Return to Transcripts main page
Trump: "Severe Punishment" if Saudis Killed Khashoggi; Hurricane Michael's Wrath; Trump Stumps in Kentucky; Touring a U.S. Shelter for Migrant Children; Pope to Canonize Seven New Saints; "SNL" Tackles Kanye and Trump. Aired 5-6a ET
Aired October 14, 2018 - 05:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Severe punishment: U.S. president Donald Trump says whoever is behind the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi will face consequences.
Hello and welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world, I'm Becky Anderson, live for you in Istanbul in Turkey this morning.
NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): And I'm Natalie Allen at CNN Center in Atlanta, where we are also following the homecoming of American pastor Andrew Brunson, who had a prayer for President Trump after being freed from Turkey.
We'll have those stories ahead and much more here. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.
B. ANDERSON: U.S. president Donald Trump says he soon expects to see the evidence Turkey claims to have about the disappearance of the Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi. He was last seen entering the consulate in Istanbul on October 2nd.
Saudi Arabia says it had nothing to do with his disappearance. But if that's found out not to be true, here's what President Trump told the CBS News show "60 Minutes."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There's a lot at stake and maybe especially so because this man was a reporter, because something -- you'll be surprised to hear me say that -- there's something really terrible and disgusting about that if that were the case.
So we're going to have to see. We're going to get to the bottom of it and there will be severe punishment.
(END VIDEO CLIP) B. ANDERSON: The president has already ruled out canceling billions of dollars in U.S. arms sales to the Saudi kingdom. He said it would only hurt American workers who make those weapons systems.
Well, for now, the fate of Jamal Khashoggi remains a mystery. So let's take a look at what we do know.
First, Khashoggi, a frequent critic of Saudi Arabia, was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Turkey on October 2nd. His fiancee, who was waiting for him, said he never came out.
Second, an official says U.S. intelligence has intercepts of Saudi officials discussing a plan to lure Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia and detain him.
Third, in a horrifying twist, a source says Turkish officials now have audio evidence of Khashoggi being questioned, tortured and then murdered, all of this inside the consulate. That is a source. That is a leak to Turkish local media. No evidence of that as of yet.
And a Turkish pro government newspaper says that audio is said to have been recorded by Khashoggi's own Apple Watch. There have been heavy doses of skepticism around this and CNN has not been able to confirm it.
We have been on this story since the outset. We have it covered from around the region. CNN's Jomana Karadsheh outside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and Sam Kiley is in the Saudi capital.
Let's start with you, Jomana.
What do we know as the very latest from there?
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, what we're hearing, Becky, from Turkish officials is that Saudi Arabia is not cooperating in this investigation. Now keeping in mind they really -- Turkish authorities haven't revealed officially on the record where their investigation stands right now.
The only thing that they've said is that Jamal Khashoggi disappeared after entering the Saudi consulate and that they're looking at a group of 15 Saudis, including officials, as persons of interest in this investigation.
Now one key part of the investigation would be entering the consulate and this is something that Turkish officials have been saying over the past week. Of course, they can't just show up and walk into the consulate because under the Vienna Conventions, this is sovereign territory and they would need to get permission from Saudi Arabia, from the head of the mission, before they're able to go in.
Earlier in the week, we heard the foreign ministry saying they did get the approval from the Saudis. But again, we heard yesterday from the Turkish foreign minister saying that the Saudis are not cooperating and they haven't been able to access that consulate yet. Take a listen to what the foreign minister had to say. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MEVLUT CAVUSOGLU, TURKISH FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): Particularly Saudi Arabia must cooperate for allowing access to our chief prosecutor's office and experts to enter the Saudi consulate.
Where did he disappear?
There in the consulate. Therefore, for the sake of this investigation, in order to bring everything into the open, they must allow access into the consulate. We haven't seen any collaboration yet.
CAVUSOGLU (through translator): We want to see that. Our chief prosecutor and our technical experts must enter the consulate and Saudi Arabia needs to cooperate with us on this matter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KARADSHEH: The foreign minister, Becky, there, speaking out of London on Saturday. He also said that their investigation is, quote, "getting deeper," and also trying to reassure those who are concerned about the establishment of that joint working group after Saudi Arabia requested it.
He's saying that this is not going to impact the Turkish investigation -- Becky.
B. ANDERSON: Sam, you've heard what the Turkish authorities are saying.
What's been said in Riyadh?
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, the position of the Saudis right from the beginning is that "The Washington Post" journalist left the consulate safe and sound, although they don't have any CCTV evidence, for example, to back that up.
There is CCTV evidence of him going in. But the position of the interior minister here, Prince Abdul Aziz bin Saud, a very, very senior member, both of the royal family and of the government, is that all and any reporting that suggests otherwise is nothing short of a smear campaign.
And other columnists in Saudi-backed newspapers have talked about the smear campaign being generated by Qatar and Turkey, who are jointly rivals for influence politically across the Middle East with Saudi Arabia and their allies elsewhere in the Gulf.
But this is all becoming very fraught at a time when, for example, the Saudi stock exchange is down by 6 percent already this morning and the United States is talking openly now about whether -- not really fully committing, I should say, to attending the Davos in the desert meetings that were supposed to begin on Monday week.
Pompeo, the secretary of state, hinted -- or didn't hint, he spelled out really, that this was still under review, pending, I think, what evidence they get from the Turks. This is what Mr. Pompeo said.
This is what Mr. Pompeo said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: I think we need to continue to evaluate the facts and we'll make that decision. In fact, I talked with Secretary Mnuchin about it last night. We'll be taking a look at it through the rest of the week.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KILEY: Now the British secretary of state has also today, Becky, talked about a robust response if Saudi Arabia is found to be behind the disappearance of Mr. Khashoggi. But both the United States and Britain are close allies of Saudi Arabia.
It's not going to be an easy nation to quote-unquote "punish." Saudi Arabia is were very much central to the campaign against international terrorist organizations. It's also a strategic partner, much more widely, very deeply interwoven both militarily and economically -- Becky.
B. ANDERSON: Sam Kiley is in Riyadh, Jomana is outside the consulate, which is about 20 minutes from here in Istanbul in Turkey. Thank you, guys.
Khashoggi's family and friends would have been waking up from his birthday celebration today. But instead his fiancee writing in a "New York Times" op-ed on Saturday, saying, and I quote, "Today is Jamal's birthday. I had planned a party, inviting his closest friends to surrounded him with love and warmth that he had missed.
"We would have been married now," she said. "The speculation about his fate has not been confirmed by the authorities but the silence of Saudi Arabia fills me with dread, that haunting question doesn't leave me for a single moment.
"Is it true? Have they assassinated Jamal?"
That an op-ed written by the fiancee of Jamal Khashoggi.
We're joined by Neil Quilliam, the senior research fellow at Chatham House.
Neil, international support for the Saudi Vision 2030 is crucial to the future of a country where two-thirds of its population are under the age of 30. This vision to take it into the 21st century, into post-oil environment.
The crown prince absolutely determined, he said, to sweep out the sort of corruptive nature of officials past. He said that was a cancer on the economy, that the debts should be called in. That was one thing.
These meetings, these big meetings, this Davos in the Desert, which you've been alluded to, incredibly important to the infrastructure of that Vision 2030.
What does the international community -- you're there in the U.K. We've heard from the United States. They expect --
B. ANDERSON: -- to wield severe punishment should there be evidence that Khashoggi was assassinated, killed, murdered at this embassy.
What does the international community have in its back pocket at this point to wield leverage over Riyadh?
NEIL QUILLIAM, CHATHAM HOUSE: We should say straight off, your colleague just mentioned, this is a strategic relationship between the West and Saudi Arabia. It will be shaken. It will be rocked by this.
It's a deep multi-lateral relationship, multi-dimensional, which means that the U.S. and the U.K. and its European partners, they have significantly reached over Saudi Arabia. The relationship is based on defense sales, is based on oil.
But it is based on education. Its based on intelligence sharing. And Saudi Arabia needs the United Kingdom and the U.S. and its Western partners, certainly because Iran is right there on its border. So there are various ways in which that sort of leverage can be expressed.
But the Western leaders, we're hearing that President Trump has talked about severe punishment. The chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee in the U.K. has said measures should be put in place, such as downgrading relations.
These are all points that can be pushed on. But ultimately, the relationship itself will sort of survive this but it needs a recalibration. Previously Western leaders in particular have been sort of pushing Saudi Arabia to move very quickly. Was always a little bit frustrated that it was such a status quo power and moved slowly through consensus.
Now MBS has come into power and run at breakneck speed -- sorry, yes.
B. ANDERSON: These international -- these Western leaders do need to be sensible about the way they go about devising policy going forward. I think it would be unfair to suggest it was all a one-way street, that nobody needed Saudi, the Gulf, you alluded to counter intelligence sharing, for example, to security.
National security interests of the United States in ensuring the AQAP, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, are kept at bay. They need these countries to ensure that that happens.
So being sensible about also not getting involved in what is a very local but important and critical spat that's going on between the likes of Qatar and Turkey and the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.
This is very nuanced; very, very messy local politics that have consequences and implications far outside of this region. Taking a position, which basically denounces one side of what is a very messy geopolitical spat here, could be quite dangerous for the future surely.
QUILLIAM: Well, I think so. I think there are two dimensions to that. One is absolutely, this is a partnership. The U.S. is not an ally of Saudi Arabia, it's a partner. It's a partnership that brings mutual benefits to all sides.
So it's in all sides' interests to push ahead on the relationship and find a way in which this can work. But at the same time, Saudi Arabia does need that investment, does need the support of the Western powers to push ahead with Vision 2030.
It's a very ambitious program. Most Western countries, in fact, all Western countries and businesses want to be part and parcel of that but not at any cost. I mean, this particular case is one amongst many concerns that Western powers certainly share.
We can talk about Yemen, we can talk about the crisis in Qatar. We can talk about the spat with Canada and we can talk about Hariri. So this is a step too far. I think this is kind of a breaking point and I think this is a time for the relationship to be recalibrated and pull back and say, wait, there are red lines here.
You do need a green light if you are going to move ahead. This is an unknown Saudi Arabia and one that most of us are quite uncomfortable with.
B. ANDERSON: Thank you for your analysis today.
Natalie, lest we forget, a man's life is at stake here. We have no idea at this point, simply no idea, concrete evidence, as to what has happened to Jamal. But I think just that discussion that we've just been having there really provides some context to what is a sort of wider roiling story here with the disappearance of one man, one journalist --
B. ANDERSON: -- providing a fulcrum to flush out what is a very difficult, messy situation that is evolving here.
ALLEN: Yes. This man was killed for doing an honest job's work and, as we just heard, may have been killed for doing honest work. And it is his birthday. Becky, thank you so much.
A U.S. pastor is now back on American soil after being detained in Turkey for two years and he's thanking President Trump and he's praying for the president. We'll have details next.
Also, rescue teams race to find possible survivors of Hurricane Michael. We'll be in one of Florida's hardest hit areas, ahead here.
Stay with us, you're watching CNN NEWSROOM.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PASTOR ANDREW BRUNSON: Lord God, I ask that you pour out your holy spirit on President Trump, that you give him supernatural wisdom to accomplish all the plans you have for this country and for him. I ask that you give him wisdom not to lead this country into righteousness.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: Evangelical pastor Andrew Brunson there, praying for President Trump at the White House Saturday. He also thanked the president for helping bring him home. Turkey released Brunson Friday. He had been held first in prison then under house arrest for two years.
For more on his story, here's CNN's Sarah Westwood.
SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It was a powerful moment at the White House on Saturday when President Trump welcomed home pastor Andrew Brunson, who had been held in a Turkish jail for two years after Turkey said that Brunson was part of a coup attempt in 2015, charges the Trump administration described as "bogus."
Brunson's detention had become a major source of tension between the U.S. and Turkey. Trump had applied increasing economic pressure on Turkey, including by rat etching up steel an aluminum tariffs against the country and by applying sanctions to two Turkish leaders.
All of that caused the Turkish currency to plummet and put Turkey's economy into something of a crisis. And that precipitated Brunson's release on Friday. The president touted this as a victory for the U.S., saying that previous administrations wouldn't have been able to free Brunson.
And he took the opportunity in the White House to talk about a separate situation, that's --
WESTWOOD: -- tensions between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia over the alleged killing of a Saudi journalist at the Saudi consulate in Turkey.
Trump said the two events had no connection in terms of the timing of Brunson's release. Trump said that the administration is looking for more information about the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, that journalist, before he decides what kind of punishment to levy against Saudi Arabia.
But the moment was lightened by pastor Andrew Brunson, kneeling by the president, placing a hand on his shoulder and saying a prayer, thanking the president for helping secure his release from Turkey. That's something we will likely see the president highlight as he heads into the midterm elections -- Sarah Westwood, CNN, the White House.
ALLEN: The devastation from Hurricane Michael is still coming into focus days after ravaged parts of the southeastern United States. Authorities say at least 18 people are dead. That number could rise because they're still going and combing through the rubble for people.
More than 430,000 customers are still without power in seven states. Officials say it can take two months for power to be restored; in some areas, two months in Florida without power. One of those areas is Mexico Beach, which bore the brunt of the storm's power. CNN's Martin Savidge is there.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The sun has gone down and another night has set in here at Mexico Beach. And once the sun is gone, it gets completely dark in this community. Only the television lights are what you will see and occasionally the flashing strobe lights of emergency first responders.
The search and recovery effort has come to an end. Can't go on in the dark. It was another very difficult day. No other victims have been found and the city officials are reporting that all of the major structures that are still standing, that would be the homes and also the businesses, they have all been searched.
But now they move on to another, perhaps even more difficult and potentially dangerous phase, they have to go through all the large debris piles. And there are many of them throughout this devastated town.
They will carefully and methodically have to search and investigate every single one. Authorities are working off of a list of about 300 names. These are names of people they know were in this community just prior to the storm coming ashore.
Now after the storm, they're trying to match up those names with the people that are still here. They actually have a map with almost 300 dots on it and they are carefully checking the list off.
The problem is, in some cases, you go to a home and there's no one there. In other cases, you go and there's no home there. And in other cases they've been able to cross people off the list because witnesses saw them after the storm or those people have been able to self report.
However, there's still a disturbing number. They won't say how many that are unaccounted for. Hence, why the search goes on and will do for four more days -- Martin Savidge, CNN, Mexico Beach, Florida.
ALLEN: Another hard hit area, Lynn Haven, Florida. And the mayor there said she almost died during the storm. But now she's pushing forward and working to rebuild her town. Here she is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARGO ANDERSON, LYNN HAVEN MAYOR: And it's very emotional for me. Help is on the way. And I wore my funny shirt today that says, keep calm, I'm the mayor. And I was telling my city manager, you know, we almost died in our building. It blew out from under us, the city hall.
I haven't shed a tear until today and today is about my people. And I want the people here to know they're loved. We are going to build this city back. It's going to be beautiful. And now we have about two months before our power grid is going to be back up, probably a few days before we have water and when we have water it's not going to be drinkable water.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: The mayor remaining tough in these very tough times.
U.S. president Trump promises repercussions if it turns out the Saudis killed a missing journalist but only if it doesn't interfere with the multi-billion dollar arms deal. We'll have more about that coming up here. We're back in Istanbul in just a few minutes. You're watching CNN.
B. ANDERSON: It's 12:30 pm in Istanbul in Turkey and, as life continues here in the city, we are two days short of two weeks, the last time that Jamal Khashoggi was seen alive.
U.S. president Donald Trump says there will be severe punishment if the missing journalist is found to have been murdered inside the Saudi consulate here in Istanbul but probably not so severe as to cancel a multi-billion dollar arms deal in the works.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, there are many other things we can do. But when we take away $110 billion of purchases from our country, that hurts our workers, that hurts our factories, that hurts all of our companies. You know, you're talking about 500,000 jobs. So we do that, we're
really hurting our country a lot more than we're hurting Saudi Arabia. They'll go to Russia, they'll go to China, they'll 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'll go to China, they'll go to Russia, they'll order equipment. We're 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're looking for the answer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
B. ANDERSON: In other words, Donald Trump sees Saudi Arabia as much as a customer as an ally. Khashoggi's disappearance and Mr. Trump's reaction to it renewed the questions about the president's longstanding ties with Saudi Arabia. CNN's Cristina Alesci examinations these connections.
CRISTINA ALESCI, CNNMONEY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Saudi Arabia has been making Donald Trump rich for decades.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Saudi Arabia and I get along great with all of them. They buy apartments from me, they spend 40 million, 50 million.
Am I supposed to dislike them?
I like them very much.
ALESCI (voice-over): Trump's financial ties with the Saudis date back to the 1990s. In 1991, when one of his casino projects was faltering --
ALESCI (voice-over): -- under a mountain of debt, a Saudi prince purchased Trump's 281 square-foot yacht for the hefty price of $20 million.
Ten years later, public records show Trump sold the 45th floor of his Trump World Tower in New York to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia for $4.5 million. In recent years since Trump took office, his hotels have benefitted from Saudi business.
Between October 2016 and March 2017, a Saudi lobbying firm paid Trump's Washington, D.C., hotel more than $270,000 for food and accommodations. Trump's Manhattan hotel on Central Park West saw a revenue increase during the first quarter of in 2018 in part because of a visit from Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, according to a letter obtained by "The Washington Post." In the letter, the hotel's general manager wrote that bin Salman
didn't stay at the hotel himself but said, quote, "Due to our close industry relationships, we were able to accommodate many of the accompanying travelers."
Overall, however, little is known about the full extent of Trump's business relationship with Saudi Arabia.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JONATHAN O'CONNELL: We don't know really very much about his efforts to open other properties in Saudi Arabia. We don't know who his partners would have been. We don't know who would have financed them and we don't know if he could restart them again down the road.
ALESCI (voice-over): According to his 2106 financial disclosure, Trump had 144 registered companies with dealings in more than 2 dozen countries. Eight of them were Saudi companies. All of those companies have been dissolved.
But tonight, as cries for the president to take action against Saudi Arabia grow louder, Trump's business ties are coming under new scrutiny.
O'CONNELL: Now, of course, the larger political question is, is this relationship, are these business deals part of the president's consideration when he makes decisions about how to go forward?
ALESCI: A spokesperson for the Trump Organization told me, quote, "Like many real estate companies, we have explored opportunities in many markets. That said, we do not have any plans for expansion into Saudi Arabia."
When I asked about the other financial ties, like the ones I included in the report, the condo sales, for example, at Trump Tower, I did not get an answer -- Cristina Alesci, CNN, Washington, D.C.
B. ANDERSON: I'm joined again by ambassador Matthew Bryza, the former senior U.S. official covering Turkey, who understands the Turkey file better than most.
You have experience here of how the self-professed arch negotiator, the U.S. president, might or has in the past dealt with incredibly sensitive issues, not least that of the release of Andrew Brunson. I wonder how your experience in back channeling and dealing with this U.S. administration might inform how it acts next in this case.
MATTHEW BRYZA, FORMER SENIOR U.S. OFFICIAL COVERING TURKEY: Thank you, that's a great question. In my experience, the professionals in the State Department and elsewhere in the foreign policy establishment worked very hard to get U.S.-Turkey relations back on track.
In my estimation, they had come up with an agreement in the late summer, actually mid-summer, in August, that would have led to the pastor's release along with some other things happening.
And there was a decision taken by President Trump in August to go a different way and to issue some tweets that were threatening towards Turkey, impose sanctions against two ministers as well as double the aluminum and steel tariffs.
That blew up the whole process. So essentially that tough negotiating stance which was being hailed in the Oval Office yesterday actually resulted in the pastor spending a couple more months under house arrest.
How does that impact what's going on now?
I think a similar thing is probably going on. There are cool-headed people in the foreign policy establishment, who are trying to think through what the next steps could be. President Trump is reluctant for a number of reasons, investment interests, Saudi swing producer status in oil at a time where President Trump really doesn't want to see high gasoline prices before the midterm elections.
And we'll see maybe some tension between the president, a bit of an ultimate boss, and his professionals.
B. ANDERSON: The plan for Vision 2030 in Saudi Arabia is a plan for the future of a country which will go forward being less dependent on oil. To suggest that this is an existential issue for the Saudis, there was no plan B. There doesn't appear to be a plan B. For the benefit of Saudi citizens, 60 percent of whom are --
B. ANDERSON: -- under the age of 30, this was a strategy devised to take them and their country into the 21st century. And there will be discussions going on around this region, certainly with Saudi's allies, which go something like this.
Yes, there was a man's life at stake here. Yes, we should be pushing for evidence of exactly what has happened to Jamal. But when the dust settles, I hate to say this, but when the dust settles on what happened at the Saudi consulate here, life will go on, to all intents and purposes, so far as foreign policy and geopolitics are concerned. And how -- what happens now will affect relations going forward, it's absolutely crucial, isn't it?
BRYZA: Yes. These days are the key moment because of what you said, the geopolitical realities that make Saudi Arabia significant or the internal realities, geopolitical reality of how important the 2030 plan is for everybody, we all should want Saudi Arabia to succeed in liberalizing itself.
B. ANDERSON: There are national security issues in the south of Yemen, for example, the AQAP. I mean, the U.S. needs the Saudis on counterintelligence. This is not a one-way street.
B. ANDERSON: As some have been suggesting.
BRYZA: Yes, that's right. And nobody should hope for the failure of this reform plan and, as I said a moment ago, the Saudis are the swing producers of oil. And they're producing at the maximum level right now.
So, yes, its leverage works in both directions. I think what ultimately happens is, if this case doesn't force some radical shifts in policy now by the United States, it will. It will blow over. The dust will settle because of those underlying geopolitical realities.
Frankly, I think Washington is playing it the way you would expect. They don't want to jump to any conclusions with those big issues on the table. They want to make sure if they're going to do something to punish Saudi Arabia, there's a way to defend their actions so the U.S. can explain why they're taking the steps they're taking.
So that's why the investigation of Minister Cavusoglu demanded yesterday is so important.
B. ANDERSON: Matthew, thank you.
BRYZA: Thank you.
B. ANDERSON: Ambassador Bryza in the house for you.
The woman that Jamal Khashoggi was about to marry has not been silent. She has been demanding a full accounting from the Saudi government about his whereabouts and fate.
In an emotional op-ed in "The New York Times," she wrote, "If the allegations are true and Jamal has been murdered by the errand boys of Mohammed bin Salman," she says, "he is already a martyr."
And she concludes in this op-ed, "Oppression never lasts forever. Tyrants eventually pay for their sins. When your loved ones leave the world, the other world no longer seems scary or far away. It is being left here all alone without them that is most painful."
We continue to dig for more answers on what is going on, what happened here at the Saudi consulate. What happens next as far as the geopolitics of this case, really very, very difficult to tell.
ALLEN: Thank you. And thank you to your team for helping us with all of that insight into this story.
Winter is approaching along the U.S.-Mexico border and some 1,500 children could be spending it here. CNN tours a shelter for migrant children. That story is coming up here on CNN NEWSROOM.
ALLEN: U.S. president Donald Trump was making a closing pitch to voters on Saturday. He rallied in Richmond, Kentucky, for House Republican Andy Barr. Immigration a big theme at the rally. So was the Supreme Court fight. But with the midterms only a little more than three weeks away, the president looked back to 2016.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT TRUMP: The vote is in. The polls are closed in Kentucky. Donald Trump is the winner of Kentucky. Under Republican leadership America is booming. It's thriving. In the wake of Hurricane Michael our thoughts are with our fellow citizens in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. They got hit hard.
We're going to get along great with China but we're doing things with China and they've dropped about 20 trillion but you know what, they're going to be just fine but they have to treat us fairly. They have a great team but we need more of them. We need more Republican votes.
What crazy radical Democrats did to justice Kavanaugh is a national disgrace.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: Well, there was the president.
Now to his wife. The first lady is gaining some popularity. According to a new CNN poll, Melania Trump has a 54 percent favorability rating. That is up 3 points from June. Her unfavorable rating has stayed about the same, 30 percent. This poll was taken during Ms. Trump's trip to Africa, her first solo tour as first lady.
During that trip, Melania Trump sat down with ABC News. And in the interview, she said she was blindsided by her husband's zero tolerance policy that led to family separations on the U.S. border with Mexico. Ms. Trump called it "unacceptable" but said people need to be vetted to get into the U.S.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MELANIA TRUMP, WIFE OF PRESIDENT-ELECT DONALD TRUMP: I believe in the policies that my husband put together because I believe that we need to be very vigilant who is coming to the country.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But do you think people should be able to bring in their mother and their father?
M. TRUMP: Yes, of course. We need to vet them and we need to know who they are.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you told your husband this?
M. TRUMP: Yes, of course.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And what did he say?
M. TRUMP: He agrees.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: The vetting of would-be immigrants to the U.S. may be creating a backlog of cases along the border. CNN was given a rare look inside a facility set up in Texas to house young children and teenagers. As CNN's Leyla Santiago reports, some of the 1,500 minors there have been held for more than a month.
LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Arriving at a migrant shelter, a bus filled with Central American families released from ICE custody --
SANTIAGO (voice-over): -- a bus showing shadows of children whose little hands we would eventually see gripping their parents. We agreed not to show their faces as they explained why they came to the U.S.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking foreign language).
SANTIAGO: This 27-year-old mother tells us gangs forced her to leave Honduras, a country plagued with violence.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking foreign language).
SANTIAGO: So she says the gangs wanted to recruit her son and when she said no, they told her she had 15 days to leave the country or they would kill her boy.
RUBEN GARCIA, MIGRANT SHELTER DIRECTOR: We would see them and say don't get used to this treatment.
SANTIAGO (voice-over): Ruben Garcia runs a migrant shelter about half an hour from Tornillo, an area where the Department of Health and Human Services houses about 1,500 teens who crossed the border without a parent. The facility has had to extend its deadline for closing and has had to expand.
KRISTJEN NIELSEN, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: We're out of space, unfortunately, given all of the increase in numbers.
SANTIAGO: So the immigrant advocates we're talking about are telling us we're seeing more children, more families coming in, crossing the border and the facilities aren't able to handle them. They don't have enough beds or places to care for them.
So we're in Tornillo at this sort of temporary tent shelter. We're going to go in and ask more questions, find out how many children are in custody and how is the administration now handling this.
SANTIAGO (voice-over): Our cameras were not allowed inside. The government provided this video.
SANTIAGO: So we spent two hours behind the gates into what is really like an entire city back there. They have their own firefighters. They have a place to worship. They have a place to eat.
We actually even went into one of the tents where they live. I could see Bibles placed on their beds, teddy bears. There's every indication these are children living here.
And when I went to the barber shop, I met a young man from El Salvador. He says he's been here a month and 11 days. When I asked him why he is here, why he crossed that border alone, he says he's looking for a better life.
SANTIAGO (voice-over): Another young man said he wanted to get to Houston. Another to Colorado. All eager to be reunited with family.
MARK WEBER, DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES DEPARTMENT: I would say, you know, there are multiple factors in terms of why we have so many kids at this point in time. And, yes, we have added additional protections to ensure the homes these children are going to safely. And that is adding time.
SANTIAGO: The average time for a child to stay in HHS custody, 59 days. The reason, they say, more Central American children are crossing the border. A 30 percent increase in just the last two months.
The Trump administration's zero-tolerance policy, it separated about 2,600 kids from their parents, though most have been reunited.
And a new requirement to fingerprint sponsors agreeing to care for the children, waiting for a day in court.
The commander says sponsors for more than half of the children here have had fingerprints taken, but it's taken too long to get any sort of report from the FBI. For now, he says the facility is expected to keep taking care of these teens through December 31st.
GARCIA: They're risking their life. And so you have to ask yourself, what would it take for you to risk your life and that of one of your children or several of your -- what would it take. I think that's what gets lost in this discussion.
SANTIAGO: In the meantime, children continue to wait to one day be released, to one day be reunited with family and try to find a better life -- Leyla Santiago, CNN, Tornillo, Texas.
ALLEN: Thousands of people are gathered in Vatican City right now. We have live video as Pope Francis canonizes seven new saints. We'll hear more about it right after this.
ALLEN: Live video here from the Vatican on an historic morning. Pope Francis officially recognizing seven men and women as saints. A huge crowd, as you can see, has gathered at St. Peter's Square for the ceremony, including many from El Salvador.
One of the new saints is Archbishop Oscar Romero. He was killed in 1980 after speaking out against social injustice in El Salvador. Also canonized, Pope Paul VI. He helped usher the church into the modern world.
CNN Vatican correspondent Delia Gallagher joins us now from our bureau in Rome to tell us more about the people being honored today.
DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN VATICAN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Natalie. That's right. It's a day of celebration here at the Vatican. The pope has already declared the seven new saints. Among them are two women. They were founders of religious orders in Germany and in Spain.
Also a young boy from Naples, a 19-year old who died of bone cancer. And Pope Francis said he was an example to young people of humility and courage.
Perhaps the two most well known, Pope Paul VI, he was pope from 1963 to 1978, a time of great change in the Catholic Church with Vatican 2, he ushered in a lot of those changes and had to oversee bringing in the Catholic Church into the modern world.
They say Pope Francis has long had a great devotion to this pope. He was one of the first popes to begin traveling outside of Italy. He traveled to the holy land and to the United Nations at the time of the Vietnam War, speaking out against war there.
So he is somebody who has been very important for Pope Francis. And Archbishop Romero from El Salvador. He was assassinated while he was saying mass in March of 1980. Pope Francis is actually wearing the blood-stained belt that Oscar Romero was wearing on the day that he was killed. He was a voice for the poor and oppressed.
So you can imagine, for Pope Francis, another person to hold up as a martyr and as a hero for our times, Natalie.
GALLAGHER: About 70,000 people, as you say, many of them waited out in the early morning of the hours here to come into the square. Queen Sophia is here from Spain, many dignitaries. The president of Italy, the president of El Salvador, Chile. You can imagine, for the Latin American countries, the day that Oscar Romero is made a saint, particularly for El Salvador, is an important day.
ALLEN: Absolutely and a beautiful morning there for it all. Thank you, Delia Gallagher, for us in Rome.
Finally this hour, the rapper, Kanye West, you might recall, visited President Trump in the Oval Office this week. And just a few hours ago on the comedy show "Saturday Night Live," actor Alec Baldwin reprised his impersonation of Mr. Trump and he brought along with him. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEC BALDWIN, ACTOR, "DONALD TRUMP": I'm proud to welcome Kanye West. Yeezus, Yandhi, Yaddam Yussein, an amazing guy.
Thank you for coming, Kanye.
CHRIS REDD, ACTOR, "KANYE WEST": I'm a prisoner in a different dimension.
Have I lost anyone so far?
OK. So I'm going to talk about trapdoors. Like the 13th Amendment is a trapdoor. And if you are installing a floor, AKA, the Constitution, why would you build a trapdoor when you could end up with the Unabomber?
"TRUMP:" Oh, this guy might be cuckoo.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: A little bit for you. That will do it for us. Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Natalie Allen. For U.S. viewers, "NEW DAY" is next. For everyone else, stay with us for --
ALLEN: -- "AFRICAN VOICES."