Return to Transcripts main page


Obama At Emergency Talks; Strong Currents And Rough Seas Hamper Search; Flight 370 Families Furious; Australia And China Spot Objects In Ocean

Aired March 24, 2014 - 07:30   ET


JOHN KING, HOST, CNN'S "INSIDE POLITICS": A lot driving our day Inside Politics. Let's get right to it, and we'll begin with the president overseas. You guys have talked a bit about this. He's trying to deal with the crisis in Ukraine with his European allies.

With me this morning to share their reporting and their insights, Margaret Talev of "Bloomberg News" and Manu Raju of "Politico." Let's start, Margaret, with the president. Listen here, the president says he's united, the European allies and the United States united. They have resolved, but listen to his deputy national security adviser. They may have resolve, but do they have good options?


TONY BLINKEN, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: When it comes to military assistance, we're looking at the facts are these -- even if assistance were to go to Ukraine that is very unlikely to change Russia's calculus or prevent an invasion.


KING: It doesn't sound like they think anything they can do is going to change Vladimir Putin's behavior, is that fair?

MARGARET TALEV, "BLOOMBERG NEWS": Part of it is trying to manage expectations. The White House doesn't really want to give a whole lot of military assistance here. They don't that Angela Merkel and most of Europe is going to go along with significant sanctions. So they don't really want to get ahead of what they can deliver, which is probably not very much right now.

KING: And so if the president came to office saying he could unite the world and would have better international diplomacy than George W. Bush, at least on this one, doesn't have any good options?

TALEV: The president who wanted the reset with the (inaudible) yes, it's a problem, it's a real problem that they've really didn't see coming until it was almost too late to tackle it.

KING: And one of the things the president would like even if it would have limited impact would be a united Congress behind him. Any package of economic assistance and maybe modest aid, whatever you wanted to do with Ukraine, well, that has been held up because of disagreement, largely among Republicans. There is a big vote in the Senate tonight to try to procedurally move forward. Do they have agreement to move forward or are they still debating this in Congress?

MANU RAJU, "POLITICO": It will clear the Senate and it going to take another few days. There is enough support for that. As you said, john, this is not necessarily going to get through the house at least in the current form in the Senate. Republicans object to the inclusion of IMF reforms that the president is pushing right now and even some Republicans go along with that. If they can't agree on that, what more can they agree on even if there is a push for increased military aid. If you add to another Ukrainian package, does that get through? It anybody's guess particularly in this congressional environment.

KING: If you're watching this from Moscow and you're Vladimir Putin, these things hardly make you shake in your boots, I think. One of things we have seen in the political debate over this, I'll call this the Mitt Romney "I told you so" tour. Listen to the former Massachusetts governor. Of course, President Obama's opponent in the last presidential election. You remember in 2012, he said Vladimir Putin was the biggest geopolitical threat to the United States and President Obama reacted scornfully. Listen to Governor Romney just yesterday.


MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: The president's naivete with regards to Russia and his faulty judgement about Russia's intentions and objectives has led to a number of foreign policy challenges that we face.


KING: Now, I want to show you a calendar as we continue the conversation. This is nearly a dozen sometimes since the first of the year that Governor Romney has been out doing media. He did "Fox News Sunday." He did an interview with the "New York Times." "The Today's" show and Jimmy Fallon. He's been on CNN a few times. Fox more times. "Meet the Press," "Wall Street Journal." Margaret is just lately he wants to get in the face of the president on the Russia "I told you so" or is Governor Romney doing something else here?

TALEV: Everybody is preserving their options looking ahead toward 2016. Part of it for Mitt Romney is just trying to figure out how does he land? I mean, does he just go back into some sort of speaking I'm wealthy businessman circuit or does he have a future in GOP politics. Forget about a future presidential race. The respected figure that people are going to go to for support and that's sort of thing and there's really a vacuum and he is filling it right.

KING: I think that's a great way to put it. How does he land? You know, John Kerry went back to the Senate after he lost. He was quiet for a while then he re-emerged with his chairmanship. Bob Dole went back to the Senate. John McCain went back to the Senate. He insists I'm not running. The Republican establishment actually at times is happy to have him out there. Even though they may not have loved him in the campaign because if he's there, the establishment says that means Rand Paul or Ted Cruz isn't on the air but where's he going? RAJU: I think he enjoyed this moment right now because as we know, he really wanted to be president, his wife really wanted him to be president and I think it's been sort of an adjustment going back into a regular life and being in a quiet position in the party. There is a leadership backing the Republican Party right now. As we know, the field in 2016 is wide open. I don't think he's going to run. He's certainly making it clear he's not going to run. But if he speaks, people will listen. I think he is taking advantage about.

KING: He has a lot of influence over a very deep donor network. So we'll see how Governor Romney (inaudible).

Let's move on to Michelle Obama's trip overseas. We talked a bit about this last week and we raised the question because the White House had said Michelle Obama was going to have a family visit to China. She was not going to get into politics at all. We raised the question and the comparison to a first lady, Hillary Clinton, back in the Bill Clinton presidency days causing a stir in China. Well, Michelle Obama did -- did delve in a bit. Listen to this.

In a speech in Beijing, she said when it comes to expressing yourself freely and worshipping as you choose and having open access to information, we believe those universal right, they are universal right. It is the birth right of every person on this planet. She did decide to gently and publicly raise objections to the Chinese practices.

TALEV: Absolutely. This is part of the reason why she doesn't get out a lot in the U.S. in terms of going out and making speeches that can shift into policy speeches because she tends to a be a fairly edgy person whenever she says anything. Obama himself has articulated these points, these are points that the U.S. makes all the time to China about free press and the media and internet access and that sort of thing. But when Mrs. Obama says it, people listen and it not just a school field trip with her daughter.

RAFU: Yes, and I think that's -- part of it is that if she wouldn't say anything, I think it will be -- her trip would be heavily criticize. We are not saying anything so have to say something even in doing it in a gentle way, not an overbearing manner. That was not the focus of her speech, but it was a point that she knew would generate headlines. She had to do something and I think that's why she made those comments.

KING: And probably (inaudible) we are not going to cause a stir so you don't prolong any tensions, but you make a point while you're there. Let's move on. A lot of Clinton news in the past several days, including over the weekend. She was in a forum in Arizona. She was asked by a young woman if not you who to represent young women in politics. She said, you know, she said stay tuned, we'll get around to that I think.

But then there was this, I want to show you a picture, the famous selfie here. Jimmy Kimmel had a conversation with the president, the former first lady then senator then secretary of state, and we don't know her future. You see Chelsea Clinton there right over Jimmy Kimmel's left shoulder, very popular, went all around the world. Here's the challenge, guys, if you're going to do this, the Clinton/Jimmy Kimmel selfie, 8,313 retweets as of few moments ago. Remember Ellen from the Oscars? It's 3.4 Millions of tweets. What's the issue here?

RAJU: You need some more celebrities. Bill Clinton I guess is not

KING: What did you make of her over the weekend? She's out there so much now. That was a pretty personal question from a young woman essentially saying we need you.

TALEV: Who wouldn't want that question? It's like the ultimate perfect softball question for Hillary Clinton right now. She's pacing herself, it's all about timing. He has a little bit of time left. See is really trying to find her rhythm and how much can I hold back and build up expectations without kind of jumping ahead.

RAJU: And wait until her biography comes out. She doesn't want to get ahead of that. That's when her book will come out.

KING: And that's when she's going to tell us yes or no for real?

TALEV: It will be tweeted.

KING: Margaret, Manu, thanks for coming in. As we get back to you guys in New York, I do want to tell you, you know, the first presidential debate of 2016 is today. No, never mind, just kidding, but she will be an at education forum with the former Florida Governor Jeb Bush so maybe keep an eye on it.

BERMAN: Look, I thought she was giving respect to the woman saying, I've been asked this question many times but never quite that way.

KING: We have to keep trying. We'll get an answer eventually if we keep trying.

PEREIRA: Law of averages.

All right, we're going to take a short beak here on NEW DAY. The search for Flight 370 is already challenging. Add to that, look at the water, rough ocean current, dangerous weather conditions and the weather. We'll look at weather variables and how they are affecting the search.


BERMAN: All right, welcome back to NEW DAY, everyone. CNN's breaking news coverage of the search for Flight 370. Australian and Chinese pilots have spotted objects in the Southern Indian Ocean. Now it is not yet clear if these objects came from the missing jetliner, but we could find out within a few hours. Why? Because an Australian naval vessels is expected to get to where those objects are and perhaps get a very, very close look.

I want to bring in CNN meteorologist, Jennifer Gray, who is in for Indra Petersons. Jennifer, you know, we've been talking about the weather conditions for this entire search. When I heard the naval vessel was headed to that region over the next few hours, I immediately thought what kind of conditions will that boat be facing?

JENNIFER GRAY, AMS METEOROLOGIST: You know, weather in this part of the Indian Ocean is crummy on a good day. When you factor in these fronts that have been moving through, the rains, the low visibility because of the cloud cover, and then you factor in the waves. So when you bring in these ships in, when the waves are crashing higher than the bow of the boat, you can't really see farther than that wave.

When it's a calm day, you can look out and see ten miles or more. We're going to see pretty strong showers move in. Today through Tuesday we'll see gusty winds, 40 to 50 miles an hour. You have to imagine they'll probably be close to hurricane strength winds. That is going to limit visibility to the aircrafts and the ship's main concern will be white caps and the very, very high waves. The winds over the next couple of hours into tomorrow will be gusting anywhere from 50 to 60 miles per hour or more.

BERMAN: We'll be talking about visibility from the air, but now we've got to about visibility from the surface of the ocean as well. A lot of people are talking about this cyclone. Is that anywhere near where these searchers are now working?

GRAY: No. It's nowhere near. It's a couple thousand miles away. It's equivalent to a category four storm and so it is very, very powerful. That's the cone over the next couple of days and so it is going to drift down. We're not going to see many effects from, it basically just swells but that will be about a day or two delay. You see this red dot right here, that's Jillian and that's the search area.

So it is definitely far away, but in a couple of days they'll start to get some of those swells that will make the seas even higher. I don't think wind is going to be a concern. Wind is already a concern there. So it not going to add too much as far as that's concerned but we will see some swells.

BERMAN: All right, we're talking about this separate piece of debris spotted by Chinese airplanes and now an Australian search plane as well. Down here in this area spotted today. At sea level right now where that is, what kind of currents could be moving this stuff around?

GRAY: Unfortunately this is in the strongest current in the world. Ships actually use this current to move their journey along faster because it is that strong because of that you'll have maybe more ships using that current. That's why we're seeing a lot of that debris, a lot of that garbage out there. But, this debris can travel hundreds of miles away from where it was spotted on that satellite three, four days out. And if anything is on the ocean floor, no telling where stuff could travel, hundreds of miles. It will be very hard to locate it on the floor compared to where it is on the surface.

BERMAN: It's a key point. The satellites that have been taking images over the last few days, some of the lag time has been up to four days. Now a good news is that a French satellite was taking pictures yesterday and now they've been able to locate that position today. Whether or not they can get there in time to see the pieces of debris is a different story. The U.S. also sending in some search equipment. This is the undersea line that with help with the undersea search to perhaps locate that black box. The currents move under the surface of the water as well.

GRAY: Right. They can move 4,000 meters below the surface is how far they can be under the surface. It not just a quick mathematical equation to where this is found. You have to account for the winds moving the debris above the surface and you have to account for any storms moving in. You see what I'm saying? It's going to be very, very difficult to locate once they find it on the surface.

BERMAN: The news today this Australian naval vessel could be hours away from getting to the spot where planes spot a debris overnight. We'll give you that information when and if that search vessel gets there.

Next up on NEW DAY, the families of Flight 370 passengers now 17 days without getting any kind of clear answers. Malaysia Airlines spoke to many of them overnight. We are going to go live to Beijing to find out just what happened.


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to NEW DAY, everyone. I'm coming to you live from Perth, Australia this morning, the search headquarters really for Flight 370. Seventeen days after the jetliner vanished family and friends of the 239 people on board are still looking for answers, and an end to their pain, quite honestly. The wait has been agonizing. Overnight many of them received a briefing from Malaysian Airlines representatives.

Pauline Chiou is in Beijing. So Pauline, how did that meeting go?

PAULINE CHIOU, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, it didn't go very well because family members came out very angry and frustrated. They say they are getting inconsistent information and very vague answers.


CHIOU (voice-over): In Beijing this morning, relatives of the Chinese passengers who make up almost two-thirds of the 239 missing are growing skeptical of Malaysia's investigation. After today's briefing with Malaysian government officials, one father whose only son was on Flight 370 says this wasn't an accident. He believes there's a cover- up despite government claims to the contrary.

Questions and demands by relatives left unexplained more than two weeks since their loved ones disappeared. It's been 17 days says one woman crying into a tissue. Over the weekend, impatience turned into anger. Family members shouting in Saturday's meeting give back my relatives, tell the truth and Malaysia is a liar.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want to know what happened. We're not here only to listen to you.

CHIOU: Since the beginning of the 777 mysterious disappearance, it's been an emotional roller coaster for the parents, partners and children waiting to hear if anyone is alive. In an exclusive interview with CNN, family members of ten passengers aboard the Malaysia Airlines flight vent their frustration none of them showing their faces in fear that elderly relatives who still don't family members are missing will watch. As time goes by we feel less hopeful one family member said. My grandmother back home cries all day. Our relatives are heartbroken over this.


CHIOU: And this group is from six different families and they were just strangers 17 days ago, but since then they've become friends and they decided to speak out as one group because they are so frustrated with the flow of information -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Maybe they can find some comfort in being there together as they work through this truly nightmare together. Pauline Chiou in Beijing. Pauline, thanks very much for your hard work there.

We're going to take a break. Coming up next here on NEW DAY, Australian and Chinese aircrafts spotted objects in the Indian Ocean overnight. Could this finally be the break that crews and those families that we just showed you, they've been looking for in the search for Flight 370? Details coming up at the top of the hour.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An Australian search aircraft had located two objects.


BOLDUAN: Breaking news. Australian and Chinese planes finding objects in the search area. They could be in hand within hours. We are live in Australia as the planes return to base.

BERMAN: Plus new information on the plane's path. CNN learning it dropped to 12,000 feet before vanishing and what are Malaysian authorities now saying that may make the theory of pilot sabotage even less likely?

PEREIRA: Happening now Russia storms and takes a Ukrainian naval base as President Obama tries to build opposition while overseas.

Also here at home deadly mudslide in the U.S., at least eight are dead. Many more missing. We are live with the latest.

Your NEW DAY continues right now.

Good morning. And welcome back to NEW DAY. I'm Michaela Pereira joined by John Berman in for Chris Cuomo. We have breaking news in the ongoing search for Flight 370.

BERMAN: Yes, big developments, Australian and Chinese pilots report seeing objects floating in the South Indian Ocean. Now everyone is honing in on that area to see if that debris came from the missing jetliner. Our Kate Bolduan is tracking it all from search headquarters in Perth, Australia -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Yes, this could be a big moment but, of course, you have to offer a healthy dose of caution with any of the leads that have come with this mystery. Good morning, everyone. Overnight Australian pilots reported spotting two objects in the Indian Ocean. The discovery coming just hours after a Chinese search plane described seeing two large white suspicious objects as they called it surrounded by many smaller pieces of debris.

Still, no confirmation it is from the plane that we are searching for, but Australian officials are hoping that might happen today. We're also learning new details about what might have gone down inside the cockpit. According to a source close to investigation, military radar shows the jetliner descended to 12,000 feet after making that sharp left turn.


BOLDUAN (voice-over): This morning, an Australian search team has located two objects.

HISHAMMUDDIN HUSSEIN, MALAYSIAN ACTING TRANSPORTATION MINISTER: It is in the vicinity and possibility the objects could be received within the next few hours or by tomorrow morning at the latest.