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Less Than 24 Hours Until Election Day; FBI: No Criminal Charges Over Clinton E-mails; African-Americans of Faith Come Together; First Female AG Janet Reno Has Died at 78. Aired 4:30-5a ET
Aired November 7, 2016 - 04:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[04:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: In a race where we have come to expect the unexpected, no one expected this. The FBI clears Hillary Clinton again.
Welcome back to EARLY START, I'm Christine Romans.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm John Berman. Thirty-one minutes past the hour right. Nice to see you.
So with less than 24 hours to go until Election Day, surely there could no more bombshells. Well, not necessarily, and don't call me Shirley.
Nine days after he turned the 2016 race upside down with surprising announcement that FBI's agents were reviewing discovered e-mails from Hillary Clinton server, the FBI Director James Comey in Congress that the review is over and after all that, nothing.
In a letter to congressional leaders, Comey said, based on our review, we have not changed our conclusions that we expressed in July with respect to Secretary Clinton.
Law enforcement sources tell CNN that investigators worked around the clock to sit through the thousands of e-mails. The investigation wrapped up more quickly than expected because most of the e-mails were either personal or they were duplicates of those already looked at.
And while the Clinton campaign, no doubt, welcomes what amounts to the vindication, the question still remain about whether the FBI director should have set this off nine days ago, this whirlwind to begin with.
ROMANS: All of this is happening as we are now in the final full day of campaigning with the campaigns of the candidates sprinting to the finish, CNN is everywhere this morning following every 4:00 a.m. twists and turns.
Let's start with the Clinton campaign, CNN's Phil Mattingly has been following the latest for us, he joins us this morning. Good morning, Phil.
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning Christine. It's simply good news that Hillary Clinton doesn't actually want to talk about it. Here's why. The Clinton campaign, while they certainly are relieved that James Comey sent another letter to Capitol Hill this time trying to pull the dirt cloud off from over the top of them, they recognized that they win in this race; their numbers go up in this race. Now, would Trump's numbers go down in this race when they are talking about Donald Trump, an that's exactly what Hillary Clinton tried to do that, like even after this letter was sent to Capitol Hill. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We will have some work to do to bring about healing and reconciliation after this election. This election is a moment of reckoning. It is a choice between division or unity. Between strong, steady leadership or a loose cannon who could put everything at risk.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTINGLY: So guys, it has been clear for a while. Hillary Clinton does have an electoral map advantage. Many democrats would (ph) at this point. But if you want to know kind of how they view the end of the race, take a look at where she's going today.
Today is really the last day of campaigning. The Clinton campaign has scheduled this good insight into where she is going.
Pennsylvania, a crucial state. The Clinton campaign, they feel good about this state, but if they want to close the door on any Trump potential victory, Pennsylvania is a pretty good way to do it.
Two stops there including a huge stop in Pennsylvania with the equivalent of a John Berman dinner party. President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and of course, her spring team (ph), joining Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton for an evening rally that should be kind of the high point of the campaign.
Going to Michigan, Grand Rapids first, President Obama going to Ann Arbor. There is a good reason. That race has tightened up, according to officials in both parties. That is a state the Clinton campaign has long expected to win and absolutely needs to win if the map that they have laid out actually stays in play.
Last stop, tonight, midnight rally, guys, in Raleigh, North Carolina. The true toss-up that we have got in the race probably right now. The Clinton campaign can push that over the top. They are in very good shape.
BERMAN: These days are just exhausting. Both campaigns, both candidates are working late for the night. Donald Trump, he just finished an event a couple of hours ago in Virginia. Actually, just landed back in Florida.
We had an exclusive with the press corps there trying to chase them around the country. He basically said no matter what the FBI director James Comey says, he thinks Hillary Clinton is guilty. Let the evidence be otherwise.
CNN's Sunlen Serfaty here with the very latest on that.
[04:35:00] SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: John, it is very clear, Donald trump is not letting go of this line of messaging against Hillary Clinton.
All day, at his rallies last night, he continued to bring up that she has been under investigation from the FBI. But notably leaving out that review has reached an end and in essence she has been cleared of any wrongdoing.
Trump did not specifically refer to FBI Director James Comey's announcement, but he did cast doubt broadly about the conclusions saying, he thinks it is impossible for them to have reviewed all these e-mails in the course of just over a week. Here is Trump last night in Leesburg, Virginia.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is a rigged system. Hillary Clinton is guilty. She knows it. The FBI knows it. The people, the FBI, they know it. I think it is very embarrassing to them. And now it is up to the American people to deliver the justice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SERFATY: And you can bet that Donald Trump today will keep up that line of attack. This is a line that the Trump campaign thinks is very effective, especially galvanizing his supporters, getting out his bases (ph) is what he needs in these final days.
And the mad dash for him continues today. I want to show you a snapshot of his schedule. He goes to all-important state of Florida, North Carolina and on to Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and on to Michigan for a late night rally.
This is so late in the game ad that the Trump campaign is eyeing with Michigan, a state that has not voted republican since 1988. So, clearly, as the Clinton campaign has been forced to play defense in Michigan, the Trump campaign eyeing some opportunity there.
ROMANS: All right, Sunlen Serfaty, thanks.
One of the states everyone is watching this morning, Pennsylvania. Both candidates will be there today. There are 20 electoral votes at stake in what has been a blue state for decades. Still, it has been a republican target for just as long.
BERMAN: It has been a republican target for just as long, but it's like Lucy and the football. Whenever the republicans go into Pennsylvania, Lucy pulls it away.
CNN's Sara Sidner is live in Philadelphia this morning. Sara, we have some news or a floating (ph) news on a possible transit strike and the people thought might affect voting? SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. So, the transit strike has been
going on for several days now, and they are still in negotiations but it is getting close, that is what we have heard from some officials who are involved in that negotiation to try, even if it's just tog et the workers back to work for the day that everyone votes, they are hoping that that will happen.
But it has not quite happened yet. No official deal. We know the negotiations are still happening. Now, remember, it is 4:30 in the morning, so they have been working through the night to try to get this done at least for November 8th.
I do want to mention this that you remember talking about Donald Trump and how he has been saying that the system is rigged. Well, he has also accused some states and, in particular, Pennsylvania and Philadelphia of the potential of voter fraud and calling these particular areas out, saying he is going to go into, and he wants his watchers to go to the polls in certain areas.
Well, we talked to some of the folks here. It has galvanized some of his supporters to go out and be poll watchers. But it has also galvanized another group, 400 men of faith from the African-American community say they, too, are going out. Here's why.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REVEREND DR. ALYN E. WALLER, ENON TABERNACLE BAPTIST CHURCH: We felt that we needed to be there to make sure that people come, to be there to make sure that people don't let anything deter them.
The added rhetoric of Donald Trump then caused us to recognize we really need to be here because there may be an added component of needing to be protectors and not just encouragers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SIDNER: Reverend Waller says that these 400 men are from different faith. we're talking about Muslims, we're talking about Christians, they have all come together saying, they are not going to be monitors, but they will be there to make sure that everything goes smoothly, especially in predominately African-American neighborhoods. Christine, John?
BERMAN: All right, Sara.
ROMANS: All right, Sara, thanks.
BERMAN: Sara Sidner for us in Philadelphia. Thanks a lot.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BERMAN: All right, the breaking news just in. We just learned that former Attorney General Janet Reno has died, this is according to Reno's sister. Janet Reno was the country's first woman to be Attorney General. She served during the entire Clinton administration. She was right at the center of a lot of controversy. That was a tumultuous eight years of service.
There was the siege of the Branch Davidians compound in Waco, Texas. There was Elian Gonzalez. There was the entire (ph) impeachment proceedings and whatnot but through it all, Janet Reno stayed inside the Justice Department, serving the full eight years.
She did have a 20-year battle with Parkinson's disease. Janet Reno passed away at the age of 78 years old.
ROMANS: CNN's Suzanne Malveaux, live in Columbus, Ohio for us. Suzanne, you covered the administration, you covered that time period when Janet Reno was Attorney General. Your thoughts this morning?
[04:40:00] SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, really, she was quite a presence and it was a tumultuous time under her reign. There were numerous cases and really high profile cases, controversial cases that she handled as Attorney General.
As you know, she was the first female Attorney General under President Clinton. It was Kimba Wood and Zoe Baird who had actually been nominated before her. She was not the first choice for President Clinton, but both of the previous candidates had problems regarding illegal immigrants as nannies and therefore were disqualified.
So she was the first female who was nominated and actually confirmed by the Senate for that position.
One of the cases that I covered very extensively was the case of Elian Gonzalez out of Florida, and that was the case as you remember where the Cuban boy whose own mother and stepfather were lost at sea when he traveled here to get to this country. It was controversial when Elian Gonzalez was pulled from his Miami relatives and brought back to Cuba to his father.
Janet Reno really was the type of person who had the kind of conviction and courage really to move forward, and some of these cases you mentioned, Waco as well that we had covered at the time with the Branch Davidians and the loss of life.
There were quite a few bit of controversial cases. But she was someone who was not only admired but she was also beloved as well. This was somebody who was parodied by SNL, "Saturday Night Live", as guest that would have her later on and people kind of poking a little bit fun at her as somebody who is being a little bit out of the norm, unusual in some ways, but she really had a towering presence.
She had a strong conviction and she was somebody who served as a role model really to many young women as the first female Attorney General under President Clinton.
ROMANS: Towering, literally and figuratively. She stands 6'2", Janet Reno, and certainly for those of us who remember those Clinton years, she was a presence every day.
Suzanne, thank you so much. And Richard Socarides is here. You worked with Janet Reno in the administration, yes?
RICHARD SOCARIDES, THENEWYORKER.COM DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST WRITER: I did for the whole eight years that she was Attorney General. I was on the White House staff. and you know, it was interesting, I've been thinking about her this morning.
She stepped in after two of President Clinton's first choices -- both first choices were derailed by vetting issues and the people thought somewhat that she was kind of, you know, in over her head but she really stepped up and I think she'll be seen as a very effective Attorney General.
BERMAN: She was at the center of so many of these white hot controversies over the eight years. I mean, between Waco and between Ruby Ridge and between Elian Gonzalez. Also (ph), you know, connected to impeachment as well. How did she hold up -- what do you remember about her during all those moments of pressure?
SOCARIDES: You know, unflappable. Always unflappable, always calm. And, you know, obviously, she had a somewhat difficult relationship with President Clinton because of the Ken Starr thing.
I mean, she appointed Ken Starr. Obviously, President Clinton and those of us who worked at the White House were not happy with her choice, and it was a rough, you know -- a lot of gruff things flowed from that.
But they had a good relationship even at the end. I mean, the other thing I remember about her, and this is perhaps appropriate today, is that she had a sweetness about her that people often did not see.
I mean, she was very attentive to the people who worked there even she had some friends on the White House staff, I like to think myself included.
She was extremely sweet. She was, you know, thoughtful. She remembered birthdays. And she came in, and she was not a Justice Department insider, you know, she was a local prosecutor in Florida.
But by the time she left there, she had made many, many fans and people really loved here there.
BERMAN: All right, Richard Socarides with his memories of Janet Reno, the former Attorney General, the first woman to be U.S. Attorney General, we just learned moments ago Janet Reno had passed away at the age of 78 years old.
ROMANS: We'll be right back.
[04:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BERMAN: All right. So, did you accept this in any other way? An extraordinary last couple days here. The FBI essentially clearing Hillary Clinton in the e-mail investigation, again.
Joining us now, CNN's Political Commentator John Phillips, talk radio host for KABC in California, also a columnist for the "Orange County Register" and a Donald Trump supporter, democratic strategist Richard Socarides, a former Senior Advisor to Bill Clinton and a writer for the "New Yorker", Ellis Henican is here, Political Analyst and best- selling author, CNN Politics Reporter Eugene Scott and senior Media Correspondent and host of "RELIABLE SOURCES", Brian Stelter. That's all for us, this morning, guys.
ROMANS: I want to make a quick point, guys, and this is just, you know, there are polls and there is morning-after reaction and there is the global markets, by the way. We are up, big, around the world. Every market you can think of, London, Frankfurt, Paris, Belgium, Ireland, everything, they are calling it the Comey bounce.
The FBI, actually a player in global markets, and the feeling here is that this is putting everything behind Hillary Clinton. The e-mail thing is behind her now and the markets at least think that now she has a better shot going forward. Brian Stelter, is the e-mail thing dead for her now, is it over or are these undecided voters still could have -- is this still a nagging concern for them?
BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Well, even if it is over for Clinton herself, it may not be over for some of her aides, as the speculation will continue about some of her aides.
Let's also keep in mind there continues to be interest within the FBI amongst some agents, at least, about the Clinton Foundation. But there is nothing imminent. So, for the next two days, Clinton can take a sigh of relief as she has an advantage two weeks ago, she had an advantage a week ago, and as you're saying, global markets sort of hoping and anticipating she will win on Tuesday night.
The poll of polls shows her three points ahead of Trump nationally. But as we know, it is the battlegrounds that matter and Trump continues to have a narrow path. That reality remains true every hour today.
[04:50:00] BERMAN: So Richard Socarides, some of the case that this just puts the e-mails back in the news for the last 24 hours for even though, you know, she has been exonerated again, this is a story that maybe she did not want hanging over her the last day.
SOCARIDES: Well, I think she is talking about it in the closing days what she wants to talk about. She is already talking about healing and reconciliation. She has a couple of new ads up that really talk about the country coming together. I mean, I think the trends are clear, and I think she will be elected president on Tuesday and she will have a big job of bringing the country together, and that's what she is starting to talk about.
ROMANS: John Phillips, there is a narrow path to 270 for your candidate, you support Donald Trump, and there is more of a path today than there was a week or so ago -- I can't speak. Five different Barnstorms today, five different states today for your candidate. What do you want to hear from him today?
JOHN PHILLIPS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: All right, he could be executive platinum by the time this thing sis over.
PHILLIPS: I'm jus going to focus on ...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On Trump air.
PHILLIPS: Exactly. He just focus on those Barnstorm (ph) States so I would imagine we're going to hear a lot about trade, we're going to hear a lot about immigration, we're going to hear a lot about the themes that he has been hitting throughout this campaign, and we're going to hear a lot of slams on Hillary Clinton, and the fact that a lot of people in those states just don't believe her. They don't think she is an honest person. I think he is going to drive that home.
BERMAN: Eugene Scott, both campaigns going to Michigan today. Michigan is not supposed to be a state that was in play a month ago. I probably would have said that either candidate would be there on this last day. What does that tell you that both are going to be there?
EUGENE SCOTT, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Well it tells us that Michigan is far more diverse than people realize and that is not in the back like it may have been in previous years. You have a northern Michigan which has a lot of white working class voters who have really resonated with the Trump speech, but also you have the urban core full of black voters, full of millennial voters. Michigan is a huge color state and women voters that have been successful in helping Obama get to the White House. Clinton is hoping they will help her as well.
ROMANS: Ellis Henican, last word, my friend.
ELLIS HENICAN, NEWSDAY COLUMNIST AND BEST-SELLING AUTHOR: You know what, we've all been wondering whether the old map, the red/blue map was going to be thrown out of whack by Donald Trump, and you know what? in the end, it may be. He may get a rustbelt state, maybe a Utah is thrown into its upheaval.
I'm still watching Arizona. I know some people say they don't bother about it anymore, but I like upheaval and we may get some tomorrow night.
BERMAN: Well, I like upheaval. We will end with that. Thank you one and all for being with us this morning on CNN. We're going to have live coverage every minute of this from now through the end, whenever that end might be. You want to stay with CNN the whole darn time. We'll be right back.
[04:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK) ROMANS: All right. Get ready for a big rebound in the stock market today, folks. Look at these gains. Dow Futures, up 253 points; Nasdaq, up 1.7 percent; S&P 500 is set to pop as well.
Futures jumped immediately after FBI Director James Comey's statement to lawmakers clearing Hillary Clinton. You can call this the Comey bounce. Global markets are also rising. A stark turn around from this.
Look at that, nine straight days of losses for the S&P 500, falling 3 percent over that span. That is the longest losing streak since 1980. And it corresponds with the polls tightening, Donald Trump been gaining some momentum and the market coming to grips with the fact that Trump could win the elections.
Exactly that same span of time that there was this renewed interest from the FBI into some of those Hillary Clinton e-mails found on Anthony Weiner's laptop.
Investors see Trump as a riskier president. They feel his policies on immigration and trade could hurt the economy. Clinton is seen as less of a risk, especially if republicans keep control of Congress. So that is what is going on today in global market. Around the world, markets are rallying as we head to the polls tomorrow.
That's it for EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.
BERMAN: I'm John Berman. What a morning it has been already as the candidates hit the trail on election eve. How will the James Comey news affect it all? Just watch "NEW DAY", starting right now.
TRUMP: It is time to close the history books on the Clintons.
CLINTON: Now, are you ready to vote on Tuesday?
TRUMP: You cannot review 650,000 new e-mails in eight days. You can't do it, folks.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The FBI clears Hillary Clinton, again.
SEN. TIM KAINE (D-VA), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We are glad to get that news, but not surprised.
TRUMP: This is a marathon. We're not playing games, right?
CLINTON: I'm really ready to get to work for you.
TRUMP: Don't vote for her. She will be a lousy president, anyway, believe me.
CLINTON: It is a choice between strong, steady leadership or a loose cannon who could put everything at risk.
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Monday, November 7th, 5 o'clock in the East. This is it. Hillary Clinton gets a late break in the final hours of the campaign.
FBI Director James Comey telling Congress that their review of newly discovered e-mails does not change their conclusion and the finding of no evidence of criminality.
Clinton is focusing on uniting the nation, she says, but is it too little, too late?
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Donald Trump back to saying the system is rigged and asking the American people to, "deliver justice at the polls."
Both candidates leaving it all on the field. Wait until you see how many places they are going to be today and tomorrow, which is one day away from the election.
Let's begin the coverage with CNN's Phil Mattingly. Phil?
[05:00:00] MATTINGLY: Good morning, Chris. It was the second unexpected letter from FBI Director James Comey. remember, law enforcement officials telling CNN beforehand, they did not expect conclusions in this second review of the e-mails found on disgraced Congressman Anthony Weiner's laptop until after Election Day.