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CNN NEWSROOM

Trump Facing Foreign Policy Challenge with Saudis; Democrats Race to Win the Latino Vote; Spike in Hurricane Death Toll; Canada Legalizes Recreational Marijuana; "Crazy Rich Asians" Set to Run in China; Sources Said Intel Officer Oversaw Khashoggi Mission; Khashoggi's Disappearance Puts Dissidents On Alert; Trump Warns Against Rush To Judgment On Saudi Arabia; Trump Threatens Honduras Over Migrant Caravan; British PM To Face E.U. Leaders At Critical Summit; Myanmar's Rohingya Stuck In "No-Man's Land". Aired 1-2a ET

Aired October 17, 2018 - 1:00   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[01:00:00] NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Getting their story straight. Two weeks after journalist Jamal Khashoggi disappearance, sources say a Saudi intelligence officer with ties to the Crown Prince oversaw the mission that ended with Khashoggi's death. And as a caravan of migrants heads to the U.S., President Trump is sending a threat to Honduras, stop them or lose that on American aid. Plus, Canada's getting a whole lot greener as it becomes the first major industrialized country to fully legalize marijuana.

Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us more around the world, I'm Nick Watt and this CNN NEWSROOM.

More new information in the killing of a Saudi journalist points to the Saudi government. Three sources tell CNN the mission that ultimately led to the disappearance and death of Jamal Khashoggi was organized by a high-ranking officer in Saudi Arabia's intelligence service. One source says the officer is close to the inner circle of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Khashoggi was a critic of the Crown Prince's crackdown on dissent. And CNN's Jomana Karadsheh reports dissidents are now on alert.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Those who dare speak out will be silenced. That was the chilling message dissidents in the region received with Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance.

TAWAKKOL KARMAN, NOBEL PRIZE LAUREATE: They killed Jamal Khashoggi in this way because they want to terrorize people. They want to a to intimidate their opponents. They want to spread the fear. They want to get -- to send the message don't talk about Mohammed bin Salman.

KARADSHEH: Tawakkol Karman was the face of Yemen's 2011 uprising. The Nobel Peace Prize Laureate is an outspoken critic of the Saudi-led coalition's war that has destroyed her country. She's vocally accused the Saudi Crown Prince of war crimes. KARMAN: I usually don't care about my safety and about my security.

That is since I started my journey for freedom and justice and democracy when I started my journey against dictators in Yemen, in Saudi, in all regions. But do I feel secure, of course not. I am an under threat everywhere and now it's more than before.

KARADSHEH: With little room for freedom of expression in a region that's never really tolerated voices of dissent, Karman set up a T.V. station in Turkey. Ironically the country known as the world's biggest jailer of journalists. Khashoggi's disappearance comes amid a wave of arrests that have targeted human rights advocates and critics in Saudi Arabia. Activists say what happens next is a matter of life or death unless those responsible for what happened to Khashoggi are held accountable, unless the world stops what they say is a crackdown that has gone too far. Activists fear they too will be a target.

FADI AL-QADI, HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST: I am not opposition, you know, but it happens that I have a view that is not always consistent with the official narrative. This case puts me at risk this case puts hundreds of us at risk seeing justice accountability for what has happened to him would bring some sort of assurance that this might not happen again to any of us.

KARADSHEH: As politics and diplomacy take over, many fear the truth will be buried. While the Saudi government has denied any involvement in Khashoggi's disappearance, critics are not convinced.

KARMAN: When Saudi government did this crime, they slap in the face of the United States and the international community shouldn't be silenced. If they become silence, that is really a very dangerous message to every opponent around the world. The interests, the money, the oil money is better and is more expensive than your life and then your freedom.

KARADSHEH: Karman says her family fears for her life now more than ever but she insists she won't be silenced.

KARMAN: I expect one day that I will be die, I will be killed anywhere, but I know that this blood will not go for nothing. This blood will go for the freedom of my people, and this is the blood of Jamal Khashoggi.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

[01:05:13] WATT: Jomana Karadsheh joins us now from outside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Is getting light over there right now, what are you hearing?

KARADSHEH: Well, Nick as you know, this investigation, this criminal investigation by the Turkish authorities has been going on for about 12 days right now. And it seems to be publicly moving really slowly. Much of what we're hearing is coming from unnamed sources, coming through leaks, not much coming out from the Turkish government on the record. But what we heard from an official telling CNN, a Turkish government official telling CNN on Tuesday that not only was Jamal Khashoggi killed, that his body was cut into pieces.

And we know that they have been looking at a group of 15 Saudis including officials who they say entered the country that day. They were inside the consulate during Jamal Khashoggi's visit and they left the country later on that day. They've described them as persons of interest in this investigation. And on Tuesday, government sources provided CNN with the scans of seven passports of these Saudi nationals that show that they were in the country on October 2nd.

Now, you know, for the past days over the past nearly two weeks, officials and the authorities here have wanted to enter the conflict in the Consul General's home. On Monday, they did enter this building behind me. Forensic experts spent eight hours there. We still have to wait and see what they may have uncovered during that visit. Hints, yesterday from President Erdogan that there may have been some sort of a cover-up talking about painting over toxic material later on in the day.

Yesterday, we know that police were preparing to enter the residence of the Consul General as part of investigation. That is after the Consul General left Turkey and headed back to Riyadh. But they did not get access yesterday. We're hearing from state broadcaster here that they're expected to enter the residence today. We'll have to wait and see if that happens next.

WATT: And what is going on between the Turks and the Saudis here? I mean, there's got to be a lot of delicate diplomacy, a lot of negotiation to do with the investigation, and just the general situation. Is it tense?

KARADSHEH: You know, absolutely, Nick. You know, these are two countries, you're talking about major powers in this region who have had a rocky relationship. They found themselves on opposite sides of some regional issues. They've not had the best relationship over the past year or so when it comes to the Gulf crisis, the Qatar crisis. Turkey provided a lifeline for Qatar, sided with Qatar against the Saudi-led bloc in that case. They also have -- Turkey has a good relationship with Iran, the archrival of Saudi Arabia in the region. They also have good ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, and a group that is Saudi Arabia -- the Muslim Brotherhood that Saudi Arabia has branded as a terrorist organization.

So they've had their issues but so far, if you look at what has been going on, it seems that neither side who really wanted to escalate this into a real diplomatic crisis. And this has been the indication from the start. You know, President Erdogan is a man, Nick, who doesn't really hesitate to speak his mind and he has been very diplomatic about this whole situation, very cautious than what he says and thing goes for Turkish officials speaking on the record. The feeling is there's so much to lose on both sides you know, for Saudi Arabia. It's the image of the country here at stake. And then for Turkey you know, Turkey is going through an economic crisis and it's really not going to gain much from alienating another rich Gulf state.

So all indications are and this has been actually a concern for some human rights activists in the region that we've been speaking to that you saw in that report and also for colleagues of Jamal Khashoggi they've been concerned about the fact that this is going to be resolved in some ways diplomatically behind closed doors. And that is why we're hearing so many calls for an international investigation into this incident.

WATT: Jomana Karadsheh in Istanbul, thank you very much. U.S. President Donald Trump is defending Saudi Arabia. He tweeted Tuesday that he spoke with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and that the Prince denied any knowledge of what happened in the Saudi consulate in Turkey. The President also compared this situation to the sexual assault allegations against his Supreme Court pick Brett Kavanaugh. More now from CNN's Jeff Zeleny.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

[01:10:02] JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Trump now is warning against a rush to judgment against the Saudi Arabian Kingdom in the disappearance and likely death of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Now, the president is telling The Associated Press in a new interview drawing comparisons to Justice Kavanaugh and what he faced in his Supreme Court confirmation battle here in the United States. He said this in an interview with The Associated Press. He said here we go again with you know, you're guilty until proven innocent. I don't like that. We just went through that with Justice Kavanaugh and he was innocent all the way as far as I'm concerned. So we have to find out what happened.

Now, the President drawing a comparison to this versus what happened domestically politically is A, ignoring political history and B, perhaps know the signs of what is happening on the ground there. Now, Republicans on Capitol Hill here in Washington believe that the Trump Administration is not asking hard enough questions, not speaking strongly enough against the Saudi Arabian Kingdom. The Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on the ground in Saudi Arabia heading to Turkey today will certainly be looking more into this but the President simply not going where many others are simply saying wait for a rush to judgment.

Some say it's naive others say he's simply giving them the benefit of the doubt. But certainly, after this day at the White House, the President aggravated by the coverage of this work hold but not doing anything more to crack down or ask more questions about what may have happened. Jeff Zeleny, CNN the White House.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WATT: President Trump is also insisting that he has no financial interest in Saudi Arabia though in the past he has boasted that he made a lot of money with the Saudis. He even bragged about it on the campaign trail. Here's CNN's Business Correspondent Cristina Alesci.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: 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.

CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN MONEY AND POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: Trump's financial ties with the Saudis date back to the 1990s. In 1991, when one of his casino projects was faltering 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 benefited 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.

JONATHAN O'CONNELL, FINANCE REPORTER, WASHINGTON POST: 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 were to finance them, and we don't know if he could restart them again down the road.

ALESCI: Trump's Manhattan Hotel on Central Park West saw its revenue increase during the first quarter of 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 due to our close industry relationships we were able to accommodate many of the accompanying travellers.

Of course, the public doesn't know the full extent of Trump's business ties to the kingdom because he is not released as tax returns or other financial information.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It would certainly be very easy for foreign officials or people close to them to drop a whole lot of money without us knowing about it unless or until we see the business records and conceivably tax returns as well.

ALESCI: We do know from his 2016 financial disclosure Trump had 144 registered companies with dealings in more than two dozen countries. Eight of them were Saudi related companies. All of those companies have since been dissolved.

TRUMP: The terrible situation --

ALESCI: As the cries for the President to take action against Saudi Arabia grow louder, Americans are left to wonder what's driving Trump's decisions.

O'CONNELL: Now, of course, the larger political question is are -- is this relationship but these business deals part of the President's consideration when he makes decisions about how to go forward.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WATT: That was Cristina Alesci reporting. A spokeswoman for the Trump Organization tells CNN "like many global real estate companies, we have explored opportunities in many markets. That said, we do not have any plans for expansion into Saudi Arabia. President Trump is taking a hard-line stance against a new migrant caravan heading towards the U.S. from Honduras. Mr. Trump warned the U.S. will cut off aid to the Central American country if the Honduran government fails to stop the thousands trekking north. Ironically a cut in aid would add to the misery that is forcing people to flee, the violence-plagued country where corruption is rampant and two-thirds of the population lives in poverty.

The caravan has made it as far as Guatemala. CNN's Leyla Santiago has the latest on this grueling trek.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

[01:15:18] LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They've been traveling by foot for days. Among them, mothers carrying young children. Men, being pushed in wheelchairs. This group of about 3,000 Honduran migrants has headed to the United States in search of a better life. Fleeing poverty and violence in their home country.

They made the long trek through Honduras to the Guatemala border, then on to the city of Esquipulas. But the group clashed with Guatemalan police who blocked one of the border crossings. It's a long journey, but they say they do not have much of a choice.

ESDRAS MEJA, MIGRANT FROM HONDURAS (through translator): There's much corruption here on Honduras. We want to work. There is none. We want land to plant bananas, plantains, beans. There isn't any brother. We need to migrate to another country brother. And the hospitals, there is no security, there is nothing. Our patients' die, brother.

SANTIAGO: President Donald Trump threatened the Honduran government if a caravan continues on, he says tweeting, "The United States has strongly informed the President of Honduras that if the large caravan of people heading to the United States is not stopped and brought back to the Honduras, no more money or aid will be given to Honduras, effective immediately."

The Department of Homeland Security expanded on Trump's tweet calling the caravan a quote, "result of well-advertised and well-known catch- and-release loopholes."

Andrea Aleman, who's making the journey with her four children believes she should be allowed into the U.S.

ANDREA ALEMAN, MIGRANT, HONDURAS (through translator): We're heading to the United States. We're going to arrive with Donald Trump. He has to receive us just as we received the Americans over here, they will have to accept us over there.

SANTIAGO: One of the group's organizer, said that the plan is to walk across Guatemala and reach Tapachula in Southern Mexico. There, they hope to apply for humanitarian visas or get asylum.

According to the U.S. State Department, Honduras has had one of the highest murder rates in the world since 2010. The World Bank reports that over 66 percent of the population lives in poverty. Leyla Santiago, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WATT: As we just noted, the migrants have made it as far as Guatemala, and authorities there have detained one of the caravan's coordinators, Bartolo Fuentes, early Tuesday. Two other people were detained with Fuentes. It's believed that all three will be returned to Honduras in the coming hours. Though the reason for their detention remains unclear.

European Council, President Donald Tusk is warning that a Brexit deal seems unlikely. We are live in London with the latest on the critical talks between the E.U. and the U.K.

And the home of Hockey, Niagara Falls, and Justin Bieber gets a new claim to fame. Right now, Canada is legalizing recreational marijuana.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[01:20:47] WATT: A critical Brexit summit between British Prime Minister Theresa May and the E.U. leaders is taking place in the coming hours. The main sticking point between London and Brussels is the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

The E.U. is pushing for a so-called, backstop that will ensure an open border remains between the two. But Mrs. May wants any such backstop to be time-limited. European Council President Donald Tusk, says Theresa May should bring new ideas. Here is what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TUSK, PRESIDENT, EUROPEAN COUNCIL: It looks like a new version of the Gordian knot? Unfortunately, I can see a new version of Alexander the Great, if you know.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WATT: The Gordian knot. The legend had it that whoever untied the devilish knot would rule all of Asian. Alexander, somehow untied it or just sliced it with his sword depending on the version of the myth that you read.

Our Hadas Gold joins us now from London. Now, Donald Tusk accession needs to bring -- Theresa May needs to bring new ideas. Does she have any new ideas? Does she have a big idea to try and break this impasse?

HADAS GOLD, CNN POLITICS, MEDIA, AND BUSINESS REPORTER: As of right now, it seems like Theresa May has no ideas on how to untangle that knot that Donald Tusk was referring to. One of the possible ideas that we're hearing about is even possibly just a delay of trying to push back these negotiations even further.

Already they're being pushed back, because just last month, Donald Tusk said that this summit that's starting tonight was the moment of truth. But that truth seems to be that we're no closer to a deal than we were 300-600 days ago when Brexit was even voted on.

There's -- it's very clear that at the dinner tonight, there's going to be a lot of tension. Theresa May is supposed to brief all of the other European leaders before she gets kicked out of the dinner and the rest of the European leaders get together and discuss what's going to happen.

Now, what is possibly going to happen is next month, instead of what was supposed to be a special Brexit summer, where they were going to sign on the dotted line and make it all official, is that the European leaders will meet without Theresa May, and decide on what they're going to do in a no-deal scenario.

And that sort of a worst-case, a possibility. And the best case possibility right now is that negotiations will just keep going through December, even as we get closer and closer to this time crunch. Because U.K. will leave the E.U. in March. And you have to remember that any deal has to go through both Parliament and the E.U. for approval.

Now, Theresa May is facing not only the difficulties with the E.U. leader, but she's also facing difficulties back here in London with the political situation. Because not only did she have some people her own party, these more hardline Brexiteers who are pressuring her.

She also has pressure from outside the party from people who want to take her place, like Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. We spoke to him last night here is what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEREMY CORBYN, LEADER OF THE LABOUR PARTY: I don't think she can deliver it at all. I think what she's trying to do is negotiate with her own cabinets, and negotiate with her own party. She has, on the one hand, a group of people who are the ultra Brexiteers who want to turn this country into some kind of offshore tax haven of Europe.

And those that essentially strongly wanted to remain within the European Union. And she is trying to put together a deal that isn't credible -- isn't going to hold.

GOLD: Now, one thing that's always possible when it comes to negotiations in the E.U. is that they need that sort of time pressure. And as we've seen before in the European Union, it's only until we get right up to the edge of that cliff that a deal finally comes together. But, time is quickly running out.

WATT: And Hadas, you mentioned the worst-case scenario is the so- called no-deal Brexit. Just briefly explained to us what I would look like, and how bad that could be.

GOLD: Well, the U.K. has been preparing for some time. They've been releasing these sort of articles on what would happen in a no-deal scenario. And it affects everything from food, to honestly how you transport animals from U.K. to the E.U. And it really anything that deals with how the U.K. and the rest of the world interacts. Now, the U.K. would go -- would not -- suddenly not have any trade deals at being the World Trade Organization that would impose things like tariffs. So, food might get more expensive here, medicines might be harder to come by, the trucks that bring goods into the country could be stuck at the border as they go through customs checks. There's actually plans right now to turn a highway into pretty much a parking lot that would help keep these trucks in place until they can get checks through.

There even some people in the U.K. here who were preparing by stockpiling food and medicine. Because they just don't know what is going to happen come March.

[01:25:20] WATT: Hadas Gold in London. Thank you very much for that insight. And now, to the Rohingya crisis, CNN's Matt Rivers has been visiting an area between Myanmar and Bangladesh known as no-man's land.

It's where five thousand Rohingya Muslims are stuck in limbo, and too afraid to return home. You'll recall that more than 700,000 Rohingya have crossed to neighboring Bangladesh in the last year. Fleeing a military operation in Myanmar that the U.N.'s top Human Rights official likened to ethnic cleansing filled with great torture and murder.

Most of those refugees are women and children. Now in June, Myanmar signed an agreement with the U.N. saying it would create safe conditions for the refugees to return to their homes, but the process has not begun in earnest.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: If they do come back, officials admit they won't be resettled on their original land. And many Rohingya say they fear they'll end up in camps indefinitely.

Plus, the security forces who would be in charge of the repatriation are some of the same people the U.N. says carried out the genocide. So, back in no-man's land, no surprise the Rohingya staying put.

The conditions inside that camp are obviously horrific. There is no access to education, no health care, no electricity, food is scarce, and yet still they'd rather be on that side of the fence than this one because they're too afraid to come back.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WATT: Tune in to see the first of Matt Rivers reports from his series inside Myanmar, witness to the Rohingya crisis. Matt will bring us where media access to this ongoing humanitarian crisis. That's at 1:00 p.m. in London, and 8:00 p.m. in Hong Kong.

Now, some analysts say that Donald Trump is facing a crisis in foreign policy with regard to the Saudis, unlike anything he's faced before as president. Does the Trump administration have a plan to navigate the way forward? We'll explore that ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WATT: Hello and welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Nick Watt. The headlines this hour: Thousands of Honduran's are on the march towards the U.S. hoping to escape extreme poverty in their country.

[01:29:54] WATT: The migrants have made it as far as Guatemala where authorities have detained one of their leaders. U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to cut off aid to Honduras if its government fails to stop the caravan.

European Council President Donald Tusk is warning that a Brexit deal seems unlikely. His comments come as a critical summit between British Prime Minister Theresa May and E.U. leaders takes place in the coming hours. The main sticking point is over how to manage the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

And Nigerian officials say this woman has become the second international aid worker to be killed by Boko Haram in the past month. Hauwa Mohammed Leman worked for the Red Cross and was among three aid workers the terror group captured in March. The first worker was killed last month. The International Red Cross says nothing can justify their killing.

And sources tell CNN that a Saudi intelligence officer with ties to the country's Crown Prince organized the mission that ultimately led to the death of Jamal Khashoggi. The journalist vanished after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul two weeks ago. Turkey's president said investigators have found toxic materials now painted over inside the consulate.

CNN political analyst and "Washington Post" columnist Josh Rogin joins me now from Washington. Josh -- CNN heard from a senior adviser today and they said that this may be the most consequential decision of his presidency, meaning how President Trump handles this Khashoggi situation.

Do you agree with that assessment?

JOSH ROGIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I do. I think that the President is facing a crisis in foreign policy unlike one that he's seen before for a couple of very important reasons.

First of all, he's placed an entire Middle East strategy in the hands of the U.S.-Saudi relationship and that relationship is now tittering on the brink of a major crisis, if it's not there already.

Secondly the Trump administration is three weeks away from imposing harsh new sanctions on Iran and any country that does business especially in the energy sector with Iran. And Saudi Arabia is a key part of that strategy and that strategy is affected as this is now called into huge question.

And you know, we've seen the President and his administration work on the basis of a lot of assumptions about how the Middle East works. And now they're being faced with the reality that clashes with those assumptions.

And they don't have a clear plan out. And they don't seem to have figured out what they're going to do and how they behave and how they navigate a series of really bad decisions over the next few days will have huge consequences for not only their Middle East strategy but also for the U.S. relationship with one of its closest historical allies.

WATT: And I just want to talk a little bit about what we saw play out today. I mean, you know, we saw Mike Pompeo in Saudi smiling a lot during his meeting with the Crown Prince there. We also heard President Trump who spoke to the Associated Press and he said here we go again with, you know, you're guilty until proven innocent. I don't like that.

He also said to Fox Business Network if they knew about it that will be bad meaning the King and the Crown Prince. The operative word there seems to be "if" and if they didn't know about it, it's fine.

I mean how do you think they handled today? I mean a lot of Republican senators seem to be separating from the White House in how this is being handled. What's your assessment of Trump and Pompeo's performance today?

ROGIN: There's no doubt that the administration's reaction to this has been dysfunctional and chaotic. Mike Pompeo traveled all the way to Riyadh to get information from the Saudis on what they knew about this disappearance. And as far as we know he didn't learn anything new although there might have been something discussed in the private meeting. According to Pompeo, the Saudis are still denying any knowledge despite a lot of rumors here in Washington that the Saudis were preparing to put out this explanation or that.

Meanwhile back in Washington President Trump is undermining his own diplomat's effort to raise pressure on the Saudis by seemingly taking them off the hook by declining to use pressure on arms sales, by defending the Saudi Arabian government by comparing them to Brett Kavanaugh, a man he feels was wrongfully accused.

And then by saying pretty clearly that he has no intention of supporting what -- everybody in Congress is going for which sanctions on the Saudi regime.

So if you are looking for a comprehensive, cohesive, message from the United States, you'd simply not going to find one. And you know, that's not new in the Trump administration but it does matter more in a crisis when everyone is looking to the President for direction and what is doing is basically just reacting to the questions that he's getting and reacting in a way that actually harms his objective which is to raise pressure on the Saudis and the Turks for that matter to tell us what happened to Jamal.

WATT: I mean want to just play actually two quick sound bites from Republican senators and their reaction to how the White House is handling the Saudi situation. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[01:35:09] SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I've been their biggest defender on the floor of the United States Senate. This guy is a wrecking ball. He had this guy murdered in a consulate in Turkey and to expect me to ignore it, I feel used and abused.

I was on the floor every time defending Saudi Arabia because there's a good ally. There's a difference between your country and an individual. The MBS figure is to me toxic, he can never be a world leader on the world stage.

SENATOR MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: This will really blow apart our Middle Eastern strategy and it's something we have to address from a human rights standpoint. Just because a country we're working with did it doesn't mean the U.S. can just shrug its shoulder and say well, nothing happened here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WATT: I mean Lindsey Graham breaking lock step with President -- Josh, what does that tell us?

ROGIN: What I hear all day, everyday now in Washington is that all of the people who consider themselves allies of Saudi Arabia for all these years are angry because they feel that MBS and the rest of the Saudi regime has put them in a horrible position, ok, where they're either forced to defend this or to excuse it in some way, or to break with them.

And you know, that is new -- I've never seen anything like that before. And I think somewhere in between where Lindsey Graham and where President Trump is, is where most of Washington is. They resent the fact that if this is true and the Saudi regime did have Jamal killed in that consulate then they've created a huge problem, not just from themselves but everybody who's connected to them especially everyone in Washington who has been touting MBS as a reformer and has been touting this new Saudi regime as the hope for the new Middle East because now they can't make that argument.

And also as Marco Rubio said, even those people who want to still support the Saudi regime or the U.S.-Saudi relationship can't ignore this because it is such an egregious violation and it's just ruined all of the goodwill or any of the goodwill that the Saudi had in Washington and given fuel to all of their critics.

And that was a delicate balance that has been going on for some time and that balance is shattered and now there's nobody who can stand up and defend the Saudi regime and that has huge implications on a number of fronts going forward.

WATT: I want to shift gears slightly now and the juxtaposition I think is relevant here. I mean also today the President got some good news that a judge has thrown out a suit filed -- a defamation suit filed against the President by the adult film actress Stormy Daniels who he allegedly had an affair with. Now the President tweeted, he says, "Great. Now I can go after horse face." That is what he calls Stormy Daniels. "Now I can go after horse face and her third-rate lawyer." That lawyer is Michael Avenatti.

Let's just hear a little bit of what he had to say today about that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL AVENATTI, LAWYER FOR STORMY DANIELS: How do you tell your kids to look up to the President of the United States when he behaves in this manner? It's an absolute joke and it's a disgrace.

And it's about time that we stop shaking our head and we stop or start punching back.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WATT: I mean Josh -- we've got on the one hand the President dealing with a major international incident, and on the other hand he's on Twitter calling an adult film actress who he allegedly slept with, calling her "horse face". I mean why is he doing this? Is this a diversion?

And also how does that play overseas? Can people still take him seriously when he's on these two paths in the same day?

ROGIN: I don't even know that people inside America can take him seriously. I mean I think to call it a diversion would be to ascribe too much intentionality to what the President of the United States does on his social media all day every day which is just an endless litany of insults and ad hominem attacks and defensive, angry, you know, assaults on whoever it is who he thinks has wronged him.

And so I don't see any reason to believe that him doing this is connected to what's going on in Jamal's case at all. In fact I think that it shows that the President is not focused on the issues that are most important and he's simply spending his time worrying about his own personal problems and his own personal pet peeves.

And if you want to look for a consistency in President Trump's behavior, that's the consistency. He was agnostic about the Saudi case until it became a criticism of him and his reaction. At that point he got very defensive and in that defensiveness, ended up defending the Saudis, ok.

And that's the common thread in what we see from President Trump over the last three years from before he was even President is that for him everything is about him. And that's what he's thinking about all day and that's how he's making his decisions.

WATT: Josh Rogin, joining us from Washington -- thank you very much for your time.

ROGIN: Any time.

WATT: And still to come, Latino voters are a key voting bloc here in the U.S. -- a look at why Democrats are struggling to get their support at the ballot box.

[01:40:05] And more grim news in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael. There's been a spike in the death toll following the storm.

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WATT: With U.S. midterms just three weeks away, Democrats are in a race to drum up enthusiasm with Hispanic voters. President Trump's policies combined with his hostile remarks towards immigrants seemingly should be an easy target for Democrats to rally Hispanics but now there is an ever growing fear within the party that Latinos may stay home.

Our Kyung Lah reports.

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KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The push for the Latino vote. In Arizona volunteers are calling voters' cell phones in Spanish. In Nevada, organized labor, most of them Latinos going door to door -- but signs that turnout troubles may be looming.

LUIS HENIDA (PH), DNC COMMITTEE MEMBER: The numbers are alarming sometimes but we got to dig a little bit deeper.

LAH (on camera): What do you mean the numbers are alarming?

HENIDA: If they're not registering support or they're undecideds or like they're just -- they're holding back on choosing who they're going to vote for.

LAH (voice over): A voting bloc Democrats hope would surge in the upcoming midterm elections.

(on camera): If the emphasis were put on the Latino vote, that's put on for example suburban white women, what kind of a game changer would that be?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I mean we would be represented. Right now we're not represented.

LAH (voice over): The Latino vote could significantly impact midterm races in these states with high Hispanic population.

After two years of President Trump's animosity from separating families at the U.S.-Mexico border to anti-immigrant rhetoric --

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They're not sending their finest -- that I can tell you. And we are sending them the hell back --

LAH: Some hold-outs, they just rather stay home.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You don't do nothing for us. Let's just stay (ph) if we like to at all.

LAH (on camera): You don't feel that you have a say? You don't have more of a say in government if you vote?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, the government doesn't help us for nothing.

LAH (voice over): The Latino voter turnout rate in midterms has dropped since 2006. So in 2018 candidates across the country are going bilingual -- on both sides of the aisle.

[01:45:02] But it's the Democrats who are counting on Latino turnout to win seats in Congress.

(on camera): Do you feel that the Democratic establishment is paying enough attention to the Latino vote?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not enough but there are inroads. Little by little I think we're getting to the numbers. And by them paying attention then you can motivate them to turn out.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WATT: Thanks to our Kyung Lah for that report.

Now, more bad headlines in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael. Authorities raised the official death toll on Tuesday to 29 people.

CNN's Martin Savidge reports from the community that saw the worst of the storm -- Mexico Beach, Florida.

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MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Sadly the death toll continues to rise in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael. In some areas it has spiked. Here in Mexico Beach, for instance, in the span of 24 hours it went from two to four people and there are concerns that even more victims may be recovered.

There's a reason that we're seeing this sort of jump in numbers. And part of it is because communication's gotten better all across the region that was impacted. So people are reporting in. Then on top of that you got more responders and emergency crews getting in to areas they weren't able to get into before. And then lastly in some communities people are even able to return home and they're making very sad discoveries.

Let's talk about something positive. And that's the improving situation by very small increments here in Mexico Beach. Something called the flying cow. I'm a tech guy so I'd like to see this stuff. This is a drone, of course, but it's a really big drone. And it's a drone on a tether. It's connected by a wire to the ground. And that's what is keeping the thing powered.

The reason it is called a cow -- cell on wing -- as in cell phone. You see a lot of cell towers were knocked down as a result of the storm and that's been a real problem both for the first responders, and of course, those who are still living here.

So a flying cow is a way to make phone service better, at least for the time being. It's a bright spot in an otherwise community that has suffered a lot of very sad news. (END VIDEOTAPE)

WATT: And if you would like help the victims of this hurricane, we've set up links to charities providing relief on our Web site. Just go to CNN.com/impact.

Now to some perhaps better news. The Great White North goes up in smoke. We'll look at the new rules in Canada which has just legalized recreational marijuana.

Plus it's a Hollywood hit -- "Crazy Rich Asians" is now to set screen in Chinese cinemas. We'll explain why its run there was once in doubt.

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WATT: It is now legal to light up a joint in Canada. Canada is right now becoming, as midnight gradually strikes across the country, the first major industrialized nation to legalize recreational pot. The only other country in the world with similar laws is Uruguay. Canada has allowed medical marijuana since 2001 but now growers will be able to sell to anyone over the age of 18.

Sarah Campbell joins us from Vancouver Island. She's the director of the Craft Cannabis Association of British Columbia. We'll get to that in a second and ask exactly what that is.

[01:50:00] But first of all, excuse my ignorance and stereotyping but this doesn't seem very Canadian. Tell me why I'm wrong.

SARAH CAMPBELL, DIRECTOR, CRAFT CANNABIS ASSOCIATION OF BRITISH COLUMBIA: Well, cannabis has been an enjoyed substance for many years. I personally have been advocating for cannabis legalization for over 20 years. So I think we're all a little Excited up here. It seems surreal.

WATT: And tell me what your organization is and what you do. Your craft cannabis producers?

CAMPBELL: We formed in 2016 when we understood that our government was going to move towards legalization of cannabis. And we formed specifically to give a voice to the small farmers -- the small batch cannabis farmers in Canada.

We had a fear that the industry would be sort of gifted to the larger corporations and we just wanted to make sure as regulations were put in place that there was room for the small batch producers.

WATT: And now I imagine and I've read -- I mean this is going to be heavily regulated and indeed some of the cannabis stores are going to be run by the government.

CAMPBELL: So each province in Canada is taking a different approach which I think is a good way to go. We'll see sort of what works the best. And we have very different cultures from coast to coast. So in our province here in B.C. we're going to have a mixed model. We'll have both government-run retail outlets, private retail outlets, and a mix of private and government-run retail outlets. I think I might be biased but I think we have one of the best models here in B.C.

WATT: No, I mean -- down here in the U.S. in states where it is legal, of course, it's not legal federally here. So growers and sellers -- it has to be in all cash business. There isn't money going through banks.

I'm assuming because it is nation-wide in Canada and the government is so involved that you will be able to use the banking system as part of this industry?

CAMPBELL: Yes. I think, you know, we've done this very quickly here in Canada. Some people would say that we're -- it's happening too quickly. There have -- there are large facilities, licensed producers who have been operating for several years.

So they are obviously supported by the banks but I think it's still going to take a little bit of time. I was reading today that the banks are getting ready. Certain ones in particular coming out saying that as soon as legalization occurs, they're ready to jump on board.

So we can hope that that's going to happen. But literally just in the last year, it's been very difficult for even our nonprofit association to get a bank account. So hopefully that will change after tomorrow.

WATT: I mean finally, do you feel certainly the whole world is going to be watching Canada to see how this pans out and could affect legislation elsewhere. I mean do you feel some pressure as you say, you know, you have been an advocate for cannabis for some years now. Do you feel some pressure to make sure that this is done right in Canada so maybe the other countries follow suit?

CAMPBELL: Absolutely. And I think, you know, the fact that we have micro (ph) licenses in place now for small-scale cultivators is a really good step.

And I think that Canada has a huge responsibility when it comes to corporate social and environmental regulations and responsibility in general. Just putting policies and regulations in places to put those ideas forward and to just consider the environment and consider, you know, the people who really helped have this industry come to the point it has today. And not just allow big business to come and take over.

So absolutely I think we have to lead -- we have to lead and set an example.

WATT: Sarah Campbell joining us from Vancouver Island. Thank you very much and good luck.

CAMPBELL: Thanks -- Nick. WATT: One of China's most famous actresses who hasn't been seen publicly since June has apparently resurfaced. The photo agency Visual China says Fan Bingbing was spotted at Beijing's airport on Monday -- seen here wearing a baseball cap.

CNN has not independently confirmed the accuracy of these images. Fan's disappearance had been a mystery for some time. Then earlier this month, China's state media reported that she's facing a $130 million fine for misreporting earnings in some of her films.

And the Hollywood hit "Crazy Rich Asians" is finally getting a run in China's lucrative movie market. The romantic comedy is now scheduled to debut in mainland China on November 30th.

[01:54:57] There had been some doubt about whether the movie with a plot that features incredibly rich and privileged Asians would get the go ahead from China's film regulators.

CNN's Sherisse Pham has more from Hong Kong.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SHERISSE PHAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is big news for "Crazy Rich Asians". China is a massive movie market and there was some doubt as to whether or not Beijing was going to give the go ahead for this movie.

The government there has really been frowning and reining in big celebrations of luxury and wealth and that's kind of a central plot to a movie whose title is "Crazy Rich Asians".

China only allows about 34 films, foreign films in every year. And getting one of those spots can really boost a movie's box office totals. Big blockbuster hit this year, "Black Panther" had a bigger opening weekend in China.

Now the big question is, whether this movie will also have crazy success in China. In the U.S. it got a lot of buzz for having an all- Asian cast. In China where most movies have an all-Asian cast that's not as big of a deal.

What it is getting is a new title. It is being released in China under a name that loosely translates to "Tails of Gold-digging". For those of you who have seen the movie like I have, it doesn't exactly track with the movie's storyline. But it does track with producers and the movie studio, Warner Brothers' goal. They are definitely digging for gold in China hoping to boost the box office numbers for "Crazy Rich Asians".

Sherisse Pham, CNN, Hong Kong.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WATT: A baby maybe on the way for Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan Markle but that hasn't slowed down their first overseas trip one bit. The royal couple arrived at Australia's Dubbo City Regional Airport where they were greeted enthusiastically by local school children.

They also spoke with local farmers suffering one of the worst droughts in Australia's history. This is the second stop on their 16-day tour of Australia, Fiji, Tonga, and New Zealand.

And finally ever had a guest who overstay their welcome. That may be happening right now with Julian Assange. Ecuador's U.K. Embassy has set down new house rules for the WikiLeaks founder who has been holed up there for the past six years to avoid extradition to Sweden on rape allegations.

The new rules include banning him from making political statements and putting restrictions on his visitors and Internet use. Assange has also been ordered to take better care of his cat and also clean the bathroom inside the embassy.

Thanks for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Nick Watt.

Another hour of news is coming up next with Rosemary Church.

You're watching CNN.

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