tv Washington Week With Gwen Ifill PBS October 29, 2016 1:30am-2:01am PDT
>> the f.b.i. reopens its investigation into hillary clinton's emails with less than two weeks until election day. i'm amy walter in for gwen ifill. onight on "washington week." >> we are 11 days out from perhaps the most important national election of our lifetime. the american people deserve to get the full and complete facts immediately. >> i have great respect for the facts. that the f.b.i. and the department of justice are now willing to have the courage to right the horrible mistakes that they made. amy: down in the polls but not out. donald trump continues to attack hillary clinton about her private email server. the breaking news shifts the spotlight away from hillary clinton's frontrunner status to
the reopened criminal probe that won't wrap up until after the election. we'll get analysis on the presidential race and find out why washington gridlock may be inevitable, regardless of who wins the white house. joining us tonight, michael, washington bureau chief for "time" magazine, ashley, political correspondent for "the new york times," and political correspondent for the "the washington post" and reid wilson, congressional correspondent for "the hill." >> award winning reporting and analysis. covering history as it happens. live from our nation's capital. this is "washington week" with gwen ifill. funding for washington week a d is provided by -- "washington eek" is provided by --
announcer: additional fund something provided by -- the x.q. institute. newman's on you phone dation -- own foundation. donating all profits to charity and nourishing the common good. the ford foundation. the ethics and excellence in journalism foundation. the uwinn foundation. committed to bridging cultural differences in our communities. the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. once again, live from washington, sitting in for gwen
ifill this week a, amy walter of the cook political report. amy: good evening. the f.b.i. dropped an october surprise on hillary clinton today, announcing it's reopening the investigation into her private email server. in a letter to congress, f.b.i. director james comey said the f.b.i.'s learned of the existence of emails that appear to be pertinent to the investigation. the f.b.i. 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. late friday, clinton herself came out with a statement and took reporters' questions on the f.b.i.'s announcement. >> so we don't know the facts. which is why we are calling on the f.b.i. to release all the information that it has. even director comey noted that this new information may not be significant. so let's get it out. amy: so, a few months ago the f.b.i. said they wrapped up
their investigation. what changed? michael: actually, what's happening now comes out of what happened a few months ago. not only did they end the investigation, say they found no criminal wrongdoing from clinton, but f.b.i. director comey was incredibly transparent and public at the end of that. he went to capitol hill, he testified before congress about it. he gave an extensive statement of saying what was inappropriate about what clinton had done with her email. and because of that it appears he now feels he has to follow up with another letter. the letter he wrote that was released today says that because i've testified in the past that this investigation was essentially over, i now want to tell you that i may look at this -- at these other emails. now, it's not what trump said in the clip at the top of the thing. he's not saying, i'm going to right the horrible mistake i made before. what he's saying is that there's other emails that have come to our attention, reporting from a bunch of different news outlets, because of the anthony wiener investigation, that has to do with material that may be
permit pertinent to this investigation -- pertinent to this investigation. normally we wouldn't know about this. in a normal criminal investigation this is not public. congress doesn't get to ask the f.b.i. director, where are you in this criminal investigation, but this is not a normal case, so comey has sort of caught himself in a different position here. you have tonight both the clinton campaign calling for him to be more transparent, but also the trump campaign calling for him to release more information. i think pretty much everybody in washington thinking it's pretty intense to have 11 days before an election a letter like this come out that just says something might be wrong, but we don't even know if it is wrong. amy: and tell us a little bit about the clinton campaign. you cover the clinton campaign. she was on the plane when this news broke. the wi-fi service on the plane is spotty. she didn't even know about this. neither did the reporters there when they landed. talk to us about not only her reaction, we saw her speaking there, but what you think the campaign is doing right now about this. >> the campaign is doing sort
of a slow motion version of what they have done in response to this email issue from -- for a year and a half now. which is, hunker down, investigate internally. think it through. issue a statement in this case from john and work up to having hillary clinton say something herself. she looked about as close to being in a hostage video as i've seen here. at that podium. she took 3 1/2 minutes of questions. it wasn't an extensive iteration of this. and she came very close to pointing fingers at comey in a partisan way. she walked right up to the line of saying, this is, in her view, an inappropriate thing for him to be doing. she walked right up to that. the trump campaign, we saw him
in north carolina, in that clip, embracing the news. amy: what do you think they are going to do with this? because in the past the trump campaign has gotten a lot of gifts handed to them. and they haven't always exploited those particularly well. >> that's exactly right. his aides are actually there, they're very happy with the initial statement he came out with, where in the rally he took this and attacked clinton and used it to go to some of his key theme, you know, don't allow her to bring her corruption to washington. we need to drain the swamp. but even his own team is kind of waiting with baited breath, because they recognize this is a wonderful issue for them. it plays into all the voters' doubts about her, about trust, about transparency, about a different set of rules applying. but they also know that donald trump is not always the most focused or disciplined candidate. he has shown himself capable of being disciplined for narrow stretches of time. about two to three weeks max. what they are desperately hope
something that for these final 11 days, he can sort of light on these emails, alight on this gift that has been handed to him, and hammer that and not mention the women who have come forward to accuse him of groping and how he's going to sue them. they want all emails and less women. amy: right. this letter that james comey sent went to folks up on the hill. in charge of investigative committees. what are we hearing from capitol hill? and the bottom line, we don't know anything yet. and how long is it going to be before we find out what's in there? >> you'll be shocked to know that members of congress are using this for partisan gain. on the republican side, what we've heard is a can could havify of -- can could have if -- can could haveny of voices saying that the investigation has been reopened. the investigation has not been reopened because it was never technically closed. on the other hand, we don't know what these emails actually are. a lot of news media outlets
raced to say that it had been reopened. they walked them back as more details came out. as they more closely read the letter. members of congress, especially on the republican side, did not. the letter was -- i first saw it come out from jason chaff etc.'s office. he's going to be the chairman of the house oversight and government reform committee. and he has said that he will investigate clinton. on the other side, democrats have reacted with fury. dianne feinstein called it appalling. she's the top democrat on the senate intelligence committee. she said she was shocked that this had come out 11 days before an election. and democratic candidates echoed -- even before clinton spoke, said a lot of what clinton just said. that they want a lot of information to come out now so that we know a lot more about what's in these emails. fury versus spin, well, i suppose the fury is spin in and of itself. that's what we've seen from capitol hill. amy: bottom line, there's still a lot left to understand and a lot left to dig into. even before the breaking news from the f.b.i., the clinton
campaign was haunted by the latest batch of emails released by wikileaks. the hacked memos reveal overlapping interest between the clinton family's personal business and the clinton foundation. one of the emails in particular got the most attention, this was a memo that bill clinton's close aide, doug band, wrote about bill clinton and his involvement with the clinton foundation and the speeches. can you talk to us a little bit about that and why it's so potentially damaging? >> it's damaging for several different reasons at once. here is bill clinton's close long-time aide, someone who had worked with him in the white house, worked for him for years afterward, and has sort of separated himself a bit, at the time that this email was written. and is running a business that was very closely tied to clinton. there's the clinton foundation, there's the clinton global initiative charitable operation, and then there's this consultsy that doug band
and another guy had started. and they all had a lot of interconnecting lines. i couldn't even draw it for you. they share donors, she share clients, they share all the same people. he's writing a memo explaining some of that in a very sort of defensive crouch, because he's under attack by chelsea clinton, who thinks that her dad is being played here and his name is being misused on behalf of doug band's business operations. and he's saying, oh, wait, well, you know, no, first of all, that isn't true. i'm a good guy. second of all, if you think this is so bad, well then go talk to bill clinton because he's doing the same thing. this is exactly what people thought in some way was happening with all of these overlapping business and charitable entities. and even though he's trying to explain it away, it actually
ends up being confirmtive for what a lot of people thought, that there's just a lot of overlap and the potential for conflict of interest as a result. >> the remarkable thing i think is that it undercuts the clinton line that the clinton found dapings and the clinton global initiative were do- gooder efforts. they have helped a lot of people. some programses have been very beneficial in some parts of the world. the clear from this memo that the same operation that was raising money for haiti or aids drugs was making bill clinton rifment and the same operation, doug band, who is raising money for the foundation on one hand, says, i am, at the same time, without being paid by anyone, the person responsible for getting bill these million-dollar speaking engagements, for getting him these contracts, and at the same time i have my own private list of clients who chelsea clinton, we know, has accused doug of trading on bill clinton's name, so there weren't these lines of divisions that you would want. i think the damage there is undercutting the defense that the clinton campaign has used
for months now. amy: there's more news. more bad news. this is hillary clinton's really not good week. because on top of all of in the white house announced that the health insurance premiums under the affordable care act are going up an average of 25%. so could you help us explain why these are going up and why the rates are different in different places? >> first of all, wikileaks plus f.b.i. plus affordable care act premiums going up, this is a very bad week for the clinton campaign. it is not good to have a very bad week two weeks before an actual election day. but what we're seeing is the median benchmark plans, premium for the median benchmark plans in all states will rise an average of 16%, in states that are just on the federal exchange they'll rise 25%. and this is largely because health care costs are still rising. they're rising at a slower rate than they were before the a.c.a. came out. but they're still rising. and insurers in a lot of these states underprize pryced their plans so they -- yunt priced
their plans so they -- underpriced their plans. the state exchanges are essentially where the sickest of the sick go. they are the most costly. so the costs are going to rise higher. these actual premium increases, the top line number looks really bad. it's not that bad for a lot of these consumers, because the subsidies that they get will rise as well. and so the vast majority of people will still be able to get a plan for a relatively inexpensive -- relatively inexpensive costs. the people who this effects as well is also a very small population, because it's only people who are getting their plans through the state or federal exchanges. but the bottom line is, here we are, again, two weeks before an election, and despite the fact that president obama's approval rating is north of 50% and has been for the first time since his first year in office, what we are -- here is his signature domestic achievement and the going to cost us a lot of money. the going to cost some people a
lot of money. at a time when hillary clinton has to defend his domestic policies. >> and donald trump, again, on earth two in a normal campaign, this would be a very big issue going into the last two weeks. amy: a republican would make this case very strongly about these premium increases. how is donald trump doing? >> back to your point about him being handed a lot of gifts. this is another tremendous gift. this was mitt romney's biggest applause line in 2012. this is what every single republican, house and senate, candidate ran on in 2014. this is the sort of thing you're dying and craving and desperate to have happen. let me tell what you donald trump did. news came out, one of his properties in florida, he first says, my people here are having tremendous problems with obamacare, it's really bad for them. then moments later he contradicts himself and says, they have no problems with obamacare, because we take good care of them on our health care plan. then he sort of disappeared and
left his general manager to explain the situation away. what should have been a clean political hit for him became a muddled, messy thing that did not really hurt hillary as much as it could have. and, again, left people wondering, does donald trump really understand the policy? amy: we went from what was a really bad week this week, but the polling that came out certainly earlier this week looked very good for hillary clinton. she seemed to be cementing her lead over donald trump in most national polls. and there are many national polls. the latest a.p. poll shows hillary clinton with a commanding 13-point lead. in a two-way race she's up by five points in both "the washington post" and abc news poll and the fox news poll. the real clear politics average of national polls has clinton th about a it 5.2% lead over donald trump. we began this week with, as we said, with some polls, she's way up. now it's tightening. is the race really as volatile as the polls are suggesting? >> the polls, if you look at
the average, the polls are not suggesting a volatile race. starting with the second debate, the first debate happens, her polls start to go up. his polls start to go down. by the second debate we get to this line where we're at now which is roughly a five-point gap between the two. in a national race for the president think? this modern day and age is an enormous margin. we're used to covering elections where in the final weeks we're always within the margin of error. we're guess being where it is. this is basically on the very edge of the margin of error. it could change next week. i think the thing that we have to recognize is that that gap was established by the american people seeing donald trump and hillary clinton on the same stage next to each other and all the polls from all those debates showed the american people thought she did better and wanted her more as their president after seeing that. i think the question going forward is whether all this new stuff will erase some of that memory in the final 10 days. traditionally, you know, we think of these elections as not
much changes after the last debate. it's sort of set in stone there. this is a very weird year. so the possible things will change. the last thing i say on this is that donald trump has, for the last three weeks, run a campaign that is not about trying to win more people on his side. he goes out there and basically talks about his grieveances for a while, says everything's rigged against him, and then repeats his stumpf speech. and sort of bungles the message of the day. whereas hillary is very much a broadening campaign, where she's trying to reach people who don't yet -- i think the second variable here is not just whether the image of hillary clinton is replaced but whether trump can actually change his message to talk to the people who don't yet support him and not just sort of prepare his next media empire for after the election. amy: we heard him a lot on the trail talking about brexit, about these dark polls. is he still discussing this idea that there's this hidden trump vote and that's what's ultimately going to deliver
him? he doesn't need to broaden his base because there are voters out there waiting to come and vote for him, we just don't know where they are. >> exactly. i would say it's a two-pronged strategy or thing we hear. you mentioned, trying to broaden the base, reach moderate, independent, swing voters. donald trump is not trying to do that. he's run what he's publicly said is a voter suppression campaign on the democratic side. this is why the latest disclosure by the f.b.i., may not help him win over that many people, but maybe he can depress some democratic turnout of people who are not going to vote for him but they're so disgusted with hillary, they're just going to stay home. the second thing is, absolutely. he talks about this rigged system. this stolen election. in interviewing voters, you know, he does believe there's a silent majority of people who are not counted in the polls. or even as they'll say themselves, they think some people are a little embarrassed to say they're voting for donald trump but they think they're going to go into the voting booth, pulling the curtain closed behind them and do exactly what he suggests which is say, what the hell do i have to lose? and vote for trump.
and he thinks that will make the difference. and they think that will make the difference and maybe it will help. amy: i want to get to the down ballot effects that this race is having. there are a lot of republicans who are concerned that that dropping poll numbers will be a drag on the ticket. senate republicans plowing $25 million into just six races to hold onto the majority. how tenuous is the republican majority in the senate right now? the very tenuous. as a matter of fact, the pollsters who are aiming to keep the senate in republican hands have been looking for that sort of late trump vote. they've been testing it and adjusting their poll to the try to account for it. they just can't find those voters which i find really interesting. across the country the republicans have a 54-seat -- well, a majority of 54 seats in the senate. democrats need to take back four seats, plus the white house, to win control. five seats to win it outright. democrats are going to pick up five to seven seats a report says. that's pretty on par with what's likely to happen.
democrats are almost guaranteed two seats in illinois and wisconsin. republican income benlts are in real trouble there -- incumbents are in real trouble there. in five states these races are on a knife edge. pennsylvania and new hampshire. two races that we've been watching forever. indiana, democrats got a late candidate in the former senator who had $10 million in the bank, which is generally a pretty positive thing to have. very late in a campaign. he's ahead in polling there. then the two sort of late breaking races that have come on the map largely because of donald trump, in missouri and north carolina, in missouri, senator blunt is an insider candidate running in an outsider year. his democratic opponent is -- has impressed even republicans at a senior level with how good he is. in north carolina, a swing state, senator burr is running for re-election. very difficult to be known in north carolina as a candidate, because it's such a broad and diverse state. that makes a candidate like richard burr susceptible to
donald trump and the drag on the ticket that he may become. there are seven seats right there that democrats may win. add in an eighth in marco rubio, down in florida, he's ahead in the polls, but not by a lot. even though the democrats pulled out a lot of their money a few days ago or a few weeks ago. and then the one democratic-held seat that could be in trouble, nevada, looks like that has moved towards democrats in recent days. as trump has become more of a drag. amy: speaking of the senate and washington and congress, there are a lot of republican lawmakers that seem to be gearing up for gridlock in washington. should clinton win the white house. you saw congressman jason chaffetz. he led the benghazi investigation. he told "the washington post" he's gearing up for, quote, years of investigation into hillary clinton's record. first term, texas senator ted cruz, raise the possibility that republicans would not confirm anyone hillary clinton would nominate to replace the late justice antonin scalia who died in february.
cruz, you may recall, led the charge that partially shut down the federal government in 2013. and then we have trump supporters are loyal and fired up and they may be putting pressure on lawmakers. and how dysfunctional is washington going to be, should we have a clinton stpwhoust >> well, even -- white house? >> well, even if the democrats take the senate, pretty dysfunctional. she has really so little chance of getting much done in congress, if republicans hold the senate. she has some chance of getting traction certainly right at the start on a couple of her big initiatives, if democrats take the senate. but they're not going take the house under almost all scenarios. so you automatically have enough of a checkmate there, that it's going to be really hard for her to get much done. you mentioned the supreme court. i mean, there's very likely to be a supreme court nomination
hanging fire. amy: is there really a possibility that we will have just eight justices? maybe even seven justices into the foreseeable future? >> the dynamic is that the only thing that unites republicans right now is their opposition to democrats. it was the only thing that saved them in 2009 after obama came in. obama got a lot done in 2009. but the republicans actually con jeeled into a coherent body and did very well in the midterm elections. the midterm elections in 2018 look like they'd be good for republicans again. amy: thanks, everybody. that went so quickly. we have to go now. but as always, the conversation continues online on the washingtonweek extra. among other things, we'll answer the question, is 2016 a change election? or just more of the status quo? you can find it all week long at pbs.org/washingtonweek. and while you're there, test your knowledge with the "washington week" news quiz. i'm amy walter. have a good night.
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♪ hello, and welcome to "kqed newsroom." i'm thuy vu. coming up on our program, an in-depth look at the death penalty and two ballot measures that seek to change it. and i'll talk with author jeff chang about his latest book on race relations. but first, today, just 11 days before the election, the fbi announced a new review of hillary clinton's e-mails. they were found during an investigation into former congressman anthony weiner's illicit text messages with a teenager. donald trump praised the fbi's action, while the clinton campaign is asking the fbi to provide more information. as part of our ongoing election coverage, we go now to pbs "news hour's" political correspondent john yang. john, nice to have you with us. >> great to be with ou