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20 Killed in Horrific Limo Crash in Upstate New York; Trump, GOP Take Victory Lap After Supreme Court Fight; Collins Defends Vote For SCOTUS Pick Kavanaugh. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired October 7, 2018 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:00] ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Lisa Ling, thank you very much. And a very serious issue that a lot of people are talking about these days. So don't miss tonight's episode of "THIS IS LIFE WITH LISA LING" that's airing at 10:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN.
You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Alex Marquardt in Washington in this evening for Ana Cabrera.
Tonight, the limousine tragedy that has turned a small community into the site of the nation's deadliest road accident in nearly a decade. Twenty people are dead in upstate New York after a van-style limousine smashed into another car and in the process, hitting two pedestrians. And the car then landed -- the limousine then landed in a ditch.
A relative who lost her niece in the accident tells CNN that the group was on its way to a 30th birthday party. The crash unfolding near a spot that is popular with tourists trying to see the fall foliage.
I want to bring in CNN's Polo Sandoval. He is up there in Schoharie, New York, about 40 miles outside of Albany.
Polo, the NTSB and their investigators are on the scene. Says this is the biggest loss of life that it has seen since 2009, so walk us through how this accident happened.
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, but first, just to give you an idea of what's happening, as night falls in upstate New York, a small makeshift memorial continues to grow.
The bright flowers that you see over my shoulder, a short while ago, some members of the community here, dropping off some flowers, expressing their condolences here. This community of less than 4,000 people is certainly mourning the deaths of these 20 individuals.
But at the same time, investigators are also digging for answers. As you mentioned, this is significant here. It is the deadliest transportation accident in over -- in almost a decade. So as you can imagine, there's some serious questions here, especially what led up to this.
So far, investigators have only said this vehicle, a 2001 Ford Expedition, failed to stop at an intersection, leading to that collision. Many people rushing to the scene, including Peter Barber, a staff photojournalist for "The Daily Gazette" from nearby Schenectady, New York, joining us out there at the scene.
Peter, I want you to explain for our viewers what it was like as you rolled up to the scene yesterday afternoon with your camera. What did you see?
PETER BARBER, PHOTOGRAPHER, THE DAILY GAZETTE: Basically, it was just chaos mostly. Vehicles parked -- emergency vehicles parked all over the place. The thing that really caught my eye, though, was that there were a lot of firemen with their heads in their hands and kind of like with a very glossed over look on their faces, you know, after being confronted with something like these.
SANDOVAL: I noticed in one of your images, you see those firefighters basically on their knees, taking a moment to pause. It certainly was a very emotional scene and tragic.
BARBER: Exactly. It was -- and I didn't even expect it to be that. I knew it was serious but I didn't expect -- I didn't even fathom it would be, you know, to this extent, so it was mind-blowing.
SANDOVAL: You're telling me you knew that it was an accident, just not the scope?
BARBER: Yes, exactly.
SANDOVAL: Tell me about this area here. You know these roads?
BARBER: Very well.
SANDOVAL: Is it a place that has been problematic in the past when it comes to these kinds of situations?
BARBER: They can be. These are backcountry roads, 55-mile-an-hour zones. Some have stop signs. You know, some intersections and T- sections have stop signs; others don't.
This one has one T-section that has a stop sign on the -- on Route 30 as you come on the 30A. So people not familiar, they're going to -- you know, they're just not going to pay attention or they're looking for something and, you know, it'll happen.
SANDOVAL: When you rolled up to the scene, was it pretty evident for you, Peter, that this -- there were fatalities involved?
BARBER: Absolutely, yes. The state police had us, you know, pretty far were back on Route 30A. And they even -- one of the volunteer firefighters parked his truck so you couldn't have a clear view of the SUV that was involved.
So I went around to Route 7 down to 30, and that's where I got the shot of the vehicle kind of in the -- and it was very bizarre because it was in a very strange location. It was in a very strange angle. And there wasn't a lot of damage you could really see, so it was -- you know, it was hard to make out.
SANDOVAL: That's something that certainly stood out to us here too as well, is seeing your images and seeing that vehicle, how it looked relatively intact structurally. Still, though, a tremendous loss of life.
BARBER: And incredible that an SUV of that size and how it can -- how it basically -- 18 people can die in a vehicle like that. It's like you have to imagine that the speed and the force of impact must have been incredible.
SANDOVAL: Can you just tell our viewers a little bit about this part of the country here? It is fairly rural. Down the street here, the small village here, Schoharie, only about 3,000 or so people call it home?
[19:04:58] BARBER: Very tight-knit community around here. It's, you know, a farm country. You know, they're -- everybody knows everybody and very, very rural and very quiet. You know, and then something like this happens.
SANDOVAL: Mr. Barber, thank you so much for taking the time, of course, and for your images.
BARBER: Not a problem, thank you.
SANDOVAL: So, Alex, again, it's -- even for seasoned photojournalists and for first responders, this certainly is an emotional time right now. Yes, there is grieving right now. There is mourning. But at the same time, there is that investigation -- two of them, really, one of from the National Transportation Safety Board at the federal level and the other with the New York State Police that continues at this hour -- Alex.
MARQUARDT: All right. Well, a very small tight-knit community suffering terrible loss tonight. Polo Sandoval, thanks so much.
So joining me now is Peter Goelz, the former managing director of the NTSB.
Peter, we are still waiting on a lot of information from both the federal and state officials but looking at these pictures and what you know so far, what are you gleaning from all that?
PETER GOELZ, FORMER MANAGING DIRECTOR, NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD: Well, there's two things I'm looking at. One is they're going to dig deeply into the background of the driver. You know, was he properly licensed? Was he in any way impaired either by drugs, alcohol, or fatigue? Was he on his phone? Was he paying attention? Did he know the route? Did he know the vehicle?
They're also going to look at the vehicle itself. I mean, this is something that has concerned the NTSB for years, which is this, you know, half limo, half van vehicles that may not meet the highest safety standards.
MARQUARDT: And vehicles that might not originally have been built like that but then modified, right? Like, literally cutting vehicles in two and welding them together? GOELZ: That's right. The after-market modifications were virtually
unchecked in the last 20 years. It's only been recently, under some pressure, that they've started to meet standards. And things like side airbags are almost nonexistent in these vehicles.
MARQUARDT: And when you look at the death toll, 18 inside including the driver, I mean, I've been in a number of limos, always for, you know, a fun occasion. You're all, you know, partying and probably not wearing a seatbelt. And we don't know whether anyone here was wearing a seatbelt, but do you imagine that that's why the death toll is so high?
GOELZ: I am sure that that is why, in part, the death toll is so high. This is going to be a game changer for the limousine industry. There were no requirements for people in the back of the vehicle to be wearing seatbelts. I think people are going to look hard at that.
And also, they're going to look at the interior design of these vehicles. You know, people, they're going to look at the autopsies and say, how did these people die? And was the inside of the vehicle -- you know, did it have sharp angles? Did it have things that were penetrating? And how do we address that going forward?
MARQUARDT: So much of this, including seatbelt regulation, is done on a state-by-state basis. So how much can be done at the federal level to make these types of vehicles more secure?
GOELZ: Well, the NTSB is going to look at this and they will make recommendations. They're not hindered by, you know, cost-benefit analysis or things like that. They're going to make recommendations that are based solely on how do you stop this kind of tragedy from happening again. And then the Congress and the states have to act.
MARQUARDT: All right, Peter Goelz. Thanks so much for your expertise. Thanks for joining us this afternoon.
GOELZ: Thank you.
MARQUARDT: All right, joining me now by phone is Valerie Abeling. She lost her niece in the crash and knew some of the other victims.
Valerie, first of all, we're so sorry for your loss. How are you doing? How is your family doing?
VALERIE ABELING, FAMILY OF ONE OF THE VEHICULAR ACCIDENT VICTIMS (via telephone): As best to be expected. My family's just going through a lot. It's a horrible tragedy, and there's no words to describe how we feel.
MARQUARDT: So your niece, Erin, was in that limousine with her husband, Shane. What do you know about who else was in the limousine and what the occasion was?
ABELING (via telephone): The occasion was a birthday party for my niece's and her husband's friend, Amy King -- Steenburg, I think her last name is now. And her and her four sisters were -- her and her three sisters and their spouses were killed in the accident also. It was her 30th birthday.
MARQUARDT: Where -- incredibly tragic. Where were they going at the time?
ABELING (via telephone): They were going to celebrate her birthday to the Ommegang Brewery in Cooperstown, New York.
MARQUARDT: And how far away is that from the location where the crash happened?
ABELING (via telephone): Probably about 30 minutes, 35 minutes.
MARQUARDT: Are you being told anything? Are the families being told anything by the authorities, whether state or federal, about how this crash happened?
[19:09:59] ABELING (via telephone): The NTSB is up from Washington, and they're going to be investigating for the next five days. And we don't really know. Their autopsies are being performed in Albany Medical Center in Albany, New York, so we won't know the cause of death until they perform those autopsies on the 20 people that were involved.
MARQUARDT: And you've told us that the passengers, these 17 passengers including your niece, were supposed to be in a different limousine. And then at the last moment, it broke down --
ABELING (via telephone): No, they were --
MARQUARDT: -- and they just switched?
ABELING (via telephone): They -- nope. Their first vehicle they were in broke down, so I don't know if the company sent another vehicle. I'm imagining that's what happened. And this one was just as bad as the first one.
I mean, my niece said before she got in the vehicle, she texted a friend of hers and said, oh, my gosh, you won't believe what they just said. And she says that this vehicle was a little sketchy because it made a lot of noise. It didn't look good. She says, I don't know if we're going to survive this. And 20 minutes later, she died.
MARQUARDT: Erin told you she didn't know whether she would survive this?
ABELING (via telephone): Told her friend.
MARQUARDT: Her friend.
ABELING (via telephone): She told her friend. She basically said, I don't know if we'll survive this. You know, making a joke, like, you know?
MARQUARDT: Sorry, can you tell me more about what they had observed in that vehicle in terms -- she said it was making noises? That's what worried them? ABELING (via telephone): Yes, it was kind of making clunking noises,
I guess, somebody said. I'm only getting this from other people. But I guess it was making noises and when it -- when they first picked them up, they said it was very -- it didn't look good. It was ratchety and it had rust and holes in it.
MARQUARDT: And have the authorities alluded to something being wrong with the vehicle to you?
ABELING (via telephone): No, we haven't talked to anybody. Nobody's contacted us from the New York State Police. Only to tell us that my niece was involved in a bad car accident and she perished, her and her husband.
MARQUARDT: Valerie, you spoke a little bit --
ABELING (via telephone): So we don't really --
MARQUARDT: Go ahead.
ABELING (via telephone): We don't really know much more. They're going to be performing -- you know, the NTSB is up here with a team, so they'll be spending the next five days to get down to what happened.
MARQUARDT: What more can you tell us about your niece and her husband?
ABELING (via telephone): Oh, they were just very, very much in love. He adored her. You know, my niece was four years older than him, and she said she found the love of her life. And he just -- he was very sweet and very kind and very funny.
And they both were, you know, very happy. I mean, they just got married in June. Amy and Axel just got married last month. So these were -- you know, these were young couples, just got married, and had their whole lives ahead of them.
MARQUARDT: And you've told us they were a particularly tight-knit group?
ABELING (via telephone): Yes, yes. They were all --
MARQUARDT: I mean, it's a group of friends that came together to celebrate someone's birthday?
ABELING (via telephone): Yes. Yes, my niece's cousin, Patrick Cushing, was in the accident too and he perished. Her cousin from her father's side of the family.
MARQUARDT: Are you in touch with some of the other families?
ABELING (via telephone): I'm not right now. Some reporters just showed up at our door, so we had to send them away, so.
MARQUARDT: Well, Valerie -- ABELING (via telephone): This is not a really good time for our
family, you know.
MARQUARDT: I can't begin to understand what you and your family are going through, so we thank you so much for speaking with us this afternoon. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and with everyone in the community there. Thank you.
ABELING (via telephone): Thank you.
MARQUARDT: All right. Well, coming up, is it a Brett bounce? Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says the fierce opposition to Justice Kavanaugh is a political gift to the GOP ahead of the midterms. Is he right?
Plus, a deeply disturbing story that's emerging out of the Middle East. A journalist who was a "Washington Post" contributor has disappeared after going into the Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey. Was he murdered?
And the case of the missing Interpol chief. He hasn't been seen in weeks. His wife is now getting threats, she says, and Interpol is saying that Meng Hongwei has resigned. So what's really going on?
[19:14:38] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
MARQUARDT: President Trump is now riding high after Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation to the Supreme Court, and he's not ready to give up the momentum just yet. Instead, he is taking the show on the road. He's going to be at a rally almost every single day of next week -- Florida, Monday; Iowa, Tuesday; Pennsylvania, Wednesday; and Ohio on Friday.
Now, on the way to yet another campaign-style rally yesterday, the President was asked what his message would be to women who are upset about Kavanaugh's confirmation. Here's that exchange.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- talk about how this is a moment for young men across the country, sort of this scary moment. But what is your message today to the women across this country who are feeling devastated, feeling like the message that's been sent them --
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't think they are.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- is that they're not being believed?
TRUMP: I think, actually, that women -- if you look at the biggest fans, and I can tell you that the people that spoke to me most, really, in the strongest of terms, in his favor were women. Women. Women were outraged at what happened to Brett Kavanaugh.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARQUARDT: So with us to discuss are the Washington bureau chief for the "Chicago Sun-Times," Lynn Sweet, and CNN's senior political analyst, David Gergen, who served as an adviser to four presidents. Thank you both for being with me.
Lynn, I want to, first, get your reaction to what we just heard from President Trump. He says that women are not upset by Kavanaugh's confirmation, but they are upset about what happened to Kavanaugh during the process of the confirmation.
[19:20:10] LYNN SWEET, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: I'm sure there are some women who are sincerely very pleased to have a conservative justice on the Supreme Court, and that's why they might have told President Trump, please stick with him.
He has no way of justifying and credibly backing up what he said. Everyone knows that there were many women who were activated, animated, and motivated to be -- part of it is the #MeToo movement --
MARQUARDT: Right, right.
SWEET: -- he might have heard them -- who are out there who were mobilized in the wake of these sexual harassment allegations and how the Senate Republicans handled them.
MARQUARDT: Is that an effective message for his base to go around saying, now, it's not -- it's men and young men who should be afraid? It's sons and husbands who should be afraid.
SWEET: I think that as Trump seems to want to work the base with a divisive message, it has worked. We've heard it at his rallies. My guess is we may see it at his rallies this week. If he wants just to unify the base and not grow it, it's an effective message.
MARQUARDT: Right. All right, David Gergen, to you, Senator Susan Collins explained why she voted yes this morning on our show, "STATE OF THE UNION." Let's take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: I found Dr. Ford's testimony to be heart wrenching, painful, compelling, and I believe that she believes what she testified to. I do not believe that Brett Kavanaugh was her assailant. So I do believe that she was assaulted. I don't know by whom and I'm not certain when.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARQUARDT: David, you've written a piece for CNN opinion entitled, "If Only Susan Collins Had Shown Real Leadership on Kavanaugh."
And part of it reads -- I want to quote it -- Collins, emerging as the decisive vote, chose not to exercise her power to walk in the footsteps of her hero, the late congresswoman from Maine, Margaret Chase Smith. Instead, she chose to go along with and even feed into the rank partnership and power politics that defined this process and have dominated American politics recently.
So what do you make of her explanations like the one that we just heard?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I'm afraid it doesn't hold up. And in the court of public opinion, this was a theory that was being passed around earlier about a week ago by people in Washington. It was dismissed because there just wasn't anything to it. And the theory was, obviously, yes, she was assaulted but not by this person. Not by this man, it was some other man.
And Susan Collins, in particular, has been making the point that there wasn't enough corroborating evidence to show that Kavanaugh might have been guilty of these things, but there's -- and so, therefore, she voted against him. But there is zero evidence that there's any alternative person out there who might have done this.
Now, let me just say about Susan Collins, she's a fine woman. I have respected her for years. She's done many brave things on behalf of women. On this particular issue, you know, I think what she said was disappointing because, as much as she thought about it, she simply did not have arguments that went far enough.
And for a woman who and for a person who has been so bipartisan, in effect, for so long, to put all the blame on Democrats and say -- by the way, and they were basically buying into the mob theory of Democrats and have no critique of her own party.
I just thought it does not represent the kind of leadership she has admired so well and that's the leadership of Margaret Chase Smith, a senator from Maine, who, in the early '50s, stood up to her party and stood up to Joe McCarthy with a famous speech about conscience, a declaration of conscience. This was not a declaration of conscience, I'm afraid.
MARQUARDT: Lynn, pick up on what David just said there about how, for the past few days, and Susan Collins again this morning, they seem to be satisfied with their explanation, kind of having it both ways.
That they believe that Professor Ford was assaulted, she said 100 -- but they don't seem to believe that part where she said, a hundred percent, it was Brett Kavanaugh, and they believe Brett Kavanaugh when he says he didn't do it.
SWEET: I think that there was a way of figuring this out if you wanted to, and that would be just to say it's inconclusive. It doesn't -- I mean, people deny stuff all the time and I know he was in a tough position. And no one discounts what this does to a man's reputation when you're accused, but he was. I mean, we live with the nominee you get.
And I want to make up a quick aside to that because the Republicans and President Trump could have avoided all this in the first place if they had just looked for a candidate where they knew there would be some Democratic consensus.
[19:25:00] Did the White House really think that picking someone who worked on the Ken Starr report to impeach President Clinton was not -- was somebody who was not going to draw some -- you know, some more attention to the Democrats?
Very recently, chief -- excuse me, Justice Gorsuch, Trump's first appointment, got approved on 54 votes.
SWEET: Democrats voted no and they moved on. Democrats know that, under a Republican president, they will have conservative justices.
SWEET: They live in the real world. I think the thing that Susan Collins perhaps could have mentioned to help the process that she says she wants to right is that he should not have been picked in the first place because he just has a partisan background. Also a very --
SWEET: -- you know, a very qualified traditional background, but there are many conservative justices from the Ivy League schools and others that Trump likes who could have been picked.
MARQUARDT: And purportedly, it was White House Counsel Don McGahn who brought the President around to this idea of nominating Kavanaugh.
SWEET: What were they thinking?
MARQUARDT: David, turning to you, we're starting to hear one word being tossed around by a number of Republicans, mob. Let's take a listen to Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, and Senator Chuck Grassley describing the Democrats now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: In their quest for power, the radical Democrats have turned into an angry mob.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER OF THE SENATE: We refuse to be intimidated by the mob of people that were coming after Republican members at their homes, in the halls.
SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY (R-IA), CHAIRMAN, SENATE COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY: What we have learned is the resistance that has existed since the day after the November 2016 election is centered right here on Capitol Hill. They have encouraged mob rule.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARQUARDT: David, by using this term, mob, and -- their terms, "mob" and "mob rule," does that fire up the base? Does that help Republicans maintain some momentum in these four and a half weeks now that Kavanaugh has been confirmed in order to blunt what everyone thought might be a blue wave?
GERGEN: I think they think -- I think they believe it will fire up the base. Their base has already -- we've seen a lot of evidence that there's going to be a Kavanaugh bump, that a number of their candidates, especially those running for the Senate, are going to be in better shape after this than they were before this whole controversy.
But I must say, let me just step back a bit. I think the conservatives do -- we ought to acknowledge that the conservatives are better and more persistent than the Democrats at pursuing a strategy and long-term goals.
They've been at these for 30 years to turn the Supreme Court into a conservative court, and they've now won. They won ugly and now they're acting without grace. You know, Churchill famously said, in victory, magnanimity. There's been zero magnanimity here.
And I think invoking the notion of a mob goes way -- it's really -- it's so demagogic, in fact, to call this a mob. There were -- the people we have seen on T.V. in the streets have mostly been women who are aggrieved, who are very fearful for their future rights, and they want to -- they're protesting it, and it's -- Americans traditionally have seen for a long time.
And to start calling this a mob just seems to go so far overboard in suggesting mentality that just grinds it in to the Democrats that there's no room for compromise here, that this is going to be a fight to the finish. And I think that's terribly, terribly destructive for the country.
MARQUARDT: If we learned anything about this moment, it's politics above all, apparently.
MARQUARDT: David Gergen, Lynn Sweet, thank you so much for joining me.
SWEET: Thank you.
GERGEN: Thank you.
MARQUARDT: All right, coming up, a story you need to know about. A journalist who was harshly critical of his native Saudi Arabia has now disappeared. And new reports are suggesting he may have been murdered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
[19:29:10] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
[19:33:33] ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN HOST: We are following the mysterious disappearance of a Saudi Arabian journalist. As a pair of American news agencies including the one that he work for, "the Washington Post" say he may have been murdered.
Jamal Khashoggi is a "Washington Post" writer and an outspoken critic of the Saudi leadership and its crown prince. He has been living in the U.S. for the past year for that express reason to try to avoid possible arrest. But after going to Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul, Turkey in order to obtain documents for his upcoming marriage, his fiancee says he never came out.
Turkey's president today did not directly address reports that Khashoggi has been killed but called him a friend. And said he is personally chasing the investigation. Saudi Arabia for its part has denied any involvement in his disappearance.
For more we are now joined by CNN chief media correspondent and anchor of "RELIABLE SOURCES" Brian Stelter.
Brian, you have Saudi Arabia denying that anything happened. In fact, showing journalist inside the consulate. You got Turkey saying that he was killed. What else do we know about the circumstances of his disappearance?
BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it is a mystery and it's a very disturbing mystery. Because what we know for sure according to his family members that she entered this consulate on Tuesday and then never came back out. On Saturday, some reporters were allowed inside for a tour, but that leaves a window of more than 72 hours where many things could have happened.
And both "the Washington Post" and Reuters are saying that Turkish officials have concluded he was killed inside. There has been suggested, and even and I hate to even say this, but some suggesting that his body was then removed from the consulate.
So here, you see the facts on the screen, what we do know about this case. But there's a lot we do not know. For example, it's been 24 hours since these Turkish officials suggested he had been murdered. There's been no proof of that. There's also been no proof of life in the 24 hours since.
So it's a very disturbing situation. And at this point also, an international incident, of course, because there's a lot of pressure on Saudi Arabia to address this. There's also pressure on the United States government. We heard very little from the state department or the White House about this. Of course, the U.S./Saudi relationship is up and it goes back decades and is viewed as a very vital relationship. President Trump has become very friendly with Saudi Arabia in the last 20 months. So I am wondering if the state department is going to say anything about this mystery.
[19:35:58] MARQUARDT: Yes. We know that a team of some 15 Saudis landed in Istanbul in two different planes, made their way to the consulate and then left soon after as you noted. As we said, they did allow journalists in to look around. State department simply saying that they are following this story.
But the "Washington Post" I know has reacted strongly. You spoke to one of Khashoggi's editors earlier today. What are they saying?
STELTER: Yes. He joined the paper as a contributor about a year ago because he wanted to speak out against what he thought was the repressive behavior of the Saudi Arabian government. He didn't want to do this. He says he felt compelled. He thought he had to because they were suppressing people's free speech and tamping down on freedom of expression in the kingdom.
Here's what Karen Attiah, his editor of the Post said to me today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAREN ATTIAH, GLOBAL OPINIONS EDITOR, THE WASHINGTON POST: Whoever may have wanted to do this, we recognize that he is an important voice, not only for Saudi Arabia but for the region and for the entire world. And so if anything, all they've done is just upped his professional.
Whoever has information, Saudis, Turks, the entire world is watching.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STELTER: He wanted to speak out because he felt the Saudi Arabian government was becoming repressive. It was becoming unbearable. And now, you have press freedom groups around the world raising alarm bells. The community of protective journalists as president is saying if this is true, if he was murdered, this would be one of the most monstrous and depraved crimes I have observed in my career fighting for press freedom. That's the head of CPJ.
We have heard from other groups as well saying this is a very disturbing situation.
MARQUARDT: Disturbing, brazen, our thoughts go out to his fiancee in what is an incredible mystery.
All right, Brian Stelter, chief media correspondent. Thanks so much for joining me.
All right. Coming up, is there progress with Pyongyang? Secretary of state Mike Pompeo hails what he calls another step forward with Kim Jong-un with plans for a second summit in the works.
[19:42:14] MARQUARDT: Israeli authorities are hunting for a Palestinian man who killed two coworker and seriously injured a third in what Israel is calling a very severe terrorist attack in the West Bank. It happened Sunday morning at an Israeli-owned factory in an industrial park near a number of Israeli settlements. We understand the victims are a 35-year-old Ziv Haibi and 29-year-old Kim Levengrond Yehezkel. Both worked at the factory along with the suspect.
Now security camera footage reportedly shows the man, who is a 23 year old electrician, leaving the scene after the shooting. Israeli military says there are indications including the man's social media activity that suggest that the shooting was what they call an act of terrorism.
Now, the mysterious disappearance of the head of Interpol took a disturbing turn this weekend. The Chinese government is saying that Meng Hongwei is under investigation. And Hong Kong newspaper says that he was taken away for questioning by Chinese authorities. Interpol says it actually received a resignation letter from him. He still had two years left on his term. And there is no mention of his whereabouts. Meng's wife meanwhile reported him missing on Thursday saying she hadn't heard from him for ten days.
Now look at this. Their last contact was a text message she says with a knife emoji and these mysterious words, wait for my call.
Now that brings us to a weekend presidential brief, a segment that we bring you every Sunday night that highlight some of the most pressing national security issues and information that the president will be needing when he wakes up tomorrow.
So joining us for that is CNN national security analyst and former national Security Council adviser, Sam Vinograd. She spent two years in the Obama administration helping prep the president's daily brief, otherwise known as a PDB.
Sam, let's look first at Mike Pompeo, secretary of state. He was just in Pyongyang. He is then on his way, we understand, to meet with Chinese officials. Should he be bringing up the disappearance of Meng Hongwei, the Interpol chief? And if he does, how do you think China will react?
SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, I think that he certainly should. But if he does bring up this disappearance or any other Chinese transgressions, we should expect him to respond. We have been airing a lot of dirty Chinese laundry lately, not to mention the fact that we have sanctioned their military and required to their media outlets to register as foreign agent.
As we think about a Chinese response, we need to think creatively though because China doesn't play by the same rules that we do. They use their law enforcement to silence opposition and voices they don't like, including potentially this head of Interpol, often under the guise of anti-corruption. They use organs of the state to advance economic interests and consistently engage in states sponsored cyber espionage against U.S. companies and U.S. persons including through intellectual property. That is in according to secretary Pompeo and John Bolton and the vice president, even President Trump himself. They are trying to interfere in our elections. So if we continue to take them to task publicly, including while Pompeo is in Beijing on Monday, we should expect a media asymmetric response.
[19:45:29] MARQUARDT: All right. Well, speaking of election meddling that you just mentioned, secretary of state Mike Pompeo just announced that there would be a second summit between the president and Kim Jong-un. They have only said that they hope it happens soon. That it would be in the near future. Will this help stop, do you think, North Korea's illegal activities, including what you just mentioned, these concerns about election meddling?
VINOGRAD: Well, Alex, this is jaw-dropping announcement because for many reasons including the fact that President Trump actually canceled his attendance at three summits in Asia in November with their allies but now is going to meet with our enemy, Kim Jong-un, again. Despite the fact that Kim hasn't actually done anything to denuclearization, it is illogical and nonsensical especially because time is on Kim's side on this case. Every summit that he can schedule with President Trump, every pen-pal (ph) exchange, every working-level meeting, really helps him.
He wants to play the long game because, remember, he is continuing to proliferate. Every second that goes by, he is literally producing more weapons. He is engaging in more cyber-attacks. So it works to his advantage to keep us engaged in negotiations despite the fact that he hasn't really done anything.
And I was very disappointed with secretary Pompeo's meetings in North Korea. Last time he went, he was described as a gangster. I wanted an American gangster to show up and to demand something from Kim Jong- un. Instead there was a positive readout which tells me the North Koreans heard something they wanted to hear which was probably a willingness to make a concession.
MARQUARDT: Right. Lots of movement and very few details. Sam Vinograd, thanks so much.
MARQUARDT: All right. Up next, going, going, gone. A millionaire bids on an iconic piece of art only to see it self-destruct just seconds later. The prank that has the entire art world buzzing.
[19:51:43] MARQUARDT: All right. Now to one of my favorite stories of the weekend, the art world is abuzz about the latest audacious prank from Banksy, the mysterious street artist who sprung quite a trap after one of his paintings was purchased at an auction on Friday.
CNN's Lynda Kinkade reports.
LYNDA KINKADE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Moments after a buyer placed the $1.4 million winning bid on his famous Banksy artwork, a stunt like no other. The iconic image known as girl with a balloon self-destructs. The artist delighting in the moment. In real-time on his Instagram account writing going, going, gone.
A shredder built into the frame rips the piece into strips at spot in this auction house in London. Banksy says he added the shredder to the picture years ago just in case it was ever auctioned off. It's not clear how the shredder was activated or how this will affect the art's value. Could it be worth more now?
WILL ELLSWORTH-JONES, AUTHOR, BANKSY, THE MAN BEHIND THE WALL: Well, that will be sad if it is.
KINKADE: Will Ellsworth-Jones the author of Banksy, the man behind the wall, says the artist has a clear message. ELLSWORTH-JONES: It was sort of protest against the way his paintings
have been monetized. It's become how much does a Banksy make? How much is it worth rather than a painting.
KINKADE: Banksy is known for using the element of surprise to make a point, like the time he brought a truck of stuffed animals into New York's meat packing district squeaking for help. Or when he pointed a finger of privilege by painting above while serving a young graffiti artist on a wall in the Bronx.
In a statement, (INAUDIBLE) said we have been banksied.
Lynda Kinkade, CNN.
MARQUARDT: Although, you have to wonder if they didn't know it might happen.
Lynda Kinkade, thank you very much. We will be right back.
[19:58:08] MARQUARDT: Lastly tonight, we take one last ride around the world with Anthony Bourdain with the final episodes of his show "PARTS UNKNOWN." In this week's episode Anthony traveled to Indonesia, an incredibly diverse country made up of thousands of islands where food as always is a great unifier.
But before we show you a clip, a quick note. This episode was filmed in the spring of this year, five months before a powerful earthquake and tsunami devastated parts of that country.
But here's a quick glimpse of the latest installment of "PARTS UNKNOWN."
ANTHONY BOURDAIN, CNN HOST, PARTS UNKNOWN: What should the rest of the world know about the fourth largest country in the world that they don't know? Because let's face it, I think if you ask most people who are going to watch this show, tell me something about Indonesia, you will get a total blank.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Indonesia we are very, very diverse because even before Islam came the locals, they have their own traditions. They have their own cultures.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The tolerance.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: tolerance.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The etiquette of tolerance. (INAUDIBLE).
BOURDAIN: The level of tolerance is declining?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But in the food, food from this area goes to another area.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Basically food is a great unifier.
BOURDAIN: You see. You make speak poor life another region, other they are terrible people over there, but their food is good?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. They say that if you really want to know and try every single dish in Indonesia, you have to live here for 40 years.
BOURDAIN: Forty years.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Then you need to stay here for a long time because every single area has its own specialty.
MARQUARDT: You can catch that brand-new episode tonight at 9:00 p.m. eastern.
That will do it for me. I'm Alex Marquardt. Thanks so much for watching. Have a great night.