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Face the Nation Transcript November 6, 2016: Kaine, Priebus

JOHN DICKERSON, CBS HOST: Today on FACE THE NATION: It’s down to the wire, as campaign 2016 finally comes to a close.

On this last weekend before Election Day, the end can’t come soon enough, as the tension that has characterized this race stays with us until the end.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: By the way, folks, while we’re at it, great...


DICKERSON: Donald Trump was rushed off the stage by the Secret Service in Reno Saturday night, as a protester was roughed up by supporters in the crowd.


TRUMP: Nobody said it was going to be easy for us. But we will never be stopped.



DICKERSON: Campaigns whipped up their schedules and made last- minute dashes across the country to sewer up support in a flurry of final photo-ops, last-minute pleas for votes.


HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I want to be the president for everybody, everybody who agrees with me, people who don’t agree with me, people who vote for me, people who don’t vote for me.


(END VIDEO CLIP) DICKERSON: And for the Democrats, a parade of appearances high- profile celebrities and musicians.

Despite the tight polls and jittery supporters, both candidates are trying to stay upbeat and keep calm going into Tuesday.


TRUMP: Stay on point, Donald. Stay on point.



DICKERSON: We will hear from Hillary Clinton’s running mate, Tim Kaine, and we will get a report from the head of the Republican Party, Reince Priebus.

Plus, we will have new Battleground Tracker numbers for two must- win states for Donald Trump, Florida and Ohio.

We will get an update on terror and hacking threats heading into Election Day and tell you what to look for on Tuesday.

It’s all ahead on FACE THE NATION.

Good morning, and welcome to FACE THE NATION. I’m John Dickerson.

Just two days until Election Day, and across the country, some 40 million people have already cast their ballot. There were long lines in North Carolina and in Ohio as early voting came to a close.

And our last round of CBS Battleground Tracker polls before the election show a dead heat in Florida, where the candidates are tied at 45 percent of the vote. In Ohio, Donald Trump has a one-point edge over Hillary Clinton, 46 percent to 45 percent.

We begin this morning the two CBS News correspondents who have folded themselves into countless airplane seats and rental cars and crisscrossed the country to be with both candidates every step of the way, Major Garrett with the Trump campaign in Denver, and Nancy Cordes covering Hillary Clinton in Philadelphia.

Major, I want to start with you.

There was a dustup at a Trump rally last night. What happened?

MAJOR GARRETT, CBS NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Here are the facts, John, that come from the Secret Service and the Reno police.

About two-thirds of the way through Donald Trump’s stump speech last night, there was a commotion. It was a protester set upon by other Trump supporters. During that commotion, someone shouted out erroneously that they thought they saw a gun. When the Secret Service heard that, they swiftly whisked Trump off stage and the commotion continued.

This person, this protester, Austyn Crites, said he was set upon by Trump supporters because he silently held a sign that said “Republicans Against Trump.” He was briefly detained and released. It was an episode that created some bit of drama, but in the end posed no threat to Trump.

DICKERSON: As if we needed more drama.

Major, where is Trump going to position himself in this final sprint? He’s heading into Minnesota, Michigan. Those are not traditional states that are in play. What is going on?

GARRETT: They see tightening in both states. And they see Michigan and Minnesota as hedges against possible losses in Nevada and Virginia. They believe they’re expanding the map, two stops today in Michigan, one in Minnesota.

John, I can tell you the Minnesota event advertised 24 hours ago, I’m told by the campaign has 20,000 RSVPs.


Nancy, what does the Clinton campaign make of those forays into Michigan? She is now going there. The president is going there. Are they worried?


They see the tightening polls and they see the fact that Donald Trump is trying to make a play for Michigan. They’re not just sending not just Secretary Clinton back to Michigan, but they’re sending former President Bill Clinton back to Michigan and President Obama back there as well.

Beyond that, though, in these closing couple of days, there are fewer and fewer states where it makes sense to send Hillary Clinton. You don’t want to send her to states where they have done the bulk of their voting by early voting. Those votes have already been cast, fewer and fewer votes to hunt for.

So, she is going to states in those closing days where people vote primarily on Election Day, like here in Pennsylvania, like New Hampshire and like Michigan.

DICKERSON: And who is she trying to turn out, Nancy? When she’s in Pennsylvania, who should we watching for on Tuesday?

CORDES: She needs to run up the score here in Philadelphia, John, and in the surrounding suburbs. This is going to be the key to her.

Pennsylvania is key to her voting strategy. They need to win this state. And she is not going to do as well in Western Pennsylvania. It is a concern to the Clinton campaign that there is a transit strike going on here in Philadelphia. If it takes you longer to get to work, you might not decide to try to fit in a stop at the polling place before that.

But the campaign insists that they have got volunteers at the ready to try to get people to the polls and then to work, because, without Pennsylvania, it’s unlikely that Hillary Clinton can win this election.

DICKERSON: And, finally, Major, Donald Trump, his closing argument, what his final case?

GARRETT: His final case is that he’s a change agent and that Hillary Clinton is ethically disqualified from the presidency and would mire the country in countless congressional, possibly criminal investigations.

And I will tell you this, John. For the first time, those in the Trump inner circle are now saying, we’re going to win. They believe they are going to win Pennsylvania, Michigan, closely, but, nevertheless, they believe every poll that you see that has the race close, because of the level of enthusiasm they see in the Trump movement.

DICKERSON: All right, Major Garrett and Nancy Cordes, thanks so much for being with us.

We go now to Virginia Senator and Hillary Clinton’s running mate Tim Kaine, who is in Milwaukee. Senator, Major Garrett just reported the Trump campaign is feeling like they might win with a comfortable margin. How do you see things?  

TIM KAINE: Well, we like where we are, but we’re taking nothing for granted. So we’re working very, very hard these last few days. We’re seeing tremendous energy in registration, requests of absentee ballots, and especially early vote all across the country. And what we know about the early vote in the states that have it-- Wisconsin, for example, just set a record in early vote. What we see we’re really excited about.  

JOHN DICKERSON: You mentioned in an interview with AOL that you thought Hillary Clinton was the underdog. How is she the underdog? She’s got the name, the money. She’s been in politics before. Her opponent hasn’t. What makes her the underdog?  

TIM KAINE: You know, John, I’ve been -- I told Hillary, I encouraged her to run in April of 2014. And we talked about that. And she had not decided yet. But I said, “No matter what the polls say and no matter what you see in that editorial, consider yourself the underdog. You’re trying to do something that’s never been done.” I said, “If it had been easy for a woman to be president in this country, we would have had a woman president of the country. So consider yourself the underdog until they call you the winner.” That’s what I say to myself, John, in every race I’ve ever run in Virginia, which until recently has been pretty tough real estate. I tell myself I’m the underdog until they call me the winner. And that gives me the discipline to do what I need to do until the polls close right at the very end.  

JOHN DICKERSON: You are in Wisconsin. Hillary Clinton’s going to be going to Michigan. Barack Obama, the president’s going to be in Michigan. There seems to be some nervousness in the campaign that those Rust Belt states, Midwestern states, are ones, though traditionally Democrat, Donald Trump is making some inroads. Are you worried?

TIM KAINE: We feel very, very good about where we are, but we’re taking nothing for granted. I was in Arizona earlier this week, which is a really difficult state for us. But we’re making a play there. And we want to do the same here in the Midwest. The polls in Wisconsin and Michigan look favorable to us, but polls can be wrong. So we don’t take anything for granted. And that’s why I’m really excited to be doing events in three different cities in Wisconsin today before heading to North Carolina and Virginia tomorrow.  

JOHN DICKERSON: A week ago, F.B.I. Director Comey released a letter about new emails that were found. There’s been some debate about the effect of that on the campaign. What effect has that had? Has it been responsible for these polls tightening?  

TIM KAINE: You know, what we saw, John, was actually polls tightening a little bit before that letter came out. And I view that as kind of a natural tightening, (coughs) excuse me, at the end of a race. Undecided voters if they have a Democratic or a Republican lean, they tend to go back to their team. And we are seeing that happen at the end. And so the tightening began before. I will say one thing we’ve really seen. Since that letter came out, and then the director sort of backtracked on it a day later, and then there’s been subsequent stories this week about internal turmoil within the F.B.I., we’ve seen an add to the energy on our side. People on our side view this campaign as so important. The “stronger together” message is so important. And people don’t want to be distracted.


TIM KAINE: So there has been a great uptick in energy on our side in early vote.  

JOHN DICKERSON: So has it helped the campaign?  

TIM KAINE: I wouldn’t say -- I think at the end of the day it’s probably going to be a net wash. There was some concern. But then as more information has come out about internal turmoil within the F.B.I., it generated energy. And more than anything, I think Hillary’s point of view is, “Look, let’s not get distracted.” We’re making our case about a nation that’s stronger together that builds an economy that works for everybody and promotes the right view of American leadership in the world. That’s what voters want to hear about. And we’re going to stay focused on that through the end.  

JOHN DICKERSON: There’s been some pretty tough things said about the F.B.I. director from even inside the campaign. Is Hillary Clinton going to be able to work with Director Comey if she gets elected?  

TIM KAINE: You know, this is -- I worked with Jim Comey when I was mayor of Richmond and he was the head of the criminal division in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the eastern district of Virginia. And we’ve had a solid working relationship. There’s been some -- it’s been puzzling and troubling. The decision to release that letter violated two protocols. A protocol about not releasing controversial information right on the eve of an election and also one about not talking about pending investigations. Stories this week raise other questions that are challenging about why that would happen. But those are questions for later. We have to focus on making the case as to why Hillary will be the best president between now and when the polls close on Tuesday, November 8th. And that’s what we’re focused on. And the response that we’re seeing-- I was in Florida all day yesterday, one of the closest states here at the end. The energetic response, this new coalition of voters that Hillary Clinton is putting together, which is a reflection of people’s positive views about her, we’re really gratified by.

JOHN DICKERSON: So I didn’t hear a, “Yes, she’ll be able to work with him.”  

TIM KAINE: That’s just-- that assumes, you know, something we’re not ready to assume. We’re not assuming anything about the outcome Tuesday. We are focused on doing everything we can to win on Tuesday.  


TIM KAINE: And then we’ll think about what happens later.  

JOHN DICKERSON: Let me ask you about some information that came out this week. When Hillary Clinton became secretary of state, she said she would let the State Department know if a major donation was made to the Clinton Foundation. It turns out a million dollars was given to the Clinton Foundation by the government of Qatar. State Department was never informed. Why not?            

TIM KAINE: John, my understanding of the MOU that Hillary struck as secretary of state with the State Department about the Clinton Foundation is the Clinton Foundation would alert State Department if anyone gave a donation that was materially different than what they had been giving before Hillary Clinton was secretary of state. The government of Qatar had been a donor to the foundation, which as you know does great work around the world, before she became secretary of state. The-- the fact that they are a donor is-- has been known, but they were a donor before Hillary became secretary of state. This wasn’t a change in their position.

JOHN DICKERSON: So this is in keeping with what you call the MOU, the memorandum of understanding.  


JOHN DICKERSON: So even though they gave a million dollars to the foundation, she felt no obligation to let the ethics department of the State Department know?

TIM KAINE: They were, they were very clear about when notice would be required. And that would be if a government decided to do a contribution that was significantly different from what it had been doing before. The government of Qatar had been giving to the foundation. As you know, the foundation does great work around the world, in the distribution of AIDS drugs here in the United States, the distribution of drugs to battle opioid addiction. So if donors were already contributing prior to her time as secretary of state, there was a clear understanding that there was not additional notice required.

JOHN DICKERSON: All right. Senator Tim Kaine, thanks so much for being with us.

TIM KAINE: You bet. Absolutely, John. Thanks.

DICKERSON: And we are joined now by the chairman of the Republican Party, Reince Priebus.

Mr. Chairman, welcome back.

Donald Trump is suddenly going into Minnesota and Michigan. Those are Democratic states, basically. What do you see there?

REINCE PRIEBUS, CHAIRMAN, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: Well, we see probably the same things that the Clinton campaign sees.  And we go into these states with consumer data, voter data and we go in with a 3,000-person sample -- I’m sure they do similar things.  And we’re seeing a dead heat.  In fact, we’re seeing that all over the country.  We’re seeing it in Pennsylvania, we’re seeing it in Colorado.  There’s a lot of surprises here in the end. I was surprised myself.  Last night we pulled ahead of the Democrats in vote count in Colorado, the actual vote count itself, by 1,700 ballots.  Now -- it’s not a lot, but it’s also, I think, a little bit of a surprise to everyone involved that Donald Trump is closing and he’s got the momentum going into Tuesday.
DICKERSON: One of the things that happen sometimes late in these presidential races, is campaigns see a state and they think it looks good, but those states are traditional Democratic states for a reason. They’ve an electorate there that sort of sets up well for the Democrat and so, time is spent - this happened to Mitt Romney in Pennsylvania -- time is spent at the end, Democrats match it and it’s time that’s wasted in a state that maybe he should be spending his time somewhere else.
PRIEBUS: Well, look -- he’s also -- you -- it’s a -- he’s a different kind of candidate, too.  And it’s a different day and it’s a different year.  I mean, I don’t think anyone can say that 2016’s been normal.  It’s been -- it’s been a wild political year.  And we’ve got a candidate that appeals to a lot of voters that haven’t engaged in a long time. And he actually appeals to a lot of folks in the Midwest.  I’m from Wisconsin.  I -- I know what it’s like to lose factories where -- where I grew up.  And that’s the way people feel in -- in Michigan.  And he gives those people hope.  And the other piece of this is that, you know, Hillary Clinton’s got a heck of a bad narrative cooking up here for the last ten days.  And it’s -- it’s plaguing her campaign.
DICKERSON: Let me ask you though, if Michigan and the midwest was such a place that works well for Donald Trump, why not spend more time in Michigan and Minnesota, why is this -- why not a more concerted effort there than Nevada, Colorado which are less likely for Trump?
PRIEBUS: Right.  Let me just hit that point real quick, though.  I mean, on the ground, in the operation, when it comes to get-out-the vote efforts, voter identification, absentee balloting, we have massive organizations in Michigan and Wisconsin.  Probably the two best political parties.  Ohio’s really good -- now I’m going to offend some state chairmen. But these are two very good --
DICKERSON: Yeah, you might want to mention Wisconsin again.  
PRIEBUS: Yeah, they are very good operations that we have spent millions and millions of dollars in.  You -- you’re also seeing it tightening in all of the senate races.  And -- and we believe that a Pennsylvania, a Michigan, a Wisconsin could quickly move on to our board.
DICKERSON: You mention Donald Trump’s a different kind of candidate, appealing to different kinds of voters, he is also -- from the early vote we can see in Nevada and Florida -- he is also driving away the kinds of voters you were- talked about attracting after the last 2012 election, Latino voters in Florida and Nevada seem to be coming out very heavily for- for Hillary Clinton. What do you make of that?
PRIEBUS: Well you don’t know exactly how they’re voting. But you -- you can obviously look at the data and see that it’s happening.  That they’re turning out.  
DICKERSON: But- but- Do you think Trump will do better with Latinos than Mitt Romney?
PRIEBUS: I think he’s going to do better than people think.  I don’t know what the- the total’s going to be.  But here- but let’s just look at the numbers, real quick, in Florida.  In Florida today, we are 7,000 ballots down.   But four years ago, we were 104,000 ballots down.  So all this stuff- there’s great antidotes (sic) and everyone, not accusing you, but the Clinton campaign, in particular, can pick- cherry pick all they want we’re ahead in early vote from where we were by a mile four years ago.  Look at North Carolina.  We’re ahead by over 100,000 votes in North Carolina from where we were four years ago.  We were down by 455,000 ballots four years ago -- we won North Carolina.
DICKERSON: Let me ask you this, before people get lost in the numbers, on the question of Latino vote, it used to be seen by a number of Republicans as something the party had to do to catch up with the future of the country. As the Latino vote grows, do you think Donald Trump has helped or hurt that effort?
PRIEBUS: Look, we’ll- we’ll wait and see.  But I can tell you what we’ve done as far as the growth and opportunity report.  We put in millions of dollars --
DICKERSON: That’s the RNC effort.
PRIEBUS: That’s right. We’ve put millions of dollars in black and hispanic engagement. We didn’t just show up six months ago. We’ve been on the ground, in Puerto Rican communities in Orlando, in Cuban communities in Miami and hispanic communities in Nevada. We have been there for four years talking about our party and what we believe in. And you know what?  Jobs, the economy, choice in where you want to go to school, SBA loans for small business owners, that’s what people care about.   
DICKERSON: So if the RNC -- RNC did its work, if Donald Trump doesn’t turn out Latino voters, it’s his fault?
PRIEBUS: Our job -- well, no. First of all, he’s, he’s -- we need to give him credit for all of his attempts. I mean he’s- he’s the one going into Little Haiti in Miami. He went, we did a round table with Puerto Rican families in Orlando, he went up to Detroit, he went to Cleveland. He’s doing well in black communities.  So, he has been talking about school choice. And, and, and money for small business owners and getting people back to work.Those issues appeal to hispanic and black voters. And they appeal to white voters. They appeal to all of us as Americans.   
DICKERSON: Do you feel -- there have been times at this race when Donald Trump has called out the establishment, he’s even -- along this long, winding --   
PRIEBUS: We’ve had our -- we’ve had our own arguments, you know that.
DICKERSON: Do you -- do you worry if things don’t turn out his way on Tuesday, that after all the work you’ve done with him, that he might turn around and blame you?
PRIEBUS: Oh I don’t -- listen this is politics, I don’t really care. What I care about is winning. I care about keeping the House and the Senate and winning the White House. And post-Tuesday, I’m not worried about that, I think -- I think we’re winning. I also think, if you would have said two months ago, and I think most people -- if they are being honest -- that we’d be here today arguing over Michigan and Pennsylvania, I think people would have been shocked.  And here we are, and it is a tight race, and we are going to do everything we can and we need our voters to get out and vote.
DICKERSON: Before we leave -- okay, apparently we’re out of time.  We’ll have to save this for after the election.
PRIEBUS: Okay, John.  Thanks.
DICKERSON: Thanks, Mr. Chairman.  Thank you for being here.  
PRIEBUS: You bet.

DICKERSON: And we will be back in one minute with what we’re looking for on Election Day.


DICKERSON: We’re back now with some more insight into why this race is tightening with CBS News elections director Anthony Salvanto, who is in our New York studio.

Anthony, it’s our last meeting before Election Day. So, what are you seeing in these numbers out of Florida and Ohio?

ANTHONY SALVANTO, CBS NEWS ELECTIONS DIRECTOR: Since we last talked, these races have gotten tighter, Trump now up a point in Ohio. It’s even in Florida.

And the reason is that he has gotten a few of those previously unsure voters. There weren’t a lot of them to start with. But they have moved toward Donald Trump. And one of the reasons, I think, is that we asked people how they saw each of these candidates relative to this political system.

The majority are saying now that they feel like Hillary Clinton is part of what is wrong with politics. But, by the same taken, they see Donald Trump now as entirely separate from the political system, neither what is wrong, nor what is right.

And you can imagine that some of those unsure voters on the fence have moved a little bit towards him because of that. Now, whether that’s enough to carry him to a win, we will have to see. And that will probably, as always, come down to turnout.

DICKERSON: And that why he’s been hammering that change message here in the final stretch.

In Florida, I want to ask you about Latino voters. The Clinton campaign, Democrats, very enthusiastic about the early voting by Latinos. Did any of that show up in your numbers?

SALVANTO: It does. They are strongly for Hillary Clinton. She will need that in order to win.

If you look at the early vote, the ones that have been cast so far, it looks like an uptick in Latino turnout in Florida, larger then it might have been, was in 2012. And that’s a good sign for her.

The tough part for her, though, is what is still out there, what is outstanding, still looks like it’s a bit little younger then the rest of the electorate. And that means to get the rest of the collision that she needs in Florida, she is still going to need a strong turnout come Election Day.

DICKERSON: Staying on the idea of early and absentee voting in these states, does it look like in your numbers that Republicans are voting for the Republicans and Democrats for the Democrat?

SALVANTO: Democrats for Democrats and Republicans for the Republicans.

In fact, one of the things that is bolstering Donald Trump a little bit is that he has gotten some Republicans coming back to him now. You and I all year have been following this story of reluctant Republicans, that he just was not getting enough of that base. They’re starting to come home. He’s ticking up with them in both of these states. And that’s helping move the needle for him a little bit.

DICKERSON: How about on Tuesday? What are you going to be looking for? What should we pay attention to?

SALVANTO: Yes, it’s sort of the map vs. momentum, in some sense, which is the map favors, even if narrowly, Hillary Clinton, because you have got all these states that are reliably Democratic that we think are likely going to be in her camp.

But the trend line in some of the national polls and in a lot of these states has been toward Donald Trump. And so the question is whether or not he can start to either flip some of those Democratic states. And we will know that fairly early.

You will get an early closing in Virginia. You will get an 8:00 Eastern closing in places like Pennsylvania. Those are states Hillary Clinton all about has to win.

If you see those states tight and competitive, they can’t be projected early, that could be the sign of a good night for Donald Trump. If Hillary Clinton does hang on, she will probably do so with the help of Hispanic voters and also with the help of college -- women with college degrees. That’s been a big part of her collision so far.

I think you will see a large gender gap. In fact, if you don’t see that large gender gap, given Donald Trump’s strength with men, that could be a very good sign for him.

DICKERSON: OK, Anthony, thanks. We will see you on Tuesday night.

SALVANTO: Thanks, John.

DICKERSON: And we will be back in a moment.


DICKERSON: Be sure to join us Tuesday for our extended CBS News election coverage starting at 7:00 Eastern. Our entire election team, Scott Pelley, Norah O’Donnell, Gayle King, Charlie Rose, Elaine Quijano, Bob Schieffer and I, will be there all night long to get you and the rest of -- to get you the latest results and tell what you it all means.

I will also start writing an election blog today at The blog updates through Tuesday night. And we will be tweeting it from our handle, @FACETHENATION.


DICKERSON: Some our CBS stations are leaving us now.

But, for most of you, we will be right back with a lot more FACE THE NATION, including an update on those Election Day terror threats and our political panel.

Stay with us.


DICKERSON: Welcome back to FACE THE NATION. I’m John Dickerson.

U.S. intelligence warned this week of a possible al Qaeda terror attacks in New York, Virginia and Texas just one day before the 2016 election. How real is that threat? CBS News senior national security analysis Fran Townsend and “Washington Post” columnist David Ignatius are here to tell us.

David, I want to start with you.

How significant was it that it’s al Qaeda in this case? We’ve heard a lot about ISIS. But how significant is it that it’s al Qaeda and how serious is this?

DAVID IGNATIUS, “WASHINGTON POST”: First, it’s important that this is core al Qaeda, which means the fragment of the organization that’s left in Afghanistan principally. I’m told that this intelligence came after the killing of a key al Qaeda operative, Faruq al-Qatani, who was an operation planner in Kunar province in northeastern Afghanistan two weeks ago. So his discussion of operations plans is where this begins.

It’s taken seriously because it’s specific. It names three states. it names a time.

One reason that an official says we’re not in panic mode about this is that core al Qaeda is a long way away, it has great difficulty organizing operations today, it is not seen as an imminent threat. The terrorism issue I think that concerns the FBI/Homeland Security most is the -- is the lone wolf, homegrown problem. Somebody who gets a gun and goes to a polling place motivated by all of the stuff that’s online. But in terms of this threat, it’s specific, it was disseminated, but the reason officials think that it’s not a three alarm fire.

DICKERSON: And the reason is because the ability to carry out an operation has been degraded over the last few years from attacks on al Qaeda.

IGNATIUS: This planning comes from core al Qaeda, again, from a key operation planner who survives, who is now -- who is now dead, but who survived, in his conversations with his operatives. The question is the ability to carry those plans out. And people think it’s fairly limited.

DICKERSON: Fran, let me ask you, so this information coms. What happens on the Homeland Security end with this kind of information? What can be done? What is being done?

FRAN TOWNSEND, CBS NEWS SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, first of all, John, I would say that there are -- they’ve identified about over a dozen operatives who have been deployed. They’ve been trained over the course of three years in the Afghanistan/Pakistan region and they’ve been back -- brought back to the United States. And so as David points out, DHS will work with state and local officials, and law enforcement. Here in New York, we know that they’ve stood up a task force to try and identify investigations where operatives have traveled and might fit that profile so that they can try and disrupt it.

DICKERSON: All right, Fran, got a little laryngitis there. Thank you for -- for that.

David, let me ask you, now another threat that we’ve been talking about on Election Day that people have been worried about is the threat of some kind of disruption. There’s been a lot of talk about the Russians. The vice president said that these hacked e-mails, the WikiLeaks e-mails and also the hacked e-mails from the Democratic National Committee trace back to Russia. What’s the status of that now in terms of U.S. operations responding to Russia and the worry of some disruption on Election Day?

IGNATIUS: Two top officials, our director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, and the secretary of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson, issued a statement last month in which they were very specific. They said that the most senior level Russian officials must have approved the hacking that’s been done of Democratic officials, of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta. And I’m told that since then there was a private warning, I believe by President Obama himself, to Vladimir Putin saying, any further Russian attempts to interfere in the U.S. elections would have the most serious consequences.

I’m told further that officials believe that the Russians have not escalated their attacks. They seem to have gotten the message. Although people are very -- very careful. They’re watching each event. There’s a cyber war room set up for -- for Tuesday to -- to monitor any attempt to -- to intrude.

I’m told finally that although Vice President Biden warned of U.S. reprisals, none have been taken so far against Russia. And the reason is, there’s a desire to avoid any kind of cycle of escalation in this very difficult period before the election.

DICKERSON: Fran, on the -- on Election Day, how might we see disruption from those who wanted to mess with the election returns?

TOWNSEND: You know, John, I think we normally think of it like (INAUDIBLE) attacks, like the recent one we saw. What I really worry about is something more sort of pervasiveness and insidious. Imagine massive text messages going out to voters saying polls are closed or poll locations have closed that might affect voter turnout. I think that’s insidious and more difficult for officials both to react to and to detect.

DICKERSON: All right, so instead of actually hacking the infrastructure, but actually just misinformation, a lot of different messages. David, I want to switch to the FBI quickly here at the end. James Comey’s come under some criticism for his handling of these e-mails. There are now leaks coming out of the FBI at a pace that seems new, or that seems more messy than we’ve seen before. What do you make of what’s going on right now inside the FBI?

IGNATIUS: Well, I -- first, the -- the FBI, right now, is -- is very leaky. You’re never sure if people who claim to be speaking on behalf of FBI agents or to have spoken to them, you don’t know whether that’s -- that’s true or not. But it -- it’s a law enforcement agency that’s -- that’s in -- in turmoil. And that’s something that everybody should be -- be worried about after the election. A strong FBI is crucial.

If Secretary Clinton wins on Tuesday, it’s possible she may end up being glad that James Comey surfaced this issue of additional e- mails on an investigation because it reduces the possibility that you can say later that this was suppressed and rigged. It’s -- it’s conceivable. Right now, within the Clinton camp, Jams Comey is not their favorite person, obviously, but its -- it’s possible if she wins she’d say this was -- this made for a more stable transition.

DICKERSON: And, Fran, thanks so much for being with us.

David, thank you also for being with us.

We’ll be right back with our political panel.


DICKERSON: We’re back now with our politics panel. Amy Walter is national editor of “The Cook Political Report,” John Heilemann is managing editor of Bloomberg Politics, Jamelle Bouie is chief political correspondent for “Slate” magazine and CBS News political analyst, and Mark Leibovich is a chief national correspondent at “The New York Times” magazine and also a CBS News contributor.

John Heilemann, what’s going on in the race right now?


JOHN HEILEMANN, BLOOMBERG POLITICS: Well, it’s almost over, John. The blessed day is nearly upon us.

What’s going on is I think that after -- look, the race is tight and tighter than I think a lot of people thought it would be at the end. But it’s still the case that Hillary Clinton has never been behind in this race, not for one day since the general election started. And although her lead is small, it’s the case that people in the Clinton campaign feel more confident about where they are than those with were with the Obama campaign in 2012 felt at this same stage in 2012. They feel like she has a narrow but durable lead and a lot of paths to 270 electoral votes and that Donald Trump is behind and has very, very few paths to 270 electoral votes and so they are feeling not (INAUDIBLE) and not overconfident, but quite confident that they are going to end up winning on Tuesday.

DICKERSON: Amy, what do you make of the Donald Trump schedule change? So, was supposed to be in Wisconsin yesterday. Canceled. Now in Michigan and -- and in Minnesota. Is that a crazy last minute genius or is it a sign of spreading himself too thin? How do you read it?

WALTER: Well, two things. Going to the -- to John’s point about feeling like 2012. I feel like we are in a deja vu moment here. We’ve gone into the time machine. We’ve gone back to 2012. We’re talking about the exact same things today that we were at this point in 2012. Back then it was, can Mitt Romney win a national election really by just driving up votes among white voters and not growing the base. So we’re litigating that yet again.

We also said, can Mitt Romney tip one of these rust belt state that’s been a Democratic hands for years and years and years at the very last minute despite putting no effort, no on the ground work there? In 2012 it was Pennsylvania. This year it’s Michigan. So, we know what the answer was in 2012, but this is -- it looks very familiar -- it -- we -- it -- and it looks like we’re heading down that same path in 2016.

I think that your point that you raise to Reince Priebus was the right question, which is, it -- it makes perfect sense that a state like Michigan and Pennsylvania would be in Donald Trump’s target list. These are the kind of states where if you’re going to win with white working class voters only, those are the kind of places you go. But those are the places that you would also invest early by finding those voters, registering voters, getting those voters out, not going in with 48 hours to go.

DICKERSON: Jamelle, Mitt Romney got 59 percent of the white vote, didn’t win. Ronald Reagan got 54 percent of the white vote, did win because it was a bigger part of the vote. So this goes to Amy’s -- this was the argument at the beginning of this race. How do you think the -- this race itself -- Mitt Romney was a different candidate than -- than Donald Trump. Donald Trump has a better chance of turning out more of those working class white voters. So how do you think this theory plays out? Where’s it playing out? Is Donald Trump -- is he proving the -- a lot of the skeptics wrong?

JAMELLE BOUIE, “SLATE” MAGAZINE: I don’t think he is. I mean he’s definitely turning out more working class white voters then before. And I think that explains the fact that he is not far behind in very many swing state. Working class white voters, such a large proportion of the electorate that doing extraordinarily well with them -- very well with them kind of lifts your ceiling considerably.

But what it’s taken Trump to get all those voters out has also repelled college educated white voters. And Hillary Clinton is on pace to win college educated white voters for the -- for -- for Democrat for the first time since we’ve been keeping track of this.

And on the same token, what it takes to bring out all those working class white voters also drives Hispanic and African-American voters to the poles. And we’re seeing, anecdotal evidence at least, that Hispanic voters are turning out at a huge level. And so, you know, the idea that there is some pool of working class whites that you could turn out and maybe make up the deficit that Romney had, I don’t think it’s wrong. I think what people didn’t consider (INAUDIBLE) into which actions have reactions in that the things you would need to do to turn those voters out --


BOUIE: Alienates so many more.



Well, how do you see things here at the end, Mark.

MARK LEIBOVICH, “NEW YORK TIMES” MAGAZINE: Well, I also think, before you look too deeply into what Donald Trump’s travel schedule has been the last few days, you have to wonder how sophisticated their polling operation has been at all or if they’ve done any polling. And we forget whatever commitments they have on the ground. I mean apparently I mean it’s unclear who his pollster is now. I guess he didn’t pay -- there -- there was some -- there was a whole back story about, you know, whether he actually had any infrastructure at all.

You always, I mean as -- as Amy said, you always have to be aware of the 11th hour sleeper states. I mean all of a sudden, you know, Minnesota, Michigan are the states we’re talking about now. Again, Pennsylvania, Mitt Romney. John McCain. Remember, George W. Bush was supposedly really close in California in 2000 and it nearly cost him the election. So, there’s that.

And, also, people are always looking probably too deeply into signs of momentum, crowd, that kind of thing. Look, people are engaged. This is the 11th hour. I mean you would hope people are -- are -- are engaged. And, look, we just don’t know very much now. We’ll know a lot more in 36 hours.

DICKERSON: John, you know, Mark brings up a good point. The RNC did put a lot of effort on the grouped the minute after 2012 ended.

HEILEMANN: Right. Right.

DICKERSON: The RNC is not Donald Trump.


DICKERSON: And -- and how in sync they are will be one of those stories of this election. But this election has also been about the smarty pants elites versus real human beings.

HEILEMANN: You’re not talking about anybody at this table, right?


HEILEMANN: OK. OK. Just to be clear.

DICKERSON: Yes, present company ex -- included, twice.


DICKERSON: But if the -- one of the challenges of this election is the -- the smart people think they know what’s going on and they think Donald Trump has been extremely successful doing his thing.

WALTER: Right. Right.


DICKERSON: Is that going to be the story about sort of the old fashion question of the -- the -- the science of politics and turning people out and analytics and all these things you hear that are supposed to make politics like a science?


DICKERSON: Maybe Donald Trump just knows something better.

HEILEMANN: Well, if that’s true, a lot of us are going to have to really check a lot of our preconceptions at the door.

Here’s where I think I don’t think it’s going to be true, and it’s, again, one of the most important things to think about what’s going on right now. It plays into the question of Michigan and everything else.

There are -- there is -- we have an Election Day on Tuesday. In some states, like Michigan, Election Day is Election Day. Everybody votes on Election Day. Part of the reason why Michigan is now, quote, “in play,” and why both the Clinton campaign and the Trump campaign are there is because there is no early vote in Michigan. So to the extent that there’s been momentum, tightening, it could play out in Michigan. If Trump really has momentum, he could win on Election Day.

In a lot of the other states, they’ve been voting for weeks or, you know, many weeks or many days, right? And that is where the question of science, where money, where infrastructure, where get out of the vote operations, where ground game really matters. So, you know, the part of the reason the Clinton campaign is confident that the tightening that we’ve seen in this week -- in this past week, though real, will not have a huge effect is that in places like Florida, North Carolina, Nevada, other places like that. They have already banked a huge number of votes and have, in many cases, they believe, and there’s some -- there’s some actual statistical, not anecdotal, evidence to suggest it’s true. They’ve banked so much vote that no matter how well Donald Trump does on Election Day, it won’t be enough to make up that gap.


WALTER: And -- and they’re still voting today --



WALTER: In -- in big states, Ohio, North Carolina. You’re going to --


WALTER: In Florida. So this is still, people are voting today. Even as we take all these polls --


WALTER: We’re going to see a big number coming out of Ohio, I think, and that’s why this -- that’s the other interesting thing, when we look at what this path is -- this path to 270, and -- and John’s right about the many opportunities for Hillary Clinton. Trump has a narrower path.

If she takes Ohio off the map --


WALTER: If she wins Ohio, which right now it’s a point, “The Columbus Dispatch” had her up a point. Your poll has her down a point. This is where the ground effort matters. This is who turns out today matters. If that gets off the map, then all of this discussion about Michigan and Minnesota is -- is done.

HEILEMANN: But it’s three of them, just quickly, right? If she takes off the table Florida --

WALTER: Correct.

HEILEMANN: Or North Carolina, or Ohio --

WALTER: Right.

HEILEMANN: The election is basically over.

WALTER: Right.

DICKERSON: Because of traditional state (INAUDIBLE) --


WALTER: Oh, we’ve been putting Ohio in that Republican (INAUDIBLE).

BOUIE: Right. Right. It’s -- we’re saying that Sunday is a very important early voting day for African-American voters --

WALTER: Yes. Yes.

LEIBOVICH: Yes, huge.

BOUIE: In states like North Carolina and Ohio and Florida.


BOUIE: Souls to the Polls today could make a significant difference in the final outcome.

DICKERSON: What’s the situation with the African-American vote. I mean they’re -- Hillary Clinton’s had these concerts. It’s clearly a last-minute push. Is that a push out of desperation or is that, as you say, Souls to the Polls is a thing that happens on a Sunday.


DICKERSON: So, is it happening where -- just give us a sense of where you think it is?

BOUIE: I think it’s -- I think it’s a couple of things happening right now.

The first is that there is a reduction in enthusiasm from 2012. I think that’s been portrayed as a collapse in enthusiasm, but it looks more like a reversion to the mean (ph) basically, that you had ‘08 and 2012. And when African-American voters are voting above and beyond white voters, now they’re voting a lot like white voters, which, for Democrats, is not the greatest situation because any given -- pretty much any given black voter you turn onto the polls is a vote in your pocket and so they want to -- they want to encourage that.

The -- the other thing, and this is especially true in North Carolina, is that the last couple years of efforts to reduce polling locations, to erect barriers to -- to voting have been successful. There is a direct correlation between the reduction in polling areas in the North Carolina country and the level of voting among African- Americans. And so I think some of this conversation about enthusiasm is really better a conversation about the success of voter suppression measures over the past two years.

DICKERSON: Mark, Donald Trump in the -- since the third debate, we heard him this week say to himself, stay on track, Donald. The reason --

HEILEMANN: That’s what Mark says to himself every day before the show.

DICKERSON: Yes. That’s right.

LEIBOVICH: It never works.

DICKERSON: The reason that’s amusing is because a lot of the people who have advised Donald Trump have said, when he speaks on a teleprompter, he stays on message, doesn’t get into these diversions. And we’ve now seen in the polls, Republicans who were worried about him, his temperament, his judgement are coming back home. So maybe the teleprompter, which he mocked so thoroughly, has been what’s helping Donald Trump in the final case (ph).

LEIBOVICH: Maybe. I mean I think there are a lot of other forces in play, especially over the last week. I mean beginning with the FBI, you know, report or whatever, the Comey letter. I -- I do think that, look, precedent has been very, very friendly to Donald Trump when he has had these relatively incident free weeks, if you want to say that.

I do think, though, that a lot of -- a lot of this is baked into the cake. I mean I think precedent is -- has been a very, very cruel mistress through this entire campaign. And I just think that -- that any sort of -- first of all, we’ve been proven wrong. I mean the quote/unquote “smart people” around the table, and I’ve always -- I’ve always thought that was overrated and that’s why I’ve never claimed to be smart -- have been just wrong so many steps of the way and I think Donald Trump would love nothing more than to just show that, look, every single bit of the playbook I have not only rewritten, but I have proven the old one wrong. And I think, yes, maybe he hasn’t, you know --

WALTER: Right.

DICKERSON: Jamelle, on election night, what are you -- what are you looking for on Election Day? What’s -- what’s one of the things you’ll be looking for?

BOUIE: I’ll -- I’ll be looking to see what Hispanic turnout is looking like in Nevada and Florida, and North Carolina. Same with African-American turnout.

I -- I, you know, when the poles start closing, I’m really going to have my eye on North Carolina. I was just there for the past week. (INAUDIBLE) going between Charlotte and Raleigh/Durham and Fayetteville and that is a tightly contested state. And however it ends up on Tuesday I think will tell us how the race is going to end -- end up that night.

DICKERSON: Right, Clinton’s going to run up the votes in the cities and hope to hold it down in the rural areas for Trump.

How about you, John?

HEILEMANN: I’d like to look again look to the East Coast obviously first. And so I think Nevada’s now basically --

DICKERSON: Because you’re an elitist or because the numbers --


HEILEMANN: Well, no, because we get those results -- we get those results earlier.

LEIBOVICH: Tim zones.

HEILEMANN: We get those results earlier. Places like Nevada, I think now, given the early vote, is probably gone for Donald Trump already. But African-Americans in North Carolina, suburban, Philadelphia suburbs turnout, like just raw numbers in Philadelphia, whether Clinton can run up the -- the -- the totals there, that will kind of lock down Pennsylvania if she does. And we look at those compared to 2012. Those are the earliest things.

And I think actually keep an eye on New Hampshire just because it’s a state that, you know, has -- she has had a pretty wide, in some cases, lead there. That race has clearly tightened up. And if Trump were to win New Hampshire, you know, obviously it doesn’t matter that much in terms of the raw number of electoral votes, but it might be an early warning sign for the Clinton campaign that all is not well in some other battlegrounds.

DICKERSON: Right, because the voters in New Hampshire might be like voters on down the line.


DICKERSON: Even though they have four electoral votes.

How about you on election night?

WALTER: One of the states that closest earliest is Indiana. That is a big Senate race. This is a state that Democrats originally thought was in the bag for them. It is tightened. It may even be a little bit behind. This is going to tell us whether or not -- not necessarily if Democrats have enough to win a majority in the Senate, but it could definitely tell us if they will have a big majority. If the Democrat wins there, it’s a sign that they’re probably going to get a big number of seats that night.

DICKERSON: And just quickly, Amy, explain when John says Nevada may already be done, there was -- obviously in 2012 I was struck the Obama people basically knew -- Colorado they -- they --


DICKERSON: Before Election Day. How can a campaign know that it’s done?

WALTER: That it’s pretty much done?


WALTER: Yes. Well, in Colorado, it’s almost all -- it is a mail- in state. Now, you can still show up at the polls, but about 90 percent of the vote comes in, in the mail. They know who their voters are in Colorado. They literally can tell you the number of people who have turned in their ballots. So they know, in the modeling, what that means for the kind of vote they’re going to get. Same with a place like Nevada, where you’re going to get 60, 70 percent of the vote coming in before Election Day.

And this is where Michigan, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania, we have to watch on election night because they vote that day.


DICKERSON: How about you, Mark? What are you looking for on election night?

LEIBOVICH: Well, I mean, look, I -- I think, obviously, East Coast states, because that’s what we know we don’t have to wait around. It would be nice to -- I’m trying not to pay attention to exit poles like we do. I mean there’s been like a recent wave of people, drunk inclusions, between the hours of maybe 3:00 and 7:00 p.m.


LEIBOVICH: That’s blocked off for a nap at this point.

But, yes, we’ll see. I think North Carolina, New Hampshire will be early indicator states and also the time zone advantages.

DICKERSON: And, Jamelle, we don’t want to look at the exit poles too early because they are sometimes wrong in the way they work, right?

BOUIE: Right. Exactly.

DICKERSON: Quickly, Jamelle, whoever wins, there’s going to be a huge chunk of the public that’s going to be unhappy. Do you -- is there -- I mean is that just the way it’s going to be or is there anything the victor can do right away on election night at all to begin the heal?

BOUIE: I -- you know, I’m -- I’m, unfortunately, pessimistic here. I think that’s just the way it’s going to be. I think the tenor of this campaign specifically on the Trump effort, the constant implications of rigging and the constant implications of Clinton and the Clinton electorate being somewhat illegitimate, it’s going to leave us with some fraction of people who are not just going to be upset, but they’re going to be (INAUDIBLE). And I don’t know how that plays out.

DICKERSON: All right, we’re going to have to end it there.

Sorry, Amy Walter.

WALTER: That’s OK.

DICKERSON: Hopefully it will all be cleaned up by the time we’re here next week.

Thanks to all of you.

We’ll be right back.


DICKERSON: Be sure to tune into CBS “THIS MORNING” tomorrow for Charlie Rose’s conversation with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in his first interview following the conviction of two of his former aides in the bridgegate scandal.

And then on Tuesday night, be sure to join Charlie and me and the rest of our political team, 7:00 p.m. Eastern, for our extended live coverage of election returns on CBS. And, of course, our digital network, CBSN, will have coverage all day leading up to that.


DICKERSON: Finally a word of thanks to all of you, our viewers. This has been an emotional, hard fought, and a little jittery presidential race. You were always there with us, whether your preferred candidate was ahead, or behind, or you found yourself shaking your head about the choices. Thanks for sticking with us.

We’ll be here after it’s over, trying to make sense of it all, putting the news into context and looking to what lies ahead. We know you will be too.

Until next week, for FACE THE NATION, I’m John Dickerson.

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