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Trump Vows "Severe Punishment" if Saudis Murdered Journalist; Hurricane Michael Aftermath; Melania Trump on Family Separation, Her Marriage and More; "The Forecast"; Remains of 11 Infants Found in Ceiling of Closed Funeral Home; 1,500 Unaccompanied Children Still Held at Texas Facility. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired October 13, 2018 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[10:59:58] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Did you think I wasn't ready?
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: No. We have been here for five hours. No hesitation.
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: We've been here for five hours.
BLACKWELL: Yes. No hesitation.
WHITFIELD: Ok. Good.
WHITFIELD: Hey, you guys have a great day.
BLACKWELL: You, too.
PAUL: You, too.
WHITFIELD: Good to see you. Thanks so much.
Hello, everyone. It's 11:00 on the East Coast.
I'm Fredricka Whitfield. NEWSROOM starts right now.
As the mystery surrounding the missing journalist deepens, President Trump now vowing severe punishment -- his words -- if Saudi Arabia murdered "Washington Post" contributor Jamal Khashoggi. International outrage is growing as leaders are demanding answers from Saudi Arabia.
And here's what we know.
At the beginning of the month he was in Istanbul, ready to go to the Saudi consulate to get documents allowing him to get married. On October 2nd, Khashoggi left his phone with his fiancee, went into the consulate, and then never returned.
One source told the "New York Times" Khashoggi was dismembered with a bone saw shortly after arriving. That same day, Turkish authorities believe several Saudi men arrived in Istanbul just hours before Khashoggi entered the consulate. And they believe they were connected to his disappearance and possible murder.
So far there has been very little reaction from the White House. But now President Trump is speaking out about the journalist's possible murder.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LESLEY STAHL, CBS CORRESPONDENT: Jamal Khashoggi, the journalist --
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- the Saudi journalist.
STAHL: Was he murdered by the Saudis, and did the prince give the order to kill him?
TRUMP: Nobody knows yet but we'll probably be able to find out. It's being investigated. It's being looked at very, very strongly. And we would be very upset and angry if that were the case.
As of this moment they deny it and deny it vehemently. Could it be them? Yes.
STAHL: Jared, your son-in-law has gotten on the phone and asked the Prince.
STAHL: Did he -- did he deny it?
TRUMP: They deny it. They deny it every way you can imagine.
In the not too distant future, I think we'll know an answer.
STAHL: 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?
TRUMP: Well, it depends on what the sanction is. I'll give you an example. They're 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.
STAHL: So would you cut that off?
TRUMP: I 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 what -- there are other ways of punishing to use a word that's a pretty harsh word but it's true.
STAHL: Tell everybody what's at stake here. You know, this is -- TRUMP: Well, there's a lot at stake. There's a lot at stake, and
maybe especially so because this man is 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: All right. Let's talk further on this from the White House with reporter Sarah Westwood. So what else can you tell us? What does he mean, you know, that there is a lot at stake, but then he doesn't elaborate further?
SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: That's right -- Fred.
President Trump still not saying whether the White House believes the Turkish officials who said that Jamal Khashoggi was murdered by the Saudis, but he is issuing the strongest threat yet to Saudi Arabia that we have seen from the administration on Khashoggi's disappearance.
Now the President's threats of severe punishment to Saudi Arabia comes against the backdrop of mounting pressure from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle for the administration to take action.
And notable in that "60 Minutes" interview is Trump stressing (ph) his desire to preserve a proposed arms deal with Saudi Arabia worth billions of dollars. It just shows the fine line that the President is walking here between preserving an economic relationship that Trump describes as vital and holding Saudi leaders accountable if it turns out that they did indeed order the murder of a prominent critic.
And it's all the more complicated given the strategic importance of the U.S.-Saudi relationship. It's important not just because of those economic ties but also because Trump has pursued this realignment with Saudi Arabia, making Saudi Arabia the focal point of its Middle Eastern policy.
Now critics have said that the White House's strong backing of the controversial young Saudi leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has only emboldened the leader. Kushner -- Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law is among Salman's big backers.
So Fred -- while we are learning more about the White House's reaction to Khashoggi's disappearance, there are still a lot of unanswered questions about the future of Saudi relations.
WHITFIELD: All right. Sarah Westwood -- thanks so much. We're going to check back with you.
[11:04:57] Meantime, I want to bring in international anchor Becky Anderson, global affairs correspondent Elise Labott, and CNN international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson. Good to see you all. So Nic -- you first. You know, President Trump has promised, and I'm quoting now, "severe punishment" if Khashoggi was murdered and the Saudis were found responsible.
The world is watching to see what happens. But how much pressure is the world putting on the Trump administration to respond?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, the Turkish authorities are definitely putting pressure on the Trump administration with this drip-drip (INAUDIBLE) of evidence. They say they have these 15 men that they say came from Saudi Arabia on the day that Khashoggi was killed.
The information last night that Khashoggi may have in fact recorded his own death on his watch -- that doesn't seem to hold water technically, but it is part of this narrative, this drip-drip feed from the government that they have audio recordings, that they have shared them with western intelligence agencies, that they do show the brutal torture-killing of Jamal Khashoggi inside the consulate.
And the key to all of it is for the Turkish forensic investigators to be able to get into that consulate. Right now, they're engaged with the sort of negotiations, if you will, with Saudi representatives to be given the access.
And that's the real acid test, if you will, here. Can they get inside the consulate behind me here to do the forensic tests which would presumably definitively back up what they're alleging, the audiotapes they say that they have, and the other various claims that Saudi Arabia denies.
And at the moment, the appearance seems to be, and we haven't seen any investigators go in, that the Saudis continue to stonewall the Turks on giving them that access. So as long as that goes on, you can expect Turkey to continue to ramp up a drip feed of information.
A nuclear option would be to release these audiotapes that they say they have. And that pressure is not just on Saudi Arabia, aimed (ph) at President Trump because they want -- the Turks want his support on this.
WHITFIELD: And Elise -- if the President of the United States doesn't act or doesn't carry through with whatever severe punishment could come, could Congress work around the President impose some sort of sanctions on its own against Saudi Arabia if indeed it appears that Saudi Arabia is responsible for his disappearance or his murder?
ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly. I mean look, there are certain types of legislation -- some have waivers for the President, some don't. Congress could certainly act under certain legislation that has no waiver for the President.
And you saw this global Magnitsky Act -- this was obviously put into effect because of Russia. But now it is about global human rights. And Congress also can talk about arms sales, you know, this arms deal with Saudi Arabia, obviously very important to President Bush (SIC). But you know, Congress has to approve certain other arms sales. And this could, you know, go a little bit further.
And then there's also, you know, the kind of military to military cooperation. Congress obviously has the purse strings on that.
So there are things that Congress can do, but it is really, you know, the political decision by President Trump. And it's going to be really hard when you have Congress and the American people, you know, demanding some kind of action -- the administration really walking a tight rope here right now -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: And then Becky -- you know, the Turks are saying Khashoggi's Apple watch may have recorded his murder. What's -- you know, what's behind that claim? And what's in it for the Turkish authorities to divulge that kind of information?
BECKY ANDERSON, ANCHOR, CNN INTERNATIONAL: Well, we've had a look at this and it is interesting. I mean, you know, much as Nic points out of what we are hearing is from quote, "scoops" that pro-governmental media are getting here and very little being released by official sources.
But we had a look at this. And get this, unlike over in the United States, Fredricka -- here in Turkey, an Apple watch can't connect to the Internet all by itself. If I were to, for example, record with one here now, it would show up right away in the cloud because my phone is close and it is connected.
Take my phone away the watch would essentially go dark. Now, Apple says as much on their Web site. And that is important because we know Jamal didn't have his main iPhone on him. He left it outside with his fiancee.
So there are three main possibilities. One is the watch could have stayed linked to his iPhone outside through Bluetooth, for example. But that's really unlikely, experts tell CNN, because they would have been too far apart.
That leads us to number two. He could have had another phone synced up in his pocket. There is no indication of that, however.
And three, I guess, Khashoggi was logged onto the consulate Wi-Fi somehow. So for someone in self-imposed exile, connecting to a Wi-Fi connection from that country's consulate wouldn't be smart, a major cyber security risk I would say.
[11:09:58] So any -- are any of these possible? Yes, but they're all extremely unlikely -- Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: Ok. And so Elise -- what are your sources telling you about that probability or even possibility?
LABOTT: Well, I mean look, U.S. officials have been told by the Turks that they have audio. We kind of see now this whole idea of the Apple watch looks, you know, highly unlikely.
What's most likely is that the Turks were bugging the consulate as, you know, governments do across the world when they have, you know, countries in -- you know, they have countries that have diplomatic facilities in their country. And they don't want to put that out.
And obviously this could be a smoke screen for the Turks, but as we see it is not that possible. What's most likely is that the Turks were bugging the consulate. If they have some audio, then that's where it came from. And they don't want it publicized to the world that they have that, but I mean it's pretty obvious at this point.
WHITFIELD: Deductions are being made.
So Nic -- there are a few things here because, you know, there's possible fallout for so many.
Whether it be the Turks, you know, who might have information. They want to share it with the world, but at the same time there may be some real repercussions for doing so.
And then for Saudi Arabia if indeed they had targeted and did, you know, do away with Khashoggi, perhaps they may have underestimated the power of, you know, this news spreading the world that this journalist may have been killed and it may have been carried out by Saudi Arabia on Turkish soil.
So lots of potential repercussions -- how is it being assessed?
ROBERTSON: You know, there are a lot of potential repercussions. Technically if a murder happened in the consulate which is what the Saudi officials are -- rather the Turkish officials are alleging, it would technically be on Saudi soil.
But the Turkish, the way that they're investigating leads us to believe that they're perhaps looking for a body or further evidence outside. But again, that critical point that the forensic teams, the Turkish investigator forensic teams if they could get inside the consulate then maybe that will clear up some of that.
But, you know, it is very hard to see how Saudi Arabia and Turkey can have a meeting of positions on this. One of the only sort of escape valves seems to be for the Saudi leadership to say that this was somehow a rogue operation, that somehow a group that was sort of not authorized to do something did something.
You know, if you're an analyst and you're looking at this, you're trying to break it down. Did the group, as the Turks allege, come in here with the intent to kill Khashoggi or did they just come in with the intent to drug him and take him back to Saudi Arabia.
We know that a second aircraft arrived in the afternoon, that afternoon when Khashoggi disappeared. That would have been a perfect timing to take out, you know, a drugged passenger back to Saudi Arabia.
But all of this is conjecture. It is very clearly at the moment at the stage of a potential big, big diplomatic rift. It's potentially at the point of a watershed moment for the Saudi leadership or the Saudi royals at least to examine their current leadership, and again that very clearly the possibility of a change in relationship between President Trump and Saudi Arabia.
WHITFIELD: Right. And then quickly, Becky -- what would this say about, you know, Saudi rule because, you know, Mohammed bin Salman while he is, you know, the Crown Prince many people believe in that country that he really is the one running things.
And, you know, to Nic's point, while the consulate is in Turkey and that is considered, you know, the domain of the visiting nation, you know, that it happened outside Saudi Arabia. What would people in Saudi Arabia be thinking about what this says about the leadership or its potential involvement here?
ANDERSON: Look, this is a pivotal moment. The leveraging of relations with Washington through the promise of billions of dollars in military hardware to help make America great again, to coin Trump's phrase, has been absolutely crucial in Mohammed bin Salman's project to revolutionize his country.
In Donald Trump, he sees a leader whose transactional nature fits the Crown Prince's thinking. We scratch your back, as it were, and in turn you invest in the Saudi vision for a modern, competitive economy replete with international companies investing in a future beyond oil.
We are talking existential stuff here, Fredricka -- that the Crown Prince believes that western support, not least out of Washington, will convince the majority of Saudis -- and remember two-thirds of them are under the age of 30 -- that the country has a future. He doesn't believe the country has a choice. There is no Plan B, he says.
Now, the scale and scope of that change is enormous. He would argue that those who've been rounded personify a generation of (INAUDIBLE), of economic disease, a cancer if you will, who owe the country an enormous debt quite literally. And he is calling that in as it were.
[11:15:08] As far as his credibility is concerned and at home to date, it has been pretty good on the back of this. But this is all flushing out the deep rift, as Nic points out, around the region. Saudi and its Gulf allies who support the Crown Prince's vision on the one side, and Qatar and Turkey on the other who the kingdom accused of being bent on destroying his plans.
WHITFIELD: Unbelievably complex and still so disturbing too because people are still wishing and hoping for Khashoggi and his family.
All right. Nic Robertson, Elise Labott, Becky Anderson -- thank you so much to all of you. Appreciate it.
Still ahead, a closer look at the fury of the hurricane called Michael that reduced homes to piles of rubble, mangled structures and splintered houses. We're live coming up next.
[11:15:56] (COMMERCIAL BREAK) WHITFIELD: All right. This is all new dramatic video into CNN showing the intensity of Hurricane Michael as it slammed into Mexico Beach, Florida. You can see, at the height of the storm surge, you can see right there that the first level is nearly licking all the water there. The power of this 155-mile-per hour winds also very intense.
The death toll now standing at 17 across four states; officials from Florida through the Carolinas and Virginia expect that number to rise. Nearly 900,000 homes and businesses in seven states are still without power. And in parts of the Florida Panhandle, it might be months before power is back on. Many roads are impassable because of the storm debris and the damage.
Let's begin our coverage at ground zero in Mexico Beach, Florida. Erica Hill is there for us.
So Erica -- what is the situation? Are people starting to make their way back to see this colossal damage?
ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. There are some people starting to make their way back. We saw some yesterday. I was just over at the command post for the emergency operations. There were people in there going over the map with the search and rescue teams. We have a team here, a taskforce from Miami to give them a sense of, you know, who they were looking for, where their house is or was, and they're trying to see in many cases what's left.
We're going to put our drone up now. I think we may have it up pretty soon just to give you a sense of the damage.
The mayor telling me yesterday 75 percent of this town is gone. All of the local businesses are gone. And this is all mom-and-pop shops.
What is really remarkable though is everyone you speak to, they may have a dazed look on their face as they're trying try to process what they're seeing in front of them and try to reconcile that with the Mexico Beach that they know and love. Yet they are so resilient and they are determined to come back.
Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLAIRE STEPHENS, HURRICANE MICHAEL SURVIVOR: I still got my family, that's what's important. And they have a good attitude. We're smiling in between the tears. Yes, there's some tears that got shed, but we're smiling in between. We really are grateful for the stuff we do have.
MAYOR AL CATHEY, MEXICO BEACH, FLORIDA: Very, very, very hard to walk down the street. That was Jim's house. That was Frank's house. That was Sue's. You know that's -- after awhile it wears on you.
But I'm an optimist. And I said I'm going to get -- we'll get through this. We're a great little community with a lot of pride. (END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: And that was Mayor Al Cathey there. He said the first couple of days were really rough. Yesterday he said I am in a different place today and we're going to come back.
Just to give you a sense though, he told me his latest estimate was he was told maybe two months before power is back here. There's no water. There's no sewer.
There is a discussion about people whose homes may be somewhat habitable, however crude those conditions are, whether they should be allowed to stay for safety's sake. He said to me what do you tell somebody if they can be in their house, you tell them they have to go to a motel? That's the debate they're having right now.
The city manager estimates it's probably 12 to 18 months before the city is back up and running. Everything though -- today you can see there are bulldozers out there. There are search and rescue teams continuing and they're continuing with step one which is to clear the debris -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: Wow. It's incredible. I mean these images speak to so much. I mean, you know, how widespread this damage is and then, of course, it also lets people -- it underscores the message of how unpredictable hurricanes are. People thought Category 2 and then very, very quickly it picked up speed, becoming a Category 4 and doing that kind of damage.
Erica Hill -- thank you so much. We're going to check back with you throughout the afternoon.
Meantime, rescue crews in the Florida Panhandle towns are using equipment and they're also using search dogs to look for people trapped or killed.
Hundreds of people remain missing or unaccounted for. Rescue crews are fanning out throughout the region.
Joining me right now from Panama City is Scott McLean. So Scott -- what is the situation there?
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Fredricka -- the recovery here in Panama City is likely to be measured in months. In some other areas along the Panhandle it may be even longer than that.
Case in point, this is a middle school right now. It's the gymnasium. It's absolutely been ripped apart. These brick walls came right down. It's a pretty scary sight. But what might be even scarier is that Panama City wasn't even the epicenter of the storm.
MCLEAN (voice over): If there was any question about the strength of Hurricane Michael, the scene in Mexico Beach left no doubt. In this former Panhandle paradise, not a single structure was left untouched. Michael was one of the strongest hurricanes on record, packing more than 150-mile-per-hour winds, left downed trees and power lines, tore roofs off homes, and most striking, entire neighborhoods scraped off the map.
[11:25:10] Even in Marianna, Florida more than 50 miles inland, Michael packed a punch destroying parts of downtown and ripping homes apart.
(on camera): What was going through your mind?
(voice over): Roy Bush (ph) decided to ride out the storm with his son Ahmaad (ph) as the hurricane literally shook his house, a decision he would soon regret.
(on camera): What was the scariest part?
AHMAAD BUSH, HURRICANE MICHAEL SURVIVER: We had the couches against the door and the door kept opening up.
MCLEAN: Because of wind?
MCLEAN (voice over): The hurricane force winds blew the chimney off right onto his new truck.
KAREN WATSON, HURRICANE MICHAEL SURVIVOR: You notice it is badly bowed.
MCLEAN: Karen Watson wasn't even that lucky. She returned home to this unthinkable scene after her chimney collapsed through her roof.
WATSON: -- come back and see a gaping hole in my roof. Got some chips in it this time, but it survived Andrew.
MCLEAN: She waited out the storm in Kentucky after a terrifying experience with Hurricane Andrew 26 years ago.
WATSON: That is a feeling you never -- it never leaves you.
MCLEAN: Governor Rick Scott toured Mexico Beach and Marianna to see the devastation for himself.
GOVERNOR RICK SCOTT (R), FLORIDA: The amount of debris, it is like -- it's like a bomb went off. You look at a place like Jackson County where you had -- it must have been a whole bunch of small tornadoes and you see the structures, you wonder how people survived them.
MCLEAN: Michael has already proven deadly and the toll may yet rise. A fact not lost on Bush who knows he got lucky.
ROY BUSH, HURRICANE MICHAEL SURVIVOR: I should have left. I should have left and went west, you know.
(END VIDEOTAPE) MCLEAN (on camera): And in Jackson County where Marianna is located, they're still cutting through the roadways to try to clear them, to try to get to some of those remote areas. And that is why they think that the death toll will rise there, that they'll find people that they simply haven't been able to reach just yet.
Here in Panama City, there is good news at this school. We're just seeing the first cleanup crews, recovery specialists to get in there and to try to get this school back on its feet.
But one of the big concerns here as well, Fredricka, is food and water. They do have distribution points for water and food but it is going to be a big effort beyond this. One firefighter told me that things are about to get stupid if people don't get food and water.
WHITFIELD: Oh yes. Well, the desperation is setting in I'm sure with a lot of people already. All right. Scott McLean -- thank you so much.
All right. Coming up next, the First Lady speaking her mind -- hear what Melania Trump says about her marriage, the #MeToo movement, and the administration's controversial immigration policy.
[11:27:50] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
WHITFIELD: Melania Trump says she disagreed strongly with her husband's administration's zero tolerance policy on immigration that led to family separations at the border and she says she let him know.
The comments coming from an ABC interview with her in Africa during her first solo overseas trip since becoming first lady.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MELANIA TRUMP, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: I was blindsided by it. I told him at home and I said to him that I feel that's unacceptable and he felt the same.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: CNN White House correspondent Kate Bennett joining me right now.
So Kate -- Mrs. Trump, you know, saying that the immigration policy prompted her visit to the Mexico border back in June. She says, you know, that she let her husband know. But we don't know to what extent she let him know that she was disturbed about it.
But then, you know, when asked about this famous jacket which says, you know, "I don't really care", you know, "do you", she had a response about that. So listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
M. TRUMP: I go on the plane and off the plane, and it was for the people and for the left-wing media who are criticizing me. And I want to show them that I don't care. You could criticize whatever you want to say, but it will not stop me to do what I feel is right.
TOM LLAMAS, ABC NEWS HOST: What was it that compelled you to wear that at that moment? Because you were down there, you had just been with children and then you put the jacket on.
M. TRUMP: After the visit I put it back on because I see how media got obsessed about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: So Kate -- what does she mean by that? Meaning while she was in the detention facility she, you know, was watching Twitter or she heard something about then reaction and then she wore it again? I don't understand that.
KATE BENNETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: So basically I was on this trip, so I can sort explain. She wore it onto the plane and then she was not wearing it on the ground in Texas. On the plane home, that's when the story sort of unfolded that there was this uproar about it.
I covered Melania Trump since the beginning of the inauguration. It was not a surprise to me that she walked off the plane with the jacket on again. In many ways, she's like her husband, if she's attacked she punches back twice as hard. I mean this is how she does it.
She's wary of the press. She likes to sort -- I mean this interview last night that aired was her first on-camera sit down interview in almost a year that we heard from her.
And as to the border, I do believe that she told her husband, the President, that she was going down there. We asked on the plane how did the President feel about this. And the answer was pretty she just told him she was going. She wanted to see it for herself.
[11:35:06] So certainly she wields some influence and power and does her own thing when it comes to some of these West Wing policies. But yes, the jacket was a real misstep. Of course, we remember afterwards her spokeswoman said it is just a jacket, there is no message.
BENNETT: And then all of a sudden last night it was a message to left-wing media.
WHITFIELD: So do you think there was an objective, you know, for Melania Trump to do this interview since this was her first sit down and she did not really elaborate on much. She had a response for every question, but I don't believe it really puts you into her mind and her thinking in how she came up with making certain decisions, do you?
BENNETT: Yes, I mean, we saw a first lady I think who is still very reserved, very private. I think you nailed it. She is not someone who's going to be overly emotional.
I mean here she is talking about whether or now she was hurt by these allegations and headlines and she said well, I found it unpleasant, like it was, you know, a fly to be swatted around or something. It really felt again measured, private, serious -- all the things that we've learned this first lady to be.
But also she has an independent voice. I think she was -- it was interesting to hear her thoughts about the #MeToo movement, about immigration, and these other issues in the headlines currently -- certainly an interesting interview with the first lady.
WHITFIELD: Do you think it was helpful for her?
BENNETT: It's hard to say. I mean, you know, I think more people are realizing that she's -- the President much more alike the President than maybe the sort of resistance-free Melania sort of situation. That really she's very aligned with him, very much in communication with him, and, you know, aligned with his policies.
WHITFIELD: Kate Bennett -- thank you so much.
All right. Still ahead, 24 days and counting -- the midterms are right around the corner. History is on the Democrats' side. But could Republicans pull an upset? We'll get the forecast with Harry Enten next.
[11:37:03] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
WHITFIELD: All right. It is just 24 days until the midterm elections and we're launching a new tool to help keep you informed. And you saw the big banner earlier. It's called "The Forecast with Harry Enten". It's a daily prediction of the outcome of U.S. Senate and House races leading up to the midterm elections compiled by CNN Politics senior writer and analyst Harry Enten, Working with a team of statisticians. And CNN has collected a vast amount of historical polling and voting data from public sources. And using that data, "The Forecast" predicts the outcome of the midterm races.
So here he is. Harry Enten, all right, joining us right now from New York. Good to see you. How is that for a roll out?
HARRY ENTEN, CNN POLITICS SENIOR WRITER AND ANALYST: Wow. That's a lot of words.
WHITFIELD: Ok. What is the forecast for the House?
ENTEN: Yes -- so for the House of Representatives, the most likely outcome at this particular time is that Democrats will control 229 seats. They only need 218 to win control.
But again there's a margin of error with this estimate. So Democrats could in fact gain up to 262 seats, which would be a massive night for them, or they could win as little as 205, I believe, seats at this particular point in our forecast.
So Republicans could maintain control in the House but right now, the most likely outcome is that Democrats will win control of that body. WHITFIELD: Ok. And for the Senate, you actually have the GOP
maintaining the majority. But then how do you see it -- what's your forecast?
ENTEN: Yes. So we basically see right now Republicans have 51 seats in the senate. We think that they will increase it to 52 seats, so they'll actually gain a seat.
But again, there's a margin of error with this. So if Republicans have a really good night, they can win up to 57 seats in the United States Senate, that is if they sweep all the toss up races, and maybe even a few that lean towards the Democrats at this time. Or if let's say the Democrats have a really good night, they can in fact gain the majority.
So there's still a wide margin of error with all of these estimates. But right now if we were to sum it up, in the United States Senate we think that Republicans are likely to maintain control while they're going to probably lose control in the United States House.
WHITFIELD: All right. Thank you so much for putting that together in a nice, little tidy package for us just a few weeks away from Election Day. Appreciate it.
ENTEN: And great cartoon, too.
WHITFIELD: And a great cartoon, I love the graphics. All right. Thanks so much -- Harry.
ENTEN: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: All right. Next, horror at a funeral home -- the bodies of 11 infants found in the ceiling, some stored in cardboard boxes -- a live report of this very gruesome story.
[11:44:15] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
WHITFIELD: All right.
Welcome back now to a heartbreaking, gruesome discovery in Michigan. The remains of 11 infants found inside the ceiling of a closed Detroit funeral home.
CNN correspondent Polo Sandoval joining me right now-- what do we know about this?
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fred -- the details are certainly disturbing here.
Let me get you kind of up to speed on Cantrell Funeral Home that had been closed in the last few months. According to reports, it did have a history of mishandling bodies in the past. Michigan's Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs has cited them for mishandling some of these -- some of these human remains so it eventually closed.
Well, then yesterday these construction crews that were trying to basically modify the funeral home, turn it into a community center, discovered 11 infants found in the ceiling of this closed funeral home. Nine of them were in a cardboard box, and two in a small casket that had been containing at least two more infants.
I want you to hear directly from investigators as a police lieutenant describes where this horrible discovery was made yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LT. BRIAN BOWSER, DETROIT POLICE: Obviously they had knowledge. You're not going to just guess. So whether they're employee or whether they actually did it, we don't know yet.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANDOVAL: And the current owner of that building allowed investigators to bring in cadaver dogs to make sure that there were not -- that there weren't any other bodies that have been found. They did not find anything else.
[11:50:02] I should note that investigators right now are trying to contact who was the owner of Cantrell Funeral Homes when it was actually operating. But as you can imagine here, Fred -- that's something that they still haven't been able to do, but will certainly be crucial in the investigation.
I should note that a majority of the remains of these infants, these were babies who had been stillborn according to investigators. And they have identified at least some of them, but hopefully the medical examiner will be able to identify the rest of these remains.
You can imagine what the parents of these children are going through right now -- Fred. They had assumed that they perhaps had buried their babies and now told that these remains were discovered in that facility.
WHITFIELD: Yes. I'm sure those families are really distraught. All right. Polo Sandoval -- thank you so much.
Straight ahead, a look inside a U.S. detention center that is still housing more than 1,500 immigrant children.
[11:50:57] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
WHITFIELD: Welcome back.
Right now there are still at least 1,500 unaccompanied immigrant children being held at a temporary detention shelter in Texas and a backlog in fingerprint processing could be keeping some of them there much longer. This, as the Trump administration says it's seeing a big boost in the number of families crossing the border.
CNN's Leyla Santiago has more.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Arriving act a migrant shelter, a bus filled with Central American families released from ICE custody. A bus showing shadows of children whose little hands we would eventually see gripping their parents.
We agreed not to show their faces as they explained why they came to the United States.
This 27-year-old mother tells us gangs forced her to leave Honduras -- a country plagued with violence.
(on camera): So she says that the gangs wanted to recruit her son and when she said no, they told her she had 15 days to leave the country or they would kill her boy.
RUBEN GARCIA, ANNUNCIATION HOUSE: We receive them but they don't get released to the streets.
SANTIAGO (voice over): Ruben Garcia runs Annunciation House, migrant shelter, about half an hour from Tornillo, an area where the Department of Health and Human Services houses about 1,500 teens who crossed the border without a parent. The facility has had to extent its deadline for closing and has had to expand.
KIRSTJEN NIELSEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: We're out of space unfortunately, given all of the increase in numbers.
SANTIAGO (on camera): So the immigrant advocates that we're talking about are telling us they're seeing more children, more families coming in, crossing the border, and the facilities aren't able to handle them. They don't have enough beds or places to care for them.
So we're in Tornillo at this sort of temporary tent shelter. We're going to go in and ask more questions. Find out how many children are in custody and how is the administration now handling this.
(voice over): Our cameras were not allowed inside. The government provided this video.
(on camera): So we spent two hours behind the gates into what is really like an entire city back there. They have their own firefighters. They have a place to worship. They have a place to eat. And we actually even went into one of the tents where they live. I could see bibles placed on their beds, teddy bears, every indication that these are children living here.
And when I went to the barber shop, I met a young man from El Salvador. He says he's been here a month and 11 days. When I asked him why he is here, why he crossed that border alone, he says he's looking for a better life.
(voice over): Another young man said he wanted to get to Houston, another to Colorado -- all eager to be reunited with family.
MARK WEBER, DEPUTY ASST. SECRETARY, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: I would say, you know, there are multiple factors in terms of why we have so many kids at this point in time. And yes, we have added additional protections to ensure the homes that these children are going to safely and that is adding time.
SANTIAGO: The average time for a child to stay in HHS custody, 59 days. The reason they say, more Central American children are crossing the border -- a 30 percent increase in just the last two months.
The Trump administration's zero tolerance policy -- it separated by 2,600 kids from their parents, though most have been reunited. And a new requirement to fingerprint sponsors agreeing to care for the children waiting for a day in court.
The commander at Tornillo says sponsors for more than half of the children here have had fingerprints taken, but it's taking too long to get any sort of report from the FBI. For now, he says the facility is expected to keep taking care of these teens through December 31st.
GARCIA: They're risking their life. And so you have to ask yourself, what would it take for you to risk your life and that of one of your children or several? What would it take? I think that's -- that's what gets lost in all this discussion.
SANTIAGO: In the meantime, children continue to wait to one day be released, to one day be reunited with family and try to find a better life.
Leyla Santiago, CNN -- Tornillo, Texas.
WHITFIELD: All right. Hello again, everyone. Thanks so much for being with me this Saturday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.
As the mystery surrounding the missing journalist deepens, President Trump is now vowing, quoting now, "severe punishment", if Saudi Arabia murdered "Washington Post" contributor Jamal Khashoggi. International outrage is growing as leaders are demanding answers from Saudi Arabia.
[11:59:56] Here's what we know. At the beginning of the month, Khashoggi was in Istanbul, Turkey ready to go to the Saudi consulate to get documents allowing him to get married. On October 2nd, Khashoggi left his phone with his fiancee, went into the consulate and then never returned.