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Hala Gorani Tonight
FBI Reopening Email Investigation Related To Clinton; Law Source: Emails Not From Clinton; Trump Gaining Momentum In Final Days Of Race; Sources: Emails Found During Anthony Weiner Probe. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired October 28, 2016 - 15:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Welcome, everybody. We begin with breaking news that could not come at a worse time for Hillary Clinton.
Just 11 days before the election, the FBI says it is reopening its investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private e-mail server while
she was secretary of state.
The scandal has really hung over Hillary Clinton since the race began. She is speaking right now at a rally in Iowa. These are live images from Cedar
Rapids, Iowa. She for now has kept focused on her campaign message. She has not addressed this development directly.
Now the FBI closed this investigation into Clinton's e-mail server back in July recommending against any charges, but it now says it has discovered
new e-mails that require scrutiny.
As for Donald Trump wasted no time seizing on the news. He spoke in New Hampshire a short time ago, the first of three states he's visiting today.
The crowd roared when Trump announced the FBI's decision. He says the case threatens the security of the United States calling the scandal, quote,
"bigger than Watergate," unquote.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Hillary Clinton's corruption is on a scale we have never seen before. We must not let her take her
criminal scheme into the oval office. I have great respect for the fact that the FBI and the Department of Justice are now willing to have the
courage to right the horrible mistake that they made.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: All right, we heard from other members of the Trump campaign, delighted at this development. More on the breaking news we are following
this hour, the reopening of the investigation into Hillary Clinton's e-mail now with CNN justice correspondent, Pamela Brown, who joins us live from
Washington. What should we expect now going forward after this announcement?
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: That's a very good question, we're all sort of asking that question and it is unclear when this will
wrap up. James Comey, the director of the FBI, making the stunning announcement today in this letter he sent to Capitol Hill.
That new e-mails have surfaced in a separate investigation and now the FBI is going to look at those e-mails and see how significant they are and
whether they relate -- how they relate to the Clinton e-mail investigation.
Here is what he said in this letter. He says in connection with an unrelated case, the FBI has learned of the existence of e-mails that appear
to be pertinent to the investigation.
I'm writing to inform you that the investigative team briefed me on this yesterday and I agreed that the FBI should take appropriate investigative
steps designed to allow investigators to review these e-mails.
And so essentially what they're doing here is looking at these e-mails, seeing whether they contain classified information and how they relate to
the Clinton e-mail investigation.
But as you may recall, James Comey had come out and said he did not recommend charges in this case. That the investigation was complete.
Essentially that it was a done deal.
So this is truly a bombshell announcement that these new e-mails have come to light and there is a question of how the FBI didn't see these e-mails
before or during that year-long investigation it was doing.
This is certainly not good news for the Clinton camp as we are just 12 days away from Election Day. Back to you.
GORANI: There is so much we don't know here. We don't know whose e-mails they are. We don't know that they're Hillary Clinton e-mails. Do we know
that they were, at some point, on her server, on this server, the private server in her home? There are so many questions because it's so vague.
BROWN: Yes, that is what is surprising about this is that there is not a lot of context here. I'm told this is very carefully worded. That a lot
of thought went into this letter because obviously the FBI knew that it was going to be released and go public.
But it does leave a lot of unanswered questions, most of all, were these letters -- were the e-mails from Hillary Clinton, were that marked
classified? All of those things, were they from her private e-mail server?
I expect those answers to trickle out in the coming days. But it is just surprising give where we are in this election cycle for this news to come
out with such little context from the FBI. Of course, we're calling and trying to get answers to those questions, but it is a bit surprising.
[15:05:09]GORANI: In fact, while you have been speaking on the air with us, Pamela Brown, Evan Perez has been reporting that a law enforcement
official has told CNN that these e-mails are not Hillary Clinton e-mails.
The FBI previously did not have them in their possession, and an electronic device is being examined as part of that unrelated investigation.
But again, we're looking at a time line that will go beyond Election Day and it will have or could have a political impact on the race.
BROWN: It certainly could and you have to remember that millions have already voted early in the United States. So this could have an impact
moving forward, but also you have to look at where we are in the election with the early voting and everything.
It would be very unlikely for this to be wrapped up before Election Day. These things take time. The Clinton private server investigation took a
year. So there is a strong likelihood that this will go beyond Election Day.
GORANI: All right, Pamela Brown, our justice correspondent, we really appreciate it. Thanks for covering breaking this news for us. Let's cross
to CNN legal analyst, Laura Coates. She's live in our Washington Bureau with more on this. What do you make of the emergence of this letter sent
to Capitol Hill by James Comey, the FBI director and what should we expect timeline wise going forward?
LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, you know, politically, as Pam has talked about, you talked about, the optics aren't good for Hillary Clinton.
But legally speaking nothing has really changed in terms of the FBI's decision about whether or not these e-mails, if they are related to Hillary
Clinton's e-mail server, and that's still a big if.
If they are related to it, would change the FBI's ultimate decision back in July, which remember was even if she may have been careless as he
indicated, there is no indication that he had intent to kind of go around existing laws or had an intent to do the wrong thing with respect to the
So it doesn't change it for her legally, but as you know, 11 days from the U.S. election, that will not help her argument of semantics.
GORANI: But it is interesting, though, what do you make of the wording? It is very vague. We don't know. He doesn't mention. We're learning from
the reporting of our Evan Perez that these are not e-mails from Hillary Clinton herself. That they were found on an electronic device.
But James Comey wrote in his letter to Capitol Hill, the FBI has learned of the existence of the e-mails that appear to be pertinent to the
investigation. I mean, this is not a clear cut sort of set of -- (inaudible) description of what the FBI will be looking into.
COATES: That's right. That harks back some of the critiques that James Comey got back in July. When you have these vague or generic descriptions
or thing that's are not clear for the public. It is a wonder why you would disclose it if your function is to investigate.
Remember, we deal on the court of law, not the court of public opinion and one of the (inaudible) that James Comey had before was that by revealing
all of the information with respect to the investigation.
And still ultimately concluding not to charge Hillary Clinton criminally in this case, what he did was put into the public opinion things that normally
would never be there and leaves not only a vague perception.
But allows the public to make innuendos and inferences that would never be allowed in a court of law and that's why this is such an astounding
decision by James Comey once again.
GORANI: Just so we're clear in the United States, the FBI does not bring charges, it is the attorney general's decision.
COATES: Absolutely, and that's one of the fair critiques. You know, the FBI's role is the kind of work on behalf of the Justice Department to try
to figure out whether they should prosecute a case. There is never whether to ultimately prosecute.
That's the purview of Loretta Lynch and the attorney generals that follow and so the issue here is whether or not he usurp their role by coming out
and holding a press conference back in July and more importantly now once again inserting himself into the judicial purview once again.
That is a fair and I think accurate critique of James Comey and by having it be so vague and so kind of generic subscription, it misconstrues perhaps
what is really going on.
GORANI: Is this a requirement? Does the FBI required to send the letter if they comes across potentially new evidence that could be useful in an
investigation that they said was closed months before, is that a legal requirement?
COATES: I'm not aware of any legal requirement or they're required to do that. What they are doing essentially is keeping the Senate abreast of
their investigation, which not really required to do. Their role is separate from that branch of government and for good reason.
GORANI: All right, Laura Coates, thanks very much. We appreciate it. Thanks for your analysis on this.
Even before the FBI bomb shell, it was already a pretty good week for Donald Trump. He is speaking of steam in the final days of the race.
[15:10:05]And just today he injected $10 million of his own cash into his campaign to keep the momentum going. Look at this new poll by ABC News and
"The Washington Post," it finds that Trump has narrowed the gap with Clinton nationwide and now lags just four points behind, 44 percent to 48
percent. This is nationally.
Now you'll remember this is the same tracking poll that had Clinton ahead by 12 percentage points last Sunday, big swing there. Let's talk about all
of this now with Stephen Collinson, a senior reporter for CNN Politics. We're also joined by Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at
the University of Virginia.
Larry, let me start with you, when you heard that the FBI had sent this letter to Capitol Hill informing them that they would reopen the
investigation into Hillary Clinton's private e-mail server. What went through your mind ten days from the election?
LARRY SABATO, DIRECTOR, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA CENTER FOR POLITICS: I was astounded that the FBI director would, with any fashion inject himself and
the FBI into a presidential election just 11 days before that election. It is absolutely unprecedented, absolutely unprecedented.
GORANI: What should we make of it?
SABATO: Well, I think the director of the FBI owes us more of an expectation. It is unfair to the voters. It is unfair to Hillary Clinton
and her campaign. People have a right to know what was so significant. He said he could not even judge the significance. Why did he do this at this
He had his opportunity, really, last June. He could have kept the case open if he had wanted to do so. He did not. So I think this is astounding
and it is bound to have a negative effect on Hillary Clinton. How much, we don't know?
GORANI: All right, Stephen Collinson, that same question, that Larry just posed to you, what kind of impact can we expect on the Clinton campaign
STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN POLITICS SENIOR REPORTER: Well, Hala, I think it's very difficult to chart how this will go down before the election just
because we don't know exactly what we are dealing with, but the fact that Hillary Clinton is yet again having to face questions about her e-mail
You know, it is the haunting problem of her campaign that never goes away. That is very bad news for her. I can tell you that Donald Trump's campaign
reacted to this news gleefully almost.
Donald Trump was out within a few minutes talking to a rally saying that the FBI had now decided it made a mistake by not recommending charges
against Hillary Clinton and it could be corrected.
This is clearly a rallying point for a candidate who is struggling 11 days before the election. Now the question is, is there anybody out there that
did not make up their mind on Hillary Clinton and her e-mails?
It is possible there are some undecided voters, but it is unclear that there are that many, and Donald Trump's path to the presidency is so
difficult that everything has to go right for him.
He has to have a perfect run through all of these battleground states. The question, is this big enough to chance that occasion? Right now, we have
to say it probably isn't, but we just don't know what exactly the implications of this e-mail situation just come up today we are dealing
GORANI: And Larry, historically speaking, 10 or 11 days from election day, November 8th in this case, how much can we -- historically, have we seen
the final result change from the polls in the last few days of the campaign. Is this something that could still change wildly in the coming
SABATO: It is certainly conceivable that it could. I think Stephen makes a good point in that almost anyone who is going to vote has decided for
whom they are going to vote. How could you be undecided with a stark of a choice as we have in this election between Clinton and Trump?
But you know, I'm with Steven in another way, we have to see some data. We have to see some polling. This is a stunning development that will
undoubtedly hurt Hillary Clinton in some ways that we can't even calculate yet.
GORANI: Yes, but I wonder, though, Stephen, I mean, Larry is saving these developments will hurt her undoubtedly. But you had this cloud over her
for months now. Will this necessarily change anything? Because this is a very vague letter, a few paragraphs by James Comey.
We're learning these are not e-mails by Hillary Clinton, but that were received by her potentially on an electronic device. So will that
necessarily change minds or hurt her?
COLLINSON: I think, you know, in some ways the facts of what Comey is saying are not important is the perception here. This plays directly to
Donald Trump's best card, if you like, in the waning days of this election.
That Hillary Clinton is scandal ridden. That she's corrupt. That she can't be trusted. That basically in the words of his supporters that she
should be locked up and put in jail.
[15:15:11]So in that sense it brings back the biggest vulnerabilities of Hillary Clinton's candidacy and I think that's where it could change
You know, if she was going against a conventional Republican candidate with no skeletons in his closet, it might be much more damaging, but we know
that Donald Trump is potentially even a more flawed than Hillary Clinton has been with all of the things that we've learned about his background and
So it is possible this comes up and it's awash. It could be that something else comes out about Donald Trump in two days and we've all forgotten
about. This is the characteristics of the last week of an election.
Things come up, there is a huge storm then they either impact the election or they fade away and something else happens. It is almost an hour by hour
thing I think.
GORANI: Larry, lastly to you. I want to ask you about the polls. Of course, you know, that polls before Brexit failed to predict that Brexit
would win in the referendum last June, same with the general election in the U.K.
Many analysts and experts say that is because people who intend to vote for Brexit or the other parties in the U.K. don't necessarily say that they
will do so to pollsters, is it possible that support for Donald Trump is under estimated in some of these late polls?
SABATO: It is possible, I think it is unlikely for this reason. Some of our pollsters have done their best to try to determine whether there is a
hidden or shy Trump vote, and we have compared, for example, anonymous online surveys where you don't have to admit to a human being for whom
you're voting versus live interview or telephone polls.
And there maybe is a point worth of difference, a point's worth, well, if it's an extremely close election, a point could make the difference. I
doubt it is that close.
I am going to be stunned if in the end the issue raised by the FBI director does in fact change the results of the election. But it certainly injects
a giant question mark in just 11 days before we vote.
GORANI: All right, Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia, Stephen Collinson in Washington, thanks to both of you for joining us.
And by the way, you're seeing on the right-hand side of your screen there, Hillary Clinton is campaigning in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, an important state
for her. She has not, I understand, just double-checking, she's not directly addressed this new development? She has not.
Donald Trump immediately seized upon it, but it seems as, though, so far she has not addressed it, and if she does and there are new developments
from Iowa, we'll bring them to you.
We'll have a lot more on the breaking news straight ahead. We hear from a CNN reporter who's been following Clinton's campaigns throughout the
election season. How that camp is reacting and the rest of our news. Stay with us.
GORANI: You see the breaking news there we have been covering, the FBI reopening their e-mail investigation related to Hillary Clinton's private
e-mail server. Donald Trump says he has "great respect," quote/unquote, for the fact that the FBI is now reopening this probe. Let's go live now
to CNN politics reporter, MJ Lee, in New York. What more are you learning about this, MJ?
MJ LEE, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: I can tell you that the Hillary Clinton campaign has been silent on this issue so far. Remember very interesting
twist of events in terms of when Clinton even found out, she was en route from New York to Cedar Rapids, Iowa when this news eventually broke.
That this investigation was essentially being reopened. According to my colleagues who were on the plane, they were having issues with the Wi-Fi on
the plane. So they really did not find out about this news until they landed.
It was quite a shock to the reporters who are on board the plane and then to the staffers as well and presumably to Hillary Clinton herself. Now she
just wrapped up her speech in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and she did not mention this FBI investigation news.
But she did say very interestingly at the top of her remarks, she said, quote, "Donald Trump says he can still win, and you know what, he is
right." So this is just a stunning turn of events just coming 11 days out from the election.
Remember, the context here is that the Democratic nominee has been fairly confident as have been her advisors in the last couple of days. A great
example of this is the fact that they are campaigning in Arizona next week.
This is a state that typically votes Republican, should have been more difficult for Hillary Clinton during this cycle, but because of the way the
polls have shaken out, they have decided that this is now truly a competitive state.
So in the course of just a little while, the Clinton campaign has really gone from sort of being in cruising mode, feeling very confident, and
showing to suddenly being in crisis mode, I think, trying to figure out how they are going to get out of this news cycle and deal with this really
GORANI: Right. Just to let our viewers, our justice correspondent, Evan Perez, sources have told him that the e-mails that prompted this new probe,
MJ, were on a device being examined as part of the Anthony Weiner investigation.
Weiner was until very recently married to top Hillary Clinton aide, Huma Abiden. In fact, they are still married. They have announced that they're
divorcing. So this is also an interesting new development.
And I do wonder the fact that these are not -- it appears as though they are not Hillary Clinton e-mails that they were found on a device, and they
were part of a probe into Anthony Weiner. How this might change the calculus for the Clinton camp?
LEE: Right. I mean, that is very interesting news, obviously. Huma Abedin is a very, very close advisor to Hillary Clinton. She is basically
the person who is with Clinton everywhere she goes, and as the new documents and batches of e-mails that we have seen from Wikileaks have
really testified, there is no aide as close to Hillary Clinton as Huma Abiden.
It is stunning to think about what kind of e-mails may have come out in the FBI's investigation into Anthony Weiner's emails. It is important to
stress at this point that because we're working with so little information, relatively sparse information.
We should stress that what James Comey, the FBI director, said was that these e-mails appear to be pertinent to the investigation and that they
were discovered in connection with an unrelated case. So that is really not a lot of information that we are working with right now.
Presumably, at some point in the near future, Comey will have to sort of address this further and allow the public to know and allow the campaigns
to know exactly what we are talking about here.
GORANI: Yes, but in the meantime, we're ten days away, the cloud of suspicion as far as Hillary Clinton's critics are concerned, still very
much hanging over her campaign and one has to wonder how she will decide to address this and when, MJ.
LEE: Yes, and I was thinking just sort of how ironic the timing of this is, my colleague and I wrote a story a couple days ago, I have been
traveling across the country with Hillary Clinton and back in New York for just a day, she has been in a very, very good mood the last couple days and
She has seen her poll numbers rise as she was celebrating her birthday. She has been very open with the media, at least compared to the beginning
of her campaign.
She has been coming back to the back of her airplane to talk to members of the press, and really trying to be a little more open and show a little
more of a loose side of herself that we really haven't seen throughout the entire campaign.
[15:25:08]So I am very curious to see tomorrow when I'm back on the road with her if her demeanor is different. Is she a little more closed up now
that she is confronted frankly with this new piece of information that she really was not expecting.
GORANI: MJ Lee, thanks very much reporting from New York with the very latest. MJ will be back on the campaign trail with Hillary Clinton
Coming up, we have much more on that breaking news, the FBI reviewing new information related to Hillary Clinton's personal e-mail server.
And the rest of the day's important news, civilians paying the price. I speak to the U.N. humanitarian chief about his anger over the world's
inaction on Syria. He called it our generation's shame. We'll be right back.
GORANI: Looking at our top stories and our breaking news to start, the director of the FBI says the bureau is reviewing new information related to
Hillary Clinton's personal e-mail server reopening that investigation.
In a letter to Congress, James Comey says the bureau has learned of the existence of e-mails that, quote, "appear pertinent to the investigation."
CNN has since learned that these e-mails were part of an investigation into Anthony Weiner who, until recently, was married to top Hillary Clinton
aide, Huma Abiden. They are now separating.
Also, among our top stories, civilians trapped in Mosul are facing new horrors at the hands of ISIS as Iraqi and Kurdish forces advance toward the
The U.N. says the militants have executed more than 230 people in the city that they deemed uncooperative. And it says ISIS also is rounding up tens
of thousands of others to use as human shields.
The kremlin says the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has rejected a request from his generals to resume airstrikes in rebel-held Eastern
Aleppo. Just hours earlier, the rebels launched an offensive to break the siege of the city.
Donald Trump is pouncing on this breaking news. Let's listen to more of what he said at a rally in the immediate aftermath of the announcement of
the FBI renewing its investigation into Hillary Clinton's e-mail server.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I need to open with a very critical breaking news announcement. The FBI has just sent a letter to Congress informing them that they have --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: -- the FBI has just sent a letter congress informing them that they have discovered new e-mails
pertaining to the former secretary of state, Hillary Clinton's investigation. And they are reopening the case into her criminal and
illegal conduct that threatens the security of the United States of America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: We're learning more details by the minute about that surprise decision by the FBI. Let's get details from
CNN's Phil Mattingly in Cedar Rapids, Iowa where Hillary Clinton is campaigning as we speak. So far no reaction, Phil?
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, not at all, Hala. This was kind of the amazing thing. Just to give you context, we left New York this morning
on Hillary Clinton's campaign plane. Hillary Clinton on the plane.
Her top advisors including her campaign manager, one of her closest personal advisors, Huma Abedin, her campaign communications director,
Jennifer Palmieri, all on this plane.
Hala, the plane did not have working Wi-Fi. Usually it does, it did not today for whatever reason. So as we landed, here in Cedar Rapids, the news
broke while we're in the air, Clinton's closest advisors had no idea.
As one advisor looked to me from the back of the plane and said I'm learning about this at the same time you guys are. So they were completely
caught off guard.
Hillary Clinton made her way to a rally here in Cedar Rapids, did not mention the issue at all during her remarks, but she did says this, Donald
Trump thinks he can win this election and he is right, anything can happen.
But that was in the context of something entirely different, but on a day like today, with the news that we have seen come out, certainly raised some
eyebrows here, and kind of push a new reality.
When we were on the plane, before anybody knew about this, her advisors were talking about Hillary Clinton's looming trip to Arizona, a Republican
stronghold state that Hillary Clinton has put into play this election.
That's how confident they are about her numbers or were about her numbers before all of this news broke. But as you noted, they have not commented
since this news came out.
This is what we're waiting for right now. No question about it, shock inside this Clinton campaign when they found out about it as they landed
here in the battleground state of Iowa -- Hala.
GORANI: So there is no Wi-Fi on board and this is really literally something that they learned when they landed on the ground in Iowa, is that
MATTINGLY: That is exactly right. Her advisors usually they deplane right away and head to the event. They waited about 20 minutes inside the plane.
Again, Hillary Clinton's most senior advisors were all on this trip with us. Sometimes they stay back in the campaign headquarters in Brooklyn.
They were all here. So they were all finding out about it at the same time. As we noted before, the State Department was not aware of this. A
lot of FBI officials have questions about what is going on, but the Clinton campaign was completely in the dark about something that is an earth
shattering rattling moment with just 11 days left in this campaign.
It's worth noting, Hala, there is a lot of open questions about what this investigation entails. As you noted, none of these -- this investigation
is not dealing with e-mails that Hillary Clinton sent herself according to law enforcement sources.
But all of this is stuff that the Clinton campaign is digging through trying to figure out at the same exact time we are -- Hala.
GORANI: All right, Phil Mattingly, thanks very much. As you mentioned, many questions still looming there. James Comey's letter to Capitol Hill
very vague saying, the FBI has learned of the existence of e-mails that appeared to be pertinent to the investigation.
We don't know what that entails. We don't know what that will means in terms of how the FBI will handle this new information. We do know from
sources we've spoken to CNN that these e-mails were found during a probe into Anthony Weiner's conduct online.
Anthony Weiner, of course, was married to Huma Abedin, who is a top aide to Hillary Clinton. They've announced that they are divorcing. We don't have
any more information than that.
The markets reacted quite a bit and immediately to that FBI announcement. You see there is the Dow Jones lost ground. It now bounced back up, it
dropped 125 points when the news broke.
Let's go live to Richard Quest. He is in Key West, Florida and he has been keeping his eye on the markets. It was remarkable to see that big dip, but
then usually investors have a chance to think about it a little more calmly with a cooler head and their stock prices went up just in the last hour.
[15:35:07]RICHARD QUEST, CNN MONEY EDITOR-AT-LARGE: Yes, and I think what you have to understand that if you put it in perspective over the last two,
three, or four weeks, what you have seen is the markets pricing in a Hillary Clinton victory.
Same can be said for the Mexican peso. It is priced in that she is going to win the election. We have been following closely all markets, gold,
currencies and equities how they are favoring one candidate or the other.
And Hala, until now the equity markets very much were in favor of a Hillary Clinton victory. Now the idea that the discovery of these e-mails would
call that into question, which of course it could that is what you saw with this immediate knee jerk reaction with the fall in the Dow.
But calmer minds have prevailed over the course of the last couple of hours. It certainly caused the need reaction, but calmer minds have
prevailed over the course of the last couple of hours. It certainly hasn't rallied hugely, but it's gained back the losses and we're up 12-18 points
at any given moment.
GORANI: Quest, thank you very much. We will see you at the top of the hour, live from Florida on "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS."
Let's get more with CNN political analyst, Rebecca Berg. She is also a national political reporter at Real Clear Politics. Thanks, Rebecca, for
Let's just clarify what we're talking about here. The FBI director sends a letter to Capitol Hill saying that the FBI has learned of the existence of
e-mails that could be or appear to be related to the investigation.
What is exactly happening here? Is this a reopening of an investigation? Is it part of an investigation that the simply suspended? Is it a new
investigation? Could you clarify that for us?
REBECCA BERG, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Sure. Technically speaking, the investigation into Hillary Clinton's e-mails, while it was resolved, the
FBI made its recommendation to the Department of Justice not to pursue any sort of prosecution in the case, as a technicality that case is never
If any new information arises, it can always be sort of revived and they can begin to take a second look at it and that appears to be exactly what
happened in this case.
We are receiving a report now from the "New York Times" that a device was obtained in a federal investigation into Anthony Weiner and his sexting
with potentially an underage woman.
This is being investigated separately from anything related to Hillary Clinton, but there are more e-mails on his devices and Huma Abedin, his
wife, that related to Hillary Clinton's server and the FBI investigation potentially into it.
So we don't know what those emails say, how they relate to the case, and really whether they are of any interest or will give us any sort of new
But because they're relevant, the FBI has made the decision just to give them a second look really to do due diligence in this case, and that letter
to Congress was just acknowledging that there is new information.
GORANI: But why make that public as far as the FBI director is concerned, if the FBI doesn't yet know if they're pertinent or relevant?
BERG: It is actually because Director Comey of the FBI testified before Congress a few weeks ago regarding the Hillary Clinton case. Republicans
in Congress wanted to know why she hasn't been charged with a crime, wanted to get more information from the FBI about the investigation, and it has
been carried out.
During that testimony to Congress, a sworn testimony, Director Comey says that, you know, the investigation was complete. They hadn't found anything
to suggest that the prosecution was warranted and he gave Congress as many details as he had and answered all their questions as he could.
If he has new information suddenly that might call into question what he told Congress a few weeks ago and so he needs to make clear to them he
didn't have this information at that time. This is a new development.
GORANI: Go ahead. I was going to say we know that this will not be resolved before the election. So it is going to have to have, I mean, he
must know, James Comey, by sending this letter to Congress that this could have a huge impact.
BERG: Absolutely, we're actually hearing from both parties, Republicans and Democrats, asking why are we hearing this 11 days before Election Day?
The simple answer is that this new information has only come to the FBI within the past couple of days, if not the past day.
And so immediately Director Comey says he went to Congress to inform them of this new development, but certainly Republicans and Democrats alike are
going to be saying why make this public? Are there political motivations?
[15:40:09]And there is certainly a right for that question to be asked. Hopefully, we will be getting some answers. But as you suggested it might
not be before Election Day and that is critical for Hillary Clinton as this moves forward.
GORANI: Rebecca Berg, thanks very much. We appreciate your time with us on CNN. Hillary Clinton's campaign and her supporters will be scrambling
to respond to this announcement by the FBI.
I'm joined now by Maria Cardona. She is a CNN political commentator and a Hillary Clinton supporter and she is in Washington. Your initial reaction,
Maria, to this.
MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR (via telephone): I was a little bit flabbergasted, Hala, because -- and to kind of go into your
conversation with Rebecca, in terms of what Comey has done up until now in this investigation. Let's be very clear about the kinds of things that he
has done that are completely unprecedented when it comes to an FBI investigation.
When he came out to announce that there would be -- that he would not be recommending that the Department of Justice move forward with any charges
because there was not sufficient evidence to do that.
And that that was a unanimous decision by his whole team of investigators, analysts, and agents. He also came out and gave a huge press conference
and completely editorialized that decision. That is unprecedented.
That is something that an FBI director has never done before. Normally what an FBI director does is --
GORANI: Do you think it is politically motivated?
CARDONA: -- they make the decision. They announce the decision, and then that is it.
GORANI: Do you think it's politically motivated?
CARDONA: I think there is politics involved, yes. And then when he was getting a lot of heat from the Republicans, because clearly he didn't make
the decision that they wanted then he decides to share with them the notes of the investigation.
Again, Hala, completely unprecedented. That has never been done before. And now he gives us this very vague announcement they have now found some
e-mails that may or may not be pertinent to the investigation into Hillary Clinton's e-mail server.
It's not an investigation on her, let's be very clear. We don't even know what emails they are. They may be very have nothing to do with Hillary
Clinton. They might have nothing to do with this investigation. That is - -
GORANI: At some point --
CARDONA: It is irresponsible for him to do that 11 days before the election.
GORANI: But we know that Hillary Clinton didn't bring this up in Cedar Rapids. She was just in Iowa campaigning. That she was, we've learned
from our reporters that she seemed to be in a great mood in the last few days. She's been leading in the polls. She's heading to Arizona. But at
some point she has to address this. How do you think she should address it?
CARDONA: How do you address something that you don't even know what is in there? The Hillary Clinton campaign did not get a heads up about this.
This is why this is so ridiculous. How do you address something when you have no idea what FBI director is talking about.
My hope is that they have been on the phone for the last hour or they've been meeting with the FBI office. Her attorneys have at least to trying to
get more information about this.
Because this is beyond the pale to me in terms of the kind of unprecedented insertion that the FBI has now committed into a political campaign that
they know is more heated than any political campaign in the recent history.
And let me just tell you, I used to work at the Department of Justice. The Department of Justice and a law enforcement agency very rarely even gives
out subpoenas this close to an election simply because they don't want to sway the election one way or the other.
That is how -- that is how sensitive the Department of Justice and their agencies should be to the kind of political sway they know they can hold.
GORANI: But as a Clinton supporter, Maria, are you worried it could have a very negative impact on Hillary Clinton's campaign?
CARDONA: Well, I don't think at the end of the day this will change the trajectory as desperate as Republicans are to have it changed because they
know that Donald Trump was on the path to a loss on November 8th.
But of course I worry because I don't think that this is going to change any minds for people who are already Hillary Clinton supporters.
[15:45:06]And for people who are Donald Trump supporters, of course, this is going to be like political craft to them and they are going to try to
use it against Hillary Clinton as much as they can.
Because they know that nothing else has been able to bring her down so they will try to use this, no question about that. I have already seen them and
But yes, there are some undecided voters out there. I don't many there are, Hala, but what my hope is, and Hillary Clinton will continue to talk
about the issues.
But they're more focused about who has the temperament to be commander-in- chief, the experience, the knowledge, and the expertise to understand the nuances of what being the leader of the free world is all about, of
understanding our alliances around the world.
Who are our allies and who are our adversaries? Someone that doesn't go out and praise dictators left and right, or go out and ditch our allies and
talk smack left and right. That person is Hillary Clinton.
GORANI: All right, Maria Cardona, thanks very much, one of our political commentators and a Hillary Clinton supporter reacting to this breaking
news. Thanks so much for joining us from Washington.
Check out our Facebook page, facebook.com/halagoranicnn. Find some of our interviews and our content from the program. We'll be right back.
GORANI: All right, a quick update on the breaking news this hour, the director of the FBI says the bureau is reviewing new information related to
Hillary Clinton's e-mails. In a letter to Congress, James Comey says the bureau has learned of the existence of e-mails that, quote, "appear
pertinent to the investigation."
Sources tell CNN that Comey said he had no choice but to tell Congress now, 11 days before the election. He said he ran the risk of being accused of
hiding relevant information before the election.
Sources tell CNN that these emails were found during the Anthony Weiner probe. We have a statement from the Hillary Clinton campaign, from her
campaign manager, John Podesta. I'm going to read it to you.
"Upon completing this investigation more than three months ago, FBI Director Comey declared no reasonable prosecutor would move forward with a
case like this and added that it was not even a close call.
In the months since Donald Trump and his Republican allies have been baselessly second guessing the FBI and in both public and private
browbeating the career officials there to revisit their conclusion in a desperate attempt to harm Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign."
The statement goes on to read, "FBI Director Comey should immediately provide the American public more information than is contained in the
letter he sent to eight Republican committee chairmen.
[15:50:01]Already we have seen characterizations that the FBI is reopening an investigation, but Comey's words do not match that characterization.
Director Comey's letter refers to emails that have come to light in an unrelated case, but we have no idea what those emails are and the director
himself notes they may not even be significant."
John Podesta goes on to write, "It is extraordinary that we would see something like this just 11 days out from a presidential election. The
director owes to the American people to immediately provide the full details of what he is now examining.
We are confident this will not produce any conclusions different from the one the FBI reached in July." The statement from John Podesta, the Hillary
Clinton campaign chairman in response to that FBI letter sent to GOP congressional chairman by FBI Director James Comey.
There you have it. It was a longish statement. I read it cold. Apologies as I was learning the content of the statement as I was reading it. We're
going to take a quick break here on CNN. We'll be right back. Stay with us.
GORANI: All right, now on to Syria despite months of aerial bombardment and a humanitarian situation nothing short of catastrophic, Syrian rebels
in Aleppo are once more pushing back against government control.
GORANI: They're doing what they can, these opposition fighters, to break the government siege of the eastern part of the city. The renewed fighting
came as Russian, Syrian, and Iranian foreign minister met.
Despite these attempts at diplomacy, anger over the war in Syria is stretching right around the world from the streets of Aleppo right into the
chambers of the U.N. Security Council.
The U.N.'s humanitarian chief, Steven O'Brian did not mince his words in his address to the council saying he is incandescent with rage over the
deaths of civilians. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHEN O'BRIAN, U.N. UNDER-SECRETARY FOR HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS: Month after month, worse and worse and nothing is happening to stop the war, stop
the suffering. This council has been charged with the responsibility for ending this horror. The buck stops with you. It must shake your moral
conscience as it does around the world.
Surely the international community must the question the value they genuinely place in humanity when entire neighborhoods in one of the world's
oldest cities risk annihilation. The residents treated with gross contempt is nothing more than bricks and mortar pounded into dust.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Stephen O'Brian, earlier I spoke to Mr. O'Brian, I began by asking him about his address at the U.N. Security Council, what he was hoping to
O'BRIAN: My job is to identify the facts of where we have people who are suffering and have humanitarian needs and it's our job to try and find a
way of meeting those needs and that is the essence of my report to the Security Council, which I made, and I appreciate that it was hard hitting
and (inaudible) attracting a reaction, but I stand by the facts.
GORANI: It was a dramatic few moments at the U.N. Security Council, and the Russian representative in particular had this so say in response to
your presentation, let's listen.
[15:55:07]VITALY CHURKIN, RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N. (through translator): But today's statement by Mr. O'Brian forces me to make some
critical comments especially when he speaks in his arrogant way about how the U.N. is above all criticism.
I don't agree. Mr. O'Brian, if we needed to be preached to, we would go to a church. If we wanted to hear poetry, we would go to a theater, and U.N.
members of the Secretariat, what we expect when they come to the Security Council is an objective assessment of what happened. That didn't really
happen in your statement.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Well, Vitaly Churkin there, the Russian ambassador saying if we needed to be preached to, we would go to church, what went through your
mind when he said that?
O'BRIAN: Look, I'm an international civil servant in the United Nations. I have a totally, and must have a totally impartial and objective approach.
I have to receive reports of some of the most gustily things happening in the hot spots around the world.
It's my job to put that before the Security Council and to suggest what needs must be met by all of us, collectively, to try and save lives and to
So I'm of course aware that I'm here to attract criticism and that sometimes facts which are not welcome will seek to be on the mind, but it
is done very seriously, with great care, to check the facts and make sure it is presented in a calm and professional way.
So it's important to recognize that we must never be deterred by some of the difficulties in our path. The only thing that matters is the forces
that enable us to talk to all parties.
GORANI: Do you know since the beginning of your term how many statements you've made on Syria? Can you hazard to guess?
O'BRIAN: The Security Council resolutions at the moment -- I'm required to make a monthly report of the humanitarian effects of the Syrian crisis.
GORANI: We've actually counted them, 63 statements on Syria since June 2015, the beginning of your term, and I think people who observed what is
happening in that country will say Mr. O'Brian is a powerful speaker, the United Nations is a powerful global organization, but words are words and
there has been no action, what is stopping it?
O'BRIAN: We all know that in the end the only thing that can secure peace and security is to have political solutions not military solutions. That's
why words do need to be used. They need to be used with impacts and effects, but we need to follow through and that is where your question is
right to be asked.
And given the world's arrangements, and yes, the U.N. is at the apex of those arrangements diplomatically we have not found the answer. Otherwise,
the war in Syria would not be perpetrated as we see it.
GORANI: Steven O'Brian, thank you very much, the U.N. emergency relief coordinator. We're going to have a lot more on our breaking news and the
rest of the day's developments with "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" at the top of the hour.
I'm Hala Gorani. I'll see you same time, same place on Monday. Stay with us.