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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
FBI Director Issues New Letter to Congress on New E-mails; FBI Does Not Change July Conclusion of No Criminal Activity; LeBron James Campaigns with Hillary Clinton; Interview with Senator Amy Klobuchar. Aired 4-5p ET
Aired November 6, 2016 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to "The Lead", and good afternoon, I'm Jake Tapper. We have huge breaking news this Sunday afternoon here in Washington, D.C. just two days before the election.
FBI Director James Comey has yet again weighed in on the Hillary Clinton e-mail server investigation. Today, in a letter to Congress, Comey said that the FBI has not found anything in those new e-mails discovered that would change their conclusions reached in July. Here's what Comey had to say back then in July.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES COMEY, FBI DIRECTOR: Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of information.
[16:00:00] There is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information. Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: In short, Comey concluded that Hillary Clinton and her team were careless but not criminal. Now for a week, it appeared to be an open question, if the FBI would re-evaluate its findings two Fridays ago. Comey informed Congress has his investigators had stumbled upon new, potentially pertinent e-mails uncovered on a computer, one that we later found out was shared by disgraced ex-congressman Anthony Weiner with his wife, Clinton top aide, Huma Abedin.
I want to get right to my colleagues, Dana Bash and Pamela Brown.
Pamela, let's start with you. Once again, a curve ball thrown into this by FBI Director Comey.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Right. Yes. It's been a bit of a roller coaster ride to say the least, Jake. A surprise letter from Director Comey to members of Congress saying that the FBI has reviewed all of the relevant e-mails from Anthony Weiner computer in that separate investigation. All the e-mails to and from Hillary Clinton and the FBI saying that after that review, it stands by the decision the recommendation of no charges that it gave back in July.
But I can tell you, this is a surprise because by all accounts, Jake, from folks we've spoken to in the FBI, my colleague, Evan Perez and I, this was something that was going to take a while. And it was expected that this review would not wrap up until after the election because of how lengthy it can be, separating the e-mails and then going to the different agencies to determine if there was classified information.
But clearly, FBI Director James Comey was aware of how high the stakes were with the election right around the corner. And based on this letter, he said, "I'm very grateful to the professionals at the FBI for doing an extraordinary amount of high quality work in a short of time," saying that essentially they have been working around the clock since these new e-mails were recovered. And as a result of that, Jake, the FBI reviewed these additional e-mails to and from Hillary Clinton and determined that there still should not be charges.
And the bar was always high, Jake, because remember, the FBI did find classified information on Hillary Clinton's e-mails in the initial investigation over the course of that year. But it didn't recommend charges because it had to prove intent, that these e-mails, that the people sending them, including Hillary Clinton, knowingly and willingly sent classified information. So the bar was very high in this new batch of e-mails to uncover intent. And it's clear, according to the FBI's letter, that that did not happen.
What's unclear, Jake, is whether new classified information was found in these e-mails. How many belonged to Hillary Clinton, how many were duplicates. Those details are not included in this. But the big news is that this probe is over for now. Unless they find more e-mails. And that the FBI stands by its decision back in July, no charges against Hillary Clinton, Jake.
TAPPER: And in this rather brief letter, the FBI director, James Comey, said that since his letter of two Fridays ago, October 28th, the FBI investigative team has been working around the clock to process and review a large volume of e-mails from that device. Presumably, he means that literally. That they have actually been working 24/7 or close to it.
Dana Bash, I suspect what we're going to see now, first after the July conclusion by Director Comey and the FBI, that Hillary Clinton's actions were careless but not criminal, and Donald Trump and Republicans attacked him and Democrats defended him, then as of last Friday, everybody switched places and Democrats attacked him and Republicans defended him. I suspect we're going to go back in this game of musical chairs to the original position, with Republicans attacking him and Democrats defending him. Am I being cynical?
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: No. And I shouldn't be laughing. But there is nothing else really I think you can do at this point but to look at how bananas this is. You already are seeing from Kellyanne Conway, Donald Trump's campaign manager, sending out a tweet saying, you know, to the Democrats who are saying ha, ha, we told you so, what happened to the way that you trashed James Comey before?
To be fair, what the Democrats and what the Hillary Clinton campaign -- Hillary Clinton herself, what they had been saying, certainly, they were very critical of Comey. But it was because he left such a gray area. He allowed the speculation. He sort of threw this out there without any conclusion and allowed the Republicans to interpret it in a way that benefitted them in the highest, highest, sort of most political moment in any time in American history.
And so that is why -- American history, what I mean is just a week or so before a presidential election. So that is why this is -- has turned on its head. I will say privately, I was just texting with a senior Republican strategist who said that there's no question that this is good for Hillary Clinton.
[16:05:03] You can't change the votes that have already happened, early voting, but there is no question it's good. And then the question for Hillary Clinton, how are they going to get this out there? I was just texting with a Clinton aide who said, well, it's more of a distraction because it was blocking out the sun. Take that -- from that what you will.
TAPPER: And we should point out, tens of millions of Americans have already voted in early voting.
TAPPER: And Gloria Borger, let me bring you in here. And we should make a note to people who this is their first presidential election they've paid attention to, maybe some younger viewers. When grownups use the term October surprise usually there is one of them. Not 30 of them. We had the "Access Hollywood" video, we had the women coming out making accusations, we had the Comey letter from October 28th, now -- we're in November, I suppose. But this is all rather uncharted territory.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. And we're not used to November surprises. And I think in terms of talking about how Democrats and Republicans are going to react to this, I've been texting with a couple of Democrats who are still furious at Comey because they believe that he just basically said never mind after turning the presidential race on its head not too long ago.
And they believe that he didn't need to do this in the first place. And the fear is that the damage has been done because, as you point out, there have been millions of people who have early voted and maybe some of those people would have voted for Hillary Clinton and decided not to after this.
And the question -- and Republicans, of course, will be furious with him for making the case that, oh, by the way, nothing has changed, and this quickly. And we should also note that it is remarkable that the FBI or anything in government has moved as quickly as this has. And so that's kind of stunning to everybody. So I'm sure that the Republicans will say, well, well, well, this is a bit of a whitewash, we are sure.
So it's not as if that he has removed the FBI from politics now because I think the damage was already done when he sent his original letter to Congress. And when we pull back from this, both sides will still be angry with him. The question is, does Hillary Clinton talk about this a lot or not? I mean, I think that's a decision they have to make. And I believe that Donald Trump probably will just continue to talk about Hillary Clinton and her e-mails, as he did before today.
TAPPER: Interesting. Gloria Borger, Pamela Brown, Dana Bash, thank you, one and all.
Jeff Zeleny is traveling with the Clinton campaign. They are in Cleveland, Ohio, right now. A very key battleground where polls have the candidates neck and neck. Perhaps Donald Trump with a slight edge.
Jeff, we have not yet heard from Secretary Clinton since this news broke. Her campaign has already come out and said that they feel the matter is resolved and that Clinton is exonerated.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: They have, Jake. And she is on her way to this rally site. Here, you can see Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown, who's warming up this crowd. She could be here, you know, any minute, and they are still deciding if she will address this.
I talked to one aide early on who said that he assumed she would address this because the reality is, the best way for the Clinton campaign to get this word out is for the candidate herself to make a statement from this podium. But that has not yet been decided, I'm told. But this will be her first opportunity to make a statement here. She has another event this evening in New Hampshire.
But, Jake, I have been talking to Democrats close to the campaign. And one Democrat told me this, he said, it is impossible to fully undo the damage the last nine days. I asked why. Said of course a lot of early vote has already come in. But even more than that, the campaign knows that this, you know, revelation and conversation over the last nine days has damaged Secretary Clinton among independents and Republican women, who were leaning toward voting for her and then have switched in the last nine days.
Now one other Democrat close to the campaign described this to me as a wound that they cannot be quickly healed. So it is unclear if, you know, this will change the last chapter of the race or so.
The campaign said it's resolved. That may be true, but politically, it still has, you know, put all this into the atmosphere here that won't quickly dissipate.
But, Jake, what we're watching for here is Hillary Clinton, who's appearing here with LeBron James, to talk about his endorsement, will discuss this when she campaigns in critical Cleveland. Critical Cuyahoga County, Ohio, one of the most important swing counties in the country -- Jake. TAPPER: And Jeff, let me just ask you, two days before the election,
two days is generally, in politics, not considered enough time to deliver a message. There are no doubt going to be millions of Americans who go to the polls on Tuesday who know about Comey's letter from last -- from two Fridays ago, but do not end up learning about this new letter before they vote.
ZELENY: No question. I mean, people are voting as we speak, at this hour here in Ohio and in so many other early voting states.
[16:10:07] The Clinton campaign realizes that this will take a few days to clean up, just as it did sort of just seep into the atmosphere. When this first happened nine days ago, it took a few days for the Clinton campaign to really get a sense of what this was going to do to the campaign. And so it will take as much time to sort of turn it around here. But they are considering a variety of things. One, she could do an interview on this. But the best way is for a candidate to talk about it.
So, Jake, you can be sure that they will be singing this from the rafters. And I assume Donald Trump will ignore it entirely, so his voters don't necessarily see this. But, again, that Democrat close to the campaign says they cannot fully undo the damage that this has done over the last nine days -- Jake.
TAPPER: All right. Jeff Zeleny in Cleveland with the Clinton campaign. Thanks.
CNN Politics reporter Sara Murray is at the site of a Trump rally in Minneapolis, in a state that many Republicans are skeptical Donald Trump can win. No Republican has won the state of Minnesota in a presidential race since the Nixon landslide of 1972.
Sara, tell us about the strategy of going to Minnesota. But before you get to that, what is the reaction on the Trump campaign to this Comey letter?
SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Jake. So far we're not hearing anything from Donald Trump himself about this latest Comey letter. He's continuing to hammer Hillary Clinton as a corrupt politician. But we are seeing his campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, on Twitter, sort of mocking the Clinton campaign for being critical. And she's actually on television right now knocking Comey herself for how he has handled this investigation.
But as for Donald Trump, we haven't heard from him directly on this, as he campaigns here in Minnesota. As you pointed out, this has been a blue bastion for three decades. All the public polls show Donald Trump trailing behind. His campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, who I mentioned earlier, is insisting their internal numbers show them tied. But he really hasn't had a presence here. This is his first rally in the state.
And he really doesn't have a ground organization to capitalize it if they -- if they did see a sudden surge of momentum. So it's a long shot for Donald Trump. But it is a way for him to be out here and to say that they're trying to make progress into blue states and to look like they're playing on offense, even though they're trying to sort of figure out what path could actually get them to 270, Jake.
TAPPER: All right. Sara Murray in Minneapolis with the Trump campaign. Thank you so much.
Let's get some reaction now from Laura Coates. She's a CNN legal analyst and a former federal prosecutor. She joins me here in studio. Also, we have with us by phone, journalist and author, Carl Bernstein.
Laura, let me start with you. Your reaction to this letter from FBI Director Comey basically saying, never mind.
LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, my initial reaction, of course, is if it could have been resolved so quickly, why did you not wait to give the letter in the first place and said here's the answer you're looking for already? And it's just a precedent that Comey continues to set because, although this recent e-mail probe may be over, Jake, well, he hasn't essentially said, I am no longer going to insert myself into politics any longer.
What if more e-mails come out before the inauguration and, in fact, she is elected president? This is an ongoing thing that will be capitalized on by the Trump campaign and going forward for her opponents if she does takes office because the whole point of this is essentially saying, we're not going to have a court of law decide. It's going to be the court of public opinion. And the court of public opinion is exhausted at the prospect of impeachment proceedings or anything else.
And so I think his impact is going to be far more lasting and won't really be resolved by his continuous letters to Congress, where he says, you know, it's a big never mind. It's a big no problem here because we're going to maybe still have more e-mails that may come out during the course of investigations that aren't yet closed that involve either her colleagues or herself.
TAPPER: Well, FBI Director Comey is not here to defend himself. But let me play devil's advocate here. If FBI Director Comey came out in July and spoke as freely as he did in that press conference, as well as to Congress because he felt it was -- transparency was important, for people to understand the integrity of his decision. And that was the same thing that motivated him two Fridays ago when he issued that letter, hey, I testified under oath that there was no -- that all the evidence has been reviewed. Suddenly we have new information and that makes that statement no longer true. Let me clarify with new information. And then once again, he is doing something in the name, in his mind, of transparency and integrity.
Could you not see it through that lens and maybe not have the tougher conclusion that you reach?
COATES: Well, as a former public servant, I think that those viewpoints are selfish and antithetical to public service, right? The idea that one would have to confirm or defend one's own objectivity, the position where he has a 10-year tenure, outlasting any president of even two terms, it was -- the onus was not on him to try to prove his objectivity.
[16:15:13] The onus was on him to actually adhere to the proper protocol that's in place by the people that he serves, the greater United States, but more specifically, the Department of Justice. And he already had instruction from Loretta Lynch, the sitting attorney general, and the former AG, Eric Holder, who put into place protocols to say we don't want to, one, allow our viewpoints to interfere with anyone's political -- you know, political motivation, but more importantly, we don't comment on ongoing investigations.
So the idea to do so -- I understand his selfish motivations to say I'd like to make sure that everybody here knows that I'm on the up and up. But it didn't do the service that he needed to do as a public servant.
TAPPER: Let me go to Carl Bernstein on the phone. The idea that this e-mail -- the letter that was released two Fridays ago, that these e- mails wouldn't have been mentioned to Congress unless it was something serious was definitely, basically, conventional wisdom. He would never do this unless it really could throw a wrench into the conclusion reached in July. That's what I believe a lot of people concluded. That doesn't seem to be the case.
CARL BERNSTEIN, JOURNALIST AND AUTHOR: It doesn't seem to be the case. At the same time, Republicans that I've talked to already don't seem willing to let go of this bone. That the dogs are still going to be chewing at this. That they're furious now at Comey and that there is no sign that I can see that those who have pursued this matter in Congress, the Republicans, are going to let go of this. Particularly because of the element of Hillary Clinton's closest aide, Huma Abedin, and just the optics and exploitation of the notion that Anthony Weiner is involved in this.
In terms of the election itself, Hillary Clinton has a chance here to perhaps not put this behind her but if she wins the election, particularly, to maybe talk to the American people about how this could be put behind her if she is the president-elect for the good of the country. And she's got an opportunity here that she did not have two hours ago.
TAPPER: Carl, forgive me for bringing it up, but I was watching "All the President's Men" a couple of days ago and I was thinking about the fact that Donald Trump and others in his campaign have been saying that this is worse than Watergate. You and I have not had an opportunity to speak since the story broke two Fridays ago. Is this worse than Watergate?
BERNSTEIN: No. Not in the least. And the server has always been about Hillary Clinton's awful judgment. It was inexcusable what she did. At the same time, Watergate was about a criminal president of the United States who presided over a criminal presidency from the time he came to office until the day he left. 48 people were found guilty or pleaded guilty in Watergate. 30 something of them went to jail.
It was an enormous conspiracy to undermine the very notion of government that serves the people, of free elections. There's never been anything in our history like it and hopefully there won't be again. But part of the problem, I think, for all of us who have covered this story, we've tried to cover it as a matter of Hillary Clinton's judgment. As a legal matter, as well. And at the same time, perhaps we have lost in the process some sense of comparison.
And there is no comparison. It's apples and oranges when you start to talk about Watergate and about impeachment of a criminal president of the United States.
TAPPER: Carl Bernstein and Laura Coates, thank you both. Really appreciate it.
Coming up, two days to go. Could this latest decision by the FBI impact those last holdouts, if there are any last holdouts? Much more after this break. Stay with us.
[16:23:01] TAPPER: The scene in Cleveland, Ohio. We are awaiting former secretary of state Hillary Clinton and King James. LeBron James of the NBA championship winning Cleveland Cavaliers will appear in that key battleground state. We will bring you her remarks when she appears.
We are following some breaking news. The director of the FBI has written a new letter to Congress this afternoon. A new letter to Congress saying that, basically -- remember that letter that he sent Congress on two Fridays ago? Basically, never mind. We're still sticking with our original conclusion in July that what Secretary Clinton and her staff did when it came to the e-mail server was careless but not criminal.
Let's bring in Minnesota Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar. She is a supporter of Hillary Clinton.
Your reaction to the Comey news, this letter basically saying never mind.
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D), MINNESOTA: Well, Jake, this is a major, major development. To have this happen with just two days remaking, as you yourself has pointed out, that is not a lot of time for people to hear about it, to learn about it. And my initial hope here is that the newscasters across the country will be covering this as much as they covered this letter for the last week because I have this new letter in front of me. And it basically says that they worked around the clock.
They reviewed a large volume of e-mails and, quote, "based on our review, we have not changed our conclusions that we expressed in July with respect to Secretary Clinton. This matter is resolved. And these scurrilous ads have been run during the past week, there have been charges made against Secretary Clinton that are completely unfair. And now that this cloud is lifted, in the next two days, the citizens of this country can go back and look at who they want as commander-in-chief based on what they saw on those three debates. And that is very clear and it should be Hillary Clinton.
TAPPER: Senator, I know you have to go, but I do want to ask you.
[16:25:03] Donald Trump in your home state of Minnesota today. The Trump campaign claiming that polls show the race tightening. Of course it's a state that has not gone Republican for a presidential candidate since the Nixon landslide of 1972. Are you worried as your colleague, Senator Al Franken from Minnesota, is about the state? Could it go Trump?
KLOBUCHAR: First of all, we always welcome candidates to our state. But I'll tell you this, 500,000 early voters, Jake. 65 percent there when you look at the numbers for Secretary Clinton, double the early voters that we've seen. I'm talking about Democratic votes. We feel very good about those early votes. We feel very good about her strength in the state. We have one of the highest voter turnouts in the country.
That doesn't mean we're not going to work as hard as we can, but I believe that Donald Trump is doing a trip, quick stops in many, many states. But the bottom line is she is strong in Minnesota. We're going to win it for Minnesota. And this new news for independent voters, for people that were kind of confused that went on -- what was going on during the last week, is so significant.
The FBI director, who is a Bush appointee, who is -- has been appointed by a Republican president, has come out and said, nothing changes his conclusions, which he already said in July, it was not a close call. That there was no case against her. So this is a big deal. And I just implore you and the other people to talk about this as much as you've been talking about the initial letter over the last week. I don't think this is a time for Monday night quarterbacking and analysis of if there is going to be hearings.
I think this is a time to get the facts out. And that is that this case is resolved and the voters of this country can make a decision based on the merits and who they think should be commander-in-chief. Someone who is doing tweet storms in the middle of the night and adding -- talking about adding nuclear weapons to Asia or someone who has the experience to do this job.
TAPPER: Well, Senator, before you go, you just described FBI Director Comey as a Bush appointee. He was a Bush appointee in the Justice Department. But he's currently an Obama appointee.
KLOBUCHAR: Of course. And the president has said, made clear, that he did not agree with that decision to send that letter a week ago. I also thought it was a very strange thing to do and didn't agree with it. But the point is, he was originally a Bush appointee. He is someone that generally has respect from people in law enforcement. He has made a decision. And Donald Trump cannot go from saying he suddenly loves the FBI and loves Jim Comey to then suddenly now criticizing them, which we have yet to hear. But he clearly continued to say in Minnesota things like she shouldn't even be allowed to run for office. The people in my state, having been around in the last few weeks, they
want to talk about how they're going to pay their student loans. They want to talk about things about what the minimum wage should be. This is what Hillary Clinton has been focused on, the bread and butter issues. And Donald Trump should no longer be allowed to distract people with untrue claims about criminal trials and what's happening when the only one that is going to trial is him with Trump University after this election concludes.
TAPPER: All right, Senator Amy Klobuchar, thanks for joining us.
We have some breaking news now from justice correspondent Pamela Brown.
KLOBUCHAR: Thanks. I love being -- LeBron James. Thank you.
TAPPER: Let's go to Pamela Right now.
BROWN: All right. Jake, so we're getting some breaking news in. The surprising letter from FBI Director James Comey was the culmination of a fast paced review. And that is largely because most of the e-mails that were uncovered from that laptop were duplicates, e-mails that had already been looked at in the initial private serve investigation, as well as several personal e-mails.
We know there were thousands of e-mails the FBI had to go through. The FBI used special software to weed out the ones that were irrelevant. And then when they went through them, most of them as I said were duplicates and personal e-mails. One law enforcement official I just spoke to said that the FBI went through this as quickly as it could. It's clear officials were aware that the election was right around the corner and the firestorm that that initial letter that James Comey sent caused. We know that this laptop was 10 years old. It was an older laptop.
And last week, Jake, you'll remember an official telling me that Huma Abedin claimed that she didn't realize how these e-mails, these e- mails from her, ended up on her husband's laptop. This laptop -- her estranged husband, I should say, Anthony Weiner. This laptop was taken as part of a sexting investigation. And then through the course of that, the FBI realized that there were some e-mails pertinent to the private server investigation.
Now the question is, Jake, you know, why didn't this come out earlier, in terms of -- you know, the question could be asked about James Comey. Why didn't he do the search warrant and then see what the significance of the e-mails were before sending that e-mail to Congress?
[16:30:00] I imagine that, you know I should say letter to congress. I imagine that is going to be something that is going to be asked over the next few days. And I imagine he'll be under scrutiny for that. But this is huge news, Jake. We're learning that the FBI director, after reviewing these new e-mails, will not recommend charges against Clinton. He stands by his decision that he made back in July. Jake?
TAPPER: Pamela, thank you so much. Let's bring in my panel now to talk about all of this breaking news. Michael Smerconish, CNN political commentator and host CNN Smerconish, Kirsten Powers, CNN Political Analyst and Columnist for "USA Today", Mary Katharine Ham, CNN Political Commentator and Senior Writer at "The Federalist." CNN National Political Reporter, Maeve Reston. Kevin Madden CNN Political Commentator and Republican Strategist, Dan Pfeiffer, CNN Political Commentator and Former Senior Adviser to President Obama, Angela Rye, CNN Political Commentator and Former Executive Director of the Congressional Black Caucus. And last but not least Jeffrey Lord, CNN Political Commentator and former Reagan White House Political Director, who is a Trump supporter.
We could go either way here, but I guess let's start with the fact that I am hearing from Democrats today, a lot of hostility toward James Comey. First you just heard the Senator (inaudible) referring to him as a Bush appointee, even though he is also an Obama appointee, kind of glossed over that a little. And then also earlier today, I interviewed her colleague from Minnesota, Democrat Al Franken, who is basically suggesting that as a member of the judiciary committee, he wanted hearings as even before this letter -- about the FBI. This isn't going anywhere, this issue.
MAEVE RESTON, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: It's not. I mean, it's so fascinating. When he is on your side, you really have his back. But I think the real important thing here is that maybe this is for the Clinton campaign, too little, too late. They clearly feel that the damage has been done. Those independents and Republican women who were making their decision a couple, you know -- back a couple weeks ago, this was just to remind them of everything that they didn't like about the Clintons.
And so now, Comey coming out this afternoon, I mean, I don't know how much that can change. I also -- voters are not necessarily tuning in to the latest developments here.
TAPPER: Well, they might be tuning into this. Let's go to Cleveland right now, where Mr. James - Lebron James of the world champions -- national champion Cleveland Cavaliers is taking the stage with Secretary Clinton. He is obviously a revered figure in the buckeye state, in the battleground state of Ohio, a state where Hillary Clinton has been having trouble gaining momentum. Polls have her, either neck and neck with Donald Trump or maybe a point or two behind it is a highly contested state. It is an electoral vote rich state that Hillary Clinton would love to win. She doesn't need it. The way Donald Trump needs it in order to win. But winning is certainly would help her. Let's listen in.
LEBRON JAMES, NBA BASKETBALL CLEVELAND CAVALIERS: Thank you. Thank you so much.
(CHEERS) First of all, thank you for the applause, I mean. I know you guys are
excited to see her. I didn't know you guys would be excited to see me, too, but thank you. Before I get started, I want to bring up a good friend of mine and also someone that is for Hillary, as well, my good friend, J.R. Smith and his beautiful daughter, Demi.
So guys, you guys know why I'm here and the reason why I am here is the number one main reason I am here, because of Hillary and what she believes in. I want people to understand, now I grew up in the inner city and I know the whole notion of getting out and voting. I was one of those kids, and I was around the community that was like, our vote doesn't matter. But it really does. It really, really does.
We have to get out and make sure, we vote. We have to get out and be knowledgeable about what's going on, about what we see that our future entails. And this woman right here has the brightest future for our world.
The next thing that I love most importantly is the fact that with my foundation and my inner city kids, is giving my kids an opportunity to feel like they're important. With my foundation, giving kids the notion that someone cares about them, that what they dream about, that someone like, myself, J.R. and the President. Hillary Clinton could make their dreams become a reality is very important to me. And I believe that this woman right here can continue that. So as much as you guys will love to hear from me, I would much rather love to hear from our next president, Mrs. Hillary Clinton.
[16:35:03] JAMES: All you.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Oh, my goodness. Thank you! Thank you, all, so much. It is great to be back in Cleveland. I am thrilled to see all of you. I have to really thank Lebron, what he does on the basketball court. You all know. It makes him so special. It makes him a champion. But I am just as impressed, as I have told him about what he does off the court. Because what he does off the court is to care for every child as though that child were his own. He has been so committed through the Lebron Family, The Lebron James Family Foundation. He is using the national platform he earned to advocate for children everywhere, especially right here in Ohio.
And it was an extra special treat to have J.R. Smith here as well. I can't tell you how exciting it is for me to have Lebron and J.R. part of the team that is going to take us to the White House starting on Tuesday.
I also have to thank a lot of the elected officials that I've worked with, that I have such high regard for. Let me thank your senator, Sherrod Brown.
Let me thank your amazing, absolutely indubitable congresswoman, Marsha Fudge.
And let me thank you County Executive Armond Budish. And let me thank and hope you will vote for your former Governor, Ted Strickland, to be your next senator.
I want to thank the DJ (inaudible) for his musical performance, and I want to thank a very special young man, Youssef Sallam who was out here. A young man who has turned what was a very bitter and unjust experience into an opportunity to try to help lift others up.
Now, I was thrilled to be here on Friday night with Jay-z and Beyonce. Beyonce even had her dancers in blue pantsuits, which I love. But what was most important was how, Beyonce and Jay-z talked about what this election means for their daughter and for all of our daughters and sons. And that is why I am so grateful to them, as well as to Lebron, because this election really is about the future. And it's about your kids and grand kids and every child in this country that we hope will have their own shot at the American dream.
They may not all become champion basketball players, but everybody should have the right to go as far as their hard work and talent will take them in America.
So let me ask you this, are you ready to vote?
CLINTON: Are you ready to volunteer for the next few days? Are you ready to choose our next president?
CLINTON: Well, I think by now, you know the choice could not be any clearer. It really is a choice between, division and unity. Between an economy that works for everyone, or one that is stacked for those at the top, between strong, steady leadership or a loose cannon. And as you think about this choice, I want you to know where I am coming from, because what I want to do as your president is, to really build on and continue what I've done my entire life, fighting for kids and families, standing up for our country.
[16:40:17] If you elect me on Tuesday. That is what I will do every day as your president, because from the start, our campaign has been focused on you. You know, I have now spoken in front of hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people in small groups and big events. And what I try to do while I'm up here speaking is to really look at the faces of the people in front of me. Because I don't know your dreams, I don't know your struggles. But I want so much to convey to you that I will be on your side. I will fight for you. Fight for your families. Fight for your futures.
I want us to do all we can to help you get ahead and stay ahead. And my vision is very different from my opponent's. Look, we know enough about what he says and what he is done. You don't need to go through the litany of all the people he's insulted and demeaned. But the bottom line is his vision of America is so dark and divisive. It is not the America that I see as I travel around our country. I want us to have a vision that is hopeful, optimistic and unified about what we can do together to make sure America's best years are ahead of us.
I love our country, and I believe in our people. And I will never, ever quit on you, no matter what. Now, that is not to say we don't have our challenges. Of course we do. We're just human beings. But, boy, we have so many assets. We have so many opportunities. And never forget, America is great, because America is good. And if we act like that, we lift each other up instead of tearing each other down, we can be even greater.
We've come through some tough economic times. A lot is changing in our country. There are powerful forces inside and outside of America that do threaten to pull us apart. And we've arrived at a moment of reckoning in this election. Our core values as Americans are being tested. I think of all the people I've met across the country in this campaign. I've heard some really, really sad stories. You know, when you run for president, at least for me, the moments that stand out are about somebody grabbing my hand. I'll be in a coffee shop are maybe shaking hands on a rope line. Somebody will grab my hand and they will share a really personal feeling or experience with me.
A lot of times, it is about problems or troubles in their families. And I feel like they are entrusting me with this really important piece of their lives. I walk away from that motivated, but I also walk away confident. My faith in our future has never been stronger. And I know if we come together, not just to win the election. That is just the beginning, but then to work together. There is something for every one of us to do in our own lives, our families, our neighborhoods and communities. I want an America where everyone has a place, where everyone is included. And you know I know there's a lot of frustration and even anger in this election season. I see it. I hear it. Sometimes, you know, I'm the subject of it. I get it. But anger is not a plan. Anger is not going to get us new jobs with rising incomes that will create a strong, thriving middle class.
I believe that we're going to grow this economy. We are going to grow it from the middle out and the bottom up. Not the top down. That is what my opponent offers. And it might work for him, right? It might. But it's not going to work for the vast majority of working Americans. That is why I want us to have a big infrastructure jobs program. There is so much work to be done. Good, honest, honorable, dignified work. Our roads, our bridges, our ports, our airports, our tunnels, our water systems and these are jobs that can't be exported. They've got to be done right here in Cleveland, in Youngstown, in Dayton, in Akron and Columbus and Cincinnati.
[16:40:15] CLINTON: And we're going to bring back advanced manufacturing to Ohio and elsewhere in our country. Now some people when I say this, they kind of, you know, look at me like, well, that is not going to happen. It is going to happen. I'll tell you, two of my strongest allies are going to be Sherrod Brown and Marsha Fudge and I hope Judge Strickland when he gets to Washington.
(CHEERS) People say to me all the time, how you going to get anything done?
Won't there be gridlock? There will only be gridlock if people that are elected to represent you, don't want to help you. It's not complicated, my friends, if they want to keep helping the wealthy, the powerful and the well-connected, yeah, and then we're going to have gridlock, because I want jobs with rising incomes. I want people having a better shot at the future. And we are going to have more clean renewable energy jobs to combat climate change and put Americans to work.
And I want to be the best president small business has ever had, because that is where most of the new jobs will come from. Once we get the new jobs and we start producing more things in America, I want people to buy those things in America. You know any of you see the debates? You know in the last debate, I pointed out that Donald Trump has bought Chinese steel to build his last two buildings. All the while, he is been running around Ohio, talking about what a great advocate he is going to be for working people. He didn't have to buy Chinese steel.
CLINTON: He didn't have to help employ Chinese steel workers. He could have bought good, American steel made by American steel workers. So don't just watch what we say. Watch what we've done for the last 30 years and whose side we'd bet on. And we're going to make this economy fairer. Look, I really believe in hard work. That is how I was raised. That is the kind of family I came from. So I think everybody has to work, everybody who can, needs to work. But I do think we need to raise the national minimum wage, because if you work full time, you shouldn't still be in poverty.
And I also think if you are working, you ought to get paid fairly, which is why we need to guarantee equal pay for women's work.
You know, this is not a woman's issue. It is a family issue, because if you got a mother, a wife, a sister or daughter working, you don't want her shortchanged. And we need to start recognizing that a lot of the costs that families are facing now are really burdensome.
I want to get child care affordable, right? Do you know in a lot of states right now, good child care costs as much or more than in-state college tuition? That is crazy. Who can afford that? And I want us to have paid family leave, so if you get sick or your spouse is sick, or your parent is sick or your child is sick, or you bring a newborn home. Now, you know, I don't think these are luxuries anymore. I think these are all about rebuilding the American middle class. I believe it is all about respecting work, providing enough jobs for people to have a good future, getting incomes rising, making it work for everybody. And I've said I will pay for everything I'm proposing without adding a penny to the national debt, right?
And that is in very stark contrast to my opponent. Because what I've said is I am not raising taxes on the middle class. Anybody making less than $250,000 a year is not going to have any tax increase while I am president.
[16:50:00] But I am going where the money is. And the money is with the wealthy and corporations, because they've done really well in the last 15 years. And they should pay their fair share to support our country.
And again, people say to me, well how are you ever going to get that through congress? Well, I'll tell you. I think it is pretty simple. I'm going to look at all the people, all the people who would be helped by everything I've just said, the new jobs and the rest of it. And I'm going to compare it to the very few people in every congressional district who would have their taxes raised. And I'm going to say, whose side are you on, Mr. or Madame Congresswoman. Are you supporting the five people in your district that will have their taxes raised or are you supporting the 500,000 people who will be benefitted by what we are going to do together.
And another big barrier that we've got to knock down is making college affordable for every single person. It's outrageous. I meet people across America who couldn't afford to start college, could not afford to stay and never graduated. And still have debt. Don't have a degree, but they got debt. That is crazy. And I see some people pointing to themselves.
I've got to tell you, look, I believe that education is an investment. That is what I want. Good schools with good teachers in every zip code in America. That is why I want to get more technical education back into high schools. Because I think there are a lot of great jobs waiting to be done by people who have the skills from high school or community college or apprenticeship programs.
I'm going to do everything I can to lift up and honor hard work. When somebody can make something, when somebody is a machinist or a tool and dye maker or a carpenter or even a computer coder, that may not at all require a four-year college education, and it is about time we honored all work in America and made all work paid for everybody. But for people who want to go to college, we're going to make it easier. I want every public college and university to be tuition free for families making less than $125,000 a year.
And debt free for everybody else, because this should be seen as an investment. And if you are struggling with student debt, we got a plan to ease that burden. Get the cost down. Get the interest rates down. Get it paid off, much faster. You see, I really believe that every single person should be able to go as far as you're willing to work for it. And not have your dreams dashed while you are a child or a teenager or a young adult. Elections are about the future, so let's lift up the young people of America!
And that includes, let's dismantle the so called school to prison pipeline and replace it with the cradles to college pipeline.
TAPPER: In that key battleground state, let's quickly go to Jeff Zeleny, who is covering the Clinton campaign in Cleveland. And Jeff, I couldn't help but notice that Secretary Clinton did not mention the fact that the FBI director, James Comey, just this afternoon issued a letter, writing to congress, basically saying that those new e-mails discovered on Anthony Weiner's laptop, they find nothing in there to change their conclusion from July that there was no criminal activity by Secretary Clinton or any members of her staff. She didn't raise the subject at all, even though essentially, James Comey clear, her this afternoon.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Right, Jake, that is pretty extraordinary. She is still speaking behind me here in Cleveland. As of now, she is not mentioned it. And I am told by her communications director Jennifer Palmieri that she has no plans to mention this today or her rally this evening in Manchester, New Hampshire. And this is why. Democrats close to the campaign said that she simply does not want to engage in a back and forth about the FBI this close to the end of the election.
They know if she say something, she is likely to be engaged in a back and forth with Donald Trump over this. Of course, they know the word is going to get out. Other Democrats will be out there talking about it. But she has no plans to address it. And I pressed Jennifer Palmieri on this, saying, wouldn't she want to get this information out? And she said we simply do not want to talk about e-mail. They're trying to make a pivot here, Jake, to a more positive close of what has been a very negative and dark campaign here.
[16:55:06] So in the final 48 hours, they don't want to talk about e- mail, even if it is somewhat good news. But the question here is, as one Democratic strategist close to the campaign, who works with the campaign told me earlier, this damage cannot be fully undone here over the last nine days. They've made a calculation that she will not address it, at least as of now, today or they say before Election Day on Tuesday. Jake?
TAPPER: The general subject, of course, Jeff, is not a good one for her. It reminds people about a subject that has been really dogging her for more than a year and one of the reasons why so many voters have issues with her perceived trustworthiness. But I can't help but think probably one of the other reasons, why the Clinton campaign would make this decision. She is still ahead in many of the polls. And if you look at what's going on the Republican side of the aisle, they are now attacking the FBI director, James Comey, despite the fact that they spent the last week or so praising him. There seems to be kind a flailing going on in the Republican side.
ZELENY: No doubt about it. They do not want to get into a fight with the FBI publicly. And now, Jake, we can say the speech is over. So she has gotten through this whole speech without addressing it at all. So they do not want to engage with a fight over Director Comey or talk about email at all. One aide described this as a wound that they thought had been healed, but then in the last nine days, it certainly has not. And Jake, if she wins on Tuesday, this is something that carries her forward. This e-mail controversy really has shaped public opinion about her, Jake.
TAPPER: All right, Jeff Zeleny in Cleveland with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Thank you so much, Jeff.
And thank you for joining me today. I'm Jake Tapper. A special "SITUATION ROOM" with Wolf Blitzer will conclude -- will begin after this quick break. Stay with us.