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Report: Off-Duty Pilot Saved Doomed Lion Air Jet Day Before Crash; Kellyanne Conway Defends Trump in Feud with Her Husband; 1st Successful Drug to Treat Postpartum Depression Comes with Hefty Price Tag; Acting Defense Secretary Under Investigation for Potential Violations of Ethics Agreement. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired March 20, 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] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: What about just in the cockpit, you know, that autopilot feature that's doing anything out of the ordinary, if there seems to be n0 bugs in the system, would you have easy access to a kill switch, like a self-driving car where you want to actually take the wheel?

DAVID SOUCIE, CNN SAFETY ANALYST: It's a really complicated system, I think, exceedingly so. But it's designed where -- if you're flying and this starts to happen, of course, first the autopilot has to be off. If the autopilot's on, the system doesn't engage. With the autopilot off and your hand flying it, then that's when it starts happening, which is very confusing to the pilot because he thinks, I'm completely flying the airplane, and that's the mindset, even if he's been trained about this MCAS system, he's been trained with it, he understands it, he's expecting it, it's still not the first thing that comes to mind when someone's pushing the airplane nose down. You want to pull back. If they do have the foresight to push the trim, that actually resets the MCAS so it stops the MCAS from pushing the nose down. But then after you let go of the trim button, it reengages and it sets at the new location so it can continue to go further and further down every time you hit that trim button. So it's a very, very sad situation and something that, being in that situation, as a pilot, I couldn't imagine trying to remember there are two switches down below that you can say, oh, this is happening to me, recognize that, try the trim. That didn't work, so now let's reach down and turn two switches off that are down there right where both pilots can reach them. It's a simple thing to do but it's not getting through the pilot's head that that's the way I get out of this mess.

BALDWIN: The mental images of these pilots frantically going through these manuals as the plane is going down. I just -- no words for the family and everyone involved. David Soucie, I know they're trying to get to the bottom of it.

Thank you very much.

It is the first-ever treatment for postpartum depression to get FDA approval, but there's a catch. So our chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, will join me.

Plus, the president of the United States today publicly weighing in on the marriage of one of his top aids. What's he's now calling George Conway and how Kellyanne Conway is defending the president.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:36:23] The president quickly escalating his attacks on the husband of his senior aide, Kellyanne Conway.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't know him. I don't know him. He's a whack job, no question about it, but I really don't know him. I think he's doing a tremendous disservice to a wonderful wife. Kellyanne is a wonderful woman. And I call him Mr. Kellyanne. The fact that he's doing a tremendous disservice to a wife and family. She's a wonderful woman.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: So you heard the president there calling George Conway a whack job. And today, for the first time, the president of the United States is publicly inserting himself smack dab into this marriage, calling him a husband from hell.

To be fair, George Conway started this round by questioning the president's mental health.

CNN political analyst, April Ryan, is at the White House for us. She's the White House correspondent for the American Urban Radio Network.

And April, April.

APRIL RYAN, CNN POLITICLA ANALYST: Brooke, Brooke.

(LAUGHTER)

BALDWIN: What -- what are your sources telling you? Why is Kellyanne Conway now defending Trump and not her husband?

RYAN: You know, in Washington, there are strange relationships and this is one of them. You just -- you don't know what goes on in someone's home. But, you know, this president is going on attack, but, you know, against George Conway. But here's the thing Brooke, we keep talking about Kellyanne Conway and George Conway but there's collateral damage as well. There's children as well.

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: Four kids.

RYAN: Yes. So when the president talks about George Conway being a whack job, even though George Conway talked about his mental state, which many Americans are doing, there are children who are listening. And I know for a fact, I know for a fact, Kellyanne loves her children. She's a mother. Kellyanne Conway she's a 51-year-old woman who is really there for her kids as she's carrying this big job. So this back and forth, you know, it may be with adults but there are children who are listening as well.

BALDWIN: What has changed for this president to take on George Conway the way he has in the last couple of days because he was quiet for so long?

RYAN: What's changed? You know, people are listening. And because he is the husband of his senior adviser who has withstood the test, she's remained standing while others have fallen along the way side, have been fired on Friday or whatever day they're fired on, she's been left standing. And her husband, who has the proximity to Kellyanne, be it pillow talk or whatever, she has the ear of the president. People are listening to what he has to say because of the proximity and the relationship and also his standing and who he is.

BALDWIN: I just think a lot of people -- I don't understand. I don't understand.

(CROSSTALK)

RYAN: I don't either. I don't either. Look, again, you cannot figure out what's going on in someone else's marriage. They probably can't even figure it out.

BALDWIN: No. No, it's just -- and that's their deal behind the closed doors but it's how the president and how even George Conway all in front of everyone.

April Ryan, thank you very much for that.

And just a programming note for all of you. Tonight, CNN will host a presidential town hall with 2020 candidate and former Colorado governor, John Hickenlooper. Dana Bash moderates this one live from the CNN Center in Atlanta. That's tonight, 10:00 eastern, on CNN.

[14:40:06] After sharing a meme about a modern-day civil war, Iowa Congressman Steve King is confronted from people by his own home state. We will show you exactly what happened. You won't want to miss that.

Also, a source tells CNN New England Patriots owner, Robert Kraft, will reject this plea deal that would have dropped all charges in the prostitution case. We'll discuss the legal strategy, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:44:54] BALDWIN: A medical breakthrough is on the way for moms suffering from postpartum depression. The first-ever drug to treat the condition has just been approved by the FDA but it comes with a hefty price tag.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta is our chief medical correspondent. He's here to talk to us about all of this.

And first of all, postpartum depression effects an estimated one in nine new mothers. So tell me about the drug, where is it administered, side effects, how does it work? DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. It's a

serious problem, Brooke, no question. Hundreds of thousands of women dealing with this issue and there's been no medication ever approved just to treat postpartum depression. I remember reporting on this 18 years ago and people were talking, will there be a medication specifically for postpartum depression. Now there is. The FDA's approved this.

Take a look at some of the facts about this medication. We know that it went through clinical trials. We know it can be quite effective at reducing depression. Often times, these were women who had severe depression and had not gotten any success with existing medications, Brooke. They were really looking for something. There was an unmet need here.

The two biggest headlines, Brooke, one is that this is an antidepressant medication that can work very quickly, within 48 hours. So think about someone who is suffering, who says that they're not sure if they can still take care of their baby or still take care of themselves. Antidepressants can take weeks to work.

The other thing you mentioned, price tag, $34,000 for a single dose, 60 hours of an I.V. That's what takes it takes, $34,000. The company says, look, they'll be discounts that are offered. People will be able to get this medication if they need it. But that's a big concern. Those are -- this is a new kind of drug in a new kind of administration.

BALDWIN: The FDA designated this as a breakthrough therapy in 2016, which got this drug to trials and, ultimately, this approval, but what did scientific studies of this drug find?

GUPTA: What they basically found was they looked at this medication in different dosing and they compared it to what's called a placebo. It was just an I.V. that had no medication going through it. And they basically measured depression scores and the depression scores in the women that were in this trial were really high. These were women who just were not getting any relief. Again, postpartum depression can be very significant and possibly even deadly to baby and to mom. They found that the depression scores dropped significantly in the people who got a certain dose of the medication. But the big thing, I think, and the thing that the medical community really zeroed in on was the pace at which it worked, within 48 hours. There were some reports for women who were in the trial saying, even within 12 to 18 hours, they're still getting the I.V. and already they feel better. The intrusive thoughts, the melancholy thoughts were no longer entering into their minds. That part of it was very significant.

They also wanted to pay attention over the last couple years, Brooke, to the potential side effects here, dizziness, light-headedness, people becoming sleepy, even passing out. Which is why, for those 60 hours, which is two and a half days, people have to be in some sort of clinical setting to get this medication.

BALDWIN: Glad moms are getting the help they need, but my goodness, that is costly. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, on that new drug.

Sanjay, thank you.

Question for you: Is the president of the United States changing his tune when it comes to his favorite news network? Just this week, he has slammed "FOX News" for suspending host, Jeanine Pirro, over offensive comments she made on air. He has suggested that some of FOX's weekend news anchor were trained by other news networks. And he disparaged another prominent news anchor there. It's notable because it's usually praise that he reserves for all things "FOX News."

Sarah Ellison wrote all about this. She's a staff writer for the "Washington Post."

You're the one that asked the question, is he changing his tune? It seems to be, so why now?

SARAH ELLISON, STAFF WRITER, WASHINGTON POST: Well, I mean, first of all, immediately this Sunday tweetstorm --

BALDWIN: Tweetstorm

ELLISON: -- that not only hit FOX but pretty much everything else.

BALDWIN: Yes.

ELLISON: That has much more to do with the president than it does with FOX specifically.

BALDWIN: OK.

ELLISON: But FOX has gone through a very significant change in its primetime line-up. Roger Ailes left in 2016. And I think that -- so I think it has more to do with the president than it does with FOX immediately.

BALDWIN: What about now Paul Ryan's new role, the former speaker of the House, and his new role over on the board of FOX Corp and do you think that factors in?

ELLISON: Yes, the other big thing that's happening with FOX News is there's a new CEO of FOX Corporation, Lachlan Murdoch, who is taking over. The corporation is much smaller than it used to be because they sold all of their television and studio assets, all their film and television assets to Disney. Paul Ryan has joined the board of FOX Corp. He's definitely someone who represents the conservative principal that's "FOX News" opinion hosts would be supportive of but he's not a Trump person. He's somebody who has really -- you know, Trump was very negative about him. He didn't support Trump.

(CROSSTALK)

[14:50:20] BALDWIN: They weren't buddy-buddy.

ELLISON: No, they weren't buddy-buddy. I think what you can read into that is that there's this effort -- I think "FOX News" has realized that people like Sean Hannity or Jeanine Pirro can have their opinions but that's branding the entire network as Trump TV, as we've seen. The big "New Yorker" piece was very much about that mind meld. And there are people inside who are frustrated by that.

BALDWIN: But for people who are wondering, OK, oh, my gosh, President Trump seems to have had this love affair with this news network forever with him picking up the phone, like a puppet with the strings, dictating how they cover, what they say, what they do, the short answer is, no. But he is quite close with some of these "FOX News" hosts. And as you pointed out, he's on the phone with Jeanine before he hits tweet.

ELLISON: Right. No, my reporting indicates that he talks to certain people with regularity.

BALDWIN: On the phone?

ELLISON: On the phone. Sean Hannity, Jeanine Pirro, Lou Dobbs, some of the other -- he loves Ainsley Earhardt. He's not calling people in the Control Room. He sees -- one is he's talking to people that he sees on the air but these are also people that have had relationships with him for a long time. He's known Jeanine Pirro since the '80s in New York. He knew Sean Hannity, certainly before he was president. So some of this is just -- I think he enjoys -- he's such a fish out of water in official Washington that there are these New Yorkers who are on FOX that he feels like a real kinship.

BALDWIN: A kinship.

ELLISON: They get him, they like him. Something like what Jeanine Pirro said on the air is the kind of thing that I think he's like pretty comfortable with and likes.

BALDWIN: Sarah Ellison, thank you very much.

ELLISON: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Good to have you on.

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is asking a rare question today in a case involving racial bias. We'll tell you what happened there.

And it is the video you have to see.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(GRUNTING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:56:53] BALDWIN: Just in to CNN, acting secretary of defense, Patrick Shanahan, is now under investigation for potential violations of his ethics agreement. CNN Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr, is with me now with more on

this.

So what does this have to do with?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brooke, it's important to say right off the top this is an administrative investigation by the Pentagon inspector general. Several days ago, they received a complaint from a public interest group that Shanahan had violated his ethics agreement. As a former Boeing executive when he came to the Pentagon, he agreed that he would not participate in any decision making or anything here at the Defense Department that could benefit Boeing, his former employer. The inspector general now says they have enough information about the complaint and other information that it is it warrant an investigation.

Let me just read you the statement they put out a short time ago. "The Department of Defense Office of Inspector General has decided to investigate complaints that we recently received that Acting Secretary Shanahan allegedly took actions to promote his former employer, Boeing, and disparage its competitors allegedly in violation of ethics rules." Then it goes on to say, they've informed Shanahan and Congress.

And it was just a few days ago, actually, in front of Congress that Shanahan was asked by Senator Blumenthal if he would agree to an ethics investigation, and he said that he would. And, in fact, Shanahan's office putting out a statement saying, "Acting Secretary Shanahan has at all times remained committed to upholding his ethics agreement."

And mentioning again that he said on Capitol Hill that he would welcome an investigation. So inside the Pentagon, not a huge surprise.

But the critical question, of course, is, what does this mean for the possibility of the White House nominating Patrick Shanahan to become the permanent secretary of defense here. He's been in an active role since former Secretary Mattis resigned at the end of last year. The president still has not nominated him to take on the job permanently.

Shanahan, coincidently, is with the president. They are traveling today, of course, to that Army tank plant in Lima, Ohio, to look at military systems there.

And the question now will be, while this administrative investigation is going on, what does happen here at the Pentagon? Will there be a nomination for a secretary of defense? It will be Shanahan? Or will the White House have to turn to somebody else -- Brooke?

BALDWIN: We'll come back to you on that when the time comes.

Barbara, thank you very much for the update.

If I may, here's the best video of the day. We all need this. A Tennessee day with six kids, National Guard Staff Sergeant Rob Sternino has been deployed to the Middle East since May of last year. And every two weeks, he talked to his 9-year-old son, Luca. The sergeant returned home early so he and his wife arranged to surprise their son in their Taekwondo class. Luca, who was blind folded through he was training with his coach until this happened.

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