Return to Transcripts main page


Source: Khashoggi's Last Words Were "I Can't Breathe"; British P.M. May Delays Crucial Brexit Vote; Meng Wanzhou's Lawyers Request Bail as Trade Tensions Rise; Jehovah's Witnesses Targeted 5 Times in Washington State; Video Shows Police Yanking 1-Year-Old from Mom's Arms; Prosecutors Implicate Trump in Campaign Finance Law Violations. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired December 10, 2018 - 14:30   ET



[14:30:00] NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: 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."

(voice-over): What happens belies initial Saudi claims, his death was a grave mistake. CNN's source says it's clear from this reading of the transcript that Khashoggi's murder was no botched rendition attempt, but the 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 that Turkish authorities identify as Dr. Salah Mohammed al Tubaigy, the head of forensic medicine at Saudi Arabia's interior ministry, he says, "If you don't like the noise, put your earphones in or listen to music like me."

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

(voice-over): 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."

(on camera): CNN reached out to Saudi officials to get a response from those named in this report and we're 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. And while the transcript provides no smoking gun directly tying

Crowned Prince Mohammad 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.


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: CNN shared our source's detailed description with the office of a Senator who was briefed by the CIA last week. We were told that the CNN report of the transcript was consistent with the briefing that the Senator received.

Coming up next, five different attacks, all targeting Jehovah's Witness worship centers. The new clues to find a potential serial arsonist.

Also breaking today, the woman accused of being a Russian spy and infiltrating Russian circles appearing to have reached a plea deal. Stand by for those details.


[14:37:13] BALDWIN: Up and down. The Dow's roller coaster continues after a terrible week in the red. The Dow is now essentially flat after dropping more than 500 points this morning on the news that Britain's prime minister, Theresa May, delayed a crucial vote on her Brexit deal.


THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: It is clear that while there's broad support for many of the key aspects of the deal --



MAY: -- on one issue, on one issue, the Northern Ireland backstop --


MAY: -- there remains widespread and deep concern. As a result, if we went ahead and held the vote tomorrow, the deal would be rejected by a significant margin.


MAY: We will, therefore, defer the vote schedule for tomorrow --


MAY: -- and not proceed to divide the House at this time.


BALDWIN: The responses in parliament, it's stunning.

In response, the president of the European Council says the E.U. will not renegotiate the deal and stresses time is running out.

The majority of English voters cast ballots -- British voters cast ballots to leave the E.U. back in June of 2016. And now almost 18 months later, Britain's leaders can still not agree on how to leave.

With me, CNN Business editor-at-large, Richard Quest.

She put this vote off today --


BALDWIN: -- because she knows she'll lose.

QUEST: It was a racing certainty she was going to lose. She didn't have the votes. Not only was all the opposition parties going to gang up on her and vote against those that she needs, but many of her own, her own back ventures of her own party. And unlike the U.S., where it is not unusual for members of the House to vote against their own party, in the U.K., in the British parliament, if it's a three-line whip, you're voting as the government dictates. And they wouldn't do it. So she was going to lose.

Here's the real problem, Brooke. She's lost or she's now got this flimsy deal that she's got to go back to Europe and say, we need to change something so that we can get this through my own parliament. And Europe is going to, quite not unreasonably, say, hang on, the time for negotiation was over!


QUEST: You've got the deal, you've agreed to the deal, you've signed the deal, now live with it.

BALDWIN: How much longer do you'll give her?

QUEST: Oh, as prime minister, she's a stickler. She'll stay. For one particular reason, there's nobody else, quite frankly. There's nobody else waiting that could take this up.

The real issue here, Northern Ireland, there's no easy solution to north and southern Ireland. And they can tinker with this as much as they like, Brooke, but they're always going to come down to the question of no hard border, therefore, what do you do?


QUEST: And they can't find an answer. And I've got news for you, they're not going to find an answer. Somebody's going to have to fudge. [14:40:11] BALDWIN: Let me move off Brexit and ask you about, we're

just getting word from a courtroom in Vancouver, Canada, that the Chines executive, Meng Wanzhou, lawyers -- she was the one arrested the same night President Trump was sitting with President Xi.


BALDWIN: So lawyers asking that she's released on bail. Obviously, China's angry. There's this tenuous truce.

QUEST: Right.

BALDWIN: How do you --

QUEST: They've asked for her to be released on bail with some extremely complicated conditions. For example, the bracelet. She'll have security. In fact, the head of the security company says we will have eyes on her wherever she's outside of her house. My own thinking is that she'll probably get some sort of bail. It's a criminal offense that she's been charged, but not a violent offense. To the best of our knowledge, she's had no previous. The only issue is, is she likely to abscond?


QUEST: But you've got the Justice Department going after her at the same time as Donald Trump's trying to do a truce. Her company is a -- is a talisman in China. The second-largest manufacturer of mobile phones in the world. So they love what she's doing and what's happening there at Huawei. So taking her own -- I can see happening is I can see the Chinese basically saying to the president, there's no further talk on this --


BALDWIN: Until you let her go.

QUEST: Well, sort this out.

BALDWIN: Sort it out.

Richard Quest, until we meet again, thank you very much. Thank you.

James Comey certainly not holding back, calling on Americans to use every breath they have to oust President Trump in 2020. His words, ahead.

And the video is being called appalling. New York City police officers ripping this 1-year-old little boy out of his mother's arms. What exactly led to this disturbing scene?

We'll be right back.




[14:46:24] BALDWIN: In Pittsburgh, police are investigating the discovery of anti-Semitic pamphlets that have been passed out in several neighborhoods there, and that includes the area of Squirrel Hill, the site of October's deadly synagogue shooting. City leaders are taking the matter very seriously. Eleven people were killed inside Squirrel Hill's Tree of Life Synagogue, just before Saturday morning Shabbat services were slated to begin.

Members of the Pittsburgh Jewish community say this is the latest hate-filled incident that has everyone on high alert.


JEFF FINKELSTEIN, CEO, JEWISH FOUNDATION OF GREATER PITTSBURGH: We're all a little more nervous around these kinds of things.

We're all at a little heightened sensitivity since the shooting on October 27th.

We're stronger than hate. And the way this community rallies, I think this is just going to bring everyone closer together, once again.


BALDWIN: The suspected gunman in the October attack has pleaded not guilty to 44 federal charges, including 32 that are punishable by death.

Federal authorities fear someone may be targeting houses of worship for Jehovah's Witnesses in Washington State. Investigators say Friday morning someone set fire to Kingdom Hall in the town of Lacy, which is a suburb of Olympia. The flames totally destroyed the building. Thankfully, no one was hurt.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's devastating, for sure. But you know, it's just a building. So everybody's safe. And that's the important thing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It makes you feel really ill about somebody who has some sort of animosity towards any religion.


BALDWIN: Nick Watt is following this for us.

And so for a fifth time, Nick, since a Jehovah's Witness congregation may have been targeted. Are police connecting the dots?

NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brooke, they are. And they are coming out and saying this latest attack on Friday was definitely arson. This was a purposeful attack on that kingdom. And they are saying that all of these attacks are connected. Listen, you've got five attacks on Jehovah's Witness Kingdom Halls, within less than nine months, and also within less than a 20-mile radius. And the sheriff who we just heard from there's calling this a hate crime. As we just said, driven by some sort of animosity towards this Christian denomination. No idea exactly what the specific motive is, but as I say, they are treating this as a hate crime.

Now, the first attack was back on March 1th, when Kingdom Halls in Olympia, a suburb of Olympia, they were attacked. It was just minor damage. And then May 15th, shots were fired. And 35 shots fired at a Kingdom Hall in a place called Yelm. And $10,000 damages done there. And July 3rd, that Kingdom Hall in Olympia was attacked again, and this time it was burnt to the ground.

Now, there's some surveillance video from that attack, but the authorities tell us that they do not have a name on a suspect. They say that tips did lead them to a person of interest. That person has been interviewed. But there's absolutely no connection established between him and those attacks. So the motive still remains unclear.

Listen, Jehovah's Witnesses have been criticized in the past, in this country and overseas, for the fact that they refused to salute national flags. They refuse to serve in the military, because they serve only God. But as I say, we do not yet know what the motive was in this attack.

Now, I heard from the Jehovah's Witnesses themselves and they gave us this statement. They say, "Jehovah's Witnesses work hard to be a force for good in their community so violent acts like this are difficult to comprehend."

Now, authorities up there in the Olympia area are saying, listen, they want people to look out for anyone whose behavior has changed significantly over the past few months or whose appearance has changed or for anybody who's really showing an unnatural interest in this investigation. They are asking people to be vigilant. They are asking for tips. They want to find this person who is still at large. As we say, five attacks so far. A suspect not yet in custody -- Brooke?

[14:50:25] BALDWIN: If you see something, say something, so say police.

Nick Watt, thank you very much. We'll stay on that in Washington State.

She is accused of being a Russian spy, infiltrating Republican political circles within the U.S., but Maria Butina may be close to spilling her secrets. Hear why, ahead.

And a surprising move by the U.S. Supreme Court today, siding with Planned Parenthood. Hear why Chief Justice John Roberts and the new justice, Brett Kavanaugh, appeared to side with the court's liberal justices.


[14:55:21] BALDWIN: An officer's actions and the ensuing video now part of this investigation into why New York police officers forcibly yanked a 1-year-old from his mother's arms in Brooklyn.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my god! Oh, my god!


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Look what they're doing to her! Look what they're doing to her!



BALDWIN: You can hear the 23-year-old mother, "You're hurting my son!"

Officers started to pull this child from his mother's arms when she refused to get up from sitting on the floor inside the social services office.

CNN correspondent, Jean Casarez, is with me.

And I've watched the video now several times and it's so, so, so hard to watch. But can you just back up for a second. More just context of what was happening at the time.

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. What are the facts right? We are still learning the facts and there are two divergent sides. First of all, the NYPD says this event is under review, that it's disturbing video and they want to look at all of the video.

They say that it was Friday, a little before 1:00 in the afternoon. This young woman went to the social services building and she began to disrupt things, disorderly conduct. She was asked to leave. She did not leave. And there were peace officers there that are an offshoot of the NYPD that asked her to leave multiple times. They say she obstructed a walkway, a hallway. At some point, someone called 911 from the social services agency. The NYPD appeared. They then asked her to leave. She would not. There you have the video, as they are trying to effectuate an arrest.

On the other side, her defense counsel, the Brooklyn Defenders' Services, just spoke out moments ago saying that this young woman had lost her child care benefits and that's why she went to the office to begin with. And they have a story that is slightly different. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) LISA SCHREIBERSDORF, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, BROOKLYN DEFENDER SERVICES: She had to take a day off to do that and she got here at 9:00 in the morning and there was not enough seats. Now, as you just heard, there's been quite a bit of overcrowding in many of these facilities. In part due to, I think, some closures. But there was not enough seating. I think a lot of people had no place to sit. And she was sitting on the floor. She was asked to move multiple times. There was no place to go. And the security, I guess, decided to call 911. Now, I agree, of course, that that was the worst option that they could have used.


CASAREZ: Now, there are arresting charges at this point, including resisting arrest. She is still in custody at Rikers Island in New York. And, Brooke, the question was, why hasn't she been released? Because there's something called bail. Well, CNN was able to confirm that out of New Jersey, that there's a warrant for her based on credit card fraud. And that's why she has not been released. And so New York is working with New Jersey to see exactly where that goes at this point.

BALDWIN: Is the baby OK?

CASAREZ: The baby is with her mother, yes.


Jean Casarez, thank you so much.

All right. We continue on, on this Monday afternoon. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you for being here.

I want to begin with the walls really closing in on President Trump and his inner circle, including, for the first time, federal prosecutors are implicating the president of the United States in a felony. And it's all thanks to his one-time fixer, Michael Cohen, and the hush money that he paid to those two women, alleging affairs with then-Candidate Trump.

But, Cohen isn't the only one causing headaches for the West Wing. There's also Paul Manafort, the former campaign chairman, accused of lying to the special counsel five different times. Of course, as you know, Manafort denies that. But team Mueller says, no, no, that they have proof.

And CNN has confirmed that at least 16 people, 16, have had some sort of contact with the Russians, despite the president saying this last year.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have nothing to do with Russia. To the best of my knowledge, no person that I deal with does.


BALDWIN: Sixteen.

CNN's senior justice correspondent, Evan Perez, is with me now.

And, Evan, so many headlines and so much news in the last couple of days. Just reset for me and sift through those Mueller findings. What are the biggest takeaways?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Brooke. Everything got a lot more real for the president, for this White House, on Friday, with a pair of court filings.

And let's start with Michael Cohen. This is the president's former fixer. He said that he would take a bullet for the president. Well, now he is twisting a knife in the back of the president. He says that the president was -- was involved in arranging those payments to those two women.