tv Inside Politics CNN October 12, 2018 9:00am-10:00am PDT
already, everyone. we are at the end of this week together, but it's not over yet. you have to stick around for one very important reason. dana bash is here for inside politics and that starts right now. thank you for joining us. john king is off today. the white house celebrates a diplomatic win with one country and facing congressional calls for harsh response to another. is president trump ready to confront saudi arabia? first lady melania trump talks about her husband's alleged infidelities saying she has much more important things to think about. the devastation of hurricane michael. 13 dead and at least one community turned to rubble.
>> this has been -- i don't know if i have the words to describe it. it's the worst nightmare i have been through in my life. my home was taken off the foundation and crack ed in two and floating away with my cars. mexico beach is devastated. it looks like a war zone. i never have seen anything like it. >> we start with two big stories on the world stage. one is a secret deal and a diplomatic victory for the president. the other a potentially tragic desk of the risky embrace of a young saudi crown prince. on the first, an american pastor is free and not yet out of harm's way. the turkish court released him from house arrest after the trump administration forced the erdogan government's sanctions. and then there is saudi arabia where today cnn is learning of new and dramatic evidence of a state sanctioned killing which
would increase pressure on the president from around the world, not to mention the u.s. congress to punish saudi arabia. jamal khashoggi disappeared more than a week ago and a source told cnn turkish officials have reportings from inside the compound that proved the journalist was killed there. the senior diplomatic editor has learned more about the tapes. help us understand the information and also the diplomatic stakes. >> reporter: what seems to be happening here is turkey is sharing the evidence it says it has to back up its claims that it believes jamal khashoggi was murdered. that evidence appears to be video and audio. the frames are very brutal and
deadly and the exchange and people inside the consulate. and turkey is very clearly trying to stand up. the allies are behind it. britain, france, germany to believe and understand the evidence it has is strong and compelling. from what we understand from one of the western intelligence agencies that has been briefed on this material is that it is shocking and remembering that intelligence agencies are used to dealing with shocking material. what they have been confronted here with and what the turks have explained and shown to them is, it seems damning and compelling. to them, the bounds of what they are used to. this seems to be dramatic and compelling material. >> it's hard to imagine something being that shocking for people who are used to looking at and learning about
pretty horrific situations every day in their line of work. thank you so much, nick. if you learn anything new, we will be here for the next hour. here to share reporting and insights, michael bender with the "wall street journal." elise is with "the washington post" and cnn's mia henderson. let me start with you. you have been doing excellent reporting on getting the information out from your sources in the intelligence community. what is the latest you are hearing? >> the u.s. hasn't seen the tapes. officials are saying that they hear they exist, but i think what's happening is the turks are trying to have their cake and eat it, too. you haven't seen erdogan say i have this proof and it's irrefutable. he has a relationship with the saudis he needs to manage. at the same time there is tension between turkey and saudi arabia. you have a lot of officials kind of leaking information, but
until someone from another country lays eyes on this video and audio, i think we are all going to be in limbo in terms of what happened. there is mounting evidence that they have the intercepts about a plot that they were trying to lure jamal back home and assassinate him. i don't know really knows. there is mounting evidence that the saudis bear responsibility in some way. we don't know what way, but there is a lot of rumors and you talked to people in the rouge yon and there is a lot of experience theories right now about how it happened and the method. i think we can fairly say that there is an increasing amount of evidence that the saudis bear responsibility. >> you mentioned the tension between turkey and saudi arabia which is really key here to potentially getting the answer because of that tension fort pla nately or unfortunately.
given the fact that the trump administration, led by jared kushner, has embraced this young saudi prince. they talked to hugh hewett this morning and listen to what he said. >> is it possible we have a situation that is spiraling out of control. even something normal happens that someone is intended to undermine that. >> honestly, we just don't know what the facts are. there is obviously historical animosity between turkey and saudi arabia. we have our own difficulties with turkey at the moment that they are keeping effectively under house arrest. this is not to anybody's benefit and needs to be cleared up. >> that last part began to
resolve itself. but this is kind of been that territory. basically what he was leading john bolton to. whether this is all potentially done to make it look like the saudi crown prince. in order to set him up and to form a wedge between the trump administration and basic allies with the new saudi crown prince. >> in saudi arabia, that is what the white house is trying to deal with. their place in that dynamic. for one, there is not a lot you can tell. there is not a clear message coming out from the white house. you can really see president trump struggling with this issue, saying on one happened, he wants to get to the bottom of it and on the other hand, he doesn't really quite believe what experience is from the
saudis. the thing to remember with trump is how transactional he is at the end of the day. when it comes to erdogan, he touted that relationship to great criticism. when turkey got in his way, he slapped turkey with the tariffs. we have a big story in the "wall street journal" about really a cold war with china. the trump administration is taking aim at military and political targets in the last couple of months. this was after a year that trump spent eating beautiful chocolate cake and how great that relationship is with president xi. the president still talks about saudi arabia and his first foreign trip overseas and how well that went. you can see him struggling with how to get to the bottom of this issue. according to his statements and taking him at his word, they
also have this relationship. >> he is very transactional. he would admit that. it's one thing to be transactional in theory or business, but another thing when you are the president of the united states and you are supposed to be a moral leader. and this is your colleague at "the washington post." this is a human being. this is a journalist. there are so many factors that go into the desire and people around the world here in congress and the press world to show that leadership. i want you to listen and comment on it and listen to what senator marco rubio said about the situation. >> if they lower this man into the consulate and they killed him and now they are lying about his body, that will have a dramatically negative impact on the relationship with saudi arabia on capitol hill. members of congress will be up in arms about that, including myself. something is going to happen.
>> it's interesting. there has been animosity building for saudi arabia for a while. they expressed more openly in congress. there have been holds placed on all the arms deals that benefit saudi arabia for the last few years. it's interesting that this episode is the straw that breaks the camel's back. we are hoping that the saudi-led coalition site is a moral quandary for a lot of people. the stick that they have is being able to curtail that support. not just the arms sale, but we are not going to do the intelligence sharing. there is a number of things they have never done because of concerns about american jobs and making the material that gets sent to saudi arabia and concerns about national security and various fights with
terrorism. those are the fights and why more republicans and mainstream or moderate democrats are talking about we could take these steps. >> in a rare bipartisan way. >> at this point all they have done is put this back into trump's hands. yes, people are responsible up to the crown prince, you can put on serious sanctions, but this goes back to the fact that obama had ice with the saudis moving towards iran and made a hard shift to ditch iran and solidify the relationship with the saudis and we have seen the way he said when putin was like, he told me he didn't medal, that was a big thing. >> you also had americans embrace this new crown prince as a reformer back to april of 2018. he met with michael bloomberg and met with oprah as well.
he is arguing that he is a reformer and will change saudi arabia and ease some other restrictions placed on folks, particularly women. you saw some of that. as he was making the promises, they got a restriction and oppressive nature that was very much continuing. you had to have the dueling images of what's going on in saudi arabia. i think this is probably an example of possibly what he has been selling not only to americans, but particularly to donald trump and jared kushner. >> there has been a growing concern about the overreach of this young prince. not only in yemen, but also when you saw the incident and he disappeared in saudi arabia with the prime minister of lebanon. there was the incident when he rounded up all of these princes and officials under the guise of reform. there has been this idea of overreach on a growing concern.
as we continue to cover the story and find out the mystery of what happened to jamal, what he would want us to focus on is larger issues of what's going on in saudi arabia. there was all this euphoria about the prince and what he was saying is, he was a patriot and he loved his country. this guy has a lot of potential and needs better advisers. he would say right now, focus on the human rights in saudi arabia and the arab world. >> you are right. you know him and have been friends with him for a long time. thank you for that. it is important to keep our eye on that ball and the fact that one of our journalistic brethren is in trouble. that is something that the whole world is up in arms about that. it is a reminder of how important it is. >> and that the president calls the press the enemy of the people. >> a heart breaking look at mexico beach after hurricane
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unrecognizable. hurricane michael claimed the lives of 13 people and they expect the death toll to rise. more than one million people are without power. brian todd is in mexico beach. brian, describe the scene where you are right now. >> i can give you a sense of what the storm did and the power we were dealing with here. i'm standing in the middle of a section of houses that are not here anymore. like this bathtub looks like it got tossed and could have been in houses down the street. we talked to residents who had furniture that wasn't their furniture. furniture being blown into their houses. you have a heavy marble countertop that is not going anywhere now, but you get a sense of this thing has traveled. a sort time ago, two houses were not too much smaller than this one. that's a large structure. two houses were right at about the same place along the beach. both got picked up and swept all
the way over here. now, we can go a little bit wide here and show behind me. we have a drone up in the air not far from me that can give you a sense of the area. the only thing i can equate it to is i was in japan after the tsunami when we came across town where is there was nothing left. this scene is about as close to that. just about everything was flattened or very, very and to the mayor of mexico beach. they are trying to get through this stuff so they can help people with food and water. he does not believe he has fatalities. he thinks they have a handle on that, but they are trying to forage around. this is what the first responders have to get to.
if they are trapped, this is what they have to get to. >> it's always so eerie to see devastation. obviously this is about as bad as it gets. with the beautiful blue sky you tend to see after a hurricane like that, we will be checking back. for those of you watching who want to help the affected hurricane area, go to cnn.com/impact. up next after months of negotiations, special counsel robert mueller is getting answers from the president. if you have moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis, month after month, the clock is ticking on irreversible joint damage. ongoing pain and stiffness are signs of joint erosion. humira can help stop the clock. prescribed for 15 years, humira targets and blocks a source of inflammation that contributes to joint pain and irreversible damage. humira can lower your ability to fight infections.
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welcome back. a big development in the russia investigation. after months of negotiations, sources tell cnn that president trump's legal team is preparing written answers to questions provided by special counsel, robert mueller. the questions focus on possible collusion between trump associates and russia, but the two sides have still not reached an agreement on the issue of an in-person interview with the president over potential questions of obstruction of justice. for his part, president trump once again expressed a willingness to sit down for an interview even as he called the idea ridiculous because, as he said many, many times, there was no collusion. >> it seems ridiculous that i
have to do it when everybody says there is no collusion. i will do what is are in to get it over with. they spent tens of millions of dollars and it's a disgrace. they interviewed everyone you can imagine and richard burr stands up a few days ago and said we found absolutely no collusion. it's no different. there is no collusion. >> npr joins our conversation. let me just see that richard burr in a diplomatic way said they will be a little bit confused. the president said you heard that i said that you didn't have hard evidence, but we have a lot of investigation left. putting that aside, let's talk about the big picture here in our reporting about the fact that it has been a year that robert mueller has been trying to find a way to talk to the
president about these issues. it has been baby steps. it has been hard, but the fact that the president's legal team has written questions and that robert mueller's team seems to be okay at least within the parameters of collusion of working through it this way. significant? >> i think it's really significant. it's another step in this unfolding drama here. once the questions get to mueller, there will be another round of talks after that. as far as whether or not or how close we are getting here, one potential tell to watch is in the office. they shepherded kavanaugh's nomination through the senate and widely expected to leave as trump informed him on twitter, after this nomination is through. there has been a lot of chatter about this. mcgahn is getting wrapped up and getting his stuff ready to go, but his expected replacement,
emmet flood, that's not quite done yet. for one, flood is trying to negotiate the terms of how he wants the office to run, but flood is the point man on this issue. he's a very serious lawyer with experience in this kind of thing. my reporting in the white house is if flood feels like this has a long way to go, he wants to stay focussed on this. >> that are is so fascinating. yes, flood is the one focusing on part two for lack of a better way to say it. the questions about obstruction. building a case for and maybe even against robert mueller for a potential court fight against mueller having access to the president, citing executive privilege. >> these next few weeks and months are going to be very important. i think that when you look at this news coming out that they have gotten the questions.
it's a reminder that this is ongoing. we kept hearing for a long time from rudy giuliani and others that this is wrapping up. september it's going to be done. it's not done. we could still have a long way to go. this is a cloud that is going to continue to hangover the president until you get some real answers. >> the question is, when those answers come. is this a sign that it's wrapping up or is it the next step to it wrapping up or maybe there is more questions or maybe the president sits down to something happening after the mid-terms and that's a sense of something that might happen. all we have is speculation. he kept a closed shop, mueller has. all we can do is sit back and wait to see when this happens. it is interesting that this strategy that they had before publicly with rudy giuliani. he was on tv every day of the last many months through the summer. once he joined the campaign.
he is a big source of yours. i don't know if he's on vacation or what. >> it seems this is kind of 101. when things go quiet, stuff is happening. everybody stand by. up next, melania trump is speaking out about her husband's alleged infidelities. stay with us. on a j.d.power dependability award for its midsize car-the chevy malibu. i forgot. chevy also won a j.d. power dependability award for its light-duty truck the chevy silverado. oh, and since the chevy equinox and traverse also won chevy is the only brand to earn the j.d. power dependability award across cars, trucks and suvs-three years in a row. phew. third time's the charm... ♪ ♪ if it feels like you live in the bathroom with recurring constipation and belly pain, talk to your doctor and say yesss! to linzess.
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summit next month. it's easing fears of further escalation of a trade war. ted cruise has a healthy lead over beto o'rourke, but today 38 million reasons for o'rourke to be happy. the texas democrat recorded a record setting third quarter fund-raising haul. three times the amount cruz raised over the same period and the most for a senate candidate for a single quarter in history. for perspective, more than jeb bush raised and he raised a lot, over the course of his entire 2016 presidential campaign. the white house is scrambling to find a new un ambassador to replace nikki haley. we have names for the short list. nancy brinker, founder of the susan g komen foundation.
kelly craft and the nato ambassador and the former deputy national security adviser, she told the president she is taking herself out of the running. a new cnn poll is out, showing first lady melania trump's favorability has gone from 51% in june to 54% in october. she is speaking out on allegations of her husband's infidelity in an interview on abc. >> you are not the first first lady to have to deal with her husband's alleged infidelities. >> it is not a concern and focus of mine. i am a mother and a first lady. i have much more important things to do. people likes to speculate and media likes to speculate about our marriage.
>> now, to be fair, this isn't just about her marriage, but a legal case that has to do with hush money and how it was paid forward. who did it. to stop an alleged mistress from talking right before the election. >> and there were these payments and also you have a white house that has made public statements about the payments and about the president's knowledge of the payments and those were later contradicted. the public does have a right to ask questions about what the president knew and when he knew it. >> all right. you want to add to that? >> i think that's right. >> what's interesting is her approval ratings. that's low for a republican first lady. you look at laura bush and she was in the 80s. michelle obama was mid 60s. one theory was melania trump is not out there enough. she hasn't formed an identity and her platform is be best and
most people can't explain what that is. i'm not sure she can explain what that is. if her approval ratings start to rise. >> this is the first lengthy interview she has given. >> she is not in the room all the time, but she is a person for the president to bounce off ideas and called balls and strikes. she was a go around for john kelly. if you wanted to get to trump, melania would help him get the phone calls that were getting stuck. >> for those of you who covered the campaign, anyone who knows their relationship and knows her knows that she is a very astute political adviser that president trump trusts and apparently has good political instincts privately. we will see if that changes. michelle o bam a speaking of first ladies, she is scolding
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you cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for and what you care about. >> michelle says when they go low, we go high. no, no. when they go low, we kick them. >> democrats are taking heat for those words, especially from eric holder as the party tries to figure out whether or how to modulate in the age of donald trump. in the new op-ed, steve scalise was shot and wounded last year says the following. as a survivor of a politically motivated attack, it is tramggi to think it's a political state
sufficient discourse. michelle obama reminded her party leaders, there is a better way. >> fear is not a proper motivator. hope wins out. if you think about how you want your kids to be raised and how you want them to think about their life and opportunities. do you want them afraid of their neighbors and do you want them angry and vengeful. you can't model something different if we want them to be better than that. >> to me, this is one of the most fascinating and important debates within the democratic party. how do you approach somebody who is so unique and so willing to say whatever as donald trump. i want to talk about the steve scalise thing. of course he has a point, but the pot is on both their houses when you go back to 2016. the violence that was insighted
at trump rallies by the candidate himself. let's put that aside and focus on the reality that donald trump is how democrats will deal with it. there was a split, understandably so. i want you to listen to cory booker, a potential candidate, about how he said people should behave. >> i will never let him pull me so low as to hate him. i will continue to be a voice for love and bringing the nation together and not driving the nation apart and trying to create an empathy where republican and democrat and wherever our diversity is. we need to work together. that's what america does best. not have leader who is attack or demean. >> then you have elizabeth warren who has been very outspoken in hitting back against donald trump who has been personal and aggressive against her. she said some men only hear blah
blah blah whichever a woman is talking, but there is nothing impolite about speaking out and holding the government accountable and people have a right to be angry. >> i saw elizabeth warren in georgia and she talks about this on the stump. it was a pretty good stump speech and she talks about righteous anger and fighting. that's the weighing of the party that she will represent. this ganger and populism as well. you said you have people who are more in the obama mold. cory booker there sounding very empathetic and you wonder where the party is. the party, if you talk to grass roots folks and look on social media, they are angry. where does that go. who is the best vessel for something like that. is it warren who is articulate in her anger or somebody who is like booker? >> you have to say the party can have the debate and you have to read the tea leaves for the
country right now. you are not talking about a country -- it is pretty divided and people are sticking to their sides and fighting over issues we thought we had settled during the obama years to some extent, too. they can say let's all get along, but if they are not getting along, that's not going to resonate. you have to read the audience. everybody who gets fired up from anger is a good motivator and drive the base, that's what you have to do and talk about being nice to each other down the line. >> you have that very real dynamic to give the people what they want and on the democratic side, that is to channel their anger. on the flip side, you have a lot of people in the middle, and they do exist, where are the grown ups? what about appealing to those people? >> that's a big question now. being angry and being fired up. is that going to turn off the people in the middle or the
center? will that make them go to republicans? it seems republicans are making a bet and they talk about the angry mob. by aircraftizing the democrats that way, there is centrist voters and will anger win out the day and will that overcome that? it will be differently in different races? >> the one thing is there is not going to be a race for the middle newscast mid-terms or the next election. i think there is overlap here. democrats were angry and fired up in 2008 with obama and the overlap between obama and trump was change. obama took that anger and his fired up base and it was very authentic for barack obama. trump took it and turned it into a much angrier and grievan grievance-based message that was
authentic for trump. democrats will get themselves in trouble if they sit back and decide should i be angry or hopeful. that will be very clear. >> you hit the nail on the head. it's about authenticity. no matter who they put up there. that is key. everybody stand by. before we go to break, we love flash backs at inside politics. october 12th, 1973. vice president agnew resigned after pleading guilty to tax evasion and money laundering charges. president nixon makes an announcement of nominating his successor with a little bit of irony. >> he is a man with the responsibilities of the great office that i hold should fall upon him as has been the case with eight vice presidents in our history. we can all say that the
election and in georgia, there is a heavily watched governor's race and it's in a statistical dead heat. a new poll shows brian kemp who is also the republican candidate at 48% and his democratic opponent, stacy abrams, at 46%. the abrams campaign is calling for kemp to resign after a report that allegedly his office is using a new law to suppress minority voters under the so-called exact match law. even a minor discrepancy on a voter registration like a typo or missing letter can be flagged if it doesn't match the voter's id. an ap report said kemp's office held up more than 53,000 voter applications because they failed that exact match standard. nearly seven in 10 were from af cap american voters. he calls it a false attack,
insisting it is focused on fair elections for all voters and pointingly out that new voter registrations are at record levels. you got back from doing a story on this race, covering this intense race in georgia. what did you find? >> fascinating race. you have something that democrats have never done and that is put a black woman at the top of the ticket. if you look at the polls, what is fascinating is that she is close and one of the reasons she is close is because she is doing very well with upper income voters and doing well with white voters as well. i was at a rally in clayton county and one of the areas where she has to swallow the white vote and the black vote as well. it was a big and diverse crowd. i saw elizabeth warren there and presley is running for congress in massachusetts. we will see what happens. if you air democrat, you are happy it's this close with 25
days. typically you see the races once they get closer to election day, there is a reversion to form and the form is a very red state there. they are hoping and have been hoping for years they can turn it purple or blue maybe. we will see if they can do it. if they can, she might be the perfect one because she is african-american and has ties to the nhpcu. she has been campaigning there as well as rural african-american voters as well as rural white voters. >> as you mentioned, it would be an historic win and would be the first african-american woman gove governor anywhere. the arguments against her are what we are seeing elsewhere are the more traditional message points. listen to her on m srsnbc yesterday. >> we are going after every single voter. what we learned from past
elections is that we can't cherry pick our voters. our voters pick us. i'm talking about the issues that matter. i'm talking about health care and creating good jobs everywhere. i'm talking about education. we are not trying to find one single group of voters. whatty woor trying to do is activate voters who normally don't think their voices matter. >> watch how the governor's association is trying to defeat her. >> meet stacy abrams, most radical liberal and a career politician funded by nancy pelosi's friends. she wants you to pay more in taxes to fund her big government ideas. loved by hillary. >> that could have been run against anybody. >> basically, yeah. they are too radical and she is too far out there. it's interesting to see democrats in these local races where you are focusing on the state of georgia.
she is talking about health care and jobs and not talking about donald trump or anything like that. >> yeah, and that is what they are trying to focus on e especial specially in these rough races. thank you very much for joining me and watching inside politics today. wolf blitzer picks up right now. hello, i'm wolf blitzer. it's 1:00 p.m. here in washington. thanks for joining us. desperation in the florida panhandle. leveling entire blocks and homes and businesses alike smashed to splinters and seeing what's left. for so many, there is nothing. >> my home was taken off the foundation, cracked in two, and was floating away with my cars. mexico beach is