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Official: FBI Seeing Rise in Domestic Terror Arrests in U.S.; Former VP Al Gore Discusses Mosque Terror Attacks, Trump's Resistance to Climate Change Science, Next Presidential Election; NYT: Ethiopian Airlines Pilot Reported Trouble Shortly After Takeoff. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired March 15, 2019 - 14:30   ET

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


[14:30:00] PARDEEP KALEKA, CO-FOUNDER, SERVE2UNITE: But it strengthens our resolve to combat hate going forward.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Have you seen progress?

KALEKA: In ways, we have seen progress. But in ways, we have seen -- we have seen it get worse. And the shooting is an example of how it's getting worse. We talked a little bit about intelligence and law enforcement. And I've worked with Department of Homeland Security. We have worked with countering terrorism organizations. And really there's an underreporting of hate crimes in the United States. And a lot of that happens because there's not a focus on domestic terrorism or domestic terrorists within the politics of what we're going through in the United States.

BALDWIN: What would you want them to do about that?

KALEKA: We have to give attention to the social fabric of what's happening within the United States. The rhetoric out of the highest office in the land needs to be one of healing, not one of division. Really, it's putting people in -- the rhetoric that's coming out of the White House is putting people in danger. We need to do something about gun legislation and gun reform. We need to have talks about, you know, the role of mental health within our communities, the acceptance of white nationalism within our culture. There's a plethora of discussion that's we need to have. And any multi-system problem needs multi-system solutions. And so it really takes us all working together to, you know, prevent the next shooting from happening.

BALDWIN: Spoken by a man who lost his own father in something so tragic as this. So many people are waking up in New Zealand to what now?

I appreciate your working on this and making this your mission to stop this hate. We all are listening to you very closely.

Pardeep Kaleka, thank you, sir, very much.

Time is --

KALEKA: Thank you. BALDWIN: Thank you.

Time is running out. Just this week, yet another dire warning about climate change. The United Nations says, "Urgent action is needed to protect people, protect the planet." So why is our country not doing more? Coming up next, I'll talk, live, to former vice president and Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Al Gore.

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[14:36:14] (CHANTING)

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BALDWIN: Listen to all those voices. Tens of thousands of students in more than 120 countries are skipping school today. They're doing it to call attention to the urgency of global warming and demand action from their elected leaders.

In the United States, climate change is rarely front and center of political campaigns, but the race for 2020 may be different.

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SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, (I), VERMONT & PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Whether the fossil fuel industry likes it or not, we will transform our energy system.

JAY INSLEE, (D), WASHINGTON STATE GOVERNOR & PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have one chance to defeat climate change and it is right now.

BETO O'ROURKE, (D), TEXAS, FORMER CONGRESSMAN & PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We face catastrophe and crisis on this planet, even if we were to stop emitting carbon today, right now, at this moment.

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS, (D), CALIFORNIA & PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It is a fact that we can change human behaviors without much change to our lifestyle. And we can save the future generations of our country and this world.

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BALDWIN: You know my next guest has been one of the leading voices of combatting climate change, former Vice President Al Gore. He's hosting Climate Reality Leadership Corps training in Atlanta today.

Mr. Vice President, a pleasure. Thank you.

AL GORE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you for focusing on this, Brooke, and for having me on.

BALDWIN: You got it.

We'll dive right in in just a second. But I would be remiss not to get your reaction to the terror attack in New Zealand. This white supremacist is accused, and then his anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim manifesto. Just another example of the rise of right-wing extremism. Even, sir, today, the FBI reports a rise in domestic terror arrests. So your reaction today?

GORE: It's heartbreaking, of course, Brooke. And my heart goes out to the victims and their families. Great respect for Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who's handled this so gracefully and well.

It was jarring here in Atlanta where we had, last night, just before this news broke, an interfaith mass meeting with Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Hindu, Native American leaders, 2,300 people at historic Ebenezer Baptist Church with Reverend Warnock and Reverend William Barber II. And the healing process that comes from reaching out to one another across these ancient lines is much more powerful than these acts of evil and we must move beyond them.

BALDWIN: Speaking of Atlanta, Mr. Vice President, despite all the science, all the warnings, there are still skeptics at the highest level of government. To what do you attribute that?

GORE: Well, I don't think that there are -- obviously, there's no basis for doubting what Mother Nature is telling us now. It's beyond consensus of 99 percent of the scientists. Just listen to Mother Nature and the climate-related extreme weather events have quadrupled in recent years. Here in the U.S. alone, in less than nine years, we've had 17 once-in-a-thousand-year events. And they keep on coming and they keep on getting worse. The old strategy of trying to fool people into disbelieving the evidence in front of their own eyes is failing. And we're crossing a tipping point now, Brooke. We're seeing many Republicans change their positions and join the growing bipartisan consensus. And the debate is not about the science. That debates long since over. The debate now is about the best ways to move as fast as we can to solve this crisis.

[14:40:22] BALDWIN: But what about the leader of all Republicans, the president himself. If inaction continues for the next two maybe six years under a Trump White House, what concerns you? What is the one immediate consequence on climate?

GORE: Well, actually, in what some might call a perverse way, I think the fact that Donald J. Trump has become the global face of climate denial is actually encouraging a lot more people to join the cause of helping bring about the solutions more rapidly. He cannot withdraw from the Paris agreement, by the way, legally. The first day we could is the day after the next presidential election. So the fate of this issue is not in his hands. It's in our hands. And a large and growing bipartisan majority in this country is now saying definitively to politicians and office holders, it's time to act, and the sooner the better, the bolder the better.

BALDWIN: I know that you have praised the Green New Deal and how it started a dialogue. But which part, which part, Mr. Vice President, in looking at it, do you believe needs to be fixed or may be unrealistic at this point? GORE: Well, I think it's an inspirational goal that makes it possible

for large majorities to come together in a common demand that the U.S. change its approach.

I'll tell you what it reminds me of, Brooke. And years ago, when I was working on the issue of nuclear arms control, there was a movement called the Nuclear Freeze Movement, and it was criticized as being naive. And experts said that it had elements that were unrealistic. But 75 percent of the American people said, we're in favor of a nuclear freeze. And the particulars didn't all get enacted. But it served as a mechanism for the American people to move their political leaders, including Ronald Reagan, who started off in the campaign of 1980 talking about the evil empire and talking about massive build-ups of nuclear weapons, and ended up advocating a Nuclear Zero Initiative with Gorbachev in the then Soviet Union. The Green New Deal is a bit like that. We can argue about the particulars and specifics as it comes into form. But the general notion, solve the climate crisis and create millions of new jobs while we're doing it, that's got a huge majority support and it is now emerging as a mandate from the American people.

BALDWIN: And it's not just obviously members of Congress, you know, whether you're on the left or right. We just played a second ago the clips of these young people today, all these young people around the world walking out of school. They are so passionate about this, almost in a way that we haven't seen in a really long time. I'm wondering why you think -- what is leading to such a politically active generation, especially when it comes to climate?

GORE: They get it. And actually this is in the tradition of all the great morally based movements in our history where young people have played key roles. Here in your hometown, of Atlanta, where the civil rights movement was kind of based, young people were in the vanguard of that civil rights movement, and it always has been so. And where climate is concerned, it's especially true because these young people are going to live longer and live with the consequences of the climate crisis longer. And they've studied it in school. They understand it, most of them, very clearly. In fact, I'm very proud that one of the graduates of our Climate Reality Project, young Haven Coleman (ph), went through our training program a few years ago in Denver at the age of 11 and she is one of the co-leaders of this student school strike movement in the U.S. We just had a panel of four very young people here, and, boy, are they articulate and bright and persuasive. And they're passionate about this.

BALDWIN: Yes.

[14:45:00] GORE: And one of them said, I'm 16 years old and I'm on school strike today, but I'm warning you all, in 2020, I'm voting, we're coming for those of you who are not helping to solve this crisis.

BALDWIN: So, thank you, Mr. Vice President, for my segue. We've got to talk 2020. I can't let you go. Many of the Democrats, many of the newcomers are moving the party to the left. You were elected as a moderate. Which type of candidate do you think can actually beat President Trump?

GORE: Well, I think that the American people are going to provide the answer to that in the primary and caucuses --

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BALDWIN: Oh, come on, Mr. Vice President. Progressives, moderates?

GORE: No, it's true. I think it -- I think those labels -- this will sound like a cliche to you -- but I believe it's true, Brooke, that those labels are way out of date. If you're in favor of solving the climate crisis, for example, does that automatically make you progressive or is that a conservative position, to conserve what we have? And what I'm most encouraged about is that so many of the Democratic candidates and -- by the way, John Kasich, on the Republican side, if he ends up announcing -- are all emphasizing climate as one of their very top issues, either number one or in the top two or three.

BALDWIN: They are.

GORE: That's a big change. And I think it's a very healthy change. And it bodes well for what happens when I hope we have a new president.

BALDWIN: I've got to ask, have any of these candidates reached out to you? Have you advised any of them?

GORE: I have talked with several of them at their request. I'll keep all those conversations confidential. But, yes, I know several of them and have talked with them, and some that I had not known before.

BALDWIN: Flat-out, Mr. Vice President, should Joe Biden run?

GORE: I'm leaving that up to him. He's a good friend and a great guy, a great record of public service. I'm not going to meddle in his decision.

BALDWIN: OK.

Former Vice President Al Gore, good luck to you. Enjoy Atlanta. And thank you for what you're doing. I appreciate it. Thank you for the time.

GORE: Thank you, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Let's move on. Disturbing new details about that crash of the Boeing 737 in Ethiopia. What investigators have learned about those frantic final moments in the air and the pilot's last words, up next.

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[14:51:52] BALDWIN: New details are coming in about the final moments before Ethiopian Airline flight 302 crashed shortly after takeoffs. The "New York Times" is reporting today that air-traffic controllers could see there was a problem right before the captain radioed for help. Quoting a person who reviewed the flight's air traffic communications, the papers says controllers noticed the 737 MAX 8 dropping up and down by hundreds of feet at abnormally high speed. And seconds later, the captain frantically radioed in flight control problems, telling the tower, I'm quoting now, "Brake, brake, request back to home. Request vector for landing." Five minutes after takeoff, the tower lost contact. The plane's black box is now in the hands of the French investigators. And Boeing has stopped delivering MAX 8s but will keep building them..

Justin Green is former president of the International Air and Transportation Safety Bar Association and a CNN aviation analyst, and he's with me. He's also an aviation attorney who represents disaster victims in part of those suits against Boeing in the past.

And so, thank you for being here.

But first, just those chilling new details in the couple first minutes of that flight. I can't imagine being in the back of that plane and that drastic up and down. What does that tell you about what was going on?

JUSTIN GREEN, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: What's clear from that pilot's communications with air-traffic control that the pilot was experiencing an extreme emergency. From the communications, he says, brake, brake, which is telling everyone else who's on the radio to basically shut-up, let me talk to air-traffic control. He's asking for vectors, which is asking for help from traffic control to get the airplane back on the ground. From the oscillations that you mentioned, it was clear that the pilot could not control the airplane. And this raises whether the Ethiopian crash is caused by the same problem that caused the Lion Air crash.

BALDWIN: I wanted to ask you about that. So far, it's still early, they haven't ruled anything out, but what similarities jump out at you that we know of.

GREEN: The most important thing is the black boxes, the flight data recorder, the cockpit voice recorder. Once those are down-read -- and they'll be down-read in a matter of days at this point -- we'll know exactly what happened in Ethiopia. We'll get to know whether -- which all indications show right now -- whether the same cause of Lion Air, caused the loss of life in the Ethiopian jet.

BALDWIN: You were saying to me in commercial that this is a watershed moment for aviation safety. I want to ask you about, is this a pilot training issue, what, what --

GREEN: It's basically all of the above issues. It has a design issue. The FAA and Boeing let an airplane out with this design issue, the M Cast System (ph), which causes this problem.

BALDWIN: Yes.

GREEN: And it also let the airplane out without requiring robust training of the flight crew. When you learn how to fly, you learn how to fly in a safe environment. You learn how to fly in a simulator. You learn to fly with a pilot in command who is going to make sure everything's safe. Here, these pilots probably faced this had problem for the very first time --

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GREEN: -- with passengers in the back.

BALDWIN: -- in the back.

GREEN: Right.

BALDWIN: But how could they allow that to happen?

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GREEN: That's why I call it a watershed moment. This is a new variant of the 737. When they design a new model aircraft, they have to come up with a really robust training program. But when it's a new variant of the same model aircraft --

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[14:55:12] BALDWIN: They think the pilots maybe already know how to do it.

GREEN: That's right.

BALDWIN: But they don't.

GREEN: That's right. That's exactly right.

BALDWIN: Potentially.

Justin Green, thank you very much for that as we wait for more details on what caused that crash.

We are keeping one eye on the Oval Office here because, in just a couple of minutes, President Trump is expected to sign the very first veto of his presidency in front of cameras after 12 Senate Republicans joined Democrats to rebuke his national emergency declaration. So what will he say?

And more on our breaking news, that terror attack in New Zealand. Forty-nine dead after a gunman attacks a pair of mosques. Officials say the killer was fueled by extremist views.

We're back in a moment.

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