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EARLY START

Clinton Tries to Hold the Line in Blue States; FBI Drops New Clinton-Related Documents; Trump Spotlights Hacked Clinton Campaign E- mail; Clinton Surrogates Hit Battleground States; Russian Interest in U.S. Presidential Race; Aired 3-3:30a ET

Aired November 2, 2016 - 03:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[03:00:09] HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am sick and tired of the negative, dark, divisive, dangerous vision and behavior of people who support Donald Trump.

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JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hillary Clinton overnight going after a protester at one of her rallies. You will see in just a moment what set her off.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is the biggest scandal since Watergate.

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CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Donald Trump sticks to the script, hammering Clinton on e-mails. Can he stay on message in these final days of the race?

BERMAN: And then a new FBI move draws new questions. The sudden release of files from a 15-year-old Clinton investigation with less than a week to go before Election Day.

Good morning, everyone. Welcome to this special early, early edition of EARLY START. I'm John Berman.

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. It is Wednesday, November 2nd. It is 3:00 a.m., it's early, in the East. Good morning, everyone.

Just six days to go in the race for president. The developments changing by the hour. Here is the latest, overnight Hillary Clinton angrily lashed out at Trump supporter from -- at a Trump supporter from the podium at a rally in Florida. Donald Trump's campaign just hours ago denouncing a show of support from the KKK's official newspaper. The FBI out with a statement defending itself after tweeting out documents from a long-closed Clinton investigation from a long, dormant Twitter account.

BERMAN: All right. Let's start here, with less than a week to go, both candidates out on the trail deep into the night. And we saw something at the Hillary Clinton event that we have not really seen before. This was a rally in Sanford, Florida. And she went right after a protester who called her husband a rapist. Watch this.

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CLINTON: I love this country. I think we already are great. Now I think we can be greater. And, you know, I am sick and tired of the negative, dark, divisive, dangerous vision and behavior of people who support Donald Trump. It is time for us to say no, we are not going backwards. We're going forward into a brighter future.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Hillary Clinton calling out the cavalry this week of President Obama, Vice President Biden, former President Clinton, Bernie Sanders, all of them on the trail crisscrossing the country from Carson City to Kalamazoo.

CNN's Jeff Zeleny is with the candidate. He's got the latest for us this morning from Ft. Lauderdale.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: John and Christine, Hillary Clinton is heading out west today. She'll be campaigning in Las Vegas and Arizona. Part of the plan to expand the battleground map, particularly Arizona, that red state. But I can tell you she is focused on blue states more than ever she had planned to be. She was in Florida all day yesterday campaigning across the state at three rallies. Seldom does she had three campaign rallies in one day. Of course, Donald Trump often does, but now she knows this race is tighter than she had ever expected.

At a rally in Sanford, Florida, she allowed just for a moment the possibility this could not turn out her way.

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CLINTON: I want to build on the progress that President Obama has made. So think how you'll feel if there was something you could have done but didn't on November 9th, if this -- if this doesn't work. Personally I can't imagine.

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ZELENY: Secretary Clinton is using that as a rallying cry, trying to get her voters to the polls through early voting or at the polls next Tuesday on Election Day.

The Clinton campaign now is trying to fortify that blue wall. They're advertising now in states they had not planned to. Blue states like Colorado, Michigan, Wisconsin, Virginia, trying to fortify that as Donald Trump tries to puncture that.

Now the next six days of this campaign will be so interesting. The Clinton campaign still trying to assess the fallout from the e-mail controversy. She is trying to turn Arizona blue, but then she'll be heading back to the East Coast, hitting some of those blue states again like Pennsylvania and Michigan and Detroit there on Friday.

John and Christine, the finish of this election much more interesting that we ever thought it might be.

BERMAN: Largely thanks to reporting by the likes of Jeff Zeleny.

ROMANS: Yes. Jeff Zeleny --

BERMAN: He makes it interesting every time.

ROMANS: Personally making America interesting again.

BERMAN: Yes. Yes. Thank you, Jeff Zeleny. Right?

This morning the FBI is facing brand new questions about the timing of some of its actions. The bureau released a new set of files relating to the Clinton's past. This is a release that critics are calling -- some critics are calling inexplicable.

Joining us now CNN Politics reporter, Eugene Scott, not here in New York. In Washington today.

ROMANS: Good morning.

EUGENE SCOTT, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Good morning.

BERMAN: Eugene, these documents have to do with Marc Rich. What is in them? Why were they released now?

[03:05:03] SCOTT: Well, they're files, redacted files from the 2001 pardon by former President Bill Clinton regarding Mark Rich. He's an international financier, he was a former hedge fund manager. And they've been made public and a lot of Clinton supporters are wondering why now, why nearly 15 years later and just a week before the election has this been made available to voters?

ROMANS: What are Democrats saying about the timing of this release?

SCOTT: Well, it's become an issue that brings more attention to Comey, who has had a very rough week with some Democratic lawmakers and strategists wondering why he's making the decisions that he is. They're also wondering if the FBI is going to make public some of the investigations from Donald Trump.

We saw Brian Fallon, one of Clinton's spokes people, mentioning the investigations from the agency into Donald Trump's housing discrimination cases for the '70s. And so they're just harping on it and wondering what is behind all of this.

BERMAN: And the FBI came out overnight with a defense, a pretty technical defense of the fact that they're releasing this. What do they say?

SCOTT: Yes, we've got part of the statement here for us. The FBI is saying in part, "By law FOIA materials," that's Freedom of Information Act, "that have been requested three or more times are posted electronically to the FBI's public reading room shortly after they are processed."

ROMANS: Interesting.

SCOTT: Very interesting. And so the thought is that they did nothing wrong. They did just what they would normally do. It just happens to be not great timing for the Clinton campaign.

ROMANS: I'm reaching back into my brain, you know, because this is one of the stories I covered as a derivatives, as a futures market reporting, because this was somebody who was well known in international oil trading circles and in commodity markets. Someone who -- his wife I believe was a big fundraiser for the Clintons, and so at the time all of this was a very big topic of conversation. And then the pardon, there was some who really thought the pardon was improper.

BERMAN: But at the time, it was 15 years ago, and the question -- the criticism they're facing is why release this stuff now.

ROMANS: Right.

BERMAN: And it was from a Twitter account that apparently had been dark for almost a year.

ROMANS: Right.

SCOTT: Right.

BERMAN: Or a Web site that hadn't connected to it, but the FBI says this is the process they go through.

ROMANS: Interesting.

BERMAN: Eugene Scott, thanks for giving us the details.

ROMANS: Interesting.

SCOTT: Thank you.

ROMANS: All right. Donald Trump is in Florida today with events in Miami, Orlando and Pensacola. His running mate Mike Pence goes to Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado. At a rally in Wisconsin overnight, Trump jumped all over Hillary Clinton's e-mails. He raised a newly released hack from WikiLeaks in which Clinton campaign chair John Podesta told an aide they were, quote, "going to have to dump all those e-mails." Trump seemed to suggest Podesta meant erase them which appears false. The context in general Washington speak indicates that he meant release all the e-mails.

CNN's Jim Acosta has the latest.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: John and Christine, Donald Trump is showing off a side that we rarely see out on the campaign trail, message discipline. At a rally here in Wisconsin, Trump stayed on the attack on Hillary Clinton's e-mail saga saying she only has herself to blame. He also went after her campaign manager John Podesta whose e-mails were hacked and released by WikiLeaks.

Here's what he had to say at this rally in Wisconsin.

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TRUMP: In a newly released e-mail John Podesta has been caught saying we have to dump all of those e-mails. Can you believe this? That's WikiLeaks. And he also said -- to me this made a big statement. John Podesta -- I tell you what, if he worked for me I would fire him so fast. He is such a nasty guy. He would -- I would fire him. Like "The Apprentice," John, you're fired.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: And Trump is reminding people here in Wisconsin and a handful of other states that they can actually change their vote if they cast an earlier absentee ballot, but it's an option that's rarely ever used by voters -- John and Christine.

ROMANS: All right, Jim Acosta in Wisconsin.

This morning the Trump campaign is denouncing a show of support from the official newspaper of the Ku Klux Klan. Want to show you the front page of "The Crusader," this is a KKK publication. It borrows a Trump campaign slogan, "Make America Great Again." And it says the way to achieve that greatness is to become a white Christian Republic.

Now the Trump campaign was quick to distance themselves from this newspaper. It released a statement saying, "This publication is repulsive and its views do not represent the tens of millions of Americans who are uniting behind our campaign."

You remember back earlier during the primaries, Donald Trump himself was slow to denounce or repudiate David Duke, former grand wizard, in an interview with Jake Tapper after the fact that Donald Trump did absolutely denounce Duke and the KKK. And they seemed to have learned their lesson about doing it quickly.

ROMANS: And there's a horrible robocall in Utah the campaign now was very quick to denounce that horrible robocall in Utah.

BERMAN: Yes.

ROMANS: As well, from someone who's claiming to a white nationalist.

All right. Nearly 25 million Americans have already cast ballots in early voting nationwide, and there might be signs of trouble brewing for Democrats. There's a drop-off in African-American turnout in key battleground states including Florida, Georgia and North Carolina.

[03:10:07] In North Carolina early turnout among white voters is up over 6 percent from 2012. Early voting by African-Americans is down more than 5 percent.

BERMAN: President Obama heads to North Carolina today, a large part of that is to address the African-American vote there and campaign for Hillary Clinton.

The president is now hitting on a new theme on the trail. In Ohio he challenged men to think about what he considers the double standard that Hillary Clinton faces as a candidate.

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BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want every man out there who is voting to kind of look inside yourself and ask yourself, well, if you're having problems with this stuff, how much of it is, you know, that we're just not used to it. So that, you know, like -- you know, when a guy's ambitious and out in the public arena and working hard, well, that's OK. But when a woman suddenly does it, suddenly you're all like, well, why is she doing that? I'm just being honest. I want you to think about it because she is so much better qualified than the other guy.

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BERMAN: The president is going to be busy the next few days. He heads to Jacksonville, Miami in Florida on Thursday. On Friday will be a site to be determined based on where the polls say he is needed most.

ROMANS: Wow. The financial power of both presidential campaigns playing out on the nation's airwaves. A total of $44 million will be flooding local stations and cable channels. This is according to Kantar Media and CMAG. The Clinton campaign and her super PACs are spending $25.5 million on ads in the final week before the election. Donald Trump's campaign and outside groups are unloading $18.6 million.

Those numbers will likely grow, we're told. The Trump campaign says it will spend a total of $25 million. The Clinton campaign says it will spend six figures on ad buys in Colorado, Virginia, Michigan and New Mexico. Clinton has burned through $225 million on TV ads since the primaries ended. Trump has spent a total of $91 million. By the end of this election the campaigns and all outside groups are forecast to spend more than $500 million on television ads.

BERMAN: Is that -- but it's less. I mean, in some ways campaign spending is less than it has been because Donald Trump hasn't shelled out for ads the way that other candidates have in the past. So --

ROMANS: It is but it's a lot of money.

BERMAN: Consultants --

ROMANS: I mean, when you look at --

BERMAN: They're not starving.

ROMANS: No. No one -- yes.

BERMAN: This October.

ROMANS: No, they're not.

BERMAN: All right. We have six days to go until Election Day. We're going to lay out the paths forward for each candidate and what will be new on the trail today. We have special insight from a special guest coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[03:16:48] BERMAN: All right. Hillary Clinton goes west today, trying to flip Arizona from red to blue. Also in Nevada, a key early voting state. Donald Trump, he's in Florida for kind of a two-day blitz there.

Let's bring in senior media correspondent and host of CNN's "RELIABLE SOURCES," Brian Stelter.

And Brian, late into the night from Hillary Clinton yesterday, we really saw what she is trying to do. She is trying to say goodbye to the FBI and e-mails and hello again to Donald Trump and his issues with women. Introducing her on stage at one of her events in Florida was Alicia Machado, former Miss Universe who says that Donald Trump once called her Miss Piggy. Let's listen to Miss Machado.

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ALICIA MACHADO, FORMER MISS UNIVERSE: Trump was overwhelming. I was scared of him. He made fun of me and I didn't know how to respond. He thinks he can do whatever --

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[03:21:02] BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Didn't affect the ultimate outcome however. But I've got to wonder, as we're seeing more and more flimsy stories being thrown at both these candidates, what I would kind of consider taking out the trash against Clinton and against Trump, if one of those stories will stick this weekend, if one of those stories will matter in the final days of this campaign, otherwise what voters are hearing is a lot of noise, a lot of kind of unsubstantiated news out there.

BERMAN: All right. Come back. We will see you a few more times this morning.

STELTER: All right.

ROMANS: And we'll play that other one next time.

BERMAN: Brian Stelter, great to have you here.

All right. The Russians may love this election apparently. It's being covered all over their state-run television nearly nonstop. One Moscow food chain is even offering limited edition Trump and Clinton sandwiches, which only makes me hungry this morning. We'll discuss that next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [03:26:08] BERMAN: All right. The focus on the presidential election extends far beyond our borders. They're apparently very engaged in Russia which has zero electoral votes. State media there committing more time to this race and it's not just about computer hacking.

CNN's Clare Sebastian live in Moscow to explain what are they into? What are they watching?

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, it's certainly fair to say that the level of interest is rising as we get closer to the event. We're seeing promotions, promos on state media for election night coverage. And as you say, it's not just about the fact that Russia has been accused of meddling in the U.S. election. Russia, of course, not giving that any credibility. President Putin saying last week that that was hysteria from the West.

But, no, they're interested in the candidates themselves. Don't forget, this is a time of deteriorating relations between Russia and the U.S., and to have a candidate like Donald Trump who says outright that he wants closer relations with Russia, who praises President Putin as a strong leader, well, that really is something of a novelty for the Russians so much so in fact that here in Moscow we went to an event yesterday where --

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