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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
Interview With California Congressman Adam Schiff; Terrorism Fears?; Mad Dash to Election Day. Aired 4-4:30p ET
Aired November 4, 2016 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: I want to welcome our viewers here at home and around the world.
Hillary Clinton dropping below the finish line.
THE LEAD starts right now.
Breaking news: With four days to go, CNN's brand-new electoral map shows a little less blue, a little more concern for Hillary Clinton, and a little opportunity for Donald Trump.
Protecting the grid, protecting the election, protecting you, the voters. Brand-new information today about possible threats from Russia and terrorist groups overseas. Is there a credible danger?
And the final weekend, a last-minute scramble for votes getting uglier and more focused on states, counties, even specific street corners that could help decide the next president of the United States.
Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
In every single CNN analysis of the electoral map, Hillary Clinton has started at or above the magic number of 270 electoral votes. That means, irrespective of how the battleground states would break, she had enough electoral votes to secure the presidency. That is until today.
David Chalian is over at the magic wall.
David, four big shifts in our labeling today, all of them moving towards Trump.
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: That's right, Jake, four moves towards Trump. This is the old map here. This is the new map. That puts Hillary Clinton down at 268, Donald Trump still further behind at 204.
We moved New Hampshire from lean blue to battleground. Ohio and Utah went from battleground to lean Republican, as did the congressional district up in Maine. And look at what this new map means for Donald Trump. Take a look. He needs to do a clean sweep of all the battleground states, everything remaining on our map that is yellow, and that gets him to 269. He then has to win that one last battleground we have in Nebraska, the
2nd Congressional District there. If he can get that one electoral vote, he's at 270. Jake, that's a little different than Hillary Clinton's path on our new map.
As you noted, she dropped just below 270, but, let's see, pick any state you want here, she only needs one. Let's go to the smallest one, New Hampshire, four electoral votes. That would put her back over the top. Hillary Clinton only needs to win one battleground. Donald Trump needs to sweep the map. That's the math.
His hill got less steep to climb, but it's pretty steep nonetheless. Hillary Clinton, she has to flip one battleground state, Jake.
TAPPER: All right, David Chalian, thank you.
And with just three days and change until lines start forming outside polling places, there are growing concerns in a new report about a possible al Qaeda terrorist plot in the works, along with the ongoing threat from Russia's cyber-terrorists.
CNN's chief national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto, is following all the threads and joins me live.
Jim, a lot of fears out there today.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: There are real security concerns around this election.
One of them is terrorism. There's always concern that terrorists and terror groups will use the election as a time to maximize impact of any attack. As of yet, nothing specific, but there are threats.
When it comes to Russia, though, there's enormous evidence already that a massive information operation, as intelligence agents call it, is already under way to discredit and sow doubts about a very crucial American presidential election.
SCIUTTO (voice-over): Tonight, growing concerns that Russia is waging an information operation to sow doubts about the U.S. election, several U.S. officials tell CNN.
JEH JOHNSON, U.S. SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: This is something that the Department of Homeland Security, along with state election officials, have been very, very focused on. I have a lot of confidence in the integrity of our ballot-counting process. I have a lot of confidence in security and cyber-security around the process run by state and local election officials.
SCIUTTO: Here at the Department of Homeland Security's Cyber Command Center, they're now monitoring multiple threats. There's growing concern that more hacked documents and e-mails targeting campaigns could be released in the coming days, including potentially documents faked or altered by Russia. The U.S. has also detected the probing of state voter registration
system, at least one of which has been linked to Russia, though they have yet to see those systems tampered with. DHS is now coordinating efforts with 48 states to prevent hacks, scamming computer systems to identify vulnerabilities.
However, U.S. officials and cyber-experts make clear that the risk of actually changing the election result is minuscule.
DMITRI ALPEROVITCH, CO-FOUNDER AND CEO, CROWDSTRIKE: These machines are mostly offline. There's paper ballots that can be checked in most of these places and verified that the electronic result matches to what is printed on the ballot. So, it's almost possible to actually hack this election, but it's certainly possible for someone to claim it's hacked and to try to influence the public that way.
SCIUTTO: Still, sowing doubts and disrupting the voting process is easier.
The department will monitor for so-called denial of service attacks targeting voter information, mapping and news Web sites. Today, the Russian-linked hacking group Guccifer tweeted what appeared to be a threat. "I will be an independent observer at the U.S. election 2016. I call on other hackers to monitor the elections from inside the system" -- this minutes after another tweet accusing Democrats of rigging the vote, this as law enforcement officials already on high alert are monitoring intercepted conversations among al Qaeda adherents overseas about potential plots targeting New York, Texas and Virginia.
But officials stress to CNN that the threat is nonspecific and could be idle chatter.
JAMES O'NEILL, NEW YORK POLICE COMMISSIONER: It's nonspecific and right now we're assessing the credibility of it. But we're geared up to go all the time.
SCIUTTO: Another concern, cyber-attacks that disrupt how the vote count is reported to news organization, including our own. All of these styles of attack are straight out of the Russian playbook. They have done attacks like this before in Eastern Europe, including in Ukraine.
And, Jake, we should frankly not be surprised if we see something along these lines on Election Day.
TAPPER: All right, Jim Sciutto, thank you so much.
Joining me now is Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff of California. He's the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.
Congressman Schiff, thanks so much for being here. You were just briefed. Is there a credible threat to the homeland
from al Qaeda or a similar terrorist group?
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: There is a threat. And I can't go into specifics.
But we often see around pivotal events like an election, like July 4, an increase in the threat to the country. And here you have al Qaeda that is still trying to prove that it's lethal, and it's still trying to compete with ISIS, ISIS losing its caliphate, trying to lash out. So there are heightened worries around this election.
And to put those in context, we have those concerns over every election, but I have to say I think there is more of a concern this time than I have seen in the past.
TAPPER: Is there anything specific, and what should people out there be on the lookout for?
SCHIFF: Well, I'm not sure that there's specific enough information to help people be on guard.
Obviously, people are well to be cautious, to let law enforcement know if they see something out of place around an election site. But there may be other areas that would be equally traumatizing that would also be of concern, but, unfortunately, not a lot of specifics that can help warn the public.
TAPPER: There's also this threat of a cyber-attack, specifically from Russia. Nearly every state has asked the Department of Homeland Security for protection from this.
What can you tell us about that? Is Russia definitely trying to do this?
SCHIFF: Well, Russia has definitely been interfering with the election. They have been hacking and dumping of documents, as the administration has acknowledged. They have also been probing the state voter databases.
And so they have prepared the field if they want to escalate either in the run-up, in the immediate run-up to the election or on Election Day. They are capable of doing damage. They are capable of sowing further disarray. Will they end up doing it? We don't know.
And I think we're taking all the precautions that we can, the Department of Homeland Security working very closely, as you say, with the states to prepare them. There's also the risk, though, of non- Russian actors, like we saw likely with the denial of service attacks that could provide a massive disruption in terms of propagating information about the election.
So these are all, I think, worries that we have going in. And I don't think any of us can say specifically what steps the Russians or others may take. TAPPER: Speaking of intelligence, one week ago today, FBI Director
Comey upended the presidential race by sending this letter to Congress saying that they had discovered e-mails that they didn't know about that were on Anthony Weiner's computer. They might be relevant to Hillary Clinton's -- investigation into her private e-mail server.
Two days before Comey made that announcement, Rudy Giuliani was on FOX and he said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI (R), FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK: And I think he's got a surprise or two that you're going to hear about in the next few days. I'm talking about some pretty big surprise.
QUESTION: Yes, I heard you say that this morning. What do you mean?
GIULIANI: You will see.
QUESTION: Stay tuned. Rudy Giuliani, you're lucky, because we have got to go. I'm out of time. Otherwise, I would keep pressing you.
GIULIANI: We're not going to -- we're not going to -- well, we're not going to go down and we're certainly not going to stop fighting. We have got a couple of things up our sleeve that should turn this around.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: "Couple of things up our sleeve."
We should point out Giuliani is an adviser to Donald Trump.
Now, this morning, Rudy Giuliani was asked how he knew this. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GIULIANI: I had expected this for the last -- honestly, to tell you the truth, I thought it was going to be about three, four weeks ago. I did nothing to get it out. I had no role in it.
Did I hear about it? You're darn right I heard about it. And I can't even repeat the language that I heard from the former FBI...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: What's your reaction? I know you're a Hillary Clinton supporter, but also as somebody who is the ranking Democrat on the Intelligence Committee who has concerns about the integrity of law enforcement and intelligence. SCHIFF: Deeply troubling. I mean, if he's telling the truth here
that he had advanced notice that the FBI was looking at Anthony Weiner's laptop, and there was something on it that might refer to the e-mail investigation, and he was tipped off by people within the bureau, that is appalling.
All of these leaks that have come forward in the last few days, I think, tremendously undermine the bureau's credibility. They inject the bureau into the presidential race. It's going to do long-term damage to the bureau, which is going to be difficult to repair.
But if indeed they were communicating with the campaign itself, the Trump campaign, that is among the most appalling things I have heard.
TAPPER: All right, Congressman Adam Schiff, thank you so much. Good luck in your reelection, sir.
SCHIFF: Thank you.
TAPPER: Coming up: In the final days of the campaign, both Clinton and Trump are hoping to drive up enthusiasm among their key supporters. Will they all turn out to the polls on November 8?
That story next.
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD.
With four days until Election Day, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are ramping up their stops in the key battleground states and calling out what they see as each others' flaws.
Today, Donald Trump is visiting three states he would love to win. He started the day in New Hampshire, where polls have the candidates neck and neck, then to Ohio, where Mr. Trump has a slight edge.
[16:15:00] BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Now, keep in mind, the reason they said they would not have a hearing or vote for my Supreme Court nomination, bucking all of American history was because we thought the American people should decide the next Supreme Court justice. Now, they're saying, well, if they don't decide the way we want them decide, maybe we won't even do that.
Eleven years ago, Richard Burr said, a Supreme Court without nine justices would not work. Well, what changed? Only Republican presidents get to nominate judges? Is that in the Constitution? I used to teach constitutional law. I've never seen that provision.
You've got some Republicans in Congress who are already suggesting they will impeach Hillary. She hasn't even been elected yet. And it doesn't matter what evidence they just -- they'll find something. That's what they're saying already. How can -- how does our democracy function like that?
Look, nobody likes gridlock, but I want to be clear about something, gridlock is not some mysterious fog that just kind of descends on Washington. It's not like some, you know, apparition that shows up. You know, it's not like a monster moving. Gridlock's coming. That's not how it works.
Gridlock is not happening because both sides, Democrats and Republicans, are being equally unreasonable. I mean, I know it's hard to view me as objective here, but I'm about to leave. So, I'm just letting you know the truth.
Wait. Wait. Hold on. Still got some business to do. Gridlock is what happens -- gridlock is what happens when Republican politicians, like Richard Burr, decide not based on the merits, not based on what's good for the constituents, but based on political calculation that they are going to oppose anything good for the country just because a Democrat proposes it. That's how gridlock happens and that's essentially Richard Burr's campaign platform at this point.
And as I said before, I know Richard Burr. I used to work out with him in the gym in the Senate. He's a perfectly nice guy. But what's happened is that they have built up this new normal in their party where he's got to say anything in order to get elected.
So if you think "vote for gridlock" is good slogan, then you should vote for the Republican. But if you believe like I believe, that America can do better, if you believe that we should be out there not trying to block each other from doing stuff but creating jobs for families, lifting wages, child care, if you care about equal pay for women and raising the minimum wage, then I need you to vote for Democrats up and down the ticket. I need you to vote for Hillary Clinton. I need you to vote for Deborah Ross.
They are ready to roll-up their sleeves and move this country forward! They don't want to look backwards. They want to go forward.
Look, I know it's easy to get cynical. There's a lot in this election season that can give you reason to be cynical. But right now, I just want you to know, all of you, it's in your power to reject the divisive, mean-spirited politics that would take us backwards.
That's not how it has to be. That's not how it's always been but it's going to depend on you. You can elect a leader who has spent her entire life trying to move this country forward, our first female president who will be an example for our daughters and our sons, that everybody has a chance to contribute and serve.
You have a chance to shape history. What an amazing thing that is. If Hillary wins North Carolina, she wins. And that means that when I said the fate of the republic rests on you,
I wasn't joking. But that shouldn't make you fearful. That should make you excited. It's not often that you can move the arc of history. Don't let that chance slip away.
Young people here, it's not often that you know your voice will have an impact. Don't let it slip away. Don't give away your power.
[16:20:01] Don't fall for the easy cynicism that says my vote doesn't matter or all politicians are the same. It does matter and they're not all the same. That's what Hillary's opponent wants you to think because they don't want you to vote. And I've got to say, he has been getting help from Republican politicians in this state who have been trying to keep you from voting.
I -- we're the only advanced democracy on earth that purposefully tries to make it harder for people to vote but even within sometimes unfortunate traditions in America, what's been going on lately here in the state has been troubling. 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.
Already, right now, Donald Trump is calling on his supporters to monitor certain areas. Where are those certain areas he's talking about?
There are groups that are not even making secret plans. They are just out in public saying we're going to try and suppress the African- American on Election Day, or the youth vote on Election Day. If you think that is accidental, then I want you to think about a woman named Grace Bell Hardison.
Grace Bell lived in Bell Haven, North Carolina, her entire life, all 100 years of her life. Just a few weeks ago, Republicans challenged her voter registration status and tried to remove her from the voter rolls. And she heard about it and she said, I can't vote -- 100 years old. Now, Grace got her voter registration reinstated and you better believe she's going to vote.
But this100-year-old woman wasn't alone in being targeted. The list of voters Republicans tried to purge was two-thirds black and Democratic. That doesn't happen by accident. It's happening in counties across this straight.
There was a time when systematically denying black folks to vote was considered normal as well. So, young people, I want you to listen up. Parents, I want you to talk about this. It was not that long ago that folks had to guess the number of jelly beans in a jar or bubbles on a bar of soap or recite the Constitution in Chinese in order to vote. It wasn't that long ago when folks were beaten trying to register
voters in Mississippi. It wasn't that long ago that a man named Henry Frye in Greensboro, the first African-American chief justice of North Carolina Supreme Court, was denied the right to register to vote because he had failed the so-called literacy test after he had graduated from college. It wasn't that long ago.
Grace Bell Hardison, 100 years old, imagine what she has seen in the arc of her life. Born in a time when there were barely cars on the road, no planes in the sky. Think about everything that she's seen. A great-grandmother, probably a great-great-grandmother.
How you -- how are we going to let -- after all she's been through, folks disrespect her like that? How are we going to betray all those who worked so hard, risked everything for the vote, so that we could pull the lever, and we're not going to vote? What's our excuse?
Now, those who wanted to suppress the vote, they are going to fail. The law was struck down. Your rights have been restored.
Right now, there are more than one-stop early vote stops in North Carolina than ever before. You can register and vote at any site 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.
Back in 2008, I won North Carolina by 14,000 votes. That's about two votes per precincts. It's just two votes per precinct have gone the other way, I would have lost North Carolina. How can you say your vote doesn't count?
Each of you could swing a entire precinct for Hillary if you vote. Or you could swing it for her if you don't vote. Your vote matters. Young people, especially, your vote matters!
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
If you've been marching for criminal justice reform, that's great. But you know what, you better vote for a president and Congress that actually car about disrupting the pipeline from underfunded schools to overcrowded jails. Protests aren't enough if you're not voting. If you've been marching for the environment and to do something about climate change, I've heard you, but you better vote for the next president and Congress believing in science and who will protect the progress we made so we can leave behind a world that we are proud of for our children.
You want more good jobs, you want to have a higher minimum wage, you want help with respect to student loans? Don't just sit there and complain. Don't just sit there in the barber shop and beauty shop and watching the Tar Heels and say, politics is all messed up, but what's the score? No. No. No. You can watch the game after you vote.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) And the good news is, you've got a proof point. You know it works. You know it works because so many of you voted in '08.
And it's because millions of people that have health care today that didn't have it before. It's because of you that millions of young people are going to college that couldn't afford it before. It's because of you that a marine can serve his country without hiding the husband he loves. It's because of you that more young immigrants came out of the shadows and are serving our country.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
North Carolina, I'm asking you today what I asked of you eight years ago. I'm just asking you to believe not in my ability to change, not even just in Hillary's ability to bring about positive change. I'm asking you to believe in your ability to bring about change.
I am not on the ballot, but I tell you what, fairness is on the ballot. Decency is on the ballot. Justice is on the ballot. Progress is on the ballot. Our democracy is on the ballot right now.
And Hillary gives you a chance to advance our democracy, but you've got to do everything you can to make sure everybody votes. Your friends, your family, your cousins, your uncle, your neighbors, your co-workers, tell them this is the moment where America stands up for our best selves, stand up and reject cynicisms. Stand up and reject fear.
Choose hope. Choose hope. Choose hope. Choose hope. Choose hope. Vote.
And if you do, we will elect Hillary Clinton, the next president of the United States. We will elect Deborah Ross as the next senator from the great state of North Carolina.
We'll continue this amazing journey and finish what we started and remind the world why this is the greatest country on earth. God bless you, North Carolina! God bless the United States of America!
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
President Obama wrapping up a campaign rally for Hillary Clinton in the beautiful city of Chapel Hill in battleground North Carolina. This is the ninth time he has hit the stump to speak for her. He's expected to campaign for Clinton at least five more times between now and Election Day in this very contentious, contested election.
Michelle Kosinski is traveling with President Obama.
And, Michelle, North Carolina, it could be key to Clinton clinching the White House. It's a state President Obama won in 2008, as he pointed out by 14,000 votes but he lost it last time around.
MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Mitt Romney won in 2012. Not by very much either.
So, this is a state that can go either way. The polls recently have shown that. Originally, Hillary had a pretty decent lead, but most recently that has shrunk considerably and you hear it in the president's voice. This just now was the most energetic we've heard him and how we've been characterizing his tone and how that shifted over his appearances, it's not just bleeding with voters to get out there and exercise their right to vote at this point. It is nearly begging them to do so.
I mean, to listen to some of the things he said out here, yelled and repeated, that "I need you to vote. You can change history. If Hillary wins North Carolina, she wins. Believe in your ability to effect change."