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Tax Returns Battle; Trump's Border Warning; Interview with Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D) California; New York Man Charged with Threatening to Kill Rep. Ilhan Omar; Ethiopian Airlines Crash; FBI: Man Found in Kentucky not Timmothy Pitzen. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired April 6, 2019 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:20] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. Thanks so much for joining me this Saturday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.
We begin with the showdown over President Trump's tax returns. It's a battle the President's lawyers have spent months preparing for. And now the Democrats have formally requested the documents from the IRS in a historic move. It is here.
One administration official tells CNN they are willing to fight the tax return request all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court saying, "This is a hill and people would be willing to die on it. We will see you in court."
Meanwhile President Trump is bringing his administration -- his immigration fight, rather, to the border with a blunt message to migrants hoping to enter the United States.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The system is full. Can't take you any more. Whether it's asylum, whether it's anything you want, illegal immigration, can't take you any more. We can't take you. Our country is full. Our area's full. The sector is full. Can't take you any more. I'm sorry. Can't happen. So turn around. That's the way it is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: All right. Let's begin with the fight over President Trump's tax returns. CNN White House reporter Sarah Westwood joining us right now. So the President's lawyer sent a letter to the Treasury Department pushing back on the Democrats request and what's in that letter?
SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well Fred -- President Trump's legal team is making the argument that Democrats are weaponizing that request for the President's tax returns in order to damage him politically. And Trump this week retained Virginia-based law firm Consovoy McCarthy Park to represent him on the tax issue and his legal team is making clear that they are willing to wage an aggressive battle, perhaps for months or even years to keep the President's tax returns secret.
William Consovoy, one of the President's lawyers on this issue wrote in his letter to the Treasury Department general counsel, "If the IRS acquiesces to Chairman Neal's request," that's Richard Neal, the Democratic chair of the Ways and Means Committee, "it would set a dangerous precedent. As Secretary Mnuchin recently told Congress, he is not aware that there has ever been a request for an elected official's tax returns." That's quoting from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. "For good reason. It would be a gross abuse of power for the majority party to use tax returns as a weapon to attack, harass and intimidate their political opponent. Once this Pandora's box is open, the ensuing tit for tat will do lasting damage to our nation."
Now, President Trump has, for years now claimed that the fact that his tax returns are being audited by the IRS is the reason he can't disclose them publicly but his legal team, Fred, is seeking to reframe the issue from one primarily focused on taxes to one focused on whether Democrats even have the authority to make this request.
WHITFIELD: And Sarah, so President Trump, you know, speaking in just a few hours in Las Vegas, he has been doubling down on his immigration message and now he's telling migrants to turn around because our country is full, his words. What else are you hearing?
WESTWOOD: Well, Fred -- those comments came in the context of illegal border crossings. Those are up dramatically in recent weeks and months, most of that is because there are an increased number of families, children coming over the border to seek asylum and the President's comments at the border come as Customs and Border Protection reports overcrowding at sites all along the border.
CBP has started to release thousands of migrants in the Rio Grande Valley because they simply can't contain those migrants any more in the detention centers. Border patrol agents are being reassigned from legal ports of entry, taking away from their law enforcement duties to deal with the capacity issues.
And this also comes as President Trump has threatened repeatedly to shut down the border and is putting pressure on Mexico and Central American countries to do more to stop the illegal border crossings -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right. Sarah Westwood -- thanks so much. Keep us posted.
All right. Joining me right now to discuss these two battles President Trump is facing, California Democratic Congressman Jimmy Gomez. He's on the Ways and Means Committee that sent the request on Trump's tax returns and he's also a member of the Oversight Committee. Good to see you.
REP. JIMMY GOMEZ (D-CA), HOUSE WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE: Good to see you.
WHITFIELD: All right. So let's begin with this fight for the President's taxes. You know, Trump's lawyers say this would set a dangerous precedent if the IRS abides by your committee's request. It would be like opening a Pandora's Box. What do you say to that?
GOMEZ: First, it's just nonsense. What we're doing is our legislative and oversight function. We are a co-equal branches of government and we're abiding by the rules. I'm going to nerd out again, a little bit. There is a statute called 6103-f that gives the chairman of the committee complete authority to request and the Secretary of the Treasury shall hand over those documents. It doesn't say may, it says shall.
[11:05:01] WHITFIELD: -- that says in part, you know, the Treasury Secretary, I'm quoting now "shall furnish any return or return information specified."
However, you know, the law does not appear to give the Treasury Secretary any real legal, you know, mechanism in which to deny it. So, you know, the President's lawyer is saying that this would, you know, present a dangerous precedent, but what other argument can it make?
GOMEZ: You know, here's the thing, also, let's keep -- we've used this statute thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of millions of times and not once has a request been denied, not once.
So you actually have a president who's having his own personal attorneys trying to interfere with the commissioner and the function that they've always done.
People have to ask themselves why is he doing that. Instead of just understanding that this is what we're going to do, this is the function of our committee, we're going to ask these questions and it's all regarding making sure that the IRS is conducting an appropriate audit of a sitting president's tax returns.
WHITFIELD: And what do you think is behind it? Because while on the campaign trail he wouldn't release his tax returns and then he said if elected I will and now, of course, lots of resistance to ever, you know, sharing it, so what do you believe the President could potentially be hiding or why does he want that kind of privacy?
GOMEZ: So, I want to make it very clear, the Ways and Means Committee is asking it for a specific purpose, but my constituents and I have always had an interest in why hasn't he released his tax returns. For 40 years, Democrats, Republicans have released their tax returns and the reason why is that they want to put the American people's mind at ease that they're not compromised, that they're not being leveraged by an individual or foreign government.
And I think that this president should release his tax returns. He should have released them when he was running and he should release them now.
WHITFIELD: So this is what Republican Senator John Kennedy told CNN about the Ways and Means Committee chair Richard Neal and his request.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SENATOR JOHN KENNEDY (R), LOUISIANA: Chairman Neal, powerful man, head of Ways and Means, I know he's an adult, but I don't think he's like a real adult. He has said, I think on CNN, that the reason he needs them is that he needs to determine how well, the IRS is auditing taxpayers.
I can't believe he really thinks the American people are going to fall for that. It must really suck to be that dumb. This is very simple, Mr. Neal wants to screw with the President.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: All right. So how do you respond, you know, to any Americans who might share the same kind of criticism?
GOMEZ: First, the letter that Chairman Neal sent was very, very clear. It's about the function. You know, Senator Kennedy I think he's just relying on insults because he doesn't have an argument. The history and the facts are on Chairman Neal's side and on the side of Congress.
At the same time, you know, one of the things that we've always said we're going to do is that we're going to act as a check on this executive branch -- something that Republicans didn't do for two years and that's why the Democrats got elected in November.
WHITFIELD: Ok. And then you have the issue of the Robert Mueller report. The House Judiciary Committee, you know, subpoena for it saying it wants it unredacted. Well, President Trump just tweeted this morning about the Mueller report saying he hasn't read it yet, but he has every right to do so. Your reaction to why he would share those thoughts today.
GOMEZ: You know, President Trump always tweets in the morning. I have no idea what's going on through his head. If we actually did, why would he claim that his father was born in Germany when he was born in New York.
There's something -- I think there's something wrong with the President. I have no idea why he sent those tweets out today. Trouble must be coming.
WHITFIELD: Yes. How troubled would you be if he or the White House had already laid its eyes on the Mueller report while Congress is still, you know, lobbying to see it unredacted or even a redacted version?
GOMEZ: I think that it would -- honestly, I think I wouldn't be surprised because everything that this administration has done has been to protect this president, to make sure that they dodge, they delay and they lie.
I've seen it time and time again. I questioned Mnuchin. I questioned Wilbur Ross. I questioned Secretary Nielsen. They have one thing in common -- to protect the President.
I'm surprised they haven't done it already but I wouldn't be surprised if they actually read the report before Congress ever gets its hands on it.
WHITFIELD: All right. Let's turn now to the border battle. President Trump saying that, I'm quoting now, "Our country is full", telling people to quoting now, "turn around".
So what was your reaction to hearing that.
GOMEZ: First, I'm personally offended. I'm a son of immigrant who came here to give a better life for their family. I was born here. It just sends the wrong message to the rule that we're turning our backs on this country.
[11:10:03] But at the same time I'd love to say that the President is full of it. Our country is not full, we're not turning back.
At the same time, I want people to really ask themselves, why are things getting worse at the border? Why is the immigration system getting more chaotic than it ever has been. And I believe it's because this President doesn't make his decisions based on policy. It's always based on politics.
And that's why you're seeing it get worse. It's not getting better. And it's because this president doesn't care to actually improve the situation.
WHITFIELD: A new government court filing, you know, reveals that it could take upwards of, you know, two years to identify the thousands of separated families at the southern border. What in your view can happen now whether it be to, you know, reunify family members or at least change the policy? What is on your wish list?
GOMEZ: Well, first, we have to get this administration to admit that they had a policy of family separation. You know, they've always -- we had Attorney General Jeff Sessions originally say that it was meant as a deterrent. Then you had Secretary Nielsen said that it wasn't in place.
This administration has never admitted that they even had a policy of separating children from their parents. We need to get them to admit that so we can solve the problem.
And that's what the problem is. It's that really don't care about policy or the facts on the ground. I've been to the border numerous times. I spent the night with undocumented immigrants and asylum seekers overnight on the concrete. They're just looking to make sure that they have a legal right to ask for asylum.
It's a heartbreaking situation but we're going to keep pushing and hold this administration accountable.
WHITFIELD: Right. Immigration continues to be front and center for the President. What do you make of the President announcing nearly on the day that he was traveling to the border with California that he was pulling his nomination Ron Vitiello for Immigration and Customs Enforcement and he pulled him saying now he's going for a tougher director.
However Vitiello is a nice guy. Two White House officials and another source telling us that the White House senior adviser Stephen Miller had a lot to do with this decision.
GOMEZ: You know, I'm not surprised. One of the -- Stephen Miller has always been on my radar. I actually made him an issue in Oversight because I believe that Stephen Miller is really the puppet master behind all these anti-immigrant policies.
And we have to see what are they trying to accomplish and I believe it's really not working, it's not to secure the border. It's really to kind of turn our back on what our history has been as a country of immigrants. So I'm not shocked what this president's doing or Stephen Miller is doing.
EMANUEL: Congressman Jimmy Gomez -- thanks for your time this morning. Appreciate it.
GOMEZ: Thank you so much.
WHITFIELD: A former U.S. Senator from South Carolina Ernest Fritz Hollings has died at the age of 97. That's according to a statement from his three children who say he was a hero for millions of Americans and was so honored to have served the people of South Carolina. Fritz Hollings was a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives, served as South Carolina's governor and then represented the state for 38 years as a U.S. Senator. In 1984 he made a brief run for the Democratic presidential nomination, but then quickly bowed out.
And we'll be right back.
[11:13:25] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
WHITFIELD: 2020 Democrats are on a campaign blitz this weekend. They are crisscrossing the country today meeting with voters and even though he hasn't officially entered the presidential race, former vice president Joe Biden is still in crisis mode after saying he gets it about allegations of him touching or getting too close for comfort with some people and then joking twice about him hugging someone on Friday.
In his first remarks since women claimed he made them feel uncomfortable, he chose to make light of it this way.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I just want you to know, I had permission to hug Lonny. I don't want you to have to stand all alone but -- by the way, he gave me permission to touch him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: CNN political correspondent Arlette Saenz has been following Biden. So what's the reaction of Biden's team the day after that yesterday? Are they, you know, reshaping how he approaches people? How he will present himself? How Joe will no longer be the Joe that everybody has known for all these years or what?
ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, if Joe Biden had hoped this controversy was going to die down he didn't do himself any favors yesterday with these two jokes. And while the jokes got a lot of laugh in the room, it was very clear to Biden's team that it did sit well or play well outside of that room.
And so we had the former vice president do this impromptu surprise gaggle with reporters. We had no idea he was going to come out and speak to us, but he came out and immediately said that he didn't mean to make light of any women's discomfort. Take a listen to what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: It is important that I and everyone else is aware that any woman or man who feels uncomfortable should have the right to just say, hey, I was uncomfortable with that or hopefully we'll get to the point even before than they have to say, "I'm uncomfortable." No matter what and -- and I -- I really do understand that.
But it's -- you know, one of the things that -- like for example, what made me say it, I wasn't joking, the president of the union put his arms around me. That's how it's always been in -- you've covered me a long time, you know. That's how people react, and --
[11:20:06] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But do you think you owe these women a direct apology who have come forward so far?
BIDEN: Well, look the fact of the matter is, I made it clear that if I made anyone feel comfortable, I feel badly about that. It was never my intention.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAENZ: Now, Biden also told us that he's going to have to change the way he campaigned going forward and acknowledging that it is a good thing that he's going to be more aware of the current environment.
But this all comes as he's gearing up for that 2020 run and there's going to be a lot of scrutiny of his long record including his handling of the Anita Hill testimony back in 1991 that came up over the past few weeks.
Biden told me he's very close to coming in front of reporters to announce his official decision and I'm told that that could be coming later this month, possibly after Easter -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right. Arlette Saenz -- thank you so much.
Let's talk more about all this. With me now is Molly Ball, national political correspondent for "Time Magazine"; David Swerdlick the assistant editor for the "Washington Post" -- good to see you both.
All right. So -- Molly, you first. You know, Biden made these jokes or made light of, then he tried to explain them, you know, right after the event. does all of that kind of undermine his whole I get it video?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MOLLY BALL, NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, "TIME MAGAZINE": Potentially. I think we don't really yet know how this is all going to play with the Democratic base, with Democratic primary voters.
I think there's a little bit of a wait and see attitude from the conversations that I've had with Democrats, that they want to be reassured that he has a good way to handle this, that he has the ability to deal with it in a way that doesn't blow it up further or make things worse.
He does have to seem to be understanding, but there's certainly a lot of -- most people do not view these allegations as disqualifying. Most people that I've spoken to have defended Joe Biden and have warm feelings for him. S there's a lot of running room for him there provided he can show that he is handling this compassionately.
WHITFIELD: Well, he said after, you know, that moment, you know, in that gaggle that, you know, he may make some changes, you know, kind of reflecting now on his past behavior -- David. So he is also, you know, kind of about to realize so much of the environment, you know, is changing. That includes the Democratic Party.
And differences and norms and, you know, he will be asked to readdress some of these issues of him touching or getting too close or perhaps even his demeanor with Anita Hill and the Clarence Thomas confirmation process.
DAVID SWERDLICK, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. Good morning -- Fred. I think Molly is right. It is sort of a wait and see attitude among Democrats but right now I think vice president Biden is flailing a little bit.
He released that video on Wednesday where he said, I think sincerely, that he was trying to get it and trying to understand that times have changed and norms have changed. But then stepped on that message, really it was political malpractice, by making light of it yesterday.
Look, I want to be clear, I wrote in 2012 that he was the perfect vice presidential sort of pairing with President Obama and I still think that.
But now that Vice President Biden is out here preparing to run on his own and be judged on his own record, I do think he's got to accelerate a little bit with how he's getting with the times. No one has said that there's anything wrong with hugging. I think what people have said is, in these instances where women Assemblywoman Flores and also another senate aide Amy Lappos have come out and said he made them uncomfortable.
He's got to find a better way to deal with that because you can't just compartmentalize this -- Fred. He's got to deal with this. He's got to deal with his Iraq war vote. He's got to deal with his handling of the Anita Hill hearings.
So if he doesn't get past some of this stuff quickly, I think it's going to be a rocky launch to his campaign.
WHITFIELD: And then Molly -- I know you said you already thought that perhaps this may not be, you know, disqualifying but you know, Biden style, is it being overblown?
I mean this was the thought of Bill Maher on his HBO show. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL MAHER, TV HOST: I mean, of course, no one likes to be touched unwantingly and women get a lot more of that than men. But the first person who have brought this up said he made her feel gross and uneasy. You know what makes me feel gross and uneasy -- a second Trump term. He's not Harvey Weinstein or R. Kelly. He's more like the TSA.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: So Molly, you know, I mean you know it's been -- of course, he's joking too -- but, you know, does his feeling kind of translate with a lot of voters where they are feeling -- they're trying to make comparisons about making someone feel uncomfortable because of their demeanor versus allegations of assault -- you know, sexually assaulting someone?
BALL: No. I mean I think what people do not want to hear, particularly, you know, the liberal women voters who make up the majority of the Democratic Party -- what they don't want to hear is, hey, honey, it could have been worse, right. He could have done worse things to you.
[11:25:05] And I think the problem that Joe Biden has shown in his response so far is it has all been about how it felt from his perspective, his intentions, his desire to connect with people.
And I think people absolutely understand that and like that in a politician, but where is the understanding of how it felt for these women and how it affects women's lives to have to contend with this kind of unwanted contact, not once or twice, but continually; and the attitude that represents, the diminishment that a lot of women feel as a result of that kind of contact.
So I think what is necessary here is not more jokes and more minimizing of the experiences that women have had, but an attempt to show real understanding and compassion. WHITFIELD: And so I wonder, you know, Molly -- if that kind of, you
know, tangle makes for a greater potential opening for this notion that was brought to Kamala Harris and this is how she handled the question.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Men have been asked would they consider a woman on a ticket. Would you as a woman consider another woman?
SENATOR KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes, I would. I would.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two women on a ticket?
HARRIS: Wouldn't be that be fabulous.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is America ready for that, you think?
HARRIS: We'll see. If it happens.
HARRIS: There are all kinds of interesting scenarios.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very interesting.
If president you'd sign HR 40?
HARRIS: Oh yes, sure.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: All right. So Molly -- you know, Senator Elizabeth Warren also, you know, said that she would consider it. So given the climate, does it appear as though it's, you know, a little bit more empowering, this notion of an all-woman ticket?
BALL: Well look, I think women voters are still very activated in the Trump era. They were the decisive vote in 2018 and a record number of women candidates were elevated as a result of that and that was a real turning point because I think in the past, even when women have been activated and riled up, they haven't necessarily voted for other women, even in the case of Hillary Clinton.
She didn't seem to really benefit from a surge of feminist energy despite between potentially historic candidate in the primaries or the general election. So that's a real change and if that continues to be the dynamic in 2020, that will be a big deal.
But I still think we don't quite know that. I think a lot of women voters are not necessarily going to vote for a woman candidate. A lot of women Democratic voters especially -- you hear some trepidation from members of the Democratic base at Democratic events and so on, some worries that, you know, given that many Democrats believe that sexism hurt Hillary Clinton in 2016, would they be taking a chance by putting a woman on the ticket and could that potentially hurt their chances to beat President Trump? So there's a lot going on in peoples' minds on this issue.
SWERDLICK: Yes. Fred -- I've always come at this from the point of view that if someone won't vote for two women, they won't vote for one woman. It's sexist to think that a woman can't do the job in my view. I was on record in 2016 saying that Secretary Clinton made a mistake not picking Senator Warren for her ticket, she brought more energy than Senator Kaine did.
I'm not saying that she definitely would have won the election but I think that was a missed opportunity. So we go into this race and, you know, if I were putting on my hat as a political adviser, I would say to Democrats, pick the two best candidates based on all the issues and all the other considerations. You're going to have diversity almost no matter what.
There are a lot of women candidates, Senator Harris would be the first Asian American second biracial candidate. You have Mayor Buttigieg who would be the first openly gay president. There's a lot to pick, so Democrats should just pick who they think will lead them best in 2020 and, you know, the chips will fall.
WHITFIELD: All right. We'll leave it there for now. David Swerdlick, Molly Ball. Thanks so much.
SWERDLICK: Thanks -- Fred.
BALL: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: All right. Still ahead a New York man has just been arrested for threatening to attack and murder U.S. Congresswoman Ilhan Omar because she's Muslim. A live report next.
[11:29:16] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
WHITFIELD: A New York man behind bars this morning after allegedly threatening to kill Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar. Court records show the man allegedly made the threats during a call to Omar's office in Washington, D.C. late last month.
He allegedly threatened to murder Omar because she is Muslim. Omar is one of two Muslim women currently serving in U.S. Congress.
CNN correspondent Polo Sandoval has been following the story, so Polo -- what more have you learned?
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well you know, Fred -- Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar has drawn some controversy for several of her comments since coming to Congress. She's also one of two Muslim women who were first to serve in Congress. And according to prosecutors, staff in her Washington, D.C. office received a threatening phone call back on March 21st, a man on the other end of the line identified himself as Patrick Carlineo Jr. He asked some of the staff who answered, quote -- and I'm reading from this complaint". He asked do you -- or rather, do you work for the Muslim Brotherhood? And also why are you working for her?
He then proceeded to call Representative Omar a terrorist and threatened to kill her. The charging document also states that he not only left his name and contact information but he also spelled it out literally.
[11:35:00] That's certainly providing a lead here for investigators, the FBI eventually knocked on Carlineo's door in his home in western New York and during a March 29th interview according to the criminal complaint, Carlineo claimed to be a patriot, someone who loves the President and hated who he claimed were radical Muslim in the government.
Carlineo remains behind bars. We're told that he's schedules for a detention hearing on Wednesday -- Fred. CNN has reached out to his attorney and also a friend of his, but we are yet to hear back -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right. Polo Sandoval, keep us posted. Thank you so much.
All right. Still ahead, a preliminary report shows Ethiopian Airlines' pilots did everything Boeing said to do, but still crashed. Now Boeing's CEO is accepting blame and making changes.
[11:39:57] WHITFIELD: Welcome back.
Boeing is now cutting production of the 737 as they work to get the fleet of Max 8 jets back in the air. They were grounded last month after the deadly crash of an Ethiopian Airlines plane.
The preliminary report on the crash showed the pilots did everything Boeing said should be done, but were still not able to stop the plane from crashing.
This comes as Boeing's CEO accepts blame for a malfunctioning sensor, believed to have contributed to two deadly plane crashes in less than six months now.
And now the "Washington Post" is reporting that federal regulators have ordered Boeing to fix a second software problem with the flight control system. Here is CNN's tom foreman.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A source inside Boeing says this latest matter is relatively minor although it deals with an important part of the plane, the flaps you which you can see highlighted in red here on our model, but even if by minor he means easy to fix, there's really nothing that is minor in this matter of this airline right now or this style of airplane because there's so much scrutiny on it particularly on what's called the MCAS system. Let me explain what we're talking about. There are sensors on this plane that look like this we show the angle of the airplane in the air. They're right up front here. The MCAS system is a bit of software that basically takes a reading from these and if the plane were to be nosing too far up into the air where it might stall, this computer takes over and it brings the plane back down to level.
It's a safety measure. But in the Lion Air Crash and now but in the Lion Air crash and now in the Ethiopian crash as well, the indications are that there was a false reading coming from one of these sensors feeding into the computer telling it that the plane was angled up when it was not and so the computer took over and sort of pushing the plane down further right toward the ground.
Then as the crew started fighting with that plane, the computer trying to take control back. The computer kept trying to fight them back too. And plane ends up just like that going through the air. Ultimately the preliminary report from Ethiopia says the plane went into the ground at about a 40 degree angle going close to 600 miles an hour.
So the challenge for Boeing, they now have to convince an awfully lot of people that they have completely brought all of these problems under control. The airlines, the pilots and the flying public because while a lot of people may not understand avionics. They do understand the loss of hundreds of lives in a terrifying pair of accidents and until Boeing convinces people that absolutely cannot happen again, these planes will probably stay parked.
WHITFIELD: Tom Foreman, thank you so much.
All right. Peter Goelz is with me now. He's the former managing director of the NTSB and a CNN aviation analyst. Good to see you -- Peter.
PETER GOELZ, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Good morning.
WHITFIELD: All right. So -- good morning.
Boeing, you know, taking responsibility for the crashes, but then why did it take so long for them to own up to these problems?
GOELZ: Well, that's an interesting question, Fredericka, you know. And Boeing has never been noted for its humility. You know, this is a global powerhouse.
and I've dealt with them over the years when I was at the NTSB. They are very, very proud of their work and they don't give an inch. They believe they design great airplanes.
and in this case, I think the CEO was listening to his outside counsel too much and he finally said, I'm going to have to take responsibility. This is our job to make this plane safe and I'm going to do it. I think it was the right decision to make. WHITFIELD: And particularly When you're talking about an airplane
crash and it is discovered that it's not pilot error but there is something mechanical in nature, I mean, you know, the company that manufacturers that aircraft has to own up to responsibility, right?
And even promise to make some changes because, you know, there is this time line for, you know, making this software fix and it has been extending and now there is this second fix that the company has to perform.
Can you give us any idea of, you know, what it will take, how long it will take to make this kind of fix on now two potential things?
GOELZ: Yes. I think Tom hit the nose -- hit the nail on the head when he indicated it's not just they have to convince the FAA that this plane is safe, they've really got to make a case to the public and more importantly, they've really got to make a case to numerous other aviation safety organizations across the globe.
In the old days, the FAA was the gold standard. They say this is good to go, everybody fell in line. I don't think that's going to be the case in this situation and I think it's going to be on the ground for some time.
If think if people were planning -- you know, air carriers were planning to use the 737 max during the summer rush, I'd be making other plans.
[11:45:01] WHITFIELD: So I think air travelers, me included, you know, can only think now, ok, if you have now zeroed in on two potential problems -- this MCAS and then also these sensors, how many other planes have those same type of mechanisms and if Boeing is committing to fixing it on the 737 Max 8, what about the entire fleet of Boeing aircraft or perhaps even other airliners or makers as well.
GOELS: Well, it certainly will put increased scrutiny on Airbus on the new Airbus, but there were a number of unique attributes of the 737 Max, particularly the size and placement of the engines that caused the nose to pitch up and why that was a problem was that Boeing was selling this new plane to air carriers with the argument that they did not have to have sim time for their pilots to take control of it. They could take a paper course, they'd be good to go in the left and right seats. And I think it was rushed.
WHITFIELD: Wow. Very blunt. All right. Peter Goelz, thank you so much for your expertise -- appreciate it.
GOELZ: Thank you -- Fredricka.
Still ahead, heartbreak for the family of an Illinois boy who has been missing for nearly eight years. Authorities revealed the person claiming to be Timmothy Pitzen is not him. So who is this individual and why would he pull such a stunt? I'll talk to a psychiatrist next.
[11:46:341] (COMMERCIAL BREAK) WHITFIELD: The man who claimed to be Timmothy Pitzen, a boy who disappeared in 2011, is now facing federal charges of making false statements to federal agents. That's according to the FBI.
A criminal complaint says that man, Brian Rini, learned about the missing boy after seeing a television report on him. And that he told police he wanted to get away from his own family and have a father like Timothy Pitzen's. The Pitzen family says this week has opened old wounds.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KARA JACOBS, TIMMOTHY'S GUNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is devastating.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
JACOBS: It's like reliving that day all over again and Timmothy's father is devastated once again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: With me now is Gail Saltz -- a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst and the author of the book "The Power of Different". Good to see you.
GAIL SALTZ, PSYCHIATRIST: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: So you know, your heart just pains for this family. You know, we heard the Pitzen family there, you know. Can you give us a sense of the range of emotions that they've been going through this past week?
SALTZ: Well it's exceedingly difficult -- it's exceedingly difficult to lose a child but to not know and have a missing child, is that much more difficult because it leaves you with this ambiguity. You can't really move on. You feel guilt if you try to move on. So you're in this terrible limbo.
And yet, after eight years undoubtedly in some ways families do have to keep living lives. But they live with this -- this guilt this uncertainty about hope. They can't complete their grieving. They can't have closure of any sort.
And this kind of thing just resurrects all that terrible ambiguity once again, right. Because they're still at the end of the day they're in the same exact situation. They don't know if he's alive or not. They don't know if he might come home or not. They miss him every day. You know and they really, they can't move on So this just stirs the pot and makes it that much more difficult.
WHITFIELD: And you heard from that one family member saying it's devastating. I mean you can only imagine that you, any family would remain hopeful that maybe one day, you know, our missing child will be found.
So listen to the brother of this suspect, Brian Rini.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JONATHAN RINI, BROTHER OF BRIAN RINI: Honestly, I do not know. I do not know why he would do anything like this. He's a terrible person.
He was in and out of jail a lot while we were kids. Just getting into random little bouts of trouble. Fights at home. He was placed on juvenile probation and then he just continuously violated his probation.
He has Asperger's syndrome and he has bipolar disorder. But still he should have the rational thinking to not do something like this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: These are two families that are just, you know, torn up right now. And you hear the brother saying -- that Brian Rini has bipolar disorder, Asperger's syndrome. He's been in jail before. He even calls his own brother a bad person.
So what is that family going through? To find that you know there was this kind of trick played.
SALTZ: Right. Well to have the pathology of your family member exposed, particularly when it's considered you know terrible behavior that perhaps hurts another family. Given the history the brother cites of being in and out of serious trouble, as such a young person speaks to some sort of conduct disorder and often those young people develop ultimately anti-social personality disorder and do things similar sorts of things that are against the rules of society as it were.
[11:54:48] And even though he may have been looking for a way to escape and be loved and be taken care of like the missing boy would have been, he may not have been thinking about or have any guilt or empathy towards this other family.
That may not have even been on his radar. Because if he has this past history of, you know, breaking the rules. And doesn't have guilt or empathy, then that just wouldn't be, you know, in his lexicon of concerns.
His concerns would be about himself and how does he get taken care of. So it may not have been a vindictive thing but simply not on my radar, I don't think of that. I don't have empathy. I don't have concern. And given the past history, not a shocking behavior.
Unfortunately for the family involved, who may not have been targeted for that reason, it is still terrible for them.
WHITFIELD: Yes. All right. So much pain for so many. Gail Saltz, thank you so much.
SALTZ: My pleasure.
WHITFIELD: All right. Still ahead, the pressure is rising on Attorney General Bill Barr to release the full Mueller report. Investigators on Mueller's team say Barr's recap of their work is off- target.
I'll talk to a member of the House Judiciary on what Congress plans to do next.
[11:56:04] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)