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NTSB Investigating Helicopter Crash On New York City High-Rise; CNN Reality Check: Trump's Nixon-Like Numbers On Impeachment; Wall Street Journal: Kim Jong Un's Slain Half-Brother Was A CIA Source. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired June 11, 2019 - 07:30   ET



[07:31:50] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: The NTSB is investigating that deadly chopper crash on the roof of a New York City high-rise. Investigators want to know why the pilot was flying in restricted airspace.

This amateur video captures the chopper flying erratically before it went down.

Here to lend us their expertise in this field are Miles O'Brien, CNN aviation analyst, and Mary Schiavo, CNN transportation analyst. It's great to have both of you.

Miles, I just want to start with that video. I want to play it again -- put it up again for people because, of course, to my untrained eye this helicopter is doing crazy things. I mean, it goes into a dive -- a steep dive that I've never seen a helicopter do before.

What do you see when you watch this video?

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN AVIATION ANALYST, SCIENCE CORRESPONDENT, PBS "NEWSHOUR": Alisyn, you don't have to be a veteran to look at that and say something is drastically wrong.

What it looks like at the outset is a pilot that somehow found himself in the clouds, what we call in piloting is spatial disorientation. You lose the horizon, you lose your way. And one of the ways to get out of that situation is to dive down, get below the clouds, and get your bearings. That's what we saw.

The aircraft levels out and seems to be in control and at this point, this would be something we would not be talking about. But then, inexplicably, it rises back up into the clouds from where the trouble began and heads over toward Manhattan.

It's erratic flying that's very difficult to explain. Was the pilot in some -- somehow incapacitated? Was he dealing with a medical emergency?

Was there a control problem with the craft? It doesn't look like it but there could be. There's a lot of mysteries here. CAMEROTA: Mary, you say this flight was not legal. What do you mean?


First of all, taking off in this weather without instrument flight rules, meaning contact with the tower and getting clearances. The route after he took off. He flew over the buildings of Manhattan. He wasn't supposed to be there.

Then, flew down or, you know, around the end of -- the Staten Island end, and then back up over. So he was over buildings and over land for a good part of this flight.

You cannot fly over buildings over congested areas under 1,000 feet. He was under that the whole time because of the clouds.

There just was nothing legal about this flight from start to the finish.

CAMEROTA: Miles, helicopters are not allowed to be flying in the airspace near Trump Tower, in particular. I mean, that's one of the President of the United States homes.

And so, when something like this happens are they in touch with flight -- air flight traffic controllers?

O'BRIEN: The way New York airspace is carved up Alisyn, essentially, the rivers are at low altitude. The Hudson River and the East River are corridors for free and easy traffic for helicopters and other small aircraft.

If you stay below a certain altitude you don't check in with air traffic control. What you do is you broadcast on a common frequency identifying the craft, your location, and where you're headed. And everybody does the same and you're all watching out for each other.

However, the moment you go feet dry, as it were, onto the island of Manhattan, you need to be talking to LaGuardia tower in order to get permission to do that. And there are ways to get permission to transit across the island.

[07:35:08] I've flown my little plane right across Central Park but I was talking to air traffic control when I did it. If I didn't, I would have lost my license.

CAMEROTA: And we just actually don't -- we haven't been able to confirm yet if they have been in communication with the -- right -- if the pilot was in communication with the right people.

Mary, you know, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney is calling for an end to these kinds of flights. Anything but non-essential flights of helicopters, she believes, should be ceased over Manhattan.

What are your thoughts? SCHIAVO: Well, this argument has been going on for a long time and it really reached a crescendo, you might recall, when a tour helicopter had a midair collision over the Hudson River. There were nine Italian tourists on board.

And I worked that crash -- litigated that one. And it was a huge issue then because there was very little regulation, just as Miles said, that the airspace over the river is kind of a free for all and you talk to each other on com lines.

And so, it wasn't just Congresswoman Maloney. There were many people calling for these to be banned because it is some of the most congested airspace in the world. And the helicopter port there at the tip of Manhattan is the busiest one in the world, flying over -- you know, depending on how many people are working that -- seven to 10 million people.

And "Stop the Chop" is the movement and it's been going on for a long time.

But, here's the rub. Airspace is Federal Aviation Administration- controlled, navigable waters are controlled also by the federal government, and the FAA has always sided with the helicopter operators. They have put more restrictions on it in recent years after Cory Lidle and the Hudson River midair, but the FAA won't ban them.

CAMEROTA: Very quickly, in five seconds, do you think they should stop the chop?

SCHIAVO: I think it's time after this because once they take off, how are you going to stop them? We learned that lesson in 9/11.

CAMEROTA: Miles, do you agree?

O'BRIEN: No, I don't. I think there are safe ways to do it and there are plenty of restrictions. You can't legislate either a medical emergency or just plain stupidity out of the existence. There are always going to be exceptions.

I think, generally speaking, helicopter traffic around New York is safe and it's enjoyable for tourists and a very effective way of transportation for the people who can afford it.


Miles O'Brien, Mary Schiavo, thank you both very much for all of your expertise -- John.


Tens of thousands of images of travelers and their license plates have been stolen in a new government data breach. How concerned should you be about your privacy? Details, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [07:42:15] BERMAN: All right, that music means it's time for "CNN Business." New concerns over the president's trade war with China, but good news for travelers ahead of the summer season.

CNN's chief business correspondent Christine Romans here with that.


The president, in that freewheeling phone interview with the financial network, he bashed the Chamber of Commerce, he bashed the Federal Reserve, he criticized American automakers, he riffed on more tech regulation, and he questioned a blockbuster defense merger.

And just as the president ended one tariff threat with Mexico, he renewed another with China. Now, talks have stalled between the U.S. and China, making this month's G20 meeting critical, and Trump raised the stakes. If Chinese President Xi Jinping doesn't meet with Trump in Osaka, Trump promises more tariffs.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have another $300 billion to go with China. I haven't done that because it's a very big thing for them -- not for us. For us, it's not going to matter because we'll be able to buy the product in other countries that don't have the tariffs. So it's not going to have an effect.


ROMANS: Fact-check: the tariffs already on Chinese imports have had an effect. Goldman Sachs says 40 percent of the cost of tariffs so far has been passed on to consumers; the rest split between producers and retailers.

But some good news for consumers. Gas prices are dropping. U.S. oil production on track for a record 13.4 million barrels per day by the end of the year, more than making up for OPEC's scaling back as the cartel tries to prop prices back up.

So what does that mean for consumers? Lower gas prices, probably for the summer. The national average for a gallon of gas, $2.73. Gas prices, you guys, have fallen for five straight weeks now.

CAMEROTA: That is good news for drivers. Thank you very much, Christine.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

CAMEROTA: All right.

Customs and Border Protection officials say tens of thousands of travelers' photos and license plate images were stolen in a cyberattack. The agency is working with law enforcement and cybersecurity experts to determine the scope of this breach. Initial reports say fewer than 100,000 people were affected. We will stay on it.

BERMAN: We should just wear our Social Security numbers like on t- shirts or something. What's the point?

CAMEROTA: Yes, right.

BERMAN: All right. With John Dean, of Watergate fame, returning to Capitol Hill, the "i" word, impeachment, is all the rage in Washington, but should it be?

John Avlon has a reality check -- John.


So it was back to the future yesterday on Capitol Hill with John Dean testifying to House Democrats 45 years after he set off a chain of events that led to the resignation of Richard Nixon.

Meanwhile, over at the White House, President Trump, who echoed Nixon slogans throughout his campaign, had history on the brain as well.


TRUMP: When you look at past impeachments, whether it was President Clinton or -- I guess, President Nixon never got there -- he left. I don't leave. There's a big difference. I don't leave.


AVLON: He's right that Nixon that left before he got impeached. Only two presidents, Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton, faced the constitutional nuclear option and neither was convicted by the Senate.

[07:45:01] Impeachment, set aside of treason, bribery, high crimes and misdemeanors is a political, not a legal proceeding, and that's why public opinion matters so much.

Folks didn't care much about Watergate initially. It was dismissed by many as a campaign caper in Nixon's 49th state reelection landslide. In June of 1973, only 19 percent of Americans thought Nixon should be impeached, according to Gallup. Six percent of Republicans, 18 percent of Independents, 27 percent of Democrats.

But those numbers steadily rose as more information came out during the hearings until in July of the following year, 46 percent of Americans thought Nixon should be removed from office, 17 percent of Republicans, 47 percent of Independents, and 59 percent of Democrats.

One month later, the number was up to 58 percent. Nixon resigned.

But it was the sea change in independence from 18 percent to 55 percent that really drove Nixon's numbers under water. Escrow independence, so goes the presidency.

Now, with Bill Clinton, just 19 percent supported impeachment in February of 1998 and the number never rose beyond 29 percent ahead of House impeachment hearings, which helps account for the political backlash Republicans faced in that year's midterms.

Now, check this out. In their second terms, both George W. Bush and Barack Obama faced some hyperpartisan congressional resolutions for impeachment, essentially without objective cause, and they went nowhere. Nonetheless, 30 percent of Americans said Bush should be impeached and 33 percent said the same about Obama.

Since Watergate, we've seen the development of what might be called an impeachment caucus, some 20 to 30 percent on either side getting pumped up by partisan media.

But what's stunning about Donald Trump's situation is that according to CNN's most recent poll, 41 percent of Americans believe he should be impeached. Yes, the numbers reflect a predictable partisan spread -- 76 percent of Democrats, 35 percent of Independents, and six percent of Republicans. But it's a significantly higher number than any president since Nixon.

And consider this. The percent of Americans who think Trump should be impeached is roughly equivalent to his job approval rating. We've never seen anything like this.

And keep in mind it took Nixon until the spring of 1974 to get to a point where 41 percent thought he should be impeached.

Look, folks, no one should be an impeachment enthusiast. Yes, it's a remedy set aside by our founding fathers for extreme circumstances, but it's divisive and disruptive to our democracy.

What's clear is that Donald Trump is in a deeper hole regarding the public's will to impeach than any president since Nixon, while still in his first term. And history shows that those numbers are likely to get worse rather than better.

And that's your reality check.

CAMEROTA: Thank you very much for that history lesson.

BERMAN: Yes, interesting comparisons there.


CAMEROTA: All right.

Authorities blamed Kim Jong Un for the 2017 assassination of his half- brother. Now, we have new clues about why the North Korean dictator may have wanted his brother killed. Those details, next.


[07:51:36] BERMAN: So, there is this new CNN-Des Moines Register poll which shows us where the race stands in Iowa right now.

CAMEROTA: Fantastic. BERMAN: The top line -- Joe Biden's leading -- a whole bunch of people tied for second. But there's so much more inside the poll that you don't know about.

CAMEROTA: Secret stuff.

BERMAN: We're going to tell you the secret stuff. There's something about Harry.

HARRY ENTEN, SENIOR WRITER AND ANALYST, CNN POLITICS: I'm going to put a little secret sauce on there, you know. I'll get it in, put it, mix it together until you guys where everything is sort of aligning.

CAMEROTA: It sounds like your lunch.

ENTEN: You know what, I do love a good Italian lunch -- I'll tell you that much. A little penne marinara and mozzarella -- perfect.

OK, let's just sort of lay the groundwork here and obviously, we've all seen these numbers before if, in fact, you have been tuned into this program over the past two days.

And essentially, we have Biden up in Iowa at 24 percent. Then we have, sort of, this 3-way race for second between 14 and 16 with Sanders, Warren, and Buttigieg. Harris down at seven percent. No other candidate polls above two percent.

So what does this mean in historical context? Sort of, how often would we expect candidates to go on and win the nomination, given their polling?

So, I looked back since 1980 and what we essentially find is that someone who is polling -- the front-runner who is polling at about 25 percent would go on and win that nomination about 30 percent of the time.

BERMAN: Which is pretty good.

ENTEN: Which is pretty good.

Obviously, though, we'd expect someone who is polling around 15 percent, which is those three, to go on and win the nomination around 15 percent of the time. And so, essentially, if you would add together those three candidates who are polling at 15 they'd have a better shot of winning than Biden at about 30 percent.

But here's one little nugget that I think is really interesting and that is if you're polling down in this area, right, about one percent of the vote, you would essentially expect to win the nomination -- or win the Iowa caucuses about three percent of the time. And you have this slew of candidates who are polling down in that level.

So if I were looking at this data right now, I'd expect maybe one of those candidates to be able to come up. And I think that's why you're seeing all these candidates stick in the race because they think -- hey, why can't I be that one. CAMEROTA: I agree. I think that's really fascinating because you would think that if you were polling at this one percent, you would not win -- you would not stand any chance. But, in fact, it does turn around sometimes.

ENTEN: Right. You have -- there is a one-shot of doing that. For instance, George H.W. Bush was polling at about three percent in a much less crowded field back in 1980 and he went on to win the Iowa caucuses.

BERMAN: All right, what are the favorability numbers telling you?

ENTEN: Yes. So, if -- you know, if you're looking for one reason why Joe Biden might fall by the wayside in Iowa, take a look at this. This is the very favorable opinions of the candidates and this tends to correlate quite highly with vote choice.

And what you see is actually that Elizabeth Warren, among in-person Democratic caucusgoers, actually has the highest rating. And basically, you see all of these candidates between 31 percent and 38 percent.

So if there was one nugget in here to tell you why this race is still very volatile, why any of these candidates could truly win that and earn the top five, it's this particular rating. And, Warren scores very, very well on this.

BERMAN: On the other hand --

ENTEN: On the other hand, take a look at this. Very nice lead-in, John. Boy, you ate your Wheaties this morning.

Here -- Iowa's liberal lane is clogged. Look at this. So, among those who call themselves liberal, Elizabeth Warren is leading.

But look at this. All of these candidates between 16 and 22 percent -- and even Harris down here at nine -- versus this moderate to conservative lane that we keep talking about. Biden basically has it all by himself. He's up there at 31 percent.

The only one who is even close is Sanders at 18 percent. And then the rest of them between two and seven percent.

So, even though Warren is very well-liked, a problem she may run into is that there are a lot of candidates who are pulling support from someplace else.

BERMAN: It's interesting to me that Biden is competitive with liberals but blowing everyone out with moderates.

ENTEN: And that's all you really need to do because even in Iowa where liberals make up a slightly larger part of the pie than moderates or conservatives, they're pretty much equal. So if he's able to hold this number, he will be very, very competitive until the end in Iowa.

[07:55:02] CAMEROTA: Tell us another secret.

ENTEN: Tell you another secret. Oh, where oh where -- OK.

Why Iowa may not be telling -- look at this. So, this is the share of Democratic voters in Iowa who are white. It's 85 --


ENTEN: -- percent. It's just 60 percent nationally.

African Americans only make up three percent of the pie in the Iowa electorate. And this is important because what we saw nationally over the last two months in our CNN polls was a large racial divide where Biden was winning with whites with 32 percent, but it wasn't an overwhelmingly lead versus Sanders.

Look at this African American lane, right, where what you see is that Biden was winning among African Americans by nearly 40 points over Sanders, and no one else even breaking double-digits.

BERMAN: Yes. It's not until South Carolina and the primary calendar.

ENTEN: That's right. So if Biden wins a small win in Iowa, I think that's probably a very good thing for him, given what's down the road.

BERMAN: Can we talk about the viability threshold?

ENTEN: Yes. So -- well, what I want to talk about first is just -- yes, this is a little bit of the viability. We can talk about the viability threshold in here but this is Iowa caucuses' funky math.

Remember, there's a share of delegates and this is the first year in which you have virtual caucuses. You know, usually, you have to go and vote in person. This year, you can vote via teleconference, via online. And what we see is that 90 percent of the delegates are being assigned to in-person versus 10 percent virtually.

But here's the interesting thing. According to our poll, look at this. Seventy-two percent say they're going to vote in person versus 28 percent online or virtually. And that's a big difference because look, this is a varied difference between how many delegates are being assigned the share of voters, so that could be a very interesting one- person, one-vote thing.

And in terms of the viability threshold that you were just talking about John, what I would point out -- you have all those candidates near one percent right now and you need to get 15 percent of the vote or more when they reallocate those things -- those different people --

BERMAN: On caucus night.

ENTEN: -- on caucus night.

And so, what we could, in fact, see is that this entire thing -- the share of delegates that actually come out versus the share of voters could be very, very different. And this is the first year in which Iowa is going to report raw votes, so I don't know exactly what's going to happen and how the media is exactly going to report voters versus delegates. A very weird thing going on.

CAMEROTA: Thank you for sharing all of those secrets. You have one more up your sleeve we can see?

ENTEN: I just -- well, I just want to share this with Mr. Berman. Can Berman's Boston Bruins win game seven at home? How often have teams won in all game sevens? They have won 59 percent of the time, so that's a slight favorite.

And, Stanley Cup --


ENTEN: -- so, they've won 75 percent of the time. So, hey, maybe Boston, you might get another championship, not that you need it.

BERMAN: I think the last two Cup finals that went to game sevens went to the visiting team. That's not a good thing.

ENTEN: Say, John knows -- John, you know you're hockey.

CAMEROTA: He's got stuff in there.

BERMAN: Harry Enten --

ENTEN: A little pessimistic, though. You've got to bring the optimism, John.

BERMAN: Thank you for being with us.

ENTEN: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Thank you, Harry.

All right. "The Wall Street Journal" reports that the murdered half- brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was a source for the CIA. Kim Jong Nam was poisoned with a nerve agent in 2017 at an airport in Malaysia.

And, CNN's Paula Hancocks is live for us in Seoul, South Korea with more. What have you learned, Paula?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Alisyn, this "Wall Street Journal" report saying they don't know the exact details but the fact that they believe Kim Jong Nam was an informant for the CIA.

What we have learned was back in January of last year when the court case going on for those two women accused of his murder -- remember the CCTV footage of them smearing the nerve agent VX on his face in Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Within that court case, police did admit that Kim Jong Nam met an American on the holiday island of Langkawi just five days before he was murdered, although they do say they don't know what his identity is or whether or not he was a spy. Now, within this same court case, we understand that the defense lawyer for those women did say that believes that he had met an intelligence agent but was unable to give more details. The police not willing to join the dots at this point.

But this is certainly very interesting, the fact that Kim Jong Un himself would have seen this as an absolute act of treachery if his half-brother had been speaking to the CIA.

But then, other experts we've spoken to today say they would be surprised if the CIA wasn't trying to talk to Kim Jong Nam and the information he could have given may not have been that useful, given the fact he had been out in exile for many years -- John.

BERMAN: All right, Paula Hancocks for us. Thank you very much for being there for us. Fascinating to watch that develop.

We have breaking political news, so NEW DAY continues right now.


CAMEROTA: President Trump and Democratic front-runner Joe Biden both campaigning in Iowa today.

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: President Trump inherited an economy that was given to him, just like he inherited everything else in his life.

TRUMP: I don't see him as a threat. He's only a threat to himself.

JOHN DEAN, FORMER NIXON WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: Special counsel Mueller has provided this committee with a road map.

REP. DOUG COLLINS (R-GA): The priority should be to go to the battlefield when we were attacked, not run by the sideshow to hear from the commentators.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: While my Republican colleagues were spinning conspiracy theories, we were actually delving into the many ways the president may have engaged in obstruction of justice.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At Fenway Park in Boston last night, tributes for David Ortiz. He is always going to be a part of that team.

ALEX CORA, MANAGER, BOSTON RED SOX: He'll be back with us.