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Top Democrats Raise Prospect of Impeachment, Jail Time for Trump; Pence's Chief of Staff to Leave White House, Won't Replace Kelly; Democrats, GOP Disagree on Whether Trump Will Be Indicted; Dozens of Democrats Weighing Whether to Launch 2020 Bids; U.S. Senators Were Briefed By The CIA On Their Assessment Of "Washington Post" Journalist Jamal Khashoggi's Killing; Robert de Niro Returns To "Saturday Night Live"; Presentation of 2018 CNN Hero Of the Year; North Korea's Kim Jong-Un Has Moved On. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired December 9, 2018 - 19:00   ET

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


[19:00:00] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: -- President of the United States tonight as we get a clearer look now at the investigation that the White House wants us all to believe is just a witch-hunt.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JERRY NADLER (D), NEW YORK: There's nothing in the constitution that prohibits the President from being indicted. This country originated in a rebellion against the English king. We didn't -- we did not seek to create another king. Nobody, not the President, not anybody else, can be above the law.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: If someone has violated the law, the application of the law should be applied to them like it would to any other citizen in this country. And obviously, if you're in a position of great authority like the presidency, that would be the case.

I don't know if it's going to reach that point or not. We have to wait and see, but my decision on that or my position on that will not be a political decision. It will be the fact that we are a nation of laws, and no one in this country, no matter who you are, is above it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: So what is the truth?

According to federal prosecutors -- it's something you wouldn't want to believe about someone who gets to sit in the Oval Office -- that Trump, as a candidate, personally directed an illegal scheme to manipulate the election through hush money payments to a porn star and a Playboy model, and that his advisers had more contact with Russia than he has ever acknowledged.

CNN's Sarah Westwood is at the White House tonight.

Sarah, in a little over three weeks, the new Congress convenes with Democrats in charge of the House. And the big question is, how are they going to handle these new revelations? SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, Ana, the incoming

Democratic chairman of multiple committees in both the House and the Senate had already signaled their intention to investigate all kinds of areas they felt their GOP colleagues had ignored -- from the President's tax returns to his overseas business dealings.

So these latest filings could expose the President to even more severe legal and political jeopardy because prosecutors tie the President directly to this alleged campaign finance violations from his former attorney, Michael Cohen, linking him to payments that he initially denied knowledge of.

Now, Congressman Jerry Nadler, the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, said if it was proven definitely that the President was linked to those payments, it would be an impeachable offense. Although he noted that whether that would rise to the level of impeachment politically would be another question.

But others have acknowledged the particular significance of this latest disclosure. For example, Democratic Senator Chris Murphy said the country should be worried about the direction this is heading. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D), CONNECTICUT: We certainly have moved into a new phase. The President has now stepped into the same territory that ultimately led to President Nixon resigning the office.

President Nixon was an unindicted co-conspirator. It's certainly a different set of facts, but this investigation is now starting to put the President in serious legal crosshairs, and he should be worried. And the whole country should be worried.

Listen, nobody is rooting for the President to go down in this manner. This isn't good for democracy, but this investigation may ultimately lead to Congress taking action.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WESTWOOD: Now, the President had initially touted these filings as a win for him because they don't contain any evidence linking him and his campaign to Russian collusion as the White House seeks to distance the President from revelations about the conduct of his former associates, Ana.

CABRERA: Sarah, we are also getting word regarding the White House Chief of Staff position. Give us the latest.

WESTWOOD: That's right. The President announced yesterday that Chief of Staff John Kelly will be leaving the White House before the end of the year, ending months of speculation about whether Kelly was eyeing the exits.

Now, Nick Ayers, the Chief of Staff to Vice President Mike Pence, was the front-runner for that position. But Ayers and Trump could not agree on a time frame for Ayers accepting that position.

Our colleague, Kaitlan Collins, reports that Ayers wanted to take the position on an interim basis. He wanted to leave sometime in the spring. And President Trump wanted a two-year commitment from Ayers.

Our colleague, Jamie Gangel, reports that there was more internal resistance to Ayers from other members of the senior staff that went beyond Ayers' reluctance to take the job for the long haul, and Ayers will now be leaving the administration entirely.

So, Ana, we're looking at vacancies in the Chief of Staff position in both the White House and the Vice President's office.

CABRERA: So do we know who the new potential contenders are?

WESTWOOD: Ana, I'm told that the President is considering four names to replace Chief of Staff John Kelly. One of them may be Congressman Mark Meadows. He is particularly close to the President. They speak frequently.

And senior White House aides were taking the temperature of Trump's allies this morning about whether Meadows may be a good fit for that job. And, Ana, I'm told that the President is looking to make a decision on this by the end of the year.

CABRERA: All right, Sarah Westwood at the White House tonight. Thank you.

I want to bring in our panel now -- CNN political analyst and "New York Times" politics editor Patrick Healy; an attorney and former Mueller colleague, Kristan Peters-Hamlin.

Kristan, I want to get back to the Russia probe. Thank you both for being with us. You have worked with Mueller as we just mentioned. Do you see him laying out some kind of roadmap here for us?

[19:05:02] KRISTAN PETERS-HAMLIN, MANAGING PARTNER, PETERS HAMLIN LLC: In terms of where the last --

CABRERA: Where his investigation is heading given the new filings we just saw on Friday and even earlier in the week with Flynn?

PETERS-HAMLIN: Well, quite frankly, I actually thought this was the way it was going for a long time.

CABRERA: Yes.

PETERS-HAMLIN: I think he has been laying this out. For those of us who are former prosecutors, it looked like there was going to be FEC violations that were possibly going to be brought against the President.

There were going to be obstruction charges potentially brought. Certainly, the conspiracy to defraud issues are front and center. And you could even tell at the outset from the prosecutors that he chose to be part of this team that they were people that had significant, deep expertise in money laundering. And --

CABRERA: Although the President likes to point out that some of them have given money to Democrats.

PETERS-HAMLIN: Well, their -- you know, Bob Mueller is a Republican, and he is leading the charge. And Rod Rosenstein has been supervising, and he is Republican as well.

CABRERA: The filings that we saw, Patrick, on Friday directly implicate the President in at least one of those filings, the one involving Michael Cohen and the campaign finance violations. And yet, the President, here this weekend, seems to be taking a victory lap.

PATRICK HEALY, POLITICS EDITOR, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Yes. He is sending a message, again, to the base that fundamentally the storyline, as he sees it on collusion with Russia and obstruction of justice, hasn't changed. And as we know with this president, especially on Twitter, he likes to make claims that are false or either don't have any backup.

But it's very important to him to come out of a day on Friday where you have major filings with both Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort for the President to basically be able to say, well, OK, there's no smoking gun here on anything so I'm cleared.

That really is not the case. But what is important here is, as you pointed out, Ana, the President has now been brought in and implicated directly in alleged crimes in a way that really has not happened before.

And what he is being told, at least in terms of inside the White House, is that, again, yes, you're being pulled into the -- you know, the Cohen money situation with the porn star, with the Playboy model.

And yet it seems unlikely -- like, you listen to what Jerry Nadler said on CNN today -- that the Congress would take on an impeachment fight over, basically, money payments that were made when you were a candidate to sort of mask your private life.

So I think you're seeing, you know, a real intense spotlight now on the President more. And then I think, internally, what he's hearing from his people is that it's not that you're off the hook, but that the information that's coming out now isn't, you know, as grave as maybe Democrats might say.

CABRERA: Let's dig into how Congress is reacting and where they might take this. Because on one hand, you have Congressman Adam Schiff, a Democrat who's going to be chairing one of these key committees, saying he is seeing potential jail time for Trump.

And then, on the other hand, you have Senator Rand Paul, a Republican, saying he completely disagrees. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: My take away is there's a very real prospect that on the day Donald Trump leaves office, the Justice Department may indict him. That he may be the first president in quite some time to face the real prospect of jail time.

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: I'm absolutely against it. I think it's a miscarriage of justice, and we should not have special prosecutors going after one person.

And if we get this way and if we're going to prosecute people and put them in jail for campaign finance violations, we're going to become a banana republic where they have --

CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS HOST: Well, let me ask you --

PAUL: Every president gets prosecuted and everybody gets thrown in jail when they're done with the office.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Kristan, do you see the DOJ going after Trump after he's out of office on a campaign finance violation?

PETERS-HAMLIN: I do. And a lot of people say that the campaign finance laws are slaps on the wrist, but they misunderstand the way it works.

The way it works with the FEC is that the FEC, it doesn't have the authority to indict, but when the DOJ brings an FEC violation, then if you look at the Senator Edwards situation, that's potentially 30 years' jail time.

It's a -- when the Department of Justice brings an FEC violation, you can get very, very long periods of incarceration.

CABRERA: Interesting. And as Jeff Flake pointed out this weekend, though -- and you were talking about this, Patrick -- that, right now, for the time being, it really is, what does Congress do because the President, according to the DOJ guidelines, would not be indicted?

And so far, Republicans have stayed very loyal to Trump. Jeff Flake writing this, it's like the party is a frog slowly boiling in water, being conditioned to not be worried, to not think too hard about what's happening around them.

[19:10:00] Patrick, with these new filings, are we going to see Republicans start jumping out of the pond, so to speak?

HEALY: No, I don't think so. I don't think yet. I mean, you're going to need more serious, I think, really kind of high crimes and manipulation, and real, frankly, evidence of either collusion or obstruction of justice.

I mean, we haven't -- we were talking for many months about obstruction of justice possibility, you know, for some time. And the Mueller report may still shed light on a great deal, but right now, the report and filings have been so much about the people around President Trump either lying or being implicated in different charges, certainly.

But you're not seeing, at least right now, something that I think -- and to Kristin's point, which is really true , where you're seeing the Justice Department being willing -- a Republican Justice Department, in this case, being willing to upend conventions and say, we're going to somehow consider an indictment of the President.

Even Congress, even some Democrats like Jerry Nadler in Congress, is telling CNN today, sort of raising the idea that these offenses might be impeachable.

They might be impeachable offenses, but whether the Democrats in Congress want to go into the 2020 election with an impeachment case against Trump, I think you're still hearing a lot of Democrats say we want to decide this at the ballot box in 2020 unless you see real evidence of high crimes.

CABRERA: And, of course, they still have the shadow of what happened with Clinton in a reverse-type situation.

HEALY: Absolutely.

CABRERA: But, Kristan, when the President continues to say this weekend that there is no collusion, clearly, have you seen anything revealed so far, at least publicly in what Mueller and his team have presented, that suggests otherwise?

PETERS-HAMLIN: Well, first, the President also said that he knew nothing about the payments to Stormy Daniels, and that proved not to be true. And I think there's a lot of evidence that the President has a disconnect with the truth a lot.

So I wouldn't -- you know, his no-collusion assertions really aren't very persuasive for me. One of the things that I thought was very persuasive was what I saw with my own eyes and heard with my own ears in Helsinki, you know, to throw under the bus the intelligence agencies of the United States when you're standing next to a former KGB officer and saying that you believe him.

And then when the KGB officer is -- former KGB officer is asked a question by Reuters, did you try to help him win the -- did you want him to win and did you instruct members of your government to help him? And he said yes, I did, yes, I did. And then the very next day, we were all gaslighted as a nation because the President ensured that that transcript was redacted of that admission.

That's mens rea for me, but I don't think that Bob has, at this point in time, shown his full hand on the issue of the conspiracy to fraud. I think that there's a lot more to come, and he's been getting out in dribs and drabs but a lot of it has been redacted.

CABRERA: You're right.

PETERS-HAMLIN: But I think he'll get there.

CABRERA: Dribs and drabs, some 300-plus pages of dribs and drabs since he has taken over this investigation.

Patrick, before I let you guys go, I want to ask you about the Chief of Staff position and now what we're learning this weekend. Nick Ayers apparently not wanting to take that job, even though he was the front-runner for it.

And now the name Mark Meadows, the House Freedom Caucus Chair, is being thrown out there. What's your reaction to that idea?

HEALY: Yes, it's interesting. I mean, what Trump is going to need are two things. One is a Chief of Staff who's really going to tell him what he needs to do to be able to compete again in Pennsylvania, in Michigan, in Wisconsin, and essentially the states that he put together, Electoral College, in 2020.

And then he needs a Republican who really can be, you know, Chief of Staff, who can be the ambassador to the Minority Republican leader in the House and to Mitch McConnell in the Senate.

You know, Mark Meadows is a member of the Freedom Caucus in the House, the most conservative part of the party. He isn't necessarily known as someone who was flipping, let's say, independents or conservative Democrats in places like Pennsylvania. That hasn't been his expertise. And the reality is, is that the hard right has sort of driven crazy a little bit people like Mitch McConnell.

So, you know, President Trump definitely feels comfortable with Meadows. That's very important in a Chief of Staff. But whether their chemistry, the political chemistry, is there with some of the key figures, it's a little hard to tell right now.

CABRERA: All right, Patrick, Kristan, thank you both for being here. Good to see you.

HEALY: You're welcome.

PETERS-HAMLIN: You're welcome.

CABRERA: Coming up, the invisible primary comes into focus as more and more Dems drop clues about 2020. It's going to be a crowded field. Could some have already missed their moment?

[19:14:53] Plus, a CNN exclusive, the last words of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi. What the audio transcript reveals of his final moments inside the Saudi consulate.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D), VERMONT: And there are some really good people out there, many of them personal friends of mine, who are thinking about running as well. And I'm trying to ascertain, quite honestly, going beyond ego, A, which candidate has the best chance to beat Trump? I think Elizabeth Warren is a wonderful, good, dear friend of mine. (APPLAUSE)

SANDERS: You know, and there are a number of others. Cory Booker is a good friend of mine.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: That, of course, was Senator Bernie Sanders laying out the state of play in the so-called invisible primary which is becoming far more visible these days. Just look at some of the headlines in the past week.

Senators Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, and former Vice President Joe Biden among the many names said to be mulling 2020 bids to face off against Trump.

In addition, we learned this week that two Dems fresh off squeaker losses in the midterms, Beto O'Rourke and Andrew Gillum, made the pilgrimage to Washington to huddle with President Obama.

[19:20:05] Joining us now, former campaign manager to Hillary Clinton, Robby Mook; and former special assistant to President George W. Bush, Scott Jennings. Good to see you, gentlemen.

ROBBY MOOK, FORMER CAMPAIGN MANAGER FOR HILLARY CLINTON: Thanks.

CABRERA: Robby, it's looking like it is going to be a crowded field. But in terms of this current climate, which is better, for these candidates to run their campaigns like they're the best to beat all of the other Democrats, or the best to beat Trump?

MOOK: Well, honestly, I think those things go hand in hand. You know, I actually wrote a piece on CNN about this that the most important thing that the Democratic candidate, the eventual nominee, needs to be able to do is build a real base of fans out there.

That happens in cyberspace. That happens on the ground through organizing. And I think the same kind of inspirational leadership that can mobilize people and money to build the campaign in the primary is the same thing that's going to help them push through in the general election.

Our greatest challenge as a party is trying to drive our own message amidst Trump. He absolutely sucks up all the oxygen. And so we're really going to need someone who can get out there and break through all of that noise to explain to the American people, first of all, why Trump has given them a really bad deal, why he's actually made their lives worse, which he has; and secondly, how they can offer something better.

CABRERA: OK. So let's look at some of the specific contenders beginning with former Vice President Joe Biden. He said this week he believes he is the most qualified person in the country to be president, as well as this quote -- I am a gaffe machine, but my God, what a wonderful thing compared to a guy who can't tell the truth.

Scott, are gaffes in the era of Trump as detrimental as they once were?

SCOTT JENNINGS, FORMER SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: You know, I don't think it will be gaffes that beat Joe Biden. I think about his statement about being the most qualified.

I mean, look at the last several elections. Hillary Clinton was probably more qualified. She got beat. Back in 2008, John McCain was certainly more qualified. He got beat.

So I actually think Robby is right, it's not really about qualifications right now. It's who can build a fan base and a fervent fan base, a rock-solid base that won't go anywhere no matter what happens to you.

I think one trouble point for the Democrats in their primary is, in order to get those fervent fans, you may have to say and do things that aren't going to play very well in general elections.

So the trick is getting the nomination, I think, for the Democrat, whoever it is, and not having to go so far to the left that they're unacceptable to people, say, in the upper Midwest or in the Sun Belt where I think this --

CABRERA: Robby, this news about O'Rourke meeting with Obama amid 2020 speculation, here is what "The New York Times" said about him.

O'Rourke has emerged as the wild card of the presidential campaign in waiting for a Democratic Party that lacks a clear 2020 front-runner. But the fact that Mr. O'Rourke is even considering a run speaks to uncertainty in the Democratic Party. Are they right?

MOOK: I'm totally uncertain as to who our nominee is going to be, but that's not unusual.

I went to go work for Howard Dean's campaign in New Hampshire in the 2004 Democratic primary. And when I showed up in Manchester to get to work, Joe Lieberman was crushing everybody in the polls. Gephardt was way up in Iowa. John Kerry ended up winning there. We are so far out.

And by the way, when I started working, it was, you know, in what would now be 2019. So I think people are going to get into this campaign and probably do very well that we're not even talking about right now. I think what matters --

CABRERA: That's possible.

MOOK: It's absolutely possible. I think what matters right now is that, you know, we give people time to make their decision and that they get in and focus on building that base of fans, focus on how do I break through with my own message, not let Trump decide what we're talking about every day.

CABRERA: Republicans seemed to jump on a tweet that was sent out by Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand in which she said, quote, our future is female, intersectional, powered by our belief in one another. And we're just getting started.

To which, the President's son, Don Junior, responded by saying, quote, good to know. My girls will be excited about this. When is it appropriate to let my boys -- 9, 7, and 6 years old -- know there's no future for them? Not sure this is a winning platform, but you be you.

Scott, what's your take?

JENNINGS: Gillibrand and Klobuchar from Minnesota are two that I'm actually watching very closely.

I think that the Democrats clearly just had a lot of success with female candidates for federal office in this most recent election. It strikes me that a lot of people in their party are going to be looking to nominate a woman for president.

Those two aren't going to peak so early, so I can see them having some late-coming strength, you know, where you come on later in the effort.

I think Beto, who you mentioned earlier, is also -- with his national fundraising base, and you know, obviously, made a lot of fans outside of Texas, is also interesting.

[19:24:53] I just -- I find it unlikely that the Democrats, given all the young energy and energy behind female candidates, wouldn't want to go with a younger female candidate in this election. Particularly if it appeared that they had built the kind of platform that could compete outside of cities, outside of college campuses, and compete in the upper Midwest and the Sun Belt.

So those are two I'm watching. I do think you can overdo it with the gender identity politics, so they'll have to watch out for that. But I think Gillibrand and Klobuchar are two to watch.

CABRERA: Let's talk about another female contender this time. It's Elizabeth Warren. And her hometown newspaper is having a change of heart about the Senator's presidential prospects, writing -- this "The Boston Globe."

And the editorial board which previously endorsed writes, Warren missed her moment in 2016 and there's a reason to be skeptical of her prospective candidacy in 2020. While Warren is an effective and impactful senator with an important voice nationally, she has a divisive figure. A unifying voice is what this country needs now after the polarizing politics of Donald Trump.

Robby, the paper also said candidates should take note of how carefully Deval Patrick weighed factors before ultimately deciding not to run. How does a candidate know when their moment has passed?

MOOK: Well, the first and most important thing is candidates shouldn't get in to run because they want to be president -- because I'm sure they all do -- or because people are telling them they should. They should get in because they have something to say.

I think that editorial was totally premature. Warren hasn't even decided whether she's running or not, and they're already deciding for her whether they think she should get in. We haven't really heard her rationale, and she hasn't had time to put that out there.

So I think that was premature, but I will underscore, again, Democrats need to get -- they need to break through. It's going to be a big field, so you got to have something to say. You got to have something that punches out.

And just choosing a bunch of positions on a bunch of litmus tests -- which I think the media is going to try to do at some of these debates. It's going to be easy to just ask yes or no, do you agree with X, Y, or Z.

But having a vision of who we are as a country, where we need to go, what it means to be an American, what American means as an idea today, big ideas like that are what are going to break through.

CABRERA: All right, we'll see what breaks through. There's still lots of time. Robby Mook and Scott Jennings, thank you both.

MOOK: Thanks.

JENNINGS: Thank you.

CABRERA: Coming up, our CNN exclusive, details of the chilling last words spoken by murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Stay right there.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:31:48] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Key U.S. senators were briefed by the CIA on their assessment of "Washington Post" journalist Jamal Khashoggi's killing. They were horrified and said so publicly. And now a source has given CNN a briefing on a transcript after an audio recording of Khashoggi's final moments.

CNN's Nic Robertson was provided with details of the translated transcript reproduced in this report of that audio. And it correlates with the CIA finding that the Saudi team sent to Istanbul came with the intent to kill.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice-over): CNN can now reveal Jamal Khashoggi's last words.

I can't breathe. I can't breathe.

These previously undisclosed details of what happened that afternoon in October come from a source who's been briefed on the investigation. The source has read a full transcript of an audio recording of Khashoggi's horrific final moments.

Within moments of his fateful steps into the consulate, Khashoggi recognizes someone, asks why they are there. The answer, you are coming back. According to CNN's source, the Turkish transcript identifies that person as a Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, a former Saudi diplomat and intelligence official working for crown prince Mohammed bin Salman whom Khashoggi knew.

Khashoggi is clearly alarmed and replies, you can't do that. People are waiting outside for me.

According to the source, the conversation ends right there. The transcript indicates noises as people set upon Khashoggi and very quickly Khashoggi can be heard saying I can't breathe. He repeats it again. I can't breathe. I can't breathe.

What happens belies initial Saudi claims. His death was a grave mistake. CNN's source says it's clear from his reading of the transcript that Khashoggi's murder was no botched rendition attempt, but an execution of a premeditated plan to murder the journalist.

But it is what happens next that is really horrific. The transcript records many voices and noises, then says scream from Jamal. Again, scream. Then gasping. Noises are identified as saw and cutting.

Then a voice, Turkish authorities identity as Dr. Sala Muhammad al- Tubaigy, the head of forensic medicine at Saudi Arabia's interior ministry. He says if you don't like the noise, put your ear phones in or to listen music, like me.

According to the source, Mutreb, the apparent leader of the team, makes at least three phone calls during the murder to a number Turkish officials identify as being in the Saudi royal court. Only Mutreb side of the conversation can be heard, but there's no sense of panic or of an operation gone wrong.

Mutreb tells the person in Riyadh, tell yours that the source takes to mean your boss or your senior, the thing is done. It's done.

CNN reached out to Saudi officials to get a response from those named in this report and were told Saudi security officials have reviewed the transcript and tape, and nowhere in them is there any reference or indication of a call being made. A Saudi source close to the Saudi investigation says both Mutreb and Tubaigy denied making phone calls. But mother transcript provides no smoking gun directly tying crown prince Mohammed bin Salman to the killing. It seems to echo Senator Lindsey Graham's sentiments after hearing the CIA's assessment of Khashoggi's killing. There's not a smoking gun. There's a smoking saw.

Nic Robertson, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

[19:36:13] CABRERA: CNN shared our sources detailed description with the office of the senator who was briefed by the CIA early this week. And we were told that the CNN report of that transcript was consistent with the briefing the senator received.

Coming up, Trump, tariff man and the trade war tweets that sent stocks spiraling. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are heroes today and every day.

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Girls teaches girls how to program. It's all about solving programs.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Join Anderson cooper and Kelly Ripa, live as they name the 2018 CNN Hero of the year.

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KELLY RIPPA, TV HOST: Don't we need this time more than ever?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: CNN Heroes, an all-star tribute tonight at 8:00 eastern.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

[19:41:54] CABRERA: A revaluation this weekend related to the murder of "Washington Post" contributor Jamal Khashoggi. "The New York Times" reporting that White House senior adviser and the President's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, advised the Saudi crown prince on how to quote "weather the storm" after Khashoggi's murder.

Now, the reason that's significant, the prince is the same man the CIA believes ordered the killing. That brings us to the weekend presidential brief, a segment we air every Sunday night here highlighting some of the most pressing national security information the President will need when he wakes up tomorrow.

And joining us now is CNN national security analyst and former national security advisor, Sam Vinograd who helped prepare the Presidential daily brief for President Obama.

Sam, you supported numerous communications with foreign leaders. What impact does Kushner's communication with the Saudi crown prince have on our national security?

SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, Ana, Jared Kushner should be the immediate subject of a counterintelligence investigation into why he knowingly broke the rules on foreign outreach and set himself up as an exploitable asset of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. These rules on foreign outreach exist to preventative foreign government from knowing more than their own.

When Jared Kushner texted Mohammed bin Salman, for example, a Saudi official had more information than the U.S. government. That's a bribery point. But Jared Kushner also big footed the policy process I hope was under way after Khashoggi's murder and signaled to MBS and other foreign leaders that presume that Jared's strategy is probably the best way to get their desired outcome by working with Kushner, who lacks experience and obviously judgment. They don't have to deal with the experienced professionals who might be weighing other options. And I really want to know what other foreign leaders has Jared Kushner in touch with. Because again, it's so beneficial to these foreign leaders to engage directly with Kushner.

CABRERA: I mean, a lot to take through. So let's talk about the new satellite images revealing North Korea is expanding a key missile base. And yet the person who is supposed to coordinate these policies, the national security advisor said last week a second summit with Kim would be productive, even though they are still not denuclearizing.

How important is that second summit?

VINOGRAD: I don't think a second summit between the United States and North Korea actually matters anymore because Kim Jong-un has moved on. We are no longer his VIP guests. When President Trump met with Kim, he opened the floodgates for other leaders to do so. The President of China is reportedly thinking of going soon. The Pope has gotten an invitation. So whether we show up or not doesn't really matter. It is going to a busy social season in Pyongyang in 2019. And we don't even requiring an inventory of North Korean nuclear missile sites before summit. So it's unclear what we actually achieve.

While we backtrack, Kim is continuing to manufacture missiles, maybe make more nukes and he is maybe making more friends.

CABRERA: So while all the logistics are worked out, Chinese President Xi is signaling he may soon be visiting North Korea. Does that play into the U.S./Chinese trade negotiations in any way?

VINOGRAD: It definitely does because the Chinese are really good at multitasking. President Xi has said his goal is national rejuvenation and trade policy is just one piece of that puzzle. In the sit room with President Obama, we used to look at the full sum of all Chinese parts. And if you do that right now, China is increasingly aggressive across so many spheres. They are increasing their cyber capabilities for commercial military gain, at least according to our intelligence community. The Pentagon says that the Chinese military can now degrade our own operational capabilities. And China ceasing territory all across the region.

So for all those reasons, it would really on behoove President Trump to take a macro view of everything that China is doing.

[19:45:38] CABRERA: All right. Sam Vinograd, always good information.

VINOGRAD: Thanks, Ana.

CABRERA: Thank you for your insight.

Coming up, caught on camera, this guy wanted a lot more than ice cream. What the clerk did that had this robber running.

Plus, a frightening snatch and grab. An elderly woman tries to catch the man who stole her purse but wait until you see how this ends in the parking lot.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:50:38] CABRERA: Welcome back.

Shocking video out of Florida where an elderly woman had her purse stolen by a man who then ran her over. It all happened at a McDonald's. Security footage here shows a man in a white baseball cap snatch the woman's purse and then run outside. You see she chases him, opens his car door but she gets knocked down. And when he pulls out of the parking space, the woman, you can see, has run over. She was taken to the hospital. And police say that suspect is still on the run.

And take a look at this. A robber in Seattle pulls a knife on an ice cream shop employee, but that's just the beginning of the drama. The thief grabbed the young woman by the apron and pointed the knife at her stomach demanding the cash in the register. What the crook didn't count on was the woman's coworker stepping in. He snatches the knife as the robber was distracted by the money and then punches and kicks the thief who manages to grab some cash before taking off. The robber got away with a whopping six bucks.

And one good Robert deserves another. Robert de Niro returns to "Saturday Night Live" as the boogie man in Eric Trump's closet.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What are you doing awake? It's past your bedtime.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm scared. I think there's a boogie man in my closet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Eric, there's no boogie man in your closet. Have you been watching the news again? Hear that, Don? There's something in my closet. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, bud, that's just the cheap steel dad uses to

build his towers. It's just blowing in the wind. Look, buddy, nothing in the closet.

ROBERT DE NIRO, THE BOOGIE MAN: It was pretty clear early on that you don't know anything.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.

DE NIRO: I wish I could say the same for some of your dad's friends.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like Mr. Pillowfort.

DE NIRO: Manafort.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Mueller, people say that's the worst thing that could ever happen to my dad.

DE NIRO: No, Eric. Getting elected President was the worst thing that ever happened to your dad.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CABRERA: Coming up, we head to the red carpet for "CNN Heroes," an all-star tribute, honoring ten people who put others first all year long.

Stay right there.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:57:12] CABRERA: Welcome back.

Let's finish strong tonight. It's the time when we honor some of the best humanity has to offer, "CNN Heroes." These are ten extraordinary people who are doing extraordinary things all around the world. And we can't wait to so who gets top honor of CNN Hero of the year. We hope you will join CNN's Anderson Cooper and Kelly Ripa for the star- studded gala at the top of the hour.

And our Athena Jones is back on the red carpet for us.

Athena, this is going to be an incredible night.

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Ana. That's right. A very special night. A night of positive stories, feel-good stories. So often the stories we are telling on CNN have to deal with conflict and controversy and tragedy and scandal. That is chance to celebrate everyday people who are changing the lives of others through service.

You mentioned the ten -- top ten nominees. They each get $10,000. And they span the globe from Peru to Nigeria. There is a doctor, an E.R. doctor in Brooklyn who has established an anti-violence initiative.

I spoke with a woman who helps victims or survivors of sex trafficking get their lives back together and back on track.

I also spoke with a young woman from Nigeria who is a computer programmer. She says that coding, learning how to code gave her hope. Listen to what show had to say. Her name is Abisoye Ajayi- Akinfolarin. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ABISOYE AJAYI-AKINFOLARIN, CNN HERO: Coding is my own bedrock. It is -- when I was running away from life, that is what I got into. So I thought there are many girls out there in the same condition. How can they have a voice? How can they be empowered? I decided to take them through the same process that I went through, and that's why I'm doing what I'm doing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JONES: So that's just one example of the kind of work being done by these honorees.

And as we mentioned there's a CNN hero of the year that will be unveiled in the end, the big reveal. This person will take home $100,000 to further their work. And we are going to see a performance by Lenny Kravitz, celebrity presenters, all of the usual pomp and circumstance that you would expect from an awards gala. But once again celebrating feel-good, positive, hopeful stories for once - Ana.

CABRERA: All right. Athena Jones.

We have Lenny Kravitz performing, as you point out. There are athletes there. There are famous comedians, actors, a lot of people who are turning out to just cheer on these incredible people who are doing really impactful work, so selfless and so hard working.

Thank you, again, Athena for bring us some of the stories.

And we hope you will tune in right after this.

That is going to do it for me tonight. I'm Ana Cabrera.

Up next, join Anderson Cooper and Kelly Ripa as they announce the 2018 CNN hero of the year. Have a great night.