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North And South Korean Leaders Meet For Talks; Denuclearization At The Top Of Summit Agenda; Trump Announces New Tariffs On Chinese Imports; Trump's Pick Kavanaugh Accuser To Testify Monday. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired September 18, 2018 - 01:00   ET



[01:00:00 JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. Ahead this hour, they wave plastic flower, cheered with enthusiasm, and line in the streets of Pyongyang -- a warm welcome for South Korea's president for his third summit with Kim Jong-un and stalled nuclear talks with the U.S., and possibly a formal end to the Korean War.

Also, the battle over the U.S. Supreme Court said to go public. The nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, and the woman who accuses him of sexual assault set to testify next week. And the storm may have passed but before it continues to rise and the worst from Florence, could yet be enough. Thanks, everybody, for joining us for another hour. I'm John Vause and you're watching NEWSROOM L.A.

Moon Jae-in is right now in Pyongyang, the first time a South Korean president has traveled north in more than a decade and stalled nuclears negotiations could be at stake. There was a warm welcome for South Korea's president greeted personally at the airport by Kim Jong- un, then cheered by crowds lining the streets of the capital. During this high-stakes trip, Moon is hoping to make progress on denuclearization as well as a peace declaration to formally end the Korean War.

Paula Hancocks, following all of this live for us from Seoul in South Korea. So, Paula, Moon Jae-in seem very confident that both Washington and Pyongyang actually want to move forward with these nuclear talks. This is what he said before leaving Seoul.


MOON JAE-IN, PRESIDENT OF SOUTH KOREA (through translator): I have confirmed the true will of Chairman Kim Jong-un and President Trump several times. I believe that the denuclearization issue could be progressed in a rapid pace if the two leaders face each other again and talk.


VAUSE: OK, but for that to happen, both sides it seems have to make some kind of a concession. So, specifically, what is he looking for from North Korea and in return what do the North Koreans want from the U.S.?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, what we've been hearing from people around the South Korean president is that he's hoping for some kind of bold gesture, some courageous gesture, he's talked about from the North Koreans -- something that he can then go back to, to Washington, and talk to U.S. President Trump and try and get some kind of matching measure. This is what he's been calling for.

He's been saying that North Korea needs to denuclearize. But also, the U.S. needs to have some kind of matching measure. And of course, the issue is that the U.S. and North Korean positions are fairly wide apart at this point. North Korea wants to have concessions, and wants to have a quid pro quo -- a step by step approach, they denuclearize and they're rewarded for each step. But of course, that's not what Washington wants, they want this for denuclearization and then afterwards, they say they will concessions, potentially declared the end of the Korean War amidst sanctions.

So, what President Moon has to do, and to be fair, it's something he's been doing for many months now, is to try and bring those two positions closer together. Now, we can see clearly there is a rapport between the North and South Korean leaders be welcomed, has been pretty picture perfect so far. We saw the motorcade rolling through the streets of Pyongyang; both of the leaders standing out of the sun with waving to crowds on the streets. And of course, it's also the chance for Kim Jong-un to show off the showcase capital of Pyongyang, to show the world what Pyongyang is.

So, certainly, from his point of view, he will be very glad that the South Korean leader has come to Pyongyang. Only the third time a South Korean president has done that. But from the South Korea president's point of view, he needs something concrete at the end of this. He has said, it's not likely to be another declaration, they're not expecting another signed statement from these leaders, that they want to have something that the South Korean leader can take to U.S. President Donald Trump, because at this point, the position, as I say, are quite far apart. John.

VAUSE: Paula, thank you. Paula Hancocks there, live in Seoul with the very latest. Appreciate it.

For more now, Paul Carroll joins us, a Senior Advisor at N Square Group committed to reducing the risks of nuclear weapons. OK. So, Paul, on the surface, it seems, a peace declaration for a war which ended what? 70 years ago -- maybe 70 years ago? That doesn't seem like a big ask, but there are potential implications here of what it could mean for American forces on the Korean Peninsula.

PAUL CARROLL, SENIOR ADVISOR, N SQUARE GROUP: Well, thanks for having me, John. You're right. I mean, in reality for the United States simply to declare the war over, would be a rhetorical gesture, but it would be a significant one. And you have to keep in mind that it's not simply a war between North and South Korea or even a war between South Korea, the United States and North Korea. That it was a U.N. police action that last for three years; there was multiple parties. So, it's one thing to declare hostilities over, it's another to have a

formalized peace regime and declaration that something the north has always wanted. And as Paula mentioned, this is quite a big deal. Quite a big deal for the north and the south. President Trump may cavalierly say, well, sure we can do that, but he has to be aware of the implications of doing something in a formal sense.

[01:05:18] VAUSE: And we're looking at live pictures there. I think we're calling it Seoul, we should be calling in Pyongyang. We can see the two leaders there in that limousine being driven through streets. So, Paul, you know, we're talking about some kind of declaration which will have symbolic value, but no relevance to the U.S. forces in the region. That's coming from the South Koreans. Is that likely to be enough for Kim Jong-un?

CARROLL: Well, I feel like Kim Jong-un is having his cake and eating it too. He got a summit with the U.S. president in June that many people criticize and I would be among them. It gave him legitimacy, it gave him equal footing on the world stage, and what did the United States come away with -- a declaration that is quite thin on details, and really it was just aspirational. The first two elements of that statement had to do with piece regime in an architecture of security on the Peninsula.

So, that may not seem like much but third on the list was this aspiration of someday working towards denuclearization of the peninsula, not the north giving up their weapons but broader architecture of nuclear security. So, these phrases and these nuances matter a lot. For the U.S. and for the South Koreans to write down in pen and ink, a formal end to the Korean War would be a huge win for the north, and huge loss, frankly, for the U.S.

VAUSE: OK. So, with the nuance involved, listen to President Trump at a campaign rally earlier this month.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I just came on stage and I was told that Kim Jong-un said some terrific things about me. He said, I have faith in President Trump. Think if this, you don't hear that from them. And just moments ago, they put on -- they put on that he said, very strongly, that we want to denuclearize North Korea during President Trump's tenure. That's a nice -- he just said it. Just said it.


VAUSE: But according to the New York Times, what the president left out was this clause: "But only if Washington take simultaneous reciprocal actions, starting with an end-of-war declaration, according to South Korean envoys who met recently with Mr. Kim." Is this the problem here? Donald Trump hears what he wants to hear. Others within the administration are much more realistic, much more concerned about the sincerity of the North Koreans?

CARROLL: It's certainly a big part of the problem. I wouldn't say it's the only problem. I think the administration, the U.S. administration is learning the, the realities of the complexity of this process. The same mistakes that happened in the past and some held their breath and thought, well, maybe this will be different. As much as President Trump is a wild card, maybe going big right out of the gate could loosen things up.

Well, now, we're finding that going big meaning, promising or indicating that you would promise a peace regime in response for denuclearization. Now, we're getting bogged down in details and nuances, Secretary of State Pompeo's trip was canceled abruptly in August. It is an ego game with respect to President Trump and Kim Jong-un and his people to know that.

VAUSE: Sorry. Continue. Sorry, mate. Finish your thought.

CARROLL: Just going to say, so beyond the realities and the complexities of the step-by-step processes and verification, there is, frankly, the personality of the U.S. President.

VAUSE: OK. So -- this is a concern that many have and was expressed by the Republican Senator Lindsey Graham over the weekend.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Are they playing us? I don't know. If they're playing Trump, we're in a world of hurt because he's going to have no options left. This is the last best chance for peace right here.


VAUSE: So, are we at the point now where the outcome of these talks between Moon and Kim Jong-un will reveal just how serious the North Koreans are, and if they're playing the president?

CARROLL: I'm hopeful about the inter-Korean summit. I think President Moon understands how tricky a position he is. He's walking a tightrope. He needs to help grease the skids and recover and restore the broader dialogue that includes the nuclear program. But, he also can't be seen as getting too close too fast to the north while also distancing himself from the U.S. He also -- his own political capital and sort of, you know, CYA to take care of. His polling is down. And so, this is something that he ran on in the campaign. It's about his own political capital and legacy.

And meanwhile, you know, for those keeping score at home, what Kim Jong-un has succeeded in achieving is more time on the clock, no real limits on his nuclear and missile program, the intelligence that we have seen public and otherwise is that they're churning away, they're just being quiet about it. Meanwhile, it gives them space to develop their economy and gain even more legitimacy on the world stage. So, at the moment, things are going Kim Jong-un's way and President Moon is doing the best he can to bring things back into the fold and let's keep our eye on the nukes.

[01:10:31] VAUSE: And with the economy in mind, there's a, you know, host of business leaders in Pyongyang with President Moon on this trip as well, to trying and woo Kim Jong-un economically, from that point of view. So, Paul, thank you. Appreciate you being with us.

CARROLL: My pleasure.

VAUSE: And the U.S. president has fired another round in this trade war with China, announcing new tariffs on $200 billion where the Chinese imports that take effect in a week. For more now, we go live to Beijing, Matt Rivers is there. So, Matt, it would see, just looking at the economic numbers here, the U.S. is in a better position, a stronger position if they want to fight a trade war. China, maybe not so much with the economy slowing.

MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and that's exactly what the president is counting on here. He thinks that the United States can weather the effects of a trade war better than China can. And you're absolutely right, the economy here is slowing down and China relies on exporting its goods to the United States for, you know, a very significant portion of its manufacturing income. It's something is done for a very long time.

So, yes, that's exactly what the president is trying to do here. But if you also look at what some of these other goals, what president has here? What did tariffs achieve? Well, on the one hand, he's trying to use these tariffs to get China to fundamentally change its economic structure, to change how it does business, to make the market here more favorable for American companies. Will that work, eventually? Your guess is as good as mine.

But the other thing that he wants to do with these tariffs is by putting these tariffs into effect, he wants American companies to go back to the United States and bring their supply chains back home, to bring their manufacturing back home. But there does not seem to be any evidence that American companies here will actually do that. In fact, of a survey, the American Chamber of Commerce, John, just did a survey of 430 different American companies operating here in China.

Of that number, six percent of the companies surveyed said that U.S.- China trade dispute would make them consider relocating operations back home. So, do tariffs get China to change what it's doing on an economic stand-point? Maybe. But does it force American companies to uproot from China and go back to the United States? According to this survey, the answers is no.

VAUSE: Matt, thank you. Matt Rivers with the latest on this escalating trade war. Matt, thank you.

We'll take a short break. When we come back, the woman accusing the Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, of sexual assault will testify publicly next week. When we come back, we'll look at the unusually muted on-message response from the Trump White House.

Also, ahead, rescuers in the Philippines still looking for typhoon survivors, but hope is fading.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [01:15:45] VAUSE: Monday, might just be decisive day for Donald Trump's nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court. Brett Kavanaugh and the woman accusing him of sexual assault more than 30 years ago will both testify in public before a Senate committee.

For the very latest, here's CNN's Jim Acosta, reporting from the White House.


TRUMP: Thank you, everybody.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Trump is sticking with his Supreme Court pick Brett Kavanaugh, brushing off the notion, the embattled judge would withdraw from consideration.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Has he offered to withdraw?

TRUMP: Next question. What a ridiculous question.

ACOSTA: Asked about the accusation of assault facing Kavanaugh, the president didn't hesitate to defend the judge.

TRUMP: He is somebody very special. At the same time, we want to go through a process, we want to make sure everything is perfect. Everything is just right. I wish the Democrats could have done this a lot sooner because they had this information for many months and they shouldn't have waited to literally the last days, they should have done it a lot sooner. But with all of that being said, we want to go through the process.

ACOSTA: Still the president did not push back on the possibility of a delay in the confirmation battle.

TRUMP: If it takes a little delay, it will take a little delay. Oh, I think he's on track, yes. I mean, I think he's very much on track.

ACOSTA: Kavanaugh made an appearance at the White House earlier in the day. As sources tell CNN, the president is fuming over the allegation rocking his selection for the high court. But top aides including the normally combative White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway, or keeping their powder dry.

KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: Let me make very clear on behalf of the president with whom I have just spoken at length about this. So, put aside all the nonsense, it's on T.V. and in print from people couldn't possibly be a source familiar with this thinking. She should not be ignored or insulted. She should be heard.

ACOSTA: The accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, says, "Kavanaugh and a friend were drunk when they assaulted her while in high school more than 35 years ago. In a letter detailing her ordeal, she writes, they both laughed as Kavanaugh tried to disrobe me in their highly inebriated state. With Kavanaugh's hand over my mouth, I fear he may inadvertently kill me."

Her attorney insists this was an assault.

DEBRA KATZ, ATTORNEY FOR KAVANAUGH ACCUSER, CHRISTINE FORD: That he was ignoring the fact that she was attempting to scream and having a difficult time breathing. And she believes that, but for his inebriation and his inability to take her clothes off, he would have raped her.

ACOSTA: Both Ford and Kavanaugh are willing to testify. Kavanaugh maintains he's innocent, saying in a statement, "This is a completely false allegation. I've never done anything like what the accuser describes to her or to anyone. Because this never happened, I had no idea who was making this accusation until she identified herself yesterday."

The friend alleged to have played a part in the assault, Mark Judge, said in a statement, "I never saw Brett act that way." A sign of just how poisonous the debate over Kavanaugh has now become just look at this Instagram post from the president's son, Donald Trump Jr.

It mocks the allegations against Kavanaugh in crayon with the words, "Will you be my girlfriend? Yes, no, love, Brett."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Grab them by the --

ACOSTA: The Kavanaugh saga presents the president with a familiar challenge.

TRUMP: Hello, how are you? Hi.

ACOSTA: Mr. Trump who once bragged to Access Hollywood that he could grope women and get away with it has sided with men accused of misconduct in the past. Whether it was his ex-aide, Rob Porter.

TRUMP: He says he's innocent and I think you have to remember that. Thank you.

ACOSTA: Or Alabama GOP Senate candidate, Roy Moore.

TRUMP: He says it didn't happen. And you know, you have to listen to him also.

ACOSTA: Jim Acosta, CNN, the White House.


VAUSE: Joining us now from London, Democrat Strategist Caroline Heldman. Here in Los Angeles, a Republican commentator DeAnna Lorraine, and CNN's legal analyst and civil rights attorney Areva Martin.

OK, here is Professor Ford's attorney with all the details behind Ford's allegations for Kavanaugh. This is what she said.


KATZ: She took a polygraph. She mentioned this to her -- in her therapy sessions in 2012. She came forward before this nominee was nominated. This is someone who has told the truth at great personal cost and we all know what she's going to have to withstand as a result to having come forward.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Let's talk about that polygraph. As we understand it, she did it at your behest. You suggested that she do it knowing that she -- her veracity would be challenged. Would you be willing to release the results of that polygraph?

KATZ: I will, to the appropriate authorities who wish to see it, yes.


VAUSE: So, Caroline, first to you. And this is to you in your role, I guess, as an advocate for survivors of sexual assault. Just how difficult is it for women to come forward with these allegations? Is there anything unusual here which stands out about the veracity of the claims?

And also, there some allegations raised that -- you know, she wipes her social media presence, her Twitter accounts and Facebook accounts before she actually went public.

[01:20:25] CAROLINE HELDMAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I would say that it's very difficult to come forward especially in a high-profile case like this, and I work with a lot of high-profile survivors who go through hell, really. I'm not surprised she erased her social media presence. That's the first thing that I advise of survivors to do. Get out of -- you know, take the bull's eye off your back as much as you possibly can.

I think that what she will go through will be very similar to what Anita Hill went through. What I would anticipate and it's the same strategy that is used to discredit survivors pretty routinely, we call it the sluts and nuts. Strategy which is where you try to paint them as being sexually promiscuous and you try to paint them as being a little crazy.

And this is something that was used against Bill Clinton survivors. It was used against Anita Hill in 1991. And I would assume it will be the strategy now. All survivors who come forward, face this sort of blame and shame which is why so many of them stay quiet.

In fact, over 70 percent of women and men who are victims of sexual violence never come forward. And often those who do come forward, many decades later as we know with the 62 Cosby survivors.

VAUSE: Yes, I think the line for Anita Hill was a little bit sloppy, a little bit nutty, or something. So, Areva, to your (INAUDIBLE) from a legal standpoint. It doesn't matter that Professor Ford can't recall some very key details here. Like precisely, when this happened, and precisely where it happened.

It happen in Maryland. I mean that's a state, you know. It happened in the summer, 30-something years ago. I mean, living out those key details, what does that do? AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, you know, I think people are confusing the Senate confirmation hearings with a court of law. And the standard that's used in the court of law which is beyond a reasonable doubt. The Senate has not articulated any standard by which they have used in the past or will use with respect to these hearings.

I would say the standard should be if it's more probable than not that these -- that this incident -- this attempted rape happened, but that's enough. We don't have to get to beyond reasonable doubt. We're talking about an appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court.

We've seen CEOs outstood based on allegations when there is no polygraph test. We've seen high-profile men in the media and in other industries who lost their careers over allegations. And I just want to say from a legal standpoint, attempted rape and rape victims, they are not asked to take polygraphs.

This is a highly unusual test that she submitted to herself without being asked to do so. We don't ask rape victims to do that, and there's a reason for that. So, when I look at the totality of the evidence that supports her claim, I think it's pretty strong evidence. And I think that's enough because the American people deserve to have someone on the court that doesn't have the taint of being engaged in this kind of very serious assault against a woman.


VAUSE: They'll have to see you tamed.

LORRAINE: Yes, that's exactly what they do. They tamed and they smear. I mean, this is a predictable thing out of the left playbook. As soon as they couldn't stop the hearings from going on, they couldn't find him in any kind of a gotcha moment throughout the process.

So now, they're throwing the last desperate plea at the 11th hour to try to smear him and slander his character. And none of this was coming out before. He's already been vetted by the FBI a number of times too that's how he was able to become a judge.

VAUSE: Right.

LORRAINE: And none of this came out sooner. The only thing they could find in his whole life was some incident in high school that may or may not happened.


VAUSE: But, I guess the question is if you're going to set the judge up, you know, do -- I guess, are you saying that the entire thing is false, or the Democrats have held of it? Or what was the suite to conspiracy?

(CROSSTALK) LORRAINE: I'm not sure. But we -- first of all, we can't -- we don't even know. I just feel like it's very suspect that it's coming out right now, and there's no other evidence or witnesses.

And the other thing is I think that's actually that this desperate plea, it gives the whole MeToo movement a bad name. It makes a sort of a joke and a mockery out of the MeToo movement, where real victims of the MeToo movement, real assault survivors are going to actually be paying the price in the long run because of the left short- sightedness.


MARTIN: John, can I just say something --

LORRAINE: Because they sort of -- they cemented themselves as the boy who cried wolf at this point, and it can be really difficult to believe real victims of sexual assault.

VAUSE: I share that to Caroline on that because you deal with victims of sexual assault, Caroline. So, what do you -- what do you say about -- you know, DeAnna's claim?

HELDMAN: Well, I think that rape claims are exceedingly rare. Attempted sexual assault claims are exceedingly rare. So, what is more, likely that this woman conspired with her therapist six years ago to set up as someone she didn't know was headed for the Supreme Court? Or that she's telling the truth, and in fact, to that's been confirmed by a polygraph test?

I think the rhetoric that I'm hearing right now challenging the veracity of her claim when she is sacrificing her well-being and her professional reputation to come forward at this point in time because this man is being considered for the highest court in the land is exactly why survivors don't come forward, because they are blamed, put to the shame --


[01:25:09] LORRAINE: She's not sacrificing anything, she's winning a lot because she's very against Trump and she doesn't support Trump at all. So, she wins a lot for this process.

HELDMAN: No. I can --

MARTIN: This is not my show, but surely she deserves to be heard.

VAUSE: OK, let's go to Areva, because --

MARTIN: I want to go back to you --

VAUSE: Sorry Caroline, I was (INAUDIBLE).

MARTIN: I'm sorry. I won't go back to your point about evidence. There is so much rhetoric being spewed by the GOP Senators and commentators. Let's talk legally. VAUSE: Right.

MARTIN: And you want to hear about evidence. When someone makes a statement to a therapist when they make a statement to their husband in any court of law. That is considered very credible corroborating evidence that is acceptable by judges and juries in any case in this land.

So, this as notion that there's no evidence -- and again, it's just propaganda on the part of commentators who don't want to accept the fact that this is a very important appointment and it deserves to be vetted when these allegations are very serious.

VAUSE: I want you -- I want you to listen to the Republican Senator Orrin Hatch who spoke to Kavanaugh on Monday?


SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R-UT), SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: I talked to him on the phone today.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And well -- and what did he say to you?

HATCH: Well, he didn't do that and he wasn't at the party. So, you know, there's early somebody's mixed up.


So, DeAnna, is there a problem here that Kavanaugh is at the White House, he's devising a strategy with -- you know, the Trump administration. And he is calling individual Senators, he's trying to woo them before this hearing, I guess. And you know, the woman who's making these accusations is no one's heard from her. Yet she's -- you know, she's written this letter, Dianne Feinstein, she's talked to the Post and that's about it.

LORRAINE: Well, she's been probably preparing for this for months, if not years now.

VAUSE: But she's not lobbying individual Senators, but it sounds that.

LORRAINE: Well, I think that he's trying to actually build a case for himself which is good. I mean, he needs all the evidence he can to prove that he's innocent. You know, what happened to actually innocent until proven guilty. At this point, there's a whole character assassination from it towards them, and he needs as much evidence he can.

I don't blame him for doing this. This is the right thing or else, he won't have enough. And I think what happens to -- you know, discretion, I mean, we know and everyone -- it's been proven that he is basically a Boy Scout. He said it squeaky-clean -- a squeaky-clean track record as far as, as far as the confirmation process is concerned. And he said FBI vet him so many times. So, at this point, when do we actually say who is believable and who is not, and do we give someone an opportunity to hear him out? Do we judge his track -- his track record in his past against this one woman who have never heard about until now? What happened to that good faith and indiscretion?

As far as -- and one other thing, she is clearly very left-leaning. She's donated to left to campaigns, and she's very anti-Trump, have been very outspoken about that. So, when do we say that's had been took place?


VAUSE: And again, I want to ask Areva, does any of that matter? Let's say you're a (INAUDIBLE) to political beliefs and that's kind of motivational? I think --

MARTIN: Last time I checked --


MARTIN: Democrats can be raped.

VAUSE: Right.

MARTIN: So, I'm not certain how that argument makes any sense that you just --


LORRAINE: We got him look at bias on comment since there.

MARTIN: It doesn't make any sense, John. You know what, John, this is what we do know, the Anita Hill hearings, the way they disgraced and humiliated Anita Hill, led to the year of the women. Led to more women than ever -- Democratic women being elected to the cities.

So, the GOP know what they have at stake here. They can go and they could embarrass or tip to embarrass Dr. Ford, but they're going to pay a really serious price for it.

VAUSE: We're going to Caroline here because we can get almost out of time. Because Caroline, very on the right here they see this giant conspiracy theory essentially to derail Kavanaugh's appointment to the Supreme Court. Because -- you know, they have -- you know, Democrats believe he will took the ideological balance, and that there could be -- there's a limit to abortion rights in the U.S.

So, with that in mind, here's part of a blog post from the conservative commentator Erick Erickson. "The left is perfectly willing to destroy man's reputation in order to keep destroying children. They will use the 35-year-old uncorroborated single sourced, 35-year-old claim of a woman who first made the accusation in 2012 after Kavanaugh's name had circulated in the press as a possible Supreme Court for Romney in order to protect the right to kill girls in utero. Just remember that the entire thing is about the right to kill kids, not about the veracity of the accusation."

Does that to you, at least, explain why so many on the right are outraged by these allegations that are coming from Professor Ford? They're looking this through abortion politics?

HELDMAN: Absolutely, and as somebody who used to be on the other side and protested outside of abortion clinics, I know how passionately those beliefs are held. Perhaps, that's why only seven percent of Kavanaugh's documents have been made public. Perhaps, that's why they've allowed a man who clearly was dishonest in his previous confirmation to just push through.

But at this point in time, this rape allegation -- of this attempted rape allegation has nothing to do with politics. It is everything to do with whether or not we believe women when they come forward to say that they have experienced sexual violence.

And at this moment in time, Brett Kavanaugh going to the Supreme Court after we have seen the same thing happen in 1991, it's a new day.

[01:29:49] And I really hope that we as a country has learned something about believing women when they come forward.

JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. OK, we are out of time. But there's a lot at stake here. A lot of people made the point -- Mitch McConnell held open the seat for Merrick Garland for a year because there's an election coming up.

There's an election in 50 days. Maybe, you know, it could be held until, you know, that vote is held as well. But I guess we'll see.


VAUSE: But it doesn't look like it's going to happen.

DeAnna, Areva, as well as Caroline -- appreciate you getting up -- especially early, Caroline being with us. Thank you.

HELMAND: Thank you.



VAUSE: Thanks.

Ok. A short break. When we come back, the flooding disaster north of South Carolina could still get worse; what's left of Hurricane Florence now heading north and rivers are rising to dangerous levels.


VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles.

I'm John Vause with your headlines this hour. The South Korean President Moon Jae-in is in Pyongyang for talks with the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Mr. Moon's goal here: irreversible, permanent and unwavering peace. He's acting as a chief negotiator between the North and the U.S. (INAUDIBLE) a denuclearized Korean Peninsula.

And the U.S. President Donald Trump ramping up his trade war with China announcing new tariffs to go into effect on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports. The new 10 percent tariff begins on -- next Tuesday then jumps to 25 percent in January. Beijing has promised retaliation.

The woman who says President Trump's Supreme Court pick assaulted her more than 30 years ago will get a public hearing. Christine Blasey Ford will appear before a Senate committee this coming Monday. Judge Brett Kavanaugh who denies the allegations will also testify.

Official (ph) rescue efforts are under way in the Philippines for anyone who may have survived a huge landslide triggered by the super typhoon Mangkhut. The storm hit the Philippines hard on Saturday leaving at least 63 people dead.

Live now to Alexandra Field in Itogon in the Philippines with the very latest.

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And John -- here in Itogon, we have not found any survivors since Saturday leaving dozens of people still trapped by that landslide.

They've already found 14 bodies and they're doing very difficult hand work to try and locate any more survivors, any of the dozens of people that could still be trapped.

They're working down there in that valley. That was a bunk house where we're told minors and their family members had gone to seek shelter during the storm when this typhoon ripped through the region, coming in as a super typhoon.

It took out a chunk of land just here at the top of the hill. That's where the landslide started. It pushed the house that this group of dozens of people were sheltering in (INAUDIBLE) go down.

We're told by the rescue workers that they have found some bodies that have been trapped inside the house; other bodies that had been thrown from the (INAUDIBLE) when the house moved.

[01:35:03] These are rescue workers who are now working higher up. They've set up this rope here and these ropes run all the way down to that valley. The ropes are now being used to actually pull the bodies from where they've been found buried under meters of mud and debris.

Again, this is difficult work to do. Rescue workers (INAUDIBLE) just can't bring in heavy equipment because of this rain, because of the risk, of course, to any potential survivors. So they're doing this job by hand and with small tools, shovels and crowbars. John -- they're hoping for the best, but the special rescue team just behind me here said they're about to raise up the bodies of three more victims. So with so many people who've been holding on to hope they know that time is not on their side.

We've also seen a number of family members gathered up here on the hillside hoping for any news of their family member (ph) -- John.

VAUSE: It's grim work there obviously for -- for those rescuers. But Alex -- thank you for the latest.

The remnants of Hurricane Florence are heading north but it's still very dangerous. The storm caused several tornados in Virginia leaving at least one person dead. Meanwhile rivers in North and South Carolina are rising to record levels and the death toll has risen to 32.

CNN's Scott McLean has more now from Conway, South Carolina.


SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Widespread flooding, impassable roads and bridges and entire communities under water. Florence has weakened and moved northward but the next threat is still rising.

GOVERNOR ROY COOPER (D), NORTH CAROLINA: Some areas have not seen the worst flooding yet.

MCLEAN: The worst may still be ahead. Rivers rise, some won't crest for days. The Coast Guard and rescue teams from across the country are scrambling to help those stranded in homes and cars.

In North Carolina, a one-year-old drowned after he was swept away by rushing water. His mother drove through a flooded area and tried to escape her car while holding the child but lost her grip.

EDDIE CATHEY, SHERIFFF, UNION COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA: Driving through water where the roads are closed is dangerous for anybody. We had some success and then we had some tragedies.

MCLEAN: Meanwhile, volunteers are braving flooded roads and high water vehicles to bring food, water and supplies to cut off communities. Lumberton, North Carolina is bracing for the worst as the Lumber River levee teeters on failure prompting flashbacks to 2016 when Hurricane Matthew made its unwelcome visit.

COREY WATTERS, LUMBERTON PUBLIC WORKS DEPUTY DIRECTOR: We're throwing everything we got at it; here we're standing at right now, it scoured 20 feet deep when Matthew came through.

MCLEAN: The time to return home is still unknown for thousands who evacuated.

COOPER: We do not want evacuees to go back. We do not want that to happen right now. There's too much going on.

MCLEAN (on camera): This is worse than Matthew. Matthew only got up to right there.

In Loris, South Carolina Pastor Tim Osment woke up to the smell of smoke from his electrical circuit shorting out and the sound of rushing water as the storm sent more than two feet of water into his basement.

Moments later, he was walking through a knee-deep fast moving current to get out.

PASTOR TIM OSMENT, LORIS RESIDENT: It was scary as we were going out. It was up to my knees and you know I'm six feet tall. That much water moving swiftly it can take you off your feet.

MCLEAN: Osment has flood insurance. Carly McCall does not.

CARLY MCCALL: When it hit, it hit bad.

MCLEAN: McCall had to walk out of his apartment in waist-deep water. It's the second time he's been flooded in the past two years.

(on camera): This printing company across the street they are still operating though they've resorted to shuttling their products across the street by boat. They have conceded that they will flood. They don't think that they could save the whole building so what they've done is sand bagged around their biggest and most expensive pieces of equipment.

Right now the water is just a couple of inches from the door though this river is forecast to rise at least another three feet before the weekend.

Scott McLean, CNN -- Conway, South Carolina.


VAUSE: Let's get more now on the storm and the aftermath. Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri joins us now with more.

So Pedram -- you know, this is the thing; the rain, I guess it is about to stop, you know, for good -- at least for a time.


VAUSE: But there's still this threat for the rising water and the rivers.

JAVAHERI: It is. You know, it is really odd feeling when you're outside, it is starting to get sunny in fact in a lot of these areas. The storm is now hundreds of kilometers away. And in fact, there's the center of right here across western areas of Pennsylvania and what is left of this feature at least raining itself out across portions of New England.

But if all of that water wants to come downstream from the Appalachians, down towards the Atlantic Ocean, it will all eventually cause the water to rise back up again. So first, you had flooding from rainfall, then you have flooding from the rivers that are going to rise as the water recedes back into the Atlantic.

But we'll touch on that momentarily. Notice, the thunderstorms this is all related to what has happened, of course, with this system pushing through in the next couple of hours. So we'll expect some additional flooding around portions of say even New York State over the next couple of hours. I wouldn't be surprised if New York City gets some heavy rainfall out of it as well.

[01:40:03] But as John was talking about a few minutes ago, upwards of 13 reports of tornados now across the state of Virginia, all of them related to what Florence is doing as it skirted across this region in the past 24 hours.

Not unusual to see tropical systems spawn tornados, there's quite a bit of friction that goes on with a rotating system interacting with land and certainly -- an oddity as well because it was on this state, back in 2004, Hurricane Ivan spawned the most tropical tornados and about 73 percent of tropical tornados are F-0 and F-1 -- the data going back to before the enhanced Fujita scale. F-2s and F-3s about 26 percent of them and you see pretty rare to get the significant strength but some remarkable video showing you rather strong tornados across that region of the state of Virginia.

Flood watches, flood warnings, 35 million people from New York down toward the Carolinas still being impacted by this. And again, when it comes to the Carolinas, it's not just the rainfall but it's what's happening farther back toward the west.

It is still raining from tropical moisture still present, believe it or not, as the system kind of elongates itself across this region. But when you take a look at the river gauges, the few that are reporting are either at moderate or major flood stage which is about 40-plus river gauges across this region.

But John -- all of that heavy rainfall into the Appalachians, much higher elevation -- all of it now is receding back through the hundreds of water ways across this region. Again they all want to end up back into the Atlantic so we'll continue to see the levels rise here over the next couple of days. But I think by Thursday and Friday, at least that aspect that would also begin to recede. So a very slow process here across this region.

VAUSE: Yes. It is straight (ph) on for some time. This was a slow moving storm and now, we got the tail end of it.

Pedram -- thank you.

JAVAHERI: Thanks -- John.

VAUSE: With that we'll take a short break. Syria's Idlib Province managed to be spared on (INAUDIBLE) assault after all. Russia and Turkey announce a new plan that is still raising a lot of questions.


VAUSE: Russia and Turkey have agreed to patrol a demilitarized zone around the last rebel stronghold in Syria. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the plan for Idlib on Monday effectively delaying a Syrian government offensive to retake that area.

But as Matthew Chance reports, the agreement is short on specifics.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): This is a diplomatic agreement that could well postpone if not avert a full-scale military assault on Idlib, the last Syrian province, of course, that is in rebel hands.

[01:44:59] Russia and its Syrian government allies have been building up military forces in preparation for a potential attack on Idlib, home to about three million people prompting international concerns of a humanitarian disaster.

Turkey, which already hosts 3.5 million refugees from the conflict in Syria, fears an attack on Idlib could push even more people across its borders and it's been using its close diplomatic relationship with Russia to push for an alternative to military action, something that now appears to have been agreed between the Turkish and Russian presidents.

Take a listen.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): During our meeting, we examined in detail the situation and decided to create along the line of contact by the 15th of October, a demilitarized zone of 15 to 20 kilometers long. And to make sure that the militants will be removed including Jabhat al Nusra.

By the 15th of October, on the proposal of the Turkish president, all heavy equipment, tanks and ground to air missiles and mortars of all opposition groups will be removed and the demilitarized zone will be patrolled by mobile Turkish units and Russian military police.

CHANCE: For the Turkish president, he says that plan will prevent a humanitarian crisis.

But the detail of how it is going to work, just isn't clear how rebel factions inside Idlib, for instance, can be persuaded to give up their weapons in just the next few weeks.

Russia's foreign minister has called Idlib a hotbed of terrorists that need to be liquidated. But the Russian defense ministry now says that a military assault on Idlib is no longer on the agenda.

Matthew Chance, CNN -- Moscow.


VAUSE: Syrian forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad have mistakenly shot down a military plane of their main ally Russia. A U.S. official says that Syria has been using a Russian anti-aircraft system to intercept Israeli missiles targeting the province of Latakia when the Russian plane was hit.

But according to a report from Russia's state news agency, 14 personnel on the plane had all disappeared over the Mediterranean.

We have this programming note now. Later this Tuesday, a follow-up to our story about the Saudi-led military assault on Yemen and the American company supplying the firepower.

Nima Elbagir identifies at least 11 air strikes on civilian areas using U.S.-made arms.


NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): You can see here the moments before the planes arrived -- killing 21 people, 11 of them children. This is part of the missile tail used in the attack. A weapons expert helped CNN trace it back to the U.S. made GBU-12 bomb manufactured by Raytheon.


VAUSE: And you can watch Nima's report "MADE IN America" on "CONNECT THE WORLD" 4:00 p.m. in London 7:00 p.m. in Abu Dhabi.

Pope Francis has defrocked one of Chile's most prominent priest, the Reverend Cristian Precht Banados over allegations of sexual abuse. Precht is regarded by many in Chile as a hero. He stood up for human rights during the country's dictatorship.

More now from CNN's senior Vatican analyst, John Allen.


JOHN ALLEN, CNN SENIOR VATICAN ANALYST: In an attempt to show resolve in the face of the massive child sexual abuse scandals that are once again rocking the Catholic Church all across the world, Pope Francis has expelled from the priesthood one of the most prominent clerics in Chile, Father Cristian Precht who was a national hero for his role as a human rights protester and voice of the people during the Pinochet years, the military dictatorship in Chile.

And the fact the Pope has taken this step certainly shows that Pope Francis and his team want to impose accountability for the crime of sexual abuse of a minor. The problem is many critics are not seeing that same resolve when it comes to covering up that crime.

There are senior bishops in Chile who have been accused of knowing of the abuse committed by Precht and by others and are failing to act. Within the last 48 hours a new -- a new media report in Holland indicates that from 1945 to 2010 more than half of that bishops, 20 out of 39, have been accused of covering up for predator priests.

So while Pope Francis takes one step forward when it comes to the fight against child sexual abuse in Chile, many observers and many critics will say there's a lot of unfinished business left to be complete. Reporting from Rome -- this is John Allen for CNN.


VAUSE: Well as the advertising campaign would say, everything goes better with Coke. And now it seems maybe a little cannabis as well.

We'll explain in just a moment.



VAUSE: Yes, back in the 60s, Coca-Cola was sold as that refreshing new feeling. What few realized back then was the approximately nine teaspoons of added sugar in every can.

The World Health Organization recommends no more than six teaspoons of sugar a day. And according to one health writer, consuming that much sugar all at once would not only make us vomit but among the ingredients in Coke is phosphoric acid that dulls the sweetness so we can just keep drinking and drinking and guzzling and guzzling more and more and more.

And then there is a Harvard study which found a direct link between this sugary drink and obesity -- no surprise there. Just one to two cans each day actually increases the risk of Type 2 diabetes by 26 percent.

This list just goes on and on and on. Little wonder that sales of Coca-Cola and other similar products have been declining for years and the company has been trying to develop new brands.

The "Wall Street Journal" reports Coke launched 500 new drinks last year and most tasted nothing like Coke. There was cucumber-flavored Sprite in Russia, whey shakes in Brazil, a sesame walnut drink in China and a salty lemon tonic for France and Belgium. And soon Coke might be adding cannabis drinks to that list.

For more we're joined now by A.J. Herrington. He wrote about this new cannabis deal, this possible cannabis deal at "High Times Magazine". A.J. -- thanks for being with us.

A.J. HERRINGTON, JOURNALIST: Thank you for having me -- John.

VAUSE: Ok. Let's just be clear. Coke actually goes down the cannabis road. The drinks will be infused with what's called CBD which is a non-psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. It treats pain but doesn't give you the high. There's no THC.

But there's still the legal issues here, because marijuana and CBD remain illegal in the U.S. under federal law.

HERRINGTON: That's correct.

VAUSE: So where does that leave Coca-Cola and this plan -- this plan rather, I should say?

HERRINGTON: Well this plan is actually with a Canadian company where they're going to be developing the drug -- or the drink, excuse me. So that saves them from any regulatory problems here in the United States.

There is rumors, though, that if the drink is successful in Canada where they're legalizing cannabis next month on October 17th then -- they'll expand into the U.S. if the regulatory environment changes here.

VAUSE: You know, apart from the legal issues, are there potentially sort of image or reputational questions for Coke getting in bed with the marijuana business?

HERRINGTON: Well, I don't know that -- any products that they develop would actually have the Coca-Cola name on it. And even if it did, I believe think the stigma of cannabis is changing, especially for CBD. We're seeing more and more people that are using it, even older people. And it is showing a lot of promise for medical applications.

VAUSE: You know, up until what 1929, the company actually did use what they described as a mere trace of cocaine as one of their ingredients. So this isn't really new, you know, exactly territory for Coke.

HERRINGTON: Not at all. No.

VAUSE: Back then cocaine was actually used for medicinal purposes. So I guess in some ways, it is almost like history repeating itself.

HERRINGTON: Absolutely -- John. Yes. The regulatory environment around cannabis is changing from state to state. CBD will be legal soon. The first marijuana-derived drug approved by the FDA will be released. It is Epidiolex and that will involve the rescheduling or the descheduling of CBD from the Controlled Substances Act.

[01:55:04] VAUSE: Although we should note that cocaine obviously is still illegal. You know, this story is getting a lot of attention because it is Coca-Cola but it seems that it might actually be a little late here to the game.

The makers of Heineken and Guinness, Coors -- they've even started a joint venture with cannabis producers or they're in talks to do so. Heineken has actually got a beer with THC as the active ingredient, right?

HERRINGTON: I'm not sure about that. I know here in California the regulators had decided that there's going to be a separation between cannabis and alcohol and they won't allow beverages that have both. If -- if it has cannabis it can't have alcohol and vice versa.

Other states will change, can be different. I believe in Nevada, they might have legal beverages but I'm not sure about that. But it varies from state to state. And that's part of the problem with doing business in this area is -- you have to follow the -- the -- the regulations about that can be different everywhere you want to do business.

VAUSE: I just want to have a big picture here and look at those companies which are already sort of doing business with, you know, marijuana industry. They're all adult beverages. And you know, Coca- Cola is this American icon so the mere fact that it is considering a cannabis product, is that in and of itself add a, you know, certain legitimacy or respectability to the legalized marijuana industry?

HERRINGTON: Well, I believe every little bit helps. The stigma that's attached to cannabis for decades still exists and any time that you see a recognized name getting into the business it -- it definitely can't hurt.

Although I would say that some purists, people that have been in the cannabis industry for a long time don't see the -- the entering of big businesses like Coca-Cola in to the cannabis business as a good thing. But it -- it is probably inevitable.

VAUSE: Yes. You've got to wonder all those ingredients they have been using over the years, are they any worse than -- you know, is marijuana any worse than that?

But we'll leave it there -- A.J. Tanks you so much.

HERRINGTON: My pleasure -- John. Thank you.


And thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause.

Stay with us. The news continues here on CNN after a short break.