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Judge Brett Kavanaugh's Uncertain Fate; U.S. and Canada Updates NAFTA; Indonesia Mourns after Earthquake and Tsunami. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired October 1, 2018 - 03:00   ET



GEORGE HOWELL, CNN HOST: -- investigators find that Brett Kavanaugh lied to lawmakers during his testimony. The judge's nomination is over. That from Jeff Fake. The latest on that ahead.

Plus, after weeks of intense bargaining, the U.S. and Canada have reached a deal to revamp NAFTA.

Also ahead this hour, a heartbreak in Indonesia. You see the damage there. Authorities say that hundreds of people, victims of this earthquake and tsunami will be buried in mass graves there.

Live from CNN world headquarters in Atlanta, we want to welcome our viewers here in the United States and all around the world.

I'm George Howell. The CNN Newsroom starts right now.

At three a.m. on the U.S. East Coast, we're learning more about the list of witnesses to be interviewed by the FBI and probe Brett Kavanaugh, apparently, neither Judge Kavanaugh nor his accuser are on that list.

The president continuous to insist though, the FBI has free reign to speak to whomever they choose while conducting this one week limited probe. But sources tell CNN the White House counsel is working with Senate Republicans behind the scenes to keep the investigation narrow and to keep it focused.

All this comes as a former Yale University classmate is claiming that Kavanaugh has not told the truth about his drinking. Saying in part this, quote, "At Yale, Kavanaugh and I, I can speak two other times Brett was a frequent drinker, and a heavy drinker. I know because especially in our first two classes at college I often drink with him."

He goes on to say, "When Brett got drunk, he was often belligerent and aggressive" end quote. Kavanaugh overall drinking is not part of the probe, but of course it is a question that many are raising.

More now on this investigation from our Boris Sanchez.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The ranking Democrat on the Senate judiciary committee, Diane Feinstein sending out a a statement on Sunday afternoon requesting the exact directive coming from the White House to the FBI outlining the exact parameters of the FBI probe into accusations made against Trump's pick to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court, Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

Diane Feinstein saying the stakes are simply too high and that senators on that committee should know exactly what the White House is telling the FBI to do.

Two sources familiar with the investigation have told CNN that the White House is sort of outlining the exact steps that the FBI should take maintaining that specific questions about Brett Kavanaugh's drinking habits in high school are off limits and sort of outlining that there would only be a handful of interviews conducted during this probe.

Now, even before Diane Feinstein sent out the statement President Trump was already weighing in saying that Democrats would be unhappy regardless of the scope of the investigation.

He wrote on Twitter, quote, "Wow, just starting to hear the Democrats who are only thinking of obstruct and delay are starting to put out the word that the time and scope of FBI looking into Judge Kavanaugh and witnesses is not enough. Hello, for them it will never be enough. Stay tuned and watch."

Of course this news coming from sources just days after President Trump said that the FBI would have free rein over this investigation, that is not sitting well with the number of Democrats including Senator Amy Klobuchar who spoke to Jake Tapper on State of the Union Sunday morning


SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D), MINNESOTA: The hardworking men and women of the FBI should be able to do their jobs. And on that I agree. But what we are hearing are reports that they're somehow trying to limit this to a few witnesses or tell them what they should do.

White the White House decides who to nominate and then that person is submitted to a background check. I've never heard that the White House either under this resident or other president is saying, well, you can't interview this person, you can't look at this time period, you can only look at these people from one side of the street from when they were growing up.


SANCHEZ: Press Secretary Sarah Sanders was also on the Sunday morning talk shows saying that the White House does not want to micro manage the FBI, though, she admitted that she didn't know White House counsel Don McGahn had told the FBI who they could or couldn't interview and what questions they could or not ask.

Boris Sanchez, CNN, at the White House.

HOWELL: Boris, thank you. The FBI investigation is now underway. It came about after Republican

Senator Jeff Flake had a change of heart, saying that he would only vote to Kavanaugh's nomination to the Senate floor only with a one week delay for investigation.

Not long before that, he found himself in this situation. It was a moment that played out on live television. This, when two women who say they are sexual assault survivors.

They confronted Jeff Flake in an elevator at the Senate office building. They ask him what kind of message he was sending to women by letting Kavanaugh vote -- Kavanaugh's vote proceed without a probe.

[03:05:02] Shortly after that encounter, Flake told his Democratic colleague Senator Chris Coons that he had to chat, and they worked out on a compromise that led to this investigation of one week.

Both senators spoke with CBS about what they thought of Kavanaugh's testimony.


SEN. CHRIS COONS (D), DELAWARE: I was really stuck that I thought his anger got the best of him and he made a partisan argument that would have been best left to be made and for his advocates and defenders on the committee.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It made you wonder about his suitability?

COONS: In my case, yes. It made me wonder about his suitability to serve on the bench.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But Senator Flake, you identified whether you understood it.

SEN. JEFF FLAKE (R), ARIZONA: Well, the part that he talked about that he mentioned of the Clintons and I didn't like either. It seems partisan but boy, I had to put myself in that spot, you know, I think you give a little leeway there.


HOWELL: Let's talk more about this with Steven Erlanger. Steven, the chief diplomatic correspondent in Europe for the New York Times joining this hour via Skype from Brussels, Belgium. Always a pleasure.


HOWELL: Given what we've heard now from Senators Flake and Coons does this put additional pressure, new pressure on whatever comes of this extended investigation from your point of view.

ERLANGER: Well, it does, you know, it's not often in my life I feel sorry for the FBI but they are maybe being put in an incredibly difficult position not just with this but of course with the whole Mueller investigation which has Trump obsessed.

I mean, Trump is right to some degree they are never would like to prolong this because if they can win control of the Senate or reduce Republican control in midterms which is not far away, then Kavanaugh's nomination is probably doomed anyway.

So the Republicans are pushing really hard to get this done before those elections. And Jeff Flake, you know, is one of these handwringing Republicans who keeps saying he hates Trump and he's against Trump and then falls into line.

So this is one of those real incidents where OK, he just couldn't bear it anymore, so he decided to, you know, let the Democrats have one more week. But he also said even before all this that he would vote for Brett Kavanaugh.

So, I think there are still a lot to play for. And I think the White House is being careful. I don't think Trump has decided whether to keep pushing Kavanaugh or even to withdraw him. I think that's still an option.

HOWELL: So, you say the president may have some time to decide on this. And what about the Democrats? Those red states Democrats who maybe on the fence here and moderate Republicans who are watching this? Does more time on the clock make it harder to get to a yes or harder to get to a no?

ERLANGER: Well, I'm not sure. A lot would depend what the FBI comes out with, and of course, a lot depends on public opinion. Yo know, because we get reports from people who knew Judge Kavanaugh when he was a kid or when was a fresh man at Yale and how much did he drink and how much didn't he drink?

It sounds, you know, if he's saying he wasn't much of a drinker and all his friends say that he was, that will create doubt. You heard that the two senators raising questions about his temperament and I think that's another question.

It has nothing to do with what he did in high school. It has to do with the kind of person that he is in the way he reacts to stress. So, I mean, these are all issues that I think come to bear on public opinion.

HOWELL: Let's talk about the scope of this investigation, Steven. There are questions about whether the White House is somehow pulling strings to limit the investigation. And there is a limited amount of time, of course, for agents to do their work. So can this investigation be construed as thorough, can it be construed as impartial?

ERLANGER: Well, I think you can construe it -- I mean, the FBI will do it I believe impartially. That's not the question.


HOWELL: Well, even with limitations-- ERLANGER: Time -- well, you know, we don't actually know what all the

restrictions are. That's the problem, you know. We hear it back and forth. And even your well informed Boris Sanchez isn't quite sure yet. So we would like to know that.

But at the same time, you know, as a journalist, you know, you can do a lot of work in a week. You can talk to a lot of people. So, I'm not concerned about the time limit so much as I might be concerned about whether there really are restrictions on the people that the FBI could speak to and who puts those restrictions on the FBI.

HOWELL: OK. Here's an even bigger question. Look, this narrow investigation will proceed into the week. If you thought you saw drama last week, there might be more to come. We'll have to wait and see. But look, if more allegations come forward and if those allegations are left unchecked, could that further cloud the path for Kavanaugh?

[03:10:00] ERLANGER: I think so. I mean, I think you have some senators who are really wavering who, you know, senators, yes, they are partisan. But they also know that, you know, their job is to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

And their advice and consent function over nominations to the Supreme Court is very serious. And I think, you know, senators take it very seriously, so I think there are a lot of questions. We hope the FBI can answer some of them. But in the end, it comes down to the political consciousness and conscience of these senators to decide what to do. That's what we have elected them to do.

HOWELL: Steven Erlanger with perspective and analysis live for us in Brussels, Belgium. We appreciate your time and perspective. We'll keep in touch.

ERLANGER: Thanks, George.

HOWELL: The United States and Canada signed off on a new version of the North American Free Trade Agreement, NAFTA, as you may better know it, with less than two hours to spare before midnight deadline Canada agreed to allow the United States greater access to its dairy market and concerns about possible U.S. tariffs on Canadian auto exports were addressed.

My colleague Cyril Vanier spoke with our Paula Newton about details around this agreement. Listen.


PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They will be calling us the U.S./Mexico/Canada agreement. Donald Trump wanted a branding change and he got it and in many ways, Cyril in terms of what substantially has gone on here, definitely the Trump administration is saying that, look, we have been able to negotiate a much more level playing field when it comes to things like automobiles.

And obviously Donald Trump has been saying in many rallies in the last few weeks they wanted access to that all-important Canadian dairy market. So important to U.S. farmers, but what's to be understood here is that it's very important to American politicians who want to make sure that they can tout this deal as being better for U.S. farmers.

In Canada, it came away with a lot as well, though. Completely intact word for word from the old agreement as something called chapter 19. What does that mean? It means that Canada can go to an independent referee when it has a dispute, the trade dispute with the United States and does not have to subject itself to any kind of U.S. ruling that remains intact from the old deal.

All in all, it is not a wholesale change of the agreement that was already on the table. But enough administration officials say for Donald Trump to claim that he's basically had another victory on yet another campaign promise.

CYRIL VANIER, CNN HOST: So -- and you referred to this. Donald Trump during his entire campaign said NAFTA was one of the worst deals the U.S. has ever signed. It was terrible for the United States. Essentially what the U.S. gets out of one year of renegotiation is access to the Canadian dairy market? This is the big win?

NEWTON: Exactly. And it has to be said that whatever they are getting closely mirrors what Europe and the Pacific trading partners through what was called the TPP have already negotiated, something that Canada was already willing to do preparing the dairy industry saying, yes, we have to do this, we have to open up our markets.

Having said that, on automobiles something Donald Trump also had said during the campaign was very important to him, it is about that level playing field, to make sure that U.S. workers are not undercut in their own backyard and that their jobs will not go principally to Mexico.

It didn't really seem Canada was much of a threat in that way. But, no, you caught that right, Cyril. This is a win really for Canada in that regard, in terms of what they got out of the deal. And certainly Canadian officials are characterizing it that way.


HOWELL: All right. Still ahead, we are following the situation in Indonesia. The scenes of devastation and great despair. So much damage there, days after an earthquake and tsunami demolished thousands of homes. Survivors desperate for food, for water, and for shelter. We'll have the latest.


HOWELL: Welcome back to CNN Newsroom. I'm George Howell.

It's been almost three days now since a powerful earthquake and tsunami ripped through one of Indonesia's biggest islands. The full scale of the damage, the destruction, it's still not clear. But at this point here's what we do know.

At least 844 people now are confirmed dead, and that number is likely to rise over the coming days, weeks and months. Volunteers have started burying bodies in a mass grave that has space for more than a thousand people.

In the meantime, rescue workers are struggling to find survivors who may still be buried, trapped in the collapsed buildings there.

CNN's Matt Rivers is in the region and filed this report.

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A body is pulled from the rubble of a hotel where 50 people are thought to be trapped. A desperate search for survivors continues after a 7.5 magnitude earthquake hit the Indonesian island of Sulawesi triggering a tsunami.

This cell phone captured waves as high as 10 feet coming onto shore as people are warned to run for higher ground. The force of the water swoops through the streets carrying anything and anyone in its way.

In its aftermath, destruction, wrecked cars show just how violently the waves hit. In a hospital in the coastal city of Palu, survivors are attended to amid the power cuts. They are the lucky ones.


SUTOPO PURWO NUGROHO, SPOKESMAN, NATIONAL DISASTER MITIGATION AGENCY (through translator): We are expecting a rise in the number of dead victims, though we hope the data remains as it is. However, looking at the conditions there, there are still bodies unidentified as well as victims buried under ruins. There are also remote areas yet to be reached by joint SAR teams.


RIVERS: Indonesia's President Joko Widodo visited Palu Sunday and ordered rescuers to workday and night to search for the missing. A state of emergency has been called for 14 days in central Sulawesi as crews work to restore electricity and communication and repair damage on the roads and bridges.

[03:20:02] But in Palu, people say they don't have enough basic food and medicines and have been allowed by the authorities to take away supplies from supermarkets.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): There's been no aid. We need to eat. We don't have any other choice. We must get food.


RIVERS: Indonesia's Disaster Management Agency estimates that 2.4 million people were affected by Friday's earthquake. And as they await help, residents combed through the debris of what was once their homes.

Matt Rivers, CNN, Sulawesi, Indonesia. HOWELL: Matt rivers in the region with a report again. Now, Alexandra

Field live in Hong Kong following the details of this. Alexandra, look, with the infrastructure so badly damaged, airports down at this point, how difficult is it for these crews to get into these hard-hit areas?

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's enormously difficult, George. And we're learning now from officials a little bit more about what kind of need exists at the moment. And it frankly exists on a massive scale.

We've just heard an update from officials in Indonesia. They're now saying about 48,000 people are displaced, out of their homes. We know that thousands of homes and buildings were destroyed between the earthquake and the tsunami. These are people who are now seeking shelter outside largely thousands of them going to outdoor shelters.

You've got a number of people also who have homes that haven't been fully destroyed, but are too fearful to go back indoors because of the possibility of aftershocks. The rescue crews are working feverishly to try to get to the areas where there is the greatest need.

You point out the fact there is destruction of infrastructure. There are downed bridges, there are landslides that have blocked roads. That makes it hard for the crews to get in there to do the work of sifting through the debris to try and find survivors.

Add to that the part that they are having difficulty bringing in heavy machinery and enough fuel. There is an urgent need, George, for resources to work on the rescue and recovery efforts but also for the survivors. We are told that they need food, medicine, clean water.

You heard in that report from Matt Rivers that the Indonesian president toured the devastation. He's made it very clear that he has four priorities. The evacuation of more survivors, the clearing of debris, sanitation measures, and also working to fix those modes of transportation that will certainly speed the process in terms of getting more desperately need supplies in there.

And in terms of getting those supplies in, even though there are so many hurdles to confront, George, the Indonesian president is saying that more help is needed and he's called on the international community, saying that Indonesia will accept offers of aid and those offers are certainly starting to come in now, George.

HOWELL: Alexandra, so important that you remind our viewers of the aftershocks. I mean, that's got to be so terrifying for people who have gone through what they've already experienced, left with this damage, and then they continue to feel the rumbling, the shaking of the ground and the search for survivors continuing.

Tell us more, if you could, about, you know, the process of burying the dead. Again, we understand the death toll has risen since we last spoke, 844 people confirmed dead, and the process to bury them has commenced. FIELD: Yes, and officials are concerned that certainly that number

could go up again because they've had difficulty reaching a number of areas. They just don't know what they'll find. But officials have started digging these mass graves, enough for a thousand people at this point.

And that's been some of the work that they're urgently doing today. They are trying to begin to get bodies buried, even at the same time that they're looking for more survivors, going through the debris and going through the rubble.

Of course, we are nowadays away from this event and that means medical care will be desperately needed for those survivals -- those survivors. We heard from the Red Cross that they are working on bringing in mobile, surgical and operating units as well as kitchens simply to feed people.

So this is a disaster that's existing on all levels. Frankly, you got 844 deaths, this need to bury people, and the even more urgent need to find anyone who could be trapped and still alive.

HOWELL: Thinking back to what happened in Japan, this will, you know, go beyond days, go beyond weeks, certainly into months and quite possibly years before people get back to normal there.

Alexandra Field, thank you for the reporting.

If you'd like to help people who have been affected, people who need your help from this earthquake and tsunami that took place in Indonesia, you can find a place to do so at You can find links to organizations that you can trust that are working to bring relief to people there.

Now, to tropical storm Rosa, it's threatening parts of Mexico and the United States with heavy rains. To talk more about this now, our meteorologist Pedram Javaheri is on deck at the International Weather Center. Pedram.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Hey, George,. Yes, you know, this storm system that really had everything going for it a couple days ago. It was a category four system. And you notice as it's approaching areas of northern Baja, Mexico here, only 60-mile-hour winds, certainly has lost all bouts with symmetry organization.

[03:24:59] And the strength of the storm, but really that's not what is concerning. What is concerning is where it's headed and how much rainfall it's taking there.

Because as it moves in across portions of the southwestern U.S., of course, an area that essentially the driest place in the United States, right around Yuma, Arizona, sees the most sunshine for any populated location in the U.S., Rosa comes ashore brings in tremendous rainfall right on the coast of Mexico and of course, continues to do so as it moves in across the four corners state.

And notice there is competition. There's another storm back towards the west that drops in from northern California that kind of reinforces additional heavy rainfall for parts of Southern California.

So we'll watch this from later on tonight into early Tuesday afternoon, where we see some heavy rainfall right through Phoenix. And you notice the system comes in from California. See that pink in the Sierra, Nevada, that's winter weather right there, some snow showers coming down, even some white there which is some of the heavier snowfall coming down across the highest elevations over the next couple of days.

So, beginning to see the shift into the seasons. But we do have about 11 million people underneath the flood watches from Las Vegas up towards Saint George, Utah, even Salt Lake City, Phoenix and Yuma as well.

So how much rainfall are we talking? Well, here we go. Two to four inches which is an impressive amount when you consider this region. In fact, eight inches is what Phoenix gets in an entire year on average. And the forecast for them actually brings in about two to three inches.

So that essentially is a few months worth of rainfall in a matter of just a couple of days today into tomorrow. Certainly could see flooding associated with that and the storm system as it moves over this region before it rains itself out.

Really quickly want to show you what's happening on the other side of the Pacific, the Western Pacific. We have a new typhoon forming, this is typhoon Kong-Rey, of course, it has been very busy across this region of the Western Pacific. Just about every single metric for tropical storms, typhoons and super typhoons.

We are above what is considered average for this time of year and the storm system slated to move on towards the north could potentially impact areas of Okinawa or Eastern China later on into this week. So we'll follow that story as the week progresses, George.

HOWELL: Definitely one to watch. Pedram, thank you so much.

JAVAHERI: Thanks, George.

HOWELL: Thank you for being with us. Still ahead, a sex crimes prosecutor who questioned Judge Brett Kavanaugh's accuser is giving her assessment of the testimony that so many people heard. What she says about whether she would bring a case against Kavanaugh. We put her comments into perspective ahead. Stay with us.


GEORGE HOWELL, CNN NEWSROOM HOST: Live around the world and to our viewers in the United States this hour, you're watching "CNN Newsroom" live from Atlanta. I'm George Howell with headlines we are following for you.

Negotiators just reached a midnight deadline agreeing to replace the North American Free Agreement, NAFTA as it's better known. Canada signed on to the rewritten agreement with the United States and Mexico. U.S. officials say the deal will address trade imbalances and rules for auto exports as well as open to Canada dairy sector.

Following situation in Indonesia, where our mass burials were started for victims of Friday's devastating earthquake and tsunami. More than 830 people were killed in this disaster. We understand the death toll has now risen to 844 people confirmed dead. Rescue workers are scrambling to dig out any survivors from the rubble there.

A source tells CNN the FBI has spoken with Deborah Ramirez in its investigation into Supreme Court nominee pick, Brett Kavanaugh. Ramirez has accused Kavanaugh of exposing himself to her at a party when they were both at Yale University. Kavanaugh denies that ever happened. The source says that Ramirez gave the names of witnesses to the FBI.

Let's talk more about this now with CNN legal analyst Michael Zeldin. Michael, also a former federal prosecutor, joining us via Skype this hour. Thank you so much for your time, Michael. Look, let's start by talking about what we're hearing from Rachel Mitchell.

Rachel Mitchell conducted the questioning for Republicans during the hearing of Brett Kavanaugh and in a memorandum to two Republican senators, she says a "reasonable prosecutor" would not bring a case against Brett Kavanaugh based on Christine Blasey Ford's sexual assault allegation given the evidence, she says, presented to the Judiciary Committee.

Again, she also questioned Blasey Ford as well. Given her thoughts here, what is your assessment?

MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, you have to understand who she is in relation to this case which is to say that she was hired by the Republican majority on the Senate Judiciary Committee for the purpose of conducting the inquiry on their behalf. So she is essentially not an independent neutral but a hired gun for the Republicans. So, one would expect that.

That said, her assessment may be correct in that most of these cases look for some form of corroborative evidence. That's what the FBI are going to start looking for now that they have been granted the permission to go forward in that respect.

HOWELL: Also, I want to talk to you about the scope of this investigation. We always knew, Michael, that it would be narrow and last no more than a week. But now, the White House is pushing back against reporting that they are somehow micromanaging who investigators can speak to. Listen to this from Kellyanne Conway from earlier today.


KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: The White House is not getting involved in the FBI investigation in that way. The president very much respects the independence of the FBI and feels, as he said last night, that they should be looking at anything that they think is credible within this limited scope.


CONWAY: That's up to the FBI. In other words, I'm not involved in those specific conversations --

TAPPER: Did Don McGahn say you can interview these witnesses but don't interview these witnesses?

CONWAY: I don't think Don McGahn would do that but I have not talked to him about it. We are not trying to interfere. It's the president who is saying go ahead. And by the way, it's also the Republican senators as you saw including Senator Flake and others who have said, please go forward with this FBI investigation.


HOWELL: And if you parse every word there from Kellyanne Conway with my colleague Jake Tapper, you can see that she leaves a little room, wiggle room there, a little room for gray in her answer about this. But given the questions here, Michael, about limitations, do you see this as an investigation that can really bare anything new?

ZELDIN: If the investigators have free rein to follow the leads, then they could perhaps come to some determination about what what Ford said and what Kavanaugh said. If they are circumscribed, that is they can only speak to a certain know witnesses and that's it, then this is not really an investigation with no real authority to proceed.

[03:35:00] In this background investigations, always the last question the investigator asks the witness is, who else should I speak to that may have knowledge of this? And they are given given or not given names depending. And if they are given names, they are in the ordinary course free to pursue those other individuals.

If that's the case here, good. If that's not the case, that is a don't ask that last question, they only ask people who are presently known, the two or three people that Blasey Ford said were at the party, then this is not really an investigation.

HOWELL: All right. Look, we are hearing from senators Jeff Flake and Chris Coons, both who agreed to extend this investigation by a week, that if there is any indication that Kavanaugh lied during the hearing, that his confirmation would be over. What kind of things will investigators be able to review to scrutinize Kavanaugh's account?

ZELDIN: That's a very good question. You would think that anything that is material to the inquiry would be subject to review by the FBI. That is what bears on the essential allegation that have been put forth by at least two and perhaps the third accuser of Kavanaugh to see whether he said anything that now can be proven to be untrue.

Whether he said he was at a party on the seventh or the sixth, whether he drank one beer or two beers, I don't think it's material. It is material if he says I didn't do something and it is provable that he did do something. Of that magnitude, I think his nomination is over.

HOWELL: And, you know, we know that the results of the FBI's investigation will remain confidential. Only among senators. We also know that it wont draw any conclusion around what agents find. Senators will be left to do that task. So the question here, do you see this as a process that can avoid being politicized? Will lawmakers then effectively see what they want to see?

ZELDIN: Well, one always sees what they want to see in these types of investigations. I think the investigative report will go to White House counsel McGahn and the senators. And if it's just gray, that is love subject to interpretation, those who came in to the investigation with the notion that this was credible but require additional corroborative evidence will come out of it in the same way, and Kavanaugh will be confirmed 51-49 or 52-48.

If there is something in there that is materially different than what Kavanaugh testified to or which can corroborated anything that Blasey Ford said, then there is no known answer to whether he will be confirmed.

HOWELL: Michael Zeldin, thank you so much again for your time and perspective.

ZELDIN: My pleasure.

HOWELL: Also in Washington at the White House, the question, will Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein keep his job? At this point, it seems the time will tell. A meeting with President Trump may be delayed for a second time. Rosenstein appeared to be on his way out the door last Monday.

This following report that he discussed wearing a wire to record the president and allegedly planned recruiting cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Mr. Trump from office (ph). Here's what White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said about the timing of the meeting.


SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I'm not going to get ahead of the president's conversation with the deputy attorney general. A date for that hasn't been set. It could be this week. I could see it pushing back another week given all of the other things that are going on with the Supreme Court, but we'll see and certainly always like to keep the press updated on this.


HOWELL: And reminding the viewers that Rosenstein oversees the Robert Mueller investigation. He has denied the reports about wearing a wire and the 25th Amendment. He has also agreed to speak with House Republicans about the report. It was a mission that carried life- threatening risks. Still ahead, joining religious forces to bring desperately needed aid to Syrians.


HOWELL: It has been one year since the deadliest single day mass shooting in modern U.S. history. October 1st, 2017, a gunman opened fire on a crowded concertgoers in Las Vegas, Nevada. The gunman killing 58 people and wounding hundreds more. To mark this day, marquees along the Vegas strip will go dark in honor of the victims. The iconic "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign will also turnoff its lights.

In Iraq, officials are investigating a disturbing trend after the killing of another outspoken female personality. Tara Fares was a former beauty queen whose lifestyle challenged the conservative norms of her country. Our senior international correspondent Ben Wedeman filed this report.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: She was a social media personality, the likes of which Iraq hadn't seen. Twenty-two- year-old Tara Fares projected an image on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube of a fun-loving, carefree, modern young woman unencumbered by the norms of a society with a strong streak of conservatism.

Last Thursday, unknown gunmen shot her three times in her car in central Baghdad. Her death caught on closed circuit television. Tara Fares was born out of the mold, the daughter of an Iraqi Christian father and a Lebanese Shi'ite (ph) Muslim mother. She won the title of Miss Baghdad and in 2014 was the runner up for Miss Iraq.

But as she explains in this interview, her short life story was not always a happy one. She married at 16 and soon gave birth to a son, but her husband beat her, she says, and forced her to leave school. Divorce soon followed. After forcibly taking away their son, her ex- husband moved to Turkey and remarried.

Yet she carried on, gaining fame for her daring posts, winning millions of online followers. Three years ago, she left Baghdad and moved to Erbil, an Iraqi Kurdistan where she felt safer, but often returned to her native city for photo shoots and to visit her family.

Fares is just the latest online female personality or activist to die an untimely death in Iraq and the government has launched an investigation to see if there is a link between them. Fares' murder sparked an outburst of grief from her followers, but not all mourned her death. One journalist with state media calling her a whore on social media.

[03:44:59] He has subsequently been fired. The last image to appear on her Instagram account shows her in black and white with the words "peace be upon her soul" Tara Fares.

Ben Wedeman, CNN, Beirut.


HOWELL: Iran has reportedly fired several missiles into Eastern Syria and quite literally sent a message to its enemies in the process. Iranian state media say the missiles targeted militants accused of attacking a military parade in Western Iran. Late last month, that attack killing 29 people. And on those missiles, the phrases, the message, death to America, death to Israel, and death to Saudi Arabia were written on the sides. Iran's official news agency claims the strikes killed or wounded several militants.

Syria has been a brutally dangerous place for more than seven years now. As rebels have been fighting government forces and their allies, hundreds of thousands of people have died in the aftermath. United Nations estimates there are 13 million people who are in need in Syria. Among others, one Christian organization answered the call for aid to help the Sunni Muslims, the group teamed up with an Israeli mission, a model of religious tolerance.

Ian lee has their story, and we do warn you, some of the images that you will see in this report are graphic.


IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This journey begins with a strong heart and faith in Jesus. Over the Hermon mountains into Southern Syria to war-torn towns you've never heard of. For Dr. Tania Cabrera, the calling was overpowering.

TANIA CABRERA, GENERAL PRACTITIONER (through translator): It was a very important decision in my life. I know Christ was acting through me. I was able to give to these people the way Christ gave of himself to us.

LEE: Nothing could prepare the 29-year-old from Peru.

CABRERA (through translator): One day, a lot of children arrived. I am not going to forget evaluating a child with a wound on the back of his head. It was open and I could put my hands in. And it was very hard to see him cry.

LEE: For nearly a year, dozens of volunteers from the Christian organization Frontier Alliance International lived, worked, and provided comfort to the injured, dying, and newly born in Syria. Now, back in Israel, they recall the moments of hope for the helpless, like a baby's first lullaby. Dalton Thomas organized the relief work, finding those willing to take the risks to help a stranger.

DALTON THOMAS, FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT, FAI: So many nights of heavy bombings and mass casualties where the locals would say, you know you can leave, right? I said, we're not leaving. We're here.

And finding that kind of a person who has the character, the integrity, the courage, the composition to put themself in that kind of an environment and -- because these guys weren't going and coming out, going and coming out. They were going to live in the community.

LEE: FAI teamed up with "Operation Good Neighbor," an Israeli mission that delivered tons of food, medical supplies, clothes and tents while treating thousands of injured Syrians in Israeli hospitals.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What I've learned in these last two and a half years is there is anything that is making you feel better than to save people lives, even though this is your enemy from the past.

THOMAS: It sounds like the beginning of a joke, like Israeli army, Christian organization, Sunni Muslims in Syria. It's a bizarre relation of triangle.

LEE: The volunteers couldn't stay. Assad regime and it's allies closed in. Certain doom awaited any remaining foreigner. "Operation Good Neighbor" had to end. So one night, the call came for them to leave.

CABRERA (through translator): This operation was a pain, like they were taking away a child from your womb. A child you developed with such love, and they took it away from you. We left in tears.

LEE: But they left making their mark, carried there and back by faith.

Ian Lee, CNN, in the Golan Heights.


HOWELL: We'll be right back after this.


HOWELL: The U.S. Justice Department is suing the state of California over its new net neutrality protections. The governor of that state, Jerry Brown, signed the bill into law just hours ago. These would be the strictest protections in the country, banning internet service providers from blocking or slowing down content or applications as they see fit. The U.S. government says the law is illegal and an attempt to undermine their deregulatory approach to the internet.

People were glued to their televisions during the U.S. Senate hearing for the Supreme court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford. It was dramatic testimony. But even so, there may have been some things that you missed on the screen. My colleague Jake Tapper takes a humorous look at the so-called product placement from the hearings.


TAPPER: Emotions were running high this week but we were caught off guard by this headline in the "Atlanta Business Chronicle." Coca-Cola in spotlight at Supreme Court hearing with Christine Blasey Ford.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): I anticipate needing some caffeine.

TAPPER: Really? I mean, I guess looking for local angles, but is that where we are, branding opportunities for gut-wrenching testimony?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): We drank beer. I liked beer. Still like beer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Budweiser.

TAPPER: Kavanaugh didn't wear his Yale sweatshirt to the hearing but he may as well have.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): I got into Yale law school. That's the number one law school in the country.

TAPPER: And I suppose it can be a way to look at some of the major issues being dissected here without really actually addressing them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Some combination of animal house, Caddyshack, and Fast Times in Ridgemont High.

TAPPER: Such as the (INAUDIBLE) movie comedies that Kavanaugh said inspired his less than chivalrous yearbook entries.

[03:55:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Have you -- I don't know if it's "buffed" or "boofed," how do you pronounce that?

TAPPER: At times frankly it felt like we were in one of those movies.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): That refers to flatulence. We were 16.

TAPPER: While we're at it, I mean, the hearings didn't have ads for HBO, Netflix or Cinemax, but I suppose they could have.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is the closest I'll ever have in my life to an 'I am Spartacus' moment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): I am Spartacus.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): I am Spartacus.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): I am Spartacus.

TAPPER: They really wouldn't have been much more upsetting or dramatic than what we did see during this process.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Boy, y'all want power. God, I hope you never get it. I hope the American people can see through this sham.


HOWELL: All right. And on the Korean Peninsula, there is a kind of pause for peace movement. North Korea's leader sending a pair of Pungsan dogs to South Korean President Moon Jae-in. It's another sign of their improving ties. The two dogs known for their loyalty and hunting skills crossed the DMZ. Mr. Moon is known to be an animal lover, who recently adopted a shelter dog named Tory. North Korea calls the Pungsan dog it's national animal.

With that, we leave you this hour for "CNN Newsroom." I'm George Howell at the CNN Center in Atlanta. For our viewers in the United States, "Early Start" is next. For our viewers around the world, my colleague Hannah Vaughn Jones picks it up from London with more "CNN Newsroom." Thank you for watching CNN, the world's news leader.