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Search Continues for Missing Malaysian Plane; Russia Masses Troops along Border with Ukraine; Boston Marks One Year Anniversary of Marathon Bombings; Cross-Examination of Oscar Pistorius at an End; A Look at the Blood Moon

Aired April 15, 2014 - 07:00   ET


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Erin McLaughlin is following the new developments live from Perth, Australia. Erin?

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Chris. We're hearing new details about the Bluefin-21's first mission. It was some seven-and-a-half hours into the water when it was forced to resurface. It covered only some 29 percent of that 15 square mile area, an area that authorities say they believe is the most probable place to find the black box based on detailed analysis of the pings, the four acoustic detections that had been detected earlier.

Now, we understand that the Bluefin-21 went down beneath those hours scouring the outer edges of that search area when it came across deep water, too deep for it to handle, deeper than it had been designed to handle, rather, and was forced to resurface. Now, technicians have been analyzing the data it did manage to acquire. They say that no objects of interest had been found. We understand that it is currently aboard the Ocean Shield, bad weather preventing it from being put back into the water. Chris?

CUOMO: All right, Erin, thank you for the reporting. Let's bring in CNN aviation analyst and former inspector general for the U.S. Department of Transportation Mary Schiavo, and CNN safety analyst and former FAA inspector David Soucie, author of the book "Why Planes Crash." Let's start with what is not a surprise and then go with what is a surprise. What's not a surprise is that the Bluefin encountered depths that were beyond is capability. Fair assessment?


CUOMO: Because we don't know what is the bottom of the ocean here, it hasn't been mapped. This is an unchartered mission.

SOUCIE: Yes. It's just speculation as to how deep it was in the first place. Yes.

CUOMO: All right. So, Mary, the question becomes, how do you move forward? You calibrate the Bluefin to make it go deeper but that is going to be limited. What are the steps ahead?

MARY SCHIAVO, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Well, if the Bluefin cannot bring back the kind of sonographic images they want and the information that they want then they're going to have to move on to the next level of vehicles with names like Alvin, Remora, and the Sea Dragon, and those can go deeper. The Sea Dragon can go down to 4.4 mile or 7,000 meters. And that's the next step that you have to do is go down to the level in a different kind of vehicle.

However, the indication from the Australians is that once they -- and the U.S. Navy -- is that once they recalibrate they will be able to perhaps redeploy the Bluefin-21 and get some better images, get it go to deep, et cetera. So they haven't given up on it yet.

CUOMO: I hear the same thing. They say they're focusing on the Bluefin even though they have other deeper capabilities because they want the sonars, as David was saying earlier, because they don't know what's really down there. They're not going to be able to see visibly, it's too dark. There's a big silt factor. And so they're going to try to stick with the Bluefin. So that makes sense. Equally, does it make sense to you that they are now really putting a sea state on searching for debris in this surrounding area?

SOUCIE: You know, I think so. You mean --

CUOMO: Not giving up hope, it's not quitting.

SOUCIE: No, I don't think that it is. I think they've got to focus everything they have on that local area. But as far as why they're continuing or why they're not on the debris, it's probably so spread out. Remember, the reason we started that, the primary reason of doing the debris search is to hone in on where they think the primary impact point is, or the scatter point. So there's not a -- there are clues you can get from floating debris.

But the real answers, what we want to know why this happened, those answers are where it hit the water, where it is, not in the debris itself. So, you know, a t this point the debris eventually will show up somewhere. But there's not -- the aha-moment from the floating debris typically. It's usually from what we find in the black boxes or what's on the bottom of the water.

CUOMO: Mary, fair point, someone said to me who understands what's going on with the investigation, you know, the urgency is on your part, media, and obviously somewhat on the families. But you have to remember we're not trying to find people trapped in an air bubble. This is going to take time and we want to do it right. We're not going to rush because mistakes get made that way. Fair?

SCHIAVO: Fair. And based on past accidents and crashes into the ocean, as we've said many times for Air France it was two years for the Java Sea, it was crashed in January. They got the black boxes in August. So these things can take a fair amount of time.

But I do think -- what David said. I want to emphasize on the search for the debris, I also think there's just a fair amount of the Australians saying we are not going to lead any stone unturned. I don't think there's much chance they're going to get any debris, any wreckage floating on the ocean at this point near the crash area. But I do think that the Australians want to have, when they are done with this investigation, an absolutely tidy, nothing left untried investigation. And, you know, that's pretty good for the families.

CUOMO: OK, let's get to the sloppiness issue, all right? Mapping the bottom of the ocean -- hard. Finding this thing in 15,000 feet -- very difficult, time consuming. Knowing whether or not cellphones were used on the plane -- not difficult. So why is a U.S. official coming forward now saying, oh, yes, there was a cellphone that was picked up, the signal. It turns out it was the copilot. How do the Malaysians not know this?

SOUCIE: It's a peek into how the investigation started. It really is looking into what it is they did the first time. They cleared the passengers and then they didn't clear the passengers. It's been back and forth and back and forth. It goes back to communications again. You look at how Angus Houston is handling this investigation. He's not making conclusions. He's not saying we know this because of this. He's saying this is what we know. And he stops there. He stops short there. That's investigation 101. It's communications 101. When you're in front of the public and dealing with the families it's unfair to say this is my conclusion from the information.

CUOMO: We don't know is they picked up other cellphones, and what we also don't know, Mary, probably more importantly to avoid conjecture is why it was on. It could have just been a mistake as opposed to it just being on for intentional purposes and use.

SCHIAVO: By the way, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, where we had probably some of the strictest rules about turning the cellphones off until a couple of months ago, the FAA said during that time period they did a study and they found perhaps as many as 30 percent of cellphones during any given flight were left on. People get on a plane, they fall asleep, and that's it.

CUOMO: So all we know is that was on. We don't know why. And I know the rumor mill is going to go crazy on this, but that's not our job. As far as we know so far it was on. We don't know if it had anything to do with the trajectory or the altitude of the plane or use or anything, all we know is that it was on and they should have been able to say that sooner.

SCHIAVO: And they should have been able to say they looked at the 238 other people on the plane and that checked for their cellphones. Granted, some of them are these anonymous cellphones that can't be traced, but not everyone on that plane had anonymous cellphone. So released with the information about the co-pilot cellphone should have been the information about the 238 other cellphones likely on that plane.

CUOMO: We wait to hear about that, the luck with the Bluefin going down and the analysis on the oil spill. When those answers come, we'll have you two on back for us. Mary, David, thank you. Kate?

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: The crisis in the Ukraine is heating up this morning. The country's acting president says an anti-terrorist operation is under way as pro-Russian groups defy Kiev's demand to leave government buildings in some 10 different eastern cities. The west accuses Russia of backing those groups, suggesting it's a prey text for military incursion, a claim Moscow continues to deny.

Meanwhile, some 40,000 Russia troops are massed at the Ukrainian border. CNN's Phil Black is joining us now from eastern Ukraine. So, Phil, there was an ultimatum and deadline that came and passed, and no real evidence of this action by the Ukrainian military. What about today?

PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they say they're launching a small-scale gradual operation today, Kate, but the reality is up until this point the Ukrainian government has not been able to stop these pro-Russian groups from consolidating their hold of key infrastructure across the east of the country. Now they're asking for an international peacekeeping force to step in and put a stop to it.


BLACK: Even with the threat of a military crackdown, violent protests continue to sweep eastern Ukraine, sanctions with Russia extending far beyond Ukraine's borders. Ukraine's acting president is now calling on the United Nations to send peacekeepers to help subdue the violence. With 40,000 Russian troops just across the border, Russian officials reject accusations that the demonstrations are a deliberate attempt to destabilize Ukraine.

This was the scene, more than 100 pro-Russian separatists swarming a police station, the police chief forced out and beaten, a demonstrator injured, another key building and yet another eastern Ukrainian city overtaken. And tensions between the U.S. and Russia are growing after a Russian fighter jet made 12 close-range passes near an American warship in the Black Sea on Saturday, the Pentagon calling the 90- minute close encounter provocative and unprofessional.


BLACK: Kate, there's a big challenge that means this peacekeeping idea likely won't get off the ground. Sending in an international force like this usually requires approval from the United Nations Security Council. That's where Russia has a veto. So it's probably not a starter. But what Ukraine is admitting in suggesting this idea is that it still needs more practical international support to stop this country from breaking up and to deal with the threat it still believes is coming from Moscow.

BOLDUAN: It seems clear they do know they do not have the capability to do it on their own at this point. Phil Black, thank you so much. Let's bring CNN's chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour for more on this. Christiane, as we are looking at Phil's piece, we're seeing some violence, some activity. You talk to Ukraine's ambassador to the United Nations about these raids. What does he say?

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, everybody is wondering when are they going to happen? He said they are happening in a limited way and indeed some movement has been reported in this regard. But what he told me yesterday is that we are trying to do it in a correct way. We don't want to explode any more violence and bloodshed. We don't want to be responsible for Russia then saying, hang on, you're causing violence. We're going to come in and protect the pro-Russians.

BOLDUAN: Feared by everyone.

AMANPOUR: Which is what Russia is trying to do. It's stirring up, stirring up the trouble, and it is setting itself up potentially for a pretext to make an incursion.

But inside these buildings that ambassador told me are women and children as well. Outside the buildings are what he described as peaceful demonstrators as well as the militants. And therefore it is very difficult for the Ukrainians, because you've got the Russian, President Putin, the Russian ambassador to the United Nations, in public basically saying if there's any violence it's your fault, ergo, we're going to come in and deal with it. So they're stirring up the violence and saying -- they're daring and defying anyone to try to tamp down the violence. So it's very, very complex situation at the moment.

BOLDUAN: Which then when you say that it makes sense that Kiev is asking for U.N. peacekeepers.

AMANPOUR: It does. But of course, as Phil said, that's a nonstarter. This is a situation whereby Russia does a have veto and that is unlikely to happen. You know, what you have right now is the secretary general of NATO has just spoken to the press, having meetings. The top military commander of NATO has presented plans and options to the NATO alliance, to the government, which involve more air surveillance, more fighter combat patrols over the air -- over there.

BOLDUAN: Suggest --

AMANPOUR: -- ground forces and ground exercises. This is a very key element that if the governments decide to do it that could ramp up a signal, at least a signal to Moscow that we're not just going to sit back and take this.

BOLDUAN: To be clear that is not taking a step towards western military involvement.


BOLDUAN: That's a show of support.

AMANPOUR: Right. It's not just support, it's a show of strength to say that, you know, Mr. Putin, you want to buzz our ship, for instance, in the Black Sea, you're not going to get away with this kind of thing.

I think Putin is trying to read what the west is going to do about what's going on, as well as his big strategic component here is he wants to shape the future government of Ukraine. Many of these forces, the 40,000 plus, are not there on training exercises. They are not. They are there to put pressure and to have the option to move in if he decides to do that, but to put pressure on Ukraine to have a friendly government.

In terms of a political solution, the ambassador told me yesterday, and, importantly, a Russian member of parliament, it is probably going to be something like that demand for a referendum, a more federal, looser kind of control in eastern part of Ukraine that may or may not satisfy the Russians.

BOLDUAN: I think many are wondering, as Putin again continues to deny any intervention in Ukraine, the United States --

AMANPOUR: It's just nonsense. We shouldn't be repeating this because it's nonsense. The fact that President Obama and President Putin can have a conversation and have precisely this kind of war of words really and nobody is speaking honestly on a conversation between two leaders in a crisis so hot such as this, it's just -- defies logic really. It does. It makes you wonder how there could be some way out of this.

BOLDUAN: That's what I was thinking.


BOLDUAN: Can we realistically expect there can be a solution?

AMANPOUR: There's going to be talks on Thursday, allegedly, four- party talks, Russia, Ukraine, the west, U.S., all of those involved. Whether this idea of a referendum or some kind of de-escalation gains ground there, we'll wait to see. But Russia keeps saying don't you do anything to interfere with what we're doing otherwise we might pull out of these talks.

They have got the world, as I said before, by the diplomatic short and curlies. They are trying to hold the world hostage and they are trying to have it their own way. And one of the ways they are able to do this is by completely and utterly controlling the message. They have their own state-run television, which is truly peddling lies right now, lies, total lies. And they have taken off all independent television and media. They did it in Crimea and they're starting to do that in this. They're following the same script they performed in Crimea which is happening now.

BOLDUAN: It worked for them in Crimea.

AMANPOUR: Well, it did. It did.

BOLDUAN: And it could work here.

AMANPOUR: The question is, of course, what is Putin's goal here?

BOLDUAN: Which no one quite yet knows.

AMANPOUR: Pressure, pressure, pressure.

BOLDUAN: Yeah, so we wait for the talk. I mean, it's difficult to say we wait for the talks because that seems to be --

AMANPOUR: Well, Thursday, we'll see if there's a breakthrough on Thursday.

Meantime, today and tomorrow, the Western -- NATO nations are going to decide whether they have more military exercises on the ground in those NATO countries.

BOLDUAN: Christiane, great to see you. Thank you.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Let's look at more of your headlines at this hour, about quarter past the hour.

Federal prosecutors say they will indeed file hate crime charges against Frazier Glenn Cross. He is the 73-year-old man accused of opening fire at two Jewish facilities in Kansas, killing three people on Sunday.

The charges carry the possibility of a death sentence. Cross is a former grand dragon of the Ku Klux Klan and suspected of targeting Jews. None of Sunday's victims were Jewish. We'll have more details on the charges that are expected at a news conference. It'll be later today.

Today marks -- the city of Boston marks a solemn, solemn anniversary. One year since the bombings that ripped through the finish line of the Boston Marathon killing three people, injuring more than 260. Vice President Joe Biden will attend a memorial service in Boston paying tribute to the victims and to first responders. A moment of silence will be held at 2:49 p.m. Eastern, the very moment the first bomb went off. The 2014 Boston Marathon, meanwhile, is scheduled for next Monday.

I want to show you what severe weather did in the south. High winds tore through a camp ground on the Mississippi coast. Police say about 50 RV trailers were flipped over. Thankfully, only two people were reportedly injured. Their injuries are not serious, we're told. Meteorologists do not think this is a tornado. They're saying it was straight line winds, about 50 miles per hour. The destructive force of mother nature.

BOLDUAN: Right there, my goodness. Thank, Michaela.

PEREIRA: You're welcome.

CUOMO: Coming up on NEW DAY, after five days of brutal questioning, cross-examination actually ended for Oscar Pistorius. The big question, did the blade runner make his case? We'll take it on.

BOLDUAN: And if you had a chance to look up last night you may have noticed the moon blushing a bit. That's a nice of way of saying it.

CUOMO: That's better than blood.

BOLDUAN: We'll have the science behind the blood moon.


CUOMO: Welcome back. The blistering days-long cross-examination of Oscar Pistorius has come to an end. The Blade Runner never wavering from his story that he shot his girlfriend by mistake. The prosecution, slamming that claim at every turn.

Now today, Pistorius broke down saying he's not sure who's to blame. Now, what will that mean?

CNN's Robyn Curnow joining us now from Pretoria, South Africa.

How did that play in the courtroom, he doesn't know who's to blame?

ROBYN CURNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: At one point the prosecutor putting it to him, you know, who is to blame? Is Reeva to blame? Is the government to blame? At one point I thought he felt he was stopping short of saying, you know, is it the tooth fairy? Is it Father Christmas? He was being quite sarcastic, quite pointed at him.

Either say, soon after that, soon after that, Oscar Pistorius stood down, after a very short re-examination. And I must say it's been seven days on the stand, and he's looked increasingly exhausted, hollow-eyed. And I suppose with good reason because there's been really mixed legal reaction to his performance on the stand.



CURNOW (voice-over): Oscar Pistorius continuing to proclaim his innocence on the final day of the prosecution's cross-examination.

PISTORIUS: I was overcome with terror and despair.

CURNOW: The prosecution asking crucial questions. Why would Pistorius open fire on the bathroom door if all he heard was the magazine rack move from inside?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why would you fire if the magazine rack moved?

PISTORIUS: Because I thought it was the door openings, my lady.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, how could you -- you said you thought it was the magazine rack.

PISTORIUS: I said, I think it was the magazine rack. In retrospect, it could have only been the magazine rack because the door didn't open, my lady.

CURNOW: The prosecutor doggedly pressing the athlete on why he stopped screaming after he broke down the door and found his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp, bloody and barely breathing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now seeing her for the first time that your panic would not have been at its greatest when you saw her through the broken door.

PISTORIUS: When I saw Reeva there I was broken; I was overcome with a bunch of sadness.

CURNOW: Pistorius says shooting Reeva was a tragic mistake. The prosecution asking who then should be held responsible.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who should be blamed for you having shot her?

PISTORIUS: My lady, I believed that there was a threat that was on my life.

CURNOW: The defense bringing, the Olympian back on the stand.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you consciously pull the trigger or not?

PISTORIUS: My lady, I didn't think about pulling the trigger.

CURNOW: Pistorius shot and killed his girlfriend in the early hours of February 14th over a year ago. The defense making the athlete read Steenkamp's Valentine's day card allowed, a card she never had a chance to give him.

PISTORIUS: I think today is a good day to tell you that. And then it says I love you.


CURNOW (on-camera): Now, what's interesting about that card and the Valentine's day present, which was a series of photos of the two couples together, was at that the police didn't consider it important enough as evidence, only submitted by the defense as evidence today, exhibit hhh (ph). And, of course, Reeva's last message, at least for Oscar Pistorius and his team, is very important, because it paints them as a loving couple right to the end.

BOLDUAN: This isn't over yet. All right, Robyn, thank you very much, live in Pretoria, for us, South Africa.

So last night you may have been lucky enough if you stayed up late enough to catch a spectacular event in the sky. A lunar eclipse turned the moon crimson red.

Meteorologist Indra Petersons has been looking closer at this rare blood moon. Tell us more.

INDRA PETERSONS, METEOROLOGIST: Yeah, what it was was a total lunar eclipse. What does that mean? That means the moon was completely in the shadow of the earth. So why red, right?

Let's look at it another way. Let's pretend we spin you around and pretend you're on the moon looking back at the earth. So what are you seeing? You're seeing all of the earth's sunsets and sun rises at the exact same time you project it right back at the moon, and then the moon just reflects that red color back to earth. That's why it looks red.

So let's see what people kind of saw out there, shall we? Beautiful. I mean, if you were in Michigan, you actually had clearer conditions, one of the better places to view. Look at this. What a gorgeous shot. We'll show you another one, get through a couple of these here. Looks like our next shot is from Dallas, Texas, kind of a little bit of a different phase, maybe not the peak here. And then the third one here looks like from Florida. Still, I mean, really anywhere in the entire U.S. they were able to see this.

Keep in mind, it's one of four that we're gonna be able to see in the next year and a half. And yeah, we're kind of getting used to this. Last time was 2003, 2004. But 1600, 1900, 300-year span they saw none of these.

What did I see? The same thing Cuomo saw, absolutely nothing today, cloud cover and buildings. Not so beautiful here in New York City but a lot of you got a little bit luckier than we did.

BOLDUAN: Yet another reason it is good to live in Midwest.

PETERSONS: I will give you that today. My husband will, too.

BOLDUAN: Exactly.

Thanks, Indra.

CUOMO: All right, coming up on NEW DAY, can the Bluefin do it? On day one the robot sub scares itself going too deep looking for flight 370. So now as crews get ready to relaunch it, is the technology up to the job?

BOLDUAN: And on Inside Politics we'll look at the politics of Edward Snowden. Some in Washington have called him a traitor, but now the newspapers have published his leaks have won Pulitzer Prizes.