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High-Level Meeting on MH370; Teenage Who Flew in Wheel Well Faces Charges; Thom Tillis Wins N.C. GOP Primary, Taking on Kay Hagan; Democrat David Pryor Invites Obama to Arkansas.

Aired May 07, 2014 - 13:30   ET



WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Welcome back. I'm Wolf Blitzer, reporting from Washington.

A high-level meeting is being held in Australia today, focused solely on where the search for flight 370 is headed next. Officials from Malaysia, China and Australia, they're all reviewing all the data collected so far to try to figure out what is going to be needed in this new phase of this search.

Let's bring in our panel of experts, CNN aviation analyst, Peter Goelz is a former managing NTSB director; and CNN law enforcement analyst, Tom Fuentes, former assistant director of the FBI.

Peter, this will be a bigger, deeper search of the Indian Ocean. They've got a lot of underwater activity they've planned for the next six months to a year.

PETER GOELZ, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: You're right, Wolf. They've searched just the smallest possible area around the ping. They're going to be looking at an area the size of the state of Connecticut. It's going to take them a long time.

BLITZER: This is a slow meticulous process. The Bluefin alone cost about $40,000 a day to operate that. It's going to be expensive as well.

Let's look at the new poll. We've asked Americans their opinions of what's going on with the search, the plane's mysterious disappearance. Should the search continue for flight 370? Yes, 69 percent. No, 30 percent. A third think forget about it, you're not going to find it.

TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: True, but two-thirds say keep it up.


BLITZER: You surprised by those numbers?

FUENTES: No, that's about what I would expect. I think probably because of the frustration level of not finding anything up until now, I think if you were to ask people 45 days ago about the search, that we will likely find something, you'd have a bigger majority want to support it.

BLITZER: Here's another question. Do you think flight 370 is located in the Indian Ocean where the search is taking place? 51 percent say yes, 46 percent say no. Why the skepticism?

GOELZ: Because we haven't found anything.

BLITZER: Hears some pings.

GOELZ: It's not clear whether those pings really came from the --


BLITZER: Really?


BLITZER: Inmarsat, those handshakes of the satellite.

GOELZ: The handshakes are a hard thing to get your head around, to put it mildly. That's a pretty complex equation.

BLITZER: You're not surprised by the skepticism that they're looking in the right place?

FUENTES: No, I think we've got to prove the investigators are in the right place. It's going to be a long time.

BLITZER: Another question, the disappearance of flight 370, Tom, due to accident or mechanical failure? Accident or mechanical failure? Likely, 52 percent. Not likely, 46 percent. Did that surprise you?

FUENTES: No, because that's a guess either way. You could say 50/50. We still don't know the cause. We don't know the details. That doesn't surprise me.

BLITZER: The next question, does the disappearance of flight 370 due to terrorist or hostile government? 57 percent say likely. 41 percent say not likely. Significant majority think it was due to terrorists or hostile government.

GOELZ: Well, I think there's been enough evidence that says something was going on in the cockpit. The plane was not changing direction on its own. That leads you to believe something nefarious.

BLITZER: Whether it was nefarious, whether it was suicidal. A lot of people believed someone as opposed to catastrophic mechanical failure.

FUENTES: Exactly. In the modern era, since 9/11, something bad happens to an airplane, people think terrorists had something to do with it.

BLITZER: Another question. Will the general public ever find out what happened to flight 370? Yes, 52 percent. No, 46 percent.

I'll ask you. If you were being polled and they said to you, Tom Fuentes, do you believe that this -- we will learn what happened to flight 370? You will say?

GOELZ: I think if you ask me today, I'll say yes. When you ask me five years from now, I might not say yes. I think I'd say yes, it's going to take time. The answer is, they cannot give up the search.

BLITZER: What if it takes five years? Will they keep on searching?

GOELZ: It will be greatly reduced. There will be some people that will still be searching.

BLITZER: There will always be some people who believe they are looking in the wrong place. Flew to some land, flew to some island, flew to some country, and people are going to believe that --


BLITZER: -- until they find some hard evidence and wreckage.

FUENTES: We've also got the limitations the Bluefin. Those first two-hour pings were heard was deeper than they expected. The Bluefin- 21 couldn't be that deep. Maybe when they bring in the right equipment and go deeper, they might have better luck at that spot.

BLITZER: Thanks very much.

He survived what many may not have survived, flying across the ocean in a jet wheel, hardly any oxygen. But the stowaway teenager may not be able to escape legal consequences for that trip. Those possible charges, plus newly released video. That's next.


BLITZER: That teenager who managed against all odds to survive a trip to Hawaii apparently inside a wheel well of a Boeing 767 soon faces charges in California. Meanwhile, new surveillance video is being released of the stowaway jumping out of the plane after it landed.

Brian Todd has been covering the story for us in "The Situation Room."

Brian, start with the new video. Show us, walk us through what it shows.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'll play some of the video. Wolf, it's spot shadowed. You can see in the spot shadow there. Right there, a figure seemingly dropping from the rear area of the plane. He's out of picture for a little bit it and then you'll see images of him walking erratically toward the front. This is who authorities believe is that 15-year-old stowaway who rode from San Jose to Hawaii in Maui. There's -- there you see him, walking back and forward erratically. Authorities now believe he did stow away in the wheel well of that plane from California to Maui on April 20th.

The San Jose police told us over the phone they want to interview the teenager. They are going to determine whether criminal charges are going to be filed against him. If criminal charges are filed, Wolf, it will probably be criminal trespass, but that has not been determined. Again, we've said this in our reporting, he did hop the fence at San Jose International Airport on April 20th, shortly after 1:00 a.m. A lot of security questions being raised about how he was able to do that. So that is another question.

BLITZER: He's only 15 years old, too.

TODD: That's right.

BLITZER: So it does raise a lot of security questions.

TODD: Absolutely.

BLITZER: How a 15-year-old could do this.

TODD: What's striking, he hops the fence apparently about 1: 00 a. m. Accord to sources and stays on the ground in San Jose for about six hours before he even gets on that plane. How is he able to stay on the tarmac inside the perimeter of the fence in San Jose for six hours? Granted, he does hop the fence in pitch black and maybe he goes to a corner and stands there are sits there for a while. Still, where's the surveillance video? Where's the layers of security? Sometimes a fence is not going to be quite enough to stop a terrorist. So these are the hard questions being asked right now.

BLITZER: All right, Brian, thanks very much. We'll hopefully learn from all this and move forward.

TODD: Yes.

BLITZER: Appreciate it.

A win in a primary election in North Carolina could have some serious national payoff for the GOP. Our political panel getting ready. A closer look, who won and who lost. That's next.


BLITZER: Turning to politics right now, a key Senate election in North Carolina. In a race pitting the old Republican guard, the establishment as it's called, against the Tea Party, the state house speaker, Thom Tillis won a three-way GOP Senate primary yesterday. Tillis takes on Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan in November. She's considered vulnerable.

Let's talk about the importance of the Tillis win. Joining us, our chief political analyst, Gloria Borger; and Dana Bash, our chief congressional correspondent.

Gloria, how big of a win is this for the establishment Republican as opposed to the Tea Party?


GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: The establishment fights back. You've had the chamber of commerce and other establishment Republican groups putting millions of dollars into this race because they're sick and tired of nominating candidates that are going to lose in general elections. This was a very important win for them. Rand Paul, as you know, was on the other side of this. He endorsed the guy who lost. And it took him about what, a nanosecond, to turn around and say, OK, now I'm --


BLITZER: Because he went in there, Rand Paul, to endorse the Tea Party candidate.

BORGER: Tea Party was split though.


BLITZER: If there would have been a runoff, would have been good news for Kay Hagan, the Democratic incumbent.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: She would have loved that because the Republican fight would have gone into the summer, ticking away from her.

I think when you talk about Kay Hagan, you talk about Thom Tillis, people who might not cover politics the way we do might go, huh, who are these people, we don't know them. This is why it matters. Because North Carolina, of any state, is going to be the microcosm for what happens in 2016 because of demographic changes, and just because of what happened with the Obama presidency. He surprisingly won there in his first go-around, in 2008, barely, and then he lost in his re- election campaign.

BORGER: And it's also going to have, you know -- it's so important because it's going to be who wins control of the Senate.

BASH: Exactly.

BORGER: You know, they need six seats, the Republicans, to take over. If Kay Hagan is considered one of the most vulnerable Democrats, Thom Tillis is, you know, a very credible challenger, and that's exactly

BASH: She effectively won on the coattails of President Obama when he had the surprising end, she was on the ballot, too. She won by 53 percent of the vote. Now the tables have turned.


BLITZER: And a win in North Carolina in 2008.


BLITZER: He didn't carry North Carolina in 2012. Listen to Tillis last night.


STATE REP. THOM TILLIS, (R), NORTH CAROLINA HOUSE SPEAKER & GOP SENATE PRIMARY WINNER: We need to be clear. It's not the end of the primaries. It has been a mission all along and that is to beat Kay Hagan and make Harry Reid irrelevant in American --



BLITZER: How vulnerable is Kay Hagan?

BASH: The Democrats have her on top of the list of people they are very concerned about. For all the reasons we discussed, because of the fact that President Obama isn't as popular as he was a few years ago. Also because some of the issues that are front and center, Obamacare and others, are not necessarily on her side.

BORGER: Let's just say, if she could pick a year in which to run, this probably would not have been the year she picked.

BLITZER: There's another interesting development. The president of the United States has just landed in Little Rock, Arkansas, where the incumbent Democratic Senator David Pryor is up for re-election, and the two of them are going to be together. He just got off the plane and you see who is there receiving him?

BASH: Pryor.


BASH: Let's see if there is a hug.

BLITZER: Some of the other vulnerable Democratic Senatorial candidates have been trying to stay away in their home states from the president, but not Pryor.

BASH: Exactly. Senator Pryor is very open about President Obama coming. He wanted him to come for this reason, because, from his perspective, this is nonpartisan issue, to go a help the victims of these tornadoes. What's interesting, everything with North Carolina, the fact that Obama is a drag on Kay Hagan, should be the case, times 20, in Arkansas where President Obama never came close to his Republican --


BLITZER: So Pryor has a challenge ahead of him?

BASH: He does --


BLITZER: -- especially this young congressman.

BORGER: But better chances. I think he would have generated more controversy if he had held back and the president wanted to go and is giving funding for tornado relief and all the rest, if he would have stayed back and watched him through that, I think he would have created some problems for himself. As Dana points out, helping people is not a partisan issue. BASH: And it would be very dangerous for the Republican challenger in Arkansas --

BLITZER: The Republican.

BORGER: -- to criticize.

BASH: To criticize a sitting Senator for welcoming a president of the United Sates who is coming to consult and bring some help to people who are really hurt.

But one thing that again, I just want to point out these statistics. President Obama lost 60 percent -- 60 percent is what Mitt Romney got in Arkansas. He didn't even come close. If you look at the polls from Pryor, although he is definitely an endangered Democrat, he is actually doing quite well against the Republican. What does that tell you? Despite all of the trends, candidates matter, and name reorganization.

BORGER: And he is the Senator who portrays himself all the time as an Independent.

DASH: Exactly.

BORGER: He doesn't -- he said I don't align with anyone. He wasn't dependable, lots of issues that the president wanted him to be dependable on. So he portrays as an Independent who thinks for himself, and that may work for him.

BLITZER: Mark Pryor, Kay Hagan, they both have major challenges coming up --

BASH: Yes.

BORGER: They do.

BLITZER: -- in November.

Guys, thanks very much.

Just ahead, NBA star Kevin Durant's tearful speech after being made the league's MVP. He says the real MVP is his mom. You're going to hear it. You need to hear this. Stay with us.


BLITZER: Let's take a quick look at the markets. The Dow Jones up about 72 points. The big driver today hints from the Fed chair. Janet Yellen won't raise interest rates any time soon.

Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant has won the NBA's most valuable player award. As he accepted the trophy last night, he earned even more admiration for his truly emotional and powerful speech. He talks about the incredible season on the court. Instead, he thanked his team. He thanked the city for their support but he saved the best for last offering these words for his mother. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KEVIN DURANT, OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER PLAYER: And last, my mom. I don't think you know what you did. You had my brother when you were 18 years old. Three years later, I came out. The odds were stacked against us. Single parent with two boys. By the time you were 21 years old, we wasn't supposed to be here. You made us believe. You kept us off the street. You put clothes on our backs, food on the table. When you didn't eat, you made sure we ate. You went to sleep hungry. You sacrificed for us. You the real MVP.



BLITZER: How powerful is that especially on the eve of Mother's Day. She is, is, is the real MVP, and he's an MVP as well.

This programming note, we will hear from Kevin Durant's mother when she joins us live here on CNN during the 3:00 p.m. eastern hour. That's an hour from now. You will want to catch that interview.

That's it for me. Thanks very much for joining. I'll be back 5:00 p.m. eastern in "The Situation Room."

NEWSROOM with Brianna Keilar starts right now.