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Kavanaugh Accuser Will Testify in Open Hearing on Thursday; Republican Leaders Say Kavanaugh Will Be Confirmed; Poll: More Voters Prefer Democrat-Controlled Congress. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired September 23, 2018 - 19:00   ET


[19:00:04] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Seven o'clock Eastern, 4:00 in the afternoon out west. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York and you are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. Great to have you with us, so much to talk about.

It is just a matter of days now when the nation will hear directly from the woman who says Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her decades ago. No second-hand retelling of her story, no filtered statements through her lawyers.

Christine Blasey Ford has agreed that, Thursday, she will walk into the Senate Judiciary Committee and tell her version of what she says happened to her back in 1982. She says Kavanaugh, who was then 17, pinned her to a bed, covered her mouth, and tried to remove her clothes before she eventually got away.

Following her testimony, Brett Kavanaugh will also get time before the Committee to answer those charges.

CNN's Jessica Schneider is following developments in Washington and Boris Sanchez is outside Trump Tower in New York where the President arrived a short term ago.

Jessica, we know the time and place now of this hearing. But beyond that, there is still a number of things that need to be worked out.

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Right, Ana, there are still several sticking points for Blasey Ford's attorneys. But, really, on those sticking points, the Committee doesn't seem to be budging.

So Blasey Ford's team, they want more witnesses. And right now, the Committee is only scheduled to hear from Blasey Ford herself as well as Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

Blasey Ford's attorneys, they had floated this idea of maybe bringing in trauma experts to testify, as well as other people who were supposedly at this party.

But to that end, the Committee's chairman, Chuck Grassley, has issued a lengthy update about it, saying that the Committee has been investigating for the past week or so, and they have talked to all four people who were supposedly at this party. And the Committee now reiterating that all four of them, including

Judge Kavanaugh, say they have no recollection or knowledge of this alleged party where Blasey Ford says the sexual assault took place.

Now, in addition, the chairman, Chuck Grassley, is saying that they have tried to interview Blasey Ford with no success here. In fact, they issued this part of the statement.

They said the Committee has asked Dr. Ford to participate in a confidential interview with Republican and Democratic committee staff the day after learning her identity -- and that was on September 17th. The Committee has reiterated that request over the last week.

So no response yet on that point from Blasey Ford's attorneys, but they have been in these ongoing negotiations for several days now. Finally, this morning they agreed to the testimony on Thursday. And here's what they said earlier today in a statement.

They said -- despite actual threats to her safety and her life, Dr. Ford believes it is important for senators to hear directly from her about the sexual assault committed against her.

So right now, the stage is, in fact, set for Blasey for Thursday when Blasey Ford is scheduled to testify. She will go first. After which, Judge Kavanaugh will then go before the Committee. All of this commencing at 10:00 a.m. It will be open to the public.

We also know that Blasey Ford will have dedicated security along with two attorneys at the counsel table while she's questioned. So, Ana, this has finally come to terms here. We're expecting it on Thursday and it will certainly be a high-stakes hearing -- Ana.

CABRERA: Boris, President Trump, he is now inside Trump Tower ahead of the U.N. General Assembly.

He's been pretty vocal about the woman accusing Brett Kavanaugh, casting doubt on her story, doubling and even tripling down on his support for his nominee. But some senior Republicans are telling him he's not helping by tweeting so much.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Ana. Yes, initially after these accusations from Christine Blasey Ford came out about Brett Kavanaugh, the President's pick to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court, the President was somewhat restrained.

Sources in the White House told CNN that they were essentially waiting for the President to go after her on Twitter. And then just a few days ago, he openly questioned why it took her so long to come forward with these accusations, this alleged sexual assault that she says took place in 1982.

That didn't sit well with, as you noted, senior Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell who, sources say, called President Trump Friday morning and told him that those tweets were not helping. Since then, President Trump has remained relatively quiet on the

ongoing negotiations between Ford and the Senate Judiciary Committee and the announcement that she will testify on Thursday.

The President did tweet a pair of times earlier this evening, but he kept that to just the subject of meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe who is also here in New York for the United Nations General Assembly.

I did want to point some reporting from "The Washington Post" as well, reporting that indicates that Judge Kavanaugh has spent several hours over the past couple of days at the White House with aides going through mock confirmation hearings, giving mock testimony to these aides who are playing specific senators, asking him questions about Ford's upcoming testimony, questions about his time at Georgetown Preparatory School.

[19:05:04] And according to "The Washington Post," Kavanaugh has not wanted to answer some of those questions. The White House, though, clearly wanting him to be prepared for the heated testimony that is due this Thursday, Ana.

CABRERA: And no doubt he's going to get questions by the senators about those issues. Thank you, Boris Sanchez, Jessica Schneider.

I want to bring in someone now who has seen the Supreme Court confirmation process play out from the viewpoint of the White House.

David Gergen is our senior political analyst. He has also advised four U.S. presidents, both Democrat and Republican.

So, David, as you are just taking all of this in, how big of a moment is this?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: It's a huge moment for the country. This could determine the direction and the decisions of the Supreme Court for 30 years. And Judge Kavanaugh, as everyone thinks, he's very bright and he is -- very well be very influential as a conservative voice.

It's also really an important moment in the lives of each of the individuals. Here is Judge Kavanaugh who has had basically a spotless record. Everybody looks up to him. Intellectual -- you know, very strong intellectually. And he has a record of being a good parent, a good father, a good husband. And now, suddenly, his reputation is very much in question now as he gets through this.

But at the same time, here we have Christine Ford coming. Here's a woman who's extraordinarily brave, who knew before she came -- went public with her name that she would catch hell, but I don't think she had any idea how vicious and how threatening this period would be.

And now, she's coming into the lion's den. This is Kavanaugh's town. You know, he goes to the White House to get briefed. He goes to the White House to go through mock sessions. She has just a small little team. They've been fending off a ton of

stuff. So this is really a David versus Goliath -- or a Christine versus Goliath moment.

CABRERA: That's interesting when you put it that way. It also brings up so many memories of what happened with Anita Hill.


CABRERA: And I want you to listen to Democratic Senator Patty Murray talking about that specifically on "Meet the Press" this morning.


SEN. PATTY MURRAY (D), WASHINGTON: One of the things that I remember from the Anita Hill hearings was the way she was treated by United States senators, that she was presumed that she was lying, that it was a fantasy, that she was making it up. That's how the questions came from the United State senators.

And she was never given the full opportunity to be believed from the start. I sense that again.


CABRERA: David, what do you think needs to happen to make sure there isn't an Anita Hill 2.0, as she would describe, in terms of the process of questioning?

GERGEN: Oh, we may already be beyond that point, and that is whether the, in Anita Hill's case, the President George Bush, Sr. quickly sent word to the -- when they had -- when they heard about Anita Hill's complaints, they sent a directive to the Justice Department to run an FBI investigation. There were a few witnesses. Not enough witnesses on her behalf were allowed in.

And in both on the question of an FBI investigation and the question of witnesses, so far Christine Ford has been told no. She's getting less due process than Anita Hill got.

CABRERA: Do you think that there's been a rush to judgment before even hearing from these people?

GERGEN: Well, I think this. There was a rush, and there's been a -- it's been too long that the Republicans are playing hardball, very, very hardball, all the way long, you know, just quashing at the Garland nomination under President Obama, then choosing Kavanaugh and trying to rush it through, dumping all these documents on top of Judiciary Committee members, you know, in the middle of the night so they didn't have enough time to absorb it.

So I think that's already caused a sense that this thing is rigged. But what we now -- I do also think, though, that Senator Grassley deserves a salute for taking Mrs. Ford's word that she needed more time.

He has extended and extended the deadline. And he has met some of her demands. He has been somewhat reasonable.

But, you know, a couple bars here that I think Kavanaugh has to pass. There's one bar which is low, and that is, can he get the votes out of the Senate? And Senator McConnell's been talking as if he already has the vote and --

CABRERA: In fact, hold your thought for just a minute because I want to play a sound -- some sound with Senator McConnell --


CABRERA: -- with Lindsey Graham who's one of those on this Committee who will be questioning Christine Blasey Ford as well as Kavanaugh. And even the Vice President. Listen to this.


MICHAEL PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I believe that Judge Brett Kavanaugh will soon be Justice Brett Kavanaugh and take his seat on the Supreme Court of the United States of America.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE: You've watched the fight, you've watched the tactics, but here's what I want to tell you. In the very near future, Judge Kavanaugh will be on the United States Supreme Court.

[19:10:03] (APPLAUSE)

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: What am I supposed to do? Go ahead and ruin this guy's life based on an accusation? I don't know when it happened, I don't know where it happened, and everybody named in regard to being there said it didn't happen.


CABRERA: Does it sound like they're open-minded --


CABRERA: -- or that this is going to have an impact on how they vote?

GERGEN: I think it says he's going to very, very likely get a favorable vote, and most minds are already made up on the Republican side. And by the way, a lot of minds are made up on the Democratic side, too. We've seen evidence for that in the last couple of days.

But I think that that's why this is a fairly low bar to get over to get on the court. I think there's a much higher bar in trying to convince the public, especially women, that Judge Kavanaugh is an honorable man, who is a man of integrity and has spoken the truth when he denied everything.

I think that's a higher bar because women are going to come out of this thing thinking, wait a minute, this sounded awfully rigged. These people had their minds made up. They never gave you the background investigation. And there's a -- you know, there is -- women have seen this pattern of

not wanting to come out and go public because you get so hurt by the process. So I think that there are two things here that are really important in that high bar.

One is whether he goes to the court with an asterisk by his name or a cloud over his head. He would be the second member of the court, both conservatives, who have that cloud over their heads about sexual misconduct --

CABRERA: Right. Clarence Thomas.

GERGEN: -- sitting on -- sitting judgment on Roe v. Wade decision. That's going to cause real problems with women.

The other thing is the midterm elections. We just had a new poll out today from NBC and "Wall Street Journal." Men favor Kavanaugh by -- or favor this whole thing by about four percent.

But women on approval of Kavanaugh, 25 percent negative, 58 to 33. That's before she's even spoken a word, before she's had a chance to appeal to not only to the heads but to the hearts of a lot of women.

CABRERA: Yes. And when she does that, if she comes out and she comes across very credible --


CABRERA: -- I mean, that takes this story to next level, doesn't it?

GERGEN: I agree. And I think he still probably gets the vote, but I think he doesn't get past that second bar. And that's very damaging to the court, and I think it would be damaging for Republicans in the midterm.

CABRERA: There's still the possibility he withdraws his nomination.

GERGEN: Possible.

CABRERA: There's a possibility that he doesn't get confirmed through the vote. I mean, should the White House be talking about a Plan B at this point?

GERGEN: The White House ought to know by now, is there truth to what he said, or is it not true? They shouldn't be betting the store on this, and he should withdraw if he has not told the truth.

But my sense is he's dug in. He said he feels very slimed by this, treated very unfairly. The President agrees with him. And we've got two sides who each believe different truths and there's going to be a clash.

And I don't -- I imagine we're going to have a hard time coming out of this knowing for sure what happened. And I think that -- as I've said, I think Kavanaugh will likely clear the low bar, but I think it's much tougher to clear that higher bar. In the court of public opinion, that's where it's really going to be decided.

CABRERA: And we know how fast the news cycle moves.

GERGEN: It sure does.

CABRERA: We know how quickly things can happen.


CABRERA: There are still several days before Thursday.


CABRERA: We'll see. Thank you so much, David. Good to see you.

GERGEN: Good to see you again.

CABRERA: Blue wave or red warning? A new poll suggesting the midterms are starting to swing in favor of Democrats. Should Republicans be worried? Republican Congressman Ryan Costello will join us next.

And don't forget, tonight on CNN, CNN's W. Kamau Bell takes a trip of a lifetime with Anthony Bourdain in Kenya. The final episodes of "PARTS UNKNOWN" begin tonight at 9:00 here on CNN.


CABRERA: Forty-four days and counting until the midterms. And if you believe the polls, the chances of a blue wave are gaining momentum. A brand-new NBC News/"Wall Street Journal" poll shows more voters want Democrats to control Congress, 52 percent compared to 40 percent for the Republicans.

And joining us now, Republican Congressman Ryan Costello of Pennsylvania.

So, Congressman, good to have you here with us. I'm hoping you can just speak honestly, especially since you're -- you're not running for re-election, so I really want to know what your thoughts are.

I mean, you see those numbers. The gap is growing. You've had a front row seat to all of this. What do you think is causing the growing divide?

REP. RYAN COSTELLO (R), PENNSYLVANIA: Well, I think Trump is unfavorable in most competitive districts in the country, so Democrats have the wind at their back, Republicans have the wind in their face.

That creates a dynamic where Republican members in competitive districts are going to have to really get out in front, do some differentiation from the President on policy and, I think, on rhetoric so that, on Election Day, you are getting voters that may view the President unfavorably but are still willing to vote for a Republican for Congress.

CABRERA: What do you think they need to do, your party needs to do, to avoid a blue wave?

COSTELLO: Well, you're going to have to speak out when you disagree with the President. I think it's as much about style as anything else.

If you look at the numbers, economically, we are doing very, very well. And seven out of 10 Americans give the President some credit in his handling of the economy for where we are.

So you have to take the positive policy, but at the same point in time, say I don't know -- I don't agree with the President. I don't think he should have tweeted that. I don't think he should've said that about that person.

But you have to do it --

CABRERA: But people who have done that, though, Jeff Flake, Bob Corker, I mean, they're the ones who aren't running for re-election because they didn't think that that strategy -- that strategy doesn't --

[19:20:02] COSTELLO: Yes.

CABRERA: It wasn't a winning strategy.

COSTELLO: It's a fair point. Those were Senate races. And in the Senate, it's a different dynamic. If you look at North Dakota, Missouri, there's a couple other Senate races where Republicans are trying to pick up seats.

But if you look at the suburban House seats where you see the President at 38, 40, 42 percent favorability, the real challenge is not going to be for Republican candidates that have a president with a 48 percent favorability rating.

It's really going to be that 36 to 42 percent favorability rating where a Republican is going to have to run 10 points ahead of the President.

The real challenge, though, is that, unlike in past years, the President's on the ballot. I mean, most voters that are going to the polls are saying, my vote is going to be driven by my feelings of the President, for better or worse.

CABRERA: And we've talked to some of those voters. We've talked to suburban women in particular. We know that is a key voting block. They will be watching what happens this week as the Kavanaugh hearings are reopened.

I want to ask about Kavanaugh and your viewpoint. Now, we know we're going to hear from Christine Blasey Ford, Kavanaugh's accuser. We'll hear from Kavanaugh as well.

The public will have to decide who they believe. If Blasey Ford comes across as credible, do you think your Senate colleagues should vote to confirm Kavanaugh? COSTELLO: Well, I think that that's an assumption, without taking

into account what Mr. Kavanaugh may speak to. There are just so many moving parts here.

We do know that everyone who the accuser has said was there has said that they either don't remember being there or have -- don't know anything about -- what the accusations that she's made.

So, so many of us are really trying to be very, very careful with what we say and what we don't say. I think there's a deep frustration amongst Republicans that Senate Democrats have really turned this into a partisan circus, including the accused's lawyer who was a fundraiser and who has really, I don't think, negotiated in good faith toward getting a hearing as quickly as possible.

I would also say that every one of those folks who was -- doesn't have a recollection has submitted a statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee which, if they're not being honest, is a crime. So you have to take those people at their word.

And I do think, to your question, though, how Republican senators view the statements of the accused and -- excuse me, Mr. Kavanaugh, and the accused really -- accuser is really going to --

CABRERA: If she comes across as credible, I'm sure you'll be watching, would you vote to confirm her if you had the vote?

COSTELLO: Well, you're --

CABRERA: Confirm Kavanaugh.

COSTELLO: It's difficult to say because I haven't seen what she said. I haven't seen what Judge Kavanaugh's going to say. So I hesitate saying that.

CABRERA: OK. So you talked about the process and giving her a fair chance, giving Kavanaugh a fair chance to also be heard, and to make the decision. Your colleague Steve King has already come out saying that Kavanaugh's allegations amount to character assassination. How do you think victims of sexual assault interpret that?

COSTELLO: I think that anyone who has been assaulted should have their voice heard. I also think that if you are accused, you have the right to have your voice heard.

And that there is a presumption of innocence in this country and that we need to be very careful about drawing conclusions, both guilty or innocent, and we need to let it play out. So I take exception to anyone who's really jumped the gun and said I believe Party A or I believe Party B.

There's a real -- what makes this even more difficult -- and it's just the facts -- is it's 36 years old, and no one heard anything about this for quite some time.

CABRERA: OK. There's character assassination comment that we have from Steve King. You also have another Republican colleague saying this.


REP. RALPH NORMAN (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Did you all hear the latest late-breaking news from the Kavanaugh hearings?


NORMAN: Ruth Bader Ginsburg came out and she was groped by Abraham Lincoln.



CABRERA: What's your reaction to Congressman Ralph Norman's comments?

COSTELLO: He shouldn't have said it. It's not a joking matter. At the same point in time, we have a Democratic senator from Hawaii who says, well, his a Republican, he is a White male, so I'm not going to believe him based upon his political philosophy. So it's just --

CABRERA: But those are not her exact words. Those were his exact words.

COSTELLO: And I said that he shouldn't have said that. This is not something to make -- this is not something to make light of, but it's also not something where we automatically believe one person over another.

CABRERA: I understand that. Do you think that this matters with female voters?

COSTELLO: Absolutely.

CABRERA: And if --

[19:25:00] COSTELLO: And I think every female voter -- I must also say, I think, every male voter, but especially women. And we're in a different time right now.

But look, a lot of women have experienced things throughout their life that men have never experienced. And I think that we need to not only be very delicate and very understanding, but we need to be very patient and we need to allow someone who has been wronged or who, in this instance, is alleging that she's been wronged, to have her voice heard.

That is extremely essential to the way we deal with the #MeToo movement. Today, tomorrow, and for the rest of our lives.

CABRERA: Congressman Ryan Costello, thank you so much for being here.

COSTELLO: Nice to be with you.

CABRERA: People still trapped in their homes by floodwaters, getting some much-needed help from the Cajun Navy and CNN went along for a ride. That's next, live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[19:30:17] ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: As the flood waters remain dangerously high in the Carolinas, some residents are now stranded without necessities.

CNN's Kaylee Hartung is out with the Cajun Navy this evening, a volunteer group helping in the recovery effort.

Kaylee, fill us in on what is happening there right now.

KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ana, I'm with four military veterans, none of who are from North Carolina, but all four of them made the choice to donate their time and their knowledge and their resources to helping people in this area. I'm here with Swift Water, and Panama, the captain of our boat.

And Swift Water, the mission we were on that we began I should say four hours ago was getting medication to a 5-year-old boy in Rocky Point, North Carolina who desperately needed it. How close are we to making that happen?

SWIFT WATER, CAJUN NAVY VOLUNTEER: After being on communication with my guys, I got back on (INAUDIBLE) and my guys back in the (INAUDIBLE). We just don't have a route by land or water to get to him. So being the hell that is, I have reached out to the coast guard, talked to a few of the coast guards stations. We are looking how to get a helicopter now. Last I heard, they are getting a wheels up come over here so we can get down the medication and they can make an air drop.

HARTUNG: The concern is if this little boy doesn't get the medication he will have to be (INAUDIBLE) to home that he is essentially trapped in with his family.

Panama, you guys have about 500 rescues between them. And I saw you guys as we were making our way up the Cape Fear River, You are checking every roof we would come to. Can you take me back to a couple nights ago as you all were a part of really an incredible rescue effort by the volunteers of the Cajun Navy?

PANAMA, CAJUN NAVY VOLUNTEER: (INAUDIBLE). However, when we come up to a stretch of land that we could do (INAUDIBLE), we worked our way through the woods, got into the city streets or county road, whichever it was, and as we approach, we started noticing there were people still in the area. One guy, he had maybe two inches of water or two inches, they came for the water was actually inside his mobile home. The other family that was across the street, they -- the father didn't want to go, but eventually we convinced him to leave. Now, we also traveled on down and we found a black gentleman and another guy with a kayak. They were actually trucking their way through to get the guy's wallet out of his house. And we pulled all of them out along with the four dogs and one cat.

HARTUNG: I have heard so many of those stories from you guys, where not only do you rescue people from their homes in the course of the storm damage, but then sometimes they come back to you and say we need help retrieving belongings from our home. Now sort of the phase that you are all in is delivering supplies to people who need them most.

But Swift Water, I have also seen you studying the maps as we have tried to navigate our way, finding this one home in particular in Rocky Point. What is your biggest concern at this point in the story of this storm?

SWIFT WATER: My biggest concern is the fact that we have more and more stuff coming in now for supplies, medication, food, water, everything. And my biggest concern with it is -- that's why I started the map and I study so much and Panama as well, we are trying to find routes in whether by boat, water, air. We try to find every way in we can. And the problem we keep running into is there's just no way into anything unless you have helicopters. We do have access to helicopters through coast guard and a few other sources, and we are starting to see them get used more and more. And at this point, we hope, you know, the water will be coming down where we can get in by boat or we can get in by land, but it's just not happening yet.

HARTUNG: And where we are, Ana, just for some context, I'm sitting on a boat that is - (INAUDIBLE) that's how high the water is currently where we are in North Carolina just north of Wilmington.

CABRERA: Wow, amazing. And I think it cut out when you mentioned exactly where you are sitting versus where they are sitting. So for our viewers who maybe didn't hear, Kayleigh is on a boat. The Cajun Navy volunteers are on the roof of a church. The water has risen to the roof.

Kaylee Hartung, thank you. Thanks to those volunteers for their braver and courage and hard work.

In just hours, new U.S. tariffs set to hit $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. China set to retaliate with tariffs of their own. Up next we will take a look from the flip side. CNN takes you to Beijing.

You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[19:38:56] CABRERA: A trade war between the U.S. and China will ramp up tomorrow when two economic super powers hit each other with their biggest round of tariffs yet. The Trump administration will impose new 10 percent tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods, roughly half of the goods the country sells to the U.S. The tariffs span thousands of products including food seasoning, baseball gloves, network routers, industrial machinery parts. China has said it will retaliate immediately with new taxes of five percent to ten percent on $60 billion of U.S. goods such as meat, chemicals, clothes, and auto parts.

CNN's Matt Rivers takes us to Beijing for a look at how this escalating trade war is impacting the Chinese consumers. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If you want to talk to lots of people quickly in Beijing, take a scooter. Seriously, the traffic here is horrible.

So it might not look great, but it does work.

Our mission today, to find out how the average person in Beijing feels about the U.S./China trade war. We start in one of Beijing's many outdoor workout areas where we spot 77-year-old Si Shuzhen going strong on the leg press. She says China is strong too.

[19:40:06] SI SHUZHEN, RETIREE (through translator): We are powerful now and aren't weak like in the past. Chinese people aren't easily bullied. The U.S. can't handicap China's development.

RIVERS: Chinese state media says that a lot, too. On August 10th, the people's daily newspaper wrote quote "the U.S. is unwilling to see China develop and prosper and then surpass it. No hardship has ever stopped China from growing rich and becoming strong."

The anti-American drum beat in state media is loud and consistent. Now Si doesn't entirely degree.

SHUZHEN (through translator): We can't generalize them. People in the U.S. aren't all bad. There are nice American people. It's just their leaders are bad.

RIVERS: Post-workout it's over to a cafe on the other side of town where the coffee is strong but support for the trade war is weak.

What do you think of the trade war?

LI GUAGBO, FILM DIRECTOR: I think it's wrong. It's only about politicians.

RIVERS: Movie director Li Guagbo says China's policies could hurt ordinary people by hurting the economy overall. In Beijing's narrow winding alley ways, the trade war can feel pretty far away, but think about it differently. Do tariffs make those playing cards more expensive? Does the delivery guys Petro bill go up. Are vegies harder to source or export? Maybe, maybe not. It is too early to tell. But it is a lot to think about, enough to make you hungry.

Can I have one American pulled pork sandwich?


RIVERS: Lunch break.

The sandwich is more expensive now because American pork is on China's tariff list. I'm still going to eat it though because it's good. But still.

It is still lunchtime when we are back on the bike and over to the central business district, the natural habitat of white collar workers. Trade war panic, right?

SONG XUELIN, CONSULTANT (through translator): I didn't feel I'm affected so far.

RIVERS: Actually it's a common sentiment around here. Most haven't felt the crunch yet. Several people we spoke to said that.

LI ZHENGYI, FINANCE INDUSTRY (through translator): I think our country hasn't been affected that much so far. China doesn't really rely on the U.S. like it did on the 2000s.

RIVERS: But China's economy is already slowing down and its stock markets aren't doing great either. The trade war certainly won't help with that. And for that reason, some around here are worried about the long term.

WENDY SU, PRIVATE EQUITY INDUSTRY: It definitely has an active impact on Chinese economy.

RIVERS: So in the end, if your question is, how do Chinese people feel about the trade war? There's no one way to answer that question. How people feel depends on what job they have, their political views, we are talking short or long term impact, there are million other reason. But what is clear is people are increasingly aware that a trade war is on and that the trade tensions could last a long time.

Matt Rivers, CNN, Beijing.


CABRERA: The President prepares to address the world stage. What we can expect from Trump this weekend at the United Nations. Your weekend Presidential brief is next.

You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[19:47:12] CABRERA: It is a big week for President Trump on the international stage as he attends the United Nations generally assembly here in New York. The President has a jam-packed schedule, several bilateral meetings, a speech to the whole assembly, a meeting of the U.N. Security Council where he will serve as chairman. And that brings us to your weekend Presidential brief, a segment we bring you every Sunday night highlighting the most pressing information the President will need when he wakes up tomorrow.

And joining us now is CNN national security Analyst and former national Security Council advisor Sam Vinograd. She spent two years in the Obama administration helping to prep for the President's daily brief.

And Sam, you have traveled to the U.N. general assembly twice when you work for President Obama. What can we expect?

SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, Ana, UNGA, as we call it, it is like speed dating. You see a lot of people and if you don't know exactly what you want going in, you are going to miss out because everybody has an agenda, and they are watching you so closely. You can't sneeze without a foreign official taking notes.

And we have a sense of what President Trump's agenda may be based on past history. We know, for example, that he has consistently shamed the body of the U.N., who has criticized them and called them weak and incompetent. So we may see more of that.

We also know that he's really focused on getting other countries to pay more. He said that we pay a disproportionate share of the U.N.'s budget, so he may bring this up again. And he will also pursue his new squad's goals.

President Moon of South Korea, President Trump, and Kim Jong-un are so aligned when trying to normalize Kim Jong-un on the world stage rather than pointing to Kim's ongoing violations of international law.

CABRERA: So there is tons of countries there. As you talk about it, it's like speed dating. There is so much going on. How does the President best utilize his time? What should he be doing?

VINOGRAD: Well, we know the President really likes his down time, and that's really sparse at UNGA. I remember so many all-nighters at the Waldorf where we used to stay because the work never stops. You are working around the clock. And President Trump has so much seemingly on his schedule, as you mentioned before, a speech, a Security Council session, bilateral meetings which we hope he will bring a note taker, too, this time.

One thing we do know is he won't see some VIPs. President Xi of China, President Putin of Russia, they aren't coming to UNGA. And Kim Jong-un is also not coming to New York just yet. But Kim also probably won't make an appearance this year on President Trump's bad boys roster. He was a key player last year. Instead, I think we will see the President devote a lot of his ire toward the Iranians and the Palestinians.

CABRERA: Let's talk about the Iranians. There was an attack in Iran just this weekend, the regime there blaming the gulf powers and the U.S. He worked on Iran policy. What do you think is Iran's strategy going into this?

VINOGRAD: Iran's strategy hasn't changed? They play the victim. They like to blame everything that happens in Iran on us. In 2009 when I started at the White House, they blamed Obama and the CIA for inciting violent protests when in fact it was their fault. So we should expect that is going to continue, this playing the victim. But there will be a lot of tensions and probably a war of words when President Trump hosts the Security Council session on Wednesday. The Iranians will probably respond.

And one thing is clear, President Trump will have a double standard problem on Wednesday. He will talk about everything that Iran does that's wrong until he is blue in the face and not mention the fact that North Korea has more nuclear weapons than Iran ever had and continues to amass chemical and biological weapons as well.

[19:50:44] CABRERA: Thank you so much. Sam Vinograd, we know it will be a busy week for you.


CABRERA: Good luck.

VINOGRAD: Thank you.

CABRERA: Get some rest when you can. It will be over fast. And we will talk to you again next weekend. And we will have much more to talk about. Thanks.

Tomorrow morning, comedian Bill Cosby is going to learn his fate after being convicted of sexual assault in April. The possible outcomes he faces next.

You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[19:55:32] CABRERA: Will the man once known as America's dad soon become one of the country's most famous inmates?

The sentencing hearing for Bill Cosby begins tomorrow morning in a Pennsylvania courtroom. The 81-year-old comedian faces up to 30 years in prison for three counts of aggravated indecent assault. Cosby was convicted in April of drugging and molesting a former temple university athletics administrator.

And joining us now to discuss, CNN legal Analyst and civil rights attorney Areva Martin.

Areva, Cosby, he could be sentenced to anything from probation to 30 years in prison. Which way do you see it going?

AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, Ana, this is a very good question. We have not been able to see the pre-sentencing reports that have been filed by either the prosecutor or the defense team. But we know that this judge, the judge is going to be sitting tomorrow in the sentencing hearing, has a history of being pretty harsh on defendants like Bill Cosby. Although there isn't data on a case that's exactly the same. There was a lawyer that was convicted of raping one of his clients who he had drugged. And that lawyer received some pretty serious jail time from this judge, anywhere from 10 to 20 years in prison.

So we know that these types of cases are taken very seriously in Pennsylvania and that this judge has not been shy about giving out substantial jail time for similar cases.

CABRERA: There's expected also to be debate over whether he should be branded a sexually violent predator. What strategy could the defense team use to try to prevent that from happening? MARTIN: Yes. We know the defense team is very, very concerned about

that designation for lots of reasons, not only does it carry with it lifetime counseling but also community alerts. And we have to keep in mind that Cosby still faces a plethora of civil defamation cases around the country. And if this judge deems that he is a violent sexual predator, that's a legal finding that can be used in these defamation suits and could be detrimental to his defense in those cases.

So the Cosby team is fighting really hard against this designation. They are challenging the law, the Pennsylvania law that allows for this kind of designation. They have argued that it's unconstitutional, and we can expect that this will play itself out not just at the trial level but all the way to the highest appeals court in Pennsylvania.

CABRERA: And his attorneys have said they plan to appeal, regardless of which way this sentencing hearing goes. Do you think given Cosby's age he will be allowed to stay out of jail while that happens?

MARTIN: We, know, Ana, that's going to be one of the mitigating factors that the Cosby teams brings to the court's attention tomorrow during the sentencing hearing. They are going to talk about not only his age but his failing health. They have been saying all along that he is legally blind.

We should also expect them to talk about the substantial philanthropic work that he has been involved in and all the charities that he's supported and the good work that he's done in communities throughout the country. But we know that age isn't a determining factor in terms of whether someone has to serve jail time for particularly the serious crimes of which Cosby was convicted of. And when you look at the data in Pennsylvania, there are people in jail right now in prison in Pennsylvania who are Cosby's age and older. So age is just one factor. I don't think it's going to be the determining factor for this judge.

CABRERA: And of course, Cosby hasn't shown any resource. He hasn't offered any sort of apology to the victims. His wife has even complained that the judge is biased against her husband.

Areva, could those factors hurt him?

MARTIN: Yes. That's not good, Ana. Excellent point, you know. In a sentencing hearing, what you typically will see is a death of come forward and show some remorse. Make a public apology. Talk about how sorry they are for the harm that they have caused the victim. We should expect to see a very emotional and powerful victim's impact statement from Miss Constand.

If Cosby doesn't take the stand, if he doesn't state, you know, publically that he is sorry, that he is remorseful, I think that's going to play very negativity as it relates to the jumping and how he decides his fate.

CABRERA: All right. Areva Martin, thank you so much for laying it all out there for us. We appreciate it.

MARTIN: Thank you, Ana.

CABRERA: Top of the hour. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. Thank you for being with us.

Right now, we have more details about this week's open hearing when the woman who says Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her will tell her story in person on the Capitol Hill. Christine Blasey Ford will go first and Kavanaugh will be given a chance to respond.