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Hurricane Michael at Nearly Category 5; Missing Journalist; Turkish Newspaper Publishes Photos and Names of 15 Saudis; Pope Compares Abortion to Hiring a Hitman. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired October 11, 2018 - 00:00   ET




JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): The evidence apparently leading the Saudis to the disappearance of a high-profile journalist continues to grow and U.S. lawmakers are now forcing President Trump to investigate what happened. And that could end with sanctions on Saudi officials.

Hello, everybody. I'm John Vause in Atlanta.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): And I'm George Howell, live in Destin, Florida, where we felt the impact of Hurricane Michael as it made landfall, now the most powerful hurricane to hit the U.S. mainland in decades.


HOWELL: We start this hour with the very latest on Hurricane Michael. It is still a hurricane, a category 1 storm, overland in the U.S. state of Georgia, packing a punch. From there it goes on to the Carolinas, the Carolinas still recovering from Hurricane Florence just a month ago.

Here in the Florida Panhandle we felt the brunt of this storm all day. The winds were up, the rain. You could feel it, very intense storm as it came onshore as a category 4 just shy of being a category 5 storm and it brought about life-threatening storm surge.

I want you to take a look at the damage near the town of Mexico Beach, Florida, the winds there near 250 kph and significant storm surge there. A lot of the damage came from wind tearing down trees, the winds destroying homes and buildings and sending large pieces of debris flying into the air.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's no impact houses that I can -- well, one, pretty much all the houses are missing, roofs, siding. My brother's boat cabin (INAUDIBLE) up here (INAUDIBLE) the marina and all the ducks are gone and the water came up to the level of the palm trees just before the pond and palm trees. These were the (INAUDIBLE) about 12-15 feet and it's -- the water did go up to the top of the roof. So...

HOWELL (voice-over): Category 4 storm, nearly category 5 many people just amazed by what happened. This storm unfortunately proved to be a deadly storm. At least one person died as a result of it and so far it's left more than half a million people without power.

Weather experts predicted this storm would be one for the record books. It's already in the record books. Consider its place in history. The storm found the strongest hurricane to ever hit the state of Florida, Florida Panhandle, also the strongest to hit the continental U.S. since Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

As things stand now it is still on the move as heavy rain, devastating wind that tore through homes and buildings. They are still a threat as they move north and east.



HOWELL: Hurricane Michael's moving fast. It is leaving behind a trail of destruction among the powerful images that we've seen so far, video of a roof being ripped off this home in Panama City, Florida. CNN's Brian Todd was outside that home later and shows us the aftermath.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Here in Panama City Beach, this is one of the most devastated neighborhoods of the entire city. This is Surf Drive, just a few feet from the Gulf of Mexico. They had the storm surge threat but it was really the wind that did the damage in this neighborhood.

Look at this house here. This was captured on video earlier on Wednesday as this roof got completely sheared off and just about half the house is missing, at least on the top side of it. We're told by the family who owns this place that area that was so devastated used to be the living room and the kitchen upstairs.

And so now that's completely gone; the roof, a hunk of twisted metal, was blown completely off, tossed about 75 yards down the road and is now embedded in a fence. You can see as part of the wall here was also sheared off.

The family here, we talked to them as they came, the gentleman whose mother-in-law owns this place, they were just devastated at this. They saw this happening on the news. They saw the video being shot as this was going on. Luckily no one was here. The woman who owns it, this gentleman's mother-in-law lives in Missouri. No one was here at the time.

But we did talk to beach patrol and sheriff's deputies who came out here in this neighborhood and they said I did have to go door-to-door and they did have to pull some people out of these houses, not necessarily because they were trapped but because they needed to be pulled out of houses like this that are just uninhabitable but have had the roofs torn off and other infrastructure just completely damaged.

Here's another example of that, this house right here on Surf Drive. Again, half the roof was torn off. There's a wall around that corner that was completely torn apart and just fell apart and a lot of debris just got tossed around that house and thrown up against that sliding glass door right there.

We've also smelled gas in this area around the side of this house. That is a hidden danger in this area as are many things you come across, especially here in the pitch black. These downed power lines are especially dangerous right now because, without these camera lights, it is completely black. If we try to drive or walk around this area, you could easily run into them. That's why officials are saying please do not come back into these neighborhoods. They're having trouble keeping people out of them, though, as people try to get back to their homes or just curiosity seekers trying to get pictures -- Brian Todd, CNN, Panama City Beach, Florida.


HOWELL: Brian, thank you very much. Again, from here --

VAUSE: Well, it looks like a few problems there with George, reporting from the hurricane zone. We'll continue talking to him. Back in a moment.

We will now go to Derek Van Dam, I think.


OK, Derek Van Dam joining us now with the very latest.

Derek, this has been a storm which that region has never seen before and really, when compared to other hurricanes just in the last couple of months, this one was incredible.

DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Today was a real whirlwind of a day. We're in Apalachicola on the Big Bend of Florida about 30 miles to the east of Panama City where, of course, the worst destruction from a major Hurricane Michael took place.

But we had our fair share here, the storm surge was so incredible and how fast it came up. I've covered a number of these hurricanes in my life. But this was something else and it was quite unprecedented to see it rise so quickly where we were located.

So I will give you an indication of what we've seen through the course of the day today. The winds were so strong at one point during the peak of the storm, as the eyewall was making landfall just to our west, that the sheets of rain that came through almost created a --


VAN DAM: -- whiteout condition. Think for people who are watching, who have been in a blizzard or a big snowstorm, it's difficult to orient yourself. Are you looking up, are you looking down, it's so hard because the wind was so intense and the rain was so heavy at one point that it was just a complete whiteout.

We had moments where literally Dumpsters were floating by us in the storm surge. We had billboards that flew in front of us on the roadways as we were trying to navigate the streets around Apalachicola. Here is one of the billboards that sheared off of the side of a building. It is just incredible to see the force and the fury of the winds that clocked over 100 mph within this area.

The damage here I would say is moderate. I know the further west we go, the closer to Panama City Beach, the closer to Mexico Beach, you get where the eyewall made contact with the coast, that's where you see the greatest damage, of course.

But here, we're cleaning up trees, power lines. And when we get that first hint of sunrise in the morning, we'll get a general idea of the scope of the devastation here in Apalachicola. Reporting from the Panhandle of Florida, I'm CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam -- back to you, George.

VAUSE: Derek, we thank you very much for the live report there and the very latest. We can actually report that Hurricane Michael is now a tropical storm but the winds are still gusting at 70 mph. Before it was downgraded, Panama City Beach experienced some of the strongest wings associated with the storm, so close to the eyewall as it came ashore.

Our Natasha Chen is in live with the very latest.

Natasha, the storm may have passed but with downed trees and downed power lines and so much damage there's a lot of danger out there tonight.

NATASHA CHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We're under a curfew right now until 8:00 am, in fact to nine counties, I believe, are under a similar curfew. And that's because it is dangerous to navigate around damage like this.

We're seen crumpled metal, roofs blown off of buildings, traffic lights in the streets and, as you mentioned, trees and power lines blocking roads.


CHEN (voice-over): Hurricane Michael made history as it landed in Florida's Panhandle and swept across the southeast.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hurricane Michael is the worst storm that the Florida Panhandle has ever seen and one of the worst power storms to ever make landfall in the United States.

CHEN (voice-over): The catastrophic, fast-moving storm smashed homes and businesses and knocked out power (INAUDIBLE) water.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Devastation, this is total devastation.

CHEN (voice-over): Just before making landfall, Michael intensified with sustained winds of 155 mph. Michael became the strongest storm to hit the continental U.S. since Hurricane Andrew 26 years ago.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're altering as my stepfather and brother were home, just watching them (INAUDIBLE).

CHEN (voice-over): Michael continued its historical path, becoming the first major hurricane to track into Georgia since 1898. But the destructive storm won't be done anytime soon. Michael continues to pack powerful winds and threaten people's lives. Now those in Michael's wake are left to pick up what the monster storm left behind.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's going to be a matter of damage that we have not seen in living memory in this part of the country.


CHEN: And we know that Bay County says their emergency management building took a hit during this hurricane so their Internet is down. They've got 9-1-1 operational for emergencies only right now. They're talking to each other via radio. Live in Panama City, Florida Natasha Chen -- George, back to you.

HOWELL: Natasha, thank you very much.

We're back here in Destin, Florida, and in Wakulla County, east of where I am, a 3 meter storm surge hit several coastal communities there very hard. The sheriff's office describes that hurricane's impact as "we got punched in the mouth." That's the description.

Let's talk about that with Chris Savary. Chris the public information officer for the sheriff's office there, joining now by phone.

And, Chris, "punched in the mouth," you explain.

What was that like?

CHRIS SAVARY, WAKULLA COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE: That's exactly what it was. We were expecting about -- we were forecast possibly at 15-foot storm surge, which was unprecedented in this area by a ton. We ended up with probably just a little over 10 foot storm surge, which still posed a catastrophic here.

It came in quick and it came in fast. I've lived here pretty much my whole life and I've been working hurricanes here for a little over 20 years. I've never seen a storm surge come in as quickly and as violent as this one did. It brought a lot of water in and brought it in very quickly.

It completely inundated Panacea, St. Marks, Shell Point, all of our coastal areas. In fact, the water has yet to recede. We're hoping that happens overnight but we can't even get in there to see just how much damage has been caused.

HOWELL: All right, important to point that out. So the water is still there, hasn't receded. You're --


HOWELL: -- having trouble getting in.

And to that point, if you would talk about, you know, what it's going to be like for people who may have evacuated who want to come back home. I'd imagine this is going to take you guys some time to certainly clear things out and get us a sense of how bad things are.

SAVARY: Absolutely. As soon as the conditions became safe, that we were able to get our first responders back out in the field to start the assessment of just how much damage is out there and clearing debris, we quickly realized that we weren't going to be able to get into those low-lying areas and we manned posts there.

There's still a little bit of daylight left and everybody saw that the high winds had stopped. So everybody's trying to come home. We had to turn them around because you just -- you simply can't get into these areas.

So our first priority is, as soon as possible, as soon as we can deem it safe enough for our guys to go in there and in boats if we have to or high-water vehicles, we got a list of people who didn't evacuate and where they're located.

Those are the first places we're going. We're going to check on them and we can't let people go back in the area until it's safe to do so ,until that water recedes and we're hoping that's done by the morning. But we can't -- we don't know that right now. (INAUDIBLE) but we don't know it that is going to happen. And it's a wait and see right now.

HOWELL: You know, it is sort of an hour by hour assessment. Chris Savary, we appreciate your time and explaining what you guys are up against in the aftermath of this storm. Thank you so much.

John Vause, back in Atlanta, John, thanks for the save a moment ago. When you have a big system like this over the Gulf Coast, Florida, Atlanta, technical things can happen. But again we will be here and continue to cover the story from Destin with the very latest on this storm -- John.

VAUSE: There is a lot going on. Glad to have you back and that's why I'm here, George, thank you. We'll talk to you in a moment.

Turkish officials leaked more details about the disappearance of a former journalist and critic of the Saudi government. Coming up, the images of 15 Saudis' arriving in Istanbul, Turkey's state-run media says they're operatives sent by Riyadh.

But why has there no official statement from the Turkish government?




VAUSE: More evidence has been leaked by the Turkish government, which appears to show the direct involvement of Saudi Arabia. In the possible murder of a high-profile journalist and dissident, Jamal Khashoggi. These images first aired on Turkish television, which reported this was the moment when 15 Saudi operatives arrived at Ataturk Airport just hours before Khashoggi visited the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and went missing.

And while they've been named in the Turkish media, there is still no official confirmation of their identity nor any connection they may or may not have to Riyadh.

The Turkish government has not made any official statements about this. Some of the Saudis denying any involvement in Khashoggi' disappearance and the Turkish government being deliberately opaque. A bipartisan group of U.S. senators is forcing the Trump administration to carry out its own investigation.


VAUSE: The legal basis is the possible violation of Khashoggi's human rights. If found to be the case, those involved could be hit with U.S. sanctions. The president now has 120 days to report back to those lawmakers but right now he says it's too early to know what the U.S. should do, if, in fact, the Saudis are behind this.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is a bad situation. We cannot let this happen to reporters, to anybody, we can't let this happen. And we're going to get to the bottom of it.


VAUSE: Well, as the mystery over the fate of Jamal Khashoggi continues to deepen, CNN's Nic Robertson traveled to Istanbul to piece together a timeline of events immediately before and after Khashoggi arrived at the Saudi consulate.


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

That was at 1:14 pm on Tuesday. What happened over the next hour and three quarters remains the center of this mystery, core to the investigation. At a little after 3:00 pm several consular vehicles was seen leaving the consulate.

The question now, was Khashoggi in one of those vehicles and, if so, was he alive?

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 confirmed 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 pm Monday on a private jet, landing in Istanbul around 3:30 am hours before Khashoggi disappears. Leaked CCTV recordings show the plane arriving at Ataturk Airport at 3:28 am.

Minutes later, nine men from the aircraft are picked up on cameras going through passport control. They head to a city hotel. At around 5:00 am that morning, they check into this hotel just around the corner from the consulate. About 4.5 hours later, they all leave, divided into small groups.

Investigators believe they went to the consulate to wait for Khashoggi. CNN has also tracked a second charter jet arriving from Riyadh at a critical moment that day. It lands in Istanbul around 4:00 pm 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 that van swept into the consul's residence.

As it flew to Saudi, Khashoggi's fiancee 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.


VAUSE: CNN's Jomana Karadsheh outside the Saudi consulate for us, live in Istanbul. So Jomana, another mystery seems to be why there's no official statement coming from the Turkish police about their investigation. No officials word from the government that a crime may have been committed. The Turkish president and other senior officials within the government seem to be finally leaking pieces of information in state run media, letting the story run from there.

Looking from this distance, it looks like there is a lot more going on here than the Turkish government would have us believe.

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This has been the big question throughout, John. If you look at it, you've got Turkey and Saudi Arabia. These are the two of the major powers here in the region and they had a rocky relationship and they have not agreed on several key issues.

So the feeling was that Turkey wasn't really ready to push this just yet to the next level to take it to a full-blown diplomatic crisis. All that you mention there and then President Erdogan, this man who's known for not holding back and really never reluctant to say what is on his mind, has been so measured. He's been very diplomatic in his statements, very cautious over the past week.

And some feel that perhaps the reason is that Turkey has been taking this slow is that they were waiting for more international backing before they go head-to-head with Saudi Arabia, especially backing from their NATO ally, the United States, that has a very good relationship and an alliance with Saudi Arabia.

And some feel that this is the reason that officials -- and, again, anonymously speaking to journalists -- have been feeding this information over the past weeks -- John.

VAUSE: If we look back at the last couple of years and the huge number of journalists who've been thrown in jail by the Turkish president, those around him (INAUDIBLE) jails to house the number of reporters who are currently locked up, it does seem an incredible stretch to believe that Erdogan is actually genuinely concerned about the fate of this critic of the Saudi regime.

KARADSHEH: A lot of people found it ironic, these statement coming from Turkish officials, talking about importance of freedom of expression in a country that is known as the biggest jailer of journalists in the world.

But I think what were looking at is several issues here, why this is so important for Turkey. You've got President Erdogan saying that he has known Jamal Khashoggi for years, that he described him as a friend.

Then you also have the fact that Jamal Khashoggi is such a high profile person in the Arab world, respected and followed by millions in this region and, of course, internationally known to many and to the Western media.

So it is a very high profile case, a lot of pressure on Turkey to deliver. And then you've got so many dissidents and opposition figures, not just from Saudi who live in Turkey but people from Libya, from Yemen, from Syria who have felt that they have had to flee their countries but they found a safe haven here in Turkey.

So this is very much about Turkey's image and, of course, for the Turkish officials, it is about the country, this country's sovereignty which has been a red line for a very long time -- John.

VAUSE: We also have now this pressure which is slowly building from U.S. but it is coming from U.S. senators and actually a bipartisan group of senators, forcing the Trump administration to act. This seems to fairly significant.

Could this be the first action forcing Donald Trump to actually do something here, begin an investigation into what happened?

And that potentially has some very serious consequences.

KARADSHEH: And a short time ago, I believe President Trump spoke in an interview with FOX News. His tone is kind of changing, saying that maybe perhaps it's looking a bit like the Saudis are behind the disappearance.

But it doesn't seem like he's ready to talk about how he's going to act next, saying it is still early to do so. Human rights organizations that have followed the situation in Saudi Arabia for a very long time have been pushing the international community, Western powers, the United States to really take real steps in holding Saudi Arabia accountable for what they accuse it of and that is the jailing of human rights activists in the country, of journalists, of critics, something that has been a real concern for human rights organizations.

And they say that not enough is being done about that and about accountability for civilian casualties in the war in Yemen. So, you know, some are feeling that this perhaps is the beginning of the international community really waking up and starting to hold Saudi Arabia accountable for what it has been accused of for a long time.

But we still have to wait and see how far the Trump administration is willing and ready to go -- Johns.

VAUSE: Yes, and that seems to be the key to a lot of this mystery and a lot of what happens next.

Jomana, as always, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

We'll take a short break. When we come back, Michael, almost a category 5, now to a tropical storm still moving across the United States, down the U.S. state of Georgia after devastating the Florida Panhandle and still packing a punch. We'll have a lot of more of our breaking news in just a moment.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK) VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. I'm John Vause, with an update of the top news story this hour. A Turkish media, the names and photos of 15 Saudi media has been released. The reports say they arrived in Istanbul, hours, before a prominent journalist actually disappeared.

Unnamed Turkish officials believe Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi consulate. Saudi Arabia denies the allegation. Now, a group of U.S. lawmakers have sent a letter to President Trump, which has triggered a human rights investigation, into what may have happened to the high-profile critic of the Saudi royal family.

Donald Trump mocked the Me Too movement at a campaign rally in Pennsylvania. The U.S. president said under the rules of the movement, he isn't allowed to use it to (INAUDIBLE) He defended his decision to hold a rally and fundraiser despite the huge hurricane in the southern part of U.S., saying he just couldn't disappoint thousands who have waited in line, to see him.

Pope Francis has made one of his strongest statements today, against abortion, during his weekly general audience on Wednesday. The Pope compared having an abortion to hiring a hitman. He said "it is not right to do away with a human being, albeit small, to solve a problem."

HOWELL: I'm George Howell, live in Destin, Florida. Hurricane Michael made landfall here, earlier Wednesday, as a Category 4 storm. We felt it here along the coast, now, a tropical storm. Incredibly strong winds, though, sustained around 249 kilometres per hour.

And as of now, it has weakened. As I've mentioned, now a tropical storm, making its way over land, in the U.S. state of Georgia, and moving toward the Carolinas, which were hit hard just a month ago by Hurricane Florence.

Though the storm has been downgraded, the life-threatening storm surges and the catastrophic winds are still quite a threat. Michael, first hit land, near Mexico beach, Florida, leaving a great deal of destruction in its path.

Officials say, at least one person died, as a result of it. It also destroyed buildings, put down trees, and left power lines down, and it left hundreds of thousands of people without power. Panama City Beach Florida felt the eye of the storm, as well.

And there's some video that gives you a sense of exactly what people were dealing with, when the storm came through. Take a look at this.



HOWELL: That was incredible, just to go through something like that. And you see exactly what it was like, especially further east near the eye of that storm, incredibly intense. Many people rode it out in Panama City, and one of the people that I'd like to speak to, a Tyler Loyt. Tyler, joining now by phone, Tyler, so, you know, we just saw that video of what it was like in that community, when the storm came through. You were there. Tell our viewers around the world what it was like.

TYLER LOYT, RESIDENT OF PANAMA CITY (through phone): I'm not going to lie to you, sir, it was -- it was pretty mind boggling. We all, kind of, hunkered down into- into my mother's (INAUDIBLE) couple of people over here, including my mom's friend. We all just, kind of, hunkered down, and had the mattress ready to go to through on top of it (INAUDIBLE) you didn't know what you were hearing outside.

It was something smacking against the wall, was the roof ripping off? You know, there's little -- there's (INAUDIBLE) and stuff like that, we poke our heads out to see what's up. I don't know, we looked out the window and just really quickly, stupid of course, if you're ever in a situation, never go close to a window, but we did anyways.

We looked out and we're like, oh my goodness, it looks like the shed's gone. Do you see anything? And I swear, moments we said that, something just -- it just -- it just

clearly rolled right in front of the window. And we're like, yes, that's the closest we go.

So, I mean, it was -- I'm one of those guys who tries to take (INAUDIBLE) try to get some humor so people don't freak out. But, it was -- it was pretty intense, even some of the jokes weren't working.

HOWELL: Right, right. Yes, so, I mean, what was that like? I mean, so, you made the decision to stay. Officials always give the advice, you should evacuate, you should leave, you know, I know it can be a very personal decision, but, you know, would you stay again if you saw a Cat 4 coming in, possibly, Cat 5 or -- what do you think about that assessment?

LOYT: Well, for me, personally, I reached out to a lot of friends, especially near the coastline because we have mandatory evacuations done. A, B and C had to go. Well, my house actually just, kind of, fell between them. But, some of my friends were really close to the water. It really scared the heck of me, because, I mean, the storm was going to be (INAUDIBLE) towards the east side of the eye.

It was still going to be scary. So, that (INAUDIBLE) a lot of people (INAUDIBLE) stay away from the water because that thing is going to cover your house. I mean, your house is going to be part of the ocean. For me, personally, I would've asked my mom and her friends to leave, but, like you -- like not quite to your level. But I'm a BB guy myself, I'm on the radio here on a local station i106. And for me, it was just sticking around.

So, work something out with our local T.V. affiliates to make sure that their wall to wall coverage of the storm was airing on our station, in the event the people lost power, they could tune into a station. Unfortunately, the T.V. station lost power first, and then, I think something happened to our -- to our transmitter to (INAUDIBLE) off the air. So, for me, it was -- it was more of trying to get the message out to our listeners as much, you know, as we could.

HOWELL: You know, I can understand and appreciate that. Tyler, look, we appreciate your time. We're glad you're safe. And yes, what a ride it has been the last 12 hours. Thank you so much. Again, we're here live in Destin, Florida with the very latest on this storm that passed through, that it's historic in nature, John, back to you there, in Atlanta.

VAUSE: George, thank you very much. We will take a short break. When we come back, global financial markets are bracing for another big sell-off after Wall Street (INAUDIBLE) one of its worst losses in history.


[00:40:00] VAUSE: (INAUDIBLE) going to be another down day for traders out there, Wednesday shocked some off on Wall Street, has rattled global financial markets. The major Asian markets are all down sharply, right now. You see the Nikkei and Tokyo, the Hang Seng in Hong Kong there down, almost by four percent, the Shanghai composite down by more than four percent and four quarters.

Well, the U.S. President Donald Trump blamed the U.S. Federal Reserve. The striking fears of increasing interest rates but he also said the selloff was a long-awaited correction. White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders issued a statement. Here it is. Unemployment is at a 50-year low. Taxes for families and businesses

have been cut. Regulations and red tape have been slashed, paychecks are getting fatter. Consumer and small business confidence are setting records.

And farmers, ranchers and manufacturers are empowered by better trade deals. President Trump's economic trade policies are the reasons for these historic successes, and they have created a valid base for continued growth.

I actually do have cough. Our CNN's Clare Sebastian explains now why Wall Street retreated for months of record gains.


CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: U.S. market started the day lower, and the losses only got worse. In the end, the Dow closed down more than 800 points, and that was its third worst points dropped in history.

The tech dominated NASDAQ, was the worst hit, down more than four percent, its worst day in over two years. Fears among investors have been rising in recent weeks, ironically, because of mounting evidence of the strength of the U.S. economy.

We saw that reinforced again, last week, with U.S. employment with the lowest level in nearly 50 years. Now, the problem with the strong economy, is that its leading to higher interest rates, higher bond yields which affect everything from car loans to mortgage rates, and a potentially faster pace of rate-rises from the Federal Reserve, which could raise borrowing costs for companies and hit earnings.

Tech stocks were the worst hit, Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and especially Twitter, all sharply lower in the day. Now, these, as seen, as the riskier stocks, and that means they're the first place that investors pull their money out of, with interest rate fears, arising.

And on top of that, with no signs of a breakthrough in the U.S.-China trade war, investors are getting increasingly nervous about a slowing Chinese economy.

That played out today in some of the luxury stocks that rely on the Chinese market. Just look at Tiffany's that was down more than 10 percent. In the end, this was the fifth straight day of losses for U.S markets, pretty scary start to October.

Clare Sebastian, CNN, New York.


VAUSE: Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM, apologies for the frog in the throat, I'm John Vause. Stay with us now. "WORLD SPORT" is up next. You're watching CNN.


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