Return to Transcripts main page
President Erdogan to Reveal Truth About Khashoggi's Death; Russia Push Back to U.S. Withdrawal from INF; Mexico's Coast Expects Hurricane Willa; President Trump Stumps For Ted Cruz In Texas; Houston Rally Is Trump 29th This Year; Trump, In Middle Eastern In Migrant Caravan; Democrats Hope To Regain Control Of House. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired October 23, 2018 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[03:00:00] ROSEMARY CHURCH, HOST, CNN: A body double and an abandoned car in a parking lot. The investigation into Jamal Khashoggi's death just got a little more complicated. And Turkey's president will soon reveal what he knows.
One sworn enemy is now hugging buddies. President Trump goes to Texas to rally for Senator Ted Cruz.
And later, the world's longest sea crossing bridge just opened but some critics in Hong Kong are not happy with a new connection to China.
Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church. And this is CNN Newsroom.
In about an hour and a half Turkey's president will address parliament and he has promised to reveal the naked truth about the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. A Turkish source says one of the 15 Saudi operatives who came to Istanbul was a body double for Khashoggi.
Surveillance video obtained by CNN shows a man on the right posing as Khashoggi. Khashoggi himself is on the left. The double is pictured leaving the consulate wearing the journalist's clothes the day he vanished.
A forensics team will search a car belonging to the Saudi consulate that was found in an Istanbul parking lot. And a source says the CIA director is traveling to Turkey to work on the investigation.
Well, Nic Robertson joins us now from Istanbul with more on all of this. So, Nic, as we mentioned CIA Director Gina Haspel traveling to Turkey as the controversy grows in the wake of the death of Jamal Khashoggi.
And this, of course, comes just before President Erdogan gives a speech vowing to reveal all the details on the journalist's death. What role does this signal that U.S. intelligence will play going forward? NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, it seems to indicate that from the very top level most senior level that they want to have an engagement with Turkish officials about revelations that potentially President Erdogan might feel he's going to release today. What he's saying is that nothing will remain hidden.
And this is in keeping what we've heard from party officials who said that as a matter of honor for Turkey to continue with the investigation to shed light on Jamal Khashoggi's death are not all together clear at the moment. Whether or not the president is actually -- President Erdogan is actually going to say everything that he knows or his intent that nothing will remain hidden is more of a statement of what he plans in the future after all from the trip to release that information.
But the fact that the director of the CIA is here would seem to indicate that, you know, perhaps many indication came from President Trump yesterday when he said he's got his top people in the region in Turkey and in Saudi Arabia to find out what's going on, that they are going to come back and report to him as early as today with President Trump's indication last night.
But at this stage it seems that Turkish officials are still despite what we may hear from President Erdogan today are still on the uncovering elements of their investigation. The vehicle, for example, found in the car park in Istanbul of Saudi consulate vehicle.
They say that it was part of that. It is part of their investigation into what happened to Jamal Khashoggi. And we know that there have been a couple of consulate vehicles that they've been looking for that Turkish officials have been looking for since they realized that he'd been murdered in the consulate.
So, you know, it seems that this investigation in those terms, forensics terms perhaps, is still unfolding, forensic investigators will search inside the vehicle today, and perhaps no coincidence that the prosecutors yes, office yesterday here, drivers from the consulate were being questioned and then this vehicle is found a few hours later.
So, there's still elements to learn. But what were the CIA director wants to learn here most potentially the veracity and quality and technical reliability of any evidence that Turkey believes it has into Jamal Khashoggi's death. We've heard for so long about this audiotape could it be related to that, we don't know at the moment, Rosemary.
CHURCH: Yes. And that audiotape of course was one of many leaks that we've heard of. But for the most part, Turkey has been very secretive about the details of Khashoggi's death. So far at least we're going to hear more in an hour and half of course, but what leverage has all this given the country's leadership keeping their card so close to their chest?
[03:04:58] ROBERTSON: Well, given that Turkey has an abominable track record of its own, President Erdogan, in part responsible for this more recently with locking up journalist who descent with the government.
And this, of course, all about the murder of a journalist there in the Saudi consulate in Turkey it does seem that President Erdogan in allowing his media to make drip if he doesn't make it into and help sustain it as a big international issue does have -- does have objectives here.
Not least one would imagine that he would -- that he would want to have some kind of leverage over Saudi Arabia. He's no fan of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Mohammed bin Salman no fan of President Erdogan. They come from sort of opposite ends of the spectrum.
President Erdogan a muscular version of a political Islam, the crown prince a royal fiefdom over a -- over a very rich country.
So, there are tensions there. President Erdogan could very much want to diminish Crown Mohammed bin Salman's role in the region. Perhaps the crown prince removed.
We have heard from government officials here that part of this drip, drip, drip of information was then to put pressure on the United States, to put pressure on Saudi Arabia as in fact try to get the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman removed.
He would after all when he becomes king be king for many, many decades and a thorn in the side of Turkey potentially going forward, or is there another deal that President Erdogan wants to cut.
Official here says that it's not about cutting a deal. It's about getting to the truth, Rosemary.
CHURCH: Yes, indeed. All right. Well, hopefully we will learn more and we will get to the truth. Nic Robertson joining as there live with that report from Istanbul in Turkey just after 10 in the morning. I appreciate that.
And earlier, President Trump spoke to reporters about the treaty with Russia. He also has special doubts about the Saudi narrative on Jamal Khashoggi's death.
Our Kaitlin Collins has more.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: President Trump skeptical tonight over shifting Saudi accounts of what happened to Jamal Khashoggi, the journalist who walked into the Saudi consulate 20 days ago and never walked out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am not satisfied with what I've heard.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: The president telling reporters today he spoke into the Saudi crown prince but suggesting he won't accept their request for another month to investigate Khashoggi's murder.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: That's a long time. There's no reason for that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: While appearing doubtful of Saudi claims Trump still not willing to sacrifice the Saudi arms deal even after what one of big allies in Congress Senator rand Paul call for ending it, arguing that sanctions won't be enough.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I agree with Rand on a lot of things. I don't want to lose all of that investment that's being made in our country. I don't want to lose a million job, I don't want to lose a $100 billion in terms of investment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: Earlier in the say, in an interview with CNN, the president's son-in-law and senior advisor refusing to say if he believes the Saudis are telling the truth about Khashoggi.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JARED KUSHNER, SENIOR ADVISER TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: I say that right now is the administration were more in the fact-finding phase.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: Jared Kushner's close relationship with the Saudi crown prince has come under intense scrutiny amid questions about the prince's suspected role in Khashoggi's death.
Trump told the Washington Post they're two young guys. Jared doesn't know them well or anything. They're just too young people. They are the same age, they like each other, I believe.
Trump leaving Washington tonight for a rally in Texas, as a caravan of thousands of Central American migrants head for the southern border, attempting to stoke fear over the caravan while blaming it on Democrats Trump claims without evidence today that criminals and unknown Middle Easterners are included.
When later asked about that claim trump only offered this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Keep camera, and go into the middle and search. You are going to find MS-13, you are going to find Middle Eastern, you are going to find everything.
(END VIDEO CLIP) COLLINS: But a senior counter terrorism official telling CNN we do not see any evidence that ISIS or other terrorist groups are trying to infiltrate the southern U.S. border.
All this as the national security adviser John Bolton is in Russia meeting with top officials after President Trump announced over the weekend that the U.S. will withdraw from the INF, a nuclear arms control treaty signed by President Ronald Reagan in 1987.
Trump says he's now prepared to build up the U.S. nuclear arsenal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I tell people come to their senses we will build it up. I'm terminating the agreement.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: As to threatening Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump blasted with this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: It's a threat to whoever you want and it includes China, and it includes Russia and it includes anybody else that wants to play that games.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: Sarah Sanders, the press secretary was later asked what credible evidence Present Trump have that there are Middle Easterners as part of the caravan. She said he absolutely had evidence. And that, quote, "we have 10 individuals suspected or known terrorist that try to enter our country every day."
[03:10:07] But President Trump's tweet that say there are terrorist in the caravan that said that there are Middle Easterners in the caravan.
Kaitlin Collins, CNN, the White House.
CHURCH: And as Kaitlan Collins just mentioned there, the U.S. national security adviser John Bolton is in Moscow to discuss the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. Bolton just met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and is set to meet with President Vladimir Putin in the coming hours.
So joining me now with perspective on all of this from Moscow is CNN senior international correspondent Matthew Chance. Good to see you, Matthew. So, what is John Bolton likely to achieve in this meeting with Vladimir Putin and what all is at stake, is there going to be some form of negotiation or is he there to say we're pulling out.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think he is probably there to reflect what President Trump has already said publicly, which is that they intent to terminate the agreement. What the meeting is intended to do according to the Kremlin is for
John Bolton to explain the various U.S. positions on a range of issues for most amongst them, of course, that issue of the INF treaty, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty at which, as you mentioned was has been enforced for several decades and which President Trump now wants the United States to withdraw from.
The Russians have already reacted of course to this decision taken by the U.S. president saying that it would be a serious blow the withdrawal to nonproliferation efforts and that they would respond in kind if United States were to developed intermediate range forces and deploy them close to Russia.
And so, there's already that looming threat hanging over these talks that if the United States goes ahead with ahead with its threat the pull out of the INF the Russians will ratchet up their military response, Rosemary.
CHURCH: The problem for Russia of course is it hasn't complied with this treaty.
CHANCE: Well, that certainly the allegation. It's an allegation that was made back in 2014 by President Obama when he criticized what he said was Russia's testing and development of a cruise missile which force into that intermediate-range category.
In February this year it said that they deployed that missile which is as what does directly lead to this U.S. withdrawal. The Russians from their point of view categorically denied that, they haven't offered any substantial evidence that the missile that the missile that they've developed does not fall into that category, but nevertheless they've denied it.
The other issue of course, and this is interesting, is that the United States and Russia are both concerned about China, about China's ability to develop intermediate range weapons, whereas, this treaty just covers Russia and United States, China is left free reign to do whatever it wants in terms of missiles. And 90 percent by some estimates of its missiles fall into that INF category.
And so, actually this is something that that both countries, both Russia and the United States are concerned about the fact that China is not included in this INF treaty and that's something that both countries want to change.
CHURCH: All right. It will be interesting to see if that is included in the discussion. Our Matthew Chance joining us there live from Moscow, where it is at 10.15 in the morning. I appreciate that.
And we will have much more on the migrant caravan heading to the U.S.- Mexico border. Mexico's president has a warning for them. We'll have the details for you next.
And a powerful category four hurricane is heading straight for Mexico's Pacific Coast and we will have a live weather update for you on that in just a moment. [03:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CHURCH: Well, the latest now on the migrant caravan slowly making its way to the U.S.-Mexico border. While some migrants have flagged down passing cars and trucks. Most of the thousands of people in the group are walking in blistering heat. They are now heading north from the Mexican city of Tapachula.
The caravan formed in Honduras more than a week ago. It continued through Guatemala before reaching Mexico. Most of the migrants are from Honduras and say they are fleeing poverty and violence.
And the caravan likely will take more than a week to reach the U.S.- Mexico border. Mexico's president is warning the group that they must respect his country's immigration laws.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ENRIQUE PENA NIETO, MEXICAN PRESIDENT (through translator): To all those who have chosen to continue with this caravan, which operates outside of the law, I respectfully say and want to make clear. If you continue with this behavior it will be difficult for you to reach your goal, be at entering the United States or staying in Mexico. Only with migration protections and a legal process can you enter our country and be able to eventually have access to this right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: It's unclear if Mexican authorities will stop the caravan before it reaches the border with United States. President Trump m has already made it clear that migrants are not welcome, insisting without evidence that criminals and people from the Middle East have infiltrated the group.
CNN's Patrick Oppmann is traveling with the caravan and spoke with some of the people making that long journey.
PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is a river of people that heads in only one direction, north. The lucky right on top of cars or on the sides of them. But most of the people walk in grueling heat, many carrying children, or pushing them.
Mexican police try to stop the caravan of migrants at the border with Guatemala but were unable to prevent them from crossing the river into Mexico. That's when we first saw 9-year-old Jorge as he struggles to make this from across.
A day later, we find him walking alone. He tells me in a weak voice that he is hoping to cross the border into the U.S. but after more than seven days on the road he is very tired.
Jorge (Ph) later reunited with an older brother who OKayed our interview. After the caravan entered Mexico federal police set up a road blocks with over 100 officers and told CNN they were going to force the migrants to get on buses that would take them to government shelters. There were too many people more than 7,000 caravan organizer say to
police (Inaudible) crew.
OPPMANN: And pleased for now. These migrants have just entered Mexico, they are going north. They have hundreds of miles to go before they reach their destination, the United States. But they are being shouted every step of the way by police.
There's a heavy police presence here. And Mexico has said that they will treat these migrants with dignity. But they've also, the Trump administration, they will not let them get to the U.S.-Mexico border.
The Trump administration is threatening to pull aid from countries that fail to prevent migrants from entering the U.S. illegally. The caravan organizers say they won't be bullying.
[03:19:55] "We are going forward, there's np going back," he tells me, "we are fighting. We will make the governments of Mexico and United States understand why we're coming."
It won't be easy for single mother Blanca Lydia (Ph) to cross the river into Mexico with her three children. The journey north was exhausting but they would persevere, she said. "I have faith," she says, "that we will arrive."
They will need other faith and more for the hundreds of miles to fill ahead of them.
Patrick Oppmann, CNN, traveling with the migrant caravan near Tapachula, Mexico.
CHURCH: Now meanwhile, on Mexico's Pacific Coast hurricane Willa is expected to slam that region Tuesday.
Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri joins us again from the international weather center to go over the worst, the likely worst hit areas here and just how bad the storm is. Pedram?
PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: spectrum. It's a vast storm, and absolutely is. And as we mentioned earlier is among the strongest we've seen to impact this region. And if it moves ashore as a category four certainly would be classified as such.
But if you take a look, Puerto Vallarta home to 200,000 people. Mazatlan home to 600,000 people. At this point the storm is just west of Puerta Vallarta. The track, though, once it takes it to the north here and push it in towards to - upon in this particular region becomes sparsely populated.
That is an area we're following carefully here of course, because if the storm system dodges the two most populated areas to tourist that communities that draw far more people from their full-time residence over this region. It's really a best-case scenario of one is a major hurricane moving across this region. And at this point, the models have wanted to continue shifting just north of Puerto Vallarta closer towards Mazatlan. The landfall sometime Tuesday afternoon or Tuesday evening, potentially a strong category three or a weak category four once it moves ashore.
And literally watching this in about a period of three years because it was three years ago today when hurricane Patricia moved ashore. Patricia, by the way, the strongest hurricane or typhoon ever observed on earth, at one point the peak winds on this state in 2015 of 346 kilometers per hour.
That moved to the south with that incredible intensity. The damage left behind. Yet, areas impacted by it were rather limited because of sparsely populated and we're thinking Willa has a similar potential as it moves across this region.
But again, if the track continues shifting to the west then notice Mazatlan certainly in the area of interest here that would be an entirely different story.
In fact, if you take a look like the hurricane entering the population of Mazatlan to the north of 600,000 and Puerta Vallarta to the south of 200,000 in between that area just about 7,000 people.
So, you look at this, this is where the area the blackline a representative with the forecast track for the system to move ashore, populations within these communities are generally several hundred people. And then you work your way inland you get a couple thousand more but evacuations have already been prompted across this region by the Mexican government.
So, certainly, folks are taking this very seriously as the storm you don't see very often across this part of the world of such intensity. And again, this moves ashore with the rainfall amounts we're expecting potentially 300 millimeters across this region. So, it's going to be a big story regardless of how it plays put, Rosemary.
CHURCH: And thank you so much, Pedram for keeping such a close eye on that. We appreciate it.
All right. Let's turn now to Brexit. And the prime minister's message to parliament 95 percent of the deal to leave the European Union is done, she says. But Theresa May admits the Irish border is still a sticking point.
Our Bianca Nobilo has the story now from London.
BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: May's leadership and authority were in question yet again as often descent from within her own conservative Party is reaching the unprecedented levels.
So she was keen to emphasize that she has made progress over the last three weeks of Brexit negotiations around the issues of Gibraltar, Cyprus and citizens' rights in Northern Ireland, but that problem of avoiding a hard border in Northern Ireland remains the biggest one holding back the Brexit process. Theresa May said that she cannot abide the E.U.'s back stopped solution which would see a border down the Irish sea that she would consider extending the transition period but only if it ended before May in 2022, and she said that the extension was undesirable.
The mood in parliament is febrile and passions around Brexit are reaching fever pitch. Violent rhetoric from anonymous M.P.s was reported in the papers over the weekend talking about knifing the prime minister and that she was in the killing zone.
A member parliament from a Theresa May's opposition party called the language vile and dehumanizing. These verbal attacks comes alongside the damning report into the bullying culture in the House of Commons, the prime minister said she would not dignify the remarks with a response and said that personal vitriol has no place in our politics.
Bianca Nobilo, CNN, London.
CHURCH: Ryanair is coming under fire and facing calls for a boycott for not taking action against a man after his racist tirade against an elderly female passenger.
[03:25:02] Here's just a short clip of that abusive exchange.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't talk to me in in a (muted) foreign language, you stupid, ugly cow".
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, stop.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will supposed carry on.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If I tell you to get out, you get out.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, he won't--
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Now you heard the woman's daughter speaking up there. She said the incident began after her disabled mother took a while to get up so the man could get into his seat. The woman eventually changes seats. The man, though, kept his.
The incident happened a little more than a week ago on board a plane in Spain before it took for London. The airline issued a statement saying it reported the matter to British police. Prime Minister Theresa May has condemned the abhorrent racial abuse.
Well, the Republicans are leaving nothing to chance in the upcoming election. Coming your way, why Mr. Trump and one of his former adversaries are turning over a new leaf for the good of their party. And Democrats bring out their heavy artillery. You remember this guy, former President Barack Obama back on the campaign trail. The story after the short break. Stay with us.
CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. I'm Rosemary Church. Time to update you now on the main stores we've been following this hour.
Turkey's Present Reccep Tayyip Erdogan will address parliament in about an hour and he has vowed to tell the naked truth about the Jamal Khashoggi investigation. A Turkish source says one of the Saudi operatives who came to Istanbul was a body double for Khashoggi. The double is seen on the right in surveillance video. Khashoggi is on the left.
Donald Trump has sent his national security advisor to Russia just days after announcing the U.S. withdrawal from a key nuclear missile treaty. John Bolton just met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and is set to meet with President Vladimir Putin later.
Britain's prime minister says 95 percent of the Brexit deal to leave the European Union is done. But Theresa May admits the Irish border is still a considerable sticking point. The British currency came under fresh pressure amid fears over Mrs. May's position.
Thousands of migrants continue to make their way from Mexico toward the United states. President Trump claims without evidence that criminals and Middle Easterners are in the migrant caravan.
He is also blaming Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador for failing to stop the migrants from trying to reach the U.S. and says those countries will face cuts in U.S. aid.
Whether or not the Republicans do well in the midterm elections President Trump has something to boast about sort of. The latest NBC Wall Street Journal poll shows his approval rating at 47 percent that is the highest it's been in his presidency. However, 49 percent of those polled still disapprove of the job he's doing.
The approval numbers were much higher at this rally in Texas Monday night. Mr. Trump was in Houston campaigning for Senator Ted Cruz. Yes the same Ted Cruz he frequently and viciously sparred with on the campaign trail back in 2016. Cruz's in a surprisingly tight Senate race and the leadership of Congress is at stake here. So Mr. Trump says he is letting bygones be bygones.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In just 15 days the people of Texas are going to re-elect a man who is becoming a really good friend of mine. You know we have our little difficulties and though it ended and I will tell you what, nobody has helped me more with your tax cuts, with your regulation, with all of the things HANKS: we are doing including military and our vets, than Senator Ted Cruz, nobody. (END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Well, President Trump has been campaigning for Republican candidates across the United States and you can see on this map just how busy he has been and will be for the rest of this month. Our Jeff Zeleny reports that Mr. Trump sees this year's election in very personal terms.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: President Trump knows the November election is all about him. He worries his supporters do not.
TRUMP: Pretend I am the ballot, I am not on the ticket, but I am on the ticket.
ZELENY: Two weeks before Election Day, a new era of uncertainty things over the 2018 campaign, revolving almost entirely around the Trump factor.
TRUMP: A vote for me -- me -- make America great again.
ZELENY: well, most president distance themselves from midterm elections to avoid nationalizing the races, Trump is doing the opposite. He is all in, firing up loyal supporters and critics alike. A month ago the president was all but resigned Republicans would lose the house, CNN has learned, but now he increasingly believes he can awaken the Trump coalition to stop or slow a democratic wave.
TRUMP: You know, I think that blue wave is being rapidly shattered.
ZELENY: The rally inducing is the president 29th of the year, he far more likely to visit red state filled with loyal admirers, rather than the risk of firing up Democrats or independent voters in swing states.
A map of his travels show where he is and isn't welcome. Like deep red Montana, where he stage three rally to try and defeat Democratic Senator Jon Tester in a race even most Republican see as no easy task. It is all that steering clear of Florida. Holding no big rally so far this fall. Governor Rick Scott who is walking a tight race to unseat Democratic Senator Bill Nelson has asked Trump to stay away, the GOP official told CNN.
His itineraries is for different on his victory tour after the 2016 election as he thanks voters in places he turned from blue to red. Statewide GOP candidates are trailing in most of those new Trump states like Pennsylvania and Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin. But Republicans are likely to keep control of the Senate because of the blessing of geography, but red state races like Tennessee where a Trump visit lingers long after he leaves, because of TV ads blasting with Democratic candidate.
TRUMP: Bill, whatever the hell his name is, this guy, well, 100 percent vote against us every single time. ZELENY: Across the country the president appears in nearly 20 percent
of all political ads and so far this year at least 55 million has been spent on pro-Trump ads and 61 million on anti-Trump ads in the top 100 houses Senate races. The midterm election campaign has solidified Trump as the undisputable leader of the Republican Party. Even old rivals like Ted Cruz, have long embraced him and now depend on Trump to fire up his coalition.
SEN. TED CRUZ, (R) TEXAS: I think it energizes people. I think it is going to help Broad turnout on this election is a turnout election.
ZELENY: And Senator Ted Cruz perhaps the best example of how Republican who once against Trump, are now running toward him, embracing him in the final two weeks of this midterm election. They know that they need Trump's coalition. The question is, as the president travels around this country from city to city, is he firing of his supporters more or energizing Democrats? Jeff Zeleny, CNN, Houston.
[03:35:00] CHURCH: Let us talk more about the midterms with CNN political analyst, Nathan Gonzales. Nathan, is the editor and publisher of the nonpartisan newsletter inside elections, and he joins me from Charleston in South Carolina. Good to be with us.
NATHAN GONZALES, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Thank you for having me.
CHURCH: So, let us start with the Senate race playing out in Texas were President Trump now calls Ted Cruz, beautiful Ted, after slamming him as lying Ted during the 2016 election campaign. What is that shift signal is happening in Texas right now? And what might the outcome be there, do you think?
GONZALES: You know, President Trump, he tends to hold grudges sometimes, where I think he sees that it is in his best interest that there be Republican Senator from Texas. So that is why you see that switch from lying Ted to beautiful ted. And I think that him going down to Texas is a -- is a symbol that this is a competitive race, I mean the Sanders facing Congressman Beto O'Rourke who is a fundraising juggernaut. And I think, you know, Senator Cruz has an advantage because he's a Republican running Republican state, but whenever you are facing that kind of money, it should be regarded as a serious contest and so I think that is why the White House is trying deploy the president to places where he is still popular, even if is unpopular in some places around the country, but sent him to places like Texas where he could make a difference and boost Republicans turnout.
CHURCH: Yes, and of course it should be an easy win for Ted Cruz, but of course he is having to fight there, but I don't want to move on to the subjects of immigration. President Trump, before leaving for the rally in Houston, he used the same language he use on the campaign trail in 2016. Let us just take a listen to what he said Monday about the caravan of immigrants heading for the United States.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: (Inaudible) -- we are going to find everything and guess what, we are not allowing them in our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: A little hard to hear there, but this sort of scare campaign work and what's the president proof of such claims?
GONZALES: Well, we will know in two weeks on whether it works or not and I am not sure for the (inaudible) of the election whether having proof even matters. I know, it's strange to say, but I think that if the visuals were saying coming out of Mexico. If it's enough to inspire Republican voters to vote then it could make a difference in some key races. I think Republican have struggle to find something to run against -- considering President Obama is no longer in office and so they're looking for something to rally people against the immigration and just the issue of national security and the borders, I think is something I could get the Republican base fired up.
CHURCH: And of course, while in Houston, President Trump again proposed a tax cut for the middle class of about 10 percent to come after the midterms. Although there was a little bit of confusion regarding the timing and many Republican are pushing back on this. What impact could such a move have on the desk and will this lure of those middle class voters to get out there and support Trump?
GONZALES: Well, you know, I think if you're a moderator independent voter in the -- and your issue is the economy, you might already be prime to vote for Republican in November anyway. But it is not a cut and dry issue or so for that the last tax bill the Republicans passed hasn't been the big boost --boost of morale. It turned out that I think they were hoping it was so I guess the president is trying to go back and let's try again or double down, but the economy, I think what the Republicans are trying to give with the president, they want the president to focus on the economy and talk about the economy more and if he can do that. This makes him do that then I think Republican candidate would be very happy.
CHURCH: All right. And just very quickly. We all learned of course out lesson in 2016 presidential campaign, not to rely too heavily or at all on the poll numbers, none of us had any idea of how the midterms would turned out, but how possible is it that the Democrats would take the house and if that happens, how on the president and the Republican likely to respond to such a shift?
GONZALES: Well, I do think that -- even though the President Donald Trump getting elected president was a surprise for most people that only we should throw out all of the couple generations of midterm trends, and data. I think what we can do is look at the data and say what's most likely to happen, I think Republicans are most likely to hold the Senate, I think Democrats are most likely to hold the house but there are still some uncertainty and in the opposite outcome could have.
[04:40:01] Now Democrats do take the House, I think the president and the Democratic leadership can actually and there might be a period of time when they look at each other and see -- can we make a deal on something. Can we make something big done? But then a political reality of 2020s is going to set in. The presidents is going to realize that the Democratic House might help him get reelected, because he has someone to blame and are going to be a few dozen Democrats on the Hill who are going to figure out or they are going to run against the president and don't want to get him of being signature piece of legislation that might improve his prospects.
So I think that is the political realities of 2020 and they are going to come to bear a very quickly.
CHURCH: We will see what happens it is not long now is it? Nathan Gonzales thank you so much for joining us, I appreciate it.
GONZALES: Thank you.
CHURCH: And Democrats are also pulling out the big names on the campaign trail, that in indeed is former President Barack Obama firing up the crowds in Las Vegas. He is hoping of course, the get more people out to vote for the Democrats. Kyung Lah, has more.
KYUNG LAH, SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Former President Barack Obama energizing a Democratic crowd at a get out to vote rally in the heart of Las Vegas in Clark County in Nevada. This is the heart of a Democratic state. Democrats are hoping that this midterm they will be able to flip this senate state. The former president laying out his argument, telling people in the stadium that if they don't like the policies in this current administration, there is only one way to fix it, is to vote.
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This November elections are more important than any I can remember in my life time and that includes when I was on the ballot. That sums up. Politician say every time, this is the most important election.
This one really that important, the stakes are high. The consequences of anybody here not tuning out and doing everything you can to get your friends, neighbors, family, to turnout. That the consequences of you staying home would be profoundly dangerous, to this country, to our democracy.
Right now we got a chance to restore some sanity to our politics. Right now we check the balance of power, back to you, the American people, because ultimately there is only one real check on abuses of power, there is only one real check on bad policy and that is you and your vote. You.
LAH: Republican brought out their own token champion over this past weekend. President Trump was here, he was on a rule part of this state, trying to stop saying that his voters needed to get out. The Republican Senator Dean Heller, the Democrats on a third day of early voting are feeling very confident about the early voter turnout numbers, but the emphasis here is that it is still early. Kyung Lah, CNN, Las Vegas.
CHURCH: We go all the way to China now and nine years and $20 billion. That is what it took to build the world's longest sea crossing bridge, it links the independent territories of McAllen Hong Kong to mainland China. Supporters say it will boost tourism and shave hours of commutes, but some critics fear China will use the bridge to tighten its control of Hong Kong. So, let us turn to CNN's Will Ripley, he is in Hong Kong. Good to see you there. So Will, let us take a closer look at the pros and cons of this bridge. What are the critics say about it?
WILL RIPLEY, INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: The critics here in Hong Kong, specifically look at this as a white elephant, Rosemary, because regular Hong Kong drivers are not allowed to access this without a permit. It is primarily for shuttle buses and authorized government vehicles. It does cut the travel time from Hong Kong and Macau to Chinese territories to the mainland cities of (inaudible) from three hours to 30 minutes. You can buy a ticket and you can go and you can move very quickly, but a lot of concern here in Hong Kong is that you are going to see buses and buses of tourist from the mainland, flooding the city which is already sought, I believe, you know a couple years ago, 56 million tourists in a year. It's 20 million more than the U.K. which is significantly larger and not only inside, but also population and capacity for tourism.
So, the influx of tourism does bring economic opportunity and there are certainly the service industry can really benefit, the retail industry could really benefit here, but for those who value Hong Kong's semi independence, -- semi-independent are tiny. It's been guaranteed from the handover in 1997 for 50 years until 2047. They view this as a physical link to the mainland which Beijing is using to remind Hong Kongers, some of whom have protested what they feel is our continuing encroachment on their rights on the capital system here by the authoritarian government in Beijing.
They view this as almost like a lesson that they're being taught, a lesson that the mainland is going to take control. Perhaps sooner than people hope. Listen to Hong Kong lawmaker, Claudia Mo, talk more about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[03:45:00] CLAUDIA MO, HONG KONG LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL: (Inaudible) is part of the grand plan of Beijing. That Hon Kong should be (inaudible) and disappeared into the land, and you would say, what is wrong with that? You are a part of the country anyway. You are supposed to come on the one country system. Before 97, (Inaudible) and Margaret (Inaudible) realized Hong Kong is very different and become just return to a communist regime like this. One country system and Hong Kong identity. Where is it going to stand in 10 years term?
(END VIDEO CLIP) RIPLEY: Things like the resources in Hong Kong had to pay too much
for this bridge $9 billion of the $20 billion budget nearly half -- this is a city that has widespread poverty and housing shortage, people feel the money could've been used in better ways, Rosemary.
CHURCH: Will Ripley joining us there live from Hong Kong, 3:45 in the afternoon. Thank you so very much. Well, high profile investment conference might as quite a few CEOs guest and media partners, will it impact Saudi Arabia's efforts to modernize their economy? We are live in Riyadh in just a moment.
CHURCH: Well, Saudi Arabia, Davos in the desert investment conference in under way right now in Riyadh. It used to be one of the hottest tickets in business until Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance and apparent murder. Most of the top global companies had pulled out. Our John Defterios joins us now with very latest on all of this from Riyadh. Good to see you John. So the Saudis are going ahead with this investment conference. Despite the fact that most of the top global officials have pulled. What are the optics of all of that and what impact as the cancellation of so many guests have on the conference?
JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Let's start with China to keep this event patch together in the last 20 minutes. I saw the chief organizer for the government, the big sovereign fund, the TI up, it says please ask me in three days, because this has been all hands on deck to get this fall full, that was the biggest surprise here. You have the main hall behind me in the opening session did not have any seats available, but they were as your suggestion Rosemary, no top Western CEO's organize director of international monetary fund or the World Bank, all gone.
[03:50:05] In fact they have more departures overnight, the CEO. The large French group EDF, the electric company and also the CEO of Siemens, Joe Kaeser step out yesterday. That didn't surprised me because it was such a (inaudible) statement coming from Germany, France and the U.K. against what's taking place in Saudi Arabia what happened as you suggested to Jamal Khashoggi as the investigation continues is also a little bit surreal of President Erdogan to make his statement will resonates here, so the optics here, the point is the hall is full, but if you go outside here there was a huge buzz, lots of sponsors, lots of Western media partners including CNN are right now it's a Russian broadcaster. The two air broadcasters from the Gulf States of the Chinese broadcaster that gives you an indication of what we are talking. Possible that have nearly 4000 people here, they brought in 3000, but is not at the level that we were talking about are just 12 months ago and finally they had nearly 200 speakers that dropped to just over 100 last night and I saw on the website today with a 138.
Again that is not the quality they were hoping for. This is a setback for the crown prince playing locally though for him, Rosemary, the fact that he went ahead, Mohammad Bin Salman, to hold the event, despite what was happening in Turkey and all the questions about his reform plans will play well here in the Gulf States around him in the Arabian Peninsula.
CHURCH: And John, despite all the controversy in horrifying details surrounding the death of Jamal Khashoggi, we are seeing the U.S. try to find any way possible to continue its business relationship with the Saudis. There is a lot of money involved here, of course. Is that going to be possible though and how does that look, back to the optics again?
DEFTERIOS: Well, I think we have to kind of outline it is the real politics are clashing with real business. Steven Mnuchin, U.S. treasury Secretary is a prime example of that. He made a big fuss about the fact that he is not going to be coming last Thursday. So he would not be coming to the future, less than an initiative, but he was in Riyadh. And he met with the Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, because there was a session on tariff financing before this event. So that you want to keep the dialogue going, but it seems disingenuous to say, I am not going to Riyadh or not going to the investment summit and you show up the night before to show support.
President Trump has talked about $110 billion of defense contracts. About 10 percent of them paid. But the president's target for jobs originally was 50,000 or 40,000 jobs, that move up half a million jobs and in these week he said, look it represents a million jobs. That's not the reality as well. So we had this idea that U.S. wants to stay in (inaudible) on their terms. You have a back channel going here, Mnuchin showing off, but clearly they don't want to give up any of the business associate with it. Despite the criticism, heavy criticism in United States.
CHURCH: Yes. That the message loud and clear. John Defterios, joining us there from Riyadh. Many thanks to you.
Well, an army of twitter trolls spreading pro-Saudi messages, how they were being used to silence the critics of the Saudi Prince and his close advisors, including journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The details ahead.
CHURCH: Welcome back everyone.
[03:55:00] A Russian woman accused by the U.S of helping to influence the 2016 presidential election and the upcoming midterms has been mocking the allegations.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (TRANSLATOR): I know a lot of things, but I don't know English or less. So shock to hear that me, just a simple Russian accountant elected a U.S. president instead of American and soon will elect their lawmakers. I was amazed within my heart filled with pride. Turns out that a simple Russian woman like me can help the citizens of a superpower to elect their president.
(END VIDEO CLIP) CHURCH: The U.S. Justice Department claim she ran the finances for a
hidden but powerful Russian social media efforts aimed at spreading distrust of American political candidates.
Well, journalist Jamal Khashoggi was apparently under constant attack on twitter before his death. A New York Times report says the source was a Saudi troll farm and that was out to silence critics of the kingdom. CNN's Samuel Burke has more.
SAMUEL BURKE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The scandal surrounding the death of Jamal Khashoggi is dragging twitter through the mud on multiple fronts. Putting more pressure on the social network stock. An explosive report in the New York Times alleges a twitter employee was fired in 2015 after suspicions he had been persuaded by Saudi intelligence to access the accounts of dissidents and just before the New York Times published its report, twitter suspended a network of accounts that appear to be pushing the Saudi government line about the Jamaal Khashoggi scandal. That is according to a person familiar with the situation.
Researchers detected but with pro-Saudi messages that were sharing the same content in the same order using the same hashtag suggesting a network wide automated or semi-automated effort, though there was no direct evidence from researchers or twitter to prove the accounts were controlled by the Saudi government. Twitter has shared with little to no information about the stories but it all comes right before twitter's quarterly report this Thursday where journalists, investors and analysts will likely quiz to their representatives about the authenticity of accounts and messages on the platform and what the social network is doing to combat misinformation all the way from the United States to Saudi Arabia. Samuel Burke, CNN, London.
CHURCH: And we are continuing to follow the investigation of the death of Jamal Khashoggi. Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expected to speak in about 30 minutes from now. So stay tuned to CNN's live coverage at 4:30 p.m. in Hong Kong and 9:30 a.m. in London. And thank you so much for your company. I am Rosemary Church. The news continues next with Max Foster in London.