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New Report Focuses on Pilot in Flight 370 Disappearance; Fashion Icon Gloria Vanderbilt Dies at 95. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired June 17, 2019 - 15:30   ET


[15:30:00] LARRY NOBLE, FORMER GENERAL COUNSEL, FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSION: -- following that law. They know that they have to follow that law and that they cannot do any campaigning or do any campaign activity while they're working for the government, while they're on government time. And we have to continue to go through all the steps necessary to make sure those laws are enforced.

Now, if Trump decides, in the end, he's not going to enforce the laws, that's his decision. But we cannot stop pointing out when, in fact, the laws are broken or investigating allegations that they are breaking the law.

ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Again, Jared Kushner is the center of this particular report and this particular -- potential investigation. Do Kushner's ongoing business deals play into this at all?

NOBLE: Well, I -- you know, yes. I mean, I think that his ongoing business deals raise a lot of problems. You know, he is -- you know, he's continuing to collect money from his business deals. Well, and so, again -- so is the -- so is the President. And, yes, these all raise problems. They have not followed the normal course of conduct.

We know that Kushner had great problems with his financial reports. He had to keep amending them. They kept finding problems with them. And he had problems with security clearance. There are a lot of issues with Jared Kushner.

And I think his view of things is that he is different, he can do whatever he wants to do. And, again, I think we cannot let ourselves become swamped by all these things and feel like there's no point to keep, you know, talking about them or investigating them. I think his business dealings where he has a lot of concerns, not just with the Hatch Act, raise concerns with conflicts of interest.

CABRERA: Well, thank you, Larry Noble, for shining some light and providing your expertise for us. We appreciate it.

NOBLE: My pleasure. Thank you.

CABRERA: A new report about the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. The author theorizes what could really be the reason behind the disappearance of MH370, and it centers on the pilot. The writer joins us next. Plus, more on our breaking news. A senior Iranian official says the

U.S. and Iran are heading toward confrontation. Stand by for new details.


[15:36:27] CABRERA: Five years ago, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 carrying 239 passengers and crew on board disappeared after taking off from Kuala Lumpur on its way to Beijing and was never found.

For months, teams from multiple countries including the U.S. scoured the Indian Ocean, painstakingly searching the seas for any signs of the wreckage but found nothing. At one point, several pings from the ocean floor off the coast of Australia appeared to give a sign of hope. No plane.

And then more than a year later, some debris from Flight 370 would wash up on the island of Reunion, but neither the full body of the plane nor any passenger remains were found. What's still a mystery, why did the jet go down?

And now, there's a new theory. William Langewiesche is an aviation writer and professional pilot. He is the author of this month's cover story for "The Atlantic" called "Vanished: How Malaysia Flight 370 Disappeared." He is also a former national correspondent for "The Atlantic."

And, William, this is a fascinating piece. Explain to us how you came to the conclusion that MH370 was hijacked from inside the cockpit. What's the evidence?

WILLIAM LANGEWIESCHE, INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, VANITY FAIR: It's really a process of elimination. If you look at what the airplane did, how it flew, how long it flew, where it flew to before we lost contact with it, you realize it's clear (ph) it was an intentional act.

This is not a random thing. This is not equipment failure. This was -- somebody did this. And through elimination, we finally come to the understanding that it was the captain who did this.

CABRERA: Tell us more because you note there have been at least three official investigations, and they haven't resulted in the same conclusion as you.

LANGEWIESCHE: Well, they're constrained by officialdom, if you know what I mean. And the -- I mean, the three investigations, there's really been one official investigation run by the Malaysians. And it's -- let's say it's been an inadequate investigation.

In the context of Malaysian politics and fears, it's been inadequate. So the fact that they did not come to a conclusion officially and said we can't figure out what happened here means very little and does not constrain somebody like me.

CABRERA: Well, let me read what they have said in a report that they issued. This was back in 2015. They declared the loss an accident, saying they couldn't rule out, necessarily, that it wasn't an accident. They just didn't have enough evidence.

And it said, without the benefit of the examination of the aircraft wreckage and recorded flight data information, the investigation was unable to identify any plausible aircraft or systems failure mode that would lead to the observed systems deactivation, diversion from the file flight plan route, and the subsequent flight path taken by the aircraft. However, the same lack of evidence precluded the investigation from definitively eliminating that possibility. The possibility of intervention by a third party cannot be excluded either.

You just mentioned that the pilot, in your mind, provides some clues. Tell us more.

LANGEWIESCHE: We know that the accident investigation, part of it was a police investigation. We know that when it came to profiling the pilot, a guy named Zaharie, that it was inadequate, that it was dishonest, that many things about Zaharie were left out. They're easily discoverable in Malaysia, in Kuala Lumpur. It was not the rosy picture they painted.

[15:39:55] And as I say in the piece, if Malaysia was a country in which the truth is valued, in which there is not censure to the press in which people are not being thrown in prison and made to disappear from the streets, which was going on at that time, then the lack of finger-pointing by the police would mean something.

In the context of Malaysia and the omissions in the police report as part of the technical report, we have to take the evidence entirely -- exactly the opposite direction, really. It seems to point at who we all know did this.

CABRERA: Well, what did you find that the public doesn't know about? What surprised you along the way?

LANGEWIESCHE: Well, it surprised me -- I mean, there is a huge amount I found the public doesn't know about. It's -- a lot of it is very technical, which is one reason this piece is so long. If you really take it apart and you start eliminating some of the technical possibilities, the public has no idea how to do that or how to think about it. So there's a lot in here that the public has not been exposed to before.

CABRERA: You talk about one man, Blaine Gibson, who has discovered roughly a third of the debris that has been found from the plane since the crash. How is a civilian who is unaffiliated with any official investigation the one who is making these discoveries?

LANGEWIESCHE: Amazing story, actually. Blaine Gibson is the lawyer from Seattle who has been wandering the world all his life, wears a great big fedora. He's an adventurer, and he decided he was going to find debris on beaches. He started looking for it. Nobody else is looking for it. And he went to talk to some oceanographers in Australia who told him

where to look. And he went there, Madagascar and Mozambique, and he -- sure enough, he found -- started finding pieces.

He also put out a network. So he told people that he would pay -- local people, fishermen, people like. That he would pay for any pieces they found. And so people started bringing him pieces because he would give them $10 for a honeycomb structure.

CABRERA: And then those pieces were tested and eventually confirmed to be part of the wreckage.

William Langewiesche, I wish we could really dive into the details of your technical reporting because you lay it out there, what the data is. And I do encourage our viewers to read your article. It's a really, really interesting read. Thanks for spending the time with us today.


CABRERA: Up next, remembering the life of Gloria Vanderbilt. Her son, CNN's Anderson Cooper, has a special tribute.


[15:47:26] CABRERA: Gloria Vanderbilt, fashion icon and trendsetter of the '60s, '70s, and '80s died this morning. She was 95. Our hearts go out to her son and our colleague, Anderson Cooper, who released this statement.

Gloria Vanderbilt was an extraordinary woman who loved life and lived it on her own terms. She was a painter, a writer, a designer, but also a remarkable mother, wife, and friend. She was 95 years old, but ask anyone close to her, and they'd tell you she was the youngest person they knew, the coolest and most modern. She died this morning the way she wanted to, at home, surrounded by family and friends.

Anderson looks back on his mother's often turbulent yet extraordinary life.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Gloria Vanderbilt, my mom, lived her entire life in the public eye. Born in 1924, her father, Reginald Vanderbilt, was heir to the Vanderbilt railroad fortune but gambled away most of his inheritance and died when my mom was just a baby. Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt, her mother, wasn't ready to be a mom or a widow.

My mom grew up in France, not knowing anything about the Vanderbilt family or the money that she would inherit when she turned 21. She had no idea the trouble that money would create.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And here is the first movie of little Gloria herself. Frightened by the curious crowd, she flees into her aunt's car. Money isn't everything. COOPER (voice-over): When she was 10, her father's sister, Gertrude

Vanderbilt Whitney, sued to have my mom taken away from her own mother. It was a custody battle the likes of which the world had never seen. It was called the trial of the century, and it took place during the height of the depression, making headlines every day for months.

The court awarded custody of my mom to her Aunt Gertrude, whom she barely knew. The judge also fired the one person my mom truly loved and needed, her nanny, whom she called dodo.

GLORIA VANDERBILT, MOTHER OF ANDERSON COOPER: She was my mother, my father. She was my everything. She was my lifeline. She was all I had.

COOPER (voice-over): As a teenager, she tried to avoid the spotlight, but reporters and cameramen would follow her everywhere. She was determined to make something of her life, determined to make a name for herself, and find the love and family that she so desperately craved. At 17, against her aunt's wishes, she got married. She knew it was a mistake from the get-go.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wedding bells at Santa Barbara's ancient mission. He is Pasquale DiCicco, Hollywood actors' agent, and he's 32.

COOPER (on camera): He was described as a Hollywood agent. Was he an agent?

[15:49:58] VANDERBILT: Well, maybe at one point he was. He had been married to Thelma Todd, who was quite a well-known actress, and she was -- died under mysterious circumstances. And there were sort of rumors around that maybe he had killed her, you know.

COOPER (on camera): Wait a minute.


COOPER (on camera): Wait a minute. So you got married to a guy who there were rumors that he had killed his former wife?


COOPER (on camera): Did that not seem to give you pause?

VANDERBILT: Well, I thought all he needs is me, you know, to --

COOPER (on camera): Oh, god.


VANDERBILT: Sweetheart, I was only 17.


COOPER (on camera): O.K. I know.


COOPER (voice-over): At 21, she married again and had two sons with the legendary conductor, Leopold Stokowski.

COOPER (on camera): This is what he looked like when you first met him?

VANDERBILT: Well, it's a terrible photograph of him, but he was 63 when I first met him and married him.

COOPER (on camera): And was this something like as soon as you saw him, you thought --


COOPER (on camera): Really?

VANDERBILT: I knew him for a week and married three weeks later.

COOPER (on camera): Really?


COOPER (on camera): I didn't know that.


COOPER (on camera): And he was 63?


COOPER (on camera): Wow. Did any of your friends think it was weird?

VANDERBILT: I don't know. I mean --


COOPER (on camera): They didn't say anything to you?

VANDERBILT: It didn't matter to me.

COOPER (voice-over): The marriage lasted more than a decade. Then she met and married director Sidney Lumet and then my father writer, Wyatt Cooper.

Over the course of her life, my mom was photographed by all the great photographers, and she worked as a painter, a writer, an actress, and designer.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Gloria, you're terrific.

COOPER (voice-over): If you were around in the early 1980s, it was pretty hard to miss the jeans she helped create. But that was the public face, the one she learned to hide behind as a child. Her private self, her real self, that was more fascinating and more lovely than anything she showed the public. I always thought of her as a visitor from another world, a traveler

stranded here who'd come from a distant star that burned out long ago. I always felt it was my job to try to protect her. She was the strongest person I've ever met, but she wasn't tough.

She never developed a thick skin to protect herself from hurt. She wanted to feel it all. She wanted to feel life's pleasures; its pains as well. She trusted too freely, too completely, and suffered tremendous losses. But she always pressed on. Always worked hard. Always believed the best was yet to come.

COOPER (on camera): You think the next great love is right around the corner?

VANDERBILT: Absolutely. Absolutely.

COOPER (on camera): Is there anyone I should know about right now?



COOPER (on camera): I think Ben Brantley said he's never met somebody over the age of 16 who loves being in love as much as you.

VANDERBILT: That's true. I think we should always be in love.

COOPER (voice-over): And she was always in love. In love with men, or with friends, or books and art. In love with her children and her grandchildren and then her great-grandchildren. Love is what she believed in more than anything.

Earlier this month, we had to take her to the hospital. And that's where she learned she had very advanced cancer in her stomach and that it had spread. When the doctor told her she had cancer, she was silent for a while. And then she said, well, it's like that old song, show me the way to get out of this world because that's where everything is.

Later, she made a joke and we started giggling. I never knew that we had the exact same giggle. I recorded it and it makes me giggle every time I watch it.


COOPER (voice-over): Joseph Conrad wrote that we live as we die, alone. He was wrong in my mom's case. Gloria Vanderbilt died as she lived, on her own terms.

I know she hoped for a little more time, a few days or weeks at least. There were paintings she wanted to make, more books she wanted to read, more dreams to dream. But she was ready. She was ready to go.

VANDERBILT: Once upon a time --

COOPER (voice-over): She spent time a lot of time alone in her head during her life. But when the end came, she was not alone. She was surrounded by beauty and by family and by friends.

The last few weeks, every time I kissed her goodbye, I'd say, I love you, mom. She would look at me and say, I love you, too. You know that.

And she was right. I did know that. I knew it from the moment I was born, and I'll know it for the rest of my life. And in the end, what greater gift can a mother give to her son?

Gloria Vanderbilt was 95 years old when she died. What an extraordinary life. What an extraordinary mom. And what an incredible woman.



CABRERA: An 11-year-old boy in North Carolina fought off an intruder using, of all weapons, a machete. Braydon Smith was home alone on the phone with his mom when this suspect just came through a window. Smith says he normally uses the machete to chop down trees, but on Friday, he used it for self-defense. The suspect eventually fled and showed up at a hospital to get treated. He now faces several charges including kidnapping.

[15:59:57] "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts right now. Thanks so much for being here.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: How was your Father's Day? I hear Mick Mulvaney got some arugula. "THE LEAD" starts now.