Return to Transcripts main page


239 Missing As Jet Vanishes Off Vietnam; Minivan Mom Expected In Court This Hour; Russia Warns U.S. Over Sanctions; U.S. Weighs Involvement in Ukraine Crisis; New Show "Smerconish" Launches Today; New Treatment in Fight against AIDS; Snowden Speaks Monday at South by Southwest Festival; Malaysia Jett Missing

Aired March 8, 2014 - 08:00   ET


PAMELA BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Vanished. A Malaysia Airlines plane carrying 239 people including at least 3 Americans fell off the radar in mid-air. This morning, new details about what happened to the flight.

JOE JOHNS, CNN ANCHOR: Journalists under attack as mask Crimean militia pull weapons on foreign medial and no end to the crackdown in sight.

BROWN: And one of America's most wanted fugitives will be a guest speaker at Southwest festival. The expectations for Edward Snowden's big speech just ahead. Your NEW DAY continues right now.

Good Saturday morning, everyone. Great to have you along with us. I'm Pamela Brown.

JOHNS: And I'm Joe Johns. Christi Paul and Victor Blackwell are off today. It's 8:00. This is NEW DAY SATURDAY.

We begin this morning with desperate search at sea after a jet carrying 239 people vanished off the southern coast of Vietnam.

BROWN: The USS Pinckney is now headed from the South China Sea to the area where Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 was last reported. Meantime, a Vietnamese air craft has spotted liquid and rubbish on the surface of the waters right off Malaysia and Vietnam.

JOHNS: Reports from the region say Vietnam's military confirms the jet crashed into the sea as it flew from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, but Malaysian authorities say they are still working to verify that.

BROWN: And according to the airline, three Americans including an infant were on board that Boeing 777. Two-two-thirds of the passengers are to be from China and Taiwan.

JOHNS: CNN's David McKenzie is in Beijing where the flight was supposed to land. David, what the latest on the search and who's going to investigate this?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the latest, Joe, is that it's an international, a multi-national search and rescue operation from the U.S. to Vietnam, Malaysia, China, even the Philippines getting involved, sending ships, aircraft, helicopters, to try and find any way, if there are any survivors of what appears to be this horrific crash of a passenger jet from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia here to Beijing that vanished in the middle of the night.

Last contact somewhere over the airspace of Vietnam and has not been seen since. It was supposed to land here in Beijing early this morning our time, but it really has been emerging that Vietnamese officials telling CNN that they've seen an oil slick of some 20 kilometers over 10 miles long on the ocean and rubbish or debris there.

Still the Malaysian authorities, as you suggest, not going that far saying they still have to confirm exactly what happened, but agonizing hours here in Beijing. More than 150 on that airline were Chinese nationals, 14 nationalities in total, including at least three Americans, and one infant on board tragically that plane.

BROWN: Dozens of family gather there at the airport in Beijing just, you know, waiting for their loved ones, and as you said, an agonizing wait for them. I can imagine, David, it's a very emotional scene there?

MCKENZIE: It's emotional and also just confusion and frustration. Some of the people going in to that hotel very stoic. Not saying anything. Not wanting to comment at all. One woman, though, that our crew just spoke to said that she was waiting for her boyfriend to arrive. She had come from a neighboring city here in China. She broke down and cried when she said, they were about to get married later this month.

So certainly very emotional stories at this point, and people just not knowing what this story is. According to people at that hotel, there's a large contingent coming in from Malaysian Airlines to give support and to give counseling. But at this stage they just don't know what happened.

There's this search and the rescue effort going on out at sea, but of course, very difficult to find any potential survivors out at sea, and as night falls in this region, it becomes more difficult still.

JOHNS: David, have you been able to pick up any information about the crew that was on that plane?

MCKENZIE: Well, there was a large crew on that Boeing 777. The pilot, according to the airlines, a 53-year-old Malaysian national, very experienced in flying with Malaysian Airlines. This airlines has a very good safety record. The last incident I know of, John, was the in the mid-90s that they had. Other than that, a spotless record up to this point.

Malaysian airlines is regarded as one of the best airlines in the region, and this is a very busy flight between Malaysia and China. The reason possibly so many Chinese nationals on board, it was a co- chair with the China Southern Airlines. So certainly china appears to be bearing the brunt of the worry at this point. But, of course, you know, with all those different nationalities, including Australian, New Zealand, American and others on board, of course, across the world, people are worrying what happened to their loved ones.

JOHNS: David McKenzie in Beijing with that agonizing wait there as the families try to figure out what happened. Thanks so much for that. We'll be getting back to you.

So what could have caused that plane to disappear? According to Malaysia Airlines CEO, so far it does not look like it was bad weather.


AHMAD JAUHANI YAHYA, CEO, MALAYSIA AIRLINES: Our early review of the weather situation shows there's no bad weather system at that point.


BROWN: All right, let's go straight to our Jennifer Gray at the Severe Weather Center. Jennifer, tell us about what the weather conditions at the time the plane left Kuala Lumpur Airport were?

JENNIFER GRAY, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes. Well, conditions were really good. In fact, temperatures about 77 degrees, winds out of the northeast at about 3 miles per hour. So no strong crosswinds, no fog in the area. Visibility in fact was at 6 miles so pretty much ideal conditions. We weren't even looking at any clouds in the sky even during the past 24 hours. There's the South China Sea.

You can see completely clear conditions. Of course, ground conditions mean nothing when the plane is cruising at 30,000 feet. So what we went back to look at was the wind shear because a lot of times that can create turbulence in the upper levels. We're showing the area where they're thinking -- sorry about that -- thinking the plane went down.

It doesn't look like there's any wind shear at all going on there. Up to the north a little bit, but where the plane was last reported, nothing at all. So it looks like weather could possibly be ruled out. Of course, guys, we're just going to have to wait and see. But on our end, we are really not seeing anything that would have caused any danger.

BROWN: Still such a mystery. Jennifer Gray, thank you so much for that.

To learn more about this, let's bring in CNN's airline and aviation correspondent, Richard Quest, who has been following developments out of New York. Richard, what's the latest on the search?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN AIRLINE AND AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Well, the search is now very much concentrated in the Gulf of Thailand around about this area in the South China Sea. Just between Malaysia and Vietnam. More on the Vietnam side. After there are reports that a sheen of oil had been seen from the water, and that debris had been seen.

Now, this is what one would expect to see, of course, in these situations, if the plane did crash and went into the water. And now ships and air and sea rescue from both Vietnam and Malaysia and Singapore's also involved. China will also get involved. The U.S. forces are in the area could be involved, too. Everybody will be in a coordinated attack, an attempt to try and find exactly where this aircraft is in the water.

JOHNS: Now, Richard, let's talk a little bit more about that co-pilot of the plane. Fariq Hamid? You actually sat in a cockpit of a similar aircraft just a few days ago. What can you tell us about Hamid?

QUEST: Well, you know, it's not easy to discuss this obviously when you bear in mind that he was the man who was flying or was on the cockpit at that time. We also believe who might have been the same captain that was on board. We were filming -- had authorized filming for CNN "Business Traveler." We were on the cockpit, and the co- pilot, the first officer, to be more correct, the first officer is an experienced first officer with about 2.5 thousand hours of flying.

He was in the process of transitioning from his previous aircraft to the 777 fleet. He'd had several months of training in the simulators and was now in training on board the aircraft as exactly it would be, and there would have been an extremely, as there was on this flight, the captain on this flight, extremely experienced training captain who was with him on this flight.

BROWN: The most dangerous parts of flying typically are takeoff and landing. This flight in particular disappeared about third of the way into a six-hour flight. Supposed to be a safe time. Is there any indication or I know it's speculative at this point, but that clear air turbulence might have played a role here?

QUEST: No. None whatsoever and I would be absolutely astonished, if any form of weather was involved in this incident. I'll tell you why. Weather -- the plane is built to fly at minus 74 degrees, at 37,000 feet and bounce around in the air. It is built for that. And it can carry, also -- now, they will have had, as indeed on this particular flight that you showed me with the captain, and the first officer, they have radar.

In fact, they can see on the radar. It's either red or amber. They can see, and they fly around bad weather. In fact, on the flight that we took with the first officer and the captain, we could see the cumulus clouds ahead that they had to go around because of bad weather. Now, that's one aspect of it.

The second aspect of weather is that weather itself does not bring down planes. What often can happen is weather creates an environment in the cockpit, or the machinery of the aircraft, and the pilots respond to that. We learned that from Air France 447, but weather itself, not a factor. I'd be very surprised in this case.

JOHNS: Go ahead. BROWN: And because there's no mayday call, you would think if weather was a factor --

QUEST: Well, that is the most important and interesting aspect so far. No mayday. No pan-pan, which means another form of distress call. Nothing from the aircraft that we know of. We do not know yet from Malaysian airlines what signals the plane was sending via other methods. So the airline may know more than they're telling us at the moment.

BROWN: All right, we'll be following this --

JOHNS: That's for sure. A lot more information to come. Thanks so much, Richard Quest. Long night for you.

BROWN: And coming up right here on NEW DAY, Russia has some harsh words for U.S. diplomatic efforts pushing back on sanctions and even saying the U.S. may come to regret it.

JOHNS: Plus, more details emerging about the pregnant mom who drove her minivan into the ocean with her children inside. What we're learning from the 911 call, next.


JOHNS: You know that place, United States' Capitol, I've been there before. It's about time for spring to head to that city. Wouldn't you say?

BROWN: Sunny and 63 degrees especially there today and of course, we're not there to enjoy it. We're here in Atlanta.

JOHNS: When we get back, it will be cold.

BROWN: That's the way it works, right? Well, thank you so much for starting your new day with us here at CNN.

Meantime, we are going to turn to a really disturbing story. You've probably seen the video from this story, a pregnant mother accused of attempted murder after driving her children into the ocean. She's expected to appear in court at this hour. Ebony Wilkerson has been charged with three counts of attempted first-degree murder. And police say Wilkinson rolled up the windows and told her children to go to sleep before taking them on that terrifying ride you see right here in this video.

JOHNS: Let's bring in CNN's Nick Valencia. Nick, you just spoke to the public defender for Ebony Wilkerson. What did he tell you?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, James Purdy, he is the Volusia County public defender, he sort of laid out what we are going to expect today at her first appearance. One, this is to determine probable cause. The second, to determine if she needs counsel, which we already know she has and the third is about bond.

Now he says he is going to focus on what he calls are substantial mental health issues with Ebony Wilkerson. Right now, she is being held without bond. It's unlikely that the judge will change that on first appearance. But he says, if he doesn't, they'll file a motion to appeal that. He is saying that this is really about mental health, though.

BROWN: Yes, and let's talk about that. We've heard that she had sort of a blank stare and that there are indications she had mental health issues. Did he say anything about that?

VALENCIA: We don't know if she has a history of, an official history of having mental health issues. Her relatives, of course, told investigators that she doesn't. But there was this 911 call, and I want to play this 911 call for you guys. Her sister, about two hours before Ebony Wilkerson drove that minivan filled with her children into the Atlantic Ocean, she called police. Take a listen to what her had to say.



EBONY WILKERSON'S SISTER (via telephone): She's talking about Jesus and that there's demons in my house, and that I'm trying to control her but I'm trying to keep them safe.

UNIDENTIFIED DISPATCHER: She thinks there's demons in the house?


UNIDENTIFIED DISPATCHER: She's not left? She's still there. Right?

EBONY WILKERSON'S SISTER: She's in the car right now, but I have the key. So she can't go anywhere.


VALENCIA: Now police did respond and under Florida's mental health law commonly known as the Baker Act, police can involuntarily take somebody into custody if they pose a threat to themselves. They didn't feel that she did. They did think her kids were distressed. She was lucid. Two hours later, she's driving into the ocean.

JOHNS: The demons business is interesting and it seems relevant to this case, was there any suggestion that she believed the children were the demons and that's why she was driving into the water?

VALENCIA: You know, she has a history of -- of a bad relationship with her husband, according to relatives. That she was escaping an abusive relationship with her husband. We tried to reach out to her husband, but haven't gotten in touch. In fact, police are also waiting to talk to him as well. So lots of details we are hoping will emerge later at her first court appearance, 8:30 this morning. Not expected to be live to the public, but we will get some tape.

JOHNS: The public defender doesn't see her as a flight risk though, did he say anything about that? VALENCIA: No. He wants to get bond and he is focusing on this mental health issue aspect. So we'll see what happens at this first appearance today.

BROWN: We're following it.

JOHNS: Nick Valencia, thanks so much for that.

BROWN: Thank you. Still to come right here on NEW DAY, Secretary of State John Kerry working for a diplomatic answer to the crisis in Ukraine, but Russia is pushing back and making a threat of its own. We are going to have the very latest, up next.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER (voice-over): Several top players started the season with a new coach boasting major credentials. The most surprising of which is the pairing of Novak Djokovic with the six-time grand slam champion, Boris Becker.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He always try to get better and to improve and as complete your game may seem and as much achievement you may reach, you still feel that there is room for improvement. So I think Boris is the right person for this job.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: But Djokovic wasn't alone. Roger Federer announced that the 80s icon, Stefan Edberg, would be joining his camp.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's very good for the sport. These guys have won multiple grand slams and they have achieved a lot on and off the court, and they can identify themselves with us or we with them.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Andy Murray is pleased to see other players hiring the grace since teaming up with Evan Lindel two years ago, Murray has gone on to win the U.S. Open and Wimbledon.

ANDY MURRAY, 3-TIME GRAND SLAM CHAMPION: From my experience, I wanted to work with him because he'd been through a lot of the same experience as me. Lost his first four slam finals, good to speak with him about that. Unless you've been in that position you don't know exactly what it feels like emotionally.



JOHNS: OK, so it's time now for our political gut check. All the stories you need to know coming out of Washington, D.C. Today marks the third and final day of the annual gathering of conservative heavyweights known as CPAC.

BROWN: Kentucky Senator Rand Paul rocked the house on day two. Paul is suing the Obama administration over NSA surveillance. He brought that fight to the CPAC floor and the crowd went wild.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SENATOR RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: Yet as our voices rise in protest, the NSA monitors your every phone call. If you have a cell phone, you are under surveillance. I believe what you do on your cell phone is none of their damn business.


JOHNS: Last year, Senator Rand Paul won CPAC's presidential straw poll. We expect to get the results of this year's poll this evening.

Secretary of State John Kerry is trying to hammer out a diplomatic end to the crisis in Ukraine, but his counterpart of the talks, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had some harsh words of warning in a phone call on Friday.

BROWN: He warned Kerry against any, quote, "reckless decisions" saying that any sanctions may come back to bite the U.S. CNN foreign affairs reporter, Elise Labott, joins us by the phone. Elise, you just returned from traveling with Kerry to meet Lavrov. What did these statements do to the diplomatic process?

ELISE LABOTT, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS REPORTER (via telephone): Well, Pam and John, I think at this point, it's just rhetoric and you know, there is a lot of tough words going on both sides. I think in effect these sanctions, really, if you look what they did. You know, you have some visa bans that were imposed, but this executive order that was going to impose these asset freezes and such against Russian officials hasn't really been implemented in terms of any specific individuals.

I think this measure is designed more to pressure Russia into getting some diplomatic process going and even though there's a lot of tough words on both sides, I think that's what's happening. You know, there's a lot of calls back and forth. Secretary Kerry met with Minister Lavrov several times this week. President Obama and President Putin are talking. So I think behind the tough words there is hope some diplomatic process will get going.

JOHNS: Elise, push this thing forward for us a little bit. What do you think is going to happen now? How is Kerry going to try to calm the situation down?

LABOTT: Well, while they were in Rome and Paris, Secretary Kerry gave Foreign Minister Lavrov a set of ideas on how to de-escalate the crisis. We've been talking about what that would be all along. We're talking about getting international monitors on the ground, having some kind of dialogue between Ukraine and Russia, perhaps in a larger grouping of the U.S.

And some European countries talking about having early elections in Ukraine and some of the things that would not only be good for the Ukrainian people, but also would address Russia's concerns in terms particularly of the Crimea. So Minister Lavrov went back to Russia, he's going to be consulting with President Putin.

Secretary Kerry will be talking to him in the next few days and I think towards, you know, maybe mid-week towards the end of the week, you may see some more meetings or some more calls, which could indicate that there could be a type of, maybe not an immediate resolution, but at least some kind of diplomatic state of play.

Of course, what goes -- what happens on the ground is also going to dictate this, and I think that while there is some quiet diplomatic channels going on, it's going to be important to see if there's not any escalations on the ground yet.

JOHNS: And of course, we have that referendum coming up on March 16th. Are you getting any sense of an attempt to try to put some legitimacy around that? Even though presumably it would be very hard to do that?

LABOTT: Well, that's exactly what I think will happen. If you listen to Secretary Kerry in his press conferences, he wasn't saying that there couldn't be any referendum because obviously, the Ukrainians and the Crimeans need to figure out what the future status of the Crimea area is going to be.

So what Secretary Kerry was saying is, you know, any referendum would have to be under the Ukrainian constitution, would mean that the government of Ukraine would need to be involved, would mean that all Ukrainians would have to take part in it. So he implied there could be some type of referendum and if there's some kind of legality to it, that might, in fact, actually satisfy the Russians.

And when you talk about all of the things that Russia needs to do, such as pull back its troops, such as disarm these militias, this so- called self defense militias, get in the diplomatic process, perhaps the referendum is something that that might satisfy their concern.

JOHNS: Elise Labott, thanks so much for that great report.

BROWN: Thank you, Elise.

Still to come right here on NEW DAY, Oscar Pistorius' ex takes the stand in his murder trial. But will her testimony do major damage to his defense? We are going to have that story coming up.

JOHNS: But first, if you're planning a vacation and like to ski, consider the slopes of Breckenridge, Colorado. A former snowboard instructor takes us on a tour of his hometown in this week's "Travel Insider."


KEVIN POLLITCH, FORMER SNOWBOARD INSTRUCTOR: I'm Kevin Pollitch here in beautiful Breckenridge, Colorado. I'm a former snowboard instructor, current business owner and I've called Breckenridge my home for 24 years. When my friends come to town, a must-stop, is the Gold Pan saloon.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In 1879, the Gold Pan was built and we've had drinks here ever since even during prohibition. Mining was a very big thing back in the late 1800s and this was actually a home away from home for the old miners. This is the original bar. The lights and decor, we tried to keep it as authentic as possible. The Gold Pan saloon is like stepping back in the Wild West.

POLLITCH: Breckenridge is one of only three places in the U.S. where you can see a real ice castle. It's about three quarters of an acre, 100 million pounds of ice. To build it, we start with an icicle farm. Spray water on top of them. Kids absolutely love it. They come out here smiling. Parents love it because the kids have so much fun. It's like nowhere else on the planet. There you have it. Insider travel tips from my hometown, Breckenridge, Colorado.



BROWN: Bottom of the hour now. Welcome back. I'm Pamela Brown.

JOHNS: And I'm Joe Johns. Here are five things you need to know for your NEW DAY.

BROWN: At number one the USS Pinckney is now headed from the South China Sea to the area where Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 vanished, the Boeing 777 carrying 239 people was last reported off the southern coast of Vietnam. A Vietnamese aircraft has spotted liquid and quote "rubbish" on the surface of those waters. The airline says at least three Americans including an infant were onboard.

JOHNS: Number two a missing Maryland girl who triggered a nationwide amber alert has been found safe. Police say 11-year-old Caitlyn Virts was located yesterday at a South Carolina motel. Authorities have arrested the girl's father, Timothy Virts, who they believe abducted the girl Thursday after stabbing his ex-wife and the girl's mother to death.

BROWN: At number three was Oscar Pistorius a paranoid cheating gun- loving boyfriend with a temper? In wrapping up the first week of the blade runner's murder trial an emotional ex-girlfriend accused the Olympic sprinter of tweaking with guns and cheating on her with Reeva Steenkamp, the 29-year-old model he later shot to death. The defense denied many of her allegations. The trial has been adjourned until Monday.

JOHNS: Number four, politics stole the show at the Paralympic Winter Games opening ceremony in Sochi. As a symbolic protest, Ukraine's team sent just one of their 31 athletes to carry the flag into the stadium. The team received a huge cheer from the crowd. Originally Ukraine threatened to pull out of the games during the crisis and warned that they will dropout if Russia escalates the conflict.

BROWN: And at number five a violent brawl broke out a suburban Chicago high school yesterday. Take a look here. Police in the school are still investigating what exactly happened in this video you see. But according to CNN affiliate WGN the chaos erupted after two girls began fighting over French Fries. At least seven students have been charged with disorderly conduct. Another was charged with resisting a police officer. JOHNS: International voices are growing louder over Russia's military intervention in Crimea; pressure mounting on Moscow to change course or face consequences. But so far, President Vladimir Putin seems unfazed.

BROWN: What he calls the protection of human rights of Russians in the region, the U.S. and others call a violation of international law. President Obama has already announced sanctions including visa bans against Russia and he's talked by phone to Putin but not much of it has come out so far.

Joining us now, Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, founder and co-chair of the Congressional Ukraine Caucus; as well as Congressman Randy Forbes -- great to have you both with us.

Congresswoman Kaptur I want to talk with you.

I'm curious what do you think of President Obama's response so far? Do you think we've gone far enough? Do you think we should scale back or stay out of it altogether? What do you think?

REP. MARCY KAPTUR (D), OHIO: Well I don't think we should stay out of it altogether. I think that the President's steps have been very measured and both on the diplomatic front, the sanctions that are -- have been announced. We are proceeding in an ascending manner and, of course, this is essentially a European problem, but we share democratic values with that part of the world and what President Putin has done is absolutely in violation of treaties, international law, Russia's membership in the United Nations.

It's an aggressive action to an adjoining state. He crossed the border in a violent manner and it's just astounding that this could happen in the 21st century. We know Russia's history as an expanding bear, always trying to take territory illegally. It took Russia 70 years to even admit the killing of Polish officers in Cattian in 1940.

So we are not dealing with a country that always tells the truth globally and we stand in solidarity as a country with the peace loving people of Ukraine. They have suffered enough. And frankly, Russia has suffered.

JOHNS: So Congressman Forbes, same question for you. Do you think President Obama has shown enough U.S. strength at this point?

REP. RANDY FORBES (R), VIRGINIA: You know, I don't have criticisms of what Obama's done so far in the Ukraine. I think we have to realize that you have 535 members of Congress. We can all pontificate any way we want to but that has very little international consequence; when the President speaks it does.

I think clearly the President has to recognize that when members of Congress speak they're talking to their constituents. When he is speaking now, he needs to be speaking to three groups -- the Ukrainian people, the Russians and world leaders.

I think the fault I have is not so much what he's doing now but the fact that this is not an administration that's got a very good track record with diplomacy. And I think the President doesn't have a strong credibility around the world, which he could use very desperately right now.

BROWN: And Congresswoman Kaptur that leads me to my next question. What effect do Obama's decisions in dealing with this issue have on how he's viewed as a world leader and how the U.S. is viewed?

KAPTUR: Well this is a real test of the United States as a leader of the free world and I think that our country has responded directly, responsibly. We are actually sending some partnership missions to Poland, to Lithuania. We are working aggressively as a member of NATO. There have been several emergency meetings of NATO held. We are working with the governments of Poland, Lithuania, Turkey, Hungary -- all of the nations in the region.

So I think in the short time that has occurred we've done extremely well. The OSCE of which we are a member has sent the delegation to Crimea. You might note that they have been rebuffed. There are no free press allowed in Crimea. This is a very delicate and dangerous situation and I think the United States is supporting our European allies as best we can.

The one error I think Europe has made over the last 20 years they did not admit Ukraine and some of the other states of the former Soviet Union into provisional membership in NATO. That has left nations like Ukraine undefended, defenseless.

JOHNS: So what would you say right now that Ukrainian people need most, Congresswoman Kaptur?

KAPTUR: Well first of all, no bloodshed, no bloodshed. One of the accomplishments of this past week because of the attention of the world community and the media which is so important in this, is to keep the focus on no more bloodshed, and I think that the world community, diplomacy at the level of the United Nations, within the European Union, within the OSCE, within NATO, has to ratchet up and we need to deescalate. No more bloodshed. That isn't in anyone's interest.

We have a state that is transitioning to new leadership in Ukraine and we have to aid that process. We need election monitors May 25th. These are when the free elections will be held in Ukraine -- we can't allow that to unravel.

JOHNS: Mr. Forbes what do you think of this OSCE business they have, as she mentioned, trying to enter the country one way, they got rebuffed, trying another way now. What do you think of that is that a waste of time? Is it useful in your view?

FORBES: I think you've got to have a multitude of different approaches. I think for example what do we need to do at this particular point in time? It's important for us to make sure we've taken as much internal pressure off the Ukrainians as possible and I think that is by helping and support them with perhaps some loans and financial assistance to do that. Secondly, we should be making them choose absolutely between the West or Russia. I think the third thing is we've got to keep the verbal pressure up on Russia, because if you don't have that pressure taking place, it's kind of a green light for the Russians to do whatever they want to do.

Final thing is, we've got to get the world coming around to try to put a little pressure on Russia financially, even though that won't be the ultimate determining factor, it's one component in doing that.

JOHNS: Thanks so much, Congressman Randy Forbes and Congresswoman Kaptur good to see you both.

BROWN: Thank you both. And of course, tensions continue --


FORBES: Thank you so much.

BROWN: -- to escalate leading up to that referendum there in Crimea.

JOHNS: Absolutely and it'll be interesting to see what happens when these sanctions actually start taking hold, if they do.

BROWN: Yes. Absolutely. We will be keeping an eye on it.

And coming up next on NEW DAY, a baby in California born with HIV now appears to be free of the virus. A new treatment could change the way children born to moms that are HIV positive are treated. That story up next.


BROWN: Welcome back. We are very excited to announce a new member of the CNN family joining us today.

JOHNS: Michael Smerconish has a popular show on Sirius XM radio and today he is bringing his talents to CNN.

BROWN: Good morning, Michael.

MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN HOST: Good morning, Joe and Pamela. I am really psyched to be joining the CNN family with today's launch of my new program. This is like no other show that you're going to see on CNN. I'm not left, I'm not right. I promise I'm going to rattle cages on both sides of the aisle equally.

And we have a fantastic first program for you. Find out who really blew the whistle in the Jerry Sandusky Penn State scandal. We'll be talking about HBO's hit "True Detective "and I've been keeping a secret for a year now, and I can't keep it any longer. You'll hear it. Join me for my new show right here on CNN at 9:00 a.m. Joe, Pamela?

BROWN: What a tease. JOHNS: That's for sure. Be sure to catch Michael's new show "SMERCONISH" this morning at 9:00 a.m. That's just about 15 minutes from now.

BROWN: I'm going it find out what that secret is.

JOHNS: Yes, I'm looking forward to it.

BROWN: Well, doctors say a baby born with HIV now has no evidence of the disease after being treated with certain drugs.

JOHNS: And if the clinical trials succeed it could be a game-changer in the fight against AIDS. Senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen has more -- Elizabeth.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Joe, what happened to this little baby in southern California may have ramifications for how babies are treated all around the world if they're born to moms who are HIV positive. Usually what happens is that when a mom is HIV positive, they give her drugs during pregnancy that dramatically reduce the chance that she's going to transmit that virus to her baby.

But in this case in California, the mother didn't get any prenatal care, so she didn't get those drugs. So what doctors decided to do is soon after birth, they gave this baby high doses of anti-HIV drugs.

Now, it's always a question, because these drugs can be toxic, but they decided in this case it was worth giving high doses just a couple of hours, just four hours after birth. And what they found was that 11 days later, they couldn't find any HIV in this baby's system.

Now, this is the second time that something like this has happened. Last year there was baby in Mississippi, a different circumstance, but the outcome was pretty similar. It's that high doses of anti-HIV drugs soon after birth and they couldn't detect HIV in the baby's system.

So now doctors are asking the question, is this what we should be doing for all babies who are born HIV-positive? So they're going to do more studies. They're going to do more thinking, and this could become the new protocol for all babies who are born HIV positive -- Joe.

JOHNS: Wow. It's just incredible.

BROWN: Huge deal.

JOHNS: Absolutely.

BROWN: Elizabeth Cohen, thank you.

JOHNS: He may be a fugitive and hiding in Russia, but that's not stopping Edward Snowden from making an appearance at South by Southwest in Texas next week. We'll tell you how he plans to pull it off, coming up.


JOHNS: One of America's most wanted men will be a major speaker at the South by Southwest interactive festival in Texas. NSA whistle- blower and fugitive Edward Snowden scheduled to speak via teleconference from Russia on Monday. The topic, what else? Surveillance and protecting your privacy.

BROWN: No surprise there. And he will not be alone. It turns out WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is also participating. Snowden will be chatting with Christopher Soghoian, he is the principle technologist at the ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project and he joins us now from Washington.

Good morning to you, Christopher -- obviously, this is a big get. It took you over three months to land this. How did this happen?

CHRISTOPHER SOGHOIAN, ACLU SPEECH PRIVACY AND TECHNOLOGY PROJECT: So we have been advising Edward Snowden for some time. This is going to be his first live appearance before a public audience, and given the role that technology has played in enabling the massive surveillance that the NSA has been performing, I think it's only appropriate that Edward appear before a group of technical people like South by Southwest which is a technical conference, because technology really is the only thing that can keep our data safe from the U.S. government, but from other governments, too.

JOHNS: What do we expect him to say, and just how will his electronic tracks be covered, I presume, so he can't be traced or tracked down in Russia?

SOGHOIAN: So for many reasons, I can't go into the specifics of the technology that will be used to protect his information.

JOHNS: It's encryption. Right? It is encryption?

SOGHOIAN: Encryption obviously playing one piece of that puzzle, but there are many things that will be used here. But really, Ed is going to be talking about the role that technology can play in protecting privacy, and in how we really got here -- the market forces that led to pervasive surveillance; the market forces that led to consumers' information being collected on a wholesale basis and then readily available for governments to collect.

BROWN: And, of course, not only Snowden not the only wanted man speaking at this -- WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will also appear via teleconference. So have you gotten any government opposition setting this up?

SOGHOIAN: We haven't. We were invited by the South by Southwest organizers. They were delighted to have us here but, of course, every news organization in the world has been desperately trying to get Edward Snowden to appear before them and to answer questions.

I think it's just really exciting thought that the first place he's decided to speak is to a room of 7,000 technical people because, really, Silicon Valley and the technology industry, they are the best hope we have for providing secure communications and privacy- preserving information tools to Americans.

JOHNS: So he hit the road with thousands of top secret U.S. documents, facing felony charges for alleged espionage and theft. In addition to the privacy concerns, do you think you're going to be sort of getting into the issue of his fugitive status? Do you think the audience will even care about that?

SOGHOIAN: I mean this is an audience of people who build apps, who build Web sites, who build and tools that people around the world rely on to stay in touch with their loved ones. I really think that the focus of this conversation is going to be on technology and the way that technology can protect us all.

BROWN: Obviously Christopher, this is a unique opportunity --

SOGHOIAN: Absolutely.

BROWN: -- to talk to Edward Snowden. What's your most pressing question that you want to ask him?

SOGHOIAN: I mean, you know, I think Edward has a lot of experience and has a very unique perspective. And I'm really, you know, interested in hearing what we can all do to protect innocent Americans from government surveillance. From what he said so far in written testimony before the European parliament, and other venues, he really wants information to be made safe and his concern really seems to be on protecting innocent people from bulk untargeted surveillance. And so I'm really fascinated to hear, you know, how he thinks we can achieve that.

JOHNS: Christopher Soghoian, thanks so much for that. And we'll be looking forward to it.

BROWN: Thank you.

SOGHOIAN: Thank you.

BROWN: And coming up right here on NEW DAY what would cause a jumbo jet to simply vanish and disappear from radar in mid-flight? That's what happened to a Malaysian Airlines plane carrying hundreds to Beijing. Investigators are looking for answers and families are expecting the worse. We are getting new clues about what happened.

Stay with us.


BROWN: A desperate search at sea is ramping up as night falls in Asia. It's an international mystery that has investigators searching now for a jet carrying 239 people that simply vanished off the southern coast of Vietnam. The "USS Pinckney" is now headed from the South China Sea to the area where Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 370 was last reported.

Meantime, a Vietnamese aircraft has spotted liquid and quote, "rubbish" on the surface of the waters right off Malaysia and Vietnam. JOHNS: Some reports from the region indicate the Boeing 777 crashed into the sea as it flew from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. According to the airline, at least three Americans including an infant were on board. Two-thirds of the passengers are said to be from China and Taiwan.

BROWN: At this hour, dozens of relatives of missing passengers or crew members are gathered at the Beijing Airport. We see some pictures here. As you can see some of them are overcome with grief and fearing the very worst.

JOHNS: Meantime, officials with Malaysia Airlines say weather does not appear to be a factor. We also know they made no mayday call.

BROWN: Very much a mystery.

JOHNS: Absolutely.

BROWN: Thank you so much for starting your morning with us.

JOHNS: The debut of the "MICHAEL SMERCONISH SHOW" starts right now.