tv Erin Burnett Out Front CNN October 12, 2018 4:00pm-5:00pm PDT
accusations of voter suppression are all the more pressing for people who think they could impact thousands of voters. >> good report. jessica dean, welcome to cnn, by the way, your first report of what's probably going to be a very long and distinguished career. >> well, i hope so. thanks for having me. >> good to have you here. thank you. and that's it. thanks very much for watching. "erin burnett outfront" starts "erin burnett outfront" starts right now. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com "outfront" next, breaking news, the death toll from hurricane michael keeps rising. it now stands at 17. many still unaccounted for. and new details tonight about the missing "washington post" contributor, did he use his apple watch to record his own death? and president trump's ties to saudi arabia running deep. how he's been doing big business with the kingdom for decades. let's go "outfront." good evening, everyone, i'm kate bolduan in for erin burnett. breaking news, the death toll from hurricane michael rising. now at least 17 people across 4
states and officials expect that number to go up still. you are looking at the devastated remains of mexico beach, florida. the town that took michael's first and most damaging blow. late today, 16 people across mexico beach were rescued. one survivor was literally pulled out alive from underneath the rubble. one of the biggest unknowns, though, how many people are still missing tonight. local, state, and federal officials not offering an estimate but acknowledge not everyone is accounted for. today, some residents risking their own safety once again by trying to head back home to mexico beach. before the storm, this was a little sleepy beach town. that on the left, mexico beach before the storm. homes, businesses, dozens of boat slips. on the right, just after the storm, they're all gone. and look at this. on the left, the curved building is panama city's bay city
medical center where some 1,500 people were sheltered from the storm. after the storm, extensive damage. national guard and coast guard search and rescue teams are now fully deployed, combing the widespread wreckage. a coast guard helicopter crew found this survivor in panama city. miguel marquez is "outfront" tonight in the town. officials are calling it ground zero, mexico beach, and it is very clear why they are calling it that when you look anywhere, every that you've been. what did you find today? >> reporter: it is absolutely unbelievable to see the extent of the damage here. the search is on for survivors and possibly the dead because this is what you're looking at. those stairs used to lead up to a house. this was once beach front property. it is now completely wiped away. the ability of searchers and rescuers right now all depends on dogs and the absolute grit of these individuals getting out there and searching.
an entire town almost gone. those who rode it out -- you were up to your neck in water. >> yeah. with a 96-year-old lady next door. and my mother. and two dogs. >> reporter: and you made it. >> we're here, baby. >> reporter: would you do it again? >> nope. >> reporter: they barely survived. search and rescue now searching for survivors and possibly the dead. emergency officials expect the death toll to climb. >> and i do expect that we're going to find that kind of bad news and, you know, there's a process that we go through for that, and then we, you know, our priority, obviously, is the living, and we're looking for people that are trapped. >> reporter: several people we spoke to say they haven't yet heard from neighbors and friends who rode it out. what's happened to mexico beach? >> it's a disaster.
it's -- i was really shocked to see what it looked like. >> reporter: this cnn exclusive video of the moment the hurricane hit shows winds as high as 155 miles an hour, shredding this once tranquil beach town. then, an enormous storm surge, a dozen or more feet of water bulldozed large sections of mexico beach from the coast to the interior. 30 miles out from mexico beach, some roads no longer exist, entirely covered by downed trees for miles. >> brandy, it's dad. >> reporter: with power out, those who survived have no way to tell the world they're still here. when they do, the news, about as bad as it gets. >> do not come down here. do not. you can't get in. it's -- everything's -- it's de devastated.
we had a hole in our house but that's all that's wrong with it. grandmother's house is completely gone. it looks like a bomb landed. >> reporter: the devastation here, jaw dropping, the main drag, highway 98, collapsed in many places, water eroding the sand beneath. entire homes, their living rooms still intact, slammed into condos across the street. and the most popular bar here, toucans, reduced to a pile of rubble. now, as that search continues for the living and possibly the dead, there's also a clean-up that's just begun, some heavy machinery has finally gotten into town, they are starting to clear out debris on 98 so that searchers and rescuers can get in and out and that the clean-up and the rebuilding, because everybody wants to rebuild here, the rebuilding of this town can finally begin, but it is going to be a long, long time before mexico beach is back to where it was, kate. >> absolutely. or anything even like it. thanks, miguel, i appreciate it.
our erika hill is also in mexico beach. you just spoke to several people, including the mayor, about this latest death. what have you been able to find out? >> reporter: yeah, kate, that's right. and in terms of that death, he did confirm for us that one elderly man was found deceased here. he said he could not confirm whether that man's name was on the initial list of people that they had who they knew were staying behind. as miguel pointed out, that's one of the things that local officials are still trying to determine, who ended up staying, who was initially on that list who said they would and can they match up all the names? they're still trying to account for them. people making their way back in because those roads have been cleared. what they are finding in many cases, they told me, is even worse than what they imagined. >> from what i've seen in pictures where bombs are dropped, that's what it looks like here. and -- but we're going to -- with god's help, we're going to rebuild and gain our strength again. it's just going to set us back a
little bit. but we're pretty resilient people, i think, in mexico beach. >> there's 75% of our city's not here. there's not one local business here that's operational. not one. and we're mom and pop. this isn't, you know, hampton inn and pizza hut and walmart. >> reporter: i asked the mayor, too, he told me that he was told today it could be two months before power is back. there's no water. there's no sewer. so i said what about people who want to stay? whose homes may be habitable. he said, that is what we're debating right now. how do you tell someone who's okay with these crude conditions, how do you tell them they have to go to a motel? that's one of the things they're trying to figure out. one other woman i met has a summer home here. she and her husband have been coming here, married 43 years, dated here, they fished on this gulf, their kids, their grandkids have come down. their house is gone. they were hoping to find a table
that her husband had made. they didn't find the table, but they were overjoyed that they found a bench that he made for that dining table. she said her grandkids are going to be so happy. she found some of her son's fishing rods. she said we drove to the edge of the world and it looks like mexico beach fell off but we will build back like we did after opal. >> two months before power is back, unbelievable, thank you so much. now let me show you another view, what's left of a campground in mexico beach. just another view of how much this town is in ruins. this is what it looked like before hurricane michael. what home also looked like for my next guest, tandy horton. but it isn't just where she lived that was ravaged by the hurricane. this is the el governor motel, the beachside motel where she worked and this is what is left of the motel. the roof walls, even rooms themselves, torn apart.
she's with me right now. thank you so much for being here. it has been two days since this hurricane hit. it was also the same day of your 32nd wedding anniversary. have you been able to make sense yet -- sense of it yet, of what's happened? >> no, ma'am. it's just -- it's devastating. everything's gone. we got married, renewed our vows on that beach two years ago. our 30th anniversary. and that part's gone. you know, our friends and family was out there. our rv park family, you know, we loved the whole place. but there's nothing left. >> it is -- there's -- it's just -- i'm so sorry. it is so hard to even see it
behind you, to wrap our minds around it, watching it from anywhere else than where -- then being on the ground in mexico beach. i mean, this is where you've lived. this is -- it's not only where you lived, but it's also where you worked that has been torn apart. when you're standing there today, what's tomorrow like? i mean, what are you thinking right now, tangie, of where you go from here? >> well, we have -- my husband works for a waste management, and they have really come together and, you know, they're the ones that offered us to put our camper in shelter in callaway and we thought it was going to be safe there. and we got inside the big building there with the roll-up doors and, you know, just very sturdy building with our camper inside it, and you know, it was lifting off the ground. and you just never think of
something -- some winds that strong coming through and, you know, we saw stuff because we took shelter inside waste management's building because we didn't feel safe in the camper. and we watched as carports flew by. we watched as, you know, people's roofs coming -- flying by, and i told my husband, i said i felt like i was in the twister movie, you know, when they was saying stuff was flying by. the wind, you know, where we was at in callaway on state road 22, the wind was 140 miles per hour. i can't imagine what mexico beach dealt with as of wind coming out of the eye, and i just -- we don't know where we're going to go tomorrow. i know some of our rv folks are
looking for us long-term campgrounds again. we would all love to be back in mexico beach, but we don't know if they'll rebuild the rv park or the hotel. i have talked to the owner. >> yeah. i mean, that's what i was wondering. do you plan to -- do you hope to, to be back in mexico beach? i mean, just looking at it, it's hard to imagine when that's going to be possible. >> i know. i know, and that's what we're just -- we're trying to deal with now, where we'll go from right now and then until they do get something built back there and we're -- there, again, we're not sure if they're going to rebuild back or what. so, you just hope they do because i worked at the front desk of the motel and you would not believe the guests we had that has been coming there for 50 and 60 years. i mean, it's -- it was just a quaint little place, not busy. we didn't have any fast food restaurants out there. it was all locally owned
restaurants. they was some of the best seafood restaurants out there. and you know, you just -- you wonder if it will ever be the same, and it won't, you know? but we hope they'll build back. >> tangie, what's the toughest thing for you when you see just the wasteland that is now what was your home and a beautiful beach town, or it the uncertainty of what's going to come next? >> just knowing that my friends that i worked with, my coworkers, you know, most of them live there. and if they didn't live on the beach or right across 98, they lived inland, and their houses are all gone. they have nothing. my family is coming from alabama this weekend. they're going to try to get in with a u-haul truck that my family and i will have just have got together and got supplies for everybody, clothes,
donations, diapers, you know, toothpaste, toothbrushes, stuff that people don't have anymore out there. and they're bringing all that stuff and we're going to distribute it as soon as we can get to mexico beach and try to help some of our friends that stayed or if they left, they lost their house too. the campground had probably 14 trailers -- campers still in it that people didn't have a way to get them out of there, and you know, they've lost everything they had because most people was like us, they sold their home to make mexico beach their home, and now they don't have nowhere to go. >> so many people, so many people and the very same situation. from street to street to street in mexico beach. tangie, i'm so sorry to be meeting you under these circumstances but thank you so much for coming on. >> i appreciate y'all, and we appreciate everything that the ems, the county, the city, the
police department, the -- i mean, everybody's just coming together. you wouldn't believe the people that's just stepped in and started cleaning up. i know waste management's high people coming today and it was like a war zone where we was at, and now it looks completely different. they've come in and cleaned up, but we appreciate all the donations and everything that's everybody's gave, and we want to get to mexico beach and try to distribute them as soon as we can. >> well, there is hope in that that you're coming together still in the face of this real tragedy that the kmuptcommunity coming together. tangie, thank you. >> thank you. >> what a wonderful woman. "outfront" next, rescues are under way across the florida panhandle. we're going to talk to one rescuer with the cajun navy who's been on the ground since hurricane michael hit. plus new reports about the missing "washington post" contributor, did he use his apple watch to record what
happened when he went inside a saudi consulate and never came out? and melania trump asked point-blank about her husband's alleged infidelities, what she said coming up. i'm ray and i quit smoking with chantix. i tried to quit smoking for years on my own. i couldn't do it. i needed help. for me, chantix worked. it did. chantix, along with support, helps you quit smoking. chantix, without a doubt, reduced my urge to smoke. when you try to quit smoking, with or without chantix, you may have nicotine withdrawal symptoms. some people had changes in behavior or thinking, aggression, hostility, agitation, depressed mood, or suicidal thoughts or actions with chantix. serious side effects may include seizures, new or worse heart or blood vessel problems, sleepwalking or allergic and skin reactions which can be life-threatening. stop chantix and get help right away
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just outside of town. mangled metal, flipped over, it shows, again, how powerful hurricane michael was. "outfront" now is mark mcqueen, the manager of panama city. mark, thank you for coming in tonight. >> thank you, kate. appreciate you allowing us to share our story. >> thank you. what is the latest from there tonight? do you have a clear assessment yet of how many homes were damaged and destroyed in the city? >> yeah, kate, i would estimate that we probably have in the vicinity of 85% to 90% of the homes and businesses in panama city have been destroyed. it's been just total devastation. >> 85% to 90% destroyed? that is -- and this is a city we're talking of 37,000 people, right? >> that's correct. absolutely. and what you see behind me is indicative of what you see about most of the community of panama city. >> i mean, what portion of this city are you thinking can sleep safely -- safely sleep in their
homes tonight? >> well, you know, the citizens of panama city are pretty resilient and they're hunkered down. we've got a wonderful community. we've got neighbors helping neighbors, which is really essential at this point in time. you've got to think of the fact that we've been roughly 48, 50 hours past the impact of the storm, and we have got an amazing outpouring of support from the federal, straiate, and adjacent communities that are coming in and pouring in with support to help this community. >> yeah. how many people do you think are missing? how many people evacuated, you know, like what's your -- is there a guess or an estimate at this point? >> yeah, so, we don't have any totals of casualties, but what is amazing to me, we do have search and rescue capability that's going around, door to door, checking to make sure. but you know, as my law enforcement officers are scouring the area and meeting with and providing aid to the
community, we're not getting any reports of any deceased individuals, so, you know, it's by the grace of god that we have not heard of any mass casualty event. >> that and please let that be how this continues for days to come. and let that be a lesson that people got out and heeded the warning and evacuated when they were asked to. one of the big problems now for everyone has been communication. since the storm. cell phones, you know, cell phone towers have been completely taken out. why is it so tough, do you think, to get that back up for folks? it seems to be the number one thing that folks really want to get back up. >> yeah, kate, it's been a significant challenge when you talk about the cell towers, you talk about the fiberoptic capability, all of that has been ripped to shreds, so it's pretty understandable why there's no communication, in fact, degraded
communication to basically walkie-talkies and a couple of cell phones. what i have seen is an amazing response by the communication industry to start getting in here and building -- rebuilding with temporary towers. we have had an -- at&t has brought in telephones, cell phones that are operational, verizon is putting up temporary towers everywhere, which is going to be essential for us to coordinate and synchronize the response efforts that are taking place. and again, we've had convoys of trucks, of materials, of equipment, of law enforcement, first responders, all pouring in. we've had great ngos and pbos that have been coming in, nongovernmental organizations, private organizations that are helping, such as samaritans purse, red cross, the -- today, we finally started seeing the food kitchens from our great friends from the salvation army.
so, it's been an incredible response, and despite the communications, we're getting after it and getting this -- getting our people taken care of. >> yeah. and it's going to -- it's a long road ahead, but everyone is there to help. i appreciate it. thank you, mark. >> yeah. no, thank you, kate. appreciate it. >> thank you so much. thank you. now, the race against the clock. as rescuers desperately try to save people in the gulf from unlivable conditions left in the wake of the storm, here's a cajun navy volunteer. here's cajun navy volunteer jason gunderson, seen there helping an 85-year-old woman from her panama city home on thursday. she was stuck in her residence and as you can see, especially with how everything went in panama city, she needed help getting evacuated. jason gunderson is joining me right now on the phone. he's the operation lead for the united cajun navy in assisting with those efforts. jason, can you hear me?
jason, can you hear me? it's kate. we might have him now. jason, can you hear me? >> i think we lost jason. >> all right. we'll try to get reconnected with jason, again, as i was just talking about with the city manager, communication is so tough out of there. one of the many problems they are up against right now. "outfront" for us coming up, a new report says the missing "washington post" contributor may have used his apple watch to record his own death. his long-time friend is my guest. and president trump's long, lucrative relationship with saudi arabia. >> saudi arabia -- and i get along great with all of them. they buy apartments from me, they spend $40 million, $50 million. am i supposed to dislike them? i like them very much. evere crohn's disease, i was there, just not always where i needed to be.
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breaking news, according to a turkish newspaper, missing "washington post" columnist jamal khashoggi may have recorded his own death on his apple watch. turkey's progovernment newspaper is reporting tonight that the turkish government obtained the audio recording of khashoggi's alleged murder inside the saudi consulate from files transmitted from his watch. let's get straight to nic robertson, who's "outfront" in istanbul this evening. nic, what more is the turkish paper reporting about this audio file? >> reporter: sure, kate, this paper has had a steady drip, drip feed of information appearing to come from the government. they say it's trusted sources but this week, they have been the ones that have had a drip of information, a drip another day, about the details of this
investigation. for example, they had the report a few days ago that it was 15 saudis and they named them, who had come in from saudi arabia especially for this operation against jamal khashoggi. what they are saying now is that jamal khashoggi was wearing an apple -- an apple watch that he synced it with his phone and left the phone outside the consulate with his fiancee. before he went in, he set his watch to record audio and it would have been linking the data back to his phone and this is recorded. his beating, his interrogation and his killing. now, turkish investigators are saying that his assay lanlts, the saudis, realized after some time that his watch was recording the audio, that they tried to get into his watch. they say, and this is a bit unclear to us why they would say this in this article, that they used his fingerprint to get into the watch because we're not aware of how you access the data on a watch by using the fingerprint. that said, they tried to erase some of the dachlt bta.
but the data was already on the phone when the fiancee who had the phone alerted turkish authorities that khashoggi was missing, they were able to retrieve that data from his phone and they were so quickly able to realize what had happened to him because remember, a few hours later that evening, they actually searched one of the saudi flights leaving later that night before it went back to saudi arabia. they searched the passengers, x-rayed their bags and searched the plane as well. >> this isn't all what evidence turkey is claiming that they have. what else do they say they have? >> reporter: sure. we know from our sources that they've shared intelligence with their intelligence allies around the world, britain, france, germany, the united states. we understand that material to be of audio-visual. now, it makes sense that this data coming off the apple watch would be audio, so what about the visual? one of the things that we know is really difficult here for the turkish authorities, if they've got this visual material, how did they get it?
it would imply that they had bugs inside the consulate. that's breaking all the sort of diplomatic conventions that every country goes by. you don't bug other countries inside their consulate. so, you know, the narrative about the watch, if you will, kind of gives another way for the turkish investigators to say how they got this audio evidence of khashoggi's death, but the implication, from what we've heard that they've shared with other intelligence agencies, perhaps means that they had some visual recording devices somehow inside the consulate. that, of course, as i say, would be a very sensitive and potentially very negative for the turkish government. >> still, so much to figure out, what's real and what they have at this moment tonight. thanks, nic, i appreciate it. "outfront" with me now is phil mudd, who also worked for the saudi interior ministry after he left the u.s. government. phil, if this was recorded on his apple watch, how clear of a
version of events do you think they've gotten here? >> well, there's a couple of answers to that. first, that's what people say. in this situation, you're dealing with potentially everything from a dead human being to tens of billions of dollars of defense contracts. i don't care what people say. i want the data. i want it from the girlfriend. i want it from the turkeys or i want it from apple. i don't want a transcript. i don't want the turkish translation. i want to know exactly what happened on the ground and i want the original information. i'm going to match that up with what i know, for example, what i know from u.s. intelligence information, other information. i want the tail numbers from the planes that flew in with those saudis and i want to know if those planes flew on other missions elsewhere around the country so i think there's a lot of questions here that we haven't answered. i think about 95% of it is done. i suspect he was murdered in that consulate, but boy, as an intelligence officer, there is a huge gap between what i think and what i know. >> and phil, what about that point that nic was just making about the fact that the
reporting is that there's also visual confirmation of this, which would take this kind of -- which would add a whole new level to this story. >> boy, i'm a little skeptical about that. look, the apple watch story makes a lot of sense. again, i'd like to see the data but it makes a lot of sense. if you've got visual information, i got a couple questions. did you have it in every room at the saudi installation? when did you put it in there? how did you download it? do you really mean that during the construction process or after the construction process of the facility, you put a camera in every room and the saudis never figured out that you had visual devices in those rooms? audio makes sense. i'd like to see some confirmation on the video part. >> yeah. another layer to this and still more questions, as you said, tonight. thanks, phil. "outfront" with me now is long-time friend of jamal khashoggi, lawrence wright. he's also a staff writer at the "new yorker" and the author of "looming tower: al qaeda and the road to 9/11." lawrence, thanks for coming in. >> thank you for having me. >> what do you think of this
coming out late tonight about jamal's apple watch recording what happened inside of the consulate? >> well, jamal was a good reporter, and i guess that was the last story he covered. >> do you think -- does this sound like your friend to set up a system to record and transmit a file to an icloud, to his phone, which he left with his fiancee? does that sound like something jamal would do? >> i know that he was very anxious about dealing with the saudi authorities. and he was, you know, told that his girlfriend couldn't come in. he left his -- both of his phones with her and so there must have been a reason for that. and you know, as i said, he's a trained reporter. if you had that apple watch, if he had the capability of recording what was happening to him, then i think it's entirely plausible. >> this is -- as nic well points out, this is all being reported by turkey's progovernment
newspaper. as are most if not all of the grim details that have been coming out. do you have reason to doubt them? do you think that he could still be alive? >> no. i fear that he's not alive. and there's no evidence that he is alive. the saudis say he walked away, but they haven't produced any evidence, so you know, i know that if you're choosing between whether you believe the saudis or the turks, one side is producing evidence and the other side is producing denials and until that equation changes, i'm willing to go with the persons that are producing the evidence. >> wanting to keep him quiet is, i guess, one thing. signing off on killing him, though, i mean, if this does reach back to the crown prince, why would he want jamal dead? >> well, you know, jamal was
essentially a democrat. i mean, he was -- he lived within the saudi system, so when we talk about democracy and saudi arabia, it means a little something different than it does in our context. but he talked about choosing our leader. that, to him, was real freedom, and of course that is a revolutionary statement in saudi arabia. and this is a man who knows everything about the state. he's worked inside the saudi system. he's been friends with the highest leaders in the royal family. he has a lot of information. and so, he is, in some ways, a kind of volatile element to have out there. so there is a sense of danger. there's another thing that happened when i talked to him last spring. he was talking about the diaspora of the arab spring leaders and many of them living in the west, feeling very demoralized by the failure of that movement, and he was
talking about getting together with them and organizing. so, i think that could have been another reason, if it were really true that he intended to organize an opposition to the tyrannies of the middle east, then they might see that he was posing a greater threat. >> you did a joint interview with jamal back in march. i want to play something that he said about the crown prince and his own decision to leave saudi arabia. for our viewers, listen. >> he want to push forward with his reform without any discussions about political freedom, about democracy, about sharing power. so in june, last year, i decided to leave my country to be safe. a few weeks later, many of my friends were arrested, so i wrote an op-ed in the "washington post" which kind of broke, divorced me from the government. divorced me from -- even though i think it was a very objective,
mild op-ed, but the reaction from my government, they treated me as if i shot the king and then ran away. >> did -- you smile. why do you smile when you hear that? >> i just -- well, he was a -- he was an amusing friend, you know, and he had a way of turning phrases and also, you know, he's dealing with the kind of -- the irrationality of that kind of response. i think that when people are puzzling out why this happened to jamal, put it in the context that last year at about this time, you know, hundreds of people were rounded up in saudi arabia, not all of them princes and billionaires, many intellectuals that were friends of jamal's, reports of them being tortured, of at least one person, a general, being killed, and there's no outcry in the west at all about that behavior, and then, you know, recently, with canada, where a single
tweet about human rights causes this abrupt break in diplomatic relations. these are irrational, hot-headed actions, and if you look at that in that context, then the murder of jamal is just another in this sequence of unthinkable hot-headed actions. >> well, maybe hold out a glimmer of hope yet this evening and everyone ask for the evidence one way or the other. lawrence, thank you for coming in. i appreciate it. >> that you know for something me. >> thanks so much. forecast for the midterms, will the democrats take over the house? harry's here to tell us. if you have moderate to severe psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis, little things can be a big deal. that's why there's otezla. otezla is not an injection or a cream. it's a pill that treats differently. for psoriasis, 75% clearer skin is achievable,
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to remain on-call during breaks and requires they receive fema level training and active shooters and natural disasters. vote yes on 11 to ensure 911 emergency care is there when you or your love one need it. president trump's relationship with saudi arabia is under new scrutiny now after the disappearance of "the washington post" contributor jamal khashoggi, but tonight, president trump says he still hasn't spoken with saudi arabia's king salman about it. >> have you talked to the king of saudi arabia about this. >> i have not. i have not called him. i'll be speaking to him, yes, pretty soon. >> what will the conversation be like. >> well, i can't tell you but i will say that they are looking for hard and fast and not only us. a lot of people are looking to find out, because it is potentially a really, really terrible situation, so we'll see
what happens. >> so what exactly is the nature of the president's relationship with saudi arabia? particularly his business relationships. christina loesch is out front. >> reporter: saudi arabia has been making donald trump rich for decades. >> saudi arabia and i get along great with all of them. they buy apartments from me, they spend $50 million, am i supposed to dislike them? i like them very much. >> reporter: trump's financial ties with the saudis date back to the 1990s. in 1991, when one of his casino projects was faltering, under a mountain of debt, a saudi prince purchased trump's 281 square foot yacht for the hefty price of $20 million. ten years later, public records show trump sold the 45th floor of his trump world tower in new york to the kingdom of saudi arabia for $4.5 million. in recent years, since trump took office, his hotels have benefitted from saudi business. between october 2016 and march
2017, a saudi lobbying firm paid trump's washington, d.c., hotel more than $270,000 for food and accommodations. trump's manhattan hotel on central park west saw revenue increase during the first quarter of 2018, in part because of a visit from saudi crown prince mohammed bin salman, according to a letter obtained by "the washington post." in the letter, the hotel's general manager wrote that bin salman didn't stay at the hotel himself but said, quote, due to our close industry relationships, we were able to accommodate many of the accompanying travelers. overall, however, little is known about the full extent of trump's business relationship with saudi arabia. >> we don't know, really, very much about his efforts to open other properties in saudi arabia. we don't know who his partners would have been. we don't know who would have financed them and we don't know if he could restart them again
down the road. >> according to his 2016 financial disclosure, trump had 144 registered companies with dealings in more than two dozen countries. eight of them were saudi companies. all of those companies have been dissolved but tonight, as cries for the president to take action against saudi arabia grow louder, trump's business ties are coming under new scrutiny. >> now, of course, the larger political question is, are -- is this relationship, are these business deals part of the president's consideration when he makes decisions about how to go forward? >> reporter: now, kate, a spokesperson from the trump org told me like many global real estate companies, we have explored opportunities in many markets. that said, we don't have any plans for expansion into saudi arabia. but when i asked them about the other financial ties that you heard in the piece, for example, the condo sales at trump tower, i did not get an answer. kate? >> maybe tomorrow. thanks, christina.
appreciate it. "outfront" next, our harry has the election forecast, who wins the house, who wins the senate. harry will tell us. that's next. and melania trump brushing off a question about her husband's alleged affairs. >> i'm a mother and a first lady, and i have much more important things to think about and to do. ♪
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here. ♪ predicting the future. with 25 days to go before the midterm election, the question on everyone's mind is which way will the house go? and what about the senate? our harry anton is debuting his forecast. let's start with the house. democrats have 193 in congress, republicans with 235. whoever it is need 218 to keep the majority. what's the forecast? >> democrats will win 229 seats which will give them the majority, 11 seats more than they need. but there's a margin of error with this estimate. that's something i'm going to keep honing in on over and over
again. so the best-care scenario where they win all the way up to 226. that's the best-case scenario, we don't expect that, but worst-case is where they only win 205 seats, which would be the best case for republican. let's say the generic ballot is all wrong, this time of estimate is trying to understand that things can change and more than that we have a lot of close seats. if they all go one way or another, that could change the math. >> they don't generally all go one way or the other. that's why you have the margin of error anyway. >> the senate is a simpler ball game. republicans are one seat, slim majority. we think that the most likely scenario are going to increase that majority up to 52 seats. the reason we think that, there's a lot of red states with
democratic incumbents. heidi heitkamp, for example, thee trailing in our estimate or forecast to lose, but overall we think it's a close battle. it's just more likely republicans will gain a seat. >> this can change in the next 25 days. this isn't the only forecast. >> right. democrats could end up with the majority. it's also possible that republicans, but right now the best estimate is they end up with 52 seats. >> let's see's the forecast changes, as the winds change with politics. great to see you. >> thank you. up frontiest, melania in a rare interview speaking out about her husband. er. do you offer $4.95 online equity trades? great question. see, for a full service brokerage like ours, that's tough to do. schwab does it. next question.
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breaking her silence. first lady melania trump finally addressing the allegations, insisting it's not put a strain on their marriage. >> it's not concern and focus of mine. i'm a mother and a first lady, and i have much more important things to think about and to do. >> do you love your husband? >> yes. we are fine. yes. it's what media speculates and it's gossip. it's not always the correct stuff. cnn white house reporter kate bennett is out front with me. pieces of this interview are trickling out. i find it striking she's addressing it. why do you think that? >> it is interesting. she's been very quiet for almost a year. during that year we've seen all these salacious headlines come on. she canceled the trip to davos, a separate motorcade.
it indicated there might be rough patches, but she can't hide from the media forever. she's very wary of the immediate use. i thought it was interesting that she wields some power and influence in the president's west wings. let's take a listen. >> reporter: he'sen in office almost two years. do you have people in trust that you -- >> i let him know. with some people they don't work there anymore. >> do you think there's people there that he can't truth trust? >> yes. >> still working now? >> yes. >> a little palace intrigue there. certainly she's expressing her opinions to the president. >> she does seem to have something more to say when i see her speak. you've covered her since the president took offices do you think it's an effort to --
>> she is more independent than we have seen modern first ladies be. she does things at her own pace. she took some time to roll out her initiative be best, and this is her very first solo trip abroad as first lady. so certainly i think, you know, the east wing doesn't coordinate with the west wing. this isn't a shared messaging sort of white house. she tweets on her own, she makes events on her own. she travels on her own. so again, i think this trip, this interview was a chance for her to say a few things on her mind. trying to real the tea leaves and what's happening with the first lady of the united states i think was an important thing for her to do, and be asked these questions. >> do you think she's
comfortable in the position now? she wasn't at first. >> i do. i think, you know shall does come alive around children. i think she's finding her footing at this point in the administrati administration. >> no one can deny how beautiful those pictures were with the children. thanks so much for joining us tonight. "ac 360" is next. i want to begin tonight with breaking news on the mystery surrounding the disappearance and alleged murder of a "the washington post" columnist and turkish authorities have audio and visual evidence that shows