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FFA And Boeing Are Standing By This Particular Type Of Plane So Far; Ethiopians, Forensic And International Teams Walking Methodically Through The Crash Sight To Find Any Forensic Evidence; A Lot Of People Awaiting To See If Joe Biden Will Run For President; Democrats Want To Hear About A Green New Deal. Pilots And Flight Attendants Voicing Their Opinion Publically About Their Concerns Of The Safety Of The Boeing 737 Max 8. Aired 9-9:30a ET

Aired March 12, 2019 - 09:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[09:00:00]

JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: ... at this point.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: Let's go get some.

BERMAN: Newsroom with Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto starts now.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN HOST: A very good Tuesday morning to you. I'm Jim Sciutto in New York.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN HOST: And I'm Poppy Harlow. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi now says President Trump is in her words, quote, not worth impeaching without bipartisan support. But not everyone agrees, especially in her own party.

SCIUTTO: Pelosi telling the Washington Post, and we're quoting here, impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there's something so compelling and overwhelming, and bipartisan, I don't think we should go down that path because it divides the country, and he's just not worth it.

For the reaction on Capital Hill, let's go to CNN Senior Congressional Correspondent Manu Raju. Not a particularly popular statement with Democrats, at least in the public. But privately, many of them have been saying this for some time.

MANU RAJU, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and Pelosi has been signaling this for some time, too. She's been pretty clear that she's been leery about going down the road of impeachment because, as a number of Democrats have said, they're worried that it would just, essentially, take up all of the oxygen out of the room on the Hill, and it would be ultimately unsuccessful because in the Senate you need two thirds majority to convict.

And the Senate is controlled by Republicans. That means at least 20 Republicans would have to defect if all Democrats voted to convict this president. So why go through an impeachment effort that would not be successful. That's the view of a number of Democrats. But there a number of liberal Democrats who are disappointed about Pelosi's comments, saying why shut the door right now, particularly before the Mueller report as actually been released?

So today, in this closed-door meeting behind me, expect this debate to play out. But we got a flavor of some of that over the last several hours. Both, Adam Schiff, who supports what Pelosi's doing, and Brad Sherman, who introduced an articles of impeachment resolution to go after the president have come down on opposite sides of this issue.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CHAIRMAN, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: If the evidence isn't sufficient to win bipartisan support for this, putting the country through a failed impeachment is not a good idea.

SHERMAN: You don't impeach Trump for him. You impeach Trump for the Constitution. And I think she was a little facetious in that comment. In all of my discussions, the focus isn't on whether Trump is worth it or not, but rather whether we have public support, and bipartisan support.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RAJU: And Sherman was talking about that last comment that Pelosi made, saying that it's a - that Trump is just not worth it when it comes down to impeachment. That's what - he was saying, well, it's maybe that Trump is not worth it, but the Constitution is. That's what - how some progressives feel.

Now, one key member I talked to last night, the House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler sides firmly with Nancy Pelosi, says this needs to be bipartisan. The country needs to be behind it. And there needs to be some chance of success, saying that he agrees with her.

So at least the key decision makers, Jim and Poppy, in the House Democratic Caucus are siding with Nancy Pelosi, even as some liberals may be disappointed that she appears to be shutting the door, as of now.

SCIUTTO: And it - and it's in the math too, right? Because you need - you need two thirds to - to convict.

HARLOW: Yes.

SCIUTTO: And that would require Republicans. Manu Raju, thanks very much.

HARLOW: Let's talk more about this. Congressman Mike Quigley, Democrat of Illinois, member of the House Intelligence Committee is here with us this morning. Good morning. Thanks for joining us bright and early.

REP. MIKE. QUIGLEY (D), INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Thank you.

HARLOW: I just - I guess the first question here on this, Congressman, is why take this off the table before the Mueller report even comes out>

QUIGLEY: Well, I think there are those who jumped the gun on both sides. Look, on the far right they shut down the investigation after they tanked it. And they tried to get rid of the Mueller investigation. Some of my friends, farther to the left, filed articles a long time ago, before they knew anything about Cohen and Manafort's explosive ...

HARLOW: Yes.

QUIGLEY: ... revelations. So I think you'll wait till the Mueller investigation is complete. Obviously there's some criminal investigations of great note that we should take into consideration. And the House investigation is just now open again.

So let's see where these go. Obviously in my mind it's not whether the president is worth it. It's whether impeachment is merited. And I don't know that you wait to see if the Republicans will ever all be on board because I don't think they ever will. But I don't think you jump the - the gun on the other side.

HARLOW: So Congressman, then, given what you've just said, did Speaker Pelosi jump the gun by taking impeachment off the table?

QUIGLEY: You know, I think - the way I took what the speaker said was let's find out just how explosive these findings are. I think there's another issue right now that's going to be far more important for us to consider. And that's whether or not the Mueller report gets to the House or the Senate. Because there's the real danger, right? The fact that the Department of Justice has said a seated president cannot be indicted.

[09:05:00]

QUIGLEY: Well, if the documents which would prove or disprove whether or not the president should be charged, or has done some criminal wrongdoing is in the hands own department, that's an attack on the rule of law. Because if no one can challenge the president, and whether or not he's done anything illegally. And you take it out of the only body that conceivably could, this goes beyond a cover-up. This is an attack on the rule of law.

HARLOW: So, Congressman, I wonder if you agree more this morning then, at least with the wording of and reasoning for taking impeachment off the table with, for example, Representative Jamie Raskin, Democrat in Congress who says whether or not the president is worth it is not the question. The question is whether the republic is worth it, versus Nancy Pelosi whose reasoning is the president is not worth it.

QUIGLEY: Look, I think in the final analysis, the speaker is going to move forward on impeachment if it is merited. I think the mistake that some Democrats might be making is making it the only issue, and trying the address.

HARLOW: Right. QUIGLEY: There - there is a whole world of things that we have to work on, and we can't give the public the impression that this is our fixation. In the end, it's a balance. And in the final analysis, if impeachment is merited, it should go forward.

HARLOW: And of course, compete - impeachment, if used, if articles of impeachment are filed, it's a - it's a political tool, and it's the tool that Congress has. But I wonder if you are recalling the Clinton presidency and what happened to President Clinton's approval rating, shooting up to 73 percent, the highest he saw during the impeachment process. Is that a warning sign, a blinking red light for Democrats here?

QUIGLEY: Obviously impeachment is an extraordinary measure that can't be taken lightly, and that's why push back those who wanted to do it a year and a half ago. Let's find out exactly what's at place. We don't have the special counsel's report. The results of these criminal investigations that we're aware of, including the House hasn't completed its investigation. Everyone should take a deep breath, do their normal jobs. And let's move forward and find out exactly what took place and see if impeachment is warranted.

HARLOW: So finally, congressman, this hour, we are going to see the former vice president, also formerly a presidential candidate, Joe Biden. He's going to be speaking to an association of firefighters.

And there's a whole lot of reporting, around the clock, on whether or not he's going to jump into this race. And when you look at where the party - your party is going, I think the numbers out of Gallop about a month ago are really important, and interesting. What did it show? A majority of Democrats identify themselves now as liberal, for the first time, 51 percent. A plurality support Medicare for all in full, and a green new deal.

A majority, 41 percent, will even be mostly satisfied with a nominee who thinks this country should be more socialist. Is that a Democrat Party that is best served by Joe Biden as its nominee for president?

QUIGLEY: Look, what we've learned when he won the House this year is that it's a big tent. And there's a wide - wide range of views. Even on the issues you particularly talk about. A lot of times it's exactly how you describe those terms. So within the full range, there's plenty of room for Mr. - for former Vice President to enter the race. And the campaign should include people of a wide range of views.

I think the mistake that the Democrats might make is to say we're only going to take one person on one extreme or another. Let's hear it out. It's a long campaign.

HARLOW: It is a long road. Congressman Mike Quigley, it's really nice to have you this morning. Thanks for joining us.

QUIGLEY: Anytime, thank you.

SCIUTTO: He seems open to ... (CROSSTALK)

HARLOW: Totally.

SCIUTTO: ... impeachment as a possibility ...

HARLOW: Yes.

SCIUTTO: ... or a question. Well, this morning one of the most popular aircraft in the sky is a matter of clear and present concern for the people who fly it. The aftermath of Sunday's crash of a Boeing 737 Max 8 in Ethiopia, and the crash last fall of a 737 Max 8 in Indonesia, both crashes killing everyone on board. Pilots and flight attendants now, in the U.S., are speaking out.

As of now, the U.S., E.U., and Canada are not among the countries that have grounded the Max 8, pending further inspections, nor have any U.S. - U.S. airlines. And while the FAA insists such a major and disruptive move isn't warranted, flight crews aren't so sure it raises questions about whether you and I should be flying this jet.

HARLOW: Absolutely. The American Association of Flight Attendants reportedly told the FAA, quote, we need help from the regulators when the entire world is looking at two catastrophic incidents that happened on the same aircraft type within five months of each other. And a spokesman for the Pilots Union and American Airlines tells the New York Times, this morning, quote, I think there needs to be further review of the certification process of the Max - 737 Max 8. Everybody should be looking at this."

[09:10:00]

Let's go to our Tom Foreman, he's in Washington. Wow, what's Boeing saying this morning?

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Boeing so far, like the FAA, is standing by and the airlines in this country that fly this particular type of plane, they're standing by the plane so far.

They're saying, we believe this plane is air worthy. We believe it's OK, but I think what you're seeing here as more people jump on board is really a state of concern and confusion about this plane because the FAA is saying it's airworthy, they're saying it's OK, and because we still don't have many answers out of Africa.

It's very early in that investigation. Does it look, in a lot of ways, like the crash last October near Indonesia? Yes, it does. That doesn't mean it's the same thing. So, if you err on the side of saying, we think there could be difference causes, then you say we don't have to ground the plane. If you think it's the same cause, you say, you do need to ground the plane. And right now nobody really knows.

SCIUTTO: Tom Foreman, thanks very much. We know you're going to be following this. CNN's Dave McKenzie, he is at the crash sight, on the outskirts of the Ethiopian capital. David, we understand now that a team from the NTSB, they're on the ground there as well. They're looking for answers, but I imagine that will take time.

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It will take time. And the NTSB is here on the ground according to Ethiopian officials. In fact, we saw some of them a short time ago. I just want to describe what's happening now Jim.

In the distance me and here's some fresh video of forensic teams, both international and Ethiopians, standing shoulder to shoulder, walking methodically through this crash sight to find any forensic evidence that could help to lead clues to what exactly happened here, also possibly find closure for the families, Jim.

Ethiopian officials on the scene say they are confident that can get data off those data recorders, they don't know exactly, at least where I'm standing, what the condition of those audio and data recorders are, but they feel they need to get those answers soon to try and figure out why this brand new plane slammed into the hillside behind me. Jim.

HARLOW: Devastating to see that. David McKenzie, we appreciate you being on the ground. We'll stay on this.

Coming up, days of black outs sending Venezuela deeper into crisis and chaos. Parents unable to feed their own children, are forced to leave them at orphanages. We have the stunning story.

SCIUTTO: Yes, CNN on the ground there like no one else. Plus, a new report, the New York Attorney General issuing subpoenas to two banks for records related to Trump Organization projects. What exactly is the New York A.G. looking for?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[09:15:00]

SCIUTTO: Happening soon, Joe Biden, speaking in Washington, but will he make any announcement about a possible presidential run. A lot of people waiting for that. Right now, his wife Jill, you can see her there, speaking at this event for the International Firefighters Associations.

HARLOW: You can't see it, but the firefighters have signs in the audience. Some of them -- many of them read, Run Joe, Run and firefighters for Biden. We, of course, will monitor this all morning. But for now, the 2020 watch and wait continues.

SCIUTTO: Joining us now to discuss, political anchor for Spectrum News, Errol Louis and National Political Correspondent for Time Magazine, Molly Ball.

So, Errol Louis, I wonder about the pressure on Joe Biden, because there's a lot in the party who want him to run, frankly want him to make a decision here and the latest numbers we saw coming out of Iowa give him a big advantage, 27 percent of voters there support him, 25 for Sanders and a big drop-off, back to single digits for the other candidates. I imagine those numbers influential for him. ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Those numbers have got to be weighing on his mind, because it sort of paints the picture of somebody who really needs to run because the party is indicating in -- at -- in this early way, at this early stage that he's the frontrunner.

On the other hand, he's too much of a pro not to realize that those numbers will change immediately, if he were to announce, say in the next few minutes, I think you're going to see those numbers change quite a bit.

So, he knows that he's got name recognition and that's really what those big numbers suggest right now, but that once he gets a hard look, he's going to be in a heck of a fight with 18 or 20 other people who are also very talented.

HARLOW: Molly, there was an interesting piece a few day ago by Julie Pace and Steve Peoples at A.P. that points out that Biden, if he jumps in, would actually start off at a fundraising disadvantage because we've seen such huge fundraising from a lot of folks, from Bernie Sanders to Kamala Harris to even what we saw from Pete Buttigieg after a CNN Town Hall and it talks about the fact that Biden doesn't really like raising money.

He raised less than half of what he had set as a goal in the 2008 campaign before he dropped out. Biden, for his part, has said that he'd raise a good amount of money from, quote, some major Republican folks. Fundraising, any sort of issue for Biden if he gets in? It's hard to imagine with such a big name, but I don't know.

HOLLY BALL, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you have to think that in addition to those disadvantages Biden has a lot of advantages, right? He has -- he's extremely well connected in the Democratic establishment.

He's just been around a lot longer than all of the -- his potential opponents and he's got a lot of connections to people with money, people with influence, people who just have a lot of affection for him.

So, I do think that those things are obstacles for him relative to some imaginary other candidate who has also been a two-term vice president but likes raising money, but given all of the built in advantages that Biden has, I don't think this is a campaign that is going to run out of steam and die because if a lack of money, which is a real danger for a lot of these other candidates who are in single digits, and even if they got a big burst early on, are going to have to show that they remain viable, are going to have to raise enough money to get two Iowa, which becomes progressively harder if you don't start to inch up in the polls after the debates have started by the fall or so.

[09:20:00]

SCIUTTO: Errol, you know you speak to people close to Biden in his camp and they raise the personal demands of another presidential run and how those weigh on Joe Biden. I mean, he's the patriarch of a family, they've had the loss of his son, a lot of personal issues and he's concerned about the demands placed on them. What do you hear about how essential that is to his final decision on whether to get in?

LOUIS: Well, that's always front of mind. I mean, these are people. These are not just figures, these are not just sort of pictures on a screen. These are people who have to sort of get up there and get ready to run the hardest campaign of your life under unbelievably grueling conditions with a sitting president who's not going to wait on the sidelines until the Democrats select their candidate.

Donald Trump is going to be involved at every step of the way and he can pick up his Blackberry and upend your life. So, I don't know that we're going to see Joe Biden to actually get in to tell you the truth.

I mean, there are a lot people who think it's inevitable, because he's ahead in the polls, he's got name recognition, he's -- he could put together an organization fairly quickly. I don't know if that's the final word. He's made clear, even the last time, that what goes on his families life means quite a lot to him.

SCIUTTO: Wow, that's interesting. That would be a surprise.

HARLOW: Yes, really interesting. And it would be a surprise. All right, Molly, let's talk about Stacey Abrams here, I think surprising everyone with this tweet yesterday saying, I never thought I would be ready to run for president until 2028 but, quote, "life comes at you fast."

Two questions for you. One, what sort of hole would she fill with a candidacy if she ops in that isn't filled by a candidate so far? And is there any risk here of going too fast?

BALL: Sure, that's always a risk for up-and-coming candidates, but I think if you're a politician you also want to be seizing your moment if you have one. And, you know, Stacey Abrams is ambitious and talented. I think what you see in these polls where no candidate besides the known quantities of Bernie and Biden has managed to sort of break out of the pack.

What you see is, these candidates don't have well-defined lanes yet and when you talk about the potential lanes for candidates, there are ideological lanes, who's the most progressive, who's the most moderate to conservative Democrat?

There are generational lanes, who is a fresh face for the party? Who represents a new and compelling voice who could appeal to younger voters or voters who have been turned off by the previous pillars of the Democratic establishment, such as the last nominee?

And then there are also demographic lanes in a party that it think is more conscious than ever of diversity and who's base is more diverse than ever. There are a lot of Democrats who would like to see an African American woman or just something other than the same old white men on top of the ticket. And so, I think there's -- there are a lot of potential openings for Stacey Abrams, but I think the most -- the biggest opening for her is just that she's a very compelling candidate.

SCIUTTO: Errol, before we go, just quickly, you see what -- the way the president is going to approach this race. I mean, dismissing Democrats as socialists, et cetera, are Democrats giving them an open to do that by some of the candidates, but also some of the standard barriers in the party setting out some far left positions, whether it be on taxes, Green New Deal, et cetera. Are they giving him an opening to follow that attack line?

LOUIS: Sure. They've got a real challenge -- the Democrats, we saw this in the Town Hall meeting just the other night on CNN, they have to play to the activist Democratic base that's going to really determine who wins the primaries and the caucuses and those folks want to hear a lot of stuff.

They want to hear about a guaranteed income, they want hear about a Green New Deal, which is defined five or six different ways. They want to hear about withdrawing all troops from all kinds of theaters overseas where the United States has longstanding military and diplomatic commitments.

It's not going to be so easy if you decide to sort of say yes to a bunch of those different ideas to then dial it back when it's time for the general election. It's a tight rope that every Democratic candidate is going to have to walk.

SCIUTTO: Errol Louis, Molly Ball, thanks very much. Coming up next week, Senator Elizabeth Warren, another candidate taking part in another CNN Town Hall, this time with Jake Tapper live from Jackson, Mississippi. It will air Monday night, 9:00 o'clock Eastern time, only here on CNN. These are must watch events.

HARLOW: Yes. All right, looking forward to that. Meantime, back to the tragic news about that downed airline, pilots and flight attendants now voicing publically their concerns about the safety of Boeing 737 MAX 8 jet after these two deadly crashes in just five months. Will U.S. airlines ground those planes until they have more answers?

SCIUTTO: Yes, you've got to wonder what you and I should do....

HARLOW: Right.

[09:25:00]

SCIUTTO: ... if we're flying on one of these planes. And we are moments away from the opening bell on Wall Street. Dow expected to rise when trading begins there. Investors will be paying attention to a key Brexit vote set for later this afternoon. We're going to be watching that as well.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCUITTO: Two crashes, five months, the very same new jet. In the wake of Sunday's deadly crash of a Boeing 737 MAX 8 in Ethiopia, would you, should you get into one of these planes now?

HARLOW: It's a really important question. Pilot and flight attendant unions are raising major concerns this morning about whether lives are being put at risk in this country.

[09:30:00]

END