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Week Of Ceremonies And Services To Honor President George H.W. Bush; President Trump Announces The U.S. Has Reached A Trade Agreement With China; Former FBI Director James Comey Agreed To Testify Before Congress Behind Closed Doors; Hundreds Of Text Messages Of The "Washington Post" Journalist's Released. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired December 2, 2018 - 14:00   ET



[14:00:16] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Hello. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington. We want to welcome our viewers here and around the world. Thanks very much for joining us.

We are following breaking news just in to CNN. The former FBI director James Comey is now set to testify in private to House Republicans this coming Friday about the FBI's actions leading up to the 2016 election despite his legal battle to force a public testimony. We are going to have details on how Comey plans to keep this process as transparent as possible. Stand by for that.

This news coming in as the nation is preparing for a week of celebration and mourning as we remember the life of President George H.W. Bush. Tomorrow, his body will lie in state here in Washington at the U.S. capitol. And the final goodbye will be Thursday in Texas.

Here's what former secretary of state James Baker, a close friend of the late President remembers about Bush's final days.


JAMES BAKER, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: He opened both eyes and said hey, bake, where are we going today? And I said well, we are going to heaven. He said, good. That's where I want to go.


BLITZER: We are going to have much more on the life and the legacy of George H.W. Bush in a few moments.

But first we begin with a CNN exclusive that sheds new lights on events leading up to journalist Jamal Khashoggi's murder at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. CNN has now obtained hundreds of text messages showing the "Washington Post" journalist's blunt criticism of the Saudi crown prince, Mohammad bin Salman and the plan to empower other critics of the Saudi regime. This comes as "the Washington Post" and the "Wall Street Journal" are now reporting that in the hours leading up to Khashoggi's murder, the crown prince exchange messages with the senior aide who allegedly oversaw the assassination.

CNN's Nina De Santos is joining us now live from London.

Nina, you are doing excellent reporting on this. Tell us a little bit more about your exclusive report.

NINA DE SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well. Thanks very much, Wolf. In public, Jamal Khashoggi was, of course, very critical of Mohammad bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, the new direction he was taking the country on, but he never went so far as to have an activist dissident activity to try and enact regime change back home as far as he knew in terms of his public persona. But these What's Up messages that we managed to get ahold of painted very different picture of someone who is, not just willing to engage with dissidents outside of Saudi Arabia, but also potentially to fund their activities as well. Take a look.


DE SANTOS (voice-over): These are words you won't have read in Jamal Khashoggi's columns. Instead, they are What's Up messages never seen before sent by Khashoggi in the year before his death. They lay there his disdain for Saudi Arabia's crown prince, saying quote "he is like a beast, like Pacman. The more victims he eats, the more he wants." In another, may God rid us and this nation of this predicament.

The words were exchanged with Omar Abdulaziz, a fellow critic in exile in Canada.

OMAR ABDULAZIZ, SAUDI DISSIDENT: He believes that MBS is the issue, is the problem. And someone has to tell him that, you know, you have to be stopped.

DE SANTOS: Talk like this is dangerous for those from a country as one of the world's worst record for human rights. And it wasn't just political views of the Paris trading, but plans to hold the Saudi state to account, creating an army of so-called cyber beast on social media, leveraging Khashoggi's name and the 340,000 strong twitter following of his confidant.

ABDULAZIZ: In the beginning, it was a bit difficult for us to have this kind of relationship. For me I was a dissident. And he was a guy who worked for the government for almost 35 years.

DE SANTOS: Khashoggi pledged funds and Abdulaziz bought the hardware, hundreds of phones, sim cards to send back home, enabling dissidents to avoid detection.

In one message, Abdulaziz writes, I sent you a brief idea about the work of the electronic army. Brilliant report, Khashoggi replies. I will try to sort out the money. We have to do something.

How much money did he say he would commit to the project?

ABDULAZIZ: He said 30,000.

DE SANTOS: $30,000 U.S.?


DE SANTOS: DE SANTOS: How dangerous is a project like that in Saudi Arabia?

ABDULAZIZ: You might be killed because of that or might be jailed. They might send someone to assassinate you.

DE SANTOS: Just like Khashoggi, Abdulaziz believes that he was also targeted after two Saudi emissaries were dispatched to Canada, he says, last May to coax him into the embassy there. He made these secret recordings of their meetings and shared them with CNN.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have come to you with a message from Mohammad bin Salman. I want you to be reassured. We don't have to approach someone from an official department or the state security. The Saudi Arabian embassy awaits you.

[14:05:09] DE SANTOS: When Abdulaziz refused, they got to him another way, hacking his phone. According to a lawsuit, Abdulaziz filed this week against the Israeli firm behind the spy ware. When the firs plans were discovered, Khashoggi panicked. God help us, he wrote.

How much of a target did that make both of you?

ABDULAZIZ: The hacking of my phone played a major role in what happened to Jamal. I'm really sorry to say that. We were trying to teach people about human rights, about freedom of speech. That's it. This is the only crime that we committed.


DE SANTOS: Well, Wolf, you have just seen is just a snippet of some of the material, 400 What's Up messages exchange between Khashoggi and Omar Abdulaziz and 10 hours of audio recordings that Abdulaziz made with those two Saudi emissaries over the course of five days that my producer, Michael Kapton (ph) and myself have managed to get our hands on.

We are still pouring through this large cache of material for more clues as to what may have caused Khashoggi to be targeted in the fashion that he was four months after this particular escapade.

But I should also point out that in a poignant twist here, Abdulaziz says that it was probably Khashoggi who ended up saving his life because it was the elder man who said only meet these individuals in public places and under no circumstances go into any Saudi official building.

We reached out to the Saudi Arabian government for comment on this. They have yet to get back to us. And also to the Israeli firm at the center of that lawsuit.

Back to you.

BLITZER: Excellent reporting, Nina. Thank you so much. Nina De Santos in London.

And we are going to back to her when she gets some more information. And despite all of the mounting evidence out there, top Trump officials continue to insist there is no direct evidence linking the crown prince to the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. I sat down with the secretary of state Mike Pompeo for an exclusive interview and asked him about the U.S. position of Khashoggi's death.


BLITZER: Do you believe the Saudi explanation that the crown prince, Mohammad bin Salman, did not know about the murder of Jamal Khashoggi?

MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Wolf, I have spoken about this a lot. I continue to work on this issue. President Trump and this administration sanctioned 17 people that we came to learn were connected to the murder, the heinous murder of Jamal Khashoggi. All across the United States government we continue to investigate and try to learn to make determinations about what happened. We will continue to hold those responsible accountable. We have been very, very clear about that sentence since the beginning.

We also, Wolf, and this is important, are doing everything we can to make sure that we get it right for America. That we keep the strategic relationship with the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and protect the American people. Those two things can both be done and we have done it very effectively.

BLITZER: Because you have said that and you are former CIA director, you understand how U.S. intelligence analysis works. You said there is no direct reporting connecting the crown prince to order the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. Can you confidently tell his four children that he was not involved in that order?

POMPEO: Obviously sitting in an unclassified setting, here's what I can say. I have read every piece of intelligence that is in the possession of the United States government. And when it is done, when you complete that analysis, there is no direct evidence linking him to the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. That is accuracy (ph), is an important statement and that is the statement that we are making publicly today.

BLITZER: So the bottom line is that the U.S. is going to continue to maintain the same relationship, strategic cooperation with Saudi Arabia right now irrespective of what may have happened?

POMPEO: Today, we are working with the Saudis in Afghanistan, we are working with Saudis to push back against the ayatollah community who killed hundreds of Americans, Wolf. And they are an enormous support to us. They are a relationship that has mattered for 70 years across Republican and Democratic administrations a-like. It remains an important relationship. And we are aiming to keep that relationship with the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.


BLITZER: All right, let's discuss. Joining me now is CNN global affairs analyst Max Boot and Samantha Vinograd, she is the former senior advisor to the national security adviser under President Obama. She is a CNN national security analyst.

Sam, what's your reaction to this CNN exclusive that we just heard from Nina De Santos that Jamal Khashoggi and a fellow Saudi critic were discussing the idea of an electronic army?

SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, it certainly fits with the reasoning that we - and the intelligence community had probably they pulled together as to why Mohammed bin Salman and his cohorts wanted to assassinate and planned an assassination of Jamal Khashoggi. They knew that he was actively working to expose the areas that they are falling down so hard on - human right, freedom of the press and other issues.

And obviously, if these What's Up messages they were hacked successfully, the crown prince had access to them and this added fuel to the fire for why they wanted him assassinated.

But wolf, you ask secretary of state Pompeo exactly the right question which is whether he believes Mohammed bin Salman was involved in the murder. And he perfected the art of the dodge. He did not answer your question and he said that there was no direct evidence linking the crown prince to the murder. He did not say whether he thought the crown prince was involved or not.

[14:10:39] BLITZER: You know, Max, "the Washington Post" is now reporting that Mohammed bin Salma, the crown prince sent messages to his adviser who oversaw the team that eventually killed Jamal Khashoggi in the hours before and after his death.

So, is it smart? Is it accurate? Is it wise for secretary Pompeo and secretary Mattis and the President and other senior administration officials to say there is no direct evidence linking the crown prince to the murder?

MAX BOOT, SENIOR FELLOW, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: This is just ridiculous, Wolf. Pompeo and Mattis and Trump are turning the United States into a laughingstock by denying what is so obvious. That this hit team of Saudi operatives, many of them members of the crown prince's own security detail, they could not have walked into a Saudi consulate in Istanbul and killed a high profile journalist without a sign off from the crown prince. And apparently, we have pretty direct reporting to indicate that is in fact the case. And yet, you heard the evasions from secretary Pompeo in talking to you.

Yesterday, I was at the Reagan defense forum in Los Angeles and Jim Mattis was there. And he again repeated his evasive reply saying there is no smoking gun.

Well, let me tell you. There is a lot of people in prison right now in this country on less evidence than we have against Mohammed bin Salman. So to assert that we can't link him to this crime is just ridiculous. And it indicates this kind of obsequious attitude toward Saudi Arabia that is not serve American interest well. BLITZER: Sam, it is interesting. "The Washington Post" has been

doing a lot of strong reporting on the Jamal Khashoggi murder. And he was a contributing columnist for "the Washington Post." In the latest "Washington Post" story, they are now saying that the CIA's assessment of whether or not the crown prince was directly involved in orchestrating the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. They say the killing - that their assessment now is what they call the CIA's assessment is a medium to high confidence even though originally the "Washington Post" was saying the CIA's assessment was of high confidence.

You studied U.S. intelligence analysis for a long time. What's the difference between analysis of high confidence and medium to high confidence?

VINOGRAD: Wolf, that's an excellent question. And the various confidence levels really relate to how strongly various members of the intelligence community believe that the assessment is accurate or not. And there are often times including with for example the Russian election interference document that was declassified where various parts of the intelligence community have different levels of comfort with the assessment that has put forward. There are sometimes discrepancies on that.

But I want to make an important point here. I high confidence assessment isn't the only kind of intelligence assessment that is used for a President to make a policy decision. We all know that when President Obama made the decision to go after Osama bin Laden, for example, that was not a high confidence assessment. He read the intelligence and he made a decision.

In this case, President Trump has made it very clear that whatever the intelligence says, Jamal Khashoggi's death will not be a reason for him to go after Mohammad bin Salman. So whether high confidence, medium confidence or anything else, Mohammed bin Salman is not going to be held accountable by the President.

BLITZER: You know, Max, the French President, Emmanuel Macron, he was at the G-20 in Argentina, he was overheard telling the Saudi crown prince, and I am quoting now, I am worried. And he later said you never listen to me. That was during what was described as a tense chat that they had, in formal chat at the G-20 summit. What do you make of that conversation?

BOOT: Well, I'm glad that President Macron was trying to read the crown prince the riot act. That's something that President Trump did not do. And I think that's a real failure of American leadership. I think the iconic image that comes out of the G-20 is not that meeting between Macron and the MBS. It was the meeting between Vladimir Putin and MBS earlier in the summit where they sat down next to each other. They exchanged high fives and smiles and laughs. They seemed to just be gloating over the fact that they have gotten away with their crimes.

And remember, it's only been a little more than a week since Vladimir Putin illegally attacked and seized Ukrainian ships in the black sea. It has been two months since MBS and the Saudis orchestrated the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. And they have gotten away of their crimes. And I think that sends a terrible message to the rest of the world which is that you can break international law, you can dismember and murder a journalist, you can attack a neighboring country and you get away with it. And Trump is not doing anything about it. He was, you know, just completely unwilling to send any kind of message on behalf of the United States and the world community to people like Putin and MBS when he had the opportunity in Buenos Aires.

[14:15:27] BLITZER: Max Boot and Samantha Vinograd, guys, thank you very much. We are going to stay on top of the story clearly.

And this just coming in to CNN right now. James Comey, the former FBI director tweeting just a little white ago, that he will, repeat, will testify before the U.S. Congress. Comey tweeting this morning quote "grateful for a fair hearing from judge. Hard to protect my rights without being in contempt, which I don't believe in. So we will sit in the dark but Republicans agree and free to talk when done and transcript released in 24 hours. This is the closest I can get to public testimony," end quote.

Let's go to our justice reporter Laura Jarrett who is doing reporting on all this who is joining us on the phone.

Laura, Comey's testimony will still go public. There will be a transcript although it won't happen in real time. Why was this such a sticking point?

LAURA JARRETT, CNN JUSTICE REPORTER (on the phone): Well that's right, Wolf. He came out swinging (ph) with a really aggressive move to try to quash the subpoena saying he didn't want to do it behind closed doors. He wanted to do it in public. And his main argument was one about where he calls selective leaking. He had looked at some of the past witnesses that have come before the House judiciary oversight committee and thought that the Republicans were playing political games with the Russia investigation and the Hillary Clinton email investigation, two subjects that they want to question him about. And said he said I'm happy to do it in public. I do not want to do it behind closed doors. But of course, he backed down today and really, Wolf, the writing was on the wall here in many ways when the judge appeared skeptical there in court, hearing arguments about this questioning whether he could even try to order the House to do this given certain sovereignty and unity issues, wolf.

BLITZER: The House judiciary committee chairman, Congressman Bob Goodlatte, he offered Comey those conditions on Wednesday. He wrote, and I'm quoting now, "I just offered to director Comey that the committees will publicly release the transcript of his testimony following the interview for our investigation. This ensures both transparency and access for the American people to all the facts.

So, will we get that transcript within 24 hours after the testimony and will there be any video released?

JARRETT: Well, that's what the House has promised. They said that they are willing to do it in 24-hours then Comey is banking on that. But remember Wolf, they have said this before in particular with the former FBI official that we heard so much about, Peter Strzok. He was a former counterintelligence agent that House investigators and of course the President has talked about at length given his role in both the Clinton email investigation and the Russia investigation. But we have yet to see the transcript from Strzok even though they promised that. And here if they do not release the transcript, I can imagine James Comey will be back in court asking for it.

BLITZER: And I take it there won't be any video. Will they redact that transcript if there is sensitive information?

JARRETT: They likely will. You are right, Wolf. We do not anticipate any video. But we also have the option as Comey floated, we may hear him talk about it. We may see him come out and say here's my version of events since he is clearly concerned about them casting a different light on his testimony. He said in the past that he thinks witnesses have been unable to contextualize what they are saying. So he may come out with his own statement, his own, you know, public explanation of what they testimony. But if they do redact portions, again, I can foresee Comey saying that's not OK. I'm going back to court.

BLITZER: Laura Jarrett, reporting for us. Laura, thank you very much. We will stay on top of this and we will see what happens this coming Friday.

Still ahead, remembering President George H.W. Bush. We are going to talk to a very close friend of the Bush family, the man who has been their pastor for more than a decade.


[14:23:13] BLITZER: Tomorrow, Air Force One will arrive in Texas to escort President George H. W. Bush's remains to the nation's capital. From there, President Bush will lie in state of the capitol rotunda until Wednesday morning. During that time, the public can pay their respects. There will be a memorial service here in Washington on Wednesday morning before President Bush's remains will return to Texas.

This morning, the former chief staff James Baker joined CNN to reflect on President Bush's life and the final moments they shared together.


JAMES BAKER, SERVED AS FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF AND SECRETARY OF STATE UNDER BUSH 41: When I showed up at 7:00 in the morning, one of the aides who assisted him physically said Mr. President, secretary Baker is here. And he opened both eyes and looked at me and said hey, bake, where are we going today? I said well, hefty (ph), I said we are going to heaven. He said good. That's where I want to go. Little did I know or did he know, of course, that by 10:00 that night, he would be in heaven.

I'm going to miss everything about him. And in fact, I do. I had a tough time yesterday. And I finally went out and did some fast walking in the park and got myself back together. But he is special. He used to refer to our relationship as one of big brother, little brother. And I told people that is a characterization that I take as quite an honor. I consider him to be my best friend. He has told people he considered me in the same way.


BLITZER: Reverend Russell J. Levenson Jr. has been the Bush family priest for than 11 years. He is the rector of the St. Martin's Episcopal Church. He was also with the Bush family at the end. He joining us now.

Reverend Levinson, our deepest, deepest condolences. Describe what those final days were like with America's 41st President.

[14:25:20] REV. RUSSELL J. LEVENSON JR., BUSH FAMILY PRIEST: Well, thank you and thanks for inviting me to be with you. And I really will say appreciate the outstanding coverage you all have given since the President's death. Some wonderful tributes and coverage.

It's been my privilege to be with this family for, you know, over a decade as their friend and pastor. And I just heard the piece that you played with Secretary Baker who is also a member here at St. Martin's. But it was a real blessing to be with the President. We were actually together and having a great conversation at the home the Sunday before thanksgiving. And then after the thanksgiving break as things began to decline, I had an opportunity to be with the President and members of his family. And then, of course, then at the end, as Secretary Baker just described to be with friends and family and the secretary and his wife as we prayed together, as we visited with one another and had those final moments with him.

BLITZER: So what specific memories, if I can ask, will stay with you in those last few days?

LEVENSON: Sure. Well, as always, I think he was the same person from beginning to end. And as people called or visited, he was so affable. His humor continued. His generosity and gratitude and everyone who called or spoke with him, he would thank them and as we know, ready with the words I love you. And those were things that flowed out of his mouth very naturally.

So remembering that he was a very natural presence that showed us, I think, a dignified gentle, graceful, generous death, but also a fateful death. So as Secretary Baker just said in that piece you ran, he knew where he was going. He was ready to go to heaven. And I think heaven was ready to receive him. He was really ready to be reunited with Barbara and with Robin and those he loves.

BLITZER: The Bush family has been the members of your congregation for decades. How is the congregation reacting?

LEVENSON: They have been members here for over 50 years. And today, as we worshipped this morning, I think the people here know them as members of the parish and they all feel as though they lost not just a leader of the free world and an historic figure, but a fellow parishioner and somebody who is a friend to them. Barbara and the President came to church every week. Week after week.

If their health didn't prevent it or if they were not traveling, you saw them here in church. And so, when they came, they came and visited with parishioners. They were very active in our ministries here. And so, they feel as if the members here also they lost one of their own, but really celebrate his faith. And so, we know this is a moment of celebration as the services that we will have this week will offer a reminder to us all that we are celebrating his faith.

BLITZER: He truly was a wonderful, wonderful man and we will all miss him, especially those of us who knew him. And you obviously knew him very, very well.

Reverend Russell J. Levenson Jr., thanks so much for your thoughts.

LEVENSON: Thank you, Wolf. God bless you.

BLITZER: Thank you.

And just ahead, former Trump advisor Roger Stone says under no circumstance when he testified against the President in the Russia investigation, the hard line he is taking. We will have details.


[14:33:14] BLITZER: Welcome back. I'm wolf Blitzer in Washington.

There has been a new twist now in the legal battle between the former FBI director James Comey and House Republicans. Today, Comey agreed to testify before Congress behind closed doors. Comey dropping his legal fight to force the testimony to be in public.

The new agreement is to have a private deposition before the house judiciary committee on Friday with a transcript to be released within 24 hours.

Joining us now to discuss this and more, two guests, Greg Brower is a former U.S. attorney, a former assistant director for the office of congressional affairs over at the FBI and Areva Martin is a CNN legal analyst and civil rights attorney.

Greg, first of all to you. What do you make of this agreement?

GREG BROWER, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: Well, I think this is Jim Comey's way of trying his best to not be completely uncooperative with the House request while at the same time ensuring that he is going to be able to make the process as transparent as possible.

Wolf, I will tell you that when I was an assistant director at the FBI last year, I sat through several of these interviews with this joint committee. And in my estimation, this was really nothing more and is nothing more than a political exercise that was not aimed at really uncovering the facts. That, of course, was done by a very comprehensive office of inspector general review that found no evidence of any kind of political motivation for the way the Clinton investigation was handled. And so, in Comey's eyes, this was just another effort at harassing the

FBI. And I think this is just the best he could do in terms of working out a reasonable compromise.

BLITZER: You know, Areva, Comey's tweet, his statement said he didn't want to be in contempt of court for refusing the subpoena. Was that his best option?

AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR: I think so, Wolf. When you look at what happened at that hearing, there really was no legal precedent for Comey asking the court to quash the subpoena. Witnesses don't get to determine whether their testimony is given in public or private.

So I think this was a good compromise for him. He wants whatever he said and that private deposition to be made public. He wanted this deposition, of this questioning to happen on national television.

I think what's interesting here is the House will be a very different House come January and the Democrats will be in-charge. So the question really looms as to, you know, what will happen with respect to any testimony that he gives in the upcoming week or so. Because we know the Democrats are not going to pursue this whole inquiry about how James Comey handled the Hillary Clinton emails. They are much more interested in investigating the Russia collusion, the claims of obstruction of justice for President Trump. So I don't suspect that nothing - I don't expect anything to happen with respect to this testimony even once it is provided by James Comey.

[14:36:01] BLITZER: Greg, Comey's deposition will cover what the Republicans want. The FBI's conduct, they want to review of the FBI's conduct surrounding the entire probe into Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election here in the United States as well as the probe of Hillary Clinton's emails. Is this fact finding from your perspective or is it simply politics?

BROWER: It is simply a political posturing at this point. As I mentioned, a very thorough, very professional investigation and report was done by the DOJ office of inspector general. That report found that with respect to Jim Comey, certain policies and protocols, DOJ policies and protocols were not followed in the way the Clinton investigation was handled. But nothing was of significance that it suggested that there was any evidence of any kind of political motivation for the decisions that Comey and the FBI made during that investigation.

So I think, you know, for the most part, most people in Washington view that OIG report as the final word on this. But at least for more month, it seems that House Republicans just can't get enough of this. They are going to try everything they can to make this an issue before the Democrats take over.

BLITZER: This Comey development, Areva, comes on a day when Roger Stone, the longtime Trump associate denied any contact with Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks which, as you know, released hacked Democratic emails during the 2016 campaign. The U.S. intelligence community says the Russian military intelligence agency, the GRU, hacked those emails and delivered them to WikiLeaks and to Guccifer 2.0. Stone also now refuses to testify, he says, against the President. Listen to this.


ROGER STONE, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN ADVISER: There is no circumstance under which I would testify against the President because I would have to bear false witness against him. I have to make things up. And I'm not going to do that. I had no discussion regarding a pardon. The only person I pushed for a pardon for is Marcus Garvey who I think should be pardoned posthumously. And I wrote the President about that.


STONE: I had no such discussions.


BLITZER: So what happens, Areva, if Stone ignores the subpoena from Robert Mueller?

MARTIN: Well, obviously, he can take the fifth if he believes that, you know, giving testimony may incriminate himself in any kind of criminal role-doing. He has the right to take the fifth. But he also can be held in contempt of court. He can actually be, you know, imprisoned for refusing to answer questions.

But what I find interesting, Wolf, about that statement, we heard other loyalists of Donald Trump say before they will not testify against Donald Trump. We heard that from Michael Cohen. That he will take a bullet for the President before testifying. And now look where we are? You know, six months after that statement was made with Michael Cohen. Now, you know, participated and cooperating with the special counsel.

So, you know, it remains to be seen whether Roger Stone will, you know, continue to take this kind of adamant stance that he has taken with respect to testifying with respect to any information he may have about the WikiLeaks and any coordination between the Trump campaign and Assange.

BLITZER: Yes. I suspect this investigation by Robert Mueller and his team as thorough as it has been. And we only know a little bit of what they have actually collected is only just beginning. We are only just beginning to learn some of these details. They will be coming out fairly soon. I'm sure of that.

Areva and Greg, guys, thank you very much for joining us.

Up next, a truce between the world's two largest economies. President Trump announces the U.S. has reached a trade agreement with China, at least a temporary, one of the -- that he is calling one of the largest deals ever made. We will see how it works out over the next few months. Stay with us.


[14:44:29] BLITZER: We are following what potentially could be a significant breakthrough in the escalating trade war between the United States and China. The leaders of the world's two largest economies reaching what is described as a temporary truce.

Here's what President Trump said on air force one as he returned to Washington from the G-20 summit in Argentina.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's an incredible deal. He goes down certainly if it happens, one of the largest deals ever made. And what I would be doing is holding back on tariffs. China will be opening up. China will be getting rid of tariffs here. And China right has major trade barriers. Major tariffs and also major non-tariff barriers which are brutal. China will be getting rid of many of them. And China will be buying massive amounts of product from us, including agricultural from the farmers. Tremendous amount of agricultural and other products. So it has been really something.


[14:45:31] BLITZER: Our global affairs correspondent Elise Labott is with me right now.

Elise, key words from the President, if it happens. It hasn't happened yet.


BLITZER: Yes. He is making it sound like it's already a done deal.

LABOTT: Well, that is right. I mean, look. They agreed to reduce the tariffs. And that is something, specifically for China, which was facing an upgrade in tariffs to 25 percent coming up. But at the same time, even if they are going to lift tariffs, those non-trade barriers that you were discussing, opening up the markets for the agriculture products, farmers, very big part of President Trump's base. But there is also issues like intellectual properties as you know of. China is a very close market to the U.S. So they may have a deal right now, but the devil is in the details and I think it remains to be seen whether it is going to really materialize in the way that President Trump hopes.

BLITZER: President Trump also spoke with President Xi about North Korea. Listen to what the President said.


TRUMP: And North Korea which we didn't get into, we have agreed that we will work very strongly on North Korea. I have a very good relationship with Kim Jong-un. And we will -- don't forget, we have been doing that for what, six, seven months -- not a long time. People have been working on that one for 80 years, right, from the beginning. And 20 years with the nuclear, you know. If you just take the nuclear. He is agreeing to work with me 100 percent on North Korea. That's a big thing, too. But I think we are going to do one fairly, you know, into January or February, I think. We are getting along very well. We have a good relationship.


BLITZER: He thinks there is going to be another summit with Kim Jong- un in January or February, which is pretty soon.

LABOTT: That's right. I mean, look. The question is, what would come out of the summit? I do think Kim Jong-un wants to have another meeting. Wants to keep this process going. And what President Trump is pointing to is no nuclear testing and improve tone. That is great. And then we are definitely a ways away from where we were last year when we were talking about fire and fury.

But in all this time, North Korea has not done anything to stop its nuclear program. It is continuing to develop that nuclear program. And President Trump, secretary Pompeo working it but unable to secure those steps for denuclearization that the U.S. is looking for. So I don't know if you are going have another summit, what the deliverables would be. But you would expect that Kim Jong-un would have to deliver something to sit down with the President and the President said he is in no rush to force that, too.

BLITZER: As Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, said to me, at least the North Koreans are not engaging in nuclear test for the time being. They haven't done that in a while and intercontinental ballistic tests either. So he sees that as significant.

LABOTT: Program is still developing though.

BLITZER: And encouraging. We will see.

LABOTT: That's right.

LABOTT: We will see if in fact, the summit takes place and where it will take place. They have got some various options that will be interesting.

All right, thanks very much, Elise Labott.

Still ahead, a week of ceremonies and services to honor President George H.W. Bush. We are going live to Houston for a preview of tributes to come.


[14:52:58] BLITZER: Much of this week will be spent honoring President George H. W. Bush both here in Washington as well as in Texas. Tomorrow, air force one will head to Houston to pick up his remains and bring them to the nation's capital where he will lie in state in the U.S. capitol rotunda. He will stay there through Wednesday morning before returning to Texas where he will be laid to rest.

CNN national correspondent Suzanne Malveaux is joining us now from Houston.

Suzanne, it's going to be a week filled with tributes to America's 41st President. What do we know so far?

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Of course, Wolf. It really starts here. I mean, it's a beautiful sunny day here in Houston, a day of reflection for many people here. And as you had mentioned, the body of the President will be moved from Ellington Field to Joint Base Andrews tomorrow.

It will begin the formal process at 4:45 and the arrival ceremony at the U.S. capitol rotunda where the President will lie in state. The public is going to be able to pay their respects to the 41st president from 7:30 in the evening Monday all the way through 8:45 Wednesday morning. Then it is going to 11:00 when they will have the memorial service, very formal memorial service for family and friends at the national cathedral.

And then as you had mentioned, of course, the President's body to be flown back here to Houston where he will lie in repose this Wednesday evening into Thursday morning. And then a second memorial service, this one at St. Martin's Episcopal Church. I should note that is where the later Barbara Bush was also memorialized before going on Thursday to be buried at the Presidential library in College Station, Texas where the President will be buried alongside the late Barbara Bush and of course their young child, their daughter who died at three, Robin -- Wolf.

BLITZER: What kind of stories -- tributes are you seeing from the folks there in Texas about the late president?

MALVEAUX: Well, you know, it's really amazing. And it's so consistent because it doesn't really matter if you talk to Democrats or Republicans. They both kind of say the same thing here. We have not found one person who could speak badly of this family or badly of this President. But they talk about someone who really brought this community together and shown a spotlight on Houston. Take a listen.


[14:55:09] NELSY LIPFORD, HOUSTON RESIDENT: I think they are very well-respected. I think he was a great statesman. I loved his socks. So I love seeing him on the news. I love seeing the Bush family. So I think he is going to be very missed here.

MOLLIE MERINO, HOUSTON RESIDENT: Maybe as Texas is obviously kind of a red state, but Houston, the city, is very vibrant with progressive ideas. But I think there is that sense of unity. So that we realize we are part of a larger picture here. It's not just about Houston, it is not Texas. And I think we really do rally behind the Bushes and what they stood for in terms of civility.


MALVEAUX: And wolf, it really is the idea behind that -- civility. What they stood for and what they symbolized and how they carried it out themselves. Not only the President, but the whole Bush family and something that Houston is very, very proud of. And they want to honor that in the days ahead, Wolf.

BLITZER: As they should. Suzanne Malveaux, thanks very much.

Still ahead, a CNN exclusive, we are going to look at text messages Jamal Khashoggi sent in the months leading up to his murder that reveals his fear and could shed new light on the mystery surrounding his death.