when you're beating the in coming governor in his own state it's kind of hard to say ...


MCENANY: The president is personally popular but here is where I think he makes a grave mistake. We've heard a lot from him lately about carry forward my legacy. I remember the first time he was out in something October, he said, hey guys, say thanks, Obama. We got Obamacare for you. Thanks, Obama. And he had the crowd actually repeat that back to him. And when he does that, he completely dismisses that last black voter we saw in the package who said, hey, both parties have failed me. I'm staying home, I saw another package on another network with voters filled like that black voter saying, the promises you made me did not materialize. Carry forward your legacy doesn't change the fact that I don't ...


SELLERS: Well that's also not what that voter said. The voter never said that Barack Obama failed them, it could be very hard for us to find many as Americans ...

MCENANY: He said ...


SELLERS: What he said was, he had a problem trusting either candidate that was out there. Barack Obama speaks to a constituency in this coalition, we've been talking about the Obama coalition a lot, but this is actually going to be Hillary coalition. She did he extremely well with Hispanics. Trouts Hispanics voters with -- against Obama in '08, that's up ticking.

African-American proportion will go down a little bit not because fewer African-Americans are voting but we are a lower share. And you're going to see a coalition that is still filled with college educated white women and brown people.

COOPER: And as before I can forget, quick reminder, we are just six days from Election day. We have nonstop coverage right here on CNN. Be sure to join us.

A lot ahead tonight, Trump has been encouraging Democrats who voted early to change their votes. Whether that's legal and whether it's likely are two very different questions. A number of states is possible. We'll answer both of those in the next hour. Stay with us, we'll be right back.