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Lion Air Crash Investigation Released; U.S. May Move Tanks to Syria; Astros Fire Assistant GM; Biden on His Children in the White House; Gabbard Won't Run for Re-election; Biden Allies Push for Super PAC. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired October 25, 2019 - 06:30   ET




ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news overnight, more than 18 million people in southern California are facing red fire warnings as ferocious winds fuel nine fires that have charred nearly 30,000 acres across the state. As many as 50,000 people are under evacuation orders at this hour.

In northern California's Sonoma County, the fire there has burned 16,000 acres and destroyed dozens of structures. Utility giant Pacific Gas and Electronic now says a transmission tower malfunctioned near the spot where the fire began, but Cal Fire says the cause is still under investigation.

And north of Los Angeles, a wildfire is raging at this hour consuming nearly 4,000 acres. Firefighters are scrambling to protect homes as 10,000 structures are threatened.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Also breaking overnight, Indonesian investigators have released their findings about the Lion Air crash that killed 189 people nearly a year ago. They are blaming design flaws in Boeing's 737 Max jet and pilot error for the crash.

CNN's Rene Marsh live in Washington with these breaking details.

Came out just a short time ago, Rene. What have we learned?


So they are outlining some nine contributing factors for this Lion Air crash. Indonesian crash investigators, they're blaming Boeing, the FAA, and the pilots for this deadly crash.

But the start of the problem, though, is Boeing and the FAA. Investigators blamed the design of the plane's flight control system and lapses in FAA's oversight during the whole process, saying, and I'm quoting, during the design and certification of the Boeing 737 Max, assumptions were made about pilot response to malfunctions which even though consistent with current industry guidelines, turned out to be incorrect.

Well, the plane's automated software was denied to only rely on critical information from one censor, making it vulnerable if that censor was faulty. Investigators also pointed to a lack of information on the plane's -- about the plane's systems in the flight manuals.

As for the pilots, investigators blamed poor training and maintenance of the plane. They even note that the pilots did not communicate or even coordinate with each other very well as all of these alerts and alarms are going off in the cockpit.

And, finally, investigators pointed out that the day before this accident, flight crews on the very same aircraft, they experienced the same system malfunction. The crew actually deactivated the MCAS system and flew the plane safely o the destination, but they didn't make an entry in the maintenance log. And so the pilots on board Lion Air Flight 610 didn't even know that there were problems on board the previous flight.

I do want to quickly read a response from Boeing in response to the findings of this final report. They said safety is an enduring value for everyone at Boeing and the safety of the flying public and our customers and the crews aboard our airplanes is always our top priority. We value our long standing partnership with Lion Air and we look forward to working with them in the future.


So Boeing committing to making the changes outlined within this final report.

Back to you, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: OK, Rene, thank you very much for that very important development that we've all been waiting for.

Meanwhile, in Syria, another potential flip-flop on Syria by President Trump. Two Pentagon officials tell CNN that plans are being discussed to deploy tanks in eastern Syria to protect U.S. troops near oil fields. You'll remember the president announced U.S. troops would be withdrawing from that region.

CNN's Nick Paton Walsh is live for us from Erbil, Iraq, with more.

What have you learned, Nick?


CAMEROTA: All right, obviously we're having technical problems with that shot from Erbil. But we'll get Nick back when -- as soon as we can.

BERMAN: All right. We'll be right back.


BERMAN: All right, the Houston Astros have fired their assistant general manager for this outburst that was directed at female reporters.

Coy Wire with the latest on this in the "Bleacher Report."

This has been hanging over the Astros for some time. They waited awhile to get this done.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and you have to wonder if it's affecting the team's mind-set as they're facing the Nationals in the World Series. This situation happened while the Astros were celebrating their American League title on Saturday.

Brandon Taubman turned to a group of female reporters and yelled, thank God we got Osuna. He was referring to Roberto Osuna, who served a 75-game suspension last season after being accused of violating baseball's domestic violence policy. The team initially called "Sports Illustrated" reporting of Taubman's conduct, quote, misleading and completely irresponsible. But after days of investigating, Astros' GM Jeff Luhnow admitted the team was wrong, fired Taubman and apologized to the reporter, Stephanie Apstein. Earlier this week, Taubman conceded he used inappropriate language and was embarrassed by his behavior.

Let's go to basketball.

The last three NBA MVPs on the floor in Houston last night. Giannis Antetokounmpo's Bucks taking on Rockets' James Harden and Russell Westbrook. The new power couple looking more like an old married couple at times. The stars getting into a passionate exchange just minutes into the game. The reunion off to a rocky start. They combined for just 43 points. Giannis had 30 on his own. Houston falls 117-111.

Now, Houston Astros are hoping they don't fall again. They're down 2-0 to the Nationals in the World Series. Game three is tonight in D.C.

And, John, standing room tickets only going for about $1,000 apiece. Fans are smelling blood in the water and the sharks are circling.

BERMAN: What a segue that is, Coy Wire. Thank you very much.

Because as the Washington Nationals prepare to host that city's first World Series game since --


BERMAN: 1933, of course.

CAMEROTA: I mean, that's just off the top of my head.

BERMAN: Tonight, players and fans alike have launched -- latched onto one of the strangest good luck charms in the history of Major League Baseball. A song for toddlers and Alisyn Camerota called "Baby Shark." And we do apologize in advance for the ear worm (ph).


("BABY SHARK" playing)


CAMEROTA: You can't really hear it there. You can't really hear it there. But you can -- you can hear it much better when our CNN politics reporter and editor at large and big Washington Nationals fan Chris Cillizza comes on.

CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER AND EDITOR AT LARGE: Bum, bum, bum, bum, bum, bum, bum, bum, bum. Bum, bum, bum, bum, bum, bum, bum, bum, bum.

CAMEROTA: Bum, bum, bum, bum, bum, bum, bum, bum, bum.

CILLIZZA: It's too bad I didn't wear my shark hat.

CAMEROTA: You have one?

CILLIZZA: Heck yeah! And they sell bandanas.

BERMAN: Clearly dignity --

CILLIZZA: It's a whole thing.

BERMAN: Dignity not a concern in any way here, Chris.

CILLIZZA: I lost my dignity -- it's interesting, I have -- I have traced -- it was about 1987.


CILLIZZA: Strangely enough, yes.


BERMAN: So, Chris, explain to us why this is happening.

CAMEROTA: Hold on. Quiet, quite, I want to hear it.


SINGING: Mommy shark.


CILLIZZA: Oh, yes.


SINGING: Daddy shark, do, do, do, do, do, do, do. Daddy shark, do, do, do, do, do, do, do.


CILLIZZA: Oh, yes, it's a whole thing.

BERMAN: Because?

CILLIZZA: OK. So the Nationals started the season 19-31 through 50 games. And I, like everyone there who's a big sports fan, was demanding that Dave Martinez, who's the manager was fired, which because I have a lot of influence, he was not fired.

CAMEROTA: Oh, weird.

CILLIZZA: So they were bad and they were expected to be good.

Gerardo Para, who's a utility infielder, outfielder -- actually outfielder. He gets signed in May. No one pays attention. The San Francisco Giants cut him.

Suddenly he has -- he has a two-year-old daughter. He plays this song. We're kind of in the doldrums. I think at that point they were getting better, but they're still under 0.500 (ph). People have said, nobody really pays an attention. It's a kids song, right? Like, if you have little kids, you've heard this song, all right. It's a --

CAMEROTA: And you can't unhear it.

CILLIZZA: And it -- correct.

CAMEROTA: That's the problem with it. You'll sing it all day now that we've planted it in your (INAUDIBLE).

CILLIZZA: Then, after the all-star break, they Nationals filmed Para doing the thing -- the --

CAMEROTA: Dun, dun, dun, dun, dun, dun.

CILLIZZA: With like a big old head. So it's like three versions of his head doing it.

And then as they got better, and he -- the clubhouse kind of rallied -- in truth, it's an awesome story because the clubhouse kind of rallied around him. He's a fun guy. He's the guy -- he always has colored sunglasses on in the dugout. Doesn't play a lot. But I will tell you, we've taken our kids -- I have two boys, 10 and seven. They're big Nationals fans (INAUDIBLE) because I'm a big National's fan.

If you take kids to a game, they do not care about anything.


I'm praying that Gerardo Para pinch hits so that the kids can hear and people go bananas. I mean it's -- the -- the -- when you walk into the Nationals, whatever, where they sell all their merch.

BERMAN: Concession area. CILLIZZA: It's like 90 percent shark stuff. And then it's like, oh, also a Max Scherzer jersey and a Bryce --

BERMAN: And a -- and a --

CAMEROTA: They're winning --

CILLIZZA: Not a Bryce Harper but a Stephen Strasburg jersey.

BERMAN: They're winning because of the baby shark. They're winning and it says --

CILLIZZA: Well, it's chemistry. Remember, baseball, 162-game season, right? It -- I mean it goes on forever. I say as a fan, even every game is three-plus hours. You have to have some level of chemistry. They dance in the dugouts after they hit home runs.

CAMEROTA: That's right. I like that.

Now, answer me this, why isn't President Trump -- President Trump is going to go to the game but --

CILLIZZA: He is going --

CAMEROTA: But why won't he throw out the pitch?

CILLIZZA: So, he is going to game five. May not get that far. Remember, they could sweep in four. But he is allegedly going to game five.

He -- he is -- the Nationals said he's not throwing out the pitch. Trump didn't directly address it yesterday but said that he would look too heavy with all that armor on, meaning a bulletproof vest, which presidents wear in those situations. George W. Bush wore one after -- when he threw it out in the Yankees World Series after 2001.

BERMAN: President Obama did too. But what would happen, do you think, as a fan and as a political analyst if Donald Trump walked to the pitcher's mound to throw out the first pitch?

CILLIZZA: Yes, I mean, he would -- like D.C. is not a -- the District of Columbia is not a swing state. He would be heavily booed. They know that. And they don't -- they don't want that image. Even for a -- I mean this is one of the most media conscious, despite the press he gets, one of the most media conscious people, forget presidents, people we've had. He knows -- he knows that -- even -- even showing him in the stands, my guess, if they put him on the big screen and they show him on game five, he will be booed at a level that we might play it in the future.

CAMEROTA: Well, maybe he also doesn't want to subject himself to any of the clothing controversy because, remember, President Obama was seen wearing mom jeans. Remember that?

CILLIZZA: Those jeans were brutal.

CAMEROTA: Those jeans were brutal.

CILLIZZA: I wear only tapered, slim fit.

CAMEROTA: That's good. Yes.

CILLIZZA: I mean --

CAMEROTA: I'm glad to hear that.

CILLIZZA: Thirty-two waist.

BERMAN: All right, Chris Cillizza, thank you very much for helping us understand all of this.

CAMEROTA: All right, too much information.

Thank you.

BERMAN: Brand new interview from Joe Biden. He's criticizing the president for employing his own children in the administration. That interview after the break.



CAMEROTA: Two Pentagon officials tell CNN that plans are being discussed to deploy tanks in eastern Syria to protect U.S. troops who are near the oil fields. And you'll remember that President Trump announced U.S. troops would be withdrawing from that region.

So let's get back to CNN's Nick Paton Walsh. He is live for us from Erbil, Iraq, with all of his latest reporting.


WALSH: Alisyn, inevitable consequence really of Donald Trump deciding he wants to, quote, protect the oil. You've got to remember, it's not that strategically significant, but it does seem to allow Pentagon officials who want to sustain a presence inside Syria to do that under the guise of making sure these oil fields don't fall back into the hands of ISIS. A distant possibility at the moment, but those couple of hundred troops or so would be vulnerable, frankly, without extra armor and that may be headed its way. Tanks, possibly lighter armored vehicles, maybe at some point deployed against the general thrust, though, of Commander in Chief Lazar (ph) to bring the troops home. Instead, now, they are on a much more complicated mission, partially in Syria, but also in Iraqi Kurdistan, splitting the job there, knowing that the Iraqi government said they're not welcome to stay in Iraq.

The fate of ISIS, though, the key part of their mission. And what becomes of those many ISIS detainees, frankly. But I am told are mostly still in Syrian Kurdish custody. But the Syrian regime are increasingly close to those facilities. A European intelligence official I've spoken to, remember, this is not

just about America's interests. Europe rests -- its safety rests on the fate of these ISIS foreign fighters. They say that they are deeply concerned in this European intelligence agency about what happens to those fighters if they get into Syrian regime hands. Might the regime, for example, send them straight home on a plane? Might they keep them in custody, quote, dispose of them, now able to execute in Syrian regime custody.

But the biggest fear they have is the possible, quote, weaponization of these ISIS foreign fighters. Might the Syrian regime take these jihadists, trained, motivated, and use them potentially for attacks in Europe or beyond or elsewhere? That's the nightmare scenario. We've always seen ISIS as something of an amateur operation, often terrifyingly successful with its own motivation in play. Imagine them functioning with a state able to assist them in some way. So there's deep concern from a European intelligence official about what we might end up seeing with these detainees in the weeks and months and years ahead.

Back to you.

BERMAN: Every day, Nick, a new concern arising from the decision that was made now two weeks ago by the president of the United States.

Nick Paton Walsh, thank you so much for your reporting there.

So there's this new interview from former Vice President Joe Biden. And in it he is taking a dig from President Trump for employing his own family members inside the White House. Joe Biden says his children will not work in the administration if he is elected president.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If I'm president, get elected president, my children are not going to have offices in the White House. My children are not going to sit in on a cabinet meeting.

The idea that you're going to have -- go to the extent that he has gone to have our, you know, his -- his children, his son-in-law, et cetera, engaged in the day-to-day operation of things they know nothing about. I just think it's --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE, CBS NEWS: You don't think Jared Kushner should be negotiating a Middle East peace solution?

BIDEN: No, I don't. I don't. What -- what credential does he bring to that?


BERMAN: Chris Cillizza is back with us.

Chris, political jujitsu here.

CILLIZZA: Yes. BERMAN: Turning the questions about Hunter Biden back on the president.

CILLIZZA: Yes. Look, Joe Biden understands that this is a weakness. Maybe one that he can't control now because it -- this decision happened -- Hunter Biden was on this board starting in 2014. But I think he understands that that is something of an issue.

At the same time, the point he makes is a valid one. We talked about it over and continue to talk about it over and over again, the fact that Donald Trump has his daughter and son-in-law, not just in the White House, but in absolutely senior positions with very amorphous roles to which it's not entirely clear what they're qualified for those roles other than being related to Donald Trump.

So, yes, it is Joe Biden trying to change the subject. At the same time, the subject it's being changed to is a valid one that we've raised.

CAMEROTA: By the way, it's not only valid. When you hear it coming out of Joe Biden's mouth, somehow it sounds even more shocking. It's like we -- we always talk about how we've become inert to some of this.


CAMEROTA: When you hear that President Trump's children are in cabinet meetings. We've seen pictures of it all. In cabinet meetings. Why? What?

CILLIZZA: Negotiating -- negotiating Middle East peace.

CAMEROTA: Negotiating Middle East peace.

CILLIZZA: I mean --

CAMEROTA: Jared Kushner was the son of a real estate scion, whatever. That, my guess, makes him capable of doing some things. But Middle East peace?

CILLIZZA: Well, like, I -- I follow sports really closely.


CILLIZZA: If my dad bought the Washington Nationals, I don't think that's a possibility, but I'm not qualified to be the general manager, right? I -- that doesn't mean I don't know stuff about baseball. I can't coach my kid's team. But there's a different level of experience and lived in wisdom typically that comes.

CAMEROTA: Of course.


CILLIZZA: And, yes, I do think -- this -- just one other example, Alisyn, that came up to me is, when Donald Trump said, I placed all my stuff in a trust. It doesn't matter. Like, you haven't. He purposely didn't put in a blind trust. His assets are being run by his two eldest sons. Again, we -- we have written, talked, addressed this over and over again. But these are not normal things. Even though we're three years into this, it remains abnormal. And that's worth noting it.

BERMAN: I want to bring up another development in the Democratic race. And it's interesting because Tulsi Gabbard, representative from Hawaii, in some ways gets outsized coverage and attention to her position in the polls, with is not high right now, but she announced last night she will not run for re-election to Congress.


BERMAN: She's going to focus on the presidential campaign. Not going to run for re-election. In the meantime, she continues to do interviews on Fox News. Now she's been sort of critical about how Democrats are running the impeachment investigation.

What's going on here?

CILLIZZA: I don't really know in the same way that I don't totally understand why Hillary Clinton -- I know she didn't name Tulsi Gabbard, but if you do a process of elimination, it seems pretty clear that that's who Hillary Clinton was talking about. So I don't' totally understand her game here.

I will say the filing deadline in Hawaii is not until next June, which people do change their minds. People say, I'm not -- I'm not running for this, and then they go back and decide to run for it. Usually there's not a penalty. But there's a serious candidate running -- or a Democrat running to replace her, was going to primary her. So I don't know what her end game is because she is not someone without a potential political future.

She -- I think she has real skill. She's quote young. She's younger than me. She's -- so I'm counting that as quite young, by the way, subtext. So I think she has a political future.

But I don't know -- I mean the serious stuff has always been strange. The meeting with Bashar al Assad has always been strange. Some of the stuff on the impeachment whereas every Democrat whose running has said, yes, Donald Trump should be impeached, she said we need to wait, it's too partisan. I don't know what she's playing at. I don't think it's this broad Machiavellian attempt to run as a third party candidate and, you know, make Donald Trump's win number be lower. But I -- but I don't know what it is. So I guess we can't say it's not that.

CAMEROTA: OK, one more bit of Biden news.


CAMEROTA: He's announced that he will allow a super PAC. And that's sort of, I'm going to fight fire with fire strategy?

CILLIZZA: Yes. I mean, OK, first of all, Joe Biden can't say super PAC can exist. You want to start a super PAC for John Berman and I, you can. And John Berman and I can come out and say -- trust me I've looked into this --

CAMEROTA: Oh, no, I do want to.

CILLIZZA: No, but John Berman and I can come out and say, we disavow this. You can't -- it's -- it's separate, right? So you cannot like it and it can still exist.

But I think the reality here, Alisyn, is that Joe Biden has less than $9 million in the bank as of the end of September. Bernie Sanders has $33 million, Elizabeth Warren, $25 million, Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, $23 million. He needs something. His personal fundraising is not going to equal theirs. He needs another vehicle to keep him in the money game.

This is a practical decision. He knows he's going to get beat up for it. The people who are starting this super PAC allegedly know he's going to get beat up for it. But what would you rather have, matching in Iowa, a matching number of ads supporting Joe Biden or not? And I think the calculation is, you would rather have that and take a little bit of heat for starting a super PAC.

BERMAN: Already taking the heat. The other Democratic candidates have already come out and talked about it.


BERMAN: But, look, we will see.

CILLIZZA: I mean, remember, (INAUDIBLE). This is about winning. That's why this is happening. If Joe Biden had $25 million in the bank, we would not be talking about a super PAC.


Chris Cillizza, thank you very much.

CILLIZZA: Thank you.

BERMAN: All right, we have so many developments in the impeachment inquiry.

NEW DAY continues right now.


MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We are hearing that Republicans and the White House are concerned about this upcoming testimony.

CAMEROTA: White House Official Tim Morrison set to testify and corroborate parts of Bill Taylor's testimony.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Once you pierce that White House, you might actually find more people willing to testify and cooperate. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the process argument is a distraction and

is phony.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of the interactions and statements to be made were based on secondhand information. Those are, obviously, points that can be disputed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are a lot of thoughtful Republicans in the House who have to be offended by this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They know exactly what this testimony and what these depositions are adding up to.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

CAMEROTA: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY.

And we begin with two important witnesses in the impeachment inquiry. First, Tim Morrison, he's a top adviser on President Trump's National Security Council. He will be deposed next week, we're told, and is expected to corroborate the testimony of Ambassador Bill Taylor, who you'll remember told lawmakers there was a quid pro quo with Ukraine.

Morrison will be one of two people scheduled to testify next week who actually were on that controversial July 25th phone call between President Trump and Ukraine's president.