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Jamal Khashoggi: Screaming Saudi Journalist Was 'Chopped Up Alive In Horrific Seven-Minute Killing'; Trump Hurls Insulting Nicknames At Female Opponents; Cruz VS O'Rourke For U.S. Senate Seat In Texas; The Trump Effect On Virginia House Race. Aired 2-3a ET
Aired October 17, 2018 - 02:00 ET
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ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): More official denials from the Saudi government about their involvement in Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance but multiple sources tell CNN that a high-ranking official oversaw the operation that allegedly ended in the journalist's death.
Pressure on Theresa May as she prepares to defend her Brexit plan to European leaders.
And later, Donald Trump's latest Twitter target fights back. The president's beef with the porn star he allegedly paid off.
Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world, I'm Rosemary Church and This is CNN NEWSROOM.
CHURCH: More new details in the apparent death of Saudi journalist point to Saudi government involvement. Sources tell CNN the mission to interrogate and possibly abduct Jamal Khashoggi was organized by a high-ranking officer with Saudi Arabia's intelligence service.
One source said the officer is close to the inner circle of crown prince Mohammed bin Salman. U.S. secretary of state Mike Pompeo met with the Saudi king and crown prince Tuesday to discuss the incident.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: They made a commitment, too, to hold anyone connected to any wrongdoing that may be found accountable for that, whether they are a senior officer or official. They promised accountability. Turkey took those persons who may determine as a result of their investigation has -- deserves accountability.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Including a member of the royal family?
POMPEO: They made no exceptions to who they would hold accountable.
(END VIDEO CLIP) CHURCH: It's a foreign policy challenge for U.S. president Donald
Trump. Lawmakers are calling for sanctions against an ally while Mr. Trump is taking a wait-and-see approach.
With pressure growing Mr. Trump complained Saudi Arabia is being tweeted as guilty until proven innocent. CNN's Jomana Karadsheh joins us now from outside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
Jomana, what is the latest information that you have on the investigation into the alleged murder of Jamal Khashoggi?
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As we have been saying for days now, what Turkish authorities are saying publicly, on the record, is very little. What we're learning mostly is coming from leaks and from officials spending anonymously.
Now a Turkish official on Tuesday told CNN that not only was Jamal Khashoggi killed in the Saudi consulate, his body was cut into pieces. We know that they're looking into this group of 15 Saudis, including officials who entered the country on October the 2nd, the day that Khashoggi disappeared.
They were inside the consulate during his visit and they left later on. We know that they've been describing them as persons of interest in this investigation. And Turkish government sources provided CNN with scans of the seven passwords of those individuals on Tuesday.
And when it comes to the physical search, Rosemary, what we know is on Monday the authorities here, forensic experts entered the consulate finally after days of wanting to get into what is potentially a crime scene.
It's really not been preserved. We see people walking in and out. We've seen cleaning crews even walking in. They finally spent eight hours there. We still don't know what they may have uncovered during that investigation.
But since yesterday from President Erdogan that there may have some sort of a coverup, talking about fresh paint over toxic materials. Now also yesterday we know that (INAUDIBLE) preparing to do a search at the house, the residence of the consul general here and he left the country back to Riyadh on Tuesday but they did not get access.
We're hearing from the state broadcaster here that is expected to take place today, at least publicly, this seems to be slow-moving investigation.
CHURCH: And U.S. secretary of state Mike Pompeo has met with the Saudi leadership. He seems to think that a Saudi commitment with serious and credible investigation into the alleged murder of Khashoggi will review all the facts and ensure accountability.
Are people buying that?
And what's ahead when Pompeo arrives in Turkey very soon?
KARADSHEH: We will have to want and see what Turkish officials, including President Erdogan might share --
KARADSHEH: -- with Secretary Pompeo. There has been a certain level of frustration we're hearing from Turkish officials about the level of cooperation they're getting from Saudi officials here.
So we'll have to wait and see what come out (INAUDIBLE) the foreign minister and also with President Erdogan.
When it comes to the emerging narratives that we're hearing (INAUDIBLE) possible rogue elements who may have carried out an operation, (INAUDIBLE) Jamal Khashoggi here, there's a lot of skepticism, especially when (INAUDIBLE) human rights activists in this region, people who knew Jamal Khashoggi and the threats he's been under.
And (INAUDIBLE) some of the activists, they'll tell you that nothing (INAUDIBLE) this level, something like this (INAUDIBLE) wouldn't happen without the knowledge of Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince. And that is something we've heard from these officials.
And another things that's making people so skeptical is the fact that it has taken two weeks to start hearing this possible narrative that is coming out, keeping in mind throughout, Saudi officials have denied any knowledge of what happened. And they still do maintain that on a public level.
And their narrative has been that Jamal Khashoggi did come into the consulate and he left. And people have been asking for proof, which they never presented. So there's a lot of concern amongst activists, people who know Jamal Khashoggi, that as we see this move into international diplomacy and politics that are taking place behind closed doors, that the truth may never really emerge. That is what some are telling us and that is why you're hearing so many calls for independent international investigation -- Rosemary.
CHURCH: Our Jomana Karadsheh, bringing us that live report from Istanbul in Turkey. Many thanks to you.
The cordial appearance of the meeting between the secretary of state and the Saudi royal family is at odds with the seriousness of the diplomatic crisis. Barbara Starr reports on the push for accountability.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: On a last-minute mission to find out if Saudi Arabia ordered the killing of "The Washington Post" journalist, secretary of state Mike Pompeo was all smiles and seemingly jovial as he greeted Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, the man increasingly suspected of masterminding the murder and dismemberment of Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Turkey.
Both men playing the diplomatic card.
MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: I thank you for hosting on such short notice.
STARR: Pompeo held a brief first meeting with the elderly King Salman and then the crown prince, the de facto ruler of the kingdom. Pompeo flew over 12 hours for less than one hour of discussions. The State Department called the meetings direct and candid.
GEN. MICHAEL HAYDEN, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: In private, he has got to impose the reality on the kingdom's leadership that this is an incredibly serious issue.
STARR: The president now tweeting he spoke with the crown prince, who denied any knowledge of the killing. Trump taking his word that ,"he has already started and will rapidly expand a full and complete investigation into this matter. Answers will be forthcoming shortly."
How President Trump holds Saudi Arabia accountable may be the most consequential decision of his presidency, a senior adviser to the president tells CNN.
The vice president seeming to understand that.
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's important that the world know the truth. If, in fact, Mr. Khashoggi was murdered, we need to know who was responsible. We need to hold those responsible.
STARR: But, so far, Mr. Trump is not willing to directly point the finger at Saudi leaders, wanting not to give up what he claims will be a $110 billion U.S. arms deal.
TRUMP: That hurts our workers. That hurts our factories. That hurts all of our companies. You're talking about 500,000 jobs.
STARR: Republicans disagree.
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: There isn't enough money in the world to purchase back our credibility on human rights and the way nations should conduct themselves.
STARR: Back at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, where Khashoggi was last seen, Turkish investigators searched the compound for nine hours, looking into clues that toxic materials were there and painted over in the two weeks since Khashoggi disappeared.
CHURCH: CNN global affairs analyst Aaron David Miller joins me now. Good to have you with us.
AARON DAVID MILLER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Always a pleasure, Rosemary.
CHURCH: So, on Tuesday, President Trump told the Associated Press that blaming Saudi Arabia for the apparent murder of Jamal Khashoggi is another example of being guilty until --
CHURCH: -- proven innocent. So despite the revelation that a high ranking intelligence officer with ties to the Saudi crown prince headed up the both interrogation of Khashoggi, Mr. Trump is convinced the prince had no knowledge of his murder. Is the U.S. president being played by the Saudis?
MILLER: I mean, you know, I would argue that the most significant foreign policy accomplishment of Saudi Arabia over the two years has been the embezzling of Donald Trump. And I think by and large the president wants to do everything he possibly can to maintain this relationship.
I think Saudi Arabia figures prominently in the administration strategy in three ways to contain their own facilitate really Palestinian own peacemaking.
And when sanctions started by next month on Iran the administration's (Inaudible) to push production in order to make sure that oil and gas prices do not rise. So, I think that the Trump administration is looking for any way to find the politically convenient exit rant for this whole sorted sordid affair. And I don't think frankly that they are going to be able to do it effortlessly or easily.
CHURCH: So, in a sense are you saying that arms deal and various other issues are clouding the judgment of the U.S. president. In essence, he is being drag into covering up a crime, a murder. MILLER: Well, look, the reality is that and I've worked for a
Republican secretary of state and Democratic secretary of state in five administrations. We have the sage (Ph) placated so to work out any number of good relationships with the Saudis over the years, in large part we got a lot in return.
This is the first administration that I'm familiar with that essentially is giving the Saudis blanket, room to maneuver, wiggle room and so many issues without imposing strains and constraints seemingly impervious to the fact that Saudis are not only engage in significant pressure at all but engage in foreign policy, kidnapping or at least temporary detention of a Lebanese Prime Minister complete with a hostage video.
A disastrous boycott against Qatar which is only enhanced that increase the prospects of Iranian influence in the region, the disastrous war in Yemen where both the Obama administration and the Trump administration is enabled.
So, I think there's no causality here. I don't think that what happened to Jamal in that consulate is on the Saudis and most likely with the approval of the senior levels of the Saudi leadership, maybe not the king, but certainly Muhammad bin Salman. But the reality--
(CROSSTALK) CHURCH: I mean, that is the key question here, isn't it, whether the Saudi crown king or prince more likely the prince as you mentioned, knew about the murder of Khashoggi and from the sounds of what you're saying you think there is no question that he knew about this.
MILLER: Well and MBS' Saudi Arabia the idea that anyone predictably someone closer to the crown prince and several of these individuals that have been identified with a pair of royal security team and are seen in photos in close proximity to him traveling on and off airplanes and conferences.
The notion that anyone would undertake an operation this politically explosive this risky without seeking sanction or a green light from the most powerful man in the kingdom, I mean, strains credulity to the breaking point.
So yes, I think and even if it was done in the following manner, you know, Jamal Khashoggi is a problem, your Highness. And wouldn't it be nice if a way could be found to make that problem go away. And the answer is yes, it would be very nice if that were to happen.
Even if it was done with that sort of tested approval it was done with full knowledge. I don't think there's any way to escape. Now can you do that, that's the question. But the benefit of the doubt on this one does not belong to the Saudis.
And if in fact the United States is going to be prepared to validate the fact that no senior Saudi official, particularly Muhammad bin Salman was involved in this based on Saudi investigation only then I have an Israeli-Palestinian peace treaty that I'd like to tell you. Because that frankly just doesn't compute and it doesn't answer the manner.
It doesn't mean, Rosemary, that the U.S.-Saudi relationship will somehow be fundamentally undermined. I think we have important interest with the Saudis independent, I wouldn't abandon, it. But it really has to be calibrated.
MILLER: Some measure of accountability and responsibility has to be imposed so that the Saudis don't go off not only killing journalist but basically undermining American interests in the region to reckless and impulses foreign policies.
CHURCH: Well, the international community is watching very closely. All of us across the globe. Aaron David Miller, thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate it.
MILLER: Always a pleasure.
CHURCH: The Khashoggi case has led British billionaire Richard Branson to end his business dealings without the Saudis for now. He said last week he is suspending talks on a billion-dollar Saudi investment in his space tourism companies.
He also said that he would step down from his role as director of two Saudi tourism projects. Now Branson is urging other business leaders to follow suit.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD BRANSON, CHAIRMAN, VIRGIN AMERICA: If it's true that Saudi killed and cut up a journalist in Turkey then I don't think any business could do business with a country that behaves in that way.
So we suspended all our dealings with Saudi Arabia until and unless we have a very satisfactory explanation. It's pretty horrific, what we've heard and nothing yet (INAUDIBLE).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Khashoggi's disappearance is also casting a shadow over Saudi Arabia's upcoming investment conference. Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, is the latest high profile business figure to pull out of next week's summit.
As recently as Saturday she had said she still planned to attend. And John Defterios has more now on the growing exodus from the so-called Davos in the desert.
JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: What transpired in Europe Tuesday is equal to the no-shows from Wall Street Monday. More of the big business players are not coming to the so-called Davos of the desert.
It's a balancing act for Western CEOs who want to stay engaged in Saudi Arabia for business but remain shocked by the alleged murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The CEOs of HSBC, Standard Chartered and Credit Suisse are the three that decided to stay away.
According to a senior regional banker of the two biggest, for the last two days, JPMorgan Chase and HSBC, had been in the Saudi market for years.
Other high-profile companies choosing to stay on board include European giants Siemens, EDF and Thales, all very involved in large infrastructure projects in Saudi Arabia.
This, of course, may change Wednesday, after more gruesome details were released about the death of the Saudi journalist -- John Defterios, CNN Business, Abu Dhabi.
CHURCH: And we'll take a short break here on CNN NEWSROOM. Still to come, 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.
Plus CNN traveled to the south coast of England to gauge public opinion about Brexit. Some of the responses we heard just may surprise you. Back in just a moment.
CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone.
A critical Brexit summit between British prime minister Theresa May and 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 between the two. But Prime Minister May want any such backstop to be time-limited. European Council president Donald Tusk describes the border question as a Gordian knot; that is a complex problem that can be solved through creative thinking. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TUSK, PRESIDENT, EUROPEAN COUNCIL: It looks like a new version of the Gordian knot. Unfortunately, I can't see a new version of Alexander the Great, you know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Tusk is strongly urging the prime minister to present new ideas about the border when she meets with E.U. leaders. Our Hadas Gold joins us now live from London.
Good to see you again, Hadas. So how likely is it that the British prime minister can meet this new challenge and come up with a new creative approach to solving the impasse over the border in Ireland?
HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I can tell you right it doesn't seem like or at least we haven't heard of any sort of new creative idea that Donald Tusk has asked Theresa May to bring to a dinner tonight with European leaders in Brussels.
Theresa May is set to address all the European leaders and that she will leave the dinner and the rest of leaders will actually get eat together and discuss what she has proposed but so far we just don't know what these new proposals will be.
It's been sort of like a "Groundhog Day" around Brexit for the last few weeks as the Northern Irish -- Northern Ireland border issue continues to be this main sticking point between the U.K. and the European Union. Donald Tusk also said this week that the possibility of a no deal Brexit is becoming more and more likely, which, for a lot of people, is not what they want in the situation. In fact, there was supposed to be initially a summit in November, when the final Brexit deal would be signed because American leaders initially were hoping that this summit that's starting tonight would be the summit they would get all the deal together and they would be able to sign on the dotted line in November.
That doesn't seem to be the case right now. And in fact, it's possible that the European leaders will now instead meet in November to discuss that no deal scenario. Theresa May not only faces the negotiations with the European leaders, she also faces some problems back at home here in London.
Because is facing some pressure from people in her own party, these hardline Brexiteers, there was even talk of perhaps cabinet ministers resigning over a Brexit deal and she has political rivals like Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who are saying that she's doing a horrible job and that they want a general election.
Here's what Jeremy Corbyn actually told us just last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEREMY CORBYN, LABOUR PARTY LEADER: I don't think she can deliver it at all. I think what she's trying to do is negotiate with her own cabinet to negotiate with her own party.
She has on the one hand a group of people who are ultra-Brexiteers, who want to turn this country into some kind of offshore tax haven of Europe, and those that are essentially strongly wanting to remain within the European Union. And she's trying to put together a deal that is not credible, isn't going to hold.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLD: Theresa May will likely face Jeremy Corbyn in just a few hours when she faces prime minister questions in Parliament before heading over to Brussels later. So we're sure to see some fireworks in just a few hours.
CHURCH: I'm sure we shall. Hadas, what does happen if there is no Brexit deal?
GOLD: So the U.K. has been preparing for some time in case of a no- deal Brexit and there's already been some sort of contingency plans put into place for what would happen.
But in the immediate effects, the U.K. would just be part of the World Trade Organization But what people in the U.K. would see right away are probably, possibly increases in prices for things like food, goods that are coming in --
[02:00:00] GOLD: -- on trucks would have to go through new customs checks and, in fact, the U.K. government is even preparing to turn some highways in the U.K. into pretty much parking lots because it would now take up to 10 minutes per truck to check them, which means hours, possibly even days before trucks can get through to deliver the goods to the U.K.
In fact, there are some people in the U.K. who are even sort of preparing for a doomsday scenario, starting to stockpile food and medicine. But that hopefully will not happen.
But regardless of whatever the politicians come together with, by March, the U.K. will be out of the European Union.
CHURCH: All right, that they can't change. Hadas Gold, thank you so much, joining us live from London.
British Prime Minister Theresa May's inability so far to strike a Brexit deal has Remainers calling for a second referendum and Leavers trying to make their own message heard, which is get out now.
Our Nina dos Santos followed Nigel Farage on his Leave Means Leave tour along the south coast of England to gauge more public opinion.
NINA DOS SANTOS, CNNMONEY EUROPE EDITOR (voice-over): The Brexit battle bus back from retirement and so is Mr. Brexit himself. Two years after the referendum, Nigel Farage is on the road again, urging his troops to hold the line against Europe.
FARAGE: The truth of it is that the Remain campaign never stopped.
DOS SANTOS: The Leave campaign won. And you are here campaigning.
FARAGE: The Leave campaign thought the establishment would keep their promise in delivering Brexit and they are not doing it. So, the Leave campaign the people's army, has re-convened.
DOS SANTOS: His brand may not be for everyone. Here on the south coast, he is still a hero for those of a certain age.
Are any of you retired?
Hands up if you are retired. You are all retired.
They voted in favor of leaving the EU. It is also one of the oldest towns in Britain with almost a third of its population being age 65 or older.
They say that that means that they remember a time before Britain had such close ties to Brussels. And when it comes to Brexit, it is a hard break that they are backing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't care if we are a bit poorer. We'll survive. DOS SANTOS: A Brexit rerun? Polls say that the public would now vote to stay. Here in Christchurch, they say no way. Did you vote leave?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
DOS SANTOS: Would you still vote leave?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
DOS SANTOS: To them, Theresa May is giving away their hard-fought victory.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need somebody strong in this country, not the millionaires.
DOS SANTOS: And negotiating in this market town, we did find a man who says that Brexit is a historic mistake.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I may be the only person myself that I definitely think the young people are going to suffer every -- if we actually leave.
DOS SANTOS: But mostly, it's the hard Brexit side that does the talking.
FARAGE: Although we voted for haven't yet being delivered.
DOS SANTOS: The road show continues on into the night, passed the protests.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do we want?
CROWD: People vote.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When do we want it?
DOS SANTOS: To convention hall where a thousand people have gathered. Its beers, souvenirs and the best of the Brexiteers and like any good reunion tour, they play the greatest hits.
RICHARD TICE, BRITISH ENTREPRENEUR: All that this business know that it's always best (INAUDIBLE).
DOS SANTOS: And tear Theresa May's Brexit plan to bits.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need to chuck Chequers, we can put it into bits.
DOS SANTOS: Nina Dos Santos, CNN, from the south coast of England.
CHURCH: 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 on some of her films.
Coming up here on CNN NEWSROOM, thousands of Hondurans marching towards the United States, hoping to escape extreme violence and poverty and what President Trump says he will do to stop them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Plus one of the difficult questions is are -- is this relationship, are these business deals part of the president's consideration when he makes decisions about how to go forward?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: The president has made no secret of the fact he's made a lot of money with the Saudis in the past. What he's tweeting now about his business dealings with the kingdom. We'll have that for you next.
[02:32:23] ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Rosemary Church. I want to check the top headlines for you this hour. Sources tell CNN a Saudi intelligence officer with ties to the country's crown prince organized the mission that ultimately led to the apparent 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. 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.
More now on the fallout over Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance and possible killing. It's shining a spotlight on President Trump's past financial dealings with Saudi Arabia. On Tuesday, he tweeted this, for the record, I have no financial interests in Saudi Arabia or Russia for that matter. Any suggestion that I have is just more fake news of which there is plenty. But in the past, Donald Trump has boasted that he made a lot of money with the Saudis.
He even bragged about it on the campaign trail. Here's CNN Business Correspondent Cristina Alesci.
CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Saudi Arabia has been making Donald Trump rich for decades.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Saudi Arabia and I get along great with all of them. They buy apartments from me. They spent 40 million, 50 million, am I supposed to dislike them? I like them very much.
ALESCI: Trump's financial ties with the Saudis date back to the 1990s. In 1991 when one of this 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 record 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 of 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. Trump's Manhattan hotel on Central Park West saw revenue increased during the first quarter of 2018 in part because of a visit from Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman according to a letter obtained by the Washington Post.
[02:35:10] In the letter, the hotel's general manager wrote that Bin Salman didn't stay at the hotel himself but said, "Due to are close industry relationships, we were able to accommodate many of the accompanying travelers." Overall however, little is known about the full extent of Trump's business relationship with Saudi Arabia.
JONATHAN O'CONNELL, STAFF REPORTER, WASHINGTON POST: We don't know really very much about his efforts to open other properties in the Saudi Arabia. We don't know who his partners would have been. We don't know who would have finance them and we don't know if he could restart them again down the road.
ALESCI: According to his 2016 financial disclosure Trump had 144 registered companies with dealings in more than two dozen countries. Eight of them were Saudi companies. All of those companies have been dissolved as price for the president could take action against Saudi Arabia grow louder. Trump's business ties are coming under new scrutiny.
O'CONNELL: Now, of course the larger political question is are -- is this relationship where his business deals part of the president's consideration when he makes decisions about how to go forward.
ALESCI: A spokesperson for the Trump Organization told me, "Like many real estate companies, we have explored opportunities in many markets. That said, we do not have any plans for expansion into Saudi Arabia." But when I asked about the other financial ties like the ones I included in the report the condo sales for example at Trump Tower I did not get an answer. Cristina Alesci, CNN, Washington, D.C.
CHURCH: Donald Trump is taking a hardline stance against a new migrant caravan heading towards the United States from Honduras. Mr. Trump warned that 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's forcing people to flee the violence by the country. The 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 now on this grueling trek.
LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They've been travelling by foot for days. Among them mothers carrying young children. Men being pushed in wheelchairs. This group of about 3000 Honduran migrants is 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 (INAUDIBLE) 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.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (via translator): There's much corruption here in Honduras. We want to work. There is none. We want land to plant bananas (INAUDIBLE) beans. There isn't any brother. We need to migrate to another country, brother. In the hospitals, there's no security. There's nothing. Our patience died, brother.
SANTIAGO: President Donald Trump threatened the Honduran government if the 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 expanded on Trump's tweet calling the caravan a, "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, HONDURAN MIGRANT (via translator): We're heading to the United States. We're going to arrive with Donald Trump. He has to receive us just as we receive the Americans over here. They will have to accept us over there.
SANTIAGO: One of the group's organizers says that the plan is to walk across Guatemala and reach (INAUDIBLE) 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.
CHURCH: Well, as we just noted, the migrants have made it as far as Guatemala. Authorities there detained one of the caravan's coordinators Arturo Fuentes early Tuesday. Two other people were detained with Fuentes. It's believed all three will be returned to Honduras in the coming hours. The reason for their detention remains unclear. CNN's Matt Rivers has been visiting an area between Myanmar and Bangladesh known as no man's land.
It's where 5000 Rohingya Muslims are stuck in limbo too afraid to return home. Now, you recall more than 700,000 Rohingya have crossed into neighboring Bangladesh in the past year fleeing a military operation in Myanmar that the U.N.'s top human rights official liken to ethnic cleansing. There are allegations of rape, torture, and murder. Most of the refugees are women and children. In turn, Myanmar signed an agreement with the U.N. saying it would create safe conditions for the refugees to return to their homes.
[02:40:30] But the process is yet to begin in earnest.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
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 are staying put. The conditions inside that camp are obviously horrific.
There's no access to education, no healthcare, no electricity, food is scarce, and yet still they rather be on that side of the fence than this one because they're too afraid to come back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: And you can tune in Wednesday to see the first of Matt Rivers' reports from his series Inside Myanmar: Witness to the Rohingya Crisis. Matt will provide us with rare access and insight into this ongoing humanitarian crisis. That's at 1:00 p.m. in London, 8:00 p.m. in Hong Kong. Well, the president known for his insulting nicknames is at it again. The latest war of words between Donald Trump and adult film star Stormy Daniels. We'll have that for you. And Donald Trump isn't on the ballot but his name still looms large in an important race for U.S. Congress. We'll take a look at that as well. We're back in a moment.
CHURCH: A royal baby is on the way for Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. But that has not slowed down their first overseas trip one bit. The royal couple arrived at Australia's (INAUDIBLE) city regional airport where they were greeted enthusiastically by local school children, enjoyed a picnic in a park, and spoke with local farmers suffering one of the worst drought in Australia's history.
[02:45:00] This is the second stop on their 16-day tour of Australia, Fiji, Tonga, and New Zealand. Now, if you thought the upcoming midterm elections would bring a more humble and restrained Donald Trump, think again. On Tuesday, the U.S. president called adult film star Stormy Daniels'
horse face. And he is back to his old attacks on Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren calling her Pocahontas. It all begs the question what will women voters think of all this come November. CNN's Jeff Zeleny, reports.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Famous for his insulting nicknames, President Trump coined a new one today. After a defamation suit filed against him by porn star, Stormy Daniels was dismissed.
"Now, I can go after a horse face in her third-rate lawyer." The president said on Twitter. "She knows nothing about me, a total con." Never mind the president's longtime lawyer Michael Cohen has pleaded guilty to tax fraud and violating campaign finance laws for arranging a six-figure settlement to keep her and another woman quiet during the final days of the 2016 campaign.
STORMY DANIELS, PORNOGRAPHIC ACTRESS: I was bullied.
ZELENY: Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, insist she had an affair with the president fired back. "In addition to his shortcomings, he has demonstrated his incompetence, hatred of women and lack of self-control on Twitter again," she tweeted she went on to call him, Tiny.
Her lawyer Michael Avenatti, added, "You are disgusting misogynist and an embarrassment to the United States."
ZELENY: It's only the latest example of the president aggressively and personally attacking women. Today's list once again includes Senator Elizabeth Warren.
"Pocahontas, the bad version, sometimes referred to as Elizabeth Warren is getting slammed," the president wrote today in the first of three tweets at the Massachusetts Democrat who hopes to unseat him in 2020.
The president, belittling Warren's video that she released Monday trying to prove her Native American heritage.
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), SENATE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE: They would call us every ugly name in the book.
ZELENY: After making a pledge earlier this year --
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.
ZELENY: The president now saying he won't contribute a dime.
TRUMP: 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.
ZELENY: That drawing a sharp response from Warren. Calling his comment a creepy physical threat. She added, "He's trying to do what he always does to women who scare him. Call us names attack us personally, shrink us down to feel better about himself. It may soothe his ego, but it won't work."
But it's an open question if it will work or not. The reality is when President Trump was running for office, and indeed in his private life had a long string of vulgar attacks on women, and he was still elected president.
But Republicans do wish the president would simply stay on topic. Its three weeks to the day before those midterm elections, the most critical demographic of all for Republicans, women voters in the suburbs. That is the key to holding on to the House of Representatives, unclear if these tweets and a name like horse face helps the president. Jeff Zeleny, CNN, the White House.
CHURCH: And one of the most watched matchups in the upcoming midterms is a showdown in Texas. Democrat Beto O'Rourke is trying to unseat Republican Senator Ted Cruz. The challenger's campaign has attracted nationwide attention and raised more than $38 million in the last quarter, but he's lacking in the polls.
Ted Cruz is leading O'Rourke by seven points in the latest CNN poll. The two faced off in their final debate a few hours ago.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), SENATORIAL CANDIDATE, TEXAS: I'm against tariffs, I'm against the trade war. This is one of the few issues on which Congressman O'Rourke and I have some common ground, and that we both spoken out in favor of trade.
The difference is, that I'm able to work with President Trump and make the case to President Trump. And we have seen -- we have seen, for example, the president has negotiated a new NAFTA -- new trade deal that has benefits -- that should benefit the state of Texas, that should benefit San Antonio.
Congressman O'Rourke is not able to work with President Trump. And indeed, Congressman O'Rourke is the only Democratic Senate nominee in the country who has explicitly come out for impeaching President Trump.
That is extreme, and it means if Congressman O'Rourke has his way, you know, he mentioned a shutdown. You want to talk about a shutdown with Congressman O'Rourke leading the way two years of a partisan circus shutting down the federal government in a witch-hunt on the president, that's not good for the state of Texas, it's not good for our country.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator, that is your time. 90 seconds response from you, Mr. O'Rourke. REP. BETO O'ROURKE (D), SENATORIAL CANDIDATE, TEXAS: Really interesting to hear you talk about a partisan circus after your last six years in the U.S. Senate. Listen, if you have this special relationship with President Trump, then, then where is the results of that? You were all talk and no action.
The tariffs that the president has levied, the trade wars that he has entered this country into is hurting no state more than its hurting Texas.
[02:50:10] CRUZ: Congressman O'Rourke voted in favor of a $10.00 a barrel tax on every barrel of oil produced in the state of Texas. That would have been absolutely devastating to the State of Texas. By the way, $10.00 a barrel, that works out to about $0.24 cents a gallon that every one of us would pay when you go fill up your car or truck.
O'ROURKE: This is what you can expect over the course of this debate. Senator Cruz is not going to be honest with you. He's going to make oppositions and votes that I've never held or I've ever taken. He's dishonest. It's why the president called him, Lying Ted, and it's why the nickname stuck because it's true.
CHURCH: On Thursday, U.S. Representative Beto O'Rourke joined CNN for a town hall discussion, and our Dana Bash will be the moderator. And in the coming days, CNN will host the Florida Governor's Debate and the Florida Senate Debate. Be sure to join us.
Well, another closely watched race is in the U.S. State of Virginia. There, a Republican incumbent is trying to win her district by distancing herself from Donald Trump. CNN's Jessica Dean, reports.
JESSICA DEAN, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: President Donald Trump's name isn't on the ballot here in Leesburg, Virginia. But still, his name looms large in this district.
Is President Trump a factor in your decision?
BRENNAN, DISTRICT VOTER, VIRGINIA: Of course. Of course.
DEAN: Tell me more about.
BRENNAN: How much time do you have?
DEAN: Just miles outside of Washington welcome to ground zero of the Trump resistance. Democratic voters in this highly educated, wealthy, and increasingly diverse district see this election as a chance to write what they consider the many wrongs of the Trump presidency.
The most recent polls for Virginia's hotly contested 10th congressional district show Republican incumbent, Barbara Comstock, trailing her Democratic challenger State Senator Jennifer Wexton. SEN. JENNIFER WEXTON (D), CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE, VIRGINIA: People are concerned about the coarsening of public discourse, the lack of civility. And the inability to get anything done in Congress.
DEAN: Wexton has received support from a number of outside groups looking to flip the sea blue. Trump's latest approval rating in the district a meager 35 percent. The president's low numbers are proving to be a drag on Comstock.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Barbara Comstock might as well be Barbara Trumpstock.
DEAN: But Comstock says, she's no rubber stamp.
REP. BARBARA COMSTOCK (R), CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE, VIRGINIA: I'm my own woman, and I focus on the priorities of my constituents. I have worked with a Republican governor and a Democrat governor.
A Democrat president and our Republican president. And I work to bring people together and get results. And that's our record, and we're proud to run on it.
DEAN: In February, Trump suggested shutting down the government over immigration. Comstock rejected the idea.
COMSTOCK: We don't need a government shut down on this.
DEAN: Comstock touts her independence in T.V. ads.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Barbara is a fighter for women. And she's working across the aisle --
DEAN: But supporters, say they'll stand by her because she largely votes with Trump.
MARK SANDGROUND, SR., DISTRICT VOTER, VIRGINIA: I'm a Republican, and I'm in favor of Barbara Comstock. I think she will help our president make America great again. I think she's wonderful because she supported our president.
DEAN: Republicans aren't giving up on the race. The National Republican Congressional Committee has already spent $3.6 million and plans to spend another $2 million on ads like this one.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dangerously wrong, that's Jennifer Wexton.
DEAN: Virginia voters have seen a lot of ads from both sides.
PRITI KHANA, DISTRICT VOTER, VIRGINIA: I had no clue who Wexton was until I saw the ads. And I likes her ads and that's how I researched and got to know her.
DEAN: Whether it be a resistance to Trump or a move toward a Democratic candidate, Wexton will accept the support.
WEXTON: Some people are obviously anti-Trump. But a lot of people have really concluded that -- you know, Democrats are -- we have their back on affordable health care. We have their back on gun violence prevention. And we're interested in finding solutions not just scoring political points.
CHURCH: And that was CNN's Jessica Dean, reporting from Virginia. Election Day in the United States is now less than three weeks away. Coming up next, what went through the mind of the Soyuz crew last week when their rocket failed and they had to make an emergency landing. Their answer when CNN NEWSROOM returns.
[02:56:10] CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. An ambitious effort to remove plastic from our oceans is now underway. The ocean cleanup group hauled this giant pipe nicknamed Wilson out of these San Francisco Bay to the Great Pacific garbage patch. That's earth largest pile of ocean trash twice the size of Texas. The u-shaped pipe has a net to trap floating plastic.
A garbage booth will collect it every few months to recycle it on shore. The group hopes to collect 50 tons of trash by April. But some experts doubt the project will make a dent in the 150 million tons of plastic already in our oceans. Got to start somewhere though, right?
Well NASA astronaut, Nick Hague, and Russian cosmonaut Aleksey Ovchinin, speaking out for the first time about the accident that could have killed them on route to the International Space Station.
The two men survived an emergency landing, following a booster failure on the rocket of their Soyuz spacecraft last week. Amazingly, they found a way to remain calm through the crisis, as Ovchinin, explains.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEKSEY OVCHININ, COSMONAUT FROM RUSSIA: There is no time to be nervous because we had to work. We had to go through the steps that the crew had to take to prepare for an emergency landing. It means to do everything so that the crew is still functioning after landing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: And for Hague, the biggest question was where they were going to land?
NICK HAGUE, ASTRONAUT, NASA: It went from normal to something was wrong, pretty quick. The automated system pulled us away from the rocket, so fast. And so, the first thing I really noticed was being shaken fairly violently side to side as that safety system pulled us away from the rocket.
We're looking out the window, trying to gauge exactly where we were going to be. Where we're going to end up landing in water, where we're going to be on the steppes of Kazakhstan. Did we make it far enough downrange that we were in more hilly or mountainous terrain?
So, we were -- you know, I was looking outside and trying to give our -- my best estimate of where we were going to come down. And luckily for us, it was smooth flat terrain and that I ended up working out as a pretty smooth landing.
CHURCH: Well, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has just arrived in the Turkish capital. He is set to meet with top officials over the investigation into the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi. A live report from Turkey after this very short break. Do stay with us.