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CNN NEWSROOM

New Clues Leading to the Murder of Jamal Khashoggi; Remembering the Late President George H.W. Bush; Temporary Truce on U.S.-China Trade Wars; Secretary Acosta Made Sweetheart Deal to Sex Offender; Kareem Hunt Apologizes; Tornado Ourbreak in Illinois; Thousands of Aftershocks Still Shaking Alaska. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired December 2, 2018 - 17:00   ET

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


[17:00:00] (JOINED IN PROGRESS)

JAMES BAKER, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: And I said, well Heffy (ph), I think we're going to heaven. He said, good, that's where I want to go.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: And we'll have more on the life and legacy of George H.W. Bush in a moment.

But first, we start with a CNN exclusive. Exactly two months after "Washington Post" columnist Jamal Kashoggi was murdered in the Saudi consulate in Turkey, we are learning new details about the growing animosity between the journalist and the Saudi Crown Prince in the days and months leading up to Kashoggi's murder.

CNN has obtained hundreds of text messages Kashoggi sent before his death, criticizing Mohammed bin Salman, MBS, calling him, I'm quoting now, "a beast," and saying, "something needs to be done," even discussing the possibility of an electronic army of fellow critics.

These messages are coming to light as "The Washington Post" and "Wall Street Journal" report on messages the Crown Prince sent in the hours leading up to and after Kashoggi's murder to a senior aide who allegedly oversaw the assassination. CNN's Nina Dos Santos joins us now from London. So Nina, tell us more about your exclusive reporting.

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN EUOPE EDITOR: Thanks so much, Fredericka. Well, in the two months since Jamal Kashoggi tragically passed away after walking into that consulate in Istanbul, the question everybody's had is what exactly prompted him to become a target?

Was it his public pronouncements in his "Washington Post" columns that, yes, were critical of Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi Arabian Crown Prince, or was it something more organized and more sinister, potentially? This sheds light on that question.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DOS SANTOS (voice-over): These are words you won't have read in Jamal Kashoggi's columns. Instead, they're WhatsApp messages, never seen before, sent by Kashoggi in the year before his death. They lay bare his disdain for Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince, saying, "He's like a beast, like pac man. 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 believed that MBS is the issue, is the problem. And someone has to tell him that, you know, you have to be stopped.

DOS SANTOS (on camera): Talk like this is dangerous for those from a country with one of the world's worst records for human rights. And it wasn't just political views that the pair was trading but plans to hold the Saudi state to account, creating an army of so-called cyber bees on social media, leveraging Kashoggi's name and the 340,000 strong Twitter following of his confident.

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.

DOS SANTOS (voice-over): Kashoggi pledged funds and Abdulaziz bought the hardware, hundreds of foreign 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, Kashoggi replies. I will try to sort out the money. We have to do something."

(on camera): How much money did he originally say he would commit to the project?

ABDULAZIZ: He said 30,000.

DOS SANTOS (on camera): $30,000?

ABDULAZIZ: Yes.

DOS SANTOS (on camera): How dangerous is a project like that in Saudi Arabia?

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

DOS SANTOS (voice-over): Just like Kashoggi, 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.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We have come to you with a message from Mohammed 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.

(END AUDIO CLIP) DOS SANTOS (voice-over): 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 spyware. When the pair's plans were discovered, Kashoggi panicked. "God help us," he wrote.

(on camera): How much of a target did that make both of you?

ABDULAZZI: 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've committed.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

DOS SANTOS (on camera): Well, Fredricka, we've of course reached out to Saudi Arabia for comment. We haven't received a comment from them despite the deadline having passed now by a number of hours. Also, we then e-mailed the CEO of the Israeli spyware maker, the center of that lawsuit filed in Israel today and they haven't come back to us either.

[17:04:57] What I should point out is that they have acknowledged that in the past, they have worked with foreign governments to, as they say, help intercept terrorists and plots against them. What I might caution is that obviously in some autocratic regimes, they also view activity like this very much as plots against the state, which is why these revelations here in these text messages are extremely revealing as to why potentially Jamal Kashoggi was targeted two months ago, Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: All right, Nina dos Santos, thank you so much for bringing us that reporting. All right, joining me right now, CNN global affairs correspondent Elise Labott and CNN political commentator and "Washington Post" assistant editor, David Swerdlick. Good to see both of you.

All right, so Elise, you first, you know, what does it say, you know, that after all this reporting, the Secretary of State, the Defense Secretary, and the president all still deny a direct connection between the Crown Prince and Kashoggi's murder?

ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, you've heard the Secretary of State and even the president and Defense Secretary Mattis, Fred, say there's no smoking gun. But you know, lawmakers have been talking to us and CIA officials and analysts and all, and like there isn't any kind of smoking gun in things like this, Fred.

There's an assessment and basically, like, you don't -- one lawmaker I think said on the other day, you're not going to find an e-mail from the Crown Prince saying don't forget your bone saw. It's pretty clear what happened to Jamal Kashoggi. It's pretty clear that the Crown Prince knew at least there was some type of operation going on, whether he knew he was ordering him to be killed or whether he was, you know, ordering him to be detained and, you know, abducted back in some kind of rendition.

Clearly there was, you know, a tie between him and some of his close aides and I think that this administration is pretty much being pretty realpolitik, really pragmatic and saying listen, we're not going to unravel the relationship over this. We have important business with Saudi Arabia.

I think the thing though, Fred, is they don't have to unravel the relationship. They can make some kind of punitive measures, use the leverage that they have on Saudi Arabia for areas like Yemen or Qatar and still maintain the close relationship that they have with Saudi. This kind of false choice over all or nothing with Saudi Arabia I think is what's really the problem here.

WHITFIELD: Right. I mean, there have been so many, you know, who have had ties to the State Department who say that is what foreign policy is all about.

LABOTT: Exactly.

WHITFIELD: That's how you craft policy once you know everything or you assess, you know, all of the details and you try to craft something accordingly. So David, you know, listen to what the Secretary of State told Wolf Blitzer in this CNN exclusive.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Do you believe the Saudi explanation that the Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, did not know about the murder of Jamal Kashoggi?

MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Wolf, I've 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 Kashoggi. All across the United States government we continue to investigate to try and learn, to make determinations about what happened and will continue to hold those responsible accountable.

We've been very, very clear about that since literally the very 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've done it very effectively.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: So David, he is saying you can do these things simultaneous.

DAVID SWERDLICK, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. Good afternoon, Fred. So I want to focus in on something Secretary of State Pompeo said there, that the administration and the president have been very clear on this from the beginning. No, they haven't. The president at one point said he talked to the king and that he was reassured.

He has said over and over, as Elise was saying, that there's no smoking gun or words to that effect. And here's the thing, again, you are not going to find a forensic report where there's blood under the fingernails of the Crown Prince. The question is whether it's plausible or believable that this operation, which no one denies the operation took place, took place without at least the tacit support, if not, the direct support, of the Crown Prince.

And I think that's where people have criticized the president and the Secretary of State for not being more forthcoming on this. To your question about the foreign policy, President Trump made his first trip to Saudi Arabia and then he got out of the Iran deal, and he's given the Saudis carte blanche in Yemen. That's everything they wanted on their wish list. Why should they now worry about what President Trump thinks anymore?

WHITFIELD: Elise?

LABOTT: Well, listen, Secretary Pompeo, when this first happened, he did go out to Saudi Arabia and say to the Crown Prince, look, the future of you being the king is at stake, your future rule. He spoke to the king and said, listen, you really have to, you know, get your act together, whether it's about the issue of Jamal Kashoggi or his adventures, as David said, in Yemen.

[17:10:00] With the kidnapping of the Lebanese prime minister, about some of these detentions of -- there's a lot of concern about this young prince that I think that, you know, Congress is starting to articulate their prerogatives when they're, you know, trying to call for the end of U.S. support in Yemen.

So I think that there are a lot of concerns about Saudi in general, you know. The president is focusing on his relationship with Saudi Arabia, maybe to some extent Jared Kushner's relationship with Saudi Arabia. The U.S. relation with Saudi will, you know, withstand whether they have some punitive measures or not.

I think that Nina's excellent reporting shows that there was some actions by Jamal that the Crown Prince saw as a threat, and there were a lot of texts between him and his colleagues, but there were also texts, as we've seen, in media reports between the Crown Prince and his aides about Jamal. So as we're saying, there may not be a smoking gun. There's certainly evidence beyond a reasonable doubt I think at this point.

WHITFIELD: And so David, while, you know, the Secretary of State is saying, you know, that the administration can do things simultaneously. They can take into account, you know, the accusations or evidence and at the same time, you know, admonish or even punish even though, you know, critics are saying you're not really seeing the latter at this point.

There is a certain reticence. Is that not, you know, further emboldening, you know, the Crown Prince? I mean, you just look at his demeanor and it was just a snapshot, a moment with his kind of high five, you know, bromance kind of handshake with Vladimir Putin. But is there a feeling that, you know, the Crown Prince, you know, feels nearly untouchable? SWERDLICK: There has been reticence on the part of the

administration, and you see the Crown Prince at least in that clip that you're playing there now with President Putin, since that he is, you know, just out there on the world stage, untouched. Back to Elise's point from earlier, there is a fine line between realpolitik and doing what the administration is doing.

And I think you can, as the Secretary of State was saying, continue a relationship with the Saudis. We don't have to pull our ambassador from Saudi Arabia. We don't have to cut off ties. We don't have to stop arms deals or oil deals with them. But for the president to come out here and be so equivocal about what happened with Jamal Kashoggi, a "Washington Post" opinion columnist, I think sends the wrong message to the world.

WHITFIELD: Then there was another moment that was caught on video. Still many are trying to decipher the meaning behind this conversation between Emmanuel Macron of France and the Crown Prince. A couple of words were picked up, you know, here and there about Macron saying I'm worried and you never listen to me.

But we don't really know the context of the conversation and what's happening here. So Elise, you know, how can this, I guess, be studied whether be it the body language, what could they be talking about, if this is at all meaningful?

LABOTT: I think -- I mean, I can't know for sure, obviously. We don't know the context of that. But President Macron has been really reaching out to the Saudis, very concerned about how they're handling the situation. And I think it's about how the -- if I had to guess, I'd say it's about how the Crown Prince is comporting himself on the world stage.

This certainly is not somebody who as David said is kowtowing, is humbled. He's kind of -- in Arabic, there's a saying (inaudible) kabeer, which kind of means big man on campus. And he's certainly acting like (inaudible) kabeer right there. And I think that, you know, not just President Macron, but others in the region.

King Abdullah, others have tried to be counseling this young prince. He does seem to be at least feel that he's untouchable and I think it's a large part because when you heard the president say maybe he did, maybe he didn't, how will we know? Essentially he's saying, who cares?

WHITFIELD: And the David, you know, and they are speaking in English, Macron and MBS there and that Macron would be heard saying, you know, you never listen to me. What does that say about the potential leverage that the French president might have in any kind of negotiations or, you know, talk or admonishments, et cetera, with the Saudi Crown Prince?

SWERDLICK: Well --

WHITFIELD: Because that does infer that they've talked before. I mean, you never listen to me says there have been many conversations. SWERDLICK: Right. It suggests that President Macron is in the same

position that President Trump is in and that other world leaders, western leaders, are in. They have relations that they want to protect with Saudi Arabia for an assortment of reasons, but they also want to figure out a way to exert the kind of influence they want to.

As you say, Fred, I think it does suggest that President Macron, this wasn't his first time talking to the Crown Prince. But I think, again, in the absence of leadership from the United States, which used to set the tone of this, then you're going to have different responses from different western leaders.

[17:15:02] WHITFIELD: Right. And so this was on display because, I mean, if there was anything untoward or strange, they wouldn't want to have that kind of meeting right out in the open. They knew that there was a camera there, even if they weren't able -- you know, even if the audio doesn't pick up everything with clarity. They are out in the open. So there's intent there, too, perhaps, for these two leaders to say, look, we're talking as equals.

LABOTT: But Fred, I will say that the Germans have announced that they're not going to have arms sales to the Saudis. Other European leaders are following suit. There is a kind of world leverage that they have against Saudi Arabia. I think it remains to be seen how far it will go.

But this could be another area where President Trump, obviously the U.S. has the most leverage here. But this could be another area where if President Trump doesn't, you know, get on the right side of this, he could find himself alienated once again.

WHITFIELD: All right. Elise Labott, David Swerdlick, always a pleasure. Thank you.

SWERDLICK: Thanks, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right, tomorrow President George H.W. Bush will lie in state. The start of a nearly week-long tribute to the 41st president, a look at how he's being remembered in Washington and in his beloved state of Texas, coming up.

[17:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: This week will be spent honoring President George H.W. Bush, both in Washington and Texas. A short time ago, a presidential aircraft arrived in Texas to pick up the body of Mr. Bush and bring him back to the nation's capital where he will lie in state at the U.S. Capitol rotunda.

Starting tomorrow, after his body is returned to Texas, there will be a service in Houston. And then a train will take him to his final resting place. This morning, former Secretary of State and Chief of Staff James Baker joined CNN to reflect on Bush's life and the final moments that they shared together.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BAKER: When I showed up at 7:00 in the morning, one of the aides who assisted him physically said Mr. President, Secretary Baker's here, and he opened both eyes, he looked at me and said, hey, Bake, where are we going today? And I said, well, I said, well Heffy (ph), I think we're 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'd be in heaven.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Joining me right now, CNN national correspondent Suzanne Malveaux in Houston. So Suzanne, you know, lots of events in honor of America's 41st president. What does the week look like?

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well Fred, you actually mentioned about that presidential aircraft. It is at Ellington Field here in Houston. It did arrive about an hour or so ago and that was the same aircraft that carried President Trump to the G20 summit in Argentina. That is the same aircraft that will carry the casket, the body of course of President George H.W. Bush tomorrow morning about 11:30 in the morning, eastern time.

It will travel then, fly to Joint Base Andrews. And then the ceremonies, the official ceremonies will begin in earnest about 4:45 in the afternoon. That is where you're going to see at the U.S. Capitol rotunda both House and Senate members paying tribute where President Bush will lie in state.

And the public will be able to spend quite a bit of time paying their respects to the 41st president from 7:30 in the evening, tomorrow evening, to 8:45 in the morning on Wednesday. And then on Wednesday later, about 11:00 is when you'll see at the National Cathedral in remembrance involving friends and family of the president.

And then the president, the body will be returned here to the home state of Houston. This is where he will lie in repose Wednesday night through Thursday morning, and then another special ceremony, a memorial ceremony hosted at St. Martin's Episcopal Church. As you may recall Fred, this is the same place that memorialized the late First Lady, Barbara Bush. This is the family's place of worship.

And then there will be a brief train ride of the casket as it is delivered to the burial site, the presidential library in College Station, Texas. Fred, I have to tell you, there have been so many people that we have talked to today about the former president.

We had a chance to see a beautiful, larger than life statue here in the park where we are, where they laid down flowers, teddy bears, and those very colorful assortment of socks that the president simply loved. And we had a chance to get a sense of what people here feel about the first family. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PIERO TALIENTE, HOUSTON RESIDENT: It's just sad to see him go, and he will be missed. We'll feel it here in Houston. We just wish everybody well.

MALVEAUX: And how will you feel it here in Houston? I know that he was really active in the community with the sports teams and both of them really as a fixture in the community.

TALIENTE: It's going to be very somber for the next year or so.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: Fred, so many people told us about how there was such a great sense of respect that they had for the president as well as his family here. He was a big booster of the city. He really put Houston on the map. A big sports fan as well. The seventh district, congressional district, that he represent, now turning blue, but people don't seem to care. They don't seem to matter. They really believe that he was a very good, decent person who really crossed the kind of partisanship and the divide that we see today, Fred.

WHITFIELD: Yes, he had a big reach. All right, Suzanne Malveaux, thank you so much in Houston.

Meantime, stories and tributes are still pouring in for President George H.W. Bush. This morning, former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger told CNN about the time Bush 41 tried to teach him how to sled. So last hour, I asked the president's son, Neil, about the incident.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

[17:24:59] WHITFIELD: We've been able to hear all kinds of stories from people in the last, you know, 24 hours including Arnold Schwarzenegger, you know, who spent a lot of time, you know, with your family. And he actually showed this very humorous story and I'd like you to listen to it and hear what you have to say.

NEIL BUSH, SON OF PRESIDENT GEORGE H.W. BUSH: Yes, he did. About the sled?

WHITFIELD: Yes.

BUSH: OK.

WHITFIELD: Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, FORMER CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR: But it was one day that it was snowing up there and we had this toboggan and he was trying to teach me how to slide that because I was only used to sledding down with Austrian sleds, which you direct kind of with your feet.

And so we went down totally out of control. And of course, we crashed into Barbara Bush who broke her leg then after that. So that's why he sent me this picture. I said, we had really a great time up there at Camp David. And like I said, it was a great learning experience, hanging out around him. He was kind of like a mentor and kind of like a father figure at the same time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: So it's touching in the end, but, you know, about the whole notion of the crash and your mom breaking her leg. So, is he saying that he led to the breaking of your mom's leg, or did she break her leg in a different way because there are different stories out there? What do you recall?

BUSH: Well, she broke the leg running into it -- I wasn't there, but she broke the leg running into a tree and she -- anyway, so yes, I love hearing that Arnold Schwarzenegger accent. He's such a -- he has been good friend.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: Everybody is sharing so many lovely stories about their interaction with Neil's dad, President George H.W. Bush.

All right. Still ahead, are we seeing a truce between the world's two largest economies? President Trump says he's holding off new tariffs on Chinese products. Details coming up.

[17:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: No new U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods, at least for now in a so-called 90-day cease-fire. That's what came out of a two-hour dinner between President Donald Trump and Chinese president, Xi Jinping, on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Argentina.

The U.S. was scheduled to more than double tariffs on Chinese imports starting January 1st, but the White House announced it would hold off as both sides work toward a trade deal. CNN's Sara Westwood joining us now from the White House. So Sara, President Trump is back in Washington now. What more can you tell us about this latest development with China?

SARA WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well Fred, after that lengthy dinner meeting in Argentina, President Trump and President Xi are both signaling optimism that they could hit the pause button on escalating their trade war further. Trump is saying he'll delay raising tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.

Those goods of course are already subject to 10 percent tariffs, but the president won't be raising those to 25 percent come January 1st because he wants to give some breathing room for his administration to keep negotiating with China.

And in exchange, Xi has said that China will agree to increase substantially its purchase of agricultural products, energy goods, other American goods, all aimed at reducing that trade imbalance that President Trump has spent years railing against. Take a listen to what the president had to say about this agreement on Air Force One last night.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's an incredible deal. It goes down certainly -- if it happens, it goes down as one of the largest deals ever made. And what I'd be doing is holding back on tariffs. China will be opening up. China will be getting rid of tariffs. China right now has major trade barriers. They have 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 our farmers -- tremendous amount of agricultural and other products. So it's been really something.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

WESTWOOD: Of course, the issues that prompted the president to impose tariffs against Chinese goods in the first place, those remain unresolved, like intellectual property theft, China's industrial subsidies. And although both leaders are touting this as a breakthrough, neither side, Fred, is touching existing tariffs.

WHITFIELD: And Sara, Trump also says he'll force a six-month deadline for Congress to replace NAFTA after he signed a new trade deal with Mexico and Canada. What more can you say about that?

WESTWOOD: That's right, Fred. Once President Trump officially notifies Mexico and Canada that he plans to withdraw from NAFTA, something Trump says he plans to do soon, then the U.S. will not be party to NAFTA six months from that point.

So that sets Congress up with a narrow six-month window to either approve the USMCA, that's President Trump's replacement trade deal for NAFTA or risk leaving the U.S. without any kind of trade pact that binds the U.S. to Mexico and Canada.

And so he's trying to use the threat of having no deal, Fred, to pressure some of those lawmakers who are on the fence into supporting his proposed replacement deal.

WHITFIELD: All right. Sara Westwood at the White House. Thanks so much.

All right, and don't miss a CNN special presentation as we delve into some of the dark truths that won some of the country's most contentious presidential races. Watch back-to-back episodes of "Race for the White House" tonight at 10:00 eastern time.

[17:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: When he was a U.S. attorney in Florida, labor secretary Alexander Acosta gave accused serial pedophile and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein the deal of a lifetime. That's according to a report in "The Miami Herald." Epstein is known as a wealthy investor who has counted President Trump and former President Bill Clinton among his friends. Rene Marsh has the story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) MICHAEL FISTEN, INVESTIGATOR: He's supposed to be protecting these victims and he was protecting Jeffrey Epstein, a pedophile.

RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: According to an extensive investigation by "The Miami Herald," accused serial pedophile and multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein got a sweetheart deal thanks to President Trump's Labor Secretary Alex Acosta.

The paper found that as a U.S. attorney in Florida in 2007, Acosta and another federal prosecutor struck a plea deal with Epstein's legal team just as the FBI was investigating years of alleged sex crimes.

[17:40:01] "The Herald" reports Epstein's accusations include at least 36 underage victims, a steady stream of girls 16 years and younger, in and out of his sprawling Palm Beach mansion and allegations he paid teens to recruit more young victims.

Michael Fisten is a private investigator for the legal team representing some of the victims.

FISTEN: I read the indictment. There was multiple allegations of sex trafficking, trafficking girls across lines, using his airplane to traffic girls, witness intimidation, and all the sudden it disappeared.

MARSH: According to "The Miami Herald," the agreement between Acosta and Epstein's legal team allowed the defense to dictate the terms, shut down the FBI investigation into additional victims and accomplices, granted immunity to potential co-conspirators, and it was kept secret from the victims until it was approved. Now victims have filed a civil suit calling the plea deal Acosta arranged illegal.

Is it illegal or just improper?

LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It could be both. It certainly is improper.

MARSH: As for Epstein, he pleaded guilty to just two state prostitution charges and served 13 months in county jail. He registered as a sex offender and paid restitution to his victims. Secretary Acosta addressed the plea deal in his confirmation hearing last year.

ALEX ACOSTA, U.S. LABOR SECRETARY: Based on the evidence, professionals within a prosecutor's office decide that a plea that guarantees that someone goes to jail, that guarantees that someone register generally, and that guarantees other outcomes is a good thing.

COATES: For a victim to be kept in the dark entirely, in conjunction with an FBI probe being shut down and a favorable plea according to reporting that says he's able to have work release privileges and be able to leave his jail cell and not have publicity in a large extent for these cases, that's what's so shocking about this.

MARSH: "The Herald" interviewed several victims, including Virginia Roberts, who was employed at President Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort, which is near Epstein's mansion, when she was recruited.

VIRGINIA ROBERTS, ALLEGED EPSTEIN VICTIM: The training started immediately. I mean, it was everything down to how to be quiet, be subservient, give Jeffrey what he wants. And, you know, before you know it, I'm being lent out to politicians and to academics.

MARSH: Rene Marsh, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: And the NFL cracking down on star running back Kareem Hunt after an assault is caught on tape. Find out what he and the league are saying about the incident, next.

[17:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: Welcome back. A former star NFL player who was cut from his team after video surfaced appearing to show him push and kick a woman is apologizing today. In an interview with ESPN, Kareem Hunt now says he regrets the incident that cost him his job with the Kansas City Chiefs and possibly his career. Here's CNN's Polo Sandoval.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A plea for forgiveness from Kareem Hunt. In a Sunday interview with ESPN, the now former Kansas City Chiefs running back admitted he was wrong in pushing and kicking a woman in February.

KAREEM HUNT, RUNNING BACK, KANSAS CITY CHIEFS: I made a poor decision, and I'm willing to take full responsibility of any actions that come, you know, from this point on.

SANDOVAL: First obtained by TMZ, this video shows what looks like a short conversation in a hallway and quickly escalated into a shoving match between Hunt and the woman. Several people, men and women, attempted to break up the argument, but the woman is seen falling to the ground more than once.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are two women that have bruises and cuts all over them.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): Hunt is also seen kicking her while she's on the ground. Hunt also seen in this Cleveland police body camera footage now shirtless, being questioned by police. No charges were filed following the incident according to NFL.com.

LISA SALTERS, REPORTER, ESPN: You kicking a woman, period. How do you explain that?

HUNT: You can't really explain it, you know. The video shows it. I was in the wrong and I'm not that type of person. I'm really disappointed and embarrassed for myself and for my family and I really am taking actions to learn from this.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): In a revealing moment, Hunt told ESPN he was never approached by the NFL to talk about what happened.

SALTERS: Has the NFL ever questioned you about that incident?

HUNT: No, they have not.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): On Sunday, the NFL released a statement saying their investigation started immediately after the February incident. The league wrote, in part, "The NFL's ongoing investigation will include further attempts to speak to the complainants involved in the incident. It will include a review of the new information that was made public on Friday, which was not available to the NFL previously, as well as further conversations with all parties involved in the incident."

After Friday's release of the footage, the NFL placed Hunt on the commissioner's exempt list. It means he couldn't practice, play, or attend games. Right after that, the Chiefs cut hunt from the team, saying he was not truthful with them in conversations about the incident earlier in the year. Hunt hopes for another chance with the NFL but made clear in his interview he's unsure if that will ever happen. Polo Sandoval, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

[17:50:00] WHITFIELD: Up next, more than a thousand aftershocks after -- just days after a massive 7.0 magnitude earthquake strikes Alaska. The latest on the ground as people there brace for more tremors.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: Illinois's governor says it's a miracle that no one was killed after a rare outbreak of 22 tornadoes was reported throughout the state on Saturday. Today, officials were out surveying the damage. Many families lost everything. Homes are destroyed and many people are still without power. Eighteen people suffered minor injuries and three people are hospitalized with serious injuries, but they are expected to recover.

[17:55:06] And a tornado was just confirmed in southern Georgia near the Florida border. It hit Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base this afternoon causing some damage. That's according to an officer at the scene. We are still awaiting reports of any injuries and details on the extent of damages.

Parts of Alaska still shaking two days after a major earthquake hit the state. The 7.0 magnitude earthquake rattled buildings and sent people running for cover. Since then, scientists have recorded more than 1,000 aftershocks in and around Anchorage. CNN correspondent Stephanie Elam is in Mirror Lake, Alaska near Anchorage. So Stephanie, you know, how are Alaskans holding up with all of these aftershocks?

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fredricka, they're hearty folks, but to give you an idea of what it has been like here in Alaska, we are actually -- we moved a little bit to Eagle River. Take a look at this glass. This is some of the fallout that we've seen from the earthquake. And you've seen signs of some of the freeways that had been affected.

And also, if you want to really see what it looks like, you have to go inside of people's homes to see what the mess is they are dealing with there.

(voice-over): Road after road.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Very major damage right at that area

ELAM (voice-over): Torn apart, Alaska, battered by a 7.0 earthquake. The shaking, the worst here since 1964. Nick Coleman is checking his vacationing neighbor's place for the first time since the quake hit. What he finds is a home wrecked by mother nature. Upstairs, cabinets knocked to the floor. Heavy dressers piled in the bedroom. A bathroom full of glass, the shower door pulled from the wall.

NICK KUHLMANN, ANCHORAGE RESIDENT: It's pretty devastating especially it seems like the higher up you go in the building --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Freaking earthquake.

ELAM (voice-over): From Anchorage to Wasilla, and the home of Sarah Palin. Residents reeling from loss but thankful that does not include lives. Shocking, they say, because of scenes like this. Road crews right now working 40 sites similar to this.

(on camera): This is the most traveled artery in Alaska. And take a look at what has happen to the roadway because of the earthquake. It looks like a massive machine has plowed the roadway. So because of that, crews are working around the clock to get this roadway open. They're saying within days, but there is a threat.

Take a look at this. See this crack right here? We have to stay on this side of it. And that is because everything on the other side of it is liable to give way with all of the aftershocks that continue to hit the anchorage area.

(voice-over): According to the Alaska Earthquake Center, more than 650 aftershocks so far, around 20 of those at magnitude 4 or higher.

DIANE COLEMAN, ANCHORAGE RESIDENT: I didn't want to go to sleep last night. I'm afraid it was going to happen again.

ELAM (voice-over): Diane and Bill Coleman, like so many here still on edge after riding out the quake in their Eagle River home of 47 years.

BILL COLEMAN, ANCHORAGE RESIDENT: It was just a tremendous loud sound.

ELAM (voice-over): Even with their possessions crashing down around them, they never heard a sound over the roar of the quake. Now, like so many, they repair what they can and search for memories that survived.

B.COLEMAN: We had to put some lights up to make it a little brighter and cheery in here. It makes it easier to work. Otherwise, you cry. ELAM (voice-over): Still, they know that nothing lost here outweighs

what really matters.

D. COLEMAN: Wow, you know, that was quite something we survived.

ELAM (on camera): It really is quite amazing that no one was seriously injured and that no one lost their life in this earthquake. A 7.0 is nothing to sneeze at. But when you walk around the town, you drive around, you can see Fred, that a lot of the restaurants still closed.

Some of the shops are still closed. There is a lot of broken glass around, things turned, knocked about, people trying to get their homes together as well as these businesses. So the effects still being felt here, but the roadways, well, they're working on them around the clock. It's amazing how much progress they've made. That one road that we showed you, they are hoping to have that open by Tuesday.

WHITFIELD: Oh wow. So Stephanie, a thousand aftershocks. That's a lot, you know, but how significant are these aftershocks? Do scientists say how long, you know, these aftershocks will go on?

ELAM: We could be feeling aftershocks here or the folks here in Alaska could be feeling aftershocks for days, weeks and months even, after a quake of this size. Now, not all of them will be ones that you can actually feel but some of them, and we've been here now for a few days, are note worthy.

You do feel them. They do shake you up. Obviously, we're Californians. We're used to it, too. But still, you have that feeling where you get -- it is unsettling. And for the people that are here, and especially since it is dark so much of the time here, it is that unsettling feeling in tht darkness to have that rattle under your house. So I'm wondering if it's going to be something else as big, which it is not expected that there will be another earthquake as sizable but there could be some sizeable aftershocks after this.

WHITFIELD: Well, (inaudible) given the lack of, you know, were the shorter days as you just mentioned, that gives, you know, the folks who are working trying to repair those roads, you know, a much narrower window in which to work. That's pretty tricky.

[18:00:08] ELAM: Yes, they just keep working around the clock. They --