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Was Pompeo's North Korea Meeting Leaked Ahead Of Confirmation Vote?; IRS Extends Tax Deadline After Computer Glitch; NTSB Investigating Deadly Engine Failure On Southwest Flight; Passengers Describe Engine Failure On Southwest Flight. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired April 18, 2018 - 07:30   ET


[07:32:13] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Big news. President Trump confirming his CIA director met with North Korea's dictator Kim Jong- un. The president's pick for Secretary of State is the CIA director, Mike Pompeo.

Now, this is why this matters on one level of simple politics because Pompeo's confirmation process is not as strong as the White House hoped, so that raises a question. Is this news leaked, in part, to influence that troubled confirmation process?

Let's discuss with CNN senior political commentator Rick Santorum.

What do you make of the timing and of the potential for Pompeo to get dinged in the committee?

RICK SANTORUM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, FORMER U.S. SENATOR: I think the potential is pretty limited. I think this is actually a very strong move just on that particular topic that you mentioned as far as making sure his confirmation doesn't get -- go sideways.

I think this was a smart move on the part of the administration to show that this is man that can have a big impact on the national -- on the international stage and as someone who is very much in sync with the president and can stabilize this acrimony that we've seen between the State Department and the president.

So I think this was a brilliant move on their part. On the substance, I have some concerns. But on the -- on moving Pompeo forward, a very smart idea.

CUOMO: And why do you think it comes out of committee despite the reporting that it's a little dicey in there right now? I understand that McConnell could still bring it to a floor vote --


CUOMO: -- even if he doesn't get through committee, but why do you think that that won't be necessary?

SANTORUM: I don't think the Democrats want to -- want to own or even -- or Republicans want to own having a vacuum at the State Department at a time when we have all of these very serious matters. Everything from what's going on in the Middle East and Syria, and obviously, this North Korean situation.

There are just too many hotspots and there is a concern among Republicans and Democrats about the president and his demeanor and his stability in dealing with some of these issues. And having someone like a Pompeo, I think is necessary for them to show that they're going to try to stabilize the situation as much as Congress can do that.

CUOMO: Now, that couldn't be more pivotal than it would be in this North Korea campaign, trying to get something done with a place that's so hostile, so prone to mendacity and going back on deals. We see that even in our recent history.


CUOMO: So they're going to have to have unusual concerted and coordinated action among the team.

Nikki Haley, as an example. Ordinarily, you could say well, that's a little bit nitpicking -- it happens. They get messages, crossed wires. Trump is kind of sideways on what to do with Russia.

But it matters more now because they have to all be on the same page. You can't have your ambassador to the U.N. get thrown under the bus by Larry Kudlow the way it just happened.

[07:35:05] How big a concern?

SANTORUM: Well, I think Larry certainly walked back those comments and I would say walked them back in a very self-deprecating way. I mean, he took the hit for what he said. He got it -- he got it wrong and he admitted that he got it wrong.

Things did change from what Nikki Haley thought was going to be the case and who changed it I don't know, but we suspect the president had a different point of view once this matter came to a head.

I don't see this as a really big deal. I think this was just simply the dynamics of people being on site and people being a little bit remote and not getting the latest before they spoke. So I'm not as concerned about that.

I think there are lot -- a lot -- a lot bigger issues within this administration than what's going on with --

CUOMO: Right.

SANTORUM: -- Nikki Haley and the president.

CUOMO: Right.

SANTORUM: I think they're pretty much on the same page.

CUOMO: No, I hear you but you play the way you practice and when North Korea -- if it -- if all these things manifest, OK, and you have your meetings, you have your summits -- North Korea, South Korea start talking about making the armistice into a natural and permanent peace, you've got to be on the same page.

The president has to want to say whatever everybody else hears and that seems to be something that is often a precious commodity there. That connection between what's put out by an agency as policy, what is echoed by the president in terms of how he sees the politics of the moment.

Do you think that can be corrected or this is going to have to be done despite how Trump often crosses wires with his own people?

SANTORUM: I think the -- any expectation that Donald Trump is going to change the way he governs has been pretty much settled at this point. The president is his own person and he is going to do things that are going to be upsetting to the normal course of things.

With respect to North Korea, that's why I believe having someone like a Pompeo who is very much a confidante of this president is so important and one of the reasons I think the Senate can't really mess around with this nomination.

You've got someone that is well-respected up on Capitol Hill. Someone who has proven that they can -- they are very competent in dealing with the -- with the relationship between a key official, the CIA director and a president. He's proven that that relationship has been as stable as any in this administration and to bring that to the -- to the -- to the Secretary of State's position is very important.

And look, I'm hopeful that he doesn't get dinged, that he is given the support that the Congress can give him, and shows that they want to be part of stabilizing this foreign policy.

CUOMO: Well, his hands -- his fate may rest in the hands of red state Democrats so we'll see how that's going. We have a watchful eye on them.

Let me ask you one quick beat. What's going on with your party? Charlie Dent was not going to run but now he's leaving even sooner.

It seems to be that there is attrition of lawmakers who are known for seeking common ground and action thereon. That there are victims of the division.

How worried are you about this?

SANTORUM: I'm worried about it, frankly, in both parties, Chris. I mean, you see it -- you've seen it over the past several election cycles among Democrats where moderate Democrats have become roadkill, and the same is happening with Republicans.

I don't think it's good for either party that we don't have middle-of- the-road Democrats and middle-of-the-road Republicans who can be -- who can be that sort of conduit to try to -- to try to make deals happen.

CUOMO: Right, but it's 40 to 19, though and you guys are the ruling party. You've got 40 of your guys stepping out, 19 Democrats. I hear you. We need more common ground. That's going to take both

sides to tango, no question about that.

But as the ruling party, to see what is a pretty obvious move to the fringe, how do you counteract that -- or do you like it?

SANTORUM: Again, I think it's happening in both parties. Yes, it's 40 to 19 this election in large part because most of the Democrats who are -- who were in those kind of marginal seats don't exist anymore. So the marginal seats are held by Republicans if they're held by anybody and so it's not surprising to me that most of them in this -- in this election cycle would choose to take a pass instead of stepping into the -- what looks to be a meat grinder in 2018.

So, I -- but it -- the larger problem here is that in the primary system that we have, both Republicans and Democrats, the base turns out in those primaries -- the conservative base on the Republican side and the left on the Democratic side -- and it's very, very hard for moderate Republicans and moderate Democrats to get through our primary system. And that's the -- that's the polarization that's going on.

How you change that -- you know, we can talk about redistricting, we can talk about a lot of other things, but the reality is that both political parties are moving toward their polls and I don't know necessarily if there's an easy solution as to how do we -- how do we remedy that.

CUOMO: Well, if we know one thing, politicians act more often out of consequence than conscience. If they get punished for not getting things done that matter to people and not finding common ground, that may be the best impetus for change.

SANTORUM: Agreed, thank you.

CUOMO: Rick Santorum, thank you for joining us, as always -- Alisyn.

[07:40:00] SANTORUM: You bet.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: So Chris, we're learning more about that terrifying Southwest Airlines engine failure that killed one passenger during the flight. We have all the new details for you, next.


CAMEROTA: All right, it's time for "CNN Money Now."

Today is tax day again. Is it really? I should get on that.

The IRS is extending the tax filing deadline today. I'm sure my husband got an extension.

Chief business correspondent Christine Romans is in our Money Center to tell us why.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT, ANCHOR, "EARLY START": I shouldn't laugh because this is really remarkable. Taxpayers have an extra day to file after the IRS Website crashed on

tax day -- the real tax day -- causing many to miss the midnight deadline. The IRS spent hours yesterday, the busiest tax day of the year, dealing with computer glitches.

The online filing service was down most the day. The problems, the IRS says, were related to the transfer of tax returns from companies like H&R Block and TurboTax, but what a mess.

[07:45:08] Now, right now, all systems are working so Americans now have until midnight tonight to file their taxes. It's not clear how many people were affected but five million returns were filed on the final day last year -- 5 million.

The IRS commissioner apologized to those who couldn't file yesterday, adding that Americans -- you can file normally now, and you should, or ask for a 6-month extension.

That's what the president did. President Trump filed for an extension. The White House said the president would file late due to the complexity of his returns which remember, we have not seen. The first president in nearly five decades not to release his taxes, Chris.

CUOMO: They're all under audit. All of the ones that he could release are under audit.

Christine, thank you very much.

Starbucks plans to close 8,000 U.S. stores for a single afternoon, May 29. Why? To educate its employees about racial bias and how to avoid it.

The move follows an uproar over the arrest of two black men who were just waiting for a friend at a Philly Starbucks when the manager called police, and they were in custody for nine hours.

CEO Kevin Johnson meeting face-to-face with the two men. He apologized.

The employee training program is designed to do the right thing and it will have the help of former attorney general Eric Holder.

CAMEROTA: OK. Now, to this scare in midair. Federal investigators are trying to determine what caused this deadly engine failure on a Southwest Airlines flight. One passenger died after shrapnel from the engine smashed the window next to her and almost sucked her out of the plane.

CNN's Polo Sandoval has more on the investigation.


KRISTOPHER JOHNSON, PASSENGER ON SOUTHWEST AIRLINES FLIGHT 1380: All of a sudden, we just heard this loud bang, rattling, and it felt like one of the engines went out. The oxygen masks dropped. POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A terrifying scene onboard this Southwest flight from New York's LaGuardia Airport to Dallas when passengers say they heard the engine explode midair. Just 20 minutes after takeoff, part of the left engine breaks apart, damaging the fuselage and shattering this window, partially sucking a woman out of the plane.

AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER: Injured passengers, OK. And are you -- is your airplane physically on fire?

TAMMIE JO SHULTS, PILOT: Not fire, not fire, but part of it's missing. They said there's a hole and someone went out.

SANDOVAL: Passengers desperately trying to pull Jennifer Riordan, a 43-year-old Wells Fargo executive, back into the cabin and resuscitate her.

MARTY MARTINEZ, PASSENGER ON SOUTHWEST AIRLINES FLIGHT 1380: Passengers right next to us were holding on to her and meanwhile, there was blood all over this man's hands because he was tending to her.

PEGGY PHILLIPS, PASSENGER ON SOUTHWEST AIRLINES FLIGHT 1380: We made every effort that we could possibly make to save this woman's life.

SANDOVAL: One scared passenger livestreaming this video to document what he thought were the last moments of his life.

MARTINEZ: I feel just so -- I'm like really lucky to be alive. All I could think about as I was going down in that plane was, you know, how my life was being taken away from me.

SANDOVAL: Others scrambling to send final messages to their loved ones.

MATT TRANCHIN, PASSENGER ON SOUTHWEST AIRLINES FLIGHT 1380: My wife is in her third trimester with our first child, so I spent a lot of my time trying to articulate what I wanted my final words to be to my unborn child.

SANDOVAL: The "Navy Times" reporting that heroic pilot is one of the Navy's first female fighter pilots. She safely got the plane to the ground in Philadelphia after declaring an emergency. The aircraft rapidly descending from more than 32,000 to 10,000 feet in just minutes.

ADAM THIEL, FIRE COMMISSIONER, CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA: The flight crew did an incredible job getting this aircraft here on the ground.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Professionals through and through and, you know, we're alive because of them.

SANDOVAL: Southwest Airlines says the plane was last inspected on Sunday, but investigators inspecting the damaged aircraft found one engine fan blade was missing. ROBERT SUMWALT, CHAIRMAN, NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION AND SAFETY BOARD: And it's very unusual and so we are taking this event extremely seriously. This should not happen and we want to find out why it happened so that we can make sure that preventive measures are put in place.

SANDOVAL: Last year, the FAA issuing a directive that would have required inspection of the fan blades. In 2016, a Southwest flight from New Orleans to Orlando was also forced to make an emergency landing after experiencing engine failure.


SANDOVAL: And back out live at Philly International where the NTSB continues its investigation. In addition to the discovery of that missing fan blade, investigators have already found out that there are some signs of potential issues there -- potential metal fatigue here which is essentially the weakening of materials -- in this case, plane parts, Chris -- after it's exposed to repeated stress.

If you put it all together it seems that they are just that much closer to finding out exactly what took place yesterday during this incident that resulted in the first fatality aboard a U.S. carrier in nearly a decade -- Chris.

CUOMO: Polo, excellent issue, right, because you're going to have what considerations going forward? Inspections, maintenance, and that willingness to give up time in the air to make sure that safety is the priority.

[07:50:02] This is going to come down to what Southwest does and what the FAA ensures that they do. We'll stay on it. I know you will.

Polo, thank you very much.

Coming up next, we're going to speak with two passengers who were on that flight. Can you imagine what those moments were like? They'll tell you.


CAMEROTA: Twenty minutes into Southwest Airlines flight 1380 there was a sudden and frightening engine mishap. The plane was forced to make an emergency landing in Philadelphia after one of its engines failed, causing shrapnel to smash a window, partially sucking out a female passenger.

The heroic pilot was able to land the plane safely, really against all odds, but the female passenger did die. This is the first fatality on a U.S. carrier in nearly a decade.

Two of the passengers from that flight, Joe Marcus and Marty Martinez, join us now. Gentlemen, it's so great to have you here in the studio.

How are you feeling, Marty, this morning? MARTINEZ: Yes, it's taking me a little time to process, you know? I -- you know, it's, of course, been inundated with a lot of calls from family and things like. And I got back to my hotel room late and I'm walking around New York City and just felt with every step I took, with every breath I had, I just felt like just so lucky that -- to be walking, you know?

CAMEROTA: Of course, you did. I mean, of course, you did. After a near-death experience, of course, it changes you.

[07:55:05] Do you think that your life is forever changed?

MARTINEZ: Oh, absolutely. I mean, to go through that experience and, you know, like as the plane was going down I wasn't even putting my oxygen mask on.


MARTINEZ: It was very instinctual for me to immediately think of how can I communicate with my loved ones. And literally, the plane is going down, there's turbulence everywhere, and my first instinct was to grab my laptop. And it sounds ridiculous but I bought Internet as the plane was going down.

CAMEROTA: And I know you were saying how hard it was to plug in your credit card number. I can't even do it on a safe flight --


CAMEROTA: -- and it took you a long time. And once you finally got Internet, what message did you send out?

MARTINEZ: Well then, I immediately thought -- and I think a lot of people can resonate with this. Imagine you don't have any idea how long it's going to take -- really, how much time you have left -- if it's going to work or not, and then having to prioritize what loved ones you reach out to.

And I thought to myself very quickly, like how can I reach people en masse. And I was -- I thought I'll Facebook Live this. At least I knew that my family and friends and colleagues -- like, I'd be able to get to them. But it was definitely a gut-wrenching experience.

CAMEROTA: So, Joe, tell us what you saw -- and that's the picture of you Facebook Living them. For much of the time you didn't even talk but you just wanted to make that connection.

Joe, tell us what you heard and saw when you realized it was an emergency on the plane.

JOE MARCUS, PASSENGER ON SOUTHWEST FLIGHT 1380: Sure. See, I actually sat right by the window right near the engine that exploded so I kind of got a front-row view of everything happening while it was happening.

So we heard a big boom and everyone started screaming. The plane kind of went a little lopsided. Oxygen masks dropped down. And it was kind of chaotic but I was just trying to stay positive during the whole thing and trying --

CAMEROTA: How could you stay positive when the plane is descending from 32,000 to 10,000, I think in something like five minutes? What was that physical and emotional experience like?

MARCUS: Yes, I just remember telling my -- telling myself like there's nothing -- it's out of my hands. All I could do was just help if anyone needs help around me. If there's any passengers that need help.

It's in the pilot's hands and I'm just -- you know, just there to help, really.

CAMEROTA: I want to talk about the pilot. Were you hearing from the pilot during this?

MARTINEZ: No. Actually, I don't recall hearing anything from the pilot. Even when the boom happened there was no OK, an engine's out.

And I'm glad. Like, I would prefer that the pilot was just completely focused on getting us home.

CAMEROTA: Yes, she was and it turns out that she was one of the first female fighter pilots in the Navy. She was calm and cool and she saved your lives, obviously.

But we do have a portion of her trying to call in to alert the air traffic of what's happening, so listen to this.


AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER: Injured passengers, OK. And are you -- is your airplane physically on fire?

SHULTS: Not fire, not fire, but part of it's missing. They said there's a hole and someone went out.


CAMEROTA: It's hard to imagine someone could be more calm in that horrible situation.

Joe, what do you want to say to the pilot?

MARCUS: She's unbelievable. I mean, she's a true hero. The courage it took for her to take control of that situation and really just save everyone on board is really just unbelievable.

CAMEROTA: Did you think -- at what point did you think you were going to make it, or did you never think that you were going to make it as all this was happening?

MARTINEZ: I mean, how could you, you know? Like, I think it's a feeling that we all can resonate with when we all fly. You get a little bit of turbulence and in the back of your head you think, you know, am I going to go down?

And, you know, to hear them come over the intercom as we're descending really fast and there's a lot of turbulence, "brace for landing, brace for landing, brace for landing."

And I look out of my window and I see a city that I didn't recognize but which I would later find out to be Philadelphia. And I thought to myself, where could we possibly be landing? I felt like I could touch the rooftops of these -- of these skyscrapers in Philly and --

CAMEROTA: So you didn't know you were going to make it to the runway.

MARTINEZ: Oh, I had no idea. And then, at that point so far, we -- are we landing in downtown -- just a crash landing? Are we going to land on some random freeway?

And then, I always fly into LaGuardia -- or was I just so -- was I just so confused that maybe we did make it back. And, you know, LaGuardia is such a small strip and there's water --


MARTINEZ: -- right there.

And it was only until the plane stopped and you could hear just everyone's sigh of relief. And, of course, people are crying tears of joy and it -- I just felt like so lucky to be alive.

CAMEROTA: Of course.

And Joe, so one person died on the flight because, you know, her window blew. Can you just described what it was like to watch passengers try to bring her back in the window and hold her there?

MARCUS: And so, I was towards the front of the plane so I kind of heard all of this going on behind me.