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Indonesian Plane Crashes with 189 Aboard Minutes after Takeoff; Survivor of 2006 Hate Crime Shooting Reacts to Pittsburgh Tragedy; Suspicious Package Addressed to CNN Intercepted at Atlanta Post Office; Right Wing Candidate Wins Presidential Race in Brazil. Aired 10:30-11a ET
Aired October 29, 2018 - 10:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: All right. We are following a developing story. An airplane carrying 189 people has crashed into the sea just minutes after taking off from Indonesia's capital of Jakarta.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: According to officials, the aircraft requested to return to the airport minutes after taking off, did not indicate an emergency at the time. So far, six bodies have been recovered. While rescue operations expected to continue around the clock.
CNN's Will Ripley, he's in Hong Kong. He's been following the story. What do we know at this point, Will?
WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jim, just a few minutes ago, a new tidbit of information that kind of adds to the mystery of all of this. They have been examining the pieces of the plane that have risen to the surface of the Java Sea about 34 nautical miles off Jakarta. No sign of an explosion or fire or any burning on this.
So, again, no obvious indicator as of now as to what could have caused this plane to crash. You mentioned that the pilot did call the airport in Jakarta and requested to turn around. What radar shows is that shortly after that call was made, about 13 minutes into flight, the plane dropped from 5200 feet very quickly down before it vanished from radar screens all together.
Weather not an issue, according to investigators. There were some scattered thunderstorms. They were a safe distance from the plane. The plane itself, the newest model Boeing 737 had just been delivered to Lion Air a few months ago. It only had 800 flight hours. You had an experienced crew onboard with the captain and co-pilot having a combined 11,000 flight hours.
So, no indication at this point what could have caused a new aircraft with a seasoned crew and decent weather to just go down like this, all of a sudden, shortly after takeoff and it obviously has just been agonizing for the family members of the 189 people onboard, 181 of them passengers, 2 infants, and 1 child, always heartbreaking. People get on a flight. This flight was just supposed to be about an hour. People do that every day without giving it a second thought. And to see people's luggage and their cell phones and backpacks washing up, it just got to be devastating for the families watching all this unfold.
HARLOW: Of course, -- there were children, I believe two infants on that plane. Will, before you go, I mean, I did see an alert this morning. There's one European country that has warned their officials not to take this airline. I mean, what do we know about Lion Air's safety record as a whole?
RIPLEY: Yes, so in Australia, after this crash, they have actually told their government officials not to fly Lion Air. Lion Air has a spotty safety record. They were banned from European Union air space from 2007 until 2016. But that ban was lifted. And just this year, the International Civil Aviation Organization gave the airline top ratings in terms of safety. They're very popular discount carrier in Asia. They have been buying new planes, expanding very quickly, trying to improve their service, their scheduling, and their safety. But there was a crash back in 2013, a pretty famous crash where a plane was coming in to the runway in Bali and it just dropped into the water. But all of the passengers in that incident, they survived, sadly not the case this time around. Jim, Poppy.
SCIUTTO: Will Ripley, thanks so much.
HARLOW: Coming up next for us, back to the horrific shooting in Pittsburgh over the weekend. We're going to talk to the survivor of a mass shooting who says she can no longer stay silent. Her reaction to what we saw happen at the synagogue in Pittsburgh and what she says she's going to do about it, ahead.
[10:38:37] HARLOW: All right. We're learning more about the suspicious package, this new one that was addressed to CNN in Atlanta. It was intercepted at a post office outside, of course, in Atlanta.
Our justice correspondent Evan Perez is back with us. And Evan, of course, the immediate thought when you reported this minutes ago that I had and Jim had, does it look similar to the 14 others from last week. Do we know?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Poppy, yes, it does have a similar appearance to the other packages that were sent last week or intercepted last week, and that's the reason why now the FBI is now on the scene. Their bomb squad is handling the package. Again, treating it with the abundance of caution, simply because if it is like the rest of them that happened last week, then they have a whole procedure that they use to make sure that it is rendered safe.
And so at this point, we're told by sources that the package is similar in appearance to the ones that were sent last week. And so again, it's still early in the investigation. The FBI is on the scene there, but if it is confirmed, it would be the 15th package that might be connected to the serial bomber that was arrested on Friday, Poppy.
SCIUTTO: Evan, question then. And I know it's early, but is the presumption then that this package number 15 was sent at the same time as those others?
PEREZ: Right. So Jim, that's a great question. One of the things in talking to investigators last week, we were told that they were expecting additional packages. It looks like the suspect that was arrested on Friday did make some statements that indicated that there might be additional packages that were en route at the time that he was arrested.
[10:40:12] So that's the reason why there is this abundance of caution about every one of these things that turns up. And as you correctly pointed out, until all of these turn up, you know, they want to make sure that everything is treated with the same care.
SCIUTTO: Evan Perez thanks very much.
HARLOW: We'll keep you posted of course as we learn more about that.
Now back to the tragedy in Pittsburgh over the weekend at the synagogue. This morning, we're learning that the gunman who police say is responsible for it had 21 guns. 21 guns registered to his name. Our next guest is no stranger to gun violence.
Cheryl Stumbo, she is lucky to be alive, frankly. She was shot during a gunman's rampage 12 years ago at a Seattle office for Jewish advocacy groups. Now she's using her near death experience there to advocate for reasonable gun control going forward. Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHERYL STUMBO, SHOT AND SURVIVED THE JEWISH FEDERATION SHOOTING IN SEATTLE IN 2006: Every year, thousands and thousands killed and maimed with guns. Each one a body slam I can't ignore. I'm called to speak up, to speak for those who can't, for those who won't. For those who don't know what to do, what to say.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: Joining us now is Cheryl Stumbo, survivor of these 2006 shootings in Seattle, also an advocate for a group now called Every Town Gun Safety. So, Cheryl, one thing we noted in the shooting, the AR-15 weapon, again, used by this shooter here to maximize the carnage he could cause.
STUMBO: Yes. I learned that recently.
SCIUTTO: So tell us your reaction as you see this happen here, because you have been fighting to do your best, do your part and prevent these from happening to what you experienced 12 years ago. STUMBO: Yes. What happened in Pittsburgh at the Tree of Life synagogue, like my shooting, somebody who had a combination of hate plus easy access to guns was able to walk into a Jewish community building and shoot and kill and maim people. And that combination of hate and easy access to guns is especially deadly.
HARLOW: As you know, Cheryl, the president's reaction, obviously, he condemned the violence immediately afterward. He also said the beefed up security, right, armed guards at these places of religious worship, would help to prevent tragedies like this. Is he right?
STUMBO: I just think that that is backwards logic. If you take that argument and take it out to its full logical end, that means that we would need armed guards at every public space in America. At every entrance and every exit of movie theaters and cafes, places of worship and schools and grocery stores, and that's just not the kind of America I want to live in. I think we need to prevent this kind of thing from happening up front and not try to use guns in response.
HARLOW: To that point, I mean you said something that struck both Jim and I. You said ignore the politics right now from a personal level until they're willing to do something. It reads to me like you're not just talking about one political party. It seems like a loud sort of blaring message to Congress in general, like you're not getting anything done for us. Is that right?
STUMBO: Yes, well, what I was talking about was asking people in the immediate aftermath of a shooting to jump into activism and speaking about it can be very difficult. And I think they need to focus on healing. It took me six years after I was shot and healed before I was ready to speak out about this. Some people can do it much sooner, but I do think it's really important that people focus on healing first.
SCIUTTO: Cheryl, oftentimes after tragedies like this, not oftentimes, really all the time, you'll often hear people say no one measure, gun control regulation, step, et cetera, would make a difference. Of course, no one thing would, I suppose, change any major problem -
SCIUTTO: -- or issue in the world, but in your time, more than a decade here now, working this issue, have you discovered in your research things that -- a handful of things that might make a difference to prevent crimes like this going forward?
STUMBO: Oh, absolutely. I mean, I think the most important things we can do are enact laws that make it harder for people who should not have access to guns to have access, so people with dangerous histories of severe mental illness or violence. So laws like universal background checks, red flag laws like extreme risk protection orders, those kinds of things help limit the access to guns with people who should not have them in their hands while respecting the Second Amendment.
[10:45:05] SCIUTTO: Yes. HARLOW: You have said in the 12 years since your attack, and this is just so emblematic of who you are as a person, that some way, somehow, you have found a way to be even happier and your life has more purpose now.
STUMBO: That's true. You know, what I went through was awful and terrible, and it was terrible for my family and my community, but it changes you. Trauma changes you. I have a friend who talks about going from trauma to strength and finding strength after that. And that's what's happened for me. I have found purpose and strength. And so I'm using my voice as a survivor to try to do good.
SCIUTTO: Cheryl Stumbo, keep it up, OK?
STUMBO: A big lesson for all of us. Thank you.
SCIUTTO: A major announcement from the German Chancellor Angela Merkel. She will not seek re-election in 2021. This matters in Europe. It speaks to a global trend that we're going to talk about coming up.
[10:50:31] SCIUTTO: Two major headlines overseas this morning. Far right candidate Jair Bolsonaro has been declared a winner of Brazil's presidential election. Bolsonaro among other things has been compared to President Trump.
HARLOW: Well, this morning, the president congratulated him on Twitter, saying he looked forward to working together.
At the same time, just moments ago, we learned that German Chancellor Angela Merkel will not seek re-election when her term ends in 2021. That's a sign of her power weakening, her popularity weakening as well and it's hugely significant to where Europe shifts.
Let's bring in our international chief correspondent, Christiane Amanpour. So we'll get to Merkel in a moment because that's big. But Jair Bolsonaro, he has been called the Trump of the tropics. He is so in line with the president, his rhetoric, he is extremely controversial on some points, as the president's has been. This is a big shift. What does it signal in Brazil?
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CHIEF ANCHOR: Well it's a huge shift. Brazil is the biggest population in Latin America. It's right there, you know south of the United States. And Brazil, remember, emerged from a dictatorship not so long ago. Their democracy is very young and very fragile. People are quite concerned that his extreme rhetoric is threatening the democracy.
Now it has to be said that the workers party of the famous Luna De Silva which literally lifted millions of Brazilians out of poverty over the time. He was in power has been somewhat discredited because of corruption scandals and the rest. Luna himself is in jail.
So, what's happening all over the world seems to be just these massive pendulum swings wherever it might be in these controversial highly charged elections? Jair Bolsonaro himself is called out and out a far right candidate. So there's no issue about who he is and what the shades are. He's obviously free market, but he's said a lot of very negative things about women, things that could be construed as highly divisive and misogynistic. About gays, he's very homophobic in terms of what he said. About race, you know Brazil is white and brown and shades of black, all sorts of different ethnicities and tribal backgrounds there. About the environment, he's considered threatening to the environment because he wants to drive great waves of development through parts of the amazon.
HARLOW: And pull out of the Paris climate accord.
AMANPOUR: Of that, which is appalling given that the whole U.N. climate initiative started in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. I covered it then under George H.W. Bush. That was the beginning of the world's focus on the climate, and Brazil again is huge because of its amazon, because of its biodiversity, because of its forest that absorbed the carbon from the atmosphere. So, it's a big deal.
But also on guns, he says the kind of things that would make our hair stand up, that everybody should be armed, those kinds of things. Then he wins and says I want to be president for all Brazilians, I want to unite. I want to pacify the nation. And we'll see what happens.
SCIUTTO: So let's talk about Europe. Angela Merkel had been seen, first of all, leader of Europe, but also a bulwark against the far right there. And after Trump's victory, there was some looking for signs of Europe following that way, but there were some losses for the far right. I mean Le Pen in France, in Austria, very narrow loss, but now you have seen Italy go this way, a setback for Merkel. Hungary, you talk about pendulum swings, but how much of a threat, and there we have the folks, we had an up-down graph as to who was up and who was down, but from Europe's perspective, is this something of a tide of concern?
AMANPOUR: I think people are very, very concerned all over Europe. There's this thing that the Hungarians declared called illiberal democracy. Well, I mean, either we have democracy or we don't. Illiberal democracy is one in which they say conservative parties win and we're in power, but the truth is that it's an assault on judicial independence, on the press, on political pluralism to an extent, although they won handily, but there's just an assault on all sorts of institutions that we consider and that have been considered the bedrock of democracy over 70 years.
Angela Merkel, her role in Europe and the western alliance cannot be overestimated. She is the leader of the western world. She's shown herself to be, whether it's in confronting President Putin after the annexation of part of the world. Whether it's actually being the European country of morals and values that accepts refugees fleeing for their lives, and she's being made to pay for that very humane policy. You can say that her political radar was slightly off. Maybe she shouldn't have allowed that many refugees from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, to be allowed in.
[10:55:00] But this is what's happening. This nativist, populist, nationalist sort of movement, so now what's happened after this provincial election in the area called Hesse over the weekend, they didn't lose but they didn't do as well as they expected. So what she said is she is stepping down as president of her party, the CDU, but she remains chancellor. She has been elected four times. So she wasn't going to run for re-election again anyway.
SCIUTTO: Christiane Amanpour thanks so much, as always.
HARLOW: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Thank you.
HARLOW: Just hours from now, the man investigators say killed 11 people inside of that synagogue in Pittsburgh this morning, he will make his first court appearance. We'll be there. Stay with us for all the developments.