The McLaughlin Group

Issues: Last 2015 GOP Debate / Socialism in South America / Counterfeiting in China

John McLaughlin, Host
Pat Buchanan, Author & Columnist
Eleanor Clift, The Daily Beast
Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune
Tom Rogan, National Review/Opportunity Lives

Taped: Friday, December 18, 2015
Broadcast: Weekend of December 18-20, 2015

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ANNOUNCER: From Washington, THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP, the American original. For over three decades, the sharpest minds, best sources, hardest talk.

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN, HOST: Issue One: GOP 2015, The Fifth Debate.


MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): Sparks flew in Las Vegas Wednesday, as Republican presidential hopefuls held their fifth debate. Moderated by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, the primetime debate involved Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina, Chris Christie, Rand Paul and John Kasich.

The undercard debate involved Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, Lindsey Graham, and George Pataki.

But the real story of the night was the showdown between GOP frontrunners Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. Trailing Mr. Cruz in the key caucus state of Iowa, Mr. Trump went on offense.


MCLAUGHLIN: Who was the most aggressive in this debate? Pat?

PAT BUCHANAN, AUTHOR & COLUMNIST: I think Rand Paul was the most aggressive, John, if you talk about somebody. He came out as a libertarian, he basically is, he made the real case against Chris Christie, saying this guy is going to lead us into World War III. I think there were other aggressive folks there as well.

But, you know, John, the key question that came out of this debate is the real division in the Republican over the no-fly zone in Syria, which would involve the United States shooting down Syrian planes over Syrian territory, and shooting down Russian planes in Syria.

And you got the hawks, Jeb Bush is there. Chris Christie is there. Kasich is there. And one of the others is there.

And Trump and Cruz, the frontrunner, are very much for keeping Assad in power and not letting ISIS get there. So, you’ve got a tremendous division in foreign policy in the Republican Party, and it really revealed itself I think in what I thought was an excellent, exciting and sometimes, a debate that got out of control.

ELEANOR CLIFT, THE DAILY BEAST: Well, you have a lot of shades of toughness and if Rand Paul wasn’t there, you really wouldn’t have had the dovish side, if you will.

I don’t think the debate changed the shape of the race, but I think it does clarify where some of the candidates are, and I think it’s Donald Trump and it’s Ted Cruz and it’s Rubio who are kind of socking away at each other.

But if you ask me who the most aggressive was in the debate, I would say Jeb Bush, because he’s the only one who really took it to Trump, and we’re so used to Jeb as kind of the gentle giant and kind of losing in the encounters with Trump and sort of backing off. And he got one of the lines that lingered the morning after, which is, "You can’t insult your way to the presidency, Donald."

And for a moment, Trump even looked flustered, and we’ve been commenting here sitting on the set about the facial expressions that Trump when the camera cuts to him. And, you know, he looks like someone who is beginning to adjust to the fact that he might not win this thing. And he basically said that he will support the nominee, and said that he respects them.

So, I thought it was a much more congenial evening than anybody anticipated.

TOM ROGAN, NATIONAL REVIEW/DAILY TELEGRAPH: Yes. Well, I think one of the interesting things that came out of this certainly is that also Ted Cruz now taking on Marco Rubio.

And I think what Cruz’s strategy is, is that he expects ultimately Trump will fall away. I mean, he requires that inherently to some degree, and at that moment that Trump supporters will gravitate towards Cruz. And very notable, not wanting to challenge Trump on that, sort of reciprocity they had, but very aggressively taking on Rubio as the sort of establishment candidate, which is another factor that against suggests that Cruz is trying to buck that trend and get on the sort of Trump horse..

But, again, you know, I think it’s probably too little too late for Jeb Bush, unfortunately for him, because I think he, you know, it’s good to have a civil person in the debate. But, you know, Chris Christie, I think, one final interesting point is that Chris Christie, I think, was trying to certainly steal some of Jeb’s establishment thunder and try to come in there as the sort of governor alternative to the Rubio senator, on the establishment.

So, as it gets closer, you see this the end game strategies materializing and I think that’s why it made much more of an interesting dynamic debate.

MCLAUGHLIN: OK. No fly zone?


SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think if you're in favor of World War III, you have your candidate.

If we announce we're going to have a no-fly zone, and others have said this. Hillary Clinton is also for it. It is a recipe for disaster. It's a recipe for World War III. We don't need to confront Russia from a point of recklessness that would lead to war.


MCLAUGHLIN: Who was Rand Paul referring to, and is he right, Clarence?

CLARENCE PAGE, CHICAGO TRIBUNE: He was referring to all the advocates of the no fly zone, including Trump and various others.

BUCHANAN: Trump’s not there. He’s referring to Christie. Trump is not for no fly zone.

PAGE: Good correction, Pat. Thank you.


MCLAUGHLIN: Now that you’re corrected, you want to answer the question?

PAGE: Yes, he’s talked about Christie.

CLIFT: Right.


PAGE: And Rand Paul is talking about a danger of a no fly zone, being that it can put us into a direct confrontation with not only the Syrian air force but the Russian air force. And there’s inherent dangers in that kind of a situation.

But, you know, what’s interesting is that Rand Paul and Jeb Bush are trying to be the grownups in the room, in a place that doesn’t want any grownups. It’s really -- so there’s a race to the bottom as far as he could be the most militant, who can be ready to take up arms the quickest of all --


BUCHANAN: You know, Trump won the debate for this reason, not because he’s the best debater, but won because he stepped out and said, he was asked, "Will you support the candidate?" And he said, "I’m a Republican and win or lose, I’m going to support the Republican candidate in the fall." Huge round of applause.

Secondly, he wins because he did not lose. There was no damage done to him at all. He does have all these facial expressions, which are very human and non -- almost nonpolitical.

MCLAUGHLIN: And for the first time, he said, forthrightly, I will not run as an independent.


BUCHANAN: And that cause --

MCLAUGHLIN: Who got to him?

BUCHANAN: I think he got to himself.


CLIFT: That’s not the first time.

MCLAUGHLIN: Reince Priebus got to him.

BUCHANAN: Come on. Look --


MCLAUGHLIN: You know how persuasive Reince is.


BUCHANAN: Yes. Look, but let me tell you, the wise thing to do and I will say I predicted that Cruz would not go after Trump, and Trump would try not to get in a fight with Cruz -- they are one and two. Cruz’s strategy of not going after people, he’s risen. Obviously, Trump’s got to go down, but he doesn’t want to be the instrument that brings him down, or he brings himself down.

CLIFT: Yes. But point of clarity, this is not the first time Trump has said that he would support the nominee. He actually signed a pledge. But he’s kind of dances away from it and nobody fully trusts it.

BUCHANAN: The art of the deal.


CLIFT: So, just pointing that out.


ROGAN: If anything, he’s unpredictable. I mean, they can’t take that to the bank. It was interesting thing the RNC today trying to be very conciliatory towards Trump and fingers crossed, fingers crossed.

BUCHANAN: Sure. Look, you got to have Trump’s people --

MCLAUGHLIN: Christie’s --

ROGAN: Right.

BUCHANAN: You can’t win without Trump’s people, and you can’t win if the regular Republicans leave.

CLIFT: Yes, and you can’t win with Trump.

MCLAUGHLIN: Christie’s statement gave Rand Paul an opening for one of the best rejoinders of the night. "If you’re in favor of World War III, you have your candidate."

Christie’s readiness for brinksmanship with Russia made Trump look like the serious GOP candidate in the race. Do you follow that?

CLIFT: No, I wouldn’t go that far.

PAGE: Yes, I don’t follow him that far, as far as looking like the serious candidate in the race.

CLIFT: But the no fly zone sounds very appealing on the face of it, but when you examine it, ISIS doesn’t have any planes. Russia is over there also fighting ISIS.


CLIFT: But with another agenda.

You don’t want to kick off World War III by feeling you have to carry through on a threat you’ve --

BUCHANAN: Start shooting down Russian planes? That is insane.


CLIFT: And you have to have ground troops to defend it.

ROGAN: I think the consensus might move now towards the idea of a no fly zone in western Iraq, with the authority of the Iraqi government, the support of the Iranians and the Russians --

BUCHANAN: Who’s flying -- who’s flying in western Iraq?

CLIFT: Right, good point.

ROGAN: Everyone, well, the United States is dominant there.

BUCHANAN: Who else is flying there?

ROGAN: The Iraqis, I mean, the Iraqis --

BUCHANAN: Well, that’s our side.


ROGAN: No, I know. But you can’t have it -- what my point is, you can have a safe harbor, right? The no fly zone is not about planes. It’s about no planes so the people on the ground are safe.

MCLAUGHLIN: OK, hold on.

NSA spotlight.


SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We are now at a time when we need more tools, not less tools. And that took we lost, the metadata program, was a valuable tool that we no longer have at our disposal.


MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Are we back into security versus privacy?

I ask you, Pat.

BUCHANAN: Yes, we are. But we are more in terms of what -- how Cruz voted and how --

CLIFT: Yes, deep in the weeds.

BUCHANAN: And you’re deep in the weeds. And, you know, and both of them made their positions clear. And, you know, Cruz made a mistake and, what you call him, Rubio made a mistake on immigration.

But neither of them would make that mistake again. But in the face off between the two of them, I thought Rubio was doing exceedingly well early in the debate, but clearly he was under duress. Later, it went on, and I think Cruz won the exchange especially on the immigration and amnesty issue. He kept pounding it again and again and again.

CLIFT: Well, because Cruz tied Rubio to Senator Schumer and, you know, Democrats.


CLIFT: And I think this is new information probably for a lot of voters. Not everybody knows what the "gang of eight" was, what this immigration bill was, what his role was. I mean, you hear, OK, he flip-flopped but, you know? So, I think Cruz probably drew some blood on that.

But why the two of them are going after each other, they’re just now giving a clear track to Trump. And so --

BUCHANAN: Eleanor, what they want is, they’re in the same lane. You got to clear one of them out before you get to the main guy. Trump is the leader.

CLIFT: They might do each other -- it might be a suicide pact, if the two of them go after each other so aggressively.

BUCHANAN: But one of them has got to win to get into the finals.


The WWW.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I wanted to get our brilliant people from Silicon Valley and other places and figure out a way that ISIS cannot do what they're doing.

You talk freedom of speech. You talk freedom of anything you want. I don't want them using our Internet to take our young, impressionable youth.


MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Why was Trump the only GOP candidate to discuss wanting to fight with ISIS by trying to win hearts and minds by denying ISIS’s ability to manipulate social media?

BUCHANAN: I think what Trump is saying is, look, we got these websites and all these things that are going on that are going after these impressionable kids and persuading them to go over there and get them to kill people. Let’s use our technology, go in and if we have to, shut down those websites.


BUCHANAN: It’s like shutting down a Nazi newspaper.


CLIFT: Is he going to shut down the First Amendment also?

BUCHANAN: Are you going to let terrorists (INAUDIBLE) free use the internet?


CLIFT: Excuse me.

MCLAUGHLIN: Let Eleanor in.

Hurry up, Eleanor.

CLIFT: The president has been dealing with this, talking to the heads of all these sites. Hillary Clinton just announced it. This is not -- you know, a new revelation that you have to get the cooperation of the people running these sites. Twitter shuts down these sites all the time, and then they pop up.

So, there has to be more coordination to see what more can be done. Nobody is disagreeing with that. And also, Carly Fiorina also did have a pretty long statement about how she would tap talent here and she has a pretty good understanding of the technology beyond the --


ROGAN: One caveat to that.

CLIFT: This is not Trump’s, you know, singular idea.

ROGAN: Very, very quickly, is that, though, some of the intelligence community and law enforcement actually would rather those websites stayed online because they can see who’s visited them and then track them.

CLIFT: You want to do it right. Yes.

PAGE: That’s right. I mean, all Trump did was once again, so he doesn’t understand the Internet.

CLIFT: Right.


PAGE: At least he didn’t say, let’s get -- let’s talk to Bill Gates about shutting the Internet like he said before.

CLIFT: I love the fact that --

PAGE: But it doesn’t matter because facts don’t matter with Trump. What matters is, he’s got the right attitude. And his supporters --

BUCHANAN: You are the reason Trump is doing well.

PAGE: Thank you. That’s right.

BUCHANAN: Mainstream media. Everything he says is bad.

PAGE: That’s right.

CLIFT: Well --


PAGE: It doesn’t matter if Trump’s ideas are developed or not. Just the fact that he targets the Internet, the media, whatever --

CLIFT: I love the way he refers to it as "our Internet".


CLIFT: It reminded me during the First Gulf War when they used to say, what is our oil doing under their sand.


MCLAUGHLIN: OK. Muddy the waters.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He was fighting to grant amnesty and not to secure the border. I was fighting to secure the border.

I have never supported legalization, and I do not intend to support legalization.


MCLAUGHLIN: Question: How damaging were Cruz’s attacks on Rubio’s support for amnesty for illegal aliens?

BUCHANAN: John, you could see it from Rubio’s face. Early on, when the exchanges were going on, Rubio was grinning and laughing, going to come back at him.

Here, you can see it from what you just put up there, a little measure of worry on his face about what is being said. As you mentioned, I think, Cruz drew blood in the exchange on amnesty and immigration, in the Republican Party.

CLIFT: The thing is, Rubio has really gotten a free ride of his so-called, flipped on this issue, and I think he doesn’t know how to handle it, because he doesn’t want to disqualify himself from being a general election candidate. Because if you’re in a general election, we’re not all talking about amnesty for illegal aliens, we’re talking about let’s figure out what we do about immigration reform for people who have been living among us and doing lots of jobs and working for us.

It’s a very different attitude and he’s trying -- it’s a balancing act for him.

MCLAUGHLIN: Twice in this debate, Governor Christie accused President Obama and Hillary Clinton of, quote, "betraying the country"? Why the harsh tone?

CLIFT: Because he’s trying to be Mr. Tough Guy going against Trump. I mean --

ROGAN: He’s also trying to usurp some of Jeb Bush’s support. He’s trying to say, look, I’m the establishment candidate, if for whatever reason, Marco Rubio implodes because of the amnesty.

So, they’re jockeying. It’s getting to the end time. You have to roll the die. You have to be aggressive.

He wants waves. He wants news. And he wants momentum.

But I -- you know, again, I think at this point --

MCLAUGHLIN: Wait a minute. How’s he going to do in Iowa or New Hampshire?

BUCHANAN: Christie?


ROGAN: New Hampshire, he can do better. But Iowa, he’s going to really struggle.

BUCHANAN: Who, Trump?

ROGAN: No, Christie.


BUCHANAN: Oh, Christie is -- Christie is nowhere in Iowa. He’s betting everything on New Hampshire.

MCLAUGHLIN: Trump, I’m talking about Trump.

BUCHANAN: Trump will come in first or second in Iowa, and probably first in New Hampshire, as of now.

But Christie, what Christie is going on all out in the hawk line, the toughest guy. I’m going to kick Putin around. We’re going to -- you know, do this.

And, you know, I think he I believe. I was jolted, when he said he’s going to -- I’m going to shot down Russian planes?

CLIFT: Yes, I was --

BUCHANAN: I mean, I never heard a presidential candidate say something like that.

CLIFT: He called President Obama a feckless weakling. I mean --


CLIFT: I was thinking of --

PAGE: It’s the same guy who escorted him down the beach --


CLIFT: Yes. I was thinking of what kind of words I would use to describe Christie. I’m not going to repeat them here.


MCLAUGHLIN: Yes. But how accurate have they been?

Was it below the belt for Hugh Hewitt to ask Ben Carson, quote, "Just to be clear, you’re OK with the deaths of thousands of children in airstrikes against ISIS?"

ROGAN: That was silly.


ROGAN: No one’s calling for that. We have JDAMs, which are --


ROGAN: -- targeted by satellites.

PAGE: These debates are tests of how well you answer the question, and I think on foreign affairs in general.


BUCHANAN: -- you put an offensive thought out there, I think for which there was justification. Now, if you went after Cruz who said we’re going to make the sand glow, say, what do you have in mind? How do you make the sand glow other than with atomic weapons?

ROGAN: Right.

CLIFT: Well, it’s the carpet bombing. I mean, Cruz is saying we should carpet bomb --

BUCHANAN: Well, Cruz, it’s legitimate.

CLIFT: -- and there are people, these are cities. You can’t selectively carpet bomb. And I think Carson has signed on to that.

So, you know, it was crudely worded question.

ROGAN: And this image that came out yesterday actually of two young Syrian children -- it had been set up by an NGO, but they were on a desolate street that have been blown apart. Their parents have been killed by a Russian bomb.

That is not the United States. The United States prides itself of being the most capable military force but also --


ROGAN: Well, it was --


BUCHANAN: -- you take a look at Dresden.

MCLAUGHLIN: Hello? Hello?

ROGAN: But not anymore.

MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question: After the Las Vegas debate, is Trump still the GOP frontrunner? Yes or no?

BUCHANAN: He is, and I think Cruz is probably still second.

CLIFT: Well, he’s a frontrunner nationally, but he’s second in Iowa. But, you know, picky, picky. I would refer to him as the Republican frontrunner, and I think that’s how Hillary should refer to him. Don’t use his name.

Just say "the Republican frontrunner". Everybody knows who she means.

ROGAN: He is the frontrunner, but I think ultimately, it’s going to come down to Rubio versus Cruz.

PAGE: Yes, he’s still the frontrunner, but it’s also -- this is a new phase of the campaign and we’re moving into now. Voters are starting to get engaged. Iowa is, what, seven weeks away.

It’s -- we’re in a situation now where people are starting to take things seriously, starting to learn information they didn’t know before. And we saw that Trump once again was not as astute about international relations and defense issues, as Cruz and some others.

So, Pat’s right. It’s the people who are the potential second placers, who are potentially moving up into first, on the basis of this debate.


MCLAUGHLIN: Are you inclined to read polls?

PAGE: Am I inclined to read polls? Yes, I wake up with them every day. I go right to realpolitik, and that’s how I get my eyes open in the morning.

MCLAUGHLIN: Does it come into play when you evaluate the question that’s been thrown out to the group here?

BUCHANAN: Trump is 20, 23, 24 points ahead even in respected polls. It’s going to be very, very tough I think to, even if he -- supposed somebody beat him in New Jersey and he got beaten in Iowa, he still is extremely strong, you know?

PAGE: But he has fallen behind Cruz in Iowa by the "Des Moines Register" there in Iowa.

BUCHANAN: And Cruz will get a bump. Cruz will get a bump going into New Hampshire. But that’s going to wipe out other folks, maybe Christie, probably Bush. I think it gets, it looks now to me like it goes down to almost a two-man race, unless Rubio can break in there.

MCLAUGHLIN: This is what Trump said, "I don’t want them using our Internet to take our young, impressionable youth."

Have you thought of that, Pat?

BUCHANAN: Yes. I mean, it’s a point -- look, he is not deeply schooled in the Internet as is Carly Fiorina and the rest of it. But the fundamental point comes across, we all understand it. If people are using this to convince young, impressionable people to go over into Syria and then come back and kill us, let’s take a good look at that thing and shut down the enemy websites.

ROGAN: Which we do, but then they open up a different site, very quickly. So --

MCLAUGHLIN: You hear that? You hear that? He’s right on the money here. He’s right on the money.

BUCHANAN: They do and they shut --

MCLAUGHLIN: They open up another site.

BUCHANAN: Well, you shut those down, too.

PAGE: Right.

CLIFT: Well --

PAGE: It’s a constant cat and mouse game.

MCLAUGHLIN: You can’t keep up with it.

BUCHANAN: What do you -- do you give up?

MCLAUGHLIN: Can you keep up with it?

BUCHANAN: What, are you supposed to give up? That’s the problem.


CLIFT: Nobody is giving up, but one side is pretending like nothing is being done, because of the feckless weakling in the White House, when in fact a lot is being done.

MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Two: Adios Socialism.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Looking at these results, we are here with morals and ethics, he says, to recognize these adverse these results, to accept them and to tell our Venezuelans that our constitutional and democracy have triumphed.

MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): Recent legislative elections in Venezuela deserved analysis here at home.

A conservative moderate alliance won at least 110 seats in the national assembly, twice as many as the socialists, and will exert major influence on policy. Its key aims are releasing political prisoners, reducing Venezuela’s 100 percent-plus inflation rate, and addressing massive goods shortages.

Still, the election is a clear rebuff to the so-called chavismo policy of President Nicolas Maduro. Instigated by flamboyant former President Hugo Chavez, who died of cancer in 2013, President Maduro has used Venezuela’s immense oil wealth for redistribution and government patronage. But in recent years, low oil prices have stripped the government of revenue.

But this isn’t the only recent victory for South American conservatives. Last week, Argentina voted to elect a former banker, Mauricio Macri, to replace left-wing populist President Cristina Kirchner.


MCLAUGHLIN: Is South American socialism dead and buried? How about you, Clarence?

PAGE: Well, I would say no. It’s certainly been knocked back on its heels right now, but there’s an old saying that Latin American politics are an argument between elites over how to treat the poor, and they constantly swing left and right historically.

And right now, it’s hard times for socialism. Venezuela, of course, the collapsing oil prices are the big reason why that government is in trouble and they were too reliant on oil in the first place, along with too much corruption in the government. So, there’s a backlash and there’s some kind of backlash in Argentina against the right at this juncture, but the left can come back later.

ROGAN: The challenge here is that, you know, you see here that this is the rawest element of socialism in terms of kleptocracy, in terms of, you know, Chavez crazy Maduro continuing on, corruption, lack of toilet paper, lack of medical supplies, great reporting from Venezuela, lack of basic goods toiletries, people queuing for hours. And it is utterly failed and there’s the repudiation now that we see.

MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Three: Counterfeiting in China.


MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): On paper, Flaming Lee was a China-based female investigator for a Swiss technology company titled ABB, Asia Brown Boveri. Ms. Lee’s role was to prevent Chinese criminals from counterfeiting ABB’s circuit breakers. Unfortunately for ABB, Flaming Lee was actually a double agent who was selling counterfeit circuit breakers herself.

Lee’s story is just one example of China’s growing counterfeiting industry. This week, The Associated Press reported that China-based counterfeiting has become an industry and is now counterfeiting product, including, quote, auto parts, pharmaceuticals, personal care products and electrical components, unquote.

And like Ms. Lee, many anti-counterfeiting investigators are corrupt, then falsify reports of raids and seizures to placate their Western bosses. And in China, protected by vested criminal interests, many counterfeiters remain beyond the reach of the law. This reality was discovered the hard way by ABB, when it was fined by Chinese authorities for pursuing legal remedies in court.


MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Should we fear Chinese exports? Tom?

ROGAN: Well, look, Chinese -- China has a problem, in the sense they’re being undercut by nations like Vietnam with wage costs. But China -- this is the great challenge I think, and I think it reflects why China will not ultimately overtake the United States, is because of things from the rule of law, reliability of products.

Now, as China gets into this more developed economy state, with those internal pressures, people will simply stop buying Chinese products.

BUCHANAN: This reflects, John, the stupidity of the Republican Party, which is responsible for MFN, opening up China, all these trade deals. They are dumping this garbage counterfeit in the United States, because as Ronald Reagan said they’re communists and they reserve to themselves the right to lie, cheat and steal.

That’s who you’re dealing with. It’s not a partner like Canada or Great Britain.

CLIFT: Well, I don’t think --


CLIFT: Yes, that’s what I was going to say, corruption in China is not something new, and products that are faulty coming over here, whether they’re toys or infant formula or whatever it is -- actually, we’ve sent some infant formula over there that’s had a problem.

And pharmaceuticals, they can manufacture much cheaper, and the argument in this country is you can’t trust them and I think that’s probably correct. But in the new trade deal, the TPP, one of the president’s arguments for that is, you got to write some rules of the road or China, you know, really --

BUCHANAN: And they will obey rules of the road?

CLIFT: It’s rampant with this kind of behavior.

PAGE: There’s something to enforce as long as you’ve got rules.

CLIFT: Right, exactly.

PAGE: If you don’t have rules, then you just have chaos.

But the fact is, that the Chinese have been developing fantastic, aboveground and underground economies at the same time for decades, ever since the declaration that capitalism is glorious, back in the -- what, about 1980.

MCLAUGHLIN: Let’s talk about nuclear power plants, all right?

PAGE: OK. One of my favorite topics.

MCLAUGHLIN: China has counterfeited parts used in American nuclear power plants. They’ve been discovered by inspectors in the U.S. And they inspect nuclear power plants, obviously.

Fortunately, none have yet caused a reaction --


PAGE: Isn’t that fortunate?

BUCHANAN: And Three-Mile-Island might make you look a second time at MFN.

CLIFT: Yes. Also, maybe they do a very good job of manufacturing these parts, but you have to, you know, bring it out in the open and have it inspected. In that clip that you had, they refer to their -- they answer to their western bosses. Is this control out of the U.S.?

ROGAN: I think what the issue is that we have there Western companies that are relying upon Chinese agents to try to make sure counterfeiting doesn’t happen --

CLIFT: I see.

MCLAUGHLIN: Counterfeit heparin sold in the U.S. caused 350 hospitalizations, with severe damage to patients, including 81 deaths worldwide.


MCLAUGHLIN: Chinese counterfeiters faked the ingredients in many supplements, as well as prescription medications.

PAGE: Well, we need to ask, why do people go overseas for their prescriptions in the first place? Part of it has to do with the high medical costs here.

CLIFT: Right.

PAGE: But there are ways of enforcing that, just like any other pharmaceuticals, or folks will go up to Canada to buy drugs.

BUCHANAN: One of them is to sue the producers and you put them out of business.

MCLAUGHLIN: Should -- exit: should Chinese imports be temporarily banned until China puts in place effective anti-counterfeiting and safety rules? Yes or no?

BUCHANAN: John, Trump is going to deal with this problem.


CLIFT: Right. I was going to say, no, that’s a Trumpian proposal.


MCLAUGHLIN: Out of time. Bye-bye!