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Flight 370 Families Demand Data Release; Did Religious Beliefs Cost Hosts Their Show?; NFL Draft Round One

Aired May 9, 2014 - 06:30   ET




It has now been more than two months since the disappearance of Flight 370 as officials from Malaysia, China, and Australia look to lay out the new search plan. The families of missing passengers -- they're still awaiting answers. They have now sent an open letter to the three countries demanding the release of raw data relating to the search. They want an independent review of the information collected so far.

Joining us of a co-signer of that very letter, Sarah Bajc. Her partner, Philip Wood, was on board the flight.

Sarah, really a pleasure to talk to you again.

Two months in. The families are feeling desperate. You write another letter. This one well thought out, well written, pretty straightforward and clear.

Any response to this or to any of the other letters that you have penned as a committee?

SARAH BAJC, PARTNER OF PHILIP WOOD: We have actually never received any response from any of our committee-based letters. We would like to receive a response, but I think perhaps the government doesn't quite know what to say to us because our requests are just too common sense.

PEREIRA: To that end, are you rethinking your plan of how you approach this?

BAJC: At this point we decided that if the investigative team is not forthcoming with any kind of results, that we should at least start to investigate on our own. And so, we have asked for data but even in the absence of data we can do some analysis on that.

So, we had a number of experts out of the industry, satellite people, aviation people, oceanographers who have come forth and have begun to help us piece things together. Starting in probably about two more days you will have another set of analysis from us that will be piece by piece evaluation of that preliminary report and all of the holes that are in it.

PEREIRA: We'll be curious to hear what the results of that investigation is. We hope you will let us know here at CNN.

I was looking at the letter. I have a copy of it in front of me. Point number two, this letter urges the relevant authorities to reconsider the data, the data with new eyes. Quote, "Without predetermination or bias as to any possible or probable outcome. I want you to explain why that is so important to the families and what it means for you.

BAJC: It almost seems that there was a predetermined location that they forced the data into, right? The place in the southern Indian Ocean where the flight theoretically went in is about as remote as you could get. That's just a little too coincidental that out of all the places in the world an airplane could have been piloted that that's where it went.

So, it's our supposition at this point that that was an intention allocation and any data that's been brought forward so far has been intentionally modified or manipulated in order to bring that to the answer. So, you know, we think that it's just a little too coincidental that all of this data that would, in most countries, be public record.

So, the civilian radar data, the transcripts from all of the air traffic control towers, those should all be just public record. I mean, even the cargo manifest should have been put to the public right away but it's been hidden.

Even what we received in a preliminary report, that's all been modified. They've already had people say the data recordings have been modified. The cargo manifest has been modified.

They're clearly hiding something. And so, if they're not willing to give it voluntarily, then we'll have to begin proceedings to get it from them through other means.

PEREIRA: You've been push for independent review. One of the things that we know is that you specifically wanted to have Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute involved. They're a non-profit group. Explain to us why it's important to have Woods Hole involved.

BAJC: Woods Hole is the organization that actually found Air France 447. So, after all other authorities and all other researchers gave up hope and said it was not findable, Woods Hole continue to go forward and they took a very logical and a very structured approach, without personal gain.

And we believe that that's what's necessary here. So, we're not asking that this raw data be released to us as citizens. We're asking that it be released to a trustworthy third party that has proof of being independent and let them run the search.

PEREIRA: Sarah Bajc, we appreciate you joining us today. We hope that you have success, that maybe there will be some response from Malaysia, from Australia, from China, after sending this open letter from the families. Thanks so much for joining us today.


BOLDUAN: Coming up next on NEW DAY: HGTV suddenly canceling one of its new shows, one of its new fall shows. Did the hosts' religious belief cost them their job? We're talking to the twin brothers who lost the show, ahead.


PEREIRA: Welcome back to NEW DAY.

Let's look at your headlines right now.

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki is facing a subpoena from a House committee and refusing to step down amid allegations that delays at V.A. hospitals have led to at least 40 patient deaths. This as a CNN investigation uncovers new claims of wrong doing at V.A. hospitals in San Antonio. Officials there accused of covering up long and potentially deadly treatment delays for patients.

A tough choice for a house Democrats today on whether they will join a new committee to investigate Benghazi. The House approving the new probe in the near party line vote Tuesday. The 2012 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi left four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador, dead. Democrats oppose new hearings but may join the committee as a check on their Republican colleagues.

We're going to speak with DNC Chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz at the top of the hour.

The White House is taking is action to breakdown enrollment barriers with children bought into the U.S. illegally. The Justice Department and the Department of Education updating their guidelines Thursday, advising schools that they are legally obligated to enroll every student regardless of immigration status. The Education Department said it's investigating 14 schools or districts for possible valuations, dating back to 2011.

The Ringling Brothers Circus is back open after that horrific accident on Sunday that sent eight acrobats crashing to the ground. Last night, the show returned in Hartford, Connecticut. Seven more shows are scheduled through Sunday. For now, the circus will continue on without the human chandelier stunt which was being performed at the time of that accident. Seven performers remain in the hospital recovering from their injuries.

Those are your headlines. Kate, over to you.

BOLDUAN: All right. Michaela, thanks so much.

So, did religion cost two hosts their own show? HGTV was set to premier a new series this fall called "Flip It Forward" featuring twin brothers David and Jason Benham, helping poor families get their dream homes. But this week, the network canceled the show after a website called Right Wing Watch published inflammatory piece about the brothers. It labeled David as an anti-gay, anti-choice extremist.

Joining us now from Charlotte to discuss what happened, David and Jason Benham.

Gentlemen, good morning. Thank you for coming on.

DAVID BENHAM, SHOW CANCELED BY HGTV: Thank you for having us.


BOLDUAN: Of course.

So, first off, HGTV, this is what they said in response to scrapping plans for your show. It is not much. Simply saying HGTV decided not to move forward with the Benham brothers series. What was the reasoning the channel gave to you for scrapping plans for the show?

J. BENHAM: They actually never really gave us a reason. And we understand that in recent light of --

BOLDUAN: Why do you understand that?

We understand that simply because of in light of the things that came out about my brother and, of course, they tacked it on me. I can say I'm the only one that hasn't said anything. I'm the innocent guy here. But -- but when the fire storm came in, we had an opportunity to speak with hg and all the folks over there. And explain to them who we were as people, that we sell to all people, of all kinds, and that we would be glad to take a homosexual couple on to our show.

But I did explain to them, but the fire storm will kick up as long as David and I are hosts on your network. It's only going to get worse because there is an agenda that wants to silence the beliefs that we have. And so we -- our hearts go out to HGTV. They sunk a lot of money into this. We really feel bad for them right now.

BOLDUAN: Why do your hearts go out to them? They canceled your show?

D. BENHAM: We feel that they got -- but we understand. They actually took an investment into us and they believed in us. HG is a very smart network. They did all the research and they knew who we were. We actually over a years ago met with one of the executives in person and spoke about the very things that now on right wing watch and other blogs are talking about.

They saw behind our eyes that we love all people, that we have no ill intent toward anyone. They said, we want to put a show out for you and your brother. And so when the hype started it was difficult for them and maybe they would lose advertisers. I'm not sure. They didn't give us the reason, but they're in business. We're in a free country. They can say, you know what, we don't want your show anymore. As a result, I feel like they got bullied. There's an agenda that's out here and that's the real issue here is there's an agenda that's out in America right now that demands silence, especially from men and women who profess Jesus Christ and hold to his standards. And those of us, we're not forcing that on culture. But now this agenda is forcing itself on us.

You even look, even in the gay community, men like Andrew Sullivan and other thinkers, they're writing and saying that this latest scourge of gay intolerance should be beat back forcefully and that's not even from us.

BOLDUAN: Let's get viewers up to date on what we're talking about. Let me roll one clip of something that you talk about, David, that is what people are so angry about. Listen to this.


D. BENHAM: We don't realize that, OK, if 87 percent of Americans are Christians and yet we have abortion on demand, we have no-fault divorce, we have pornography and perversion, we have a homosexuality agenda that's attacking the nation, we have adultery, we have all of the things -- I mean, we even have allowed demonic ideologies to take our universities, our public school systems, while the church sits silent and just builds big churches.

And we are so complacent, we are so apathetic and hypocritical in the church. That's why the bible says judgment begins in the house of God. So when we prayed at 714 we asked god and our city to forgive us for allowing these things in the house of God.


BOLDUAN: So you're critical of the church in talking in this conversation, but you're also critical of what you were calling the homosexuality and its agenda that's attacking the nation. Do you understand why people would be angry about that?

D. BENHAM: I cannot understand why people get pretty much upset about anything in this polarized nation that we live in at this point. The thing is I never spoke anything about homosexuals as people. I spoke about the agenda. Here's the issue. I fully understand why the gay community, some in the gay community can feel that that statement is against them personally when I'm speaking against the agenda because the agenda is who they are, some of them.

And I know that because even if you speak about my faith it's a personal attack on me and I can see how people understand that. And that's where Jason and I as men of faith and as the church, as Christians inside the church, it's up to us to be the conscience of the nation, as Martin Luther King Jr. said, the church must be reminded that it is neither the master nor the servant of the state, rather it is the conscience of the state. So I was simply stating --

BOLDUAN: To both of you, Jason and David, this is an issue of free speech and this is also comes down to a company's business discretion to make a business decision. I think folks are a little surprised to find you both very sympathetic to the company who was very interested in having you on their channel and then scrap plans only when what you think is because they get pressure from the outside. So are you wanting to work with HGTV again?

D. BENHAM: We would love to work with HGTV. We absolutely love the folks, the executives there.

BOLDUAN: You don't feel they're wrong at all in this?

K. BENHAM: No, we don't feel wronged at all. As David said, this isn't against -- this isn't HG versus us.

D. BENHAM: Versus the Benhams.

K. BENHAM: Or us versus the gay community. This is an agenda. We're getting to witness it right now. Check it out. We believe in Jesus Christ and David specifically said some things. Agenda says this, you believe this. I believe this, now you can't say your belief. That's not right.

D. BENHAM: So there's bullying and there's fear tactics and they're demanding silence from those that profess Jesus and want to live to his standards. So what's happening is HGTV probably was not prepared for that battle. But unfortunately it came to their doorsteps. And Jason and I, we have never changed who we are. When Jesus stepped into our hearts at the age of 12 and we began applying his principles into our lives we've never changed anything. So we're ready for this. We're not afraid of it.

K. BENHAM: I have to interrupt him otherwise he will continue on. We say that our faith may have cost us the show, but you know what, our faith got us the show because that's who we are. And the only regret that we have with this is that America is not going to get to see an awesome show. Some of the editors were putting it together and said, your show is blockbuster.

D. BENHAM: It's a shame they won't get to see my beautiful wife.

K. BENHAM: But -- HG did and HG liked me and, therefore, took him along just pulled him in tow and now America doesn't get to see that. We're sad about that.

BOLDUAN: Then all I see is smiles on your faces. We will see what HGTV says, as you said, they still have not given you any concrete reason why they scrapped plans for the show and we will wait and see what happens with you guys in the future. Jason, David, thanks very much --Chris.

D. KENMAN: Thanks for having us.

BOLDUAN: Of course. Sorry. Chris, dealing with the delay.

CUOMO: All right, next up on NEW DAY, the first pick was no surprise, but the waiting was agony for this man, young man, Johnny Football. Nearly dropped out of the first round of the draft. What happened to Manziel? Who finally grabbed the Heisman winning quarterback? The "Bleacher Report" is next.


CUOMO: The NFL draft is a big, big thing and months of build up. We want to see who goes first, who everybody's team takes. Let's bring in Brian McFayden here to tell us all the draft day drama in this morning's "Bleacher Report."

Let's start with the main headline. Let's not forget our humanity, respect of boy, Andy Scholes, is on baby watch. We wish him and his wife the best obviously, Brian, right?

BRIAN MCFAYDEN, "BLEACHER REPORT": He is on baby watch. I got to phone call late last night thinking I could stay up and watch the draft but that's not going to happen so I'm getting a lot of news just now. If you're a Browns fan, you probably still celebrating this morning. Johnny Football is coming to Cleveland. But it took a while to get there.

Johnny Manziel heard his name called after three hours of waiting backstage. Cameras were on him the entire time. The clock kept ticking. Never once did you see him show signs of disappointment. He was passed on by 21 teams before the Browns traded up to get the pick from the Eagles. He was on the screen so much that ESPN reportedly mentioned Manziel's name more times than the top five picks combined.

Finally at 10:43 Eastern he gets the hug that he's been waiting for from the commish. Took the defensive end with the very first choice. Scouts say he's a one in a generation player but there was some criticism upon his work ethic last season and questions about whether the Texans would trade the number one slot.

One of the big questions remaining in the draft is which team will take Michael Sam who could become the NFL's first openly gay football player. The all American defensive end for Missouri came out in February. But when and where will he go? Sam underperformed at the NFL combine and scouts say he may not be selected until the last picks are made on Saturday. And if he is not drafted at all, he will more than likely be signed as a free agent -- guys.

BOLDUAN: All right, back to the headline, Andy Scholes is having a baby. McFayden had to come in and get the information. We really appreciate it and make sure that Andy knows we're thinking of him.

BOLDUAN: You can come back, too. We don't need him to be on baby watch.

MCFAYDEN: I would love to hang out with you guys again for sure.

CUOMO: I care about Andy. Once again, my Jets failed to impress at the draft. I can focus fully on the baby. We gave you that draft information. A lot of big stories to start your new day today. CNN out front again on a shocking story of wrong doing at VA hospitals. Wait until you hear the latest.

And then, will Democrats boycott the latest Benghazi investigation? Can they do that? The head of the DNC is here. We'll test her opinions and amazing video is a quick thinking Boston cop plucks a suicidal man off the tracks. It's all here. Let's get after it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The problems at the VA are systemic.

ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, CNN'S "AC360": Major developments in the health care scandal that's rocking the Department of Veterans Affairs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This investigation would not be necessary had the Obama administration not misled the Congress about what happened in Benghazi.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Boko Haram's campaign of terror, shocking the world into action.

JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: Our interagency team is hitting the ground in Nigeria now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I committed to grabbing him and I committed myself.


CUOMO: Good morning. Welcome back to NEW DAY. It's Friday, May 9th, 7:00 in the east. Up first, explosive new allegations involving a VA hospital in Texas uncovered by CNN. The facility in San Antonio accused of cooking the books to cover up deadly treatment delays. Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki ordering all VA clinics to undergo face to face audits.

This while he's expected on Capitol Hill to answer for why dozens of veterans allegedly died waiting weeks and months for treatment. Let's bring in Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr. Good morning, Barbara.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Chris. Twenty three million veterans in this country and the VA now ordering an audit at all of the clinics who serve American veterans. Were there secret waiting lists? CNN revealed much of the information. Our own Drew Griffin, now an inspector general investigation at the VA. The House Veterans Affairs Committee issuing the subpoena for Eric Shinseki, the embattled VA secretary.

They want to hear from him directly. They want to see any e-mails about these so-called secret waiting lists where veterans made to wait more than the two-week period