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Sources: Turkey Likely Knew Within Hours of Khashoggi's Disappearance that He was Dead; CNN: Kelly, Bolton in Heated Shouting Match Over Border Crossings. Aired on 8-9p ET

Aired October 18, 2018 - 20:00   ET


[19:59:05] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening.

We begin with breaking news in the disappearance and apparent murder of the American-based Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. He was last seen on October 2nd going into the Saudi consulate, right there on that video in Istanbul and never seen or heard from since.

Now, as you know, we've gotten a whole string of statements and stories on this from Riyadh and Washington, but the most consistent has come from Turkish sources who say there's video and audio evidence that Khashoggi was tortured, drugged, and killed and dismembered by a Saudi hit team, including a forensic expert with a bone saw.

Now, even bearing in mind that Turkey and the kingdom of Saudi Arabia have their very real differences, and Turkey has motives of its own in all of this, their story has not changed. The Saudi story has, and the Trump administration appears to have shifted into something of a crisis mode with even the president acknowledging today that Jamal Khashoggi is likely dead.

With all that said, the breaking news tonight takes everything even further.

Our Nic Robertson joins us now from Istanbul with the very latest.

[20:00:02] So, according to this reporting, just how soon after Khashoggi's disappearance did Turkish officials likely know he was dead?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Within about 3- 1/2 hours of him going into the consulate. His fiancee outside, she gets worried, she calls the Turkish official close to President Erdogan. He calls around other government officials, including the intelligence community. He also calls the Saudi ambassador in Ankara, who denies knowledge of the situation.

By this time, it's about 6:00 p.m. in the afternoon. This is about five -- a little less than five hours after Khashoggi went into the consulate. The intelligence officials begin reviewing their recordings from inside the consulate, recordings that the Turkish government has yet to publicly acknowledge exists.

They begin reviewing those, and within an hour or so, they come to that conclusion, that Khashoggi has been tortured -- beaten, tortured, killed, and then dismembered. They immediately inform the police at the airport, saying they fear that's a possibility that Khashoggi could be abducted. The police at the airport say they just processed seven Saudis who are waiting to get on a private charter jet to fly back to Riyadh, a private charter jet that had arrived earlier in the morning.

The police at the airport say they have already screened these seven passengers, and their bags and say there's nothing in them to indicate they're trying to take out parts of Jamal Khashoggi's body. But they also send undercover intelligence operatives dressed as cleaners onto that waiting jet on the runway in Istanbul to check that out and it comes up clean, as well.

However, earlier in the afternoon, another private jet chartered by Saudis that Turkish officials say had some of that hit squad on it, that plane left and didn't get checked. So the timeline is incredibly short. Within -- Jamal Khashoggi goes into that consulate 1:14, and by, we can say, 6:00, 7:00 p.m. that evening, Turkish officials already know what's happened to him -- Anderson.

COOPER: What can we say about where this information that you're talking about, this level of detail, where it actually comes from, because in past days, we've heard things in the pro-government Turkish newspaper and there have been other leaks -- where is this information coming from or the best that you can say?

ROBERTSON: So we've pieced this together from multiple sources. We've taken, you know, a lot of this information has -- we've developed it over a period of time, that we've seen it falling into a pattern. You know, a source was contacted by a source here in Turkey, known very well to him, who alerted him that first evening about what was happening.

And you piece it together from there. What's been put into the public domain by those leaks into the Turkish media, we've gone back to Turkish officials and looked at the police records, as well. So, this picture that I've just described to you has been built up by multiple Turkish official sources and looking at the police records for what the police for example were instructed to do at the airport, and the undercover team going on the plane to check the plane. So, this has taken a while to build up.

But again as you said at the very beginning, Anderson, and key to all of this is that Turkish narrative has been there from the beginning. Very quickly, they knew details and they knew those details because of the recordings, again that they haven't admitted publicly about from inside the consulate and has stayed consistent. And we've been able to draw it out from our sources here in detail over a period of time, Anderson.

COOPER: Right. The Turkish government newspaper had several days ago said it was an Apple Watch that was transmitting information to an iPhone that Khashoggi's fiancee had outside. There's been questions raised about that, whether that in fact was, or were there listening devices or some sort of recording devices that the Turks had put inside the Saudi embassy. We don't know which is correct. But it's clear -- and we've heard this from the beginning, that there

does seem to be some sort of audio recording of what went on.

Nic, I appreciate all the details that you are breaking tonight.

Shortly before this broke, President Trump made news. This afternoon on his way out to Air Force one, he was asked point blank what happened to Jamal Khashoggi.


REPORTER: Jamal Khashoggi is dead?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It certainly looks that way to me. It's very sad. It certainly looks that way.


COOPER: Then another reporter asked what consequences Saudi Arabia should face if it's shown they were responsible.


TRUMP: Well, it will have to be very severe. I mean, it's bad, bad stuff.

[20:05:02] But we'll see what happens. OK? Thank you.


COOPER: Both statements go beyond what the president has been willing to say up to this point.

Keeping them honest, though, it's really unclear how much credence to give these new statements, especially the part about severe consequences. And I say that because nearly everything else the president and his people have been saying lately suggested actually getting tough with the kingdom is the last thing anyone really wants. Instead, after days of echoing denials from the Saudis, raising the possibility of rogue killers and stressing Saudi Arabia's importance to the United States and the fact that Khashoggi wasn't an American citizen, the administration now says it wants to give the Saudis more time to investigate.

So let me repeat that. Time for the Saudis, meaning the crown prince, to investigate a murder and possible dismemberment that he himself or people closely connected to him, may very well be involved with.

Listen to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who is just back from meetings with the royals in Riyadh what he said about that.


MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: They made clear to me that they too understand the serious nature of the disappearance of Mr. Khashoggi. They also assured me that they will conduct a complete, thorough investigation of all of the facts surrounding Mr. Khashoggi and that they will do so in a timely fashion. And that this report will be transparent, for everyone to see, ask questions about and to inquire with respect to its thoroughness.

And I told President Trump this morning that we ought to give them a few more days to complete that, so that we too have a complete understanding of the facts surrounding that.


COOPER: Well, keeping them honest, though, I mean, it doesn't take a cynic to wonder about the fairness, the thoroughness, especially the transparency of a Saudi investigation, when it's conducted by the prime suspect, a country that has also had a long history of human rights abuses, a country which publicly beheads people, performs amputations as punishment and imprisonment its dissidents.

So, if it seems like what happened to Jamal Khashoggi actually happened to Jamal Khashoggi, it would be in line from what we've seen from the kingdom in the past. It also doesn't take a cynic to wonder how tough Secretary Pompeo was in this cozy looking meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Last night, an official with knowledge of the meeting told us that outward appearances notwithstanding, Pompeo behind closed doors was stern and told the Saudis to own up to their responsibility. And shortly after that, "The New York Times," citing a former official who was briefed on the meeting, reported that no dramatic threats or ultimatums were made during that private meeting. Remember, as all this was playing out, we had been treated to a variety of stories from the Saudis or attributed to them.

First, that Khashoggi left the consulate unharmed. That's what they were claiming for days. Then that rogue elements may have been involved. That was repeated by the president.

And now again, according to "The New York Times," something new that Saudi rulers are thinking about blaming a top intelligence official who's close to the crown prince as a way of deflecting blame from the crown prince themselves. Their story keeps changing, but the story line and the suspect remain the same.

For more on all this, we're joined by Robert Jordan, former ambassador to Saudi Arabia and author of "Desert Diplomat: Inside Saudi Arabia Following 9/11".

Ambassador, thank you so much for being with us.

I just want to start with this breaking news tonight.


COOPER: It's hard to see that if, in fact, there is audio or even video of what happened here inside the consulate, how the Saudis are going to be able to somehow talk their way out of this. JORDAN: I don't see how they can possibly talk their way out of the

fact that a murder occurred. And a horrific treatment of a decent human being has led to a terribly tragic event. The real question I think is going to be how high up the chain of command does this go? Does it reach Mohammed bin Salman or not? This is where the tape may well not be conclusive.

And so, we're going have to find other relevant evidence. The circumstantial evidence, of course, is quite strong. The names that have been listed are close to Mohammed bin Salman. There are photographs.

My guess is also that American intelligence can go back to some of their collection and piece together facial recognition, other means of identifying how close to Mohammed bin Salman these individuals were. But it appears thus far that they were quite close.

COOPER: Yes. I mean, "The New York Times" is reporting that the Saudis are considering blaming a top intelligence official close to the crown prince but not the crown prince himself.

I mean, just given your knowledge of how Saudi Arabia works, is it realistic to think that a top intelligence official who is close to the crown prince, would plan something without the crown prince knowing and be able to freely enter the Saudi consulate, commit a murder and a dismemberment, and not have anybody in the Saudi consulate apparently raise any questions about it or concerns about it to the crown prince himself?

[20:10:03] JORDAN: Absolutely not. I think this is -- I think every analyst who has ever looked at this will tell you the same thing. It's inconceivable that the crown prince would not have known of this kind of a plot.

COOPER: How important -- I guess the next question then in terms of Saudi relations is how important is the crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, who is relatively new to power there, how important is he in the relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia? Or are there other options of people who could replace him?

JORDAN: Well, there are other options of those who could replace him. Many of those, though, have been cast aside in the palace coup that the crown prince engineered a year or so ago, with the spectacle at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Riyadh, the elbowing aside of Mohammed bin Nayef, who was crown prince and others before him.

Mohammad bin Salman has become quite important to this administration. The relationship with Jared Kushner is a personal one now. I think this administration has a lot invested in this particular crown prince, which makes it all the harder to suggest that he should not succeed his father. But if you look at the track record of the crown prince, he's presided over one failure after another over the last two years.

The war in Yemen, the detention of the Lebanese prime minister, the blockade of Qatar -- you can go down the line, and one would ask if this fellow were applying for a job, what administration would hire him or give him a promotion? So, I think we've got serious reservations about his suitability for the job, and long-term, I think we need to have some very frank conversations with the Saudis how this is going to be handled going forward.

COOPER: Who would those conversations take place with? I mean, if -- clearly, Mohammed bin Salman would be normally the person one would have real conversations with, not the king -- from many reports, you know, the king is not in a state to have those conversations. But if you're having -- if you need to have conversations about no longer having Mohammed bin Salman be the power behind the throne, I'm not sure having those conversations with Mohammed bin Salman is necessary the go-to person.

JORDAN: Well, I'm not sure you can have that kind of a conversation, but the conversation I would envision would be -- what are your plans for the future? You have to understand that you have placed the United States in a terrible position in this investigation, and this affair that has occurred.

What is your plan for Yemen? What is your plan for Qatar? How much do you want to deal with the United States? Here's what we have to offer, but we're not going to give you a blank check.

These are the kinds of things that I think require what I would call a planning conference. We used to have planning conferences with the Saudis in Riyadh, and I think this is one that is called for. I think it's also imperative that we have an ambassador in Riyadh, which we haven't had in this administration, nor do we have one in Turkey.

So, we've got to have leadership on the ground. We have to have relationships with these cabinet members, the other senior leadership of Saudi Arabia. Our intelligence people have to become involved.

No, I don't think we can simply demand that the crown prince be cast aside. But I think he's demonstrating right now that he needs a lot of guidance along the way.

COOPER: Yes. Frankly, the point you just made is a really important one that I think a lot of people has focused on. We have no ambassador in Saudi Arabia or in Turkey. It's certainly -- you know, in two years into this administration, that's a pretty stunning thing and obviously would be critical in continued relationships.

Ambassador Jordan, I really appreciate your expertise, thank you.

JORDAN: Thank you, Anderson.

COOPER: Joining us now is CNN global affairs analyst, Max Boot, recent author of "The Corrosion of Conservatism: Why I Left the Right." Also with us, former CIA officer Bob Baer.

I mean, Max, does any of this look good in terms of how the Trump administration and the State Department is handling this. The idea of -- well, we need to give the Saudis more time for a -- for their proper investigation? I mean, if Mohammed bin Salman is the person running this investigation, how proper can it be?

MAX BOOT, COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: I mean, that's obviously a joke, Anderson. That's like expecting Donald Trump to investigate himself. I mean, there's no Robert Mueller in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. There's no rule of law, there's no independent judiciary. It's an absolute monarchy run by MBS.

So, the notion we're going to wait for him to come up with the investigation, that's not an investigation, it's a cover-up. And, you know, you're seeing the speculation now about who they're going the cast overboard, which general is basically can get beheaded as punishment for an operation that may have been ordered at the very top.

[20:15:01] COOPER: Yes, Bob, if Mohammed bin Salman is willing to kidnap the prime minister of Lebanon, is willing to, you know, basically get all the other crown princes to step aside to allow him to assume power, and then imprison the top people in Saudi Arabia and extort money back from them under who knows what sort of duress in the Ritz Carlton hotel over the course of several weeks or months, why wouldn't he be involved in something like this?

ROBERT BAER, FORMER CIA OFFICER: Oh, absolutely, Anderson. He was involved. The fact that four members of his security detail went to Istanbul, participated in the murder. There's no way he doesn't know about it. There's no way that he can investigate this himself.

At this point, they can blame General Assiri, who is apparently involved in this. But no one is going to buy it. Everybody in the kingdom knows with any sense knows that Mohammed bin Salman ordered this impulsively. A lot of princes now recognize him to be a psychopath, dangerous. He's clearly somebody that cannot succeed his father.

I mean, he's the absolute ruler now, but he cannot spend the next 60 years on the throne, because he will destabilize Saudi Arabia, no doubt about this. There's a consistent story coming out about this, very dangerous. And clearly he's got to go.

And the Trump administration has got to come one a plan. We have a lot of influence in Saudi Arabia, a lot of princes know people in this town in Washington. And they are looking for leadership from the United States.

The fact that Jared Kushner has a personal relationship with MBS is not doing any good at all. It makes people wonder what's going on here. So, we need to shift policy here in Washington as soon as possible.

COOPER: Also, you wonder about the confidence that if MBS in fact ordered this and sent his henchmen, his thugs to be involved in this, and sent this forensic surgeon with a bone saw, the confidence that he had in his relationship with Jared Kushner and the United States, that they would get away with this, that -- yes, you can dismember "Washington Post" columnist and the U.S. isn't going to do anything about it. BOOT: I think that's exactly right, Anderson. What that points to is

this shameful mishandling of our relationship with Saudi Arabia by the Trump administration, and in particular, by crown prince Jared Kushner. It's basically like one crown prince to the other, both guys in their 30s who have very few qualifications for this job but who but have massive self-confidence and are very reckless.

And, basically, Jared Kushner made this bold gamble that he was going to place all his chips on Saudi Arabia, let me do whatever they want, and not protest too much when they're bombing Yemen and killing children, not protest when they're blockading Qatar, not protest when they're kidnapping the Lebanese prime minister. And in return, he's got all these grandiose hopes that have not been realized.

For example, Saudi support for an Israeli-Palestinian peace plan which has not been forthcoming. So, clearly, this is a failed strategy. And it's more than high time to revoke the blank check that the Trump administration has given to Saudi Arabia.

And this is -- one of the problems with nepotism. In both cases, you have somebody who is the son or son-in-law of the king essentially and they can't be removed. But Jared Kushner, what has this guy gotten right? I can't think of a single thing he's done right and he's done a lot of things wrong in office.

And so, I think it's imperative to pull this portfolio away from him and get an adult in charge of dealing with Saudi Arabia and lay down the law to them in a way that I think Trump and Kushner are very reluctant to do.

COOPER: Bob, it is about interesting comparison that Max makes of, you know, crown prince Kushner to Crown Prince Salman. Obviously, Salman is a different personality type, and seems capable of a far, other more, you know, lethal things that Jared Kushner would. But this sort of insular family-run dynamic, and that seems to be the basis of the relationship.

BAER: Well, exactly. Max is 100 percent right. This is a catastrophe.

MBS does not understand the world. He looks at the United States as Saudi Arabia owns it because it sends it so much money. He believes he owns Trump because the Saudis invested in his properties.

Of course, that's not true. But when you have this naive view of the world, it's going to end up in a catastrophe. This is why I say that he needs to be removed and we need to work with the royal family and there are princes ready to step up inside Salman's family and talk the father out of supporting his son. Whether the father, who is only lucid a couple hours a day, will agree is another matter.

COOPER: Well, also just the decimation of the State Department and the gaping holes in the leadership at the State Department with no ambassador, no ambassador to Turkey, you know, there's a reason there are such things ambassadors and they actually do have a role to play in a crisis like this. [20:20:09] They would be playing a role.

Bob, appreciate it. Max Boot, as well.

Up next, we're going to have more breaking news. We'll tell you the latest about the shouting match that erupted today at the White House and what all the shouting was about between Kelly and Bolton.

Later, former presidential candidate Carly Fiorina joins us. She was called names by candidate Trump. She reacts to the president's latest verbal attack on Stormy Daniels, and new reporting that the president road tested the "horseface" insult before he actually tweeted it.


COOPER: It's a night of breaking news. President Trump may be on the road tonight, he is in Missoula, Montana, but chances are the halls are still echoing right now from the arguments that broke out there today at the White House.

[20:25:02] And the story is still unfolding. Chief of Staff John Kelly and National Security Adviser John Bolton got into a shouting match. And even for an administration known for amplified argumentation, this one apparently stood out.

Our Kaitlan Collin has the story and joins us now.

So, what have you learned about the details of this?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, it got pretty ugly in the West Wing today. As you know, this is a pretty divisive West Wing. People regularly argue here. But there was something different about this argument between John Kelly and John Bolton today, and it came about when they were discussing the surge in border crossings, something we know has infuriated President Trump. He's threatening to shut down the border on Twitter, but it got ugly between Bolton and Kelly today, while they were discussing this, essentially startling their colleagues in the West Wing who are used to fighting. But they say this was different.

Now, we're told John Kelly got the angriest when John Bolton made a remark about the DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, essentially saying she needed to do her job over at DHS while they were talking about these border crossings, and we're told that set John Kelly off. Kirstjen Nielsen is essentially his protege, he brought her to the West Wing with him when he became chief of staff. She was here for several months, and he was the won who convinced President Trump to put her in to lead DHS.

So, that was what set him off. But, Anderson, the question is, this has sparked resignation fears. People think that John Kelly, not John Bolton could actually resign over this argument, and that it was so bad, one person equated it to a falling out, and said they were worried he could resign any minute now.

COOPER: Do we know what the disagreement, I mean, frankly revolved around? Was it just around Secretary Nielsen, whether she was doing a good job or not? And was the president involved this?

COLLINS: The president was involved in this. He denied earlier knowing about the screaming match, but actually sources told me President Trump was there for the beginning of it and he sided with John Bolton because he agrees with John Bolton that he doesn't think Kirstjen Nielsen is doing enough at DHS. We knew from that recent reporting that cabinet where President Trump essentially dressed her down, saying she needed to start doing her job, echoing what John Bolton was saying today. So, it's really a feud that's existed for a while now between John Kelly and John Bolton, but so far, we've never seen it play out in the public like this.

COOPER: What did the White House have to say about this?

COLLINS: Well, we asked the White House for a statement. They didn't say anything for a few hours, and then Sarah Sanders, the press secretary, put out a statement saying that: While we are passionate about solving the issue of illegal immigration, we are not angry at one another. However, we are furious at the failure of congressional Democrats to help us address this growing crisis.

So, she's trying to turn it around there on Democrats, and she's -- but she doesn't, if you notice in the first line, deny that this happened.

COOPER: Right, this is a nondenial denial, famously called.

COLLINS: Exactly.

COOPER: Yes. Kaitlan Collins, stay with us.

I also want to bring in two of the very loudest people I know, CNN political analyst David Gergen, a veteran of many administrations, and "USA Today" columnist, Kirsten Powers.

So, David, I mean, what does it say two of the president's top aides were arguing so intensely outside the Oval Office, is that -- I mean, is that normal having worked in White Houses?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: No. No, I think when Bob Woodward turns his hardback into a paperback, he's going to have plenty of material for a postscript about the chaos in the White House.

We have two very strong willed individuals here, who have been used to asserting themselves and everybody else getting out of the way and letting them have their way. And now they're clashing, and it's not totally surprising, the issues surrounding the borders are getting sharper. President Trump clearly wants to turn the border question into a midterm elections issue over the next couple of weeks, and he wants to crack down on it.

I think John Kelly, General Kelly is trying to protect his protege as well as disagreeing with the hard-line that Bolton wants to take. I don't think he'll resign in the near term, but he could well be close to the door by the end of the year. COOPER: It's interesting, Kirsten, because it was John Kelly as head

of homeland security at an interview with Wolf Blitzer, who was talking about, you know, more than a year ago I think it was about looking at separating families as a way to deter people from coming across. So, it's not as if he's not a hardliner on immigration.

KIRSTEN POWERS, USA TODAY COLUMNIST: Well, that's the first thing that jumped out to me about it, is the idea that -- I'm not sure what they would disagree on in terms of substance. Unless it's about, you know, I don't know how you can be more hardliner than John Kelly I guess is the bottom line, unless the argument is just about how they should be using this issue for the midterms, which would then be a more political question. But it's kind of hard to imagine that people would get that upset and that angry over that kind of conversation. It suggests that something else was going on.

Yes, there's yelling in White Houses sometimes. I think when it gets to the level that it's getting leaked first of all, and whether there's profanity, then I think we're getting into something where you have, you know, the reporting of people saying that they were sort of alarmed by what was happening. So it's not just your typical argument in the White House. And so, it just makes me extra curious about what it was they were arguing about.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: It's also in Kaitlan, the notion that the President may want to focus on border issues coming before the midterms, because he feels that's a winning issue for Republicans.

Given the negative feedback over the whole family separations, and the fact that the White House -- there are still kids who have been separated from their families who have not been reunited, who are living in camps in the United States.

And this hasn't been much attention on it over the last several weeks. It's interesting that the President seems to want to refocus attention on that.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's a big sore point for this administration to actually go back and talk about that separation policy, because some people said that was some of the worst weeks working in this administration because of all the backlash that they were getting, not just from Democrats but even some Republicans too.

But President Trump is starting to think that he can somehow have Republicans keep the House. He seems to have been energized himself. We talk about energizing the voters that he himself seems to have been energized since that Brett Kavanaugh confirmation fight, and he starts to brings up things like this with immigration, and you've seen that not only with a tweets about closing the southern border, which you said today.

But also talking about caravan of migrants coming up to the southern boarder, that is certainly something that is irritating, that's why that as even a discussion in the first place that it facilitated a place where the spike could break out. But back to those points about of how could John Kelly and John Bolton argued over immigration when it seems like they agree. A lot of it goes back to Secretary Nielsen and what Bolton said about her. And also you need to keep in mind that when John Bolton came into this White House. H e was really empowered as a National Security Adviser and didn't have to answer to John Kelly like we saw H.R. McMaster, his predecessor do.

COOPER: David, I mean we've heard repeatedly that President Trump like contrasting opinion. Doesn't mind argument but at what point -- I mean, A, I'm not sure that's really true. At what point, if it is true, does it start to negatively impact actually governing?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Oh, I think if you have a situation that basically Bolton and Kelly aren't speaking to each other, that would definitely hamper the internal operations of the White House. I do think there's a new element here, Anderson, since we last visited this question, and that is that President Trump has introduced the notion of sending troops to the border, U.S. troops.

That is something General Kelly, coming out of his military background, is likely to oppose very strenuously. But we, as Kaitlan just say, as Kaitlan just said we have this caravan coming up from about 4,000 now, who have left Honduras and coming through Guatemala up to the U.S. border.

And if the President wants to order troops to the border, this border, before the midterms, I could easily see that. What has been missing, if I may just add one quick postscript in all of this is a conversation about how to keep people home in Central America instead of streaming out of there.

And the administration ought to be talking to the incoming President of Mexico Obrador, who's going to be sworn in, in early December. Because what he wants to do is to create more jobs in Central America that keeps people there. That's been effective in some parts of Mexico in reducing the numbers coming across our border illegally.

And there is just simply no caring, if anything, Donald Trump wants to reduce our assistance to Central America, which is only going to make the problem worse.

COOPER: Well, Kirsten, I've talked to people who know a lot about the border, who work on the border, who work in various U.S. officials who do talk about focusing a lot on -- a marshal plan for Central America to prevent people from coming, to give them opportunities to fight crime, but to David's point, that doesn't seem to be a message that the White House itself is focusing on.

POWERS: No, not at all. Yes, there's a reason people come to this country. Yes, this is a great country, but they're also fleeing really bad situations, whether it's economic deprivation or violence. And so unless you address that problem, you're not going to stop people from coming over the border.

But look, I think Donald Trump likes to talk about immigration purely as a political issue. He likes it as an issue that has racial overtones, he can get his base riled up over, and he doesn't seem that interested in solving the problem to help the people that are affected by this.

COOPER: Kirsten Powers, Kaitlan Collins, David Gergen, thank you.

Tonight, the Daily Beast is reporting that President Trump actually previewed his Horseface remark about Stormy Daniels with friends and advisers before actually posting it to kind of see how it played. It's far from the first time that he's made disparaging remarks focusing on a woman's appearance.

[20:34:55] Up next, I'll talk to former presidential candidate Carly Fiorina, who was on the proceeding end of the similar insult by Mr. Trump, she breaks her silence on the latest name calling.


COOPER: The Daily Beast is reporting tonight that President Trump's use of the phrase "Horseface" a couple of days ago, referring to the adult film actress Stormy Daniels was not an accident, and in fact the Daily Beast says the tweet was road tested with friends and advisers and according to report, he thought it was politically brilliant.

This is what he posted about Daniels after a federal judge had dismissed her defamation lawsuit against him. "Great, he said, now I can go after "Horseface" and her third rate lawyer in the great state of Texas. She will confirm the letter that was signed. She knows nothing about me. A total con.

It's far from the first time before that he's derided a woman's appearance in public. As you remember when he was running for president in 2016 against a crowded field of Republican opponents, he had this to say in the Rolling Stone interview about Carly Fiorina, the former CEO who was running against him.

"Look at the face, would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?" Carly Fiorina is still active in leadership conferences and hasn't spoken about that "Horseface" remark until now. I spoke with her just before air time.


COOPER: Mrs. Fiorina, I wonder based on your own experience with candidate Trump, what goes through your mind when you hear to him refer to a woman as horseface?

CARLY FIORINA, FORMER REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, on the one hand, here he goes again. On the other hand, when people were shocked at Donald Trump's comments about my appearance, I wasn't. Because he wasn't the first man to make comments about my appearance, positive or negative.

And he won't be the last man to do so. I also want to distinguish, if I can, between the office of the presidency and the person who is in that office. [20:40:06] There's no doubt that the office of the presidency is diminished when the occupant engages in this kind of insult over Twitter. On the other hand when I think about the people involved here, Stormy Daniels, her lawyer, Donald Trump, I honestly think they're all birds of a feather. They're all in show business.

And so while she's talking about his private parts, he's talking about her face, and they're all getting a lot of publicity.

COOPER: It's interesting this reporting that the President actually kind of trial ballooned the insult to White House aides before he actually tweeted it, that he put kind of the forethought into these insults. I'm not sure what that says, but to me it was interesting that it wasn't just a spur of the moment thing.

FIORINA: Oh, I'm quite sure he did put thought into it. I think the habit of insulting one's political enemies is, unfortunately, longstanding in this country. And he has brought it to a new low, a fine art, whatever you would like to say. There's no question that in politics, personal insults work. And they rile people up.

And she is his adversary right now, and I'm sure there are a lot of people who like him taking a shot at her. I'm not one of them. I think it diminishes the office and it's beneath him and I think it diminishes all women. But it works with some people.

COOPER: Does it frustrate you that there seems to be on the Republican side a fair number of women supporters that President who seem to be OK with the President saying these things -- do you think that people just making a political decision based on, they like the agenda, and therefore, they're willing to overlook things?

FIORINA: Well, I think there are some people, women or men, who are not willing to overlook things. I think there are others who make their decisions based on his agenda or policies. But I'll tell you honestly, Anderson, what I'm more concerned about.

What I'm more concerned about in all this talk is that we have made very little progress in terms of representation of women or people of color in positions of influence and impact in leadership over the last 25 years.


FIORINA: There are fewer women CEOs in the Fortune 500 than there are men named James. We haven't made enough progress. So, while I think it's important that we focus on the talk, because language has an impact, and being disrespectful never helps a situation.

I think we also need to focus on the startling reality that we're not making much progress in terms of toxic work cultures or the abuse of women or the underrepresentation of women and people of color in positions of impact and influence.

COOPER: I think it's such an important point. I was talking to the CEO of Deloitte, who's a female, and she was saying -- we were discussing not only the small percentage of CEOs who are women of Fortune 500 companies, but women who are on boards of Fortune 500 companies.

FIORINA: Yes. In fact, the number is less than 20 percent of women on boards today. And that number, less than 20 percent, has not moved in 25 years. And yet in that same 25-year period, record numbers of women have gone to business school and gone on to have careers.

So there's something else going on here besides insulting language. Although insulting language certainly doesn't help.

COOPER: Looking to the midterms to this point we've been talking about, there are a record number of women running for House and Senate seats. A large minority of them are Democrats. Why do you think there aren't more Republican women candidates out there running for these seats?

FIORINA: One of the things that I really regret is that women -- women's issues, has gotten politicized. That's a shame. I applaud any woman who runs for office. But truthfully, when I ran for office, there were many women who said I was an offense to women, because I didn't share the agenda of a lot of the organizations, women's organizations that happen to be left leaning or democrat.

And so, I do think that we ought to just acknowledge hat when women are half the population, we have the same amount of diversity in our views as men do. So it's unrealistic to expect all women to be Democrats or agree with a Democrat agenda. I don't.

And it's therefore, not fair to condemn women who are conservatives or Republicans, because they happen to be conservatives or Republicans.

COOPER: Carly Fiorina, I appreciate your time. Thank you.

FIORINA: Thanks, Anderson. >

COOPER: President Trump is once again on the campaign trail.

[20:45:01] I'm going to speak to John King about the president's packed rally schedule and its potential impact on midterm voters.


COOPER: Just 19 days until the midterm elections. And tonight, you're looking live as President Trump is speaking in Missoula, Montana. Its third visit there seasons July. He is t here because Republicans badly want to defeat the incumbent Democratic Senator Jon Tester.

Our John King joins us now as part of his regular visit the 360 and head of the midterms that we're looking ahead on the President's schedule and the impact it could have. So John, walk us through this.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is fascinating trip Anderson. The President out west for three states. Part of what Republicans hope is the great exception this year. They think, even through all this talk of a blue wave, that they cannot only hold but may be add to their Senate majority.

You mentioned the President in Montana. We still lean that race blue, meaning lining in favor of incumbent Jon Tester. But even Democrats acknowledge his lead is tiny at best, that the Republican has closed within striking distance.

Democrats say the President can help. This one personal, remember Senator Tester took the lead in opposing Dr. Ronny Jackson to take over Veterans Affairs. The President, but this is the third time since July the President has been there. I'm told he may go back a fourth time, watch this race.

Then the President goes to Nevada. This is the Senate's most vulnerable Republican incumbent Dean Heller he's taken a risk. He's decided he's all in with the President even though there's a giant Latino population.

In Vegas, the President will be out in the western part of the state. Dean Heller making the bet, turn out the Trump base.

[20:50:01] Again, Democrats are disappointed with their candidate. They think she should be well-ahead right now. The most recent polls have Heller with a tiny lead, still a toss up race. The Republicans think the President might be able to help.

Then it gets really interesting, the President also going to Arizona on this trip west. This race another dead heat toss up. Kyrsten Sinema had some momentum in the summer, Martha McSally the Republican is now pulled even in this race, her campaign Anderson, actually nervous about the President comment.

Yes, there's a big pro Trump base in Arizona on immigration issue, but McSally thinks the Latino population is not as energized as they have been. The Democrats have failed to energize Latino's in Arizona. They're afraid that President actually could do that for her when she comes.

But the President is going and we will see if you look at this map, if the Republicans can somehow get all three of those races, I just want to show you something, this would take it away. If the Republicans can get these races, bam, not only do they hold the majority, they would add to it out there if they can do that, especially because of the momentum in North Dakota.

The Democrats cannot afford to lose the races. If they lose one or two of them there's no way, it it's not get the majority.

COOPER: And obviously, there are places where the President is not so popular. What's the flip side?

KING: Yes, so the President is focusing mostly on Senate races. I just want to bring you over to a House map. And look quickly at the House map here. If you look at House races here, you won't see the President in the northeast. You won't see the President much in the mid-Atlanta.

He is going once back to the Midwest. Northeast, mid-Atlantic, Midwest the Democrats think they can get the 23 House seats they need just there, maybe even more, mostly more suburban districts where the President frankly these numbers are toxic.

COOPER: All right, John King appreciated it. Thanks very much. Want to check in with Chris. See what he was working on, at the top of the hour. Chris.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right. A lot of talk about the caravan from President Trump as you notice massive humanity coming up through Central America towards the United States. We believe they're headed this way.

We don't know exactly their destination. The President is making a big deal of this. And I believe, Anderson, this is a formative issue for the midterms, because I don't see it as a security or economic issue. I see it as a cultural issue, it's definitional.

Is America going to remain symbolic of what she has been, or is that going to change, because Trump is making determinations, you can just said at the rally that he was at -- the election about there were caravan, you know what I mean.

We're going to take that on tonight. And we have an insider who's going to tell us that what happened to Khashoggi is not usual. He has a client that has a similar story.

COOPER: All right, it's about seven minutes for now. Chris, thanks very much. We'll see you then.

Up next, allegation to President Trump personally intervened to block moving the FBI headquarters out of Washington to protect his hotel just across the street. Details on that just ahead.


[20:56:45] COOPER: There's a fight over the future home of the FBI. President Trump now wants to keep it in Washington. But Democrats are asking if ditching plans to move it is actually an attempt to protect a boost business for the President's Washington hotel.

More news now from Tom Foreman.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Overcrowded, out dated, and crumbling. Plans to relocate and rebuild FBI headquarters have been in the works for years. The government studies showing, how it can be moved from downtown D.C. to one of several possible sites in nearby Maryland or Virginia.

The cost, 3.6 billion tax dollars. But now a different plan is calling for the FBI center to be rebuilt right where it is, even though it would be smaller than the suburban alternative, likely have security risks, and more expensive. $3.8 billion. So who came up with that?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm a real estate guy. I build buildings.

FOREMAN: A study by the inspector general of the general services administration traces a series of meetings in which the suburban plan was pushed aside by the Trump administration mid claims that keeping the headquarters downtown would be cheaper.

Report shows team Trump math is wrong. Nonetheless, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders insists that President wanted to save the government money and also the FBI leadership did not want to move it's headquarters.

Skeptics, however, suspect a hidden motive. For years , Donald Trump had been all for freeing up that FBI land downtown for private development with his brand new hotel close by, even talking about getting in on the action.

But congressional Democrats in a letter to the GSA say something important changed. After he was sworn in as President and became ineligible the Federal employee to obtain the property, he reportedly became dead opposed to the government selling the property, which would have allowed commercial developers to compete directly with the Trump hotel.

He was directly involved with the decision to abandon the long-term relocation plan and instead move ahead with the more expensive proposal. There is no proof so far, and the White House insists, once again House Democrats have it all wrong. But those Democrats are demanding the paperwork to prove it.

NORMAN EISEN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: The government won't turn over the information on the President's exact reasoning. Why is the President doing this?


COOPER: Tom, is there any reason to doubt the White House explanation?

FOREMAN: Well, the inspector general certain seems to think so and that there were numerous instances where it looks like the White House was trying to hide or disguise the President's input on this. And to say no, no, no it's all about the FBI. No, no, no it's all about these other agencies.

Everybody else made the decision. He didn't really do it although there are indications that he was absolutely involved in the conversations and he absolutely was interested in that property when he was a private businessman. And it is worth hundreds of millions of dollars. So when all that money is on the table, doesn't mean they are not telling the truth. But that's the reason people are at least suspicious, Anderson.

COOPER: Yes, Tom, thanks very much. Appreciate that. The news continues want to hand it over to Chris, Cuomo Prime Time's starts now. Chris?

CUOMO: Thank you Anderson.