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Search Took Four Hours to Begin; Owners Agree To Move Quickly On Sterling; Three Killed In Ukraine Violence; Obama, Merkel To Discuss Ukraine; George W. Bush Endorses Jeb For 2016

Aired May 2, 2014 - 06:00   ET


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Your NEW DAY starts right now.

Good morning. Welcome to NEW DAY. TGIF on this May 2nd. It is now 6:00 in the east. Up first, NBA owners wasting no time in an effort to put a for sale sign on the L.A. Clippers. A ten-member committee held its first meeting Thursday and agreed to move quickly on booting Donald Sterling. This as we're hearing new reports from ESPN about Sterling's health. The question, does he have cancer? Another question, does it matter?

CNN's Ted Rowlands is live in Los Angeles -- Ted.

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Chris. A wild game last night on the court for the L.A. Clippers. Off the court, more developments in this ongoing saga.


ANNOUNCER: Game seven coming up in Los Angeles on Saturday.

ROWLANDS (voice-over): Battling until the buzzer. The Los Angeles Clippers losing in game six by just one point. The game overshadowed by Donald Sterling, but breaking overnight, a new complication. ESPN and the "New York Post" reporting the disgraced owner, Donald Sterling, is battling prostate cancer. CNN has not been able to confirm, but after the game, players said they were not aware that Sterling may have cancer but expressed their sympathies.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If that is true, you know, you know, my thoughts and prayers are with him. I mean, nobody deserves to go through something like that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, that's the first I've ever heard of that. That's truly unfortunate.

ROWLANDS: Coach Doc Rivers also reacted to the news.

DOC RIVERS, COACH, L.A. CLIPPERS: Didn't know it until just now. You know, I don't have a reaction to that. You know, I hope it's not true.

ROWLANDS: Meanwhile, NBA owners wasting no time in an effort to put a for sale sign on the L.A. Clippers, a ten-member ownership committee held its first meeting Thursday and agreed to move as quickly as possible on the process of terminating Sterling's ownership and plan to reconvene next week.

Amid the backlash of the controversy, the president of the L.A. Chapter of the NAACP is stepping down over its since resented plans to give a lifetime achievement award to Sterling saying, in a statement that he's resigning in order to, quote, "separate the Los Angeles NAACP and NAACP from the negative exposure I have caused the NAACP.


ROWLANDS: And this morning's "L.A. Times" has a report that in 1982, believe it or not, the NBA tried to get rid of Donald Sterling over an audio tape. He was at a luncheon and said he wanted his team to finish last to get the first round draft pick. Apparently the same scenario had kicked in. The subcommittee that met yesterday this time around, that same type of committee met back in '82, said let's get rid of him.

Sterling ended up keeping the team. Obviously, he basically waited out the owners and ended up holding on to the team but very ironic. Audio tape almost cost him the team back in '82 which is what he's looking at now -- Kate.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Ted, thank you very much.

Let's take a turn right now to the violence happening overseas. It's been taking a deadly turn in Ukraine. I want to get straight over to our international correspondent, Nick Paton Walsh who is in Eastern Ukraine. Nick, you've been there. Violence is breaking out. What are you seeing on the ground right where you are?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, you join me in Sloviansk. Casualties caused on both sides according to various different reports. A helicopter taken out of the sky. According to the Ukrainian interior minister nine similar checkpoints like this have been taken over. There is cheering now amongst that crowd, but moments ago they were very angry because they said, one of the soldiers there, backed that up too, an old man's leg had been injured when an APC, armed personnel carrier, ran over him.

We saw an ambulance taking somebody away from here. This is the standoff. Local residents furious with the troops. The troops here in significant number just re-enforced by a helicopter that flew in and dropped off 10, 15 more. These are serious soldiers. We are not talking about gun scripts. Properly trained.

We're not sure if they intend to move into the town, but for now they have to deal with the biggest problem they got to face, which is local hostility. People here just angry at what they did to the old man and their presence here, too -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Nick, be careful as always over there. Thank you very much for the update. We'll be getting back to Nick. It's a very unstable situation. He's in the middle of it right now. We've got the violence happening in Ukraine as we speak. All of this is happening as President Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are set to hold a high-stakes meeting at the White House.

And Merkel may be key in finding a peace solution. She is one of the few people that many say has the ear of Russian President Vladimir Putin. For more on this, this high-stakes meeting let's get to senior Washington correspondent, Joe Johns, who is at the White House this morning. Good morning, Joe.

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Kate. President Obama meets with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at a critical time as both countries are trying to put more pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin to de-escalate tensions in Ukraine.

Once again, the Obama administration finds itself walking a foreign policy tightrope. No doubt they will discuss more economic sanctions on Russia, but at some point the real question is whether tightening the screws on a major trading partner ceases to be in the interest of the German government -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Now Joe, a bit of a turn. Another problem, really one that's plagued the administration for quite some time now. I want to get your take on. New criticism coming at the administration for their handling on the violence in Benghazi, the deadly events in Benghazi. This e-mail from Ben Rhodes that came out, is it really a smoking gun as is being described by Republicans or is this just more -- is this politicking as this issue has become a bit of a political football ahead of the midterms?

JOHNS: Well, it's a question of optics, Kate. It's also a question of putting the Obama administration back on defense with House Republicans exploiting those newly disclosed documents that suggests the White House may have misled the public about the attack in Benghazi that killed a U.S. ambassador.

This all had quieted down, but now sort of brought back into the limelight after the non-profit Group Judicial Watch uncovered e-mails that appeared to -- designed basically to make the White House look good. So it's a problem of optics for the administration and question, of course, whether they were leveling with the American people in the attack -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: The White House, of course, doesn't want any of this criticism, but I think it's kind of valid to continue to conversation of why no one really faced the music yet and really been held responsible for the events that happened in Benghazi. Though that is completely separate from what the intention of this e-mail was, which kind of is why there's always politics involved. When it involves Republicans and the president. Joe Johns at the White House, thanks so much, Joe -- Chris.

CUOMO: All right, so the big question is, is the president the reason Ukraine is out of control or are sanctions going to be the solution? What about this other foreign political scandal Benghazi? Is it back and bigger than ever? Let's get some take here. Maggie Haberman, CNN political analyst, senior writer for "Politico." Maggie, great to have you. Context, how hot is it right now in the White House? How big a moment is this?

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: This is a very big moment. He's going to meet with Merkel later today. They are going to be focusing on a number of issues. They have not met since the NSA spying issue related to her came out and her cellphone being tapped. They're going to talk about Ukraine. That's going to be the major focus. The president is under pressure from Republicans to do more, act harder, act more forcefully.

The American people don't want more action. They think the sanctions he's enacted are appropriate. The White House argues they're working. Some people argue not so much. It might be a psychological impact. People fear more sanctions down the road. We have to wait and see.

CUOMO: You use the word impact. Do you think it is fair to see the president in the situation as more having an impact on the problem or on the potential for a solution?

HABERMAN: It is too early to tell what he is having the impact on. The White House argues they are absolutely impacting a solution that they are forcing an instability in Russia. Russia is going to see and want to move away way from, but there is no evidence that that is true and European leaders are nervous about going too hard on this.

CUOMO: Fair criticism, we wouldn't be where we are right now if he had been tougher with Putin?

HABERMAN: It is unfair criticism. It had some merit, but it is a very broad criticism that is hard to substantiate.

CUOMO: Sanctions. Sanctions will work. He needs Angela Merkel for that to be a true proposition.

HABERMAN: Correct.

CUOMO: So tied to the need for gas, so tied to investment in Russia.


CUOMO: What is the leverage to get Merkel on the side of the U.S. president?

HABERMAN: It's very difficult. He doesn't have a whole lot of leverage other than arguing if the situation spins out of control this becomes a global problem. There are -- look, European leaders don't want to see this become more dangerous. They don't want to see Russia continue with a push. So the leverage is essentially join me or we all have a much bigger problem. Everyone is mindful of that. Right now, European leaders don't feel it the same way.

CUOMO: Merkel says, remind me why I care? I want my gas. I don't want particularly care about Eastern Ukraine, if they really want to go that way, they go that way. Syria and Iran, I keep telling you, Mr. President, that he is a reasonable force there on some levels. Give him an opening.

HABERMAN: PSU spied on me recently. I recently trust is not really there. This is going to be a very, very interesting conversation at the White House. And it is difficult to -- it is difficult to make the argument that it's going to emerge successfully right now. We'll see.

CUOMO: Benghazi, the e-mail comes out. The White House was saying this was about Malaysian, pro militia groups. You knew it all along. You tried to spin it. Fair criticism?

HABERMAN: If it's true, their argument is this is cut and paste. This does not change our argument we did not author he's talking points. The other criticism is that you withheld this from us, coming from Republicans in Congress. We asked for comments like this. You didn't release it to us. You did release it to judicial watch. That's a very fair request. That is going to give this much more legs than it would otherwise have.

CUOMO: Is this yellow cake? Is this WMD analysis from the Iraq war build-up?

HABERMAN: This is -- I think that's a bit hard to say. I think that this is new information in a case that had run a bit cold for Republicans tracking it in Congress and this is a very, very hot issue with Republicans in midterm. The base really likes this issue. To that end, it keeps it going.

CUOMO: What's the chance that they make a dispositive case, they make a case to the American people, the Republicans, that the White House did a cover up?

HABERMAN: Another smoking gun, that case will go easily. But right now based on the Ben Rhodes e-mail while it doesn't look great and while Jay Carney had a rough day at the podium over it, it is a little too soon to say.

CUOMO: Smoking gun on anything, you're in good shape.

HABERMAN: It does. This is not the smoking gun, but this is certainly problematic.

CUOMO: All right, so then we turn to who will be the next president here? Maybe we get insight from a president on this. Take a listen to what President George Bush said to Jake Tapper.


FORMER PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: I hope Jeb runs. I think he would be a great president. I have no clue what's on his mind and we will talk when he's ready. As he said publicly, I'm thinking about my family. He knows full well what run for the presidency can do on family. After all, he has seen his dad and brother run for president. I hope he runs. Jeb, if you need some advice, give me a call.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CUOMO: The chance that they have never discussed this is and options are zero or zero?

HABERMAN: The option -- I'm going to go with zero. Does that work for you?

CUOMO: I think it's fair.

HABERMAN: The options they have never discussed this is very, very hard to contemplate. How deeply they discuss it, how frequently, you can get into that. I'm not sure they're the closest of brothers. It's hard to imagine this has never come up. As Jeb in the last two years that he has been looking at this has never picked up the phone and given his brother a call as his brother requested.

CUOMO: Can a family member say, I don't think they should run?

HABERMAN: Well, his mother has done a pretty good job of that.

CUOMO: Mom has got to be protective. We're all so mean in the media. All we do is attack people who run for office. What mother would want that?

HABERMAN: I think she's acting out of appropriate concern as a wife of a former president and mother of a former president. She's honest about it. You don't hear that very often. Other than that you're not hearing any family member say, Jeb, don't run. His wife is not particularly interested in this because that is said very privately.

CUOMO: Although I will say that people do give a little bit too much credit to the allure of being in politics as if we're like a royal situation. It's a lot of pain and a lot of strain on a family. They're aware of that as well. Polls aren't great for him against Hillary even in his home state of Florida right now.

HABERMAN: Not so much. He's been out of office for a long time and has not run a campaign in 12 years. As you know that is not nothing.

CUOMO: It's always interesting to hear family talk about family.


CUOMO: Maggie, thank you so much. Have a good weekend -- Mich.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Chris, thanks so much. Thanks, Maggie. Let's take a look at more of your headlines right now. Breaking overnight, new satellite images seem to show North Korea may be testing the engine for a possible nuclear missile. So say analysts at Johns Hopkins University. This comes as Kim Jong-Un's regime could be drawing closer to a nuclear test at the same facility it has conducted other tests since 2006.

A Minnesota teen facing charges this morning after allegedly plotting a killing free. Police say a 17-year-old planned to murder his family and set off bombs at his school. That teen was less than two weeks away from carrying it out when police discovered the plot after receiving a phone tip. They found three fully functioning bombs and numerous firearms at his home and in a storage locker. He faces four counts of attempted murder and explosive charges.

Unsettling statistics on sexual violence. Federal investigators say they are looking into complaints that 55 colleges and universities in 27 states and Washington, D.C. It is the first time the Department of Education has released a list of all current investigations. Shocking numbers from the U.S. military as well. According to the Pentagon, reports of sexual assaults in the military spiked by an unprecedented 50 percent last year. I want that to sink?

CUOMO: I know. We were given it --

PEREIRA: Startling statistics.

CUOMO: Giving it the pause there, 50 percent.

PEREIRA: The wrong direction. We know way too much. Reporting is supposed to be increasing and it's not. That's really worrisome.

BOLDUAN: It's absolutely right.

CUOMO: As we head into the weekend, nothing more important than the weather so let's get to meteorologist Indra Petersons tracking everything going on.

What do you see, my friend?

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: The question is, are you sick of the rain? Too bad. We're still going to be talking about more showers. So much of this rain is still from this same system. The good news, it has weakened but it is still hanging on.

May be seeing more lingering showers through Florida. But also keep in mind it's not the only thing going up in the Northeast and Upper Midwest. See the spin. This guy is bringing light showers in through today as well.

And behind it, another system for the weekend. You could see the difference. There's the cold front lingering today in through Florida and here comes the next system that's going to be hampering your weekend in through Saturday and Sunday if you're into the northeast.

Let's talk about how much rain. Here's the plus side. It's not as bad as unless you're in through southern Florida and good news, yes, there's heavier rain in Florida but not in the panhandle. Either way, they're not able to dry out after all that heavy rain they saw yesterday or so.

Now, we're looking at one to two inches of rain in the Midwest and Northeast. So, yes, most of the time you're going to see cloudy conditions. Partly cloudy. But then you do get some sprinkles here and there.

So, it's not the worst weekend. The upside, jet stream, the sky is lifting up. Yes, the cold airlifting up. It's going to feel better out there for most of you, especially down to the South. It may almost get too hot for you. Hot and muggy.

Temperature-wise, New York City, 40s, like you started off you week, starting to see some 60s. Feels better. Notice the 70s down to the Southeast. And may start getting cool here in the upper Midwest, thanks to the system. Look at the differences of the jet stream lives up. Temperatures go right back up with almost gets plain old hot.

Couple of sprinkles. It's not a big deal. It was a rough week getting better.

BOLDUAN: For a lot of people.


BOLDUAN: Thanks, Indra.


BOLDUAN: Coming up next on NEW DAY, Malaysian officials say they have nothing to hide, they say and promised more communications with the families of Flight 370 passengers. Government officials there just held a briefing. What they're saying now about the next phase in this investigation.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY.

We just heard from Malaysia's transport minister who is insist that officials have nothing to hide there. That comes on the heels of the report released by Malaysia which shows -- I guess what we can describe as mass confusion after Flight 370 disappeared.

Let's take a closer look at the report and the investigation with David Soucie, CNN safety analyst, the author of "Why Planes Crash," former FAA inspector, and also, Major General James "Spider" Marks, CNN military analyst, retired from the Army where he was former commanding general of the U.S. Army Intelligence Center.

Good morning to both of you.



BOLDUAN: Two of the numbers that stick out from the report, David, 17 minutes after -- it was 17 minutes after the plane had disappeared before anyone seemed to have noticed, according to this report. And then four hours before any search effort was initiated. That seems like, to be nice and to be kind. That seems like mistakes were made.

But that seems like a whole lot of mistakes that were not corrected in time. SOUCIE: Well, let's talk about 17 minutes first. That's at the transition period. When you're going from one control area to the next control area, 17 minutes while it is a little bit extensive, it's not unordinary at all. That's something that you might expect.

The other part, the four hours -- now, this is something that troubled us in 9/11 is this communication, the military knew what was going on. They knew where that aircraft was during that four hours. Pre- 9/11 we had the same situation. The military knew what was going on and could see the aircraft but couldn't identify who they were and what they belonged to.

Nowadays in the United States, it's much different. Turn communications there, they know which aircraft is where. Over there in Malaysia, they didn't. And that's a serious problem. Very serious problem.

BOLDUAN: This four-hour gap, that lack of communication, from this report, while they're still nowhere near the amount of detail we need to get us further in this investigation, this four-hour gap, do you believe this is the biggest glaring mistake sticking out in this report?

SOUCIE: It's not a mistake. It's a systemic failure. There's a big difference.

BOLDUAN: It sounds worse.

SOUCIE: It is. It's much worse. That's why it needs to be corrected and that's why ICAO needs to step in and make sure all of the other countries part of the ICAO nation are working together to accept our standards and their standards.

This is supposed to be the best of the world. And all of those best standards need to be applied.

ICAO has dropped the ball on this. This is something I assumed, I didn't know, I have to admit I didn't know they didn't have this. They should have this. There are many other things that reflect the same thing.

BOLDUAN: Spider, this leans on your expertise perfectly. I find it really surprising, I think anyone who travels internationally might be surprised. Is there not an international protocol if our military radar speaks with -- or military radar operators speak with those in the United States, why doesn't that happening overseas?

MARKS: Yes, exactly the case. As David pointed out correct. Post- 9/11, our military and our civilian air controllers are completely synched and connected so they can have the handshakes not only electronically between the systems but also the operators, in many cases are side by side. You have situational awareness and shared pictures of the airspace.

That part of the world it simply does not happen. The civilian aircraft, when it disappeared off the civilian radar and then was picked up by military radar, the other individual, the military guy didn't know he was getting a dot on his screen that had disappear from somebody else's screen. There wasn't this alert, the standard process that should be in place, truly problems in life come down to character issues or competence issues in is a monster competence issue as David pointed out.

It needs to be addressed in great detail. You've got to cover those gaps. This is where we as a matter of you routine conduct operations.

Plus, when you have that type of gap how do you know the intention of that aircraft in the air? What's its attitude? What's its profile? Is it hostile? What's going on?

And simply, that didn't take place at all.

BOLDUAN: Spider, working off of the United States' example, is it an easy fix, to get military radar and civilian radar to get on the same page? Is it an easy fix? Does it come down to money or is it competence?

MARKS: The short answer, Kate, is it is an easy fix. And yes, it comes down to money.

But it also has to do with the culture of how the military and how the civilian authorities interact. Is there some acknowledgment that there needs to be a chain of command and a chain of responsibility and authority that exists within that entire organization that allows them to work without penalty?

You know, there's -- the thing that circles all of this is hubris. There's pride involved in this. And folks want to do the right thing. Then things go sideways and bad things occur, people start making bad decisions unless they know they are accountable and they can act within those authorities.

Clearly, there is an easy fix in place. It's amazing that we're not further down the road.

BOLDUAN: One quick final question on this, David. So if -- if the radar operators had been communicating, if this four-hour gap was down to something more acceptable to maybe 30 minutes or one hour before a rescue search mission was put up there and people were on high alert, would the outcome, do you think, have been different, would we be in a different place today than where we are in the search for this plane?

SOUCIE: You know, hindsight is always perfect.

BOLDUAN: Of course.

SOUCIE: If that happened in the United States now, and it does occasionally happen where aircraft drop off radar, we do have aircraft to go up and intercept.

BOLDUAN: It happens all the time when I was in Washington. Anything enters Washington's airspace. SOUCIE: That's right. Even as far back as Payne Stewart, remember that Payne Stewart accident, when that aircraft was flying alone, there were aircraft dispatched and that aircraft was followed down. Now, that didn't drop off radar so it was a little bit different situation. But nonetheless, even back then we had that awareness.

As Spider mentioned, it's the culture issue. The culture issue not only of whether or not it's pride or what they're doing or it's also this firewall idea, the firewall between civilian and military and their separate roles and merging those, at least coordinating those two things together.

We used to have a firewall within the CIA, within the FBI, that's breaking down. We're finding ways to communicate between those cultures. That's what's important.

BOLDUAN: Yes, very bad echoes of pre-9/11 is what we're seeing come out in this report. This says nothing though about the fact that the search continues to be under way. We still are searching in the southern Indian Ocean. They think it's still in the same place.

We're no further along in that. That is separate from how do can you make sure it doesn't happen again. Let's continue the conversation later in the show though.

David, Spider, thank you so much.


CUOMO: Amanda Knox has given one interview and you can only see it here. Can she convince you she was not there the night Meredith Kercher died, that the judge is wrong about the proof that Knox is the one who killed her? She opens up as never before.