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NEW DAY SATURDAY
Saudi Says Journalist Strangled to Death Inside Consulate; Migrants Clash With Mexican Police on Guatemalan Border; Russian Woman Charged With Attempted Midterm Interference; Deputy Intel Director Fired; Trump Says Saudi Arabia is Great Ally But Death is Unacceptable; Police Uses Tear Gas, Smoke to Push Back Migrants; Thousands of Migrants Packed on Guatemala-Mexico Bridge; Trump Says Migrants are Hardened Criminals; USC Offers $215 Million to Settle Gynaecologist Sex Abuse Case; Sanders Rallies for Liz Watson Ahead of Heated Indiana Race; Sanders Announces 9-State Tour Days Before Midterms; Sen Donnelly Criticizes Radical Left in New Ad for Dems; Small Plane Makes Emergency Landing on Freeway. Aired 8-9a ET
Aired October 20, 2018 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[00:00:18] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Saudi Arabia admitting that journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now they're engaged in a cover-up to protect the Crown Prince. It's almost like a classic mafia operation.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES: Well, I think it's a good first step.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Saudis very clearly seem to be buying time and buying cover but this action raises more questions than it answers.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thousands of migrants making their way to Mexico, even breaking through a steel fence that had been padlocked shut.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So the surge of the crowd has managed to shove those padlocked gates open.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are not criminals, we're coming over here because we want to work.
BILL WEIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Donald Trump is the Antichrist, this man says. If he doesn't repent, he's going to hell. We are not criminals.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEYLA SANTIAGO, HOST, CNN: Good morning to everyone. I am Leyla Santiago in for Christi Paul.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CO-HOST, CNN NEW DAY WEEKEND: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good to have you this morning.
SANTIAGO: Thanks for having me. BLACKWELL: Top story this hour. Utter BS, that's the response from Jamal Khashoggi's editor at 'The Washington Post' after Saudi officials confirmed his death.
SANTIAGO: Now the authorities in Saudi Arabia now claim that Khashoggi died after being placed in choke hold during a fistfight with security forces inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
Also thousands of migrants on the Guatemala-Mexico border, there they are stuck on a bridge between the two nations. The massive caravan bound for the U.S. was forced to stop by Mexican police in riot gear, yesterday.
BLACKWELL: And a Russian woman is facing federal charges for allegedly financing a troll operation to interfere in the upcoming midterm elections. We're going to start though with the death of Jamal Khashoggi.
We have reporters across the globe gathering the latest on this developing story.
SANTIAGO: We'll begin with CNN Chief International Correspondent Clarissa Ward, Clarissa, what are Turkish officials saying about what is really a pretty late admission from the Saudis
CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's really Interesting, Leyla. So far today, we've heard very little in the way of official reaction from the Turkish authorities. There was a statement released by Omer Celik, he's the head or rather Spokesperson of the ruling party here.
But he didn't specifically reference the Saudi's statement yesterday. He said we're moving forward with the investigation. We're not pre- emptively blaming anyone. But we will continue to shed a light on this.
Unclear exactly what that means, it would appear the Turks aren't completely sold on the Saudi's version of events. But they will go ahead with their investigation but they certainly stopped short of kind of overtly contradicting what the Saudis had said or criticizing it in any way shape or form.
That was not the case though Leyla, for another person here in Turkey, in Istanbul, a close friend of Jamal Khashoggi who is also the head of the Turkish Arabic Media Association. He gave a Press conference just about an hour ago in which he spoke in searing terms about the death of his friend.
WARD: He said my friend was slaughtered by bloody murders and he warned, this is not over. It's just starting. We want justice for Jamal. I think that gives you a sense, his voice representative of the voices of many people across the region and indeed across the world who are not buying into this whitewash, who believe that the Saudi story is a cover up and who will continue to demand answers. Victor and Leyla. BLACKWELL: All right, Clarissa Ward for us there in Ankara, Clarissa,
thanks so much. Let's go now to Sam Kiley, CNN Senior International Correspondent. Sam, some of the closest, those closest to say the Crown Prince have been removed from their posts. Tell us about a couple of the most important here.
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, first of all, Victor, there have been 18 people who have been arrested or detained. They haven't been charged yet, we don't know if they include the 15 characters that the Turkish authorities say were involved in this plot.
But we now know from Saudi Arabia's own admission was - did result in the death of Mr. Khashoggi at the hands of Saudi citizens. They are insisting here that the Crown Prince, the power in the land, the man with the Executive power was not Involved.
But he and his team have moved very fast to purge himself of people on his team. Notably, Ahmed al-Assiri, who is the Deputy General in charge of the sorry, the General Security Department and also his closest media advisor, Saud-al-Qahtani who is very prominent figure in terms of burnishing the Crown Prince's image both at home but above all, abroad.
[00:05:18] Tweeting prolifically and both men were extremely close to him as are other members of this alleged squad that was sent. We don't know as to say if any of them had been arrested but we know they include a large number of people who were in the Saudi Security services and many of them also very close to the Crown Prince.
Indeed, the Crown Prince has not only been excluded from the investigations here as one might anticipate but he's also assumed charge of a further Investigation, a consultative Committee involving Interior Minister and the Foreign Minister to totally restructure the Intelligence Services here.
Now, that may be interpreted locally, it certainly will be as an effort to purge further the intelligence services of these rogue elements that acted without his permission in his killing or more cynically, it may be a sign that they wish to purge people to for Incompetence, for allow the Consulate to have been bugged effectively and to have bungled this murder operation.
But for now, the Crown Prince is managing to distance himself entirely from the process and both local investigations into the killing and the assessment of the intelligence committee will be postponed or rather will deliver their reports at the end of a month's time. Victor.
BLACKWELL: Sam Kiley there in Riyadh, Sam, thank you.
SANTIAGO: All right, from Saudi Arabia, Turkey, now, let's get to the White House, that is where we find Sarah Westwood.
Sarah, the President slow to condemn the Saudis before now. What's he saying now that they have actually admitted to playing a part in Khashoggi's death
SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, President Trump is seemingly alone in his acceptance of Saudi Arabia's explanation for what happened to Jamal Khashoggi as many lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are doubtful that Saudis are telling the truth here.
Now Trump has highlighted earlier denials from Saudi officials who initially said, they had no idea what became of Khashoggi and he similarly elevated the Saudi party line, last night when he described that speed of arrests in Saudi Arabia as an important first step. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I do. I do. I mean, it - again, it's early. We haven't finished our review or investigation but it's - I think it's a very important first step and it happened sooner than people thought it would happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WESTWOOD: And that was the President speaking last night in Saudi Arabia - I mean in Arizona, excuse me. The President's apparent belief in the Saudi Arabia's response comes after Saudi officials have shifted their story several times.
First, saying that Khashoggi left the Consulate unharmed, deny having any knowledge about why he was missing for several weeks and only now acknowledging that Khashoggi was killed inside the Consulate but claiming it was the result of an accident.
So naturally there's been a lot of skepticism among law makers on Capitol Hill. For example, Democratic Senator, Richard Blumenthal claiming that this action from the Saudis is just an effort to buy time for its embattled leaders and even Republican Senator, Lindsey Graham, a close ally of President Trump is rejecting the Saudi response.
Writing this on Twitter, to say that I am skeptical of the new Saudi narrative about Mr. Khashoggi is an understatement. He goes on to say, "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 the knowledge of the Crown Prince, referring to the young Saudi leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman there and finally tweeting, "it's hard to find this latest explanation credible."
This as President Trump says, he believes the Saudi Arabian explanation to be credible so President Trump, he's likely to come under enormous pressure to impose some of those severe punishments, just a week ago, he threatened to slap on Saudi Arabia if it turns out that Khashoggi was in fact murdered. Leyla and Victor.
BLACKWELL: Yes, and bipartisan support for some consequences for Saudi Arabia. We'll see how far that goes in Congress. Sarah Westwood at the White House, thank you. SANTIAGO: You know, critics have long been skeptical of President
Trump's response to the Khashoggi case. An issue here, how much the President's businesses profit from Saudi money Here's CNN's Brian Todd.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRIAN TODD, CNN: 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 just like them, I like them very much.
TODD: These days the President is on the defensive over his financial ties to the Kingdom tweeting, "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.
[00:10:18] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's a President who cares about the President himself and his narrow business interest and the national interest is a secondary concern if that.
TODD: Two groups are suing President Trump for violating the part of the constitution that forbids a President from making money off a foreign government.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 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 hundreds of thousands of dollars for food and accommodations by a Saudi lobbying firm. The Washington's Post reports, Trump's hotel on Central Park West made a lot of money, this year from a booking by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's entourage.
The post says Trump's hotel in Chicago also made money off visitors from the Kingdom.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're choosing to do these things to carry favour 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.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 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's 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, a Plaza hotel in Manhattan in 1995.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So this is a man who has always looked to the Saudis for money so who has leverage over home 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: The Trump organization has promised to donate some of the profits from foreign entities spending at these properties and it says it's no longer pursuing any major business deals in Saudi Arabia.
But analysts say, a worse-case scenario for the President is that the courts could force him to divest himself off some of these properties and that the whole issue of foreign spending at these hotels could be raised in possible impeachment proceedings against the President. Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: All right, let's bring in now Josh Rogin, CNN Political Analyst and Columnist for The Washington Post. Josh, welcome back.
JOSH ROGIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST AND COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: Good morning.
BLACKWELL: So let's start here with the official statement from the White House that Press Secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted out. I'm going to read the whole thing just so people understand the position of the White House. The United states acknowledges the announcement from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that it's investigation into the fate of Jamal Khashoggi is progressing and that it is taken action against the suspects, it has identified thus far.