Here's what's making headlines in the political world on Monday, October 15, 2018:
President, First Lady to visit hurricane-ravaged states
-- President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump are touring the communities in Georgia and Florida damaged last week by Hurricane Michael.
Trump and his wife departed the White House Monday morning and are scheduled to get firsthand looks at the devastation left behind by the hurricane.
The visit comes after Trump approved a disaster declaration for several counties in Georgia, freeing up access to federal aid.
Trump touches on Russian meddling, Blasey Ford in “60 Minutes” interview
-- President Trump spoke on several hot topics during a sit-down interview that aired on CBS’ “60 Minutes.”
Trump touched on numerous subjects and addressed several issues as he spoke with veteran journalist Lesley Stahl.
On the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and whether Saudi Arabia was responsible: “Well, there's a lot at stake. There's a lot at stake. And maybe especially so because this man was a reporter. There's something -- you'll be surprised to hear me say that. There's something really terrible and disgusting about that, if that were the case. So we're gonna have to see. We're going to get to the bottom of it and there will be severe punishment.”
On Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election: “They meddled. But I think China meddled too … I’m saying Russia, but I’m also saying China.”
On the Special Counsel’s probe: “Do you really think I'd call Russia to help me with an election? Give me a break. They wouldn't be able to help me at all. Call Russia. It's so ridiculous.”
On the mocking of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford: “Had I not made that speech, we would not have won. I was just saying she didn't seem to know anything … I didn't really make fun of her.”
Jamal Khashoggi disappearance: Trump to send Pompeo to meet Saudi King
-- President Trump has spoken to Saudi King Salman over the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and will send Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to discuss the situation with the monarch.
Trump said in a tweet on Monday that the King denied any knowledge of the journalist's whereabouts. Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post and a Saudi royal insider-turned-critic, entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, on October 2 and has not been seen since.
Saudi authorities maintain Khashoggi left the consulate the same afternoon, but have provided no evidence of that.
"Just spoke to the King of Saudi Arabia who denies any knowledge of whatever may have happened 'to our Saudi Arabian citizen.' He said that they are working closely with Turkey to find answer. I am immediately sending our Secretary of State to meet with King!," Trump tweeted.
Just spoke to the King of Saudi Arabia who denies any knowledge of whatever may have happened “to our Saudi Arabian citizen.” He said that they are working closely with Turkey to find answer. I am immediately sending our Secretary of State to meet with King!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 15, 2018
International pressure is mounting on Riyadh to explain the journalist's disappearance. Saudi Arabia has given Turkey permission to search its Istanbul consulate Monday afternoon, a Turkish diplomatic source told CNN.
Saudi officials first granted permission for the consulate to be searched last week, but later asked for a delay and no search has yet taken place. Turkish officials also want to search the nearby consul general's residence, and have repeatedly accused the Saudis of failing to cooperate with their investigation.
Khashoggi's disappearance has created a diplomatic rift between Saudi and the West, with the U.K., France and Germany demanding a "credible investigation" into the events and U.S. President Donald Trump warning of serious retribution if the Saudis are found to be behind his possible death.
Before the president departed the White House for Florida on Monday morning, he addressed the media:
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) October 15, 2018
Trump expected to name Pat Cipollone as White House counsel
-- President Donald Trump is expected to name veteran Washington, DC, lawyer Pat Cipollone as the next White House counsel, two sources familiar with the matter told CNN.
The pick could be announced as soon as the coming week, the sources said.
The White House is waiting for his clearance information to be completed before announcing the choice, one of the sources said.
Cipollone met with White House officials earlier this week to discuss the counsel's job, a different source familiar with the situation told CNN.
CNN contributed to this report