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Russia Refuses to Criticize Saudis over Journalist's Death; Thousands of Migrants Travel Through Mexico to U.S.; Knife Attack on Chinese Kindergarten; Japanese Journalist Freed from Captivity in Syria; Hawaiian Island Submerged by Hurricane; Inside the World of Bomb Disposal. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired October 26, 2018 - 01:00   ET


[01:00:00] JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: -- in a postal sorting facility in Opa-Locka, Florida north of Miami where some of those packages are believed to have been processed. The targets for the pipe bombs have been regularly attacked by the U.S. President and former Vice President Joe Biden now joins that list after two similar packages were intercepted on Thursday, so to actor Robert De Niro, an explosive device was sent to his production company in New York. We get the very latest now from CNN's Miguel Marquez.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We continue to advise the American public to remain vigilant.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A dire warning for all Americans, there could be more potentially explosive devices out there.

JAMES O'NEILL, POLICE COMMISSIONER, NEW YORK CITY: This is something that should be taken seriously. The NYPD and the FBI we're taking this seriously. We are treating them as live devices. As you see the way our bomb squad detectives went into CNN yesterday, this has to be taking with the utmost seriousness.

MARQUEZ: But offering assurances hundreds of thousands of postal employees aren't tracking packages for any potential dangers.

PHILLIP BARTLETT, INSPECTOR IN CHARGE, NEW YORK U.S. POSTAL INSPECTION SERVICE: We have over 600,000 postal employees out there right now so we have their eyes and ears looking for these packages.

MARQUEZ: At least ten bombs now discovered from New York, to Washington, Florida, and California. The latest two suspected bomb sent to former Vice President Joe Biden. At least one was misaddressed both earlier today sitting in U.S. Postal facilities in Delaware just miles apart.

ROBERT DE NIRO, ACTOR: I just wanted to make a note of apology for the idiotic behavior of my president.

MARQUEZ: Overnight, another package discovered addressed to actor and Trump critic Robert De Niro at his downtown Manhattan film offices Tribeca Productions.

MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK: The device was removed successfully. Thank God there were no injuries. The really quick- witted work of a security guard there at that facility in Tribeca as to thanks for the fact that nothing happened and no harm was done to anyone.

MARQUEZ: The package sent to De Niro similar to the one addressed to former CIA Director John Brennan and sent to CNN. Six U.S. flag forever stamps but no postmark. The bomb sent to CNN ultimately delivered by courier, the return address, the Florida congressional office of Democrat Debbie Wasserman Schultz. The devices now in the hands of forensic experts who will look for the bomb maker or makers signatures on the packaging and the devices themselves.


MARQUEZ: Two devices also sent to Trump critic California Congresswoman Maxine Waters. One intercepted at a Congressional mail sorting facility just outside D.C., the other at a post office facility in Los Angeles. Similar packages sent to President Obama and Hillary Clinton were intercepted before reaching their homes. The package to billionaire and Democratic donor George Soros appeared to be placed in his mailbox. The device of former Attorney General Eric Holder was sent in the mail but was returned to Wasserman Schultz's office in South Florida which like the others used her address for the return.

Law enforcement sources calling the devices rudimentary but functional and at least one was packed with projectiles meant to inflict greater damage. The FBI calling them potential explosive devices.

WILLIAM SWEENEY, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR IN CHARGE, FBI: Any device could be considered potentially dangerous and treated as such until proven otherwise.


VAUSE: Former FBI Assistant Director and CNN Senior Law Enforcement Analyst Tom Fuentes is with us now for more on the investigation. So Tom, this manhunt it now appears to be heading towards Florida, at least some of the packages went through a distribution center north of Miami, how would investigators know that and how would they know it through what appears to be fairly quickly?

TOM FUENTES, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, I think the Postal Service you know, in the modern era has tracking mechanisms for packages, letters that go through their system but specifically packages and larger envelopes like that so you know, I'm not exactly familiar with how that works but similar to Amazon, if you want to track a package, usually you're able to do so in their system.

VAUSE: You also have a situation where you now have authorities looking at this parcel sorting center north of Miami and then just north of that is Debbie Wasserman Schultz office who was the name on the as the return address on all these parcels which were you know, either sent out or delivered in some form to these targets is you know, clearly that's not a coincidence right?

FUENTES: Well, that would be the question here. Did those envelopes go through? That sender being returned around their way back to Debbie Wasserman Schultz's office or was it outbound, you know, we're not -- I'm not sure exactly and they haven't revealed. So we're not sure of exactly how that was transiting that particular mail center. You know, you have another mail center involved in Delaware with the two packages being addressed to former Vice President Joe Biden. So you know, we have several mail or courier centers that these packages went through.

[01:05:17] VAUSE: One of the big concerns is the possibility that other explosive devices could still be in the postal or the delivery system and you know, they're in the system right now, they're yet to be found. The assumption would have to be I guess that the threat of more bombs will only end wherein the suspect of the suspects are caught.

FUENTES: Well, or he runs out of bombs that he's put in the system. We don't know that yet. That's -- you know, really only time will tell. We don't know if these are the full extent, if all of the devices now are out there and have been recovered or not and I -- and I think only in the days ahead will we know for sure.

VAUSE: None of these devices actually exploded and another unknown was that by design or by a lack of competence, can that be answered just by looking at the devices themselves?

FUENTES: Not necessarily. You know, the x-ray of the devices to try to see if they -- how they will render them safe before transporting them to the FBI laboratory at Quantico, Virginia which is about 40 miles south of Washington D.C. But they'll x-ray him just from that extent at the scene where they're recovered before they try to handle them and put him in the containment vessel then take them to another off-site where they're either exploded or just dismantled in a procedure they refer to as render safe so that they can then be flown or transported by vehicle to Quantico. But no, they cannot tell. And only until the explosive experts at the laboratory of Quantico, Virginia have a close examination will they be able to determine whether these devices or any or all of which would have been capable of exploding.

VAUSE: Once we have an answer to that question, what does that actually mean for the direction of this investigation?

FUENTES: Well, the way investigations like this work is that you know, and having participated and been an executive in charge of such investigations you do not form early opinions or even hypotheses of how this went. Now, I know the media has to speculate and everybody else wants a quick you know, conclusion or it must have been this or must have been that, but investigators, you work very hard at not allowing anyone to form too early of an opinion because you might exclude things, some even subconsciously exclude other information that might be important to solving the case if it doesn't match your theory.

So at this point, you know, I don't know not being involved in this investigation whether they've gotten firing up into it to actually have a theory about that.

VAUSE: You've mentioned earlier about investigators not forming an opinion which is how you know, they're professionals they can do that. But that's not the case for so many others out there especially the you know, the the talk-show hosts and the political pundits. This has got political very quickly. I want you to listen to the talk radio host, the conservative Rush Limbaugh. He's putting forward the theory that this is some sort of false flag operation.


RUSH LIMBAUGH, TALK SHOW HOST: There's a smell test that this stuff has to pass, and so far a lot of people's noses are in the air not quite certain what to make of this. Not one of these bombs went off. And if a Democrat operatives purpose here is to make it look like hey, you know, there are mobs everywhere, the mods are not just Democrat mobs. I mean, look at this you've got people here trying to -- trying to harm CNN, and Obama, and Hillary, and Bill Clinton, and Debbie blabbermouth Schultz, and I just did -- it might serve a purpose here.


VAUSE: So if investigators are asking the public for help, for tips, for information on trying to solve this, what does it mean if a good portion of the population is being told it's all a hoax?

FUENTES: Even if those devices are not explosive devices, the individual that caused this could be looking at life in prison in the United States. This is still a very serious event. And if you're one of the individuals that had a device addressed to you, you certainly would take it very seriously. And you know, in the United States political system, the Clintons and the Obamas are still very popular so you know, they get -- I think the public will still cooperate to any extent they can regardless of what Rush Limbaugh says or what other pundits say that these were explosive or they weren't explosive. And you know, and that those decisions you know, will be realized in the next couple of days when the laboratory finishes their work.

VAUSE: OK. I think you're very optimistic on that last point but I'll leave it with you Tom, but thank you so much for being with us.

[01:10:03] FUENTES: OK. You're welcome.

VAUSE: The failed bomb attacks are being investigated as an act of domestic terrorism. Investigators say the devices were alive and not a hoax. Taken at face value, whoever sent those packages was trying to assassinate almost the entire leadership of one of the two major political parties in the U.S. Just to make that point again, if those bombs had exploded, they may have killed almost the entire senior leadership of the Democratic Party. But this country has faced moments of crisis, presidents be they Democrat or Republican have rallied a nation to stand this one. George W. Bush in the rubble after 9/11, his arm around the firefighter, a bullhorn in his hand.


GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The nation stands with the good people of New York City and New Jersey and Connecticut as we mourn the loss of thousands of our citizens.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir, we can't hear you.

BUSH: I can hear you. I can hear you. The rest of the world hears you and the people -- and people -- and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.


VAUSE: Barack Obama laid bare his heart and soul when a nation was left in shock by the murder of 20 little children at an elementary school at Sandy Hook.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am very mindful that mere words cannot match the depths of your sorrow nor can they heal your wounded hearts. I can only hope it helps for you to know that you're not alone in your grief, that our world too has been torn apart, that all across this land of ours we have wept with you.


VAUSE: With the grief and shock of the challenges Space Shuttle disaster 1986, Ronald Reagan was comforter in chief.


RONALD REAGAN, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honored us for the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them nor the last time we saw them this morning as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and slipped the surly bonds of Earth to touch the face of God.


VAUSE: On Thursday, as more pipe bombs were being found, President Trump continued his attack on the media with this tweet. "A very big part of the anger we see today in our society is caused by the purposely false and inaccurate reporting of the mainstream media that I refer to as fake news. It's gotten so bad and hateful that it is beyond description. Mainstream media must clean up its act fast." CNN Senior Political Analyst Ron Brownstein joins us now from Los Angeles. Ron, good to see you.


VAUSE: OK. Here is the Press Secretary Sarah Sanders on Thursday pushing back on suggestions that the President may have some responsibility for the pipe bomb attacks at least in the terms of the atmosphere division created by the words he uses in those attacks. This is what she said.


SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Look, there's a big difference between comments made in actions taken. The President is certainly not responsible for sending suspicious packages to someone no more than Bernie Sanders was responsible for a supporter of his shooting up a Republican baseball field practice.


VAUSE: Ron, there's also a big difference between what Bernie Sanders did and Donald Trump did in the days and the months leading up to both events. The level of false, low equivalency from Sanders and other Republicans is breathtaking.

BROWNSTEIN: Well, look, I mean, obviously whoever sent these packages is responsible for sending these bombs. This attempt at mass murder as you point out of the leadership of the Democratic Party. But it is fair to say that no president has ever spoken in the way Donald Trump does about those who disagree with him whether it's calling the press the enemy of the people or saying that those who oppose Judge Kavanaugh's ascension to the Supreme Court were evil, to belittling opponents as low I.Q. individuals in the case of Maxine Waters who was one of the other targets here or the locker up chant on Hillary Clinton. I mean suggesting that political opponents should be imprisoned.

And I think you know the idea that this is occurring somehow completely independent of the tone of vitriol that he creates about those he uses his opponents is absurd. Words have consequences. He wouldn't say them all the time if he didn't even didn't believe they had consequence. It doesn't mean you wanted somebody to send a bomb but he does want somebody -- he does want his coalition to view him as the last line of defense between them and a whole array of constantly evolving threats that don't look like them.

[01:15:12] VAUSE: Yes, everything about this administration same as he mentioned in the terms of political cost. The president continues to do what he does because the aides say, he has not paid a price for it. But that, they mean, he hasn't pay the political price of it quite the opposite.

He has been quite successful in running the base and getting them out there. But there is a cost which will be paid and is being paid right now because of the tone and the words and the division.

BROWNSTEIN: First, we'll see if there is a blow. I'm not convinced there is no political cost. I mean, as we have said many times before, his approval rating although rising is well below where it should be given the economy. And particularly, in those white-collar suburbs, where Republicans are going to suffer substantial losses. Where there is enough losses to lose the House on its own is another question. So, I reject the idea there is no cost politically. But, I do think that your point -- your larger point is absolutely correct. I mean, his conception of the presidency is very different. You know, other presidents have faced the accusation and the criticism.

I think that times fairly, that they focused more on the concerns of their base than on the country overall or the voters outside of the base. We have never however before Trump, had a president who basically looks to consolidate his base by convincing them that the rest of America is a threat to them.

And division is not a -- as you know, the saying goes, it is not a bug, it is political strategy and messaging. It is -- it is a feature. He basically presents himself to his core supporters as the last line of defense against a changing America and a changing world that he says will threaten them.

VAUSE: Yes, it's not a bug in the strategy, it is the strategy.

BROWNSTEIN: It is the strategy.

VAUSE: Here is proof that teleprompted Trump who says sort of the right things -- you know, that we expect from our president is not the real Donald Trump. Listen to this.


TRUMP: No nation can succeed that tolerates violence or the threat of violence as a method of political intimidation, coercion, or control. Any guy that you do a body slam is my kind. Such conduct must be fiercely opposed and firmly prosecuted. All right, yes, get him out. Try not to hurt him. If you do, I'll defend you in court. We want all sides to come together in peace and harmony.

A future under democratic mob rule would be a total catastrophe. Those engaged in the political arena must stop treating political opponents as being morally defective. I've been going around lately, saying the Democrats are the party of crime. No one should carelessly compare political opponents to historical villains. Obama is the founder of ISIS.


VAUSE: Yes, will the rule Donald Trump stand up, I think we know.

BROWNSTEIN: No. Yes, I think -- I think we do know. And I think his response to this in many ways was similar to his response to Charlottesville, where you know, he can -- he can under pressure a teleprompter, mouth a few words that are expected. But his core vision is that he constantly has to present every new development as a threat to his supporters that only he can deter.

And again, I mean, in the midst of all of these attacks on leading Democrats, all of whom have been the frequent target of his own vitriol. The president basically says the reason this is happening is because the media is unfair to him and by implication then. And again, it is -- it is this relentless effort to convince half of America -- roughly half of America that they are under siege from forces in the other half of America. And there is an audience for that. There is no doubt about it. And we will see that audience kind of flexes muscle in some of the elections in less than two weeks.

Whether there is a majority of the country that is comfortable with this level of division is the battle where you're going to be fighting not only next month but certainly the next two years.

VAUSE: Richard Nixon strategy was divide the country in half and then, hope that this half was bigger. Ron, as always. Good to see you. Thank you.

BROWNSTEIN: Thanks, John.

[01:19:45] VAUSE: Well, to Central China now, and a knife attack at a kindergarten in the city of Chongqing. Police say, at least, 14 children have been stabbed by a woman armed with a kitchen knife.

They are walking back to class after morning exercises. All of the wounded children have been taken to hospital. The 39-year-old woman has been detained. We'll have more on this developing story later in the hour.

In the meantime, a short break, in the ever-changing Saudi explanation of what happened to the journalist Jamal Khashoggi. On the same day, the CIA director met with Turkish authorities, the Saudis admit it could have been murder.


VAUSE: After weeks of denials and attempts to divert blame, Saudi Arabia's Attorney General, now says the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, a journalist with the Washington Post was premeditated. And Saudi's Energy Minister went even further than that.


KHALID AL-FALIH, MINISTER OF ENERGY, INDUSTRY AND MINERAL RESOURCES, SAUDI ARABIA: It's not a death, it's a murder. We admit it, we are dealing with it as such.


VAUSE: Meantime, Khashoggi's son has arrived in the United States, after the Saudi's lifted travel restrictions. And a solemn vigil was held outside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul where his father was last seen alive.

This demonstrator had a message to Riyadh accusing the Saudi Crown Prince having blood on his hands.

Director of the CIA briefed President Trump on the case after returning from Turkey. The Washington Post reports, she'd listen to an audiotape purportedly of a recording of Khashoggi's killing. More now, CNN's Ben Wedeman, reporting in from Istanbul.

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The investigation into the murder of Jamal Khashoggi has run into something of a snag. Turkish investigators were Thursday supposed to gain access to the residence of the Saudi consul general to inspect the well under his house, but that never happened.

Meanwhile, CIA director Gina Haspel was scheduled Thursday to brief President Trump on the results of her trip to Turkey during which according to the Washington Post, she was given access to the audio recordings which Turkish officials insist document the torture, murder, and dismemberment of Mr. Khashoggi.

Also, the Saudi attorney general's office put out a statement saying that according to the joint Turkish-Saudi investigation into the murder, the suspects acted with premeditated intent. This is yet another permutation of the Saudi version of events.

Finally, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman chaired the first meeting of the committee formed to reorganize the Kingdom's intelligence services. I'm Ben Wedeman, CNN, reporting from Istanbul.

VAUSE: A Senior fellow of the Woodrow Wilson Center, Robin Wright is with us now from Washington. So, Robin, you know, let's just recap how the Saudis have tried to explain what happened to Khashoggi since October 2nd when he went missing.

First, they said he left the consulate alive and well just minutes after he entered the building. About two weeks later, they said he had actually been killed by an interrogation team but it was a rogue operation. Five days on from that, they said he'd been strangled during a fight with that same Saudi team. And now we have this admission that his killing may have been premeditated.

Up until that premeditated admission, it seems the stories were putting some distance between Khashoggi's murder and the crown prince. Has that changed now, admitting it's premeditated, does that move at sort of back closer to MBS, and possible -- possibly, his involvement here

[01:24:56] ROBIN WRIGHT, SENIOR FELLOW, THE WOODROW WILSON CENTER: It certainly moves it closer to the inner circle or to higher levels of the kingdom. But there's still a legal gap between what the international consensus is when people like Bob Corker from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee have charged that the crown prince did it. To the -- and the gap between the legal evidence that he was actually involved. Or that someone closer to him was involved. It's -- so, there is still that distance that has to be bridged.

VAUSE: Is it just simply a coincidence that this premeditation admission comes on the same day the CIA director Gina Haspel actually heard the audio recordings which the Turks claim to be of Khashoggi's murder?

WRIGHT: We've been a number of incidents. Whether it's the president of Turkey getting out in front of his own Parliament and saying the highest levels of the Saudi Kingdom were involved in this and that was premeditated the fact that President Trump has said that it was the clumsiest cover-up in the history of cover-ups.

There is a growing mood in the world to say, "Listen, you've got to be totally transparent about this, you have to talk about it, you have to fess up. And so, I think the Kingdom has slowly responded to international pressure. Whether they will tell us anything more is yet to be seen.

VAUSE: With regards to the international pressure, Germany essentially taking a very hard line with the Saudis. Here's Chancellor Angela Merkel, speaking earlier this week.


ANGELA MERKEL, CHANCELLOR OF GERMANY (through translator): First, we condemn this act in the strongest terms as we make clear yesterday. Second, there is an urgent need to clarify what happened. We are far from this having been cleared up, and those responsible held to account. Thirdly, I agree with all of those who say that arms exports albeit already limited can't take place in the current circumstances.


VAUSE: Germany is the first government to suspend arms sells to the Saudis. The E.U. had a vote on that on Thursday. Essentially, it was a non-binding resolution to stop weapon sales. And, you know, there's also a tough line coming from the French and the British.

But at the same time, you know, the Israelis and the Emiratis are sort of leaning towards this belief that -- you know, there is still value in supporting the crown prince because it could be useful on security issues like Iran.

So, you know, where does the sort of division lie here? Where is the support for bin Salman and where is he essentially facing all of the pressure?

WRIGHT: Well, you've rightly delineated the big split in the international community. The West in -- by and large is saying that they want more information, that there are deep suspicions about who was involved in this.

Israel is very concerned about the future of the peace plan, the fact that Saudi Arabia seemed to be more willing to deal with Israel weathered indirectly or directly on pivotal strategic issues. Very true that the United Arab Emirates is arguably Saudi Arabia's closest ally in the Middle East.

They think alike when it comes to issues like Iran. The President Trump here is some of those interests as well. Three of his most important foreign policy pivots are with Saudi Arabia, on counterterrorism, on -- in this age of ISIS, on Iran, and on his elusive Arab-Israeli peace plan.

So, there is a lot at stake that is reflected in the different positions shared by -- you know, different American allies.

VAUSE: So, if we look at where the support is, and where it is not, how does this play into -- you know, bin Salman's future? How does this like help him survive or is there enough pressure coming from the Europeans that -- you know, he will eventually -- you know, be forced to stand down? Where does this play out?

WRIGHT: I think there are four different options. One is that he stays in power, retains his hold on the military, and security apparatus on the economy, and most of all the royal court so that no one can challenge him.

The second is that he is replaced by the King. That the royal family tries to find an alternative because of the kind of international condemnation. The King is -- it's going to be a tough decision. This is his political heir and his favorite son.

There's the possibility that there's some kind of opposition within the kingdom but it certainly not visible yet. Like it was in 1964 when King Faisal mobilized an opposition that ousted King Saud, who was first heir to the founder of the modern Kingdom. And so, there are a number of different options. I think the sense is

that he may -- the fourth option is that he stays in power but he is deeply weakened. There may be other Prince's appointed to take some of his jobs so that he -- his responsibilities are less than, so, he has less say on the major instruments of power. But that seems at the moment most likely, but this is yet to play out, there is still a lot that I think will happen in the weeks and months ahead.


JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. We have to continue to, you know, remind ourselves a man was murdered at the end of the day, you know. And that's how this all began.

Robin -- thank you so much for being with us.

WRIGHT: Thank you.

VAUSE: Well, there is business and business and there is murder and murder.

Even after the killing of a Saudi journalist, Moscow is standing firm with the Saudis. We'll explain why in just a moment.

Also the extraordinary efforts to try and stop thousands of migrants from reaching U.S. soil.


VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. I'm John Vause with an update on our top stories this hour.

A manhunt for a serial bomber appears to be focusing on south Florida. Authorities have been investigating a postal facility near Miami for a number of suspicious packages processed (ph). So far ten packages and potentially explosive devices were intercepted since Monday, including three on Thursday.

The intended targets are a who's who of the leaders in the Democratic Party including former presidents Obama and Clinton and former vice president Joe Biden.

Police in China say at least 14 children have been stabbed at a kindergarten in Chongqing. One local woman began the attacks slashing the children as they returned from an exercise class. Security guards and school staff were unable to restrain here. All 14 wounded children have been taken to hospital.

The bodies of 18 victims swept away by flash flooding in Jordan's Dead Sea area have now been recovered. State media reports say most of the victims were school children on a field trip and they range in age from 12 to 14. Police say 34 others were rescued, some were seriously hurt.

The White House says CIA director Gina Haspel has briefed President Donald Trump on the Jamal Khashoggi case. She has just returned from Turkey where the U.S.-based Saudi journalist was killed. Saudi Arabia's attorney general now says Khashoggi's death was premeditated. Another Saudi minister says it was clearly a case of murder.

Well Russia has had little to say about the killing of Khashoggi beyond calling for patience and waiting for the results of an investigation. But as the rift between Saudi Arabia and the West continues to widen, relations between Moscow and Riyadh are becoming more profitable.

Here's Matthew Chance.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It may have been overshadowed by the killing of a dissident journalist. But that's not stopping Russia sending a high-level delegation to the Saudi investment forum (ph) led by the head of its multi-billion dollar Sovereign Wealth Fund.

KRILL DMITRIEV, CEO RUSSIAN DIRECT INVESTMENT FUND: Of course, we believe that the tragedy that happened is a very tragic event and responsible parties have to be punished. But we believe that Saudi Arabia transformation needs to be supported. We are here to invest jointly in many different things. And we'll be waiting for the results of the investigation.

CHANCE: But what Moscow is really waiting for say critics is any chance of exploiting divisions over the Khashoggi killing between Saudi Arabia and its western backers, particularly the United States.

President Trump himself expressed concern that canceling the lucrative arms contract with Riyadh would be too costly.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They're going to say hey, America won't sell us the missiles we'll buy them from China or we'll buy them from Russia. CHANCE: It is certainly true that Russia and Saudi Arabia are

traditional rivals have been cultivating closer political and economic ties in recent years. And the Kremlin is being super careful not to throw any future Saudi deals into doubt refusing to be drawn into any criticism for the Kingdom.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT: First of all, we should wait for the results of the investigation. How can we, Russia, start spoiling our relations with Saudi Arabia without knowing what in fact happened?

CHANCE: Russia of course had its own recent experience of botching assassinations abroad. Moscow is accused of ordering the poisoning of a former Russian intelligence officer, Sergei Skripal in the English city of Salisbury earlier this year.

It also has a dismal record of protecting its journalists, dozens of whom human rights groups say have been killed in Russia for their work. Small wonder it is withholding judgment now.

Matthew Chance, CNN -- Moscow.


VAUSE: Well, the Trump administration is considering something like a travel ban blocking certain asylum seekers at the Mexican border. That's according to the "San Francisco Chronicle". If it happens it would be a dramatic escalation of enforcement on the border as the White House deals with migrants who are trying to make their way into the United States.

The Defense Secretary is expected to sign deployment orders sending 800 or more troops to the border.

CNN's Patrick Oppmann explains why the migrants are so determined to make it to U.S. soil


PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): They're still a thousand miles from the nearest border crossing with the United States. But the slow advance of this migrant caravan through Mexico is already causing alarm bells in Washington to ring.

On Thursday, President Trump tweeted that the migrants should turn around and ordered 800 troops to help fortify the border. Trump isn't the first president to send the military to the border with Mexico but his vitriol towards undocumented immigrants is unprecedented for U.S. presidents in modern times.

Without proof, he has said there could be Middle Easterners in the caravan, apparently meaning terrorists. He has called immigrants criminals and suggested Venezuela's socialist government or perhaps the Democrats are secretly funding the exodus.

Having just finished the latest leg of the exhausting trip, Miguel Angel had a simpler explanation. "We're screwed and our country is screwed," he says. "We have nothing

to eat. We're honest people, thanks to God. We are here. May God permit us to go to the U.S. to work and to care for my children."

Despite Trump's frequent demonization of undocumented immigrants many of the people in this caravan are family like Cruz's who say they have a message for the (INAUDIBLE) President.

"Help us and not be against us," she says, "because we do this out of necessity and we aren't going to harm anyone."

No matter what they say they will go on.

(on camera): People in this caravan have been trekking for day, even weeks. We have seen people with their shoes falling apart, people fainting in the extreme heat. And yet, no one we talked to said the Trump administration's threats will force them to turn back.

(voice over): While some people have been ground down by the long march and going home. The majority say they have no choice but to continue.

"A lot of these families here have had their homes stolen by gangs," says a caravan organizer. "So we can't go back. Trump can say what he wants but he won't stop us. He can send all the Marines but he's not going to stop us because we aren't criminals and we aren't even armed."

The migrants' pleas will probably fall on deaf ears in Washington.

The Trump administration is pressuring the Mexican government to act and stop the caravan. If they won't, then U.S. officials, the administration says, will be on the border in force to stop them.

There doesn't seem to be a compromise in the wings. And every step the people in this caravan take is a step closer to a reckoning.

[01:40:05] Patrick Oppmann, CNN -- Pijijiapan, Mexico.


VAUSE: Still to come here a Japanese journalist held in Syria for more than three years is now talking about his time in captivity.


VAUSE: More now on that knife attack at a kindergarten in the city of Chongqing in central China. Police say at least 14 children have been stabbed. All are alive and are being treated in the hospital.

CNN's Steven Jiang joins us now live from Beijing.

So there are a lot of questions here -- Steven. Not too sure how many answers we have at this point. But clearly, the first question which comes to mind is how did this happen and why did this happen?

STEVEN JIANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. But John -- these are the questions we don't have answers at this moment.

Details are still very sketchy. And the authorities so far have only issued a very brief statement confirming this attack, saying as you mentioned this 39-year-old woman surnamed Lil (ph), somehow managed to rush past the security guards and into the school grounds around 9:30 a.m. local time. And she used a kitchen knife to stab and slash at least 14 children who were on their way into classrooms after their morning exercises.

And now this woman eventually was subdued by school security guards and employees before police arrived. And she was then taken into custody. And the police say that they're still investigating this case.

Now we have seen some horrific videos and images now being circulated on Chinese social media including some really heart-breaking scenes like young children, you know, these are presumably four or five-year- old children, with deep cuts on their faces or being -- or these children being treated in hospitals with their clothes just covered in blood.

So these are really difficult images to look at for anyone, especially parents like you and me -- John.

VAUSE: Sure.

JIANG: But you know, you have lived here before. This is not the first time this kind of incident has happened. There's a history of these kinds of attacks targeting schoolchildren in China including just earlier this year in April. A man, a 28-year-old man launched this kind of random attack outside of the middle school in central China and killing nine students way home actually.

[01:45:04] And that man actually was just executed last month. And the authorities said he launched that attack because of his experience at that school. When he was a student he was being ridiculed.

Then, you know, in the years past, you have seen incidents like this happening time and again including people -- attackers climbing to the wall of kindergartens and killing children or stabbing children.

And I remember in 2010 -- that was especially horrific year when three days in a row you have school attacks like this happening in China. And all of these incidents, of course, prompted the authorities to -- to order schools nationwide to beef up their security and also training teachers to deal with this kind of emergency situations.

But somehow this latest incident seemed to prove that's not enough. More definitely is needed.

VAUSE: The one thing we have seen different though -- Steven, between now and I remember doing this ten years ago when there -- yes, a rash of these attacks -- is social media. We never saw these kinds of images really being put up on social media and certainly not staying up on social media. And it seems that now at least the authorities have acknowledged this

attack has taken place. Before they would just -- wouldn't even talk about it.

JIANG: That's right. But also, we don't know how long these images or videos will last online. As you know, censors sometimes do take a bit of time to decide what to remove and what to leave online. So for all we know, they could be censored fairly soon.

But you're right. They're at least right now acknowledging these incidents but that still begs the question of why they keep happening. And a lot of these perpetrators in the past incidents apparently have done be so out of personal grievances or frustrations about their employment status or about their broken relationships.

So there seems to be a bigger question about mental health in this country. How the government should be dealing with that issue in this country of one billion -- 1.4 billion people is really something I think that's going to happen to stir up debate again in this -- after this latest incident -- John.

VAUSE: Yes. Back in the day, you know, it was always they used knifes because guns are not readily available and they attacked these kindergartens and these kids because they're soft targets. And it's a way of working out whatever frustration and anger -- whatever, you know, whatever psychiatric issues they have. These kids end up being the victims.

Steven -- continue to give us details for us on this as best you can. We appreciate the update. Thank you.

A Japanese journalist has been released after 40 long months in captivity in Syria. Japanese officials say Jumpei Yasuda appears to be in relatively good health following his ordeal.

Amara Walker has details.


AMARA WALKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It's the moment Jumpei Yasuda has been waiting for, for three long years -- to return to Japanese soil. The 44-year-old freelance journalist captured by militants in Syria, now finally free.

JUMPEI YASUDA, JAPANESE JOURNALIST: I have been held in Syria for forty months. Now I am in Turkey. Now, I'm in safe condition. Thank you very much.

WALKER: In June 2015, the war reporter was abducted, reportedly by the terror group formerly known as Al Nusra Front, once related to al- Qaeda. Several videos of a man believed to be Yasuda were released since his disappearance including this one from March 2016 appearing to show Yasuda as a hostage although he doesn't say his name, who was holding him, or expressed any demands from his captors.

YASUDA: They told me that I can speak what I want freely. And I can send a message through this to anyone.

I love you my wife, father, mother, brother. I always think about you. I want to hug you. I want to talk with you but I can't anymore. Just I can say: please take care.

WALKER: CNN could not independently confirm when this video was recorded.

Two months later this photo emerged on social media of what appears to be Yasuda holding a sign that reads, "Please help me. This is the last chance."

On Tuesday the country of Qatar informed Tokyo that a man thought to be Yasuda was staying at an immigration facility in Antakya, Turkey. Then Japan's foreign minister told reporters that embassy staff in Turkey have confirmed Yasuda's identity and that he appeared in good health. Yasuda then flew to Istanbul and on to Japan where he was reunited with his family.

[01:49:59] YASUDA (through translator): I haven't spoken Japanese for 40 months. I can't really find the words. I'm happy that I can return to Japan.

WALKER: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held his own call with Turkey's President Erdogan and thanked him for Turkey's efforts.

His wife was also glad to have him home.

MYU YASUDA, JUMPEI YASUDA'S WIFE (through translator): He ate some rice balls and home-cooked burdock that his mother had made. And he seemed very happy.

WALKER: A home-cooked meal but an uncertain future after what he Yasuda describes as mental and physical hell.

Amara Walker, CNN.


VAUSE: Coming up here on CNN NEWSROOM, a small Hawaiian island wiped off the map by a Category 5 hurricane. How the disappearance of this little piece of land could be a sign of big problems to come.


VAUSE: Call it paradise lost. Hawaii's East Island, uninhabited and located hundreds of kilometers north of Honolulu, was submerged by Hurricane Walaka earlier this month. And while the island is small, there are some pretty big implications from all of this.

Derek Van Dam, meteorologist and all around expert on things like this standing by.

Yes. You know this is something kind of almost went unnoticed but it's something which we should actually be taking some -- paying a great deal of attention to. DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, It was satellite imagery that

caught the attention of some of the marine biologists across the area. But what you're looking at here is drone imagery of East Island.

It only took one day and one extremely powerful hurricane to eliminate this remote island in the Hawaiian archipelago, again about 550 miles north and west of Honolulu.

The problem is that this is that this is a critically important habitat for endangered animals. I want you to take note of that white sandy beach that's located there. It is only about 400 feet wide. The entire island is about 11 acres in total.

This is what it looked like after Hurricane Walaka moved through the region. You can see that white sandy beach no longer exists.

Let's go back in time so you could see the before satellite imagery -- there it is. The 11 acre sandy island -- again this is a very important habitat for endangered and threatened animals.

After the hurricane moved through it submerged the island and you can imagine what kind of consequence has that had for these Pacific endangered animals specifically the Hawaii's green sea turtle where about 96 percent of the population travel to this East Island to breed and to nest there.

It's not only this particular animal but there's also Hawaiian monk seals that call this particular location home. And unfortunately Hurricane Walaka was traveling just to the south of Hawaii. They thought they were out of the thick of it. But then they made a sharp turn in the projected path and it strengthened extremely quickly and it moved over the French Frigate Shoals region with a powerful Category 3 wind, over 200 kilometers per hour.

So this and all of the imagery that we're seeing is very consistent with a warming ocean, warming global temperatures and it's got the fingerprint of climate change written all over it.

And the problem here John -- is we're wondering if we're getting that glimpse into the future. Is this something we're going to start to see on a more normal basis? Unfortunately that's not what we want but perhaps this is what we should expect to see.

[01:54:59] VAUSE: Yes. Imagine that island being New York or Manhattan or something, ok.

VAN DAM: Precisely -- or Miami.

VAUSE: Yes. Derek -- thanks.

VAN DAM: All right.

VAUSE: Appreciate it.

Ok. Finally here -- our thanks to the first responders and the emergency crews in New York who risked their lives on Tuesday while our colleagues were being evacuated to safety. And a special thanks to the mystery guy in the bomb suit. Here's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): He's the mysterious masked man only in this case, his mask is the helmet of his bomb suit. This NYPD bomb squad officer wasn't giving interviews but he was given compliments.

"The bravest man in New York City", tweeted one bystander.

When he finished removing a device from CNN, a buddy helped him off with the 85-pound suit then bent in relief at having the weight off him, and accepted congratulations from other officers.

What is it like wearing a bomb suit? Actor Jeremy Renner wore one in the movie "The Hurt Locker".

JEREMY RENNER, ACTOR: There's something very sort of lunar --


RENNER: -- about that suit. Boy. And it is really quiet. All you hear is the drone, the hum of the fan in the helmet and your own breath.

MOOS: The suits undergo testing. It's a little like what they do to crash test dummies. Companies advertise the results with about a pound of C4 explosives detonated two feet away. It claimed more than a 99 percent probability of survivability.

But for an untrained civilian like former CNN reporter Susan Candiotti even reaching to pick up keys is tough.

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, FORMER CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, let me -- let me get up myself.




MOOS: A bomb suit and helmet can run $45,000, but what good are they if the guy carrying the explosive has nowhere to put it? The so- called basket inside the spherical bomb truck keeps the device from being jostled. But if detonated the vessel can handle shock waves and fragments.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It contains (ph) hence the name total containment vessel.

MOOS: What can't be contained is public admiration for this guy. As one fan put it, "Here, I'll get the door, you get the bomb."

Jeanne Moos, CNN -- New York.


VAUSE: Thank you -- bomb suit guy, we appreciate it.

You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause.

Stay with us.

George Howell and Natalie Allen will be with you right after break.

You're watching CNN.


[02:00:06] NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Ten pipe bombs so far and countless --