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Istanbul Chief Prosecutor: Khashoggi was Strangled Immediately after Entering Saudi Consulate; GOP Jewish Coalition Praises Trump Response to Shooting; KFiles Analyzes Thousands of Tweets from Bomb Suspect Accounts; Native Americans File Lawsuit against North Dakota Voter ID Law. Aired 10:30-11a ET
Aired October 31, 2018 - 10:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: But there are some key questions, they say they still want answered and put forward to the Saudi authorities who they say are not really cooperating yet. They still want to know where is the body of Jamal Khashoggi that is the main question they are asking. And also, saying that this was premeditated murder, but who gave the orders to that death squad, Jim.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: A key detail here from the chief prosecutor is saying that he was strangled immediately after entering the Saudi consulate which seems to speak to a premeditated plan here. Did the prosecutor -- I know this is a statement - but I know you have been speaking to officials there. Have they offered any new evidence? Have they said they come across new evidence that gives them confidence of this?
KARADSHEH: They are not providing much evidence yet, Jim, how they got to that conclusion. But as we know from leaks over the past few weeks, Turkey has said that it has recordings. They have not said this officially. They've said that through these leaks over the past few weeks, that they have audio recordings of what took place in the consulate.
And what we understand now is that they shared this with the Saudi authorities that they shared the information they have on what happened that day. They were hoping to get more answers from the Saudis who are holding those 18 individuals linked to the killing of Khashoggi. They are detained in Saudi Arabia. And Turkey is hoping to get more answers from those individuals that they say they want extradited to be tried here in Turkey, something that so far seems to be dismissed by the Saudis, Jim.
SCIUTTO: And it's been reported here that the Turks shared that audio recording with -
POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Gina Haspel.
SCIUTTO: -- CIA director (INAUDIBLE). Jomana Karadsheh thanks very much for keeping us up to date.
HARLOW: Thank you.
SCIUTTO: We're going to stay on this story.
HARLOW: We absolutely will. Meantime, we did see some demonstrators marching against the president's visit to Pittsburgh yesterday, accusing him of not doing enough to fight white nationalism. But Jewish Republican leaders say, look, the president's response to the synagogue massacre is just what the community needs.
[10:36:45] HARLOW: All right. Welcome back. President Trump's visit to Pittsburgh in the wake of the synagogue massacre did spark some protests. Some demonstrators saying he has not done enough to denounce white nationalism. But the Republican Jewish Coalition praised the president's response just after the shooting.
They wrote a public letter thanking him. Let me read a part of it. Quote, "Your strong condemnation of the anti-Semitic attack and your unequivocal and heartfelt comments against anti-Semitism." It went on to say, "It is regrettable that there are some who are trying to use this tragic moment for political gain."
Former Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman is the chair of the group's board. He signed the letter and he joins me from Washington.
Senator, thank you for being here and just on a personal note, you represented my state in the Senate for six years. You have been battling lung cancer. You just had a clear scan. And we are really rooting for you and really happy to hear it.
NORM COLEMAN (R), FORMER MINNESOTA SENATOR: I feel very, very blessed and for all those, by the way, check it out if you got that little, you know, lump on your body. And that itch in your throat doesn't go away. Early detection makes all the difference.
HARLOW: All right. And great doctors there at the Mayo Clinic.
COLEMAN: The best at Mayo Clinic.
HARLOW: The best.
Let's get to the news at hand. And that is what you are trying to do. So you wrote this letter praising the president. But as you know, this is divisive. A lot of people didn't see it your way. You're convening board members this week to try to - in your words -- see if there is a way to, quote, "transcend" the partisan battle here following the strategy. What have you found?
COLEMAN: So first -- let's first acknowledge that there are families that -- Jewish families that are grieving in Pittsburgh today. Some are bringing the dead today and some yesterday. Tonight there will be what we call sitting Shiva -- the mirrors will be covered. There will be a cloth on their lapel. Their friends and neighbors and relatives will come by and they'll talk about good times. So let our hearts, my heart goes out to my brethren in the Jewish community in Pittsburgh for the terrible and grieves loss that they suffered.
And so, the president goes to visit Pittsburgh. And he goes to pay his respect. He doesn't go with a large entourage. He doesn't make big public statement. He goes to the place where folks have been murdered, slaughtered and they place stones. That's what we do and put on graves here, put fresh flowers who put stones. They're more eternal. And so he does what needs to be done in the demonstrators who are in the streets.
Is there a moment that we can put aside politics? A moment to simply say let's mourn the dead. He issued -- the ambassador - U.S. Israel ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, said it was the strongest statement issued by a non-Israeli politician condemning the scourge of anti-Semitism. President Trump called it an attack on all of us. So is it possible for a moment to put aside the vitriol, the partisan politics? Let us mourn the dead and then we'll go campaign because there is an election in about five days from now.
HARLOW: Do you have any concerns that some of the vitriolic rhetoric, Senator, from the president, some of the word choice like invaders talking about those coming in the caravan which is the same word that as you know the shooter used six days before the shooting, are you worried that some of the rhetoric from the president isn't helping?
COLEMAN: So a Mark Chason (ph) had a piece - so he's a former Bush - I think it was "Washington Post" today folks may want to take a look at it. And he says, President Trump - he didn't create or invented the descent into vitriol. It was there before.
[10:40:01] It was when the - when a Bernie Sanders supporter came and fired 70 rounds and ruined a severely wounded Steve Scalise, House Republican leadership. And by the way had Scalise not been there with armed security, those Republican members of Congress would have been slaughtered. And Nancy Pelosi said it would have been outrageous to equate somehow his actions with the Democratic Party. My point is that there is vitriol and it is pre-dated Trump.
And my concern is this. If we start talking about putting blame on President Trump, I think it actually diminishes the fight, the scourge of anti-Semitism which has been around from millennia.
HARLOW: So let's talk about the scourge of anti-Semitism in this country because as you know the Anti-Defamation League noticed a 57 percent uptick in anti-Semitic attacks just last year. Steve King, your fellow Republican from a neighboring state, you know, of Iowa, Congressman, told the "Washington Post" after this attack. Austria's Freedom Party which was founded, as you know, by a former Nazi officer and headed by a man who was active in neo Nazi circles when he was young. Quote, "If they were in America pushing the platform they push they would be Republicans." This follows a number of remarks that he has made the people point to as being racist and anti-Semitic. You know the history here.
COLEMAN: Poppy, let me just jump in. HARLOW: Hold on. Let me finish the question, Senator. Do you think that Steve King is contributing to anti-Semitism and racism in this country?
COLEMAN: Poppy, I don't think that his comments are helpful, OK? I do not that his -- we are not arguing about that. We are talking about whether it is possible for a president of the United States to somehow be able to do what this president has done in terms of not, by the way, people -- from the bully pulpit of the presidency issuing the strongest denunciation of anti-Semitism that folks have heard. And to then allow him to participate in asylum (ph) -- and I watched CNN last night. It was a - his presence and Melania's and Jared and Ivanka, their presence was appropriate. They do everything right to somehow put aside the partisan politics for a moment -
HARLOW: I hear that, Senator. So that that point -- to your point, do you think that Steve King with his comments after this massacre --
COLEMAN: I'm not going to defend Steve King. I think those comments are outrageous.
HARLOW: I hear that. And I'm not asking you to defend him, outrageous comments. So given that, Senator Coleman, does he still have a place in the Republican Party? Your Republican Party?
COLEMAN: First, I'm not going to kind of say what Steve King. I'm not going to defend him. And maybe he will come back and do some - I don't know -- say he was mistaken. But we have no place in the Republican Party for bigots.
COLEMAN: No place in the Republican Party for the far right. By the way, the Dems should do the same.
HARLOW: I hear you.
COLEMAN: President Clinton says next to Lewis -- talks about Jews as termites. Where is the outrage? As I say this, I don't want to get -- is it possible that we could have had a couple of days of not getting into this debate? Is it possible and then when it's done, is it possible for Republicans, Democrats to come together and say we are going to fight anti-Semitism. We're going to do what we can to make sure that this scourge is somehow eradicated which is -- what President Trump has called for.
HARLOW: Norm Coleman, let's hope there can be a lot of unity. Before you go, we just -- Jim and I just reported on the air that the Turkish prosecutor has just reported that the journalist Jamal KhashoggI's body, he was strangled when he walked in the consulate in Istanbul a month ago, he was -- his body was dismembered. The "Washington Post" reports that your work through your lobbying firm has a contract for $1.5 million this year alone to represent the Saudi government. Given the murder of this journalist that was premeditated according to the Saudis themselves, will you still continue to work and be paid for by the Saudi government?
COLEMAN: So I work for the Saudis on dealing with the Iranian threat for the region. Whatever has gone, I'm sure it was terrible. Let's figure that out. But bottom line is the strategic relationship is going to continue. And so, what I can do to be helpful to make sure that Iran cannot do a mischievous deeds in the region, cannot threaten the existence of Israel, if I can be helpful in that regard I'm going to try to continue to be helpful.
HARLOW: But you are being paid for by the Saudi regime that says this was premeditated. I mean, you remember your fellow Republicans, Senator John McCain, who said our interest, our values and our values are our interests. So should you continue to be paid by the Saudi government knowing all that we now know?
COLEMAN: Again, let me say that the strategic relationship is going to go on. It's going to be important. Iran continues to be the threat. Let's figure out -- the bottom line is not - the bottom line with the Khashoggi and if people responsible, they should be held accountable. So, yes, whoever in the Kingdom is responsible, should be held accountable. If that's done then that would be justice and at the same time, let's make sure that we don't undermine the strategic relationship which is important to the security of the United States and where we began this conversation, important to the security of Israel.
[10:45:02] HARLOW: But you will -
COLEMAN: Again, hold those accountable -
HARLOW: -- continue this work.
COLEMAN: -- with the assumption that those who are responsible are going to be held accountable.
HARLOW: Senator Norm Coleman thank you very much for being with us. And we wish you the best in your recovery. We'll be right back.
COLEMAN: Thank you.
HARLOW: The social media website gab.com used by the synagogue shooter to spread messages of hate, says it has obtained a new domain registrar in its quest to get back up online.
SCIUTTO: Meanwhile, Twitter is responding to a CNN KFILE analysis of thousands of tweets by the suspect who allegedly sent mail bombs to CNN offices as well as former presidents, government officials. [10:50:04] The company says it is working on developing new ways to find and enforce abusive content to different suspects to (INAUDIBLE). We have a lot to discuss with Brian Stelter and Andrew Kaczynski. Andrew, if I can begin with you. 240 plus threats you found from Sayoc prior to this. In the sort of ecosphere of Twitter - I mean, will Twitter say that is a drop in the bucket therefore hard to find? I mean, because I imagine technology is pretty good at picking this stuff up.
ANDREW KACZYNSKI, CNN KFILE SENIOR EDITOR: Yes. So what Twitter has actually said now - I mean 240 plus threats at 50 different people - journalist, celebrities, news organizations --
SCIUTTO: Threats as opposed to just - calling someone an idiot. But you are talking about threats.
KACZYNSKI: Saying things like you're next, hug your loved ones, tweeting pictures of people's home addresses and photos of their families. Twitter's response has basically been that they are going to try to improve the process in which they detect threats that are not reported.
KACZYNSKI: Now. Yes.
BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: The companies always say, always do this, Facebook and Twitter, all these companies. They always say we're going to do better. We're going to do better but we never see the improvements.
SCIUTTO: Does self-regulation -- based on self-regulation here. You know you don't have an outsider saying you got to do this under penalty of liability or something like that. Is there any evidence that that has worked with any of the social media?
STELTER: I would argue there has been very little action by lawmakers to pressure these companies. Yes, once in a while they get called up to Capitol Hill. There is a day of fear on Capitol Hill. But there's not that sustained pressure to make these social platforms more safe for all users. And that's ultimately what this is about, safety on the Internet.
HARLOW: You know Kara Swisher's column in "The Times" yesterday on this was brilliant, right? And she's talked about the dangers on what the consequences will be. And she said we have met the creature and it is a monster, talking about the web as a whole. I shudder to think what the consequences will be. Twitter says it's going to change things. They are going to improve. We know we can't leave it to victims on their shoulders is part of what Twitter said to improve this. But you found this with just a keyboard search. I don't get why it is OK for this to keep happening.
KACZYNSKI: Yes, that's right. I mean, there are serious questions here. I mean we went through 4,000 plus of this guy's tweets. And he was sending not just one threat. He would send like five or six threats at a person in a row. So there are serious questions about why two users - two different users reported this to Twitter. Why was this not flagged?
STELTER: And what we see on this account, it is radicalization. You call it that the lead of your story on cnn.com.
This is exactly how right wing terrorists are radicalized on the Internet. They go down these crazy rabbit holes, full of conspiracy theory, memes and once in a while one of these people actually acts on all of this crazy content.
KACZYNSKI: Echoing the president's rhetoric.
SCIUTTO: And the parallels to the way you have that radicalization line has a lot of parallels to what you see -- international terrorists.
STELTER: Look, the Internet is a miracle but it's also a monster. It's both at the same time.
HARLOW: Thank you both. Important reporting --.
SCIUTTO: Thank you guys.
Lawsuits against the state of North Dakota over a voter I.D. law that seems to discriminate against native Americans living on reservations. Now they are fighting back.
[10:57:44] SCIUTTO: We are just six days away from the midterm elections and North Dakota faced with multiple lawsuits over alleged suppression of voters.
HARLOW: A recent Supreme Court decision requires the I.D. that voters bring with them to vote, have a current street address in the state shown to be in order - you have shown in order to vote. So this is difficult for some Native Americans to come by. They live on reservations, obviously.
Our senior - investigator, reporter, Drew Griffin is following the story for us. So what are the claims being made here?
DREW GRIFFIN, : Well it's very simole. North Dakota Republican legislator passed a law that goes into effect for this election that says to vote in the state of North Dakota you have to have an I.D that has your name and a matching street address. That was seen as discriminatory towards Native Americans. They live out in the Hinterlands, on reservations. There's not -- well, I shouldn't say there's not a lot of address but many people live on streets that don't have names. They deal with post office box on their I.D. So that's the backdrop for this.
A lawsuit was just filed on behalf of six voters who are either afraid they won't be able to vote on Election Day because of that or in the case of one person, his absentee ballot application has been denied. We just learned from the attorneys they plan to file a temporary restraining order request this morning to try to stop this state law from going into effect.
Here is what is difficult to determine, Poppy and Jim. They don't have voter registration in the state of North Dakota. So if you show up for the polls on Election Day with an I.D., you should be able to vote. All of this is culminated in what is going to happen on Election Day is creating a lot of fear among Native Americans not only that they may not come out to vote because they are afraid of the new law, or because they are unsure that they are going to be able to vote because of this new law. Lawsuits filed yesterday and temporary restraining order today.
SCIUTTO: Drew, quick question. Native Americans tend to vote Democratic in that state.
GRIFFIN: They absolutely do and this law became hot and heavy after Heidi Heitkamp won her election by a narrow victory six years ago. The Republicans began pushing this law.
SCIUTTO: Imagine that, politics won't be a player.
HARLOW: All right, important reporting, Drew. Thank you for being on top of it. Keep us posted. Thank you all for joining us today. We'll see you back here tomorrow. I'm Poppy Harlow.
SCIUTO: I'm Jim Sciutto. "At This Hour" with Kate Bolduan starts right now.