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Mulvaney Admits to Quid Pro Quo with Ukraine Despite Trump Denials That Any Such Deal Existed; Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) is Interviewed About Mulvaney Admitting to Quid Pro Quo with Ukraine; President Trump's Ambassador To EU Testifies For 10 Hours; Say President Ordered Him To Work With Giuliani On Ukraine; Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) Is Interviewed About Sondland' Testimony; President Trump Calls Turkey Negotiations A "Tremendous Success"; GOP Senator Romney: "It Is Far From Victory"; Turkey Foreign Minister: "We Got What We Wanted". Aired 8-9p ET

Aired October 17, 2019 - 20:00   ET




On a night of major developments on many fronts in the impeachment inquiry, we begin tonight with the one that eclipses them all and could fundamentally change the course of this entire affair.

Today, one of the president's top advisers openly admitted what he, the president and all the president's people, have been denying for weeks now, and now he is trying to back away what he said, what he said in great detail several times and not by accident.

Right now, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney is furiously backpedaling from it all, which only underscores the gravity of what he said. Today, presumably with the president's approval, he told the public, told lawmakers pursuing impeachment, told the world that, yes, the administration withheld military aid from an ally under Russian attack to get that country to take action to help the president politically.

Mick Mulvaney admitted there was a quid pro quo with Ukraine. He didn't use those words "quid pro quo," but what he describes was just that. And then he said this --


MICK MULVANEY, ACTING WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: I have news for everybody. Get over. There is going to be political influence in foreign policy.


COOPER: Get over it, he said. Followed by a half truth suggesting that we're all just a little naive for somehow being surprised. Equating what happened with the normal diplomatic give and take between countries, which this is not. It appears to be for personal gain. After all, if this were normal,

it's hard to see why the white house has been trying fruitlessly now to stop all the participants in this scheme from testifying about it to Congress.

Another key player, by the way, Ambassador Gordon Sondland, went before lawmakers today. But even as he was talking, so is Mick Mulvaney.

Now, here is a key moment from Mick Mulvaney's press conference.


REPORTER: Should a demand for investigation into the Democrats was part of the reason he decided to withhold funding to Ukraine?

MULVANEY: The look back to what happened in 2016 certainly was part of the thing that he was worried about in corruption with that nation. That is absolutely appropriate.

REPORTER: Withholding the funding?


COOPER: 2016 refers to that conspiracy theory the president has latched on to which blames Ukraine and the Democrats, not Russia, for interference in the last presidential election.

Now what Mulvaney just spelled out there is the exchange of something for something or the now familiar Latin equivalent.


REPORTER: Let's be clear, what you just described is a quid pro quo. It is funding will not flow unless the investigation into the Democratic server happened as well.

MULVANEY: We do -- we do that all the time with foreign policy.


COOPER: Oh, OK. Well, there it was.

The president's acting chief of staff speaking for the president, talking about the very first thing the president brought up on that July 25th phone call with Ukrainian President Zelensky immediately after Zelensky asked about the military aid that they so desperately needed that was being held up.

Mick Mulvaney agreeing that what transpired on that call, what he, Rudy Giuliani, Vice President Pence, Mike Pompeo and a cast of recently indicted accused felons were involved with for months was the very thing in the very words that the president and others said it was not.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You take a look at that call, it was perfect. I didn't do it. There was no quid pro quo.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This has turned into a full-blown threat, a full- blown quid pro quo, and I just don't see it.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): This phone call is a nothingburger in terms of a quid pro quo.

TRUMP: And there was never any quid pro quo.


TRUMP: No quid pro quo.

No quid pro quo.

No quid pro quo.

There is no pro quo.


COOPER: Or no pro quo.

Today, Mick Mulvaney admitted, well, yes, there was. Again, he didn't use those words, but the situation he described, which he said, get over it, is a quid pro quo. And he tried to suggest that there was nothing wrong with it, admitting it, nothing wrong with admitting it because it just happens all the time.

Now, keeping them honest, it's hard to see anything but B.S. because tonight he is furiously backpedaling away from what he said earlier, a recognition that speaking what appears to be the truth is terrible for this president. So having made those disastrous remarks, he is now trying to unsay what he said.

He released a statement reading in part: Let me be clear. There was absolutely no quid pro quo because Ukrainian military aid and any investigation into the 2016 election.

The latest word from Mick Mulvaney in hopes perhaps of erasing the previous latest word, which we'll play again for you now.


REPORTER: Just to be clear, what you just described is a quid pro quo. Is funding will not flow floe unless the investigation into the Democratic server happened as well.

MULVANEY: We do -- we do that all the time with foreign policy.


COOPER: And, again, he said we should get over it. And perhaps he already has.

There is more breaking news on all of this, including from "The Wall Street Journal," reporting that the president agreed on the need for Mr. Mulvaney to walk back his comments.


Yes, you think? And personally approved his chief's statement. The paper citing a White House official.

More now from CNN's Jim Acosta who joins us from the White House.

I can only imagine what the response was when Mick Mulvaney finished that press conference and went back to whatever room he went to and that can't have gone well for him.


COOPER: What's the reaction been inside the White House to all of this?

ACOSTA: Anderson, I mean, I think Mick Mulvaney has gone from qui pro so to quid pro oh, no. I think it's essentially what's happening tonight. But basically, you know, when the president's legal team is putting out statements saying that they were not involved in Mick Mulvaney's briefing in the White House briefing room, I mean, that is pretty clear that they were not on board with this. I'm told by sources familiar with these discussions that go on inside the president's legal team that they were essentially blindsided and did not feel that what Mick Mulvaney had to say helped their cause very much.

Having said all of that, I just spoke with a White House official in the last several minutes who said that the president was involved somewhat in this statement that was put out by the White House. The president, according to this official, felt that the media were intentionally misinterpreting what Mick Mulvaney said.

But, of course, Anderson, that is more cleanup on aisle 1600, as you just pointed out a few moments ago. Not only was Mick Mulvaney saying there was a quid pro quo, he almost seemed proud of it.

COOPER: Right.

ACOSTA: And was a -- he sounded professorial during this briefing, teaching all of us, you know, school kids this is how things work in the big leagues. We do this all the time.

And then, of course, he had to come out later on and release that statement.

One interesting thing to know, and if you go through that statement line by line, Anderson, the one issued by the chief of staff this evening, it featured some of the same talking points that the president has been using over the last several weeks and saying that there was no quid pro quo, that this was about rooting out corruption and so on. It sounds like they had to go back and rework that statement.

COOPER: Well, I don't understand how Mulvaney could also in that same press conference stand there and say that the dirt on the Bidens, that had nothing to do, that that was not part of the quid pro quo.

ACOSTA: Right.

COOPER: Even though we've all now seen the rough transcript in which that is item number two, after the conspiracy theory about, you know, the server being in the Ukraine.

ACOSTA: That's right. And keep in mind, I mean, the president and his defenders for weeks have been saying there was no quid pro quo, but in the rough call transcript, the president admits he says in that rough call transcript that he wanted to get dirt on Joe Biden, that he wanted to get dirt on Joe Biden's family.

What do we know by just looking at federal election law in this country? It is a violation of law to seek foreign help in an election. So the president has always -- is always trying to spin things obviously, but clearly, there is a violation of the law baked into that rough call transcript.

The thing that they were clinging to over these last couple of weeks, Anderson, was that there was no quid pro quo. And I think there is just no way around it. The acting chief of staff blew that up today inside that briefing room.

COOPER: Yes. And the president was on camera with George Stephanopoulos a while ago saying oh, yes, it would be no problem if a foreign country had information. I would totally take it. And who knows what he would get for that information and quid pro quo.

ACOSTA: He has spoken in this fashion --


ACOSTA: That's right. He has spoken in this fashion time and again.

COOPER: Yes, Jim Acosta, appreciate it. Thanks.

Just a few moments before Mulvaney suddenly reversed himself and the White House damage control began, I spoke with the House majority leader, Democrat Steny Hoyer.


COOPER: Leader Hoyer, how damaging were Mick Mulvaney's remarks for the president of this impeachment inquiry?

REP. STENY HOYER (D-MD): Well, essentially, what I understand, I didn't hear Mulvaney say it, but I understand he said yes, there was a quid pro quo, and in fact get daring people to get over it because that's foreign policy.

No, it's not. The Congress of the United States appropriated money for an ally who is in a war with -- and losing -- losing people. And what the president decided to do is withhold that money which Mulvaney says was quid pro quo. He doesn't say that was the quid pro quo, but a quid pro quo for them doing something that he wanted done.

And then the course of his conversation he said look, by the way, I need a favor. And the favor was to look into a political opponent, not in 2016, but in 2020. And so, I think it cannot help the case and will be part of the testimony and evidence that the committees are gathering.

COOPER: Mulvaney is claiming that the president pursuing this conspiracy theory, which flies in the face of what the intelligence community says was Russian involvement in the DNC hack, Mulvaney is claiming that was a concern about corruption in Ukraine. Just logically, that also doesn't make sense.

I mean, there's plenty of actual Ukrainian corruption, but the president didn't raise any of that. All he talks about was this conspiracy theory about CrowdStrike and the Bidens.


HOYER: It's there for everybody to read. The conversation -- the president told the speaker of the House, he thought the conversation was perfect, which is why I presume he released it, because he thought it was fine.

It wasn't fine. It clearly was a quid pro quo. It didn't need to be stated this is the quid and that's the pro.

Clearly, the president of Ukraine knew what was going on. Clearly, he knew that the president was saying I need this favor. And by the way, I've got your money, and also, I know that you want to visit the White House.

And obviously, the contingency between the two was patently clear. And I think Mulvaney's comments, as I said, certainly were not helpful to the president's case.

COOPER: I want to ask you about Turkey and the Kurds and northern Syria. The so-called deal that was announced today, which the president is trumpeting as something that will save, quote, millions of lives. The Turkish foreign minister calls it a pause.

And I guess the question is, what's it's going to change? The Turkish government says it got exactly what it wanted.

HOYER: Well, I haven't seen the agreement, but I think the Turks are right. They got exactly what they wanted. And very frankly, probably the Iranians got what they wanted. Perhaps the Syrians got what they wanted to getting ISIS out of their territory.

And now they've got the Turks there. And frankly, I think the Russians got what they wanted.

So, frankly, the president taking credit for some sort of positive move forward I think is absolutely incorrect.

COOPER: The president saying that this potentially will save millions of lives. I mean, if he was actually concerned about that, he could have kept anywhere from 50 to 100 special forces troops who were doing extraordinary job along the border basically encamped with the Kurdish fighters, and that, that small number of special forces troops kept Turkey from launching this invasion until the president, as you said essentially green lit it by pulling them out.

HOYER: Yes, I think you're right, Anderson. And very frankly, the president's rationale for doing this, both publicly and in our meeting yesterday said, look, I said in the campaign, I was going to get the troops out of the Middle East.

COOPER: And, lastly, we want to send our condolences on the death of your colleague Elijah Cummings. You served in your House and the home state of Maryland. Can you just talk about him? What do you want people to know about him?

HOYER: He was a very good and decent person. The minority spoke on the floor today through their leader and said how much they felt his personal respect. He was a fierce advocate and effective advocate.

And from their standpoint, an effective opponent, but they had respect for him. Why? Because he was decent person. He respected others. He was a quiet man but a very forceful man.

And the House has lost a great member. The country has lost a person of great intellect and integrity. And we are a lesser place for his loss.

As you know, he was the speaker pro temp, the first African American speaker pro temp in the history of the Maryland legislature. He was president of the student government of Howard University, a Phi Beta Kappa. He had intellect, integrity, and great moral strength, and we're going miss him very, very badly.

COOPER: And what an extraordinary arc of life he had. Just so much accomplished.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, I appreciate your time. Thank you.

HOYER: Thank you, Anderson.


COOPER: Even without the late developments at the end of a very significant day which also included ten hours of testimony from Gordon Sondland, one of the three people President Trump delegated to dealing with Ukraine. I'll be speaking about that shortly with one of the lawmakers who was actually in the hearing.

But joining us right now, CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, CNN chief political analyst Gloria Borger and David Gergen who's that seen some of this kind of drama play out from the inside during the Nixon administration. He's also CNN senior political analyst. Jeff, so, I mean, Adam Schiff today said that Mulvaney's acknowledgment of a quid pro quo, though he didn't use those words, have gone from very, very bad to much, much worse for the president. What does this do to the impeachment investigation?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I think the facts are becoming increasingly clear. I mean, this was a government initiative led by the president for -- to trade U.S. tax dollars, U.S. taxpayer dollars for dirt on his political opponents. And, you know, all of the investigation so far starting with the partial transcript, but also with all this subsequent investigation that's continuing every day is proving the same thing, that this exchange was going on.

And the question now is what's Congress going to do about it? Is the impeachment going to go forward? It certainly looks like it will be in the House. And will there be any leak average of his support in the Senate?

That doesn't appear to be the case so far.


But, you know, the facts are looking clearer and clearer. And the number of defenders of the substance of the president's behavior is still pretty small in the Senate.

COOPER: Yes, we're going to take a quick break. We're going to hear more from Gloria and David and Jeff.

Also tonight, more of the president's claim that securing a five-day pause in Turkey's invasion of Northern Syria is, quote, a great day for civilization, and that their victims, the Kurds, are happy about it.


COOPER: We're talking tonight about today's stunning admission by the acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney of the White House, and now his pivot away from it on whether the president with his help and the help of others involved in a quid pro quo with the president of Ukraine.

Back now with Jeff Toobin, Gloria Borger and David Gergen.

David, once again, the White House saying, believe us, not what you see but what you hear. But Mulvaney's comments -- I mean, they are on tape. He is saying reporters misconstrued them. He answered directly Jonathan Karl's question about it.


DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: That's right, Anderson. I've had a chance to go back before he made the pivot, before he issued the later statement to check out the Websites of eight major publications. How did they interpret his original press conference and what he said? All eight, all eight unanimously agreed that he said that there was a

quid pro quo. And that basically, this is done all the time in foreign policy. Get over it. And that clearly -- so clearly, this is not fake news, which is what their claim. This is all just a made-up conspiracy to hurt the White House.

He clearly acknowledged it. He clearly was under instructions from others, including the president to walk it back. He's tried, but I think most people will walk away saying, yes, the walk back didn't really succeed because he said the truth the first time.

COOPER: Yes. Gloria, the thing is Mulvaney had multiple opportunities to clean up the comments in the briefing room. He was asked repeatedly about the quid pro quo, and he didn't.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: No, he didn't. I mean, look, he was adopting sort of the Rudy Giuliani and Donald Trump strategy which is kind of yeah, we did it, but so what. There is nothing wrong with it. You know, it's done all the time. Get over it, folks.

And let me just read you something. It's so stunning that he would take it back. It's a little like Alice through the looking glass, because here's what he said. Did the president mention in passing the corruption to the DNC server? Absolutely, no question about it. That's it. And that's why we held up the money. Period, end of sentence.


BORGER: So the DOJ interpreted that way and backed away from what he said saying that's news to us. The president's attorneys, Jay Sekulow backed away from that saying, well, he didn't consult with us before he said this.

So everybody heard it the same way.

TOOBIN: Can I just point out why this matters. This is not just some gotcha thing.

BORGER: Right.

TOOBIN: Because we all want to get something on the chief of staff. Here we have congressionally appropriated money. Congress says give this money to the Ukrainians.

COOPER: Taxpayer money.

TOOBIN: Taxpayer money. And what the White House has done and what they admitted today was you only get the money if you help us win the election. Not because you help us national security, international relations. The only thing we want from you is help to defeat Democrats.

That is wrong. That's why this matters. COOPER: Right. What Mulvaney is claiming is that our interest in --

our interest in finding out about the server about Ukraine and what was really behind the hacks of the DNC, not Russia, Mulvaney is claiming, Jeff, that's all about corruption in Ukraine when it's not at all. It's about a benefit for the president.

BORGER: Right.

TOOBIN: Well, that's right. Out of all the things you could talk about, and Ukraine certainly has corruption problems, the only thing they're talking about is this weird obsession with this fake story about the 2016 election. Now I do think in fairness, I should say, that Mulvaney lied about the Biden side of things.

COOPER: Of course he did.

TOOBIN: I think he clearly lied about that.


TOOBIN: Because we have that from the president's own mouth in the partial transcript, that what they really wanted was dirt to use not about 2016. What they really wanted was dirt to use against Joe Biden today.

COOPER: And, Gloria, the reason he lied about that is because he knows that is incredibly damning. I mean, there's -- you can't even spin find me dirt on Joe Biden as anti-corruption in Ukraine. It's just, you know -- and the president by the way hasn't done Mulvaney any favors on that by going out again calling for Ukraine to investigate the Bidens and China too.

BORGER: China.

And, look, so Mulvaney in a way didn't even have to say that because the president, we have the summary of his phone conversation in which he said, you know, what Biden has done is terrible and, you know, you ought to do me a favor, though, I think the phrase was.

And so, Mulvaney today was probably so Mulvaney today was probably in his -- in his press availability telling the truth about -- about what the president had said, you know, what the problem was about, down, CrowdStrike and all the rest and that they wanted Ukrainians to look into corruption. He called it a look back.

But I think we would all agree that there is a look back to 2016 component and there is a look ahead to 2020.

COOPER: To 2020, sure.

And, David, I want to play something Mulvaney played in the briefing room when he was asked if Giuliani's role in this is problematic. Let's listen.


MULVANEY: You might not like the fact that Giuliani was involved. That's great. That's fine. It's not illegal. It's not impeachable.

The president gets to use who he wants to use. If the president wants to fire me today and hire somebody else, he can.


The president gets to set foreign policy. He gets to choose who to do so.


COOPER: It should be pointed out, David, I mean, I don't think -- as far as I know, Rudy Giuliani doesn't have a security clearance. Rudy Giuliani hasn't sworn to protect and defend the Constitution in his role as the president's personal attorney, and he also has a vested business interest apparently in Ukraine that stretches back for years.

And it turns out in Turkey as well, and he is advising the president, pressuring the president on Turkish matters.

GERGEN: Well, that's exactly right. And Mulvaney is putting Rudy Giuliani in the center of this. That's exactly where he is. And he needs to be heard.

He needs to turn over documents. He needs to clear his good name. And, you know, that's why this investigation must continue for a while.

I think they've got a lot enough evidence, to go back to an earlier question you raised, I think they have enough evidence if they wanted to they could impeach tomorrow. They have a lot of evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors as they would define it.

But what they're finding as I talk to various people, there are other rocks to look under, and there are other things that come out to fill in the picture. And I think the country deserve to know what's under those rocks. I think they're going spend a little more time not to be too rushed to get this to a vote.

COOPER: Well, Gloria, it was interesting, because I talked to Congressman Castro, who was in hearing the Sondland testimony today. And obviously we're going to play the interview shortly.

One of the things he said which is interesting because I interviewed him right before I went on air, is that -- I asked him if he knows more today than he did yesterday. And he said one of the things that Sondland did in his testimony was kind of focus attention on some other players which they knew were involved, but they didn't realize or have a sense of how central or how important a role they may have played, some other names which haven't been out there quite as much.

Again, he wouldn't go into detail. But if that's the case, to the point of there's more stones to be turned over.

BORGER: Well, you know, they're getting -- look, the whistle-blower gave them the road map, the original road map. And now they're kind of peeling the layers of the onion here and spending ten hours with Sondland. You're going to find out with whom he spoke and every conversation about Ukraine and how they were trying to kind of work around Rudy Giuliani.

And I think the thing about Rudy Giuliani, we have to remember is he was being paid by the Ukrainians and also using the president in a way to get his business done, and maybe the president will understand at some point that he was being used.

COOPER: Well, we call that a twofer, I believe.


COOPER: Yes, it's working both sides maybe.

Jeff Toobin, Gloria Borger, David Gergen, thanks.

Just ahead, a fourth day of testimony this week in the House in the impeachment inquiry just wrapped up. As I just said, I'll talk with Congressman Castro, who was in the room.


[20:32:21] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Testimony from a fourth state department witness in the House impeachment inquiry in week just wrapped up.

He said this in his opening statement about Rudy Giuliani, "Mr. Giuliani emphasized that the President wanted a public statement from President Zelensky committing Ukraine to look into anticorruption issues. Mr. Giuliani specifically mentioned the 2016 election, including the DNC server and Burisma, meaning the Bidens, as two anticorruption investigatory topics of importance for the President."

Ambassador Sondland is also a key witness because of comment he made in text messages. In them, he discussed military aid to Ukraine with America's top diplomat there, Bill Taylor, who said it was, "crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign."

Sondland, as you may remember, took nearly five hours to reply to that text, and we've since learned he called the President before he sent a response. Today he said, "I called President Trump directly. I asked the President, 'What do you want from Ukraine?' The President responded, 'Nothing. There is no quid pro quo.' The President repeated, 'no quid pro quo' multiple times. This was a very short call. And I recall the President was in a bad mood."

Just before air time, I spoke to Democratic Congressman Joaquin Castro who sits on the intelligence committee and was in the hearing.


COOPER: Congressman Castro, I know you can only say so much, but what can you tell us about Ambassador Sondland's testimony today? What were the takeaways for you? REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO (D-TX): Well, it seems like every day the case

for impeachment of Donald Trump gets stronger and stronger, and that was certainly the case today listening to Ambassador Sondland.

You're right, Anderson, there's only so much that I can say. But even in his opening statement, and it was true during his testimony as well, it's clear that he affirms that Rudy Giuliani had a direct role in acting for the President and dealing with the Ukrainians.

And from what we know of the whistleblower complaint, the transcript of the phone call between the President and the Ukrainian -- I mean, our President and the Ukrainian president carrying out the orders of President Trump.

When you combine that with what Mick Mulvaney said today, he basically went up to the water's edge and said, yes, politics played a role in how we were dealing with Ukraine. The case for impeachment got a lot stronger today.

COOPER: The ambassador in his opening statement also seemed to indicate that he didn't know about the Biden component of this, about the Giuliani searching for dirt and the President wanting dirt on Democrats until some time later, much later.

Some of your colleagues have cast doubt on parts of his testimony saying that it was, "a lot of CYA," which, you know, cover your you know what, and that he appeared to have selective amnesia. Did you find his testimony credible?

[20:35:03] CASTRO: Yes. There were a lot of instances where he said I don't recall or I don't remember. And oftentimes it's true that it related to questions about his direct role in all of these events that is true.

My impression overall is that this was a witness who went in there today to save himself. And he was willing, I think, to be more frank in his discussion about what others around him were doing, more so than to be frank and candid about what he did.

COOPER: And just in terms of any possible quid pro quo, did the ambassador's testimony do anything to help clarify why exactly foreign aid was withheld from Ukraine?

CASTRO: I mean, I think it added to everybody's understanding -- not everybody, I can't say everybody in the room, but many of us in the room I think came away believing that there was a quid pro quo, that it was political favor for aid and assistance to the Ukraine. And certainly Ambassador Sondland didn't do anything to dispel that notion.

COOPER: And how long was he in there for?

CASTRO: Several hours. This was -- you know, all of these interviews and depositions, some of them have gone with the late afternoon, many of them into the evening, and this was no different tonight. COOPER: What questions still need to be answered for you? I mean, do you think the upcoming witnesses are going to be able to or willing to answer them?

CASTRO: Yes, I think so. And now some of them, as you know, like Rudy Giuliani and others, the vice president, for example, have said that they're not going to cooperate with the Congress. So we're going to have to deal with that separately. But other witnesses I believe will still come forward.

And as you know, these are all pieces of the puzzle, and each witness I think has been very helpful for Congress in helping us get a fuller picture of what exactly happened and why the President was trading political favors for foreign assistance.

COOPER: And just finally, do you know if there is a word for word transcript of the call between President Trump and the president of Ukraine? Because the President said it's word for word, comma for comma. It's clearly not. It's-- there's areas that seem to just have one word that need other words. Do you know if such a thing exists and could you get it?

CASTRO: Yes, I'm still not clear about that. There may be somebody who is clear about that, but I'm still not clear about it. I'm on the Intelligence Committee and the Foreign Affairs Committee, so I'm on two of the three committees that are handling the impeachment inquiry right now. But you're right, we do need to figure that out.

COOPER: And, sorry, just finally, is there something you know today that you didn't know yesterday?

CASTRO: Yes. I mean, there's many different components. And I wish that I could speak more freely about it. But I will say this, in his testimony, Ambassador Sondland also implicated a few more folks who may not have been completely off the radar, but he certainly moved them more to the center of this investigation today.

COOPER: Wow. That's interesting. Congressman Castro, I appreciate your time. Thank you.

CASTRO: Thank you.


COOPER: Still to come, President Trump calls his administration's negotiations to stop Turkey's invasion into Syria a success. I'll talk to the former Republican chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee who says it is anything but.


[20:41:58] COOPER: President Trump is calling a solution to Turkey's attacks on our allies, the Kurds, "a tremendous success, an amazing outcome, a situation where everybody is happy." He calls the deal for a five-day pause in the fighting, "something that Turkey has always wanted." As for the U.S. allies, the Kurds who are being driven out of their homes or worse, the President today said the area where they lived needed to be, "cleaned out." As you might imagine, he is getting pushback on much of this, including from a number of Republicans.

Earlier, I spoke to former Republican Senator Bob Corker, who chaired the Foreign Relation Committees about it.


COOPER: Senator Corker, President Trump says, "It's a great day for the United States, it's a great day for Turkey, a great day for the Kurds. It's a great day for civilization." Is it?

BOB CORKER, (R) FORMER U.S. SENATOR, TENNESSEE: Well, first of all, I think all of us who care about the Kurds and people in the region, I'm glad there is a five-day ceasefire. I don't know what comes after that, but I'm glad that that has occurred. We, you know -- thousands of people are already in harm's way and we've had a lot of people already displaced, but stopping it now is nothing -- is a good thing.

The question is, why would you say you're going to pull our troops out and lose control of a third of the country and do the things that caused us to lose all of our leverage and then go to Turkey with hat in hand and ask them to do something? Whatever they got, I'm sure they could have gotten 10 times more had this occurred, had this meeting occurred prior to signaling that we were pulling out.

COOPER: It is -- I mean, essentially Turkey gets control of the territory they wanted. Any new sanctions are lifted. As you said, this isn't a permanent ceasefire. Turkey has called it a pause. Turkey's foreign minister, you know, said Turkey got exactly what they wanted.

CORKER: Yes, it's an interesting chapter, I guess, in the art of negotiation where you give up all of your leverage and then ask a weaker country, if you will, to go along with something.

But, again, at the end of the day, look, I think all of us cared deeply about what was happening to our strong allies, the Kurds, who lost 11,000 men and women in the fight. And I'm glad there is a ceasefire, and I hope that somehow something can come out of this that will be good for them.

COOPER: You know, you said that most people are, you know, concerned about the Kurds. I mean, you know, frankly, it doesn't seem that the President is. He has gone out of his way time and time again to, you know, denigrate them saying they didn't help us during World War II in Normandy.


COOPER: They -- you know, we paid them a lot of money to fight, that they're not angels. Essentially, you know, when you look at it from afar, there were what, 50 to 100 U.S. Special Forces troops holding back an invasion that the President said he knew was going to come, that he'd been watching them build up troops for a while, and that that small number of troops, Americans were stopping that and protecting untold numbers of people.

[20:45:02] CORKER: Yes.

COOPER: It's kind of stunning when you think of the cost of just removing that small number of troops.

CORKER: Yes. I mean, well, we've got -- and of course, people have already said, I'm sure, you know, we're taking a thousand out, but we're putting 2,000 in Saudi Arabia. So, none of it makes any sense. And there's no way you can make sense of it.

This was a precipitous, sloppy, terrible decision to have been made. I'm thankful there is a five-day reprieve. Hopefully something good for our country, for the Kurds, and for others can come out of this.

But it's not the way you go about doing business. This is not the way you deal with military conflict. And I think the President knew he majorly had stepped in it and, you know, the Turks, there had --


COOPER: You think the President noticed it? Because publicly -- I mean, he is saying this is, you know, genius, essentially.

CORKER: Yes, yes. Yes, I know. I saw -- someone showed me the tweet. Look, this was one of the biggest foreign policy blunders that I can remember, maybe the biggest. And I think he knows that in his heart of hearts. But he always doubles down, as you know.

And as it relates to the Kurds -- I mean, everybody is expendable to the President, whether it's the Secretary of State, whether it's the Secretary of Defense, whether it's your national security adviser.

So, I don't think anybody should be surprised that he felt this way about the Kurds. And again, it's to justify to the group of people in our country, which is pretty large, that believe the things that he says about things like this.

COOPER: Just lastly, given everything that we now know publicly about the President's dealings with Ukraine, the rough transcript of the call as well as what Mick Mulvaney said today, although he is trying to walk that back, do you believe an impeachment inquiry is warranted?

CORKER: So, you know, I've tried to follow the code that I would follow if I were a senator. I realize I'm not one now. But I think, you know, anybody who's been in that position or is in that position is they realize they're going to be a part of the jury. And I think, you know, making statements along the way as things roll out probably is not prudent for a senator --

COOPER: I don't mean do you think he should be impeached. I just mean the inquiry itself do you its justified?

CORKER: Yes, I can understand. I can understand from the people's perspective that are doing this why they would want to go forward. And I understand that. At the same time, to see that whether it's justified or not, I think getting everything out on the table and have responses also from the President's side is the right thing to do.

But it just seems like that, Anderson, it's like a purposely provocative time. I mean, today announcing that the G7 is going to be held in one of his properties. I mean, it's almost like a doubling down, if you will, to do provocative things.

COOPER: Senator Corker, I appreciate it. Thank you very much.

CORKER: Thank you. Thank you, Anderson.


COOPER: Still to come, we're going have more on what the senator just talked about, the White House announcing that the G7 Summit of world leaders is going to be at a Trump golf resort. Details ahead.


[20:52:35] COOPER: Well, as you can tell, another slow news day. Let's check in with Chris to see what he's working on for "Cuomo Prime Time."

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: You know, it's always about sorting through the noise and figuring out which pieces fit where in this puzzle we're trying to put together, why this President was playing these games in Ukraine.

And, you know, he's at a rally right now blaming everybody, except the people responsible, his mouth, and now his acting chief of staff's mouth. Mick Mulvaney admitted that there was a quid pro quo for the DNC.

By the way, Coop, not a bad cover story fore the President. Not about Biden, it's about the DNC. Sure it's a very easy conspiracy theory, but we believe it in good faith. That they have now withdrawn and it's one more piece in a puzzle that is really coming together to show this President abused his office, and that's his concern.

We have one other congressman who was in there today listening to the latest diplomat to go bad on this President and top investigators to help us figure out what's necessary in the case.

COOPER: All right, Chris, I look forward to it, seven minutes from now. See you then.

If you like Florida in June, you like to play golf, you love Trump resorts, you'll never guess the venue for the next G7 Summit. "The Ridiculist" is next.


[20:57:47] COOPER: Time now for a quick "Ridiculist." And tonight, the commander-in-chief, self-described savior of the Kurds, has put on his big, beautiful golf cleats and kicked things up a notch.

It seems that funneling American taxpayer dollars to his private family business wasn't enough so, now, Mr. Trump is putting the squeeze on foreign governments as well. Here's Acting Chief of Staff Mick "quid pro quo" Mulvaney.


MICK MULVANEY, ACTING CHIEF OF STAFF: We're going to do the 46th G7 Summit on June 10 through June 12 at the Trump National Doral Facility in Miami. Doral was by far and away, far and away the best physical facility for this meeting.


COOPER: Really, far and away? Gosh. I mean, thank goodness that they found a hotel with a golf course. Do you know how hard those are to find in the United States? It's like funny how a Russian needle in a Ukrainian haystack. You know, I mean, should this really be a surprise? It's not like the President hasn't been out there plugging his hotel.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: With Doral, we have a series of magnificent buildings, we call them bungalows. They each hold from 50 to 70 very luxurious rooms with magnificent views. We have incredible conference rooms, incredible restaurants. It's like such a natural. Each country can have their own villa or their own bungalow.


COOPER: Each country has its own villa, its own bungalow. Holy Chinese trademarks, where's Ivanka? Because it sounds fancy, it sounds like the Beverly Hills hotel where, you know, you can allegedly have your security guard bring the porn stars in the back way, which is convenient. Or it's like a really elegant, I don't know, Epcot center.

Some reporters and people care about, you know, ethics, laws. They seem to be, you know, holding -- they seem to think they're holding a major geopolitical event at the President's private business is, you know, somehow wrong. Don't worry, though, Mick Mulvaney cleared that stupid idea up real quick.


MULVANEY: I think the President has pretty much made it very clear since he's got here that he doesn't profit from being here, he has no interest in profit from being here.


COOPER: Oh, yes, yes. That's very clear. The President has made the exact opposite, clear. U.S. troops somehow ended up staying at a Scottish hotel. Somehow Vice President Mike Pence needed to stay at a Trump Hotel in Ireland despite his official business being nearly 200 miles away.

But, you know, he had to stay there and, of course, there's Fox News by the sea otherwise known as Mar-a-Lago, which doubled its initiation fee to $200,000 after Mr. Trump was elected.

So, regardless of what Mick Mulvaney says about the President's company doing the G7 at cost, the cost is set by the Trump Organization. The President owns the Trump Organization and that doesn't change whether he's in a villa, a gorgeous, gorgeous bungalow on "The Ridiculist."

That's it for us. The news continues. I want to hand it over to Chris for "Cuomo Prime Time. Chris?