Former CIA Head: Wikileaks Working with Putin to Boost Trump

Former CIA Acting Director Michael Morrell said he has no doubt that the Russian government is working with Wikileaks to boost Donald Trump, calling this year's hacking of Democratic officials a "direct assault on our democracy."

"This is not a campaign issue. This is a national security issue," Morell, who has endorsed Clinton, said on a conference call organized by her campaign with other former national security officials. "This is really unprecedented and as a national security person, it shakes me to my core."

Morell said Russian President Vladimir Putin had "played [Trump] like a fiddle" and blamed the Russian strongman personally for the hacking of the Democratic national Committee and Clinton Campaign Chair John Podesta. "I am 100 percent confident that he is aware of all this, he has approved it, he is directing it. This is Putin. This not some bureaucratic part of the Russian government," Morell said.

Morell, who served in the CIA for 30 years, added that it was "a huge huge deal" for the U.S. government to publically blame Russia for the hacking, as the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Homeland Security did this week."

latest posts from DECISION 2016

Erica Garner 'Troubled' Over Hacked Clinton Emails: 'Why Would You Use My Dad?'

Erica Garner, daughter of the black man who died in a police chokehold in in 2014, blasted Hillary Clinton's campaign over hacked campaign emails that discussed whether to mention her father's death as "gun violence" for an op-ed piece.

"I'm troubled by the revelation that you and this campaign actually discussed 'using' Eric Garner ... Why would you want to "use" my dad?" Garner tweeted about the March 17, 2016 email thread.

In the hacked email, top Clinton aides debated whether to mention Eric Garner's death as an example of "gun violence" in a NY Daily News op-ed piece against the NRA — and if it was worth the future trouble that could come up from Erica Garner. The email thread didn't employ the word "use" but "mention."

"Finally, I know we have Erica Garner issues but we don't want to mention Eric at all? I can see her coming after us for leaving him out of the piece," Clinton's traveling press secretary Nick Merrill wrote.

Several Clinton aides, including senior policy adviser Maya Harris and senior spokesperson, Karen Finney, reminded Merill that Garner's death wasn't inflicted by "gun violence" and to not include him.

Erica Garner will present at the You Matter Youth Summit Friday in Harlem.

NBC News has not authenticated the Clinton emails. NBC News has reached out to the Clinton campaign for comment but has not received a response at time of publish.

Leigh Ann Caldwell

After Weak Fundraising Numbers, Trump Gives His Campaign $10 Million

Donald Trump wired his campaign $10 million dollars Friday morning, NBC News confirms. The transfer comes the morning after FEC reports revealed a disappointing financial outlook for the Republican nominee in the final weeks of the election that also revealed that the candidate gave only $31,000 to his own campaign between October 1 and 19.

Trump responded to criticism and questions that he was no longer investing in his presidential effort by wiring $10 million, bring his personal contributions $66 million since he announced his candidacy in June of 2015. It is his largest one-time donation since the Republican primary, when he mostly self-financed his campaign, but it still falls short of his proclamation - as recently as this week - that he would give $100 to his effort.

The money will be used to enhanced television and digital advertising as well as ground game efforts in key states, a senior adviser to Trump said.

The latest Federal Election Commission reports released Thursday show that Trump and his two fundraising committees have just $67 million cash on hand compared to $153.5 million for his challenger Hillary Clinton.

Read more about Trump and Clinton's finances here.

Kellyanne Conway Calls Reports Trump Stopped Campaign Funding 'Not True'

Kellyanne Conway shut down reports that Donald Trump has stopped putting large sums of money into his own campaign on Fox News this past hour.

"That is not true, and he will continue to make investments ... including in these last 11 days. He has said publicly many times he's in for 100 million dollars, and is happy to invest in his campaign," Conway said.

Trump has donated $56 million of the $100 million he has pledged so far but his campaign faces $2 million debt, and only has $67.6 million cash in hand, half of Clinton's $153.5 million, as reported on NBC News.

Conway seems to be aware of this difference in financial sums, and reminded voters to not worry about it.

"I want to remind everybody that we'll never have the money that Hillary Clinton has, and we'll never have the personnel she has, but we don't need it frankly," Conway said.

Mike Pence Repeats Plea To Republicans: 'It's Time To Come Home'

Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence on Friday urged Republicans to "come home" again and elect Donald Trump as the next president, in an interview on Fox News.

The Indiana governor said Republicans and conservatives must come together to "repeal Obamacare," "revive the economy through tax relief," abolish President Obama's "unconstitutional executive orders" and "appoint a Supreme Court Justice."

"[It's] going to take electing Donald Trump as president of the United States, but it's also going to take re-electing Republican majorities in the United States House and in the United States Senate," Pence said, urging voters to block Hillary Clinton as much as possible.

Mark Murray

Democrats Have Advantage So Far in Early Vote Totals

Democrats are ahead in eight states, Republicans are ahead in three, and they're essentially tied in Florida. Note: These percentages only tell us the party affiliation of these voters -- they don't tell us who they voted for.

According to our latest figures, 13.7 million Americans have already voted in the 2016 general election (by absentee ballot or by in-person voting), including 7.5 million in 12 battleground states. But there is no comparison when it comes to which campaign and party is truly emphasizing early voting.

As NBC's Alex Jaffe observed while covering a recent Trump event in Springfield, OH, "I didn't see a single RNC or OHGOP volunteer signing folks up to volunteer or offering early vote info on my way in or out of Trump's … rally." Contrast that with the observations from NBC's reporters covering the Clinton campaign and its surrogates.

  • NBC's Monica Alba: "Dozens of volunteers at HRC events. And this week, most of her events were strategically positioned within walking distance of early voting sites. [On Thursday], Michelle Obama urged everyone to go vote the moment they left the NC rally."
  • NBC's Danny Freeman: "It's almost unimaginable having a Bill [Clinton] event, especially on these bus tours, without early voting efforts. [Wednesday night] in Fayetteville the biggest signage was a huge 'Vote early' sign behind Clinton with student volunteers pestering crowd watchers… Now that doesn't mean they're always successful, but the efforts are 100% there."
Leigh Ann Caldwell

Public Sector Union Doubles Spending on Senate Races in 2016

The largest public sector union, AFSCME, has spent more money in the 2016 election to elect Democrats to the Senate than in the past two elections combined.The union has spent $24 million on television advertisements and ground game.

In the 2012 and 2014 election, the group spent around $18 million combined.

Shirin Bidel-Niyat, the assistant political action director for AFSCME, said that they are spending so many resources on the Senate because it's where they think they can have the most impact.

"We think it's really important to make sure we are communicating clear messages and it's really hard in a presidential year to shuffle through the noise," Bidel-Niyat said.

The union has focused on the races in Pennsylvania, Missouri, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, and Indiana - races that will determine if control of the Senate turns to Democrats.

The group has also invested $5 million in the Democratic coalition For Our Future, which is running a massive ground game operation in battleground states.

Early Voting Across the Country

Here are the states where in-person early voting is currently underway, as of October 27.

Trump Tweets About 'Vote Flipping' in Texas, but Officials Can't Verify

After Trump tweeted about apparent reports of "vote flipping" in Texas, NBC News talked to Toni Pippins-Poole, the elections director for Dallas County, where some of the reports of vote flipping have occurred.

Pippins-Poole said that in no case have administrators been able to replicate the error reported by a voter, and every voter who complained has ultimately been able to vote successfully.

In terms of any kind of conspiracy to benefit one candidate and hurt the other, as some on social media are suggesting, Pippins-Poole said: "That is not happening."

Read more here.

Trump Campaign Says 'Voter Suppression Efforts' Are Underway

With Donald Trump behind in the polls, a senior campaign official says his team is working on a series of "voter suppression" efforts.

"We have three major voter suppression operations under way," the unnamed official told Bloomberg Businessweek. According to the report, the aim of those efforts is to discourage African-Americans, young women, and "idealistic white liberals" from heading to the polls and voting for Hillary Clinton.

The tactics involve highlighting Clinton's 1996 suggestion that some African-American men are "super predators" to turn off African-Americans, bringing up the women who claim they were sexually assaulted by Bill Clinton to turn off young women, and bringing up WikiLeaks emails and Clinton's praise of the Trans-Pacific Partnership to turn off those who backed Bernie Sanders over Clinton the Democratic primaries.

Leigh Ann Caldwell

Pro-Trump Super PAC Fundraising Off Fellow Republicans

Political fundraising appeals usually demonize the opposite party. But one pro-Trump super PAC is asking for support to beat "disgruntled establishment Republicans." The Great America PAC, one of half a dozen super PACs created to support Donald Trump, sent an email to supporters Thursday morning, warning that "Donald Trump is in trouble, and we need to take IMMEDIATE action!"