tv CNN Newsroom Live CNN October 20, 2018 1:00am-2:00am PDT
them a stable and secure place and then fix what got them there in the first place. >> more than 650 cities are interested in replicating chris's program, which will expand to nashville next year. to find out more go to cnnheroes.com. thanks for watching. our coverage continues. afte tv finally confirms what the world already expected, "washington post" contributor jamal khashoggi is dead. another top story we're following, dramatic pictures from mexico as thousands of migrants make their way north. president trump warned of an assault by criminal elements. and in afghanistan, voters go to the polls, though so many people are running for seats in parliament, the ballot paper looks like a newspaper. where do you start. and of course they are voting under threat of violence
by the taliban. we'll talk about how it is going there. welcome to our viewers here in the united states and around the world. i'm natalie allen. >> and i'm george howell. from cnn world headquarters, "newsroom" starts right now. 4:00 a.m. on the east coast. and saudi arabia now admits what has long been suspected. jamal khashoggi died when inside the saudi consulate in istanbul on october 2nd. >> according to saudi media, so this is the government of saudi arabia, he died after getting into an argument and fist fight with more than one dozen saudi officials. here is how the news broke on state tv. are. >> translator: the investigation showed that primary discussions was inside the consulate of the
saudi arabia was not carried out in the proper way which led to arguments and hand to hand fight with the officials and jamal khashoggi which exacerbated the situation that led to his death. >> and the white house was quick to embrace the saudi narrative. when asked whether he found the explanation to be credible, the president had this to say. >> i do. i mean, it is again early. we haven't finished our review or investigation. but i think it is a very important first step and it happened sooner than people thought it would happen. >> that from the white house. and now to the region. cnn has correspondents following all aspects of this story. sam kiley and nic robertson. sam, starting with you. tell us more about the saudi
explanation that khashoggi is dead due to a fist fight and actions that the government has taken. >> reporter: right. well, george, this was an announcement made on saudi state tv at about 1:00 in the morning local time. but it laid out a narrative that we had been led to believe was likely, which was that the crown prince, the chief executive effectively of this nation, was uninformed as to this operation, but that the saudis have admitted that saudi officials did kill the "washington post" columnist jamal khashoggi inside the turkish consulate on october 2nd. as you say there, the official statement suggested that it was the result of a fist fight and that it was an accident. nonetheless 18 people have been detained here in saudi arabia.
and at least another five very senior cenior officials, very c the royal court, among them the chief media adviser to the crown prince himself, they have been relieved of their positions. most of the others are very senior members of the intelligence and security services. there is no particular explanation as to why they have been removed from their positions at the moment, but the implication is that if they didn't know about this operation, they should have done from their saudi perspective. and this is a remark that was part of the statement made on state tv. and i think it is very telling. let's have a listen. >> translator: the public prosecution confirms that they will continue investigating and interrogating those responsible who are 18 persons of saudi
nationali nationality. >> reporter: now, they say that they will continue the investigations and indeed the royal court has set a one month deadline for a full report on these deliberations. but what is not going to be investigated is the role of the crown prince in whose hands almost all power in this country has already been concentrated, george. in fact what king salman's royal court statement said is that he will now be pre- -- presiding into another the set of investigations into a complete reform of the intelligence services here. a cynic might say, well, part of their reforms would be to look at how it was possible that this sort of mission could be conducted off the books without somebody in a very high level knowing about it. the other more cynical investigation might be as to how it was possible and seems likely
that the turks were able to bhug tbhug -- bug the consulate so effectively in istanbul. >> that is the saudi explanation. one question not answered from saudi arabia, where is khashoggi's body. that question remains unanswered. sam kiley live for us in riyadh. thank you. let's cross now to nick r robertson. we've seen that video showing some individuals who may have been connected to this. is there any indication that any of these people are among the 18 nationals that saudi arabia has detained? >> reporter: saudi arabia hasn't released the details of the vast majority of those people. they removed two very close officials to the crown prince, three deputy heads of intelligence along with them. but the other people of those 18 that are detained other than those five, it is not clear. that leaves 13 not clear who
they are. sam is very clear in his reporting there. there are a vast number of questions that the saudis haven't answered. of course the biggest one is what happened to jamal khashoggi's body. the reason that we are left with so much ambiguity and we actually are left to draw the conclusions and inferences from what the saudi statement has said is because they are being clear. i think one of the interesting takeaways has been in all of this, and this does seem to trike note at the turkish president as well, one of the statements said that they had formed a joint sort of working group with turkish authorities, that the saudis had sent a delegation here on the 6th of october four days after jamal khashoggi disappeared. yet it took another nine days on top of that before turkish officials were allowed to get
into the kons latconsulate. and the consulate had been painted over inside. and president erdogan seemed to show displeasure that few days after khashoggi's disappearance that the docounsedown general s them around. >> and i'd also like to get your thoughts on the high officials relieved of duties. you've interviewed one of them before. he held a prominent role especially with the war in ye n yemen. how significant is it that he has taken the fall here? >> reporter: well, i think if we say taken the fall, that kind of implies that he has offered himself up for this and there is no indication of that. we haven't heard from him
directly. he is a senior official, the deputy head of the intelligence, very close to mohammad bin salman. he wasn't -- he previously had been a two star general inside the air defense corps. but in his position as intelligence, he didn't have the title of general. i met him first discussing the war in yemen. his path to power came through it tv, defending the saudi interests. do they use the munitions? the coalition is not using cluster bombs? >> no. >> reporter: cluster munitions elsewhere? >> let me be -- >> reporter: i'm trying to be clear. >> i'm commenting to you. >> reporter: but i want to be precise.
>> i will answer precisely. >> reporter: for several years row the coalition spokesman for the saudi led war in yemen. he had huge exposure and became a local celebrity in saudi arabia. his fame, coupled to his robust defense of saudi interests, earned him the attention of architect of that war, mohammad bin salman, known as mbs. a general in the air defense are corps, he got a second start and according to a source, sought close ties to salman during his rapid rise to crown prince. it paid off, he was made deputy intelligence chief in 2017. according to the source, he took over after the previous incumbent retired following a botched so-called rendition of a suspect from china. a serious ambition that carried
him into mbs' orbit and he had become a vital cog in the machine ensuring the prince's power and was believed by several sources to have put together a team involved in the "washington post" journalist's disappearance. in 2016, in an interview with cnn, he described his experience planning military operations. >> when you make the plan for an operation, you start by having a situation, but this situation will be changing. there is a lot of things getting in and the change will adapt your plan. >> reporter: so the investigational commission that salman will now head will be to look into the role of people like rchassiri, the role of the
intelligence xwlup group as a w. but it does look to people that follow the wheels of power if you will that assiri was just a loyalist and like one of the others who have been removed. it is very unlikely to have done anything that he would have believed would have been outside the bounds of what prince salman wanted. that is how the country has been run. so i think that his removal is going to raise a lot of questions. >> a lot of questions for sure coming from this explanation. nic robertson, thank you for the insight and reporting. u.s. lawmakers have serious doubts about the latest saudi story about khashoggi's death. republican senator lindsey graham tweeted this, to say that i am skeptical of the new saudi narrative about mr. khashoggi is an understatement. top democrats are also speaking
out. senator blumenthal says there needs to be a new investigation. >> the saudis very clearly seem to be buying time and buying cover. but this action raises more questions than it answers. and there is no way that the world will wait for about 30 days for a saudi investigation to be done. there has to be an international investigation. >> jerry connelly from virginia, where khashoggi lived, he says that the saudi investigation stinks of a coverup. >> it is amazing that it took two weeks of lying and subterfuge for the saudi government to finally admit, well, yes, he died and he died at their hands and in our consulate. now they are engaged in a coverup to protect the crown prince. >> let's talk more about it with
steven erlanger. he joins us from brussels. we appreciate you being with us. five people have been relieved of duty, three close to the crown prince, this death reportedly the result of a fist fight. the saudi press agency statement reads in part on the dismissals, these corrective measures are enough to stop this grave mistake from happening in the future. what do you make of that statement and their story? >> well, i think that they are quite unbelievable. i don't think anyone outside saudi arabia believes it. i don't even think president trump believes it. he is trying to be careful because saudi arabia is very important to him and his campaign against iran and oil. but this is nonsense. i mean, it is clearly nonsense. my guess is that mohammad bin salman wanted to show that they were arrested and that this was
a rendition that went wrong, much as nic robertson has reported that general assiri had succeeded a general who tried a rendition in china that went wrong. it was clumsy, it was badly done. the saudis should just come forward and say what happened. but the risk is that mohammad bin salman himself would be replaced by the king, which has happened before. and it is not just this problem. he is very unpopular with the rest of the royal family. and the war in yemen which is his war, it is a humanitarian disaster. and everybody knows that too. so saudi arabia's reputation is sinking. his capture of the lebanese prime minister in a very bizarre arrest. the prince has been very excentric. and there is a question of whether all of this is preparatory for the king replacing him.
that is still left to be seen. >> meantime president trump has been advised by his son-in-law and top adviser jared kushner to stand with the crown prince. donald trump tweeted, i have no financial interests in saudi arabia. first of all, is that true and what is the complication that this president then would stand with this crown prince during this time? >> well, i don't know if he has financial interests. certainly saudis have invested in trump. in fact they have stayed in huge numbers at his hotel in washington while he's been president. so he has in some fashion benefited from the saudi investment. the saudis have really tried to make a friend of trump from the beginning, vice versa. trump has at least sided with the saudis and the sunnis and
benjamin netanyahu against rair and qatar. so it has created all kinds of problems. so i think trump just sees in middle east plans in trouble because saudi arabia is in trouble. and i actually think that he is right to be careful. he is right to play it more deftly than he has been known to do whe with others. and i think what happens in saudi will define what mr. trump does. i don't think that he wants to tip the scale, but if salman falls because of this, i think that trump will obviously want to deal with whatever comes next as best as he can. so being careful is not a terrible thing. we'll see if congress starts issuing sanctions. there are all kinds of issues
still to come. but let's remember the murder of khashoggi which is clearly what happened is a terrible thing. the war in yemen is a terrible thing. there is a disruptive force now in the middle east. and right now it is surrounding bin salman. >> all right. appreciate your insights. still ahead here, another long night in guatemala. thousands of migrants waiting for a chance to cross into mexico waiting on that bridge and for some, ultimately trying to get to the united states. also ahead here, some afghans will have to wait even longer to vote for parliament. we'll tell you what is behind the new delay. all right su already such a tragedy with the taliban threatening so many people voting, but there is more to the story.
migrants are caught in guatemala waiting to cross the border into mexico. >> take a look at the scene on this bridge. men, women and children packed on the bridge. many say they are escaping violence hoping to reach the united states. >> president trump warns that he will send the military to the border if this caravan of people gets through. he says these are, quote, bad people, some hardened criminals. >> what evidence do you have that these are hardened criminals? >> oh, please. please. don't be a baby, okay? take a look. just take a look. >> don't be a baby, take a look. well, let's take a look there beyond the bridge and directly thereon, you see family, children, mothers crying. it hasn't been a very easy journey for the migrants. bill weir was on the bridge taking a look. here is the story. >> reporter: at high noon, the
bridge over the border was empty. but then for some reason guatemalan police throw open the gates. the first try to form an order early line, but it lasts seconds as thousands more pour across, all with a mixture of exuberance, frustration and determination. the crowd has managed to shove the padlocked gates open. but waiting on the other side are hundreds of mexican federales in rye iot gear. they manage to hold back the tide with a single tear gas canist canister. after a half hour of chaos, the
crowd calls itself even turning on the few troublemakers in the crowd convincing them to climb back down off the fence. but some can't take the heat and the crowd, so they jump into the river. >> message is we are not criminals. we want to work. we need a job, we need a better life. that's why we're here. >> reporter: you understand that president trump is going to use the pictures of thousands of people surging to the gates against you. he will point to that and say this is scary. >> it is his politics. he is the president. he is the president of the united states. and with all due respect, you know, we are not criminals. >> reporter: donald trump is the anti-christ, this man says. if he doesn't repent, he is going to hell. we are not criminals, we are workers and fighters. eventually mexico opens to the caravan. but only a trickle are let through. women and children first,
including matra, who tells me her husband was murdered by drug gangs. after walking for a week, her three other kids are still across the river. do you want to go to the united states? have you heard that president trump doesn't want more people coming and he has even separated families who try to come. what should we do now then, she says. there is no way that you can go back home? i don't want my kids in the middle of crime. i don't want to have the lives of my children further destroyed. mexico has taken the rare step calling on the united nations to help sort this crisis. but this standoff makes it clear that for most of these folks, there is no turning back. bill we'reweir, cnn, mexico. still ahead, much more on
the life and career of jamal khashoggi and the many competing interests now at stake in the investigation around his death. also ahead here, a russian woman is charged with trying to manipulate the u.s. midterm elections. why there may be more to it than just this. we'll have that as well. [ upbeat music ]
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saudi and state media say that he died in a fist fight in the saudi consulate in istanbul. 18 saudis have been detained in the case, five high ranking saudis have been removed from their position. there has been no word yet on what happened to khashoggi's body. president trump was asked by a reporter if he found the saudi explanation credible. the u.s. president replied i do, i do. but some in congress aren't buying it. lindsey graham tweeted to say i'm skeptical about the narrative is an understatement. at least 55 people are dead, 60 others injured after a train plowed into a crowd celebrating a hindu festival in northern india. police say the train barreled through the people who were using fireworks as part of the celebration near the tracks on friday night. so they didn't hear the train as it was coming. the journalist jamal khashoggi wasn't afraid to ask
hard questions. even when doing so put his life at risk and sent him into exile. >> his reporting exposed corruption and secrets in the saudi kingdom. nic robertson explores khashoggi's life work. >> reporter: jamal khashoggi, a leading saudi journalist and former government adviser, came from humble roots. getting his first boost at indiana state university, benefiting like many of his generation from the saudi government grants for u.s. education. returning home, he reported for saudi and regional newspapers. his first major break came in the late 1980s, an overseas assignment to a warzone. at the time saudi intelligence services were working with the cia to sous toust the soviets. he got to know many of those flocking to the fight including osama bin laden. he had connections and caught
the attention of the then saudi intelligence chief. the pair became close despite khashoggi's sometimes critical reporting. following al qaeda's 9/11 attacks, khashoggi dared to ask the question few other saudis would. why did 15 of our young men attack america in so brutal a way. in 2002, when they battled al qaeda on their own streets, his knowledge of the terror group led to a job advising prince of turkey. when turkey became ambassador to the uk and then d.c., khashoggi followed him. eventually returning to reporting. his criticism of the kingdom's conservative clerics would cost him his job. khashoggi supported reform and modernization in the kingdom, but opposed the methods used by crown prince mohammad bin salman. >> i received a phone call
ordering me to go silent with no court decree, with just someone from the royal court, an official from the royal court who was close to the leadership and ordered me to be silent. that offended me. >> reporter: he left saudi and his family to begin a new life in america, writing for the "washington post." he was torn about what he saw going on at home. >> mohammad bin salman the crown prince enjoys a great support and he is sceneseen as a savior. so he doesn't need this environment of intimidation, of cracking down on dissent. >> reporter: days before he disappeared, he told an interviewer that he didn't think he'd ever be allowed to return to saudi arabia. friends say he knew the risks of angering the saudi establishment. khashoggi went to the consulate in istanbul to get papers so he could marry his turkish fiance. he had been apprehensive about
the visit. what happened here tuesday october 2nd remains a his industry, though it is now clear it was khashoggi's last day alive. one of the few critics of the saudi in a circle with a public profile in the west gone. and the consequences of his death for the crown prince, for reform in the kingdom and for the region at large, are only n just beginning to be felt. >> nic robertson there. and now to talk more about this, we have natasha, she is a professor of government in england. thank you so much for your time today. look, there are a lot of key players involved in this clearly. let's start with what we're hearing it of saudi arabia, that khashoggi died the result of a fist fight. the u.s. president says that is credible, believes it is credible. the narrative though certainly begs many more questions. your thoughts. >> well, i think what the saudi
government is asking us to do is believe things that completely defy logic. we're supposed to believe that crown prince salman has an elite inner circle and members of the security apparatus that have almost gone rogue, that have gone on their own to commit this act and that is very difficult to believe given what happened last year when the crown prince had basically purged anyone that was going to be viewed as disloyal to him. we know he has complete control over his elite inner circle. they are incredibly loyal to him. and then we're also supposed to believe that this death resulted from a fist fight? i mean all of it sounds completely implausible. >> and the one remaining question, where is khashoggi's body. the explanation provided from saudi arabia does not answer that very basic fundamental question. let's talk about turkey now. turkish president there, recep tayyip erdogan, really in the driver's seat with this investigation playing out in his
nation. and every new revelation putting new pressure on the saudi explanation, on the saudi crown prince, and even on the u.s. president. >> right. and we erdogan, the president of turkey, he is a master of creating opportunities out of a crisis here. and he sees this as a great opportunity to really shape the narrative here. and also distract from his own problems that are going on in turkey. he has been very aggressive in providing the world with intelligence about what has been going on, almost on a daily basis. and this has really pressured the saudis. in the beginning saudi arabia was saying that he probably left on his own. and now they have actually had to admit on tv that he indeed was murdered. >> now to the u.s. president. mr. trump again seems to accept the saudi narrative. is this the off-ramp that allows the president to continue on with business ties as he has indicated that he hopes to do? >> president trump signaled a
while ago that he would accept the saudi nafrrative. and a lot of this has to do with the history of u.s./saudi relations since the 1930s. the u.s. considers saudi arabia still to be a major strategic partner in the middle east, but also if we look at trump, trump has very close relationships with the saudis, not just in terms of personal relationships, but they are very important to his own financial interests. he bragged about this several years ago. and he really wants the story to go away. if he can just say yes, we believe this narrative and let's move on. >> we'll see whether lawmakers -- they continue to put pressure on the u.s. president even though he does seem to accept what is coming out of saudi arabia. natasha, thank you for your time and perspective. keep in mind the ckocontext here. the disappearance and now confirmed death of a journalist.
president trump praised a u.s. congressman who body slammed a journalist. >> any guy that can do a body slam, he's my kind of -- a great guy, tough cookie. >> on friday mr. trump was asked about his remarks the night before praising montana republican greg gianforte. >> do you regret bringing up last night at your rally the assault on a reporter by a congressman? >> no, no. not at all. it is a different world, a different league, a different world. no, he is just a great guy. >> the president went on to say there is nothing to be embarrassed about. this again centered arounden a assault during gee informatiian election campaign and there was audio that happencaptured the w thing.
he went on to plead guilty to misdemeanor assault in june of last year after he was quiktded -- convicted of body slamming the reporter for t"the guardia." and gianforte won the election. afghanistans will have to wait echk loeven even longer to for parliament. >> we'll have the reason behind the delay. it was the last song of the night. it felt like my heart was skipping beats. they said i had afib. what's afib? i knew that meant i was at a greater risk of stroke. i needed answers. my doctor and i chose xarelto® to help keep me protected from a stroke. once-daily xarelto®, a latest-generation blood thinner
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polls have finally opened in the afghan election, but not everyone is getting to cast a ballot. thousands are unable to vote because some polling stations haven't opened and others don't have supplies. have voters have given up and gone home. >> the election was delayed for three years because of security
concerns and voters in kandahar province have to wait another week because this man you are seeing was shot and killed thursday. the taliban claimed responsibility. let's talk about these issues with our reporter from the afghan capital. first, they threatened people that would vote and now there seems to be some serious technical issues. what can you tell us? >> reporter: so that is really the issue right now is the logistical issues. there have been definite security issues for instance in the northern province. there have been reports of rocket attacks, one polling center being ransacked by the taliban. but the real issue right now are these logistical matters where people are showing up to voting centers and workers aren't there, election observers aren't there. the biometric machines aren't
working. and they are essentially turned away. we're also seeing a major problem for thehe nomad populatn who are being told that their ballot boxes are not yet set up because they are given specific ballots based on their i.d.s that list their candidates. because they are not just running for a single province. so it is proving to be a major issue for people. >> and let's talk about that, the fact that this election was postponed for three years with security issues. we've had more women voting -- excuse me, running for office than ever before in afghanistan. so many young people that we have interviewed said they want to go and vote, they want changes for their country. what is being stymied here, what is being prevented because of these unfortunate issues today? >> reporter: this is exactly what has been prevented, the
change. i went to go vote today but i was probably one of the lucky ones. and i've been talking to at least five or six young candidates and what they are all saying is that the current parliament is a mafia network, it is corrupt, it is fraudulent. they are out for their own money and their own interests and they aren't really listening to the people. and that is the changes that they were hoping to bring. so what is being stymieded is the chance for people to feel like they have two representatives in their parliament. >> has to be such a disappointment. we'll continue to follow if and see if things turn around. we appreciate it. now to allegations of russian interference in the u.s. political system. the justice department has charged a russian woman with trying to influence voters in the upcoming midterm elections. >> this has been a fear that there would still be some intrusion. investigators say she was part of online propaganda effort
aimed ant inflaming public opinion. sara murray has more about it. >> reporter: tonight the justice department charging a russian woman with conspiracy for trying to manipulate voters in the 2018 midterms. as it cracks down on election meddling beyond special counsel robert mueller's investigation. she is of st. petersburg ur, russia. she managed the money that sent out ads like these. soon after the justice department announced the charge against her, the office of the director of national intelligence department of justice, fbi, and department of homeland security warned the american public of continuing efforts from countries like russia to divide america along political lines. the coordinated show of strength against election interference coming just weeks before the november midterms. the agencies called out russia,
china and wran for efforiran fo manipulate voters and warned americans that foreign actors use social media to amplify issues, spread disinformation and sponsor content through english language media. there is no evidence the interference efforts have impacted voting infrastructure or disrupt our ability to tally votes in the midterm elections. and when president trump was asked about this russian hacking, he simply said that it had nothing to do with his campaign. sara murray, cnn, washington. the u.s. midterm elections just 2 of this we1/2 weeks away. you can tune into see the florida governor's debate, it will be moderated by our own jake tapper, that is sunday night in the united states, monday morning in asia and europe. and in the united states a lot of people played the lottery. and someone in the u.s. may be the lucky person to win $1
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system's least understood planet. and they hope to unravel some of the mysteries. this mission not quite as straightforward as you might think. getting to the solar system's inner most planet is complicated. you can't just aim and go. there is more to it than that. >> no kidding. the route is full of twists and turns and the spacecraft has to accomplish some of its tasks on its own. here is robyn curnow to explain. >> reporter: baby colombo has a long journey ahead. this spacecraft is headed to r mercu mercury. scientists expect that it will take seven years to get there and it won't be easy. >> flying around mercury is one of the most challenging space flight endeavors that has ever been taken. it will be long space to get there. we have to mix different
techniques to actually slow down the spacecraft as it falls towards the sun. >> reporter: designed to withstand the high temperatures and as well as its pull. >> the first hours, the spacecraft has to being autonomous. it has to deploy solar panels, get energy on its own. and we slowly configure it for the very long cruise phase that we need reach mercury. >> reporter: and this joint venture doesn't come cheap. the cost? $1.8 billion. but the flight's director says the knowledge they hope to gain is priceless. >> by understanding this environment, this planet as well, our scientists hope that they can interpret better how our solar system is formed and
other 34r57b eitheplanets have . >> reporter: and when it arrives, it will place two probes that will roam mercury for a year before sending their findings back to earth. only two previous missions have ever reached the planet. scientists hope in the years to come some of the inis frid imys mercury will finally be solved. robyn curnow, cnn. and an ordinary drive down a highway turned into an extraordinary show for people on friday. >> would you get freaked out if you saw this? so a small airplane had an emergency landing, amazingly landed on the interstate there. no one was hurt when it touched ground and officials say a student pilot was flying the plane when there was some kind of an engine failure. >> the family that recorded this was taking their 4-year-old and 1-year-old to the dentist. going to the dentist will likely not be their biggest fear from now on.
simple. easy. awesome. click or visit a retail store today. missing for almost three weeks and now finally a conformation from the saudi kingtime. washington post journalist is dead. plus a group of migrants stuck at mexico's southern boarder. they blame the democrats for the caravan who he says has some bad people in it. also this hour parliamentary elections in the gun to afffwan stan.