Return to Transcripts main page


Snowden Is "Imperfect Messenger"; John Kerry's "Small Twig" Policy; Two New Pinger Signals Detected; Video Shows Congressman Kissing Staffer

Aired April 9, 2014 - 07:30   ET


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Strong. It will be interesting to see. You could make an easy argument that the UConn women's basketball team may be the most dominant team -- you know, program ever in basketball. He does it year after year. Different players. Amazing.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: I know. Amazing. Amazing athletes.

CUOMO: Segue on amazing to John King, right? Inside politics on NEW DAY. Amazing man himself, would have been a brilliant female basketball player.

BOLDUAN: Wow, what did you do to change his tone?

JOHN KING, HOST, CNN'S "NEW POLITICS": I can't jump, but I'm a big basketball fan and I think both the women and men of UConn, great week to be a Husky if you are in Connecticut.

A lot to cover inside politics, back to you guys in a few minutes, but let's go inside politics. With me this morning to share their reporting and their insights, Juana Summers of "Politico" and "The Atlantic's" Molly Ball.

Let's start, some people think Edward Snowden is a hero. Other people think he is a traitor. He is, of course, the NSA leaker. Listen here, the former commander-in-chief, Bill Clinton speaking at the U.S. Naval Academy sounds sympathetic.


FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: Mr. Snowden has been sort of an imperfect messenger, from my point of view, for what we need to be talking about here, but the Snowden case has raised all these questions about whether we can use technology to protect the national security without destroying the liberty, which includes the right to privacy of basically innocent bystanders.


KING: Molly Ball, interesting, a former commander-in-chief, the current commander-in-chief thinks Mr. Snowden should come back and face trial and go to prison. Hillary Clinton was secretary of state when a lot of this played out and state secrets were put out in public. He does sound pretty sympathetic. MOLLY BALL, "THE ATLANTIC": It's a very interesting line. This is an issue that really divides the Democratic base. Civil liberties, the left has a lot of gripes with the Obama administration and specifically with the Clinton State Department, the Hillary Clinton State Department not only with the Snowden case, but in a lot of broader issues of civil liberties and national security.

Those are questions that Hillary is going to have to answer if she runs. I think we can see Bill Clinton sort of field testing a slightly softer line when it has a chance of, if not placating, at least acknowledging the concerns of so much of those people instead of his very aggressive line that the State Department took and that the Obama administration has taken.

KING: Field testing, I like that.

JUANA SUMMERS, "POLITICO": That's a good one. I think it's a really smart point, too, because we do have this really interesting debate now going on. Yes, Edward Snowden committed a crime. The administration is certainly not pleased to say the very least, but also you have this thing he's made this really fascinating debate that tech company, those at the Pentagon, those on Capitol Hill are now having to face that I think is captivated the American public in a way that is really neat.

KING: Let's move on to what I think is one of the most delicious, fascinating relation 1ship relationships in American politics. Two Vietnam veterans, John Kerry, John McCain, two presidential nominees who lost the election, John Kerry and John McCain.

John Kerry now is out of the Senate. He is secretary of state. He was up sitting as a witness in a committee room where he was once chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee and John McCain taking issues with his diplomacy. Let's listen.


SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: My hero, Teddy Roosevelt, used to say, talk softly, but carry a big stick. What you're doing is talking strongly and carrying a very small stick, in fact, a twig.

JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: Your friend, Teddy Roosevelt, also said that the credit belongs to the people who are in the arena trying to get things done. And we're trying to get something done. That's a Teddy Roosevelt maxism and I abide by it. I think it's important to do this. Sure we may fail. You want to dump it on me? I may fail, I don't care. It's worth doing.


KING: What's with that? They used to be kind of buddies.

SUMMER: That relationship on the way it's evolved is really, really fascinating. I covered both John McCain and Secretary of State John Kerry with defense issues. What I'm seeing there is that this is really an expression of the frustration that so many defense talks on the Hill specifically with this administration. But specifically when you look at John Kerry, used to be friends, negotiating buddies. Their personal tension between John McCain and John Kerry were never center stage quite like this.

I think this is just a display of how frustrated Republicans are and how off track they feel the Obama administration's foreign policy is. It's dominant not just in those circles but in politics overall over the last few months.

KING: Enough to drop the old senatorial privilege, if you're back in the club, they are supposed to treat you nice.

BALL: Well, I think we've seen a less civil John McCain than that. The personal hurt he felt after 2008 and found common ground with the Obama administration in a number of areas. It's the national security in a long running critique of the Obama administration for the weakness that he perceives that you really see him chafe at not being the commander-in-chief, the man in the arena where he clearly feels that he could do it so much better and so much differently.

KING: I will take an interesting snapshot. Remember, Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas won Iowa in 2008 then his presidential campaign fizzled out. He is back in Iowa trying to decide whether to run in 2016. One of the issues the Republican Party has faced and the country is facing right now is should we evolve when it comes to laws about same-sex marriage? Listen to Mike Huckabee defending his position no.


FORMER GOVERNOR MIKE HUCKABEE (R), ARKANSAS: I'm not a hater. I'm not homophobic. I honestly don't care what people do personally in their individual lives. But I tell you the reason when people say, why don't you just kind of get on the right side of history? I said, you've got to understand, this for me is not about the right side or wrong side of history. This is the right side of the bible.


KING: It's a position that will appeal to a lot of Christian conservatives who feel sometimes if they say I oppose same-sex marriage, they're labeled as haters or bigots. What does it say about the debate within the Republican Party, and I guess the country at large?

SUMMERS: I think it speaks a lot to the tensions that you see unfolding all over the country between if you're a conservative Republican or moderate Republican. Interesting moment right now where I think Mike Huckabee stands probably for a lot of Evangelicals, a lot of more conservative Christians who don't believe that gay marriage should be legal, who are not on the side of many Democrats who say that it should be or for gay rights.

Giving them cover of to say, Mike Huckabee, he is a former preacher. He is a leader in the party by any right, he is a great communicator. He's come out and said what I believe is OK. I don't have to feel ashamed for speaking up. My right to have free speech and disagree with the norm. That's OK for me. I wonder how it resonates outside of Iowa, a place that has such a huge Evangelical block of voters. If in fact, he does seek higher office.

KING: It will be interesting to see. Guarantees Jeb Bush pushing the party on immigration. Mike Huckabee saying same-sex marriage, these issues if he does run or the other candidates, 2016, we're going to have these in the primary debates.

We began with Bill Clinton, let's close with Hillary Clinton. She was out on the west coast last night. This has been evident for a long time, but at least she finally said it publicly. Guess what, she's thinking about running for president.


HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: I am obviously flattered and, you know, deeply honored to have people asked me and people encourage me and I am thinking about it. But I'm going to continue to think about it for a while.


KING: But listen here, she says there's something about politics and public life she doesn't like.


CLINTON: It gives you a sense of being kind of dehumanized, I guess, as part of the experience. You know, you really can't ever feel like you're just having a normal day, and you have to get over that.


KING: OK. Molly, read the tea leaves there. She's thinking about it. She smiled. Kind of dehumanizing. She's wrestling with herself or just what?

BALL: Yes. I mean, I think we can take a lot of that. Basically at face value and she wouldn't be a person if she didn't have both of those feelings. I mean, the fact that she's thinking about running for president is basically the opposite of breaking news here. And the fact that politics is dehumanizing and something basically no one can disagree with.

I mean, I think in a lot of ways it's similar to what we see Jeb Bush going through on the public stage. Hillary sort of testing the boundaries of like how much of me can I be if I'm going to be involved in this process? Are people going to freak out every time I do something that's not completely robotic and choreographed and can I handle that?

And you know, we're going to talk about Hillary whether she gives us anything to work with or not. So from a news perspective it's nice of her to give us a little something to work with. But she also realizes that she can't keep saying nothing forever and so I think she's dipping a toe.

KING: She is to borrow that Teddy Roosevelt phrase in the arena. Juana, Molly, thanks for coming in.

As we go back to you guys in New York, I want to know, Chris and Mr. Berman, be ready. Listen to Hillary Clinton, hear when she asks this question and what makes Kate Bolduan speechless. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For our last question this evening, we have one from a student at Glenco Elementary School. This is Zola Zimpra Demarco. She is 6 years old. She addresses this to Mrs. H.R. Clinton. And she says, in 2016, would you be -- would you prefer to be called Madam President or Mrs. President?


BOLDUAN: I like that a lot. It's getting at the same question that we're all trying to ask. I tried to ask it a different way of Joe Biden. That's a good way of asking her.

KING: But how do you have the men address you, is it Madam Bolduan?

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: It's your highness. It's your highness or Queen Kate. One of the other.

BOLDUAN: Or the boss, I mean, one of the two.

KING: Take it away, Your Excellency.

BOLDUAN: Thank you, John King. After all these years. you finally learned. See you later, John.

BERMAN: Next up on NEW DAY, the new detection of two signals raising hopes that Flight 370 will be found. If this is the missing plane, just how deep is the wreckage and how hard will it be to recover it? We have a top aviation expert to join us and explain it all.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY. Overnight major developments in the search for Flight 370. Two new signals have been detected by search crews in the Indian Ocean. If this is the missing plane, it will be a tremendous task to try to recover it even once they located specifically the black boxes.

I'm standing here at our -- at the top of our staircase to help give you a real sense of, a better sense of just how deep and challenging the Indian Ocean is where the crews are looking. Let's put up this animation just to give you some perspective, some comparisons. See the sea level at the very top. If you're scuba diving you're going to be around about over 100 feet.

Empire State Building, we've used that comparison a few times, that's over 1,000 feet. That's nowhere near where we're working right now. If you're looking then at the Grand Canyon, another comparison that we've used before, that's over -- that's over 5,000 feet you're looking at.

And then the Titanic. This is wreckage they've used some of these special vehicles that they will hopefully use this time around when they get there. The Titanic was wreckage was discovered at over 12,000 feet. Yet again, not even at the level what we're talking about here.

Let's bring in Jeff Wise, CNN aviation analyst, to talk about this search today. It really shows you the perspective of what you're dealing with. It's deeper than anything we've looked at before.

The TPL, when we're towing that, almost 10,000 feet below the surface. The pings they picked up, that's over 13 -- some 13,000 feet below the surface. Just what are the challenges that these depths that they're dealing with even though they're pretty optimistic they've found the right spot?

JEFF WISE, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: They're optimistic, but there is a lot of challenges. We are talking about 3 miles down. You've got the weight of 3 miles of water on top of you. Water is heavy stuff. Talking about -- imagine an elephant, the weight of an elephant concentrated on an area the size of a postage stamp. That's the kind of crushing force you've got to deal with.

Also it's dark. When you get down below 1,000 feet down, sunlight never penetrates and you're in this world of total permanent darkness. It's alien world down there. It's quiet, cold, and dark.

BOLDUAN: And then the seabed, it's just under 3 miles down. That's about 15,000 feet. They're talking about concerns or the impact of silt on finding the black box and on the search. What's the impact of that? Many of us have no idea what they're talking about when they talk about silt on the seabed.

WISE: Over the centuries, this sort of a debris that filters down from the surface world, things die and disintegrate and filter down and become clay like muck. And things fall into there and they can disappear. We don't really know, it hasn't been characterized what's down there, is it mountainous, rugged, flat?

They've been reluctant to deploy that autonomous underwater vehicle with the side scan sonar that could characterize the bottom. I guess they're trying to keep it quiet down there so the tow can be quiet to detect those pings.

BOLDUAN: And another interesting thing as we look at this animation again and you see where the tow ping locator is. They were saying the area that can be covered by the tow ping locator in one day, if you put the autonomous underwater vehicle down there, it's so much slower, so much of a more difficult task, that would take six to seven days with a tow ping locator can do in one day. Kind of helps us understand why they're not yet putting it down there.

WISE: Right. They're trying to narrow it down as much as possible. They're trying to get that last few bits of signal before the battery is completely dead, before they've convinced themselves that the battery is dead, there's no chance left. Then they will deploy the underwater vehicle.

BOLDUAN: When you take all of this under consideration, the depths, the challenges of what happens when you get down there, are you yet convinced that these pings are the black box?

WISE: Well, you know, remember the frequency doesn't match. There's been some speculation that there might be some reasons why the frequency has changed.

BOLDUAN: Battery life, depth.

WISE: Consistent with it. But it's not that kind of smoking gun that you really want where it's exactly the right frequency. So after a month of this bizarre saga that we've been through, it's all come down to the cylinder of ocean, about 12 miles across or so, about 3 miles deep. This dark, cold, you know, alien world. And we're trying to find out what's in this cylinder, if it's there, great. If it's not there, well, boy, we're really back to square one.

BOLDUAN: Especially when we are at -- we are even past what should be the battery life of these pingers. They still want more pings at these -- it's pretty amazing that they are going to be able to pull it off. Jeff, great to see you. Thanks for your perspective. I appreciate it -- Chris.

CUOMO: All right, Kate, let's take a break here on NEW DAY. When we come back, breaking news in the Oscar Pistorius trial. Did the Blade Runner change his story? Prosecutors think so and they're coming at him hard. We're going to bring you more of his testimony.

Plus, a married congressman caught on tape kissing an equally married staffer. Either you care or you don't as a voter, but what if you're her husband. He's speaking out and you may be surprise by his take.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back. The husband of the female staffer videotaped kissing Louisiana Congressman Vance McAllister is speaking out. He says he's devastated and headed for divorce. McAllister apologized this week, but not to him, the husband and not to his wife. CNN's Chris Frates has the story.


CHRIS FRATES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's not surprising that he's not interested in talking to us anymore.

(on camera): You'd prefer not to talk on camera, Heath.


FRATES: All right, well, thank you very much. I appreciate your time, sir.

(voice-over): On Monday this surveillance video showing his wife passionately kissing her boss went viral. Largely because her boss is Louisiana Congressman Vance McAllister. The fallout from the video has thrown Peacock's life into turmoil.

Before he decided to stop talking publicly, he told me, quote, "I'm just freaking devastated by the whole deal, man. I love my wife so much, I cannot believe this. I can't freaking believe it. I feel like I'm going to wake up in a minute and this is going to be a nightmare."

The episode first came to light when a local newspaper posted the video showing McAllister kissing his scheduler, Melissa Hixon Peacock. Heath Peacock first learned about the video only hours before it went public in a phone call from his wife.

"He has wrecked my life," Peacock said of the Republican lawmaker, adding, "We're headed for divorce." Melissa and Heath Peacock have been married for six years and have a 6-year-old son together. Melissa Peacock did not respond to request for comment.

McAllister who is married with five children was elected in a November special election running as a Christian conservative.

REP. VANCE MCCALLISTER (R), LOUISIANA: You can count on me to take those values to Washington.

FRATES: But Peacock said McAllister who he went to high school with was about the most non-religious person he knew.


FRATES: Congressman McAllister put out a statement asking for forgiveness from God, his wife, his kids, his constituents and his staff. The one person he didn't ask for forgiveness from was Heath Peacock. Chris Frates, CNN, Sterlington, Louisiana.

BOLDUAN: That goes into the category of a mess.

CUOMO: Yes. Both families, the faster this gets out of the public eye the better because they have a lot to deal with.

We'll take a break here on NEW DAY. When we come back, "we will find it," that's what officials are saying as they search for Flight 370. They are overjoyed to pick up new signals. How close are they? Top aviation experts who hunted wreckage themselves will weigh in.

Sympathetic no more. The prosecution in the Oscar Pistorius trial, taking apart the Blade Runner's carefully crafted image. Are they convincing the only person who matters? Remember, no jury, just the judge. We'll take you there live.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are now searching a much more concentrated area --


CUOMO: Breaking overnight, new hope for finding Flight 370. Two more pings detected by search ships. The signal is weaker than before. Is it enough for them to find it? We have the very latest.

BOLDUAN: Also breaking, a heated day in court. Oscar Pistorius on the stand. The prosecution getting its first chance to cross examine him. We'll bring you the tough questions and, of course, his answers.

CUOMO: On the brink. Pro-Russian demonstrators reportedly holding Ukrainians hostage. The U.S. saying it will not stand by.