tv Wolf CNN October 18, 2018 10:00am-11:00am PDT
lying ted. >> lying ted. we'll see the tone and tenor tonight in the town hall. you can watch the town hall with congressman beto o'rourke tonight at 7:00 p.m. eastern. take a look at that. thanks for joining us at inside politics. a quick thank you to joe ma ena eatman for his heart work on this program. he's got a great new job in new york. have a good afternoon. i'm wolf blitzer. it's 1:00 in washington. thanks very much for joining us. the white house folding under intense pressure announcing the treasury secretary steve mnuchin will not attend a major summit in saudi arabia following the apparent killing of saudi journalist and u.s. resident jamal khashoggi. >> mnuchin tweeting "just met with president trump and secretary
pompeo and we have decided i will not be participating in the future investment initiative summit in n saudi arabia.
secretary of state mike pompeo met with president trump earlier this morning to brief him on his meetings with saudis and turks. he suggested waiting until the saudis complete their own investigation before jumping to any conclusions, wln to this. >> i told president trump this morning that 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 so we can make decisions about how or if the united states should respond to the incident surrounding mr. khashoggi. >> joining us are pamela brown. pamela, secretary pompeo saying to wait and see, yet snooupd mn pulling out of the summit. what is the thinking at the white house? >> we've learned from speaking to white house officials that there were a number of
factors that were at play in deciding to pull mnuchin out of the saudi arabia conference. chief among them was the fact
that his european counterparts, particularly in france as well as the uk decided to pull out. so the decision was made between the president, secretary pompeo and mnuchin that it would be best for him to no long ergo to this conference but they were engaged in a wait-and-see approach. they wanted to see what other countries would do, what other business leaders would do. i can tell you steve mnuchin spoke on the phone to business leaders who decided to pull out and they were encouraging him not to go but the president wanted them to wait to see what other countries did and now that it's clear what is happening, other countries pulling out, they made det decisithe decisio shouldn't go. but this after hearing from mike pompeo that they want to bide time for saudi arabia to conduct an investigation into what happened to jamal khashoggi. of course this raises the question if saudi arabia is responsible for his disappearance and apparent death as mounding evidence suggests,
how can they be constitutioned to conduct a fair investigation? here's what the secretary of state had to say about that. >> reporter: 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 product and the response the kingdom of saudi arabia takes with us. when we see that, we'll get a chance to determine -- all of us will get a chance to make a determination with the respect to the credibility and the work that went into that, whether it's truly accurate, fair, transparent in a way that they made a personal commitment to me and the crown prince made a personal commitment to the president when he spoke to him night before last. >> pompeo went on to say turkey is conducting an investigation so between the two we will see a complete picture but that raises the question given the trained relationship between the two countries, what if the investigations reach different
conclusions, what will the administration do? >> he went out of his way to point out that the u.s. since the 1930s has had a strong strategic cooperation arrangement with the saudis in fighting terrorism and in other areas, clearly that's weighing very heavily on the trump administration's attitude. >> and you've heard the president say repeatedly that we need saudi arabia, particularly when it comes to the arms deal which is clearly very important to the president, as you pointed out, the fight against terrorism, when it comes to iran and other important priorities for the president. it's clear the president doesn't want to jeopardize this partnership with saudi arabia. wolf? >> pamela brown, thank you very much. president trump's end-of-the-week timeline was a little overly ambitious. with us now chris van hollen, a democrat, a member of the appropriations committee. thank you for coming in. >> good to be here. >> do you trust what the saudis
will come up with in terms of their investigation? >> not at all. zero, after all, the studies sa -- saudis said they knew nothing about what happened. they said mr. khashoggi left the consulate when they knew full well what happened to him. so to say okay, you do an investigation when they've already proven themselves to be untrustworthy on this issue makes no sense. we should be listen to our own intelligence agencies and as you know from public reporting our agencies are increasingly confident the crown prince is culpable here. >> mohammed bin salman. are you hearing anything different than that? i know you have access to sensitive information. >> i know senator corker, the chair of the foreign relations committee, asked for a briefing. he said the other day that they, the administration, was not cooperating and not providing it so it appears you have an administration that wants to
shut down our own intelligence agency and not let them tell members of congress what is going on so president trump can continue to be the mouthpiece which is what he's become for the saudi regime and its denials. . it's an outrageous situation. >> earlier in the week he was suggesting this could have been the work of what he called rogue killers. >> exactly. he was essentially doing the work of the saudi regime, spreading this other theory they wanted out there which was clearly crazy given all the facts that we already know about and are mounting daily so why not allow the u.s. intelligence agencies to come down and brief members of congress? why shut them down? the only reason is because our intelligence agencies can put together the facts, that which are pretty clear here, that this could only have happened with a green light from the very top and if not the king the crown prince who is running day to day operations. >> and this one theory that -- i don't know if the saudis will go
forward in terms of their conclusion that yes he was brought in, he was interrogated but the interrogation went wrong and unfortunately he died. >> well, you don't know why they brought along a bone saw as we know turkish authorities are reporting they had an autopsy expert and brought in a bone saw. you don't do that just to have a conversation. >> so your suspicion was when he was lured into the consulate in istanbul they were going to kill him? >> we know the saudis were trying to lure khashoggi back to saudi arabia. that didn't work. then they knew he was going visit the consulate in istanbul. they had days' notice and they had two jets fly in. they had the crown prince's security detail on the ground. >> according to the turks. >> but are you suggesting the recordings were provided by the
turks? >> i don't know who provided them and i think it's important turkey present the evidence it has. i worry about turkey also trying to use the information it has to leverage something they want. >> because as you know, the turks and the saudis don't necessarily have a great relationship. they're rivals and the turks have been leaking a lot of damning information. can you trust the turks in terms of their own investigation? >> i think we have to see what the turks have but what we know from -- for example the airplanes and those facts i think has been corroborated by others. now you're right the reportings themselves and the transcripts of those recordings we'll have to see but this is again why not let u.s. intelligence brief members of congress? the only reason not to allow that is because you're worried u.s. intelligence is going to
tell members of congress what they know and it's inconsistent with what the president is saying publicly. >> the presidents son-in-law and senior adviser jared kushner has had a somewhere, very close working relationship with the saudi crown prince mohammed bin salman and spoke with him on the phone on this very sensitive issue but he's been silent ever since pompeo went other there and didn't take jared kushner along. what is the role of jared kushner? >> jared kushner has been involved from the beginning, it was on that first trip they took. they put all their eggs in the region in the saudi basket despite ample warnings about the crown prince. the crown prince locked up a lot of businesses, manufactured a fight with qatar. we know they've got a horrendous war going on in yemen. hey, they kidnapped the prime minister of lebanon at one point. there were lots of flashing red signs that this was a reckless individual to be doing business with but they ignored ate all.
i don't know the reasons. obviously saudi arabia has been an important ally. it's also a fact the saudi government spent a lot of money in trump hotels in the united states. taking some from being losing propositions to winning propositions. there are lots of factors to be untangled. our job isn't to follow other countries like we're doing, it's to stand up and speak out about human rights and say it's unepiable is to murder in cold blood a u.s. resident with american citizen children who is a columnist for the "washington post" playing along the saudis and being their mouthpiece, as the president has, undermines our security interests around the world. >> chris van hollen, thanks so much for joining us. >> thank you. new details emerging about a battle over the future fbi headquarters here in washington, d.c. how the piece of real estate intersects with the trump business empire and his
presidency. plus, president trump is getting company from potential 2020 foes often the campaign trail as a slew of democrats begin hitting the ground ahead of the midterms. and senator elizabeth warren's dna test results spark major backlash. was it warranted? we'll check the facts later this hour.
he wants to put it over to a developer and build it into something new and give the fbi a state-of-the-art campus around the nation's capitol. but the trump administration killed that plan in favor of building on existing site. now e-mails show the president was involved in the decision which could have financial benefits for the president since his hotel is located just across the street only a block away. the "new york times" reports an executive at the company expressed concern the redevelopment would create potential competition for the trump international hotel on pennsylvania avenue in washington. joining us now, former obama washington ethics counsel and author of "the last palace" norm eisen. i know you're working on various lawsuits involving the president and his deals. but what do you think of this
latest report that suggests the president was involved in the decision to kill this notion of selling the fbi building to a developer who would then demolish it, build new buildings, retail space, office space, condominiums, hotel and build a new fbi headquarters in the suburbs? >> wolf, thanks for having me back. it's a very troubling report in the "new york times" because what it suggests is that the president is as we contend yet again perverting his office. here's the problem with this report. it makes it seem like the president doesn't want to have competition on that fbi site. everyone agrees it makes sense for the fbi to move off campus, but that would open up the property potentially to another hotel. that trump would jeopardize the best needs of the fbi and so our national security and law
enforcement to avoid competition for his hotel if it's true, reprehensible. >> the "new york times" report note there had's no clear indication that the original plan to go ahead and raise the fbi building, sell the property to a commercial developer, build office space, retail space, new hotel, kocondominiums that that necessarily would hurt the trump international hotel across the street and increase the value of that hotel because of this new development. >> well, apparently the president doesn't see it that way and here's what is also disturbing about it, wolf, and my watchdog group demanded documents under the freedom of information act to understand it. the government won't turn over the information on the president's exact reasoning. but the only thing that makes sense when you understand these new facts in the "new york times" editorial, why would you trap the fbi on the premises,
deny them a proper campus somewhere around washington, d.c. while this construction is going on other than for trump to benefit his hotel? so it's a disturbing set of facts and we need to see these documents, why is the president doing this? >> if the democrats get the majority in the house of representatives and have subpoena power, what happens then? >> well, i think this is going to be a top issue for the democrats because the trump hotel, as you mentioned, i'm involved in litigation about that hotel. the trump hotel is a nexus for the improper influence that seem to be affecting the president's decision making. we're talking about khashoggi all this week, there's a lot of saudi money that comes through that hotel. other international and domestic money. it has constitutional dimensions. i and others contend the president's constitutionally forbidden from taking the money. now we see he may be jeopardizing the best interests
of the fbi in order to benefit his hotel. >> and your lawsuit against the president is, what, he should have divested himself from any interest in the hotel? >> exactly so. the constitution contemplates a president should not have commercial enterprises that allow him to get benefits from the federal government, state government or foreign governments because of this conflict, wolf. it's as if the framers of the constitution knew that stay the president may be leasing a hotel from the federal government. it may compromise his decision making, he shouldn't be doing it. so we're contending that it's improper for him to keep an interest, he should have set up a blind trust. >> we'll see how that lawsuit works out. norm eisen, thanks very much for coming in. >> thanks, wolf. joe biden, bernie sanders, kamala harris, cory booker, all campaigning for midterm candidates and also campaign potentially to lay the ground work for their own presidential bid. plus, we have less than three weeks to go, beto o'rourke
and it's strengthened by xfi pods, which plug in to extend the wifi even farther, past anything that stands in its way. ...well almost anything. leave no room behind with xfi pods. simple. easy. awesome. click or visit a retail store today. the 2020 presidential election season may seem a long way off but the biggest names in democratic politics are already descending on states that will
be crucial in the race against president trump. just take a look at the map. today and over the next couple days potential democratic presidential candidates are crisscrossing, look at this, south carolina, new hampshire, iowa, nevada, indiana, and michigan. a recent cnn poll found former vice president joe biden is the democrats' top choice to face off against president trump followed by senators bernie sanders and kamala harris. it may be the most watched senate race in the country right now, we're talking about beto o'rourke versus ted cruz. it's a texas shedown thowdown t reached a new level of mean with only 19 days to cogo s ts to g campaign. >> beto o'rourke wants to be a senator. >> [ bleep ] that. >> reporter: so she's showing up showing his whiit. >> [ bleep ] they doing?
>> this said ted cruz tough as texas. i mean, come on, if somebody called my wife a dog and said my daddy was in on the kennedy assassination, i wouldn't be kissing their ass. joining us from mcallen, texas, chief political correspondent and the moderator of the town hall tonight with beto o'rourke. dana bash. cnn invaded ted cruz multiple times to appear but he declined. let's get to the question. while the race is getting nasty, is it too little too late for beto o'rourke. >> well, you know, it's an open question. o'rourke certainly has been outperforming any democrat in terms of the polls for a quarter of a century. that's how long it has been since a democrat representing texas in longer than that.
now if you look at the latest cnn poll, ted cruz is a ahead by a healthy margin 52 to 45 and o'rourke was closing in more than that a couple months ago. the question is whether or not ted cruz is pulling ahead and can't be domestic o'rourke can't catch him or not and o'rourke is trying to bank on the fact that he has this national notoriety, that he has this unbelievably huge war chest, wolf, $38 million just in the last quarter, that's record setting plus-plus so it's an open question whether or not there are enough potential beto o'rourke voters even to spend that money on. he is banking on his outreach to millennials, to independents and to perhaps a broing hispanic community although it's a big open question whether many of
them want to go for northbound like o'rourke or feel more comfortable with ted cruz and if the polls show -- if it goes the way history has shown, it could be ted cruz. >> ted cruz will be campaigning with president trump. the two have had a tumultuous history to put it mildly. watch this. >> lyin' ted. >> the man cannot tell the truth but he combines it with big a narcissist. >> he's a nasty guy. nobody likes him. nobody in congress likes him. nobody likes him anywhere once they get to know him. >> donald does one of four things -- he yells, screams, curses or insults. >> i think he's crazy. honestly i think he's crazy. >> donald you're a sniveling coward and leave heidi the hell alone. >> what happened, dana? is that water under the bridge right now? they'll be campaigning together.
>> it has been at least in publ public. you heard beto o'rourke's add, he's questioning cruz's manhood saying how can you do this, how can you support a president who said these things about your wife, never mind your father. that is an example of how o'rourke has changed tactics in the past week to where he is becoming more of a traditional politician. he did accuse ted cruz of being lying today. quoted from the president during the republican primaries and the reason that is so different from the past is because o'rourke has been getting the kind of not
light on him and people have been gravitating on a national level for sure because he wasn't doing things like that and that changed and the question is whether or not that will backfire or that's the find of fire that the liberals who are part of his base are looking. >> still two and a half weeks to do. let's see what happens. dana, thank you very much. be sure to tune in. dana moderates the texas town hall with beto o'rourke live at 7:00 p.m. eastern here on cnn immediately after "the situation room." coming up, from washington to the indigenous nucommunity, senator elizabeth warren's dna has caused a surge of criticism but our next guest says what you've heard so far is wrong. plus, robert mueller's quiet period hasn't been very quiet. cnn is learning of nine meetings with paul manafort over the last
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the data, consulted with experts. explain what was wrong about the reporting of senator elizabeth warren's dna? >> the reporting was framed that because the dna test found it was anywhere from six generations to ten generations away that that meant she would have as little as one thousandth, 24th of her dna was native american. that's not the way to look at it. the report showed she had an ancestor who was native american dating back six generations which is -- would place it around the 1850s, and this's somewhat consistent with the lore of the warren family. the dna doesn't, like get smaller as you go back future
generations, if you would go back 10 generations that means she might have had a dozen or more ancestors that were native american. >> so what do native americans have to say about this and what does your fact check show bottom line? >> the bottom line is elizabeth warren is 95% of european dna. the native american part you can definitely identify that there was an ancestor dating back maybe 15 or so years ago and she for for whatever reason she wants to claim that she has that ancestor. but for native americans, your dna does not make you native american. you're a native american if you participate in the community, you're part of that community and you're active in that community and you can -- and the connection is someone that you
know, not someone that might have lived in the 1850s. >> and she's never suggest shed's part of the native american community but her critics have gone after her doubling she has not only now but over the years misled people. what's your answer to that? >> well, you know, we've done a number of fact checks on this we said serious questions could have been raised about her judgment. she submitted recipes to a book and identified herself doshto ak book and identified herself as cherokee. some people might view that as crossing the line and it's more than saying well, i happen to have an ancestor years back. putting something in a book suggests you are claiming you are part of that tripe. >> so where do we go from here as far as this whole issue is concerne
concerned. >> the first step is to correctly identify what she said, that she has dna that suggests there is an ancestor back from the 1850s but whether or not it has a political impact, i'll leave that to the pundits to decide. >> there will be a lot of them who will. glen kessler, thanks for the terrific work you and your team do at the "washington post" fact checking these politicians, appreciate. >> it you're welcome. >> just coming into cnn, we're getting reaction to an attack in afghanistan that killed one of the country's top security officials and two americans were wounded in the attack at kandahar palace, general scott miller, the top commander in afghanistan just issued a statement on the killing of the afghan commander. today afghanistan lost a patriot, my condolences to the people of afghanistan. the good he did if afghanistan and the afghan people cannot be undone.
just ahead, paul manafort, the former trump campaign chairman, has been keeping robert mueller and his team very busy, visiting robert mueller's office nine time this is month alone. plus, it's a scene of desperation on the border of myanmar where thousands of refugees live in dire conditions with no place to go. cnn takes you exclusively inside the aftermath of the myanmar genocide. fely. but allstate helps you. with drivewise. feedback that helps you drive safer. and that can lower your cost now that you know the truth... are you in good hands?
special counsel's office since reaching a deal with prosecutors in early september. manafort has come to robert mueller's office no less than nine times over the past month or so to talk with investigators. here to discuss cnn legal analyst jack quinn who served as white house council during the clinton administration and sara murray, a cnn political correspondent. jack, nine times in the last months alone, what does that say to you? >> it says he has a lot to offer to the special counsel. and he's giving it to him. paul manafort, his importance is evident by the effort the special counsel has gone to with him. he can talk about the trump tower meeting and the president's awareness of that, if any, he can talk about the change in the party platform at the convention. all of these things are critical
because they tied together these activities in ukraine where the rugsz involvement and the platform and so on. >> the allegation of collusion because he worked during the campaign. >> it doesn't mean he makes the case but he can speak to those issues and tie them together and help provide clarity. >> and there's indications now that he's quiet before the storm that shortly after the midterm elections that robert mueller will be releasing more indictments, roger stone, you're doing interviewing on that. >> we're waiting to see what paul manafort offer s and whethr there might be more players. but we know there has been this ongoing investigation surrounding roger stone, he has not been contacted by mueller's team and sources close to the president say they believe once
we get past the midterm there could be more criminal indictments coming. what they will say and who they will involvehe big question is n are we getting this report and what is going to entail. >> and stone and manafort were business partners at one time. these folks are all tied together. >> >> what do you make of this. rod rosenstein, the deputy attorney general of the united states gives an interview of the "wall street journal" says very positive things, upbeat things about the mueller investigation in contrast to the president who says it's a ruse, a witch-hunt and an awful situation. >> i think rod rosenstein wants to do forecasting that we are running a legitimate investigation he says the cases we're making are based on evidence and people will see they're appropriately using the resources so he's offering a counternarrative to the
president who calls this a witch-hunt. at the same time he knows he serves at the pleasure of the president. >> how do you see that? >> i think he wants to ensure the american people that there's an investigation that was done fairly and independently. secondly it's important to bear in mind, rod rosenstein's future does not lie with donald trump, it lies elsewhere and he want toss come out of this with his integrity and credibility act. >> we'll see if he comes out after the midterms with a job and if jeff sessions has a job. >> don't bet on it. >> on what? >> that either is around come january. >> i suspect you're right. guys, thank you very much. up next, no electricity, stagnant water, refugees living in grave conditions a year after the genocide in myanmar. we'll go there. s not a screensa.
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unstopand it's strengthenedting place, the by xfi pods,gateway. which plug in to extend the wifi even farther, past anything that stands in its way. ...well almost anything. leave no room behind with xfi pods. simple. easy. awesome. click or visit a retail store today. it's been over a year since the genocide in myanmar. according to a new u.n. report, more than 10 tuesday people were killed and 720,000 people had to flee the violence, yet myanmar's de facto leader strongly reject the findings. along the country's border with bangladesh, hundreds of thousands are now living in limbo, or as they call it, no
man's land. matt rivers takes us inside one camp that nearly half a million refugees have been forced to call home. >> reporter: wolf, we were very skeptical from the moment we set foot in i didn't because we knew myanmar's government was trying to use us to obscure the truth of what happened to the people. unsurprisi unsurprisingly, the story does not hold up. these people are rohingya muslims. some of them fled from genocide. the government wants you to believe it never happened. >> we fled for our life. >> reporter: it took several days and a rickety boat to get to this stage. the only way we're able to be
here is via government escort. there use to are monday than 6,000 rohingyas here. it's hard to tell there were any structures here at any point. the only clues we have to the violence that took place here are trees like this one, bearing the scorch marks of the fires that burned this village to the ground. the government said it did respond to fires here in 2017 but that the rohingyas burned down their own houses. this man supports the story. the rohingyas started attacking the army.
though clear evidence shows it was the rohingya people who were the victims of slaughter. ten rohingya men were slaughtered. the u.n. says many more men, women and children were savagely killed here as well. the trip then continues through a barren, empty landscape. makes sense when you remember the u.n. said 720,000 rohingya fled when the violence broke out last year. groups engaged in rape, murder and torture to get rid of the rove hin rohingya, a group reguarded as subhuman, noncitizens. so do you continue to claim that
it did not happen in rakhine state? >> the question is very simple. do you believe that genocide happened here or not? >> translator: i'd say genocide didn't happen. >> reporter: myanmar ea's civil leader also denies genocide. her government said it's ready to bring back rohingya refugees like this, not allowed across the border into bangladesh. they're staying put because in part because security forces that would oversee their return are some of the same people accused of carrying out the killing in the first place. the conditions inside that camp are obviously horrific. there's no access to education, no health care, no electricity, food is scarce. yet still, they'd rather be on that side of the fence than this one because they're too afraid to come back. myanmar might continue to de
deniedeny ethnic cleansing, a government sponsored trip does nothing to change that fact. there is no agreement on the best way to get those people out of those refugee camps and back to some sort of normal life for a number of different reasons. hundreds of thousands of rohingya refugees are likely to remain in limbo for months and even years to come. wolf? >> totally awful situation. matt rivers reporting for us. thank you so much for that report. that's it for me. i'll be back 5 p.m. eastern in the situation room. "newsroom" starts right now. hello, i'm ana cabrera, in for brooke baldwin. we begin with intensifying fallout of u.s. journalist jamal
khashoggi. president trump's treasury secretary is pulling out of the initiative next week. and all of this in protest to the disappearance of khashoggi. his last "washington post" editorial was just published today. he spoke of yearning for a free press in all the arab world. now critics of the president are wondering just what could be suppressed after "the washington post" reports the trump administration and the saudi royal family are searching for a mutually agreeable explanation for the death of journal ist jamal khashoggi. today secretary of state mike pompeo discussed his trip to visit the prince and his father. he said they've promised him a complete investigation of the fa
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