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Comey Stands by Decision on E-mails Probe; Interview with William Weld; Clinton Insists No Case on E-mail Probe. Aired 11p-12a ET
Aired October 31, 2016 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[23:00:16] DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: The FBI under fire.
This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.
Hillary Clinton fighting back on -- on the campaign trail tonight, raising questions about why the FBI is looking at this new batch of e- mails now so close to Election Day.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Why in the world the FBI would decide to jump into an election without evidence of any wrongdoing with just days to go. That's a really good question.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Sources tell CNN that FBI director James Comey stands by his decision and believes he did the right thing. And Donald Trump agrees.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And it took guts for Director Comey to make the move that he made in light of the kind of opposition he had.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Let's get right to CNN's Jim Sciutto with the very latest now.
So, Jim, eight days before election. Really it's almost seven days. And this e-mail issue is front and center again. What's the latest with this new investigation?
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, Director Comey, in addition to saying that he stands by his decision, he is also saying he's not going to come out with a public statement again until this investigation is complete. So no partial updates. We've looked through X number of e-mails, we've learned this and that, not until he reaches a conclusion is he going to come out again. And before he can reach that conclusion, a couple of steps in the way.
They're electronically searching these messages now. They can do that with technology to see if any of them are duplicates, say, of ones they have looked through before. But then they have to make judgment calls about whether there classified information in there, whether there's possibly evidence of other things, say, obstruction of justice, that will take longer. And that's why when you hear people inside the bureau saying that it's unlikely this will be finished before Election Day, that's why they come to that conclusion.
In addition to that, you would expect that there would be interviews possible with some of the players involved, and I'm just going to play a statement or read a statement, rather, from Huma Abedin's lawyer released just a short time ago, saying that she only learned for the first time on Friday from press reports of the possibility that a laptop belonging to Mr. Weiner could contain e-mails of hers.
But listen to this, while the FBI has not contacted us about this, Miss Abedin will continue to be, as she has always been, forthcoming and cooperative. So if they need to interview her and they haven't contacted her yet, that's another step that makes it very likely, Don, this extends beyond the election.
LEMON: Absolutely. So, Jim, Comey stands by his decision to go public with all of this. But he's also under fire from both sides of the aisle. What are people saying?
SCIUTTO: You're hearing -- and this is interesting. You would expect it from the Democratic side of the aisle, no question. You'd expect it from the Clinton campaign. But you're hearing from former Republicans who've sat in the same position as him. We heard Alberto Gonzales, for instance, President George W. Bush's attorney general, on our air earlier today saying that, in his words, it was a bad judgment call.
Senator Chuck Grassley, Republican from Iowa, saying that he did a disservice in effect by coming out so close to Election Day. That's the criticism there. You have many acknowledging that he was in a tough spot because invariably had he had this information and come out after the election, there would be many who have accused him of sitting on relevant information. Perhaps trying to tilt the election in one direction.
But coming out so close now, the thing is, the folks who criticize him have history on their side because there is a long tradition of the FBI waiting as long as 60 days before an election to come out with updates on an investigation, information about an investigation. And that's where you're hearing from critics in the days since he made this announcement.
LEMON: Jim, I want to get your response to something else here. We're learning the Ohio Governor John Kasich cast his vote already in the election. What do we know?
SCIUTTO: Well, he had said throughout the campaign that he was not going to vote for Donald Trump, one of the -- look, we've heard this from a number of Republicans, but we've also seen on that side folks say that and then come out and say, well, actually I'm going to vote for him or I'll vote for the party which means voting for him. But John Kasich, he says that he voted today for John McCain, wrote in his name in there rather than vote for Donald Trump.
And you know that that -- it's been a bit of a battle, an ongoing battle since the primaries between Kasich and Trump so continuing right up to Election Day for them.
LEMON: All right. Thank you, Jim Sciutto, I appreciate that.
Now I want to bring in William Weld, the Libertarian Party's vice presidential candidate.
Thank you, sir, for coming in.
WILLIAM WELD, LIBERTARIAN VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Thank you, Don.
LEMON: You're the former U.S. assistant attorney general. What do you think of Director Comey's decision on this whole e-mail investigation?
WELD: I think it was a misstep. I mean he had to weight the risk of potential criticism of him afterwards if the evidence turned out to be Abazaba against the certainty of interfering with the election. And he had to bear the risk of criticism of himself on his shoulders, in my view. So he should have not gotten involved in the election season.
[23:05:07] And I'm quick to say, he has long had a good reputation, so I think it was a bad day, a bad judgment, not the end of the world. And I think the important thing to keep in mind is that we should not panic and rivet on this matter and think that it should dominate the last eight days of the election campaign.
You know, if you look at the context these are e-mails the FBI has probably already seen. They have no idea what's in them. They haven't looked at them yet. I would say the odds of them proving to be material, looked to me, and it's not an unpracticed eye, to be one in 100, 1 in 1,000. So what's everyone getting so excited about?
LEMON: Well, I mean, that's what happens. We are in a very contentious election season. So you think that he should have waited to see if there was anything incriminating in there before making an announcement?
WELD: Sure. After --
LEMON: How does one do that?
WELD: You're update just now said that he or the FBI says they're not going to do updates every day. That's the first good news on this I've heard in several days because what I was afraid of is it was going to be water torture. We looked at another e-mail, we got another warrant, this is going on, that's going on. You know, so that would dominate the headlines. So I think they should be, you know, seen and not heard.
WELD: Between now and the election.
LEMON: Had he done what you said, he stood the risk of looking like he was trying to help Hillary Clinton to some people's eyes, no?
WELD: But that's why they pay him the big bucks. You know? He's going against a lot of Justice Department history and principles, and, you know, before weighing into the election, he should have gone to the public integrity section of the criminal division, which is my old shop, my flagship division. And said, what do you folks think? But he didn't do it. He took it on himself and he should have taken the risk instead of going forward.
LEMON: So you think it was all him. Do you -- do you think he knew the incredible impact that this would have just days before the election?
WELD: No. I doubt it very much. I think he was thinking about people in Congress yelling at him for covering something up and that carried the day with him. And if he had taken the longer view, thought about the impact on the election and even our democratic systems, which is why those Justice Department protocols are in place there, he would have come out the other way. He might even say that himself for the benefit of hindsight, although he can't say that out loud.
LEMON: Do you think -- I'm sure you heard Alan Dershowitz in the conversation that I had with Alan Dershowitz, (INAUDIBLE) and other gentleman about whether or not he should come out and correct the letter or revise the letter publicly. Do you think he should do that? Would it be wise of him to do it?
WELD: I think it would be awkward for him to do. What's he going to say? Yes, here's the update letter I gave you. Actually we have no reason to believe there's anything here, and so I probably shouldn't have sent the letter. I don't think that's happening in the real world. I think what we need now is the lowering of voices and get on with the final week of the election campaign.
I think this damage is substantial but curable if everybody's grown- ups and just says, OK, this was a hiccup, but this -- so far as anyone knows, there's nothing here. And that's the honest truth.
WELD: And then we can get on with things.
LEMON: You know you and your running mate, you differ. You disagree on this. Here's what -- let's listen to him and see how much --
WELD: Yes. No, I think that's right. We do differ. Not for the first time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GARY JOHNSON, LIBERTARIAN PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I think unquestionably, if she takes office, she is going to be under criminal investigation. Unquestionably, this is going to be the nation's agenda for the entire time she is in office and it may well end up in impeachment. This is Watergate kind of stuff. This is really deep, deep, real stuff and all you have to say, all you have to recognize is the FBI would not have done this.
This is not political. This is anything but political because of the fact they dropped this investigation in July saying that -- to clear the decks for the election.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Watergate? What do you make of his remarks?
WELD: Well, I've always been, quote, "softer" on Hillary Clinton than Gary Johnson has. But, you know, I don't agree that it's true that there must be something there or the FBI wouldn't have done this. Even Mr. Comey's own letter said, we don't know that there's anything here. You know, we're sending this letter to you out of an abundance of caution so that no one can criticize us for having sat on information. So that's more how I see it. And as I say, this was my bailiwick for seven years.
LEMON: Yes. And so you would know about it. You have been really outspoken recently criticizing Donald Trump. Why is that?
WELD: I don't think Mr. Trump has the temperament or the stability to be president of the United States. And I'm not referring to any one policy issue that he's espoused, although I disagree with, you know, the immigrants and the wall and Mexico and all that.
[23:10:04] But that wouldn't be enough to call forth what I've said. You know, we're dealing with nuclear proliferation and America's place in the world. And a president is subject to constant criticism. And, you know, people setting their face against him. I think Mr. Trump has shown, even in the presidential debates, that he doesn't respond that well when he's subjected to direct challenge and criticism. And we can't have a president of the United States who's flying off the handle as I think Mr. Trump would.
LEMON: So, quickly, I want to ask you. So if you don't think he doesn't have the temperament, are you saying -- I know you would like to win, you and Gary Johnson. But do you think Hillary Clinton has the temperament?
WELD: Yes, I do.
LEMON: You do. Simple as that.
WELD: I know her. I've worked with her. I've known her for 40 years. You know, the picture that her opponents who have been gunning for her for years paint is not an accurate one in my opinion.
LEMON: So you -- in the battleground states, the polls are tightening. And do you think that you may take votes away -- are you worried that you will take votes away from Hillary Clinton? Is that --
WELD: Well, I'm --
LEMON: Has that crossed your mind?
WELD: I'm going around the country appealing to Republicans, particularly so-called moderate or decent or civility Republicans saying, how could you vote for Mr. Trump, he's not advancing any position that's ever been associated with the Republican Party? So I think the best polling shows that we're already taking more votes from Trump than from Clinton. I know some early pollings, I don't know no, millennials, you know, the Libertarians are going to shoulder with millennials, but I think that's more than evened out.
And to the extent that people pay attention to what I'm saying, that's going to get to be even more the case, so it will be taking even more from Trump.
LEMON: Governor Weld, it's a pleasure.
WELD: Thank you, Don.
LEMON: Thank you for coming on.
WELD: Great to be with you. Thank you.
LEMON: I appreciate it. Thank you so much.
When we come right back, can Hillary Clinton turn the e-mail uproar to her advantage? And is Trump just preaching to the choir when he bashes her?
[23:15:34] LEMON: Hillary Clinton stumping in Ohio today, hammering the FBI's e-mail review and assuring supporters there is no case here.
I want to bring in now CNN political contributor, Hilary Rosen, a Clinton supporter, and Republican political consultant, John Brabender.
Hello to both of you. Hilary, you first. The Clinton campaign has come out swinging against Comey with Clinton saying the timing of such a move was unprecedented and deeply troubling. Is this the right tactic?
HILARY ROSEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think you saw the campaign essentially saying, put up or shut up, and Hillary Clinton herself, though, is out there talking about the issues, she's in battleground states talking to people about health care and civil rights and the economy and jobs. And she -- yes, she did talk briefly about the e-mails and said that she wants to get all the facts out, and she called on Mr. Comey to get all the facts out. And apologized again for her e-mails. But --
LEMON: But if you listen -- Hilary, if you listen to --
ROSEN: She's moving on.
LEMON: If you listen to Alan Dershowitz, he says why -- she should not be so critical in her response to the director because then that may force him to look for something, you know, in order to make himself right. To right the situation.
ROSEN: Well, all due respect to Mr. Dershowitz, I don't think anything Hillary Clinton says at this point is going to affect Jim Comey. But she has been respectful in her speeches. She simply said, look, this is an 11-hour thing, it smacks of unfair to the voters and we want the truth out there. So she's not afraid of the truth, and she said that repeatedly today. I think -- you know, it is appropriate, though, to think about what else we should we be talking about this new week instead of this. Should we be talking about this new "New York Times" story that's coming out on Donald Trump's taxes yet again. Should we talk about the fact that he himself is facing two trials coming up, one on, you know, race, one on his university, cheating people.
Like -- is that really what voters want this last week before the election? Or do they want to figure out how the next president is going to help their lives?
LEMON: Hilary, Donald Trump is talking about this e-mail scandal at every rally but is he pulling in any new voters with this, you think?
ROSEN: I don't -- I don't think he is. I think that, you know, people who are still undecided are undecided because they want to make sure that the president that they pick is going to be best for their own future, for the future of this country.
I think Donald Trump can throw his sleaze about all he wants. But the polling shows that his unfavorables are even higher than Hillary Clintons. There' nothing he can do that throws mud on her that helps him with any undecided voters. I think she's doing the right thing, which is really talking about the issues.
LEMON: Yes. John Brabender, do you think that Hillary Clinton is doing the right thing by talking -- by criticizing the FBI? By criticizing Comey and also --
ROSEN: Don, she's not criticizing him.
LEMON: She said --
JOHN BRABENDER, REPUBLICAN POLITICAL CONSULTANT: Well, you know, she clearly is criticizing him.
LEMON: Yes. BRABENDER: And she's trying to take on that she's a victim and she's
very much -- this is what she knows. This is what she does. You know, look, let's remember one thing. This wasn't like a random IRS audit. The investigation started because they thought she could potentially have broken the law. They got to a point because 33,000 e-mails were missing, that they said we haven't found enough to indict, and now they found more evidence and so they wanted to let the American people to know that she's still under investigation and I think that their obligation to do that.
LEMON: Why do you say she's not criticizing him, Hilary?
ROSEN: Well, because what she's saying is, she's criticizing the process and saying, I need -- we need information, the voters deserve information. But this isn't personal about Mr. Comey. That, you know, to suggest that it is is simply wrong. What she's saying is, you are -- you know, the FBI is interrupting the final week of an election and there ought to be a good reason for it, and the American people deserve to know what that reason is.
LEMON: Isn't that by default a criticism of Comey?
ROSEN: And let's go one step further?
LEMON: By criticizing his action?
ROSEN: She's also said, if you want to go through my staff's e-mails, fine. But the FBI themselves are backgrounding reporters saying, well, we don't really know if there are Hillary Clinton e-mails here, we just know that these are Huma Abedin e-mails and we don't even know if Huma Abedin has already given us all of these e-mails. They could all be duplicate. So all Hillary Clinton is saying is, what is this about? We deserve to know.
[23:20:02] LEMON: OK.
ROSEN: And by the way, there are other more important things we should be talking about.
LEMON: I get your point. I get your point. So John, you want to respond?
BRABENDER: Well, look, I think this is important. I look at a campaign like a court case. We're making a case to the jury. The jury wants to hear all the evidence about the candidates before they make a final decision, which is now Election Day. I think I don't see any of the voters standing up and showing any outrage saying, oh my gosh, you're giving me more information about Hillary Clinton than I asked for. The only people that are complaining are the people like Harry Reid who did originally stand up and say what an honorable man Comey is.
LEMON: Republicans are criticizing him as well, John. BRABENDER: Very few Republicans. And most people are looking at this
and saying, we can judge for ourselves, we're adults, we understand what this means. But it's accurate information. If it wasn't accurate, then they would have a criticism. What they're criticizing is that the timing of the accurate information coming out before the elections, and I just think that's because it's not helpful to their cause.
ROSEN: Well, it's not accurate information. It's just -- it's speculation. But having said that, look, Hillary Clinton is getting the biggest crowds for the entire campaign this week, so obviously her supporters and people are interested in what she has to say --
LEMON: You think in a way that this what may energize her supporters, Hilary?
ROSEN: I do think that there's a lot of outrage among Democrats and I think independents feel like this., you know, just smacks of, you know, 11th hour games. So I do think that this has some motivating impact for sure.
BRABENDER: I got to think, though, there will be a lot of voters out there that do find it troubling that a presidential candidate is under FBI investigation and that has not come to a resolution, and I would hope that that would give pause to a lot of voters.
ROSEN: You know, Trump has, like, three court dates going forward -- where he could -- Trump could end up in jail.
BRABENDER: Yes. Not --
ROSEN: He could end up with --
BRABENDER: Not for giving out national security -- not for putting America's national security at risk. So --
ROSEN: For behavior that is unfit for a president of the United States.
BRABENDER: Well, but that's a judgment call.
ROSEN: And that he has never apologized for, never acknowledged wrongdoing, never done anything, whereas Hillary Clinton had this incident and came out very quickly and never lied about it.
BRABENDER: Look, I'm going to put -- I'm going to put my trust in the man that Harry Reid said is a very honorable man, who's looking at this, and I think if Harry Reid and I can agree that Comey is an honorable man, I think we should listen to him. He's head of the FBI. He's conducting an FBI investigation.
LEMON: OK. Listen, I want to get your -- (CROSSTALK)
ROSEN: The FBI has not come to any conclusions.
LEMON: I want to change subjects quickly because I need to get this in. I think it's important. I want to play -- this is a new Clinton ad from her campaign. It's running, it's an updated version of the iconic 1964 Daisy ad by Lyndon B. Johnson. Look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: I'm Hillary Clinton and I approve this message.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This was me in 1964. The fear of nuclear war that we had as children, I never thought our children would ever have to deal with that again. And to see that coming forward in this election is really scary.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trump asked three times --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three times, why can't we use nuclear weapons?
TRUMP: I want to be unpredictable.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What safeguards are there to stop any president who may not be stable from launching a nuclear attack?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The commander-in-chief is the commander-in-chief.
TRUMP: Bomb the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) out of them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Quick response from both of you. John, first, is this ad on temperament effective?
BRABENDER: I think it's over the top. I think what I'd be more concerned about if I was a mother, a father, with a child, son or daughter in the military, that like Benghazi, if my family is under siege and calls for American help and that call is not answered, Hillary has already been tested and failed the test. Donald Trump has not failed that test.
ROSEN: Well, this ad points out the very reason why there's an unprecedented amount of Republican and independent national security experts saying that Donald Trump is not fit to have his finger on the button because he wants to be unpredictable, because he has no experience in this, and it is too risky to put this man in charge of our military.
LEMON: Thank you, Hilary.
ROSEN: A military he doesn't even respect.
LEMON: Thank you, Hilary. Thank you, John. I appreciate it.
Up next, where is the -- where in the world is Huma Abedin? Should she drop out of the Clinton campaign?
[23:28:04] LEMON: Only eight days until Election Day, and millions of ballots have already been cast. So will the FBI's e-mail probe change anything? Let's discuss now. CNN political commentator Peter Beinart is here. He's a contributor to the "Atlantic." Political commentator John Philips, a talk radio host who is supporting Trump. Political contributor Maria Cardona, a Clinton supporter. And Calvin Tucker, chairman of the Pennsylvania Black Republican Council who is supporting Donald Trump.
It's good to have all of you here. Peter, you first. This is Donald Trump today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Hillary is the one who broke the law over and over and over again. We can be sure that what is in those e-mails is absolutely devastating. And I think we're going to find out, by the way. For the first time. Thank you, Huma. Thank you, Huma. Good job, Human. Thank you, Anthony Weiner.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: What do you think?
PETER BEINART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I mean, this guy is amazing, right? I mean, the way he -- she hasn't broken the law. Right? That was up to the FBI. Maybe it will turn out that someone prosecutes her, and it turned up to be -- but as of now, the FBI is determined that they didn't want to begin -- they didn't want the prosecution. How does he know that the e-mails will be devastating? Of course he has no idea whether they'll be devastating or not. I mean, it's just -- it's remarkable. We've gotten so used to this. Donald Trump just says whatever comes into his brain, whether it has any relationship with reality or not.
LEMON: But of course he's going to use it. I mean, he's running for president of the United States. This is what he has.
BEINART: Right. But you know what? We've had previous Republican presidents, Mitt Romney, John McCain, they would have taken a political shot, but they wouldn't have sounded like this. This is the way Trump is, he's something we've not seen before.
LEMON: What do you think of this, John -- John Philips?
JOHN PHILIPS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, the one person we haven't heard from is Huma Abedin. I guess it's easier to find Jimmy Hoffa's tomb that it is to find Huma Abedin commenting on this.
[23:30:03] LEMON: She did respond tonight, though. She did comment -- through her attorney, she said that -- her attorney said that she will continue to cooperate as she has in the past.
PHILIPS: Right, and Hillary Clinton came out and said, through John Podesta, that she wants the FBI to release the e-mails. Well, the FBI doesn't have the ability legally to release all of these e-mails. We don't know what's in there. Huma Abedin does. I think Hillary should be calling on Huma Abedin to release these e-mails. She has the legal authority to do so. And I think she can put this to rest right now by releasing all of these e-mails.
MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You know, I think again this is a case of, first of all, hyperbole on this Halloween night, but secondly, to Peter's point, this is something that Donald Trump does because he can't help himself because he has nowhere else to go.
Look, yes, this has been -- this e-mail issue has been political crack for him, his campaign and his supporters because before this, it was a failing, flailing campaign that had a very narrow to impossible path to 270. I think his path is still next to possible, but he does have a new spring in his step and he's using this as sort of the gasoline that gives him that new energy as well as his supporters.
Is it going to change any minds? I don't think so. We've already seen in the polls that have been done since this e-mail news has come out that, you know, 65 percent to 70 percent of voters don't think that this is going to matter and it certainly hasn't mattered in their votes. The field reports that the Clinton campaign is getting back on early voting look phenomenal. They're over performing their numbers in 2012.
LEMON: But --
CARDONA: They are over performing in a lot of the demographics. So --
LEMON: We're so only a couple of days out -- a couple of days past the information coming out.
CARDONA: That is true.
LEMON: And so I think it's still -- you know, it takes a while to trickle down. So Calvin -- yes.
CARDONA: That is true. But you know what else is happening, Don? The gift that always gives is Republican overreach.
LEMON: OK. That was question to Calvin.
CARDONA: And we are seeing it now.
LEMON: Does he -- does Donald Trump stand the chance of overplaying his hand here? Should he be speaking the way he's speaking on the campaign trail, Calvin? And as I said to Peter, this is what he has. And he's going to use it. CALVIN TUCKER, CHAIRMAN, PENNSYLVANIA BLACK REPUBLICAN COUNCIL: Look,
I mean -- no, I don't think he's overreaching. I think he's actually, you know, making a point that this is a serious matter. I mean, I was around in 1970, '71, '72, '73, and we had a -- just re-elected a president who went through a trying time. He was under investigation and subsequently he had to resign before being impeached.
So this is a matter that Donald Trump takes serious. And I think that the American people need to know the specifics of why the FBI would reopen an investigation that they had closed. So --
LEMON: Are you saying --
CARDONA: They haven't reopened it.
LEMON: Are you saying -- yes, it's not -- he never said he was reopening anything. But here's the thing.
TUCKER: Well, but he --
LEMON: Do you think he should clarify? Is that what you're saying -- Comey?
TUCKER: Absolutely, I would -- I would like him to clarify as well because the American people need to know who they're voting for and, you know, what the issues are with these new e-mails. I mean --
CARDONA: I agree with that completely.
TUCKER: Yes, absolutely. I would like to see that. But it's not going to happen in eight days.
CARDONA: And that's why what Comey did was so egregious because he's sort of -- you know, he threw the stink bomb into this election cycle 11 days before an election, and he did it, frankly, to cover his own behind. And it's not the first time he's done it.
TUCKER: Well, no, I -- look, I mean, I think that Director Comey did what he had to do, whether it's eight days before or 20 days after. This is a serious matter, and if he saw or if he was advised by the New York investigators that there's something here that may have some effect on an investigation that you may have closed, you need to get it out in the public to raise the issues.
BEINART: No, you really --
TUCKER: At least -- talk to Congress about this.
BEINART: You really don't.
LEMON: Go ahead, Peter.
BEINART: You really don't. I mean, you can look at the computer and see what's on those e-mails. But there's no reason that you need to interfere in an election eight days before unless you found something that's really, really significant. And that's why you've seen people, Republicans like Alberto Gonzales, Bush's attorney general, and Charles Grassley. This is quite unusual really in such a partisan season to see Republicans coming forward and saying, this was inappropriate.
LEMON: And John --
PHILIPS: And this is why -- this is why his credibility is on the line. Either there's a bombshell in these e-mails, in these documents that the FBI has obtained or his career is over. I mean, Carl Bernstein said --
LEMON: Yes, but we don't know --
LEMON: Yes, John, he is saying that he doesn't know what's in the e- mails yet. I mean, they were asking --
PHILIPS: He may not know the details, but the investigators did.
[23:35:02] LEMON: The investigators don't know -- the investigators don't know what's in the e-mails either.
CARDONA: Yes, but --
BEINART: They haven't even decided to look into the e-mails.
LEMON: They haven't even looked at them yet.
CARDONA: They don't know the depth of it and the fact that these e- mails could all be duplicates or could all be personal e-mails, at the end of the day, I agree with John, this is going to look so bad for Director Comey that he might very well have to resign after this.
LEMON: Yes. But there could very well be something in there, but the point is, is that no one knows at this point.
TUCKER: That's what I'm saying.
LEMON: Go ahead, Calvin.
PHILIPS: Well, what happens if there is something that's in there and he sat on it --
TUCKER: No, no, that's exactly what I'm going to say. What if there are egregious things --
LEMON: Hold on, one at a time. Calvin and then John. Go ahead, Calvin.
TUCKER: Yes. So what if there are egregious e-mails in there that will affect the tone and tenor of this campaign or at least, you know, her positions, so I think he had to get this information out immediately. He had to notify Congress so that -- certainly he protects himself in this process.
LEMON: But John --
TUCKER: Whether he has to resign or not, but the fact of the matter is, this is very serious.
LEMON: But, John, we won't know probably what's in the e-mails. Probably until after the election. May very well not know unless they really do a speedy investigation.
PHILIPS: Sure, and let's say that a week after the election he announces the investigation and we find out that there's something very bad in these e-mails and he was sitting on e-mails that his agents brought to him before the election and he didn't act on it? We only find out about it after the election?
LEMON: What if he said I didn't want to affect the outcome of the election and then we would deal with the consequences afterwards?
CARDONA: That's right.
LEMON: Because there are --
CARDONA: He's got to be able to take the heat.
LEMON: -- mechanisms that you can deal with in order to --
PHILIPS: But if he knew about it beforehand --
CARDONA: That's part of the position.
PHILIPS: People will go nuts.
CARDONA: That's part of why he's paid.
CARDONA: That's part of why he's paid what he's paid. This is the position, this is the job that he accepted, is to take the political heat.
LEMON: Everybody, hold that thought. After the break. We'll be right back.
[23:41:00] LEMON: That is the president and the first lady, Michelle Obama, having a thrilling Halloween at the White House today. And then later -- there he is -- he met with the lame duck.
LEMON: You get it? He's a duck and he's lame. You know, he's got his arm in a sling? So there he is. That was pretty smart. That's always fun. Always nice at the White House.
We needed that a little bit of levity after what's going on. My goodness. This is the craziest election ever. Back now with my panel. So I was telling everyone to hold their thoughts. And you were trying to get in. Was it -- Peter, were you trying to get in on something? No?
BEINART: Go ahead.
CARDONA: I had a comment, Don.
CARDONA: And just to kind of underscore again how egregious what Comey did was, is that in another situation where the National Intelligence Agencies came out on October 7th if you remember, and actually confirmed that Russia was behind the hacks, there are reports that Comey did not want the FBI to be a part of that, quote-unquote, "announcement" because it was too close to the election to put something like that out there. Because it could sway the election. So if he thinks that about confirming that Russia was actually behind the hacks that we have seen, but yet is so easily suede into making this kind of announcement 11 days before an election about one of the candidates themselves?
CARDONA: I'm sorry, that is the height of hypocrisy right there.
LEMON: So, John, as you can see, because that's what's the Clinton campaign is saying, it's a double standard.
LEMON: You heard her vice presidential running mate saying the same thing, they've been hitting on that, you did a great job there, Maria, with that point. But are you -- are you concerned, though? The question is that, maybe it's the way this could backfire, people could feel that she is the victim here and it could energize Clinton supporters?
PHILIPS: No. Because if they actually meant it, President Obama would fire him. He works for the Obama administration. He works in the Obama Justice Department. If this guy is such a partisan warrior that is acting so far beyond the rules and beyond the law, that he needs to be reigned in, there's a very easy way for them to do it, and there's a reason why they're not doing it. And that's because they don't actually believe it.
LEMON: Let's --
BEINART: No, no, it's not, it's because if they were to fire him, you can imagine how that would take this controversy and --
CARDONA: Yes. That's not likely.
BEINART: -- basically blow out 100 times bigger.
PHILIPS: If he's breaking the law, fire him.
CARDONA: That's right.
BEINART: But, look --
TUCKER: But he wasn't partisan in July.
BEINART: You guys, keep --
TUCKER: He wasn't partisan in July.
BEINART: You guys keep --
CARDONA: I actually thought he was. I was not one of those Democrats who was praising Comey left and right because of his decision. I thought it was the right decision. But then when he screwed up was when he went out --
LEMON: With criticism --
CARDONA: -- and instead of just announcing the decision as is normal.
CARDONA: With no editorializing and no comment, and recommending his findings to the attorney general.
LEMON: And saying that she acted recklessly? Is that what you're responding to?
CARDONA: Yes, I am. I am saying he acted recklessly.
PHILIPS: You know, Maria --
CARDONA: Because he made that press conference --
PHILIPS: If you think -- if you think he's suck a hack --
CARDONA: And then he went and testified before Congress. And then he (INAUDIBLE) the notes.
PHILIPS: If you think he's a hack --
CARDONA: That is unheard of.
LEMON: Let him get in. Go ahead, John.
PHILIPS: Fire him. If you think he's a hack then you should fire him.
CARDONA: He doesn't work for me.
PHILIPS: If you want these e-mails out -- well, then you should tell your president to fire him.
CARDONA: He doesn't work for me, John. Thank you for --
PHILIPS: Tell President Obama to fire him.
CARDONA: For thinking I have that kind of power.
LEMON: Let him finish. Go ahead, John.
CARDONA: But he doesn't work for me.
PHILIPS: If he's a hack and outside the boundaries of the law, then President Obama should fire him, and you guys should call on him to do that. And if you want these e-mails out in the public sphere, call on Huma Abedin who can release them tonight to release every single one of these e-mails.
CARDONA: She didn't even know that these e-mails were on that device, it's not her device. She doesn't have -- I can't imagine --
LEMON: It's been reported -- hang on. Hold on and I'll let you guys go back at it again, but it has been reported that she does -- she is not sure what the FBI is talking about.
CARDONA: That's right.
LEMON: But go on.
CARDONA: Yes, she doesn't know.
BEINART: What do people think is going to be in these e-mails anyway? I mean, we already know that there were a small number of classified e-mails that were -- that were sent? Right? We already know that so maybe they find a couple more, it's possible, the only thing that could really make a difference --
[23:45:05] PHILIPS: Maybe there's the deleted e-mails.
BEINART: The only thing that could really make a difference was some evidence that they were trying to obstruct the investigation. You don't think that given everything they've combed through already, that if there was evidence that they were trying to obstruct the investigation we would have found that already?
LEMON: What about the Clinton Foundation and maybe a concern there because --
BEINART: It's possible, I mean, again, the press has been doing exhaustive investigations into the Clinton Foundation.
CARDONA: There will be no there-there.
CARDONA: Now they've basically come up with almost nothing.
LEMON: Calvin -- Calvin, what do you --
TUCKER: Well, Don, but I want to go back to this e-mail, it's my understanding that, you know, she sent the e-mails to Mr. Weiner's computer because they were easier to print off of his computer than off of --
LEMON: Well, that is -- that's speculation. She's testified --
CARDONA: We don't know that. Yes.
LEMON: She's testified to that before, but for this particular case.
LEMON: No one knows because they have not looked at the e-mails yet, they don't know what's in there. But --
CARDONA: Hence, that's the problem.
LEMON: My question is, what can be so damaging in those e-mails, to Peter's point, in your estimation, Calvin, that would affect -- that would change anything?
TUCKER: Well, I mean, if there's specific, you know, allegations that there was confidential information being passed on, which has an effect on national security, I mean, I think those things -- that would be damaging. And it certainly would, you know, support the cause for concern that, you know, the administration or at least Hillary's time as the secretary of state is reckless. She's using personal e-mails to transmit, you know, confidential and national security issues.
CARDONA: Well, again, we don't know.
LEMON: Hold on. Hold on. Hold on.
CARDONA: That's not in any of those e-mails.
TUCKER: No, we don't know. I mean, we just did a hypothetical certainly.
CARDONA: Any of that information.
TUCKER: All I'm saying is that's a hypothetical. But that's a serious issue.
LEMON: I asked him a hypothetical question.
TUCKER: One of the e-mails.
LEMON: In all fairness. But go ahead.
BEINART: I mean ,you know, look, there are reasons to be worried about a Hillary Clinton presidency. You know, she made a very bad decision on the Iraq war. She seems to have made a very bad decision on Libya. I think there are genuine policy questions about Hillary Clinton that even though I'm going to vote for her genuinely deserve a real conversation. And then there are massive, massive policy questions about Donald Trump, who's talking about moving and taking America out of NATO, wants countries to get nuclear weapons all around the world.
BEINART: I mean, the fact that we're talking about maybe they would find that instead of three classified e-mails that were sent on her, they could find five. I mean is this really the most important thing for us to be talking about eight days before an election?
LEMON: That's a good question.
LEMON: We'll answer after the break.
[23:51:33] LEMON: Back now with my panel. And before Peter Beinart was asking, is this really what we want to be talking about and the American public eight days before an election? So I'll ask you, John Philips, is this really what people want to be talking about?
PHILIPS: Well, what's the conventional in this election? Whoever is the focus is on is the one that's going to lose out. If the focus is on Donald Trump, that benefits Hillary Clinton. If the focus is on Hillary Clinton, it benefits Donald Trump. The fact that this story broke at the 11th hour right before the election certainly benefits Donald Trump. And I do think that people care.
Look, people in American history have voted for crooks before, and the country has survived it. What we haven't done is we haven't knowingly voted for someone that we do think is dishonest, that we do think is a crook, and that's the problem that Hillary Clinton is facing as we march into this November 8th election. There are a lot of people that are going to vote for her that think
that she is a fundamentally dishonest person and some of those people are going to drop off, and some of those people are going to split their tickets to put a check on her and that's a problem for her.
LEMON: Maria, couldn't the same be said about Donald Trump?
CARDONA: Yes, and that is exactly what the Clinton campaign is talking about. Hillary Clinton is talking about the issues that affect Americans. She's talking about how to make an economy work for everybody. She's talking about bringing down health care costs. And yes, fixing Obamacare.
LEMON: But she's also -- she's having to talk about the e-mails now.
CARDONA: But she's also -- well, she is, and she definitely addresses it, which I'm glad she does. But she's also talking about the contrast that is before the voters right now and on to November 8th.
Look, it's rich that John and Trump supporters talk about criminality in a candidate. There are two trials that Donald Trump is facing coming up. A civil trial with his favorite judge, Judge Curiel, on November 30th.
PHILIPS: He didn't put national security at risk.
CARDONA: Trump University, and a rape trial coming up on December 16th. And he very well could go to jail, and in addition to that, he has 4,000 lawsuits against him from people that he has ripped off. Contractors, people who have worked for him, employees who have worked for him.
PHILIPS: Donald Trump has never put national security at risk.
CARDONA: So let's not -- let's not talk about crooked candidates.
LEMON: And Maria --
CARDONA: Let's not talk about dishonest candidates.
LEMON: All of those -- all of those claims you just made are --
CARDONA: Let's not talk about, you know, things -- things that are dishonest coming from a candidate.
LEMON: Hold on, hold on, hold on. I just want to say that, Maria, those are your claims. So I'll let you own your own words when it comes to that. But, I mean, how do you -- do you think that Hillary Clinton put national security at risk?
CARDONA: No, absolutely not. And there is --
LEMON: According to -- according to the -- I'm talking to John.
CARDONA: No, no, no. Oh, I'm sorry.
LEMON: I'm talking to John. I'm asking John.
PHILIPS: Yes. OK.
CARDONA: I'm sorry, go ahead.
LEMON: Because, John, initially the FBI director said she did not, and therefore decided not to prosecute.
CARDONA: That's right.
LEMON: And now he's saying --
LEMON: We don't know what's in these e-mails, we have to --
LEMON: It could very well be that she did, but at this point we don't know.
PHILIPS: And Hillary Clinton is confident that the Russians and the Chinese don't have access to these e-mails, but who did? Oh yes, a pervert who is sexting about rape fantasies with a 15-year-old, had them on his personal computer in his home in Brooklyn. If a pervert who's sexting with 15-year-olds has access to these e-mails my guess is it's entirely possible that so do the Russians and the Chinese.
BEINART: This is what we got. Your guess, and it's entirely possible. Right? What we don't have is actual any evidence that these --
PHILIPS: They have the DNC's.
BEINART: That they actually were hacked. The irony is that we have tons of evidence that official government e-mails were hacked.
CARDONA: That's right.
BEINART: Right? The White House was hacked.
CARDONA: That's right.
BEINART: The State Department. Governments that were hacked all over the place, and we actually don't have any evidence that her private server was hacked.
LEMON: Calvin, you've got to jump in fast with this group.
[23:55:02] TUCKER: Well, yes, I mean, look. She's been -- she's been in government in 30 years so -- and she's not talking about the issues. Donald Trump is talking about the issues. Particularly those issues in the underserved community. I've had an opportunity to hear his economic plank. So those are the things, you're right, that we would love to hear, but unfortunately, you know, the campaign has moved to a negative stage, and we're not going to hear those things for the balance of this race for the last eight days.
CARDONA: Hillary Clinton will continue to talk about the issues that are facing the Americans.
TUCKER: And I --
LEMON: I think both sides talk about the issues, but then the other side says, they don't talk about the issues.
LEMON: Which is not necessarily true.
CARDONA: Well, the contrast --
LEMON: I mean, probably both of them do a lot more issue discussing.
CARDONA: The contrast between a candidate who's completely unfit for office like Donald Trump and somebody who has worked 30 years for children and families, that's a pretty clear contrast that Hillary Clinton will win every time.
LEMON: All right.
PHILIPS: Yes. She's so in favor of children and families that the pervert who's sexting with the 15-year-old about rape fantasies has the e-mails.
CARDONA: Your candidate is a -- is a self-described sexual predator that 12 women have come out and accused of sexual abuse.
LEMON: OK. And this is where we are now. Thank you, everyone.
CARDONA: Thank you, Don.
TUCKER: Sure. Thank you.
PHILIPS: Thank you.
TUCKER: Thank you, Don.
LEMON: That's it for us tonight. Thanks for watching. I'll see you right back here tomorrow.