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FBI Reviews New E-mails Tied to Clinton Case. Aired 3-3:30p ET
Aired October 28, 2016 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
SUSAN MACMANUS, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA: And the last three races in our state being decided by just 1 percent.
It is just a struggle for so many people to make that choice, and yet they know the importance of Florida and their vote to their country, really.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: And this weekend is big because why?
MACMANUS: A lot of people are going to be voting early. We have seen regard numbers already.
We have a couple for counties coming online that are just what -- this will be the first weekend that they have early voting. So people will really be watching the news today. And many of them had planned to go vote tomorrow. You never know what this is going to do, but you have to think it's going to affect some people's vote.
BALDWIN: I came down here, Adam, I flipped on the TV, and it's like ad after ad. I'm being clubbed over the face, right, with all these political ads in Florida. And my biggest takeaway was all the money that the Republicans have thrown into Marco Rubio's race to hold onto his Senate seat.
Congressman Patrick Murphy was thrilled that, all of a sudden, he is going to have this influx of money to help him in these final 11 days, and now this happens.
ADAM SMITH, "TAMPA BAY TIMES": Yes.
And I think any day that Donald Trump is out of the headlines is a great day for Marco Rubio, because Donald Trump is the biggest obstacle to Marco Rubio winning reelection. If I were the Trump campaign, if I were Rubio's campaign, I would be praying they locked Trump in a closet for a few days so that they talk about nothing but Clinton.
BALDWIN: Final note before we go into the weekend here in Florida?
MACMANUS: Absolutely, this is a stunning story. The whole state is going to be tuned in tonight, and absolutely it will affect people's vote.
BALDWIN: Susan and Adam, thank you so much. Let's continue on, top of the hour.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BALDWIN: We continue on here. I'm Brooke Baldwin. You are watching CNN. We are live in Tampa, Florida.
I was all set to focus on Florida today as far as politics is concerned, the biggest prize of the battleground states, then came breaking news in the race for presidency. FBI Director James Comey once again deciding to reopen, review the investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of her private e-mails while she served as secretary of state.
Let's begin this hour by checking in with our justice correspondent, Evan Perez. Also, we have CNN's Phil Mattingly, who is in Iowa, in Cedar Rapids, at that Hillary Clinton rally, where the former secretary of state is speaking right now.
But, Evan Perez, tell me, do we know what it is about the e-mails that has caused the FBI to take a look?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brooke, at this point, we don't know exactly what these e-mails were, we don't know who sent them.
We know right now that they were not sent by Hillary Clinton and we know that these were e-mails not in the possession of the FBI. In other words, it was not on anything that they had previously examined as part of this year-long investigation into the e-mails, into the Clinton e-mail server.
We do, know according to officials that we have been talking to, that it was -- these e-mails were found on a device that the FBI didn't have in its possession during that year-long investigation.
In other words, it was on a device that they hadn't previously examined and that has come into their possession as part of an unrelated investigation. That investigation, what that is, we still don't know. We know that it's not related to the WikiLeaks investigation. It's not related to the Clinton foundation.
That much we know. But again there's still a lot of questions here. The FBI director sending this three-paragraph letter to members of Congress really just updating them because he had previously testified before Congress. And the three paragraphs now, everybody is trying to parse exactly what he says, but really he says in connection with an unrelated case, the FBI has learned of the existence of e-mails that appear to be pertinent to this investigation.
It's important to add here that Comey is not saying that he knows that this material is significant. He says, we don't know yet the significance of this, but it's important for the investigative team, the team from the FBI's Counterintelligence Division, to take another look and see whether or not this affects the outcome, the outcome that Comey had announced back in July, saying that he was recommending no charges against Hillary Clinton.
Of course, 11 days, Brooke, before this election, this is not something that the FBI had anticipated. They did not -- Comey had precisely -- this is the thing that he was trying to avoid by trying to wrap up that investigation back in July to make sure that the voters had the information before they started casting ballots.
And, of course, now there are over 10 million people who've already cast ballots with this new information now coming out from the FBI.
BALDWIN: And many people casting ballots, including here in the state of Florida this weekend, and this could be on their minds.
Phil Mattingly, to you, sir. You were on Hillary Clinton's campaign plane with many of her top advisers, top aides, and they didn't learn the news until you al landed. What was their response?
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's exactly right, Brooke.
There was no -- the flight usually has Wi-Fi. We could not get Wi-Fi over the course of the two-hour-and-20-minute flight from New York to Iowa.
And so as we were landing, everybody's iPhones and BlackBerrys started lighting up at the same exact time, including Hillary Clinton's closest advisers. As we were deplaning, one of the advisers looked at me and said, "I'm learning about this at the same exact time you are."
So in terms of what Evan was saying, there's a lot of questions that are still out there. The State Department wasn't aware of this as well. Include the Clinton campaign on that. Hillary Clinton started speaking here right behind me 20 minutes ago, hasn't addressed the issue specifically, but did say something that at least made my ears perk up.
She said, "Donald Trump still thinks he can win this election, and you know what? He's right. Anything can happen."
Now, that was in the context of something else entirely. But on a day like today, with news like what we have been getting over the course of the last hour, that rings particularly true. It will be very interesting to see when Hillary Clinton addresses this. It doesn't appear like it will come out at all during these remarks in front of this Iowa crowd out here in Cedar Rapids, Brooke.
BALDWIN: Maybe not this rally, but at some point, I imagine she will need to respond. Phil and Evan, stay with me.
Republicans, they are pouncing all over this, including the man at the top of the Republican ticket, Donald Trump himself. He was at a rally. He spoke in Manchester, New Hampshire, saying this is another example of Hillary Clinton's being corrupt. Here he was.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I need to open with a very critical breaking news announcement.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
TRUMP: The FBI...
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
TRUMP: ... has just sent a letter to Congress informing them that they have discovered new e-mails pertaining to the former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's investigation.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
AUDIENCE: Lock her up! Lock her up! Lock her up! Lock her up! Lock her up!
TRUMP: And they are reopening the case into her criminal and illegal conduct that threatens the security of the United States of America.
Hillary Clinton's corruption is on a scale we have never seen before. We must not let her take her criminal scheme into the Oval Office. I have great respect for the fact that the FBI and the Department of Justice are now willing to have the courage to right the horrible mistake that they made.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
TRUMP: This was a grave miscarriage of justice that the American people fully understood. And it is everybody's hope that it is about to corrected.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: That was Donald Trump just a little while ago.
Let's discuss all of this.
Brianna Keilar is back with me. Also with us, Heidi Przybyla, senior politics reporter for "USA Today," senior national correspondent for "Bloomberg Businessweek" Josh Green.
So, welcome to all of you.
And, again, just to reiterate the new piece of information we have from the FBI that this law enforcement official telling these e-mails that are apparently the ones that are in question that are being reviewed, this is from a device that the FBI actually didn't previously have. And we also know that these are not Hillary Clinton's specific e-mails.
That said, Brianna Keilar, we talked before Hillary Clinton took to the stage there in Cedar Rapids, it appears that she will not be addressing that in the immediate rally. But you think she talks about it before the end of the day today?
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Sorry, Brooke, are you talking to me? I have all kinds of people in my ear.
BALDWIN: I am, yes.
KEILAR: Yes, sorry about that.
BALDWIN: No worries. Let me just -- go ahead.
KEILAR: I was going to say I don't know if she's going to. I think that right now they're still figuring this out.
So, she's had this event, which it's not surprising to me that we haven't heard from her about this or that she hasn't used it as an opportunity, because, as we know, she landed there in Cedar Rapids.
And there hadn't been, according to our Phil Mattingly, any Wi-Fi, so there were a lot of people around her, some of her top aides, who weren't abreast of what was going on.
And so they're formulating that. She's out there campaigning. She's here at this rally, so she is not sort of -- she doesn't have her head together with anyone on her team to figure out exactly what's going on.
But there are a lot of people, no doubt, on the Clinton campaign who are trying to figure out how to deal. But this is obviously I think a situation where they're trying to find more information, because we're getting it as we see here that we have a source saying that this doesn't have to do with her e-mails.
So they're trying to get a handle on exactly what's going on. I was talking to a source that is familiar with some of what's going on in the campaign and the impression of that source was that they hadn't had any kind of heads-up. So they're really starting from zero here figuring out how to respond.
BALDWIN: Josh Green, to you. You have done a lot of reporting. You have talked to tip-top people on the Trump side. We just heard Trump respond a moment ago. Again, the new piece of the reporting is that these are not Hillary Clinton's own e-mails that they're taking a close look at, but they're still taking a close look at e-mails that involved her private e-mail server.
Do you think that this is -- let me rephrase. How big a pre-Election Day gift do you think this is for team Trump?
JOSH GREEN, "BLOOMBERG BUSINESSWEEK": The Trump campaign thinks this is a huge Election Day gift. I just got off the phone with one of Trump's top advisers who said
we're probably not going to hear more from Trump and certainly not from the campaign on this issue. He said -- quote -- "We don't want to step on Comey's lines." So they are happy to pull back and cede the media spotlight to Clinton, to the FBI, and try and get the story off of Trump's -- the voter suppression story that we wrote about in "Businessweek" yesterday and some of the other things that have been dogging his campaign recently.
BALDWIN: So, I'm just reading between the lines from this top adviser to you. They're going to let Comey do the speaking and keep Trump quiet. Let the news speak for itself.
GREEN: Let the news speak for itself.
The phrase he used with me was, we're going to let this breathe. They want it out there. They want people talking about it on cable news. Obviously, this is unwelcome news for Clinton and that means it's welcome news for the Trump campaign.
So, according to my sources, they are going to pull back a little bit and let this become the focus going into the weekend.
BALDWIN: Heidi, to you, just on the fact that the FBI director is coming out and doing this with 11 days before Election Day. He has been previously criticized really from both sides, but he's inserted himself in the story in a very key part of this race. Why do you think this is happening?
HEIDI PRZYBYLA, "USA TODAY": You know, there are some early reports that legally he had to inform Congress.
But the bottom line is, given the timing of this, it is a political football and will be a political football until and if he provides more information, because this is now trickling out. All we know is that there were some new e-mails found. We don't -- I guess they aren't even her e-mails.
And I bring you back, Brooke, to the investigation itself. This is kind of bringing it all back for me right now, because I watched all of his testimony. And I remember very clearly that the case was very much built around intent. And that was why it was so hard to really go at Hillary Clinton on this, because it was intent to transfer classified information, and whether the server itself amounted to intent to transfer classified information.
So even finding a classified e-mail on there that she sent or received didn't satisfy that burden, because, if you remember, there was an e- mail in there that was marked C. It was just lower down, and that that was not enough for Comey to find reason to proceed.
And so I think we all need to take a big breath here. And I do think that Director Comey, given the timing of it, is going to have to provide a little bit more information.
BALDWIN: Maybe that information will be forthcoming. Nevertheless, Hillary Clinton will have to respond.
And, Brianna, the president of the United States will be not too terribly far from where I am. He will be in Florida in a couple of hours stumping for Hillary Clinton and I'm sure mentioning the Senate race here in Florida.
How -- he has said in the past, yes, Hillary Clinton has flaws. How does he address this?
KEILAR: He might not at all. He may wait to let the campaign address this and see how they're going to do it.
And I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't. We have been seeing him and Michelle Obama and other really big surrogates for Hillary Clinton going into these battleground states. So what I would expect him to do first and foremost is to make a case for Hillary Clinton as president, to say that she is someone who's going to take his baton and is going to back up some of his achievements as president, make sure that Obamacare is preserved.
And that's really what I would expect to hear from him. And I would also expect to hear him to hit Donald Trump in a very big way. I don't know. And I don't know this for sure, so keep that in mind, but I wouldn't expect that he would address it.
BALDWIN: OK, that happens in a couple of hours. The president is in Orlando.
Josh, on this e-mail question for Hillary Clinton, she's addressed it in multiple debates and any interviews she's given. Is it fair to say that her answer has never been -- she's struggled to answer the question, put it that way?
GREEN: Well, she had because there's really no way to defend this. She had said initially, well, it was just for convenience or it was for this or for that. And clearly the object here was to protect other people from seeing her e-mail, whether it was congressional Republicans or the FBI or whoever.
It was a mistake. She's now acknowledged it's a mistake. Democrats, including people in the White House, have been very frustrated that she did this in the first place. This is all a self-created problem for Clinton. And so it's unfortunate for her, but not entirely unexpected, that it would rear up at the very end of the campaign just as it seemed like Clinton had all the momentum going in to Election Day.
BALDWIN: Is it possible, then, Heidi -- I'm just thinking of Brianna's point about she's not addressing it at this rally, the president may not address it tonight in Orlando.
Is it possible that the Hillary Clinton campaign just lets the FBI obviously take the lead on the investigation and they just don't address it, period? They let the clock run out? PRZYBYLA: I would be surprised, Brooke, because the stakes are so
And what this has succeeded in doing is basically shifting the referendum of this election to be on to her, which this entire time these past few weeks, it's been on Donald Trump. And that's why we have two candidates who have very high negative ratings. And the Clinton campaign had managed to kind of keep the focus on him.
If they don't answer this and they don't push the FBI or push for more transparency on what is actually going on here, then it leaves that open, it leaves that doubt open again about where we're going with this.
And, as you can see, the Republicans will walk right through that door and say, well, it means that she's going to be indicted and draw all kinds of conclusions that may be wildly inaccurate. And so I just don't think that they can afford to be passive about it.
KEILAR: I think they do have to know what they're addressing before they address it's, right?
BALDWIN: Well, how do they know what they're addressing, though? There's so much we don't know.
KEILAR: That's right. We're getting more information here. Whose e- mails? Is it her e-mails? We have sourcing saying that it's not. So these are things as well that they are learning.
And in order for them to formulate a response and know exactly how they should respond and what they should respond with, they have to have a better sense of what this new material is that would force opening the investigation into this all over again.
BALDWIN: Yes. Again, to reiterate, it was a device they didn't have for the previous investigation and these aren't Hillary Clinton's e- mails.
Josh, go ahead.
GREEN: Well, I was going to say, I think it's probably in the Clinton campaign's interest to put pressure on the FBI to explain in a little bit more detail what exactly it is that they have, because if it doesn't involve Hillary Clinton and her personal e-mails, if it doesn't involve, as several reporters on CNN have said, WikiLeaks or the Clinton Foundation, then it's probably not as big a deal as a lot of people, especially Republicans and especially Donald Trump, are assuming that it is.
So getting a little bit more detail is probably something that the Clinton campaign would like, given the media reaction to this just in the hour or two since the story broke. BALDWIN: All right, Josh and Heidi and Brianna, thank you all.
Next, we are going to talk about the legal side of this, the reaction also today from Capitol Hill, mostly Republicans, pouring in, next.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
KEILAR: All right, we're back here live in Tampa, Florida. We have some new information here on this news from the FBI, how they will be reviewing some new e-mails as it all pertained to Hillary Clinton's private e-mail server.
I will let Evan Perez, our justice correspondent, tell you exactly what he has now learned.
Evan Perez, the floor is yours.
PEREZ: Brooke, when we last talked just a few minutes ago, one of the things we were trying to nail down was exactly what unrelated investigation -- what prompted the FBI to discover these new e-mails.
And we now know, which is the fact that the FBI has been taking a look at Anthony Weiner and his sexting, alleged sexting, with an underaged girl. The FBI has been taking a look at whether or not he committed a crime in that case.
As part of that investigation, the FBI has been examining computers and other devices that were shared by Anthony Weiner and his wife, Huma Abedin, a close aide to Hillary Clinton. And we're told that that is what -- the devices that they were examining in that case is how they uncovered these new e-mails.
Again, we don't know what the e-mails contain. We don't know what significance they will have to this investigation. It may well be that they don't contain seriously highly classified information. However, the FBI is now going through that process, the process that they spent a year doing as part of this Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation.
They're going to check with the other agencies, the intelligence agencies that may own this information to determine whether or not this is classified and whether or not this changes the outcome of this case.
As you remember, back in July, the FBI determined that there was not enough evidence to bring charges against Hillary Clinton. However, this new evidence now obviously is going to make them take a new look. Again, the e-mails were uncovered as part of this investigation of Anthony Weiner. And that case is still ongoing, Brooke. BALDWIN: OK. So, just so I'm crystal clear, the breaking news from
the FBI and these e-mails from a device was actually part of the Anthony Weiner sexting scandal that has now been brought back into the spotlight because this apparently the FBI has deemed pertinent to the investigation into Hillary Clinton's private e-mail server?
PEREZ: That's right.
PEREZ: That's right. Right, exactly. These are devices that they did not have in their possession when they were doing these -- when they were doing this investigation.
If you remember, they took a look at dozens of devices, BlackBerrys, as well as computers, servers, that they had previously taken a look at as part of this investigation for a year. They did not have this device that they found these e-mails. They did not have that in their possession until they began doing this Anthony Weiner investigation, which we previously reported is now ongoing.
We don't know exactly what these e-mails were. We do know that they were not sent by Hillary Clinton. We don't know exactly if it was Huma Abedin that sent the e-mails or whether she was the recipient of these e-mails. But obviously this is something that was now viewed to be pertinent to the investigation. That's why the FBI is taking a new look.
BALDWIN: Got it. I got it.
Welcome to 2016. Evan Perez, thank you for the update.
We haven't heard yet from partisans on all of this, so let's do it.
Trump supporter Kayleigh McEnany is with me, and Clinton supporter Basil Smikle.
Thank you both so much for being with me.
You just heard the latest development on the -- well, you heard it.
Kayleigh, what do you think?
KAYLEIGH MCENANY, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think this is really unprecedented for the FBI to open what was a criminal investigation into someone's server who is now running as the Democratic nominee for president.
We know for a fact that this is what the documents are related to. It's related to the criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton's server. We don't know what the FBI has, but we do know it's related to that. And there were a lot of us starting with Donald Trump out there saying something is going on here, you have five people who have been given immunity, you have associates hammering BlackBerrys to cover this up. Something did not seem right. And now we know that this investigation
is renewed. And if Hillary Clinton becomes president of the United States, she may very well be subject to a criminal investigation.
BALDWIN: Basil, your turn? How would you respond?
BASIL SMIKLE, NEW YORK STATE DEMOCRATIC PARTY EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: Yes. I would like to pump the brakes a little bit on that, because I think we're speculating down a path that is really nowhere -- is really -- we shouldn't be going down.
All we now right now is that there is a device that was -- that the FBI did not have that they now have. They're asking more questions. We don't know what those questions are, but we also know that the e- mail was not sent -- that they were e-mails not sent from Hillary Clinton's server that are the subject of this sort of renewed investigation.
And so that's all we know. I don't want to go down and start speculating as to whether what she said, what she didn't e-mail back and forth. If -- I believe that the FBI director said that this case was closed. I believe that he did a thorough enough investigation to warrant that.
I would hope that whatever it is that has led him down this path at this point will be quickly wrapped up and we can kind of get on with the business of the last 11 days.
We certainly don't want to have to deal with this now, but, you know, I feel confident that whatever is going on at this point, that we will have a quick wrap-up to it. And then we can move on about this business of this country.
BALDWIN: OK. Let me ask both of you to stand by, because we're also getting -- hang on, Kayleigh.
We're getting reaction. It is pouring in from members of Congress.
So, let's go to Manu Raju. He's been talking to folks on Capitol Hill.
Manu, what are you hearing?
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brooke, Republicans believe they finally found a rallying cry after months of discord.
Paul Ryan, he has not even uttered Donald Trump's name publicly since the release of that "Access Hollywood" video, but moments after this letter by the FBI was released by Senate Republicans, Ryan issuing the statement saying that Clinton should be denied classified briefings and now vulnerable House and Senate Republicans in difficult reelection fights have an issue to seize upon.
They're making this argument, Brooke, keep Congress in GOP hands as the check against the executive branch. This is the point that Darrell Issa, the California congressman, who's in a very difficult reelection fight, said here in a statement, actually saying that Congress needs to be -- they need to elect a Republican -- there it is.
"This decision shows exactly why we need strong watchdogs in Congress, to ensure thorough oversight of the executive branch."
Now, people that we have not heard yet from are Democrats, particularly ones in difficult reelection races.