Return to Transcripts main page
THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
Interview With Michael Moore; Trump Campaigns in Blue States; FBI Director Under Fire. Aired 4-4:00p ET
Aired October 31, 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: I went trick or treating across the street, and first lady Michelle Obama gave me seven cartons of cigarettes.
THE LEAD starts right now.
Eight crazy nights until America picks a president. Today, Donald Trump hitting Hillary Clinton territory to try and flip key blue states as he flip-flops about the integrity of the FBI.
It's the announcement that left voters in the dark and gave Donald Trump new life and gave Carlos Danger another 15 minutes. Three days later, will FBI Director Comey tell us anything else?
Plus, one wants Donald Trump to be president. The other thinks Trump could end up being the last Republican presidents. Dr. Ben Carson and filmmaker Michael Moore kicking off one of the biggest weeks in politics ever.
Hello, everybody. Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
Happy Halloween. Are you scared? I bet you are.
And the campaigns today probably wishing they could put masks on and disguise the flaws of their candidates. Eight crazy days left until the election finally happens, eight days left to see out if the FBI offers any more information about the State Department e-mails found on that new laptop.
This latest twist in election has guaranteed that Hillary Clinton will be haunted by the ghost of her e-mail scandal through these final days of the election and perhaps even beyond.
Today, two former attorneys general, one a Democrat, the other a Republican, calling the FBI director's decision to alert Congress of this new investigation with just 11 days left to go until the election, calling it a mistake.
Right now, the CNN poll of polls, the average of five national polls, still has Clinton ahead by five. That's a lead and it's not insignificant. But if Trump can whittle down that margin to under the margin of error, we may truly have no idea what will happen on one week and one day from today.
Of course, it's not a national election. It is state-by-state.
So, let's begin with political director David Chalian.
David, right now, in our electoral map, Clinton still seems to have the upper hand.
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, she does, indeed.
If you just look here, we have her over the 270 mark, Jake. She's at 272 the way the states are leaning or solidly in her direction right now. But you were just talking about that e-mail story.
And this is where I'm looking for impact. These light blue states here, Wisconsin, Michigan, down to Virginia, all of these light blue states, Pennsylvania, Colorado, that is where I'm looking to see if there is any damage to Hillary Clinton, because it's those light blue states that are already leaning her way that make up her very strong stance in the Electoral College.
Right now, we haven't seen any polling out of those states, Jake, so we don't know yet if she's taken on any water in them. But if we see any damage in those light blue states, that will set off alarm bells in Brooklyn.
And Donald Trump today is in Michigan, a very blue state. A lot of people are asking, why is he there? Isn't that just a waste of time?
CHALIAN: Well, here's why he's there.
These yellow states in the battlegrounds, if I were to assign every one of them to Donald Trump, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, Ohio -- let's see, these are being tricky there -- he still doesn't get there, 264 electoral votes.
He has to dig in to some blue-leaning territory. That's why you see him in Michigan today, in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania tomorrow. He needs one of those states to come his way.
Now, it's an opportunity cost, though, right, because if he is campaigning in turf that is not already -- that is leaning in Hillary Clinton's direction, Jake, that leaves her to park herself in Florida, as she did this weekend, in Ohio today. She can keep playing in Florida, Ohio, North Carolina to try to flip those true battleground tossups, while he is trying to dig into territory that isn't favorable to him right now.
TAPPER: Fascinating. David Chalian, thank you so much.
We have two reports today about the latest controversy, the e-mail controversy, and how it's roiling the Clinton campaign.
Let's start with CNN chief national correspondent, Jim Sciutto.
Jim, we were stunned on Friday when Director Comey sent this letter. But now today former Justice Department officials are saying they were stunned, too.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: That's right, and former officials from both parties, as you said earlier.
The FBI now at the beginning a painstaking process, investigators using software comparable to a specialized search engine to try to isolate e-mails found on Anthony Weiner's computer that could -- could -- be relevant to the Clinton server investigation.
Officials make clear that it's unlikely the public will hear from the FBI director until there is information , if there is any, found pertinent to the e-mail investigation.
SCIUTTO (voice-over): Tonight, CNN has learned that agents at FBI facilities in Quantico are now combing over thousands of e-mails on a laptop belonging to disgraced Congressman Anthony Weiner and his estranged wife, Huma Abedin, key aide to Hillary Clinton.
Just eight days from the election, the FBI has now obtained a warrant to search those e-mails found in a separate investigation of Weiner for allegedly sexting with a minor.
Officials tells CNN that Comey was made aware of the e-mails in mid- October, but only went to Congress with the information after he was given a fuller briefing on Thursday.
Today, the White House walking a fine line, praising Director Comey's character.
JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Director Comey is a man of integrity, he's a man of principle. He's a man who is well-regarded by senior officials in both parties.
SCIUTTO: But communicating the importance of FBI traditions limiting public discussion of ongoing investigations, especially close to an investigation.
QUESTION: Would not the White House say let's put more information out there, then?
EARNEST: I think that was the hope that Director Comey had, that was his stated hope of sending the letter in the first place.
QUESTION: Clearly, it's not enough.
EARNEST: Well, clearly, it had the opposite of the intended effect.
SCIUTTO: Comey's decision to go public so close to Election Day has drawn fire from both Democrats and Republicans, including George W. Bush's attorney general, Alberto Gonzales, who spoke to CNN today.
ALBERTO GONZALES, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: I really worry that, in this particular instance, the FBI director has made an error in judgment in terms of releasing this kind of letter, which really says nothing.
SCIUTTO: However, when Comey testified on the Hill in September after recommending not to bring charges against Clinton, the FBI director did hint he would investigate if he discovered new evidence.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you reopen the Clinton investigation if you discovered new information that was both relevant and substantial?
JAMES COMEY, FBI DIRECTOR: It's hard for me to answer in the abstract. We would certainly look at any new and substantial information.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is Jeff Zeleny traveling with the Clinton campaign in Ohio, where Hillary is pushing back on the FBI.
HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: A lot of you may be asking what this new e-mail story is about and why in the world the FBI would decide to jump into an election with no evidence of any wrongdoing with just days to go.
CLINTON: That's a good question.
ZELENY: She's trying to get back to her closing argument against Donald Trump.
CLINTON: Donald Trump has a dark and divisive vision for America that could tear our country apart.
ZELENY: She's looking to regain her footing and turn questions about her into questions about Trump's fitness for office.
CLINTON: Imagine him plunging us into a war because somebody got under his very thin skin. Now, thankfully, he's never been in a position where he had to help make life-and-death decisions for our country.
ZELENY: But changing the subject may be a tall order for Clinton. For 18 months, she's been trying to move beyond the e-mail controversy. Now it's front and center, a cloud of uncertainty still in the air.
CLINTON: I understand, and, as I have said, I'm not making excuses. I have said it was a mistake and I regret it.
ZELENY: With eight days to go, the race is tightening in key battleground states. At a cafe in Cleveland, she kept her eye on the campaign, not the controversy. But inside her Brooklyn campaign headquarters, aides remained on a
wartime footing, and Democrats like Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid took the lead in striking back.
He fired off a letter to FBI Director James Comey saying: "Through partisan actions, you may have broken the law. In tarring Secretary Clinton with thin innuendo, you overruled longstanding tradition and explicit guidance of your own department."
Advisers to Clinton tell CNN they are still assessing the potential fallout, but acknowledge at least some souring from independents and Republicans who are leaning their way. Nationally, Clinton still retains an edge. she's up 5 points over Trump in the latest CNN poll polls.
For a third straight day, top aide Huma Abedin, whose e-mails are being searched by the FBI, was off the campaign trail. Clinton is standing by Abedin and says she's eager to help the FBI reach a conclusion.
CLINTON: By all means, they should look at them. And I am sure they will reach the same conclusion they did when they looked at my e-mails for the last year. There is no case here.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
ZELENY: So, Jake, now Secretary Clinton's closing argument includes a new apology about her e-mails and more explanation here.
That's what worries her advisers. They had hoped to close the campaign raising questions about Donald Trump, not answering questions about her.
But she said here at this rally that most people have already made their minds up on this. That is true of Democrats. The question is, is it true among those independents who are still so important in this race? But, Jake, no question as she goes forward here, her team is still assessing the fallout. They think they may not know for the next two days, at least, how bad this may be for them.
But they are moving on, campaigning here tonight and in Florida all day tomorrow -- Jake.
TAPPER: All right, Jeff Zeleny in Kent, Ohio, Jim Sciutto here in D.C., thanks to both of you.
Quote: "If Trump wins the election, it may feel good for a few days or even a week" -- unquote. Those are the words from filmmaker Michael Moore, words that the Trump campaign and Trump supporters keep touting. They are missing a key part of the quote, of course.
And filmmaker Michael Moore will join me next. Stay with me. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD.
Let's stay with politics. Filmmaker Michael Moore has been warning his fans for months that he feels there is a good chance Donald Trump could win the White House. And Moore has even laid out five reasons as to why.
The Trump campaign even seized on something the progressive filmmaker said in his new HBO special, "Michael Moore in Trumpland," when Michael Moore said that Trump voters are not racists and rednecks, but decent people.
The Trump campaign, however, left out what Michael Moore said immediately afterwards. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL MOORE, DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER: Trump's election is going to be the biggest (EXPLETIVE DELETED) you ever recorded in human history.
And it will feel good for a day
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL MOORE, FILMMAKER: Trump's election is going to be the biggest (EXPLETIVE DELETED) ever recorded in human history.
[16:15:05] And it will feel good, for a day, maybe a week, possibly a month. And when the rightfully angry people of Ohio and Michigan and Pennsylvania and Wisconsin find out after a few months in office that President Trump wasn't going to do a damn thing for them, it will be too late to do anything about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Filmmaker Michael Moore joins me now.
Thanks so much for joining us, Michael.
Donald Trump himself retweeted that first half of your speech before you explain how Mr. Trump will not actually do anything for voters. What did you think when you saw how the Trump campaign was using the first part of the quote?
MOORE: That I'm just one more example of the fraud that he's been committing upon the American people, the con job of this guy, one lie after another for the last 18 months, and the fact that he would take a clip and doctor it from my film to make it look that I was for him, and then tweet about it. I mean, I guess that's the worst case scenario of what happened. I
frankly just think he woke up one morning, saw his name in the title of a movie, and being the narcissist that he is, just thought, hey, I'm in a movie, just started tweeting about it. So I don't know.
You know, when you introduced me, when you said that I don't think Trump supporters are racists and rednecks, actually a lot of his supporters are racists and rednecks, but there's a lot of people where I live in Michigan and around Ohio, Wisconsin, whatever, they're people that used to be part of the middle class. They're angry and they look at him trying to be the human Molotov cocktail they would like to throw in the system to blow it up. And he's getting a lot of votes from that.
TAPPER: You live in Michigan -- you live in Michigan and you feel like he has a good chance, Mr. Trump, to win. Do you think he could even win Michigan?
MOORE: Clearly, he thinks he does because he's there today. Watching the pundits this morning on cable news, everybody is like, why is he in Michigan, you know? I remember on our primary day back in March, there were over 100,000 more Republicans that showed up to vote on their side of the ballot than on the Democratic side.
The race over there was pretty much over. It was a big race between Hillary and Bernie. That morning, the majority of the polls showed Hillary ahead of Bernie anywhere from 80 to 100 points in Michigan. Twelve hours later, she lost to Bernie Sanders.
I don't trust these polls especially in the upper Midwest, in the Rust Belt. I think people tell the pollsters one thing and they're thinking another. People have to be busy, like starting right now. You should turn me off, you come tape Jake, watch him later. You should be out there doing what you can do to get Hillary Clinton elected, because every minute counts now, and they are confident that they're going to votes from people who used to have real jobs and no longer do, and they're going to be out and voting because they're angry.
TAPPER: Let me ask you a question, because you've never been a huge supporter of the Clintons. I don't think you've ever voted for a Clinton. You're a Bernie Sanders supporter and you supported other people in the '90s. Why should people support Hillary Clinton, especially people like you who feel like they represent -- the Clintons themselves, including Hillary Clinton -- they represent corporate interests and selling out the working man and woman?
MOORE: Because I don't think that's where she's at now. I think she's going to go on there -- I mean, first of all, she's adopted two- thirds of Bernie's platform. I don't understand any Bernie supporter who is still angry about this when the candidate has adopted two- thirds of what he was pushing for.
We're not being asked to vote for Margaret Thatcher here, folks. I mean, this is a pretty good person. She's a decent person. She tried to -- 20-some years ago, she tried to get universal health
care for all of us. I mean, she put her neck on the chopping block. They chopped it off.
I mean, if you remember, Jake, how she was treated for being the co- president and how dare she'd be involved public policy, she's the first lady. She went all over the world trying to put up a universal health care plan for us, and it went down in defeat, and it was another 20 years before we got Obamacare which is only a halfway measure to what we really need in this country.
And I -- ever since then, even though I've had these disagreements with her on the war in Iraq and Wall Street stuff, but this individual, I got to believe the Oval Office is going to do a lot of good for people, a lot of good for women, a lot of good for kids, and we're going to have our first woman president in 240 years. So, this is a great historic moment that we should be excited about and be a part of.
And I know a lot of people are depressed about what happened with Comey and the FBI on Friday --
[16:20:04] TAPPER: Let me ask you about that, Michael, because after that happened, after the FBI Director Comey's decision Friday, you tweeted, quote, "Unless the emails show Hillary lit a forest fire, has been running Halliburton or is responsible for the Galaxy 7, I don't give a rat's ass."
But you don't. But do you think that there might be enough voters who do care?
MOORE: No, I think Trump voters care. I don't think this is going to change any Trump vote or Hillary vote. What I worry is that either A, people who are thinking of not voting may decide now to vote for Trump. Or Hillary voters are like, I can't take it anymore, I don't want to listen to this anymore, or they've lost their enthusiasm which they need to regain over these last next eight days, because I mean, this is exactly what the Trump side hopes happens is that the Clinton vote gets depressed.
Well, don't get depressed. You're going to be really depressed if this man makes it into the White House. We're going to have a huge, huge problem on our hands. So, I think we need to quit focusing on these e-mails, nobody knows what's in them, even the FBI doesn't know. And whatever it is, it's the e-mails from somebody else's computer by somebody else that had nothing to do with her.
And if I were her, I'd be really sick and tired of these men by now, and especially the sexual predator nature of both Trump and allegedly Weiner. And I mean, this poor woman, hasn't deal with enough men that this is just -- where I hope women who are watching this or going to be voting just said, I'm sick of it. This is it.
You know, this woman has had to go through enough over these last 25 years. And she is there for the people and we're going to put her into the Oval Office. She's not going to do any harm to people when she's sitting there.
I firmly believe that. I believe that she has made incredible changes that the left should embrace, and we should get out there and get excited about her and feel good about what we did with Bernie. We won 22 freaking states. So, that's pretty damn good.
TAPPER: All right. Michael Moore, thank you so much. Appreciate it. Hope to see you soon, sir.
MOORE: All right. Thank you, Jake. Appreciate it.
TAPPER: So, can Trump really flip one or more of these blue states filled with white working class voters? We're going to talk more about that, coming up.
Plus, he once reportedly crashed an aide's charity event, stole a seat and didn't give a dime to the charity. A new report on Donald Trump's charitable giving or lack thereof. Trump supporter and campaign advisor Dr. Ben Carson will respond to this, next.
[16:27:07] TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD.
Staying with politics, Donald Trump's campaign taking as a vitamin B12 shot in the arm the FBI's announcement newly discovered State Department e-mails possibly pertinent to the Clinton email server campaign. The Trump is hoping this will help him win states that the campaign had previously written off.
CNN political reporter Sara Murray is live in Warren, Michigan, where Trump is expected any moment.
Sara, a poll taken in Michigan before the FBI news had Clinton up by seven, but now, Trump advisers feel this news could put the state within reach.
SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Well, Jake, Michigan has lured Republicans in the past, only to leave them feeling burned on Election Day. But the Trump campaign is insistent that their internal polls show a tightening not just here but in other blue states that they're hoping to put into play.
MURRAY (voice-over): Donald Trump is betting on blue territory and cutting attacks to turn around his fortune.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think we hit the mother lode, as they say. Hillary is the one that broke the law over and over and over again. We can be sure that what is in those e-mails is absolutely devastating. Thank you, Huma!
MURRAY: The GOP nominee seeking to capitalize on the latest FBI probe surrounding Hillary Clinton's e-mails, insisting they'll reveal criminal activity, even though the FBI says it's too soon to tell whether the e-mails are even significant.
TRUMP: Hillary is likely to be under investigation for a very long time.
MURRAY: Trump hitting the trail today in Michigan, a state that hasn't voted Republican for president since 1998.
TRUMP: In eight days, we're going to win the great state of Michigan.
MURRAY: That's as Trump advisers acknowledged they need to flip at least one or two states that tilt blue, adding stops in Wisconsin, in Pennsylvania. After dropping by Colorado and New Mexico this weekend.
But in between, swipe the Clinton, Trump is still raising eyes for his continued praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
TRUMP: Hillary, she has such a bad relationship with so many countries. Putin can't stand her, doesn't respect her. They want to get ISIS, we want to get ISIS. We put everything together, we knocked the hell out of ISIS.
Wouldn't it be nice? Wouldn't it be smart?
MURRAY: As outgoing Minority Leader Harry Reid accuses the FBI of turning up ties between Trump and Russia without adding any evidence. In a letter to FBI Director James Comey, Reid says, "It has become clear that you possess explosive information about close ties in coordination between Donald Trump, his top advisers and the Russian government, a foreign interest of the United States, which Trump praises in every opportunity."
Meanwhile, Trump is lobbying some fact-free claims of his own, still insisting voter fraud is widespread as he took aim this weekend at Colorado's mail-in ballot system.
TRUMP: I have real problems with ballots being sent. Does that make sense?