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Search Moves Underwater; Violence in Ukraine; Ukrainian Deadline passes; Pistorius Defends His Version of Events

Aired April 14, 2014 - 08:30   ET


MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: And welcome back to NEW DAY. Time for the five things you need to know for your new day.

We start with number one, the search for Flight 370 moving under water now. The submersible Bluefin 21 will try to pinpoint wreckage, searching an area Australian officials describe as, quote, "new to man."

Tensions continue to rise in Ukraine as the threat - as does the threat of civil war. A fiery scene this morning. Pro-Russian activists taking over police headquarters, forcing officers in an eastern Ukraine city out.

The man suspected of killing three people Sunday at two Kansas City - Kansas Jewish facilities is due in court today. Seventy-three-year-old Frazier Glenn Miller reportedly has ties to white supremacist groups.

Oscar Pistorius back on the stand this morning. Once again, the prosecution is challenging his account of what happened the night that Pistorius killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.

And a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon cargo capsule poised to blast off today, delivering some 5,000 pounds of supplies to astronauts aboard the International Space Station. Quite a mission.

We're always updating those five things to know, so be sure to go to for the very latest.

Kate, over to you.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, let's get back to the big story this morning and that big development in the search for Flight 370. Crews are deploying the underwater vehicle, called the Bluefin 21, to scan the ocean floor for possible wreckage. Joining me at the map to discuss is David Gallo, the co-leader of the search for Air - the wreckage of Air France Flight 447 and the director of special projects at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

So, David, let's pick up where we had left off. Let's put this animation back up of our - a representation of the Bluefin 21 and how it would search. Why we have the clock -


BOLDUAN: Remember, is because it takes a minimum of 24 hours to complete one mission, one time down and one time back up, right?

GALLO: Right. Right. Collecting information -- being charged with batteries, let it go, it slowly sinks to the bottom, does its routine, comes back up and you off-load the information and charge it back up again and send it right back out.

BOLDUAN: Now, when you talk about that it will go down and it will do its routine, I find it interesting because Angus Houston, as he described it, this is an area new to man. As far as we know, as far as you know, and you have much more experience in this, talk to me about what we know and don't know about this area of the ocean floor.

GALLO: We know the big features (INAUDIBLE), Kate, but, you know, that vehicle has got to work in the nitty-gritty, in the individual small obstacles and anything that sticks up off the sea floor is an obstacle. So we need better maps. And I'm assuming that they've got them. Now, I don't know where they got them from, but it would be really unusual to send that very expensive and one vehicle that we're counting on so much into a totally unknown area. So somewhere along the line, they must have some idea of what the sea floor actually looks like. Is it rocky and steep or is it flat and sediment covered? I just don't know if they know -- how they know that yet.

BOLDUAN: And how does the different - I guess we call it topography -


BOLDUAN: How does it impact, then, how the side scan sonar, how effective it is on the ground then?

GALLO: Quite a bit. If you've got steep slopes with landslides and then boulders strewn out on the flat sea floor, it can look just like a debris field. And if that's where the - if the wreckage is in fact inside there and the black boxes are there, it's tough to pick them out against that kind of background because we're - remember, we're mapping with sound here, not with cameras, so everything tends to look gray or black.

BOLDUAN: Because we're dealing in an area that is new to man, do you think it's more likely or less likely that they'll send down a camera sooner rather than later? Because, as you said, they're working with sonar, they're working with sound, not necessarily visuals.

GALLO: Yes. Well, they have a camera package that they can put on the Bluefin and send that down. And if they find something even more interesting there, they can turn the - they've got the Remora. And I think it's still land-based. I don't think it's onboard Ocean Shield. But they're both an ROB, a robot they can send down with very high resolution cameras.

BOLDUAN: And we're -- one of the challenges is the topography. We don't know - we don't necessarily know what's down there. Another challenge is simply the depth.


BOLDUAN: Where they're operating is at or near or even beyond really the depth range of the Bluefin. Is that going to be a problem?

GALLO: Yes, it could be. Well, it's going to be challenging. We (INAUDIBLE).

BOLDUAN: What happens when it gets past this depth?

GALLO: They have things that they can do. They can fly high, so they're actually still inside their comfort zone way above the sea floor, but you sacrifice detail when you do that.


GALLO: So, ideally, you want to hug the sea floor and move slowly. But if it's too deep, they'll stay high up above in the safe zone and do their mapping.

BOLDUAN: What did you learn from being involved with the search for Flight 447 that would help inform how things need to go now? We were talking in the commercial break that the search efforts, there were three under water, similar technology kind of vehicles that were going down versus one.


BOLDUAN: What did you learn from that experience that helps inform this one?

GALLO: Well, we had to start with the - we had to start with the last- known position, but very soon after that the French had made a very nice map of the sea floor, so we knew where -

BOLDUAN: So you already were ahead of where we are right now?

GALLO: We were in that regard. We knew where the tough spots were. And they were very intimidating in that expedition. But we had three vehicles that we released at once. So the back of the ship was always like -- almost like an aircraft carrier with vehicles coming and going. So triple the speed of information gathering. And then we brought in the Phoenix International with the Remora to do the actual work of recovering the black boxes.

BOLDUAN: With all of that information, does that make you more optimistic or less than how things are going to go with this?

GALLO: You know, I never like to second guess a crew out at sea because they're very competent. They know what they're doing. So I'm going to have to go with that and give the -- hope for the best that they do well.

BOLDUAN: Yes, absolutely. We all will, right?


BOLDUAN: David Gallo, always great to see you. Thanks, David.

Chris. CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Kate, let's take a break here on NEW DAY. When we come back, new violence this morning in Ukraine? What is Russia's next move? What's our next move? Do we even have one? Someone who knows that country well, a former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, will join us.

And, Oscar Pistorius is being pushed to the breaking point. The prosecution is going after him harder than ever. What do they have him on so far? We'll bring you the emotional testimony live from South Africa.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY.

Violence flaring up again in Ukraine. Pro-Russian activists in eastern Ukraine forced police from their headquarters this morning. The building littered with small fires and broken windows. Let's discuss what's happening now and where this could go with Steven Pifer, former United States ambassador to Ukraine, now a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

Mr. Ambassador, it's great to see you. Thanks so much for coming in.


BOLDUAN: So we look at these events day by day by day, always continuing to escalate. We do not see any de-escalation or any promise that both sides are going to retreat. It makes people wonder and fear that Ukraine is heading for a civil war. Do you think that's possible?

PIFER: Well, I wouldn't quite call it a civil war because that suggests the Ukrainian population fighting among themselves. I think what you're seeing are isolated cases now in about eight or 10 towns and cities in eastern Ukraine where there have been armed takeovers of buildings that very much look to be inspired and instigated by Russian special services.

And this is going to put, I think the Ukrainian government really at a dilemma. On the one hand, do they act - do they try to take over some of these buildings or retake some of these buildings, risk using force that could produce bloodshed and could be controversial in eastern Ukraine and also might then be a pretext to Russian military action, or do they sit back and do nothing and watch these sorts of seizures continue? It's a very difficult situation the Ukrainian government faces.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. And so what do you think is the best of those bad options?

PIFER: I think neither option is good, but I worry that the Ukrainian government is increasingly going to feel that if it does not act, it may end up losing eastern Ukraine. They've now given two ultimatums with deadlines. The deadlines have passed with no action. But at some point, I worry that the government is going to feel that it's compelled to act in a very understandable way. BOLDUAN: And do you -- whose next move is it? We always talk about this kind of in the chess match - that's, unfortunately, been -


BOLDUAN: That analogy's been brought into this conversation. But whose next move is it? Is it -- are we waiting to see how Vladimir Putin responds or do we -- are we really waiting the see how much force the Ukrainian government is ready to put into this?

PIFER: Well, I think we've already seen how Vladimir Putin intends to respond. You've seen these continued efforts over the last several weeks, not just what's going on in the eastern Ukraine, but economic pressure that's clearly aimed at destabilizing the acting government in Kiev (ph).

Now, there is this planned meeting to take place on Thursday in Geneva involving the American, Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers and then the European Union's representative for foreign policy. If that comes off, there's still some question. But that would be an opportunity, if the Russians want to de-escalate the crisis, for the Russians to bring some new ideas. It's good that that meeting -- it will be a good thing if that meeting happens, but it's not yet clear that the Russians are going to come to the table prepared to actually resolve this crisis.

BOLDUAN: Well, that's absolutely right. I mean also new that we're learning is Vice President Biden is planning to travel to Ukraine next week, obviously a show of support for the Ukrainian people. But what can the Vice President accomplish? Is there another diplomatic off- ramp that is feasible?

PIFER: I think the Vice President's visit is an important step and it's a number -- one in a number of steps that the U.S. government has taken to signal political support for Kiev. So the main news in the Vice President's visit is that he's going there, I think.

The bigger question here though is that you have seen the Russians not try to de-escalate this crisis with the economic pressure, the increase in gas prices too at Ukraine, and then again I believe there's, you know, a pretty compelling story that what you're seeing going on in the last ten days in terms of these takeovers are being organized by Moscow.

They're not de-escalating. They're increasing the pressure. So it now looks to me time that the United States and the European Union should be considering additional economic sanctions basically to make clear to Russia that there will be consequences for their efforts not to defuse the crisis.

BOLDUAN: The Obama administration has made clear that is definitely on the table additional sanctions. The British foreign minister said today that sanctions are the route that we must take. But the reality is sanctions to this point have not slowed or stopped Vladimir Putin, have not slowed or stopped this escalation. What can work then in terms of sanctions? PIFER: I think the sanctions are beginning to have an effect. I mean in the first quarter of this year, Russia reported that they had as much capital flight out of Russia as in the entire year of 2013. And by some estimates as much as $200 billion can flee Russia this year on the current course. The Russian Central Bank has spent $25 billion over the last four to six weeks to try to defend the ruble. This morning the ruble came under more pressure and the Russian stock markets took hit.

So the sanctions are beginning to have some effect. But I think I think it's important that the West demonstrate to the Russians that if they're not going to try to find a solution that the West can increase the pressure as well. And then we'll have to see whether increasing economic circumstances in Russia which could move the Russian economy perhaps even towards recession, whether that will affect the calculations of Mr. Putin.

BOLDUAN: Of course, if that doesn't work, what is next? Let's wait to have that discussion when we get there.

Ambassador Steven Pifer, it's great to see you. Thanks so much.

PIFER: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Of course. Chris.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: All right, Kate. A little quick break here on NEW DAY. When we come back Oscar Pistorius is sticking to his story that it was all just an accident. The prosecution is taking him apart at every turn. Can Pistorius take the punishment? He's not holding up well.

We'll take you live to South Africa.


CUOMO: Welcome back.

Right now Oscar Pistorius is being grilled by the prosecution who is trying to paint the Olympic sprinter as a self-obsessed killer. Pistorius has been breaking down on the stand under the pressure and that hasn't changed. He maintains he thought his girlfriend was an intruder the night that he killed her. CNN's Robyn Curnow is live in Pretoria, South Africa with the latest -- Robyn.

ROBYN CURNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Chris. Well, this exhausting cross examination is continuing, unrelenting, dogged as the state prosecutor keeps on going at Pistorius. The key to all this, the question he's asking over and over again in terms of the basis of his legal argument, did Oscar Pistorius have a thought before he shot Reeva Steenkamp, before he fired those four shots. If he didn't, it proves intention.


CURNOW (voice over): Another grueling week of cross examination begins for Oscar Pistorius.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You fired at Reeva. The other versions of yours cannot work.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why are you getting emotional now?

PISTORIUS: I did not fire at Reeva.

CURNOW: Forcing him to continually recount the night he shot and killed his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, who he allegedly thought was a burglar.

PISTORIUS: I screamed. I said get the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) out of my house. Get the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) out of my house.

CURNOW: Challenging the Olympian's version of events, the prosecutor says according to a pathologist, Steenkamp must have eaten six hours before she was shot and killed around 3:00 a.m. Pistorius said he and his girlfriend last ate eight hours before he accidentally shot her.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would say the stored food in the stomach --

PISTORIUS: I'm not sure, my lady.

CURNOW: The prosecution further detailing their narrative of that fateful night, concluding Steenkamp's jeans found on the floor in the athlete's bedroom must have been left after they were arguing as she tried to escape an angry Pistorius.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She wanted to leave and get dressed.

PISTORIUS: My lady, the denims are inside out. And it would make sense that that's when she took them off.

CURNOW: The prosecution also asking the athlete a crucial question. If Steenkamp was awake when he got out of bed to bring the fans and close the curtains, why didn't she ask Pistorius where he was going.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Normal person would say when you get up she would "Where are you going Oscar?" You say you don't expect her to do that?

PISTORIUS: My lady, I'm not sure it would be a probability that if someone gets up in the night that their partner would ask them what they're doing or if they can't sleep.


CURNOW: Now, from a legal perspective, what's happening in court today is very crucial. And to underscore how important it is, it is fascinating to see that the judge has let in more, has reigned in the state prosecutor far more than I've seen her throughout perhaps the whole trial. She's had no patience for court antics or theatrics. It's continuing now and I really think this is the basis of the state's case that we're seeing being laid out under cross examination now.

CUOMO: I'll tell you, Robyn, that last exchange you had there in the piece about Pistorius being asked what his first reaction was and Pistorius saying I don't think people would look around to check who was next to them in a moment like this. I think that's the exact reaction that's going to be weighed by the judge.

Thank you for the reporting.

Coming up here on the show, we're going to have much more on the new phase in the search for Flight 370. Will the unmanned submarine drag out the search or make it easier to find the wreckage?


CUOMO: As we speak the unmanned submarine is making its way to the floor of the Indian Ocean to look for Flight 370.

There's a lot of news to take apart on that so let's get you to the "NEWSROOM" with Carol Costello. Carol -- happy Monday.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Happy Monday back at you. Thanks so much. Have a great day.

"NEWSROOM" starts now.

Happening now in the "NEWSROOM".


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's time to go underwater.


COSTELLO: Breaking overnight -- going to the floor of the ocean.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the best lead we have.


COSTELLO: This underwater vehicle two miles down now scanning for Flight 370.

Threat of civil war: Ukraine erupting overnight, gas-soaked toilet paper rolls used at makeshift bombs. Every hour getting more tense.

Jewish Center attack.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a guy with a rifle here shooting at people.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COSTELLO: A white supremacist on the eve of Passover allegedly opens fire killing three.