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Mike Pompeo Sworn in as Secretary of State; Trump Could Face Subpoena If Doesn't Talk to Special Council; Southwest Air Emergency Landing Due to Cracked Window. Aired 11:30a-12n ET
Aired May 2, 2018 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:30:00] MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: Our eyes are wide open. It's time to solve this once and for all. A bad deal is not an option. The American people are counting on us to get this right. We are committed to the permanent, verifiable, irreversible dismantling of North Korea's weapons of mass destruction program and to do so without delay.
To my colleagues here, when I say we're going to do this, I mean we. This is a team effort at the State Department, and the whole of the United States government.
Mr. President, when you offered me the job to be the director of the CIA, I was honored to lead the world's finest intelligence corps. And I am incredibly honored and humbled by the opportunity to lead the world's finest diplomatic corps now.
POMPEO: Mr. President, you read a great quote from the greatest president ever from Kansas.
It was a historic quote, but frankly, things haven't changed much since then. I've been an Army officer, a congressman and director of the CIA and now here at State. We have much to do. But in every position, I've had I've witnessed the skills, expertise and patriotism of the foreign affairs professionals. Whether civil servant, civil service officers, political appointees or locally employed staff, you all lay it on the line to make sure America is safe and prosperous and free. Thank you for that.
POMPEO: As I've said, and I want to elaborate more, I want the State Department to get its swagger back. We need our men and women out at the front lines executing American diplomacy with great vigor and energy and to represent the finest nation in the history of civilization. We should be proud of that. And I'm counting on you all to help communicate that in every corner of the world.
Mr. President, I have full confidence in my team here in Washington and around the world under your leadership can and will execute that mission for the benefit of the American people. And I'm eager to work with you all to get that job done. You all know this is essential work. It's why you're here. It's why I'm here. I look forward to doing this together.
Thank you all so much for the warm welcome I've received in these first days. I can't wait to get after this with you.
Thank you again, Mr. President, for your trust and your leadership and your faith in me.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: You're listening right there to the new Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. His ceremonial swearing in happening at the State Department and remarks from the president beforehand. And the secretary elaborating on what getting his swagger back, what he means by that.
Let me bring in Elise Labott, Tony Blinken and Chris Cillizza.
Elise, what are you hearing there?
ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Kate, quickly, four things came out at me. Number one, the amount of cabinet members that were there and the fact that the president came, so much different than Secretary Tillerson and the president really wanting to show that Mike Pompeo is his man. And the fact that he learned a little bit. I've never heard the president speak this way about the State Department. In coming there and talking to the employees, he might have learned about what he said are extraordinary diplomat, too.
And Mike Pompeo spoke the president's language. He said he'll defend America and he'll gain the respect of allies overseas. He talked about the president's policies. He made clear that the president can trust that he will execute his foreign policy. And Mike Pompeo talking to what he called his team. In his first e-mail to the State Department, he called them a team and he signed it as "Mike" and he said, "I need all of you. Mr. President, I have confidence in my team."
And I do think after the year and a half of Secretary Tillerson, low morale, I do think the president, with Secretary Tillerson, will take another look -- with Secretary Pompeo, will be taking another look at the State Department case.
BOLDUAN: Tony, you've been very critical of the president about how he's treated the State Department and the diplomats in their jobs around the world. The president talking about maybe noting low morale or a ding toward his previous secretary of state when he opened his remarks saying, there's more spirit in the State Department I've seen in many years, maybe even decades.
TONY BLINKEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Kate, that was a homerun event. The president stuck to the script and spoke gracefully about Mike Pompeo and about the foreign service, and then Secretary Pompeo did the same thing, particularly emphasizing at the end of his remarks about the team that he's leading and how it important it is to America's security and prosperity. Across the board, that was terrific.
Now some of the substantive contradictions are about to come up and bite the secretary and the administration. He emphasized, for example, the focus now on North Korea, which is good, and there is an opportunity there. And at the same time, they're about to throw out the Iran deal which, in and of itself, is a big mistake because it gives the hardliners an excuse to start speeding towards a nuclear capacity without a united international coalition to stop them, and without inspectors on the ground to expose them. But worse, for the nuclear effort being made with North Korea, it says to Kim Jong-Un, it's not worth the paper it's written on, and it sets the bar very high for Mr. Trump engaging with North Korea to try to get a deal that surpasses the substance of the Iran deal, and very, very hard to do. The substance will be very tricky. But symbolically, today was a good day for the president and Mike Pompeo and, most important from my perspective, from the State Department.
[11:35:44] BOLDUAN: He didn't mince words when it came to North Korea. "A bad deal is not a deal they're going to accept and we're going in with eyes wide open." And, "We are committed to the verifiable, irreversible dismantling of North Korea's weapons of mass destruction program and will do so without delay." Laying that down very clearly in those remarks.
But, Chris, you also heard from the president speaking to the diplomats and the diplomatic corps, you are going to be doing things you don't even know about. They chuckled. And I kind of wondered, is that a good thing?
CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER & CNN EDITOR-AT-LARGE: Here's the thing. Who knows what he's talking about? Mike Pompeo sort of laughed but I'm not sure he knows. He didn't follow it up with a, you know, Mike. Maybe.
But I would say to two things on Tony's point. One, the fact that Donald Trump was there in and of itself and gave a speech, important. Two, the fact that he, largely -- that's the one exception, Kate, we'll be doing things you don't even know about. But, largely, stayed on the Teleprompter, and this is hard for him, and did not make it primarily about himself, speaks to the fact that he respects and likes Mike Pompeo. That can fade, and that can fade quickly. But as of right now, this is one of the very few people that were not in Donald Trump's immediate inner circle during the campaign, and I think he legitimately likes, trusts and respects.
BOLDUAN: Two things that the president said, kind of pro forma when the president is speaking to the State Department, but I found surprising, when he said he's profoundly grateful to everyone in the room and what they do and when he called them public servants. I've never heard the president speak like that, and I may have missed a tweet or two. But that stuck out for me.
BOLDUAN: Guys, great to see you. Thank you so much. I appreciate it.
CILLIZZA: Thanks, Kate.
BOLDUAN: Coming up for us, a showdown with the special counsel. President Trump's legal team is bracing for a possible subpoena from Robert Mueller. What does it mean legally? What does it mean politically? We'll be right back.
[11:41:43] BOLDUAN: Before the president's trip to the State Department this morning, he spent quite a bit of time on Twitter ripping and threatening -- ripping into and threatening his Justice Department over the Russia investigation. And just a short time ago he tweeted this, "A rigged system. They don't want to turn over documents to Congress. What are they afraid of? Why so much redacting? Why so much unequal, quote, unquote, 'justice.' At some point I will have no choice, but to use the powers granted to the presidency." So there's that.
This also came after this attack where the president again called the Russia investigation a "witch hunt" and called the idea of obstruction of justice "a setup and a trap."
These attacks come after CNN has learned that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has raised the possibility that Trump could face a subpoena before a grand jury if he does not agree to answer questions voluntarily in the Russia probe.
So let's get to all of that if we can. Joining me right now is Jamil Jaffer, a former associate counsel in the Bush White House. And CNN political director, David Chalian, is here.
Jamil, let's start with the tweet from the president about I'm going to have to use the powers granted to the presidency and get involved in the Justice Department. There's background here. Republican lawmakers have now drafted articles of impeachment about deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein. They want documents and they think he's stonewalling and want documents regarding Carter Page, regarding the Clinton investigation, regarding the scope of the Robert Mueller investigation, and quite a few things, and Rod Rosenstein has said the Justice Department won't be extorted. And then the president tweets this. Where does that leave things?
JAMIL JAFFER, FORMER ASSOCIATE COUNSEL IN BUSH WHITE HOUSE: It's an odd situation because, of course, the president can simply order Rosenstein to turn over the documents, unredacted, or whatever he wants. He can demand that Rosenstein give him the documents and he hand them to Congress. He can also convene a special commission inside the White House and get the documents out. The president has a million different ways of getting these documents and getting them over to Congress. But he's going after the Justice Department about the documents. It's a very odd situation.
BOLDUAN: Guys, hold on just one second. I'm getting new information coming in from the control room. If you can stick with me for a second.
We are breaking news coming in. It gets to this. A Southwest Airlines - we're chasing down new information about reports of a cracked window aboard a Southwest Airlines flight. That airline, of course, had the in-flight explosion of an engine which shattered a window and killed one passenger.
I'll get over to Alison Kosik and she's gathering this information as it's coming in.
Alison, what are you picking up right now?
ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPNDENT: We are learning that this window that we're seeing on the screen is on flight 957 heading from Midway International Airport in Chicago and was heading to Newark, New Jersey, when they had to make an emergency landing in Cleveland because of this broken window. FAA spokeswoman, Elizabeth Corey (ph), telling CNN that the flight landed in Cleveland, Ohio, after a report of an issue with a window onboard the aircraft. The aircraft landed safely in Cleveland land at Cleveland-Hopkins International. We will get more details as they come available.
But this coming really just less than a month after the incident that you mentioned April 17th where a Southwest Airlines plane had an engine explode and shrapnel going through the window midflight, killing a woman who was on the flight after partially sucking her out the window.
Ironically, the pilot of that amazing flight from last month appeared at the White House yesterday with some of the passengers from that flight who were courageous during that flight to help people calm down and to try to get that woman through the window back into the plane. They were recognized at the White House yesterday. And today, we are learning about this emergency landing in Cleveland for flight 957 which, as you can see on the screen there, had a broken window during the flight -- Kate?
[11:45:42] BOLDUAN: Alison, stick with me. I know you're trying to gather more information.
And while we do that, let me bring in Mary Schiavo, former inspector general at the Department of Transportation.
Mary, hearing that another incident has happened, regardless, is frightening, but when you see another image of a window, a cracked window on another Southwest Airline flight, what are your first questions here?
MARY SCHIAVO, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Well, obviously, the first question is, how did the crack originate? I mean, there are many ways that they can start, but that's going to be the first question. And of course, now the whole country knows how dangerous cracked windshields can be. Whether it's a pilot windshield or passenger windshield, either can lead to what's called rapid decompression and the oxygen masks fall. And if it's a serious rapid decompression, rarely, it can lead to the loss of the aircraft. And that is a very serious problem, as we now know, because of the loss of life of the poor woman getting sucked out of the window.
BOLDUAN: You have two cracked windows on one particular carrier in a month, but you'll be looking at maintenance, as well. What's different? What occurred? Why are we having this? It is also possible something hit it, and if that's the case you want to know what.
SCHIAVO: Absolutely. The good news that we have so far in gathering more information is that the flight has landed safely in Cleveland. But when it comes to -- we know what the previous Southwest Airlines flight, the window broke and the passenger was partially sucked out of the window, and this at least from the one images that we have, looks like a cracked window. And anyone that's flown, it does appear that there are multiple layers to the windows on a plane. That's right. There are multiple layers, but it's always a requirement. And I've been on one, a small plane that had a cracked wind. It would, and it can be serious, and it can be life-threatening. But you have multiple layers on the windows. But nonetheless, the protocol and requirements are if you have a cracked window, you must land the plane. They did the correct thing because you don't want it to escalate and you don't want something else to happen. And that's what you're supposed to do. And it appears they did what you're supposed to do, get on the ground.
BOLDUAN: Mary, in your experience, have you seen cases of windows cracking without something hitting it to create that?
SCHIAVO: Yes. There can be -- and from time to time, there are airway restrictions on particular models of window housings and the things around the window and there have been warnings on those, that they could have defects, come loose, have problems. And it can sometimes be caused by the actual window itself, and sometimes it is caused by the housing around the window. Sometimes it's caused by actual, you know, various parts that go into making it that are defective. It can have a lot of causes, and it's sometimes not due to the plane at all. And sometimes the cause is the manufacturing of the window or housing around it and that could lead to problems aside from anything hitting it.
BOLDUAN: Stick with me if you could for a second.
I'm getting more from Alison Kosik.
KOSIK: A woman named Linda Holly took the picture of this cracked window. She was on this flight. And through text messages with her son, Ryan, we are learning this, the window on the plane cracked during flight. She said, "Landing in Cleveland to be safe. Everything OK, but scary. Yes, Southwest, just heard a loud noise, a very large crack, with the piece of window missing at bottom."
She just said, we just landed, and everything is OK.
But we are learning from the text from the passenger on the plane to her son that the crack happened during the flight -- Kate?
BOLDUAN: Alison, I also think we're getting in a statement that we just obtained with Southwest Airline. Let me read it for our viewers. "The crew of Southwest 957 was scheduled service from Midway to Newark made the decision to divert the plane to Cleveland for maintenance review of one of the multiple layers of a window pane. The flight landed uneventfully in Cleveland. The aircraft has been taken out of service for maintenance review. And our local Cleveland employees are working diligently to accommodate the 76 customers on a new aircraft to get them to Newark."
Mary, I hope you're still with me.
I'm reading this and looking at this, I do recall with the Southwest Airlines flight of last month, after that happened, Southwest made the move to speed up maintenance reviews and inspections of their planes, or at least part of the planes, right?
[11:50:25] SCHIAVO: Right. That's right. But in this case, they have to take it out of service because a cracked window or missing piece of the window renders the aircraft unairworthy, meaning you can't fly it. Now, whether this will lead to inspection of other aircraft will depend on what they know about the window, if there were any warnings or the window or the housing, if there were any directives, which are regulations from the government telling you that you should inspect certain things. So they'll look at if there's any of that existent for this plane or housing or window. And if not, it doesn't matter, you cannot use the plane with a cracked window. It's unairworthy at this point.
BOLDUAN: And no passenger wants to be this that plane anyway.
SCHIAVO: That's right.
BOLDUAN: Mary, thank you so much. Stick with me.
Alison is gathering more information.
We'll take a quick break and return with more information about this breaking news coming out from Cleveland. A Southwest Airlines flight from Midway to Newark, New Jersey, making an emergency landing because of, what you see right there, a cracked window midflight. What happened here? We'll gather more information. We'll be right back.
[11:55:56] BOLDUAN: We're continuing to follow breaking news of an emergency landing of a Southwest Airlines flight. A startling image you see the cracked window on that flight that forced the landing.
Alison Kosik has been following the details here.
Alison, bring us up to date.
KOSIK: Kate, this flight was heading from Midway International Airport in Chicago to Newark, New Jersey, when it made an emergency landing at Cleveland airport. This window cracked during flight. We are learning from one passenger who has texting her son. She said this happened right behind where she was sitting and across the aisle. A window on the plane cracked during flight. She said she heard a loud noise. It's a very large crack with a piece of window missing at the bottom. She texted her son that she landed, and everything is OK, and that Southwest Airlines was putting her and the others on a new plane.
We did get a statement from Southwest Airlines saying, "The crew of Southwest 957 was scheduled service from Midway to Newark made the decision to divert the plane to Cleveland for maintenance review of one of the multiple layers of a window pane. The flight landed uneventfully in Cleveland. The aircraft has been taken out of service for maintenance review. And our local Cleveland employees are working diligently to accommodate the 76 customers on a new aircraft to get them to Newark."
But this is startling to everybody. We all know what happened on April 17th during another Southwest Airlines flight, when an engine exploded, shrapnel going through a window, breaking that window, sucking one passenger partly out of the aircraft. She, unfortunately, died. But a lot of the passengers tried to get her back in. They were courageous during the flight. The pilot was recognized at the White House yesterday for her -- the courageous way she handled that flight and landed that flight in April at Philadelphia's airport -- Kate?
BOLDUAN: Quickly, Alison, the text message that the son was reading to you, the mother said there was a piece of the window missing, right?
KOSIK: Right, that is what she says. Southwest Airlines, in its statement doesn't say that, but it does talk about the multiple layers of the window. We have not confirmed if there is a piece missing -- Kate?
BOLDUAN: Alison Kosik, thank you for bringing that to us.
BOLDUAN: We'll have much more of the breaking news. Dana Bash picks up after a quick break.