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Pings Aren't from MH370; Vets in Phoenix; Rodger Family Friend Expresses Family's Grief; Victim's Family Sympathizes With Killer's Family; CDC Urges Measles Vaccinations; Interview With Bryan Cranston

Aired May 29, 2014 - 12:00   ET


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Got chills, 9:00 tonight. Set your DVR and watch it live.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks for joining us AT THIS HOUR. I'm Michaela Pereira.

BERMAN: I'm John Berman.

"Legal View" with Ashleigh Banfield starts now.

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: The world's leading experts using the most advanced sonar equipment available, triangulating and calculating reams of satellite data and coordinating countless air and sea searches for Flight 370. And they've all been looking in the wrong place for 83 days.

That is not nearly as long as hundreds of sick and dying veterans have been waiting to see a doctor at the V.A. A scathing brand new report showing the insufferable conditions and cover-ups are even worse and more widespread than CNN first revealed. New calls for heads to roll.

He's breaking bad. Bryan Cranston has the badest show on television, a summer blockbuster movie, a massive runaway hit on Broadway and today, this hour, he's landed a starring role right here on LEGAL VIEW. Bryan Cranston with a whole lot to say. You'll want to hear it straight ahead.

Hello, everyone. I'm Ashleigh Banfield. It's Thursday, May the 29th and you're watching LEGAL VIEW.

And we begin with this. Yes, the Indiana Ocean is really, really deep and, yes, it takes time and expertise and special equipment and even luck to map even a tiny little patch on the ocean floor and yet the latest bombshell in the mystery of Flight 370 is very hard to take. Today we learned the most likely reason the Bluefin-21 never did pick up the black boxes or actually anything else for that matter from the vanished Malaysian airliner in what we thought was the likely most likely place is that it wasn't. It wasn't the right place at all. It never was. The best minds thought it was because of those pings from the plane's black boxes, the flight data and cockpit voice data recorders. Do you remember those? Sadly now a U.S. Navy expert is telling CNN those pings were a big red herring. Another in an excruciating series of dead ends. I'm going to stop right there and bring in CNN aviation correspondent Richard Quest in London and Rene Marsh in D.C., our correspondent on this story.

Rene, I'm going to begin with you. This just is so distressing. What happened?

RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it is distressing. And I have to say, you know, when we learned this information yesterday, the one word that came out of my mouth was, wow, because we were hearing - and keep in mind, this was the last day of Bluefin's mission. It had done 28 missions.

And we now learned that this area in which four underwater signals were detected, a U.S. Navy official on the record saying it most likely was not from the black boxes after all. So, not only were the black boxes not in the area that you're looking at highlighted on your screen, but neither is the plane. The plane is not there in that section of the Indiana Ocean.

And we also got confirmation about the plane not being there from the Australians today because that came out in a statement. They said that they had discounted this area where these four underwater signals were detected as the final resting place of Flight 370.


BANFIELD: So the hope, I hate to say, has been diminishing slightly with every single day. But, Rene, your report has just deflated, I think, so many.

But, Richard Quest, this can't mean the end. It's certainly - there certainly has to be something else they can do. What is it?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Oh, it is by no means the end. It is disappointing, some would say devastating, but it is a reflection of the complexity and the difficulty of the mission at hand here, Ashleigh. If it was easy, then they'd have done it quickly. But they found these pings within a 30 day period and they went and looked because it was the best they had. And this just shows how very difficult this situation is.

So, what are they going to do? Let's look forward, not back. They're going to go back to redefine an area, close to the seventh ping, that the partial handshake from the plane to the satellite - you remember the Inmarsat handshakes. They're going to go back and become more truthful and faithful, if you like, to where that seventh handshake is. They're then going to define an area, possibly up to 60,000 square kilometers. They will map the ocean bed. That is crucial to understand what the floor of the ocean looks like before they search again. And then they'll give a private contractor the job of doing it.

BANFIELD: Rene, if there's one ray of light in your reporting today, and that is to say your reporting is excellent, it's just sad, there is that notion of the hydrophone, the system that's out there, that there was some remarkable sound that was picked up. Take it from there and make us all feel better that one day we're going to find this plane.

MARSH: I don't know that this is the ray of light that we're looking for, because a lot of people that I've spoken to, they say that this is a long shot. Still, it just goes to show that they are hunting (INAUDIBLE) possible angles. So you're looking at just an animation there. This - this organization, which is affiliated with the United Nations, they have a series of stations, 11 hydrophones, which are essentially under water microphones that monitor all of the planet's oceans, 11 of them monitor, and they are listening -- mostly their objective is to listen for nuclear tests.

But it can pick up other sounds as well. It can pick up thousands of miles away, it can pick up ice breaking in Antarctica. So they are analyzing one of those stations because they believe a signal may have been picked up related to Flight 370, but they're not 100 percent sure yet. So they are refining that analysis.

BANFIELD: Excellent reporting. And as always, Rene, thank you, and Richard Quest, terrific perspective. Thank you to both of you.

Coming up, the long wait at V.A. hospitals go way beyond Phoenix and way beyond even CNN's reporting. A new -- brand new report says it is system wide, the problem, and now the V.A.'s top guy, Eric Shinseki, is out with his own defense in a powerful op-ed. We're going to tell you what he has to say about this mess that is underneath him.

Plus, we are also now hearing from a family friend of the UC Santa Barbara killer. Talk about walking a tightrope. Why he believes Elliot Rodger could not be stopped. You will hear him in his own words in his own pain, next.


BANFIELD: Welcome back to LEGAL VIEW. I'm Ashleigh Banfield.

The deeper investigators dig into the want and neglect and deception at the veteran's hospitals, the worse it becomes and the more intense the outrage too. After - just hours after a House committee lambasted senior V.A. officials over the waiting lists and the cover-ups, the speaker of the House today put the blame above Veteran Secretary Eric Shinseki.


REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: The real issue here is that the president is the one who should be held accountable. As Kevin pointed out, we sent a letter going back to early 2013, talking about the GAO report, asking for its recommendations to be implemented. And for the president to say he didn't know anything about it is rather shocking. And so the president is going to have to step up here and show some real leadership.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BANFIELD: To be sure, more and more lawmakers in both parties are calling for Shinseki's firing, especially in light of a preliminary report from the V.A.'s own inspector general. Looking only at the Phoenix V.A. hospital that's become the epicenter of the scandal, the I.G. found at least 1,700 veterans who needed care.

Again, just at the Phoenix hospital. Those veterans actually thought they had appointments with V.A. doctors but they were never even on any kind of official list. The list, by the way, it appears, was for those veterans whose appointments were less than two weeks out so that the staff and the officials could appear to be meeting their mandate for timely care and thus qualify for the bonuses and the raises that have also become pretty controversial.

I am joined now by CNN's Drew Griffin, whose own investigation brought this to light. You started the ball rolling, and, boy, is it rolling. Can we just, for a second, indulge me if you will. I want to actually read right now something that Secretary Shinseki wrote in today's "USA Today," and I'll quote. "The findings of the inspector general on the Phoenix V.A. health care system are reprehensible to me and to this department and we are not waiting to set things straight. I immediately directed the Veterans Health Administration to contact each of the 1,700 veterans in Phoenix waiting for primary care appointment in order to bring them the care they need and deserve."

Remarkable different tone from the fellow that you were chasing down on Capitol Hill yesterday. The guy who actually had to answer the questions in front of lawmakers. By the way, how did that go when you tried to chase him down?

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIONS CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, I feel for the guy. His name is Dr. Thomas Lynch. He's the assistant undersecretary of health. And I caught him in a hallway after he had been through four hours of just getting grilled, as you say, Ashleigh, by both Democrats and Republicans. And largely, Dr. Thomas Lynch couldn't answer some of the basic questions like, who's responsible, who did this, why is it happening? It was very frustrating for both sides. So when he came out in the hallway, I wanted to ask him a very specific question about this secret list. And quite defensively he told me, even after all this, there wasn't a secret list. Listen.


GRIFFIN: How can you, the current administration, which got us into this mess, get us out of it?

DR. THOMAS LYNCH, ASST. UNDERSECRETARY OF VETERANS AFFAIRS: If you just said it's been going on for five or 10 years, I have not been part of that current administration, Drew. I have been here a year and a half. I think I have been able to see what the way forward is. I think we have developed in the last year and a half tools that we can use. I've acknowledged that we need to assure the integrity of our system in order to be able to use these tools accurately. But I think we do have the tools, we do have the information we need to push forward and to provide veterans with timely care.


GRIFFIN: Ashleigh, let's just take him at his word that he's only been there a year and a half and he personally doesn't know. Certainly the secretary knew. Everybody knew this was going on. But even a month ago, Thomas Lynch knew there were at least 1,100 veterans seeking care who were on waiting lists who were not getting seen.

But it is only now that they are having this emergency response and trying to see all these veterans who are on this waiting list out in Phoenix.

So it's very difficult to get information from the V.A., who knew what when and where, and who's taking responsibility for it. And I think that frustration is building on Capitol Hill on both sides of the aisle.

BANFIELD: Drew Griffin, I say it early, and I say it often, and I mean it every time. Your reporting has been tremendous, and CNN is lucky to have you. And I think the country's lucky to have you, too, from what you have actually made happen on Capitol Hill.

Keep it going and we will keep having you on to report what you find. Thanks, Drew.

GRIFFIN: Thanks, Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: I want to switch gears for a moment here. We have a very special guest in-house, this hour. It is the "Breaking Bad" man. He's actually a really good man. Bryan Cranston is going to join us, live.

If you don't know that man, you've been living under a rock, because Bryan Cranston is not only the finest actor on television -- and I'm not the only one who says that. Look at him. Oh, you're so shy. But he's also awesome on Broadway. Look what I kept.

He's Godzilla, he's all the way, he's LBJ, he's Walter White and he's adorable, and I love you to pieces, and I can't wait to talk to you live in a moment.


BANFIELD: Elliot Rodger's parents are not mourning him today. Yes, he is their son, and, yes, he is dead, and, yes, he slaughtered six people last Friday near Santa Barbara, California. But a close friend tells CNN that the Rodger family is, in his words, "stooped with grief" for the families of those who were killed.

This is not about the killer. You can read his words and watch his video if you like. You have to look for them. I'm not going to air them here. This is for the people who will ever have to live with his twisted, conscious decision to commit a mass killing.

We have not heard directly from Rodger's mother or his father yet, but a short time ago, a friend of the family told CNN that they knew their son was heading for a dark place.


SIMON ASTAIRE, RODGER FAMILY FRIEND: There is a sense they tried everything, and, as I say, even on the final night, they were in chase, trying to rescue him.

He's been having therapy since he was a young age, and it is quite clear there is years of work there and years of dedication to try and help their son. There's no blame. I don't hear blame.

For instance the police, who went 'round Santa Barbara to his apartment, they have no blame for them whatsoever, because, in a way, he'd been fooling everyone for many years. And the shame is that, in the end, no one could rescue what had happened on Friday night.

And what these boys who go out to kill don't understand -- and I'm not talking now even rationale in their madness -- but what they don't understand that when they murder one, they murder many, because they don't just kill the people that are lying dead on the streets or in apartments or in galleries or in cinemas, they kill thousands and thousands of others who are connected to those. I've seen that. We all die a little over something like this.


BANFIELD: And there's a couple other things that that family friend, Simon Astaire, told us. He said that Elliot Rodger had been seeing a therapist since the age of 9.

And as for his parents, they saw his mental issues as just, quote, "a part of their lives." They had no idea their son was collecting weapons, he said, no idea he was collecting ammunition, and they say he never showed any interest in guns at all.

Last night on "Anderson Cooper 360," the family of the victim named Veronika Weiss say that their sympathies -- imagine this -- are with the Rodger's mother and father today.


BOB WEISS, FATHER OF VERONIKA, SHOOTING VICTIME: Of course the parents are in a terrible situation.

Neither the boy, Elliot or his parents ever chose to have mental illness be a dominant part of their life, and they've been struggling for Elliot's entire life, I'm sure, with all kinds of challenges. We're not angry at them.

I don't know what the name for them in school today is. We used to call them nerds when I was in high school, the bookish types who were more interested in calculus than being cool or popular. Those are the kids that Veronika reached out to and were attracted to her.

COOPER WEISS, BROTHER OF VERONIKA, SHOOTING VICTIM: They were the kids that kept to themselves, like somewhat antisocial sometimes. She really reached out to those kind of people, and it's a shame because he was targeting the exact opposite kind of person. ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR, "AC 360": And --

C. WEISS: She was a person who would reach out to someone.


BANFIELD: So since we're talking about the person, let's talk about the person, Veronika Weiss. She was one of three college students that Elliot Rodger shot dead last Friday night. And by the way, he also stabbed three people to death in his apartment as well. The carnage was excessive, to say the least.

Got something just in, right now, to CNN from the CDC. This has been a record-breaking year for reported measles cases in the United States. The Centers for Disease control reports 288 cases, so far this year.

California's outbreak is one of the biggest, but Ohio's numbers alone, strangely, account for nearly half of the total. Doctors in 13 states report treating measles patients. The CDC is urging parents to get their children fully vaccinated, saying all unvaccinated people are at risk.

Coming up, more than 6 million people watched the final -- the season finale of the blockbuster series, "Breaking Bad," and that's just one -- just one -- of actor Bryan Cranston's many memorable and phenomenal roles.

He's here, live, in the flesh, in the studio. He's going to talk about how that series changed his life. He's going to talk about LBJ. He's going to talk about the '60s and television and the quality and the not-so-much quality that's on the air today.

It's all coming up after a quick break.


BANFIELD: So you more than likely know Bryan Cranston as a meth kingpin on AMC's "Breaking Bad," but he's also in a summer blockbuster movie, and he just so happens to be up for a Tony for his Broadway hit.

This guy is everywhere. He's a fixture on TV and movie screens, been so for years, too, playing just about every kind of character that you can imagine, and even a whole bunch of ones you never thought possible.

A goofy dad, a spaceship commander, and, yes, even a hemorrhoid cream pitchman, he's done it all, and he's done it with aplomb, and he's not done yet, that's for sure. I just want you to take a peek at your screen for the many faces of Bryan Cranston.


BRYAN CRANSTON, ACTOR: Now you can relieve and inflame hemorrhoidal tissue with the oxygen action of Preparation H.

He's dead!

She even got a court order against me, said I was harassing her, when all I was trying to do was see my own daughter. Mr. Matlock, I don't have much money.

Scanners indicate the missiles have penetrated the surface of the planet, burrowing straight down, 10 miles.

Put the safety doors on manual override.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I cannot do that!

CRANSTON: Keep the doors open! My wife is still in there!

As a Southerner, I've had to bite my tongue on this issue my entire life until my mouth was full of blood. Well, not anymore.

And what the hell important being president if you can't do what you know is right?


BANFIELD: And what are we doing putting a clip of LBJ on-- no, no. That was Bryan Cranston. It's a metamorphosis you have to see to believe.

He's here with me, live. So great to see you.

CRANSTON: It's great to see you, Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: Thank you for coming in.

OK, first and foremost, we're going to talk "Breaking Bad" off the bat.