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CNN NEWSROOM

Efforts Continue to Rescue Boys Soccer Team and Coach Trapped in Cave in Thailand; North Korea Calls Meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Regrettable; President Trump to Attend Meeting of NATO Members and Then Meet with Russian President Putin; Congressman Jim Jordan Accused of Knowing about Sexual Abuse of Ohio State University Wrestlers; World Cup Moves into Quarter Finals. Aired 10- 11a ET

Aired July 7, 2018 - 10:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:00:10] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN breaking news.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you. It is Saturday, June 7th. I'm Victor Blackwell.

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Dianne Gallagher. You're in the CNN Newsroom. We are following two big breaking stories for you this hour. First, mixed messages, North Korea calling the U.S. attitude, quote, regrettable, warning that nuclear talks could falter as U.S. Secretary Mike Pompeo wraps up two days of talks there.

BLACKWELL: We're starting with breaking news out of Thailand where a Navy official says rescue efforts to evacuate that soccer team trapped deep inside a cave could start soon. These new images in to CNN show Thai Navy Seal divers inside the cave this morning. They're racing the weather right now, and here's why. Monsoon rains are headed toward the town and threaten the flood the cave even more.

GALLAGHER: CNN's David McKenzie is live in Thailand right now. And David, explain to us why these new images coming out today are so significant to the rescue.

DAVIE MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Dianne and Victor, yes, these are significant because those men in that chamber, that's the staging ground deep inside the cave system, kind of halfway between the entrance of the cave and those boys trapped inside, it was much more flooded with water just a few days ago. They've successfully managed to drain significant amounts of water.

And that's important because there could be sections of that tunnel system where the boys can wade out. But still, the bad news is there will be hazardous diving for them to do if this rescue goes ahead in the coming hours as that source said it might do. And there have been poignant moments with the boys writing letters and notes to their parents. One of the boys just asked for fried chicken. This is the response from his father who we spoke to earlier.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TANAWUT VIBOONRUNGRUANG, SON TRAPPED IN CAVE (through translator): I felt better as my son said that he was fine and strong. I felt relieved after I had been worried about my son, that he would be exhausted, he would be tired. I felt better, but I don't know whether he is tired or not. I just want to give him what he wants. Whenever he comes, we will go together. And before that, he and his aunt had agreed to have that fried chicken at KFC together.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MCKENZIE: Ut seems, in fact, just in the last few hours a lot more activity here, Victor and Dianne, and the sense is that if they're going to make this happen they need to make it happen relatively soon because those rains will be coming in, and that could flood those caverns the boys are in. Victor, Dianne?

GALLAGHER: David McKenzie in Thailand, thank you so much. We will continue to follow that story throughout the morning.

BLACKWELL: Certainly. More on the other big breaking story right now. North Korea is calling Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, his meetings in North Korea, regrettable. The secretary met with Kim Jong-un's top advisor, Kim Yong-chol. And according to Pompeo they made, and this is a quote, progress on almost all of the central issues. But that's apparently not how Pyongyang sees it. They released this statement. "We expected the U.S. to bring constructive measures to build confidence in accord answer with the spirit of the U.S./North Korea summit. However, the attitude of the U.S. in the first high-level talks held on the 6th and 7th were indeed regrettable."

GALLAGHER: They went on to say that the result of the talks were very worrisome. Now also of note here, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un did not meet with Pompeo.

BLACKWELL: Joining us now, CNN Pentagon correspondent Ryan Browne.

GALLAGHER: Ryan, Pompeo's and North Korea's versions here of the exact same meetings don't seem to match up at all. What exactly does this mean?

RYAN BROWNE, CNN PENTAGON REPORTER: Well, definitely. We're hearing very different tones coming from North Korea and from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Now, speaking to reporters while still in Pyongyang before boarding his aircraft, Pompeo said that progress had been made, and he said that both sides remained committed to complete denuclearization of the North Korea.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, your characterization is interesting. We talked about what the North Koreans are continuing to do and how it is the case we can get our arms around achieving what Chairman Kim and President Trump both agreed to, which was the complete denuclearization of North Korea. There's no -- no one walked away from that. They're still equally committed. Chairman Kim is still committed. I had a chance to speak to President Trump this morning. My counterpart spoke with Chairman Kim during the course of ours negotiations as well. We had productive good faith negotiations.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWNE: Now, it seems to be the big source of disagreement here is what exactly complete denuclearization means. State Department officials have long said that that would include verification, language that they continue to use, while the North Korean statement said the talks really -- one of the issues they had with the talks was Pompeo's focus on issues like verification, irreversible denuclearization, as opposed to focus on other steps that North Korea wanted to highlight, which is what they said is the dismantling of a recent test facility for ICBMs and the repatriation of remains of U.S. service members who died during the Korean war.

[10:05:30] So still seems to be an increasingly widening gulf between the two sides as they attempt to negotiate denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and pursue the results from the Trump/Kim summit in Singapore.

BLACKWELL: In addition, Ryan, to the agreed upon definition of denuclearization, remember, the administration talked about complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization. Now they're simply saying complete denuclearization. The question of what will the U.S. have to give to get that, when the North Koreans say they expected the U.S. to bring constructive measure to build confidence, it seems like what they're going to there.

BROWNE: Well, that seems to be the real challenge, exactly determining what that verification regime will look like, how intrusive inspections will be, what the North Koreans would have to produce. Arms experts have long said any real agreement would have to have these measures in place in order for it to -- because of North Korea, the scope and scale of its nuclear program, it has been hiding it for decades from American and other country's surveillance perhaps. Because of that scale, the verification program would have to be large. North Korea is seeming to push back on any intrusive verification, at least in this initial meeting.

BLACKWELL: All right, Ryan Browne for us there in Washington. Ryan, thank you very much.

President Trump heads to Brussels next week for the NATO summit and he plans to talk to world leaders about one of his pet peeves -- the countries not spending enough on their defense while the U.S. foot, as he says, most of the bill. Candidate Trump described NATO countries as free loaders owing back payments to NATO and threatening to shift U.S. military presence unless they increase defense spending.

Let's take a look, though, at how NATO works first. Question generally, what is NATO? North Atlantic Treaty Organization is a group of countries in North America and Europe committed, very basic definition here, to defending one another. It was founded in 1949. This is after World War II with the start of the Cold War, and started with 12 countries focused on fighting off then Soviet aggressions, the expansion of communism across Europe, and as NATO characterizes it, to encourage European political integration.

The U.S. was the founding member here. NATO also gave the U.S. a strong foothold in Europe. And today there are 29 member countries, and that number could grow to 33 in the next round of expansions. Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Macedonia, and Ukraine all want to join. Why? Well, in large part the security of NATO's Article Five. It guarantees that an attack on any member of NATO is considered an attack on all of its members, and all members are bound to respond or assist the attacked member country. Article Five has been invoked just once in the nearly 70-year history of NATO, it was by the United States after 9/11.

So why would those four countries that we just talked about want to join NATO now? Well, for the same reasons the organization was founded, common defense against Russian aggression. Putin has been expanding Russian influence in the Balkans. Russia invaded Georgia in 2008, and of course you know about Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014. This organization was expressly formed as a defense against Russia, and President Trump's warming to Putin and hostility towards NATO understandably worries some of its members.

Let's talk now with former NATO ambassador Ivo Daalder. He's the author of the book "The Empty Throne, Americas Abdication of Global Leadership." Mr. Ambassador, thank you for joining us this morning.

IVO DAALDER, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO NATO: My pleasure.

BLACKWELL: We of course invited you here to talk about NATO, but with the breaking news as relates to talks with North Korea, I want to get your response to what we are hearing from North Korea. And I'm going to read for you a quote here from KCNA. This is what they say -- "The issues that the U.S. delegation kept insisting to the end of the talks are the very same cancerous issues that amplified the distrust and a danger of risk of war of the past administrations which all ended in failure. The outcome of the talks are very worrisome."

Considering the framework the president has created around the talks in Singapore, what is your reaction to what you are hearing now from North Korea?

DAALDER: Well, of course, it's regrettable. We want to have progress on denuclearization discussions that were started in Singapore, and this was the first follow-up on that meeting. On the other hand, it wasn't totally unpredictable.

[10:10:00] I think the president and some in his administration held out the prospect of something that wasn't going to happen. Kim Jong- un was not going to give up his nuclear weapons just because he had a good meeting in Singapore with the president of the United States. He has these nuclear weapons to ensure the survival of his regime, and that's one of the reasons that he, his father and grandfather acquired those weapons over the past 20-plus years and why it has been so difficult even through negotiations or economic pressure that we have seen over the years to get them to reverse course.

The only way to do that is deep, intensive kinds of diplomacy, backed by real pressure, not by the kind of statements that we are seeing coming out of the White House that the nuclear threat has disappeared just because two leaders have met. The threat is there. It needs to be met, and diplomacy is the best way to go about it.

BLACKWELL: Mr. Ambassador, I want you to watch and listen to this exchange between Kim Yong-chol and Secretary Pompeo earlier today. Let's watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KIM YONG-CHOL: This isn't your first visit to our country, yet this is your first night in our country. Did you sleep well last night?

MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: I did. I did. Thank you. Thank you for the accommodation.

KIM YONG-CHOL: But we did have very serious discussion on very important matters yesterday. So thinking about those discussions you might have not slept well last night.

POMPEO: Director Kim, I slept just fine. We did have a good set of conversations yesterday. I appreciate that. I look forward to our continued conversations today as well.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: Now, I don't know if you have a monitor there and we had subtitles up on the screen, but Kim suggests that thinking about the discussions that they had on the previous night, that the secretary might not have slept well, and the secretary says he slept just fine. Considering the discrepancies between what we're hearing from the State Department and what we're hearing from North Korea, are you confident that the U.S., the administration is even honest about the characterization of these meetings thus far?

DAALDER: Well, I think we will have to wait until Secretary Pompeo is back and he's no longer in Pyongyang, and he will have an opportunity to brief the president and others in the administration before we know what really happened. But clearly if there had been any idea that these talks would lead to the rapid denuclearization of North Korea, we've heard the national security adviser, John Bolton, and others talk about a year or two-and-a-half years. This is going to be a decade-long process only if -- and that's a big if -- the North Koreans are, in fact, willing to move in this direction. And I think what we saw in the talks in Pyongyang is the reality that the United States is demanding something from North Korea that the North Koreans aren't willing to do. And it isn't surprising because they haven't been willing to do it for a very long time.

BLACKWELL: Mr. Ambassador, let's turn now to NATO. Nicholas Burns, former undersecretary of state, says this is the most serious trans- Atlantic crisis in 70 years, in the history of NATO. Is that hyperbolic or has it reached crisis level?

DAALDER: No, I think he's right. Whether it is the worst in 70 years or not is for historians to debate, but we are clearly at a very, very critical point. On the one hand you could see this coming week a NATO summit that could by all measures be a grand success. If the president came and said, I've come here to fully put my shoulders behind the NATO alliance, to reaffirm the fundamental American commitment to defense of Europe and the strengthening of NATO, and take credit at the same time for what has already been achieved. NATO defense spending is up, bolstered -- deterrence in eastern Europe has been bolstered. NATO is possibly more united than it has been in many, many years, and it could confront a Russian threat that is growing and real.

If the president were willing to take both credit for it and say this is something we want to do together, then this could be a success. But I fear that everything we hear, including the president just the other day talking about allies killing us, which is the kind of language you hear from adversaries, not from allies, that we will have a meeting in which the president is going to harp about the fact that the Europeans aren't spending enough on defense, something, by the way, every president has said, and seek to divide the alliance as he has at the G-7, as he has over trade issues, and now over defense spending, rather than unite them, and then seek to have a very good and comfortable meeting with Putin. If that happens, then I do think the alliance faces a true crisis of historical proportions.

[10:15:07] BLACKWELL: Finally, on that meeting with Putin, you have said that the biggest worry in Europe is that the president will make unilateral concessions after this confrontational meeting at NATO. Which specifically are the most worrisome on that list of potential concessions?

DAALDER: So, if you remember in Singapore was Kim Jong-un who said the exercises which he called wargames were provocative, and that led the president to unilaterally end it. What does Vladimir Putin find provocative? He finds NATO enlargement, the adding of new members provocative. He finds the deployment of defense forces in eastern Europe, in the Baltic states, provocative. He finds U.S. missile defense in Europe provocative.

And my worry, and I think the European worry is that on some or all of these issues the president is willing to make concessions, to stop the deployment of missile defenses, to halt the forward deployment of European and NATO and U.S. forces, and to say no more to NATO enlargement. Those are the kind of concessions that are both -- would be unilateral and deeply hurting of the alliance. And if that were to come about, as we saw in Singapore is possible, then I think we are facing, again, a crisis of truly historic proportions.

BLACKWELL: Former U.S. ambassador to NATO Ivo Daalder, thank you for being with us.

DAALDER: My pleasure.

GALLAGHER: President Trump will be practicing the art of diplomacy in the next couple of days as you just heard there. Joining me to discuss that and more, CNN politics senior reporter Stephen Collison. Stephen, look, all the world is a stage for the next 11 days. First, of course, the NATO summit next week in brussels, open hostility towards NATO. He sent the letters to countries that aren't meeting the two percent defense spending target, threatening that the U.S. might reassess priorities in Europe if they don't up their spending. We have got bad blood brewing around with the president trying to spark that E.U./U.S. trade war. Is the president walking into here, a lions' den?

STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: I think there's a lot of concern in Europe that the president is going to sort of do a return or a repeat of the G-7 summit in Canada last month when there was an open rift between the United States and key allies, including Canada, including Germany. So that's the context that the president is walking into.

You have the NATO summit, then he's going to head to the U.K. He is going to meet Prime Minister Theresa May, Queen Elizabeth, and a bunch of business leaders, and then he is going to this summit with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on the following Monday.

The concern among NATO diplomats is that it's the same scenario as we saw lined up after the G-7 summit. So the president showed up for the G-7 summit, there was a very acrimonious exchange with fellow leaders, but all that time he was fixated on the summit he was going to have a few days later in Singapore with Kim Jong-un. Now we have the same sort of scenario unfolding. The NATO summit is taking place first, and the president's attention I think is very much going to be on that summit he's having with Vladimir Putin, which he has been trying to line up for the first 17 months of his presidency. That's the reason you have NATO allies a little worried that there's an incentive for President Trump to take a hardline with America's friends in order to curry favor with President Putin in the summit on the following Monday.

GALLAGHER: So you talked about the anticipation of that summit, and President Trump knows that all eyes are going to be on this meeting specifically with Vladimir Putin, very similar to Kim Jong-un. So do we know what it will look like? Are we going to see something similar to that private, only-translators meeting that he had with Kim Jong-un when he meets with Putin in Helsinki?

COLLINSON: Certainly. The plan is for the president to hold on one- on-one meeting with only interpreters in the room with President Putin before the delegation expand for wider talks. Then I think there is going to be a lunch before the summit ends. So this is going to cause a lot of consternation. There are many people in Washington and around Europe who are very suspicious of the president's relationship with Vladimir Putin. He's been very deferential to the Russian president. He very rarely criticizes him in public.

In a rally this week, of course, in Montana the president sort of lampooned these concerns, basically saying he has been preparing for these kinds of summits his entire life. There's nothing wrong with him meeting Vladimir Putin. But the fact that the Russia investigation is still taking place, the fact that a key Senate committee came out this week and backed up U.S. intelligence community assessments that the Russians interfered in the election in order to help Donald Trump win it, that raises the stakes for this meeting. And that's one much the reasons why there's going to be so much discussion I think about this one-on-one meeting between the two presidents before the wider summit takes place.

[10:20:03] GALLAGHER: Stephen Collison, thank you so much for your insight.

BLACKWELL: We have the latest developments out of Thailand this morning where a Navy official says an operation to rescue the trapped soccer team may happen soon. We are live just outside that cave later this hour.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLACKWELL: The breaking news this hour, North Korea is calling Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's meetings in North Korea regrettable. Pompeo said they made progress in the meetings. North Korean officials apparently disagreed.

Let's bring in our panel now, attorney A. Scott Bolden, chair of the National Bar Association PAC and former D.C. Democratic Party chairman, and Brian Robinson, Republican strategist and former spokesman for Georgia Governor Nathan Deal. Gentlemen, welcome back to the newsroom.

Brian, let me start with you. The president tweeted soon after the summit in Singapore, he tweeted that there is no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea. What evidence is there now, considering what we're hearing from North Korea, that that is true?

[10:25:06] BRIAN ROBINSON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I think that tweet was aspirational, looking forward. I think that's the only way you can look at it. Obviously, President Trump knew when he tweeted that that there are still nuclear arsenals there in North Korea that are operational. We know that. But what you're seeing in this meeting happening in Pyongyang this weekend is that the United States is not stopping at the Singapore summit. It is continuing to press. It's pressing to the point that the North Koreans are complaining about it, that they're saying it's regrettable that the United States is going to ask them to actually do what they said they were going to do.

BLACKWELL: So, Brian, let me ask you this. You say that the United States is continuing to press. The president is telling his supporters, telling the country, world peace, sleep well, we've solved the problem. If he solved the problem, we wouldn't be seeing statements like this from North Korean state media, and there wouldn't be the need to continue to push and try to make progress.

ROBINSON: Now, I think that you're hearing from the administration time and again that this is not going to be an overnight process, that this is going to take a year to two years to even more for North Korea to come around. So the process isn't over. President Trump knows that. And look, with the snap of his fingers, President Trump can reassume the military exercises with South Korea. He can refight to implement sanctions on North Korea, to toughen them again. And there's still many tools at his disposal that he has proven he is willing to use against Kim and his regime. BLACKWELL: I will remind you the president has said he has already

solved the problem.

Scott, let me come to you. And with the point that Brian just raised and skeptics leading up to this meeting, initially when the president said he would get denuclearization early on, we're telling the president this is going to take time, it is going to happen in stages, which is the reason many said he shouldn't start with a summit. What about that, that there will be fits and starts and bumps along the road and this is just one of them?

A. SCOTT BOLDEN, CHAIR, NATIONAL BAR ASSOCIATION PAC: Well, the three of us on this panel know this. I agree with Brian about it being a long process, but that's not what the president said, and that's not the hyperbole and what he put out on Twitter in regard to North Korea. It really shows ignorance on his part more than anything, but we need a deal in North Korea. And the idea that they give up their weapons, which are the weapons of mass destruction and nuclear weapons that got them to the table, that got them on the world stage, which is why Donald Trump should not have started with a summit because now North Korea has everything it wants. And now at the negotiation table after the fact they can easily say these were gangster discussions, and we don't like being put upon, and we're not going to give up our nuclear weapons, or if we do, it's going to take some time. That's the reality. And the president is living in a non- reality in regard to this North Korea situation. He just is.

BLACKWELL: How, Brian, could these two men have been in the same room, one who says that this administration from the talks from beginning to the end were using the same rhetoric that the previous administrations did, the danger of risk of war, and Pompeo who says there were hours of productive conversations, they made progress on all of the central issues, some places a great deal of progress. Are you concerned that they're not even telling the truth about what these meetings or what happen? We're not going to get a full readout, sure, but they're not characterizing them accurately?

ROBINSON: I think there are a lot of nuance and diplomatic speech, and I think you are seeing that there. They are pressing two very different perspectives. You are seeing the North Koreans begin to buck at the Trump administration continuing to put pressure on making them keep their world. And the president had a lot of pomp and circumstance with the Singapore summit. I think that was an important part of the process. It brought Kim to the table, but it's not over.

And we're going to have to keep putting pressure on them. And again, I hope the president will put back on the table that we will reassume the military exercises with South Korea, because obviously that scares the North Koreans. That's something that gets their attention. And our guard can't be down for too long.

BOLDEN: Yes, but let me jump in and say this, OK.

BLACKWELL: Go ahead.

BOLDEN: I've heard Brian say a couple of times about these military options or rather the exercises. We can always go back to the exercises, but the bottom line is this -- do we have a military option to take out their nuclear program, North Korea's nuclear program, or not? Do we have any non-military options other than sanctions that North Korea has been living with? And the reality is that we don't, at least not any that are super effective.

And so until we can solve those riddles and those international issues, North Korea is going to continue to be a problem. They're going to own their nuclear weapons. They're going to keep testing. And we have seen it generation to generation. We have been to this dance before and we have always lost at that dance over the last several generations. Somebody or all of us together have got to figure it out, otherwise we're just stuck with North Korea.

[10:30:00] BLACKWELL: And again, let me read the statement from KCNA and then we'll wrap up here. The issues that the U.S. delegation kept insisting to the end of the talks are the very same cancerous issues that amplified the distress and the danger of risk of war of past administrations which all ended in failure.

BOLDEN: Exactly. That's right.

BLACKWELL: So at least from this rhetoric position, this administration hasn't accomplished any more than the previous administrations despite the calls for Nobel, Nobel, and the president saying there is no longer a threat of nuclear war or nuclear threat from North Korea. A. Scott Bolden, Brian Robinson, thank you both.

ROBINSON: Thank you.

BOLDEN: Thank you.

GALLAGHER: There are signs of a shifting strategy for the president's legal team as they set new conditions for a sit-down with special counsel Robert Mueller. "The New York Times" reporting that President Trump's lawyers want two things before their client will agree to an interview. The first, the special counsel's team must prove it has evidence the president committed a crime. The second, well, the Mueller team has to show that they need the testimony from the president to finish the Russia probe. The "Times" says that the change in strategy may signal a willingness to fight the investigators and focus more on the battle over public opinion.

BLACKWELL: It's a race against the weather in Thailand. More divers are entering the cave where a boys' soccer team is trapped. A Navy official says the rescue mission could happen soon. Translated letters from the parents to the boys and their soccer coach give us a little insight into what the families are going through, and we will bring you some of those letters next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLACKWELL: Breaking news in Thailand this morning. A Navy official says rescue efforts to evacuate the soccer team that's trapped deep inside a cave could start soon. GALLAGHER: These brand-new images into CNN show Thai Navy Seal divers

inside the cave this morning. They are racing against the weather right now and time as monsoon rains are heading toward that town and threaten to flood the cave even more.

BLACKWELL: Parents waiting outside that cave told the coach it is not your fault in a letter to him and the trapped boys. We want to read that to you and some of the other messages that have just been sent to the boys, and this one to the soccer coach. "We as your soccer team members' parents believe in you and your spirit, that you have been taking good care of our kids. We just want you to know that this is not your fault. We all here don't blame you and just want you to not blame yourself. We all understand all of the situations that have happened, and we are here supporting you."

The next one reads, "We just want you to know that we are waiting to have a birthday party with you, my son. So please take care of yourself and we'll celebrate together. Don't be so worried. And now we are all here together with your grandparents and your cousins waiting for you. We love you."

GALLAGHER: And then there is this one. "I'm waiting for you here at the cave entrance, my brave son. I miss you. As you're a strong and patient son, I believe that you will make it. We miss you. Love you. You're the only one for me."

As tough as it is to hear the words of those parents read, we have CNN's David McKenzie joining us now live there in Thailand. David, what is the latest? I can see activity around you. I know that they say there may be some rescue operations soon. Do we have any idea what soon might mean?

MCKENZIE: Well, soon could be the coming hours. It could be a day. We to know that preparations are being made in earnest. We have seen a lot more activity here where I'm standing near the cave site where these boys have been trapped around a mile or more inside that cave for 15 days now. Pretty extraordinary, this rescue. They have called it a rescue that no other has ever been attempted like this. And just to give you an indication, the Thai royal Navy divers are obviously leading this operation with the help of those British civilians.

But there are militaries from all over the world. The key militaries involved here are the U.S. military specialist divers, the Australian divers, the British military, and the Chinese, all cooperating in the depths of the cave system, working together, using all of the ingenuity and experience that they might have to get the boys out that received those poignant letters that you just read.

And Dianne, the last one you read there is, in fact, from the mother of the youngest member of that group, just 11-years-old, the one we have been talking about that wants fried chicken when he gets out. She says she will be near the cave entrance, just a few steps away from where I'm standing when he comes out, hopefully safe, hopefully walking on two feet, and certainly the whole of Thailand from the king down wants them out, and the whole world is watching.

GALLAGHER: David McKenzie, thank you so much for your insight.

BLACKWELL: The former Navy seal who died during operations to try to get those boys some supplies, well, he left a message before boarding the plane from Bangkok to Chiang Rai, and here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We are going from the Navy as well. Joining us are also divers from the SeaWorld diving company who have also supported us with a haul of diving equipment for this rescue mission. See you guys this evening at Chiang Rai. May luck be on our side and bring the kids home.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[10:40:13] BLACKWELL: You know, when you read those letters especially from the parents to their children, saying, when you come out we'll go and get the fried chicken.

GALLAGHER: Yes.

BLACKWELL: We won't forget your birthday, you remember that this isn't just an international emergency. These are 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16-year-old boys who have been in there two weeks.

GALLAGHER: Two weeks now. Two weeks.

BLACKWELL: These are children.

GALLAGHER: And it felt so hopeful on Monday, and now there's just this sense of waiting to see what will happen next.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:45:20] GALLAGHER: Well, the chair of the House Freedom Caucus is urging members to show support for embattled Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan.

BLACKWELL: The Ohio Republican has been under pressure since a former wrestler at Ohio State came forward saying Jordan ignored allegations the team's doctor sexually abused students. Others have since come forward. But as CNN's Jean Casarez reports, the first accuser is now saying the focus should not be on the congressman. It should instead be on the victims.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Michael DiSabato, the first accuser to come forward publicly to CNN, saying that Ohio State University team physician Richard Strauss sexually molested him while he was on the wrestling team at the university has now come out with a new statement. Congressman Jim Jordan was also at the university as an associate coach at the very same time and DiSabato has said repeatedly that Jordan knew exactly what was happening to the wrestling team members. He knew about the sexual assault and didn't go forward to say anything.

Well, now DiSabato is saying it is time to focus on the victims. Quote, "I love Jim Jordan. This was never meant to be about Jim Jordan. I think he was a victim himself. I know it's uncomfortable for victims. I don't want to revictimize him, but, again, the fact that he denied it, it hurt our feelings, number one. I mean it is hurtful. And, number two, it's inaccurate. And so he's got two roles. He's a victim and he's a political figure."

Also Brian Garrett, now a nurse, came forward to CNN on Friday, saying that he too was sexually assaulted by Dr. Richard Strauss. In 1996 he said that he worked for Strauss for a while and was asked to go in an examination room. He saw a male patient on the table and observed for himself Dr. Strauss sexually assaulting this man. He said that at the end the patient was red-faced and embarrassed. He then says that after that patient left, Dr. Strauss asked him if he had any ailments. He said he had heartburn. Strauss asked him to lay down for an examination, pushed on his stomach, and then began fondling him after pulling down his pants.

As far as the investigation, it is continuing. Ohio State University legal counsel say they have not reached any conclusions yet, but they will give periodic updates. And when that final decision and conclusions are reached, they will make it public. Dr. Richard Strauss passed on in 2005.

Jean Casarez, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLACKWELL: Another heavyweight goes down in the World Cup. The thrilling end in all-Euro/South America day in the quarterfinals.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:52:44] BLACKWELL: World Cup is getting cut down to the final four today.

GALLAGHER: The action under way in Russia right now. Kristina Fitzpatrick here to tell us more. And we're at halftime right now, right?

KRISTINA FITZPATRICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, there's a game going on as we speak, some cheers going on in the building. England and Sweden are playing right now in the third of four quarterfinal matchups. It is one-nil England at the half, the goal coming on a corner kick, and for many English fans the hope is, as the song goes, it's coming home. We'll explain that later.

Host nation Russia takes on Croatia at 2:00 p.m. eastern for the final spot in the semi-finals. Two of those semifinal spots have already been secured, one to Belgium who were able to knock off perennial power Brazil. Belgium found itself with an early lead after this own- goal early in the first half, then adding a second tally later in the first half. Brazil had a chance though. Two-one in the 94th minute, and Brazil star Neymar just can't get it by the goalkeeper. A fantastic diving save preserved the lead and the victory for Belgium. Belgium will take on France who defeated Uruguay two-nil.

And that is your Bleacher Report this morning.

GALLAGHER: All right. I know our executive producer Adam very excited about that --

BLACKWELL: We mentioned him too much today.

GALLAGHER: You got to give him support, right? England hasn't been here very -- it's been a while.

FITZPATRICK: Hey, it is coming home.

BLACKWELL: All right, in Texas, more than 40 percent of kids -- serious turn here -- that go to jail once return within 12 months. Here is CNN Hero Chad Houser. He left a successful career as a Dallas chef after a one-chance meeting with a young man out of juvenile detention who had just discovered a love for cooking.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHAD HOUSER, CNN HERO: I remember consciously thinking that the system is rigged based on choices that were made for him, not by him. The color of his skin, the part of town that he was born into, the schools that he had access to. And I just thought, it's not fair. He deserves every chance that I had. And I thought, if you're not willing to do something yourself, then you're being a hypocrite. So either put up or shut up, and that was it for me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[10:55:00] GALLAGHER: If you want to learn more about Chad's nonprofit and if you want to nominate your own CNN hero, just visit CNNHeroes.com.

Thank you all for watching with us this morning.

BLACKWELL: There is much more ahead in the next hour of CNN Newsroom. Our colleague Suzanne Malveaux is up after a quick break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN breaking news.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: Hello. I'm Suzanne Malveaux in Washington in for Fredericka Whitfield. Breaking news now, a desperate race to save lives. Twelve boys and their soccer coach trapped inside a dangerous cave in Thailand. Rescuers now say they have a new plan to free the group soon, but these next 24 to 48 hours, they are going to be critical.