Return to Transcripts main page


Why The Identity Of Military Dog In ISIS Operation Remains Secret; What Each Impeachment Witness Has Testified So Far; Boeing CEO, Dennis Muilenburg, Grilled On Capitol Hill About 737 MAX Design Problems; Jared Kushner Responds To Joe Biden: Cleaning Up Mess Biden Left Behind. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired October 29, 2019 - 14:30   ET



BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: And how easy is it finding these dogs?

MIKE RITLAND, FORMER NAVY SEAL, CANINE TRAINER & FOUNDER, WARRIOR DOG FOUNDATION: Sure. The first question, it's really about genetics, frankly. There's a lot of tools that have to be there genetically for the dog to be able to do this type of work.

And the Belgian Malinois and Dutch Shepherd a little more so than a German Shepherd, a more traditional breed for police work, et cetera, tends to have those traits and in a little higher caliber, frankly.

BALDWIN: And how did they find these specific dogs? Are they bred for the military?

RITLAND: Sort of. I mean you know, all over Europe and even a number of vendors in this country go to pretty painstaking process and are very selective in terms of their breeding programs, and really keeping a high set of standards to ensure that these dogs carry on the type of traits needed for this type of work.

So it is a tough process to find these dogs. The ones that can do this type of work are really the 1-percenters or pick any athletic competition or sports, it's the all-stars, if you will, in terms of the percentage you can find them in.

So you know it is a tough process, but obviously it's worth it.

BALDWIN: So let's talk about the all-stars. I mean, I've seen pictures of these dogs strapped on humans jumping out of planes. Talk to me what the training consists of.

RITLAND: The training is -- it really needs to mimic what the operational environment is. In this case, they're going to take the dogs to different parts of the country or the world, frankly, that are going to closely simulate the type of operations they're going to be doing. So they may do urban environment. They may do desert, rural.

But primarily they focus on explosive detection and ap apprehension work. They'll teach and train the dogs to find explosive odor and a host of different capacities and different environments and then also do bite training. They're, you know, moving in and out of targets, complexes, buildings, compounds, having the dogs search for people and ultimately take them down.

There's really no environment other than scuba diving that we don't take these dogs into.


And to your point, on detecting explosives, do you think that potentially was going on when they had Delta Force guys down in the tunnel, had eyes on who they thought was Baghdadi. Instead of running in, worried he would have a suicide vest, they sent in this dog. What do you think they were thinking?

RITLAND: I think that's a pretty fair assumption. You know, without a doubt, their ability to find and detect explosive odor in very challenging austere environments is incredibly valuable and that capability saves a lot of American lives. There's a good chance that that was taking place.

And obviously, once the high value target is identified, sending a dog to apprehend them is also a very high-level capability that there's a force protection measure that just helps out significantly.

BALDWIN: We heard in the briefing yesterday, chairman of Joint Chiefs saying, yes, this dog is still in theater. The dog is going to be OK. That they are protecting the identity of this canine. Tell me why.

RITLAND: In my opinion, it's just erring on the side of caution. As interested as everybody is in the dog's name, there's really no reason to know it. No different than theirs no reason to know the names of operators that performed the mission.

You know is that necessarily going to give up all of the details of the raid or where they came from or any of that? Not necessarily. But I think if it's me, and I'm assuming where their mind is on this is to just be on the side of precaution and not release it, because they don't need to.


And, Mike, I want to end with you, because once these -- the tour of duty is over for these all-star dogs, so they head on in for retirement, which is where your foundation comes in. So tell us what you do.

RITLAND: Yes, ma'am. I appreciate it. The Warrior Dog Foundation, which can be found at, we are a resource to be able to retire these dogs in capacities where they don't really have any other option. We have over 20 dogs right now that are completely funded by civilian and charity groups, or charity trusts, rather.

And our main goal is to act as a resource and a sanctuary to be able to keep these dogs from being put down and live out their lives in dignity and grace. They've done a lot for us and our soldiers, for our entire country, frankly.

So for all of us at Warrior Dog Foundation, it's is a real honor to provide that for them into their golden years and just let them be a dog.


BALDWIN: Oh. As a dog lover, a dog owner, bless you, Mike Ritland, for all you do and your foundation. We'll get this up on Twitter so people can follow you.

Thank you very much.

RITLAND: My pleasure. Thanks for having me.

BALDWIN: Thank you.

More breaking news this afternoon. Tense moments during that key deposition today as Democrats accuse Republicans of trying to out the whistleblower.

And all of this comes as the House is getting ready for a big, big vote. See who has testified already and what each witness has revealed.



BALDWIN: With this impeachment inquiry moving along at a staggering pace, it's easy to lose track of developments and testimony as it's unfolding. So far, 10 witnesses, ranging from top diplomats to high- ranking State Department and Pentagon officials have given depositions behind closed doors.

CNN justice correspondent, Jessica Schneider, is with us now to remind us, walk us through what we've heard so far and critical highlights what the witnesses have said.

Jessica, the floor is yours.

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Exactly. Right, Brooke. A cascade of witnesses and testimony on Capitol Hill just in the past few weeks. For the most part, from career officials who have corroborated parts of the whistleblower's complaint and voiced concerns how U.S. policy towards Ukraine was being steered.

So Kurt Volker, U.S. special envoy to Ukraine, was the first major witness and handed over an array of text messages, including one he acknowledged U.S. officials would only nail down a date for a White House visit from the Ukrainian president once that President Zelensky promised to investigate the 2016 election's that seemed to suggest a quid pro quo.

Though it's something that Volker denied he was error. He said he wasn't aware that military aid was being head up and denied anything was connected to Ukraine's promise to investigate the Bidens.

So later witnesses here, including Marie Yovanovitch, the ousted ambassador to Ukraine, said she was being targeted, in her view, by Rudy Giuliani.

And Fiona Hill, former top adviser to Russia, and recounted how former security defense John Bolton and Mick Mulvaney, equated it to a drug deal John Bolton wanted no part of. And then testifying about Russia's President Vladimir Putin and helping sour the Ukrainian president, according to the "Washington Post."

Then there's E.U. Ambassador Gordon Sondland, a political appointee, previous donor to Donald Trump. And parts of his testimony are now being called into question. That's because Sondland testified that he recalled no discussions about an effort to encourage Ukraine to investigate the Bidens.

While we're hearing on the contrast from Alex Vindman. He testimony today said that Sondland emphasized that Ukraine must deliver on investigations into the 201 election as well as the Bidens, and Burisma. That testimony now called into question.

Some of the most recent testimony is the most damaging. It's been the past week with top diplomats in Ukraine, Bill Taylor, saying that he was told by Gordon Sondland that everything the Ukrainian president wanted including a White House meeting and, of course that military aid, would, in fact, be held up until President Zelensky publicly declared that Ukraine was investigating.

Then there's acting assistant secretary of state, Philip Reeker (ph), who actually said on Saturday, on the weekend, and said he did not know about the ask for investigations until that whistleblower report came out.

He testified that he did talk about how he pushed for a show of support for the ousted Ukrainian Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch and then told President Trump had lost confidence in her. And that was based on false claims, in his view, from people with clearly questionable motives.

Then, of course, we get to today, Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, who is still on Capitol Hill this afternoon. And his testimony really details how he was on that july 25th phone call, and how he reported his concerns about the call to superiors, and in particular was concerned that the demands for Ukraine to investigate would undermine national security.

So, Brooke, you can see, an arrange of people up on Capitol Hill over the past few weeks, many of them corroborated that whistleblower complaint, and then expanding upon their concerns about what was going on in the White House -- Brooke?

BALDWIN: Thank you for the refresher of all who have come. And, of course, this is all ahead of the big vote on Thursday. We'll get to that.

Jessica Schneider, for now, thank you very much.


Also in Washington today, this powerful moment on Capitol Hill. Families of victims killed in separate crashes of two 737 MAX jets hold photos of their loved ones. They come face-to-face with Boeing's CEO.



BALDWIN: On this one-year anniversary of the first of two 737 MAX crashes that killed nearly 350 people Boeing's CEO grilled on Capitol Hill. Trying to convince lawmakers his planes are safe to fly, even though he admits Boeing made mistakes designing the 737 MAX and software systems that fatally pushed the noses of these planes down causing the crashes.

Newly revealed emails indicate a Boeing pilot pushed the FAA to remove mention of this flawed software system from pilot training materials.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): You're the CEO, the buck stops with you. Did you read this document and how did your team not put it in front of you, run in with their hair on fire saying, we've got a real problem here? How did that not happen and what does that say about the culture of Boeing?

SEN. JON TESTER (D-NT): I would walk before I would get on that 737 MAX. I would walk. There's no way. And the question becomes when issues like this happen, it costs your company huge. And so you shouldn't be cutting corners and I see corners being cut and this committee's got to do something to stop that from happening.

SEN. TAMMY DUCKWORTH (D-IL): You've not been telling the truth. Time and again, this is my frustration. Boeing has not told the whole truth this committee and to the family members looking at this.


BALDWIN: The family members sat behind the Boeing CEO showing pictures of their lost the loved ones. As the hearing got under way, he apologized to them.


DENNIS MUILENBURG, CEO, BOEING: I'm heartbroken by your losses. I think about you and your loved ones every day. And I know our entire Boeing team does as well.

I know that probably doesn't offer much comfort and healing at this point, but 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. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: CNN aviation and government regulation correspondent, Rene Marsh, is with me.

And so the Boeing chief sat there. He apologized. Did he give these families what they're after? Did he give lawmakers what they want?

RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION & GOVERNMENT REGULATION CORRESPONDENT: Brooke, no. I think, end of the day, there's a lot of outstanding questions here. Even some answers he gave, I don't think it satisfied fully the lawmakers.

One of those questions being, why didn't Boeing reveal sooner those internal instant messages and emails that illustrated concerns about the plane's system that essentially made it difficult to control the plane in the simulator.

You know, the CEO said that he was aware there were documents but he didn't know the nature of the documents. Lawmakers didn't buy that explanation.

The other question did they put profits before safety and did Boeing lobby the FAA not to ground the plane, asked after the first crash. To that question, we did get an answer and the answer is, yes. Boeing saying that they were waiting to get more data after that first crash, and that is why they pushed and lobbied for the FAA to hold on grounding the plane -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Got it. Talking to one of the mothers whose lost her daughter in one of those crashes. She was in the room.

Rene, thank you.


Just in, the president's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, responded to the former Vice President Joe Biden saying that the president's children should be nowhere near the White House. Kushner saying he spent the last three years cleaning up Biden's messes.



BALDWIN: Just into CNN, the president's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is punching back after former Vice President Joe Biden criticized his role at the White House.

In an interview with "60 Minutes," Biden said it was not right for Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner to serve as White House officials. I

Let's get more details.

CNN White House Correspondent, Jeremy Diamond, is with me.

It's rare to hear from Jared Kushner himself speaking publicly. So what did he say?


During a visit to Israel meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his political rival, Benny Gantz, Kushner was asked in his interview with Israel's Channel 13 about the comments made by former Vice President Joe Biden, suggesting it was improper for Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump to have top White House positions and offices in the president's administration.

Here is how Kushner responded. He said, "He's entitled to his opinion," speaking of Vice President Joe Biden. "But a lot of the work that the president's had me doing over the last three years has actually been cleaning up the messes that Vice President Biden left behind."

Jared Kushner also went on to say the president is essentially entitled to pick his own team.


But these are some rare, biting comments that we're seeing here from Kushner.

Kushner also weighed in on impeachment, Brooke. He's did slam impeachment as silly games that the Democrats are playing and insisted the Trump administration will stay focused on the work its doing.