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Trump Signals No Strong Action against Saudi Arabia; Source: Trump Wanted Justice Department to Prosecute Clinton; Suicide Bombing in Kabul Kills At Least 50 People; Civil War in Yemen Drags On Amid Push for Political Solution. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired November 21, 2018 - 00:00   ET




JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): A friend in need is a friend indeed. It seems Saudi Arabia has no better friend than Donald Trump, who again questions his own intelligence community, siding with the Saudi crown prince, who denies he ordered the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Zero-sum gain. Tumbling markets in the U.S. hit negative territory, erasing all gains for 2018 and the sell-off continues across Asia.

And the war on children in Yemen, innocent victims dying a cruel and painful death. Tens of thousands of them, according to one aid group, and it's entirely preventable.

Hello and welcome to our viewers all around the world. I'm John Vause. Great to have you with us. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.


VAUSE: The U.S. president made it clear on Tuesday he places loyalty and business ties to the Saudi royal family far above America's moral commitment to human rights. Saudi Arabia has admitted journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed and dismembered at its consulate in Istanbul.

The CIA's intelligence assessment found crown prince Mohammed bin Salman authorized the hit. But as typical, the agency's report did not and will not make a final, definitive conclusion.

And for Donald Trump, that was the out he needed, insisting the truth may never be known.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They didn't make a determination. And it's just like I said, I think it was very -- maybe he did it and maybe he didn't. They did not make that assessment. The CIA has looked at it. They've studied it a lot. They have nothing definitive. And the fact is, maybe he did, maybe he didn't.


VAUSE: Live now to Istanbul and CNN's Jomana Karadsheh standing by.

Jomana, relief in Riyadh and maybe astonishment in Ankara.

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We still haven't had any official reaction in this region. We haven't had official reaction from Turkey; the foreign minister was in Washington, D.C., yesterday. He was meeting with secretary of state Mike Pompeo.

When he was asked about the statement, he said he did not -- he hadn't read it yet. We'll have to wait and see what reaction we'll have. You're looking at a very divided and polarized region. You've got many countries that are in Saudi Arabia's camp and they will be relieved to see this.

And of course, as you mentioned, for Ankara, throughout this crisis, John, as you know very well, Turkey has played this strategy of this drip feed of leaks, being very diplomatic dealing with this crisis, not pointing the finger specifically at the crown prince but hinting at it in various statements.

And the feeling has been that they have not wanted to go head to head with Saudi Arabia on their own. They were hoping their allies, like the United States, would help them deal with this crisis.

So after what seemed to be Turkey putting the ball in the court of the United States, sitting back and waiting to see after they provided them with the evidence to see how the U.S. is going to deal with this, I think right now the ball is back in the court of President Erdogan in Turkey.

And we'll have to wait and see what they do next, whether there is more evidence, whether we'll see more links to put more pressure. So we'll have to wait and see what is next -- John.

VAUSE: Jomana, thank you. Jomana Karadsheh there with the very latest from Istanbul.


VAUSE: Bob Baer is a CNN Intelligence and Security Analyst and former CIA operative. He joins us now from Washington. Thanks for meeting with us, Bob.


VAUSE: OK, there's that old saying, you want a friend in Washington, go out and get yourself a dog. But the Saudis, they've got a whole lot better than that. They've got themselves a president and that's unprecedented.

BAER: Well, John, you know, it's hard to describe how bad this is. The way the Saudis look at and I have to say this right up front is that they own Donald Trump because of past business relationships. And now we see Trump you know, it's just amazing. I cannot tell you that I have never seen anything like this, to see a president kiss the ring of a monarch like this ever in our history. Clearly, Mohammed bin Salman had Khashoggi murdered, tortured, murdered and dismembered, a Washington Post columnist. Right now, absolutely refuses to let us in the investigation to let us know what happened. They won't produce the body. They're ignoring us. Their lies change from day today. It's as if you know, Mohammed bin Salman is Trump's boss. And it -- you know, it looks like that at this point.


BAER: I mean -- yes, go ahead, John.

VAUSE: Yes, the Committee to Protect Journalists posted a tweet in response to the president's statement. It read, if you boil the White House statement down to its essence, President Trump has just asserted that if you do enough business with the U.S. you are free to murder journalists. That's an appalling message to send to Saudi Arabia and the world. On the surface, that kind of seems a pre-fair assessment but the president is wildly exaggerating the size of these deals. The $450 billion worth of investment, that came out of nowhere.

In May last year, the official White House statement described an agreement for almost $110 billion worth of defense capabilities. It goes on to say the package demonstrates the U.S. commitment and our partnership to Saudi Arabia will also expanding opportunities for American companies in the region potentially supporting, potentially supporting tens of thousands of new jobs in the United States.

That is not creating hundreds of thousands of U.S. jobs as well. And even you know, even if they the initial $110 billion claim, that's sketchy as well. The Washington Post reported last month most of the items did not have delivery dates or were scheduled for 2022 or beyond. So all these talks of jobs and investment, its fiddling bruising. So for those who buy this argument that American jobs are worth more than your American values, even that doesn't hold up here.

BAER: Well, exactly. I mean, look these arms deals are not booked, so-called booked. They -- that doesn't mean they have to go through with them, they're minuscule, frankly. And Saudi Arabia is producing 10,000 jobs here, I mean, it's just -- it's completely insignificant. But John, right through, he's been lying about Saudi Arabia saying that they're going to turn to the you know, to Russia to buy arms, or China, or you know, what happens if they realign with Russia. They can't realign with Russia.

They can't -- look we are in charge of Saudi Arabia in the sense that the fifth fleet is what keeps the Iranians from taking the Arab side of the Gulf. They have essentially answered us. So for the president to bend over like this is amazing.

VAUSE: Putting aside this current situation with this president, can you see a scenario where a U.S. president in a situation like this would just have to make a decision that because of some other circumstances out there, they have to hold back and not take a hard line with the Saudis?

BAER: It never happened before. Look, there's a lot of countries that violate human rights internally but never torturing and dismembering an American columnist.

This is -- this is what crosses the line. An American resident with American children and saying well, you know, come on, he's -- and then John, but he lied about his being a Muslim brother and describing Khashoggi as an enemy of the state. That's coming from the alt-right. This is their argument that he was somehow connected with bin Laden.

Well, in those days, bin Laden was on the CIA's payroll. He was in a war on our side. And so was Khashoggi shows up as a journalist, but he's not a much -- it's an -- it's an utter lie.

And then -- and then to go on, I'm sorry about the rant, is to go on and talk about that Saudi Arabia's somehow going to do something against Iran and if it weren't for Saudi Arabia the Iranians would I don't know what. But that's just nonsense.

And the fact that he has taken the side of the alt-right on the assessment of this against the CIA who's quite 100 percent certain it was Mohammed bin Salman that had Khashoggi murdered is amazing. I mean it's just like -- it's like taking sides with Putin over the CIA and the rest of the intelligence community. But who does --

VAUSE: Which has happened before.

BAER: -- yes, who does he work for? And what bothers me is both the Russians and the-- and the Saudis you know, floated him in hard times. He's essentially a business partner with these people and he's siding with them over Americans.

VAUSE: OK. I'm just trying to find a best-case scenario here.

Could it be looking at this in the most positive light possible, you know, that this is this is some kind of strategy that Trump now has leverage over the crown prince in some way, it was a more likely that by giving him this pass Trump is emboldened Saudi Arabia and other countries to do whatever they want because the U.S. looks weak?

BAER: Look, the way that Mohammad bin -- the way that Mohammad bin Salman looks at this is that he owns Trump because the Saudi investments in Trump properties.

It's not exactly true but there -- this will embolden them and there's no reason that they won't even go farther and take any sort of American journalist or American and do the same thing to.

And what message -- I mean, look you have to look at this in context because Trump has essentially looked at you know, at attempt on Skripals in Salisbury and given the Russians to pass.

Now, he's giving the Saudis to pass --

[00:10:00] BAER: -- on a -- on a, you know, targeted killing so yes, exactly. This is -- you know, it's open season on you know, frankly Americans at this point.

VAUSE: Yes, that statement released from the White House, it quotes the president as saying our intelligence agencies continue to assess all information but it could very well be that the crown prince had knowledge of this tragic event. Maybe he did and maybe he didn't. It's a bit like reality T.V. Here's the report, you decide.

As someone who's worked in the field collecting intelligence, is there anything more frustrating, more disappointing than a president who continues to doubt the validity and the veracity of your work?

BAER: Well, frankly, I've never seen a president dismiss facts so easily as Trump when it served his interests. It doesn't happen. When a president is presented with a piece of intelligence, he's got to go with it.

He accounts for it. Especially when the CIA's there's a high degree of confidence that Mohammed bin Salman ordered the murder of Khashoggi, that is -- they did -- they did not equivocate.

Look, did they have audio in the crown prince's office and hear him order this?

No, that's -- that never happens.

And you know, John, I'm sorry about going on this is one lie after another saying that the Iranians are committing terrorism. Yes, they committed terrorism in the '80s, but right now they're acting as a normal state power. We may not like what they're doing but they're not out murdering people. There's just no evidence for it, not like the Saudis.

And it's just as we've forgiven the Saudis for their participation in 9/11, the 9/11 Commission report said at some level in Saudi Arabia someone was -- knew this was coming down 9/11. The Saudis never cooperated and told us who and we just let that pass. You know, the famous 21 pages.

And so, again and again, we're giving them a green light to do what they want.

VAUSE: Yes. And you know, that was the Bush administration. Now here with Donald Trump giving them a green light again. With friends like these, I guess. Bob, thank you.

BAER: Thank you.


VAUSE: Another sell-off on Wall Street has spread to financial markets in the Asia-Pacific region. Here's the latest right now. It's red across the board, just down a little bit more a short time ago. The Dow dropped more than 550 points on Tuesday, wiping out all the gains for the year.

The big tech companies like Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Netflix have been a drag on the Nasdaq. Retailers including Target and Kohl's pulled the S&P lower.


VAUSE: Joining me now from Los Angeles, global business executive, Ryan Patel.

Ryan, good to see you.


VAUSE: OK. I'm about to play three short clips from three different songs; a little country, a little folk, a little bit of rock 'n' roll. At the end of that, I want you to choose which one describes where we're at right now with stocks.

OK, the first is a recent remake of a 1972 Tammy Wynette, hit. Here it is.


DAVID LEE MURPHY, SINGER AND SONGWRITER: Everything is going to be all right. Everything is going to be all right.


PATEL: Speechless.

VAUSE: Ok, next stop, we've got an oldie but a goldie. Here it is.


PAUL SIMON, SINGER-SONGWRITER AND ACTOR: Slip-sliding away, Slip- sliding away.


PATEL: Am I supposed to dance this on over?

VAUSE: Yes. This crew wrong. OK, finally, rock and roll, a classic from the late 80's.


MICHAEL STIPE, SINGER, R.E.M.: It's the end of the world as we know it.


VAUSE: Ok. So, answer is it A, "Everything's Going to Be All Right" by David Lee Murphy and Kenny Chesney?

Or, B, Paul Simon's "Slip Sliding Away"? Or, C, R.E.M.'s "It's the End of the World"?

Your answer is what and why?

PATEL: Can it be A and B, in between? It's definitely not C. And to see here to say -- I mean, I'm not going to sit here like many people say. Well, everything is going to be OK. I think there is going to be -- we saw that, we -- this was going to happen, this -- you know, correction.

And that -- you know these are multiple variables. You know and then, what's changed today, what's change from our conversation last month is expectations. So, what I mean by that is expectations of what's going to happen next year.

We know that the economy was going to be a little bit slow for the U.S. But now, these analysts are taking it back down. They are seeing now the actual cost for supply chains margins. And our baking in this little trade war that we are currently in.

And this is where this confidence -- investor confidence is starting today. I think, you know, we've been talking about for months but this announced reports for especially for the top Apple and Google and Facebook, this is where it hit.

VAUSE: OK. Have all the effect is because a lot here weighing stocks down. you mentioned a couple of issues, but there's raising interest rates, the impact of tariffs, the US-China trade war, there's a fading sugar rush from that debt fueled corporate tax cut looming into these -- you know, company profits some.

Does anything stand out in particular --


VAUSE: -- or all just more of a cumulative effect?

PATEL: You know, it's a cumulative effect. But you know, I'm going to say this and I will not going to say this lightly. This trade war piece is really I think is the kicker in this. You know, what has changed over the last 3-4 months as been, well, we're not going to get to this point, we're not going to really -- you know, there is going to be a deal.

Well, guess what?

Earnings calls saw the effects. You thought -- you know, multiple businesses you including target and these other places are down in earnings. And it is starting to -- this is where the -- and like I said, expectations are getting these investors scared.

And then, when they're looking at this, with the interest rates kind of increasing. They're looking were where I'm going to put my money now? Do I want to take it off and take the gains?

And any other second part is this realistic piece of getting -- I don't know where, what happened. 10 percent, 12 percent returns a year, I think we're spoiled over the last few years. You know -- you know, I think we're really, so, we should be targeting anywhere from four to five percent, you should be happy.

But, you know, we live in the age where these tech stocks were really kind of driving the revenue.

VAUSE: And with the tech stocks, this really stood out. CNN Business is reporting, "All told, the collective market value of Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Alphabet," which is Google. "Apple and Microsoft has declined by more than $1.1 trillion."

So, why in particular, this stocks being hit so high? And it was incredible, it was just a couple of weeks ago, we're talking about you know, Apple being this trillion dollar company and you're seeing no end to the rise.

PATEL: Yes, you know and it doesn't really -- I mean, they've raised -- they've rise so fast. That's why I'm not as worried when it comes to what they've lost. You know, recently, the $1 trillion is no joke that's a lot of -- a lot of money. But these tech stocks were at a pace that we've never seen at valuation wise.

So, yes. They've came down and you pick on Amazon for a second. Amazon also knows they're not -- you know, they're now -- you know, looking bit for media companies. They know they have to diversify their portfolio.

And that's where you're seeing some of these top brands starting to do and companies do so. You know, I don't see them sitting back and saying everything's OK, behind that.

VAUSE: You know, after claiming credit for the surging stock market, the U.S. president Donald Trump has taken responsibility for the recent declines -- just kidding.

Of course, he blames someone else. Here he is.


TRUMP: I think we're doing great. I mean, as a country, we're doing great. Our unemployment is at a record-low. You look at all of the different statistics, I think your tech stocks have some problems, but that'll come back.

But, no, I think we're going to do very well I'd like to see the Fed with a lower interest rate. I think the rate is too high. I think we have much more of a Fed problem than we have a problem with anyone else.


VAUSE: Fed problem. OK, finish this sentence. If the economy is doing great and interest rates are cut, the end result is...?

PATEL: Just joking. He didn't mean all that. VAUSE: Do we get hyperinflation?

PATEL: Well, yes. I mean, I think, you know, truthfully, I think he knows. I mean, I don't look that rhetoric. He knows that this is -- this is going to be a problem.

And going into the meeting in G20 with China's president they need to have some kind of positivity of some kind meeting. Because imagine that they do not come to terms or even come away with any kind of framework, this will cause the market to go -- even further spiral.

So, you know, the market needs some kind of positive news and that is where he's going to be able to get it right there. So, you know, I know he's saying this rhetoric. But you know you get in the back of his mind and his advisors telling him, how do you get this market back to where there's some confidence?

And it's not about just blaming the Fed. I mean the Fed -- you know, there is an argument that the Fed should have increased the rates earlier. So you know, now if you increase -- if you postpone it to cause even more struggles to the market.

VAUSE: And this isn't even going to be a G20 meeting; it's going to be the meeting between Trump and Xi. And the White House says at this point, this is the game plan. He's just going to go there and see what happens. Right.

PATEL: Right.

VAUSE: Thank you.

PATEL: Thanks for having me.

VAUSE: Good to see you, mate. Cheers.


VAUSE: Still to come here, they're trapped in a war they cannot escape. And now a new report says the children of Yemen are starving to death at an alarming rate.





VAUSE: The U.N. puts the number of verified civilian deaths from the war in Yemen at just under 7,000 but admits the actual number is certain to be much higher, like tens of thousands, if a new report from Save the Children is accurate. And the victims are children and babies, starving to death, 85,000 in all, under the age of 5, dying from hunger or disease since the Saudi-led coalition began an air offensive on Houthi rebels in 2015. Almost all of Yemen's support and food, fuel and relief supplies

arrive in the port city of Hudaydah. But a six-week blockade by Saudi forces last year, followed by ongoing fighting, has caused a huge drop in imports while armed checkpoints across the country have dramatically slowed distribution.

CNN's Clarissa Ward reports now on the suffering in Yemen and how the political fallout from the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi could bring pressure on Saudi Arabia to end its military campaign and begin peace talks. But first a warning: the images you're about to see are disturbing.


CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): By now it has become an all-too common sight. A young child starving slowly to death. Yet another victim of Yemen's ugly civil war.

For three years, the world has watched impotently as the war has dragged on. The conflict, which pits a Saudi-led coalition backed by the U.K. and U.S. against Iran-backed Houthi rebels, has brought 14 million people to the brink of famine, according to the U.N.

Saudi airstrikes have claimed the lives of thousands of civilians. In August, dozens of children were killed when their school bus was hit. The bomb that killed those kids was American, a laser-guided 500-pound munition designed by Lockheed Martin, sold to Saudi Arabia by the U.S. under a lucrative weapons deal.

But patience with Saudi Arabia's war may finally be wearing thin as disenchantment grows with the conflict's architect, crown prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Following the brutal murder of "Washington Post" columnist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, there have been growing cries in the U.S. Congress to hold the crown prince responsible.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), S.C.: They're an important ally but when it comes to the crown prince, he is irrational, he is unhinged and I think he has done a lot of damage to the relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia. And I have no intention of working with him ever again.


WARD (voice-over): But President Trump has been unwilling to blame the crown prince directly, despite a CIA conclusion that bin Salman personally ordered the journalist's killing, according to a senior U.S. official and a source familiar with the situation.

Trump released a startling statement Tuesday.

"It could very well be that the crown prince had knowledge of this tragic event. Maybe he did and maybe he didn't." President Trump has been reluctant to rein in an ally, who has been

personally cultivated by his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and jeopardize billions of dollars in weapons deals.

TRUMP: They have been a truly spectacular ally in terms of jobs and economic development and I also take that -- I'm president. I have to take a lot of things into consideration.


WARD (voice-over): A de-escalation in Yemen might help alleviate the pressure on the White House and on other Western nations with close ties to the kingdom. But it may well be a tall order.

WARD: The Saudis had agreed to reduce military operations in the main port city of Hudaydah, which has been the site of heavy fighting. But throughout Monday, continuous strikes were reported.

Then on Tuesday, Saudi Arabia said that, along with its main ally, the United Arab Emirates, it would be giving $500 million in aid, that potentially feeding up to 12 million Yemenis.

But if the fighting doesn't stop and the aid doesn't start to flow and the peace talks don't begin, that money will likely be just a drop in the bucket -- Clarissa Ward, CNN, London.


VAUSE: The director of Save the Children in Yemen, Tamer Kirolos, is with us now from the capital, Sanaa.

Tamer, thank you so much for joining us. We're about to show a photo from Save the Children. It's of a little boy. It's tough to look at and his name is Nassar (ph). He is 13 months old. He is tiny compared to other children his age. He suffered from malnutrition twice in recent months but he is alive.

But it's important to make the point here, of all the ways for children to die, starvation is especially painful and incredibly cruel.

TAMER KIROLOS, SAVE THE CHILDREN: Yes, definitely, John. I think one of the most disturbing things that we see right now, especially we're seeing more of it in the last few months with the escalation of the fighting, the price of fuel going up, the price of food, is that families are having to make very difficult decisions and have to spend more for resources than they have.

And unfortunately, we see that mothers are bringing in their children very, very late into the health facilities for treatment, they are people (ph) feeding centers for people who are severe acute malnutrition.

At that point obviously the child, the internal organs are starting to shut down. There is a lot of infections in the body because of the starvation and the malnutrition. And, unfortunately, in these kinds of situations, sometimes it is too late. And we can't save those children.

VAUSE: His name is Nassar. He is 13 months old. One of the biggest problems is the ongoing fighting around the port of Hudaydah. That's caused a dramatic reduction in the amount of humanitarian assistance that gets into the country.

That fighting continues despite both sides talking about these peace talks.

How many lives are at risk as operations at this port continue to be scaled back?

KIROLOS: Well, we have obviously right now up to maybe 40 million people who are extremely food insecure. That means that basically they don't know where their next meal is coming from and will have to rely on humanitarian aid that is coming through the port of Hudaydah.

Now if the port is disrupted, we can see that number increase by many more millions. And that will definitely be a huge issue in terms of how we can respond. But right now there are many obstacles to actually be working in Yemen. There is the fighting, whether it's the blockades, whether it's bureaucratic impediments being able to get staff in and around the country and supplies.

And we're really concerned that the number increases, this will actually go beyond our capacity to respond. And as we said, really pushing the country into the brink of famine.

VAUSE: This is a country where 22 million people need humanitarian assistance. Half that number need immediate assistance. About a million people have been infected with cholera, which has claimed 2,500 lives so far; 16 million people have no access to safe drinking water. This list goes on and on and on.

This is a country that is barely working.

How did you get to this 85,000 number, this exact death toll for a death which is entirely preventable for these kids?

KIROLOS: Well, it's based on an estimate. First, we took the numbers that look at the number of children who are probably not -- we are not reaching them in treating severe and acute malnutrition.

And then we looked at a few studies back in the '90s and '80s from other countries, where we looked at what percentage those children who were not treated would actually die because of nutritional starvation.

So this gives us a range of numbers; we've taken sort of the average of that. And that's where the 85,000 has come from. So, in a sense, it could even be a conservative estimate and the numbers could be much, much bigger.

VAUSE: And it's 85,000 deaths, which were entirely preventable. Tamer, thanks for being with us.

Still to come here, one of the deadliest attacks in the Afghan capital this year, dozens of religious scholars killed by a suicide bomber as they gathered to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad.



VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause with the headlines this hour. U.S. President Donald Trump says he'll remain a steadfast partner of Saudi Arabia, the strongest sign yet he'll take no real reaction against the kingdom, for the death of journalist, Jamal Khashoggi.

The CIA intelligence assessment found the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, ordered the killing, but Mr. Trump says maybe the Crown Prince knew about it, maybe he didn't.

Another down day on Wall Street has wiped out the U.S. stock markets' gains for the year. The Dow fell more than 550 points, so 2.2 percent. Retailers, including Target and Kohl's, break down the S&P. And tech stocks like Apple, Amazon, Facebook, sent the NASDAQ lower, as well.

Donald Trump apparently wanted the U.S. Justice Department to prosecute Hillary Clinton, but he was warned against it by the White House Counsel, saying it could lead to impeachment. The source tells CNN the President has also repeatedly asked for progress reports on investigations into his former presidential opponent.

Suicide bombing in Kabul has killed at least 50 people, one of the deadliest attacks in the Afghan capital this year. The bomber targeted religious scholars gathered to mark the birthday of the prophet Muhammad. There's been no claim for responsibility, but we get more details now from CNN's Nick Paton Walsh.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It does appear for the suicide bomber struck in the heart of this crowded wedding hall, one of a number of startlingly lavish buildings on the outskirts of Kabul (INAUDIBLE)

Someone almost say, but used for other purposes today, on the birth of the prophet, Muhammad Mawlid, a gathering of Afghan religious scholars, there, to celebrate that particular holy day and struck, as I say, by this suicide bomber.

A death toll that continues to rise and a number of injured there, as well. Certainly in the dozens, leaving many deeply concerned again at the security that is supposed to be at the heart of Afghan's capital city that has been repeatedly punctured in the past years or so, by a Taliban, the fear increasingly in the ascendance.

In fact, U.S. Chief of Staff, General Joseph Dunford, recently admitted that quite the Taliban were not losing, and it's clear from the U.S. inspector general's own count in territory that they control Afghanistan that since that (INAUDIBLE) began. They're doing the best, it seems, they have so far. The Afghan government controlling all, influencing only 55 percent of Afghanistan (INAUDIBLE) startling mix we have mass casualty like this, which shake people in what's supposed to be the safe bubble of a (INAUDIBLE) right down to their bones.

Some will perhaps suggest this may be the work of ISIS, the far more extreme element in the insurgency raging in Afghanistan. Some may say that, perhaps, given extremist part of the Islamist faith potentially view -- celebrating Prophet Muhammad is something that shouldn't necessarily be done, that that may be a motivation for this attack, it's unclear.

[00:35:14] The broader question, though, is exactly what this means for the peace process, which strangely under all the crowd of this record violence is underway, the U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, having met some Taliban officials in Qatar, in Doha, of late, to try to discuss a way forward.

The Taliban, though, 17 years waiting for this moment where it appears Donald Trump's promise to win at all costs isn't necessarily going to be followed through with an increase in troop numbers and also the Afghan government perhaps cease the need for some sort of political reconciliation here, as indeed does Washington.

But none of this backdrop, any consolation for the relatives of those who lost loved ones amongst the dozens dying on this shocking attack, again, today.

Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, London.


VAUSE: Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, is speaking exclusively to CNN, in the wake of growing scrutiny over what he know and when did he know that Russia was using the platform to spread misinformation and saw division, during the 2016 presidential election. Here's part of his conversation with CNN's Laurie Segall.


LAURIE SEGALL, CNN SENIOR TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT: Can Facebook, effectively, be a part of politics? And can you guarantee that you can control it?

MARK ZUCKERBERG, FOUNDER & CEO OF FACEBOOK: Well, I think it's a positive force, because it gives more people a voice, when it gives people who wouldn't have necessarily gotten a lot of coverage or wouldn't have been the -- you know, the candidate that the mainstream media would cover, it gives people a chance to connect with people in their communities.

And that's especially important for local politics, where the stuff doesn't get a lot of national attention.

SEGALL: But it's also given nation states a voice too, in our democratic process. ZUCKERBERG: And that part needs to be managed really carefully, but -- I mean --

SEGALL: I mean, you're confident that you guys can do that?

ZUCKERBERG: With the right support from governments and partnerships and a ton of investment on an ongoing basis, I think we can stay ahead of these sophisticated threats. We are literally investing billions of dollars a year now, in security, every year. We have a team of more than 30,000 people who work on security and content review.

And that alone is not enough to address these issues, but when we have good partnerships with governments and election commissions, and the rest of the industry, to share intelligence in what we've learned, I think what we've found over the last year, is that we can stay ahead across multiple countries around the world.

But, make no mistake, you know, these are adversaries who are going to continue evolving and they're going to keep on pushing, so we're not done here. We need to keep on making sure that we stay one step ahead.


VAUSE: Well, up next here, they won't be eating peas and carrots this Thanksgiving Day at the White House, peas and carrots and turkey, that is. Both received a presidential partner. That came without any controversy, back in a moment.


[00:40:00] VAUSE: Well, Gillette has spent more than 100 years innovating and improving shaving products, and that's stood the test of time in markets around the world. That's why we're featuring it as one of our five global brands, in this year's 100 Club. Here's Cyril Vanier.


CYRIL VANIER, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Spread out across this table, Greg McCoy takes in 117 years of shaving history.


VANIER: He's the archivist for Gillette, from the company's very first razor, to kits, provided to troops during both World Wars, and the Mach 3, first introduced 20 years ago, and still on the market today.

It was the constant need for a barber that first inspired King Gillette himself to create a personal safety razor back in 1901.

GARY COOMBE, PRESIDENT OF GILLETTE: It wasn't just a product innovation, it was a business model innovation.

VANIER: Gary Coombe is the President of Gillette. COOMBE: Until that point, the only way you could get a safe shave was go to the barber. So, the combination of product and business model innovation is a part of our DNA.

VANIER: Also part of Gillette's DNA is the very city in which it was founded, Boston, Massachusetts.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gillette is manufactured and based in South Boston. And we are sitting on the very site that King Gillette moved into in 1904.

VANIER: In 1971, the first twin blade Trac II razor hit the market, introducing what we now know today, as the shaving cartridge system.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As the first blade shaves your whisker, it lifts it out from your face, before it all jumps back, the second blade can shave it again, closer.

COOMBE: Over the years, it has taken different forms, but really what we want to do is move the experience of shaving forward. We're very confident that a deep understanding of consumers and great technology can deliver innovation to delight those consumers for many years to come.


VAUSE: And Cyril will host a half hour special featuring the stories of all five global brands in this year's 100 Club. You can see it Saturday, 2:30 a.m. on the East Coast, 7:30 a.m. in London, 3:30 p.m. in Hong Kong. Set your DVRs.

Well, the U.S. President, it seems, has gone soft on turkey, issuing two pardons ahead of this Thanksgiving Day. The birds, named peas and carrots, are the latest to receive a presidential pardon. No word on Donald Jr., Paul Manafort or Jared Kushner at this stage.

Peas won the White House poll to receive the official presidential pardon. He's the one you're seeing now. Mr. Trump joked that the contest was a fair and open election.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Even though peas and carrots have received a presidential pardon, I have warned them that House Democrats are likely to issue them both subpoenas.

Nonetheless, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I will be issuing both, peas and carrots, a presidential pardon.


VAUSE: Well, it's all aboard the gravy train from here on out for peas and carrots, they'll live out their days at Virginia Tech's Gobbler's Rest, where they'll be cared for by students.

Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause. Stay with us now. "WORLD SPORT" is up next. You're watching CNN.


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