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Navy: "El Faro" Believed Found on Sea Bottom; Russian Officials Arrive At Cairo Morgue; GOP Candidates Plot Debate Revolt Against RNC; Kurdish Forces Prepare for Battle. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired November 1, 2015 - 07:30   ET


VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: OK. And we know that this drone will go down and that is likely to happen sometime today?

[07:30:03] NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As early as today, it's expected to happen. They spotted these images yesterday afternoon, about 1:30 off the eastern coast of the Bahamas. We'll see what they are able to find today to see if this is in fact, 100 percent certainty that this is the wreckage of El Faro.

BLACKWELL: Are they planning to retrieve the remains of this ship?

VALENCIA: So, this is interesting, because according to the images that they saw, it's in one piece. It's standing upright. It is intact.

So, they could very well retrieve this. We don't know exactly what they are going to do when they send this device other than to confirm that the images that they saw from the sonar technology are those images that they're going to see what (INAUDIBLE)

BLACKWELL: All right. We'll start there with confirmation.

Nick Valencia, thank you so much.

VALENCIA: Thanks, Victor.


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Let's talk a little bit more about this with Mary Schiavo, former inspector general with the Transportation Department.

Mary, thank you so much for being with us.

So, once the identity of this wreck is confirmed and if it is, indeed, believed to be El Faro, this thing is three miles down. I guess we are wondering, what is next, first of all? First, really what is next for the bodies that might be able to be recovered? Will they try to recover bodies before recovering the ship itself?

MARY SCHIAVO, FORMER INSPECTOR GENERAL, TRANSPORTATION DEPARTMENT (via telephone): Well, that's going to be very difficult because of the depth of the water that the Navy has equipment that is capable of literally going down and getting the sunken ship or parts of it, because they have equipment that is used for recovering submarines. But in terms of sending anything or anybody, you can't really send divers down but sending down submersible to look for bodies, that would be extremely, extremely difficult.

So, my guess is they will use the equipment to search for the black boxes. Well, there is one, called a trip record. They will search for that and then try to bring up a part, if they can. If not, they'll have to rely on sensing devices so send pictures.

PAUL: So, I want to talk about that data recorder. What does it record and for how long? For instance, would it be the last 15 minutes of what happened? Would it be the last three hours of what happened?

SCHIAVO: It should be. Now, depending upon the model and how new it is. It should be the last hours. It will record things like the engine prop settings, the headings. Anything, basically, it will be a data recording of the captain's bridge, what the captain was doing, where the engines were set, you know, the knots that it was doing -- all of the things that the engine setting.

If there is a gauge in the captain's bridge, then they can run a lead to that black box recorder so that is the kind of things that be on it.

PAUL: OK. When you were just talking -- I want to talk about one other thing you said as you're talking about the recovery of this -- of the bodies and of this ship. Because it is 15,000 feet below the surface, is it possible to bring that up?

SCHIAVO: It's going to be very, very difficult. Now, obviously, if they need to, to find out really to solve the mystery of what happened, they could possibly try to use this equipment that the Navy has that can bring up submarines, but this is a huge ship, the El Faro.

It's probably not in one piece any way. So, they might try, if they have to, to bring up parts of it. But what they really want to get first, I think, would be the black box and if they do happen to -- my personal belief is they probably will find it very difficult to find bodies on board.

PAUL: Mary, one last quick question. Sonar images appear to show whatever this is to be an upright position and in one piece based on what you just said. What does that alone tell you about what may have happened?

SCHIAVO: Well, actually, that tells me an awful lot, because this wasn't a container ship. This was called a Rocon, which means they had ports down below like a ferry ship where cars and vehicles could actually roll on or drive onto the ship. And these areas are weak. It's a place you can take on water. It's almost like a ferry boat, if you will, if you think of it in that way, well, it's not a ferry boat. So, my guess if it's in one piece that it took on water most likely

through the RoRo port - because this is a weakness on the ship and it sank very, very quickly.

PAUL: All right. Mary Schiavo, we appreciate your insight as always. Thank you, ma'am.

BLACKWELL: We have some new video this morning from outside one of the six morgues that received bodies from the crash of Metro Jet Flight 9268. Earlier this morning, Russian officials around there. We know that more than 160 bodies have been taken from the crash site to Cairo's morgues and some of the victims, their remains could be headed back to Russia as soon as today.

Our Ian Lee is in Cairo, outside one of those morgues.

[07:35:01] He is learning much more.

What do you have for us, Ian?

IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Victor.

And yes, we saw those Russian officials just a while ago. They were going into the morgue. They were talking to Egyptian officials and then they left. We know that there are 163 bodies now in Cairo at six different morgues, and we are outside one of the main morgues that has the majority of the bodies. And, really, right now, what officials are doing is they are trying to identify everyone that they can to reunite them with their loved ones.

And this isn't an easy process. They are going through DNA testing because, as you can imagine, when a plane falls -- descends from the earth, over 30,000 feet, it is going to have a large impact and a lot of those bodies will not be able to recognize. So, they are going over all those bodies to make sure that they can reunite them.

The other big thing today is also going over those black boxes. They are now in Cairo. We have Russian, as well as Airbus and Egyptian official going through them and trying to determine what exactly happened.

But even at this hour, there are still bodies out there. There are over 60 bodies at the crash site. It's an area that is roughly six square miles and it has been expanded. It is a combination of planes and some places, mountainous terrain.

So, it has been somewhat slow going. But Egyptian officials that I've talked to are optimistic that this investigation is moving forward at a good pace and they hope to have more information for us and, just now, in probably the next half hour, we are expecting a press conference from the Russian transport minister in Cairo to have more information about this ongoing investigation.

BLACKWELL: All right. Ian, thanks. And, of course, we'll bring our viewers what is most important out of that news conference as soon as it happens. Christi?

PAUL: Could there be a mutiny before the next GOP debate? A secret meeting taking place today. Obviously, the meeting isn't secret -- we know about it -- but it's behind closed doors. The candidates want major changes to the debates.

And preparing for war. We are taking you live to northwest Iraq and show you what Kurdish forces are preparing for.


[07:40:54] BLACKWELL: All right. New for you this morning: a change is already in the works for the necks Republican presidential debate. Fox Business Network will give candidates more time to respond to questions when they debate on November 10th. That decision maybe will help satisfy the campaigns who are really just seething over last week's debate on CNBC.

Later today, advisers for multiple GOP candidates, almost all of them, are meeting in Washington. They're going to talk about how they can get more control of the debate process.

We have back with us CNN politics senior reporter Stephen Collinson.

Stephen, I want you to listen to something Ted Cruz proposed while on a pheasant hunt in Iowa yesterday.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have suggested a simple rule. How about the moderators of Republican primaries actually be Republicans? If you have individuals who have never in their life voted in a Republican primary, maybe they shouldn't be moderating Republican primaries.


BLACKWELL: All right. Stephen, any chance that's going to happen?

STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN POLITICS SENIOR REPORTER: It's an interesting suggestion. I think it's unlikely. That solution would certainly help Ted Cruz, because if a Republican conservative commentator were to moderate one of these debates, it's possible that his viewpoint might be similar to that of Ted Cruz, who's very popular among the conservative grassroots.

The problem we have here is one of the RNC has been trying to avoid all along, and it's a candidate free of all of what the debates should be like. We saw that in 2012 and senior members of the party decided that was detrimental to their candidates' chances in a general election.

So, there is a struggle between the candidates and the Republican National Committee. I think the candidates, having seen the massive ratings that these debates have whipped up so far decided they want more leverage and they want more say how the debates take place. So, it's a difficult question to resolve.

BLACKWELL: You bring up the massive ratings, and "The Wall Street Journal" was reporting that Dr. Ben Carson wants the debates to be taken off television entirely and that he wants them to be broadcast online or aired online.

Is that realistic or is that a nonstarter?

COLLINSON: Well, there is an element to these debates I think is helping the Republican Party, and that's the fact that it's not just hard-core grassroots conservatives who are watching them. They are appealing to a much broader section of the population, a less partisan section of the population. So, you've seen, for example, in the last debate how Marco Rubio emerged as a key candidate in this race. He would be a potentially good general election candidate for Republican Party, and he is getting a chance to introduce himself to a much wider electorate in these debates.

So, taking them off the television completely would probably hurt the GOP as much as it would help it, as much as someone like Ben Carson who perhaps is not a professional politician, is not so interested in deep scrutiny of his political plans, would like to see them. It might help Ben Carson, but it probably wouldn't help the Republican Party as a whole.

BLACKWELL: Yes, a lot of different priorities here. If this group can coalesce around a list of demands, I mean, is that what we are expecting out of this meeting? And is there a chance that some of these candidates will boycott one or more of the future debates?

COLLINSON: I think it would be a big step for a candidate to boycott the debate because it would be hurting him or herself. But the problem is getting agreement. As you say, if you're someone like Donald Trump, you want a smaller debate. You want lesser candidates off the stage.

If you're someone like Bobby Jindal or Lindsey Graham, for example, who's been confined to the second tier debates all along, you want to get on that big stage. So, it's very difficult to see where common might emerge between the campaigns. And that's one of the big problems on this issue, I think.

BLACKWELL: All right. Stephen Collinson, thanks so much.

COLLINSON: Thanks, Victor.

PAUL: You know, last year, ISIS killed and enslaved thousands in a town in Sinjar. Well, now, Kurdish forces could soon be on the verge to launch a defensive to try to take that city back. We're going to take you there live.

[07:45:01] Stay close.

And ahead, the Miami Hurricanes. Talk about fancy tricks. I don't think this was in their books -- to steal a victory from the Duke Blue Devils. Craziest college football ending ever, you say? We have your thoughts ahead.


PAUL: Preparing for battle. Last year, ISIS killed and enslaved thousands of people in a town of Sinjar. I don't know if you remember these images. I want to show them to you again. These are Yazidi refugees here on the Iraq/Syria border. There they are.

Women -- well, they're going to be coming. Women crying and children were being carried. Well, now, forces are readying for what has been described as an imminent offensive to retake that city. They're not alone here, we want to point out.

U.S.-led airstrikes are heading ISIS. This morning, they dropped seven strikes on the terror group, destroying multiple fighting positions, vehicles, wounding a fighter.

CNN's senior international correspondent Nima Elbagir is live on Mt. Sinjar with the latest.

Nima, wondering, what have you seen from your vantage point this morning when we talk about these airstrikes?

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we've certainly been hearing them, Christi. A succession of them in Sinjar City down there below me clearly an attempt to soften some of that ISIS hold on the city.

[07:50:02] There is a sense that we are counting down to zero hour, but we are still seeing movement, we are still seeing vehicles leaving Sinjar City, heading on that road towards Syria, and that's what really this is all about. This critical pipeline that runs parallel along Sinjar City that connects the ISIS territorial hold in Iraq and Syria.

This is the border plan that's being put into motion here, which is to fragment that ISIS territorial footprint imprint, start breaking up those different aspects of the so-called caliphate, stop their ability to communicate and resupply within themselves. But you're talking about the Yazidis, and, of course, we're standing on their homeland, putting aside everything about what this mission means for the broader fight against ISIS.

On an emotional level, what this mission means for the Yazidis is really it's about their fundamental survival, Christi. This is where they were almost driven to extinction. We're seeing the Yazidi fighters in the thousand thousands volunteering and joining to be part of this fight because they feel as long as ISIS is anywhere near them, as long as ISIS is anywhere nearby, they will never be safe, Christi.

PAUL: Yes, do we know how fortified that city is by ISIS right now?

ELBAGIR: We're hearing a lot of differing intelligence about this. With ISIS, what we've seen in the past, it's not even really about the fight that they put up in terms of the actual battle in and of the moment. It's about what they leave behind. So, these forces are thinking two or three steps ahead, because

they're going to be concerned about IEDs, they're going to be concerned booby traps if ISIS does decide to not hold this, to withdraw and pull back to Tal Ahmad (ph), which is slightly further back from Sinjar, a much bigger command base for them, much more important in that sense command headquarters. Anyone going in is going to be going in very, very carefully. This entire region for ISIS has become this kind of presence of territorial grip, and if they do decide to pull back and they're going to leave a lot behind, Christi.

PAUL: Nima Elbagir, we so appreciate the update. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: All right. A week of major transition and change for John Boehner and Paul Ryan. The outgoing speaker of the House, the man chosen to take his place. Both sit down with Dana Bash on "STATE OF THE UNION". We'll have a preview in our next hour.

Also, one final play, unbelievable ending for the Hurricanes. Duke didn't believe it either. Could this be the best ever? Coy Wire has your picks, coming up.


[07:56:41] BLACKWELL: Rare meeting in Central Asia today. Secretary of State Kerry meeting for the first time with the president of Uzbekistan. The autocratic ruler has often been criticized for his human rights record. The two held talks as the U.S. is hoping to deepen America's economic and security ties in Central Asia.

PAUL: And quite a scare for some Halloween shoppers in Los Angeles, in a suburb there. Look at this, the car crash into the front window of a party city store. CNN affiliate KABC reports four children were injured here after a driver lost control of a car yesterday afternoon. The county sheriff told the station the driver went over the curb and the sidewalk and plowed through the glass window. Police say the woman claims her foot got stuck on the pedal.

BLACKWELL: Several chipotle restaurants in Washington state and Oregon have voluntarily shut down because of an E. coli scare. Health officials say 22 cases of the bacterial infection have been linked to the Mexican grill. Some customers have been hospitalized. No one has died. Investigators have not figured out the source of the contamination.

PAUL: And the winner is -- American Pharoah. The horse claimed the Breeder's Cup classic yesterday in Kentucky, becoming the only horse to win the Triple Crown and the Breeder's Cup in the same year. American Pharoah had become the first triple crown winner in 37 years and the 12th in history. The Breeder's Cup Classic carries a $12 million purse. With that, eh, retire.

BLACKWELL: That's it. I'm good. I've said all I have to say.


BLACKWELL: All right. Let's talk about this. The Miami miracle, as it's called.

PAUL: This is the craziest thing I've ever seen. I needed somebody to be showing some arrows as to where it was going because it's so convoluted.

And I have to say, I'm actually impressed, Coy, the players knew how to pull it off.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: I don't think. That's something you can't even draw up in the dirt.

PAUL: Right.

WIRE: You can see the Duke players, the ball keeps getting further and further back. Don't worry about it.

But let's look at this play. I mean, this was absolutely incredible. You certainly can say that is one of the most exciting plays in college football history. There were going to be a total of eight laterals on this play guys.

Now, the thing we didn't mention last hour is this was not without controversy. Apparently, the officials missed, the runner's knee was down at one point, they missed a couple of blocks in the back. Here is the knee going down before the ball was out, right?

So, there was a lot of controversy about this, though. We asked you guys, though, this was still pretty incredible. Was this one of the most exciting plays in college football history or what are some of the most exciting sports finishes in history?

And you guys had a lot of great responses, I have a bone to pick here, too. Feel like you were ganging up on me for a little bit.

Roy, he actually goes on to say the 1982 Stanford Cal threw the band, which is this play, plus a band on the field. Wordthough said Buffalo Bills come back over Houston in the '93 wild card game. And then BK says the Packers crashing the falcon in the Georgia Dome in the playoffs, #SorryCoy.

Those are all three teams I played for. What's up with that, guys? This is not a Sunday funny.


WIRE: We also had really good responses. Christian Laettner's buzzer beater Duke versus Kentucky in '92, and Brandy Chastain winning '99 women's World Cup. You guys are awesome as always. So, thanks for sharing this morning.

PAUL: He can take it. Don't worry about it. It's all good.

BLACKWELL: Thank you, Coy.

PAUL: Coy, thank you.

WIRE: You're welcome.

PAUL: And thank you so much for being with us.

BLACKWELL: Your NEW DAY continues right now.