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Meet the Press - October 30, 2016

NBC News - Meet The Press

"10.30.16"

(BEGIN TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

This Sunday, October surprise. F.B.I. director James Comey's announcement of newly discovered emails jolts the race.

DONALD TRUMP:

The F.B.I. would never have reopened this case at this time unless it were a most egregious criminal offense.

CHUCK TODD:

Can Donald Trump use this latest revelation to reinvigorate his campaign? I'll talk to Donald Trump's running mate, Governor Mike Pence, live. Plus, Hillary Clinton fights back.

HILLARY CLINTON:

And, so, we call on Director Comey to explain everything right away, put it all out on the table.

CHUCK TODD:

Clinton campaign manager, Robby Mook, joins me this morning. Also, why now? Comey under fierce assault from Democrats.

CONGRESSMAN GREGORY MEEKS:

It does not make any sense to me.

CHUCK TODD:

Was Comey right to go public with this news so close to the election? Joining for me insight and analysis are top Republican strategist, Mike Murphy; NBC News chief foreign affairs correspondent, Andrea Mitchell; Audie Cornish, host of NPR's All Things Considered; and Larry Kudlow, senior contributor to CNBC. Welcome to Sunday. It's Meet the Press.

ANNOUNCER:

From NBC News in Washington, this is Meet the Press with Chuck Todd.

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

Good Sunday morning. Perhaps one day, this week's F.B.I. email news will take its place among other October surprises. It was on October 26th, 1972, less than two weeks before the election that national security advisor Henry Kissinger made this famous statement at the White House about the war in Vietnam.

(BEGIN TAPE)

HENRY KISSINGER:

We believe that peace is at hand.

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

The moment was big. Kissinger, it turns out, was wrong. And Richard Nixon, though, easily won re-election. in 1992, four days before election day, President George H. W. Bush's hopes were hurt when defense secretary Caspar Weinberger, former defense secretary at the time, was implicated in the Iran-contra scandal.

And then, the weekend before the election in 2000, it was revealed that George W. Bush had been arrested decades earlier for drunk driving, news that helped Al Gore pull even in the polls. By the way, that was actually our first-ever November surprise, technically.

But there's no way of knowing yet whether F.B.I. director James Comey's announcement will take its place among these more celebrated October surprises. We do know that Justice Department officials strongly discouraged Comey for going public. And Democrats have moved from reacting with caution to responding with anger. They say if Comey doesn't know whether the newly discovered emails are significant or whether they were sent to or from Hillary Clinton, then why go public right before the election? At the very least, this has reinvigorated the Trump campaign and given new hope to down-ballot Republicans running for the House and Senate.

(BEGIN TAPE)

HILLARY CLINTON:

Some of you may have heard about a letter that the F.B.I. director-- set out yesterday.

CHUCK TODD:

With nine days to go, an October surprise.

HILLARY CLINTON:

It's not just strange. It's unprecedented. And it is deeply troubling.

CHUCK TODD:

Nearly four months after recommending no criminal charges against Clinton, F.B.I. director James Comey told members of Congress in a letter on Friday that new emails have surfaced which, quote, "appear to be pertinent to the investigation."

Law enforcement officials say the emails were found on a laptop computer belonging to former congressman Anthony Weiner, married to but estranged from Huma Abedin, a top Clinton campaign aide. The F.B.I. is investigating sexually explicit text messages Weiner allegedly sent to a 15-year-old girl in North Carolina. Trump immediately tried to capitalize on the news.

DONALD TRUMP:

Her criminal action was willful, deliberate, intentional, and purposeful.

CHUCK TODD:

Trump's denunciation of the F.B.I. on Thursday--

DONALD TRUMP:

And I think the biggest rigging of all is what's happened with the F.B.I.

CHUCK TODD:

--turned to praise on Friday.

DONALD TRUMP:

It might not be as rigged as I thought, right?

CHUCK TODD:

According to officials, Abedin used the laptop to email Clinton. Investigators will now examine the thousands of emails belonging to Abedin to see if they have anything to do with the original Clinton investigation. The official also said there is no indication so far that anyone was withholding evidence. Meanwhile, Republicans down the ballot have seized on the F.B.I. revelations as part of their closing argument.

SEN. RICHARD BURR:

That is my letter from Director Comey telling me he's reopening the investigation.

NEIL NEWHOUSE:

It's like throwing a political lifeline to Republicans who are embattled House and Senate races.

CHUCK TODD:

But is there enough time for Trump to take advantage?

NEIL NEWHOUSE:

This race is still tippable. It's not necessarily just gonna-- it's not gonna move voters to Donald Trump. But it potentially could move voters away from Hillary Clinton.

CHUCK TODD:

Before Friday it appeared Trump's electoral path had narrowed. On Saturday, he stumped in Arizona, a state Democrats have carried just once since 1948. Clinton campaigns in Phoenix Wednesday. Nearly 20 million Americans have already voted. More Democrats have voted in eight states, Republicans in four.

Trump is also short of cash. On Friday, Trump wired $10 million of his own money to his campaign, bringing his personal total contributions to $66 million, $34 million short of what he originally pledged. Big Republican donors are abandoning Trump, channeling money instead to down-ballot Republicans.

STEVEN LAW:

We do have this unity, and I think that is something that complicates us, at least in terms of making sure that we have the basic mechanical things that are getting done to turn out the vote.

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

Joining me now with an update on this investigation is our justice correspondent, Pete Williams. And Pete, there is one area where there seems to be unity between the Clinton campaign and the Trump campaign. Let me show you both of their reactions.

(BEGIN TAPE)

HILLARY CLINTON:

We are 11 days out from perhaps the most important national election of our lifetimes. Voting is already underway in our country. So, the American people deserve to get the full and complete facts immediately.

KELLYANNE CONWAY:

Look, I agree with John Podesta and the Clinton campaign. They're asking F.B.I. Director Comey to come forward and tell Americans exactly what this is all about. Release everything. Let us judge for ourselves.

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

All right. There's the one area of agreement. They want Director Comey to provide more details before the election. Is that going to happen?

PETE WILLIAMS:

Not based on what I was told just in the last couple of hours. I don't think they plan to say anything further. They believe that they did the right thing by telling Congress about this development. And their logic goes something like this: that the fact of the discovery of these emails was going to leak.

That if it had leaked it would come out in all sorts of different ways and be interpreted in all sorts of different ways, and that the best way to handle this was just to get out in front of it. And secondly, they thought that if they waited till after the election and then it was discovered that they had found these emails, that would play into this whole scenario about how the system is rigged.

CHUCK TODD:

But did he rush it? Because now we're getting reports that they don't know what's in the emails, they just know there's an email cache that belongs to Huma Abedin and that's it.

PETE WILLIAMS:

That's right--

CHUCK TODD:

Don't you wait to tell Congress of a new development after you know you have evidence? This is just there might be evidence, correct?

PETE WILLIAMS:

Well, and we've been saying this since Friday, that they don't know what is in these emails. That's a very important thing. Let's just step back here for a second. They looked at the laptop. They were investigating Weiner's laptop. In the course of that, they say, "Oh, Huma Abedin used that and sent some emails through the Clinton server. Our mission was to look at all the emails that went to that server. So, I guess we have to look at these, too." But they haven't yet analyzed them. They don't know whether they are significant to the question in the email investigation, which is, "Was there classified information?"

CHUCK TODD:

And one of the reasons why they bring charges, one of the reasons Director Comey said, is because everybody had a security clearance. How is this any different if Huma Abedin was having a -- essentially using this laptop with the same emails? It's the same issue. A question about whether the system she was using is secure, that's still been part of the problem. But the reason they didn't bring charges is everybody had a security clearance. She still had a security clearance, right?

PETE WILLIAMS:

Right. And I think what you hear from many legal experts is that if they do, for example, find that there was classified information in some of these emails and it just increases the number, X plus some other number, is what they already knew, that there was some classified information when they reached their conclusion in July. If they just find a few more, that's probably not going to change the legal bottom line.

CHUCK TODD:

Who's the target here, Hillary Clinton or Huma Abedin? I ask that because she did sign a statement essentially affirming that she'd turned over any devices that she had potentially used to conduct communication from herself, and she didn't turn this one over. Is she the target here, or is Hillary Clinton?

PETE WILLIAMS:

So, target is a term in Justice Department land that means someone who's about to be indicted by a grand jury.

CHUCK TODD:

I understand.

PETE WILLIAMS:

So, let's set target aside and just remember that the bottom line here is the Clinton email investigation. If you go back to Comey's letter, he says he thinks these emails are pertinent. But he doesn't know whether they're significant. Pertinent because their mission was to look at all the emails that went through the server.

But significance, many of them they may have already seen. They may be duplicates of what they've already discovered through the emails she gave to the State Department or that the F.B.I. found on its own. So, they have no idea what's in these emails.

CHUCK TODD:

Pete Williams, thank you very much.

PETE WILLIAMS:

You bet.

CHUCK TODD:

Donald Trump wasted no time yesterday trying to take advantage of this news and rally his supporters.

(BEGIN TAPE)

DONALD TRUMP:

And they are reopening the case into her criminal and illegal conduct that threatens the security of the United States of America. Hillary set up an illegal server for the obvious purpose of shielding her criminal conduct from public disclosure and exposure.

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

And joining me now is Donald Trump's running mate, Governor Mike Pence of Indiana right here in the studio. Governor, thank you for coming in.

GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE:

Good to be with you, Chuck.

CHUCK TODD:

Welcome back. Let me ask about that last statement in here. Donald Trump says that she almost-- stated as fact that she set up the server to cover up criminal conduct. What criminal conduct is he talking about?

GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE:

Well, I think this summer when the director of the F.B.I. gave that press conference where he essentially chronicled that Hillary Clinton had said that there was nothing marked classified on her private server. He said that was not true. When she said she had never emailed classified email, he said that was not true. He reiterated that before the Congress, but then chose not to proceed with charges. It was just incomprehensible to millions of Americans.

CHUCK TODD:

You believe she committed a crime?

GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE:

Well, look--

CHUCK TODD:

Do you know for sure? I mean, he is saying it for sure. And I throw this out there because, as you know, look, what he says people take as fact. Should he be saying it that factually right now?

GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE:

Chuck, you have high-ranking military officials. You have a sailor that's gone to jail in the last month. I mean, the mishandling of classified information is a very serious matter. And the F.B.I. director concluded that Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state in charge of all the foreign policy of the United States and while she was taking major contributions from foreign governments had a private server in which she dealt with classified information, but also had communications that we already know about.

I mean, as we wondered what this new pertinent information is, you know, we already have seen emails that have come out through various sources about pay-to-play politics, about -- that support this whole notion of Clinton Incorporated that really are deeply troubling to millions of Americans. And I think that's why well before this announcement on Friday, Chuck, you saw tremendous momentum in our campaign.

You see the polls closing in states around the country. The American people are focusing on the big issues in this country. But frankly, I think they've also come to the conclusion that Hillary Clinton is a risky choice to be the next president of the United States. And Friday's announcement just reaffirms that.

CHUCK TODD:

Do you think it is fair to the American voter to essentially have him announce something vague, but we don't know what it is? We don't know the seriousness of it. He said "pertinent," but we don't know. Is that fair to the voters? I mean, your campaign wants more information, the Clinton Campaign -- it does seem as if everybody wants more information out before the election.

GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE:

Well, first off, let's remember how we got here. So, Hillary Clinton while she was Secretary of State had a private server that the F.B.I. has already confirmed contained classified and sensitive information, which endangers the national security of the United States of America.

There was information about military operations on there that could well have endangered troops down range. And, so, you know, let's recognize this all began with her. But the other piece of this, with regard to disclosure, I'm very glad to hear Hillary Clinton calling for putting all of this out on the table. Why doesn't she ask her senior aide to release all these emails?

I mean, why doesn't she go ahead and release all the 33,000 emails that she did not turn over to the F.B.I. and to the Congress initially? I mean, I think the American people have a right to know. But the decision by the F.B.I. here, I think, is encouraging to millions of Americans. Because number one, the F.B.I. director is keeping his word to the Congress that if new pertinent information came forward that justified the reopening of the case, that he would alert the Congress. He has done that.

CHUCK TODD:

Do you think think Director Comey has a duty, though, to share more information of what's known?

GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE:

I think he has a duty to move forward professionally and in a timely way on this. And certainly, the public has a right to know. But let's be clear. Hillary Clinton, when this story broke, I believe she was travelling with Huma Abedin. I mean, why didn't she just turn to Huma and say, "Put these emails out"? I mean, why wouldn't she make those emails available to members of Congress--

CHUCK TODD:

That's definitely a question for her and her campaign.

GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE:

-- or to the media.

CHUCK TODD:

Let me ask you this, though. Yesterday, Donald Trump said the following: "This is the lowest point in terms of our judicial system in the history of our country." Do you believe that?

GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE:

I think this summer was deeply troubling to millions of Americans. When you saw the Federal Bureau of Investigation following a meeting between former President Clinton and the Attorney General on a private aircraft on a tarmac that was only discovered because of an industrious local reporter who knew that it took place.

And then, a short time later, you saw the Federal Bureau of Investigation essentially call a press conference. He literally indicted her in the press and then said, "We're not recommending an indictment." I mean there always seem to be-- to the American people who seem to be this double standard with the Clintons.

CHUCK TODD:

So do you think Director Comey was pressured not to advise to bring charges? Do you think he was pressured?

GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE:

Well, we know he was pressured not to go public. So, we're reading press accounts in the Department of Justice opposed to him--

CHUCK TODD:

But you’re implying he was pressured in July--

GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE:

--keeping his word to the Congress of the United States this week.

CHUCK TODD:

You're implying he was pressured in July. Do you believe this?

GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE:

Well, look, I have had a great deal of respect for Director Comey for many years. When I was a member of Congress and he was a U.S. attorney in New York State, we worked together on legislation to protect children on the internet. I've always found him to be a straight shooter.

But that was just troubling, to come out and conclude what would've been a violation in the law for any other American, particularly any other member of the American armed forces, and to say that she was simply extremely careless, I think, was troubling to millions of Americans. Donald Trump spoke about that.

CHUCK TODD:

So, why do you think he came to that conclusion? So you truly believe he came to that conclusion based on pressure from others and not his own? I mean, he said it wasn't even a close call.

GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE:

I wouldn't care to speculate about why he came to that conclusion. I'll just tell you I'm one of millions of Americans that were troubled by that, why there's this double standard when it comes to the Clintons. I mean, no one is above the law. The American people believe in that principle. And the willingness of the F.B.I. now to say, "We have found what sounds to to be an enormous volume of emails" and to hold them accountable.

CHUCK TODD:

You're calling the F.B.I.'s credibility into question by saying, you are saying, Clinton is being held to a different standard.

GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE:

I think the decision--

CHUCK TODD:

That isn't what the F.B.I. is saying.

GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE:

Well, Chuck, this summer, I think, when the Director of the FBI -- again, let's start again here. After the Attorney General of the United States met with former President Bill Clinton in a secret meeting on an airplane, then the F.B.I. made a decision that made no sense to millions of Americans.

CHUCK TODD:

The Attorney General recused herself from this and put it on -- and said it was up to Director Comey, I mean --

GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE:

Right. But then, the director of the F.B.I. went to --

CHUCK TODD:

Let me ask you.

GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE:

Chuck, hang on a second. The director of the F.B.I. went to Capitol Hill two days later and literally undercut his own decision by confirming that Hillary Clinton had, despite the fact that she denied it, that she had classified information on her server.

She had emailed classified information. That's a violation of the law. The American people couldn't understand that decision. But I think millions of Americans are encouraged by the willingness of the F.B.I. simply to say, "We have new evidence. We're going to inform Congress. We're going to proceed forward. We're confident they'll do that in a professional way."

CHUCK TODD:

Let me ask you a quick question on another topic.

GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE:

Yeah.

CHUCK TODD:

Very quickly, last question --

GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE:

But let me be clear, Chuck. You've used the word "reinvigorate" a couple of times. Before Friday afternoon--

CHUCK TODD:

You’re saying you were reinvigorated before Friday.

GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE:

you know the momentum on this campaign was rolling in state after state. I'm seeing it everywhere I go. The American people are responding to Donald Trump's message of a stronger, more prosperous America. And I believe we're going to put our head down and kick to the finish and bring home a great man.

CHUCK TODD:

On October 17th, Donald Trump had to turn in his tax return this year. Is he going to release it to the public before the election?

GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE:

I think as soon as the audit is completed Donald Trump will release--

CHUCK TODD:

There's no audit on this return. They don't make those decisions that fast.

GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE:

He'll release all of his tax returns when the final audit is completed.

CHUCK TODD:

All right, so not before the election?

GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE:

Yeah. But look, the American people are focused on security and prosperity and repealing Obamacare, having a Supreme Court that upholds our constitution, a strong military, a stronger America abroad, making America great again. And that's why Donald Trump's gonna be the next president of the United States.

CHUCK TODD:

Governor Pence, I appreciate your time. Thanks for coming in. And be safe on the campaign trail.

GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE:

You bet. Thank you Chuck.

CHUCK TODD:

You got it. When we come back, we're going to hear from the other side. Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook joins me.

***COMMERCIAL BREAK***

CHUCK TODD:

Welcome back. When James Comey made his announcement on Friday, Democrats reacted with caution, asking for the FBI to release more information. By Saturday, however, they went on the offensive, attacking Comey for going public and worrying about what impact the news could have on the election up and down the ballot. Joining me now is Hillary Clinton's campaign manager, Robby Mook. Robby, welcome back to Meet the Press.

ROBBY MOOK:

Thanks, Chuck.

CHUCK TODD:Let me start with getting your, to, react to how Democrats talked about James Comey before Friday. Here it is.

(BEGIN TAPE)

NANCY PELOSI:

This is a great man. We are very privileged in our country to have him be the director of the FBI.

HARRY REID:

No one can question the integrity, the competence.

TIM KAINE:

The wonderful and tough career public servant Jim Comey. Jim was in the U.S. Attorney’s office in the eastern district of Virginia when I was the mayor of Richmond and he’s somebody with the highest standards of integrity.

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

Robby of course that final soundbite was from Hillary Clinton’s running mate Tim Kaine and he said it just two weeks ago. Does Secretary Clinton and Senator Kaine still believe those things about Jim Comey?

ROBBY MOOK:

Well I think that Director Comey does have, have a long and distinguished record and I think that’s why people are particularly puzzled about this letter that was sent to the Hill. First and foremost, it was three paragraphs. It didn’t provide any details whatsoever. He said that there were some emails. He didn’t know if they were significant or not. This letter was sent to leaders on the Hill. Unsurprisingly, it was leaked immediately by the Republicans and leaked in a way that mischaracterized the, the small amount of information that was in the letter and all we’re asking for now is let’s just get all the information out there on the table. There’s hypotheticals flying all over the place and I think what’s particularly surprising is Yahoo News reported last night that Director Comey may not have even seen any of the information in these emails before putting out the letters. So to, to send a letter to Congress saying “we may have some information; we don’t know if it’s significant or not,” without even looking at what’s inside there ni-- you know ten eleven days before a presidential election.

CHUCK TODD:

So do you think--

ROBBY MOOK:

It’s just very curious.

CHUCK TODD:

You know it’s interesting John Podesta the campaign chairman wrote on Medium, he said, “By being vague and obfuscating, Comey opened the door to conspiracy theories…” which you’ve been saying, and there’s now “a surge of fundraising for Trump and his team.” Do you think Comey has put the finger on the scale for Donald Trump?

ROBBY MOOK:

Well I, I think the, the issue here is if he doesn’t come out and get all the information on the table, he’s gonna let anyone, any conspiracy theory, take the day. I will say we’ve seen a surge of activity on our side as well we had our best Saturday of fundraising ever yesterday. We had over fifty thousand volunteers out knocking on doors and, and turning our supporters out to the polls. We actually felt a surge of support and momentum as well. So, so we’re feeling fine in that regard. But again let’s just get all the information out there so that the rumors and, and the hypotheticals can be put to rest and again, I, I th-- we’re hearing a lot of criticism now from former Justice Department officials, from the former Clinton administration, the former Bush administration pointing out this is unprecedented--

CHUCK TODD:

Let me--

ROBBY MOOK:

--and there are Justice Department policies against doing something like this so close to an election.

CHUCK TODD:

You know there’s an easy way for you guys to clear some of this up. Huma Abedin is a vice chair of the campaign. She may-- Does she have access to her emails now? Can she-- Have you been through them? Can you guys release all of this yourself? Why wait for Director Comey to do it?

ROBBY MOOK:

Well I’m glad you asked this question. First of all, Director Comey hasn’t said whose emails these are and so for us to take any action before he’s clarified or before anybody’s reached out to Huma Abedin from the Justice Department, that would be totally premature. That’s, that’s the first thing. The second thing is they claim they have whatever this information is so it's going to be incumbent on them to release it.

But, but lastly, Huma Abedin cooperated fully with the investigation that concluded this summer. People can read the 3-0-2 summaries of those interviews of her. They were all released out to the public at our request. If these are emails from Huma Abedin-- we don't know if they are, but if they are, we assume they'd have to be redundant because she already turned over all of her emails--

CHUCK TODD:

So you're confident-- Do you know this though--

ROBBY MOOK:

So that, that's why we're particularly frustrated here.

CHUCK TODD:

But let me ask you this, Robby. Do you know-- campaigns, you know, the first rule of crisis management is, "Know all the facts." Do you know all the facts? Are you a hundred percent certain you know all of what these emails are, that you know everything in, in this? That you-- Have you seen any of these emails?

ROBBY MOOK:

Th-- I'm glad you asked this question. We don't know all the facts cause, because the, the FBI has said basically nothing in this letter. We don't know whose emails they're talking about. We don't know how many. And app-- according to Yahoo News, Director Comey doesn't know either. He d-- He hasn't seen the information. He decided to put out a letter to Congress without any information whatsoever. And, and I think that's why criticism is coming in--

CHUCK TODD:

I understand. Are you--

ROBBY MOOK:

--from Democrat and Republican officials.

CHUCK TODD:

Are you confident that Huma Abedin has been a hundred percent forthcoming to, to you and Secretary Clinton?

ROBBY MOOK:

The Justice Department confirmed that she was totally cooperative. All of the summaries of the interviews that she gave are out there in the public. She has cooperated fully. And if--

CHUCK TODD:

I understand that. You, you said that -- I'm talking about you and the campaign. Do you feel as if she is-- you feel like you have all the facts? You, Robby Mook?

ROBBY MOOK:

I absolutely feel I have all the facts, because all the facts were put out there. The summaries of the interviews, the Justice Department said that Huma fully cooperated. That's, again, why we are so puzzled right now. Just put the information out there so we can put this to rest. This campaign is supposed to be about the American people and their lives, and what the next president is going to do for them.

CHUCK TODD:

Okay. Do you believe this could cost you--

ROBBY MOOK:

And this letter is just clouding our ability to talk about that.

CHUCK TODD:

Do you believe this could cost you the election?

ROBBY MOOK:

I don't, I don’t think so. Look, as I said, we have over 50,000 volunteers out there. We're seeing record early voting numbers in North Carolina, Florida. Look, I would wager in Nevada turnout is so strong among Democrats there, Hillary could build an insurmountable lead in the coming days in Nevada. We're feeling really good about this record turnout. Over 200 million people now in our country registered to vote, 50 million of those are young people. We're just nose to the grindstone and we're going to finish this out. But people should not take anything for granted and we're going to have to work hard to earn this.

CHUCK TODD:

Robby Mook, campaign manager for Hillary Clinton. Thanks for sharing your views. Appreciate you coming on.

ROBBY MOOK:

Thanks, Chuck.

CHUCK TODD:

When we come back, much more on this email story. Plus our brand new poll numbers from two states Donald Trump has to have if he's going to get to 270 electoral votes. And later, the man who might help turn Utah blue. Or is it green? It's some color that isn't red. Independent candidate Evan McMullin will join us.

***COMMERCIAL BREAK***

CHUCK TODD:Welcome back, panel is here. Larry Kudlow, Senior editor to CNBC, author of a new book, JFK and the Reagan Revolution. Audie Cornish, host of NPR’s All Things Considered, NBC Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent Andrea Mitchell who is covering the Clinton campaign. And top republican strategist, Mike Murphy. And I should let people know, we have two republicans here but one is on a never Trump side of things. And one is on a pro Trump side of things. So, that is--I wanted to just explain things a little bit here.

LARRY KUDLOW:

One is on a pro Trump tax cut side of things.

CHUCK TODD:

And every Larry Kudlow fan on tv right now goes there he goes with the tax cuts.

MIKE MURPHY:

-- on a pro republican Senate to get tax cuts.

CHUCK TODD:

Andrea, let me start with you. Because it's so unprecedented. You and I have covered this town a long time. But to see James Comey now come under fire, first it was Republicans, now it's Democrats, and now the F.B.I.'s reputation's at stake.

ANDREA MITCHELL:

It is. And this is just the worst possible situation for the F.B.I., for the country, for Hillary Clinton certainly. For Hillary Clinton to go nuclear on Comey yesterday was a deliberate decision. They’re trying to rally the base. And she did this in Daytona. She did this going then to an historically African American college and had a huge rally there on the football field. She's really now taking this to Comey and they made a deliberate decision to do this. If she is elected, she has to live with James Comey, who has a ten-year term. That is a very hostile situation and a dangerous situation. Let me just also point out John Kerry, the Secretary of State of course, in Ireland today said he has not been notified nor has the State Department. In other words, Comey did not know what these emails were, whether they were all work related. And that is the question that is raising so many concerns.

CHUCK TODD:

Audie, that--Go ahead, Larry.

AUDIE CORNISH:

To Andrea's point, I agree with the first part. But what I'm hearing from everybody, I mean, I have some sources in the F.B.I. and the former district attorney’s. The F.B.I. is in full revolt right now. The F.B.I. has been in full revolt since the decisions made last summer.

CHUCK TODD:

Not full revolt. There's been a lot. I mean it’s--there are agents--Let's not say full revolt.

AUDIE CORNISH:

All right, a semi-full revolt. Because what I'm getting at is if Comey hadn't said what he said to Congress and the rest of the world, it would have leaked. It would have leaked. That whole building was ready to leak that they had discovered this new source with Weiner and Abedin. So, I don't think Comey had much chance here. And I think the F.B.I. is badly divided.

CHUCK TODD:

But Audie, I think he didn't have much choice now. The criticism is coming from the way he's handled this case from the beginning.

AUDIE CORNISH:

I think it was interesting hearing Mike Pence talk just a few minutes ago. Because essentially, what he was saying is, "Well, where there's smoke." And even if there's no fire, there's a tendency to say, "Well, with the Clintons, there's always smoke," right. He kept kind of coming back to the idea that there always seems to be something with these people. And it's given them a closing argument, a closing argument that's not, you know, the end of democracy, basically. It's given the Trump campaign something to actually talk about again. And if you go back to July, the things Comey said in that press conference could have been cut into ads. And if the campaign wasn't so busy tripping themselves over Trump's own mistakes, this is what they could have been focusing on.

CHUCK TODD:

Do you think Mike--you're somebody who's been around this town a long time. Do you think Comey's going to feel the pressure right now and feel as if he does need to fill in the blanks on Tuesday or Wednesday?

MIKE MURPHY:

Yeah. He seems to be a guy on a hair trigger to go make press, and uh--when he thinks he's under attack. And the problem was the letter. I agree with Larry. He was boxed in. But the letter was so opaque, the speculation machine here and everywhere else is going to go into hyper drive. He's going to have to go out, I believe, and say something about, "We're pretty much checking these emails for duplicates to stuff we already have." Something to tamp it down a little until they know what's real. Because he's in a horrible position.

ANDREA MITCHELL:

But Donald Trump was in New Hampshire, took the stage minutes after this letter came out, and said "illegal," "misconduct," "She should be in jail," you know. You hear the "lock her up" cries from the crowd. The fact is, he could've said, "This is not an investigation. This is just finding out." He could've said, "There's nothing criminal here." He could have put in, "We don't know. We have not seen these emails," which has now been reported.

MIKE MURPHY:

But that’s the key point--

ANDREA MITCHELL:

We don't know what's in them. We don't know if they're work related or personal. He could've said these things, Larry. And the fact that he wrote that letter, and now all of these Senate ranking members saying, "You've got to be more specific."

LARRY KUDLOW:

I don't think the letter was as artful as it could've been.

ANDREA MITCHELL:

You think?

LARRY KUDLOW:

I would've taken a little pencil to it. I did a little work as a former speech writer myself. Having said all that, the bizarre part of this story, and it's going to be bizarre until the election, the Democrats loved Comey last summer. And Republicans love Comey right now.

ANDREA MITCHELL:

Sure.

LARRY KUDLOW:

And it's going to be a stand off. And I don't think much is going to come out of this new. But I want to go back to this point. Loretta Lynch and the meeting with Bill Clinton has really damaged the Justice Department, whether that's fair or not in the public eye. And now, with regards to the F.B.I., you've got a split. Comey's own assistant director, his deputy director, was involved, Andrew McCabe. His wife is running for the state senate in Virginia.

CHUCK TODD:

That's a lot of innuendo.

LARRY KUDLOW:

And it was Hillary who raised the money to finance the campaign.

CHUCK TODD:

But that--You're making a lot of assumptions. You are making a lot of assumptions.

LARRY KUDLOW:

But in the public eye, Chuck, these things all come out.

CHUCK TODD:

I get the perception--.

LARRY KUDLOW:

Fair or not perceptions exist.

MIKE MURPHY:

The bigger story, the bigger politics are what we're going to do for the next week. Both campaigns live in fear of one thing: the last seven days of the election being a referendum on why they stink. And the Clinton people, I think, ticked off the great and vengeful god of campaigns that all of us who do this fear. Somebody got out some drapes or something, and now they've got this. And it's going to be about Hillary for a while. It's not a bad idea to have Huma call for transparency to release all those emails.

CHUCK TODD:

Do you think that could be--

MIKE MURPHY:

Crowdsource.

CHUCK TODD:-- do you think the Clinton campaign.

AUDIE CORNISH:

No. I think for that last few months, we've learned that any time one of them is under the spotlight, they get roughed up in the polls. They don't look good. There's never a time they're in the spotlight and people say, "Gee, I think I like that person after all."

LARRY KUDROW:

Why doesn't Huma have a press conference and say, "Here are the emails"?

CHUCK TODD:

A staffer with a press conference?

LARRY KUDLOW:

"Here. Here they are.” No. Let her come clean.

MIKE MURPHY:

Crowdsource it. The internet. Put it out there it’ll be vetted in 24 hours.

ANDREA MITCHELL:

I would argue she doesn't know what's on this laptop.

LARRY KUDLOW:

How did it get to Weiner? This is the part that drives me crazy.

AUDIE CORNISH:

We should have a moment of silence for that. He's like the patron saint of bad news.

LARRY KUDLOW:

How does Hillary emails that go through Huma Abedin get to this crazy--

ANDREA MITCHELL:

You don’t know that they’re Hillary emails.

MIKE MURPHY:

--investigations colliding. It’s like a jobs program for the feds.

ANDREA MITCHELL:

Larry, you don’t even know that there’s a Hillary email in here.

CHUCK TODD:

All right. I'm going to pause it here. I've got to call a timeout and move on and pay for this program a little bit. We'll be back in a moment with the Obama voters who are saying no to Hillary Clinton, and why this could have big implications for elections going forward.

***COMMERCIAL BREAK***

CHUCK TODD:

And we are back. Time for Data Download this week. As Hillary Clinton attempts to recreate President Obama's winning electoral map, there's one state in particular where Obama 2012 voters are Donald Trump voters in 2016. The latest polling averages in three of the Midwestern swing states right now show an advantage for Hillary Clinton in places like Minnesota plus 7, Michigan plus 9. But it's a different story in Iowa where Obama won both in ‘08 and ‘12 where this year though, Trump has kept a lead.

What makes Iowa different? In a phrase: non-college educated white voters. Obama in 2012 spent a lot of time painting Mitt Romney as the boss who fired you and who sent that job overseas.

(BEGIN TAPE)

NARRATOR:

That stopped with the sale of the plant to Bain Capital.

MITT ROMNEY:

I know how business works. I know why jobs come and why they go.

DAVID FOSTER:

Bain Capital was the majority owner. They were responsible.

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

That was enough to keep Iowa and many of these frustrated voters in the Obama camp in ‘12. Obama wound up winning the state by six points, 52-46. But in this cycle Donald Trump is speaking to these voters in a way Mitt Romney never did and in a way that Hillary Clinton hasn’t been able to.

And while it's true that it's not news that Trump is doing well with these non-college educated white voters, it's more true in Iowa than in just about any other state, and that is why Iowa is the first of the Obama states that Donald Trump is most likely to flip.

When we come back: the candidate who says it's never too late to do what he believes is the right thing: independent candidate Evan McMullin.

***COMMERCIAL BREAK***

CHUCK TODD:

Welcome back. Joining me now is Evan McMullin, Independent candidate for President. McMullin is on the ballot in only 11 states, but he has the chance to do something no independent candidate has done since George Wallace in 1968: win a state, which means electoral votes. McMullin has a real shot in Utah where a recent Utah Policy / Dan Jones poll has him within one point of Donald Trump in a very close three-way race there. You see Hillary Clinton sitting at 25 percent. And in a close presidential election, six electoral votes could matter. Just think about 2000. Evan McMullin, welcome to Meet the Press, sir.

EVAN MCMULLIN:

Great to be with you, Chuck.

CHUCK TODD:

So, you have a shot at winning six electoral votes. You don’t have a shot at winning two hundred and seventy electoral votes. Are you comfortable swinging the election, say, one way or the other between Trump and Clinton, even though your voters can’t elect you?

EVAN MCMULLIN:

Well I, I would say from the get-go we knew we wouldn’t be able to reach 270 votes in just a three-month presidential campaign, which clearly isn’t ideal. But the reality is that both of these candidates are so deeply corrupt and so deeply unfit for the presidency that someone had to step in and try to block them both if the race was close. That’s what our goal is. We’re on the ballot, as you mentioned, in 11 states. We’re registered as a write-in in a number of others, bringing the total number of states that we have ballot access to 43. The vast majority of Republicans or, or Democrats or Independents will be able to vote for us on November 8th. So our goal is to block them both if we can. Obviously that’s more possible if the race is very close--

CHUCK TODD:Yeah.

EVAN MCMULLIN:Right now it’s not close. Right now Hillary Clinton is dominating Trump in most projections in the elec-- of the electoral college result. Yeah.

CHUCK TODD:But let me ask you, so what happens if it, you do block them? And let’s say this race closes and it’s 266 -- you know, no, nobody gets any more than 266 and your 6 matter and it’s thrown to the House. Is that what you want to see?

EVAN MCMULLIN:Well that’s, that’s what would happen and so the top three finishers in the Electoral College would go to the House and each state would get a vote and I’m confident that we would be able to compete quite well there actually.

CHUCK TODD:

You want to remake the Republican Party. You have said this -- that, that, that November 8th is the election. What-- How would you remake-- is it the Republican Party you want to remake or a new party?EVAN MCMULLIN:

Yeah I would clarify that--

CHUCK TODD:Yeah--

EVAN MCMULLIN:I’m not sure I want to remake the Republican Party. I think we need a new conservative movement in this country that rededicates itself to the cause of liberty and to equality, the, the truth that all men and women are created equal. That's what this country needs. That’s the kind of leadership it needs. The Republican Party has drifted away both from the cause of individual liberty and equality. And so we need something new. Now--

AUDIE CORNISH:So what does that mean? I mean if it’s not the Republican Party, what is that and do you think that you’re just too far out of step with the base?

EVAN MCMULLIN:

Well the point is that what we’re building, this new movement, will, I think, be able to play a role in reforming the Republican Party, if that’s possible. Now I and my running mate, we’re very skeptical that that can be done. And if it can’t be done then conservatives like us will need a new political party, that’s true.

ANDREA MITCHELL:

And your concerns with Donald Trump -- are they rooted in what he has said about Muslims, about Hispanic Americans and his role with women? Are they rooted on the social side, on discrimination or the fiscal side, or both?

EVAN MCMULLIN:

My goodness, I mean where, where do I start? On the fiscal side, sure, he wants to expand the size of government, he wants to lower taxes, which is great. But he also wants to increase spending, so that’s a problem. This is a man who has unhealthy relationships and admiration for dictators overseas. I believe that he has some of the same ideas about leadership or domination that they do. I think he’s dishonest with the American people. Where are his tax returns? We don’t know much about Donald Trump.

LARRY KUDLOW:Ok, Mr. Trump is an imperfect candidate, okay--

EVAN MCMULLIN:Imperfect-- you’re kind.

LARRY KUDLOW:

--how’s that.

EVAN MCMULLIN:

You’re so kind.

LARRY KUDLOW:

But you said both candidates are corrupt.

EVAN MCMULLIN:

Absolutely.

LARRY KUDLOW:

Why do you call Mr. Trump corru-- you may not agree with him, he may have made ill-advised statements and so forth, I agree, but corruption? I don’t see the corruption angle.

EVAN MCMULLIN:

Well, I certainly do. Look, this is a man who has manipulated our system and used our system for his own personal gain. I view that as corruption. I view his unethical approach to politics in this country--

LARRY KUDLOW:

But he hasn't broken laws on this.

EVAN MCMULLIN:

Well, I don't know.

LARRY KUDLOW:

Corrupt is--

EVAN MCMULLIN:

I don’t-- I’m not-- I haven't said that he broke laws.

LARRY KUDLOW:

Well, that's what corrupt essentially means.

EVAN MCMULLIN:

Not necessarily. I think he's unethical. I think he's somebody who would exploit our system. I think he's somebody who doesn't understand the Constitution. I think he's somebody who doesn't respect the separation of powers. This is somebody who would be very dangerous to our country. Now, I think Hillary Clinton would be, too.

MIKE MURPHY:

So that's what--

EVAN MCMULLIN:

And that's why we're trying to block them both.

MIKE MURPHY:

That's the question I want to ask you. Well, first, what's your website? I'll give you a softball--

EVAN MCMULLIN:

EvanMcmullin-dot-com. Thank you.

MIKE MURPHY:

All right. So, I think it's an awful choice as an anti-Trump Republican between the malevolence of Trump and the distrustworthiness of Clinton. But the practical effect if you carry Utah, and I think you might, will be to give her a big electoral advantage. Are you okay with that lesser evil winning--

EVAN MCMULLIN:

Look I think--

MIKE MURPHY:

--if that means stopping Trump?

EVAN MCMULLIN:

Everybody wants us to, to think about this election in terms of this binary choice between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Look, if we keep--

MIKE MURPHY:

But that's the choice we have.

EVAN MCMULLIN:

Well, no. If we keep casting our votes for leaders like Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump because we only accept that those are the only two real options, as many would say, then we're going to get-- we’re going to keep getting more Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. We need to finally take a stand in this country. Voters are sick and tired of the options they're being given by the two major parties. Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump personify the leadership crisis that we're having in this country. We're standing up. We're building something new.

MIKE MURPHY:

So it’s a vote for--

EVAN MCMULLIN:

And this new movement is what we need.

MIKE MURPHY:

--the future to make a statement, although the raw politics of it are it probably helps the--

EVAN MCMULLIN:

If the race-- if the race is close, we can block them both. And if no one was doing that, we wouldn't have this chance.

CHUCK TODD:

All right, Evan McMullin, Larry--

LARRY KUDLOW:

Has Mitt Rom-- Has Mitt Romney given you any money? Has Mitt Romney financed you at all?

EVAN MCMULLIN:

No, he has not.

LARRY KUDLOW:

Ok. Sorry, just wanted to ask--

CHUCK TODD:

Fair enough, no no--

EVAN MCMULLIN:

I know that would be very convenient but that’s not true. We would welcome it. Unfortunately, that's not the case.

LARRY KUDLOW:

It’s an honest question, it’s an honest question.

CHUCK TODD:

Evan McMullin, it was a pleasure to have you on.

EVAN MCMULLIN:

Thank you.

CHUCK TODD:

Thanks for coming out here. Be safe on the campaign trail.

EVAN MCMULLIN:

Thanks a lot.

CHUCK TODD:

You got it. We'll be back in 45 seconds with End Game and our two big swing state polls that are out this morning.

VOICE OVER:

Coming up, Meet the PressEnd Game and Post Game, brought to you by Boeing, building the future one century at a time.

***COMMERCIAL BREAK***

CHUCK TODD:

Back now with end game over on “earth two” our brand new NBC News/Wall Street/Marist polls might have been the lead this morning with our two battleground states Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump both need Florida and North Carolina. But again, both of these polls were conducted before the F.B.I.’s bombshell announcement on Friday about the emails. But here’s where things stood essentially through Thursday. In Florida, the race neck and neck among likely voters, 45-44, a negligible lead there for Clinton. Earlier this month, we had her up by three. And in North Carolina though this would have been a big story this morning, pre-F.B.I. In North Carolina, Clinton up six, 47-41, her lead had grown by two points. North Carolina is Clinton’s best shot at winning a state that President Obama lost in 2012. What’s interesting there, Mike, is I feel like it gives you a status of the race essentially of where we were going in. And North Carolina, in particular, the early vote, everything, she may have already built up a flood wall.

MIKE MURPHY:

Yeah, no, she is still, even with all this, in pretty good shape. Maybe it’ll tighten and help the down ballot Republicans. The other thing people are missing is early on she created what I call the 38 latitude lock, Colorado over to Virginia. Put them both away so now Trump could win Florida and Ohio but he’d still have to pull a big state out of her column and win North Carolina. Even with this, it is a tough order.

ANDREA MITCHELL:

I was just going to say that the President is going to North Carolina on Wednesday, Michelle Obama, I was there, with Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton. And even on a day almost overwhelmed by the Bill Clinton money issues coming out of that ---

CHUCK TODD:

That was two October surprises ago, Andrea.

ANDREA MITCHELL:

Two October surprises ago. Even then, it was an extraordinary day for them in North Carolina.

AUDIE CORNISH:

I’m just going to mention, because you mentioned Ohio and Florida, you know Trump has talked about bringing new voters into the system but in key Ohio counties where he did well in the primaries, there aren’t new registrations, right? In Florida, the majority of new registrations are non-white voters. Those are not his demographics.

LARRY KUDLOW:

Can I just make this point with the Trump campaign? If they just run on Huma Abedin’s emails and Anthony Weiner’s emails for the next 10 days or 9 days, they’re making a big mistake. That’s out there. There’s spokespeople that are going to talk about it. My view is, Mr. Trump does his best when he talks about issues. He was gaining ground and the polls were narrowing before this email scandal. But Chuck, I think they’ve got to stay economic growth, tax cuts, a new issue that’s really emerged ---

CHUCK TODD:

Larry, I’m smiling, I know.--

MIKE MURPHY:

It’s like your clockwork--

CHUCK TODD:

You’re making me smile because my E.P. goes: Larry will be more on message than Trump.

LARRY KUDLOW:

I’m saying -- Obamacare, judges -- in other words, he does best on issues. He does worse --

CHUCK TODD:

But that’s not Trump.

LARRY KUDLOW:

He’s got to stay on message. That’s all I’m saying.

MIKE MURPHY:

But that’s the -- the circle that can’t be squared.They ought to hood him like a falcon. But they can't. And, so, he will make this thing worse. That is the next email turn, he will say something completely crazy.

LARRY KUDLOW:

I'm sorry.

ANDREA MITCHELL:

And if you look at his tax plan, I don't want to get into this, Larry, with you. But take a look at the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. Neither of these candidates, but particularly Donald Trump, would just explode the budget. Neither of them are being honest about it.

LARRY KUDLOW:

Like JFK -- Like JFK and Ronald Reagan his tax cuts, particularly businesses and small business, Andrea, with all due respect, will grow this economy at 4 to 5%. I'm going to buy you a copy of my book and sign it especially for you.

ANDREA MITCHELL:

I have your book--

AUDIE CORNISH:

The book came up. I feel like you’re arguing the election that might have been, right, if it was about issues. I give him, what, 48 hours to stay on message.

LARRY KUDLOW:

I'm an issues guy.

AUDIE CORNISH:

All right.

LARRY KUDLOW:

But when he does it narrows, will you acknowledge that?

ANDREA MITCHELL:

But I think the big effect of all of this, the Weiner issue, and I think Mike would agree with this, would be the down-ballot races. And that's why they are so concerned. They can see the Senate in their grasp. And they can see gains in the House, a possible governing majority.

CHUCK TODD:

Can I just say about governing? But now, Audie, let's think about if this does have the '96 impact, which is what I believe that it will do, which is the October Clinton fundraising scandal hit, like, two weeks before the election. And it went from Clinton double digits to single digits. He wins but Democrats didn't get the House or the Senate. The ultimate effect of this may be an eight-person Supreme Court for the next year. Because Republicans could hold the majority both now, in the lame duck, and going forward.

AUDIE CORNISH:

Are we totally sure that wouldn't have happened anyway? I mean, I feel like in the era of, like, 51% votes, like, the idea that you have some grand mandate and you'll go into office and everything will be better, I don't think the voters are buying that. Because they've watched the last, say, four to six years for President Obama and see him walk straight into a wall of gridlock with Congress. And, so, there’s going to be voters out there who maybe say, "Eh, you know, I'll just stick with my down-ballot choice."

MIKE MURPHY:

I can make this argument. Democrats laugh at this. I did it on the Radio for GOP podcast this week, that a split Senate or one-vote Republican is almost better to get a deal done in the middle. Because a Democratic majority, McConnell knows they're probably only there two years with 18 -- And the Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders wing is going to box her in. And nothing will get done.

AUDIE CORNISH:

Yeah, never mind the, like, half dozen committees that still want to investigate the emails one way or another.

ANDREA MITCHELL:

And I think Paul Ryan is really in a fraught position. Because this House, no matter how this House is elected, they are gunning for him on both sides. What you have is polarization and gridlock no matter what happens.

CHUCK TODD:

Last word, Larry.

LARRY KUDLOW:

The American public wants Congress and the president to do some stuff that will make this country better, grow faster, have better healthcare, and kill the terrorists. They've got to get something done. Really, that's what's at the heart of this.

CHUCK TODD:

And I have to get another thing done, which is I have to land this plane. Anyway, that's all we have for today. We'll be back next week. Because if it's Sunday, it's Meet the Press. But if it's this Sunday, it's Andrea Mitchell's birthday. Happy birthday, Andrea. And, so, as we go to break, we have a little surprise for you. We'll see you next week.

ANDREA MITCHELL:

Oh, no.

MIKE MURPHY:

Oh, my goodness.

ANDREA MITCHELL:

And my favorite flavor.

CHUCK TODD:

There you go, all chocolate.

***END OF TRANSCRIPT***