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Search Continues for Missing Malaysian Plane; CIA Accused by Senator of Interfering with Investigation; Interview with Rep. Mike Roger; Justice Dept Investigating GM Over Recall; Dolphins' Jonathan Martin Traded; Obama to Meet with Ukraine's Interim PM

Aired March 12, 2014 - 07:00   ET


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Let's talk about this a little further with Richard Quest, host of CNNs "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS." Good morning to you. I know you've been up around the clock trying to figure out and make sense of this which is sort of impossible at this point, but let me just begin with what we know and that is this really conflicting information about whether the plane turned, whether it didn't, search. Tell me what you know.

RICHARD QUEST, CNN HOST, "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS": We've got two new developments this morning. The first is this quite dramatic increase in the size of the search area.

BALDWIN: How big?

QUEST: Well, it's 27,000 nautical miles, which roughly equates to four times or makes the total search area is now roughly four times the state of Massachusetts. So you can imagine, four times the state. So you can imagine this is a seriously large search area they've now got to get to grips with. They've got dozens of ships and dozens planes.

But this particular track, this question of whether the plane turned back on itself and whether or not it then moved across Malaysia, what they are now saying, Brooke, is they are going to be seeking help, further help on understanding the radar track because, clearly, what the information they've got from the Malaysian air force and from a single radar, they are having difficulty understanding. So they're going to be turning to the NTSB in the United States and the FAA and the Europeans to understand it.

BALDWIN: What about the fact when you see the dramatic left turn reports too that that's when the transponder went off, that's when all sorts of communication with ground control gone?

QUEST: I'm going to hazard a guess here, and it's basically they really have very little idea of what happened. We are at the point now where they searching -- again, look at this map and how this moves. When you've got a plane going in this direction, which is the root plan, and then you've got it suddenly veering off or reports of it veering out of. They can't even confirm this fact.

BALDWIN: One person says one thing, one says another. QUEST: Correct. Now, this morning, you have got this vast expansion. And that will not be easy. These are deep waters, not that deep, but they are deep waters and they are very wide to search.

BALDWIN: I was in different conversations with people throughout the afternoon yesterday as every one sort of very flummoxed over what happened. It's almost like people keep talking about "Lost," the TV show. It's almost like Hollywood. What happened?

QUEST: I would not have expected to see this level of confusion at this stage in the investigation and the search and rescue. I would have expected by now to have seen a much more defined understanding of what the route was, where the plane was heading, and the narrowing of the search went upon that. The fact that they are calling upon extra efforts, the NTSB, the FAA --

BALDWIN: That's not a good sign you're saying?

QUEST: It means they're going to get experts who are going to look at the military radar and civilian radar and Boeing will be very heavily involved in this.

BALDWIN: Let me ask you about the first officer on the plane, because much ado has been made about the pilot. A passenger saying, hey, he let me in the cockpit. We were smoking and hanging out while this flight was flying. Does that concern you, or is that par for the course when you're on a major plane?

QUEST: No, of course it's not. Malaysia Airlines have said they are seriously concerned about this allegation. They obviously have very strict cockpit rules. We were filming in the cockpit under some very tight restrictions in terms of permissions as we do whenever we film in a cockpit on whatever aircraft. But in this situation, look, Brooke, I'm not going to sit here and criticize a dead man --

BALDWIN: No, of course not.

QUEST: -- when we don't know what has transpired as this woman has done. The Malaysian authorities looking into this allegation, which they say is very serious. But of course, do not forget, there would have been a very senior captain in the left hand seat with him when this plane was flying. And they much had no reason to suspect that these two Australian women who have now come and have decided to tell their story to Australian television, were anything other than tourists.

BALDWIN: It is still just mind boggling. This plane took off Saturday. And what is it now, Wednesday?

QUEST: It's the fact that they're extending this search area and cannot tell us where they believe the plane was. That's what's worrying.

BALDWIN: OK. Richard Quest, thank you so much, as always. Chris, to you. CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Brooke. Another story that's developing this morning is the Oscar Pistorius murder trial. Prosecutors are using what you're looking at right now, that's the actual door from Pistorius' apartment and the actual bat that supposedly he used to bang against it. They're trying to recreate that night. A forensic investigator is hitting the door from every angle including on his knees in order to simulate Oscar Pistorius' height without his prosthetics. Later in the show we're going to go through what it means for the prosecution and could mean for the defense.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Chris Christie's former aide who initiated the George Washington Bridge scandal is fighting a subpoena now from a state committee investigating. A lawyer for Bridget Ann Kelly says turning over texts, e-mails, and other documents would infringe on her right to remain silence. Kelly's court appearance was her first time in public since being fired.

BALDWIN: Republican David Jolly winning a special election to fill the seat in Florida's 13th Congressional district. Jolly narrowly Democratic rival Alex Sink. He will now replace the late Congressman Bill Young who died last year. Bigger picture here -- this race was seen by both parties as an early test of President Obama's health care law as an issue in November's midterm elections.

CUOMO: Senate Intelligence Committee chair Dianne Feinstein is setting off a political fire storm, accusing the CIA of searching Senate computers, even removing documents from them. She says it happened when her committee was investigating the agency's now-defunct interrogation program, adding that she believes the CIA may have violated the Constitution or broken federal law.

Joining us now to discuss this is the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, Republican Mike Rogers of Michigan. Congressman, thank you very much for joining us. These CIA allegations are very important. A couple of other developing stories as well that I want to get your take on because of your position in Congress and leadership.

Let's deal with the flight. Nobody knows where this plane is. I want two angles of perspective from you. Most importantly, what Donald Rumsfeld would call a known unknown, which is how are these stolen passports being used so effectively on flights given all the new security we're supposed to have? Your take on it.

REP. MIKE ROGERS (R), MICHIGAN: Well, I mean, this has been a problem for several years in the sense that not all -- not every country is linked or using computers to link up to find the numbers that match stolen passports. It's been an issue. Obviously this has highlighted that issue in a way that's troubling and it's a huge gap. Now, most of those cases are used for human trafficking or drugs or other criminal issues. The one concern you obviously have is that if criminals can get access to these passports and use them effectively, so can terrorists.

CUOMO: And you rightly point out that the two men suspected of faking passports, or stolen passports, here have not been connected to terrorism. However, is this a wake-up call that you need to do better with that part of security systems?

ROGERS: Absolutely and this needs to be a worldwide effort when it comes to making these countries get up to these standards so that you can, again, use these computer checks. It's really not a complicated thing to do, but you have to be integrated and that's been the challenge.

CUOMO: Congressman, let's turn to the CIA allegations from the senator right now. I know that it's early. I know that you can't say whether or not these allegations are provable or demonstrable yet, but just the nature of someone as senior as Senator Feinstein making an allegation this serious, what would happen if it is true? How far could this go?

ROGERS: Well, you know, gosh, I hate to speculate. There is a little bit of back and forth. It's troubling to see this, but I do have just immense respect for Senator Feinstein. So if she's going down to the floor, there's -- she clearly believes that something untoward happened. The IG has referred a criminal referral to the Department of Justice. So there's something there. We need to get to the bottom of this soon to make sure that this thing doesn't spill over and stop the agency from being able to do its work.

At the same time, we also need to make sure that the agency did not break any laws. That would be a pretty horrific situation and it would destroy that legislative-CIA relationship. And here's the other troubling thing, to have the CIA deciding that they were going to openly confront the legislative oversight body is -- that in itself was troubling. I think that was a horrible decision. So we need to unwind this, get tensions down, and find out what the facts are so we can get this behind us and move forward.

CUOMO: Congressman, if there's even a whiff of truth to this, this is something someone, an ordinary citizen, would go to jail for a very long time for against another private citizen. If you did it to the government, you'd probably never see the light of day again. If there's any truth to this, and you have the head of the CIA say there's nothing to it, what kind of steps would you have to take just to ensure confidence in the process?

ROGERS: Well, again, I don't want to speculate. It's pretty serious if they're going to level criminal charges. If they're found to be accurate and the Department of Justice chooses to prosecute, then somebody will go to jail in that circumstance. We probably shouldn't get there yet. That referral has been made. It's serious. Obviously, the charges are serious or I don't think Senator Feinstein would have made them.

And so we, again, we're going to have to unwind this, find out what the truth is. If someone broke the law, they're going to have to pay the penalty.

CUOMO: Now, obviously, I don't mean to push down the road of speculation, except on this one angle. There seems to be a disconnect about what this agency is doing. What we know about it -- and we now seems to include government -- do you believe it's time for a change in terms of how this agency does business?

ROGERS: You know, there's plenty of oversight on it. This was a very unique circumstance. Remember, there are hundreds of engagements and oversight engagements both from member visits and staff visits. We have investigators that investigate different ongoings of the agency itself. There's financial review, budget review, lots of that.

This was an isolated incident and a kind of a rare circumstance where the investigation was actually being done in a space provided by the CIA at the CIA. And so this is a little different than the normal standard standoff over sight that has to happen and continues to happen. And I don't want it to taint the whole agency. There is a lot of great work happening around the world; people put themselves in really dangerous circumstances around the world.

CUOMO: True.

ROGERS: I don't want to take away from their work. We do, again, we need to find out what happened. Was this a very senior level decision to do something that violated the law? We're going to have to find those facts out.

But that would have been one case that will be -- should be punished accordingly if that in fact is true. But we shouldn't taint the entire agency. The agency is well overseen, lots of oversight and they're doing some really incredible work to protect the United States of America.

CUOMO: Fair point. We'll stay on it. Appreciate your perspective on that.

Let me get a quick take from you before I let you go, Congressman. Let's go to Ukraine here. They're pushing for a vote to get the money through. Two concerns. One, are you worried about going too quickly here in terms of where that money's going to go with so much in flux in Ukraine and U.S. tax dollars so precious? And your take on the climate of politics surrounding the situation right now at home? Do you believe it's time for the right to move closer to the White House and show a united front here?

ROGERS: Well, again, it's important. I think the president has made some good steps -- seeing the Ukraine prime minister today, important message, I think, to send. We had a little bit of deficit in the diplomacy leading up to this event. We had tarnished some of our European relationships. That needs to be repaired. They're doing some of that.

I think the money was important because it sends a very clear message. And these are loan guarantees to the Ukraine. If they get into some financial trouble early, that instability will only been Putin's effort I think to take pieces of Ukraine. And that vote on Sunday is going to be very, very important. I think we know how that's going to come out, but that is going to change the tension level in this discussion about the Crimean peninsula, the Ukraine, and U.S. and European efforts. CUOMO: Well, hopefully you're working with the White House right now because you do know which way that vote's going to go. So it shouldn't come as a surprise once we get the turn-out from it.

Representative Rogers, thank you very much. A lot on your plate. Appreciate your perspective on NEW DAY.

ROGERS: Thank you.

CUOMO: Mick?

PEREIRA: All right, let's take a look at what is in the papers this morning. We start with "The New York Times. "President Obama is planning to use his executive authority to force American businesses to pay moreover overtime to millions of workers. Tomorrow the president will order the Labor Department to revamp regulations for fast food managers, loan officers, computer technicians, and other employees who are often classified by their companies as executives or professionals. Many firms give them those titles to avoid paying them overtime.

In "USA TODAY," encouraging news in an Ohio study of alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana use by teenagers. The survey says youth declined by 25 to 58 percent from 2000, citing greater peer and parental approval. However, it's not all good news. The average age for those starting substance abuse, 13. And 23 percent of 12th graders reported binge drinking. That's up from nearly five percent in the ninth grade.

And to "The Washington Post," a rare show of bipartisanship. Senate Democrats and House Republicans agreeing to shift funding that was allocated to presidential conventions to children's medical research programs. And $126 million over the coming de decade will go to more pediatric cancer, autism, and Down syndrome research. The bill is named after Gabriella Miller, a Virginia girl who died of brain cancer last year.

BALDWIN: A little girl there. A guilty plea is expected from a civilian defense contractor accused of giving military secrets to a Chinese girlfriend who, by the way, was half his age. Attorney for Benjamin Bishop says he will admit to passing on defense information to the woman while he was married. He is accused of emailing classified war plans, nuclear weapons information, and joint training exercises between the U.S. and South Korea.

CUOMO: Venezuela is increasingly unstable. More street protests expected today the capitol. At least 21 people have died in more than a month of violent clashes between security forces and protesters there. They are demanding the removal of President Nicolas Maduro. A student leader of those protests was fatally shot earlier this week in the western city of San Cristobal.

Also, more bad news for General Motors. First it was Congress. Now the Justice Department investigating the auto maker over its handling of faulty ignition switches. G.M. recalled about 1.5 million vehicles last month, but they first learned of the defect a decade ago. Thirteen deaths, 31 accidents have been linked to the problem so far. The auto maker says it's conducting its own review.

There's also new hope for a dying 7-year-old in Virginia who has beaten cancer four times. A rare virus now threatening Josh Hardy's already weakened immune system following a bone marrow transplant. But now his family has scored a major victory. There's a drug maker; its name is Chimerix. They say they will provide an experimental drug that may save Josh's life, granting a wish that his mother fought for on social media. We'll continue to follow this.

PEREIRA: Quite a victory.

Let's take a look at what is trending now. Jonathan Martin, the central figure in the Miami Dolphins bullying scandal, he's been traded to the Niners, the San Francisco 49ers to be reunited with his college coach Jim Harbaugh. Martin still has to pass that physical for the deal to become official. The Dolphins then will get a conditional draft pick in return. Martin's clearly pleased with the development. He tweeted, "Opportunities are few in the NFL. Can't wait to get to work."

Could we be close to the return of the game Flappy Bird? You might recall the app was pulled earlier this year. It had gotten so popular that the developer couldn't keep up and couldn't take the pressure. But now he's telling "Rolling Stone" he's considering a relaunch. He also says he knows he can't return to his old life, but he says he's good now.

Does Mel Gibson deserve another chance in Hollywood? In a piece, journalist Allison Hope Weiner appeals to Hollywood honchos to stop shunning Gibson. This plea coincides with the tenth anniversary of Gibson's film, "The Passion of the Christ," the biggest grossing independent movie ever made. In the years that followed, Gibbon's public comments led to charges of anti-Semitism and racism, and led movie studios to effectively blacklist the Oscar- winning actor. And guys, what's interesting, she was one of the journalists who really vilified him.

CUOMO: She used to bash him in "The New York Times."

PEREIRA: But she says it's time to let him out of the doghouse.

BALDWIN: He's still being shunned? I mean, this is still a thing?

CUOMO: That's the theory. They say that in Hollywood, he has been shut out because of apparent anti-Semitism. She says it's unfair. It's getting a lot of buzz, this article on Deadline.

BALDWIN: OK. We'll check it out.

Indra Petersons, good morning, my friend.

INDRA PETERSONS, METEOROLOGIST: Good morning. It feels a little bit nicer here. But this is Chicago, guys, this morning and not feeling like spring anymore considering it was beautiful just a few days ago. Now, they're already seeing snow in the area. Four inches of snow has already been reported just west of Chicago. And that's not the only part of the story. You know it's the temperature drop, the part we're actually all not excited about.

I mean, look at the difference. D.C. right now looking for 68 as the high today. But look at all this cold air behind it. Chicago only looking for 24.

So what happens? Yeah, of course. The cold air is gonna be making its way in. So by tomorrow, D.C. goes down to just 34 as your high. So a lot is going on. Very easy to see why. There's the storm that's producing those really tough conditions for the morning commute, only expected to make its way farther to the east and strengthen, guys, as it continues to move to the east.

So keep in mind, 40 million people today already going to be affected by the storm. Even blizzard warnings again out towards Buffalo. We're going to be talking about over a foot of snow. We're talking bout 4.5 million people there under blizzard conditions.

Now what are we looking at? Chicago, about three inches, strengthening. Notice you get towards to Detroit, about seven inches possible. Then you get up towards Burlington, almost two feet of snow. And also strong winds. Of course, visibility near zero in some places.

So two sides of this. Keep in mind, if you're on the cold side, you're getting snow. Starting off on the backside, you're talking about rain. But as it makes its way through, of course, you'll see snow into the northeast tomorrow.

Just keep in mind, also in the mid-Atlantic we're going to be talking about the threat for some severe weather as well. So a lot going on across the country. You're going to feel the cold drop by tomorrow.

BALDWIN: About to begin.

Thanks so much.

CUOMO: Can't appreciate the warm if you don't have the cold.

PETERSONS: Really? I can.

BALDWIN: Yeah, you can.

CUOMO: You know who said that?


CUOMO: Nobody believes that.

Coming up on NEW DAY, there have been a lot of rumors about what is really happening on the peninsula of Crimea. Well, here's some proof for you. Russian soldiers aggressively try to stop a CNN crew from documenting one of the scenes in Crimea. We spoke with some of them. You will hear from them directly, Russian soldiers, next.

BALDWIN: Also ahead, it was a race Democrats couldn't afford to lose. But now, the outcome of this special election is alarming them. What it means for the president and his party coming up here on NEW DAY.


BALDWIN: And welcome back to NEW DAY. President Obama meeting with Ukraine's interim prime minister today, sending a strong message to Russia that he supports the new government. But keep in mind, all this comes days before this referendum in Crimea when the people (inaudible) could vote to join Russia. This, as officials in the Crimean city of Sevastopol take more steps to align citizens of Russia by granting the Russian language official status.

So let's go straight to Anna Coren, who is live for us in Crimea. Anna, good morning.

ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Brooke. You're absolutely right. Russian is now the official language of Sevastopol. It's about an hour and a half from where we are here in the regional capital, this stage, only in that city. But come the referendum on Sunday, it could be the case for all of Crimea.

Now, the Russian military buildup is intensifying. And we got more proof of it. Take a look.


COREN (voice-over): Under bleak skies buffeted by howling winds, the coastal city of Kerch sits on the Black Sea. This is the eastern tip of Crimea. And through the mist, several miles away, is Russia, also known here as the main land.

This is our gateway to the Russian invasion. And as we drive up, military trucks line the road.


We ask them what they're doing. "No comment" says the Russian soldier, no filming is allowed here.

A senior officer then walks up, his machine gun in view.

"Get out," he tells us, you are not welcome.

Go forward? You don't want us here?

Our crew then heads to the entrance of the port that's been taken over by armed local militia. As soon as we approach, the man in the balaclava orders us to turn off the camera.

Why can't we film here?

They refuse to give an answer.

"Are they for Russia" the militia asks our translator. "Tell them Putin is already our president."

(on-camera): Just across this strip of water is Russia, and it's from the port on the other side that they're ferrying troops and military equipment from.

Russian forces are occupying Crimea. And from the soldiers we've just spoken to, they say the people who don't want to be part of Russia can leave.

(voice-over): One man who's been planning for this day is the mayor of Kerch.

He's already spoken to Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev about building a bridge. Moscow has approved the funding and construction will begin in the next few months.

According to the mayor, the Russians don't just promise, they deliver.

For now it's not civilians traveling from the mainland, but a continuous flow of Putin's men.


COREN (on-camera): Now, we're getting reports of a standoff currently underway. We've got a CNN crew on the ground about an hour's drive from Mostat (ph). Here, apparently, the Ukrainians have dug in. They're say they are prepared to fight. Russians have surrounded this military base.

And certainly, Brooke and Chris, we'll keep you posted on any developments. BALDWIN: We appreciate you being there and trying to show the story even though some members of the militia apparently do not want you to. Anna Coren, thank you.

CUOMO: And important that they were talking to a Russian army self- identified, as well because that's been an ongoing theory.


CUOMO: All right, let's take a break here now on NEW DAY.

When we come back, Republicans ridiculed the president for being interviewed by a comic. Although it was --

BALDWIN: Hilarious.

CUOMO: And it turns out the president's sit-down with Mr. Galifianakis may have given a boost to his signature issue. John King will take us behind the scenes next in "INSIDE POLITICS."