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THE SITUATION ROOM
Obama Breaks Silence on FBI Email Probe; CNN Poll of Polls: Clinton Leads in NC; Clinton Camp Deploys Democratic Stars to Get out the Vote; New CNN/ORC Polls: Tight Race in Crucial Battlegrounds; Campaign Tries to Keep Trump on Message in Waning Days; Report: MH370 Spiraled Out of Control Before Crash. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired November 2, 2016 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, breaking news. FBI under fire. President Obama breaks his silence, criticizing FBI Director James Comey for going public on the revived Clinton e-mail probe that comes as a stolen e-mail suggests the Clinton campaign had inside help at the Justice Department. Is the FBI between a rock and a hard place?
[17:00:20] The blue wall. As the race tightens, the Clinton campaign spends time and money to strengthen its blue-state firewall, even as it tries to paint some red states with its own colors. And President Obama leads a Democratic all-star team into crucial battleground states.
Making inroads. Polls show Donald Trump is gaining in key states after forcing Democrats to defend their turf. He's going all out in must-win Florida, which could be anyone's to lose.
And out of control. More than 2 1/2 years after Flight MH-370 vanished, investigators release new information showing no one was at the controls as the airliner plunged into the Indian Ocean. So what went wrong?
I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER: Breaking news: President Obama publicly criticizes FBI Director James Comey for going public on the revised Clinton investigation. The president suggests Comey violated established norms for investigations, saying -- and I'm quoting the president now -- "We don't operate on innuendo or incomplete information or leaks."
But there's a new wrinkle in the controversy, as stolen e-mail released by WikiLeaks suggests the Clinton campaign received information from within the Justice Department.
Just six days before the election, polls now show the race is tightening significantly. Our CNN/ORC poll shows Clinton with a four- point edge in blue state Pennsylvania, while Trump leads by five in red-leaning Arizona. Our average of polls shows it's neck-and-neck in must-win Florida, while Clinton holds an edge in North Carolina. She's getting a boost there from President Obama, who's leading a team of Democratic superstars in get-out-the-vote rallies in key states.
After forcing Democrats to defend their turf, Donald Trump is now placing a big bet on Florida, with four rallies in the 24-hour period. He's walking a fine line, stepping up his attacks on Hillary Clinton without straying off message. But his campaign has been forced to quickly denounce an endorsement by a Ku Klux Klan newspaper.
I'll speak with Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway. And our correspondents, analysts and guests, they will have full coverage of the day's top stories.
Let's begin with the FBI, caught in the middle now of a growing controversy. Our justice correspondent Pamela Brown is here with me. Pamela, President Obama is now weighing in.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: That's right. You'll remember a couple of days ago, the White House spokesman, Josh Earnest, said that he didn't want to defend or criticize Director Comey. But now President Obama is weighing in for the first time about the FBI director he appointed and the controversy surrounding his actions so close to an election.
BROWN (voice-over): Tonight, President Obama breaking his silence on FBI Director James Comey's explosive letter to Congress, suggesting Comey spoke prematurely.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I do think that there is a norm that, when there are investigations, we don't operate on innuendo, we don't operate on incomplete information, we don't operate on leaks.
BROWN: Obama's comments come as the department finds itself mired further in controversy. A stolen campaign e-mail released today by WikiLeaks appears to show a top DOJ official in a possible conflict of interest.
The department's chief lobbyist on Capitol Hill, Peter Kadzik, apparently using his personal account to tell Clinton campaign chair John Podesta about a congressional hearing, writing in part that the department was, quote, "likely to get questions on State Department e- mails." Kadzik also appears to tip Podesta off about a Freedom of Information court filing related to Clinton's e-mails.
Donald Trump pounced on the release today, accusing the Clinton campaign and the Department of Justice of collusion.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Now today, in a newly released e-mail, through WikiLeaks again, we learn that Kadzik was feeding information about the investigation into the Clinton campaign.
BROWN: Today's WikiLeaks release is another black eye for the department in the lead-up to the election. CNN has learned over the past 15 months the FBI and DOJ have been fighting over matters relating to Hillary Clinton. Not just the handling of the e-mail probe but also the investigation into the Clinton Foundation.
RON HOSKO, FORMER FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: That bureaucracy cannot uncommonly lead to friction. And that friction is sometimes -- it feels like you're slowing me down for a purpose, and maybe that purpose is your politics.
BROWN: Sources say the Clinton Foundation probe has been on a slow boil, because top DOJ officials don't believe the allegations of criminal activity among donors are substantive enough to issue warrants or subpoenas. But the FBI agents working the case see the road blocks as political, raising tensions among officials from DOJ, FBI headquarters, and FBI field offices.
[17:05:25] BROWN: And we have reached out to both the Department of Justice and the Clinton campaign regarding the WikiLeaks e-mail that came out today. Both declined to comment. Wolf, the optics certainly don't look good here with that e-mail.
BLITZER: Pamela Brown, thanks very much for that report.
As Hillary Clinton fights to keep blue states true and Donald Trump tries to turn them red, our latest polls show a tight race in key battlegrounds. CNN political director David Chalian is here with me. CNN has just released, David, some key battleground state polls. He desperately needs to win in these states if he's going to be president.
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, as you know, he needs to win all the remaining sort of toss-up battleground states on our map, plus find some blue territory.
Let's start in Florida and Pennsylvania, where Hillary Clinton has the slight edge in our polls. But we averaged a polls of polls out of Florida today. Two-point edge she has in our poll, Wolf. But look at the poll of polls: 45 percent, 45 percent. It doesn't get closer to that. Florida was the closest state in 2012. It is shaping up to be the closest state this time around, as well.
In Pennsylvania, in our brand-new CNN/ORC poll, you see Hillary Clinton with a 4-point edge, 48 percent to 44 percent. This is critical, because this is part of that blue wall you were talking about earlier that she needs to protect, and it seems to be holding at the moment for her.
BLITZER: There's also some good news for Donald Trump out west.
CHALIAN: Without a doubt. Take a look first in Arizona. This is one of the states that Hillary Clinton has been trying to expand the map on. It does not look like it's quite there yet for her. A five-point edge in our poll, 49 percent to 44 percent, for Donald Trump.
And in Nevada, he has a six-point edge; 49 percent to 43 percent in that critical battleground state. We need to see some more polls out in Nevada. That is looking a little different than some other data we've seen there. But if, indeed, that is the first indicator of a trend where Nevada may be coming his way, he really could start looking to put some big wins on the board in those battleground states. He still needs to find some Democratic turf.
BLITZER: President Obama just delivered a very powerful speech in North Carolina. The -- how does that look in North Carolina right now?
CHALIAN: We've had a lot of polling out of North Carolina. We just updated our poll of polls. The CNN poll of polls out of North Carolina does show what you are saying: a Hillary Clinton edge there by four points, 46 percent to 42 percent.
Wolf, if that ends up being the result on election night, Hillary Clinton could basically block Donald Trump's path to the White House through North Carolina.
BLITZER: He desperately needs to win North Carolina. All right, David, thank you very much.
After some surprise moves into Democratic strongholds, Donald Trump is back in the one state he cannot afford to lose. We're talking about Florida.
CNN's Sunlen Serfaty is on the scene for us. So what's Trump's message today, Sunlen?
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, what we're seeing, Wolf, in his closing message from Donald Trump is some real focus on trying to define Hillary Clinton for voters. Trump today saying she's unhinged, saying she represents more of the same.
Trump has been recently in the last few days investing in his time chasing down some blue states, but tonight he turned his focus again to the battleground states, and no more important than the battleground state here in Florida.
TRUMP: In six days, we are going to win the great state of Florida, and we are going to win back the White House.
SERFATY (VOICE-OVER): Donald Trump is barnstorming Florida today.
TRUMP: We've got to win. We've got to win big. We've got to beat her.
SERFATY: The biggest battleground prize on the map, with 29 electoral maps and a state critical to Trump's path to the White House.
TRUMP: Has anyone seen Crooked Hillary Clinton today? That's going to be a great term for president, right? Boy, oh, boy. What a mess.
SERFATY: As he makes his closing argument, Trump is trying to show some late-in-the-game message discipline. TRUMP: Hillary has been there for 30 years, and she has accomplished
nothing. She's just made things worse. Look at her record. She is the candidate of yesterday.
SERFATY: Sticking to the script, keeping his attacks squarely focused on Hillary Clinton.
TRUMP: I guess WikiLeaks, it sounds like, is going to be dropping some more. And if we met tomorrow, I'll tell you about it tomorrow. But one beauty that's been caught was -- and this was just recently, newly released, where they say having a dump. "We're having a dump of all of those e-mails."
SERFATY: The Trump campaign is sensing opportunity in the wake of some tough headlines for Clinton, including the new FBI investigation into e-mails potentially related to her use of a private server, and the increase of Obamacare premiums next year.
[17:10:03] In the final stretch, Trump and his team now eyeing some turf usually friendly to Democrats, dispatching family members and surrogates as part of its offensive to fan out the next three days across states from Michigan and Colorado, to Virginia and Pennsylvania.
Trump is also hunting for votes among people who already voted for Hillary Clinton, trying to persuade them to change their minds.
TRUMP: This is a message for any Democratic voter who have already cast their ballots by Hillary Clinton and who are having a bad case of buyer's remorse. In other words, you want to change your vote.
SERFATY: But Trump's campaign is saying it does not want the support of at least one group after the official newspaper of the KKK, "The Crusader," gave the GOP nominee a flashy front page endorsement. Trump's campaign quickly rejecting it calling the publication "repulsive," adding, "Their views do not represent the tens of millions of Americans who are uniting behind our campaign."
SERFATY: And Trump will be speaking here later tonight in Pensacola, Florida. And as this race enters into the final few days, the Trump campaign is planning an all-out flurry of campaign events. Wolf, on Saturday and Sunday, Trump will have ten events alone -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Sunlen, thank you very much. Sunlen Serfaty in Pensacola, Florida, for us.
Joining us now is the Trump campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway.
Kellyanne, thanks very much for joining us.
KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Hi, Wolf. Hi.
BLITZER: We're going to get to the FBI investigation, the latest developments, in a few moments. But first, I want to ask you about the latest on the campaign trail.
As you know, Donald Trump, he's been on message. He's capitalizing on the very bad news the Clintons have been facing. The polls are narrowing in some key battleground states.
You're a pollster. You know, though, that Donald Trump is still down in states he will need if he's going to get to 270 electoral votes, states like North Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania.
Is this disciplined campaigning too little too late? In other words, can he still do it, and if he can, how?
CONWAY: He can do it, Wolf, and he will do it. I think you're looking at the next president of the United States in Donald Trump. He's got the momentum, the enthusiasm.
When you look at the polls, apart from the horserace numbers, those polls, like the ABC "Washington Post" poll, that are measuring enthusiasm for each of the two candidates show a real uptick for Donald Trump and a real depression in enthusiasm of momentum for Hillary Clinton.
That matters in these closing days when most Americans who will vote have yet to vote. So I know there's a lot of early voting, but about 100 million more people are expected to vote than already have.
We very much like -- we're feeling very bullish in some of these blue states. It's my call to go back into those states. And, you know, this is a very unconventional candidate. And his message about illegal immigration, jobs, trade, and frankly, patriotism, it plays very well in places like Wisconsin and Michigan.
Obviously, we're very happy with the poles in places like Iowa, Ohio, where Mitt Romney and John McCain lost to Barack Obama twice. And we're expanding our math.
And I have to say, I think Hillary Clinton's doing a little follow the leader these days. They've got Tim Kaine in Wisconsin. She's going back to Michigan. She's in Arizona. She was greeted by a poll that showed us up by six points today when she got to Arizona. So we feel really good about where we are, but you're going to see Donald Trump and Governor Pence in all of these states at least one more time.
BLITZER: I should point out, you're a professional pollster, have been for many years. Our new CNN/ORC poll, though, shows Trump down four points in Pennsylvania, a state that Donald Trump desperately wants to win. He's got 44 percent. She has 48 percent. So what's your -- what's the message we will hear from his wife Melania Trump when she addresses voters in Pennsylvania tomorrow?
CONWAY: Well, we're really excited to have Melania Trump out on the campaign trail tomorrow. I'll be out there with her in Berwyn, Pennsylvania, right outside of Philadelphia, Wolf. Her speech is terrific, and she talks about growing up in Slovenia, about her love for America, wanting to come and work and live here. And then she talks about the man that she's known and loved for 18
years, Donald Trump, what he'll do for the country, what she would like to do if she's blessed enough, fortunate enough, to become our first lady. And it's a very powerful speech. It's a very warm speech. She's a brilliant woman who's a successful entrepreneur in her own right and who really calls no attention to herself.
So we're very excited to have that tomorrow.
And also, I just revealed a couple of hours ago on Twitter that Karen Pence, wife of governor of Indiana Mike Pence, of course, the vice- presidential running mate, will come to Pennsylvania to introduce Melania Trump tomorrow. So two of my favorite women on the stage together, Karen Pence and Melania Trump, tomorrow in Pennsylvania. It will be a real treat.
BLITZER: As you know -- as you know, Donald Trump said Melania Trump would give two or three speeches before election day. This is the first one. She's looking to do more?
CONWAY: Well, we'll see about that. We certainly think the more Melania the better, but she's a very busy mom to Barron; and she's very supportive of her husband running for president. Obviously, as you know, it's a whole family engagement. His four adult children are all out in swing states today as I talk to you. We're really thrilled with them keeping their own schedules as our -- you know, as the children of Donald Trump.
And frankly, you know, they're a great testament not just to him as an individual but also the business that he's built, since they're all involved in that. He's a builder, a fixer, a problem solver.
But back to Pennsylvania for a moment. You know, the four-point deficit, and we internally see something close to that in Pennsylvania, but that's remarkable, because when I look at Hillary Clinton's number in each of these states, Wolf, including the so- called blue wool (ph) states, she's like nowhere near where Barack Obama was either time.
And so I keep an eye on her number most of all. This is what I usually tell Mr. Trump. Watch Hillary Clinton's number, because it's 46, 47, 44, 46. She just is nowhere near where Barack Obama was in 2008 and 2012. That matters in these closing days when, as you know, undecided voters often go away from the person who they know the best.
BLITZER: Let's get to the FBI investigation. Do you -- does your campaign still want the FBI Director, James Comey, to release more information on the investigation into Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin's e-mails before election day?
CONWAY: We want the FBI to do whatever it thinks it best in the timeline it has. It's not for us to try to rush that -- the investigation forward.
And I'm just really disappointed today to have Hillary Clinton and, oh, my goodness, Barack Obama now, the president of the United States, calling into question Director Comey's politicization of this, when just a couple days ago, Josh Earnest, on President Obama's behalf, said that he does not believe, the president does not believe Jim Comey is, quote, interfering in the election, and he would neither defend nor criticize. Today, he's out there criticizing him.
I think it's a terrible strategy. We welcome it in the Trump campaign. It does -- it's not a good look to be attacking your own FBI director. Maybe he should ask for his resignation.
BLITZER: But remember, Kellyanne, I don't need to remind you what Donald Trump said about James Comey and the FBI after he cleared her of -- recommending any criminal wrongdoing. You'll remember what Donald Trump was saying. Now he's saying nice things, but after July when he made that initial statement, Comey, he was really tough on him.
CONWAY: There's a very simple distinction here, Wolf. In July, on July 5, Director Comey announced to the world he would not be pressing charges against Hillary Clinton and then also told us how awful she was in her conduct: reckless, careless, mishandling.
Two days later, July 7, Jim Comey goes in front of Chairman Trey Gowdy and testifies under oath that, yes, there were multiple devices, not one...
BLITZER: Let me interrupt for a second, Kellyanne, but let me interrupt. We -- but should Donald Trump have really blasted Comey as he did for all those weeks and indeed months until this latest development?
CONWAY: What he did was he -- he said it's part of the rigged, corrupt system, that you showed us all the evidence. You told us everything she did wrong under oath on July 7 in congressional testimony. And yet, you cleared her.
And I guess in the end there were many people the FBI -- I read, as you do -- allegedly, who weren't happy with that result and felt it was politicized.
We also all know as Americans, we saw that -- that the attorney general of the United States, Loretta Lynch, and former president Bill Clinton met on the tarmac for 39 minutes while Loretta's Lynch's Department of Justice was deciding whether or not to go forward.
I mean, people -- this goes right into Donald Trump's core message, Wolf, which is working and surging everywhere, that if you're an outsider looking in, you don't benefit from the rigged corrupt system. And in this case, Comey simply said that he has to reopen or continue the investigation based on new information.
There's 650,000 e-mails. The idea that there's no "there" there in 650,000 e-mails -- I don't think they're all pictures of Anthony Weiner's private parts as he sexted to some 15-year-old girl in North Carolina.
BLITZER: We don't know -- we don't know yet. We don't know if there's -- we don't know if there's anything potentially criminal.
CONWAY: There's got to be something there.
BLITZER: Let me move on, because today the president of the United States was in North Carolina. He really hit Donald Trump very hard, sentence after sentence after sentence. Just listen to this, Kellyanne, for a moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: This choice actually is pretty clear. Because the guy that the Republicans nominated, even though a bunch of them knew they shouldn't nominate him, the guy they nominated, who many of the Republicans he was running against said was a con artist and a know- nothing and wasn't qualified to hold this office, this guy is temperamentally unfit to be commander in chief, and he is not equipped to be president; and this is not -- this should not be a controversial claim. It really shouldn't. I mean, it's strange how, over time, what is crazy gets normalized.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[17:20:08] BLITZER: All right. Kellyanne, I'd like to get your reaction to the president.
CONWAY: Politician in chief. I liked the Barack Obama of 2008 who reminded us all that Hillary was, quote, "likable enough." She hasn't been likable in any poll since he zinged her on that. And the Barack Obama in 2008, who literally said Hillary will say anything to get elected.
I do -- I do detect a different tone, if not content, from the president, politicking for Hillary Clinton today, Wolf, in that they seem a little bit more concerned. A couple weeks ago, it was much more glib, much more caricaturing Donald Trump. Now it's serious, because he sees these polls are tightening. He sees that a lot of her enthusiasm is collapsing.
And he certainly sees that, yet again, she and her closest aide, her, quote, "surrogate daughter," that they're causing his administration, perhaps even his legacy, problems, frankly. And that is -- that is troublesome for him. But he's saying what I expect a Hillary surrogate to say.
I just think the Democratic messaging has been all over the map the last four or five days. Do we attack him? Joe Biden way off message, saying he would have beaten Hillary Clinton and been the nominee and the next president; then saying that Director Comey is a, quote, "straight guy." And then you've got his boss, President Obama, saying Comey did the wrong thing; we don't operate in innuendo.
So the Democratic messaging is all over the map. Why is that a problem? Because you're dealing with a candidate in Hillary Clinton who's not known to be nimble or resilient or to ever have a Plan B. By the way, leadership requires that you're nimble, resilient and you have a Plan B. So she's not showing herself to be nimble. Look at her new ads. Whatever happened to "When they go low, we go high"? Her ads are just politics of personal destruction; they're all about Donald Trump...
BLITZER: All right.
CONWAY: ... because this election, again, has become a referendum on Hillary Clinton. That's how we win.
BLITZER: I know you've got to run. I've got one last question for you, Kellyanne. Donald Trump today, in his major rally, his big speech, he really singled out a reporter, Katy Tur of NBC News. I want you to listen to this, to what he said in front of all of those people.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We have two more today in Florida; and we have massive crowds. There's something happening. They're not reporting it. Katy, you're not reporting it, Katy. But there's something happening, Katy. There's something happening, Katy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Now, after he did that, she was singled out; she was harassed by a lot of the people over there. The last time we spoke, you told me that you shared my concerns about the singling out of these embeds, these reporters who are traveling with Donald Trump. You said you'd talk to him about that. How did that conversation go?
CONWAY: The conversation was very productive, and I've also talked to NBC News today.
So, look, we want fair coverage; and we want everybody to be safe at our rallies. I don't appreciate a lot of the threats I get either from people who, I guess, are worried that we may actually win this thing.
A lot of folks out there who should tamp it down, but in the case of, I think -- I'm glad you played the entire clip, because Donald Trump -- you know, he's not asking people to be mean to her. He's not asking people to do anything, God forbid. He basically calls out some people in the media once in a while to say, please show our crowds. He talks to people in the media all of the time, privately and publicly.
BLITZER: But don't you -- don't you sort of feel -- don't you feel uncomfortable when he does that in front of all of those thousands? He's got huge crowds there. And when he -- when he points to the journalists who are covering him and says these kinds of things, doesn't that make you feel uncomfortable, too?
CONWAY: I would always urge our supporters at these rallies and elsewhere, Wolf, to be civil and to be respectful to each other because, again, if Hillary is going to be in the gutter, then we should be the -- we should be the candidate that's much more joyful, much more positive and uplifting; and we are. And as I say, I've already talked to NBC today.
BLITZER: Kellyanne Conway, thanks very much for joining us, as usual.
CONWAY: Thank you. Thank you.
BLITZER: Just ahead, more of our breaking news as new polls show the race tightening. Hillary Clinton deploys a Democratic all-star team to key battleground states; and Donald Trump places his bets on Florida.
Plus, more than two years after MH-370 vanished, there's new information suggesting no one was at the controls as the airliner plunged into the Indian Ocean.
[17:28:22] BLITZER: Our breaking news, as polls show the presidential race tightening, the Clinton campaign is putting extra time and money into defending traditionally blue states, even as it focuses in on the all-important battlegrounds, and ventures into Republican strongholds.
CNN senior Washington correspondent Joe Johns is with us. Joe, the Democrats have deployed an all-star team to help Hillary Clinton. What's the latest?
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. President Obama in North Carolina today. Hillary Clinton expected to return there again tomorrow with Bernie Sanders. Bill Clinton in Iowa with early voting numbers in some of the battleground states very much on their minds. An increasingly intense appeal to get the vote out in the final days, especially among younger voters and minorities.
JOHNS (voice-over): Tonight, Hillary Clinton delivering her closing argument to Latino voters. She's setting her sights on a pair of battleground states, Nevada and Arizona, where Latinos are critical, as her campaign hits the airwaves with a new television ad, featuring actor Jimmy Smits.
JIMMY SMITS, ACTOR: That's why on Tuesday, the 8th of November, Latinos will go to the polls greater than ever, not to elect a president of united hate but to elect her the next president of the United States.
JOHNS: The Clinton campaign also releasing a radio ad aimed at generating enthusiasm from another piece of the Obama coalition: African-Americans.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Listen to how he talks about us.
TRUMP: I have a great relationship with the blacks.
Look at my African-American over here.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But we shouldn't be surprised. Trump has repeatedly disrespected President Obama.
TRUMP: President Obama has been the most ignorant president in our history.
JOHNS: President Obama warning black voters today that his legacy could be in their hands.
[17:30:06] OBAMA (via phone): Right now, the Latino vote is up, overall vote is up, but the African-American vote right now is not as solid as it needs to be. And so, if you really care about my presidency and what we've accomplished, then you are going to go and vote.
JOHNS: The president and other top surrogates looking to give Clinton a boost in the final stretch.
OBAMA: I hate to put a little pressure on you, but the fate of the republic rests on your shoulders. The fate of the world is teetering and you, North Carolina, are going to have to make sure that we push it in the right direction.
JOHNS: The president campaigning in North Carolina today, and Vice President Biden in Florida; Elizabeth Warren in Nevada; and Bernie Sanders making stops in Michigan and Wisconsin. That as the Clinton campaign looks to protect its blue firewall by going on the air with ads Colorado and Virginia, increasing its overall ad spending to more than $32 million before election day.
It comes as the campaign continues to deal with the fallout from the FBI's investigation into e-mails from long-time Clinton aide Huma Abedin, found on a computer belonging to her estranged husband, Anthony Weiner. Abedin not traveling with Clinton on her westward swing today, instead seen getting into a car in New York.
JOHNS: Huma Abedin's absence from the campaign plane, as well as the candidate's attempts to de-emphasize or not even mention the e-mail controversy show how the Clinton campaign continues to try to shift the focus away from the e-mails, though campaign aides say they're just trying to reframe the choice voters have in the closing days of this election, Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Joe, thank you. Joe Johns reporting for us.
Let's bring in our correspondents and political experts. First, I want to go to Pamela Brown. Pamela, we'll talk about the CNN polls in a moment. But you're getting new information on the FBI investigation into these e-mails involving Huma Abedin. What are you learning?
BROWN: And beyond that, we're actually learning more about infighting in the FBI and Department of Justice that's been going on for the past 15 months, Wolf.
My colleague, Evan Perez, and I have spoken to more than a dozen officials and agents and have learned that agents in the FBI wanted to aggressively investigate the Clinton Foundation several months ago. Earlier in the year, the Department of Justice told the FBI, essentially, "You don't have enough evidence here for predication to get more tools, such as warrants and subpoenas. Go back and see what else you can dig up."
We were told that after the Clinton e-mail probe initially wrapped up back in July, that those agents wanted to continue their work on the case, and again DOJ said, "You don't have enough evidence here to really investigate."
And so things are sort of on hold, but this has just sort of caused tensions to flare; and the FBI and Department of Justice, some of those agents, feel like the road blocks are politically driven. And some in the Department of Justice feel like the agents want to aggressively pursue this to nab a high-profile politician, or perhaps be partisan-driven here.
So there's a lot going on behind the scenes beyond just what we're seeing on -- seeing in front of us with Director Comey.
BLITZER: David Chalian, given the problems that Hillary Clinton has had with the issue of honesty and trustworthiness, at least in the polls, how is this late development going to impact voters?
CHALIAN: Well, it is exactly on that score where this story comes into play. And -- and you look across all the four battleground states that we polled today, she is seen as less honest and trustworthy than is Donald Trump. This is -- this is her Achilles heel, and it is largely because of this story.
And so there was a moment about a week and a half ago, two weeks ago, where the Clinton campaign thought they were making good progress on her fave, unfave, on at least getting to parity with honest and trustworthy with Donald Trump; and this blew the cover right off of that back to this being her in the hole here.
Again, there are other -- lots of things that voters will decide on. I don't think it will be the definitive characteristic of the race. But it is Hillary Clinton's Achilles heel.
BLITZER: Today, Dana, the -- the president really went after the FBI investigation, the FBI director saying, "We don't operate on innuendo." How unusual is it for a sitting president of the United States to make comments that criticize an FBI director and an FBI investigation?
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Very unusual, and it's a departure from what his own spokesman did a couple of days ago, although he said, "I'm not going to comment on it" and then he sort of, you know, went down the road a little bit along these lines.
The president went a lot -- a lot further. but I think it's also in keeping with what the president did way back when this whole thing started. He gave an interview saying that he thought everything was fine with her e-mails, which actually turned out to not be true. And we've seen the traffic about that internally in some of the WikiLeaks coming out from John Podesta's e-mail.
But look, I think none of this is typical. None of this is usual and, you know, starting with the president himself commenting on this, going to Loretta Lynch having her plane boarded by President Clinton, which was like such a no-no. I don't even begin -- I can't even begin to explain that.
[17:35:09] So, yes, it's unusual, but he also is trying to telegraph something to Democratic voters right now and to swing voters very clearly.
BLITZER: Jamie Gangel, you spoke to the House minority leader, the Democratic leader in the House, Nancy Pelosi, about the FBI director, Comey's, move to look into these e-mails that have been discovered so close to the election. What did she tell you?
JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: So Wolf, we started by asking her if she thinks FBI Director Comey's actions have interfered with the race. And she gave a very direct answer. She said, "Yes, I do."
And then she added that she thinks he did it because of criticism from Republicans for his original decision back in July not to recommend charges against Hillary Clinton. Here's more of what she had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER: I think he made a mistake on this; and he clearly has a double-standard when it comes to Donald Trump and -- or the -- keep him out of it. Just when it came to the hacking by the Russians, that the highest confidence of our intelligence community says the Russians did this. I know it privately, because being hacked by the Russians. And he says, "Well, it's too close to the election to talk about that." And yet it's not too close to the election to talk about the e-mails that he says may not be significant.
So I think he made a mistake.
And these jobs, if you're not in it for a while, you can't take the heat. And I think he just couldn't take the heat from the Republicans. It's really unfortunate, because I do believe he is a good person. Maybe he's not in the right job.
GANGEL: Do you think he should resign?
PELOSI: I'm not going to that place. I think that we have to just get through this election and just see what the casualties are along the way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GANGEL: You know, Wolf, she chooses her words carefully. When she says, "casualties along the way," I think you know what that might been referring to. And there was one particular phrase she used: maybe he's not in the right job. So I think you're going to be hearing more along this line.
BLITZER: Jamie, she also spoke to you about Hillary Clinton's relationship with her long-time aide, Huma Abedin. I want you to listen and our viewers to listen to what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GANGEL: Do you think Hillary Clinton used bad judgment in having Huma Abedin as such a close aide in all of this?
PELOSI: The relationships that people have is something that I'm not going to comment on, no. Huma is a lovely person. She has the confidence of Hillary Clinton. They're friends.
I think Huma used bad judgment in marrying Anthony Weiner. So if you want to ask that question. But I think that Hillary's respect for Huma goes back a long way, and their friendship is important.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... could have intervened.
BLITZER: So do you think, Jamie, that Pelosi thinks all of this is hurting Hillary -- Hillary Clinton's chances of winning the presidency?
GANGEL: Well, Wolf, she -- I asked her that question. She says no. But we've all seen the polls, and they're tightening, as you said earlier, significantly.
What Pelosi said, though, is that she really feels in the end what they're hoping -- they wish this hadn't happened with Comey. but they're hoping it will get out the vote, that it will energize the base.
Look, Democrats have been worried about voters being complacent or not enthusiastic enough to get out to vote for Hillary. That's why we've seen all these surrogates out there.
So while Pelosi, the president, other Democrats are clearly not happy with FBI Director Comey's announcement right before the election, they're trying to turn it around and turn it into a rallying cry to get that vote out, Wolf.
BLITZER: Mark Preston, President Obama's been out on the campaign trail once again for Hillary Clinton today in North Carolina. He's trying to generate a lot of turnout, especially in the African- American community.
What does he need to do to motivate that Obama base that got him elected president in 2008, re-elected in 2012, to go up and to show up for Hillary Clinton?
MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Right. It's a very simple message. Right? It's, "If you voted for me, I need you to vote for Hillary Clinton. If you liked the policies that I have tried to put in place, then you need to vote for Hillary Clinton. If you vote for Donald Trump, you're putting somebody who's reckless in the White House."
We've heard some very tough language from President Obama on the campaign trail, in some ways which is interesting to hear a sitting president go directly at a Republican nominee.
[17:40:01] You know, the problem right now for Hillary Clinton, and look, I think we have to realize this, she's not going to reach the same level as Barack Obama with the African-American vote. He made history. He's the first African-American elected. He made history again by getting re-elected again. But it is important for him to be on the campaign trail. He'll be back in North Carolina, Wolf, on Friday.
It's also interesting to note that the Hillary Clinton campaign announced that Stevie Wonder is going to do a get-out-the-vote rally in Philadelphia, and Pharrell Williams, the pop star, is going to be in North Carolina with Hillary Clinton tomorrow. So they're trying to reach every black voter that they can get.
BLITZER: Ron Brownstein, you study polls all the time. We have a new CNN/ORC poll: 49 percent in Florida right now for Hillary Clinton, 47 for Donald Trump.
But -- but when you ask specifically, "Are you extremely or very enthusiastic about voting for the president?" Clinton voters in Florida, 48 percent compared to Trump voters, 58 percent. In Pennsylvania, 51 percent for Hillary Clinton, 50 percent for Donald Trump. So what are those numbers saying to you? Translate them.
RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, it's been a challenge for her from the beginning, is generating positive enthusiasm about her candidacy. There's a lot of enthusiasm among the Democratic voters and beyond the Democratic coalition about preventing Donald Trump from being president, but kind of the affirmative enthusiasm about Clinton has been more difficult.
Those polls are interesting, because if you look at this last week, look at where Donald Trump is. He's in New Mexico; he's is Colorado; he's in Michigan; he's in Wisconsin. If he had an easier path to 270, he would not be in those states, all of which Hillary Clinton has led in from the beginning.
On the other hand, he is calling her hand on one of the defining gambles of her candidacy. She has put almost all of her effort in the last month in her insurance states, places like Florida, Nevada, Ohio, North Carolina. And she has put very little effort into states like those four and Michigan and Wisconsin that are at the core.
Interesting comparison. Since June 1st, she has been 19 times in Florida and North Carolina combined, two times in Michigan, none in Wisconsin. She has spent $128 million on advertising in North Carolina and Florida, 6 million in Wisconsin and Michigan. She's still ahead. So far, the polls are validating the strategy; but Donald Trump is trying to, in effect, do a flanking maneuver. She's put the army out onto his turf, and now he's trying to come around through the back.
BLITZER: We're getting more information coming in. Guys, everybody stay with us. We're going to resume this conversation and report more news right after this.
[17:46:26] BLITZER: We're back with our correspondents and political experts as we follow the breaking news. New polls showing the presidential race tightening right now.
Dana Bash, let's talk a little about Donald Trump. He's been sticking to his teleprompter, to his scripts. His aides are pretty happy about that. It shows that he's being disciplined. What are you hearing about that? You're getting some new information.
BASH: I've been doing some reporting on it today just to try to figure out not just the what but more importantly the why. Why do we suddenly see this guy, who I call teleprompter Trump, who is not only following the script pretty much to a tee? When he goes off, at least he's not veering much off message. But more importantly, he's not picking up his device at any hour of the day and sending tweets that would step on his message.
He's really, really focused. You're an old football player, Wolf, so I'll give you the analogy that somebody close to him --
BLITZER: Mm-hmm, a very bad one.
BASH: -- I doubt that -- close to him said. It's that he has been operating in the red zone for so long, but now he sees the end zone. That is kind of the way that he functions, and, you know, it's the end. He feels like he wants to do well and he can do well. But also the obvious, which is, he has the foil that is in the right place now. Hillary Clinton. The person who is supposed to be the one he focuses on, his political opponent, the person who is between him and moving into that building behind us.
And so all of those things combined has made him do something that we all thought maybe he was constitutionally incapable of doing, which is sticking to script, staying on message, and not stepping all over it.
BLITZER: Undermining his own statements.
BLITZER: And his aides, as I say, are very happy about that. Jamie, George P. Bush, the son, told a Texas news agency that his uncle, the former President George W. Bush, could potentially -- potentially -- vote for Hillary Clinton. You've been talking to your sources. What are they telling you about how the former President and the former Governor Jeb Bush, for that matter, might vote? How will they vote?
GANGEL: Right. So first of all, after he said it to a small group, a reporter came up to him and George P. followed up by saying he was just, quote, "speculating." He walked it back a little bit. So here's what we know. We reported a few weeks ago, and I've been
able to confirm, that former President George H.W. Bush, his grandfather, who we call 41, has privately told friends he is voting for Hillary Clinton. So that part is out there.
However, President George W. Bush, 43, his uncle, has said he is staying out of the race. He is not commenting on who he will vote for. And I contacted his office again today and they repeated that.
That said, we do have a little bit of news. I e-mailed former Governor Jeb Bush who is George P.'s father yesterday, and he has not said what he's going to do except, he said, I'm not voting for Trump or Clinton. So I called to see whether he had made some decision.
He obviously votes in Florida, a battleground state where every vote counts, so I thought maybe he had made a decision. And he e-mailed me back very quickly with a two word answer, quote, "Secret ballot." Bottom line, he is not going to be telling anyone.
Look, I think it has been a very tough year for the Bush family with Donald Trump, but this is a family of Republicans, and most of them prefer to not say how they will vote. That said, silence also speaks volumes when they are not supporting Trump publicly, Wolf.
[17:50:06] BLITZER: Very interesting. Ron Brownstein, you know --
BLITZER: -- several of this Republican presidential candidates. They did sign a pledge --
BROWNSTEIN: Yes, right.
BLITZER: -- saying they would support the Republican nominee. And now several of them, including Jeb Bush, are saying they're not going to do that.
BROWNSTEIN: And that's why when this ends up as a close race that Donald Trump falls short of, it will not end on Election Day. There will be a loud chorus from the Trump supporters that he fell short because of a stab in the back from the party leadership.
I mean, the Republicans who don't like Donald Trump were hoping that he lose decisively, so there would not be this issue. And also that the Trump agenda would be seen as being discredited because the Republicans are critical of Trump, believe that he is pointing them toward a dead end in a diversifying country, essentially running as a candidate of the past against a country that is rapidly changing in all the ways that we have talked about.
If, however, he ends up close, not only will the agenda still have life within the Republican Party, but the kind of the stab in the back argument will have life in the Republican Party. And we could be contesting this all the way through the 2020 primaries if Hillary Clinton wins.
BLITZER: Right. It's going to be fascinating to see what happens. All right, guys, everybody stay put. There's a lot more coming up.
Remember, we're less than a week away from Election Day here in the United States. We're going to have all the day coverage of all the key races. Stay with CNN until the last vote is cast and counted.
There's other news we're following. We're getting some intriguing new clues about what may have happened to the Malaysian Airlines jet that disappeared over the Indian Ocean with 239 people on board. I want to go right to our Aviation Correspondent Rene Marsh. Rene, what are you learning?
RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION AND GOVERNMENT REGULATION CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, the Australian Transportation Safety Board released a report overnight that indicates no one was in control of that doomed fight as it spiraled down to the sea, the clearest picture yet of the final moments of that passenger plane.
MARSH (voice-over): Tonight, as investigators continue to search for the lost wreckage of MH370, a new report from the Australian Transportation Safety Board indicates no one was in control of the enormous aircraft at the time of the crash. A detailed analysis of satellite data indicates the plane hurtled downwards 25,000 feet per minute.
PETER GOELZ, FORMER NTSS MANAGING DIRECTOR: The way the plane spiraled into the ocean, it was not under human control.
MARSH (voice-over): There's no way that you can make a plane do that?
GOELZ: No. You would not -- there's no way a pilot could make a plane do that. And it raises the question of whether the pilot or pilots were still alive.
MARSH (voice-over): The flight scheduled from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing disappeared less than an hour after takeoff. A log of hourly pings between the plane and a satellite led investigators to conclude the plane crashed in the Indian Ocean.
In June, a piece of the plane's wing called the flaperon washed up on the coast of the African country of Tanzania. Analysis of the debris shows the wing flap had not been deployed before the crash, yet another sign no one was in control in those final moments.
And you would deploy the flaps by essentially lowering it. And by doing this, this slows the plane down.
BOB HEPP, FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR: it does. It slows the airplane down.
MARSH (voice-over): Bob Hepp, a flight instructor, took us to demonstrate what MH370's pilots should have done if they planned to successfully ditch the 777 in the Indian Ocean.
MARSH (on camera): We're going to do a landing now. We're going to deploy those flaps. HEPP: We're going to put the (inaudible) flaps in. And this allows
us to descend more steeply, slower and more steeply, without picking up speed.
MARSH (on camera): Well, the fact that the flaps had not been deployed, what does that tell you?
HEPP: That either the pilot was not in a position -- he was incapacitated and not able to put the flaps down or was intending to not make the ditching survivable.
MARSH (voice-over): Following the crash, scrutiny turned to the pilots, including the 53-year-old Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah. Zaharie had a flight simulator in his home and posted videos to YouTube. No suicide note was ever found to suggest he intended to bring the plane down.
The new report indicates the passenger plane fell wildly out of the sky. But what caused the plane with 239 people on board to disappear remains a mystery.
MARSH: All three pieces of debris that belonged to the missing plane have been found so far. Wolf, at this point, the search is scheduled to end early next year.
BLITZER: And so there's no more status, no more search, that's going to go on after that. Is that what you're hearing?
MARSH: At this point, they've set February 2017 as the time of when the search would end. We do know that, at this point, they've searched some 42,000 square miles of ocean floor. They have not found what they're looking for.
[17:55:06] They are meeting, as far as investigators, this week. If anything changes with that, we'll find out. But as it stands right now, Wolf, early next year is when the search is set to wrap up.
BLITZER: And the mystery continues, Rene. Thank you very much. Rene Marsh, reporting.
Coming up, more of the breaking news we're following. President Obama breaks his silence, criticizing FBI Director James Comey for going public on the revived Clinton e-mail probe. Is the FBI between a rock and a hard place?
And with our polls showing a tight race in battleground states, we're standing by for a Hillary Clinton rally in Nevada. We'll have live coverage.
BLITZER: Happening now, breaking news. Investigation questions. Controversy surrounding the FBI probe of Hillary Clinton's e-mails intensifies as President Obama warns the agency against leaks and innuendo.
Now, new concerns as WikiLeaks publishes stolen e-mails revealing behind the scenes exchanges between a Justice Department official and the Clinton campaign. Was there a conflict of interest?