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Mulvaney Admits To Ukraine Quid Pro Quo; U.S. Announces Ceasefire In Syria; President Trump Awards G7 Summit To Trump Doral Resort. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired October 18, 2019 - 05:30   ET



ALISON KOSIK, CNN ANCHOR: Only hours later, Mulvaney was walking back the argument, essentially claiming in a statement that he hadn't said what you just heard him say.

Quote, "Let me be clear. There was absolutely no quid pro quo between Ukrainian military aid and an investigation into the 2016 election."

Mulvaney appeared to be road-testing a new White House argument that aid was withheld to pressure Ukraine to investigate a conspiracy theory about the 2016 election. Mulvaney said it had nothing to do with investigating potential 2020 rival Joe Biden. One problem with this claim is that it was President Trump who brought up Biden in his now-infamous call with the leader of Ukraine.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Mulvaney's comments caught everyone at the White House off guard.

President Trump's attorney, Jay Sekulow, insists the White House legal team was not involved in the acting chief of staff's press briefing.

A Justice Department official said of Mulvaney's claims the DOJ was involved, "That is news to us."

And it seems the president was left out of the loop as well.


REPORTER: Are you aware that he suggested that there was some sort of a quid pro quo involved with Ukraine?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No, I didn't. I heard he -- somebody said he did a very nice job.

You know what I've been focused on today very much? All of this and also if you look, Turkey and the great thing that happened in Syria. I don't know.

But, Mick is a good man. I don't know. I haven't -- I have not heard anything.

REPORTER: Do you still have confidence in him? TRUMP: I have -- I have a lot of confidence in him.


BRIGGS: A source close to the president tells CNN Mulvaney's acknowledgment of a quid pro quo especially angered Mr. Trump later in the day.

One White House official says much of the president's anger is now focused on the media. He believes the press is intentionally misinterpreting Mulvaney's comments.

But, Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski doesn't see it that way. She says, quote, "Absolutely, that's a concern. You don't hold up foreign aid that we had previously appropriated for a political initiative. Period."

House Intel chairman Adam Schiff agrees.


REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): Mr. Mulvaney's acknowledgment means that things have gone from very, very bad to much, much worse.


KOSIK: And there was even more bad news for the president. A key ally at the center of the Ukraine scandal turned on him in front of Congress.

Ambassador to the E.U. Gordon Sondland telling House negotiators -- House investigators President Trump ordered diplomats to go through Rudy Giuliani on all matters involving Ukraine.

Sondland said he and other Foreign Service officers were disappointed by the president's direction and he testified Giuliani stressed the president wanted a public statement from Ukraine's new president committing to investigate the 2016 U.S. election and the Ukrainian gas company that had Hunter Biden on its board.

BRIGGS: Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo both in Turkey Thursday emerging from hours of negotiations to announce a ceasefire deal in Syria -- a deal that seems to give Turkey everything it wants.


MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I know the president is very grateful for President Erdogan's willingness to step forward and to enact a ceasefire.


BRIGGS: The deal appears to meet most of Turkey's military goals. It will force America's allies in the fight against ISIS, the Kurds, to give up a huge swath of territory. Last night, President Trump touted the deal at a rally in Texas, comparing Turkey's military attack on Kurdish forces to a schoolyard brawl.


TRUMP: Sometimes you have to let them fight. It's like two kids in a lot. You've got to let them fight and then you pull them apart.

President Erdogan was a gentleman -- he understood it. But without a little tough love -- you know what tough love is, right? Without a little tough love they would have never made this deal.


KOSIK: A GOP source says President Trump's demeanor over his Syria policy and his behavior at Wednesday's White House meeting have privately alarmed members of his own party.

Top congressional Republicans, even some of Trump's staunchest defenders, have publicly broken with the president over the past few days over his decision to withdraw U.S. forces from Syria and his apparent lack of understanding of the consequences.


SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R-UT): The announcement today is being portrayed as a victory. It is far from a victory. The ceasefire does not change the fact that America has abandoned an ally.

Are we so weak and so inept diplomatically that Turkey forced the hand of the United States of America? Turkey?


KOSIK: Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, who usually avoids criticizing the president -- but on Syria, he wants the Senate to pass a resolution condemning the withdrawal that's even stronger than the one passed in the Democrat-controlled House.

BRIGGS: All right. Ahead, the White House defending the decision to hold the G7 summit at President Trump's own Miami resort. We'll hear that, next.



KOSIK: All right, let's get a check on "CNN Business" this morning.

Taking a look at global markets, Asian stocks closed mostly lower on Friday. Mainland Chinese markets fell after China released worse than expected GDP numbers as the U.S.-China trade conflict drags on.

On Wall Street, stocks were up slightly. The Dow rose 25 points. IBM dragged it down, closing 5 1/2 percent lower after reporting disappointing earnings.

Mark Zuckerberg defended free speech at an address at Georgetown on Thursday, citing Supreme Court cases and historical figures. The Facebook CEO said during times of social upheaval lawmakers have tried to limit free speech.


MARK ZUCKERBERG, CEO, FACEBOOK: We are at another crossroads. We can either continue to stand for free expression, understanding its messiness but believing that the long journey towards greater progress requires confronting ideas that challenge us, or we can decide that the cost is simply too great.



KOSIK: Facebook has been at the center of the controversy about truth in political ads. It allows politicians to lie in campaign posts on the platform.

The company has defended its right to not censor political candidates but some, including Elizabeth Warren, have said the company is running a disinformation for-profit machine.

Zuckerberg pushed back on the criticism in the speech. He said the controversy is not worth the small amount of business it represents.

BRIGGS: E-cigarette maker Juul has agreed to stop selling many of its flavored products in the United States. Only tobacco, mint, and menthol flavors will remain for sale. The company's mango, cream, fruit, and cucumber flavors have already been pulled from its online store. The flavored pods will continue to be sold abroad.

Juul's new CEO says he hopes the move will build trust in the vaping industry.

KOSIK: Coming up, the moment from last night's Lady Gaga show in Vegas that left the audience gasping.

BRIGGS: First, here is this week's global energy challenge.


JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN BUSINESS EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR AND ANCHOR: On this edition of the global energy challenge, Atom Power, in North Carolina, has redesigned the electric circuit breaker. Invented more than 100 years ago as a safety feature, it's now ready for the digital age.

RYAN KENNEDY, CEO, ATOM POWER, CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA: A solid- state circuit breaker like this actually opens the circuit about 3,000 times faster than circuit breakers do today.

DEFTERIOS: These features are key to multiple-source energy distribution. The consequences of power faults can be catastrophic and costly.

KENNEDY: If you put something like solar onto the same source as, say, your utility, they have to sync up, which means if they don't then you're going to have a fire. It's going to blow up.

And what a solid-state circuit breaker can do is you can bring any number of renewables or feeds into the same source.

DEFTERIOS: John Defterios, CNN, North Carolina.




BRIGGS: Next year's G7 summit of world leaders will be hosted at President Trump's own Doral Resort in Miami. That decision made by President Trump. Historians call the move unprecedented of a president using his public office to direct a huge contract to himself.

Revenue at Doral has been in sharp decline in recent years with net operating income down 69 percent.

The White House says the resort will host the event at cost. Acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney insists that makes it OK.


MULVANEY: He's not making any money off of this, just like he's not making any money from working here. And if you think it's going to help his brand, that's great, but I would suggest that he probably doesn't need much help promoting his brand.


BRIGGS: Deal with it.

Let's bring in "The Washington Post" congressional reporter Karoun Demirjian. She's a CNN political analyst as well. Happy Friday, Karoun.

KOSIK: Good morning.


BRIGGS: This is an astounding story. Is this a blatant violation of the Constitution? We'll put up the emoluments clause. Nothing more entertaining than me reading that for the audience.

But is this blatantly unconstitutional, let alone incredibly inappropriate?

DEMIRJIAN: I think that there are a lot of people on the Hill that are reeling from this and believe that it is -- that it is unconstitutional. I think you may see some Democrats angling to add this to the list of things that they find to be worth rising to the level of adding to the impeachment inquiry, although there's no formal push for that quite yet because this is so fresh in everybody's mind.

But, yes, I think everybody just kind of had to stop in their tracks yesterday when they heard this happened because it seems to be a bit of self-dealing, even if he is not going to be making any immediate money off of the event.

G7s and the number of heads of state, their staffs, the journalists, it's a huge number of people that come. It draws the world's attention to a place for an extended period of time of meetings and that has dividends to pay down the line, even if it's not paying for the event itself.

KOSIK: OK. And as if that wasn't jaw-dropping enough, then you had Mick Mulvaney in front of the microphones in this really stunning moment where he says yes, there was a quid pro quo with Ukraine. And then later that day he tries to have that clean-up on aisle 1600.

Watch what happened throughout the day -- listen.


JONATHAN KARL, CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, ABC NEWS: So the demand for an investigation into the Democrats was part of the reason that he was ordered 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.

KARL: To be clear, what you just described is a quid pro quo. It is funding will not flow unless the investigation into the -- into the Democrats' server happened as well.

MULVANEY: We do -- we do that all the time with foreign policy. I have news for everybody, get over it. There's going to be political influence in foreign policy.


KOSIK: "We do that all the time." But then later in the day comes the walk back with him saying, "Let me be clear. There was absolutely no quid pro quo between Ukrainian military aid and an investigation into the 2016 election."

What? Wait -- we -- the whole world just heard you say there was.



KOSIK: What is going on here? Was this just a mistake or was this actually strategic? DEMIRJIAN: If it's a mistake it was a very forced error because the tape that you played was not the only time that he talked about that being an element.

He said at the very end of that press conference, again, that there were three reasons, one of them being corruption, which he had already said included that push for the questions about the server in 2016 which is, of course, a mostly debunked conspiracy theory that there are people on Capitol Hill in both parties scratching their heads as to why the White House is even talking about this.

If it's a mistake it would appear the acting chief of staff just kind of blew it.

And if it's not a mistake and he just said something that happens to be true that they weren't supposed to say, then he's a terrible spokesman for the president right now to be getting out in public and doing this at a time in which the impeachment inquiry is ramping up and focusing in on senior officials and getting all the way up to the people right around the president in his inner circle to lay out this pattern of how he appeared to have put his personal lawyer in charge of Ukraine policy based on the testimony of various individuals, including the U.S. ambassador to the E.U. who was on the Hill yesterday.

And if that is the case that is being made and that there's also this case being made that there is -- there was these -- the United States pushed the Ukrainians to conduct these investigations into this server, potentially into the Bidens as well, that is what -- exactly the case that the Democrats are trying to prove.

So to have Mick Mulvaney get up and give them ammunition for that is -- the Republicans are just wondering why he did that yesterday. It's a completely -- it was baffling to them.

And so, even Republicans close to the president seem to be having this reaction of what is going on here, what were you doing?

BRIGGS: Yes, the statement was kind of the Jedi mind trick. These are not the --

DEMIRJIAN: Yes, that's -- I mean --

BRIGGS: -- droids you're looking for -- move along.

DEMIRJIAN: There's tapes, right? I mean, he also had the tape.

And that's the unfortunate reality of when you put out a written statement afterwards -- after you've said, you know --

BRIGGS: Right.

DEMIRJIAN: -- here are the three reasons, you're like oh, just kidding, there's two reasons and don't pay any attention to what I said. It's the media misinterpreting it. Maybe don't say it multiple times if you don't mean it. BRIGGS: Yes.

DEMIRJIAN: And that walk back was not -- it wasn't really convincing anybody that he had just completely made a slip of the tongue. So, if that's what it was --


DEMIRJIAN: -- he's got a lot more cleaning up to do.

BRIGGS: Inartful, to say the least.

Quickly on Syria on this ceasefire or whatever -- however you want to interpret this deal. Republicans not named Mitt Romney, what do they think of all of this?

DEMIRJIAN: I think the Republicans -- look, for the GOP, foreign -- national security and this type of foreign engagement has always been where they have split from the president.

I think the fact that you are seeing some of the president's closest allies, like Lindsey Graham, criticize it; the fact that you have the Senate majority leader wanting to actually condemn this action -- this is -- this deal that was made between Pence and Erdogan yesterday does not really seem to exact any cost from Turkey for doing what they have done over the last several days since we pulled out, which is really run a very roughshod campaign that takes aim at certain U.S. positions as well.

And I think it's been very shocking to the GOP who are scrambling right now to figure out how do they defend this, and many of them are not.

And so, you have a situation right now where I think everybody is kind of bracing to see what the next stage is. But it seems like the United States is not going to push Turkey very hard on this to take any sort of hits in order to actually reestablish the -- a ceasefire that can be lasting and actually the world accepts is fair to both sides.

BRIGGS: Karoun Demirjian -- once again, we say have a great weekend but we know you won't. You will once again be working all weekend long --

KOSIK: We'll say it anyway. Have a great weekend.

BRIGGS: -- yet again. Thank you.



The son of notorious drug kingpin El Chapo now said to be free after he was detained by Mexican security forces. Ovidio Guzman Lopez was arrested following hours of intense heavy gunfire with cartel members.




KOSIK: A Mexican security official telling Reuters they decided to release Guzman Lopez in order to protect lives. Gunmen believed to be members of the powerful Sinaloa drug cartel appear to overpower security forces.

The clash involved armored vehicles and heavy artillery. Many residents fled in panic or locked themselves in their homes.

BRIGGS: Chicago officials say the city and the Teachers Union are still far apart negotiating a deal to end the strike that started yesterday. Classes are canceled again today.

Here's CNN's Omar Jimenez.


OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Dave and Alison, these are teachers marching through the street here in Chicago.

We are in the midst of a teachers strike in the nation's third-largest school district. That means 25,000 teachers. And what's at stake here, 300,000-plus students. To put that in perspective, that's about the size of the city of Pittsburgh.

Now, when you talk about what's at stake here we have seen things largely at a stalemate up to this point, but you can see the passion that so many of these people are bringing to this issue.

Now to lay out what both sides want.


Well, the Chicago Teachers Union has said we need more help in the classrooms. That means in the form of teaching assistants, that means nurses, that means librarians in some cases as well, because as they put it, it's not just about educating these students but there are some students who just have extra needs when it comes to the English language or even potentially social work as well.

What else are they looking for? They're looking for firm limits on class sizes. That's because they say the classes are too big, frankly, and it makes things very hard to manage.

And then overall, they are looking for raises for all school employees.

Now, what has the city offered in return? The city has conceded a little bit, saying that they will offer 16 percent raises over the course of the next five years. The Chicago Teachers Union says that's not good enough.

They've offered just about $1 million to help with some of those support in the classrooms. The Teachers Union says that's not enough.

And so, here we are.

Now, when it comes to -- when it comes to protests and strikes that we have seen in the past, this is the third one over the course of the past 10 years. The previous one just lasted a few days. The one before that, though, lasted eight days. And now, we are just left to see how long this one will last.

Again, leaving more than 300,000 students out of the classroom -- Dave, Alison.


BRIGGS: Omar, thanks.

NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes sidelined by a potentially serious knee injury. The Kansas City Chiefs quarterback helped off the field in the second quarter of last night's 30 to six victory over the Broncos after keeping the ball on that quarterback sneak there.

Mahomes is expected to undergo an MRI and could be out of action for at least three weeks, potentially a lot longer if there's ligament damage.

The Houston Astros are one win away from the World Series -- a showdown with the Washington Nationals.

George Springer and Carlos Correa both launched 3-run homers as the Astros cruised to an 8-3 win last night at Yankee Stadium. Game five tonight at Yankee Stadium with the Yanks down three games to one.

KOSIK: Lady Gaga did not disappoint in Las Vegas even after falling offstage last night. Take a look.

So what happened here, Gaga invited a fan to dance. He picked her up, they both tumbled into the pit. No official word on injuries here but fans at the show say she popped right back up and she just continued going. She was dancing and singing.

BRIGGS: I'll say that's a shallow pit.

Former Defense Secretary James Mattis breaking his silence after President Trump referred to him as the world's most overrated general at a dinner hosted by the Archdiocese of New York.


GEN. JAMES MATTIS (RET.), FORMER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: And I'm honored to be considered that by Donald Trump because he also called Meryl Streep an overrated actress. So I guess I'm the Meryl Streep of generals and frankly, that sounds pretty good to me. And you do have to admit that between me and Meryl, at least we've had some victories.

I earned my spurs on the battlefield, Martin, as you pointed out, and Donald Trump earned his spurs in a letter from a doctor. So, I'm not in the least bit put out by it.

And I think the only person in the military that Mr. Trump doesn't think is overrated is who you pointed out, Martin, and that's Col. Sanders.


KOSIK: Meow.

BRIGGS: Mattis coming hot there. He did get serious though, quoting Abraham Lincoln.


MATTIS: No, Lincoln went on, it was not the foreign aggressor we must fear; it was corrosion from within. The rot, the viciousness, the lassitude, the ignorance.

Anarchy is one potential consequence of all this. Another is the rise of an ambitious leader unfettered by conscience or precedent or decency who would make themselves supreme.

If destruction be our lot, Lincoln warned, we must, ourselves, be its author and finisher.


BRIGGS: The words of Abraham Lincoln our last word this week. Thanks for joining us. I'm Dave Briggs.

KOSIK: And I'm Alison Kosik. "NEW DAY" starts right now.


KARL: What you just described is a quid pro quo.

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

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mulvaney thinks he can put lipstick on that pig and not think it's still a pig.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is hardly an Agatha Christie novel at this point. We've got the White House chief of staff admitting to the crime.

MULVANEY: I have news for everybody, get over it.

BRIGGS: A key figure at the center of the Ukraine scandal testifying before Congress.

REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): Sondland's opening statement says no quid pro quo, whatsoever.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Many of us came away believing that there was a quid pro quo and Ambassador Sondland didn't do anything to dispel that notion. (END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Friday, October 18th, 6:00 here in New York.

And we begin with an overt case of whiplash in the White House. Acting chief of staff Mick -