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Boeing CEO, Dennis Muilenburg, Grilled On Capitol Hill About 737 MAX Design Problems; Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI) Discusses Impeachment Inquiry, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman's Testimony; Pelosi's Call For Full House Vote; Hundreds Of Facebook Employees Slam Policy Of Not Fact-Checking Political Ads. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired October 29, 2019 - 11:30   ET



ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: But I do think we may be at a crossroads here, where Democrats -- she's trying to put pressure on the Republicans, politically, and she's trying to get this impeachment inquiry to an end point, as quickly as possible.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good luck, Speaker.

Thanks, guys. It's great to see you.

All right, still ahead for us, after two fatal crashes that led to a worldwide grounding of the 737 MAX, yet, Congress is demanding answers from Boeing about the design problems with the jet and the fix coming from Boeing. Up next, the CEO of Boeing facing a grilling on Capitol Hill.



BOLDUAN: On the one-year anniversary of the first fatal 737 MAX jet crash, the CEO of Boeing is on Capitol Hill right now trying to convince lawmakers that his planes are safe to get back in the air. And 346 people were killed in two separate 737 MAX crashes in October and March in the past year.

And CEO, Dennis Muilenburg, he's saying, going into this hearing, quote, "We understand and deserve this scrutiny." Listen.


DENNIS MUILENBURG, CEO, BOEING: We've made mistakes. And we got some things wrong. We're improving and we're learning and we're continuing to learn.


BOLDUAN: Is that enough for Congress? Is that enough for the victims' families?

CNN's Rene Marsh has been following this very closely and is joining us now.

Rene, what's happening?

RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION & GOVERNMENT REGULATION CORRESPONDENT: Kate, the first words out of Dennis Muilenburg's mouth were an apology to the victims and saying that, and I'm quoting him now, "We will never forget."

When he first walked into the Senate hearing room, he had to face those families and they were holding pictures of their loved ones. We have the image of that during this moment here at this hearing, that we can show you. These were loved ones lost in two of those 737 MAX crashes.

And hear more from Boeing's CEO just a short time ago.

Take a listen.


MUILENBURG: On behalf of myself and the Boeing company, we are sorry, dope deeply and truly sorry. I want you to know that we carry those memories with us every day. And every day, that drives us to improve the safety of our airplanes and our industry. And that will never stop.


MARSH: Well, Boeing's CEO continues to face tough questions right now as we speak. Among them, did Boeing conceal defects with the plane's flight control system. Why didn't Boeing reveal internal instant messages and email between Boeing employees to the FAA sooner? Those messages illustrated concerns about the plane's systems and how they were controlled.

Kate, this is still ongoing. Last question, just a short time ago, the CEO was asked, did they lobby the FAA not to ground the 737 MAX after that first crash. The short answer is they did -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: This is an important hearing and what comes out of this is going to have ripple effects for a very long time.

Thanks so much, Rene, for bringing this to you. I really, really thank you.

Coming up for us still, sounding the alarm. A key witness says he raised concerns about President Trump's efforts to pressure Ukraine more than once. So what does his testimony mean for the impeachment investigation? We're going to ask a top Democrat, next.



BOLDUAN: On Capitol Hill right now, the first person to be interviewed that was actually on the July 25th call, at the center of the whistleblower complaint. He's Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, a decorated Iraq war veteran, a current White House official. He's, in fact, the national Security Council's top expert on Ukraine.

According to Vindman's opening statement, he considered the president's ask for investigations of political rivals of Ukraine's new president, he considered that so damaging to American interests that he reported it twice to his superior out of what he called, quote, "a sense of duty."

Joining me right now, Democratic Congressman, Dan Kildee, of Michigan, a member of the House leadership.

Congressman, thank you for coming in.

REP. DAN KILDEE (D-MI): Thank you very much, Kate.

BOLDUAN: What was your reaction when you read the opening statement from Colonel Vindman?

And let me just read it one more time. There was a lot in there, but this one line is key. "I was concerned by the call," he wrote. "I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen, and I was worried about the implications for the U.S. government's support of Ukraine."

KILDEE: Well, my first reaction is that I was reading the words of a true patriot. A person who's dedicated his life to the national security of this country, who himself serves in uniform, put himself in harm's way, suffered battle wounds and earned a Purple Heart.

And continued his patriotism by questioning those above him and raising this issue with his superiors, that the president of the United States put political interests, his own personal political interests ahead of national security.

This is the act of a patriot. And to hear some try to denigrate this individual, the president himself, to try to denigrate this individual as some sort of a political operative, is absolutely pathetic.

And I asked my Republican colleagues, at long last, please have a moment of conscience. Look yourself in the mirror and ask if you want to sit on the sidelines while the president tries to take down a patriot, who earned a Purple Heart.


I mean, compare that to the president's service to our country. The fact that he was willing to dodge the draft by getting a letter from a doctor. He's going to criticize this young man, who's doing his patriotic duty? Shame on the president of the United States.

BOLDUAN: And it's -- I mean, it's not everybody, right? You've got Congresswoman Liz Cheney came out this morning, saying very clearly that that disparagement has to stop.

But that's not everybody. I mean, I know you heard what happened on FOX News last night, and even former Republican Congressman, Sean Duffy, on CNN this morning, not only questioning his patriotism, but questioning his patriotism for no other reason than the fact that his family fled the Soviet Union to come to the United States when he was three years old to seek a better life.

Especially after he and his two brothers have all served the United States in the capacity of serving in the military.

I mean, when you see that -- honestly -- and I'm not taking a position, Congressman, you know I shoot straight. I'm not taking a position on impeach or not impeach the president. I'm just saying, where is the line when it to the character of people who come forward to speak what they believe is their truth?

KILDEE: I don't know where the line is, but I've got to tell you, they're going to have to answer some questions for the constituents and the long view of history.

It seems for some -- and there are exceptions, I agree, I was happy to see Liz Cheney's comments, for example.

There are far too many of these Republicans who believe that they swore an oath and an allegiance to Donald Trump. And they seem to be willing to attack anyone, to ignore any fact, to overlook any misdeed, because they placed their greatest loyalty to their dear leader, Donald Trump.

This is a very frightening moment, to see these people sit quietly, not only attacking this individual or being quiet while others do, that's bad enough, but to ignore the plain facts that this patriot brought forward, that the president sacrificed American national security because he wanted a foreign country to investigate his opponents, because he's fearful of a fair and square election.

BOLDUAN: So, Congressman, let me ask you this. Let me ask you this, then. If we're shooting straight then on this, if they should speak up when folks are being silent, on Speaker Pelosi's announcement that the House is going to hold this formal vote on impeachment on Thursday, how is this not in some regard a flip-flop?

KILDEE: I don't think it's a flip-flop. This is the next step. This is the next phase.

But I will say, for my own purposes, I was willing to take a vote that would outline the process wherever we need to.


KILDEE: But when the Republicans storm a secure room and try to create chaos, I do think it's fair for us to respond by saying, look, we don't -- we know we don't have to lay forward the process.

But we're going to do that, because the American people have a right to see the difference between a chaotic mob, who carried pizza and telephones into a secure area, versus the Democratic caucus, which will now lay forward in clear terms what the process will look like, so that people can see --


BOLDUAN: Are you concerned? Because a lot of the concern, we know, quietly was holding these votes puts also moderate Democrats, who helped the Democrats win the majority, and flip red seats blue, that having to force them on the record, on a vote like this.

Is that a concern of yours now that you're putting those moderate Democrats in that exact same place, that you guys did not want to do early on?

KILDEE: Well, there are moments where the political impact of an act can be considered but shouldn't determine what we do. And I've talked to a lot of those front liners.


KILDEE: They're more interested in doing the right thing and upholding the oath that they swore to the Constitution than thinking about the implications for the next election.

And there has to be, at some point in time, a contrast between these Republicans, who have just wrapped their arms around the ankles of Donald Trump and are going wherever he drags them, and those of us who are willing to live up to the oath that we swore.

And we're going to do our job, whether there's a political implication or not.

BOLDUAN: I'm pro-transparency in every regard. So I'm looking forward to seeing those public hearings.

Congressman, thanks for coming on.

KILDEE: Thank you, Kate.


BOLDUAN: All right. Coming up for us, facing off with Facebook from inside. A new report that hundreds of employees are now speaking out on the company's policy not to fact-check political ads. That's ahead.


BOLDUAN: Hundreds of Facebook employees writing an open letter to Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, protesting the company's policy to not fact-check political ads. This is according to the "New York Times."

We saw the letter. The employees wrote, in part, that the company's position on ads is, quote, "a threat to what Facebook stands for." That's from inside the company.

There's also big criticism from outside the company on this very issue. A California activist is now registered as a candidate for governor just so he can test that very policy.

Joining me right now, CNN Business Reporter, Donie O'Sullivan, who has been digging into all of this.

Donie, let's start with Facebook staffers. That says something coming from inside Facebook and what they're trying to tell executives.

DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN BUSINESS REPORTER: Yes, this is not a company that normally leaks. But what the employees are asking and telling Mark Zuckerberg is they're going far beyond this fact-checking policy. They're actually saying other things we do with political ads are problematic, too. Our targeting is too good.

If you and I, Kate, were living on the same street and wrote on Facebook, they would be able to target us with very different messages, even with very different lies.


What employees are trying to tell Zuckerberg is this is a problem when there's no shared understanding of what a candidate is saying. That way we can test this, we can call it out. And it's creating this environment of everybody has a different view of the candidate.

BOLDUAN: Really quick, because we never have enough time. But has Facebook said anything about this in response to the letter?

O'SULLIVAN: Facebook says they're listening to their employees, but not much beyond that.

BOLDUAN: Stop talking. I'm listening to you, I promise, Donie. Not at all.

Good to see you, man.

O'SULLIVAN: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Thank you so much. I really appreciate it.

All right, everybody, we'll be right back.