tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN September 2, 2016 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT
unprecedented account of her statements about her e-mails drawing fresh attention to the controversy dogging her campaign. tonight, critical details from the documents and the trump campaign's tough response. sticking to a script. donald trump continuing his outreach to african-americans as his campaign tries to prevent any embarrassing new blunders. are the questions and answers from an upcoming visit to a black church being planned in advanced. putin's praise. he denies his government was behind the cyber attack on the democratic party's computers. u.s. officials are skeptical as he goes onto celebrate the break in as a public service. tens of millions of americans are in the bulls eye of a drenching and dangerous storm as the holiday weekend begins. cnn is on the ground as hermine turns up the east coast. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room."
breaking news tonight, a new window into hillary clinton's e-mail controversial and her role in the fbi investigation that ended without any charges against her. the bureau releasing new documents including notes on its interview with hillary clinton. they show she was fuzzy on details about e-mail security. she said she relied on aides to make sure she didn't receive classified information through her private servers when she was secretary of state. donald trump's campaign is pouncing saying the information from the fbi reenforces clinton's bad judgment and dishonesty. tonight, trump is added a veteran opponent of the clinton's to his staff. also this hour, vladmir putin says important information was made public by the cyber attack
on a democratic party's computers. the russian president insists his government was not behind the break in. he goes onto ask if it matters who was responsible. his denial and concerns that russia is attempting to manipulate the u.s. election. i'll discuss presidential politics with congressman tom moreno and our correspondents and analysts are standing by to bring you full coverage. up first, let's go to our senior washington correspondent, joe johns. he has more on the report on hillary clinton. >> the release of these redacted papers tell us more than we have known but it leaves open plenty of questions. for example, we knew the agents found evidence that the e-mails were compromised but that's not conclusive because they were not able to locate all 13 mobile devices that may have been used. the biggest question is about
mrs. clinton's fuzzy memories of the facts. >> wow. >> the fbi's formerly classified report on the investigation into hillary clinton's private e-mail server reveals there was a lot she said she could not remember when being questioned by agents. the report indicates 39 different times mrs. clinton said, there were things she did not recall or remember according to the fbi's notes on the interview. the documents providing insight into what the fbi did not recommend charging clinton. >> although we did not find clear evidence that secretary clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws in the handling of classified information, there is evidence they were extremely careless in their handling of sensitive, highly classified information. >> reporter: in her more than three hour interview with the fbi, clinton could not recall any briefing or training by state related to the handling of classified information. she relied on her aides to use
their judgment when e-mails her. she also said she did not know that a c marki ining on a docum meant it was classified and asked interviewing agents for clarification. some of the classified e-mails that caused the most trouble discussed the cia's covert drone program that should never be discussed on any systems. she stated deliberation over a future drone strike did not give her cause for concern regarding classification. >> welcome to all after you. >> reporter: one of the things she seemed conclusive about was her motivation. she said she used her personal e-mail server for convenience and not to evade freedom of information laws. attorney general followed the fbi's recommendation and passed an prosecuting clinton who admitted using a private e-mail server was a mistake. >> i would not do that again. that is something that, at the time, as even director comey
said seemed like a convenience, but it was the wrong choice. >> reporter: donald trump wasted no time seizing on the release saying hillary clinton's answers to the fbi defy belief. i was absolutely shocked to see that her answers to the fbi stood in direct contradiction to what she told the american people. the clinton campaign got what it wanted today. it called for the release of the documents in order to avoid selective leaking. the problem for her campaign is it breathes new life into a story that's dogged the nominee since before the primary giving critics fodder to question her honesty and truthfulness. >> thank you. let's take a deeper dive on the information just released by the fbi. do they really explain why the fbi director said she was
extremely careless, negligent in handling classified information. >> it really does. the documents really show you what this really started about, wolf. it's about the drone program. the cia's drone program. it's a covert program. everybody knows it exist but you're not to discuss it over any private e-mail. officials in the state department are talking about a future planned drone strike by the cia. it ends up not happening but this gives you a window into what this entire controversy has been about which is a fight between the cia. the cia has always found fought with the way the state department has handled the way it dealt with this program. >> there were documents that had a letter "c" suggesting they were classified.
>> it tells you a lot about what secretary clinton, how she knew how to handle these documents. she said she didn't know what the c stood for. she said that this was a reference to alphabetical order of paragraphs. it tells us that even though she's been in public service all these many years, she really did not know how to handle these documents. she says she never got any training or any kind of briefing from the state department about how to retain public records or how to handle classified information. >> thank you. tonight, a dust up involving donald trump and his attempts to try to widen the slim support among african-american voters. this as trump continues to deal with fall out from his hard line speech on immigration. sarah murray is covering the trump campaign for us tonight. she's outside trump tower in new york. what's the latest? >> reporter: at first he faced criticism for making pitches to
minority voters in almost entirely white audiences. it becomes clear that as he travels to diverse communities, voters might not be getting if authentic engagement they were hoping for. he's taking his tightly scripted approach to a roundtable in philadelphia. he's facing criticism for his next campaign stop, an african-american church in new york. there were pre-written replies in a q and a with the pastor. that pastor says he's tweaking his questions and he expects the visit will be a bit more expansive. >> wanted to meet and talk to some people while he was here. that's what his visit is all about. to make sure while he's in town talking to people because he's been criticized that he's been preaching to african-americans from a backdrop of white people.
>> reporter: as for trump, his pitch is staying the same arguing minority voters have nothing left to lose. >> you have tremendous numbers of african-americans that are really had a hard time. they live terribly. i say what do you have to lose? i say what do you have to lose? i'm going to fix it. >> reporter: after the backlash from his hard line immigration speech this week, a speech that cost him the support of some of his own advisors, trump says his plan was misunderstood. now, he's saying his approach to dealing with millions of undocumented immigrants in the u.s. isn't set. >> i want to see before we do anything further, i want to see how it shapes up when we have -- i use the word impenetrable borders. >> reporter: all of this as he admitted that his meeting with the mexican president inspired him to toughen his immigration speech. he said he added this line. >> they don't know it yet, but they're going to pay for the wall. >> reporter: after the mexican president revealed via twitter
that he told trump he wouldn't pay for the border wall. with the campaign entering its final sprint, trump is taking care of other tasks, receiving his second classified intelligence briefing in new york today and hiring a new deputy campaign manager. david bosey, the president of citizens united. as the clinton campaign tries to paint donald trump as too right wing to be acceptable to voters. they're slamming his latest hire. he's put the most extreme elements in the driving seat of his campaign. >> thank you. in the last hour, i spoke with a long time clinton associate, the former undersecretary of state wendy sherman. let's bring in a donald trump supporter. he's a member of the foreign affairs homeland security and judiciary committee. thanks for joining us.
>> i appreciate you having me on. >> hillary clinton campaign say they are very pleased that the fbi has released the documents now because they think once and for all it can put this whole issue to rest and explains why the fbi director recommended against any criminal charges being launched against her. do you agree with that? >> i wouldn't expect anything more out of hillary clinton and her campaign. this raises more and more questions. i wrote a letter to director comey. we were u.s. attorneys together and asked him to give us the content of that information, that interview. i knew it was going to be highly redacted. this tells us so much more. >> he did exactly what you wanted. he released all the notes from that lengthy interview. released all the recommendations to the justice department. why there should be no criminal charges. yes, he said she was negligent, extremely careless in dealing with classified information but
broke no laws. do you accept that conclusion from comey? >> i do not. he kept going back to there was no intent here. intent has nothing to do with this. it's the gross negligence. look how she answered the questions in the interview. how many i don't remember, i don't recall. i'm a prosecutor. that's the favorite line for defense attorneys when they try to get their defendants, don't lie. to prevent yourself from getting hung up, say i don't remember. she didn't remember classified information. she didn't remember training. i was a u.s. attorney over six years ago, and i remember the training i got for classified information for secret and top secret information. >> what are you saying about director comey? >> i'm very surprised. we worked together as u.s. attorney. he was promoted to deputy attorney general. i don't quite understand the
rational here. just remember, the person that runs the justice department. >> what more should he have done in your opinion, speaking as a former u.s. attorney? >> first of all, it's rare that an fbi director steps out front and says to the american people why there is an indictment or why there is not an indictment. they make a recommendation to the attorney general and the attorney general -- >> he wanted to be transparent. he said he wanted to be transparent with the american people on such a high profile case. >> how do you justify transparency when intent isn't an issue when you raise that. what more do can you need for gross negligence? the american people are sick and tired of this. the higher the person goes up into government, the more they get away with and the more money they make. i have prosecuted successfully cases with less evidence. >> director comey said no one
has been prosecuted for the kinds of alleged problems that hillary clinton did with these personal e-mail servers. >> maybe not for that specific issue concerning the specifics when she said she didn't remember or gross negligence versus intent. i keep going back. intent had nothing to do with this. with the evidence that came out over the past severals with the evidence that came out today, there's enough there to indict. let a grand jury make that determination. it just looks like this is being so massaged from this administration that no wonder the american people are fed up with washington. >> let's move on and talk about donald trump, a man you support and want to be president of the united states. he's going to do an interview with an african-american bishop tomorrow. they obtained a script showing 12 questions and written responses, suggestions from trump advisors how he would
respond. does this highlight a potential problem that donald trump is scripting this kind of conversation with an african-american pastor instead of going before an african-american audience and speaking from the heart? >> i think it's a good thing he goes before the african-american community. he rarely stays on script. he's going to answer other questions and go off script and read some of the script. he's going to speak to the heart of this. look the african-american people in the eye and show what a leader he can be for them. what's been the benefit of this administration for african-americans over the years. there's still so much unemployment. there's still so much violence and so many gangs, killings. just look at chicago where the president is from. what's being done about that? >> it's only 68 days to go until
the election. the criticism of donald trump from the african-american community is why has he waited so long to do this. >> you're going to have to ask him why he's waited so long. i think the more he gets into this, don't forget, he's not a politician. hillary clinton has been a politician since the '70s. he's understanding the fact of what's really going on in this country. he sees it and takes it to heart. he really wants to improve the quality of life for americans and he really wants to improve the quality of life for african-americans. he employs so many african-american, hispanics. he's the only one that's been able to create jobs. let me ask you this, how's it been going the last 30 years with governors and senators and career politicians being president. we're $20 trillion in debt. 20 million out of work or underemployed. failed health care, the borders are open. i'll put my money to go on
donald trump because i know he's concerned about my children. >> you're blaming democratic and republican administrations over the past 30 years? >> absolutely. absolutely. there's no question about it. i'm one that calls it like it is. just because i'm a republican doesn't mean i don't criticize my own party. the history shows that both parties have screwed up. >> stand by. you can call me wolf. we'll take a quick break. much more right after this. there's no one road out there. no one surface... no one speed... no one way of driving on each and every road. but there is one car that can conquer them all. the mercedes-benz c-class.
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in his immigration speech the other night in phoenix only after the mexican president tweeted that mexico would not pay for the wall. hillary clinton called trump someone who could be baited by a tweet. did he prove her right in this particular instance? >> no. donald trump says what's on his mind. that's what the american people want. at least that's what i'm hearing not only in pennsylvania but across the country. he made it very clear that they were not going to discuss, according to their private conversation, concerning who was going to be paying for the wall. i think there are several ways to pay for the wall. i think donald trump is sticking to his guns. she shou he should stick to his guns. the president of mexico and donald agreed on many things. the criminals crossing the borders and the guns going into mexico. the people traveling from central america from mexico to get to the united states.
they got off on a positive start. it's only the first conversation. in politics and conversations like this, it takes more than one to try and reach an agreement. >> you're a member of congress. you understand how the house and senate works, republicans and democrats. do you believe democrats would vote for paying for a brand new wall to be built along the 2,000 miles? >> no, i don't. here's the premise. a lot of democrats i hear on the floor want amnesty. to me it's the greatest voter registration scam in the history of this country. >> because if these people are allowed to become u.s. citizen, you think most of them would vote for the democratic party, is that what you're saying? >> of course. they wouldn't be u.s. citizens. amnesty is not the answer here. protecting the border is the first issue. it protects mexico as well. we do need a wall there. we need the high-tech 21st
century wall there. certainly, i've been to mexico. i've spoken. i'm vice president of the nato parliamentary assembly. i've had conversations with mexican leaders. they understand what the problem is. they just don't seem to want to be able to do anything about this. >> thanks very much for joining us. >> you bet. just ahead, is there anything in fbi report on hillary clinton's e-mails that could change voters minds? we're also tracking the threat from hermine. it's threatening 40 million people on the east coast on this holiday weekend. amazing sleep stays with you all day and all night. sleep number beds adjust on both sides for your best sleep ever. don't miss the biggest sale of the year. right now save 50% on the labor day
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the fbi releasing the report on the investigation of hillary clinton's e-mails along with notes on the bureau's interview. let's bring in our cnn political analyst. also our chief political analyst and our justice correspondent. ryan, how damaging is this report to hillary clinton? >> i think there are some things. we have a lot more detail. no smoking gun. if there were a smoking gun, she would have been indicted. we have more detail about some of her carelessness. one that's getting a lot of
attention is this e-mails with the measuriarkings of the lette" i think that raises questions if you're the most prepared person that you should know what classify markings mean. she's apologized and said she was careless. politically, i think people have really made up their mind on this issue. i don't think it will change a lot of minds, but it's damaging to her. >> will it have an affect on these undecided voters out there? >> it's hard to say. what it does is plays into a pre-existing narrative about her which is that she's not forthright and that i think what the trump campaign is trying to do right now and you can't blame them, they're also trying to bla into and say she was careless. she can't be trusted. that plays into another narrative about her. we have seen when she had issues over the last two or three
weeks, her national polling lead has been cut in half whether that's directly related to this or not or whether national polling really matters or not is another question. people who love hillary clinton, the e-mails do not matter one wit. for other people it might be and for others it could have an impact. >> the complete reports release today made public, some redactions in there. what are the mayor points that the trump campaign is likely to seize on? >> i think you'll see an ad in which they will point out 39 times that she was asked questions by the fbi and didn't recall. that goes back to the question of whether or not she's forthright and whether she is forthcoming with answers when ever she gets into trouble. i think you'll see some of that in ad campaigns coming forward. frankly, the thing that really
starts to stall is the cia drone program. this is a fight that's been going on for years behind the scenes and the state department and cia over this program. this is where you see it played out in these e-mails. hillary clinton talking about it. her aides talking about it in oblique terms and this is what really started this and really overshad doed her campaign as a result. >> this is what the fbi was getting it. they wanted to know if that crossed the line. they wanted to know whether she understood that what she was doing was wrong and you come away from this point of view that frankly the fbi concluded that despite all her years in public service and all her time here in washington, she did not understand and did not know how to handle classified information that goes to the question of how prepared is she. >> that's why the fbi director said he didn't recommend
charges. she was negligent in dealing with classified information but she didn't commit any crime. >> exactly. that's the most important point if you're clinton's campaign and clinton herself said there was nothing in here that was bad enough to charge her with a crime and so that's really, we couldn't have expected anything out of this report that would be a smoking gun because we knew the end of the story before we read the beginning of the book. we know how this ends. >> everybody who is reading these pages is reading it from the lens of where they already started. republicans and critics are reading it from that place. her supporters, are reading it. >> the trump campaign has put out a bunch of statements today as you might anticipate and one said after reading all these documents from donald trump, himself saying this. i don't understand how she was able to get away from prosecution. raising questions about why the
fbi did not decide to prosecute her. >> their argument has been they looked through the case history and never saw a case brought for something like this. that's fairly persuasive. until the trump campaign or someone else says we found someone that did what hillary clinton did and they were prosecuted and went to jail. comey has the facts on his side. >> the republican nominee will go before a black church in detroit tomorrow. he will reach out for african-americans. a little late right now. only 68 days to go. he hasn't really done that yet. some of the strategists are suggesting he doesn't anticipate getting a big voter, amount of voter support among african-americans but maybe this will convince some undecided white people throughout in suburban areas, for example. he's a much more realistic reasonable kind of guy. >> i think that is largely what it's about. obviously, they'd like to get up
their african-american support from zero to something a little bit more than zero. >> speaking of nothing to lose. >> i think mitt romney had 6%. i think what this is about is people who might be thinking about voting for donald trump who think he's intolerant, particularly suburban women, white voters who don't like hillary clinton, some of them. i think they hoemd back because they don't want to vote for an intolerant person. >> this is the message that hillary clinton is pushing. going on the campaign trail saying that donald trump is pushing a racist campaign. this gives him an opportunity to say if i was pushing a racist message, would i be going to this black church. >> it's pre-planned. they know they can't have another what have you got to lose moment. >> it's very interesting on a different political story that's unfolding involving the russian president, putin.
he's denying that russia had anything to do with the democratic hacking of the computers. >> it's really remarkable that the russian president had such a great point of view about the american public being informed about what's going on in their government. >> you'd won the u.s. intelligence officials that i've talked to for the last few weeks are certain that this is the work of russian intelligence and this is classic, this is exactly what they like to do. the clinton campaign wants people to believe that putin is trying to get donald trump elected. people don't believe that is the case. what's happening here is more of he's creating noise. they think what is happening here, they think the u.s. is doing this and worst to them. they remember that hillary clinton in 2011, during his
campaign, she said he was stealing the election. he's trying to get even with the united states. >> i mean, both sides steal each other's secrets. i'm sure intelligence services try to steal party secrets from the russians. what is so drift in this case is not just stealing but leaking it, if that's what happened. >> he's supporting. >> that's different what hillary clinton making a public statement versus say our nsa grabbing some documents from the kremlin. >> if you're stealing secret, maybe you have some secrets on republicans that you are not, as you call it strategically leaking. i presume if the russians are spying, which they are, they're doing it to everybody. >> that's why i don't buy he's not trying to elect donald trump. he's got a history of doing this. >> i think it's clear if you look at the public statements that he thinks trump is a pretty
good guy and based on some of the policies that donald trump has pushed. polling out of nato if other countries aren't paying their fair share. that's something that russia would love because if nato isn't as strong to stabilize, gives russia chance to have more influence. there are a will the point of laws that donald trump has pushed that russia would view very favorably. >> i think it's personal. hillary clinton pushed the reset button and then she said wait a minute, vladmir putin is a bad guy. she's come out publicly and spoken about putin. i think he has a certain amount of ego involved in these things. >> he's having fun. >> and she's stirring the pot. >> everyone stand by. we have much more on this putin story. we'll preview a major new cnn documentary on donald trump. gloria's been working on it for months and months and months. stay with us.
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♪ >> trump taj mahal in atlantic city, one of the biggest in the world. lots of glitz, glamour and stage craft. behind the curtains, serious problems. >> when i went there on opening day, it was a mess. >> reporter: alan was the architect for trump plaza. >> you couldn't find your way around without a guide dog, which is not good for a casino. >> reporter: he said the casino control commission had issues too. >> they shut down a third of the slots. the slots are the primer of a new producer of a new casino. to shut down a third on opening day was both humiliating and financially disasterous. >> it was a break down of monumental proportions. >> reporter: jack ran trump plaza for three years.
he was there when the taj opened. >> donald's answer to the problem was to immediately go in and shame the little and berate and demand firings in the midst of the chaos. that's the last thing that a good leader does in that situation. >> reporter: he was ultimately tapped to restore calm at the taj. just weeks later, he says he resigned. trump says he was fired. >> donald is so wrapped up in hyperbole in constant lies. something could go bad and he could say it's because we had so much business. not that the system is broke down. we had so much business it broke down. >> what about the slot machine thing? >> the slots were so hot. nobody seen people play that hard and that fast. >> it blew out the slots? >> they blew apart.
it was like a fuse or like a fire. >> reporter: no one felt the heat more than trump himself. with his life playing out in the papers from his businesses to the break up of his 12-year marriage to ivana. >> we're going to have these documentaries airing monday night, but gloria, you go through his whole life. all of his business life, his personal life. it really tells the story of donald trump. >> that's what we're trying to do in these documentaries is give you. we are so involved in the minute by minute of the campaign. we're trying to step back and give you a portrait of donald trump. who he is. who he was growing up and who he is as a businessman. in talking to people from all parts of his life is that they say he hasn't changed. donald trump is donald trump. he didn't change to get into politics. he is the person that people
i've spoken to who knew his 30 years ago say nothing in this campaign has surprised them because they know what he's like. i think what we're trying to do here is give you a view of his life which, by the way, happens to be very interesting. >> as much as we know about donald trump, we're going to learn more about this republican nominee in the course of these two hours. >> i haven't seen it but just in that small clip learned something. that's a classic trump. the regulators. shut down the slots. larry king asks him and he said people were playing them so hard. >> they exploded. >> some kind of wild excuse. what did you learn about him that surprised you more than anything in putting this together? >> i think what surprised me was the notion he hasn't changed. i'm used to covering politicians who change all the time. what surprised me was that this
is a businessman who decided, i think, that the next, what was he going to do. what was left for donald trump. running for president, to him, after becoming a national celebrity. the apprentice made him a national celebrity, that he had to stage. what was left for him? there was something and it was running for the presidency. to him it seemed a natural extension. in talking to people who know him well, they say he was never going to go for something smaller in politics. if you know donald trump, he was going to go for the largest. >> there's no doubt that he beat 16 or 17 republicans for the nomination, governors, senators. jeb bush had $150 million, didn't go far and now he's one of two people who could be the president of the united states. >> it's astounding, to say the at least.
i'm so excited to see this documentary and learn more about the background that prepared him for this moment or didn't prepare him for this moment. what he was dealing with in business was in many ways different than what he's dealing with now. >> we start out when he was this young, successful, real estate builder, developer, following in his father's very successful footsteps. take him to atlantic city where he made a lot of money. we take him through the fall where he faced his bankruptcies and his comeback, which was kind of astonishing through the sort of national celebrity and the campaign. >> we're looking forward to it. thank you so much for doing this. excellent work. be sure to watch the back to back special reports on hillary clinton and donald trump. it all begins monday night, 8:00 p.m. eastern. two documentaries.
ahead, hermine is moving through georgia into the carolinas and threatening tens the of millions along the atlantic coast. russia ease vladmir putin said he doesn't know anything about the cyber attacks on the democratic party and other institutions. is that a denial? ng at hilton.com book direct... and get the lowest price online welli do say that, you see... "well, fantastic!" a lot. i study psychobiology. i'm a fine arts major. nobody really believes that i take notes this way, but they actually make sense to me. i try to balance my studying with the typical college experience. this windows pc is a life saver! being able to pull up different articles to different parts of the screen is so convenient. i used to be a mac user but this is way better.
>> just got another dose of high wind and threatening skies behind me. we have a rip tide and storm surge that remains a threat in charleston. as the storm starts to move away from here the threat lies with the outer banks and they could get seven inches of rain in some areas there and plus storm surges and rip tides there and the danger of this storm tonight, wolf, is how deceptive it is. this is a storm that has gathered strength, lost strength and now has gathered again. as it moves off the outer banks we are told it could gather strength again before touching shore on the del aware shores plus new jersey and then as it moves into new york. so again, this is a storm that is much more resilient than people thought it would be and from here in the carolinas up toward the mid atlantic, officials are warning people, look, you've got to take this more seriously than many of you seem to be taking it. don't go out if you don't have
to. don't drive through deep ponds in the roads. just take it more seriously than a lot of you seem to be doing and hopefully we'll get through this in the next 24 hours, wolf. this storm still remains a threat from here up to new jersey and then into new york. >> brian todd reporting for us. brian, thank you very much. turning now to russia and serious concerns that moscow may be trying to tamper with the u.s. presidential election. tonight, vladimir putin is denying his government was behind cyber attacks with the democratic national committee and other political organizations and the rest of putin's new interview seems to send a very different message. our global affairs correspondent elise labott is looking into this. what are you finding out? >> in his first public comment, vladimir putin said he wasn't involved and whoever was responsible committed an act of public service and in his carefully chosen words, it has some questioning whether his
denials fall flat. >> today a carefully worded denial and praise for the cyber attack both coming from one of the leading suspects, russian president vladimir putin. >> translator: does it even matter who hacked the data from mrs. clinton's election campaign office? the important thing is the content that was given to the public. >> in an interview with bloomberg news the former kgb agent turned russian leader now calling the theft and publication of e-mails from the democratic party servers in july a public service saying there is no reason to bother investigating who was responsible for the breach. >> translator: there's no need to distract the public's attention from the essence of the problem by raising minor issues connected with the search of who did it. >> reporter: the messages including disparaging conversations between the chen chair debbie wasserman schultz
and officials led to wasserman-schultz's ouster when the democratic convention was just beginning. in the wake of the release, donald trump praised putin and encouraged the russian government to try and hack into hillary clinton's private e-mail server. >> russia, if you're listening, i hope you're able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing. >> putin's first public comments about the hack today come as sources told cnn last month the u.s. intelligence community is convinced russia was behind the hack along with recent attempted breaches with the new york times and think tanks in washington, and putin says he isn't taking sides in the u.s. election. >> translator: i would like to work with the person who can make responsible decisions and implement any decisions that we reach. their last name doesn't matter. >> reporter: tonight experts say toot in's comments about the cyber attack appear to be
carefully crafted especially his denial. >> translator: i don't know anything about it and on a state level, russia has never done this. >> one former u.s. ambassador to ukraine points to putin's use state level which gives the russian leader an out. >> mr. putin has made a practice of conducting quasi official operations for state purposes. that, in a sense, puts one layer away of the activity from the government. again, same reason why mafia dons hire hitmen who are not part of their organization. >> putin didn't take sides in the interview, he didn't have much enthusiasm for either candidate. tonight the clinton campaign says putin's comments say he is endorsing interference in the u.s. election. a spokesman calls this a national security issue and says the american people deserve answers about potential collusion between the trump campaign and the kremlin.
>> a lot of suspicion that putin and the russians are trying to interfere in domestic american politics. elise, thank you very much for that report. that's it for me. thanks very much for watching. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." erin burnett "out front" starts right now. out front next, the fbi releasing its report on the clinton e-mail investigation. what did she say behind closed doors? plus, donald trump making a hard sell to african-american voters, but did he make a mistake by scripting his answers? >> a massive storm threatening to spoil the labor day holiday up and down the east coast. let's go "out front." >> good evening and happy labor day to everyone. i'm jim sciutto in tonight for erin burnett. out front tonight, i do not recall. hillary clinton gave that answer at least 39 times during the fbi