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Trump weighs in on Judge Brett Kavanaugh; Vice President Mike Pence gives a strong and scathing speech directed at China; Secretary of State Michael Pompeo is expected to discuss nuclear details with Kim Jong-Un; new allegations of North Korean cyber attacks; Nobel Peace Prize favorites; Melania Trump in Kenya; crackdown on Russian cyber attacks. Aired 2-3a ET
Aired October 5, 2018 - 02:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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[02:00:15] PRES. DONALD TRUMP (R), UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: Judge Kavanaugh will protect, uphold, and defend the constitution of the United States (Inaudible).
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ANNA COREN, NEWSROOM ANCHOR, CNN: U.S. President Donald Trump weighs in on his Supreme Court nominee as the clock ticks down to a preliminary vote on Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Well, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence gives a scathing speech against China and Beijing's response with its own strongly worded reaction. Plus, the countdown is on and the guessing game is almost over.
We'll look at who could be on the short list for the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize. Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around. I'm Anna Coren in Hong Kong. This is CNN Newsroom. Well, Donald Trump is going the extra mile to see that his pick for the U.S. Supreme Court is confirmed. He praised Brett Kavanaugh at a campaign rally in Minnesota and blasted Democrats for their treatment of his nominee.
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TRUMP: The Democrats have been trying to destroy Judge Brett Kavanaugh since the very first second he was announced. And he was announced for one simple reason. He is an incredible intellect and incredible person and incredible talent.
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COREN: Well, Kavanaugh is trying to help his own cause with an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. He admits he might have been too emotional during his testimony last week, but says he is an independent and impartial judge. Well, thousands of protesters disagree. More than 300 people were arrested in Washington on Thursday.
Well, U.S. senator have had a full day to read the updated FBI background check on Judge Kavanaugh, CNN's Jim Acosta has reaction.
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JIM ACOSTA, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Choosing his words carefully about his Supreme Court pick.
TRUMP: I think he's doing very well. I think he's doing very well. The Judge is doing well, right?
ACOSTA: President Trump left it to GOP leaders to all but declare victory in the battle over Brett Kavanaugh.
CHUCK GRASSLEY, (D) UNITED STATES SENATOR: I feel very good about where this nomination is right now. I don't say that from the standpoint of counting votes. I say that from the standpoint of the qualifications of this candidate.
ACOSTA: A big reason for the optimism, two undecided Republican senators sounded satisfied with the FBI's supplemental investigation into Kavanaugh's background that appeared to fall short of concluding that the Judge assaulted Christine Blasey Ford back in the early 80s.
Senator Jeff Flake who had asked for the expanded probe told reporters we've seen no additional corroborating information. While Senator Susan Collins added, it appears to be a very thorough investigation. The White House continued to insist the FBI was given free reign to follow any leads.
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, PRESS SECRETARY, WHITE HOUSE: We allowed the FBI to do exactly what they do best. We haven't micro managed this process. We accommodated all of the Senate's request.
ACOSTA: But Democrats are accusing the White House of standing in the way of the truth, stopping the FBI from interviewing both Kavanaugh and his accuser.
DIANE FEINSTEIN, (D) UNITED STATES SENATOR: It now appears that they also blocked the FBI from doing its job. Democrats agree that the investigation's scope should be limited. We did not agree that the White House should tie the FBI's hands.
ACOSTA: Ford's legal team fired off an angry letter to FBI Director Chris Wray, offering names of people who (Inaudible) attorney (Inaudible) could refute Kavanaugh's account, writing the investigation conducted over the past five days is a stain on the process on the FBI and on our American ideal of justice. Republicans say Democrats are just trying to stall.
MITCH MCCONNELL, (R) UNITED STATES SENATOR: What we know for sure is the FBI report did not corroborate any allegations against Judge Kavanaugh. And the second thing we know for sure is that there's no way anything we did would satisfy the Democrats.
ACOSTA: Still, the final vote could be very close. One undecided Democrat in a tight race for re-election, Senator Heidi Heitkamp, is voting against Kavanaugh. HEIDI HEITKAMP, (D) UNITED STATES SENATOR: The process has been bad.
But at the end of the day, you have to make a decision. I will be voting no on Judge Kavanaugh.
ACOSTA: With protests on the streets of Washington, the supreme circus is wearing down nearly everybody.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Inaudible).
LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R) UNITED STATES SENATOR: Because you've humiliated this guy enough. And there seems to be no bottom for some of you. So why don't we dunk him in the water and see if he floats.
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[02:05:04] COREN: Jim Acosta reporting there. Well, here's what is next in the Supreme Court nomination process. Friday morning at 10:30, a procedural vote, known as a cloture, is set to take place. This is when we'll get our first real measure of where the vote stands for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. If the cloture vote passes, the clock starts.
The Senate has 30 hours to make a decision on a final vote. It also eliminates the ability of opposing senators to delay the vote with a filibuster. Now, the scheduling of the final vote is up to Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell. And he's hinted he wants it done quickly. It could happen as soon as Saturday, 5 p.m.
Well, Chinese accusing U.S. Vice President Mike Pence of making baseless allegations that came out of thin air. Beijing says Pence just gave a speech that was slander and unwarranted accusations. Pence launched his attacks Thursday, accusing China of predatory economic practices, military aggression, and interfering in America's political system.
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VICE PRES. Mike PENCE (R), UNITED STATES VICE PRESIDENT: As we speak, Beijing is using a whole government approach, using political, economic, and military tools, as well as propaganda to advance its influence and benefit its interest in the United States. China is also applying this power in more proactive ways than ever before, to exert influence and interfere in the domestic policy and politics of this country.
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COREN: Will Ripley joins us with more from Hong Kong. Will, we understand the trade war. We understand the standoff in the South China Sea, but interfering in U.S. domestic politics. Where did this come from?
WILL RIPLEY, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: It was an extraordinary speech. And to hear the Vice President of the United States going after China on multiple fronts, military trade, and yes, domestic politics in the United States, accusing China of election meddling. And citing examples like the fact that the tariffs that China is slapping on the U.S. in retaliation for U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods, apparently are targeting red states with conservative voters.
The Trump administration feels that is an attempt to turn those voters against the President. China took out an insert in the Des Moines Register, which is an influential in newspaper in Iowa. And, you know Chinese newspapers did not allow the U.S. Ambassador there take on a similar insert. They viewed that as election meddling as well.
You know the case that they're making in Beijing, they're calling it groundless. They're saying that this is slander. These accusations are simply without merit. And I actually want to read you a portion of the statement from the ministry of foreign affairs, because they say they have no interest in election meddling or meddling in U.S. affairs.
But they say the international community has already known fully well who wants (Inaudible) infringes upon other sovereignty interferes in others internal affairs, and undermines others interests. Any malicious slander on China is futile. And you know we talked yesterday about the fact that in Beijing, there is concern among Xi Jinping's leadership that the Trump Administration is using this trade, and how this speech, and even, you know, that flashpoint, the South China Sea, that close call between the two warships from the U.S. and China over the weekend.
That the U.S. might be trying to actually contain the rise of China, that the Trump Administration is trying to put the brakes on China's growth, and they feel -- and Anna and you know this well from working in China, that now is their time. And they are not going to stand for that. And frankly, if they do suspect that the Trump Administration is trying to subvert their government, they're going to be a lot less willing to work with the U.S. on a whole variety of crucial issues.
Trade is only one of them. Think about North Korea. Think about all the other things around the world that the U.S. needs China's cooperation. So, you know, the question I guess now is where is this going? Where is this headed? One thing that was interesting and noteworthy, Vice President Pence made this speech, not President Trump.
And in fact, in the speech Pence talked about Trump's supposed still friendship that he has with Xi Jinping, the President of China. That friendship may be souring. But that might be the best thing that these two countries have going. You know much like the U.S. and North Korea, frankly, with Kim Jong-Un and Trump, because everything else is just really going to pot right now.
COREN: It is an interesting strategy to say the least. Will Ripley joining us here in Hong Kong. Many thanks for that. Well, it's been a week since an earthquake and tsunami devastated parts of Indonesia, and hope is fading that more survivors will be found. An official with Indonesia's search and rescue teams says there is just a five percent chance that anyone found under the rubble is still alive.
Indonesia has a seven-day search and rescue rule. There has been no decision on when they'll stop looking for survivors. But as our Matt Rivers reports, the families have not given up.
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[02:09:50] MATT RIVERS, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: It's a particular agony waiting for news you need to know but dread getting. Twenty or so people, all strangers man this vigil outside the Mature Hotel on Palu's ruling coastline. Their common causes, lying rubble each had someone they love buried in the hotel collapse.
We just really want my daughter to be found, says (Inaudible). My hope is just to find her as fast as we can. (Inaudible) got to the hotel just after it went down. He was determined to get to 20-year- old Mary Ann who worked inside. We entered the hotel again and again, shouting Mary Ann, Mary Ann, where are you. It's us.
So despite aftershocks threatening to crumble what was left, he kept going in with is son, (Inaudible). And they found (Inaudible) hold each one out and save each life but no Mary Ann. I'm so sad he says, because when we got here, me and my dad were able to save a couple of people. Why couldn't we help my little sister? That's up to the professionals now, including the French team we watched take special sound detecting equipment inside.
It is nearly a week since the collapse, and families like these are facing hard truths. That hard truth is that Mary Ann is probably dead. If probably impossible she's still alive, but we never stop hoping, he says, that at least we can get her body and if god grants our hope, and she is still alive. But that's just one family's story.
When the tsunami rolled in and destroyed entire communities like the one that was here. It created tragedy on a massive scale. And a full six days after that event, many people still don't have basic services, like electricity, food and water, or shelter, and that breeds desperation. At the Palu Airport, tear stained evacuees gather at the tarmac gate, freedom from an unlivable place lies just beyond.
There are only so many seats on a plane. Some make it through. Some don't. This family got separated. The grandma made sure the soldiers knew. Eventually, they're together again. And they get rushed to the plane to make sure it stays that way. All around, there is anger and frustration. And everyone is just exhausted.
The military says it's flying as many flights as it can. These people will wait for the next one. Apart from the airports, sailors brought aid to remote places on the island where help hasn't reached yet. Villagers meet them on the water. They're loud and demanding, killing the pain and frustration of going a week a real meal.
The ship then heads back to (Inaudible) where 250 evacuees are about sail 500 miles south to another town. The destination matters little, as long as it's anywhere but here. By ship or plane, though, they can leave because nothing holds them here. Back along the coastline, at the hotel, that's not an option. Families here know the likely hard truths. They're not naive.
They know the odds, but giving up, no, no way, Matt Rivers, CNN, Palu, Indonesia.
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COREN: Such a dire situation. And we had a sad update to Matt Rivers' report. Mary Ann, the young woman whose family was holding a vigil for her in Palu has been found. Their eldest sister tells CNN rescue workers covered Mary Ann's body from the collapsed hotel where they were waiting for news. Their family's tragedy is now part of an entire nation's grief.
The United States and its allies are launching a global crackdown on Russian cyber attacks. The U.S. Justice Department has handed down charges against seven Russian intelligence offices. They're being tied to several plots, including plans to steal files from the World Anti-Doping Agency.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's important that the why not get lost in this. This began with the disclosure of Russian state-sponsored doping program for its athletes. In other words, Russia cheated. They cheated. They got caught. They were banned from the Olympics. They were mad and they retaliated. And in retaliating, they broke the law. So they are criminals.
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COREN: On the same day, Dutch authorities say they busted the Russian spies targeting a chemical weapons watchdog. For more, CNN's Fred Pleitgen joins us from Moscow. Fred, this must very embarrassing for the Russians. What's been the reaction in Moscow?
FRED PLEITGEN, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, good morning, Anna. Well, it certainly it was a long day for the Russian government, for the Russian intelligence services, and probably even a longer day for any of the spokespeople on the Russian government. And they certainly seem to have had more and more of a problem explaining all of this.
Because the day started even before the Dutch came out with their evidence, with the Brits coming forward and saying that they had evidence that Russians were behind cyber attacks, several cyber attacks in the past, including of course it's back the Democratic National Congress in 2016 during the during the election process there.
[02:15:05] Some other things as well. The Russians initially came out and said look. This is all old news. There's no evidence. We want to see documentation. That's when the Dutch came forward. And they certainly showed a lot of documents. They had photographs of four alleged Russian intelligence officers from the GRU, Russia's Military Intelligence Service, arriving at the airport in Amsterdam, renting a car, taking that car, stuffing it full of electronics, pointing that antenna at the Organization of Prevention of Chemical Weapons Headquarters, then getting caught by the Russians.
And one of the things (Inaudible) apparently even found was a taxi receipt from the headquarters of the GRU here in Moscow to Moscow airport that apparently, they still had on them. So a lot of explaining of the Russians had to do at that point. They sort of toned things down and then said they wanted to take all of this offline, and they wanted to talk to the authority directly rather than through the media.
And that's when -- as we just heard, the Department of Justice came out with another seven indictments, including some of the people that the Dutch had on their radar, and also three people at least who were also connected to the election meddling in 2016. So certainly, very, very rough day it was yesterday for the Russians.
We're waiting to see whether or not they're going to have any sort of other comments today. The latest comment that I have, Anna, is from the Russian Foreign Ministry by the task news agency, and then saying we, quote, we arrive at the conclusion about another orchestrated act of propaganda with regard to our country, not very much on top of that.
The Russians of course, sticking to their line of us certainly having a difficult time explaining a lot of the things that we've seen over the past 24 hours from western intelligence agencies and western governments as well, Anna.
COREN: Yeah. It's hard to talk your way out of that one. Fred Pleitgen, good to see you. Many thanks. Well, new allegations of North Korean cyber attack on the eve of the U.S. Secretary of State's visit to North Korea. Is Donald Trump's self proclaimed love story with Kim Jong-Un in jeopardy? And Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un brash, unpredictable, controversial, and with an announcement is hours, both are top contenders for this year's Nobel Peace Prize.
COREN: The U.S. Secretary of State will be in North Korea this weekend. Michael Pompeo is expected to discuss nuclear issues with Kim Jong-Un and lay the groundwork for a possible second summit between the North Korea Leader and President Trump. But with new reports of North Korean cyber attacks, those plans just get more complicated. Brian Todd reports.
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[02:20:08] BRIAN TODD, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Just days before a crucial meeting between Kim Jong-Un and President Trump's top diplomat in Pyongyang, an important change in tactics for the Trump team. As he prepared to leave for North Korea, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the U.S. won't put deadlines on Kim's regime to get rid of its nuclear weapons.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want it fast, but we're not going to play the time game.
TODD: Pompeo has said more than once that the Trump Administration hope to have North Korea give up all or most of its nuclear arsenal by the end of Trump's first term in office. Only about two weeks ago, a Pompeo statement referred to, quote, rapid denuclearization of North Korea to be completed by January 2021. But then, at the U.N., Trump said this.
TRUMP: We're not playing the time game. If it takes two years, three years, or five months, does it matter?
TODD: Veteran diplomat gives President Trump credit for being flexible with Kim. But they're torn on whether he should give the dictator deadlines.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Based on my own experience negotiating in the past with the North Koreans, it's not a good idea to make arbitrary and impractical, unenforceable deadlines. But neither is it a good idea to keep changing your story.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For as long as the United States is prepared to wait, and the President has suggested that we are prepared to wait a long time. It enables the North Koreans to in effect continue to improve their nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.
TODD: President Trump is also getting cautioned by a political ally regarding his personal glowing over Kim.
TRUMP: He wrote me beautiful letters, and they're great letters. We fell in love.
TODD: Republican Senator Lindsey Graham says that's a dangerous (Inaudible).
GRAHAM: I'm worried that we're being played here. So I'm telling President Trump (Inaudible). In my point of view, this love crap needs to stop. There's nothing to love about Kim Jong-Un.
TODD: While the Trump team tries to strike a diplomatic deal with Kim, new evidence that the dictator is still acting aggressively in cyberspace. The cyber security firm, FireEye, has a new report, saying a shadowy network of hackers has tried to steal over a billion dollars from banks around the world on Kim's behalf. Aggressive attacks against financial institutions in at least 11 countries, according to FireEye, which says it is likely Kim's hackers, have successfully stolen over $100 million over the past four years.
Experts say this is likely the work of an elite hacking unit called Bureau 121 from North Korea's top intelligence agency.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They attack banks and financial situations, infrastructure, nuclear power plants in South Korea as an example. And so they are very, very good.
TODD: Analysts say Kim Jong-Un will likely continue to have his hackers move aggressively against banks and against the U.S. and its allies. And they'll probably target crypto currencies like Bitcoin, not just because it's a quick source of much needed cash, but also because it's so tough to trace these cyber attacks back to camp.
Experts point out it took about four years for the United States to criminally charge a North Korean hacker for the devastating 2014 cyber attack on Sony Pictures. Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.
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COREN: The Nobel Peace Prize perhaps the most prestigious award in the world. Past winners include Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, and Mother Theresa. Well, this year's prize is set be announced in the coming hours. And some people believe Kim Jong-Un and Donald Trump might actually be among the favorites. CNN's Nina Dos Santos joins us live from London to help explain, really, Kim Jong-Un?
COREN: Donald Trump. And actually Kim Jong-Un is above Donald Trump according to the (Inaudible) in terms of likelihood (Inaudible).
NINA DOS SANTOS, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: And actually Kim Jong-Un is above Donald Trump according to the (Inaudible) in terms of likelihood (Inaudible). That could raise some eyebrows, considering it is the United Nations deems his regime as responsible for having committed war crimes in terms of starvation of their people in favor of continuing to power on with nuclear strategy -- arms strategy.
So obviously, that would be a rather explosive choice. But it's always going to be, Anna, something of a guessing game here. This is largely because -- and nobody ever makes these nominations public. This is a 50-year secret for the Nobel Prize committee in terms of the people who they nominate, and also the people who nominated those people in the first place.
Because the criteria for being a nominee are also quite strict, you have to be forward by a politician or perhaps a former Nobel Peace Prize laureate themselves. Either way, though, it is always not just a guessing game but a very delicate balancing act, as you can see here.
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[02:24:58] TRUMP: They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.
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DOS SANTOS: Donald Trump maybe more famous than his fighting rivals than his diplomacy. But the President's efforts to secure peace on the Korean Peninsula make him among the (Inaudible) top contenders for this year's Nobel Peace Prize, alongside the leaders of North and South Korea's Kim Jong-Un and Moon Jae-In.
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TRUMP: In said there were two alternatives. Let them have what they have or go to war. And now we have a much better alternative than anybody thought even possible.
(END VIDEO CLIP) DOS SANTOS: Twenty eighteen may not have been the most harmonious of years. But as 331 candidates being considered, the nominating committee which awards the prize is drawing from its second-largest pool ever, a pool which is likely to include celebrities, the usual (Inaudible) of politicians and even the Pope. As always, the shortlist remains a secret, leaving room for the surprise.
The 2012 decision to award the E.U. (Inaudible) of austerity and internal divisions drew consternation. Even former U.S. President Barack Obama appeared aback when he received the accolade in 2009, just 10 months into his term.
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BARACK OBAMA (D), FORMER UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: To be honest, I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who have been honored by this prize, men and women who have inspired me and inspired the entire world through their courageous pursuit of peace.
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DOS SANTOS: Mindful of the political weight it carries, the prize is sometimes being granted to obscure recipients like the international campaign to abolish nuclear weapons in 2017. In some years, it wasn't granted at all. And the laureate's legacy afterwards can have a lasting impact and sense (Inaudible) struggle for democracy was recognized in 1991 but has stated to denounce the persecution of Myanmar's Rohingya population has drawn fierce criticism since.
The Nobel Foundation (Inaudible) to (Inaudible) achieves the merit, and now some suggested that the prize shouldn't be awarded until after an honorees death. If the Nobel Peace Prize is still the ultimate mark of international prestige, and can be a powerful force for change, candidates cannot nominate themselves.
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TRUMP: That's very nice. Thank you.
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DOS SANTOS: So Anna, part of this, as I said, difficult balancing act that the Nobel Committee has to decide upon when awarding these prizes in Oslo later on today is the idea of whether or not you have to look at the legacy, whether it is awarded for an individual or a body's work with respect to the -- or whether perhaps in some cases it's awarded more proactively, as I said before there to become an important powerful force for change, Anna.
COREN: Nina, as we all know, we're nearing the first anniversary of the MeToo movement. How likely is it for a woman to win this year's Nobel Peace Prize?
DOS SANTOS: Well, Anna, I'm glad you asked that. And indeed, the actual MeToo movement itself perhaps could, in all honesty, be something that could be a body that could actually gain some kind of recognition in this. Although, it's (Inaudible) that is not necessarily likely according to the bookmakers, if you like at the statistics, though, while actually in the -- since 1901, where the Nobel Peace Prize is first awarded.
There have been 125 laureate's. Remember in some cases two or three people shared these awards at the same time during one given year. Statistically though, I have to tell you. You're five times more likely to win if you are a man, looking back in history. There have only 16 women have won the Nobel Peace Prize in all of its history, compared to 86 men, Anna.
COREN: Let's just hope it's somebody we can all look up to. Nina Dos Santos, good to see you. Thank you. A few senators face increased pressure over how they will vote on Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If she votes for Kavanaugh, I think she's going to have a major problem.
COREN: As voting constituents wants to make sure their voices are being heard before the vote. And later this hour, we'll follow Melania Trump in Kenya, as she continues her full country visit to Africa. (Inaudible) her husband has belittled in the past.
[02:32:03] ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Welcome back. I'm Anna Coren. Let's update you on our top news this hour. U.S. Supreme Court pick Brett Kavanaugh is defending himself in an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal. He says he might have been too emotional during his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week. Kavanaugh insists he's an independent and impartial judge. Beijing is condemning U.S. Vice President Pence's blistering speech about the Chinese government saying it's filled with slander and unwarranted accusations.
Pence launched a broad attacked Thursday accusing China of predatory economic practices, military aggression, and trying to interfere in American's political system. It's been a week since the devastating earthquake and tsunami rips through Sulawesi, Indonesia. Well, officials say there's just a five percent chance that anyone trapped in the rubble could still be alive. There's been no decision on when to stop looking for survivors.
The showdown over Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination is becoming more intense. A final vote in the Senate could happen this weekend with an initial vote Friday setting the process in motion. And Kavanaugh's fate could come down to three undecided Republican senators, Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Jeff Flake of Arizona. Well, there party and Kavanaugh supporters are pressuring them to accept the judge.
But opponents sense they could flip and a pouring on extra hate. Well, dozens were outside Flake's office in Phoenix, Arizona hoping he'll vote no. The retiring senator had already delayed the vote by calling for the additional FBI investigation into sexual allegations against Kavanaugh. And dozens of Alaskan women are now in Washington to deliver their message to Murkowski in person.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The senator ultimately votes to confirm Kavanaugh, how will you feel about the senator?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's pretty much it for me. And the reason is I'm not usually a one person voter. But I am -- I do believe in people's words and when Senator Murkowski told us she was pro-choice and when she told us she's here for women, this is about the biggest thing she can do for women.
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COREN: Well, in the meantime some of Senators Collins' constituents say if the pro-choice Republican accepts Kavanaugh that would be a betrayal mistake. Polo Sandoval has more from the State of Maine.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Vote no on this confirmation. Do not turn a blind eye --
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: From the halls of Congress to the streets of Portland, Maine. Senator Susan Collins is getting an earful. Senior Republican Senator from Maine still undecided could be the key vote to decide if Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed to the Supreme Court.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good afternoon, Senator Collins' office.
[02:35:01] SANDOVAL: That's why the phones in her home state office keep ringing as constituents and other concerned citizens are calling in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll get this d own to the senator for you.
SANDOVAL: And stopping by, a final attempt making their voices heard ahead of Saturday's vote. Most people we encountered today seemed to oppose Kavanaugh's appointment.
JOANNA BRINKER, MAINE RESIDENT: (INAUDIBLE)
SANDOVAL: Joanna Brinker his one of them.
BRINKER: I know she's (INAUDIBLE) of influence right now and it is want to make sure she was here for -- hearing from us.
SANDOVAL: Voting yes on Kavanaugh may be welcome by Collins' fellow Republicans but could cost her bipartisan support at home. It seem like there are some serious political consequences that would come with voting yes. BRINKER: OH, seriously, yes. I mean if she votes yes -- she's never
going to have my vote again.
SANDOVAL: Brinker isn't alone. Voter after voter told us they have supported at the past that may reconsider come 2020 if the senator runs for reelection.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Susan Collins actually ran on being a pro-choice Republican. And if she votes for Kavanaugh, I think she's going to have a major problem in Maine. Major, major problem.
SANDOVAL: It's not just voters hoping to sway the senator. The fight over the controversial Supreme Court nominee has spilled on the airwaves.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A model of integrity, humility, and kindness.
SANDOVAL: Advocacy groups in Maine have poured more than two million dollars into efforts to persuade Collins.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This sounds like a serious allegation and I think it be should be fully vetted.
SANDOVAL: The protests likely to continue leading up to the vote what's yet to be seen is if any of this will have an effect on Collins' decision.
SANDOVAL: Judge Kavanaugh just have some support among constituents of Senator Collins. Her staff telling me earlier today that they've received visitors and also phone calls from people urging the senator to vote yes this weekend. These are -- it's a very different sides and very different opinions here. What they do have in common though, they understand the political stakes are high not just for Judge Kavanaugh but the senators as well. Polo Sandoval, CNN, Portland, Maine.
COREN: U.S. First Lady Melania Trump is on a goodwill tour of Africa. When we return, highlights of her trip to Malawi that included a big donation to students there.
COREN: U.S. First Lady Melania Trump is in Kenya. Her solo visit is part of a four country tour of Africa this way. She's already visited Ghana and Malawi and has been promoting her Be Best Campaign. Our Kate Bennett has more from Nairobi.
[02:40:09] KATE BENNETT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: First Lady Melania Trump continuing her tour of Africa, her big solo international journey as first lady. She was in Ghana. And on Thursday, she spent time in Malawi where she visited a school with 8,000 students and just 75 teachers. Mrs. Trump saying how important it was that she saw how these children were learning. She sat in on a few classrooms, read some books with the kids, and also donated more than one million textbooks to the Country of Malawi so kids could continue to learn.
She also donated some soccer balls so they could also play. They had an impromptu soccer game. Later in the afternoon, Melania Trump spent some time with the first lady of Malawi having a tea and seeing a tradition dance performance. And then, off to Kenya where Friday it's expected she will go on safari and again visit with more local children as she uses this trip to promote her Be Best initiative helping kids around the world with well-being, both physical and emotional.
After Kenya, it will be on to Egypt and then back home to Washington. Kate Bennett, CNN, Nairobi.
COREN: Well, Pakistani is kicking several international aid agencies out of the country. ActionAid says the government has ordered it to leave along with 17 other groups. The organizations worked to address poverty, education, and human rights. (INAUDIBLE) there is concern over a crackdown of freedom of expression. The Pakistani government has not given a reason for the expulsion. But a previous order accused an aid agency of pursuing an anti-state agenda.
Well, Turkey has summoned Saudi Arabia's ambassador hoping to get some answer in the disappearance of a journalist in Istanbul. Jamal Khashoggi hasn't been seen since walking into the Saudi consulate on Tuesday to pick up some marriage documents. CNN's Jomana Karadsheh reports on the deepening mystery.
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Many of Jamal Khashoggi's friends, his colleagues, and his fiance are so concerned about his well-being, about his safety. Some of the friends that we have spoken to are saying that they are outside the consulate that they are going to remain outside the Saudi consulate here in Istanbul because they're demanding answers. They want to know where Jamal Khashoggi is.
The Turkish government senior officials here are saying information they have indicates that Jamal Khashoggi is inside the Saudi consulate that he did not leave after entering the consulate at 1 p.m. on Tuesday. Saudi Arabia in an official statement saying that the consulate is following up on the report of Khashoggi's disappearance but they insist that he left the building after he applied for that official paperwork that he was trying to obtain.
This is an issue that could have broader implications here. We heard from the Turkish foreign ministry on Thursday saying that they have summoned Saudi Arabia's ambassador to discuss the matter of Jamal Khashoggi with him. With Saudi authorities insisting that Khashoggi did leave consulate on Tuesday. Some are wondering if he did indeed leave, why doesn't Saudi Arabia just release surveillance video from around the consulate showing him leaving. Jomana Karadsheh, CNN, Istanbul.
COREN: Well, thanks so much for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Anna Coren in Hong Kong. Stay tuned now for "WORLD SPORT" here on CNN.
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