Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL Date: October 28, 2016
Guest: Jonathan Allen, David Corn, Walter Isaacson, Kurt Eichenwald, Ken Vogel, Nate Silver
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC THE LAST WORD SHOW HOST: We have some breaking news we`re going to go to. Thank you Rachel. We have some breaking news tonight from FBI 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 on Hillary Clinton`s state department e-mails.
In the note to the FBI employees, FBI director Comey says, "this morning I sent a letter to congress in connection with secretary Clinton e-mail 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 obtain and review them.
Of course, we don`t ordinarily tell Congress about ongoing investigations, but here I feel an obligation to do so, given that I testified repeatedly in 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 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 chairman this morning, director Comey said, "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 investigators -- the investigator`s 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. And David Corn, Washington bureau chief for "Mother Jones" and an MSNBC political analyst. David, so this is tonight a confirmation of what we saw implied in the letter, that the investigators briefed the director just 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.
DAVID CORN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yeah, well, I don`t think we`re inherent fire territory here. It seems to me in his statement that he sent to the members of Congress and what he`s putting out tonight, he`s saying essentially, hey, we don`t know if this means anything. This could be a big deal, it could be nothing at all. And what the reporting has indicated is that this is a computer that Anthony Wiener used, that his wife Huma Abedin used as well, and that when they were looking at it during the investigation of Anthony Wiener, they found other e-mails.
Now, maybe these are the same e-mails they`ve already looked at. Maybe they`re a whole different set and maybe they`re just -- if they`re different, they`re just like the ones they looked at already. So, there is 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 re-opened the e-mail investigation." No, they haven`t. I think what they`re doing is looking at these new e-mails to see if there is a reason to re-open that investigation if there are a lot of them it may take a while to do that.
O`DONNELL: In the e-mail to the FBI employees, which is the most recent thing that has been revealed about what director Comey has had to say today, he said, those e-mails, this is a 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.
JONATHAN ALLEN, SIDEWIRE COMMUNITY AND CONTENT HEAD: Absolutely, but if you look at a line later in it, he says that they`re not sure that these e- mails have any significance. So obviously he knows something about what e- mail is there and yet can`t make a determination about whether they`re significance. So, obviously he knows something about e-mail is there and yet can`t make a determination about 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 that 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 to Congress, you know, obviously under pressure. He feels pressure from his underlings that came to him. The next day he puts out this letter to Congress, that a letter internally at the FBI that is more confusing than clarifying, and, you know, 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 obviously not in control of what information is coming out of the FBI except for the very limited information he`s now given the public.
O`DONNELL: We just had a live shot there I believe of Huma Abedin leaving the campaign plane in New York tonight. David Corn, the letter to the chairman of the committees, I have to say, having worked in committee staff in the Senate -- Hillary Clinton 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 -- certainly some of the press corps may be on that plane also.
But the 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 think there`s anyone receiving this letter who`s 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 calendar in a presidential campaign. If we were not on the calendar of a presidential campaign, this would be a routine letter.
CORN: 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 or 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 that you didn`t see headlines, you got Hillary Clinton case re-opened.
He wanted to sort of do it, you know, in his way. If I had to bet, I 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 and in an improper way when the Attorney General John Ashcroft was in the hospital.
So in a way, he is a sort of 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, you know, 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.
O`DONNELL: Well, let`s consider what options he had here. Jonathan Allen, we discover both in his letter 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 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 advisement.
I will think about that. And then does absolutely nothing until sometime after November 9th. And then either goes along with that recommendation or doesn`t go along with the recommendation. When that story`s told after the election, how would that story play for the integrity of the FBI?
ALLEN: It would look terrible. I mean, I agree with David. I don`t think Jim Comey is a reckless partisan in this. I just think he`s, you know, 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 hapless in his handling of it, but I agree with you, Lawrence, if this is something he had sat on and it came out after the election that there were some interest to 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 might have been able to wait, you know, a few more hours to come up with a better strategy for this because of the idea was, you know, to control the message. He certainly failed to do that. He writes the letter to Republican chairman who are only too happy to release it to the public. So, we`re not talking about a real long chain between Jim Comey and Congressman Chaffetz tweeting about it.
O`DONNELL: We`re going to take a quick break here, then we`re going to come back after this. 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 her press conference.
O`DONNELL: How will the FBI investigation affect 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.
O`DONNELL: 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 damage FBI director James Comey delivered 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 personal e-mail server. When Secretary Clinton stepped up to the microphone tonight, she tried to turn the pressure back on the FBI.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Secretary Clinton then took three questions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Have you or any of your advisers heard from Comey or anyone else at the FBI today?
CLINTON: 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.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 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?
CLINTON: 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: The third and final question was the only one that Secretary Clinton chose not to answer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Secretary Clinton, there are some reports that this, these e-mails were found on devices that belonged to your aide, Huma Abedin and her husband, Anthony Wiener. Have you spoken to Huma? Was she able to give you information about that?
CLINTON: You know, we`ve heard these rumors. We don`t know what to believe. And 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.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Okay, thanks very much everybody.
CLINTON: Thank you all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: 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. 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 D. Wiener and his estranged wife, Huma Abedin, a top aide to Mrs. Clinton, Federal law enforcement 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 said." Anthony Wiener is the subject of a separate FBI investigation because he allegedly sent sexual electronic messages across state lines to a 15-year-old girl in North Carolina, and because some of these sexually suggested messages he sent included at least one picture of Anthony Weiner`s 4-year-old son.
Anthony Wiener have by many, 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 is a politician and 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, Anthony Weiner decided to run for mayor of New York 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 replaced by a Democrat who cast all the same votes Anthony Wiener would have cast. When his campaign for mayor collapsed in another sexting scandal, New York City then elected the most liberal mayor in its history instead of Anthony Weiner. So Anthony Weiner`s behavior 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 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?
ALLEN: It`s inconceivable to me, you know, whether that`s one of her lawyers who are also attached to Clinton world or it`s Hillary Clinton herself. It`s inconceivable to me that nobody talked to Huma Abedin today about what`s on there. You know, the other thing here is this investigation was originally into the mishandling of e-mail that was 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 may in and of itself may be an issue with regard to Hillary 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 (ph) a guess that Anthony Wiener does not have a clearance.
O`DONNELL: David Corn, let`s go to one of the questions Hillary Clinton handled tonight where she said, when asked about what does this mean to voters. She said she thinks most voters have made up their minds about how this e-mail issue affects their vote.
CORN: I think that`s probably true. I think -- you know how politics works. Elections are kind of like cake and things get baked into it. With ten days to go to the election, with 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 instead of the fact that he slipped in the polls and that he hasn`t given his campaign all the money he vowed to give.
So, it helps in that regard. It reinforces one of his favorite themes of crooked Hillary is a criminal, but I`m not sure there are too many people out there who are going to say, now that, you know, 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.
O`DONNE: Yeah, and Jonathan, that`s always the luckiest thing Hillary Clinton has going for her, is that she`s running against Donald Trump and you have no idea what`s going to happen tomorrow with him.
ALLEN: It seems like there`s a new woman ready to come out and accuse him of sexual assault or a new video, in the case of the latest one of him forcibly attempting to kiss a beauty pageant contestant who he humiliated on stage and made sexual references to. That`s not something that`s being talked about a whole lot today, but I imagine we have not heard the end of women making allegations against Donald Trump.
O`DONNELL: Jonathan Allen and David Corn, thank you for joining us with this breaking news tonight. I really appreciate it.
ALLEN: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, Nate Silver will join us later to talk about what he thinks the impact will be of this latest turn in the e-mail story of how we will see that in the polls and when we will see that in the polls. Also with us tonight, Walter Isaacson is here to consider what the next president will face in Washington.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining us now, best-selling author Walter Isaacson who also serves as president and CEO of the Aspen Institute. Walter, there`s much to talk about what the next president will face. If that president is Hillary Clinton, we have a clue now from James Comey, that she may face an immediate series of investigations, possibly resumed investigations in the Congress over what`s happened with this e-mail story.
WALTER ISAACSON, ASPEN INSTITUTE CEO: You know, it`s just amazing, Lawrence. You and I go way back, but this disfunction, we kept waiting for the fever to break and they all stuff like this, makes it clear that for the next four years, whatever happens is going to be more investigations, 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 dysfunction would end, and boy, it`s a shame it`s not happening now.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, "THE LAST WORD" HOST: Yeah. And people should remember that 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.
ISAACSON: Yeah. I mean, these things just get a life of their own. You had the Whitewater investigation, you had 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.
O`DONNELL: 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 where he -- 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 someone in Washington had to make 11 days before a presidential campaign.
ISAACSON: Yeah, Director Comey got a lot of incoming missiles. I don`t think it`s been handled all that elegantly, of course.
On the other hand, he is sort of a boy scout. I mean, he`s somebody who, when they came to him yesterday, said we found this. He said, OK, 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 the Congress. But boy, you know, the notion, I mean, you couldn`t write this script. He used to write for the West Wing and had he written a script like this, they would have rejected it.
O`DONNELL: No. The idea that in the end it comes down to Anthony Wiener suddenly 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 and probably have a republican house.
If we have a republican senate, they`re raising the possibility that, you know, we might not need nine justices of the Supreme Court. We might not need to replace anyone who leaves the Supreme Court during a democratic presidency. These ideas that are being thrown around by Ted Cruz and others are things that we`ve never heard before.
ISAACSON: 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, OK, 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 Moynihan years ago. You know how the senate used to 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 whole investigation makes it all the more difficult.
O`DONNELL: 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, 10 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 the music you expect to hear in these final 10 days?
ISAACSON: 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 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 10-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?
O`DONNELL: Walter, when you were editor of "Time" magazine, you had your own share of October surprises to deal with in the magazine and presidential campaigns.
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 of the October surprises. It`s time to just rename the name of this month`s surprise. It`s just - it feels like there` got to be some more in the next 10 day.
ISAACSON: I know. But you`re saying that Anthony Weiner and Billy Bush would be the October surprises is a bit appalling.
O`DONNELL: We`re going to leave it there. Walter Isaacson, thank you very much for joining us tonight. Really appreciate it.
ISAACSON: Good to be here again Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Thank you. Coming up, an exclusive interview tonight with Nate Silver on how he sees today`s surprising developments affecting the future of this campaign.
O`DONNELL: 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 an 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.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The investigation is the biggest political scandal since Watergate. The FBI would never have 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.
O`DONNELL: 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.
O`DONNELL: And we`re just getting more breaking news on this FBI investigation tonight. We`re going to be joined by phone by Kurt Eichenwald, "Newsweek" Investigative Reporter. Kurt Eichenwald has new information on this. Kurt, what are you reporting tonight?
KURT EICHENWALD, "NEWSWEEK" INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: 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, 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 may have done.
O`DONNELL: Right. But it could involve legal jeopardy for Huma Abedin if she improperly handled classified information on a personal computer.
EICHENWALD: 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 ...
O`DONNELL: Kurt, what can you tell us about your sourcing on this?
EICHENWALD: I`ve got -- this is from investigative records and also from government officials ...
EICHENWALD: ... who know about what`s going on.
O`DONNELL: Kurt Eichenwald, thank you very much for joining us tonight with your latest report. Very important stuff. Thank you very much.
EICHENWALD: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: We`re joined now by Ken Vogel, he is the Chief Investigative Reporter for "Politico". Ken, there`s so much to process tonight, including a report from "Politico" where some former prosecutors are criticizing James Comey for the - federal prosecutors -- for the way he handled this.
Others saying he had no choice, the investigators presented it to him, and some saying they don`t believe that he would have taken this action if he didn`t think there was something significant here.
KENNETH VOGEL, "POLITICO" CHIEF INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Yeah, Larry. I think maybe he didn`t have a choice, but it was because he kind of put himself in this position, 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 of that is highly unusual. That said, it does very much inject this and inject the FBI`s sort of process on this into the public discussion in an election year, and so he knew that this was going to come out particularly since there have been some leaks within 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 this letter to FBI employees that the "The Washington Post" published today, saying that he felt that he had to do this despite the fact that it was a highly unusual set of circumstances.
O`DONNELL: 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 kind of put this pressure back on the FBI. This, `how dare they do this without telling us everything.` Make it all public right now.
VOGEL: And it`s quite a bit of turnabout of course, because they praised the way that the FBI handled this, the highly unusual way that the FBI handled the decision not to bring charges and 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 nonetheless dangling out there in the way that it`s clearly red meat for republicans.
Republicans released it -- congressional republicans very quickly released it for a reason and it does put the Clintons a tough spot, it also puts responsible republicans in a tough spot because they, too, want to know what`s in there.
It also gives a lot of fodder for irresponsible republicans to suggest that there`s something more than there is, and at l east all of us, the members of the media and voters at a complete loss just speculating about what this could possibly be.
O`DONNELL: And of course everyone wants to talk to Huma Abedin. She`s welcome on this program. And every one on that -- 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. Tomorrow is a new day on that plane for Huma Abedin.
VOGEL: Yeah, this is the sort of part and parcel with the Clinton approach to dealing with some of these scandals.
VOGEL: I was on the plane last week or a couple of weeks ago at this point when some of the WikiLeaks things were breaking, and John Podesta was on the plane and I asked a question about whether they had asked John Podesta to review the full scope of these e-mails because let`s not forget, WikiLeaks had all these e-mails though they say, no, we didn`t. we have confidence in John Podesta like, really? You didn`t ask him? Really you didn`t ask Huma what might be on her computer?
O`DONNELL: Ken Vogel, thank you very much for joining us tonight. Really appreciate it.
O`DONNELL: Coming up next, an exclusive interview with Nate Silver on what he thinks today means for Hillary Clinton`s chances of winning the presidency. He`s going to do a very careful calculation for us about this.
O`DONNELL: Starting tomorrow, there will be exactly 10 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 the e-mail story change the outcome of this election? Five-thirty, it`s Nate Silver, in a report today, notes that the worst 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 summer, on July 5th when FBI Director James Comey announced that there would be no criminal 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. Instead, voters retreated into the undecided column."
But with time running out for the undecided column, how will voters react this time, and joining us now from exclusive interview, FiveThirtyEight`s Nate Silver.
Nate, we began the day with you giving Hillary Clinton an 80 percent chance of winning the presidency; Donald Trump around a 18 percent chance of winning the presidency, and then the letter emerged from FBI Director Comey. What is going to happen with this?
NATE SILVER, FIVETHIRTYEIGHT.COM: So, you know, it`s not me giving these numbers, it`s the model that we built ...
SILVER: ... based on polling data. And so the question is, what impact will it have on the polls? it will be a few days before we know that.
As you mentioned in the intro, a 2-point impact would make this a much more competitive race, take it from a five- or six-point race to a three- or four-point race. that`s the margin by which the 2000 polls were off when Al Gore won the popular vote despite being behind in the popular vote in polls (inaudible) was the Brexit polls missed, for example.
So if you were to have ...
O`DONNELL: So once we -- if we get this down to where -- now you have them at about five to six points apart. If you get it down to three, three and a half apart, that`s when we don`t know ...
SILVER: That makes for a more interesting election day.
O`DONNELL: More interesting to the point where we really don`t know what`s going to happen?
SILVER: More to seem (ph) a modest polling error instead of a severe polling error. I mean, you know ...
SILVER: For a lot of reasons, the fact that there are a lot of swing states, a lot of undecided, we think the risk of a polling miss (ph) is higher than people might assume and that`s why Trump, this morning, before this news broke, still had a 20 percent chance, which isn`t nothing, but 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.
O`DONNELL: Let`s look at the huge differences between now and July 5th, when Comey spoke before about this situation.
Only 10 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.
SILVER: You see it`s been going very heavily after Florida and North Carolina, other states where you have a substantial amount of early voting, and so if there were really a big impact, that might be a partial hedge against - although I remember people who vote early usually are partisans who would vote one way or either way ...
SILVER: ... but, you know, the only difference is that this is not a story that directly involves Hillary Clinton`s judgment, from what we know right now, the "New York Post" cover was about Anthony Wiener instead.
So the (inaudible) this as a sideshow or part of the campaign I think were less sure of that. when you get late in the care, sometimes perceptions are more taken (ph). The last couple of things that you think might 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, but still -- and what happened last time is that the undecideds left Clinton and then wound up coming back at the convention. Can she reel them back in?
O`DONNELL: Did this debate -- do the undecideds have time for that behavior now where they will drift away from her for a couple of days and come back in on the final day?
SILVER: I`m not really sure they`re going to drift away from her necessarily. I mean, you know, in most campaigns, people overrate the impact of this type of thing.
This year, because there has been so much news, I mean, all of the undecideds can move the polls a little bit more. it`s the fact that it`s closing -- earliest next week we will start on a story line that Clinton doesn`t want to hear about, it is not great news for her, but with that said, you know, I wish we had a little bit more distance than half a day from the story, because the consensus can change pretty quickly.
O`DONNELL: So, in terms of polling, you would expect to be able to first detect the effect of this in polling, say, Tuesday or Wednesday of next week?
O`DONNELL: ... either today or tomorrow.
SILVER: Because the better polls are going to take two or three days. Some pollsters don`t like to poll on the weekend. We`ll have plenty of polls in the field with various times on them, right?
And by the way, Trump was closing the margin a little bit. He was regaining some of the republican base, and so if you see him moving up a couple of points the tracking polls tomorrow, that might have been baked in before this scandal. So attributing ...
O`DONNELL: You had already detected some kind of tightening.
SILVER: A little bit. It had gone from seven points to five or six points, which in and of itself is not (inaudible) but you get another two points, right, and then you get something because of today, then that`s how it gets to be an interesting race and of course ...
O`DONNELL: There`s 10 days left for Donald Trump to say something that changes everything or ...
SILVER: Well ...
O`DONNELL: ... do something.
SILVER: Previously, he is kind of -- when he has had moments where he`s in surging, that`s when he`s gotten himself in trouble a little bit, you also wonder if the Clinton campaign was holding anything back, then you might have a news dump pretty soon.
O`DONNELL: Yeah. This would be the time for it. Nate Silver, thank you very much for joining us. Really appreciate it.
SILVER: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: "The 11th Hour with Brian Williams" is live, and it is next.