Return to Transcripts main page


Accident Occurs in Turkish Coal Mine; Donald Sterling Attacks Magic Johnson in Interview; Man Drives Dump Truck Into TV Station

Aired May 14, 2014 - 07:00   ET


IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And below us there are plans waiting, waiting as people here in the hills around this gritty coal mine, basically you can see the anxiety on their faces as they hope and pray for their loved ones to emerge from what really has become a coffin for now hundreds of Turkish coal miners. Chris

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: That is a horrible metaphor, but unfortunately too close to the truth to be ignored, Ivan, because we have to assume that this mine is a big employer. So many of the families in this small community somehow related to what's going on in that mine right now. And we do know the big variable is if there's fire underground like this, it is taking away much needed oxygen and giving back smoke that can kill you very quickly. What do we understand from the authorities about where they are in controlling the fires?

WATSON: Pumping air down into the mine shafts since Tuesday night to this fire first erupted on Tuesday. Now, I talked to a Turkish lawmaker who is here overseeing some of the rescue efforts. He says one of the problems is they haven't been able to communicate with the hundreds of miners who are still believed to be trapped down below. So that's a major, major problem. He also told me that the fires were still believed to be raging on Wednesday morning and hampering the rescue efforts so that they actually had to let off some of the smoke it accumulated down there because the bad air down there would endanger the rescue efforts.

And really what's saddest of all here is this isn't the first time that Turkey has seen a mine disaster. In 2009 and 10 dozens of coal miners died in at least two separate incidents in Turkish coal mines in this country, and, can you believe it, just two-and-a-half weeks ago a lawmaker whose electorate is in this district, he submitted a motion in parliament to investigate reports of safety hazards at this very mine in the Turkish parliament. And that motion was overturned by a majority of Turkish parliament members, Turkish lawmakers. That's going to be an issue for down the road. Right now people are just hoping again and praying that they're loved ones, and again, we don't know how many men are trapped down there, will emerge safe and sound from this terrible catastrophe.

CUOMO: Ivan, we have you in position out there. We'll come back to you when you learn more. Thank you for the reporting this morning.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Let's turn now to Magic Johnson pulling no punches in his rebuttal to Donald Sterling's comments about him in a CNN exclusive. He called Sterling "delusional." He says he hasn't gotten an apology, and after Sterling's accusations that Johnson is a poor role model for the community, Johnson said he could not stay silent.


MAGIC JOHNSON, FORMER NBA PLAYER: He is a man who we would think would be educated and a man who would be smart enough to build this type of wealth and own a team to have an incredible platform to change the world. But he's doing it in a negative way. You know, first of all, 22 years ago I announced that I did have HIV. I came out like a man. You know? I told the world.

Because of the HIV virus I have attained, I will have to retire from the Lakers today.

I didn't blame nobody else. I understood what I did was wrong. OK? So I announced that to the world. And I hope that I was able to help people in doing that. I think I did.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: You helped countless numbers of people.

JOHNSON: Yes, yes. And I've been to hospice, I've been to hospitals hugging people with HIV and AIDS, you know, before they were dying or people who had -- didn't know if they could live a long time. I hugged them. I counseled them. I talked to them. I talked to them about taking their meds and making sure that they stay on their regimen, which is the key. I talked to a lot of young people who just got HIV and was thinking about, you know, committing suicide, you see? And I tried to talk them out of that.

And then we have given away over $15 million, my foundation. Magic Johnson shouldn't have been included in your conversation because I had nothing to do with this. But since you put me in it again and then you try to disrespect me, the work that I've done in the minority community, that really makes me upset.

And then my competitive spirit comes out because I've done all this great work, all the kids we've sent to college and I got 150 kids on scholarship right now. You know, I've continued to do good work in urban America and I will always do that. I'm devoted. My whole life is devoted to urban America. So I just wish he knew the facts when he was talking. But he's a man who is upset and he's reaching, he's reaching. He's trying to find something he can grab onto to help him save his team. It's not going to happen. It's not going to happen.

COOPER: This idea that he has that African-Americans somehow don't help other African-Americans.

JOHNSON: It's disturbing, it's sad. He didn't do his homework. Tyler Perry called me right after the interview. He was so upset. Spike Lee called me. We help each other, and what we try to do is band together to see how to better our community. We also give the information, because I'm successful, Tyler is success successful, on and on and on, we go back and educate others on how they can become successful. So it's not just about giving them money, it's about giving them the tools so that they can be successful in the African- American community. But the problem is he's living in the stone ages. He can't make those comments about African-Americans and Latinos. He just can't do it.

COOPER: Spike Lee last night was saying that he's messed with the wrong brother.


JOHNSON: Well, you know, Anderson, I'm always going to fight for myself and my people. I will never change. And so when he attacked me personally I have to speak out about it.


CUOMO: Good opportunity for Earvin Magic Johnson to speak to the ignorance of the statements that came out in Donald Sterling's interview. It is unfortunate he got hoisted to the middle, and yet while it answers some questions it raises new ones because there's more in the interview you haven't heard yet with Anderson Cooper. So what else did Donald Sterling say? Well, at one point in the interview he becomes very emotional, and we want to play that for you. He's talking about his behavior and marriage, and the woman whose conversation with Sterling got him into this mess in the first place. Watch this.


DONALD STERLING, L.A. CLIPPERS OWNER: Yes. I think we'll divorce. I think she's already filed. I guess I was bad committing all of these terrible -- I don't even want to say it. But, you know, people say how do you commit adultery? You justify things. You say, well, every man in Paris or France has a mistress. I mean, it may make you smile, but when you're so old you don't think it's wrong anymore if you have a little bit of fun. You don't have much time. If you have a little bit of fun, you can't do what you did before and nobody expects, but you want to be cared for. Everybody wants to be cared for. I made such a mistake. I thought that woman really cared for me.


CUOMO: So let's bring in Charles BLOW, columnist from "New York Times" and CNN commentator, Mr. Mike Pesca, host of the Slate podcast "The Gist with Mike Pesca." All right, let me put something out there for you. We'll start with you, Mike. This is an 81-year-old man. He has been given no quarter or excuse for his age, for his generational perspective, and for whatever deteriorated state emotionally he may be in. Do the tears evoke any sympathy in you for where he's coming from and making these mistakes?

MIKE PESCA, SLATE PODCAST, THE GIST WITH MIKE PESCA: It made me think of the word "pathetic." And originally with the statements I was saying to myself and to people who asked, pathetic, but it was more of a smearing I can't believe this guy, I can't believe this jerk.

Now I don't know if it's sympathy, but there's a sadness to it all. I don't think any of it changes the underlying facts, but this is one of those things where we have a huge blow-up, a huge let's all listen to a tape or let's all listen to a moment and there have been so many, Biden uses the word clean or George Allen says macaque, and we go crazy about it. Now that we get a little more context, I think we're seeing this as a little more complicated. I don't know if it's changes the prescription. From NBA commissioner Adam Silver's perspective this guy still needs to lose his team, from all the players in the NBA, same thing. But I look at him and he maybe a malefactor, might still be able to do evil in the world and his opinions might affect people. But I just look at him and I say to myself this is a pathetic, pathetic man.

BOLDUAN: Charles, what do you think of Magic Johnson's response? He was dragged into this. He didn't ask to be part of this conversation. He felt like he needed to respond, especially after Donald Sterling said to Anderson.

CHARLES BLOW, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think it was right for him to respond. I think he was gracious in the way he responded. I think he is kind of a blueprint for how you can respond to people who are being racist and who attack you personally. So I think Magic is -- it was a great thing that Magic did and the way that he did it, because he didn't have to be as gracious as he was in the way he treated Sterling.

And I think that even if you have this to Sterling, even if you are inclined to forgive, which I think people make mistakes and they should be able to apologize for that and so you can decide to forgive or not, it doesn't erase the beliefs that he has. It doesn't alter the facts of the case. He said what he said, and what he said was racist, and that is the only way to describe it. We cannot play around with the definition of what he said. It does not alter it.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: What I had been saying is that usually racism is more subtle, quiet, and I would say lurking beneath the surface. In this case behind the door, which is of his home. But you don't usually see it brought out like this. This holds up a mirror for people like Donald Sterling, people who are defending him. And now you see once he actually steps in front of a microphone, what he said in front of the microphone is worse than what he said in private.

BLOW: I think it's worse in a way, but it hints at a certain, I think you us idea the right word, subtlety and sophistication, which is that we sometimes want to believe that bias is joined together with malice, that the only way one can be racist is that you loath the person or the group to which you are being racist toward. That is not the way that it always works. Sometimes people can be quite benevolent to the people who are less than them. In fact, in the interview with Anderson he goes on about how he gives to minorities. A lot of people do that. Within philanthropy there is still racism, because people say these people are less than me and I give and it absolves me of my kind of beliefs.

CUOMO: So you have to figure out what the teachable moments are here now, right, there's a bar of relevance. If you're going to keep talking about it there has to be good reasons for it other than the intrigue of what's next. So you have two levels. One you have what I would argue, matters more. What do we do with how we view this type of speech and how we put consequence on this type of speech? And then of course there's looking at the league and what are they going to do, and this mixed signal yesterday of the owner's meeting but not voting and adjourning.

BOLDUAN: Well, you've said all along it should be a teachable moment and it absolutely should be. You do wonder if the people who need to learn the lesson are listening.

LEMON: No, no. Because --

BOLDUAN: If will change another Donald Sterling.

LEMON: Before you guys -- because no one wants to be called a racist. I have never met anyone --

BOLDUAN: Donald Sterling does not believe he's racist.

LEMON: He doesn't believe he's racist. Have you ever met anyone who says, oh, I'm a racist?

PESCA: Yes. Sometimes they're proud of it.

LEMON: What exactly is racism? What is it? You know, what is this desk and you, go well, you know, it's Plexiglas, it's whatever. But what is racism?

BLOW: Your acceptance of the title doesn't change the definition of the title.

BOLDUAN: Great point.

BLOW: I don't need you to acknowledge the fact that you're a racist.

CUOMO: What do you do once it's out there?

PESCA: Don, you said what he said in this interview is worse than on the tapes. We're talking about the thanks that he did. What about the things that he did? What about the things that he did when he was trying to build housing and exclude black people and Hispanic people and families from the housing? That's the most pernicious thing that he did.

And the NBA was pretty much blind to it and they didn't take it on until they had this opportunity to, you know, lower the boom on him because of these tapes, this flash point of the tape. It's all a teachable moment. What Magic Johnson said was great. But no one is going back and talking about, wait a minute, what about the fact that we have systematically this guy in our midst and we did nothing about it until the flash point?

CUOMO: What do you do?

BOLDUAN: It's easy to attack one person who is so blatant. BLOW: I think you take the totality of what Donald Sterling has said in all the interviews that he's given. Not only has he said racist things, which everybody keeps attacking. He has said sexist things, horribly sexist things.


BLOW: His shaming with horrendous in this. I don't know what Magic Johnson's legacy will be when he dies. He was a fantastic baseball player, he has been a fantastic businessman. But what he has done on lifting the profile and alleviating stigma around HIV and AIDS and what you can do post-diagnosis, you can have a family and have a career, it does not have to define you. If you take your meds, you can live a happy and healthy life. People need to hear that because a lot of people don't get tested because they are afraid of the stigma. And if you have someone like Sterling who is, himself, saying that he has done things outside of his marriage, kind of chastising Magic Johnson for doing whatever he did that might have led to HIV and AIDS, and acting as if that becomes a character disease rather than a regular disease like any other disease in America --

CUOMO: The sanitizing light you put on it. You allow it to be out there. Say what he said, correct the false assumptions, and hope it makes people better going forward.

BOLDUAN: I just felt bad that Magic Johnson felt the need that he had to come out and defend his charitable work and things that he has done.

BLOW: He did good by doing that.

BOLDUAN: He did it the right way.

BLOW: He did good for America by doing that.


CUOMO: And so the remaining question becomes, what will the league do and when? They met yesterday, the owners. They did not have a vote. There could be good reasons for that.

BOLDUAN: Donald Sterling still thinks he can wait out the storm.

CUOMO: Well, it happened before.


LEMON: I think the reason -- let the season, let the playoffs, and then they will attack that problem.


CUOMO: As long as they keep their urgency because they're going to be very measured by what they do. I'm not saying what they should do. But they're going to be measured by what they do.

Charles, Mike, thank you very much. Appreciate the talk this morning.


CUOMO: We, of course, will have more of what Magic Johnson has to say throughout the morning, so stick with us. And you can also hear more from Mr. Donald Sterling in his exclusive interview with Anderson Cooper. You have to watch that on "AC 360" tonight at 8:00 right here on CNN.

LEMON: I want to tell you now about some other news. A bizarre scene in Baltimore when a man claiming to be God smashed a stolen landscaping truck into the lobby of a local TV station. The incident had reporters at the station scrambling to cover their own story.


LEMON (voice-over): A frightening scene. This stolen landscaping truck smashing through the lobby of a TV station in Baltimore, ramming the building over and over before crashing through.

JAMIE COSTELLO, ANCHOR, WMAR: All of a sudden, glass is breaking, and there's a truck coming in through the front lobby.

LEMON: Minutes before the crash, the unidentified man is seen on surveillance video trying to enter the station.

MIKE MARION, PRODUCER, WMAR: He then heard a person screaming, "Let me in, let me in!" The person then began to scream, "Let me in! I'm God! I'm f'ing God."

LEMON: This cell phone video showing the terrifying moments that forced the lockdown and evacuation of the station and a nearby school. The man then made his way to an edit room where authorities say he was watching his own story unfold on TV.

CHIEF JIM JOHNSON, BALITMORE COUNTY POLICE DEPT.: It was clear the from the very beginning we were dealing with a mentally -- or emotionally disturbed subject.

LEMON: The suspect's family immigrated from Haiti in 1999. His mother says after high school, he started using drugs and hanging out with the wrong crowd.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know. I don't grow up like that. I have three kids. I work so hard to get him here.

LEMON: The suspect was arrested without incident some five hours after crashing into the building. A terrifying scene the station's workers won't soon forget.


LEMON (on-camera): And the man was taken in for a psychic evaluation before he was -- you know, faces those criminal charges. But again, he went to the wrong station if he was trying to look for -- to be on television. They didn't have a noon broadcast, so he just sat there. BOLDUAN: And they had no way to broadcast, and they weren't going to, especially when they found that he was watching the broadcasting itself.

LEMON: Yeah.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Don.

CUOMO: Unchecked mental illness on display.

LEMON: Yeah, huge problem.


BOLDUAN: Let's turn now to meteorologist Indra Petersons keeping track of the forecast. Indra, still watching the storm.

INDRA PETERSONS, METEOROLOGIST: Very, very slow system. We're still watching it making its across the country. And take a look at all of the lightning that is out there. Remember, this is the same system that brought heavy snow to Colorado and now it's intersecting with all that warm moist air in the Gulf. So look at all the activity that is still spreading farther to the east.

Let's dork out for a second. This is how we look at it in the meteorology world. What you see as a light shape of a U, that's what typically you see a storm look like. But now it's kind of shifting, come to a negatively tilted trough. What does that mean? That means cold air is above warm air. It wants to flip badly.

So with that, we have the threat for more severe weather now with the system. We're talking about anywhere from Cleveland to Pittsburgh stretching all the way back down through Jackson, Mississippi. The threat for more severe weather today, even going into the night hours overnight tonight -- especially careful.

But here's the other side of this. Notice how dry it is on the west and how moist it is in the east. This system is now moving to more and more moist air. This is a huge concern because what are we talking about is all that moisture fueling into an area where we have that severe weather. Heavy thunderstorms are expected and also heavy amounts of flooding where severe flooding could be out there, two to three inches around the Gulf. Three to five inches spreading into the mid-Atlantic over the next several days, even all the way up towards New York and the northeast. We're going to talk about heavy rain over the next several days.

Other side of it, may have noticed if you're in the Midwest that huge temperature drop the last several days. Yeah, a good 20 to 30 degrees cooler yesterday. That cold air is still spilling farther into the east as the cold front makes its way farther to the east.

So look at the temperatures staring to drop. Not too bad in New York City. We're talking about 71. D.C., 75 today. But again, those temperatures will drop once the cold front makes its way in. Once the cold front makes its way in, it's not only going to be cooler, it's going to be kind of rainy. And when I say kind of rainy, rainy a lot. A lot.


BOLDUAN: Thanks, Indra.

That's the Chris not happy.

CUOMO: Coming up on NEW DAY, rescue and recovery under way after a fire in a Turkish mine leaves workers trapped. Hundreds trapped. Is there hope for their survival? What are the variables? We're going to talk to the man who helped rescue the Chilean miners back in 2010. A similar situation in terms of the challenges. We'll tell you.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. And also ahead, is Karl Rove waging a smear campaign against Hillary Clinton? New attacks against the potential 2016 candidate. But is all fair in political warfare? We'll discuss as we take you inside politics.


BOLDUAN: Back to the breaking news out of Turkey this morning, rescue crews desperately trying to reach more than 200 coal miners believed to be trapped under ground after an explosion and a fire there.

Joining us is someone who knows a lot about mine rescues. James Stefanic, a technology and development manager with Geotech Boyles Brothers, he helped drill the escape shaft in the rescue effort of the Chilean miners back in 2010.

James, thank you so much for joining us this morning.

JAMES STEFANIC, GEOTECH BOYLES BROS.: Yes, good morning. How you doing?

BOLDUAN: Doing well, thank you.

So I want to lean heavily on your expertise here from your experience with the Chilean mine disaster. When you understand the little -- the little we're getting out of Turkey so far, what is the first thing that they need to focus on in their rescue efforts?

STEFANIC: Well, definitely I'm sure they have a good emergency plan for this kind of situation, as most mines should have one. There's usually an emergency response team that comes into play. And I'm pretty sure from what I hear this is a pretty good size mine.

So I would think they have a lot of safety equipment under ground that can maybe, you know, hopefully -- you always have to hope for the best and hope that there's still a lot of people there alive.

So one of the things you don't want to give up, you don't want to give up. We never gave up on our side. You know, we didn't know what was going on down there at about 2,000 feet below ground. I think what really helped is we had a lot of hopes to even if we could find one person alive, it was worth the effort.

BOLDUAN: Yeah, I mean --

STEFANIC: I think that --

BOLDUAN: In Chile the miners were -- survived 69 days under ground, you'll remember very well, better than anybody. In Chile, they're also dealing with a cave-in. In Turkey what they believe they're dealing with is an explosion and an electrical fire of some kind. How does that change the dynamic?

STEFANIC: Well, that definitely changes things. Because on a cave -- when you have a cave-in, you hope that miners were not exactly where the cave actually occurred, which was a case here in Chile. They were -- luckily they were able to get into a place where they were safe. It was just a matter of hanging in there until we could get down there and drill and find them.

In this case here where you have fire involved, it makes things a lot tougher. Fire can create a lot of carbon monoxide, and that can have an affect on people down there. I think here time is more of a pressure problem than it was in our case, for sure. Time is definitely a factor here. And I -- they were trying to inject a little air in there, which is good. But if you've got some fires, oxygen (inaudible) is not going to -- you know, it helps the people, but it can also cause the fire to ignite even more. So you've got to be real careful with that, too.

BOLDUAN: How do you take that into account then? Because we hear from the rescue efforts on the ground that they are trying to pump air into the mine shaft to try to help anyone who is down there. I mean, there is still some 200 believed to be missing. You say that can also carry risks. How do you balance that? What do you do?

STEFANIC: Well, I'm sure they got, hopefully, enough information to realize what areas they can inject air into. If there's no fire in a certain area you can definitely inject air, and that will definitely help.

You know, as time goes by, the air is what really gets to be a problem down there when you're trapped, and getting fresh air in there can definitely help the people out to -- to where they can survive a lot longer. So air is definitely a good option, but you just got to be careful you're not injecting air where there's still a fire.

BOLDUAN: Now, the Chilean miners, if I remember correctly, they were down a little less than half a mile. The miners in this case, they believe could be about two-thirds of a mile or even up to a mile below the surface. That seems to obviously pose much more additional challenges. How do you take that into account if you're trying to get down there?

STEFANIC: Well, it's a different situation. In our case, it was a collapse, and we just couldn't get anywhere close. So we have to drill a hole from the surface.

I'm not sure what all the details are in this mine here. But you know, if you can -- this is a pretty good size mine from what I can understand. So if you can get close to where the fire is, you don't have to drill a hole from surface. You might be able to get -- reach the miners through the inside, which can sometimes make it a little better. But you've got to be real careful if you don't -- you know, that you don't send people in there and then have your rescue people get trapped in there.

So a lot of planning, a lot of -- you need a lot of information so you can make the right call. The more information you have, the better options of making the right decisions, and hopefully getting them out in time to try to get some people out alive. And that's, you know, that's the name of the game. We never gave up. And after 69 days, like you say, we were able to get all 33 of them out alive.

BOLDUAN: And no one will ever forget that moment when that first miner and the last miner all made it out of that Chilean mine alive, due in large part to your ability to drill that hole.

James Stefanic, thank you very much. They can only hope that they'll have success similar to that in this case. Some 200 people still missing in this Turkish mine. Their time is working very much against them in this case. James, thank you very much for your time.


CUOMO: Happening right now, and we will go there throughout the morning and let you know what's happening.

Right now we take a break though on NEW DAY. When we come back, Karl Rove suggests Hillary Clinton may have brain damage. Some in his own party are telling him to stand down. But it is now being discussed by me right now and others, so is it dirty pool well played or a legitimate question? Smart talk ahead on Inside Politics.

BOLDUAN: And it's been missing for more than half a millennium. Did a team really find the boat Christopher Columbus sailed to the new world? You're going to hear from the man who says he's found it.