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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
President Obama Speaks in Chapel Hill, NC; Interview with Sen. David Perdue; Trump: DOJ Insider Fed Clinton Campaign Info; New Polls Shed Light On Changing Campaign Stops. Aired 4:30-5p ET
Aired November 2, 2016 - 16:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That, "I need you to vote; You can change history. If Hillary wins North Carolina, she wins. Believe in your ability to effect change. Don't let your chance slip away" -- just hammering this into the crowd.
We have also heard him over the past couple of days appeal directly to African-Americans, mainly in radio ads, and telling them: "Look, you were excited about me. You need to be as excited for Hillary Clinton" -- Jake.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: President Obama with a direct appeal to the African-American voters in North Carolina as well, as he stands there in the Research Triangle in North Carolina, college-educated voters.
Michelle Kosinski, thank you so much.
Joining me now to talk about this and much more, the Republican Senator from Georgia David Perdue.
Senator, thanks so much for coming on today. We appreciate it.
SEN. DAVID PERDUE (R), GEORGIA: Thanks, Jake.
TAPPER: So, President Obama in the speech just there invoked Donald Trump's seeming reluctance to denounce the Ku Klux Klan, talking about the Democrats now accusing Republicans, accusing the Trump campaign of attempting to suppress the minority vote.
As I'm sure you know, just this morning, Donald Trump picked up a newspaper endorsement from "The Crusader," which is the Ku Klux Klan's quarterly. On the front page of the paper, the paper says that they want Donald Trump to be president and they write, "Make America Great Again."
The Trump campaign, though not the candidate, denounced the endorsement quickly.
Does it brother at all you that the Republican nominee continues to attract this kind of support from vile racist bigots?
PERDUE: Jake, these are last-minute, I think, drastic attempts to move the people of America away from the real issue.
Seventy percent of Americans, according to Gallup, think that the debt and the economy and jobs, the economic issues of this race, are the most important. And yet those are the things that Democrats don't want to talk about.
We just heard the president talk about how great this economy is doing. But, Jake, you know this is the worst recovery in the last 60 years. I mean, middle-class incomes are flat. GDP growth under this president on a compound basis is less than 1 percent. And under this president, we have allowed four million women to fall into poverty, and yet this is what they want to talk about on the eve of the election.
TAPPER: Well, first of all, it's the Klan that put this out, not Democrats. And the Klan is the one responsible for their endorsement of Donald Trump.
PERDUE: Well, but it wasn't solicited, Jake. This wasn't solicited by the Trump campaign. He's totally denounced it.
TAPPER: Yes, but the point is, the point is, the point is, does it trouble you that Donald Trump is attracting that kind of support?
Obviously, there are millions of Americans, tens of millions, who don't feel that way who support Donald Trump. But there is this group of people who hold these heinous views. And they are more strongly supporting Donald Trump than any nominee from any party that I can remember.
PERDUE: Well, they have never supported a Democrat. Let's put it that way.
But I will say this. This is not solicited. It's not been appropriated or approved by the Trump campaign. He spoke out on it just today.
But, again, here we are, we're talking about that in, I think, unreasonable terms. I think, right now, the American people want to get back to the real issues that bother them.
What created Donald Trump in the first place is that he talked about politicians, bureaucrats and the media. And right now, he's offered a plan for the future of America. Instead of talking about the past, what he's really talking about is putting people back to work. And that's what's driving this momentum.
I have been traveling around the country the last few weeks, and I can tell you there's something out there. And I don't believe it's being picked up by the polls accurately. So, I'm really anticipating a big move here in the last few days. I think Trump is surging around the country, based on what I have seen in the last few days.
TAPPER: One of the things that Donald -- one of the things that President Obama just said about Donald Trump was about Donald Trump's seeming inability to condemn David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan.
I believe that was a reference to when Trump was on "STATE OF THE UNION" on CNN back in February.
Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Will you unequivocally condemn David Duke and say that you don't want his vote or that of other white supremacists in this election?
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, just so you understand, I don't know anything about David Duke, OK?
I don't know anything what you're even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists.
So, I don't know. I mean, I don't know. Did he endorse me or what's going on? Because, you know, I know nothing about David Duke. I know nothing about white supremacists. And so you're asking me a question that I'm supposed to be talking about people that I know nothing about.
TAPPER: But I guess the question from the Anti-Defamation League is, even if you don't know about their endorsement, there are these groups and individuals endorsing you. Would you just say unequivocally you condemn them and you don't want their support?
TRUMP: Well, I have to look at the group. I mean, I don't know what group you're talking about.
You wouldn't want me to condemn a group that I know nothing about. I would have to look. If you would send me a list of the groups, I will do research on them. And, certainly, I would disavow if I thought there was something wrong.
TAPPER: The Ku Klux Klan?
TRUMP: But you may have groups in there that are totally fine, and it would be very unfair. So, give me a list of the groups, and I will let you know.
TAPPER: OK. I mean, I'm just talking about David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan here, but...
TRUMP: I don't know any -- honestly, I don't know David Duke. I don't believe I have ever met him. I'm pretty sure I didn't meet him. And I just don't know anything about him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: After Mr. Trump gave that interview, Senator, a commentator on the Web site Stormfront, which is an Internet haven for neo-Nazis and white supremacists, he called Trump's response -- quote -- "the best political thing I have seen in my life."
I recognize that you don't want to talk about this, but what Mr. Trump says and his refusal to repudiate in a vociferous fashion is attracting these people who are racists.
PERDUE: Well, two points, Jake.
First of all, that was a few months ago. What you saw this week, after this latest endorsement, was a total denouncement by the Trump campaign on that announcement.
The second thing is, let's talk about the Hillary Clinton campaign, who actually, I think, put money behind having people disrupt in a violent way certain Republican gatherings for Trump.
So, I think we have a little bit of a double standard here. He has renounced that. He denounced it this week. And I think that's all he needs to do.
What he's really trying to do the last few days is to get people talking about the real issues that people back here at home want to talk about.
TAPPER: Senator Perdue, thank you so much. I know you're a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. I want to have you back to talk about important international issues. I'm sorry President Obama's rally there ate into our time.
I appreciate it.
PERDUE: Would love to, Jake, any time. Thank you.
TAPPER: All right, thank you, sir.
Tightening polls everywhere, polls from battleground states seemingly being released every hour. We're going to bring you all the numbers right after we take this quick break. Stay with us.
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD.
President Obama recently in North Carolina, where polls have the race as tight as a tick on a Tar Heel, telling voters there in the Tar Hell State minutes ago they need to stop booing. They need to vote.
Why? Well, 10 new battleground polls out in the past four hours showing this race is going down to the wire.
CNN's John King is over at the magic wall for us.
John, it's a nail-biter. How do these new state polls impact the electoral map?
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Jake, let's walk through a bunch of them first and then we will get to the electoral map.
Let's start in Florida. New CNN polling in the Sunshine State, look at this, the closest state between Romney and Obama back in 2012, we're going to the wire again, Hillary Clinton with a two-point lead, 49 to 47, over Trump. But that's a statistical tie, within the margin of error.
So, Clinton is happy to be on top. But we're going to the wire there. This one is surprising to a lot of people, Jake. Pennsylvania hasn't gone Republican since 1988. Yes, Clinton leads, but only by four points as we head into the stretch. Donald Trump will keep an eye on Pennsylvania. He would very much like those 20 electoral votes. A close race there for Clinton.
Let's move out West. The secretary is out in Arizona today. But look at this. Just a week ago, there was a public poll showing she was ahead. Donald Trump's support consolidating. Voters trust him more on the economy, more doubts about her honesty after this FBI announcement, Donald Trump up five in Arizona.
And Nevada, another surprise, big in both of President Obama's wins. He won the state pretty handily, Donald Trump up 49-43 among likely voters in Nevada. A big deal there.
Let me skip over to the East and give you one more in the state of Ohio, always a critical state. This is the best news of the day for Donald Trump, a Quinnipiac University showing Trump up five in battleground Ohio.
So there's also a Wisconsin poll that shows Clinton ahead, North Carolina poll that shows it's still a dead heat.
So, let's go to the map that matters, Jake. How does it matter when you get to this? This is where we have the race. Clinton doesn't lose anything blue on this map, she's the next president of the United States. But if Trump is getting Nevada, Trump is getting Arizona, and Trump is getting Ohio, that puts him in play at 214.
Let's assume his consolidation of Republicans out here carries over to Utah and he can defeat the never-Trump conservative, Evan McMullin. That gets him to 220.
Then it comes down to this, Jake. It comes to Florida and to North Carolina. Clinton leads in both states now, but just by a whisker, margin of error races. If Donald Trump can turn Florida and turn North Carolina, then he's in play, 272 to 264. He would just need a blue. So, if you want to look at two states this week, the final days, watch North Carolina and watch Florida.
TAPPER: All right, John King, thank you so much.
Another day, another WikiLeak. These are e-mails stolen from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, an in-kind contribution to the Trump campaign almost certainly from the Russians, at least according to U.S. intelligence agencies. Today, Donald Trump seized upon one e-mail suggesting the Clinton
campaign had an inside source at the U.S. Department of Justice, specifically Assistant General Peter Kadzik. The hacked e-mails showed he sent Podesta an e-mail on his private account with the subject line "Heads Up," this as President Obama weighs in for the first time on the FBI revealing new e-mails pertinent to Clinton's private server.
CNN's Jim Sciutto brings us this report.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Wading into what could be the defining issue of the 2016 election, today, President Obama sharply criticized FBI Director Comey's decision to alert Congress of new e-mails potentially relevant to the Clinton e-mail investigation.
Speaking to "Now This News," Mr. Obama implied Director Comey violated standing FBI norms.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I do think that there is a norm that, you know, when there are investigations, we don't operate on innuendo, we don't operate on incomplete information, we don't operate on leaks.
SCIUTTO: Today, Donald Trump, however, taking aim at the Department of Justice, alleging a conflict of interests in an e-mail between Clinton campaign chair John Podesta and Assistant Attorney General Peter Kadzik regarding the Clinton e-mail investigation.
TRUMP: Now, today, in a newly released e-mail through WikiLeaks again, we learned that Kadzik was feeding information about the investigation into the Clinton campaign, and that Kad...
TRUMP: Right -- and that Kadzik said -- quote -- "It will be a while before the state department posts the e-mails. Additional chances for mischief." These are the people that want to run our country, folks.
SCIUTTO: He's referring to this e-mail stolen by Russia and released by WikiLeaks today, which shows Kadzik, DOJ's chief lobbyist on the hill using a private e-mail address to communicate with Podesta. Kadzik writes, "There is an HJC oversight hearing today where the head of our civil division will testify. Likely to get questions on state department e-mails. Another filing in the FOIA case went in last night or will go in this a.m. indicates it will be a while, 2016, before the state department posts the e-mails." The question, was this a conflict of interest? Meanwhile, Comey continues to come under fire from democrats and some republicans for releasing investigation details so close to Election Day. Growing on Tuesday as the FBI released documents related to a 15-year-old investigation of Mark Rich, a friend of Bill Clinton, who was pardoned by the former president when he left office. The FBI insists the documents were released automatically to comply with a FOIA request. So, was the Podesta-Kadzik e-mail conflict of interest? To be clear, the Hill hearing schedule would have been public. The FOIA issue was the subject of a court filing, which also would have soon been made public. However, Kadzik used a personal e-mail to communicate with someone who was not even a party to that FOIA lawsuit, someone who happened to be a former client and may not have been illegal but was it too close for many Americans, unseemly, perhaps unethical? Certainly a fair question that I should say, Jake, we've reached out to both the DOJ and the Clinton campaign for comments on this, both of them are declining to comment.
TAPPER: What a surprise. Jim Sciutto, thank you so much.
SCIUTTO: Thank you.
TAPPER: Appreciate it. More on the tightening polls and the battle for every single vote. Stay with us.
[16:50:00] TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. Let's jump right in with our political panel we have with us today. Donald Trump supporter Kayleigh McEnany, former South Carolina State representative and Hillary Clinton supporter Bakari Sellers, Washington Bureau Chief for The Daily Beast, Jackie Kucinich, and republican strategist Kevin Madden.
Thanks, one and all, for being here. Kevin, let me start with you. The new polls from CNN/ORC show the race tightening considerably. Trump up by five in Arizona and by six in Nevada. Hillary Clinton up narrowly four points in Pennsylvania, two points in Florida. How much do you think this tightening was to be expected and how much do you think it was because of James Comey and the FBI?
KEVIN MADDEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, there's a natural tightening, but I think it's come up a lot because I think you see a lot of GOP'ers coming home because of -- not just the FBI but a confluence of events. I think the Obamacare announcement last week about rates going up, the WikiLeaks and the FBI all served to bring a lot of them home, and I think there are a lot of conscientious objectors out there that didn't like either one of these candidates but they definitely didn't want to vote for Donald Trump. And now, a lot of - and they were going to vote for Hillary Clinton and now that support has sort of softened. And so, as a result, you're seeing a tightening of these polls at a crucial time for Donald Trump when he's trying to get people out to vote.
TAPPER: And what do you see going on out there?
JACKIE KUCINICH, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, THE DAILY BEAST: You know, one of the things that struck me was the gender gap and how in several of these polls, it is not as wide as it's been, and it actually makes Hillary Clinton's recent attacks make a lot more sense, the fact that she's going after Donald Trump again for his treatment of women, she had Alicia Machado on the trail with her. It struck me in places like Florida, where it's only a couple of points. Ohio, it's tied, according to the Quinnipiac poll, so you can - I think we can expect those attacks to continue until that, you know, widens up again.
TAPPER: And we see - I mean, you pointed this out, but the Hillary Clinton TV ads that I've seen unleashed in the last two days are entirely about Donald Trump and women and that "Access Hollywood" video.
KUCINICH: Yeah, it's an old play that's worked in the past, and so they're running it again in the hopes of driving - of driving her numbers with women up, and, you know, potentially, college-educated men.
TAPPER: And Bakari, we've seen the Clinton campaign now releasing TV ads in Colorado, New Mexico, Virginia and Michigan, these are states where they did not want to have to be advertising in the last week of the campaign.
BAKARI SELLERS, CNN COMMENTATOR: Well, these are also states where Donald Trump has not led any single poll, but what this is, is you have - you have two different campaigns that are in two different states of a race, I believe. Hillary Clinton is firmly in the GOTV mechanism, where she's going to get her voters out. A lot of these ads that you're seeing are Get Out To Vote messages. We know what enthusiasm - what gives the base some enthusiasm. Donald Trump still has to win new voters to win this race. And so, Hillary Clinton's blue wall, it runs through the Midwest, it runs through states like Colorado, it runs through Michigan and Wisconsin, it's still very much in play. And Donald Trump's path to the White House is still very, very narrow. And, you know, she has a good problem. I mean, she has a lot of money to spend and I would be really, really mad on Election Day if Hillary Clinton doesn't clear out the bank. And so a lot of this stuff is spending money that you have.
TAPPER: And let me ask you, Kayleigh, because you're one throughout this election season, I come to you, and you have all of these numbers at your fingertips. What are you looking at when it comes to election night? What states are you going to be focused on? How is a Trump supporter gauging the night to see how well it is?
KAYLEIGH MCENANY, DONALD TRUMP SUPPORTER: So, what I'm looking at is according to the polls now where Donald trump is leading. If he gets Florida, Ohio, retains the Romney states, gets Iowa, gets Nevada, he has leads in some polls in all of those states, that's 265. Then he doesn't have to -
TAPPER: Say those states again?
MCENANY: Florida, Ohio, Nevada, Iowa.
MCENANY: Then he has to pick off one blue state like (INAUDIBLE) said. Right now, if he can pick off one blue state, Wisconsin or Michigan or Pennsylvania or New Hampshire plus Maine's second district, he can win this election. It's turning one blue state red, those are the four paths that I'm looking at if he retains the leads he has in the states I mentioned. TAPPER: Do you think that's -
[16:54:58] MADDEN: It's very, very hard. I mean, you're asking for an inside straight. And I - I think the state I'm going to be watching is North Carolina. When the polls close there and if Donald Trump hasn't kept North Carolina, it's not going to be a good night.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Got to win North Carolina.
TAPPER: Although, I agree with Kayleigh, though, that New Hampshire is being under discussed, that I think it's very, very tight there.
SELLERS: I mean, but Hillary Clinton also has not been down in a poll in New Hampshire for a long period of time. The three states that the Clinton campaign is watching, Virginia, Colorado, Pennsylvania. She wins all three of those, she's at 269, game, set, match.
TAPPER: All right. Kayleigh, Bakari, Kevin, Jackie, thank you so much, appreciate it. Reaction to the tightening polls from Trump's campaign manager, next.