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CNN NEWSROOM

Preliminary Report Finds Significant Similarities In Ethiopian And Lion Air Crashes; First U.S. Wrongful Death Suit Filed In Ethiopian Plan Crash; Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) Joins Crowded Field Of Democratic Hopefuls; Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D) South Bend, Indiana Argues Progressively Policy Reflects Christian Beliefs; FBI Investigating If Mar-a-Lago Incident Was Espionage Effort; Teen Found In Kentucky Says He Escaped Kidnappers After 7 Years. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired April 4, 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]

TEWOLDE GEBREMARIAM, CEO, ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES: To prove wrong all the speculators with false allegations.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Drew Griffin is our CNN Senior Investigative Correspondent. He's live at Boeing HQ in Washington. And so, Drew, what similarities are in the report and what is Boeing's response?

DREW GRIFFIN CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think Boeing's response goes even further than that CEO of the airline and this preliminary report do in saying what the cause of these two crashes are. Because in their response, Boeing is now acknowledging that a single AOA sensor, an angle of attack sensor, feeding erroneous information to this software system, the anti-stall known MCAS was involved in both of these crashes. Boeing pointing the finger at itself, at its design and the fact it is trying to fix the problem, which, to me, beyond anything we've heard, shows this was indeed the problem in both of these crashes.

In its response, Brooke, Boeing says that to ensure unintended MCAS activation will not occur again, Boeing has developed and is planning to release a software update to MCAS, I'm right by an airfield, as you can hear, and an associated comprehensive pilot training and supplementary education program for the Max. The update adds additional layers of protection and will prevent erroneous data causing from MCAS activation.

We know from the preliminary report that the MCAS was reactivating during the flight that pushed this plane into a nosedive at a very high rate of speed. I've talked to pilots who say that, physically, the fix to try to pull it out of that dive is to just turn basically a wheel, which would have been very, very hard to do at the angle and the speed of flight at that time. So we're still waiting for a reaction specifically from Dennis Muilenberg, the CEO of Boeing, but it does look like Boeing is basically taking the fact that its design of this plane may have shipped out the door with some bad software indications on it.

BALDWIN: Drew, there was also audio evidence that in 2017, Boeing CEO boasted about the streamlined approval process implemented under this current administration. What did he say?

GRIFFIN: Right. And that is going to come back to bite him as well and also bite the FAA, because a lot of coziness, of course, for years. This has been the complaint that Boeing and the FAA are just too cozy. But in 2017, the CEO, Dennis Muilenberg, was talking to a press conference and I'll just let you listen to what he said about how the new Trump administration is handling regulation within the aviation industry.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DENNIS MUILENBERG, CEO, BOEING: Yes, just to comment on that one, the overall focus on deregulation and simplifying processes is one that we've been a strong proponent for. And the administration has been very engaged across government agencies and within the industry to find ideas and ways and opportunities to simplify and streamline, things like FAA certification processes is one place that we're seeing some solid progress. That's helping us more efficiently work through certification on some of our new model aircraft, such as the Max, as it's going through flight test and entering into service. So we're already seeing some benefits there and some of the work that's being doing with the FAA.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRIFFIN: Brooke, Transportation Committees in both the House and the Senate are digging in on this, was the FAA giving too much authority to Boeing to certify its own planes. Those investigations continue. Brooke?

BALDWIN: Drew, thank you so much.

Of course, we now know Boeing says that software fix will take longer than first expected. Just 24 hours ago, the Boeing CEO went on Max 8 test flight to inspect the software.

Meantime, the first U.S. wrongful death lawsuit has been filed by the family of Massachusetts native Samya Stumo. The defendants include not only Boeing and Ethiopian Airlines but the FAA.

Justin Green is our CNN Aviation Analyst and an aviation lawyer who is representing other families of victims from this Ethiopian Airlines crash. So thank you so much for coming back.

JUSTIN GREEN, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Thanks for having me.

BALDWIN: And I've got a lot that I want to ask you about. Just sort of starting with this report that we've now looked at in the words stunningly similar timeline to that of the Lion Air crash, what does that tell you?

GREEN: Well, I mean it says what Boeing apparently has admitted, that MCAS is the cause of both of these accidents. And that raises two issues.

[14:35:00]

One is what did Boeing and what did the FAA do during certification to make sure this was safe and then why didn't they stop the airplane from flying after they knew Lion Air had been caused by the MCAS system? They sent out a service bulletin telling the pilots about MCAS who -- pilots hadn't even been told about the MCAS system before that. But they told them that the MCAS is there, this is what it's going to do and this is how to prevent the accident. It sounds like the Ethiopian pilots did exactly what Boeing told them to do and still couldn't save the airplane.

BALDWIN: Drew also mentioned, it sounds like -- you tell me if all signs pointing to Boeing now, and he made the point about Boeing and the FAA being too cozy. What would you say?

GREEN: Yes. Well, you mentioned the FAA in that lawsuit. The FAA is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit, you have to go through a process to name the FAA. But there is a conspiracy claim in that lawsuit where they're saying that Boeing and the FAA were in conspiracy to get this airplane out. Whether that claim can be proven, whether the FAA ultimately can be liable, and their loss [ph] very difficult to hold the government liable in these circumstances, it remains to be seen.

But there is clearly a problem where the FAA is supposed to be an independent check and safety and they are really not being independent. They are being kind of in cahoots with Boeing on the certification.

BALDWIN: We mentioned that the first wrongful death lawsuit has been filed when I just played the sound as one of the victim's families has spoken out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL STUMO, FATHER OF CRASH VICTIM, SAMYA STUMO: We flew there to bring her home, but we learned there were no survivors. Then we learned we could not bring home her body or even fragments of her body. I stood on that Ethiopian agricultural field with my family looking at the crater feeling her. This should not happen to anyone again. That's why we're here.

ADNAAN STUMO, BROTHER OF CRASH VICTIM, SAMYA STUMO: The butterfly effect of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crash is massive, the potential of my

sister and 156 others driven straight into the ground because of Boeing's greed.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BALDWIN: You're representing families of some of the victims and, of course, respecting attorney/client privilege, can you share some of what they must be going through?

GREEN: Well, the hardest -- I mean, it's a terrible thing to sit with a family member who just lost a loved one in a terrible tragedy like this. And there is always the financial problems getting the bodies back home and paying proper respects. But, ultimately, the families of every one of my cases for the last 25 years, the main thing they want is answers about what happened. And more than anything else, they want to make sure it doesn't happen to someone else. One of the family members just said that. Every single client I've ever had, that's more important than anything else to them.

BALDWIN: Justin Green, thank you so much.

GREEN: Thank you.

BALDWIN: We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:42:27] BALDWIN: Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan is now the 17th democrat to join the 2020 presidential race. President Trump actually flipped Ryan's district in 2016 making promises on jobs. And while Congressman Ryan is often perceived as more of a moderate, who is not afraid to challenge Speaker Nancy Pelosi, today, he says he is running as a progressive.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. TIM RYAN (D-OH): Most progressives are going to see that as a candidate that cannot only advance a progressive agenda but also win. I can win Western P.A., I can win Ohio, I can win Michigan, I can win Wisconsin, and that means Donald Trump is going back to Mar-a-Lago full time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Meantime, South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, just teased that he may make it officially official in ten days. Despite his rising popularity, he has currently only launched an exploratory committee.

So with me now, CNN Senior Washington Correspondent Jeff Zeleny. And, all right, so he is number 17. We're going to be into the 20s.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: No question.

BALDWIN: We're going to be in the 20s.

ZELENY: I mean, probably six more, so 23 or so, I think.

BALDWIN: At one point, and are we there, where the field gets a tad too crowded, where it's more hurtful than helpful. ZELENY: You certainly hear that from voters because they obviously have a lot to pick from. And think of answering the phone, if a pollster calls, running through a list of 23 names, how can you accurately survey this. That's one challenge.

But I do think there is at this early stage probably a moment for all of these candidates to have their moment or their ideas. But I think it benefits Bernie Sanders.

BALDWIN: Why?

ZELENY: This could absolutely -- because he has the base of support from running before. So he doesn't need to grow his support. He can, in fact, lose some support. But there are so many other people sort in their own lanes, so I think it benefits Bernie Sanders. Again, he is the frontrunner in this case.

But Tim Ryan is filling the old Sherrod Brown [INAUDIBLE]. He's the Ohio Senator who decided against running. He's going to focus on white working class voters in those places Obama won but Trump won in 2016.

BALDWIN: Someone else has been on the rise and crushed it basically during our CNN Town Hall, and that's Mayor Pete Buttigieg. And I just want to quote this amazing column. This is from Kirsten Powers, USA Today Columnist. She interviewed him and he talks about the intersection of politics and Christianity. So let me just read part of what he said.

We need not to be afraid to invoke arguments that are convincing on why Christian faith is going to point you in a progressive direction. When I think about where most of scripture points me, it is toward defending the poor and the immigrant and those who are left behind by the way society works.

I mean, might he have an opportunity to attract Christian voters who maybe are on the fence about President Trump?

[14:45:05]

ZELENY: I think he certainly is trying that. And you could tell how authentic this is. This isn't just coming out in a newspaper column. He talks about this a lot. As I've been out there with him, he mentions this. He believes that the left is sort of forgetting the religion moment. But it's one of the things that distinguishes him, not just his biography of all of the things, it's what he says. And he says things like his and he makes arguments to democrats to think about it.

Now, look, I don't think the religious right and which consolidated behind the President because of the Supreme Court and because of abortion. I don't think they will certainly leave. But there are people in the middle and others who are hearing this message.

So I think it is interesting. He's one of the few candidates talking about religion when not asked. It's always a debate question. But he sort of brings it up on his own. So if you read that whole piece, I think it is pretty fascinating.

BALDWIN: Jeff Zeleny, thank you very much.

ZELENY: Good to see you.

BALDWIN: A programming note for all of you, the four part CNN original series, Tricky Dick, explores Richard Nixon's rise, fall, incredible comeback and political destruction and featuring never- before-seen footage, the series continues on Sunday night at 9:00 P.M. Eastern and Pacific here on CNN.

Could the mystery of a missing child case finally be solved? A 14- year-old shows up out of nowhere and said his name is Timmothy Pitzen, a boy who disappeared more than seven years ago. Could DNA results expected any moment now help close this case?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:50:58] BALDWIN: The FBI is investigating the woman under arrest for carrying malware into President Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort was spying for China. This Chinese woman who walked into the resort over the weekend was discovered to be carrying two Chinese passports, four cell phones, a laptop and a thumb drive with malware. The President has brushed off the incident saying this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: I'm not concerned at all. I have -- we have very good control, we have extremely good -- I think that was just a fluke situation. The result is they were able to get her. And she's now suffering the consequences of whatever it is she had in mind.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Larry Johnson is a former Secret Service agent and is currently the CEO of CyberSponse. Larry, nice to have you on.

LARRY JOHNSON, CEO, CYBERSPONSE: Thanks for having me, Brooke.

BALDWIN: So the President says he's not concerned at all. Should he be?

JOHNSON: Well, from my point of view, the Secret Service deals with these type of issues every day. There is four or five different problems that the Secret Service has to solve with access that while it would be a bit concerning that the person got through the outer perimeter, even though they were under escort, they never got to the inner perimeter where much more scrutinization is done.

BALDWIN: On the more techie piece of this, from what I've read, it's not clear what type of malware was on the woman's USB drive. But can you tell me what damage exactly could a USB drive could do at Mar-a- Lago?

JOHNSON: Well, I'm suspecting that it's either middleware or spyware. Middleware would sitting in between the user and the network. Spyware will download as much data as possible that can be downloaded on a USB drive. But the access at a resort like Mar-a-Lago would be to the Mar-a-Lago network, not a network that the Secret Service uses, the staff or the President would use.

So it's really unsure how much they -- she could have gotten by using a memory stick at a network that's owned by a resort.

BALDWIN: Okay. And, again, the FBI is investigating this, seeing if she was possibly spying for China. I just described the thing she was carrying with her. She says she was just trying to get to the pool. What is your gut tell you?

JOHNSON: Yes, it's interesting. I'd love to have been a fly on a wall, it takes me back to my days in the Secret Service because I'd like to know just like everyone else would know what was her purpose for being there, what did she -- what did she intend to accomplish. One of the Secret Service's expertise is in behavior. They see behavior at checkpoints, they notice if a person looks at a place, if they're nervous if they're sweating. And if she did not exhibit any of these type of features, then she was very good in controlling herself.

Depending on her motives, again, we don't know that and we're not privy to that investigative information.

BALDWIN: FBI is investigating. Larry Johnson, thank you.

JONSON: Thanks, Brooke.

BALDWIN: President Trump is lashing out today, apparently not happy about the new reports on investigators from Robert Mueller's team and their concerns about A.G. Bill Barr and his four-page summary of the report. One of the New York Times reporters who broke the story joins me next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:55:00]

[14:58:58] BALDWIN: A stunning discovery could finally provide answers to a nearly eight-year saga. FBI and police are now investigating the case of a teenager found in Kentucky claiming to be a boy by the name Timmothy Pitzen, an Illinois boy who went missing back in 2011. This is coming in after people in the Newport neighborhood reported a fidgety teenager wandering around.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I asked him what was going on and he told me he was kidnapped and he's been traded through all these people. He just wanted to go home and he needed help.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Pitzen was last seen with his mother at a water park in Wisconsin in May of 2011. Three days later her body was found in a hotel room in Rockford, Illinois. She apparently had killed herself leaving behind a note that said her son was with people who love him. The boy's family who has been searching for him for years are cautiously optimistic.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALANA ANDERSON, TIMMOTHY PITZEN'S GRANDMOTHER: I am very hopeful that it's him and that he's okay and he's been in a good place when he was gone, that he's going to come back to us. We never stopped looking for him, thinking about him and that we love him.

[15:00:03]