Return to Transcripts main page


30 Injured After Floor Collapses at Apartment Clubhouse; Trump Says U.S. Pulling Out of Landmark Russia Arms Treaty; Florida Governor's Debate Moderated By Jake Tapper 8PM ET; Senior Voters Pulled Off "Get Out the Vote" Bus; Trump to WaPo: "There's Been Deception and Lies"; LeBron's Home Debut Marred by Fight. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired October 21, 2018 - 07:00   ET


[07:00:05] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are not criminals! We are coming over here because we want to work. We need a job. We need a better life.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You understand President Trump will use the pictures of thousands of people surging to the gates against you?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think some bad people started that caravan. You have some very, very bad people in the caravan!


LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN ANCHOR: Good Sunday morning to you. I'm Leyla Santiago in for Christi Paul today.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good to be with you.





BLACKWELL: This is frightening. The dance floor here collapsed during a party. This is Clemson, South Carolina. You can see the people there trying to crawl out of this pit.

Let's go to Polo Sandoval now who has learned more about how this happened and how the people are.

Polo, what do you know?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Leyla and Victor, when you see these pictures, it really is incredible when you find out that nobody was killed or even seriously injured according to the information that was released overnight. Here is a background on this pretty dramatic video. Dozens of people

had gathered at the Woodlands Apartment Complex at the clubhouse there for a private party when just after midnight, the floor literally gave out from under them. Dozens of people sent to the basement below. You can see as you mention there people crawling out of that area.

Authorities saying nobody was trapped. Authorities responding and finding nobody with any serious injuries at this point, they're still trying to investigate, and everybody got out and they are investigating and trying to figure out what happened. This is close to the Clemson University campus. It is an apartment complex off the campus. It is a very popular for students here.

We should also note that it has been a very busy time on that campus, particularly because of home comes so a lot of celebrations and a lot of parties and gatherings. But again, the main headline here no serious injuries after this incident here. The floor at an apartment clubhouse giving out from underneath dozens of partygoers over night.

Leyla, Victor, back to you.

SANTIAGO: All right. Polo Sandoval, thanks for keeping us updated.

BLACKWELL: So, last hour, we spoke with Jeremy Tester (ph). He was at that party, watched the floor collapse. This is what he had to say.


JEREMY TESTER, WITNESS (via telephone): What I saw -- I was literally two feet from what happened and I saw 60 people fall straight through the floor. Just crazy how it happened.

SANTIAGO: Jeremy, was there any sort of indication that this was going to happen? Did you feel the floor was vulnerable or any sign that this was coming up?

TESTER: Like, when this all came on, like, everybody was, like, jumping around. You could hear the floor about to go through and, like, like, nobody thought it was going to happen. They just kept going.

BLACKWELL: So we see the people fall here. I mean, what was some of the injuries? Was everybody conscious? How did they get out?

TESTER: I mean, it took minutes for firefighters to get there, police to get there. Everybody got there that quick. I can see people, we were held there a long time. I saw people holding their arms, like, I saw people with, like, body, legs, and stuff like that.

BLACKWELL: What was on the level below that everyone fell onto?

TESTER: There were, I think there were a couple of pool tables and just about -- like, at least a 15-foot drop.

SANTIAGO: All right. So, Jeremy, I just -- I know that you shot this video. Incredible. One of the things that sort of sticks out is the sounds you hear and screams that stick with you. Let me play this for our viewers and sort of walk through this one more time.





SANTIAGO: That is chilling. Not just to see but to hear. You hear the fear in the voice, the shock of people when this happens. What went through your mind in the seconds, in the minutes after the fact? At what point did this sort of hit home of what happened and the potential for some pretty serious injuries here?

TESTER: At first I thought a gun was going off. I have no clue it was going on. But then I saw people dropping really quick. I looked over and like two feet in front of me was a big box hole. I was -- like, I didn't know, like, how do I take that? So, I mean, everybody just sort of running outside. I kind of followed.


BLACKWELL: Jeremy Tester was an eyewitness at that party in Clemson.

Again, 30 injuries but no loss of life and no serious or life- threatening injuries there.

SANTIAGO: Russia's deputy foreign minister says by moving to end a longstanding nuclear agreement, the U.S. is bringing the world back to the cold war.

[07:05:11] President Trump announcing yesterday that the U.S. will terminate the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. The deputy foreign minister, as you might imagine, demanding some explanation here and he is already talking about the possibility of retaliatory efforts, some measures there.

Joining us to explain why President Trump wants out of this treaty is CNN senior correspondent Fred Pleitgen from Moscow -- Fred.


Well, it's interesting to see the Russians early this morning, even very early on a Sunday morning are coming out with a lot of statements, obviously a lot of anger, a lot of frustration on the part of the Russians. They are talking already about catastrophic consequences with all of this, saying the U.S. is trying to blackmail Russia.

The U.S. says this treaty is no longer in its interest. Here is what we found out.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) PLEITGEN (voice-over): The U.S. has long been accusing Russia of violating the INF Treaty by developing and deploying middle range nuclear capable missiles.

Now, President Trump says America is axing the agreement.

TRUMP: We are the ones that 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. We're going to pull out.

PLEITGEN: During his visit to Moscow in the coming days, national security adviser John Bolton is expected to formally tell the Russians that America is leaving the INF Treaty. INF stands for Intermediate Nuclear Forces. The treaty was signed in 1987 between the U.S. and the Soviet Union and ultimately led to 2,700 medium range nuclear missiles being withdrawn. Experts saying, by and large, the agreement has worked.

REAR ADM. JOHN KIRBY, FORMER STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: It was designed to provide a measure of strategic stability on the continent of Europe, by banning missiles of a range between 300 and 3,400 miles, but cruise and ballistic missiles. So, it really meant to kind of take the temperature down and it resulted in the destruction of literally thousands of missiles and it has been in effect ever since.

PLEITGEN: Russia denies violating the treaty and accuses the U.S. of reaching it by developing antimissile systems.

Vladimir Putin recently making what some felt were troubling remarks about possible nuclear warfare.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): In this situation, we kind of expect someone will use nuclear weapons against us. We do not do anything ourselves. Well, yes but then the aggressor should still know that vengeance is inevitable, that he will be destroyed and we are the victims of aggression, and as martyrs we will go to heaven and they will simply die.

PLEITGEN: The U.S. also believes the INF treaty puts it at a disadvantage versus a resurgent China which is not a part of the agreement, another reason the administration says to pull out of the deal.


PLEITGEN: So, Leyla, you can see the tensions between the U.S. and Russia just continuing to heat up as they have been really over the past couple of years. As we said, National Security Adviser John Bolton on his way to Russia right now as we speak and safe to say he is probably not going to get a very warm welcome. As you said, the Russians are seriously looking for some answers, Leyla.

SANTIAGO: All right. Fred Pleitgen, thanks so much.

BLACKWELL: And now to the migrant crisis in Central America. A potentially deadly caravan is -- the situation on Saturday got a little more dramatic along the Honduras/Guatemala border. CNN affiliate reports that authorities say two men, look at this, are from El Salvador, they hijacked a couple of big rigs and tried to leave the country by speeding through a police fence.

Trucks plowed through the street, picking up other migrants, who then tried to get on by latching onto the backs and the side of the truck. Others on the street had to jump out of the way, some fell to the pavement. Both men have been caught and charged with attempted homicide.

SANTIAGO: And remember, that's on the Guatemala/Honduras border. In the meantime, another crisis along the bridge at the Guatemala/Mexico border. Officials in Honduras saying that migrants have already returned home. The Honduran foreign minister said 2,000 people in the migrant caravan have been deported and at least 400 more are on the way back.

BLACKWELL: Honduras president promised those who returned will be offered jobs and other types of support when they get home.

Mexican authorities have not said whether anyone from the caravan will be allowed to travel to the U.S. border.

SANTIAGO: But if they do, President Trump warns he'll do two things. He will cut aid to some countries in Central America and deploy the U.S. military.


TRUMP: I think some bad people started that caravan. More importantly or maybe almost as importantly, you have some very, very bad people in the caravan!

[07:10:01] You have some very tough elements within the caravan. But I will seal off the border before they come into this country and I'll bring out our military, not our reserves. I bring out our military.


BLACKWELL: The State Department says Mexico is cooperating with the U.S. to find a suitable solution, but U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called the caravan an organized effort to violate the sovereignty of Mexico. And in an interview with Voice of America, he also accused Honduran political opponents of underwriting that caravan.

Senate Majority Leader Mitchell McConnell was out to dinner when some guy came up and he had some things to say. Watch.


BLACKWELL: So, did the senator respond? We'll have more after the break.

SANTIAGO: Plus, President Trump is shifting his tone, criticizing Saudi Arabia's explanation for the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. So, what happens next? Will there be severe punishment as the president said? We'll discuss.

BLACKWELL: And later this hour, a female lion, lioness, kills the father of her cubs and leaves zoo workers a bit confused.


[07:15:24] BLACKWELL: Senate Majority Leader Mitchell McConnell is now the latest politician to be heckled while at a restaurant. McConnell and his wife, Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, they were in a restaurant in Louisville when this happened.


SANTIAGO: Other people in the restaurant came to McConnell's defense telling the men to back off. You even saw the restaurant owners come in at the end there.

According to our affiliate, WKLY, one of the men threw the senator's leftovers out the door. McConnell's office released this statement overnight saying: The leader and Secretary Chao enjoyed their meal in Louisville last night, and they appreciate those who spoke up against incivility. They hope other patrons weren't too inconvenienced by left wing tantrums and adds the leader often says the Senate will not be intimidated by the antics of far left protesters.

The restaurant says it regrets the incident and wants everyone to feel safe eating there.

BLACKWELL: Yes. Ahead of the midterm elections, President Trump is using incidents like this, the one you saw there, to open a new line of attack against Democrats. Watch.


TRUMP: The choice for every American could not be more clear than it is right now. Democrats produce mobs. Republicans produce jobs.


BLACKWELL: We'll see if that national theme makes it to the state level. You're looking right now live at the stage where, tonight, in Tampa, candidates for governor will face off in a debate moderated by CNN's Jake Tapper. Representative Ron DeSantis is taking on Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum who could become the state's first black governor.

SANTIAGO: But DeSantis has President Trump on this side for this.

Ryan Nobles spoke to some voters there.

Ryan, tell me about it. What did you find out?

RYAN NOBLES, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Leyla and Victor, good morning.

And this race is very tight. Polls show that it's likely within the margin of error and there are many political experts that view this as perhaps the most important contest on the 2018 map and that's because you got two rising political stars who won their respective primaries by appealing to their bases both the left and the right. But in Florida, which is perhaps the biggest swing state in America, it could be those voters in the middle that decide who the state's next governor is.


NOBLES (voice-over): Aaron Ward runs a barbecue food truck in one of the most important states on the midterm map and he thinks Floridians are sick and tired of both Republicans and Democrats.

AARON WARD, SMALL BUSINESS OWNER: I think people are pretty much hammered with politics.

NOBLES: Political fatigue could be a big problem, especially for the two candidates for governor who won their primaries by appealing to the bases of their respective parties.

ANDREW GILLUM (D), FLORIDA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: I believe we are going to win this, not by capitulating on what we believe.

NOBLES: On the left is Democrat Andrew Gillum, the mayor of Tallahassee. He won his primary with the support of Bernie Sanders, calling for abolishing ICE in its current form, and plugging a multi- state Medicaid for all plan.

Gillum believes that policy portfolio will attract voters of all stripes.

GILLUM: I think we actually talked about the issues through the primary and will in the general whether you're an independent or a reasonable thinking Republican or a Democrat that you care about.

NOBLES: Gillum is drawing big crowds of enthusiastic Democrats such as Tony and Bela (ph) McNair.

Impressed with his brightful politics and the fact that he has promised to take on President Trump.


NOBLES: But for many Floridians, such as Maegan Morris, just being opposed to Trump isn't enough for this lady.

(on camera): So, you're not even necessarily a fan of President Trump, but you think the focus on him is too much?

MAEGAN MORRIS, FLORIDA VOTER: I think there's a lot of focus on him, probably more than any president, ever. And I would like to see the issues addressed more.

NOBLES: Separating this race from the president won't be easy, especially for the Republican Ron DeSantis.

RON DESANTIS (R), FLORIDA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: Then Mr. Trump said, "you're fired." I love that part.

NOBLES: DeSantis ran arm-to-arm with President Trump during the GOP primary, opposing tax increases, supporting construction of a wall along the border with Mexico, and voting to repeal the Affordable Care Act while in the house.

[07:20:10] DESANTIS: We need a governor who is going to work constructively with the Trump administration to advance Florida's priorities.

NOBLES: He, too, has GOP-based voters fired up and in his Republican supporters believe that DeSantis can attract middle of the road voters by just being himself.

NORMA RENO, DESANTIS SUPPORTER: What people really need to listen and follow him for that because he wants the best for the people. He wants the best for Florida.

NOBLES: But at a time of fierce polarization the middle lane in Florida politics may be up for grabs and for Ward who talks to voters every day, the candidate that is able to attract the middle and hold their bases effectively just might be the winner on election day.

WARD: How do you merge those together to come out what is it this one state wants? That is tough. You're going to get a ton of different backgrounds trying to merge into one single --

NOBLES: Sometimes they vote Republicans and sometimes they vote Democrats because it's shifting, right?

WARD: Absolutely.


NOBLES: Now, both Gillum and DeSantis have no problem attacking each other at rallies across the state but tonight will be the first time that they face off head-to-head and Gillum yesterday saying he hopes to keep the conversation at a respectable level but warned that if DeSantis goes on the attack, he will be ready to return fire. He said, if I have to go there, I will go there -- Leyla and Victor.

BLACKWELL: Ryan Nobles for us there in Tampa -- Ryan, thank you.

This is a race for Florida's governor that no one predicted. Republican Ron DeSantis and Democrat Andrew Gillum, their debate tonight moderated by CNN's Jake Tapper at 8:00 Eastern, only on CNN.

SANTIAGO: Voters safety or voter suppression. Coming up, we speak with the organizer of the Get Out the Vote live who was told that she shouldn't take some Georgia voters to the polls.

BLACKWELL: Plus, a lion attacks and kills the father of her cubs at the analysis zoo. Zoo workers say they didn't see this company. We'll ask a wildlife expert to weigh in.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [07:26:47] BLACKWELL: We are now just 16 days away from the 2018 midterm elections and early voting has begun in some states across the country. But a group of 40 senior citizens in Georgia were told they could not participate in a Get Out the Vote bus tour.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The bad news is they are going to make us get off the bus right now and that is okay because I'm still going to make it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They are so mad and low down that we get jealous but that can't stop the rain. You can't stop it.


SANTIAGO: An administrator in Jefferson County told the "Atlanta Journal Constitution" none of the seniors were denied their right on vote. He instead expressed concern about the seniors getting on a bus provided by a, quote, unknown third-party.

So here is a look at the work being done by Black Voters Matter.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right, y'all, let's rock it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every day, everywhere.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Make sure November 6th is the next election cycle. You should get a card in the mail the next couple of weeks.

CLIFF ALBRIGHT, CO-FOUNDRE & EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, BLACK VOTERS MATTER: November 6th is important to us, and more importantly it's beyond November 6th, beyond election day because all of those issues will still be there on November 7th.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you registered to vote?



ALBRIGHT: Shaming to voting has never worked. You have to show what the benefits are and they've got to see how it's connected to improving their daily lives.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: With the blackest bus in America just want y'all to know.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are going to help us out on a big bus. This is the people's bus. This is a community bus. We are happy to be here!

ALBRIGHT: They represent so much more than just a bus, right? It's all about the notion of the combination of love and power and a notion that we can drive throughout these states which, for the most part, is basically the old confederacy in this bus and unapologetically let folks know they matter.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The message of this bus is actually universal. It's been centered in a black experience but anybody who can really identify with what it means where folks are being exclusive and not being inclusive of people we all know what that feels like and it doesn't feel good.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People want to be listened to and heard. I think that is what matters.

I don't think race has to happen in an African-American community. We need white people of goodwill to talk about racism within their own communities and to really be thinking about how do we dismantle this, how can we have honest conversations we are going back to are we going to build a beloved community and, if so, what does it take to do that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sign your name and the date. When you go vote, sign your name like that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If it weren't for y'all I probably never did this. We need more things like this in the community.

LATOSHA BROWN, CO-FOUNDER & CHIEF DOER, BLACK VOTERS MATTER: All of us have what is in it for me? Unless you make that connection you lose people. I know you vote but we need to get more people. We haven't been to any communities that don't want colony health care and we want the same thing.


I am a native of Selma. That was a small group of people with not a lot of money and not a lot of resources, but had the faith and belief that they could actually change and get voting rights. They transformed the nation. I firmly believe that is happening now, that those of us with some courage that really have love in our spirit that we love human beings, right? And that we really want to see a better world that those folks are rising up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have been going around.



LANE: Yes, already. First time, too. Excited!

CLIFF ALBRIGHT, CO-FOUNDER & EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, BLACK VOTERS MATTER: This bus is a manifestation of a quote from Dr. King. What he said was that power without love is reckless and abusive. But love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice.

That's what this bus is about. That's what our organization is about, that's what this tour is about.

BROWN: I believe firmly in my heart that those that stand on the right side of history ultimately we always win. It may take a while but it will never change unless some of us believe. All right, let's go.


VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Joining me now, the cofounder of the Black Voters Matter Fund, LaTosha Brown.

Good to have you in studio.

BROWN: Good morning.

BLACKWELL: So, let's start with the episode the seniors having to get off the bus. So, you pull up the bus to the county-run senior center, the leisure center there, Jefferson County, 140-mile southeast of Atlanta, and you load the bus with the 40 senior citizens, and then what happens?

BROWN: We are excited. People we got a rally inside and people are singing and chanting.

BLACKWELL: You're on your way to the polls?

BROWN: We're on our way to the polls, just as we get ready to pull off, the bus get stopped. The director of the center came down and flagged the bus down. Our local organizer went off the bus to figure out why we were stopped. We were told that at the time what we were told is that someone had passed by and saw the seniors getting on the bus and called the county commissioner's office and the county administrator had called the director and said those folks need to get off the bus now.

BLACKWELL: Why do you think they did that? Did they explain why?

BROWN: Well, later, what they said was there were several reasons. It's forever changing. The first they didn't know us. And that we had not been vetted. You know? Interestingly enough, we had spent two hours with the seniors prior to that. So the seniors made a decision that they wanted to get on the bus and they, themselves, had vetted us.

The second thing was that one of the organizers, our local organizer, she was affiliated with the Democratic Party and so the county administrator said he wasn't comfortable because she was affiliated as a chair of the Democratic Party.

BLACKWELL: Yes, let me read what he said. This is according to the "Atlanta Journal Constitution", Jefferson County Administrator Adam Brett said that Jefferson County administration felt uncomfortable with allowing senior citizen patrons to leave the facility in a bus with an unknown third party. But no seniors at the Jefferson County senior center were denied their right to vote.

Why do you think it happened?

BROWN: You know, I think is there a couple off things. I think, one, there's a very paternalistic, even that statement is extremely paternalistic and based on particularly race power dynamic, where people are abusing the power.

This was not a senior facility that people were residents. This is a community center that people go for activity. These are seniors who are able-body, people who come on their own accord and their own choice. They had made a choice to go on the bus, actually, they had asked us to ride with us.

And so, they made a choice to go on the bus. Here it is one person that believes that he can interfere in the process and make a decision for people better than they could make for themselves. I think it is based on a particular kind of context when we talk about voter suppression, a spectrum of that, right?

Any time you're doing anything to interfere with someone's choice to be able to go freely vote on their own will, that, in itself, is a form of voter suppression.

BLACKWELL: So, the NAACP, their legal defense fund, sent a letter to the county calling for an investigation. Have you been contacted to participate in any county-run investigation of this?

BROWN: Well, we are partners. Our attorneys are working with to really get to the bottom of this because I think that what you see in rural communities, those of us that live in the south, you know in rural communities, oftentimes, there's abuse of power. There are people in a position that make assumptions and then they implement whatever it is based on their assumption on abuse of power and what we saw in Jefferson County. He did not have the right to make that call, he did not have the right to make that decision. That was not his choice.

BLACKWELL: Do you know if a county-wide investigation of this yet?

BROWN: We have called for it, I'm not aware that is, but we have called for it, and our attorneys are in communication with both the state and county level for there to be an investigation.

BLACKWELL: So, did the seniors eventually get to the polls?

BROWN: They did.


BROWN: So, the good news is that these seniors were extremely determined and, by the way, the state has -- we did get a letter -- I should say, we did get a letter from the secretary of state's office and they did say it's under investigation.

[07:35:08] BLACKWELL: OK.

BROWN: But to get back to the seniors. The seniors, even at the moment, said, oh, they were more than determined than ever. So, we went back two days later and met with the seniors and majority of them have already voted. Some of them actually got off the bus and drove themselves.

BLACKWELL: You know, we saw video of dancing outside the bus after they were asked to get off.

BROWN: Absolutely.

BLACKWELL: LaTosha Brown with Black Voters Matters -- thank you so much for being with us.

BROWN: Thank you for having me.

BLACKWELL: All right. Leyla?

LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN ANCHOR: Still to come, glaring inconsistencies in the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. And now, the president calling the Saudi's explanation of what happened deceptive. More on that, ahead.


[07:40:02] SANTIAGO: New developments in the killing of a Saudi journalist. President Trump criticizing Saudi Arabia's explanation of what happened to Jamal Khashoggi, telling "The Washington Post": Obviously, there's been deception and there's been lies.

Saudi Arabia claims Khashoggi was strangled to death by a chokehold after a fist fight got out of hand inside their consulate in Turkey. That's their claim.

CNN's Sarah Westwood is in Washington this morning.

Sarah, I don't know. I'm trying to sort of make sense of this. President Trump seems to be unclear in his take on Khashoggi's case.

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: That's right. President Trump appears to be shifting his tone when it comes to the Saudi's later claim that Khashoggi was killed in a fistfight gone wrong. The president describes that explanation as credible on Friday, but last night in that interview with "The Washington Post", the president said there's been deception and lies from the Saudi side acknowledging that the Saudis have changed their story several times by first claiming that Khashoggi left their consulate in Turkey unharmed, denying having any knowledge why Khashoggi was missing for several weeks and, finally, admitting to his death but claiming it was inadvertent.

Trump threatened to impose severe punishments against Saudi Arabia. It turns out Khashoggi was murdered but he hasn't laid out those punishments might look like.

Here's what he had to say yesterday when asked whether his response might include sanctions.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It may. I got to work also with the Senate, with the House. I will be working with Congress because, you know, they are very involved and I wanted to keep them involved, much as I did with Justin Kavanaugh. I wanted to keep them involved. I think it's important.


WESTWOOD: Now, in that interview with "The Washington Post" the president stopped short of criticizing the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, but the young Saudi leader who is widely suspected of being involved in Khashoggi's killing. Bin Salman has a close relationship with Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law and top adviser.

Here's what the president had to say when he was asked about bin Salman had knowledge of Khashoggi's killing.


TRUMP: It's possible. You don't know that but it's possible.


WESTWOOD: And the president is coming under increasing pressure to take action against the kingdom and Democrats and Republicans alike reject the Saudis response. But so far, all the president has done in terms of laying out response is insist that proposed arm sales to Saudi Arabia not be affected by this -- Leyla and Victor.

SANTIAGO: Sarah Westwood, thank you.

Also this morning, the fiancee of Jamal Khashoggi posted a heartfelt message to him on Twitter saying, they took your bodily presence from my word, but your beautiful laugh will remain in my soul forever, my darling.

And that laugh, that laugh that she is referencing there, you can hear it in the video attached to this tweet.



[07:47:21] BLACKWELL: Punches thrown in the Lakers/Rockets game.

SANTIAGO: Yes. Coy, this might have been the only thing that could have upstaged LeBron's Hollywood debut.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Jack Nicholson is there, Adam Levin, Kate Beckinsale, Ice Cube, all the stars were there, but his debut in Hollywood certainly overshadowed by this.

Let's show you this fight. This is late in the game. Lakers' Brandon Ingram shoved James Harden, that's when tempers flare. Harden's teammate Chris Paul points a finger in the face of Lakers Rajon Rondo. And then watch him throw this punch, right? OK. So, then you're going to see Ingram come back in to the picture,

out of nowhere. Look at this right hook on your right on the screen there. Now, Chris Paul claims that Rondo spit in his face. The Lakers are denying that. But Paul, Rondo, and Ingram all ejected. Fight nice boys, right?

The Rockets win and this fight tarnished LeBron's home debut.


LEBRON JAMES, LAKERS FORWARD: I didn't see anything. I didn't say nothing to my team after the game. Coach said what he had to say. We'll come in tomorrow and get better.


CARMELO ANTHONY, ROCKETS FORWARD: Yes, that's unacceptable. You don't do that. You don't do that to nobody in sports, on the streets, yes.


WIRE: Suspensions likely to come.

To college football. Purdue shocking number two Ohio State. In nine years in the NFL, I learned that individuals and teams are most capable of achieving that for which they aspire when they are inspired, right? Well, for many Purdue players and fans packing the stadium last night, their inspiration has been 20-year-old Tyler Trent. He pulled from school earlier this year during a grueling brutal battle with bone cancer. And his dream was just to be able to be at this game and he made it to the game.

It was with jaw dropping displays of effort. True freshman Rondale Moore steamrolling the Buckeye defense, Trent's boilermaker, did the unthinkable, a 49-20 victory. Tyler Trent cheering them on and asked by the team afterwards to join them in the celebration.


TYLER TRENT: Thanks for leaving your heart out on the field and joining the nation by being a boilermaker.



WIRE: We are rooting for you, Trent.

All right. Now, Purdue had not beaten a top two team in over 30 years, and wouldn't you know it? That team they beat back then was Ohio State. Look at that scene!


WIRE: Los Angeles beat the Brewers 5-1 in game seven in the NLCS. So, the World Series is set. It will be Dodgers-Red Sox. Game one in Boston on Tuesday.

These two teams did meet once before. It was way back in 1916 when the Red Sox pitcher was some guy named Babe Ruth!

[07:50:00] So, it will be a fun time here. World Series, about NFL, college football rocking and rolling, it's fun to be a sports fan.

BLACKWELL: Yes, it is. October, every year.

Thanks, Coy.

WIRE: You're welcome.

SANTIAGO: All right. A lioness attacks the father of her cubs at the Indianapolis Zoo. How does that happen? We're going to talk to a wildlife expert, next.


SANTIAGO: Well, a male lion at the Indianapolis zoo was killed by the mother of his three cubs. Zuri, the female, and Nyack, the male, had been together for eight years and shared these three cubs.

BLACKWELL: Zoo officials said they heard an unusual amount of noise coming from the enclosure before the zoo opened and that's when they found Zuri with her teeth around Nyack's neck.

[07:55:09] The workers tried to separate the two, but it was too late.

SANTIAGO: All right. Joining us now to try to get some kind of understanding here, wildlife expert and conservation journalist, Michelle Garforth-Venter.

Michelle, make some sense of this. I mean, is this something that's typical?

MICHELLE GARFORTH-VENTER, WILDLIFE EXPERT: Not at all. It's incredibly unusual. We don't normally see this in captivity and incredibly rarely out in the wild. I was watching some footage when I was researching. In 2018, in the U.K. at the safari park, there were nine lionesses who made the decision to kill one of the two male lions in their enclosure.

It's horrific footage to watch. It's the first time we've seen this. And it was almost like the feeling I got was that he was accepting his fate because the girls had made their decision, these nine lionesses.

And we know that in the pride, the females are dominant. So, they make a lot of the decisions. And they often times put these males in their place. But to actually go ahead and kill him and by suffocating is a very specific intent on her part.

So, in terms of Nyack and Zuri, we're going to have to surmise in terms of conversation as to what happened. We don't have all the facts at our fingertips, but I would say the top three reasons would fall to either food, sex or the cubs, you know, the kids. One of those three things came into play.

The first being food, which is an obvious one. Now, we don't know, was he stealing her food? Had this happened frequently? Was she upset?

Had it been building up and she just had enough or is it a case that they, as a pride, were not being fed enough? That can also come into play. And the thought could have crossed her mind if we do away with him, we, me and my cubs, would have more food for us.


GARFORTH-VENTER: So, that could come into play.

We do need to hear from the zoo keepers as to what their routines were and what they were seeing on the ground.

The second thing being sex, is that he could have tried to cover her and she perhaps has a cyst or she -- the female parts are not 100 percent. And as we know, male lions are relentless and it could have been incredibly painful and that could have been her decision to say I've had enough of this.

But, of course, if we have a look at the fact that they've been in captivity for an eight-year period --


GARFORTH-VENTER: -- he might have tried to cover one of the cubs and perhaps the lioness did not like that one little bit. So, out in the wild, what would happen with the pride is we typically have a dominant male, another male, a second male, and the rest of the lionesses are all related, the grannies, the aunties, the sisters, and then the cubs.

We have nomadic lions that will come across a pride and challenge that dominant male. If they win to have the glory of this pride, they will kill that dominant male and then they will kill all of the cubs.



BLACKWELL: Quickly, what do you expect will happen with Zuri?

GARFORTH-VENTER: Well, I don't think they would do anything to her, I would hope not, because already, there's a heartfelt loss with the male. And I'm sure the people who look after them are not feeling very great this morning with what's gone on. But I don't feel that there needs to be an action taken against her.

We won't understand the cat psychology.

BLACKWELL: Yes, that's true. Understood.

GARFORTH-VENTER: We would love to interview them and get some kind of vocal response from her.

BLACKWELL: Especially without video, it's really hard to know.

SANTIAGO: Thanks, Michelle.

BLACKWELL: Michelle Garforth-Venter, thanks so much for helping us understand.

GARFORTH-VENTER: A pleasure. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: All right. OK. So, nobody won last night's Powerball drawing, which means there is a lot of money up for grabs right now between Powerball and Friday's Mega Million drawing. The combined lottery jackpot is now more than $2 billion.

SANTIAGO: Right now, the mega millions jackpot is tied for the biggest in lottery history at $1.6 billion and it will likely climb before today's -- Tuesday's drawing. Let's not get people excited here. Tuesday's drawing.

And just to keep your expectations in check, the chances of matching all six numbers is 1 in 302.5 million. You're more like -- to put that in perspective, to get struck by lightning than to win.

BLACKWELL: But most people are going to buy a ticket anyway.


BLACKWELL: And before we go, don't forget, the Florida governor's race debate, Republican Ron DeSantis, Democrat Andrew Gillum, take part in a live CNN debate moderated by Jake Tapper. That's at 8:00 p.m. Eastern, only on CNN.

SANTIAGO: Can't wait to watch.

BLACKWELL: Be sure to watch that one.

Thank you so much for joining us this morning.

SANTIAGO: "INSIDE POLITICS" with John King starts right now.