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Historic New Hampshire Race; Khashoggi's Sons Speak Out; High- Stakes Midterm Elections. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired November 5, 2018 - 09:30   ET



[09:31:37] JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: No matter who wins tomorrow in New Hampshire's District 1 House race, history will be made this midterm. Either the first openly gay candidate will win there or our next guest.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Joining us now is the Republican candidate Eddie Edwards.

Good to have you here. We appreciate it.

So if you win, you will be the first African --


HARLOW: You'll be the first African-American member of Congress to represent the state of New Hampshire. If your opponent wins, he'll be the first openly gay member of Congress representing the state of New Hampshire. Either way it's historic.

What do you think it means for your state? What does it mean for the country?

EDWARDS: Well, I think what you see here in New Hampshire, the voters here are focused on what you give back to your family, what you give back to your community, and what you give back to your nation. They're not really interested in whether you're black, gay, straight, male, female. They focus on the individual.

And you can tell that by I am the representative for the Republican Party in this state. You know, as a Navy veteran, a former police chief, a graduate of the National FBI Academy, I serve our state as our chief administrative alcohol prosecutor. People looking at the work I've done in our state and what I've done in our nation, I also have over 30 years of voluntary service to our state, coaching high school football for four years. I might add --

HARLOW: But --

EDWARDS: That we were undefeated in my last season. I'm very happy about that. We had one loss, but that was --

HARLOW: Congratulations. EDWARDS: Not a regular scheduled game.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Can't argue with that. Yes.


HARLOW: Let me jump in and just ask you something, though, along these lines, because you said that you have felt discrimination in the state of New Hampshire from Democrats and you've said that it's a distortion, quote, that somehow blacks are automatically supposed to be aligned with Democrats and Democrats are fighting for minorities. But when you look at the new CNN poll this morning, it shows 88 percent of black voters are with Democrats. The president has only a 3 percent approval rating among African-Americans.

EDWARDS: Sure. Sure.

HARLOW: Is it because of the president's rhetoric?


HARLOW: Is it because of, you know, saying things like Stacey Abrams isn't qualified or Andrew Gillum isn't qualified or saying Barack H. Obama over the weekend?

EDWARDS: Well, listen, I can tell you my own personal experience. I grew up in Georgia. I've been in New Hampshire for over 30 years. And I can tell you, being here, I have been accused of not being qualified for this seat by a Democrat chairperson for our state. So that same language that's being used on both sides.

You just saw Hillary Clinton over -- last week suggested all black people look the same. You saw Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton create what I call the classroom to prison pipeline. Under Bill Clinton's watch, over 200,000 more black men and women went to prison. And Hillary Clinton referred to young black men as super predators.

And so when you start to look at this language, I don't find that to be true of New Hampshire. I find that to be true of certain political figures who were Democrats in the state of New Hampshire.

New Hampshire is not a racist state. I don't believe our country is a racist nation. I believe you've got individuals who are racist. I believe you have individuals who use racist language. I believe -- also believe, as an outsider, as someone who's new to politics and has worked in law enforcement and the military, coming to politics, race, sex, sexual orientation, gender, are used to divide our nation. I think it's misplaced and misguided to keep saying that somehow one political party is racist and the other is not. And there are plenty of examples --

SCIUTTO: Well, let me ask you a question, Eddie, then -- and, listen, it is fair to point out divisive rhetoric from both parties, both candidates.

EDWARDS: Sure. [09:35:00] SCIUTTO: You do have a president, a Republican president,

who has made it central to his closing argument, messages that many take as bigoted. And I'm curious -- and this is not the first time we've heard arguments along those lines from this president going back to when he challenged President Obama's citizenry, for years, based really on no facts whatsoever regarding his birth certificate. So I just want to ask you specifically about the president, who is the standard bearer for your party --


SCIUTTO: Is that a positive message? Is that an American message from your point of view as you run to represent this party?

EDWARDS: Listen -- right. Let me explain it this way. With all due respect to you and to many others, I am a very positive person. I'm a patriot. I've served my life, serving my country, and serving my community and my family. And I believe that we should get to a place where we can have conversations about policy, less so about race, sexual orientation, and gender and things like that because they're used as a wedge issue. And I believe that I am certainly a proud conservative. I love my country. And, at the end of the day, I want to focus on what brings us together. I'm running so that I can bring our country together.

In my lifetime I have certainly had to deal with people --

SCIUTTO: Is the president bringing the country together? Is the president bring the country together (INAUDIBLE)?

EDWARDS: I think the president -- yes, listen, I think the president is not perfect. None of us are perfect. I think the president, like many other folks in Washington, have a responsibility to bring our nation together. But I don't think it helps. I don't think it helps. At this point, in our nation's history, to keep going back and forth and saying who's not bringing our country together, who's bringing our country together.

At the end of the day, I'm running -- I'm running --

HARLOW: Do you wish he would -- Eddie, just respectfully, do you wish -- you say he's not perfect, but he's intentionally making these -- these points.

EDWARDS: I'm -- may I finish, one moment? No, well -- my -- well, in your --

SCIUTTO: Please, go ahead. Finish up.

EDWARDS: Well, in your -- in your estimation, he's intentionally doing that. I just pointed out to you two other people who are intentionally doing the same. I mean, let's be fair here, right? You had Maxine Waters actually say that they take back the House, she's going to go after other U.S. citizens and business leaders. Do you think that's appropriate? Do you think that helps brings the nation together? Listen, we have a -- three co-equal branches of government. I am

running to be one of 435 members of Congress. I have a responsibility, as a person, to conduct myself in a way that unites our country. And that's what I'm trying to do.

And I can tell you, as an outsider, again, being new to the politics and when you watch people constantly go back to trying to point the finger at one another, let's get back to a place where we can focus on all being Americans and all try to get to the same place, but we may have different ways of getting there. But let's get back to a place where we can have healthy conversations about unite our country.

SCIUTTO: I'm in. Eddie Edwards, put that on a bumper sticker if you can.

EDWARDS: Thank you so much.

HARLOW: Thank you for joining us.

EDWARDS: It's live free or die. It's all about live free or die. Thank you so much.

SCIUTTO: If it fits. Thanks very much for joining.

Coming up next on CNN, we get the first interview with the sons of the murdered journalist, Jamal Khashoggi. What they really think about the investigation into their father's death.


[09:42:07] HARLOW: All right, welcome back.

This morning, a Turkish official tells CNN that Saudi Arabia sent two people to Turkey to try to cover up the murder of "Washington Post" journalist Jamal Khashoggi. It has been now more than a month since he walked into that consul there in Istanbul and disappeared.

SCIUTTO: Now, in this exclusive interview with our colleague Nic Robertson, his sons give an emotional plea for their father's remains.


SALAH KHASHOGGI, SON OF JAMAL KHASHOGGI: All we want right now is to bury him in (INAUDIBLE) with -- in (INAUDIBLE) with his -- with the rest of his family.


S. KHASHOGGI: In Saudi Arabia, yes. I talked to that -- I talked about that with the Saudi authorities, and I just hope that it happens soon.

ROBERTSON: But you need to find -- somebody needs to find his body?


(END VIDEO CLIP) SCIUTTO: CNN international diplomatic editor, Nic Robertson, joins us now.

Nic, this must have been a remarkable encounter. You have -- two people lost their father under just the worst circumstances. The Saudis not even acknowledging where his body is. Tell us about the dynamic in that room and how they're handling this.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: You know, I spent a lot of time with them this weekend, three days, three different meetings before we even got into the interview. This is a family that's -- that's been knocked down, is beginning to pick itself up. It's still in the middle of a tragedy. This is a sequence of events that they're not even close to beginning to come to terms with.

It's, for them, overly politicized. And I think, you know, if we look at that instance where Salah was in Saudi Arabia, got to shake hands with the crown prince and the king, he told me the twittersphere erupted. People were saying things about the way he was dressed, it looked like he had even been dragged into the meeting. And he said it's so counter to what the family needs, which is to remember him as a man, as a -- you know, Jamal, their father, as a man, as an individual, and not some big, political pawn.

But, you know, when it comes down to the -- when it came -- when I asked him what he took out of that meeting with the king was, yes, he has faith in the king.

SCIUTTO: Yes, interesting. So they don't blame -- they're not blaming him. Interesting.

ROBERTSON: This family is in a hugely difficult position and I think, you know, when you listen to what Salah has to say, he's a banker. He's in -- he works in Jada (ph). He's going back there very soon. When you listen to what he has to say, you listen carefully to his words, this is what he said.


S. KHASHOGGI: In that meeting with the king and the crown prince, when I went there with my Uncle Sam (ph), the king has stressed that everybody involved will be brought to justice. And I have faith in that. This will happen.

ROBERTSON: You're placing your faith in the king?


[09:45:00] ROBERTSON: In your heart of hearts, what do you think happened?

ABDULLAH KHASHOGGI, SON OF JAMAL KHASHOGGI: Something bad happened. Something maybe -- but I really hope that whatever happened was just -- it wasn't painful for him or something like that or it was quick.

(END VIDEO CLIP) HARLOW: It's important to note, they said they have confidence in King Salman. They did not say that about Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is really running the show. Significant?

ROBERTSON: There's a lot they didn't say. There's a lot that they think. There's a lot that they think that they know. But this is a family that wants also to try to get back on with their lives, and their lives are in the Middle East. And so we can imagine the position they're in. This is why it's so hard for them. This is why it bears down on them so difficultly.

SCIUTTO: Incredible -- incredible balancing act to be forced to perform, right?

HARLOW: Of course.

SCIUTTO: Oh, Jesus.

HARLOW: Think about -- right, where they're going back and the government in control, so different than someone, say, coming back to America to do their work, right?

Nic, an extraordinary interview. Thank you.

SCIUTTO: Absolutely.

ROBERTSON: Thank you.

HARLOW: I'd push everyone to to watch the entire thing. We appreciate you bringing us that. And we will stay on this story.

OK, less than 24 hours to go before polls open. Are Democrats underestimating the president's ability to rally Republicans in the homestretch, next.


[09:50:46] HARLOW: All right, welcome back.

A new CNN poll this morning. It shows, among many things, that 42 percent of you say you are heading to the polls tomorrow to cast a vote in opposition to President Trump. That is 14 points higher than those going to cast a vote in support of the president.

SCIUTTO: But instead of talking about a blue wave, should Democrats be on alert here?

Joining us now is Democratic Senator Ben Cardin from Maryland.

Senator, thanks for taking the time this morning.

SEN. BEN CARDIN (D), MARYLAND: It's good to be with you. Thank you.

SCIUTTO: So first question. You have quite a lot of contrast in the latest CNN poll, and this has been consistent with other polling in the days and weeks leading up to the election. The CNN poll, 54 percent of Americans say the country is doing very well or fairly well versus 45 percent or 44 percent saying pretty or very badly. This even as the generic ballot shows an advantage for Democrats over Republicans.

What is the Democratic closing message other than we are not the party of Trump?

CARDIN: Well, first, we hope that everyone that's eligible will come out to vote. We do believe there will be a blue wave. I think Americans are concerned about this president and the way that he acts and speaks to American values. But Democrats want to embrace the principles of our values and our policies to protect the advancements we've made in health care and to protect against the restrictions on pre-existing conditions and deal with the cost of prescription medicines.

We want to protect our environment. We believe that climate change is real. And that America needs to be in leadership.

We want sensible gun safety legislation. The murder just recently in Pittsburgh underscores the importance for control on assault weapons and to have universal background checks.

We also believe that we have to invest in education. Post-secondary education is too expensive in America and we need to do something about that.

So Democrats have a very positive message of what we want to get done for the American people, but clearly the focus the president does every day by his tweets causes questions as to what we stand for as a nation and whether America's leadership has been just badly damaged by this administration.

HARLOW: Senator Cardin, let me get your take on something that pertains to your current role on the Foreign Relations Committee, and that is the way that the president answered a series of questions in this interview with Axios on HBO last night as they pertain to Yemen. Listen to this exchange.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think it's a terrible situation. I hated seeing what happened with the bus and the children because that's pure -- that's a horror show when you see a thing like that. You saw the bus.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But does that bother you when they use an American --

TRUMP: Does it bother me? Bother me?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like a Lockheed weapon?

TRUMP: Bother me? Jonathan, bother's not strong enough. That is basically people that didn't know how to use the weapon, which is horrible. (END VIDEO CLIP)

HARLOW: He -- it seems that he's arguing that those 40-plus children that died on that bus were killed because the Saudis didn't know how to use the U.S. weapon. Your response?

CARDIN: I think the president is missing the tragedy in Yemen. It's a civil war that's causing a tremendous humanitarian crisis. The United States has not been effective in working with the Saudis in regards to that Yemen campaign. We have not been able to get the warring parties together. The -- Iran's definitely involved with the Houthis. But the U.S. has assisted in a situation that has caused one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world. So it's not that they don't know how to use the weapon. It's the manner in which this campaign has been going on for years. The U.S. leadership has not been effective in bringing about an end to this civil war.

SCIUTTO: Let me ask you this just finally before we let you go. And, again, a lot of ifs here. But if the Democrats were to take the House and Republicans maintain control of the Senate -- most polls pointing that way, but, as we know, polls can be wrong -- what will government look like for the next two years?

CARDIN: Well, I hope that we'll have an independent Congress that will act as a check and balance on this administration. The framers of our Constitution envisioned the Congress to be an independent branch of government, so I am hopeful that after the midterm elections it will be clear that Congress needs to express an independent voice, needs to oversight the use of power by this administration, and to advance policies that help our people. And, to me, it's protecting our health care system, as I said earlier, dealing with gun safety, dealing with our environment, dealing with our economy. Congress needs to be an independent voice to move forward on those issues.

[09:55:29] And, when elections are over, Democrats and Republicans have to work together. We have to get things done.

HARLOW: Amen. I think every American can agree on that today.


HARLOW: And let's hope all of them go to the polls.

Senator Ben Cardin --

CARDIN: Thank you. Thank you.

SCIUTTO: And, senator -- thanks very much, Senator Cardin. In fairness to Senator Cardin's Republican rival in the Senate race, we're going to read a brief statement from Dr. Campbell. For nearly a year I have traveled across Maryland and spoken with thousands of Marylanders. Only a handful have told me they are voting for Ben Cardin because of something he's accomplished. Tomorrow night Maryland voters will dis- cardin (ph) -- that's a hash tag apparently -- and it will be the biggest upset of the evening because Marylanders are tired of his failed 52-year career in politics. Again, in these final hours before the vote, doing our best for equal


HARLOW: Last minute campaigning underway right now for a midterm election like no other. But is the day really all about the one name that's not on the ballot, the president? Stay with us.