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The Situation Room
Weiner Sexting Probe Leads FBI to Review Clinton Case; Trump Speaks in New Hampshire; FBI to Review New Clinton Emails. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired October 28, 2016 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, breaking new, October bombshell. The FBI tells Congress it's renewing its investigation into Hillary Clinton's e-mails. CNN has learned the decision was made after new e-mails were uncovered in the sexting investigation into former congressman Anthony Weiner, who is married to but now separated from a top Clinton aide. How will this stunning new development impact the White House race?
[17:00:25] "A great day." Donald Trump welcomes news of the FBI's review of the Clinton case, accusing his rival of unprecedented corruption. Trump calls the FBI decision long overdue and warns supporters Clinton must be kept from the Oval Office. Will this surprise twist boost Trump's slumping campaign?
Withholding funds. New election filings reveal Donald Trump only spent $31,000 of his own money on his campaign during the first three weeks of October, but Trump claims he's spending like crazy, saying he wrote a $10 million check to his campaign today. Will he really spend $100 million on the race, as he has promised voters?
And plane emergency. Passengers scramble to evacuate an American Airlines flight as smoke and flames engulf part of the plane after an aborted takeoff. Runways are now closed at one of the country's busiest airports. But the airline and the FAA are giving differing accounts of the crisis. So what went wrong?
I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in about THE SITUATION ROOM.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER: We're following breaking news: a dramatic new twist in the presidential campaign. The FBI is reviewing its investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private e-mail server while she was secretary of state after the discovery of new e-mails that appear to be pertinent to the case.
Law enforcement sources tell CNN the e-mails were on a device being examined as part of the sexting investigation into former Congressman Anthony Weiner, recently separated from top Clinton aide Huma Abedin.
Donald Trump pounced on the news, accusing Clinton of corruption, quoting now, "on a scale we have never seen before." Trump was sharply critical of the FBI for not pursuing charges against Clinton, but now says he hopes what he calls a grave miscarriage of justice is about to be corrected. And he added that the election, quote, "might not be as rigged as I thought."
We're covering all of that and much more this hour with our guests, including Clinton campaign press secretary Brian Fallon and Trump supporter and former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani.
And our correspondents and our expert analysts, they are also standing by.
Let's begin with the major breaking development in the race for the White House. Let's go to our chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto, who's working the story for us. Jim, the FBI decision to review the Clinton e-mail investigation comes just more than a week before the election.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. And it began with a cryptic letter to lawmakers, which raised as many questions, or more, than it actually answered. The FBI director writing that new e-mails have come to light, quote, "pertinent" to the Clinton probe.
Later we learned from officials, speaking only on background, that the e-mails were are not from Hillary Clinton, that is not sent by her, and not from the original Clinton e-mail investigation, but a sexting investigation of Anthony Weiner.
SCIUTTO (voice-over): Eleven days to the election, the FBI director informing lawmakers he is reviewing new e-mails related to the Clinton e-mail investigation. Law enforcement officials tell CNN the new e- mails were not from Clinton herself and were found on a device being examined as part of the probe into Anthony Weiner, who was recently separated from top Clinton aide Huma Abedin.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wow.
SCIUTTO: This three months after the FBI recommended closing the probe.
In connection with an unrelated case, Comey wrote to eight congressional committee chairmen, "The FBI has learned of the existence of e-mails that appear pertinent to the investigation." Director Comey continued that the FBI will, quote, "review these e- mails to determine whether they contain classified information as well as to assess their importance to our investigation. I cannot predict how long it will take us to complete this additional work," he wrote.
All this after Director Comey declared on July 5 that Clinton had acted carelessly but not criminally.
JAMES COMEY, FBI DIRECTOR: In looking back at our investigations into the mishandling or removal of classified information, we cannot find a case that would support bringing criminal charges on these facts.
SCIUTTO: Arriving in the key battleground state of Iowa, Hillary Clinton ignored questions on the topic. However, campaign chair John Podesta released a statement saying, quote, "The director owes it to the American people to immediately provide the full details of what he has is now examining. We are confident this will not produce any conclusions different from the one the FBI reached in July."
Donald Trump, however, pounced at a rally in another battleground, New Hampshire.
TRUMP: 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.
SCIUTTO: Trump's campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, tweeted "A great day in our campaign just got even better."
House Speaker Paul Ryan, until now locked in a public dispute with his party's nominee, accused Clinton of mishandling, quote, "the nation's most important secrets" before renewing his call for the director of national intelligence to suspend all classified briefings for Secretary Clinton until this matter is fully resolved.
SCIUTTO: In his statement, Director Comey said, quote, "The FBI cannot yet assess whether or not this material may be significant." Remember, intent to mishandle classified information was a key deciding factor on criminality. The question is, is there new evidence of intent, particularly by Hillary Clinton? That question, like many, still unanswered at this point and possibly, Wolf, will not be answered before election day.
BLITZER: Jim Sciutto, thanks very much. I want to bring in our justice correspondent, Evan Perez. Evan, you're getting new information from your sources. What are you learning?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, what we know right now is that these e-mails were found on a device that the FBI, as you know, has been doing this investigation into Anthony Weiner. And they subpoenaed e-mails and devices that he had used, allegedly to sext an underaged teenager. So the question is, you know, why the FBI did not find these e-mails. We're told that the reason is that they didn't have these devices in their possession.
They now have uncovered these e-mails. We don't know exactly how many, but we're told there's a considerable number of e-mails, and they are e-mails that were to and from Huma Abedin, Weiner's wife. So now the FBI is going through those e-mails to determine whether or not there's any classified information on them, whether or not there's something here that changes the outcome of the investigation that was concluded back in July.
BLITZER: And the decision to actually send this letter to members of Congress with only 11 days left before the election, obviously very sensitive decision, the timing extraordinary. What's behind the timing? PEREZ: Look, they were in a tough place, the FBI. The FBI director
knows that 11 days before an election you don't want to try to affect the election. You don't want to, you know, change the outcome of the election with anything like this.
But they felt, I'm told by sources, Wolf, that the FBI felt that they had no choice but to send this letter to members of Congress. The FBI director has testified before Congress a number of times on this investigation. And this was relevant new information that affects -- that could potentially affect the outcome of this case. So they felt that it was something that they could not hold onto until after the election.
BLITZER: Evan Perez doing some excellent reporting for us, as usual. Thanks very much.
Hillary Clinton's campaign is calling on the FBI to release more information about the new e-mails and its review. Let's go to our senior Washington correspondent, Jeff Zeleny. He's covering the Clinton campaign for us in Iowa right now. So what's the reaction, Jeff?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, Hillary Clinton has just landed here in Des Moines. She'll be making her way here to a rally.
This day was intended to try and really break free this deadlocked race here in Iowa that she's in with Donald Trump. They thought this was a moment in this campaign where they were trying to get more votes, as opposed to answer more questions.
But the campaign, Wolf, was frankly stunned by this. They were not aware that the FBI director was sending that letter to Capitol Hill. They found out about this the same way all of us did.
And this is what campaign chairman John Podesta said in a sharply worded statement, issued a short time ago. He said this: "Director Comey's letter refers to e-mails that have come to light in an unrelated case. But we have no idea what e-mails are, and the director himself notes they may not even be significant. It is extraordinary," Podesta says, "that we would see something like this just 11 days out from a presidential election." He says, "The director owes it to the American people to immediately provide the full details of what he is now examining."
Podesta goes on to say, "We are confident this will not produce any conclusions different from the one the FBI reached in July."
But irregardless of that, Wolf, there's no question that, at this moment, this is a political gift for Donald Trump. He seized on it immediately. And the Clinton campaign, frankly, is not sure where this goes from here politically. It is never something you want to happen at the 11th hour of a campaign, Wolf.
BLITZER: Is Huma Abedin traveling with Hillary Clinton today? Do you know? ZELENY: She is indeed, Wolf. She was on the campaign plane this
morning as it flew from New York to Cedar Rapids and then from Cedar Rapids here to Des Moines. She has not said anything at all. Secretary Clinton has not answered questions either that our reporters have been shouting to her.
But it certainly just raises the question. Huma Abedin remains the top adviser to Hillary Clinton. She's very powerful inside the campaign. She is at the secretary's side most every day, Wolf. So they are as tight as an adviser and candidate can be.
[17:10:01] So she is here today in Iowa. But she has not said anything about this yet, at least publicly -- Wolf.
BLITZER: She's been very close to Hillary Clinton for some -- more than 20 years...
BLITZER: ... going back to Hillary Clinton's days when she was first lady over at the White House.
Jeff Zeleny, thanks very much.
I'm going to be speaking momentarily with Hillary Clinton's spokesperson, Brian Fallon, who was a former Justice Department spokesman himself. But joining us now, Donald Trump supporter, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani.
Mayor, thanks very much for joining us.
RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: Hi, Wolf.
BLITZER: Let's talk about the breaking news today. You said back in July you were disappointed in the FBI director, Comey, calling his work logically inconsistent. Do you still believe that?
GIULIANI: Oh, yes, I do. Yes. And, you know, Jim is a friend of mine. He was one of my assistant U.S. attorneys when I was U.S. attorney in the southern district of New York. I have great respect for Jim.
When I read his report, I found his report logically inconsistent. Until you got to the end of it, it laid out an absolutely knock-down easy case of violating the grossly negligent statute that carries a five-year penalty. In fact he even used the magic words she was extremely careless in the handling of classified information, which is a legal definition of gross negligence. She should have been indicted for that, or at least put before a grand jury. The question...
BLITZER: Let me interrupt -- let me interrupt for a moment, mayor, because he said she was extremely careless in handling this kind of information, but he found no reason to go forward and recommend criminal charges against her. And he said no prosecutor, looking at all of the evidence, and he looked at all of the evidence, would have done so. GIULIANI: Right. Yes, I know about 100 that would.
The fact is there are two different laws we have here. We have the intent law and we have the grossly neglect law. Under the grossly neglect law, when he said she was extremely careless, he basically convicted her under that statute. You don't have to show intent.
Now you have the intent law. She did everything you could possibly do to show that she had intent to violate the criminal laws. She hid her server. She lied about it. Made what we call false exculpatory statements -- that's what lawyers call it. She made false exculpatory statements at least ten times. First saying she never had classified information, then she had classified information.
She destroyed 33,000 e-mails after getting a federal subpoena from Congress. She destroyed...
BLITZER: But Mayor, let me -- let me just interrupt for a moment. He said -- this is the FBI director, James Comey, as you say, a friend of yours. He disputes that -- some of those points that you're saying right there.
GIULIANI: No, no. He doesn't dispute the points that I just said. He disputes the conclusion you can draw from those.
BLITZER: That's what I'm saying. He says there was not the enough evidence to go forward with criminal charges.
GIULIANI: He's wrong.
BLITZER: That's why he stepped back from that.
GIULIANI: He's -- No. 1, he's wrong, and No. 2, that's not his decision. I have never heard of the FBI director deciding whether you prosecute a case or not.
BLITZER: Well, he didn't say -- he didn't decide. He made a recommendation to the attorney general. The attorney general, Loretta Lynch, accepted his recommendation.
GIULIANI: Yes, because she was compromised. She had met five days earlier with the president of the United States in a highly, highly inappropriate, unethical meeting in an airport in Phoenix...
BLITZER: That was with the former -- former president of United States.
GIULIANI: The former president, the husband of the subject in the investigation. Thirty-eight-minute conversation. He was there apparently to play golf. He never did play golf. We don't know what the subject of that conversation was.
Comey should have recused himself -- just -- I mean. the attorney general should have recused himself [SIC] just based on that.
Now we find out just a few days ago that the No. 2 guy in Jim Comey's investigation had a wife who received...
BLITZER: Let's talk about...
GIULIANI: A thousand dollars...
BLITZER: Mayor, I want to talk about what's happened today now, because obviously we can go back and forth on all the history of this so many times. Let's talk about what's going on right now.
I assume you welcome the decision by the FBI director to review this new information coming in, based on information in a separate case involving Anthony Weiner. You welcome that decision.
GIULIANI: Well, of course I do.
BLITZER: So has your confidence in the FBI director been restored?
GIULIANI: Well, let's see -- let's see what he concludes about this. The conclusion that he came to in the first investigation defies logic with regard to both statutes, including the evidence of intent. Let's see the conclusion he comes to on this.
BLITZER: Let me press you on that, Mayor.
GIULIANI: And I'm wondering...
BLITZER: You're saying only -- only if he concludes she did engage in criminal activity would your confidence be restored? If he clears her once again, your confidence would not be restored?
GIULIANI: Well, it really depends on what this evidence is. I don't -- I don't know what it is. I have no confidence in the earlier conclusion. I also am wondering why they haven't opened an investigation of Clinton Incorporated.
I mean, the number of criminal violations that have come out in the last two to three weeks about the pay-to-play State Department are extraordinary. And the things that were written in those e-mails, those are things that you don't normally gets as a prosecutor to convict somebody of a crime. You usually don't get that clear a description of a criminal enterprise. The Clinton Foundation, the State Department and what they describe as...
BLITZER: So far you may make some suspicions out there, but there's no hard evidence of an actual crime based on all the, at least, that we've received.
[17:15:40] GIULIANI: I can give you one. I can give you one and you have received it. You just haven't emphasized it.
UBS was under investigation by the IRS to reveal 52,000 identities of Americans. UBS donated over $3 million to the Clinton Foundation, gave Clinton a $1.5 million speaking fee, and Secretary Clinton went to Geneva and asked the Internal Revenue Service to go easy on Switzerland, and they gave up only 4,000 documents. I could take that set of facts and... BLITZER: So you're talking about totally -- you're talking about
totally different issues. This has nothing to do with Hillary Clinton's private e-mail server.
GIULIANI: Why isn't the FBI investigating that?
BLITZER: Well, that's a whole other issue. You can have that conversation with the FBI director, James Comey and we'll see where he goes from there.
Donald Trump says the system is, in his words, totally rigged. And he said that when the FBI director originally recommended no charges against Hillary Clinton. Today Donald Trump said the system, in his words, might not be as rigged as he once thought because of what happened today.
Do you agree with Donald Trump?
GIULIANI: I don't know enough about what happened today. I get two conflicting stories. One story that I get is the one consistent with what your reporter said that this came up in the investigation of Weiner and his sexting.
The other -- the other story that I get is there's been a tremendous amount of dissension within the FBI, a tremendous amount of pressure on the director that the original investigation was mishandled. Real, real anger that the Clinton Foundation, Clinton pay-for-play State Department isn't being investigated, where almost in any other case, it would be. And that he had to do something to calm down what is an internal...
BLITZER: So is the system only rigged when the FBI director decides to go against you?
GIULIANI: No. Absolutely not. I happened to be the U.S. attorney who recommended a special prosecutor for the Republican attorney general. I also indicted the one union that was supporting Republicans when I was a Republican U.S. attorney.
The system isn't only rigged when it goes against me. The system is rigged when you come to a completely illogical conclusion, whether it's a Republican or a Democrat.
BLITZER: Because Donald Trump accused the FBI and the Justice Department of being rigged, because they went forward. Take a look at this tweet from Donald Trump: "Crooked Hillary colluded with FBI and DOJ, and media is covering up to protect her. It's a rigged system. Our country deserves better."
He says it's a rigged system, the FBI and the Department of Justice. You don't agree with that, right?
GIULIANI: Do I agree that that original investigation and the way it was handled by the Justice Department was entirely unethical? Yes. I agree with that. Would I call it rigged? I don't know if I know exactly what the definition of "rigged" means. But the meeting with the president, the No. 2 guy, his wife, getting
all this money from one of the people who used to sell the Lincoln bedroom for the Clintons. The reading of the 302 itself to me says that the interview of Hillary Clinton was a joke. It was a joke. I mean, she told them she didn't know what "C" meant. She didn't know "C" meant confidential. The FBI agent didn't follow up and then ask her, "Did you see an 'A,' a 'B,' a 'D' or an 'E'?" She claims she thought it was alphabetical order.
BLITZER: Well, you know -- you know how the -- but Mayor, you know how the FBI explained that, how Comey explained that "C." And you've dealt with classified information. Classified information, every document that's classified has a header at the top that says "classified." Hold on a moment. It says "classified," and then it says the level of classification: confidential, secret, top-secret, secure, compartmented.
BLITZER: It has that header. The FBI director said when Hillary Clinton had that "C" in that document, there was no header. It was in the body of the document, and she just saw a "C." That didn't necessarily mean confidential.
GIULIANI: No, it didn't actually -- didn't -- Comey didn't actually say that.
BLITZER: Yes, he did.
GIULIANI: That was her explanation.
BLITZER: I'll play -- I'll play the clip for you, the exchange that -- here is the exchange that Comey had with a member of Congress in which he explained...
GIULIANI: That is based on her explanation.
BLITZER: ... that Hillary Clinton had a good reason not to see that "C" as "confidential" but maybe just a letter. Listen to this, Mayor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[17:20:04] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The absence of a header would tell her immediately that those three documents were not classified. Am I correct in that?
JAMES COMEY, FBI DIRECTOR: That would be a reasonable inference.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: A reason inference. You just heard him say that -- Mayor.
GIULIANI: Yes, but when you see a "C" -- and by the way, it isn't just a "C." It's a "C" first in parentheses, then another parentheses around it, and then a large "C." Her examination in the 302, which I read very carefully, was she thought she was an indication of alphabetical order. The next logical question by the investigator...
BLITZER: But there was no header. And the folks are telling me we have to wrap this up, Mayor. So we have to wrap it up.
GIULIANI: Well, you won't let me finish the explanation.
BLITZER: I'm going to just point out, there was no header. But go ahead...
GIULIANI: Which is the killer part of the cross-examination. What she did when she said that was absolutely a lie. If she didn't know that "C" meant "confidential," she shouldn't be our secretary of state.
BLITZER: But there was no header saying classified information.
GIULIANI: It doesn't matter. You don't need a header. I looked at thousands of classified documents, didn't have a header. It had a little "C" on it.
BLITZER: Every classified document has a header at the top of it, and then it explains what level of classification.
GIULIANI: It does not. And when you see a "C," you know it means confidential information. And when you don't see an "B," a "B," an "E" or an "F," then you know it's not in alphabetical order. She used -- alphabetical order was her explanation of why she didn't think the "C" meant confidential.
BLITZER: All right.
GIULIANI: And there were no other letters.
BLITZER: I'm going to have to wrap it up.
GIULIANI: Which means she lied to the FBI, for which Martha Stewart went to jail.
BLITZER: All right. Check out -- check out the classified documents. See if there always has to be a header in order to make it clear it's classified. If there is no header, it's a little confusing. But your people are telling me we have to wrap up.
GIULIANI: And also -- also go read the CAA manual if you can get it. And if it's a "C," and there's a parentheses around it, it means confidential. How much I remember that?
BLITZER: A "C" represents "confidential" on classified documents where the header exists. That's the point that intelligence officials have explained to me.
GIULIANI: Confidential is a level of classification.
BLITZER That is correct. That is correct.
GIULIANI: Confidential and top secret. BLITZER: That is correct. That is correct. Confidential at a
classified level. That is absolutely correct. But the point that they're making...
GIULIANI: When you see a "C," it means classified.
BLITZER: The point they're making, there was no header. We'll go back and forth on this. Mayor, thanks so much for joining us.
GIULIANI: You're welcome.
BLITZER: All right. We heard from one side. Let's hear from the other side right now. Brian Fallon is the press secretary for the Clinton campaign, a former Justice Department spokesman, as well.
Brian, here's what I want you do. I want you to stay with us. I want to get your reaction to what we just heard from Rudy Giuliani, all the breaking news. We have to take a quick break. We'll resume this conversation in a moment.
[17:27:01] BLITZER: The breaking news this hour, the FBI tells Congress it's now reviewing its investigation into Hillary Clinton's private e-mail server while she was secretary of state.
The Clinton campaign press secretary, Brian Fallon, a former Justice Department spokesman, is standing by. We're going to talk about all of this.
But first let's go to our senior White House correspondent, Jim Acosta.
Jim, the Trump campaign is obviously warmly welcoming this latest development.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. The Trump campaign is calling this a great day. And for Donald Trump the news that the FBI is once again investigating Hillary Clinton's e- mails is an October surprise that actually helps his campaign.
ACOSTA (voice-over): It sounded like a victory party in New Hampshire as Donald Trump supporters erupted into cheers. But it wasn't the election returns coming in.
TRUMP: I need to open with a very critical breaking news announcement.
ACOSTA: Tt was the headline that it's no longer case closed for the FBI's investigation into Hillary Clinton's e-mail practices.
TRUMP: 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. ACOSTA: For Trump, the FBI may no longer be on the rigged list.
TRUMP: The system is rigged. But what I've just announced, it might not be as rigged as I thought. Right? Right? The FBI, I think they're going to right the ship, folks. I think they're going to right the ship. And they're going to save their great reputation by doing so.
ACOSTA: For once it was an October surprise that was bailing Trump out of a bad news cycle. The day started with questions about whether Trump had stopped spending his own money on his campaign. Trump says that is all taken care of.
TRUMP: Today I wrote another check for $10 million, I'm spending money like crazy. I'll probably have over, maybe close to or over $100 million of my money spent on the campaign. But there's something nice about that. Unless I lose, in which case I say, "What was that all about?":
ACOSTA: The $10 million check comes after new elections filings reveal Trump had only spent $31,000 of his money during the first three weeks of October and just $56 million of the $100 million he promised voters. A promise his campaign manager says he will keep.
KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: He will continue to make investments into his campaign, including in these last 11 days. He has said publicly many times he's in for $100 million. And he is happy to invest in his campaign.
ACOSTA: As for the campaign's last big October surprise, that "Access Hollywood" video showing Trump using offensive language about women, the GOP nominee is now threatening to see the entertainment program's owners.
TRUMP: I just don't know. I think it was very negative, it was locker room talk. The microphone was not supposed to be on, not that I make that as an excuse for myself, but certainly, it was an illegal that was NBC. It was not supposed to be on.
ACOSTA: Trump candidly acknowledged just how value the Clinton e-mail story may be in the final days of this campaign. Telling the crowd his aides urged him to skip his rally in New Hampshire just so they can bask in the news.
TRUMP: They said Mr. Trump, I think they'd understand. We could skip your speech in New Hampshire this is so big. I said I don't have the courage to skip the speech in New Hampshire.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: Now, as good as this e-mail news is for the Trump campaign, he still has to battle back into this race. Keep in mind that millions of votes have already been cast when other news cycles were not treating him so well. And Wolf, he is campaigning in Maine right now, obviously we know Maine splits its electoral votes that is a sign that inside the Trump campaign they know that this race, if they have a chance of winning, is going to be extremely close, Wolf.
WOLF BLITZER, ANCHOR: Jim Acosta reporting for us. Jim, thanks very much for that update. Let's get some more on the breaking news right now. We're joined by Clinton Campaign Press Secretary Brian Fallon, Former Justice Department Spokesman.
Brian, thanks for joining us.
BRIAN FALLON, CLINTON CAMPAIGN PRESS SECRETARY: Good afternoon, Wolf.
BLITZER: When was Hillary Clinton in fact, when were her lawyers also informed about this development that there's a new FBI review under way?
FALLON: Well, we learned about Wolf, and she learned about it the same time everyone else did. But I guess if the Director of the FBI was going to be sending a letter to eight different republican chair men on Capitol Hill, it shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that it would leak out almost instantly. And -- but if you look actually at what --
BLITZER: Let me interrupt you for a moment. I just want to point out. He also sent that same letter to the ranking democratic members of those relevant committees, as well, not just the chairmen. But go ahead.
FALLON: Right. I highly suspect it came out by virtue of the republican chairman, but I don't know that for a fact. In any case, if you actually look at the -- at the wording of the letter, I think that it -- a lot of the reports today are miss-characterizing it.
Number one, you see a lot of headlines suggesting that an investigation is being reopened. And that's a term of art in the justice department, the letter does not say that. Secondly, Director Comey says in his own letter, that these e-mails or messages the material that they're looking at may very well prove to not be significant at all. Furthermore it says that the material that they're looking at is arising out of an unrelated matter, that was not related to the issue of Hillary Clinton's email server.
And in the reports that have come out in the subsequent hours, the suggestions are that it actually doesn't have anything do with her e- mail server argument at all.
So, all of these things create potential context that the voters are not hearing because Director Comey is withholding the most important information that would shine a bright light on what's actually at issue and what's being looked at here.
So, our campaign is saying that Director Comey needs to, at this point, come forward with additional information. Do not just rely on this three paragraph letter that has now raised the specter of something that has to do with this e-mail investigation when it may not at all.
And, at this point, Wolf, both campaigns, our campaign and the Trump campaign are calling on Director Comey to put more information out there. I know that the Trump campaign is doing it for different reasons, but we both think that the voters have a right to additional information.
So at this point I think it's incumbent on Director Comey to release more information about the underlying facts here.
BLITZER: Yes, in the letter he said in an unrelated case -- in connection with an unrelated case the FBI has learned of the existence of e-mails that appear to be pertinent to the investigation. We have now learned, our producer, (inaudible) and Jim Sciutto, our Chief National Security Correspondent, that the e-mails in question which raised the interest of the FBI, were sent or received by Hillary Clinton's long-time aide Huma Abedin, she's still the wife but they're separated of Anthony Weiner, this according to a law enforcement official. And the official also tells us there were, in his words, a considerable number of e-mails being reviewed from at least one device shared by Huma Abedin and her husband, Anthony Weiner. The e-mails span a lengthy period of time, separate official described it potentially as thousands of e-mails they are now reviewing.
So, clearly Huma Abedin is very, very close to Hillary Clinton, and that's why they have decided to go ahead and review all of this. Does that make sense to you?
FALLON: Huma Abedin is very close to Hillary Clinton, Wolf, and she's been a long time trusted member of this campaign and Hillary Clinton's staff. And, I have a great deal amount of respect for Huma Abedin, as does everyone that works on this campaign.
And, when we're successful in ten days, we will all take great pride in that including Huma Abedin. But, the facts of the matter there that you're reporting, is stuff that is unknown to us. It just makes it even more incumbent on Direct Comey to put forward the real facts here.
FALLON: If these are emails that belong to an aide as opposed to Hillary Clinton, the voters should know that. If these were emails that were not taken from her server equipment which was the subject of the investigation that was concluded several months ago, the voters should know that.
At this point innuendo should not be a substitute for fact. If you're going to introduce something into the campaign conversation with 11 days to go until the General Election, you owe it provide full information to the voters. And innuendo again should not be a substitute for fact and at this point Director Comey is just unleashing a wildfire of innuendo, of anonymously sourced reports of republicans mischaracterizing what the letter says. It's incumbent on Direct Comey, stand up, hold another press conference, answer questions, provide more information.
BLITZER: Do you know Brian, what was shared by Huma Abedin about these e-mails and we're now saying may be thousands of e-mails with the campaign? What she has told the campaign, what she's told Hillary Clinton and Hillary Clinton's lawyers. What may have been contained in those e-mails?
FALLON: Of course we do not know what Director Comey may be looking at because he's not told no-one. He's told not Capitol Hill, he's not told our campaign, he's not told the American public anything other than those three paragraphs.
BLITZER: But Huma Abedin would know. She would know what kind of e- mails were in her laptop or her iPhone or whatever.
FALLON: Oh well Wolf, let's be clear. Sure, Wolf, let's be clear. I mean at this point when the FBI conducted its investigation of Hillary Clinton's server equipment, it looked at all the e-mails that were sent to and from Secretary Clinton including by her aides at the state department, including Huma Abedin.
So, it took account of those same people and I believe that the outcome of that investigation affirmed what had we have said all along. Which is that Hillary Clinton and her closest aides took the issue of classified information very seriously as the director affirmed, despite Mayor Giuliani's refusal to acknowledge it in the preceding segment. There were no e-mail messages that were properly marked as classified, none that had headers at the top that would have denoted that the material should be considered classified. The director affirmed that and that's why he said it wasn't even a close call when they made the decision not to go forward at all with any case back in July.
Of course republicans didn't like that outcome. They've been second guessing it ever since. Making untoward, completely unsubstantiated allegations about conspiracy theories at the FBI. And subjected the FBI quite frankly to a great deal of political pressure.
And, so I think it would be highly inappropriate and unfortunate if the sending of this letter was at all something that happened as a result of that extensive political pressure that's been applied not just by Donald Trump and his campaign but by congressional republicans.
BLITZER: When the investigation of the private server was going on, Hillary Clinton's private email server was going on, Huma Abedin was called to testify before the FBI, right?
FALLON: That's correct.
BLITZER: Did she receive immunity in exchange for her testimony?
FALLON: Wolf, the details of that investigation have now been provided in great detail to Capitol Hill. There has been an extra ordinary level of disclosure. Beyond which any other American if they were accused of anything and preliminary investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice would ever be subjected to.
If you want to talk about double standards, let's look at how this investigation was conducted. The steps that were taken in terms of having a press conference to announce the results of an investigation to any career prosecutor that's ever worked at the justice department, it goes against every guideline that the justice department has on the books.
Now, Director Comey, who is a person of great integrity has made the appropriate acknowledgement that this was a pretty unprecedented case to be in the middle of a presidential campaign cycle. So, we give him the benefit of the doubt on that.
But now we have taken it to an additional step of releasing a letter that just provides a tidbit of information and no further context 11 days prior to the investigation.
BLITZER: Because I'm wondering -- I'm just wondering if Huma Abedin, when she was cooperating, testifying with the FBI in connection with the Hillary Clinton email server case, did she report to the FBI about what we're now say are thousands of e-mails they are now reviewing on her -- on her cellphone or on her private computer? Do you know if she did?
FALLON: What I can say, is that she cooperated just like other aides did and answered the questions, sat through an interview, just like all the other aides did and just like Hillary Clinton did.
But Wolf, what we are engaging in now is outright speculation about what could possibly be at issue that caused the director to send this letter here. You know who's the only person who can clear it up, not me sitting in this chair talking to you right now, and not any members of congress that were on the receiving end of that letter from Jim Comey. There is one person, Jim Comey, and he has shown that he does not have an allergy to standing up and holding press conferences to discuss highly sensitive matters.
At this point the appropriate step and the step that both the campaigns are urging him to take, is to release additional information. If you have to do it with redactions as a precautionary step, do that.
BLITZER: All right.
FALLON: But, you can certainly provide additional information. Because he owes it to the American voters at this point. To drop this into the middle of a campaign 11 days out when 20 million people have already voted, additional people are voting right now as we speak. And, the choice in this election was becoming quite clear Wolf. Donald Trump's campaign is flailing. For this to be introduced now the least that the director can do is explain why it's relevant in the minds of voters.
BLITZER: And, as you point out, for different reasons both campaigns, the Trump campaign and the Clinton campaign want Comey to go ahead and release more information.
Brian Fallon, thanks very much for joining us.
FALLON: Thank you, Wolf.
BLITZER: The breaking news continues. Next, we're going to talk with our political experts about this October bombshell.
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BLITZER: What impact will it have on this race for the White House?
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BLITZER: Some breaking news. E-mails found on a device being examined as part of the Anthony Weiner sexting probe have led the FBI to review whether they're pertinent to the investigation of Hillary Clinton's e- mail server. A law enforcement official tells CNN the emails in question were sent, or received by Huma Abedin, one of Hillary Clinton's closest aides and the estranged wife of the former congressman, Anthony Weiner. The Clinton Campaign is calling for the FBI to release more information.
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BLITZER: Let's get some insight from our political and legal experts. David Chalian, let me start with you.
How damaging potentially could this be for the Hillary Clinton campaign?
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Listen, the last thing that the Hillary Clinton campaign wanted to be talking about 11 days out is the e-mail story again and having that back in the headlines. This is not at all what they were hoping for.
And listen, we've seen some tightening of the polls. They're pretty confident in the position they have in this race. But they know it's going to be close in a lot of key states going in and this is not what they want to talk about.
That being said, conversely, I think its biggest impact is as a huge boost to Donald Trump psychologically. To his supporters, to his team, they have something -- this is like a life force inside that campaign right now that clearly is on defense, but now this gives them something to hang on to and push forward to, put wind in their sails. That's important.
All of that being said, I will be surprised if this has a huge impact on voters because we've had so much information this entire campaign season about Hillary Clinton and her e-mails that I've got to believe voters have already baked that into their decision making process in this election.
JACKIE KUCINICH, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, THE DAILY BEAST: But if you're on the fence, you're an undecided voter, and you don't like Donald Trump, but my gosh you can't stand Hillary Clinton and since every day is Election Day in a lot of these early primary states, that's where I think it might make an impact in the short term.
In the long term, we just don't have all the information yet about what happened here. So, I mean, I think there are still some unknowns when we're talking about this.
BLITZER: A lot of unknowns...
KUCINICH: A lot of unknowns.
BLITZER: And, 15 million or 20 million Americans have already voted and a lot more are going to be voting before November 8th.
Mark Preston, back in August, Huma Abedin separated from Anthony Weiner, her husband over the sexting scandal. Donald Trump then put out a statement, let me read it to you, "Huma is making a very wise decision. I know Anthony Weiner well and she will be far better off without him. I only worry for the country in that Hillary Clinton was careless and negligence in allowing Weiner to have such close proximity to highly classified information. Who knows what he learned and who he told. It's just another example of Hillary Clinton's bad judgment. It is possible that our country and its security have been greatly compromised by this. August 29th statement that Donald Trump put out. So was trump right?
MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Well, I don't think that necessarily he was right that our country's secrets have been greatly compromised. We don't know, I mean we don't know what has been found or if the Russians or the Chinese were able to get any information about this.
But you know what, I mean it also goes to show that Huma Abedin, if we are to believe that that's what the FBI is doing right now and that's what we're being told by our reporters, that she was very careless you know sharing this information on a shared device with her husband at the time. You know, Wolf, when we talk about October surprises right now, this is the third one we've seen. We've had Wikileaks, we've now had this. And then of course we've had the "Access Hollywood" tape. You know, will there be a fourth surprise in these closing days? Who knows.
BLITZER: The real October surprise indeed. Jeffrey Toobin, let's talk about the legal part of this. You were once -- worked for a U.S. Attorney. You understand this. How extraordinary is it this 11 days before a presidential election for the FBI director to come forward and make a statement like this?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, FORMER REDERAL PROSECUTOR: Very. It's unprecedented certainly in a presidential election. And there is actually an FBI policy that says in most circumstances the FBI should refrain from any politically sensitive announcement 60 days outside of a -- any sort of election.
Now, that's not a binding recommendation and what happened here clearly is that Director Comey said in his testimony and his statement that the investigation was complete. Someone came to him in connection with the Anthony Weiner investigation and said, look, there are some more e-mails we need to look at. He said go ahead. Then he realized his statement was no longer (inaudible) -- the investigation was not complete.
But, that does not mean that Hillary Clinton is herself under investigation, that the e-mails are from her or by her. It just means there are e-mails that need to be investigated in connection with this larger investigation. That doesn't make it politically good for her, it's horrible for Hillary Clinton. But legally, we're in a very preliminary stage.
BLITZER: So, should the FBI accept the recommendation of both campaigns, the Trump campaign, the Clinton campaign, for different reasons and release specific information now before the election so the American people have a better appreciation of what's going on?
TOOBIN: I don't know if Director Comey should or shouldn't. Based on everything I know about the FBI, including Director Comey, I think we have heard the last of this information for the next 11 days and well beyond.
The issues that are in this investigation, is the material classified? That takes days, if not weeks to evaluate. And, apparently, there are many, many e-mails. It's not up to the FBI to decide what's classified. They have to go to other agencies and determine whether the information is classified. There's no way that can be resolved before November 8th.
So, I think the people have as much information as they're going to get about this investigation. Both sides are going to spin it the way they want to spin it. Obviously, I and other journalists are going to try to find out as much as we can. But, I don't think we're going to hear again from Director Comey, despite the campaigns.
BLITZER: Why would he come out at this sensitive moment and release this letter?
TOOBIN: Well, because of that word "complete." I mean he left that -- he said, very clearly, the investigation was complete. Once his people came to him yesterday -- I mean this letter refers to information that came to him yesterday, he had to decide whether this investigation was no longer complete, and whether his statement was still accurate to congress and to the public.
Now, the question that I'm sure a lot of people are going to ask, and I have myself, is did he really have to do it now so shortly before the election? Could he have put it off? And, I think he decided, and we'll obviously have to evaluate later based on when we know more, whether it was appropriate. But, he said he had to do it right away to say that this investigation was no longer complete.
Certainly there are people who would have said look, in consistent with FBI policy, he should have waited until after the election was over. But that's not the choice he made.
BLITZER: David Chalian, how should Hillary Clinton handle this lest development?
CHALIAN: Look, she's going to have to address it. I don't think she can stay silent on it. She's going to have to address it and I imagine Brian Fallon, in your interview Wolf, gave us some clues of what she's going say.
She, I would imagine, is going to come out the way John Podesta did and now Brian Fallon, to try to pressure, despite everything Jeffrey is saying -- to try to pressure Jim Comey to come out and reveal more information, give as much context to the American people as possible.
But, if she thought she was done answering questions about her e-mails for this election season, I think that's misguided. She's going to have to talk about it.
BLITZER: Huma Abedin and Hillary Clinton have been close for many years, going back to when she was the First Lady during the Clinton White House. And it's been going on, and on and on, and, a lot of people are asking how much of a liability is she right now to Hillary Clinton?
KUCINICH: I think it depends on what they find on that laptop, honestly. To Mark's point, if they do find out that she was careless with classified information by keeping it on a shared computer. That could be a real liability for Hillary Clinton because this is someone who could potentially be involved -- closely involved in a Clinton White House, if she wins. So she's going to have to answer those questions and make a tough decision if it turns out that she was careless.
BLITZER: Yes, and it's awkward, Mark Preston, as the original information the letter from the U.S. Department of Justice, the FBI's letter, Comey's letter to these members of congress was, all of a sudden, Anthony Weiner's name gets involved in this latest development. Who would have thought that was going to happen? It's a very strange development indeed.
PRESTON: It is. And it's very tawdry. I mean, the fact of the matter is, Anthony Weiner, once that rising star, has really -- is going to go down in the history books as somebody who flamed out very fast and in a very awful public way, you know for his own recklessness quite frankly.
You know, Wolf, when we talk about how this is going to affect the election, how it's going to affect Hillary Clinton, you know that remains to be seen about what comes out. But, there could be collateral damage on this right now, when we're looking at down ballot democrats. We've seen republicans seize on this, specifically those who are in tough races in the U.S. Senate, in the U.S. House of Representatives, trying to tie the democratic opponents to Hillary Clinton. And saying look, look how close they are to her, she's reckless, you need to, you know, put me in office, at least to keep a check and balance on Hillary Clinton and the Clinton administration, assuming if she were to win.
So, you know, the bottom line is, is that there could be collateral damage in this if not for her.
BLITZER: And the FBI's investigating Anthony Weiner for allegedly sexting with a minor. And that's why this FBI investigation is under way right now. Everybody, stand by. The breaking news we're following.
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BLITZER: Hillary Clinton's e-mail controversy, exploding back to life. Today we're learning new details of the FBI's review of her case and the connection to the Anthony Weiner sexting scandal. Tonight, Donald Trump he's seizing he news.
TRUMP: We've had a big day. No, think of it. I won my first primary in New Hampshire, and I'm getting here and the news this morning is -- this is bigger than Watergate.
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BLITZER: Happening now, breaking news.
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BLITZER: FBI's election curveball. The feds reveal newly discovered e- mails apparently related to Hillary Clinton's case just 11 days before the election. The evidence found during the sexting investigation of Anthony Weiner, the estranged husband of Clinton's closest aide, Huma Abedin. We're getting new details this hour.
Not so rigged. Donald Trump says maybe the FBI's investigation of Clinton isn't as crooked as he thought. His campaign is practically giddy right now with Clinton's e-mail scandal back in the red hot spotlight. Will this new twist distract from Trump's many controversies?
Mid-Air miss. A Russian war plane flying dangerously close to a U.S. jet narrowly avoiding a disaster --