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President Trump Announces Plans To Change Asylum Qualifications; President Trump Travels Towards The G20 Summit At The End Of This Month; New Details On The Lion Air Flight That Crashed; One Month Since Jamal Khashoggi Disappeared; Thousands Of Google Employees Walked Off The Job; Billionaire Arron Banks May Have Violated Campaign Laws; Trump Says He Will Restrict Asylum, Claims Troops Will Shoot At Rock Throwers; Police Piece Together Details In Death Of Saudi Sisters; Israel Steps Up Relations With Gulf Arab Nations; Study: Oceans Absorbing 60 Percent More Heat Than We Thought. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired November 2, 2018 - 02:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[02:00:07] NATALIE ALLEN, NEWSROOM ANCHOR, CNN: Just days ahead of the U.S. midterm elections, the President announces plans to change asylum rules for those trying to enter the country. Divers discover and recover more key clues in the crash of an Indonesian airliner. And one of the so-called bad boys of Brexit faces trouble with the law. Hello, everyone. These stories are ahead this hour.

Thank you for joining us from all around the world. I'm Natalie Allen, live from Atlanta, and this is CNN Newsroom. Thank you again for joining us. Our top story, President Trump stepping up his barrage of attacks against undocumented migrants, he told a campaign rally in the Missouri, a caravan of migrants heading to the U.S. from Central America are tough people and not little angels, and will not be allowed into the United States.

And he reminded supporters, wants to sign an executive order that would remove the right to citizenship for children of non-citizens born in the U.S., his remarks, part of his overall strategy to rile up his base before next week's midterm elections.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRES. DONALD TRUMP (R), UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: Hundreds of thousands of children born to illegal immigrants are made automatic citizens of the United States every year, because of this crazy, lunatic policy that we can end, that we can end. We need support (Inaudible).

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ALLEN: President Trump says his administration is also finalizing a plan to change the asylum system, claiming migrants frequently abuse it. For more about that, here's Kaitlan Collins.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KAITLAN COLLINS, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: President Trump pushing immigration and playing up fear just days before the midterm election.

TRUMP: They're rushing our border.

COLLINS: At a talk late today at the White House that was billed as a Presidential address, but devolved into a stump speech, the President took on what he called the immigration crisis. Revealing no new information proposing no new changes, and claiming he would sign an executive order next week without offering any specifics.

It seemed to be another effort by the President to put immigration front and center in the midterm elections. In the final weeks, the President has not only claimed he will end birth right citizenship.

TRUMP: Now they're saying I can do it just with an executive order.

COLLINS: But also promised to deploy thousands of troops to the southern border to stop a caravan that is weeks away. Built tent cities for those seeking asylum and posted an online video showing illegal immigrants bragging about killing police officers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) and I'll kill more.

COLLINS: Those tweets are considered official White House statements.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One Willie Horton.

COLLINS: And the move has drawn comparisons to the racist Willie Horton ads supporting George H.W. Bush in his 1998 campaign.

TRUMP: We're getting prepared for the caravan, folks. Don't worry about that, getting prepared for the caravan.

COLLINS: The President back in campaign mode this week, delivering a scorching message last night in Florida, hoping to amplify voter's fears about immigration.

TRUMP: They got a lot of rough people in those caravans. They are not angels. They are not.

COLLINS: Trump trying to make a caravan of Central American migrants the central issue in the midterms.

TRUMP: A Democrat victory on Election Day would be a bright flashing invitation to traffickers, smugglers, drug dealers, and gang members all over the world. Come on in.

COLLINS: In an interview that same night, Trump claiming to ABC News that the caravan is bigger than people think, and mostly made up of young men.

TRUMP: They can't invade our country.

COLLINS: But the President provided zero evidence to back up his claims, which he made despite reports showing the caravan has dwindled in size from 7,000 to 3,500, and includes men, women, and children claim violence and poverty, Trump who said this on the campaign trail in 2016.

TRUMP: I will never lie to you.

COLLINS: Was asked if he's kept that promise.

TRUMP: Well, I try. I mean I do try. When I can, I tell the truth. I mean sometimes it turns out to be where something happens that's different or there's a change. But I always like to be truthful.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ALLEN: We'll talk more about this with Brian Karem. He's the Executive Editor of the Sentinel Newspaper, Brian, thanks so much for joining us.

BRIAN KAREM, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, THE SENTINEL: Thanks for having me, Natalie. Good to talk you.

ALLEN: Good to have you with us. Well, let's see here, just a few days until the midterm elections, how would you describe the President's approach to getting the vote to go his way for the midterm elections.

[02:05:00] KAREM: Burn the barn down and hope everybody comes to him. He's been inflaming his base with a lot of rhetoric. His speech in the White House spoke specifically to the immigration crisis that he has created. And he's called it an invasion, and he's talking about building what in essence is concentration camps, and telling -- giving the OK for soldiers if someone throws a rock at them to shoot them.

So it is unlike anything I have ever heard in 35 years covering politics in this town. It's come way over the top. And his hope is to inflame his base, get them riled up, and get them to vote. And of course, it is causing problems for even members of the GOP who don't really believe that the President has a firm grasp on reality. So it is a tough situation for him to be in.

But he's taking a, you know, take no prisoners attitude. He's going to burn it down and see what happens.

ALLEN: And so in doing that, how would that play to say people who are not of the Trump persuasion, who are independents or Democrats or liberal-leaning or conservatives who are not in the Trump camp. Will this resonate positively or negatively beyond his base, do you think?

KAREM: I think it's going to resonate poorly everywhere except with the rabid base. And the situation is there are members of the GOP that I've spoken with who say look, why -- immigration is a core issue for the GOP. But why doesn't he stick to success like the economy? That is a unifying thing. That's a lift everybody's boat type of issue that people can get behind. It is a very divisive issue, immigration.

And yet, he goes to it time and again. And why, because as people who know him best say he does what he wants to do. And this is what he likes to do, and he also knows that if he goes out and speaks about the economy, he's not going to get the press that he's going to get if he goes out and says shoot the refugees. I mean that type of thing gives him headlines. He craves the attention. He loves the attention

ALLEN: He craves the fear. Doesn't he crave the fear?

KAREM: He -- you're absolutely right. He preys on it, its fear and loathing. And he wants you afraid and scared and going to him because you're afraid and scared. And there is a small portion of the populous that goes with that. But mostly the people, the independents, I think GOP women. I've seen polling results as to say GOP women don't go for this. Of course, the Democrats don't and the swing voters on Democrat and Republican side don't exactly go for it. But the rabid base, that small 30 percent or whatever does. So he's going to go after that.

ALLEN: So he continues to put blame for anything that happens in this country that is seen as negative toward the Democrats and the media. We just had a CNN report when a reporter asked him when he was a candidate, why do you still paint me as the enemy. Why are we the enemy? And the President's response was -- he said this to an Axios reporter recently. It is my only form of fighting back. I did this before I won.

So he said it, you know, when he was a candidate why are you doing this to me. Why are you being so mean? And he's saying this now to a reporter. And he continues to say it despite that that is -- that's dangerous talk coming from this -- just a few days after what happened in Pittsburgh.

KAREM: What happened in Pittsburgh, what happened in Louisville, the bombs that were threatened to people, how about what happened to Khashoggi overseas? Yeah. All of it is frightening. But it is a big dog whistle that he uses. I'm not taking the bait on it anymore. He can call me whatever he wants. I don't care. My job is to hold his feet to the fire, ask him questions about issues, and seek answers.

And he hasn't answered the questions that we've asked. He avoids the issues. As he blows his dog whistle, he can call the -- I don't care what he calls me. Bottom line is he has got to have his feet held to the fire. That's what we're here to do. And when we hold him accountable, that's when we prove our worth to the American public. It is not going to be fighting back against him, and go look, I'm not the enemy of the people.

It is going to be by reporting on what he does that we show our worth. And that's the one thing he fears the most is being held accountable for what he does.

ALLEN: Do you think this President truly understands that the news media is a supposed to be a watchdog of the government, not a lapdog of the government? Does he understand that and just not want to give it -- he doesn't care?

KAREM: He doesn't care. Donald Trump is about Donald Trump. Whatever gets him the biggest headlines, the biggest splash, that's what he goes for. And if calling us the enemy of the people and fake news does it, he'll do it. And every time we react to him, he eats it up. He does it again. I have covered him for -- since he's been in office. He's never backed away from it. I've tried challenging him on it in the White House briefing room, and his surrogates.

[02:09:58] I've challenged him on the south lawn about it. I've challenged him in press conferences about it. And he's not backing away from it. Now we have one choice. We can -- two choices, I guess. We either sit there and listen to that and react to it or just do our job. And we have got to our job, because the bottom line is he's not doing his. And if we don't hold him accountable, than who will?

And of course, he knows what he's doing. He loves what he's doing. He thinks it works. And he's right. That's his one way -- he's got to have an enemy. He's picked us. It's very easy to pick us as an enemy, because we're there everyday holding him accountable, and he does not like that.

ALLEN: Brian Karem, Executive Editor of Sentinel Newspapers. We appreciate your input.

KAREM: Thank you, Natalie, good to see you.

ALLEN: Well, when President Trump travels to Argentina for the G20 Summit at the end of this month, he may be carrying a possible trade proposal with China. Bloomberg reports the President asked his cabinet to draft the terms. The President said he and the Chinese President spoke by phone on Thursday. Afterward, Mr. Trump tweeted that trade talks between the two were moving along nicely.

News of a possible deal is having an impact on the Asia market. CNN's Steven Jiang joins us from Beijing to tell us what those numbers look like, Steven, hello.

STEVEN JIANG, SENIOR PRODUCER, CNN: Natalie, that -- you're right. The Asian markets are definitely reacting positively to the latest developments, including this latest Bloomberg report that Mr. Trump is now asking his cabinet to draft a trade deal, a proposal. Markets in mainland China, Hong Kong, and Japan are all up. In some markets even more than three percent, so looks like these markets will end the week with very good numbers.

Now this latest development, of course, as you mentioned comes on the heels of a very long and very good conversations, that's Mr. Trump's words that he had with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday. This conversation was heavily focused on trade. Here's what Mr. Trump told his supporters at a campaign rally shortly after the phone conversation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Today, I spoke to President Xi, great guy, great man from China. He's the boss. He's the head of China. We spoke, and I said look, we have to make a fair trade. He wants to do it. They all want to do it. We're going to make lots of great things happen. They're going to happen over the next short period of time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JIANG: So that's a definitely, a very markedly different tone that Mr. Trump struck compared to his earlier remarks about China. The two sides really have been at a stalemate and tensions have been rising since Mr. Trump launched that trade war in the summer. So this potential deal is definitely a breakthrough. But a word of caution, Natalie, this is a President that quickly changes his mind on a lot of issues, including on the trade dispute with China.

Just a few months ago, even when Chinese negotiators went to D.C. and struck a temporary deal with their counterparts, Mr. Trump ended up take tearing that apart. So a lot of things could still change between now and November when he is now expected to meet with Chinese President Xi. But this is obviously a major step forward for the two sides to -- two of the world's biggest economies, because of the uncertainty that the trade war has really on investor's world wide.

Another thing to note, Natalie, is the Chinese are also saying they're willing to find a mutually acceptable deal. But the two sides are still very far apart because the U.S. demands that Chinese structure -- changing economic structures not just buying more from Americans. So I think there are a still a lot of details to be worked out, even though this is definitely a positive step in this trade war between the two countries, Natalie.

ALLEN: We'll certainly be watching it. We'll also watch to see how the markets open in London and here in the U.S., Steven Jiang for us there in Beijing. Thank you, Steven. Now the latest on that airliner crash in Indonesia, divers have found the landing gear and a large section of the fuselage of Lion Air Flight 610 in the Java Sea. But most importantly, they also have the flight data recorder.

Officials hope it will tell them why the plane crashed just minutes after take off from Jakarta on Monday, killing all 189 people aboard. Will Ripley is following the latest developments from Hong Kong for us. Will, certainly that was a good find in this search. What else are they progressing on?

WILL RIPLEY, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Yeah. I mean to think about the fact that this is an underwater search. And we know, Natalie, from covering MH370, the Malaysian airliner that disappeared somewhere in the southern Indian Ocean. It's believed it still has not been found, the fact that in just a matter of days, they've now located the flight data recorder, the landing gear, a good part of the fuselage of the aircraft.

[02:15:03] And investigators saying sadly that is where they also see a large number of bodies of the passengers on the plane. There were 189 people onboard. But to make that kind of progress in a relatively short period of time, given it's underwater. Now yes, it is shallow, 35 meters of 114 feet. But still, they're moving along very quickly. And the Indonesian authorities are getting extra resources by the day.

Boeing, investigators have -- they have arrived. There is another American team on the ground assisting teams from all over the world having been out the Indonesian authorities here. And they expect that they will start extracting data from the -- from one of the two so- called black boxes. So the flight data recorder records things like the speed and the altitude, the direction whether any of the instruments malfunctioned.

They can even tell if there was a fire onboard. But it is going to be take a couple of weeks just to pull that information out, and then two to three months they say to analyze it. So it will be quite some time before we get some definitive answers as to what went wrong with this plane, a plane that reportedly had some very serious technical problems just one day earlier, according to pastors who were on a flight from Bali to Jakarta, describing a terrifying drop midflight of 400 feet, causing everybody on board to scream.

People were praying. The plane apparently had a hard time even getting up to altitude. The pilot and the co-pilot were seen walking through the aisles with a big thick manual. And yet, just one day later, somehow Lion Air said this plane that had that kind of a problem was fit to fly. There are very serious questions being asked right now. Of course, Lion Air's technical director, he's been fired.

He's under investigation. There are technicians who are being questioned. A number of top officials at the airline, which is one of Southeast Asia's fastest growing airlines, discount carrier, very popular adding more airplanes by the day. They've been asked to step down. So there are serious questions being asked, and these discoveries of the data recorder will help, hopefully get people some answers.

The discovery of the fuselage will hopefully help the family members get closure when eventually -- hopefully crews will be able to remove many of the remains down there, although, it's going to be quite difficult with strong currents and all the logistics involved in recovering people who crashed in a plane that's underwater, Natalie.

ALLEN: Right. It is just a horror for the families. And of course, thank you, Will Ripley. We'll continue to follow the developments, thanks, Will. A great landmark in the city of light went dark to show support for the world's journalist. The Eiffel Tower turned off its lights to mark the international day to end impunity for crimes against journalists.

Reporters in Paris stood for a minute of silence, holding photos of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, as well as colleagues who were killed while doing their jobs as news reporters. It has been one month since Jamal Khashoggi disappeared inside the Saudi consulate is Istanbul. We have since learned he was killed almost immediately and his body dismembered. But there is no clue what happened to his remains.

The Washington Post now reports Turkish investigators are pursuing a gruesome new theory. For more about it, here's CNN's Jomana Karadsheh in Istanbul.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOMANA KARADSHEH, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Following that statement we got from Istanbul's chief prosecutor, the most detailed account that we have so far of what Turkish investigators have uncovered what they believe happened to Jamal Khashoggi after he entered the Saudi consulate on October the 2nd, in which they say that he was strangled to death almost immediately after entering the building, that his body was dismembered and then destroyed.

Now, the Washington Post is quoting a senior Turkish official, saying one theory that they're pursuing is that acid may have been used to dispose of his body, either here at the consulate or at the nearby consul general's residence. They say that biological evidence collected from the consulate garden supports this theory. A number of Turkish officials that we have spoken to say that this is one of a number of theories that they are looking at.

That's why they say they are pressing Saudi authorities for answers to some of the most important questions for them right now. And that is where are the remains of Jamal Khashoggi and who ordered the hit squad that came here to Istanbul and carried out the killing. And Turkish officials are really frustrated with what they say is the lack of cooperation from the Saudis.

They were hoping to get answers from the chief prosecutor of Saudi Arabia who is here for three days this week. But they say they did not get any answers. Instead, the chief prosecutor of Istanbul got an invitation to take the evidence that Turkey has and to go to Saudi Arabia for a joint investigation. On Thursday, we heard from the justice minister here in Turkey who was asked if they would go to Saudi Arabia for this visit.

[02:20:02] And he said it is up to Istanbul's chief prosecutor, saying it is unlikely, saying the crime scene is here in Turkey and that this is where the investigation should take place. And he says before they can move on to any other phase, they want the Saudis to answer these questions that Turkey has put forward, and saying that they will continue with their investigation. They say will get to the bottom of this and they will not allow a cover up. Jomana Karadsheh, CNN, Istanbul.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ALLEN: As we continue here, a worldwide walkout by Google employees. They want the company to change the way it handles allegations of sexual assault. More about that as CNN Newsroom continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ALLEN: From the U.S. to Asia, thousands of Google employees walked off the job to protest how the tech giant has dealt with allegations of sexual misconduct. Workers say they wanted to highlight what they say is a destructive culture at the company. This followed a New York Times report that detailed years of harassment and a lack of transparency over the cases, more about it from CNN's Hadas Gold in London.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HADAS GOLD, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Google employees around the world from Singapore to Dublin, Zurich to New York, and here in London, walked out on the job today in protest of how the company handles allegations of sexual harassment. This comes in the aftermath of a damming New York Times report that said Google kept quiet about several executives who were accused of sexual harassment and resigned as a result.

Some of them even getting millions of dollars in severance packages. Protesters that we spoke to here said that they were calling on their company to have more accountability and transparency when it comes to sexual harassment allegations. They want Google to release a sexual harassment report looking to all of the allegations at the company in the last few years and what the company did with it. Here is what one protester told us about why he was walking out on the job today.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're walking out in support of those who have been harassed anywhere in the workplace and to insure that perpetrators are not rewarded and they're not protected.

GOLD: Now, the employees told us that they were supported by management in their walkouts. And Google CEO, Sundar Pichai, said in a statement, earlier this week, we let Googlers know that we are aware of the activities planned for today, and that the employees will have support they need if they wish to participate.

[02:25:02] Pichai went on in his statement to say that the company planned to take in all the feedback and the criticism and turn it into action. The question for the employees who walked out today is what that action will look like and whether it will be enough. Hadas Gold, CNN, London.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ALLEN: Also in London, the billionaire who doled out millions of dollars for Brexit may have violated Britain's electoral law. Businessman Arron Banks helped finance the campaign in July. CNN reported that financial support was being investigated and so was his contact with Russian officials. CNN's Nina Dos Santos looks at whether this could have any impact on Brexit.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NINA DOS SANTOS, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Arron Banks was the backer of the biggest campaign to leave the E.U. Now, it transpires that he's under investigation by U.K.'s national crime agency. After the country's electoral commission (Inaudible) its own probe into him to the NCA with the suspicion that Banks and some of his associates may have broken the electoral law and may not have been the source of the $12 million that he pumped into the campaign.

Well, the commission also said that it had reason to believe that numerous crimes may have been committed. CNN reporting back in July that Banks had had many meetings with the Russian Ambassador to the U.K., and during some of those meetings, sweetheart business deals have been offered to him. Banks, who has always denied that he took up any of those deals, he's also denied that any Russia money ever entered his Brexit campaign.

But as (Inaudible) specifically to the news criminal investigation this time, he said that he welcomed the move by the NCA to quote, put an end to what he called ludicrous allegations leveled against him. And he said that the NCAs probe also came at a time of intense political pressure from those who wanted to see Brexit overturned. The big question is will any of this change the course of history as far as Brexit is concerned?

The answer to that is unlikely, especially since a thorough investigation is likely to take many months. And there's only five months left to go before Brexit happens. What it will do until it is concluded is continue to fuel debate about the legitimacy of the outcome of the 2016 referendum, especially for those who want another say on the matter, and that comes after hundreds of thousands of people march upon parliament just last month to demand another vote. Nina Dos Santos reporting in London.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ALLEN: All right. Back to the midterm elections, just days away now, big names traveling to the U.S. State of Georgia right here to campaign ahead of the vote. When we return, what media mogul Oprah Winfrey and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence are telling voters. Also, we will explain what Steve Bannon and Roger Stone were talking about during the Presidential campaign 2016 that has attracted the attention of Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[02:30:21] NATALIE ALLEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Natalie Allen. Let's update you on our top story. U.S. President Donald Trump says his administration is now finalizing a plan to change the asylum system as he focuses on immigration ahead of the key midterm election. At a campaign rally in the State of Missouri on Thursday, he told supporters that a caravan of migrants from Central America are, "Tough people and they won't be allowed into the United States.

Bloomberg reports President Trump has asked officials to draft terms in the trade deal with China. The president says he and Mr. Xi spoke by phone and they're said to meet on the sidelines at the G20 Summit at the end of this month. News of a possible trade deal is having a positive impact on the Asia markets. Divers in Indonesia have found the landing gear, wheels, and a large portion of the fuselage from Lion Air Flight 610.

They also have the flight data recorder, but it will take weeks to analyze that data, so they're scouring the Java Sea for the cockpit voice recorder. Now, 189 people died when the plane crashed soon after takeoff Monday. Pakistan is breaking for more protest following a Christian woman's acquittal of blasphemy charges. Asia Bibi was on death row for nearly eight years for allegedly defiling the name of the Prophet Mohammed. The leader of Pakistan's Islamist movement has called for a nationwide strike.

Voters in the U.S. go to the polls Tuesday for crucial midterm congressional and state elections. One of the hottest races is right here in the State of Georgia. The race for governor is drawing some high power supporters among them Oprah Winfrey campaigning for Democratic candidates Stacey Abrams and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence stepping for Republican Brian Kemp. Their visits come ahead of appearances by former U.S. President Barack Obama and President Donald trump. Listen now to Oprah's message.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOW HOST: Vote your values. Vote your conscience. All this noise. All the noise you just can't get away from it. You turn to the T.V., on the -- it's so much noise and crazy talk. All the vitriol and the ads. You know what, they are designed to confuse and confound you with fear. That's what they've done. They're designed for confound you with fear. They're not designed for people with discernment.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ALLEN: The U.S. Vice President had his own message about the upcoming election. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That I recognize, you know, this is the next five days is going to be critical because, you know, the truth is that this first midterm elections with the party that's in the White House are challenging. That's what the conventional (INAUDIBLE) and it's actually been true for the Republican Party for every election for the last 100 years that set for two. Conventional wisdom says it's going to be tough to reelect our majority in Washington, D.C. and to elect Republican governors and state houses across the country.

That's the conventional wisdom. But I think we all know what President Donald Trump thinks of conventional wisdom.

ALLEN: Republican candidate Brian Kemp is Georgia's Secretary of State. If elected, Democrat Stacy Abrams would be the first black American woman governor in U.S. history. CNN's John King now looks at how the immigration issue is impacting American voters.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Let's go through some of the numbers. Let's look at Arizona. Now, this is the entire electorate, 28 percent of the electorate says immigration is the most important issue. That's up a bit from just a few weeks ago. So the more the president talks about it, the more it comes up. But look at it when you take a party breakdown. Democrats only think 13 percent of Democrats think immigration is a big issue.

But look at this, 37 percent, nearly four and ten Republicans. Again, this is rising in recent weeks as the president talks about it. He's motivating Republicans by talking about this issue. Nevada, again, immigration, the entire electorate, 26 percent says it's most important. You see healthcare and the economy there, it's up just -- in September, it was 18. Now, it's 26. The president talks about it, it rises as an issue again especially among Republicans.

Nearly four and ten Republicans say immigration is issue number one. Democrats think it's healthcare. So Democrats using healthcare to motivate their voters. The president is driving up Republican's intensity with this. That was Nevada.

[02:35:03] You saw Arizona, Tennessee, immigration has only move up a little bit from September to now, but it has jumped up among Republicans to nearly 30 percent now three and ten, Marsha Blackburn, the candidate there using this election. One more state. Let's move to Florida. The president was just there last night. Immigration again this is two weeks ago. This is now -- you might say 15 to 18, that's not a big deal.

But among Republicans 28 percent, a huge jump. A huge jump in just two weeks of Republican say immigration is issue number one in a state where you have a contested senate race, a contested governor's race both very close. The president is being effective. Only eight percent of Democrats think immigration is a big deal. But it is now competing with the economy's issue number one for Republicans. So, yes, cynical, fact free in many cases, but it works to motivate Republicans.

ALLEN: Well, next Tuesday could set the stage for Democrats to regain control of the U.S. House. If they do, Nancy Pelosi could return to her previous leadership pose as speaker. But not all Democrats are onboard with that possibility. More about that, here's CNN Manu Raju.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It has been a decade since a Democrat won a House seat in this conservative eastern Kansas district that overwhelmingly supported Donald Trump in 2016. But in yet another major warning sign for Republicans ahead of next week's midterms a Democrat Paul Davis could pick up this seat as he pitches himself as a middle of the road candidate. If Democrats like Paul Davis do win, that could flip the House and effectively make Nancy Pelosi the next speaker. There's just one problem.

PAUL DAVIS (D), CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE, KANSAS: There is an circumstance in which I'm going to support Pelosi. There are times when you need -- just need some new blood and I think this is the time.

RAJU: Democrats could face their own leadership struggle as 30 Democrats who stand a real chance of winning next week say they won't support her for the job.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's why I won't support Nancy Pelosi.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I won't support Nancy Pelosi.

RAJU: Yet, Pelosi is still the heavy favorite to become speaker and has no viable opponent.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: But I think I'm worth the trouble quite frankly.

RAJU: She has raised more than a $121 million for her colleague's cycle and has the power to give members spot in key committees. And if they take the House, Pelosi's allies will make this argument.

REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D), CALIFORNIA: And I think that will have taken away the argument that she's, you know, a drag or affecting, you know, candidates if we won them that really wasn't effective and then I don't understand what the case against her would be.

RAJU: Here in Kansas, Republican Steve Watkins and Army veteran and first time candidate who is also vying for the open seat is trying to link Davis to Pelosi.

STEVE WATKINS (R), CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE, KANSAS: He's saying what he thinks he has to say in order to get elected and Kansas voters aren't being fooled by that.

RAJU: But a recent CNN poll shows that Pelosi is not a major factor for most voters nationally.

DAVIS: I don't think it's really having much of an impact. I said on day one of the campaign, I'm not going to support her and there's nothing that's going to change that and whatever the Republicans are going to say I think it's just, you know, trying to muddy the waters which they, you know, do time in and time again.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You've seen this movie before.

RAJU: It's been a strategy Republicans have tried throughout the country this election season dropping nearly $90 million in ads demonizing Pelosi. But as they go door to door in Chanute, Kansas.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi. How are you doing? I'm out here walking for Steve Watkins.

RAJU: Watkins' aide acknowledge that Pelosi is not the only issue motivating voters.

DYLAN JONES, WATKINS CAMPAIGN FIELD DIRECTOR: I'd say one out every four people who bring up control of Congress out of those people one out of four bring up Pelosi.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

RAJU: Now, the race will ultimately come down to character. Now, Watkins has faced questions about whether he inflated his resume something he denies while Davis has faced GOP attacks about a 1998 incident where he was at a strip club raided by police. Now, he wasn't charge with a crime, but he did tell me I was at the wrong place at the wrong time. And he said voters are tired of, "Sleazy ads to the tune of $12 million on both sides in that key House district. Manu Raju, CNN Washington. CHURCH: (INAUDIBLE) be sure to keep it right here on CNN (INAUDIBLE)

coverage of the U.S. midterms. That's next Wednesday or Wednesday depending on where you live. Our special coverage begins just before the polls close and goes until all the results are known. President Trump's former Chief Strategist Steve Bannon has now been interviewed at least three times by Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team most recently last week.

Investigators are interested among other things in Bannon's communication with Republican operative Roger Stone during the 2016 campaign. At the time, Stone was promoting himself as a go between with WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange who had promised information on candidate Hillary Clinton. More about this story, our CNN Sara Murray in Washington.

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[02:40:06] SARA MURRAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: New e-mails reveal Roger stone was in touch with a senior Trump campaign official, Steve Bannon about WikiLeaks during the 2016 presidential race. Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team has copies of the e-mails that source tell CNN. Part of its investigation into whether Stone actually had an inside track with WikiLeaks and whether he shared any of that information with members of the Trump campaign.

In an e-mail on October 4th, 2016, Bannon then the Trump campaigns Ceo wrote to Stone what was that this morning? Stone published the e- mails in a column Thursday for the right-wing Daily Caller. Bannon's e-mail came shortly after WikiLeak's Founder Julian Assange delivered a speech build as an October surprise.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) enormous expectation in the United States.

MURRAY: But Assange didn't unveil any new information angering some of Trump supporters who were hoping for a bombshell in Hillary Clinton. In her reply to Bannon, Stone explains the delay, fear, serious security concern. However, a load every week going forward. Stone says his e-mail was based on public information. During his media then, Assange promised more WikiLeaks material was coming. Stone's move to publish the e-mail preempted a New York Time story Thursday about Stone's efforts to pitch himself to Trump campaign officials as a WikiLeaks' insider.

At last one campaign official told investigators, Stone told campaign officials he had ties to Assange according to a person familiar with the investigation. Last Stone made a show publically and privately of bragging about his ties to Assange during the 2016 campaign. He has then revised his story. Stone says he actually relied on publically available information, clips from journalists, and a backchannel source. Progressive New York activist, Randy Credico. Credico has denied he acted as a backchannel.

ROGER STONE, FORMER DONALD TRUMP POLITICAL ADVISER: And then of course there is the Mueller investigation poking into every aspect of my private, personal, business, social, family, and political life. MURRAY: Stone hasn't been contacted by Mueller's team but nearly a

dozen of his associates have. Still, it's unclear what charges if any Stone could ultimately face. The New York Times also published e- mails showing Stone asking Bannon to help him get funding from GOP donor Rebekah Mercer to spread a story based on no evidence that Bill Clinton has a love child. I've raised 150K for the targeted black digital campaign through a C4, Stone wrote.

Tell Rebekah to send us some money. The request could run (INAUDIBLE) federal election laws. Stone says he never receive any money from the Mercer's and he maintains he is innocent.

STONE: -- no crime in connection with the 2016 election or anything else.

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MURRAY: Even though Roger Stone has insisted he's done nothing wrong, he has still said he wouldn't be surprise if Mueller brings charges against him. Stone says the charges would just be trump up and design to get him to flip on President Trump. Sara Murray, CNN Washington.

ALLEN: New developments in the mystery of two Saudi Arabian sisters found dead and tied together on the banks of New York river. New details on what happened in the moments before they died coming up here. Plus, after years, Israel and the Gulf Arab State are warming up. Why now? That story is ahead here as CNN NEWSROOM continues.

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[02:46:09] ALLEN: We are learning more about the two Saudi Arabian sisters whose bodies were found near the Hudson River in New York City. Investigator, say they are starting to get a clearer picture of the events that led to their deaths. Here's CNN's Athena Jones.

ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, there. New details in this disturbing story of these two Saudi sisters found bound together on the banks of the Hudson River here in New York last week.

New York police detectives have been saying that they've been making significant progress in this case. We know the detectives traveled down to the state of Virginia where these two sisters have been living, some 250 miles away. They conducted a number of interviews with immediate family members and with others. And now, we're learning that the New York Police Department is not yet ready to say what caused these sister's death.

Authorities are investigating the possibility of a suicide, a homicide, or even an accident, and that's according to the NYPD's Deputy Commissioner for Public Information. Earlier, we'd heard from a law enforcement official that they believe that these, this was a suicide. But, the New York Police Department wants to make it clear that they're investigating all possibilities in this case.

Investigators haven't covered anything that suggests there was foul play or that this was a potential honor killing. We know that the bodies of these two sisters showed no signs of trauma and that there was water found in their lungs, which suggests that they were alive when they entered the water.

Now, we're going to get more information from the chief medical examiner who is looking into -- during the forensics reports, autopsy report, and a toxicology report, to get more information there.

There is no known nexus to Saudi Arabia at this point according to this official. And this official says that over the course of this investigation, it has become evident that these sisters did not want to return to Saudi Arabia.

There has been some question over this issue of asylum as well. The New York Times citing police says the sisters -- says the mother -- sisters' mother was called by the Saudi embassy in Washington and informed that her daughters had applied for asylum.

I spoke with the Saudi official who told me that the Saudis are aware of reports about these sisters having applied for asylum. But told me that embassy officials haven't communicated with the family about that issue. And they're still looking into whether the sisters, in fact, applied for asylum. So, still a lot of questions about these two sisters, but that is the latest we're hearing from here. Back to you.

ALLEN: We turn now to the fighting in Yemen. The Saudi-led coalition says, they have destroyed several sites used by Houthi rebels to launch missile attacks and one of those sites was the Sanaa International Airport.

The spokesman says aviation and international aid efforts were not affected by the airstrikes. The Coalition believes Houthis used the airport to launch attacks against Saudi Arabia.

Relations are warming between Israel and some Gulf Arab nations. In part because of their mutual animosity toward Iran. The Gulf States have been reluctant to acknowledge the growing ties but as our Oren Liebermann reports, events over recent days confirm there's been a change.

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The biggest sign in recent weeks of the warming relations between Israel and the Arab States is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to Oman where he met the Omani Sultan. But that's certainly not the only sign of tectonic shifts here in the Middle East.

Israel's national anthem, Hatikvah, playing for the first time in Abu Dhabi. This Israeli athlete won gold on international judo tournament. Last year, Israeli athletes had to compete under a generic flag. Now, the country's Culture Minister moved to tears. It's just one sign of warming relations between Israel and the Gulf Arab states.

On Friday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made an unannounced visit to Oman for the first time in more than 20 years. Afterwards, Oman's foreign minister saying Israel should be treated like a State. Netanyahu called the trip, historic. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[02:50:14] BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, PRIME MINISTER, ISRAEL (through translator): This visit comes against the background of diplomatic efforts that I've been promoting in recent years, vis-a-vis the Arab countries. There will be more.

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LIEBERMANN: Israel's communications Minister is now in Dubai for conference. And the country's transportation minister is preparing for his own trip to Oman next week.

President Donald Trump's special envoy Jason Greenblatt, tweeting, "In the last few days, we have seen our regional partners Oman, Bahrain, and the UAE makes statements and or gestures signaling warmer ties with Israel. A more stable region leads to a stronger and more prosperous region. It is good for all."

The warming relations are driven by mutual struggle against Iran. Netanyahu has been perhaps, the most vocal critic of the Iran nuclear deal lauding President Donald Trump's withdrawal from the Accord. Netanyahu has quietly had the backing, the Gulf Arab States.

The growing relations have come not because of an Israeli-Palestinian peace process, but despite the lack of one. The Palestinians aren't happy about the change in relations with Israel but haven't been able to stop them.

The big question is, of course, the Saudis, does Israel have relations with Saudi Arabia? The biggest, the most powerful, arguably the most influential Gulf State.

There have been reports of dealings between the two of them including trade deals for Israeli tech, but neither side has ever confirmed that such relations exist. Oren Liebermann, CNN, Jerusalem.

ALLEN: Severe weather across Italy has taken a deadly toll while in historic Venice, there are fears saltwater may have had a devastating effect on historical icons. And the storms aren't done yet. We'll have the latest damage when we come back.

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ALLEN: A new study suggests the earth is more sensitive to fossil fuel emissions than previously thought. Researchers have found the world's oceans are taking in much more heat than we ever thought before.

Our oceans are the Earth's biggest heat absorbers taking in 90 percent of the excess heat trapped in Earth's atmosphere. But levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the air increase as the oceans warm and release gases.

By measuring those levels, the researchers were able to infer the oceans' temperature. The study estimates the ocean has absorbed 60 percent more heat than previously thought. To keep global warming in check, the authors say human-made greenhouse gas emissions should be cut by 25 percent more than previously estimated. I will talk with an expert on this story in our next hour.

Recent wild weather has caused severe damage across Italy and has led to multiple storm-related deaths. CNN's Barbie Nadeau, reports on recovery efforts. She's in Rome.

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BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Italy is still dealing with the after-effects of days of deadly weather. In Rome, giant trees fell on cars and damaged property. More than a dozen people have been killed so far according to civil protection authorities. The storms will eventually be over and these cars will be removed. And the damage to property like this balcony will all take place. But it's going to take a lot longer to calculate the full economic impact of this extreme weather.

Strong winds and torrential rains have pummeled the Italian peninsula. Record flooding in Venice has put historical landmarks at risk. But Venetians have found their own way to deal with the high water.

High seas have tossed boats around like little toys. In Savona overnight, hundreds of cars including expensive Maserati's ready for export caught fire after seawater caused their batteries to explode according to the firefighters. Flooding has ruined agricultural land. High winds have knocked down thousands of trees. Barbie Latza Nadeau for CNN, Rome.

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[02:55:51] ALLEN: Let's get more details now on the storms in Europe and Italy specifically. Derek Van Dam joins us. And you know, you and I have been here many years at CNN International, I don't recall such storms ravaging Italy before. I'm sure it's to happen but these are pretty significant.

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN INTERNATIONAL WEATHER ANCHOR: Yes, without a doubt and we're going to show you why it's taking place there in just one second. But it seems to be more far-reaching than we thought. It's stretching from Italy all the way across parts of the South of France, as well.

So this is a Mediterranean wide issue. Look at this aerial photograph of some of the flooding taking place just east of the Marseilles region. We've got a very sharp dip in the jet stream. Remember, the jet stream is upper-level winds that help guide storm systems across the planet. And we're getting in kind of a stagnant weather pattern across the Mediterranean.

Look at all the cloud cover associated with the storm system bringing the hefty rain to Italy and parts of the Adriatic. Rome has seen over 50 millimeters in the past two days. Some of the locations in the northwestern parts of Italy over 100 millimeters, So, we've got a couple of different factors taking place here. Two local winds, Libeccio winds, and the Sirocco winds coming together, increasing the moisture in the atmosphere. The dip and the jet stream I talked about helping guide our storms across the region. And that is just allowing for our increased chances of rain, increased moistures, and all those increased rainfall rates that you saw just a moment ago.

Keep in mind, this is the wettest time of the year for Rome, but with additional rainfall of over 100 millimeters through the weekend, will cause the potential for more flash flooding across the area. Back to you, Natalie.

ALLEN: All right. Derek, thank you.

VAN DAM: OK.

ALLEN: And thank you for joining us this hour. I'll be right back with our top stories. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

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