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FBI Director Confirms Clinton Email Probe Over; Interview with Congressman Sean Duffy of Wisconsin; The Path To 270: It's Complicated; 28 Hours of Hell: CNN Crew Trapped in ISIS-Held Mosul. Aired 6-7p ET
Aired November 6, 2016 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: We're following breaking news in the race for president of the United States. Less than 48 hours, the FBI Director James Comey announcing the latest review of Hillary Clinton's e-mail issue is that review is now complete.
[18:00:04] In a letter to Congress, Comey said he's not changed his conclusion from July that there was no evidence of criminal activity in those documents. Certainly, a sigh of relief for the Clinton campaign. But Clinton, herself, did not respond to the news today at her rally in Cleveland. Her communications director telling CNN that this outcome is what the campaign expected.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JENNIFER PALMIERI, DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS, CLINTON CAMPAIGN: We have seen Director Comey's latest letter to the Hill. We're glad to see that as we were -- he's competent and that he has confirmed the conclusions that he reached in July. And we're glad that this matter is resolved.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: We know that Donald Trump has been using this e-mail review over the past nine days as an attack line. He hosts a rally in Sterling Heights, Michigan, this hour. We'll see if he reacts directly.
Last hour, I spoke with Trump's senior communications adviser Jason Miller who is refusing to accept the investigation's outcome.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JASON MILLER, SENIOR COMMUNICATIONS ADVISER, TRUMP CAMPAIGN: We don't think that anything has changed. We thought they were wrong when they made their recommendation in July. We think that they are wrong now. I think most Americans have looked this case and realize that there is something corrupt, there is something shady with the entire Clinton Foundation and this outside server that was set up, going back to Director Comey's words of extremely careless and reckless. This was not done on the up and up, Wolf, and I think most Americans get that there's some serious ethical issues that will continue.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BLITZER: Jason Miller speaking with me in the last hour. It's been a wild ride for both campaigns and the FBI Director James Comey as well. And now, this latest letter adds a new wrinkle to the final two days.
Let's bring in our justice correspondent Pamela Brown.
All right. So, Pamela, what exactly does all this mean? Tell us more about this extraordinary letter.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, in that sense, Wolf, this means that the probe is over. That the FBI looked through all of these new e-mails that it discovered on Anthony Weiner's laptop, the estranged husband of Clinton's top aide Huma Abedin and determined that there was nothing in these e-mails to change the initial conclusion back in July when the FBI made the recommendation of no charges against Hillary Clinton.
And we're told from law enforcement sources, Wolf, that out of a thousands of emails, most of them were duplicate e-mails, emails that the FBI had already reviewed as part of their initial investigation, yearlong investigation, and then there were many personal e-mails as well.
So, essentially, the search warrant was served. The FBI scrambled to sift through those emails using special software at Quantico to weed out the ones relevant. And as we know from this letter, FBI agents really worked around the clock to determine if there was anything new, anything potentially classified in these e-mails. It's a big surprise, Wolf, that this has wrapped up so early.
The expectation was in talking to law enforcement officials just a few days ago was this wouldn't be wrapped up until after the election, but because most of it were duplicated that expedited the process, sources I spoke to said it was done as quickly as possible. Director Comey could feel the heat after sending that controversial letter to Congress saying that these new e-mails had surfaced and given the fact that there was nothing new to change the initial outcome, the expectation was in the FBI to get the word out as quickly as possible. And that is why it came out on this Sunday afternoon just a couple of days before Election Day, Wolf.
BLITZER: Pretty amazing, pretty amazing development. The timing amazing, of course. What happens next? Where does the FBI, the Justice Department go from here as far as the Hillary Clinton e-mail issue is concerned?
BROWN: Well, assuming they don't discover any other e-mails on other devices as part of separate investigations, which is what happened in this case, essentially the case is closed. I spoke to an official at the Justice Department who said that there is no need for the Justice Department to make any formal statements from here because there's no new recommendation. Nothing has changed since July.
We know that Loretta Lynch, the attorney general, was briefed on all of this before Director Comey sent this letter to Congress today and that everyone was on the same page. But the question remains, Wolf, about what will happen to Director Comey. Of course, the fact that really nothing new was in these e-mails will certainly raise questions about why he sent the letter to Congress in first place without knowing the significance of the e-mails and then the question is, if Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton is elected on Tuesday, what then?
Obviously, it's going to be an awkward situation, to say the least. And it will put Director Comey at a tough spot, given how all of this has played out, Wolf.
BLITZER: All right. We're waiting to hear directly from Donald Trump. We'll be anxious to hear what he has to say.
[18:05:01] Pamela Brown, thank you very much.
Let's get some more reaction to this latest twist in the presidential race. Our senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta is covering the Trump campaign for us. Our senior Washington correspondent Jeff Zeleny is covering the Clinton campaign.
Jim, Donald Trump will be speaking shortly. Do we have any indication if, A, he's going to address this issue, he didn't the last time he spoke. And if he is, what is he likely to say?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESONDENT: Wolf, it's interesting that you asked that question because I asked that question of the campaign and they claim that Donald Trump did talk about this at the Minnesota event that just wrapped up a little while ago. Of course, he did not talk about the FBI director directly. He only talked about the email controversy.
But, Wolf, Donald Trump, as you know, has been sort of study in contrast ever since last July. You know, in the summer when it was the FBI not doing anything anymore with the Clinton e-mail investigation, Donald Trump was saying that the FBI was part of a rigged deal, rigging the election for Hillary Clinton, and then at last week or so in New Hampshire when the bombshell was dropped, Donal Trump will say, well, maybe the system is not so rigged and he's been going to say that Jim Comey resurrected his reputation.
It took a lot of guts, Donald Trump said at one point for Jim Comey to do what he did. And so, we are anxious, of course, to hear what Donald Trump has to say about all of this later on this evening. I talked to three top campaign officials, Wolf, and just the last hour, they insist this does not change the contours of this race. They say that the public will continue to be suspicious of Hillary Clinton no matter what the FBI says. And in the words of one top official I talked to just a few moments ago, she will always be under investigation.
So, I suspect, Wolf, that the Trump campaign will continue to hammer that message home. But keep in mind, tempers are starting to flair. Newt Gingrich, who is a top adviser to this campaign, was on Twitter just about an hour ago talking about the destruction of Jim Comey and all the pressure that he's under, that he must have been pressured into doing all of this. And so, yes, there are feelings inside this campaign right now that
what Jim Comey did is not helping their campaign. But I just talked to David Urban who is in charge of the Pennsylvania side of the campaign here, Wolf, and they see this state as a jump ball heading into Tuesday and is pointing to that event that Hillary Clinton is having on Tuesday with the president and the first lady, Bill Clinton and so on, as a sign of their strength. So, they feel like even what's happened this afternoon, that Donald Trump is still well- positioned to perhaps pull off a very big upset on Tuesday night, Wolf.
BLITZER: All right. Jim, stand by.
Jeff, Hillary Clinton, she spoke a little more than an hour or so ago after the letter from Comey to Congress was released. She didn't mention anything at all about it. What do we expect to hear from her, if anything?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, she did not mention that at all. When she was flying here from Philadelphia she did get the news. And she did not mention in here.
Her aide said this is why. They said, she does not want to engage in a back and forth about the FBI, a fight with Donald Trump or anyone else about this. They simply want to change the subject and move onto closing more positive message in the campaign here.
But not all Democrats are holding their tongue, Wolf. Senator Diane Feinstein, of course, the ranking member of the intelligence committee, a long time senator, she had a blistering statement on the FBI. She said, look, this changed the tenor of the election.
So, the Clinton campaign is allowing other Democrats to do their talking for them. But Senator Tim Kaine, of course, the Democratic vice presidential candidate, he addressed this a short time ago in Wisconsin. Let's take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TIM KAINE (D), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Not surprised. I mean, when the letter came out two Fridays ago, it was obviously kind of a curve ball. But the decision that they made after a lengthy investigation that no reasonable prosecutor would move forward on this and that that decision wasn't even close was so unequivocal that we didn't think they would find anything that would change it. And the -- you know, and again, I'm just hearing of it, too. But it sounds like the FBI director's conclusion is as we thought it would be.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZELENY: So, the Clinton campaign clearly trying to make the case they are not surprised by this at all. But, Wolf, a senior strategist close to the campaign told me this has done damage to them, that they cannot undo here in the final days. They describe it more like a wound that's been a pick. They thought they moved beyond the whole e- mail controversy until that bombshell some nine days ago. So, most the recriminations from this, if there are any, will take
place after the election, they hope. But there are independents and perhaps some moderate Republicans believe who left the Clinton campaign. It's one of the reasons the polls have tightened here in the final days. But, the Clinton campaign, Wolf, want to move on, change the subject, allow others to talk about this and they want to try and end this campaign on a high note, what has been a very divisive and dark campaign at many times -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Yes, less than two days to go right now.
Jeff Zeleny, Jim Acosta, guys, we'll be getting back to you.
[18:10:02] Here is what the House Speaker Paul Ryan is saying about this new letter to Congress from the FBI Director James Comey and let me put it up on the screen.
"Regardless of this decision, the undisputed finding of the FBI's investigation is that Secretary Clinton put our nation's secrets at risk and in doing so, compromised our national security. Fortunately, the American people have the opportunity to ensure Secretary Clinton never gets her hands on classified information again."
Joining us now from Wausau, Wisconsin, is the Republican Congressman Sean Duffy. He's a Donald Trump supporter.
Congressman, thanks for joining us.
REP. SEAN DUFFY (R), WISCONSIN: Hey, it's good to be with you, Wolf.
BLITZER: So, do you trust and accept the FBI director's bottom line assessment right now that the conclusion you reached in July, the same conclusion stands today.
DUFFY: So, I trust and accept it for the time being. As you know, the investigation was open then it was closed. Then it was open and then it was closed again. I think what we have to do is take him at his word today.
But with e-mails, Wolf, you never know when and how they resurface, just like they did on Anthony Weiner's computer. So, new information comes up about classified information that was sent or received, like we already know was sent and received, this could be reopened in the future. But, right now, we've got to take Director Comey at his word.
BLITZER: Do you have confidence in the FBI Director James Comey?
DUFFY: Listen, I don't have any information from inside the FBI to make that conclusion right now. I think at one point, whether we get to see this information in Congress or FBI agents leak what information they had with regard to this investigation. I think at that point, we'll be able to judge how Director Comey behaved, whether we agree with him or disagree with him.
But I think it is premature for any of us, Republicans and Democrats who either o appraise or sling mud at Director Comey to really do that, because we don't truly know all the information yet that he's looking at as he's making all of his decisions.
But I think Speaker Ryan was right. We're in a situation where Americans already, at least a significant segment of them understand she had sent and received classified information on her server, that she lied to the American people and the Congress about it. There's concern also that she destroyed e-mails and that she was hiding this pay-for-play relationship between the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton State Department.
And we now have a chance to look at that. American voters will analyze and make a determination based on all the facts. But I don't think Director Comey's comments today or the letter that he sent out today is going to swing this race really one way or the other. In essence, we sill have all the facts that we had yesterday on the table that we're going to make our decisions on.
BLITZER: His bottom line conclusion in July was yes, she was extremely careless in dealing with classified information. But he said no reasonable prosecutor would recommend criminal charges, because apparently there was no intent to make -- no intent that classified information would be provided to unauthorized sources. He's sticking by that right now. No criminal charges recommended. At least as of now, he says this issue is closed.
Was it a mistake knowing what we know now for nine days ago for him to inform Congress and the American people for that matter that he was taking another look at this, now that it's concluded that nothing new was discovered over these nine days?
DUFFY: I think it's important, to refer you back to Trey Gowdy's questioning of Director Comey, which I know you played quite a bit, Wolf, in that you prove intent by the actions of a dependant. I was a former prosecutor myself for ten years and --
BLITZER: Comey disagreed with that.
DUFFY: I know he did.
BLITZER: The FBI director.
DUFFY: I know he did, but I'm making sure you understand, no he is, but there's a lot of prosecutors who would disagree with Director Comey. So, again, this an issue for debate. But I do think and others do think that you could prove intent.
But I think, again, with Director Comey coming out and giving us information nine days ago and then switching it again today -- again, I'm speculating because I don't have all the information he had but he did tell us he was going to keep Congress apprised of this investigation. I think it was smart to tell the congress about the new development, and I think it was great that they work so quickly if they did to analyze all 650,000 emails on Huma and Mr. Weiner's computer. And if there was no new incriminated information, to make sure the American people know that before Tuesday's election.
So, no, I think it was smart. And again, Wolf, as I've told you before, it's important that Americans have as much information as possible. I think Director Comey has been a conduit for as much information as possible. As far as we can tell what the information that we have.
BLITZER: Hey, Congressman Duffy, as usual, thanks for joining us.
DUFFY: Hey, thank you, Wolf.
BLITZER: Up next, both candidates in the home stretch right now. But Hillary Clinton's path to 270 Electoral College votes seems to be broader than her competitor Donald Trump.
[18:15:05] Trump senior campaign communications director, Jason Miller, he is standing by. He'll discuss this with our own David Chalian at the magic wall, our electoral map, when we come back.
BLITZER: A scathing statement from Senator Dianne Feinstein, critical of this latest letter to Congress with the FBI Director James Comey. Feinstein statement in part reads and I'm quoting here now, "Today's letter makes Director Comey's action nine days ago even more troubling.
[18:20:07] There's no doubt that it created a false impression about the nature of the agency's inquiry. I believe the Justice Department needs to take a look at its procedures to prevent similar actions that could influence future elections." Statement from Dianne Feinstein, the ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Let's bring our panel, CNN political analyst Rebecca Berg, CNN political commentator David Swerdlick, the executive editor of CNN politics, Mark Preston, and our senior politics reporter, Nia-Malika Henderson.
Rebecca, these developments that are coming in, they're coming in very, very quickly. Comey really startled almost everyone with his surprise letter to Congress today saying the email investigation, as far as Hillary Clinton is concerned, it's over.
REBECCA BERG, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It really is startling. I feel like I have whiplash from the past week going from the first letter to Congress saying this investigation is back, now to the letter saying this investigation is closed, there are no new revelations. Overall, it's a good thing that we have an answer before Election Day. But I think Democrats are wishing they had the last week back not having had to talk about these issues and instead talking about the things that they want focus on.
But what's so interesting for me, Wolf, and this is maybe a little forward looking at this point, but this and so much else in this election has really undermined how many Americans view institutions, public institutions in this country. And I wonder if over the coming weeks and months we're going to start to see some public figures try to heal those wounds and maybe restore some of the public's faith in these institutions. Hillary Clinton, if she is elected president, will have a lot of work to do, and it will be interesting to see if she takes a more civil tone for Comey and tries to unify people after all of this.
BLITZER: Nia, Dianne Feinstein, as you know, a strong supporter of Hillary, she minced no words. "I believe the Justice Department needs to take a look at its procedures to prevent similar actions that could influence future elections."
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes, and you asked Congressman Duffy whether or not he had confidence in Comey, he seemed to say he didn't have enough information to figure out whether or not he was confident in the director of the FBI. You had Newt Gingrich questioning whether or not James Comey was twisting himself into pretzels because of political pressure.
So, it is a question. Does Comey have any sort of support? I mean, it seems like all sides seem to be questioning him. He's about three years into his term as director of the FBI. It's a ten-year term. How does he stay on? Should he stay on?
I mean, that seems to be a lot of what's going on in terms of questioning what he's done, first seeming to clear her initially but inserting himself in that -- when he said that she handled classified or handled information carelessly. And then he did it carelessly himself, right, last Friday or so when he sent out this vague letter and then again inserting himself into this discussion as well.
So, I think there's a lot of questions about whether or not he can bring people together and inspire confidence in the work he's got to do with the FBI.
BLITZER: Nia-Malika made a good point, Mark. In July, when he came out with this conclusion, Trump was very critical, Republicans were very critical, Democrats and Hillary Clinton praised them for ending it, saying she should not have criminal charges filed against her. Then, nine days ago, when he releases a letter saying he's reopening or at least reviewing some new information that came in from Anthony Weiner's computer, Trump praised, Hillary Clinton and the Democrats said the opposite. So, they've been going back and forth, and we'll get the full reactions now to these latest developments.
MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: Right. So, perhaps a common enemy is good for Director Comey.
A couple of things, one is Donald Trump has talked about this being a rigged system, OK? In many ways, there are systems that are rigged here in Washington, D.C. We have to acknowledge that. We know that the American public looks at Congress and has a 15 percent approval rating right now.
But overall, to cast our whole government as being rigged is very dangerous. It's volatile. He shouldn't do that. When you hear lock her up, lock her up, we're talking about a presidential candidate being shouted at. I move this into Comey's column. The fact of the matter is, he's had a distinguished record, but he may have had an error in judgment. But the error in judgment went both ways. They slice both ways.
And in many way, and David Gregory said this last hour and I would echo this, is that she should embrace him. In fact, she should call him into his office. She just put -- when asked should say I have the full confidence if he's elected president or if he is elected president, Donald Trump, to say, I have the full confidence in the FBI director, let us move on.
I think to remove him from his position is only going to create more divisiveness in our nation and certainly here in the nation's capital.
BLITZER: Because a lot of people are worried, David Swerdlick.
[18:25:00] You know, he keeps talking, Donald Trump, about a rigged system. If he were to lose, he's got millions of supporters out there, a lot of them would be angry and they would believe him when he says it was a rigged system. A lot will depend if he losses on what he says in his concession speech, if there's a concession speech.
DAVID SWERDLICK, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: If there's a concession speech, or even what he says in next couple of days about this most recent Comey letter. To Mark's point about the system, right, there's an argument to be made that Comey made mistakes along the way, but to come to the conclusion whether you're a Republican or Democrat that the system is rigged based on the sequence of events from July I think is a hard case to make.
It was good news, I suppose, for Clinton in July that Comey didn't recommend charges. It was bad news for her presumably nine days ago that Comey said they are still looking into e-mails. But you can't add this all up and say fix was in based on at least what we know so far.
BLITZER: All right. Everybody stay with us.
We're going to continue to cover the breaking news. Right now, the FBI director says the investigation into the Hillary Clinton's e-mail server, that investigation is now over. We'll discuss the ramifications.
Democratic Congressman Elijah Cummings, the ranking member of both the House Oversight Committee, the Benghazi Special Committee -- you see him right there. He's joining us live. We'll discuss with him right after this.
[18:31:16] BLITZER: Let's get back to the breaking news this hour.
The FBI Director James Comey has completed his latest review into Hillary Clinton's e-mails, standing by his original decision back in July not to recommend any criminal charges against her. Case closed as far as he is concerned.
Let's talk about this with Democratic Congressman Elijah Cummings. He's the ranking member on those House Oversight Committee.
Congressman, thanks very much for joining us.
REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D), MARYLAND: Good to be with you, Wolf.
BLITZER: So what's your reaction to Comey's letter today to members of Congress?
CUMMINGS: Well, I'm glad he came forward to clear it up, and that I'm glad that the FBI so swiftly went through the e-mails. But, Wolf, this should have never happened.
I said it before, and I'll say it again. I don't think that the Director should have come out last week and put out that very vague letter, and I think it was a mistake. He's an honorable plan. He's a good man and a man of integrity, but I think he made a mistake.
But, hopefully, this will clear things up. Unfortunately, a lot of people have already voted over the last week. And also, unfortunately, Donald Trump and his associates has blown this thing up like Director Comey should have known. And you know, Donald Trump is saying that it's worse than Watergate, and he didn't even know what the hell he was talking about.
BLITZER: Yes. A lot of ballots were cast over the past nine days since that original letter to Congress on October 28th. In fact, 40 million Americans have now voted. Maybe another 70 or 80 will still vote on Tuesday. But how much damage, do you think, politically speaking, was done to the Hillary Clinton campaign?
CUMMINGS: You know, I'm not sure. I just left Philadelphia and I think that people, a lot of people, had already made up their minds. But the fact is, is that we've got -- I agree with Senator Feinstein. We've got to look at the FBI and try to figure out what is going on here.
Wolf, we have to have trust in our organizations like the FBI because if we don't, clearly, we will have a situation where we'll have a crisis of, you know, just of trust. And that's a problem.
BLITZER: Do you have confidence in the FBI Director? Do you believe he should stay as the Director of the FBI, or should he leave?
CUMMINGS: Now, that's above my pay grade. But I think that we need to do what I have asked the I.G., the Inspector General, to do first. That is to look at the FBI with regard to all of these leaks that have been coming out.
Wolf, 99 percent of the time when there's a question as to what the FBI is investigating, they will make it clear that they're not talking. They say no comment. But yet and still, we've had leaks almost every single day for the last two or three weeks. And I think we need to take a look at that because, again, it goes to the integrity of the organization. And I think that, you know, we need to see what that Inspector General's report shows and says. And then I think it's up to others to make that determination. But, again, I believe that Director Comey is an honorable man. And
hopefully, we can right this ship. But I can tell you, Wolf, the greatest damage done to a lot of people is not necessarily the results of an FBI investigation. It's the investigation itself.
[18:35:03] And so when you put that kind of information out there, without having even read the -- when he sent the letter, he hadn't even read these e-mails. Come to find out, apparently, most of them were either duplicates, or they were personal e-mails. But yet and still, you've heard it over and over again, what Mr. Trump has said. And I'm hoping that he will do the right thing and that is pull the ads that he has out there claiming that she is on the verge of indictment and that she's done all these bad things. Again, the case, basically, is closed for now.
BLITZER: Very quickly, one final question before I let you go, Congressman. The Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, he, once again, repeated today that Hillary Clinton should never have access to any classified information, classified documents, because of the way she treated classified information originally. I want your reaction to what the Speaker says.
CUMMINGS: Why not. He ought to stop that. The fact is that she has a very good chance of being President. She has, over and over and over again, made it clear that she made a mistake. And I believe her. And I believe that she has learned from that mistake. I don't think you'll ever see anything like this happening again.
And, again, I think she is the most qualified person for the presidency. And that, again, I mean, how many times she's going to have to apologize? But I trust her and I believe that she will be a great president and, certainly, will handle the secrets of the United States in a responsible way.
BLITZER: It is a statement the House Speaker said, "Fortunately, the American people have the opportunity to ensure Secretary Clinton never gets her hands on classified information again. Let's bring the Clinton era to an end by voting for Donald Trump on Tuesday."
BLITZER: Thanks very much, Congressman, for joining us.
CUMMINGS: All right, Wolf.
BLITZER: Did you want to make one final point?
CUMMINGS: Yes, I do. I do. You know, I hope that Ryan will join me in trying to get information, at some point, about what is happening with these Russian attacks on our election process. They are so upset about so many things that this is something that not one single hearing has been scheduled by the Republicans. That's something that we definitely should be looking at. And I'm urging everybody to go out and vote.
BLITZER: Congressman Elijah Cummings, thanks very much for joining us.
CUMMINGS: Thank you.
BLITZER: We are now fewer than two days away from the election here in the United States. Both candidates trying to clear a path to 270 electoral votes with the time they have left. And with the race getting tighter, that path is becoming more complicated. CNN recently changed its projected electoral map. And for the first time, it shows Hillary Clinton below that magic number of 270.
Joining us now is our Political Director, David Chalian. We have a special guest, Jason Miller, the senior communications adviser to the Trump campaign. All right. Go ahead, David. I know you're going to walk through the Electoral College map with Jason.
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: That's right, Wolf. Thank you very much.
Remember, this is our new outlook. This is just a snap shop, not a prediction necessarily of where we'll be on Tuesday. But it's got five remaining true toss-up battleground states. And as you said, this map has Hillary Clinton at 268, Donald Trump at 204, and the remaining five states here up for grabs.
Jason, the first thing I want to ask you is, what is your most likely viable path to 270 on this map? You tell me. I'll flip the states for you.
JASON MILLER, SENIOR COMMUNICATIONS ADVISER, TRUMP CAMPAIGN: Well, the good news is, and if you're a Trump supporter, you should be really optimistic and have a lot of energy right now because there's a lot more paths to get past 270. So we feel pretty good about where things are.
So let's start off by making sure that the red states stay red. We see the Republicans stay home. So as we talked, Utah, Arizona.
CHALIAN: So we have Utah leaning the way. I'll give you Arizona for the purpose of this conversation.
MILLER: Georgia, which will be --
CHALIAN: Which we have leaning your way.
MILLER: We have that. Nebraska and Maine. We think it will be --
CHALIAN: So we have already awarded you the Maine congressional district, and we can add in the Nebraska congressional district. Hang on.
MILLER: Yes. Let's go and add that in.
CHALIAN: I will do so. Let's see here. Give you that one there.
MILLER: OK. Now, we talked about our core battleground states, where we think that Mr. Trump is doing very well. We see the absentee and early vote returns coming in where he's doing much better than where the ticket was four years ago. We can start with Florida, North Carolina.
CHALIAN: You're saying you're going to win both of those?
CHALIAN: This is your most viable path?
MILLER: We're going to win both of them.
CHALIAN: You're at 260 now.
MILLER: Ohio and Iowa. Did you have --
CHALIAN: We've given you Ohio and Iowa.
CHALIAN: So now what's left on the map here in the battlegrounds are New Hampshire and Nevada.
MILLER: So we think that we're going to get both New Hampshire and Nevada. We feel very good about those. Of the past four polls I've seen of New Hampshire, Mr. Trump has been leading in three of them, tied up in the other. Everything we're seeing there is that Hillary Clinton has a ceiling that she's hitting and Mr. Trump is surpassing that. And so we're feeling good.
[18:40:12] We feel good about Nevada. I know the Democrats are trying to spin that. We're ahead of where Romney was four years ago. We think we have a really good out to vote operation for election.
CHALIAN: Let me give you Nevada.
CHALIAN: That does it. That gets you to 270.
MILLER: I thought so.
CHALIAN: You swept all the battlegrounds. Do you think that's your most viable path? This is not -- you did not include in this path, which we'll get to in a moment, breaking through this blue wall we've been talking about.
MILLER: Well, this is where I said we think we're going to run through finish line. We think that we're going to get past 270. We're really liking the way things are. And just take it from me, take a look at where the Clinton campaign is going over the final days of this campaign. We feel very good about where Michigan is right now.
CHALIAN: OK. So hang on. Again, I know you don't want to concede any territory. But for the purposes of this exercise, you're right, the Clinton folks do feel good about Nevada. They really like the early vote there. Let's just give it to them for the purposes of this exercise.
MILLER: Oh, for the purposes of this, I'll give it to you. But just so we're clear --
MILLER: -- we're not seeing it. We think we're going to win Nevada.
CHALIAN: And let me just take Florida back to battleground status for a moment. We've seen a lot of tied polls. So we're going to take that out of your column for the purposes of this discussion. Is there a way for you now to get from 235 to 270 without Florida?
MILLER: We really need to win Florida.
MILLER: Florida's a state that we need to win. I think there are other path ways as we look at Pennsylvania and Michigan. We see Virginia closing. We're very close to Virginia.
CHALIAN: So let me give you Pennsylvania and Michigan. That would do it.
CHALIAN: That gets you to 271, even without Florida. Do you believe that's more likely than Florida?
MILLER: We think we're going to win Florida. We think we'll win North Carolina. The initial path that I mapped out, we feel very good about. But again, we're in Michigan today. We're going to be back in Michigan tomorrow night. Maybe we'll be even looking for another opportunity to get there.
But as we come down the home stretch, I think it's also important to look at where Secretary Clinton is going. And the fact that Secretary Clinton, President Obama and Bill Clinton, all going into Michigan tomorrow, they're --
CHALIAN: No doubt, Michigan is getting a lot of attention. Really quickly before you go, just tell me, which of these blue states -- Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia -- do you think is most likely for you to flip?
MILLER: Look, I'd have to say both Michigan and Colorado look very, very good now.
CHALIAN: Michigan and Colorado.
MILLER: We didn't talk about Colorado. Republicans just passed Democrats in the overall number of ballots returned so far end of this week. We see the pattern. We think Monday and Tuesday will be good days.
CHALIAN: We'll be -- MILLER: And the other one I didn't get a chance to mention, New Mexico.
MILLER: New Mexico is in play. But it's another one along with Minnesota that we think are within striking distance and --
CHALIAN: A lot of blue states there, some leaning very heavily towards Hillary Clinton. But I do see now the different paths that you are seeing as potentially viable paths. But the most viable paths you'll stay sill is sweeping the battlegrounds. Wolf, back to you.
BLITZER: All right. Thank Jason for us as well, David Chalian. Very good job. Stay with us for every race and every result all day coverage of Election Day here in the United States this Tuesday, right here on CNN.
We're going to get back to the breaking news. The race for the White House, the latest developments.
But up next, under attack and stranded for more than 24 hours. A CNN crew caught in heavy ISIS crossfire as they cover the battle to retake Mosul. Their harrowing report from the front lines of the fight. Arwa Damon will join us when we come back.
[18:45:48] BLITZER: Welcome back. Donald Trump will be holding a rally in the swing state of Michigan. That's just one of five states he's campaigning in today alone. We'll take you there live once he starts speaking. Standby for that. And we'll have much more on the race for the White House. All the breaking news in just a few moments.
But right now, I want to get to our breaking news out of Iraq. We are about to play for you some very harrowing video from inside the battle to take ISIS, the second largest city in Iraq held for more than two years now by ISIS terrorists. A harrowing account from the front lines that almost cost our CNN crew their lives.
Our correspondent Arwa Damon and cameraman Brice Laine, they were with Iraqi Special Forces when they came under fire. They were forced to run from home to home. This CNN crew was caught for more than 24 hours in the middle of a deadly fire fight. And I want to warn all of our viewers here in the United States and around the world, what you are about to see may be disturbing to some viewers.
ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After three weeks of this offensive, the Iraqi military is at last about to enter Mosul. The men of the elite counterterrorism forces, Salahuddin Regiment, are in high spirits.
But after the open plains of northern Iraq, they were about to meet a terrible new reality. This is not a place these soldiers know, but their enemy does.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right side, there are bomb cars.
DAMON (on camera): The challenge they're facing right now, that there are snipers on roof tops, and they're receiving incoming mortar fire that ISIS is shooting from areas that have civilians in them, which makes it almost impossible for the counterterrorism unit to be able to fire back.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): A car! A yellow car in front of you! Hurry up!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The side road in front of you. A man with an RPG. Hit him.
DAMON (on camera): The three cars have disappeared down the side streets.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): There is a guy over there.
DAMON (on camera): There's one more to the right.
DAMON (voice-over): Already, there's a sense that this will be a different battle. Civilians are still waving white flags, but the roads are getting narrower.
We're in ISIS territory. It's clearly marked. The convoy slows down. And on the soldiers' faces, nerves begin to show.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Watch out ISIS is behind you.
DAMON (voice-over): And then the roads give way to muddy allies. There's nowhere to turn. It's so claustrophobic. And every car here, every garbage can, could be a bomb.
It's heartbreaking that some families are still here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): My wife is here but she's scared.
DAMON (voice-over): So is his 19-year-old daughter, Nour. Come here. She's crying.
NOUR, MOSUL RESIDENT (through translator): We're fine thank God.
DAMON (through translator): You are right to be afraid.
NOUR (through translator): I am not afraid for me, but I am afraid about my father. I have no one else but him. I swear, I have no one but him.
DAMON (voice-over): Nour was accepted into university but she never went. Her younger brother Saif (ph) is paralyzed with fear, cowering with his mother in the back.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Stop! Stop! DAMON (voice-over): Then a car approaches. Frantic shouted warnings.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Sit! Sit! Go back! Go back!
DAMON (voice-over): Clearly, he's not a bomber. But he's critically injured.
DAMON (through translator): That car? The yellow one? It's his? You thought it was a car bomb?
DAMON (voice-over): Minutes later, he is dead. An innocent taxi driver it would seem, in the wrong place at the wrong moment.
Now, there's more incoming fire.
[18:50:03] DAMON (on camera): Through here, they've been coming across quite a bit of sniper fire, gunfire, mortar rounds, rocket propelled grenades, and of course, the car bombs. Even in the midst of battle, moments of humanity. But they are all too fleeting.
ISIS fighters are on the rooftops. Three grenades land in the street.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just, I look this.
BRICE LAINE, CNN CAMERAMAN: How did you get this?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Grenade.
DAMON (voice-over): Bullets ricochet off our vehicle, intensifying as we go forward. Then a suicide car bomb right behind us.
LAINE: Oh. Oh, my gosh!
DAMON (voice-over): There was a flash of orange. Ears ringing. Then another.
DAMON (on camera): That was the second massive explosion like that that we just heard. The first one they said was a suicide car bomb. And it exploded on the vehicles that are just behind us. There are a number of soldiers running in the street. One was carrying his buddy, who seemed to be wounded.
DAMON (voice-over): They spot enemy movement.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): That guy in front of us -- check the house over there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The first vehicle? It was hit?
DAMON (voice-over): The incoming fire is now intense. The bulldozer is hit. Our vehicle takes more fire.
Soldiers shoot at a motorbike racing towards us. It's hit.
We hear the hiss of a tire losing air. We realize, we're trapped. Vehicles, wreckage everywhere. Our MRAP takes a direct hit.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, (bleep). Open! Open the door! Open the door!
LAINE: Arwa! OK. What are we doing?
DAMON (on camera): I don't know. Honestly, I don't know.
Who do you think owns this house?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Inside. (Speaking in foreign language).
DAMON (on camera): Huh?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Inside. (Speaking in foreign language).
DAMON (on camera): Go, go, go, go, go. Inside, inside. In there.
DAMON (voice-over): We take cover. Injured soldiers and a terrified family. Brice, too, had a small head wound. More wounded arrive.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I tried to deal with it and got out because the house had no cover. I did not know there was a guy over there and he shot me.
DAMON (voice-over): Injured himself, the Staff Sergeant Ahmed treats Brice's head wound.
ISIS has systematically targeted and disabled almost every vehicle in our convoy. There are only three working Humvees.
DAMON (on camera): It's been hours since they called for backup, and none has arrived. They need to evacuate their own wounded. They don't even have enough vehicles to get everyone out. And that's assuming that they would even be able to do so because they say there are still ISIS fighters that have them surrounded on all sides.
DAMON (voice-over): Later, ISIS released its own video of the battle. They had filmed the very house where we were taking shelter from just across the street.
It is almost dark. The front line has moved right next to the house where we have sheltered. We need to move, but every time we try, gunfire drives us back.
It's complete chaos and absolutely terrifying. We need to get to a Humvee five steps away. Finally, we make a run for it. Clambering in as quickly as we can.
But there are so many damaged vehicles in our way, our Humvee gets entangled in another.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Go back, back, back, it's stuck.
DAMON (voice-over): We break free but go just 10 yards. UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Go forward a bit. Get out
of here, go forward, forward a bit.
DAMON (voice-over): A long and frightening night in hiding follows. We had no idea that ISIS fighters were filming the war booty they recovered from the regiment's wrecked vehicles just down the street.
[18:55:16] It's dawn, and we're still alive. We're with more than a dozen wounded soldiers. Only six who are not. Ammunition is running low.
DAMON (on camera): It's been almost 20 hours since they first called for backup, since they sent out the alarm that they were surrounded. And they're still waiting.
DAMON (voice-over): The soldiers with us are exhausted but determined. They know they're in this fight alone. On the rooftop, they scan for ISIS fighters. The soldiers get ready for the attack they know is coming.
Someone has been shot. The grief of a woman yards away is almost hideous. "Where is he?", she yells.
And then it erupts again. ISIS had the house surrounded. Our only defenders are mostly the walking wounded.
A grenade lands in the courtyard. More wounded are brought in. They tell us it was tossed by an ISIS fighter in the house behind us.
An air strike hits the house and brings down the outer wall of the home we're in. The family we're with hide under the staircase. One of the boys cries, "I don't want to die."
Hours later, a moment of utter relief.
DAMON (through translator): What happened?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): They arrived.
DAMON (through translator): You saw them?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Yes, they are near.
DAMON (on camera): They're here.
DAMON (voice-over): Our regiment has arrived as backup. Along with a Humvee to evacuate us. It's less than a mile to safety. We're lucky we can leave the combat zone.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's with me. She's with me.
DAMON (voice-over): These men will have to return. The battle for Mosul has only just begun. Arwa Damon, CNN, Mosul, Iraq.
(END VIDEOTAPE) BLITZER: And Arwa is joining us now live from Erbil, Iraq, where it is relatively safe. Arwa, first of all, we're so glad that you and Brice, our photographer, are safe. You found yourself literally on the front lines of this war zone. So how was this different for you personally?
DAMON: Well, Wolf, it is a completely different sort of battlefield. I mean, this is urban combat. It's house to house. And, frankly, when it comes to the intensity of it and the kind of enemy that ISIS, it's much more formidable than any sort of enemy that the U.S. military faced even back in Fallujah in 2004.
ISIS is well dug in. They are absolutely relentless and they have no boundaries. And they are ready for this kind of war, and that's what makes the challenge all that greater. Plus, they have absolutely no qualms about using the civilian population.
More than once, the soldiers there told us about how they would go into a home that had a white flag in front of it. There would be a family downstairs then ISIS fighters would be hiding upstairs for them. It was, by far, much worse than anyone, including the soldiers, expected. And as you heard in that piece there, Wolf, it's only just the beginning.
BLITZER: So what's your assessment based on this horrible 24-hour period, where you guys were literally running for your lives? What's your assessment of the Iraqi military's capability now going forward and liberating Mosul?
DAMON: This is going to be, by far, the toughest challenge that they have faced. Bearing in mind that they are, relatively speaking, a new army and by many accounts, a retrained army. But at the end of the day, there is a lot of confidence amongst the soldiers that, yes, they will be able to eventually win the battle.
What is it going to cost? That is going to be the big question. How they're able to handle this incredibly complex battlefield, what is it going to mean in terms of potentially civilian lives lost, and then perhaps, more importantly, wolf, what is going to happen in the phase after the war is over?
BLITZER: We're glad you're safe, Arwa. Thank you so much. Thank Brice, as well. We always appreciate your amazing, very, very courageous work for all of our viewers here at CNN. Arwa Damon reporting for us.
Coming up, the FBI Director James Comey ends the investigation into a new batch of e-mails found on the computer of a top aide. Sean Spicer, the chief strategist for the Republican National Committee is standing by to react live in the next hour.
THE SITUATION ROOM starts right now.