Return to Transcripts main page


Jamal Khashoggi Death: Saudi Arabia Says Journalist Was Murdered; High Profile Disappearances Raise Concerns In China; U.S. Charges Russian Woman For Election Interference; "War Room" Monitors Investigates Possible Threats. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired October 22, 2018 - 02:00   ET


[02:00:07] ROSEMARY CHURCH, NEWSROOM ANCHOR, CNN: A tremendous mistake. Saudi Arabia blames a rogue operation for the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. But some U.S. lawmakers don't believe that narrative. Plus, after crossing Mexico's southern border, crowds of migrants resume their journey toward the United States, risking their lives to do so. And later, from Twitter bugs to fake Facebook ads, misinformation is spreading across social media platforms.

We will tell you how Facebook says they are fighting back. Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us here in the United States and from all around the world. I am Rosemary Church. And this is CNN Newsroom. Well, Saudi Arabia is offering its explanation for what happened to Jamal Khashoggi, but many in the international community are not buying it.

In a Fox News interview, the Saudi foreign minister called the journalist's death a murder that was a tremendous mistake by a rogue operation. Adel al-Jubeir added Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was not aware of the operation beforehand. The Saudi press agency reports the Crown Prince Khashoggi's eldest son to express his condolences. And Turkish authorities will question 28 more consulate staff members on Monday.

Our Nic Robertson joins us now from Istanbul with more on all of this. Nic, how likely is it that Jamal Khashoggi's body will ever be located?

NIC ROBERTSON, INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, what we are hearing, the latest if you like, from Adel al-Jubeir, the foreign minister in Saudi Arabia, is that they don't know where his body is. And as they have the men that Turkish investigators would most like to question, the 15 men that the Turkish investigators say were the hit squad that came from Saudi Arabia the day Jamal Khashoggi disappeared.

It would seem that the preponderance of information should still be with those people in Riyadh back in Saudi Arabia. But it's not clear if those are among those 15 people or among the 18 that the Saudis have detained. But the trail here on the ground does seem to be running somewhat cold now.


ROBERTSON: The trail for Jamal Khashoggi's body is going cold. Video released at the Turkish media over the weekend reveals the hours before his death. This is Saudi's officials offer, their first accounting of events.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This wasn't a rogue operation. This was an operation where individuals ended up exceeding the authorities and responsibilities they had. They made a mistake when they killed Jamal Khashoggi in the consulate, and they tried to cover up for it.

ROBERTSON: A fist fight, a choke hold, the implication being Khashoggi's death an accident. In Riyadh, 18 people arrested. But there are still holes in the Saudi narrative, not least. They say they are cooperating with Turkish investigators. But still Khashoggi's body is missing. Where some of these consular vehicles went in the hours after Khashoggi's disappearance, still a mystery, Saudi leaks say his body given to a local collaborator.

Forests and farms outside Istanbul have been at the center of rumors. His body may have been dumped there, but as yet, no evidence. On Saturday, Turkish investigators questioned consulate employees, including the consul general's driver, but still no body, his friends demanding its return.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Give it back so that we can raise his funeral. Let the whole world watch Jamal Khashoggi's farewell, who was killed in a darkroom with horrific details, and whose body is tried to be hidden.

ROBERTSON: President Trump asking, too.

PRES. DONALD TRUMP (R), UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: Somebody knows, but nobody of the various investigation groups at this moment know. But we'll find out.

ROBERTSON: The U.S. President now beginning to question the role his Saudi ally, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, may have had in Khashoggi's death.

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


ROBERTSON: So if they do find or rather maybe when they find Jamal Khashoggi's body, that could be very helpful for investigators to provide forensic information, and perhaps shed light on why one of Saudi Arabia's top forensic experts was on that so-called hit team that Turkish officials talked about. Rosemary?

[02:05:04] CHURCH: And Nic, we have learned that Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman called Khashoggi's oldest son to offer his condolences. Do we know how his son responded to that call from the Crown Prince?

ROBERTSON: We know according to the Saudi press agency that his son thanked Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the call. One wouldn't expect, A, the Saudi press agency to say anything else, or in the circumstance that Salah finds himself in, Jamal Khashoggi's son finds himself in, really one wouldn't expect him to say anything else either.

His situation in Saudi Arabia has a lot of speculation around it, a lot of questions about his freedom to travel. But at the moment, he is the principal member of the family in Saudi Arabia with the closest ties to his father. Most of the rest of the family, close family have left. And, of course, he like his friends would dearly, dearly like to know precisely what happened to his father. And he, like everyone else, will have to wait for the investigation, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Yeah, understandably. And Nic Robertson with the very latest from Istanbul, thank you so much. Appreciate that. And in an interview with the Washington Post, the U.S. President is offering conflicting position on the Khashoggi case. He told the newspaper obviously, there's been deception and there have been lies.

But he stopped short of blaming Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman. Mr. Trump said nobody has told me he's responsible. Nobody has told me he's not responsible. We haven't reached that point. Nevertheless, U.S. lawmakers are doubtful and pointing the finger at the Crown Prince. Republican Senator Bob Corker says the U.S. should punish Mohammed bin Salman if an investigation confirms he was involved in the killing. Corker spoke with our Jake Tapper.


BOB CORKER, (R) UNITED STATES SENATOR: Do I think he did it, yes. I think he did it. If he did, then I think there should be a collective response. I've talked to ambassadors from other countries. In the west, they're looking for the United States for leadership on this issue. But they also want to make sure that they coordinate a response with us.

They, too, have arms sales to Saudi Arabia. They, too, have interests there just like we do. And so this is something when I think you're going to see the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany working collectively with others if he did this, to respond in an appropriate way.


CHURCH: And fellow Republican Senator Lindsey Graham says he is beyond skeptical.


LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R) UNITED STATES SENATOR: If the Crown Prince truly loved his country, he would not have put his country in this position. If he truly respected the relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia, he would never have thought of this. The question is was he involved. I think the answer is unequivocally yes. First answer was a lie.

The second story line is just manufactured. The relationship is important, but our values are more important. I've been there enough to know. I've been the leading supporter along with John McCain of the U.S.-Saudi relationship. I feel completely betrayed. (END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: Well, U.S. Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, will attend a meeting in Riyadh this week on combating terrorism financing. Even though he pulled out of a high profile investor conference in the Saudi capital because of the Khashoggi case, his travel plans have been closely watched as an indicator of the Trump administration's response to the situation.

Well, joining us now from Istanbul is Matthew Bryza. He is a former U.S. diplomat and a former coordinator of U.S. policy in Turkey with the National Security Council. Thank you so much for being with us.


CHURCH: So Jamal Khashoggi's body has still not been found. We do want to just listen to what the Saudi foreign minister said about that when he was questioned about it on Fox News over the weekend. Let's bring that up.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You said you don't know where the body is. Someone obviously knows. Was it chopped up? Was it dismembered? Do you know that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are working on this. We are working on this with our Turkish colleagues. The public prosecutors continue his line of questioning. And we are intent on determining what happened, and we are intent on uncovering all of the facts that exists in this case. We want to make sure that we know what happened, and we want to make sure that those responsible will be held to account.


CHURCH: Matthew Bryza, how likely is it that the body of Khashoggi will ever be found? And how committed do you think the Saudi government is to getting to the truth of the matter when it comes to the murder of Khashoggi?

[02:10:05] BRYZA: I think it is unlikely they'll find the body. Though, we don't know what details President Erdogan and the Turkish government are going to divulge. President Erdogan says Tuesday, tomorrow, he says no facts will be hidden. But that doesn't mean you can find the body. To me, Foreign Minister Al-Jubeir is doing a classic dodge of the question.

I mean there are so many facts that are already out there, or alleged facts that Turkey has provided. He addressed none of those issues. He sort of desperately tried to get out of the question, and said well, we'll see what the independent investigation determines. Again, those facts have been leaking out for a week-and-a-half now.

He also, on Saturday or Sunday yesterday, the one -- when he to absolve the Crown Prince from any culpability, that really rang hollow to me.

CHURCH: Right. And President Trump told the Washington Post there's been deception and lies. But he did stop short of blaming the Crown Prince. What did you make of that? What did you read into that?

BRYZA: Well, first of all, yeah. When President Trump said it could have been him, or it might not have been. To me, that was the opening of the door for the Saudi foreign minister to make just a desperate claim that the Crown Prince wasn't involved. So to put it differently, it is an incredibly inconvenient truth for President Trump, for King Salman, for the Saudi government if it becomes known that the Crown Prince was the one who ordered this.

So I think President Trump is hoping that some sort of story will be concocted that will provide enough wiggle room that there will be doubt in the air, and then business can return to usual at some point in the future after the midterm elections for sure.

CHURCH: Now, as you mentioned, Turkey's President will reveal more on Tuesday. But why has Turkey been reluctant so far to reveal all it knows about the death of Khashoggi? What is it hoping to achieve by doing that? Is it getting some sort of leverage at this point?

BRYZA: I think it is. I think Turkey is playing a careful game. Number one, it is quite remarkable that the Turkish government has been leaking these details. Had it not, we wouldn't really know anything. Number two, President Erdogan, I think, is still angry at the Crown Prince for saying a few months ago that Turkey is part of a triangle of evil. That's Iran, Qatar, and Turkey.

But, that said, President Erdogan doesn't want to rupture relations with Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is a huge player, a Sunni-Muslim majority population, the keeper of the holy sites, an economic power house. And so I think that maybe President Erdogan is dripping out this information step-by-step, precisely for what you said, to have some semblance, some sort of leverage over the Saudi government, whether financial, strategic.

Maybe hoping that Saudi Arabia will stop pressuring Turkey's close friend and ally, Qatar, but without blowing up the relationship.

CHURCH: Right. And just very quickly before you go, in light of what we have learned so far. How should the U.S. and other allies punish the Saudis for the murder of Khashoggi?

BRYZA: Yeah. I think probably demanding the replacement of Crown Prince Bin Salman is going too far. It's up to the Saudi system to figure out how that punishment is meted out. So certainly, there ought to be sanctions against individuals who are found to be culpable. Speaker Ryan has talked about the Magnitsky Act, as have many others. We know Senator Paul was only four votes away from a vote that would have blocked arms sales to Saudi Arabia few months ago.

It seems like such a vote will go forward now. So I think at a minimum there should be some cutback on those arms shipments. Beyond that, I guess it will be important to see what sort of punishment is meted out in Riyadh against those who are culpable.

CHURCH: Yeah. I mean it's hard to see how a normal relationship with Saudi Arabia can continue at this point without some form of punishment. Matthew Bryza, thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate it.

BRYZA: Thank you. It was an honor.

CHURCH: Well, Australian leaders are offering an apology decades in the making. Why many says it is too little too late. Plus, despite many obstacles and literal roadblocks, thousands of migrants are determined to reach the United States. What's driving them? We'll take a look at that when we come back.


[02:15:00] CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Well, Australia's Prime Minister is offering an emotional apology to thousands of people who survived institutional child sexual abuse. In a parliamentary speech with survivors in the audience, Scott Morrison said the nation failed its children. His statement comes after a landmark inquiry into rampant sexual abuse that took place over decades. And now, Will Ripley joins us now live from Hong Kong with more on all of this.

So Will, this apology made by the Australian Prime Minister was heartfelt. It was emotional. But it is a long time coming, isn't it? How significant is this, and how is it received?

WILL RIPLEY, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: And not only is this apology coming after a five-year study by the Royal Commission, Rosemary. But after decades of systemic institutional child sexual abuse that was kept hidden. And so the apology is being received understandably by some survivors as too little, too late. They feel that the institutions that have been complicit in the abuse of so many children, 8,000 victims uncovered by this study.

And, of course, that is probably only scratching the surface. You can bet that there are many more who haven't been interviewed, cases that haven't been discovered. There's nothing that can be done to compensate those people and their families for the pain that they have endured, and really the lifelong implications that can happen to many survivors of child sexual abuse, everything from substance abuse, to mental health struggles.

But the Prime Minister did, nonetheless, make a vow that Australia will now take ownership of this issue, and will take steps to help victims come forward and feel brave enough to speak out, and to know that when they do that, they will be believed. They will not have their cries for help cast aside as they were for so many decades.

[02:20:02] Listen to what the Prime Minister talked about when he addressed specifically the issue of sexual abuse in the church, because 60 percent of those 8,000 survivors that were interviewed suffered abuse at the hands of clergy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not just as a father but as a Prime Minister, I am angry, too, at the calculating destruction of lives and the abuse of trust, including those who have abused the shield of faith and a religion to hide their crimes, a shield that is supposed to protect the innocent, not guilty. And I stand (Inaudible).


RIPLEY: The Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, there spoke with one activist in Australia named Chrissy Foster, whose story is truly heartbreaking. She is a mother of three, three daughters. Two of her daughters were abused by a local priest that they trusted growing up. One of the daughters ended up taking her own life. She overdosed. And the other was in a car accident that left her disabled after a binge drinking incident.

And it just goes to show how there are physical scars on top of the emotional ones that so many of these victims have endured, Rosemary.

CHURCH: It is simply devastating. Our Will Ripley bringing us the details there live from Hong Kong, many thanks to you. Well, just days after the U.S. announced it would pull out of a key nuclear treaty with Russia, a top U.S. national security advisor could come face to face with Vladimir Putin. The Kremlin says a meeting between the two is being prepared during John Bolton's trip to Moscow.

Bolton landed there just a short time ago. On Sunday, one of the men behind the agreement, former Soviet President, Mikhail Gorbachev, told Russia's Interfax news agency the U.S. rejecting the treaty is a mistake. Fred Pleitgen has the story.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: The U.S. has long been accusing Russia of violating the INF treaty, by developing and deploying medium-range nuclear capable missiles. Now, President Trump says America is axing the agreement.

TRUMP: 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. We're going to pull out.

PLEITGEN: During his visit to Moscow in the coming days, National Security Advisor, 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 Soviet Union, and ultimately led to almost 2,700 medium- range nuclear missiles being withdrawn, experts saying by and large, the agreement has worked.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 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, both cruise and ballistic missiles. So it was 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 breaching it by developing anti-missile systems. Vladimir Putin recently making what some felt were troubling remarks about possible nuclear warfare.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In this situation, we kind of expect that 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 part of the agreement. Another reason the administration says to pull out of a deal. Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Moscow.


CHURCH: Mexican authorities say more than 1,000 migrants have requested asylum there over the past three days. But huge crowds are still trying to reach the United States. Despite the fact that President Trump says they are not welcome. On Sunday, he tweeted this. Full efforts are being made to stop the onslaught of illegal aliens from crossing our southern border, adding that the U.S. will turn away anyone who doesn't apply for asylum in Mexico.

The migrants' journey through Central America has been grueling. CNN's Bill Weir shows us what they've gone through so far.


BILL WEIR, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: After 24 hours stuck on a bridge between nations, the caravan finds another way. Most go back to the Guatemala side and pay a few pesos for an inner tube ride, while others pry a hole in the fence and jump. While the stress of it all is too much for the sick and the weak, a few of the strongest manage to scavenge a ladder and rope and come back to help others down, including a mother named Rosalina.

[02:25:06] The migrants on the bank of the (Inaudible) gasp and cheer as she is lowered to the raft. (Inaudible), they chant. Yes, we can. After a splash of relief from the heat and the thirst, she looks up anxiously for her babies. A five-year-old daughter named Candy, a three-year-old son named Carlitos. It is stunning to see him here, because the day before, I spotted him playing inside the Mexican gate.

The little boy was fascinated by the riot gear and helmets, and one member of the Federales displayed touching humanity amid all the chaos. I assumed his family was among the lucky few allowed through for processing, but they were actually separated from Candy in the teargas panic. So Rosalina went back to find her and another way north. What made you decide to climb onto that ladder?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To complete the dream that I have. WEIR: This bridge, this river, they can't stop me, she says. I am an

all terrain woman. But there are people who see what just happened and would say you're using your child as a shield to break the law.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think we are abusing the kids, she says. We can't leave them at home. They have to eat. I want them to study, have a good future. I do this for my kids. I ask you with all my heart. Wouldn't your mother do the same for you?

WEIR: Do you know that President Trump is threatening to use soldiers to keep you out? And he has even separated families. He's taken children like these away from their mothers. You know this?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She knows, but says we have faith in God. He has the final word.

WEIR: In town, they are met with cheers from fellow travelers and a bit of Mexican hospitality. There is shelter here and advice from human rights workers, and precious nourishment for the kids. She borrows a phone to call her mom. They're OK, she tells her, and are not turning back. They will rest here for the night waiting for the caravan's strength in numbers, and are back on the road at dawn. From here, it is a 2,500-mile walk to America.


CHURCH: We'll take a short break here. Still to come, two Florida men got into a heated exchange in Tampa. We will look at Sunday's gubernatorial debate. That is coming your way in just a moment. And then later, Hurricane Willa is heading to some of Mexico's popular tourist destinations. We will check in with the weather center to find out where exactly, back in a moment.


[02:31:30] ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Welcome back, everyone. I'm Rosemary Church. I want to update you now on the main stories we're following this hour. In an interview on Fox News, Saudi Arabia's foreign minister called the death of Jamal Khashoggi a murder and a tremendous mistake by a rouge operation. That explanation is being met with widespread skepticism.

Turkey state television reports Turkish authorities planned to interview 28 members of the Saudi consulate staff on Monday. Australia's prime minister has delivered an emotional apology to survivors of widespread institutional abuse. Scott Morrison told a parliamentary chamber that the nation failed its children. The apology follows a five-year inquiry into thousands of cases of child sexual abuse that took place at religious and state-run institutions.

In the coming hours, British Prime Minister Theresa May plans to tell parliament the Brexit divorce deal is 95 percent done. The main sticking point is whether to keep Northern Ireland's border with Ireland open free from custom's checks something the E.U. wants. Britain is set to leave the European Union officially on March 29th. At least 18 people are dead after a train derailed in Northeastern Taiwan. The transport ministry says about 180 other people are injured.

Several train carriages were overturned of the incident. Officials are still investigating what caused it. We are just 15 days away from the U.S. midterm elections. The results could change the trajectory of Donald Trump's presidency and indeed the country. In just over two weeks, voters will head to the polls and decide whether Republicans deserve to keep the House and the Senate or whether it's time for Democrats to serve a something of a check on President Trump for the rest of his current term in August.

The State of Florida is home to some key races this year. There's a Senate seat up for grabs and voters will choose a new governor. A new CNN poll shows the Democrats have a big lead. Democrat Andrew Gillum is up 12 points against his Republican rival Ron DeSantis. On Sunday, CNN's Jake Tapper hosted a debate for the two candidates and here's what they had to say about immigration.


ANDREW GILLUM (D), GUBERNATORIAL NOMINEE, FLORIDA: We should not be terrorizing people here in this country who are babies that are nursing with their parents, with their mothers. Right now, we have no real comprehensive way to deal with this challenge. And what I've simply said is that what we're not going to become here in this State of Florida is a state where we basically become a show me your paper state based off of color or somebody's skin, the language that they speak, what neighborhood they leave in.

That's not the American way. That's not who we are as Floridians.

RON DESANTIS (R), GUBERNATORIAL NOMINEE, FLORIDA: I'm concerned about Mayor Gillum's platform about abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement and having an open border and having a sanctuary cities and a sanctuary state. The fact is that's a wet kiss of the drug cartels. We got a major opioid epidemic. Most of that is now being filled not by prescription medications, but by fence and all being sent in from China, the Central American brought across the border.

He says he won't cooperate with the Trump administration with respect to illegal immigration. But if someone is here illegally and they're committing a criminal offense, you've got to honor the detain request.


[02:35:16] CHURCH: And viewers outside the U.S. can catch all of the Florida governor's debate coming up in just over an hour from now on CNN. That's 4:00 p.m. for the U.S. and Hong Kong and 9:00 in the morning for viewers in London. Well, Latino voters will be key for Democrats in Florida. They could also make a big difference in Arizona. CNN's Kyung Lah has a look at elections in that state.


KYUNG LAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The push for the Latino vote. In Arizona, volunteers are calling voters cellphones in Spanish. In Nevada, organized labor most of them Latino's going door to door, but signs that turnout trouble maybe looming.

LUIS HEREDIA, ARIZONA DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEEMAN: The numbers are alarming sometimes, but we got to dig a little bit deeper.

LAH: What do you mean the numbers are alarming?

HEREDIA: They're not registering support or they're undecided or like they just -- they're holding back on choosing who they're going to vote for.

LAH: A voting block Democrats hope that would surge in the upcoming midterm election. If the emphasis were put on the Latino vote that's put on for example suburban white women, what kind of a game changer would that be?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I mean we would be represented. Right now, we're not represented.

LAH: The Latino vote could significantly impact midterm races in these states with high static populations. After two years of President Trump's animosity from separating families at the U.S.- Mexico border to anti-immigrant rhetoric.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They're not sending their finest that I can tell you. Back. Now, we are sending them to held back.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't like to vote.

LAH: Some told us they just rather stay home.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They don't do nothing for us or it's just -- I just don't mind too at all.

LAH: You don't feel that you have a say? You don't have more of a say in government if you vote?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. We don't -- the government doesn't help us for nothing.

LAH: The Latino voter turnout rate in midterms has dropped since 2006. So in 2018, candidates across the country are going bilingual on both sides of the aisle. But it's the Democratic who are counting on Latinos turnout to win seats in Congress.

LAH: Do you feel that the Democratic establishment is paying enough retention to the Latino vote?

HEREDIA: Not enough, but there are inroads. Little by little, I think we're getting to the numbers and by them paying attention then you can motivate them to turn out.


CHURCH: And that was CNN's Kyung Lah reporting there. Well, a new category five strength hurricane is turning across the Pacific Ocean and its path a Mexico and parts of the U.S. State of Texas. Let's turn to our meteorologist Pedram Javaheri. He joins us no from the CNN weather center keeping a very close eye on this category five. Pedram, who is in the path of this?

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. You know, it's almost there. It's setting at a hundred and fifty-five miles per hour, so negligible difference between that and 157 which is what dictates a category five. But Willa is not alone. Of course just to the south we have Vicente lined up as well. But I want to talk about Willa because very similar to what we saw with Hurricane Michael at landfall exact same wide speeds, of course, exact category and we're talking about a storm that went from a category one to a category four within a 36-hour period once again similar to what we saw with -- from Hurricane Michael just about two weeks ago.

But this particular system sitting just west of Manzanillo, Mexico and at this point, you look at this alone of course across the Pacific -- Eastern Pacific in particular, we've have 10 major hurricanes so far in 2018 tying second all-time and only one major hurricane behind 2015 for the all-time record. But we do have hurricane watches, hurricane warnings in place (INAUDIBLE) of course very prominent areas from (INAUDIBLE) and eventually to Manzanillo across this region where we have a lot of tourists this time of year.

And unfortunately, this system is slightest to gradually move in the direction of that region and we think it will weaken just a little bit. So at least bring it potentially down to a category three. Still a major hurricane at landfall just south of Manzanillo. That would be late Tuesday going into Wednesday and certainly that story is just a part of what's happening here on the Coast of Mexico. To the south, Tropical Storm Vicente parked in place.

The good news with this one it is going to be predominantly a rain maker. The bad news is that Willa to the north will produce so much rainfall potentially as much as two feet in a few spots that even this comes in as a tropical depression the rain on top of a recently landfall in major hurricane is not going to be a good news that region, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Certainly isn't. We thank you, Pedram, for keeping a very close eye on this and keeping us updated on the situation. Thank you.

[02:40:02] Well, no one seems to be above law in China's big anti- corruption drive, celebrities and otherwise rich or powerful players can find themselves gone without much of a trace. A closer look at what is going on the other side of the break. Please stay with us.


CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Well, human rights advocates say two recent disappearances in China should be a wake-up call about what's going on there. The activist say the message from communist leaders is clear, no one is too big and anyone could be next. CNN's Matt Rivers reports.


the Interpol chief, two of the China's most famous international citizens and yet in President Xi Jinping's authoritarian security state, each has proved powerless. Fan Bingbing is one of China's biggest film stars but in June this year, a former T.V. anchor accused the actress of not paying proper taxes and within weeks she vanished. No one saw her for months. In 2016, Meng Hongwei became the first Chinese head of Interpol. But last month on a visit to China, he disappeared. His wife told CNN his last message to her was a knife emoji.

GRACE MENG, WIFE OF MENG HONGWEI (via translator): At the beginning, I could not be certain what happened to him. Then after I received his message, I knew that he was in danger.

RIVERS: He's been accused of taking bribes and other crimes, but remains missing. Both disappearances are part of Xi Jinping's signature domestic policy. A ruthless anti-corruption drive that estimated to have netted more than one million government official so far. Plus, big fish in the business world too. It's been easy way critics say for Xi to get rid of his enemies and terrorize their families.

[02:44:55] MENG: I worry about his life. I don't know if he's alive or what happened.

RIVERS: It's a feeling Li Wenzu knows well, her husband, Wang Quanzhong is also in state custody. She hasn't seen or spoken to him in more than three years.

"My biggest fear right now is whether or not he'll come out of jail alive."

She is protested for his release too, but her husband isn't rich. He's just a middle-class human rights lawyer accused of "subversion of state power," imprisoned along with hundreds of other such lawyers and activists since 2015.

They're often held in so-called black jails, unable to communicate with the outside world. Prisoners we've spoken to alleged torture, though China denies it. We found one of those jails in 2016.

And to be honest we didn't know what to expect when we were walking up here. But around here, it is relatively quiet. That's an unassuming building but it does belay what activists say goes on inside.

On Wednesday back in Beijing, we saw Fan Bingbing in public for the first time in four months leaving the airport. She was accused of tax fraud, find nearly $130 million. The only way it seems to emerge from the ranks of the disappeared is to grovel at the foot of the state.

Without the favorable policies of the Communist Party and State, there would have been no Fan Bingbing. She wrote on social media her only public statement, so far.

"In China, it doesn't matter if you're a huge official or a famous actress. If they can disappear, anyone can. That means anyone can be next."

For China's President, Xi Jinping, the country's most powerful leader in decades. And the man Donald Trump calls a good friend, there is no celebrity too big or human rights lawyer too small that can't be taken down as a threat. Matt Rivers, CNN, Beijing.


CHURCH: We could misuse the word epidemic, but that's what the spread of misinformation in a digitally small world often feels like. We will look at just how contagious is to come. Back in a moment.


JAVAHERI: Good Monday to you. I'm meteorologist Pedram Javaheri, and look at this lake effect snow back in the forecast across portions of the Great Lakes. That means we have cold enough air going over a relatively warm body of water across the Great Lakes at this point. That's resulting enough energy transfer for additional snow showers across. At least, some of the areas that are favorable for lake effect snow.

Chicago, not yet. Not so much of these. 16 degrees there partly cloudy skies. Winnipeg down to 4, Denver Colorado, beautiful setup they're warming up to 21 degrees, high pressure sits in place. We will have additional chance of cooler air to be going towards this weekend parts of the Northeast. Yet again, begin cooling off rather dramatically over this region.

Look at this. In New York, warms up to 15. Eventually, back down to seven. Throughout to climb back up again. But it looks like we are in for the long haul when it comes to cooler weather across areas of the Northeast.

To the south we go, we do have hurricane, will at to tell you about. This particular storm is impressive as it gets here. Becoming not only the tenth major hurricane in the Eastern Pacific but sitting there just off the coast of Mexico, not far from Manzanillo. Model suggests is all retain its intensity as it heads to the north.

Potentially, weekend just before landfall still would be a major hurricane mass at land. Of course, a resort town there and not far on north thereof Puerto Vallarta where landfall possible. So, certainly, story will follow.

And also, to the south, Vicente the next tropical storm beginning to form and strengthen in that region that will push in a little farther towards the north.


[02:50:50] CHURCH: Well every day, it seems like there's a new story about false information being spread online. The U.S. charged a Russian national with funding online propaganda last week. Authorities say she worked for a Russian troll group that tried to wreak havoc in the 2016 U.S. election. She allegedly was working on the 2018 vote, as well. More recently, Twitter says, it's taken down a suspected bot network, sending pro- Saudi messages. And they were parroting Saudi government talking points about the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi.

And not all this misinformation is political. A CNN investigation identified a network of 1,700 suspicious Facebook pages. They were designed to look like they were run by local Women's March organizers.

In reality, they were a coordinated effort run out of Bangladesh to sell merchandise like t-shirts. We'll CNN business senior technology correspondent Laurie Segall, looks at how Facebook is fighting other similar threats.


LAURIE SEGALL, CNN SENIOR TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT: The room isn't that big, just enough space for around 20 people and their computers. But the undertaking is enormous.

SAMIDH CHAKRABARTI, PRODUCT MANAGER, CIVIC ENGAGEMENT, FACEBOOK: It's really the culmination of two years of massive investments that we've made.

SEGALL: Just weeks ahead of the midterm election, Facebook has created what it's calling the war room.

CHAKRABARTI: We have a bunch of dashboards that you see around the perimeter of the room, which actually are backed up by artificial intelligence and machine learning to be able to flag any sort of anomalies or problems that we see.

Once that happens, our data scientists are able to review it, understand what's happening, and pass it along to our engineers and operation specialists to take action against harmful content that we see on our platform.

SEGALL: It's been nearly years since Facebook was caught flat-footed. There was the Russian interference aimed at manipulating the 2016 presidential election. A privacy scandal that left users wondering if they could trust the platform. Now, CEO Mark Zuckerberg has vowed to get ahead of these issues. And Facebook's new war room is part of those efforts.

CHAKRABARTI: They are actually monitoring our systems in real time for any sort of new threats that we may see. Investigate them, and then make decisions about how to take action against violating content that we see on our platform, to prevent it from going viral.

SEGALL: Lading up to the midterm elections, this room will be operating 24/7. The people in this room are supported by the 20,000 Facebook employees across the globe hired to work on safety and security.

CHAKRABARTI: We've actually been running this for the first round of the Brazilian election which was just last week. And during that time, we saw a spike in potential voter-suppression-related content.

SEGALL: Two years after the 2016 election, the attacks have changed. Nathaniel Gleicher, who served on President Barack Obama's National Security Council, now leads Facebook's efforts to eliminate trolls in State-run disinformation campaigns.

NATHANIEL GLEICHER, HEAD, CYBERSECURITY POLICY, FACEBOOK: One of the challenges we always face is that if you have sophisticated threat actors, they keep evolving their tactics. They don't do the same thing again and again. And so part of what we've done is, as we head into these elections, we sort of think about our threat model.

What are the new challenges that are coming? What are the things that we haven't seen before that we could see, and what are the new twists that might get thrown at us? And then, we test that and run that.

SEGALL: Another challenge? Communication. Silicon Valley and the government have historically had trouble communicating as platforms like Twitter and Facebook have become weaponized. Twitter founder Jack Dorsey acknowledged the problem in a congressional hearing in September.

JACK DORSEY, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, TWITTER: We would like a more regular cadence of meetings with our law enforcement partnerships. We would appreciate, as much as we can consolidating to a single point of contact. So that we are not bouncing between multiple agencies to do our work.

SEGALL: Do you guys have a more streamlined approach now with the government when it comes to reporting? Do you have a direct line to the FBI, to DHS, to these major campaigns when you do find something?

GLEICHER: So, we work closely with the Foreign Influence Task Force, with the FBI, with the Department of Homeland Security. Another really important partner for us, actually, is state elections officials, because they are the ones who are on the ground. They're going to see threats emerge first.

SEGALL: And what do you say to folks who say, can we trust Facebook to keep us safe?

[02:55:00] GLEICHER: Our biggest priority is to make sure that users can have authentic conversation on the platform and that this election can be free and fair and open.

SEGALL: Do you believe it will be?

GLEICHER: I believe that we've done everything we can to make sure that, that will be the case.


CHURCH: Laurie Segall with that report. And earlier, I asked Jennifer Imgraygle what media companies could do to fight misinformation?


JENNIFER GRYGIEL, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF COMMUNICATION, NEWHOUSE SCHOOL, SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY: I don't see them stepping up anytime soon, especially, without regulation in place. It's a lot to expect from the public to be I think in a position to do a lot of the work for them.

We're doing that content moderation. We're flagging a lot of the posts that could be potentially problematic. We're doing a lot of work for the platform and for Mark Zuckerberg, especially for free often.

And we need a lot more training for the public and a lot more education. They're rolling out modules, but it's just not enough. So, we need some time for the public to catch up, as well.

We're educating students in universities. We're doing what we can. But we'd be great for the public just to question more things as they're seeing it come true. Especially on social media and to verify through multiple sources. Just some media literacy basics.


CHURCH: Some good advice there. That was Jennifer M. Grygiel, associate professor of communications and social media at Syracuse University.

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