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President Trump Promising Severe Punishment If It Turns Out That Saudi Arabia Killed "Washington Post" Contributor And U.S. Resident Jamal Khashoggi; Turkish Newspaper Is Now Reporting That Khashoggi's Apple Watch Recorded Evidence Of His Murder; Aftermath Of Hurricane Michael; President Trump Spoke To Reporters As He Head To Kentucky For A Campaign Rally At Joint Base Andrews; Scientists Have Long Discussed Whether We Are Purely Victims Of Natural Disasters Like These, Or If We Are Doing Something To Bring Them On; The First Lady, Unfiltered Melania Trump In An Interview. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired October 13, 2018 - 16:00   ET


[16:00:00] ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: President Trump promising severe punishment if it turns out that Saudi Arabia killed "Washington Post" contributor and U.S. resident Jamal Khashoggi. But that punishment would not include, he says, cancelling a multi-billion dollar arms deal currently in the works. Here was the President speaking just the last hour during an event to celebrate the release of an American pastor held by Turkey.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As of this moment, nobody knows what happened, as of this moment. You know, we are looking in it very seriously. Turkey is looking in to it at a very high level, at the highest level, and so, is Saudi Arabia. I mean, they are going to get back and they have been getting back. And I know Mike has been dealing with them. John has been dealing with them.

But in terms of the order of $110 billion, think of that, $110 billion, all they are going to do is give it to other countries. And I think that would be very foolish for our country. But there are other things we can do that will be severe.

At this point, it's looking like, it's looking like he perhaps won't be or isn't around and that's very sad. I think that we would have known by now. That was our first hope. Our first hope was that he was not killed. But maybe that's not looking -- it's not looking too good, right, from what we are hearing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot still to learn, I think, Mr. President.

TRUMP: But there's a lot to learn.


CABRERA: Khashoggi, a (INAUDIBLE) regime, has not been seen since October 2nd when he walked in to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to obtain paperwork that would allow him to marry hiss Turkish fiance. Now Saudi Arabia has denied any involvement in his disappearance. But

a Turkish newspaper is now reporting that Khashoggi's Apple watch recorded evidence of his murder. We will have more on that in a moment.

But first, I want to bring in CNN's international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson who has been all over the latest developments on the story.

And Nic, the President now vowing severe punishment, but with conditions, with limitations, saying he wont cancel that arms deal, so what are the Saudis is likely to take away from this?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, I think if we try to examine a little bit first of all the likelihood of the Saudis rushing off to buy weapons from China and Russia, of course, they sell weapons that the Saudis can use. But the Saudis have been buying the massive preponderance main portions of the armaments have made really scaled up the approaches over the past half decade from the United States. So that arrangement is very deeply engrained. And it goes back beyond the current Saudi administration under king Salman and his son, crowned prince Mohammad bin Salman.

So, what has Mohammad bin Salman take away from President Trump's statement? Well, it seem, I would say, he would take away that he has some wiggle room here. That there's still a relationship between them. Perhaps he is worried about what those other strictures it might be that President Trump talks about.

But, you know, from the Mohammad bin Salman's position right now, it has been on a trajectory of trying to gain and hold power in the kingdom. His biggest worry right now would be that whatever the United States may do, it may undermine his grip on power in the country which is really been very singular and different to what we have seen under past Saudi kings who rule more by a council of advisers.

Mohammad bin Salman doesn't do that. So, his take away would be, how much is this going to personally affect my power in the country.

CABRERA: Meantime, in the dynamic here, it's very interesting, can the U.S. trust that Turkey is being honest about what they say happened given the regional dynamics and the possible political motivations involved?

ROBERTSON: Yes. And this is a really great question. Because of course, you know, Turkey a NATO member, but buying weapons systems itself from Russia, close to Iran on some issues. And it's, it's against the United States position in Syria. United States backs the Kurds so the Turkish her, you know, who part of the population is Kurdish, they see some of them that based in Syria as terrorists. So there is really differences of opinion, that's so sure.

Erdogan would like to have the United States more aligned behind him than it is behind Saudi Arabia. But when the intelligence agencies make that calculations of the evidence put forward. And we know these tapes, these records, audio/visual, whatever they are, apparently from inside the consulate have shown two partner intelligence agencies, including the United States, President Trump has said that, you know, essentially, he hopes to seeing them soon.

The intelligence agencies that analyze, they have their calculations and knowledge about what Turkey's bigger geostrategic aims are, kind of bait in (ph) to that calculations when they work out how much faith can we put in this material.

Is it possible that it has been cooked up? I think these things are all part of that calculation. And it seems from what we are hearing from the agencies that have seen this material, in Europe, and in the United States, that they are inclined to believe it. So, I think the calculation is. That whatever it is that the Turks have, it seems to have strong roots - Ana.

[16:05:21] CABRERA: All right. Nic Robertson, thank you for your continued reporting on this.

Now, back to the Turkish report that Khashoggi's watch may have recorded evidence of his death. As intriguing as the theory sounds, tech experts are casting doubt on it.

CNN's Becky Anderson explains why.


BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Here in Turkey, an Apple watch like this can't connect to the internet all by itself and that is important. Have a look at this. We record here, 1, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. Save it and that comes up on this straight away.

APPLE WATCH: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.

ANDERSON: Now, take the phone away. And even though we record, nothing happens. And that's just as Apple itself describes the technology on its Web site. And that is all important because we know Jama didn't have his main iPhone on him. He left it outside with his fiance.

So there's three main possibilities. One his watch could have stayed link to his iPhone outside through Bluetooth, but that is really unlikely the experts tell CNN because they would have been too far apart.

Two, he could have another phone synced up in his pocket, for example, there's no indication of that however.

Option three, Khashoggi, he was logged on to the consulate WIFI but for someone in self imposed excel, connecting to a WIFI connection from that country's consulate would not be smart. A major cybersecurity risk.

So, are any of these possible? Yes. But they are all extremely unlikely.


CABRERA: Becky Anderson for us, thank you.

Now, to our other top story, the aftermath of hurricane Michael. Tomorrow, FEMA'S chief, along with the Florida governor will get a firsthand look at the shear devastation left behind as they tour the hard hit areas of the handle. This storm is now blamed for 17 deaths across four states. And that number, is expected to rise as crews continue to sift through storm debris, for people who could be trapped and killed.

This brand new drone video, gives you a stunning look at Mexico beach Florida. Look at the devastation. The mayor there estimates three- quarters of his city was wiped off the map.

Now, one resident who rode out of the storm captured dramatic footage of Michael's fury as it made landfall. Listen to this.

CNN's Martin Savidge joins us live in this area in Mexico beach Florida, where city officials are calling it ground zero.

Martin, a very long road to recovery ahead for these folks.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Ana. I mean, just take a look at the devastation. Whether you look at it from the air or whether you are on the ground, and just walkthrough somebody's home, that this clearly somebody's kitchen here, a TV behind us and just ruins.

Here's the problem. They are trying account for all those that they know remained behind. And they have a pretty good count as to how many there were, 286. They were counted just before the officials left this community, just before the storm hit. So, you come back, you find those people, and you determine who is still alive and who is safe and sound. The problem is, how do you do that? You go to the home. You go to the address. Which is now scattered all over this town. And that's what made it so complicated for the search and recovery teams as they try to find those people who they know stayed behind. Turns out, hey, maybe more people stayed behind. They are getting people posting on the Web site for the community saying, have you seen so and so, or have you seen this person or that person.

So now, they are finding there were more people that they may have thought. And there could have been others who squeaked away at the last minute just before the storm struck. So are they looking for them? Are they here where they are in their original home or was there a home damage in the storm maybe they fled and went to another home.

It is extremely complicated. It is extremely difficult and it is very dangerous. On top of that, until they account for all those people, they cannot let the rest of the community come back even though many people cant wait to come home and see what there is.

CABRERA: That is heartbreaking to see that there could be 200-plus people still missing from that community. And as you been showing us what is happening there on the ground exactly where you are standing, Martin, we are looking at live images right now of the drone in action where we really see the vast amount of devastation and how bare this community is right now with the destruction there. You have obviously covered so many of the storms, Martin. What stands out to you about this one?

[16:10:09] SAVIDGE: This one is more like a huge natural disaster along the scale of tsunami. Something like I saw in 2011 in Japan. It's, just as you point out, the massive size of this extensive, incredible damage. It's not just a pocket of it here and there. It goes on and on and on.

And by the way, law enforcement and community engineers are using drones as well to map out this debris field, to try to get a sense of the scale of it all. And also, people who had homes here, most of them know what has happened to it because thanks to satellite technology, they have been able to look. They have very few structures here that remain untouched in an entire, not just a town, the whole beach front area that extends in to a number of communities. It's a staggering, staggering view.

CABRERA: No doubt about it, martin savage in Mexico beach Florida. Let go to CNN, Scott McLean in Panama City, Florida.

Scott, you are seeing cars lined up in long lines for gas there, drivers waiting up to six hours for fuel.

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that is right, Ana. We are seeing massive, massive lines for fuel, gives you a sense of just how desperate people are for that simple commodity. We have also seen long lines of water being handed out by the national guard and food, the MREs, and meals ready to eat.

Communications have also been a very big problem here. Of course, there's no power in Panama City. Cell phone service is spotty at best on many of the networks. And for that reason, in part, firefighters assume that there are still people trapped inside of their homes who just have not been able to call for help.

The battalion chief of the Panama City fire department also told me that he assumes that the death toll will rise. He would not be surprised in this area alone if the death toll was in the double digits. Firefighters for the last two days have been going door to door, and knocking on doors, trying to look for people who may be stuck inside.

But, keep in mind, they are doing this important work all of the while, they are dealing with their own issues. Many of them have their own homes damaged or flooded. Listen.


CHIEF DAVID COLLIER, PANAMA CITY FIRE DEPARTMENT: As you have seen around here, the devastation has been complete. They have the same thing for us. A lot of our homes, a lot of our families have been displaced. Homes have been destroyed. You know, damage has been everywhere. So we are having to deal with that as we are dealing with this incident as well.


MCLEAN: So, Ana, (INAUDIBLE) middle school behind me. And believe it or not, this is not an anomaly in this local school board. I spoke to a school board member today who said, there are some schools that look even worse than this. In fact, he said that more than half, well over half of the schools in this district were heavily damaged. It will be months before they are restored and students can go back, and so, the vast majority of students will be displaced. So how do you make sure that those students graduate on time? Well, they may have to do two sessions of school inside the same building, the board is going to be meeting on Monday to make a final decision on what to do.

CABRERA: How does life return to normal for anybody there?

Scott McLean, thank you for that.

And if you want to help, victims of hurricane Michael, just log on to And a lot of different organizations that we have already vetted are there. And you can find ways to help.

Some breaking news, we continue to follow. For instance, tension overseas to the oval office. An American pastor meeting and praying with President Trump after being released by Turkey. His long journey back and what this now means for relations between the two countries.

Plus, Melania Trump getting candid about her marriage and all the rumors.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you love your husband?



[16:18:01] CABRERA: Live pictures right now from joint base Andrews, where the President is getting ready to get on the road yet again today heading to a rally in Kentucky. Let's listen in to the President moments ago.


TRUMP: Well, I hope not. We are going to find out what happened. We are looking very hard. We have a lot of very good people on it. So, does Turkey, so does Saudi a Arabia. We are going to find out what happened and you will be the first to know - Phil.


TRUMP: We are looking at everything, Phil, that you can look at it when it comes to illegal immigration. We have people trying get in our country because of how well our country is doing. And you know? In the old days when the country was not doing well, it was a lot easier. Now, everybody wants to come in and they come in illegally. And they use children in many cases, the children are not theirs. They grab them and they want to come in with the children. So, we are looking at a lot of different things having to do with illegal immigration.

What should happen is that the Democrats should pass good bills. This is the same situation that President Obama found himself in. He had separation and people didn't talk about the famous picture from 2014 that they all thought was our picture, that was a picture of young children in jail cells that was during the Obama administration.

So, we want to do whatever we can do. We have people trying to come in like never before. Our border patrol, I.C.E., law enforcement is doing an incredible job. But we are going to do whatever we can do to get it slowed down.


TRUMP: Well, I will say this, if they feel there will be separation, they don't come, you know. If they feel there's separation, it's a terrible situation. We want to go through Congress, but the Democrats don't want to approve anything. They are obstructionists. If they feel there is separation, in many cases they don't come. But also in many cases you have really bad people coming in and using children. They are not their children. They don't even know the children. They have not known the children for 20 minutes and they grab children and they use them to come in to our country. You have really bad people out there. We are doing an incredible job. But the one thing I will say, the country is doing so well economically in every other way, that more people want to come in than ever before. So we have to be very strong.


[16:20:49] TRUMP: I do, but they have to come in legally. I want a lot of people to come in. Frankly, we need people coming in because they have a lot of companies moving back in. Jobs are coming back in. You take a look at all of the new plants that are being built in the United States. We have a lot of, a lot of people calling me. They want workers and we want people to come in to our country. That's what people don't understand about me. But they have to come in on a merit basis and that's what we are working out with congress.


TRUMP: Chain migration is not a good thing. Chain migration is bad. If you look at the lottery system, that's bad. What I want is merit. I want a lot of people on come in. We have great car companies entering our country again. This has not happened for 35 years. We have companies like Fox (ph) going to Wisconsin with a massive, massive plant.

We need people coming in. But we want them to come in on a merit. We want people that are going to help us. It's very important. We want them to come in on a merit basis. (INAUDIBLE QUESTION)

TRUMP: Look, as far as I'm concerned as to whether or now it's an issue for those of you that didn't hear. Immigration is always tricky. But to me, it's not tricky. You have to do the right thing. Whether there's an election or not. I'm very tough at the borders. We have been very tough at the borders. People have to come had in the country legally, not illegally, legally, and I want them to come in in merit. If that is a bad policy, then guess what, a lot of bad things are going to happen, but a lot of people agree with me.

I would say a vast majority of our country agrees. They don't want criminals coming to the country. They don't want people that they don't want in the country that are not going to help us as a country. They don't want these people coming in. So we have a very strong policy.

The one thing that really has changed over the last couple of years, since I have been President, our country is doing so well, even with real interests, not with false interest rates, zero interest. Anybody can do well with zero interest. But our country is doing, we are the hottest country in the world economically by far. You take a look at us compared to China, compared to everybody else. We are the hottest country in the world. A lot of people are trying to come in. Our border security, our I.C.E., our law enforcement is doing an incredible job.


TRUMP: You have children coming in and they are coming through Mexico and they are unaccompanied. They have no parents. They may be back in the country that they came from - Honduras and a lot of other countries or they may not. But you have many people coming up, many young children - I mean, really young children, and they are pouring in through Mexico. And we are taking care of them. They have no parents or their parents are not in Mexico in most cases not in Mexico, they are from other parts of the world. It's really a humanitarian tragedy and we are taking care of it.

But this isn't a case where people are coming up with children -- coming in with children. People are grabbing children and they are using children to come in to our country in many cases.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One more question on Saudi Arabia. You have talked a lot about your good relationship with the king Salma. That was your first trip (INAUDIBLE) May, the red carpet, the fighter jet, (INAUDIBLE), are you considering the relationship with Saudi Arabia, are (INAUDIBLE)?

TRUMP: Well, I have to see what happens. I mean, you know, a lot of work is being done right now. I have to see. Now, one of the reasons it was my first pick, is if you remember, it was $110 billion of military that they were going to buy. But they were going to invest, $450 billion in our country through the companies. I think you were there. And all of these Raytheon (ph) and General Electric and General Motors, they were there getting contracts for $25 billion, $30 billion, $40 billion. Nobody has ever seen anything like it.

So when you say, that was my first country. That was my first country, because no other country is going to be investing $450 billion, $110 billion in the military. It's a lot of money. Yes.


[16:25:26] TRUMP: China wants to make a deal. China would love to make a deal. I don't think they are ready yet. I just don't think they are ready yet. They have made too much money for too long. What they have done to our country is take out anywhere from $300 billion, to $500 billion a year. Rebuild China. I have great respect for China and for President Xi in particular. We will probably make a deal. But I don't think that they are ready. They want to make a deal. They are not doing well, if you look at their economy. The Chinese economy is not doing well. And we are doing very well. We are doing better than we have ever done. But, I told them, a week ago, they want to come in, they want to make a deal. I said, you are not ready to make a deal.


TRUMP: I have not named the new White House council. But over a short period of time, I will. Who? Pat is a great guy. I don't want to say, but he is a great guy. He is very talented and he is a very good man. But I don't want to say yet.


TRUMP: Well, I don't talk about that. I just say this, and everybody knows it. No collusion, never that and never will be.


TRUMP: From where?


TRUMP: I don't understand your question.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- Saudi Arabia if they are responsible, that you continue with the big arms deal like that?

TRUMP: Well, there are many other things we can do. But when we take away $110 billion in purchases from our country. That hurts our workers, that hurts our factories. That hurts all of our companies. You know, you are talking about 500,000 jobs. So, we with do, we are really hurting our country a lot more than we are hurting Saudi Arabia. They will go to Russia. They will go to China. They will make the order. The equipment is nowhere near as good as our equipment, they know that. Our equipment is the best in the world. But they will go to China, they will go to Russia, they will order equipment. We are just hurting ourselves.

So we would do something that doesn't have to do with that in my opinion. But, we don't know, we don't know, nobody knows right now, the answer. We are looking for the answer.


TRUMP: Well, I have to find out what they did. Right now, Turkey is very deep in to it. We are in constant communications. And frankly, other countries are looking at it too, including us. Now we will get to the bottom of it. So we will have to see.


TRUMP: U.S. is very much involved. We want to find out what happened.


TRUMP: Oh, we have had people speaking at the highest level. And I didn't want to call until we had enough information. Now I want to call, so, probably over the next 24 hours.


TRUMP: Who is going to Kentucky? Are you going to Kentucky? You have a great time. I hear 93,000 applying for 10,000 jobs. There's something going on, Phil. This reminds me of 2016. It reminds you of 2016 too.


TRUMP: Look, I want the most talented person, but unlike you, Nikki was terrific. We are looking. We have some -- a lot of people want the job. It's a great job. A lot of people want it. We have incredible candidates. Probably over the next two weeks at the moment. But really some great talented people. And some of you that you know well.


CABRERA: This is the President, just moments ago, as he gets ready to had head to Kentucky for A campaign rally this evening talking to reporters at joint base Andrews. And he spoke about immigration after the reports recently about the huge increase in families coming across the border. Nearly 40 percent increase over the previous month according to U.S. customs and border protection. Facilities out of space, those words from the department of homeland security secretary.

[16:30:00] The president also speaking about the economy, saying that's one of the reasons that people want to come to the U.S., the economy is so strong. He talked about Saudi Arabia and the arms deal. He said that it's not on the table in terms of punishment if it turns out, Saudi Arabia is behind the disappearance and what is believed to be killing of the Journalist Khashoggi. And he talked about China and tariffs, saying they want to make a deal. Very talkative President Trump and he gears up for his 7:00 p.m. rally in Richmond, Kentucky, this evening. We will cover it as well. Now, wheels up from Joint Base Andrews.

A quick break here on CNN. You are in the NEWSROOM. Don't go away.


[16:35:00] CABRERA: New video from Mexico Beach, Florida, taken just a few hours ago, as rescue crews are there looking for survivors in the wreckage of any building left standing. The people of the Florida panhandle and south Georgia will be cleaning and rebuilding and taking stock of their lives for many months to come. They join the thousands of families still reeling from Hurricane Florence, which hit last month. And don't forget, a year ago, Hurricane Maria, smashed Puerto Rico, 3,000 people died there. And Hurricane Harvey killed more than 80 people in Texas.

Scientists have long discussed whether we are purely victims of natural disasters like these, or if we are doing something to bring them on, make them worse. Then, there's this very grim report. A global group of climate experts give us more than -- what we have known 10 years ago to change our ways, saying, what we suffer, they call what will happen, will be a catastrophe.

Let me bring in Eric Holthaus. He is a meteorologist and co-host of a podcast dedicated to climate change, and it's called "Warm Regards."

Eric, is it just perception that hurricanes are getting stronger and more intense? And you draw a line between the intensity and the changing climate?

ERIC HOLTHAUS, METEOROLOGIST & PODCAST HOST: We can. We are at the point where there are multiple ways that human activity is creating stronger storms, more damaging storms. And that's really what it comes down to, is that, we have now decades-worth of evidence that there are at least five ways that hurricanes are getting worse because of climate change. The strongest storms are getting stronger and all hurricanes are intensifying more rapidly. There are -- there's new evidence now that slow-moving hurricanes like Harvey and Florence are moving slower when they make landfall, which is increasing the damage in the coastline. All hurricanes are raining more intensely because, as the atmosphere warms, it holds more water vapor that's converted to rain more easily. And the most important one is probably that sea level rise is increasing coastal damage. That's what you are seeing in the pictures from Mexico Beach and Florida is, 14 feet of storm surge just erased the structures that were right along the coastline. And there's no way to adapt to a change like that.

CABRERA: So how do you know that climate change though is having this effect on hurricanes and it's not a cyclical thing? What can be measured to support that conclusion?

HOLTHAUS: Scientists are conducting experiments all around the country. We have documented evidence now from the last several decades of hurricanes where we see in the numbers and see in the damage that the damage is getting worse. So, that is partly because of more people moving to the coast line. But it's partly because storms are getting stronger. So we are able to pull that out and look at it and analyze it and see that there's no other way that it could be happening other than human activity. CABRERA: You wrote an article once listing cities that could be

underwater soon if climate change is not brought under control. Where and how soon?

HOLTHAUS: Yes, well, I mean, this is the thing that, you know, going back to the report this week, this was really a call to action like I have never seen before. So they are talking about, in the next 12 years, and that is 12 years from now, we should be well on our way to making the shift. So we are going to be having -- we need to have 50 percent lower carbon emissions in every country in the world in order to get on that track to prevent this catastrophic sea level rise. This could potentially impact every city on the planet. It's not just choosing which cities are the most vulnerable. It's every city. And that is what is starting to hit through to people is that it's not something that anyone is going to be able to escape. It will affect everyone. And we are all part of the answer. We are all part of switching society into a world that can recognize we are part of an ecosystem here, and part of a living planet, and we all depend on each other. It's starting to come through in the last couple of days after this report that, finally, after the last couple of days. Finally the scientists are sort of pulling the lid off of what we have known for a long time and saying, it's now or never.

CABRERA: There's a sense of urgency that increased.

Eric Holthaus, thank you for joining us.

HOLTHAUS: No problem. Thanks.

CABRERA: The first lady, unfiltered, Melania Trump on her marriage and that infamous "I don't care" jacket, next.


[16:40:03] UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: You have been with children. You put the jacket on?

MELANIA TRUMP, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: After the visit, I put it back on because I saw how media got obsessed about it.


CABRERA: We rely on our smartphones now more than ever. For everything from directions to dinner recommendations to socializing online, we cannot put them down. Now, teens who are growing up in digital era are discovering under intended consequences of being so tied to tech.

It's the subject of a brand-new episode of "THIS IS LIFE" with Lisa Ling.


[16:45:11] LISA LING, CNN HOST, "THIS IS LIFE": OK, so this was three years ago?


LING: Was this the very last post? "I will just disappear some day and never come back?"

(voice-over): One of the sites Morgan was most active on, was Tumblr, a social media platform where kids share images and text.

(on camera): This gives me chills right now. Someone sent her a message saying, "You are killing yourself, Morgan." And she wrote, "I know." And there's a comment that is kind of the point. And it was at 1:00 in the morning this was posted.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Her identity became what she identified with in here and in her online world. And for her, the darkness fed the darkness. And that's really why I believe she is gone.

LING: If Morgan didn't have a phone or social media, do you think she'd be here today?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's no question.


CABRERA: Catch an all new "THIS IS LIFE," tomorrow at 10:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN.

We will be right back.


[16:50:45] CABRERA: Melania Trump as you have never heard her before. The notoriously private first lady getting candid in a new interview, answering questions about her marriage and her husband's alleged infidelities.


UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: You are not the first first lady to have to deal with her husband's alleged infidelities? Has this put a strain on your marriage?

TRUMP: It's not a concern and focus of mine. I'm a mother and first lady and I have more important things to think about and to do. I know people like to speculate and media likes to speculate about our marriage.

UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: You mentioned you still have a good marriage. Do you love your husband?

TRUMP: Yes. We are fine. Yes. It's what media speculate, and it's gossip. It's not always correct stuff.


CABRERA: Joining us now, Washington bureau chief for the "Chicago Sun-Times," Lynn Sweet. Lynn, there's no doubt Melania has had to weather a lot of headlines

in the past year. How do you think she handled the questions?

LYNN SWEET, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: She did well. The territory she was on was fraught with land mines and she stayed away from it. I have two takeaways from this briefly. One, she struck me as lonely when she said she keeps in touch with a few friends that she by phone. I know you other things to get to. The other things is that didn't get much attention is how the -- she can't find corporate partners to do events with in the way that Mrs. Obama did.

CABRERA: That is interesting.

A new CNN poll showed that her favor ability has ticked up from June, from 51 percent to 54 percent. That is higher than her husband's 41 percent approval rating. Do you think part of this could be empathy for all the rumors that you have to endure?

SWEET: Absolutely. When your husband is accused of being all the things that he is accused of, from his own private life and his alleged affairs to his to what he says and his immigrant treatment, the fact that she did put distance from the president and herself on immigration and make trips, that may be a reason why her ratings are better, and it may have just been a sympathy factor.

CABRERA: She said that people should focus on what she does and not what she wears. Here was the explanation for the "I don't care" jacket she wore on her way to a border detention center.


TRUMP: I wore the jacket to 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.

UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: What was it that compelled you to wear it at that moment? You were down there, you had just been with children, and then you put the jacket on?

TRUMP: After the visit, I put it back on because I saw how media got obsessed about it.


CABRERA: Lynn is she admitting, sometimes, there's a hidden meaning in her wardrobe?

SWEET: Yes, and it doesn't -- I don't understand why she'd want to necessarily deliver that anti-media message when she was doing something that was remarkable and important in terms of public impact on public policy. If she's serious on having an impact on public policy, you pick the places where you punch the media, which she had ample opportunity. So, again, what is remarkable about that is that she embraced it. Didn't run away from it. She wanted to send a message. She was a walking billboard. And yes, we noticed.

CABRERA: Lynn Sweet, good to have you with us. Thanks so much.

SWEET: Thank you.

[16:54:31] CABRERA: Quick break. We will be right back.


CABRERA: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. Thank you for joining me on this Saturday evening. I'm Ana Cabrera, in New York.

A disturbing development, a horrifying twist in the case of missing journalist and U.S. resident, Jamal Khashoggi. President Trump announcing this afternoon, from the Oval Office, that Khashoggi's fate is, quote, "not looking too good." This comes 11 days after Khashoggi was last seen walking into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. A journalist, and frequent Saudi critic, was there to get paperwork to marry his Turkish fiancee. Khashoggi has not been seen since. And Turkey knows why. Turkish officials say they have audio evidence that Khashoggi was brutally murdered while inside the Saudi consulate. They claim he recorded his own death on his Apple watch.

President Trump is now promising severe punishment if it turns out that the Saudis killed Khashoggi. Just not so severe that he would cancel a multi-billion arms deal in the works.

Here he is speaking on the White House lawn last hour.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, there are many other things we could do.