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Poll: Obama Approval at 41 Percent; Kerry Regrets Israel Apartheid Comment; Rep. Michael Grimm Indicted, Says He'll Fight; Exploration Company Says It Found Plane Wreckage

Aired April 29, 2014 - 07:30   ET


IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is the first time in two weeks that I haven't seen the family members crying and cursing at the Malaysian officials. Instead, they listened to these audio recordings that they had requested in the past. The Malaysians had released transcripts but now we're hearing the final words to the outside world from what we believe was the crew of the missing Malaysian airlines flight.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MALAYSIAN TOWER (RECORDING): Malaysian 370, contact Ho Chi Minh 120 decimal 9, go.

PLANE, FLIGHT 370: Good night Malaysian 370.


WATSON: Now, Michaela, the Malaysian officials also answered a number of technical questions. They gave the serial number of black box, the flight data recorder, for example, and also explained their attempts to reach out to the plane as it was in the air.

It's interesting, they've made a phone call around 2:00 a.m. on March 8th and then they waited more than five hours to try to make another call to the plane. Both were not answered. The second call which came about five hours later, was about 45 minutes after the plane was supposed to land here at the international airport in Beijing.

No explanation for why Malaysian Airlines waited five hours to reach out to the plane and waited after the plane was supposed to land here at Beijing airport. Some questions beginning to be answered though as some of these distraught family members saying, finally we're making some progress with the Malaysian authorities.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Shame it took 53 days for the information to come to those families. Ivan Watson, thank you so much for that.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right, it's time to take a turn "Inside Politics" on NEW DAY with Mr. John King. John, how are you doing?

JOHN KING, HOST, CNN'S "INSIDE POLITICS": I'm doing great. Happy Tuesday morning, Chris, Kate and Michaela. Back to you in a few minutes, but let's go inside politics this morning. A lot to discuss. With me to share their reporting and their insight, "The Atlantic's" Molly Ball and CNN's Peter Hamby. Let's start with what I call the north star of midterm elections and that is the president's approval rating. You will have polls up and down, issues rise and fall. The one constant if you look at history to track to get a sense of where we are going is the president's approval rating.

ABC News/"Washington Post" poll out just this morning, president's approval rating at 41 percent. In the ABC/"Washington post" poll, that is the lowest of the Obama presidency. Molly Ball, for Democrats who in recent days some have said well, the enrollment numbers are up, Obamacare doesn't seem to be as bad. When you see that number you think ugh.

MOLLY BALL, "THE ATLANTIC": Yes, I mean, this is absolutely a low point for Obama, for his entire presidency, and there are a lot of Democrats who really did think he had turned a corner. A lot of Democrats who thought that, you know, after steady stream of good headlines on Obamacare in particular that maybe that was something just sort of temporary, that now that the web site is working and people are enrolled that people would start feeling better about Obama.

But you see what's driving this, he's got a low rating on health care, but also a low rating on the economy and a very low rating on his handling of the situation on Ukraine. And you know, the headlines for Obama in recent weeks have really been all about foreign affairs. There hasn't been a lot of good news for the United States there.

KING: That's been part of the problem, Peter. Can he find something to get his footing and then from there try to rebuild his standing. Whether it's something overseas. Whether it's better news at home. To Molly's point, people just feel the economy is quicksand right now. In the "Post" poll, 28 percent think the economy is getting better.

Well, if only 28 percent think it's getting better, that means more than seven in 10 Americans think the economy is either stagnant or getting worse for any president, whether you're a Democrat or Republican or whatever. If 28 percent of the country thinks the economy is getting better you are in trouble.

PETER HAMBY, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes. Especially in a midterm year when Republicans are expected to turn out with more intensity and greater numbers. Look, the right track, wrong track number the president's approval, as you mentioned, are much better indicators at this earlier point of how a lot of these Senate races, these statewide races are going to go than, you know, these individual polls in the race.

If you look through for silver linings here, the one take away for me is just that the Republican brand is so damaged still. Democrats have advantages on who can help the middle class, who can help the economy, who is better on health care, the budget. Those are things that Democrats see advantages on. Obamacare, though, not one of them.

KING: And that's the challenge. Can you motivate the people who are probably with you more on the issues? Can you get younger people who traditionally drop off dramatically in midterm elections? Can you get non-white voters who traditionally drop off more significantly in midterm elections? When as Peter noted, again, 62 percent of the American people think the country is on the wrong track?

Will any Democrats -- now, the president just a week or so ago was saying campaign aggressively on it. Will they listen to a president, if you're in a tough race and you're a Democrat, do you listen to a president when 60 percent of the country says we're on the wrong track and he's at 41?

BALL: It's hard to imagine a lot of these vulnerable Democratic candidates suddenly wanting to put themselves on the line and be the one who steps out as sort of the poster child for Obamacare given numbers like this and given the fact that the president is now out front on it and the president is not popular.

I think there may be an impulse to sort of let him take all the flack for it while other candidates position themselves in more nuanced ways or try to make their individual elections a choice rather than a referendum. Right?

Try to make their individual election more about who they are and who their opponent is, particularly who their opponent is and what they stand for and some of these other issues where as Peter mentioned, Democrats generically do have an advantage.

KING: Now if the president is having a bad day, if there is anyone in Washington who might be having a worst day, it's the president's Secretary of State John Kerry who is now apologizing for using the term apartheid. Israel risks becoming an apartheid state. He said in a private meeting that he did not think it was being covered by journalists.

He was talking about if Israel doesn't get to the Palestinian moving forward with the peace process, get to a two-state solution, Secretary Kerry now being condemned by Democrats and Republicans. Here's liberal Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer of California. Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East and any linkage between Israel and apartheid is nonsensical and ridiculous.

That's from the left side of the political spectrum. Here is Ted Cruz who is the right side of the political spectrum on the Senate floor.


SENATOR TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Before any further harm is done to our national security interests and to our critical alliance with the nation of Israel that John Kerry should offer President Obama his resignation and the president should accept it.


KING: Molly, Secretary Kerry in a statement last night saying if I could rewind a tape I would have chosen a different word. When Ted Cruz says he should resign, is that going to happen? BALL: I think Ted Cruz calling on a member of the Obama administration to resign is sort of a day that ends in "why" phenomenon. I don't think and you notice that Barbara Boxer who might have a little bit more credibility with the administration is not calling on him to resign. But John Kerry clearly knows how serious this is. He is backpedaling. He is apologizing for using this language.

But I think it reflects his frustration that the peace process that he undertook that he knew was borderline impossible has fallen apart, if anything has had sort of negative momentum and is not going anywhere. So as he noted in his statement, this is word that Israeli politicians use commonly in their own discourse, but it is something that is not acceptable at all in American discourse.

KING: Go to Israel, I was there several months ago. This is the conversation they're having. Younger generation of Palestinians are saying, OK, fine, if you won't give us a state. Forget the peace process. Give us voting rights. Let us vote in Israel. Let us be part of this conversation. To Secretary Kerry's point is you can't have a Jewish state then. If the Israelis want a Jewish state, if you give the Palestinians a right to vote within a larger Israel, you're out numbered. But he's not supposed to use that term.

HAMBY: In the American political context especially. It's a term outside the campus left he probably has no allies on this in this country. It's just one of those words you cannot say even if there's a kernel of truth behind it, you can't say it. That raises the question of behind closed doors why did he bring this up?

KING: There is a debate about how the "Daily Beast" reporter got in the room or got a tape recorder in the room. We could have a conversation and I'm sure will be this weekend. John Kerry should know better. Anything you say in today's world is most likely being recorded by someone.

Let's move on quickly finally to Michael Grimm. He's a Republican congressman from the state of New York, Staten Island area. He was indicted yesterday for corruption charges, tax evasion, and perjury. He says he's innocent and he'll fight.


REP. MICHAEL GRIMM (R), NEW YORK: I will not abandon my post or the wonderful people who entrusted me to represent them. With honor and distinction I will serve, and then on top of all that, I have an election to win.


KING: Now the indictment comes down after the filing deadline. It's harder for the Republican leadership to say get it, let us get another candidate. That's a seat that Republicans could pick up. Does his defiance last until Election Day or does this depend on a month from now whether he can raise money or what the polling says? BALL: He may be testing the waters. I mean, Michael Grimm is someone who has been under fire for various allegations basically since he was elected in 2010. The indictment comes down and you wonder what took them so long. Back in January when he threatened to throw a reporter off the balcony in the House. That was someone who is asking him about the investigation into him on campaign finance. So, you know, the problem for Republicans is that it may be impossible to get him off the ballot or put anyone else on the ballot because filing is over.

HAMBY: And he's a former Marine, a former undercover FBI agent. He has tough skin. I think you're going to have to wait and see what House leadership does, what John Boehner does quietly behind the scenes. We've seen with other Republicans who have been in scandal he sort of is pretty methodical about applying pressure. So we'll see what happens there.

KING: Peter Hamby, Molly Ball, thank you. As we get back to you guys in New York, I know we're all awaiting Adam Silver, the NBA commissioner has his big news conference today. Last night, Jimmy Fallon proving how deep water is Donald Sterling in? Well, when the late night comic is making fun of you, it's pretty deep. Listen.


JIMMY FALLON: It seems like everybody is weighing in, even President Obama is calling Donald Sterling's racist remarks incredibly offensive. You know it's bad when Putin is like, I hate to say it, but I am with Obama on this one. That dude is the worst, man.


KING: It's a big day, Chris and Kate, for the NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. I don't do this very often. I have a huge conflict of interest here because Adam is a friend of mine for more than a decade and he will do anything he can on this one. Trust me.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Everyone is waiting to see exactly what he can do. We will see, John. Thank you.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Complicated situation. This is the next step in the process that needs to happen and all the dialogue around it needs to continue as well. So we'll see what happens when he says it.

BOLDUAN: All right, coming up next on NEW DAY, more on the breaking developments in the search for Flight 370. Australian group says they believe they've located plane wreckage that could be the plane. So how is that possible after such an exhaustive search in a completely different area? We're going to talk with the head of that group coming up after the break.

CUOMO: We're going to give you some more insight into this controversy surrounding the L.A. Clippers basketball owner. Why did he get in such hot water to begin with? What's going to happen to him? What can they do? We're going give you the best information we have ahead of the NBA commissioner's announcement.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY. Breaking news this morning, an Australian exploration company called GeoResonance says it has discovered what it believes could be plane wreckage from the Flight 370 in the Bay of Bengal. Malaysian officials are responding to this announcement this morning saying that they are looking to verify the report. The sighting though would put the plane wreckage on the northern arc of the search, a very different place than where they're searching right now.

This would be where Australian teams had suspended search operations weeks ago. Let's find out more about this. Joining us on the phone from GeoResonance, David Pope. Mr. Pope, thank you so much for jumping on the phone.

DAVID POPE, GEORESONANCE (via telephone): Good morning, Kate. How are you?

BOLDUAN: I'm doing very well, thank you. I do want to get your take on how -- what did you find that leaves you so confident that the plane's wreckage could be in this northern arc in the Bay of Bengal?

POPE: Technology was originally created to search for nuclear, biological, and chemical weaponry under the ocean and under the earth, as in bunkers and so on. And what we do is we look at the nuclei of an atom, copper or nickel or iron. And so we knew we had the tools to search for the plane so we started searching on the 12th. We got images which were a mixture of satellite and images from airplanes between in a multispectral images. Not visual images.

They're a bit more scientific than that. So we started looking north of Malaysia and then we started moving northwest of Malaysia. We ended up in the top of the Bay of Bengal. And as we searched all of those areas, we were looking for aluminum, which makes up 70 percent of the Boeing 777. If we got a hit or a reading for aluminum then we moved on to next metal which was titanium and steel and nickel and iron. There were a few others, but the main ones we were looking for.

BOLDUAN: So you look for all of these metals. You look to detect these metals in a very scientific way, if you will. What led you to this area though? We are talking about a vast part of the ocean where, at that time, the search efforts had already begun focusing very squarely in the Southern Indian Ocean on that southern arc. And this is really in a completely different area that had already been discredited by the joint search effort. What led you to this area to begin with?

POPE: No, you're actually incorrect there. The date when we started looking on the 12th, only four days after the plane disappeared.

BOLDUAN: So you were already looking on the 12th, OK.

POPE: Yes. The search hadn't moved down south at that stage. So we were looking where everyone else was looking and it seemed the most logical area to look as well. The southern area doesn't seem logical to us at all. The pings coming from the satellite is basically a 50/50 chance that it was hitting on the northern corridor or the southern corridor. As it turned out we found out afterwards, but we still say we could be right. We're not saying we have actually found MH370. We have found what we think is a lead that should be investigated.

BOLDUAN: So you pass along this information. As I can see from your press release you passed it along twice. You passed along your report on March 31st and again on April 4th. What response have you gotten from Malaysian and Australian authorities? Because today Australian officials essentially appear to be dismissing the report when they came out in response saying that they're still very satisfied saying the final resting place of the missing aircraft is in the southern part of the search arc.

POPE: They may very well be right. But we still think that what we have found is a wreckage of an aircraft and somebody should actually look into it. And -- because the metals that we have discovered and we have double-checked our work and our final report was actually sent to all of the agencies on the 15th of April. It was sent two weeks ago yesterday. And that -- we had double-checked all of our findings. And we had a total of 23 scientists looking at the -- looking at the project. So we are very, very positive that we have found something and it may be down south, but we definitely found something up north.

BOLDUAN: So Mr. Pope, what is the response from the Australians and the Malaysians? Have they said that they're going to look into it?

POPE: The Malaysians -- their response has been excellent today. The Malaysian High Commission contacted us around midday and we forwarded on the copies of the reports again. And they forward them on to the Malaysian search and rescue headquarters in Kuala Lumpur. Then after that we did a 1 1/2-hour technical presentation. On our technology and on our findings on the wreckage that we have found and they were very interested, very excited about it and very thankful for our efforts. And they were passing it on up the chain of command.

BOLDUAN: So that's very new, just happening today. Do you think that's in response to you putting out your research and findings publicly? Because until this point seems they may have been a bit slow to respond to your report?

POPE: Yes. What happens it just got lost in their system. I don't know, but we didn't want to go public, and that's why we've held off for a month, now four weeks and one day since we sent off an initial report. We're not seeking publicity. We're just trying to help, and we knew we had the capability to help, and we could help further, if required.

BOLDUAN: What would you like to see happen right now?

POPE: Well, we would like the Malaysians to organize, perhaps the Indians or perhaps the Bangladeshi Navy to send a boat out and have a look at the exact coordinate that we've given them, because it's not guesswork. We've actually given them a precise coordinate and have a look down there with sonar.

BOLDUAN: Sarah Bacj, one of the family members of one of the passengers, she was on earlier saying you or someone from your group had spoken with her about your findings. When you look at all the attention on Flight 370, any concern on your part or hesitancy on your part of giving the families false hope when the majority of the search is now clearly focused somewhere else?

POPE: Absolutely. As I said, we didn't want to go public at all. We were -- we're a large group of scientists, and we were being ignored, and we thought, we had a moral obligation to get our findings out in the -- or to authorities, and they weren't answering e-mails or phone calls, and we feel so deeply for the relatives of the passengers and the crew on board MH370. We've never declared that we have said it is that aircraft, but what we have found is a wreckage of an aircraft, we believe to be an aircraft, are very confident that it is and that our leads should be followed up and dismissed or approved.

BOLDUAN: In pursuing your lead, you are not dismissing all of the other data that has been collected so far by the Inmarsat data and the pings that have been detected? They were such a big breakthrough for the southern arc search, are you dismissing that data?

POPE: We aren't dismissing the satellite data, but we still think that it could very well be north or south and it was close to a 50/50 chance of either. The very first ping from the chart a ship that was dismissed by, if you will, all of the French authorities. The second ping picked up by the Australian ship, two hours, and 20 minutes long that has pretty well been dismissed, because as the ship is trolling and covering probably 10, 12, nautical miles in that 2 hours and 20 minutes, it was actually impossible to pick up a ping from 4.5 kilometers in deep water.

And probably the same with the second ping, which was about 30 minutes. But the other pings, three and four, from the Australian vessels very well could be coming from the black box of the MH-370. We don't know, but all we know is what we have found through purely scientific work that we've been using for many, many years have told us. We found a lot of metals down there that look exactly like a Boeing 777 or an aircraft.

BOLDUAN: Mr. Pope, thank you so much for jumping on the phone. Very interesting data, now just becoming public. We will see what kind of attention this report will be getting going forward. As you said, because you seemed, you felt you were being ignored when you tried to keep it quiet and tried to not go public with it yet. David Pope with Geo Residence, thanks so much.

POPE: Thanks.

CUOMO: Coming up on NEW DAY, breaking news for you out of Georgia. We're following the situation as it develops. It's an active shooting at a FedEx facility there. Six people have been shot. We have a live report coming up with everything we know right after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CUOMO: Welcome back. We do have breaking news, reporting it out right now. Here's what we know so far. You're looking at reports of a scene at a Georgia FedEx facility. We believe six people are injured. There are reports that a male suspect has fled the scene and has not yet been apprehended. We're trying to nail it down and will bring you all the latest at the top of the hour. Stay with us.