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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
Interview With California Senator Barbara Boxer; Trump Scripted With Minorities?; Storm Drenches East Coast; FBI Releases Clinton E- Mail Report; Trump Will Speak to Black Church in Detroit Saturday. Aired 4-4:30p ET
Aired September 2, 2016 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: The FBI report, new released, says that Hillary Clinton told the FBI "I do not recall" 39 times, 39.
THE LEAD starts right now.
Breaking news: the FBI releasing its files on the Hillary Clinton e- mail investigation. Could we find out why the feds decided that her actions were careless, but not criminal?
So much for let Trump be Trump, Donald Trump now flipping the script after his script of what to say to the black community was leaked.
Plus, collision course. With a triple threat of flooding, rain, wind, waves, Hermine becomes the first hurricane to hit Florida in 11 years, and now she is going to be the uninvited guest who just won't leave and will wreck your holiday weekend.
Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
We're going to begin with the breaking news. This afternoon, the FBI released its report on the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation along with the notes from investigators who interviewed the former secretary of state about her use of private servers and her handling of classified information, which FBI Director James Comey described as -- quote -- "extremely careless."
CNN justice correspondent Evan Perez has been digging through the just released documents. He joins me live.
First of all, Evan, let's start with, what did the FBI have to say about how forthcoming Secretary Clinton was?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: I think the number you want to see is 39. That's how many times Hillary Clinton said that she could not recall in response to questions from the FBI in her interview over the Fourth of July holiday.
Take a look at one U.S. answer. She says -- Clinton -- quote -- "could not recall any briefing or training by State related to the retention of federal records or handling of classified information." Repeatedly, she also said that she assumed people who sent her information to her private server were aware of the restrictions governing classified information, Jake.
TAPPER: The FBI's concern obviously has been the classified information which was mishandled, and some of this report is redacted. Do we know any idea what this classified information was about?
PEREZ: The biggest part of it is the CIA drone program. That is the biggest source of her troubles in these documents. Everyone knows the program exists. But still it's a covert program.
And you're not allowed to talk about it on government e-mail that is not highly secure. Now, one particular issue was an e-mail chain around 2011 Christmas holidays. The FBI redacts a lot of the e-mails. But we know from source that Clinton and others at the State Department were using coded language to discuss CIA plans to carry out a drone strike.
She tells the FBI she didn't really have any concern about talking about drones on e-mail because -- quote -- "That was part of the routine deliberation process," and that there was frankly no way established to talk about things like that during the holidays.
TAPPER: That is stunning. The fear, of course, obviously hacking, an enemy country getting access to this information. Is there anything in the report about how aware she was of these fears?
PEREZ: Well, yes.
These documents show that Clinton and her staff were aware of the hacking attempts. Here is one example where Clinton receives a pornography link from a private e-mail address of someone at the State Department. She tells her top aide, Huma Abedin, that she was worried that someone was trying to hack her e-mail.
The FBI says that Clinton didn't actually click on the link, but if she had, it would have launched malicious software that would have sent information to Russia, Jake.
TAPPER: And this report also gives us an idea of why Director Comey said her handling of the information was extremely careless. It's not just because of this private server. It also has to do with her devices.
PEREZ: That's right.
There's still a lot the FBI could not figure out because they couldn't examine all of the different devices she used. There were 13 mobile phones that she used welcome. The FBI couldn't recover any of them. And she also used five iPads. They could only examine two of them.
Jake, we just got a statement from the Clinton campaign, Brian Fallon, the press secretary. We have a piece of the statement here that says: "We're pleased that the FBI has released the materials from Hillary Clinton's interview, as we had requested. While her use of a single e-mail account was clearly a mistake, and she had taken responsibility for it, these materials make clear why the Justice Department believed there was no basis to move forward with this case."
TAPPER: That's his opinion.
All right, Evan Perez, thank you so much. Appreciate it.
Joining me now to discuss this all, Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer of California, who is a strong supporter of Hillary Clinton.
Senator, thanks so much for being here. Appreciate it.
SEN. BARBARA BOXER (D), CALIFORNIA: Of course.
TAPPER: So, the FBI report says that Secretary Clinton's aides told investigators that she replaced her BlackBerry quite a lot, and that the whereabouts of the old devices were frequently unknown. That sounds careless, does it not?
BOXER: You know something, Jake?
I'm not going to talk about who is careless with their devices. And I have to tell you, there has not been one other secretary of state before Secretary Clinton that even was able to release one e-mail, let alone pages and pages.
She has gone through the ringer on this. There is no criminal activity in any way. That's not my opinion. That's the opinion of the FBI.
So, all of this, was she careless? She said she made a mistake with this whole thing. I think we need to move on here, because the country, the country is facing a presidential election with two candidates who have the most different visions of America that I have ever seen. And I have been around a long time.
TAPPER: Well, I want you to take a listen to Secretary Clinton last October, when I asked her about she should have known better than to use a private server because of the potential for classified information getting into the wrong hands. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I dealt with classified information very carefully and seriously. I usually met with people to discuss it. It was delivered to me in hard copy, so marked. And then, when I traveled, I had one of those tents, because we were afraid of prying eyes from certain governments, that I would read classified material in.
So, I'm very familiar with the importance of treating classified information as it should be, with great care.
(END VIDEO CLIP) TAPPER: So, she says she is very familiar with how it should be treated, and yet this report says she told the FBI that she didn't pay attention to the level of classification and that she thought when there was a C marking on e-mails, which stood for classified, she said she thought that was a way to put paragraphs in alphabetical order.
That doesn't sound like somebody very familiar with the importance of treating classified information with great care.
BOXER: Well, I remember Director Comey being asked about it, and he said it would be understandable that when that little C was at the side of a paragraph, you wouldn't realize it was classified.
Again, we can look -- this -- these e-mails have had more study than a chest X-ray. And this thing can gone on ad infinitum.
Meanwhile, we have Donald Trump, who won't release even one year of his tax returns. We have Donald Trump, who lied when he came out of that visit with the Mexican president and said nobody ever raised who would pay for the wall, when the Mexican president said he emphatically said he would never pay for the wall.
And yet we talk about something that has been scrutinized over and over. There was an FBI investigation. It's been made public. And the fact is, there was no criminal activity here. Let's move on.
I will sit here and talk about it all the time you want. That's fine. But I come back to the same thing. Nobody else has revealed any e- mails. I will tell you, senators, you ask a senator, they all use their personal and their official on the same server.
Listen, it goes on. It's wrong. We should figure it out. But let's move ahead here.
TAPPER: You want to move on, but let me ask you a question. Wouldn't it be a good idea...
BOXER: Well, I think you should move on, but that's your -- you're the guy asking the questions. And you go ahead. Ask whatever you want.
TAPPER: Let me just ask you, don't you think it would be -- if Secretary Clinton and her supporters like you want to move on and change the subject, wouldn't a good idea for her be to have a press conference and take questions on this?
It has been more than 270 days since she has had a press conference. Why not have a press conference, answer these questions, and then maybe the press will move on?
BOXER: Well, that is just not true, because, last month, she held a press conference and she answered many, many questions. I have seen the questions myself.
And she sat down -- according to NPR, she has had sit-down interviews, more than 350 this year alone. So, yes, I mean, you would prefer probably a different type of news conference, but she has been answering questions continually on every subject.
TAPPER: She took a few questions at a forum last month, but that was not a full-on press conference. But I take your point on the interviews.
Senator Barbara Boxer, thank you so much. Really appreciate your time.
BOXER: OK. Of course.
TAPPER: Thirty million people from Georgia to Connecticut under a tropic storm watch or warning, as Hermine takes aim at the East Coast.
Brian Todd is live in Charleston, South Carolina, where conditions have been deteriorating -- Brian.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jake, this city has gotten round after round of heavy rain bands. We're getting one now. It's has high winds all day long, as those whitecaps and storm surges can illustrated.
We're going to show you how this storm has ripped through the Carolinas just ahead.
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD.
Minutes ago, the Trump campaign jumped on the FBI report on the investigation into Hillary Clinton's personal e-mail server.
"Hillary Clinton," they wrote, "is applying for a job that begins each day with a top-secret intelligence briefing, and the notes from her FBI interview reinforce her tremendously bad judgment and dishonesty."
But Trump is also focused today on outreach to new voters. He will speak with an African-American church congregation in Detroit tomorrow. A report in "The New York Times" suggests Trump's campaign has gone to a lot of trouble preparing a script for the candidate's appearance, after he's been criticized for his approach to black voters in recent weeks.
CNN political reporter Sara Murray is live right now out at Trump Tower.
And, Sara, Trump has been criticized for making these overtures to black voters in front of white audiences, but tomorrow is decidedly different.
SARA MURRAY, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It will be a little bit different, Jake.
And, to be honest, today was different, to see him going into Philadelphia to go to this charter school and having this roundtable. Tomorrow, he's going to be at a church in Detroit.
But that doesn't necessarily bat back all the criticism. I have spoken to a number of folks today who aren't entirely sold on the fact that this is an authentic pitch to win over minority voters, and the fact that it seems overly scripted is not selling them either.
MURRAY (voice-over): Donald Trump's highly scripted approach to winning over minority voters continuing today with a round table in Philadelphia. The GOP nominee is already facing criticism for his next campaign stop, an African-American church in Detroit.
That's after "The New York Times" unearthed a transcript of prewritten replies Trump's campaign hope he deliver to pre-supplied questions in a Q&A with a pastor.
Now, that pastor says he's tweaking his questions and he expects Trump's visit will be a bit more expansive.
BISHOP WAYNE JACKSON, FOUNDER & PRESIDENT OF THE IMPACT NETWORK: He wanted to meet and talk to the people while he was here. That's what his visit is all about. It is to make sure that he, while he is in town, talking to people because he is being criticized that he 's been preaching to African-Americans from a backdrop of white people.
MURRAY: As for Trump, his speech is staying the same, arguing minority voters have nothing left to lose.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: You have tremendous numbers of African-Americans that have had a hard time, and they live terribly. And I say, what do you have to lose? I say to them, what do you have to lose? Give it to me. I'm going to fix it.
MURRAY: But after the backlash from his hard-line immigration speech this week, a speech that cost him support of some of his own advisors, Trump says his plan was misunderstood. Now he's saying his approach to dealing with millions of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. isn't set.
TRUMP: I want to see, before we do anything further, how it shapes up when we have strong, I use the word impenetrable borders.
MURRAY: All of this even as he admitted to the Wall Street Journal that his meeting with the Mexican president inspired him to toughen his immigration speech.
Trump saying he added this line --
TRUMP: They don't know it yet, but they're going to pay for the wall.
MURRAY: After the Mexican president revealed, via Twitter, he told Trump he would not pay for the border wall. With the campaign entering the final sprint, Trump is taking care of
other tasks, receiving his second classified intelligence briefing in New York today, and hiring a new deputy campaign manager -- David Bossie, the president of conservative advocacy group Citizens United.
MURRAY: Now, today, the Clinton campaign is launching a new attack against Donald Trump, turning the tables on him and accusing him of pay to play.
Now, that's after "Washington Post" story said Donald Trump was forced to pay a penalty to the IRS for an improper political donation, according to "The Washington Post". That donation went to a group connected to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. At the time, Pam Bondi was trying to decide whether to investigate Trump University for allegations of fraud. She ultimately dropped that investigation.
And, Jake, I can tell you, she has been a very ardent supporter of Donald Trump on the campaign trail this year.
Back to you.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Interesting. Sara Murray, thank you so much.
I'm joined now by our political panel, former adviser to Jeb Bush's presidential campaign, Michael Steel, president of the Center for American Progress and Hillary Clinton supporter, Neera Tanden, and former communications director for Ben Carson, Deana Bass, who is supporting Donald Trump.
Let me start with what Sara Murray just talked about, and that's the donation and the fine reported by "The Orlando Sentinel". Mr. Trump fined by the IRS for an illegal contribution to Florida's attorney general who is deciding whether or not to investigate Trump University and she didn't, that kind of stinks.
MICHAEL STEEL, FORMER JEB BUSH CAMPAIGN ADVISOR: Yes, although in this case, there were enough -- it may have been evidence of the sort of slapdash organization that the Trump campaign has or the Trump organization has. They went to -- they reported the gift to a similar sounding group based in the Midwest, rather than to the group in Florida. I'm not certain, while it looks and sounds bad, I'm not sure this one is a smoking gun.
TAPPER: No. But, Deana, let me ask you, doesn't it play into the same thing that Mr. Trump accuses the Clintons of, is if you give money, you get access and decisions that you like.
DEANA BASS, FORMER COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, BEN CARSON CAMPAIGN: I think, first of all, thank you for having me.
TAPPER: It's great to have you here.
BASS: And I was Dr. Carson's national press secretary, not his communications director.
TAPPER: OK, I apologize. Somebody's going to be fired for that.
BASS: No problem, I love your staff.
But as it relates to this issue, I think that what we need to really look is if we're doing this tit for tat, when you look at the Clinton Foundation, Charity Navigator has decided not to review the Clinton Foundation because of atypical practices. So, if we're weighing the two, I think this is not -- this pales in comparison to all of the bad things.
NEENA TANDEN, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS/HILLARY CLINTON SUPPORTER: I could not disagree more. Charity Navigator actually just recently gave an A rating --
TAPPER: I think she's saying Charity Watch --
TANDEN: Charity Navigator gave them an A rating.
BASS: Charity Navigator has, maybe it happened in the last week, but Charity Navigator consistently has had on their website that they refuse to review the Clinton Foundation because of the atypical practices. They do not understand the model of governing at the Clinton Foundation.
[16:20:00] So, Charity Navigator --
TANDEN: But that has all changed, because they've now given it an A rating. They dived into it, they analyzed it and they gave it an A rating.
TAPPER: That did happen just in the last day.
TANDEN: So, I think that actually shows and I think this is a great point that you're making. Now that that's happened, it shows the criticisms are really false.
So, I think this is a situation that is night and day. The Trump Foundation, people with very little information about what it does. It's not transparent where the Clinton Foundation has been.
So, here's an example of the Trump Foundation actually paying what looks like a political bribe to a political actor that makes a decision in his favor. It is quintessential pay to play.
TAPPER: Let me move on --
TANDEN: I just want to say I hope we have as much concern for Republicans around this where you have actual investigation took place and criticism -- TAPPER: I want to come to you, Deana, right now just because your
former boss, Dr. Carson, talked a lot about how Republicans should try to appeal more to the African-American community and how the African- American community should do more to listen. What do you want to see happen tomorrow when Mr. Trump speaks to this African-American group?
BASS: First, I'm excited he decided to go into the African-American community. I think it's fair for him to get the tough questions, about the language that he's used, you know, about the African- Americans, of his outreach, the appeal, the way he has, you know, used, in some cases harsh language about the plight of the African- American community.
But I think it is very, very fair for those questions to be asked, Hillary Clinton has had 30 years to earn the trust of the African- American community. And in areas like -- in cities like Chicago, Baltimore, where Democrats have pretty much had the reign, we see, we don't see success in the black community in the way we hope so. So, I would like candid questions and I would like to see candid answers.
But just really quickly, I think it's unfair to criticize Donald Trump for doing the very thing that we've asked him to do, to go into the black community.
TAPPER: What are you hoping for tomorrow?
STEEL: I couldn't agree with more. I think it's clear that big government liberal policies have failed in America's inner cities. I think that it's important for Republicans to have these conversations, and I think that -- I hope that it goes very well. I hope everyone is respectful and it's a great dialogue.
TANDEN: You know, I agree it is great he is reaching out. I think a lot of people are concerned that it's taking less than 70 days to the election, he's been in this for a year. And I think the issue with the scripted questions and scripted answers is it seems like he is not prepared to have an open and free dialogue.
I hope that happens tomorrow, and I hope he has a very different message to African-American community that he's in. And, you know, when you have a presidential candidate who in some swing state polls has zero percent of support from African-Americans, that should not just be a concern to African-Americans. It should be a concerned to the whole country.
STEEL: I couldn't agree more. I think that Donald Trump is polling in some places behind George Wallace in terms of the African-American vote. It's long past time that he did something to try and to do better with that.
And I don't think, by the way, having staff prepare suggested answers to question is in any way unusual. I assume Secretary Clinton does very much the same thing in front of variety of audience. BASS: Some of the DNC papers have indicated that Hillary Clinton that when her staff prepared her to speak to Black Live Matters, they gave her specific words to use and not to use. As a staffer, I've done that. I worked before on the Hill, and on political campaign.
When you're a staff, your bosses to make sure they're prepared for the questions, and I don't think that there's anything wrong with that. I would like for him to not -- I mean, I think it's important and I think the pastor, the bishop has said that he's going to ask questions not on the script.
But this idea that he has scripted questions is not at all --
TANDEN: I think that's the issue is it seemed like he was not -- the whole situation was very staged. I hope it will be a free discussion, and there are concerns about that.
TAPPER: Yes. I think there's consensus on the panel. We hope it's a free and fair and tough exchange of ideas and answers.
Thanks one and all. Have a great weekend. Appreciate it.
He disappeared in China ten years ago, and now he's reportedly reappeared in North Korea, and wait until you hear about the bizarre new job he has.
[16:28:32] TAPPER: And we're back.
Staying with our politics lead: For many, Labor Day weekend is about barbecues and, of course, that last trip to the beach, but for presidential politics, the holiday traditionally marks the starting gun and the final sprint to Election Day.
CNN is taking a deeper dive into the personal and professional lives of both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump by speaking with those who know them best.
Our chief political analyst Gloria Borger has spent much of the year taking a hard look at the Trump campaign and Mr. Trump the nominee and Mr. Trump the businessman for a two-hour documentary airing Monday night.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Should we go to it? I think we have an excerpt here.
BORGER (voice-over): Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, one of the biggest in the world. Lost of glitz, glamour, and stagecraft.
But behind the curtain, a serious problem.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I went there on opening day, it was a mess.
BORGER: Alan Lapedus (ph) was an architect for Trump Plaza.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You could not find your way around without a guide book, which is not good for a casino.
BORGER: And Lapedus says the Casino Control Commission had issues, too.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They shut down a third of the slots. The slots are the prime revenue producer of the casino. To shut down a third on opening day was both humiliating and financially disastrous.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It really was a meltdown of monumental proportions.