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Trump Treading Carefully in Must-Win N.C.; Interview with Rep. Jason Chaffetz; Clinton Makes Closed Argument in North Carolina; Unlikely FBI Will Release Email Investigation Details Before Election Day; Melania Trump on the Trail. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired November 3, 2016 - 17:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, breaking news. Big guns. President Obama and Melania Trump head the long list of surrogates deployed on behalf of the presidential candidates. Even Ted Cruz turns out for his former rival, although he doesn't mention Donald Trump by name.

[17:00:28] Big money. A surge in spending on negative ads in the battleground states as the campaign offer a gloomy forecast on what life would be like in an administration run by the other side.

Daily affirmation. Trump tells himself publicly, quote, "Stay on point, Donald." But as Hillary Clinton mocks his temperament, how long can Trump walk on eggshells to avoid setting himself off?

And Melania mystique. Trump's wife speaks out against bullying and says people shouldn't put other people down over their looks. Can she soften her husband's reputation?

I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BLITZER: The breaking news, with just five days to go, new polls show a very tight presidential race. Right now Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are giving it all they've got. Both are in North Carolina, which has become a must-win state. They have family and friends, stand-ins and substitutes spread out across the country for dozens of campaign appearances.

Standing out today, Melania Trump giving her first speech since the Republican convention. She immediately got one thing right, saying this is not an ordinary campaign. She proudly identified herself as an immigrant, with no mention of her husband's anti-immigrant rhetoric, and reaching out to women; but without any apparent irony, she talked about bullying and the bad side of social media.

Also turning out for Trump today, former rival senator Ted Cruz, who during their bitter primary campaign called Trump a sniveling coward for insulting his wife.

Hillary Clinton has mobilized an A-list of surrogates today, led by the campaigner in chief, President Obama. In two Florida appearances, he hammered Donald Trump as uniquely unqualified and told Democrats that, if they win that state, they win the election, making a pitch for his own legacy in the process.

Trump says Obama should be working instead of campaigning. I'll speak with House Oversight Committee Congressman Jason Chaffetz. And our correspondents, analysts and guests, they will have full coverage of the day's top stories.

We begin in North Carolina. It's a must-win state for Donald Trump, who's there this hour; and so is CNN's senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta.

Jim, Trump is really trying to bite his tongue to avoid going off message. What's the latest?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right. That's right, Wolf, Donald Trump is trying to bust through one of Hillary Clinton's firewalls here in North Carolina. And as he is closing in on Clinton in the polls, he is being ever so careful to avoid any controversial comments that could derail his comeback.


ACOSTA (voice-over): It's the election surprise nobody saw coming, Donald Trump sticking to the script.


ACOSTA: Gaining in some key battleground polls across the country, the GOP is showing an un-Trump-like message discipline, consistently hammering Hillary Clinton's e-mail mess as well as revelations about her campaign manager, John Podesta, unearthed by WikiLeaks.

D. TRUMP: He must be a bad guy. I don't know him. But to say the things he said about her, she should look at him, say, "Podesta, you're fired!" But she can't do that. She probably needs him as a witness in the criminal case.

ACOSTA: He's even offering a restrained response to President Obama, who's pounding Trump every chance he gets.

D. TRUMP: Now, why -- why isn't he back in the office, sometimes referred to as the Oval Office -- why isn't he back in the White House bringing our jobs back? And helping our veterans? Right? Why? Why isn't he back working?

ACOSTA: Trump said out loud what his advisors are begging him to do privately. If he wants to win, he has to behave himself.

D. TRUMP: We've got to be nice and cool, nice and cool. Right? Stay on point, Donald, stay on point. No side-tracks, Donald. Nice and easy. Nice. Because I've been watching Hillary the last few days. She's totally unhinged. We don't want any of that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Trump will turn Washington upside-down, day one.

ACOSTA: The Trump campaign is staying on point in the ad wars, buying expensive spots during the World Series and unveiling this stinging new attack on Clinton's ties to disgraced ex-congressman Anthony Weiner, whose alleged sexting to a 15-year-old girl sparked the latest FBI inquiry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hillary Clinton is under FBI investigation again, after her e-mails were found on pervert Anthony Weiner's laptop. Think about that.

ACOSTA: But Trump still has some major vulnerabilities to overcome, especially among female voters, who remain outraged over his history of crude comments about women. Trump's answer to that: He'll keep women safe.

D. TRUMP: You know, they say, "What will you do for women?" I say start off with we're going to keep our country safe. Is that good? Is that a good starter? I think we're going to do tremendously with women.

IVANKA TRUMP, DAUGHTER OF DONALD D. TRUMP: It's not a women's problem. It's a family problem.

ACOSTA: Add to that, the campaign dispatched daughter Ivanka to New Hampshire and Trump's media-shy wife Melania to Pennsylvania to soften the candidate's image.

M. TRUMP: We need to teach our youth American values. Kindness, honesty, respect, compassion, charity, understanding, cooperation.

ACOSTA: But not all of Trump's surrogates appear fully on board. Consider Trump's old foe Ted Cruz, who campaigned with the party's vice presidential candidate, Mike Pence, in Iowa but neglected to mention the man at the top of the ticket.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: He is someone who today I call my friend, and I very much look forward to calling him Mr. Vice President.

ACOSTA: An oversight Cruz quickly corrected.

CRUZ: I recognize some of you guys are wanting to write stories suggesting divisions among Republicans. Make a point, I'm getting ready to get on a gigantic airplane that has Donald Trump's name painted on the side of it. On Monday of this week, I voted for Donald Trump.


ACOSTA: Now also in her speech, Melania Trump warned of the worsening of the culture on social media but made no mention$, of her husband's use of Twitter. He often likes to attack his enemies on Twitter at all hours of the night, including just recently the former Miss Universe, Alicia Machado, he said had a sex tape, when she didn't -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Jim Acosta. Thanks very much for the report.

While her surrogates spread out across the country, Hillary Clinton is also focusing in on North Carolina today. Our senior political correspondent, Brianna Keilar, is on the scene for us.

Brianna, this is one state where Hillary Clinton can check-mate Trump, right?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It certainly is. We've even heard from Donald Trump's campaign, from his deputy campaign manager today, Wolf, saying that Donald Trump's path to victory is through Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, and Iowa.

Well, the Clinton campaign is hoping to cut him off here in the Tarheel State.


KEILAR (voice-over): Tonight Hillary Clinton delivering her closing arguments to voters in a crucial swing state, North Carolina.

CLINTON: If Donald Trump were to win this election, we would have a commander in chief, who is completely out of his depth and whose ideas are incredibly dangerous.

KEILAR: If she wins here, it would make Donald Trump's path to victory nearly impossible.

CLINTON: This is someone who, at another rally yesterday, actually said out loud to himself, "Stay on point, Donald. Stay on point." His campaign probably put that in the teleprompter. Stay on point, Donald! Stay on point!

You know, we have seen it over and over again. We know his true self.

KEILAR: CNN's poll of polls in the Tarheel State has Clinton up four points. She's visiting on the heels of President Obama, who Wednesday told North Carolinians the race could come down to them.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I hate to put a little pressure on you, but the fate of the republic rests on your shoulders.

KEILAR: Clinton has two stops here, including a prime-time rally with Bernie Sanders and musician Pharrell Williams.

And Clinton is competitive out west in purple states and even a red one, Arizona, where Latino voters are giving her a chance to be the first Democrat to win that state since Bill Clinton did in 1996.

CLINTON: As the political pundits like to say, this state is in play for the first time in years!

KEILAR: Her running mate, Tim Kaine, will deliver a speech later tonight in Arizona entirely in Spanish.

SEN. TIME KAINE (D-VA), VICE-PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Young people (UNINTELLIGIBLE). Our millennial voters can be the difference.

KEILAR: As complainer in chief, President Obama stumps for Clinton in Florida, where the race is neck and neck. OBAMA: Democracy is on the ballot! Hillary Clinton will move us

forward, if you give her a chance. And if we win Florida, we will win this election. It is in your hands.

KEILAR: Meanwhile, Clinton, ending her campaign with sustained attacks on Trump, foregoing the positive message she hoped to project after the polls tightened in the wake of her revived e-mail controversy.

CLINTON: Imagine with me what it would be like to have Donald Trump sitting in the Oval Office come next January.

[17:10:02] KEILAR: Her campaign out with negative ads to match her rhetoric, continuing to use Trump's own words against him.

TRUMP: Putting a wife to work is a very dangerous thing.

Wouldn't you rather, in a certain sense, have Japan have nuclear weapons?


KEILAR: Hillary Clinton with a -- quite a push forward ahead to election day, Wolf. She currently is on her way to Raleigh, North Carolina, for another event. And we know that tomorrow she'll be in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Ohio. Ohio with some help from Jay-Z. And then a big focus on Philadelphia and Pennsylvania through the weekend. She'll be in Philadelphia on Saturday with a little help from Katy Perry.

And then the night before the election, Wolf, we've learned that Hillary Clinton will be joined by her husband and daughter, as well as President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, also in Philadelphia.

BLITZER: Brianna Keilar on the scene for us in North Carolina. Thank you. I'll speak with a top Clinton supporter in the next hour.

But joining us now, Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz of Utah. He's the chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Congressman, thanks very much for joining us.


BLITZER: You went on Twitter the night of October 26 and said you were changing your vote back to Trump. But this is what you said on October 7. I'll play the clip for you.


CHAFFETZ: I'm out. I can no longer endorse Donald Trump for president. I -- there's no possible way I vote for Hillary Clinton, but these are abhorrent. They are wrong. To use a baseball metaphor, I've got to call balls and strikes the way I see them.

And, you know, my wife Julie and I, we've got a 15-year-old daughter. You think I can look her in the eye and tell her that I endorse Donald Trump for president when he acts like this?

And his apology? That was no apology. That was an apology for getting caught. To say that Bill Clinton did it and did it worse, I mean, that should have been his first clue that it was the wrong behavior.

So I'm not going to put my good name and reputation and my family behind Donald Trump for president when he acts like this. I just -- I just can't do it.


BLITZER: Strong words, Congressman. Can you see why some people are now calling you a hypocrite?

CHAFFETZ: Well, you know, everybody, I think, is struggling with their own decision. But, as I also said in there, I will never, ever vote for Hillary Clinton.

I struggled with this. I'm not going to endorse Donald Trump. I'm not going to do that. I can't defend the comments that he made. But elections are tough decisions, where at this point you have two people that are -- one of the two, Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, is going to become the next president of the United States.

And last week my wife and I both voted for Donald Trump to be the next president of the United States. I think Hillary Clinton is that bad. She is so bad and so wrong for the United States of America. I think her ability to look in the camera and just lie, lie, lie scares me more than anything.

And so it's a tough decision. I think I reflect what a lot of Utahans and a lot of Americans are struggling with. But at the end of the day, I really like the idea of Donald Trump. But those actions and those words, we should never find them acceptable, never.

BLITZER: But after that additional "Access Hollywood" video came out, more than a dozen women have publicly come out and accused Donald Trump of doing exactly the kind of behavior that he described in that video -- in that video tape. What has changed between then and now when you said you couldn't look your wife and your daughter in the eye and support Donald Trump?

CHAFFETZ: I don't know if -- which ones of those are true or may or may not be true. But you have to put it in the context of Hillary Clinton. And in the context of Hillary Clinton, who will lie to America -- she lied about Benghazi. She told the truth to her daughter and the prime minister of Egypt but lied to Americans. She has not been truthful about her e-mail scandal. I mean, the list goes on and on and on.

And so it's the definition -- the true definition of a dilemma, where you've got two difficult choices. But I really like what Mike Pence said. I think Republicans are coming home. I think independents are starting to understand that we have a choice. We can continue with the status quo and somebody who ingratiates themselves, enriches themselves.

The Clintons back up that gravy train and just fill it, cash full of money. I mean, they're worth hundreds of millions of dollars...

BLITZER: Let me interrupt. I want to clarify this. Because in that -- that original statement that you made on October 7 to CNN's Don Lemon. You said, "There is no possible way I vote for Hillary Clinton." You said that then. You continue to say that now.

But why have you changed your mind, as far as who you're publicly talking about supporting right now? Because now you -- you tweeted later, "I will not defend or endorse @realDonaldTrump, but I am voting for him. HRC is that bad. HRC is bad for the USA."

But you still -- you still haven't explained why you changed your mind from that original statement October 7 when you said you couldn't look your daughter and your wife in the eye and say you were going to support Donald Trump after that "Access Hollywood" video came out.

[17:15:15] CHAFFETZ: I guess I do see a difference between an endorsement and publicly defending somebody.

BLITZER: What is the difference? If you -- if you tell your supporters in Utah, "I'm voting for Donald Trump," that sounds to me like an endorsement.

CHAFFETZ: Well, I -- I think they're different. I think the endorsement is far different than who you actually vote for. And you know, it's the one vote I actually do for myself. I don't represent anybody else. We all get the same vote. But in the context of either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, it's Donald Trump. And I -- I think Mike Pence has articulated that. And I think we've seen that across the country. I do think they're different.

BLITZER: Because lot of folks in Utah, based on all the polls, are going to vote for Evan McMullin, a third-party candidate. Did you think about doing that?

CHAFFETZ: No. I don't think that -- that's a fast track to nowhere. The reality is there's only two people that might become the president. Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. That's the vote that's facing us, and that's why I'm voting for Donald Trump.

BLITZER: I know you say Hillary Clinton is crooked, and you -- you're obviously very condemnatory of her. But what information came to light on that night of that tweet that made you change your mind?

CHAFFETZ: I think I had been contemplating this for some time. There wasn't some magical moment that happened. But I -- you know, I tried to champion openness and transparency. I thought maybe I could go through this without having to talk about who I was actually going to vote for, but people wanted to know. And I'm in a public spot. So I said, "All right, I'll tell you who I'm going to vote for, and I'm going to vote for Donald Trump."

BLITZER: I just want to be precise. The new information -- this new review the FBI is undertaking as far as e-mails that were found on Anthony Weiner's laptop, that had not been revealed publicly when you changed your mind about your vote. You did not have any inside information about that. Is that right?

CHAFFETZ: No. No. Absolutely. I did not.

Look, I know a lot about the Clintons and what they've done in their past. That was far more than enough for me to understand a long time ago that this person, Hillary Clinton, should never, ever be trusted in the White House. Her propensity and frequency in which she lies to the American people is just -- that's by far more scarier than anything else I've seen out there.

So no, I didn't have any insider information. But Bob Goodlatte (ph) and I, the chairman of the Judiciary, just in the last hour, have put out a preservation letter to the Department of Justice saying, "Please, with this new investigation" -- and supposedly. I mean, I'm reading about it in the media like you are, going into Anthony Weiner and his proximity to Hillary Clinton and this whole mess that's out there, make sure that they preserve all those documents, because Congress is going to want to take a look at it.

BLITZER: I'm sure he will. Last night Hillary Clinton emphasized why she thinks a Donald Trump presidency would be so harmful to young girls. Listen to this.


CLINTON: And please, just think about what happens if he were to win, to women and girls. It would mean that our girls would grow up with a president who proudly and loudly ranks women by their looks, including the only woman running in the Republican primary. Remember what he said about Carly Fiorina? A distinguished woman with a tremendous record of accomplishment and basically Trump said, "Nobody will vote for her. Look at her face."

He brags about doing things to women without their consent. Just imagine what that would mean to girls and women, what it could mean to the sense of self-worth that we want our young women to have. And imagine how it will affect our boys, to have a president who talks and behaves like that.


BLITZER: All right. After that video came out, you seemed to agree totally with Hillary Clinton on that, when you revoked your initial endorsement of Trump. So why are you now comfortable with him potentially being in the Oval Office?

CHAFFETZ: Well, Wolf, you act as if the Clintons have a clean slate on this. Are you kidding me? The way Bill Clinton treated an intern in his office?

BLITZER; He's not running for president. It's Mrs. -- it's Hillary Clinton who's running for president. CHAFFETZ: The Clintons have no clean slate on this. Don't kid

anybody in this -- in that regard. I will never support, condone, defend anybody's actions, whether they're words or actual actions, to defame or to demoralize or take advantage of women in any way, shape or form. I want my daughters to understand that. I want America to understand that.

[17:20:12] And I'm proud of the fact that, as a Republican, I called out a Republican. And it's time for the Democrats to actually call out a Democrat. Because this is not a party issue. This should be totally unacceptable. That at the end of the day you've got to make a choice -- you still have to make a choice.

BLITZER: Congressman, the criticism you're getting is you condemn what Donald Trump said in that video, you condemn his behavior, you obviously condemn the Clintons for that matter, but you're still going to vote for Donald Trump.

CHAFFETZ: Yes. Absolutely.

BLITZER: And a lot of people are wondering how can you do that...

CHAFFETZ: Absolutely.

BLITZER: Especially when you have -- Mitt Romney, for example -- Mitt Romney, for example, says he can't vote for Donald Trump. And I know he's a very close friend of yours.

CHAFFETZ: Well, he -- he has his own vote. I'm just trying to tell Americans and my constituents in Utah how I'm going to vote.

A public poll came out. I had the highest percentage. I was winning by 54 points in my district. I think I'm representing my district well. And I think they understand I'm not going to defend it. I'm not going to condone it. I'm not going to endorse it. But I don't think Hillary Clinton to be the president of the United States.

She would be far worse, long term, in all of the major decisions, from the Supreme Court to jobs to foreign policy to integrity. I think Hillary Clinton is the worst possible person to become the president.

And so, I'm trying to say, I hate that he said that; I hate that he thought that. But, at the same time, I've got this dilemma. It's a tough choice.

But at the end of the day I think what -- Mike Pence is right. Americans are coming home. They're coming home to the idea that we've got to change Washington, D.C. I love the idea of Donald Trump. I love that idea that somebody from the outside is going to come in and look at this and change the way we do business in Washington, D.C.

So, I mean, hey, if my endorsement mattered, Mitt Romney would be the president of the United States. If my endorsement really mattered, Marco Rubio -- Marco Rubio would have been our nominee. But I'm going to -- I am going to vote for our nominee. In fact, I did last week. And that is Donald Trump. BLITZER: I want to move on. But very quickly, what I hear you saying

is -- correct me if I'm wrong -- the 12 women or so who have come forward and publicly said that Donald Trump did to them what he bragged about doing in that video, you don't believe those women. Is that right?

CHAFFETZ: I don't know if they're telling the truth or not telling the truth. You hear the same thing about the Clintons and what Bill Clinton has done. I mean, they're just lining up on that side of the aisle, as well.

So assume that it's true, and I hope that it's not. I hope that it's not. You're still faced with this dilemma about who should sit in that Oval Office. And I don't trust -- and I think the majority of Americans, they don't trust Hillary Clinton. I think she's crooked. I think she's a liar. I think her and her team do everything they can to block the truth and enrich themselves. That's how I see Hillary Clinton, and that's why I would never vote for her for president of the United States.

BLITZER: You told "The Washington Post" -- and I'm quoting now -- "Even before we get to day one, we've got two years' worth of material already lined up to investigate Hillary Clinton."

Are you saying that, if she is elected, you're already planning to go after her as president-elect or president of the United States, maybe even for partisan purposes?

CHAFFETZ: No, not for partisan purposes, Wolf. Whether or not Hillary Clinton wins or loses, it doesn't matter. For four years she created one of the biggest messes in the State Department. I think it's one of the biggest breaches of security in the history of the State Department.

We still don't have all the documents. You still have people -- career people at the State Department, saying they were operating a, quote-unquote, "shadow government." You read the FBI report, you see that there's a -- there was supposedly a quid pro quo discussions, all things that we need to have on oversight.

They haven't filled the Freedom of Information Act, which I have oversight on in the oversight committee. I mean, the list just goes on and on. So we have federal records that have been evidently destroyed. I mean, that's what the FBI concluded.

And we have the migration of classified information into a non- classified setting. I would be derelict in my duty if I didn't follow up on that and provide the constitutional responsibility that I have.

BLITZER: But I know you -- you know this as well as anybody knows this. The FBI director cleared her of any criminal wrong-doing. He said she was extremely careless, but he said there was no evidence, not enough evidence, certainly, to recommend criminal charges. That's what he said in early July. I know you didn't accept that recommendation. That was the recommendation of the FBI director going forward. But what I hear you saying in this interview with "The Washington

Post" is you're going to spend, if she is elected president, the next two years having hearings, investigations on Hillary Clinton. Is that what you're saying?

CHAFFETZ: We have to fix to mess that she created at the State Department. And let's understand that last week the FBI changed that equation.

So let me give you an example. The FBI had been giving us the 302s, the so-called investigative summaries of the interviews that they've been doing. But now they won't let us have them, because the FBI is telling us this is now a pending matter. Even though they told us in July that it was -- it was closed, that they had completed their investigation, now they're telling us it's an ongoing investigation.

So the fact that they reopened the investigation -- and that's just about the e-mail situation. You have this whole 'nother [SIC] track over here about what was going on in the foundation. And so I didn't create this mess. It was the inspector general that gave the criminal referral to the FBI.

And we have a constitutional duty and responsibility as the tip of the spear on the checks and balances to oversee what is happening in these departments and agencies. Hillary Clinton created this mess. I'm just here to help try to clean it up.

BLITZER: If she is not elected president, are you still going to plan on having two years of hearings on her?

CHAFFETZ: Yes. Absolutely. I'm guessing how long this is going to take. Look at what we did with the Secret Service. I think Elijah Cummings and I came together in a very bipartisan way. We saw a mess that was happening in the Secret Service. That investigation and that cleanup still continues to this day. I am going to take that same philosophy and approach. And I would hope that the Democrats would take off their partisan hat and understand you can't have classified information migrating to a non-classified setting. You can't take literally hundreds of federal records and put them in a different bucket and say we're going to treat these differently.

You can't go hire your own personal attorney to determine what's a federal record and what it's not when you're bypassing those who are career employees. And when you have allegations of a quid pro quo, am I supposed to just ignore that and let it go? No. I'm going to get to the truth of it and fix it so it never happens again.

BLITZER: Well, let me just press you on one point, Congressman. Do you have hard evidence that there was, in fact, classified information from Hillary Clinton's private e-mail server that was found on Anthony Weiner's computer?

CHAFFETZ: No. But we did send a preservation letter, because there are numerous, now, media reports. And if that is the case, if it is there, then we want to make sure that Department of Justice preserves that information, because Congress is also at some point going to want to review it. So no.

The only thing I know about the Anthony Weiner situation is what we've seen in the media, not something else that they have given us in any way, shape or form.

BLITZER: Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania has written to the Department of Justice after some white nationalist groups pledged to, quote, "monitor the polls on election day." This is something that Trump himself has encouraged. As you know, he told people to watch the polls, and he specifically singled out cities with high African- American populations, such as Philadelphia, Chicago, St. Louis, as places where he thinks the election, in his words, could be stolen from him.

So why is Donald Trump pushing a narrative that's encouraging voter intimidation by these sort of -- these so-called white nationalists, some would call them racist groups?

CHAFFETZ: I hope that's not the case. I don't know many details of that. you know, Chicago has quite the reputation of voter fraud along the way, right or wrong. They have that reputation.

Look, I think it's important that coast to coast we are vigilant. But I believe in the integrity of the system. And when there is a declared winner we'll get behind it and support that. The peaceful transition of power in this nation is something that's unique in the world, and I will stand behind it.

BLITZER: Congressman Jason Chaffetz, thanks so much for joining us.

CHAFFETZ: Thank you. Thanks, Wolf.

BLITZER: We're counting down to election day in America. We're going to have all-day coverage of all the key races. Stay with CNN until the last vote is cast and counted.

Up next, lawmakers are demanding answers from the FBI in the revived investigation into a Clinton aide's e-mails. We have new information.

And Donald Trump's wife is speaking out about bullying. Melania Trump makes her first solo campaign appearance since the Republican convention.



BLITZER: This hour's breaking news. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, as well as their top surrogates, crisscrossing the crucial battleground states as the latest polls show the presidential race right now neck and neck.


BLITZER: Just now Clinton mocked Trump's claim made earlier today that he has "the greatest temperament." The last minute campaigning is playing out against the back drop of leaks and revelations involving the Clintons.


BLITZER: Let's bring in our correspondents and our political experts starting with Mark Preston. Mark, Hillary Clinton's increasingly spending a lot more money in some of these so-called blue states. Colorado, Wisconsin, Michigan. Why is it so critical at this late stage for the Clintons to maintain the so-called blue wall?

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Well, in many ways, they're seeing some movement in the polls. Donald Trump is starting to do better in those states. But not even are they spending money, Joe Biden is going to be in Wisconsin on Friday. Bill Clinton's in Colorado on Friday, Hillary Clinton's in Michigan on Friday.

You know earlier this week Bill Clinton was in Detroit. Bernie Sanders goes to Colorado on Saturday. Wolf, if she starts to see territory right now in these blue states, then that means that she's overconfident at this point. And quite frankly, if she's starting to lose support in those states you've got to wonder what her level of support in the battleground states.

BLITZER: North Carolina all of a sudden critically important for both of these candidates. President Obama won North Carolina eight years ago. He lost North Carolina four years ago. Why is North Carolina so important right now?

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes, for Hillary Clinton it's her fire wall. Because if she wins that state she's going to block Donald Trump from winning and his aides have talked about his path to the White House including that state.

All ready people are already voting there. It's one of the states of the 37 or so states that have early voting. About two million folks have already cast their ballots. A lot of focus on the African- American vote there because they were so crucial in 2008 to Obama's victory there.


HENDERSON: In 2012 they over-performed every demographic in North Carolina. 80% of eligible black voters in North Carolina voted in 2012. It wasn't enough to ensure President Obama's winning that state's 15 electoral votes. You've seen everyone there, right? You saw Michelle Obama there with Hillary Clinton, a huge rally there at the campus of Wake Forest University. A lot of folks turned out. So they are very much trying to win that state. It has got about 100 counties, 80 of which are rural. Those are the places; those rural counties are where Donald Trump should really look to swell the vote if he stands a chance of winning there.

So far our CNN Poll of Polls gives Hillary Clinton something like a four-point lead. But, they really want to nail that down.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: In addition to the African- American vote there, the Clinton campaign has been relying on these white, college-educated voters which Barack Obama did not have to his advantage four years ago. And they're hoping maybe that that will make up the difference for them.

BLITZER: David, take a look at these new poll numbers we're getting in from Colorado and New Hampshire. In Colorado, right now 39% for Hillary Clinton, 39% for Donald Trump. Take a look at New Hampshire. Clinton, 42%, Trump, 42%. It doesn't get any closer than that.

CHALIAN: That is true. It doesn't get closer than that. It also probably won't surprise you, Wolf, that the Clinton campaign doesn't buy into those numbers in either of those states right now. They think that they have a little bit more of an edge than these polls are reflecting.

But, nonetheless, I do think this gets to the point that Mark was making, which is, remember, that blue wall, the states that are leaning -- that is her electoral college advantage. That is what has her, in our outlook, above 270. So, yes, they're going to fortify it but that's because it is their success already. Anything extra is bonus. So they're playing to get to 270.

BLITZER: There's a new NBC Poll that just came out that has Hillary Clinton just one point behind Donald Trump in Georgia?

CHALIAN: In Georgia. This is amazing to me. Republicans, both around the Trump campaign and inside the Trump campaign, affiliated with the campaign, have been shouting from the rooftops lately, in the last month or so, we need to pay more attention to Georgia. And yet the democrats don't see as much opportunity there as the republicans fear failure there. It's this odd moment.

Because you saw the Clinton campaign made the decision to go into Arizona, not Georgia, because they didn't see it happening there. This public poll is fascinating. And, it actually confirms what a lot of republicans have been worried about for the last few weeks.

BLITZER: Rebecca, Donald Trump did something extraordinary. He sort of went public with his inner warnings that his advisors have been giving him when he said this.


DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We've got to be nice and cool, nice and cool. Right, stay on point, Donald, stay on point.


TRUMP: No side-tracks, Donald. Nice and easy. Nice.


BLITZER: Is this an indication he believes he can actually get to 270 electoral votes?

REBECCA BERG, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, REAL CLEAR POLITICS: Well, it sounds like he is parroting something his advisors have been telling him. And, the fact that he's actually following their advice is pretty significant because he hasn't done that for much of the campaign.

I am sure there are republicans out there who are wishing he had started following their advice, Kellyanne Conway's advice a little bit sooner. But, I think, as we can see from the polling and the way that the polls are tightening and especially the focus on Clinton in much of the news discussion here and the public discussion, it's working for him right now.

Whenever Donald Trump is focused on policy -- and this is what republicans have been saying all along. They've, basically been begging Donald Trump to please focus on policy. Whenever he is focused on policy, on attacking Hillary Clinton, whenever the discussion publicly is focused on Hillary Clinton and not on Donald Trump, you see the polls tighten. That's exactly what's happening right now.

But, I think it might be too late for Donald Trump to make up the ground that he needs to make up. As we've discussed over and over again this week, his path to 270 electoral votes, even as these polls are tightening, is still very narrow. If he can win in New Hampshire, it's still a very narrow path.

If he can pull out a win in a state like Michigan or Wisconsin, where Mike Pence is campaigning today and this weekend, that would help. But still, that is very unlikely. So, it might be too little, too late.

But I think that comment he made might be a preview of the next SNL episode. I can see Alec Baldwin doing that impression.

BLITZER: Five days to go. So, let's see what happens. Pamela Brown, you've been following the FBI review of the Hillary Clinton e-mails that may have been found on Anthony Wiener's computer. Right now, is there any indication the FBI is going to release more details about all of this between now and Election Day?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Despite the growing pressure for that to happen from members of congress as well on both sides of the aisle, I am being told that that's unlikely, Wolf. That they still have a ways to go in this process. It takes time. They still have to go through the e-mails and determine classification with all the various agencies.

And, as one official told me, they're not going to piecemeal it. They're not going to come out with updates along the way, they want to see this through, finish it, and it's likely that won't happen until after the election.


BROWN: Of course the question is, what if they do find something after the election and come out with that, what then?

BLITZER: Who knows?

PRESTON: Impeachment. BLITZER: Impeachment according to some members of congress. That would be a major, major development.

Jeffrey, in the latest, CNN poll of polls, our average of the several of the major polls, the most recent ones, Hillary Clinton has a four - point lead over Donald Trump. It's more narrow than it was before, but it's still pretty significant, four points. What do you believe the impact of this renewed FBI investigation has been on the presidential race?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, you know, there's sort of a paradox out here. I mean, Hillary Clinton does appear to be leading all of the -- all of the people who do percentage projections all say that she is the likely winner. But, at the same time, most of the Clinton supporters I know are curled up in fetal positions underneath their desks because they are so worried that Hillary Clinton is going to lose.

So, I mean, I think the impact was bad. I mean, the fact that this announcement came out when it did, in violation of all justice department policy, it was a -- it was a negative thing for Hillary Clinton's campaign. The polls were tightening anyway, but it was -- it was a bad thing. How bad it was, that's obviously something we are not going to know until Tuesday.

BLITZER: All right. I am going to need everyone to stand by. We have a lot more to assess.


BLITZER: Donald Trump's wife, Melania, makes her first speech since last summer's republican convention and gives a preview of her priorities if, if she were to become The First Lady.




BLITZER: As we have seen Donald Trump's wife Melania turned up on the campaign trail today. CNN's Brian Todd is joining us now.

Brian has more on the strategy behind her rare public appearance. What are you learning, Brian?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, we were told before the speech that Mrs. Trump would focus on her husband's leadership qualities. That she would touch on family and her marriage. It was anticipated as an event that might humanize Donald Trump. But, Melania Trump never got into her husband's personal conduct with women, which might have served to help with women voters who the campaign so desperately need to reach.



TODD: Melania Trump is reluctantly stepping back onto the campaign stage.

M. TRUMP: He certainly knows how to shake things up, doesn't he?

TODD: Her speech today in Philadelphia's suburbs focusing on her love of her adopted country. She promised to help women who she says have suffered economically.

M. TRUMP: With opportunity, women will advance and achieve. But, some women have been left behind. I see that. We cannot call ourselves a fully developed or advanced nation when 50% of our women live in poverty.

TODD: But, she didn't address the accusations of sexual misconduct leveled at Donald Trump. She did not vouch for her husband's personal character with women. Did this do anything to close that big electoral gap with women voters?

SUSAN PAGE, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, USA TODAY: It is important that we heard from Melania Trump. We haven't heard from her in a public setting like this since the convention. But, she did not offer the kind of personal endorsement about Donald Trump's treatment of women which has become such a big issue in this campaign.

TODD: It's the first speech she has given on the trail since the disastrous night at the republican convention when Mrs. Trump was discovered to have plagiarized from a Michelle Obama speech.

M. TRUMP: The only limit to your achievements is the strength of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.

MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: The only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work hard for them.

TODD: Melania Trump went back into the shadows after that covered by her previous declaration that her priority was caring for Trump's 10 year old son, Barron. Then came the "Access Hollywood" tape and accusations from at least ten different women that Donald Trump made inappropriate sexual advances toward them. Allegations Trump has denied and which forced Melania to firmly defend him in an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper.

M. TRUMP: I believe my husband. This was all organized from the opposition.

TODD: Perhaps most ironic some observers say is that Melania Trump who has at times suggested unhappiness with her husband's use of twitter to assault others said as first lady she would work to combat cyber- bullying.

M. TODD: Our culture has gotten too mean and too rough. We have to find a better way to talk to each other, to disagree with each other, to respect each other. (END VIDEO CLIP)

TODD: Now, before the speech, CNN asked Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway if Melania Trump would reference her husband's twitter wars, which she of course has chastised him for in the past. Conway said since Melania has already done that, then we know how she feels about it. And, said Mrs. Trump would not talk about her husband's twitter exchanges. Wolf.

BLITZER: Brian, what about Melania Trump giving additional speeches? That's been promised at least one or two more. What do we expect?

TODD: Donald Trump promised that Wolf, but a campaign source telling CNN tonight the campaign officials wanted to add an event for Melania Trump in Florida but so far that has not come to fruition. Sources say she had real reservations about getting back on the trail just with this speech today. So I wouldn't necessarily look for that in the days ahead.

BLITZER: All right, Brian. Brian thanks very much. Brian Todd reporting.

Rebecca Berg do you think Melania Trump should have been out there on the campaign trail more since the republican convention? This was her first speech since then.

BERG: Well, certainly she has made clear that she's a reluctant political spouse and this is not something that she necessarily asked for or wanted. But, it's worth noting that she's not necessarily an effective surrogate for her husband in the way that some spouses are or have been.

When you look at the favorability ratings of her versus political spouses over the years, in modern times she actually rates the lowest, lower than Teresa Hines Carrey, who is the second lowest. And Barbara Bush is the highest, some 60 or 70 points ahead of where Melania Trump is. So, she's not wildly popular. She's not someone who people can relate to and so maybe that's also part of her thinking here.


HENDERSON: I mean she's also not very well known. And, I think that's part of the problem. But again, she's made different choices, different choices than Michelle Obama did. I think one of the problems, she doesn't -- she's not effective because she often speaks about her husband as if she's like the spokesperson or spokes model for her husband. Like look at this product over here named Donald Trump. He will make America great again.

So, I think that usual job of having people make a connection with her husband in a way that you saw Michelle Obama do so effectively. Michelle Obama often served as sort of like the translator of her husband, which was always so effective in 2007, and 2008 and then of course now. And she's doing -- in some ways doping the same thing for Hillary Clinton right now.

BLITZER: Mark, let me play a little bit more of what Melania Trump said about cyber-bullying, then we'll discuss.


M. TRUMP: Our culture has gotten too mean and too rough, especially to children and teenagers. It is never OK when a 12-year-old girl or boy is mocked, bullied, or attacked. It is terrible when that happens on the playground, and it is absolutely unacceptable when it's done by someone with no name hiding on the internet.


BLITZER: She was getting into some sensitive area, given Donald Trump's use of twitter, for example, going after those who have gone after him, for example.

PRESTON: It's a bit ironic isn't it?

HENDERSON: You think?

PRESTON: You know, but, I've got to say, a lot of people think that was a play to suburban moms. Right? But as a father of an 11 and 12- year-old, you know, and starting to see how social media is really being used and how it can be damaging, I'm OK with it.

You know the fact of the matter is, she can't control her husband, no- one can control her husband. No-one has ever been able to control her husband. But if he is to win, this is a noble thing for the first lady to do I think, because there is a pedestal. I mean right behind us, you have quite the soap box to stand on to try to tamp it down, because it really is getting out of control.

BLITZER: Is her appearance going to help with millennial voters?

HENDERSON: Perhaps. I mean it's -- I think it's so late in the cycle right, that it's hard to see that happening. You know maybe she'll be out there more, but it's hard to see her necessarily really connecting with millennials.

CHALIAN: And, back to the point that she's a reluctant surrogate. Those are the -- not the best surrogates. I mean if you're reluctant and you don't want to be out there, you're not going to be all that effective. She's made it clear time and again, this is not her thing. So I don't -- you know, I don't know why having her out there would make a huge difference.

BROWN: And it reflects in her speeches too, she doesn't look like she's having fun out there.

BLITZER: Rebecca, Bernie Sanders going out and speaking with Hillary Clinton and Pharrell Williams at a rally tonight. Presumably that will help Hillary Clinton a bit with millennials because Bernie Sanders was very popular with the younger voters out there.

BERG: Absolutely. And Pharrell, of course, popular cultural figures tend to do very well with millennials. I hope that Bernie gets to wear the Pharrell hat. That would be quite the scene. HENDERSON: Does he even wear that hat?

BERG: I think so. It's timeless.

PRESTON: What a party that will be (inaudible) right?

BLITZER: Do you think, Jeffrey Toobin do you think that's going to work for Hillary Clinton?

TOOBIN: It can't hurt, right? I mean I think -- you know she's got -- you know she's got Jay Zee coming up. I mean, you know, this is something democrats, you know the republicans have a real Hollywood gap. And whether that's something that they care about, I mean they sort of take advantage of the fact that, you know, they are the people of the center of the country and, you know, the godless people on the coasts are the ones who are for the democrats.

You know, it's a big party. The interesting thing to me is, you know, where's Bruce Springsteen? He has supported every democratic presidential candidate, including John Kerry, including Barack Obama. Where's he been? I don't know.

BLITZER: Good question. We'll try to find out.

You know Pamela Brown, you just heard Jason Chaffetz tell me that he's got enough material for two years' worth of hearings on Hillary Clinton, assuming she's elected President. But he also has enough for two years of hearings if she's not elected President of the United States. He's asked the justice department and the FBI to make sure they don't destroy any evidence, any documents, he wants to have access to all of that.

BROWN: Right, and it makes you wonder what his end game if she is in fact elected president. Because, as we know, you can't be impeached for actions before you took office. The law's a little murky about whether you can be indicted. But prevailing opinion is really the only path would be impeachment. Now the question remains, of course, what if the FBI, as I pointed out earlier, wraps up the investigation in these new e-mails and finds something, what then?

But being indicted doesn't even mean a conviction. So, you know, in that case she could potentially run out the clock until she -- until the inauguration. So the question remains sort of what the end goal is. Of course, the republicans would want to feed into this perception that she's you know, mired in scandal and so that is essentially what it seems like he's doing here.

BLITZER: He's the Chairman of House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

TOOBIN: Wolf, can I -- can I quarrel with --

BLITZER: Go ahead.

[17:55:02] TOOBIN: I mean, as I understand the constitution, high crimes and misdemeanors are whatever congress decides they are. So if they want to indict -- if they want to impeach her for something she did before she was president, I think they can.

And, I think you have members of congress who are already talking about this. I mean this is really shaping up like the 1990s, where you will have endless congressional investigations of a Clinton administration, if there is one. And, you know, we'll see whether that gets any political advantage. It's a mixed bag for republicans, too.

BLITZER: All right we're going to -- good point, we're going to definitely have a lot more on this. We're counting down to the Election Day here in America. We're going to have all-day coverage of all the key races. Stay with CNN until the last vote is cast and counted.

Coming up much more of the breaking news.


BLITZER: New polls show a very tight presidential race as the candidates and very high profile surrogates, focus on a handful of crucial battleground states.

And, the leader of ISIS sends an audio message urging the terror group to fight on as Iraqi troops close in on the city of Mosul.