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Tariff Clash with China; Trumps Supreme Court Pick; Thailand Rescue Emergency Plan; Ohio State Abuse Allegations. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired July 5, 2018 - 09:30   ET


[09:30:00] DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Start there with your book and these Trump supporters who may, in fact, pay thousands of dollars more for American made cars. And it's beginning to hit soybean farmers and the like. At what point does this hit Trump supporters and do they hold the president accountable?

SALENA ZITO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it's a really interesting sort of scenario, right? So you have -- a lot of people are looking at this at 30,000 feet and saying, oh my God, this is going to make Trump supporters not be happy, it's going to make them sort of walk away from him because it impacts their pocketbook. But you have to also sort of look at it from their point of view. This is something that was very important to them, not just small business people, but also farmers and manufacturing workers and people that, you know, have sort of had to patchwork jobs together because they believed this was part of what hurt the economy in their small communities. It wasn't just tariffs. It was also automation. That also had a big impact.

But what I think is going to happen is, you know, a lot of these voters I've talked to, some of them are in a wait-and-see sort of attitude. A lot of them are like, look, economists told us that NAFTA was going to be great for us and it wasn't. We don't trust economists. We're ready, we're willing to wait and see how this plays out.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: You know, Matt Lewis, the Midwesterners, the soybean farmers, the people who live, you know, in rural America, who I'm related to, and who I talk to, they're a little concerned. They're concerned that ag is being sacrificed for steel workers here and the president, the Republican president of the United States, Matt, is picking winners and losers in the economy. That is so against the Republican playbook.

MATT LEWIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, that's right. I mean this is a problem both philosophically in terms of being -- if you're a traditional, modern, free market conservative, this certainly goes against the grain. But also it goes against the populist sentiment of wanting to be there for the farmers, you know. And it's interesting because the ambassador to China is Terry Branstad, the former governor of Iowa, a long-time serving Republican governor. I'm wondering what he's hearing back home in Iowa. I don't think that the average person is going to notice probably the tax, which is a tariff, on goods that they're buying in America. But I think these exporters, you know, the farmers in the Midwest -- ROMANS: Yes.

LEWIS: Who are not able to sell their goods to China, that is, I think, where you're going to see the big uproar and Donald Trump is going to hear from them.

ROMANS: It's interesting because the White House and -- the trade hawks in the White House, they get sort of peeved about that argument because they say, look, you know, soybeans are fungible. Agriculture products are fungible. If China doesn't buy them, somebody else will. There's going to be a market for them no matter what. So ag is going to be protected. USDA has some idea of how to protect -- make these farmers whole. But, you know, cash rents are going down, farm value is going down, soybean prices are going down.

BRIGGS: But for the politics of this, Mark, even Karl Rove, conservative, has written in "The Wall Street Journal" that all of this together more than potentially erases the tax cut benefits that voters are seeing. How will this play as a political issue ahead of the midterms?

MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, let me put it and tie together the economics of what we're talking about right now, in that politics of what we're talking right now.

I spoke to a friend of mine who has built a business within the auto industry. He took it from five or ten people. It is up to almost 70 people right now.

I just spoke to him this morning and asked, how are these tariffs in China going to hurt you? His first response to me was, well, it's not just -- it's just not China. It's also what's happening with Canada. What happens is, is that they are taking this material that is coming into the United States, is being used by him to create a part, which is then sold to a warehouse, which is then sold to an auto parts store which is then sold to the consumer. What he says these tariffs are going to do right now is add a 15 percent cut to his bottom line, which is going to result potentially in him laying off workers.

Politically, what does that mean? Right now we're talking about what the effects could be. Let's get into the fall when we hit the midterm elections when the effects take hold. And that's where it's going to be very difficult, maybe not for Mr. Trump because he's not on the ballot, but for Republicans across the country.

ROMANS: Yes, it will be -- it will be interesting. The White House is really confident, by the way, guys, that the economy is so hot, so strong, that any kind of short term hit from tariffs, you know, short of a trade war, is going to be absorbed by the American economy.

Let's talk about SCOTUS here, the Supreme Court. We're told that the president's done, you guys, with all of the interviews. He's going to be making a -- you know, he'll probably make the pick himself today. We think maybe by Monday there will be some kind of announcement.

Matt Lewis, where are the winds blowing there? LEWIS: Well, I mean, I think that Donald Trump and his team are

intentionally trying to make this dramatic. I don't believe anything I'm seeing. I see people say it's down to these two. I don't buy it. I think that there's misinformation and disinformation being fed out there.

I'm a booster of Amy Barrett, which I think would be the pick that conservatives would find inspiring. I think Donald Trump might like this pick, too, because it's going to spark a lot of controversy, but it's controversy I think he wins in the court of public opinion. I think she's a good judge.

[09:35:14] BRIGGS: She might be tough to get Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, depending on how they view her work as related to Roe v. Wade.

But let me ask you, Salena, where is the conservative divide on this? Will they support whomever it is that the president picks?

ZITO: Well, it's sort of like picking a team, right, to go in and play -- you know, for your country to go play another country, right? You like go on all that -- you have all these choices and you want the best of the best of the best. So when I talk to people, they've all been pretty satisfied to different levels of people on the list made by the Federalist Society for the president. They work together, along with McConnell, before the elections. Most conservatives could be -- or would be happy with just about anyone. Everyone has sort of their favorites they like better for personal reasons or for ideological reasons. But it's going to be really hard to say that, you know, that there's going to be a pick and within the conservative populist movement that they just say, well, that's it, they -- he picked that person and I can't go with him anymore. They're satisfied with everyone (ph).

LEWIS: I don't -- I don't think anybody -- I don't think anybody bails on Donald Trump over this.

ZITO: Yes.

LEWIS: But I do think conservatives will be disappointed if Brett Kavanaugh gets picked. I think it would be a buzz kill at this point. But, we'll see.

BRIGGS: Mark, let me ask you quickly about the politics of this for Democrats because the president is in Montana tonight. How difficult will it be for those 10 red state -- those 10 Democrats that are up for re-election from Trump states, like John Tester, pressure to vote for his pick?

PRESTON: Talk about being put between a rock and a hard place, right?


PRESTON: So if you're from these red -- these red states, but in order to win, you need to get all the liberals, all the Democrats to come out and get you to whatever it may be, 48 percent, 49 percent. And then you want some Republicans to come on board to push you over -- over the finish line.

It is going to be difficult for them. It's going to be difficult for senators who voted to put her on the appeals court to then turn and say that they don't think she should be on the Supreme Court. The appeals court, only one step below the Supreme Court. Let's not forget that. And there are several Democrats who did vote for her to be on the appeals court.

So, look, we're headed towards a nasty confirmation fight. But the fact is, the votes are in the Senate or their -- they are much better off -- let's say this, Dave, they're much better off today than they were two years ago, or a year and a half ago trying to get a judge through the court.


ROMANS: All right, a lot going on, guys. Thanks so much for being there. Mark Preston, Matt Lewis, Salena Zito, thanks, guys.

ZITO: Thanks.

ROMANS: All right, rescuers now racing against the weather to save those boys trapped in that flooded cave. We've got a live update from Thailand, next.


[09:41:56] BRIGGS: All right, it's 9:41 Eastern Time and weather remains a major concern for rescue workers trying to evacuate those trapped boys from a Thailand cave, stuck in there now 12 days running. Heavy rain in the forecast. That's on top of the water already inside the cave. Workers constantly pumping water out every day, but the flooding is still incredibly dangerous.

ROMANS: This as we're learning that rescue teams do have an emergency plan if the situation becomes critical.

CNN Asia correspondent Jonathan Miller is there.

So what, Jonathan, is this emergency contingency plan?

JONATHAN MILLER, ASIA CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christine, I'll be honest with you, I think, from what I understand, that the emergency contingency plan is an accelerated version of what is already their plan a. Plan a basically involves putting full-face oxygen masks on the boys, bringing them out on what is a five-hour journey for an experienced cave diver through what is essentially an underground assault course back to the cave entrance right behind me.

Now, you can probably see what's going on in here right now. There are a bunch of people here trying to prepare fiber optic cables to put down into the cave system. Now, they've been -- they've had an unsuccessful attempt to establish a communications link with the boys to allow them to talk to their moms and dads up here. That hasn't happened yet. So that's still going on as we speak. But, you know, the situation now is really critical. It's nail-biting. They have a very small window now to try to extract the boys before this forecast deluge of the monsoon, which is likely to start again on Saturday.

BRIGGS: Oh, my.

ROMANS: Oh, terrifying.

BRIGGS: We've seen this video, Jonathan, of some of these kids smiling in a video that they apparently made for their parent, which makes you think they're in decent condition. But it would be hard to imagine. What do we know about that?

MILLER: Well, it is absolutely extraordinary these boys' resilience. You know, there they are smiling, sharing the odd joke with the Navy SEAL divers who have gone down there. They seem to be in reasonably good shape. The doctors are relatively happy with them. A couple of them are said to be a bit malnourished, which is hardly surprising having spent nine days without any food in the dark down there. And their coach, a 25-year-old, was apparently giving some of the food that he had with him to the boys and is in worse condition than any of them.

Now, we don't really know anything other than what we've seen in the videos but the boys are gathering strength. They've been given these high protein drinks, these high energy biscuits and other foods to gather their strength for what may, in the end, be a last dash out before these rains hit and the torrential torrents flow back down into the cave system.

ROMANS: That's just -- I mean those smiles on their faces as the camera was panning because they were basically proof of life for their moms and dads to show them, hi, here I am, mom. It's just really -- oh, we really wish them the best. Keep us posted on all the progress.

Jonathan Miller, thank you.

BRIGGS: Those kids as young as 11, as old as 16.

Jonathan, thanks.

[09:44:56] Republican Jim Jordan facing reporters and doubling down on his denial that he knew anything about sexual abuse at Ohio State University and never reported it while he was an assistant coach.


BRIGGS: Just minutes ago, Republican Congressman Jim Jordan speaking out, defending himself once again against accusations that he ignored sexual abuse while he was a wrestling coach at Ohio State. Here's what he just said at an event in Ohio.


REP. JIM JORDAN (R), OHIO: Absolutely untrue the things that have been said about me. If there had been any reports of abuse, I would have reported them. Coach Hellickson said the same thing. So, you know.

[09:50:06] And for anyone who -- for anyone who was victimized, we want them to receive justice. And, I mean, there's just no place for this kind of stuff. And there's no place for it.

But the stuff that's being said about me is just plain false.

QUESTION: Do you think it's politically motivated?

JORDAN: Well, I mean, look, I don't know, but the timing is kind of interesting. It's right after the big hearing with Mr. Rosenstein. It's right when there's all this talk about a speaker's race.


ROMANS: All right, so a lot of layers there to peel back.


ROMANS: Jean Casarez joins us now with more.

What do we know, Jean.

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we've just gotten some brand new information. You remember that the law firm that is in charge of the independent investigation in Ohio did tell CNN that they had reached out, communicated to the congressman's office, because they wanted to interview him and they never heard back from him.

The congressman has just said that his office has been researching -- we knew this -- all their communication and they couldn't find anything. And he has just said that they have realized and found out that the e-mail it was sent to didn't exist. And that was why they didn't get the communication to participate.

BRIGGS: His office says that, not the law firm?

CASAREZ: At this point. This is -- we're getting this information right now.

BRIGGS: No confirmation.

ROMANS: Right.


CASAREZ: Just minutes ago.

So he did say yesterday that they are willing to help and assist in any way and they did not get that original communication. So at least at this point it appears as though it may have gone to a non-existent address.

BRIGGS: Where can this go next? Is it just one man's word versus another? CASAREZ: Well, that's what makes it so difficult. You know, there's so

many layers here because the sexual assault investigation that's going on now amongst 15 sports at Ohio State University for a two decade period -- so the amount of people involved that may have known, that didn't say anything, the amount of abuse that allegedly occurred to all of these male students and others, it was -- because he had a private practice, he had a practice that saw others. I mean this could be massive. So it's just beginning right now.

But then you have the added layer of Mike DiSabato, who is really coming forward saying that Jim Jordan, who was one of the assistant coaches, that he knew about it and he didn't say anything. He is saying that he never knew. And so I think at this point it is he said versus he said.

Now, CNN did receive portions of an e-mail that Mike DiSabato did send to Jim Jordan back in April. And, remember, April is also when the investigation began. It became public. And he did talk -- the former wrestler talked to the congressman about the abuse, alleged abuse, that he wanted his help in any way possible. And then it goes on to talk about your brother, the congressman's brother, that there was a contract with the university and he wasn't being treated fair, the former wrestler, in regard to this contract. So it went into personal things, too. Remember, they've known each other for a long time. Forty years is what Mike DiSabato says.

ROMANS: We know that Jim Jordan was an assistant coach there from, what '86 to '94, is that right?

CASAREZ: Right, during part of the time that Richard Strauss --

ROMANS: And this team doctor is deceased.

CASAREZ: Who is now deceased.

ROMANS: Right. Yes.

BRIGGS: Right.

ROMANS: All right, Jean Casarez, thank you so much.

CASAREZ: All right, we'll continue.

ROMANS: Fascinating reporting.

BRIGGS: Thanks, Jean.

All right, right now, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on his way to North Korea. Can he make any progress despite U.S. intel concerns that Kim Jong-un has no intention of denuclearizing? We're following it all for you, next.


[09:58:11] ROMANS: All right, this weekend, relive the decade that brought you "The Sopranos," "Sex and the City," and "The Office." BRIGGS: And "Friends" many. CNN's new original series, "The 2000s" premieres Sunday night. And the first episode is a flashback to the platinum age of TV.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR, "WOLF": It was 2004. John Kerry was the Democratic presidential nominee facing George W. Bush. And I thought, you know, watching it, I said, well, this is going to be a funny show.

JON STEWART, HOST, "THE DAILY SHOW": Can I say something very quickly? Why -- why do we have to fight? The two of you. Can't we just -- say -- say something nice about John Kerry right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I like John. I care about John Kerry.

STEWART: And something about President Bush.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He'll be unemployed soon.

JIM PARSONS, ACTOR AND PRODUCER: I think anyone who enjoyed paying attention to the news and watched "The Daily Show" will forever remember Jon Stewart going on "Crossfire" and reading those guys the riot act.

STEWART: You're doing theater when you should be doing debate, which would be great.


STEWART: It's not honest.


STEWART: What you do is not honest.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't -- there was an element (INAUDIBLE).

STEWART: What you do is partisan hackery. And I'll tell you why I know it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You had John Kerry on your show and you sniff his thrown and you're accusing us of partisan hackery?

STEWART: Absolutely.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You've got to be kidding me. He comes and you literally say --

STEWART: You're on CNN. The show that leads into me is puppets making crank phone calls. What is wrong with you?

LIZZ WINSTEAD, CO-CREATOR, "THE DAILY SHOW": Comedians and satire, when done right, will take on hypocrisy no matter where it comes from.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ROMANS: Watch "the 2000s" Sunday night at 9:00 Eastern only on CNN.

The next hour of CNN NEWSROOM begins right now.

BRIGGS: More partisan hackery.

ROMANS: Good morning, everyone. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs in New York. Hope you had a wonderful Fourth of July. Poppy has the day off.

[10:00:01] The big question this morning, can the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, get North Korea to commit to concrete plans to denuclearize? He is on his way to meet with Kim Jong-un right now, his third trip to North Korea.