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Barr Answers President Trump's Call to "Turn the Tables" on Mueller Probe; Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT) is Interviewed About DOJ Investigating the Russia Probe; NY Times: White House Reviews Plan Against Iran That Could Send 120,000 U.S. Troops to the Middle East; Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is Interviewed About Possible Conflict with Iran; President Trump Calls Escalating Trade War "A Little Squabble"; NY Times: White House Receives Plan Against Iran That Could Send 120,000 U.S. Troops To The Middle East; Iowa Farmers: President Trump's Trade Battle With China Had Dire Impact On The Ground; CNN Finds Accused War Criminal Driving For Uber; Remembering Tim Conway. Aired on 8-9p ET

Aired May 14, 2019 - 20:00   ET


[20:00:15] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening.

There is a lot going on tonight, including concerns we're moving toward an armed conflict with Iran, something I'll talk to senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders about in a moment.

But first, the president's wish granted. He's called to investigate the investigators and now it's happening. Attorney General William Barr has assigned the top federal prosecutor in Connecticut to examine how the Russia probe started in the first place.

As I mentioned, this is something the president has been calling for, but this morning, he denied he had anything to do with it.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I didn't ask him to do that. I didn't know it. I didn't know it, but I think it's a great thing that he did it.


O'DONNELL: I didn't ask, I didn't know it, he says.

Now, perhaps he didn't, or maybe perhaps he didn't go directly to the attorney general Barr and tell him to do this.

Keeping 'em honest, if that's the case and that's a big if, the president didn't really need to tell Mr. Barr he wanted this done. He's said so much already over and over and over and over. Even as far back as June as 2018, he was saying it or re-saying it, sharing something said on his favorite news channel. Quote: With all the bias, lying, and hate by the investigators, people want the investigators investigated.

People want the investigators investigated. So that was nearly a year ago. And what do you know? They are now investigating the investigators.

Back on May 1st, Mr. Barr testified on Capitol Hill that he intended to look into the origins of the Russia investigation and the exchange Attorney General Barr had with Senator Kamala Harris, which raised eyebrows when it happened. That's possibly coming into clearer view today.

So keep everything I just said in mind as you watch that exchange.


SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Attorney General Barr, has the president or anyone at the White House ever asked or suggested that you open an investigation of anyone?

WILLIAM BARR, ATTORNEY GENERAL: I wouldn't -- I wouldn't --

HARRIS: Yes or no?

BARR: Could you -- could you repeat that question?

HARRIS: I will repeat it. Has the president or anyone at the White House ever asked or suggested that you open an investigation of anyone? Yes or no, please, sir.

BARR: The president or anybody else.

HARRIS: Seems you'd remember something like that and be able to tell us.

BARR: Yes, but I'm trying to grapple with the word "suggest." I mean, there have been discussions of matters out there that -- they have not asked me to open an investigation --

HARRIS: Perhaps they've suggested?

BARR: I don't know, I wouldn't say "suggest."

HARRIS: Hinted?

BARR: I don't know.

HARRIS: Inferred? You don't know? OK.


COOPER: Well, that was awkward. Now, while asking for his investigation into the investigation, the president has also suggested it was a quote, attempted coup, unquote. Despite the opinions of his own political appointees that the Russia probe was appropriate, warranted and there was no illegal spying on his campaign.

Listen to what the former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein who oversaw the Russia probe said just last night followed by FBI Director Chris Wray.


ROD ROSENSTEIN, FORMER DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL: Based upon what I knew, in May of 2017, the investigation of Russia election interference was justified.

SEN. JEANNE SHAHEEN (D-NH): Do you have any evidence that any illegal surveillance into the campaigns or individuals associated with the campaigns by the FBI occurred?

CHRISTOPHER WRAY, FBI DIRECTOR: I don't think I personally have any evidence of that sort.


COOPER: No evidence of that sort.

And last night, on this program, James Baker, the former FBI general counsel, who served during the start of the Russia probe, backed up what Rosenstein and Christopher Wray had to say.


COOPER: The idea that this was a coup attempt against the president of the United States is -- what do you make of those who say that this was a coup attempt?

JAMES BAKER, FORMER FBI GENERAL COUNSELK: It's preposterous. It's preposterous. I was there. I was the general counsel to the FBI.

I didn't see any coup. I didn't see any attempted coup. I didn't see any conspiracy to commit a coup. There was nothing that was going on like that. And I've said before, I would have stopped such a thing.


COOPER: So, despite all of that, a new investigation is now underway, one of at least three being conducted. The others are led by the Department of Justice inspector general and the U.S. attorney in Utah. While on Capitol Hill, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham announced today his Judiciary Committee will now back off, in his words, their own investigation to give the investigator appointed by Barr space to do his job.

Joining me now is Democratic Congressman Jim Himes, who serves on the House Intelligence Committee.

So, Congressman Himes, the president may not have explicitly told Barr to launch this investigation, he may have, we don't know. Is there any doubt that he did so implicitly with all his tweets and comments about it?

REP. JIM HIMES (D-CT): Of course not, right? I mean, this is the sort of ongoing theme of this administration. It's a little bit like "The Godfather". "The Godfather" doesn't need to explicitly ask for everything. But you know what? When you tweet something out a whole bunch of

times and when you allude to something, eventually, your people, especially people like Attorney General Barr, who we know learned the lessons of Jeff Sessions, and therefore has dedicated himself to the service of Donald Trump, you know that he got the message.

[20:05:16] COOPER: So, the man tasked with overseeing this investigation, John Durham, he's the U.S. attorney of your state of Connecticut. Are you confident he'll conduct the investigation fairly and impartially?

HIMES: Well, I certainly hope so. I don't know a lot about the attorney -- the U.S. attorney. He has done this sort of investigation before.

And I don't worry at all, Anderson. You know, as a member of the intelligence committee, I've seen a lot of the typically secret documents that were the predicate for this investigation, a lot of the original affidavits, a lot of the original material that went into this. And though not a lawyer, you know, hey, it was really clear that the FBI, at a point and time, was worried that there might have been some Russian compromise of the Trump campaign. Not necessarily of Trump himself.

The other thing I would say, Anderson, this is really important. We are seeing a re-run of a movie that we have seen time and time again. Remember a year ago, it was a scandal that the Obama administration was doing too many unmaskings of classified information. Nothing there.

Ten Benghazi investigations, how many convictions, indictments? What results from 10 Benghazi investigations? Uranium One, a completely made-up scandal.

So, in fact, what's going to happen here is exactly what has happened by all -- with all of the other manufactured, politically driven scandals that the Republicans and the defenders of the president cook up, which is that a fair investigation will show that there is absolutely nothing there.

MADDOW: In terms of your committee, which now is investigating the attorneys for the president and his family, the Trump Organization for possible obstruction, that's obviously pretty extraordinary. What evidence do you have that's led you in this direction?

HIMES: Well, I guess the way I would answer that, Anderson, is that when you read the Mueller report, you realize that he looked hard at what was in his scope of investigation. That is to say, Russian contacts, that sort of thing. If you read the Mueller investigation, you also see that he did very little in terms of looking at other ways -- and remember, it is this that is at the core of what the intelligence committee must do, looking at other ways in which foreign powers, Russia in particular, might have compromised the president.

That takes us into the realm of possible real estate transactions that are out there, that look a little strange. That takes us into the realm of where was the Trump Organization getting their money? The president's son himself said that they were getting money from the Russians.

That's the kind of thing that my committee, as an intelligence committee, should and will look at.

O'DONNELL: All right. Congressman Himes, appreciate your time. Thank you very much.

Lots to discuss with CNN chief legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, CNN political commentator and former Trump campaign strategist David Urban, and CNN legal analyst, Carrie Cordero.

So, Jeff, this investigation into the investigators, this is what the president has been calling for. So, to say he knows nothing about it or didn't ask for it, do you buy that?

JEFF TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Not only don't I buy it, think about the chilling message it sends to career non-political people in the FBI, in the Justice Department. What it means is, if you defy the president's wishes, his political appointees like the attorney general, they won't initiate one investigation, they won't initiate two, three investigations of you for doing your job. It's a really chilling message.

This is a completely unnecessary investigation by the Connecticut U.S. attorney. It's completely duplicative of the inspector general's investigation. And it's just a way of harassing people who have done their jobs, but not to the satisfaction of the president of the United States.

COOPER: David, if there is this inspector general of the Department of Justice investigation already ongoing, is there really a need for the state's attorney in Connecticut to launch one?

DAVID URBAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, Anderson, look, I think that there's lots of questions to be answered and we'll see what the I.G. report comes out with, because obviously to take a contrary position to Jeffrey, I do think that the American people deserve an answer on what exactly prompted the FBI to begin this -- you know, not Crossfire Hurricane. Was it one single meeting that George Papadopoulos had at a bar with a, you know, with an asset overseas? It seems that if you look at the documents, the Mueller report cites that one single incident is the nexus, is the seminal event which began this all.

And if that's what it plays out to be, you know, so be it. But it seems, you know, a huge investigation was undertaken on an ongoing presidential campaign, because of one suspect meeting. It doesn't seem to me like that's quite possible. I want seems that there may be more "there" there. And I think people deserve an answer.

[20:10:01] COOPER: Carrie, do you think there's more "there" there?

CARRIE CORDERO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, here's what I think. As far as looking, doing a look back in terms of what was the impetus for the investigation, I think that does sound like what the inspector general is already doing.

What I do think would be useful, and I can hope that this is the direction that they'll take this review, which I hope is a review and not an investigation, is there is a legitimate question about what will happen in 2020. What are the rules of the road for the FBI to be empowered to be able to fulfill its counterintelligence responsibilities? If the attorney general wants a U.S. attorney to take a review of what are the rules, how would -- how would an investigation get started, what would the approval levels be at the FBI and at the Justice Department, what matters that are really sensitive if they involve political investigations, does the attorney general want to come all the way up to him?

That type of procedure about what happens in a politically sensitive investigation seems to me really legitimate for the attorney general to ask for a review done in 2019. I don't know that that's really what this investigation is going to be about. I think that would be a useful aspect of the investigation. But that may or may not be the direction.


URBAN: You know, Anderson, I would just point out that the U.S. attorney in Connecticut, who's undertaking this, is hardly a rabid partisan.


TOOBIN: That may be, but let's remember what this investigation led to. We're talking about, you know, the crazy FBI, just this one meeting and they set off on this wild goose chase. It wasn't a wild goose chase.

They found that there was this incredibly elaborate effort by the Russians to elect Donald Trump president. They found the Internet Research Agency in St. Petersburg, which was using social media. They found that the GRU was hacking the DNC e-mails. So --


URBAN: But didn't the Obama administration know this already was ongoing in 2016?

TOOBIN: They knew some of it and Mitch McConnell wouldn't agree to have it made public. You know, Mitch McConnell said, if you reveal this, I'm going to say it's a partisan smear against Donald Trump.

URBAN: So the Obama administration backed away for fear of Mitch McConnell?

TOOBIN: That's right.

URBAN: They backed away the potential underpinning of our democracy because they fear Mitch McConnell?

TOOBIN: Well -- CORDERO: But see, this is the whole problem with the whole backward-

looking part, you end up with this debate of what the Obama administration did in the last three months before the election. The real focus should be, should be on 2020.

URBAN: I agree, Carrie.

CORDERO: We know that every intelligence community leader that there is an ongoing threat of foreign interference in the 2020 election. So that's where the focus should be.

URBAN: And you saw Secretary Pompeo give that message to Vladimir Putin today.

CORDERO: But we don't have the president providing any leadership in terms of saying that that should be the priority and that's where the review. Instead, he's saying, investigate the investigators.


COOPER: Right, if that is a priority, isn't that something that the president should be spearheading with cabinet inform-level meeting? Isn't that something that the last two years --

URBAN: The secretary of state spoke pretty loudly standing right next to Vladimir Putin today.

TOOBIN: The president of the United States, his chief of staff has informed the Department of Homeland Security that she was not even allowed to mention Russian interference in the election, because Donald Trump is so offended by the idea that this is, that this discredits his victory. He has, at every opportunity, pretended that this doesn't exist. He has -- he was the enormous beneficiary of this Russian effort and he has done everything in his power to pretend that it never happened.

URBAN: So, Jeff, I don't know that you could say that he's an enormous beneficiary. I don't know how you can quantify that. Do you know for a fact how many people voted one way or the other because of what happened? I don't think you can say that.

You can say that the Russians attempted to interfere with the election. They may have interfered with the election, but I don't think you can state with any certainty that he was an enormous beneficiary.

TOOBIN: Well, I don't know --

URBAN: I think that's way outside -- you can't.

TOOBIN: Come on, you don't think --

URBAN: Oh, come on!

TOOBIN: You don't think John Podesta's e-mails --

COOPER: The Russians did want Donald Trump.


URBAN: So are you telling me that people in Pennsylvania voted a different way because of that? That the election would have gone the other way?

TOOBIN: Why was Donald Trump talking about it all the time if it wasn't important?

URBAN: I do not believe -- I do not ascribe to that the guy that was on the ground there --

COOPER: David, you agree that the Russians wanted Donald Trump to win, don't you?

URBAN: I agree the Russians wanted to get exactly what they have now, tumult in America in our election. They have Democrats and Republicans pitted against each other.

COOPER: But you don't believe they were supporting Donald Trump? You don't believe they wanted Donald Trump as president?

URBAN: Listen --

CORDERO: The Mueller report is absolutely clear on that point. The Mueller report is absolutely clear on that point, that they were intending to assist the candidate Trump.

COOPER: Right.

[20:15:00] URBAN: Well, I'm not quite certain why, because this president has put for the first time since World War II, 750 marines on the Russian border of Norway, is going to deploy U.S. military forces to Poland in the strongest show of force, has sanctioned the Russians tremendously. I'm not quite sure --

COOPER: He's actually weakened the sanctions that Congress put on.

But, David Urban, I see your point. Jeffrey Toobin, Carrie Cordero, thank you.

URBAN: Thanks for having me.

COOPER: Up next, I'll talk about all of this and more with 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders.

Also tonight, what U.S. farmers have to say about President Trump's trade war with China, they don't think it's a little squabble as the president suggested today. We'll take you to Iowa.


COOPER: There's certainly a lot to discuss with my next guest, Senator Bernie Sanders, one of the 2020 presidential Democratic candidates. We have a lot going on in Washington tonight, including heightened tension with Iran.

"The New York Times" is reporting that the Trump administration is considering sending as many as 120,000 troops to the Middle East should Iran attack American forces or accelerate work on nuclear weapons.

[20:20:00] Senator Sanders is not a fan of the idea to put it mildly. Here's his tweet earlier today: No war with Iran. This would be an unmitigated disaster. We must stop Trump and his national security adviser John Bolton, someone who likes endless wars.

Senator Bernie Sanders joins now.

Senator Sanders, thanks for being here.

Is there any scenario under which sending 120,000 U.S. troops to the Middle East to counter Iran would be justified, short of a declaration of all of that war?

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Not that I can think of, Anderson.

You know, what is unbelievable to me is that after all of what we experienced in Iraq and all of the unintended consequences and the fact that we went into war based on lies claiming that they had weapons of mass destruction, that we would think again of going into another country, in this case, Iran, would be even worse. General -- we've had generals who have told us that if you like the war in Afghanistan and you like the war in Iraq, you're really going to love going to war in Iran.

This would be an incredible destabilization of the region. It would lead to endless wars. I mean, I think this is what perpetual warfare is about. That our kids and our grandchildren will never see a time that there would be peace.

There would be asymmetrical response from Iran, from their allies all over the world. There would be bombings, there would be sniper attacks. You know, it is just unimaginable.

But here is what is very interesting. Is one of the great cheerleaders for the war in Iraq who is a part of the Bush administration then, John Bolton, of course, is now the major adviser, national security adviser today for President Trump. And once again, he has learned nothing.

In fact, he is one of the few people in the world who actually believes that the war in Iraq was a good decision. So I think that we have got to do everything that we can to see that we do not get involved in a war in Iran. I will do what I can in trying to get at least 51 members of the United States Senate to make it clear that going to war is not a presidential decision. The Constitution is clear. That power rests with the United States Congress and we've got to tell the president that this makes no sense at all.

COOPER: The Pentagon certainly makes contingency plans all the time. Shouldn't they have plans in place in order to be able to respond at a moment's notice?

SANDERS: Well, I don't think -- and this is not just the contingency plan. Trump has been very, very provocative towards Iran. He's trying to egg them on.

We are in a situation right now in that region where Trump loves Mohammad bin Salman, the murdering dictator of Saudi Arabia, and we're supposed to hate Iran.

Look, nobody believes that Iran is a model government. They are bad news people. It's -- they suppress democracy, they are a lot of corruption. They are involved in terrorism. This is not a great government.

But you know what? Saudi Arabia is no great shakes either. So we have picked sides and we have gone with the dictatorship and the brutal regime in Saudi Arabia, which treats women as third class citizens, which is now waging a terrible, terrible war in Yemen that we are part of.

So, what the function in my view of the United States government right now is to use our power and our strength to bring Saudi Arabia and Iran to the table, to try to create diplomatic solutions to the problems in the area, not to get involved in a horrible war, which will be never-ending, cost of hundreds of billions of dollars in human life, destabilize the region, makes no sense to me at all.

COOPER: James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence, said this morning if the U.S. presence in the region is bolstered, it could heighten the probability for an inadvertent encounter between Iranian and U.S. forces, almost an accidental slide into war.

SANDERS: Well, you know, let's remember, the answer is, yes, that can happen. When tension gets high, stupid things can happen and you have a president that might be trigger happy here or Bolton might be trigger happy, we're off and running.

And you know, what -- a lesson that we have -- should have learned a long time ago is the unintended consequences of war. And that if you think something's going to happen, but the result is very, very different. You know, going into Iraq, that was going to be a very, very quick war. We go in, establish democracy, we'd get out and everybody would live happily ever after.

Not exactly what happened. You know, I used to be the chairman of the veterans -- Senate Veterans Committee. And I have talked to so many veterans whose lives were changed for the worst with PTSD, amputations, and other problems as a result of that war.

So, we should have learned the lesson of Iraq and apparently at least John Bolton has not.

[20:25:01] COOPER: President Rouhani's advisers tweeted the president today, and you mentioned Bolton, the tweet said, you wanted a better deal with Iran. Looks like you're going to get a war instead. That's what happens when you listen to the mustache. I think it's an apparent reference to John Bolton.

Is this largely about Bolton's influence on the president, do you think?

SANDERS: You know, who knows? But I think it is. This is a guy who, you know, sad to say, again, he thinks he pushed -- he was one of the architects along with Dick Cheney of the war in Iraq.

I believe, if you speak to him today, he will tell you that was the right decision. And that has been his history. This is, I hesitate to use the word, a guy who likes war and apparently hasn't learned the lessons he should have learned.

COOPER: If you can, Senator, I would ask you to stick around, I need to take a quick break, but I want to ask you about the trade war that we've entered into China, where you see it heading.

We'll be right back.


COOPER: Back now with Senator Bernie Sanders. I want to start with the tariff fight with China. Something the president today called a, quote, little squabble, unquote.

Senator Sanders, perhaps this is maybe where you come closest to agreeing with President Trump, because on trade policy, you've talked about support for tariffs against China.


I know you've said you disagree with how the president is implementing it. How should he be handling this?

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, first thought, no, I don't agree with Donald Trump in terms of his trade policy. I think historically our trade policies have been a disaster for American workers. The permanent normal trade relations trade agreement has cost us some 3 million decent-paying jobs.

It's part of the race to the bottom where workers today are working longer hours for low wages because companies have threatened to shut down in America and move abroad. Farmers in the Midwest have been hurt very, very hard by these tariffs. So, no, I'm not in agreement with Trump on that.

What I do understand is that our trade policies in the past have failed. Last I saw -- the last numbers that I saw, we had about $400 billion trade deficit with China, which is not a good thing.

But what we need to do is to figure out a way that we develop a trade policy, which is fair for American workers, it is fair for our farmers, it is not written by the CEOs of large corporations, who then are throwing American workers out on the street. One of the ways, Anderson, that I think we have got to move, we have got to demand decent corporate citizenship of the major corporations in this country. You know, what's happening today and has happened for many, many years now is corporations that are making money shut down in America, move to low-wage countries, and then the next day they're in line to get government contracts.

They give themselves compensation packages for the CEOs that are 300 times what their workers are making. And I think we have got to say to those corporations, you know what, if you want a government contract, you're going to have to be a decent employer. Pay your workers a decent wage, allow them to form unions, if they want to. You just cannot continue to be as greedy as you have been.

COOPER: Before I let you go, I want to ask you about this idea of investigating the investigators. I spoke to James Comey last week. He doesn't think there's anything there, but he is for transparency. Obviously there's an inspector general investigation already ongoing.

Is there any harm making sure everything was done by the book and having this state's attorney general from -- or the state's attorney from Connecticut at the direction of Barr looking into it?

SANDERS: Well, look, this is what I think. Last I heard, six people associated with Trump's campaign were indicted. Cohen is now in jail. I think Manafort is either in jail or will be going to jail. And I think as Trump does all of the time, he tries to divert attention from the realities and the problems that are associated with the White House or in fact his campaign.

You know, as I understand it, what the FBI did is they had reason to believe that there was collusion and they investigated that collusion. So, no, I don't think we should be investigating the investigators. I think that's an effort on the part of Trump to deflect attention from the problems that his campaign had.

COOPER: Senator Sanders, appreciate your time. Thank you.

SANDERS: My pleasure.

COOPER: Let's turn back to the escalating tensions between the U.S. and Iran. Joining us now is Lieutenant General Mark Hertling, a former commander of the U.S. Army in Europe and the Seventh Army. He's also a CNN Military Analyst.

General Hertling, I mean, you were somebody in charge of maintaining war plans during your time with the joint chiefs -- joint staff at the Pentagon. How dangerous is this brewing conflict with Iran?

LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: It concerns me, Anderson, truthfully. I see that the focus on deterrent measures and the emphasis on things like moving carriers and deploying forces and citing numbers of soldiers or troops that might go to the Middle East to be significant. That's not something you normally publicize.

COOPER: You don't normally publicize the movement, the numbers. HERTLING: The numbers, yes. Because each one of the contingency plans that we reviewed that are on the shelf, when the commander in chief says, "Hey, we're thinking about a military option, because diplomacy has failed," we pull one of the plans off and adjust it.

When you're just saying we're going to send 122,000 or 120,000 forces somewhere, it means you probably have an end state in mind, and I'm not sure that's the case. Because as we throw these numbers around, the thing we haven't heard is what's the strategy and what are we trying to do.

COOPER: That's the mission actually is.

HERTLING: Right, right. And if you don't have a mission, it doesn't matter how many troops you have. And I can tell you, having worked a number of contingency plans in this area, there is more than one. So people have talked about the potential for using different plans in Iran and I still don't know what the mission is.

COOPER: If the idea is -- you know, if Iran goes after U.S. forces in the region, anything short of -- I mean, you said there are a variety of missions, it would seem like trying to overthrow the Iranian regime, it would be the main one.

[20:35:11] HERTLING: Right. Well, not so sure. I mean, an attack against a military -- a U.S. military force might result in a retaliatory response, certainly, something that all the administrations consider. But when you're talking about this size of a force, which is about a little less than what we sent into Iraq, and that's what so many people have cited, I still would like to know what's the mission for this force. Where is it going? What's it going to do?

COOPER: What are the capabilities of Iran, just as a fighting force?

HERTLING: It's -- well, first of all, the country is about twice as big as Iraq. You can look at it on a map. Anyone that's studied the terrain and the culture know its much more complex than Iraq. It has a substantive military force, both Army, Navy, and Air Force, and missile defense. So it wouldn't be the same kind of force that we went up against in 2003 in Iraq or certainly not the same kind that you saw in Afghanistan.

The other thing that's important is the fact that it would cause global repercussions. When you're talking about potentially attacking or sending a force into Iran, it means other people would react.

COOPER: Iran is deeply involved throughout the region --


COOPER: -- and many people support it.

HERTLING: That's right. And it would cause that kind of turmoil that it's hard to put the genie back in the bottle.

COOPER: General Hertling, appreciate it. Thank you very much.

HERTLING: Thank you.

COOPER: Just ahead, President Trump has said he's going to protect farmers in this trade war, but do they, many of whom voted for him, believe him? We sent out a reporter to find out. You'll want to see what he found.


[20:40:22] COOPER: We touched on this earlier with Senator Bernie Sanders. Here's President Trump this morning, downplaying his all-out trade war with China.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're having a little squabble with China because we've been treated very unfairly for many, many decades, or actually a long time. And it should have been handled a long time ago and it wasn't and we'll handle it now. I think it's going to be -- I think it's going to turn out extremely well.


COOPER: Well, the consequences of the President's actions are very real, extremely well, doesn't exactly match up with the realities on the ground for many. CNN's Martin Savidge has that for us tonight.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Robert Ewoldt readies for another day of battle. An Iowa farmer, he's on the front line of America's trade war with China, a war President Trump says he's winning. But Ewoldt says he's losing.

China has stopped buying his soybeans, cutting his income by half. He still has a third of last year's crop in storage and this season it will likely cost him more to grow his soybeans than he can sell them for.

ROBERT EWOLDT, IOWA FARMER: This is survival, at this point. I mean, for a lot of operations, it is a survival thing.

SAVIDGE: Things are so bad, he's taken a second job. He drives a truck all night and farms by day.

(on camera) That's what's allowing you to survive?

EWOLDT: That's what's keeping this farm going.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): Ewoldt isn't alone. Across the Midwest, farm incomes are down and bankruptcies are up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It might be the only payout. SAVIDGE: Every morning, in thousands of farm towns like this one, farmers gather for coffee and to commiserate. It's not just tariffs. Across the Midwest and Southeast, farmers are also reeling from disaster, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, even fires. It's been raining so much in Iowa, farmers are nearly a month late getting into their fields and every day they delay costs them more money.

(on camera) How far behind are you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, there's almost nothing planted out here.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): To try and help, Democrats in the House joined by 34 Republicans voted for a $19 billion disaster relief package, some of which would have gone to help farmers, but President Trump opposed the plan. Tweeting, "House Republicans should not vote for the bad Democrat Disaster Supplemental Bill."

Now, that relief is bogged down in the Republican-controlled Senate over how much assistance to give hurricane-devastated Puerto Rico. And so, back in Republican-voting farm districts, there is a growing bumper crop of frustration, particularly with the President who brags about his negotiating skills.

GREG BEAMAN, IOWA FARMER: My uneducated guess is that he better hurry up and start producing a little bit, because this negotiation that I'm seeing so far has not panned out.

SAVIDGE (on camera): You voted for this President?


SAVIDGE: Regrets?


SAVIDGE (voice-over): Larry Angler adds up the money he expects to lose this year.

LARRY ANGLER, IOWA FARMER: Between me and my daughter together probably $150,000.

SAVIDGE (on camera): Did you vote for Trump?

ANGLER: I did. I'll never vote for him again.


COOPER: So, Martin, what are the financial impacts besides the direct ones on some of these farmers?

SAVIDGE: Well, it's huge, actually and it goes well beyond just putting seed in soil. You start looking at the ripple effects. Let's say for -- well, like a tractor like that, $350,000. So, the dealership that sells them won't be selling as many of them. The plant that makes them, think of John Deere, won't be making as many of them. There are all of those employees. Then you've got the seed companies, on top of that, the fertilizer companies, the banks that float the loans that help pay for everything, on and on and on. The impact goes well beyond and far away from the farm, Anderson.

COOPER: Martin Savidge, appreciate it. Thanks for being there.

There's a startling update tonight to a story we first brought you back in 2016 of an accused Somali war criminal living and working freely near Washington, D.C. Coming up, a CNN exclusive on where he's ended up.


[20:48:43] COOPER: Tonight, a stunning update to a story we first brought you back in the summer of 2016. Then, we found an accused Somali war criminal working and living freely near Washington, D.C., despite a catalog of allegations against him.

Well, now a CNN investigation finds the same man driving for Uber. You heard that right. CNN Senior Investigative Correspondent Drew Griffin has the exclusive details.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Yusuf Abdi Ali is an accused war criminal, facing a civil trial in Virginia, alleging he is responsible for atrocities, including torture and attempted murder in Somalia in the 1980s. While awaiting trial, he has been driving for Uber.


YUSUF ABDI ALI, ACCUSED SOMALI WAR CRIMINAL: Yes, sir. He's just coming now.

GRIFFIN: Undercover CNN producers last week ordered an Uber in Northern Virginia. Yusuf, listed on the app as an Uber pro diamond driver with a 4.89 rating picked them up. Yusuf Ali also told us he drives for Lyft.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where you from?

ALI: Originally from Somalia.

GRIFFIN (on camera): Sir, I was surprised to see that you drive for Uber and Lyft. Did the background checks for those companies not reveal the fact that you're accused of torture and murder and about to face a trial here for basically terrorizing communities?

(voice-over) Just how Uber and Lyft missed the accusations exposes a potential hole in their screening processes.

[20:50:01] A simple Google search of Ali's name brings up article after article about his alleged brutality as a commander in the Somaliland security force, a major expose by CNN in 2016 found the alleged war criminal --


GRIFFIN: -- working as security guard at Dulles International Airport, a job he was fired from shortly after the report aired. And a search would have revealed this, a Canadian broadcasting corporation documentary with villagers telling terrifying stories of Yusuf Ali's actions, the man they knew are Colonel Tukeh.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translation): Two men were caught tied to a tree. Oil was poured on them and they were bent. I saw it with my own eyes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translation): He caught my brother. He tied him to a military vehicle and dragged him behind. He said to us, "If you've got enough power, get him back." He shredded him into pieces. That's how he died.

GRIFFIN: Fahren Warfa (ph) is a Somaliland who claims in 1988 Ali tortured him for months, then shot him twice and ordered guards to bury him alive. He survived and since no international court has jurisdiction, Warfa has turned to civil court in the U.S. to seek damages.

In court filings, Ali acknowledges he was a colonel in the Somali National Army but denies having attempted extrajudicial killing and torture and denies directing any such actions by his subordinates.

ALI: That's what the money is.

GRIFFIN: Ali told us he's been an Uber driver for a year and a half and that background check he said was easy.

ALI: If you apply tonight, maybe after two, two days it will come up.

GRIFFIN: Last year, Uber tightened its background checks after CNN found convicted felons were able to become ride share drivers. Both Uber and Lyft say their background checks include criminal offenses and driving incidents and the company that does the screening check, tells CNN in a statement that they "rely on public criminal records that have been adjudicated in court of law rather than unverified sources like Google search results." Ali has never been convicted on a crime, only accused.

(on camera) Mr. Ali, I have to give you an opportunity to respond to all of the allegations. You may not wish to respond to all the allegations, but the allegations are that basically you tortured people, murdered people.


COOPER: Drew, Uber and Lyfts only response seems to me that they didn't miss anything, they just rely on criminal records and driving records and not much else. Does that mean he's still driving?

GRIFFIN: This is what's interesting. They say they don't do any online searches about potential drivers, but when we pointed out what you could find out about Ali online they both took action today. Lyft banned him permanently. Uber says it's doing a -- it's putting him on suspension while they do their own investigation. So clearly, whatever we did find online got them to act. We just don't know why they don't do that in the first place.

COOPER: And you pointed out in another reporting how felons have been approved to drive, even some people have sexual assault records in their past. Is -- I mean, what is the oversight?

GRIFFIN: That there really is spotty oversight across the country. Most states just leave it up to Uber and Lyft to decide who gets in those cars and drives and who doesn't. Some states do have some regulations, but by and large, Uber and Lyft have written their own rules and decided what they will and will not look for in background checks and this is what we're dealing with. What we're finding out is major holes all across the country, Anderson.

COOPER: Yes. Drew Griffin, appreciate it. Thank you.

I want to check in with Chris to see what he is working on for "Cuomo Prime Time." Chris?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Sex strike, that's what Alyssa Milano says. Desperate time calls for desperate measures, all of these heartbeat bills and worse popping up around the country compromising women's ability to control their own bodies and their pregnancies so we're having her on the show tonight.

First time since she called for it, what did she really want? How serious is she about the issue? What is the sex strike really about? She has legitimate concerns. She has a path forward that she says people have good conscience, men and women aside have to look at. So we're going to have her on.

We're also going to take the audience through what this deal that Don Jr. cut for himself? He cut himself a good deal, Coop, and we're going to say what it does and does not mean for the search for truth going forward.

COOPER: All right, we'll be watching. Chris, thanks very much. About six minutes from now.

Coming up next, remembering a man that made us laugh.


[20:58:10] COOPER: The lost of comedy legend today, actor and comedian Tim Conway died this morning at his home in Los Angeles. Conway is, of course, best known for his work on "The Carol Burnett Show." He won three Emmys for co-starring the show and a fourth as a member of this writing team.

I used to watch this all during my childhood. He once summed up his life by saying, "I was born and then I did 'The Carol Burnett Show' for 11 years, what else is there to know." I just want to show you a clip from one of his most famous sketches where he plays a very inexperienced dentist.


TIM CONWAY, COMEDIAN: Oh, I guess you're like (INAUDIBLE).

I'll just give you a little (INAUDIBLE).


COOPER: His specialty was not only making the audience laugh, but making all the other people he was playing with break out in laughter as well. That was Harvey Korman he was working with.

In a statement to CNN, Carol Burnett said that she is heart broken, adding he was one in a million, not only as a brilliant comedian but as a loving human being. Tonight, Burnett will dedicate the performance of her one-woman show to Conway's memory.

I had the pleasure of having him on my day time show years ago and ran into him again at a restaurant not so long ago in Los Angeles and he was a true gentleman every time and, oh, so funny. Tim Conway died after a long battle with illness. He was 85 and will be missed.