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North Korea: U.S. Attitude Towards Talks "Regrettable"; Georgia Company Makes Game Tables With Dual Roles; Rep. Jordan Denies Accusations He Turned Blind Eye to Abuse; China Hits Back With Tariffs on $34 Billion in U.S. Goods. Aired 12n-1p ET

Aired July 7, 2018 - 12:00   ET



SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: -- breaking news in the race to rescue 12 boys and their soccer coach trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand. Officials are now saying that it is imperative that they move quickly as that window to save them might be closing.

Dive teams say they have a plan to free these boys. It could happen soon, they say, but monsoon conditions, they are moving in, putting pressure on those rescue operations. Officials are closely monitoring the oxygen levels inside the cave. The boys are said to be safe, for now.

Our Asia correspondent, Jonathan Miller, standing by outside the cave. Jonathan, first of all, tell us about where we are with the rescue. We saw earlier that it started to rain, which caused quite a bit of alarm. How soon do they think they are going to proceed?

JONATHAN MILLER, ASIA CORRESPONDENT: Well, as you say, Suzanne, the rain has been coming down pretty heavily in this last hour or so. I think it was a short torrential shower, but a reminder of just what is likely to happen in the next few days. That's why this window is closing.

Now, we understand at CNN that this rescue operation may actually start very soon. The conditions, the governor said today, were appropriate for evacuation, and they seem pretty much ready to go.

The situation is still fluid. Anything could yet happen, but the divers seem happy. The water levels inside the cave dropped and I was speaking to some divers who basically said inside that cavern complex.

It's beginning to look like a James Bond movie set with pipes and wires and divers coming to and fro with oxygen canister stations. It's very busy down there. They're gearing up for the big evacuation.

MALVEAUX: And so, two questions for you, Jonathan. First of all, what do they mean by very soon, what does the timetable look like, and, secondly, map out for us, if you will, this evacuation plan. What are these boys looking into?

MILLER: OK. Timetable-wise, very soon could mean anything because as I say, the situation may be fluid. One small hitch, they put things on hold. If they don't feel the boys are ready, they'll put things on hold.

They're going to get last-minute medical checks to see if they're up to it before they go. There are a number of factors that could come into play which could yet delay this. However, the window is closing. The monsoon rains forecast was early in the coming week, and so they know they need to go pretty soon.

In terms of what the plan is, well, it's not a very palatable one. It's actually a last resort plan, and yet it stans still as Plan A, which is getting them out by diving them out. There are still small sections of this underground cavern system which are completely submerged, which means the boys are going to have to wear full-phased oxygen mask. This is incredibly difficult.

As we saw just 24 hours ago, there was a diver, a very experienced Thai Navy SEAL diver killed. He died inside the cavern system about a mile in. So, if that happened to him, how much more difficult is it for these boys. This is a major challenge, not only for the boys but technically, too, for the teams and the rescue operation.

MALVEAUX: Certainly, a tragedy there. We're seeing pictures of that very brave Navy SEAL. Final question here for you, Jonathan, the boys inside, what are their conditions? Have they determined if they're ready? Are they healthy enough, strong enough, and psychologically are they prepared for this?

MILLER: It's the question everybody needs know is, are they up to it. Because physically they seem in pretty good shape considering this two-week long ordeal. Mentally, goodness knows what toll it's taken on them. The doctors have looked at them. They have a few cuts and bruises.

We have the first communication with the boys today direct, not us journalist, but with their moms and dads. They got letters taken out by frogman mail and delivered to the moms and dads just in behind me here actually where many of them are staying.

And these letters, the boys talked of their home sickness. They crack a few jokes. They told their moms and dads not to worry and they said that they dreamt of eating Kentucky fried chicken sometimes soon.

So, you know, the good spirit is down there. They seemed ready to come out. They just want to come home.

MALVEAUX: It kind of reveals how old they are, too. They talk about their favorite meals of coming home, homework and teachers and all of that. Jonathan, we certainly hope that this turns out well. We will get back to you. Please let us know if this mission starts and what's the very latest is.

This mission to save these boys, it's certainly won't be easy. The rescue teams, they've got to navigate the pitch-black tunnels that submerge in this cold muddy water. This exhausting journey could take up to six hours to complete. The divers must move quickly before losing oxygen. Former Thai Navy SEAL Saman Kunan, he died Friday, making that dangerous trek. And before his passing, he left this message on his Instagram account. He said, "May luck be on our side. Bring the kids home."

[12:05:11] Joining me now, Andrea Zaferes. She is a rescue diver and diving instructor. She has taught fire, police, EMS, military personnel. Andrea, we are so happy to have you here to walk us through all of this.

We were hearing that the kids seem to be physically well, that they can possibly go ahead and do this, but the challenges of this rescue mission are very daunting. It's first option but also really the last possible option. What are they facing?

ANDREA ZAFERES, RESCUE DIVER: Well, one of the problems is there's never been a rescue like this before in our history. So as a rescue, you know, you're looking at what can go wrong. You're racking your brain. What are the things that can go wrong, and do we have proven plans to get them out?

No matter how much you try to plan it, you never know. For example, I'm hoping they are going to take the strongest boy out. Because this first boy is going to be the one that's going to show them things that can go wrong that they never thought about. And if they can get that boy out, he can make a video saying, hey, I did this, and show that to the other kids. That can give them some courage.

MALVEAUX: Courage is what they need. I imagine, too, you've also seen this experienced diver. He died making that trek. Those kids might know that. They might be aware that that has happened here. How does that impact their own ability to think this through, visualize that they are actually capable of making this dive safely?

ZAFERES: You know, they've got to make this into the biggest adventure of their lives like a Harry Potter adventure. They've made it through a tough part so far, and they've got one more thing to do, and that's to get home. If they bond with their rescuers and fully trust their rescuer then they get a good shot. They got to make into a positive. Take that fear and turn it into a big adventure that nobody in the world has had yet. They're going to do it. They're going to get through.

MALVEAUX: Is that option, that big adventure that you talk about, if that closes down, if that shuts down and they're not able to swim out, if the conditions change here, do they have any other options?

ZAFERES: You know, the problem with drilling from above -- if you take a bowl and put it over water and push down and you put a hole in that bowl, the water's going rise up. So, you know, there's so many different challenges with that.

But I think that, you know -- they have to deal with buoyancy issues and the cold issues. That 80-degree water is the same as 42-degree. There's a lot of complexities, but if they're getting the divers back and forth and equipment back and forth, really believe they're be able to get these boys out.

MALVEAUX: I love your optimism. We're going to try to be optimistic with your sound and see if we can get one more question in here. Time is of the essence and that is really -- there window here is narrowing. They want to get these kids out as quickly as possible. But what happens if they need to wait for this water to recede. How should they approach this if this ends up being kind of a long-term process here with these kids?

ZAFERES: The more they're bringing supplies back and forth, the better they're getting at it. They may be able to widen passages more so time might help them a little bit. It sounds like if the water is rising potentially a foot at a time because of this rain, they're going to have to try to get the strongest boy out soon to see what the capabilities are.

MALVEAUX: All right. Andrea Zaferes, we appreciate your optimism you have. We share it, and we certainly wish the best for these boys.

Officials, they are watching also these powerful storms that are moving into the region, the expected flash flooding, it could add a whole other snag to this already dangerous rescue mission.

I want to bring in our CNN meteorologist, Allison Chinchar. Allison, people talk about monsoons. They talk about the long term here in the days and weeks ahead. Tell us about the hours here, the immediate hours, in terms of how this would impact their survival.

ALLISON CHINCHAR, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It's two-fold. One, you're looking at how much rain is going to fall in the next several hours, and on top of that, for how long does it keep going? Because the thing is it may not be the next six hours. It may be the next 60 hours that they have to contend with a lot of this rain.

Now, the good news is they have a little bit of a break. If you look, we have no measure of rains starting July 2nd all the way through the 6th. That is good news. That allowed some of that water within the cave system to recede.

The problem is it's not going to last. We've already started to see the moisture come through not only in Jonathan's live shot that you saw a few moments ago, but even on the satellite. This is the location right here around the cave.

Notice the orange and red colors. That means the moisture is coming back into this area and there's a lot of it. It's not a little bit of moisture coming in because, again, this is the rainy season.

When you look at the forecast, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, all have an 80 percent chance of rain. The moisture is there. Not just in the short term but also the long term. When we look at the next five days, the potential for at least about another 2 to 4 inches of rain.

[12:10:09] Now, here's what you have to understand, 2 to 4 inches may not sound like that much to you. But, A, you have to keep in mind it's on top of what they've already have. But more importantly, B, is how the system works.

We're in the middle of our rainy season. July and August being the peaks of those months. Looking at the system, see it's very narrow at certain point? So, that's where you get the flooding, simply 2 to 4 inches.

When you're talking about such narrow passageways, those fill up quickly, even with something as simple 2 to 4 inches of rain. Now, here's the other side of that not only do those passages fill up with water, but this is where air would normally freely flow through providing those boys with oxygen.

The problem is, Suzanne, if that fills up with water, it effectively cuts off their oxygen supply. We already know that oxygen has been lowering where those boys are located. The concern is how much lower does it get before they can finally get the boys out.

MALVEAUX: Allison, one thing that is concerning is we have seen the rain start. That's been happening for the last couple of hours now. How does that impact the possibility of least today and the hours ahead that they should move forward with this mission?

CHINCHAR: All right. So, a couple of things to think about. Number one, obviously, for all the water that they're bringing out, now the water is coming back in. So, that obviously makes it very hard for them to get it out.

You also have to keep in mind that with these storms, you've also had wind. And that wind funnels in those caves. So, it's basically blowing all of that rain back into these tunnels, and that, again, also makes it harder for them to pump it back out. Again, it's not that we're adding water to it, but that the wind is taking the water from outside and pushing it inside the cave system as well.

MALVEAUX: All right. Allison, thank you so much. Please keep us posted on how this goes.

We are also following breaking news. This is out of Chicago. Major freeway shut down now by anti-gun violence protesters. You can see the Dan Ryan Expressway. We're going to take you live next.



MALVEAUX: We are following breaking news out of Chicago where protesters have gathered on a major interstate. Protesters have now shut down part of the Dan Ryan Expressway as part of an anti-gun violence march.

I want to check in with our Ryan Young, who is inside that March. Ryan, set the stage for us. Are people safe? What is happening now?

RYAN YOUNG, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Look. They wanted to shut the highway down, but the police officers and highway patrol have been able to stop them from getting on the highway. That's the big part of the conversation right now.

We're pointing our camera in the direction where there is the line of officers between them and the protesters. This is to keep them off the highway. I can tell you some of the protesters here are very frustrated because what they wanted to do was shut the highway down.

They thought that would send a message to everyone here in Chicago and across the state that they want to change when it come to gun violence. You have to think about this. This is the Fourth of July weekend when you think about the holiday.

And usually during this time, this is one of the most violent weekends in this city. More than 100 people were shot last year during this holiday weekend. The numbers have been down this year and crime is dropping, but there are people in the community who say they want further actions to happen here in this city.

They want an urban plan to help people back to work so they can start getting some of these young kids out of the violent way and get away from the street gangs. The conversations, though, have been pastors like Father Flager (ph) and Reverend Jackson, who were in the front there, who are trying to keep protesters from going across this line.

Some of the top law enforcement officials are just on the other side there including the superintendent of police here in Chicago, who is trying to have negotiations with people to make sure they stay on this side.

But there are people who came here for one reason and one reason only, they wanted to send a message very loud about the idea of why they wanted this highway shut down because they want the people to understand they want a change in these communities, especially when it comes to gun violence.

Just on July 4th, they confiscated more than 50 guns off the streets in this city, all illegal guns. That is the push here because people believe they want to see a change. So, as you see the kind of conversations here, you can see the officers sort of lined up.

And each one of them is trying to have a conversation with the people in front of them to stop them from going. But there are people in this crowd who came here for a reason, they want the highway shut down and they're tired of sitting here and waiting.

So, that is part of the conversation. Just to give you an idea, look, on Sunday, there was a drive-by shooting where an entire family was shot as they were getting in a car. They were the innocent victims of gun violence, and a 5-year-old girl was shot.

So, you understand the passion here in this city when it comes to gun violence and that's why you see the people here lining up, standing here for more than an hour, because they believe they showed up to get on the highway. That's part of what the conversation is now.

MALVEAUX: All right. Well, Ryan, thank you so much. We appreciate that they are getting word out there and it looks like everyone is staying safe and those negotiations are continuing. Let us know if anything changes. Ryan Young, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

Now on to breaking news, this is out of California, at least one person has died. Hundreds are being forced to evacuate their homes now as wildfires scorched the state. Firefighters in Santa Barbara County are battling tough conditions. We're talking triple-digit temperatures and winds.

The holiday fire, this started late last night, within 45 minutes, threatened dozens of homes. The fire has scorched about 35 acres and prompted about 2,500 evacuations. Here now is Scott McLean. He's the deputy chief of Cal Fire. Scott, first of all, firefighters, they've been battling, I assume, the record-high temperatures and strong winds. What does this mean for those on the front lines?

[12:20:06] SCOTT MCLEAN, DEPUTY CHIEF, CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT FORESTRY AND FIRE PROTECTION (via telephone): It was like three weeks ago that we started having these triple-digit weather patterns with north winds at the Northern California. The next weekend, the same thing, and then just, you know, last weekend, similar.

And then we are looking at the same weather pattern this particular weekend. A couple of days less than a 100-degree weather, but now we're looking at the whole state of California through this weekend and until next week triple-digit temperatures down to the high 90s, erratic wind behavior, and extremely low humidity.

MALVEAUX: So, now we have hundreds of people have been told to evacuate their homes. You have person who has lost their life. What are you telling residents at this time to do? What must they do?

MCLEAN: It's not when the wild fire is going to come closer to your residence or your property, you know, it's when. It's going to happen, and they need to be prepared and take that responsibility on, to have their go kits ready to go. They have to know how to get out of their community or away from their home if a wildfire does strike. And there's a myriad of other different things that can do to be prepared. It needs to be a team effort between the fire service, public, and law enforcement.

MALVEAUX: I know that there are some who have to evacuate, but are you encouraging people to voluntarily leave their homes at this time? When they see these pictures and what's happened so far that possibly they need to leave much sooner as opposed to when officials say it's time to go?

MCLEAN: That's a very good point. Yes. If you feel uncomfortable and you know there's a wildfire in your area, take the initiative to leave or get out of that particular area for the time being. It enables our resources to get in there more efficiently to get the job done.

MALVEAUX: All right, Scott McLean, we certainly know that you'll be on that job, getting that job done. We appreciate your help this morning. Appreciate it.

Still ahead, we are talking about just hours after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called his talks with North Korea productive. Well, the rogue nation has put out its own statement calling the U.S. attitude, quote, "regrettable." They go on to say they still have faith, though, however in President Trump. So where do things stand now?



MALVEAUX: Regrettable, that is how North Korea is describing talks with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Pompeo on the other hand used the words "progress" to describe two days of denuclearization talks with North Korea.

Here to discuss it now, CNN Pentagon reporter, Ryan Browne, and CNN global affairs analyst, David Rohde. So Ryan, first of all, let's talk through the last couple of days, the talks that they had. We know that Trump when he left Singapore, he had a one-page statement essentially with Kim Jong-un, but nothing was binding here. Is there anything out of these meetings from Pompeo and his counterparts that are concrete?

RYAN BROWNE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, no real concrete deliverables out of this meeting. Now, the agreement between President Trump and Chairman Kim touched on a couple of things and this idea of complete denuclearization. Now, it's still unclear whether the U.S. and North Korea define that the same way.

I think you see statements from Secretary Pompeo saying that no one's walked away from that overall concept, but however, the statements from North Koreans much less optimistic, saying, that the U.S. demands for complete, immediate, irreversible, denuclearization were just not what they thought were part of the conversations and went against what they said was kind of the friendly atmosphere between Kim Jong-un and President Trump.

Now one thing that did come oust this, the return of remains from the U.S. side during the Korean War. This is something that was part of the Kim-Trump agreement. Pompeo did say that a follow-on meeting to discuss that specific topic in the DMZ, that's the demilitarized zone, separating North and South Korea, would take place possibly on the 12th. That is kind of the one actionable item out of all of this, but not much else.

MALVEAUX: All right. David, the statement from North Korea, I want to read in part here. It says, "We expected U.S. to bring constructive measures to build confidence in concordance with the spirit of the U.S.-NK Summit. However, the attitude of the U.S. in the first high-level talks held on the 6th and 7th were indeed regrettable. But then, of course, they went on to say that they have faith in President Trump. So, which is it here? How are they trying to play this thing?

DAVID ROHDE, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: I think -- look, I hope these talks work, but all these signs point to sort of traditional North Korean tactics of delaying this. There's no agreement whatsoever. And I think all of this shows that there really was not a detailed agreement reached in Singapore. And the two sides, as Ryan said, there is no agreement on the central issue. What does denuclearization mean to the North Koreans.

MALVEAUX: So, Ryan, we know that there was a letter that Pompeo left for Kim Jong-un from President Trump. What do we know about this letter if anything and is there some symbolism here, reaching out an effort?

BROWNE: We don't know much about what's actually in the content of the letter. I think this is -- people have taken notice that Secretary Pompeo did not actually meet with Chairman Kim and you see even in the North Korean statement there's a callback to the relationship of the conversation that Chairman Kim and President Trump had in Singapore. So that perhaps it's an effort to kind of continue this nego -- the progress, these negotiations by re -- kind of elevating it to that head of state level because there wasn't much progress at least from Secretary Pompeo and his counterpart's side.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: And David, from your point of view, who has more leverage here now that we've seen this delicate dance play out. The two -- you know, Trump and Kim Jong-un had this big meeting, that was a -- I think a big win for the leader of North Korea. Is the U.S. here behind?

DAVID ROHDE, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: I think the U.S. is behind. I think that what Kim Jong-un is going to do is play for time. China has already weakened the economic sanctions on North Korea. That's the biggest leverage by far on the Kim regime, and I think that this is what's happened to every past president.

Again, I want these talks to succeed, but I don't see anything different that the Trump administration has achieved so far compared to past presidents Republican or Democrats. North Koreans are exceptional negotiators. They will play for time, they will drag these talks out for months and years, and there's virtually -- again, there is no progress coming out of this latest meeting.

MALVEAUX: Yes. Having covered Presidents Obama and Bush, we have seen the same scenario play out time and time again. So we'll see if this changes anything under President Trump.

Ryan Browne, David Rohde, thank you so much. Appreciate that.

Still ahead, Congressman Jim Jordan facing some serious questions about whether he ignored sexual abuse claims while a wrestling coach at Ohio State University.



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MALVEAUX: We are following breaking news out of Chicago where protesters have gathered on a major interstate here. Protesters now shutting down part of the Dan Ryan Expressway as part of an anti-gun violence march. What you're looking at here, this is I-94 south of the city, the Dan Ryan Expressway. Thousands of protesters as you can see have joined Reverend Michael Pfleger in this anti-gun violence march.

The aim here, to block traffic. It is a busy weekend summer of course, summer weekend. So, so far all of this is working out OK. It is peaceful.

We are going to continue to monitor it, bring you the developments as we learned them. But a peaceful march, and we'll see how it goes. People are negotiating, they are talking with police officers as they continue to try to make the point here, call attention to the gun violence and also to the streets and the situation there in Chicago.

Congressman Jim Jordan defending himself and denying accusations that he looked the other way on sexual abuse claims when he was a wrestling coach at Ohio State University. Former OSU wrestlers, they came forward this week accusing Jordan of turning a blind eye when the team doctor allegedly abused them decades ago. So, here's what Jordan said.


REP. JIM JORDAN (R), OHIO: It's false. I mean, I never saw, never heard of, never was told about any type of abuse. Conversations in a locker room are lot different than people coming up and talking about abuse. No one ever reported any abuse to me. If they had, I would have dealt with it.

And what bothers me the most, is the guys that are saying this thing, I know they know the truth. I know they do.

(END VIDEO CLIP) MALVEAUX: Joining me now to discuss this, CNN political commentator and former senior adviser to the Trump campaign, Jack Kingston, and Democratic Strategist Jon Summers.

So, Jack, I want to start off with you. Thank you very much for both being here on a Saturday. What do you make of Jordan's defense here, because I have heard the accusers, and I've also heard his side?

JACK KINGSTON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I know Jim very well. He's a man of integrity, he's a man of honesty. And I also know that he took on the speaker of the House from his own home state. And somebody who's willing to take on somebody like that is not afraid to take on anybody. And a doctor who's now has been dead 13 years, Jim wouldn't go to bat for this guy if he felt he was guilty. He would not have covered it up 30 years ago when these things allegedly happened.

[12:40:03] His two accusers have criminal records. They're not very reliable witnesses in my point of view. But I know Jim Jordan well, and I can tell you he would not hesitate to turn something in that was doing wrong that he had control over. Jim Jordan just doesn't -- he's not that kind of guy.

MALVEAUX: What do you make -- and I do want to follow up here. What do you make of those who have accused? You say they have criminal records, but if you see their explanations, their testimony, they seem very credible. They talk about him and they say, Jimmy, that they really liked him, that he was a mentor figure and that maybe he's just being fed or manipulated by lawyers who are telling to say this. That they don't really want to impugn him necessarily.

KINGSTON: Well, let me say this. I also went to Michigan State University. And then the big (INAUDIBLE) right now, there is a shock wave that (INAUDIBLE). Ohio state has taken this very, very seriously. They've actually hired Hillary Clinton's law firm, the Perkins firm to investigate this. They have not contacted Jim Jordan himself.

If the allegations were serious at this point, he would have been interviewed. He's not been interviewed. He's not been contacted.

DiSabato who's one of the accusers had a very lucrative contract with Ohio State University. He lost that contract because he did not handle it well. He's been on a kind of a (INAUDIBLE) since then. He was actually arrested for telephone harassment in February of this year. He's just not a good witness.

MALVEAUX: So Jon, I mean, this is what -- you know, this is what the allies of Jordan are saying here. And some people are looking at the Democrats and say, well, OK, you are defending him, are you not defending him? Do you have any say in the matter considering that some Democrats have also been in some hot water, if you will, with scandals of their own whether it's Senator Al Franken or John Connors?

How do you weigh in on something like this in a credible way? JON SUMMERS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, and what you've seen, all the Democratic side is when that happen, they step down. They step away. They do the right thing. We're not seeing that in this case but we also don't know all the facts of that case.

I think it's too early to malign the character of the alleged victims in this case. I don't think that's appropriate. We see that a lot from the Republican side of the party or the Republican side of the aisle. And I think that's unfortunate. I think we should --

KINGSTON: Those are facts, Jon.

SUMMERS: Let me finish my point. I think we should ask Congressman --Congressman Meadows said, let the investigation take place. I know Republicans have a really difficult time with that, whether it's with this or whether with Russia. But, let the investigation take place and then let's come out and make a decision.

And I think Congressman Meadows was right in that regard. But I don't think we should impose guilt or innocence in this case.

KINGSTON: Jim Jordan himself has said he will be glad to be interviewed. He said, I have nothing to hide. Absolutely no fear, no problem.

SUMMERS: And that's great. So let's let that happen because what we heard from you is what we hear from people all the time.

KINGSTON: Do you deny that DiSabato --


SUMMERS: I never would have expected that person to commit that crime. You hear that all the time.

KINGSTON: Yes, he has served two years in jail. Do you deny that's a fact? That's not a character assassination.

SUMMERS: Do you think it's odd that this guy was taking showers with students when there was a facility for staff that was separate from it?

KINGSTON: Actually --

SUMMERS: And shouldn't Jim Jordan actually think that's an unusual situation. Shouldn't he as the coach have been asking questions about that?

KINGSTON: Let me ask speak to that.

SUMMERS: If it smells like a duck, if it quacks like a duck, it's probably a duck.

KINGSTON: Do you deny that DiSabato has a criminal record --

SUMMERS: I'm not going to malign the character -- KINGSTON: It's a matter of fact. That's not maligning. I'm not

saying that they're bad guys. I'm just saying --

SUMMERS: Oh, but he was arrested so he's certainly loss --

KINGSTON: He has every motive in the world to malign Ohio State.

MALVEAUX: Let me interject. Do you think that Jim Jordan -- do you think he should go under oath? I mean, he's --

KINGSTON: I don't think Jim Jordan would have any problem going under oath. I'm telling you, this is a straight arrow. Just think about this a minute because I know I was a member from Georgia when Newt Gingrich was speaker. And it would be very difficult to take on the speaker of the House when you're a member of the home state delegation.

But Jim Jordan never hesitates to do that when John Boehner was a speaker. He's a guy who has a set of values and he doesn't mind speaking the truth and being the lone wolf. He would -- and by the way --

SUMMERS: But his political ambitions are different from the way he behaves as a congressman.

MALVEAUX: Is it possible that this is a game of semantics as well because people have actually look very closely and we've study very closely Jordan's statements, right? And he says, he talks about no -- not hearing of abuse, not seeing abuse. But that there was talk of things of a sexual nature that happened in that locker room in the showers. Is it possible that he is saying no abuse has occurred but that there were other things that were actually discussed and he's not revealing that?

KINGSTON: I just know Jim Jordan to be a straight arrow. He would not put up with any shenanigans in the locker room.

But let me this out, that there were nine wrestling coaches, but he seems to be the one that they're aiming at. Why is that? The doctor, Dr. Strauss was the doctor for hundreds of other coaches.

[12:45:01] It wasn't just for the wrestling team. It was for all athletic programs.

Then why there aren't hundreds of accusers as there were at Michigan State.

MALVEAUX: We will see if there are more accusers that occur. We have to wrap this, Jon. I'm going to give you just a quick last word. Do you think it is a political smear or campaign against --

SUMMERS: Well, that's obviously what they're saying and we're seeing that in the maligning of the characters of the people who are coming forward --

MALVEAUX: To go against Jordan. SUMMERS: -- and I think that is unfortunate that that's happening. I'm disappointed. Shouldn't be surprised. I mean, you came out against the students from the Florida school shooting so I'm not surprise to see that coming out --

KINGSTON: I did not come out against those students. I came --

SUMMERS: I think we're actually not against victims or alleged victims of crime. It's inappropriate and I think we should let this investigation continue.

MALVEAUX: We're going to have to do this another day. For Another day and another time. We've got to wrap it there. We appreciate your time.

All right. Thank you, both, Jack Kingston, Jon Summers. We're going to be right back.


[12:50:23] MALVEAUX: China is blaming the U.S. for starting what it calls the biggest trade war in economic history. In response to President Trump's tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese goods, China is now punching back with an equal amount of tariffs on American exports. China targeting American-made products such as SUVs, meat, seafood, and agricultural products. And this may be just the beginning, President Trump has suggested another $500 billion in tariffs could be on the horizon.

Let's discuss this expanding trade war. With me now, Max Baucus, he is former U.S. ambassador to China, former Democratic senator from Montana. Ambassador, thank you so much for joining us. Really appreciate this.

First of all, tell us. How concerned should we be that this trade war could have a negative impact on a relatively strong economy?

MAX BAUCUS (D), FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO CHINA: Well, it's true that we have a very large economy of $20 billion worth. So $20 billion in trade on the surface (INAUDIBLE) not a big deal. The bigger problem is this, I think that we're picking up a fight that we're not going to win.

I've spent many years with China. I've talked with Chinese government officials including the president Xi Jinping. They've made it very clear that they're not going to be bullied. They're not going to back down. They have a vision. They're going ahead.

I'm concerned that this trade war could escalate and that's going to be very hard to disengage because once you get into something, it's hard to back down. I'm concerned.

MALVEAUX: So, let's say it continues, it escalates and it does hurt a number of people here including those in the United States. It seems like China is targeting the Trump voters going after the farmers with the tariffs on soybeans and other, you know, agricultural products. So, you know, you're the co-chair for the farmers for free trade. At what point do you think these tariffs are going have an impact, a real impact on America's farmers, and how might that affect Trump moving forward because it impacts his base?

BAUCUS: Well, those are two good questions. First, it already is having an effect. Pork, soybeans (INAUDIBLE) are already being hit by our tariffs. It has been (INAUDIBLE) price on those products. These products going to Mexico are also being hit because of the -- Mexico imposing tariffs, retaliating against the United States.

And so it's a problem. And most Trump counties seem to be bearing more of the brunt of it. So far, my sense is that farmers in the Midwest like Trump, they're going to kind of give him a pass for a while. But there's going to be a tipping point and the tipping point is not going to be very far down the road if Trump proceeds with this threat. That is a full $500 billion.

MALVEAUX: We hear from the administration this argument that the economy is so strong now that if you're going to impose tariffs, that now would be the time, that there is this window if you will that the economy is strong enough to absorb this, this hit. Do you agree with that and do you think there is a certain period in which you break open the dam and that this does, in fact, look like the economy is going to take a downturn?

BAUCUS: Well, that's their argument. It is true the U.S. economy looks very strong right now. And it's also true that the Chinese economy, although it's strong is still is a little bit fragile. The bigger point here is that China will not back down. They're resilient, they're big, they're strong, they have a long-term vision, and they're not going to be bullied.

And I just very much worry that the president does not totally understand that when he started something. It's going to be very difficult to back down from.

And meanwhile there's a lot of collateral damage. A lot of people are going to get hurt. A lot of farmers, ranchers, businessmen who did not cause this problem are going to get hurt. And it could be that -- it's very interesting to me you have a president who's America first and then he jumps into trade war with virtually most major countries in the world, China, Europe, and so forth.

That's not America first. That's America getting involved more deeply and it's something that's going to cause a lot more pain. I hope he can back out pretty quickly.

MALVEAUX: And Ambassador, before you go, I have to ask you about this. We saw the rally Thursday night, President Trump in Montana going after Democratic Senator John Tester. It is expected to be a really tight races and we heard Trump used some lines here, lashing out at many of his common targets but also saying that, quote, a vote for the Democrats in November is a vote to let the violent MS-13 gang run in our communities.

[12:55:08] Democrats want anarchy. Do you think that the voters of Montana are buying that?

BAUCUS: Montana has pride themselves on being pretty careful -- they carefully look at the candidates and they (INAUDIBLE) cannot be swayed by a lot of stuff. Jon Tester, you know, he's very popular in Montana. Montanans like him. He is flattop, he's missing a couple of fingers. He's a gold guy.

And I think that's the Montanans care about more than anything else. That is -- they like their man, their man is fighting for them. That's what counts.

MALVEAUX: All right. Ambassador Max Baucus, you would know best. Thank you so much. We appreciate that very much.

And thanks so much for joining me. I'm Suzanne Malveaux in for Fredricka Whitfield. The next hour of NEWSROOM with my fried Joe Johns starts after the quick break.