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tv   The Lead With Jake Tapper  CNN  October 11, 2018 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT

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about a crown prince's alleged murder plot and about the white house for not pushing the saudis for answers. welcome to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. you can hear the bell there. we're beginning with breaking news in the money lead. the dow closing down more than 500 points today, a second day in a row of triple-digit losses wiping out most of the gains the dow has made this year. cnn's alison kosik is live at the new york stock exchange for us. alison, what's behind these massive losses? >> look at that number, the dow down 541 points. you know what, jake. in the last hour the swings were so wild. the dow would fall 400 points and 500 points and 700 points, even hardy stock traders i saw on the floor, they couldn't believe the volatile swings that the dow made. now, there's no one reason for the two-day selloff, but higher interest rates, there's a real trigger here. pressure has been building for a while, so as the economy has
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grown stronger and stronger, the federal reserve has begun raising short-term interest rates to try to keep the economy from overheating and to try to keep inflation in check, so for stocks there's concern those rising rates will eat into profits. they will make borrowing more expensive and potentially slow down the economy. a glaring example already happening. mortgage rates, levels we haven't seen in several years. president trump blames the fed for the selloff saying the fed has gone loco. some say the tax cuts that president trump pushed through juiced corporate earnings and drove up stock prices like pouring gasoline on the economy. now it's time for the fed to cool down the red hot economy by raising interest rates. jake? >> alison, stick around. i want to bring in a global business columnist and associate editor for "the financial times." as you heard alison there, president trump blames the federal reserve for this essentially saying it's their fault for raising interest rates. is he right? >> well, you know, when interest rates go up it makes debt more expensive. there's more debt out there, 60
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trillion more than before the financial cries. sure, markets don't like that, and there's something else in play here and we're in a u.s./china trade war, and that's really a tech war, and if you look at which stocks are down the most, it's been the big tech stocks. investors are worried that the tariffs that the u.s. slapped on china will ricochet back and really hurt the stocks. the chinese have their own big tech giants, and there's a feeling that the tech trade war is going to last a long time and we'll see the stocks really hurt. >> interesting. alison, for people sitting at home worried about their investments and 401(k)s, what's the main thing they need to know? >> the main thing that they can think about, the retail investors, not the professional investors, i would say the best advice is to sit on the shrines. there's a lot of volatility here. even the traders who use their computers to trade, they can't keep up with the volatility that's here, so if you're invested in the market the real good advice is to sit on the shrines and wait for this to
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pass and all indications are the volatility that is there today it's not expects to last? >> the u.s. and china have been going back and forth like this for weeks if not months. today president trump's top economic adviser says they are setting up a meeting between president trump and president xi of china. is that helping to erase any of these market worries? >> well, it's interesting. i think you may see a head fake between now and the mid terms in november where, you know, president trump comes in, maybe cuts some kind of deal with the chinese. maybe they appreciate their currency a little bit. maybe we see some easings of tension but i don't think this is going away. i think we'll be back here several times in the next few weeks and months talking about these things because this is an extension war. the war that -- this is an existential war. >> what are we expecting from the markets tomorrow, alison, more bad news? >> tomorrow begins third-quarter earnings season. expectations are high that
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companies will report positive earnings so many traders say if we get the positive earnings, it may settle down the market, but there's still a lot of uncertainty and a lot that rona was talking about. the uncertainty with the tariffs. that could wind up hitting companies really hard, and one thing that investors are going to be watching for as companies give out their report cards for the third quarter, they are going to be trying to see if those tariffs have been cutting into profits, if the rising costs are hurting companies, and if you see, that you could see the market take another hit. jake? >> alison and rona, thanks so much. even more breaking news, this time in the russia investigation. cnn is just now learning president trump's legal team is preparing answers to written questions from special counsel robert mueller, according to sources familiar to the matter. this is a major development after months of negotiations between the president's legal team and special counsel robert mueller's investigators, this could -- could signal the beginning of the end of the russia investigation. the sources said the questions
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for the president are focused on matters concerning the investigation into conspiracy between any trump campaign associates and russians seeking to interfere in the 2016 election. let's get right to cnn's evan perez and gloria borger who have this breaking story. evan, what can you tell us about the questions that the trump team is preparing to answer? >> well, jake, this is a big moment, as you said. these questions that they have now received from the special counsel have to do with matters before the trump inauguration, and this is a moment obviously that's been in the making for about ten months, almost ten months of negotiations between the special counsel's office and -- and the trump legal team, and so, as you said, these are questions that are focused on the collusion, big collusion question, whether or not there was anybody inside or associated with the trump campaign who was working or talking to or sharing information with the russians in their attempt to influence the 2016 election. what is not on the table in these questions, we're told, is obstruction, which is something
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that we know is a big part of the mueller investigation. that is still something that the -- the two teams are still discussing. they are still in negotiations over. we do have a statement that we got from jay sekulow, one of the president's attorneys, put it up for a second here. we're in continuing discussions with the special counsel, and we do not comment on those discussions. again, that's jay sekulow, the president's attorney. this is the first round of what we expect of these questions, and we expect that there could be additional ones. >> anything additional, gloria, is that might prevent president trump and his team from refusing to answer these questions? in other words, could they refuse to answer them? >> they don't have to. they could face a subpoena. i think they would rather answer the questions and fact that they are allowed to answer them in writing is kind of a big moment for them because early on it was all about the president, we need to have him tefrks and as evan says, he m -- have him testify, and as evan said, they may want to know
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about intent and only the president can answer what was in his mind when he fired james comey. pre-gnawing ray, they are not protected by executive privilege so they know, i think, that they have to provide answers to these questions. if you were the president's lawyers, would you rather do it or would you rather have donald trump sit down and do it? >> gloria, should we surmise from this that the public will pretty soon, is pretty soon being a relative term, know what robert mueller's conclusions are? usually when there's an investigation somebody like president trump would be the last person that you would interview. >> sure. right. i think we can surmise, i don't know what pretty soon is obviously after the election. >> after the mid-terms. >> and i think we can assume that the mueller team has been writing a report all along. not like they are doing an all-nighter right after the election. they have been gathering their conclusions all along and this argument has been going on for almost a year, and they had to find a way to kind of get past
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the impasse. there still may be another impasse when it comes to the president himself personally testifying. >> and that's the thing also because it -- it's not over, the idea, even though these are written questions for the first round. it's been a moving target whether or not president trump is going to ultimately sit down, especially as you say, if the obstruction charges and questions are not part of the first round so they are in a second round and you need to get to what's in president trump's mind. >> take a listen to president trump this morning on "fox & friends" asked about whether or not he would sit with an interview for muler. >> well, it seems ridiculous that i'd have to do it whether everybody says there's no collusion, but i'll do what is necessary to get it over with. >> so it sounds like it's still possible. even though there are written questions here, it's still possible there will be an in-person interview. >> it's possible that i could be president but it's not going to happen. >> i would vote for you. >> it's technically still possible that the president will sit down for an interview, but
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that's almost certainly not going to happen had. the president's lawyers are all against it. they all believe that this take-home test which is sort of like college style version of things where you answer questions, his lawyers are actually going through the documents that they already provided to the special counsel so they make sure the answers match up. that's best way to answer these questions. they believe that protects this president. if he sits down, they believe that that would be a very bad course. >> it's a take-home test that they are answering for the president. >> right. >> so they are doing the work on this from documents they have already presented to the special counsel. >> you seem skeptical that the president will ever sit down with mueller, especially with the written questions happening. does that mean a subpoena to force him to comply with an in-person interview is off the table? >> i think it's not off the table, but i do think the president's lawyers believe that this puts them in the best legal position. we've written about this a thousand times, that they believe that this will protect the president if that comes to pass. they believe they did defend him if they can show that they have answered every question that
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mueller has up to a certain point, and then they can fight it out in court if it comes to that. they believe that doing it this way, you know, answering these questions in written form, will then put hem in a place where they can say, look, we've given you everything that we possibly can, and now you're crossing a line into executive privilege an interfering with the president's duties under article 2 of the constitution and let's fight it out. >> gloria, the president says no collusion. everybody says there's no collusion. the truth of the matter is we have no idea what robert mueller is going to conclude. he could drop a bombshell or disappoint the resistance. >> right. we don't have any idea. he's a black box, and he's been work thon for what, two years senator. >> a year and a half. >> he's done an awful lost indictments, and he's done a lot of indictments of russians, so we really -- you know, we honestly don't know, but we know that the last thing in the world his lawyers want is to put the president in front of team mueller and answer questions about obstruction, and they do believe that executive privilege
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is on their side when it comes to something that happened post-inauguration. >> and they surely see this development as at least a step for them. >> exactly. >> one last thing, jake. i think it is clear based on our reporting that, you know, people are still going before the special counsel, and they are still being asked about things that would relate to collusion, so it is clear that the special counsel is very much still looking into that question. >> all right. great story, congratulations on the scoop. appreciate it. coming up, not your average oval office meeting. kanye west comes ready to make america great again, but can the collaboration featuring celebrity and politics makes a difference? but first, the death toll, sadly, now going up as we get new images of communities that have been ripped to shreds by hurricane michael. stay with us.
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order your kit now at entire neighborhoods have been turned in a debris after catastrophic hurricane michael leveled parts of the florida panhandle and has now killed six people. homes and businesses practically erased from the map in mexico beach, florida. this is the spot federal officials are calling the ground zero of hurricane michael's destructive past and up the coast a middle school is now reduced to twisted metal in a stack of bricks. erica hill is live at panama
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city beach, florida. you've been seeing this image for the first time and how horrific is this for them? >> jake, a lot of them are speechless. this is definitely a case where the pictures truly do tell the story. they are coming home in some cases to find their neighborhoods gone. one woman who i spoke with lives just to the right of where i am right now, and she said when she tried to come home from the shelter she had to walk because there was no other way to get there, but the real damage, as you pointed out, is ground zero in mexico beach. from the air, a first look at a beach town almost completely wiped out. >> our lives are gone here. >> daylight exposing the force of hurricane michael. this category 4 storm made landfall near mexico beach and packed winds of nearly 150 miles per hour. >> we had furniture in our how is that wasn't even our furniture. >> reporter: getting into mexico beach a challenge in itself. roads clogged with downed pour lines, trees and debris.
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>> all the stores, all the restaurants, everything. there's nothing left here anymore, you know. all the homes on this side of the road at the beach are gone. >> reporter: the need extends far beyond mexico beach. in panama city, neighborhoods reduced to rubble. >> oh, my god, panama city, there's nothing there, nothing. i've never seen nothing like it. >> reporter: this middle school nearly flattened. the gym's roof torn off. >> it was heart wrenching. i know what the school means to our -- our kids and our community and to see that type of devastation on their school and realizing that that devastation in the only is there at their school and also with their homes, because kids live nearby. >> reporter: panama city beach, a massive boat storage facility at this marina now a twisted cage for the vessels stored inside. the damage resembling the work of a strong tornado, especially when seen from the sky.
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as the reality of what's left behind sets in, many people here still trying to make sense of what happened. >> where do we start now? i mean, what do we do? there's nothing left here. >> reporter: that is the case in so many areas. the hard part here, jake, what's happening now is simply trying to assess the damage, to get into some of those areas that were hardest hit because just getting to a place like mexico beach where brooke baldwin was able to take a helicopter is nearly impossible because of the roads. 2,500 national guard troops activated here in florida and 1,500 in georgia. it's a start, but this is definitely a long, long road ahead. jake? >> all right. erica hill, thank you so much. i want to show you more from the panhandle. this was a convenience store in springfield, florida. that's what you're looking at right now. the storm ripped the roof right off the building. some shelves there have been ripped to shreds. obviously a dangerous scene as people are trying to rummage through what little is left and
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get flood and supplies. at mexico beach, florida, where hurricane michael made landfall, rescuers are looking through toppled homes and anyone trapped inside. that's a utility pole that sliced right through a waffle house in calloway, florida. joining me now is democratic senator bill nelson of florida. i just want to start with your reaction to what you're seeing on the ground. we've seen blocks and blocks of homes leveled, businesses destroyed. what are you hearing from your constituents? >> just exactly what you've been reporting. it's devastation and as you go east of panama city, that's where the -- the right side of the hurricane, the most ferocious winds were and mexico beach. i imagine when we finally get into the next town which is port st. joe, i think you're going to
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find devastation, particularly mexico beach, because there's no barrier island outside of it, so it was getting the full force of the wind and the water. further east port st. joe is a natural harbor with a cape around it, cape sandblast. it would have had some protection, but no doubt it's going to be like not anything we've seen since hurricane andrew in 1992 down south of miami. it's going to be like that over there in those small little populated areas. they will be flattened completely. >> what's your number one concern right now, senator? >> well, that's why i'm here. i'm here to make sure that the federal government is sending all of the resources that it needs, and it's going to need a lot. >> governor scott says that the
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top focus right now is search and rescue. have you heard of any areas where people might be trapped, where there is not an effort being made that needs to be made? >> in the woods to the west all along the shore here, i suspect that there are people who decided to hunker down, and we're going to find people hopefully alive back in those dwellings. >> what's your message to residents who might say, hey, the storm is over. i'm going to get in my car and check on my home and head back into these hard-hit areas like the one you're in right now? >> as a matter of fact, a lot of people are doing that. you should have seen -- i had to come all the way on the interstate and then south, and there were cars lined up for miles wanting to get back, and that's what they are doing. they want to get back, clean up.
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you can see the weather is great here. that's simply unusual for a hurricane because it's usually range and still blowing. this hurricane moved so fast it's up north georgia, south carolina by now. >> president trump has declared a major disaster area in florida. i know you and senator rubio asked for this to happen. are you getting the support you need from the federal government and the white house? >> yes, and we will get it, and senator rubio is on his way to join me, and the two of us are going to be here on the ground. we'll make sure that this area gets exactly what it needs. >> all right. senator, if you don't get what you need, if there's more you need from tallahassee or washington, d.c., and you're not getting, it let us know here at cnn, and we'll bring attention to it. >> thanks, jake. >> thanks, senator. how did a saudi journalist simply vanish?
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the trump white house on the case, but will the answer further complicate the president's relationship with a key ally? stay with us. your company is constantly evolving. and the decisions you make have far reaching implications. the right relationship with a corporate bank who understands your industry and your world can help you make well informed choices and stay ahead of opportunities. pnc brings you the resources of one of the nation's largest banks, and a local approach with a focus on customized insights. so you and your company
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our world lead now. an international murder mystery pitting the u.s. against its key ally saudi arabia. turkish officials suggesting that saudi crown prince mohammed bin salman dispatched a hit squad to execute and dismember jamal khashoggi. the prominent critic of the saudi regime vanished nine days ago after entering the saudi consulate in istanbul, turkey to obtain a wedding document. saudi arabia has vehemently denied any involvement in the disappearance. the trump administration, of course, has close ties to the saudi administration. bin salman reached out to kushner directly to deny any involvement in the incident. of course, it's not just this white house. administrations going back years if not decades have been simply unable to hold the oil-rich kingdom to account in any way. that includes the fact that 15 of the 19 september 11th hijackers were saudis, the country's long history of
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funneling money to terrorist organizations. earlier this year dropping a u.s.-made bomb on a school bus containing yemeni children. the cnn senior national correspondent arwa damon joins us live from istanbul, turkey. to date the saudi government has produced no evidence that khashoggi left the consulate alive. >> no, they haven't, and that's why there's so many questions regarding what saudi's role actually was in all of this and what did transpire in the building, the saudi consulate, behind me. the saudi ambassador to the u.s. is, according to the u.s. state department, on his way back home to the kingdom as this mystery seems to be deepening. this is jamal khashoggi stepping into what authorities believe is a death trip. this is the last place the insider turned critic was last seen alive. officials from saudi arabia deny
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foul play but a turkish official say police believe this is the scene of pre-meditated murder. begins around 3:30 a.m. the day of the disappearance a group of saudi men flew into istanbul on a private jet and checked into a hotel near the consulate. an hour and 52 minutes after khashoggi entered the couldn't lat that afternoon, security footage leaked to turkish media shows a caravan of black-tinted consulate vehicles departing. their destination, the nearby consulate residence where the largest van in the group disappears within. whether khashoggi was inside one of the vehicles is unknown. a turkish official tells the "new york times" saudi agents dismembered his body with a bone saw but declined to show evidence. back at the consulate khashoggi's fiancee who had been waiting for him outside was seen pacing at the entrance and her concern rising as the hours past. this ordered this assassination? the u.s. hat intercepts of saudi officials discussing a plan to lure khashoggi back to saudi
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arabia to detain him. a confrontation at the consulate in turkey may have been a backup plan. the u.s. official says such a plot would need the approval of saudi's crown prince. someone warmly embraced by the trump administration. earlier this week, mbs placed a direct call to president trump's son-in-law jared kushner according to a person familiar with the call and denied any involvement in khashoggi's disappearance. kushner took an unannounced trip to saudi arabia in 2017 to meet with the young prince. months later mbs apparently boasted that kushner was, quote in, his pocket, which bin salman denied. now as the u.s. mulls an investigation into khashoggi's fate, senators are calling for answers. >> the entrails point directly to them and about them thinking about this in advance. the administration has to pay attention to that. >> reporter: and president trump is declining to point fingers.
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>> we're looking at it strongly and we're working with turkey and working with saudi arabia. what happened is a terrible thing and assuming that happened. maybe we'll be pleasantly surprised, but somehow i tend to doubt it. >> reporter: jake, you'll remember a few days ago the turks asked and received permission to actually search and conduct their own investigation in the saudi consulate and the consul general's home, but then the saudis asked that it be postponed. this is obviously a highly politically charged investigation, and now we've heard from a turkish presidential spokesman that there will be a joint working group established between turkey and saudi arabia. >> oh, good, a working group. arwa dame op, thank you so much. appreciate it. let's talk about it with the experts. bill, let me remind people what president trump said just a few minutes ago when asked about what kind of punishment the u.s. could mete out towards saudi arabia including suspending arms sales. >> i would not be in favor of stopping a country from spending
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$110 billion, which is an all-time record and letting russia have that money and letting china have that money, so what good does that do us? >> what do you think? >> i think the saudis over the decades have bought an awful lot of influence in washington and america. now they are politic reasons for going along with policy and a regime that we don't like in many ways, that exported terrorism, horrible human rights records at home but the main reason was oil, but we don't depend on saudi oil and the world depends less on saudi oil than it used to. what's the other reason, they are such a great stalwart ally against iran? i don't buy that. what are they really doing against iran? they are fighting a horrible war in yemen. we might be sort of on their side, but they are doing it in a way that's antagonizing everyone there and elsewhere. maybe, i've been sort of anti-saudi vaguely for 25, 30 years, but this might be the occasion, a horrible tragic
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moment where people might reconsider the whole relationship. >> let's not forget in 2015 president trump, then candidate trump, talked about his feelings towards saudi arabia. happened to be other influences in his mind and his pocket. take a listen. >> saudi arabia, and i get along with all of them. they buy apartments, spend $40 million, 50 million. am i supposed to like them? i dislike them very much. >> this is why many thought president trump should divest his holdings because if he gets 40 million, 50 million a year from the saudis it could influence his foreign policy. >> questions still lingering and he's talked about china, for example, being a landlord to one of the chinese banks in new york, but the real issue here is that the president and jarred kushner have really hinged so much of their policy on this on mbs and on the -- >> the new crown prince. >> and the new saudi arabia emerging under the crown prince, and so this is throwing all of that into question. it's not just the alignments between the u.s. and saudi
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arabians in terms of confronting iranian influence which is the president's policy, jarred kushner's policy and john bolton's policy, the national security adviser, but it affects another key priority for the president and jarred kushner which is israeli-palestinian peace. when you ask administration officials what the one difference is as far as why they can now perhaps solve this decades long crisis, they talk about saudi arabia. they talk about the emerging alignment between saudi arabia and israel and other key players in the region, and so there's more at stake here than simply # the u.s./saudi relationship. there's all these regional dynamics at play. it remains to be seen whether the administration is going to determine that what happened to this journalist is enough to let all that have unravel. >> although it seems as though, at least with members of the senate, that saudi arabia may have crossed a line here. they are now pushing for an investigation to find out if there should be sanctions against saudi arabia for this alleged murder. take a listen to the chairman of the senate foreign relations
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committee, bob corker of tennessee. >> my instincts say that there's no question that the saudi government did this, and my instincts say that they murdered him. it will hugely undermine that relationship at least with congress, and the administration will have to pay attention to that. >> you served in the obama white house and obama state department. what do you think the senate should do and what the white house should do? >> the white house should have spoken out earlier than it did and part of the ability to get away with murder is because of the white house's own crackdown not release any recorded statements of foreign leaders and don't have daily press briefings and found out that jared kushner had spoken with mds a couple days ago. we don't know what the content that have conversation was but i'm sure that given their close relationship that it was more likely about how do they cover each other and help each other out than it was about using u.s.
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power to hold saudi arabia accountable for any of its human rights violations. we're now looking at senate having to take up that role of diplomacy that's been abdicated by the trump white house. >> and the letter that triggered this investigation inside the white house from congress was signed not only by bob corker but also by the man, jim risch, who would take bob corker's place should republicans retain control next year and bob menendez was a co-signor. >> every member of the senate foreign relations committee with the exception of rand paul. >> and the likelihood that rand paul will be heading up the senate foreign relations committee, that's not going to happen and this is not going to go away and one thing that the mid-terms won't be solved. >> maybe we should have, you know, get serious about not coddling to dictators of very kinds and stand you go up for
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human rights, especially in this case, a man who is a permanent resident, legal resident of the united states. i think his children are u.s. citizens who was living here, who goes to the -- an embassy and nato ally in turkey and the saudis decide to abduct him or whatever they decide to do and they end up killing him apparently. i mean, that's pretty terrible. >> we can't continue to outsource power to places like turkey, for example, which has its own extreme records of violations against journalism. at the height of erdogan taking control more than 150 media outlets were shut down and many more detained. we can't have a country like that to stand up for these kind of regimes. that's why we have u.s. intelligence services. hearing about all the reports because of the resourcefulness of american reporters. the white house could have turned on some of our assets and intel sources in the region to get to the bottom of what's been happening with khashoggi. >> am i overly skeptical, overly cynical because i think 15 of
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the 19 9/11 hijacksers were saudis, why are we going to do anything now? >> the saudis do wield a lot of power, have and continue to, let us not forget, it's the first place that trump went abroad. >> the very first stop. >> the very first stop was saudi arabia so it's hard for me to think, and i also don't mean to be cynical, that this is really going to be the thing that really alters the u.s. policy towards saudi arabia. >> all right. everyone, stick around. more to talk about because, of course, kanye went to the white house today. what exactly did he say in that ten-minute speech? tirade that managed to keep president trump quiet even. stay with us.
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and we're back with the politics lead and one of the
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most bizarre on-camera scenes in the oval office and an administration not without its share of bizarre on-camera scenes, kanye west delivering a ten-minute impassioned soliloquy next to the president of the united states right in front of the resolute desk, touching on criminal justice reform, kim kardashian who is his wife, and the powers he gets from his maga hat. he says it makes him feel like superman. the grammy-award winning artist has become an ardent supporter and defender of president trump and the meeting ended with a presidential hug of sorts. president trump declared himself to be impressed. cnn's kaitlan collins joins us now. where does this rank in the weirdness scale? >> definitely up there for a white house like this that has surreal moments on a daily basis. this was one of the most
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surreal, jake. they hadn't even made it to lunch yet which is what kanye west was here for, and president trump already seemed to be at a loss for words. >> let me give this guy a hug. >> i love this guy right here. >> that embrace coming after one of the most surreal days 1600 pennsylvania avenue has ever witnessed. president trump and kanye west seated across from each other in the oval office. >> you're in the oval office. how do you it feel to be in the oval office? >> oh, it is good energy in this. >> reporter: west, wearing the president's signature red make america great again hat. >> it made me feel like superman. >> reporter: was there to talk criminal justice reform but went on a free-wheeling performance in front of the cameras. >> trump is on his hero's journey right now, and -- and he might not have expected to have a crazy [ bleep ] like kanye west run up and support. >> reporter: west praised trump repeatedly. >> if he don't look good, we don't look good.
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this is our president. he has to be the freshest, the flyest. >> reporter: lashed out at democrats. >> people expect that if you're black you have to be democrat. >> reporter: and pitched a replacement for air force one. >> this right here is the iplane one. it's a hydrogen-powered airplane. >> reporter: the rapper, who once famously said president george w. bush didn't care about black people was asked if he feels the same way about trump. >> as black people, we have to take a responsibility for what we're doing. we kill each other more than police officers. >> reporter: his monologue even seemed to put the president at a loss for words. >> this was just set up to be a lunch. >> reporter: asked if he thought kanye should run for president trump sounded encouraging. >> could very well be. >> reporter: while west promised not to run against him. >> only after 2020. 2024. >> reporter: as major headlines flashed throughout the world, the stock market dipping and questions raised about the death
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of a saudi journalist and recovery under way in florida, it was another day of reality television at the trump white house. >> i'll tell you what. that was pretty impressive, folks. he can speak for me any time he wants. he's been a great guy. a smart cookie. >> reporter: now, jake, that meeting generated a lot of laughs and raised a lot of eyebrows, but the point of it was that the president has a really low approval rating when it comes to african-americans, and he thinks kanye -- he thinks kanye west help improve that approval rating. whether or not that's true, jake, we'll have to wait and see. >> thanks so much. everyone, take a listen to how kanye wrapped up his speech. pardon the pun. >> what i need "saturday night live" to improve on or what i need the liberals to improve on is if he don't look good, we don't look good. this is our president! >> that's true. >> he has to be the freshest, the flyest. >> the basic argument here is that this is our president. we need to support him. everybody needs to stop mocking
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him and everybody needs to stop covering him critically, et cetera. >> well, that could have been a valid point had he not continued to then justify his support for all of donald trump's policies. there is a deep sense of betrayal among people who follow hip-hop and rap. kanye was supposed to be this harbinger of conscious rap and he's at the white house for a president who is systematically denying black people the right to vote and purging voter rolls and calling him very fine people. this is not part and parcel with a lot of policies that black communities or any minority community expects to hear from the white house, let alone somebody who is supposed to be a genius. john legend said it best about this whole situation with kanye. artists can be great at developing and thinking new worlds, but they also have to acknowledge reality. >> s.e.cupp said something after the meeting. >> i think you had there a man who is clearly not okay and a president who is willing to exploit that, and worse to
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exploit that under the auspices of race relations. >> obviously nobody wants to -- and i don't think she was, belittle kanye's struggle, mental health struggles, although he raised them in the oval office meet, but what do you think of that, the idea that the president is taking advantage of somebody who is clearly, you know, not 100% well right now? >> sort of taking advantage of him in the sense he has him in the oval office, which is okay, and the cameras are there. this did not -- the president is able to meet with whoever he wants and can meet with a wide variety of people in the oval office, but, yeah, once you put it on cameras, you're making a public thing of it, and then you're sort of responsible -- >> donald trump is very artful about that, even in the campaign he had steve harvey in for a private meeting, look, there happened to be cameras on the way out and steve harvey spent three days on radio apologizing to his people for effectively endorsing donald trump and his policies, and -- and kanye clearly likes the attention right now, and it was nice for a
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change to see donald trump have to listen to somebody else ramble in many different directions. we can only hope he deletes his twitter account like kanye did. >> so interesting when you look at the kanye west visit to the white house and the dim kardashian visit to the white house, kanye's wife. she met with the president widely privately, pictures released after and you didn't have a grand show that you had today with kanye west and kim kardashian was able to get something substantive. got the president to pardon alice marie johnson in prison for a nonviolent drug crime serving a life sentence. kanye west's visit, however, was completely jumbled. thereto was no central theme to it, nothing that he was trying to accomplish as far as initiative. the stated goal was to talk about jobs in chicago, you know, criminal justice reform, but none of that was really the focus, and you don't get the sense coming out of this that there was actually anything substantive, and frankly it just comes back to the idea that the president at the end of the day likes to promote people who likes him and that's what kanye
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west has been over the last several months, particularly a black person who likes him and the president is the willing to put that person up front. >> and same with jim brown, from your home state of ohio. >> jim brown, where do i start? >> i don't think celebrity endorsements really make much of a difference with the exception of, i guess, taylor swift this week. a lot of people registered to vote as a result what have she said. that said, this is also a president in his former life who always really wanted to be accepted by the a-list and be accepted by other celebrities and never was, so this is someone who is a-list, likes him, accepts him, wants to talk about him, and i think the president wants to show that off. now the real question is how is this used in the future? is he going to be at a campaign rally? i mean, really, i'm not even really joking. how -- how much is the president going to, you know, have kanye on board at this point? >> and what does show i think is the notion that the chief of staff john kelly has things under control, you know. no one gets in the oval office without going through a proper
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screening and thinking through whether this is a good idea or not. i think that's kind of out the window. >> did you see the story in "the daily beast," no, no, "new york magazine". >> she's an alumni. >> she was working on a story about cast in the white house about president trump seeking people to replace john kell, and all of a sudden she's ushered into the white house, and -- and to the oval office. >> yeah. >> and spends half an hour with president trump, vice president pence, secretary of state pompeo, chief of staff kelly, all of them trying to convince her not to write this story. that doesn't really sing this is a white house that has its priorities straight. olivia is great, don't get me wrong, but why spend half an hour to try to kill a story about john kelly not being chief of staff? >> you know, it seems to be the perfect encapsulation of where the president is right now. this week we have seen him almost every single time that he has left the white house to board marine one, all the reporters, we all gather to see
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the president. he doesn't always stop. this week he has stopped every time but once, and he has had several rallies. he has done multiple interview, local and national. he spent 45 minutes on "fox & friends" this morning. clearly we're seeing the president back in campaign mode i think, and that includes not only rallies but these lengthy rambling interviews that he has done and so to see him in the oval office of all places bringing in mike pence, mike pompeo, all of these folks for the goal of one single story shows that the president is once again focused on his image. >> if you look at the president six years ago this time was lambasting president obama for, a, campaigning and, b, hanging out with i guess it was jay-z instead of paying attention to people hit by a hurricane or superstorm sandy obviously in the last day. the president has campaigned in pennsylvania and he's hanging out with kanye, not the same thing as jay-z but i think the same kind of idea. a rare conversation with the first lady. what she said about infidelity, distrust and why she believes she's one of the most bullied
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people in the world. stay with us.
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first lady melania trump
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today claiming she's one of the most bullied people in the world, pointing to the harassment that she and her son have received after she launched her be best initiative to combat online bullying, but as cnn's kate bennett reports critics were quick to point to the first lady's husband as perhaps one of the biggest perpetrators of online bullying. >> reporter: melania trump, one of the most private first ladies in modern history, speaking out in the her first solo on-camera interview in almost a year saying her public role has now made her the most bullied person in the world. >> i could say i'm the most bullied person on the world. >> you think you're the most bullied person in the world? >> one of them, if you are really seeing what people are saying about me. >> reporter: in africa last week addressing her own experience by being on the receiving end of criticism. how that led to the creation of her kids' campaign be best and a focus on bullying.
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despite her husband's continued habit of name-calling. >> lying, crooked hillary. >> reporter: a change from just two years ago during a bruising presidential campaign when she brushed off critics. >> i have a thick skin. >> it doesn't bother you? >> it doesn't bother me, and it's very nasty, but i have a thick skin. i can handle it. >> reporter: that comes after a year of headlines about alleged infidelities, her health and everything from her wardrobe to her parents' citizenship. the first lady confirmed she is one of the president's most trusted advisers. asked if he listens to her 100% -- >> oh, i wish. i give him my honest advice and honest opinions, and then he does what he wants to do. >> reporter: that advice also includes telling the president who he should trust in his inner circle and who she thinks doesn't have his back. trump taking his wife's advice to heart. >> with some people they don't
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work there anymore. >> reporter: mrs. trump also agreeing with the president in other ways, saying that while she believes women who allege abuse should be heard, she also says she supports men who have been accused, but adding a female victim should have, quote, hard evidence if they come forward. >> you cannot just say to somebody i was, you know, sexually assaulted or you did that to me, because sometimes the media goes too far. >> reporter: melania trump likely referring to the dozen or so charges of alleged sexual misconduct levied against her husband, but in egypt last week asked if she believed christine blasey ford's testimony during the kavanaugh hearings trump wouldn't say. >> we need to help all the victims no matter what kind of abuse they had, but i -- i'm against any kind of abuse or violence. >> so melania trump supports women but they must have evidence to come forward, a very
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rare public statement, if you noticed in front of the sphinx, known as the slovenian sphinx, all very interesting and hearing from the first lady is very, very rare. >> of course, as a factual matter you don't actually have to have evidence to come forward with an allegation. >> of course not. >> kate bennett, thank you very much. our coverage on cnn continues right now. happening now, breaking news, leveled. scenes of total devastation are revealed in the wake of the historic hurricane michael. tonight, the death toll is climbing as rescuers look for people missing and possibly trapped. answering mueller. cnn has learned that president trump's legal team is preparing to answer questions -- to answer written questions provided by the special counsel robert mueller for his russia investigation. can't tell him nothing. a surreal scene in the oval office where