tv CNN Newsroom with Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto CNN October 18, 2018 7:00am-8:00am PDT
respected for the important decision they make to serve in one of the most crucial positions in our society. >> drugs are an important issue, especially in memphis, tennessee. it's basically the drug trafficking network of the south and it leads to the north as well. >> if everybody votes, we would know that american values are not the way our president sees portraying. >> tell us why you're voting. you can weigh in on the conversation by posting a video to instagram telling us what is pushing you to the polls. hashtag it #whyivotecnn. top of the hour now, i'm jim sciutto in new york. >> i'm poppy harlow. right now, president trump is about to hear what secretary of state mike pompeo heard from the turkish president and he's briefing the president this hour in the oval office, just hours after wrapping up the two-day trip that appeared to the world
all smiles and hand shakes for the cameras. but apparently, it was very different when the cameras were not in the room. >> sources tell cnn's jamie gangel that pompeo told the crown prince directly to his face, he better own the khashoggi outrage, or else. for that part, the turks are still leaking evidence purporting to connect saudi intelligence and by extension the government and the crown prince to the horrific torture and murder of the saudi dissident journalist. we begin with caitlkaitlan collt the white house. yesterday, the president suggested he might take a harder line with the saudis after hearing what pompeo has to say today. will pompeo lay it out directly to him? >> well, it all comes down to this. what we have seen is the white house really delay any kind of decision on what to do with the disappearance of this reporter until the secretary of state, mike pompeo, got back from that trip to saudi arabia and to turkey where he heard saudi denials and turkish accusations. now, it's all come down to this
and it's really decision time for this white house after he briefs president trump because white house officials have repeatedly pointed back, saying we're waiting for him to get back to brief us to then move forward and make a decision. that's essentially what we're going to come down to. whether or not the president tries to contain the fallout, which is becoming a full-blown diplomatic crisis, or if he makes the decision to confront saudi arabia is something we're waiting to see, but if you look at what the predhas been saying over the past few days you can kind of guess where this is going. he's repeatedly pointed to the benefits of the u.s./saudi relationship, talking about the arms deal, countering iran's influence in the middle east, and also pointed out multiple times that jamal khashoggi was not an american citizen. he was a resident of the united states. he lived not far from washington, in virginia. but president trump has repeatedly made clear he's not a u.s. citizen. so that could give us some indication of what it is that we're going to hear from president trump after he gets formally briefed by secretary of
state mike pompeo. but also, it's decision time here, because of course, we're still waiting to find out what steven mnuchin is going to do. he's scheduled to go to the investment conference in riyadh and he's scheduled to leave for it tomorrow. so today, we're expecting to hear some kind of decision whether or not they have made the decision if he's still going to go, because we know they were still planning on it, but also overall, what is the administration's response going to be to this now that intelligence is increasingly pointing to the fact not only are the saudis responsible, but the crown prince and king may have authorized it. those are the questions we're waiting to see whether or not president trump decides to take a hard-line stance on this or continue with the delay method is still to be determined. hopefully we'll find out soon when we see the president and mike pompeo if we do in the next hour. >> thanks very much. >> let's go to ben wedeman who joins us in istanbul. ben, let's talk about what we have seen from the turks in
terms of this investigation. we have some new photos that have been released. it could be very significant. where do things stand at this hour? >> yes, poppy. those photos you refer to are four cctv photos published in a turkish newspaper this morning which show one man who is a kernel in saudi intelligence. somebody who traveled with crown prince mohammed bin salman to the united states, to the uk, and is a member of his elite protection force. it shows him going into the saudi consulate here in istanbul behind me at 9:55 a.m. and then leaving the same day, the second of october, the same day jamal khashoggi went into this kaunlslet and was never seen leaving. and then we see the kernel leaving at, according to this cctv pictures, at 4:53 p.m.
that's about three and a half hours after jamal khashoggi entered into the consulate. now, this obviously puts him essentially at the scene of the crime. this is a man very close to the saudi crown prince. and we also in addition to these two cctv photos, there's a photo of him at istanbul's ataturk airport, about to get on a plane. a plane that apparently was confiscated by some of those saudi billionaires who were detained at the ritz-carlton in riyadh on the 4th of november, 2017. and were owned now by a company affiliated with mohammed bin salman. so there's lots of links that are coming together, all of them the common factor is a relationship with the saudi crown prince. jim, poppy. >> ben, important reporting and
developments. thank you for that. >> let's go to riyadh now, sam kylie joins us with more. >> sam, what are the saudis saying? anything new this morning? they have mounted an aggressive public defense. any sign of that changing? >> no. what's been intriguing, really, is the saudis have rarely put out, it's now sevlg days since any official has made any statement. they are talking to us privately both here and in turkey, but in terms of the public statements, the general reaction in the saudi-controlled press, this remains the story that it is qatar and turkey and the muslim brotherhood that have cooked up this piece of theater to besmirch the reputation of saudi arabia and the official or semi-official state media here is saying this is simply not true. that there is any kind of saudi involvement whatsoever in the
disappearance of mr. khashoggi. now, jim and poppy, we know also that behind the scenes, they are struggling to come up with a narrative that would accept some of the existing facts as they are now known, but distance the crown prince and the king, the royal court, from any decisionmaking process or knowledge of what might have happened in that consulate. we understand that is a process that is ongoing. it's the process that they're calling the investigation. and also, bear in mind that 15 people who went to turkey are now all back here. some of them fairly well known and prominent. one of whom is a prominent forensic pathologist. his whereabouts, we have reached out, got his phone numbers and so on. they have all gone to ground, and indeed, most people in the country would not be willing to speculate one way or another about this story at all. very few were even prepared to
talk on the phone. >> can't imagine why that would be, right? in the current environment. sam, thanks very much. >> joining us is cnn national security analyst peter bergen. immense experience in the region including saudi arabia. cnn is reporting that mike pompeo in his private meeting with the crown prince, mohammed bin salman, was very direct. making it clear that the u.s. position is that the saudis have to own this. the intelligence points in the direction of their responsibility. now, he's got to sit across from the president, the president who has been at best reluctant to make public comments criticizing the saudis. based on what you know of his relationship with trump, will he push the president for more definitive, decisive action? >> jim, i don't know. but i think what we are seeing is the saudis picking up on some of the things sam said. the saudis are going to come up with a plausibly deniable kind of explanation that excludes the crown prince and the king from the decisionmaking.
but does identify a pretty senior saudi official as being in charge of the operation. it looks like a senior official in the intelligence ministry is a person who either led the operation and/or is going to be fingered for it or both. and the narrative will be that he kind of got ahead of himself, sort of put together his own team. the whole thing went wrong. and that's going to be the story. i think that's -- i mean, if you take what we have seen over the last two or three days in terms of reporting, both by cnn and others, i think that will be a kind of face-saving maneuver, and kind of accords with what the president said about a rogue operation. and the fact is the saudi american relationship is very important for all the reasons that we all know. >> peter, based on what we know of how saudi arabia operates, it's a top-heavy system. the royal family exerts massive
control. the crown prince is extremely powerful and aggressive. is that at all credible to imagine that a deadly operation, an assassination, abduction, would happen without his knowledge? >> remember, henry ii said about thomas, who will rid me of this turbulent priest, and four knights went out and killed him. so the point is, we'll never be able to prove that mohammed bin salman ordered a particular kind of operation. there will be no writing. it's nothing in writing. and at the end of the day, the united states is probably going to look for a way to sort of say, hey, they produced this thing that is sort of plausible narrative, and we're going to choose to believe it even if it's implausible on its face. >> even if it screams incredulity, to think it would not go up that high in a system like that, the crown prince and king would not know. do you remember the late great
senator john mccain who said our values are our interests, and our interests are our value snz so if you ascribe to that, if you do, can mohammed bin salman be a reliable ally for the united states? >> i think it doesn't really matter because at the end of the day, you know, he cares about saudi politics, not american politics. and at the end of the day, interests trump values unfortunately in so many of our relations, i'm not making it as a defense, just an observation, and i don't see -- look, he's a totalitarian ruler. he's gotten rid of every dissident, there's no military coup led by the national guard because he fired all those guys and put in his own people. what is their mechanism of getting rid of him? king salman. this guy is his favorite son. he will weather the storm and he will be around for a long time.
you know, and i think the united states, unfortunately, probably come to that conclusion. they know he's responsible, but they're not going to put pressure on the royal family to get rid of him because that's not going to happen. it would be counterproductive, i think. >> well, it's sort of what khashoggi himself predicted, right? as we read his editorial earlier, that was in there. sadly, it doesn't look good for those kinds of freedoms in the region. peter bergin, thanks very much for adding your wisdom, as also. still to come, appropriate and independent. those are the words of rod rosenstein this morning in the "wall street journal," defending the special counsel's russia probe. exactly the opposite of the president who calls it a witch hunt. >> and from ally to enemy, michael cohen meets with prosecutors again investigating president trump's family business.
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book things to do tripadvisor deputy attorney general rod rosenstein strongly coming to the defense of special counsel robert mueller's investigation. he told the "wall street journal" that the probe is both, quote, appropriate and independent. president trump, as i'm sure you know, has called the probe repeatedly a witch hunt, so how will he react to rosenstein's comments? he obviously has the power to get rid of him if he wanted to. >> he hasn't taken to twitter yet, but it's only 10:17 in the morning. rosenstein's alliance with the president has been precarious at best. last month, "the new york times" reported rosenstein secretly
floated the idea of wearing a wire and using the 25th amendment to remove him from office, which rosenstein denied. let's discuss with shan wu. nice to have you here. so, you know, rosenstein doesn't do a lot of interviews. it's notable he did this with the "wall street journal," a largely conservative readership. we'll see how the president responds. do you think it makes a dent, though, in the president's narrative that this is a witch hunt, at least among the president's supporters? >> not at all. i don't think it will change the president's narrative at all. i think it is quite fascinating that rosenstein gave this interview at this time. i think it probably reflects his consciousness that his time could be limited, at the very least, it's always a day-to-day situation. i think he wanted to get out in front of the midterms and make this statement. it doesn't seem like it's particularly startling that his opinion would be the
investigation is justified and appropriate. i was struck by the language that it's the right result, which i don't know if he intended that, but suggests that he knows what the result is at this point. i thought that was very intriguing. >> that is interesting. there is talk, and again, like i always say, the mueller investigation is a black box. it does not leak. we don't know for sure, but there's talk of perhaps a preliminary report after the midterms, though there's also expectation other lines of inquiry will continue after that. but if the president were to fire after the midterms rod rosenstein, jeff sessions, with the intention of influencing the special counsel's investigation, wouldn't it be too late now? what would, if you put a friendly person in there to oversee this investigation now, what influence could they have? >> i think the influence they would have is possibly how widely the report would be disseminated and just how much of it would be disseminated because mueller reports at the moment to the deputy ag.
if there was a new a.g., he might report directly to the a.g., but it's that person who is supervising the investigation for the justice department, and they could put out very little in terms of the contents. or they could pretty much give it en masse to congress and to the public. i think that's strategically where trump and his lawyers would want the control who is actually making that decision at that time. >> let me ask you about don mcgahn. he's walked out of the white house. he's done with his job there. he's being replaced. and we have learned, of course, cnn and the president have had their differences on a host of issues and significantly, pertaining to this. he spoke to mueller's team for something like 30 hours, right, over the last year or so. now that he's no longer representing the interests of the white house, no longer in the white house, i don't know, anything you would think in terms of mueller wanting to talk to him again? does it open him up to say more
now? >> it's possible that mueller could want to talk to him again, although i was astounded when i heard how much time he spent with them. i suspect they pretty much covered everything from a to z with him already, and most likely, they're done, unless new leads develop that they have to follow. i do think that the privilege issue in terms of his executive privilege doesn't go directly to the president, would still be there. there could be an argument that he waived it, but i think if there was a sensitive issue, they would probably try to have him reassert that. originally, it seems odd that he walked into that and they did appear to land it, but there's a strong argument that you don't permanently waive a privilege like that. >> shan wu, nice to have you. >> we always wonder if the president sees him as disloyal now because he spoke to the general counsel. >> paul ryan with a warning to gop voters with less than three
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about the investigation into the apparent murder of the saudi journalist jamal khashoggi. let's discuss with ron brownstein and susan page, washington bureau chief for "usa today." bring us into that room, if you can, ron brownstein. you have mike pompeo who we're told when he met with the crown prince, he was very direct in private. in private, he said listen, this looks bad. something happened here. you have to own it. you have a president who has been, shall we say, reluctant to call out the saudis in public. how does this end up? >> look, i don't think we know how this ends up. except that we know that almost every, i think, western government will -- is moving toward a position. i think the only possible position, of viewing this as a premeditated act by saudi leadership. and the question is whether the u.s. is part of that consensus or whether the u.s. is isolated. i don't think there is any
chance that the president's position over the last few days will end up being the dominant response of the world to this premeditated murder. so in some ways that is the question. i mean, the question is less what the u.s. does in some ways than whether the u.s. is isolated or not, and i am struck again as we often talk about the question of how far congress will go in allowing the president to move down this lane. you saw bob corker complaining today that -- >> the intel. >> they won't share the intelligence. the congress is not a bystander. they have options here if they believe the executive branch is not responding appropriately. >> susan page, the question becomes, will congress exercise them? there is something that happened this week that didn't get a lot of attention, but is interesting at a minimum in terms of optics. on tuesday, which is the same day that pompeo was in saudi meeting with the saudi king and the crown prince, the saudi government transferred $100 million to d.c., to washington,
to the government. now, to the state department specifically, which says look, that was for stabilization, a long time in the making. the timing is just a coincidence. and that may be, but what it does show is the reliance of this country and the connectivity between our country and saudi arabia when it comes to financing things that are significant to our interests. >> and of course, that's been part of president trump's argument here in taking what is at least a go-slow approach in terms of responding to this apparent horrific assassination. now, the question is, as ron says, will the united states be isolated from the world response? it's also, will the white house be isolated from the american response? i think it is entirely possible that congress will do what it did when it came to russian sanctions, which is enforce russian sanctions with a veto-proof majority and basically force president trump to accept them against his will. you know, that is a track we may well be on with this one --
>> do you really think so? i ask because the interests here when it comes to u.s. interests in iran, for example, in syria, for example, it's very different in terms of the reliance the u.s. has on saudi arabia versus the reliance the u.s. does not have on russia. >> that's true. our relationship with saudi arabia is important in a number of areas, but the fact is, this assassination, this attack on press freedom, the fact that this was an assassination of someone who lived in the united states and worked for "the washington post," and the fact that there seems to be a recording of what happened to him, i think makes it very hard to ignore. >> hard to sweep under the rug. if i can, ron, ask you about the midterms, because they are rapidly approaching. you might have noticed. you heard paul ryan warning republicans of a green wave of democratic money coming in. portraying it as coastal money trying to influence the interior
of the country when in fact there's a lot of grassroots money going as well. give us your state of play in this race, the various republican lines of attack, who comes out on top? >> well, first of all, the amount of money that democratic candidates are raising in the house are unprecedented. outraising incomdnlts two, three to one in key races. in southern california in orange county, it's astounding the advantage democratic challengers have against republican incumbents, and this is the fulfillment of presidential candidates like howard dean and barack obama and bernie sanders about mass small dollar fund-raising being applied to congressional races. money is not everything in congressional races. int the underlying partisan nature is critical, and we see them moving in both directions at once. the places on the periphery of the democratic targ list that were in more republican pro-trump areas, many are falling away and getting
tougher. on the other hand, as the president has polarized us around cultural issues, the republican hill is getting steeper in the inner suburban areas, white collar areas that are the ercof the democratic stude opportunity in the house. my guess is you're going to see an election that widens the trench between increasingly blue america and metro red america and we're going to and out feeling like we're looking at two americas glaring at each other across a widening chasm that trump tries to widen at every chance. >> susan to you, on that note about enthusiasm and what is exciting voters the most 19 days out from the midterms. for some liberals and democrats, it is if we take the house, the move to impeach the president. joe biden, former vice president, potential 2020 candidate, said to cbs in an interview this morning, look, be careful, democrats. don't move to do that right now. wait for the report to come out. what do you make of that? >> well, i think the energy in
the democratic party is clearly on the left, and there's lot of energy behind the idea of impeaching president trump. but joe biden has a long memory with this. remember what happened when republicans impeached president clinton? in that subsequent midterm election, he actually gained votes in the house against all historical, most historical precedent. so there is, i think democrats you see nancy pelosi among them, proceeding with some caution. but the pent-up anger in the democratic party and the place that fueled this huge grassroots movement, including on money, does want to see investigations at the least and perhaps also impeachment. >> okay. thanks both. >> interesting couple years. ron brownstein and susan page, thank you. >> we're following a developing story out of afghanistan. a close call for u.s. commander there following a deadly attack. we'll have the new details next. [woman 1] this...
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we're learning more now about a deadly shooting in afghanistan inside the kandahar palace. several senior officials including americans there. gunfire erupting moments after a meeting between the u.s. commander of all forces in afghanistan and a top afghan police chief. thankfully, the u.s. commander uninjured. however, we're learning the police chief was killed. two american service members also injured in the shooting. cnn's nick paton walsh joins us now with the details. do we know the circumstances of
this attack now, nick? >> it is a startling breach of security, frankly. inside the kandahar palace where the governor holds key, very secure, very heavily fortified meetings with the top u.s. commander was involved in a substantial gathering with major local afghan officials. now, the police chief who died, is young. he's pretty notorious, accused of frankly unethical conduct to some degree, but a massive power broker in that vitally important southern kandahar region. it's unclear how this played out. it appears to be afghan on afghan. that's parlance for one afghan soldier or official turning his gun on other afghans. the taliban claimed responsibility. they often do. we don't know who carried out the attack yet. but they said general miller was also the target as well as the other general. it's startling, now 17 years into the war, to have a meeting like this violated. a massive security breach.
when it comes to these attacks by afghans on afghans, there is little to be done. the taliban have been shown to infiltrate the most secure parts. general miller appears to have been out of the way or at least not injured by it. two citizens from the united states were injured, unclear what their role was. we're days away from vital afghan parliamentary elections. record violence, record number of soldiers and civilians being killed and near record american bombs being dropped on the country. an instance like this shows you exactly where it's going. >> exactly the risk, nick, that americans are putting themselves in continually there, 17 years in. >> every day. >> every day. >> absolutely every day. >> nick, important reporting. thank you so much. also this, new satellite photos obtained exclusively by cnn show russia ramping up its military presence along the baltic sea. the u.s. military is preparing just in case any nato ally needs
protection. fred pleitgen has more from onboard a war ship off the coast. >> the uss iwo jima off the coast of iceland, in the hangar deck, marines gearing up for an air assault. retaliation if there's an attack on a u.s. ally. corporal derrick husinger is part of the invasion force. >> get our guns situated, put the tripod down, set the gun up, and stable platform. >> the exercise also a deterrent, as the north atlantic region becomes more contested. with this exercise, the u.s. and its allies are practicing their response in case a friendly nation gets attacked. the adversary is fictitious, but it comes as a time when there's increasing -- russia is beefing up its capabilities right in the heart of europe. cnn has obtained satellite
images, seemingly showing massive construction work at russia's bases up grading a nuclear storage facility there, adding new ammunition bunkers and upgrading the military air field. is vladimir putin building up his military. russia's defense minstraer didn't response to cnn's request for information, but the commander of u.s. naval forces in europe and africa tell me there's a pattern of russia upgrading its capabilities in the region. >> they're putting a lot in their modern weapon systems. anti-cruise ship missiles, radars, the s-300 and s-400. >> sending a message of strength to moscow, the u.s. and allies are gearing up for a bigger exercise in norway. >> they want to challenge us, we will challenge them. we're not going to be intimidated by those systems out there. >> that challenge is now playing out in the north atlantic region, with an increasingly assertive russia and the u.s. showing it won't back down.
traffic and roads... a mess, rents going up, friends and family moving out of state, millions of californians live near or below the poverty line. politicians like gavin newsom talk about change, but they've done nothing. sky-high gas and food prices. homelessness. gavin newsom, it happened on your watch. so, yeah. it is time for a change. time for someone new. president trump's former personal lawyer, michael cohen, met with state and federal authorities investigating president trump's family business and his charity. >> this is the latest move by
cohen in what is an extraordinary transformation from someone who claimed to be the president's fixer to someone who keeps seemingly creating issues for the president. mj lee has a fascinating deep dive into it. not only all of that, but we also learned this week from his attorney that he registered as a democrat, and that he is talking to the new york a.g.'s office, which is significant because of the case the a.g. has against the trump foundation. >> that right, and so remarkable because this is an entirely different michael cohen than even from a few months ago. this is a man, of course, who made his name by being donald trump's fixer, being the guy who would do anything to keep him out of trouble, but then ever since he started falling into legal trouble a few months ago, that relationship quickly deteriorated. takea a a look at this timeline. it was in april that the fbi raided his hotel, office, and hotel room. by june, we heard the president saying michael cohen was no longer his lawyer, and then of course, in august, michael cohen
pleaded guilty to eight criminal counts, including for campaign finance violations related to work he did for donald trump. and then over the last week, we saw michael cohen saying that he had changed his registration to democrat. saying that he wanted to campaign against the president and also we know that he is continuing to meet with investigators. and it's important to note that that animosity is going both ways. just a reminder of what the president told the associated press just earlier this week. he said that michael cohen was not in trouble for what he did for me. that actually is a false statement. he said that michael cohen was a very low-level public relations person. and that cohen wants to try to get a lighter sentence for what he did. that last part is very much true. that is what michael cohen is interested in right now. he wants to get a lighter sentence. he wants to protect his family, and clearly, he has decided one way to do that is to continue talking to investigators and tell them as much as he can
about donald trump. >> when he pled guilty on august 21st, he imp kalted, as you said, the president in the crime, said he directed him to do this. as he's talking to prosecutors now about the president's personal business, his private sector businesses, is the implication he's discussing potential crimes by the president as well? >> we obviously don't know what kind of conversations are happening behind closed doors but that's one good guess. and we know that there's a lot potentially that michael cohen could say about donald trump's business because he spent a lot of years working at the trump organization. you all remember that long investigative piece from "the new york times" from a few weeks ago. we know that if anybody knows about the skeletons that are in donald trump's closet, it's potentially michael cohen. he's eager to talk. >> and the idea he was a coffee boy, low level, is just -- it's ridiculous. he worked with him for more than a decade. he was deeply involved in many personal and public issues. right? things like paying off, for instance, women who had affairs with trump. >> sure, and this is a pattern
we have seen from the president. whenever somebody is sort of no longer on the president's side, what he does is he attacks them and he sort of minimizes the role that they played in his work or his campaign. we saw him do this with paul manafort, who was his campaign chairman. >> mj, fascinating reporting. thank you. you can read it all on cnn.com. >> let's hop over to breaking news at the white house. secretary of state mike paompeo about to walk out and brief reporters. you'll see this live, on his conversation with the president on the disappearance of the journalist, jamal khashoggi. here is mike pompeo, just returning from riyadh and turkey and just meeting with the president. >> i had a chance to brief the president on the travels i returned to last evening where i traveled both to riyadh and ankora. had a chance to talk in riyadh with the king, with the crown prince, the foreign minister, all of the united states counterparts there. we made clear we take this matter with respect to
mr. khashoggi seriously. they made clear to me they too understand the serious nature of the disappearance of mr. khashoggi. they also assured me that they will conduct a complete, thorough investigation of all of the facts surrounding mr. khashoggi and they'll do so in a timely fashion. this report itself will be transparent for everyone to see, to ask questions about, and to acquire with respect to it, and i told president trump we ought to give them a few more days to complete that so that we, too, have a complete understanding of the facts surrounding that. at which point, we can make decisions about how or if the united states should respond to the incident surrounding mr. khashoggi. i think it's important for us all to remember, too, we have a long, since 1932, a long strategic relationship with the kingdom of saudi arabia. they continue to be an important counterterrorism partner. they have custody of the two holy sites. they're an important strategic
alliance of the united states. we need to be mindful of that as well. when i traveled and met with president erdogan, he talked to me about the incident. he told me that they were conducting their own investigation. we had a chance to meet with some of the team involved with that. he assured me they would share their results with the saudis as well. so we do believe that between these two efforts, a complete picture will emerge for what actually transpired here, and we're working towards that. we're looking forward to that wrapping up quickly and we expect it will be done in that way. yes, sir. >> why should saudi arabia be trusted to conduct a fair and impartial investigation when they're accused of the disappearance and apparent murder of jamal khashoggi. >> >> we're all going to get to see the work, the response that the kingdom of saudi arabia takes with this. when we see that, we'll get a chance to determine, all of us will get to make a determination with respect to the credibility and the work that went into that. whether it's truly accurate,
fair, transparent in the way they made a personal commitment to me, and the crown prince also made a personal commitment to the president when he spoke to him, i believe it was the night before last. >> there are a lot of stories out there about what happened. >> there are lots of stories out there about what has happened. we just are going to allow the process to move forward. allow the facts to unfold. and as they unfold, as we make a determination for ourselves about what happened there based on the facts presented to us, then the united states will determine what the appropriate response might be. thank you all for your time today. >> you heard secretary of state mike pompeo there after briefing the president, a couple headlines. one saying that the u.s. takes this matter very seriously. he was assured by the saudis they take it seriously. interesting, he says he advised the president the u.s. should give the saudis a few more days to conduct their investigation. we're joined now by kaitlan
collins who has been at the white house there. so something of a balancing act there, i suppose, saying -- making clear that the white house takes this seriously, but still providing an opening to the saudis to come to their own conclusion. >> he seems to be giving himself cover because we know pompeo has been pretty criticized over the last 24, 48 hours since he went to riyadh and met with the crown prince and the king and was seen smiling in the photos. he said there that he told them that the united states takes this matter very seriously. but what we didn't see was what president trump thought of the briefing that he got from secretary of state mike pompeo. they briefed -- mike pompeo briefed him and then he came out to talk to reporters briefly, a few minutes. only taking one question, maybe two at the most, there from reporters. not shedding a lot of light on what it was he learned during that trip to saudi arabia. and the trip to turkey as well. and that's really what white house officials have been waiting on, to see what mike pompeo was going to say so they
knew how to respond. what we didn't get was any definitive answer on what they believe happened here, if they think the saudis are responsible. instead saying he wants to give them a few more days and that's what he told president trump, to let them work on the investigation. critics are going to say they're giving them a few more days to work on their cover story because the intelligence is increasingly pointed to the fact that people believe the saudis are responsible for the disappearance of this journalist. also, what we didn't learn is whether or not the treasury secretary, steven mnuchin, is going to that investment summit in riyadh. now, the pool reporters spotted secretary mnuchin in the white house right before mike pompeo comout and asked if there was any decision on whether or not he's still going because he's scheduled to leave tomorrow or saturday, i believe, and he said a decision would be coming very soon. what we did not get from pompeo was any kind of decision on that or any kind of information at all, really, there just from that. it was essentially saying what he's been saying for the past few days. >> and what it sounds like, if this investigation is going to take at least a few more days,
mnuchin is going to have to decide before that whether he's going to riyadh before that, without knowing the conclusion of the reporting and that's an important time note. stay with us. admiral kirby is with us as well. i thought it was significant the secretary of state made a point to note the the important strategic relationship that the u.s. has with saudi arabia on everything, you know, from iran to syria, et cetera. but he didn't say that when it came to turkey. he spent much less time talking, admiral kirby, about the mealing he had with president erdogan and not about the strategic relationship with our nato ally, turkey. >> i think turkey has been one of the elements in the whole story that hasn't gotten as much attention as it deserved. they're a nato ally. this happened on their soil in their country, and of course, they have been selectively leaking information out here and sort of playing an interesting game with the press in terms of what kind of stuff they're putting out there in the public sphere. but turkey is a major, major contributor to our efforts in syria and throughout the middle east. and i did expect to hear more
from pompeo about them and their participation, their cooperation, what we're getting out of them with respect to this investigation. i do want to go back to something else i didn't hear pompeo talk about, and i haven't heard him really say anything about condemning what is apparent, obviously, the murder of jamal khashoggi. i mean, he's never really come out and talked about the despicable act itself. regardless of facts in the investigation and not being over, he's never come out and staunchly said that this was absolutely an egregious act of violence. >> and those words matter. they matter. >> they do. >> nor has he demanded the body, when is the body? >> which is a basic question. he was last seen walking into saudi property. >> the other thing is i have seen nothing from pompeo that indicates to me and should give the american people any confidence this investigation is really going to be credible. he talks about it being transparent, but it seems to me they're investigating
themselves. we quo they don't have the same investigatory procedurers that we have in the united states, that other allies and partners do. that worries me as well. >> can the u.s. here, and you have been in tough situations with u.s. allies before. can they condemn the action and maintain the relationship? >> yes, absolutely. i mean, you know, relationships, particularly with allies and partners, the reason they're strong, the reason they're resilience is because you can disagree on specific events and incidents. we did that many times in the obama administration. we were very tough with saudi arabia in particular about their human rights record, and yet still find ways to cooperate. look at russia. my goodness, we're not even allies at all, partners with russia, but we found ways to cooperate on things like the counter-isis campaign and the war in syria. yes, absolutely, it can survive, and it should survive. the alliance and partnership with saudi arabia and the region is vital. it is important, and president trump is not wrong to want to try to find ways to preserve it
and keep it moving forward. but that doesn't mean you can't be hard and very tough on them about this particular incident. >> critics would argue that administrations prior to this, including the obama administration, arguably gave saudi arabia too much of a pass on some things when it comes to human rights. we'll keep following this. the breaking news, we'll pass it on. thanks for joining us. i'm poppy harlow. >> i'm jim sciutto. "at this hour" with kate bolduan starts now. hello, everyone. i'm kate bolduan. the secretary of state mike pompeo speaking out just moments ago after wrapping a meeting with the president to discuss what is now the most critical test to date for the trump presidency. how to respond to the disappearance and suspected murder of "washington post" columnist jamal khashoggi. pompeo saying just moments ago, we need to give them a little more time to investigate. i want you to listen to this. >> told president trump this morning that we ought to give them a few