Return to Transcripts main page
November Surprise: Dramatic New FBI Announcement; FBI Stands By No Criminal Charges in Clinton E-mails; Less Than 24 Hours Until Election Day. Aired 4-4:30a ET
Aired November 7, 2016 - 04:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[04:00:01] BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Not the Trump campaign has rejected that. And they're very proud of this ad. I think what really revealing, Christine, is the Trump campaign said this is their positive closing message, even though it's a rather dark ad about the political establishment being out to get you. They say it is the positive argument for the finale of the election.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: You know, people noted the language used here is not unlike the protocols of the older design. You hear people making that connection that there, that is a massive global conspiracy going on and the faces when they're talking about that are those of Jews. Ellis, I wonder what you make of it.
ELLIS HENICAN, BEST-SELLING AUTHOR AND NEWSDAY COLUMNIST: Listen, if you believe in global massive conspiracies, John, you need scapegoats, don't you? And I mean, what easier thing to do than to turn to the great scapegoats of history. And you're right, the Jewish bankers and the international it is all of a piece. It is not all different from the tone we heard from much of the last year.
BERMAN: All right, guys. Stick around. John, we will get you back in the conversation. We have more time coming up.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: EARLY START continues right now.
BERMAN: November surprise. Cloud lifted. FBI director James Comey with a new dramatic announcement in the e-mail investigation less than 48 hours before voters head to the polls. Good morning, everyone. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm John Berman.
ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans. It is Monday, November 7th it is 4:00 a.m. in the East. We welcome all of our viewers here in the U.S. and around the world.
In a race full of surprises, again another one just hours to go before Election Day. Nine days -- nine days after FBI director James Comey's surprise announcement that FBI agents were reviewing newly discovered e-mails from Hillary Clinton's server, Comey alerted Congress the review is now over. In a letter to congressional leaders, Comey said, based on our review, we have not changed our conclusions that we expressed in July with Secretary Clinton. Law enforcement sources tell CNN that investigators worked around the clock to sift through thousands, thousands of e-mails and that the investigation wrapped up quicker than expected because most of the e-mails were personal or they were duplicates of e-mails already reviewed, so no more investigation, but plenty of investigations about whether the FBI director should have gone public in the first place.
BERMAN: Yeah. All right. All this is happening and we are in the final full day of campaigning. Donald Trump and the press corps that follows his airplane just landed in Florida.
ROMANS: What a night.
BERMAN: After a full day of campaigning, really beyond a full day, because we're well into the next day at this point. So he is in Florida right now. CNN is everywhere this morning following every twist and turn. We will start with our coverage of the Clinton campaign with Phil Mattingly, following the latest development. Phil.
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John. There is a certain level of irony here to James Comey's latest letter to Capitol Hill. Well, the Clinton campaign wanted to hear nothing else going on, that they were cleared again, the last thing they want to be talking about just two days before the election is the FBI, and James Comey, and Hillary Clinton's private server. That is exactly why you saw Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail with two rallies after the letter sent to Capitol Hill, not bringing it up at all. Instead, she wants to talk about Donald Trump and the states. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We will have some work to do to bring about healing and reconciliation after this election. This election is a moment of reckoning. It is a choice between division or unity, between strong, steady leadership or a loose cannon who could put everything at risk.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTINGLY: Now, guys, Hillary Clinton clearly wants to put this behind her. Clinton advisors acknowledge that there is some lingering doubt as to what kind of damage this actually did to her campaign. But in the last 48 hours of this race, Clinton trying to close the door, clearly still holding an advantage when you look at the electoral map, and trying to put that advantage to play to put everything to bed over the course of these last few trips.
Take a look at the map and where Hillary Clinton is going today. That should tell you everything you need to know about how the Clinton campaign. Two really big rallies in Pennsylvania, including the primetime rally in Pennsylvania with basically the equivalent of John Berman's book club, President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and obviously, Bruce Springsteen who has to be in there.
BERMAN: I'm not a Springsteen guy. MATTINGLY: He shows up.
MATTINGLY: He continues to show up.
BERMAN: I think he is overrated.
MATTINGLY: But so obviously Philadelphia. Huge moment for the campaign. The last closing message. But also going to Michigan, a race that has tightened extremely over the course of the last couple of weeks. Hillary Clinton in the state and President Obama also in the state trying to rile up the college kids at the University of Michigan, trying to close that deal. A traditionally blue state and is now kind of in danger. And also, one final rally in Raleigh, North Carolina, a midnight rally, the last rally scheduled at this point for Clinton campaign of the 2016 cycle. North Carolina is a potentially huge state and a state if the Clinton campaign wins, they certainly -- almost certainly should win the election. Guys.
[04:05:01] ROMANS: All right. Thank you so much, Phil Mattingly. I think he is a working class poet.
MATTINGLY: You are from New Jersey. You live in New Jersey. You have to say that.
BERMAN: All right. Donald Trump up all night, getting off stage, just a few hours ago in Leesburg, Virginia, not surprisingly slamming director Comey's decision to clear Clinton again.
CNN's Sunlen Serfaty is here with the latest on that, and she is going to tell us what she thinks about Bruce Springsteen.
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christine, I'm going to leave everyone hanging on that one.
SERFATY: But I have to tell you that Donald Trump, very clear here that he is not giving up this message in his rallies yesterday. He continued to bring up that Hillary Clinton has been the subject of an FBI investigation. But notably leaving out the fact that this review is now over and in essence, she has been cleared of wrongdoing. He did not mention FBI director James Comey once by name or specifically mention the conclusions. But he casts doubt broadly on the conclusions at one point saying sorry you can't review 650,000 e-mails over the course of eight days. Here is Donald Trump last night in Leesburg, Virginia.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is a rigged system. Hillary Clinton is guilty. She knows it. The FBI knows it. The people -- the FBI, they know it. I think it is very embarrassing to them. And now, it is up to the American people to deliver the justice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SERFATY: So Donald Trump there really keeping up the messaging that this shows it is a rigged system. You can bet he will continue that line of attack today and the mad dash for him does continue. I want to give you a snapshot of his day. He starts in Florida, North Carolina, two real must-win states for Trump. Then on to Pennsylvania and New Hampshire and a late night rally in Michigan. This is a very curious late in the game ad for the Trump campaign. This is in state Michigan that has not voted Republican since 1988. And certainly, as we heard from Phil, Clinton campaign playing some defense there, the Trump campaign sensing some opportunity to pick up this state.
BERMAN: Yeah. Both candidates and the president, they're going to be in Michigan today, showing you how important and how serious they are taking it. Both candidates, plus the president are going to be in Pennsylvania as well. Thank you so much, Sunlen Serfaty. So Pennsylvania obviously a state that is important there, 20 electoral votes up at stake. It has been blue, like Michigan for decades, still a Republican target for decades as well. Polls have shown Hillary Clinton with a consistent lead there but some had shown it narrowing as Election Day approaches.
CNN's Sara Sidner live in Philadelphia this morning, where Bruce Springsteen will be, we're told, in just a few hours. Sara.
SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. And Hillary Clinton was hanging out with Katy Perry during an event here. She has been here basically all weekend, doing different things, as she jumps into other states. Donald Trump is expected here today. Hillary Clinton and her husband and Barack Obama and Michelle Obama and Bruce Springsteen also expected here today. So obviously this state very, very important. And with the latest polls saying that basically she is up, but she is within the margin of error, this state could go either way. Both candidates know that and they are working the crowds hard here. I need to also mention this. There has been a strike. People are worried about the SEPTA strike, which is the public transportation here. That has been going for almost a week now. They are trying to work that out literally and trying to negotiate that and trying to make a deal tonight, so that the people know that on the day they vote, which is Tuesday, they will be able to take public transportation. That is being worked out as we speak.
BERMAN: The first whispers by the way, that maybe they are getting close to a settlement there. So watch those states. It could happen in a few minutes. Sara Sidner, thank you so much.
ROMANS: Every once and a while, Florida makes a difference in presidential elections in what is the understatement of the century. And not to be understated, it is basically impossible for Donald Trump to win the White House without Florida and its 29 electoral votes. Huge numbers turned out for early voting. Polls show it tight as a tick.
Let's bring in CNN Nick Valencia live Tallahassee, Florida. Good morning.
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christine. Perhaps the most crucial swing state of them all with 29 electoral votes hanging in the balance, as the two candidates make their final sprint towards Election Day. Yesterday, on Sunday, early voting wrapped up here in the state of Florida with historic turn out in Leon County, a Democratic strong hold. It was heavily in favor of Hillary Clinton with 12,000 more people casting ballots this time around versus 2012, 57 percent voting Democratic, 28 percent voting Republican.
One of the things that we did ask the election county supervisor here is the potential for irregularities, voter fraud. We all know what happened in 2000 with the hanging chads and butterfly ballots. He says not to worry, electronic voting machines were replaced here in the state in 2007 with Optimal (inaudible), the same thing is used in the lottery now. So that should allow things to go smooth as silk. This is a very important state not just for Donald Trump, also for Hillary Clinton, and an indicator of that is just how many trips they both make here and they flooded the air waves with historic amounts of money. Tomorrow, we expect a trip here by Donald Trump to Sarasota, and vice president Joe Biden is a surrogate for Hillary Clinton, expected to hold a rally here in Tallahassee. John and Christine.
[04:10:20] ROMANS: The president was in Atlanta yesterday. Clearly, the surrogates for Hillary Clinton have been -- have been putting miles in on Florida.
BERMAN: Donald Trump is there right now, he just landed back in Florida.
ROMANS: His first rally I think is in 11 a.m.
BERMAN: All right. Hillary Clinton cleared again by the FBI. The thousands of e-mails found on Anthony Weiner's laptop revealing nothing new. So never mind. Is it that simple? Stick around.
[04:15:00] BERMAN: All right. Breaking campaign news, Donald Trump and his press entourage just landed back in Florida after a full day of campaigning. And it kicks off the campaign in just a few hours from now.
Our Ashley Killough on the press plane after a full day and then some. Ashley, thanks so much for being with us. Just give us the sense, the atmosphere of what this last 24 hours has been like.
ASHLEY KILLOUGH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, John. It's good to talk to you. We just landed in our seventh state in the last 24 hours. We're in Florida now. We woke up in Denver yesterday morning because Trump had a rally there Friday night. So we went from Denver to Iowa to Minnesota, then Michigan and then he went on to Pennsylvania and then Virginia. So he held five rallies, in five different states. The first time he held that many rallies in one day, especially in different states. So definitely a busy day and you know with all the travels, he got behind schedule, originally his last event of the day in Virginia was scheduled for 9:30. But he ended up not starting until almost 12:20 in the morning. So it was like almost three hours later. But it was interesting because were still 2,200 people who were there, who waited around to see him, plus there are a few people standing outside in the overflow crowd, probably a few hundred. So it was really interesting to see that many people who were still there. And that is something we saw consistently throughout the day. It was very large crowds at all of his events.
ROMANS: Hey, Ashley, quickly, you have five states ahead this morning or today. The first rally is for 11:00. How are you bracing for another big day? Is anybody sleeping?
KILLOUGH: You know, I did get a few hours of sleep. But I think at this point we're all kind of riding on adrenaline, just taking it hour by hour and getting through the day. But yeah, it is going to be another long day. His last event, I think, is scheduled for 11:00 p.m. tonight in Michigan. So it is going to be a full day. But I think after going through the last two years, I think everyone is willing to kind of get through this last day and see where it goes from there.
ROMANS: That's the fun part.
BERMAN: That's what I told myself in 2000 when I was covering George W. Bush. Just get through Election Day.
ROMANS: Every time he says the word Florida, he twitches.
BERMAN: All right. Ashley, good work. Get some sleep.
ROMANS: Nice to see you.
BERMAN: Up next, we will talk more about the race and all of the late breaking developments with our panel.
BERMAN: All right. We are like less than 24 hours until Election Day. We got so much going on. Let's discuss now with our panel. Joining us again, CNN political commentator John Phillips, a talk radio host for KABC in Los Angeles, also a Trump supporter. CNN commentator Symone Sanders is here, former national press secretary for Bernie Sanders, now a Hillary Clinton supporter. And Ellis Hanican, a political analyst, best selling author. And CNN media correspondent and host of Reliable Sources Brian Stelter. Oh, and Eugene Scott as well.
ROMANS: All the dream team.
BERMAN: So Symone Sanders, when we want to talk about this James Comey thing. James Comey says oh, never mind, Hillary Clinton's e- mails, nothing in them. Sorry about the last nine days. Well, he didn't say he was sorry. Hillary Clinton has chosen not to speak about this out loud in her own words. A wise choice?
SYMONE SANDERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think it is a wise choice. Every time Secretary Clinton says something about the e- mails, it becomes bigger that it actually needs to be. And folks that I have talked to, that are with the campaign, who have been around Secretary Clinton, she wasn't worried about the e-mails at all. She says there was nothing there. And I think she is probably actually a little annoyed by all of this fanfare over the last nine days. So I think it is a smart decision for her.
BERMAN: A little annoyed?
ROMANS: But she can get those nine days back.
ROMANS: And now, these are the final arguments. So does it help her or does this now go away because James Comey said never mind?
JOHN PHILLIPS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: She has to be very cautious with this because there is still time left before Election Day. There could still be more e-mails that WikiLeaks dumps in the favor -- before Election Day. So if she says oh, yeah, look, there was nothing to see there, and suddenly the story changes, then she is going to have to explain that away. Also, we learned the last time when Comey made his decision not to move forward with recommending charges against Secretary Clinton, that there were people underneath him in the FBI that felt differently. If one of them decides you know what, this is the last straw, I'm going to quit and I'm going to tell all, I'm going to give my side of the story, and then, the story goes in that direction, she doesn't want to have to deal with that either.
BERMAN: All right. So Hillary Clinton did bring out royalty as she was campaigning in Cleveland over the weekend. Lebron James. The King took to the stage as well as J.R. Smith. Let's listen to a little bit of that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) LEBRON JAMES, NBA PLAYER: I was around the community that was like our vote doesn't matter. But it really does. It really, really does.
JAMES: We have to get out and make sure we vote. We have to get out and be knowledgeable about what is going on, about what we see our future entails and this woman has the brightest future for our world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: All right. LeBron James, very good at basketball, Ellis, is he good at getting out votes? And do surrogates like this matter? I mean, Donald Trump had...
[04:25:07] HENICAN: Well, it wasn't the most rip-roaring speech I heard in the campaign. But yeah, a lot of people turned out. He is someone who has huge goodwill across the state of Ohio. And yeah, you know, African-American pre-voting turnout has been a little lagging for the Clinton campaign. So anything like that is a boot. Why not do it?
ROMANS: Symone Sanders, I want to ask you what you think about this. Who are we getting out to vote here, millenials, Beyonce in a pant suit, dancers in a pant suit? I mean, this last sort of final argument and the folks who have been out there for Hillary Clinton this weekend, will this help with young people?
SANDERS: I think it will help with young folks. I mean, look, the energy would have been nice to have a month ago, a month ago and a half ago. But I think in the last week or so, it has been a much-need energy boost reminding people why we come here. You know, we are stronger together. People like Jay-Z and Beyonce who don't usually come out for candidates if you will. I mean, Barack Obama was a special case. But coming out for Secretary Clinton saying, we are with here because our communities are at stake. Beyonce gave a very passionate speech in that stage in addition to some fabulous dance moves. I think it is going to help make a difference. In Florida, actually, yesterday, Tyrese was outside in polling places all throughout Miami, encouraging folks to stay in line, he had DJs out. I think these things help. That celebrities come out and saying we think your vote matters, our vote matters. That is why we are here with you to stay in the long haul, and stay alive.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm waiting for Vlade Divac.
BERMAN: Nicely done, nicely done.
BERMAN: We are counting down the final hours until Election Day. Hillary Clinton cleared by the director of the FBI. Trump is planning the decision. The best election coverage on television continues right now.
BERMAN: Vlade Divac.
ROMANS: That is really funny.