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CNN NEWSROOM

Anonymous Turkish Officials say Saudi Journalist Killed; Growing Calls for U.S. to Speak Out on Missing Saudi Journalist; Booker to Democratic Voters: "Stay Faithful"; Experts Warn of "Catastrophic" Climate Change by 2030; Trump: I "Have a Very Good Relationship" with Rosenstein. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired October 8, 2018 - 10:30   ET

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


[10:30:06]

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: All right. This morning, Turkey is asking to search the Saudi consulate in Istanbul after allegations that the Saudi government killed Saudi national journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside. Khashoggi was also a reporter for "The Washington Post," had applied to be a permanent U.S. resident. He had been an outspoken critic of the Saudi government. So much so that he had to leave the country. He went to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to get papers for his upcoming marriage. His fiancee who was waiting outside said he never came out.

And this morning, unnamed Turkish officials say they believe he was murdered inside. This morning, still no word from the White House at all on this. Karen Attiah is with me. She is his global opinions editor at "The Washington Post" and beyond just being his editor and colleague, his friend. I'm so sorry. And so many people want answers this morning, of course, his family, all of his friends, his fiancee. Robin Wright of "The New Yorker" writes this morning. She begins her piece by saying I knew that he feared for his life. He told me he feared for his life. Did he tell you that?

KAREN ATTIAH, GLOBAL OPINIONS EDITOR, "WASHINGTON POST": I mean, I understood, obviously. I was his editor. Who knows, maybe he wanted to downplay the risk of things. I knew he had a lot of pressure on him. I knew he particularly felt the pressure that was being applied to his family, to try to get to him. He would WhatsApp me about that. He would tell me about, you know, his divorce. That his wife felt like she had to leave him because of what he was doing and saying, but he said I still need to speak. I still need to say this. I still want to be a journalist. I don't want to be a dissident. I just want to write.

HARLOW: He wanted to make his country a better place, the country he thought that it could be. And he felt like speaking out at the risk of everything was worth that. This morning, no word from the White House, this entire time, not a single word from the president. We know from our reporting that from two administration officials they say, look, we're working quietly at senior levels across several agencies to get answers here.

ATTIAH: Sure. HARLOW: What do you think the family and you, his friends and colleagues deserve to hear publicly from the Trump administration?

ATTIAH: I mean, look. OK, I'm going to be honest, right. I mean, the Trump administration has openly come out, called journalists enemies of the people, this whole global fake news phenomenon is, you know, has roots in this White House. But you know what. I'm hoping that they will do the right thing and speak out and push their diplomatic colleagues for answers and for credible investigations and to speak out and say this is not acceptable.

HARLOW: Building on top of that. I mean, these are allegations against the Saudi government from Turkish officials, both key allies of the U.S. in the region. The U.S. has, you know, not to mince words, bent over backwards for Saudi Arabia, even following the airstrikes in Yemen that killed the children, et cetera. What is the sentiment among you and your colleagues right now about the fact that, again, we're yet to hear anything publicly?

ATTIAH: Right. It is concerning, obviously. We're still hoping and pressing that there needs to be more outspokenness on the part of the administration. Again, I'm very heartened that Marco Rubio, Chris Murphy, they've tweeted in support - Gerry Connolly. So there's congressional voices that are on this, and we're grateful for that, I'm grateful for that. But yes, absolutely, I mean, this is the same Saudis that Trump went and did dances with, sword dances with. I mean, we're just hoping that people will do the right thing and speak out for journalists and for the right for us -

(CROSSTALK)

HARLOW: We need answers.

ATTIAH: We need answers.

HARLOW: Before you go, you have also been in touch recently, you know, in the past few days, with his family and also with his fiancee. Can you tell us what they're sharing with you?

ATTIAH: You know, as far as the fiancee, she's been outspoken, obviously. She was very distraught, to say the least. You know, again, Jamal was always very concerned about the safety of his family. And I just want them to know, reiterate that I'm so sorry for what might have happened to their father. And again, we're pushing for answers and we're not going to let this go. We're not going to let this go.

HARLOW: I'm so sorry.

ATTIAH: Thank you.

HARLOW: Thank you for being with us. Keep us posted on what you do here.

ATTIAH: OK, will do. Thanks, Poppy.

HARLOW: Of course. Jim. JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Listen, what a mystery. We'll keep on top of that story.

In other news, after Judge Kavanaugh's confirmation to the Supreme Court, a potential Democratic front-runner for the 2020 nomination is urging voters to, quote, "stay faithful." His strategy for the midterms and beyond, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:39:27] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. CORY BOOKER (D), NEW JERSEY: If we're faithful to our history, we have to remember how change is made. Change is not made by us sitting there hoping things happen. Change is not made by waiting for Washington. We Democrats know that change never comes from Washington. It goes to Washington.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCIUTTO: Well, if that sounds like a presidential campaign speech, guess what. It almost certainly was. This morning, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker is still in Iowa visiting each and every congressional district there, campaigning for Democrats up and down the ballot.

[10:40:02] CNN's Rebecca Berg, she is there as well. She's been following him. President Trump, Rebecca, seems to think that Booker is going to run against him in 2020. Any doubt about that?

REBECCA BERG, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, Jim, no one comes to Iowa in politics by coincidence. And certainly, Cory Booker has said he would give a presidential bid in 2020 a good hard look. In fact, he told New York magazine recently it would be irresponsible for him not to consider a bid, given how he believes this president is doing, the direction of the country under President Trump. So certainly, he is giving it a look.

And this is where it starts. This is his first trip to Iowa as a potential presidential candidate. He was, of course, a surrogate here for Hillary Clinton in 2016. He went on the campaign trail with her in Iowa. Got a really positive response then, now giving it another shot, trying to make a new first impression here, and he started with a visit to a big Democratic Party fund-raiser on Saturday, speaking to roughly 1,000 activists, party donors, and we asked him there what his reaction is to the attacks on him from the president and this focus on him from the president. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BERG: What is your reaction to his focus on you recently?

BOOKER: I really have no reaction. The reality is that people in the state of New Jersey elected me state-wide, very proud of the work that I did, the change that we made in Newark, the transformation going on in our city, but this is not about the presence now. I will never let him pull me so low as to hate him. I'm going to be -- continue to be a voice in this country for the love, for bringing the nation together, not driving the nation apart.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERG: So today, Cory Booker out on the campaign trail for candidates across Iowa. At the house right behind me, he'll be doing an event shortly for a candidate for secretary of agriculture, also campaigning for congressional candidate JD Scholten, up in Steve Kanes congressional district, so trying to curry favor with Democrats here in Iowa. Cory Booker says he's focused on the midterms, but of course that has 2020 implications as well. Jim?

SCIUTTO: Oh, yes. More than 700 days out and they're already off and running. Rebecca Berg in Iowa, thanks very much.

HARLOW: But who is counting? Ahead for us, a departure from politics to the planet and climate, a stark warning from nearly 100 scientists across the globe this morning. We have a little over a decade to avoid catastrophic climate change or there will be severe worldwide consequences. That's what the new report shows. One of the authors joins us next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:47:04] SCIUTTO: This just in to CNN. Tropical storm Michael is now officially a category-1 hurricane. That means sustained winds of 75 miles an hour. 26 Florida counties are already under state of emergency orders as the storm nears the coastline there. Forecasters say it could make landfall on the Florida coast as early as Wednesday, bringing coastal flooding and high winds. We're going to stay on this and keep you updated as it moves north.

HARLOW: We absolutely will.

Also this morning, an international call for immediate and unprecedented action to avoid catastrophic climate change, 91 scientists from 40 countries have compiled this landmark study for the United Nations and it has found that we have just over 11 years to get climate change under control in order to avoid catastrophic flooding, devastating droughts, and mass extinction of animals across the globe.

With us now, one of the authors of the report, also a professor of Climate Sciences at Duke University, Dr. Shindell. The numbers are stunning, the price tag of $54 trillion, if we don't do something about this, is stunning. The loss of life, of animal species is stunning. But for so many Americans that I think have become numb to issues of climate change, what should they take away from this report this morning?

DREW SHINDELL, PROFESSOR OF CLIMATE SCIENCES, DUKE UNIVERSITY: Well, I think they should really understand that we're already seeing these effects. You know, we just heard about the latest hurricane, Hurricane Florence just battered my state. These are the kind of things that we're already seeing, and they're going to keep getting worse unless we take these kinds of actions that are outlined in the report.

HARLOW: Look, the president has pulled the United States out of the Paris climate accord. The man on track to potentially become the next president of Brazil is threatening to do the same. You have a push in this country for an uptick of coal use, and this report lays out that in order to reach these goals and stave off, you know, what you warn is ahead, coal consumption for electricity would have to go from 40 percent today to between 1 percent and 7 percent in a decade. Are these things really going to change that dramatically? How do you get the American consumer to change that much?

SHINDELL: Well, that's really an issue. One of the key impediments is really the scale and the rate of change. It has to be tremendous, in order to avoid these consequences. We have trouble linking the consequences of our actions to the downstream impacts. That's really the problem here, but what the report also outlined is the enormous benefits of taking action. Cleaning up of our air, the less use of water for power plants and such, so we have more for drinking and for growing food. So there are really tremendous benefits if we can get the public to really see them.

HARLOW: One of the things that struck me most was, as you know, Doctor, the concern had been if global warming, if we were to see the temperature rise two degrees Celsius, that was the warning level, right? Now this report says, it is 1.5 degrees Celsius. Why the difference?

[10:50:02] SHINDELL: Well, we have seen things unfold faster than we expected them to. And we make these simulations, and the criticism is always, they're only models, they might be wrong. And that's true. We project the best we can, but we can be wrong in either direction. It turns out we have probably been too conservative. The arctic sea ice is vanishing more quickly. Hurricanes are getting -- the strong ones are getting wetter, more quickly than we thought. So we're really just seeing the events outpace our projections and making us realize that the dates are closer than we thought.

HARLOW: And the answer from the coal industry to this is, well, you know, carbon capture and sequestration. Carbon capture technology, which is not economically viable at this point. Is that even part of the solution in your mind?

SHINDELL: I think that's taking an enormous risk. That's really saying, you know, we could keep emitting a lot of carbon now because eventually we'll have something to pull it out of the air. You know, it's kind of like buying a new house on a credit card and assuming that someday you'll get a better job and be able to pay it back.

HARLOW: Right. OK. Doctor Drew Shindell, I encourage people to read this and read the reporting on it. We appreciate your work on it and your time this morning. Thank you.

SHINDELL: Thanks for having me.

HARLOW: All right, Jim.

SCIUTTO: Well, we have just gotten some new sound from the president as he departed the White House this morning. We're going to bring you that sound right back. He's got some comments about his embattled deputy attorney general.

Actually, we have Abby Phillip now. She's live from the White House. The president has a fellow passenger on Air Force One today, Abby. Rod Rosenstein. What did the president say about his job security as he left this morning?

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Jim. I just got back from the south lawn as the president was leaving. And he was asked whether he was planning on speaking to Rod Rosenstein on the plane today. He said, yes, they'll be talking. And he actually spent a lot of time emphasizing their positive relationship. Now the context around this is that he had planned to talk to Rosenstein before the Kavanaugh nomination really exploded into last week's chaos, and Rosenstein was accused of plotting to basically use the 25th amendment against President Trump. President Trump said that he would be speaking to Rosenstein about his future, but then he delayed that until after Kavanaugh was confirmed.

Now it seems to be that that moment is now, and President Trump here on the lawn emphasizing that talk is going to happen. He was asked if he was still considering or thinking about firing him. The president didn't really answer that question. But continued talking about how they didn't really know each other beyond this Russia investigation, had had a fairly positive relationship.

So we really don't know where this is going. Of course, it's taken much longer than we originally anticipated for them to meet face-to- face, but today could be the day that Rosenstein finds out his fate, Jim.

SCIUTTO: Very good relationship. Well, the president has said a few unkind things about his deputy attorney general as well. Abby Phillip, thanks very much. We're going to have the president's comments on camera in just moments, right after this break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:56:00] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, we're going to a law enforcement speech and meeting. And he'll be flying. I look forward to being with him. That will be very nice.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE)

TRUMP: We're going to be talking. We'll be talking on the plane. I actually have a good relationship other than there's been no collusion, folks, no collusion. But I have a very good relationship. We'll see.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE)

TRUMP: I don't hear you.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE)

TRUMP: No, I don't. Say it. I thought the way they behaved was absolutely atrocious. I have never seen anything like it. From the leaks of important documents to the statements they made to watching Blumenthal, who was a fraudster when it came to Vietnam and what he did was horrible. I thought that the way they conducted themselves, the way they dealt with a high-level, brilliant, going to be a great justice of the Supreme Court, the way they really tortured him and his family, I thought it was a disgrace. I thought it was one of the most disgraceful performances I have ever seen.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE)

TRUMP: So I have been hearing that, that now they're thinking of impeaching a brilliant jurist, a man that did nothing wrong, a man that was caught up in a hoax, that was set up by the Democrats. Using the Democrats' lawyers, and now they want to impeach him. I have heard this from many people. I think it's an insult to the American public. And I think you're going to see a lot of things happen on November 6th that would not have happened before.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE)

TRUMP: The American public has seen this charade, has seen this dishonesty by the Democrats. And when you mention impeach a justice of the United States Supreme Court, who was a top scholar, top student, top intellect, and who did nothing wrong, and there was no corroboration of any kind, and went through seven FBI investigations, had nothing to do with any of this stuff. I mean, you had the last one, take a look at the last one, the things they said about him. I don't even think he ever heard of the words. It was all made up. It was fabricated. And it's a disgrace. I think it's going to really show you something, come November 6th.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE)

TRUMP: I don't hear you. What?

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE)

TRUMP: I think a lot of Democrats are going to vote Republican because I have many friends that are Democrats. The main base of the Democrats has shifted so far left that we'll end up being Venezuela. This country would end up being Venezuela. I think a lot of Democrats are going to be voting Republican on November 6th.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE)

TRUMP: Very well documented, very well documented. Yes. It's been documented for many years, very well, all public documents.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE)

TURMP: Say it.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE)

TRUMP: I don't know what she said.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE) TRUMP: I don't understand a word she's -

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE)

TRUMP: Not at all, not at all.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE)

TRUMP: Look, I'm traveling with Rod. I didn't know Rod before. But I've gotten to know him, and I get along very well with him.