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Kavanaugh Sworn in, Capitol Hill Aftermath; Saudi Critic Killed inside Consulate; Pompeo Heads to South Korea after Japan; "Brazil's Trump"; Israeli PM and Wife Face Charges; Pope Ordered Investigation into Archbishop; AFC's Post Fight Brawl; "SNL's" Send-up of Kavanaugh Republicans. Aired 5-6a ET

Aired October 7, 2018 - 05:00   ET





DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Just a few hours ago, the U.S. Senate confirmed judge Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court.


GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Taking credit on the campaign trail, a big win for the U.S. president after senators confirmed his second Supreme Court justice.

A prominent Saudi journalist has been missing in Turkey since Tuesday and reports cite unnamed Turkish officials saying he was murdered inside the Saudi consulate.

Also ahead this hour, one of the most anticipated nights in the Ultimate Fighting Championship overshadowed by a fight that happened outside the ring.

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


HOWELL: At 5:01 on the U.S. East Coast, the U.S. Supreme Court now has nine members with a narrow confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh as an associate justice.


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 his family looking on, Kavanaugh was officially sworn into the role. The final Senate vote 50-48. The closest for the high court since 1881. The Supreme Court will now lean to the right, more conservative in the foreseeable future. Republicans are thrilled. Taking a victory lap.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY.), MAJORITY LEADER: This is a good day for America and an important day for the Senate. We stood up for the presumption of innocence. We refused to be intimidated by the mob of people that were coming after Republican members at their homes, in the halls. I couldn't be prouder of the Senate Republican conference.

And we want to thank Senator Manchin for helping us.


HOWELL: Again, it's a big win for the U.S. president. Mr. Trump took the stage in the U.S. state of Kansas to rally his base.


TRUMP: I stand before you today on the heels of a tremendous victory for our nation, our people and our beloved Constitution. Just a few hours ago, the U.S. Senate confirmed judge Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court.


HOWELL: And looking ahead, the president has his next challenge in the next few weeks. The midterm elections. Our Sarah Westwood has that part of the story from Topeka, Kansas.


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) TRUMP: 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.


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 --


WESTWOOD: -- 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.


HOWELL: A lot of Republicans and President Trump celebrate Kavanaugh's confirmation. The allegations against Brett Kavanaugh prompted protests around the United States.

Look at the scene in Seattle, Washington, just outside the federal courthouse there. Hundreds of people marched to make their voices heard. They marched for victims of sexual crimes and against justice Kavanaugh.

This, the scene in New York City. Dozens of people there gathered at Washington Park to show solidarity with those who accused Kavanaugh.

Also the scene in the capital of Texas there on Congress Avenue. Protesters made a human chain blocking that bridge. Police eventually arrested 14 people.

The biggest protest was in front of the steps of the Supreme Court itself. Our Miguel Marquez was there. Miguel filed this report for us.


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.


HOWELL: Let's talk more about this with Scott Lucas. A professor of international politics at the University of Birmingham, live from Birmingham, England.

Thanks for your time. Let's talk about the topics that hang in the balance. Topics from immigration, affirmative action, women's reproductive rights.

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

SCOTT LUCAS, UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM: The question is whether we have a swing vote. You'll see a lot of analysis now that whereas we talked about Anthony Kennedy, whose position Brett Kavanaugh has filled, as being someone who, on occasions, would side with the moderates, about 20 percent of the time on key issues.

Now you look to Chief Justice John Roberts. But John Roberts has very rarely sided with what we might call the moderate faction of the court.

You're not talking as much about a swing vote as, will we get a conservative 5-4 majority to overturn or alter key laws?

Now people obviously will be looking at Roe v. Wade on abortion. I think that may be a fairly high challenge for the court to take on. But I think the court may be stripping away state gun control laws. They may be stripping away environmental regulations. They may be rolling back campaign finance law. And I think they may even be looking at, at least if we look at judge Kavanaugh's record, expanding presidential powers and indeed, possibly, insulating Donald Trump and his family from not only the question of impeachment but also any criminal charges at the state level, in theory if not in practice.

HOWELL: Clearly, we're looking at a shift to the right with the addition of justice Kavanaugh.

Can the Supreme Court maintain the perception of being impartial, given the things we heard from Brett Kavanaugh during his testimony?

LUCAS: Certainly, it doesn't have that appearance now because, let's be clear what's happened over the past few weeks has not been as much a process to respect the integrity of the court in these hearings as much as it has been a --


LUCAS: -- political mission, the idea of a non-partisan court is gone. Brett Kavanaugh was partisan when he went after Democrats who were to blame for my predicament.

It is the Clintons who are to blame for my predicament. It is the media to blame for my predicament.

The question is really not is the court non-partisan now but can you restore as an institution which has to aspire to that. From day one, Donald Trump, whatever you think of him, you need to be clear that he doesn't look at the judiciary as an independent branch. He looks at the judiciary as an institution to be controlled or even overrun.

He has insulted judges on issues from the Trump University case to immigration to the Muslim ban. And the idea here is not so much to get a court which can review what he does but one that he sees as being compliant with it. How long that can last, that's going to be an interesting question.

HOWELL: Mr. Trump is warning voters not to be complacent come midterms and turn the power over to a mob, as he describes it. Mob is the word that Republicans, Mr. Trump, seem to be using. Seems to be trending right now among those circles.

Does that message work to rally Republicans that might be quite satisfied with what's happened here in the past few weeks against Democrats, who have been energized since Mr. Trump took office?

LUCAS: Well, I wouldn't want to predict what's going to happen in the election in four weeks' time, George. But what I will say is that the tactics of the Trump administration and of the Republican leadership is now to link this to the Kavanaugh issue is to treat those who claim sexual assault as being part of the mob.

It is to treat those who have spoken up on this issue, including the demonstrators this week, as being part not only of a mob but supposedly a mob financed by the Jewish billionaire George Soros.

It is to portray all of these people who are raising issues as radical. Now this is beyond Democratic versus Republican.

Are you honestly saying that anyone who raises an issue, whether it's women's rights or other social issues, whether it's economic issues, is simply a mob of extremists?

Is an enemy?

Because it is an issue that goes beyond the November elections because if this continues, talking about the mob, talking about extremists, just portraying an enemy within, then you damage U.S. society and you damage U.S. politics well beyond November.

HOWELL: We'll see where things go. Scott Lucas, live for us in Birmingham, England. Thank you for the time and perspective.

LUCAS: Thank you.

HOWELL: America's top diplomat has arrived to South Korea. But before that, he met with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Pyongyang. What we're learning about those talks ahead.

Plus, what happened to a critic of Saudi Arabia once he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul?

The mystery surrounding his disappearance is taking a sinister turn. We have details on that. Stay with us.





HOWELL: Welcome back. I'm George Howell.

America's top diplomat just wrapped up his fourth trip to North Korea. Secretary of state Mike Pompeo landed in South Korea just a short time ago. This after meeting with Kim Jong-un in Pyongyang. That followed his stop in Japan. Pompeo tweeted this picture of himself with Mr. Kim.

He wrote, "Had a good trip to Pyongyang and met with Chairman Kim. We continue to make progress on agreements made at the Singapore summit. Thanks for hosting me and my team."

The talks may have focused on denuclearization. Pompeo could be laying the groundwork for another summit with Mr. Kim and the U.S. president Donald Trump. Following the story, CNN's Alexandra Field.

Alexandra, it's talk of good discussions there from Mike Pompeo.

What does this mean for South Korea?

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, South Korea is going to be debriefed on what happened in Pyongyang in the coming hours when secretary of state Mike Pompeo meets with his counterpart here in Seoul and also with the South Korean president.

They've been very much engaged with the idea of talks between the U.S. and North Korea and brokering those talks when they've come to an impasse. So they are very much going to be motivated by any signs of progress.

And certainly we're hearing some indication of progress from secretary of state Mike Pompeo, who seems to be characterizing this trip as successful. You saw it with that tweet there.

We understand as soon as he landed in South Korea, he was briefing members of President Trump's team on what had transpired. It was a closed door meeting that happened in North Korea, absent any cameras to record the moments when Pompeo was sitting down with Kim Jong-un.

But top North Korean officials greeted the secretary of state when he arrived in Pyongyang. Then a two-hour closed door meeting with the secretary of state and the North Korean dictator's very small teams present at the table.

After that, cameras were able to capture the two men together, exchanging some pleasantries and even going on to have a lunch together that was attended by not only Kim Jong-un but his sister and Kim Jong-chul, the former top spy chief who traveled to Washington, D.C., to the White House itself, just a couple months ago to deliver a letter from Kim Jong-un on President Trump himself.

So what exactly happened in that meeting?

That's something we don't know but an official on this trip said it seemed to be a more successful trip or a better trip than the last time but indicated there was still a long haul ahead.

You'll remember, George, that Secretary Pompeo last visited Pyongyang in July. At the time he said meetings were productive but didn't meet face-to-face with Kim Jong-un. Afterward, North Korean state media blasted Pompeo for his "gangster-like behavior."

This was a more cordial visit. The plan was to set in motion plans for another sit-down between Kim Jong-un and President Trump himself.

HOWELL: Alexandra, we have the images of the two together, Pompeo and Kim Jong-un. There's the description of good talks. But again, these slow walking nuclear talks, slow walk nuclear talks.

It seems the question here, is this more advantage North Korea, is it more advantage U.S.?

Who is really coming out ahead with these slow and fuzzy, nebulous talks?

FIELD: Well, both sides wanted to declare victory after the Singapore summit. President Trump and Kim Jong-un touting the success there. They had essentially come to an agreement they'd work toward denuclearization.

The world has not seen any concrete steps toward denuclearization since then and you've seen a difficult and tenuous process unfold. The lack of tangible progress but also some stalemates, some talks that had stopped and then started again. What's happening right now is something that both sides want to see

happen. They want these images projected to the world. On the one hand, count them both as winners because this is what they want the world to see. You have two leaders who were eager to meet last time and want a round two.

Both President Trump and Kim Jong-un have talked about wanting another sit-down. This is interesting. There has not been concrete progress from those talks but the Trump administration is really heralding the lowering of --


FIELD: -- tensions on the peninsula and the strengthening of the relationship between these two leaders as what they consider progress. Both sides are going to count this as a win for now -- George.

HOWELL: For sure a lot of insta-perfect pictures. And at least we're not talking about nuclear Armageddon. Thank you for the time. We'll stay in touch with you.

There's a new twist in the mystery surrounding the disappearance of a prominent critic of Saudi Arabia. Unnamed Turkish officials are now saying journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed somewhere inside this building. That's the Saudi consulate in Istanbul where he was last seen on Tuesday.

These reports coming from "The Washington Post" and the Reuters News Agency. CNN has not been able to independently confirm their reporting.

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

Jomana, the sheer 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: And very terrifying for many, George. Not just for Saudis who fled the country in the midst of that crackdown on critics who -- just the thought of this possibly happening would terrify them.

We also have so many dissidents who have sought refuge in Istanbul, thinking this place is safe for them. But the fact of the matter is we don't really know for certain what happened to Jamal Khashoggi.

What everyone knows and agrees on in this mystery is he did enter this building behind me, the Saudi consulate at lunchtime on Tuesday. He hasn't been seen or heard from since.

We've heard from the Turkish government over the past week, insisting that he did not leave the consulate after he entered about 1 o'clock local time. Now the Saudis have said that, yes, he entered the consulate but left a short time after that. And, of course, the disturbing developments, these reports that CNN

has not been able to confirm yet, coming from "The Washington Post," for whom Khashoggi was a contributor to their global opinions section and the Reuters News Agency.

Quoting two unnamed Turkish officials as telling them that Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate. We've heard from the Saudis, through a consular official, telling their state news agency, denying these reports, calling them baseless allegations.

Also saying that an investigative team from Saudi Arabia arrived in Istanbul to assist with this investigation on Saturday.

Of course, Turkey announced it's begun a criminal investigation into the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi. Right now everyone is waiting to see if we're going to hear any sort of official confirmation of these reports that he may have been killed, as reported by these media organizations.

President Erdogan is set to speak in about 90 minutes or so. All eyes on that to see if he does mention the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi or has any confirmation in these reports.

HOWELL: These disturbing reports coming from "The Washington Post" and the Reuters News Agency. CNN not yet able to independently confirm them but we continue following the story. Jomana, thank you.

We're following developments as well outside Haiti. In Haiti after a deadly earthquake just hours ago off the northern coast. The 5.9 magnitude earthquake was felt across the country. At least 10 people were killed there. Some 130 people reported injured. Haiti's president tweeted there's damage reported near the northwest coast on the country.



HOWELL: Still ahead here on NEWSROOM, a victory lap for the Republicans after they get Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court. And they're ramping up attacks on Democrats. Listen.


TRUMP: I want to thank our incredible Republican senators for refusing to back down in the face of the Democrats' shameless campaign of political and personal destruction.






HOWELL: Good day to you. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Atlanta. I'm George Howell with the headlines we're following.


HOWELL: In politics, there are winners and there are losers. And this round seems to go to Republicans. Their pick for the U.S. Supreme Court Brett Kavanaugh was sworn in on Saturday as the newest justice. Kavanaugh's confirmation shifts the high court to the right for the foreseeable future.

But now that it's over, our Phil Mattingly takes a look at what's next and the mood in Washington, D.C.


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.


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.


HOWELL: Phil, thank you.

All this comes after a long, after a contentious nomination process that prompted thousands of people to protest in cities across the United States.

This was the scene just outside the federal courthouse -- or the Supreme Court I'm looking at here -- in Washington, D.C., people chanting. They carried signs referencing some of the most contested issues, issues like abortion, LGBT rights, the scope of presidential powers and the role of --


HOWELL: -- religion in society.

For his part, the U.S. president Donald Trump has a new term for the Democrats. He calls them an angry mob.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: It's unthinkable. Unthinkable. In their quest for power, the radical Democrats have turned into an angry mob. You saw that today with the screaming and the shouting. Not from the 200 people or less that were -- you know what?

Those people, they couldn't fit in the front row. Look what we have here tonight?

They threw away and threw aside every notion of fairness, of justice, of decency and of due process. Nobody has seen anything like it.


HOWELL: Angry mob is what he's calling them now. And part of that angry mob Mr. Trump spoke of was a group of sexual assault survivors, who confronted the U.S. senator Jeff Flake in an elevator. One of those women is Ana Maria Archila. On Saturday, she shared her feelings about Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation. Listen.


ANA MARIA ARCHILA, PROTESTER: I feel like it is a demonstration that we have elected officials that don't know how to listen. I think that the fact that so many people went to Senator Collins' office to tell their stories, not just of sexual assault but of their fears of losing their health care, their fears of losing their rights.

I was in that elevator as a mother, deadly afraid that my children will have fewer rights than I do today and also extremely worried about a country that was willing to put someone that was accused of sexual assault in this -- in the highest court of the land.

I feel, you know, a combination of pain and frustration. And I also know that what women and survivors are doing in these moments is we are transforming that pain and that rage into power.


HOWELL: As for Senator Jeff Flake, Archila says she's disappointed with his decision. She adds he could have signaled that he understood the experience of women who are abused and could have made a difference.

Now to Brazil and in a few hours' time, Brazilians will vote for their next president. The far right candidate Jair Bolsonaro is leading the polls. He's been dubbed Brazil's Trump. Former president Lula da Silva is no longer running but his influence is still being felt. Shasta Darlington explains from Sao Paulo.


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


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- 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: A trial is about to get underway for the wife of the Israeli prime minister. The charges against Sarah Netanyahu when we come back.

Plus, the UFC's title fight is marred by ugly scenes after the champion starts a fight outside the ring. Stay with us.




HOWELL: A fraud trial is set to get underway for the wife of the Israeli prime minister. Sarah Netanyahu is accused of misusing state funds to pay for meals and catering. Her husband, prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is also facing corruption probes. They both deny the accusations. Following the story, CNN's Oren Liebermann is live outside the court in Jerusalem.

Oren, this trial set to begin in less than an hour's time.

What are some of the expectations ahead of this trial?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: George, this is just the beginning of the trial, day one. It's not a trial in the sense we're used to where you get --


LIEBERMANN: -- opening statements and arguments. Day one of a trial here in Israel largely focuses on procedures, the timeline, rules for how this will proceed. The trial itself expected to take months. Day two isn't tomorrow as we'd be used to in a traditional U.S. trial. It will be weeks, if not months away.

This will be drawn out, as it has been over the last few years, although all of Israel and beyond will be watching what happens in the courtroom here.


LIEBERMANN (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.


LIEBERMANN: And Sarah Netanyahu's legal team has already fired off a response, at least in the public domain. In a statement earlier today, they pinned the blame on this for the former caretaker who has led his own protests and larger protests against what he says is alleged corruption in the prime minister's residence.

Sarah Netanyahu's legal team say the laws that governing ordering meals inside the prime minister's residence are illegal themselves. So perhaps a bit of a preview there for the legal defense they'll mount for Sarah Netanyahu.

HOWELL: Oren, where do things stand with the corruption probes facing her husband?

LIEBERMANN: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was just questioned for the 12th time last Friday as those probes and the investigations themselves have lasted more than a year now and have been ongoing here.

The decision now is the attorney general, whether he makes the decision to indict. There's only a slight preview or a slight hint of when he'd make that decision when one of the police investigators or one of the attorneys involved there said that it would come sometime in the next six months.

Still quite open-ended on the timeline of when the attorney general will make his decision in the investigations against the prime minister. HOWELL: Oren Liebermann, following this trial, set to start in an hour's time. Thank you for the reporting.

Still ahead here on NEWSROOM, the former UFC champ, Conor McGregor. Saturday's match was far from a comeback. In fact, it was a total beatdown. Not for the reasons you'd expect. Something that happened outside the ring. We'll show you. Stay with us.






HOWELL: In the U.S. state of New Mexico, all eyes are looking to the skies. It is the world's largest ballooning event in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Nearly 600 hot air balloons will soar over the nine-day festival there. Hundreds of thousands of spectators go there every year for the International Balloon Fiesta.

That looks like a lot of fun.

A title fight between two lightweight UFC champions ended in chaos on Saturday. A history of bad blood exploded after the fight outside the ring. Our Patrick Snell explains.


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.


HOWELL: "Saturday Night Live" didn't waste any time mocking Brett Kavanaugh's successful confirmation. The opening sketch was their version of CNN's coverage of Republican celebrations in a rowdy locker room. Take a look.



KENAN THOMPSON, ACTOR, "DON LEMON": Quite the display, Dana.

HEIDI GARDNER, ACTOR, "DANA BASH": That's right, Don. There are a lot of pacemakers being put to the test tonight. And I see Mitch McConnell here.

Mitch, how are you feeling?


KATE MCKINNON, ACTOR, "LINDSEY GRAHAM" We couldn't have done it without Susan Collins. Susan, get over here.

CECILY STRONG, ACTOR, "SUSAN COLLINS": The last thing I wanted was to make this about me. That's why I told everyone to tune in at 3:00 pm so I could tell all my female supporters, psych!

KYLE MOONEY, ACTOR, "JOHN KENNEDY": That's our girl! Our one girl!


HOWELL: And looking ahead, it is the top story we're following this day. Justice Brett Kavanaugh officially sworn in as his family looked on. The final Senate vote 50-48. The closest for the high court since 1881.

It means the Supreme Court will now shift to the right, more conservative for the foreseeable future. Republicans are thrilled. They are taking a victory lap.

And that story leads our coverage on "NEW DAY" with my colleagues Christi Paul and Victor Blackwell on CNN USA and CNN International.

Thank you for being with us for CNN NEWSROOM. I'm George Howell at the CNN Center in Atlanta. You are watching CNN, the world's news leader.