Return to Transcripts main page


Malaysian Families Get Data; Watching the Kentucky Senate Race; Deadly Oklahoma Tornado Anniversary; NBA Moves to Force Sterling Sale

Aired May 20, 2014 - 06:30   ET



MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to NEW DAY, at half past the hour. Let's take a look at your headlines.

A big primary day with important races in six states where key political players could be toppled. The big question in for them: how much muscle does the Tea Party have? Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell facing a challenge from the far right. Even if he prevails today, he faces a tough fight to keep the seat in the fall.

Dog owners beware: toxic treats have linked to more than a thousand deaths. The Food and Drug Administration is issuing a new health warning about jerky pet treats imported from China. Officials report some 1,800 new cases of pet illnesses since the last warning in October. The FDA says the jerky treats were almost all made in China. The flavors include chicken, duck, and sweet potato.

PEREIRA: I want to show you dramatic dash cam video. Elementary school teacher is facing charges this morning accuse of nearly killing a police officer in Missouri. Police say 46-year-old Christi Biggers was intoxicated when she caused a chain reaction crash. And Officer Kent Lewis plunging 30 feet off a bridge.

Lewis was taken to the hospital in serious condition but he is expected to make a full recovery. His only option he thought was to jump and get out of the way. Hopefully he'll have a speedy recovery.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Mickey, thanks for that.

Today marks a very somber anniversary, especially in Oklahoma. CNN was there a year ago today when a massive tornado ripped through the town of Moore, Oklahoma, leaving 24 dead including seven children. You will remember the kids were killed while seeking shelter inside their school.

George Howell was on the ground that day, did beautiful reporting, and is back in Moore this morning -- to take a look, George, at how far they've come and how far they have yet to go. Good morning. GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Chris, good morning. I can tell you personally, it is a day that I will never forget. My team and I, we heard the sirens blaring. We went to an underground shelter to get out of the way. And then we arrived back at this community and just saw everything destroyed.

A year later, you see signs of progress, you see homes coming up, but for everyone who was here on the ground that day, people remember vividly just trying to get out of the way.


HOWELL (voice-over): Never before seen video --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can hear the roar.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's right there.

HOWELL: -- of a family on the run.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's it. It's right there.

HOWELL: A monster in the rearview mirror.


HOWELL: Every second, every decision, a matter of life and death.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm going through the field. We're going to be good down here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Drove south through fields, over curbs and fences to get out.

HOWELL: The Brodericks returned to only find they lost everything. But they had a much bigger concern in mind that night digging through debris and finding the missing and that is when we first met.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was just carnage. You know, but it had to be done. People needed to be helped. So I started rounding everybody up. People were just running up and down the streets. I got them hollering out, if you can hear me, call out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He is my hero. I mean, not only did he save our lives but I know he saved some other lives.

HOWELL: The Brodericks consider them among the lucky.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The front door here.

HOWELL: Slowly but surely rebuilding their home. But this community almost suffered some heartbreaking loss, 24 people died that day, seven of the dead were students, killed inside Plaza Towers Elementary School when the building was all by leveled.

One of them, Danny Moore's son. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My son Christopher had a little friend down the hall that was crying. Upset about the weather. He asked his substitute that day if he could move down the hall. She allowed him to and he covered his little friend when the wall came down.

HOWELL: The old building didn't have storm shelters. The new school that's going up will. And you find throughout this community that new homes are being built with storm shelters in place, just as the Brodericks are planning.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're going to build our storm shelter right here, kind of between the second and third cars.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my gosh. My gosh. Don't look. Don't look.

HOWELL: After what this family, like many others, saw and experienced, one year ago, not being prepared for a disaster like this is no longer an option.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can hear the roar.


HOWELL: There is currently a debate to try to get storm shelters in all schools here in Oklahoma. There is presently no state demanding it or a debate about how to pay for it and critics say there's no excuse given what people went through a year ago. Governor told me it is top of the list for her as far as priorities but she says it should be left up to communities to make that decision as to how that happens.

But, Chris, you remember being on the ground here. You remember seeing all this debris. The debris is gone. People lived through that process of getting that out. And now they are where they are now, but it has been a long, slow and painful process for a lot of people.

CUOMO: It's important, George. Thank you for going back because we tend to forget.

And I remember the talk about the shelters. I remember the promises. And I remember the lawmakers saying this won't happen again. We'll prepare our community the next time and now you hear the state is saying -- well, it's up to the locals to figure it out. They need the money. They need the guidance and the help. So, it's important to stay on it.

We want to show you some images of before and after. Just so you get a sense of how terrible it was.

This was a bowling alley. Remember, everybody was so moved because the pins were still up. This is one of the schools. This is what happened at the school. This was Briarwood school. This, I believe, was the -- this was the hospital medical center. Now you see it's just a blank slate there. They stale have a rebuild.

And this, of course, was Plaza Towers school where the children lost their lives. This is the video we took from air so show the complete devastation where part of the town is intact, the rest of it is gone forever. Things to keep in mind -- that medical center needs to be rebuilt.

We all care in the moment. Americans, especially, are tremendously generous in the moment of crisis. But you know, news moves on. Not everybody is a George Howell who fights to want b to go back and cover again a year later so that we remember West, Texas, that town because that was blown up by that weird explosion at the fertilizer plant, Moore, Oklahoma, they need your help now. They need it right now.

If you want to give money, they need to rebuild the medical center, storm shelters, their schools. And then it's everything that they can't rebuild, those feelings and the families.

BOLDUAN: It shows how -- well, when people -- people go back to their lives after these horrific events but it shows that their lives in Moore, Oklahoma, changed forever, construction still happening, construction not even beginning in some places.

And debate about the school storm shelters is a very live debate happening. It said if they would retrofit to get a storm shelter in every school in the state, it would be something like a billion dollars that they would need. So that's where the debate is today. What they're going to do.

One thing they say is for sure is that they're going to be hit again. It's just a matter of when. It's Oklahoma.

CUOMO: Sure. These things happen. You have to do the best you can to prepare. It's good that George went back. It's good for us to remember.


Coming up next on NEW DAY: welcome news for the Flight 370 families, Inmarsat and the Malaysian government are working to release the raw satellite data that's been used to find out where the plane they think is the best guess of where the plane is.

But exactly what will be made public still remains a bit of a question. We're going to talk to the partner of an American on board the plane who has been one of the folks leading the effort demand that the data be released.


CUOMO: So, this morning, the NBA is a step closer to forcing Donald Sterling to sell the Los Angeles Clippers. The league has initiated a charge against Sterling.

Per the NBA constitution, Sterling gets to appeal directly to his fellow owners, in June before they vote. Sterling is having none of it with his lawyer demanding a three-month delay. Let's talk about if that happens and what will happen going forward with Mr. David Cornwell, sports attorney, with Gordon & Rees, and former assistant counsel for the NFL.

Mr. Cornwell, good to have you, counselor.

So we hear phrases that sound very judiciary, they charged, there's an answer for reply, there's going to be a hearing. But this is not in a court of law. This is in the court of the NBA. How is it different?

DAVID CORNWELL, SPORTS ATTORNEY: It's different because one thing is it gets one bite at the apple. In the constitution and bylaws, it says that he waives all right to go to court to have a decision reviewed. He just gets one bite at the apple. He has five days to appear and to make his best showing as to why the charges are not accurate.

CUOMO: And the judge is actually going to come down to the vote, right, the owners themselves. It's not just one judge.

CORNWELL: That's right. The 29 other owners will be sitting in judgment, 3/4 of whom must vote to terminate his membership in order to take away his ownership of the Clippers.

CUOMO: And the rules of play are pretty much anything goes, right? There are no rules of evidence, you just make the charges as you want and you answer them the way you see fit?

CORNWELL: Well, he has a right to counsel if rule of evidence -- rules of evidence apply but not strictly. And this was more about procedure and process. Having a lawyer there, enabling him to make sure to make his best arguments, allowing the rules of evidence to be the guide, to ensure that it's just not an unwieldy and unmanageable process.

But he will have a full opportunity to make his best showing as to why the charges are not appropriate and that he should stay an owner. And the league will be represented by counsel, supporting its position that the charges are accurate.

CUOMO: And then once the vote is had that's it, he does get a chance to appeal. He only gets to appeal the initial charge which is what the hearing will be. Is there any wiggle room for Sterling here? Any way to work this system?

CORNWELL: I don't think so. That doesn't mean he won't try. But the constitution and bylaws says that he waives all right to go to a court. It says that the final decision shall be binding. So, there's really no wiggle room based on the words of the constitution and bylaws but his best shot probably is still to assert that the charge itself goes beyond the scope of the constitution and bylaws and probably are tried to have a court say you interpret this against me rather than letting the commissioner and the owners do it.

CUOMO: What's the chance that happens?

CORNWELL: Somewhere between zero and none, but he'll still try.

CUOMO: Where do you think the need is right now with the owners from zero being, oh, we don't want to set a dangerous precedent here for what qualifies you to lose a team, and 10 being, he's got to go?

CORNWELL: I think he's got to go, but I think the owners probably are about an eight, 8 1/2. My sense is they recognize this has to be done. They want to do it cautiously. They want to do it right. As you say, some owners are probably seeing the long view here about the impact on their interests. So they will be very careful and tailor this specifically to Sterling's conduct to date.

CUOMO: Appreciate the insight, Mr. Cornwell, counselor. See you again on this soon, I'm sure. Kate.

CORNWELL: Look forward to it.

BOLDUAN: Coming up next on NEW DAY, they say the data is coming. Inmarsat and Malaysian authorities promising that they will make satellite information public and soon. But when and how much? What are you going to see in it and is it enough for the angry families? We will speak with Sarah Bajc, whose partner was on the flight, about what she wants to see in this data.

Also ahead. It is primary day. Top races, the big story line, will the tea party challengers prevail? A look at what's at stake in the house and the Senate?


BOLDUAN: Yes, it's money time. Chief business correspondent Christine Romans is in the money center with what you need to know, Christine.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hi guys. The best retirement savers in the country live in Silicon Valley. A new study from Fidelity shows people in San Francisco save 14.6 percent of their income in 401(k)s. People in Raleigh and Houston are also super savers. If you want to be a millionaire by the time you retire, the average amount you need to save about 14 percent right into your 401(k).

Credit Swiss pleading guilty to helping American's evade taxes. The bank is paying U.S. regulators $3 billion to settle this decades long investigation. This is also the first guilty plea from a major bank in decades. Usually banks settle without admitting any wrong doing.

Sprint paying $7.5 million for failing to honor those do not call requests from customers. This is the largest ever do not call fine. Sprint is not a first-time offender, by the way. Just three years ago sprint paid another $400,000 fine. Michaela.

PEREIRA: Don't try calling us when we don't want to be called, right Christine?

ROMANS: You got it. PEREIRA: We have new developments this morning for you in the search for Flight 370. Malaysian officials and the satellite company Inmarsat are planning to make public the raw satellite information used to determine just where that jet went down. Families have been asking for this data for months now and demanding an independent analysis.

Joining us now from Beijing is Sarah Bajc, her partner Philip Wood was the only American adult on board flight 370. Sarah it is really a delight to have you. We know this has been months and months long process. You and the families wanting answers from Inmarsat, from the Malaysian government. Now that data is going to be released to you. What is your reaction to them finally doing this?

SARAH BAJC, PARTNER WAS ON FLIGHT 370: Well, we are delighted that they are responding to a long-standing request. We are hopeful that they're actually going to release usable information. So, you know, just stating that they're going to release the raw data doesn't tell us what to expect. In the formal request that we have made it was actually to release all ping data from that particular airplane for the week prior to this occurrence. Starting on March 1st, all the way up through to when the plane went silent. That would include pink data from when the engines were first turned on.

PEREIRA: Proof, like you said, is in the pudding, what will be the information they give, will it be usable, will it be understandable. How confident are you that any big discovery will be there in that data?

BAJC: I don't think that we'll have any big discovery right off the bat. It will take a long time for outside experts to take this information and to try to create models. I mean, one of the goals of getting information from prior flights is that so that you can have a pattern of what is within an acceptable range from that exact airplane as we have known time and distance locations. When we can take that prior week data and then compare it to the current ping cycle, that would hopefully allow them to build a proper mathematical model.

PEREIRA: You and the many voices are asking for an independent review of this data, peer review, if you will. Let's play devil's advocate. On the flip side of that you have to be careful for what you wish, because with that you open up a lot of eyes that can take a look at all of this. Are you prepared and are the families prepared for the rampant speculation that could come out of that?

BAJC: I don't think we could have more speculation than we've already had. There are hundreds of conspiracy theories out there.

PEREIRA: That's true.

BAJC: Probably two dozen that hold some valid -- some validity to them. On the finding Philip Wood Facebook page as well as on the voices 370 Facebook page we've gotten, you know, hundreds of thousands of people chiming in what they think might have happened. So it can't get worse. You know, we're hoping that various experts can come together and create some common consensus on what they believe is the right model to use.

PEREIRA: To that end you talk about all of these conspiracy theories. The former prime minister of Malaysia adding his own voice to the mix of these ongoing conspiracies, saying that he thinks -- and actually accusing the CIA and Boeing of some sort of conspiracy and remotely seizing the plane. And then on top of it a filmmaker announced at Cannes film festival, an Indian filmmaker, that they're already working on a film about missing airline, there's the trailer for you right now. All of this going on. The Facebook conspiracies, et cetera. How do you cut through the noise? Do you find that you just tune it out, Sarah?

BAJC: To a certain degree, we all tune it out. We do register it. I keep a fairly careful log of all the different streams that we receive. And they are kind of classified into first, second and thirds classifications. So we only really have any exchange on the ones that have some validity.

But the involvement of a government is one of the sets of theories and the CIA is one of the groups in question as is the Chinese government is one of the groups to be in question. But none of us frankly know. And so, as a family group, you know, our push is for independent review. Out of the hands of the people that hold liability in this case. And we'll have to trust that that independence will bring some light.

PEREIRA: And the absence of hard data, theories do abound. We know that. In light of these recent developments, Inmarsat and Malaysian government saying they will release the raw data, in the light of other developments we have seen. Or lack of other developments we've seen, has your gut instinct changed at all, Sarah, of what happened to this missing flight?

BAJC: It hasn't really changed. Since the 9th of March when they didn't find immediate wreckage in the sea of Thailand, I've had the same basic theory. And that is that some very bad people, somehow took control of that plane. My personal opinion is that the involvement of governments at this point in covering things up is in an effort to try to fix whatever was happening. Not that they caused the problem to happen. I mean, that's my personal optimistic view. And what's taking so long for us to have exposure to reality, I don't understand. But, you know, we just have to keep pushing and digging.

PEREIRA: We do indeed. Sarah, thanks so much for making yourself available to CNN to talk to you about this ongoing issue. We send you our best thoughts as well, okay?

BAJC: Great. Thank you.

PEREIRA: All right. Chris?

CUOMO: As we get to the top of the hour, here are the stories to watch as you start your NEW DAY. It is primary day in six states. Major test for Republicans, especially some big name candidates including Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell. Violence is erupting in Libya. The U.S. is making plans to get Americans out. And something to keep you out of the airport. We have new details of a very close call at one of the country's busiest hubs. You ready? let's go.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Make me the leader of the majority instead of the leader of the minority. That's achievable right here in Kentucky.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hope that they will work with us and bring these men to justice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As Libya's interim parliament has attacked, the Obama administration is taking no chances.

CUOMO: Yikes. We'll tell you all about that near collision in the air, but it is a big, big day for politics. Key primaries in six states. The Senate could be up for grabs. Some major players could be ousted ahead of the November midterms. Four of the states, put them up there, Oregon, Idaho, Georgia, and Kentucky, those feature a tea party challenger trying to topple more mainstream Republican candidates.

And with Senate seats in more than a dozen states now competitive is why we're suggesting the balance of power in Washington could be up in the air. The race everyone is watching is in Kentucky. Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell is facing off against a tea party challenger there and will have a tough fight in the fall. Assuming he gets through the primary, which he should. He may win. We have Dana Bash there in Louisville this morning. The message has been spent. Outside group spent like a million dollars to attack him. What's the situation?

DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Already people are pitching forward to November, especially Mitch McConnell and his message is very interesting because it's about the big picture and it's really blunt, Chris. He is saying that if he wins, there's a good chance Republicans could take the Senate, he would be majority leader.

Somebody who could do more to help Kentucky and combat president Obama. If he loses, people here in Kentucky will have a junior senator with no experience and no clout. His likely Democratic opponent hits back saying that, you know, people here are just -- and everywhere, are sick of the gridlock in Washington and that he is a big part of the problem. I put that to Mitch McConnell yesterday.


You're likely Democratic opponent says you're exactly what's wrong with Washington, you're the personification of gridlock.

MITCH MCCONNELL, SENATE MINORTY LEADER: We will get into the debate in the general election tomorrow. But I think what Kentuckians have to decide is which direction they want the country to take. Do we want to go in a different direction? Or do we want Harry Reid to continue to be the majority leader? Do we want to vote for Barack Obama in a state that he carried four out of 120 counties? That's what's really at stake in the fall election.

BASH: Now, he's right. The president is highly unpopular here in Kentucky. That is why Mitch McConnell is playing up the idea in his words, that if he goes back to the Senate, if he is the majority leader he would then be able to be the offensive coordinator against Obama policies, not the defensive coordinator as he is now.