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South Carolina Floor Collapse Injures 30; Trump Skeptical of Saudis' Response on Khashoggi Death; U.S. pulling out of Nuclear Treaty with Russia; Hundreds Try to Cross into Mexico to Reach U.S.; Florida Voters Grapple after Hurricane Michael; North Dakota Voter ID Controversy; Afghanistan Voting Marred by Violence and More Delays; Prince Harry Opens Invictus Games. Aired 4-5a ET

Aired October 21, 2018 - 04:00   ET




GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): The U.S. president apparently now skeptical of Saudi Arabia's official explanation about the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. That story ahead.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Also, President Trump says the U.S. will scrap the 30-year-old arms control treaty with Russia. Mr. Trump says Moscow has not been respecting the Cold War agreement for many years.

HOWELL (voice-over): And later this hour, a desperate situation playing out on the border between Guatemala and Mexico. Hundreds of people hoping to make it to the United States. We will take you inside.

ALLEN (voice-over): Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. We're coming to you live from Atlanta. I'm Natalie Allen.

HOWELL (voice-over): And I'm George Howell from CNN World Headquarters. NEWSROOM starts right now.


HOWELL: At 4:00 am on the U.S. East Coast, we start with breaking news here in the United States. In South Carolina, reports of partygoers injured when a floor collapsed at an apartment complex. On the map you see here (INAUDIBLE) in Clemson. Again, at an apartment complex near Clemson University.

Property management said partygoers were dancing together. That's when part of the floor opened up and fell into the basement. We do want to warn you, the video that you're about to see is disturbing to say the very least. It shows the moment the floor collapsed beneath dozens of people. Take a look.


HOWELL (voice-over): This is the video as it happened right there.

ALLEN (voice-over): Right. There's no audio. This is from social media but you can see the people falling through the hole as the floor opens up.


ALLEN: We are hearing that 30 people were injured but none of the injuries are known to be life threatening. Several have been hospitalized with broken bones as you can imagine. We'll continue to follow this breaking news story and bring you new developments as we get them.

HOWELL: Mystery surrounding the death of a "Washington Post" journalist. The U.S. president now openly casting doubt on the narrative from Saudi Arabia about how Jamal Khashoggi died. You'll remember the Saudis initially denied any knowledge of his disappearance on October 2nd but then their story evolved.

ALLEN: Now after almost three weeks, the kingdom has admitted Khashoggi died violently after he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Donald Trump told "The Washington Post" Saturday, quote, "obviously there's been deception and there's been lies."

HOWELL: Still, Mr. Trump stopped short of blaming the Saudi crown prince for Khashoggi's death. He told the newspaper, quote, "nobody has told me he's responsible. Nobody's told me he's not responsible. We haven't reached that point."

ALLEN: Still unknown what became of Khashoggi's body. A source close to the Saudi royal palace tells CNN the body was handed over to a local collaborator.

HOWELL: That source said the Saudis don't know what happened to it afterward but President Trump seems to think the mystery will eventually be solved. Listen.


TRUMP: No, we don't. Nobody seems to know. Somebody knows but nobody of the various investigation groups at this moment know but we'll find out. It's a concern. We'd like to find out where it is and what happened and I think we're -- we're inching our way there.


ALLEN: Our team in the region, CNN's Sam Kiley joins us from the Saudi capital, Riyadh, and Nic Robertson is in Istanbul.

First to you, Sam, President Trump said we're inching our way towards more information.

Have the Saudis said why they don't have more information on Khashoggi's body?

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No, they haven't. They are sticking very publicly, at least rather in public, to the official line, which is that there's an investigation going on; 18 people have been detained. In addition, five people, two of them, very, very close to the crown prince, have been dismissed from their posts.

And there was, indeed, a killing but that it was accidental during a fight inside the consulate and the whereabouts of the body is unknown.

Now we do have sources saying that repeatedly to various media outlets privately that this body, the remains were handed over to a quote- unquote "collaborator" on the ground.

Now this would be an incredibly simple mystery to solve if the Saudis were to cooperate with the Turks and hand over the name of the collaborator. That might be difficult because that collaborator might be in the pay of the Saudi intelligence. It also further indicates that there was planning --


KILEY: -- perhaps ahead of this whole process. You don't line up a collaborator that's prepared to dispose of a dead body by calling a local app. You do it because you have foreplanning and also considerable loyalty and probably wads of cash to underwrite it.

So it's a very problematic issue indeed and a very non-credible line that the Saudis have come up with. There is a sense here now in Riyadh that there is a moment in history that has come, that's actually allowing, interestingly, Natalie, a degree of latitude for journalists to start speaking.

They have been trotting out the party line. The official lines coming from the Saudis has always been that this was all an invention of the Qatari propaganda machine and the Muslim Brotherhood were behind a whole pack of lies.

Now we get some interesting developments. Here in the Arab news, Natalie, we have none other than the editor in chief. There's a whole page devoted to the life of Mr. Khashoggi and of, indeed, his photograph dominates the front page.

He's described as a patriot, a wonderful journalist. And a very pointed remark from the editor in chief here in this op-ed. He says that Mr. Khashoggi, he repeatedly declared his love for the kingdom and its people, even though he disagreed with some of the practices of the current Saudi leader, he remained loyal.

A very pointed remark from a very senior journalists her on the ground, who clearly the media here now feeling a little bit more comfortable to break cover and, if not say exactly what they feel, send signals to the Saudi establishment that they are angry about what they see as the unlawful killing of a patriot, not a dissident -- Natalie.

ALLEN: Very interesting development. Thank you for sharing that from the newspaper, Sam. Let's go to Nic now in Turkey.

Nic, interesting development, that people are speaking out about Khashoggi.

How different was Turkey's version of what happened to him to what we're hearing from Saudi Arabia as far as the whereabouts of the body?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, certainly in Saudi, allowing people to speak out about Jamal Khashoggi in those terms as a patriot is certainly a very positive way for the leadership to bring the narrative back to Saudi Arabia, if you will, in essence, get ahead of the story.

You know, there are many people in Saudi Arabia who see crown prince Mohammed bin Salman as someone who has been a force for positive change in the country. Of course, these events have cast an entirely different light on his leadership at the moment.

But many people fervently believe that he has a capacity to do that and that recognizing Jamal Khashoggi as a patriot would certainly be a road open to the leadership in Saudi Arabia to, again, sort of regain the narrative, regain the confidence on this particular issue.

In terms of Jamal Khashoggi's body, there are -- there doesn't seem to be any new leads from Turkish investigators. And as Sam was very accurately saying there, that if there was this full cooperation and collaboration between Turkish and Saudi authorities, then one would expect Jamal Khashoggi's body to be found fairly quickly.

That doesn't seem to be happening. Of course, once his body is discovered, you know, forensic pathologists will be able to do their detailed forensic work and be able to develop an accurate picture of what precisely happened to him.

Of course, the longer it goes before his body can be discovered, the harder that becomes for those forensic experts to do that. So you would ultimately end up with the evidence of Jamal Khashoggi's body and the forensics of his death.

And if it's correct, what Turkish officials say this dismemberment could tell us, investigators, about the level of skill that went into disposing his body, which would be a narrative in and of itself, and how that would match up against recordings the Turkish officials claim to have and also how that would match up against the lines we hear coming from Saudi officials leaking about the investigation so far.

So clearly Jamal Khashoggi's body not just important for his family and friends to mourn him but be very important for investigators to establish precisely or more precisely how he actually died -- Natalie.

ALLEN: Absolutely. I hope we get more answers in the coming days. Nic Robertson in Turkey and Sam Kiley in Riyadh. Thank you both.

HOWELL: Let's talk more about this with Steven Erlanger, chief diplomatic correspondent in Europe for "The New York Times," live from Brussels, Belgium.


HOWELL: A pleasure to have you on the show, Steven. The U.S. president initially seemed to accept the Saudi explanation as credible. Now, according to "The Washington Post," he has expressed some skepticism, though still defending that nation as a vital U.S. ally.

Threading the needle here, can the president have it both ways moving forward?

STEVEN ERLANGER, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Well, Trump likes to have it both ways and it is important to Saudi Arabia's people. Not only that, it's important to Middle East policy, rather depends on Saudi Arabia and his reputation of his son-in-law, Jared, also depends a bit on Mohammed bin Salman.

Because Jared put a lot of debt on MBS, tried to get new Israeli- Palestinian understanding to line up with the Sunni Arabs against Iran. There's a lot at stake here, I think.

So Trump is trying to be careful. He says he hasn't heard about any intelligence or any audiotape. CNN has heard them but it's probably just as well that Trump doesn't hear them because I think that would make things very, very difficult.

HOWELL: One of the biggest questions remaining in this whole mystery is where is Khashoggi's body. The Saudi explanation provides no clarity with that fundamental question, that a source close to the Saudi royal palace is telling CNN the Saudis don't know where it is.

How key is this question for things -- ?


ERLANGER: Well, I don't think it's very key, actually myself, because it's quite clear that, you know, even the Saudis admit that they killed him inside this consulate. The Turks say he was chopped up. Presumably he was chopped up. Where his body actually is I think is more important for the family.

What I found very intriguing --


HOWELL: Excuse me if you don't mind respectfully interrupting.

ERLANGER: Of course.

HOWELL: We heard from Nic Robertson moments ago, if they are able to recover the body, wouldn't that then allow Turkish authorities to going to a better understanding?

Just curious. ERLANGER: It would, of course, but in terms of the larger importance of the event. It's important for any kind of criminal case. But I doubt the Saudis would extradite anybody.

So I think it's interesting, it's important but it doesn't change the geopolitical importance of what's happened or the damage done to Mohammed bin Salman's reputation.

I mean, what struck me from your report from Riyadh was the Saudi newspaper praise of Khashoggi. That would indicate to me that there's a struggle going on inside the royal family and there are people critical of Mohammed bin Salman. Now his father has supported him so far but I think this is a game that still needs to be played out.

HOWELL: And to your point, obviously, you know, this would be very important for the family to have the body recovered, to understand where it is.


ERLANGER: Sorry, also for his fiancee, who is also distraught. It's a horrible thing to wait outside the consulate and nothing comes out and then find that the man she was meant to marry had been chopped to pieces. Pretty hard.

HOWELL: Just horrifying. Yes.

The other question that I pose to you this day, Steven, the crown prince claims to have known nothing about this, despite what any Saudi expert might indicate, you know, that nothing really happens in that nation without his knowledge.

Can the crown prince survive all of the questions and continued scrutiny around of this narrative that has come out of Riyadh?

ERLANGER: I think a lot of that depends on his father and on the rest of the family because his father elevated him to be crown prince. There have been other crown princes who have been pushed aside by the same king.

And there are people in the family who, you know, look at Mohammed bin Salman the way perhaps some people in the United States look at Jared Kushner, as someone a little too young, a little too inexperienced.

In Mohammed bin Salman's case, he's shown a degree of recklessness. We didn't know for sure what was going on. I suspect this really was -- I have no way of knowing -- this was the case of, let's arrest him, let's talk to him but bring him back to Saudi Arabia, let's harass him. And clearly I think that went wrong.

Now you know, if it turns out that he was killed as soon as he walked into the consulate, that's really a different question, too. So I just don't see how Mohammed bin Salman escapes, you know, general responsibility, though they would --

[04:15:00] ERLANGER: -- clearly blame it on underlings who just went too far.

HOWELL: Steven Erlanger, live for us in Brussels, Belgium. Steven, always a pleasure. Thank you.

ERLANGER: Thanks, George.


ALLEN: One of the key moments in the Cold War was the signing of the INF treaty back in 1987, which greatly reduced the number of missiles that the U.S. and Russia had.

HOWELL: But U.S. president Donald Trump says Russia isn't holding up its end of the deal. He says Russia is, in fact, developing missiles the treaty prohibits. That puts the U.S. at a disadvantage because China are developing them with no such restrictions. Listen.


TRUMP: Russia has violated the agreement. They've been violating it for many years and I don't know why President Obama didn't negotiate or pull out and we're not going to let them violate a nuclear agreement and go out and do weapons and we're not allowed to. We're the ones that have stayed in the agreement and we've honored the agreement but Russia has not unfortunately honored the agreement so we're going to terminate the agreement.


ALLEN: That is the view from President Trump. Let's go to our Fred Pleitgen, joining us live from Moscow.

This treaty signed in 1987. It has been around a good time, though.

Has there been reaction from the Russians?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there certainly has. You know, I think we've heard rumblings over the past few days by the national security advisor John Bolton, coming here to Moscow. He's probably in the air now, flying out here, that perhaps the U.S. was going to tell the Russians that they were going to pull out of the treaty.

President Trump saying we heard just a couple of seconds ago a lot of very senior Russian politicians have come out very early on a Sunday morning and expressed their dismay at all of this.

We have a flurry of people who have commented. I want to read you part of what the head of the Federation Council's foreign affairs committee chair said.

"A nuclear power, one of the two participants in one of the fundamental agreements in the field of strategic stability, unilaterally destroys it. If this really happens, the consequences will be truly catastrophic." You have a mix of reactions from the Russians going from extreme

criticism. Some politicians say, look, they still want further information from the United States, whether this pullout is final or whether it does still of leave some sort of room for negotiations.

One of the interesting things we've been hearing coming out of the Russian leadership for the past couple of months is they've been saying they don't necessarily believe this treaty is in their best interests. But, of course, they have been saying they wanted to stay in this treaty. It is somewhat of a pillar of trying to provide nuclear arms control in this very important theater, being, of course, the rest of Russia and the rest of Europe as well, Natalie.

ALLEN: I was going to ask you how important this treaty has been towards stability in Europe.

PLEITGEN: Well, look, I think one of the things that we've heard is that it has provided for the fact that a lot of nuclear weapons were destroyed. One of the reasons why it's so important, especially to European countries and to Russia as well is these intermediate missiles are very, very dangerous because they allow very little time if they are, God forbid, ever launched, for any sort of population to try to get into shelters.

They don't fly very long because they are short to intermediate range missiles. So it's very quick for them to get there.

This treaty in itself eliminates missiles with a range of 500 to 5,500 kilometers. It was struck between -- the U.S. and Russia destroyed some 2,700 missiles after that deal was put into place and it was signed in 1987, obviously between Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan.

There were some rumblings in the U.S.; they don't think it's necessarily in their interests anymore. One of the things you guys said in the lead is very, very important. The U.S., on the one hand, is saying that it believes that the Russians were in violation of the treaty since about 2014.

The Obama administration, the Trump administration subsequently have been saying that. But the other key thing that we heard is that the U.S. believes that it puts it at a disadvantage vis-a-vis China, which is obviously not part of this deal and therefore could develop any weapons it wants. The U.S. is now saying they want to do it as well.

ALLEN: That's an important element to explore. Thank you, Fred Pleitgen in Moscow.

HOWELL: Still ahead, thousands of families, men, women, children, migrants on a caravan to the United States have turned back. But many people still desperate, trying to head north. We have an update ahead.

ALLEN: Also ahead, here Hurricane Michael has come and gone but the damage it has caused lingers. We'll tell you how the storm could have a big impact in voting on the upcoming U.S. midterm elections.






ALLEN: Update now on a story we've been following from Central America: 2,000 people have now left the migrant caravan headed for the U.S. They're on their way back to Honduras. That according to the Honduran foreign ministry. The country's president is promising to offer jobs and other types of aid to those who have come back.

HOWELL: Here's the thing, there are still hundreds of men, women and children continuing a very desperate journey north.

Take a look at the scene here on this bridge in Guatemala at the border with Mexico. At least 640 people crossed the border and registered for asylum in Mexico, still more trying to get through. The U.S. president, though, has threatened to cut aid to Central American nations and threatened to send troops to the U.S. border with Mexico if Mexico fails to stop the surge.

ALLEN: Our Patrick Oppmann is with the caravan on the border there at Guatemala and Mexico. Here's his report.


PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Some crossed into Mexico through Guatemala by boat. Others waited or swam, just barely. For thousands of migrants --


OPPMANN (voice-over): -- mostly Hondurans, who said they were fleeing poverty and violence. Many are looking to reunite with loved ones.

Brian Covodrilles (ph) came across the river in a boat a week after being deported to his native Honduras from the U.S., where he lived for most of his life and left behind a wife and daughter.

OPPMANN: What do you need to get back?

BRIAN COVODRILLES (PH), HONDURAN MIGRANT: My daughter. That's the first thing. You know, I didn't have my dad when I was a kid, you know, at all. And I don't want the same for her.

OPPMANN (voice-over): On Friday, Mexican police stopped the estimated 4,000 strong caravan of migrants dead in their tracks on a bridge that joins Mexico and Guatemala. The bridge became a holding cell, one without bathrooms or water or mercy from the brutal sun, with a crush of migrants waiting to see if they would be allowed to pass.

Finally, people like Blanc Olivia (ph), who's traveling with her three children, couldn't take it anymore.

"The truth is, we're all going to jump in the river," she says, "and keep going forward."

Mexican police watched as the migrants took to the river but this time didn't try to stop them.

OPPMANN: So this is what desperation has driven these people to. They were not able to cross the bridge so now they've come across on rafts, some of them very heavily loaded, some of them with small kids, carrying all they have on their back and now they're going to get off here, finally in the Mexican side, and continue the journey north to the United States.

OPPMANN (voice-over): Maria fled the violence of Honduras eight years ago. She's come to the river to see if her son will cross here. He was in the caravan and his cell phone died a day ago. Now she can't reach him.

"I'm worried because he told me to wait for him by the river," she says. "Until he comes, I will stay here."

After a week traveling, many of these migrants are out of money and hope is fading but they say they have no choice but to continue on -- Patrick Oppmann, CNN, on the Mexico-Guatemala border.


ALLEN: We will continue to track their progress and that story.

The U.S. president makes a surprise announcement just days before the U.S. midterm elections. It appears he may be looking for some voting insurance.

Also --


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


HOWELL: One of the most closely watched Senate races in the coming midterm elections is in North Dakota. But there are fears thousands of voters won't be able to cast a ballot. We'll explain. Stay with us.




(MUSIC PLAYING) ALLEN: Following the breaking news this hour. In the United States, a floor collapsed at an apartment complex in South Carolina. We're getting more video to show us what happened.

Welcome back, I'm Natalie Allen.

HOWELL: And I'm George Howell. This happening in the U.S. state of South Carolina. We understand dozens of people have been injured, again, near Clemson, South Carolina, Clemson University. Police say 30 people were taken to the hospital.

Again, it happened at an apartment complex. You see the video there at the scene near Clemson University. We're getting this video in here. Property management says partygoers were dancing together, that's when part of the floor opened up and people fell into the basement.

We just got in new video we want to show you. Want to give you a warning here, this video is disturbing to watch. You hear -- you see what happened the moment this floor collapsed. Watch.


ALLEN: That's so horrifying. It looks like something from a movie scene but it's very real. They were having so much fun and then out went the floor from underneath them.

None of the injuries we are told are known to be life threatening, so that is very positive news. But there have been reports that several people have broken bones. We'll continue to follow it, bring you any new information as we get it.

HOWELL: That's right.

ALLEN: Another story we're following, the U.S. midterm elections just 16 days away and President Trump says he'll have a brand-new tax cut before then.

HOWELL: He says the tax cut will be for the middle class but beyond that the details are scarce.


TRUMP: We are looking at putting in a very major tax cut for middle income people and if we do that it will be sometime just prior I would say to November. A major tax cut.

We are going to be putting in and are studying very deeply right now, around the clock, a major tax cut for middle income people. Not for business at all, for middle income people. I would say sometime around the first of November, maybe a little before then.


HOWELL: Well, there's one reason why it will be tough to get that tax cut done in that timeframe. Congress is in recess until after the midterm vote. And his last tax cut took months to get through Congress. So we'll continue to watch this.

In parts of the United States, in Florida, people in Florida there grappling with the aftermath of Hurricane Michael. But the midterm elections less than two weeks away.

ALLEN: The storm's devastating impact has prompted Republican governor Rick Scott, who's in a tight Senate race, to extend early voting in hardhit counties. CNN's Rosa Flores reports, some in Florida are worried about how they'll get to the polls.


ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When Hurricane Michael ravaged through the Florida Panhandle, it left tens of thousands of people picking up the pieces, trying to recover.

And now there is this added worry with the midterm elections because some of the polling places were completely wiped out, which means that some of the residents in these areas don't know where their polling locations are.

Now here is what's at stake. There is a very tight governor's race and then there is a Senate race that could tilt the balance of power in the U.S. Senate. The candidates here, Democrat Bill Nelson and Republican Rick Scott.

Now Scott is also the governor of this state, which means that he actually has the power to ease voting for residents here and that's a power that he exercised on Thursday. He signed an executive order that allows in part --


FLORES: -- additional and alternative voting sites, an extension of early voting and the relocation and consolidation of polling places.

But here's the reality on the ground. In counties like Jackson, for example, 78 percent of the households there still don't have power. Cell service is patchy. Communications are completely down in other areas, which makes it very difficult for residents to pick up the phone and call their election officials and get information.

So what a lot of these people are having to do is going online, getting information from their respective counties and learning about how they're going to vote. So from going to these websites, I can tell you that these counties have created what they're calling mega voting centers for residents to go vote.

And also a lot of the voting is actually happening by mail. But here's why it matters. On any given year, Florida's elections are won by razor thin margins. So you add on top of that the challenges of Hurricane Michael and it leaves the state balancing election integrity and voting opportunity -- Rosa Flores, CNN, Miami.

(END VIDEOTAPE) ALLEN: Far from the state of Florida, North Dakota is also in the spotlight as midterms get closer. It's home to one of the most closely watched Senate races this year.

HOWELL: That's right. Voting rights activists there say a new voter ID law is making it harder, even impossible, they say, for many Native Americans to cast their ballots. CNN's senior investigative correspondent Drew Griffin gives us a closer look.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): 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 (voice-over): 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 growing.

MARGARET LANDIN, NATIVE VOTE, 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 (voice-over): Margaret Landin (ph), a Native American voting rights advocate, says just weeks before November's election, some Native Americans, her husband included, are scrambling to get new IDs just to vote.



GRIFFIN (voice-over): Neil Landin had no idea what his street address was. He had to call his county emergency coordinator to find out.

N. LANDIN: So I got 31st Avenue East is what they told me on the phone.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): The process did take just minutes and now he has a tribal ID, he will be able to vote.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Did it cost anything?

N. LANDIN: No fee.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): 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.

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

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Al Jaeger is North Dakota's secretary of state. He is 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 ID that says who you are and where you live.

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 (on camera): Well, others seem to be saying that you're trying to disenfranchise Native American voters, right?

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

GRIFFIN (voice-over): The backdrop for the push to get this voter ID law in North Dakota began shortly after Democrat Heidi Heitkamp narrowly won her election in 2012. She won by less than 3,000 votes with the backing of Native Americans who tend to vote Democratic.

(on camera) 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.

(voice-over) Since the 2016 election, according to the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University, nine states with Republican state legislatures have passed laws restricting the 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 ID requirement goes into effect this election.


GRIFFIN (voice-over): And in Indiana, the states use of a nationwide cross-check system to purge voter rolls was ruled a violation of the National Voter Registration Act.

Why so many laws? Take a guess.

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 (voice-over): 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.

(on camera) 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 -- I cannot prosecute. So in the past we have referred situations and they haven't been prosecuted. We had, you know, a case --

GRIFFIN (on camera): But I mean, how many?

JAEGER: Well, just a handful.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Myrna Perez with the Brennan Center for Justice says these voter fraud laws have little to do with fighting actual voter fraud.

MYRNA PEREZ, 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 in elections and this is just another barrier for them.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): 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 ID -- Drew Griffin, CNN, Fort Yates, North Dakota.


HOWELL: That is an incredibly important story that we will absolutely continue to follow here at CNN.

ALLEN: Absolutely.

HOWELL: Voting in Afghanistan. Officials there extending some parliamentary voting for one more day. We'll go live to Kabul for the very latest on elections there.

Around the world and in the U.S., you're watching NEWSROOM.





HOWELL: In Afghanistan, voting continues in that nation's parliamentary elections.

ALLEN: An estimated 3 million people managed to cast ballots Saturday. But staffing and technical issues means many others didn't in this very important election for so many people.

HOWELL: That's right. Around 400 polling stations are scheduled to open Sunday. Saturday's voting was marred by violence after multiple threats by the Taliban. At least 28 people were killed across the country.

Let's talk about it now, live in Afghanistan, journalist Ali Latifi (ph) is on the ground there in the capital city of Kabul.

Thank you for your time today, Ali. Violence has always been a big threat, a big concern for people going to the polls. Now we understand dozens of people have been killed. Tell us more about what happened Saturday.

ALI LATIFI, JOURNALIST: So basically what happened Saturday is people stood up to the Taliban threat to come out and vote. We saw that 3 million people did vote but the biggest issue was logistical problems.

We saw that people went to polling centers that weren't open. We saw people went to polling centers where there weren't ballot papers or ballot boxes, where there weren't election commission staff.

And this is why today, we just found out from the election commission, that actually it's not 400 polling stations that they're reopening, it's 250, just over 250 across 22 provinces. We have to remember that yesterday's election was for 32 of the 34 provinces. So that means a vast majority of the provinces had issues because of logistics.

HOWELL: You're saying not 400 polling stations, rather, 250.

LATIFI: It just came out. Right. Right. The IEC said it's 250, 251 polling stations across 22 provinces. So that's the majority of yesterday's 32.

HOWELL: Thank you again for that update. We'll keep in touch with you on that as well.

Look, given the violence, given the technical challenges around voting at the polling centers, is there a sense that these factors did keep a large number of people from voting?

People who decided, look, I'm going to stay home and stay safe?

LATIFI: A lot of people didn't come out to vote for various reasons, right?

That the registration process was difficult. It also posed security risks. People didn't necessarily believe that the leaders would change, that they would bring a positive change. But the fact that 3 million people did come out, despite all of that, still says a lot. It's still more people than was expected at the time.

HOWELL: Ali Latifi, live for us in Kabul, Afghanistan. Thank you for the update and reporting. We'll keep in touch with you.

Again, voting so important. We talked about voting here in the United States, efforts around voter suppression. You look at nations in Afghanistan, Natalie, people risking their lives to go to the polls.

ALLEN: They so desperately want things to change. We had a report 24 hours ago, trying to get people in the United States to vote -- (CROSSTALK)

ALLEN: they're not engaged.

Also wake up to this, we are tracking not one but two tropical storms and there are fears one might turn towards the United States. Right now you see they're off the western coast of Mexico. Derek Van Dam will have the latest on that for us as we continue here.






HOWELL: All right. Here in the United States, a lot of you waking up, looking at those lotto tickets. Did you win?

Well, look, this is a big one. There are no big winners in Saturday night's Powerball so the jackpot just got even bigger. Players were hoping to score a $476 million jackpot but the numbers just didn't add up.

ALLEN: There is a silver lining if you still want to be super, super mega, mega rich.


ALLEN: People can try for the next Powerball drawing Wednesday. The jackpot will be worth even more. The winner or winners will take home $620 million. This came just a day after nobody won the Mega Millions jackpot Friday. That's now worth $1.6 billion.

We are following tropical storms along Mexico's west coast. No matter how much money you have, just get away from there.



HOWELL: Prince Harry in Australia has opened up the Invictus Games.

ALLEN: The setting was spectacular as you can see right there. Sydney's legendary Opera House. The British royal created this annual sporting event for ailing and wounded military veterans. Harry called this competition a symbol of strength. More than 500 service members from 18 countries are taking part.

The Duke of Sussex and his pregnant wife, Meghan, are on their first royal tour abroad, which also includes visits to New Zealand and Fiji.

HOWELL: The couple earlier attended a reception inside the opera house. The duchess skipped another event because she was tired.

ALLEN: Her first trip abroad, three countries and she's pregnant.

We're with you, Meghan.

Our top stories are ahead here.