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Florida Residents Begin to Assess Damage from Hurricane Michael; Melania Trump Gives Interview; President Trump Promises Punishment if Saudi Arabian Government Found Responsible for Death of Journalist; Georgia Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Accuses Republican Opponent of Voter Suppression; Remains of Infants Found in Ceiling of Shutdown Funeral Home; LSU to Play Georgia in College Football. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired October 13, 2018 - 10:00   ET


[10:00:00] MELANIA TRUMP, FIRST LADY: Because I believe that we need to be very vigilant who is coming to the country.


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Also this morning, first lady Melania Trump saying she was blindsided by her husband's zero-tolerance policy that led to family separations at the U.S. border, and we hear from her regarding her marriage to the president as well as that infamous jacket.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Plus hurricane Michael's aftermath, the search for survivors is happening right now in the hard hit communities along the Florida panhandle. We'll take you there live in just a moment.

PAUL: Take a look at some of the newest video we have of the challenges that are facing the communities along the Florida panhandle. This is aerial video from just moments ago, block after block of homes that are destroyed. This is in Mexico Beach, Florida.

BLACKWELL: Sustained winds of 155 miles per hour, gusts even stronger. You can see the destruction in this town. Seventeen people so far have been killed, but officials from Florida, the Carolinas, Georgia, Virginia, all the way up, they believe that number will rise. Erica Hill is in Mexico Beach this morning. Erica, we see some of the dozers out trying to create some order there and clear the roads. What else is playing for today?

ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Well, that's a large part of what's happening, this effort to make way for these vehicles that need to get in, right? So the bulldozers going through, clearing the streets so they can get vehicles into some of the harder hit areas, although it's tough to find an area in Mexico Beach that you would not classify as hard hit.

Just to give you a sense, too. You mentioned the death toll is at 17. There is one confirmed death here in Mexico Beach, an elderly man who was found among the storm debris. I did ask the mayor specifically if he expects the death toll to rise. He said he does but he doesn't expect it to be exponential numbers.

So the searches will continues today. They did a first pass on Wednesday or Thursday, my days are all mixed up at this point, I'm sorry. They were doing first passes Thursday, a second pass yesterday on Friday. So They'll be going through looking a little bit. Some residents are making their way back here. They're obviously not coming back to move into homes, but what they are coming to see how the homes fared. Is the home standing, is there anything left? Can they salvage anything that was inside the home? The residents I spoke with tell me that they had to see it with their own eyes, some of them taking pictures for friends and neighbors who can't get here. And they told me that when they did arrive, it was worse than they imagined. Take a listen.


REV. EDGAR LAFOUNTAIN, PASTOR, FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH OF MEXICO BEACH: From what I have seen in pictures where bombs were dropped, that's kind of looking like what it looks like here. With God's help, we're going to rebuild and gain our strength again. It is just going to set us back a little bit. But we're pretty resilient people I think in Mexico Beach.

MAYOR AL CATHEY, MEXICO BEACH, FLORIDA: Near 75 percent of our city is not here. There's not one local business here, this operation, not one. And we're mom and pop. This isn't Hampton Inn and Pizza Hut and Walmart.


HILL: Keep in mind too, just to get the city back up and running, the city manager estimates 12 to 18 months. The mayor says the latest estimate he was given for power, it will be two months. There's no water, there's no sewer, there' virtually no communication. Every now and then we can get our cell phones to work but it is spotty at best. And even so we're talking just about text messages that are able to get through.

But there really is a resolve in the people we spoke to. This is a very special place they tell us. They keep it small. There's a reason they only have mom and pop businesses. There's a reason they don't want high-rise condos, and they want to bring that back, that spirit back. And all the people I spoke with said they're determined to be here.

Keep in mind, too, with the businesses gone, a lot of the livelihoods for folks are gone. I spoke with one woman, she got one text when she was at our truck. And she said she had learned she worked at Tyndall Air Force Base which of course has suffered significant damage as well. She learned her job on the base, she learned that that was gone. So there's a lot happening at once for folks on the Gulf Coast in the panhandle.

BLACKWELL: A lot of work to do there in Mexico Beach. Erica Hill, thank you. PAUL: And because there's a lot of work to do, hopefully there will

be work for that woman, for those people that want to go back, and not just there but in Panama City, a little further west in the panhandle there. CNN Scott McLean is there. Scott, what are you seeing on the ground today? And are people able to get to these places they want to try to assess what's left for themselves?

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Getting around is a lot easier today than it would have been yesterday or the day before certainly. A lot of people are coming to this place where we are, though, and asking about food and water. That is still a challenge for people. Of course authorities have told people off the bat for the first 72 hours, first three days, you're supposed to be able to fend for yourselves.

[10:05:03] But as the governor pointed out yesterday, the storm seemed to sneak up on a lot of people. So you can bet that not a lot of people or maybe not everyone was as prepared as they should have been, and so getting food, getting water, getting those supplies is still very much a challenge here in Panama City.

You drive through the streets and you see the downed trees, the downed power lines, in some cases buildings flattened. And you cannot help but wonder where do you even start to rebuild a place like this? In many cases, it will be months before things are back to normal. In places like you saw Erica Hill in Mexico Beach, we might be talking years before that place looks like it did before.

Case in point, this is the Jinx Middle School, or at least what's left of it. This is the gymnasium. You can see right through the gymnasium. The storm actually took off two walls. Ironically this school actually took in students who were displaced by hurricane Maria that swept through Puerto Rico last year, and now these students themselves are displaced. The principal says said it is not just a matter of rebuilding the actual building, but we're going to have to build up these students again, and the emotional toll it has taken on these kids, you can imagine.

And even inland. We spent the day yesterday in Marianna, Florida, about 50 miles inland. And even there it is absolute devastation. Again, it's like a maze trying to get around. You would be hard pressed to find a building that wasn't damaged in some way. And one of the other challenges is that because Jackson County where Marianna is, is so rural, it borders Florida and Alabama, there's a lot of dirt roads, there's a lot of small roads, and a lot of them are impassable. And so authorities are trying to cut through those roads, get them clear so they can check on people to see that everybody is in fact OK. Christi, Victor?

PAUL: Hoping everybody is for sure. Scott McLean, thank you so much.

And I know you watch this and you want to do something, and don't know what to do. Well, we have a place for you to go, There are ways there that you can connect, that you can help people. And we thank you so much for doing so. The other big news that we're following today, President Bush

promising, quote, severe punishment for Saudi Arabia if it is found that the government is responsible in some way for the death of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

BLACKWELL: Also a pro-government Turkish paper is reporting that Khashoggi recorded his own death by turning on the recording function of his Apple watch before entering the Saudi consulate. Khashoggi, a columnist for "The Washington Post," has been missing more than a week, but Saudi Arabia denies any involvement in the disappearance. Sources are also saying that Saudi authorities have prevented Khashoggi's son from traveling out of the country by invalidating his passport.

PAUL: CNN's Sarah Westwood is live outside the White House right now. So what else is President Trump saying in this new interview?

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Christi, President Trump is issuing the strongest threat to Saudi Arabia we have seen so far from this administration when it comes to the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi. In that interview with "60 Minutes" that Trump taped on Thursday, he said part of the reason why this diplomatic confrontation is seeing such high stakes is the fact that Khashoggi was a journalist. He vowed to punish Saudi Arabia severely if evidence emerges linking it to the alleged killing of this "Washington Post" columnist. Take a listen.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There's a lot at stake, and maybe especially so because this man was a reporter. There's something -- you'll be surprised to hear me say that. There's something really terrible and disgusting about that if that were the case. So we're going to have to see. We're going to get to the bottom of it, and there will be severe punishment.


WESTWOOD: Earlier in that interview Trump expressed a desire to preserve a proposed arms deal with Saudi Arabia worth billions of dollars. And it underscores the fine line the president is trying to walk between protecting a deal he describes as vital to the economy and holding Saudi leaders accountable if it turns out that they ordered the murder of one of the most prominent critics. And of course it is all made more complicated given strategic importance of the U.S., Saudi relationship. It is important not just because of those economic ties but also because Saudi Arabia has been made a centerpiece of Trump's Middle Eastern policy. So Trump will certainly come under even more pressure to specify just what punishments he is considering, Victor and Christi.

PAUL: Sarah Westwood, we appreciate it so much. Want to go to CNN International Diplomatic Editor Nic Robertson right now. He's live from outside the consulate in Turkey.

BLACKWELL: Nic, what are you learning about the Apple watch reporting, this theory that he recorded it and it went to his phone or went to the cloud. And what do experts say about the plausibility of this reporting?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Victor, I think this is sort of one of the key questions people are asking at the moment.

[10:10:00] This is a pro-government newspaper through the week that had a drip feed from what they say of reliable sources, a drip feed of information from the government, for example putting out the names of the 15 Saudis they say are the ones that flew in here, came to the consulate and they allegedly murdered Jamal Khashoggi. So this newspaper has had something of a track record on this story of laying out information for the government, of being a way for the government to get its information out.

One of the key things we know that the government essentially says it has and shared with intelligence agencies are recordings of what happened inside the consulate that they say definitively shows a very brutal murder of Jamal Khashoggi. This report that now that all of this could have been recorded by Jamal Khashoggi on his watch and gone by the cloud to his phone which the fiance was holding outside, technical experts say some of the points here don't hold up. One of the things that the article points out is that his interrogators, tried to break into the watch using his fingerprint rather than typing an I.D. That technology doesn't exist on that particular product. So it doesn't hold water there.

But when you take the big picture, this is the Turkish authorities continuing a drip-drip pressure on the Saudis who they're trying to negotiate right now to get into the consulate to have a forensic examination of where they believe Khashoggi was killed. But also, if you like, it's pressure on President Trump who President Erdogan is not getting out in front of this story, is cautious. He doesn't want to be isolated on this. He wants pressure from the United States on Saudi Arabia. That is the direction that the Turkish government would like this to go in. So when you see leaks like this, it is all aimed in that direction.

BLACKWELL: Nic Robertson there outside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, thank you so much.

Ahead, the midterms, now just 24 days away. And in one state, Georgia, one of the candidates for governor is accusing the other of voter suppression. We'll talk about this growing controversy.

PAUL: First, though, first lady Melania Trump sat down for a rare interview talking about everything from the Me Too movement to the administration's immigration policy.


[10:16:13] PAUL: Well, President Trump is calling the case of the missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi terrible and disgusting. He says this in a new CBS interview. Elise Labott, CNN global affairs correspondent, and Samantha Vinograd, CNN national security analyst, both with us. Thank you, ladies, so much for being here. Let's listen to more of what the president said, especially when he was asked in regards to how he handles the situation, when he was asked what are your options. Here's what he said.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What are your options? Let's say they did, what are your options? Would you consider imposing sanctions as a bipartisan group of senators have proposed?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It depends what the sanction is. I'll give you an example. They are ordering military equipment. Everybody in the world wanted that order. Russia wanted it, China wanted it, we wanted it. We got it, and we got all of it, every bit of it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So would you cut that off?

TRUMP: I'll tell you what I don't want to do -- Boeing, Lockheed, Raytheon, all these companies, I don't want to hurt jobs. I don't want to lose an order like that. And you know there are other ways of punishing to use a word that's a pretty harsh word, but it's true.


PAUL: Samantha, what are the other options?

SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: There are other options. But Christi, I just want to say of course we want to protect jobs in the United States, but if we're selling weapons to a kingdom and to a king that is engaged in targeted assassinations against its own citizens on foreign soil, that is using those weapons to kill civilians in Yemen, we are aiding and abetting a crime. And so at what point do those costs outweigh jobs that would be created here at home?

There are other options. We could impose sanctions on travel of Saudi nationals to the United States. We could freeze the assets of Saudi nationals here in the United States. And we could also talk with the private sector about cutting off their ties with Saudi Arabia. We have seen several news stories and reporting that says that members of the private sector are looking at divesting from Saudi Arabia and cutting back their ties because they are so reluctant to engage with the kingdom that is engaged in these kinds of activities.

PAUL: So Elise, any word how Saudi Arabia is going to react to that?

ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: I think we're going to see something coming out of Saudi Arabia fairly soon. It probably won't be what the U.S. or anybody in the international community wants to hear. It may not necessarily be the most plausible explanation, but I don't think they're going to be able to stand very long, just stay silent, without giving some explanation as to what happened to Jamal.

I do think that, as Samantha said, it is not just about the economy. And I think CNN has some stories online that suggests that these armed deals aren't as robust as initially thought, and maybe the economic importance wouldn't be felt as crucially as the president makes it seem. You can find that on

But look, the administration is really walking a tight rope here, not just on that arms deal, but also the relationship with Saudi Arabia is so important to so many conflicts around the world. You have the conflict in Yemen. You have the conflict with Iran. You also have the peace plan. All of these are so important, and if the United States, and there's been a growing concern about the overreach of this prince, is going to take a step back, that's going to take a lot of rethinking of U.S. policy in the Middle East. So it's not just about human rights, although obviously, as Sam said, America needs to continue to stand for its values and its principles, otherwise its foreign policy ultimately won't be as successful.

[10:20:01] PAUL: And it highlights, does it not, the fact that the U.S. does not have a U.S. ambassador in Turkey or in Saudi Arabia. So how much is that complicating the situation, Samantha?

VINOGRAD: I think it would be obviously preferable if we had an ambassador in Saudi Arabia. But I will say, Christi, from my experience working at the White House and working extensively with the kingdom, a lot of high level business is done directly from Riyadh with the White House. So Ambassador Adel al Jubeir who is now the foreign minister was a frequent visitor to the West Wing while I was there. I traveled to Riyadh and to Jeddah to see the king with the former national security adviser, so it is always essential to have ambassadors in the field, but for this particular relationship, it has traditionally been managed between Washington and between Riyadh.

PAUL: I do want to point out that the president has just tweeted talking about Pastor Andrew Brunson, who of course has been held in Turkey for the last couple of years, he says "Pastor Andrew Brunson released by Turkey will be with me in the Oval Office at 2:30 this afternoon. It will be wonderful to see and meet him. He is a great Christian who has been through such a tough experience. I would like to thank President Erdogan for his help." And he also goes on to say "There was no deal made for the release and return of Pastor Andrew Brunson. I don't make deals for hostages. There was, however, great appreciation on behalf of the United States which will lead to good, perhaps great relations between the United States and Turkey." What do you make, Elise, of the thought process this could change things between the United States and Turkey?

LABOTT: Of course the president makes deals for hostages. He's made deals for a lot of things. And I think this administration to its credit has been really good about putting a premium on getting U.S. Americans in detention back home. That being said, I think the president really put the squeeze on President Erdogan. The Turks were looking for the U.S. to extradite Fethullah Gulen, that cleric they thought was responsible for that attempted coup. The U.S. didn't do that. And then the Turks were looking for other things.

President Trump really put the squeeze, put double tariffs on steel and aluminum on Turkey, was ready to see the Turkish economy fall as a result, and tensions certainly spiked. I think this leaves room for both leaders, Erdogan and President Trump, to claim success and start to work together on some of these critical issues in the region. And I think this story about Jamal, how the Turks handle the investigation and how the U.S. can help them with that, I think this comes at a really good time.

PAUL: All right, Samantha Vinograd and Elise Labott, we appreciate both of you ladies. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: We are just 24 days now from midterm elections, and in Georgia one of the candidates for governor is being blamed for thousands of voter registrations that are in limbo. The other is calling on him to resign.


[10:27:29] BLACKWELL: Twenty-four days now until the midterm election. And Georgia is at the center of a voter suppression controversy. In the race for governor, Democrat Stacey Abrams, is calling on her opponent, Republican secretary of state, Brian Kemp to resign after reports showed his office has put more than 53,000 voter registration applications on hold because they fail to clear the state's exact match standard. The Associated Press found nearly 70 percent of those applications belong to African-Americans. CNN correspondent Jessica Dean has the story.


JESSICA DEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A major dustup in the state of Georgia weeks before voters go to the polls to choose their governor. The latest point of contention, allegations Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp is using a voter verification law to effectively suppress thousands of African-American voters. Kemp is running on the Republican ticket against Democrat Stacey Abrams.



DEAN: In the latest twist, a nonprofit advocacy group has filed a lawsuit against Kemp in his official capacity as secretary of state, this after reports that Kemp's office placed a hold on more than 50,000 voter applications, more than two-thirds of which were made by African Americans, for not meeting an exact match requirement. This means anything as minor as a typo or missing hyphen between a valid ID and a voter registration can be flagged.

KRISTEN CLARKE, PRESIDENT, LAWYERS COMMITTEE FOR CIVIL RIGHTS UNDER LAW: The reality is minority voters are often the ones with unusual names that are sometimes harder for state officials to capture accurately in the state's database. And they are being penalized for that. Our end goal, our end objective with this lawsuit is making sure that there's a level playing field where everyone's voice can be heard in Georgia. DEAN: The Kemp campaign calls the claims bogus, and points to Georgia

increasing its voter rolls under his leadership. Quote, "Under my tenure as secretary of state Georgia has shattered records for voter registration and turnout across all demographic groups. Despite any claim to the contrary, it has never been easier to register to vote in Georgia and actively engage in the electoral process."

The Abrams campaign says Kemp is using his authority as secretary of state to boost his chances, saying in a statement, quote, "This isn't incompetence. It's malpractice. Brian Kemp needs to resign his position so that Georgia voters can have confidence their secretary of state competently and impartially oversee the election."

[10:30:10] The Kemp campaign strongly denounces the accusations as a, quote, "sad campaign tactic" and says it is Abrams who is up to dirty tricks, calling this whole thing a, quote, "manufactured crisis to turn out her base."

The secretary's website points out voters with registrations on hold can vote on election day if they show an acceptable form of identification which is already required to vote in Georgia. Kemp's team says it's this controversy itself that's suppressing the vote. Quote, "by telling people they can't vote, they actually think they can't vote, and that's a sad state of affairs." As for Abrams, she has long believed Kemp has worked to suppress the minority vote.

ABRAMS: We live in a nation that spent centuries denying the right to vote and spent decades creating barriers to that right to vote. And I have an opponent who is a remarkable architect of voter suppression.

DEAN: Jessica Dean, CNN, Washington.


BLACKWELL: Joining me now to discuss, former southern regional director for the 2012 Obama campaign Tharon Johnson, and CNN political commentator and former senior adviser to the Trump campaign Jack Kingston. Gentlemen, welcome back. Jack, let me start here with you. And Abrams is asking for Secretary Kemp to resign, putting out a statement, "Brian Kemp is maliciously wielding the power of his office to suppress the vote for political gain and silence the voices of thousands of eligible voters, the majority of them people of color." What do you make of this request for him to resign?

JACK KINGSTON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think, number one, it is absolutely a manufactured crisis. Stacey Abrams has pulled this stunt every election year since 2014. She makes a big deal about it, and then it might go to court, might not go to court, but it always fades away. And 53,000 people are in question, and every single one of them can vote. In fact, Victor, her claims are so bad that the ACLU, hardly a Republican pro-Kemp group, has said that she's wrong, that all of these people will be eligible to vote. It is a provisional situation because, unfortunately for George Soros and other groups that back her in these voter drives, they do have to comply by the law, but the courts have upheld this law. BLACKWELL: Jack, reconcile the numbers for us. You have got 53,000

registrations on hold, nearly 70 percent of them are African-American applicants or registrants, in a state that's only 32 percent African- American. How do those numbers reconcile?

KINGSTON: The state legislature in 2017 addressed this issue. In fact, I talked to State Senator Ben Watson about it this morning. Also talked to Brian Kemp about this last night. Stacey Abrams voted against the very law, the very bill that would correct this and allow people to vote under these circumstances. And by the way, the law still passed, despite her opposition, and that's why these 53,000 people will still be eligible to vote. This again, she has been doing this since 2014.

BLACKWELL: You're not answering my question. Reconcile the 70 percent of the 53,000 in the state versus 32.2 percent according to the 2017 census numbers. How do you get to nearly 70 percent?

KINGSTON: Because it is her organization that has purposely targeted voters who have propensity to vote Democrat. This is not just the only voters that are out there.

BLACKWELL: You're still not answering the question.

KINGSTON: Then Victor, let me say this.

BLACKWELL: Are they suggesting that black people just can't fill out an application to register to vote?

KINGSTON: No. Here is what happens. They have door to door canvassers who often don't fill out the forms out right. They get the date of birth wrong, they get the address wrong, and so forth. It's really, I don't even think it is Stacey Abrams who have orchestrated this. I think it is these paid canvassers who are doing the forms wrong. But that's what the law is. I have to follow it. Everybody has to follow it. Stacey Abrams, Brian Kemp, anybody who is registered to vote has to have information that's verifiable. So I don't understand what her deal is except for she wants to make a big deal.

BLACKWELL: Tharon, let me come to you. This is the Kemp statement here, "The 53,000 cited in their complaint can vote in the November 6th election," just like Jack was saying. "Any claims to the contrary are politically motivated and utterly false." Your take?

THARON JOHNSON, FORMER SOUTHERN REGIONAL DIRECTOR, OBAMA 2012: The Abrams campaign has come out and encouraged these folks to go out and vote. And so Secretary Kemp is exactly right that anyone who is on the list who have been deemed inactive or cannot be registered to vote right now because of the exact provision, they can actually go on and vote.

But herein lies the bigger problem. You just heard it from Jack Kingston, a person who is from Georgia, who is from Athens, Georgia where Brian Kemp and I are from, as well, who represented a very southeastern part of Georgia where he received and actually asked for a lot of African-American vote when he was in Congress.

[10:35:02] Herein lies the problem is that now organizations, not the Abrams campaign, are being penalized because they are going to and trying to register new voters. You just made a good point, Victor, that 70 percent of these 53,000, that's roughly 31,700 African Americans voters were put on this inactive list. And so what has happened is Brian Kemp has a history of basically purging voters. In 2012 and now in 2018, 1.4 million voters have been purged off the list. In 2017, 670,000 voters were purged off the list.

So here's the bigger problem we have. Brian Kemp as being secretary of state had to know when he was deciding to run for governor that there were going to be a lot of civil rights groups and also his opponent who was going to come out and question this law which he pushed through the legislature in 2017. So he could have proactively, Victor, come out and said, hey, there are going to be some people who are going to not have the right hyphen, who probably doesn't have the correct spelling, who missed the commas, who did not put their middle initial on that voter registration form. So therefore we want to encourage them to make sure that they double and triple check their voter registration.

So now he is trying to say that he has been this long-standing person who, by the way, Victor, as we live in Georgia, 6 million people's voter data was released publicly. So they had our Social Security numbers, a lot of personal information. So had this been a secretary of state who had a track record of being fair --

KINGSTON: Let me get in here quick.

JOHNSON: Hold on, jack.

KINGSTON: Don't filibuster me.

BLACKWELL: Hold on, Jack. Tharon, wrap it up.

JOHNSON: The last thing is, and Jack knows this, is that this is why we need to not only restore the section five of the Voting Rights Act, because had Republicans, when you were in the Congress, Jack, had not diluted section five of the voting rights act, this type of disenfranchisement laws, these discriminatory laws could not be made in a state like Georgia.

KINGSTON: Tharon, you know darn good and well I voted to continue the voting rights act, and I did it contrary to many Republicans' position in our party. Under Brian Kemp, 7 million people are now registered to vote in Georgia. It is an absolutely colorblind process. By the way, as you know, counties register people to vote, not the secretary of state. But the people who are pushing back are the counties.

JOHNSON: Jack, here's the problem. You can't administer your own election. The call for Brian Kemp to resign --

KINGSTON: Let me, let me --

BLACKWELL: Hold on. JOHNSON: He is running for governor. So it makes people in Georgia

believe, Jack, that there may be tampering going on, some funny business going on.

BLACKWELL: All right, Jack, you get 15 seconds, then we have to wrap up the whole conversation.

KINGSTON: I would like to see Stacey Abrams resign from Georgia First who is the voter registration group. You talk about a conflict of interest.

JOHNSON: She totally disassociated herself. That's Republican spin.

KINGSTON: And she still hasn't paid her taxes. She owes $50,000 in taxes, and she should take some of that money to pay it?

JOHNSON: Who is the person in the governor race right now who is going through a lawsuit.

BLACKWELL: We've got to wrap it there.

KINGSTON: We'll talk about her student loan debt, too.

BLACKWELL: I find it a little ironic that the senior adviser to the Trump campaign is calling for taxes.

JOHNSON: Exactly. That's laughable, Jack. That's laughable, Jack.

BLACKWELL: Tharon Johns, we have got to wrap it there. Very heated. A lot of heat there.

JOHNSON: We're old friends. We're old friends.

BLACKWELL: Thank you, both.

KINGSTON: Take care.

PAUL: It's always interesting with these two, always interesting. All right, gave us a lot to think about.

Listen, Melania Trump sat down for her first interview or a very rare interview, I should say, as first lady while she was away on her trip overseas, and spoke on a myriad of issues, including the state of her marriage, the Me Too movement, the administration's immigration policy. Regarding her husband's family separation zero tolerance policy, she said she was blindsided by that.


MELANIA TRUMP, U.S. FIRST LADY: I was blindsided by it. I told him at home and I said to him I feel that's unacceptable, and he felt the same.


PAUL: The first lady did, however, support enforcing a strict immigration policy.


MELANIA TRUMP: I believe in the policies that my husband put together because I believe we need to be very vigilant who is coming to the country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But do you think people should be able to bring in their mother and their father?

MELANIA TRUMP: Yes, of course, but we need to vet them. We need to know who they are.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you told your husband this?

MELANIA TRUMP: Yes, of course.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And what does he say?



PAUL: This interview comes as a new CNN poll shows the first lady Melania Trump is more popular than her husband -- 54 percent of adults have a favorable opinion of her, 41 percent have a favorable opinion of the president.

BLACKWELL: Just ahead, a gruesome discovery in the ceiling of a funeral home in Michigan that had been closed for six months.

PAUL: And his unique perspective and voice helped influenced the world of food, travel, culture. The impact of Anthony Bourdain lives on.

[10:40:00] Join CNN for a special "Parts Unknown," Tony's impact, tomorrow at 9:00 p.m. eastern and pacific, only on CNN.


BLACKWELL: In Detroit, construction workers found remains of 11 infants in the ceiling of a former funeral home.

PAUL: We're talking at the Cantrell Funeral Home. It was shut down for code violations because it's being turned into a community center. CNN's Polo Sandoval is looking into this. Polo, help us understand. as I understand somebody sent a letter alerting someone there were these infants buried in the ceiling?

[10:45:11] POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The details here are very difficult to understand here, at least they are very disturbing as well, Victor and Christi. Yes, what happened in the last 24 to 48 hours in Detroit, investigators received an anonymous letter advising them that the remains of these infants were in what used to be a funeral home. They responded yesterday and located, made that discovery, as you mentioned, the construction crews found the remains of nine infants in one box and also of two others in small caskets.

As you mentioned, this funeral home closed in April, the state had shut them down for various violations, including the improper storage of bodies in that facility. So what investigators received was that letter, advising them about that. The current owner allowed those investigators into the facility, they conducted the search and made that very disturbing discovery in the ceiling.

I should tell you that overnight they brought in some cadaver dogs to make sure that there aren't any other remains and they found absolutely no other remains. Investigators now trying to reach out to the former operator of that facility being turned into a community center at the time of that discovery, guys.

PAUL: And also identifying those remains as well. Polo Sandoval, we appreciate it. Thank you. We'll be right back.


[10:51:00] PAUL: Come tailgate, taking a stand at the bayou for one of the biggest games in the SEC this year.

PAUL: Coy Wire is live from Baton Rough, head of the Georgia-LSU game, and that's cool. But can we talk about baseball and these free burgers, though?


COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Baseball and free burgers. That's what you want to talk about, Victor.


WIRE: Good morning to you. Before this series the Brewers manager Craig Counsell actually said there was probably more pressure not to take the lead in the series, but instead to give fans a 12-straight win and, yes, free burgers for everyone. We'll get to that in a second. Last night they succeeded, and it was all thanks to an unlikely hero rising to the occasion. Brewers relief pitcher Brandon Woodruff, no, he didn't. He did not go yard. Yes, he did, a homerun. That's off one of the best pitchers in the game, Clayton Kershaw. The dugout went crazy. Wisconsin high-fiving and hugging everywhere. Woodruff's emotion says it all.

The energized brew crew, the went up six to one at one point, but L.A. battled back. They made it six to four in the ninth, and that's where Chris Taylor's long fly ball bounces in and out of the glove of Lorenzo Cain. Dodgers score, they're now within one. But Corey Knebel facing Justin Turner, settle down, strike him out, that's it. That seals the win.

About those free burgers, with 12 wins in a row, the restaurant George Webb, they're going to deliver on their promise. They're going to give out free burgers at all of their 30 locations. This happened in the '80s. And back then they gave out 170,000 burgers in just an eight-hour span. That's going to be a fun time in Wisconsin next Thursday. Brewers, Dodgers, back in action for game two today at 4:09 eastern, and followed by game one, Astros and Red Sox in Boston at 8:09 on our sister network TBS.

But we have a game on here today in Baton Rouge. Number 13 LSU --


WIRE: Versus number two Georgia Bulldogs. We are here with some of our friends. This is the painted posse. Caleb (ph), you have been in this place, Tiger stadium. It's an intimidating place. What's it like in there?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's great being with 102,000 plus of your closest friends. It's absolutely incredible.


WIRE: It's 102,700 stadium. I'm here with Eric Saney (ph) as well. Tell us what makes LSU special?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shout out to the best food in the country, best video in the country, best fans.


WIRE: I can agree with him. And the fan, the passion is palpable. And I can tell you, Victor, in case you're wondering, they do leave tan lines after this. It is a sunny, beautiful day here in Baton Rouge. It's almost game time. Back to you.


PAUL: Good luck, guys. Thanks, Coy.

BLACKWELL: Serious turn here. The severe punishment that President Trump is vowing if Saudi Arabia is responsible for the death of "Washington Post" contributor Jamal Khashoggi. More on what the president plans to do next. That's at the top of the hour.


[10:58:47] PAUL: Afghan and Iraqi interpreters serving alongside U.S. troops in the Middle East put themselves and their families at great risk every day just like troops do. They face danger not only in combat but from persecution and death threats at the hands of the Taliban and ISIS.

BLACKWELL: This week's CNN Hero is an Army veteran whose new mission is to bring them to safety. Meet Matt Zeller.


MATT ZELLER, CNN HERO: Afghan and Iraqi translators, they're proud patriots who signed up to defend their country and to help us with our mission. We owe these people a great debt of gratitude, to feel like they have been honored for their sacrifice. Welcome home. Thanks for everything. Thank you.

What we also owe them is a chance at a new and better life that we promised them in exchange for that service.


BLACKWELL: To see how Matt is transforming the lives of these brave translators, go to

PAUL: We thank them for their service, of course. We thank you for being with us and hope you have good memories today.

BLACKWELL: Much more ahead now in the next hour of CNN Newsroom. We turn it over to Fredricka Whitfield.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Okeydokey, that was a little hesitation there.

BLACKWELL: Why was that hesitation? No hesitation.

WHITFIELD: Did you think I wasn't ready?

BLACKWELL: No. We have been here five hours. No hesitation.

PAUL: We're so punchy. We've been here for five hours.


BLACKWELL: No hesitation.

WHITFIELD: OK, good. You guys have a great day.


PAUL: You too.

WHITFIELD: Good to see you. Thanks so much.