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Trump Orders FBI Investigation, Senate Vote Delayed; Indonesia Earthquake and Tsunami; Iraqi City Rocked by Violent Protests; Facebook Security Breach; Protesters Rally, Erdogan Set to Open German Mosque; Russian Foreign Minister Criticizes U.S.; CNN Anchor Weighs in on Kavanaugh Hearing. Aired 4-5a ET
Aired September 29, 2018 - 04:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANA MARIA ARCHILA, PROTESTER: That's what you're telling all women in America, that they don't matter and they should just keep it to themselves because if they have told the truth, they're just going to help that man to power anyway.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): An elevator confrontation, a change of heart, a delay. U.S. president's Supreme Court nominee will be investigated by the FBI for accusations of sexual assault.
NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): A stunning change there.
Plus this hour, the death toll jumps now; nearly 400 are dead after an earthquake and a tsunami slammed into Indonesia.
HOWELL (voice-over): And later, a security breach, impacting 50 million users of Facebook. The social media giant confesses it was hacked again.
ALLEN (voice-over): We will talk with someone about that. What you can do to protect your security.
Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. I'm Natalie Allen.
HOWELL (voice-over): And I'm George Howell. NEWSROOM starts right now.
ALLEN: And we begin with the stunning development in the confirmation battle over Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
HOWELL: Republicans hit the pause button even though that really wasn't part of their plan originally. Now the White House and Senate Republicans agreed to a one week delay on a final Senate vote so the FBI can investigate sexual assault allegations against Brett Kavanaugh.
ALLEN: The delay, of course, the result of a last minute change of heart by Republican Senator Jeff Flake, seen right there. He is seen as one of three swing votes needed by Republicans to confirm Kavanaugh. For more on the developments, CNN's Manu Raju is in Washington.
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Republicans were confident that they had the votes to quickly confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court but a late twist now could put the nomination in jeopardy.
In a move that stunned his colleagues, Republican Senator Jeff Flake demanded a week-long delay to give the FBI time to investigate whether Kavanaugh sexually assaulted Christine Blasey Ford when they were teenagers.
SEN. JEFF FLAKE (R) JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: I can only say that I would be only comfortable moving forward on the floor or move it out of committee but I will only be comfortable moving on the floor until the FBI has done more investigation than they have already.
It may not take them a week. I understand that some of these witnesses may not want to discuss anything further but I think we are -- we owe them due diligence.
RAJU: In the 12 days since Ford made her allegations public, Republicans had time and again rejected calls for an FBI probe but when Flake called for a delay backed by other key senators like Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Republican leaders had no choice but to delay the nomination vote.
What happens if FBI is not done with this background check or investigation within a week?
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R) JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: They're saying -- for one, you can have the FBI, the CIA and the foreign Legion and they're not going to tell you any more than you know, now. That's my view but we'll see what happens.
RAJU: If they're not done, then what's going to happen?
GRAHAM: He said, he's going to -- a week is enough for him or maybe less so we're not playing this game of opening this up and it goes on forever. What he said was, that I would feel better if they had a week to look at what's in front of us, no more.
RAJU: The Senate Judiciary Committee did approve the nomination on a party-line vote Friday but it's fate in the full Senate will now depend on the results of the probe.
Friday's developments were just the latest twist in a nomination battle that has left the Senate and much of the country bitterly divided.
(CROWD): Vote no.
RAJU: All playing out just weeks before the midterm elections.
After Ford and Kavanaugh both delivered emotional and riveting testimony, Thursday about the alleged incident which Kavanaugh strongly denies, key senators like Flake were deeply torn.
The Arizona Republican issued a statement Friday morning, saying he would support Kavanaugh because he deserved a presumption of innocence, with Ford's allegation uncorroborated. But just moments later, angry protesters confronted him.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's telling the truth. What you are doing is allowing someone who actually violated a woman to sit in the Supreme Court. This is not tolerable.
RAJU: Flake entered the hearing room ahead of the committee vote visibly shaking often times frowning and resting his head on his hands. He later abruptly left his seat and asked to speak privately to his close friend Democrat Chris Coons. The Delaware Democrat later told CNN Flake said he was concerned the nomination battle was tearing the country apart.
SEN. CHRIS COONS (D), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Senator Flake and I share a deep concern for the health of this institution and what it means to the rest of the world and to our country.
RAJU: It was a rare moment of bipartisanship during one of the most divisive confirmation battles in history.
SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY (R), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: We didn't have emotion. This is all a gentlemen and women's agreement.
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIF.: Gentlemen and women's agreement?
RAJU: Now after Jeff Flake met with the Senate Majority Leader McConnell, I had a chance to ask him directly, is there anything that could change your vote after you said you would vote for Brett Kavanaugh?
Could you vote no now?
He said perhaps. He said, we'll see what the FBI investigation brings. He left open the option changing his vote.
But one thing that he made very clear, he expects this investigation to be done within a week.
And I asked him what happens if it's not?
He said well, it needs to be and we're going to be prepared to move forward if it is not.
So we'll see if the FBI does its investigation within a week and we'll see what they find, but a lot of uncertainty about Brett Kavanaugh's nomination here on Capitol Hill -- Manu Raju, CNN, Capitol Hill.
HOWELL: And we are, of course, hearing from Brett Kavanaugh. In a statement he said that he would continue to cooperate with the FBI.
ALLEN: But he would not answer -- he continued to dodge the question during the hearing that he agreed to an FBI investigation or would want that. An attorney for his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, welcomed the new investigation but said it should not be subject to artificial time limits.
HOWELL: The U.S. president says he is willing do whatever Republican senators decide necessary to move forward on Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation.
ALLEN: For more about that, here is CNN senior White House correspondent Jeff Zeleny.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Trump showing unusual restraint today with Judge Brett Kavanaugh facing a new hurdle in his Supreme Court confirmation battle.
TRUMP: Well, I'm going to let the Senate handle that, they will make their decisions and they have been doing a good job.
ZELENY (voice-over): In the Oval Office, the president taking a rare hands off approach to new demands from senators, this time Republicans, that the FBI reopen its background check on Kavanaugh.
TRUMP: They have to do what they think is right. There is no message whatsoever. They have to do what they think is right. They have to be comfortable with themselves. And I'm sure that's what they are.
ZELENY (voice-over): After accusing Democrats all week of dragging their feet...
TRUMP: They know it is a big, fat con job.
ZELENY (voice-over): -- the president suddenly being deferential with Arizona Republican Jeff Flake leading the charge and holding the cards on Kavanaugh's fate.
For more than a week, the president has repeatedly dismissed the need for a new FBI probe.
TRUMP: They've investigated about six times.
ZELENY (voice-over): But today the president saying he would support an investigation if Senate Republicans asked him to. TRUMP: I will be totally reliant on what Senator Grassley and the group decides to do.
ZELENY (voice-over): The president, like millions of Americans, was watching the gripping testimony of Christine Blasey Ford...
CHRISTINE BLASEY FORD, RESEARCH PSYCHOLOGIST: Brett put his hand over my mouth to stop me from yelling.
ZELENY (voice-over): -- calling the hearing "very compelling."
TRUMP: She looks like a very fine woman to me, very fine woman. It was an incredible moment, I think, in the history of our country. But certainly she was a very credible witness.
ZELENY: Now a White House official says that the president will order and authorize the FBI to do a supplemental background check into Judge Kavanaugh lasting no more than a week.
This comes 10 days after the president first said that the FBI does not do these kinds of investigations. But now he is ordering them to do just that -- Jeff Zeleny, CNN, the White House.
ALLEN: Republicans Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins are among the few senators considered swing votes in Brett Kavanaugh's bid to be on the top court. As a result, protesters from their home states are turning up the heat, demanding that the two women vote no on Kavanaugh's chances.
HOWELL: You see these demonstrations, people came together in Anchorage, Alaska, on Friday, telling Murkowski they believe Christine Blasey Ford's sexual assault story and they don't want Kavanaugh in that seat.
The same message being conveyed by demonstrations in Collins' home state in Portland, Maine.
Let's talk more about this now with James Davis, the director of the Institute for Political science at the University of St. Galen, live from Munich, Germany.
James, thank you for your time. Let's start by talking about the one Republican senator who reconsidered, Jeff Flake returning to the room after voting to confirm Kavanaugh, now insisting for an additional week to allow the FBI to investigate this.
Some say that he pulled his party from the brink of making a highly polarizing move. Critics may look back at this moment as the moment that the GOP flinched. Your thoughts.
JAMES DAVIS, UNIVERSITY OF ST. GALEN: Well, I think Senator Flake has done the country a favor, not just his party. We're talking about elevating somebody to the highest court of the land. It is a lifetime appointment. And none of us understand what the rush is. Of course the Republicans
don't want a delay. A delay gives the opponents of this nomination, whether politically motivated or motivated by the very credible charges that have been raised against Judge --
DAVIS: -- Kavanaugh, it gives them time to mobilize. And that takes the momentum out of this nomination.
So I understand why the Republican leadership wanted to move forward as quickly as possible. But in the best interests of the country, we need to take a look at these allegations. Quite a bit of names have been raised, people that were alleged to have been around when some of these allegations took place.
And so, you know, the FBI can do its job and find out whether there is any corroborating evidence. I don't think, by the way, that we'll ever know what happened in that room at that party 36 years ago.
But we can perhaps get to the bigger question of whether Judge Kavanaugh's accounts are believable. He has denied quite a few charges made against him; he's made certain claims about the way that he behaved in high school and college.
And it seems to me that we can find out whether or not the picture he has been painting of himself is accurate or not.
HOWELL: By adding more time to investigate, does it make it easier or more difficult for the moderate Republicans or even red state Democrats to get to a yes vote or does it make it more likely that the Kavanaugh nomination fails by adding more time?
DAVIS: I think it depends on what comes out of these investigations. If the investigations turn up nothing, it will make it easier for the Republicans on the fence, the two female senators you spoke about from Alaska and Maine and Jeff Flake, to line up behind the Republican leadership and vote in favor of this.
But if some of the evidence points to the fact that Judge Kavanaugh is perhaps untruthful in his accounts of his past, that would reinforce, I think, the judgments of many that he lacks judicial temperament, he lacks perhaps the kind of maturity that we would expect of a man of his age reflecting on his teenage and early 20s years and, therefore, decide to not support this.
So I think it depends on what we find out in the course of the next week.
HOWELL: Two things I want to touch on, first, that pivotal moment where Flake was confronted in an elevator. This played out live on CNN. You see Flake, certainly taken aback by people who had a message to share with him, that moment where politics and process seemed forced to face the #MeToo movement.
This movement of women coming forward, demanding that their stories be heard; that seems to dwarf petty politics.
President Trump certainly taking notice of this, a very different tone than earlier this week before he argued that the FBI had nothing to investigate. He questioned over Twitter last week if Blasey Ford's experience was as bad as she says, why didn't she come forward sooner.
That comment, of course, caused a great deal of firestorm, backlash. The president has a different tone this time, saying that he does believe there should be an investigation. Your thoughts on this.
DAVIS: Well, I think the president is well served to act presidential at this moment. I think by fanning the flames, adding oil to the fire with more tweets would only drive the senators that are on the fence further away. And so I think that he is well advised to stay out of this, to remain presidential, allow the Senate do their job.
I think Senator Flake is a conservative, he values conservatism, he's a man who places great stock in the family values, traditional values that have made the country great.
And so I think he is really wrestling with this in the sense that he wants to support a judge that has conservative credentials but by the same token he also wants to remain loyal to his own personal values and the values of his constituency.
So he is on the fence. And he will have to make a tough decision. And if the president gets involved in this in an untoward way, it makes it less likely, I think, that Senator Flake will support his nomination.
HOWELL: James Davis, thank you so much for your time.
DAVIS: Thank you.
ALLEN: And we'll continue to explore that story.
But coming up here, hundreds are dead and many more missing after a powerful earthquake leads to a deadly tsunami in Indonesia. We'll tell you why rescue workers are having trouble reaching people.
HOWELL: And is Iran trying to exploit political turmoil in Iraq?
We're live on the latest of the evacuation of U.S. personnel out of Basra. You're watching NEWSROOM. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ALLEN (voice-over): That is the deadly tsunami plowing into Indonesia. And we've learned the tsunami and its series of earthquakes killed now at least 380 people dead, more than 500 are injured.
HOWELL (voice-over): Indonesia's disaster management says the death toll will most likely rise in the coming days as they get more information from neighboring regions. At this moment, rescue workers are struggling to find survivors in all of the damage, the debris and wreckage left from this. But it is hard to work with the power and phone lines down.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: Let's talk more about this now with Yenni Suryani, joining us from Jakarta. She is the country manager for Catholic Relief Services in Indonesia.
Thank you again for your time. I understand that you are monitoring this situation from Jakarta.
What are you hearing from officials there about the extent of damage so far?
YENNI SURYANI, CATHOLIC RELIEF SERVICES: We just hear from our partner who are on the way from Khasar (ph) to Palu and then to the target area at this point. The damage was quite significant but extensive, especially with the tsunami.
And we heard also government already officials that more than 380 people has been declared dead and buildings and devastation from the coast of Nabala (ph) and also Palu has been reported --
SURYANI: -- from the area as well.
HOWELL: Talk to us about the efforts there to simply get in supplies, to get the things, the food, medicine, things that people need, given what happened there.
SURYANI: It would be a challenge for preventive workers to go there because the airport is closed and some damages on the roads and infrastructure leading into the area. Because it's a big city, we'll be (INAUDIBLE).
Our team will be flying out there tomorrow to support the local partners in conducting assessment to assess, identify the scale of the damage so we can also make decision how we can help them.
HOWELL: And as far as efforts to find people who are in need of rescue, how difficult a challenge is that, as we indicated, with power out, with phone lines down?
SURYANI: Yes. The government has deployed military and police personnel and also the staff and rapid response team from the natural disaster for management agencies, they are already there, including the Red Cross, International Red Cross also already there. Now the priority for the government and preventive workers are for search and rescue to save lives.
HOWELL: Yenni, I want to show our viewers again exactly where Palu is located there on the map so people can get a sense of exactly where this happened. And if you could tell us just about the power of a tsunami coming through.
Again, we see so much devastation, so much left in the wake of this tragedy but just explain the power and intensity of what this tsunami has left behind.
SURYANI: From what the disaster management agencies release this morning, the tsunami was quite powerful. It wasn't as big as the Atche (ph) tsunami but it was big enough to wash the area and the constructions and the infrastructure within the few hundred meters from the coastal line.
So that's what make the impact of the earthquake and the tsunami also quite significant in those area. And Palu is located in Central Sulawesi province, about 3-5 hours flight from Jakarta. But now the airport is also closed because the damage.
HOWELL: Yenni Suryani, thank you so much for your time. We will, of course, continue to stay in touch with you and monitor the situation.
SURYANI: Thank you so much, George.
ALLEN: That footage of that tsunami coming ashore is just terrifying. Can't believe somebody was able to get video of that.
We turn to another story we're following closely here. The U.S. is pulling staff from its consulate in the southern Iraqi city of Basra. The State Department says that the consulate and the U.S. embassy in Baghdad came under indirect fire from Iran-linked militias.
HOWELL: These images posted from an Iraqi news agency that you see, it says that they show the aftermath of the rocket strikes near Basra International Airport. CNN cannot confirm the authenticity but the U.S. consulate is near the airport.
ALLEN: Let's go now to Ben Wedeman, he is live for us in Beirut.
Ben, how serious is this and how credible is the U.S. claim Iran is linked to these attacks?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is certainly serious. This is one of three diplomatic missions of the United States in Iraq. And one in a very oil-rich part of the country, where there are a lot of American oil companies operating.
As far as the credibility of these claims by the United States that the Iranian backed militias are were behind these missile attacks, not altogether clear. There were no claims of responsibility by the groups. Keeping in mind, of course, that the rocket attacks on the U.S. or in
the direction of the U.S. consulate in Basra this month took place during these widespread protests in Basra that have been going on since July but really intensified in September, protests against the poor state of infrastructure in the city.
Now during those protests, not only were there massive street protests but one of the things that happened was that the crowd torched the Iranian consulate in Basra. The Iranians, however, reopened it four days later.
Now the United States consulate in Basra is not actually in Basra, it is within the perimeter of Basra International Airport, which is a fair distance from the city. And these rocket attacks did not cause --
WEDEMAN: -- any significant material damage or any casualties whatsoever.
Now what is interesting is that, in "The New York Times" today, there is a report that says that, over the last year, there has been an internal debate within the U.S. State Department over the wisdom of maintaining the U.S. consulate in Basra, which, according to "The New York Times," costs anywhere between $200 million and $350 million.
And so I think that we really need to see this decision by the United States to what they say, temporarily relocate the staff from the embassy in Basra within the context of the current tensions between the United States and Iran, within Iraq itself but also within the context of the United States' deciding to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal and the fairly aggressive approach taken by the Trump administration towards Iran since it pulled out of that deal.
ALLEN: Ben Wedeman for us, thank you. We'll continue to follow it. Basra certainly a flashpoint there. Thanks, Ben.
HOWELL: If you are on Facebook, maybe you need to hit that head slapping emoji. Facebook has been hacked again. Oh, boy. We'll have tips from a privacy expert on how to keep your account safe ahead.
ALLEN: And also ahead, did a confrontation in an elevator change the course of Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court confirmation process?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANA MARIA ARCHILA, PROTESTER: I have two children, I cannot imagine that, for the next 50 years, they will have to have someone in the Supreme Court who has been accused of violating a young girl.
What are you doing, sir?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(MUSIC PLAYING) (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ALLEN: Welcome back to our viewers in the U.S. and around the world. This is CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Natalie Allen.
HOWELL: And I'm George Howell with the headlines we're following this hour.
HOWELL: The delayed Senate vote is the result of a last minute change of heart by the Arizona senator Jeff Flake. He went from saying that he would vote for Kavanaugh on Friday to demanding an FBI investigation before that final vote. He is seen as one of the three swing votes needed by Republicans to confirm Brett Kavanaugh.
ALLEN: So what changed his mind?
We don't know for sure but this right here may have something to do with it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ARCHILA: Look at me when I'm talking to you. You're telling me that my assault doesn't matter, that what happened to me doesn't matter and that you are going to let people who do these things into power.
What you are doing is allowing someone who actually violated a woman to sit in the Supreme Court. This is not tolerable. You have children in your family. Think about them.
I have two children. I cannot imagine that, for the next 50 years, they will have to have someone in the Supreme Court who has been accused of violating a young girl.
What are you doing, sir?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: Ana Maria Archila, one of the women who confronted Senator Flake in that elevator, told CNN why she did that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ARCHILA: Honestly, I had literally just read the headlines of his statement. And we saw him running to the elevator and we ran behind him. It was a very intense moment of really wanting to talk to him.
And I was not really prepared even for my own emotions, but I felt like he really needed to hear, like he needed to understand that women feel incredibly enraged about the thought of our stories, of our experiences of surviving sexual violence being dismissed, laughed at, disbelieved.
And I think we -- I just felt a great sense of urgency --
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Did you feel that he was listening?
ARCHILA: -- I saw in his face that he could not escape the emotion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: It is the top story we're following. You can follow more of Kavanaugh's confirmation process and reaction to it at cnn.com, of course.
Following Facebook now, it says that it took the unusual step of forcibly logging out more than 90 million users from their accounts because of a security breach. Facebook says that attackers gained access to millions of users' accounts at other sites that were logged in through Facebook.
ALLEN: Accounts of CEO Mark Zuckerberg and executive Sheryl Sandberg were among them. This latest attack comes as Facebook has been struggling with security breaches and privacy. It says people don't have to reset their passwords.
Let's talk more about this with Andrew Hunt, he is a privacy and technology expert joining us from Los Angeles.
Andrew, thank you for being with us. We appreciate it.
ANDREW HUNT, PRIVACY AND TECHNOLOGY EXPERT: Thank you, Natalie.
ALLEN: Let's start with the door these hackers used to gain access to tens of millions of accounts.
What was it?
HUNT: The door was just an everyday feature you see on Facebook, it was what is called the "view as" feature which lets you as a user see your profile, how other people see your profile. So pretty straightforward but clearly there was a big issue here.
ALLEN: Facebook says people's credit cards were not compromised.
But what was compromised as far as privacy, as far as you know?
HUNT: As far as we know, it was your basic personal info of Facebook. Things like your name --
HUNT: -- your location, as well as potentially access to the other accounts that you might use to log in using Facebook. So that might be things like Spotify or Facebook Messenger or other apps that connect through the Facebook login feature.
ALLEN: So should anyone feel wary about logging back in, now that Facebook has logged out the people, the millions that were hacked?
HUNT: That is a good question. I think this definitely undermines some of the trust that people might have with Facebook. I think that, as far as Facebook is concerned, people are safe and they can log back in. And those accounts have been reset.
But there is a variety of actions that you can take to further safeguard yourself.
ALLEN: Give us a couple of examples.
HUNT: Sure. So first off, you want to log in to Facebook and there is a setting in the privacy area where you can log out everywhere. So you want to go in first and click that. And that will log you out of all the devices that you use Facebook to log you in through. So you will do that first.
And then second, if you've used this Facebook login feature, you will want to go through each different app that you utilize that feature for and log out of that as well.
And to be extra safe, you might want to disconnect that entirely and just use the native login feature for each of those different apps so you are no longer connected through Facebook.
ALLEN: You kind of got to feel for users. It is hard enough to dig down into the Facebook rules and regulations and you almost have to be a privacy expert yourself to stay ahead of it a little bit.
HUNT: This is true. Unfortunately, it sometimes gets so complicated. And recently Facebook has streamlined their privacy settings and they've tried to consolidate their them just to one page to make it easier for the average user.
But even still, if you have got a variety of accounts connected to that Facebook login, it just gets more and more complicated. So you really have to be on top of your privacy as a consumer these days.
ALLEN: You do. And it is so very challenging. The announcement is the latest issue for Mark Zuckerberg's company. It has struggled with security breaches. There was Cambridge Analytica, Russian trolls, fake news, now this.
Facebook says that it is investing heavily in security going forward and increasing the number of people working on security from 10,000 to 20,000. That sounds like a lot, like it should get the job done.
But how does a company even that large stay ahead of attacks?
HUNT: That is a good question. It is incredibly complicated, given the size and scale of a company like Facebook nowadays. There are a variety of ways to do that, both internal to the company and external.
I thought one thing that was interesting was that, the day after Facebook mentioned that they noticed a spike in users, that might be due to something like a hack, they have what is called a bug bounty page, which they posted on the 17th of September, that they were looking for help from the public to find these types of bugs. And they offered a $500 reward to do that.
In my view, that reward could be much larger and that might incentivize smart software developers out there to try and find bugs before hackers find those bugs. So I think that there is more Facebook can do just beyond what they are doing today and I think that they should get more creative about that because this is clearly a huge issue for Facebook and the 50 million to 90 million users that are affected.
ALLEN: Absolutely. Just seems to happen again and again, good advice, yes, offering more money absolutely. Andrew Hunt, we appreciate your advice and your input. Thank you.
HUNT: Thank you, Natalie.
HOWELL: Still ahead, a state visit aimed at mending ties as thousands of protesters come together in the streets, why people are rallying in Germany against Turkey's president. A live report ahead.
ALLEN: Plus, Russia's top diplomat takes on the U.S. at the United Nations. We have an in-depth report from New York. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.
ALLEN: In just a few hours, Turkey's president is set to open one of Europe's largest mosques. Recep Tayyip Erdogan is wrapping up a state visit to Germany, which has seen protests against him and his policies.
HOWELL: The trip aimed at repairing ties between Ankara and Berlin, they have frayed since recent years in part because of Mr. Erdogan's harsh crackdown on journalists and critics of his regime, including imprisoning a number of German citizens. CNN correspondent Atika Shubert is following this story live in Berlin.
Atika, thank you for your time today. What a difference a year makes, given the insults, the frayed ties between Turkey's president and the German chancellor. Tell us about the reaction now.
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think it is pretty clear the relationship is still a little rough around the edges. It started off well enough yesterday, when President Erdogan was greeted with full military honors. This is a state visit, so it comes with all the pomp and circumstance.
And that is part of why critics have been so upset at this. Critics say that he will use all of this as a propaganda tool back home. It started off well enough with him reviewing with the president, Frank- Walter Steinmeier here, those military honors and then he went into a meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel.
And this is where some of the tensions started to show. At the press conference, it became a bit of a diplomatic sparring match, where he basically said that Germany was harboring terrorists; by which he meant journalists, for example, that had spoken out against the government, what he considered members of the opposition and the Kurdish Workers Party, the PKK.
For her part, Chancellor Merkel said that she was upset that German journalists had been detained in Turkey as political prisoners. There are still five German citizens being held there, so she urged for their relief.
In the middle of this press conference, a Turkish journalist was then taken out, he was wearing a T-shirt that said "press freedom in Turkey." So it ended on this rather unsettled note.
And then there was the state dinner. Chancellor Merkel did not attend; however, it was a formal state dinner held by the president of Germany. So she didn't have to attend. But the speeches were about human rights, freedom of press and, at some point, it was clear that the Turkish president had had enough.
He went off script and he said we've already talked about this before, again accused Germany of harboring terrorists and taking opposition, people such as journalists "on a silver platter" were his words.
SHUBERT: So it ended on a rather undiplomatic note last night. We'll have to see how it goes today. He goes on to Cologne, where he will be opening this mosque and protests are expected there, although a large rally has been called off for security reasons. But I still think that we will see people on the streets.
HOWELL: All right. Atika Shubert, live for us in Berlin, thank you.
Russian's foreign minister slammed the U.S. involvement in the Middle East on Friday at the U.N. General Assembly.
ALLEN: That's not unusual but he didn't stop there. CNN's Nic Robertson has more from New York.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: We have new details today from the Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, about those S-300 sophisticated surface to air missiles Russia said that it was going to start supplying to Bashar al-Assad's forces in Syria. He says those supplies, those deliveries have now already begun. He was one of the speakers at the UNGA Friday and he took up a tone that we've heard from many of those that have spoken before him this week. He talked about and was critical of the United States without naming it per se but critical of its isolationism, calling it "parochial and self-serving."
He also went on to criticize the United States and Britain and France for their strikes in Syria following up on Bashar al-Assad's use of chemical weapons back in April this year. And he criticized the United States for pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal. This is what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SERGEY LAVROV, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): The U.S. unilateral withdrawal from the GCPOA in violation of the U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231, this despite the fact that Iran is fully complying with its obligation, we will do everything possible to preserve the deal that was approved by the U.N. Security Council.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTSON: He also talked about the Palestinians, saying that Russia would support them. He talked about a situation in Ukraine that Russia is part of that complex problem, saying that Russia would do what it could to help alleviate the situation there, help ensure that there would be peace in the country. We have heard that before.
But he also said something that we haven't heard him sort of put on the record in such a strong way before. He essentially said that NATO was going to be causing problems in Europe.
What he said was that NATO's involvement in the Balkans was opening a new line of confrontation in Europe; presumably here, he meant about NATO accepting Montenegro to become the 29th nation of NATO, 29th member of NATO.
So he seemed to be alluding directly to that. But that was very strong language from the Russian foreign minister concerning, I would say, to many European leaders to hear that language, that NATO is opening a new line of confrontation.
He closed out his speech here at the UNGA by again getting back to his key topic, that of criticism of the United States' isolationism, taking a direct shot, it seemed, at President Trump by quoting President Harry Truman saying, "Great nations lead by example, not by dominance." -- Nic Robertson, CNN, New York.
HOWELL: Nic, thanks.
ALLEN: Coming up here, the sadness of a witness, the anger of a Supreme Court nominee. More about Brett Kavanaugh and his accuser.
ALLEN: The Brett Kavanaugh hearings this week in Washington and testimony by his accuser have resonated with people across the country and even the world. Whether or not any allegations are proven, they've highlighted the issue of sexual assault, something so many women and men, of course, as well struggle with every day.
CNN's Brooke Baldwin has this very personal take.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: I wrote something about all of this that I just wanted to share with all of you today.
This matters. What we witnessed in that hearing was nothing short of extraordinary. Put the partisan politics and the insults and the spin to one side. I want to mark this pivotal moment in American history, when sexual assault, something that doesn't often elicit more than a shameful whisper, is thrust into the open on national television.
Millions tuned in from home, from your mobile device, the subway, even a dad and a daughter in a chemotherapy session. This matters.
Yesterday morning, the nation watched as Christine Blasey Ford shared her truth. Look at her. You can see the struggle, the pain. She didn't want to be there. But she said it was her civic duty. She admitted she was terrified.
All of this was all on television. And as it played out, I saw women here at work in tears. I had a young woman in my office, wiping her eyes as she felt compelled after listening to the testimony to share her truth with me.
I was texting with a dear friend who had been raped in college and is in therapy years later.
For so many, this story has reopened deep, painful wounds. During this hearing, C-SPAN says callers flooded its talk lines to share their own stories of sexual assault.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm a 76-year-old woman who was sexually molested in the second grade.
This brings back so much pain. I thought I was over it. But it's not. You will never forget it. You get confused and you don't understand it. But you never forget what happened to you. (END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: This matters. Listening to Professor Ford speak about her desire for a second front door to her home and an irrational need for escape many years later, the pain for her and millions of men and women is deeply scarring.
This matters. According to the nation's largest anti-sexual violence organization, every 98 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted. One out of every six American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime. And, incredibly, only six out of every 1,000 rapists will end up in prison.
We all have our stories. The spiked drink, waking up on the cold tiles of a hotel bathroom floor, the uncertainty, the shame, the thought I must have somehow brought this on myself, the silence, distrust and invalidation. This is a pivotal moment in America for all of us.
This matters. This moment is bigger than politics. It is about mothers and fathers raising boys to become men.
What good comes of all of this, what are we going to learn?
It is a generational opportunity to better ourselves in how we relate to each other as women and men. This matters the most.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: Many people are saying it matters. But again, many on the committee were like moving right forward, saying it didn't matter so much. But that has been called into question and we'll explore it more in our next hour, here on CNN NEWSROOM.
HOWELL: Thanks for being with us. I'm George Howell.
ALLEN: I'm Natalie Allen. We'll be right back.