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Politics Behind FAA Israel Ban?; Obama Mulls Sending National Guard; Senator Admits Plagiarism, Blames PTSD; The Impact Of Russia's Media Machine; Forensic Analysis of MH17

Aired July 24, 2014 - 07:30   ET


JOHN KING, CNN HOST, "INSIDE POLITICS": Probably have not heard the rest of this. At the State Department, I should say Marie Harf, the spokeswoman said, it's ridiculous and offensive to suggest that any politics came into play here. That it was just a decision on the merits by the FAA, but Senator Cruz now says he'll hold up any State Department nominees until he gets answers. We'll see how long that one last.

Let's move on to another very important issue, which is the border crisis. We've heard a lot of Republicans, the administration has been in a debate back and forth about what to do. One Republican has been relatively silent finally speaking up.

Jeb Bush, he is the former governor of Florida, has been very prominent in this issue for years, which is why his relative silence on this issue was so striking. He writes in the "Wall Street Journal" today essentially siding with conservatives, and the White House, saying most of these kids have to go home.

"Except for those deserving few who may demonstrate true cause for asylum or protection from sex trafficking these children must be returned to their homes in Central America." Jeb Bush saying that with his co-author of a book, Clint Folik in the "Wall Street Journal".

But Manu, he goes on to say this at the very end. You have to read all the way to the end, he says, "Now is the time for House Republicans to demonstrate leadership on this issue. Congress should not use the present crisis as an excuse to defer comprehensive immigration reform."

Is that a good luck, Governor Bush? Do you see any indication Speaker Boehner is ready to bring a bill to the floor that has either a path to legal status or a path to citizenship for undocumented workers?

MANU RAJU, "POLITICO": But it's clearly a sign that he's not running away from this issue when other folks that he may run against are taking a much harder line. Even his former protege, Marco Rubio, doesn't think that a comprehensive immigration reform is the way to go even though he supported it and draft it had in the Senate.

So he's still clearly embracing this issue and believes that he can run on it because there is a lot of support from the business community, even if it does turn off the right wing of the party.

MARTIN: I think including that language at the end there was done with the express purpose of pre-empting people like us from saying look at Jeb Bush, he's becoming more hawkish on the border now. He's running from his reformer standpoint trying to pander to the party. He wants to avoid that. And so I think in an otherwise tough piece about turning these kids home he wanted to make sure that there was not some misinterpretation about his posture on the broader issue.

KING: So the question now is will he make that point on a debate stage in Iowa and New Hampshire, and North Carolina or will he just make it on the editorial pages of the "Wall Street Journal." That is debate by the Jeb Bush is in or out that will play out of the 2016 Republican primaries.

Another part of the story now is the White House says it will have a task force to go down to the border to decide whether or not National Guard troops are needed. My question is what were they waiting for? The White House has been saying for weeks they don't think it's necessary.

Rick Perry, the governor of Texas has raised his national profile by sending a thousand Texas National Guard troops. How could they say it wasn't necessary or we don't think this is necessary for weeks and then say, we're going to tend a task force down now. This is not a new problem.

RAJU: I mean, this is what Democrats on the Hill are pulling their hair out over. They don't believe the administration has sort of dragged its feet on this issue, even months ago when Democrats on the Hill were going to the administration saying we need some more money to deal with this. They didn't really deal with it at all. They waited until a few weeks ago to actually propose funding bill for Congress to act on.

They have floated the idea of changing this 2008 trafficking law that the Republicans have seized upon, but Democrats on the Hill are opposed about. So the way that the administration has responded has prompted a lot of Democrats to scratch their heads.

KING: I want to move on and close our conversation with this front page story by a guy named Jonathan Martin in the "New York Times" this morning. It's fascinating reporting, Jonathan. You have a senator from the state of Montana who has now clearly, clearly plagiarized a thesis that he used to get his degree from the War College.

John Walsh is an appointed senator. Democrats had hoped by appointing him that he might be able to hold his seat. This is not just about one man. This seat is part of the critical part of the calculation. Can the Democrats keep their Senate majority? Tell us a bit about the story and answer this question. Will Senator Walsh try to stay or do you think he'll end up resigning before the election?

MARTIN: Well, the initial reaction on the part of national Democrats is to stand by him and Senator Walsh and his office have tried to strike a balance and effectively acknowledging what he did saying it was a mistake. But John calling it unintentional or not intentional. Now, if viewers go to the "New York Times" today and pull up that story, if you go to the web site and pull up that story, you'll see that you can go through the body of the story.

KING: It's chronic, not just a line or two.

MARTIN: Every paragraph, that he copied the work of others in, so it's clearly something that a person does intend to do given the extent of it. It's going to be interesting to see given the breadth of what he did how long Democrats can continue to say it was unintentional, can stick by him.

I think part of the issue here is there's not a lot of good alternatives out there in terms running somebody else. It's almost August now, and further the Democrats are defending six seats, OK? That is what at stake here, six seats for the GOP to take a majority. A lot of folks in both parties kind of already thought Montana was slipping away from their column and this was going to be hard to keep anyway.

RAJU: I was going to add that. Montana was already difficult and now it's even much more difficult.

KING: But it's one of those ones you hope to pull out of your hat if you're the Democrats, hope for a surprise out there is that negates like a Republican chance of taking over the Senate. We'll see.

MARTIN: And the whole point of him being appointed was a 33-year decorated National Guard, military man, something that the Democrats don't have a lot of.

KING: And now that's been shredded by the personal story. You have personal empathy, but when you read the article it's over and over again. We'll watch this one unfold. Jonathan, Manu, thanks for coming in.

Chris, Alisyn, we'll get back to you. It's a tough one, personal story. A guy who served his country and want to have empathy for him, but he's also a United States senator and the guidelines at the War College, it's a pretty clear cut case.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, it is. You can have both. You can be skeptical and have sympathy for what he's going through. John, thanks.

KING: Thank you.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Take a little break here. When we come back on NEW DAY, the very delicate task of handling the bodies of MH-17. We have chief medical correspondent, Sanjay Gupta, who is going to tell us what goes into identifying the remains and then reuniting them with the families.

CAMEROTA: And the Russian media has its own version of who is to blame for the MH-17 disaster. So coming up, we're going to take a look at the country's propaganda machine, something Chris Cuomo knows a little something about.

CUOMO: True, true.

CAMEROTA: We'll talk about what happened over there.


CUOMO: All right, here's something that we can say we know. MH-17 was shot out of the sky. Now, by whom and what weapons hand how did they get them? Well, there's an answer to that as well, but it depends who you ask. If that wasn't clear before our interview Wednesday with "Russian Today" anchor, Peter Lavelle it's certainly clear now. Proves what happens when you confront a propaganda machine, U.S. versus Russia. Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where's the evidence?

CUOMO: Listen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That we need to solve this crime. It's not coming out of Washington.

CUOMO: Peter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Intelligence officials are saying they don't know who did this. They don't know where it came from. The United States spends $100 billion a year on global intelligence, and they can't find out?


CUOMO: Now, there were variables involved here that have nothing to do with propaganda or difference. One, there was a big communication delay, we're on two different satellites.

CAMEROTA: I thought you did a very good job.

CUOMO: He had a different point of view and he expected to be challenged. Why? Because there's fundamental distrust between of the west by the east specifically Russia. However at the end of the day, certain things are true and certain things are not and how they get challenged become very important and that's why this interview has set off a lot of different opinions.

CAMEROTA: It sure has, but it was very heated and was very interesting to watch you both go at it and also interesting because you're both newscasters, both anchormen so you were sort of asking each other questions.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: It's interesting that he came out of the gate swinging.

CUOMO: Came out hot.

PEREIRA: He was ready for --

CUOMO: I really was not --

PEREIRA: I read it on you.

CUOMO: I had absolutely zero intention of certainly starting a fight. I want to give dignities to victims. Last thing I want to do is use that opportunity to disgrace it further by arguing politics, but all I asked was about the crime scene, why didn't Russia denounce the crime scene? That doesn't implicate you in any way, everybody else denounce the crime scene and then it went from there.

So the question becomes what is propaganda, which is obvious and intentional misinformation and how is it being used and which side is using it more? Who knows better to discuss this than this type of media play than CNN's Brian Stelter, host of "RELIABLE SOURCES." Thank you for coming in.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Quite an interview, so striking to me at one point when he says you're representing the U.S. State Department. You know, I was taken aback by that because the big difference for all the fault of the U.S. media is that it's not funded by the government the way "Russia Today" is. That's the key difference that runs through all of this I think.

CAMEROTA: You know what's interesting I thought in watching this and I thought Chris did a great job is they were both asking each other questions.

CUOMO: Right.

CAMEROTA: So Chris was saying why hasn't Russia renounced it, and he, the other anchorman countered what's your evidence against Russia, what's your evidence? Is Chris supposed to answer that question? I mean, Chris is the questioner here so they kept going at that.

STELTER: I would agree and I think because this guy's show is called "Crosstalk" and maybe that's one of his tactics. We think a lot in domestic media about two different sets of fact, people with different versions of the truth. Look at Fox News and MSNBC and hear very different stories about immigration this month or on Fox News you might hear stories about guns saving lives and on MSNBC, you hear stories about the death toll from guns.

Well, this is a reminder about the international version of that. People have their own sets of facts in this story as well and conflict in the Middle East and as much as we worry about political polarization in the press here domestically it's so vivid when you watch "Russia Today."

CAMEROTA: Did you think it was fair that he kept asking you, what's the evidence against Putin? What's the evidence?

CUOMO: No. I thought that he was actually getting away with a benefit that won't mean as much to you at home as people who understand the business, but satellite delay was killing me because there was a big delay so I wasn't able to cut off what I would have done in person.


CUOMO: If we had been in person I would have said I'm not here to make the U.S. case against Russia. I'm here to ask you certain questions because you have been out there saying you have the answers. That said, there's two layers of it. One is what's your role as a journalist, and how much do you debate and how much do you own a position? And two is who is being more effective? For all the talk about propaganda, which by definition is misinformation, I would say Russia is winning.

STELTER: Well, there's an amazing story in "The New Republic" this week talking about some of the conspiracy theories taking root in Russia, one was that this plane was filled with corpses intentionally --

CUOMO: That's crazy.

STELTER: And then flown and crash. But the idea that these can take root and then we can all hear them, right, 20 years ago, you may have had the theories in the Soviet Union. We wouldn't have heard or known about them, but we now live in this globalized media environment where "Russia Today" has a very popular YouTube channel and in many homes I can watch "Russia Today" on my cable dial.

That's a change from a prior generation of media where we weren't exposed to these points of views. Sometimes that can be a good thing. I interviewed Sarah Furth last week because she resigned from RT because she couldn't take it anymore.

CUOMO: That's not what they say.

STELTER: They say she had a new job lined up so we'll see if that is true. My old colleagues are doing great work there, but they are under the thumb of the foreign policy of the Russian government.

PEREIRA: So interesting to see the Russian thumb, but the voice was an American voice. That was the other thing that probably a lot of people found a little shocking and jarring to the ear.

CAMEROTA: I agree.

STELTER: I personally like watching some of their YouTube videos, but you've got to know what you're watching and got to know who is funding it when you are watching in "Russia Today."

PEREIRA: Viewer beware.

CUOMO: They've been very effective at setting up theories that are almost impossible to disprove. For example, we heard there was a Ukrainian plane in that same air space where MH-17 went down, so to rebut that, what do you have to do? Show there was no plane and that's not easy to do. It's easy to show if there's a plane. There's plane and here's the data. Hard to show there was nothing. STELTER: It's a very effective distraction. It's almost literally pointing in the opposite direction in order to distract from the main points here.

CUOMO: He also played the victim well. But anyway, Brian, thank you.

STELTER: It's a very revealing interview at least.

CUOMO: It was very active online. If you look at the reaction, I'm not even treated as a reporter most of the time, treated as somebody who how well did Cuomo argue the position and I have no interest in arguing. Brian is in charge of this stuff so get his take on "RELIABLE SOURCES" Sunday at 11 a.m. only on CNN.

Coming up, the delicate task of how to handle these bodies of MH-17. We saw the dignity bestowed as this country came together, the Netherlands, 17 million people as one, but now it does get harder. Chief medical correspondent, Sanjay Gupta, will tell us what goes into identifying remains and reuniting families.


CAMEROTA: The forensic analysis of victims from the MH-17 disaster is getting under way. The process of identifying 300 remains can be arduous especially under the international microscope. Will forensics give investigators a better idea of how the plane came down?

Joining us is CNN chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta. He is also a member of the American College of Forensic Examiners. So he is well versed in this topic. He's in the Netherlands where those bodies are being identified.

Sanjay, thanks for being here. On a scale of 1 to 10, how complicated a forensic challenge is this crash?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, there are several different goals when you think about this thing, but the most basic goals are to determine cause and manner of death, and then identification. When it comes to cause and manner of death, because of the nature of what we're talking about here, those things have pretty much been established.

There might be some clues or maybe even surprises as you alluded to, but it's really the identification. It's a challenge. When we talk about just these remains coming over, you know, being flown over to the country, they're not entirely sure exactly what they are dealing with, how many souls specifically they are dealing with at this time.

There were 40 coffins that came over yesterday. There may be 74 more today. What exactly that means, it's a big challenge. There have been mass forensic examinations like this in the past. Typically this is a big military base behind me. They need a secure and large location.

They usually have stations that are set up, basic stations to begin with. Were there identifying features, clothing, tattoos, piercings, you stick with the basics first, then things like dental records. They are very good because they're less subject to contamination, but then DNA analysis also being taken.

Sometimes you can find DNA of the individual him or herself. Sometimes you find first-degree relatives, but all of that put together at the end, the goal is to try to identify the remains and return them home.

CAMEROTA: It sounds so complicated. We watched those 40 coffins in that very poignant processional yesterday. As you said, we understand 74 more are coming to the Netherlands. Do we know who is in those coffins?

GUPTA: That is the real question. That's a more complicated question than people may realize. It's grim stuff to talk about, certainly, but there was sort of an analysis, a very cursory analysis that I know Chris Cuomo saw some of that, but they put these remains into the coffins, and then transport them here.

What's exactly inside those coffins, which souls they represent that is not known yet, and that's part of what's going to be going on behind me. By the way, I should point out it's a military base. We walked around here a bit. There are flags from the various countries that had passengers aboard that plane, they are flying at half mast just on the pathway to the military base.

But that gives you a sense of scale of how many different people are involved, 75 different investigators representing many countries around the world, all coming together to try to answer that very question.

CAMEROTA: Sanjay, how long do you think that process of identifying them will take?

GUPTA: It could take some time. Again, this may surprise people, they start with the basic things first. You can imagine getting a call, you know, from these investigators saying can you please try to provide descriptions of your loved ones? Please provide dental records, any evidence of DNA, can we have some of your own DNA so that we can get first-degree relatives, for example, who might match the people on the plane.

All of that take some time, just collecting all that information and then trying to piece it all together. They don't want to go back to these homes and asked these loved ones over and over again for more information. They want to get it right and complete the first time.

I can tell you after the plane crash in Tripoli back in 2010, 104 people were aboard that flight, it took about 30 days, about a month to identify them. So we're not talking about days or certainly not hours, but weeks, if not months here

CAMEROTA: Sanjay, you're so right. We had heard from one of the victims family members, for three hours investigators talked to them just trying to identify the remains. So it takes a long time and it's painstaking. Thanks so much, Sanjay Gupta, for explaining all of that to us today. Of course we'll check back in throughout the day.

Tune into "SANJAY GUPTA MD," Saturdays at 4:30 p.m. and Sundays at 7:30 a.m. Eastern right here on CNN. Chris, what's coming up?

CUOMO: All right, coming up on NEW DAY, the search is on for another flight. Another plane has gone down, this one in Africa, 116 souls now missing for hours. We have the latest for you.

Plus the execution of a murderer in Arizona is flaring up debate over lethal injections. The reason, it took two hours to kill this man. We have details on what we think went wrong.