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State of the Union
Interview with John Podesta; FBI Examining More Clinton Emails; Interview with Kellyanne Conway; Clinton Calls FBI To Release Full And Complete Facts; Hillary Clinton Goes On Offense After FBI Letter; Modern Day Duel In This Week's "State of the Cartoonion". Aired 9-10a ET
Aired October 30, 2016 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): October surprise. A sudden twist, as the FBI director says they have found e-mails possibly pertinent to the probe into Hillary Clinton's private server.
HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We are calling on the FBI to release all the information that it has.
TAPPER: With pressure building from both sides, will the FBI have to say more?
And Trump turnaround? There's new pep in his step after weeks of struggle.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is the biggest political scandal since Watergate.
TAPPER: But will this move voters to him in these final days?
Plus, Carlos Danger dangerous to Clinton.
JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Oh God, Anthony Weiner, I'm not a big fan.
TAPPER: Long a liability, the disgraced Democrat and estranged husband to Huma Abedin now posing a potentially mortal threat. Did Trump call it more than a year ago?
TRUMP: Do you think there's even a 5 percent chance that she's not telling Anthony Weiner what the hell is coming across?
TAPPER: And the best political minds will be here with insights from the campaign trail.
A special edition of STATE OF THE UNION with limited commercial interruption starts now.
TAPPER: Hello. I'm Jake Tapper in Washington, where the state of our union is under review.
Hillary Clinton fighting back at FBI Director James Comey after Comey made the unprecedented move of, just days before the presidential election, telling Congress his agency would be investigating newly discovered e-mails pertinent to her private e-mail server.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: It's pretty strange to put something like that out with such little information right before an election.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
CLINTON: In fact -- in fact, it's not just strange. It's unprecedented, and it is deeply troubling.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Back in July, FBI Director Comey said Clinton had been extremely careless in her use of the private e-mail server, but he recommended no criminal charges.
Since then, former Congressman Anthony Weiner, the estranged husband of top Clinton aide Huma Abedin, has come under investigation for messages exchanged with an underaged girl. It's that investigation in which these newly discovered e-mails surfaced.
But Comey offered no indication of what their content might be. Top officials for both campaigns will be here in minutes for a special edition of STATE OF THE UNION with limited commercial interruption.
There is so much to talk about as this latest news rocks the campaign, but, first, let's start with Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.
John, thanks so much for joining us.
JOHN PODESTA, CLINTON CAMPAIGN CHAIRMAN: Good to be with you, Jake.
TAPPER: So, John, yesterday you slammed FBI Director Comey for going -- quote -- "long on innuendo, light on facts," but, frankly, for months, your campaign has been striking a very different note when it comes to Director Comey. Take a listen to vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine just one week ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TIM KAINE (D-VA), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What I do know is this, that there was an extensive, as you know, Brad, investigation by the FBI under the direction of a wonderful and tough career public servant, Jim Comey.
Jim was in the U.S. attorney's office in the Eastern District of Virginia when I was the mayor of Richmond, and he's somebody with the highest standards of integrity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Highest standards of integrity, wonderful, tough, career public servant.
How do you use those words and then call his actions on Friday into question?
PODESTA: Well, Jake, look, this was an unprecedented action.
It broke with policy of Democratic and Republican Justice Departments. It was done over the advice of senior Justice Department officials. And I think that the Justice Department has had a long an tradition of not interfering in elections, coming 11 days before the election.
And, as I said yesterday, it was long an innuendo, short on facts. So, we're calling on Mr. Comey to come forward and explain what's at issue here. So, far there's no charge of wrongdoing. There's no charge even that Hillary -- and the reporting that backs it up coming from anonymous law enforcement sources indicates it might not be about her server, it may not be about her at all.
So I think this is something that has been tossed into the middle of the campaign. We would have preferred that that not happen, but now that it has happened, Mr. Comey really needs to come forward and explain why he took this unprecedented step, particularly when he said himself in the letter to the Hill that these may not even be significant.
TAPPER: Well, he said that it was pertinent to the investigation.
And here's the world according to James Comey's perspective. FBI agents are investigating the husband of one of Hillary Clinton' top aides for allegedly sending elicit material to an underaged girl. In the course of that, they stumble upon e-mails that seem to be relevant to the other investigation, the Clinton investigation.
Suddenly, Comey finds that his sworn statement from September that the FBI had completed its review was no longer true. They had more materials. Now, Clinton didn't follow protocols when she started her e-mail server. Huma Abedin did not turn over that computer. Weiner was doing what he was doing.
And you and the Clinton campaign seem to be blaming Comey for being transparent with Congress. What was he supposed to do?
PODESTA: Well, look, Jake, I think he should have done, in my view and in the view of many senior people in both Democratic and Republican administrations -- two deputy attorney generals from the Bush administration have already come out.
He should have taken further steps. Yahoo News reported last night that they haven't even looked at the contents of these. So, to throw this in the middle of the campaign 11 days out just seemed to break with precedent and be inappropriate at this stage. If they're not significant, they're not significant. So, he might
have taken the first step of actually having looked at them before he did this in the middle of a presidential campaign so close to the voting.
TAPPER: But it's not that they haven't read any of them. Obviously, the FBI agents who stumbled upon them read some of them, and determined them to be pertinent and realized that they didn't have...
PODESTA: Do you know that, Jake? Do you know that?
TAPPER: That's according to the report.
PODESTA: We don't know anything.
TAPPER: It's according to -- I'm telling you, according to the reporting of Evan Perez, our Justice Department correspondent. It's not as though they didn't know anything in the e-mails.
They stumbled upon them, found that they seemed to be pertinent to the Clinton e-mail server investigation. And that is why...
PODESTA: Seemed to be pertinent, might not be significant, 11 days before the election, is that something you toss on the table, or do you take the time to do what other prosecutors have done in the past and make sure that it is so significant that you had to go forward with it?
So, I don't fault him for taking a look at whatever he's found. We don't really know what that is. But, at this stage, having taken the step, then he at least ought it would explain if he think they're significant or not significant. Let's -- let him come forward and say why.
TAPPER: Do you accept the fundamental premise that the reason we're here is because Hillary Clinton and her inner circle, not including you, made a horrible decision to set up her private e-mail server and everything that has happened since then is her fault?
PODESTA: Well, look, I think she's apologized for setting up a private e-mail server, said it was an mistake. She said she wouldn't do it over again.
I think she -- it's very clear that this has been an issue through the course of this campaign. I think she obviously would like to take that decision back, but she's learned from it. And I think what's important about this campaign at this stage, with nine days to go, is who's fit to be president, who has the experience, and the question of whether Donald Trump is too dangerous, too temperamentally unfit to be president of the United States.
TAPPER: John, what is... PODESTA: So, that's what we're going to close on.
And we're going to talk -- she's going to talk about the future she wants to build in building an economy that's going to work for everyone, not just people at the top. And we're going to be distracted by this.
TAPPER: I always hear the Clinton team -- I always hear the Clinton team say that she's learned from it. What has she learned?
PODESTA: Well, look, I think, as she said many times, she wouldn't do it over again.
I think it was, you know -- I think she didn't give it that much thought when she did it in the first place. And it's the kind of a decision that I think needed more thought, more review, and she didn't do it. And I think she regrets that.
I think it's regrettable and -- but you learn and you move on, again, I think, in contrast to our opponent, who never seems to learn from his mistakes and keeps repeating them and double down -- doubling down on them.
TAPPER: So, as part of this Judicial Watch lawsuit, Huma Abedin had to testify under oath.
And she said -- quote -- "I looked for all the devices that may have had any of my State Department work on it and in returned, returned, gave them to my attorneys for them to review for all relevant documents and gave them devices and papers."
Obviously, this other computer was not included in that group. Have you asked Huma Abedin why she did not turn over this computer that is now being reviewed by the FBI?
PODESTA: Look, I think Huma's been completely cooperative with the authorities, and they have recognized that. She's worked with her attorneys to turn over relevant material. But we don't know what this is all about, really. So it's very hard...
TAPPER: But, John, she hasn't been completely cooperative if she didn't turn over every device that had State Department e-mails on them, and this one computer did.
PODESTA: I think it's clear -- I think it's clear that she complied to the best of her ability to turn everything over that she had in her possession.
I don't know anything more than the speculation that's running wild in the press now about what this is about. I have talked to her, of course, but...
TAPPER: Have you talked to her? Have you asked Huma -- have you asked Huma Abedin what is on the computer and why she didn't turn it over when she said she had given all the devices?
PODESTA: We don't know what computer Mr. Comey is talking about.
You're assuming a lot of facts that we don't know. So, I think that, as I said, she's been fully cooperative with the authorities. And they have recognized that. And, you know, I think that the -- you know, we could sit here and speculate and put facts into the record based on anonymous...
TAPPER: I'm not speculating, sir. Our reporting is that it was a laptop computer that belonged to Anthony Weiner, and they found State Department e-mails on that laptop. That's reporting. That's not speculation.
You have access to Huma Abedin. I don't. Have you asked her how this happened?
PODESTA: I don't think she knows anything more than what we have seen in the press to date.
So, you know, I'm sure if the -- you know, if people -- if proper authorities want to ask her questions, they will ask her questions, but she's been fully cooperative in this investigation.
TAPPER: She came off the campaign trail on Saturday. Is she still part of the campaign?
PODESTA: Of course. Yes.
TAPPER: Is she still working on the campaign?
PODESTA: Yes, absolutely. She's been -- she's played a central and vital role in this campaign. And she continues to do that and continues to do her work running our overall scheduling and advance operation, being a confidant to senior people in the campaign, and traveling with Hillary.
She doesn't travel every day, but she travels frequently with her.
TAPPER: Do you think if Bill Clinton hadn't gone on to that plane in the tarmac in Arizona and talked to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, which caused a big controversy and then necessitated Lynch to come forward and say that she was going to defer to investigators and prosecutors on this matter because of the appearance, the ethical cloud, do you think if he had not done that, that Attorney General Lynch might have had more control of what happened in this investigation?
PODESTA: I can't speculate about that.
I think you sort of gave the money pitch there, though, Jake. She said that she would accept the advice of career prosecutors. The Republicans wanted to spin that up into a conspiracy, where there was none. She -- the career prosecutors found that there was no case. Jim Comey
himself said it wasn't even close, and she accepted that result.
One of the things that's interesting and one of the things that Democrats in Washington, D.C., are debating is whether or not Hillary Clinton has actually learned from this experience when it comes to people in her circle who enable bad decisions by the Clintons.
And I am not necessarily including you in that group. But people inside her circle such as you and Neera Tanden and Robby Mook, people who are more of, I would say, kind of a new guard, even if you have a longstanding relationship with the Clintons, were stunned when word of the private e-mail server was first reported by "The New York Times" in March of 2015, according to those stolen e-mails published by WikiLeaks.
And I know you say that this is the Russians and they're trying to influence the election. But regardless of that...
PODESTA: It's not me that says it. It's a lot of people who say it, including the government.
TAPPER: Intelligence -- intelligence professionals say that.
Be that as it may, you wrote to Robby Mook on March 3 of 2015 -- quote -- ""Did you have any idea of the depth of this story?"
Neera Tanden, a Clinton ally who is now co-chairing your transition, wrote: "Why didn't they get this stuff out like 18 months ago? So crazy."
You responded, "Unbelievable."
Neera Tanden wrote: "I guess I know the answer. They wanted to get away with it."
On July 25 of last year, Neera Tanden wrote: "Do we actually know who told Hillary she could use a private e-mail and has that person been drawn and quartered?"
You're acting like the server was just a simple mistake, but these e- mails suggest that you and Robby Mook and Neera Tanden knew this was going to be a big problem.
PODESTA: Well, look, it's easy with 20/20 hindsight.
I think, if someone had taken the steps and looked at it, if -- one would have definitely made a different decision. But it happened. I think it was -- at the beginning, it was just done for convenience. But, at the end of the day, it was a major problem, I think. As I told you, I think she's learned from it. I have worked with her closely in this campaign. She takes hard advice. She respects people who will get up in her face. And I think that the reason I have kind of survived through the whole campaign is because that's the kind of person I am.
TAPPER: You certainly are.
Has anyone in the government provided you with the status report, John, on the investigation into your hacked and stolen e-mails?
I talked to the FBI at the beginning of this. And all -- my attorney has been in touch with them. It's part of the investigation of the Russian hacks. And -- but the scope of it, who knew what when, the fact that the Trump campaign seems to have been in contact with Julian Assange and the Wiki -- and -- from WikiLeaks quite early, at least as early as August, I don't know what their investigation is finding.
TAPPER: You're -- the Trump campaign -- you're referring to Roger -- are you referring to Roger Stone saying that he...
PODESTA: I'm talking to Roger Stone, Trump confidant. Let me correct myself.
TAPPER: OK. OK.
PODESTA: A Trump confidant, Roger Stone, who, you know, bragged about being in touch with Julian Assange and talked about the fact that they were going to come after me was -- he did that back in August.
So, what the government has learned about the interactions between Assange and the Russians, it seems clear that the Russians were the ones who did the initial hack. How they got to WikiLeaks, what the relationship was with Roger Stone, I don't know. I assume that the government's looking at that, but I don't know anything more.
Maybe -- maybe Jim Comey, if he thinks it's important, will come out and let us know in the next nine days.
TAPPER: Maybe he will.
John Podesta, thank you so much. We appreciate your time, as always.
PODESTA: Thanks, Jake.
TAPPER: Donald Trump is hoping, of course, that this stunning development could change his electoral fortunes. And he is campaigning with new vigor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Hillary has nobody to blame but herself for her mounting legal troubles.
Her criminal action was willful, deliberate, intentional, and purposeful. Hillary set up an illegal server for the obvious purpose of shielding her criminal conduct from public disclosure and exposure. That didn't work.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: And joining me now is Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway.
Kellyanne, thanks so much for joining us.
KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Hi, Jake.
TAPPER: Donald Trump is now saying that he has great respect for FBI director James Comey. But take a listen to what Mr. Trump said just a couple weeks ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Likewise, they have essentially corrupted the director of the FBI, to the point at which stories are already saying that the great -- and they are truly great -- men and women who work the FBI are embarrassed and ashamed of what he's done to one of our truly great institutions, the FBI itself.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: So, is James Comey still corrupted, Kellyanne, or is he only corrupt when he does something that Mr. Trump disagrees with?
CONWAY: So, there are two separate investigations here.
First, on July 5, Jim Comey came out and told the world, Jake, that he was declining prosecution of Hillary Clinton based on the investigation. He then proceeded to tell us every reason why he should have indicted her, she (sic) should have pressed charges, that she was reckless, she was careless.
Two days later, he testifies before Congress under oath and completely guts his conclusion and undercuts Secretary Clinton's previous statements that there were -- there was -- was there one device? No, there were many devices. Was there classified information exchanged? Yes, there was. Was there national security information? Yes, there was.
He completely undercut his own conclusion in that investigation. That led to tremendous frustration and criticism by many people who thought either put the statement out that you're not going to press charges and leave it at that, or, if you're going to go public, at least let your comments, the evidence match your conclusion.
This new investigation is a completely separate matter, in that he was in an impossible spot, it would seem to me, 11 days before an election. Had he sat on the information, one can argue that he also would be interfering with the election by not disclosing to the public that yet again, for the second time in a year, Hillary Clinton is under FBI investigation for something of her own doing.
We are only having this conversation today, Jake, because Hillary Clinton flouted the law, and went -- set up a private server so she can hide stuff from the public, and here we are again.
TAPPER: Right. But, Kellyanne, isn't this exactly what people, the public, the American people, hate about politicians?
One day, somebody in law enforcement does something, and they're corrupted, and the next day, they're a man of great integrity? You yourself tweeted that there was zero accountability at the FBI. You retweeted an article that said, "When combined, these moments prove that Mr. Comey gave Hillary Clinton a pass."
And you wrote your own comment, "Zero accountability."
What are voters supposed to think about this, when you and your campaign have spent the last few months besmirching the reputation of James Comey?
CONWAY: No, we never -- I never besmirched the reputation. Zero accountability is about the process.
And,again, had Jim Comey simply come forward, Jake, back in July and said, we decline to press charges, the investigation is over, there will be no further charges, had he just said that, then we would accept that result.
What he did was, he went on to explain why his conclusion was wrong. I guess he was trying to clear his own conscience. Why else be so public? I know many prosecutors -- I have talked to them -- who were confounded that Jim Comey set such a public standard by testifying before Congress, by having that unprecedented statement to the world on July 5, where he was leading up to a conclusion that was different than the one he then announced.
TAPPER: Well, I think...
CONWAY: But back to your original point, isn't this what people hate about politicians? Yes, it is. But the politician here is Hillary Clinton.
And it's she who has put herself, her campaign and, more importantly, the nation at risk. She's unqualified and unfit to be president, based on her constantly flouting law, based on her closest advisers not complying with -- and swearing under oath they had turned over all these devices, when clearly they have not.
It's they who have imperiled our national security.
TAPPER: So, I think what James Comey would say was that he was being transparent over the summer and he's being transparent now. But I want to move on to some other topics. At a Trump rally in
Phoenix, Arizona, last night, one of Trump's supporters walked up to the press section and started chanting this. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jew-S.A! Jew-S.A! Jew-S.A! Jew-S.A! Jew-S.A! Jew-S.A! Jew-S.A! Jew-S.A! Jew-S.A! Jew-S.A! Jew-S.A!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: The crowd was -- the crowd was chanting USA, and he was pointing to reporters and saying "Jew-S.A."
We have seen a lot of anti-Semites and racists and misogynists who support the Trump candidacy.
TAPPER: Would you call that man deplorable?
CONWAY: Wow. Yes, I would. His conduct is completely unacceptable and does not reflect our campaign or our candidate.
Wow. I have to push back on some of the adjectives you just used to describe. I hope you have been to Trump rallies. And I hope that you have seen the tens of thousand. He's had over half-a-million people easily -- no, over, I think, in excess of that at his rallies.
And these are USA-loving Americans...
CONWAY: ... who just want their country to be prosperous and safe again.
CONWAY: Well, you just -- you just suggested that we're just filled with all these other isms. And I think that's incredibly...
TAPPER: No. No.
CONWAY: Hillary Clinton surrounds herself with lots of people.
TAPPER: I don't -- I'm not saying that at all, Kellyanne.
TAPPER: I'm not saying that at all.
CONWAY: This is an easy one for me. TAPPER: Let me make clear what I am saying. Let me make clear what I am saying.
CONWAY: That man's conduct was deplorable. And had I been there, I would have asked security to remove him immediately.
Clearly, he doesn't speak for the campaign or the candidate.
CONWAY: And I think what he had to say was disgusting.
TAPPER: Well, let me be clear what I am saying. The vast majority of Trump supporters do not qualify as to what I'm talking about.
But, without question, people who are experts on hate groups say that there has been a comfort level that has been offered to people who are anti-Semitic and racist and on and on, and these people feel comfortable coming out in the open and supporting Mr. Trump.
CONWAY: Comfort level by who? Comfort level by whom, the campaign I run, Jake, seriously? Comfort level by who?
TAPPER: Not you.
Mr. Trump has refused to condemn in a very serious way his racist and anti-Semitic fans. He just has. He has -- he says things like, "Oh, sure I disavow, I disavow."
But he has never seriously said: I don't want the support of those people. They are reprehensible. They have nothing to do with me.
He has never seriously done it in the same way that you and Mike Pence has.
CONWAY: Yes, he has. He said that. Yes, he has. Yes, he has. He has done that. And let me just repeat on his behalf that that's the way this campaign feels.
And I do -- I think that this exchange is, frankly, the best piece of evidence I have that we're actually going to win in nine days, because the idea that we're going to shift away from the -- the pattern of corruption, the cloud of ethical stain that Hillary Clinton would bring to the Oval Office, it's such an important weekend.
We're again reminded why a majority of Americans already don't trust her, much like her, and we're going to -- we're going to bring this -- try to besmirch the good people.
I see -- I was in Kinston, North Carolina, with Mr. Trump on Wednesday night. It's a very small town, I'm told. We had over 10,000, 12,000 people there. And I asked the kids in the front row, what time did you get here, honey? One p.m. We were there at 8:00 p.m.
These are people who love their country. And these are people who feel like they're part of a movement, that this is not a typical politician. He's an outsider, a disrupter, somebody who owes nobody anything in Washington, which is why Washington is afraid to have him there, Jake.
Please don't -- please, if you do anything, don't besmirch the good hearts and the good values of the tens of thousands, the millions of Donald Trump supporters who, frankly, just love this country and believe...
TAPPER: Kellyanne, I'm not besmirching -- I'm not besmirching...
TAPPER: I have just said I don't -- I have just said the vast majority of Donald Trump fans have nothing to do with people like that. I have said that. I don't know what more I can say. I...
CONWAY: And so the point of the conversation is what? The point of -- we haven't even mentioned Huma Abedin's name. This woman and her perverted husband sexting a 15-year-old girl in North Carolina is now again possibly putting this nation's security at risk.
TAPPER: Yes, and that -- we talked about that quite a bit with John Podesta. Let me ask you a question about health care.
There are real questions whether Donald Trump understands how Obamacare works. Take a listen to what Mr. Trump had to say in Florida.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: And I can say all of my employees are having a tremendous problem with Obamacare. You folks, this is another group. Is that a correct statement? You look at what they're going through and what they're going through with their health care is horrible because of Obamacare.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Now, after he gave that statement, the general manager of Trump's property attempted to correct the record. And he said 99 percent of Trump's employees are insured through the hotel, meaning they have private insurance.
How can Mr. Trump be the one to replace Obamacare if he doesn't really seem to even understand how it works?
CONWAY: He does understand.
His employees are the lucky ones, Jake. They actually don't have to suffer under Obamacare. But he's actually talking about the rest of the country, so many who have.
He's the right person to repeal and replace it because Obamacare is an unmitigated disaster. It reminds us all how intrusive, invasive, expensive and expansive the federal government can become in our lives, under the guise of helping people.
He was in Arizona yesterday and clearly told them their premiums are expected to rise in Arizona by 116 percent. Will CNN or anybody else ask Mrs. Clinton that today when she's visiting Arizona?
We see these other premiums. People are opening up their mailboxes and clicking onto their computers and getting notice that their premiums are about to explode.
It is reprehensible and deplorable, to coin a phrase, that Americans are now choosing between paying the rent, feeding their families and keeping their health care.
President Obama lied 26 or 27 times by telling people, if you want to keep your doctor, you can keep your doctor. No, you can't. People see a lack of quality, a lack of access, a lack of control and an increase in price in something that is under the guise of the Affordable Care Act.
The question for Hillary Clinton, what would you do about it? Is Obamacare 3.0 in the offing? Or would you go and try to mollify the Bernie Sanders supporters, who actually want to us move to a single- payer system? Either way, she should own Obamacare. She should be asked what she would do about it.
Donald Trump says he would let you compete across state lines to buy your health insurance, much the way you could buy your auto insurance and other business services. He would block-grant Medicaid to the states. He would immediately, through his tax plan, remove the Obamacare penalty which is hurting many people.
And he, of course, would allow a more patient-centric health care system which would give us all health savings accounts, so that you own and you can control your own health care spending.
What we have got is not working. And I'm very glad that Obamacare continues to form the core of his message, even in light of the new FBI investigate. We have had a great week, in large part because -- because Mr. Trump is talking about Obamacare.
TAPPER: I agree. I would love to ask Hillary Clinton that question. The Clinton campaign has not made her available to me since June. And the Trump campaign has not made Mr. Trump available to me since June.
But, Kellyanne Conway, I do appreciate your making yourself available to me this morning.
CONWAY: Of course.
TAPPER: Thank you so much.
CONWAY: Thank you, Jake.
TAPPER: They call it an October surprise, but you know who did see this coming or something like it, kind of? Donald Trump.
This is what he had to say way back in August of 2015.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Think of it.
So, Huma has got -- it's coming through Huma. She's got a lot of stuff, a lot of information, who knows.
So, she's married to a bad guy. I know Anthony Weiner for a long time. I knew before they caught him with the bing, bing, bing, right?
TRUMP: And he was a bad guy then. It turned out that he was a really bad guy.
TRUMP: So, she's married to Anthony Weiner. Do you think there's even a 5 percent chance that she's not telling Anthony Weiner now of a public relations firm what the hell is coming across? Do you think there's even a little bit of a chance? I don't think so.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Interesting question.
Let's bring in some soothsayers of our own, David Axelrod, CNN senior political commentator, and Mark McKinnon, former strategist to George W. Bush and John McCain and co-creator of "The Circus" on Showtime.
Gentlemen, thanks for joining me.
Mark, let me start with you.
Do think this Comey announcement on Friday could actually change the outcome of the race?
MARK MCKINNON, FORMER MEDIA ADVISER TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Well, you never want a big sort of crisis-like story to break in the last couple weeks of a campaign.
I remember in 2000, when the DWI story on George W. Bush, and we were up three or four points. And, as everyone recalls, that ended up in a runoff decided by 500 votes. So, momentum is everything in the last days of a campaign.
Clinton was obviously -- everybody was saying last week that this thing was baked, it was Clinton's to lose, barring an asteroid hitting the Earth. and an asteroid hit the Earth when James Comey came out with this announcement on Friday. TAPPER: And, David, how do you think Clinton and her team should be
handling this news? They seem to be focusing very much on Comey.
DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I would say two things.
One is, they're focusing on Comey. It's interesting to hear these discussions. You made the exact right point, Jake, which is that Trump has spent and his campaign has spent a year sort of sullying all institutions, including the FBI.
No one has mentioned the fact that he hasn't accepted the FBI's conclusion that the Russians hacked into the DNC. So, he's been dismissive of the FBI. And now he holds it up.
And I think they're right to raise questions about the procedure now because there's such skepticism in the environment and Trump has helped create it, but I also think they're going to have to get tougher on Trump in the final week than they planned to do. They were coming in for a gentle landing and now I think you're going to see them challenging Trump both in their media and in her comments from now until the end.
TAPPER: Mark, you did -- yes?
MARK MCKINNON, CO-CREATOR OF SHOWTIME'S "THE CIRCUS": Well, I just going to -- I was going to agree with Dave in the sense that we kind of thought a long time ago at the end of this race, strategically the Trump campaign would want to make it a referendum on Clinton and Clinton would want to make it a referendum on Trump. And that's exactly what's happening right now.
I went out to see Joe Biden Saturday in Las Vegas, and I was wondering, you know, was he -- was he going to talk about the emails or was he going to -- you know, what was he going to do. I'll tell you what he did, attack, attack, attack. They're going total offense on Donald Trump right now.
TAPPER: And what would you -- Mark, what would you tell the Trump campaign to do, focus just on the emails and go nuclear in this last week?
MCKINNON: Well, I mean the problem with the Trump campaign all along is that they've had lots of potential material, a lot of grist for the mill that he has failed to prosecute.
I mean there has been a lot of stuff out of the WikiLeaks information, the Clinton Foundation, and now that the -- now all this Comey information, I mean we obviously don't know what it is but it raises the whole question that everybody has had all along about trust, of transparency, privacy with Hillary Clinton. That's what people's concerns are about. So there are a lot of people left on the fence right now but to the extent they are this could be a problem attic issue so Trump needs to just for once maintain a clear and constant focus for the next 10 days on the issues that can move the dial.
TAPPER: David, let's talk about Election Day.
We don't know yet how this FBI news will affect the race, but earlier this week Clinton ally Ed Rendell, the former governor of the great commonwealth of Pennsylvania warned that there could be what he calls an undervote for Donald Trump.
Take a listen.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
ED RENDELL (D), FORMER GOVERNOR OF PENNSYLVANIA: I think there's a hidden Donald Trump vote like there was a hidden Frank Rizzi vote. And I think all this talk about it being over and now the real contest is the Senate. I think that's going to persuade a couple of Hillary Clinton voters and Democratic voters to say, well, what do I have to stand on line for an hour for? If I were the Clinton team I would be desperately worried about that type of talk. Desperately worried.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
TAPPER: That was before the Comey news broke.
What do you think, David? What is the game plan for the Clinton team, should they go nuclear on Donald Trump on air?
AXELROD: Well, yes. I think they will go nuclear but they're very focused on mobilization, as they should be, and they built a better organization than Donald Trump. So if this is in fact a close election, they should have an advantage there. The thing about the great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, I understand that one of the reason it's great, Jake, is because it's your home state, is that -- the thing I would worry about if I were them is turnout in Philadelphia and whether, some of the early voting states, the African-American turnout has been considerably less than 2012, so that would be a concern. Now maybe if the race appears to be close that will help spur turnout.
You made the point before that we really don't know now what impact this will have. It's not good for Clinton that this is all we're talking about today. On the other hand, how much of this is priced into the stock. Mark mentions the drunken driving story about Bush. That was new information in 2004. There's nothing here that's particularly new, and so the question is, does it impact the race or not? And we won't know for several days when we look at polling sort of midweek, has this really shifted the race.
But if the perception is that it's closer, it may spur Trump voters but it may also make Clinton voters who are somewhat ambivalent or somewhat complacent feel like they need to get out to the polls, and that's something that they will push I'm sure. TAPPER: Mark as you know, Karl Rove's theory about that DUI news in October of 2000 is that it suppressed evangelical voters, and that's one of the reasons why he thinks that the final popular vote was off poll predictions.
How do you think this might impact votes? I've heard it speculated that maybe those individuals who were not Hillary Clinton fans but were going to hold their noses and vote for her college educated white men, blue collar women, that they might not vote for her or not vote at all. What do you think?
MCKINNON: Well, I agree. You're a really smart guy on TV there David Axelrod.
Most of -- it's not new information. Most of this is baked into the cake. For a lot of voter it's just kind of white noise. It's you know women on Trump side coming out with more stories, more email on the other side on the Clinton story. So it's not like new information may move a lot of votes but the thing that is important that I'm struck by that David kind of touched on is that this may really place an even greater emphasis on the turnout -- the targeting and turnout operation which the Clinton campaign has spent a lot of time and money on and not nearly as much on the Trump side.
So I remember in August when Clinton kind of was off the trail raising money and Trump criticized her for being off the trail, that was a time when he kind of rose in the polls as you recall, because he was out there kind of dominating the media, but that's when she raised a lot of money and occurred to me back then that she might have a real advantage in these last couple of weeks on the money side, which will now translate into a lot of targeting and turnout.
And, you know, I think about the last FEC reports that I saw that had, you know, Trump spending three times as much money on hats as he is in turnout, and that's the kind of thing that may make the difference in the last couple of weeks in a race that's gotten close because of the developing news.
TAPPER: And, David, Donald Trump said on Friday he would write himself a check for $10 million. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: David, Trump might be writing his campaign a $10 million check but that won't change the fact that he's at a huge disadvantage when it comes to money. Clinton has $62 million cash on hand Friday. Trump only had $16 million. AXELROD: You know, the money that matters is the earlier money that you can invest in things like analytics and building a turnout machine.
This money can go to late mobilization efforts. It can go to television, but I don't know how meaningful it is. We'll also see, you know, how much he ends up actually spending of his own. He's sort of turned this into a money-making exercise as well. So he's been throwing those numbers around for a long time.
But bottom line, I think the late money is less important than the money that he should have spent earlier to kind of build the operation that he'll need in the case of a close election.
TAPPER: Mark McKinnon and David Axelrod, thank you so much.
David, good luck to your Cubbies, my friend.
MCKINNON: Yes, man, we need it. Thank you.
TAPPER: You sure do.
So how will the new email revelations affect the campaign? A new "ABC News/Washington Post" poll shows the race within one point with Clinton at 46 percent, Trump at 45 percent, Gary Johnson at 4 percent, Jill Stein at 2 percent, that's a tracking poll, just one point tighter than it was the day before the FBI news but it is 11 points tighter than the same poll was this time last week. The big difference being enthusiasm and who is likely to vote.
So will Clinton and Trump adapt their game plans in these final days of the campaign? CNN political director David Chalian is here to break down each candidate's potential path to victory -- David.
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Jake, the very first place we're going to look to see the impact of the email story being back inspect headlines is that Hillary Clinton's blue line of defense, take a look, Colorado, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia, these light blue states that have been leaning in her direction that is what has her in such a strong position and over 270 already.
Yes she's battling out in the traditional battlegrounds but this has been her source of strength. If we see polls coming out of there with her position starting to crumble there, alarm bells will go off in Brooklyn. There's no doubt about it.
Take a look also at how Donald Trump might be able to seize on the headlines and look what he's doing. Remember, this is our current state of play. The yellow states here are the six remaining true tossup battleground states. If we were to assign every one of them, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, and Ohio, all to Donald Trump, remember he's still shy of 270. He can't get there, so where does he go?
He's got to dig into some of the blue leaning territory. Well this weekend we see him in Colorado twice. We see him going strangely to New Mexico, a state that is safely Democratic, not many people in either party fully understand why he's going there but that's where he's been to try to dig in to turf.
However, we also know he's headed to Michigan and I wouldn't be surprised if we see him in Wisconsin or Pennsylvania this week as he tries to dig into some of Hillary Clinton's leaning territory. That is how he gets over the hump to 270.
Back to you, Jake.
TAPPER: All right, so much to talk about with just nine days until the election. Here with me overlooking the White House, we have with us CNN chief political correspondent Dana Bash, Congressman Xavier Becerra, who's chair of the House Democratic Caucus, Republican Congresswoman Renee Ellmers from the beautiful city of North Carolina, CNN political commentators Bakari Sellers and Alice Steward; and let's bring back CNN political director David Chalian.
[09:40:13] Dana, let me start with you.
Is there a path to the presidency for Donald Trump even with the wind at his back?
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: There is. It's a very difficult one, as David just pointed out. Everything has to break his way pretty much along the path to 270.
The -- I was just -- I just came back from Iowa last night, that is a perfect example. That is a state that Republicans have been banking on because it went twice for Barack Obama and they thought that was going to be a pickup. It's neck and neck. They're just not sure. So it is possible but it is still very, very hard.
What I have been hearing from sources on both sides of the aisle with regard to this FBI situation is that the more likely impact will be on the down-ballot races that some of the races -- sorry, congressman. Some of the races were already, especially on the Senate side, breaking more for Republicans than in the past and that this new is a reminder to people that they may want a check and balance and that that will help.
TAPPER: Is that -- is that what you think, congresswoman?
REP. RENEE ELLMERS (R), NORTH CAROLINA: Well, I think that Donald Trump is going to win. And I believe that in North Carolina he's going to win. He's going --
TAPPER: He's been trailing in every poll in North Carolina.
ELLMERS: Well, but he's trending up and if you've seen over the last couple of days those numbers are increasing and some of those numbers were actually pre-FBI -- the revelations that have come out.
Now, I think that Donald Trump needs to stay on message. He's done a very good job this week doing that. Obamacare is a huge issue, especially in North Carolina, with premiums increasing 25 percent to 40 percent. And you know what? Those notices are coming in the mail right now so I know you're focusing on that 27-year-old college educated male. He's getting that premium increase in the mail today. He's switching his vote to Donald Trump.
If he was voting Hillary there are still a lot of undecided and there are undercover Trump voters out there and so many independents that are going with Donald Trump.
TAPPER: What do you think, congressman?
REP. XAVIER BECERRA, CHAIR, HOUSE DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS: I was just in Arizona and Texas, two states that should be red. Arizona, Hillary Clinton seems to still be on top, a lot of enthusiasm. I think a lot of us are going to redouble our efforts because we know how important this election is.
My sense is that most of those who want to support Hillary Clinton are saying 10 days out, we're getting this kind of information with no evidence. OK. Let's get out there and work hard before someone tries to steal this election.
And so I think it's going to be important for folks to recognize that every vote counts and we've got this infrastructure on the ground to make sure that votes come out for Hillary Clinton.
TAPPER: So let's play some sound from Hillary Clinton about this FBI investigation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: You know, I think people a long time ago made up their minds about the emails. I think that has factored in to what people think, and now they're choosing a president. So I would urge everybody to get out and vote early in all the states that have early voting.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Alice, do you agree?
I mean, her argument is this email story has been going on for literally for a year and a half, since March 2015 when it broke, and that there's nothing new about this. Does she have a point?
ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think the Clinton campaign is trying to make (INAUDIBLE) out of the mountain of emails here.
Look, I was in Little Rock yesterday speaking with a lot of the old Clinton guard and sure their minds were made up about her a long time ago, years ago. But the problem is, the people that are undecided and the independents, they are now hearing more and more about these emails and it reminds them yet again that there is corruption, there is dishonesty, there is the Clinton idea they are above the law and that's going to sway them to either not vote or vote for Donald Trump, and also galvanizing Republicans behind Trump, many that may have problems with Trump, they see her as much more dangerous and not trustworthy.
TAPPER: I know you disagree with her assessments of the Clintons, but that does seem to be a message that independents and those who are undecided might be willing to listen to.
BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well it's also galvanizing the Democratic base. It's also galvanizing that Obama coalition. Because what you've seen since last Friday is the Clinton campaign push back on Director Comey. I mean, all it takes is someone actually looking at the U.S. Attorney's Manual which many reporters have done. The media relation's section and see that he's been violating policy not just at the beginning of this investigation but he violated policy again.
And so now you have people who are filling this void with innuendo. And there's absolutely no there there. I mean, we know as of yesterday --
TAPPER: We don't know what's in the emails. There might be there there.
SELLERS: But that's -- that is the exact point. Eleven days --
TAPPER: .. might be there there.
SELLERS: But 11 days out, neither you nor I or the FBI director but 11 days out we know as of yesterday that he hasn't even gotten a warrant to review the emails.
This is the biggest faux pas. This is the biggest mistake of anybody at that level of the administration since George Tenet told George W. Bush -- WMD was a slam dunk. This is absurd.
TAPPER: Just to -- just to point the point that I told Mr. Podesta, Evan Perez, our justice department reports, that when they were looking into Anthony Weiner's laptop and they found emails it's not like they had no idea what they were. You know, they read something. They found it was pertinent and then they moved on to try to get a warrant. It's not like they have no idea what's in there at all. Obviously there's something that made them think it was pertinent.
SELLERS: But I mean -- no, no, no. I mean, I think they were filling this void again with a lot of assumptions.
What we do know is that --
TAPPER: It's not assumptions, it's reporting. SELLERS: No. It's reporting that they knew emails were in there from
Huma Abedin or, you know, Huma Abedin that dealt with the issue of the secretary of state but they don't know what's in the emails. There's no way they know what's in the emails because if you're saying that they did (INAUDIBLE) evidence to suppress because they don't have a warrant to review it.
CHALIAN: Jake, on this point about whether or not it's baked in with (INAUDIBLE) I just want to point out our most recent national polls CNN/ORC poll that came out this week 64 percent of the electorate said that this email situation, the way she has handled her emails is an important indicator about her character and her ability to serve. And yet in that same poll she had a five-point national lead which is not nothing. That is a larger lead than we ever saw in the general election between Obama and Romney.
So in that sense I think that yes, there is a largely baked in factor. However, that 64 percent is 18 points higher and at its high water mark than it was when the email scandal started in March 2015. So clearly this has been the issue that is her Achilles heel. It is the issue that affects her favorable/unfavorable. It is the issue that affects her honest and trustworthy. And yet a lot of people have baked it in and she still had this big lead.
So I do think the biggest concern talking to Democrats around her is, is this now a reason not that Donald Trump number goes way up, but is this now a reason for some people to decide I just am not going to do that hold my nose and vote, I'm just going to stay home? That's the biggest concern.
BASH: Just to quickly add to that, even just to make it less specific, the feeling inside the Clinton campaign and the Trump campaign, both agree on this, that when the -- when the discussion and the narrative is about Hillary Clinton, it's better for Donald Trump.
He does very poorly and things go south for him when he's on the defensive, for lots of reasons, but I think the biggest is that he can't help himself. Now if he is staying on message, if teleprompter Trump stays out there, if he stays reading what's on the screen for him and doesn't, you know, sort of go rogue and stays focused on keeping the focus on Hillary Clinton not himself, that is something that is going to be seeping into voters' minds as they go and vote and they're going to be thinking about, do I really want her as opposed to maybe do I really want him.
TAPPER: And, congressman, one of the things that is interesting the "Access Hollywood" tape of Donald Trump talking so crudely and offensively about women, that was several weeks ago. We're not talking about it. It's not news anymore but the Clinton campaign is not keeping it alive.
I would have thought that they would be running TV ads with that tape. I would have thought that their surrogates would be out there talking about it all the time, but they're not.
BACERRA: It's definitely out there for the public to see. Voters that I've spoken to know that it's there. They've soaked that in. And my sense is that people are actually excited to go out to vote for Hillary Clinton now.
When I was there on Thursday, when I was in Arizona, folks were excited. We were talking to voters who were excited to go vote early. By the way, she has got about 15 (ph) percentage point lead in early voting from what some of the sample polls have shown. And it's because people have decided that they've baked in the stuff about emails, she apologized, she has moved on. Donald Trump doesn't apologize for anything including his crude (ph) treatment -- his terrible treatment of women, and I think they've decided, let's move forward, let's get this done, and that's why I think Hillary Clinton will win this thing because she has got an operation out there that can pull in the votes that want to be with her.
TAPPER: Congresswoman, let me ask you a question. There was an interesting "Bloomberg Businessweek" profile of inside the data center of the Trump campaign. One of the things they talked about was trying to discourage Clinton voters from turning out to vote.
And here is radio ad that seems to be aimed at African-Americans for the Trump campaign against Hillary Clinton. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: They are not just gangs of kids anymore, they are often the kinds of kids that are called super-predators, no conscience, no empathy.
ANNOUNCER: Hillary Clinton should be ashamed using racially charged words describing black children as super-predators.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: That was Hillary Clinton in 1994. She has apologized for using that term.
Do you think that could work?
ELLMERS: I don't think this is about voter suppression from the Trump camp at all. I think this is about --
TAPPER: I said discouragement. I was --
ELLMERS: Well, discouraged, suppressed. I know those words are out there manner (ph) semantics (ph).
Basically, what we're talking about is how Donald Trump keeps reaching out to the black community and saying, this is a woman who has been in politics for over 30 years. She has promised you X and she never delivers. This is what this ad is about.
[09:50:00] This is about reaching those individuals and saying, you know what? We can make a difference. Bet on me. Come out and vote for me and I am going to make the changes that you deserve.
TAPPER: I don't know that it's going to drive anybody to the Trump camp but, Bakari, you know African-American voter turnout in early voting is not where the Clinton campaign wants it to be and in many places it's lower than where it was in 2012.
SELLERS: Well, I mean, a lot of it is not semantics. I mean, you can actually go to the state of North Carolina where the congressman is from and you can actually see the suppression efforts that are put in place there by Governor McCrory actually lowering the number of early voting places, especially where there are large amounts of African- Americans.
But I mean, the fact is -- I mean, we want to talk about Donald Trump giving African-Americans something to vote for and he hasn't done that. The most ironic part about his message towards African- Americans is the messenger. African-Americans, we're not a low- information. We're not just a stupid voter.
The fact is we know who Donald Trump is. We know his history of racism. We know his history of bigotry. We know his history of discrimination.
And so one of the things that the Congressman Bacerra pointed out is that there are many people who are excited to vote for Hillary Clinton, and the best tool that Democrats have, his name is Donald Trump.
TAPPER: All right. Trump versus Clinton you know all about. But Trump versus Biden, the two threatening to face off not in an election but in a fist fight behind the gym. It's the subject of this week's "State of the Cartoonion," next.
TAPPER: Welcome back to CNN STATE OF THE UNION.
There are only nine days until the election. And it's fair to say it's been a rhetorical slugfest, but could it actually end with real punches thrown? Well, that's the subject of this week's "State of the Cartoonion."
TAPPER (voice-over): As we're reminded by the smash Broadway musical "Hamilton"...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE AS AARON BURR: Alexander...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE AS ALEXANDER HAMILTON: Aaron Burr, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE AS AARON BURR: ... can we agree that duels are dumb and immature?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE AS ALEXANDER HAMILTON: Sure.
TAPPER: ... political duels in the U.S. are as old as our nation itself. Hamilton recounts that time Vice President Aaron Burr went looking for a fight.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE AS ALEXANDER HAMILTON: But your man has to answer for his words, Burr.
TAPPER: Sound familiar?
JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Don't I wish I were debating him? Don't I wish we were in high school I could take him behind the gym.
TAPPER: This week we contemplated a modern day duel with Biden as Burr and Hamilton Trump. Perhaps as high school students instead of, you know, grown men.
BIDEN: I would like to take him behind the gym if I were I high school. I used to have a temper. I don't have a temper anymore.
TRUMP: Do you see where Biden wants to take me to the back of the barn? Me.
TAPPER: Perhaps the man invited to the duel gents to choose the venue.
TRUMP: I would love that. I would love that, Mr. Tough guy. You know, he's Mr. Tough guy.
TAPPER: And you know what? Frankly, after this grim, rough and tumble election season, it's hard to imagine a more fitting end to this season than an actual fist fight.
TRUMP: Some things in life you could really love doing.
TAPPER: Thanks for spending your Sunday morning with us. You can catch me here every Sunday and weekdays on "THE LEAD" at 4:00 p.m. Eastern. And go to CNN.com/SOTU -- STATE OF THE UNION, for extras from the show.
I'm Jake Tapper in Washington.
"FAREED ZAKARIA GPS" is next.