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NEW DAY

Mystery Surrounds Flight 370's Route; Russian and Ukrainian Forces to Stand Off; Did the CIA Spy on Senate Intelligence?; Recreating Pistorius Deadly Shooting

Aired March 12, 2014 - 08:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan and Michaela Pereira.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Welcome to NEW DAY. It is Wednesday, March 12th, 8:00 in the East.

Michaela and I are joined by Brooke Baldwin this morning, in for Kate. Great to have you.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: And new this morning, Malaysia officials confirming they have expanded the search for missing Flight 370 to two areas, spanning 27,000 square nautical miles. The new area actually backwards of the direction the plane should have been heading. The question is, why?

A senior Malaysian air force official told CNN the plane did stray hundreds of miles off course, toward the Strait of Malacca before air traffic control lost the 777. That area will be searched even though the official claims are being disputed.

Now, CNN was also told the jet's transponder was turned off cutting off essential data like altitude, heading and speed.

Let's check in with Jim Clancy for the latest from Kuala Lumpur.

Now, Jim, shut-off versus was it disabled by some event? That is one of the questions that remains this morning. Yes?

JIM CLANCY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And we won't have the answer until and unless they find that aircraft. Very heated press conference today in Kuala Lumpur. We watched the Malaysian officials hedge their bets.

They said, yes, they tracked this when it had the transponder out there into the South China Sea and, yes, they had another object from the same point at the same time that transponder went off, changing directions, and going out, as you said, about 200 miles northwest of Penang which would put it in an almost totally opposite direction. But, you know, in order to sort it out they say they can't be sure that that was Flight 370 that they saw, that they tracked. They need a little help from their friends.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good evening. Good evening.

CLANCY (voice-over): This morning, Malaysian authorities are asking for help.

HISHAMMUDDIN HUSSEIN, DEFENSE MINISTER, MALAYSIA: The way forward, ladies and gentlemen, is to be more able to analyze both the civilian and military data in the east or in the west, on land or in the water. And this is exactly what we are doing today.

CLANCY: Now on day five of the search for missing Malaysian Airliner 370, authorities respond to the sea of frustration.

HUSSEIN: This is unprecedented what we are going through, coordinating so many countries together. It's not something that is easy.

CLANCY: Today, Malaysian authorities are expanding the search area to 27,000 square nautical miles, an area roughly the size of Indiana. But with no clear plan a Vietnamese official says they're scaling back the search due to insufficient information from Malaysian authorities on where to look.

Civilian aviation radar suggests this was the plane's last known location over the South China Sea, but now a twist. A senior Malaysian air force official telling CNN their radar shows the Boeing 777 may still have been airborne more than an hour later flying in the opposite direction of its destination, Beijing. The same air force official says it was just over the small island of Pulau Perak.

Now challenges to that, with the air force chief saying this morning it's too early to issue any conclusions about the plane's actual flight path.

Adding to the mystery, the plane's transponder, the instrument that transmits its location, speed, and direction stopped working or was turned off while cruising at 35,000 feet, raising the possibility of a hijacking or a catastrophic incident.

PETER GOELZ, FORMER NTSB MANAGING EDITOR: You have to have a very deliberative process to turn the transponder off. If someone did that in the cockpit, they are doing it to disguise the route of the plane.

CLANCY: The unknown, leaving family members of the missing passengers helpless, desperate for answers.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CLANCY: You know, that is the question. How are the families going to be able to cope with all of this? They're getting perhaps some new information. They weren't getting much before. They still have no conclusive proof.

It leaves a disturbing question, and that is, were we looking in the wrong place?

After that press conference ended, Brooke, I got a chance for a moment to talk with the CEO of Malaysia Airlines. I said, "Did he just say this plane was seen headed toward the Indian Ocean?" And he said, "That's what the man said."

Back to you.

BALDWIN: Jim Clancy, thank you so much.

What is going on? David Soucie, former FAA inspector and author of "Why Planes Crash: An Accident Investigator Fights for Safe Skies."

David, good morning.

DAVID SOUCIE, AUTHOR, "WHY PLANES CRASH": Good morning.

BALDWIN: All right. Listen, there are all kinds of conflicting reports. Let's just get that out there when it comes to this plane's path.

From what I understand, you are not buying this report that the plane is located where this latest path indicates. Tell me why.

SOUCIE: Well, in any accident investigation my experience, you have to stick to just what you know without a doubt. So if we stuck to just that, the fact that there's two different radars, the civilian radar and the military radar -- the military radar is what we call primary radar.

The primary radar can't give you much information about the airplane. It's something we used to use way back in the day when the FAA first started tracking and the radar was used to protect borders of the various countries just to say, yes, there's something coming our way. Here's a speed at which it is.

It can't give you altitude information. It gives you very little information. In fact, so little information that in order to identify aircraft when we used it, they actually asked the aircraft to change course to verify who they were.

BALDWIN: So stick with what we know. Here's what you know. There's so much talk and comparison to that Air France Flight 447.

I want to talk about your investigations into these other previous they call them "ghost planes", these missing plane investigations. You say look for abnormalities. How do you mean?

SOUCIE: Well, even beyond abnormalities. In my -- when I was in Hawaii as an accident investigator for the FAA, we had two of these ghost flights. I had some clue that both of the airplanes left Oakland and disappeared en route to Hawaii, both of them disappeared. We worked on that for over a year, couldn't find any information about these airplanes.

In just a strange outlier, I was listening to the television maybe a year later about the Discovery Challenger and I noticed that it was the same date that these two aircraft had disappeared. I thought, well, that's really strange.

BALDWIN: That's odd.

SOUCIE: That was a really bad day.

Yes. So we started looking into it. I called some friends of mine that worked at NASA. I said, do you think there's any connection between these two things? They said, well, certainly there maybe because back then GPS was not a certified way of navigating. Everybody used it. They had a portable GPS that they put in their plane as a backup. They would fly over large bodies of water with that GPS.

Well, when the Discovery was launched, NASA authorized that to the Discovery Challenger. At that point, these airplanes were out in the middle of the ocean and they lost navigation because the satellites were no longer available for navigating.

BALDWIN: So --

SOUCIE: So it's very important to keep your eyes open to a lot of different things, not just try to focus in.

BALDWIN: So we know that can be a possibility because it's happened before.

You bring up GPS. I'm curious because we now know, too, that these family members that are sitting with bated breath to see what happened to their loved ones and they're able to call some of these passengers. The phones are ringing. Could they somehow use the phone GPS to try to track this plane?

SOUCIE: You know, I'm not a GPS expert on the telephones, how that works for navigation purposes. It's highly unlikely that the GPS satellites were changed in this scenario because now there's enough satellites in the air that that's reliable and it's a certified way of navigating. So, I don't think that has to do with that.

However, with navigating off the cell phones if they're still active, which is very confusing to me as to why they would still be active at that point and why they would be able to ring them. So I really don't have an answer for that. I'm no expert in that area, but I would think that that would be possible, certainly.

BALDWIN: It is entirely bizarre altogether.

David Soucie, thank you so much as an expert in this field.

Chris, to you.

CUOMO: All right. Brooke, we have breaking news.

In the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea, we hear that a skirmish has been breaking out on and off between Russian forces and Ukrainian soldiers at a military base.

Let's get right to senior international correspondent Nick Paton Walsh, who's joining us now on the phone. He is in this region of the western part of Crimea, where this skirmish just took place.

Nick, can you hear us?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Chris, I should be clear, we haven't seen an exchange of shots. It is a skirmish but it is an extraordinary intense standoff between the Ukrainian soldiers here at that naval base (INAUDIBLE) in northwest of the country and some Russian soldiers here. We've counted at least 20 but there are many more here in the building in this particular base.

I should just tell you also in the past couple of minutes while I was waiting to talk to you in the skies at least one, possibly two Russian attack helicopters have been swirling around. We don't quite know what's happening here or what we have foreseen hours ahead.

Let me run you through what we did witness. Some of these Russian soldiers -- I say Russian. They haven't identified themselves as such in the past. They're all not wearing official markings or any description, but the Ukrainian soldiers we spoke said these men have identified themselves as being Russian.

These men began moving towards the base running around trying to stop our filming. The Ukrainian soldiers on the base are particularly nervous. This is the first base I've seen where Ukrainian soldiers are quite clearly ready to defend where they are. Their weapons were loaded, cocked I believe in many cases. They took up defense position in the bases and sounded the alarm as the Russians took their positions around them.

At one point, a small group of Russian soldiers tried to move around a coast line where a fence separates the naval base from the sea, towards the base itself. Clearly an act of intimidation, trying to make those on the base, those Ukrainians feel something was underway.

Then, slightly later on, two Russian soldiers sat down right in front of the main gate of this Ukrainian naval base and laid a heavy machine gun on the floor seemingly getting it ready for some sort of action. I should point out we've not heard a single shot fired here at all but remarkable tension.

One of the things, Chris, that struck us here, talking to locals. They are very pro-Russian. Some of them we've spoken to, I can't say I speak for the entire population, but those who have talked to us are very pro-Russian, worried about their ability to speak their language here in the Ukraine. Recent laws having made that illegal. One even said he regards the Russian force here as actually being here to protect me.

But from what we've seen in the past, Chris, one attack, two attack helicopters circling this town now. Not quite sure what they're here for. But tensions certainly rising here (INAUDIBLE) -- Chris. CUOMO: All right. Nick, thank you very much. Let us know if anything else develops. At this point, the word "skirmish" would be the wrong word, as Nick points, it's about heightening tension in that area and what seems to be shows of forces by apparently Russian forces that are moving in closer to Ukrainian held bases. So, we'll watch what happens.

BALDWIN: Crews on the ground watching that. Let's go to Washington now because the question is did they or didn't they?

CIA Director John Brennan says his agency did not spy on the Senate Intelligence committee. That follows blistering accusations from the committee's chair woman. Here she is, Senator Dianne Feinstein, who says the CIA did, indeed, search their computers, remove documents during an investigation of the spy agency and that is not all.

CNN's Michelle Kosinski is at the White House with for us.

Michelle, good morning.

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Brooke, this was truly stunning, to hear the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee just blasts the CIA on the Senate floor, accusing them of accessing the committee's computers and then deleting information while the committee was investigating the CIA's detention and terrorism practices post 9/11.

Now, as you said, the director of the CIA had denied that that happened but Senator Diane Feinstein laid out a pretty detailed time line, accusing the CIA of breaking federal law and even violating the Constitution.

As he says, now, the CIA's accusing the intelligence committee of possibly improperly accessing information and has gone to the Justice Department to see if the committee committed any crimes. Feinstein called that intimidation of the people trying to do an investigation.

This has sparked a strong reaction. It goes right to the heart of the question: how much power does the CIA have and how much power can Congress have in trying to keep tabs on it?

Michaela?

PEREIRA: The ramifications are potentially huge, Michelle. Thank you for that.

Eight-thirteen in the East. Let's take a look at more of your headlines.

This morning, San Francisco fire crews finally getting a handle on that massive, massive construction site fire. It took more than 150 firefighters to battle the blaze. It broke out Tuesday afternoon at the site of a high-rise apartment building complex. It burned all through the night.

Hundreds of people had to be evacuated from the city's Mission Bay neighborhood. Not too far from AT&T park. Officials trying to determine what caused that fire.

Shocking testimony at a trial of Osama bin Laden's son in law. A British al Qaeda operative testified that he backed out of a shoe bomb airline plot back in 2001 after his parents said they wouldn't want their son to be a terrorist. But that operative said he flew from Pakistan to the Netherlands and then on to Britain while concealing a bomb in his shoe. Plan A was to blow up a domestic flight in the U.S. Bin Laden's son-in-law is charged with conspiring to kill Americans.

Two congressmen are making a push for the White House to declassify information in a report about the September 11th attacks. Republican Walter Jones and Democrat Steven Lynch are concerned the government is censoring an alleged role by Saudi Arabia. They have introduced the resolution to make the information public. However, it's stuck in the committee. President Bush classified part of the inquiry after its release in 2002.

Supporters of Hillary Clinton turning out in Denver today, trying to coax her towards a 2016 run. But it's her 2008 presidential bid that's getting a closer look. Court papers accused a long-time Clinton advisor purported to be Minyon Moore of seeking illegal campaign funds. The Washington businessman says he was asked to funnel over $600,000 to help Clinton in several states.

A spokeswoman for Moore says she did not know the funding was done off the books.

And a controversial court ruling in New Jersey, this is very interesting. A judge says a woman giving birth can keep the expectant father out of the delivery room if she wants to during labor. He made this decision in a case involving estranged, unmarried parents. The judge says a woman's right to privacy allows her to shut the father out. This ruling could very well be the first of its kind in the country.

BALDWIN: I mean, if you're a woman and you're not married to this man, the father of your child, and the father of a child wants to come in, that would stress me the heck out.

PEREIRA: I want to ask the attorney. That would --

BALDWIN: Slash dad.

(CROSSTALK)

PEREIRA: That seems to me something that would have to be -- that would be something that would have to be decided ahead of time, not in the throes of labor, right?

CUOMO: Yes. And it is a very awkward part of law.

PEREIRA: Yes.

CUOMO: And usually, you hope the people involved will discuss this before in these situations. You usually hope that adult sensibilities are what dominate in a situation like that. PEREIRA: Not emotions.

CUOMO: As opposed to rights, you know? But a lot of times, having the right to do it doesn't mean that something is right to be done.

PEREIRA: Good point.

CUOMO: What does science say about it?

PEREIRA: Science.

(LAUGHTER)

PEREIRA: I mean, I fully agree. I mean, if you're estranged, that's a little intimate of a scene there. I mean, I have to fully agree, especially if you don't get along. I mean, what about doctor-patient confidentiality, right? Married or not, doesn't that still stand?

CUOMO: Sure.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: So, there you go.

BALDWIN: You would think so.

PETERSONS: And that's a little more than -- it's a whole another level of confidentiality there.

All right. Let's talk about D.C., totally changing the subject, guys. Sixty-eight degrees today. This is the high, but watch as we go through the night. Every four hours, look at this deep, you're going down to below freezing, and then by tomorrow, your high is only into the 30s. This is not something anyone wants to see, but unfortunately, spreading into the east.

It looks like New York City today, 52 going down to 27 tomorrow as your high. So, why? We know this already. We're talking about a storm already out towards Chicago dumping some snow in the area. Now strengthening as it pushes off to the east. So, what are we looking at? Heavy amounts of snow, Chicago anywhere from four to eight inches, Detroit up to about 7.6, Buffalo, blizzard warnings, 13 inches.

And up towards Burlington now starting to get to about one even two feet of snow as you head towards Maine. Also very strong winds will be building with this as well. Why? We have a big difference contrast. Look at all the warm air and the rain south in the system. Of course, on the back side, you're talking about snow. Once you have that contrast, that system makes its way across, you have the threat even for severe weather.

So, a lot is really going on, especially pay attention if you're out towards D.C., maybe Richmond out towards Roanoke, you have the threat for strong thunderstorms, strong straight line winds that even isolated tornadoes cannot be ruled out with the system. And then keep in mind, if you're all the way out west, very strong winds there as well of a different kind. Very warm conditions. Even some Santa Ana winds. But hard to believe when you're talking about a 30, 40-degree temperature drop, rain and then snow. It pretty much giving you guys everything you don't want to hear.

BALDWIN: Shock to the system.

PETERSONS: One bam (ph). And tornadoes (INAUDIBLE) there, too.

CUOMO: It's like the seven plagues coming our way.

PETERSONS: Back to the locusts again.

CUOMO: Weather plagues.

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: No. You've done enough. You've done enough already.

PETERSONS: Thank you.

CUOMO: Coming up on NEW DAY, high drama in the Blade Runner murder trial. Pistorius never denied he shot his girlfriend through a bathroom door. Now, that door, the actual door, is in the courtroom. The question is, is what you're watching right now something that helps prosecutors or the defense? We'll take you through it.

BALDWIN: Also ahead on NEW DAY, this company out of Colorado is hoping you can help them find this Malaysia Airlines flight 370. All you need is a computer. We will tell you how it works when NEW DAY continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY.

A dramatic turn of events in the Oscar Pistorius murder trial. The door that Pistorius is accused of shooting his girlfriend through is actually in the courtroom along with the actual cricket bat he used to break down the door. Now, why? Prosecutors are using a forensic investigator to hit the door on his knees to simulate Pistorius doing it without his prosthetics when he did the bat perfectly lined up with the holes in the door.

What does this mean? Why would prosecutors established this? Is the defense going to wind up using this? Let's discuss. Vinnie Politan, former prosecutor, host of "HLN Now on the Case," and Danny Cevallos, criminal defense attorney, CNN legal analyst.

Gentlemen, usually we break it down. I see several different factors. Not today. I am all about the door. I'm not falsely fascinated with it being in court. This is an unusual forensic demonstration that is specific to the act. It does, Vinnie Politan, and I start with you. If nothing else is established to the prosecution fully capitulates which means agrees with the idea that he did not have his prosthetics on. He had argued that earlier. They had protested against it. Now, they seem to be admitting it. What is going on?

VINNIE POLITAN, FORMER PROSECUTOR: A couple of things. They brought the door in. So, you talk about two things that happened to this door. It was hit with the cricket bat and the bullets went through the door that killed Reeva Steenkamp. So, what prosecutors are trying to establish is, where was Pistorius at the time? Was he on his prosthetic legs, not on his prosthetic legs?

And now, prosecutors and they're expert in the courtroom there saying, no, he's on his stumps at the time that he's shooting. He's on his stumps at the time that he's bashing the door with cricket bat. So, you know, Pistorius will probably do the same thing. My guess is when the defense case happens, the door will be there again and Barry Roux will have Pistorius demonstrate his version of what he says he did.

CUOMO: Well, look, here's the thing. There are people who are watching this discussion who'll say, so what, it's a door. You are wrong. That is naive and here's why. Not you guys, but when you're home, you can't dismiss the door. This is huge. Why? Well, it goes to who's telling the truth about what happened and when.

It goes to sequential events whereas the door hit first with the bat or were the bullets fired first? Is the angle appropriate for having no stumps on? There's a lot of things here, Danny, as Vinnie just teed up. I believe it could be as much for the defense if that's true. Why?

DANNY CEVALLOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: And you missed another one, Chris. It's being developed now in testimony that maybe the forensic expert didn't do as much as he could have, and I point you directly -- listen to me, I'm starting to talk to like a South African lawyer. I put it to you, Chris, that the door evidence, he didn't examine certain splinters of the door, certain pieces of the door were never recovered.

And you can hear in testimony that expert not only saying we didn't look at it but making minor excuses. That really wasn't my job. I wasn't there when that was done. So, the door -- as you are absolutely right -- the door is critically important, not only for the evidence it yields about the actual case but for what it demonstrates that the prosecution and law enforcement may have failed to do in their investigation.

CUOMO: What's the basic argument, Danny? Why was he banging on the door? What's the good story for Pistorius about using the bat?

CEVALLOS: The good story is, oh, no, there's an intruder, bang, bang, bang. Oh, no, my girlfriend may be in there. Smash, smash with the cricket bat or pry, pry like a crowbar to get in there and rescue my dear injured girlfriend. I mean, that's the ideal story that the defense wants to get through.

CUOMO: And Vinnie, I guess the opposite idea is, no, you were in a really bitter fight with her. You didn't have your stumps on, so she outran you, got into the bathroom, and then you tried to break it down with a bat. Yes?

POLITAN: That's part of it. And let's not forget how did ultimately open the door with the key. There was a key for the door that opened it. It wasn't opened by bashing it with the cricket bat. So, I think that's an explanation that we need from Pistorius. Why didn't you just use the key initially?

CUOMO: So, what was he doing with the bat?

POLITAN: I'm not sure. I wasn't there. Pistorius was there, Reeva was there. She can't speak in court because he shot and killed her. So, it's up to Pistorius, but I'm not climbing down into his rabbit hole with his story.

CUOMO: I've got to tell you, this is strong here, because first of all, it's very visual. And again, even though it's not the uninitiated, it's not the jury as we have here. These are pros. But this is powerful stuff. And Danny, it comes on the heels of defense Attorney Roux, R-O-U-X doing a very good job, I would say fairly, of going at every witness in a way that is providing some doubt. What has been the pattern of strategy we're seeing?

CEVALLOS: Yes. I'll say it again. I said it yesterday morning. I'll say it again. It takes a big man to admit when he's right. Here I go. They used two witnesses, Taylor, the ex-girlfriend, and Fresco, the former friend or with friend's like that, and Roux demonstrates very well that these two prosecution witnesses can't even get their stories right vis-a-vis each other.

And that is a really important fact. I mean, once you demonstrate that the prosecution's witnesses are at odds with each other and not consistent, then the prosecution's case begins to lose some consistency. Now, I'm sure --

(CROSSTALK)

POLITAN: I've got to jump in, Danny --

CUOMO: Jump in. Jump in.

POLITAN: -- because here's what Barry Roux is doing which all criminal defense attorneys do. Whatever is said in court is wrong. They had two witnesses who Barry Roux said their stories were too consistent so you can't rely on it. Now, you have two witnesses whose stories aren't consistent enough so you can't believe them.

So, what is it, Barry? What is the story that you're supposed to believe? I mean, to me, that's what a criminal defense attorney does. Whatever you say is wrong and that's what Roux has done. I think it's undermined his own credibility. Too consistent, don't believe it. Too inconsistent, don't believe it.

CUOMO: Danny, I'm happy you can't see how hostile Vinnie Politano's facial features and gesticulations are right now, because they would be intimidating --

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: -- to your physical safety. I just want you to know that. Vinnie, I appreciate the passion. It's one of the reasons that easy, easy with the bat, easy with the bat. Appreciate the coverage here on NEW DAY. We'll be watching you on headline news, of course, all day as you cover it.

Danny, thank you again. A little bit of distraction that this door has had. There were a lot of big findings from the autopsy about what they found in Reeva Steenkamp and how that set a timeline of what happened that night. Very gory stuff but very instructive for the fact (INAUDIBLE) take you through that when it comes back as part of the testimony -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Chris, thank you.

Coming up next here on NEW DAY, what has happened to that Malaysia Airlines flight 370? Folks, we're five days out from all the searching and still no one knows. The public is helping the experts through crowd sourcing. We'll explain how you can get involved.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)