Return to Transcripts main page


Jamal Khashoggi Disappearance: U.S. Asks Turkey for Recording Evidence; Myanmar Denies It Attacked Unarmed Rohingya; North Dakota Native Americans Say New I.D. Rules Threaten To Disenfranchise Their Votes; Former Trump Loyalist Now Top Adversary; .U. Leaders Drop Plans for Special Brexit Summit; Crimea College Attack; Photos Show Russian Buildup in Kaliningrad. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired October 18, 2018 - 02:00   ET




ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Searching for clues: investigators spend hours climbing through the home of the Saudi consul in Istanbul amid new reports about Jamal Khashoggi's apparent killing.

Theresa May's big pitch to European leaders fails to bring a deal with the E.U. any closer. We are live in Brussels for the very latest in place.

And then later, CNN takes you to a small stretch of land between Myanmar and Bangladesh, where thousands of Rohingya Muslims live in fear behind barbed wire.

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


CHURCH: Grim new details are emerging in the disappearance and apparent murder of Jamal Khashoggi. According to Turkish media, an audio recording suggests the journalist was tortured, then killed within minutes of entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Turkish officials have said his body was dismembered. Sources say a Saudi intelligence officer, seen here on the left, led the operation and that he has close ties to Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Turkish authorities wearing hazmat suits searched the Saudi consul general's home on Wednesday. They used drones and ultraviolet lights in their search, which lasted about nine hours.

U.S. secretary of state Mike Pompeo will report to President Donald Trump Thursday morning on his recent meeting with the Saudi king and crown prince as well as with Turkish officials.

CNN's Ben Wedeman is in Istanbul, Turkey. He joins us now live. Good to see you, Ben.

So what more are you learning about the investigation into the disappearance and apparent murder of Jamal Khashoggi?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, as you were saying, the Turkish authorities did go into the residence of Mohammad al-Otaibi, the Saudi consul general here in Istanbul. Last night for nine hours they went in with hazmat suits, dogs and other equipment.

They were looking, taking soil samples. They were taking water samples from the cistern under the residency, just as for instance for nine hours in the building behind me on Monday evening, the building behind me being the Saudi consulate here, the Turkish authorities were also searching.

In addition to that we know that yesterday evening for three hours, the Turkish investigators also were back inside the consulate itself. So definitely the Turks are pushing forward with this investigation.

But we continue to remain in this limbo of lots of leaks to the Turkish media and to some of foreign media but no pronouncements from officials really explaining what the situation is.

So it is somewhat ambiguous. But every day does seem to bring more surprises.

CHURCH: Most definitely. And according to Turkish media, an audio recording suggests Khashoggi was tortured and then murdered just within minutes of entering the consulate building.

Why has this audio recording not been shared with American authorities?

WEDEMAN: That is a very good question and we did hear President Trump saying yesterday that he wants to obtain, be given that audio recording and questioned whether it exists at all.

So it appears in the Turks are sort of playing this bad cop/good cop game, whereby unnamed sources are leaking the details of this audiotape, some of the details quite disturbing.

For instance, shortly after Mr. Khashoggi entered the consulate on the 2nd of October, that he was accosted, beaten and had his fingers cut off before he was drugged, killed and then dismembered.

But until those audiotapes are actually shared with other foreign intelligence agencies and governments, we are wholly dependent on these unnamed sources speaking to the Turkish media.

CHURCH: Ben, of course, the relationship between Turkey and Saudi Arabia, it's not great. And so even more so, the need to share this information, if it is there, this audiotape, does it reveal --


CHURCH: -- these grim details that you've just explained to us?

WEDEMAN: Yes. The relationship between Saudi Arabia and Turkey has been rocky in the past but it is important to keep in mind that they do about $8 billion worth of trade a year here in Istanbul, particularly in the summer.

The city is full of Saudi tourists but there is a bit of an arm wrestling contest going on in this part of the world between these two major powers, Turkey is -- certainly doesn't have Saudi Arabia's oil resources.

But it is an economic powerhouse in the region and under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, it has played an ever more assertive regional role in terms of trying to assume a leadership position.

So the relationship perhaps is going to get worse, as the Turks seem to really be drawing this thing out. They do seem to have conclusive evidence one way or the other about the demise or the fate of Jamal Khashoggi.

But they're holding it back, perhaps for political purposes, looking for some sort of long-term benefit.

CHURCH: We will watch very closely to see what that benefit is and how long they hold onto this information. Ben Wedeman bringing us the very latest from Istanbul, many thanks to you.

Looks may be deceiving when it comes to the meetings between the U.S. secretary of state and Saudi leaders. Mike Pompeo has been criticized for his smiling photo op with the Saudi king and crown prince.

But once the cameras were gone, a source says Pompeo firmly told the crown prince he had to own the situation and warned that every fact of the Khashoggi case is going to get out. The source says Pompeo also made it clear the Saudis need to get their investigation done quickly.

Donald Trump is scheduled to meet with U.S. secretary of state Pompeo in the coming hours. This as the U.S. president faces new questions about his handling of the Khashoggi disappearance. CNN's Jeff Zeleny reports from Washington.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Trump denying tonight the U.S. is trying to help Saudi Arabia cover up its alleged involvement in the apparent murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No, not at all. No, I just want to find out what's happening.

ZELENY: Despite mounting evidence of the Saudi kingdom's hand in the disappearance and suspected dismembering of the "Washington Post" columnist two weeks ago in Istanbul, the president still taking a wait-and-see approach. Even as he touts the importance of the U.S.- Saudi relationship. TRUMP: Saudi Arabia has been a very important ally of ours in the Middle East. I want to find out what happened, where is the fault and we will probably know that by the end of the week.

ZELENY: In the Oval Office today, the absence of U.S. moral leadership on clear display. The president would not say why the U.S. is waiting for a Saudi investigation, rather than relying on U.S. intelligence.

TRUMP: Well, he wasn't a citizen of this country, for one thing. And we're going to determine that. And you don't know whether or not we have, do you?

ZELENY (on camera): Well, I --

TRUMP: No, but do you know whether or not we've sent the FBI?

ZELENY: Have you sent the FBI?

TRUMP: I'm not going to tell you.



TRUMP: Why would I tell you?

ZELENY (voice-over): Tonight, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is returning to Washington after a fact-finding mission to Saudi Arabia in Turkey.

Talking to reporters in Istanbul, he defended the U.S. decision to give Saudi leaders time and space.

MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: It's not about benefit of the doubt. It's that it's reasonable -- it's reasonable to give them a handful of days more to complete it so they get it right. So that it's thorough and complete.

ZELENY: As the diplomatic and political crisis steepens for the White House, a growing chorus of Republicans saying the president is not doing enough.

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (R), LOUISIANA: I don't think he fell through a hole in the space-time continuum. I think he's dead. And I think the Saudis killed him. With the exception of Israel, I trust every country in the Middle East as much as I trust gas station sushi.

SEN. BEN SASSE (R), NEBRASKA: I hope he's listening to all of that information, not just the arguments coming from Saudi officials.

ZELENY: Since choosing Saudi Arabia last year as the site of his first foreign trip as president, Trump has worked to forge a strong rapport with the kingdom, showing little, if any, skepticism of Saudi leaders.

TRUMP: I hope that the king and the crown prince didn't know about it. That's a big factor in my eyes. And I hope they haven't.

ZELENY: That interview with FOX Business today only the latest in the president's media blitz, doing a crush of appearances 20 days before the midterm elections. He's placing himself at the center of the conversation.

But when asked whether he will own some of the blame if Republicans lose control of Congress, he told the Associated Press, no.

Now President Trump expecting a briefing from secretary of state Mike Pompeo Thursday here at the White House. Also Thursday, a decision finally from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin if he will still attend that business conference next week in Riyadh,

Of course, so many CEOs have pulled out of that, wanting to distance themselves from --


ZELENY: -- Saudi leaders. The U.S. has not made a decision. Mnuchin said he will by Thursday -- Jeff Zeleny, CNN, the White House.


CHURCH: CNN global affairs analyst Max Boot joins me now.

Thank you so much for being with us.


CHURCH: President Trump denies he's giving cover to the Saudis for the disappearance and apparent murder of Jamal Khashoggi but "The Washington Post" says the Trump administration and the Saudi royals are stalling for time to find a mutually agreeable explanation for his death, one that won't implicate the crown prince.

Is that what's happening here and, if so, why?

Is it all about oil and arms sales?

BOOT: That is clearly what is happening. It is truly shocking and horrifying that Donald Trump was more viscerally offended by Canadian milk exports than he is about the murder and dismemberment of an American Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi.

And clearly what Donald Trump is trying to do is to provide a face- saving cover story for the Saudis. And they've been throwing out ideas like maybe this was the work of rogue killers or maybe this was an interrogation gone bad, as if they're somehow OK if they kidnapped and tortured Jamal before killing him.

Donald Trump keeps coming up with reasons why we can't get tough with Saudi Arabia. None of them are particularly convincing. He talks about, for example, $110 billion worth of arms sales. That figure is a fantasy. It's more like $20 billion. And the reality is the Saudis can't readily go to anybody else because they're entirely dependent upon American weapons systems. If we cut them off from spare parts, their entire air force would be grounded within a week.

We don't need them for oil. We're self-sufficient in oil. Yes, we do need to contain Iran but they want to contain Iran. They're not doing us any favors. Donald Trump himself said just a few weeks ago that, without American protection, the Saudi Arabia would collapse within a couple of weeks.

And that's an exaggeration but it does indicate that we have the advantage here. We are the stronger power here. But Donald Trump is not acting like it.

CHURCH: And, Max, this is what you wrote in your latest column.

"If the Saudis carried out this grisly crime with high-level authorization, they did so, at least in part, because they anticipated that the American president wouldn't care about the disappearance of another enemy of the people.

"Trump has given every despot on the planet a license to kill without worrying about the U.S. reaction because, in all likelihood, there will be none."

Now if you're right, Max, and there is no reaction from President Trump to the alleged murder of this journalist, how do you expect Congress and the international community to respond to that lack of moral leadership on the part of the U.S. president and what impact will this whole issue likely have on the credibility of the U.S.?

BOOT: That is the only way we're going to get justice for Jamal Khashoggi and that is through action by Congress because clearly President Trump's instinct is to conduct a cover-up.

But there is a lot of bipartisan outreach on Capitol Hill. And remember, last year, Congress passed by nearly unanimous margins very strong sanctions on Russia that President Trump opposed and Congress essentially shoved it down his throat. They forced him to take it because the margin was so -- was so high.

And I think there is the possibility for something like that happening in this present instance. And if it doesn't happen, essentially the Saudis will get away with murder.

CHURCH: But if there was enough pressure brought to bear via Congress and the international community, how possible is it that enough global pressure would be brought to bear that the crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, will be forced to step aside?

And could that be a possible solution to saving U.S.-Saudi relations ultimately?

BOOT: I think, at this point, that may well be the best outcome for MBS, the crown prince, as he is called, to step aside. Nobody is suggesting that we sever relations with Saudi Arabia. We have to do business with Saudi Arabia. They are a very imperfect, in fact, brutal regime. But we don't have any great alternatives there.

But that said, we don't have to do business with MBS. He is a relative newcomer. He only took over as crown prince last year. He is a young man in a hurry. He has a lot of enemies in the Saudi establishment. There a lot of older princes that he pushed aside to take the position that he now occupies.

And if it is, in fact, proven, as seems very likely, that he is directly implicated in this horrifying kidnapping, torture and murder of Jamal Khashoggi, there have to be consequences for that.

And Congress can mandate those consequences, for example, by imposing sanctions under the global --


BOOT: -- Magnitsky Act on the crown prince MBS and other figures close to him who are implicated in this case and that could, in fact, exert enough pressure where the king, MBS' father, figures that he might have to get rid of him in order to preserve the larger Saudi- U.S. relationship.

Given how recklessly MBS has acted in the past; for example, kidnapping the prime minister of Lebanon, blockading Qatar, he has made a lot of mistakes. And he's done a few good things; don't get me wrong. He's done a few good things, like letting women drive.

But he has also very reckless and heavy-handed. And is not clear to me that he has the wisdom and the maturity to lead the kingdom.

CHURCH: Max Boot, we thank you for your analysis and your perspective.

BOOT: Thank you.

CHURCH: To another big story we're following now, British Prime Minister Theresa May is set to address the media in the coming hours after her big pitch in Brussels about Brexit received a cool reception from European leaders.

CNN is hearing from sources that E.U. leaders have dropped plans for a special summit next month which would have sealed the deal to pull the U.K. out of the E.U.

The reason: not enough progress has been made during Brexit negotiations. Let's go live to Brussels now with CNN's Erin McLaughlin is standing by.

Good to see you, Erin. The Irish border, that's the big sticking point here.

Where does all of this leave Brexit negotiations now?

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Rosemary, the hope had been that this would have been a breakthrough summit, that they would have had some sort of development that could break the impasse over the Northern Ireland border question, a Gordian knot in the words of Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, with no Alexander the Great to cut through it at the moment.

That seems to be the status quo here in Brussels after the developments of last night, the 27 E.U. leaders taking a decision not to call that extraordinary summit. They had hoped to host here in Brussels in November to sign off on any final deal for the withdrawal agreement in the Brexit process.

Now that looks like it's been pushed; no date for that in sight. E.U. leaders out of that dinner, working dinner last night, saying that Theresa May had words of goodwill when she addressed the 27 prior to the dinner.

We got a bit of information in terms of what she had to say from a spokesperson from Downing Street who said that she told the E.U. leaders, quote, "We've shown we can do difficult deals together constructively. I remain confident for a good outcome and the last stage requires trust and leadership on both sides."

But in the words of the president of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, she had little in the way of substance. Take a listen to what he had to say.


ANTONIO TAJANI, PRESIDENT, EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT (through translator): There is a message of goodwill, there is a readiness to reach an agreement. But I did not perceive anything substantially new in terms of content as I listened to Ms. May.


Tajani says that May did mention the possibility of extending the transition period, a period of time in which the status quo remains the same following a Brexit on March 29th of next year.

That really is not sitting well with Brexiteers back at home, the fact that the U.K. during that time would be a real taker, not a real maker and have to continue to pay into the European budget, a sticking point to them, the fact that there is a transition to begin with not sitting well.

So the idea that that would be extended even further, again not sitting well with those Brexiteers, further highlighting her political situation back home. She did not have a lot of room to maneuver. So it's very difficult to see a way out for this negotiation impasse -- Rosemary.

CHURCH: Many thanks to our Erin McLaughlin bringing us that live report from Brussels.

Let's take a short break here. Still to come, dozens killed and wounded from an attack at a college in Crimea. And authorities say the gunman was a teenage student.

Plus a view from aboard a U.S. warship as exclusive new satellite photos show Russia is building up its military on NATO's doorstep. We're back in just a moment.





CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone.

Russian authorities are investigating an attack at a college in Crimea. State run media say 20 people were killed, dozens wounded and the suspect, we're told, was a student. Our Matthew Chance has the details


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is the chaotic aftermath of the shocking attack that has left dozens dead or injured at a Crimean technical college. Russian emergency workers scene in Kerch said the majority of victims are just teenagers. Initial reports spoke of an explosion on their college campus.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): According to preliminary information, an unidentified explosive device packed with metal objects went off in the cafeteria of Kerch Polytechnic College. We are checking information about the victims.

CHANCE: The exact moment of the explosion was captured of a car dash cam nearby. The investigators now say all of those killed died of gunshot wounds, inflicted by a lone attacker.

And this is the suspect caught on college security cameras and identified on Russian state television as 18-year-old Vladislav Roslyakov.

Investigators say he was carrying a second explosive device and large amounts of ammunition. He turned his weapon on himself, they say, after opening fire inside the campus.

The coastal town of Kerch is on a Crimean side of a controversial bridge built by Russia after it annexed the territory from Ukraine in 2014. It was opened by Vladimir Putin himself early this year.

Russian lawmakers initially suggested Ukraine may have been behind what was first suspected to be a terrorist attack. It's now labeled a mass murder and the Kremlin is focusing on support for the victims and their families.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (through translator): I want to express condolences to the relatives of those who died and expressed hope that the victims will recover as soon as possible. We will do everything possible for this.

CHANCE: Meanwhile, Russia has declared three days of official mourning, as it grapples with an appalling rampage -- Matthew Chance, CNN, Moscow.


CHURCH: The Taliban in Afghanistan have claimed responsibility for another deadly bombing ahead of this weekend's parliamentary elections.


CHURCH: A blast in Helmand province killed a candidate and three others. The province is a stronghold of the Taliban. At least 10 candidates have been assassinated in the run-up to Saturday's election. The Taliban have vowed a campaign of violence to keep Afghans from voting.

About 50,000 Afghan troops have been assigned to protect polling places on Election Day.

CNN has obtained exclusive satellite imagery that appears to show Russia is beefing up its military bases along the Baltic Sea. That is certain to make NATO allies in the region very nervous. The U.S. military says it's ready for any challenge from Russia. CNN's Fred Pleitgen has this report from aboard a U.S. warship in the North Atlantic.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): The USS Iwo Jima off the coast of Iceland. In the hangar deck, Marines gearing up for an air assault, retaliation if there's an attack on a U.S. ally.

Corporal Derek Hussinger is part of the invasion force.

CPL. DEREK HUSSINGER, U.S. MARINE CORPS: We get our guns situated, put the tripod down, set the gun up and then stable platform, you suppress and fire.

PLEITGEN: The exercise also a deterrent, as the North Atlantic region becomes more contested.

(on camera): With this exercise, the U.S. and its allies are practicing their response in case a friendly nation gets attacked. While the adversary in this exercise is fictitious, it comes at a time of growing tensions for the U.S. and Russia.

(voice-over): As the Marines race to the Icelandic coast, new evidence that Russia is beefing up its capabilities right in the heart of Europe. CNN has exclusively obtained satellite images from the Israeli firm ImageSat International, seemingly showing massive construction work at Russia's bases in Kaliningrad; upgrading a nuclear storage facility there; adding new, bigger ammunition bunkers; and upgrading the military airfield.

Is Vladimir Putin building up his military in Kaliningrad? Russia's defense ministry didn't respond to CNN's request for information.

But the commander of U.S. naval forces in Europe and Africa tells me there's a pattern of Russia upgrading its capabilities in the region.

ADMIRAL JAMES FOGGO III, COMMANDER OF U.S. NAVAL FORCES, EUROPE- AFRICA: They're putting a lot of their modern weapon systems, anti- ship cruise missiles, radars, the Bastian (ph) system, the S-300 and S-400 in there.

PLEITGEN: Sending a message of strength to Moscow, the U.S. and its NATO allies are gearing up for an even bigger exercise in Norway.

FOGGO: If they want to challenge us, we will challenge them. We're not going to be intimidated by those systems that are out there.

PLEITGEN: And that challenge is now playing out in the North Atlantic region with an increasingly assertive Russia and the U.S. showing it won't back down -- Fred Pleitgen, CNN, aboard the USS Iwo Jima in the Atlantic Ocean.


CHURCH: We'll take a short break. But still to come, the search for answers expands in Istanbul. Turkish investigators broaden their investigation of the Saudis and a presumed final message from Jamal Khashoggi is published.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's discriminating and disenfranchising to our people to not allow them to vote. And it's discouraging on top of that.

CHURCH (voice-over): Later this hour, why this voting rights advocate says Native Americans are being discriminated against at the ballot box. We'll explain when we come back.


[02:30:54] CHURCH: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Rosemary Church. I want to update you now on the main stories we've been following this hour. Turkish authorities searched the Saudi consul general's home in Istanbul Wednesday in the Jamal Khashoggi investigation. According to Turkish media, an audio recording suggest the journalist was tortured at the Saudi consulate at was killed within minutes of his arrival. An E.U. source tell CNN European leaders have dropped plans for a

special Brexit summit in November. They say there hasn't been enough progress during the current talks. British Prime Minister Theresa May's big Brexit pitch was met with a cool reception Wednesday night in Brussels. She is scheduled to address the media on Thursday. Russian authorities are investigating an attack to a college in Crimea. State-run media say at least 20 people were killed and dozens wounded.

Investigators say the gunman was an 18-year-old student who eventually killed himself. The attack was first being investigated as terrorism but has since been labeled a mass murder. The Washington Post has published what appears to be Jamal Khashoggi's final column. It was written shortly before he went missing and his haunting words focus on the need for press freedom in the Middle East. The Post printed it in English and in Arabic.

It reads in part, Arab governments have been given free range to continue silencing the media at an increasing rate. There was a time when journalists believe the internet would liberate information from the censorship and control associated with print media. But these governments whose very existence relies on the control of information have aggressively blocked the internet. They have also arrested local reporters and pressured advertisers to harm the revenue of specific publications.

Khashoggi's colleague and editor at The Post, Karen Attiah.

KAREN ATTIAH, GLOBAL OPINIONS EDITOR, THE WASHINGTON POST: We held off. We honestly saw it that maybe we were dealing with, you know, perhaps, you know, an interrogation situation. We thought that maybe a huge comeback to us. We thought maybe we were perhaps even dealing with an imprisonment or a hostage situation. But as time went on, it became increasingly clear that I wouldn't edit him again and so I think this week we decided as the story is moving on to sort of the U.S.-Saudi relationship, a geopolitical story rumors are swirling about who he -- who Jamal was.

We just decided we wanted to bring it back to his words, to his ideas, to his thoughts, and who he was as a person and why he was so passionate about being free here in Washington and being free here at The Washington Post. So we thought it was appropriate just to remind people of the human of the man who fell victim to apparently a horrific crime.

CHURCH: Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance and possible murder is already chilling the business climate in Saudi Arabia. More global bankers and investors are pulling out of this month's investment conference in Riyadh including Christine Lagarde of the International Monetary Fund. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin says he will decide on Thursday. That's some just a few hours whether to attend possibly at stake is a big arms purchase by the Saudi Kingdom. Right now, U.S. President Donald Trump is against cancelling it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're hurting. It's 500,000 jobs. It will be ultimately a hundred and ten billion dollars, the biggest order in the history of our country from an outside military. And I said, we're going to turn that down? Why would we do that? So hopefully, it's working out. We'll find out. We'll get down to the bottom of it. I hope that the king and the crown prince didn't know about it. This is a big factor in my eyes.


[02:35:10] CHURCH: Saudi Arabia's bold vision for its future is closely tied to maintaining healthy relations with global business partners. But with the Saudi royal family under increasing scrutiny in the Khashoggi case. Most relationships could be in jeopardy. We get more now from CNN's John Defterios.


JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: The 33-year-old son of the king seized power last year to become crown prince. He's offered western companies of volatile mix ever since, a high profile 2030 economic reform plan with cutting edge megacities 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 UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR TO OMAN: The game changer has been on the Saudi side that they act in this way against the precede opponent and I think U.S. businesses and indeed all international businesses are going to have to take that into their calculation.


DEFTERIOS: So why has western business remain so engage 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, MIDDLE EAST ECONOMIC DIGEST: 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 and that's why potentially Saudi Arabia is one of the most attractive markets anywhere.

DEFTERIOS: Research compiled by me captures the scale, $1.45 trillion of major projects, a third of which are already under construction and a population just a tenth of the size of the United States. Last year, I toured the Haramain train station, part of a $14 billion rail network that will link the port City of Jeddah to the holy sites of Mecca and Medina.

MOHAMMAD FEDA, DIRECTOR GENERAL, HARAMAIN HIGH SPEED RAILWAY: This is only the start. We will go more and more bigger and bigger and better.

DEFTERIOS: The oil price collapsed 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 Mohammad Bin Salman.

DEFTERIOS: Young crown prince marched in (INAUDIBLE) complexity with his 2030 plan which is dependent on western knowhow 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's a big bounty in the kingdom for international business. The great risk now as well. John Defterios, CNN, Abu Dhabi.


CHURCH: And still to come here on CNN NEWSROOM, rare access inside a Rohingya refugee camp where thousands are trap in no man's land forced out of Myanmar but not allowed to cross into Bangladesh. Plus --


[02:40:56] CHURCH: We turn now to the Rohingya crisis. More than 700,000 Rohingya Muslims forced to flee into Bangladesh in just the past year. They're escaping a military operation in Myanmar that the U.N. calls ethnic cleansing. CNN's Matt Rivers got rare access to the area. He found recent history erased just a few clues left of the horror that forced those hundreds of thousands to flee. Well, Matt joins us now from Beijing with more on his special report. Matt, what all did you see and how exactly has proof of this horror being erased?

MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Rosemary, I think the entire international community absent Myanmar's government itself has agreed on what happened in Myanmar that it was an ethnic cleansing at the least the genocide if you listen to what the U.N. is saying. But Myanmar hasn't accepted that and invited us into try and change this narrative that has developed. So they wanted us to come in and they would tell us everything is fine.

Nothing really bad happened here. And so we did accept their offer. We listened to what they had to say. We judge what they have to say based on their -- on its merits and we came with -- came up with our own conclusion. Here's our story.


RIVERS: These people are Rohingya Muslims. Some of those who fled from what the U.N. calls a genocide. Myanmar's government wants you to believe it never happened.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our (INAUDIBLE) to save life. We escape our life.

RIVERS: To meet these people, it took several days in a rickety boat ride to get to this part of Rakhine State in remote Western Myanmar. So foreigners aren't allowed in this part of Rakhine. The only way we're here is on a government escort. We're only taken when authorities want us to go. Our first stop the village of (INAUDIBLE) that used to be more than 6000 Rohingya living here. It's Rohingya. Their existence now all but erased. That way? OK. Thank you.

So this is what's left of the Rohingya village that was here. It's completely overgrown. It's hard to tell that there were any structures here at any point. The only clues we have to the violence that took place here are trees like this one still a year later bearing the scorched marks of the fires that burnt this village to the ground. The government said their forces did respond to Rohingya terror attacks here in 2017, but that the Rohingya burnt down their own houses.

Only local Rakhine Buddhist remains now. This man supports that story. The Rohingya started threatening the army, he says. The Muslims announced that they would have a celebration by slaughtering and cooking the soldiers and Rakhine people. Though clear evidence shows it was the Rohingya who were the main victims of slaughter. Ten Rohingya men were hacked and shot to death by Myanmar soldiers, a massacre the military has admitted to and that two Reuters journalist were jailed for investigating.

The U.N. says many more men, women, and children were savagely killed here as well. The trip then continues through a barren empty landscape make sense when you remember the U.N. says 720,000 Rohingya fled when violence broke out last year. A full U.N. report documents how the military and local groups engaged in rape, torture, and the murder of at least 10,000 people to get rid of the Rohingya, a group many in broader Myanmar regard as subhuman non-citizens.

So do you continue to claim that genocide did not happen in Rakhine State?

YEE HTOO, DEPUTY ADMINISTRATOR, MAUNGDAW DISTRICT: During the incident, there were some damage. Regarding the army, they did everything within the law. We cannot comment on whether it was right or wrong.

[02:44:56] RIVERS: The question is very simple. Do you believe that genocide happened here or not?

HTOO (through translator): I'd say genocide didn't happen.

RIVERS: Myanmar's civilian leader Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, also denies genocide. Her government says it's ready to bring back Rohingya refugees like these, stuck in No Man's Land, forced out of Myanmar, and not allowed across the border into Bangladesh. They are staying put in part because security forces that would oversee their return are some of the same people accused of carrying out the killing in the first place. 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. Myanmar might continue to deny ethnic cleansing but the evidence gathered by the U.N. and others is overwhelming. A government-sponsored trip does nothing to change that fact.


RIVERS: And Rosemary, you know, aside from issues of security, the Rohingya also wants citizenship in Myanmar which they don't have currently. And also they want to go back to their original land, take ownership of the property where they were.

Myanmar's government has already said they're not going to do that. So, without security citizenship and property ownership, the Rohingya don't want to come back. So, how this moves forward, what happens next? There is just no clear path or forward, Rosemary.

CHURCH: And many thanks to you, Matt Rivers, for that special report on the Rohingya people.

Well, voter identification rules are under scrutiny in North Dakota. A law passed last year requires residents to show identification with a current street address. But as Drew Griffin explains, the law makes it more difficult for the Native American population to vote.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: On the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota Terry Yellow Fat for years voted with an ID with no address. In fact, he didn't know his street address, he knew his post-office box, and that was enough until now.

TERRY YELLOW FAT, STANDING ROCK SIOUX TRIBE: I have no idea why they want a physical address. The post-office box always worked.

GRIFFIN: A North Dakota law passed last year and upheld by the Supreme Court last week, demands voters in this state and on tribal lands present a valid ID with an actual street address. While that may sound like it's no big deal to you, here on the Standing Rock Reservation and tribal lands across North Dakota, the law is seen to have one purpose, keep Native Americans from voting.

MARGARET LANDIN, NATIVE VOTER, NORTH DAKOTA: It is a very complicated problem because we don't -- some Reservations, they don't have street addresses. Majority of them don't have house numbers. So, what they've been utilizing is a P.O. Box.

GRIFFIN: Margaret Landin, a Native American voting rights advocate, says just weeks before November's election, some Native Americans, her husband included are scrambling to get new I.D.s just to vote.

Neals Landin had no idea what his street address was. He had to call his County emergency coordinator to find out. NEALS LANDIN, HUSBAND OF MARGARET LANDIN: So, I got three first Avenue East is what they told me on the phone.

GRIFFIN: The process did take just minutes and he now has a tribal I.D., he will be able to vote.

Did it cost anything?

N. LANDIN: No fee.

GRIFFIN: That's not the point, says wife, Margaret.

M. LANDIN: It's discriminating and disenfranchising to our people to not allow them to vote. And it's discouraging on top of that.

ALVIN JAEGER, SECRETARY OF STATE, NORTH DAKOTA: It's not designed to disenfranchise anybody.

GRIFFIN: Al Jaeger is North Dakota's Secretary of State. He's trying to implement the new law which he says is designed to protect the integrity of the vote. And what could be simpler he says than to merely present an I.D. that says who you are and where you lived.

JAEGER: Pretty simple process. And so, others seem to be -- you know, making it a lot more than it is. It's pretty simple.

GRIFFIN: But others seem to be saying that you're trying to disenfranchise Native American vote, sir.

JAEGER: Well, we're not. We want every qualified person in the state of North Dakota to be able to vote.

GRIFFIN: The backdrop for the push to get this voter I.D. law in North Dakota began shortly after Democrat Heidi Heitkamp narrowly won her election for U.S. Senate in 2012. She won by less than 3,000 votes with the backing of Native Americans who tend to vote Democrat.

There is a much bigger story going on here. Laws across the U.S. are being passed to make it harder, not easier to vote. Since the 2016 election, according to the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University, nine states with Republican State legislators have passed laws restricting to vote.

In Georgia, a law requiring an exact match of voter registration information has placed 53,000 mostly African-American voters on a pending list. In Arkansas, a new photo I.D. requirement goes into effect this election. And in Indiana, the state's use of a nationwide cross-check system to purge voter rolls has ruled a violation of the National Voter Registration Act.

Why so many laws? Take a guess.

[02:50:29] TRUMP: In many places like California, the same person votes many times. You probably heard about that. They always like to say, Oh, that's a conspiracy theory." Not a conspiracy theory, folks. Millions and millions of people. GRIFFIN: Actually, it is a conspiracy theory. There is no evidence, none, that massive voter fraud is taking place anywhere in the United States, North Dakota included.

So, Mr. Secretary, was there -- is there a large problem with illegal voting in this state?

JAEGER: Well, one thing we can't prove one way or the other. In the past, we have referred we got -- I cannot prosecute, so in the past, we have referred situations of, and they haven't been prosecuted. We had -- you know, a case --


GRIFFIN: But, I mean, how many?

JAEGER: Well, we -- just a handful.

GRIFFIN: Myrna Perez, with the Brennan Center for Justice, says these voter fraud laws have little to do with fighting actual voter fraud.

MYRNA PEREZ, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, BRENNAN CENTER FOR JUSTICE: For instead, seeing the kinds of laws that make it harder for people who are poor, traditionally disenfranchised minority groups and folks who generally have a hard time participating on elections and this is just another barrier for them.

GRIFFIN: Now, because of this new law, activists fear thousands of North Dakotans will not be able to vote. And while CNN has yet to find any evidence to back that up, those same activists say the real effect could be discouraging voters from even showing up with or without proper I.D. Drew Griffin, CNN Fort Yates, North Dakota.


CHURCH: And still to come, it is a political drama that seems ripped right out of the pages of classical literature.


DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: The disloyalty is the stuff of Shakespeare.


CHURCH: After the break, why one of the men who's stood by Donald Trump for years has turned into one of his greatest enemies. Back in a moment.


CHURCH: Welcome back. The man who once was Donald Trump's personal lawyer has been busy since his falling out with the U.S. President. Michael Cohen met with law enforcement officials who are investigating the president's family business and charity. It follows meetings he's had with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team who are investigating collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the election and any obstruction of justice.

With relations between Cohen and Mr. Trump have become so bad, there is talk the president's former fixer may even campaign against him. Here is Brian Todd with that report.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: For 12 years, Michael Cohen was the ultimate Trump loyalists. Once vowing he'd take a bullet for his client.

MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER LAWYER TO DONALD TRUMP: I protect Mr. Trump, that's what it is.

TODD: According to a friend, Cohen said, he'd rather jump out of a building than turn on Donald Trump. Now, Trump may want to push Cohen out that window.

After the president's former lawyer turned on his old boss in court in August, he's now turning up the heat on it.

GERGEN: The disloyalty is the stuff of Shakespeare.

TODD: A Democrat with knowledge telling CNN's M.J. Lee, Cohen is prepared to campaign against Trump and the Republicans in the Midterm Elections and in 2020. Calling out what he considers to be lies from Trump.

How much might at anger, Donald Trump?

MICHAEL KRANISH, NATIONAL POLITICAL INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, WASHINGTON POST: Well, Donald Trump, let his attack -- they have attacking back or to diminish the person who is attacking him.

[02:55:02] TODD: Diminishing and attacking Cohen is exactly what Trump has done this week. Telling The Associated Press, his former lawyer lied in court. And that he quote, "was a P.R. person who did small legal work."

Those who've chronicled Trump and Cohen, say this is a complete 180 for Cohen, the man known for so long as Donald Trump's fixer who would go to any lengths to hide Trump's alleged personal adventures from public view.

KRANISH: If he heard something bad was happening for Trump, he would try to go and fix it if that man as a reporter was writing a story, he might call that reporter often, threaten them, or curse them, or try to convince them not to write the story in some way or other.

TODD: One former Trump campaign official, once said, Cohen was a less cruel version of Ray Donovan, Showtime's fictional Hollywood fixer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no. Oh, Jesus, Ray. TODD: But in recent months, Cohen has made it clear he's no longer loyal to Trump. When the president accused the FBI of breaking in and illegally raiding Cohen's office, Cohen made a point of saying, "The FBI had been extremely professional, courteous, and respectful.

In June, he used his resignation from the Republican National Committee to hit the president's policy of separating immigrant families. Calling the policy, "heart-wrenching." But it was his August guilty plea to felony campaign finance violations, including one stemming from his arrangement of a $130,000 payment to porn star Stormy Daniels to keep quiet about her alleged affair with Trump that was seen as the ultimate turn of the screw.

That's because Cohen chose to stand up in court and say he arranged the payments at Trump's direction, even though, Cohen did not have a cooperation agreement. Trump has said he's done nothing wrong and denied the affairs.

Since his court appearance, Cohen has sat for hours, talking to investigators from the U.S. Attorney's Office and Robert Mueller's team.

KRANISH: There are clearly things that Michael Cohen knows that no one else knows.

TODD: Now, Cohen is showing no signs of letting up from a public split that's dramatic and Machiavellian even by Washington standards. Between two men who analysts say, now have it in for each other.

GERGEN: Michael Cohen is a guy who's bringing a knife to the fight that doesn't know often happening with Donald Trump. Most people sort of just came in, and say the hell with it. But Cohen is really bitterly angry, it's affected his whole life.

TODD: CNN source says that so far, Michael Cohen has not had any meaningful conversations with Democratic leaders about the possibility of campaigning. Analysts say it's not clear if any Democratic candidates are going to want him to campaign for them because of all of his controversies and the fact that he could soon be serving jail time.

A spokesperson for the Democratic National Committee, would not comment on the possibility of Cohen campaigning. Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


CHURCH: And thanks so much for joining us this hour. I'm Rosemary Church. I'll be back with another hour of news in just a moment. Do stick around.