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CNN NEWSROOM

Power Still Out, People Living in Rubble in Storm Zone; Six Countries Show Solidarity with Saudi Arabia; GOP Lawmakers to Trump: If You Don't Punish Saudis, We Will; Can Democrats Translate Enthusiasm Into Midterm Wins?; Saudi Arabia Denies Claim That It Killed Missing Journalist; Growing Health Concern Tonight About A Rare Polio-Like Illness Affecting Children Across The Country; Hurricane Michael Has Now Claimed 18 Lives And The Search Continues For Hundreds Of People Still Unaccounted For; Caught On Tape By United States Senator Snatches The Phone Of A Constituent After Being Asked About Alleged Voter Suppression In The Midterms. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired October 14, 2018 - 19:00   ET

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


[19:00:09] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Hello on this Sunday. You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. Glad to have you with us!

It is soon to be nightfall again on the Florida Panhandle where people in the hurricane destruction zone will spend another night without power, without running water, without sewage, or hope that any of those services will soon be restored.

I want to show you what beach towns up and down the Florida Gulf Coast look like right now and sound like this weekend. Watch and listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(SMOKE ALARMS BEEPING IN THE BACKGROUND)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Those beeps you are hearing, the only sound over the wind, those are smoke alarms. Their batteries still alive in nearly every home and hotel without electricity since Hurricane Michael.

When the sun goes down in Mexico Beach again tonight, it will be pitch dark. The only thing you'll be able to hear is the wind and the beeping.

Now, this is what Mexico Beach looks like in the daytime. Look at that. Heavy equipment attacking piles of debris and rubble from the thousands of houses and buildings that just blew apart in the storm.

Today, Florida's Governor, Rick Scott, and the head of FEMA walked through what's left of the coastal towns. Hurricane Michael's death toll has climbed to 18 people this weekend.

Let's go live to CNN's Martin Savidge in Mexico Beach. And, Martin, tell us what people who live there are telling you. How are they getting by?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Ana, they are getting by, really, barely. Many of them now have realized that there's no way their own community is going to sustain them anymore.

There's no sewer, no electricity. There's barely any telephone communication. There's no running water. You basically -- everything this community ever had, its infrastructure, is totally wiped out. It's not going to be back for at least a year or more.

Let me just tell you, as the sun sets -- and you already alluded to this -- it's going to be completely dark.

One of the evening rituals that begins is that you start to see the first responders or all of the emergency crews that were here during the day, clearing the roads, doing the searching for those that are still missing, all that comes to an end.

It's just too dangerous. It will be too difficult in the darkness. There is no light to be found in this town, so it all begins to shut down.

That's not to say that law enforcement goes away. They don't. The National Guard closes in. So does the Bay County sheriffs and the other sheriffs that are here. And then you've got the local police department as well. They secure the place. But as far as the work of trying to recover, that all just comes to an end.

And as you look out here, you can see there are still so much more to be done. Governor Scott was here earlier in the day, and he's already given a thumbnail sketch where things stand. Here's what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. RICK SCOTT (R), FLORIDA: We have 11,000 people registered for FEMA right now. We just had a conversation about how fast the FEMA resources will come out. We have -- we've got one -- we've got local law enforcement from all around the state, they are coming to their impacted counties to make sure people are safe.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAVIDGE: Dave Mullins was a local resident here. He rode out the storm. The water was up to his waist. The roof of his home was torn off. He literally thought he was going to die, but he didn't. Thank goodness!

He came out in his neighborhood and began searching for his friends and realized, the community he had lived in for 15 years, he no longer knew his way around. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVE MULLINS, MEXICO BEACH, FLORIDA RESIDENT: I can't even recognize where I'm at. You know, the bank is where we turn and the bank, it doesn't even look like the bank. Nothing looks like it did anymore, so you're kind of disoriented.

You're lost because you can't even navigate through your own town because you don't know what street you're at. All the signs are gone, naturally, you know. So you just try to find a landmark and turn where you need to turn.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAVIDGE: Everybody says that Mexico Beach was famous and known for its sunsets. We've got another beauty that's happening right now. The sunsets, of course, are still beautiful. Even if the surroundings in which that sun sets are no longer as beautiful as they once were, it is still considered home -- Ana.

CABRERA: Martin Savidge in Mexico Beach, Florida, tonight. Thank you.

And new tonight, as President Trump prepares to confront Saudi Arabia over missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a stark reminder of just how much pull the country has in the region.

Six Middle Eastern countries are now coming together to express solidarity with the Saudis. This as the Saudis are suspected of murder.

Jamal Khashoggi hasn't been seen since entering the Saudi consulate in Turkey on October 2nd. And a source says Turkish authorities have audio evidence that Khashoggi was killed inside.

CNN's senior international correspondent Arwa Damon is live outside the Saudi consulate where Khashoggi was last season.

And, Arwa, why are so many countries now siding with Saudi Arabia if it's under this cloud of suspicion over what happened there?

[19:04:59] ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is where regional politics come firmly into play, Ana. Six countries, as you mentioned, are coming out with their statements of support in what appears to be something of a coordinated effort.

And if you look at the breakdown of these countries, they either are financially reliant on the Saudis or they're reliant on the Saudis for protection or they have been long-term strategic allies of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

And when we're talking about politics playing into all of this, one also has to look at the dynamics of how this whole investigation is unfolding and the strain that it's putting on Saudi/Turkish relations and, of course, also on Saudi Arabia's relationship with the United States.

Remember, the Turks, we believe, and it has been claimed, that they have this audio and video evidence. We haven't seen it yet, but Turkey, for its part, has been pushing, trying to pressure Saudi Arabia to put forward any sort of evidence it may have to bolster Saudi Arabia's claim that Jamal Khashoggi left the Saudi consulate the day that he arrived.

That hasn't happened just yet. And Turkey had asked for and initially received permission from Saudi Arabia to search the consulate, to search the Consul General's home. The Saudis then asked that that be postponed. We then saw the formation of the so-called joint working group that took place over the weekend.

We heard today from both the Saudi and the Turkish governments, following a phone conversation between Saudi Arabia's King Salman and Turkey's president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, but those statements were fairly cookie cutter and not really shedding much light on where the investigation stands at this stage.

And we did hear earlier from the Turkish Foreign Ministry saying that Saudi Arabia wasn't cooperating. And no matter how you look at this, this has gone beyond being just an investigation to the disappearance of a journalist. You have all sorts of various regional and global dynamics playing into it at this stage.

CABRERA: Yes. Very complex situation, clearly. Arwa Damon, thank you for helping us understand.

President Trump has promised severe punishment, but he has stopped short of saying what that punishment would include. Members of his own party, though, they are not holding back. Republican lawmakers say if Trump won't do anything, they will.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: 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 a hundred percent certainty, with almost full unanimity across the board, Republicans and Democrats.

There will be a very strong congressional response. If, in fact, Saudi has lured him into that consulate, murdered him, cut up his body, and disposed of it, there is going to be a very strong congressional response.

SEN. JEFF FLAKE (R), ARIZONA: Well, severe action needs to be taken, and I think the Congress will take it upon themselves to take that action if it turns out, as the press reporting seems to indicate, that Saudi Arabia was involved.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Let's bring in CNN global affairs correspondent Elise Labott.

Elise, Republicans, at least Rubio and Flake, sound ready to do something. When does the U.S. expect to have some answers?

ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ana, you know, if you think about it, the U.S. has really been focused over the last week or so trying to get Pastor Andrew Brunson out of Turkey. Intense negotiations between the U.S. and Turkey and the embassy really consumed with it.

But I think now that you saw Andrew Brunson come home over the weekend, the U.S. is really ready to dive more fully into this investigation. And officials tell me, you know, people will be back to work on Monday, and they think they're hoping to get some answers.

They still have not heard any answers from Saudi Arabia, and so the U.S. really looking for the government there to put up some kind of explanation about what happened to Jamal.

CABRERA: We're getting mixed messages, it seems, from the Saudis. Earlier today, they were promising to retaliate if there were any sanctions imposed. And tonight, a more conciliatory tone. What's going on?

LABOTT: I think what you have here is maybe a tug of war of sorts between two different camps in the royal family and the government, which have two different constituencies.

You know, you have one that's really kind of close aides to the Crown Prince, Mohammad bin Salman, and really has to talk to domestic consumption that the leader is fully in charge and they're not backing down.

But then you have those that are more globally oriented and are dealing with Washington and understand how important it is for the U.S. -- for the Saudis to give Washington and the rest of the international community answers.

You've seen so many of these sponsors and such pulling out of that big conference that we've been talking about later this month. You've heard governments in Europe, Britain, France, Germany, asking for an explanation.

And these people know that Saudi Arabia needs to have a more forward- looking approach and come up with some answers. And I think the fact that you saw some of these tweets coming from the embassy in Washington is a real, you know, symbol of that tug of war.

[19:09:56] And I think, also, Ana, what's really interesting is the dynamic that Arwa mentioned a bit between Turkey and Saudi Arabia. The fact that you have this call between King Salman who called President Erdogan shows that, you know, there's some negotiating going on between Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

You know a narrative is being constructed, and I think, in the next couple of days, there are going to be some uncomfortable conversations and some answers. I don't think anybody will really like the answers. No one is going to come out looking good in all of this, but I think we'll have a better picture of what happened.

CABRERA: Yes, the plot thickens right now. Elise Labott, thank you.

We have this just in to CNN, a major bus accident in Los Angeles. Take a look at these images. According to the L.A. Fire Department, a bus and a car crashed,

causing other collisions on both sides of the freeway divider in Los Angeles County. Forty patients evaluated, 25 taken by ambulance to nearby hospitals.

We'll bring you more details just as soon as we learn them. Again, these pictures out of Los Angeles County.

We'll talk to a colleague of Jamal Khashoggi at "The Washington Post" coming up. Now, you'll recall Jason Rezaian, he was jailed by Iran for more than a year. We'll get his take on Khashoggi's disappearance and what can be done to find out the truth.

Plus, CNN asked Democratic voters who they think should take the fight to President Trump in 2020. Their answers, coming up.

Also ahead, growing concerns over a mystery illness similar to polio that's affected 38 kids across 16 states.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:15:36] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You can either vote for Democrat mob rule, or you can vote for a Republican Party that stands proudly for law and order, fairness, freedom, and justice.

JOE BIDEN, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our values are being shredded. Our democracy is under assault. The President has put his own interests before those of our ideals.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: That was President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden making their midterm pitches in Kentucky. But could it end up being a preview of the 2020 campaign?

We have brand-new CNN polling that shows Democrats' top choice to face off against Trump is former Vice President Joe Biden. He is leaving a crowded field, as you can see, including Senators Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, and Elizabeth Warren.

Now, that same poll has some good news for the President. It's showing more and more Americans think he will win a second term in office.

Joining us now, our CNN senior political analyst David Gergen, a former adviser to four presidents, and Ron Brownstein, senior editor for "The Atlantic."

Gentlemen, good to have you with us.

RON BROWNSTEIN, SENIOR EDITOR, THE ATLANTIC: Ana.

CABRERA: David, is the goal for Democrats to try and find someone who can match Trump's charisma and celebrity, or do you think it's better to go in the total opposite direction and say this is a serious job for a serious person?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, first of all, I think the goal of the Democrats is to win the midterm elections. That's going to shape a lot of other things, including the way the country is governed over the next two years. And if the Democrats can win the House, they can have a serious voice in the governing and that will be a run-up to the 2020 election.

I've always believed, Ana, when you're in the out party, the first thing you want to be doing is watch your -- what are your main goals, what are your policy goals, what's your message, and then find the candidate who best fits that message.

Rather than sort of, you know, turning one way or another way to see how Kamala Harris fits. Is she ready yet? Is Cory Booker too hot or is he really very convincing? You know, all the rest of it.

What you need to do and what had been central to people who have won, when a party has come out of the wilderness, is having a very strong message of change and what they want to change to.

And I think the Democrats, even though they're ahead right now, don't have that message yet. Even though they're ahead for the House seats. But the next two years are going to be crucial for that.

CABRERA: Ron, in recent weeks, we've been discussing women and how women voters could be the key to victory in the midterms.

You wrote a fascinating analysis for CNN.com this week in the wake of the Supreme Court nomination fight, writing that it revealed, quote, the persistence of deep differences among the women, especially White women, about growing female assertiveness in society and the uprising against sexual harassment symbolized by the #MeToo movement.

Ron, what does your research tell you about how much women themselves are embracing evolving gender roles?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, look, I mean, I think one of the big mistakes in political journalism always is to treat women as a monolith. It's kind of -- you know, it's kind of silly on its face. I mean, they're such a big share of the population. There are big differences among women and between different groups of women about politics, about policy, but also about the changing role of women in society.

And what we saw in 2016 in the post-election polling very clearly is that Donald Trump did best among the women, particularly White women, evangelical women, blue-collar women who are the most uneasy about the changing roles of women in society, more women working outside of the home, more likely to say that makes it tougher to have a successful marriage or to raise kids. There is a constituency for that.

And I think, you know, as we saw in the Kavanaugh fight and in the aftermath, there is a divide among women about what all of this has meant. And if you play this forward into the election, it kind of reinforces the basic trend we're in, which is where Democrats are doing very well in white-collar suburbs around the major metropolitan areas and may make historic gains there, powered in part because they are amassing the biggest margins they ever have among college-educated White women.

On the other hand, outside of the metro areas, the going is much tougher for Democrats. The gains may be much smaller. And that's in part because even though they're making some gains, they're not doing nearly as well among those blue-collar White women as they are among their college counterparts.

And that goes all the way back, I think, at the core, to these different roles about kind of changing -- lots of different changes, cultural changes, in society.

[19:19:58] CABRERA: Right. David, do you think that's why the President is playing up this new message that it's a scary time to be a young man, moms should be afraid for their sons? Perhaps he has tapped into the discomfort that some people, both men and women, have about the changing times?

GERGEN: Oh, absolutely. This is what he did in 2016 very effectively. He played upon the anxieties and the prejudices, frankly, of a large segment of the population. That's how he got his victory and he's returning to that theme now.

I do think that Ron is onto something about women are not monolithic, and many of them are struggling to find their roles. I think they're doing it more successfully. It's the guys right now who are, I think, struggling more with what it means to be a man these days in America.

It was really interesting. I mean, I thought of all -- in all the craziness of Kanye West visiting the Oval Office, there was something interesting he said. And that is, you know, I grew up without a dad and I didn't -- I never thought of myself as much of a man, but now when I put this hat on, this Trump hat on, I feel empowered. I feel like I'm a man again.

And I keep wondering, is that -- one of the things that's sort of a hidden driver behind some of the support for Trump is that he seems to communicate to guys a kind of manliness or masculinity that they can maybe claim for themselves.

CABRERA: That's so interesting. Ron, I want to ask you --

BROWNSTEIN: That is --

CABRERA: Do you chime in? Go ahead.

BROWNSTEIN: Yes. Just real quick, I was going to say that, you know, in general, I mean, the basic Trump appeal has always been strong as to the voters who are uneasy about every form of change.

We focus a lot on demographic and racial change, but it's also economic change, it's cultural change. And what we're seeing here is that it's also the change in gender roles. And that is not only men who are kind of recoiling from that in some cases but also, you know, elements of women. The flip side is that Democrats, because, I think, of the backlash

against Trump, are improving their position among the voters in the parts of the country that are the most comfortable with what America is evolving into.

And I think after this election, you're going to see a level of Democratic dominance in the House inside the major metro areas that is probably unprecedented in modern times.

CABRERA: There have been these high-profile Democrats recently making headlines this week for offering their take on what the party's midterm messaging should be. And I want to take a quick listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ERIC HOLDER, FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES: Michelle says that, you know, when they go low, we go high.

CROWD: We go high.

HOLDER: No. No.

(LAUGHTER)

HOLDER: 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 OF THE UNITED STATES: Fear is not -- it's not a proper motivator. Hope wins out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: We've been talking about a kind of search for identity, and it seems that Democrats are searching for a united message. And there's a divide right now about how to best counter the messaging coming from Trump, specifically.

David, what do you think is the answer?

GERGEN: Well, listen, I happen to believe the Democrats need to be a lot tougher than they've been. I think that they've been -- they've tried so hard to reach bipartisan solutions, to work across the aisle, you know. And some Republicans have done that too. But, by and large, you know, they're a facing a man who is -- who believes in strength.

And if you make a gesture of trying to be, sort of, well, let's work it out, he sees that as a sign of weakness and he'll try to roll over you. And I do think that Hillary Clinton is the wrong messenger for this message, but I think her message is right, and that is that the Democrats need to toughen up.

I thought Eric Holder was in the same school, but when he got to the line about let's kick them when they're down, that, to me, was like -- that was a blunder. It added -- it fed into the Trump narrative, you know, that it has become mob rule and that sort of thing. Which I don't think is true but it lends credence to that.

CABRERA: David Gergen, Ron Brownstein, thank you both. Good to have you with us.

BROWNSTEIN: Thanks, Ana.

GERGEN: Thank you.

CABRERA: Saudi Arabia says they had no involvement in the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi despite various intelligence agencies having evidence that they had.

Now, some lawmakers are asking President Trump to take action. So how should he approach it? The weekly presidential brief is next.

[19:24:16] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CABRERA: The eyes of the world are focused on Saudi Arabia and the case of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Turkey alleges Khashoggi was lured into the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul where they say he was tortured and killed. That's a narrative that Saudi Arabia vehemently denies.

Now, this international mystery has put renewed scrutiny on Saudi Arabia's crown prince, Mohammad bin Salman, who markets himself as a reformer and has helped his country gain prominence in the Western global order.

And that brings us to your weekend presidential brief, a segment we bring you every Sunday night, highlighting some of the most pressing national security information the President will need when he wakes up tomorrow.

And joining us now to discuss, CNN national security analyst and former National Security Council adviser, Sam Vinograd. She spent two years in the Obama administration helping to prep for the President's daily brief.

So, Sam, you have extensive experience working in Saudi Arabia, with the government there. Your first official trip to Saudi Arabia was back in 2007.

Now, we have the U.K., we have France, we have Germany, all issuing a joint statement today, calling for a credible investigation. What do you make of the U.S. response so far?

SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, Ana, I first landed in Riyadh in 2007 and have gained -- engaged extensively with Saudi officials ever since then. The Saudi ambassador who is now the foreign minister was probably the most frequent foreign visitor to the West Wing while I was there.

[19:29:49] And one thing is clear, it is a very top-down system. So in the first instance, it's very implausible that a 15-man interrogation squad would travel to Istanbul without the Crown Prince or the King, at least, knowing why they were going.

The first thing before any policy response though and the administration has been very, very careful on this is to figure out what happened to get an assessment. And we are probably relying extensively on our intelligence and law enforcement partners because they may just have better assets to collect intelligence on the ground in places like Istanbul, Riyadh, and Jeddah than we do. And we can really benefit from that.

At the same time, I think we are probably engaging in diplomatic outreach. We did this a lot during the Arab spring when I was at the White House to try to figure out through diplomatic channels what other countries are saying to the Saudis. What are other countries saying to the Turks to try to coordinate on that public and private messaging?

CABRERA: So once we have the assessment that we hope is under way right now, do you expect the U.S. to respond in a similar fashion as it did after we learned of the poisoning of the former Russian spy in the U.K.?

VINOGRAD: It is definitely possible. I think one of the first questions is going to be Presidential engagement. So an example is when the Egyptian revolution broke out, one of the questions was what was President Obama going to say (INAUDIBLE)? What was he going to say publicly about whether he should be powered up? Presidential engagement was key.

Trump has already commented publicly. He said he wouldn't, for example, curbed arms sales to the kingdom, but it's not really up to him. Congressional engagement here may be key. They can implement sanctions. They can curb arm sales.

Whether or not he likes it, our allies can also take action. You mentioned the statement by France, Germany, and the U.K. They aren't waiting for us. They went ahead. And the private sector is also something the President can't control. The Saudi stock market fell on Sunday because companies and investors are worried about what may be coming.

CABRERA: The Saudis have said if they get hit with some kind of response, they are going to essentially hit back harder, whoever implores sanctions or something along those lines will pay the price essentially. What do you anticipate the response from the Saudis to look like?

VINOGRAD: Well, these threats haven't deterred President Trump before. In fact, they have led to an escalation and a war of words. So we will if this time has any difference. The Saudis do have leverage. They can kick out our diplomats. They could sanction us. They can divest from our economy.

Their real leverage though comes from the fact that their hand is literally on the pump. I went to Saudi Arabia in 2011 to try to get them to increase oil output, they said no then. But they did increase oil input over the summer because we are talking Iranian oil offline. They could very easily say, well, we just decided the market was oversupplied. We are going to cut production again. And while they weigh those options, they working the phones. Six Arab countries just came out in solidarity with them. And the Saudis are probably telling anyone that will listen. We are not couple wall. If you asked against us, we will take actions because they know there's such strength in numbers.

CABRERA: Sam Vinograd, good to have you here. Thank you.

And now to someone who knew Khashoggi personally, CNN Global affairs analyst Jason Rezaian is joining us now. He was in prison in Iran for more than 500 days.

Jason, tell us about the man you knew, former colleague at "the Washington Post" and just your reaction to what is alleged to have happened.

JASON REZAIAN, OPINION WRITER, WASHINGTON POST: Well, Ana, thanks for having me on. I was just getting to know Jamal over the past few months. We write for the same section of "the Washington Post," the global opinion section. And I really enjoyed all my interactions with Jamal because we were both working on countries that are so often misunderstood in the United States and around the world, Iran in my case and Saudi Arabia in Jamal's.

So it was a great kind of back and forth that we would have about these two countries that meant so much to us. And I think that, you know, at this point, you know, one of the great things we are missing is this very clear voice on Saudi Arabia, a window into a country that is so little known. And I think, you know, we will be missing that as long as we don't have Jamal to fill it.

CABRERA: I want to talk to you about another person we are mourning right now, a friend of yours, Anthony Bourdain. You were featured in an episode of "Parts Unknown" filmed in Iran. And I want to play a part of your conversation with him.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANTHONY BOURDAIN, CNN HOST, PARTS UNKNOWN: You like it. Are you happy here?

REZAIAN: Look, I love it and I hate it, you know? But it is home. It's become home.

BOURDAIN: Are you optimistic about the future?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, especially if there's no clear that it finally happens, yes. Very much, actually.

BOURDAIN: Let's assume the worst. Let's assume that cannot see any way to reconcile it with your personal beliefs. You just generally don't approve?

REZAIAN: Yes.

BOURDAIN: I think those are exactly the sort of places you should go.

[19:35:00] REZAIAN: Totally.

BOURDAIN: See who we are talking about it, where we are talking about here.

REZAIAN: I think it's almost un-American not to go to those places, you know?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CABRERA: Jason, just a few weeks after you filmed that interview, both you and your wife were arrested in Iran. You spent 544 days in captivity. And some people said that talking to Tony, appearing on the show made you a target. But I know that's not how you feel. How do you feel?

REZAIAN: No, no. Well, look, if anything, you know, I heard that repeated so many times after my release that, hey, it was your appearance on Anthony Bourdain's show that got you arrested. Absolutely not. I think if anything, it was our appearance on Anthony Bourdain's show that helped to get us out because it made us, my wife and I, you know, very human, very accessible people because we were sitting having a conversation about our lives with one of the most beloved personalities in our culture. And I think it made it impossible not to care about us in a way. And you know, Tony was such an incredible champion for us while we were in trouble, and then even more so when we got out.

CABRERA: Anthony Bourdain was pretty adamant that he was not a journalist despite having a show on a news network where he traveled the world to teach people about different countries and cultures. You disagree with him on that?

REZAIAN: I do. I do. I mean, I think he was one of our greatest foreign correspondents. He was going around the world telling the stories of people, places, and histories that, you know, sometimes we don't go and search for. And it wasn't always the place that was at the top of the news headlines, but oftentimes it was places that would very soon after his visit, become very prominent in our coverage in different parts of the world.

So I think he had his finger on the pulse in so many places and was able to really cut through a lot of stuff and just help us see into all the societies he visited. And I think his shows will be required viewing for many, many years to come.

CABRERA: Jason Rezaian, good to see you. Thank you for being here.

REZAIAN: Thank you, Ana.

REZAIAN: Make sure you don't miss a new episode of Anthony Bourdain's "PARTS UNKNOWN" premiering tonight at 9:00 p.m. eastern and pacific. A new polio-like disease is spreading across several states. Dozens

of cases already reported. We will tell you what doctors know and how they are fighting it live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:41:50] CABRERA: Welcome back.

There is a growing health concern tonight about a rare polio-like illness affecting children across the country. The CDC has now confirmed 38 cases in 16 states. And that doesn't include more than a dozen cases announced in Colorado as well as several other unconfirmed cases in Illinois, Minnesota, and Washington State. The medical name is acute flaccid myelitis, or AFM.

CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta has one survivor's story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Where do you hurt, honey?

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

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can't tell you.

GUPTA: This is Lydia Pilarowski, four years ago. Play close attention to her left arm. She is really not moving it. She is in the throes of acute flaccid myelitis, AFM. It's rare, but scary. Sudden onset of weakness, sometimes the face, the eyelids, but most typically it's the leg or the arm.

DR. SAM DOMINGUEZ, MEDICAL DIRECTOR, CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL COLORADO: It will start with the respiratory illness and a fever.

GUPTA: Dr. Sam Dominguez works is the medical director of the clinical microbiology laboratory at children's hospital in Colorado. He has cared for dozens of patients with AFM, mostly children. The culprit is typically a pathogen known as enrow virus.

DOMINGUEZ: Over the last four years it 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 beautiful August day and she started coughing just a little bit before we went to the pool. 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.

LYDIA PILAROWSKI, DIAGNOSED WITH ACUTE FLACCID MYELITIS: 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 is 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.

Let me show what AFM looks like on an MRI scan. You see these bright areas here? That represents inflammation of the spinal cord and in the nerves that control the arms. And here is the important point. It's likely not the virus causing the paralysis, but rather, the immune system's response to the virus. It's sort of a hit-and-run reaction.

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 doing 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 are not trying to frightening 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)

[19:45:18] CABRERA: And cue the natural hand sanitizer right now.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thank you so much.

Residents in some parts of the Florida panhandle are growing desperate for food and water. Officials say there are reports of looting in some areas. Up next, we will talk to chef Jose Andres who has set up his mobile kitchen to help those in need.

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[19:50:11] CABRERA: Hurricane Michael has now claimed 18 lives and the search continues for hundreds of people still unaccounted for. In the Florida panhandle, many hurricane survivors are living in just dire conditions right now waiting in long lines for bottled water and food. Helicopters are having to airdrop necessities to remote areas. And we are hearing now reports of looting in some places.

Amid all the disaster and despair in south Florida, a well-known chef is serving up food to those in need trying to bring comfort to these people.

I want to bring in chef Jose Andres, restaurant owner and founder of world central kitchen, a nonprofit serving nutritious food in wake of disaster. He is also an author of the book "We Fed An Island," the true story of rebuilding Puerto Rico one meal at a time.

Chef Andres, it is always so nice to see you. I think your presence brings comfort to a lot of people. What are you seeing? What are you hearing there in Florida?

CHEF JOSE ANDRES, FOUNDER, WORLD CENTRAL KITCHEN: Well, I just landed a couple of hours ago. My team has been here already. We came like two, three, days before the hurricane hit. And, you know, I got lost trying to come to the EOC. And I saw a lot of homes, a lot of destruction, a lot of darkness already. Signs obviously saying we will shoot you if you don't behave.

What I can tell you is that so far we do what we do. Our leader NGO, we try to provide food relief to people in need. We start by the EOC members, police, first responders, National Guard, and obviously people who need it. Today we have been serving people in Panama Beach, in Mexico beach, in areas that really right now they are still in need of a good meal and a bottle of water.

CABRERA: Right. We know there are a lot of people who haven't even been able to reach relatives and loved ones in that area because of the amount of destruction and the communication that's been cut off. We know even waffle houses have closed, 30 Florida restaurant as hurricane Michael approach which is such a rarity.

You got through. You started feeding hurricane first responders. How did you manage to navigate all the blocked roads, the fallen trees, the downed lines to get to the hard hit areas?

ANDRES: Well, we don't do it alone. We always received very good help from the local authorities, police, the emergency teams. We are very smart in trying to adapt. So we will have generators to make sure that the trucks we have full of food, they will be OK. We make sure that we are able to find kitchens, in this case, where in this school that we being help by the local EOC to make sure that we have a kitchen that was functional.

That's what we always do. We try to find out how many kitchens are there to make sure we are doing food. But let me tell what you we are doing. What I'm really doing over the last so many hurricanes, North Carolina, Wilmington, Raleigh, all the kitchens that we were able to create is trying to begin learning how we should be using the assets that we have better, quicker, faster so that's what I do believe in terms of food and water. We need this kind of master map where every single agency, non-profit, FEMA, Red Cross, Salvation Army, and others, we all know at any time who is cooking, where, where are we distributing, who is in need of a plate of food, and we need to come up with maps that are more by the minute and so we are able to respond to people that are hungry, quicker, faster, more efficiently.

CABRERA: I commend all that you are doing, Jose Andres. We know you are such a busy man and yet you have this outpouring of love, the passion for people and desire to help and you are. Thank you for what you do. Thanks for joining us tonight.

ANDRES: Thank you. Thank you very much. CABRERA: And to see how you can help victims of hurricane Michael,

head to CNN.com/impact.

Caught on tape by United States senator snatches the phone of a constituent after being asked about alleged voter suppression in the midterms. Details ahead.

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[19:58:45] CABRERA: We have brand-new video of Georgia senator David Perdue snatching a constituents' phone after being asked about alleged voter suppression in the state ahead of the midterms. Watching this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, so, how can you endorse a candidate?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no. I'm not doing that. I'm not doing that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You stole my property.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You wanted a picture. I'm going to give you a picture.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Give me my phone back, senator. Give me phone back. That's U.S. Senator David Perdue just snatched my phone because he won't answer a question from one of his constituents.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: We have asked Purdue's office for comment. So far no reply. But these accusations of voter suppression are against Georgia secretary of state Ryan Kemp. He is running forever governor against Stacy Abrams. And recently, an "Associated Press" report found that 53,000 people, 70 percent of which are black, had their registrations put on hold under a new program started in Georgia before Kemp's race against Abrams.

Now on top of this, it Kemp's office cancelled more than half a million registrations last year alone. Abrams has now called on kemp to resign as secretary of state.

That's going to do it for me tonight. Thanks for watching.

"ANTHONY BOURDAIN, PARTS UNKNOWN" starts right now.