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Saudi Government Considers Plan to Admit Missing Journalist Khashoggi Was Killed In Its Consulate; Business Leaders Pull out of "Davos in the Desert"; Civilians Hope for Safety inside Idlib's DMZ; Brexit Talks Stuck on Irish Border Issue. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired October 16, 2018 - 02:00   ET

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


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ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): A new explanation after repeatedly and publicly denying involvement in the disappearance of a journalist, sources say the Saudi government is preparing to admit its role.

Plus the U.K. prime minister set to face European leaders for a make or break summit on Brexit. We will look at the complicated issue that stalled the latest talks.

And later, royal baby fever hits Australia and Harry and Meghan's visit there. The official welcome ceremony for the couple included tiny Ugg boots and a stuffed kangaroo.

Hello and welcome to our viewers all around the world, I'm Rosemary Church and this is CNN NEWSROOM.

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CHURCH: Two weeks of Saudi denials about a missing journalist will reportedly soon give way to an admission. Sources tell CNN Saudi Arabia will acknowledge that Jamal Khashoggi died in an interrogation that went wrong. The U.S. secretary of state arrives in Saudi Arabia this hour to meet with the king.

Khashoggi, a critic of the crown prince's crackdown on dissent, was last seen alive two weeks ago. Turkish investigators spent about nine hours searching the Saudi consulate late Monday. Khashoggi's family released a statement saying this, "Our family is traumatized and yearns to be together during this painful time. The strong moral and legal responsibility which our father instilled in us obliges us to call for the establishment of an independent and impartial international commission to inquire into the circumstances of his death."

Our Sam Kiley is in Riyadh and joins us now live with the very latest on all of this.

So, Sam, U.S. secretary of state Mike Pompeo arrives in Saudi Arabia this hour to meet with the king.

What's expected to come out of the meeting and when might we hear more about the Saudis and the fate of Jamal Khashoggi?

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Rosemary, it's been a very complex process, this. We did hear on Saturday night that there could be some kind of a statement made by the Saudis that would, in a sense, put their hands up in some limited way, perhaps admitting that Mr. Khashoggi was indeed dead.

Then Clarissa reported yesterday night, last night, from her sources that the Saudis were preparing a statement. It had a great deal more detail in it, suggesting that Mr. Khashoggi, "The Washington Post" columnist, was killed accidentally under interrogation during a rendition process back to Saudi Arabia inside that consulate.

Last night I reached out to very high level officials here in Saudi Arabia. They have not responded one way or the other, which I think is perhaps telling. I think that this is the moment when the arrival of Mr. Pompeo, that both the United States and Saudi Arabia want to somehow bring an end to this saga that has been causing great friction between the two nations and, of course, undermines Saudi Arabia's reputation internationally.

But this all really goes back to a moment when Donald Trump I think blurted out what may have been inspired by a confidential conversation he had with King Salman. It is the king who has now got a grip on this situation.

This is what Donald Trump let slip.

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TRUMP: The king firmly denied any knowledge of it. He didn't really know. Maybe -- I don't want to get into his mind but it sounded to me like maybe these could have been rogue killers.

Who knows? We're going to try getting the bottom of it very soon but his was a flat denial.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WATT: So there was a flat denial of knowledge of what had happened but perhaps the suggestion certainly being promulgated there by the U.S. president that quote-unquote "rogue killers" could have been behind it, Rosemary.

But I think one of the other interesting things is this whole story has evolved is that the beginning of the saga it was the crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, who said that Saudi Arabia had nothing to do with it and invited people to come in and inspect the consulate.

But at the end of the cycle, it is the king himself who stepped in, softened the line, reached out to the Turkish president and has started to try to get a grip on this and to try to make sense of the situation. I think that is going to be the content --

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KILEY: -- of the conversation with Mike Pompeo -- Rosemary.

CHURCH: Right. And, Sam, Khashoggi's family have called for the establishment of an independent and impartial international commission.

How likely is it that we will see that happen?

KILEY: Well anything could happen, but as Saudi Arabia is a very proud nation, it is a nation that insists on its place in the international community, an observation of international laws. It would be very difficult to make an argument for certainly some cooking up or putting together some international commission, particularly if the Saudis come out with an explanation.

Now there may be many around the world who might cast doubt on whatever explanation the Saudis come up with. But I think that as far as they are concerned, that would mean they'd draw a line under the matter and they would try to move on. I don't think it's remotely conceivable that the Saudis would participate in any international commission. It would be seen as an abrogation of their sovereignty.

CHURCH: Many thanks to our Sam Kiley, joins us live there from Riyadh.

CNN political analyst Julian Zelizer joins me now.

Good to have you with us.

JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Thank you for having me.

CHURCH: President Trump said he talked to the Saudi king, who denies any knowledge of the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi and it looks like Mr. Trump accepts that explanation.

At the same time, the president is working on an arms deal with Saudi Arabia worth $110 billion.

How likely is it that the arms deal is clouding his judgment?

And what are the likely ramifications of an American administration doing business with a government that could very well be behind the possible murder of a journalist?

ZELIZER: It is pretty shocking news but the administration has a lot of incentive to keep moving forward with this relationship, the arms deal is on the table. Saudi Arabia has been really the key to the administration's Middle Eastern plans.

And obviously this relationship predates the Trump presidency. So I think there's a lot of forces that are pushing for continuation even after what may be a very horrific act by the government. CHURCH: Early Tuesday, the president mentioned the possibility of rogue killers being behind the death of Khashoggi. Then just hours later, we hear the same explanation emerging from the Saudis and the possibility of Khashoggi dying as a result of an interrogation that went wrong.

What did you make of that?

ZELIZER: I think some people will find that either suspicious or upsetting, meaning, on the one hand, the president can denounce what happened and keep a pretty firm stand in terms of if the government did it but then continue with relations and saying they're pretty vital.

But if he's just replicating the words of the government at this moment, I don't think that will sit well, including with some members of Congress, who are pretty upset with this attack on a journalist.

CHURCH: How likely is it that a hit team was sent from Saudi Arabia to kill and dismember Jamal Khashoggi?

And wouldn't the king or the prince have known about it?

ZELIZER: Well, that's hard speculation but I think there's enough suspicion about him and the government there that it is not impossible. And when that's on the table, then it is impossible to rule anything out. So I think the suspicions stem from some of the human rights concerns that already existed about the government.

CHURCH: So in Saudi Arabia there -- could there be the possibility of teams like this being sent to Turkey without the king or the prince knowing about it?

ZELIZER: Well, it is hard to know the inner operations of this regime. But obviously, it is a possibility but the likelihood would this -- would be coordinated in some ways with the regime. That's what many people suspect. So many people find it difficult to simply distance him from what happened if this was the responsibility of the government.

CHURCH: And as you mentioned, Congress, you know, many members of Congress not happy with the optics of this and what has possibly happened here. They're looking at possible punishment for the Saudis.

What do you think needs to be done and what would really be a punishment that would speak to the Saudis?

Because they're clearly -- money is not going to be a concern. Sanctions are not going to impact Saudi Arabia in any way, are they?

ZELIZER: No, they have incentives to keep money coming into the country and these arms deals are important. But it is an incredibly wealthy country so some say they could live without the deals.

My guess is the deals do matter and if they were actually potentially going to go off the table, the regime would care about this. [02:10:00]

ZELIZER: But they also want international stature and international legitimacy. That's been a lot of what has been going on in the past year and a half.

So if they were really being condemned by world leaders, including the United States, I do think that could matter. I do think that could have an effect for a country that wants to emerge as a global leader, particularly in any potential Middle East peace deal.

CHURCH: Yet many people looking for more answers on this story. So we continue to delve and get to the truth of it. Julian Zelizer, many thanks to you. We appreciate it.

ZELIZER: Thank you.

CHURCH: A growing number of VIPs that had planned on attending an upcoming investment summit in Riyadh are pulling out of the gathering. We're told the World Bank president is the latest to withdraw. President Trump said the U.S. Treasury secretary will decide by Friday whether he will attend. More now from CNN's John Defterios.

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JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Until Monday, the major players on Wall Street were planning to attend the second so-called Davos in the Desert, that's all changed.

Three of the biggest CEOs decided there's too much uncertainty associated with the kingdom after the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi journalists. Larry Fink of Blackrock, Stephen Schwarzman of Blackstone and Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase all deciding to bail out.

Certainly not a vote of confidence one week before the crown prince of Saudi Arabia's Investment Summit, especially after reports that the Saudis are prepared to admit the Saudi journalists died of an interrogation gone wrong.

Meanwhile, after severe selling Sunday, the Saudi stock market recovered all its losses on Monday with a gain of 4 percent. Telephoned diplomacy between the King of Saudi Arabia and the presidents of Turkey and the U.S. ease market concerns.

However, after the latest news from Riyadh, Saudi exchange-traded funds on Wall Street dropped nearly 2 percent. A statement out of Riyadh calling for potential retaliation at any U.S. sanctions in Saudi Arabia had many believe oil supplies would suffer but the three major parties seem eager to find common ground.

As bad as the tragedy over Jamal Khashoggi is, it seems to be an effort at this point to try to limit all the fallout -- John Defterios, CNN Business, Abu Dhabi.

(END VIDEOTAPE) CHURCH: The outrage over Saudi Arabia's suspected role in Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance is drawing attention to the kingdom's regional influence, most notably its role in the Yemen civil war.

The U.N. says the country is on the brink of the worst famine the world has seen in a century. And it didn't have to happen. Our Nima Elbagir has the latest on the crisis and Saudi Arabia's involvement. We must warn you, though, some of the picture you're about to see are graphic.

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NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Another day in Yemen's bloody war. This exclusive footage was sent to CNN by Houthi rebel-backed, Ansarullah media, showing the aftermath of a direct strike by a Saudi-led collation plane on Saturday.

Local officials saying 19 men, women and children were killed as they attempted to flee the Yemeni port city of Hodeida. The site of an existential struggle between the U.S.-backed coalition and the Tehran- backed Houthi rebels. As ever in war, the victims are too often innocence caught in the crossfire.

As scrutiny grows around allegations of the Saudi Crown Prince's involvement in the disappearance of Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, criticism is growing around and the essence he's known other great recklessness. The three-year long war in Yemen.

Today, the World Food Programme told CNN the number of Yemenis facing famine could rise nearly 12 million, making it the worst famine for a century and one that is entirely manmade.

The fighting around through data's support in the (INAUDIBLE) Saudi- led bombardment aid agency say has created a perfect storm, one that leaves the parties of the conflict and their international backers with blood on their hands.

In the U.S., the drumbeat of criticism among lawmakers is growing, across the political aisle.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: One of the strong things that we could 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 Saudis.

ELBAGIR: In spite of the president's avowed support for Saudi Arabia, including broader large arm sales.

TRUMP: I would not be in favor of stopping a country from spending $110 billion which is an all-time record.

ELBAGIR: Here in Yemen, they're hoping all the talk will finally result in action -- Nima Elbagir, CNN, London.

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CHURCH: Syria's children of war, some are too young to have ever known peace. But now they're getting a chance to be --

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CHURCH: -- children again in the country's last remaining rebel stronghold. An exclusive look inside Idlib's demilitarized zone.

Plus trying to protect the U.K. from economic harm due to Brexit. The British prime minister faces her cabinet.

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CHURCH: Welcome back.

Syria's foreign minister says government forces are prepare to fight rebels if they haven't withdrawn from a newly established demilitarized zone in Idlib province. That's the last remaining major rebel stronghold in the country.

The minister said it is up to Russia which negotiated the deal with Turkey to set up the buffer zone, to ensure it is being implemented. The deadline for rebels to leave and take their heavy weapons with them was Monday.

CNN got exclusive access inside the demilitarized zone and as Arwa Damon reports, children who have grown up surrounded by war are now hoping for another chance at peace.

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ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Despite their smiles and giggles at our camera, these kids have never really known the innocence of childhood.

Sham (ph) says she still has nightmares of the day she was wounded by shrapnel. Her two cousins are orphans, their parents killed in an airstrike years ago.

Sham's (ph) father, a rebel fighter himself, says they weren't living; they were just waiting to die. But now he says he has hope.

As you can see, this is basically the demilitarized zone, the belt of pink. And within there are only meant to Turkish observations posts. The Russians, the Iranians and the Syrian regime are meant to be taking up their positions well on outside.

After years of cease fires and de-escalation zones that failed to hold the Russia-Turkey negotiated demilitarized zone is perhaps an agreement that, at least in short-term, stands a chance.

The main difference between this and other agreements are Turkey's assurances.

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DAMON: Saif Arad (ph), spokesman for one of the main rebel groups, the National Liberation Front, explains.

"The Turks said that they would protect this area -- protects us against any threat."

Rebel fighters can keep their light weapons within the zone. And we're shown what are some of the last heavy weapons, multiple grad rocket launchers, howitzers that are being pulled out of Syria's DMZ.

The commander that we have been talking to here have been very quick to emphasize that this is merely a withdrawal of heavy weaponry. And while everybody hopes that this agreement will hold, there is in Syria's reality and the fact they have to ready themselves for the eventuality that it does not.

But that, Arad (ph) says, would result in an ocean of blood if this agreement doesn't hold. It is far from a long-term solution to Syria's tragic bloody recent history. But it's meant at the very least to allow for a respite from the bombings and violence that has torn so many families apart. Create sense of stability and perhaps, just perhaps, allow for a viable political solution -- Arwa Damon, CNN, in the demilitarized zone of Syria.

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CHURCH: In the U.K., prime minister Theresa May is fighting for her Brexit plan. The foreign secretary was in Luxembourg, trying to sell the British position ahead of Wednesday's critical summit in Brussels.

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JEREMY HUNT, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: This is obviously a difficult period. It was always going to be a moment like this. But we should remember a huge amount of progress has been made. There are one or two very difficult outstanding issues. But I think we can get there. Whether we do it this week or not, who knows?

I think it is possible to do it. And I think with goodwill on all sides, we can get there. But there are some difficult issues yet to overcome.

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CHURCH: And the major sticking point remains the thorny issue of the Irish border. The E.U. wants Britain to agree to a backstop or a fallback position to avoid a hard border. The head of Europe's biggest economy says it is also important to understand how little time is left to make a deal.

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ANGELA MERKEL, CHANCELLOR OF GERMANY (through translator): We of course want an orderly exit of Britain from the E.U. but not at any cost. We must not allow our internal market, which is really our competitive advantage, to be destroyed by such an exit.

That's why we need quite a bit of finesse. And if we're not successful this week, we will have to keep negotiating. That's clear. But time is of the essence because the exit is to happen on March 31st, 2019.

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CHURCH: Just over two hours from now, Theresa May will face her cabinet behind closed doors. She's expected to lay out her final Brexit proposal. This comes one day after a heated session in Parliament. Listen.

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THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I continue to believe that what we should all be doing, is working to ensure the backstop never comes in to place and that actually it's not December 2021 that we're talking about but it's the 1st of January 2021.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would she confirm a single market on customs union. The U.K. leaving the E.U. together with no hard (INAUDIBLE) either in the single market or customs union (INAUDIBLE)?

MAY: When the U.K. leaves the European Union, it will be the U.K. that leaves the European Union. We will be leaving the European Union together. I'm very clear there should be no hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland. But as we put forward proposals, we could deliver on that and maintain the integrity of our union.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will she confirm today that in her view no deal is still a lot better than a bad deal and a bad deal is giving 39 billion away that we need to spend on our priorities for no good reason?

MAY: I say, I do still believe that no deal is better than a bad deal. I'm still working for what I believe is the best for U.K. which is a good negotiated deal with the European Union for the future. But of course we continue with our no deal preparations.

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CHURCH: We turn to France now and at least 10 people have been killed in the southern part of the country after some of the region's worst flash floods in a century engulfed homes and swept away cars. Several months' worth of rain fell in just a few hours from Sunday night into Monday.

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CHURCH: Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen has died due to complications from cancer. He was 65. Allen was an entrepreneur and philanthropist. He owned the NFL Seattle Seahawks and the NBA's Portland Trailblazers and had a net worth of over $200 billion. Allen pledged to donate most of that fortune to charity and gave

hundreds of millions of dollars to various causes to fight disease. Allen founded Microsoft with childhood friend Bill Gates back in 1975. Gates called Allen a true partner and dear friend and says personal computing would not have existed without him.

That was 20 billion. Sorry, was it 20 billion. Now after two weeks of questions, we may finally get some answers. Coming up, what Saudi Arabia is prepared to say about the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi.

Plus terror group Boko Haram executes another aid worker. We'll have disturbing details after the break.

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[02:30:23] CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. I'm Rosemary Church. Let's update you now on the main stories we are watching this hour. Sources told CNN that Saudi Arabia is ready to admit Jamal Khashoggi was killed during an interrogation that went wrong. The journalist has not been seen since entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul two weeks ago. In a statement, his family called for an independent inquiry into his death.

British Prime Minster Theresa May will face her cabinet in the coming hours and then E.U. leaders in Brussels on Wednesday where it's all about Brexit. Pressure is mounting to do a deal after European Council Chief Donald Tusk said a no deal Brexit is more likely than ever. Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen has die due to complications from cancer. The billionaire entrepreneur and philanthropist was 65. Allen founded Microsoft with childhood friend Bill Gates in 1975.

He also owned the NFL Seattle Seahawks and the NBA's Portland Trail Blazers. Well, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is due to arrive in Saudi Arabia anytime. He will meet with King Salman to discuss the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi. Sources tell CNN Saudi Arabia is preparing to admit the journalist was killed in an interrogation gone wrong. CNN's Clarissa Ward looks at how this investigation has unfolded.

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CLARISSA WARD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: At 1:14 p.m. on October 2nd, Jamal Khashoggi steps inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul for an appointment. It's his second visit in four days. His fiance waits outside and waits nearly four hours later, she raises the alarm. By then several vehicles have left the consulate. One of them a large van with darkened windows swiftly enters the consul's residence close by where those vehicles go next and with what a mystery to this day.

The Saudis insist Khashoggi left the consulate after picking up papers for his wedding though they provide no information to support this. But four days after his disappearance, a bombshell, a Senior Turkish official claiming the initial assessment of the Turkish police is that Mr. Khashoggi has been killed at the consulate. We believed that the murder was premeditated and the body was subsequently moved out of the consulate. A criminal investigation is launched.

And in a series of leaks, Turkish officials claim 15 Saudis arrived in Istanbul in two planes from Riyadh the day Khashoggi vanished. CNN tracks two flights that did exactly that. CCTC recordings show one of the planes arriving 10 hours before Khashoggi's visit. Turkey ratchets up the pressure. The Anadolu News Agency publishes the identity of eight of the Saudis. They are described as individuals of interest. Turkey demands access to the consulate. The Saudi say, yes, but then demur.

Ten days into the mystery, another shocked, a source tells CNN that Turkish officials are briefing allies about audio-visual recordings from inside this building that showed an assault and a struggle and evidenced Khashoggi was killed. President weighs in.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Yes. We're going to be seeing it very soon.

WARD: And in an interview with CBS News, he warns of the consequences if Khashoggi was killed.

TRUMP: -- 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.

WARD: In an effort to diffuse the crisis, Saudi Arabia and Turkey agreed to setup a working group. But by now, the crisis is echoing far and wide. Investors pull out of a major conference in Saudi Arabia. The Riyadh stock market tanks and a resolution seems no closer nearly two weeks after Jamal Khashoggi was last seen alive.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHURCH: And CNN's Nic Robertson joins us now from outside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Good to see you, Nic. So what more are you learning about the Turkish investigation?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Turkish investigators spent about nine hours inside the consulate, outside the consulate. The Anadolu News Agency here reported that they took away trucks of debris, dirt, and rubble covered in (INAUDIBLE) what our cameraman was able to see overnight filming the consulate was that one of the upstairs rooms at one point had a purple blue flashing light in it, a sort of a -- a sort of light that we sometimes see on crime investigation programs that used to search for DNA.

[02:35:17] It's not clear precisely what the Turkish investigators were doing with that light. But we do understand that they did know precisely the rooms that they wanted to get into in the consulate. That they knew that or they believed that Jamal Khashoggi was murdered. Then we also told that they had the correct forensic type of equipment to be able to search out for DNA traces of a -- of a missing person. We don't have a readout yet from the Turkish authorities of what they've discovered here.

But of course central to the investigation is not only evidence that would support that previous claims that he was murdered here but also what has happened to his body subsequently. So all of this still being figured out behind closed doors as best as we can understand, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Yes. Absolutely. And, Nic, on Monday, we heard the Saudis were apparently preparing to admit that Khashoggi was killed in an interrogation gone wrong. But we still haven't heard any more on this when might the Saudis reveal more on what happened and what are -- what exactly they're waiting for at this point?

ROBERTSON: Yes. Well, we were hearing rumors over the weekend that that might be in the process and those rumors seemed to sort of firm up yesterday. The best we have this morning is it still seems to be on track another source saying that. But at the moment, it's not clear precisely when the Saudis will issue that statement and of course when they do. It will come under a huge amount of scrutiny. It's expected that they'll talk about a rendition gone wrong, an interrogation that gets botched, an operation that didn't have clearance or proper oversight.

It wasn't fully transparent. But I think there's going to be a huge amount of scrutiny and at least perhaps to put on the spotlight as we've seen Turkish officials doing so far by then presenting this evidence as they've already done through closer camera television recordings of planes arriving at the airport here in Istanbul that that they say flew from Riyadh that CNN has independently tracked flying from Riyadh in the hours before Khashoggi's disappearance of men coming in through the airport picked up on those cameras coming through passport control that Turkish authorities then say came here to the consulate and were there when Khashoggi arrive.

So this is going to be bag many, many questions from the Saudis. At what point did it become botched, at what point did it cease to be transparent? The air traffic controllers would have allowed those planes clearance the flight from Riyadh all the way to Istanbul? That would have been known about those men who sanctioned them to come and when did it become known in Riyadh that this was botched operation, and bungled, and that Jamal Khashoggi had died if that's the case, if that's what they say.

And therefore, why wait 13 days to the -- to the -- to the detriment of his family who are now calling for this invest -- for this commission, this independent impartial international commission to be form to investigate his whereabouts and his -- and his possible death. So there's going to be a lot of scrutiny on it when the Saudis actually put that out and perhaps that's why there's a delay in this formulation of what they may choose to present eventually, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Yes. We may learn more of course after the Saudi king meets with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, so we'll keep a very close eye on that. CNN's Nic Robertson joining us there from Istanbul outside the Saudi consulate. Many thanks. Well, the World Health Organization will hold an emergency meeting to determine if the Ebola outbreak in Congo is an international health crisis. Since this most recent outbreak begun in August, 211 cases of Ebola have been reported and 135 people have died. The health experts may make recommendations to manage the outbreak

which is at risk of spreading into neighbor Uganda and Rwanda. The deadly fever spreads through contact with the bodily fluids of its victims. And we turn now to Nigeria were a second aid worker held hostage by Boko Haram has been executed. The Nigerian government confirms the terror group killed the female aid worker who had been held hostage since March.

Our Stephanie Busari joins us now live from Lagos with the details on this. And Stephanie, very disturbing. What more are you learning about the execution of this aid worker and the circumstances leading up to her kidnapping?

[02:40:02] STEPHANIE BUSARI, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Rosemary. This is a devastating news coming out of Nigeria where we're learning that Hauwa Liman, 24, a midwife was executed by Boko Haram yesterday. Her employer, the International Red Cross had issued on Sunday desperate appeals to Boko Haram to spare her life. They argued that she's just a humanitarian worker in the region and helping people nothing to do with the conflict.

She's a wife, a daughter. They argued and they really thought that those pleads might sway them. But they appear to have fallen on deaf ears. Last month, one of the employers, Saifura Ahmed, who was also held alongside Hauwa Liman was killed by Boko Haram. So there was every certainty that this execution would take place. The Nigerian government for its part said that it's deeply pained by this latest development because they tried everything in their power.

They said to negotiate for Hauwa's release. The face of a third aid worker who was also taken in March hangs in the balance and, you know, the International Red Cross and the Nigerian government said they are continuing the negotiation behind the scenes to try to free this third aid worker, Rosemary.

CHURCH: And, Stephanie, the Nigerian government says they're doing all they can, but what are they doing to ensure the safety of aid workers and of course about the danger posed by Boko Haram?

BUSARI: Well, this war is entering its 10th year, Rosemary. This insurgency in the northeast of Nigeria and the government has declared many times that Boko Haram has been technically defeated. But what is clear is that this terror cells remain and there has been a sustained military campaign against Boko Haram in the northeast and they have been pushed back in territories that they have claimed taken back. But they, you know, taken the approach of soft targets.

So-called soft targets were kidnappings are increased. We saw it but it's actually does. We saw it with (INAUDIBLE) and now with the aid workers. And the humanitarian agencies are really crying out asking the government to do more to protect their workers, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Stephanie Busari joining us there from Lagos. Many thanks to you for that live report. We'll take a short break here. But still to come, Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong-un, and now, Saudi Arabia's King Salman, they have something in common, the U.S. president's apparent acceptance of various claims by all three at face value. What this attitude could mean for America's reputation abroad? We'll take a look at that. Plus, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are on their first overseas tour and announce them big news.

A baby is on the way. And health concerns could force them to cut their trip short. We'll go live to London for the very latest on this. Back in a moment.

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[02:45:36] CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Well, the British Royal Family has a new member on the way. Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have announced, they are expecting their first child.

Kensington Palace, says the baby is expected springtime next year. And a short time ago, Prince Harry spoke at a reception where he mentioned the exciting news.

Let's turn to our Anna Stewart, who joins us live from London with the very latest. So, Anna, what all did Prince Harry have to say about this very exciting baby news?

ANNA STEWART, CNN BUSINESS NEWS JOURNALIST: It was really charming, Rosemary, they have had a great day in Sydney. And they already are getting different gifts for this baby. It's like t-minus six months or something until is born, but the baby already owns a pair of little boots and a cuddly kangaroo with a Joey.

And Harry just got off and he thanks everyone for the really warm welcome and then the Prince had this to add.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRINCE HARRY, DUKE OF SUSSEX: We also generally couldn't think of a better place to announce the upcoming baby. Be it a boy or a girl. So, thank you very, very much.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEWART: It had everyone giggling in the room, because, of course, it sounded like he's a little hesitant about the word "baby". Whether that was the novelty or the trepidation of what is to come, Rosemary. But it is great that they announced it particularly as they are -- you know, on day one of a 16-day tour, where they're going to have 76 official engagements.

So, great that the speculation is over. We know that the Duchess is pregnant, that she feels tired or worn out by this trip, it will be no surprise.

CHURCH: Yes. And, of course, the Aussies loved Princess Diana. And remember her trip at Australia with Prince Charles many years ago. And on this royal tour, Meghan is honoring Diana in her own way. Talk to us about that and the Aussie designer that she's showcasing, as well. STEWART: You're absolutely right. She wore a very diplomatic dress which the Duchess is known for. She worn Australian designer earlier today, Karen Gee, and a nice fitted white dress which meant we did actually get to see a glimpse of a very small royal baby bump.

And with it, she paired it with a beautiful pair of earrings butterflies. Bust by sort of diamond earrings and a bracelet. And that actually belongs to Princess Diana as part of the Princess Diana collection. And so, she's clearly borrowed these.

And it means that Princess Diana is kind of there with them in spirit on a special day when everyone is so happy for the couple and excited about this good news.

Not least Rosemary, because this baby is due next spring. Around the same time as Brexit. So, at least, it will give a something to look forward to next year.

CHURCH: Yes, and of course, the Aussies feel very special that this announcement was made there. But it is as you mentioned was 16 days, 76 engagements. This is going to be a grueling trip for Meghan particularly, you know, given her state.

So, is she sure to sort of last those 76 engagements and then, more than two weeks?

STEWART: Hey, she's -- the palace has said that she will carry on with a trip as normal. They've taken all things into consideration. There were some concerns about the Zika virus in Fiji and Tonga. But they have all the advice they need. They're carrying on with the tour as planned. And they really hit the ground running.

I mean, I'm sort of reporting today on Australia time. I'm feeling a little bit jet-lagged. These guys on day one, they went to Taronga Zoo, they met some Koala bears, they went to the Sydney Opera House, they took a trip across the harbor, they've been to like two receptions, and this is day one of 16.

CHURCH: Yes, that's right. And many, many more engagements to do. Anna Stewart, many thanks for joining us live there from London. Appreciate it.

Well, some analysts say, they've noticed a pattern when Kim Jong-un, Vladimir Putin, or now King Salman, deny something controversial, President Trump seems to give them the benefit of the doubt. What this means for U.S. diplomacy. We will take a look at that.

And a possible election rival for Donald Trump goes head-to-head with the U.S. president over some ancient family history. Back in a moment with that.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[02:51:15] CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Well, Donald Trump is touting Saudi King Salman insistence that the king has no idea what happened to missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi. And this has some analysts saying, it fits into a troubling pattern of behavior by the U.S. president.

One we've already seen play out with North Korea's Kim Jong-un and Russia's Vladimir Putin. More now from CNN's Brian Todd.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: President Trump is still swooning over his relationship with Kim Jong-un.

LESLEY STAHL, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, 60 MINUTES, CBS: Do you trust him?

TRUMP: I do trust him. Yew, I trust him. That doesn't mean I can't be proven wrong in that.

STAHL: Why would you trust him?

TODD: In an interview with CBS's "60 Minutes", the president noted that the North Korean strongman hasn't test-fired a missile or a nuclear warhead in several months. Something he credits to his interaction with Kim.

TRUMP: And then, we fell in love, OK?

TODD: And Trump didn't seem bothered with Kim's track record on human rights.

STAHL: I want to read you his resume, OK?

TRUMP: What?

STAHL: He presides over a cruel kingdom of repression, gulags, starvation, a reports that he had his half-brother assassinated, slave labor, public executions. This is a guy you love?

TRUMP: Sure. I know all these things. I mean, I'm not a baby, I know all these things.

STAHL: I know, but why do you love that guy?

TRUMP: Look, look, I like -- I get along with him, OK?

TODD: Trump brushed back when pressed on Vladimir Putin. And the fact that he hasn't said a harsh word about Putin in public. Claiming he's been tough on the Russian president in private. Still, he cut Putin slack over the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal.

STAHL: Do you agree that Vladimir Putin is involved in assassinations? In poisonings?

TRUMP: Probably he is, yes. Probably, I mean, I don't --

STAHL: Probably?

TRUMP: Probably, but I rely on them, it's not in our country.

STAHL: OK.

TODD: Analysts, say this is part of what could almost be called a Trump doctrine. Blindly supporting dictators who shown favor toward him.

MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, CNN COMMENTATOR: There is no doubt that the president wants to be as strong and as powerful. And to wield that power, as ruthlessly, as the authoritarian leaders that he admires.

TODD: Now, the president is at it again. Giving wide latitude to Saudi King Salman. And his son, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman over the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

TRUMP: The King firmly denied any knowledge of it. He didn't really know, maybe, I don't want to get into his mind but it sounded to me like maybe these could have been rogue, killers --

TODD: The president has had a long-standing affection for the Saudi royal family. Making his first-ever trip abroad as president to the Kingdom. Enjoying a sword dance. And basking in a file story image of himself on the side of a hotel in Riyadh.

Analysts say Trump's unwavering support for the Saudi royal family and other repressive regimes is hurting America.

AARON DAVID MILLER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Once we abandon that moral frame and we become a country of interests rather than just a country of value -- of values, I think we've already seen it. A diminution in the respect, the credibility, and I would argue in the end, the power.

TODD: But regarding the Khashoggi incident, a Trump biographer takes it even further.

D'ANTONIO: Donald Trump has gone -- been going around for years, calling the press the enemy of the people. There is blood on his hands when it comes to Khashoggi because he created the environment that encourages this kind of lawlessness.

TODD: So far, the White House has not responded to Michael D'Antonio's comments that President Trump might have blood on his hands over the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi. Analysts continue to worry that by cutting so much slack to regimes like the Saudis, the North Koreans, and the Vladimir Putin, that President Trump is also whittling away America's leverage over these countries. Not only to get what the U.S. needs from them, but also to stop them from behaving badly on the world stage. Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

[02:55:16] CHURCH: Well, Elizabeth Warren wants to clear up some family history on Monday. The potential Democratic presidential contender released the results of a DNA test which shows she has Native American ancestry. Albeit, at a distance.

The test was done in response to constant mocking from Donald Trump who has called Senator Warren Pocahontas numerous times after she indicated she had a partly Native American heritage. And Trump even went as far as to offer $1 million if she could prove her claim. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What are your reaction to Senator Elizabeth Warren releasing the result of her DNA test (INAUDIBLE) $1 million.

TRUMP: No, I have not. Who cares? Who cares?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) $1 million to charity.

TRUMP: I didn't say that. I think you better read it again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: Well, you don't have to go back and read Trump's comments again because we have the tape right here.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I will give you a million dollars for your favorite charity paid for by Trump if you take the test that it shows you're an Indian.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: There you go. Well, Trump tried to clarify his offer claiming he would pay the money if Warren won the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020 and he could do the test himself. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: She owes the country an apology. What's the percentage? 1/1,000, the percentage?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What about the money that you told her you would --

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: You mean if she gets the nomination in the debate, where I was going to have attested. I'll only do it if I can test her personally. OK? That will not be something I enjoy doing either.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: Well, Donald Trump isn't alone in his mocking of Elizabeth Warren's Native American ancestry. Republican Senator Orrin Hatch thought, it would be funny to tweet that he was 1/1,000 Torosaurus Rex, but all dinosaur.

Getting into comedy now. Thanks for joining us. I'm Rosemary Church. I'll be back with another hour of news in just a moment. Do stick around. You're watching CNN. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)