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Erin Burnett Outfront

Sources: Widow Spoke To Bomb Suspect After FBI Released Picture; Liberals Turn on Obama

Aired May 01, 2013 - 19:00   ET


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, breaking news, sources tell CNN the wife of Tamerlan Tsarnaev spoke with her husband on the phone after his pictures and video appeared around the country as the prime suspect.

Plus, the FBI releases photos of three men wanted in questioning for the bombing of the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi. So why did it take eight months for this to happen?

And a number of people in Washington have doubts about President Obama's ability to lead. But tonight, some of them are his biggest supporters. Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening, everyone. I'm Erin Burnett. And OUTFRONT tonight, we begin with significant breaking news. Sources tell CNN that Catherine Russell, the widow of Boston bombing suspect, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, spoke to her husband after his picture was released by the FBI. That conversation supposedly happened on April 18th.

So did she know it was her husband whose picture was being shown across the world on television? Deb Feyerick is following this story. Deb, obviously, this is a huge development.

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it is a huge development. That's what's so interesting about this. Right now, investigators are looking into this particular phone conversation because she did phone her husband. She reached out to her husband after the video and after the images were released.

She calls her husband, not clear what was said. What is clear is she had an option, an opportunity to call law enforcement and that's not something that she did. So that puts her in a whole heap of trouble. CNN's Gloria Borger also got some details of what was said in the conversation.

Though it is still unclear the nature whether it was, they're looking for you or what did you do so all of that is something that she's being questioned on. She has been talking to the FBI agents as well as attorneys and prosecutors. She is a suspect until she is not a suspect. That is how they approach this.

She is a suspect until she's not a suspect. But, for example, there were investigators at her home. They did take DNA samples. Also, you know, think about it, she did not claim her husband's body. Instead she has allowed the mother to take Tamerlan Tsarnaev's body back. So that may mean she is creating distance between herself and the Tsarnaev family.

Also, you have to think about the association. She is very, very close to what went on in that house. She would be a great state's witness. She would be able to say who he met with, when he traveled. Because there are so many open questions about when he was traveling, where he was traveling, how long he was traveling for, who he met with, and who may have come to their home. Who lived in the area? So that is a lot of information.

BURNETT: But you're saying in terms of conversation while we don't know the details, it was about the video. It was either what were you doing or I'm warning you, but it was a conversation about that moment?

FEYERICK: Absolutely. The timing is a little bit suspicious. The FBI releases the video, releases tapes and then all of a sudden she's calling her husband. So, again, we know that she was working hard. But you have to think this is a woman who has a charge against her for shoplifting.

She has a 3-year-old child. She has to worry about what is going to happen to that child. So investigators have a lot of leverage right now in terms of what they may or may not be talking to her about and whether they're trying to get her to cooperate.

But, again, you know, you don't have an FBI agent in a room meeting with prosecutors and with the attorneys if, in fact, there is not something that they need to discuss.

BURNETT: And you said, so now we know about this conversation, which happened after the video, which she called him and then did not tell law enforcement, but she knew who the person was in the video. You also have prior to this, they're living together in an incredibly small apartment where all this was going on and they still don't know what was she aware of or how she could not have been aware of what was happening with the explosives.

FEYERICK: And that's one of the big issues because, for example, when he went on his trip and he was away for six months, things would likely have changed. The question is what changed? What did she see? What did she witness? What conversations was she privy to? Did she know anything?

Because if you know that somebody is thinking about some sort of terror act, you are obligated to report it. Otherwise, you can be charged as a conspirator or as an accessory. That is one of the critical things right now that Katherine Russell is fighting against. That's clearly not something she wants. She has a child she's got to think about.

BURNETT: All right, Deb Feyerick, thank you very much, but obviously a significant development tonight from one of the people at the center of the story. Mark Geragos joins me now, criminal defense attorney and author of "Mistrial," and Tim Clemente, former FBI counter- terrorism expert. OK, great to have both of you with us and I really appreciate it. Mark, obviously this is significant development, if Katherine Russell spoke to her husband after the pictures here on national television, which Deb Feyerick and Gloria Borger are reporting that she did and then she did not call law enforcement and say I recognize that man. I know who he is, how damming is that?

MARK GERAGOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Not very. It's not damming at all because she's got a spousal privilege. She can assert it. So I would agree with that portion of this. I would readily agree with this other aspect of it, the fact that she has a 3-year-old child, the fact that she has a shoplifting charge. She's a great risk, believe it or not.

Because somebody can go in and revoke bail or her O.R. status, recognisance status on that and they could threaten to take away a child protective services could come in, those kinds of things I guarantee you are being floated and told to her.

Because whatever lawyer that she's got, I understand she's got a good one, is going to say, look, she's got absolutely no obligation to go nark out or tattle on her husband so to speak from a legal standpoint. Maybe from a moral standpoint she would have wanted to do that.

And I think part of what you're seeing going on right now with distancing herself is that obviously he's gone. There is nothing there to embrace. She's going to do what most good mothers would do is have a maternal instinct for her 3-year-old who I guarantee you they're threatening to take away from her.

BURNETT: Tim, let me follow up on this point out though, the distinction mark is making between legal obligations and moral obligations. You know, a lot of people watching would say, look, someone commits an act of terrorism and tries to kill more than 260 people. I don't care if the person who knows who that is, was their wife or a distant relative or a random person on the street. If they knew and didn't call, how can it be that they didn't do anything wrong?

TIM CLEMENTE, FORMER COUNTERTERRORISM AGENT, FBI: Well, I would have to disagree with Mark a little bit on that because one of the things with the spousal privilege is that it ends when it comes to a conspiracy involving terrorism.

And so she may very well, if she only knew after the fact and saw him on the news and didn't tell the FBI or local police about him, that's one thing. If she knew about any element of the plot beforehand, if she knew they were going to commit an act of terror and did nothing, now you're talking about a completely different thing.

Because she may have contributed to this conspiracy in some way prior to the fact and at that point, you know, a conspiracy, she loses that spousal privilege to not say anything.

GERAGOS: And I would agree with that 1,000 percent. If they have DNA and the DNA comes back to her, the last thing she's going to be worried about is whether or not she called after the fact. I mean, that is not going to be anybody's worry because she's going to be smack dab in the middle of a terror prosecution on the basis of conspiracy.

But if she didn't know anything and then learned after the fact by seeing and thinking she recognize somebody's picture, no, she doesn't have any legal obligation. She may have a moral obligation.

BURNETT: How difficult is it going to be for them prove conspiracy here? I mean, either one of you, because she lives in a small apartment. Yes, she's working all the time, but our understanding is there were explosives, bomb making equipment, pipe bombs scattered around this apartment. So, you know, you notice that. You are then under an obligation to say something? Is that enough? Is that conspiracy because someone is building bombs or not?

GERAGOS: Somebody once said that conspiracy is one of the, you know, the arrows in a lazy prosecutor's quiver because it's so easy to prove. If she's in a small -- she's in a small apartment. Whether she says she should have noticed or didn't notice, her DNA is on something, that's going to put her, you know, that clearly is enough for probable cause into a conspiracy. Whether that's enough for a conviction is up to a jury to decide, but for probable cause purposes, that's a pretty easy task.

BURNETT: Tim, is there any way, obviously, there is a voice mail they can try to get the phone companies to give that up at this point. It's not a voice mail. It's just a conversation. There's no way they actually can find out what happened, right, unless she tells them?

CLEMENTE: No, there is a way. We certainly have ways in national security investigations to find out exactly what was said in that conversation. It's not necessarily something that the FBI is going to want to present in court, but it may help lead the investigation and/or lead to questioning of her. We certainly can find that out.

BURNETT: So they can actually get that? People are saying, look, that is incredible.

CLEMENTE: No, welcome to America. All of that stuff is being captured as we speak whether we know it or like it or not.

BURNETT: Know to self, as Deb Feyerick just said, yes. All right, thanks very much to both of you. Obviously, that right is a very significant thing because people have been saying this conversation, if it wasn't a voicemail, they don't know. If they can find out that, that obviously become crucial.

Still to come, more breaking news, there were three more arrests in the case today. Authorities say three young men knew their friends were behind the Boston bombing and then covered up for them.

Plus, what shocking thing early American columnists ate when they ran out of food and the specific proof that archaeologists have unearthed.

And these stills are taken of a plane that crashed seconds after takeoff. It is impossible to watch and impossible not to watch. That is the best way I can describe it to you. But it is -- this is the first time there has been a video like this of something this significant. We're going to look at it frame by frame from takeoff to the end to find out what went wrong.


BURNETT: And now our second story OUTFRONT, there are three new arrests in the Boston bombing case surprising many late today. These three friends of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev are now in jail. I want you to look at these faces. They look like they're 10 years old. They're 19. They're very young.

Two of the friends picture here, we're going to show you are with Dzhokhar in Times Square. So you can see them. We're going to zoom in so can you see their faces with Dzhokhar, Dias Kadyrbayev in the center and Azamat Tazhayakov on the left. They're both 19. They're from Kazakhstan. They were in this country on student visas.

Now the third friend shown here is Robel Phillipos. He is an American citizen, also 19. According to the complaints filed against them today, the three friends went to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's dorm room after the bombings. At that time in the room they noticed a backpack that was filled with fireworks that had been according to the complaint emptied of gunpowder.

The complaint, there were two here, alleged that the three young men then took that backpack and went back to Tazhayakov and Kadyrbayev's home. It was there that Phillipos told authorities that he started to freak out because it became clear from a CNN report that we were watching that Dzhokhar was one of the Boston marathon bombers.

That caused a big debate. Again, according to Phillipos in his complaint, the three, quote, "had a discussion about what to do with the backpack and fireworks." And according to Kadyrbayev, they then collectively decided to take the backpack and fireworks and throw them into the trash because they didn't want Tsarnaev to get into trouble.

Brian Todd is outside the courthouse in Boston. Now, Brian, cameras were not allowed inside the court today. We had producers and reporters who saw the suspects. How did they appear?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Erin, they appeared very nervous. At least two of them were in handcuffs; all three of were in leg shackles as they were brought in. At one point the judge admonished one of them saying, "I suggest you look at me. You pay attention to me rather than looking down."

But of course, that was the least of their problems today. The crux of the complaint, as you just laid out, they're accused of taking that backpack out of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's room, the backpack that had fireworks and Vaseline and school papers, and essentially tossing it into a trash bag, tossing it into a Dumpster and then lying about the entire thing to investigators. Their attorneys have said this afternoon that they did not knowingly lie, that they didn't make misstatements, that they didn't know any of that stuff was evidence in an investigation. They look forward to litigating this in court, Erin.

BURNETT: Now, one interesting thing in the complaint - and I would recommend anyone that wants to read this, please go to our Web site because it's here and you probably want to read it in full. But there is a footnote, Brian that, says that the friends have actually while eating a meal with Dzhokhar had discussed bomb making. And at that one month prior to the marathon bombing -- I'm reading from the footnote on page 11 -- Dzhokhar explained to them that he knew how to make a bomb. What do you make of that?

TODD: That's right. That is a very important footnote. And of course, it may indicate some prior knowledge. But again, the attorneys for these suspects say they had no prior knowledge of a plot. And there really is no evidence to indicate that they did. There's nothing at all to indicate that they were in any way part of any plot to bomb the Boston Marathon or had any knowledge of it prior to the marathon.

The attorneys also say they didn't know that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was a suspect after the marathon. But, of course, as you laid out in this complaint -- this complaint says differently. They did suspect he was a suspect after the marathon, and that's why they got rid of the backpack. But that footnote about him saying that he knew how to make a bomb a month before the bombings when he's having a meal with the two Kazak students, that's -- that could be an indication that there might have been some kind of knowledge beforehand that he had those inclinations. But again, no hard evidence at all that they had any prior knowledge of that specific plot.

BURNETT: Right. Of course, charged at this time with the cover-up after, not knowledge before.

Susan Candiotti joins us now in New Bedford, Massachusetts, where two of the suspects lived and were arrested. I should mention to viewers here, Susan, of course, two of these, the young men from Kazakhstan were the ones that had the car with the (INAUDIBLE) number one license plate on it. I know you have been speaking to people in the neighborhood. What have you learned about these young men?

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Not many people know many details about them. People seemingly come and go. Sometimes they said they did recognize Dzhokhar as being with them, coming and going. And one person told me they even saw Dzhokhar's older brother as well here in the neighborhood. So they got around.

But they were stunned, absolutely stunned to see the SWAT team show up when they did. The one thing we wanted to show you right off the bat is the Dumpster that neighbors here say is the one that was likely the one to be used. It's the only one here in the neighborhood that according to the complaint once they took that backpack with the fireworks inside, they went to this Dumpster after they put it inside of a trash bag and threw it over the side. That's the one that seemed to take care of this neighborhood, according to all neighbors, that's the one that was used. But these people can't believe that it's only been a few days, literally, since that SWAT team showed up on April 19th when they first came out here to take these students into custody to drill them with questions about what they knew about Dzhokhar.

Now, I talked with one neighbor here who told me his story.


CANDIOTTI: Point out that apartment to me.

FELIX JORGE, NEIGHBOR: Oh, it was that one right over there.

CANDIOTTI: What happened when the FBI appeared on the scene that night and other police? When they picked them out of the house, when they came out of the apartment, then what happened?

JORGE: They made them strip. You know, they stripped down to their skivvies, and they ordered them to walk backwards to the car and get on their knees.


CANDIOTTI: And this young man also said he was shocked, called it insane that these same students are now charged with allegedly attempting to get rid of evidence that might have been used in this bombing case. That neighbor said in this day and age in a post 9/11 world, how could it be that someone wouldn't be willing to come forward and tell police that they might have some information that could help them? Erin?

BURNETT: All right. Susan, and that is what is so confounding with all the reporting tonight. The three young men arrested. The wife of one of the suspects seeing this video and not telling anybody.

By the way, the maximum sentence for those three young men -- this may surprise some of you - would be five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for conspiring to cover up that act of terror.

OUTFRONT next, facial recognition failed. Why videos of the Boston suspects came up empty on computer software.

And later, the president taking heat -- nothing new, but you know what? He is taking heat from people that never give him heat right now.

And a solution to partisan gridlock in Washington, D.C. Oh, we found it. Come on, guys. This is how you do it.


BURNETT: Our third story OUTFRONT, facial recognition failed. So, you know the technology. It's a staple in every TV drama you see, every movie you see. Basically, you input a suspect's image and boom! Within minutes you have a match. But when it comes to identifying the suspects in the Boston bombing, on the one hand law enforcement had video and they had multiple photos. I mean, look at this, right? Everyone who knew these guys knew who they were. One of the suspects had actually also been on two terror watch lists. So, they could have compared the lists and faces and...

But no. Even with that, facial recognition could not answer the question of who these men were. Law enforcement had to ask the public, go to human beings and say who are these two men? So why didn't the technology work? Tom Foreman investigates OUTFRONT.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When the FBI release these photos during the search for the Boston suspects, there was hope that computers might help as they do on shows like CSI, comparing facial features with existing data and coming up with a name.


FOREMAN: But even though pictures of both brothers were in public databases, the computers that searched that data missed them and came up empty. The government has been working on facial identification software since the 1960s, and companies like Facebook and Apple use similar technology to tag people in photos. But security analysts widely admit this technology is not good enough to spot a suspect in a crowd. At Carnegie Mellon, Marios Savvides runs the CyLab Biometrics Center.

MARIOS SAVVIDES, DIRECTOR, CMS CYLAB BIOMETRICS CENTER: One of the toughest problems is low resolution. When you look at images collected from standard city TV footage, the faces are way too small.

FOREMAN: His team is developing next generation software to change poor and partial images into much clearer pictures. They're creating programs that can reliably match images of people to their true identities, despite low light, movement, odd positions.

SAVVIDES: Off-angle is a big challenge. How do you match an off-angle image that is say, 50 degrees, 60 degrees, 45 degrees off angle to a face that's just a frontal sort of, you know, passport-type photo?

FOREMAN: They're even transforming flat pictures into 3-D. Look at what their lab did with a single photo of me. In less than an hour, it was turned into a series of images showing how I might look from above, from the left, from the right. Savvides believes such programs can and will substantially improve the reliability of facial recognition and lead police to suspects much faster.

SAVVIDES: And ultimately, hopefully save a life. Because that's our aim. That's our goal. That's everything we do here.

FOREMAN: For now, the FBI is installing its latest version of facial identification software to work with security cameras coast to coast as part of a billion-dollar program called Next Generation Identification. Still, in Boston it wasn't technology but human investigators who triumphed.

For OUTFRONT, Tom Foreman, Washington.


BURNETT: Pretty amazing when you saw all those angles of Tom's face. You could realize how it seems so simple with any angle, but it really isn't.

Still OUTFRONT, grizzly details about what America's first colonists ate when they ran out of food. And hey, you know what? Could be an ancestor of yours.

Plus, three new suspects in the attack on the American mission in Libya. Finally, finally, finally. Why finally now? And what went wrong?

These stills are taken of a 747 that crashed just seconds after takeoff. We're going to dissect the full video from takeoff to end.


BURNETT: We start the second half of our show with stories where we focus on reporting from the front lines.

A new and rather jarring revelation has been made by archaeologists excavating the Jamestown colony site in Virginia. Apparently, settlers in 1609 resorted to cannibalism. They used to brag about being able to trace your family there, maybe you should think again.

Tim Horn (ph), a scholar in the project, tells us that they found the remains of a skull and partial bone leg of a 14-year-old girl. They're calling her Jane. He says cut marks on the remains is the physical evidence of cannibalism, the only evidence so far of cannibalism found in the Americas during this time committed by settlers -- a harsh winter known as the starving time.

They believed Jane had likely already died of starvation. Note that the average lifespan during the 17th century in this country was about 50 years.

Political tensions in Venezuela may just have boil over and perhaps a providing a lesson for maybe Boehner and Reid. Here's what they could do. Look at this. Lawmakers literally throwing blows over their business.

This is a fight between opposition lawmakers and supporters of the new president, Maduro, which captures government cameras, government cameras, are rolling on the national assembly. Things are being tossed and hurled. Maybe if this just happened in Washington, these guys could get it out of their system.

But they're still fighting over who actually caused this brawl. One thing is clear though, opposition Congressman Julio Burje (ph) seemed to get worst of it. Look at this guy. Blood dripping down his face during an interview. Here he is severely beaten up. According to a recent study, though, this is the natural way to do things. Did you know that human hand actually evolved for fighting, experts tell us. Not for writing. That's pretty recent. For fighting.

Facebook stock slightly up since the market closed after releasing earnings this afternoon. Investors focus on the company's mobile business and it came through on mobile advertising. It was about a third of Facebook's ad revenue. That is crucial. Last year, it was about zero. Growth in mobile monthly active users slowed but Victor Anthony (ph) at Topeka Capital Market says focus on daily users and that metric increased.

It has been 636 days since the United States lost its top credit rating. What are we going to get it back?

Well, stocks fell today. Investors upset after reports showed a slowdown in hiring and manufacturing and the Fed today said it is ready to either increase or not cut the pace of its controversial stimulus program. That's not very helpful in terms of guidance.

And now our fourth story OUTFRONT: new leads in the Benghazi attack after an avalanche of criticism for the fact that absolutely no one has been held accountable. Today, the FBI released photos of three men that they want to question about the September 11th attacks on the U.S. consulate in Libya that killed Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

The men were on the ground of the consulate during the attack and may be able to provide information. The question is: why did it take about eight months to figure this out? To get these photos to the public? Would it ever have happened if there didn't continue to be such incredible controversy about Benghazi?

CNN's Barbara Starr is OUTFRONT tonight with the latest.

And, Barbara, why is the FBI releasing these photos now?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's a great question, Erin, to which there is no immediate answer. What a surprise.

The FBI says they're doing it simply because they're at the point in the investigation where it makes the most sense. But you're right, eight months later, these men -- where are they? Who knows where they are?

But they want to talk to them. They say this video surveillance camera saw them there the night of the attack and they want to see what they know about it and not calling them suspects yet.

BURNETT: Barbara, you know, do we have any more information about who these men are? I mean, any details?

STARR: To be totally honest, not a whole lot. They all turned up on the FBI Web site in the last several hours which is very short statement that the FBI wanted to ask the people of Libya, people around the world, to take a look at these pictures. Do you know these men? We want to talk to them. We want to see what they know about the attacks.

That's pretty much it. But it raises some very interesting questions what else does the FBI know? What kind of cooperation are they getting from the Libyans? Why are they focusing in on these three men and these pictures of them there the night the attack happened back in September -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. And, of course, the timing of why now going to be a crucial question that is going to get asked and asked until it's answered.

Thanks to our Barbara Starr.

And now, the dramatic video that we have tonight of a civilian cargo plane crash which killed seven Americans on Monday, just moments from taking off from Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. Six of the seven Americans onboard were from Michigan. The other was from Kentucky. It's a horrible tragedy.

It is, though, incredibly rare for a plane of this size to crash and understanding what happened is essential. An American contractor nearby filmed the takeoff because it is unusual to see planes of that size so close.

And the video may be able to answer what went so terribly wrong. Now, I want to worn you before I play it. I'm going to do so without the sound so you can just see it. I want to warn you that it is very difficult to watch this.


BURNETT: The scene was so shocking that the contractor was too stunned to even react. You don't hear a scream. You don't hear anything for minutes here.

OUTFRONT tonight, John Hansman, an aviation crash expert and professor of aeronautics and astronautics at MIT.

And I appreciate you being with us, sir. A video that is horrible to watch. It is impossible not to watch it. I want to take a look at the video and go through it with you. You can obviously understand what happened here is so crucial.

I want to mention to our viewers we're not going to show the point of impact again. We're going to throw this now frame by frame. You can see the plane actually ascending into the air at about 12 seconds or about that as it's going up here as you can see. The jet seems almost normal.

And then as you watch it, it kind of appears to stall. And then you see the nose pull up. The tail appears to drop. This is all to a lay person's eye.

Did something go wrong here or not?

JOHN HANSMAN, PROF. OF AERONAUTICS AND ASTRONAUTICS, MIT: Well, so what we see in the video is actually first you see the left wing go down. It sort of rocks left, and then the right-wing goes down. And you can see then the nose follows down to impact.

And what this appears to be is basically the airplane is stalling. On a swept wing jet like this, you'll tend to have the wing stall at the tips. They lose lift at the tips and tend to bring the nose even further up. So it appears that we have a stall now.

Now, we don't know yet why they stalled. There's a couple of things that could be. First off in a military base like this when you're in hostile territory, it's normal procedure to do a very steep climb to get away from surface-to-air missiles.


HANSMAN: So they would be climbing steeper than you would have in a normal departure. Now, even that, that should have been fine.

There -- it could have been that the trim settings were incorrect so the nose went up higher than expected on this takeoff. There is speculation that there may have been a cargo shift. But, again, because they were climbing at such a steep angle to get away from any ground threat, they were closer to stall than we would normally be in a normal takeoff.

BURNETT: That's interesting you say that. I mean, you know, I flew, not on a 747 but on military aircraft, and both the takeoff and landings are shockingly steep, coming in and out of that very airfield. Now that you say that, I'm thinking about that.

I want to play the part where you talk about first the plane leans one way a little bit and then, you know, looks like it is making a natural bank but then goes the other way and into that horrific move down, which we're going to show you.

Clearly, something as horribly wrong is at that point. What accounts for that that it goes one way and then goes the other way, basically perpendicular to the ground right there?


So normally what happened -- when you normally are flying with a wing, you're getting lift under both wings. What appears to have happened is that if you try to climb too much, the wing can't generate enough lift and you get separation of the flow. It appears that there was a problem on the left wing, you know, it started to go. And it was corrected.

But then the right-wing stalled and it stalled hard to the right. And then it actually appears that the crew is recovering, that the nose is starting to come down. And there simply wasn't enough altitude left for the airplane to recover before -- get back to the flying condition before it hits the ground.

BURNETT: Right. And on that point, let me ask you that. You're referring to, as it's coming down perpendicular, it rights itself towards the end. Do you believe that is the pilot who is doing that, I guess, is the first question? And the second question is, obviously, at that point they're over a road. I mean, who knows what could have done a safe landing. It's also full of fuel.

You know, if your only option at that point -- first of all, was it him able to right it? Secondly, if his only option at that point was to try to land it, if he had a little more space, is there a way to even land a plane of that size full of fuel without it exploding?

HANSMAN: So, it does appear that the crew was trying to correct it, so that you have the right-wing dropped. Again, what you would normally do is try to get the nose down to get it flying, reduce the angle of attack. And it wasn't that there wasn't enough distance in front of them. There just wasn't enough altitude.

So they basically, if they had been higher up when this happened, there is a chance they could have pulled it out. But from looking at the dynamics at the time it occurred, there really just want any chance for them to get out of it.

BURNETT: Right. It looks like the pilot knew what to do, he was trying to do the right thing. I'm thinking of the Air France crash where they came down, it appeared to pilot training, where there was a problem, similar issue, plenty of altitude. But they did the wrong thing when this all happened.

HANSMAN: Yes, they appeared to have the right correction for the stall happening. The real question is, why did it happen?

BURNETT: All right. Well, thank you very much, sir. We appreciate you taking the time.

And still OUTFRONT, we have exclusive new photos of Robel Phillipos, a friend and former high school classmate of the Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev who was arrested today.

And the president taking heat from liberal critics. Is Mr. Obama to blame for the so-called do-nothing Congress?


BURNETT: And this just in to CNN. I want to share it with you. New pictures of Robel Phillipos, a friend, former high school classmate of the Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Phillipos was arrested today for conspiring to cover up the crime.

There is the picture of the two together at Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. You can see Tsarnaev in the front, Robel Phillipos in the back.

Let's go straight to Ashleigh Banfield who obtained this new picture. Ashleigh, you're learning more about Robel Phillipos. He's an American citizen. The other two, of course, were Kazakh citizens who are here on student visas.

Robel, though, has been a bit of mystery. What have you learned?

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think this is one of the biggest mysteries when we heard the names that were being, you know, brought out in court today -- the two Catholic students and then the American student. And we were trying to figure out what connection when these American students made and when to the suspect in this case, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

And it turns out the connection may go right back to their high school days together. That's the class of 2011 that you were just looking at a portion of. You can see the two of them seated within touching distance of one another.

Here's what I can tell you about what we know. We met one of their classmates who knows both of these two people. The classmate says that he played basketball with Robel Phillipos and he had gym class with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. What he could say about Robel Phillipos is that he was a fun guy, sort of an easy going guy, but a bit mouthy.

And when I asked, what does that mean? He said, you know, talking smack on the basketball court. But generally speaking, a pretty fun guy. And then as for the connection between the two of them, my contact, my source could not say if they knew each other or knew each other well, but he could certainly say that they had a lot of mutual friends.

And then you can you see from the photograph together, that photograph that you're looking at is not Robel Phillipos. I want to make sure the person in the cap that popped on the screen is another student unrelated 100 percent to this. But the student seated in the class picture with the red circles around, you can see the upper one is Robel Phillipos and the other one is Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

And then, of course, you can see Robel Phillipos' class portrait. That's the class of 2011 when they had their individual portraits, the school of Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School. And once again, this was a large class, about 400, class of 2011, graduating together.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Ashleigh. Appreciate it. Those new pictures just in of one of the three young men arrested today for conspiring to cover up the Boston marathon terror bombings.

Fifth story OUTFRONT now, liberals turning on President Obama.

Columnist Maureen Dowd in a "New York Times" op-ed today hammered the president for blaming Congress for not getting more things accomplished. Dowd writes, quote, "Actually, it is his job to get them to behave. The job of the former community organizer and self- styled uniter is to somehow get this dunderheaded Congress, which is mind-bendingly awful, to do the stuff he wants them to do. It's called leadership." Dana Milbank in "The Washington Post" piled on, writing, quote, "It's the president's job to lead and to bang heads if necessary regardless of any, quote-unquote, 'permission structure.' Obama seemed oddly like a spectator as if he had resigned himself to a reactive presidency."

These are harsh words and, no, they are not coming from members of the right.

OUTFRONT tonight, CNN contributor and Democratic strategist Hillary Rosen, radio show host Stephanie Miller and political comedian Dean Obeidallah.

These are -- you would read this and read a quote from this and you would think it came from someone else. But it didn't.


BURNETT: These are people who have supported the president and these are harsh words.

OBEIDALLAH: They are harsh words and to be honest with you, I'm on the progressive side. I think President Obama is in danger of being a lame duck president, to be quite honest with you. No more legislative accomplishments, other than Obamacare. We might -- that's all we might see.

And we saw it with the extended background checks for guns. He couldn't get that through. In fact, he goes four Democratic votes in the Senate from his own party. That's what he's up against. It's not Republican-Democrat. It's Congress and President Obama can't change them. But it's his legacy that's at risk.

BURNETT: And yet, Stephanie, we keep hearing the president talk about Congress and he was frustrated with Congress. Obviously, everyone gets that. I don't -- no one in those articles and no one is going to defend Congress. We know their approval rating is way worse than his.

But what about this point? Ultimately, the buck stops with you, dude.

STEPHANIE MILLER, RADIO HOST: You know, I got to say, Erin, even Senator Pat Toomey said today, the Republican who was behind the background check bill, he said people voted against it because they did not want to be seen as helping the president. This Congress -- these Republicans, Erin, are provably and historically obstructionist. They just are. And I'm sorry, whatever Maureen Dowd wrote, I love Maureen Dowd, but guess what? We don't live in an Aaron Sorkin liberal fantasy where Aaron Sorkin gets to write everybody's lines, including the Republicans.

BURNETT: Hillary, is there a point here, though? Because I'm starting to wonder, look, you can blame him or not blame him, it kind of doesn't matter, but to Dean's point, if he can't get anything done, what's the point of second term?

HILARY ROSEN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, first of all, there is a lot that he has gotten done. And I think will still get done. And -- but there's one thing he cannot fundamentally change, and that is that the very most important job for every member of Congress, as they see it, is to get themselves re-elected. That's not going to change.

And so when you have situations in the Senate where you have moderate Republicans and conservative Democrats kind of being given a pass by their leadership or by their constituents or by their campaign managers, that -- like, that's not going to change. And President Obama can't do that.

The one thing that I think Maureen makes a good point about, though, it's worth the White House paying attention to this, is that the president should never say I've done everything I can do. Because nobody ever has, right? There's always more to do, there's always more to try and you can never be seen as kind of throwing up your hands and saying, well, it's all on them. And I'm done.


ROSEN: And I think that that's kind of the -- the one sort of maybe even stylistic mistake that the president made in the press conference or he's making now, is that -- he needs to give people more that they can do, and he needs to keep doing more himself, and the Republicans and Stephanie is absolutely right, Mitch McConnell bears more of this blame than the president does but we ought to just keep talking about it. We ought to just keep pushing at it.

And I think the president can never say it's -- you know, it's up to you guys now. He always has to have some new activity that he and other people can do to keep trying.

MILLER: Erin --

BURNETT: Dean, what about this point, you're president of the United States. You are the president. You have a lot of powers, executive powers.

OBEIDALLAH: Yes, you can always do that. And that's one thing the president can do --

BURNETT: It kind of the whoa is me, you guys are hosing me, people eventually don't want to hear it, whether they think it's true or not. They don't want to hear it. They're looking to you to do something, to stand above it.

OBEIDALLAH: We want to see results. Left and the right want to see it. And Hillary said Republicans want to be re-elected. So do Democrats. That's why four Democrats voted against the extended background check.

He only has a 47 percent approval rating, President Obama. He can't even use the bully pulpit like in the past. What he can do, he can raise money, go to Republicans in the House --

BURNETT: Oh, no, so now you're saying the only reason they got a second term is to run for re-election for the next party? That is sick.

OBEIDALLAH: Complain about Congress or change Congress. And if you can't change it by making friends and building alliances, you know what? You can raise money, you get 17 seats and you have control of the House. That's how you do it.

BURNETT: Stephanie?

MILLER: Erin, can I just say? I am so tired of this. Why doesn't he just knock heads like LBJ did? My dad ran against LBJ. He was Barry Goldwater's running mate.

Obama does not have LBJ majorities. He does not -- you know, as we have sort of alluded to. And I don't hold Democrats blameless. He sometimes can't get Democrats to come along. He does not have the kind of -- you know, liberal majorities that LBJ did.

BURNETT: But to Dean's point, he doesn't -- some of the Democrats don't go along with him. He doesn't like the wining and dining although he has been trying it more recently --


BURNETT: -- which is fair enough.

ROSEN: We shouldn't under estimate how important over the years using the budget has been as a tool for presidents, you know, giving stuff away and stuff like that. And this president doesn't have that kind of pork to give away that previous presidents have had either. And that's an important issue that nobody really talks about.

BURNETT: All right. Well, thanks to all of you. And you know what she raises, here's what he could do in a second term. Do what Bill Clinton did. Balance the budget.

All right, the essay is next. It's a holiday today. Did you know that? How did you celebrate?


BURNETT: So today is May 1st, known as May Day. People around the world hold parades and parties, unlike Christmas and New Year's, this time different people celebrate May Day in very, very different ways.

The one I was most familiar with is the pagan ceremony of Bill Paine, which include costumes and May poles by the day and bonfires and orgies by night. It celebrates growth and, of course, fertility and encourages a new beginning.

But that is not the only way to celebrate today. May 1st is also an International Workers Day. And around the world today, unions staged marches and demonstrations and protests in celebration of the labor movement. And that is the most common May Day celebrated in America that we know. I mean, you know, maybe there's some orgy bonfires out there, but there's other ways, too. In Hawaii, today is Lei Day, when Hawaiians celebrate island culture and beginning of a new season. And in many other states, Americans celebrate Loyalty Day where they reaffirm their loyalty to the United States and recognize American freedom.

I love the idea of a Loyalty Day because it celebrates this country. What if we could take pieces from all of these May Days and put them together. You know, have a bonfire, go crazy, celebrate your family, your labor, the culture, the country, all at once. It would be the perfect day.

We want to know if you celebrate May Day. And if so, how do you do it. Let us know, Twitter @Erin Burnett or @OutFrontCNN.

Anderson starts now.