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CONNECT THE WORLD
Sources Say Saudi Intel Officer Oversaw Khashoggi Mission; Pompeo Visits Saudi Arabia and Turkey, Offers Little Clarity; U.S. President Defends Saudi Denials; At Least 19 Killed in Crimea College Attack; French Banks, Bosses Join Saudi Summit Exodus. Aired 11-12p ET
Aired October 17, 2018 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:00] BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST: The grand bizarre, blue mosque, the highest of fear, lavish palaces. Of course, the Bosphorus. You're looking
at the ancient world basking in an electrified buzz. But more than two weeks one thing overshadowing all of that. Like these clouds, a single
question. What happened to Jamal Khashoggi? We are here for all the very latest, connecting your world through Istanbul to find out. I'm Becky
Anderson with you this hour.
Turkish officials are searching the Saudi consul's residence now in Istanbul as we are learning more about what led to the disappearance of the
Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Sources telling CNN high-ranking Saudi intelligence officer with close ties to the crown prince was behind a
mission to Istanbul, one that resulted in the apparent killing of Khashoggi. One of those sources says he may have been injected with a
tranquilizer before he died in the consulate.
A Turkish official says that Khashoggi body was then cut into pieces. Well these grim details emerging as the Saudis tell Secretary of State Mike
Pompeo they have no knowledge of what happened to Khashoggi. Several U.S. officials tell CNN though that this high level an operation could not have
happened without the crown prince's knowledge.
Well, our reporters across the world tracking the very latest, as they have been doing now for two weeks on this. Nic Robertson outside the Saudi
Consulate in Istanbul. Clarissa Ward is in Ankara. Sam Kiley for you in Saudi Arabia's capital Riyadh. John Defterios on the money trail in Abu
Dhabi. And Stephen Collinson standing by for you with the perspective in and of Washington. Nic and Sam, let's start with you. And Nic, just in
the past hour news breaking in this investigation. What's the latest?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: The latest is that Turkish investigators have now gone into the residence of the consul
general. They have said that they wanted to search the residence, search the vehicles. They are going to have a thorough investigation into that
building. They've wanted to go in last night. They hadn't been able to go in last night. The consul general had fled the country just hours before
the Turkish investigators arrived yesterday.
Now they've got that access, but the access that they had to the consulate just a couple of days ago revealed essentially a savvy cover up. Not only
had a cleaning crew gone in just before they arrived, but much of the interior of the consulate had been covered in a fresh coat of paint, making
it harder for the investigators. Although they were able, we understand, to retrieve some DNA evidence. Of course, key for the investigators is
finding Jamal Khashoggi's body. They had tracked -- investigators had tracked vehicles the day Khashoggi disappeared leaving the consulate here,
going to the consul general's house. So, no doubt that will be high -- that's five big, large, white vans. Sent many forensic officers have gone
in there in the past hour. Undoubtedly, we can expect them to spend some time. The investigators here at the consulate took nine hours before they
left the building again -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Just why is the Saudi consul's residence so significant? Just remind us.
ROBERTSON: Sure. Well, Turkish officials believe that Jamal Khashoggi was murdered very soon after he entered the consulate here, that his body was
dismembered. There is video of him going into the building but no evidence of him leaving. What Turkish officials have evidence of is what they say
were 15 people -- people of interest now subjects of their investigation -- who came from Saudi Arabia the day of Khashoggi's disappearance. Arrived,
many of them on two private jets. Went into the consulate and then came out of the consulate shortly after Jamal Khashoggi entered, within about an
hour and 50 minutes or so, and then drove to the consul general's house.
Now, the question is, when they went to the consul general's house, given that Turkish authorities believe that Jamal Khashoggi's body was
dismembered inside the consulate, the question then becomes for investigators, if they didn't find evidence of Khashoggi's body here, was
it removed to the consul general's house?
[11:05:00] Also, of course, not forgetting that the consul general himself would have been a very important person that Turkish authorities would
undoubtedly in any investigation have wanted to interview him. He has now fled the country. So, they're being given access. Saudi officials went
into the consul general's house a couple of hours before those Turkish investigators went in. And now they will be there.
And as we know they were looking for DNA samples in the consulate. We can expect them to be doing the same at the consul general's house. From the
consulate they took away truckloads of rubble and debris we understand from the area around the consulate, and it does seem to be part of their effort
to trace the whereabouts of Khashoggi's body. So, this seems to be the trail that they are on at the moment -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Sure. I understand. Sam, what's been the response there to what is this building body of leaked evidence that has a straight line, it
seems, right back to the highest level of Saudi leadership?
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there is the public and the private response here, Becky. The public response, which is
reflected most vocally in the local media, remains that this is a calumny, a piece of elaborate propaganda concocted by Qatar and its allies. Of
course, Saudi Arabia and Qatar at dagger's draw almost here in the Middle East.
Privately though, as we know, since last weekend the Saudis are trying to come up with a narrative that assigns blame effectively to a rogue element
within their security services. And it's very intriguing that they get close to making an announcement, we understand, and then they back away
with it usually just as more revelations have come out of Turkey.
So, one of the interesting characters to have emerged that CNN have been able to cross refer, if you like, with data that has been leaked by the
Turks relates to a man Colonel Maher Mutreb. Now he is a known Saudi intelligence agent. He was based in London in 2007. His name appears in
the diplomatic list there and he's been seen frequently alongside the crown prince on his tour elsewhere -- sorry, in the United States on his massive
charm tour there.
So, this could be a situation in which the critics of Saudi Arabia and those who want to suggest that the crown prince was behind it would draw a
direct link. The alternative version, which is a version I think we are likely to hear in the end from Saudi Arabia, is that elements within the
Saudi security establishment may have acted precipitously against someone who was causing some embarrassment overseas, but by no means the world's
most famous Saudi dissident, and that things went badly wrong. That is the narrative that we are being fed, if you like, through sources, multiple
sources now in the Saudi structures. But it's a very difficult area to finesse.
And I also should -- we should all remember, obviously here, Becky, that there is no physical evidence that we're actually analyzing here. And
whilst there is a lot of automatic assumption that because power is concentrated in the crown prince's hands, he must know about everything
that occurs in this kingdom, that's an assumption that people make. But of course, it may not be a valid one -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Sam's and Riyadh. Nic's outside the consulate, the area now which continues to be searched. Now, the residence next door as this
investigation certainly on the ground between the Saudis and the Turks continues. The big question at this point seems to be what, if anything,
does the Saudi royal family know about Khashoggi's disappearance and presumed murder.
Several U.S. officials telling CNN it couldn't have happened without the crown prince's direct knowledge. That's officials telling CNN that. But
not to the U.S. President, who said it's another case of, quote, you're guilty until proven innocent. That's the same argument Mr. Trump used to
defend his Supreme Court pick Judge Brett Kavanaugh -- you'll remember -- against sexual assault allegations just a couple of weeks ago.
Let's bring in CNN's chief international correspondent Clarissa Ward who is in the capital of Ankara here in Turkey. Donald Trump's man deployed to
the region on this, Mike Pompeo, in Ankara earlier today part of his flying visit of course to Riyadh. Do we have any details of what was discussed
between him, the Turkish President and Turkish foreign minister while he was here in Turkey?
CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, in Pompeo's own words, he said that when he, after his meeting with the
Saudis, he said he didn't want to discuss the facts and they did not want to discuss the facts either, which sort of begs the question, what exactly
did they talk about?
[11:10:00] The party line coming out from Secretary of State Pompeo after his visit has been very much that we believe the Saudis are committed to
this investigation. They've assured us that it will reach up to the highest levels. And he also highlighted some of the very important areas
of cooperation between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, whether it's the war on terror, whether it's the Trump administration's focus on Iran. Essentially
seeking to underscore the importance of this relationship and the importance he would argue of giving them the benefit of the doubt. But
let's take a listen to some of his sound from earlier just describing his trip. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Told me they were going to conduct a thorough, complete, transparent investigation. They made a commitment to
hold anyone connected to any wrongdoing that may be found accountable for that, whether they are a senior officer, official. They promised
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Including a member of the royal family?
POMPEO: They made no exceptions to who they would hold accountable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WARD: I mean, the question then becomes, you know, how do you know? How do you know they will hold whoever is found guilty accountable? And how
seriously have you impressed upon the Saudi royal family the anger that is being felt not just by the international community or the family of Jamal
Khashoggi, but by many in your own country? Many people in the U.S. are really scratching their heads right now, Becky, trying to understand why
there is such benevolence on behalf of the White House towards the Saudi Arabians. And why there is such seemingly credulity about their version of
events. People want answers, Becky, and they want to feel that the U.S. is holding Saudi Arabia's feet to the fire to demand those answers.
ANDERSON: Let's just have a listen to some of the comments from one of Donald Trump's biggest allies in the Senate. This is the -- these are the
comments of Lindsey Graham. Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: He had this guy murdered in a consulate in Turkey and to expect me to ignore it. This guy has got to go.
Saudi Arabia, if you're listening, there are a lot of good people you could choose, but MBS has tainted your country and tainted himself.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, little subtlety there. Perhaps surprising though to see a Republican lawmaker react this way, Clarissa.
WARD: I think there is definitely an element of surprise there, and certainly we should add that Senator Lindsey Graham is no stranger to the
art of rhetorical flourish. But the thing that must be concerning to President Donald Trump and to Secretary of State Pompeo and indeed this
administration is that the opposition to Saudi Arabia, the concerns about what happened to Jamal Khashoggi, are not just an issue in the Democratic
Party. They are an issue in the Republican Party, too. There is a real sense that there would be actually what Lindsey Graham had referred to as a
tsunami of bipartisan support for some sort of censuring of Saudi Arabia should it transpire that they indeed were involved with this vicious crime.
ANDERSON: Well, Nic Robertson outside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Clarissa just speaking to us from Ankara. Sam Kiley in Saudi Arabia's
capital, Riyadh. Thank you, guys.
Joining me now for more is Barcin Yinanc, from the Turkish newspaper. Barcin, why do Turkish authorities continue to drip feed leaks to the
media? Why not just release the transcripts of what they say was recorded in the last moments of Jamal's life? They are calling for transparency in
this whole process. But the Turks are systematically managing their own message in all of this, aren't they?
BARCIN YINANC, OPINION EDITOR, HURRIYET DAILY NEWS: They are, because I think they want to get some kind of an outcome. They are trying to avoid
this to become a bilateral issue between the two capitals, and at the first thing --
ANDERSON: Well it is already. They haven't avoided that, have they?
YINANC: Well, but right now there isn't a war of words between the two, there isn't a tension. In the first instance I think by preventing a
collision course, the Turkish part brought the Saudis to cooperate, you know, from flat denial. They have come to the point of saying, OK, we can
start an investigation. So right now, I believe they are coming to another stage whereby they are leaking this information to point the finger at the
[11:15:00] They are specifically leaking information that the narrative that this could be rogue elements or that the investigation went wrong is
not true because the operation is meticulously planned. There was no sign of panic. And he was surrounded, the team was close associates to the
ANDERSON: OK. That's decent analysis given what we are seeing happening here because these leaks tend to happen and then they stop and sort of
happen again at the Turkish officials' decision, as it were, on their timing. You wrote, it looks like Ankara is trying to avoid pushing the
royal house of Saud into a corner and offer an exit strategy. And you had written that. You now say you think there is something more to it, there
is a next phase of this.
I would argue that while what you said in the past may be the case, what I think is clear here is that we are seeing the leaking of these shocking
details, particularly to U.S. media. This is a Turkish power play. Washington basically, we're holding the Trump card. That's what Turkish
authorities are telling Washington at present. We are holding the Trump card. We can continue to leak this evidence. And by the way, a week and a
half ago we leaked to one of the big U.S. newspapers that U.S. intelligence had some sense that this might happen to Jamal. They didn't know where,
but this might happen. This is high-stakes stuff for Turkey. What do they want to get out of this?
YINANC: Well, I mean, definitely they are giving a message to the United States. Because, after all, we are talking about a crown prince that has
received blank check from Washington, that was praised as a reformist by Washington. And let's not forget that actually Ankara has been a little
bit irritated by the fact that it is constantly being portrayed itself as a not moderate leadership. Therefore, I think they are trying to point a
finger at Washington by saying, look, this is the guy you have been promoting as a reformist, as a moderate, you know, against a radicalism in
the region. That is not the case.
And on a second issue, I think if we want to have an outcome, Washington is the only capital to have leverage over the Saudis. After all, the leverage
power of Turkey is a bit limited vis-a-vis the Saudis. After all, there are lots of people in the streets saying we have enough of prices. We have
tremendous economic difficulties. So, the public doesn't want an extra crisis that would hit the Turkish economy. So, there is another part of
But at the end of the day, let's not also forget that, again, America plays a key role and the fact that U.S. Secretary of State went there, sat next
to a man, a state man that is suspected of giving an illegal execution order and all smiles -- and all smiles. I think that should be something
that should be offending us all, all of us journalists. This is not a smiling issue. And again, America is the capital to have leverage over
ANDERSON: You're making some very valid points. Thank you very much indeed. Barcin joining us today. All right. We are going to take a very
short break at this point. Of course, we are connecting you, your whole world, this hour, and there's a lot going on in it. Up next. Two other
big world stories garners attention on a deadly attack at a college in Crimea. We are live in Moscow and at the Israel/Gaza fence. Stay with us.
[11:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ANDERSON: You're watching CNN. This is CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson for you. Welcome back. We are in Istanbul moving away from the
story here for a moment.
Russian investigators say a deadly attack in Crimea is being investigated as mass murder, not terrorism. They say a student set up a bomb in a
college cafeteria in the city of Kerch, before going on a shooting spree. At least 19 people are dead, most of them just teenagers, 50 people are
injured. Officials say the suspect shot and killed himself. Russian President Vladimir Putin tells Reuters the suspect's motive is still
unclear. Crimea, you will recall, was annexed by Russia four years ago. For more on this horrific attack, we are joined by Matthew Chance in Moscow
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Becky, thanks. Well, it is, you're right. An absolutely horrific attack. And the fact
that it's been downgraded by the Russian authorities from a terrorist attack to a mass murder doesn't make it any better. We are looking at now
at least 19 people who were killed, dozens of injured people as well, all at this college campus in Kerch, on the Crimean Peninsula.
And you know, what's horrific is that the authorities say that the majority of those dead and injured are just teenagers. They were just students
going about their business, attending classes, when this explosion ripped through the canteen in the middle of the campus. It was apparently packed
with metal fragments to cause maximum injury, and there were lots of pictures of people being broadcast there on state television being taken
out by the emergency services with quite horrific wounds, some of which we can't actually show.
And then of course, then the dead -- the death toll -- 19 people is the figure that has been given at the moment. All of those people, we are told
by the Russian authorities, died of gunshot wounds. This individual, this lone gunman has been named as an 18-year-old, Vladislav Roslyakov, who was
said to be a student himself at that college. He went on a shooting spree with a 12-bore shotgun basically just mowing people down as he walked to
the core doors. There is an image that has been put on Russian state television of him, it's a still shot from a CCTV video of him carrying a
weapon apparently in the corridors of the college. And this country is really shocked and trying to come to grips with this appalling, appalling
rampage -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Matthew Chance is in Moscow for you.
Well Israel's air force pummeled targets in Gaza following a rocket attack on southern Israel. Officials say a rocket from Gaza struck the home in
the city of Beer Sheva. They also say a second rocket landed off the coast of Israel. There are no reports of injuries, but in response Israel's air
force struck about two dozen targets in Gaza, killing at least one Palestinian fighter. Oren Liebermann joins us now live from the Gaza
border. Oren, with the very latest, what do you know at this point?
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: All of this escalation happened very quickly, very sharply early Wednesday morning when, as you point out, a
rocket fired from Gaza hit a home in the Israeli city of Beer Sheva. This is important to point out, because the city of Beer Sheva is some 40
kilometers east of Gaza.
[11:25:00] It's not in the Gaza periphery that's in the range of the short- range rockets we are used to. The Israeli military says this was a medium- range more powerful, more heavily armed rocket that struck Beer Sheva. And to get a sense of how rare this is, it is only the second rocket since the
end of the 2014 war to have struck in or near that city in southern Israel. And that explains the response we saw from the Israeli air force, carrying
out strikes on nearly two dozen targets, to include Hamas military targets.
Israeli military says they struck tunnel, two digging sites, a weapons manufacturing site as a well as a number of locations. As you point out,
the ministry of health saying a 25-year-old man, a Palestinian fighter, he was identified as, was killed in that airstrike.
Becky, the question now, who is responsible for this strike? Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the two main factions in Gaza issued an official
denial. The idea If the Israeli military holds Hamas responsible for anything that comes in Gaza and certainly anything that comes out of Gaza.
Although they say it was possible there was a rogue group or splinter group that fired off the rocket. They say that's irrelevant and hold Hamas
The political backdrop here to what's happening is also important, Becky. Because there was an Egyptian delegation in Gaza the last couple of days
trying to advance two separate agreements. First, some sort of long-term ceasefire between Gaza and Israel and trying to advance reconciliation
efforts between Gaza and the West Bank. That Egyptian delegation has, we understand, left, but they have deescalated the situation before. Perhaps
they did once again. Becky, all we hear right now a deceptive com and two drones it sounds like flying overhead.
ANDERSON: Oren Liebermann there by the fence. Thank you.
Live from Istanbul, you are watching CONNECT THE WORLD. Coming up, just how could -- cold hard cash be likely complicated Washington's response to
Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance? That after this.
[11:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ANDERSON: You're watching CNN, this is CONNECT THE WORLD with me Becky Anderson.
As the sun goes down over Istanbul a very warm welcome back. In the fallout of Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance here, it is no secret that
something could be complicating the U.S. response. I'll give you a hint. Not the Saudi flag, it's green, though, and it's Saudi money, it seems.
And that money, the inference is running through Washington for many years before President Trump. CNN's Jake Tapper has this report.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Mr. President, you may not have financial interests in Saudi Arabia, but you certainly have them with Saudi
Arabia. In fact, financially driven friendships have fueled Saudis influence in Washington for decades, lining pockets of Republicans and
Democrats alike from K Street to Capitol Hill and beyond.
BEN FREEMAN, CENTER FOR INTERNATIONAL POLICY: They have lobbyists that will contact your member of Congress on the Hill. They have public
relations firms that will contact big media outlets on their behalf. So, wherever they need influence, they have it.
TAPPER: Abby Asher Shapiro from the Committee to Protect Journalists named names, tweeting out foreign agent registration records from former Reagan
official HP Goldfield from a former staffer for Democratic Senator Bob Menendez and even from Norm Coleman, a former Republican senator from
Minnesota turned lobbyist, among others.
And just before Donald Trump visited the kingdom on his first foreign trip as president last year, the Saudi government hired three U.S. lobbying
firms near the White House, one made up of former Trump advisers, receiving annual compensation of $5.4 million, according to federal records.
FREEMAN: One of those goals is to make sure that arms sales keep flowing from the U.S. to Saudi Arabia. Another is to make sure that the U.S. turns
a blind eye to a lot of civilian casualties that are being experienced in the war in Yemen. Other issues include domestic human rights issues in
Saudi Arabia. They want U.S. policymakers to turn a blind eye to.
TAPPER: Of course, it's not just the government. It's the president's private businesses, as well.
TRUMP: Saudi Arabia and I get along great with all of them. They buy apartments from me, they spend $40 million, $50 million. Am I supposed to
dislike them? I like them very much.
TAPPER: Now relationships with one of the world's largest oil suppliers are being put to the test. As, sources say, the regime prepares to
acknowledge "Washington Post" journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, was killed in Turkey. Saudi officials will continue, of course, to come to the United
States and they have plenty of places to stay. The Saudi government purchased the 45th floor of Trump Tower back in 2001 for $4.5 million.
Although more recently, Saudi lobbying firms spent more than a quarter million dollars at the Trump Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington,
D.C. The road to the White House, after all, is familiar territory for the royal family.
FREEMAN: What we found in our research that the Saudis do a great job of hiring lobbyists who make campaign contributions to people who can get
things done they need to get done. In fact, we found several instances where lobbyists made campaign contributions to folks on the exact same day
they were contacted by a Saudi lobbyist.
TAPPER: Jake Tapper, CNN, Washington.
ANDERSON: Well, in a CNN analysis piece, Stephen Collinson writes that Donald Trump has dug a moral hole through the middle of America's foreign
policy and he is not sorry at all. Stephen joining us now from Washington. From amoral to immoral is how I've heard the critics accusing Donald Trump
of running U.S. foreign policy. There will be people in this region who say that's nothing new from a U.S. administration, I have to say. But the
U.S. President clearly doesn't see it that way. Explain.
STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Right, Becky. You know, you're right. That many people in the Middle East see things like the
invasion of Iraq post-9/11 policies by the United States as examples of gross hypocrisy and don't have much time for this idea that there is a
moral cost behind U.S. foreign policy.
But what Donald Trump has done which no other President since the end of World War II has done, has said that he doesn't believe that there is a
role for the United States in preserving democracy, open trade, and being the sort of guardian of the free world as it used to be called and the
[11:35:00] And I think we've seen that in microcosm in this issue over what happened to Jamal Khashoggi.
What the President has made clear is that he doesn't want U.S. relations with Saudi Arabia, U.S. arms sales, U.S. business links, his aim to use
Saudi Arabia as a fulcrum in his anti-Iran policy to be affected by this. And he's been quite honest and upfront about it. And it's not just on
Saudi Arabia. In the "60 minutes" interview this weekend he made clear that, you know, he wasn't going to let North Korea's human rights
violations get in the way with what he said is almost a loving relationship with Kim Jong-un. And he appeared to say that as long as Russia wasn't
killing President Putin's opponents on U.S. soil, he hinted that he would turn a blind eye. So, this is much more blatant, frank, and open from a
U.S. President on the issue of morality and foreign policy.
ANDERSON: Well, several U.S. lawmakers, as we have been reporting, have strongly criticized Saudi Arabia and they have called for decisive action.
But President Trump seems more than willing to give the Saudis the benefit of the doubt. You just have a listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They deny it. They deny it every way you could imagine.
I just spoke with the king of Saudi Arabia who denies any knowledge of what took place with regard to, as he said, his Saudi Arabian citizen. I asked
and he firmly denied that. It sounded to me like maybe these could have been rogue killers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Mr. Trump comparing the situation to the Brett Kavanaugh hearings, telling "The Associated Press", here we go again with, you know,
you're guilty until proven innocent. I don't like that, he said.
Stephen, this is a narrative which has developed somewhat from what he was originally saying or certainly was sort of boxed in perhaps to say what --
five, six days ago when he said, you know -- should there be evidence here, and of course we are still waiting on that evidence, should it actually
exist, because it's just been leaked to press at present -- that there will be severe punishment, and he talked about significant pressure. What's
COLLINSON: Right. You're right. There has been this quick change of tone at least from the administration. When the President was talking there
about how he was taking the Saudis' word for it almost about what really happened here -- we're talking about possible rogue killers -- it sounded
to me very much like when he met Vladimir Putin and he took President Putin's word that there was no election meddling. You know, clearly, the
President is taking the word of these strong men at times over his own intelligence agencies.
And you're right. I mean, what it looks like, if you look at the pattern of events over the last few days, is that the White House is becoming far
more keen to find a way to sort of end this crisis, than it is to find out exactly what went on. You were speaking earlier about the meetings of Mike
Pompeo, the Secretary of State with the key Saudi royals, how he was sitting there smiling. You don't know what went on behind the scenes, but
this wasn't a narrative or a picture that looks like Mike Pompeo was going over there to read the riot act to the Saudis.
And the message sent around the world is that, you know, a few days after a U.S.-based journalist for a major U.S. newspaper was allegedly killed in a
Saudi government building, the Secretary of State is willing to sit down and smile with these leaders, that sends a message that, you know, there is
not going to be accountability or a cost to pay from the Trump administration for actions like this.
ANDERSON: We've also heard President Trump emphasizing the importance of the U.S./Saudi relationship, particularly when it comes to international
security. Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Saudi Arabia is our partner. They are our ally against Iran and against missiles and against what they are doing, trying to take over the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Iran and Saudi Arabia bitter rivals, of course. So, I'm looking for the end game here perhaps. Does Trump's overriding end game against
Iran effectively sort of cancel anything else out at this point? Is that the narrative at this point?
COLLINSON: It seems to be from the administration's point of view exactly that. Now, there is pressure in Congress. It's possible that we could
see, when Congress comes back after the midterms in late November, some kind of movement towards sanctions against Saudi Arabia.
[11:40:03] But from the White House's perspective it's clear that the Saudi's are absolutely crucial. The beginning of November the
administration has been pressuring its allies to stop buying oil from Iran as part of its policy to crack down on the Islamic Republic. It's going to
need the Saudi's to fill any shortfalls in the international markets given the fact that, you know, the rising price of oil could be very bad for the
economy in the United States and President Trump's own political prospects. So, it seems that there is a very clear rationale for the administration
wanting to get this episode over as quickly as possible and go back to its sorted of real politic in the Middle East of which Saudi Arabia is such a
ANDERSON: We'll certainly take a look at the business and financial economic implications of all of this. The context to this, Stephen. Just
after a very short break. But before that, thank you. And you can follow the latest on the investigation going on here on the website. Be sure to
check out Stephen's article that delved into what he calls a moral apathy of Trump's foreign policy. That is all at CNN.com.
We are live for you in Istanbul. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. We will have more about Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance and the fallout, the
business fallout, from what we are seeing between the U.S., the U.S. and Riyadh, Riyadh and Ankara, all that after this.
ANDERSON: Welcome back. Coming to you live from Istanbul this hour, we have all this week, as you know, and you're watching CNN, this is CONNECT
THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson.
The gruesome accounts emerging in the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi are reverberating through the business world. Some more high-profile figures
dropping out of a meeting known as Davos in the Desert, it's an investment form scheduled for next week in Riyadh. Among them, the IMF managing
director, Christine Lagarde, and the bosses of two of the biggest banks in France, the U.S. treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is still scheduled to
attend that for now. Emerging markets editor John Defterios on the business side of this story as it develops -- John.
JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNNMONEY EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Well, it's an important component, Becky. Because there's billions of dollars at stake. But as
you suggested, as the sordid details come out of Istanbul, we see more of the high-profile players dropping out. And their statements are just short
and to the point, Becky.
[11:45:00] Christine Lagarde saying that her trip is deterred now, even though she wanted to engage before because Saudi Arabia is a member of the
International Monetary Fund.
On the left is Jozef Kemenik, who is the CEO of SOFTGEN, a very large French bank. And also, the chairman of BNP Paribas is not going as well.
I understand it from sources that Siemens that Joe Kaeser is now undecided. He'll decide quickly because of what's being unveiled so far. And these
are the major players that are out. Ten of the 20 -- these are household names if you follow the business community.
And let's get to the brass tacks here. Contracts getting canceled as well. Sir Richard Branson, when he spoke up about his reservations about Saudi
Arabia, in particular, Mohammed bin Salman the crown prince. He's now seeing Saudi Arabia cancel the Virgin Hyperloop One, this project that was
going to be going through the desert there in Saudi Arabia, as something they unveiled last year at the Davos in the Desert.
But billions of dollars -- truly billions of dollars are at stake. And that's why with West has stayed engaged in Saudi Arabia. But the multi-
billion-dollar question, Becky, what happens next? Let's take a closer look.
DEFTERIOS (voice-over): The 33-year-old son of the king seized power last year to become crown prince. He's offered Western companies a volatile mix
ever since. A high-profile 2030 economic reform plan with cutting edge mega cities coupled with heavy-handed moves to consolidate his grip on
power. And now the apparent death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a frequent critic of his leadership.
GARY GRAPPO, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR: The game changer has been on the Saudi side, that they act in this way against a perceived opponent. And I
think U.S. businesses and, indeed, all international businesses are going to have to take that into their calculation.
DEFTERIOS (on camera): So why has Western business remained so engaged in the kingdom? Primarily because Saudi Arabia remains the number one oil
exporter in the world, which has fueled an infrastructure boom well before the current crown prince came on the scene.
RICHARD THOMPSON, EDITORIAL DIRECTOR, MEED: So, you have that combination of oil income and the leadership committing to delivering key projects and
investments. The other markets around the world don't have that. And that's why potentially Saudi Arabia is one of the most attractive markets
DEFTERIOS (voice-over): Research compiled by me captures the scale. $1.4 trillion of major projects. A third of which are already under
construction and a population a tenth of the size of the United States. Last year I toured Haramain train station, part of a $14 billion rail
network that will link the port city of Jeda to the holy sites of Mecca and Medina.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is only the start. We will go more and more bigger and better.
DEFTERIOS: The oil price collapse between 2014 and 2016 slowed down master plans at Haramain and scores of other projects. But new state-of-the-art
buildings, metros, and economic sites can be found everywhere.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: His royal highness, Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
DEFTERIOS: The young crown prince marched in and added a layer of complexity with his 2030 plan which is dependent on Western know-how and
political predictability, which seems to be lacking now.
GRAPPO: U.S. businesses are going to think long and hard about how they're going to continue their relationships with Saudi Arabia when this
particular government takes actions of this nature.
DEFTERIOS: There is a bounty in the kingdom for international business. A great risk now as well.
ANDERSON: John, as you note in your report that oil has driven all that development in Saudi Arabia. This week marks 45 years since the Arab oil
embargo. Has this idea of a real sort of renewed threat from Saudi Arabia to hold back oil actually been dispelled somewhat over the past, what, 72
DEFTERIOS: Yes, I would say an anniversary we would normally not mark, right? So, Becky, 45 years of the Arab oil embargo. But many brought it
up again because we saw a very stern statement over the weekend coming from Riyadh followed up by an op-ed from Al Riyadiah, which is a TV channel
owned by the Saudis. But I think we have to read between the lines here and actually focus our attention on the minister of energy industry and
minerals. That would be Khalid Al Falih.
He gave a speech in India that we talked about last night. But he has the ear of the palace, particularly within the apparatus of King Salman. He is
suggesting that Saudi Arabia will continue to serve this role as the swing producer, replacing oil lost by sanctions from Iran. We know the
deterioration in Venezuela and the off and on game that's happening in Libya. Sometimes the production is up, and sometimes down. He wants to
serve as the buffer or the oil shock absorber. And this is something that plays extremely well in the White House. Because as you know, five times
in 2018 President Trump has leaned on Saudi Arabia specifically and said fill the void if we need it, particularly ahead of the midterm elections.
[11:50:01] ANDERSON: I was talking to Stephen Collinson earlier in the show about U.S./Saudi relations with the view through the prism of sort of
Iran in the crosshairs, in a sense of whether this Donald Trump administration really is prepared to almost sort of forgive anything to
ensure that the U.S. has allies in this sort of anti-Iran rhetoric. We, of course, have a deadline for U.S. sanctions against Iran beginning of
November, which is just a week or so away. We have heard a deafening silence from Tehran in the past two weeks while this sort of whole story of
Jamal's disappearance has been reverberating around the world, which will surprise many. Tehran normally not slow to take an opportunity to
criticize Riyadh. What's Iran's strategy here, do you think?
DEFTERIOS: Well, number one, many saw this as a big gift to Iran because it doesn't have to do anything, Becky. Also, for President Erdogan of
Turkey, kind of emboldens him. We've heard from the Qataris trying to stirring the pot a little bit when it comes to Saudi Arabia and that's not
too surprising because of the embargo.
I think with Iran --and I was listening to this conversation you had with Stephen very carefully. He is suggesting that Donald Trump wants to back
Saudi Arabia and maintain this wall against Iran, but there's been discussions within the U.S. Treasury Department and at State to see if they
may ease the restrictions against Iran and perhaps allow about a million barrels a day of exports. Iran is dropping fast, by the way. It's only at
1.6 million barrels a day of exports. Donald Trump said he wanted to get that to zero. Does he hold that really tough line going forward now
because of what we've seen transpire in Saudi Arabia? His words suggest otherwise but watch this space very carefully. I don't think that story is
over yet, particularly if the price of petrol continues to go up in the midterm elections.
ANDERSON: Yes. Three bucks on the gallon for U.S. consumers will not go down well as we know back home and across the country. All right. John,
thank you for that. John is in Abu Dhabi. I am in Istanbul. This is CONNECT THE WORLD. Coming up, more on the apparent murder of journalist
Jamal Khashoggi. We will show you how his colleagues are honoring him.
ANDERSON: The 15 days, the world outrage and appalled by the story of a man believed to have been killed in the most gruesome of manners by the
hands of those who wanted to silence him.
[11:55:00] Jamal Khashoggi is the Saudi citizen, also the former advisor to the Saudi royal court, was in sum and substance a journalist and was
scheduled to speak at the Gulf International Forum on Wednesday in Washington -- sorry, Tuesday. Where his absence was very much present.
For the time being, only marked by this empty chair and a smiling portrait of the man himself.
Well in his disappearance, Jamal doing what he perhaps never could have done in his writing. We've connected every side of the mystery, the
diplomacy of the investigation, the Geo strategy from every player involved here. Offering you a view from Riyadh and how it is seeing this as well as
here in Turkey and Washington and across the world. And as we break the news and break it down, take a moment to think about everything we have
watched happen so far as we leave you looking out over Istanbul. The city where it all started. I'm Becky Anderson. Good night from here.