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Hurricane Michael Becomes Category 4 Storm, Targets Florida Panhandle; Nikki Haley Resigns as U.S. Ambassador to the U.N.; Turkey Says It Will Search Saudi Consulate for Signs of Missing Journalist; Kremlin Silent on New Evidence in Skripal Novichok Poisoning. Aired 2- 3a ET

Aired October 10, 2018 - 02:00   ET

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


[02:00:00]

JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): I'm John Vause at CNN Headquarters and the most prominent woman in Donald Trump's cabinet is leaving. We'll have the political impact of Nikki Haley's surprise resignation.

And later, new details about a disappearance of a high-profile journalist, missing for more than a week after visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

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VAUSE: Hurricane Michael has just been upgraded to a category 4 storm. Florida's governor says it will likely be the most destructive storm to hit the Florida Panhandle in decades. It's due to make landfall Wednesday afternoon local time. It's about to grow even stronger before it does.

Nearly 2.5 million people have been told to hit the ground as evacuation orders have been issued for at least 22 Florida counties. Michael is moving quickly up the Eastern Gulf Coast, east from the Gulf of Mexico. The authorities have warned the time to get out is now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me be clear, Hurricane Michael is a monstrous storm. The storm is dangerous and if you don't follow warnings from officials, the storm could kill you. You cannot take it lightly.

If you are under an evacuation order, listen to it. Leave now. Do not take a chance. You don't know if roads are getting closed. We're going to do everything we can to help you. But do not wait. If there's an evacuation order, go to safety. If you're on the fence, don't think about it. Do it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: My friend and colleague, George Howell, is in Destin, Florida, sitting right in the path of the storm.

George, you've got only a few hours before the worst hits.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR: John, yes, so category 4.

What does that mean?

It means wind gusts sustained, greater 205-210 kilometers. Very strong winds. That's what category 4 means. Storm surge anywhere from 3-4 meters along the coastline and especially in that area just east of Panama City. Panama City really expecting the eye of the storm to make landfall sometime later Wednesday. East of Panama City will feel it the most.

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[02:05:00]

HOWELL: Some 20 million people, really in the path, of this storm. People who could feel the impact of what is to come and people were given the warning to evacuate. Many people did and some decided to ride it out.

We know that this storm Wednesday, mid- to later afternoon Wednesday, that's when it will be the worst. We're already seeing the conditions start to deteriorate. The wind gusts not that strong.

They come and go; you feel something is happening but certainly in the coming hours, the winds will pick up and this situation will become a much more dangerous, especially in city streets, power lines and trees that come down and storm surge.

Want to talk about that with Ben McMillan. He's a field correspondent with WeatherNation right now in Panama City Beach, via Skype.

Ben, tell us what you're seeing now hours and what you're expecting six hours, 12 hours from now.

BEN MCMILLAN, WEATHERNATION: George, good morning from Panama City Beach, Florida, the place that could be ground zero about 12 hours from now for this major hurricane, Michael, as it makes landfall. Mandatory evacuations in effect for the area and for good reason.

Very low lying areas here along the Gulf of Mexico. That storm surge a big concern along with extremely high winds. It is going to be a multitude of threat as it moves into the area about midday on Wednesday.

HOWELL: Ben, one thing that is always so important is to help people understand the difference between these storms. Some are about flooding, they come in and they stay in the area for an extended amount of time.

And others move in very quickly. That's what this one seems to be.

What are your concerns about this storm? MCMILLAN: We don't want people to get caught off guard. We've had other storms this season, like Florence, which was weakening. The wind will be weakening on its approach to the coast.

But this is the exact opposite with Michael still strengthening. The breaking news just moments ago, upgraded to a category 4 storm. George, a category 4 has never struck the Florida Panhandle area in history. This would be the first if it were to occur.

These types of storms are very serious. Officials wanting to warn people to get out of the way. There's still time, we're just in light rains and winds, some lightning in the area.

But if you're still in the area, you have a few minutes left to get in your car and go to a place of safety.

HOWELL: The storm, for our viewers here in the United States, a category 4, over 130 mph. For our viewers around the world, that's over 205, about 210 kilometers per hour. It means really strong winds. Ben. One of the concerns with these strong winds, when they come right in, especially right off the Gulf.

MCMILLAN: Well, it's the second strongest hurricane on Earth. That means everything becomes projectiles, shingles, trees, any loose items in the street, they call could become flying debris.

And you can imagine, all that flying around at those extremely high wind speeds, no one is going to want to be out on the streets.

HOWELL: Ben McMillan with WeatherNation. Ben, you be safe. We appreciate your time and we'll stay in touch as you continue to track the storm along with us.

John, back to you. We're here in Destin, Florida. We'll watch the situation but the breaking news this hour, Hurricane Michael has been upgraded to a category 4 storm.

What does that mean?

It means very strong winds, it is a dangerous situation along the Florida coast

VAUSE: And this was the forecast. It was expected to reach that category and it has. I guess the question is, how long will it stay a category 4 and what shape will it be when it makes landfall and for how long and we'll find all that out in the coming hours. Thanks, George. Back to you in a moment.

In the meantime, Nikki Haley has been a high flyer within the Trump administration, winning praise for her role as ambassador to the U.N., surviving public disagreements with the president, the likes of which could have sunk the careers of others in his cabinet, which is why so many were taken by surprise on Tuesday, when Haley announced her resignation.

[02:10:00] VAUSE: The president, though, was effusive, saying she'd done a fantastic job and would always be welcome back into his administration whenever she wanted. Trump insisted this moment was long expected. Still there's questions about the timing.

The leading candidate to replace Haley is Goldman Sachs executive, Dina Powell, who served for a short time as the president's deputy national security advisor.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, Dina is certainly a person I would consider and she is under consideration. We have actually many names. And you know, Nikki has been great. Nikki is going to be working along with us and helping us with the choice plus he's going to help us with 2020. And Nikki is a great friend of mine. We've become real friends over the last year. She's done a fantastic job and so she'll be involved.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: Joining me now David Rohde, a CNN global affairs analyst and executive editor, "The New Yorker" website.

David, thank you for taking the time. You know, despite what the president has been saying, we know, who does not want the job and that would be White House adviser and Trump favorite for pretty much everything Ivanka. The first daughter tweeted out a fairly emphatic statement saying that she's just is not interested in being Haley's replacement.

And so with that in mind a few hours ago it came an opinion piece put out by the editorial board of "The New York Times," it was full of praise for Nikki Haley and they write it one day she may eventually find herself having to defend facilitating some of President Trump's worst policies and instincts but she will also be able to point to a more constructive role she played.

Indeed, a replacement in her mold may be the best to hope for from Mr. Trump.

So is there another Nikki Haley out there and is this role within an administration really that important?

So it only goes to the early comers or those who are on their way out, the elder statesman if you like.

DAVID ROHDE, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: I think the role can be important and I think Nikki Haley showed that she disagrees with the president on a variety of fronts. She actually, you know, opposed Trump when he was running for president.

Is there another figure who will speak that openly? It's -- you know, it's not clear. Dina Powell, who works in the

National Security Council, her name has come up. I don't know if she has the sort of political sway with the Republican Party that Nikki Haley had.

And the reality is you know, this President totally dominates this Republican Party. His sort of favorite now in terms of foreign policy is secretary of state Mike Pompeo so the short answer is I don't think there is another person who can sort of question Trump and challenge him the way Nikki Haley did.

VAUSE: Yes. There are also a lot of questions out there about the timing of this announcement.

Why now?

Notably Haley, you know, floated the old cliche need to spend more time with family excuses. This what she said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NIKKI HALEY, UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR TO UNITED NATIONS: There's no personal reasons. I think that it's just very important for government officials to understand when it's time to step aside. And I have given everything I've got these last eight years and I do think that sometimes it's good to rotate in other people who can put that same energy and power into it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: You know, that need to take a break, this sort of crop rotation system for senior government officials, it's often what a president will say when he's firing someone is it?

ROHDE: Yes, I don't -- I don't think she's forced out but I think there's something happening here. Officials in the White House were surprised by this announcement. They didn't expect it would come. It distracted from the president you know, swearing in Brett Kavanaugh as the new Supreme Court justice last night and so that I think there's a lot of speculation about why she's done this.

You know, Nikki Haley has spoken out about women who are saying they're victims of sexual assault being listened to. She has disagree with the president so I think there's more to this and that will come out in the days ahead. I don't think you know, this is a sudden announcement that surprised people across the White House, that's no accident. There's something more to this story.

VAUSE: I'm just wondering.

Could it simply be that she's now planning on cashing in on her government experience?

She wants this high paying job in the private sector because the home state newspaper "The Post and Courier" has reported this. The federal ethics reports show Haley a debt from $525,000 to about $1.1 million in 2017. The last year available for this numbers, $25,000 to $65,000 on two credit cards, listed a mortgage on the line of credit for 250,000 to 500,000.

This report goes on to detail finds with troubles for her parents. They sold a strip mall to Haley's husband for $5.00 (INAUDIBLE) $1 million. The parent's home is actually going through foreclosure as well.

Could she be heading for the exit essentially before she becomes damaged goods by associating with Trump administration for too long?

You know -- and the first thing comes to mind with all this is Sean Spicer, the former White House press secretary.

ROHDE: I think that you know, she could have headed for the exits after the midterm elections. You know, even if the Democrats there well in the election said that won't be a surprise. So I don't -- and you know, there are these financial difficulties you mentioned, again, I would have expected her to get through November.

We're weeks away --

[02:15:00]

ROHDE: -- from this vote. There will be a lot of turnover I think in the administration after the midterms no matter what.

So again, there's some other reason she's leaving. It's not clear yet but I think it will emerge. And one thing just you know, it's a -- it's a symbol. She's one of the few female members of the cabinet that really is a sort of powerful figure and so her departure you know, it creates even more of a cabinet of older white men.

And you know, you talked about a replacement, you know, that'll be a big question will he try to find another woman and he does lack women in his cabinet.

VAUSE: Yes, there's not a lot diversity within the administration right now. And we saw sure should not that Haley's resignation was not the only surprising statement that she made, on Tuesday there was also this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HALEY: Jared is such a heavy genius that no one understands. I mean to redo the NAFTA deal the way he did, what I've done working with him on the Middle East peace plan, it is so unbelievably well done.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: She went on to say how Jared Kushner has been hiding this genius that he has. But you know, to be fair, there's also gushing praise for so many others within Donald Trump's administration.

Is it that kind of a glimpse of how you know, Nikki Haley has handled Donald Trump? ROHDE: I think so but look, I want to be respectful to Donald Trump. Again, these statements and her sort of, you know, praise for Donald Trump and his son-in-law, you know, show the total power of Donald Trump over this Republican Party.

She is a politician, Nikki Haley. She will be running for office in the future. Donald Trump can turn on any candidate in any race in this country, in a Republican candidate and back their opponent and that Republican politicians career is over.

So I think she was exaggerating about Kushner. She was praising the president. That is a way to handle Donald Trump. But the point here is you know Nikki Haley is savvy and this is absolutely 100 percent Donald Trump's Republican Party. He controls it and Nikki Haley showed that today.

VAUSE: Yes. Absolutely. He owns them 100 percent.

David, thank you so much. Good to see you.

ROHDE: Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: Well, after the break, there's a lot of new reporting about what may have happened to a prominent journalist who disappeared after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Also an intelligence website claims a second suspect in the Novichok poisoning in the U.K. is apparently a hero in Russia, allegedly connected to the Kremlin.

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VAUSE: We're learning graphic new details about what a prominent journalist may have faced when he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and disappeared. "The Washington Post" reports a squad of Saudi men were waiting for Jamal Khashoggi last Tuesday, who was last seen in this surveillance video.

Sources tell "The Post" U.S. intelligence intercepted Saudi discussions for plans to try and capture him. "The New York Times" quotes a senior official, saying Khashoggi was assassinated under orders from the highest levels of the royal court. The official said the Saudi agents dismembered his body --

[02:20:00]

VAUSE: -- with a bone saw. Saudis have vehemently denied killing Khashoggi.

Jomana Karadsheh live outside the consulate in Istanbul. We have seen this reporting in the last couple of hours coming from a

variety of news outlets.

What is it we know at this point that is actually confirmed and, obviously, what can we -- what do we steer away from?

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Through the past week, there's only one thing that is confirmed. One thing that everyone does agree on, is Jamal Khashoggi walked in the building behind me in the Saudi consulate. What happened after that is where you hear speculation. You hear theories. There's been some leaks and comments coming from unnamed Turkish officials. We have a lot of information about what may have happened. But so far no evidence to back the allegations and claims.

At the same time, you've heard the Saudi version of events, that he was in the consulate and he left a short time after that. They haven't produced their evidence, which would be security camera footage showing him leaving.

So we have a lot of claims and allegations and absolutely no evidence to back that up at this point. At least publicly, we don't know what the Turkish investigators have reached, how some of these officials may have reached the conclusion that he was killed or abducted as we heard.

We know Turkish authorities in this criminal investigation, they're focusing on a group of Saudis, who arrived in the city in Istanbul on the day of his disappearance. Now they were at the consulate during the time of his visit, according to a number of officials and they left the country a short time after that.

There are also two executive jets that were from a company that is frequently used by the Saudi government that we understand, they were likely the mode of transport used by the Saudis when they arrived here in Istanbul.

So a lot of questions and accusations. We're hearing very little from the Saudis, not very satisfactory answers, explaining what may have happened. When it comes to the CCTV footage, the security camera footage that everyone is asking for to back their claims, that he left the consulate, we heard some officials saying that the cameras weren't recording that day. The Saudi ambassador to the U.S. telling Senator Bob Corker they live stream their video but don't record it.

That's something the U.S. officials are now finding very strange.

VAUSE: Jomana, thank you. There's a lot out there and I will say this will be worked through in the coming hours. But it explains why Khashoggi's fiancee has written that op-ed, asking the U.S. president to try to shed some light and get some transparency into what's actually going on here.

Jomana, thank you. We appreciate the update.

The Kremlin has remained silent after new claims of one of the suspects in the Skripal poisonings in the U.K. is directly linked to the Kremlin. The British investigative group, Bellingcat, named suspect number two as Alexander Mishkin, a doctor working for Russian military intelligence. Apparently he's a hero in his homeland.

For more, here's CNN's Nina dos Santos.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNNMONEY EUROPE EDITOR (voice-over): After outing the first suspect in the Salisbury poisonings, the U.K. investigative website Bellingcat produced what it claims is proof that the second man seen in these pictures is Alexander Mishkin, formally described only by the alias, Alexander Petrov.

And just like his companion, Bellingcat says he's also a highly decorated agent of Russia's military intelligence unit, the GRU, having allegedly received the country's highest accolade from President Putin himself.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You had a Russian insider go the same town, speak to local people and just get more information. So a huge amount of information about him to confirm his identity.

DOS SANTOS (voice-over): Using a combination of online databases, facial recognition software and human intelligence, Bellingcat discovered that Mishkin was born 39 years ago in the village of Loyga, in the far north of Russia. His rank has not been reported but he's believed to be a medical doctor, training that could be crucial when handling the nerve agent Novichok, which U.K. authorities believe the two smeared on the door of former spy, Sergei Skripal.

That's a concern for those who have long raised the alarm about Russian interference in the West.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't know if he was there as an operative. We don't know if he administered the poison --

[02:25:00]

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- or as a backup in case other people were infected by it. I think it's really regrettable. Doctors are not there to poison people. They're there to save lives.

DOS SANTOS (voice-over): News about Mishkin's identity comes amid a major international effort to push back on GRU activity on and offline. After the U.K., Australia and New Zealand publicly accused the body of masterminding multiple devastating global cyber attacks and the Netherlands unveiled details of a foiled plot to hack into the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

Reacting to the latest Bellingcat revelations, Russia's embassy in London accused such investigations of having what it called "obvious ties" to the Secret Services and said that it showed that the U.K. had no intention of pursuing the investigation within the framework of international law. The Metropolitan Police declined to comment -- Nina dos Santos, CNN, London. (END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: The wife of the former chief of Interpol says she now fears for her life. Meng Hongwei was detained after a flight to China last month. He is accused of corruption as well as accepting bribes.

In an exclusive interview with CNN, Grace Meng says she has received a threatening phone call after her husband went missing and is now getting police protection in France. She still has not told her children what happened to their father.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE MENG, MENG HONGWEI'S WIFE: My children is my life, you know.

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Do they know?

MENG: No. No TV for them since the day they lost. No TV so maybe because they're already several years old, maybe they feel something happened. But you know, they're good. They ask mommy what happened. They know. I say, when they see mommy crying?

I told mommy have a cold.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Stay with us next hour, a lot more from that exclusive interview with Grace Meng.

In the meantime, a short break and when we come back, Hurricane Michael upgraded to a category 4 and could become the strongest storm to ever hit the Florida Panhandle.

Also four weeks away from the U.S. midterm election. What the swing voters in one of the swingiest districts are saying.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would say it is probably just time for a little change.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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HOWELL: I'm George Howell, live in Destin, Florida. We're awaiting a monster that grows in the dark, a category 4 hurricane. Hurricane Michael. It is tracking for Panama City, Florida, at a really fast pace for a hurricane, some 19 kilometers per hour

[02:30:00] I want to show you some images though. This is quite difference honestly. Several hours before this. Look at this. This was the sunset and so many people saw this beautiful moment. But you could call it the proverbial calm before the storm because now things are about to get rough down here.

Some 22 counties in Florida have already issued evacuation notices to people and some 2.5 million people really expecting to be in the impact and to feel the impact of the storm as it pushes inland. Very fast, strong winds, very strong winds associated with a category four storm strong enough for the mayor of Panama City. Again, that city within the eye of the storm for the mayor to warn people follow the advice of officials to leave if they can. And if they can't leave -- can ride the storm out. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR GREG BRUDNICKI, PANAMA CITY, FLORIDA: In the past, we've had a lot of storms that turned out to not be that big a deal. And so, you know, people get complacent. But this one, we are directly in the path. We've been on the edge of several over the last few years. This one we're right in the path. So my advice to the people that are now staying that, you know, once the winds get over 50 miles an hour, our first responders, police, fire, they're not going to be able to get to you.

So hopefully, you got enough water and food and stuff to take care of yourself. You know, we've done everything we can do to get people leave. But right now, they're going to have to hunker down. What they need to do is get in a safe place. Wherever you are, hopefully it is a safe ace. And, you know, we'll see in the morning. We're going to get some wind. We're starting to get a lot of wind right now. And in the morning, it's going to probably get up to the 40 and 50 miles an hour range.

And tomorrow about afternoon, you know, we might be hitting a 125 mile an hour wind. So do not leave your home or leave wherever you are. You know, stay inside and don't go out stargazing tonight and don't go out tomorrow. Look around because it could be downed power wires and, you know, there could be things being blown around and people could get hurt. So our number one priority is to keep people safe. And we can keep you safe if you stay home.

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HOWELL: And right now, we're getting ready for it. So here in Destin, Florida, we're already starting to feel a bit of the rain directly associated from Hurricane Michael. The wind gusts, they're about the same as they've been really the last several hours. But again, the winds come and go. Not so strong. But we know what's coming. These wind gusts anywhere from 205 to 210 kilometers per hour sustained gusts that can get much higher the net. Our meteorologist Pedram Javaheri has been tracking this.

And again, the breaking news this hour, Pedram is supposed to what we saw just an hour ago. This is now a category 4 storm. It is historic. The storm that is about to hit this part of the country.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN INTERNATIONAL METEOROLOGIST: It is. You know, we were talking about the Florida Panhandle having never experienced a storm of this magnitude. George, this just run the number is look at the (INAUDIBLE) hurricane center data from 1851 to 2017. 292 hurricanes have impacted the United States in that 150 plus years of date. And you look at that less than one percent have ever achieved category 4 at landfall, .09 percent to be precise.

So really puts in perspective of a rarity of a storm of such magnitude approaching the coastal region of the United States and of course having gone on roughly 36 hours going from a category one to now a healthy category four. And you take a look at this. Statistically speaking, once you go from a category three to a category four, it's not a one scale sort of an increase when it comes to the damage strength. In fact, it's five times increase in damage strength once you exceed from a three to a four and then you double that even once you exceed up to a category five.

So it really puts in perspective of the damage concern right along the immediate path east of Panama City sometime around lunch time on Wednesday when the storm begins to move ashore. The outer bands are ready beginning to push in Panama City seeing a few bands of showers and thunderstorms so far this morning. And guess what, it is expected to maintain the intensity potentially strengthen further as it approaches land coming ashore again sometime between noon and say 3:00 or 4 p.m. as a historic category four right there east of Panama City, and a quick moving storm.

So it is different than what we saw with Florence when (INAUDIBLE) and kind of parked off the coastline and inundated the region with heavy rainfall. This what bring in heavy rainfall potentially a quarter of a meter of rainfall. But it is going at least move through rather quickly. We do have the hurricane warnings in place right along the Panhandle. And the biggest concern is always in particular across this region of the coast, George, where we have a lot of this kind of concave landscape essentially the landscape kind of landers and builds in so it allow water to funnel itself in.

Storm surge could exceed areas of three and a half almost four meters high. So essentially we're getting water to the second story of some of these homes on the coast there, George.

[02:35:07] HOWELL: All right. Pedram Javaheri, thank you so much in the CNN International Weather Center. Again, this hurricane a category four storm, it is moving this way. It promises to pack a punch. We of course will be here live covering it for you here on CNN. Stay with us.

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VAUSE: Yes. When you hear the music, you know the elections are not far away. In fact, the U.S. midterms now less than a month away. And former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton says there's a lot of work ahead for Democrats if they want to win Congress. Here's part of her exclusive interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The first

order of business for a Democratic House and Senate should be to get back to regular order and try to impose discipline and accountability on this administration. The question about impeachment, you know, that will be left to others to decide. I want to stop the degrading of the rule of law, the delegitimizing of elections. One of their priority should be let's protect our elections. Let's make sure that we have electoral security. Let's end the suppression of voters. So there's a big agenda if the Democrats take over.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: And according to the latest CNN polling, Democrat could win. The 23 seats they need to take control of the house, 54 percent of likely voters say they that Democrats to Congress, 41 percent for Republicans, and if that double digit lead holds even the Senate might actually be in play. (INAUDIBLE) to Democrats especially in one district in the U.S. State of Iowa. Our Kyung Lah reports voters there say they are ready for a change.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: In Northeast Iowa, signs of a turning tide in a critical swing district. Did you vote for President Obama?

LARRY BLOCK, IOWA RESIDENT: One time I did, yes.

LAH: And how did you vote in this last presidential?

BLOCK: For the president, Trump (INAUDIBLE)

LAH: 73-years-old, Larry Block, Iowa born and raised. A typical first congressional district voter. He elected Obama twice and President Trump flipped it winning by four points. This November, Block, says he's swinging back to Democrats. What do you think of Congressman Blum versus the challenger?

[02:40:12] BLOCK: I would say it's probably just time for a little change. So and that's where a lot of us I think anymore vote. We like to see change in politics.

LAH: That change challenger and Democrat Abby Finkenauer, age 29, four years a state lawmaker still paying off her college loan running on her working class upbringing to protect blue color America.

ABBY FINKENAUER, CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT NOMINEE: This is not how we treat people in my state or in my country, and I was going to do whatever I could to get it.

LAH: We've been talking a lot about the forgotten people that put President Trump talked about and he won this district.

FINKENAUER: President Trump and this administration walked around my district, walked around the State of Iowa saying that they cared about working families and the last two years all we saw are policies that go after team.

LAH: Democratic energy fuels Finkenauer's rise against two-term incumbent Republican Rod Blum. She's ahead in the polls. Blum weighed down by an ethics investigation was topped in recent fundraising. At their first debate, Blum slipped in through the back. How are you feeling about tonight?

REP. ROD BLUM (R), IOWA: Oh, great. I discussed the issues.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Welcome to the first debate between the two candidates.

LAH: The president's policies center stage.

BLUM: I believe the president. He broke Canada. He will break China and our farmers will come out ahead for the next 20 years.

FINKENAUER: What this administration decided to start a trade war on Twitter, that's not how you get something done.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you very much. Have a great campaign and good night everyone.

LAH: Blum turned us down for an interview.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Guys, I'm sorry. But he doesn't want to talk to anybody.

LAH: And he just slipped went out the back?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

LAH: Blum is counting in supporters like John Hoffmann.

JOHN HOFFMANN, IOWA RESIDENT: A lot of corn.

LAH: An independent, he voted for Obama and then Trump. While the trade war with China hurts him now, he wants Trump and Blum to have more time.

HOFFMANN: Well, I think experience helps in anything you do in life. We'll see how that plays out with the voters in the district though.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: Well, finally, here a happy ending for a young whale calf entangled in shark net off the Gold Coast of Australia. Rescuers spent almost two hours trying to untangle the calf. There are two adult whales. One believed to be the mother the same close by. Once it was all over, rescues said that, well, the time process was distressing. It seems the mother was aware of what they were trying to do. They were trying to help the calf and he says that apparently the mother was calm through it all.

From the air, there were views that showed baby moving freely through the water after the ordeal. There you have it. Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause. Stay tuned now for "WORLD SPORT." You're watching CNN.

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