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CNN NEWSROOM

Saudi Denies Knowledge in Khashoggi's Disappearance; Suspect in Skripal Poisoning now Identified; Hurricane Michael Heads to Florida; Justice Kavanaugh Completes the Seat in the SCOTUS; Doubts Remain Over Kim Jong-un True Nuclear Intentions; U.N., Warns Planet has Until 2030 To Stem Climate Change. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired October 9, 2018 - 03:00   ET

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


[03:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN HOST: A demand for answers, a prominent Saudi journalist is still missing. And now Turkey says Saudi Arabia is responsible.

Plus, a suspect's identity revealed. We are learning more about who was responsible for poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in England.

And hurricane Michael is getting stronger and more dangerous as it closes in on the southern U.S. Gulf Coast.

Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Kristie Lu Stout. And this is CNN Newsroom.

A Saudi journalist who has been critical of the crown prince's policies has been missing for nearly a week. But Saudi ambassador to the U.S vehemently denies the kingdom had anything to do with his disappearance.

Jamal Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate last Tuesday but his fiance says and he never came out. Now Turkish officials allege Khashoggi was killed inside the building. The Saudi ambassador calls the claim, quote, "absolutely false and baseless." Meanwhile, Turkey's president is demanding more information from the Saudis.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, TURKISH PRESIDENT (through translator): I feel responsible as president for getting to the bottom of this case. The consulate officials cannot save themselves by simply saying, he has left. But they have to produce concrete evidence. If he left then, they must have video to prove it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STOUT: Jomana Karadsheh joins me now from outside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. And Jomana, President Donald Trump he finally commented on the disappearance of the Saudi journalist. Are his comments strong enough to force answers from the Saudis? JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Kristie, for the

past week we've been talking to people here friends and colleagues of Jamal Khashoggi. And they are really waiting to hear from the United States saying that this is the country that has an obligation to step in, the one country that would be able to put pressure on Saudi Arabia and get answers.

And you I think people are going to be disappointed by the statements they heard from the United States so far. We know that you know for days, they don't really comment publicly saying that -- you know, some senior officials were telling CNN, that they're working on this behind the scenes.

And this is something that they've been doing at senior levels of the administration and talking to senior levels of the Saudi leadership. But then, you know, hearing from President Trump saying yes, he's concerned but hoping that this is something that will sort itself out. In his words, this is not something that people were waiting to hear from the U.S. president. They were hoping that president and the United States will help sort this out, Kristie.

STOUT: And meanwhile, the president of Turkey, Erdogan, he has made his most direct suggestion yet that Saudi Arabia is responsible for Khashoggi's disappearance. Is there any sign that the Saudi government is willing to provide evidence, for example, security camera footage to prove that the journalist left the consulate there behind you in Istanbul?

KARADSHEH: Well, you know, what we heard from President Erdogan, Kristie, yesterday was a bit stronger kind of rhetoric than what we heard the day before on Sunday where he sounded much more diplomatic.

Yesterday he was really pointing the finger at Saudi Arabia and saying, listen, you can't get away by saying that he just walked out of the consulate without proving that, you know, referring to what we heard from so many people over the past week.

And we've observed these ourselves, there's so many cameras on this consulate and people have been asking why don't the Saudis just release the surveillance video showing him leave the consulate.

Now some Saudi officials have been quoted, as saying that the cameras were not recording on that day. Really making this very suspicious in the word of some Turkish officials saying that, you know, they've been getting unsatisfactory answers from the Saudis.

So right now it would seem that the ball is in their court. At the same time, the Turkey, the president saying that their investigation is ongoing and they're looking at everything. They're looking at videos, surveillance video from other parts of this area. This is a very busy and commercial area, Kristie. It's not isolated or remote. And there are other diplomatic missions around here.

So there are more security cameras that Turkey would be looking at. They're looking at who entered who exited the consulate and the airports too. One thing that has been really of interest for this investigation is a

group of 15 Saudis including officials who entered the country on that day, they were in the consulate when Khashoggi was in there and they left the country later on. And we know that investigators are looking at that.

[03:05:06] But I have to point out, at this stage it doesn't seem that Turkey is really at the point where they want to take this to the next level and push for this -- for a full-blown diplomatic crisis with Saudi Arabia.

They're still being very cautious about this. An adviser to President Erdogan in an interview late last night with an Arab network saying that they're not accusing the government of Saudi Arabia, the state hinting that perhaps there might be some rogue elements or the Saudi deep state as he put it that could be involved in this, Kristie.

STOUT: And not an all-out push but asking for answers, you know. Jomana Karadsheh reporting live for us. Thank you.

Now there could be a new revelation in the identity of the second suspect in the Skripal poisoning in the U.K. back in March. An intelligence web site claims to know his real name. Bellingcat, that's the name of the web site, says the man is a Russian military doctor named Alexander Mishkin. He is believed to have used alias to enter the U.K. earlier this year.

Now British prosecutors have charge both men, you see here in absentia, with attempted murder that nerve agent attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury.

Now Bellingcat say the big details will be made public later today at the British parliament.

Let's head over to London now. CNN's Nina Dos Santos is standing by. Nina, what more is being reported by Bellingcat about the second suspect in the Salisbury case.

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPPONDENT: Well, the interesting details, Kristie, includes things like his date of birth, apparently used born in 1979 making him about 39 years old. He comes from allegedly according to Bellingcat the northern part of Russia, the region of Archangel, and that he is a military doctor who at point served in the Russian navy and then was recruited from medical school and he served in the military intelligence summit which is -- unit, excuse me, which is obviously the GRU.

His name is according to Bellingcat, not Alexander Petrov but it is Alexander Mishkin instead. And the way how they managed to identify this particular suspect is because they found, not just obviously the fake passport copy that we've seen before when the British authorities released the identities of the two.

About a month or so ago, traveling under those assumed names and passport, but they also managed to find a scanned copy of what is said to be his real passport and they used facial recognition technology here to take a look at one photo taken 15 years before the other and to try and match some of the facial features.

More crucially here, Kristie, the other key thing is that they managed to go up it seems towards Archangel and the town where he comes from there and to speak to people who identified him from these passport photos. And that probably is also going to be crucial.

It's taken them I must say, not longer to identify the second suspect than the first suspect that apparently is because there's a much thinner digital footprint. Kristie?

STOUT: Got it. This revelation, you know, the suspect it again puts a spotlight on Russian military intelligence, on the GRU, how they were involved and what happened in Salisbury, and also what happened to the OPCW. Can you connect the dot for us?

DOS SANTOS: Yes. Well, obviously when it comes to the OPCW we remember that great vague unveil in The Hague last week when obviously the Dutch security services said that they had intercepted what was called a close intercept operation where basically, four GRU officers from Russia had arrives and tried to hook up a Wi-Fi system with an antenna to try and harvest Wi-Fi data and passwords from the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons, which at the time was testing samples coming from Salisbury and also from an alleged chemical weapons attacks in Syria.

Now that particular plot was foiled but as a result of that we know that they had the passport details of various GRU agents. And what's very interesting about that particular piece of research and the Dutch authorities made public in quite some detail last week, surprising amount of detail I should say, Kristie, would shows how unprecedented the times we're in, is that these passport numbers were also sequential just like the previous reporting of Bellingcat, this independent investigative unit which originally identified the first -- the first suspect in the Salisbury poisoning and realized that when it came to the fake passports, that seems to have been allegedly issued by the GRU that these passport numbers are sequential.

Now what I should also point out, is that when it comes to the actual unit of the GRU that has been implicated in the OPCW, you remember that last week after the United Kingdom accused the GRU of having mounted six serious global cyber attacks.

[03:09:59] We saw many other countries and international bodies coming out with statements in support of that move by the U.K. We have -- they have managed to it seems extrapolate and pin point back towards one particular GRU unit which has been mentioned in numerous indictments. Especially when it comes to 13 indictments that were handed down for GRU officers over the course of the summer by -- in connection to alleged hacking and interference in the U.S. election campaign, and then also this attack on the OPCW.

So, the key point here is that the identities of these individuals, the fake passports, the passport numbers and the specific units of the GRU which we know for sometime has been, if you like, the attack of good choice from the Kremlin according to many Russian analysts. Now we're still waiting obviously for the Kremlin to make their

comments known on this piece of recording from Bellingcat and we'll get more details later today.

STOUT: Absolutely. With the identity of the second Skripal poisoning suspect revealed and the GRU looking very, very expose right now. Nina Dos Santos reporting live for us from London. Thank you so much.

Now we are tracking a major storm system, hurricane Michael is now battering Cuba. It is expected to strengthen into a dangerous major hurricane before hitting the U.S. Gulf Coast on Wednesday. Now forecasters warn the storm could bring life threatening floods from northern Florida to parts of North and South Carolina.

Meteorologist Ivan Cabrera is tracking the storm from the world weather center. He joins us now. Ivan?

IVAN CABRERA, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Kristie, good to see you. I think we're going to get flooding, you're right, not just from the heavy rain from the storm but also from the salt water that is going to be coming in, that's the Gulf of Mexico with the storm surge heading into the Panhandle of Florida.

So, yes, you're absolutely right. In fact, this already claimed lives across portions of Mexico and Central America. Look at western Cuba Pinar del Rio on the western side here of the island getting battered here with some strong winds and very heavy rain.

But notice the storm now beginning to head onto the north. Currently 150 kilometers per hour winds, that is going to continue to increase. I'll show you the forecast in a second.

Hurricane warnings were flying from Pensacola, Florida all the way to Cedar Key. Less populated here around the Big Bend. But once you get into Panama City you're going to have big population centers there and you are going to have those barrier Islands which are of course under mandatory evacuations.

So here goes the storms and here's the intensification we're talking about. Tuesday at 9 p.m. local time, Eastern in the United States, 185 kilometer per hour winds. That makes it a category three hurricane. It remains that strong. It perhaps even get a little stronger. I wouldn't be surprised if this thing goes north of 200 KPH before it makes landfall somewhere along the Big Bens.

We're thinking around Destin, Panama City there. And that would be through the day on Wednesday and then it raises up to the north and east and will impact the Carolinas which of course was hit by Florence with torrential rain. They're going to get the rain out of the storm, not the storm surge and not the dangerous wind.

But this area will look at this. One a half meters from Pensacola, and in some areas here anywhere from two and a half to three and a half meters. That is inundation that is going to take over a lot of areas here. And it is going to penetrate inland. Well inland, especially along the Big Bend. So we have to watch that closely. I think that will be the main threat.

Hour by hour as far as the winds, 80, 85, that's when first responders cannot go rescue folks, and that's why we tell them they really have to hunker down and prepare.

Look at this. This is a fascinating wind fill here. Because by Wednesday, 2 p.m., you see that 157 there, Kristie. That is the strongest wind we're picking up. But look at Panama City, 22, the reason for that is because this computer model thinks the eye is going to go right over Panama City, which is as far as you're going to get almost zero wind to a 150 to 180 kilometer per hour wind.

And as I mentioned the rain, yes, that's going to be a big deal as well. And it work from 150 to perhaps a quarter of a meter in the next five days. We'll keep you posted on a dangerous October hurricane here. Here hurricane Michael now a cat one. Forecast it will become a three.

STOUT: Yes. It will intensify, it will be a big deal of a storm and it will bring a lot of big threats along with it. Ivan Cabrera, thank you. Take care.

Now the latest political battle in Washington may be over but the political fighting goes on.

A primetime victory speech for Donald Trump and his newest Supreme Court justice. We got the details next.

And that new U.N. climate change report warns of dire consequences unless major changes are made in the coming years. We'll tell you what it suggests and what we can all do to help avoid a catastrophe.

[03:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

STOUT: Brett Kavanaugh promises to be an impartial and fair U.S. Supreme Court justice. He said so after he was ceremonially sworn in on Monday night. In the coming hours, Justice Kavanaugh will take his seat alongside his eight colleagues and hear his first case.

During can the White House ceremony, he promised to be a force for stability and unity.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRETT KAVANAUGH, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE OF THE UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT: The Senate confirmation process was contentious and emotional. That process is over. My focus now is to be the best justice I can be. I take this office with gratitude and no bitterness.

On the Supreme Court, I will seek to be a force for stability and unity. My goal is to be a great justice for all Americans and for all of America. I will work very hard to achieve that goal.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STOUT: The made for TV ceremony was mostly a victory lap for Republicans since the official swearing in was Saturday. Immediately after the Senate's confirmation vote.

The confirmation process included accusations of sexual assault and although the Senate hearings were not a criminal court, President Trump said Judge Kavanaugh not guilty.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What happened to the Kavanaugh family violates every notion of fairness, decency and due process. Our country, a man or a woman, must always be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: With that I must state, that you, sir, under historic scrutiny were proven innocent.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STOUT: Earlier in the day, President Trump did not hold back with reporters calling Democrats and those who opposed Judge Kavanaugh's nomination evil.

Jim Acosta has more.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: With his nominee Brett Kavanaugh heading to the high court, President Trump is still delivering some low blows.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: False charges, false accusations. Horrible statements that were totally untrue that he knew nothing about. It was a disgraceful situation brought about by people that are evil. And he toughed it out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: At a speech to law enforcement officials in Orlando, Mr. Trump did not make it clear whether he considered Kavanaugh's accuser, Christine Blasey Ford as being evil as well. But before he left for Florida the president signal he could already see the battle in political terms, predicting that many Democrats will suddenly going to abandon their hopes for a blue wave in the upcoming midterms.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[03:19:59] TRUMP: 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 think a lot of Democrats are going to vote Republican. Because I have many friends that are Democrats. The main base of the Democrats that shifted so far left that will end up being Venezuela.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: The president's Kavanaugh playbook was on his play at a rally over the weekend in Kansas where Mr. Trump accused the Democrats of using mob tactics pointing to the protesters shouting at senators up on Capitol Hill.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: It's unthinkable.

(CROWD BOOING)

TRUMP: In their quest for power, the radical Democrats have turned into an angry mob.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: The president may be forgetting he too has repeatedly encourage unruly behavior as a candidate.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I like to punch him in the face. I love the old days, you know what they used to do to guys like that when they're in a place like this, they'd be carried out on a stretcher, folks.

I could stand on middle of Fifth Avenue and hoot somebody and I wouldn't lose voters, OK?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: Still the anger flowing through both parties after the supreme circus is palpable. GOP Senator Lindsey Graham's emotional defense of Kavanaugh.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I've never been more pissed in my life. I voted for Sotomayor and Kagan. I will never done this to them. This is character assassination. This is wanting power too much.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: To the democratic outrage directed at Republican Senator Susan Collins who now says she does not believe Kavanaugh assaulted Ford.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: I do believe that she was assaulted. I don't know by whom and I'm not certain when. But I do not believe that he was the assailant.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: Even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell got testy over the weekend when he left open the possibility he could support filling the Supreme Court vacancy during the next presidential election, something he would not do when Barack Obama selected Merrick Garland in 2016.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you can answer my direct question. Are you saying that Donald Trump--

(CROSSTALK)

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), KENTUCKY, MAJORITY LEADER: The answer to your question is we'll see whether there's a vacancy in 2020.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: The president wasn't completely focused on Kavanaugh as he invited Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to ride on Air Force One. Rosenstein no longer appears to be on thin ice after he talked of secretly recording the president and even having him removed from office using the 25th Amendment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We had a very good talk, I will say. That became a very big story actually, folks. We had a good talk.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: As for that meeting the president had with Rosenstein, the White House told reporters the two men discussed general Justice Department business but there weren't many other details. Those details could be illuminating as Rosenstein is the Justice Department official overseeing the Russia investigation.

Jim Acosta, CNN, the White House.

STOUT: And while last week was likely one of Mr. Trump's best for him, this week he is shaping up for his presidency as well. A new CNN poll shows Mr. Trump's approval rating is now slightly highly at 41 percent. Although 52 percent disapprove of his job as president, still his approval rating is higher than early September when it sits at just 36 percent.

But when it comes to the lawmakers who handled the Kavanaugh hearings, most Americans are not pleased. Majority of both sides of the aisle say that they disapprove of each parties handling of the matter.

Now let's get some perspective on all of this. We are joined by Richard Johnson, lecturer in politics and international relations at Lancaster University in England. Richard, good to see you again. Let's first talk about Donald Trump.

As you just heard his approval rating has risen in this new CNN poll. You know, 41 percent approve now compared to 36 percent in early September. How can this be given the bruising and bitter and divisive Kavanaugh hearings?

RICHARD JOHNSON, LECTURER IN U.S. POLITICS AND INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, LANCASTER UNIVERSITY: Well, I think that it just goes to show how sharply divided the United States is. I think one of the most telling pieces of information from that poll was actually looking at Republican women and 84 percent of Republican women have a positive approval of Donald Trump.

So that just goes to show you that Donald Trump is speaking to his co- partisans and speaking to Republicans and they are loving it. He is delivering one of the major commitments of his presidential campaign which was to insure that he would put a Republican stamp on that Supreme Court. And that's exactly what he's done this week in spite of all of the other noise and upset around it.

STOUT: So let's talk about Brett Kavanaugh. You know, we're hours away from him donning the robe, it has been an ugly confirmation battle. Do you think he will eventually in the future have a clean slate or is it going to be bringing some hard to shake off baggage with him into the chamber.

JOHNSON: Well, I supposed the closest example we have is Clarence Thomas. And I think that Thomas has never truly removed the stain of his confirmation hearing and the Anita Hill situation.

[03:24:59] But on the other hand, the Supreme Court has this practice of collegiality among the members of the Supreme Court. And I suspect that members who probably aren't very impressed with the way in which Kavanaugh behaves say in this hearing and so on, will probably put that aside for the greater collegiality of the court.

I think that's one of the remaining institutions where at least internally I think the members still think it's important for them to get along. We knew famously that Ruth Bader Ginsburg had a very good relationship with Antonin Scalia even though they were often on opposite sides of cases. And I suspect that it might continue with Justice Kavanaugh.

STOUT: Got it. So judging from history, you know, the anger and the baggage will eventually dissipate. I got to ask you about the midterms, though. Because we're just a month away from this critical elections. We got both sides of the aisle believing that they can capitalize on the anger generated from the Kavanaugh hearings. But only one side can win now. Which side?

JOHNSON: Well, I think two sides could win out because of the two different chambers. My prediction is I think the Democrats will make gains in the House. There are -- they need 23 gains to gain control. Hillary Clinton won 25 districts that are currently Republican incumbents. And I think those incumbents are very vulnerable.

But the math in the Senate is very different, 26 Democrats are facing election. That's half of the -- more than half of the Democratic caucus. While only nine Republicans are, that's only less than a fifth of the Republican caucus. The Democrats have a lot more to lose.

And the last time that a president saw making gains -- losing the House and making gains in the Senate was 1982, Ronald Reagan, his approval rating at this point is 42 percent, Donald Trump's approval rating 41 percent. You might ne seeing history repeats itself.

STOUT: So that could be gains by both parties in both Houses. How will gender politics play a role here? You know, we know that this is the era of the Me Too movement. It is also recently the era of, I guess the he too movement that's trending at the moment, that was ignited apparently by those comments that Donald Trump made, saying that it was a scary time for men in America.

Again, this is link to the Kavanaugh hearings. Will gender politics determine the outcome of the midterm elections?

JOHNSON: I think in these House districts that Hillary Clinton won but have Republican incumbents, I think that suburban, many of them are suburban constituencies, I think that suburban women could play a significant role.

But the thing that we have to remember that there are other factors at play. In the 2016 election, African-American men were twice as likely as white women to vote for Hillary Clinton.

And so, you know, as I mentioned, you know, 84 percent of Republican women have a positive approval of Donald Trump. Sixty four percent of Republican women don't believe Christine Blasey Ford.

And so, I think that there's a gender divide of course. But you know, Republican women are remaining fairly loyal to their party, so I think that we have to keep that in mind.

STOUT: Richard Johnson, always appreciate your insight and your American political forecasting from Lancaster University in England. Thank you so much. Take care.

JOHNSON: Thank you.

STOUT: Now the former head of Interpol becomes a target in a criminal investigation. Now the latest and the official caught up in China's anti- corruption crackdown.

And North Korea makes an offer of nuclear inspections that the Trump administration feels positive about it but some experts have their doubts.

[03:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

STOUT: Welcome back to CNN Newsroom. I'm Kristie Lu Stout. Let us update you on our top stories this hour. Turkey's President is calling for proof from Saudi Arabia that a journalist did in fact leave the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last week. Jamal Khashoggi has been missing since entering the consulate from marriage documents. The Saudis insist he left the building, but his fiancee says he never emerge.

An investigative website claims to know the real name of the second suspect in the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter. Belling cat said he is a Russian military doctor named Alexander Mishkin is believed to have used an alias to enter the U.K. earlier this year

Now, hurricane Michael is at a moment battering Cuba and is set to strike into a dangerous major hurricane before hitting the U.S. off coast on Wednesday, forecasters warned the storm to bring life- threatening floods from Northern Florida to parts of North and South Carolina.

The wife of Interpol is now former president insists that he is the victim of political persecution. Meng Hongwei disappeared last month of traveling from France to Beijing. On Monday, Chinese authorities revealed he was in custody accused of corruption, accepting bribes. Our CNN's senior producer Steven Jiang is following the story from Beijing. He joins us now Steven, the former head of Interpol, now, the target of a criminal investigation there in China. What is the latest among Hongwei?

STEVEN JIANG, CNN PRODUCER: Well, Kristie, you know there's still a lot of unanswered questions. You mentioned the charges the government has laid at him, they of course, have been emphasizing highlighting the corruption charges. But there are other hints in that statement that was released yesterday on Monday. The references to Mr. Meng's former critical patron (inaudible), who was once the country's domestic security czar, who is also now serving a life sentence in prison for corruption.

There are speculations about the links between the two that would explain Mr. Meng. But the timeline actually did not add up, because Mr. Joe fell from grace in 2014, Mr. Meng continue to rise through the ranks after that, he was made via Interpol president in 2016. Then other people said, there could be connections to this incident earlier this year in February when the Interpol actually lifted the long- standing wanted under an ethnically Uighur activist and living in (inaudible). As you know, Kristie, the Chinese government has been cracking down hard on Uighur activism both at home and abroad so that incident happened at doing Mr. Meng watched at Interpol that of course could have access to the government greatly. Still no official confirmation, but if the government wants to put a quick end to this international saga, Kristie, is now working.

Now the spotlight is increasingly ungraced among the wife who has been making some very bold claims in France not only has she denied the accusations against her husband. She's also saying she's ready to turn her grief and fear into her pursuit of truth, justice, and responsibilities not only her for her family, but also for the Chinese people, she says. So, this kind of disappearances will never happen again, Kristie.

LU STOUT: Yes. In fact she says that her husband is a victim of political persecution. So many questions about what would lead to the clinical downfall among her way, but we do know this as you point out, he is the latest high profile target in China's corruption crackdown. You think by in smearing Meng, the former chief of Interpol, is Xi Jinping emboldened to further crackdown hard?

JIANG: I think a lot of people would agree to the assessment, but there's still a lot of confusion and controversy surrounding this latest case among Hongwei.

[03:35:00] But if one thing that's been clear throughout this saga that is a lot of people think that actions by the government here and the claims by Mr. Meng's wife have a really you know reinforce this notion that these system here, the political and legal system are very nontransparent and the government here is more than willing to flow international norms and rules when it serves its own purpose. So that really is a very unsettling and disturbing to a lot of Chinese critics, especially at a time when the Beijing authorities are increasingly trying to project its power and influence overseas, Kristie.

LU STOUT: Steven Jiang, live in Beijing for us. Thank you. Now the European Union is urging a speedy investigation by Bulgarian authorities to find the killer of the journalist Viktoria Marinova.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With your permission expects a swift and thorough investigation. May the responsible authorities that will bring those responsible to justice and clarify whether this attack was link to her war. We must make sure that journalists everywhere are safe and make that invaluable contributions toward democratic societies.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LU STOUT: Hundreds of mourners held vigils in cities across Bulgaria demanding justice for Marinova, her body was found on Saturday. Prosecutors say that she had been raped, beaten and suffocated just over a week ago, Marinova interviewed journalists on her TV show who reporting alleged corruption involving E.U. funds. She said that she would do similar investigations. The group reporters without Borders ranks Bulgaria the lowest for press freedom in the European Union.

The Trump administration is feeling positive about talks with North Korea about its nuclear program. The U.S. Secretary of State points to recent discussions about inspections at nuclear test sites, but as Brian Todd reports, dealt about Pyongyang's true intention remain.

(BEGIN VIDEO)

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: President Trump top diplomat, rush of a critical meeting with Kim Jong-un in Pyongyang, North Korea is expressing characteristic optimism about the U.S. relationship with the brutal dictator. Mike Pompeo says Kim Jong-un is ready to allow international inspectors to look at what once was a key nuclear testing site Punggye-Ri. This is where Kim's regime conducted at least six nuclear bomb tests, including its most powerful blast in September of last year a test of a hydrogen bomb many times stronger than the one the U.S. dropped on Hiroshima, but in May of this year. The North Koreans put on a show for journalists, appearing to destroy at least three tunnels at Punggye-Ri.

Days later U.S. intelligence officials told CNN that is all it appeared to be a show. Intelligence and arms control officials said, those blasts may have been too small to really collapse any tunnels. The portions of the tunnel complex could have remained usable. No weapons inspectors were allowed there at the time to witness the event.

Now months later, analyst wonder why the reclusive dictator who has never allowed inspectors into his country since taking control from his father would suddenly change course.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They could have other test sites prepared important thing to remember is that this is not one of the core facilities that produced North Korean fissile material. The missiles that deliver nuclear weapons.

TODD: Pompeo says he's also hopeful that Kim will also allow inspectors to look at a missile engine test site, but analysts say there's a lot that the regime is still hiding.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: North Korea has succeeded in resisting administration attempts to dismantle the facilities that produces the cell materials for or the missiles to deliver nuclear warheads. So, so far, this is a relatively cosmetic step.

TODD: Still Pompeo emerging from his fourth trip to Pyongyang says a second summit between President Trump and Kim is quote, pretty close. Now Veteran Korea watchers are taunt, some believe continuing the dialogue between two men who say they developed a personal friendship is positive.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We fell in love.

TODD: Others say, Kim Jong-un got a lot and did not give up much as the last summit in Singapore.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It granted Kim Jong-un a lot of legitimacy in the International Community. I mean, people saw him taking selfies with Prime Minister of Singapore, walking around -- Long Marina they stand, it has the (inaudible) of sanitizing Kim Jong-un image in a way that he is not deserving it.

TODD: What analyst are worried about now is that Kim Jong-un is going to keep up this pattern of dodging, weaving, meeting with President Trump and having dialogue, but never really offering a verifiable inventory of the nuclear weapons that he has or the fissile material that is producing and I think he may keep this up indefinitely. Now that President Trump and his team have taken away any hard timelines for Kim to really denuclearize. Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEO)

[03:40:10] LU STOUT: You are watching CNN Newsroom. And up next new details emerge from that deadly limousine accident in New York. Officials say the driver in the Limo should never had been on the road. Also had the artist Banksy shocked the art world when he shredded one of his paintings the minute it was sold. Now the question is did he had help? We will explain what the auction house that sold it is adding to the mystery.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LU STOUT: We are learning more about this weekend's deadly crashed that claimed 20 lives in New York State. Now the governor says the limo of the driver should not have been on the road and police are not ruling criminal charges. Miguel Marquez has details on that in the community has been left in shocked.

(BEGIN VIDEO)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She is so wonderful and kind and loving.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Family, friends and entire town reeling after 20 people died in a single car accident. One of the couples killed leaves behind three children all under five.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just and prayed that they will have lots of people says support from them. Remind them how wonderful their parents where.

MARQUEZ: 17 of the victims all from the same small upstate New York town of Amsterdam. Young couples some recently married. All now dead. After the modified Ford excursion stretch limousine they rented spread through the intersection hit a parked car and crashed into a ditch. The driver and two pedestrians also died.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A report of a motor vehicle accident.

MARQUEZ: The 17 friends initially rented a bus from Prestige limousine chauffeur service in Gansevoort New York for a daylong surprise birthday party. The bus broke down the company sent instead, a 2001 Ford excursion that had been modified into a stretch limousine. A relative says the victims were suspicious from the start.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My niece is instinctively had thought that she is now this is not good, you know, what they sent us. I guess the first vehicle broke down and they sent of another vehicle.

MARQUEZ: Investigators now looking into the driver. The company that rented the vehicle road conditions and the intersection where the accident occurred. State Route 30 and 30 A is a T-bone intersection, route 30 is a steep hill leading to the intersection with only a stop sign.

[03:45:07] The driver may have been driving as fast as 60 miles an hour when he went through the intersection finally coming to a stop in a ditch next to a restaurant.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't yet know the cause of the accident, if it was a vehicle malfunction or if it was the driver malfunction, driver error, gods part of beyond the investigation.

MARQUEZ: Just last month the vehicles chassis suspension, brakes, and overall systems were tested it failed that state inspection and the driver should had a CDL or Commercial Driver's License. He didn't.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: the owner of this company has a lot of questions to answer. There is an ongoing investigation, but is there a possibility of liability, civil and criminal? Certainly.

(END VIDEO)

LU STOUT: That was CNN's Miguel Marquez reporting. A new report from the U.N. warns that we had until 2030 to curb catastrophic impact from climate change. The report is urging governments to make rapid far- reaching changes to avoid the disastrous effects of global warming. Nick Watt has more.

(BEGIN VIDEO)

NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Deadly wildfires from California to Greece. That record-setting ranges dump by hurricane Florence on the Carolinas, drapes crippling Cape Town in Africa and heatwaves turning Europe brown. And now, we have only 12 years to stop all this getting much worse. Average temperatures have risen about 1 Celsius since 1880 in Paris, leaders pledged to keep the rise well below 2 degrees. This report may I suggests we aim for 1.5 benchmark where predicted to reach by 2030.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The message is that countries will need to cooperate.

WATT: Yet, President Trump is trying to revive the polluting coal industry here in the U.S. He has also pledged to withdraw from the historic Paris climate change agreement and recently rolled back Obama era targets for cussing vehicle emissions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They really benefitted a group of fossil fuel company, at the extent of the American people.

WATT: And in Brazil, home to the Amazon rain forest, the lungs of our planet, the presidential front-runner says he also withdrawal from that Paris deal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From the standpoint of getting the whole world motivated to actually make changes that would be needed to meet the goal, we have a long way to go.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's very clear that house at the green matters.

WATT: Apparently were up 2 degrees rather than just 1.5 sea levels will rise, an extra four inches. The Arctic already at record low ice levels as seen in this NASA image will be totally ice free on average once a decade instead of once a century. All of the world's coral will completely disappear and flooding and wildfires here at home will be even worse.

We haven't heard any reactions yet to this report from the Trump administration. But we have heard from former Vice President Al Gore, who said that the Trump administration has become a road outlier in its shortsighted attempt to prop up the dirty fossil fuel industries of the past. Nick Watt, CNN, Los Angeles.

(END VIDEO) LU STOUT: Now the U.N. report found limiting the rise of global

temperatures to 1 1/2 degrees Celsius by the year 2030 comes with a huge cost nearly $2.4 trillion in energy investments between now and 2035 to reach that goal. That is about 2 1/2 percent of the world GDP.

And that U.N. reports also has some suggestions on what we can do to limit carbon emissions. For example, like using videoconferencing set of traveling on business, eating less meat and dairy, reducing food waste and switching to electric car.

70s is adding to the mystery surrounding the shredding of a Banksy painting moments after were sold at auction for almost $1.5 billion. The unanimous British artist, Banksy is known for his high profile stunts and the auction house says it had nothing to do with the prank and never noticed a shredder hidden inside the picture frame but some art experts suspect that some these knows a lot more.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: By law, in any auction house, when it is in America or in Europe, the moment the hammer falls, that is the legal contract, and there is no option. The financial details, names, addresses, telephone numbers, banks statements, you named it, everybody in that room. So when -- before you make a bid they check you out, after you made a bid, after you have won the item, it is a legal contract. It is not a case of ow, maybe we won't sell it to you.

[03:50:00] So, some of these are notes a great deal more than I telling you. And this is been the world's biggest, it's not a Banksy prank, you got a long title on it. It is not a prank it is a marketing ploy. It is made Banksy's painting world famous, coming for the value of 1 to 1 a half million dollars to 5,7,6 $7 million overnight.

(END VIDEO)

LU STOUT: It is not a prank, it is ploy, he says. Now the painting which is called girl with red balloon is likely to have it on iconic place in the history of art and may be worth a lot more now, but suddenly says is not sure whether the sale will actually go through.

Now Facebook, the company which faces some serious questions about privacy and trust now wants cameras in our homes. The social media giant has released something called Facebook portal, it is a smart speaker with a touchscreen that can zoom in on a person's face or all of them moving around the room a specs goal here is to make video chats more like actually hanging up together. The company is already facing privacy concerns after that massive hack that may have compromise 50 million users.

So, will Republican see a Brett bounce or will Democrats see a blue wave in the next election. Now that the justice is settled from the Kavanaugh confirmation, we talk to independent voters for indication of what is yet to come. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LU STOUT: The contentious battles surrounding Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court comes a month before the midterms. And both parties are using it to fire up their base, but will it work. CNN's Randi Kaye, spoke with five independent female voters and the key battlegrounds state of Florida.

(BEGIN VIDEO)

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: First of all. How many of you are happy that Justice Kavanaugh was confirmed, show of hands, just one. Why?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am happy that he is confirm, not because he is my ideal candidate, but because process was handled correctly. And he deserved to be appointed.

KAYE: For all you just glued to this process from -- from beginning to end?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was the fast daytime soap and I mean, it still continues, it is like we are getting a sequel. So, I mean, we are going to see people all the way to -- what -- to November?

KAYE: 30 more days.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 30 more days. Testimony alone was -- I mean this is like our new O.J.

KAYE: Do any of this things that this investigation, I mean the accusations have hurt Judge Kavanaugh's reputation?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: His name is forever tarnished. Regardless of whether he has been cleared, but his name is forever tarnished.

KAYE: A show of hands, how many of you think that Justice Kavanaugh can be an effective justice on the supreme court, given all that is going on, three of you. This is going to be a very public debate for couple months, if not years to come and especially with the docket that they have coming out there is going to be a lot of "I" on hand.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I keep thinking of the other justices, are they going to pull the (inaudible) like look, just chill out a little bit.

KAYE: With all that is going on, will this influence your vote coming up in the midterms?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

KAYE: How so?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because normally I would go choose Republican on everything but knowing out of the Kroger's weight on the table and could it really realistically become an issue obviously as a woman, you're gonna look at women's issues and say OK, now, let us take a step back.

[03:55:10] KAYE: So as an independent. His registered Republican, is there a chance that you will vote on in favor of Democrat?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is a good chance of it.

KAYE: So the other registered Republican here, Erica, how will this all affect your vote in the midterms?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It will definitely make me make sure that I get out and vote. I don't know if it is going to necessarily sway my decision one way or another.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This whole thing just making me want to pay more attention to what is happening in our country right now because there are a lot of things on the table this year that will have huge ramifications going for it, and we have to be (inaudible) of that.

KAYE: Voting as an independent?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

KAYE: Only registered independent in the room. What about you, how will this impact your vote?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think this is a huge opportunity for some the candidates to make a stand and have people like myself who don't come in with any other judgments are preconceived notions to get me to see their point of view.

KAYE: How do you think it will impact your vote?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I really don't know at this point.

KAYE: The Republicans are talking about something called the Brett bounce where they think it's really energized this this whole confirmation process has energized the Republicans, the Democrats also safe energized the Democrats. Who do you all think this has energized more?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it energized the Democrats more actually because they are so upset about the process.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it energized the Republican though also, because now you have people who may be vote that never voted in the midterm now saying, wait a minute, we want to keep tis Trump thing going, we need to go out and vote, like we did for him again.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If there's Republicans out there who really like what they believe Kavanaugh is not going to do for example, potentially overturning Roe v. Wade, they might be motivated to get out and make sure that they get a vote in so that they are not outrun by Democrats. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would say, outside of party line, this has

really energized women. You know let's just bring women out and get their idea and get them involved in the conversation.

(END VIDEO)

LU STOUT: Women are energized to vote and we want to tell you about a special interview coming up. Hillary Clinton will be the guest of Christiana Amanpour later today. Tune in at 6:00 p.m. London, 7:00 p.m. in Berlin. Thank you for joining us, I'm Kristie Lu Stout, you are welcome to connect with me anytime on twitter. The news continues next with Max Foster in London. You are watching CNN.

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