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HALA GORANI TONIGHT

Turkish Authorities Claim to Have Audio and Video Evidence to Prove Khashoggi Was Murdered; Corporations Begin Canceling Out in Conferences with Saudi Arabians; Princess Eugenie Gets Married in Pomp; At Least 13 Dead In Wake Of Hurricane Michael; Pastor Andrew Brunson Leaves Home In Turkey; Numbers Of Civilians Killed In Afghanistan Rises 39 Percent; Star Power Meets Politics. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired October 12, 2018 - 14:00   ET

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


[15:00:00] HANNAH VAUGHAN JONES, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone. Live from CNN London. I'm Hannah Jones in for Hala Gorani. Tonight, two

big stories. Shocking and grisly new details on the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi. There's audio and visual evidence to prove he was killed in the

consulate. A pastor in Turkey, an American pastor has been freed after two years in detention. Coincidence? We'll be analyzed both the stories from

across the region.

So, we begin tonight with dramatic and horrifying new details about the missing Saudi journalist Khashoggi. Let's get straight to what we know. A

source familiar with the investigation tells CNN Turkish authorities claim to have audio and video evidence to prove he was murdered inside the Saudi

consulate in Istanbul. That evidence has been described by western intelligence service as, quote, shocking and disgusting.

Saudi Arabia firmly denies any involvement in the disappearance. All of this ten days after "The Washington Post" columnist and the critic of the

Saudi government walked into the consulate in Istanbul. He went to get documents for a marriage license and no evidence yet that he ever left. If

these claims are proved true we now know why. CNN has this story completely covered. Arwa Damon is outside that consulate in Istanbul and

Sam Kiley from the Saudi capital of Riyadh.

Arwa, let's get to you first. At the scene of the mystery let's say at the moment. So we understand that this video, audio evidence is out there in

the ether. The authorities have it. How long is it? Just a matter of time before the rest of us see and it and judge how Khashoggi left that

consulate?

ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we don't really know at this stage, Hannah. We don't know if the video is released or if the audio is released

or what the Turks decide to do. A Saudi delegation did arrive earlier today presumably part of the joint working group they said they would be

establishing to look into the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi.

We don't know how many among the Saudi delegation are how many diplomats or investigators or what steps will be followed. But back to the video and

audio recordings and the fact that, you know, western intelligence agencies with whom they have been shared describing them as quite horrific. People

who have apparently seen and heard these recordings and videos feeling as it pushes the barriers and quite used to seeing various different gruesome

scenes.

There are according to the Turks 15 persons of interest we have been reporting about. They, of course, arrived in Istanbul on the same day that

Jamal Khashoggi went missing. A number of them arriving early in the morning on the day he disappeared and then came to the consulate hours

before he arrived and then of course they had the departure.

We have the departure of that bizarre convoy leaving about two hours after Khashoggi went inside and the convoy going on to the Saudi Counsel

General's house but really it is a situation going to have to wait and see how these two countries Turkey and Saudi Arabia end up approaching this

because this is a highly politically charged investigation at this stage.

JONES: Yes. With that, let's go over to Sam Kiley in Riyadh. There's a joint cooperation, an investigation into what happened between the Saudis

and the Turkish authorities, as well. This is a tricky time, though, I assume in particular for the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman right now.

What is the official line then from the Saudis tonight?

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: WELL, the official line has always been that Mr. Khashoggi left the embassy safe and sound. Rather

the consulate in Istanbul. Now, though, the Saudis put out another official statement in the last few hours saying Saudi Arabia has welcomed

the announcement by the Turkish presidency that his -- that it has approved the kingdom's request to form a joint team of experts to investigate the

disappearance of Mr. Khashoggi. A Saudi citizen in Istanbul. Now, that is confirmation as Arwa was indicating of this joint working group that is

supposed to be investigating the alleged disappearance of those "Washington Post "columnists.

[14:05:00] But there has been no public statement from any Saudi official, no face to put behind these statements. That is a very hard to -- and

would be risky to over interpret in terms of Saudi Arabia but the crown prince is the main power, the main force in the land that has been driving

through what he would argue economic and social reforms for this aim of radically transforming Saudi Arabia by 2030. But he has made a lot of

enemies internally.

He did, of course, as we all recall lock up a large number of billionaires and Saudi princes and others whom he suggested although never tried them

for corruption. And extracted large amounts of money out of then. And that will have -- there will be people here who will be looking at this and

suggesting perhaps that he if indeed he was in any way behind this incident in Istanbul perhaps is somewhat out of control but there is really almost a

sense of -- very few officials will want to speak and I think that that statement I just read you was simply sourced by the Saudis to a spokesman,

an unnamed spokesman.

JONES: Yes. And, Sam, we know that Mohammed bin Salman is taking a close eye to what the investigation is and unfolding and spoken to Jared Kushner,

the U.S. President's son-in-law, of course. Is it fair to say that the Saudis have been shocked perhaps even blind sided by how much interest this

has garnered from all over the world, this particular case?

KILEY: I think it would be unfair to suggest that ordinary Saudis or even members of the royal court up to the king would be shocked by the idea that

the international community would be intrigued or even outraged by an alleged murder by Saudi officials inside the Saudi consulate. What they

are suggesting and allies are reinforcing is that this is not true, that this is a vicious lie spread by their regional rivals.

Some Saudi-backed media outlets suggested they've been spread by Qatar and you will recall that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are involved

a blockade of Qatar. Qatar and Turkey, though, remained close friends and indeed the Turks have been helping them out. The Qataris rewarded the

Turks with a gift to the President of a 747 Jumbo jet.

So, in that context, this is being portrayed by supporters of Saudi Arabia, not necessarily by members of the ruling family, but supporters writing in

Saudi-backed newspapers, for example, and tweeting and so on, saying that they believe that this is a nefarious plot to besmirch the reputation and

saying it's unfair one, Hannah.

JONES: OK. Arwa, I want to get back to these -- this video, audio evidence that sources suggest the Turkish authorities have. If we are

right in thinking that the Saudis and the Turks are now working together on this investigation, should we assume that the Saudis have also been privy

to this evidence, video and audio? And why might President Erdogan possibly be holding that back?

DAMON: You know, it would all be pure speculation at this stage. One would assume if the Turks do have this incriminating evidence in hand that

they would be fairly confident in their statements and some of the statements we have been hearing of unnamed government officials that they

believe that this assassination did take place inside the consulate. What kind of broader politics are at play behind the scenes, that would not be

surprising and would not necessarily be made public but this is also why a lot of questions are being raised. Look, remember.

[14:10:00] Back on Monday when we heard from Turkish President Erdogan, he basically put the burden of responsibility on the Saudis to prove their

claim that Jamal Khashoggi left the consulate. Erdogan pretty much telling the Saudis if you want to prove he is alive or left the consulate then

provide the video. And that has been the big question here given the fact that there are all sorts of security cameras inside the building, as well.

The other issue, of course, is that if you'll remember the Turks originally asked for and then provide the video. And that has been the big question

here given the fact that there are all sorts of security cameras inside the building, as well.

The other issue, of course, is that if you'll remember the Turks originally asked for and were granted permission to search the consulate and to search

the counsel general's home and then they asked for it to be postponed and then the emergence of this working group as it's been called so that in and

of itself is raising a lot of questions as to what kind of politics is or may be transpiring behind the scenes here, Hannah.

JONES: Arwa Damon live for us and in Saudi Arabia. My thanks to you both. We have heard from the U.S. President, Donald Trump has said his

administration is being very tough when pressing for answers from Riyadh. But he has no plans to hold a multi-billion-dollar arms deal with Saudi

Arabia saying, U.S. jobs are at stake and there are other things the U.S. can do. Some fellow Republicans, though, disagree. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: If they lured this man into that consulate and they killed him and they chopped up his body and now lying about it,

that is going to have a dramatically negative impact on the U.S. relationship with Saudi Arabia on Capitol Hill. Members of Congress are

going to be up in arms about that including myself and something's going to happen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I disagree that we should ever look at arms sales as jobs issues. Arms sales are where we look at someone works as an ally with

us, we have joint military and international security concerns and issues that we're trying to address. That's what sales we look to and also not as

if the U.S. exits that the military sales won't occur but that it's that Russia, that China will fill that gap.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JONES: And U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said he plans to attend a conference in Riyadh next week and sold as the Davos of the desert. CNN

with "The New York Times" and "Financial Times" have all pulled out as media partners. CNN Business Correspondent, Hadas Gold, joins me live with

more on this. That is big investment conference, an annual event. Is it still going ahead in the light of these people pulling out? And who's

going? Who's in and who's out?

HADAS GOLD, CNNMONEY EUROPEAN POLITICS, MEDIA AND GLOBAL BUSINESS: As far as we can tell, it's going ahead but the website for the summit called the

Future Business Initiative changed. The speakers tab completely gone away. Looking at the program schedule, the names are gone and just said the

session subjects.

No names because so many people and organizations have dropped out. CNN, "New York Times," financial times, Bloomberg, CNBC, pulled out of the media

sponsorship and CNN pulled the anchors from moderating panels. And owner of "Los Angeles Times" said they're not going and big business executives.

CEO of Uber and others and goes to show what has ever happened to this "Washington Post" columnist and a media company can't really go to a

conference, sponsor a conference that might be controlled by a government that may have done something so horrible to a conference.

JONES: Mohammed bin Salman is involved in the conference?

GOLD: Yes.

JONES: If people pull out and boycott it on a short-term basis, does that mean maybe in a couple of months when it's blown over that the investments

that might have been agreed at next week are suddenly going to fall away or kind of like save face now for PR reasons and ultimately still on board?

I mean, of course, for a lot of companies there's a PR element and a moral element and there's a lot of money invested in Saudi Arabia. Including by

media companies. Bloomberg has a huge investment with a newspaper in Saudi Arabia. And so, there's a question of what are they going to do going

forward? We are seeing potential after effects of this even beyond people going to the conference.

Richard Branson said that he'll suspend talks of an investment in Saudi Arabia and suspending two directorships with Saudi tourism projects timed

to whatever happened to the journalist saying that if these allegations are true it would clearly change the ability of us in the west to do business

with the Saudi government and could be huge after effects of this.

[14:15:00] JONES: We'll wait to see who shows up and what the after effects are, of course. Thank you very much, indeed.

Perhaps, though, related, a Turkish court released an American preacher two years after he was detained. Andrew Brunson denied accusations of being

involved with a failed coup of 2016 and expected to leave Turkey in the coming hours and return back to the United States. Ben Wedeman has more

for this. Is a win for President Trump? Can it be a coincidence that his release has come in the middle of so much diplomatic wrangling centered on

Turkey?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Hannah, certainly it is a coupe for President Trump. He imposed sanctions on Turkey. Raised

tariffs on exports as part of a pressure come pain to get Turkey to release the pastor and, therefore, certainly he can claim credit for it. Now, just

to explain where we are.

We are right up the street from pastor Brunson's house. We can't get anywhere near to his house itself but there's a long row of cars lined up.

We assume in preparation to take him to the airport and take him back to the United States. Now, the events of the day, this was the fourth session

in his trial that's been going on. And it was immediately clear from listening to the witnesses for the prosecution that they were changing

their stories.

They were recanting. They were contradicting one another and then the judge said that he was calling -- not the judge, rather the prosecutor was

requesting the lifting of his house arrest. And this is the house he was in. And the travel ban that would stop him from leaving the country. So,

in the end, the judge imposed a 3.1-year sentence on pastor Brunson and reduced for the two years spent in detention. In addition to the rest

eliminated for his good behavior.

As far as whether this is linked to the events in Istanbul, it's difficult to say but certainly this is a very opportune time when Turkey's in this

difficult situation to smooth out what has been for much of this year a very rocky relationship between Turkey and the United States. Hannah?

JONES: Yes. And if it does indeed signal closer links of President Trump and President Erdogan, might the Turkish President be looking for something

in return them from the United States as a result of this?

WEDEMAN: I'm pretty sure that is the case. In fact, we have learned just now that vice President Mike Pence has spoken with the Turkish foreign

minister. Clearly, there's going to be a quid pro quo when it comes to this release of the pastor. The Turkish economy's in very difficult shape.

The Turkish leader has fallen drastically against the dollar this year and they need all the help they can get of reviving the economy. Certainly,

expectation even before the trial began today was that the United States and Turkey had come to some sort of agreement to try to put this very

difficult problem to rest so the relations can get back to an even keel and certainly with the release of the pastor that does seem to be the case.

Hannah?

JONES: And, Ben, just briefly, remind us where you are at the moment and are we expecting a fan fare as he leaves Turkey and presumably more fan

fare arriving back home in the U.S.?

WEDEMAN: Well, definitely there will be fan fare in the United States when he returns. Obviously, for Donald Trump, this is something that he can

point to and say this is something that I achieved. As far as Turkey, now just to give you -- explain where we are again, this is the street which

pastor Brunson lives on. The house is somewhere down there. And there are cars lined up. We are assuming that he is going to be leaving at some

point in the coming hours to go back to the United States.

[14:20:00] I spoke to a supporter of his, a friend of his outside the court and I ask him if the pastor would ever return to Turkey. He said, probably

not. Hannah?

JONES: Ben, thank you so much for your reporting on this. Great to hear from you.

Still to come tonight, Britain's second royal wedding of the year is a star-studded affair as she Wednesday on a blustery day in Windsor.

A soft landing for a prominent U.S. Cardinal accused of mishandling sex abuse claims. Why Pope Francis is lavishing praise on the archbishop while

giving him the boot. That's coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

JONES: News just in to us here at CNN and hearing more from Facebook about the biggest security breach in the company's history. The social media

giant saying now that hackers accessed the phone numbers, the e-mail addresses of almost 30 million of its users. The attackers accessed even

more details on 14 million of those users. Details there including the area where they live, their relationship status and their religion. This

comes just two weeks, of course, after Facebook first announced that 50 million users' accounts had been hit. We'll stay across that story.

Now, complete change of turn. There was cheering and as always plenty of hats. Britain's Princess Eugenie married Jack Brooksbank in Windsor

Castle, second royal wedding of the year. It was everything we expect from such an event and Anna Stewart was there for us.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It had pomp, ceremony and a star-studded congregation. Supermodels and pop stars amongst many others. A windy day

proved something of a challenge for the guests. And the gaggle of bridesmaids and page boys including Prince George and Princess Charlotte

made a memorable entrance. Shortly after the Queen arrived, so did her grand daughter. Princess Eugenie, ninth in line to the thrown. The bride

cut a standing silhouette in a dress by Peter Pilotto and Christopher de Vos.

[14:25:00] An open neck. A long train and a striking low back revealing a star along her spine, a mark from the operation she had age 12 to treat her

scoliosis. Her entrance was an emotional moment for the groom Jack Brooksbank. The service held in St. Georges Chapel included a reading of

Princess Beatrice.

PRINCESS BEATRICE, SISTER OF PRINCESS EUGENIE: He smiled understandably.

STEWART: And newly married Duke and Duchess of Sussex watched it all. Not the same level of crowds as for the first royal wedding and still plenty of

royal fans turned out to line the streets for another carriage procession.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you with me? I was with them. The flock. You know? So, I'm very, very proud. Very, very proud.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The dress?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I watched a bit on the telly box.

STEWART: Another day of celebrations for the ever-expanding royal family. And for all the fans in Windsor.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALES: You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are gray

STEWART: Anna Stewart, CNN, Windsor.

JONES: Staying here in the U.K., less singing with this one. Fears continue to mount about the possibility of a so-called no deal Brexit. The

U.K. government released the latest batch of documents covering the potential issues the countries could face. North Ireland could be

threatened by power blackouts as laws of the trade of electricity would cease to exist.

The popular euro star services from the U.K. to the continent stop running altogether and taking out the trash could be much more difficult.

Hazardous waste shipments to any European country will require EU approval. And if you like using your Netflix and Spotify when you travel, you could

be in trouble as copyright issues would bar some content in the EU. Let's be very clear, though. These papers lay out the worst-case scenario and

it's just a snapshot of how much work will need to be done by individual industries if the British government can't settle everything with a grand

deal come March 29th of next year.

Now, another fall from grace amid the fallout from sex abuse scandals in the church. Embattled Cardinal Donald Wuerl is losing the post as

Washington Archbishop after being accused of mishandling past abuse claims. But unlike previous resignations he still holds favor with the pope and

will still be involved with church operations. CNN's Senior Vatican Analyst, John Allen explains.

JOHN ALLEN, CNN SENIOR VATICAN ANALYST: Ending what had been three months of speculation and mounting controversy, Pope Francis on Friday accepted

the resignation of Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C. Wuerl was slammed in a Pennsylvania grand jury report released in mid-August for his

record as the Bishop Of Pittsburgh citing at least three cases of Wuerl allegedly covered up for predator priests, moving them to different

assignments and in at least one case using the funds to pay the legal bills. He is a cardinal in good standing.

Two interesting twists. One, Pope Francis asked Wuerl to remain on in Washington as the interim administrator until a replace systematic named.

The other is alongside the resignation, the pope also released a letter to Cardinal Wuerl today praising him for what he described as the nobility of

the way in which Wuerl handled this situation, the fact that he prioritized the good of the church over trying to clear his own name and basically

saying he was proud of Wuerl for the way he's stepping off the stage. It remains to be seen whether for survivors of clerical abuse and others

outraged by did scandals of the church whether this will strike them as the kind of accountability for bishops who cover up child sexual abuse they

have been clamoring for. Reporting from Rome, I'm John Allen for CNN.

JONES: Still to come tonight, he's missing. And according to Turkish officials, a murder victim. But how will the fate of the journalist Jamal

Khashoggi impact future ties? We're going to take a look.

Also coming up, Hurricane Michael carved a deadly path in the southeastern U.S. we'll take you live to Florida's Gulf Coast next as residents take

stock of the damage left in the wake.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:30:42] VAUGHAN: Welcome back. We are following the latest disturbing developments in the disappearance of the Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi.

A source tell CNN that Turkish authorities claimed to have evidence that Khashoggi was murdered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Security video shows him entering the complex 10 days ago. That was to get a marriage license. We've been showing this footage all week and that was

the last time that Jamal Khashoggi was seen alive.

The source tells us audio recordings, along with some video explicitly reveal the assault on Khashoggi, including the moment that he was killed.

Now, whatever the fate of Jamal Khashoggi and not matter who is responsible, his disappearance is sure to drive a further wedge into the

already strained ties between Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

But as now tells us there may be compelling reasons for both countries to move past this crisis soon.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi from the Saudi consulate in Istanbul appear to be a diplomatic crisis in

the making from the start, pitting two of the region's major powers against each other. But Saudi Arabia and Turkey's relationship has been a rocky

one recently, as they found themselves on the opposite sides of divisive regional issues.

From President Erdogan's close ties to the Muslim brotherhood now branded the terrorist group by Saudi Arabia to Turkey's good relationship with

Saudi's top rival, Iran.

And President Erdogan's move last year extending support and a lifeline to Qatar during the Saudi-led blockade. At times of disagreement turn

personal before the kingdom lifted the ban on women driving, President Erdogan with a direct jab at the young Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman

and his talk of moderate Islam.

RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, PRESIDENT OF TURKEY: (through translator): Moderate Islam. You talk moderate Islam but you don't even give permission to women

to drive a car. What kind of moderate Islam is this? Is there such a ruling in Islam against this? No.

H.A. HELLYER, ATLANTIC COUNCIL: I think that they both perceive their respective countries, Turkey and Arabia as being the rightful leader or the

main leader within the region for different reasons. And those don't always match. But I think that that's very clear between the two of them.

KARADSHEH: Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance, President Erdogan who never really hesitate to speak his mind has been diplomatic for the most part.

And Turkish officials have been cautious in what they say publicly indicating that perhaps they were trying to avoid a full-blown diplomatic

crisis.

HELLYER: I don't think that Ankara wants to turn this into a huge crisis between Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Even if it does turn out that

responsibility, complete and total responsibility for these lies with the highest echelons of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. I think that they're

trying very hard to find ways out of that.

KARADSHEH: With Turkey's economic troubles, Erdogan may not want to risk for their alienating the rich Arab Gulf States he may need someday. And

for the crown prince who's presented himself to the west as MBS the reformer modernizer of the desert kingdom has made his publicity

surrounding this case jeopardizes it all.

But with this disturbing mystery that's gripped the world now on a global stage, there is much more at stake in either country with a bargain for.

Jomana Karadsheh, CNN, Istanbul.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

JONES: The growing outrage over Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance is happening at a crucial time for Saudi Arabia. The crown prince's ambitious

plan to move the country into the future, now faces even more headwinds.

And with that, I want to bring in CNN's Business "Emerging Markets" Editor, John Defterios who joins us live from Abu Dhabi. John, good to see you.

Let's talk about vision 2030 then. This is Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's vision.

Now, we know that Donald Trump has already said he has no plan, at least for the moment, to pull the rug out underneath of any arms deals between

the U.S. and Saudi Arabia.

But with people, investors pulling out of conferences in the like, is vision 2030 in tatters tonight?

[14:35:59] JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Well, we're two and a half years into it, Hannah. And this has its fits and starts. I

think the best way to describe it is never really build the traction that man in the picture there, Mohammed bin Salman was looking for.

This fits under the categories be careful what you promised, because you will be held accountable. I think when it comes to domestic reforms, as

Jomana was suggesting in her report, he was going to challenge conservative Islam by opening up both the entertainment and the tourism sectors here and

create competition and a lot more openness in society.

He was also going to diversify the economy, break the addiction to oil where accounts for 90 percent of revenues. He hasn't done too well on that

front.

If I'm going to look through the rearview mirror and judge this young crown prince, he's only 33 years old. He took on too many agendas, both the

domestic reforms.

But at the same time, I think he felt extremely emboldened in this proxy war against Iran and Yemen. Tougher line on Yemen, prodding the United

States to break the nuclear agreement and you saw the economic embargo against Qatar as well.

It is too much to handle. And I think this is the fits and starts of the young crown prince. Determined to do the right thing but clearly putting

way too much on his plate to do so.

JONES: Yes. You mentioned there about his age and perhaps inexperience as well. But much has been made, John, about this sort of battle of the egos

currently taking place in the Middle East between President Erdogan of Turkey, between MBS of Saudi Arabia and enter Donald Trump as well, and his

sort of egomania in a way.

Do they care about what the rest of the world thinks about what they do or is this just about how they interact with each other? Who holds the power

in any particular play?

DEFTERIOS: Well, this is a terrific question, but it is a power struggle. Let's start with Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia. He

was trying to be ambitious in part to diversify the economy and get them out of the so-called malaise. That's very clear.

At the same time though, Hannah, he was trying to restore the stature of the side of the holy mosques and the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He thought

they were asleep for three decades. And as a 33-year-old crown prince, he could change that.

This is where they go head to head MBS by his initials and President Erdogan of Turkey. They both sees themselves as regional powers. And I

would add Iran onto that front, as well. And why we see Mohammed bin Salman taking such a tough line with Iran.

I think of all the leaders involved in the Middle East, Vladimir Putin was the most strategic because he was looking after the long-term interest of

Russia, particularly, when it comes to Syria and the Eastern Mediterranean.

And we put Donald Trump in the transactional category here. This was a business transaction, $300 billion overall, after his visit in May of 2017.

And as you can see today, he's not going to run on Saudi Arabia, because he wants to preserve those contracts. And he's going to need a lot of

pushback from the U.S. Congress as result.

JONES: Yes. So let's talk a bit about these arms deals then. Donald Trump, as you mentioned, he's talked about it, probably saying at $110

billion at stake. There's a lot of U.S. jobs as well.

I'm wondering who has more solution. And before you answer that, John, I want to bring in -- this is a statement or a quote from the French

president, Emmanuel Macron who was asked specifically earlier today about French weapon sales to Saudi Arabia and he goes on to say that the politics

predominates economics. Business interest have never predominated the French voice.

He is effectively saying -- my reading of it at least, is that it's morals above money. Is that the same for MBS and for Donald Trump?

DEFTERIOS: I don't even think it's the same for Emmanuel Macron, if I can be blunt here. I think it's more aspirational than grounded in reality.

The French have been very active in the defense and aerospace sectors.

And now to his credit, when it comes to Iran, I know for a fact, because I spoke to the CEO of Total, Patrick Pouyanne, who said that Emmanuel Macron

said, "Stay engaged in Iran. Try to keep the oil and gas fields alive." But the reality is Total, for example, gets 30 percent of its shareholder

base from the United States and 70 percent of his finance. So this is where business realities trumped the political aspirations of Emmanuel

Macron.

Now, when it comes to the other players here. Clearly, Mohammed bin Salman saw all the money that he was lavishing on the United States as a reason to

take a much harder line against Iran and in this fight against Yemen.

And clearly, he hit the right tune with Donald Trump as the transactional president. I give you something in terms of billions of dollars of dollars

of contracts, you give me backing to go after my regional foe with Iran. Tear up the nuclear agreement and even back me on some radical disputes

like even Saudi and Canada.

I don't think he would have done that without the backing of the White House and because of the defense contracts that you asked me about.

JONES: John, always good to get your perspective. Thanks very much indeed. John Defterios there for us.

DEFTERIOS: Thanks.

JONES: Hurricane Michael has weakened and gone off to sea. But in its wake, the storm leaves behind a path of destruction. The storm is blamed

for, at least, 13 deaths across the U.S. southeast. More than a million people are still without electricity.

[14:40:10] The storm itself destroyed some coastal towns beyond recognition, as you can see here. And now, residents there starting to

return homes to begin a long, very long, in some cases recovery process.

Dianne Gallagher is in Panama City, Florida, one of the areas hit by the full force of the hurricane.

Dianne, just give us the picture of what's going on immediately around you right now.

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, Hannah, I think that a lot of people will now recognize just how intense this destruction

was and just how long it's going to be before they ever feel normal again, if they ever do.

To give you an idea of the road ahead, behind me here, this video, this is the structure. It's a middle school. This is where kids who were in the

sixth, seventh, and eight grade go to school. This is where they generally play basketball in.

The storm ripped right through it, tore down brick walls. You could probably see. There's still a basketball hoop up there at the top of the

ceiling. The bleachers are intact but the walls are missing. The net was pushed out of that volleyball net just the poles are made on the side.

And we've talked to some school district employees who went through on the interior here to get a look and they said that every classroom has damaged,

be it water damage or physical damage inside. Really, it's like that it almost every single school here in county. We're seeing scenes like this

and homes and churches and business all across the Panhandle area of Florida.

And look, there's still some communities that we haven't been able to get out cameras into. We have not seen ourselves and we haven't really gotten

much information out of at this point.

We use -- you said at least 13 people and we keep using that phrase "at least" because some of these hardest hit areas, we don't have a good gauge

on at this point on if people died there.

It seems very difficult looking at some of these image to imagine that everybody survived because in some cases, homes have just been wiped off

the map. I was at the hospital today that they had 1,500 people ride that storm out inside that hospital. Some of them cardiac patients, pulmonary

patients. The roof was lifted up, water sort of pouring in.

These amazing doctors and nurses and staff members took people who are on ventilators, often moved them to another side of the building so they

wouldn't overload the generator and they can move them to another one. All while their own families were tucked away inside the hospital trying to

survive.

Now, they're now evacuating patient to hospitals that are better equipped to deal with them because we don't have power here now. We barely have

cellphone service, only one carrier is working, so -- and that's spotty. It comes and goes. So people aren't able to communicate and we don't have

running water.

So they're building these -- they call then D-mats. They're these hospitals that kind of help their tent structures where they can setup an

entire hospital complete with triage centers to alleviate some of the stress on this hospital here.

Their emergency room remains open, Hannah. But their people had been awake for about 48 hours. Their homes have bene destroyed as well. These

doctors and nurses and staff members need to go and check on their own homes at this point.

Some of them we've been told didn't -- weren't going to come to the hospital unless they could bring their pets. The owner of the hospital,

that company decided to let them bring their animals there and that likely saved some lives, because some of these families who -- of the workers

there, their homes were decimated, we're told.

And so there's a lot of work to be done here. And with 48 hours removed from that hurricane coming in. And to be honest, Hannah, it looks like

we're four hours removed. It's hard to see the progress, except these powerline trucks that come tough. And we're hoping soon the lights will

get turned back on.

JONES: Thank you so much for you reporting on this, Dianne. Stay safe. Dianne Gallagher there for us in Florida.

Now, I want to bring our viewers the latest images that we have on one of the top stories that we've bene covering this evening. These are pictures

of Pastor Andrew Brunson, the American pastor who has been jailed and held under house arrest in Turkey for some two years now.

This is him leaving his home in Turkey. He is headed for the airport after he was released from house arrest by a court earlier on today.

Now, he was jailed initially over the failed 2016 coup attempt in Turkey. President Donald Trump has been very vocal about wanting this man home,

this American citizen back home.

President Erdogan of Turkey has so far said, from his part, that he's staying out of it and it's down to the courts. Now, the Turkish courts did

release him earlier on today. You can see these latest images of him leaving his home in Turkey, headed for the airport and he'll no doubt have

something of a reception when he gets back to the United States after that long flight.

No word officially yet from the White House on this, but no doubt Donald Trump will be delighted. And of course, it comes in the mid of so much

diplomatic wrangling centering on Turkey on a completely separate case, we should say, about the missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi that needless to

say Andrew Brunson -- Pastor Andrew Brunson now a free man and heading home for the first time in Two years.

[14:45:14] Stay with us here on CNN. Plenty more new coming up after this break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

JONES: In Afghanistan, civilians are being killed in record numbers by anti-government groups as well as U.S. and afghan airstrikes. That is

according to a new report by the United Nations, which notes that most of those killed or injured are women and children.

The report comes as the U.S. ramps up its involvements in what has become its longest running war.

CNN's Nick Paton Walsh reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is the aftermath of a tragedy you've probably not heard about.

During record violence in America's longest war where civilians have been killed faster this year in any time from the last decade. They're still

unclear if U.S. or Afghan aircraft dropped the bomb. Local officials say killed over a dozen including women and children.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three, two, one.

New figures from the United Nations show more civilians, mostly women and children have been killed by airstrikes so far this year and then all of

last. And there are 39 percent more dead and injured so far this year than at this point last.

About half of these are by U.S. aircraft who are dropping more bombs than any time since 2010 carrying out 465 airstrikes since September alone. The

other half are by the Afghan air force.

Relatively new, its planes and helicopters struck 225 times in just 25 days and claimed to have killed nearly 1,000 insurgents.

The numbers are startling. But the Afghan air force doesn't appear to count civilian deaths and they told CNN it rarely uses guided weapons,

although it's been supplied some during its speedy creation on training.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, the first thing when it comes to the air force, even I was not able to get into the aircraft and how to get out of

the aircraft.

WALSH: And as the former U.S. commander said, they're key.

GEN. JOHN NICHOLSON, COMMANDER RESOLUTE SUPPORT, USFOR-A: We know the enemy fears air power and they have good reason to.

WALSH: These record air power numbers are part of the new strategy. The U.S. says they're the most precise air force in the world and doing what it

can to bring civilian casualties blame the Taliban for using human shields.

They say they train the Afghan the same standard. There are now less American troops, just 14,000 would lose of rules for fighting the Taliban

with one goal.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm a problem solver. And in the end, we will win.

WALSH: Here again, in Kunduz, the losers are clear, a family hit by an apparent Afghan airstrike the night before aimed at the Taliban.

[14:50:09] The three women were killed and two men injured.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Yes, she was my daughter-in-law, he says. I collected her body parts in a sack. We lost everything, my

wife, my daughter-in-law was killed, my son's lost her. A devastating toll that mounts with Afghan anger and American fatigue at a war few can believe

they're still fighting.

Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

JONES: All right. More to come on the program after this break including celebrities and politics stars are injecting themselves into the national

debate.

But are they helping or hurting their course? Stay with us for more on that.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KANYE WEST, AMERICAN RAPPER: If he don't look good, we don't look good. This is our president. He has --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JONES: Well, that was just a time little bit of the rapper Kanye West's 10-minute monologue praising President Trump in the White House on

Thursday.

But West is certainly not the only celebrity weighing onto the world of politics these days. Singer Taylor Swift made headlines also this week

when she broke her longstanding policy of not talking politics to endorse the Democrats in the Tennessee Senate race.

Swift herself is from Tennessee and her comments appear to have spurred something of a surge in young voter registration in that state if ahead to

the midterms, of course.

Now, voter registration has been a major scene for politically inclined celebrities lately. Earlier this week, the actor Mark Ruffalo was asked on

Twitter what the title of the next Avengers movie would be. His response, "Avengers Four: Register to Vote."

Well, from more on this, CNN Senior Entertainment Writer Lisa Respers France is in Atlanta for us. Lisa, good to see you.

So we had Taylor Swift, Kanye West, all of them seem to be getting involved at the moment. What kind of real impact does it have on voter registration

and on voting tendencies?

LISA RESPERS FRANCE, CNN SENIOR ENTERTAINMENT WRITER: Well, you know, Taylor Swift, she shouted out vote.org and she encouraged her followers on

social media to go there and register to vote.

And within a 24-hour period, they had more people registering than they have had in the entire month of August. SO it clearly had some type of,

you know, resonance and impact.

The thing is we have to keep in mind as we get closer to deadlines for people to register, they always see a spike. But we can't ignore the fact

that celebrities have huge followings. They had millions of fans. And when they speak, people have a tendency to listen.

JONES: Yes, they have a tendency to listen, but it also can backfire, can it? I mean, that's been so much made of Kanye West's appearance in the

oval office yesterday and, you know, whether he's actually would have harmed Donald Trump or not or the Republicans or not going into those

midterms elections?

And then if you think about 2016 and the campaign for the presidency as well, I mean, we saw pretty much the whole of Hollywood turnout to Hillary

Clinton and it didn't work.

FRANCE: Absolutely. You know, it's interesting to me that sometimes we'll have situations where people say, you know, shut up and act or shut up and

do music. We don't want to hear from you about politics.

But in the case of Kanye West, it depends on who you're asking. A lot of conservatives are saying, you know, that liberals are trying to suppress

him. That Hollywood is mad at him for supporting Trump and then he has a right to speak. But some of those same conservatives are saying that

Taylor Swift to just shut up and sing. That she should not have interjected herself into politics.

[14:55:04] So I guess it just depends on what side you fall on and who you yourself support, because your support -- if you're supporting that

candidate, then you have to support a celebrity that supports that candidate.

JONES: Is it just -- is it just a phase that celebrities are going through at the moment by getting involved in issues, in courses, in politics?

If you take the example of what the Me Too movement, we saw certain celebrities even being arrested on Capitol Hill over the Brett Kavanaugh

confirmation recently as well.

Is this something that they're more known for their -- for their politics than their performances in some cases?

FRANCE: Celebrities take their platform very seriously. And in the case of Taylor Swift, she actually said that Me Too, she alluded to her personal

Me Too experience and also what's happening in the world in terms of Me Too. As one of the reasons that she felt like she could no longer stay

silent. When you have as big of platform as many of these celebrities do, sometimes they feel like they have a personal responsibility to do

something with that.

And let's keep in mind, they're citizens just like the rest of us. And so if everyone else has freedom of speech, then why shouldn't a celebrity,

especially a celebrity who feels like they may have some type of influence.

They have like-minded fans, you know. And Taylor Swift, in this case, has both angered and excited her fan base.

JONES: Yes. Donald Trump has certainly in the past said that he's happy to have Kanye West on board on his team, for example, he thinks that that

means that more African-Americans are going to vote for him as well.

But does it matter maybe like the type of celebrity? Like instead of going for someone from east coast or west coast, just go for someone from, you

know, the rustbelt or something like that. Someone who's more of a localized celebrity?

FRANCE: I think it absolutely does depend on who the celebrity is. In the case of Kanye West, I mean, who's been very open about his mental health

issues, people want to chalk up his support to -- does this have something to do with his mental health? And if you like Kanye or not, he's always

been incredibly outspoken.

As for Middle America or the Rust Belt, you have lots of, you know, country singers and actors, not everyone in Hollywood is liberal, even though

people have a tendency to think that.

So I think it's just -- it depends on who the celebrity is, but it also depends on, like I said, who they're supporting.

And, you know, I this day and age, everybody -- we're so politically divided. So, why wouldn't Hollywood be politically divided? There's just

a microcosm of the rest of this country.

JONES: Yes, certainly. And I guess from the rest of the world's perspective, at least, you know, we so see Hollywood and the films and all

the rest of it and therefore we assume that that's just the only political opinion that is out there.

Lisa Respers France, thank you so much. Really appreciate getting your thoughts on that. Fascinating stuff.

And thank you so much for watching tonight. Do stay with us here on CNN. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is coming up right after this break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

END