Return to Transcripts main page


Former Egyptian President Sentenced To Death; NTSB: Object May Have Struck Derailed Train; FBI Forensics Team Joins Amtrak Investigation; Tsarnaev Sentenced To Death On Six Of 17 Counts; Morsi Sentenced to Death; Fierce Fighting in Ramadi; Interview With Author Masha Gessen. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired May 16, 2015 - 06:00   ET



VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Developing this morning, the FBI now called in to investigate Amtrak's deadly crash and there's new information surfacing about the possibility that an object struck the windshield.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He wanted to go to hell, and he's going to get there early.


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: That message to the Boston bomber after learning he'll be sentenced to death. Now, an automatic appeal process begins that could keep him alive for years, even decades, in fact.

BLACKWELL: And this morning, ISIS goes on the offensive in Iraq for the key city of Ramadi, prompting the U.S. to expedite weapon shipments to help allied forces there.

PAUL: So grateful to have you with us, as always. Good morning to you on this Saturday. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Pleasure to be with you. We begin with breaking news this hour, in Egypt, former President Mohamed Morsi has been sentenced to death for his role in a 2011 prison break. The leader's name along with more than 100 other defendants will be passed on to the highest authority in Egypt for confirmation of the death sentence on June 2nd.

Let's bring in CNN correspondent, Ian Lee. Ian, Morsi was Egypt's first democratically elected president. Was this sentence expected?

IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Victor and Christi, this sentence was -- a guilty sentence was expected, although this death sentence was the harshest sentence that Mohamed Morsi could receive. Now, there were two cases today, one dealing with this prison break from 2011 where the prosecutions say they orchestrated the release of 20,000 inmates. There was another case against him today with very serious charges, too, of funding terrorism and working with foreign intelligence agencies compromising Egypt's defense, espionage. That was the case today that we were following as well.

The judge didn't hand down a sentence for Morsi on that case, but looking at this jailbreak, he was just one of 105 people who were given the death sentence. And as you said earlier, this is a long process. It will go to Egypt's highest legal authority in Islam in Egypt.

He will give his analysis of the sentencing, then on June 2nd, the judges will convene and decide whether to uphold this death sentence. But this is just one of many procedures here in Egypt. There are three appeals that Mohamed Morsi can take advantage of it. So don't expect him go to gallows anytime soon.

BLACKWELL: All right, Ian Lee, reporting for us this morning. Ian, thank you so much.

PAUL: Also this morning, we want to tell me you about the new development into the Amtrak crash investigation. First of all, the FBI is getting involved here. The head of the NTSB says, too, that derailed train may have been hit by some sort of an object before if through off the tracks.

Take a look at this, see that white circular mark inside that red ring, investigators believe that mark may be from a projectile hitting the train. Not damage from the derailment. So because of this latest development, as I said, the FBI is being called in to help with the investigation.

And that is something that they're particularly going to be looking at, that part of the windshield. Erin McLaughlin is live in Philadelphia following the investigation here. Erin, what have you learned this morning?

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Christi. Well, investigators trying to solve the mystery as to why Amtrak 188 bizarrely accelerated prior to crashing are now looking at this possibility that the train may have been struck by some sort of projectile.

Yesterday in a press conference, a member of the NTSB pointed to two key new pieces of evidence. Information from the assistant conductor of Amtrak 188, she says that prior to the crash, she heard a radio transmission between the Amtrak dispatcher and the engineer of a nearby septa train.

The engineer of the nearby septa train reporting that his windshield had been struck by a projectile. She said she then heard from the Amtrak 188 engineer, Brandon Bostian, telling the dispatcher that Amtrak 188 had been struck by a projectile as well.

We also know that they're looking at the windshield of Amtrak 188, a small circular marking in the lower left-hand corner. They called in the FBI to help with that forensic analysis. NTSB saying calling in the FBI for its forensics expertise is not unusual during the course of its investigations.

[06:05:08] Adding to this mystery is reports from passengers of a third train that was in the area that night. We heard from Kam Desai, who was on board an Amtrak Acela train. He said that that train, about 15 or 20 minutes prior to the Amtrak 188 derailment was also hit by a projectile. He said it struck the passenger window in front of him and he was terrified. Take a listen.


KAM DESAI, PASSENGER ON STRUCK ACELA TRAIN: I think all of us were a little bit definitely alarmed. We never heard that loud of a sound on the train. We take the train pretty often between D.C. and New York. So it was definitely frightening, and we didn't really know what was going on.

But as soon as we stood up and saw that there was this glass shatter that hadn't gone all the way through. The conductor made it sound like it wasn't too big of a deal so we really didn't think anything of it.


MCLAUGHLIN: Authorities had been aware of reports that other trains had been hit by unidentified projectiles. But those reports had initially been discounted that according to the Philadelphia mayor, but now clearly investigators taking a look at this very seriously.

PAUL: Erin McLaughlin live there for us. We'll be there all morning as things develop. Thank you so much, Erin.

BLACKWELL: So let's bring in, we have with us Mr. Karl Edler. He is a member of the Washington branch of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, and also a veteran locomotive engineer.

We're learning from you, sir, that earlier in the day, the engineer on this train, Mr. Bostian, Brandon Bostian, was apparently driving an Acela Express train from New York to Washington, same route in the opposite direction when there was an electronic signal malfunction.

First, good to have you. Second, tell us what you learned about that traveling experience.

KARL EDLER, LOCAL CHAIRMAN, RAILROAD UNION (via telephone): Well, there are many things that still have to be revealed in the course of this investigation. But there are a couple things that are known pretty certainly.

One of those is that the trip down on that day was troubled by equipment failure that resulted in the engineer having to take on serious additional duties, reduce speed at a greatly increased level of operator stress.

It took one-third of his scheduled already reduced scheduled relief time in Washington. So, that's certainly background to the incident that took place. BLACKWELL: Before we get to -- and I want to talk about the time -- the downtime, between the route back to New York, but explain more about this malfunction that happened. And what the engineer would have had to do at that time to slow the train down to get it under control.

EDLER: There is a signaling system that is in use for almost a hundred years in the northeast corridor on trains, which is called a cab signal system, that's essentially a supplemental and backup signal -- signaling apparatus. In the particular case of the trip down, and the way that it impacted that trip in a very significant way.

It was necessary to cut back that system out in order to be able to continue to move the train. That institutes a series of rule changes, procedure changes that, in this case, not only involved the cutting out of that equipment, but then the reduced speed for the rest of the trip and a series of conditional requirements.

The most important of which is that the rail side signaling system is the only signal system that remains active.

BLACKWELL: And your understanding is that he navigated all this appropriately in the trip from New York down to Washington?

EDLER: Absolutely, but nobody relishes being in that situation.

BLACKWELL: Understood. Now, let's talk about once he arrived, was he delayed because of the troubles and that trip south and if so, how long and how did that affect his downtime?

EDLER: Yes, well, the result and the primary, you know, practical result for the train schedule was because of the reduced speed and because of that, it was almost a half hour lost time. He already had since March 23rd on those schedules.

And the schedules of all the engineers and conductors working in the northeast corridor dramatically modified rest times and those rest times, in some cases, were made much shorter.

[06:10:11] In other cases they were made much, much longer and we had notified them repeatedly and demonstrated the way that that would increase the risk, increase the problems. But they made the decision at the highest levels that they wanted to do this and they implemented it on March 23rd. When that happened --

BLACKWELL: Mr. Edler, I want to get specifically, and I understand the larger implications, but specifically in this case of this train, how much downtime did he have as a result of the problems?

EDLER: He had 61 minutes nominally on paper. From the time that he was due with -- he's finished with his responsibilities on the original train. From the time he had to be back 100 percent with his crew doing the procedures and safety sensitive task that were necessary to make the next trip.

Now, in the course of that 61 minutes he may well have, and often is the case, especially in a situation like this, had to do paperwork, had to talk to officials about the trip down and other things that would have further eroded that time.

And the fact that there are distances that have to be walked. So he lost -- he lost roughly a third of his downtime.

BLACKWELL: A third of his downtime. Well, I know that something as we talk more about the investigation as we get into this investigation, the FBI will be looking into that as well as the NTSB.

Mr. Karl Edler, head of the Washington branch of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainman and a veteran locomotive engineer himself. Thank you so much for giving us an insight into that period before this journey began on Tuesday -- Christi.

PAUL: Justice, some call it. Now that the decision is in for the Boston marathon bomber, what's next for Dzkhorar Tsarnaev and what's the mood in Boston like following this sentencing.

Plus new arrest in connection to last week's shooting death of Mississippi cops. We have the very for you. Stay close.



BLACKWELL: It's 15 minutes after the hour now. Of course, the FBI is now looking into this Amtrak crash that happened earlier this week. Of course, trying to figure out if some sort of object hit the train before it careened off the tracks killing eight people.

You see inside that red circle, a crack there, a crack, more than a crack. Let's bring in CNN safety analyst and former FAA Safety Inspector David Soucie and also with us, we have CNN law enforcement analyst and FBI former assistant director, Tom Fuentes, on the phone with us.

David, I want to start with you. You listened to the conversation I had just had with this union leader out of Washington, Karl Edler, who talked about the difficulties that the engineer had on a previous trip on the same route, the same day, and that lack of downtime. What's your reaction to what you heard?

DAVID SOUCIE, CNN SAFETY ANALYST: Well, it's not uncommon, honestly, to have these difficulties. The BLET has been working on those for a long time trying to get these things changed. There are as many as 60, 70 hours a week these guys are working.

They were looking at changes to reduce that time, that downtime. And just that same month, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Amtrak being able to make these regulations performance standards themselves.

So it's odd to me that happened immediately after the Supreme Court decision that Amtrak decided to make these changes. So there's a lot going on inside of that organization that needs looked at. BLACKWELL: Tom, I'm going to come to you with this claim that the train was hit by something and other trains in that area had been hit by some projectiles. FBI now on this case, what will they be doing specifically to figure out, if this train was hit by something, or this wasn't caused during the derailment and if it was hit by something, the person or thing that caused it.

TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST (via telephone): Victor, the FBI would be ostensibly be involved in an investigation like this, where you don't really know whether it was mechanical or deliberate. There's a series of federal statutes, which the FBI has jurisdiction over.

That can be damaging a railroad track that may cause a derailment or just the damage itself, the switches, the lights, the warning systems, the trains, the engineer driving the train, all of those aspects, if it were sabotaged, that would be a criminal investigation that the FBI would have.

As far as an object that may have hit the windshield, whether that distracted or somehow affected people in control of that train that will be part of investigation as well.

BLACKWELL: David, do you see any plausible correlation between a projectile hitting the train and this precipitous increase in speed?

SOUCIE: I'll tell you, it would be a real stretch. The only thing I could think, as Tom mentioned, some kind of distraction, causing that distraction, where he didn't pay attention to where the throttles were at that time.

You know, this train doesn't react immediately, although it's extremely powerful, 8,000 horsepower at your fingertips and you push that forward and it's going to react.

But if possibly it was distracted, distracted at that time when he -- the throttle to get it moving to another speed and then throttled back during that time period.

If you're distracted, it doesn't take long to go from 70 miles an hour to 100 miles an hour at that speed. But, it's still a stretch for me to go there.

BLACKWELL: You know, I wonder, the spokesperson for Septa, another system in which there was a train reportedly hit by a projectile says that they received reports a couple times a month, David, that there are things that hit the trains. Usually kids throw them and there's no major damage.

If this happens so often, is it incredible to think that this engineer would be distracted long enough that he wouldn't notice or respond to that increase in speed?

SOUCIE: Yes. Like I said, it is a stretch that he would have -- he's a professional. He's been doing this a long time. He's trained. He knows what to do. Certainly, I would suspect that he's had that kind of incident before because it is fairly common.

So, I really don't think that they're looking in the right area here. However, messing with the train is a federal offense and that's why the FBI's called in.

And my investigation with the FAA, if there's anything that looks criminal at all, we immediately notify the FBI, and they may even take over the investigation, depending on the severity.

[06:20:07] BLACKWELL: Do you expect that to happen, Tom?

FUENTES: Not at this point. I think right now, they just work very closely with the NTSB and the forensics experts from both agencies work all the time together, as David mentioned. Not only in airline crashes, but also you know in this type of thing.

You even have road crashes where the NTSB might investigate serious traffic accidents. But could have been the result of somebody throwing a brick off a bridge hitting the windshield of a truck and it strikes other vehicles and causes massive accidents.

Any of that type of sabotage that is criminal, you know, the FBI would have it. And both agencies work very closely together to develop what happened and develop the evidence if prosecution is going to be warranted.

I'm sure these trains probably strike bird strikes just like aircraft do with the windshield. Like David, I think it's a stretch to think that something hitting the windshield would be a distraction, unless it came through the windshield and actually injured the driver of the train. So, I think -- all of this has yet to be determined.

BLACKWELL: Yes, many more questions will be answered. Tom Fuentes, David Soucie, CNN analysts, both, thank you so much.

FUENTES: Thank you, Victor.

PAUL: Thank you, Gentlemen. All right, the decision is in, of course, for the Boston marathon bomber. We're going to take you live to Boston as we ask the question, what is next for Dzkhorar Tsarnaev and what are the people in Boston feeling this morning?

Also new this morning, ISIS is on the offensive in Iraq for the key city of Ramadi, and that's prompted the U.S. to expedite weapons shipments to help out on forces there.



PAUL: This morning, the headlines, after a jury sentenced Boston marathon bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, to death. On the cover of "The Boston Herald" there, quoting bomber survivor, Sidney Corcoran, who wrote on Twitter, "Justice, in his own words, an eye for an eye."

The city is reflecting now. They are really trying to absord this jury's decision and we're seeing new responses from those affected by the attack that claimed the lives of three people and an MIT officer.

I want to bring in CNN national correspondent, Deborah Feyerick. She is live in Boston. Deborah, you know, I'm wondering what people are talking about, what conversations are they having?

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, it's very interesting. The mood is not one of celebration at all. There are many who believe that he simply got justice. He got what he deserved for planting that bomb at the marathon.

There are others who are concerned that by not getting life in prison, now the whole appeals process is just going to drag this on. His name will be spoken more times than anybody here in Boston has the stomach for.

And there are still others, who just don't really know exactly what to feel, this coming after a federal jury handed down the sentence.


FEYERICK (voice-over): Boston marathon, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, left federal court under heavy guard. After a jury sentenced the 21-year- old to death on six of 17 counts, all six relate to the bomb Tsarnaev himself placed in the crowd in front of the Forum Restaurant. That bomb killed 8-year-old, Martin Richard and graduate student, Lingzi Lu injuring many others.

STEVE MELLIN, ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY: These people will be affected by what happened on that day. So we try to project that, and we try to show that these cases are just so full of emotion.

FEYERICK: It took jurors 14-1/2 hours to decide death. As the verdict was read, a heavy silence fell over the courtroom. Tsarnaev stood and showed no emotion, glancing at his lawyer. Several survivors and their relatives wiped away tears.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is bittersweet. You know, there's no winner today, but I feel justice for my family.

FEYERICK: Of 12 jurors, only two believed Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was remorseful. Only three believed older brother Tamerlan planned and directed the terror attack.

CARMEN ORTIZ, U.S. ATTORNEY: It was a political crime designed to intimidate and to coerce the United States. Although the defense claimed that the defendant was himself intimidated and coerced by an older brother, the evidence did not bear that out.

FEYERICK: While the jury was unanimous in sentencing Tsarnaev to death, they did not hand down sentences for counts relating to the first bomb carried by Tamerlan or to the murder of MIT Police Officer Sean Collier.


FEYERICK: And as we said, yesterday, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who has been in this court really since January. He sat through the jury selection process and then, of course, the trial that spanned really 12 weeks. He left this court. He will not be back until his official sentencing in the next couple of months -- Christi.

PAUL: All right, Deb, stick around because I want to discuss this case further with CNN commentator and legal analyst, Mel Robbins. Good morning to you.

I want to start with what's next for Dzhokhar. We know that the case is automatically appealed. So what does that mean specifically?

MEL ROBBINS, CNN COMMENTATOR AND LEGAL ANALYST: Well, what that means specifically, all the paperwork is going to be filed. Interestingly, Christi, a lot of people don't know there will be a new set of lawyers assigned to the case. Why would they set a new set of lawyers for the appeal? Well, because they want a fresh set of eyes.

And the appeal process is so incredibly complicated that there are lawyers that actually specialize in just death penalty appeals. So you're going to see probably a three-month delay between now and the sentencing.

There will be motions filed both for the appeal automatically. You'll also see other motions filed before the sentencing. And then after the sentencing happens, probably sometime in August, you'll see the appeal process truly kick into full steam. And it could take years -- Christi.

PAUL: Right, in fact, of the 80 federal defendants sentenced to death since 1988, only three, including Timothy McVeigh, which we should point out, Oklahoma City bomber, three have been executed.

So some were vacated, we understand. Some, the defendants died. What is the likelihood do you think that Tsarnaev will ever really see the sentence carried out?

ROBBINS: You know, I hate making predictions like this. And the other variable that you didn't mention, Christi, it is the fact that in April, the Supreme Court heard testimony in a case where death row defendants are appealing the use of lethal injection which is the only authorized manner, because it violates the Eighth Amendment.

And so we have to wait and see, if they actually overturn the use of lethal injection. It could be even further. I think we're looking at least a couple decades. And I think the bittersweet irony in this case is that on all six counts, where they found him guilty and punished him to the death penalty, they all related to Martin Richard.

Now, sure this jury was unaware that Martin Richard's family wrote this opinion piece stating that they didn't want the death penalty precisely for this reason. Because the appeals will keep him front and center until he's finally executed. Whenever that ...

PAUL: That's a really good point. You know, Deb, I wanted to ask you about Tamerlan's widow, Katherine Russell. A lot of questions about where she is, what she's doing? Will charges be brought against her? What do you know about her right now?

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, what we do know, is that she's keeping a very low profile. And so far, her attorneys have been able to keep her from being charged. But I did speak to one attorney who deals with these kinds of the high-level terror cases. And that attorney told me essentially that if prosecutors could bring charges against Katherine Russell, they would bring charges against Katherine Russell. Remember, they've already charged at least three other people in connection with Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

But you need to prove intent, you need to prove that she actually knew what he was doing. What he was planning. And so, that is much more difficult - it's a very different threshold that neither the defense, nor the prosecution actually brought her to testify. And that really tells you a lot. Neither side really thought that she would do something for their own case, that she would help push it along. They did bring her mother who testified that she was, you know, effectively brainwashed and that it's taken two full years for her daughter to sort of get back to the Katie Russell that she once knew. That was the effect and the impact of Tamerlan Tsarnaev on her daughter.

PAUL: All right. Mel Robins and Deb Feyerick, so appreciate your perspectives. Thanks for being with us.


BLACKWELL: The breaking news this morning in Egypt. Former President Mohamed Morsi has been sentenced to death for his role in the 2011 prison break. The astute leader's name along with more than 100 other defendants will be passed along to the highest legal authority in Egypt for confirmation of the death sentence on June 2nd. Morsi was Egypt's first democratically elected president. And we'll have more and a live report from Cairo at the top of the hour.

And we're following new developments into this week's deadly Amtrak derailment. The FBI has been called in to help to investigate the derailment of Amtrak train 188. And the NTSB now says it believes the train may have been struck by some sort of object, some projectile, before it flew off the tracks, before it went off. And just one of three possible projectile incidents that took place within 30 minutes of each other on Tuesday night. You see here the damage caused possibly by each of those incidents. Six people were killed. Two others later died when the train 188 derailed. More on this story out throughout the morning as well.

PAUL: But first, we want to tell you that fierce fighting in Ramadi this morning, a key city in central Iraq as ISIS tries to expand its territory. Look here at the area already. Under ISIS control in Iraq and Syria, the terror group has already captured the police headquarters, the main mosque, we understand, it's raised its black flag over the provincial government building there. And the U.S. is expediting its weapons shipments to Iraq. In light of this, latest amounts of fighting. CNN correspondent Jomana Karadsheh is with us now.

Jomana, what do you know about what's happening in Ramadi this hour? JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christi, as officials described it, they say it's a very fluid situation, but as of late last night, according to Iraqi officials ISIS was in control of the majority of Ramadi, that provincial capital of Anbar Province, Iraq's largest province. And it does seem that the Iraqi security forces are in control of certain pockets in a couple of neighborhoods in Ramadi. And as you mentioned, ISIS, coming in with this -- on Thursday, and a very symbolic move. They took over the government complex.


KARADSHEH: This used to be the nerve center of Anbar province, they took over that complex where the local government was based in the past, where the police headquarters were. And they raised -- there has been real determination, Christi, by ISIS to do this for months now. Push after push. Various fences. And we've seen in the group trying to take control of what is left of Anbar province. The majority of this province, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and also Baghdad, really the majority of it has been under the control of ISIS pretty much for the past year. And there are only some parts of it that are still under the government control.

So ISIS taking over, hasn't happened yet as the full city as we know from the governor of Anbar province. He described the situation as very dire, saying fighting is ongoing. But he said that Ramadi as a whole has not fallen yet. But officials are warning that this is something that could happen at any point. Now, of course, we've seen an increase in U.S.-led coalition air strikes taking place, late last night, as we know. And Baghdad is saying that it's sending some elite troops to push it back. This would be a major blow for the Iraqi government. And the U.S.-led coalition. This would be the first major city to fall to ISIS since the start of the coalition air strikes last year. And a major boost for ISIS, it really would be tightening its grip on the territory that it controls. That vast territory, all the way from the Syrian/Turkish border through Syria into Anbar province and onto the western outskirts of Baghdad. A very critical situation there.

PAUL: All right, Jomana Karadsheh, thank you so much, Jomana. We appreciate it.

BLACKWELL: All right, so let's bring in CNN military analyst Lieutenant General Mark Hertling. We have to talk about what appears to be inconsistency. Maybe a contradiction here that we are hearing from the U.S. government and from what we're seeing on the ground, general. First, we heard from the head of operation Inherent Resolve. This coalition airstrikes that ISIS is now on the defensive, and it's proven by their change in fighting style since these airstrikes have begun. But we see they're now raising flags over this strategically and symbolically important city. Do you agree that ISIS is now on the defensive?

LT. GENERAL MARK HERTLING, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: I do, Victor. And this is - it's interesting, because you're going to see Ramadi as being hotly contested. It is a critical city for ISIS to control because it controls a line of communication from Syria, all the way to their western approaches, to Baghdad. I do believe, ISIS is on the defensive. They have suffered significant blows, no matter what the maps show. I'll tell you that they have suffered a lot of key leaders being killed, and they have lost territory. But this one in Ramadi, they're going to continue to fight this. Remember, up to about a month ago, we said the same thing, Ramadi is falling. They have certainly gained some ground in Ramadi. They have pushed suicide vehicles in by my account. Talking to people on the ground. They pushed over six suicide vehicles into that city to try and blow a hole toward the government center. But the Iraqi forces and the Anbar tribe, they're still fighting against them.

You also have to consider this, it's 100 degrees in Ramadi today. They have had high winds and there's shamal. So it's been very difficult to get air support against this movement of ISIS forces. Once that kind of balances out a little bit, I think you'll see continued fighting as well as the shipment of additional forces by Prime Minister Abadi.

BLACKWELL: We have been told that there have been eight airstrikes as part of Thursday's offensive specifically. And over the months of the airstrikes, general, we were told that you needed ground troops. You needed the airstrikes plus the ground troops to not only take cities, but hold them once you get them. Well, yesterday, at least as this fight has obviously been going on for months, you had the U.S. airstrikes, eight of them, and then you have the Iraqi forces on the ground. Still, at the end of the day, it looks like this swung in the direction of ISIS power. What is - what is missing here?

HERTLING: Well, the sizes of the ground forces, Victor. Let's open up the capture (ph) a little bit and look at all of Iraq. There's fighting going on in Baiji, there's fighting going on in Hawiji (ph) and Kirkuk in the Hamrin Mountains. There's been a religious festival last week in Baghdad and multiple suicide bombings have gone off there. There's been a resurgence of ISIS in Ramadi. So the government of Iraq is attempting to stamp out these pockets of terror and drama, but they certainly just don't have enough forces to do that right now. And ISIS is attempting to further disrupt the Iraqi government, and they're able to do this in Anbar. Because the Shia militia forces can't go out there, or they haven't been allowed to go out there just yet.


HERTLING: It's a complete Sunni province, unlike the north in Tikrit, which is a mix of Sunni and Shia. So, there's not the desire to have the Shia militias go out there to assist. They've got to build the forces out there. And that's, frankly, problematic right now. They're still in the process of training and equipping those forces to get them to fight. But some of the Anbari tribes have done exactly that. There's just not enough of them.

BLACKWELL: What we do know that the U.S. is expediting a shipment of resources and weapons over there to help with this fight there on the ground. General, thank you so much. Military analyst Lieutenant General Mark Hertling. Good to have you, as always.

HERTLING: Thank you, Victor.

BLACKWELL: All right. Also a programming note. Watch Fareed Zakaria special on ISIS, "Blind-sided." It airs Sunday night at 7 Eastern right here on CNN.

PAUL: We know that officials have recovered the bodies of eight people onboard a U.S. Marine Corps chopper that crashed in Nepal. They were on that relief mission after the earthquake. We are going to have a report from that region for you, next.


PAUL: Well, the bodies of all eight people on board the relief chopper have been recovered from the crash of the U.S. Marine helicopter that disappeared in Nepal.

BLACKWELL: It crashed in a rugged mountain area of east Kathmandu, killing six U.S. Marines and two Nepalese service members. Our Will Ripley has more.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Victor, Christi, a very difficult and painful task on the way on the mountains, 21 miles east of Kathmandu where at 11,200 feet crews are working right now to recover the eight bodies that have now been identified at the crash site of that U.S. Marine helicopter. They're also working to pick up and recover the debris, so they can continue to investigate what caused this chopper to go down with six U.S. Marines and two Nepali soldiers on board. You may remember yesterday, weather forced searchers to call off their efforts early due to safety concerns. The weather at that altitude is very unpredictable, and at times very dangerous for not only people, but also for aircraft. And as you can hear there are thunderstorms now in this area.

So it's unclear if the weather will once again force the recovery crews to cut off their efforts, but as you can imagine, this is a very, very tough time. Not only for the U.S. Marines, but also for the Nepali government, they've welcomed in as many countries as they can to provide assistance to people who are cut off in these remote mountain areas where helicopters are their only lifeline for food, water, medicine and other supplies. And the U.S. government saying that it will remain committed to that humanitarian aid mission. In fact, they continue aid flights as we speak in addition to that recovery work at the crash site. Because they say keeping busy will help them get through the pain of losing six of their own in a very tragic crash in a country that has suffered so much. Victor, Christi.

PAUL: Will Ripley reporting from Kathmandu. Will, thank you.

BLACKWELL: Well, now that the decision is in for the Boston Marathon bomber, we'll get some insight into the Tsarnaev family. The defense showed pictures of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as a young boy. So what went wrong? We'll get answers from an author who just wrote a new book about the brothers.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Flash and shoot. Modeling campaigns, advertisements. Throughout the years, tennis stars have built their image not just on court, but on camera, and for today's players, it's no different.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Over the shoulder, twisted in the middle of it. Just square your body square, yeah? So you're strong. Chest up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You need that sort of ability to work together because there's a lot of pressure. We had through - Roger Rafa, all in one goal. And you know what, it gets a bit tense sometimes. These guys are not fashion models, they're basically athletes who don't want to be photoshoot sometimes. Because they're training and in the zone, you know.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Three two, one -- hold this camera.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This generation are the ones that really get it. It's probably because of social media and the way pictures get out there. That they get it, and they realize they've got to do so much of this stuff.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He wanted to go to hell, and he's going to get there early.


PAUL: Strong words there from firefighter Michael Ward about a jury ordering the death sentence for Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were tweeted. A lot of the victims at the scene and a lot of people called it a sad day and said their thoughts were only for fellow survivors once this verdict came down. Despite that, it was a gut-wrenching emotional trial, as you know. So many people don't understand why the Tsarnaev brothers set off those bombs in the heart of Boston. Award winning journalist Masha Gessen is joining us now via skype. She's also the author of "The Brothers: the Road to an American Tragedy." It's a new book about the Tsarnaev family. She's on extensive research on it. So, Masha, thank you, first of all, for being with us. And secondly, what was your reaction to the death sentence?

MASHA GESSEN, AUTHOR "THE BROTHERS": I was actually surprised, not by the outcome, but by how fast the jury came to this verdict. Basically, they had a 24-page very dense verdict form. So they rushed through the questions on, 38 different questions on the verdict form. So they rushed through the questions at the rate of more than three questions an hour. That's basically enough time to read out the question, vote, count the hands, note down the result.

I don't think you can call this deliberations. I mean the design - the death penalty trials are designed to make it exceedingly difficult to apply the death penalty. The judge emphasized on a number of occasions that it's ultimately up to the jury. The law doesn't make you impose the death penalty. There's nothing automatic about the process. And here it almost looks like they did it automatically.

PAUL: Are you saying then that you think they got it wrong?

GESSEN: Well I'm opposed to the death penalty. So, I would think that - if they came to the death penalty in any case. What I'm shocked, though, by, is that there doesn't seem to have been any conflict, any deliberation, any discussion. And basically the defense's efforts seem to have been in vain. And, you know, the basic thing that the defense was trying to do, was get the jurors to see Tsarnaev as a human being. Not as an enemy combatant. Not as a monster.

PAUL: Let me ask you this, because you've done so much research on this family. And you talk about - You can probably see him, do you think, as a human more than other people because you've done this research. And in your research, what did you learn about this family that might tell you, or show you where things went wrong for them, in the sense that they had this mindset that they wanted to kill people?

GESSEN: Well, I think that this is a story, and it's actually not a unique story of a small tragedy turning into a giant one. This family was constantly dislocated. They zigzagged around the former Soviet Union in place - in search of a place they could call home. They finally came to the United States, things seemed to be going all right at first. And they just fell apart. Nothing really worked. Nobody's dreams came true, nobody got a good job, nobody made any money. The oldest brother dropped out of community college was dealing drugs and delivering pizzas. Those small things.

And in fact, what we know about terrorism is not so much what the FBI tells us about these giant roots that recruit people and take them through the radicalization process. In fact, it's much more mundane. Terrorists usually come from disenfranchised immigrant backgrounds, they usually come from secular backgrounds.


GESSEN: But they usually used to be middle class. You know, it's not like you can look at them and say, oh, you know, these are radicals who are going to carry out bombings, and they are really dangerous. It's kind of not how it works. It's, you know, they are born of small - small grief. And that sounds the Tsarnaevs fit the profile of terrorist perfectly. So, the question is how does it go from being a small tragedy of broken lives to this giant tragedy of killing three people, and injuring more than 260 others and just absolutely terrifying and traumatizing the entire city of Boston.

PAUL: OK, well, Masha Gessen, we appreciate your work on this and your insight on this story. Thank you so much for being with us.

GESSEN: Thank you for having me.

PAUL: Of course. BLACKWELL: New video out of Atlanta this morning, showing the moment when a freight train hit a city bus. We've got the story behind this. And you'll see the video.

Also, we're following breaking news at the top of the hour. Egypt's former president sentenced to death.


PAUL: New information to share with you this morning in that deadly Amtrak crash. The FBI is investigating now. And there are new details regarding the engineer's schedule the day of the crash.

BLACKWELL: Also, the death penalty for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. But you probably know that carrying out the death sentence could be years away. So what is next for the Boston marathon bomber?

PAUL: Plus, new this morning, Ramadi under siege. ISIS makes a stronger push for the key Iraqi city and it's forcing the United States deeper into the conflict now.


PAUL: Good morning. And thank you so much for sharing your company with us this morning.