The Briefing Room: Journalist missing as pastor released from Turkey

Jamal Khashoggi is still missing after entering the Saudi consulate in Turkey, and former Vice President Joe Biden is on the midterms campaign trail.
21:00 | 10/12/18

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Transcript for The Briefing Room: Journalist missing as pastor released from Turkey
And. Hi and welcome to the briefing room on ABC news political director Rick Klein joined here by just officially Catherine folders and we got a lot to get to on this Friday including a new ABC news Washington Post poll. The wanna start on the big news that dobbs could very quickly be consuming this White House the story of Jamal could show EI new. Talking about and Mort more information at the Turkmen and the Turkish authorities have on. Oh on surveillance communication. More and more from just officials winning two circumstance were looks like a lot of people knew what was happening and event. It's totally wild actually this story's blown up the Turks are now telling the Washington Post that they have. Audio and video that proves that this. Saudi journalists were for the Washington Post was tortured. And dismembered inside. The Saudi consulate in Turkey that's a big deal. And what's been so surprising is the president's response. To this so far all week after this story first broke. He was asked about it by reporters he's had twice I don't know anything about then the next day switch to well it sounds bad we need to give the bottom of it. Bomb then as it it it's it emerged that the there was much evidence don't have the saudis were really involved in this thing he said well look where working on a 110 billion dollar arms deal with the saudis sell. I don't want to I don't want to blow that if I were. Mohammed and Solomon. This would be the best possible reaction I could get under the present. Yeah I think they disappearances thousand testing the relationships between the United States and Saudi and the president's relationship. I'm with the crown prince stared Christians relationship and you mentioned the arms deal and there's been. Add bipartisan. Backlash on mounting Hilton this Rand Paul treated the president should immediately halt arms sales and military support to Saudi Arabia something the president made clear yesterday he would not do. Just wanna do it just yet I wanted to go with powerful Mario over at the White House because the president's has left the grounds and and I know there's a lot of questions percolating on this but I mean anything new from the white house on this story line today. Well let me know this went up as never really need human rights their top priority is seen since takes second economic growth America first pie Paula. Policy and really their foreign agenda they're willing to make deals. With its with with a lot of countries that perhaps. You know sitting down with Kim Jong Hoon at a summit something that was once thought it as unthinkable. If human rights get in the way of a policy agenda it often is not something that the president is willing. To tackles so it's not that surprising but to some critics it does seem unseemly for the president to be equating an arms deal money tax. To human life and human rights and I think he's gonna get hammered for that while he had a great. Spectacle yesterday with Kanye West and it mainly kept alive the focus off this serious. Story you know it's. He he still coming back to and it's not going away anytime soon especially if there's video and surfacing. And the president will be coming out later tonight another make America great rallies and several of them this week. Want to check in for some perspective with a shot behind me is a senior fellow the Brookings Institution joining us. I hear from Washington DC. And said he wrote you wrote this week that it appears that the saudis are taunting strong. If that is the case what are they getting out of this what buttons are they trying to press and what kind of reaction you think they're reading into the lack of reaction. From the trump White House. Gets a fight. If I was Donald Trump might feel very disrespected. By the Saudi leadership because. Trump has extended so much goodwill and deference. To Saudi Arabia over the past year and a half and it's not just about. The crack down on dissent that we've seen in Saudi Arabia but also a disastrous war in Yemen. That has taken a greater role on on human life and it'll be humanitarian catastrophe. We also saw last year. What was in affected. Did. And trump has let ago so the least that trump should expect in return is a little bit of that goodwill back. But now Saudi Arabia's effectively embarrassing Donald Trump now in the court of public opinion internationally. Because. Donald Trump has really come to see Saudi Arabia as a linchpin of a new Middle East strategy. To isolate Iran so this is Donald Trump's big bet in the Middle East that there is this young. Supposedly reforming crown prince must come had been some man he's 33. And trump and Kushner have invested a lot in in this young prince. And and shouting that the way I look is. You know it's not to say that past presidents would have eventually relented and and and looked for to keep these arms deals together but to sort of fold on that issue went on day one within 24 hours a learning about things that he seems a sort of fall is carve out there was something left in the there's no way that sort of crack the whip now. Yet for someone who is supposed to be a great negotiator. This is not good negotiation this is actually in my view pretty bad negotiating tactics. Where he's giving up the game from the very beginning at least put some pressure on Saudi Arabia and let's not forget that yes the saudis are imported into the US. But India's bilateral relationship. The US is the senior partner in the saudis are the junior partner. Were the ones who have more leverage leverage were the ones who can put more pressure on the saudis. Rather than the other way around so for trump to kind of did not show any interest in putting serious pressure on the saudis. It's just it isn't keeping way that you know in the low priority on human rights but still. A development that that seems very much tied into all of this is the news today out of Turkey that the Turkish government has not allowed for the release of US passer Andrew Bronson. This has been a longstanding push by it by by US administration's you've been imprisoned for some two years after a failed coup attempts. Over there we know this is being all longstanding push the Turks of course are the ones that are so involved in this it did happen happening on on their grounds. Shoddy how do you read this news and how does it. Relate to the efforts to figure out what happened to could show me and and what kind of consequences should be made hit the saudis if they were responsible should be made it to suffer. Yes oh a big part of what's going on is this rivalry between Saudi Arabia. And Turkey in a ready the relationship has been strained. But it's obviously getting more and more strain and I think Turkey wants to take advantage of the situation right now. And win at and and win some favor in the international community win favor in the US because this has been a criticism up until now. That why is Turkey holding this this US citizen. And why are they doing more to to release him or consider releasing him so it's no accident. That this announcement came on this very day when the news about the disappearance that they shall be. Is is really frightened senator and a lot of people are paying attention to it so it shows that Turkey. Turkey easy and Turkey's trying to push this and they're trying to put put pressure on Saudi Arabia from their standpoint. What do you think the chances are that the Turks really do have video and audio to prove these things and and what I mean I think what a lot of it while it's what they release it what day. Prove he's out these huge allegations that they're making. I'm not sure they would release something like that publicly because if we're talking about the dismembering of a body would quite brutal. I don't think that would be four for public digestion but I do think that it is something they can share. Wind their US counterparts in the intelligence community other in any other intelligence services. So I think would be very risky for Turkey to be bluffing on this too for Turkish sources that claim. That they have video and audio. At some point it's like the US will call their bluff and asked for or for more evidence. So but even putting that aside I think what we've seen over the past ten days and it really has been going on. That long is mounting evidence and what what's striking to me is that the saudis have had made little effort. Two to deny or to offer countering evidence. You'd think they'd at least one offer up a pretense at least go through the motions do something but what's the what's surprising is that they don't even seem to be trying. And that also suggests to me a certain kind of recklessness on the part of the Saudi leadership that they really. Think they can get away with this. Saudi Hymie from the refuses to issue we appreciate your perspective joining us here in Washington thanks Saudi. The one other element that we should mention on the on the the release of a Bronson is Jay secular. Actually how weird this is Catherine but Nina Jay secular of course is a White House attorneys also represents. Fronts at the pass health. There say and then learning Giuliani have. Mad men working on asked for some time together he also represents Simonsen is an interesting representation there with the President Clinton. And later this evening then partly flown to military base in Germany and then ultimately back to you ask. And then there's definitely a personal Canadiens petition Atlanta Clinton and has Charlie said this is not this release is not happening in a vacuum this is totally related. To be the incident in the consulate's. Right we're gonna we're gonna we're gonna this big questions ahead for the White House including participation in upcoming conference a lot of people don't fully on of that will be watching. All of that we want to turn to some offense on the campaign trail vice president Joseph Biden in Kentucky. Today he'll be in Indiana later on today a midwest campaign swing he's appearing alongside any McGrath who is. Combat veteran woman of what was running for congress in Kentucky. It's been quite eventful a couple of days for the former vice president he's a big draw on the trail. Like to bring in our Molly Natal who is on the ground there Molly what are you picking up there and we know vice president spoke a little little while ago on on behalf of any McGrath. Yet as a big crowd here to when he 200 people. I gathered in this high school gymnasium it was filled and a lot of excitement and not only for in the Democrat but also for the former vice president I talked a lot some voters who. Are really eager about seeing him and and and are you viewing him as a possible presidential candidate saying that they wanna get out here early. To hear what he has to say if he does decide to run into one each money. And and and Molly there's there's been a lot of talk this week about the tone of the campaign some very sharp comments from Hillary Clinton. From Eric Holder. Both of those things have been held up by Republicans and try to play into that post Kavanagh argument that god they're trying to leftists trying to insight a mob. How did the president added vice presidents don't. It's like you today how to Joseph Biden come off in terms of trying to it to strike that balance between anger and resolve for Democrats. We know the vice president has been steadfast on the trail when he and talks about the Republican Party he says this is not your father's Republican Party. These people I are putting party before country. And I you know he he really does feel you can feel his passion when he talks about that he's. One of the reasons in Democrats said that he supported her was because he was so impressed by her getting out to rural counties here in Kentucky. Sixty campaign and he said that's how we win back the trust of Democrats by getting out there and being present. All right Molly needle and this is of course your briefing room to you we welcome news very very warmly to the family and hoping you're gonna Jessica Bolivar lawyer at the time. The challenges has been laid out he would like India's. Thank you and I didn't then you guys. A little bit before we move onto our poll I wanna check it one more time with tariff on merry. I'm curious what you're picking up in terms of the president's tone and what you're expecting in terms of these campaign events he's become very sharp as he'd expected some of these rallies really laying in sued to Democrats often in very misleading fashion on health care. On this issue of inciting violence. I did didn't you use your sense talking to White House aides people who often around the White House that the president's getting traction on this he feels good about the direction he's been pushing. It's the only direction he's pushing right now and that's forward that's hard and that's charging and it worked for him on the campaign trail to get him into the White House. But is it going to work in the mid terms it's still hard to sang any he's willing made this entire campaign about himself. A he's made this a referendum on himself and if he's going to use the talking points is gonna need to continue updating them because it's unclear if that's terror over Kavanagh is really gonna carry that. Into the mid terms that he's out Eric again today he's going to Ohio. Guilty on the trail like promised five to seven times per week and does really trying to rile up the base. But yet at that seems to me they're talking part point charged Howard an attack. And it is being now about a week now since. Since the devotes were secured for prep Kavanagh he was. He was that he was confirmed to the court just last Saturday. We were out in the poll out of fuel with a with a poll just this week getting a lot of these things I want to bring in. Our polling director Gary liner for some perspective on this. First just talking about that the main the main number on this just the fact that more Americans are disapprove. Of this confirmation an approved. We've heard a lot about the enthusiasm gap here but it says it's a pretty remarkable. Finding this 51%. Disapproving of the capital confirmation. It's pretty extraordinary kidnapped the 10 X 10 point margin Americans are more apt to disapprove. Then approve is as you note of the confirmation. Similarly by about ten point margin the more likely to disapprove of the way the Judiciary Committee handled its investigation. And to favor a further investigation by congress is as suggested by Jerry Nadler. That could potentially lead to an effort to remove Kavanagh. On grounds of misconduct or perjured. Yeah that's him he was the most striking that thing in this poll because obviously Republicans are trying to play up the idea that that Democrats want to reopen the Kavanagh investigation 88 impeached. Impeach Kavanagh but he and Gary were finding actual support for doing just that reopening an investigation. Of of a confirmed justice on the Supreme Court. Yet by 53 to 43% American support that and this is all about the gender backlash on each of these questions of approval and confirmation. Views on how judiciary handled it views on further investigation. Man divide about evenly. But women are opposed to Kavanagh on each of these by about a twenty point margin. Yeah and that gender gap we saw it on the on the quest on all those questions as you say on confirmation and on all of these details and down a lot more coming on this poll in the coming days and Gary just one less. One last note on this. This idea that did the Judiciary Committee just didn't do enough for this played out over a long period of time. It does seem from our from our polling that people really dialed into the story they seem to be paying attention to it and there's a lot of pretty firm opinions there. Yet I mean we we had him limited number of people didn't express a view on it in there is dissatisfaction with the judiciary is where. Now there's one other point what might want to think about which is this question whether or have an impact and vote preferences in the mid terms. Yet this suggestion that it helps the Republicans doesn't seem be borne out in our data. Are registered voter respondents by a six point margin say the whole mess and leads them well more likely to vote for Democrats rather than Republicans for congress now that probably just expresses their previous positions. It's on a big result but the basic take away their four is that the political impact. Doesn't look strong in either direction. And the Republicans have all other concerns on that from people talk about those on Sunday. You know it all right a lot more to come on Sunday morning Gary liar thanks for being here in the review appreciate it. It is Friday. Doesn't official is here. I had the baby paying attention Friday when I got for us you know something's some you mentioned earlier that trumps op Ed on my health care that was fact check like everywhere we're gonna take a look at that. Com a little something different though I'm gonna do Danang Dick this week. Dick Kavanagh this is all about cannot the president is still incensed. About. What he called a hoax to disrupt his Supreme Court pick. And he blames members of the Senate Judiciary Committee and he's been attacking senator Richard Blumenthal. There he calls and we he derisively calls stemming. Now there is a shred of truth to where he gets his his his attack this week. Blumenthal did misspeak he is admittedly misspoke about his service in Vietnam he it was a marine reservist he but he never deployed act. The president is telling this display cup whole cloth made up story about how. He. There will bullets that that that Blumenthal claimed that he was. I went to Danang bullets left and right trump told the Washington examiner. Protect you know and recounting the wounds also alleges story that we've got us how might a guy apparently without the sound bite me talking. But he apologized. Like. Jimmy Swaggart. Crying. Bawling. Because he conned the public when he was attorney general of Connecticut. For fifteen years. Talking about as I. As I went to dining. Bullets left and right my friends going down meaning being killed done and Dick. Would come done that because it was done and province he said he when I was in Don name province going up the hill. My body's falling left and right. Just couldn't comment capturing but the story seems to have evolved Iowa and let's that was in a private conversation with I. I him and that and that and the president there is this is this did not happen he did not say these things there's no evidence that he said he anything's publicly so. What is the case for the president's taking a shred us truth and then it is sort of embellishing the details around its get his point across. And it's worth fact checking this week. I really that in our palm area before we let you go over at the White House today even covering president conference sometime. He does seem a little bit assessment Dick Blumenthal not a household name of a cent of their this idea that he's boring in on a particular senator that's kind of out of the trump playbook. Buddy the one thing that is in the trunk playbook is going after terror war veterans. For their valor and their courage when he in fact did not end up serving in Vietnam he got out because of bone spurs and in most political operatives that they stay away stay alienate them around sees attention and do here owner of hypocrisy but president trying to neverland. To take that advice goes for the jugular every time. And we've heard him use the same. Attack on the late Senator John McCain and others. All right and making I think it is our. Thank you care yes and and make no mistake about it this is pure retribution and Donald Trump the passion for the cabs what it's all about the hunt a 100%. All right exciting night tonight guys as we've seen are our Polly Tommy on us spent some time with Gilani a trump a wide ranging interview. Here is the latest we know that that a lot of uncomfortable questions were asked by a by our colleague Tom take a listen. It has been a tough year for you personally. A U that would have tested a lot of people you're not the first First Lady to have to deal with her husband's alleged infidelities. Has history on your marriage. If he's not concern and focus a mind I'm on my dinner for CD. And I have much more inputs and thinks to think about them to do. Wow yeah how rile up a lot of ask. Have fun guy this is news going to be this into some yeah he's certainly the questions that and she doesn't you know she doesn't do interviews prices today. She says she doesn't think about it. All right. We'll believe it. We didn't once reluctant to join the president is. Asking people watch as well he's it is what is does Kelly people to enjoy it and we will Hanoi 830 tonight is the reporter's notebook the you can watch right here. The ABC news live 10 o'clock tonight on the ABC's broadcast network that's a special 20/20. Meanwhile Lonnie this is big guys is going to be a lot of fun song that was my front nine and about Julia pop -- reading her. Just official Katherine folders on reclined banks are being renovated room we'll see you back here next time.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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