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Donald Trump Changing Position on Guns; Your Brain On Politics: What Shapes Your Vote?; Search For Drowned Plane Intensifies; Trump: I Still Believe EgyptAir Plane Was Blown Out Of The Sky; Submarines Deployed To Search For Black Boxes; How Plane Wreckage Is Salvaged From Deep Below. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired May 23, 2016 - 20:00   ET


[20:00:18] JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: Good evening. John Berman here in for Anderson.

If you thought the general election would be a blowout, you might want to think again. If you thought it would be a popularity contest, you really better think again because popular these candidates are not, historically not. As for the head to head matchup, new polling evidence that the race between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton is close that could reflect the fact that the primary is essentially over. But the Democrats are still battling it out. However, when it comes to the rest of the polling, the questions about likeability, trust, and things like that, the answers speak volumes about how close this could be.

In addition to that, we have breaking news on Donald Trump's many changing positions on guns in the classroom. He just called into CNN a short time ago with yet another new one, that's coming up.

But first, polling. Chief national correspondent and "INSIDE POLITICS" anchor John King is here to break it down by the numbers. Two polls showing Donald Trump very strong in general election right now, essentially time with Hillary Clinton. How significant is this?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: On the one hand, John, you can make the case, not very significant. You just noted, this is over. This is the Republican race for the nomination. It is over. And we see evidence the Republican Party is unifying rallying around Trump, not completely, but significant unification of the Republican Party.

While this, the Democratic race goes on. And Bernie Sanders being increasingly tough on Hillary Clinton. So she hasn't had the consolidation that he has had. So you could say not that significant. Let's see what happens when the Democratic race is over. You could also say it is a national poll, it is in May, we elect in November, state by state.

But there is some significance to this, John. Donald Trump's position has improved dramatically from just a few weeks ago. "The Washington Post" poll, Trump is up a little. That's the statistical tie. "The Wall Street Journal" poll, NBC, she is up a little. Statistical tie. So Trump is in better shape now. It was just a few weeks ago and that unmistakable. Don't write too much into this, but there is no question if you're Mr. Trump tonight, you like this. You look better than he did say a month ago.

BERMAN: Yes. Trends here that matter and they matter quite a bit.

There are also things inside the poll that could matter a lot, including positions like Donald Trump's refusal to release his tax returns. Any evidence that voters' care?

KING: Yes. And this is important because one of the reasons Trump is performing better in the poll, John, is independent voters right are swinging his way. Again, we see if that holds after the Democratic race is wrapped up. And independent voters are driving this, should Donald Trump release taxes. Among all registered voters, six in ten say yes, 34 percent said it is OK with me if he doesn't. But a big factor in this, it is not only Democrats, but independents. So Mr. Trump, if he wants to keep his improved standing behind independents might be these numbers. We will see how this plays out.

And it is important, John, because otherwise, we got a pretty evenly matched race. If you look at this right now, if voters are pick experience or temperament to be president, Hillary Clinton wins and wins quite convincingly. If they are picking on the economy, Mr. Trump has a slight advantage, but that's essentially a statistical tie. Honest and trustworthy, neither one of them can be proud of that.

But look at this number down here, John. If this is about experience, she wins. If it is about who would change Washington, Donald Trump wins. I think that is the defining dynamic of the election. Which candidate can better define what in November people pull the lever about.

BERMAN: Another interesting dynamic here, John. If there are two things that voters say they don't like in this election, it is Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. I mean, they are wildly historically unpopular. How does that affect the dynamic going forward?

KING: It is stunning. Let's look first at the numbers. Here is one way to look at it. It is just by the numbers. This is the ABC/"Washington Post" poll. Four in ten voters view them favorably. Nearly six in ten, look it is matching. What's that tell you? That they are viewed unfavorably. They are not popular. That's makes it hard to change the numbers when viewed so negatively.

Here is another way to look at it. If you think about zero as if you're even. If you're 50/50, you're even. Bernie Sanders rates plus seven when you add or subtract positive and negative. Look at Hillary Clinton, 20 points below water underwater, if you will, on popularity. Donald Trump 29 points underwater when it comes to favorable rating. What is that feeding, number one, people don't like the candidates.

And lastly John, it is also feeding this. Look at this from the NBC/"Wall Street Journal" poll. Would you consider independent or third party candidate? The orange, coral, is no. Pretty high in January, even higher in April. Look now. More and more people above 40 percent, close to 50 percent are open to looking at a third party candidate. Does that mean they will still feel that way in November? Does that mean they feel the libertarian or some other option is a viable option, we don't know that. But we do know this satisfaction with Trump and Clinton has people may be looking for a third option.

BERMAN: Yes. Worth watching now going forward.

John King, thank you so much.

Randi Kaye is looking at this from a different and totally fascinating angle. Voters who say they don't like Donald Trump yet psychological testing reveals their unconscious minds are saying the opposite. That's what the researchers claim. Do you buy it?

Stay tuned for her report coming up.

In the meantime, our panel Trump New York campaign co-chair and New York City council Joseph Berelli, CNN political commentator Tara Setmayer, a Trump opponent, CNN senior political analyst David Gergen, and "The New York Times" national political reporter Alex Burns.

David, I want to start with you. You know, the Clinton campaign, the staffers, the strategists, they all tell us that they have taken Donald Trump seriously for a long time. They say they thought it was always going to be tight. But there a lot of Clinton supporters out there right now who you know are surprised looking at these polls showing a tie.

[20:05:13] DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: They should be. I think she's still a favorite to win the presidency, but she should be running scared. Very scared. You know, we thought a few weeks ago this might be a blowout and he might be -- Trump might another Goldwater '64 against Lyndon Johnson. If you go back and look at the numbers, Lyndon Johnson had over 60 percent support from June all the way to the election. Goldwater never cracked 40. This is no Goldwater. This looks like it could be a very a close race. Let's see how it goes. A lot of twists and turns. But right now, this looks a lot closer than anybody thought.

BERMAN: And the mere fact, Tara, that it is not Barry Goldwater, that it is close now, I know it is just me, but it matters even though it has made because among other things, it could bring some fundraisers, you know, off the sidelines, some donors who are reluctant to get in may say now, you know what? If he has a chance I'm getting in.

TARA SETMAYER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Maybe. But historically polling in May has been very un-predictive. Professor of political science in Princeton did an analysis on this and said something about May that polls are wildly off-course normally. Back at this point in 1988, Michael Dukakis was up 10 percentage point. You all know how that ended in 1988.

A lot of things can happen. Maybe it is people, you know, they were going into the summer, people aren't necessarily paying attention, the primaries are still going on. What really matters, you know, these are snapshots in time. You hear this all the time. It is how people feel now. Donald Trump is winning. He has won. He locked up the nomination. Hillary Clinton is still in a battle. So people are looking at the situation and thinking, OK, well, you know, Donald wasn't look so bad. We have not seen the onslaught of the Hillary Clinton machine focusing in on Donald Trump and people really paying attention which happens in the fall. So, you now, when you have debates and we don't know what will happen then, that's where you need to start paying attention to where the polling is (INAUDIBLE).

BERMAN: Well, Alex, you know, two things voters say they don't like are Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. I mean, historically negative numbers for both presumptive nominees or presumptive nominee Donald Trump, likely presumptive nominee, Hillary Clinton heading into the summer right now. What does that mean for the campaign going forward?

ALEX BURNS, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Well, John, I think first of all you aren't going to see either of them run away on a message of, you know, uplift like the way we saw Barack Obama do in 2008.

But I think what's interesting is in some ways they are sky high negative ratings obscure the fact that they are disliked in different ways. That if you look at the - if you drill down a little bit in some of these polls, you know, Hillary Clinton is seen as not necessarily a trustworthy person. Donald Trump as seen as somebody who clearly lacks the temperament to be president. I think if you are Hillary Clinton, the number that many is most surprising and worrisome to you is that number on the economy, that a lot of Democrats look at Trump's plans such as they are, his message, and they say give me a break. I think you heard that from Hillary Clinton in public. But when you see how voters are responding to him, he clearly has a message on the economy that a lot of people do respond to. And part of it just this talking about the issue.

BERMAN: Yet, there is something in those that is interesting too. You know, he is favored on the economy, but she is favored for the middle class. There's something perplexing inside there.

BURNS: Yes. And I do think look, if you're the Clinton campaign, the reason for optimism in these polls at end of the day, do you think a majority of electorate is going to vote for somebody who they say they don't believe is qualified or don't believe has the temperament to be president. Haven't really seen people do that before in the past. But then again, we have seen voters do a lot of things.

JOSEPH BORELLI, CO-CHAIR, DONALD TRUMP NEW YORK CAMPAIGN: Does the public think they will support someone who they see as untrustworthy and not fit for office. But let's stake a step back. If we had the same panel about two weeks ago, would never have never thought to see these numbers that Donald Trump has posted this past weekend. So this has been a phenomenal week, a second phenomenal week in a row for Trump. First up is to secure the nomination last week. This week with this.

And it has been a disastrous two weeks for Hillary Clinton. And let's not lose side the fact there. To use a metaphor, the Republican Party has come together at the battleship and put its guns on the Democratic Party. And the Democrats who are in overpriced robots. And they tell who figure out how to row the same direction. O you are going to see I think another two weeks of disaster from the Clinton campaign because she is not going to be able to lock this up before June 7th.

David, what does she do? What is the Clinton team do right now? Is it the issue of Donald Trump's taxes, which by the way, I mean, polled very poorly for him. A lot of people say he sure release his taxes or, you know, we heard from Hillary Clinton earlier today going after Trump's bankruptcies also the casino. She said how can anybody lose money running a casino? Is she trying out different things here?

GERGEN: Yes. She is trying that various lines to see what sticks, you know, where she can draw a little blood. Look. I think that she can continue to (INAUDIBLE). She needs to needle and get inside his head. I think their best issue her has going right now against him is his taxes. He has got to have towards release them before he get finishes. And who knows what is going to be in there. I think it is going to be -- this will be a deepening issue. This one that's not going to go away. But I don't think she can win the election on this strategy of just going after Donald Trump. I think she has to find a running mate who can take the argument against Trump and be the pit bull. I think she has to get to what about the future. What does she offer for the future and convince people that she will create jobs and create a better economy. I don't think she has yet done that.

[20:10:12] BERMAN: Tara, you want to take a last word?

SETMAYER: No. She absolutely has to do that. Because the number in this poll which I thought was interesting is that 58 percent of the people polled said that Donald Trump is unfit to be president, unqualified to be president of the United States. So you have this competing narrative of unqualified versus someone you feel untrustworthy which is Clinton. And that, she is going to have to find a way if she's going to beat him, she has got to find a way to include an economic message. Because that's what the bottom line if going to comes down to for states like Ohio and Pennsylvania and the Rustbelt which are critically important in the Electoral College because that is actually what's matters here.

BERMAN: All right, guys. Standby. A lot more to discuss.

Next, we are going to talk about Donald Trump's position on guns in the classroom versus his position on guns in the classroom.

And the breaking news, he is locking another position just tonight that he phoned in to CNN.

Later, the search for EgyptAir's 804's black boxes and the chilling report that someone literally marked the plane for destruction. Was it terrorism or deadly technical failures? The latest from our experts ahead on 360.


[20:14:57] BERMAN: Turns out Donald Trump and America's greatest poet have something in common. Walt Whitman wrote do I contradict myself? Very well then, I contradict myself. I am large. I contain multitudes. Now, Trump might say huge, not large. But like Whitman, he contradicts himself. Sometimes in this face of several weeks had is the case of proposed ban on Muslims entering the country which he now says was just a suggestion, sometimes in the space of a day, most recently on guns in the classroom in the space of about 20 seconds. And just tonight he did it again.

Let's start at the beginning, though. Here he is Friday speaking to national rifle association.


[20:15:32] TRUMP: We are getting rid of gun free zones, OK? I can tell you that. We're getting rid of them. Thank you. Thank you. That wasn't part of my speech, I must be honest with you.


BERMAN: Now, a day later tweeting in response to Hillary Clinton he amended that blanket statement to exclude schools. Crooked Hillary said that I want guns brought in to the school classroom, wrong. So that was Saturday. By Sunday, to the questions of guns in the classroom, he was saying no, and yes, and no, and yes.


TRUMP: She talked guns in classrooms. I don't want to have guns in classrooms, although in some cases teachers should have guns in classrooms because teachers are, you know, things that are going on in our schools are unbelievable. You look at some of our schools, unbelievable what's going on, but I'm not advocating guns in the classroom. Remember in some cases, a lot of people admit this, trained teachers should be able to have guns in classrooms.


BERMAN: Contradicting himself in the space of about 20 seconds. In fact, well he had that clip there, it was more like three seconds. And late this evening, there is another twist. He called into CNN adding the school resource officers should also be armed and he backed away from his blanket call to eliminate all gun free zones, saying they would only be eliminated in some cases. The Whitman poem is "song of myself."

Back with our panel. Councilman, you are Donald Trump's co-chair for New York. In 15 seconds or less, what's his position on guns in the classroom?

BORELLI: Fifteen seconds. Well, start here in New York State. In 2013, Governor Cuomo passed a New York safe act, the big anti-gun legislation. Donald Trump made a name for himself in the political arena here speaking all over the state against that legislation. So I think his position being pro second amendment has been fairly clear. As far as guns in the classroom, look, it is a practical idea to have training officers. BERMAN: But the training officers that he want, is he in favor of

guns in the classroom or not after three days of back and forth in this. You know for sure?

BORELLI: I'm sure he meant that he doesn't want students to carry guns willy-nilly, but that teachers, if they're trained police officers, maybe in a past profession, or trained safety officers in school, maybe they should be armed. And that's a very practical position that a lot of people in the country care about.

And guns themselves are very important issue in politics today. One- third of American households of gun owners. And when we speak about these demographics that Donald Trump can't seem to wrap his head around. Think about how important gun owners are in a swing state like Ohio. There are four times the amount of gun owners as there are Hispanics in that state. So when we are talking about how he needs to make up ground, yes, I think he is doing some untraditional things to make up ground in these states.

BERMAN: Tara, is this untraditional or is he confused?

SETMAYER: It is demagoguery. Like this is what he does with things all the time. Now, on the gun issue, I think that guns in the classroom one is something that's not going to hurt him. What hurts him is the fact that he switches his positions constantly and no one knows what he actually believes. So at one point he says, OK, you know, the campaign is against this gun act in New York. But then on the other hand he praises President Obama after Newtown who had all this sweeping gun changes that he wanted to push through executive order which concerned the NRA and second amendment proponents. So no one quite knows where he stands. But I mean, the guns in the classroom issue I think is something that is very minute that people - it is not going to hurt him.

But Hillary Clinton is terrible on the second amendment. So this is something I think is a winning issue for Donald Trump, even though he is changing it many times. But that's what he does to fir the audience he is in front of.

BERMAN: What about that, David? Because despite whatever back and forth, their difficulty he has honing in a position there, if you're gun rights advocate, it is unlikely you are going to support Hillary Clinton.

GERGEN: Absolutely. Listen. I happen to be a very pro-gun control. And I have been stunned by how many times Trump has contradicted himself on big issues like Muslims, on taxes and so forth. But I must say I think he is getting a bit of bump wrap on guns in schools question. And that is I think his position is actually, you know, I think he has been saying the same thing, stumbling over it, not being articulate, but there's a big difference between saying no students can bring guns in school. And we are, by the way, going to have some people who are going to be armed in our schools because it may save some lives, I don't think that's a contradictory position. I think it is actually is sort of like his solution. I don't necessarily agree with it, I would like no guns in schools. But I think if you're going to have armed guards these, we have armed guards in other places, you know, let's be realistic. I don't think it is a contradiction what he said tonight from what he said yesterday and from what he said two, three days ago.

[20:20:12] BERMAN: Alex?

BURNS: But you know, I do think one of the challenges of covering this campaign and of talking about this campaign, right, is that he does take so many sort of scatter shot positions. You can almost feel like the burden is on you to make them seem coherent. And I think it is important to resist that impulse, right. You know, the councilman as well was sort of raising this idea that perhaps Trump was referring to former police officers who are now teachers, right. If that -


BURNS: And you can see it coming, you know, 10,000 miles away, the position of the Democrats who are going to run against are the most disadvantageous positions that he has taken, even if he has taken a different one ten seconds later, right. So this is what really makes Republicans nervous and it what's makes Democrats excited at the same time as they're frustrated about the flip flopping, that you know, when Trump sort of free styles like this, the point where he is going to ultimately get pinned down, it is going to be --

BERMAN: It was abortion, just that issue he talks about, you know, prosecuting women who get abortions.

David, I want to talk about independents. We haven't talk about that. We talk about Democrats. We talk about Republicans right now. Donald Trump in the ABC/"Washington Post" poll is leading among independents, I think the number is 13 points, 12 or 13 points. That's a lot.

GERGEN: It is. And I think it will be a worry some result for people in the Clinton camp. I mean, she needs those independents. Look. I think this guy has capacity to do something she can't do very well. I think that she can't change who she is very easily because everybody will say it is not authentic. He can change over time. He can morph as a candidate. People will say, well, he is growing, you know. He is sort of becoming more presidential.

And so, I think he has a chance to clean up his act. I do think he has to clean up his act. Well, the fact is all of the off the cuff comments and snide things and the narcissism, he has to pack that away. How he becomes presidential and also remains Donald Trump that collected all of the support, I don't know. That's a balancing act.

BERMAN: Guys, thanks so much.

I do want to get one other quick political note in right now. Word tonight that Terry McAuliffe, Virginia's Democratic governor and close friend and fundraiser to the Clintons is under federal investigation. Officials tell us the FBI and prosecutors from the justice department's public integrity unit have been probing his campaign finance namely whether donations violated law. Part of their work is focus on the time on the board of the Clinton global initiative. However, those same officials who told us about the probe say there's no allegation a terrible foundation did anything wrong here. Governor McAuliffe was not notified that he is under investigation. He is promising his full cooperation.

All right. Just ahead, your brain on politics. We asked a group of voters to take a test that left them shaking their heads. What they told us about Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton didn't match what their brains are saying. Standby to find out what that means.

Plus, how it translates your behavior at the ballot box.

Plus, the mystery of EgyptAir flight 804. Just what brought down that plane? There are new developments of what exactly French investigators are now looking for.


[20:27:13] BERMAN: As we have been discussing, two new polls tonight showing Donald Trump gaining strength against Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton in a general election matchup. The latest polling also shows both candidates still fighting an uphill battle when it comes to likeability. Voters view both Trump and Clinton more unfavorably than favorably. That's what polls show anyway based on what people told them.

But what if what people say about political candidates doesn't tell the whole story. What if their brains say something different?

Randi Kaye is looking into your brain on politics, people study this stuff. It is fascinating.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Could it be your unconscious brain chooses political candidates for you? Dr. Drew Westen and Dr. Joel Wineberger, psychology professors say yes. In fact, they designed a test showing how it happens.

JOEL WEINBERGER, PROFESSOR OF PSYCHOLOGY, ADELPHI UNIVERSITY: So we create a list of associations that fit the presidential candidates and then we present them in different colors and tell them pay no attention to the words, just pay attention to the colors.

DREW WESTEN, PROFESSOR OF PSYCHOLOGY, EMORY UNIVERSITY: What we see is it is just -- you see a moment in getting caught, in getting stuck, and they can't move. We actually know now in the brain, a good bit about the circuits where it happens.

KAYE: Here's how it works, 15 words, including likeable, presidential, bigot, and scary, flash on the screen in different colors. The voters are told to click on the color that matches the color of the word. Again, the color, not the word. So when the word leader appears in yellow, click on the word yellow. If the word likeable appears in red, click red. The longer it takes them to click on the color, the more the experts say their brains are associating the word with the candidate. So if they have a strong association with that word likeable say with

Hillary Clinton, they'll linger a little bit longer?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right. Yes, we are talking like hundredths of a second. But yes, maybe 200 of a second.

KAYE: The professors studied 750 voters nationwide, and found their unconscious brains hardly associated Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump with the word likeable. Words strongly associated with Clinton were scary and presidential. Trump's strongest associations included bigot and leader.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What he says I can do, I can succeed, I'm great at everything.

KAYE: And the brain picks up on that.


KAYE: We wanted to do our own test. So we gathered ten voters at Emory University. Results were intriguing. Before the test, we asked our group, made up mostly of Democrats about Trump.

What don't you like about Donald Trump?


KAYE: That explains why we were all so surprised when their test results came back showing their unconscious brains felt very differently.

[20:30:07] As far as Donald Trump goes, his strongest association among this group, are you ready? Likeable.


KAYE: It's right here, folks. Likeable. Who is surprised by that?

What's going on in their brain that the two candidates they think they don't like turns out to be likeable to them.

DREW WESTEN, AUTHOR THE POLITICAL BRAIN: Even if consciously you don't like a word he says about immigrants or about Muslims, you're often left laughing, and laughing means you're left with some residual positive emotion.

KAYE: For Trump, the second strongest association among our group is "Keep us Safe."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's what he said, it's what he reiterates over and over again.

KAYE: So do you think it is ingrained in some of your brains?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah. I think it's very ingrained. He's making America great again, we got to build walls, keep it safe, no Muslims. KAYE: Just as interesting, our group of Clinton supporters strongly associated Clinton with not qualified and poor judgment. This group didn't even find her very presidential. It was nearly at the bottom. Even scary was more strongly connected to her than her campaign would probably like.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Republicans have been trying to paint her that way for in excess of 25 years, and it has just been ingrained in us, just sort of like the study shows.

KAYE: In the end, the test results left our group shaking their heads, and vowing that their unconscious brain would not win out in the voting booth, but our experts have their doubts.

WESTEN: What a lot of data suggests is that if you're a strong supporter of somebody, then what's knocking around in your brain unconsciously will not have much of the effect. If you were somewhere in the center, that's where it has a very, very big effect.

KAYE: The most interesting campaign just got more interesting.

Randi Kaye, CNN, Atlanta.


BERMAN: That's your brain on politics. Pretty intriguing.

All right, just ahead. New developments in the mystery of EgyptAir flight 804. The investigation intensify from Paris to the Mediterranean, two subs now combing the search zone two miles deep as authority step up their efforts to find out what happened to that doomed flight.


[20:36:17] BERMAN: More breaking news. Just moments ago, Donald Trump told Fox News that he still believes that EgyptAir flight 804 was brought down by terrorists. Now investigators have not made that determination. In fact, they made a point of saying all possible causes are on the table.

Tonight there are new developments. France has this bash to sub to join the search for the plane's wreckage in the Mediterranean. An Egyptian submarine began combing the two mile deep search zone over the weekend. As in all plane crash investigations, finding and recovering flight and cockpit data recorders will be critical to determining what brought down this airbus days ago. The investigation is also intensifying on other fronts.


BERMAN: French authorities are, quote, "Pouring" over surveillance video to see who had direct contact with the luggage before takeoff according to the Wall Street Journal. This could include hundreds of airport workers. Egyptian authorities are continuing their investigation as well, asking France to provide information on the flight before it departed Charles de Gaulle, including audio recordings and video. The very same plane was also once the target of political graffiti this according to "New York Times." The words, we will bring this plane down were printed on the bus two years ago. Egyptian authorities played down any connection say, that was vandalism, not a threated terrorism.

SHERIF FATHI, EGYPTIAN CIVIL AVIATION MINISTER: Investigations in these cases are based on facts, based on procedures and these procedures doesn't include statement that has been written on a plane.

BERMAN: Egyptian search teams say they recovered pieces of chairs, life vests and personal belongings, like this white purse from the sea. Human remains also recovered. And Egyptian authority said they've asked family to provide DNA to help identify the victims.

Search crews continue to scourer the water for the bulk of the wreckage, looking also for crucial black boxes which most likely lie on the ocean floor.

FATHI: We will get within days all of the necessary equipment needed to continue this search.

BERMAN: An Egyptian submarine had started its sweep and in the French military has sent in a remote piloted sub to help. The French vessels equipped with an acoustic probe to detect any signals from the flight recorders. Batteries on black boxes can last for about 30 days if there is no significant damage to them.

Terrorism is still a leading theory, though still no one has claimed responsibility. Some of the last words of the pilot are heard on air traffic control recordings. Captain Mohammad Shoukair sounds calm in this routine shekit (ph).


BERMAN: The plane that fell off the radar in the hours after these words.

MOHAMMED SHOUKAIR, PILOT EGYPTAIR FLIGHT 804: This is 0725 Padova Control, EgyptAir 804. Thank you so much. Good day, uh, good night.


BERMAN: All right, so much to discuss now with our panel, CNN aviation analyst and pilot Miles O'Brien, CNN safety analyst and former FAA accident investigator and inspector David Soucie, CNN aviation correspondent Richard Quest, and CNN national security analyst and former U.S. assistant secretary for Homeland Security, Juliette Kayyem.

You know, Richard, just moments ago, Donald Trump said once again he is convinced it was an act of terrorism that brought down the plane. That's not what investigators are saying right now. They're saying they don't know. And its why that the black box -- I mean look they always, they're crucial investigation. But right now it maybe the only answer anyone gets.

RICHARD QUEST, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think you'd be horrified if any of us sat on the set and said it was definitely terrorism. You really have to put it on the table and say the circumstances as it looks at the moment means it is a real possibility, and nobody would deny that, but with the ACARS messages, this satellite messages or this messages that we got showing various faults, showing fire or the smoke in the lavatory, smoke in the avionics bay, failures of the computers.

[20:40:08] One has to put mechanical failure very firmly back as a realistic option. There's simply no other way around it.

BERMAN: It is very much on the table right now.

QUEST: It has to be, because there can be 1,001 ways in which the plane goes -- the smoke incapacitates the plane and eventually takes it down. I agree with you. Nefarious activity, bomb, terrorist is another possibility.

BERMAN: Miles, we're learning about more about the aircraft itself right now, the Egyptian Ministry of Civil Aviation showed that this aircraft had to make an emergency landing back in 2013, but one of the engines overheated. Now, what does that mean? How crucial is the fact of an engine overheating on past flights?

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: It might very well be an entirely different engine that was hung on it, when it went missing, So I don't -- Ii wouldn't put too much into that. Engines overheat, engines are maintained constantly, if they're doing the job properly. An airline -- and an airliner is -- it put through such a rigorous maintenance regime. Now we haven't seen the records admittedly, but assuming they have been following the basic rules of operating an airline, what happened in 2013 with an engine then and what was going on, on the nigh that it went missing, really I wouldn't try to connect those dots.

BERMAN: An important to just check things off the list as we go through the investigation. David, the Associated Press is also citing the head of Egypt state run provider of air navigation services saying that the plane did not swerve, did not lose altitude before disappearing off the radar which contradicts what we heard from Greek officials earlier. So if it did not make this wild turns, 90 degrees to the left, 360 degrees to the right, what does that mean to the investigation.

DAVID SOUCIE, CNN SAFETY ANALYST: You know, at this point the only thing that told us if it were true and if it is true is that if there was a fire, it would have been -- and Miles has brought this up before, too, that this would be a classic maneuver to get out of the air waves, you don't want to just drop in the same air wave, because you might hit oncoming traffic. So the idea is you need to make that 90-degree turn and then you make the turn out there, so it would make sense that he made that maneuver. I was questioning at and I think we all did, because of the fact it was primary radar, which primary radar is not that reliable, particularly when you're close to 200 miles way from the coast.

BERMAN: Juliette, there is still no claim of responsibility by an terrorist group, this coming over a few day period when ISIS frankly claimed responsibility for other stuff and had things to say about other things, no claim of responsibility here. How surprising is that?

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITYY ANALYST: It's surprising. Look, we have to just view this as a normal investigation in an extraordinary circumstance which is information and data points are going to lead in different directions, mechanical failure, pilot error, weather possibly or a bomb or terrorism. So the certainty that you're hearing from Trump is just -- that's politics. The investigations actually have to go forward. And they go forward with facts, because you owe it to family members, I mean they want to know what happened, but also in a lot of these cases, I mean just think about it. D.C. sniper, Oklahoma City, the Atlanta Olympic bombing, you know, a lot of this cases what we thought, who we thought was responsible with not the person or entity responsible later on and so you want it the investigation to follow facts, not intuition.

BERMAN: As we say we're getting more data points right now, strictly about the air craft, that we learned a couple years ago, there were words its like painted on this aircraft, spray painted on it. We will bring this plane down. Now Egyptian authorities they're saying it was just a coincidence, more likely vandalism than terrorism, what do you think?