Tuesday, November 1, 2016
7 Days until Election Day 2016 + my 15th birthday (Nov. 8)I'm Gabe Fleisher for Wake Up To Politics, and reporting from WUTP world HQ in my bedroom - Good morning: THIS IS YOUR WAKE UP CALL!!!
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- Clinton Email Saga Continues FBI director James Comey rocked the 2016 campaign on Friday when he announced in a letter to lawmakers that agents had "learned of the existence of emails that appear to be pertinent to the investigation" of Hillary Clinton's private email server, which was completed in July with no charges filed.
- At the time, not much information was released - and still, not much is known - but there has been some new developments since Comey's fairly vague letter.
- In his letter, Comey wrote that the agency would "take appropriate investigative steps designed to allow investigators to review these emails to determine whether they contain classified information," but also that "the FBI cannot yet assess whether or not this material may be significant, and I cannot predict how long it will take us to complete this additional work."
- At the time, Comey wrote only that the new emails had emerged "in connection with an unrelated case," which was later revealed in briefings by senior law enforcement officials to be the FBI investigation of lewd messages sent to teenagers by former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY), the estranged husband of top Clinton aide Huma Abedin,
- With such little time before an election, Comey has been widely criticized for sending such a vague letter that he likely knew would have a huge affect on Clinton's race against Trump. The New York Times editorial board on Monday called Comey's decision to inform Congress of the investigation "breathtakingly rash and irresponsible." Two former Attorneys General have also piled on Comey: Alberto Gonzales, who served on George W. Bush, called the decision an "error in judgement" on CNN; Eric Holder, who served under Barack Obama, penned a Washington Post op-ed charging that Comey broke the Justice Department policies for involvement in elections and "made a serious mistake."
- Lawmakers from both parties have also sought more information. Democratic Sens. Diane Feinstein (CA), Tom Carper (DE), Patrick Leahy (VT), and Ben Cardin (MD) wrote the FBI and the Justice Department on Saturday requesting a briefing on the investigation. Assistant Attorney General Peter Kadzik responded to the letter, but not to the specific questions in it, telling the senators that the Department "appreciates the concerns raised in your letter" and "we assure you to that Department will continue to work closely with the FBI and together," a response that the four senators who wrote the original letter called Kadzik's response "disappointing and inadequate."
- Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who has not been shy to criticize Clinton's email use, penned his own letter to Comey on Monday. "Without additional context, your disclosure is not fair to Congress, the American people, or Secretary Clinton," Grassley wrote, listing 10 questions for the FBI on the investigation. Even Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, told Fox News that writing the vauge letter was "probably not the right thing for Comey to do...this close to an election."
- However, criticism of Comey was not universal. After weeks with momentum against him, Republican nominee Donald Trump seemed in heightened spirits on Monday, praising the FBI director. "They may finally have gotten wise to the Clintons. Perhaps they’ve finally gotten wise,” Trump said at a rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan on Monday. “And I have to give the FBI credit. That was so bad what happened originally. And it took guts for Director Comey to make the move that he made in light of the kind of opposition he had where they’re trying to protect her from criminal prosecution. You know that. It took a lot of guts."
- Clinton herself noticeably shifted her campaign strategy after the FBI revelation; feeling supremely confident, the Clinton campaign has in recent days focused on a positive message to give Americans reasons to vote for Clinton, not just against Trump. On Monday, she reverted to negative campaigning. "I am running against a man who says he doesn’t understand why we can’t use nuclear weapons," Clinton said in Kent, Ohio on Monday. "Even the prospect of an actual nuclear war doesn’t seem to bother Donald Trump...Let’s not get distracted from the real choice in this election."
- The nuclear theme carried throughout the day, with a former Air Force missile launch control officer introducing Clinton, as the campaign released a new television ad billed as an updated version of the famed Lyndon B. Johnson "Daisy Ad" warning about nuclear war.
- In addition, Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook called on the FBI to investigate Russian involvement in the U.S. election, describing Comey's refusal to do so as a "blatant double standard" in a call with reporters. Mook's comments echoed a statement by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), who charged Comey with violating the Hatch Act (which prohibits federal officials from influencing elections) by investigating Clinton and not Russian ties to Trump. (It is now being reported that the FBI is conducting an inquiry into former Trump former campaign chairman Paul Manafort's foreign business ties.)
- Also on Monday, multiple news outlets reported that the Justice Department had obtained a warrant to search the computer for Abedin's emails - previously, the agency only had the authority to search Weiner's accounts, part of the reason Comey's letter was so vague. The FBI has loaded thousands of Abedin's emails onto a computer program to allow the agency to determine the classification levels. It is unclear how quickly analysts from the FBI and other agencies will be able to make decisions on Abedin's emails, but appears unlikely that the analysis will be completed before Election Day. A number of news outlets have also reported that there is internal discord between Comey and Attorney General Loretta Lunch, with the latter urging the FBI to quickly go through the new emails.
- For the first time since reports surfaced that her estranged husband was at the center of these new revelations, Huma Abedin's lawyer spoke on Monday. "[Abedin] only learned for the first time on Friday, from press reports, of the possibility that a laptop belonging to Mr. Weiner could contain emails of hers," Karen Dunn, counsel to the Clinton campaign vice chairwoman, said in a statement. "While the FBI has not contacted us about this, Ms. Abedin will continue to be as she always has been, forthcoming and cooperative."
- Today on the Trail Where are the 2016 presidential candidates today?
- Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump campaigns in two key states today. Trump will begin his day with a "special joint address" with vice presidential nominee Mike Pence in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. The event, expected to focus on Trump's plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, will also be attended by Dr. Ben Carson, six Republican congressmen/women, and one Republican senator. Trump will also hold a rally in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and Pence will hold his own event in Youngwood, Pennsylvania. Donald Trump, Jr. will also hold his first solo public events of the campaign: a pair of rallies in Ames and Cedar Falls, Iowa.
- Meanwhile, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton campaigns in Florida, holding Early Vote Rallies in Dade City, Sanford, and Fort Lauderdale, while her running mate Tim Kaine holds Early Vote Rallies in Appleton and Madison, Wisconsin. The full bench of Clinton surrogates will be out on the trail today, with Bill Clinton campaigning in other parts of Florida, Chelsea Clinton holding events in Colorado, Kaine's wife Anne Holton campaigning in Iowa, and Bernie Sanders holding rallies in New Hampshire and Maine.
- In addition, Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson holds a rally in Murray, Utah today; Independent presidential candidate Evan McMullin will speak in Salt Lake City and Provo, Utah. The Green Party's Jill Stein has no events today.
White House Watch
- The President's Schedule President Obama will spend every day this week on the campaign trail for Hillary Clinton. Today, he will hold attend an "Early Vote Event" in Columbus, Ohio, a state he won in 2012 but Clinton is trailing in, according to the polls.
- Biden's Schedule Vice President Joe Biden will also be on the trail for Democrats today, holding a rally for Clinton in Charlotte, North Carolina and campaigning for downballot candidates in Sumter and Rock Hill, South Carolina.
- With Email Server Back in the News, Will the Race Shift? It's still too early to know with certainty if the latest email revelations will have any impact on the campaign, although new polls show conflicting results.
- An NBC/SurveyMonkey poll found that the news literally had zero effect. In a tracking poll conducted from October 24 to October 30, NBC separated its results from Monday through Friday (before the Comey letter) and Saturday/Sunday (after the Comey letter).
- Before the letter, the poll showed Clinton leading Trump by six points, 47% to 41%. The poll's results after the letter showed identical findings: Clinton at 47% to Trump at 41%.
- A POLITICO/Morning Consult poll conducted entirely after Comey's announcement also found it had little effect: Clinton led by 42% to 39%, her exact margin in the poll conducted before the disclosure. However, the poll found a big gain for the GOP in the generic congressional ballot, with Democrats now leading by just one percentage point.
- In addition, the ABC News/Washington Post tracking poll released this morning shows Trump with 46% of the vote to Clinton's 45%. The outlets' previous tracking poll showed Clinton with a 4-point lead; before that; she had a 9-point lead; before that, she led by 12 points.
- Today's Question Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) raised eyebrows on Monday when CNN released audio footage have him speaking at a private event over the weekend.
- "The North Carolina Republican, locked in a tight race for reelection, quipped that as he walked into a gun shop 'nothing made me feel better' than seeing a magazine about rifles 'with a picture of Hillary Clinton on the front of it,'" according to CNN. "'I was a little bit shocked at that -- it didn't have a bullseye on it,' he said Saturday to GOP volunteers, prompting laughter from the crowd in Mooresville, North Carolina."
- How is the North Carolina senator related to Aaron Burr, a former Vice President who actually did shoot a political rival? Email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your guess to be featured in tomorrow's edition of Wake Up To Politics!
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