Return to Transcripts main page

AT THIS HOUR

Trump Prepares 1st Veto of Presidency over Border Wall Funding; Facebook, Twitter Remove Accounts, Videos Linked to Suspect in New Zealand Terror Attacks; NYT: Ethiopian Airlines Pilot Reported Trouble Shortly After Takeoff. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired March 15, 2019 - 11:30   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:32:15] DANA BASH, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump is preparing to use his veto pen for the first time after the Senate voted to block his emergency declaration over additional funding for his border wall. The president tweeted, "Veto after 12 GOP Senators crossed party lines to support the measure."

An extremely rare occurrence. So what happens next?

Let's ask our White House correspondent, Kaitlan Collins, who is joining me now.

Kaitlan, what are you hearing from your sources?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN: Right now, based on our reporting, Dana, the president has no hesitation about issuing the first veto on his presidency. Ever since aides were first telling the president about that proposal from Senators Mike Lee and others, the Republicans would go along with the president on his emergency declaration if he agreed to limit his presidential powers in the future. The president told his staff he didn't want to do that. He was ready for the fight here and he was going to frame this as a loyalty test from these Republicans and see who was willing to vote with him and who was willing to buck him. Over the last week, the Senators have been calling the president and talking to the president about their constitutional concerns here, but the president has been largely brushing off those matters from the Senators, saying it's not about precedent, it's not about the Constitution, instead, it's about border security. But, of course, Dana, that is just not how a lot of these Republicans, who voted against the president yesterday, see this. They're not, per se, voting against the president appears border wall. They're voting against what they say is a separation of powers that is needed, that is constitutional here. But the president doesn't see it that way. That is why he has no hesitation with issuing this veto, which, based on our reporting, he is expected to do this afternoon. Dana, knowing this president, it wouldn't be surprising if he did it in front of the cameras because he wants to make a show of doing it after those Republicans went against him yesterday.

BASH: That would be so weird if President Trump wants to make a show.

(LAUGHTER) COLLINS: So unlike his nature.

BASH: Very unlike his nature.

Thank you so much, Kaitlan Collins. Appreciate that.

And joining me now is former deputy chief of staff to the House majority leader and RNC communications director, Doug Heye, who is now a CNN political commentator.

Doug, you know the players here, meaning the 12 Republicans who voted against the president, that's just what it is, yesterday. You understand the dynamics within the Republican Party. How big of a deal is it for them to rebuke the president?

DOUG HEYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's a very big deal, both on this and on Yemen, but especially on the wall. Not just that it's 12 people, but I think the hardest thing for Republicans to do these days in Washington is to try and separate the politics from the personality. So much of what Trump does is personality driven. And there's no issue, Dana, where the personality and the policies merge on anything for Trump than immigration and the wall. So for 12 members to do so, I think, is really significant.

BASH: And you're just -- quickly, your home state Senator, Thom Tillis, he did a complete 180, probably for that reason, right, that he's facing voters soon?

[11:35:05] HEYE: Yes. Obviously, the hardest thing for Republicans, in standing up to Trump on an issue, especially one this personal to Trump, is that Donald Trump is overwhelmingly popular with Republican voters. Not at 75 percent, but he's at 85 percent to 92 percent, 93 percent in various polls.

BASH: That's right.

HEYE: That's true in North Carolina, as well.

BASH: Yes. And people who are not in those states and don't understand that keep saying, why aren't these Republicans standing up to him, that's the answer.

I want to ask you about something that President Trump said in an interview with "Breitbart News." I want to read it to you and our viewers. "You know the left plays a tougher game. It's very funny. I actually think the people on the right are tougher, but they don't play it tougher, OK. I can tell you I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump. I have the tough people. But they don't play it tough until they get to a certain point and then it would be very, very bad."

Democratic Senator Mazie Hirono said that this is the president encouraging violence. What do you make of that?

HEYE: Well, I would say two things. One, both sides believe that the other side fights harder and dirtier than they do and are more effective. Democrats think that about Republicans and Republicans think that about Democrats. But on Trump's comments specifically, here is the challenge for the president. Whether it's on this, which might be a wink and a nod towards violence, Donald Trump -- everybody has seen so many statements from him, from his rallies and so forth, and comments like, "knock the crap out of them," that means, when Trump says something that gets close to this line, even if it doesn't cross it, voters don't give him the benefit of the doubt. They see it as another example of him going in that direction. And it shows that Trump does this often, but he also does it at his own expense. And I would argue, for this White House, when you have great economic news to talk about, like we've had most first Fridays of the month since Donald Trump has been president, talk about that all day, every day. Make that the leading issue. It's something that can rally voters, not just Republican voters around you, but Independent voters, as well, who want to say an effective Washington.

BASH: You are voicing the private, you know, tearing your hair out that we hear from Republicans who are still on Capitol Hill.

Doug Heye, always good to see you. Thank you.

HEYE: Thank you.

BASH: And still ahead, a gunman appears to have live-streamed the deadly mosque attacks in New Zealand. And the graphic video has quickly spread online. So what are big tech companies doing to stop the spread of hate?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:42:15] BASH: This morning, an outpouring of global support after at least 49 people were murdered and 20 were seriously injured in a hate-filled terror attack in a mosque in New Zealand. New Zealand's prime minister called it one of the country's darkest days. A suspect is in custody and was charged with murder. Authorities found an 87- page manifesto filled with anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim rhetoric. This morning, tech firms are trying to track down and delete all videos showing the massacre on their platforms.

To talk more about that, I want to bring in CNN's Cristina Alesci.

Cristina, apparently, one of the suspects was streaming this live on one of the social media platforms.

CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN POLITICS & BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: That is correct.

BASH: Why and how did this platform not stop it?

ALESCI: Look, this exposes the weakness in all of these platforms. And the major companies, Facebook, Twitter, Google, all put out statements saying that they had disabled the shooter's account and that they were trying to essentially take down all of these videos that were being shared over and over again.

And I want to point out a specific section of Facebook's statement that said, "New Zealand police alerted us to a video on Facebook shortly after the live-stream commenced and we removed both the shooter's Facebook account and the video."

The big question here, Dana, is, why did Facebook need to wait for police to tell them what was happening on their own platform. That is the question that many people are asking. Why doesn't Facebook have the technology to do that itself? We've put those questions to Facebook. They have not gotten back to us.

This speaks to the broader question of what is going on with these companies. Why can't they develop the technology that is necessary to take down this inciteful or violent imagery and videos and pictures?

Look, Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, was in front of Congress just about a year ago essentially addressing this problem, telling Congress people that it's actually hate speech is very difficult to identify because it's subjective and there are nuances to language, but that the company was actually better at tracking down terrorist propaganda. Take a look at this, what he told Congress: "Contrast hate speech, for example, with an area like finding terrorist propaganda, which we've been actually been very successful at deploying A.I." -- artificial intelligence - "tools already."

This is going to open up the companies to criticism that they are not prioritizing this and that they need to be held accountable when these videos are just being shared. Part of the problem, technologically, is, at their core, these companies are designed to make sure that video is spread and shared. So if they develop technology to counter that, it's kind of going against their fundamental DNA -- Dana?

[11:45:18] BASH: That is a great point. Amy Klobuchar, the Senator from Minnesota, candidate for president, told our colleague, Poppy Harlow, that is one of her biggest issues on Capitol Hill is that her colleagues have their heads in the sand, mostly because they don't understand this technology, which is understandable in of itself.

Cristina Alesci, thank you so much.

I want to get straight to New Zealand. Joining me now is Chelsea Daniels with the "New Zealand Herald."

Chelsea, you have been talking to eyewitnesses. What are you hearing?

CHELSEA DANIELS, REPORTER, NEW ZEALAND HERALD: There are some pretty harrowing stories coming out from those first few moments that this started to happen this afternoon. At 1:40 p.m., we spoke to a man who was driving past, saw people running from the mosque, wondering what is going on there. And then he started seeing them drop one by one. He told us that he held a 5-year-old girl in his arms who was shot, waiting for an ambulance to arrive. Her father had also been shot. Ambulances weren't being let past that cordon because police didn't know what the current situation was. And so that man, in an act of heroism, got another man to take the little girl to the hospital, which is only about half a mile, a mile away from the scene, on their own. Stories like that. There's another man there at the scene who said that he had cradled a man in his arms who had been shot in the back three times and he ended up dying in his arms despite all the encouragement that he got. So these are some of the things that we're hearing from the scene.

BASH: These are families, these are, you know, people who were in the moment praying, praying at a house of worship when they were absolutely slaughtered. Those are horrific stories.

But you're also hearing some stories of acts of heroism. What can you tell us about that?

DANIELS: I mean, these people -- when these people stopped as they saw people running out of that mosque, I mean, they knew, they heard the shots, but they decided to stop and try and get these people to safety behind cars, in buildings. They tried to help people, obviously, like I said, as well, take them to hospital before ambulances arrived. This is the real spirit of the people of Christchurch. They've been through a lot, as you already know. Christchurch earthquakes, more earthquakes and fires. These are the stories we heard then and the kind of stories we're hearing now.

BASH: Chelsea Daniels, in New Zealand, with the "New Zealand Herald," thank you so much for that report. Appreciate it.

Coming up, panic in the cockpit. New information that the pilot of the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 had problems right away. What his final messages reveal about the minutes before the crash.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:52:53] BASH: This just in to CNN. Investigators have started processing information from the black boxes from Ethiopian Airlines flight 302. This comes as new details reveal what the final moments were like before the crash. According to the "New York Times," the pilot requested to return to the airport in a panicked voice just minutes after takeoff, when the plane started accelerating to abnormal speeds. On the flight recorder, the pilot was heard telling air traffic controllers, quote, "Brake, brake, request back to home, request vector for landing." Once the call came in, controllers scrambled to divert two other flights approaching the airport.

I want to get to CNN correspondent, Oren Liebermann, who is following these developments.

Oren, what is happening right now where you are, behind you?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Just a short while ago, right here behind us at BEA, the French aviation investigators, they began to inspect and process the so-called black boxes, the flight data recorder, and the cockpit voice recorder from Ethiopian Airlines flight 302. This is a slow, painstaking process. It begins with a visual inspection, then those recorders need to be opened up, the electrical components need to be inspected one by one, and only then can you begin to download all of the raw data from the cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder.

A source close to the investigation tells us that the flight data recorder, the electrical component that stores that data, appears, from a visual inspection, to be in pretty good shape. But of course, he cautioned that it could turn out that, as you begin to analyze it, that there's some missing data here from the flight data recorder itself.

At that point, if all goes well, this could take to the end of the weekend, sometime Saturday night into Sunday, until all of that data is downloaded, and then it's turned over to Ethiopian authorities. At that point, Dana, it's up to them, if the Ethiopian authorities want to come here to BEA or go to the NTSB to start to analyze that data and glean what they can from the information from the cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder.

BASH: So it's a painstaking slow process, which I guess we want when we're talking about airline safety. But what has Boeing been doing in the meantime when all of these planes across the world are grounded?

[11:55:00] LIEBERMANN: Dozens of countries have, at this point, grounded the 737 MAX 8 and 9 series. Boeing followed suit. The FAA essentially having them follow suit. Boeing has announced that they'll continue construction of the airplane. It is one of their latest aircraft here. But they announced they will pause deliveries. And they say they're essentially monitoring the situation and working with investigators.

The question now, how long will the grounding last? And that's a very difficult question to answer at this point. If this is simple, conceivably, it could be a shorter grounding of the 737 MAX series, but if this is something that requires new software and a recertification, this could be a very long process and a very painful one for Boeing, at that.

BASH: OK. Oren Liebermann, thank you so much for that report.

We have much more on the breaking news in New Zealand coming up. John King picks up right after a quick break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)