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Divers Recover Black Box in Indonesia; Pittsburgh Shooting Suspect in Court; Trump Blames McGahn for Mueller; Mueller Asks for Probe Trump Slams Ryan. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired November 1, 2018 - 09:30   ET



[09:31:27] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: All right, welcome back to this morning.

Investigators have recovered the flight data recorder from Lion Air Flight 610. This is a discovery that may very well help explain why this new plane went down off the coast of Indonesia, killing all 189 people onboard.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Authorities started bringing relatives of the victims to the dock side of the rescue ships to identify their personal belongings.

CNN's senior international correspondent Ivan Watson, he's in Indonesia with more details.

Of course the question here is, how long will it take to get answers now from the data recorder?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, one of the top officials here says it will take weeks just to download, basically, the information and then two to three months to analyze it. So what we saw here today was this device brought out in a plastic container, immersed in water to help preserve its memory chip, to some bit of fanfare by the Indonesian authorities here, to then be transported for the beginning of that process.

It took days to locate this. They had to hone in on the beacon, which was pinging, issuing a sound under water. And because of fast currents and poor visibility and the depth there, it took until today, four days after the crash -- the deadly crash, for drivers with the help of a submersible remote operated craft, to hone in on it and then dig it out of the seabed at a depth of about 100 feet, Jim and Poppy. And then they were able to bring it up.

Now, this should carry scores of different streams of data about the engines, about the speed and the bearing of the aircraft. I've read that it can even show records of whether or not the smoke detector went off. It does not include the cockpit voice recorder. That has yet to be found. And the Indonesians will keep looking for it.

In the meantime, they say that you've got a delegation from the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, the FAA, from Boeing and from GE, which helps makes the engines of this brand-new Boeing 737 Max 8 plane all here as well as part of the investigation where they want to figure out why this went down with 189 people on board within 13 minutes of take-off in an early morning flight on Monday.

Jim and Poppy.


SCIUTTO: Ivan Watson, thanks very much.

HARLOW: Thank you.

SCIUTTO: A lot of folks -- those planes are still up in the air. They need to get answers to see if there's any safety issue.

HARLOW: Of course.

SCIUTTO: And it always amazes me. Your phone is streaming mega bits of data every moment and there's still this kind of ancient technology where you have to find -- there are says they could stream that data --

HARLOW: Even on these new planes, that's true.

SCIUTTO: They could stream it.

HARLOW: That's a great point.

SCIUTTO: You could have it immediately. You don't have it. But, that costs money.

HARLOW: All right. We'll keep on it.

SCIUTTO: Just moments from now, the man accused of gunning down 11 innocent people inside a Pittsburgh synagogue heads to court after a federal grand jury returns a 44-count indictment. We're going to be there live.

Plus, a bizarre plot to smear the Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Money offered to women to make up lies about him. Who's behind the scheme? We have new details.


[09:33:47] SCIUTTO: Today, the Pittsburgh community will come together once again to remember three more victims at the Tree of Life Synagogue massacre. Eighty-four-year-old Bernice Simon, and her 86- year-old husband, Sylvan Simon, will be laid to rest. They were married for 62 years and were known for always helping others.

Also remember today, Dr. Richard Gottfried, the 65-year-old dentist who was known in the community for providing dental care to refugees and immigrants.

And as the city tries to heal, the alleged gunman is due in federal court in just a few minutes.

CNN's Miguel Marquez, he joins us live outside that courthouse in Pittsburgh.

Miguel, this court appearance, it comes after a federal grand jury has already returned a 44 count indictment against the suspect. What do we expect to see today?

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right, well, it's going to be a quick hearing, we expect. Twenty-two of those 44 charges that the grand jury brought, each one of them could bring the death penalty. Eleven are hate crimes, the obstruction of the practice of a religious belief that resulted in death and then the rest are murder charges by using a gun to murder people. We expect those charges to be read out. We don't know if he will be in a wheelchair like he was earlier in the week. But these are essentially superseding charges brought by a grand jury. It is not clear whether he will put in a plea on any of those. We don't expect that he will have a plea. He is being represented by a public defender. But it is likely that it will take some time before he is able to enter a plea on all these charges.

[09:40:25] Meanwhile, by day's end, nine of 11 victims will be laid to rest. And then there are plans for the weekend and just how the three different congregations will honor the dead and will remember this just horrific event one week later.


SCIUTTO: Miguel Marquez, thanks very much.


All right, now to a CNN exclusive. There's new reporting this morning on who the president blames for Robert Mueller's Russia probe. Hint, not himself. Sources close to the White House Counsel Don McGahn claim that during his last face-to-face meeting with the president, Trump blamed McGahn for the special counsel's Russia probe.

Now, the president complained that Mueller was named special counsel on McGahn's watch and that the investigation remains a cloud over his presidency.

Our justice correspondent, Evan Perez, joins us.

I would say it was Rosenstein who appointed Mueller.


HARLOW: But that aside, Evan, you know, it's not just McGahn the president has blamed for the Mueller probe.


HARLOW: He slammed, once again, the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, for recusing himself.

PEREZ: Right.

HARLOW: Let's just remind everyone what actually started this thing.

PEREZ: Right. Exactly, Poppy. It's always, you know, this way with where -- who's to blame for this investigation and for how long it's gone. But, you're right, I mean it's been a couple of -- a couple of weeks since Don McGahn left office and just before he left he had a face-to-face meeting with the president and that's where the president was grousing once again that the special counsel, Robert Mueller, was hired essentially on his watch and seemed to cast blame against Don McGahn.

And, look, what we're told by at least one source who said simply that the president seems to always try to find someone else to blame for this investigation. And, you know, part of the problem is, you know, some of his efforts to try to squelch that investigation, or at least that's the view of people who are now investigating it. If you remember, he ordered Don McGahn to fire Robert Mueller. He tried to get Don McGahn to intervene with Jeff Sessions to unrecuse himself. So these are all things that ended up being a problem for this investigation, for the president and it caused Don McGahn to spend about 30 hours with Robert Mueller as part of this investigation.

So, towards the end there, we're told by sources, that the president was tired of Don McGahn and Don McGahn was tired of the president. This despite, Poppy, as you know, that Don McGahn had a very, very successful tenure as a White House counsel, stacking the courts with conservative judges.

HARLOW: I was just going to say --

PEREZ: Right.

HARLOW: I mean he was so instrumental in that, right?

PEREZ: Right. Exactly.

HARLOW: And not only Kavanaugh and Gorsuch, but just in all of the federal court appointments.

PEREZ: Right. It was just a bad relationship towards the end there, obviously.

HARLOW: I -- yes, sure. I wonder if he's like going to Hawaii or some tropical vacation.

PEREZ: I would.

HARLOW: A little R and R.

Wait, before you go, no joking matter, this is bizarre.

So Bob Mueller, the special counsel, is now asking the FBI to investigate what looks to be a coordinated smear campaign against him, paying women off to lie? PEREZ: Right. Exactly. The website Gateway Pundit, a conservative

website, had posted these documents that seem to indicate that there were these allegations against Robert Mueller of sexual assault. And it was all apparently at least a hoax attempt against we don't know who. Perhaps against the media, to try to punk the media, or to try to get people out there to talk about Robert Mueller perhaps being a sexual predator.

In any case, the Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office has issued a statement, which is unusual, and I'll read a part of it to you. It says, when we learned last week of allegations that women were being offered money to make false claims about the special counsel, we immediately referred the matter to the FBI for investigation. That's a statement from Peter Carr, the spokesman for Robert Mueller.

And, look, we don't know whether there's even a crime here because although the characters that are involved seem to, you know, all be lying about it. So we're going to learn more there. There's supposedly a press conference perhaps today that might explain some of this. We'll see what happens though, Poppy.

HARLOW: Wow. Bizarre. Evan, thank you.


SCIUTTO: The Republican president attacking the Republican leader of the House five days before the midterms. It's an unusual tactic, to say the least. What's behind the feud, that's next.


[09:49:09] SCIUTTO: These are live pictures now from Wisconsin, where House Speaker Paul Ryan is on the stump there, part of a multi-state blitz to help vulnerable Republicans and new candidates ahead of the midterm elections. The event also happens to be Ryan's first public appearance since President Trump publicly blasted him.

HARLOW: That's right. So the president angry that Ryan threw cold water on his claim that he can defy the Constitution and undo birthright citizenship through an executive order. He tweeted about it, saying that the speaker knows nothing about it.

Joining us, Mary Spicuzza, political reporter for "The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel."

Welcome, Mary. Good to have you.


HARLOW: So, first, I mean, it's extraordinary. But there have been a lot of extraordinary things in the last years that have happened under this president and the words he uses, he doesn't hold back, even if they're members of his own party. But when you look at five days out from the midterms, in a critical state like Wisconsin, you look at what Paul Ryan's doing now, trying to stump for them. How is it being read by voters there?

[09:50:08] SPICUZZA: You know, I think a lot of us are having flashbacks to 2016 when Trump and Paul Ryan were at odds. It is an odd time given states like Wisconsin have very close elections. There was just a poll yesterday that Governor Scott Walker, a close ally of Paul Ryan, is tied in a very tight race for his re-election bid. He is -- he seems to be struggling a lot among independent voters, among women, and I can't imagine that having President Trump going after Speaker Ryan at this point is going to help somebody like Scott Walker in his race. Not to mention Leah Vukmir, who is taking on Senator Tammy Baldwin and is really trailing in the polls and not doing well among women and independents.

SCIUTTO: So there is a theory that the president is seeking to blame Paul Ryan if Republicans do indeed lose control of the House.

HARLOW: The House.

SCIUTTO: Here's what the president had to say about that. I want to get your reaction.


QUESTION: Are you going to blame Paul Ryan if Republicans don't hold the House?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No, I'm not going to blame anybody. I think we're doing well with the House. We're going to have to see. It's a lot of people. I campaigned for a lot of candidates that were down a little bit and now they're up. But we're going to see. I think we're going to do well in the House. I think we're doing really extraordinarily well in the Senate.


SCIUTTO: Now the president, we should note, also did tweet that he said Paul Ryan should be spending more time on keeping the majority than on talking about birthright citizenship.

What's your take on where the president is going here?

SPICUZZA: So I think President Trump is probably doing a good job of firing up his base, but I think House Speaker Paul Ryan and his staff would probably point to some pretty impressive fundraising numbers that they've had, raising money for Republican candidates. He's been traveling the country. He's going to be on a bus tour actually starting very, very soon with Scott Walker, with Leah Vukmir, with Brian Steil, who's trying to take this seat.

So I think it probably -- they're probably firing up maybe different supporters, but I certainly think that Paul Ryan is kind of trying to barnstorm in the days leading up to the election. But I don't know that this fight with Trump is necessarily going to help him or help Republicans.

HARLOW: Yes. All right, thank you, Mary. It's good to have you. You've got a busy week ahead, we know. Thanks for taking the time.

Their deaths remain a mystery. Two sisters here in New York found dead on the banks of the Hudson River. Their feet and waist bound together by Duct Tape.

SCIUTTO: This morning we're getting new details about what investigators have recovered in this investigation so far.


[09:57:17] SCIUTTO: In just five days, America will be at the polls. So what issues are you passionate about? We've been doing this every day in the days leading up to the election.


SCIUTTO: And here's what you're telling us in today's installment of "Why I'm Voting."


LEANORE LUCAS, VOTER FROM FLORIDA: This year, why I'm voting is because I feel that if we don't have a change, we're in serious trouble. And I'm passionate about it. And that's something that not only me, but a lot of my contemporaries feel the same way, that it's either now or never. We've got to get it done.

VERNON DICKERSON, VOTER FROM INDIANA: Right now, health care, education, my grandkids. I want to see that they're properly educated. Health care, the vets, anything to do with the military and veterans.

JUMOKE EMERY, VOTER FROM COLORADO: Several. With the state of our country and the way that it is right now being so divided, I think that it has never been a more -- almost never been a more important time to vote in our lifetime to make our voices heard.

BILL LYNN, VOTER FROM COLORADO: Because the left is battering our president. And that can't be. You can't do that if you're an American citizen of the United States. And that's how I feel. You can't. You can't do that. So I'm voting because of that reason. And then President Trump has done an -- he's done everything that he said he would do. You know, he said he would do so many things, and he's fulfilled those promises.


HARLOW: All right, thank you for that. Keep talking to us. We want to hear from you. Post a video on Instagram. Use the hashtag #whyivotecnn.

SCIUTTO: President Trump racing the clock, racking up the miles and exploiting the politics of race.

Good morning. I'm Jim Sciutto.

HARLOW: And I'm Poppy Harlow. This morning, the president is facing blistering criticism for an

online ad that he tweeted to his 55 million followers. Some are calling it the most racist political ad in decades for suggesting that Democrats want to flood the nation with Central American cop killers like this man. Watch this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't (EXPLETIVE DELETED) regret that (EXPLETIVE DELETED) the only thing that (EXPLETIVE DELETED) regret is that I (EXPLETIVE DELETED) killed two. I wish I (EXPLETIVE DELETED) killed more of those (EXPLETIVE DELETED).


HARLOW: All right, the president is peddling fear. He thinks it's going to work ahead of the midterms. He is launching this 11-city 11th hour campaign blitz to boost Republican candidates in some of those key races. In Florida he fired up his base with a warning about a migrant caravan from Central America. Keep in mind, it is dwindling in size and still weeks away from the U.S./Mexico border.

[10:00:00] SCIUTTO: Still, the president now says that the threat of violence, be it real or imaged from that caravan, warrants sending as many as 15,000 U.S. troops to the border.