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West Wing Feud; In The Air Over Syria; Passenger Dragged Off Overbooked United Flight. Aired 7:30-8a ET
Aired April 11, 2017 - 07:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[07:30:00] REP. TED YOHO (R), FLORIDA, HOUSE FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE: -- that says this has to be brought to an end. This conflict has destabilized the whole world. And then we've got North Korea to think about, too.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: Indeed, we do. You have 10 seconds. Very quickly, what's the answer in North Korea?
YOHO: North Korea, again, we've got a fleet out there to show the strength of the United States. This is a new president. This is a new narrative coming out of America that, you know, you can't go around flaunting, you know, nuclear power that you're going to destroy America, you're going to destroy South Korea, you're going to put Japan at risk. These are regimes that have to fall into line to the world community of being good actors, and if you're working to destabilize the world like that something has to be done. And when there are direct threats at us, the 23 million people 30 miles south of the DMZ in South Korea or 28,000 troops in South Korea --
YOHO: -- I think we should show that we have force and we're serious about what we do.
CAMEROTA: Congressman Ted Yoho, thank you for being on NEW DAY.
YOHO: Sure, Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: Chris --
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: All right, so there's this political intrigue question surrounding Washington. Will he stay or will he go? I'm not talking about the song from "The Clash". Steve Bannon -- can he exist with the other man you see on your screen, Jared Kushner, one of Trump's in-law children? What's going to happen there? Who wins, family or Bannon, next?
[07:35:20] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: He understands that we have some pretty smart, talented individuals who are opinionated on a lot of subjects, but that our battles and our policy differences need to be behind closed doors. (END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: The president cannot be happy about all this leaking. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer trying to downplay reports of infighting between top Trump officials. You've got Jared Kushner, Steve Bannon -- you've seen Priebus in there, you've seen Spicer in that mix of people who are being attacked by their own. This follows a report that the president supposedly told Kushner and Bannon to bury the hatchet.
Let's discuss with CNN political commentator and contributor to "The Hill," Kayleigh McEnany. And, CNN political commentator Ana Navarro. It's good to have you both. Kayleigh, let's start off with, as we learned in law schoolto argue the premise. Let's attack it. Do you believe any of this? Do you believe that there is legitimate hostility going on between Kushner and Bannon?
KAYLEIGH MCENANCY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, CONTRIBUTOR, "THE HILL": Look, I believe there's a grain of truth to it, absolutely. They're definitely ideologically at odds, you know, what Kushner stands for and what Bannon Stands for so, you know, logic would tell you yes, there probably are disagreements. I think they've been overblown, absolutely, because there's so much palace intrigue, but I definitely think there's disagreements.
Look at the latest -- the Syria strike. We know Bannon was not on board with that ideologically. He's not an interventionist, whereas Kushner and Ivanka -- that's more of something that they would have encouraged to much success, I would argue. But Idefinitely think there are some disagreements.
CUOMO: All right, let's put up this graphic of the assumed camps in the White House, Ana. It really does, with all due respect, shape up like an episode of "THE APPRENTICE." You've got team Trump with the president and Ivanka, Jared, Cohn, and Dina Powell in there. You've got team Bannon. A couple of those have already not made the cut. You've got team Priebus -- Katie Walsh leaving for her own reasons. Not on this graph, Kellyanne Conway. Where do you think she fits in and what do you make of this palace intrigue?
ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, there's a little bit of palace intrigue in every palace, including the White House, but this has been a lot and it's been a lot very early. I'm not sure if we shouldn't -- instead of, you know, saying "THE APPRENTICE," that to me looks a little bit like "HOUSE OF CARDS"/"The KEYSTONE COPS" and "THREE STOOGES" because sometimes they're just running into each other.
You know, the first rule of politics is don't air your dirty laundry in public. These folks have been hanging it out from the balcony of the White House. It's a lot of leaking, it's a lot of intrigue. We're not even at 100 days and we keep hearing about this bloodletting and all this arguing going on. It's not good. And, you know, I, frankly, think Steve Bannon should be treading very carefully because blood is thicker than water and even though Kushner is not blood technically, he's as close to blood. He's married to blood so that counts, too, in team Trump.
Now, you know, I think that for a lot of us who may have issues with Jared Kushner, who is inexperienced, being now the secretary of everything -- I think we'll stop complaining if the secretary of everything, Jared Kushner, can somehow get rid of Steve Bannon who for such a big part of the country is a problematic person in the White House.
CUOMO: Kayleigh, you're shaking your head. I want to hear why but, also, let me give you a little context of what I want you to do -- address with it. The president's in a box. Sure, blood's thicker than water, everybody knows that, but you don't usually have family surrounding you in the White House and especially when that family has never done anything like this before at any level, let alone a high level. Somewhat of a box but, that said, Bannon does seem to be a perceived bad boy. How do you see it?
MCENANY: Look, you cannot lose Steve Bannon. You just can't because, you know, to my knowledge, when I look around the White House the only person grounding President Trump to keep his promises to the base is Steve Bannon and, perhaps, Kellyanne Conway because you mentioned, you know, which box does she fit in. She might be in that base box.
But he needs someone there to say you cannot renege on your immigration promises, you cannot renege on your free trade economic promises, and Steve Bannon was the guy before Trump was even on the scene, really, laying the ideological foundation that won over those swing state voters and really won Trump the presidency. You cannot lose Steve Bannon. He is indispensable and I would be --
CUOMO: You know -- Kaleigh --
MCENANY: -- worried if Steve Bannon was gone.
CUOMO: -- you know what's interesting? You know what's interesting? Let's assume you're completely right and there's a lot of logic to your position. One of the early initiatives when they first got in was something that was about DJT 100 -- which was this, you know, dream, but you know, you've got to aspire when you're in politics -- to get to 100 percent popularity. To grow way beyond the base. And look at where they are now, Ana. I mean, he is so entrenched with that core group he has not grown his popularity, by any measurable estimate, at all. Can he afford to lose Bannon, who is his umbilical connection to the group that got him there?
[07:40:20] NAVARRO: You know, I think it's -- I think we need to watch what the assault and backlash is of the Syria action. For a lot in the base -- for a lot in that Steve Bannon faction of the Republican Party, going into Syria and having any activity in Syria was a big no-no and we saw that, that President Trump got some backlash from right-wing radio this weekend. Now, the question will be will they give him wiggle room? Will they allow it? Will they get over it?
CUOMO: Right. NAVARRO: If they do, I think that sends the message that he has established his own relationship. I think he's got a very strong relationship with that base that surpasses again given adviser. He really -- he's, you know -- he's quite good at reaching his audience one-on-one.
CUOMO: All right. Ana, Kayleigh, appreciate the different perspectives on this, as always. Have a good day -- Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: All right. Just ahead, imagine this on your next flight. A passenger dragged from his seat by airline officials just because the flight was oversold. Two eyewitnesses join us next.
CUOMO: In Syria, the U.S. war against ISIS is ongoing. CNN was given exclusive access to a KC-10 plane as it refueled striker jets. The flight coming just days after Russia suspended communications with the U.S. in protest of the missile strikes and threatened that a confrontation was imminent. CNN's Frederik Pleitgen was on board and joins us now live. Good to see you safe and sound and on the ground. What do you know?
[07:45:20] FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Chris, yes. And, you know, there is a lot of tension right now here with the U.S. Air Force flying there over Iraq and Syria and a lot of uncertainty as well because there was a system place before, called deconflicting, between the Russians and the Americans and now it seems that system is no longer in place.
So what they're doing right now is when they go into Syria they fly very, very carefully. They obviously look around a lot but at the same time, Chris, they also say that the fight against ISIS has to continue. Here's what happened to us on our mission.
PLEITGEN: Faced with new Russian threats, the U.S. military not backing down in the skies over Iraq and Syria. We're on a KC-10 tanker plane refueling the fighters pounding ISIS.
Of course, there's some tensions, as the Russians have announced they don't want to communicate with the U.S. anymore, in the skies over Syria. That's why crews like this one take great care when they fly into Syrian airspace. Stopping the communications significantly increases the risk of mid-air collisions over this crowded airspace where U.S. coalition and Russian planes operate very close to one another.
Russia made the move after America hit a Syrian airfield with cruise missiles last week in response to a chemical attack on a Syrian village, killing around 90 people. Washington blames the Assad regime, Russia's main ally in the civil war there, even as Syria denies being behind the attack. But, America doesn't want the turmoil to affect the ongoing effort to destroy ISIS. Despite the current tensions with Russia, the U.S. says that the fight against ISIS has to continue full steam, especially with American and allied forces on the ground and in harm's way, a sentiment echoed by commanders leading the air war against ISIS.
BRIG. GEN. CHARLES CORCORAN, U.S. AIR FORCE: We can't take our eye off the ball that is -- that is ISIS. That's why we're here. So, you know, our national leadership was out to do something about a problem they say and if we're asked to help out with something like that we're obviously ready to do it. But right now, ISIS is the game over here.
PLEITGEN: So far, the U.S. says there have been no incidents involving Russian planes over Iraq and Syria and they hope, despite Russia's rhetoric, that it stays that way.
CUOMO: Our thanks to Fred Pleitgen on that plane that was fueling the jets there showing how fragile that situation is.
CAMEROTA: That was great reporting. Meanwhile, we have to tell you about this story that's getting so much attention. (Video playing) Here is a passenger being dragged off of a United Airlines flight because that flight was overbooked by the airline. What was it like to be another passenger on board? We're going to speak with two eyewitnesses who watched all of this unfold, next.
[07:51:55] CAMEROTA: So, United Airlines is in damage control this morning after cell phone video of a passenger being dragged from his seat on an overbooked flight. This you have to see to believe.
CAMEROTA: A disturbing scene unfolding in front of horrified passengers as this man is wrestled from his seat --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on.
CAMEROTA: -- and dragged off the plane.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, this is wrong. Oh, my God, look at what you're doing to him.
CAMEROTA: Three Chicago airport security officers seen forcibly removing this passenger to make room for crew members on the overbooked flight, the man hitting his mouth on the armrest across the aisle.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They busted his lip.
CAMEROTA: Moments later the distraught passenger runs back onto the plane.
PASSENGER REMOVED FROM UNITED FLIGHT 3411: I have to go home. I have to go home. CAMEROTA: Witnesses say the man told the crew he was a doctor and was yelling that he was being profiled because he was Chinese. The incident prompting outrage on board --
TYLER BRIDGES, PASSENGER ON UNITED FLIGHT 3411: The United employees come on the plane. The other passengers were just berating the employees, saying things like you should be ashamed of yourself, you should be embarrassed to work for this company.
CAMEROTA: -- and sparking a major backlash against the airline on social media. United Airlines first explaining in a statement, "Normally when this occurs, passengers are asked to voluntarily give up their seats for compensation and the situation is resolved. However, this was not the case on Sunday night's flight and United was forced into an involuntary deboarding situation."
United CEO Oscar Munoz later addressing the incident on social media saying, "I apologize for having to reaccommodate these customers. Our team is moving with a sense of urgency to work with the authorities and conduct our own detailed review of what happened." Munoz later calling the passenger "disruptive and belligerent" in an email to employees.
CHARLIE LEOCHA, PRESIDENT, TRAVELERS UNITED: Well, I've never seen this happen before. I've never, ever seen a passenger roughed up and dragged off a plane to put a flight attendant on. I mean, that's just idiocy.
CAMEROTA: The officer involved in pulling this passenger from the flight is on paid leave while officials investigate what happened.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is wrong. Oh, my God.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They busted his lip.
CUOMO: All right, joining us now, two passengers from that flight, John Klaassen and Jayse Anspach. Did I come close to getting your names right?
JAYSE ANSPACH, PASSENGER ON UNITED FLIGHT 3411: Pretty close.
JOHN KLAASSEN, PASSENGER ON UNITED FLIGHT 3411: Yes, you did fine.
CUOMO: All right, good. I'll take it. So, as witnesses in there, we'll start with you, John. How did this start and what were your impressions as it involved into this uglysituation?
KLAASSEN: Well, we were boarded on the airplane and then a United representative came on the plane and told all of us that we would not leave Chicago until they had four volunteers to leave the plane so that they could load their personnel -- not people who were overbooked, but just their personnel -- and this didn't sit well with the passengers, obviously. They were offering $800 in United Airline dollars, which isn't, you know, isn't a whole lot because it's only for United. It's only for air travel and they were unwilling to negotiate that.
[07:55:10] CAMEROTA: So, Jayse, how did they zero in on this man as being the one who had to go?
ANSPACH: That is the question. We don't really know. They left the plane after telling us well, we're going to choose for you because there's no volunteers, and they came back with four tickets with the plane number -- or the seat number and the name and they just came up to those -- up to those individuals and --
CUOMO: Was the doctor the first one they came to or did anybody exit before the doctor, Jayse?
ANSPACH: Nobody exited before the doctor but there was a couple of people that were asked first and it appeared that they denied and they also refused in that moment, so they went straight to the doctor and then that's when this escalated.
CUOMO: So he did nothing different -- he did nothing different, the doctor, in his refusal, as far as you could tell, than the people before him who said no, I'm not leaving.
ANSPACH: Yes. He did nothing different --
ANSPACH: -- but it just -- it escalated, you know.
CAMEROTA: Right, so let's talk about that. So when it starts escalating and these airport officials get on the airplane, then what happens? Do you see this passenger -- what leads up to him being dragged out and then that scene, John?
ANSPACH: Are you asking me or John?
KLAASSEN: Well, what did we see? Well, two airport officials came on the airplane and tried to talk him out of his seat. At that point it's escalated pretty far, right? There's a lot of fear now on the plane. Remember, there are women and children and students on the plane, and it's just getting more and more tense. Then the third officer comes on, he's plain clothes. We're not -- we don't know a lot about him. There's not real identification taking place, and then it just explodes as they yank him off of and out of his seat.
CUOMO: Hey, John, is that you in the orange shirt, sitting in front of him?
KLAASSEN: It is, yes.
CUOMO: When this was going on and you're hearing that screaming behind you, what were you thinking was going on and did you have any thoughts about doing something about it?
KLAASSEN: Well, we were -- we were returning from Athens. I had taken a group. We had been working with refugees -- Iranian and Afghan refugees in Athens. We'd been flying a long time. We were ready to go home. All of a sudden this explodes. You're asking yourself the question, what can I do? Do I get up, do I say something? But these are police officers -- they're federal police officers. You know that you're on federal property. What do you do in a situation like that?
CAMEROTA: I don't know. I mean, this -- watching this, it's just -- it's so unthinkable that all of this is unfolding in front of passengers just because the flight was overbooked, which was United's responsibility to begin with. But, Jayse, then the passenger who was forcibly removed -- who was screaming there -- he runs back on the plane and at that point there's video of his blood coming from his mouth. What was your impression of this passenger? Was he traumatized from this experience or was there something else going on with him?
ANSPACH: You know, it's hard to tell. As he runs back on that plane and he's, you know, saying over and over again "I need to go home, I need to go home" it could have been his daze from hitting his face on the armrest. You know, he was acting a little bit differently since he came back on the plane. I don't even know how he got back on the plane -- what was happening in the jetway because it wasn't until, I don't know, seven to 10 minutes later that he ran back on the plane.
CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh.
ANSPACH: So --
CAMEROTA: So where we see the blood --
CAMEROTA: -- dripping from his mouth, that's because he -- when they were forcibly removing him his head hit the armrest.
ANSPACH: Yes, that's correct. He hit his face on the armrest across the aisle.
CUOMO: Well, you don't know what happened when he left the plane, either, right? You don't know whether or not there was a continued altercation because when he's getting dragged out he's not bleeding like that. Obviously, he could have bled more over time but you don't know what happened when he left and he didn't say anything about it when he came back, did he?
ANSPACH: No. I mean, he wasn't -- he wasn't --
CUOMO: He wasn't making much sense when he came back?
CUOMO: So this happens, then what? What happens when the pilot -- when the doctor makes that appeal at the end where he's holding onto the side? How did he wind up, ultimately, leaving the plane and what happened to his wife? ANSPACH: Yes. The speculation was that -- because they surrounded him. They had the people in the back of the plane leave so they'd have some room and they brought on medics and some other police officers. They surrounded the doctor in the back.
Things kind of got quiet and after about seven minutes or so he -- they make room and he starts making his way on his own up to the front of the plane. He's holding his mouth -- he's holding some tissue in his mouth to stop the bleeding. And he sort of -- you know, he's walking now with a more -- he looks -- he looks almost like intoxicated and at the front of the plane he ends up collapsing. So we were suspecting that maybe they sedated him in the back to kind of calm him down and to get him to go forward because other than that, there's no reason for him to have collapsed.
CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh. So, John, I mean, having lived --