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Investigators Still Cannot Reach Plane Crash Site in Ukraine; Violence Between Israel and Hamas Continues; Interview with Former U.S. Senator George Mitchell; Sex Offender Featured on CNN's The Hunt Shot Down in NYC

Aired July 29, 2014 - 07:00   ET


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Meanwhile, the Dutch prime minister is begging Ukraine's president to help end the violence and provide investigators with safe passage. Let's bring in Ivan Watson live from Kiev, Ukraine this morning. Good morning, Ivan.

IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Chris. That's right. For the third straight day in a row these investigators, dozens of Australian and Dutch investigators unable to make it to the crash site from the rebel-held city of Donetsk because of fighting on the road.

Now you traveled on that road. You know that it goes through a number of towns that have been under attack by the Ukrainian military, basically since Monday, serious fighting taking place, lives being lost on both sides between the separatists and the Ukrainian government forces. But what it's effectively doing is blocking access for these investigators to get to the site.

They say their top priorities right now is to recover bodies, recover the bodies of dozens of victims still missing 12 days after Malaysian Air flight 17 went town, and also to recover belongings. So this recovery effort being failed and now it's gone all the way up to the Dutch prime minister calling the Ukrainian president here in Kiev and saying, please, bring about a ceasefire, let our people in.

And it does seem that the Ukrainian military is reluctant to do so because they have been making gains in the last couple of days. They have been moving forward and paying with lives to get to where they want to go. They deny that they have moved into the debris field of MH-17, yet at the same time they say they have gotten very close to it and they are trying to capture it from the separatists. Chris?

CUOMO: We know from being there on the ground, Ivan, that the shelling is very close to where the crash site is. You know, this may be playing a little bit about semantics in terms of where the shells actually are, where they actually control, but do you think the reality is, as difficult as it will be for people to hear, that the bodies and the dignity and everything that we have been focusing on simply is not what's most important in this land-grab campaign for the Ukraine versus the militants?

WATSON: Absolutely not. This is a civil war. There have been more than 1,100 people killed here in the last three months, more than 800 people abducted or kidnapped, according to the United Nations. This is pretty much an all-out struggle in the east of the country. Hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers killed. We don't know how many of the pro-Russian separatists have been killed, but we do know that their commander says that they have evacuated more than 120 wounded separatist fighters to Russia in the last couple of days, which kind of highlights the close ties between the rebels and Russia which denies that it's shipping guns and weapons to the rebels, and also denies accusations that it is shooting artillery across the border.

This is a very, very complicated situation. I don't think we've ever seen a case where a commercial airliner goes down in the middle of an angry warzone, dangerous warzone. And perhaps the scene that we saw last week where investigators were able to visit, where we were given free access, perhaps that was an aberration, a brief because in what's really been a nasty civil conflict.

CUOMO: I think you put it well. It is complicated, and it's also showing that this situation is being used opportunistically by both the militants on the ground and perhaps even Ukraine. Ivan, thank you very much.

Also important to point out back here that when we interviewed the self-appointed prime minister there in the region around the crash site, he would not admit that Russia had anything to do with it, and he wouldn't deny it. He said I'm in power. Don't say anything about Russia. I said, oh, you're in power. The Russians aren't in power. He wouldn't answer it. That complicates things on the ground there. And maybe Ukraine is the best bet to get the investigators there safely one that's the priority.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: The fact that we are still talking about getting the investigators in there safely 12 days in, that just gets to the heart of the problem.

Let's get to the heart of the problem, let's get back to the Middle East conflict as well as we keep our eye on Ukraine. Let's bring back in Wolf Blitzer joining us in Jerusalem and also bring in someone who is intimately familiar with the challenges of trying to work out a peace deal in the Middle East. Joining us is a former senator George Mitchell, a former U.S. special envoy to the Middle East, former special envoy to Israelis and Palestinians. Mr. Mitchell, thank you so much for joining us this morning. Wolf is joining me as well.

I want to just first get your take on where you think things stand and trying to break the impasse, trying to break through, especially with this in mind. Secretary Kerry, he was over there and working as hard as he could to try to broker some sort of a ceasefire, a seven-day ceasefire, but he's come under withering criticism for his work including this in the Israeli press, and I want to receipt you one quote. I know Wolf is familiar with this because he read it as well. There coming from "Haaretz." "Over the weekend U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry ruined everything. Very senior officials described the proposal Kerry put on the table as a strategic terrorist attack." Did John Kerry do something wrong here? How do you break through after that, senator? GEORGE MITCHELL, FORMER U.S. SENATOR: Well, I think the secretary is

trying real hard in obviously a very difficult situation. In both sides they know this conflict is going to come to an end at some point, probably soon, as has happened in the past, and both sides are trying to get into the best position they can up to that point and to get ready for what I think they both assume will be the next round.

So it's obviously a difficult situation and I think the secretary should be commended for his efforts. Until there is a ceasefire I think he'll be subject to criticism, but once it comes I hope that the U.S. and the secretary will continue their efforts to try to bring the party together for further talks because this situation, while there are immediate gains for both sides, military and political, in the long term I think it's harmful for the prospects of peace in the region.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST, "THE SITUATION ROOM": It seems to me, senator, the most important priority is to stop the fighting and get a ceasefire and humanitarian pause as the United Nations would do that. How do you do that right now?

MITCHELL: Well, it's obviously very difficult. The Israelis obviously and understandably don't want to stop until they have dealt with all. Tunnels, and they have degraded, to the extent possible, Hamas' capacity to fire rockets upon Israel. So from a military standpoint they have specific intangible goals.

Hamas, on the other hand, has what you might call political objectives, and that is primarily the lifting of the siege that Israel has established on Gaza which has created so much difficulty for the people there. At the same time, Hamas is gaining politically because their main rival, the Palestinian Authority led by President Abbas, is sidelined and increasingly losing political support. Abbas has for many years in the Palestinian Authority for that time have opposed military action against Israel. They are for nonviolent negotiation. The problem, of course, is that it hasn't gotten anywhere over a 20- year period and is increasingly discredited. And then there's actual fighting, when Palestinians are dying, now well over 1,000, the sentiment tents to shift away from the Palestinian Authority and towards Hamas, who is seen by Palestinians and the Arab world as standing up to Israel. So for both sides there are gains being made, although there are also losses being suffered on both sides.

BLITZER: Here's the question that I'm asking, senator, and you know this region well. You spent a long time trying to get a breakthrough. You did a great job in Northern Ireland. This issue here in the Middle East seems obviously a lot more complicated. No rockets or missiles coming into Israel from the West Bank, which is under the control of the Palestinian Authority. Obviously the Israeli military has certain control there as well, but they are coming in from Gaza. How do you get the Palestinian Authority and President Mahmoud Abbas effectively in control of Gaza once again and then maybe there could be some semblance of not only a ceasefire but a peace process?

MITCHELL: Well, that was really what I tried to do. My view was that if you could get a serious negotiate under way with the Palestinian Authority that looked like it had at least some prospect for success, there would be an incentive for Hamas to join in and not be left behind in Gaza. Unfortunately, we were unable to get tracks in the Palestinian-Israeli talks, although there were four talks, direct talks between President Abbas and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but rather than gaining traction, it really had the opposite effect as it validated their mutual suspicion.

And that's one of the core pops here is that neither leader believes that the other is serious in the effort. They assume failure and, therefore, they enter these processes in a way more towards making sure they don't get blamed for the ultimate failure as opposed to being willing to make concessions for success. I think that eventually it will happen because it's so much in the interest of both societies that there be a resolution of this conflict.

BOLDUAN: But you lay out perfectly why and how this process, the concept of success, is so complicated and frustrating, no doubt. In terms of the role going forward, you say the secretary of state should be commended for the work that he's done. Do you think, though, that John Kerry has miscalculated what he was up against?

MITCHELL: I don't think so. Look, there have been I think now there's been over 20 secretaries of state and presidents, many Israeli prime ministers, many Arab leaders over the past 60 years, all have tried, and it is fair to say all have not succeed in bringing an end to this conflict. And anybody who is in the position is subject to criticism until you actually get a successful resolution. I believe it will come in time, but the reality is, I've been through it. This is the kind of position where you can expect constant criticism from both sides because they have very strong feelings.

Secondly, both so sides are divided. There are pros and cons in both societies. There are many Palestinians and Arabs who are adamantly opposed to the continued existence of Israel. There are many Israelis, some in the current government, who are adamantly opposed to their ever being a Palestinian state. So it's a very complicated situation within both societies and between the societies.

The real problem is that, it's been written often, the United States can't want it more than the parties themselves. We want them to resolve this problem, but they have to want it as well.

BOLDUAN: That's an excellent point. Senator George Mitchell, thank you so much for your time, former U.S. special envoy to the Middle East. Senator, thank you very much for your time. Wolf, we're going to get right back to you as well, Wolf Blitzer on the ground for us in Jerusalem.

It's really fascinating to get his take because not only is it complicated and he lays it out very importantly, but the question lingers, what is it that can break this impact? Is it a person? Is it a new idea? And if so what are both of those? None of us know, of course.

CUOMO: And though it's always been facilitated by third apartments, whether it's Egypt or the United States, that is a fundamental block to progress also because you don't have the parties in direct contact.

BOLDUAN: He makes that excellent point, the U.S. can't want it more than the parties involved.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Isn't that an interesting notion, because the world around is look together Middle East thinking why can't they work this out. Those two parties have to get to the bottom of it themselves.

BOLDUAN: Great to have George Mitchell on.

PEREIRA: All right, let's give you a look at your headlines right now. And yet another source of friction between the U.S. and Russia. Washington is accusing Moscow of violating the terms of a nuclear treaty that was signed by Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev back in 1987. The Obama administration sites cruise missile tests dating back to 2008 calling it a serious violation. Russia for its part says it's investigated and considers the matter closed.

Libyan officials are asking for international help in fighting an out- of-control fuel depot fire caused by fighting between rival militias. Fire fighters were unable to reach the blaze because of continuous fighting in the area. Last weekend the U.S. evacuated its embassy in Tripoli due to security concerns. Dozens have been killed, hundreds more injured in escalating violence across Libya.

Back here at home Donald Sterling's lawyers say he is going to keep fighting for his team, that despite a California judge's ruling that gives his estranged wife go the ahead to sell the L.A. Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion. This decision allows the sale to go through regardless of appeals. An NBA official says they are pleased with the ruling and hopes that the sale goes through as soon as possible.

These folks got more than they bargained for, a boatload of whale watchers stranded overnight. They're finally headed over. A Boston harbor cruise ship carrying 163 people became tangled in a lobster pot line Monday afternoon. The trip was only supposed to last some three hours, yet they spent the night 16 miles off the coast of Boston. After a first attempt to free the ship was successful, divers finally managed to disentangle the vessel early this morning. They are steaming back towards Boston after a bit of an adventure on the sea, more than what they paid for.

CUOMO: Wonder why they didn't take them off the boat.

PEREIRA: Very good question.

BOLDUAN: And there is some reference to "Gilligan's Island," a three- hour tour.


BOLDUAN: But we'll leave it there.

CUOMO: Wound up doing much better than those people. BOLDUAN: They did.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, a suspected child molester just profiled on CNN's show "THE HUNT" tracked down by police in New York City following a viewer's tip. The attempted arrest, though, ended in a deadly shootout. John Walsh is going to be here with us to talk about.

CUOMO: Then, a bunch of campaign memos you weren't supposed to see -- 144 pages of secrets leaked to the press. Just wait until you hear who and what they involve, coming up on INSIDE POLITICS.


CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY. An alleged sex offender on the run for more than two years will not harm anyone again thanks in part to a CNN broadcast. "THE HUNT WITH JOHN WALSH" generated multiple tips from viewers. Those tips led authorities to New York City and Charles Mozdir. When cops caught up to him, turns out Mozdir wasn't just a sexual predator, he was a gunman. He opened fire, injuring two U.S. marshals and a detective. They returned fire and killed Mozdir.

John Walsh, child safety advocate, host of CNN's "THE HUNT," joins us now. May I shake your hand. Thank you for what you do for the country and all the families. First and more importantly, what do we know about the officers who are injured? How are they doing?

JOHN WALSH, CNN HOST, "THE HUNT": They're doing great. The New York City detective got shot the worst. He was in surgery for multiple hours yesterday. They're all doing fine, and a shout-out to their families. These are real heroes. You know, these guys put their lives on the line every day, but they took out a real bad guy and they're going to be fine.

CUOMO: Even by your standards, this was a really bad guy, a child molestation, the worst thing in the world. But just one of the things he was into, right? Tell us about it.

WALSH: Well, he sort of had a record of being really weird and a previous accusation about a child. But cops found a diary of animals that he had molested. He was into bestiality. And the worst thing was, of course, he weaved his way into families' lives. He was the godfather of this little boy. And like all those predators that are out there, he waited for the opportune time and he struck, destroyed this family. They had big, big courage, Chris, to go forward. And his roommate told police and told us that he had threatened that he was going to go back and kill the father for turning him in. So this family lived in fear for two years.

CUOMO: And unusual that this kind of sicko is also homicidal though, right?

WALSH: Oh, absolutely. They usually give up like little babies. I mean, they're real cowards, preying upon children, preying upon women. But this guy was armed and ready. We got the tip a week ago, our second show, and marshals focused in on

the village area. And then reran the week before show just before I went live with a new show 9:00 Sunday. We got another tip that he was down in the village. And the fugitive task force circled right in and got him.

It's unusual for a guy like him to shoot it out, but I think he knew he was going down. I think he knew once he was on "THE HUNT," he was going to go down and I think he knew he'd do very poorly in prison.

CUOMO: Well, they tend to, although it seems like more and more, the best chance is your show to find these kind of guys. Authorities are stretched so far that a rough justice system that used to be in prison, not so much any more. So you need the show -- it's even more important these days.

What does it feel like for you?

WALSH: It was great. I did "America's Most Wanted" for 25 years, we caught 1,231 guys, 17 off the FBI's ten and recovered 61 missing children alive, Elizbaeth Smart probably being the most famous case of getting someone back alive. And I tried to retire. I've been on the road, you know, since Adam was murdered, 33 years.

And your new boss, Jeff Zucker said, you need to saddle up. You need to come back. There are lots of people out there that need justice. I will give you the forum on CNN. Right out of the gate, second show, we get a big-time child molester.

CUOMO: You've taken on a lot of tough guys, but you weren't going to win against Jeff Zucker. I'll tell you that right now.


CUOMO: It's as good as done when he starts talking to you that you'd come back. But do you -- does a case like this make you remember the need, John? You're the only one who does this. You know, "America's Most Wanted" is a unique thing in the media. It has a direct public service that is effective. It would be tough to leave, wouldn't it?

WALSH: I'm the father of a murdered child. I still have the range. Last Sunday was the 33rd anniversary of Adam's abduction and murder and that's when the tips that took him down came in. Tough, tough day for my wife and I, but I thought, you know something, we're still out there fighting. Still fighting back. And look what happened. We took this creep down.

CUOMO: So what do you want people to know?

WALSH: I want people to know that you can call me. You can go on our website, You can call our toll-free hotline, and I guarantee you'll remain anonymous.

People want to do the right thing, Chris, they just don't know how to do it. Cops don't have the resources. A lot of people don't want to talk to cops. We're there. If you see one of these creeps, I guarantee you can remain anonymous. We'll catch the guy, get him off the streets.

CUOMO: And as scary as Mozdir seems, Mozdir as we learn about him, there are plenty of him out there, aren't there?

WALSH: Tons of them. Tons -- in all the years that I did "AMW," we turned down about 150 cases a week. We just couldn't keep up with the load. And one thing people should learn from this case, if you're going to give your -- the person you love the most in the world, your greatest treasure, to somebody like this creep to baby-sit for you, you better check them out. You better find out who is watching your kids.

CUOMO: And as much as the need is great, the challenge of justice is often just as great, and that's why we need every tool we can have at our disposal and that's really what your show is.

WALSH: It's about using the American public, not in a vigilante way. People want to do the right thing, they just want to know how to do it. And cops will be the first to admit it. The Coronado police in San Diego where this guy was wanted said we don't have the resources. He ran. He's been out there for two years; we haven't had one good tip. I said partner up with me, the marshals, we'll put them all over CNN, and if we're lucky we'll get a tip. We got a great tip and he went down. He's right where he belongs.

CUOMO: All right, John Walsh, again, pleasure to see you. Worked with you many times over the years, look forward to continuing to do it.

Of course, you want to watch "THE HUNT" and you can. "THE HUNT" is on Sundays at 9:00 p.m. Eastern.

We'll take a little break here on NEW DAY. When we come back, Israel promised a quote, "prolonged assault" an Hamas and we're watching them make good on that promise. Right now, blasts just yards from our CNN position in Gaza. Fareed Zakaria is going to join us to tell us what, if anything, might make the two sides back down.

And then, it is a politician's worst nightmare, a complete campaign playbook leaked to the press. Find out what's in it straight ahead on INSIDE POLITICS.


PEREIRA: Good to have you back here on NEW DAY. Here is a look at your headlines.

Hopes for cease-fire are fading in the Middle East. Responding to rocketfire, Israel launched air strikes on 70 sites in Gaza overnight. Targets included Hamas command centers and weapons storage facilities, some hidden in mosques. Israelis are warning now of a prolonged conflict, saying their operation will not stop until tunnels stretching from Gaza into Israel are destroyed.

In Eastern Ukraine, intense fighting near the wreckage of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 once again forcing a team of investigators to abandon their efforts to reach the crash site, as the Dutch prime minister asked Ukraine's president to call for an end to the violence so investigators can reach that site. The U.S. is announcing it will issue more sanctions on Russia this week.

New developments now for a story we've been following quite closely here at CNN. The family of Kendrick Johnson, the Georgia teen that was found dead rolled up in a gym mat, has filed a wrongful death suit against the Lowndes County Board of Education, the superintendent, and the high school principal. The claim -- it claims, rather, officials ignored reports that Kendrick was repeatedly attacked and harassed by another student. Sheriff's investigators ruled Johnson's death accidental. However, a pathologist hired by the family concluded his death was a homicide.

A federal appeals court has struck down Virginia's ban on gay marriage. The fourth circuit court of appeals ruled 2-1 that the state's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.