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Flooding Traps People in Attics; Plane Searchers Skeptical of New MH370 Claim; Donald Sterling Banned from NBA for Life; Clinton Leads Bush in Hypothetical Race.

Aired April 30, 2014 - 11:30   ET



EVAN ROSENBLUM, EP, TMZ: She claims that she is not his girlfriend, just an employee, an archivist who was tasked with recording conversations and working with the Clippers related charity.

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A team spokesman says Stiviano did not work for the Clipper organization.

(on camera): Stiviano's lawyer says he plans to respond in the next several days. It's unclear when the relationship ended or if it ever did officially. However, Sterling's wife is suing Stiviano saying her husband had no right to use the couple's community property to buy the girlfriend anything, not the apartment, not the cars, nor anything else. The wife wants it back.

Deborah Feyerick, CNN, New York.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: You're the one that lived in Los Angeles.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: I'm to explain for all of that? I don't know where to begin. I don't know where to begin. I have heard people say we're vilifying this woman for having released these tapes. She claims she didn't. They revealed this man for the racist they believe he is.

BERMAN: I think whatever she did or didn't do, who she is or isn't, is completely moot when you are considering what he said at this point.

In any case, coming up for us, an Australian company found wreckage that could be -- they think it could be connected to the missing flight 370. However, officials in charge of the search are skeptical. We'll explain why ahead AT THIS HOUR.


BERMAN: Turning now to the deadly storms wreaking havoc as we speak. About 37 million people at risk of severe weather from the south all of the way to the northeast. I want you to take a look at these devastating floodwaters in Pensacola, Florida, right now. Those are roads believe it or not though it looks like a raging river at this point. Authorities say people were trapped in attics, clinging to trees and crews had to use chainsaws to cut holes in the roof to rescue the people.

PEREIRA: The Florida State Patrol is reporting one weather-relating drowning bringing the total to 36 people killed this week in that string of storms.

Spokesman Bill Pearson joins us on the phone from Pensacola.

Bill, glad you were able to make time to talk to us today.

First of all, emergency crews, are they able to get to the people who are getting through on 911 and getting them the help they need?

BILL PEARSON, SPOKESMAN, FLORIDA STATE PATROL (voice-over): They are able to get through. It's a slow process. It's a similar situation to when we have a hurricane slam the gulf coast and the 911 folks and emergency crews in the field have to prioritize.

What is the most critical needs and what's the most realistic that we can get in there and get a person rescued and into a hospital for medical treatment. It's a slow process. We're still pulling people out of homes that are flooded out. They're having to use extreme measures. What I would consider extreme measures. Cutting holes in the walls or roof to get people out. The process is ongoing and will go on for a few more hours.

BERMAN: We understand you face torrential rains. Five inches an hour at one point. Wondering if you can give us a sense of the situation as it stands right now. Are you still telling people to stay inside and stay off the roads?

PEARSON: We sure are. Even though we are seeing blue skies and sunshine outside, please stay home. The biggest reason for that is even if a road isn't covered in water, there are real concerns about the structure quality of that road. So much water has been moving through our area and getting underneath roadways. We've seen examples where chunks of road have washed out into the bay and that could be a fatal situation if someone is driving on that.

It's going to take a little bit of time for the water to recede and once that water has receded, that's when our engineers and our road crews can get out and get a real sense of how bad the damage is or just how good it is, whatever the case may be. This isn't going to be a quick turnaround. We're asking people, please for safety sake, for your own safety sake, don't go out and rubberneck and check it out. We know you want to. Stay put. Just check it out on TV. Friends put it on social media and it's getting out, check it out that way.

PEREIRA: Bill Pearson, thank you so much for that.

Bill was telling us before we went on air the governor is there. He's getting a briefing. He's touring the area getting a sense of what has happened there. People are going to need to be patient. This is not over yet.

BERMAN: Certainly, we're thinking about those people down there right now.

Another big story, an Australian firm says that they think they may have found signs of wreckage possibly from a Boeing 777 that could be flight 370. So one of the questions a lot of people are asking, if their claim has any credibility at all, why not check it out?

PEREIRA: GeoResonance is the name of the firm. They spoke to our Anna Coren about the find off the coast of Bangladesh.


ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Were you amazed at what you found?

DAVID POPE, MANAGING DIRECTOR, GEORESONANCE: Amazed isn't quite the word. It was incredible when we saw the results in late march that we saw that we believe to be the wreckage of an aircraft. It was incredible.


PEREIRA: Our aviation analysts, Mary Schivao and Jeff Wise, join us.

Mary, the question we'll start with you first and foremost. Why not send some resource? Not the whole fleet but some resource to check out this claim, Mary?

MARY SCHIAVO, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: I think because there's a limit to the resources that we have and there's already a plan in place. Given the lack of results found at the places where they have been searching and where the pings were and where the southern arc was from the data, eventually they'll have to check it out. They're entitled to see a little more documentation, a little more proof of the concept. I think because they have a lack of results where they're looking, they will eventually have to check it out. The question is who will pay for it.

BERMAN: Jeffrey, you had a day to look at this information. Australian officials say they are skeptical. I get the sense you are deeply skeptical.

JEFF WISE, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: The more you look at this company and its claims, the more sketchy they seem. The company says they've been finding things since 2003. Their website wasn't registered until 2011. They say they found a sunken World War II ship in 2005. That ship in fact is still missing. It seems in so many ways they're not what they seem. They talk about this technology. They can't explain what it is.

Nobody else can make sense of it. They talk about multi-spectrum imaging. You can only do that if you see the object that you can't see under 1,000 feet of water as this would be. It doesn't add up in any sense. The question of do we allocate resources to it? It reminds me a situation early in the surface search. They found something floating. We got excited. Something floating. Let's look at it. Over days and weeks that followed, there's a lot of stuff floating in the ocean. You get tired of looking at every single thing. There are hundreds of people making claims like this more credible than this one actually.

PEREIRA: Mary, we know tomorrow is the big day that expectation is Malaysian authorities will release this preliminary report. We know families are anxiously awaiting this. What are you thinking this report is going to reveal?

SCHIAVO: The report will be very basic I assume. Most preliminary reports are basic things. They'll tell what they do know. Preliminary report has things they think they are sure about but also tell what they don't know. That's very important for the families to know. And so it kind of gives them a blueprint for the way forward. For that it's very valuable. The families want this blueprint. They want to know what's going to happen and they want to know how they're going to look at the future progress of this investigation.

PEREIRA: Jeff Wise and Mary Schiavo.

Mary, it's proof you have been working so hard for us, we have stolen your voice. Hopefully, you restore that.


Thanks so much for joining us.

Jeff, as well, thank you.

BERMAN: Come back tomorrow, we might give it back.

Up next, banned for life, that is the punishment handed down to Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling. Now he could be forced to sell his team. Is the NBA's ruling, is it a slam dunk? That's ahead AT THIS HOUR.



ANNOUNCER: Doc Rivers has navigated his team through an emotional game and an emotional four days and they end up with a 10-point win.


BERMAN: The Los Angeles Clippers, they won last night. What a game it was. Breathing a sigh of relief all around and the team has a one- game lead in the NBA playoff series against the Golden State Warriors happening just hours after the owner, Donald Sterling, was banned for life from the league.

Joining us for her debut appearance by the way AT THIS HOUR, Rachel Nichols, host of CNN's "Unguarded." Back with us, Atlanta sports attorney, David Cornwell.

Great to have you with us.

David, you are a sophomore on the show.


BERMAN: 6'10" sophomore -- sorry.

RACHEL NICHOLS, HOST, UNGUARDED: I got invited to the table, finally. I'm so excited.

PEREIRA: What a conversation to have.

NICHOLS: I may never leave.


Let's talk about the owners. I think that's what everyone is waiting on right now. The big expectation of how these owners are going to vote. We don't know when it will happen. You get a sense that silver would have polled owners before making an announcement at the press conference yesterday.

NICHOLS: This is what's interesting. There's a procedure laid out in the constitution for this. The constitution itself is secret. We don't have the exact language. We know generally they have three days to notify him. Then he has five days to respond. There's a couple week period before they hold the vote. It's an interesting series of steps. The question is can they ride the public outrage of yesterday and today and sort of the next couple of days all of the way to that vote.

Adam Silver purposely didn't poll all of the owners. He didn't try to gain consensus before making that announcement. He banned him but the power move was laying it out in public to the owners saying you guys, I challenge you to ban him. Three-quarters of the owners, 75 percent, have to make this vote to make it work. If he polled everyone ahead of time and tried to build consensus ahead of time, we saw Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said it's a slippery slope. I'm concerned about banning someone or taking away their team for a private conversation.

BERMAN: David, I want to talk about what Rachel described as a power move. To me, this reads like crisis management 101. The master class. Every scandal is its own thing. You have steroids. You have concussions in football. You have a lot of issues going on here. Everything is different. Adam Silver in his first months on the job, I mean, he laid down the law right there.

DAVID CORNWELL, SPORTS ATTORNEY: He sure did. And, remember, a commissioner is really the steward of the entire sport. He's responsible for everything. Adam had to recognize this is a crisis he must manage. This is a brand he must protect. And by pushing the owners and saying I will urge them and I expect using terms like that, what he was saying, I agree with Rachel, what he was saying, I'm the commissioner now. I expect you to do these things because I think it's necessary that they be done. And I think that we're going to end up seeing a unanimous vote to takeover the Clippers.

PEREIRA: So, David, be Olivia Pope, if you would, for a second.


What would you advise Donald Sterling?

CORNWELL: Well, if I were advising Donald Sterling, we wouldn't be in this position.

PEREIRA: But now?

CORNWELL: If he hired me now, I would tell him the best option for him is to go gracefully. There's an arbitration provision in the constitution and bylaws. These particular provisions regarding terminating a franchise provide that once the three-quarters vote, that's essentially an unappealable decision. After that, two-thirds of the owners could decide to fine him instead but I doubt that that will happen. The NBA has a very well buttoned up administrative process as well as an arbitration process that any court in America is going to honor and keep their hands off. He doesn't have any real recourse in the courts.

BERMAN: Rachel Nichols, David Cornwell, thank you so much for being with us. Really appreciate your insight on this.

Welcome to the show, Rachel.

RACHEL: You're always welcome back.

BERMAN: Now to this, when it comes to running for president, a famous face, a famous name really helps so in a match-up between two of the most famous names in politics, who do you think gets more votes? Tweet us "@thishour." We have the answer with the most recent poll coming up later.

PEREIRA: Bringing hold and new together. "Star Wars" back to the future with original stars. Check it out. A look at the cast next.

But first, here's this week's "CNN Hero."


UNIDENTIFIED BOY: Chicken nuggets, French fries, mustard and a milkshake. My daddy ordered the same thing as me. That is my daddy.

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: My son's father, he was murdered. Their bond was just a bond that a lot of kids don't have with their father.

ANNETTE MARCH-GRIER, CNN HERO: I love my city. I have lived here all of my life. But people here are having crisis after crisis.

I believe that the violence in this city and grief are directly connected.

UNIDENTIFIED BOY: I feel sad that somebody hurt my dad. MARCH-GRIER: A child's grief can be very different from adults. They can easily lose their identity and their security. And that shift can be very dangerous.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There you go. Write your feelings. How are you feeling today?

MARCH-GRIER: Our program provides that safe place for a child to recover.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello. How are you doing?

MARCH-GRIER: Our volunteers help the children explore their feelings.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why did you choose red?

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: I was angry when my dad passed away.

MARCH-GRIER: And talk about healthy ways of coping.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Get that anger out!

MARCH-GRIER: We teach our children that it's OK to cry.

His brother died so he's feeling very, very sad.

Grief is truly a public health problem. We've got to address it.

Coping is how we deal with our feelings.

We're giving families a sense of hope.


MARCH-GRIER: We are helping to heal wounds and bring families back together again.



PEREIRA: A famous face, a famous name. A big help if you want to run for president. The latest "ABC News/"Washington Post" poll finds Senator Rand Paul; former Arkansas governor, Mike Huckabee; former Governor Jeb Bush; and Congressman, Paul Ryan, are ahead in a very crowded 2016 Republican field. And of course they happen to have some of the more recognizable names in the party.

BERMAN: But, I think the most interesting nugget in this poll --

PEREIRA: I love a good nugget.

BERMAN: - is when it looks at a hypothetical match-up between a certain Bush and certain Clinton. Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state, beating Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida, by a lot in this poll. Somewhere around 53 percent I think overall. We're joined now by our chief political correspondent, Candy Crowley, live from Washington. This is Candy's first appearance on AT THIS HOUR, too.


BERMAN: We're very lucky to have you here.


BERMAN: Clinton versus Bush. I feel like I've heard this before.

PEREIRA: It's a rerun.

CROWLEY: Yes, it's a terrible echo in here.


Absolutely. And I think -- we can all say, look, polls are snapshots sometimes. If an election were held today between these two people, perhaps this is how it would turn out. But it's not going to happen today. And it's probably not going to be those two people unless we're really prescient. I think what I gather from this is that the Bush name continues to be a drag nationally. I think things look very good for Republicans in these midterm elections, in the Senate races and the House races.

Nationally, the Republicans have a problem. And it remains. And it's not the Bush name in general, it's the Republican name. The Republican Party name. I think Hillary Clinton has done a very good job protecting, although they've come down, but protecting those approval ratings that she had which were pretty sky high when she left the secretary of state office. So she's done pretty well not appearing overly politically, at least to those who look at it benignly.

PEREIRA: Perhaps not surprisingly, we can probably poll up this graphic as well, female voters asked, the margin even bigger, Clinton, 59 percent, Bush, 36 percent. Men divide more closely between the two. So talk about what Republicans have to do there.

CROWLEY: Get more women to support them. This won't come as a surprise to the Republican Party. But what's interesting to me is a lot of the Republican attention has been on the verbiage. Like how to talk to women. You know, things you should and shouldn't say. I think other Republicans are saying what we need to do is relate our policies to women. How it will help their families. How it will help other folks in their neighborhood. Not, you know, if I put it this way, will you like it. But here's how our policies will work for you. And that's where they have not been able to make that connection.

BERMAN: Candy Crowley, great to have you here. People talking about this poll. The current president's poll numbers are very low right now.

Candy will be talking about that and so much more on her show "State of the Union," Sunday morning, right here on CNN.

PEREIRA: You're always welcome here, Candy.

CROWLEY: Thank you.

PEREIRA: All right, there's something that has my friend here very excited and brought a little friend to work with him today. You want to show that? I know you do. After three decades, the "Return of the Jedi," reuniting the original cast members. Check that out.




PEREIRA: The same actors who played Luke Skywalker, Hans Solo, will appear in the new "Star Wars, Episode 7." Even my favorite, the original Chewbacca. Along with the actors who played C-3PO and R2-D2. The movie is slated to open next year.

John Berman, how will you contain yourself until then?

BERMAN: I think the issue is one of atonement. This a chance for the "Star Wars" franchise to atone for "The Phantom Menace" and the other two movies.

PEREIRA: Was it Jar Jar Binks that put you over the edge?

BERMAN: They are going to atone for Jar Jar Binks and fix everything he has done wrong.

PEREIRA: He has it in his office. He confiscated it from his children.

BERMAN: This is vintage, from 1978-ish. Lent it to my children and they disrespected it so I had to bring it back to my office.

PEREIRA: I apologize.


BERMAN: I'm not going to be treated like I'm strange here for this.

PEREIRA: No, no. He just smiled and stayed away from the topic entirely.

So 2015, you're going alone or taking the family?

BERMAN: That's all for us today. Thanks for joining us AT THIS HOUR.

PEREIRA: "Legal View" with Ashleigh Banfield starts right now.

I am allowed to touch it?