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Brain Injuries from Iran Attack; Not Warning System on Chopper; Americans Evacuated from China; Biden and Klobuchar Aides Discuss Alliance; Super Bowl LIV Kicks off Sunday; Trump Praises Pompeo. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired January 29, 2020 - 06:30   ET



BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Report symptoms. They are doing medical assessments on about 200 troops that were in that immediate blast area. So there still could be more.

But the bottom line here is, this really is now a mass casualty, mass injury incident. Fifty American troops hurt when Iranian ballistic missiles were fired and that blast wave literally careened around the base injuring so many with these brain injuries. This is a clear example of Iran being able to reach out and touch, injuring 50 American troops in the field.


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, Barbara, I mean and this does change everything that we thought we knew about what Iran was planning with that missile strike.

Thank you very much.

We have new details about the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and seven other parents and daughters. The NTSB says the helicopter did not have a recommended terrain warning system to alert the pilot when they're too close to land.

CNN's Omar Jimenez is live in Calabasas, California, with the latest.


OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Alisyn, a lot of unanswered questions this morning in a crash that literally missed the top of a hillside by just 20 to 30 feet, according to investigators. Among some of these questions, did the lack of the terrain awareness system play a major role in this crash? That's something that's being explored. Should this pilot have been granted special permission to fly in the weather conditions on Sunday, another thing that is being explored, all in search of trying to get to that truth of what brought down this helicopter, killing everyone on board.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JIMENEZ: This new video capturing the moments just before the helicopter carrying Kobe Bryant and eight others crashed. The NTSB learning the helicopter did not have a recommended TAS warning system to alert the pilot he's too close to land, but it's still uncertain whether the system would have prevented the accident. The NTSB also announcing that electronic devices have been recovered from the scene, but there was no cockpit voice recorder or flight data recorder on the helicopter. They aren't required by the FAA.

JENNIFER HOMENDY, BOARD MEMBER, NTSB: TAS could have helped. CVR and FDR, that would have helped us significantly in this investigation and other investigations. And it's something we've recommended several times over a number of years.

JIMENEZ: This coming as tributes continue to pour in. Matt Mauser remembering his wife Christina, who as one of the victims.

MATTHEW MAUSER, HUSBAND OF HELICOPTER CRASH VICTIM CHRISTINA MAUSER: She was relentless and she was organized and detailed and how she'd treat people that weren't important, that was -- my wife would always treat the person who you would -- you wouldn't expect anybody to treat well, she would always treat them the best. She was kind. She was funny. Our goal was to make each other laugh every day.

JIMENEZ: Also last night, a tribute to Kobe Bryant from his home court at the Staples Center.

KOBE BRYANT: I started playing basketball since I was two.

JIMENEZ: Starting with the superstar's own words.

BRYANT: The most important thing is how your life touches those around you and how it carries forward to the next generation.

JIMENEZ: Bryant's former teammate, Shaquille O'Neal, growing very emotional, talking about his friend who he called his little brother.

SHAQUILLE O'NEAL, RETIRED NBA PLAYER: We're not going to be able to joke at his Hall of Fame ceremony. We're not going to be able to say, I got five, you got four. The fact that we're not going to be able to say, if we would have stayed together, we could have got 10. Those are the things that you can't get back.

JIMENEZ: Dwyane Wade recalls the first time he played against his idol.

DWYANE WADE, RETIRED NBA PLAYER: And for me as a young kid, coming into this league, it was one person that I wanted that respect from, it was the one person that I wanted the respect from. It was the one people I wanted to look at me as his equal and look at me eye to eye, and it was Kobe Bryant. So getting this news the other day, I think I've been in shock for two days. And this is the first moment where it actually feels real. My body right now is -- I'm shaking, I'm numb.

JIMENEZ: And Hall of Famer Jerry West, who as general manager brought Kobe to the Los Angeles Lakers more than 20 years ago, grief stricken. JERRY WEST, FORMER LOS ANGELES LAKERS GENERAL MANAGER: Honestly, I

felt like his father for two years. I don't know if I can get over this. I really don't.


JIMENEZ: And lots of tears shed this week over the deaths of these nine.

On the investigative side, the NTSB says in just about ten days' time they'll be issuing a preliminary report with some additional factual information. But as these investigations usually take time, it won't be for another 12 to 18 months before they put out their final findings, recommendations and probable cause.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Omar Jimenez for us in California.


Remarkable to hear from Jerry West and Shaquille O'Neal and Dwyane Wade. That's got to be so hard for them. And to hear Jerry West say, I'm not sure I'll ever get over this.

CAMEROTA: I know. I mean they really shared their grief there. And you can feel it. That was -- those were beautiful tributes from his teammates.

BERMAN: We'll be right back.


CAMEROTA: The number of confirmed cases of the Wuhan coronavirus in China has grown. Now nearly 6,000 cases of the virus and 132 people have died. Two hundred Americans got on a government chartered flight out of Wuhan. They are due to arrive soon in California. We'll track that for you.

CNN's David Culver just spoke to two people who had hoped to be on that flight but were not able to get on board. He's live in Beijing.

So that's a nightmare. What happened with those two folks?

DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Incredibly frustrating. Yes, Alisyn, we spoke to them via video chat. You're going to hear from them in just a moment.

But as far as that flight is concerned, 201 Americans are on board.


They were just cleared to leave Alaska we're hearing from officials in Alaska who say the CDC gave clearance after doing not one but two health checks within Anchorage. This after they had two health checks leaving China to head to the United States. We're told also that when they landed in Alaska, the cabin crew

announced, welcome home to the United States. And according to officials in Alaska, the cabin erupted with cheers. There was obviously a lot of relief and joy in that.

As they continue on to California, they'll go to a military base there. They're then going to go under another screening, health screening and check, and then they'll likely be in quarantine for up to 14 days in time.

Meantime, as you mentioned, there are still hundreds of folks at the epicenter, in the city of Wuhan here in China, who want to get out. Americans in particular we're talking about here. And they were not able to get on to that plane for several reasons. One is it was specified that it would just be for U.S. diplomats and a select number of citizens who could apply.

I spoke on video chat with two of the families involved here who couldn't get on. Here was there take knowing that diplomats from their consulate in Wuhan were leaving them.


JOHN MCGORY, U.S. CITIZEN IN WUHAN, CHINA: It's a little disconcerting that, you know, they have a plane and most of the people on it are from the consulate, so that's, you know, we -- you know, we feel a little bit left behind in that sense of, you know, who do we turn to, you know, here in Wuhan if something goes sideways for us.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The consulate is gone. The consulate was on the plane.


CULVER: It's really disturbing for them in particular. You saw that woman and her young daughter. The daughter's passport, John, was with her father in another city. They couldn't mail it in through the lock down zone. For the gentleman there, his passport was getting visa renewal, which is something that happens annually here. So it was out of his hands. Normally, where do you go? You go to the consulate. Where's the consulate. It's now here in the United States -- or headed toward the United States, where you guys are. I mean so essentially they're out of luck as far as getting that accelerated. So they're hoping that the State Department will provide some sort of ground transportation, which apparently is in the works. But, as of now, hasn't been secured.

BERMAN: That's got to be so frustrating for those people, David. So frustrating and frightening and more and more airlines saying they won't even fly to mainland China.

David Culver, great to have you there. Terrific reporting. Please, you and your crew stay safe.

Five days now -- just five days until the Iowa caucuses and there are new behind the scenes negotiations going on between the campaigns. What's the horse trading here and what does that mean, an alliance? Next.



CAMEROTA: Just five days until the Iowa caucuses. CNN has learned that Joe Biden's aides have floated the possibility of forming an alliance with Amy Klobuchar. What does Amy Klobuchar think about that?

CNN's Jeff Zeleny spoke with the senator last night. He joins us live from Des Moines, Iowa.

So what is this alliance, Jeff?


This is the moment where things get very interesting in the Iowa caucus campaign. Second choice is incredibly important. And here is why. In order to be viable to win those delegates to go forward, a candidate much get 15 percent in each precinct across Iowa. That's 1,700 small little meetings, if you will. Sometimes if that doesn't happen, these candidates work to form alliances. If I don't have enough support here, I'll help you there. That's exactly what is going on between the Biden campaign and the Klobuchar campaign. Of course, they are competing for some of the same voters.

We asked Senator Klobuchar last night if she's directing her supporters to do anything. Take a listen.


ZELENY: If defeating President Trump is the most important thing, in precincts that you may not be viable in, what would you urge your supporters to do?

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm not even getting to that point. I want to be viable in every precinct.

ZELENY: You want to be, of course, but that's a lot of precincts out there. Would you urge them to follow their own instinct? Would you urge them to leave?

KLOBUCHAR: Yes, we are -- we are not urging them to do anything that I know of. I'm just urging people to show up and support me.


ZELENY: So this is why all of this matters, of course. Amy Klobuchar, Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, all competing for essentially the same moderate voters, if you will, inside the Democratic Party. Bernie Sanders, of course, leading the way among progressives. Elizabeth Warren is competing with him in that front as well.

Now the question is, can any specific presidential candidate direct his or her supporters to do anything? Probably not because these Iowa voters have been seeing these candidate so longs. But it says one thing, it says that Joe Biden is concerned, the Biden campaign somewhat concerned about if they're going to be viable in all of these precincts.

So the point here, John, for the next five days, a lot of horse trading, a lot of conversations here.

We should point out the Biden campaign is saying that, look, you know, this was just a casual meeting, a casual conversation. So we'll see how this develops over the coming days.

But Amy Klobuchar, she says she's in this for herself, not directing her supporters to do anything.


BERMAN: Whether or not you can convince people really depends on the strength of your organization down at the local, micro level.

ZELENY: For sure.

BERMAN: And this deal in general seems like a much better deal for the Biden team than the Klobuchar team. I can understand why Senator Klobuchar wasn't jumping up and down when you were talking to her overnight.

Great reporting, Jeff, thanks so much for being with us.

ZELENY: Right.

BERMAN: The Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers getting ready for the Super Bowl in Miami.

Andy Scholes, he is already there, this morning's "Bleacher Report."

Good morning, Andy.


You know your favorite former backup quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, he's got the chance to get his third Super Bowl ring at just 28 years old. But, you know, this would be the first for him as a starter. Garoppolo, of course, won two as Tom Brady's backup with the Patriots.

And it's been quite the journey for Garoppolo. He was never a big-time prospect. Went to a rather small school in eastern Illinois to play football. But he's a win away from joining an elite group of players who have won three Super Bowls.


JIMMY GAROPPOLO, SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS QUARTERBACK: Coming from a small school in eastern Illinois, starting as a linebacker in high school, I mean it's -- it's been a crazy ride, but I've enjoyed every bit of it and I couldn't be more happy to be here.


SCHOLES: Now, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, meanwhile, he has a doctor protecting him. That's right. Right guard Laurent Duvernay- Tardif is the first medical doctor to ever play in the NFL. The 6'5" 321 pound Canadians, he got his medical degree from McGill University after being drafted by the Chiefs. And Laurent says, well, that wasn't easy.



LAURENT DUVERNAY-TARDIF, KANSAS CITY CHIEFS OFFENSIVE LINEMAN: It was a grind. It was a lot of sacrifice. But, at the end of the day, it was worth it. You know, when I -- when I stepped on that stage at McGill University and got my MD last year, it was -- it was probably the best moment of my life, after the one I'm going to live six days from now.


SCHOLES: Yes. And Laurent says he wants to practice emergency medicine one day. Still goes back to Montreal in the off season, guys, to fulfill his rotations. And, you know, Alisyn, got to be pretty comforting for the Chiefs in that huddle to know they have a doctor there in case, you know, they got an ache or pain, you know, just ask him, yes, what's up with this?

CAMEROTA: I know I'd be comforted if John were a doctor, but he's not.


CAMEROTA: I'm sure there's a joke in there somewhere.

SCHOLES: You should be a doctor, John.

CAMEROTA: I'm also glad that he has something to fall back on if the whole, you know, Super Bowl thing doesn't work out.

BERMAN: I didn't know that story. That is phenomenal, Andy. That is awesome. We look forward to the game. Look forward to talking to you much more in the run-up to the game.

CAMEROTA: All right, now to this, President Trump praising Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for a profane tirade against an NPR reporter. Why won't Secretary Pompeo answer simple questions about, well, some of his ambassadors? We'll talk about that next.




DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That reporter couldn't have done too good a job on you yesterday, right? I think you did a good job on her, actually. That's good. Thank you, Mike. (END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: That was President Trump publicly praising Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for berating an NPR reporter. The State Department also barred a different NPR reporter from covering an upcoming trip to Ukraine.

Let's bring in Jen Psaki, she's a CNN political commentator and former State Department spokesperson.

Jen, the president said, I'm not -- oh, sorry, quote, you did a good job on her.

How do you interpret that?

JEN PSAKI, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. I mean, Alisyn, listening to that, and you sat in these rooms as well, I mean it came across to me as not just domineering but misogynist. I mean this is language that President Trump has used in the past. It wasn't the first time. But he's learned the lesson from his supporters that this is appealing to his base. That attacking the press, that belittling freedom of speech is the right political strategy. And I think Secretary Pompeo took a lesson from the Trump political playbook given he well given he also has aspirations which is not a secret.

CAMEROTA: And what about the crowd there? I mean they --


CAMEROTA: All those folks sort of guffawing. Does anything capture the, I don't know, the toxicity of the time right now as seeing the crowd's reaction to that? What did you make of that?

PSAKI: Yes, you're so right, Alisyn. I mean watching that, it was chilling. I mean, you know, as President Trump said what he said about kind of applauding Secretary Pompeo's treatment of a reporter asking tough, legitimate questions of Secretary Pompeo, the crowd erupted in applause. And that is -- that was kind of rewarding that behavior and suggesting that attacking the press and freedom of speech and using that sort of misogynist language is not just acceptable but it's something that is approved.

And that really speaks to the moment we're in, in this country as it relates to, you know, the relationship between the government and the media and kind of the respect for values that have long been part of our history.

CAMEROTA: And I want to get back to the original interview, OK, where Mary Louise Kelly asked, as you say, Secretary Pompeo, totally fair, legitimate questions. She wanted to know why he wasn't defending one of his diplomats overseas. And Secretary of State Pompeo isn't normally known as a snowflakes, but for some reason he was unsettled by that fair question.

So let's just replay it.


MARY LOUISE KELLY, NPR REPORTER: Sir, respectfully, where have you defended Marie Yovanovitch?

MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: I've defended every single person on this team. I've done what's right for every single person on this team.

KELLY: Can you point me toward your remarks where you have defended Marie Yovanovitch?

POMPEO: Mary, I've said all I'm going to say today. Thank you. Thanks for the repeated opportunity to do so. I appreciate that.


CAMEROTA: All right, that was for public consumption. And then privately, according to her, he went into a profanity laced tirade in a separate room away from the cameras.

Why can't he answer that simple question?

PSAKI: Is he embarrassed? That's probably a generous interpretation. Is he -- it's a difficult question because he's now overseeing tens of thousands or continues to be overseeing tens of thousands of diplomats serving around the world who are also questioning why he didn't defend a U.S. diplomat serving overseas.

You know, I think that this is a -- this is a real question that Secretary Pompeo hasn't been asked enough. And good for Mary Louise Kelly for asking that because I talked to a lot of people who have served in the State Department, continue to serve, and they have watched this reporting come out about his failure to defend Yovanovitch, to -- his failure to defend diplomats who continue to serve overseas. And, you know, that's having a really tough impact on people who are continue to represent our country in difficult posts around the world.

CAMEROTA: I'll give Mary Louise Kelly the last word here. She's written an op-ed in "The New York Times." It says, journalists don't sit down with senior government officials in the service of scoring political points. We do it in the service of asking tough questions, on behalf of our fellow citizens. And then sharing the answers, or lack thereof, with the world.

Jen Psaki, thank you very much for your experience in this vein.

PSAKI: Thank you.


CAMEROTA: So, do Republicans have the votes to block witnesses from the impeachment trial or not? Senator McConnell says not right now. What does that mean? We have the latest on NEW DAY.