Return to Transcripts main page

CNN This Morning

Destruction Still One Year after Syria-Turkey Quake; Nevada Voters Want Resolution; Trump's Potential Calendar Sain Beilock is Interviewed about Dartmouth Reinstating Requirements; FAA Chief to Testify. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired February 06, 2024 - 08:30   ET



SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You can almost touch both walls with your arms. You have water, power but not much else. They're meant to be temporary. But because private insurance here is not so common, you have many people who owned their homes waiting for government help. You have people who are renting who are waiting for supply to catch up with demand so that they can actually afford them.

And one other unfortunate side effect of this earthquake is that this region in particular was home to almost half of Turkey's 3.5 million or so Syrian refugees. Many of them have been displaced to other parts of the country and they cannot register their kids in school because of a law that requires them to remain in the areas of where they were originally registered. And so the government doesn't keep official data on this, but we talked one non-profit in Gaziantip (ph) that's helping hundreds of kids - well, they're helping 120, but they have hundreds on their waiting list trying to teach them Turkish. They figure that the problem across the country has got to be in the tens of thousands. So, left -- if nothing is done about this, you may have a lost generation of Syrian kids with little education at the end of this.

Poppy. Phil.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Wow. I'm so - I'm so glad that you raised that, the damage so far beyond physical damage and destruction.

Scott McLean live in Antakya, Turkey, thank you.

Right now in Japan a pod of killer whales is trapped in sea ice. Look at this video. It's shot from a drone. The pod of at least ten orcas is seen crowding in a small gap between the ice.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN ANCHOR: Now, this is happening off of one of Japan's northern islands. Officials from a nearby coastal town say they have no way of rescuing these killer whales. An official says they have no choice but to wait for the ice to break up, for the whales to escape on their own.

Well, it is presidential primary day in Nevada. And a new CNN poll reveals what voters want resolved before the November election. We're going to dig into the numbers with our data guru Harry Enten.

HARLOW: And the new FAA administrator heading to Capitol Hill this morning. What he pledges to do after part of a Boeing 737 Max 9 plane blew off midflight.




DONALD TRUMP (R), FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT AND 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think it's very unfair when an opponent, a political opponent, is prosecuted by the DOJ, by Biden's DOJ.

They're doing it for election interference. And in a way I guess you'd consider it part of the campaign because if you really look at it, they are doing this -- it's never been done like this in this country.


MATTINGLY: Donald Trump playing the victim again as he rails against a slew of federal charges brought against him by the Justice Department. It comes as voters in Nevada go to the polls in the state's primary, although they won't find the former president on the ballot. That's because Nevada's GOP will hold caucuses on Thursday to divvy up its delegates. And a new CNN poll shows what voters want resolved before the November election.

CNN senior data reporter Harry Enten is going to tell us what voters want resolved before the election.

When do -- in the polling, when do voters want these case decided, or cases decided?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: Yes, so, you know, if we take a look at our poll, essential that the federal trial on Trump's election charges be resolved before the 2024 election. Look, this is among all voters. What a surprise, an even split here, 50 percent say it is essential. Now, there is an additional 16 percent who would like it but don't say it is essential to be resolved before the 2024 election.

Of course, not a big surprise there's a partisan breakdown on this. Seventy-two percent of Democrats think it's essential that the case be decided before the 2024 election, while Republicans, just 20 percent say it is essential. No big surprise there because, of course, if the case goes against Donald Trump, it wouldn't necessarily be good for him in the 2024 election.

Now, broadening this out a little bit, you know, think that Trump acted illegally to remain president after the 2020 election, look at this, despite all of the news, Phil, despite everything that has come out, despite all of these cases, despite all of the press, look at this, 45 percent think he acted illegally. That is the same -- this number, folks, simply put, hasn't moved since July of 2022. And I was looking at the cross tabs, Phil, by party. They've remained

the same too. People are just really locked in on how they feel about Donald Trump. This is a 50/50 nation.

MATTINGLY: Everything tied to him is the most static number that I've ever seen in politics.


MATTINGLY: It's remarkable.

Do voters think Donald Trump will concede if he loses in 2024?

ENTEN: Yes. So, you know, we're talking about the 2020 election and its potential effects on 2024. Let's zone in on the 2024 election. OK, losing in the 2024 presidential election, the loser should concede. The vast majority of Americans believe that the loser should concede, 86 percent.

MATTINGLY: I'm sorry, what do the other 14 percent think? Like the -

ENTEN: You know, I don't -

MATTINGLY: Like war or like - it's not even - we're not even asking who. We're just saying concession.

ENTEN: Apparently at 14 -- you can get 14 percent of Americans to believe anything, Phil.

MATTINGLY: For anything. Yes. Yes. All right.

ENTEN: Ten percent believe we faked the moon landing.

Believe that Trump would concede if he lost, 25 percent. A very different number here.

One last little nugget that I want to go through here. If elected, Trump pardons. For himself, if he's convicted, Trump would try, 78 percent. Seventy-seven percent believe he would try to pardon most people convicted in the January 6th attacks. But should he do those things? Just 28 percent say he should try to pardon himself and 1 percent say Trump should try and pardon most people convicted in the January 6th attack. So, this try and the should, very different. Yet despite this difference, Donald Trump does lead most of the polling, Phil.

MATTINGLY: That's a fascinating dynamic. Harry Enten, thank you, my friend.

ENTEN: Thank you.

HARLOW: All right, with us to discuss, CNN's senior legal analyst Elie Honig.

A couple of things I want to tick through in our polling, but just respond to what we just saw on the last question there about self- pardon.

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: So, the first thing that people always ask is can he, can he self-pardon? The answer is, we don't know. It's never been done. You can argue it either way. I think the better argument is no. But the thing to know is, if Donald Trump wins the 2024 election, he will do one or both of two things. One, he will almost certainly order his DOJ to dismiss the two federal cases against him. There's really not much he can do to stop that. And he might, just as a sort of safeguard, also try to pardon himself, but who's going to challenge it? Only really DOJ can challenge a pardon. It's going to be Trump's DOJ.

HARLOW: His attorney general.

A couple - couple other things here.

When you look at our polling, the CNN polling, one of the questions that was asked is, when should a verdict come.


HARLOW: Why was that number so striking to you?


Forty-eight percent said it is essential pre-election. I want to be clear here, this is a verdict in one of the federal election subversion cases.

HONIG: Right. And that's a really important detail because I think, while the federal election subversion case, Jack Smith's D.C. case, does probably have the power to swing some votes, we've seen other polling showing that it could swing six, seven, eight percent, I wonder what the percentage would be when it comes to the Manhattan DA's hush money case, because the way the challenger is coming into focus now, Jack Smith's case is pushed off. It's no longer scheduled for March 4th. It's sort of suspended indefinitely. It still may or may not get in before the election, but it's looking increasingly like the first one that's going to go is going to be the one right here in Manhattan, the hush money case. And I wonder may -- some pollster out there needs to ask, will that change your mind at all, the outcome in that case.

MATTINGLY: Can you shorthand - I mean it's up right now -


MATTINGLY: But - and I know we're -- you're away from your friend, the magic wall -

HARLOW: The wall.

MATTINGLY: But can you shorthand like kind of the path forward on the calendar as we know it right now?

HONIG: Yes, so, I'm going to try to visualize this. For a long time we had this collision happening in March -


HONIG: Where we had Jack Smith's trial and the Manhattan DA's trial. And the Manhattan DA was signaling, and then some publicly, that if we have -- both have March, I will step back and the feds can do their case. Well, the fed case is now off. And so unless something unexpected happens -- and there is a hearing next week on the Manhattan case on February 15th, but that looks like it's a go for March 25th of this year, you know, two months from now. Then the question is, when will Jack Smith's case be able to get back on track? And, by the way, with respect to the other two, Fani Willis' case already was the only one without a date. Now they've got all these problems, all these scandals brewing. That one's not getting tried before the 2024 election.

The documents case, that one's scheduled for late May. And as of the moment, it's solid, but there are indications that could get pushed back too.

So, we're looking at a scenario where I think we're almost certainly going to get the Manhattan case and Jack Smith's January 6th's case is maybe 50/50 maybe over the summer.


HARLOW: Just, before you go -


HARLOW: The other poll in question that was so interesting here is his efforts to remain -- Trump's efforts to remain president in 2020, did he act illegally. Forty-five percent say he acted illegally, 23 said unethical not illegal -


HARLOW: Sorry, 32 said unethical not illegal, 23 said did nothing wrong. Why does that give you pause?

HONIG: That terrifies me from a prosecutor's point of view.


HONIG: Because you look at a number like 45 percent think that one of the major parties did something illegal politically. Normal humans, you go, wow, that's a lot.


HONIG: Prosecutors, I'm thinking, you need 12 jurors unanimous, beyond a reasonable doubt. I mean run the math on that, right? If you have a 50/50-ish split in how many people think he did something illegal and you need all 12 of them. Now, that said, the jury pools in Manhattan and D.C. being anti-Trump, I mean he got -- Trump got 5 percent of the vote in D.C. and 12 percent of the vote in Manhattan. So you're not -- it may not be the same sample that we just saw. But that number would alarm me as a prosecutor.

MATTINGLY: That's a really interesting point. I was told there would be no math. That's why I got into journalism.

HONIG: We tried. We tried.

MATTINGLY: But we'll lean on your for that.

HONIG: We try to keep it very simple, like one and two digits.


MATTINGLY: Thanks, buddy, we appreciate it, as always.

Well, two decisions in one day could change the direction colleges are headed. Dartmouth brings back standardized testing for admissions, and another ruling could up end college athletics. The president of Dartmouth College joins us live, next.



HARLOW: So, this morning, Dartmouth College is at the center of what could be two significant changes in higher education. The National Labor Relations Board says that members of the men's basketball team are employees of the Ivy League school and can move forward with an election to create a union. Hours before that, Dartmouth said it would require new applicants to submit their test scores from the SAT or ACT starting with students applying in the fall of '25. Dartmouth dropped that requirement, like many schools, during the pandemic, but the college president says internal research suggests lower income students might benefit from sharing their test scores.

And joining me this morning is Dartmouth President Sian Beilock.

President Beilock, thank you very much. I think so many people are watching this and what you do and how it plays out with such interest.

What were you seeing that told you this was the right move for everyone, particularly that point I just read about lower-income students?

SIAN BEILOCK, PRESIDENT, DARTMOUTH COLLEGE: Yes. Well, Dartmouth is a place that looks at data, looks at research, and makes decisions off of that. And this summer we asked our economics and sociology faculty to look at our data, our experts. And what we found was that, first, test scores are a good predictor of how well students will do at Dartmouth, and other research has shown that's true beyond college, as well. And we showed that was true for high-income students as well as low-income students.

The second thing we found was that, in a test-optional environment, students weren't always submitting their test scores. And most interestingly, and maybe counterintuitively, we found that that actually hurt low-income students because we look at admissions wholistically. We look at their whole application. And when lower- income students weren't submitting their scores, we couldn't see how they were thriving in their environment.

HARLOW: So, this wasn't about -- or was it all about -- were you finding that admitted students over the last couple of years, when they weren't required to submit their scores, were less prepared or performing less well, or it's not about that?

BEILOCK: It's really not about that. I mean we know that students went through the Covid pandemic, and our - our students are thriving here at Dartmouth. But our goal is to identify academic excellence so essentially educate the broadest swath of leaders. And we want all the information at our disposal to do that. And we know that when we are in a test-optional environment, we are actually missing students who are excelling in their schools and in their environments who would be great at Dartmouth.


HARLOW: What about studies like the peer review "Journal of Education" researcher that found that a high school student's GPA was five times more predictive of their success in college graduation than their ACT score? They didn't look at SAT, but five times is a lot.

BEILOCK: Yes. Well, we're looking at ACTs and SATs. And the key is that we are a highly selective institution. And our analysis and analysis of others have shown that in these highly selective environments where we have tens of thousands of applications for not so many spots, the SATs are actually a much better predictor of outcome at Dartmouth and beyond than grades. But, again, they are one part of a holistic admission, one part of what we look at. And our goal really is to have all the information at our disposal.

HARLOW: Are you at all concerned about the impact this could have on low-income students, more -- a more diverse student body? I hear the argument you're making. The data you found is really interesting. When you looked at a study just a couple years go, 2019, by the Policy Analysts for California Education, it was funded in part by the Department of Education, they found that what they saw resulted in a more socioeconomically and racially and ethnically diverse applicant pool when you focus on GPA over focusing on standardized tests. I mean we all know how expensive, for example, these standardized test prep programs are, et cetera. I just wonder if you worry about that at all.

BEILOCK: Look, we're always trying to admit and enroll the broadest swath and the best students. But the bottom line is, we think the data are very clear, that this should help us expand our ability to attract and enroll the best low-income students and students across the economic sector. And we really do think our research, our data, the data of others, like Raj Chetty has shown that this is one way to actually find those students who don't have all of the resources around letters of rec, around activities, around college counselors. And we follow the research.

HARLOW: For people who don't know who Raj Chetty is, he's done groundbreaking work on poverty and lifting people up from -- from poverty and what it takes to do that.

Got to talk sports here. What an interesting move here when it comes to Dartmouth basketball. The team could soon unionize. A regional office at the National Labor Relations Board has decided that those basketball players are employees of the school. That clears the way for them to vote if they want to unionize that would allow them to negotiate pay and even how long they practice. I thought it was interesting that a spokesperson for Dartmouth came out in opposition of this. They want a peer review. And I wonder why. Why does Dartmouth oppose this?

BEILOCK: Look, we support our students on campus. The goal is really to train our students as the next generation of leaders. We have productive working relationships with so many unions.

But we believe our athletes are students. We don't give athletic scholarships. We are student-athletes here. And we believe our students should be thought of in that way.

But it's early days, and we're very supportive of all our students and will.

HARLOW: And if they vote to unionize, you're behind them?

BEILOCK: As we've said, we are looking at all of the information. And, again, we believe our athletes - our student-athletes are students.

HARLOW: We'll see. Please come back. Really appreciate it.

President Beilock, thanks.

Well, a daring rescue during L.A.'s dangerous flash flooding. A man goes to death-defying lengths to save his best friend trapped in the water. Look at that, straight ahead.



HARLOW: Welcome back.

In about an hour, the chief of the FAA is going to take questions from lawmakers about his oversight and the agency's oversight of Boeing.

MATTINGLY: Now it comes after a Boeing 737 Max 9 was forced to make an emergency landing when a door plug flew off.

CNN's Pete Muntean joins us now.

Pete, do we have any sense of what the testimony is going to sound like today?

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Well, Phil, this could be a grilling for the head of the FAA. Remember, the agency is now supervising ramped-up overnight of Boeing since last month's door plug blowout on that Alaska Airlines 737 Max 9. And top lawmakers in the House want to know if that is enough.

This is the FAA administrator, Mike Whitaker's, first time testifying to Congress since that incident. Also, his first time testifying on Capitol Hill since taking the job about 100 days ago.

In his prepared testimony, Whitaker will say this, quote, "going forward, we will have more boots on the ground closely scrutinizing and monitoring production and manufacturing activities at Boeing." The FAA has already launched an audit of Boeing's production line in Renton, Washington. That's where late Sunday Boeing disclosed it found a new problem, poorly drilled holes found in part of the windows on about 50 737 Maxs still in the factory. Boeing contractor Spirit AeroSystems, which builds the Max fuselage, is owning the problem, but that means Boeing is slowing the production of some planes and delaying deliveries.

Just yesterday the FAA told reporters that it's reimagining a new oversight plan of Boeing. And the FAA says it has about a dozen inspectors at Boeing right now doing nose-to-tail and wing tip-to-wing tip inspections of planes being built.

Here's one more quote from the FAA chief in his prepared testimony. He says, "let me stress, we will follow the data and take appropriate and necessary action. The safety of the flying public will continue to inform our decision making.

Here's the rub, though. The FAA has cleared the Max 9 to fly again. And all but a handful of those planes in the U.S. have been inspected by airlines and are once again carrying passengers. But that is happening as the NTSB is still doing its investigation of the Alaska door plug incident. Preliminary report could come out today, but a final report could take a year or more.

MATTINGLY: All right, Pete Muntean, thank you.

Well, a storm bring a fire hose of rain and major flooding to California, triggering power outages and travel chaos across the state. Fire officials spent much of Monday rescuing residents trapped in surging floodwaters, including this man who jumped into the L.A. River to save his dog.

HARLOW: A helicopter crew located both the dog, who swam to the edge to escape the rapids, and his owner, who was hoisted onto an aircraft, taken to a hospital.


Officials say both are doing okay after suffering some minor injuries.

A pretty cute pup there.

MATTINGLY: A very good boy.

HARLOW: Thank you so much for being with us. We'll see you right back here tomorrow morning.