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U.S. Navy Plane Crashes Off Japan; Trump Chooses His Own Version Of Reality To Back Moore; AAA: Nearly 4 Million People To Fly. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired November 22, 2017 - 05:30   ET



[05:31:00] BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news overnight.

A U.S. Navy plane going down off the coast of Japan, eight rescued. The rescue operations are still underway right now. We'll have the latest in just a moment.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He totally denies it. He says it didn't happen. You know, you have to listen to him, also.


SANCHEZ: No endorsement, but no doubts President Trump wants Roy Moore in the U.S. Senate despite accusations that he's a pedophile.

And, new sexual harassment allegations against the dean of the House. Now, Michigan's biggest newspaper wants John Conyers to resign for using taxpayer money to settle with another accuser.

Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Boris Sanchez in for Christine Romans and Dave Briggs. We are 31 minutes past the hour and we're following breaking news overnight.

A U.S. Navy plane carrying 11 crew members and passengers crashed southeast of Okinawa, Japan. The president -- the plane was headed to the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier in the Philippine Sea. Eight people have been pulled alive from the water but the Reagan is still conducting search operations.

Already this year, four U.S. Navy warships have been involved in accidents in these waters.

CNN's Ivan Watson was in Okinawa a few weeks ago on a different U.S. Navy ship. He's been following the developments all morning for us from Hong Kong. Ivan, what more are you learning?


Just now, the U.S. Navy Seventh Fleet put out an updated statement and an officer confirmed to me by phone that eight people who were rescued from the 11 passengers and crew aboard the C-2A transport plane that crashed -- eight of them have been rescued and are in good condition. However, the search and rescue operation continues for three other missing people from aboard this transport plane.

A Navy public affairs officer also saying that the plane was believed to be en route to the USS Ronald Reagan when the crash happened. We still don't have an explanation for why or how close the plane was to the aircraft carrier itself when the crash took place. For instance, was it on the final approach?

And these planes -- these transport planes which have two propellers -- they land aboard the aircraft carrier and then they use a hook and cable system to come to a screeching halt. I've flown aboard a U.S. aircraft carrier on this very type of plane and you come to a jerking halt when you land.

So we don't know how close it was at that moment when the crash took place. So the search and rescue operations do continue.

As you pointed out, this comes during what has been a very difficult year for the U.S. Navy's Seventh Fleet in the Asia-Pacific region. There have been four collisions with ships this year. Two of those collisions involving destroyers, the USS Fitzgerald and the USS John McCain. And in those cases, at least 17 sailors were killed.

The U.S. Navy concluded that the accidents could have been avoided and that they were the result of mistakes. And a number of commanding officers were relieved of duty, essentially fired for those accidents.

Of course, in this case, this involves a Navy aircraft and we'll wait to learn more about this -- Boris.

SANCHEZ: Yes, these are some of the busiest waters in the world. It's still concerning, though, that there have been so many accidents in such a short span of time.

Ivan Watson, thank you for the reporting.

Back to the states now.

President Trump never actually used the "e" word, endorse, but on Tuesday, he strongly defended Roy Moore.

At least eight women have accused the embattled Alabama Republican Senate candidate of pursuing romantic relationships with them when they were teenagers. A few of them also accuse Moore of assault.

But Tuesday, on his way to Mar-a-Lago for Thanksgiving, the president seemed much more concerned about the idea of another Democrat in the Senate.


TRUMP: We don't need a liberal person in there -- a Democrat, Jones. I've looked at his record. It's terrible in crime, it's terrible in the border, it's terrible in the military. [05:35:09] I could tell you for a fact we do not need somebody that's going to be bad on crime, bad on borders, bad with the military, bad for the Second Amendment.


SANCHEZ: As for why the president is only speaking up now after two weeks of silence, a Republican source close to the White House says that President Trump doubted Moore's accusers, identifying Moore's experience as similar to his own in the accusations that were leveled against him during the 2016 campaign.

CNN White House correspondent Jeff Zeleny is traveling with the president. He has more from Mar-a-Lago.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Trump doing something he has not done for the last two weeks, directly and personally weighing in on that explosive Senate race in Alabama.

Before flying here to Florida where he'll be spending his Thanksgiving vacation, the president fully embraced Roy Moore. He said he did not necessarily disbelieve the women who have come forward to accuse him of wrongdoing, but he did accept Roy Moore's denials.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is an accused child molester better than a Democratic?

TRUMP: Well, he denies it. Look, he denies it. He totally denies it. He says it didn't happen and, you know, you have to listen to him also.

You're talking about -- he said 40 years ago this did not happen, so, you know --

ZELENY: The president all but giving his endorsement. He said he would potentially think about campaigning with Roy Moore in the coming weeks before that special election in December.

So in trying to get a sense of what went into the president's thinking and to his abruptly supporting Roy Moore, aides close to him say that simply the noise and confusion from this tidal wave of cases across the country that have rippled from Hollywood to politics to media simply made it easier for him to stick with Roy Moore.

In the words of one Republican close to the White House, it's harder to tell who the bad guy is now. And, of course, the White House eager to keep that seat from Alabama in Republican hands.


SANCHEZ: Thank you for that, Jeff.

Let's bring in "CNN POLITICS" director Zach Wolf live from Washington, joining us again this morning. Zach, thanks for staying up with us. First and foremost, what do you make of this apparent shift? The White House earlier on staying mum on Roy Moore and now, through kind of read between the lines language saying yes, go ahead and vote for him.

ZACHARY WOLF, DIGITAL DIRECTOR, CNN POLITICS: Well, we've been waiting to see what Trump, himself, was going to say. Earlier, we'd heard his spokespeople -- you know, Kellyanne Conway and some others talk about how the -- you know, no Senate seat is more important than a child. And then, that had sort of moved its way into well, you know, this is a really important seat and we want to get things done.

And now, Trump comes out somehow finding a way to disbelieve these multiple, consistent accounts from these women in Alabama, and saying despite this pattern -- and clearly, it is a pattern -- that you have to look at Roy Moore's side, too, which is kind of an interesting way to go about it.

But you've definitely seen a shift here on the part of the White House kind of going from kind of seeing what's going to happen to essentially endorsing Moore -- at least Trump is, on his way down to Mar-a-Lago.

SANCHEZ: Zach, I hate to distract from what is a vital, important conversation to have but the president is up early and on Twitter attacking a new favorite target, LaVar Ball. I want to share with you some of the tweets he sent out just moments ago.

"It wasn't the White House, it wasn't the State Department, it wasn't father LaVar's so-called people on the ground in China that got his son out of a long-term prison sentence, it was me. Too bad!

LaVar is just a poor man's version of Don King but without the hair. Just think -- LaVar, you could have spent the next five to 10 years during Thanksgiving with your son in China, but no NBA contract to support you.

But remember, LaVar, shoplifting is not a little thing. It's a really big deal, especially in China. Ungrateful fool!"

It's not the first time that during a serious incident -- something that requires attention -- the loss, potentially, of American service men and women abroad that the president has taken to Twitter to discuss something that doesn't really seem that consequential to a whole lot of people.

WOLF: I think you're nice saying to discuss it. He's basically trying to keep this fight he's got going with LaVar Ball going. He seems to enjoy it. The two men have kind of -- were built for each other the way that they -- you know, the bravado that they use.

But, yes, you know, if the -- Twitter is essentially a window on what's on his mind and he's seen somewhere some mention of LaVar Ball and probably that interview on CNN, which was incredible, with Chris Cuomo, and it's channeling straight on to his Twitter feed.

SANCHEZ: The comparison to Don King I also find interesting, and there's a lot to dissect there.

But we do have to move on to Rep. John Conyers of Michigan. He's being accused not only sexual misconduct but then also using taxpayer funds to try to cover up those accusations.

[05:40:08] The "Detroit Free Press" editorial board wrote this.

Quote, "It is a betrayal that breaches the most fundamental trust that exists between a public servant and the people that person represents. Even if Conyers could prove that he did not make inappropriate advances toward his former staffer there's no defense for having used dollars from his congressional office to settle a claim."

What do you make of these accusations? Can he survive this?

WOLF: I think with the second accuser who didn't come forward but it became clear that she tried to bring a suit and wanted to keep it secret, and that's kind of a complicated side story. But if there are multiple accusers and if they tried to secretly use government money to -- for payoffs, that gets very difficult. That gets very dicey, I think.

It's hard to see a path forward for him. But he denies these claims and we'll just have to see what happens, but this is not a good situation for the congressman.

SANCHEZ: All right. We should note that Conyers denies all the allegations.

I did want to get to Roy Moore and some interesting polling out from Quinnipiac University if we could put it up.

People were asked should Roy Moore be expelled if he wins and becomes a senator. Overall, 60 percent said yes, 28 percent said no.

Similar numbers for women. A slight uptick there, 66 percent saying yes, he should be expelled. But look at the number for Republicans. Almost half of Republicans do not believe that Roy Moore should be expelled if he becomes senator.

We're going into a 2018 that is going to be contentious. Already, we saw in Virginia the potential for a Democratic wave.

How do Democrats use this against Republicans next year, and should Republicans do more to buffer themselves to prevent them from becoming, as Jeff Flake said, the party of Roy Moore?

WOLF: Well, you know, you've seen this for the past couple of elections where Democrats have tried to turn themselves essentially into the party of women. I think they're only going to double down on this after Roy Moore. And if he is in the Senate, it will -- it will -- it will only happen more.

There had been some talk of trying to kick Roy Moore out of the Senate if he gets there. I think we'll have to cross that bridge when we come to it. But the Republican number is very interesting. Remember, Republicans

control the Senate and they want to pass a tax bill, so that would be a very difficult thing for them to kick him out.

SANCHEZ: Zachary Wolf, thank you so much for being up early with us and sharing your thoughts on a wide variety of topics. Have a great Thanksgiving if I don't talk to you before then, Zach.

WOLF: You, too.

SANCHEZ: North Korea violating the Armistice Agreement with South Korea by chasing a defector who crossed the border. He was shot five times. Some incredible video, up next.


[05:47:15] SANCHEZ: Thanksgiving is notorious for being one of the busiest times of the year to travel. Nearly 51 million people are set to travel 50 miles or more this holiday weekend and that is the highest travel volume since 2005, according to AAA. Of those traveling, about four million are expected to fly.

CNN's Ryan Young is live at Chicago O'Hare International Airport. Ryan, I expect a stressful day ahead?

RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, you know. You've done this story before. You get to the airport, you look at everyone's faces. You can either see the stress or the happiness to go wherever the people are going for the Thanksgiving holidays.

The good news here, so far, as we look at the big board you don't see any delays when it comes to flights across the country. Here, it's before 5:00 so when you look at the security line behind us it is easy breezy.

And when I talked to a couple of travelers they say that's the exact absolute reason why they wanted to travel early because they wanted to avoid the long lines. Of course, they're set up for the long lines but so far, so good.

And if you think about it, 51 million people traveling across this country, we've seen a lot of the peak times, especially on the road, for Tuesday. So we've seen that constant travel, especially on the roads, getting ready to peak in certain locations.

But today is the day for air travel. We're told with so many millions of people hitting the roads and the airways you know today could be kind of interesting when it comes to people's patience.

I talked to one TSA worker and he said please, people, don't pack your liquids because that really slows down the line. You've been through this before. Hopefully, people will have more of an easy time going through the airport than they have in years past -- Boris.

SANCHEZ: Yes. Hopefully, people focus on the turkey at the end of the long road home. Ryan, thank you so much for joining us. Happy Thanksgiving if I don't

talk to you before then, sir.

YOUNG: Happy Thanksgiving.

SANCHEZ: Charlie Rose fired twice in one day over sexual harassment allegations. Both CBS and PBS terminating the T.V. host after "The Washington Post" published accusations from eight women. CBS is now confirming three more potential victims came forward on Tuesday.

Rose's former CBS co-host Gayle King appeared on "THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT" saying that ultimately, though difficult for her, the accusers matter most.


GAYLE KING, ANCHOR, "CBS THIS MORNING": To be honest with you it still isn't easy. It's still very painful, it's still very hurtful.

You know, Charlie and I, we've worked together and been friends. But when you think about the anguish of those women, despite the friendship, you still have to report the news.

When you were doing the monologue about other people I'm like ha, ha, ha and then it was Charlie and I'm like oh, he's a friend --


KING: -- and I don't like that. That's difficult.

COLBERT: Yes, I understand.

KING: And then I think about what these women were going through. I don't like that either.


SANCHEZ: King's comments coming after she and co-host Nora O'Donnell delivered an emotional response to the accusations against their colleague on "CBS THIS MORNING."


NORA O'DONNELL, ANCHOR, "CBS THIS MORNING": This is a moment that demands a frank and honest assessment about where we stand and more generally, the safety of women.

[05:50:07] Let me be very clear. There is no excuse for this alleged behavior. Women cannot achieve equality in the workplace or in society until there is a reckoning and a taking of responsibility.


SANCHEZ: And you can add another name to the list this morning. A top Disney animation executive taking a leave of absence after what he calls missteps. John Lasseter is the chief creative officer for Disney Animation and Pixar.

An unnamed Pixar employee told "The Hollywood Reporter" that Lasseter had a reputation for grabbing, kissing, and making inappropriate comments.

Lasseter released a statement in which he said quote, "It's been brought to my attention that I've made some of you feel disrespected or uncomfortable. That was never my intent."

A Disney spokesperson tells CNN the company is committed to maintaining an environment in which all employees are respected.

Meantime, dozens of women with ties to "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE" are coming out in support of Sen. Al Franken.

Los Angeles radio host Leeann Tweeden alleged that Franken forcibly kissed her without her consent during a USO tour in 2006.

Thirty-six women who worked with Franken on "SNL" say, in part, quote "What Al did was stupid and foolish and we think it was appropriate for him to apologize to Ms. Tweeden and to the public. In our experience, we know Al as a devoted and dedicated family man, a wonderful comedic performer, and an honorable public servant."

Holiday shopping kicks off this week but the shine is already off mall jewelers. Why diamond sales are down on "CNN Money Stream," next.


[05:56:19] SANCHEZ: Three members of the U.S. military are being assigned from their White House posts this morning for allegedly making improper contact with foreign women while traveling with President Trump in Asia. That's according to "The Washington Post."

They allegedly broke curfew during the president's stop in Vietnam and now, they are potentially facing the loss of their security clearances or even the potential to face a court-martial.

All three service members worked for a specialized White House agency in charge of securing communications for top-level officials.

North Korea is accused of violating the Armistice Agreement with South Korea by crossing the border to shoot a defector.

Watch this dramatic U.N. security video. It shows the North Korean soldier running across the border. You can see just -- you follow along, you see his head at the bottom of the frame.

North Korean troops then start shooting at him. He gets shot five times. Later, South Korean troops try to get near and they crawl to try to rescue him.

In a separate clip, you see one North Korean soldier crossing the military demarcation line that divides the two nations. That's another violation of the Armistice that ended the Korean War.

Officials say the defector who was shot has regained consciousness but will need additional treatment.

Let's get a check on "CNN Money Stream" this morning.

Global markets are higher today after Wall Street hit record highs, thanks largely to the best performing sector of the year, tech. Tech stocks rose yesterday helped by a nearly two percent jump from Apple. Overall, tech is up 38 percent this year.

Meg Whitman is stepping down as CEO of Hewlett-Packard. Whitman joined H.P. more than six years ago and will remain on the company's board. Current president and 20-year H.P. veteran Antonio Neri will take over.

Whitman's departure actually reduces the number of women leading S&P 500 companies to just 25.

Mall diamonds are losing their sparkle. Signet, which owns jewelers Kay, Jared, and Zales, warned that profits will be light next year. The company blames hurricanes and weak sales for a challenging quarter.

Signet will also shut 125 stores in 2018. Signet's stock dropped 30 percent on this news.

And, Facebook is under fire, yet again, for allowing discriminatory ad targeting. In a new report, "ProPublica" was able to purchase dozens of ads for home rentals that excluded specific groups, including African-Americans, Jews, and Spanish-speakers.

Facebook said the ad placements were the result of a quote "failure in our enforcement." Facebook updated its rules in February, you might recall, to try to prevent this kind of discrimination.

On behalf of Christine Romans, thank you for joining us. I'm Boris Sanchez. I'll be turning you over to "NEW DAY" which starts right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It's Wednesday, November 22nd, 6:00 here in New York, and we do begin with breaking news.

A U.S. Navy plane has crashed off the coast of Japan, 11 crew members and passengers on board. The cargo plane was heading to the USS Ronald Reagan when it went down.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: A search for survivors is underway at this hour and the crash is just the latest in a string of deadly accidents for the U.S. Seventh Fleet.

CNN's Barbara Starr is live at the Pentagon for us with all of the breaking details. What's happening, Barbara?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Alisyn. As you say, at this hour, U.S. and Japanese forces are continuing their search and rescue mission about 500 miles southeast of the Japanese island of Okinawa in the Philippine Sea.