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Saudis Maintain Khashoggi's Death was Accidental; Resuming the Long Walk toward the U.S. Border; Countdown to Midterms; Hurricane Willa Strikes Mexico's Pacific Coast. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired October 24, 2018 - 01:00   ET


[01:00:00] JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Unusually harsh words with Saudi Arabia from the U.S. President. Donald Trump called the operation to kill the dissident Saudi journalist a fiasco and worst cover-up ever. Despite a cynical and strained meeting between the U.S. National Security Advisor and Russia's president, plans are still underway for a second U.S. Russia summit.

Also a direct hit, Willa makes landfall. Mexico's Pacific Coast takes a battering as a storm with flash flooding and landslides. Hello and welcome to our viewers all around the world, I'm John Vause and this is CNN NEWSROOM.

The U.S. Presidents once steadfast support for Saudi's Crown Prince continues to erode. For the first time, Donald Trump says the kingdoms de facto leader could have been involved in the operation to kill the dissident journalist Kamal -- Jamal rather, Khashoggi. The President told the Wall Street Journal well, the Prince is running things over there so at this stage he's running things. So if anybody were going to be it would be him, as is going to be involved.

Earlier President Trump had much harsher words from the Saudi saying they bungled the Khashoggi operation from beginning to end calling it a total fiasco and the worst cover-up ever. And now the U.S. has taken its first diplomatic action revoking the visas of 21 Saudi officials believed connected to Khashoggi's murder.


MIKE POMPEO, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE: We have identified at least some of the individuals responsible including those in the intelligence services, the royal court, the foreign ministry and other Saudi ministries who we suspect to have been involved in Mr. Khashoggi's death. We are taking appropriate actions which include revoking visas, entering visa lookouts and other measures. We are also working with the Treasury Department to reveal the applicability of global Magnitsky sanctions to those individuals. These penalties will not be the last word on this matter from the United States.


VAUSE: Well, it was the big reveal that wasn't in a highly anticipated speech to Parliament. Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan offered a few new details into the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. He did though emphasize the killing was planned. CNN's Clarissa Ward has latest details down of the investigations.


CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: President Erdogan emphasizing that he thinks it was a brutal, premeditated murder, even going as far as suggesting that Saudi authorities should allow for the 18 operatives who have been detained to be tried here in Turkey.

WARD: The search intensifying for the remains of Jamal Khashoggi. Today forensic teams were focused on an Istanbul car park and an abandoned Saudi diplomatic vehicle three weeks after the Washington Post Journalist was killed inside the consulate. In a speech earlier, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan demanded answers from Saudi authorities.

RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, PRESIDENT OF TURKEY (through translator): Why is the location of the body of the person whose murder has been officially confirmed still not known.

WARD: Erdogan also revealed new details claiming that the operation began four days before Khashoggi was killed. And that a consulate team carried out a reconnaissance mission in two forests outside Istanbul. At a Washington Post event, Vice President Pence said U.S. intelligence officials are working with Turkish authorities.

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The Director of the CIA is there in Turkey now reviewing the evidence and we're going to follow the facts. We're going to a demand that those responsible are held accountable.

WARD: But in Riyadh Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman appeared defiant arriving to applause at an investment conference that has been heavily boycotted. Earlier he and the King met with Khashoggi's family to offer their condolences but it may well be too late to make amends.

WARD: The Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is expected to make a speech in Riyadh tomorrow but no word yet as to exactly what he is going to talk about or whether he will answer any of President Erdogan's questions.


VAUSE: Well, as Clarissa Ward mentioned, the Kingdom did go on with its investment conference there in the Kingdom. It's their flagship investment get together. It's often called Davos in the Desert. It has lost a bit of laughter in the fallout from the Khashoggi case. Dozens of business leaders and top officials from around the world either boycotting or they pulled out. The Crown Prince though still received this rock star treatment. He was very much the focus of attention wherever he went. CNN's John Defterios has more now from Riyadh.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) [01:05:01;] JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN HOST: The Saudi investment summit of 2018 here in Riyadh pales in comparison to what we saw at the launch in 2017. There's about a quarter fewer attendees at about thirty A- listers from Wall Street, Silicon Valley, and Europe decided not to attend including the Managing Director of International Monetary Fund and the Head of the World Bank. There's a dark cloud hanging over the proceedings regarding Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi journalist and the investigation taking place. Here's the CEO of the state oil giant Saudi Aramco.

AMIN NASSER, CEO, SAUDI ARAMCO: Everybody here feels sorry for the death of Jamal Khashoggi. We feel sorry also for this family and what happened. But at the end of the day, you know, we need to move beyond that. The Kingdom recognized what happened and taking steps to make sure it will be addressed through the legal system that exists within the country in dealing with the people that committed this crime.

DEFTERIOS: But all this did not stop the deal-making. There are about $50 billion worth of memorandums of understanding or MOU's. Most of that coming into the energy sector were $34 billion alone even as the economy here in Saudi Arabia tries to move beyond the oil and gas sector. John Defterios, CNN Riyadh.


VAUSE: Well, by one definition, nationalism seems harmless enough of devotion and loyalty of the country, but in reality, that term has long been associated with the far-right racism, bigotry, xenophobia, the list goes on. Despite all the negative connotations, there was Donald Trump standing before a crowd of enthusiastic supporters at Texas proudly telling them and the entire world anyone who would listen yes, I am a nationalist he said. Jim Acosta has details.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It's a controversial label President Trump is wearing proudly from the White House --

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Call me a nationalist if you'd like but I don't want companies leaving.

ACOSTA: -- to his campaign rallies.

TRUMP: You know what I am, I'm a nationalist, OK. I'm a nationalist.

ACOSTA: In the Oval Office, the President defended the nationalist label but he brushed off concerns from critics that he is sending a dog whistle to his base that what he really means is that he's a white nationalist.

TRUMP: I love our country and our country has taken second fiddle.

ACOSTA: There is a concern that you are sending coded language or a dog whistle to some Americans out there, that what you really mean is that you're a white nationalist.

TRUMP: I've never even heard that. I cannot imagine that. You mean I say --

ACOSTA: I've never heard that as well, sir.

TRUMP: I'm nationalist I've never heard that theory about being a nationalist.

We protect and we get killed. We do the training and they get killed. I can't do it. All I want our country is to be treated well, to be treated with respect. So in that sense, I am absolutely a nationalist and I'm proud of it.

ACOSTA: The President has been dubbing himself a nationalist while he's blasting the thousands of migrants heading for the border in a caravan that Mr. Trump claims has been infiltrated with what he calls Middle Easterners. A racially loaded suggestion that there are terrorists among them but when asked for proof, The president who turned to the Vice President at one point, couldn't provide any.

ACOSTA: You had said that there were Middle Easterners in the caravan. Can you explain that? Are you saying there are terrorists in that caravan at this --

TRUMP: There will be. And if you look at the --

ACOSTA: Did you know for sure?

TRUMP: I have very good information.

ACOSTA: Are you saying that you have evidence that there are terrorists in the caravan.

TRUMP: I spoke with Border Patrol this morning and I spoke to them last evening and I spoke to them the day before, I speak to them all the time and they say and you know this as well as anybody, over the course of the year, over the course of a number of years, they've intercepted many people from the Middle East. They've intercepted Isis, they've intercepted all sorts of people. They've intercepted good ones and bad ones, they've intercepted wonderful people from the Middle East and they've intercepted bad ones. They've intercepted wonderful people from South America and from other parts further south. They've intercepted a lot of different people. But among the people, they've intercepted very recently are people from the Middle East, OK. So you can't be surprised when you hear it.

ACOSTA: But no proof -- no proof that they're in the caravan now.

TRUMP: There's no proof of anything.

ACOSTA: Jim Acosta, CNN the White House.


VAUSE: The late Maya Angelou poet, author, actress, civil rights activist will always be remembered for one very simple piece of advice. And someone shows you who they are believed in the first time. So when the U.S. President proudly declares he's a nationalist, believe him. For the record, nationalist and nationalism are sinister loaded terms linked to the darkest chapters of modern history.


[01:10:04] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The rise of nationalism is key to understanding how World War One comes back.

DAVID SILBEY, MILITARY HISTORIAN: The people of all of the countries fighting rose up to defend the countries that they loved and because of that they were willing to accept slaughter on a scale unparalleled. This is a war between nations and the national governments has to make an argument to their people about why they should sacrifice their lives, their time, their money for the war effort.


VAUSE: Perhaps the President of the United States well-known for a short attention span and dislike for reading the simply confused, unaware of the historical context.


TRUMP: All I want our country is to be treated well, to be treated with respect. For many years, other countries that are allies of ours so-called allies, they have not treated our country fairly. So in that sense, I am absolutely a nationalist and I'm proud of it.


VAUSE: But the white supremacists do exactly what the President is, at least they did back in 2016. Here's how the National Policy Institute, a white supremacist think-tank began their annual meeting in November of that year.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory.


VAUSE: Yes, by that time they said it was hail Trump but his their President Richard Spencer at that same gathering.


RICHARD SPENCER, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL POLICY INSTITUTE: We recognize the central lie of American race relations. We don't exploit other groups. We don't gain anything from their presence. They need us and not the other way around.


VAUSE: Political Analyst Bill Schneider joins us now from Washington. He's the author of Standoff: How America Became Ungovernable and an old colleague of ours from CNN. Bill, as always thank you for being with us.


VAUSE: Words matter, they've always mattered. Here's one way to explain the difference between nationalism and patriotism. Nationalism is rooted in the belief that one's country is superior to all others and carries the connotation of disapproval of other nations or rivalry with other nations, while patriotism does not disparage other countries. Nationalisms build ups builds up one's own country by tearing other countries down. Nationalism to me sounds very Trump- ian from S-hole countries to unfair trade deals to being ripped off, it just goes on and on.

SCHNEIDER: And the question is --

VAUSE: So how do you argue the fact that it is any other than a deliberate racist ploy to a base of his party essentially leading this country down a very dark path?

SCHNEIDER: Well, there's certainly a lot of people who take it that way as a signal. The word nationalism is a loaded term and it can mean something discriminatory, right-wing, intolerant and even violent. Sometimes nationalism veers in that direction towards fascism. But nationalism is really kind of a neutral term. It describes something that arise -- that arose in Europe in the 19th century where nations began to discover that they had a common cause, that the people in those nations after the French Revolution, the people in those nations could unite behind a cause.

There is such a thing as right wing and extremist nationalism but there's also a more mild form of nationalism. I think what Trump is talking about is really better described by his slogan, America first.

VAUSE: Which was an anti-Semitic slogan when it first came out.

SCHNEIDER: An anti-Semitic what?

VAUSE: Slogan when it first come out. It's all about U.S. isolationism and (INAUDIBLE) I should say, when he first used it back in the 30's America first.

SCHNEIDER: It was -- it has been used by fascists, it has been used by racists, it has been used by all kinds of different people, but there is a more neutral form of nationalism which did emerge in Europe in the 19th century. It later became perverted by mostly people on the right. The left tends not to support nationalism but I believe that the correct way of describing Trump's view here is what he's always called America first. This nationalism is just a new word for that.

VAUSE: But if you know, if it's all very innocent, then why was he so coy, at one point saying he shouldn't use that word. You know, it's hard to think that he was sort of unaware of the implications.

SCHNEIDER: I am certain you're right. He was unaware of the implications. He doesn't know a great deal of history, and he probably doesn't know that nationalism has been perverted and it has been adopted by some extremists including white racists in the United States, white supremacist would talk about American nationalism in racist terms.

I wouldn't be surprised if Trump was totally unfamiliar with that because that's something historians have delved into. A lot of ordinary Americans don't know anything about it.

[01:14:59] VAUSE: OK. Well, here is how the people over Fox News have tried to defend Donald Trump in the last couple of hours.


TUCKER CARLSON, HOST, FOX NEWS CHANNEL: A nationalist. In other words, a leader who puts his own country first, who cares about his own people most. You'd think everyone in charge of a nation would be a nationalist. Hitler was a nationalist. Of course, so were Mahatma Gandhi and Abraham Lincoln and every other leader of every other nation-state throughout history until about 20 minutes ago. But whatever.


VAUSE: You know, that's taking the very simplistic -- the best possible spin you can on the definition of nationalism. If you look at nationalism as essentially one country, one group of people believing that they are superior and better than others. And so, you know, which it does seem to be -- you know, the Donald Trump approach in the way he governs.

The premise that Tucker Carlson has there is totally and completely incorrect. You know, Abraham Lincoln was not a nationalist, and neither was Mahatma Gandhi.

SCHNEIDER: Abraham Lincoln was a Unionist. He believed that reuniting the country, which is a form of nationalism. He believed that the South along had to be forced back into the Union. If you have a hit -- Abraham Lincoln is long gone. But the fact is, he was a Unionist. That's the only label that he would have set.

VAUSE: But this -- and you know, this is a country which traditionally has not gone out. And tried to -- you know, impose its will or its way on other countries -- you know, in any kind of forceful way. Has never had this sort of belief of superiority that we see -- that we've seen in Europe for instance.

You know, during World War II, with Germany, which with Japan as well. You know, leaving in moral superiority and genetic superiority. That's not what this country is about.

SCHNEIDER: No, it is not what this country is about. But nationalism actually first showed up dramatically in World War I, long before World War II, or this couple of decades before World War II. Which led to World War I because you had national rivalries mostly between Germany and France, and other countries joined in -- Britain, Russia.

And the nationalism was what drove the forces that were involved in that war. It wasn't quite the same as fascism, then, it was a belief in national unity, it was belief in many cases of national superiority. But, that is also implied by the term that Trump uses that's less controversial. America first. That means, as president of the United States, he's always going to put America's national interests first.

VAUSE: You know, this is such a big debate, Bill. We could go on and on because -- you know, what was America's interest first? Is that a global view of the world that everyone works together? Or is it -- you know, everyone is on their own and every man for himself view of the world?

And yet, (INAUDIBLE) we can do this on other time because we are out of time, unfortunately. But thank you so much.


VAUSE: Well, a strained meeting in Moscow leads to plans for a second U.S.-Russia summit. After the break, how the U.S. National Security Advisor and Russian leader made nice after giving each other an earful over a number of issues.

And will John Bolton plans the president's dates with world leaders, the U.S. military is cracking down on Russian election meddling. We'll explain how when we come back.


[01:21:01] VAUSE: Terrifying moments there as an escalated malfunction suddenly accelerating, brightest which has gone unclear. Some on the neighboring escalator reached across trying to save them. With others who just left to tumble down to the bottom.

All of this happened at a metro station in Rome on Tuesday. At least 20 people were once seriously. Mostly, was caught up in this accident were Russian football fans on the way a match. Officials are investigating this but so far, no word on what went wrong.

The U.S. National Security Advisor went to Moscow, ready to give Vladimir Putin an earful about Russian election meddling and pulling out for nuclear arms deal. But the Russian president shot back. So, how is it that a second summit between President Putin, rather, and President Trump is now actually in the works? CNN's Fred Pleitgen has details.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A tense meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and National Security Advisor John Bolton, Putin immediately taking a swipe at the U.S.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (through translator): The emblem of the U.S. depicts an eagle. In one claw, it holds 13 arrows. And in the other, an olive branch. A symbol of the peace-loving policy of the states together with 13 all this. Question, it looks as if your Eagle has eaten all the olives, and has only arrows left.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And what is left is only the arrows. JOHN BOLTON, UNITED STATES NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: But I didn't bring any more olives.

PLEITGEN: Despite the thick air, the two sides decided on a new meeting between President Trump and the Russian leader on November 11th in Paris. The Russians still fuming after the Trump administration's decision to pull out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.

CNN caught up with a national security advisor as he was laying a wreath for murdered opposition leader Boris Nemtsov between high- stakes meetings with top Russian leaders.

Are the Russians been quite understanding for your reasoning and you explain it to them?

BOLTON: Well, I think their preferences, they've stated is that we not withdraw. But I think, we've given them reasons why we're going to do it, and I think they understand that reasons quite clearly. Some of which I think they fully appreciate from their own strategic perspective. I think the president could not have been clearer, not just on Saturday, but yesterday is for what his decision.

PLEITGEN: After a Russian woman was recently indicted for allegedly trying to meddle in the upcoming midterm elections, Bolton, said he warned Putin not to interfere.

BOLTON: It's a lesson I think, don't mess with American elections.

PLEITGEN: But the National Security Advisor didn't specify what the consequences would be if Russia was found to be meddling in America's democracy again. Saying only, the U.S. was keeping an eye on the situation. Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Moscow.


VAUSE: Vladimir Putin is not the only Russian being warned about meddling in the U.S. midterm elections. The U.S. is also putting hackers themselves on notice for the new cyber operation aimed at trying to end their efforts. Details from CNN's Brian Todd.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A shot across the bow to Russian hackers trying to meddle in America's midterm elections. An administration official tells CNN, the U.S. military's Cyber Command has begun targeting those Russian operatives. Apparently overwhelming them with electronic messages and fake e-mails to try to make their meddling more difficult.

JASON HEALY, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CYBER OFFICIAL: It is very interesting to see this now being part of this U.S. cyber strategy. to go to these Russian operators, and saying don't influence the elections. We know who you are, we are tracking you, there are going to be consequences. TODD: Word of the operation comes as President Trump's national security advisor is in Moscow, delivering the same message to the Russians in person.

BOLTON: Don't mess with American elections.

TODD: Just what are Russian trolls doing to try to disrupt the midterm vote? Experts say they often create false personas, pretending to be Americans. Then they either try to recruit real Americans to stage protests or other events. Sometimes even paying for the equipment, like this rally against Hillary Clinton, or they send divisive messages online.

[01:25:03] LAURA ROSENBERGER, DIRECTOR, ALLIANCE FOR SECURING DEMOCRACY: So, whether that's around -- you know, a mass shooting, or whether that's around -- you know, questions about NFL protests, we see them seizing on these moments and often just amplifying existing material, but to make Americans think that we're more divided than we actually may be by, again, artificially manipulating that information space. They've purchased ads in the past.

TODD: On Friday, a U.S. criminal indictment said a Russian conspiracy of online trolls tried to stoke discord in the U.S. with posts like these, "Obama is tied to the Muslim Brotherhood. Illegal immigration is a taxpayer burden." U.S. officials say, a crony of Vladimir Putin's contributed $35 million to the operation. The woman charged with coordinating the campaign went on Russian T.V. to ridicule the charges.

ELENA KHUSYAYNOVA, ACCUSED OF MEDDLING IN 2018 MIDTERMS (through translator): I was shocked to hear that me, just a simple Russian accountant, elected a U.S. president, instead of Americans.

TODD: This new campaign against Russian trolls isn't the first time the U.S. has gone on the digital offensive against enemies.

HEALY: The U.S. has certainly been involved with some pretty severe disruptive attacks on adversaries, and this -- the Stuxnet attack on Iranian uranium enrichment is certainly a great example of that.

TODD: Some analysts believe that's what the U.S. should be doing to the Russian trolls to directly target their capabilities, rather than just sending them warning messages.

ROSENBERGER: Offensive cyber operations are an option. Essentially, you know, frying the servers.

TODD: The New York Times reports that the American effort to target those Russian cyber meddlers is somewhat measured limited in scope. Analysts say the Americans have to be a little bit careful not to trigger an escalation. And prompt the Russians or other adversaries in cyberspace to try to hack into the American power grid and other key infrastructure. Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE) VAUSE: The son of journalist, Jamal Khashoggi has been summoned to the Saudi Royal Palace, what Riyadh says was a condolence call. But critics say, it was a force photo-op with the man who ordered his father's execution. More on that in a moment.

And later this hour --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We are an honorable people, we are workers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would it call a group of kid's terrorists?


VAUSE: Still of the thousands making their way towards the US-Mexico border, responding to President Trump's accusations that they could be criminals or maybe even terrorist.


[01:30:00] VAUSE: Hello and welcome back, everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

I'm John Vause with the headlines this hour.

Donald Trump is defending his decision to embrace the term "nationalist". During a press briefing at the White House on Tuesday, he insisted that nationalism simply reflects his love of country and does not have a xenophobic, racist or bigoted undertone.

The U.S. national security advisor John Bolton met with Russian leader Vladimir Putin to spell out the reasons behind President Trump's decision to leave the nuclear treaty with Russia. Mr. Putin says he would like to meet with President Trump next month in Paris at 100th anniversary of the World War 1 armistice.

Venezuela has been hit by heavy flooding and rain. This is the view of the capital city Caracas. Heavy rain has led to land slides forcing hundreds from their homes. It also washed out roads and damaged sewer systems across the country.

Turkey's president says Jamal Khashoggi is the victim of a ferocious premeditated murder. In a speech to Turkey's parliament on Tuesday, Recep Tayyip Erdogan demanded the suspects arrested in Saudi Arabia be expedited to Turkey to stand trial.

But Jamal Khashoggi's son and other family members were received at the palace in Riyadh on Tuesday.

Sam Kiley reports the photo that emerged is stirring some very strong reactions.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: In a moment that could be seen as warm, others may say is chilling -- a photograph of Salah, the son of Jamal Khashoggi shaking the hand of the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, the man that many people believe holds so much power in this country that he must have authorized or known about the mission directed against Jamal Khashoggi that led to his death.

There is however no evidence for that. The Saudi position is all along and consistent that whatever happened inside the consulate in Turkey, it was not on the orders of the Crown Prince but rather an overreaction that resulted in the tragic accidental death to a general order to try to persuade dissidents and critics of Saudi Arabia to return home.

But nonetheless, this photograph was published within hours of the speech made by the Turkish president, Mr. Erdogan, in which he excoriated the Saudi version of events and insisted that this was not a killing for which only a group of intelligence officials could be held responsible.

Sam Kiley, CNN -- Riyadh.


VAUSE: Joining us now from Los Angeles, CNN law enforcement contributor and former FBI special agent Steve Moore. Thanks for being with us -- Steve. It is good to see you.


VAUSE: Ok. The big question in all of this is the culpability of the Saudi Crown Prince. Did he know about or did he even order Khashoggi's murder or was this just, you know, this rogue operation gone wrong?

Assuming at some point they find the body of the journalist, how far would that go towards answering the question about was this a rogue operation that just was bungled or was there, you know, more to it?

MOORE: Well, I don't know if the body -- the body will give you a lot more information on certain things that we would really like to know about. But the body is not going to tell you much about whether it was planned.

Frankly, though, if you have the -- the infrastructure, if you have the system in place to kill somebody and dispose of their body -- that by definition is a plan. There is -- you can't move people around that way without pre-staging things, pre-planning things. There's no doubt in my mind that this was well-planned and well maybe not so well planned but it was -- it was planned.

VAUSE: There was a plan and just maybe wasn't carried out so well I guess. Here's part of what Recep Tayyip Erdogan told Turkish parliament on Tuesday. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, TURKISH PRESIDENT (through translator): The information obtained so far and the evidence found shows that Khashoggi was murdered in a ferocious manner. To try to hide such a ferocious murder would be an insult to the conscience of humanity. So we expect the appropriate actions from Saudi Arabia.

From this point onward, we want them to reveal all the parties responsible and to give them the appropriate penalty. We have significant signs that this was not something, which happened instantaneously but was planned.


VAUSE: And again, you know, Erdogan offered no proof here. So, you know, what sort of evidence would you be looking for to back up that claim, you know, coming from Erdogan? Because, you know, he emphasizes over and over again that this was planned. It wasn't spontaneous.

MOORE: Right. And see, there's the problem.

[01:34:54] How much is he willing to give up as to how he got this information? I mean it's fairly obvious to me that what they've got going here is that they've got the Saudi consulate bugged. They've got it completely compromised because they were talking earlier about specific individuals saying certain things. So it is wired for sound at least.

And so, the fact that they even came out with this is pretty astounding to me because it divulges intelligence sources. So it had to be very important to them. But the fact that their giving this information to probably the CIA and other agencies out of the public eye will indicate that it's going to be real.

They want people to say yes, we've heard it and it's good. They don't want the specific stuff out for the Saudis.

VAUSE: Yes. Well, ok. The Saudis on the other hand, they're arguing this is all meant to be some sort of snatch-and-grab operation, not an assassination.

According to one official, this a 15-man Saudi team had Khashoggi alone in the consulate building. "When Khashoggi raised his voice the team panicked. They moved to restrain him, placing him in and covering his mouth," according to the government's account. "They tried to prevent him from shouting but he died," the official said. "The intention was not to kill him."

What sort of high-level extraction team actually panic at the sound of someone yelling inside a consulate building of their country?

MOORE: Nobody panicked. Nobody panicked. They were threatening their own -- allegedly they were threatening their own ambassador or their consular officially.

There was no panic. It was completely planned. And when you have 15 people it is not hard to restrain one man. So, the issue of him dying as a result of a wild tussle is -- is not going to float with anybody.

VAUSE: Ok. There's also reporting out there that the Saudis have unearthed internal documents-- that's the word they're using -- which show the team was ready to negotiate with Khashoggi inside the consulate. And they say the structure of the operation proved the objective was not to kill him.

Here's how it's been reported by NBC News, "The 15-man crew was divided into three teams with some assigned to overall logistics and security, and a special dedicated to interrogating Khashoggi in the consulate. Of the 15 Saudis only nine were inside the consulate at the time of the killing."

What does that prove?

MOORE: It proves that they're not -- that they're dealing from the bottom of the deck. I ran a team that went around the world flying, interviewing people. We had at most four people on these things.

I mean unless you're planning on killing somebody and dismembering, why do you need 15 people to go on and interview or a negotiation? This isn't holding water.

And it's -- you know, one thing you can say about Trump, he got at least this part right. It is an embarrassing, an embarrassing try at planning this thing.

VAUSE: Yes. It is a total fiasco. And the one thing which I keep coming back to, if this is a snatch-and-grab and bring him back to the Kingdom, you know, for a talking to, why do you need a bone saw?

MOORE: You know, John -- that's probably a real good point. Why do you need a bone saw? Why do you need people who are going to come out -- and by the way, when they're identified, I guarantee you that these guys are going to be involved in wet work. These are the ones who are going to be the people who did this kind of killing. You're going to find that this is a history.

They didn't bring negotiators over, they brought killers over. So that's what you're going to -- that's what's going to come out of this.

And it's kind of like some guy walking home and -- and you know, with lipstick on his collar, at a certain point you just have to cop out and take your lumps. Say, you know, admit what has gone on here.

Right now, I think, you know, that the -- the Crown Prince is doing his best to stay in power here. This could be something that knocks him down.

VAUSE: Yes. I mean when you get to this level of planning and the people involved. Two jets flying in from Riyadh, all linked to the government, you know, eventually someone has to say this went, you know, pretty high up and the question is how high. And I guess that will be the question if we ever find that out.

But Steve -- appreciate you being with us. Thank you.

MOORE: Good seeing you.

VAUSE: In Mexico, thousands of migrants are expected to resume their slow journey towards the U.S. border in the coming hours. The caravan, as it's called, is now weeks away in southern Mexico.

It's become a political issue ahead of next month's midterm U.S. elections. President Donald Trump claims criminals and Middle Easterners, whatever that means, are walking with the migrants, even though he says he doesn't have any proof of that.

The caravan formed in Honduras and went through Guatemala. It's now in the town of Huixtla but it still is likely to be in Mexico come November 6th. That's the day when voters in the U.S. go to the polls.

CNN's Patrick Oppmann is walking with the caravan and he reports many are now exhausted but are still facing weeks of travel in blistering heat.


[01:39:51] PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Tuesday was meant to be a rest day for the migrants after a long and arduous journey from the border with Guatemala. But as you can see over here, people really aren't able to rest that well.

They are lying on concrete. You could see a family, as the people cross by, of young babies just a few months old that is lying on top of a trash bag on top of cement. They have put some other trash bags over to create a makeshift tent.

This is central town plaza in this small Mexican town has become something of a refugee center. And the conditions here are quite difficult. They don't have sanitary conditions to accommodate this many people.

Mexicans have come out to donate food, donate water and clothing. But still you can see the exhaustion in people's faces.

And when they begin their march again on Wednesday, it will be in this oppressive heat. I've seen several people faint in front of me as they're going at this very, very slow pace. It really goes to show how long this journey will take.

If they continue at the current pace it is expected that to reach the U.S.-Mexico border it could take weeks or even months longer.

Patrick Oppmann, CNN -- Huixtla, Mexico.


VAUSE: Showdown in the U.S. state of Georgia -- rivals for the state's governor seat facing off at a heated and contentious debate. But one of the candidates' past protests might just be coming back to haunt her. Also the most famous face of the Democratic Party that some Democrats, they want Hillary to stay far, far, far, far, far away from their candidate -- excuse me -- saying she's a hidden asset for the Republicans.


VAUSE: Yes. You're going to get sick of that music.

Ok. One of the most closely-watched contests in the upcoming U.S. midterm election is the race for governor in the state of Georgia. If she wins, Stacey Abrams, the Democrat candidate would become the first black woman elected as governor of U.S. State.

But this election has been overshadowed by accusations of voter suppression and intimidation. Supporters though of Abrams say her Republican rival Brian Kemp is trying to keep minority voters from the polls. These two candidates faced-off on Tuesday at a highly anticipated debate.

We get more details now from CNN Kaylee Hartung.


KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: For the first time in this hotly- contested race Georgia's candidates for governor met face-to-face in a debate.

[01:44:58] And right out of the gate, Democrat Stacey Abrams was asked about the news of the day -- her admission that in 1992 she participated in a protest where the old Georgia state flag was burned.

STACEY ABRAMS (D), GEORGIA GUBERNATORIAL NOMINEE: Twenty-six years ago as a college freshman, I along with many other Georgians including the governor of Georgia were deeply disturbed by the racial divisiveness that was embedded in the state flag with that confederate symbol. I took an action of peaceful protest. I said that that was wrong and ten years later my opponent, Brian Kemp actually voted to remove that symbol.

HARTUNG: The most controversial topic for Republican Brian Kemp to address -- the allegations of voter suppression by Stacey Abrams in his capacity as Secretary of State.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Kemp -- you have been our secretary of state since 2010. Can you stand here tonight and say as overseer of our state's elections there's no attempt on your part or your campaign's part to suppress the minority vote that would likely benefit a minority candidate who you are in a statistical dead heat according to recent polls?

BRIAN KEMP (R), GEORGIA GUBERNATORIAL NOMINEE: Absolutely not. This farce about voter suppression and people being held up from being on the rolls and being unable to vote is absolutely not true. Anyone who is -- meets the requirements, that is on the pending list, all they have to do is do the same thing that you and I at home have to do. Go to your polling location, show your government ID and you can vote.

HARTUNG: Both campaigns entered this debate with similar strategies -- to continue down their polar opposite paths. Both campaigns did that successfully, continuing to energize their bases in a state where very few voters remain undecided.

Kaylee Hartung, CNN -- Atlanta.


VAUSE: Well, to the south in the neighboring state of Florida, another tight race for governor -- this one between Democrat Andrew Gillum and Republican Ron DeSantis. Hillary Clinton has been fundraising for Gillum and CNN's Randi Kaye has been talking to a group of Florida Democrats, asking them to weigh in on Secretary Clinton's involvement in his campaign.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A show of hands -- how many of you think overall, Hillary Clinton is more of a liability than an asset to the Gillum campaign? Almost all of you.

ALEXANDRA AYALA, FLORIDA VOTER: Hillary Clinton is seen as this kind of figure that the right rails against. They go to rallies and they say "lock her up".

ROB LONG, FLORIDA VOTER: Hillary Clinton is a rallying point for the right. They use that messaging against Hillary Clinton to drive out their vote. So I think you could end up seeing a huge boost in their numbers because you have Hillary Clinton now on the other side being associated with Gillum so close.

KAYE: What concerns you about the baggage and the scandals that she was associated with and how that might impact the Gillum campaign?

LONG: Well, her post-presidential sort of, you know, demeanor or platform has been very sort of self-indulgent and very much about re- litigating what happened in 2016.

In our generation -- my generation doesn't really respond to, you know, this re-litigation of 2016. And I want to call it "whining" but like at this point it's kind of what it feels like.

AYALA: I am concerned. And as a young person, he -- he nailed it. We're the going forward, progressive movement -- progressive policies. We're looking ahead and I think she represents an old Democratic Party.

KAYE: Does anyone think that Hillary Clinton can be helpful to the Gillum campaign?

STEPHANIE REUBINS, FLORIDA VOTER: I do. I think she can financially helpful because she has a history of fabulous fund-raising. And I think that's where she should stay.

DR. MARC LAFALAISE, FLORIDA VOTER: I thought (INAUDIBLE) going out and making speeches for Mr. Gillum? I don't think so.

KAYE: What is it specifically, you think that -- how might Hillary Clinton harm the Gillum campaign do you think?

REUBINS: She's just got bad cred.

KAYE: Bad cred.

REUBINS: Bad cred. People don't trust. No one trusts her. The reality is I voted for her. I supported her but she does things that -- she trips over herself. And she makes big mistakes.

KAYE: Hillary Clinton did an interview recent and said -- she was asked about the Lewinsky affair and she said that it wasn't an abuse of power because Monica Lewinsky was an adult.


KAYE: Is that something that Democrats want to hear right now?



AYALA: We're in 2018, "Time's Up", #MeToo, Harvey Weinstein unleashed this generation-long abuse of power. And it's completely tone-deaf to say that a female, 21-year-old intern at the White House in the Oval Office with the President is not a victim. And it's bringing her on going to be a trigger for some people saying do you hear what she just said a week ago.

FARZANA KHAN, FLORIDA VOTER: Her saying that oh, she was an adult and, you know, we didn't do nothing wrong can hurt him in a way and saying, you know, she's supporting what they had done at that time.

KAYE: So the last thing you want is her down here in Florida?

AYALA: Yes. I mean it's just not -- let's get some fresh blood down here.

KHAN: Yes.

AYALA: Let's spice it up.


KHAN: Yes, absolutely.

REUBINS: And it's too important.

LONG: Yes, thank you.

REUBINS: Yes. The stakes are too high.


[01:50:02] LONG: Why risk it? He's ahead right now.


VAUSE: One of the most underplayed stories of the 2016 U.S. election was voter suppression. Now, a new front in the war on voters' rights is sending some cases on a collision course with the U.S. Supreme Court. What will these decisions mean to the upcoming midterm elections and for 2020?

Tune in for a CNN special report, "DEMOCRACY IN PERIL". It airs in New York Friday, 10:00 p.m.; 6:00 p.m. Saturday in Hong Kong and 9:00 p.m. Saturday in London if you happen to be in the U.K.

Well, a short break. When we come back, Hurricane Willa has made landfall on the Pacific coast of Mexico. We'll the very latest on the storm track in just a moment.


VAUSE: Well, Hurricane Willa has made landfall and it's battering Mexico's Pacific coast bringing life threatening storm surges to some cities.

The storm is expected to be downgraded over 24 hours as it makes its way across the mountain ranges. Rainfall totals though could reach nearly half a meter. That's a lot of rain. Forecasters are warning the hurricane will cause flash flooding as well as land slides.

Let's see what else the meteorologists are saying. Let's give it to our meteorologist Pedram Javaheri.

Half a meter -- that's a lot of water. Just the crucial point is where does it all fall?

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes. It is happening right now and it's really over the next 24 or so hours -- John. This is a very quick-moving system and it's not going to lay around much.

And just looking on the past three decades across this region, this is only the third hurricane to come in as a major hurricane, meaning Category 3 or stronger. Notice three of these six have happened since 2014; Patricia of course in 2015. John was there for that.

And of course, you see Willa in the past few hours coming in across this region in a sparsely-populated area of Mexico. And we know the water temperatures in this particular region, among the warmest on record for this time of year -- running 30 to 32 degrees Celsius, 28 is all you need for a tropical system to maintain its intensity.

But again, it is now entirely over land. So we'll expect this to begin to weaken over the next few hours and quickly move on in towards portions of the southern United States.

But notice by early Wednesday morning we're talking about a tropical depression and the rainfall amounts really become the biggest story across an area that typically doesn't get this much rainfall. And generally-speaking 200 to 300 millimeters, in some areas 500 plus millimeters as John noted there. And climatologically speaking, when you look at how much rainfall the area gets, take Mazatlan for example, about 778 millimeters to be precise. But notice the calendar, beginning say three to five months of the year, very quiet. Almost all of that rainfall comes in, in the latter portion of the year in October. Not one of those wetter months.

So this is going to produce some flooding across the region to say the least. But there goes the system. You can see that moisture trailing right into the portions of Texas by tomorrow morning. And that will be the next area of concern.

And of course, the National Weather Service in the United States has already issued flood watches across this region for the additional heavy rainfall that is expected on top of already saturated soil.

Now, the other story we're following, potentially a much bigger story depending on how things play out here is going to be super typhoon Yutu that's developed in the past couple of days and quickly strengthened to a super typhoon.

Notice Saipan that is in the direct path of this -- the U.S. Commonwealth home to about 50,000 people here are going to see a potential direct impact with this system coming in with 240 kilometer- per-hour winds.

[01:54:57] And incredible to think forecast indicates not only this to get stronger after landfall up to 260 kilometers per hour, potentially continue to get stronger over the next couple of days to almost 300 kilometers per hour.

If this plays out as models indicate, guess what this is among the strongest storms on our planet in 2018. And I know we've said that with just about every single storm coming in, in the past couple of months but this again pushes into that territory and carries up to almost 300 kilometers per hour.

And notice over a week from right now, we could be looking at something very, very serious for portions of northern Luzon or southern Taiwan and potentially eastern China as well. So a story worth following across that region, John -- but not just what is left of the storm here making landfall, the next couple also -- the next one impacting eastern Asia.

VAUSE: So if it's 330 kilometers per hour winds -- in terms of hurricanes or what's that in category terms? Is that what -- beyond Category 5?

JAVAHERI: It would be, you know, that's a great question because recently There's been discussions that maybe increasing beyond a Category 5 --


JAVAHERI: -- this would be hypothetical Category 6. So it is enough above to dictate one category to the next to where you could be looking at a 6 but, of course, that would be hypothetical but it is that strong.

VAUSE: You know something is going on when you need a new category to talk about how strong these storms are. Thanks -- PJ.

Well, now to what is an amazing and pretty unusual site from Antarctica. A nearly perfectly shaped rectangular iceberg captured. All this captured by NASA cameras. Scientist say the iceberg may have broken off from the Alaskan Sea ice shelf. And while icebergs often break off in straight lines, they're usually just not this perfect.

Ok. If you got a mega-millions lottery ticket with the numbers 5-28- 62-65-70 and the mega ball number 5 -- chances are you can just walk away from your job right now. And you made U.S. lottery history -- $1.6 billion dollar jackpot. The biggest America has ever seen.

There's, you know, there's always a catch in the U.S., if you want that lump sum payout it means that you lose a big chunk of it upfront. You're left with about just over $900 million. You've got to pay tax -- it takes that other half again. You know about $500 million net.

But don't worry, you won't have to pay that tax because chances are you're more likely to be hit by lightning or eaten by a shark or killed by crocodile. And no one has won the mega-millions jackpot since July when 11 co-workers in California split just over half a billion dollars between them.

And thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause.

Another hour of news coming up with Rosemary Church in just a moment. You're watching CNN.


[02:00:09] ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: High-level --