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Saudis Confirm Death of Journalist Jamal Khashoggi; Scenes of Desperation, Chaos at Guatemalan Border Gate; U.S. Charges Russian for Meddling; Khashoggi's Death Leads to Scrutiny of Trump-Saudi Ties; More Delays in Afghanistan Vote; Pop Stars Promote the Vote. Aired 5- 6a ET

Aired October 20, 2018 - 05:00   ET




NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Missing for almost three weeks and now finally a confirmation from the Saudi kingdom. "The Washington Post" journalist Jamal Khashoggi is dead.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Plus a group of migrants stuck at Mexico's southern border. The U.S. president blames the Democrats for the caravan who he says has some bad people in it.

ALLEN (voice-over): Also this hour, parliamentary elections have begun in Afghanistan. But technical setbacks keep many from voting. They've been waiting for this day for many years and they may have to wait longer.

HOWELL (voice-over): Welcome to viewers here in the United States and all around the world. I'm George Howell.

ALLEN (voice-over): And I'm Natalie Allen. NEWSROOM starts right now.


ALLEN: Eighteen days after Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi seemed to vanish into thin air, Saudi Arabia finally admits it knows what happened to him. To the surprise of no one, the Saudis now confirm he died after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul October 2nd in what is described as a fist fight with more than 1 dozen Saudi officials.

HOWELL: The explanation certainly begging many questions. This comes after weeks of denials by Saudi officials. Now according to Saudi state media, five high ranking Saudi officials have been removed from their posts over Khashoggi's death, including the number two man at the Saudi intelligence, Ahmed al-Asiri. Eighteen Saudis are being detained in the case and here is how the news broke on state television.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The investigation showed that primary discussions was inside the consulate of the Saudi Arabia; was not carried out in the proper way which led to arguments and hand to hand fight with the officials and Jamal Khashoggi which exacerbated the situation that led to his death.


HOWELL: That was the narrative explanation being offered. And when asked whether he found that credible, U.S. president had this to say.


TRUMP: I do. I mean, it is again early. We haven't finished our review or investigation. But I think it is a very important first step and it happened sooner than people thought it would happen.


ALLEN: CNN global correspondents are following all aspects of this story. Sam Kiley is live in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, for us. International diplomatic editor Nic Robertson is in Istanbul.

And first to you, Sam, Saudi Arabia finally talking about what happened in their consulate there in Turkey.

What is the leadership saying?

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: At 1:00 in the morning local times, the state TV ran the statement from the royal court, in which it announced first and foremost for the first time that Jamal Khashoggi had been killed and killed by Saudi suspects inside the consulate.

Up until that point the official line had been that he left safe and sound but that the Saudis were jointly investigating this disappearance, as they characterized it, until the small hours of this morning as a missing persons investigation.

Now they also announced that 18 people had been detained as part of the Saudi investigation, which they say is also based on the information that they've received from the Turks. We don't know yet whether those 18 include whom the Turkish say flew into Istanbul ahead of what we now know to be the death of "The Washington Post" columnist on two aircraft on the day that he died and flew out again.

But we may well learn that later on. This is the interesting bit. Five very senior members of the administration, including the deputy head of intelligence, who's very close to the crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, and then the crown prince's most senior media adviser --


KILEY: -- have been relieved of their positions. They've not been detained; they're not yet being described as suspects but they've been relieved of their positions. We don't know yet why they've been relieved of their positions.

A cynic might say perhaps they didn't know the consulate was bugged, which would seem likely by the Turkish, but more likely is they are being removed as part of the crown prince's new investigative committee, which will be presiding over the complete transformation, a reformation of the intelligence services. Both that and the investigation here scheduled to end in a month's time.

ALLEN: Sam Kiley for us and we still don't know, they have not said where is the body of Mr. Khashoggi. Sam, thank you for the reporting.

Let's turn to Nic Robertson who is in Turkey.

Nic, does the Saudi narrative hold water?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: There's a lot of it that's going to be scrutinized very carefully and there are elements that seem to beggar belief. The notion that the Saudis should say this is a regrettable incident belies the fact that the family of Jamal Khashoggi has been waiting to find out from Saudi officials for 2.5 weeks what happened to Jamal Khashoggi.

And still the full extent of that information is not there. So this is deeply regrettable. The family's still left wondering where the body is. But I think if you try to examine this from the Turkish perspective, part of the announcement by Saudi officials talked about a cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Turkey on the investigation.

It says that Saudi Arabia sent a delegation who would work with Turkish authorities on the 6th of October. That's four days after Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance. But it is a further nine days before they allow Turkish investigators to get inside the consulate.

And when they do get inside the consulate, they find much of it has been painted over. It takes another two days to get into the consul general's hours. That doesn't really speak to the close cooperation that these statements are alluding to, the fact they haven't said what's happened to his body after all this time.

Again, points to a lack of cooperation. There's much of this that doesn't stand up to scrutiny and, in part, because, in essence, the Saudis haven't said very much. They haven't said why these people have been removed, why these other people have been detained. It's all up in the air.

And it's sort of, if you will, buried in their statement because they say their investigation will run for another month. So there's a lot about this that beggars belief, not least the timeline here.

ALLEN: Government and intelligence officials who have appeared on CNN do not find their explanation plausible. However, the U.S. president has said he finds the Saudis' explanation credible.

You have to wonder what is going through the White House as it figures out what is the future of this Saudi prince?

Mohammed bin Salman came on a PR campaign. He's been wooing the world and now it's not looking for him.

What could be next for him?

What are the possibilities, Nic?

ROBERTSON: Well, it was intriguing that President Trump actually said this statement from the Saudis had come sooner than most people had expected. The statement that came from the Saudis initially was that Jamal Khashoggi had left the consulate. And that's the statement that's been standing for well over two weeks.

I think most people are staggered it's taken the Saudis more than two weeks to issue an update to the statement, given they have now accepted that he died in their consulate as a result of this so-called fist fight. And that appears to be a loose description when stood next to what Turkish officials have described what happened here.

Where does this leave Mohammed bin Salman?

The message that emerges from the kingdom at this time is that the man who's had pretty much sole charge of running the country, that all ministers report to, the many who decides on all the key moves that the kingdom makes, that's the image that's presented globally, is now perhaps more untouchable than other because he's the one who is in charge of investigating the malfeasance of his own officials, who are very close to him, who most analysts believe would not do something without his say-so.


ROBERTSON: So he's left in charge of the cleanup operation if you will. It's being dressed as a reform but the reality is very clear. The Saudi state, as much as it is -- and a lot of it, as we know, in the hands of Mohammed bin Salman -- is rallying around Mohammed bin Salman.

So anyone in the kingdom that might want to challenge him or raise their hand and say, well, this wasn't right and we don't feel comfortable with about the way events here, is going to be more intimidated and afraid about raising a critical voice.

The message here is Jamal Khashoggi was killed. We'd like to be able to sweep this under the carpet. And the man who many people believe has responsibility at least the very least for the structures that allowed this to happen, is not going to be touched in all of this.

So it will have a chilling feel for many Saudis. Of course, many feel that what happened is the result of some sort of political scheming between Turkey and Qatar against Saudi Arabia.

But for those who will examine this carefully, that will be the takeaway. Challenges to the leadership in Saudi, not that there were any, are going to be even more remote in the future.

ALLEN: A complicated relationship the world has with Saudi Arabia just got more so. Nic Robertson for us there in Turkey, Nic, thank you.

HOWELL: Here in the United States, lawmakers, many of them, are not buying the Saudis' explanation of Khashoggi's death. They're even parting ways with the U.S. president who has deemed it credible.

Republican senator Lindsey Graham tweeted this, "To say that I am skeptical of the new Saudi narrative about Khashoggi is an understatement."

ALLEN: The top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Bob Menendez, wants Mr. Trump to use a U.S. law to investigate the Saudis for possible human rights violations.

And Senator Rand Paul demands Saudi Arabia pay a severe price. The U.S. should halt military sales, aid and cooperation with Riyadh immediately.

HOWELL: Let's talk about this with Inderjeet Parmar, a professor of international politics at City University of London, live in our London bureau.

Let's start with the Saudi explanation to Khashoggi's death, the actions around it; 18 Saudi nationals detained, five relieved of duties.

What do you make of what's coming out of Riyadh?

INDERJEET PARMAR, CITY UNIVERSITY OF LONDON: As your correspondents have said and I think is abundantly transparent, the Saudis have told a very large number of untruths from the very beginning of this. They want now to try to manage the fallout of it.

They practically suggest they are not really culpable and they want to make sure that their regime remains stable and that the U.S. government, the administration, stays behind it..

And clearly secretary of state Pompeo's visit recently to Riyadh was the time when the Qatar strategy was discussed. And to suggest that these are rogue elements when they're so closely connected to the crown prince himself is another transparent untruth as well.

So I think they are in a very large amount of trouble and I think that they want to try to contain the fallout as much as possible.

HOWELL: This did start out as a denial, then an interrogation gone bad. And now we're hearing this narrative of a fist fight that turned to be a deadly fist fight, according to Saudi Arabia. The U.S. president seems to accept that narrative but this does in line with what we've seen before. Mr. Trump seeming to offer autocratic governments the benefit of the doubt, as he did around the Russian president's denial around election interference

Remember this?


TRUMP: The king firmly denied any knowledge of it. He didn't really know.

I have great confidence in my intelligence people but I will tell you President Putin was extremely strong and power his denial today.


HOWELL: So back to back, the U.S. president, his acceptance of those denials.

Given Mr. Trump's reaction to what we're hearing out of Riyadh, is this an off ramp for Mr. Trump to continue on with business relations with the government as he had has indicated he hopes to do?

PARMAR: The United States generally since the 1940s -- and President Trump in particular since 2017 -- has invested a great deal in terms of the strategic role of Saudi Arabia in the Middle East. And we know Saudi is a central --


PARMAR: -- pillar of President Trump's strategy in the Middle East, even though he said he wasn't going to meddle in Middle East affairs, during the election campaign, there's been a very large investment.

And we know that in November, the Saudis are going to be central in the application of sanctions against Iran since the United States pulled out of the Iranian nuclear agreement.

So President Trump is trying to manage the fallout of this and the "rogue killer" narrative is a part of it an also the idea that there's going to be some sort of severe punishment or repercussions is an attempt to really manage the fallout.

But Saudi Arabia has been backed by the United States for a very long time in a number of different areas. We know that in Yemen as well. So I think this is the big problem now, is the credibility of the Trump administration is under threat because Saudi Arabia is so central to the anti-Iranian strategy.

So I don't think President Trump is going to change tack very much. And even the threats of sanctions and so on, which are coming out for Republicans, I think they're really an attempt to try to ride the crisis, ride the tidal wave of criticism of this transparent, what appears to be a murder within the consulate in Istanbul.

HOWELL: To your point, the question is, it a matter of buying time?

What we see the Saudi narrative and the one question that remains unanswered, where is Khashoggi's body?

Inderjeet Parmar, we'll stay in touch with you as we continue to follow the story. Thank you for your time.

PARMAR: Thank you.

ALLEN: The other major story we're following, it is another long night in Guatemala. Thousands of people, migrants, are waiting for a chance to cross into Mexico and ultimately the U.S. But they have been stopped. We'll tell you about it coming up.

HOWELL: Plus a Russian woman charged with trying to manipulate U.S. midterm elections. Why there may be more to it -- as NEWSROOM pushes ahead.





TRUMP: You see what's happening? Right now as you know Mexico is on their southern border. Their southern border and they're fighting some bad people in that group.

You see the people come up and you listen to the fake news back there and you think they're all -- you think they're all wonderful people.


TRUMP: You got some bad people in those groups. You got some tough people and I'll tell you what this country doesn't want them. We don't want them.


ALLEN: And the Republican president is blaming Democrats for the caravan of migrant families from Central America trying to reach the U.S. border. He claims the opposition party is banking on migrants to vote for them in future elections. But that's a bit of a stretch, as noncitizens cannot legally vote in the United States.

HOWELL: This comes as thousands of migrants, families, men, women, children, are at a standstill in Guatemala. They're all packed there on that bridge, many people waiting to try to get into Mexico to cross the border there. Many say they're escaping violence in their home country and they want us to know they're not a threat.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our message is we're not criminals. We're coming here because we want to work. We need a job, we need a better life. That's why we're here.


HOWELL: Some of the migrants pushed through the closed border gates between Guatemala and Mexico. That led to some moments of chaos with the Mexican police.

ALLEN: Several members of the force and a number of people were injured. Bill Weir was there. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BILL WEIR, CNN HOST: We're on the Mexican side now of the border after being caught up in the caravan crush that literally busted open these gates when the bridge here separating Guatemala from Mexico was first opened. There was pushing and shoving and fence climbing, tear gas to kind of dissipate the crowd.

But after minor skirmishes, the caravan largely decided to police themselves, calmed everything down, began sitting down, forming lines. And now they're allowing the caravan through, one at a time.

A Mexican immigration official just came up to me and said, please, tell the truth. Tell them that they can come through, that we are not going to fight here. So despite what looked like an initial clash to push them back, Mexico is open to the caravan apparently.

And that will certainly come to the disappointment and possibly anger of President Trump, who's been trying to lean on the new Mexican president. This is a country in transition. The new president takes over in December, one who has been much more -- softer as far as policy towards Central American immigrants, even saying he hopes to help solve this problem with jobs one day.

There's no jobs now. But a lot of people I've talked to say they want to find jobs to Mexico or go to the United States, that they're so desperate to feed their children. But they have no other choice.

You can hear the pleas or the chanting. People continue to come up to me and say, we're not criminals; we're hard workers. Please give us a chance.

But the numbers here, this is a stark example of how many arrests we've seen surge at the border in the last three months since the family separation, no tolerance policy was ended.

Just to give you some numbers. About 107,000 so far were arrested. Families were arrested in 2018. That's a huge surge from the 78,000 in 2016. They're up 30 percent just in the last month; 16,000 family members arrested in September. That's an 80 percent jump.

So the numbers have gone up. And they've reached a critical mass at this point. But it appears that Mexico, left to the way this new president campaigned on one of more understanding and empathy and human rights, is allowing the caravan to pass north. We'll have much more for you as the story unfolds.


ALLEN: CNN's Bill Weir, right in the middle of things. As you've been hearing this hour, President Trump had plenty to say to a rally in Arizona Friday night.


TRUMP: Democrats saying they believe quote our country should be a giant sanctuary city for citizens.

And the choice for every American could not be more clear than it is right now. Democrats produce mobs, Republicans produce jobs. So this November when you're voting, vote for the jobs, not the for the mobs. Just do it.


HOWELL: The president also took credit for the new trade deal between the U.S., Canada and Mexico, saying, quote, even the Democrats like it.

A Russian woman was charged of attempting to interfere in the upcoming U.S. midterm elections as well as the presidential and congressional elections two years ago.

ALLEN: We've been told that there's probably going to be interference again. Investigators say she's part of a Russian --


ALLEN: -- propaganda operation. It allegedly spread fake news articles online to sow division among Americans.

HOWELL: Our Fred Pleitgen is following the story live in Moscow.

Fred, tell us more about the details coming out of the case?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think the interesting thing about it all is the U.S. now seems to believe that all of this was not just going on around the election in 2016 but continues to go on ahead of the midterm elections coming up in just a couple of weeks.

This woman, Elena Khusyaynova, she's 44 years old according to this indictment. And what it says is she was the accountant of a group called Project Lakhta, which is essentially a troll factory that is run from St. Petersburg. That's an interesting name because it basically says the business park that this company is situated in.

This indictment says she was eventually responsible for getting financing for a lot of these operations that were geared against the United States but not only against the United States. Apparently the operating budget for this group was around $35 million since 2016, $10 million just in the last couple of months.

Part of that directed at operations in the United States, other countries; it was directed at that as well. They had fake aliases and personas on social media. The indictment says they were trying to disrupt the political process in America, not necessarily geared against one side or another, against one candidate or another, but generally trying to undermine the political culture and the institutions in the United States.

It's interesting that this indictment goes after one of the people who was responsible for managing the finances of all this because there is a much larger group that is behind all this. It's run directly and indirectly by a very powerful Russian business man who's also been indicted for meddling in the 2016 elections, one of the companies indicted as well.

As you can see, a big web that the U.S. says is still operating out there and they say still a threat around the midterm elections in 2018 -- George.

HOWELL: And Fred, I'm just curious. Any reaction there, given this case that's come to light?

PLEITGEN: Yes. Very, very important. And one of the things we did -- this indictment came down very late on Friday evening. Obviously a lot of the officials here were already in their weekend.

We reached out to foreign ministry; to the Kremlin as well. As we are sitting here right now, we haven't got any reaction yet. I've been monitoring a little bit also Russian media. They're reporting about it. And most of the things they're reporting about is President Trump's reaction because he said all of this does not show there was any collusion between his campaign and the Russians -- George.

HOWELL: Fred Pleitgen, live for us in Moscow, thank you for the reporting.

ALLEN: Ahead here, Saudi Arabia waited almost three weeks before admitting that missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi was dead. But there's much skepticism as to whether the Saudis can be believed about how he died. We'll have that story coming up.

HOWELL: Plus the House of Saud and the House of Trump. Why Khashoggi's death is raising questions about the president's business ties with that nation.





HOWELL: Welcome back to viewers in the United States and all around the world. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live in Atlanta. I'm George Howell.

ALLEN: I'm Natalie Allen. Here are our top stories.


ALLEN: Khashoggi's death is raising new questions about President Trump's business ties with the Saudi royal family.

HOWELL: Senator Richard Blumenthal and House member Jerry Nadler have sent the president a letter. It calls for more information about Mr. Trump's, quote, "ongoing personal enrichment from the Saudi government."

CNN's Brian Todd has more on the accusations from Washington.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On the campaign trail, Donald Trump bragged openly about how much money he made from the Saudis.

TRUMP: They buy apartments from me. They spend $40 million, $50 million. Am I supposed to dislike them? I like them very much.

TODD: These days, the president is on the defensive over his financial ties to the kingdom, tweeting, quote, "For the record, I have no financial interests in Saudi Arabia."

While it's true that Trump does not own hotels or other businesses in Saudi Arabia, critics say he has in the past and continues to profit from Saudi money.

ROBERT WEISSMAN, PRESIDENT, PUBLIC CITIZEN: This is a president who cares about the president himself and his narrow business interests and the national interest is a secondary concern, if that.

TODD: Two groups are suing President Trump for violating a part of the Constitution that forbids a president from making money off a foreign government.

JOHN MIKHAIL, PROFESSOR, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL: The law was adopted and added to the Constitution to prevent conflicts of interest, undue foreign influence, corruption and the appearance of corruption. TODD: Since Trump took office, his hotels have benefited from Saudi business.

The Trump International Hotel in Washington was paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for food and accommodations by a Saudi lobbying firm. The "Washington Post" reports Trump's hotel on Central Park West made a lot of money this year from a booking from Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman's entourage.

"The Post" said Trump's hotel in Chicago also made money --


TODD (voice-over): -- off visitors from the kingdom.

WEISSMAN: They're choosing to do these things to curry favor with the president and there's every reason to believe it's successful.

TODD: When he became president, Trump pledged to remove himself from day-to-day operations of his properties, turning them over to his sons. But experts say that may not cut it.

MIKHAIL: It's not enough under the Constitution to simply step back from day-to-day control or operation of the business. The critical question is whether he's receiving payments, benefits, advantages, directly or indirectly, from foreign governments without the consent of Congress.

TODD: And Trump did not get Congress' consent to do that. His reluctance so far to really punish the Saudis for the disappearance and apparent murder of Journalist Jamal Khashoggi has led to more scrutiny of his company's profits from the kingdom, now and in the past.

TRUMP: I like the Saudis. They're very nice. I make a lot of money with them. They buy all sorts of my stuff.

TODD: Saudi Arabia bought the 45th floor of this Manhattan skyscraper for at least $4.5 million in 2001. When Trump was hard up for cash in the '90s, he sold off this yacht to a Saudi prince for a reported $20 million.

And that same Saudi prince chipped in for a $300 million bailout of another Trump investment, the Plaza Hotel, in Manhattan in 1995.

MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, AUTHOR: So this is a man who has always looked to the Saudis for money, so who has leverage over whom here? We have to really ask a serious question about whether a foreign entity has leverage over the United States president in a way that we've never seen before.

TODD (on camera): The Trump Organization has promised to donate some of the profits from foreign entity spending at these properties and it says it's no longer pursuing any major business deals inside Saudi Arabia.

But analysts say a worst-case scenario for the president is that the courts could force him to divest himself of some of these properties. And the whole issue of foreign spending at these hotels could be raised in possible impeachment proceeding against the president -- Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


ALLEN: Let's start there with when we speak with Amy Greene. She's live in Paris and writes about American politics.

Amy, we appreciate it. We just saw this report there from Brian Todd, questioning Mr. Trump, the President of the United States, and his business ties with Saudi Arabia. That complicates what we're hearing from the White House right now, when so many in Washington are saying that Saudi Arabia story does not hold water. The U.S. president calls it credible.

Let's hear from Lindsey Graham, Republican senator.

"First, we were told Mr. Khashoggi supposedly left the consulate and there was blanket denial of any Saudi involvement. Now a fight breaks out and he's killed in the consulate, all without knowledge of the crown prince."

So very different reaction from leaders in Washington. And certainly he is not alone there. And then what we're hearing from the White House.

What do you make of it?


AMY GREENE, POLITICAL SCIENCE RESEARCHER: This isn't the first time that the American Saudi alliance has been under considerable pressure although it's been widely reported by many observers that the last time was following the attacks of 9/11.

The vast majority of the hijackers were confirmed to be Saudi nationals. This is really an important moment in the Trump presidency, certainly one of the longest standing foreign policy issues that will outlast increasingly shortening news cycles.

The real question becomes the president's defense of the bedrock values on which the United States bases its ideals and its identity in the world. This is a time when the American public and congressional leaders expect of the president to defend human rights, to defend a U.S. resident against a foreign government, which is reported to have committed a crime and killing this U.S. resident.

So the United States in general isn't expecting the president to put all values aside and only interest himself with potential financial consequences of a toughening in this alliance. The expectation now and everybody is looking at the president to see what kind of sanctions he'll impose.

He's been reluctant to say that he'll call into question the arms deal. But this is really rather his attention with Congress that starts to develop. You have leaders like Lindsey Graham, Marco Rubio, keeping increasingly harsh tone with the president, demanding some kind of important and meaningful sanctions be undertaken to punish the Saudis for this.

So There's mounting pressure on both sides of the aisle, Republican and Democrat, against the president.

ALLEN: Right, waiting to see what leadership we will see from President Trump as this story continues to unfold. Amy Greene, thank you for your insights.

GREENE: Thank you.

HOWELL: The Taliban telling them not to show up but hundreds of female candidates and even more female voters headed to the polls in Afghanistan. W e have a live report there next. Stay with us.




(MUSIC PLAYING) ALLEN: Well, the polls have finally opened in the Afghan parliament election. But not everyone is getting to cast a ballot, unfortunately. We're hearing that thousands are unable to vote because some polling stations just haven't opened. Others don't have supplies.

Some voters have given up and gone home. To try to make up for it, some polling stations will extend their hours. Others are to open Sunday.

HOWELL: The election was delayed for three years because of security concerns and voters in Kandahar province had have to wait another week. That's because this powerful police chief was shot and killed on Thursday. The Taliban have claimed responsibility for his death.

Let's talk more now with journalist Ali Latif (ph) in the Afghan capital of Kabul, joining us now by phone.

I want to start with you Ali just about the continued pressure, the violence we've seen from the Taliban, aimed at keeping people away from the polls. now the lack of supplies, like of polling stations seem to be making it harder.

What more can you tell us about it?

ALI LATIF (PH), JOURNALIST: I think that what is most troubling is the fact that people did risk the violence and did come out to vote in whatever number. But the fact they can't do it because of logistical matters, it's having a big impact on morale.

People are saying, we took the risk, the effort, look at all of the preparations. The independent election commission promised repeatedly that everything has been delivered on time ahead of the election. And yet here we are today and people don't have ballot papers. They don't have ballot boxes.

Election commission staff are not showing up. They've been locked out. Campaign observers are not there. So it's turning out to be quite a mess.

HOWELL: Ali Latif (ph), following the story of the people, many people who want to vote there but are unable to vote simply because there aren't enough polling stations, also a lack of supplies and there's always the continued threat to violence.

Ali (ph), we'll stay in touch with you. Thank you very much.

ALLEN: And yet people still went to the polls.


That is in stark contrast to the story we're going to tell you about next. Trying to get young Americans to the polls when they could. We'll tell you why the largest group of potential voters needs a lot of persuading -- ahead here.






HOWELL: Here in the United States, did you play the lottery?

Have you checked your tickets?

The numbers are in and I can tell you at this hour that nobody won the $1 billion jackpot.

ALLEN: Well, aren't you a Debbie Downer for everyone waking up?



ALLEN: That means players in the U.S. can try for a new jackpot Tuesday. You can even be more of a billionaire if you win because it goes up to $1.6 billion. Not all tickets Friday were losers. Some won much smaller prizes.

HOWELL: Hopefully, someone will get it, 15 tickets snagged $1 million each. One lucky ticket is worth $2 million and 8 million tickets win a measly 2 bucks each.

ALLEN: That's a lot of numbers. We're going to turn now to the U.S. midterm elections. They're just two weeks away. But say the word "midterms" to young Americans and they will think just school exams.

HOWELL: But some pop stars want to put young voters to a different kind of test to get them to vote.

Lynda Kinkade spoke with a rising star who not only performs with the likes of Taylor Swift; he is also helping her spread the word.



LYNDA KINKADE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He's collaborated with Ariana Grande. He performed on "Saturday Night Live" and acted as a young Wolverine in "X-Men."

KINKADE: What for you has been the highlight?

TROYE SIVAN, SINGER-SONGWRITER: I think what felt the most surreal was performing with Taylor Swift.

KINKADE (voice-over): At just 23 he has a fan in Taylor Swift.

TAYLOR SWIFT, SINGER: I'm like super fan number one.

KINKADE (voice-over): Now these young artists are not only making their voices heard, they're encouraging others to do the same.

SWIFT: You know what else is voted on by the people?


SWIFT: -- is the midterm elections on November 6th. Get out and vote. I love you guys.

KINKADE (voice-over): A little encouragement from pop stars with millions of followers goes a long way. Sivan, who grew up in Australia, has had two #1 singles on the Billboard chart. His concert, the perfect draw card to sign up first-time voters.

KINKADE: Why is it important that young people come out to register to vote?

SIVAN: I see the youth of today as incredibly fired up and have this crazy hunger for knowledge and for change. We both come from Australia, where it's compulsory. So this is super new to me. But I want people to come out and do it.


KINKADE (voice-over): For over a decade, HeadCount, a nonpartisan organization, has been registering voters but it's no easy task.

KINKADE: Typically young people don't vote in the midterm elections. Last time when the Democrats --


KINKADE: -- lost control of the Senate, only 23 percent of young people voted, by far the smallest turnout of any age group. That's why events like this are crucial.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People don't view the midterms as important as the presidential election. But they've made (INAUDIBLE) change.


KINKADE (voice-over): Nineteen-year-old Jessica Jackson is one of the HeadCount volunteer team leaders.

JESSICA JACKSON, HEADCOUNT: We register about half a million voters (INAUDIBLE) began, register a couple thousand every year and, at a show, we average 30 to 100 voters.

KINKADE (voice-over): Taylor Swift urged young people to sign up at That organization received 65,000 registrations in 24 hours. That's more than it typically gets in a month.

KINKADE: Why do you think it's important to vote?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because people died for the right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think there needs to be checks and balances on the current situation we have in the White House.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Honestly I want it to count but it's kind of I'm not very hopeful about how much it will actually matter.

KINKADE (voice-over): That is the sentiment shared by many young people. Pew Research found younger generations make up the majority of potential voters. But they may not be the majority of actual voters this November. Taylor Swift and Troye Sivan had a clear message.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) get out and do it. We have to make our voices heard. It's not really like a choice anymore. I think that it's a necessity.

KINKADE (voice-over): Lynda Kinkade, CNN, Atlanta.


ALLEN: The message is there. Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Natalie Allen.

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ALLEN: See you next time.