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Saudi Arabia Vows To Retaliate Against Any Sanctions; FEMA Chief, Governor Tour Damaged Area Of Florida; 33% Of Democratic Voters Prefer Biden In 2020; CDC Confirms 38 Cases Of Polio-like Virus. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired October 14, 2018 - 15:00   ET

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


[15:00:00] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: -- to have a swift definitive response 12 days after he disappeared. The world is still wondering, where is Jamal Khashoggi? He vanished after walking into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey and he never came out. Turkish officials accuse Saudi Arabia of killing the journalist and since then, there is mounting pressure for the U.S. Treasury Secretary to cancel his upcoming trip to Saudi Arabia. Listen to U.S. Senator Marco Rubio.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAKE TAPPER, "STATE OF THE UNION" HOST: You are suggesting that Mnuchin should not go to the economic conference in Riyadh? Is that what it means?

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: I don't think any of our government officials should be going and pretending as it's business as usual until we know exactly what happened here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Already these sponsors and speakers have pulled out of the Davos in the desert conference, including CNN and right now, Saudi Arabia is becoming more isolated as it vows to retaliate against any sanctions with even greater action after President Trump had this message.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There is a lot at stake and maybe especially so because this man was a reporter, there's something you will be surprised to hear me say, 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: One Saudi media general manager warning President Trump today any sanctions from the United States will, according to them, stab its own economy to death. CNN's global affairs correspondent, Elise Labott joined me right now. So what might the next move be for the U.S.?

ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fred, I think that they are really having a lot of meetings right now between U.S. officials about what they are going to do when they have some more information. Right now they don't have any information from the Saudis, nothing from the Turks because, you know, the U.S. has been very busy trying to be focused on getting Pastor Andrew Brunson out.

Everyone is going back to work tomorrow and think they're going to expect a lot more answers, but right now Saudi Arabia really as we said pushing back on the notion that they were involved. The Saudis came out this morning, you know, with a very strong message in the state media and then the head of Al Arabiya which is a Saudi-owned Arab channel, the general manager put out a tweet today that said, "The truth is if Washington imposes sanctions on Riyadh, it will stab its own economy to death. Even though it thinks it is stabbing only Riyadh." Some short, sharp words Fred from a real -- someone very close to the Saudi royal family.

But even then, the Saudis now seem to be walking that back. Turkey very shortly after tweeted that that was his own personal opinion and then the Saudi Embassy came out with a very curious statement, a tweet that said to help clarify recently issued Saudi statements, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia extends its appreciation to all, including the U.S. administration for refraining from jumping to conclusions on the ongoing investigation.

Fred, so a lot of going on here in Washington, but also in Saudi Arabia as they try to come to some strategy in terms of how to explain what happened to Jamal.

WHITFIELD: All right. Elise Labott, thanks so much.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is still planning to go to the Davos in the desert conference in Saudi Arabia. Listen to Trump's economic adviser Larry Kudlow explain why.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LARRY KUDLOW, TRUMP'S TOP ECONOMIC AIDE: It's actually a conference about terrorist financing and how to stop it. So it's a very important subject. Regarding Secretary Mnuchin, I spoke to him last evening and at the moment he is intending to go because of the importance of the issue of ending terrorist financing. But again, along with the president and the general investigation, Mr. Mnuchin will make up his mind as the week progresses.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: All right, CNN's White House correspondent, Boris Sanchez, joining us live now. So what's the reaction you are hearing from Washington, particularly as that conference many are thinking it's really about, you know, the building of economic enterprise and technology.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN'S WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Fred. Well, there is a bit of a disagreement between the White House and Congress as to how the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi should be handled. Here, the White House the president has not explicitly blamed Saudi Arabia. He really hasn't pointed the finger in their direction. He has said that the White House is going to get to the bottom of what happened to the Washington Post columnist.

He did say yesterday that he would be having a call with King Salman of Saudi Arabia within the next 24 hours. It's almost been 24-hours. We haven't gotten any indication from the White House that that call has actually taken place.

The president also sheaf (ph) at the suggestion by some senators that Congress should get involved, specifically by potentially blocking a $100 billion arms deal that the administration made with Saudi Arabia shortly after President Trump took office. That is something the president said would likely hurt the U.S. more than it would hurt Saudi Arabia.

[15:05:15] But this is a rare point of agreement for some senators. I want you to listen to what Marco Rubio and Bernie Sanders said about this on some of the Sunday morning talk shows.

(BEGI VIDEO CLIP)

RUBIO: I believe the Trump Administration will do something. The president said that. But if he doesn't, Congress will. That I can tell you with 100% certainty. With almost full unanimity across the board, Republicans and Democrats, there will be a very strong congressional response if, in fact, the Saudis lured him into that consulate, murdered him, cut up his body and disposed of it. There will be a very strong congressional response.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: It's clear, we cannot have an ally who murders in cold blood in their own consulate, a critic. That is unacceptable. I think one of the strong things that we can do is not only stop military sales, not only put sanctions on Saudi Arabia, but most importantly, get out of this terrible, terrible war in Yemen led by the Sunnis.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: Now, this hesitation or lack of a strong response from the White House when it comes to the disappearance of this journalist could be seen as an indication as to just how much this administration has staked on the future of the Mideast being involved with Saudi Arabia's crown prince, Mohammed Bin Salman, Fred. He is a close ally of President Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner. And so there may be something to be read in this hesitation to go after the Saudi Arabian kingdom for the disappearance of this journalist, Fred.

WHITFIELD: Right. And the president made it pretty clear yesterday from the Oval Office that, you know, he worked really hard on that $100 billion military arms, you know, arms order and he doesn't want to back off of that. All right. Boris Sanchez, thank you so much.

All right. Elise Labott is back with me now. Also with me CNN senior international correspondent Arwa Damon who's at outside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul where Khashoggi was last seen. So Arwa, how aggressively does it appear that Turkish investigators are, you know, getting any new evidence, getting any more information, even though they haven't been in the consulate yet?

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think it's safe to assume that they are pursuing this as aggressively as they can, bearing in mind the point that you make there. Crucially they have not been able to get into the consulate or the consul general's home. Remember they had originally asked for access and it was granted to them Saudis and the Saudis asked them to postpone over the weekend. We have the formation of this so called joint working group, a delegation arrived from Saudi Arabia.

But we haven't seen conclusions coming out of it and we also heard from Turkey, from the foreign minister where he said Saudi is not cooperating at least not to the extend that Turkey would like to see. Because they do really want access to this crucial building, the consulate as well as the consul general's home.

And I think there's a fair level of frustration among the Turkish authorities and the Turkish government because of this and because they really do want to see it resolved. This is not a crisis that Turkey was anticipating nor that one that is necessarily very well prepared for, given all of the various political and potentially global implications this is going to perhaps have.

WHITFIELD: And then Arwa, you know, that the U.S. and the president isn't saying anything definitively about, you know, whether Saudi Arabia maybe responsible, but, you know, they want the investigation to play out at the same time. They are entertaining a number of options, severe punishment is it turns out that Saudi Arabia was involved. Does that send a particular signal, you know, to Saudi Arabia despite the fact that U.S. is embarked or rather a cozy relationship with that country?

DAMON: You know, all of these various different dynamics have been quite interesting. We did hear earlier in the day some pretty harsh rhetoric coming out from the Saudi side. The Saudi National News Agency saying that if the U.S. were to sanction Saudi Arabia, they would respond not in kind of but with even greater intensity.

We then had this op-ed that was penned by the general manager of Al Arabiya who was basically warning the world and reminding the world of the power that Saudi Arabia had, saying he could basically bring the U.S. economy to its knees, they can force oil prices up significantly. He has since then come out and been specific in trying to say those were his views personally.

We heard various tweets coming out of the Saudi Embassy in Washington, perhaps an attempt in their part to do some damage control. A senior adviser there tweeting that again, this op-ed was simply the views of this one individual and not necessarily the position of government.

[15:10:06] Turkey has really to a certain degree been wanting and hoping I think to see more international support, more support from the United States than it has seen at this stage. Because this is also taking on a regional and global dimension too. We have various different Arab nations now coming out showing their support for Saudi Arabia and by that, basically saying they do believe the Saudi government's statement that they had nothing to do with Khashoggi's disappearance.

But of course when it comes to certain fact that we cannot deny and that Khashoggi went in the consulate and never appeared again nor there any sort of footage, CCTV footage of him coming out of that. You know, Turkey is really finding itself in a very tricky situation because it wants to get to the bottom of this. It doesn't want to see this blow up into something even bigger than it already is, but at the same time, we do have these various global politics that are playing out whether it's America and Saudi Arabia's relationships, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, Turkey and United States.

WHITFIELD: And Elise, the president has commented, you know, on Khashoggi and he also -- yesterday from the Oval Office and then he also did the 60 minutes interview that will air tonight. This is what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I worked very hard to get the order for the military. It's $110 billion. I believe it's the largest order ever made. It's 450,000 jobs, it's the best equipment in the world. But if they don't buy it from us, they're going to buy it from Russia or they're going to buy it form China or they're going to buy it from other countries. But Russia and China wanted it very badly. I got 100%, almost 100% of their order.

And from the standpoint of jobs, economic development, a lot of other reasons, I would like to do something where we could maybe look at other things. I will tell the senators. Because that's a tremendous order for our companies, it's a tremendous order for really from an economic development standpoint. You look at Texas has a big chunk of it. Almost all of our states are involved in that order. So, I actually think would be punishing ourselves if we did that. There are other things we can do that are very, very powerful, very strong. And we'll do that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: So, Elise, that was the president from the Oval Office yesterday. But again, 60 Minutes interview will be late on today. So, the president underscores there's a lot at stake, but is there a lot at stake, you know, if the U.S. does get involved or, you know, issues some kind of real severe punishment, as the president puts it? And are there, you know, is there a lot at stake if the U.S. doesn't do anything?

DAMON: Fred, I think there is more at stake for U.S. credibility around the world if it doesn't do anything than if it does. Now, President Trump made clear he really likes this deal. It's a beautiful deal. He wants to keep it. But, you know, he says a lot of things and then changes his mind. And I said earlier the U.S. doesn't know what happens. So as the U.S. gets a fuller picture, I think it's going to be really hard for the president to stand alone on these kinds of things.

I think there's going to be a lot of uncomfortable conversations here in Washington between Washington and Saudi Arabia right now about, you know, how this shakes out, how the relationship is going to go forward. I don't think it's really possible for, you know, President Trump to say if he finds out that Saudi Arabia indeed was involved, they just did a bad thing and, you know, give them a little slap on the wrist. There going to have to be some kind of punitive measures.

And don't forget, President Trump is speaking to his base. He has midterms coming up in a few weeks. And so obviously that's the message that he wants to give out. But what happens when, you know, this all comes out in the wash and the investigation, if it shows that the Saudis were indeed responsible for Jamal's death, I think it's going to be really hard for him to resist pressure from Congress and from the American people and indeed from the world, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right, Elise Labott, Arwa Damon, we will leave it there for now. Thanks so much.

Still ahead, FEMA Administrator Brock Long and Florida governor, Rick Scott are touring the devastation in Florida left by hurricane Michael ahead of President Trump's expected visit tomorrow. This is several officials report looting with some people in the Panhandle growing more desperate for food and water.

And later, the midterms are weeks away, but do Democrats already have an eye on 2020 and who is the current favorite to win the Democratic nomination?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:18:52] WHIFIELD: Right now, Florida Governor Rick Scott and Brock Long are touring hurricane-damaged areas in the Florida Panhandle. The death toll has now risen to 18 across four states. More than 403,000 homes and businesses in seven states still have no power.

Earlier today, Scott and Long saw the devastation firsthand in Mexico Beach, Florida, a small coastal community was decimated by a direct hit from hurricane Michael. Thousands of rescue crews have descended on Florida's Panhandle to help those impacted by that monster storm. For the very latest, let's bring in CNN's Martin Savidge in Mexico Beach and what are you seeing today?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Fred. We continue to try to show you the variety of just mind boggling devastation that you got here in Mexico Beach, this is a different area. This is Marina, as you can see. You know, initially, you look at that and your mind can't quite take it in, because you see the boats where they shouldn't be, you just see all the debris that's there and the more you look at it, the more you see.

We got a high shot from our drone. We want to reveal that to you as well. Because the storm surge is really -- the combination of wind and storm surge for the one, two punch that devastated this community and a lot of communities along the water front. Some communities saw more flooding, others saw more wind. This one is both. And the way that storm surge came in according to witnesses was not only did it come in from the surf, it came in up the canals and the inlets here, which there are number of them.

[15:20:15] And as a result of that, it didn't end around, around the town. So people over here -- now they thought maybe water would come from the beach. They didn't expect that it was going to come from behind them. And that's would happened, everything rose, they estimate maybe about 20 feet, got up and then it just settled back down.

So unlike tsunami where everything is dragged back out, here it was just dropped wherever it was, which is why you have this massive debris field and why you have images like this here back on the ground. They use very large boats that now where in a place they shouldn't be and it's repeated over and over. Sometimes you find boats in just the most outlandish places and you realized it's the water that drove them there.

The search and recovery efforts still under way. They won't say exactly how many people are considered missing in this community, originally they had a list of about 300 people who stayed and they're trying to ascertain how many have been accounted for.

They still believe they've got several more days of search and recovery efforts here. And just I'll mention as we were leaving last night, there was a National Guard convoy coming in and they brought with them a portable morgue. We asked if that was an indication of something and they said they just when or if any more victims are found, they would be ready to handle them. So far only one victim has been found in Mexico Beach. Fred?

WHITFIELD: All right. Martin Savidge, thank you so much for that update. Straight ahead, Democrats have an early favorite as they look to win back the White House in 2020, a look at the new CNN polls.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:26:13] WHITFIELD: All right. Welcome back. The Democratic Party is confronting questions this week about whether to use more aggressive tactics against their opponents. Former Attorney General Eric Holder and Hillary Clinton say yes, but former First Lady Michelle Obama disagrees.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ERIC HOLDER, FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL: Michelle says that you know when they go low, we go high. No, no. When they go low, we kick them.

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for, what you care about.

MICHELLE OBAMA, FORMER FIRST LADY: Fear is not a proper motivator. Hope wins out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: All right. Brand new CNN polling today shows that one third of Democratic voters want former Vice President Joe Biden to make a presidential run, that's nearly triple the next closest preference which would be Senator Bernie Sanders. Let's bring in former RNC Communication Director and Republican Strategist Doug Heye and former Chairman of the D.C. Democratic Party, A. Scott Bolden. Good to see you both.

A SCOTT BOLDEN, FORMER D.C. DEMOCRATIC PARTY CHAIRMAN: Good afternoon.

WHITFIELD: All right Scott, to you first. So what does it say about the Democratic Party when voters feel right now is the former vice president who really is the best shot to unseat Trump in 2020

BOLDEN: That may or may not be true, but we still got at least 24 months to go. The thing that's interesting about your poll is that Biden has the most name recognition and is the most senior Democrat on that list. And there other Democrats that are not on that list, so it's a preliminary poll.

I think you're in when you're in and when you declare and when put together the organization. And so at this point the poll is what it is, but we have a long way to go before we get a Democratic nominee.

WHITFIELD: Well, he's been out there, you know, stumping. Do you think he wants it?

BOLDEN: I think is (INAUDIBLE) wants it. I think he wanted it before. But there are a lot of considerations that go into whether he could be the Democratic nominee. He does not want to run and lose. And the Democrats whether you are the far left or the moderate, we've got our own factions that are trying to figure out themselves much like the GOP has their warring factions with elected officials and with Trump and the House and the Senate.

So both parties have to get their acts together in order to make this run in a couple of years to a new President or an existing President.

WITFIELD: And Doug, President Trump has said that he would love to take on Joe Biden, but here's some encouraging news for President Trump in ADC News-Washington Post poll shows that Trump's approval rating has actually risen to 41%, that's the highest. It's been since April of last year, so how might that impact midterms? Even though he's not on the ballot, you know it may make an impact.

DOUG HEYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It will. This is obviously very good news for Trump, very good news for Congressional Republicans. But let me put a note of caution in here. When I worked at the Republican National Committee in 2010, our magic number for Barack Obama was 46%. We felt that if he was below that, we'd take back the House in election day. He was at 45 and we gained 63 seats. It doesn't look yet but that's something what Democrats may do. But Donald Trump is well below that number. He's up and that's good for Republicans. Part of that is the Kavanaugh fight, part of that is the base that's coming home. The base is coming home for Democrats as well, we're seeing. But they need to be very careful here. They're still well below the number that we looked at in 2010.

It's not apples to apples in this case, but it's good news with a note of caution for Republicans.

WHITFIELD: So then, Scott --

BOLDEN: Well, Fredricka --

WHITFIELD: Yes, go ahead.

BOLDEN: If I may, hope springs eternal. My good friend Doug, this is numbers are up, but it's only up from 35%. He's up to 41%. And with Barack Obama and any other president at midterm at least in the last 20 years, when those numbers had been that low, when 55% to 60% of the country doesn't like the direction it's going or the president, then you're going to have a blue wave or we can anticipate reasonably a blue wave in the House and maybe in the Senate.

[15:30:11] We're up prognosticators if you will, but these numbers don't look good. The Kavanaugh boost is what you're looking at and three weeks from now, Kavanaugh will be history because Donald Trump's tweets will take over once again and dominate politics in the political arena.

WHITFIELD: So Scott, you mentioned Kavanaugh, do you believe that in any way that is in part why Democratic House candidates might be leading over Republicans by 11 points according to new polling?

BOLDEN: Well, they were leading before the Kavanaugh debacle, but I think the Kavanaugh issue, what is happened with women, independents, suburban women, educated, is that it reinforced their difficulty with this President despite the economy, despite the job numbers. There's more going on here with these Democrats and independents and their dislike for Donald Trump in the direction the GOP has taken it.

Remember, the GOP controls both Houses. They have the economy. They have Kavanaugh. They have all these things and while they may be angry and they angry of Democrats, I think your poll, the CNN poll shows that they're angrier. And we know that angry means a turn out, but in the end, it's about moving people to the polls, not just registering. We've got to have the ground game and that's going to determine the outcome on November 6th.

WHITFIELD: And so, Doug, you know, on the Senate side, you know, some Dems are falling behind in key Senate races, including Beto O'Rourke who just announced this week that he had raised $38 million a conflicting message there while polling shows him dipping a little bit, there also seem to be similar popularity in some circles. So, what do you suppose might potentially happen in that very tight race? HEYE: Sure: I think it looks like Ted Cruz is starting to take that race home, barring some really unforeseen circumstances. The Beto O'Rourke fundraising numbers to be very clear are massive and massively impressive.

BOLDEN: Right.

HEYE: There's no doubt about that. But the reality is, I've seen Beto O'Rouke shirts on Broadway. He doesn't need them on Broadway. He doesn't need them on Washington, D.C. or in Connecticut where my friends (INAUDIBLE) Beto O'Rouke signs. He needs them in Texas and he's falling behind. And not always that a problem for Beto, that's a problem for other Democratic candidates.

WHITFIELD: Why he is not resonating in that district? What do you suppose he's not resonating that district then?

HEYE: I think because Texas is Texas. It's still a red state. It's still a Republican state. And so this is a -- it's a very -- it was a very uphill climb for Beto already. And so is the Arizona Senate race is looking more and more possible for Republicans. I think Democrats would like to have some of that fundraising spread out in Arizona and other states where they are caught behind right now as well.

BOLDEN: Well, maybe it does and maybe it doesn't. I'm sorry, Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: Yes. I think --

BOLDEN: Maybe it does and maybe it doesn't. But he has $31 million to close the gap in the next three weeks. So I'm counting down for now, but I wouldn't count him out.

WHITFIELD: And he believes that, you know, younger voters are key. Listen to what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BETO O'ROURKE (D), TEXAS SENATE CANDIDATE: These young people have been counted out for so long. No political consulting whatever allow me to spend time at community colleges and high schools, and colleges, and with young people, because historically, they haven't voted. Our contentions (ph) they haven't voted because candidates haven't showing up to listen to them, incorporated their stories into our campaign and the service that we want to provide.

So we've been showing up and they've been turning out. They're going to stand up and be counted on the 6th of November. I'm so excited. And they're not reflected in anyone's polls. That's going to be the surprise that you see on election night. So I'm grateful for their support.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: So Scott, the forecast has been at younger voters and women voters will be key in so many races. Does, you know, Beto O'Rourke have a good point there?

BOLDEN: I think he's got an excellent point. He's got a real shot. I think women and independents are going to make the difference. But if he cannot only motivate, but if he can transfer or get those young people to the polls because they are excited. You know, recent polling shows that young voters are the most highly motivated group in this country.

He's got the money to not only motivate them but to put them in the polls then you'll maybe looking at an upset. If he can't do that, because as my colleague says, it's a red state, it's deep in Texas and it's been red for a long time. And people know Cruz and he's not changing his voter base in changing.

WHITFIELD: All right.

BOLDEN: And so to win that, those young people and women, and independents have got to make a difference in the race.

WHITFIELD: All right. We will leave it there for now. A. Scott Bolden and Doug Heye good to see you both. Thanks so much.

HEYE: Thank you.

BOLDEN: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: Of course don't forget to watch Beto O'Rourke speaking at a CNN Town Hall moderated by Dana Bash. Ted Cruz was invited, but thus far he's not said yes to this. So, so far it's still solo Representative Beto O'Rourke with Dana Bash this Thursday night, 7:00 Eastern.

All right, coming up, a new polio-like illness seems to be spreading across states. Dozens of cases already reported and we'll talk with health officials about what they think this might be.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:39:45] WHITFIELD: There are growing concerns about a rare polio- like illness in children across this country. It's called acute flaccid myelitis or AFM. The CDC has confirmed 38 cases but that doesn't include more than a dozen cases announced in Colorado as well as several unconfirmed cases in Illinois and Minnesota.

CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

[15:40:12] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So where do you hurt honey?

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This video is hard to watch.

LYDIA PILAROWSKI, DIAGNOSED WITH ACUTE FLACCID MYELITIS IN 2014: I can't show you. I just can't.

GUPTA: This is Lydia Pilarowski. Four years ago. Pay close attention to her left arm.

She's really not moving it. She is in the throws of acute flaccid myelitis, AFM. It is rare, but scary, sudden on set of weakness. Sometimes the face, the eyelids, but most typically it's the leg or the arm.

SAM DOMINGUEZ, MD, CLINICAL MICROBIOLOGY LABORATORY: They'll start with a respiratory illness and a fever.

GUPTA: Dr. Sam Dominguez is the Medical Director of the Clinical Microbiology Laboratory at Children's Hospital of Colorado. He has cared for dozens of patients with AFM, mostly children. The culprit is typically a pathogen known as an adenovirus.

DOMINGUEZ: For over the last four years it's seems to be an every other year pattern.

GUPTA: In 2014 when Lydia was diagnosed, 120 people were afflicted nationwide. Their stories, frighteningly similar.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have this day, this beautiful August day and she started coughing just a little bit before we went to the pool and we got in the car and she started kind of whining and I knew she had a fever. And after that point in time it was like our whole life changed.

PILAROWSKI: A lot of times I ask why me, but then a lot of times I'm like, well, at least it wasn't in like my legs or my right hand because that's I'm right-handed. So that would be a lot worse.

GUPTA: If any of this sounds familiar, it's because you may remember images like this. In the early 1950s, polio caused more than 15,000 cases of paralysis every year in the United States that is until a vaccine came along in 1955. No cases of polio have originated in the United States now in nearly 40 years.

(on camera): Let me show you what AFM looks like on an MRI scan. You see these bright areas here? That represents inflammation in the spinal cord and in the nerves that control the arms.

And here's the important point. It's likely not the virus itself causing the paralysis, but rather the immune system's response to the virus. It's sort of a hit-and-run reaction.

(voice-over): While some children never fully recover from AFM, Lydia has steadily improved over the last four years.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We count our blessings every day to see her being able to do the things she loves to do. She really is just a normal kid.

GUPTA: And, again, I want to emphasize that what you just saw is rare. It's an important point. We're not trying to frighten people. And the best way to think about your own safety with flu season right around the corner do the same things you would do for that. Cover your mouth when you cough, sneeze into your elbow, and wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands. It really does seem to work.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: Thanks so much for that Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Illinois is one of the states dealing with this mystery illness. The state department of health said there have been 10 reported cases of AFM in Illinois since mid-September.

And joining me right now is the director of the Nirav Shah, Director of the Illinois Department of Health. Good to see you, doctor. So, what have you learned most recently about this AFM and how to prevent it and how treat it, how to deal with it?

NIRAV SHAH, DIRECTOR, ILLINOIS PUBLIC HEALTH: Well, one of the things that we are working on right now is to try to understand what commonalities there are amongst children who have been affected. As Dr. Gupta mentioned many of the children who have been affected around the country have often had AFM shortly after having a cold.

Now, what I want to emphasize is that while having the cold is common, AFM is rare. So we want to understand why the sliver of children who have been affected by AFM have been affected. When public health, one of the things that we know is that what we can predict, we can ultimately prevent. And so we're focused on trying to understand why certain children have developed AFM so that ultimately we can prevent all children from developing it.

WHITFIELD: So, you're looking for common denominators. Have you found any?

SHAH: Well, thus far, one of the ones that stuck out is that many of the cases have followed a cold, but that's not always been the case. So, we're casting a broader net, we're looking at other factors in addition to a viral condition. As Dr. Gupta mentioned we're also looking for possible environmental commonalities as well as maybe even some genetic ones.

WHITFIELD: So what kind of recommendations do you have for parents? Because just about every parent is very worried about this potential danger right now.

SHAH: Well, we understand that parents across the country are concerned about this. Our advice to parents is to keep doing the things that you're doing to keep your kid safe, ensure that they're keeping up to date with all of their vaccines, make sure that they're washing their hands, make sure that they are doing all of the various health behaviors that we know keep kids healthy.

[15:45: 10] We also recommend that parents, if they have seen their child develop a rapid onset of weakness in their arms or in their legs especially if they recently had a cold, that they call their doctor immediately.

WHITFIELD: And so what are state officials doing to kind of, you know, stem any other fears that people might have about, you know, contracting it being -- coming into contact with it in any way? SHAH: We're doing three things right now here in Illinois. We're focused on making sure that physicians around the state have all the information they need to be on the look out for AFM and how to report it to us. We're advising parents on what AFM is and reminding them again that although it's very rare, it can be serious.

And the third thing we're doing is trying to determine who's at risk, why they're at risk, and ultimately what types of preventive measures that we can put in to place to stop further children from developing it.

WHITFIELD: Dr. Nirav Shah, thank you so much for your time. Appreciate it.

SHAH: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: We're back right after this.

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[15:50:42] WHITFIELD: All right. Welcome back. We rely on our smart phones now more than ever for everything from directions to dinner recommendations, to socializing online. And now teens who are growing up in the digital era are discovering unintended consequences of being so tied to tech.

Tonight in an all-new episode of "This Is Life" Lisa Ling is going to explores the link between digital technology and the mental health crisis. Here's a preview.

(BEGIN VIDEOCLIP)

LISA LING, CNN "THIS IS LIFE WITH LISA LING" HOST: When you really stop and think about it, do you think you're addicted to our phones?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

LING: These were Morgan's friends a group of teen girls from town who knew her better than most.

Do you think a lot of kids have additional accounts to express other aspects of their lives that may not be so rosy?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's like the personal parts of you --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- instead of just what you show people?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. There was a time where I had an Instagram page like that where I would just post a bunch of really sad quotes all of the time, I don't really know why. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I had a Tumblr like that too like my first ones was, you know, just for bad stuff, no one heard about it many thing like that. It's just for me to vent.

LING: How would you feel when you were on those pages?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Worse.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. It's, you know, like salt on the wound, that sort of thing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I wouldn't go on there when I was super duper happy and excited about something, I would only go on there when I was sad or upset about something.

LING: And then you felt worse?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right.

(END VIDEOCLIP)

WHITFIELD: Wow, so enlightening. Lisa Ling the host of "This Is Life" joins us right now. So when we think about teens and the dangers of social media, we often think about, you know, cyber bullying, you know, or online predators. But as we just saw on that clip, now we're talking about kids, you know, who have conflicted feelings, and they're going to sad spaces, and this is very discouraging.

LING: It's really true, Fred. And if you think about it, we all check our phones probably 100 times a day. In fact, the average is about 150 times a day.

And these young people have been growing -- have grown up with these cellphones on their person and they can check any score, they can check the weather, they can interact with people with the -- at the tip of their fingerprints. And in the past, young people, if they were feeling sad, because, you know, it's that teenagers are hormonal and they sometimes go through challenging periods. They would probably seek out other people. But these days, young people are going straight to their phones, and in many cases, they are finding the communities where they are being pulled down even further into the hole.

WHITFIELD: OK.

LING: And in past we --

WHITFIELD: This is dangerous. This is really dangerous.

LING: It is very dangerous. In fact we profiled the story of a young girl named Morgan who took her own life. Her mother is a nurse who's trained in behavioral health. She knew the signs to look for, and even she had no idea that her daughter Morgan had this other life on social media. It wasn't until she gave Morgan's cellphone and her computer to the police that they discovered this whole online persona which so many kids have these the days, as you just heard from the group of girls.

WHITFIELD: And you also met, you know, teens who use tech devices so often and for so long that, you know, it really is taking over their lives. I mean, how severe can screen addiction get? I mean, sometimes it sounds like it's a funny thing, I mean, I know in our household, you know, with our 13-year-old, we kind of joke about it, but this can really be so serious that there needs to be some intervention.

LING: I mean, Fred, you know with your own child, if you give that child the device, you literally have to rip that device out of their hands for them to want to stop using it, and --

WHITFIELD: Yes.

LING: -- the same goes for us. I mean, I know that I will be scrolling through social media, and the next thing I know an hour has elapsed. Well, our brains are not supposed to be able to process all of that information and for kids who, again, have grown up with this technology, nothing in life compares to the stimulation that they can receive with this little device, nothing. No landscape --

WHITFIELD: Right.

LING: -- you know, no experience outdoors, and it's really scary.

[15:55:09] We profile another young man who had a full ride basketball scholarship, brilliant kid in school and he lost it all because he just got so addicted to his device and it almost led him to take his own life. Because --

WHITFIELD: Oh, my gosh.

LING: -- again when he was sad he went to those dark places that he could find online when in the past he probably would have sought out another person.

WHITFIELD: Its so enlightening, its sad but at the same time we all have to know, especially parents really have to know and understand these behaviors that are being attached to, you know, these digital devices. Lisa Ling, thank you so much. Of course, we want to see the rest of it and that's tonight new episode of "This Is Life with Lisa Ling" airing at 10:00 p.m. only on CNN.

And growing outrage around the disappearance of a Saudi journalist who was working for the Washington Post. Coming up, how Saudi Arabia is responding to allegations that they had Jamal Khashoggi killed as the international economic pressure heats up more in a moment.

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