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One Day To Go Until Tuesday Critical Elections; Georgia Launches Prober Into State Democratic Party; Renewed U.S. Sanctions Against Iran Take Effect; Khashoggi Sons Speak Out About Father's Murder; Midterm Elections; Texas Senate Race between Cruz and O'Rourke Heats Up; Asia Bibi's Husband Fears for Her Life; Death Toll from Storms Climbs to 29. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired November 5, 2018 - 01:00   ET



[01:00:00] ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Political heavyweights on the campaign trail with one day left before critical Midterm Elections, both Obama and Trump rally for their parties. Within the last hour, renewed U.S. sanctions against Iran went into effect and people in Tehran have been quick to voice their disapproval and defiance. Plus --


SALAH KHASHOGGI, SON OF JAMAL KHASHOGGI: The king has stressed that everybody involved will be will be brought to justice and I have faith that this will happen.


CHURCH: CNN sits down with the sons of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi and we learn what they want the most from the investigation into his killing. Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world, I'm Rosemary Church and this is CNN NEWSROOM.

One more day of campaigning. That's all that remains until one of the most anticipated Midterm Elections in U.S. history. In essence, voters are being asked to ratify or reject Donald Trump's presidency even though he's not actually on the ballot. President Trump's predecessor Barack Obama was on the campaign trail Sunday in the heart of the Midwest to boost Democratic Congressional and State Candidates. He took aim at Republicans saying the character of the country is at stake Tuesday.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: All right, so now they've had two years of total control of Washington. What have they done with that power? No, no, no, it's not true they haven't done nothing. They've done something. They promised they were going to take on corruption of Washington. Instead, they've racked up enough indictments to fill the football team. Nobody in my administration got indicted which by the way is not that high a bar I'm in.


CHURCH: He's trying to turn out Republican voters in states he carried in 2016 presidential election. He will stop in Ohio, Indiana, and Missouri in a whirlwind blitz Monday. He's optimistic about Republicans chances in both houses of Congress.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My primary focus of course, has been on the Senate because there are so many people in the House. That's a lot of stuff but I have done some House works also. But I think we're going to do well in the House, but as you know my primary focus has been on the Senate and I think we're doing really well in the Senate.


CHURCH: Now, there's clearly a lot at stake in these elections especially in the House of Representatives. Democrats are now favored to take control with 226 seats but this is just a forecast and far from certain. And here's the forecast for the Senate. Republicans are expected to maintain control and could hold 52 seats while the Democrats hold 48.

CNN's John King breaks down why it's going to be extremely tough for Democrats to wrest control of the Senate from Republicans.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: For all the Midterm talk of a big blue wave, it has advantage Republicans, advantage to the president when you look at this map, the fight for control of the Senate. Why is that? Well, this map has always been tilted against the Democrats because of the races at play this year. Ten Democratic incumbents seeking re-election in states the President won just two years ago, some of them by 20, 30, even 40 points. So always a tough challenge for the Democrats.

Can they get a Senate majority? They can but it's very difficult. We have it right now 49 Republican, 45 Democrat. You see these six gold or yellow states on the board, those are our toss-up states heading into the final weekend. All of these very close competitive races. Here's the challenge for the Democrats. If nothing else changed they would have to run the board. The Democrats would literally have to run the board in these states. Pick them all, get Florida, Tennessee, Indiana, Missouri, Nevada, Arizona. That would get you 51 to 49.

So it is possible if the Democrats have a huge night Tuesday they can retake the Senate. But this is why that seems unlikely or at least extraordinarily difficult. In this scenario, Republicans only have to hold Tennessee where Marsha Blackburn their candidate has been narrowly ahead in the late polls. If of the six toss-ups Republicans won only Tennessee, nothing else changed, that would be a 50/50 Senate. The Vice President would break the tie, the Republicans would still be in control. That's why it is so difficult as you look at this final map in these

six toss-up States. Republicans think they will hold, they actually think they can build, ad seats. Even in a blue year they think they can add seats. Why do they think that? Let's take a look at something here. In the House races, the President is a drag. In the Senate races, Arizona, Nevada, Florida, and Tennessee for example, four of the six toss-ups, look at this. The President's numbers, you may say that's not great, only in Tennessee is his approval rating above 53 percent but it's higher than the national average in all of these states plus it's up from our last poll in Arizona, up from our last poll in Nevada, up from our last poll in Florida, up from our last poll in Tennessee.

So late in the campaign when the president is focusing on the Senate races, his standing in the states that matter is improving which is why Republicans think we may lose the House but we like this map. They think they'll at least hold maybe gain when it comes to the Senate.

[01:05:37] CHURCH: Now, in the state of Georgia, an 11th-hour bombshell by one of the candidates for governor could shake things up. Republican Brian Kemp is in a virtual dead heat with Democrat Stacey Abrams. Kemp who is also in charge of the state's Elections announced there was a failed attempt to hack Georgia's voter registration system while offering no evidence or specifics. CNN's Kaylee Hartung is in Georgia with the details.

KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So earlier today the Secretary of State's office announces that they're launching this investigation into Georgia's Democratic Party in response to what they described as a failed attempt to hack the state's voter registration system. But they announced this investigation without giving us any evidence as to why the Georgia Democratic Party was a part of this probe. The Secretary of State's spokeswoman saying that she couldn't comment on the specifics of an ongoing investigation other than to say they learned of this attempted hack from their legal team.

Now, we have to delineate between the communications from the Secretary of State's office that Brian Kemp heads as opposed to Brian Kemp's gubernatorial campaign communications. That campaign has been much more direct in tying Democrats to this hack saying, "Democrats tried to expose vulnerabilities in Georgia's voter registration system."

Now, these are claims that Democrats say are 100 percent false. They say the claims are scurrilous. Stacey Abrams just spoke to a couple hundred people in this community center. She didn't the controversy in front of the crowd but we spoke to her immediately following her public remarks.

STACEY ABRAMS (D), GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE, GEORGIA: First of all it's not a unreal investigation. What has happened is that Brian Kemp once again is trying to cover up for his failures in cybersecurity by blaming someone else. The first four times he blamed staff, he blamed vendors, and now he's blaming Democrats. But the reality is there were imperfections in their system, there are weaknesses and vulnerabilities. They were told about this on Friday, and instead of owning up to the failure and making it right, he decided to blame Democrats.

We are not responsible, we have nothing to do with this, and I'm very sad that instead of owning up to his responsibility and honoring his commitment as the Secretary of State, that he is once again misleading Georgia.

HARTUNG: Now, throughout this campaign there have been these repeated allegations of voter suppression Brian Kemp in his capacity as the Secretary of State. We have heard the litigation well. As the news of this investigation comes out we're also learning that one of the organizations involved in litigation with Brian campus claiming that the online voter registration database that updates the electronic polling lists, they're saying that that system is open to manipulation.

You see the PR machines on both sides spinning trying to use this as an opportunity to appeal to their already polarized basis. But at the end of the day there is a question about the vulnerability of Georgia's voting registration system.

CHURCH: And that was Kaylee Hartung reporting there. Well, the U.S. has now reimpose sanctions against Iran. In a show of defiance, thousands of Iranians marched on Sunday at a government-organized rally in Tehran. The sanctions had been lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal. But President Trump pulled out of the agreement earlier this year. The measures aimed to cripple Iran's energy shipping and banking sectors. CNN International Correspondent Fred Pleitgen joins me now from Tehran with more on all of this.

So Fred, now that these sanctions have been we imposed, what is the scene on the streets there in Tehran?

FRED PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi Rosemary. Well, I think a lot of people this morning here in Tehran. The sanctions only went into effect about an hour ago. I think a lot of them are trying to make sense of exactly what these sanctions mean and exactly how bad things are going to get. And I think a lot of the reactions that you're seeing here from Iranians are going to be a very divided among the moderates and among the more religious conservatives, the more hard-line forces.

We've already seen some of the video just a couple of seconds ago about that big protest that happened here yesterday. That obviously on the eve of these sanctions being reimposed. It was also quite a significant day for the Iranians because it was the anniversary of the embassy storming in 1979 as well. And that protest actually took place in front of the former U.S. Embassy. So the message there from Iranian conservatives from Iranian hardliners was very clear. They were saying they're going to stand up to America, they're going to fight back against America. You know, we were on the ground as those protests unfolded and you could really hear that message of defiance. A lot of people they're saying look, we've been dealing with sanctions for the past 40 years so this is not necessarily something that is new to us. However, there are a lot of people of course who are very concerned

because the economic situation in this country has had that downturn in the past couple of months anyway because of some of the other sanctions have been imposed by the Trump administration. A lot of people believe that things will only get worse as the currency here is already in a tailspin, a lot of people losing a large chunk of their savings, a lot of the prices here in this country rising considerably. So you do have a lot of concern, you have a lot of defiance though as well among many Iranians.

And I think this morning, Rosemary, many people are just trying to make sense of what exactly this all means. They've heard that there might be some waivers for eight countries that could allow Iran or would allow Iran to at least temporarily still export oil to those countries but what exactly the main impact is going to be, I think is something that is going to be shown probably in the next couple of days and that will become more clear also to the folks here on the ground as well, Rosemary.

[01:10:58] CHURCH: Yes, because it's how it affects people at that very personal level with their families, their homes. And talk to us about your past sanctions, what the impact has been of past sanctions and how different this might be this time around?

PLEITGEN: Yes. I mean look, this is the second wave of sanctions since the U.S. has pulled out of the nuclear agreement. The first wave of sanctions was basically made it almost impossible for international companies to try and do business here. And of course, that was something that was slowly starting to happen after the nuclear agreement had been put in place. What we've seen since then is a lot of international companies pulling out of Iran and of course, that's been very bad for the Iranian economy.

What you've seen is unemployment, it's already been high in the past, got even higher and prices have just skyrocketed as the currency has declined considerably. And there's people who are saying look, they go to sleep and they wake up and large parts of their savings are simply gone because the currency is becoming less and less worth than it was before. And many people fear that there could be more of that because so much of the Iranian government's finances depends on oil exports. They believe the Iranian government have less money that would be bad for a lot of the subsidies that are still paid out here, a lot of goods that are still being subsidized here.

The big problem that many people here have is obviously aside from unemployment is that regular goods, everyday goods are very, very expensive and continue to become more expensive. You're talking about things like for instance bread, you're talking about things like for instance water. It is really something that sort of nags at the substance of many people and where it's very, very difficult for them to get by.

But certainly, at this point from what we're seeing, it doesn't seem to us as though the government itself or the power structure here in self is in any way shape or form in danger. It does seem as though a lot of the anger that we're seeing is more directed at not necessarily USA but certainly the American government and President Trump rather than at their own leaders where people do see that a lot of this is being induced from the outside rather than from the inside, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Great concern there for people in Tehran. Fred Pleitgen joining us from there, it is nearly 9:45 in the morning, many thanks to you, Fred. We'll take a short break here, but still to come an exclusive interview with the children of murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.


ABDULLAH KHASHOGGI, SON OF JAMAL KHASHOGGI: He was amazing, like -- he was a good dad like professional, understanding, challenging sometimes.


CHURCH: How Khashoggi's sons remembering their father. We're back with that in just a moment.


[01:15:48] PATRICK SNELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL SPORTS ANCHOR: Hi, I'm Patrick Snell with your CNN "WORLD SPORT HEADLINES". We begin with the English Premier League we're defending champs, Manchester City, have reclaimed top spot on the table with the resounding victory over Southampton on Sunday.

Sergio Aguero scoring his 150th Premier League goal or Raheem Sterling scored twice and created three others in a 6-1 victory over The Saint. City now leads Chelsea and Liverpool who dropped points in a draw on Arsenal on Saturday by two points.

Novak Djokovic may be the new incoming world number one in men's tennis. But his weekend in Paris did not exactly go as he planned. The 14-time Grand Slam champ, a top rival Roger Federer in the semis, but was beaten in straights on Sunday by the young Russian Karen Khachanov who was -- he's now ended the Serbians, 22 match unbeaten run. The young Russian not only winning his first Masters 1000 title. But will move to a career-high world number 11 now.

Finally, a big day for Africa in the world of athletics producing two winners on the annual New York City Marathon, on Sunday. Kenya's Mary Keitany, winning her fourth women's crown. The 36-year-old winning by more than three minutes in a time of two hours, 22 minutes, and 48 seconds.

And it was at all Ethiopian affair down the stretch on the men's side. Lelisa Desisa outlasting Shura Kitata crossing the line in two hours, five minutes, 59 seconds.

That's a look at your "WORLD SPORT HEADLINES". I'm Patrick Snell.

CHURCH: Well, more than a month after journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered, his sons are speaking out for the first time in an exclusive interview with CNN's Nic Robertson. The Saudi Arabian government now admits the Washington Post columnist was killed after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. But his son say, all the information they're hearing is confusing. And there's only one thing they really want now, his Nic's exclusive interview with Salah and Abdullah Khashoggi.


SALAH KHASHOGGI, SON OF JAMAL KHASHOGGI: It is a mystery, and this is putting a lot of burden on us -- all of us. That everybody is seeking for information just as we do. And they think that we have answers. Unfortunately, we don't.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Abdullah, we've heard from the Turkish government that have said that they believe that he -- your father walked into the consulate, that he was choked, that he was -- that he was then killed. From the Saudi government, we understand that he was killed.

ABDULLAH KHASHOGGI, SON OF JAMAL KHASHOGGI: Until now it's vague like it's the story -- like the details what exactly happened inside. As you know, how is the media, Twitter, T.V. stations, everybody setting a different story, and for me, I am trying to simplify it as much as possible that he died. Yes. And as simple as that. And --

ROBERTSON: And you were the last one of your father's children to see him. You saw him two months ago in Turkey. How was he then?

A. KHASHOGGI: He was happy, and it was a very -- like it was a very good opportunity for me to see him. We hang out in Istanbul, we had fun, and I think I was really lucky to have that last moment with him.

ROBERTSON: How has all of this been on your family, on your mother, and your sisters?

A. KHASHOGGI: It is -- it's difficult to plug, it's not easy. Especially in the story gets this big. It's not an easy this. It's confusing even the way we grief, it's a bit confusing like -- because we're grieving, at the same time we're looking at the media and the misinformation like there's a lot of ups and down. It's not a normal situation like it's not -- it's not a normal death at all.

S. KHASHOGGI: All that we want right now is to bury him in Al-Baqi, within Medina, with his -- with the rest of his family.

[01:20:02] ROBERTSON: In Saudi Arabia?

S. KHASHOGGI: In Saudi Arabia. Yes. I talked to that -- talk 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?

S. KHASHOGGI: Yes. I believe that this issue's ongoing, and I'm really hopeful about that.

ROBERTSON: But what do you place your hope and -- (CROSSTALK)

S. KHASHOGGI: It's an Islamic tradition. It is not only Islamic, it's basic humanitarian issue. We just need to make sure that he rest in peace. Until now, I still can't believe that he is dead.

This -- I know, I mean, it's not sinking in with me emotionally. He has deceased for sure, but the emotional burden that is coming with the puzzle is really -- is really big.

ROBERTSON: When you went into your father's apartment here in the United States, you discover something that made you realize just how important you, his grandchildren, were to him. What was -- can you tell us about that?

A. KHASHOGGI: Yes, I think, going to apartment that was maybe the most emotional moment I had like in this past days. This picture especially it was next to his bed stand. Next to his bed and his grandchildren. And that's the last thing he looked at before he goes to bed. It's -- that thing shocked me. Like -- not shock but it's just -- it showed a side -- and you might nothing you would put an emphasis on his gentle, tender side of loving his family, his grandkids, And the --


ROBERTSON: The last thing he would see at night was his grandchildren, and he put that there so he would see.

A. KHASHOGGI: Yes, yes, yes. It's just something huge, and it touch me personally like it's -- and all the family when they know about it.

ROBERTSON: What would you proudest of?

A. KHASHOGGI: He's always said the truth like a basic human, just a good person, as simple as that. He was very brave, he was always out there. Like for me, he was like a rock and roll star and as a journalist like.

ROBERTSON: Because he was -- he was sort of push you at system a bit.

A. KHASHOGGI: Yes, yes, and he's always pushing. He was always -- yes, he is brave.

ROBERTSON: There have been people who been trying to sort of create a different impression about him, a different legacy allegations that he was sort of supported the Muslim Brotherhood.

S. KHASHOGGI: I don't believe so. (INAUDIBLE) He can shed the light on that.

A. KHASHOGGI: I used to tease him also. Like the last time when a met him in Turkey, I used to tease him like, "Oh, I did this on Twitter like either saying you're Muslim Brotherhood. Where is your beard, where is something." He laughs, and he tried -- he goes in details. "I am not Muslim Brotherhood because of this, this, this is -- and (INAUDIBLE). I just fear --




A. KHASHOGGI: And it's just labels or -- and just people not doing their homework properly, and just reading his article and going in depths. So, it's just easier for them just to stick a label on him back or your something, you're that, you're that, you're that.

ROBERTSON: Can you tell us about that meeting with the crown prince and the King?

S. KHASHOGGI: Yes, and that meeting with the King and the Crown Prince, when I went there with my uncle Sahl, 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.


ROBERTSON: In your heart of hearts, what do you think happened?

A. KHASHOGGI: Something bad happened. Something might be -- but I really hope that whatever happened it was just -- it was -- it wasn't painful for him or something like that, or less it was quick, or he had the peacefulness. That what I wished for.

S. KHASHOGGI: I'm not sure. I mean, just waiting for the facts to come out. It's -- for me, it's just death. I know that he is dead. All I'm waiting for is for the investigation to be over, so the facts can turn out.

ROBERTSON: How do you think your father would want to be remembered?

S. KHASHOGGI: As a moderate man who is -- who has common barriers with everyone. Genuine, and honest. A man who loved his country. Who believed so much in it, and it's potential. Jamal was never a dissident, he believed in the monarchy that it is the thing that is keeping the country together. And he believed in the transformation that is -- that it is going through, and that's how -- that's how he should be remembered.


[01:25:29] CHURCH: And we'll be back in just a moment.


CHURCH: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Rosemary Church. I want to update you now on the main stories we've been following this hour.

The U.S. has renewed sanctions against Iran. Hours before they went into effect, thousands of Iranians marched in protest in the nation's capital. Sanctions had been lifted under the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. But President Donald Trump abandoned that pact earlier this year.

The players of Leicester City Football Club are in Thailand paying respects to the late owner, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha. His funeral is taking place in Bangkok over seven days. He led the club to an improbable Premier League championship in 2016. He died last week in a helicopter crash outside the club's stadium.

The French Prime Minister is in New Caledonia, a day after the territory voted to remain a part of France. Nearly 80 percent of voters turned out for the independence referendum on Sunday. The result was closed just 57 percent voted to stay giving the independence camp hope for a future referendum.

[0l:29:59] CHURCH: Chinese President Xi Jinping is pledging to lower tariffs and support free trade in his remarks at the opening ceremony of the China International Expo in Shanghai. Xi also urged other countries to solve their own problems before blaming others taking a veiled swipe at Washington one day before the U.S. midterm elections.

Well, the campaigning has reached fever pitch ahead of Tuesday's critical midterm elections in the United States. Both parties have put up their biggest names. President Trump swung through the south Sunday, and former president Barack Obama was in his hometown of Chicago and nearby Indiana.

We asked CNN's Tom Foreman to explain why Tuesday's vote is so important.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Presidents are elected every four years and halfway through their term come the midterm elections. What that means in Congress is all 435 seats are up for grabs in the U.S. House of Representatives and about a third of the seats over in the U.S. Senate as well.

Right now, Republicans are ruling both chambers with majorities and there are a lot of complicated equations about how the Democrats could win control back. But this is all you really need to know.

On the House side, if the Democrats can pick up 23 seats, they would be in charge there. And on the Senate side if they could net two seats from the Republicans, then they would have control.

Now, bear in mind, that's a lot harder because they have many more seats to defends there. And remember a 50-50 tie here is a loss for the Democrats because in the event of a tie vote, the tiebreaker is Vice President Mike Pence who is Republican.

Midterms are seen as referendums on the President and this one has been particularly polarizing, so watch for potential flips in areas where Democrats are up in arms, where Republicans don't have strong majorities, and importantly where Independents are frustrated with the White House because if enough seats flip in Congress big changes could follow and it all starts with the midterm elections.


CHURCH: Thank you so much -- Tom.

Well, one of the closest watched Senate races in the United States is in Texas. That is where Republican Senator Ted Cruz is fighting for his seat against Democratic candidate Beto O'Rourke. Historically Democrats have been at a disadvantage in Texas, a deeply conservative state.

Ed Lavandera shows us what O'Rourke is up against.



ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Texas Democrats call it Beto-mania. And in the last days of this U.S. Senate campaign, Beto O'Rourke appearances are designed to generate rock star-style pandemonium.

The idea of a Democrat winning a state-wide election in Texas is still a dream. It hasn't happened in nearly 25 years. Beto O'Rourke says he's confident he's changed the political landscape of Texas with a highly-organized get out the vote campaign to bring out new voters. And O'Rourke throws in some Spanish saltiness to motivate the faithful.

O'ROURKE: So if you really want to win this, given what's at stake, given what's on the line, given the judgment of the people, of the future, our kids, our grandkids, our conscience -- let's make sure that when they look back on us they do so with pride and we don't force them to ask themselves who were those pendejos of 2018.

SENATOR TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: God bless Texas.

LAVANDERA: Republican Senator Ted Cruz has spent the last week of the campaign barnstorming the state in the Tough as Texas election bus.

CRUZ: The economy in Texas is booming.

LAVANDERA: Ted Cruz is closing out the campaign hitting on themes of jobs, freedom and security, and still embracing what he calls the victories of the President Trump era and reminding voters we got a good thing going.

CRUZ: When the Democrats come saying you don't need your freedom, you don't need your free speech, you don't need your religious liberty, you don't need your Second Amendment. Who the hell are they to try it take away our freedoms.

LAVANDERA: The Cruz campaign is still trying to hammer home the idea that Beto O'Rourke is too radical and too liberal for Texas. Even Senator Cruz's mother helped her son make the case during a campaign event in Houston this weekend. ELEANOR DARRAGH, TED CRUZ'S MOTHER: There is such a stark contrast

between my son and the other candidate whose name I will not mention.

One is a socialist, the other is for free enterprise. One is for open borders, the other is for the wall and secure borders.

[01:35:00] LAVANDERA (on camera): Ted Cruz and his supporters described you as radical, a socialist. How do you combat that in your final closing message here with voters who still might be on the fence about which way to vote?

O'ROURKE: Yes. I mean we can give in to the name calling and the smallness and the petty stuff and the partisanship.

LAVANDERA (voice over): O'Rourke picks up the answer in front of the crowd waiting for him outside in Austin.

O'ROURKE: The pettiness, the meanness, the smallness that defines so much of what happens in the highest offices of public trust, to that we are going to bring our courage, our confidence, our strength -- this big, bold, beautiful heart that could only come from Texas.

LAVANDERA: At this weekend rally in a small Victoria, Texas hotel ballroom, Cruz supporters showed up wearing red gloves, their symbol that a red wave in Texas will end Beto-mania on Election Day.

CRUZ: That is Texas. That is who we are. When liberty is threatened, we will rise to defend it. We will rise to defend the constitution. And we will rise to defends it the United States of America. Thank you and God bless you.


CHURCH: Let's get more on the elections with Larry Sabato. He is the director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. Always great to have you on the show.


CHURCH: So we are just over a day away from the midterm elections and we are seeing the big guns out on the campaign trail indicating just how important this vote will be. President Trump and former president Obama on a final sprint to the finish line. What are early voting patterns telling you right now?

SABATO: The most important thing they are telling all of us is that this is a really important midterm. It's so important that we are seeing record turn outs in a lot of races with key states. And probably, probably you never know for sure until after Election Day, we are going to have one of the biggest turnout midterms in modern American history.

That's all to the good. And it's an encouraging sign, I suppose, for both parties in different states and different districts.

CHURCH: And the Democrats, of course, want to win the House. What are the numbers telling you? How likely is that going to happen?

SABATO: I would say it's a clear probability. It's far from a certainty. The Democrats have a pretty good lead in the polls, the generic ballot; that is they're ahead of Republicans generically. But what about when you apply it to individual races?

The Democrats are very, very likely to get more votes than the Republicans, probably quite a few more votes for the House of Representatives. But they have done that before and lost the House. They had more votes than the Republicans in 2012 and they lost the House of Representatives. It all depends on how the vote is distributed.

But I think they have a good chance to gain control of the House. The margin is very much up for debate.

CHURCH: All right. Let's look at some specific races here. What about the political landscape across Texas where Democrat Beto O'Rourke is trying to force out Republican Senator Ted Cruz in a final campaign push statewide. How is that likely to look on Election Day, do you think?

SABATO: Texas has been promising to turn blue, at least Democrats have promoted it that way for the last four, five election cycles. It's still not blue. But it is becoming more competitive overtime.

Sure enough, if you look at the polling averages, you'll see that Ted Cruz, the incumbent Republican senator is leading Beto O'Rourke the Democratic nominee by about five percentage points -- somewhere in that vicinity. Well, five points is five points. That's a lot of votes in big Texas.

On the other hand, it's a lot easier to score an upset when you are only five points behind than it is when you are 15 or 20 points behind and that's what Democrats in Texas used to be all the time -- 15 or 20 points behind.

CHURCH: Right. That is significant.

And of course, instead of pushing a positive message on the economy, because the President says well, it's not exciting enough -- he's on the attack. stoking fears on gun control claiming Georgia Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams will get rid of the Second Amendment when she plans to do no such thing. And continuing his message about immigrants invading America.

Are these fear tactics working for the President or back firing?

SABATO: They're working with his ever-loving base, because that base will follow him anywhere and believe him no matter what he says. At this point, we are all about turn out and so Trump is stoking his Republican base by telling them things that will frighten them, that will cause them to be angry, because that does increase the possibility or probability they will actually vote.

[01:40:02] But Democrats have a lot of ammunition too. Donald Trump is actually -- the number one piece of ammunition for Democrat. And they have been using it all over the country; sometimes quietly, sometimes overtly.

CHURCH: Now, the other big race to watch is the governor's election in Florida. Democrat Andrew Gillum responded to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue who described the stakes as being so "cotton-picking" important, what many call a racist dog whistle because Gillum, of course, would be Florida's first black governor if he wins.

Now, Gillum suggested Perdue go back to Georgia and the South. Why are we seeing an effort to win at any cost? Even using this sort of racist language like this? Again, does it work or does it backfire? And how do you expect this race will turn out?

SABATO: Well, currently, Gillum is up in the polling averages. He's up two or three points, which again, in Florida is significant because most of the closely-contested races in Florida are decided by a point or less. So Gillum is up three.

Let's be honest. He's African-American. And I have seen in some, though not all races involving African-Americans, that people will tell pollsters one thing that they are going to be supportive of the African-American candidate and then when they actually go into the polls they are not quite as supportive.

So he needs the buffer of a few points in polls to be able to win on Election Day. And in Florida, they have already banked millions of votes incredibly. Millions have already voted in Florida and cross the nation. But Florida has had a particularly good turnout.

CHURCH: Yes. And we'll see what that means, of course, come Tuesday when we start counting the votes and analyzing what it all means.

Larry Sabato -- thank you so much for being with us. We appreciate it.

SABATO: Thanks so much -- Rosemary.

CHURCH: And join us Tuesday night right here on CNN for extensive coverage of the U.S. midterm elections. It starts at 5:00 p.m. Eastern time, 6:00 a.m. Wednesday in Hong Kong and goes until all the results are in.

Well, more protests in Pakistan over the acquittal of a Christian woman charged with blasphemy as her husband pleads for help from the international community.

We are back in just a moment.


CHURCH: Hundreds of protesters gathered in Karachi, Pakistan calling for a review of a Christian woman's blasphemy acquittal. Asia Bibi won her appeal on Wednesday after being on death row for nearly eight years. The acquittal has prompted violent protests across Pakistan. Twitter has suspended the account of one Islamist leader for threatening Bibi and the court's judges among others and Bibi's husband is now begging the U.K., the United States, or Canada to grant his family asylum. That is according to "The Guardian". He says he fears for her life.

So let's discuss this with Omar Waraich, Amnesty International deputy South Asia director joining us now from Colombo in Sri Lanka. Thank you so much for being with us.


CHURCH: So how surprised are you that Asia Bibi has not yet received an offer from any other country to help protect her and her family and grant asylum?

WARAICH: Well, I think she may have received offers but the shameful thing is the government's capitulation in this case, where they have bowed to the demands of a violent mob that seeks to hold the state hostage. And after days of rampaging, wreaking havoc and destruction across the country, threatening judges, the military, they government they have brought the government to heel and are trying to stop her from leaving the county. And even trying to get her back on death row. This is very, very worrying indeed.

CHURCH: And how likely do you think it is that these protesters -- and we're looking at very intimidating, so many men just walking down the street there and they're trying to influence these authorities. How likely is it do you think that there could be a review of this acquittal of Asia Bibi.

WARAICH: Well, I hope there isn't. There is no legal basis for it. She's been acquitted at the highest levels. The judges of the Supreme Court have found that there was no evidence that she committed blasphemy and therefore she should be free.

And after all this is someone who should not have been in prison in the first place. This is one of the disastrous consequences of Pakistan's unjust blasphemy laws. But finally if the decision has been reversed she should be free.

However, this will be the biggest test of Nawaz Sharif's government -- sorry of Imran Khan's government, the new prime minister. He initially confronted the mobs. He said he upheld the verdict but now he's being forced to capitulate and seemed to cede ground to them.

If he is able to hold his nerve through this, it's difficult to see what the rule of law will mean for Pakistanis going forward.

CHURCH: It must be very worrying for Asia Bibi and her family. What needs to happen next to advance the process of finding her a new home and her family of course? And just how dangerous would it be for her to remain in Pakistan as things stand.

WARAICH: Well, I don't think it's safe for her to remain in Pakistan given that we have seen thousands and thousands of angry rioters on the streets of Pakistan demanding her death. It's manifestly not safe for her there. These are people who are prepared to threaten the highest levels of government to get that.

So what needs to happen is that the Pakistani government. The government of Prime Minister Imran Khan needs to prosecute the mobs for the violence that they have brought. It has to protect the rule of law and say that it will implement the ruling of the Supreme Court. And then it needs to negotiate with a foreign government to get her to safety somewhere.

Short of anything of that will be a disaster. They will -- if anything happens to her, this government will be responsible.

CHURCH: And of course, it wants the international community that brought pressure to bear to push Pakistan to eventually find a way to acquit her. But, of course, it's not just Asia Bibi and her family that are in danger right now. There's also concern for the lawyer who defended her and, of course, judges and of course, all their families. What does Pakistan need to do to improve the safety for all involved before someone does get hurt or worst, get killed?

WARAICH: No, absolutely. This is a case where they have to hold their ground and say that actually rule of law will prevail. But no one can hold the state to ransom in this way.

[01:49:56] Now her lawyer has had to leave the country -- an incredibly brave person who persevered all these years and finally got her acquittal. But he has had to seek safety because as we've seen in all the cases, judges aren't safe, defense lawyers aren't safe, witnesses aren't safe, victims' families aren't safe in this case.

So unless the government can actually hold this mob to account, then there is no future for the law -- the rule of law in Pakistan. What it means is that if you have the numbers, and you have the muscle, and if you can be menacing enough you can dictate the terms. And that the rule of law will mean nothing for the people who need its protection the most, marginalized minorities like Asia Bibi, like other people who have been accused of prosecution under Pakistan's --

CHURCH: Unfortunately it looks like we have lost our connection there. But talking with Omar Waraich there and getting his views on the situation.

We'll take a very short break. We're back in just a moment.


PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: As always, thanks for joining us here on CNN. I'm meteorologist Pedram Javaheri for Weather Watch.

And a pattern shaping up here to be for some severe weather at least across areas of the southeastern south-central United States back towards the northwest. Still seeing the same snowy pattern that's been in place, while towards the northeast it is all about the wet weather just about 24 hours or so in advance of, of course, Election Day later on Tuesday.

But you notice severe weather risk widespread from areas of Alabama on into Tennessee, eventually into Kentucky as well. On a scale of 1 to 5, pretty high concern for some of these areas -- Nashville, south towards northern Mississippi. That is a three in line there with tornadoes being one of the primary threats across this region.

All of this really expected to ignite some time towards the afternoon and evening hours, of course, Daylight Saving Time has come to an end meaning the sun sets sooner and making these storms that much more dangerous once you have to deal with them post sunset as it gets dark outside.

And to the north we go where we do have wet weather in store across portions of the northeast, higher elevations happen to some wintery weather as well. You've got to go north of Montreal to really see significant snows but look what happens here going in to later this week and eventually into early next week.

The coldest air of the season eventually sets up shop around portions of the Midwest and you notice that lingering effect in to the northeastern U.S. Temps gradually inching back down closer towards the single digits near Monday about 4 in Winnipeg, 20 down in Atlanta.

CHURCH: Historic rainfall and flooding continue to ravage Italy. Officials said Sunday that another 12 people died in Sicily over the weekend bringing the death toll to 29.

[01:55:04] Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte says the government will declare a state of emergency for the areas affected by the storms.

Let's turn to our meteorologist, Pedram Javaheri, joins us now with more on all of this. So Pedram -- any end in sight with these storms?

JAVAHERI: You know, gosh -- we have been going for about a week how with this pattern, Rosemary. And it's really an incredible pattern that is set up in this region and frankly doesn't look like it's going to shift that much at least over the next couple of days.

In fact, look at the past 24 hours. There is one disturbance over Corsica on into Sardinia, back towards the west near the Iberian Peninsula -- there's a secondary one trying to enter the picture. And we continue to see this pattern with a dive in the jet stream so the systems are pushing in from the west towards the east producing essentially the same round of wet weather, strong thunderstorms, powerful winds -- everything that got us into the mess that we are currently in.

And you look at the last seven days up to the north around Milan upwards of 300 plus millimeters estimated in that region. Farther to the south near Rome as much as 200 millimeters. All of this heavy rainfall, wind as high as almost 200 kilometers per hour in a few observations have brought down upwards of, Rosemary, of some 14 million trees across this region, an incredible number when you think about the amount of damage done in that region. And of course, a lot of the fatalities, officials are telling us are

associated with some of these trees coming down across portions of Italy and the pattern continues with here with the local winds driving up moisture from the south, Rosie, and of course, the continued thunder storms at least through much of this week as well.

CHURCH: Pedram -- thank you so much for keeping a very close eye on that. Appreciate it.

And thank you for your company. I'm Rosemary Church.

Another hour of news is up next with our Natalie Allen and George Howell. You are watching CNN.


[02:00:06] NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Game on.