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CNN NEWSROOM

Kavanaugh Sworn in, Capitol Hill Aftermath; Saudi Critic Killed inside Consulate; Pompeo Heads to South Korea after Japan; Pope Ordered Investigation into Archbishop; Israeli PM and Wife Face Charges; "Brazil's Trump"; First Lady Wears Safari Outfit to Africa; Banksy's Art Self-Destructs at Auction; 2019 Calendars Showcase Vladimir Putin. Aired 4-5a ET

Aired October 7, 2018 - 04:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[04:00:00]

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GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Judge Brett Kavanaugh takes his seat as justice Kavanaugh on the U.S. Supreme Court after a vicious confirmation battle.

Plus, the U.S. secretary of state headed to North Korea. New talks there with Kim Jong-un.

And a possible update on the case of a Saudi journalist gone missing in Turkey.

Live from CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta, welcome to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. I'm George Howell. CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.

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HOWELL: At 4:00 am on the U.S. East Coast. The showdown is over. The U.S. Supreme Court now has its newest member.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On this vote, the ayes are 50, the nays are 48. The nomination of Brett M. Kavanaugh of Maryland to be an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States is confirmed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOWELL: And with that vote in the Senate, it's ended a hearing process that left the nation bitterly divided. Nominee Brett Kavanaugh has been accused of sexual violence, something that he strongly denied. His margin of victory was the closest for a top court seat since 1881.

With his family looking on, Kavanaugh was immediately sworn in, taking a constitutional oath and judicial oath. Another ceremonial swearing- in is expected later this week. The U.S. president celebrated Kavanaugh's confirmation by rallying his base in the state of Kansas and it has been quite a big week for Mr. Trump. Our Sarah Westwood has more from Topeka, Kansas.

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SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Justice Kavanaugh's confirmation was the first topic out of President Trump's mouth during his rally here in Topeka, Kansas. He commended the Republicans who refused to waver in their support of Kavanaugh in the face of what he described as a Democrat plot to destroy his nominee.

And he previewed something that might be central to his messaging during this packed political schedule that he's keeping up over the next 30 days, campaigning for Republicans across the country.

And that's using the bitter confirmation battle in the Senate that Kavanaugh just endured as something to motivate Republican voters and as an example to warn Republicans of the consequences of what might happen if Democrats take back control of the House and Congress, which is a real possibility heading back into November.

Here's what President Trump had to say about the midterms.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You don't hand matches to an arsonist. And you don't give power to an angry left wing mob. And that's what they've become. The Democrats have become too extreme and too dangerous to govern. Republicans believe in the rule of law, not the rule of the mob.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WESTWOOD: Now Trump said he'd been advised to cancel the rally here in Topeka, due to the historic events happening back home in Washington. Trump said he couldn't miss the chance to campaign for gubernatorial candidate Chris Kobach and congressional candidate Steve Watkins, both Republicans running in close races here in Kansas.

Trump also went after potential 2020 candidates, Democrats including Senators Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren or Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Richard Blumenthal. It was clear from the victory lap Trump took here tonight that he was eager to take credit for salvaging the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh which, at one point, looked to be doomed in the Senate.

And he previewed a lot of what we'll hear as Republicans close in one month until the midterms -- Sarah Westwood, CNN, Topeka, Kansas.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOWELL: And with Kavanaugh's confirmation, President Trump has completed his mission of pushing the Supreme Court to the right. On Saturday, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted this, quote, "Congratulations, judge Kavanaugh. Instead of a 6-3 liberal Supreme Court under Hillary Clinton, we now have a 5-4 conservative court under President Donald Trump."

So will that inspire any of the justices to take a more centrist view?

That is the question but not likely, says our Supreme Court reporter, Ariane de Vogue. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ARIANE DE VOGUE, CNN SUPREME COURT CORRESPONDENT: There's no swing vote anymore. There are five solid conservatives. There are four liberals. The conservatives they don't have -- in the days of justice Kennedy, maybe they'd have to be careful, maybe we could get a vote here.

(CROSSTALK)

DE VOGUE: There is no centrist and that's what is key. Justice Elena Kagan said that in her interview. She said, before Kennedy, we had O'Connor. And that leaves a gaping hole when you don't have someone in the center.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[04:05:00]

HOWELL: Well, Republicans and Democrats just weathered a brutal political battle, but now that that battle is over, our Phil Mattingly takes a look at what's next and the mood in the nation's capital.

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PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Brett Kavanaugh has been confirmed. Brett Kavanaugh has been sworn in. Brett Kavanaugh is now a justice in the Supreme Court. It's what's lying in the wake of this confirmation battle, one of the most bitter I've ever seen for nomination ever.

What happens next in the Senate, what happens next in the Supreme Court, what happens next politically?

You get a gauge of that in just about a month with the midterm elections. The question is, what kind of impact, if any, will this have?

There's no question it has rallied both sides, the bases of both sides.

Will it help one side or the other?

It's something that Senator Mitch McConnell weighed in on. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY.), MAJORITY LEADER: Our base is fired up. We've finally discovered the one thing that would fire up the Republican base and we didn't think of it. I was talking to two of my political advisers yesterday about the

advantage of these guys by their tactics have given to us going into the red state competitive races. And we're really excited. They managed to deliver the only thing we had not been able to figure out to do, which was to get our folks fired up.

The other side is obviously fired up. They have been all year.

MATTINGLY: Listen closely to that last point, McConnell points out something that has been very clear for more than a year. The Democratic base is very riled up. The Democratic base is very motivated.

Will the Democratic base come out in a midterm election where they traditionally struggle?

Not just help them perhaps flip the House to the Democratic side but also give them a chance in the Senate. That's the open question, there's also a broader question here.

What happens next beyond the politics, what happens next for the institutions, the United States Senate, the Supreme Court and, frankly, the country. I don't know anybody that came out this feeling good about the process that just occurred.

You can talk to senators in both parties who acknowledged that they were angry, who acknowledged that they were disappointed, who acknowledged that they aren't very happy with one another right now.

It's a question I asked McConnell. He said the country has been through worse times and the country will move forward through this. The Senate will as well.

But is a question that people are asking right now, is this a rock bottom moment?

Is this a moment where people take a step back and figure out that cooling down might be the better option?

Right now it seems unlikely. One senior GOP aide I talked to toward the end of the day yesterday said just bluntly, it's only going to get worse from here. Not a lot of optimism but I think the baseline here is nobody really has an answer of what is next. Everyone agreed that what just happened probably was not the best thing -- Phil Mattingly, CNN, Capitol Hill.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOWELL: Let's talk more about this with Amy Greene, a political science researcher and the author of "America after Obama," live via Skype in Paris.

Amy, thank you for your time today.

AMY GREENE, POLITICAL SCIENCE RESEARCHER: Thank you, George. HOWELL: Let's talk what about this means for the Supreme Court. Clearly, it's a shift to the Right with the addition of justice Kavanaugh. But can the Supreme Court maintain the perception of being impartial, given what we heard from judge Kavanaugh during his testimony?

GREENE: Judge Kavanaugh's testimony was -- much ink has been spilled about that, unprecedented in its politicized nature. The Supreme Court has traditionally been at its weakest when it's perceived as a politicized institutions.

You can harken back to Bush v. Gore. In many cases when the Supreme Court is seen as a political vehicle, it loses an aspect of its legitimacy. So now it will be incredibly difficult for the Supreme Court to gain its luster back.

The Supreme Court has typically been a particular execution in the United States. It's necessary that it maintains its judicial independence. But of course, the Republicans have been on a 30-year project to flip the court system, to install a legal conservative movement.

It seems with the installation of judge Kavanaugh on the bench, they have consecrated that platform. So will be important to see whether or not the Supreme Court, as your reporter said earlier, can move to the center on some issues to demonstrate that it's not an political institution cut along conservative and liberal lines. That's reflecting the political divide in the United States today.

HOWELL: I pose to you the same question that our reporter touched on. We talk about the topics hanging in the balance, from immigration, affirmative action, women's reproductive rights.

Is there a possibility that of any of the members of the Supreme Court there could be a swing middle vote that emerges?

GREENE: There's been some discussion about the position of chief justice Roberts, keeping in mind that famous seat which was first occupied by O'Connor. And the swing vote was seen as being incarnated by Kennedy, people are now talking about whether or not this is a heavier responsibility for Chief Justice Roberts to demonstrate that the court is not a political organization of the Republican Party and put pressure on him to begin to reassess necessarily how his vote is used. And how to corral some -- you know, the Supreme Court somewhere back towards the center.

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GREENE: So a lot of pressure has sort of put on Chief Justice Roberts to potentially play that role.

HOWELL: You'll remember that Chief Justice Roberts did make a decision when it came to affordable health care. That certainly drew the ire of some Republicans.

Mr. Trump is warning voters not to be complacent in the midterm elections and not to turn power over to a mob, as he puts it. And that word mob, it is a word that seems to be a newly trending word for several Republicans that they've latched on to.

Does that message work to rally Republicans who may be satisfied with what happened against Democrats, who have been energized since Mr. Trump took office?

GREENE: Right, the Republicans need all of the help they can get effectively to energize this base because they have seen across the aisle that the Democrats are motivated in almost an unprecedented way. In any case, much more motivated than they've been in past midterm elections.

So of course, the president is going to use the inflammatory, the sort of violent language that he's accustomed or known to use in order to try to rally that enthusiasm. Of course, the question across the aisle, hopefully, you can see that the enthusiasm from the Democratic side won't necessarily wane because of the outcome of this decision.

The Democrats fought hard. And not just Democrats, there were allies on the Republican side, calling into question whether the nomination of Kavanaugh was the right nomination. Perhaps that he may be qualified to be on the bench and perhaps he's not the only qualified person to do so.

Will there be an enthusiasm gap on the Democratic side?

I'm not sure. But, of course, the Republicans need to encourage their base not to be complacent. To see this ultimate Trump victory, you know, naming this justice to the Supreme Court and once again fulfilling the conservative legal project as a reason to stay at home because finally, the president's project is well installed and is succeeding.

So, of course, there's an incentive on the Republican side to use inflammatory language and to do whatever necessary to make that base feel under threat. Of course, that's hallmark was what the president has done ever since he's been inaugurated.

HOWELL: Amy, a big picture question for you. There are many conservatives here in the United States. They see the new Supreme Court justice. They are happy, they see the court shifting to the right and lower courts also shifting to the right.

Many Democrats, they are frustrated with the rhetoric, the tone, of this course and the changing and shifting of laws as we've seen since the president took office. So we saw a narrow margin through which Mr. Kavanaugh passed on to the high court. It is indicative of this deep divide within the nation, the House, Senate and society.

What does it say about this experiment called America moving forward, so polarized and divided?

GREENE: Yes, I think what this moment in American politics represents is that the leading class needs to reflect more accurately the people that they're governing. I think this midterm election is a watershed occasion, specifically, for example, for Democratic profiles to be elected, to new candidates, to people who -- we've seen the first refugee candidates who have won their primaries and so on, you know.

I'm thinking of the Texas mayor who is the first lesbian Latino sheriff to win a primary nomination. You see a lot of these unprecedented profiles. This is an indication that the political ruling class need to start looking like the people that voted for them.

At the same time people who are electing, people need to show up basically. So I think what you see in this political divided moment in the United States, the sort of increased tension between effectively an older generation of leaders, you know, fear for change, many other things.

But what you ultimately need to have is, again, a leading class that reflects the people that it looks like. And that people, of course, you have the sort of traditional Republican base but you have young people, minorities, women who are taking a more active role and running for office this fall.

So I think if you want to get any form of change, if you want to break the divide, you know, people have to turn out and vote and begin to elect other people who look like them and who earn incomes similar to them, who defend the values that they believe in as well, whether it's Republican or Democrat.

So it's absolutely essential that people get out to vote so that the leading class is renewed and effectively represents what Americans actually want today.

HOWELL: The bottom line, just vote. Amy Greene, thank you for your time.

GREENE: Vote. Thank you.

HOWELL: Now to Haiti, a story we're following, developments after a deadly earthquake hit hours ago off the northern coast. This 5.9 magnitude earthquake was felt across the country. We understand at least 10 people have been killed from it. Some 130 reported missing. Haiti's president tweeted that --

[04:15:00]

HOWELL: -- there is damage reported near the northwest coast.

(WEATHER REPORT)

HOWELL: A prominent critic of Saudi Arabia has disappeared mysteriously. And now there are new accusations what may have happened to him. Inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, we'll have details on that ahead.

Plus, America's top diplomat has gone to North Korea. What might come of Mike Pompeo's latest meeting with the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un. Stay with us. (MUSIC PLAYING)

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[04:20:00]

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NEWSROOM. I'm George Howell. We are following the mysterious disappearance of a prominent critic of Saudi Arabia. Unnamed Turkish officials are now saying that journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. That is where he was last seen on Tuesday. These reports are coming from "The Washington Post" and the Reuters News Agency. But CNN has not been able to confirm their reporting.

CNN's Jomana Karadsheh is following the story outside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Jomana, the simple possibility that this journalist, a journalist or anyone, for that matter, could have been killed inside a consulate is beyond disturbing.

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Beyond disturbing and terrifying. Just the thought of it, George, not just for Saudis who fled the country, who are living abroad because they were concerned about the crackdown in that country but also you've got so many other dissidents and opposition figures from different countries who have sought refuse here in Turkey, who have been living in Istanbul.

And they're quite terrified by the possibility of this happening. We don't really know what happened yet. There's no official confirmation. What we do know (INAUDIBLE) Jamal Khashoggi did enter the Saudi last Tuesday at lunch (INAUDIBLE) building behind me.

And this where he (INAUDIBLE). And over the past week, we've had these competing narratives. We've heard from the Turkish government saying that he was inside the consulate and that he did not leave.

Saudi Arabia coming out and saying, yes, he was inside the consulate, he did apply for this official paperwork to allow him to get remarried but he did leave a short time after that. And they have not been able to provide -- we have not seen any evidence to back the Saudi claims (INAUDIBLE) consulate, no surveillance footage released.

Overnight, this really serious development as you mentioned coming from the Reuters News Agency and "The Washington Post," for whom Jamal Khashoggi was a contributor to their global opinion section.

They're saying they learned from two unnamed Turkish officials that he was killed inside the consulate. Now they have not provided any details of how he may have been killed or evidence to back up (INAUDIBLE).

Saudi Arabia, the Saudi state news agency is with a statement a few hours ago, saying that these reports are baseless and that they are casting doubt on this coming from any Turkish officials.

Now Turkey did say on Saturday, they've launched a criminal investigation into the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi and we're waiting to see, George, in the coming few hours, if there's any sort of official confirmation from Turkish officials for these latest reports that he may have been killed inside the consulate.

We do know that President Erdogan is expected to speak at 2:00 pm local time, about three hours from now. So we'll have to wait to see if he does provide any information on this mysterious disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi.

HOWELL: Jomana, just to put the period at the end, as you mentioned but to remind our viewers, this reporting is coming from "The Washington Post" and also to report it's coming from Reuters News Agency. CNN has not independently verified this yet. We're looking into it. We'll keep in touch with you as you continue to follow the story. Thank you for the reporting.

The U.S. secretary of state has just arrived in South Korea. It is the latest stop for Mike Pompeo's trip through Asia. He left Japan on Saturday bound for North Korea. Earlier in Pyongyang, Pompeo met with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, he promised to discuss he abduction of Japanese citizens by North Korea, also likely on the agenda, denuclearization. A summit with Mr. Kim and President Donald Trump.

[04:25:00]

HOWELL: CNN's Alexandra Field was following it live in Seoul, South Korea.

Alexandra, how important is it for South Korea at this point?

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's important for everyone, George, but certainly, South Korea has a vested interest here and they're the ones brokering the communication between North Korea and he U.S., especially when it seemed progress was stagnating in the interim months after that initial sit-down meeting between Kim Jong-un and President Trump.

A lot of the job has fallen on the shoulders of secretary of state Mike Pompeo, who has landed in South Korea. We should see him get off the plane shortly. And he'll be giving his South Korean counterparts and the South Korean president a debrief on what exactly happened in Pyongyang. This was an important trip, his fourth trip to North Korea.

More important, given the fact, just back in August, the scheduled trip was cancelled at the last minute and in the previous trip there was no meeting with Kim Jong-un. The fact that he's going to Pyongyang now is going to be considered a success by the U.S. and South Korea.

The fact that he also had a meeting with Kim Jong-un will be considered a success. We know that happened because the secretary of state has recently tweeted, "Had a good trip to Pyongyang to meet with Chairman Kim. We continue to make progress on agreements made at the Singapore summit. Thanks for hosting me and my team."

He also puts up a picture of himself with Kim Jong-un.

We were told that the premise of this trip to Pyongyang would be to be largely to put plans in place for another face-to-face between President Trump and Kim Jong-un. There's been no word on when that would happen. Some of the logistics were meant to be discussed today. We'll find out if they got farther in the planning process.

Of course, the main task is to tackle the topic of how you bring about denuclearization, the pledge that both countries made to work together to achieve. There have been a lot of standstills in the road. A lot of obstacles to clear here, George, with North Korea insisting there should be corresponding measures for the steps that have been proposed or floated taking.

But there's been a lot of back-and-forth between the U.S. and North Korea determining how to make progress on that agreement in Singapore and certainly critics have been quick to chime in here and say we have seen no actual, tangible steps toward denuclearization from North Korea since that summit happened -- George.

HOWELL: Alexandra, as you're explaining the details, we're looking at these live images as well, waiting for the secretary of state Mike Pompeo to step off the plane on to South Korean soil. Very important for South Korea, North Korea and the United States where these talks go.

Alexandra Field, live for us, thank you for the reporting. We'll keep in touch with you.

A victory for Republicans.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HOWELL (voice-over): It was a rallying cry for protesters. Just ahead, we take you to the demonstrations around the United States aimed at the newest Supreme Court justice.

Plus the UFC's title fight is marred by ugly scenes after the champion starts a brawl. That story coming up around the world and in the U.S. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

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[04:30:00]

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HOWELL: Coast to coast, across the United States and out to our viewers around the world, good day to you. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Atlanta. I'm George Howell with the headlines we're following at this hour.

(HEADLINES)

HOWELL: Now to the confirmation of judge Brett Kavanaugh, now justice Brett Kavanaugh of the U.S. Supreme Court. It came about with an unusual amount of controversy.

Contentious hearings made headlines around the world, mainly because of the person you see right here, Christine Blasey Ford. She testified to the Senate that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her some 36 years ago.

That's one reason that thousands of people took to the streets to protest the judge's confirmation, demonstrations like the one you see here in front of the federal courthouse in Seattle, Washington. But the biggest protests were on the steps of the Supreme Court itself. Our Miguel Marquez was there. This is his report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So it was anger, tears and defiance as Brett Kavanaugh was being confirmed in the Senate. And then it turned into civil disobedience. Some pretty harried moments here in front of the Supreme Court.

What is happening here now, police officers from both the Supreme Court and the Capitol police moving a barrier across the front area of the Supreme Court, trying to move everybody out. After some tense moments, the crowd had been here much of the day, moved onto the steps and then right to the doors of the Supreme Court itself.

They were pounding on the doors. About 12 members of the Supreme Court police formed a wall along that door, keeping the protesters from getting to the doors. The point, they say, is that their frustration with this nomination process, they want to make sure that Brett Kavanaugh, who they believe was in there being sworn in at the time the protest was happening, actually heard their protests.

They also chanted, "We believe survivors," as that swearing-in was going on. The other theme for the day and what protesters have been chanting, we've heard it on the Senate floor as well, is that, "Remember in November." They want to take the anger that they have here and turn it into votes on November 6th -- Miguel Marquez, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOWELL: The Vatican has revealed that just last year, it ordered an investigation into sex abuse allegations against one of its U.S. archbishops. It comes as the Catholic Church faces more criticism for its handling of the clergy abuse scandal. CNN senior Vatican analyst John Allen has details for us.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN ALLEN, CNN SR. VATICAN ANALYST: The Vatican on Saturday indicated that Pope Francis has ordered what are described as a thorough study of all vetting and records related to the case of former cardinal Theodore McCarrick in the United States. Cardinal McCarrick --

[04:35:00]

ALLEN: -- earlier this summer was accused of sexual abuse of a minor, an altar boy at the time. The Archdiocese in New York found that accusation to be credible on the strength of that accusation and the findings.

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ALLEN (voice-over): Pope Francis accepted the resignation of McCarrick from the college of cardinals. That's an extremely rare (INAUDIBLE). Since then, questions have mounted about how McCarrick was able to rise through the ecclesiastical ranks during the '90s and 2000s, despite the fact that sexual misconduct concerns surrounded his reputation.

Earlier, one month ago, Pope Francis himself was accused by a former papal ambassador in the United States of being in on the cover-up. The Vatican did not indicate on Saturday when the results of this study would be released, saying only they would be made available in due course.

The statement, however, did say that a double standard in which abuse and cover-up by a bishop is not taken as seriously as abuse and cover- up by other members of the clergy is unacceptable and Pope Francis is committed to rooting it out.

If indeed the Vatican releases full information about what it knew and when it knew it, most critics, many survivors and victims of abuse will undoubtedly receive that as a positive step.

Until that moment comes, they will be attempting to hold the Vatican's feet to the fire to make sure that this thorough study promised by the pope actually happens -- from Rome, reporting for CNN, this is John Allen.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOWELL: John, thank you.

Now for people who have been watching that title fight between two lightweight UFC champions, it ended in an even bigger fight. This one outside the ring. CNN's Patrick Snell explains the history of bad blood exploded in chaos after the fight.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PATRICK SNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It had been billed as one of the most eagerly anticipated contests in Ultimate Fighting Championship history. And the fallout from this toxic lightweight title showdown between Conor McGregor and eventual winner, Khabib Nurmagomedov, will continue for quite some time to come.

The Russian fighter's victory barely half the story here. After sheer chaos broke out in the immediate aftermath of this contest in Las Vegas, with having literally leapt out of the cage, seemingly making a beeline for one of McGregor's team.

Now in the ensuing melee, the Irish fighter then taking the punch aimed at him by someone apparently in the Russian's camp.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've been doing this for 18 years and the biggest night ever and I couldn't be more disappointed, you know. You know me, I'm usually mad at everything. But I'm not even mad. I'm just really disappointed.

Conor was one of the guys who was attacked and things like that. Conor refused to press charges. So the guys that they did they have released. There were three guys from Khabib's team arrested. I think they were from Khabib's team. I don't know. They were arrested and they were released because Conor didn't want to press charges.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SNELL: And as the ugly scenes continue to play out, the decision was even taken to not present Nurmagomedov with his belt inside the Octagon -- Patrick Snell, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOWELL: A presidential candidate in Brazil has convinced many voters there that he will be the country's Trump. Voting starts in a few hours and activists are accusing him of being a homophobe, a misogynist and a whole lot more. Details on that ahead.

Plus, Melania Trump caps her four-nation African tour by giving critics of her clothing choices a dressing down. We'll explain.

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[04:40:00]

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HOWELL: The Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is no stranger to scandal. But in the hours to come, his wife is going on trial. Sarah Netanyahu faces charges of fraud and breach of trust. CNN's Oren Liebermann has more on the case from Jerusalem.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Sarah Netanyahu is the constant companion to her prime minister husband, always by his side, whether it's a first visit to India or welcoming close friends to Israel.

"The people of Israel love us, unlike the media," she told the press.

One half of the power couple in Israeli politics, Netanyahu's third wife regularly hosts world leaders at the prime minister's residence in Jerusalem, always in the picture. This time, she has the headlines all to herself.

Sarah Netanyahu's trial on charges of fraud and breach of trust is set to begin. The trial, focusing on the alleged misuse of taxpayer dollars at the couple's official residence. The case is all about catered meals.

Prosecutors say Sarah Netanyahu ordered approximately $100,000 in meals and spent thousands of dollars more on high-end chefs, illegal under Israeli law when there's already a chef in the residence.

She's maintained her innocence. Her lawyer called the indictment false and hallucinatory. It's first time in Israel and in the world that the wife of a leader is put on trial for food entrees. Her legal team said in a statement, "There was no fraud. No breach of trust or any other felony. We're seen certain in the end that justice will speak, truth and logic will prevail."

This case comes as her husband also faces serious allegations. Benjamin Netanyahu is the suspect in three separate criminal investigations. Police say they have enough evidence to charge him with fraud, bribery and breach of trust.

He, too, has repeatedly insisted he's innocent, often saying there will be nothing because there is nothing.

In one of those cases, investigators are saying Sarah Netanyahu is also suspected of bribery. Her lawyer is firing back, calling it an absurd suspicion and saying these things never happened. Formal charges in all of these cases remain in the hands of Israel's attorney general. For now, it is Sarah Netanyahu alone who is on trial -- Oren Liebermann, CNN, Jerusalem.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOWELL: Voters in Cameroon are heading to the polls right now and are expected to re-elect the president for a seventh term. That 85-year- old is one of Africa's longest serving rulers but has been accused of running a brutal regime. Some opposition parties have united against but the odds are against them. The election comes amid unrest and violence in English-speaking parts of that nation.

In a few hours, Brazilians will vote for their next president. And the far right candidate, Jair Bolsonaro has been dubbed Brazil's Trump. The former president Lula da Silva is no longer running for reelection but his influence is still being felt there. Our Shasta Darlington explains from Sao Paulo.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This was the scene just a few months ago --

[04:45:00]

DARLINGTON (voice-over): -- adoring crowds greet the man leading the polls by a wide margin. Former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. That was just hours before he handed himself into police to serve a 12-year prison sentence for corruption.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The more days they leave me in there, the more Lulas are going to be born.

DARLINGTON (voice-over): (INAUDIBLE) sidelined, a far right former army captain jumps to the head of the race, Jair Bolsonaro. But last month, he was stabbed in the stomach at a campaign rally and spent weeks recovering in the hospital, posting selfies and defiant videos.

"This country is ours, Brazil above all, God above everyone," he shouts in a recorded message for his supporters. For years, Bolsonaro, the congressman, made headlines for his support of the military dictatorship and attacks on women, gays and blacks.

Here, telling a fellow lawmaker he wouldn't rape her because she doesn't deserve it. But with the country's major political parties engulfed in a corruption scandal and an economy sputtering, Bolsonaro has convinced voters he's Brazil's Donald Trump. anti-establishment candidate who will drain the swamp and tackle Brazil's endemic violence.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): He's going to win because he wants to make it easier to own guns and that will help good citizens," says this waitress.

A message that resonates in a country with one of the highest murder rates in the world, 175 homicides a day, according to a recent study.

In a crowded field of candidates, his main rival is Fernando Haddad, handpicked by Lula to replace him on the ballot for the left-wing Workers Party.

DARLINGTON: Here in the heart of Sao Paulo's financial district there's definitely more support for Bolsonaro than abagi (ph). But on both sides, people are often voting more against a candidate than for a candidate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): My vote is just an attempt to avoid a worse person getting in office.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): These elections brought hate and division. You can't talk about politics if you don't want to lose a friend or a job.

DARLINGTON (voice-over): Rejection rates run high for both candidates. Tens of thousands of women organized protests against Bolsonaro a week before elections, declaring "Not him."

But with Brazil's powerful evangelical lobby and agribusiness leaders lining up behind Bolsonaro in the last week of campaigning, the Not Him crowds are being drowned out -- Shasta Darlington for CNN, in Sao Paulo.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOWELL: The first lady of the United States, Melania Trump, has wrapped up her four-country tour of Africa. But she raised a few eyebrows on Friday during her stop in Nairobi, Kenya. Here's Kate Bennett on that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KATE BENNETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: The first lady did take a safari in Kenya and I guess there was some controversy brewing about her outfit. She wore a white safari outfit which looked very chic in my opinion but apparently some people took offense to it because it harkened back to a time of colonization (INAUDIBLE) necessarily a good memory for Africans (INAUDIBLE) a misstep.

But besides that, she had a morning filled with laughter and smiles, feeding baby elephants at a wildlife preserve. This was certainly the most relaxed and enjoyable moment for the first lady in terms of just having some fun. One of the elephants bumped into her at one point. Even though they're babies, they're still elephants.

She had to steady herself and there was a lot of laughter and seemed like a very up moment for the first lady on this trip.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOWELL: All right. And when asked about the outfit, the first lady pushed back. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MELANIA TRUMP, FIRST LADY: Hey, you know what? We just completed an amazing trip. We went to Ghana. We went to Malawi. We went to Kenya. Here, we are in Egypt. I want to talk about my trip and not what I wear.

And that is very important what I do, what we do with USAID and what I do with my initiative. And I wish people would focus on what I do, not what I wear.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BENNETT: This is Melania Trump's first major solo international trip as the U.S. first lady.

The new calendar is showcasing the many sides of the Russian president.

[04:50:00]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think not many countries have a president as strong as ours and I think many people like to have such a president in their countries.

HOWELL (voice-over): All right. There you have it. A closer look at the presidential pinups.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOWELL: All right. Stay with us.

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(SPORTS)

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HOWELL: An anonymous graffiti artist called Banksy has stunned the world with another stunt. This time he rigged a piece of his work called "Girl with a Balloon" to a shredder hidden inside its frame.

A self-destruct function that you see there played out and shocked everyone in real time, just happened right there. After the artwork sold the artwork sold for $1.4 million in London on Friday. Banksy seemed to have a good laugh. He posted the message, "Going, going, gone."

The Russian president Vladimir Putin is celebrating his 66th birthday. And just in time for the event, new Putin calendars have gone on sale. CNN's Fred Pleitgen has more on the presidential pinup from Moscow.

[04:55:00]

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): The Kremlin cover man is back. Brand-new 2019 Vladimir Putin calendars fresh on the stands in Russia and many Russians proud of their president's posture.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I think not many countries have a president as strong as ours. And I think many people would like to have such a president in their countries. It's always good to see and hear from our president. His statements and appearances are always so well done.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): There's Putin with a pup. Putin with a cub. Putin on a horse in winter. And even colder, Putin taking the epiphany dip in ice water.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): If a supporter buys this calendar, they'll definitely have a good impression of our president. And they'll see it. He can do it all, he loves animals, he can shoot, he looks good and loves sport.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): A nearly omnipotent president, that's how he's portrayed, whether its at an international summits like earlier this year with president Donald Trump or taking his top officials for a tour of the hills and rivers in the Siberian outback.

Putin is the one running the show, leading the pack. PLEITGEN: The calendars are designed to show Russians that they have

a strong leader, who's in control. But also that Putin is a compassionate man, a man of the people. They're usually a pretty well-selling item.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): Shop and kiosk owners we spoke to say they think this batch will sell out fairly quickly as well. But there's always a strong supply of Putin calendars for those who miss out now. Once again, giving Russians and many tourists a classy reminder of the brains, the brawn, the bravado and, of course, the beef of president Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin -- Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Moscow.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOWELL: And Fred said that he's been inundated with requests for the pinups.

Thanks for being with us. I'm George Howell. Another hour of the news after the break. Stay with us.