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Trump: U.S. Investigators are "Over There" Looking into Journalist's Disappearance; Widespread, Catastrophic Damage across Florida Panhandle; Stock Selling Frenzy Eases after Historic Loss. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired October 11, 2018 - 10:30   ET




DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, we're looking at it very, very seriously. I don't like it at all. Now, you know, you don't have American citizens but that in this case doesn't matter. I don't like it. I don't like it with respect to reporters. It's a terrible, terrible precedent. We can't let it happen. And we're being very tough, and we have investigators over there. And we're working with Turkey and frankly we're working with Saudi Arabia. We want to find out what happened. There would be no Saudi Arabia if there wasn't a United States because we protected them. And we don't get paid for this protection. We should be paid. We spend billions and billions of dollars a year protecting Saudi Arabia.


POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Well, that's the first we heard about U.S. investigators being overseas looking into this from the president. Look, they're trying to figure out what happened, and at the hands of whom.

Nic Robertson is with us. He's been putting this timeline together, putting all the details for us together. Watch his reporting.


ROBERTSON (voice-over): All fateful steps and he is gone. The last moments Jamal Khashoggi was seen alive in public, entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul October 2nd.

ROBERTSON (on camera): That was at 1:14 p.m. on Tuesday. What happened over the next hour and three quarters remains at the center of this mystery, core to the investigation. At a little after 3:00 p.m., several consulate vehicles were seen leaving the consulate. The question now, was Khashoggi in one of those vehicles. And, if so, was he alive.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): The vehicles pull away just after 3:00 in the afternoon, arriving minutes later at the consul general's house nearby. The dark windowed van disappears from view into the compound. These tantalizing CCTV recordings, leaked to Turkish media, have

Turkish investigators scratching their heads. How could Khashoggi just disappear?

Their investigations are being hampered. Saudi officials had promised access to the consulate, hidden behind a high razor-wire topped wall, but now Turkish officials say the Saudis are not cooperating. Piling on the pressure, a Turkish pro-government national newspaper has published names and pictures of 15 Saudi men who Turkish officials confirm to CNN are persons of interest in Khashoggi's disappearance. A Saudi source familiar with four of the men confirms to CNN one of them is a former diplomat in London, and an intelligence officer. Another is a forensics expert.

CNN has pieced together a timeline for how at least some of these men got to Istanbul. Some left Riyadh at 11:30 p.m. Monday on a private jet, landing in Istanbul around 3:30 a.m., hours before Khashoggi disappears. Leaked CCTV recordings show the plane arriving at Ataturk Airport at 3:28 a.m. Minutes later, nine men from the aircraft are picked up on cameras going through passport control. They head to a city hotel.

ROBERTSON (on camera): At around 5:00 a.m. that morning, they check into the hotel just around the corner from the consulate. About four and a half hours later, they all leave, divided into small group.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Investigators believe they went to the consulate to wait for Khashoggi.

CNN has also tracked a second chartered jet, arriving from Riyadh at a critical moment that day. it lands in Istanbul around 4:00 p.m. and leaves just one hour later, stopping in Cairo, en route back to Saudi.

Why is this important? Turkish officials say the other plane that left later in the evening with Saudis on it was checked, their bags x- rayed. But we don't know whether the first Saudi plane to leave Istanbul was checked and it left about two hours after the van swept into the consul's residence.

As it flew to Saudi, Khashoggi's fiance was pacing up and down outside the consulate, more and more anxious. More than a week after Jamal Khashoggi entered this building to finalize his marriage papers. The mystery of what happened to him continues to deepen.

Nic Robertson, CNN Istanbul, Turkey.


HARLOW: That is amazing reporting from Nic, and it is beyond just this mystery. This is about human rights. This is about what may have been done at the hands of a key U.S. ally in the region.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Alleged murder.

[10:35:00] HARLOW: Alleged murder, exactly. So, on that point, our Manu Raju on the Hill just caught up with Republican senator of Tennessee, Bob Corker, who chairs the Foreign Relations Committee, and asked him about this letter that Corker and the entire Senate Foreign Relations Committee just sent to the president with the exception of Rand Paul calling for an investigation and potential sanctions on Saudi Arabia. Here's what Senator Corker said.


SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: He'll be under intense pressure, if they find they were involved in this, the killing of an American citizen, to sanction heavily, even the highest officials within the regime. My instincts say that there's no question the Saudi government did this. And my instincts say that they murdered him.


SCIUTTO: That is a GOP senator, Senate Foreign Relations Committee stalwart saying that he believes a U.S. ally, Saudi Arabia, murdered a "Washington Post" journalist, U.S. resident, well-known in the region, Jamal Khashoggi.

I want to bring in Rear Admiral John Kirby, CNN military and diplomatic analyst here. It strikes me, John Kirby, you would not have Bob Corker say that and he's seen the intelligence, if the intelligence didn't show this. Tell me how disturbing a situation this would be for the U.S. regarding one of its closest allies.

REAR ADMIRAL JOHN KIRBY (RET), CNN MILITARY AND DIPLOMATIC ANALYST: I would have to say, honestly, Jim, this would be, if true, the most disturbing event to take place between the United States and Saudi Arabia in our bilateral relations perhaps ever, certainly in many, many decades. This is as serious as it gets. For the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to come out and say that as boldly as he did to Manu, tells you and he does see intelligence that you and I don't see, tells you that there could be something to this. So, it's very, very, very serious.

HARLOW: We know that he and all of those senators on the Foreign Relations Committee were able yesterday -- late yesterday to go to the skiff and look at these pages of intelligence, right, and just see what these intercepts showed. So, if it was the case, if Khashoggi was murdered because of what he wrote in opposition to Mohammed bin Salman and the regime in Saudi Arabia, what does the White House need to do about it?

KIRBY: Well, the first thing that needs to be done is a Magnitsky Act invocation, which would usually be preceded by an investigation which I understand, is beginning now. And then you would have to make policy decisions based on that. Now, assuming it's true that he was murdered, that Saudis did that in their consulate, then there would be, you would expect, swift United States unilateral sanctions against Saudi Arabia and actual tangible changes in our bilateral relationship.

For instance, military to military cooperation should be curtailed if not completely cancelled, and other trade relationships like foreign military sales would also have to be curtailed or canceled. Then, again Poppy, you also have to look at the international community. I would expect the U.N. would also enact some sort of Security Council resolutions that would be sanctioning Saudi Arabia for this kind of action.


SCIUTTO: Let me ask you this, John, if I can. If CNN is reporting this morning, and I should note "The Washington Post" was first to report this, the U.S. had intercepts prior to his disappearance of the Saudis discussing detaining him in some way. Not clear from that, there's no evidence from that that they had intercepts discussing a murder, but still, detention. If the U.S. captured intelligence like that about an ally, would it have had a duty to warn Khashoggi?

KIRBY: So, here's where it gets sticky, Jim. The Intelligence Community does have under a 1995 law, responsibility to inform if they have reason to believe that harm and/or death, of course, would come as a result of action taken by a host government, by detention. But just the act of detaining for potential legal reasons, for instance, that's where it gets a little squishy. So you have to -- then you would need to rely on the intelligence, and what that intelligence tells you about the purpose of detention. And if there was enough intelligence to indicate that the detention was designed for harm, then yes, there is a responsibility. But we haven't seen that intelligence and we don't really know what they saw. Key to this, Jim, is also how long ago was this? It's unclear for me from the press reporting exactly when that was.

SCIUTTO: John Kirby -

HARLOW: You wonder what the response will be from the U.N. and from the administration given the lack of a strong response post the airstrikes in Yemen, right, on Saudi Arabia. Will this be markedly different or not?

KIRBY: I think no matter how this goes, Poppy, I honestly believe this is going to have a lasting impact on U.S./Saudi bilateral relations and quite frankly, it should.

SCIUTTO: Well, the U.S. recertified arms sales after the airstrike killed all those children.

HARLOW: Exactly.

SCIUTTO: Tougher situation and the president has said, as you noted a number of times in this broadcast, that would cost American jobs. What wins out here? Admiral Kirby, thanks very much.

Stunning new pictures coming out of Mexico Beach, Florida. We're following the latest on Hurricane Michael's devastation there. We have been up in the air over it. It's really shocking to see.


SCIUTTO: This morning, stunning new images by CNN of the devastation from Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Florida. Just look at that there. FEMA said this area caught the brunt of the storm, and you believe them. Those used to be homes down there. Streets lined with homes. And just most of them disappeared off the map. Meanwhile, in Tallahassee, there are trees down everywhere, thousands without power.

[10:45:02] The mayor there, telling residents that the danger is not over. And we're joined now by Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum. He's also Democratic nominee for the governor of Florida. Mayor Gillum thanks for taking the time with us.

MAYOR ANDREW GILLUM (D), TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA (via telephone): Thank you so much, Jim. I hope you all are well.

SCIUTTO: First, let me ask you this. We have seen a lot of the physical destruction there. We're curious. What's the state of the people, the residents? We know the loads of folks that have had trouble reaching relatives down there because phone lines are down. Do we know yet how many people might have been injured, lost their lives?

GILLUM: Yes, I mean, so first of all, we are a resilient people and a resilient community and are so thankful because we have not had any loss of life reported in the Tallahassee Leon County area. We're aware of two deaths obviously in neighboring counties, and our hearts go out to them and to their families. Here, in Tallahassee, obviously, different than the coast. The threat was different. Ours was always going to be wind and rain, saturated ground that would obviously topple trees with the kind of wind gusts and sustained winds that we had yesterday during the storm.

Today, we've got about 110,000 utility customers that are out of power. We have seen thousands of trees that have come down on houses and on cars, obviously on streets. We're quoting north of 200 streets that are impassable. The good news is, however, is that our crews are already out working this morning. They started at 6:00 a.m. clearing debris, cutting and tossing trees off the road. Moving through neighborhoods and obviously working to build or rebuild rather our utility system which was 90 percent impacted by this storm. So we've got a little bit of a road ahead of us, but we're so thankful because we know that it could have been a lot worse.

HARLOW: Mayor, can I just get your reaction to these images? I don't know if you're watching CNN there as we're talking, but our Brooke Baldwin and her team, while these images over Mexico Beach, Senator Marco Rubio saying it's gone, and it really, really is. I mean, you're running, you know, in the gubernatorial race there. What does Florida need? This is a long road ahead, especially for these areas in Mexico Beach?

GILLUM: It is a long road ahead. And unfortunately, I'm not able to see your images but I can only imagine that if they're the ones that I have seen before, we saw whole cities really washed out, Mexico Beach, Panama City Beach, really ravaged by this storm. Parts of the Panhandle that we haven't been able to lay eyes on yet that I know have been impacted by this storm. What we obviously need are beyond thoughts and prayers at this time, is we have to really activate that area to, one, get through search and rescue. Different than what we had here. Obviously, they've got a search and rescue operation that's underway to see have there been any fatalities there that had not been accounted for yet. Once we've been able to move people out of harm's way, we'll have to quickly move to what does a recovery and restoration look like in those communities. But I fear based on the images that we're seeing, the damage is just so severe that this is going to be a long recovery process.

I will tell you, as the mayor of the city of Tallahassee, we do have seven or so shelters in our community that are open. We know that we're going to be an important part of the recovery effort for our brothers and sisters to the western panhandle of us and we're prepared to play that role as we get up on our feet. My thoughts and prayers go out to those families that have been so devastated by yesterday's storm impact.

HARLOW: Yes, no question. Mayor Gillum, thank you, good luck to you and Tallahassee and to everyone across Florida. I do think you guys can play a big role in helping out the folks that were just battered down here in Mexico Beach. Thank you very much.

We're going to take a quick check of the market next, after a huge selloff yesterday, the president pointing his finger at the Federal Reserve in an unprecedented move. How is the market looking today? We're back in a minute.


[10:53:30] SCIUTTO: Well, it has been an up and down morning or rather a down and then up and then down again morning on the stock market. The Dow Jones there you see down about 150 points, after a brutal trading day yesterday.

Let's go to Julia Chatterley. She is on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. It looked like things might be turning around a little bit, but now testing lows again.

JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN ANCHOR, FIRST MOVE: Yes. You're right, Jim. It's choppy. Investors can't decide which way to play this. And after the significant losses that you mentioned that we saw yesterday, I think that makes sense. On what we need to watch here is the tech stocks -- Facebook, Apple, Amazon. They were at the heart of the losses that we saw yesterday. I think what changed sentiment today, though, and this is really key is inflation data.

We got pricing data out of the United States this morning, and that was softer. It was weaker than expected. And this cuts to the comments that we got from the president overnight, too. He's worried that the Federal Reserve is going to raise rates too quickly here. So if you get softer inflation data that relieves some of the pressure on the Federal Reserve here. And that's a good thing. And that's why I think investors are kind of confused about what to do here.

Just to reiterate, guys, the president called the Federal Reserve loco. He said they have gone loco. They're raising rates too fast. I will couch his comments though because there are a lot of investors that are looking at this situation saying there are a lot of risks around the world, trade, gas prices, mortgage rates.

[10:55:00] Should the Federal Reserve be talking about raising rates quickly here, probably not. So you know there are some people that might agree with the president here, guys, and say the Fed needs to be more careful about what it says.

SCIUTTO: There's a reason the Federal Reserve is independent from presidents and has been since its beginning.

HARLOW: And presidents don't call the Fed crazy. I mean you kind of laugh about it, but it's not a laughing matter. This is serious stuff about an independent institution that is responsible for giving us accurate data and making sure that the economy doesn't get too overheated.

Julia Chatterley, we're glad you're on the floor. Look, 800-plus point drop yesterday, market off 150 right now, nothing like yesterday. We'll see how the day unfolds. Thank you all for being with us all morning. We'll see you back here tomorrow morning. I'm Poppy Harlow.

SCIUTTO: I'm Jim Sciutto. "At This Hour" with Kate Bolduan starts after a quick break.