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Jamal Khashoggis' Death by a Rogue Operation; Trump Wants to Pull Out Nuclear Treaty from Russia; Australia Too Late for Apologies. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired October 22, 2018 - 03:00   ET



[03:00:00] ROSEMARY CHURCH, HOST, CNN: The Saudi Arabian foreign minister calls the murder of Jamal Khashoggi a rogue operation and says his government does not know where the journalist's body is.

The U.S. security advisor is said to be a driving force behind the pull out of a nuclear treaty with Russia. Lands in Moscow for tense talks.

And the two main candidates for Florida governor spar over hot button issues and trade jabs, as critical elections draw closer in the United States.

Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from here in the U.S. and all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church. This is CNN newsroom.

Saudi Arabia's foreign minister is calling the killing of Jamal Khashoggi a tremendous mistake by a rogue operation. In a Fox News interview, Adel al-Jubeir called it a murder and said added Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was not aware of the operation beforehand. Take a listen.


ADEL BIN AHMED AL-JUBEIR, SAUDI MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS: The crown prince has denied this. The crown prince is not aware of it. Even the senior leadership of the intelligence was not aware of this.

This was an operation that was a rogue operation. This was an operation where individuals ended up exceeding the authorities and responsibility they had. They made a mistake when they killed Jamal Khashoggi in the consulate and they tried to cover up for it.


CHURCH: And there are new images of Khashoggi's arrival at the Saudi consulate on October 2nd. His fiance can be seen as he is scanned by what appears to be security personnel.

In a Washington Post interview, U.S. President Donald Trump said the Saudi accounts have been all over the place and there's obviously been, in his words, "deception and lies in their stories."

However, he remains supportive of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. But U.S. lawmakers in his own party are skeptical.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Their first answer was a lie. The second story line is just manufactured. The relationship is important, but our values are more important.

So, I've told the president, when it comes to working with you to push back and to send a clear signal, I will. I want to work with the president, but we've got to send the right message. Others who could do this or would do this are watching us. I don't want to give them a green light.

The American people and all who believe in what we stand for are watching us.


CHURCH: Nic Robertson joins us now from Istanbul. And, Nic, Saudi Arabia is insisting it has no idea where Jamal Khashoggi's body is. Do you think we will ever find out? Will it ever be located or revealed?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Sources, Saudi sources are saying that the body was handed off to a collaborator. They also talk about this close cooperation between Saudi and Turkish investigators, which doesn't stand the test of how things have proceeded on the ground in the amount of time it took, many days that it took almost two weeks before Turkish investigators were allowed into the consulate.

Things painted over inside the consulate. So there really seems to be a sort of credibility gap there, a significant credibility gap. Turkish investigators are of course looking for the body. The body itself would provide a lot of forensic detail about the nature of Khashoggi's death. And that could all -- that would necessarily inform the investigators and give them a better picture of precisely what happened in the consulate. They say they've got recordings of that.

And, of course, what Turkish authorities feel that they are hearing from Saudi Arabia so far doesn't complete the picture. There was a forensics expert on the team that Turkish officials called a hit squad came from Saudi Arabia the day Jamal Khashoggi was killed, was inside the -- believed to be inside the consulate at that time.

So finding his body would be very, very important for investigators. And, of course, very important for his family and friends as well. We've seen appeals here, public appeals from friends so that they can have the body for a funeral. His family, of course, feels the same way. But there doesn't seem to be at the moment a hard, firm lead for the Turkish investigators.

Of course, Saudi officials have arrested 18 people. Among them possibly some of those people who were inside the consulate. One would expect there to be more information than the body has been handed over to a Turkish person or someone here in Turkey to dispose of. That could be the implication. [03:05:03] So at the moment the trail seems to be cold, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Yes. And, Nic, why is Turkey not shedding more light on this investigation? Apparently using what they have as leverage rather than revealing all that they know?

ROBERTSON: Yes, we heard from a spokesman from President Erdogan's party over the weekend saying they are going to pursue this investigation. That it is a matter of honor that they continue to shed light on the investigation, that they will move ahead with it.

President Erdogan has said that he will speak publicly on this issue tomorrow, so that may answer some of these questions. What we've seen Turkish officials do so far is slowly drip, drip, drip information into the public domain through principally Turkish media, and that has informed a lot of people about what Turkey knows.

And, of course, we understand that they've got recordings from inside the consulate that they haven't officially acknowledged having, but the implication is very, very clear. They've got recordings that tipped them off at the very beginning to the terrible demise of Jamal Khashoggi inside the consulate.

Why are they holding out on this? Well, of course, that information is key and critical to getting what they want from Saudi Arabia, which is a compete admission of guilt and from Turkey's perspective, maybe it goes all the way up to the crown prince. And they have made it very clear that when Saudi Arabia doesn't cooperate, that they will make information publicly available.

CHURCH: Many thanks to our Nic Robertson joining us live there from Istanbul just after 10 in the morning.

So, let's get more on this with Randa Slim, she is a director at the Middle East Institute and a foreign policy expert. Thank you so much for being with us.


CHURCH: So, what do you make of this latest explanation from Saudi Arabia for the apparent death of Jamal Khashoggi? This one coming from the Saudi foreign minister who calls the journalist's killing a tremendous mistake that was part of a rogue operation?

SLIM: Well, I mean, they are trying their best, with an attitude that keeps shifting. So, I mean, initially we are called -- or told it was a fist fight. Then it was a choke hold that killed Jamal Khashoggi. And now when he was asked, he said it was a rogue operation, and doesn't know the circumstances of his death.

They are trying to shift the blame away from the crown prince, to focus it on operatives within the general intelligence services. But it's an attitude that is not selling, that's not believable.

And the fact that it keeps shifting makes it even more, you know, unbelievable.

CHURCH: That is a point, isn't it? And I wanted to ask you that, whether you think anyone other than perhaps the U.S. president and he seems to be giving himself a little bit of wiggle room more now than he was previously, but how likely is it that anyone will buy this explanation of a rogue operation, given we know the crown prince approves all operations related to the kingdom?

SLIM: Exactly, and especially the majority of the names, the 15 names that were -- whose identities were released by the Turkish authorities. The majorities of those 15 are members of the royal guard regiment. And this regiment reports to the crown prince, so there is no way that the crown prince did not know that this operation was underway, or even, you know, did not authorize the operation.

So, I think what is going to matter now is what President Erdogan, Turkish President Erdogan will say on Tuesday. He promised to reveal the naked truth. After he said that, right away there was a call between him and the American president.

And I think the American administration, especially President Trump, is trying to limit the full out as much as possible to this. And I think one of the purposes of this call which happened today between Mr. Erdogan and Mr. Trump is to make sure that the narrative that the Turkish president was planning to offer on Tuesday is not going to be too much out of sync with the Saudi narrative.

We'll see if Erdogan is going to go and play along or not.

CHURCH: How likely is it that he would play along?

SLIM: Well, it depends what he's going to get in return. I think there are certain things that Mr. Erdogan wants to get in return from the Saudis. There are certain things he would like to get in return from the Americans.

For example, in Syria in terms of, you know, cooperation, work in members, the relationship with the PYD between the United States and PYD in Syria that has been a troublesome relationship for Erdogan.

So there are a number of files both with Saudi Arabia and with United States that Erdogan might be interested in trying to get something in return for these files if he were to play along and try to make life easier both for the Saudi crown prince and the American president.

[03:10:11] CHURCH: And this is why he's been holding back information that could help answer some of the questions. He's using it as leverage presumably.

So, I do want to just take a listen to what Senator Lindsey Graham had to say about all of this. Let's bring that up.


GRAHAM: 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.


CHURCH: So, clearly, Senator Graham, he certainly thinks the crown prince was very much behind the murder of Khashoggi, and so do other members of Congress and various world leaders. What will have to happen eventually? Do you see any scenario where the crown prince would be forced to step aside to allow allies to continue some sort of normal relationship with Saudi Arabia going forward, so they can get passed this?

SLIM: The only scenario where this outcome can happen is if the king, King Salman, you know, approves of this and authorizes this and orders this. And so far, we have seen that the king has been standing by the side of his son.

And also, there is a debate, especially in D.C. about the state of the mind of the king and the health of the king and whether he's up to, you know, taking these certain actions to reign in or even force the crown prince, his son, to step aside.

I think there is another scenario that many people are talking about, or starting to be floated, is how to rein in the crown prince, how to start, absent removing him or absent forcing him to step down, there are maybe ways by which, you know, some of the powers that he has accumulated -- and there is a lot of power he has accumulated -- could be start to be shifted away from him and some of this portfolio start being handed over to older, other more senior and seasoned members of the royal family. That's another more likely scenario, in my opinion, than the king asking his son to step aside.

CHURCH: All right. Randa Slim, thank you so much for your analysis. We appreciate it.

SLIM: Thank you.

CHURCH: And another story we are watching very closely. U.S. national security advisor John Bolton has landed in Moscow. His visit comes just days after his boss, President Donald Trump, announced the U.S. would pull out of a key nuclear treaty with Russia.

The Kremlin says it's preparing a meeting between Bolton and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

On Saturday, Mr. Trump explained why he's exiting the agreement.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: 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. We're going to pull out.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CHURCH: And a Republican says he hopes the U.S. does not abandon its nuclear treaties. Listen.


SEN. BOB CORKER, (R) TENNESSEE: I hope we're not moving down the path to, to undo much of the nuclear arms control treaties that we put in place. But, look, there's no question Russia is violating.

And if we're going to get out of it, I hope we are at least in a place research and development wise where we, too, have developed some mechanisms, otherwise they're going to move ahead of us quickly. There are those in the defense world that feel like because China is not a part of this, that they're developing systems that are going to move beyond where we are.

So, I understand there are some tensions here.


CHURCH: And CNN's Fred Pleitgen joins us now from Moscow with a closer look at all of this. Good to see you, Fred. So, what is expected out of this imminent meeting between John Bolton and Vladimir Putin?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Rosemary, first of all, the Russians at this point are saying that the meeting is still being prepared. So, it looks like at least from their side, it's not something that is completely finalized yet but it is certainly something that is very much in the works.

And it also it seems to us, that are from judging what the Russians have been saying the last couple days it is something that they really want to happen. One of the things that is probably not going to happen is a warm welcome for the national security advisor here in Russia.

You've really heard a lot of criticism from very senior Russian politicians going on very early on Sunday and then throughout the day yesterday when it became clear what President Trump had said there before boarding Air Force One.

There were some who accused the U.S. of blackmailing Russia. There was one politician who said that the U.S. wants to set off another Cuban missile crisis. That this could have catastrophic crisis not just for Russia and the United States, but for the entire world.

So, the national security advisor as long as he's here has been completely clear on what exactly his schedule is. But we do know that he is going to meet his counterpart, the Russian national security advisor Patrushev. That he's also going to meet the Russian defense minister, he's going to meet the Russian foreign minister.

[03:15:05] So he has basically meetings with the entire top echelon of the Russian federation. At some point the Russians apparently also want him to meet Vladimir Putin as well. What the Russians want to get out of this, at least what they've been

saying publicly is they want an explanation from the United States. As I've said, there is a lot of anger here in Moscow over the things that President Trump said, but I think what the Russians are trying to gauge right now is whether or not this is a final decision or whether or not there might still be some wiggle room for negotiations to try and keep this treaty on track.

The Russians have been quite interesting in their statements about the INF treaty over the past couple of months. They said on the one hand, of course they want to keep the treaty in place. But on the other hand, they've also said they're not really sure whether the treaty is still in their own national interest, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Right. And Fred, you mentioned that big concern for everyone, the possibility of this triggering an arms race. How concerned should we all be about that possibility?

PLEITGEN: Yes. I think a lot of people are going to be very concerned. I think a lot of people should be very concerned. There is a reason why the INF was put in place in the first place. Now a lot of that was actually a concern from Europe. They didn't want their land, if you will, to get turned into a nuclear battle ground.

And one of the things, why it was so important for them to try and disarm a lot of these medium range missiles is that, you know, these are full-blown nuclear weapons, but they travel a very short distance, medium range, short range. That means they travel a lot less time than some of these longer-range missiles and that means people, the populations who are on the ground, their civilian populations have a lot less time to try and get into any sort of shelter.

So, these missiles are seen as extremely dangerous. And certainly, there is a lot of concern. If you look at, for instance, the reactions that have come from Germany, that this could, indeed, trigger not a new arms race, but could make the world a little less stable than it was before, Rosemary.

CHURCH: It is a worry. Our Fred Pleitgen joining us there live from Moscow just after 10.15 in the morning. Many thanks.

Well, Australian leaders are offering an apology decades in the making. Coming up next, their plans to offer restitution to victims of childhood sexual abuse.



REP. RON DESANTIS, (R) FLORIDA: Medicare, if the single payer can--


ANDREW GILLUM (D), GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE, FLORIDA: Let me ask you, governor, would you sign it or veto it?

DESANTIS: What I would do is--


GILLUM: Would you sign it?

DESANTIS: -- expand Medicaid--


GILLUM: Would you sign the bill for single payer healthcare?

DESANTIS: -- for over 800,000 of most medically needy people.

GILLUM: Would you sign it?

DESANTIS: I should also see.


CHURCH: More from a heated Florida gubernatorial debate. Why it is one of many crucial contests in the U.S. midterms. We'll have that for you when we come back.


CHURCH: Australia's prime minister has apologized to the thousands of people there who survived institutional sexual abuse. In an emotional address, Scott Morrison said the nation failed its children.

The statement comes after a five-year landmark investigation. The crimes took place in churches, orphanages, and schools.

And our Will Ripley joins me now live from Hong Kong with more on this. As we mentioned, the Australian prime minister was a heartfelt apology, but it was a long time coming, wasn't it? How significant was this? And how was it received?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think this has been a really staggering moment for Australia. I was speaking with a local journalist there where she just, you know, she pointed out 8,000 cases were uncovered by the royal commission in this five-year investigation.

That is a huge number for a country of around 25 million people. Imagine larger countries and how many victims there have yet to be uncovered.

So, in Australia, while this is a painful moment, there are also many are hoping that this will serve as a blueprint for other countries to investigate and own up to the issue of child sexual abuse that has been hidden for decades by the institutions that are trusted to protect children, institutions including the church, where more than 60 percent of the victims in Australia, that's where the abuse happened.

Listen to the Prime Minister Scott Morrison talk about that. CHURCH: Let's talk about the restitution for the survivors and how that's being received because, of course, they were there for the most part, a number of them at least, representing the survivors. What's the feeling about what the government is willing to do going forward?

RIPLEY: Well, there is a sense -- you know, there were some hecklers during the prime minister's speech and we were going to play a clip for you but I think we might not have not that available. But he talked about the anger that he feels, not only as a prime minister, but as a father.

And for the victims themselves, they will receive financial compensation. But for some of them they feel it's simply not enough. There is a cap that's being set. And any money that some have received in previous settlements that actually be deducted from that.

The survivors will be offered things like counseling, you know, mental health assistance, and even if they choose, a direct response, an apology, if you will from the institutions complicit in their abuse.

But many feel this has just taken too long. They feel the apologies from institutions such as the church are just not heartfelt and they want to see despite these steps even more to be done to protect children, Rosemary.

CHURCH: All right. Many thanks to our Will Ripley joining us live with that reaction from Hong Kong.

The U.S. midterm elections are just another two weeks away. Florida was home to some key races this here. Republican Governor Rick Scott is running for U.S. Senate against incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson.

A new CNN poll show Nelson has a slight edge right now. He is at 5 percentage. Win or lose Rick Scott is leaving the governor's mansion. The two main contenders for his job, a Democrat Andrew Gillum and Republicans Ron DeSantis.

Our polling shows Gillum with a big lead, 12 points. That poll came before Sunday's gubernatorial debate hosted by CNN's Jake tapper.

The candidates squared off and DeSantis went on the attack.


[03:25:03] DESANTIS: Now Andrew wants to impeach Donald Trump. You got to be able to work with the administration because you have to work with the army corps, you got to know the key people in the administration, otherwise we're never going to be able to solve the problem.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Thank you, congressman.

DESANTIS: I'm the only guy who can do it.


CHURCH: And for his part, Gillum tried to link DeSantis to the president.


GILLUM: Donald Trump is weak and he performs as all weak people do. They become bullies and Mr. DeSantis is his acolyte. He is a trying out to be the Trump apprentice. At every turn he's tweeting him, he's talking to him, he's showing up he's complementing him.


CHURCH: And for more on the Florida governor's race, CNN's Ryan Nobles has this look at what voters are saying.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Aaron (Ph) 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 the Democrats.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 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.


GILLIM: I believe we're 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 for a multi-state Medicare for all plan. Gillum believes that policy portfolio will attract voters of all stripes.


GILLUM: I actually think we talked about the issues through the primary and will in the general that 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 Belva McMair (Ph).

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I appreciate the support you all.


NOBLES: Impressed with his bright blue politics and the fact that he's promise to take on President Trump.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Take on Trump and goes down.


But for many Floridians such as Megan Morris (Ph), just being opposed to Trump isn't enough.


So, you're not a fan of President Trump but you think the focus on him is too much?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think there is a 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.


DESANTIS: Then Mr. Trump said, you're fired. I love that part.


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


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-base voters fired up and his Republican supporters believe that DeSantis can attract middle of the road voters by just being himself.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What people really need to listen and follow him for that because he run for the best of the people, he wants the best for Florida. (END VIDEO CLIP)

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

And for more who talk to voters every day the candidate that's able to attract the middle and hold their bases effectively just might be the winner on election day.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How you merge those together to come out to what is it that this state wants.

NOBLES: Right, right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's tough. You're going to get -- you're going to get a ton of different backgrounds trying to merge of one civilization.


NOBLES: Sometimes they vote Republican, sometimes they vote Democrat because it's shifting, right?


NOBLES: Ryan Nobles, CNN, Tallahassee.


CHURCH: And viewers outside the U.S can catch all of the Florida governor's debate that's coming up just 30 minutes from now here on CNN. That's 4 p.m. for our viewers in Hong Kong and nine in the morning for those of you in London.

Well, despite many obstacles and literal roadblocks, hundreds of migrants are determined to reach the United States. Why they are willing to risk everything. We'll explain when we come back.


ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN NEWSROOM HOST: Welcome back, everyone. Joining us from here in the United States and of course all around the world, I'm Rosemary Church. I want to update you now on the main stories we are following.

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 rogue operation, his words. That explanation is being met with widespread skepticism. Turkey's state television reports Turkish authorities plan to interview 28 members of the Saudi consulate staff on Monday. U.S. National Security advisor John Bolton is in Moscow for high-level meetings days after the U.S. pulled out of a key treaty with Russia. The 1987 agreement cut thousands of missiles from both countries' arsenals. Russian media say Bolton is set to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

U.S. Army Brigadier General Jeffrey Smiley is recovering from a gunshot wound he received during an attack in Afghanistan's Kandahar province. A NATO spokesman told CNN Smiley is one of two Americans wounded in that attack. The Taliban claimed responsibility. Two Afghan officials were killed, including the police chief of Kandahar.

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, even though 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.


BILL WEIR, CNN JOURNALIST AND ANCHOR: 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 are in the fence and jumped.

While the stress of it all is too much for the sick and the weak, a few of the strongest managed to scavenge a ladder and come back to help others down, including a mother. The migrants on the back of the Suchiate gasp and cheer as she is lowered to the raft. "Yes, we can."

[03:35:02] After a splash of relief from the heat and the thirst, she looks up anxiously for her babies, a 5-year-old daughter named Candy, a 3-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 Federalist displayed touching humanity amid all the chaos. I assume his family was among the lucky few allowed through for processing, but they were actually separated from Candy in the teargas panic. Still, Wersaline (ph) went back to find her, and another way north.

What made you decide to climb onto that ladder?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): 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. 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?

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 mother. She knows, but says we have faith in god. She has the final word.

In town, they are met with cheers from fellow travelers and a bit of Mexican hospitality. There is shelter here, 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 And after a short break, we go to France, where resignation scandals and protests push the president's popularity way down. How Emmanuel Macron is hoping with some stormy political weather of his own. Back in a moment.


CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Taiwan officials are trying to find out what caused a deadly train derailment. At least 18 people were killed when carriages flew off the tracks on Sunday. This happened in Northeastern Thailand on a rail line reportedly popular with tourists. More than 300 people were on board, and reports say around half of all the passengers were injured.

At a party in the U.S. state of South Carolina, shouts of celebration turned into screams of pain and horror when the floor people were dancing on suddenly collapsed. More than two dozen people were hurt. CNN's Polo Sandoval has the story.


POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: These were the seconds before a packed party took a terrifying turn in Clemson, South Carolina. The video shot just after midnight Sunday shows dozens of dancers jumping in unison to the music before falling through the floor. They were attending a private party inside an clubhouse of an apartment complex.

Young party goers are seen plummeting into a basement below. The remaining revelers stood on what was left of the floor board while others tried crawling to safety. On CNN's "New Day," witness Jeremy Tester remembered being two feet from the dance floor when it gave out.

JEREMY TESTER (voice-over): You could hear the floor about to go through, kind of, but nobody really thought it was going to happen. They just kept going.

SANDOVAL: Thirty people were sent to area hospitals with injuries, including broken bones and lacerations. Clemson's police chief says amazingly none of the injuries were life-threatening.

JIMMY DIXON, CHIEF, CLEMSON POLICE DEPARTMENT: It could have been a whole lot worse. There could have been entrapment, there could have been deaths involved.

SANDOVAL: Investigators now looking for a cause of the collapse, looking at factors like capacity of the room and its structural integrity. Property management tells CNN the complex was built in 2004.

Polo Sandoval, CNN, New York.


CHURCH In the coming hours, British Prime Minister Theresa May plans to tell parliament the Brexit divorce deal is 95 percent done. She says the main sticking point is whether to keep Northern Ireland's border with Ireland open, free from customs checks, something the E.U. wants. On Saturday, an estimated half a million people filled the streets of London. Their goal? Get a new referendum on leaving the European Union. Britain is set to leave the E.U. on March 29th.

Well, another European leader is dealing with his own political problems. French President Emmanuel Macron is looking for a fresh start after two key cabinet officials resigned, and protests continue over his economic reforms. CNN's Melissa Bell has more now from Paris.


MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT: The protests are rarely big, but they are regular. The visible opposition to Emmanuel Macron's reform program. Behind them, though, lies a sharp drop in his popularity rating. It has now fallen to 29 percent from 62 when he first took office.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We couldn't imagine, for a lot of people, the union, et cetera, that it would go so far and so violently, I would say, against the people, but it is really ignorance of the people and kind of scorn against the people of France.

BELL: A year and a half into his term, Macron is taking heat for slashing spending which has led to layoffs and also for scandals, including one involving his senior security advisor, Alexandre Benalla, who was let go after being caught in a video beating up protesters and in a photograph carrying a gun.

A series of ministerial resignations have also left Emmanuel Macron weakened at home, not only the departure of his interior minister but also that of his popular environment minister.

[03:44:58] NICOLAS HULOT, FORMER ENVIRONMENT MINISTER UNDER PRESIDENT EMMANUEL MACRON (through translator): I have no doubt, my resignation does not mean giving up. It is simply a symbol of a new fight.

BELL: For Nicolas Hulot, the weight of the lobbyists had simply become too much. Last week, it was (INAUDIBLE) who are out in the street with highly personalized placards and chants against Macron who analysts say now suffers from a credibility deficit.

ALEXIS POULIN, POLITICAL ANALYST: Emmanuel Macron promised a new world, but he's the president of the old world. What you see is that now people are very concerned about the ecology, climate change, the food they have in their plates, and whatever they talk about ecology, it's fake. He has people who are working hand in hand with the lobbyists who don't care about climate change, so that's why I think Macron has been going so down in the polls.

BELL: Last week, Emmanuel Macron reshuffled the government in a bid to breathe new life into his cabinet and program. He spoke to the French people in a last-minute address, which attracted more interest for its poor lighting than for its content.

EMMANUEL MACRON, PRESIDENT OF FRANCE (through translator): What I ask of the newly formed government is to pursue the transformations that our country needs and to do it with the simple goal, which is to, again, take charge of our destiny. This will not be done in a day, but nothing is impossible.

BELL: But the determination of Emmanuel Macron is regularly tested by strikes and by gatherings like these, by pensioners, students, civil servants, all opposed to the very liberal global (ph) vision that has made him so popular abroad.

Melissa Bell, CNN, Paris.


CHURCH: And here in Atlanta, it's all about pride and politics. The gay community hits the streets for the annual pride parade. And if they show up at the polls in two weeks, their vote could make a big difference. We'll take a look at that on the other side of the break.


CHURCH: Well, another big hurricane is threatening Mexico and parts of the United States. This one is in the Pacific and liable to put a dent in Southern Mexico's tourist business. Let's turn to our meteorologist Pedram Javaheri who joins us now with the very latest. Pedram, the big question, who is in this path of this hurricane?

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Quite a bit of people. You know, when we look at this region of Mexico as you mentioned, Rosemary, it is very populated when it comes to at least the tourist industry. And you look at this region just west of Manzanillo, that is a Category 4 frankly just two miles per hour shy of what would be a Category 5 system sitting there.

In fact, just talking to my producer here about the significance of this storm because not only has the identical winds that we saw with Hurricane Michael, 155 miles per hour, the movement is similar to Hurricane Florence, very slow moving system. So essentially you take the worst two storms that impacted the U.S. in the past several months and you have this right here lined up off the coast of Mexico.

Now, one piece of news with this is that this system is expected to weaken just a little before it moves to shore over the next couple of days. Certainly we're going to watch this as it pushes north of Manzanillo not far from Mazatlan for a Tuesday night, Tuesday afternoon landfall across that region.

If we can get this map to advance for us here, we'll kind of show you exactly what we're dealing with because certainly the government of Mexico and also the National Hurricane Center have issued advisories and warnings across this region for the coastal communities.

This system will move ashore again within the next, say, 36 or so hours. Certainly a lot of people on alert. And the rainfall amounts could be as much as 200 to 300 millimeters. We're talking four to six inches on the lower end, and certainly as much as a foot on the higher end of rainfall.

And as a major hurricane, this is now the 10th major hurricane we've had in the Eastern Pacific so far in 2018, just one shy of the all- time record from 2015 of 11 major hurricanes. So, again, activity even happening there, not far from Mexico. Rosemary?

CHURCH: Thank you so much, Pedram. Good to have you keep an eye on all of that. Appreciate it.

Well, more now on the U.S. midterm elections here in the United States and the governor's race here in Georgia. If Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams wins, she will become the nation's first African- American female governor. And many people in Atlanta's gay community are supporting Abrams in a very big way. Here's Robyn Curnow.


ROBYN CURNOW, CNN HOST AND CORRESPONDENT: The pride parade is fun, loud, and a protest of sorts. And this one in Atlanta made a big political statement, with this rock star reception for Democrat Stacey Abrams. She's running for governor of Georgia, and no other major party candidate like her has joined in the parade before.

Also here are more than a dozen other local politicians. The LGBT community is becoming an ever-important voting block for Democrats, even if some people here voted for Donald Trump, like Denise Nyborg (ph), on her honeymoon from Kentucky with her wife, who we met before the parade began.

DENISE NYBORG (ph), DEMOCRAT WHO VOTED DONALD TRUMP: I did vote for him. I don't regret my vote. I think that it was kind of a toss-up between the two because I'm typically Democrat.

CURNOW: And she plans on voting for Democrats this year.

NYBORG (ph): I disagree a lot with the way he is running the country.

CURNOW: We were invited to a fund-raiser for the largest LGBT rights group in the U.S. where activists, volunteers and voters gathered to watch the parade.

PERCY BROWN, HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN: As a black gay man, I think that it is very important that we have a political presence at pride to not only show our voting power as an LGBTQ community, but also form coalitions with other marginalized communities.

CURNOW: Even here, a small group of anti-gay protesters gathered to berate parade goers and despite recent gains in gay rights, many people we talked to said equality is still a top election priority.

TIFFANY HILL (ph), DEMOCRATIC VOTER: We have equality in race, gender.

BRIAN HACKNAY (ph), UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Equality for LGBT people, the LGBT community, especially transgender community. People are really focused on these midterms.

[03:55:00] These midterms seem like the most important midterms we've had in my lifetime.

KRISTA HILTON (ph), DEMOCRATIC VOTER: It's nice to see the energy and everyone kind of getting up and getting energize and motivated again.

CURNOW: So, as the politicians here at the parade are hoping all of this energy translates into votes, it is such a high stakes election coming up. Many people here are already motivated to do much more.

CHAD GRIFFIN, GAY ACTIVIST: Are you ready to make some history?


CURNOW: Chad Griffin is one of the most high profile gay activists in America. He's rallying volunteers who are going to knock on doors for the Democratic ticket.

GRIFFIN: Around the country, there are 10 million eligible LGBTQ voters. When we turnout, we win elections. Oftentimes in the off year elections, there is a dip in turnout. With LGBTQ voters, with voters of color, with women voters. We're working hard to make sure that is not the case this year.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wanted to physically actively do something.

CURNOW: Opposition to Donald Trump and the appointment of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh have these two volunteering for the first time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I put you down as a strong Abrams. Is that correct?



CURNOW: Despite the sense of Democratic momentum on the streets --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That makes it worthwhile.


CURNOW: Races are tightening.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think my biggest fear is that the energy and the frustration that I feel maybe isn't felt around the country, and that we are going to not see the blue wave that we're hoping for. I feel like that would be very demoralizing.

CURNOW: But not all feel that way. Many in the gay community are approaching this election with a renewed mission.

Robyn Curnow, CNN, Atlanta.


CHURCH: And thank you so much for your company this hour. I'm Rosemary Church. "Early Start" is next for our viewers here in the United States. And for everyone else, stay tuned for a replay of the Florida governor's debate moderated by our Jake Tapper. That is next. Stick around.