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U.S. Official: "99.9 Percent Certain" Bomb Downed Plane; Protesters Rally Against Trump's "SNL" Stint. Aired 6-6:30a ET
Aired November 8, 2015 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: New this morning, 99.9 percent, that's how certain one official is that a bomb blew up the Russian passenger jet and now the FBI is offering its help in this investigation.
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Donald Trump times three on "Saturday Night Live." He poked fun at himself, but you know what? Not everyone finds it funny.
BLACKWELL: And we dig into on the records of two police officers charged with murdering a 6-year-old. What we found about their past, as a town remembers that boy.
Moments ago, Russia mourns their dead, 224 lives lost on board that passenger plane that fell apart in Egypt just over a week ago. Good morning, everyone. I'm Victor Blackwell. Good to have you this morning.
PAUL: I'm Christi Paul. We are so grateful to have you here.
BLACKWELL: A somber memorial service that just ended at one of the country's most iconic cathedrals. The bells there ringing 224 times once for each of the passengers onboard Metrojet 9628.
PAUL: New this morning, solid consensus among senior U.S. officials that a bomb exploded and brought that plane down a week ago. One is telling CNN that, quote, "99.9 percent certain of that." And now the FBI is offering its help in the investigation.
CNN's Ian Lee is joining us live from Sharm el-Sheikh International Airport in Egypt. So Ian, with this growing consensus over a bomb theory, what is next in the investigation that could prove that?
IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right now, it really boils down to what the evidence on the ground at the crash site says. All this data recorder and the voice recorder that the information we are getting from that leads to the belief that it was a bomb, as well as the intelligence from the United States and the United Kingdom.
But it is really going to be the evidence from the wreckage that tells what happened in the final moments. They are going to still need to get some sort of residue or some sort of evidence from the crash site that point to that bomb. This is still very long area, about a little over seven miles roughly of the crash site. Still a lot of area to go through and they do not have all of the pieces of the plane yet.
I think one of the most telling things about the bomb theory is that initially you had the Egyptians and the Russians both downplaying it, saying that it was more likely a mechanical issue.
But now you have the Egyptians saying that all options are out there, as well as the Russians, who banned all flights from coming into Egypt. It seems like they are starting to believe it could have been a bomb as well.
PAUL: You know, Sharm el-Sheikh Airport has been questioned for its security or lack thereof as of late. What are you learning about security at that airport this morning?
LEE: Well, security definitely has been ramped up. They kicked out people who were not traveling there that's why we aren't at the airport, but it is behind us, the army took control of the security there.
There are checkpoints, not just at the airport going into the airport, but really all over Sharm el-Sheikh, what they are going through people's belongings and looking for anything that could be an explosive.
At the airport itself, very tight security, at least what we're hearing. But Egypt has been criticized for having poor security, not having the training or the people using the equipment properly.
These are the accusations that have been thrown out there against the Egyptians at Sharm el-Sheikh Airport, something that they are going to remedy. And it looks like it has been at least somewhat successful as we have been seeing planes coming in and leaving all day.
PAUL: All right, Ian Lee, so grateful for the update. Thank you.
BLACKWELL: All right, let's talk more now with terrorism expert, Sajjan Gohel joining us now. Sajjan, several senior U.S. officials are all but certain this was a bomb. One is saying 99.9 percent certain.
We know that Russians have essentially stranded nearly 80,000 of their own citizens in Egypt after suspending the flights there. Is Moscow convinced that this was terror?
[06:05:02] SAJJAN GOHEL, INTERNATIONAL SECURITY DIRECTOR, ASIA PACIFIC FOUNDATION: Well, Victor, it looks like now Moscow has changed its opinion. Last week, they tried to explain it was technical failure or that the pilot had made a mistake.
Now, with evidence that is coming out that they are in possession of themselves, not necessarily shed by America or the United Kingdom, that this is a terrorist attack. A very significant one and the Russians know from past experiences that the aviation industry has been taunted by terrorism. In 2004, two female suicide bombers brought down two domestic flights.
So they have this record and this history. Unfortunately, it's now potentially happened again to the airline industry.
BLACKWELL: All right, put this into context, this reporting this morning that the FBI has agreed to help Russia and Egypt with this crash investigation, namely by providing bomb technicians. Is this indicative of a challenge beyond their capabilities or would you have expected this?
GOHEL: It's not unusual. In the past when there have been terrorist attacks around the world, the U.S. offers its support, its assistance and especially the FBI because they have some of the best forensic analysts in the world.
It may decipher how the bomb was used and how it was brought on board and potentially the terrorist individuals or groups involved in this because it's very important to ascertain how this happened.
Either it was a question of collusion or complexity. Either way it's a very disturbing scenario that so many years after 9/11, the aviation industry could still be targeted by terrorism.
BLACKWELL: All right, let's talk about airline security and airport security, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson spoke yesterday with CNN's Barbara Starr about the crash and why they are ramping up security at foreign airports. Listen to a portion of that discussion.
JEH JOHNSON, SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: The investigation of the crash of Metrojet 9268 is still under way. Not all of the facts have come in. As the president said, we cannot, at this point, rule out the possibility of something nefarious.
At the same time, we have got a group out there, ISIL that is claiming responsibility for this. So in light of the current circumstances, what Admiral Nepinger and I determined we should do is take certain precautionary interim enhancements and measures to aviation security at certain foreign airports that are what we call last point of departure airports with direct flights into the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Reasonable escalation here?
GOHEL: I'm afraid so. And this also, unfortunately, is one of the other victories of terrorism. If they can't kill and maim, they will call chaos and frustration at airports. This is what the terrorists want.
At the same time, one can't ignore what took place on the Metrojet flight in Sharm el-Sheikh as airport security increases and enhances its technique to stop a potential plot, the terrorists' understanding of how to bypass security also increases.
We have seen a whole evolution in how they have been trying to bring down airlines. They have an obsession in targeting the aviation industry and one can get complacent (inaudible).
BLACKWELL: All right, Sajjan Gohel, always good to have your insight.
Later this hour, we'll talk to an expert in analyzing the data recorders and what they can and cannot reveal about the cause of this plane crash.
PAUL: Donald Trump making some waves on "Saturday Night Live." We are going to bring all of it to you. The crazy dance moves and encounter with the famous heckler. Outside, though, this - look at the protesters who did not find him so funny, chanting and holding signs, "stop the hate, dump Trump."
BLACKWELL: Plus this morning, new details in the investigation into the shooting of this 6-year-old boy. We are finding more about one of the officer's alleged violent past. We will have a live report.
PAUL: It's 12 minutes past the hour right now. Donald Trump takes the "Saturday Night Live" stage and started his stint as host with, let's say, a little help from some friends. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: They have done so much to ridicule me over the years. This show has been a disaster for me. Look at this guy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Great, great, great. Isn't he doing fantastic? I got to say you're doing a great job. In fact, I think this show just got better by 2 billion percent. In fact, they just told me, Donald, they just told me -- this is very interesting. Now that I'm here t, this is the best monologue in "SNL" history. Is that pretty good?
TRUMP: Yes, that's pretty good. Look at this!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You think you're this terrific person. You think you're this. You think you're that, bop, bop, bop. You're being very naive and quite frankly, you're fired.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: It's so good! Trump's big night was facing controversy after an activist group in this $5,000 reward for on anyone who yelled out Trump is a racist. I know you remember that. Trump did get heckled but not quite in the way I think you'd expect. Look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're a racist.
TRUMP: Who the hell is -- I knew this was going to happen. Who is that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trump's a racist!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's Larry David. What are you doing, Larry?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I heard if I yelled that they would give me $5,000.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: Way to get ahead of it, right? Outside the 30 Rock studios, that very group that set up the bounty held their rally against Trump's appearance and CNN's Polo Sandoval was, indeed, there.
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Victor, Christi, organizers of this "Dump Trump" event estimating that at least 300 people took the streets of Manhattan. In a single voice, many of them frustrated and angry that the show went on as planned. Many of them were calling on NBC to not have Donald Trump host the show.
[06:15:03]Speaking to some of those folks, who took part in this demonstration, though, I can tell you they expect to continue to push to have their message heard even after this highly anticipated show. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSE CRUZ, PROTESTER: This whole issue of -- of speaking in an uneducated manner, singling out a group of people and saying that they are sending criminals here, is wrong, and he's inciting racism.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We took about races. We took about everybody. This is about racist. Races in general, period.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANDOVAL: Not everybody was against this Trump appearance on "Saturday Night Live." just on the other side of 49th Street we did speak to a small handful of Trump supporters and one telling me she would rather be outside on the streets to face the people than inside the show.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't care if it's one person out here. You need a counter-voice to something like that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANDOVAL: What's interesting here, though, is that in speaking to both sides, they do seem to agree that plenty of people watched last night. They do know that people were tuning, people hoping to catch a glimpse of Donald Trump on "Saturday Night Live" and the question is how will each side continue pushing their message after this TV appearance -- Victor, Christi.
BLACKWELL: All right, Polo, thanks so much. Let's talk now with New York One News political anchor and CNN political commentator, Errol Louis who is with us this morning. Errol, good morning to you. What did you think of the appearance, the performance?
ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Good morning, Victor. I laugh at almost anything, my wife will tell you. I thought the skits were fine, you know? They were in line of with a lot of "Saturday Night Live" humor.
I have to say it's a little peculiar in a way because Trump was already a media star. A lot of what is interesting and sometimes funny about a politician showing up in person on "Saturday Night Live" the way Sarah Palin did and others and Hillary Clinton, is that they are out of their normal space.
Trump looks right at home doing this kind of stuff in part because he has been a reality star for over a decade.
BLACKWELL: All right, let's talk about one of the sketches here. There is one that involves Trump White House in 2018. Let's look at it and then we'll talk.
TRUMP: General, how are we doing in Syria?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, ISIS is completely eliminated, sir. The country is at peace. The refugees have returned and they have great jobs as black jack dealers in Trump Hotel and Casino in Damascus.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, the president of Mexico is here to see you.
TRUMP: That's great, send him in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I brought you the check for the wall.
TRUMP: I'm so proud of you and changing Telemundo to all English for me, you changed that to all English is the greatest thing. Jimmy, how is the economy?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Amazing, sir. In the words of our new national anthem, it's huge! I have no idea how you did it, sir.
TRUMP: Well, you know what? I don't have to get specific. With me, it just works, you know? It's just magic.
BLACKWELL: Obviously, Trump in on the joke here, but he says it's just magic, doesn't have to get to specifics. That has been a knock on him throughout this campaign, though. No specifics.
LOUIS: That's exactly right. Look. Look, we are still in the shopping phase of this presidential campaign, even in Iowa and New Hampshire, the first states where voters are going to cast votes, you know, they are looking in the different aisles and looking at different candidates.
There's no guarantee that they are going to settle on Trump and that might be one of the reasons why, you know? I mean, he's got a presence. He's got an aura. He's got an argument. He's got a couple of specifics.
But even though don't have a lot of details to that. Do people make voting decisions based on that? I'm not so sure about that, but we will see when February rolls around.
BLACKWELL: Finally, I wonder why did he do this, is this just one upmanship after Hillary Clinton's appearance or a rite of passage for frontrunners or is there some benefit in this appearance?
LOUIS: There is an undeniable benefit. Look anyone of the other candidates, believe me, George Pataki or Lindsey Graham would kill for an opportunity to be in front of as many people as Donald Trump got to speak to last night.
It also sort of humanizes him. The people not voting for Trump outside, the protesters, they are pretty upset but for anybody who was neutral or anybody coming to this for the first time, it's incredible exposure.
So much so that one wonders what the other candidates are going to do about it. He has made himself sort of part of the culture. As we saw in 2008 and have seen since with President Obama, running against a celebrity is very, very hard.
BLACKWELL: All right, Errol Louis, thank you so much.
LOUIS: All right, thanks.
BLACKWELL: Be sure to stay tuned because in our next hour we will have an update on Marco Rubio's campaign. Senator Rubio is now releasing the credit card statements as he faces scrutiny over his personal and professional finances.
Plus fresh off of his "SNL" hosting duties, Donald Trump is set to appear on "STATE OF THE UNION" this morning with Jake Tapper. Check it out at 9:00 a.m. on CNN.
[06:20:07] PAUL: New details about the cops who shot a 6-year-old boy in Louisiana including information that one of them had been charged with rape twice.
Plus, Californians saw mysterious lights in the sky last night. A lot of people believe this was a UFO.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BLACKWELL: Look at this. I know a lot of people in L.A. were looking at it. A mysterious light rattled some nerves in Southern California. Police got a lot of calls. People posted video all over social media wondering if this was a UFO. Well, U.S. military officials say don't worry, this is just a missile test preplanned and this missile was not armed. No weapons on board.
PAUL: President Obama is meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tomorrow in D.C. The two leaders are looking for ways to mend their relationship which, of course, became strained over the Iran nuclear deal. Expectations for the visit not particularly high, official say no final agreement is planned on U.S. aid defense to Israel.
BLACKWELL: This morning, we are digging into the records of two police officers charged with murdering a 6-year-old. We will tell you what they found out about their past.
Also, the University of Missouri football team on strike, we will tell you why dozens of players are refusing to play, even to practice.
PAUL: First, this week's culinary journey takes us to Turkey to meet Chef Rene Redzepi, who has traveled to Istanbul from Denmark to search for a fine pastry and other Turkish food.
[06:25:08] Take a look at what he found.
UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Acclaimed Danish chef, Rene Redzepi is in Turkey to explore one of the countries most loved sweet treats. It's a three-hour flight from Copenhagen to Istanbul.
The city is a fusion of traditions and cultures spanning the continents of Europe and Asia. Istanbul's iconic landmarks decorate the city skyline, reminders of a rich and complex history that is reflected in its gastronomy.
(Inaudible) are amongst the savory street food staples while those with a passion for pastry may be tempted by the ever popular (inaudible).
RENE REDZEPI, CHEF: I've never been to Istanbul. My reason for coming here is food, of course. I always wanted to search out that number one childhood treat, which was the back lover. You know that thin lovers of pastry, a nut paste in between, syrup, sugar, honey and where else to on search for it in its supposedly birth country?
UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: The best way to appreciate Turkish cuisine is by eating meza, a spread of small dishes which is at the heart of the culinary life here.
REDZEPI: Wow. This is pretty wild. Yes, pretty overwhelmed.
UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: Known as a laboratory of cuisine, Ciya is the brain child of Chef (inaudible) who traveled the lengths and (inaudible) the region to preserve the gastronomy.
REDZEPI: We eat like one big plate of food, lots of it. Do people eat like this?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is a saying the first we get full with our eyes. Turks, they like to eat and they like to talk about food so it's really, really present.
REDZEPI: It's the DNA?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's in there.
PAUL: Watch the full show at CNN.com/journeys.