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tv   The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell  MSNBC  October 28, 2016 7:00pm-8:01pm PDT

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places. north carolina's expecting even bigger numbers this weekend when more people are off work. it's amazing. turns out, when you don't actively try to make it hard and inconvenient for people to vote, they vote. i have a feeling the people who made it hard and inconvenient for people to vote up until now, i have a feeling they knew that. that does it for us. now it's time for the last word with lawrence o'donnell. we have breaking flus we'ne going to go to. from director james comey. he sent a note to all fbi employees today, explaining to them exactly why he sent that letter to congressional chairman today about the fbi doing more investigative work. in the note to the fbi employees, fbi director comey says this morning i september a letter to congress in connection with secretary clinton e-mail
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investigation yesterday. the investigative team briefed me on their recommendations with respect to seeking access to the e-mails that have recently been found in an unrelated case. because those e-mails appear to be pertinent to our investigation, i agreed that we should take appropriate steps to retain and review them. of course, we don't ordinarily tell congress about ongoing investigations, but here i feel an obligation to do so, due that i testified repeated any recent months that our investigation was completed. i also think it would be misleading to the american people, were we not to supplement the record at the same time. however, given that we don't know the significance of this newly discovered collection of e-mails, i don't want to create a misleading impression in trying to strike that balance. in a brief letter, in the middle of an election season, there is significant risk of being
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misunderstood, but i wanted you to hear directly from me about it. this message to fbi employees confirms that fbi investigators yesterday recommended to director comey that he continue the e-mail investigation. in his letter to congressional chair men this morning, director comey said, quote, the investigative team briefed me on this yesterday, and i agreed that the fbi should take appropriate investigative steps. that passage in the letter clearly implied that the investigators' recommendation was to take those steps, because director comey said there that he quote agreed. he agreed to take those steps. now tonight we have confirmation that that was the investigators' recommendation. joining us now, jonathan allen, head of community and content for side wire. he's a co-author of hrc, a book about hillary clinton.
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and david corn, washington bureau chief for "mother jones" and a msnbc political analyst. so this is a confirmation of what we saw implied in the letter, that the investigators briefed the director yesterday. they recommended that this investigation be expanded or continued, and then the director decided the very next day, as soon as he made that decision that he had better tell congress, because he certainly suggested to congress that the investigation was complete. >> yeah, well, i don't think we're inherent fire territory here. it seems to me in his statement that he september sent to the m congress, he's saying essentially, hey, we don't know if this means anything. this could be a big deal, it could mean nothing at all. and what the reporting has indicated is that this is a computer that anthony wiener used, that his wife huma abedin
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used as well, and that whenary' looki -- when they're looking at it during the investigation of anthony wiener they found other e-mails. maybe they're a whole different set, if they're different, they're just like the ones they looked at already. so there's absolutely no way to know that this is going to matter in the grand scheme of things. and if one had to make a guess, just a guess, the probability is that these e-mails buried on this computer are pretty much like the other e-mails they have. so, you know, you have reince priebus and others today running out and saying "they've reopened the e-mail investigation"! no, they haven't. what they're doing is looking at these new e-mails to see if there is a reason to reopen that investigation e and if near are a lot of them, it may take a while to do that. >> in the e-mail to the fbi employees, which is the most recent thing that has been revealed about what director
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comey has had to say today, he said those e-mails, this is quote, those e-mails appear to be pertinent to our investigation. jonathan allen, that's certainly the line that republicans are going to be seizing on. >> absolutely, but if you look at a line later in it, he says that they're not sure that these e pails have any significance. so obviously he knows something about what e-mail is there and yet can't make a determination whether they're significant. james comey has done three things in this election that have had some bearing. two of them are highly unorthodox, the first, which was not unorthodox was that he decided there was no case to prosecute against hillary clinton. that same day, and even as he was announcing that, he did something very, very unusual, which he is came out and condemned a political candidate while he was saying that he wasn't going to recommend a prosecution of that candidate, in a very, very long press conference from the fbi director. and then this today, this letter
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to congress, you know, obviously under pressure. he feels pressure from his underer lings that came to him. the next day he putting out a letter, that is more confusing than clarifying, and it's hard to explain what jim comey's thinking other than he wants to cover his backside. he's very eager to do that, and he's not very good at it, but we've seen leaks from his underlings before, and he's not controlled what information has come out of the fbi, except for the very limited information he's given the public. >> we have a live shot there of huma abedin leaving the campaign plane in new york tonight. the, david corn, the, the letter to the chairman of the committees, i have to say, having worked on committee staff in the senate, hillary clinton
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leaving the airplane now. that's an airport near where hillary clinton lives in west chester county north of new york city. the campaign plane, some of the press corps may be on that plane also. but letters to the committee of oversight for anyone working in the department like that in these situations, i got to say, from the congressional perspective does make perfect sense. i don't know that it was anybody receiving this letter confused about why they are receiving it. because here is someone who had given them information that was the best information he had as of that time. and there is an understanding, an ongoing understanding between the executive branch and those oversight committees that whenever the information changes, you are supposed to come forward and let them know that. i mean, what's so peculiar about this is where we are in the
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calendar in a presidential campaign. if we were not on the calendar for a presidential campaign, this would be a routine letter. >> my guess, and i hopefully we'll get some reporting on this in the next day or two is that james comey was really between a rock and a hard place. and perhaps it was that underlings, other people were going to leak it or give the information to congress on their own, and he wanted to control the flow of information so you didn't see headlines, hillary clinton case reoeped. he wanted to sort of do it in his way. if i, if i had to bet, would bet that he does not want donald trump to be president, and that this was not a partisan act, even though he is a republican, designed to hurt hillary clinton and help donald trump in the last 11 days. we know in the past that he has challenged the bush administration when it came to intelligence programs in which they wanted to try to authorize in an improper way when the attorney general john ashcroft was in the hospital.
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so in a way he is a type of person we're not used to in washington anymore. a kind of in the middle, public servant republican who does maybe try to tend to the public interest. and so that's why, my guess is, that maybe he's protecting his own backside here, but maybe he also thought that it was better for him to control the flow of this information rather than for it to come out in another way, perhaps through partisan hands. >> let's consider what options he had here. jonathan allen, we discover both in his letter and in his message to the fbi employees that yesterday investigators briefed him just yesterday. there's an ongoing investigation here in new york city by the fbi in new york city and the u.s. attorney in new york city of anthony wiener. totally unrelated to hillary clinton's e-mail investigation. those investigators briefed the director of the fbi that we found something on what appears to be anthony wiener's computer
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that he apparently shares with his wife. we found something on that computer that is relevant to the investigation of the state department e-mail investigation. he's told that yesterday by those investigators. let's now imagine, and they recommend to him, while they're telling him, we recommend that we investigate this. let's now imagine director comey says, i will take that under advi advisement, i will think weabou that and does absolutely nothing until november 9th, after the election and either goes along with the investigation or doesn't go along with the investigation. when that story's told, how would that story play for the integs ritz of the fbi? >> it would look terrible. i agree with david. i don't think jim comey is a reckless partisan in this. i think he's being manipulated by a congress that continues to push him for things, continues to have him go testify about a case that was closed. and i think he's been somewhat,
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somewhat hapless in his handling of it, but i agree with you, lawrence, if this is something he sat on and came out after the election that there was some interest in these e-mails it would have been a problem, i actually don't have an issue necessarily with the timing of what he did, he piemight have b able to wait a few more hours. if the idea was to control the message he fails to do that. he writes the letter to republican chair men who are only too happy to release it to the public. so we're not talk being aboutin real long chain between comey and chaffetz tweeting about it. >> we're all here tonight, basically thanks to anthony wiener. when we come back, the one question that hillary clinton refused to answer tonight at hear pre her press conference. ing all ki. i know.
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how will the fbi
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investigation affect the hillary clinton's lead in the polls? luckily, nate silver is joining us tonight to talk about exactly that. but coming up, the question that hillary clinton chose not to answer at her emergency press conference tonight. i ve that myhop is pt ofthe m. people rely on that first cup and wouldn't want to mess with that. but wh (my) back pain got bad, i uldn't sleep. i had trouble gett there time. aleve pms the only one t coine a sleep aid us the 12 hour strength of aleve. aleve pms the only one t for pain relief thanlast i. ♪ look up at a new ..
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y guys! w i'back. aleve pm for a tterm. why don'tou l me... and me... help yououut? you're gonnar whsay... i love ting stuff apart and buildingew ings out of . annepal's my mostvaed anned. this is awesme. anne: you hav't seen anything yet announcer: veour cardboard box another if tonight, the man who should be the most inconsequential person in american politics has managed to roll a bomb onto the tracks of the presidential campaign. at 7:03 p.m. tonight, hillary clinton held an emergency session with her campaign press corps to try to contain the
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damage fbi director james comey revealed today by revealing in a letter to congressional chairman, quote, the fbi has learned of the existence of e-mails that appear to be pertinent to the investigation. that is of course the investigation of secretary clinton's e-mail server. when she stepped up to the microphone tonight, she tried to turn the pressure back on the fbi. >> voting is already under way in our country. so the american people deserve to get the full and complete facts immediately. the director himself has said he doesn't know whether the e-mails referenced in his letter are significant or not. i'm confident, whatever they are will not change the conclusion reached in july. therefore, it's imperative that the bureau explain this issue in question, whatever it is, without any delay. >> secretary clinton then took
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three questions. >> have you or any of your advisers heard from comey or anyone else at the fbi today? >> no, we have not been contacted by anyone. first we knew about it is, i assume, when you knew about it, when this letter sent to republican members of the house was released. >> what would you say to a voter who right now will be seeing you and hearing what you're saying, saying, i didn't trust her before. i don't trust her anymore right now, and they're heading to the ballot box tomorrow? >> you know, i think people, a long time ago, made up their minds about the e-mails. i think that's factored into what people think, and now they're choosing a president. >> the third and final question was the only one that secretary clinton chose not to answer. >> secretary clinton, there are some reports that this, these e-mails were found on devices that belonged to your aide, huma
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abedin and her husband, anthony wiener, have you spoken to huma? was she able to give you information about that? >> you know, we've heard these rumors. we don't know what to believe. i'm sure there will be even more rumors. that's why it is incumbent upon the fbi to tell us what they're talking about, jeff, because right now, your guess is as good as mine. and i don't think that's good enough. so we've made it very clear that if they're going to be sending this kind of letter that is only going, originally, to republican members of the house, that they need to share whatever facts they claim to have with the american people, and that's what i expect to happen. >> okay, thanks very much everybody. >> thank you all. >> it was a simple question. have you spoken to huma. was she able to give you any information about that? nowhere in hillary clinton's response was there an actual answer to that question.
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have you spoken to huma? of course someone at the clinton campaign must have spoken to huma today about the "new york times" reporting this afternoon, quote, the fbi seized at least one electronic device shared by anthony wiener and his estranged wife, huma abedin, a top aide to hillary clinton. federal officials said friday. sources told nbc news that the e-mails were found on a laptop that wiener allegedly used to send inappropriate text messages and pictures to an underage girl. investigators also discovered wiener's wife, huma abedin had used the same laptop to send e-mails to clinton, and now they are checking those messages to see if there was any classified information on them the sources say. anthony wiener is the subject of a separate fbi investigation, because he allegedly sent sexual
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electronic messages atros state lines to a 15-year-old girl in north carolina, and because some of these sexually explicit messages he sent included pictures of his son. anthony wiener had been regarded as something of a harmless amusement or as a heroic public servant brought low by a puritanical news media. there are plenty of occupations where anthony wiener could have carried on his electronic habits without getting caught or without ruining his career, probably most occupations, but not politics, because american politics is still mostly puritanical, about these sorts of things. nancy pelosi isn't herself puritanical, but she a politician, so she convinced anthony wiener to resign from the house of representatives when his sexting addiction first became public. a couple years later with his wife's encouragement, he decided to run for mayor of new york
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city. his campaign was going surprisingly well, when he was discovered once again to be using electronic media for sexual communication with several women. anthony wiener's departure from the house of representatives meant nothing. he was relaced by a democrat who placed all the same votes anthony wiener would have placed. when his campaign collapsed for mayor, they elected the most liberal mayor in history. so his run for mayor ended his political career but did not change anything in the dynamics of our politics until today. today anthony wiener threatens to derail the presidential campaign of hillary clinton with just ten campaign days left before the election. thanks to anthony wiener, for the next ten days, the question hillary clinton might keep hearing is have you spoken to huma? back with us, david corn and
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jonathan allen. jonathan allen, you know, this mystery about what is this all about has been pierced by enterprising reporters who have law enforcement sources who are telling them, it's a laptop. everyone at the clinton campaign headquarters knows that. is it conceivable that no one is say being to huma abedin, what do you think is on that laptop? >> it's inconceivable to me. you know, whether that's one of her lawyers who are also attached to clinton world or hillary clinton herself, it's inconceivable to me that nobody talked to huma abedin today about what's on there. the other thing is that this investigation was originally in the mishandling of e-mail attached to the clinton server. that's not necessarily person specific. so if huma abedin had classified information on a laptop that anthony wiener had access to, that in and of itself may be an issue with regard to hillary
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clinton's e-mail. all the e-mails that i'm aware of, in terms of stuff that she sent that had classified information were going to other state department employees who have clearance, i'd hazard a guess that anthony wiener does not have a clearance. >> david corn, let's go to one of the questions hillary clinton handled tonight when she said, when asked what does this mean to voters, she says most voters have made up their minds about how this e-mail issue affects their vote. >> i think that's probably true. you know how politics works. elections are kind of like cake. things get baked into it. with ten days to go till the election, a lot of people having voted already in key early states, i think there's not a lot of movement possible, based on an issue like this. now this will fire up, maybe some of donald trump's folks who chant "lock her up", it will give donald trump something to talk about in spite of the fact that he slipped in the polls and hasn't given his campaign all
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the money he vowed to give. it helps in that regard, it helps in one of his favorite themes of crooked hillary is a criminal, but i'm not too sure there are many people out there who will say now it's back in the headlines, without us knowing anything about it, you know, the reality of the case may be no different than it was, you know, two days ago. but now they're going to change their minds and come out for donald trump and say, i'm not going to care that he's committed sexual assault, because they found some more e-mails on huma abedin's computer. so i think there are bigger issues, but it has turned the conversation, at least in the last six hours in the direction that's favorable to donald trump. and we haven't been talking about the latest news on his sexual assault accusations. >> and jonathan, that's always the luckiest thing that hillary clinton has going for her, is that she's running against donald trump and you have no idea what's going to happen
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tomorrow with him. >> seems like there's a new woman ready to come out and accuse him or a new video, in the case of him forcibly attempting to kiss a beauty pageant contestant who he humiliated on stage and made sexual references to. that's not something being talked about a whole lot today, but i imagine we have not heard the end of women making allegations against donald trump. >> jonathan allen and david corn, thank you for join being -- joining us with this breaking fbreak being news tonight. coming up, nate silver joins, when we will see that in the polls. also with us, walter isaacson is here to consider what the next president will face in washington. ♪ g 60,000 points from my chank card i boht all the frark...
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ary clin faroo many families today don't earn what ey nd and don't have the opportunits ey deser. i believe faeseserve ality education th kids, childcare they c tst and afford, ual pay fo n, jobs they can really live on. people ask me what families have enheason of my life ahey will be e n,heart of my pridency. i'm hi. live on. people ask me what
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i believe hillary clinton will be a great president. it's not enough just to elect her and then have a republican congress that is already talking about not being willing to cooperate with her on anything. they've given up on their own nominee, but they're promising more unprecedented disfunction in washington. >> joining us now, walter isaacson who also serves as president and ceo of the aspen institute. there's much to talk about about what the next president will face, if that president is hillary clinton, we have a clue now from james comey, that she
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may face an immediate series of investigations, possibly resumed investigations in the congress over what's happened with this e-mail story. >> you know, it's just amazing, lawrence. you and i go way back. this disfunction, we kept waiting for the fever to break, and now stuff like this makes it clear that for the next four years, whatever happens is going to be more investigation, just like the whitewater, leading to the monica lewinsky affair or all the things trump has done, we kept thinking there would be a time when the fever would break and the disfunction would end, and boy, it's a shame it's not happening now. >> and people should remember, in president bill clinton's administration, the first investigation of him was based on activity that occurred well before the presidency. years before the presidency in the case of the whitewater investigation. >> yeah, i mean, these things just get a life of their own.
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you had a whitewater investigation, billing records from little rock that all of a sudden become a sexual allegations and things like that. and, again, you're seeing that here, where something about an e-mail server has gotten us to anthony wiener. i mean, go figure. >> yeah, and in what the fbi director's message to the employees that he issued today, that we read earlier in the program, it very clearly says that the investigators met with him yesterday and recommended to him that this investigation be continued or expanded and that he made that, that he agreed with their recommendation. it's, it's one of those things, as the director may very well have wished they came to him two weeks from now, and he didn't have that pressure to make that decision, but it's hard to think of a more pressurized decision that one in washington had to make 11 days before a presidential campaign. >> yeah, director comey's got a lot of incoming missiles.
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i don't think it's been handled all that elegantly, of course, on the other hand, he is sort of a boy scout. he's somebody who, when they came to him yesterday said we found this. he said, okay, you got to pursue it. it all makes sense. he said you got to pursue it. and he also had to send a letter to congress. but boy, you know, the notion, i mean, you couldn't write this script. you used to write for the west wing. you would have written a script like this, they would have rejected it. >> the idea that in the end, it comes down to anthony wiener emerging in the final act is just too much. but, too, walter, to look forward to whoever the next president is at this point, it looks like we have, we may have a democratic senate. we, and probably have a republican house. if we have a republican senate, there's, they're raising the possibility that, you know, we might not need nine justices of the supreme court. we might not need to replace
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anyone who leaves the supreme court during a democrat presidency. these ideas that are being thrown around by ted cruz and others are things that we've never heard before. >> no, we're in uncharted territory here, and, you know, at some point, there's got to be a revulsion by just ordinary people that say, okay, man, go to washington and do your job. that does demand some compromise, it does demand working together, but every bit of incentive we have from gerrymandering to the way the media works today, if you clash, if you get on a high horse, if you obstruct things, you're going to end up better off. and at some point, america has to get back on an even keel. you worked for senator moynahan years ago. you know how the senate would work. people would sit down, they'd carve out new legislation. they'd come to compromises, and it's going to be difficult to get back to that period. and this election, you know, donald trump's nomination, this
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whole investigation makes it all the more difficult. >> and the senate used to have some very uncooperative members in the ted cruz mold, but they were usually able to find 60 who could get together and eventually get something done. walter, ten days left in this campaign, we have heard some of the most soaring and beautiful campaign rhetoric that we've ever heard from michelle obama. and we've also heard absolutely without question the worst campaign rhetoric that has ever been recorded in american campaign history. what's music you expect to hear in these final ten days? >> you know, it would be very nice, especially with the clinton campaign that needs to get back on the michelle obama wave length, she's been a breath of amazingly fresh air in this campaign, and just to say, here's my vision for america. here's how we can get the middle class back to work. by the way, economic growth has been a little bit stronger
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recently. so let's not fear the future. let's figure out how we're going to deal with everything from immigration to technology to trade. let's figure out how we're going to do these things, and that could have been a beautiful ten-day closer, and i hope it can still happen without it being wallowing in what did anthony wiener's computer say about huma abedin's e-mails. >> walter, when you were editor of time mag seasoazinmagazine, own share of october surprises. here, it was three weeks ago that we had the october surprise of donald trump and that video on that bus, that happened on a friday night. here we are on a friday night, with the latest evof the octobe surprises. it's time to rename this as the
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month of surprise. coming up, an exclusive interview tonight with nate silver on how he sees today's surprising developments affecting the future of this campaign. there's none road out ere. no one surface... no o speed... no o way of drg.. on each and every ad. buthere is one car at can conquer them all, the mercedes-benz c-class. ve dving mes let you customize the steering,
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all finished.umm... you would't wa your painter to quit part way i think you missed a spot. so wn it comes to pain relievers, why put up with just part of a day? painter: youant this color over the wholeouse? we have more on our breaking news story tonight on the fbi investigation of secretary clinton's e-mail server. this news from cedar rapids, iowa. about a half hour ago in cedar rapids, iowa, donald trump finished his speech there tonight. here is the section, we're going to show you only the section of that speech where donald trump talks about these latest developments in the fbi investigation. >> the investigation is the biggest political scandal since watergate. the fbi would never have
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reopened this case at this time unless it were a most egregious criminal offense. as you know, i've had plenty of words about the fbi lately, but i give them great credit for having the courage to right this horrible wrong. justice will prevail. >> we'll have much more on this breaking news story, including an exclusive interview with nate silver on how it could affect hillary clinton's chances of winning the presidency. but first, some former prosecutors are criticizing fbi director comey's actions today, that's coming up.
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what are you reporting tonight? >> caller: well, to a big degree that this investigation in terms of the election is really very insignificant. what you're dealing with here is an aide to clinton, huma abedin, who is the wife of anthony weiner, had engaged for a long time in printing out clinton's e-mails and found that the state department computers were not great for doing so. she had multiple e-mail accounts of her own. she would transfer information from her state department e-mail account to a yahoo account or another personal account she had and then would go and print these documents out for delivery to clinton. and in the end, what you ended up with is this procedure, and the way she was handling things
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resulted in a lot of documents being, appearing on her laptop that she shared with her husband. and so, you know, in the end, what you have is, this is not, these are not actions taken by hillary clinton. these are not e-mails from hillary clinton. they are actually information going to her. and the only question here is was there anything that hasn't already been turned over? the fbi is rapidly trying to figure that out. and if there was anything that hasn't been turned over, is there anything that was classified? but, again, even while it will be an embarrassment and a black eye, even if there was classified material on huma abedin's laptop that has nothing to do with anything that clinton
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may, may have done. >> right, but it could involve legal jeopardy for huma abedin if she improperly handled classified information on a personal computer. >> caller: it could, but it's pretty unlikely, because one of the things you're dealing with in one of these cases is that you have to establish, you know, a level of intent. and when you've got somebody who's moving documents from one account to another account in order to print them out and is not using the state department printer, i mean, yeah, this is, this is sloppy. but, you know -- >> kurt, what can you tell us about your sourcing on this? >> i've got, this is from investigative records and also from government officials. who know about what's going on. >> kurt eichenwald, thank you very much for joining us tonight
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with your latest report, very important stuff, thank you very much. >> caller: thank you. we're joined now by ken vogel, the chief investigative reporter for politico. there's so much to process tonight, including a report from politico where some former prosecutors are criticizing james comey for the way he handled this. others saying he had no choice, the investigators presented it to him. and some saying they don't br f believe he would have taken their action if he didn't think there was something significant here. >> i think maybe he didn't have a choice, but it was because he kind of put himself in this situation, by so aggressively defending the investigation and talking through the investigation, despite the fact that they did not bring charges and then explaining why they were not going to bring charges. all that is highly unusual. that said, it does very much inject this and inject the fbi's
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sort of process on this into the public discussion in an election year, so he knew that this was going to come out particularly since there have been some leaks in the fbi, and i think this was probably an effort to get out ahead of it. but it was clearly clumsy, and we saw him almost acknowledging as much in his letter to the employees that the washington post published today, saying that he had to do this despite the fact that it was a highly unusual set of circumstances. >> let's listen to what clinton campaign brian fallon had to say about this. i guess we don't have it ready. but basically, ken, he and the campaign are trying to put this pressure back on the fbi. this, how dare they do theis without telling us everything. make it all public right now. >> it's a turn-a-bout, because they praised the way the fbi
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handled this, the highly unusual way the fbi handled the decision not to bring charges and to discuss and justify their decision, and now they're saying, well, look, you did all this stuff before, you said all this stuff before, and now you're giving us this incredibly, incomplete, vague set of circumstances that you're dangling out there red meat for republicans. republicans released it for a reason. it puts responsible republicans in a tough spot, because they, too, want to know what's in there. gives a lot of fodder for irresponsible republicans to suggest that there's something more than there is, and all of us, members of the media and voters at a complete loss, speculating about what this could possibly be. >> and of course everyone wants to talk to huma abedin. she's welcome on this program. and every member of the press on that campaign plane is going to want to talk to her. and she's been on that plane, talks to them every day.
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tomorrow is a new day on that plane for huma abedin. >> yeah, their is sort of part and parcel with the clinton approach to dealing with some of these scandals. i was on the plane last week or a couple weeks ago when the wikileaks were breaking, and john podesta was on there. and we have confidence in john podesta, like really? you didn't ask huma what might be on her computer? >> ken vogel, thank you very much for joining us tonight, really appreciate it. >> pleasure. coming up next, an exclusive interview with nate silver on what he thinks today meaning for hillary clinton's chances of winning the presidency. he's going to do a very careful calculation for us about this.
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starting tomorrow, there will be exactly ten campaign days left for the presidential candidates. and today it became clear that hillary clinton's e-mail problems are going to be part of the campaign until the last day, but can it change the outcome of the election? nate silver notes that the worse thing that happened to the clinton campaign before this caused only a 2 percentage point drop to hillary clinton in national polls. that was in the middle of the
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summer on july 5th when fbi director james comey announced there would be no charges in the e-mail investigation, but he also said at that time that hillary clinton's use of a private e-mail server was extremely careless. nate silver wrote today, that announcement brought the story back into the news and preceded a 2% percentage point drop for clinton in national polls, although there was no obvious gain for trump. voters retreated into the undecided column. how will voters react this time, and joining us, 538's nate silver. we began the day with you giving hillary clinton an 80% chance of winning the presidency. donald trump around a 18% chance of winning the presidency, and then the letter emerged from fbi director comey. what is going to happen with this? >> so, you know, it's not me
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giving these numbers. it's the model based on polling data. so the question is, what impact will it have on the polls? the intro, a 2-point impact would make this a much more competitive race, from a five or six-point race to a three point race. that's the margin the 2000 polls were off when al gore won the popular vote. the brexit polls missed, for example. so if you were to have -- >> if we get this down to where now you have them at about five to six points apart. if you get it to three, three and a half apart, that's when we don't know. >> it making for a more interesting election day. >> more interesting to the point where we don't know what's going to happen? >> more to a modest polling air rememb er. we think it's polling higher than one might assume. that's why trump had a 20% chance, which isn't nothing, but
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that would potentially bring things more into the danger zone where an ordinary polling error could potentially mean that you have a very close election and perhaps a president trump. >> let's look at the differences between now and july 5th when comey spoke before about this situation. only ten days left, not months left for the, to rectify the situation on the clinton side. that changes the clinton strategy about how to deal with this. also, a lot of votes already cast, especially in states like florida. >> you see it's been going very heavily in florida and north carolina, other states where you have a substantial a early voting, so if it were a really big impact, that might be a partial hedge, people who vote early are usually partisans who would vote one way other the other no matter what. this is a story that no longer involves hillary clinton's judgment, the new york post
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cover was about anthony wiener. so people see this as a sideshow rather than part of the campaign. the last couple things you think hurt trump, his accusations, for example, didn't hurt him. he's already low enough. for clinton, maybe there's a little bit of soft support. what happened last time is that the undecideds left clinton and wound up coming back at the convention. can she reel them back in? >> do the undecideds have time for that where they will drift away for a couple days, come back in? >> i'm not sure they're going to drift away from her necessarily. in most campaigns, people overrate the impact of this type of thing. this year, because there has been so much news, undecideds can move the polls more. early next week we will start on a story line that clinton doesn't want to hear about is not good news for her. i wish we had a little bit more distance than half a day from the story, because the consensus
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can change pretty quickly. >> ite n terms of polling you wd be able to first detect the changes tuesday or wednesday next week? >> the better polls are going to take two or three days. some pollsters don't like to poll on the weekend. we'll have various polls in the field with various times on them. and by the way, trump was closing the margin a little bit. he was regaining the republican base. so if you see him moving up tomorrow, that might have been baked in before this scandal. so attributing -- >> you had already dedetectitece kind of tightening. >> a little bit. it had gone from seven points to five or six, but then you get a another two points and that gets to be a different race. >> and there's time for donald trump to say something that changes everything. >> when he's had moments where he's surging, that's where he's
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gotten himself in trublt. and you have to wonder if the clinton campaign was holding something back you might have a news dump pretty soon. >> this would be the time for it. >> really appreciate it. >> "the 11th hour with brian williams" is live, and it is next.

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