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WORLD RIGHT NOW WITH HALA GORANI
FBI Director Under Fire Over Email Review; Clinton Campaigning Without Aide Huma Abedin; Iraqi Troops To Enter Mosul In "Matter Of Hours"; New Wave Of Crackdowns In Turkey; Former Officials Criticize Email Review Announcement; FBI Email Probe Dominates Campaign's Final Stretch. Aired 4- 5p ET
Aired October 31, 2016 - 16:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[16:00:02] HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Hala Gorani. We're live at CNN London. Thanks for being with us this
hour. This is THE WORLD RIGHT NOW.
Quote/unquote, "There is no case here," those words from Hillary Clinton as she fights back against an FBI bomb shell that has shaken her campaign just
days before the election. She is urging voters to keep focused on the issues.
But Donald Trump is taking every opportunity to keep the controversy in the headlines. FBI Director James Comey set off shock waves Friday by
announcing that his agency is scrutinizing new e-mails that could be relevant to its investigation of Clinton's use of a private server.
That investigation was suspended in July with a recommendation against criminal charges. Both candidates talked about the controversy on the
trail today. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: For those of you who are concerned about my using personal e-mail, I understand and as I've said,
I'm not making excuses. I said it was a mistake and I regret it. Now they apparently want to look at e-mails of one of my staffers, and by all means,
they should look at them. I'm sure they will reach the same conclusion they did when they looked at my e-mails for the last year. There is no
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have to give the FBI credit that was so bad, what happened, originally, and it took guts for Director
Comey to make the move that he made in light of the kind of opposition he had where they're trying to her from general prosecution. You know that.
It took a lot of guts. I really disagreed with him. I was not his fan, but I'll tell you what, what he did was bring back his reputation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: All right, Donald Trump there saying that he wasn't a fan but now that Director Comey has decided to send that letter, he likes him again.
Choice for president, this is a CNN poll of polls, 47 percent for Hillary Clinton, 42 percent for Donald Trump. We are seeing a narrowing of the gap
between the two.
This survey taken through October 29th, the day after news broke about the FBI's investigation. Democrats are outraged by Comey's decision accusing
him of influencing the election by giving the appearance of wrong doing but not supporting facts to back it up.
The e-mails are not from Clinton herself as we've learned but her long-time aide, Huma Abedin. They were uncovered during an unrelated investigation
into her husband, the disgraced former congressman, Anthony Weiner.
Comey says the FBI doesn't know how long the investigation will take or whether the material is even significant. It seems everyone in Washington
has an opinion about this case, but a White House spokesperson is refusing to criticize or defend the FBI director. He did say President Barack Obama
does not believe Comey is intentionally trying to influence the race.
Let's bring in CNN political commentator, David Swerdlick. He is an assistant editor at "The Washington Post." We're also joined by CNN senior
legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin.
Jeffrey, I'm going to start with you. Let's talk a little bit about the legal angle here. Is it unprecedented that an FBI director would come out
with such an element of a potential investigation?
We haven't reopened the case here. This is just could be relevant to that suspended investigation in the summer. Is this unprecedented?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: There has certainly never been anything like this in a presidential campaign before and there is a long
established tradition at the FBI that the authorities should not disclose anything related to a political investigation in the last two months before
So this is definitely a departure from the FBI's traditions and what makes this especially puzzling is that Director Comey violated that tradition,
not to disclose that he had new evidence against Hillary Clinton.
But just to say that they were looking for evidence that might or might not turn out to have evidence against Hillary Clinton.
[16:05:06]So it was very perplexing announcement that simply sawed confusion without incriminating or exonerating the woman who might be
GORANI: So why do it?
TOOBIN: A lot of people think he should have done it. His argument was that because he said publicly that the investigation was closed, in July,
he felt obligated to disclose that the investigation was not fully closed, although he could not say whether or not the evidence was significant.
Usually the pattern in those circumstances is you look at the evidence and then you determine whether it is worthwhile to inform Congress or change
any conclusions. What makes this so difficult to absorb is that it is not just the departure from the tradition, but the information he disclosed is
so vague and inconclusive.
GORANI: David, the political impact, of course, is the big question now. I showed that poll of polls, there's an ABC News and "Washington Post" in
fact tracking poll showing them much closer with Hillary Clinton at 46, Donald Trump at 45, 4 and 2 for the other two remaining candidates in the
race. So what is going to be the political impact? Because this is such a vague letter, it's open to interpretation.
DAVID SWERDLICK, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, and there are even closer polls, our most recent "Washington Post" tracking poll, Hala, shows that
Hillary Clinton has only a 1 point lead over Donald Trump, 46 to 45. And it also found that both of them have almost 60 percent negative approval
rating, 60 percent of Americans view them negatively, both candidates.
That being said, I think what the main political fallout of this is that it prevents Secretary Clinton from embarking on making her closing argument.
You know, if you go back to Friday morning, she was sort of settling into making her final closing case in the last week and a half of this election.
And now that's been up ended by the FBI letter and now she is having to address this rather than close out her case. I will just say while I agree
with Jeffrey that what Director Comey did in sending that letter to Congress is definitely a departure from tradition and protocol at the
Justice Department and the FBI, and I would defer to Jeffrey and matters legal.
I do think that those criticizing him are protesting a little bit too much. It was also a departure from FBI protocol for him to make that speech that
he made in July when he announced and gave a full throated explanation for why he declined to recommend criminal charges against Secretary Clinton.
So now for the tables to have sort of politically turned, I think Democrats is understandable that they are pushing back on this, but they have not
been consistent in all cases.
GORANI: All right and you're saying they're protesting too much, why? Because when it was going their way there was no protest there, but now
that potentially it could be politically harmful to them.
SWERDLICK: Right. There was less (inaudible) when Comey came out and breached protocol by giving this public explanation of why he was not
recommending charges to the Justice Department. I also think that it is hard to fault Comey in this case for going forward with a letter to
Remember this was a letter to Congress and simply saying look, we're looking into this. You can imagine the reverse case, I think, if he had
sat on this information then Republicans, or the Trump campaign, could right now be arguing, let's say if this leaked out, that he was trying to
influence the election as the Democrats are arguing right now.
GORANI: Jeffrey, what is your response to that?
TOOBIN: I just think that is so much not the case. There -- you know, Jim Comey is not obliged to disclose everything that goes on in the FBI
especially when it's unclear what there is to disclose. So the fact that there is a new stash of e-mails that might or may not be relevant, this is
precisely the kind of information that is not supposed to be disclosed on the eve of an election.
This has never been done before in a presidential election, and it has never been done even in much less important elections. So the idea that he
might be criticized down the line, so what? It's his job to accept criticism for making the right decision.
The idea that he was obliged to make this disclosure and set the presidential race on its ear because some Republicans might say nasty
things about him in two weeks or two months, I mean, that is just not an argument that the FBI is supposed to take into consideration.
SWERDLICK: Jeffrey, again, I understand the point you're making. Let me clear if I wasn't before, I'm not suggesting that he should not have
disclose this to Congress because he didn't want to take criticism, although, that may have been part of his motivation.
[16:10:05]I'm saying that he -- A, back when he testified before Congress in July about his non-recommendation of criminal charges, he told Congress
that he would keep them updated.
And then again I'm saying if he is obligated not to put his thumb on the scale and influence election, it could be argued in my view either way that
you could argue that by sending the later to Congress, it could be argued that by not sending this letter he was putting his thumb on the scale.
GORANI: OK, well, we would love to have you both on again to discuss this. I'm sure there will be still a lot more to talk about in the coming days.
David Swerdlick of "The Washington Post," Jeffrey Toobin, thanks so much to both of you for joining us on this. We're going to continue our coverage
of this story.
Hillary Clinton campaigning without Huma Abedin for the third straight day, a rare absence for the aide who's been by Clinton's side for a very long
time, in fact, two decades.
CNN's Brynn Gingras takes a closer look at how Abedin's estranged sexting husband, Anthony Weiner, has become the center of scandal yet again. Take
BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A usually over exposed Anthony Weiner remaining quite private as an investigation into his sexting
is having a ripple effect on the presidential race. Weiner has made no comment and has not been seen leaving his Manhattan home this weekend as
questions remain about what e-mails were discovered that launched the Justice Department to reopen the case into Hillary Clinton's use of a
private e-mail server.
Weiner, a former Democratic congressman once stood in harmony with the Clinton, both serving on Capitol Hill at the same time. Weiner was a
charismatic political rising star who had his eye on Clinton's quiet, closest confidant, Huma Abedin.
Weiner courted Abedin and eventually opposites attracted. The two married in 2010 and Bill Clinton officiated the ceremony. However marital bliss
soon faced a bomb shell.
ANTHONY WEINER, HUMA ABEDIN'S HUSBAND: I'm announcing my resignation from Congress.
GINGRAS: Weiner surrendered his political post after he inadvertently tweeted a picture of his crotch. The scandal broke as the couple were
expecting a child. Abedin gave her husband a second chance and Weiner asked New Yorkers for the same as he ran for mayor in 2013, but that
imploded when more lewd online conversations with women surfaced.
The final straw for Abedin came this year when the FBI opened an investigation into allegations that Weiner sexted with an underage girl.
Abedin announced in August she was separating from Weiner after six years of marriage.
Now her estranged husband's choices being felt again, this one jolting the election less than two weeks before voters head to the polls. Brynn
Gingras, CNN, New York.
GORANI: A little of background there on Huma Abedin. Let's get some perspective from a Hillary Clinton supporter. We are joined by CNN
political commentator, Bill Press in Washington. Thanks, Bill, for being with us.
First of all, there was a new campaign ad that hastily came together over the weekend. Before I get your reaction to it, I want to show our viewers
what ran on television screens in America.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Reports say that the e-mails were not to or from Hillary Clinton or even on her server. In fact, it is entirely possible
that they're all duplicates of e-mails the FBI already looked at months ago.
If that is the case, why send this letter in the first place? You're probably just as puzzled and outraged as we are. Former Justice Department
officials say this violated protocols intended to prevent action that could be seen as influencing the election.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: That is campaign spokesman, Brian Fallon. Bill Press, what is the strategy now from the Clinton camp do you think?
BILL PRESS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think the strategy is to put the focus on James Comey. In my opinion, for Comey, it was a monumental
display of incompetence, mismanagement, bad judgment, and I would add gross partisanship on the part of the FBI director.
I mean, he did rip the blinds -- the blinder off, right, and did put a foot on one side of that scale by coming out with this letter to Congress with
nothing to show.
We don't know whether or not these were all duplicates, relevant, significant. We don't know who sent them. We know nothing and yet Comey
drops a stink bomb with 11 days to go before the election.
GORANI: But here's the thing, though, Bill, I mean, we're discussing this. Maybe people who read the New York Times will have an opinion about it, et
cetera, but it's out there. The headline is out there.
For undecided voters, those leaning toward Donald Trump, it is going to be out there that somehow here, yet again, is more proof that Hillary Clinton
was not honest, was not forthcoming about her server regardless of what this story ends up being.
[16:15:12]Isn't that problem?
PRESS: Well, first of all, Hala, any time you have the sentence with my campaign and criminal investigation together that's not good or my campaign
and Anthony Weiner in the same sentence is not good. I'm not pretending that this is a great moment for the Clinton campaign.
But I do believe that most Americans have made up their mind about the e- mails a long time ago. These maybe a different set of e-mails, but I think to most people, they're just e-mails and they've made up their mind whether
the e-mails are going to be their deciding vote or not.
They know who they're going to vote for. So I think it may change the margin of victory a little bit, but not the trajectory of the campaign.
GORANI: Because we're seeing polls tightening. The ABC News and "Washington Post" tracking poll have Clinton and Trump one point apart. So
well within the margin of error, this has to be a cause for concern for Hillary Clinton supporters.
PRESS: Yes, but remember we don't have a national election here in the United States. In a sense, those national tracking polls are of some
interest. What really counts is the electoral vote. If you look at the battleground states, Hillary Clinton starts out with 242 electoral votes.
They have gone Democratic for the last 18 years. She only needs 28 more. Donald Trump starts out with 102 electoral votes. Hillary Clinton in every
survey right now is north of 300 electoral votes. Donald Trump is not going to change those --
GORANI: You know what Trump supporters will say to you. We don't believe in polls, in experts, look at Brexit, do they have a point? Could the
support for Donald Trump be under estimated?
PRESS: You know, Al Gore used to say denial is not just a river in Egypt, Hala, right? And so I think that's where the Trump people are living in
denial right now. I don't believe there's any way -- he would have to run the table of every state that President Obama won, and flip them to himself
in the next seven days and it's not going to happen.
GORANI: All right, Bill Press, thanks very much. Always a pleasure, thanks for joining us.
PRESS: Thank you.
GORANI: All right, still to come, tonight, Iraqi forces are now poised to enter the ISIS controlled city of Mosul possibly in the coming hours not
days. We'll have the latest in a live report from our Nick Paton Walsh live in Iraq. We'll be right back.
GORANI: In just a, quote, "matter of hours," Iraqi troops are expected to enter Mosul, a city that's been the grip of ISIS for more than two years
now. This comes exactly two weeks since the start of the major offensive to reclaim the city.
[16:20:04]Iraqi Special Forces now said to be just hundreds of meters from Mosul and the fiercest fighting is likely yet to come. Experts are
predicting street to street battles once troops get inside. You don't have to be an expert to know it will be a hard tough slug.
Our Nick Paton Walsh was with one unit as they battled ISIS over the weekend. He joins me now live from the Iraqi city of Irbil. What did you
see when you were just hundreds of meters away from the city itself, Nick?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is down the road that we were on that Iraqi forces have piled today as part of a
coordinated offense on many different prongs trying to get to those city limits. They're definitely banging the drum of (inaudible) they'll be in
that urban stroll.
We don't know if they wait to reinforce them before they take on that very difficult task. But we do know that ISIS put up a fierce resistance along
that road as we saw ourselves.
WALSH (voice-over): The last phase of lifting ISIS's dark curse from Iraq begins here. Trying to hit a spectral, fleeting enemy lit only by the glow
of Mosul city limits barely two kilometers away. Iraqi Special Forces trained by the U.S. target with a tank here where they are attacked from
during the day.
Using Humvees as cover when they move. Their commander has fought ISIS in Fallujah and now the end is near. Where did the artillery land, he asks?
Just visible in the distant lights of Mosul.
This is the global tip of the sphere on the war on ISIS. Surging forward on a thin strip of land into ISIS territory. And as we see in the same
area in daylight facing constant counter attacks. Here they can see ISIS just beyond the berms.
The incoming is from behind it. A truck that pops up, opens fire, and vanishes.
(on camera): ISIS is less than a kilometer away firing at the Iraqi Special Forces position. This is a constant day in and day out.
(voice-over): Where is it moving, he asks? As fast as it emerged, the truck vanishes. But here, there are yet tougher hours ahead. Dark is just
falling and the sky is alight with ferocious fire power.
ISIS have attacked the berms. Suicide bombers. Rocket propelled grenades. It is constant and exhausting. Closer and closer to the roof we're on. We
simply do not know where in the town around us ISIS may have broken through.
(on camera): In this Iraq Special Forces position, and it is moving forwards.
(voice-over): ISIS despite being in their end days, still able to conjure a terror that started their savage rule. The wounded start coming back,
but we cannot film them. A steady stream.
The unit we were with earlier on the roof were hit. Rockets struck, many of them asleep tightly packed in a room. The blast killed 14 soldiers.
Many have limbs torn clean off.
He is shown the weapons of the dead, he pauses in emotion. You guys are heroes, he says and none of you should be affected by this. Those suicide
bombers are nothing. Two kilometers from Mosul city and seven left to the center to go.
WALSH: We just don't know whether or not Iraqi Special Forces will pile in that city quickly. They seem to be closer and closer to it. We had U.S.
spokes people here, and they're making sure their area is properly secured before that happens.
[16:25:07]And a separate narrative happening now, Hala, that is pretty important potentially inside the city itself. We're hearing of drive by
shootings, two or three of them against key ISIS officials inside the city, and inside an ISIS position being attacked, too.
This could be part of the insurrection that we have been hearing about. They're waiting for they call zero hour. Is it upon them? We don't know.
Will it be long and drawn out for the city, very hard to tell. I think there's no doubt though that the weeks ahead. Even though we have seen
heavy resistance and a very tough fight, the weeks ahead are going to be even tougher -- Hala.
GORANI: All right, but virtually, we're hearing in a matter of hours now rather than what we were hearing about a week and days ago, which was this
could extend to the end of the year, why does it appear as though the time line has contracted?
WALSH: It is a big escalation in Iraqi military rhetoric frankly about how they want to be seen moving forward. They want to be in control of how
this moves. Clearly there is advances that match that rhetoric, too.
There is also Iraqi prime minister talking tough in (inaudible) air base in the south of the city (inaudible) telling Mosul residents to stay indoors
and talk about how it is all moving forward quite quickly.
We just don't know though how strong they are around the city, how constant they are to move in and also what happens once they're inside that urban
sprawl. It is tough, urban fighting, even in the best of times when you have a properly and well equipped military and heavy numbers.
This is not an easy fight and Mosul could be the hardest part of what they face yet -- Hala.
GORANI: Right. It won't be over even after Mosul. So much instability still lies ahead. Thanks very much, Nick Paton Walsh there in Irbil with
that report. Thanks for your great reporting as always.
Let's stay in the general vicinity there in Turkey now, 13 journalists have been detained. This is part of the ongoing wave of government crackdowns
against journalists and reporters following July's failed coup attempt.
During the weekend, 10,000 public servants were fired, more than a dozen media companies shut down. Among the journalists arrested was the editor-
in-chief of a prominent opposition newspaper and as Ian Lee reports their supporters, unhappy, took to the streets.
IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Protestors are gathered out here outside of the (inaudible) newspaper angry over the arrest of the editor-in-chief as
well as the arrest warrants for 12 other staff members. They're chanting that you can't silence the free press as well as shoulder to shoulder we
stand against fascism. Here's what some had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The unsuccessful coup attempt, well, it has turned against us. They've been oppressing all opposition newspapers, (inaudible)
people have lost their jobs and with no solid evidence (inaudible) and this newspaper was one of the main opposition voices for us. And now they're
having an operation against us. Well, I think -- if we don't come here and support them right now. Tomorrow, they can hit any of us so I think it is
time to show solidarity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEE: The headline reads coup against the opposition. It is referring to what happened over the weekend where 10,000 people were fired from their
jobs including over a thousand teachers. They also shut down 15 pro- Kurdish newspapers and presidents of universities.
Some of them were fired because the president has sweeping powers and can rule by decree because emergency rule has been put in place until the
middle of January. Census crackdown has begun.
Over a hundred thousand people have lost their jobs. Tens of thousands of people have been thrown in jail and the anger has been building. Remember,
Erdogan and his AK Party have a slim majority in this country and that's why you see people coming out and protesting saying it is becoming more
like a dictatorship than a democracy.
But the government has fought against accusations saying that they're only going after people who are behind the July 15th coup attempt including
Fatullah Golan (ph) supporters. This is a U.S. based cleric as well as pro-Kurdish militants. Today you're seeing protests and opposition says
you can continue to see that. Ian Lee, CNN, Istanbul.
GORANI: Still ahead, fallout from the FBI director's e-mail announcement. High ranking former officials are disagreeing with his decision. I'll ask
one of them why he thinks James Comey is in the wrong.
[15:30:00] And a campaign reinvigorated, Donald Trump has seized on the renewed e-mail controversy, but will it be enough to win on Election Day.
I'll speak with one of his supporters coming up. Stay with us.
GORANI: The White House is distancing itself from the FBI director's controversial announcement about those newly discovered e-mails that might
be related to the Hillary Clinton investigation.
The White House press secretary says the Obama administration will neither defend nor criticize Comey's decision to make the matter public days before
the presidential election. That is our top story.
Also, among the other stories we are following, Iraq's counter terrorism chief says troops could enter Mosul in just a "matter of hours,"
quote/unqoute. As they continue their offensive aimed at reclaiming the city from ISIS. The general said Iraqi Special Forces are now only
hundreds of meters away from Mosul.
And homes, schools, all flattened. Italians are again having to stare at decimation like this. Take a look at after yet another powerful earthquake
rocks Central Italy on Sunday morning. Villages standing for hundreds of years crumbled in moments. No one was killed thankfully. A lot of people
had evacuated, but thousands are now displaced from their homes.
Mark Carney is staying on as the head of Bank of England. He's promised to remain governor until 2019 to ensure stability in negotiations for Brexit.
Carney has come under fire for saying Britain's financial outlook deteriorated after the referendum. There was an interest rate cut and that
he will be staying on to manage that aspect of the economy for the next two years.
The White House says President Obama still has confidence in his FBI director even if the administration is claiming no link to the decision to
announce the discovery of more e-mails that may or may not relate to the investigation into Hillary Clinton's private e-mail server.
Not everyone is that diplomatic about James Comey. Several high ranking American officials are calling him out for what they call poor judgment at
best. CNN chief national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto, has that story.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight CNN has learned that agents at FBI facilities in Quantico are now
combing over thousands of e-mails on a laptop belonging to disgraced Congressman Anthony Weiner and his estranged wife, Huma Abedin, key aide to
Just eight days from the election, the FBI has now obtained a warrant to search those e-mails found in a separate investigation of Weiner for
allegedly sexting with a minor.
[16:35:06]Officials tell CNN that Comey was made aware of the e-mails in mid-October, but only went to Congress with the information after he was
given a fuller briefing on Thursday. Today the White House walking a fine line praising Director Comey's character.
JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Director Comey is a man of integrity, of principle, and a man who is well regarded by senior officials
in both parties.
SCIUTTO: But communicating the importance of FBI traditions, limiting public discussion of ongoing investigations especially close to an
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wouldn't the White House say let's put more information out there then?
EARNEST: I think that was the hope that Director Comey had. That was his stated hope of sending the letter in the first place.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Certainly it was not enough.
EARNEST: Well, clearly it had the opposite of the intended effect.
SCIUTTO: Comey's decision to go public so close to Election Day has drawn fire from both Democrats and Republicans including George W. Bush's
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales who spoke to CNN today.
ALBERTO GONZALES, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: I really worry that in this particular instance, the FBI director has made an error in judgment in
terms of releasing this kind of letter that really says nothing.
SCIUTTO: However, when Comey testified on the Hill in September after recommending not to bring charges against Clinton, the FBI director did
hint he would investigate if he discovered new evidence.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you reopen the Clinton investigation if you discovered new information that was both relevant and substantial?
JAMES COMEY, FBI DIRECTOR: It is hard for me to answer in the abstract. We would certainly look at any new and substantial information.
GORANI: Jim Sciutto reporting there. Now as far as Hillary Clinton's campaign is concerned, they are releasing an open letter signed by several
Department of Justice officials and former FBI voices.
It reads in part, "Justice Department officials are instructed to refrain from commenting publicly on the existence, let alone the substance of
pending investigative matters except in exceptional circumstance. They are also instructed to exercise heightened restraint near the time of a
primary or general election."
Now earlier I spoke to one person who signed that open letter, Jim Cole, is a former deputy attorney general who disagrees with Comey's decision to
make this bombshell announcement. I began by asking him what was in the letter and why he decided to sign it.
JAMES COLE, FORMER U.S. DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL: What is in the letter is really an explanation of what has been long standing policy in the
Department of Justice to make sure that you treat any reviews that are being done by the department as confidential and that you don't disclose
information until you make a determination as to what you're going to do.
And in particular when you're near an election, you should not do anything that could have any impact on the election at all and saying basically that
Director Comey, although probably was good intentions, violated those policies and the results of the violation of those policies are becoming
There is a real fire storm. People are taking this thing way out of context. There is an enormous amount of speculation as to what is in
there, and you are really, I think, making a mess of things when really nothing should have been said at all.
GORANI: Director Comey said on Friday he would not have want today appear as though he was withholding information. If indeed these e-mails are
relevant to the investigation, he doesn't want it to look as though the FBI was hiding something. How do you respond to that?
COLE: Well, I think you've made a very important point. If indeed these e-mails are relevant to the investigation. First of all, he doesn't know
what he has based on all of the reports that I have read.
He doesn't know if these are duplicates of what the FBI has already looked at. If they involved the secretary at all, if they involved classified
information at all.
And before he does something that can be as explosive as the letter that he put out, he should have a better idea of what it is he has in his
possession and find out if it is in fact anything new or anything that is relevant and different from what they have already seen. That is a step
that wasn't taken here.
GORANI: Why do you think he did it? I mean, do you think it was politically motivated? That would be a serious charge.
COLE: I don't think it was politically motivated. I know Director Comey and I know him to be a man of integrity, but I think he made a mistake
here. I think he started a series of mistaken episodes when he started with his July press conference, which was also not in keeping with the
Department of Justice policy.
Then he went up to talk to Congress and provided them extensive information and documents about the investigation, again, contrary to department policy
and then here, sending a letter, that really amounted to saying, I don't know what I've got, I'm just telling you things as they're happening.
That's really not the way it's supposed to happen at all in our system.
GORANI: And sources told CNN that these e-mails were known to the FBI for several weeks, what do you make of the timing of sending this letter to
Congress on Friday?
[16:40:11]COLE: Well, based on what I have read in the media, Director Comey didn't know about it until Thursday. Obviously if there was anything
that burningly significant about these, he would have been told about them much, much earlier.
I think he may have overreacted when he heard about them, and he still had the opportunity when he was told on Thursday to basically take a breath,
find out what is in there.
Take a couple days to get a warrant and review them at least on a cursory level and find out if there is anything significant going on here. That
was not done and I think that in all fairness, it should have been.
GORANI: Do you think now that the FBI should release more information at this point given that this letter is, as you say, open to interpretation?
COLE: Absolutely. I think in the initial aspects of this, Director Comey said too much. And that once he said this, he said too little. That
letter did not put what he knew in context and did not really disclose the limitations of what he knew and that has allowed some very unfair
speculation about what is going on here. I think now he owes it to the American public to let them know how limited what they have is and just how
limited their knowledge of it is.
GORANI: And lastly, President Obama through Josh Earnest, his press secretary just hours ago saying he doesn't believe James Comey is trying to
interfere, he has confidence in him, how do you react to the president saying that?
COLE: I agree. I've known Director Comey. I don't think he did it with an intention of interfering. I think it ended up having the impact of
interfering and it shows the policies of the Department of Justice put in place are there for a reason and we have seen through the reactions to
Director Comey's letters that those reasons are actually well founded. He should not have made the statement in the first place and now he needs to
GORANI: James Cole, the former U.S. deputy attorney general speaking to me, who believes that's James Comey should not have sent that letter to
You can check out the latest news, interviews, and analysis on our Facebook page, facebook.com/halagoranicnn. Keep it clean on there, please, thank
This is THE WORLD RIGHT NOW. Amid the uproar over the reignited e-mail controversy, Donald Trump is not holding back on the campaign trail, but
will it be enough for him to win? I will speak to one of his supporters coming up next.
GORANI: James Comey's letter to Congress is giving an unpredictable race for the White House, another unexpected twist, but with just eight days
until the election, will the controversy move the needle in the race?
[16:45:04]Here's where we sit with the CNN poll of polls. Clinton 47 percent, Trump five points behind with 42 percent, and most of the polling
was done before Comey's letter, so it may be a few days before we get a better picture if anything more has changed.
Trump of course is seizing on the issue saying the e-mails whose contents have not been revealed will be, quote, "Absolutely devastating" for
Let's speak to Scottie Nell Hughes. She is a Trump supporter and a CNN political commentator and she joins me now via Skype from Nashville,
So let me ask you first, why even the director of the FBI says he doesn't know whether or not these e-mails are relevant, Donald Trump say he's
convinced they will be devastating. What makes him say that?
SCOTTIE NELL HUGHES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Because like you said, we are eight days before the election. I think Director Comey is smart enough
to know that when he did this it would make quite a splash. He is definitely going to change the course.
It was going to take the headlines. So before he made this move, I think he had to say OK, is it really worth it? I gave my word to Congress that
if something else came up, I would come out and I would tell them again.
Is it worth me blowing up 11 days before this election, and obviously whatever he has seen, made him feel like it was absolutely worth it for him
GORANI: But he himself is saying we don't know if it is relevant. So how would Donald Trump know if they're relevant?
HUGHES: Well, the key is we're opening up an -- we're reopening up an FBI investigation. That alone right there should be devastating to any
presidential campaign at this stage of the game. We know is historical to have a candidate under information for the first time. Now she's under
reinvestigation, and it's not a woman inflected by Donald Trump. She has never really answered for or taken care of besides just saying --
GORANI: But Scottie, to be perfectly factually correct, the investigation is not re-opened. This is a new batch of e-mail that will be reviewed to
be determined whether or not it warrants reopening the investigation. That is actually what is going on.
HUGHES: Well, the key is once again, here's 650,000 e-mails that we did not know existed, and we were on a private laptop of a spouse or now soon-
to-be a former spouse of her close confident and assistant to the campaign. That shows how secure Hillary Clinton handles our national secrets.
If she -- both of them were sworn that they had turned in every single item that they thought had these e-mails on, so they don't think our national
security secrets are good enough to respect them enough to be able to know exactly --
GORANI: But we don't know that national security is in any of those e- mails. Let me run what Donald Trump's reaction to all of this, the letter that Director Comey sent to Congress and the subsequent fall out from it.
Let's listen to what Donald Trump had to say today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We can be sure that what is in those e-mails is absolutely devastating and I think we will find out by the
way for the first time. Thank you, Huma. Thank you, Huma. Good job, Huma. Thank you, Anthony Weiner.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: All right, so there you have a Donald Trump style reaction getting the crowd all riled up, but I guess some people have wondered is this not a
good day to talk about issues, proposals, policy proposals, than go on about this?
HUGHES: Absolutely. I think that's why the rest of his speech was on issues. It's always a good day to talk about national security, which is
where this comes down to. It's always a good day to talk about honesty and integrity and the people that we are electing, which is what this comes
down to and the fact that Hillary Clinton lied.
You know, the White House has complicated this war on Comey and I think this is a real interesting twist that we have had today with President
Obama -- the White House press secretary saying that he thought Comey was a man of integrity and he did not do this because of political motivation.
Because Comey did what -- the exact right thing. It's never the wrong time to do the right thing. I think finally the American people are getting the
answers we deserve and we should have found out in July, but maybe now we will find out what she had on those e-mails.
GORANI: Scottie, the White House has actually reacted very differently. They've said, well, we were not criticizing Director Comey. We're not
defending or criticizing this move. We don't believe he is trying to interfere in this election so they have been very neutral about this.
HUGHES: Which is exactly what I just said. I think Hillary Clinton, the Clinton camp would have loved for the White House to come out and say this
is wrong. You act in the wrong way. We are looking at Loretta Lynch's technically. I think the FBI's boss and saying this is wrong, you are to
be removed from office. This is one of the best moves that President Obama did saying, no, we think he has been neutral, and we're going to let it run
[16:50:10]GORANI: All right, great, what we said all along -- let me ask you about the polls. Yes, the gap is narrowing. There is no doubt about
that. In the swing state you would have to have such a reversal of some of those swing states, even your dog agrees with me that Donald Trump has his
work cut out for him.
That mathematically speaking in terms of battleground states it seems very unlikely he will do that, that he will flip the states he needs to flip
that Barack Obama won four years ago. Does he have enough time to do it?
HUGHES: I'm more optimistic than you are. I'll be honest with you because you look at Florida right now, he's leading in the majority of Florida
polls. Arizona, he's going to win. Nevada, he's looking pretty good. Even Colorado is starting to tighten a little bit.
North Carolina is probably the key for both of them. If the Hillary Clinton camp was not worried, she would not have all of her top surrogates
out there campaigning right now and working as hard as she is.
I think there is a strong case across the board and I think this is why both candidates right now will come down to actual voter day and who gets
their people engaged and out to the polls.
GORANI: Scottie Nell Hughes, thanks very much joining us from Nashville, Tennessee there with the latest from the campaign trail and reaction to
these revelations, the letter sent to Congress by James Comey, thanks very much for joining us. We appreciate it.
Coming up, Halloween at the White House. We'll show you -- there is a spooky scene on the south lawn. We'll tell you more about that when we
GORANI: Take a minute to think of your morning commune, you're probably thinking of heavy traffic, packed trains, or crowded sidewalks. People
don't often float to work, though, but that's literally how young urban professional gets to his New York office. Take a look.
ZACH SCHWITZKY, "CANUTER": I'm Zach Schwitzky and I kayak to work. It is good for the environment and it's about the only time place I can be alone.
It is beautiful in the morning especially this time of year. If I leave early enough it's foggy, and the sunrise and the city appearing through the
fog. I start at the far north end of Hoboken and then I paddle across to Manhattan.
I was so frustrated with the commune. Kayaking checked off a lot of boxes. It doesn't cost us anything. We can come and go as we please. The hours
that we keep it's difficult to get workouts in, in the morning or at the end of the day, so this sort of doubles at great exercise.
It's great to be outdoors. We say half-jokingly, but it is like New York City's version of nature. People ask if I do this in the winter, and
outside of days where there is ice in the river, I do. Once I start paddling, I'm hot regardless of what the temperature is.
[16:55:04]You should have a life jacket on. But I have never tipped over, never come close to tipping over, I feel very safe out there. Being the
smallest out there, you just stay out of everybody else's way.
Life is so fast, especially in a city like New York and when you're on from the minute you wake up to that minute, it is the best way to end the day.
I would bring the kayak to 26th Street, I would pull it on a trailer so it's very easy.
I'd say if we were anywhere other than New York City, it would be out of the ordinary to see a guy walking with a 15-foot boat behind him, but it
was rare that I would hear or see anything that, you know, people are looking at me differently.
I think the biggest benefit to the environment is no emissions. And every other way I could get across or could get across, or do get across there
is. Even if it is just a little bit, it's doing something.
Different ways to get across the river whether that's the ferry or the bus or even driving, certainly don't compare. During commuting hours, sitting
in the Lincoln tunnel, where everything is in there. You see it, feel it, and breathe it.
And you realize very quickly that this can't be good for your health, for the environment, or for anybody. If there is one less car, bus, or
hopefully a lot less at some point, that can have very real impacts.
Just about everybody I tell says they want to do it with me at some point even though most have not taken me up on it other than my girlfriend who is
a trooper and gets out there every once in a while with me.
GORANI: We cannot sign off tonight without a nod to all hallows eve. The Obamas are hosting their final Halloween this hour. Families deck
themselves out in the cutest costumes to trick or treat on the south lawn.
According to the White House, that is not the only place to spot a ghost. William Henry Harrison is said to haunt the attic. He was the first
president to die in the White House after serving only one month in 1841.
People have heard the (inaudible) laugh of Andrew Jackson from his bed in the Rose Room. Mary Todd Lincoln claimed to have Jackson swearing as well,
and speaking of the wife of Abraham Lincoln, she had other special interactions (inaudible) in the red room after her son's death.
Happy Halloween. I'm Hala Gorani. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is up next.