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The Lead with Jake Tapper

American Airlines: Aborted Take-Off After "Mechanical Issue"; FBI Reviews Newly Discovered Emails Tied to Clinton Case; FBI Reviews Newly Discovered Emails Tied To Clinton Case; More CNN Reporters Notes From The Trail At; GOP Lawmakers Respond to FBI Investigation. Aired 4:30-5p ET

Aired October 28, 2016 - 16:30   ET



[16:32:24] JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to THE LEAD.

More on this news from the FBI, new information pertinent to the Hillary Clinton server investigation. We'll get to that in just one minute. But let's turn back to the other breaking news sorry this morning, smoke billowing from an American Airlines plane at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.

This is what the scene looked like a short while ago. The FAA said the plane had to abort takeoff after blowing a tire, but now, the airline is telling a different story than the FAA.

Let's go back to Ryan Young who joins us on the phone from Chicago.

Ryan, what is American Airlines saying about the cause of this crash?

RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Hey, Jake, as you know, a fast developing story, we're getting different information coming in every two minutes. What we've just learned, apparently this plane landed from Heathrow Airport and it was taking off three hours later heading to Miami. And, of course, like you said the FAA originally said there was a blown tire.

Now, we have a new statement from American Airlines and that statement reads, American Airlines communications spokesperson Leslie Scott tells CNN, "American Airlines flight 383, which was a 757, bound for Miami, aborted takeoff due to an engine-related mechanical issue. The 161 passengers and 9 crew deplaned on the runway and buses are en route to pick up the passengers and bring them back to the terminal."

Of course, we have images of smoke billowing from the airport. This has sent a lot of confusion obviously. You have the airlines saying one thing. You obviously have the FAA saying something else. We now know that three runways are shut down at O'Hare. This is the second busiest airport in the country. We are still trying to gather more information.

TAPPER: All right. Ryan Young, thank you so much.

Turning back to politics now. The FBI review of their probe into Hillary Clinton raising a lot of questions. One thing we do know is that this new information surfaced in the course of a separate investigation into former Congressman Anthony Weiner, who is the estranged husband of top Clinton aide Huma Abedin.

Joining me now to talk more about this, "Newsweek" political editor Matthew Cooper and CNN justice correspondent Evan Perez.

Evan, let me start with you. Why did the FBI do this now 11 days before the election? You heard Matthew Miller in the previous segment saying that this was inappropriate timing. They must have thought about that.

EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Oh, yeah, absolutely, Jake. You know, the problem for the FBI director is, you know, once he's gone down this road as Matt Miller just pointed out, one you've gone this road of giving this extraordinary amount of transparency in this investigation, it's very difficult fro the FBI director to hold on to this information. He says in his letter to the members of Congress, he said he was briefed by the investigators yesterday. So, it's very difficult for him to hold on to this after the -- until after the election.

[16:35:04] Obviously, the accusations would be the opposite, right? Would be that this is relevant information to the investigation and that the voters did not have this. Obviously, 10 million people, over 10 million have already cast their ballots. So, the damage is already done. But the FBI director, we're told, felt that he had no choice but to tell members of Congress exactly what they knew at this point.

TAPPER: And, Matt, tell us what you think about how the FBI made this announcement.

MATTHEW COOPER, NEWSWEEK POLITICAL EDITOR: Well, I think they messed up. I mean, look, there is a reason that prosecutors and investigators keep things confidential until they can get into a court of law and sort it out by jury and prosecutors and give and take.

What Comey did over the summer by sort of saying hey, here is my thinking why we didn't recommend criminal action against Hillary Clinton, he opened the door to this. Now, he had to go back -- he had to do something with Congress, I agree, when he discovered new emails in the course of this Anthony Weiner investigation.

But now, he's in a very hard place. He's gotten the country all excited with this e-mail. We don't know what he has. It's just 11 days to the election. And I think the original sin was going out there originally and talking at such great length about his thinking.

TAPPER: Over the summer.


TAPPER: About the investigation.

Evan, why didn't the FBI find these e-mails before today? PEREZ: Well, the problem was that the devices that contained these e-

mails was not in their possession. They didn't have this until they started doing this Anthony Weiner investigation which we reported on about a month ago. And in the course of doing that investigation, they came across we're told e-mails to and from Huma Abedin that were relevant to the investigation.

And just picking up on what Matt said, people I think would have been criticizing the FBI director for what he did, but imagine if he had decided that there were no charges in this case and he didn't explain exactly what there was, there would be the opposite criticism which would be that what are you hiding, right? And obviously, this is a very unusual situation to describe all the different ways that Hillary Clinton did mess up, but you're not bringing charges. It's a very unusual situation.

But the FBI decided that this was very much something that they had to do to explain to the public what they had done behind the scenes.

TAPPER: And, Matt, you've covered the Clintons for years, dare I say decades. And this is truly an astonishing twist.

COOPER: It's unbelievable. And it's hard to imagine that the Anthony Weiner story would come back to this. But it does of course because he was talking to a girl who was underage and that's also under the FBI's jurisdiction. It wouldn't have been if she had been overage. So, it comes back to them.

You know, I think -- I mean, obviously, it's awful for the Clinton campaign. I think the only good thing is that, you know, he alluded that it was from a separate investigation, wasn't necessarily from her e-mails. But I think until we know more about what's in the emails, it's going to loom over the last bit of this campaign.

TAPPER: Evan, FBI Director Comey a day ago was being assailed by Republicans for being a hack and Democrats for calling him a man of integrity. Now, we have the complete reverse. Democrats attacking him and Republicans calling him a man of integrity. Donald Trump saying, "Maybe it's not as rigged as I thought."

You have interviewed the FBI director. What is your impression of what he thinks about politicians and political pressures?

PEREZ: Well, I got to tell you, Anderson, it's been a tough period not only for the FBI director, but also for the bureau at large. You know, the problem for them is that they are viewed as these middle of the road, they're supposed to be the arbiters here of these investigations without paying attention to the politics of this.

And the only thing that really, really angers Comey is the accusation which had been made by members of Congress that he was some kind of lackey for Hillary Clinton, that he was some kind of partisan corruption by the Obama administration. That really does get under his skin. And you can see that from some of his testimony.

You know, some of the stuff that he was expecting a lot of this, I think it's gone a lot further than even he had imagined.

TAPPER: And from your reporting on Comey, he was -- we should point out, obviously, he was in the Justice Department in the Bush administration and there was famous showdown.

COOPER: Right, right. He took a very strong stand against the enhanced surveillance program of the NSA, and there was a showdown where he and the White House chief of staff and White House counsel actually got in a rue at the bedside of then-Attorney General John Ashcroft.

I think there is a consistent pattern with Comey which is that like to insert himself in things. He was very definitive in that case where he didn't quite have final jurisdiction, but he threw himself in.

He got up in the Obama administration's face about mandatory minimum sentences not long ago.

[16:40:04] He weighed in on whether there was a Ferguson effect. I mean, I'm not saying he is a camera hog, but he's anything but. But he does have a tendency to insert himself in a way that other FBI directors have not. And that I think is kind of what led us to where we are now.

TAPPER: Interesting. Matthew Cooper, Evan Perez, thank you so much.

Armed with this new information from the FBI, can Donald Trump take advantage and win votes? We'll talk to our political panel next.

Stay with us.


[16:45:00] JAKE TAPPER, CNN THE LEAD ANCHOR: Welcome back to THE LEAD. The FBI is looking into newly discovered e-mails which the FBI Director says are pertinent to their investigation into Hillary Clinton's e-mail server. It's reminding us of this hacked and published note from a Clinton confidant published in WikiLeaks, it was sent after the story about Clinton's private server broke in The New York Times back in 2015. Do we actually know who told Hillary she could use a private e-mail? Longtime Clinton Adviser, Neera Tanden, asked Clinton Campaign Chair John Podesta, and has that person been drawn and quartered? Like whole thing is bleeping insane." Our political panel joins me now, Republican Strategist S.E. Cupp, USA Today Columnist Kirsten Powers, and New York Times Political Correspondent Ashley Parker. Kirsten, not a good day for Hillary Clinton with this story back in the news.

KIRSTEN POWERS, USA TODAY COLUMNIST: No, definitely not. Though, I do think we have to take a step back and she's-this is -- a lot of people are talking about it like she's under investigation again, which is not really what happened. What he's basically saying is they've discovered some e-mails that they think might be pertinent and they need to look at them and he's let congress know about that. So, we don't actually even know what the e mails are or how relevant they are to Hillary Clinton. TAPPER: It's you know - it's another thing that's interesting is that republicans on Capitol Hill normally would be giving press conferences and jumping on cable shows. They've been relatively quiet letting the story itself do the work for them.

S.E. CUPP, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Yeah, they don't really have to say much. And frankly, if there is a political consequence in the moment without knowing what comes later, this is good for republicans down ballot to be talking about this and not having to defend Donald Trump. But frankly, you quoted Chekhov earlier, I see your Chekhov and I meet you with a Dickens, Anthony Weiner is the ghost of Christmas past, present and future, he just won't go away, and I think it's remarkable to imagine whatever we find here that ties from Weiner to Huma Abedin to Hillary Clinton, and how consequential that relationship has been and may continue to be if indeed this affects her chances in the White House.

TAPPER: And Ashley, Donald Trump months ago was trying to make the point that Anthony Weiner was a potential national security risk. Take a listen.


DONALD TRUMP, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I mean, her number one person, Huma Abedin is married to Anthony Weiner, who's a sleaze ball and a pervert. And I'm not saying that, I mean that's recorded history, right? I don't like Huma going home at night and telling Anthony Weiner all of these secrets, OK?


TAPPER: I mean, you know -

ASHLEY PARKER, NEW YORK TIMES POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: And that is sort of the secret to Donald Trump's success, is that a lot of these sort of things that he says that at the time seemed crazy and outlandish - are crazy and outlandish but they also contain often a kernel of truth that people are able to latch on too, and if you look back, it seems like Donald Trump may have been on to something.

TAPPER: Yeah, I mean, if there were secrets in these e-mails, and we don't know what's in them, we just know they're pertinent to the case, I mean that's part of - I mean that you can understand why the story would revive itself.

PARKER: Yeah, I mean, that's sort of his key gut instinct where he just sort of intuit things, and he sort of hit on that early and the, of course, this is just a wonderful issue for him. I mean, his campaign has sort of - he shows that he can be disciplined sort of for at most two, two and a half weeks in his campaigning. I've been talking to her hoping that this happens and if he can make these 11 days, those disciplined days, he could really come back in the polls.

TAPPER: Kirsten, in the statement, Hillary Clinton's Campaign Chairman John Podesta said he called the timing of the letters released, extraordinary, and he said quote, "The Director of the FBI owes it to the American people to immediately provide the full details of what he is now examining. We are confident this will not produce any conclusions different from the one the FBI reached in July." You heard Matt Miller former Eric Holder Communications Director for the Justice Department, saying the same thing. Do you think that that's a - that the FBI Director should come forward or is this another one of these things like if you don't know what he's going to say, be careful what you wish for?

POWERS: No, I mean, I do think people need to have more information because people are jumping to the conclusion that it must be something really terrible. And if you look at actually what he said in the letter, that's not what it says. It's just that he -- it is incumbent upon him to let congress know about this and they're looking at it. And so, I think that the problem for democrats is something you've been alluding it to which is they built Comey up into this sort of unimpeachable, you know, person who is just a straight shooter and always tells us like it is and now they're turning around and basically sort of saying how dare he, when it looks like he felt like he had to just report this to congress.

TAPPER: I guess the - and the big question I think a lot of people at home are wondering, S.E, is this going to change the election? Could this actually be the thing that changes, I mean, the - clearly until today, the dynamic seem to be Hillary Clinton was likely to be elected, that she -- the polls were going in her favor. Could this change that?

CUPP: Well, two things. One, I think voters have become really desensitize over the course of this election. You know, we've had cavalcade of scandals from both of these candidates, whether it's his problems with women, I think the 12th woman came out this week, I don't know her name. With her it's the e-mails and the Clinton foundation and sort of accountability issues. I think people are a little overwhelmed by all of this. I'm not sure how impactful this will be until we know what's in it, but secondly, for whatever reason, democrats have decided they don't care -- in large numbers, they don't care about Hillary Clinton's accountability problems, and republicans have decided in large enough numbers they don't care about Donald Trump's morality issues. So, you know, if this is kind of more of the same for what we know of her, I'm not sure how impactful it will be.

POWERS: The problem with Hillary is that the one thing that has him problematic for her has been the e-mail issue, right?


TAPPER: Yes. Her poll numbers gets -

POWERS: -- Yeah. Right. And then that is the place where you have really seen her stumble and after the e-mail - after the server news broke, you did see her really affected by that. So, that's the only reason I would say if there is one thing that was actually going to potentially affect her, this kind of stuff falls in that category.

CUPP: It would have to be -- I think it would have to be pretty bad. PARKER: Right, I mean it get -- to your point, it gets to a narrative that's always baked in the cake and those are always harder to dispel, and shake up, but the other thing again, is it gives Donald Trump someone who is not known for his discipline, a sort of bright shiny object that he can focus his attention to and if he was talking about the e-mails, and he's talking about this, he is maybe not talking about the women who have come forward, who's planning to sue, and that is good for the Trump campaign.

TAPPER: You were talking about down ballot democrats. I want to play a remarkable moment between Republican Senator Mark Kirk and Democratic Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth who's running against him in the Illinois senate race during their debate last night.


REP. TAMMY DUCKWORTH, CANDIDATE FOR UNITED STATES SENATOR, ILLINOIS: My family has served this nation in uniform going back to the revolution. I'm a daughter of the American Revolution. I've bled for this nation.

SEN. MARK KIRK, CANDIDATE FOR UNITED STATES SENATOR, ILLINOIS: I had forgotten that your parents came all the way from Thailand to serve George Washington.


TAPPER: Senator Kirk apologized this afternoon saying sincere apologies to an American hero Tammy Duckworth and gratitude for her family's service. And Kirsten, Tammy Duckworth is a disabled veteran, and yes, her mom is from Thailand, but her father comes from a long line of Americans all dating all the way back to the American Revolution. A horrible moment for him.

POWERS: It was terrible. I mean, he's already losing, I mean, now he's definitely going to lose. But it's just interesting that you see in sort of -- S.E. had a great piece in New York Times about the women issue and republicans, but you also see that this is the kind of thing where as republicans are just sort of being who democrats always say they are, you know, they're just walking right into the stereotype.

TAPPER: And speaking of the woman issue, S.E., you're part of a CNN Digital Series called "Girls on the Bus" that focuses on female reporters covering the campaign and you talk about the negativity directed against female reporters, but you still think it's important for women to be out there fighting the good fight on social media.

CUPP: Absolutely. We cannot cede this incredibly valuable platform to men - no offense, Jake, and you're great on Twitter.

TAPPER: I'm very nice. I'm very nice.

CUPP: You're great on Twitter. But I understand how women can feel intimidated and scared of social media because it's an awful place, and not just because you're a public person. But we can't just see this territory, women need to use social media for forces of good and to get our voices heard. So, I hope they do.

TAPPER: Ashley, you're a woman on social media. You -- have you found it difficult this election cycle more than other times?

PARKER: I do think it's a little interesting the way women get attacked. So, I think, you know, sometimes if someone doesn't like something you write, they immediately go to your appearance or the fact that you need to go on a date, which I don't know if that's how they attack you, but it does feel a little more personal as a woman.

TAPPER: I get other stuff, but I appreciate it. You can hear more first person accounts from our campaign reporters in the CNN Digital Series "GIRLS ON THE BUS". You can logon to S.E, Kirsten, Ashley, thanks one and all for being here. I appreciate it.

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are surprised by the FBI Director's disclosure, that these investigators found new e-mails pertinent to the Hillary Clinton e-mail server investigation. But republicans say the letter isn't enough. More on this "BREAKING NEWS," next.

ANNOUNCER: "THE POLITICS LEAD", Girls on The Bus Edition is brought to you by Good Girls Revolt, now streaming on Amazon Prime video. Go to, for more analysis of the 2016 Presidential Election, from women on the frontline.


TAPPER: We're back with the "BREAKING NEWS". The FBI reviewing e- mails related to the Clinton e-mail server investigation, and Clinton Campaign may have little to say but republicans are - got plenty, are got plenty, sorry it's Friday afternoon, especially those of for election 11 days. I want to bring in CNN Senior Political Reporter Manu Raju, and Manu, Trump was not first and only republican to jump on this news and talk about this FBI decision as being long overdue.

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Yeah, that's right. Republican's down ticket, Jake, they believe they finally have an issue that will put democrats in a bind, and force them to answer for their nominee after republicans have had to answer for Trump for so many months. And what we found is that democratic candidates have actually been pretty silent so far. Republicans on the other hand, have not. Paul Ryan, the House Speaker, who has barely uttered Trump's name for the last few weeks, coming out today with a very strongly worded statement saying that Clinton should be denied classified briefings. And vulnerable house and senate republicans, they're making the case as to why that they should elect a republican congress as a check against the Clinton White House are just an executive branch in general. Take Darrell Issa, the Congressman from California saying this in a statement, saying that "This decision shows exactly why we need strong watchdogs in Congress to ensure thorough oversight of the executive branch." Issa now in a very difficult fight to keep his seat, but expected more vulnerable republicans to make this case in the coming weeks, or last few days, I should say. TAPPER: And Manu, some democrats have called Clinton's use of a private e-mail server a mistake, but that everybody needs to move on. Is that going to be enough for voters or are we going to see in the next eleven days democrats saying, hey, you know, I don't trust her either?

RAJU: Yeah, I think that it's going to be the pressure point for democrats. Whether or not they can simply sustain it by saying it's a mistake. The one distinction they're trying to make is that Donald Trump is one who does not make -- announce that he can be - he made a mistake. Hillary Clinton is someone who will say that she's made a mistake, at least give her credit for that. Jake.

TAPPER: Interesting. Manu Raju, thank you so much. Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Twitter @JakeTapper. You can tweet the show @TheLeadCNN, and be sure to tune in to CNN this Sunday for STATE OF THE UNION, it all starts at 9:00 A.M. Eastern. That is it for THE LEAD. I am Jake Tapper. I turn you over to one Mr. Wolf Blitzer, who is in "THE SITUATION ROOM". Thanks for watching. I'll see you Sunday morning.

WOLF BLITZER, THE SITUATION ROOM ANCHOR: Happening now, "BREAKING NEWS", October Bombshell. The FBI tells congress it's reviewing its investigation into Hillary Clinton's e-mails. CNN has learned, the decision was made after new e-mails were uncovered in the sexting -