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George W. Bush Rides Bike with Wounded Warriors; New Report on Malaysia Flight 370; Malaysia Air to Close Family Hotel Centers at Families React to Report; Oprah Looks to Buy Clippers; Rob Ford Seeks Help for Drinking Problem.

Aired May 1, 2014 - 11:30   ET


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: At least a dozen cars off the rails and three in the water. No injuries reported. The cause of the derailment not yet known.

Former President George W. Bush is on a bike ride this morning with wounded veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan. This is the fourth year he's hosted the three-day event. It's a wonderful program for wounded warriors.

Our Jake Tapper sat down with him earlier to ask why he does it.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Some of these scars are visible. Some are not visible. Some are them are traumatic injuries, TBI or post traumatic stress.

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That's exactly right. Many of the men who have had pts will tell that you biking has helped them recover. It's -- PTS is an injury which means it's fixable over time.

TAPPER: And I notice you've dropped the "D." It's not PTSD anymore.

BUSH: I have dropped the "D," and thank you for reminding the viewers of that. "D" stands for disorder. And we don't view -- and a lot of the experts don't view -- pts as a disorder. It's an injury. And that's really important for a lot of reasons. It's important to eliminate stigma.


BERMAN: This is an issue the former president cares about deeply. This is an issue Jake Tapper also cares about deeply. He's written extensively, a wonderful book on Afghanistan. I am really looking forward to this full interview later today on "The Lead" with Jake Tapper.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: I wonder if there's going to be a separate diagnosis for people who suffer posttraumatic stress but not from an injury because there are many rape victims and other people who suffer these kinds of traumas, and they suffer from that kind those issues as well. It would be interesting to see what happens there.

Let's get back to our breaking news story. This long-awaited release of Malaysia's preliminary report on flight 370. I have it in front of us. Somewhere in this pile of papers.


BERMAN: Jet vanished, what, we're told now 17 minutes, vanished 17 minutes before ground control even noticed it was gone. And it was missing for another four hours before the rescue operation was launched. The timing here, the lack of action or the long period of time of inaction very much in question right now.

We're joined again by aviation analyst, Jeff Wise.

Jeff, you're a pilot. You fly planes. You've been on a lot of flights presumably. That's a lot of time there. Is that surprising to you, or are there other things that stick out to you in this report?

JEFF WISE, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Well, I mean, listen, there's a lot in this report. It's not everything we would have hoped for, but there is a lot to chew over. You know, the 17 minutes, remember that one of the things that struck us initially as so interesting and potentially suspicious about the flight, the way it unfolded, is that the plane took this left turn around the time that it was disappearing from radar. Remember, it was out over the ocean. It was away from the ground radar surveillance. And so this is where it would have disappeared anyway. So it's not so surprising that it took air traffic controllers to notice that it was -- something was amiss. So in a way, that's not so surprising to me, that it took a little while. It seems that the turn, if it was indeed made intentionally, as Malaysian authorities are assuming, then that would have been the perfect place to do it if you wanted to evade attention.

PEREIRA: You mentioned that there were things that you would have liked to see in the report. What was missing in your estimation?

WISE: Well, really the golden treasure that we would have liked to find was a full set of Inmarsat ping data. And we didn't get that. But we got some interesting maps that showed, with more precision that we've had to date, where the authorities think the plane went. And from that, I think some of these independent experts who have been looking at the data are going to have a lot to extract from that and could give a much clearer picture of what was going on in those pings.

BERMAN: We did get some audio released of the last conversation between the cockpit and the control tower. Let's listen to that.


TOWER: Malaysian 370, contact Ho Chi Minh 129 decimal 9, good night.

PLANE: Good night, Malaysian 370.

(END AUDIO FEED) BERMAN: It is interesting to hear their voices. I don't think there's anything that jumps out as unordinary or something we didn't know before.

I want to go back to the timing. The four hours before the search and rescue. You say 17 minutes before it was gone. That might not be alarming. But four hours before you do anything about it?

WISE: Well, remember, we're looking back on this with the benefit of hindsight. But at the time, this was a stunning and completely unprecedented turn of events. So much of the air traffic control system is based on the assumption that people are -- that planes don't just crash for no reason, that people go where they intend to go. And that there are, you know, gaps in the radar.

PEREIRA: But four hours is more than a gap. You would think that somebody would have raised some sort of red flag along the way, no?

WISE: Well, you know, you might think, but remember, this is in the middle of the night. You haven't got full staff. And the -- with Air France 447, we saw a similar kind of thing where it took about a similar amount of time. Granted, that was over the entire Atlantic Ocean --


PEREIRA: Where communication is a little different.

WISE: Yeah. But, you know, it takes time for the enormity of a completely unprecedented situation to sink into people's minds. It takes a long time. And you see this in all kinds of stressful situations. And I think even you can draw a parallel to the Korean ferry disaster where people just assume that it's going to be normal. They assume that things are going to unroll as they normally do. It's unfortunate in retrospect that it took four hours, but I don't think we need to see nefarious intent in that kind of interval or incompetence, I should add.

PEREIRA: Jeff Wise, it will be interesting to see what other documents, if there are other ones. Richard Quest seemed to think there would be other documents coming out in the coming days.

Thanks so much.

WISE: Thank you.

BERMAN: We'll have more in a few minutes about how of relatives of missing passengers are reacting to this new report and to the news that Malaysian airports are going to shut down some of those family support centers at hotels in Malaysia and Beijing by next week.

PEREIRA: Ahead AT THIS HOUR, Oprah Winfrey hashing out an offer to buy the Los Angeles Clippers, but is the team even for sale? And who else might be elbowing in on a deal? We'll take a look at all that.


CONAN O'BRIEN, HOST, CONAN: Clippers' owner, Donald Sterling, has been banned for life from the NBA.



O'BRIEN: Probably going to have to sell. Yeah, people are now wondering who the new Clippers' owner will be. That's right. All the NBA has said so far is it's definitely not anyone from "Duck Dynasty."


PEREIRA: That was late-night host, Conan O'Brien, paring down the list of bidders for the Clippers. The NBA Owners Advisory and Finance Committee is set to meet today to talk about Commissioner Adam Silver's effort to force Sterling out.

BERMAN: Yeah, it's still not clear if Sterling will sell the team after he was banned for life from the NBA for making racist comments. He can own them. He just can't go to any games or practices.

Interested buyers, though, already stepping up, saying they may want to buy including some very familiar faces.

PEREIRA: The person who talk about this, Rachel Nichols, host of CNN's "Unguarded."

All sorts of names being thrown around. And in fact, oh, there's one of particular interest.



Oh, you say. The super group as I've started calling them.

PEREIRA: That's a good idea. I like that.

NICHOLS: We said the big three in basketball a lot, this is the big, big, big, big three. This is David Geffen; Larry Ellison, computer magnate; and Oprah Winfrey.

PEREIRA: That's a power trio right there.

NICHOLS: I want to just go over the money in this group. David Geffen, $6 billion net worth. Oprah Winfrey, $3 billion net worth. And Larry Ellison, oh, I don't know, $50 billion net worth. You think these guys together could outbid everyone else?

Except for John, obviously.

BERMAN: You're saying that might work out for me.

NICHOLS: I'm just saying you may need Michaela's help with her salary also.

BERMAN: Geffen is really into it.

NICHOLS: He's wanted to own a sports team for a while. He actually tried to buy the Clippers a while ago. Donald Sterling said I'll never sell. The NBA may have different ideas.

BERMAN: How much would this cost the trio?

NICHOLS: It could cost up to a billion dollars, but again, that's couch cushion change for these guys.

PEREIRA: And Oprah, I know there are been people saying we need to get more black owners in the NBA.


PEREIRA: That would make her one of the only black women owners, would it not?

NICHOLS: It would make her the only woman owner and certainly a feather in the cap for a NBA. Imagine if Donald Sterling, racist, caved away for a black woman to own a team?

PEREIRA: Wouldn't that be something?

NICHOLS: Michael Jordan owns a team and there's one, an Indian owns one in Sacramento. Certainly they need more people of color in the NBA and certainly it would be a double shot.

BERMAN: What's the time line? I know there's a subcommittee meeting at the owner level today. How soon do they have to vote?

NICHOLS: They have to give Donald Sterling notice. Once they do that, he has five days to respond to that notice. Then within ten days, they have to have this board of governors meeting to actually officially vote him out and hear anything back from him about pleading his case. There's big questions, though, over whether and how Donald Sterling is going to fight this. He doesn't really have a lot of avenues to fight this within the NBA. Although, he could certainly make calls to some of his old friends. Remember, he's been an owner for 30 years. He's got a lot of friends in the ownership group, and he can say hey, do me a solid, vote with me. It's going to be hard especially now that Adam Silver has laid down the gauntlet for somebody to come over to his side and stand with a racist.

PEREIRA: Do you want to be the guy or gal known as doing a solid for Donald Sterling in light of all that's going on?

NICHOLS: Exactly.


NICHOLS: Did a solid for Donald Sterling. But I do have to say that he is a very litigious guy. And even though he really doesn't have a case in the court system to challenge this, he may try to file under antitrust laws. And he may just try to tie them up in court. Because he can say, look, I'm going to file a lawsuit, and in that lawsuit, I'm going to file a bunch of briefs detailing the bad behavior of other owners who have been allowed to keep their teams as a way of explaining how I should -- and he probably wouldn't win that lawsuit because of the rules he signed on to with the NBA. But if you're the other owners, do you want the threat of that lawsuit out there?

BERMAN: Given that he's such a charming fellow, you'd have to worry perhaps that it could happen.

PEREIRA: I leave L.A. and look what happens.

BERMAN: It all falls apart.


PEREIRA: Mike D'Antoni out as Lakers coach.

NICHOLS: He resigned. If you had stayed, you could have bought the Clippers or coached the Lakers.



BERMAN: Rachel Nichols, great to have you here. Really appreciate it.

NICHOLS: Thank you.

BERMAN: Ahead AT THIS HOUR, it is another unwelcome shock for the loved ones of those missing on flight 370. Malaysia airlines will shut down a key system of support for the families. Desperate relatives are asking who will find our family members.


BERMAN: The families of those missing on flight 370 got a response today to one of their demands. Officials finally released the preliminary report on the plane's disappearance.

So for Sarah Bajc, whose partner vanished with the jetliner, the slow release of information it has just been exasperating.


SARAH BAJC, PARTNER OF FLIGHT 370 PASSENGER: We are all quite frustrated with getting only analysis because we don't trust the analysis that's been done. And we're pretty smart group of people with a lot of engineers in our team and a lot of external experts who have come forward and volunteered their services to help look at factual data and try to come up with perhaps a different kind of analysis from it.


PEREIRA: Relatives also got a shock this morning.

David McKenzie is in Beijing.


DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John and Michaela, for the families here in Beijing, it wasn't the interim report that caught their attention. It was the fact that they've been told to move out of this hotel where they've been stuck for weeks. And that assistance here will end from Malaysian authorities. And when that news came through, the scenes were emotional. Some people getting on the floor, wailing, saying, "What has happened to our loved ones?" This felt like a book end to the story. The people just wanting some kind of clarity, some kind of closure that they haven't gotten all this time later. Now family members are wondering what's next. If they go home, will they get any leverage to continue getting information and ultimately they believe they are to closer to finding out what happened to their loved ones.

John and Michaela?


BERMAN: Our thanks to David McKenzie for that.

PEREIRA: 55 days in, remember the agony of 55 days of waiting.

And AT THIS HOUR," Toronto's troubled mayor, Rob Ford, admits he has a drinking problem, but he's not resigning. We'll ask two city council members, is that enough?



ROB FORD, MAYOR OF TORONTO: I do not use crack cocaine nor am I an addict of crack cocaine.

Am I an addict? No. That is not a crack house.

I am not stepping down. I'm not an alcoholic or drug addict.

I've admitted to my mistakes and I said it is not going to happen again and never will happen again at the Air Canada Center.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Mayor, do you think you have an addiction problem with alcohol?

FORD: Absolutely not.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Mayor, do you think you have an addiction problem with substance abuse and elicit drugs?

FORD: Absolutely not. I'm not an addict of any sort. I'm not quite sure why you're saying I need help

I will do and alcohol and drug test right now. I will put a motion forward.

As you know I'm a human being, the same as any one of you, and I'm entitled to a personal life. My personal life does not interfere with the work I do, day in and day out, for the taxpayers of this great city.


BERMAN: I have to say when you hear it strung together like that denial after denial it is stunning. That's all we have heard from Rob Ford of Toronto despite hearing the slurring and ranting videos. Now, the mayor says he's heading to rehab and going to get some help.

PEREIRA: The 44-year-old politician is suspending his re-election campaign and taking leave of his mayoral duties. This comes hours after a Canadian newspaper reported on a new video that allegedly shows him smoking crack cocaine. These are the photos showing Ford holding some sort of pipe.

Joining us from Toronto, two of the city's counselors, Jaye Robinson and Denzil Minnah-Wong.

Good to have you both with us. Thank you so much.

We've heard from Rob Ford's brother, Doug. We understand he got very emotional. Let's take a listen.


DOUG FORD, BROTHER OF ROB FORD & TORONTO CITY COUNSELOR: I'm relieved that Rob has faced his problems and has decided to seek professional help. Rob was very emotional when he told me the hardest thing about this is he knows he let people do down. He let his family down. He let his friends down, he let his colleagues down. He let his supporters down and the people of Toronto. I love my brother. I'll continue to stand by my brother and his family throughout this difficult journey.


PEREIRA: Rob Ford's brother, Doug Ford, also a city counselor, getting emotional there. A lot of people wondering why now, given the behavior that has been seen over the past year.

Council Robinson, we will start with you because you were the first to call for the mayor to step down to handle these personal issues months ago. As a reward you got kicked off his executive committee for speaking out against the allegations against him. Is this enough for you in your estimation or do you want more from Ford?

JAYE ROBINSON, TORONTO COUNCIL MEMBER: No. I would definitely like to see a full and complete resignation from the mayor. It's just too little too late. The city needs to move on and Rob Ford needs to move on.

BERMAN: Councilman Minnah-Wong, the city council here has been outspoken from the beginning. You have been stripping the mayor of his powers and you did months ago when these problems first surfaced. Nonetheless these activities and his behavior seems to have gone on. How could this have gone on so long? We heard the mayor's brother right there. Our hearts go out to that family. He says he was standing by his brother. Wouldn't standing by him mean intervening in some way?

DENZIL MINNAH-WONG, TORONTO COUNCIL MEMBER: I won't judge the actions of Doug. What we do know the mayor has an alcohol and drug addiction problem. Part of having that addiction, my understanding, is denial. Today is a positive day for the mayor and for his family and for his brother, in that they've admitted there is a problem and they're going to seek help. I think all of us, friend or foe, need to support Rob Ford and his family in terms of getting him the help he needs so he can get better.

PEREIRA: But the business of running this city is the question that a lot of people are wondering about. He's still running for re- election. He hasn't said he is going to resign. He just suspended his campaign for now. Interesting I took a look at some of his campaign material. It's about second chances.

I'm curious, Councilor Robinson, Let's start with you. Have you heard from your constituents? How are they feeling? What are you hearing?

ROBINSON: The reason I spoke out 10 months ago and asked the mayor to take a leave of absence, my constituents were saying they're involved international busy transactions in Zurich all over the world and hearing such negative things about our mayor. Every meeting would kick off with negative talk not positive for Toronto's global reputation. I think if he really, really respected the office of the mayor, he would take his name off the ballot.


BERMAN: Go ahead.

MINNAH-WONG: Yeah. City council is working right now. We stripped him, as you say, of his powers, back in November. Council and the public service developed a work-around. His office and the mayor have been essentially marginalized. After this occurrence, we will get back to business and the city will continue to function. In terms of what happens in the future, I think the mayor will determine that after he comes back successfully from rehabilitation. Fundamentally, though, the people need to decide, based on his candidacy, if he decides to run, based on his conduct, based on his actions, based on his drug use, based on his lie, whether they want him to return to office.

BERMAN: Counselor Robinson, in the United States, he's the butt of jokes, Mayor Ford is, late-night comics. (CROSSTALK)

ROBINSON: -- tease me about it all the time.

BERMAN: Jimmie Kimmel made him the butt of jokes. Do you think people in the U.S. and people that made light of this, do you think they have enabled the mayor over this time? Do you think it hurt the situation more than it helped?

ROBINSON: My position is the media have played a bit of a role enabling the mayor. They cover him nonstop. We have a mayoral campaign happening right now. It's really hard for those candidates that aren't Rob Ford to get any traction on their policy issues. When they have media events, everybody is running around following Rob Ford and his latest antics. We need to move the city's -- we have a lot of critical issues facing the city and the city is doing a good job managing around that and we're looking forward to fresh thinking.

PEREIRA: Jaye Robinson and Denzil Minnah-Wong, from Toronto, the Toronto city Council, thanks for joining us.

That wraps it us for us AT THIS HOUR. I'm Michaela Pereira.

BERMAN: I'm John Berman.

"LEGAL VIEW" with Ashleigh Banfield starts right now.