Return to Transcripts main page


Massive Cyber-Attack Takes Down Popular Websites; GOP Worries Trump Could Cost Senate Majority. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired October 21, 2016 - 17:00   ET


TAPPER: -- the numbers. Analysts are skeptical.

Be sure to watch this Sunday at 9 a.m. Eastern for "STATE OF THE UNION." That's it for "THE LEAD." I'm Jake Tapper, turning it over to Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM. See you Sunday morning.

[17:00:13] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, Internet attack. A massive cyber assault takes down some of the most popular websites, including Amazon and Netflix. Who's behind it? Government investigators are racing to find out.

National security breach. A giant U.S. spy agency is targeted once again, this time a middle-aged contractor is accused of the largest theft of government secrets ever. Were the secrets sold or shared with others?

Down-ballot bailout. Republicans are very worried that, if Donald Trump suffers a big defeat he could take GOP lawmakers with him. Now, they're urging voters to help keep control of Congress.

And win, lose or draw, Hillary Clinton trying to lock down crucial battleground states. Trump says he'll be happy with his effort whatever the outcome.

I'm Wolf Blitzer, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BLITZER: Breaking news, some of the biggest, most popular sites on the Internet, including Twitter, Netflix, and Amazon, come crashing down in a massive wave of cyber-attacks. A third round of the denial of service attacks is under way right now. No one has yet claimed responsibility. Investigators are trying to find out who's to blame and how they did it.

The presidential candidates got back on the campaign trail today, hours after they appeared together, awkwardly, at a charity dinner, barely able to disguise their mutual dislike.

The focus is on the all-important battleground states. Hillary Clinton is in Ohio right now, where the latest poll shows she's even with Donald Trump I the latest polls. No Republican, by the way, has ever been elected president without winning Ohio, and Clinton is trying to keep that string going. Trump is back on the attack today, campaigning in North Carolina and

Pennsylvania. Trailing in the polls, he says he'll go all out until election day and will be happy with his effort, quote, "win, lose or draw." But Republicans are increasingly worried could take other GOP candidates down with him. I'll speak with the Republican Congresswoman Marsha Blackford. She's a Trump supporter.

Our analysts and guests will have full coverage of the top stories.

Let's begin with the breaking news. A major attack on the Internet by perpetrators who are still unknown, and it's affected some of those popular -- most popular websites, including Twitter, Netflix, Spotify, among many others. There's an urgent scramble right now Let's get to our chief national security correspondent what are you learning?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: This attack is still under way and growing. We learned just in the last few moments of a third wave of this attack.

Take a look at this map here. It started this morning across the northeastern United States knocking down many popular websites, as well as cloud computing, slowing many Internet connections to a trickle. It then spread across the continental United States. It even jumped the Atlantic to Europe.

Officials are blaming what's called a distributed denial of service attack, a DDOF attack. This is where multiple devices are hijacked to bombard servers with requests that then overwhelm them, shut them down. It has been a favorite tactic of hacking groups, such as Anonymous.

The Department of Homeland Security still investigating. U.S. officials with knowledge of the investigation tell me they are looking at all possible causes. This includes both criminal activity as well as a possible cyber-attack by a state actor.

One thing that is clear is this is almost certainly not a malfunction but an intentional act. Adam Smith, he is the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, he's been briefed on the investigation. He says that U.S. investigators have the forensic capabilities to determine exactly who or what, what group is behind this attack. And Wolf, he says he's confident they will find out.

BLITZER: Very troubling development indeed. Jim Sciutto, we'll get back to you. Thank you very much.

Now to the presidential race. The candidates are campaigning right now in critical battleground states. Let's go immediately to our political reporter, Sara Murray in Pennsylvania.

Sara, Republics are deeply worried that a Trump defeat could be devastating for what are called those down -- down-ballot candidates.

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's absolutely right, Wolf. And when I speak to some Republican operatives, they say they actually believe that's why more Republicans haven't publicly split with Trump, because they're worried about these down-ballot races, and they just don't believe that there are that many ticket splitters across the country, people who would pull the lever, let's say, for Hillary Clinton on the presidential race but still vote Republicans in the House and Senate.

And that's also the reason Donald Trump is facing pressure to continue campaigning in multiple different stops in states like Pennsylvania. This is a state where Donald Trump is trailing Hillary Clinton by a pretty hefty margin in the latest polls, but it's also a place where Pat Toomey is locked in a very tight race for reelection for his Senate seat.

[17:05:15] And so their belief, in the Republican Party here is if you can get Donald Trump to keep coming back here, if you can bring up his margins, maybe that will keep Pat Toomey just competitive enough that, even if Donald Trump can't carry Pennsylvania, at least Toomey can keep a Senate seat here in P.A.

Back to you, Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Sara. Thanks very much. Sara Murray reporting for us.

Let's get Marsha Blackburn right now. She's a U.S. congresswoman from Tennessee. She's joining us right now. She's the vice chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee and a staunch Donald Trump supporter.

Congresswoman, thanks very much for joining us.

REP. MARSHA BLACKBURN (R), TENNESSEE: Good to be with you. Thank you, Wolf.

BLITZER: First to the breaking news. You're on the communications and technology subcommittee. What do you know about this major Internet outage that's taking place? Could it be, for example, the work of a foreign entity?

BLACKBURN: Wolf, you don't know who is behind this. You do not know if it's foreign or domestic.

What I do know is over the years we have tried to pass data security legislation. There's been bipartisan agreement in the House. It has not moved forward in the Senate.

We also know that a few years ago we tried to do a bill called SOFA in the House which would require the ISPs to do some governance on these networks and to block some of the bad actors. And of course, there were all of the cyber-bots that took out after us that were trying to say, "No, you can't do that. You're going to impede our free speech,"

We said, "No, we're trying to keep the roadway clear and keep some of these bad actors out of the system."

So what you have now, whether it is foreign or domestic, no one knows, no one knows who has released some ransomware, spyware, malware into the system that is -- and bear in mind also, what we do know this malware can live on your system for a year or much longer before it is detected.

And that is how you've had some of these extensive data breaches, because the malware gets into the system. It rests there. It is pulling information and, at some point, it activates.

And as I tell my constituents, be careful what websites you go to. Be careful what e-mails you open, because you may be unintendedly inviting that malware or spyware into your system.

BLITZER: It's a really troubling development. There's a lot of concern, potentially.


BLITZER: It could be retaliation, as well. I want you to stand by a few moments, Congresswoman.


BLITZER: Because I want to discuss the race for the White House for you. There are important political developments today unfolding.

I want to go to our own Jason Carroll, who's taking a closer look at Donald Trump and the latest developments on that front. Jason, it's all or nothing for Trump right now. These are critical moments.

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, privately the Trump campaign is looking at the numbers, the poll numbers. They're clearly worried about their poll numbers, but publicly, you've got Donald Trump, who's out on the campaign trail, just wrapped up a rally at another part of the state, where he continued to talk about what he calls the rigged system.

But earlier at a rally in North Carolina was far more reflective about the state of his campaign.


CARROLL (voice-over): Donald Trump returning to the script that helped get him this far.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: We have a bunch of babies running our country, folks. We have a bunch of losers. They're losers. They're babies.

CARROLL: The GOP nominee is pledging to sprint to the finish line in the face of polls showing him trailing Hillary Clinton nationally and in key battleground states.

TRUMP: Win, lose or draw, and I'm sorry, almost sure, if the people come out, we're going to win. But I will be -- I will be happy with myself, because I always say, I don't want to think back, if only I did one more rally, I would have won North Carolina.

CARROLL: Campaigning today in North Carolina, Trump ratcheting up his attacks on Clinton. TRUMP: Hillary Clinton is the most corrupt politician ever to seek

the office of the presidency.

CARROLL: Trump seizing on hacked e-mails released by WikiLeaks that reveal Clinton aides discussing whether the former secretary of state would accept an invitation to speak at a Clinton Global Initiative summit in Morocco, possibly in exchange for $12 million pledge from the country's king to the Clinton Foundation. The event took place in May 2015, more than two years after Clinton left the State Department and a month after she declared for president. She ultimately did not attend, but Trump still says it's evidence of pay-for-play.

TRUMP: Now from WikiLeaks, we've just learned she tried to get $12 million from the king of Morocco for an appearance. More pay for play. That's why I'm proposing a pass of ethics reforms to make our government honest once again.

CARROLL: The tension between Trump and his Democratic rival on full display last night as the two shared a stage at the annual Al Smith Dinner in New York, a Catholic fundraiser, the traditionally good- spirited roast providing some laughs.

TRUMP: Michelle Obama gives a speech, and everyone loves it. It's fantastic. They think she's absolutely great. My wife, Melania, gives the exact same speech. And people get on her case.

CARROLL: But the GOP nominee also drawing boos and criticism for some sharp jabs.

TRUMP: Here she is tonight, in public, pretending not to hate Catholics.

CARROLL: With 18 days until election day, Trump's performance on the campaign trail growing more concerning for Republican leaders worried about down-ballot drag. One example is in New Hampshire, where Kelly Ayotte is locked in a tough Senate race, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is stepping in to run a new television ad, urging voters to reelect Ayotte to serve as a check and balance on the potential Democratic White House.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: America's future is far from certain, but no matter who the next president is, New Hampshire needs a strong voice in the U.S. Senate.

CARROLL: A source tells CNN the group could release similar ads in other states to help Republicans try and maintain control of the Senate.


CARROLL: And Wolf, while Trump says win, lose, or draw, that he would be happy with himself, also in the same breath he has repeatedly said over and over again that, if he did not win the election, it would be what he says, a complete waste of time and money -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Jason, thank you. Jason Carrol reporting. Marsha Blackburn, the congresswoman from Tennessee, Donald Trump

supporter, still with us.

Win, lose or draw. There obvious could be a winner. There could be a loser. If it's a draw, let's say 269-269, it goes to the House of Representatives, so somebody would be a winner, right?

BLACKBURN: Yes, right. There is going to be a winner, and there's going to be a peaceful transition of power. And I think that is what we all wish for.

I think Mr. Trump has run a great campaign. And Wolf, if you were out with me around the country in what many on each of the coasts term fly-over territory, you would see people are still talking about how much we need change.

The presentation of these e-mails, Mrs. Clinton, some of the things that she's been paid for, the speeches, some of the reflection of attitudes has not served her campaign well. And as I'm talking to people there are some who say, "You know, I don't like the pay-to- play. I don't like the way that they have gotten in here and tried to build wealth off of pedaling influence. And because of that, I'm going to vote for Donald Trump, because he hasn't been a part of any of that in Washington, and he probably does know how to fix the system."

BLITZER: All right. But is it appropriate, though -- and I know you have strong views on this, for Donald Trump to say he will not necessarily accept the election results if he loses?

BLACKBURN: I think Donald Trump, like everybody else who runs for election, you get to that night, and you look at what comes up on the board, and you know that you have either won or lost.

There are every, once in a while, an election that gets thrown into a recount, and that is something that you trust the election officials. And you know, Wolf, one of the things I think we forget in this is elections are not handled by a federal commission. They are handled by our local election commissions and our state, overseen by our state election commissions. That's the reason...

BLITZER: So why does Donald Trump...

BLACKBURN: ... we know about...

BLITZER: Why does he keep saying the system is rigged then?

BLACKBURN: I -- I think what you are hearing and people are hearing and the reason you hear people say that from time to time is because they hear about people who have tried to fraudulently register or election commissioners who are doing their job. And they pull people out of the system because they're not qualified to vote. They may be in the country illegally, and they're inappropriately registered. Or someone is voting for someone who is deceased. Or you hear about the bundling of ballots...

[17:15:10] BLITZER: There are some -- there are problems, obviously. There are some problems out there.


BLITZER: But you don't believe the election system here in the United States, that our democracy is rigged, do you?

BLACKBURN: Wolf, we know that, because election commissioners are doing their job, that's the way we know about this. And I served on an election commission in my home county, Williamson County, Tennessee, and I know what goes in by those volunteers that serve on those election boards, the effort that goes into making certain that those are fair elections. And when you serve in that capacity, you have a great appreciation for the effort that goes into cleaning up those voter rolls to making certain that the volunteers who are working those elections on election day...

BLITZER: So basically, you're saying -- you're saying...

BLACKBURN: ... have appropriate information in to them.

BLITZER: What I hear you saying, Congresswoman -- we've got to take a break, but what I hear you saying is the system works, even though there are occasionally some problems.

BLACKBURN: I have...

BLITZER: Where you are, the system works; it is not rigged.

BLACKBURN: I have great confidence in what -- the way the system in Tennessee works. Indeed do.

BLITZER: All right. I want you to stay with us, Congresswoman. We've got more to discuss.


BLITZER: We'll take a quick break. We'll resume the questioning right after this.


[17:20:46] BLITZER: We're tracking our breaking news, a massive cyber-attack that's taken down some of the most popular websites here in the United States, including Amazon and Twitter among others.

We're back with a key Donald Trump supporter, Republican Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee. We'll have more on the breaking news.

I want to get back to politics, though, Congresswoman. Donald Trump, he called Hillary Clinton, you remember, a quote, "nasty woman" during that debate this week. Texas Republican Representative Brian Babin said he thinks -- and I'm quoting him now -- he says, "Sometimes a lady needs to be told when she's being nasty."

Does that kind of talk highlight a real problem that the Republican Party has right now with a lot of women out there? BLACKBURN: I -- I think that we would all be better served to look at

e-mails and issues of Hillary Clinton and to focus on how you move forward for the American people. And that is what my focus is on. And making certain that people understand, if you want the status quo, Hillary Clinton is your gal. If you want change, then Donald Trump...

BLITZER: Just to be precise, Congresswoman, you don't want these Republican men to be calling women politicians nasty, do you?

BLACKBURN: It serves -- it does not serve to add to the conversation, and it doesn't help.

BLITZER: All right.

BLACKBURN: And keeping the focus on where the focus needs to be, which is Hillary Clinton's lack of accomplishment over the past 30 years and her position on different issues. And what I want to do is make certain we're preserving the Supreme Court and that we have somebody who is going to do a good job supporting our military and making certain they have the ability to -- to carry out their mission.

BLITZER: A key pro-GOP group will soon start running TV ads in New Hampshire, asking voters there to reelect -- reelect their Republican senator as what they call a check and balance for the White House. The ad doesn't explicitly say Hillary Clinton will be president, but it makes it clear the possibility is very real, based on all the polls right now. So here's the question: has the GOP establishment, for all practical purposes, given up on a Trump victory?

BLACKBURN: I don't think they've given up on the Trump victory. I think what they do realize is that the presidential election is a compilation of 50 separate state elections and because of that, you're going to have states where Trump is running strong. You're going to have states where there needs to be a distance.

And I know that Kelly Ayotte is running a great race. I've been on the ground in New Hampshire, and I have talked to people and see, the support that is there. And they have this incredible ground game how they are hammering out this vote. And Donald Trump is running stronger there than anyone thought he did. And that's a key thing to remember...

BLITZER: Let me interrupt. Let me interrupt you.

BLACKBURN: ... in all of these states.

BLITZER: Congresswoman, he's down in latest University of New Hampshire/WMUR poll in New Hampshire by 15 points, and Kelly Ayotte is down by 8 points to the governor, Maggie Hassan. They're both in trouble in New Hampshire.

BLACKBURN: I think that Kelly Ayotte is running stronger than those polls indicate. And when you look at the ground game that they have in New Hampshire with pushing that vote out the door and whether it is Ginta or Ayotte or Trump, they will perform better than the polls indicate that they are going to -- going to poll on election day. BLITZER: We have about 17 or 18 days. Your fellow House member...

BLACKBURN: Yes, we do.

BLITZER: ... and I assume you know Representative Your Mark Meadows of North Carolina. He suggested that Trump supporters are questioning the loyalty of the House speaker, Paul Ryan. Listen to what Meadows said.


REP. MARK MEADOWS (R), NORTH CAROLINA (via phone): A lot of the people who believe so desperately that we need to put Donald Trump in the White House, they question the loyalty of the speaker. So I do think that there will be real discussions after November 8 on who our leadership will be and what that will look like going forward.


[17:25:00] BLITZER: Congresswoman, will you support Speaker Ryan after the November election?

BLACKBURN: At this point, I don't think there's anyone who has said they're going to run against Speaker Ryan; and what we need to do at this point is realize it's not the time for those kind of conversations, Wolf. Those will take place beginning November 9.

Right now every ounce of energy that we have and our entire focus ought to be on November 8 and making certain that our ticket, all of our Republicans, run as well as they can run.

And I've run into people every day that are seeking information on the issues and want to know where different candidates stand, because they've heard so much of this he said, she said and hubbub and different talk about things that really are not relevant, that what they are looking for is information.

So every one of us -- all of the elected officials, all of the media -- would be well-served not to focus on the sensational but to focus on the issues...

BLITZER: But let me be -- I've got to wrap it up.

BLACKBURN: ... that men and women in this country are -- care about.

BLITZER: Congresswoman, got to wrap it up. That didn't sound to me like a ringing endorsement of the speaker. So let me rephrase the question. Let's say someone challenges him for the speakership after the November elections, whether Congressman Meadows or anyone else. Who are you going to be with?

BLACKBURN: I think that after November 8, and when we go back to Washington, that you will see Paul Ryan still as speaker of the House.

BLITZER: And will you be with him? Do you support him? BLACKBURN: I -- I have supported Speaker Ryan. I have served with

him on the Republican Study Committee, and, Wolf, I think at this point you're going to still see Paul Ryan be speaker.

BLITZER: I understand that, but I'm trying to find out if you want him to be the speaker. Will you support him?

BLACKBURN: Oh, yes, I'm sorry I thought you were -- yes. I think you that will see Paul Ryan, yes, I think that he will be there. He's going to be speaker of the House. I think he has had a very difficult job. He is serving as best he can. I'm not going to agree with him on everything, but I think Paul Ryan is doing a fine job leading House Republicans.

BLITZER: All right. Marsha Blackburn, thanks so much for joining us.

BLACKBURN: Thank you.

BLITZER: Coming up, as Donald Trump fades in many polls, Republicans are increasingly worried about the impact on down-ballot candidates. Our political experts are standing by.

And it may be the largest theft of U.S. government secrets ever. A giant U.S. spy agency is again the target. How great is the damage? Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.



WOLF BLITZER, ANCHOR: We're following breaking news of the presidential race campaigning in Pennsylvania.


BLITZER: About an hour ago Donald Trump predicted victory on November 8th despite what he calls a rigged system. Trump told a large very enthusiastic crowd they have to get out and vote or he's wasting a lot of time and a lot of money.


BLITZER: Let's bring in our political experts. Manu Raju, polls show Donald Trump faces a very difficult path right now to winning the White House. Republicans are now worried this could have what they fear, a trickle-down effect on the Senate. What are the states where they are most concerned right now about losing their majority, the republican majority in the Senate?

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, there are about eight or nine competitive seats right now Wolf, and only one of those eight or nine seats democrats are defending right now. That means there's a big map for republicans -- democrats right now to retake that majority. And you have blue states like Wisconsin and Illinois where democrats are favored right now. And, you have close swing states like Pennsylvania and New Hampshire, very close races there. Then you have red states Wolf, Indiana, Missouri, North Carolina, all in the toss up category, if they can win some of -- if they can win four seats, assuming that Hillary Clinton wins, they take back the majority.

So, right now there is a lot of room for them to run. And, what's really helping them at the moment is the fact that Donald Trump is struggling. And, in a lot of these states if he loses big, if he loses by 7, 8 or 9 points it will be very, very difficult for those down ticket republicans to run significantly ahead at the top of the ticket. So, that's why you are seeing a lot of republicans distancing themselves from Donald Trump right now and making that argument that they're -- there could be a check against the Clinton White House hoping that can convince republican voters to re-elect them.

BLITZER: Yes, that's a critically important development.

David Chalian, a GOP interest group out now with this new ad calling on New Hampshire voters to reelect the republican incumbent, Senator Kelly Ayotte, no matter who the president is. Those were the words in the ad.


BLITZER: The race in New Hampshire could decide who gets control of the Senate. Look at this, the latest polls, we've been showing them, the democratic candidate. Maggie Hassan eight point ahead of Kelly Ayotte, right now.

So, how do GOP Senate candidates convince voters to split their vote for example?


DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, you referenced this ad and that's one of the ways that you see republicans trying to convince people to split their votes by saying hey you need to have a check on what could be a democrat White House.

We've seen this in New Hampshire in that race right there with what Dana Bash had reported about the Chamber of Commerce ad. This is a stone walled republican ally that is basically putting an ad together that presumes a Clinton victory because it says you must, must have a check on whatever is coming out of the White House. That's one way to do it. And a state like New Hampshire, well there's some tradition and history of ticket splitting there.

I don't know that the race is quite as wide as that one poll, it could be a little bit closer, lots of the other polling up in New Hampshire have it closer. But you're going to start seeing this argument taking place well New Hampshire. You're going to start seeing republicans time and time again in these close races that Manu just talked about, reminding everyone that if indeed it's going south of the White House, you really want to make sure you keep your republican majority in the Senate.


BLITZER: Yes. And New Hampshire we pointed out 15 points the latest poll Trump behind in New Hampshire. But Kelly Ayotte down eight points right now.

Rebecca Berger, early voting results show democrats have been proved their numbers from 2012 in reliably red states like Arizona even Utah. So what does that mean for Trump?

REBECCA BERGER, CNN Well, I think it reflects a few dynamics at work here Wolf. First of all, it shows how Trump is expanding the map and not in a way that's good for him.

States like Utah and Arizona should really frankly not be in play for republicans. But he has energized a Hispanic base of voters that maybe wouldn't have been energized in this election. He's energized democrats and some republicans have decided maybe they can't vote for him as well.

So the map is much bigger for Hillary Clinton and much smaller path for Donald Trump. But, it also shows because we're talking about early voting here, it shows how organization at the presidential level really matters and Donald Trump just doesn't have it. He's been leaning completely on the Republican National Committee for his ground game, for his organization. Hillary Clinton has a top-notch campaign organization.

She has many offices across all of the key battle ground states. People who have been on the ground for more than a year working in these communities targeting voters. Donald Trump just doesn't have that and he's not contacting people to get them to vote early, to get them to vote on election day at the same level, or even at any level. And this, in early voting especially, that's where it starts to matter.

BLITZER: Jackie Kucinich, what's at stake for the house speaker Paul Ryan in all of this.

JACKIE KUCINICH, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, THE DAILY POST: I mean at its worse, control of the House. Because even if -- even if Donald Trump takes some of these republicans down with him, it will probably be those members that are the more moderate members and those are the ones that really support Paul Ryan.

So, even if he does keep the House and some of these more moderate numbers are knocked off he's going to be in charge of a more conservative conference that could really pose a new challenge for him. The one thing he has going for him, though, is that no-one still can answer if not Paul Ryan who -- who can consolidate the conference around one person. But he's in a really tough, impossible position right now.

BLITZER: Rebecca, the Clinton campaign is out with a new ad featuring the Khizr Khan, the father of a Muslim soldier who was killed in Iraq.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BLITZER: The campaign is going to air this ad in a number of battleground states including Florida, North Carolina, and Ohio. How effective do you think this ad will be with voters?

BERG: This ad in particular, Wolf, it really tugs on your heart strings in a very powerful way.

And, I think one of the untold stories of this election cycle has really been how effective Hillary Clinton's advertising has been and how well produced her ads have been.

We haven't really talked about that because Donald Trump has commanded earns media and advertising maybe hasn't mattered in the same way it usually does.

But this ad, I think, in particular will really resonate. We've seen polling since the Khan controversy between Donald Trump and Khizr Khan's, his family. We've seen polling that suggests most voters, as many as 2/3 of voters think that Donald Trump did not respond appropriately to this Gold Star family.


BERG: That he should not have attacked them. And this is an important reminder as voters are starting to go to the polls, not only of that controversy but what it represents and the underlying message that Donald Trump was or was not sending with that fight.

So, this is a very good for Hillary Clinton.

BLITZER: All right, I'm going to have -- I'm going to have all of you standby, much more coming up. We're also following the breaking news right now, a massive internet outage here in the United States. Who's behind it? We'll be right back.


BLITZER: We're continuing to track the breaking news right now, a massive cyber-attack that's taken down, here in the United States, some of the most popular websites including Amazon and Twitter. So far no one has claimed responsibility for the attack. A U.S. Government official tells CNN, the U.S. is "looking at all possible scenarios."

We're also watching new developments in the presidential race.


BLITZER: Hillary Clinton just wrapped up a rally in key battleground state in Ohio. She's focusing in on Donald Trump and not the latest questions raised by her campaign staff's stolen e-mails posted by Wikileaks.

Let's go to Joe Johns, he's following the Clinton campaign right now.


BLITZER: So, Joe, what did she have to say just now?

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, before I even talk about what she had to say it was essentially get out the vote rally. Which is very important especially here in Ohio, especially because early voting started on October 11th.


JOHNS: But while she was speaking we got some interesting information from press campaign press secretary, Brian Fallon, who speaking to reporters suggested that despite the fact Hillary Clinton had really had a tough road to hull here in the state of Ohio, they believe in the Hillary Clinton campaign that she has now turned the corner based on the number of absentee ballots that have been requested in some of the key counties.


JOHNS: That would include right here in Kiahoga County around Cleveland, as well as Franklin County around Columbus Ohio. And, even some of the other counties, Hamilton around Cincinnati. All told, based on the fact that they've seen a lot more absentee ballots requested, without knowing what that number is, they say they think they're showing people voting on their side along the lines of 2012.


JOHNS: They're also doing a lot of micro targeting trying to figure who it is that hasn't requested an absentee ballot and trying to get that person to do so, Wolf.

BLITZER: So, Joe, you know Ohio well, you're from -- I think you're from Ohio right? So, you know that state well ...

JOHNS: ...I am, yes, from Columbus...

BLITZER: ... you know the state well, and as we often point out, no republican has ever won the White House without carrying Ohio. The polls right now show a

dead heat between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. But, what I hear you saying is, the Clinton campaign thinks they can win this state?

JOHNS: Right. Which is extraordinary given the fact that Ohio has been so tough for Hillary Clinton. A lot of the other battleground states have really started to fall in line. A number of them anyway, but the buck eye state has been a sticking point for her. And they're excited to say to us tonight that they think they've turned the corner tonight, Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Joe Johns, in Cleveland, Ohio, for us. Joe, thank you very much.


BLITZER: Coming up the man accused of the largest ever theft of U.S. classified material goes to court. Prosecutors call the theft breathtaking in its longevity and stale. So, how much damage has been done to the United States?




BLITZER: More breaking news now, a Federal Judge in Baltimore has ordered the detention of a former national security agency contractor accused of stealing a vast amount of highly sensitive, classified, intelligence information. Prosecutors are calling it breathtaking.

Brian Todd has been looking into this for us. Brian is joining us from Baltimore. What are you learning Brian?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, tonight prosecutors have laid out a portrayal of a man they characterize as a reckless thief who had hundreds of thousands of pages of stolen top secret documents, discs, thumb drives, strewn all over his house, his car and even his backyard shed. Tonight investigators are still trying to determine what Harold Martin's motives were and whether he shared any of that intelligence with America's enemies.


TODD: A 51 year old from the Baltimore suburbs described as a loner now stands accused of the largest theft of government secrets ever. Breathtaking in its longevity and scale say prosecutors who tonight say their case against Harold Martin III is overwhelming. Prosecutors say this former contactor for the National Security Agency over the course of 20 years stole the equivalent of half a billion pages of secret information.

LOUIS BLADEL, LED FBI'S SNOWDON INVESTIGATION: 300 times what's known to us.

TODD: Law enforcement sources tell CNN that among the documents the FBI believes Martin stole were some describing a hacking tool that the NSA uses to break into computer systems in other countries. Documents on the hacking tool were found posted on the dark web. But, the government has not claimed that Martin posted them there.

RAJESH DE, FORMER NSA COUNSEL: Sources and methods, the technical means by which they go about their business are really important and really fragile. In other words, if they're exposed, they're done, they're burned forever.

TODD: Another document, operational plans against a known enemy of the U.S. prosecutors claim. They did not name the enemy. They also say Martin knew how to cover his tracks, that he had a sophisticated software tool which didn't need to be installed on a computer "leaving no digital foot print on the machine."

His defense attorneys say Hal Martin is no Edward Snowden. That he had no intention of sharing secrets with America's enemies. And, so far, prosecutors have presented no evidence of that. Still, a Federal Judge rules tonight that Martin is a flight risk and orders him detained without bail.

JAMES WYDA, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: We believe Hal Martin poses no risk of danger at this point to his country. Hal is no risk of flight. He loves America, and trusts in its justice system.

TODD: In court, the defense says Martin loves his country, which caused him to well up with tears. They suggested he may have mental health issues and this was the work "of a compulsive hoarder." They say he took the material in an effort to get better at his job. His wife, who came to the hearing to support him, only spoke briefly.

MRS MARTIN, HAROLD MARTIN'S WIFE: I love him. That's it.

TODD: A key question tonight, how could Martin have gotten away with it for so long at the super-secret NSA?

BLADEL: If you look at the last two losses of information, Snowden as well as Martin, I would clearly say they have a problem.


TODD: Now, we repeatedly pressed the NSA today over how Harold Martin was able to steal so many secrets over such a long period of time. Neither the NSA nor the justice department would comment, citing an ongoing investigation. Wolf?

BLITZER: And Brian, prosecutors also presented very disturbing information about weapons allegedly found in Harold Martin's position, isn't that right?

TODD: That's right, Wolf. They say that when authorities converged on Harold Martin's house, they found at least ten firearms, including an AR-15 style assault rifle. They found a loaded gun on the floor of his car. Prosecutors say that before his arrest, his wife asked him to remove all the weapons from the premises, fearing that he would kill himself if he thought it was all over.

BLITZER: What a story. All right, Brian, thanks very, very much.


BLITZER: Coming up, breaking news. A massive cyber-assault takes down some of the most popular websites here in the United States, including Amazon, and Netflix and others. Still underway right now, so who's behind this? Government investigators, they are racing right now to find out.


BLITZER: Happening now, breaking news.


BLITZER: Cyber takedown. A massive internet attack is paralyzing many of the web's most popular sites. A third wave is underway right now. Homeland Security is scrambling to figure out who is behind it and how many more attacks may be in the works.

Downdraft. Republicans are more scared than ever that a loss by Donald Trump will wipe out their majorities in Congress. Tonight we have a new snapshot of where GOP Senators are in the greatest danger right now.

Not buying it. Trump is rejecting polls that show his campaign is struggling and he's promising that he'll defeat Hillary Clinton ...