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Trump to China: Wish You Helped More in North Korea; Missouri Files Suit Against Opioid Manufacturers; Great Mosque Of Al-Nuri Destroyed In Mosul; Official: Putin Directed Cyberattacks On U.S.; Trump Unconvinced Russia Meddled In Election; Special Counsel Meets Congressional Leaders; Democrats Question Kushner, Flynn Security Clearances; Senate Republicans To Unveil Health Care Plan; Raqqa Residents Share Stories Of ISIS Brutality; FBI Investigating Airport Stabbing As An Act Of Terror; Female Commander Fighting To Liberate Raqqa; King Salman Promotes Son To Crown Prince; Trump To China: I Wish You Helped More With N. Korea. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired June 22, 2017 - 01:00   ET


[01:00:08] AMARA WALKER, CNN TODAY ANCHOR: You are watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles.

JOHN VAUSE, CNN NEWSROOM ANCHOR: Ahead this hour, for 800 years, the Great Mosque of al-Nuri stood in the Iraqi city of Mosul but this priceless piece of history has not survived the war with ISIS.

WALKER: On Capitol Hill, security officials gave new testimony on Russian interference in the election, and one of them says the cyber- attacks were ordered by Vladimir Putin himself.

VAUSE: Also ahead, a new and young crown prince in Saudi Arabia, and it could mean some big changes are coming for the Kingdom.

WALKER: Hello, everyone. And thank you for joining us, I'm Amara Walker.

VAUSE: Good to have you with us, I'm John Vause. This is the second hour of NEWSROOM L.A.

WALKER: A priceless relic from Iraq's past has been destroyed. A casualty of the war against ISIS, Mosul's 800-year-old al-Nuri Mosque was known for its leaning minaret. ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared his Islamic caliphate from the mosque nearly three years ago.

VAUSE: Side by side photos show rubble where the mosque once stood. Both Iraqi and U.S. officials say ISIS destroyed the mosque as Iraqi Forces advanced on the old city. ISIS says the mosque was hit by U.S. warplanes. The U.S. is so adamant that claim is not true.

WALKER: All right. Jomana Karadsheh joining us now from Aman, Jordan with the very latest. Take us through what happened, Jomana. I mean, this mosque was symbolic in the fight against ISIS.

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN PRODUCER: Absolutely, Amara. And this battle, this really long and bloody battle to recapture Mosul, Iraqi Forces were looking to that moment when they recapture al-Nuri Mosque, when they take down the flag of ISIS that has been fluttering over that mosque for three years and replace it with the Iraqi flag. That was going to be their symbolic victory, recapturing Iraq's second city after three years of being under ISIS rule. As you mentioned, this was the place where we saw Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS, come out in the summer of 2014 in his first and only public appearance, declaring this Caliphate. So it would have been -- it's hugely significant for ISIS; it is very symbolic for them, but for Iraqis, it was the moment they were waiting for.

And according to Iraqi commanders, as their troops were closing in on al-Nuri mosque, they have been, for months, trying to recapture the mosque and they were inching closer and closer towards it. And yesterday, they say they were about 50 meters or 150 feet from the mosque, and there were reports that they were going to attempt to storm it and to recapture it today. But according to Iraqi Commanders, ISIS blew up the al-Nuri Mosque, and it's really well- known, that landmark of Mosul, the leaning minaret of al-Nuri Mosque.

And then, of course, the short time after that, we saw these claims coming out from ISIS on their so-called news agency on social media, claiming that it was a U.S. coalition strike that destroyed the mosque, something that is being denied by the U.S. military, saying it's a thousand percent false and we've also heard that from the Iraqi forces. So al-Nuri Mosque now can be added to that the long list of monuments, shrines, and history that ISIS has destroyed in Iraq and Syria over the past three years, Amara.

WALKER: And obviously a dire situation for the 100,000 plus civilians could still be trapped in Mosul. Jomana Karadsheh with the very latest from Aman, thank you.

VAUSE: Now to Russia's interference in the U.S. Presidential Election, the Department of Homeland Security says hackers targeted election systems in 21 of the 50 U.S. States.

WALKER: That is just one of the revelations that came from a series of hearings on Capitol Hill. CNN's Jessica Schneider has the story.


JEH JOHNSON, FORMER UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: In 2016 the Russian government, at the direction of Vladimir Putin himself, orchestrated cyber attacks on our nation for the purpose of influencing our election. That is a fact, plain and simple.

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson pinning the election hacks squarely on Russia, but also facing scrutiny for not sounding the alarm sooner.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA), HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Why did it take the Administration so long to make a public statement that a foreign adversary was trying to influence the American election. The statement didn't come until October. Why did we wait from July until October to make that statement?

JOHNSON: Well, Congressman, I'm going to disagree with your premise that there was some type of delay. This was a big decision, and there were a lot of considerations that went into it. There was an ongoing election, and many would criticize us for, perhaps, taking sides.

[01:05:09] SCHNEIDER: President Trump has resisted laying blame solely on Russia.

DONALD TRUMP, UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: As far as hacking, I think it was Russia but I think we also get hacked by other countries and other people.

If you don't catch a hacker, OK, in the act, it's very hard to say who did the hacking. With that being said, I'll go along with Russia. Could have been China; it could have been a lot of different groups.

SCHNEIDER: And his Press Secretary still refuses to answer whether the President agrees with the Intelligence Committee's conclusion that Russia was responsible.

SEAN SPICER, UNITED STATES WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think I have not sat down and talked to him about that specific thing.

SEN. MARK WARNER (D-VA), SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE VICE CHAIRMAN: It continues to stun me that we have consensus across our Intelligence Community, we have consensus from all the Democrats and Republicans on this committee that the Russians interfered. The one individual in America that still seems to not accept this basic fact is the President of the United States who still continues to use terms like witch hunt and fake news.

SCHNEIDER: FBI and DHS officials stressed the attempted intrusions were far reaching but there is no evidence the hacks affected any votes.

JEANETTE MANFRA, DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY DEPUTY UNDERSECRETARY OF CYBERSECURITY: As of right now, we have evidence of 21 states -- or election-related systems in 21 states that were targeted.

SEN. RICHARD BURR (R-NC), SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: But in no case were actual votes tallies altered in any way, shape, or form?

MANFRA: That is correct.

BILL PRIESTAP, FBI COUNTERINTELLIGENCE DIVISION ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: I believe the Russians will absolutely continue to try to conduct influence operations in the U.S. which will include cyber intrusions.

SCHNEIDER: Meanwhile, Special Counsel Robert Mueller spent his second day on Capitol Hill meeting with the leaders from the Senate Judiciary Committee, ironing out the parameters of each probe. Chairman Chuck Grassley reiterating that his investigation could include possible obstruction of justice by the President.

SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY (R), IOWA: I think that everything is on the table. SCHNEIDER: Judiciary Committee leaders issued a statement after their meeting with Mueller stressing they're working to proceed without impeding each other's investigations. Meanwhile, current and former Homeland Security officials used those hearings to urge the States to beef up their safeguards in the wake of those wide-ranging cyber- attacks. Jessica Schneider, CNN, Washington.


WALKER: House Democrats want to know why former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was allowed to keep his security clearance despite warnings from the Justice Department. Congressman Elijah Cummings has written a letter to the White House citing concerns about Flynn being vulnerable to blackmail by Russia.

VAUSE: Cummings said Democrats has still lot of concerns about the President's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who also failed to disclose Russian contacts. House Democrats are demanding Kushner's clearance be suspended while the investigation is ongoing. Let's bring in our political panel now on this, Democratic strategist Matt Littman and Republican strategist John Jordan, with us once again. Right now, Jared Kushner is spending almost an entire day in the Middle East. He's hoping to jump-start peace talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians. But Matt, as far as this letter concerned about Kushner's security clearance one from the House Democrats, the White House has ignored 260 letters from Democrats demanding - making similar demands from the White House. Would you expect this to be 261?

MATT LITTMAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I would, and there will probably be about 500 in a few weeks, because the Administration seems to be ignoring every Democratic request for oversight and seems to be putting a new level of secrecy on everything that they do, including not even disclosing who goes into the White House for meetings, which has now filtered down to the secret Senate health care plan. As for Jared Kushner himself, somebody would have to explain to me why Jared Kushner didn't report on his security forms that he met with Russians that he wanted to meet in the Russian embassy with Russian security devices, with Russian communications devices, and why he met with a Russian Banker? And why is he doing these things, and why is he not reporting them? Michael Flynn didn't report his meetings with Russians. So there seems to be this long history here. But nobody can really figure out why Kushner and Flynn weren't reporting their meetings. I don't really know why - we don't know yet why, but it's all very suspicious.

VAUSE: John, doesn't this issue of security clearance, shouldn't this -- in terms of national security, shouldn't this, at least, deserve an answer?

JOHN JORDAN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, yes, this is still in the investigative stage and it's still in the allegation stage in a very partisan manner. But there is, however, a significant unreported dimension to this story. And that is, if the Russians were trying to help President Trump be elected, they sure didn't get their money's worth because nobody could have been harder on the Russians and Putin than President Trump has. Specifically, President Trump's policy, whether it's withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord, whether they agree with it or not, and his pro-American energy independence policies, have driven down the price of oil. And if there's a more pernicious or damaging thing you can do to a Russian leader, months before an election, when his political standing at home is already very tenuous, I don't know what it is.

[01:10:05] He has been very tough on the Russians and, jeez, by driving down the price of oil, he's threatening to throw the Russian economy back into recession. Last week in Russia Day, there were a hundred protests across Russia; a thousand people arrested in St. Petersburg. Putin is dealing from a position of weakness and President Trump is making life very difficult with -- for him and not just with the sanctions but with hitting Assad's forces in Syria, and of course, the most - the biggest of all, driving down oil prices and damaging the Russian economy.

VAUSE: Matt, I'll get you to weigh on it, because I actually heard quite the opposite about pulling out of the Paris Accord by, you know, by pulling out of the Accord and cutting investment in renewables that sort of would ultimately push up the price of oil because no one would be using renewable energy, Matt.

JORDAN: Well, it didn't. The markets -


JORDAN: The drop -- the price of oil dropped over a dollar.

LITTMAN: When he say that the idea that this did not -- that this did not benefit Putin is a very, very unique position being taken by one person and (INAUDIBLE). It seems to me that when Donald Trump said - did not mention Article 5 when he met with NATO and the - what is - what is Putin's greatest goal? Putin's greatest goal is that NATO falls apart, right? And so, when Donald Trump met with the NATO leaders -

JORDAN: Putin's greatest goal is --


LITTMAN: -- he didn't even say that he supported -- I'll finish. I'll finish. Hold on. He wouldn't even say that he supported Article 5 to the point that now, leaders in these European countries are saying that they may not be able to look to the United States for leadership. That is the number one goal of Russia.

VAUSE: John, a quick reply, we got to move on.

JORDAN: Well, first of all, the - first of all, Putin's goal and his necessity is for him to survive the elections next year, and he's already in deep trouble. The Russian economy is deteriorating rapidly. And pulling out of the Paris Climate Accords did drive down the price of oil. That is - that is a fact, that's indisputable. And that it is equally - it is equally true that it is very, very hard on the Russian economy. VAUSE: OK. We now know that Jared Kushner -

JORDAN: Follow the money.

VAUSE: OK - had multiple meetings -- I think that's what they're doing. Kushner had multiple meetings with Russian officials, so too, the Attorney General Jeff Sessions, so did Carter Page, who once worked on the campaign for a while. Also, Michael Flynn, as well. Yet, here is the President back in February.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you say whether you are aware that anyone who advised your campaign had contacts with Russia during the course of the election?

TRUMP: Well, I told you, General Flynn, obviously, was dealing, so that's one person, but he was dealing as he should have been.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: During the election?

TRUMP: No, no, nobody that I know of.


VAUSE: Matt, is it possible that all these meetings can be taking place without the President's knowledge?

LITTMAN: It actually may be possible that they're taking place without the President's knowledge. It's possible there's a lot of dealing going on between Jared Kushner, who's meeting with the Russian banker. Obviously, if you're meeting with a banker, it's probably about money. But in all likelihood, it's not like we've got this morally upstanding group of people: Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn, and let's try to remember that in terms of the President's knowledge, they changed the RNC platform about Ukraine, and defending Ukraine was a unique historical position right before the Republican National Convention. Donald Trump did have to know about that. Why did that happen? Remember that the Russian Ambassador was in Cleveland at that same time. So I think there's a lot of evidence that people on the campaign may have been working with the Russians. I really don't know whether or not it goes all the way up to Trump.

VAUSE: John, I thought that the whole changing the party platform to go softer on Ukraine actually be debunked that they actually sort of toughened it up. What do you know about that?

JORDAN: Well, it's just a party platform. It's written by a bunch of party activists. And that's true about Democrats and Republicans. It is important, however, to know that the Russian Ambassador sent to the United States is, first of all, an intelligence gatherer. And anybody in Washington knows that the Russian Ambassador is kind of everywhere; he's ubiquitous. He wants to meet and spend time with everybody. And they do spend time - and he does spend time at conventions and he was there in Cleveland, probably because Donald Trump was an outsider and they needed to take the measure of the guy. But the Russian Ambassador meets with everybody all the time; he is a man about town in D.C. You -- so if you're - so if you're in politics, I mean, you could have run into him at a cocktail party, or a reception with hundreds of people there, and technically, maybe you shook his hand or exchanged a greeting, but that does really constitute a meeting?

LITTMAN: Yes. But in terms of the fact that there were actually meetings, which there were, they didn't report them. So the question would be why they didn't report them. There were actual meetings; not just handshakes at cocktail parties. Why didn't they report those meetings; why didn't Jared Kushner report those meetings on the security form?

VAUSE: Last word, John.

JORDAN: Well, you'll have to ask Mr. - you'll have to ask Mr. Kushner. I'm not a, you know, I'm not - I'm not here to defend absolutely, the Trump Administration. That's going to play itself out. But with regard with Attorney General Sessions, yes, he bumped into the Russian Ambassador in his capacity as a Senator, not in his capacity as an adviser to the Trump campaign. That's when he bumped into him, and in each case, there were - there were dozens and dozens of witnesses. So that's kind of what tripped up Attorney General Sessions. And that's the narrative that the Democrats have run with ever since.

[01:15:10] VAUSE: OK. I think we are out of time but that is a good place to leave it. We didn't get to the Health Care Bill, which is about to be revealed in the coming hours. The President says he wants it to have some heart. I guess we'll see about that. Matt Littman and John Jordan, thank you so much for being with us.

WALKER: And time to take a quick break. Now that Saudi Arabia's line of succession has been reordered, we'll take a closer look at how the new Crown Prince could influence the region and the world.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): When they were running away, they fear that they were also fired on by ISIS fighters who were basically ordering them to return.


VAUSE: And some more chilling, horrific stories of life in Raqqa as coalition forces fight to free the city.


VAUSE: A knife attack at a Michigan Airport is being investigated as an act of terror. The FBI says Canadian resident, Amor Ftouhi, shouted Allahu Akhbar before stabbing a police officer in the neck. He's been charged with violence at an international airport and could face other charges as well.

WALKER: The officer is in satisfactory condition. A maintenance worker who helped subdue the attacker was also injured. Investigators say Ftouhi he legally entered the U.S. in New York and made his way to Bishop International Airport.

VAUSE: The fight to liberate Raqqa from ISIS is just getting started but we are learning more about the terror group's brutality from those who has escaped.

WALKER: Our Arwa Damon spoke to these people who made it out including a woman who is now leading to fight to liberate her city.


ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The coalition- backed Syrian Defense Forces have managed to clear the first few neighborhoods of Raqqa. Outside the city, we ran into Clara Raqqa, one of the unit commanders here and a native of the city itself just back from one of the fronts.

CLARA RAQQA, SYRIAN DEFENSE FORCES UNIT COMMANDER (through translator): In the city, we can see that the city of Raqqa is above ground and there is another city below ground. Raqqa was a city that was a mosaic of people that turned into a place of women's enslavement, the place where women were enslaved has to be liberated by the hands of women.

DAMON: It's a city whose brutality transcends our current vocabulary, ruled by ISIS since 2013, where Yazidi Kurds and even Arab women were sold on the streets as sex slaves; where public executions and beheadings were a regular occurrence; where journalists and aid workers were held hostage and murdered. These are the faces of those who lived in Raqqa now in a hastily put together camp, children who have little choice but to witness the stuff of nightmares. The lines of good and evil blurred for them.

This woman from Raqqa married an ISIS member; a foreigner from the Caucasus who she says had an administrative job.

[01:20:18] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): ISIS made a mockery of us. There is nothing else we can say. When they were running away, they say that they were also fired upon by ISIS fighters who were basically ordering them to return.

DAMON: And then there are also those who went willingly to join. It became a magnet for foreign fighters and others. This woman is from the Caucasus. She came with her husband and four children claiming they wanted to live in the caliphate. She says they were lured online by the promise of Islamic utopia and a job for her husband.

This Syrian woman is an English teacher. She eventually married a Moroccan man who went through ISIS military training although she claims he never fought. ISIS, she says, never allowed the population to escape their brutality.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, when you walk on the streets of Raqqa, there are big screens that are showing beheadings. They have, you know, the projectors and we are walking in the streets and just watching these videos.

DAMON: How are you going to explain this to your children?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I pray for God to -- that my children forget this without asking me. They are all the time thinking about war and killing and they see a video of cutting heads.

DAMON: The battle for the ISIS capital has just begun and what lies ahead is unknown for those who are fighting to liberate it, and for the civilians who are still trapped inside. Arwa Damon, CNN, Syria.


WALKER: Now to Saudi Arabia where Mohammed bin Salman, has been elevated to Crown Prince. King Salman made his son the next in line to the throne by removing his nephew, Mohammed bin Nayef, as the Crown Prince.

VAUSE: There are questions about how the new Crown Prince will use his powers domestically and regionally. The 31-year-old has been a large role in backing Yemeni forces fighting rebels Yemen. He is expected to try to modern size the economy, moving it away from a reliance on oil.

Well for more, joining us from Zurich is Saudi writer and political commentator, Salman Al-Ansari. Salman, good to see you. Thank you for being with us. This is the second time the Saudi King has removed a sitting Crown Prince. It was unprecedented the first time and surprising the second time. What is driving the move this time?

SALMAN AL-ANSARI, SAUDI WRITER AND POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Great. Hi, John and all the viewers of CNN around the globe. Basically, it can be very expected from the very beginning because we could see that from bin Salman, the new Crown Prince to be pragmatic. And he was the engineer of vision 2030, and not only for the Saudi Arabia but also for the whole region. When you have economic prosperity in Saudi, it's in the world as well. And I think King Salman made his choice after he had seen how Mohammed bin Salman was basically very effective on dealing with the challenges we have, either economic, social and also security challenges.

And the new crown prince is basically being very energetic on creating a new momentum with the relationship with the United States, the most trusted ally for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and because we all know that Saudi Arabia and the U.S. has always been using a golden rule for 24-Security. But after the oil and the changes in the oil market, things have changed. That's why we need a new golden rule which I can call it trade and security for trade and security.

VAUSE: So let me jump in there because you've done all the positives, you've covered them brilliantly, you know, all that absolutely runs on the board; just 31, looking to improve the economy. But there is very big blot on his copy book because he is the architect of Saudi Arabia's war in Yemen that has pretty much turned out to be a disaster for the Kingdom and Yemen and a disaster for the region. Iran, Saudi Arabia's biggest foe watching the Saudi's spending billions on a war it can't win with one of the poorest countries in the world. ANSARI: Yes. I don't agree that the war in Yemen was a disaster for the Kingdom because Saudi Arabia didn't have a choice but to intervene in Yemen with the other coalition members. One, because the legitimate government of Yemen asked for the support and we have the U.N. Resolution, the Security Council Resolution 2216 that stated clearly that those Iranian-backed militias should be actually kicked out of Yemen. And if we leave - if we -- let's assume, John, that we have left Yemen as it is, like without intervening, trust me on this, the battlement of the (INAUDIBLE) which is the trade presence of their world trade goes through it, would be under the hands of the Houthi militias which is -- and that would be a security challenge not only for the region but to the whole world. Number two - the Houthi militias --

[01:25:35] VAUSE: Salman, we don't want to re-litigate the reasons and the pros and cons of the war in Yemen. I think that's another story. But what I want to do is look at the impact on the region just very quickly here because the former Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Nayef, had a very warm relation with the Amir of Qatar. We now know that the Saudis are leading this diplomatic isolation of Qatar. So, now that bin Nayef is gone, how much harder will it be to try and resolve this diplomatic dispute between Saudi and Qatar and the other countries in the region?

ANSARI: With regard to Qatar, I think we have to look at it from the lens of the Riyadh Summit when more than 50 Muslim leaders met with the President of the United States, Donald Trump, in Riyadh and they created a very clear strategy on combatting terrorism which I can simplify by saying zero tolerance to any funder of terrorism, or advocate of terrorism. And Qatar, unfortunately, was part of the issue in the region, not part of the solution. They supported JFS in Syria which is related to Al-Qaeda. They are supporting the Muslim Brotherhood in the Muslim world, so Qatar has been basically having a lot on its plate when it comes to being a negative partner or a negative player in the region.

So I think this regarding whom is actually the Crown Prince, et cetera, I think King Salman and the King of Saudi Arabia with the Muslim world will not be tolerating any funder of terrorism, any advocate for terrorism and Qatar needs to step back and needs to get back to its mind to basically - so we can basically have a natural relationship with them.

VAUSE: OK. Salman, this is obviously something very dear to you and you know a lot about the topic. I'm sorry we did not have more time because there are a lot of issues to get into here. But thank you very much for sharing your insight on a few of these topics. We appreciate it. Thank you, Sir.

WALKER: And still to come, U.S. President Trump uses a rally in Iowa to send a strong message to China about diplomatic efforts with North Korea.

VAUSE: Also, the state of Missouri taking its fight against opioid abuse to the courtroom. Why the state is suing three major drug manufacturers. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[01:30:22] JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause.


The headlines this hour --


VAUSE: The U.S. president may be taking another veiled swipe at China. During a rally in Iowa on Wednesday, he suggests Beijing has not applied enough pressure on Pyongyang to stop or even curtail the country's nuclear weapons program.

WALKER: Mr. Trump's remarks coming days after the death of Otto Warmbier, a U.S. student who died this week after spending 17 months in detention in North Korea.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have had a very good relationship with China, and I do like President Xi. I wish we would have more help with respect to North Korea from China. But that doesn't seem to be working out.


TRUMP: But I do like the president a lot.


WALKER: President Trump has made clear in the past that his preference is to work with China on North Korea but he is willing to go after Pyongyang alone if necessary.

Joining me now is Matt Rivers in Shanghai, China.

Matt, let's talk about the meeting between U.S. and Chinese officials. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Wednesday urged Beijing to use its influence to rein in North Korea. But China has made it clear it is only willing to go so far.

MATT RIVERS, CNN ASIA-PACIFIC EDITOR: What China says and what it does, according to the main critics of China in regards to North Korea, are two very different things. What you heard from the secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, is nothing new. There have been successive administrations going back to President Clinton that have looked towards China to use its economic influence, of which it has a lot, over North Korea to force them to get -- to stop or curtail their weapons programs. This, in and of itself, is not a new concept from the secretary of state, and is it the stated position of the Trump administration from a get-go. It was not a surprise in this initial dialogue that the secretary of state and the secretary of defense would bring that up with their Chinese counterparts. As to how far China is willing to go that is the big question. What

you will hear from critics is that, yes, China is involved at the U.N. Security Council and they helped drafted two rounds of sanctions, the latest in 2016. And they do -- earlier this year, they did suspend coal imports from North Korea. But at the same time, trade, total trade volume between China and North Korea is up nearly 40 percent in the first quarter year over year from 2016 to 2017. So what China says and what China does can be two different things -- Amara?

WALKER: Matt, a lot of people scratching their heads over what Mr. Trump meant in this tweet from Tuesday. It read, "While I greatly appreciate the efforts of President Xi in China to help with North Korea, it has not work it out. At least I know China tried." A

And we showed you this soundbite from his rally in Iowa where the president repeated that he likes President Xi Jinping, although he wishes he could get more help on North Korea.

How are these messages being perceived in China? From many it sounds like a conciliatory tone that the president is taking.

RIVERS: In a way, you could read into that as a conciliatory message but, at the same time, he is giving a mixed message, saying is China not doing enough? But I like President Xi. Can you separate the two? That's the question. China never rises to the bait from President Trump's harsh rhetoric against China throughout the campaign and they rarely take the bait when the president tweets about Chinese activities. They stick to their chosen talking points, which is we are working hard to solve the North Korea problem.

I think why the president's tweet, why it is impactful is does the president's message on this, does it signal a shift in the administration's policy towards China? If the administration doesn't actually believe that President Xi and his government are willing to do more against North Korea, does that sour the relationship between the United States and China? That's the big outstanding question.

[01:35:33] WALKER: It sure is.

Matt Rivers, with the view from Beijing, thank you very much.

VAUSE: Time for a short break. When we come back, Missouri is joining other U.S. states in the battle against opioid addiction. We'll have details on a groundbreaking lawsuit against three drug makers in just a moment.


VAUSE: Now to the opioid epidemic in the U.S., which is overwhelming hospitals from coast to coast. Data published on Tuesday shows, between 2005 and 2014, there was a 64 percent increase in emergency room visits for opioid-related issues.

WALKER: In 2014 alone, that meant nearly 1.3 million people sought emergency care. And daily hospital admissions or emergency room visits skyrocketed from 1800 in 2005 to 3500 in 2014. The data shows poorer communities are hit harder by the epidemic than wealthier ones, but hospital visits went up 75 percent to 85 percent across all income ranges.

VAUSE: In response, states are taking their attention to the pharmaceutical industry. On Wednesday, Missouri became the latest state in the nation to sue drug companies for allegedly downplaying the addictive qualities of the opioid painkillers.


JOSH HAWLEY, MISSOURI ATTORNEY GENERAL: We are seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in damages and hundreds of millions more in civil penalties. We are seeking, in short, one of the largest judgments in Missouri history. And this is why. These companies have helped create an epidemic of drug abuse never before seen in Missouri history.


VAUSE: So far, Ohio and Mississippi, West Virginia, some counties in New York and California and the city of Chicago have filed similar lawsuits.

For more, Dr. Reef Karim joins us now, the founder and director of the Medical Control Center of Beverly Hills.

Reef, good to see you. Thanks for coming in.


WALKER: Missouri is especially hard hit. The death rate there is nine deaths per 100,000 people compared to less than six per 100,000 nationally.

KARIM: The Midwest has been hit quite a bit. And a lot of the fentanyl compound put in the pills, the black market has made its way to the Midwest. We have seen more deaths in that area.

I applaud these states for doing it, and the city of Chicago. Something needs to be done and there's a system here. And the system is, there's a problem, a sleep problem, an anxiety, a pain problem, a pharmaceutical company makes a medication and markets it to the doctors, with the hope doctors will prescribe it, but then, all of a sudden, the pharmaceutical companies started to do direct-to-consumer marketing and their marketing practices are what they are.

[01:40:28] VAUSE: That is the basis of the suit in Missouri. The governor says -- he's accused the drug companies of deception and misrepresenting the risks of the addictive risks of the drugs and using fraud to cover up their claims. Is that your experience, I guess, without getting into legal trouble here? But isn't there a responsibility on the doctors?

KARIM: Without getting into legal trouble, because we know that's very important here. Think about this, let be real, the product label and the drug label for the medications made by the pharmaceutical companies are tiny. I have a hard time reading them just looking at them in front of me. But their marketing practice, whether in medical journals or a commercial where someone is laying on a hammock just swaying in the wind because they are feeling great, their practices are not consistent with what the labels are saying. If you don't say, hey, this medication has great abuse liability, that could be looked at as fraudulent.

VAUSE: A spokesperson for Jansen, one of the companies in this lawsuit, told Kansas City Star," "The company acted appropriately, responsibly and the best interest of the parents regarding opioid pain medication, which are FDA approved and carry FDA mandated warnings on every product label."

That's to your point. You say the labels are too small, you can't read them, but this has been approved by the FDA. They are following the rules, right?

KARIM: Technically. What I think the states are trying to do here is go after the company like they went after big tobacco. But the problem with big tobacco was they were not regulated by the FDA in the '90s. I think it was 2009 that it shifted. They can hide behind the fact that it's FDA approved. What's the problem?

VAUSE: What's the problem, yeah.

KARIM: And the doctors, doctors need to inform every single consumer if a medication has abuse liability and what the alternatives and risks are of any medication. But ultimately this comes down to the consumer. You have to ask the doctor, you have to read the product label. I hate to say that, and I don't want to push it on every person here, but this is a crisis. This is a crisis. This is no joke.

VAUSE: We are almost out of time. The Trump administration is pushing the health care plan through the Senate right now with big cuts to Medicare and Medicaid and big cuts to the addiction programs. More than 50,000 people died of an opioid related death in the U.S. last year. If this plan goes through, will this get worse?

KARIM: This is scary. Medicaid, particularly, is covering lower- insured -- low-income individuals. And medication-assisted treatment costs up to $300 or more a month, but works so well. If you cut that, it's going to be a real problem. It's going to be scary.

VAUSE: This is a crisis in the poor parts of the country as well.

KARIM: Absolutely.

VAUSE: Reef, thanks for coming in.

KARIM: Thank you.

VAUSE: You've been watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause.

WALKER: And I'm Amara Walker.

"World Sport" starts after the break.




[02:00:09] WALKER: This is CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles.

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