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CNN This Morning

Calls For Hate Crime Charges In Attack; NTSB: Bolts Were Missing From Door Plug Of Alaska Airlines Flight 1282; ESPN, Fox, WBD To Launch Joint Sports Streaming Service. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired February 07, 2024 - 07:30   ET




JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR AND CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hartsville is two hours inland from the coast. Billy Pierce -- here for 70 years, except for a stint in the Navy -- is another piece of the Trump comeback puzzle.

KING: The four years he was president how was your life?

BILLY PIERCE, SOUTH CAROLINA REPUBLICAN VOTER: Better -- definitely better. We didn't have the high inflation. We didn't have the high interest rates.

KING (voice-over): Not an election denier and not a fan of the toxic tone.

PIERCE: If he had just shut up and got off of Twitter and that kind of stuff, he'd have made a great president.

KING (voice-over): His 2016 and 2020 votes for Trump track his 1992 vote for Ross Perot.

PIERCE: I wanted a non-career politician in there that would do -- would run it like a company. Run this place like a company -- like a CEO.

KING (voice-over): Pierce calls himself likely Trump in the primary. The border is his top issue.

PIERCE: Shut it down.

KING (voice-over): And on that, he trusts Trump more than Haley.

PIERCE: He's going in to fix the things I need him to fix. I have no problem -- to be honest with you, I have no problem with putting up two roads and mining the other. So if they come in, you tell them it's mined. You put signs out there that say it's mined.

KING (voice-over): Like many voters drawn to Trump back in 2016, Craig Thomas wanted to send Washington a message.

CRAIG THOMAS, SOUTH CAROLINA REPUBLICAN VOTER: It was like, all right -- like, this is good. Let's blow some things up.

KING (voice-over): Now he's voting for Haley to send his children a message.

THOMAS: I don't think there is any sort of crazy conspiracy between the NFL and Taylor Swift, and everything else just showing up for a Biden coronation.

KING (voice-over): To end, Thomas hopes, awkward conversations after his teenage daughter gets home from the stables.

THOMAS: How do you I look at my daughter who is a huge Taylor Swift fan and this guy is just attacking Taylor Swift for -- just because she's going to support another candidate, right, and other things like that? And so having those conversations with them -- it does matter and it does matter with who you support.

KING (voice-over): Charleston is rich with Revolutionary and Civil War history. It is more affluent, more educated, and less Trumpy than most of the state.

THOMAS: But there is quite a bit of talk about Trump even here.

KING (voice-over): That's a bad sign, Thomas says, for those like him who want South Carolina to somehow give Haley a win and give the Republican race a new beginning.


KING (on camera): So you asked at the start is there any math for Haley. Yes, nothing is ever impossible. She has a little more than two weeks to pull this off. But remember, she last ran 10 years ago. It's been a decade since she was on the ballot. Since then, Donald Trump won the 2016 primary, he won the 2016 general election, and he won the 2020 election there -- so he's won three times in South Carolina. So it's as much his state now as it is hers.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Could we talk about Nevada --

KING: Sure.

HARLOW: -- and what happened there last night?

KING: So the Haley campaign is trying to say nothing happened because they weren't playing because all of the delegates are actually awarded Thursday night in the caucuses, and Trump has that pretty well wired. But it was a chance for her to get the symbolic see there are voters who want me --


KING: -- and she lost to none of these candidates.

That tells you, again, it's the same point. The party -- this is Trump's party now and this -- even though we're eight years into this it hasn't sunk in to some people. They think oh, something's going to happen that's going to somehow -- all these voters are going to say never mind -- we don't want Donald Trump. That's proof right there even though that's not for delegates and not a lot of people voted. But enough people went out to say no, we're not even going to give her a symbolic victory so she can say look, there are people who want me.

HARLOW: Yeah. Literally, none of the above.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN ANCHOR: The Perot to Tea Party to Trump throughline. I hadn't actually thought through that.

KING: Yeah.

MATTINGLY: Is that like a common --

KING: It's a -- I think -- I think former Gov. Sanford makes a very important point that --

MATTINGLY: No, I think it's super smart.

KING: -- as someone who lived through this.


KING: This is -- this is about globalization. This is about where is the North Star. What do I tell my kids to study in school?


KING: Where's my job going? What happened to my town? You know, there used to be a factory here. My grandfather worked there, then my father worked there, and I thought I was going to work there.

This started in the mid-90s and because the traditional politicians have not helped people through it -- and now you have AI and then you have the COVID pandemic, and everything else. They're not getting a North Star from the traditional politicians so people are going outside their boxes. So for anyone who thinks how does that get so far outside the box to get to Trump --


KING: I would say to traditional politicians look in the mirror. Come up with a better way to talk to blue-collar Americans who don't make as much money as you do, who don't go to the fancy schools you went to --


KING: -- who want some help.


MATTINGLY: Yeah, that's fascinating. I always thought of the -- like, Newt being the genesis. That era of Republicans.

KING: No, I think -- I think -- I think he's right. You can trace it back.

MATTINGLY: It makes a lot of sense.

KING: Yes.

John King, we love having you on, man.


MATTINGLY: Thank you.

KING: Thank you.

HARLOW: Also this news this morning. A brutal attack on a Palestinian American man has America's largest Muslim civil rights groups calling for hate crime charges. We'll tell you what happened next.

MATTINGLY: And an appeals court resoundingly rejecting Donald Trump's immunity claim. We're going to break down the wide-ranging implications. Stay with us.



HARLOW: Welcome back.

This morning, the nation's largest Muslim civil rights group wants prosecutors to bring hate crime charges in the attack of a Palestinian-American man that happened over the weekend.

MATTINGLY: Twenty-three-year-old Zacharia Doar is recovering from surgery after being stabbed following a pro-Palestinian protest in Austin, Texas on Sunday. The Council on American-Islamic Relations is calling for hate crime charges to be brought against Bert James Baker. He's been arrested and charged with second-degree aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

CNN correspondent Dianne Gallagher joins us now with more of the details. Dianne, what happens next, and what's the family saying here?

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. So, Phil, what happens next is it's under investigation. Austin police are calling it a bias- motivated incident that will go to their hate crimes review committee. Now, only the Travis County district attorney can actually bring hate crime charges if they determine they are warranted. That office told CNN yesterday that it awaits receiving the investigation.

Now, 36-year-old Bert James Baker was arrested on Sunday and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in the stabbing of 23- year-old Zacharia Doar.

Now, according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, on Sunday, Doar and three other Muslim-American friends were leaving that ceasefire rally in Austin when a man on a bicycle ripped a flag bearing the Palestinian keffiyeh and 'Free Palestine' on it off of their car. That is when CAIR says that the man came around, began shouting the n-word, and pulled one of the men in the vehicle out. The other three got out and tried fighting him off. And that, they say, is when Doar was stabbed.

Doar's father spoke yesterday saying he was devastated when he got the call. He had been at the rally with his son and blames the governor, the city council, and President Biden.


NIZAR DOAR, FATHER OF STABBING VICTIM ZACHARIA DOAR: He said, "Mr. President -- Mr. Joe Biden, I blame you. I blame you for what happened to me. If you would have called for a ceasefire three months ago this would have never happened."

The first thing that came to my mind is I'm going to lose my son. I was thinking how I'm going to tell them that I failed to protect my son.



GALLAGHER: Now, Zacharia Doar has a 5-month-old son at home, himself.

Phil, Poppy, his father says that he had surgery. That he was in agony after that stabbing. CAIR tells me that he had a broken rib, he was stabbed in the side, and is recovering. And again, wants to see charges and hate crime charges against this suspect, they say.

MATTINGLY: All right, please keep up posted. Dianne Gallagher, thank you.

Well, a startling new finding in the investigation into why a chunk of a Boeing 737 Max 9 plane blew out midflight. NTSB chair Jennifer Homendy joins us to discuss the key pieces of the plane that were missing next.


HARLOW: Welcome back.

A startling finding from federal investigators a month after this terrifying moment that the door plug of a Boeing 737 Max 9 just blew out midair during an Alaska Airlines flight. Yesterday, the National Transportation Safety Board released its preliminary report saying evidence indicates the four bolts meant to hold the door plug in place didn't malfunction -- they were actually missing altogether at the time of the blowout.

The report included this photo -- take a look. It was taken in September. That is more than a month before the plane was even delivered to Alaska Airlines. And it shows where the hardware was missing while the plane was being worked on. It means that this aircraft flew for about two months with the bolts missing before the January 5 blowout. The report did not assess cause or lay blame. Those details will come in the full report at a later date.


So let's talk about all of this with the chair of the NTSB, Jennifer Homendy, for her first interview since this report was released. Good morning. I'm so glad you're with us.

If --


HARLOW: If we don't know why they were missing and this plane was flying for about two months without them, is it possible something like this could happen again?

HOMENDY: Of course, that's always possible but that is -- this is the reason the NTSB exists to ensure this never happens again. I do have confidence that these planes have been fully inspected by the FAA --

HARLOW: Um-hum.

HOMENDY: -- and that they've been assured of safety. But, of course, something like this can happen again, which is why we are now digging in --


HOMENDY: -- to Boeing's quality assurance, quality management, and safety culture to make sure this doesn't happen again.

HARLOW: A couple of things you just said there. When you say, basically, the FAA has assurance, right, that this won't happen again, this gets to the issue of how this happens. That companies self-report a lot of this stuff.

I just want everyone to listen to this exchange. This is the FAA administrator Matt (sic) Whitaker with lawmakers yesterday, asked about who oversees the safety of these planes altogether. Here is that exchange.


REP. COLIN ALLRED (D-TX): It seems to me that we can't rely on the manufacturers themselves to be their own watchdogs. Is that something you would agree with?

MICHAEL WHITAKER, ADMINISTRATOR, FAA: I certainly agree that what's -- the current system is not working because it's not delivering safe aircraft. So we have to make some changes to that.


HARLOW: Do you agree there need to be changes? Does the system need to change?

HOMENDY: I absolutely agree that it needs to change. There is no way that this plane should have been delivered with four safety critical bolts missing. There's a problem in the process. We are digging in. We're not just digging into what's going on at Boeing --

HARLOW: Um-hum.

HOMENDY: -- but we're also digging into FAA's oversight of Boeing as well.

But I'm very encouraged by the administrator's comments.


HOMENDY: I think he's made some great choices and we'll see how this plays out going forward in our investigation.

HARLOW: Is it clear to you and the agency who was supposed to put the bolts in or when it didn't happen?

HOMENDY: Yeah. So, at this point in the process, some of the work was being done. Once Boeing received the fuselage they noticed that some rivets in the frame forward of the left door plug needed to be repaired. They called Spirit in. In order to do those repairs they had to remove the door plug, and in order to remove the door plug they had to remove the bolts, and they weren't put back in.

Now, we have requested documentation on how this happened and in what stage of this process this occurred so we can figure out --


HOMENDY: -- what changes need to be made. But we're still waiting on that documentation if it exists.

HARLOW: Yeah. Well, you need -- yeah, if it exists you need it to be able to get these answers.

On that point of waiting for some of those answers and documents, the contractor for the fuselage, Spirit AeroSystems -- not to be confused with Spirit Airlines -- and Boeing both came out with these statements yesterday saying we're being transparent, essentially, and we're cooperating with the investigation.

Do you share that assessment?

HOMENDY: Yes, they are being very cooperative in the investigation, providing us information that we need. We certainly hope that continues. They've -- this is not a new process for them as the NTSB conducts investigations and we work together to find safety issues that can change in the future. But right now, we're working together and hope that we can -- that continues going forward.

HARLOW: Jennifer, something else happened this week. Just on Monday, Boeing sent this letter to staff that they found mis-drilled holes in the fuselages of about 50 undelivered 737 planes -- not something that poses an imminent safety risk -- that's what Boeing says. But that compounded with this -- with the previous Max crashes -- is there a quality control problem at Boeing?

HOMENDY: I think there is a quality assurance problem -- a quality control problem, and that's exactly what we're digging in on right now. We want to understand their quality management systems, their safety culture, their safety management systems throughout the company to see where there are deficiencies and to make sure this doesn't reoccur. If you have situations or deficiencies in manufacturing and production that needs to be taken seriously and corrected.

HARLOW: Prior to this report, Jennifer, you told CNN you would have, quote, "No problem flying on a Max 9 tomorrow." Now that the report is out and knowing what you know, would you still fly on a Max 9 tomorrow?


HOMENDY: Absolutely. They have been inspected thoroughly, I believe, by FAA along with United and Alaska. I will say working with Alaska on this investigation has been very cooperative. They have taken this very seriously and had serious safety concerns. So I would have no problem tomorrow taking a flight on a Max 9.

HARLOW: This has been immensely helpful to hear from you. Please come back when the full report is ready. Jennifer Homendy, thank you.

HOMENDY: Thank you.

MATTINGLY: Well, new details this morning. Hamas has just responded to the latest hostage deal. The latest on what that group is now proposing.

HARLOW: And a major change in the world of streaming. A huge deal between three media giants impacting the way you watch sports. The latest on that deal, next.



MATTINGLY: Well, this morning, there are seismic changes underway in the world of sports media. Three of the biggest companies in sports broadcasting -- ESPN, Fox, and Warner Bros. Discovery, the parent company of CNN -- they are partnering up to create a giant sports streaming platform.

HARLOW: Yeah. This is going to offer consumers access to a big range of sporting events, including from the NFL, the NBA, Major League Baseball, the NHL. This will officially launch in the fall.

Let's bring in our senior media analyst Sara Fischer. I saw this headline and I was, like, this is -- this is great in terms of fighting, sort of, what streaming has done to cable television by collaborating together. What is the upside here for the companies, but also for consumers?

SARA FISCHER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA ANALYST: Yeah. Well, for the companies, Poppy, there's very little risk. They're going to get the same dollars that they're going to get from distributors on cable for this venture. So going into it, it's likely going to be pretty profitable.

The downside, though, is the pricing. So for something like this, you'll probably going to have to charge around $45.00 or $50.00, and people are already paying around $70.00 if you get something like YouTube TV -- maybe $70.00 or $80.00 if you're getting cable. So it's not that much cheaper I think that you're going to be able to pull people necessarily out of the cable bundle.

What these executives at these companies are hoping is that they're going to capture more dollars from people who aren't paying for cable.

Now, the downside for the consumer, of course, is that we're missing two major sports players. CBS is not involved. You know, CBS is airing the Super Bowl. They have a lot of major rights. And then, of course, Comcast NBC is not involved.

And so you're going to get a huge sampling of sports but you're going to be missing some. And so you're going to have to make the decision about whether or not it's worth paying for this thing -- standalone -- if you still pay for cable because with cable you're getting everything.

MATTINGLY: Sara, the two things that came to mind for me were oh, wow, they're creating cable. And the second thing was that these, like, leagues and teams -- they all have individual contracts --

HARLOW: Contracts.

MATTINGLY: -- with cable entities.

How does that work? Do they all kind of shift those over into this new conglomerate? How does that happen?

FISCHER: So if you're a league you're still going to have the same rights and partnerships with the network, so that doesn't change. Although they're going to have to have some of these conversations with the leagues to make sure that they're OK with this.

Same thing for the distributors. We get our cable packages through companies like Comcast or Verizon. The networks -- the ESPNs and the TNTs of the world -- they going to have to have those conversations with the distributors.


FISCHER: Now, they're hoping that they can get this all settled by the end of the year. I will be curious to see if they can get this through. But right now, the companies are betting that they're going to be able to get the same money from everybody -- HARLOW: Yeah.

FISCHER: -- from the distributors, the leagues -- and that this will be profitable pretty soon.

HARLOW: Any reporting on why CBS and NBC didn't join, and if they were approached?

FISCHER: I mean, it's a very good question. I'm sure there were conversations about whether or not they're brought in. These companies are all trying to figure out, Poppy, whether or not they merge with each other.


FISCHER: And so right now, there's a lot of bigger questions outside of just sports that could be tainting whether or not they join this particular venture.

Another big thing to consider is that whether or not some of these companies can merge is going to be dependent on regulatory approval from a bigger macro perspective. They don't see regulators getting involved in this sports thing but I think that the macro conversations might be impacting these smaller conversations around this streaming service.

MATTINGLY: Sara, since we have you, can I ask you about -- there was a ton of attention yesterday. Tucker Carlson is in Moscow and sat for an interview with Vladimir Putin. I'm all for people interviewing Vladimir Putin. There are real questions given Tucker Carlson's proclivities related towards authoritarians over the course of the last several years.

What is the deal with this?

FISCHER: I mean, this is what his playbook is. Ever since he left Fox he's been interviewing autocrats. He went to Hungary and he interviewed Viktor Orban, the prime minister there. Obviously, he's done sit-downs with former President Trump who I wouldn't say is necessarily an autocrat but is somebody who is very populist.

He likes to give these types of people a platform because it's not something he could necessarily do when he was in the cable world. Now that he's struck out on his own and he's in digital doing his videos and X, formerly Twitter, he has the latitude to interview whoever he wants, and he will do it.

MATTINGLY: It's -- it will be interesting to watch. I would just note that in his, kind of, preview tease video the idea that Western journalists are not asking for or wanting a sit-down, including our own, with Vladimir Putin is the most --

HARLOW: Well --

MATTINGLY: -- absurd thing.

HARLOW: -- while Western journalists are imprisoned --


HARLOW: -- in Russia for doing their job of journalism.

MATTINGLY: That's actually a great point.

HARLOW: Evan Moscovich (sic).

MATTINGLY: I do hope he asks about Evan Gershkovich.

HARLOW: Gershkovich, yes -- at this moment.



MATTINGLY: Sara Fischer, we always appreciate you.


MATTINGLY: Thank you.

FISCHER: Thank you.

MATTINGLY: And CNN THIS MORNING continues right now.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: House calendar number 60, House Resolution 863. Resolution impeaching Alejandro Nicholas Mayorkas, secretary of Homeland Security for high crimes and misdemeanors.

REP. MIKE JOHNSON (R-LA): The yeas are 214 and the nays are 216. The resolution is not adopted.

REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): This should be a layup impeachment, though.

SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT): Do you want to fix the border or do you want to keep the border a mess in order to help Donald Trump?