Return to Transcripts main page


Interview with Evan McMullin; A Look at Early Voting in America; Multiple States Seeking Protection From Russian Hacking; Iraqi PM Demands ISIS Fighters Surrender or Die. Aired 4:30-5p ET

Aired November 1, 2016 - 16:00   ET


[16:30:00] EVAN MCMULLIN, INDEPENDENT, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's a common tactic. We see this. We have seen this through time, the scapegoating of races and religions.

And this is just not something that reflects American values. It certainly doesn't play here well. Here in Utah, it doesn't play well. And it doesn't play well in the broader Mountain West, where we are spending a lot of time these days.

But with so many Americans -- and I just -- I think it's a terrible campaign strategy to invite this sort of thing with the tone and, again, with the policy. They can say as many times as they want that, you know, they're not directing this or that, you know, they're not associated with it, but the truth is, when Donald Trump says the things that he does, it invites the support of these kinds of people.

I think he enjoys the support. I think he harbors some of the same feelings. And that's what you get. And then the real question is, also, why does the Republican Party leadership still stand with him? I have been a lifelong Republican voter. Mindy Finn, my running mate, has been the same thing.

And we just -- we look at this and we say, this isn't the party we knew. This is not the part the party of Lincoln. It's disappointing.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: The latest polling in Utah shows Donald Trump ahead at 34 percent, Hillary Clinton 28, you at 20 percent.

There's one week to go. I know you really want to win the state of Utah. You would love to win all the states, of course, but Utah, perhaps you haven't best shot. What do you think you need to get you over the top?

MCMULLIN: Yes. Well, most of the polls now are saying that I'm within 2 percentage points of Donald Trump or leading. Those are the polls that we are seeing. So it's a dead heat.

What do I -- what do we need to get us over the hump? I think it's just making sure that our message gets out to people in Utah fully. We started with zero percent name I.D. A few weeks ago, it was at 50 percent. And we're just trying to close that gap as quickly as we can. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have sort of -- they're both at

nearly 100 percent name I.D. People know what they stand for. People are unhappy with them.

For us, it's just a race against the clock to get the word out about the candidacy and about our message of unity and standing up for equality and liberty in this country and true conservative values, which are reflected in our founding documents, the idea that, again, all men and women are created equal and that we all have inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, which, in our minds, means limited government. It means returning power to the states and making reforms like this, so the tour government is -- and our government power is more accountable to the people.

TAPPER: Evan McMullin, I am quite certain when you were serving our nation so bravely overseas, no one was questioning your faith or attacking your family. Thanks for joining us today.

MCMULLIN: Thank you.

TAPPER: New early numbers and good news for Republicans in two key states, is it going to be enough to propel Trump to a win? That story next.



TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD.

The election is a week away, but 24.5 million Americans have already cast their ballots.

Let's talk about this and much more with my political panel, Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen, former Mitt Romney public policy adviser Lanhee Chen, "USA Today" Washington bureau chief Susan Page, and Washington correspondent for "The New Yorker," Ryan Lizza.

We should point out that Donald Trump supporter Congressman Sean Duffy from Wisconsin was supposed to join me today, but he had a last-minute scheduling issue.

Sorry, Sean. Wish you were here.


TAPPER: So, let me ask you a question, Susan. Early voting, what are you looking for here?

SUSAN PAGE, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, "USA TODAY": Well, Democrats need to win the early vote, because Democrats do better in the early vote and Republicans do better on Election Day.

Democrats need to have built a lead in a battleground state to be in a good position by Election Day. And there are a couple of states where there is some concern. North Carolina is one. The legislature has made early voting shorter. They have limited the number of opportunities that people have had to early-vote. That means there is some certain for Democrats there.

And in Florida, some concerns that African-American turnout is running lower than it was four years ago among African-American voters. So Democrats have a better operation than Republicans, no question, but they need it to kick in, in some of these battleground states.

TAPPER: Interesting.

Hilary, let me ask you. In the latest batch of the stolen e-mails published in WikiLeaks, we see campaign chairman John Podesta, Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, urging top Clinton aide Cheryl Mills way back in March 2015, we're going to have to dump all those e-mails, so better to do it sooner than later, meaning -- dump meaning get them out and publish them and publish them and let the public see them.


TAPPER: This, again, begs the question, why are so many people who have the right advice for Hillary Clinton not listened to?



Look, I am looking forward to sort of the history books, the case studies, the campaign analyses in this post-election sort of saying like what a single mistake, albeit a big mistake, but a single mistake that a public official can make can drive so much traffic and problems over the course of a campaign.

So, the short answer is, I think they just didn't think it was that big of a deal at the time. They miscalculated it. And -- but I actually think, even if they had done that earlier on, I am not sure that this conversation would have been much different.

The Republicans don't have anything else. Donald Trump has 1,000 things. Hillary Clinton has one thing. Marketing 101, repeat one thing 1,000 times or 1,000 things one time each, and what do people remember?


Ryan, I don't know about you. And I know that these WikiLeaks are stolen and the intelligence agencies say the Russians are involved in this and this. But when you read them, you really do get some insights into what's going on in Clinton land. And there are certainly a lot of people that were stunned at the political malpractice going on behind the scenes.



And it looks like from the e-mails that there are two groups of people, right? There's the folks who were with Clinton at the State Department and were much more defensive about this, much more interested in keeping things quiet, protecting her, not releasing the e-mails.

And then there was the incoming campaign team which knew they were going to have to run a campaign and were much more thinking about the broader campaign issues, what were they going to have to defend against in 2015 and '16. And in that camp is Podesta and the current campaign manager, Robby Mook.

And they were saying, hey, you know, people around Hillary Clinton, what were you guys doing? We are the ones now that are going to have to this the campaign and defend her.

Frankly, that latter group comes off looking a little bit better politically than that former group.

TAPPER: I want to play for you a new ad from the Hillary Clinton campaign. You talk about the things that Hillary Clinton wants to focus on, not her e-mail scandal, controversy, whatever you want to call it, but things that Donald Trump, for instance, has said about women.

Listen to this ad.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Grab them by the (EXPLETIVE DELETED). And when you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.

LESTER HOLT, NBC NEWS: More accusers coming forward to say they were sexually assaulted by Donald Trump.

TRUMP: I will go backstage before a show and everyone's getting dressed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Trump walked into the dressing room while contestants, some as young as 15, were changing.


TAPPER: I assume we're going to be seeing a lot of that ad if you watch TV in the next week. What do you think? Is it effective?

LANHEE CHEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think it is effective, because where it's targeted now, at independent women and potentially Republican women, who look at that and say, look, is this somebody we want to be president?

I think the character argument is an important part of the close here for Hillary Clinton. She is really down to very few arguments she's going to be making. And I think the character argument is one where I think she will gain some traction.

And ultimately it is going to help her not just with women, with Republican women, but also potentially with some of these independent men as well in swing states.

TAPPER: What do you think of this ad?

PAGE: I think it goes back to the group that she needs most, which is highly -- college-educated white women who traditionally vote Republican and have gone her way. She needs to remind them why they were against Donald Trump from the start.

But this is not the close I think the Hillary Clinton wanted. I think they were looking in the final week, as campaigns generally do, is to give something people to vote for, not just something to vote against. I don't think they no longer feel confident enough about this election to do that.

LIZZA: That matters, too, because they want to be able -- if she wins, she wants to be able to say, I won this election because of my ideas and that it was an affirmative vote for these specific policies that I am going to push in my first year.

Instead, in these last couple of weeks, it's back to the base -- the original strategy, which is disqualify Donald Trump on balance more than here is what I believe, here are the policies I'm going to do in my first year. That's why you should vote for me.

ROSEN: But that's also the rhythm of this campaign. You almost never know at the beginning what you're going to end up with at the end. Right?

And one of the things that Hillary Clinton did early on in this campaign was talk about what were considered at the time women's issues, right? It was child care, it was family, it was equal pay. And people kept accusing her of playing the woman card.

Donald Trump walked right into this, right? This is his own behavior, the lack of oppo research on himself or whatever it is. This has been the thing that has brought college-educated white women and young women to the table, because all of a sudden women together collectively can experience that sort of sexual harassment issue in a way that maybe the policy issues don't resonate quite as much.

TAPPER: That's interesting.


CHEN: I was going to say, I think part of the problem is that the issue matrix does not suit her particularly well right now.

You think about the big issue, it seems to be Obamacare. And that's one of those issues that really she does not have any play to be talking about. And it works to Donald Trump's advantage. So the character close for her, I think, is the stronger close, as opposed to moving in on policy, where, A, people are not really sure what it is she wants to do with her presidency and, B, the matrix doesn't favor her right now.

LIZZA: But if you can disqualify a candidate, none of the other stuff matters, right?

And that is the -- at the core of Trump's problem is, a majority of people don't believe he is fit to be president. So, you can't blame the Clinton campaign for pushing that. People don't even get to the policy arguments if you believe that.

TAPPER: Susan, let me ask you. Today is the first day, November 1, for open enrollment for Obamacare.

Obviously, premiums are predicted to go up at least 20 percent, more in some places, including the swing state of Arizona, 116 percent. Do you think that might have an impact on the election one week -- I mean, probably when they were -- I guess they were just doing it because of the fiscal year, but maybe when they were putting Obamacare together, they thought, oh, this is going to be great in 2016.

Maybe not.

PAGE: I think it is a meaningful issue, because unlike all the other things we talk about, it actually affects the way people live their lives.

And you think about one group in particular, and that's millennials, some of whom participate in the exchanges and who have been hit hardest, because those premiums for young people, who are pretty healthy and don't really think they need health care, are pretty high.

I think that's a group she has a lot of problems with. And I think you have seen -- one effect of this latest e-mail scandal, I think it maybe discourages millennials, who are not going to vote for Donald Trump, but they just might stay home.

[16:45:06] TAPPER: What did you think of John Kasich, the governor of Ohio, announcing that he had written in John McCain's name for president? I mean, that is -- I feel like we're kind of like all taking it for granted that John Kasich wasn't a fan of Donald Trump, but to have the governor, a popular governor, in his state, of the biggest battleground state for Republicans, as you know, no Republican has won the White House without winning Ohio and I don't know how long it's been, to say he didn't vote for Donald Trump, it's remarkable.

CHEN: Well, it's remarkable. And it's remarkable because the fact that he wrote someone in and it took the time and it takes time and effort to do that. But I think from his perspective to be able to maintain the sort of never-Trump moniker from start to finish was very important for him, if he wants any political future, I think that's going to be part of his brand maintaining it all the way to the end, even if it meant writing someone in.

TAPPER: We'll see. If Donald Trump wins, though, who knows will remember (ph). But anyway, Hillary, Lanhee, Susan, Ryan, thank you so much.

The National Guard is being called into one battleground state, an inside look what's being done to protect the election from hackers. And then Iraqi forces on the verge of entering Mosul but ISIS is not leaving that city without a fight to the death. They're depraved attack is been maintain control of Iraq, second largest city, next.


[16:50:32] TAPPER: Welcome back. More in the Politics Lead. As of today, all but four states are now seeking protection from the Department of Homeland Security to fend off cyber attacks particularly from Russia from infiltrating their election systems. The battlegrounds state of Ohio is taking this one step further. Fighting fire with fire in a way, they're deploying a military unit to try to hack into their own system in Ohio to test to see how vulnerable it is.

CNN's Rene Marsh went behind the scenes inside the pivotal swing state fight to protect the vote.


RENE MARSH, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The critical state of Ohio has taken an unprecedented step, calling on the National Guard's elite cyber unit to help protect the election. You called on them to essentially hack the state's systems.

JON HUSTED, OHIO SECRETARY OF STATE: We want to be tested. Cyber warfare is a new front for the military, for business, and now for elections.

MARSH: Hacking voting machines in the nation's 9,000 jurisdictions would be a tough task. Since they're not connected to the internet or each other. There are also security measures.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now you can't get in to that machine without breaking any one of these seals.

MARSH: But voting registration databases with names, numbers, e-mails and addresses are vulnerable. There were breaches in states including Arizona and Illinois. Hackers could use voter contact information to send erroneous voting locations. Hackers could also wipe the database clean, making names disappear from voter logs, sparking confusion and long lines.

MAJOR DAVID CARPENTER, CYBER PROTECTION SQUAD: We call this the hunter's den. We are cyber hunters.

MARSH: The National Guard cyber team in Maryland is on standby to assist its state. Major General Linda Singh runs the operation.

MAJ. GEN. LINDA SINGH, MARYLAND ARMY NATIONAL GUARD: These are the folks who are out responding to the snow storms, the floods, the hurricanes. But they're not necessarily thinking that we are out fighting the technology war.

MARSH: Both here and in Ohio, the goal is the same, identify and stop cyber intruders. You're looking for anything that doesn't look quite right, meaning malicious activity.

CARPENTER: Malicious activities, bad guy pulling information away. MARSH: With the election days away, Ohio is confident your vote will count. How can you truly be prepared for something that really the country has never experienced before?

HUSTED: It doesn't mean that a cyber attack could not occur, which would create an inconvenience, but it's not going to change any outcome of an election.


MARSH: So Jake, what exactly do these National Guard cyber teams really do? Well, they're testing computer networks by trying to essentially hack them. It's called penetration tests. They're looking for vulnerabilities hackers could eventually exploit. They also roam the networks looking for anything that looks suspicious, kind of like a detective casing a scene for evidence of a crime. They also collect intelligence about the sort of threats that are out there. We should point out these cyber units are not in every state just yet. There are 23 units. In another three years the plan is to have these cyber teams for 34 states. Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Rene Marsh, thank you so much.

Turning to the "World Lead" today. Surrender or die was the message delivered today by Iraq's prime minister to ISIS terrorists holed up in Mosul. Snipers, land mines and a mass of stand storms slowed the advance but Iraqi forces have taken over the state T.V. building and are pushing further towards the city of Mosul itself. CNN's senior international correspondent Arwa Damon was on the front lines with Iraqi counterterrorist forces and joins me now from Irbil, Iraq. Arwa, where do things stand on the ground near Mosul right now?

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake as you can see, the weather is not doing anyone any favors at this stage. Now the main push has been for a town called Gogjali. And the Iraqi counterterrorism forces moved in and over the course of the last two days attempted to sweep through from multiple directions, coming across what are now fairly common ISIS tactics, the suicide bombers, suicide car bombs, road in lane with IEDs. What we also saw is something else that ISIS has been doing fairly frequently and that is leaving behind small groups of fighters, two, three, four people who lay and wait and then launch counter-attacks at Iraqi forces, more fixed positions.

[16:55:00] In the case of the unit that we were with today, they spotted three ISIS fighters who were wearing uniforms similar to theirs. We were with the elite counter-terrorism unit. But then they noticed that the guns they were carrying were AK-47s and that's not something their own troops would ever carry and then the firefight broke out.

Eventually the ISIS position, the house that they were holed up and was taken out by a rocket. Later on in the afternoon, we did have this sizable sandstorm begin to kick up, significantly reducing visibility and adding yet another challenge to this battlefield. And one of the main reasons why the counterterrorism forces were pushing through Gogjali fairly slowly is because it still has a population of some 25,000 civilians. Now, they do say that they have secured most of it, which puts them less than a mile from the outskirts of Mosul, Jake.

TAPPER: Awra Damon, thanks, please stay safe.

Russia allegedly trying to tamper with the U.S. election. And now another new warning about Vladimir Putin and his spies. That's next.