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Russia Trying to Influence Election?; Clinton-Kaine Bus Tour; Sources: FBI Investigating Hack of Clinton Campaign Data. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired July 29, 2016 - 18:00   ET



WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Sources say Russia is to blame. Is Vladimir Putin trying to influence the U.S. election?

On the road. Hillary Clinton launches a battleground state tour aimed at building momentum after her big party in Philadelphia. Tonight, can the Democrats bank on a convention bounce, as the general election campaign revs up?

Hit 'em hard. Donald Trump keeps his verbal fire squarely on the Democrats in his first campaign rally since Hillary Clinton's convention speech, this as his running mate declares there's no place for name-calling in presidential politics.

And a father's fire. A Muslim American points to the U.S. Constitution and the memory of his war hero son to unleash a blistering condemnation of Donald Trump at the Democratic Convention.


KHIZR KHAN, FATHER OF KILLED U.S. SOLDIER: You have sacrificed nothing and no one.


BLITZER: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BLITZER: Breaking news tonight, more fuel for fears Vladimir Putin may be trying to interfere in the U.S. election.

Russia under scrutiny, as law enforcement officials here in Washington investigate a new cyber-attack on the Hillary Clinton campaign, this after two hacks on Democratic Party organizations. Stand by for more on that.

Also tonight, Hillary Clinton is taking her convention message on the road. She's arguing that voters have a clear choice between a man who claims he can fix things alone and a woman who says Americans are stronger together. The Democratic presidential nominee is hoping she left Philadelphia with a convention bounce, as she and Tim Kaine launch a bus tour through the battleground states of Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Donald Trump offering a scathing review of Hillary Clinton's convention just a little while ago during a campaign rally in Colorado. He says the Democrats offered nothing but cliches and recycled rhetoric. Trump's national campaign spokeswoman, Katrina Pierson, she is with us tonight. She's standing by live, along with our correspondents and analysts. They're covering all the day's top stories.

Up first, let's go to CNN senior Washington correspondent Jeff Zeleny. He is in Philadelphia with more on the Democrats' post-convention convention swing.

What's the latest, Jeff?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, the Clinton campaign is now not commenting at this hour of these report of potential computer hacking into their own campaign accounts along with other Democratic officials, the DNC and the DCCC, of course, the House campaign committee.

They're not commenting on that yet tonight, Wolf. But this is happening as Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine held a rally here at Temple University in Philadelphia. They believe they have unified their party after a weeklong convention. Now comes the hard part, trying win over those voters still undecided in the middle.


ZELENY (voice-over): The new Democratic ticket is taking its show on the road.

HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: As of tomorrow, we have 100 days to make our case to America.


ZELENY: Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine on a three-month sprint to Election Day.

CLINTON: What better place to kick off this campaign than right here in Philadelphia, where it all started 240 years ago?


ZELENY: After a convention steeped in nostalgia, their challenge now, tapping into the country's hunger for change.

CLINTON: I'm not telling you that everything is just peachy-keen. I'm telling you we have made progress, but we have work to do if we're going to make sure everybody is included.


ZELENY: Their fight with Donald Trump is now fully joined, as they try making him an unacceptable choice. SEN. TIM KAINE (D-VA), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The Republican

Convention was like a twisted and negative tour. It was a journey through Donald Trump's mind. And that is a very frightening place.


ZELENY: So, today Clinton and Kaine set off on a bus tour of Pennsylvania and Ohio, zeroing in on the economy.

CLINTON: We're going to be visiting a few places where people are making things. Donald Trump talks about make America great again. He doesn't make a thing in America, except bankruptcies.


ZELENY: A Democratic Convention rich in history...

CLINTON: I accept your nomination for president of the United States!


ZELENY: ... is now the script for out Democrats hope to defeat Trump.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Russia, if you're listening.

ZELENY: She said he's not fit for the Oval Office.

CLINTON: A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons.



ZELENY: Safety and security now a central piece of her argument.

CLINTON: Donald Trump says -- and this is a quote -- I know more about ISIS than the generals do."

No, Donald, you don't.


ZELENY: After a week in historic Philadelphia, Clinton made clear the history-making moment that matters comes in November.

CLINTON: I believe every time we knock down a barrier in America, it liberates everyone in America.


CLINTON: Every parent in this country could look at their son or their daughter and now say the very same thing. You, too, could be president of the United States.


CLINTON: Thank you, all. God bless you!


ZELENY: Now, in that convention speech last night, Hillary Clinton said she would reach out to Democrats, Republicans, independents. She would be the president for people who vote for her and who don't for her.

Wolf, she's very likely to run into both of those on this 600-mile, three-day tour of Rust Belt counties. These are the critical places where she's trying to win over voters here. If she does, she could do well in a race with Donald Trump here.

But Donald Trump, of course, is trying to go after the same people as well. He's campaigned in some of these very same counties and towns recently, Wolf, and you can bet he will be back again soon -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Jeff Zeleny in Philadelphia for us, thanks very much.

To Donald Trump now, who has been unleashing a barrage of new attacks in response to the Democrats' convention. He's out there on the campaign trail, also on Twitter.

Our national correspondence, Jason Carroll, is in Colorado, where Donald Trump just wrapped up a major rally, his first time speaking since the Democratic Convention.

Jason, update our viewers. How did it go?

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: At one point, Donald Trump told the crowd who had gathered here he was hoping that Hillary Clinton at one point last night would have congratulated him for accomplishing so much in terms of securing the nomination.

He continued to criticize Clinton, calling her dishonest. He says if people think he's been tough on her in the past, he said just wait for what's to come.


TRUMP: Just remember this. Trump is going to be no more Mr. Nice Guy.


CARROLL (voice-over): Donald Trump on offense taking aim at Hillary Clinton on the heels of this week's Democratic Convention.

AUDIENCE: Lock her up! Lock her up! Lock her up!

TRUMP: I'm starting to agree with you, I'll tell you.

CARROLL: Trump also ignoring the advice of a friend, who he says told him to stay focused on Clinton. TRUMP: I was going to hit one guy in particular, a very little guy.

I was going to hit this guy so hard, his head would spin. He wouldn't know what the hell happened.

CARROLL: Today, the GOP nominee going after former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who delivered a scathing attack against Trump at this week's convention.

MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (I), FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK: Trump says he wants to run the nation like he's running his business? God help us.


BLOOMBERG: I'm a New Yorker, and I know a con when I see one.


CARROLL: Trump tweeting this response: "If Michael Bloomberg ran again for mayor of New York, he wouldn't get 10 percent of the vote. They would run him out of town."

Trump's prolific tweeting not lost on Clinton.

CLINTON: A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons.

CARROLL: Trump firing back.

TRUMP: If somebody tweets, I will do what I do. Who cares? I'll tell you, I think have the best temperament or certainly one of the best temperaments of anybody that's ever run for the office of president, ever, because I have a winning temperament.

CARROLL: The GOP nominee, as he's done so many times in the past, calling Clinton several names on Twitter, all this while his running mate, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, took issue with the name-calling after the president referred to Trump as a homegrown demagogue during his speech Wednesday night.

GOV. MIKE PENCE (R-IN), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't think name-calling has any place in public life. And I thought that was unfortunate that the president of the United States would use a term like that, let alone laced into a sentence like that.


CARROLL: Wolf, oftentimes, when you come out to rallies like this one, you hear the crowd chant "Lock her up, lock her up" in reference to Hillary Clinton.

Today for the first time, we heard Trump say to the crowd: "I think you're right. I think it's time for something like that to happen."

Also, going forward, he said in terms of how he's going to be treating Hillary Clinton, he said the gloves are going to be coming off -- Wolf. BLITZER: Jason Carroll in Colorado for us, thanks very much.

Joining us now, the Donald Trump campaign national spokeswoman, Katrina Pierson.


Katrina, thanks very much for joining us.


BLITZER: As far as you know, is there any evidence to suggest your campaign or the Donald Trump campaign has been hacked?

PIERSON: No, not at all.

I have heard nothing about our campaign being hacked. We do take extra measures to secure our communications. After all, we were the ones -- one of the only ones talking about Hillary Clinton's e-mail scandal and the fact that her server was insecure.

BLITZER: Is Donald Trump concerned, though, that a foreign government might be trying to sway this election?

PIERSON: Well, I think everyone is concerned that a foreign government is hacking at all. I mean, this was something that Mr. Trump talked about a long time ago on top of currency manipulation.

We need to take measures to prevent that from happening. And ABC News reported that the DNC were told they needed to update their security measures and didn't. So, there's some accountability there.

BLITZER: Because the Democratic National Committee, their e-mails were hacked. Now we know that the DCCC, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the arm of House Democrats, they have been hacked.

And now our reporters Evan Perez and Jim Sciutto are reporting that the Clinton campaign, the Justice Department and the FBI are investigating whether they have been hacked as well.

Here's the question, though. If more information is released, embarrassing information, let's say, to Hillary Clinton, the Democrats, will the Trump campaign exploit that information if it's coming, let's say, from Russian hackers or other foreign hackers?

PIERSON: Well, I don't know if you could say it's exploiting. I think it's more vindicating.

This is something that Mr. Trump has been talking about. We know from these leaks that was the DNC that was using racism and sexism to try to divide people, not the Republicans. I suspect, if anything else comes out, it's going to be more of the same, more of an indicator that Hillary Clinton has no intentions on following through with her brand-new positions on trade and education.

So, really, there's really nothing to exploit. It's just going to be another I told you so.

BLITZER: Will the Trump campaign use that information if more information, embarrassing information to Hillary Clinton and the Democrats is leaked?

PIERSON: Well, of course we're going to talk about it, particularly if it's something that like the DNC was colluding with the media to create negative stories about Mr. Trump like painting him as a racist.

It's interesting that Mr. Trump has had a very public life for the last three to four decades and just now he's being painted as a racist. But these are the kinds of things that the public should know. And, yes, if information comes out of more collusion, more corruption, the campaign will definitely talk about it.

BLITZER: Secretary Clinton said last night, and I'm quoting her now, "A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons."

You heard her say that in her speech right now. She said that Donald Trump can't even handle a political campaign, let alone be commander in chief and have his finger on that nuclear button.

Here is the question some people are asking today. Katrina, I want to give you a chance to respond. Is Donald Trump proving her right with his barrage of tweets today and his rally, what he said at his rally in Colorado tonight?

PIERSON: No, not at all.

Look, Mr. Trump has been able to utilize Twitter unlike any other. And it does break through the media, which tries to tell a different story quite often. And she's insulting millions of millennials who actually use Twitter as their primary source of information. And why not get it straight from the individual?

Mr. Trump will always defend himself. And I think that the left and the Clinton campaign are shocked that they actually have a Republican candidate that they can't just sit back and call names, put out lies, rewrite their policies and just take it. Donald Trump is going to defend himself and the campaign is going to continue to set the record straight.

BLITZER: You heard Mike Pence, the vice presidential nominee, say no more name-calling in these presidential campaigns. But Donald Trump does, as you know, getting the nomination, did a lot of name-calling.

And he does a lot of name-calling with Hillary Clinton right now. Is there a gap, a division between the vice presidential nominee and the presidential nominee?

PIERSON: Well, Governor Pence said in public life, that's the president of the United States that he's talking about.

Donald Trump, as a private businessman, he's a political candidate, but he's not a current officeholder. And that's what Mike Pence was talking about.

BLITZER: Ronald Reagan's spokesman and speechwriter Doug Elmets addressed the Democratic Convention last night. He endorsed Hillary Clinton.

And he said this. He said: "I knew Ronald Reagan. I worked for Ronald Reagan. Donald Trump, you're no Ronald Reagan."

As you know, there are other Republicans now who are saying they can't vote for Donald Trump, and they're going one step further, saying they are going to vote for Hillary Clinton.

How concerned is the Trump campaign about that?

PIERSON: Well, we're not concerned.

Look, Donald Trump broke the record in the GOP primaries. He's already flipped tens of thousands of Democrats to support him, as well as Hillary Clinton has been trailing in double digits among independents simply because of his policies.


And we have had Democrats speaking at the RNC that support Mr. Trump and several others who will be coming out in the future.

BLITZER: Will Donald Trump continue name-calling? Will he continue to make fun of Hillary Clinton, for example, by calling her various names?

PIERSON: You mean like crooked Hillary? Absolutely. If the name fits.

But here's the thing. We never hear about the name-calling on the Democrat side. There were a ton of names being called and hurled at Mr. Trump. And we didn't see the same fallout in media. So, yes, Mr. Trump and the campaign will continue to defend Mr. Trump and his campaign.

BLITZER: I raise the question only because Mike Pence, his running mate, said there shouldn't be name-calling in presidential politics.

But stand by, Katrina. There's more to discuss. I want to get your reaction to other elements that we heard in that Democratic Convention.

Much more with Katrina Pierson right after this.



BLITZER: We're back with the Trump campaign national spokeswoman, Katrina Pierson.

The breaking news we're following, sources telling CNN the FBI and the Justice Department are now investigating a possible cyber-attack on the Hillary Clinton campaign, much more on that coming up.

Katrina, Donald Trump, as you know, he just wrapped up a speech in Colorado. And he was responding to the crowd that started cheering,, started saying "Lock her up."

I want to play this clip for you. Then we will discuss. Listen to this.


AUDIENCE: Lock her up! Lock her up! Lock her up!

TRUMP: You know what? I have been saying -- I have been saying, let's just beat her on November 8. But you know what.


TRUMP: No, no. You know what? I'm starting to agree with you, I'll tell you.


TRUMP: Tired -- tired of seeing it.

It's interesting. Every time I mention her, everyone screams lock her up, lock her up, lock her up. They keep screaming. And you know what I do? I have been nice. But after watching that performance last night, such lies, I don't have to be so nice anymore. I'm taking the gloves off, right? Yes?


TRUMP: Take the gloves off. Take the gloves off.


BLITZER: All right, does the Donald Trump campaign believe Hillary Clinton should be locked up?

PIERSON: I think a lot of Americans believe that, particularly if you look at the polling.

And this wasn't just a Republican thing, Wolf. The Democrats were chanting lock her up at the DNC convention. So, there's a lot of people who think that she should not have been held above the law, considering how she was asked by the FBI to send their information, when we all know if you're being investigated, they will kick down your door and just take all of your electronic devices.

This did not happen with Hillary Clinton. And she did get off even after FBI Director Comey said that she lied about everything that she said before.

BLITZER: But he also said she did not -- there was not enough evidence to file any charges, any criminal charges against her.

PIERSON: That's right, Wolf.

BLITZER: That's what the FBI director, James Comey, said.


PIERSON: That's right, because there's 33,000 missing e-mails. That's right, 33,000 missing e-mails.

BLITZER: The question is, does the campaign, your campaign, the Trump campaign, believe she should be locked up?

PIERSON: I think for what she did -- and, of course, now they are going to be investigating Hillary Clinton for lying under oath to Congress -- we believe that Hillary Clinton should be held to the same standard as every other American.

BLITZER: So, the -- I will leave it on that. You don't want to directly answer whether or not she should be locked up, because at the convention, the Republican Convention last week, Donald Trump heard the chanting from the crowd, "Lock her up."

And he said, you know what? We just want to beat her in November. But today he changed that position. You just heard that. He said maybe that's a good point.

I'm just trying to get from you whether you think she should be locked -- Hillary Clinton should be locked up. You don't want to answer directly, right?

PIERSON: Well, there's a question of what exactly happened.

If we can find the 33,000 e-mails, maybe we will know more. But I think we can -- it's safe to say that she should be held to the same standard as every other American. And we know now that that's simply not the case.

And, look, there's a time and a place for everything. At the convention, Mr. Trump says, look, let's just beat her in November and moved on. He's at a rally. And, Wolf, you know I have been on this program several times. Mr. Trump at rallies is engaging with his audience. They're cheering. They love it. And they're just having communion.

BLITZER: And he had a different answer today when he heard the lock her up chant than he had last week. Let's move on.

PIERSON: Absolutely. After what he heard at the convention, absolutely.

BLITZER: After hearing...

PIERSON: He's hitting back.

BLITZER: ... what was at the Democratic Convention.

All right. Let's talk about one of the more moving speeches over at the Democratic Convention last night. It came from the father of a Muslim war hero, Captain Humayun Khan, who gave his life in the Iraq War trying to save fellow service members. I want you to listen to a little bit of what his father, Khizr Khan, had to say.


KHAN: Look for the words liberty and equal protection of law. Have you ever been to Arlington Cemetery? Go look at the graves of brave patriots who died defending the United States of America. You will see all faiths, genders and ethnicities.

You have sacrificed nothing and no one!




BLITZER: I guess the question is, has Donald Trump reached out to the Khan family to thank them, for example, for their son's service to the United States?

PIERSON: I don't know if Mr. Trump has reached out to the family.

But I will say this. It's truly unfortunate that we are using this opportunity to pit people against each other, particularly in a state where we have to do something about what's happening in the Middle East.

Mr. Trump wasn't in the military, but you know what? There were 3,000 families who lost loved ones, husbands, fathers, brothers and sisters and mothers, on 9/11. And 15 years later, here we are saying the exact same thing under the exact same policies. And Hillary Clinton was at the forefront with Barack Obama that made the situation worse.

And it doesn't matter how many lies that they continue to tell to the American public. The American public knows this is a problem and it needs to be dealt with. And as for the Constitution, there are limited powers that the government is supposed to have and national security is one of them. And that's where Hillary Clinton has failed.

BLITZER: Would it be a good idea, from your perspective, from the campaign's perspective, for Mr. Trump to reach out to Mr. Khan, speak to him, and thank him for his son's service?

PIERSON: Well, Mr. Trump has thanked everyone for their service. I don't know whether or not he is going to reach out to the family or not. But, again, I think that's just another opportunity to make headlines and Mr. Trump doesn't like to do that, particularly with matters of the heart.

BLITZER: But it would be a nice gesture, don't you think?

PIERSON: Well, it would be a nice gesture to thank all the veterans. It would also be a nice gesture at the DNC when you take a moment of

silence to honor police officers that Black Lives Matter didn't chant through it.

BLITZER: All right, Katrina, thank you very much.

Katrina Pierson is the national campaign spokeswoman for the Donald Trump campaign.

PIERSON: Thanks, Wolf.

BLITZER: Just ahead, we will have more on the breaking news we're following right now, the cyber-attack. There are reports now that there's been a cyber-attack on the Clinton campaign.

We will be right back.


[18:31:53] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: We're back with the breaking news. CNN has now learned that the FBI and the Justice Department are investigating a possible computer hack of the Clinton campaign. This is in addition to the cyber attacks on two other Democratic Party organizations.

Joining us now, CNN's Sunlen Serfaty, CNN politics executive editor Mark Preston, "The Washington Post" assistant editor, Swerdlick, CNN senior political analyst Ron Brownstein. He's the senior editor at "The Atlantic". And CNN senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin.

Mark Preston, this has been an overarching theme of the Clinton campaign's presidential run. Can voters stomach more bad news about e-mails, hacks? If, in fact, there's been a hack of the Clinton campaign, and that information is released publicly and if the Russians, for example, responsible for that hack, that could be explosive in the middle of a campaign like this.

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE EDITOR: It's something that could be explosive specifically if some of the e-mails within that have been communicated back and forth in the Clinton campaign, and God knows were to get out there, really what the problem is the fact that the Russians are trying to play into our political system and cause chaos right now.

Clearly, they want, Vladimir Putin, if they had a choice between Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump to be president, clearly they would want Donald Trump because Donald Trump is at least appearing to say that he would be willing to work with Vladimir Putin, at the same time, we have Hillary Clinton not. So, this is not good news for American democracy right now.

BLITZER: If, in fact, there are all these hacking of these computers, Jeffrey Toobin, you're our senior legal analyst, the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic National Campaign Committee, the fundraising arm of the House Democrats, and now, the Clinton campaign, let's say as the suspicions the Russians are doing that. Is there any legal recourse at all to this?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: The answer is almost certainly no. It really is an extraordinary thing to think about, that a foreign power is taking an active role in an American presidential election. This used to be the stuff of movies.

But if the DNC hack was the work of Russian, it's already had an impact. You know, those WikiLeaks e-mails that came out during the Democratic Convention, they really had an impact. But the thing that's really bad for the Clinton campaign is there's almost nothing they can do. What are they going to do? Sue Russia. I mean, there's no legal remedy.

These are very hard to identify at all who the source is. And even if you did, and it's a foreign power, a political campaign is no position to sue a foreign power. So, the Clinton campaign will have to deal with whatever the implications are and whatever the content of these e-mails are.

BLITZER: We just received literally this minute a statement from the Hillary Clinton campaign responding to this report. This is a statement from Nick Merrill of the campaign and I'll put it up on the screen.

"An analytics data program maintained by the DNC and used by our campaign and a number of other entities was accessed as part of the DNC hack.

[18:35:05] Our campaign computers system has been under review by outside cyber security experts. They have found no evidence that our internal systems have been compromised."

You understand that a lot of the details there, an analytics data program maintained by the DNC and used by the campaign and other entities, that's what they say has been hacked.

PRESTON: Right. And what they're talking about is the Hillary Clinton campaign as well as the Sanders campaign at times can work together on trading information back and forth regarding voters files in many ways. So, that's what it appears to be. The fact they were able to get into the door in the front door, God knows how far that they tried to get in even further.

BLITZER: Ron Brownstein, how damaging potentially could this be?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I think it's really question more of national security than kind of partisan advantage for either side. I mean, this is an extraordinary moment where you have a country that is moving back toward kind of systematically hostile relations with the U.S. potentially overtly interfering and involving themselves in an American election.

I think it's a bridge too far to say specifically that they are trying to help Donald Trump. We don't know that. We know if they are involved, they are certainly trying to disrupt and cause chaos which may be sufficient for them. And we also know that Trump's initial reaction to it where he

initially welcomed, basically invited the Russians to hack the Clinton forces and try to find those e-mails, later said it was sarcasm. Either way it's a remarkably cavalier response to what's extraordinarily aggressive act by the Russians.

And I think it's a question, not so much how the campaigns respond, but how the U.S. government is going to respond to this, if in fact, they are behind it, as most experts seem to believe.

BLITZER: They seem to believe that indeed. David, what does it said that so far only Democratic institutions have been hacked. The DNC, the DCCC c and now the Hillary Clinton campaign.

DAVID SWERDLICK, ASSISTANT EDITOR, THE WASHINGTON POST: Only Democratic institutions that we know of. Let's say that Democratic institutions are the only ones that have been hacked. It is a problem for the Clinton campaign and for the DNC if for no other reason that it feeds into this narrative that Secretary Clinton, with her e-mail scandal, may have been a security risk.

That's a narrative that the Trump campaign would like to put out there, whether or not it's actually her fault.

BLITZER: So, how does the campaign deal with this, Sunlen, right now? Because this could be so demoralizing if sensitive, embarrassing e- mails are leaked as they were involving the Democratic National Committee.

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We're seeing the DNC still actively recovering from that and still trying to. We heard from Donna Brazile that she will be attending to that in the next week after they get through their convention. Of course, the Clinton campaign, with this first statement here.

But again, to David's point too, this just reminds the public again about the perception and mistrust around Hillary Clinton with her e- mail server. This -- even though it's not directly related, there's still that connection this voters would make.

BROWNSTEIN: I think, Wolf --

BLITZER: Yes, go ahead?

BROWNSTEIN: I think, Wolf, I think it's a very strange analysis. You're talking about being the target of a foreign intelligence service and if anything, the questions will arise about why they are doing this? I think that's the longer run issue.

You know, I said I don't think you can say at this point, you know, that deliberately doing it to help one side or the other. If it's a systematic attack on Democratic Party institutions, that conclusion becomes harder to resist. And I think, in the end, that will be a bigger issue.

I think the biggest issue is why are the -- if the Russians are doing this, why are they doing it and what are the implications for American democracy to have a foreign government so overtly trying to influence the outcome potentially? I think that will be a bigger question than whether the Clinton campaign has sufficient security.

I'm guessing that the Trump campaign's cyber security is no more sophisticated and the issue may be why only one side if, in fact, it turns out to be the case was targeted in these attacks.

BLITZER: Jeffrey Toobin, why do you think the Russians, if in fact the Russians are responsible for these acts, why do you think they're doing it?

TOOBIN: Because they want Trump to win. That's the only reason I can think of. And I - that is a -- it's a very disturbing thing to think that a foreign power is taking that kind of role. If I can just add one other point, you know, once these e-mails come out, if in fact, they do come out, we are -- the way the press works, we're going to focus on the content of the emails. We're going to focus on what embarrassing thing was said.

And, look, we've all sent e-mails and we all write intemperate things in e-mails, and I'm certain there will be embarrassing stuff. That will ultimately -- may ultimately be more embarrassing than the fact of the disclosure and who did it.

[18:40:00] BLITZER: All right. Everyone, stand by. Everyone, stand by, because we're getting more information coming in on this latest development. The apparent hacking not only of the DNC, the DCCC, but now the Clinton campaign.

Much more right after this.


BLITZER: We're back with our political team. We're following the breaking news in the presidential race.

[18:45:00] Mark, reporting that the FBI and the Justice Department are now investigating whether the computer system, or at least part of the computer system used by the Hillary Clinton campaign has been hacked and maybe been hacked by the same people who hacked the DNC and DCCC. That's believed to be Russians. You're now getting the first reaction from the Trump campaign.

PRESTON: We are, Wolf. Apparently, they're watching right now and they sent over this statement to us. This is from Jason Miller, this is Donald Trump's senior communications advisor.

This seems to be a problem wherever Hillary Clinton goes. Hopefully, this time, there wasn't classified or top secret information that puts American lives at risk, which just goes to show now, we're seeing the Donald Trump campaign try to weave this together with the e-mail server scandal that's been dogging Hillary Clinton, you know, since we learned that she was keeping her own server as she was secretary of state. BLITZER: Yes, it's interesting, Katrina Pierson, the national

campaign spokeswoman, Sunlen, for the Trump campaign, I interviewed her just moments ago and she said, if there is embarrassing information that will hurt the Hillary Clinton campaign, they would use that information. She wasn't shy about that.

SERFATY: That's right. It's very clear they will pick at this wound a little more, jab Hillary Clinton at likely here biggest area of vulnerability here that's honest and trustworthy issues, especially when we're talking about emails and connect these two issues directly. It's interesting, especially coming after the Democratic convention this week, where so much of it was arguing against Donald Trump's areas of trust and his risk factors. Of course, one of those lasting lines that came out of Hillary Clintons speech is you don't want to trust someone that can be baited in to tweet with the nuclear codes.

I think they are trying to kind of flip and turn that on her on this issue again. Be get back to Hillary Clinton, her bigger issues of trust.

BLITZER: Ron Brownstein, you think there's a bigger issue at stake right now, an issue involving national security.

BROWNSTEIN: Absolutely. Look, I mean, it's a kind of -- it's a very strange argument to say -- the kind of the classic blaming the victim. If you're saying, if in fact, the Russian intelligence service is systematically attacking institutions associated with the Democratic Party in the U.S., potentially because they want to help Donald Trump who has said remarkable things about Vladimir Putin. I don't think we know that yet, but potentially that's why they're doing it.

And then you say because the Russian intelligence service is attacking Hillary Clinton campaign, that means that she's not fit to guard national security. I mean, that is just completely inverted. You know, the real issue is here the national security question of a foreign government potentially trying to influence the outcome of the U.S. election or simply to throw the election into chaos.

Either way, I think this is fundamentally a question of how the U.S. government is going to respond. You know, I'm in Los Angeles where we had a dry run for this with the indications that the North Korean government hacked Sony, right? Initially, everybody was, oh wow, this is cool. We have these e-mails inside of Sony. We get all the salacious gossip about what people thought about Angelina Jolie.

About halfway through, people realized that a foreign intelligence service attacked major U.S. institution and we were amplifying the impact of that attack by kind of reveling in the disclosures that were made. I think we're really missing the forest for the trees here. This is a tremendous escalation, if, in fact, proven of conflict between the U.S. and Russia, and the question should be how are we, as a country, going to deal with it. Not who is going to get an immediate partisan advantage over it.

BLITZER: So, David Swerdlick, if, in fact, the Trump campaign exploits, uses this information for political purpose, could that backfire on them politically?

SWERDLICK: Wolf, I think it could if it ever comes out or if the public starts to see this as the Trump campaign somehow working in concert with the Putin administration or someone in Russia. But up to this point, I think Ron is right, there's an element of victim blaming here. But at the same time, we've got this idea of, you know, one campaign being hacked and you already see from the statement you got, the Trump campaign not necessarily being in cahoots but playing along with what's going on with the Russians to their, presumably to their advantage.

PRESTON: We have to be careful. We have no evidence that Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin are talking about night about how to take down Clinton.


PRESTON: I mean, that's got -- we have no evidence of that at all.

BLITZER: It was the Clinton campaign, Robby Mook, who suggested last Sunday that the Russian, if they're doing this, they're doing it to try to get Donald Trump elected because they think he would be friendlier towards Russia than Hillary Clinton.

SWERDLICK: But you can imagine government of super powers spying on each other or spying on each other's political parties. It's the statements coming from the Trump campaign that I think are sort of unprecedented.

BLITZER: You'll also hear from some Trump supporters, Jeffrey, is that it's sort of underscores the ineptness, if you will, of the Democrats. They can't protect their own computers and their e-mails.

TOOBIN: Well, that's where you get into the victim blaming situation. You know, lots of American companies, whether it's Target or Sony or all sorts of companies have been hacked.

[18:50:09] And that doesn't necessarily mean that they are bad companies. But I cannot conceive -- I mean, I think this is where I disagree with Ron a little bit. I mean, yes, it is true in a high minded way that this is very serious thing, but if e-mails come out we will focus on the content of those e-mails. Did they say nasty things about Bernie Sanders? Did they say nasty things about possible vice presidential candidates?

I mean, this is what people do on e-mail, and I am afraid that the content of the e-mails will overwhelm the larger issue of who hacked it and why.

BLITZER: Yes. I just want to be precise once again. The Clinton campaign is saying, Mark Preston, this -- what was hacked apparently was an analytics data program maintained by the Democratic National Committee and used by the Hillary Clinton campaign and a number of other entities. They're suggesting the e-mails themselves were not hacked, only the data program. PRESTON: Yes, and data that is basically used for voter files to try

to get out the vote. It appears that that's what's going on because it does happen in campaigns.

BLITZER: All right. More on the breaking news coming up. Hillary Clinton's campaign responding as we just heard to the latest reports of a cyber attack. We're learning new information. We'll be right back.


[18:56:14] BLITZER: The breaking news tonight, sources telling CNN the FBI and the Justice Department are investigating a cyber attack involving data used by the Democratic Party and the Hillary Clinton campaign now says there's no evidence its internal systems have been compromised.

Our chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto is working the story for us. He joins us along with our global affairs correspondent Elise Labott, our politics executive editor Mark Preston, and our senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin is still with us.

Jim, based on all of the reporting you've done, how widespread is this?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: This is proving to be an enormously expansive cyber attack. We already knew the DNC. There's already been fallout of that, led to the resignation of the chairman of the DNC. We then learned the DCCC, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, that opens up not just, of course, the Clinton campaign but a whole host of candidates around the country, their communications, their donors, et cetera, now it extends into the Clinton campaign itself.

Of course, the Clinton campaign saying that this was a shared analytics tool. Regardless, it's information in the campaign which, along with e-mails provides enormous potential for other things to be revealed that could have an effect on the campaign and the one final point and I'll make the one common thread, it's Russia.

BLITZER: And if it is Russia, there are a lot of people fearing this could be the start of a brand new Cold War, Elise.

ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, there is this feeling that Russia, if it is indeed proved to be Russia, crossed the line. I mean, every country spies on one another, but the idea that the information was leaked in an effort to meddle in the U.S. election. That is really seen as crossing a line.

And when you look at what Putin is doing across Europe. He's funding elections of parties that are friendly to Russia and to NATO, very similar to the kind of rhetoric we're hearing from Donald Trump. So, what the U.S. is saying is, if it is Russia, they need to respond and perhaps they'll start working with some of these European countries who fear their election process has been threatened. But I don't think you will see the Cold War that we saw decades ago, because the relationship with Russia, even as upset as the U.S. would be it is too important, the U.S. trying to work with Russia on Syria and other aspects. So, there will be a response, it could be in cyberspace, where we don't know what happen. But there will be some response, but I don't think they'll pull the plug on the relationship.

BLITZER: Mark, you're getting more information on the Trump campaign?

PRESTON: Right. So, let's forecast this ahead in political terms, national security terms and political terms. This is what I'm hearing in real time now from the Trump campaign as we're discussing, saying that this is not a joke and her supposed strength is becoming a massive weakness, at the same time, is Hillary Clinton becoming a security liability? We heard last night on stage from Philadelphia, a lot of people behind her, and veterans talking about how she could fight ISIS, and how she understands foreign policy. I think the Trump campaign as we all see will use this in the coming weeks.

SCIUTTO: Difficult to make that argument substantively, because China, Russia, they're attacking the whole expanse of the U.S. government and not just Hillary Clinton and their campaign. I mea, they've been in the OPM. They've exposed the White House, State Department and U.S. companies.

PRESTON: But they're still going to do it, though.

LABOTT: Also, if you listen to members of the Republican Party, you heard Paul Ryan, the House speaker, warn the Kremlin to butt out of the election, calling Russia a dictatorship with blood by a devious thug and his own running mate, Mike Pence, saying if it is Russia, they will be held responsible.

BLITZER: And we are standing by, Mark, for more reaction and more information from the Clinton campaign, right?

PRESTON: Absolutely. We're waiting to hear what they have to say about this although we do understand that the data that we're talking about is the voter database this year that was exposed in the DNC.

BLITZER: They keep saying the Clinton campaign, no internal stems were hacked external systems.

All right. Guys, stand by. Much more of our coverage continues right now with "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT".