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Russia Masses Troops on Ukraine's Border; Oscar Pistorius Trial Continues; Man Opens Fire in Jewish Center; Interview with Rep. Kevin Yoder; Bluefin 21 Launched in Search for Flight 370; Officials Give Up Detecting Signals from Black Boxes; Concerns of Civil War in Ukraine
Aired April 14, 2014 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Don't expect to see military action. This will involve only increased troop presence in eastern Europe for those allies, Poland and the Baltics. Some perhaps, increased presence of U.S. troops. But that is what it is limited to right now. What the U.S. plan is, what the U.S. policy is to try and deescalate this crisis.
Of course, the question is whether Vladimir Putin is listening. He's got 40,000 troops just on the other side of the border. And everyone here will tell you it is up to him, whether he decides to go into Ukraine or not. He's got the capability, but will he do it? And no one knows the answer to that right now. Back to you guys.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: That's absolutely right, Barbara, no one can get in his mind at the moment. Thank you very much, Barbara.
So is Ukraine on the brink of war with itself, with Russia, or both? Joining us now to discuss, CNN's chief international correspondent, Christiane Amanpour. Christiane, good morning. A lot of fast moving developments today. We have to keep our eye on the ground, quite honestly. But from what you can see, an ultimatum set, a deadline passed, no real change in any positioning. Do you see this as at this moment that Ukraine is on the brink of civil war?
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm not going to say that because I think that is really crossing a major red line, and I think the whole world wants to make sure that doesn't happen. But as Barbara said, one of the most incredibly difficult things here is because we don't know what's in President Putin's mind. So when you have a diplomatic track, you have to know what the other side wants to have diplomacy. Nobody does right now.
When I interviewed the commander of NATO just a few days ago, who confirmed to me there were 40,000 Russian troops on that border that could move within 12 hours of getting an order, he said, either they're there to be positioned to move in, or to be positioned to keep the pressure on Ukraine and on the west until Russia gets what it thinks is a reasonable and acceptable political situation in Ukraine. What Russia wants is a friendly Ukrainian government, and it looks like it's going to try to do whatever it can to get that. BOLDUAN: But the parameters of what Russia -- what will apiece Russia and deescalate this, it doesn't seem like that is clear right now, right?
AMANPOUR: Well, it's not clear at all, except they keep talking about this federation, this attempt to have less central control in those eastern provinces. And again, today, the interim Ukrainian president said he's not opposed to that. Maybe there could be a referendum. But he is absolutely convinced that the majority of Ukrainians will vote to keep the state whole, to keep Ukraine whole.
And I think, look, this is a major problem here. There are talks at the U.N. Security Council, there are going to be talks at the end of this week in Geneva between all relevant parties, including Ukrainians and the Russians and the west. And that is very important to see exactly what the parameters are of what people want. Right now, western leaders today have come out again and blamed Russia for the destabilization in eastern Ukraine, saying they see, both the Germans and the British said today they see Russia behind what's going on in eastern Ukraine.
BOLDUAN: Do you think there's still a real question, if Russia is behind what's going none Ukraine? In your mind, Christiane, you've seen, unfortunately, many conflicts play out.
BOLDUAN: Do you think there is still even a question, or is this just semantics?
AMANPOUR: No, I think there say question, and Russia wants to make sure, as I said, that whatever happens Ukraine stays within its orbit and that it has a friendly new government. It sees that there are presidential elections on the horizon, and these are a very crude pressure point on the Ukrainian authorities. This is pressure with heavy armor, heavy military material, basically saying to the Ukrainians you do what we think is acceptable or else. We don't know what the "or else" is right now.
And here's the most important thing which I've been covering for years in these civil disturbances, that the press plays a massive role. And what's happened is Russia has basically taken off independent television, whether it was in Crimea before and in other places right now, has said and pumped in this poison coming from Russia state television, Russia today, all of these state-run organizations, and is completely discoloring the truth. And that is a big problem. And one of the most interesting things happened over the weekend in Russia, something like 10,000 Russians went into the street to protest the lies that Russian television is telling the Russian people and those Russian speakers in that part of Ukraine.
BOLDUAN: That element of it, as well as others, the question of course is what can the U.S., what can the west do? The British foreign minister just came out again this morning to say sanctions is the answer. We know that is the preferred path of the Obama administration. It has not done much to slow Putin to this point, though?
AMANPOUR: It may not have done. But there are still be economic ties that are actually hurting the Russians. And what many people are saying, look, for the last decade, since the fall of the Soviet Union, we in the west have worked so hard, they're talking about officials in the west have worked so hard to engage Russia, to actually work together on so many issues. All of this is being ruined right now. All of this low-level, middle-level cooperation that's been going on between Russia and the west is really in jeopardy right now, and that is one of the very big negatives on this.
But also, you know, Russia is constantly, this mythology of this chip on its shoulder, this we're being surrounded, NATO is pushing eastwards into our domain, all of that is a strong mythology of victimhood that Russia is perpetrating in order to get support on its side. I spoke, as I said, to the commander of NATO, he is going to give recommendation tomorrow, he told me mid-April, 15th of April, as to further military option the alliance has. And one of those options is to increase tanks, increase air surveillance, increase patrolling, but also potentially, and this is what the Baltic states want, to put NATO ground troops in those Baltic states and in NATO states, to send a strong message to Russia to stop.
BOLDUAN: Its presence.
AMANPOUR: Yes, yes, because right now there's no physical presence on the ground.
BOLDUAN: Because that's also a dynamic here and it seems to be one that Putin is relying on is, do you think the acting Ukrainian government -- the country is broken. Is the acting Ukrainian government capable of following through with the ultimatum that it lays throughout in defending itself?
AMANPOUR: I think it's difficult. Everybody has said if Ukraine engages Russia, Ukraine is going to lose. No, it does not have the capability. NATO is not coming, the cavalry is not coming over the hill. But what Ukraine needs is very, very strong western engagement, very strong western economic help. Look at the Russians have put up the price of oil by double, or natural gas, or whatever it is, completely out of the realm of the market numbers. And it just jacked up the price of the energy. And it's doing the same to Europe. And it's saying, look, we can play these games with you. So a lot of dominos. Europe has to figure out how to become more energy independent of Russia. And Ukraine needs western financial help and western political advice right now like it never did before.
BOLDUAN: It seems that is apparent now more than ever. Christiane, thank you so much. It's always great to see you.
AMANPOUR: Thank you, Kate.
MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Kate, thank you. To South Africa now where Oscar Pistorius is back on the stand now for a sixth day. He's being grilled by the prosecutor who is trying to paint the Olympic sprinter as a self-obsessed man who intentionally killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. CNN's Robyn Curnow is live in South Africa with the very latest. The sixth day, really gripping testimony, Robyn.
ROBYN CURNOW, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. I've been in court all morning. And it's extraordinary to watch because as this prosecutor is grilling, needling Oscar Pistorius, literally talking to him from this direction, Pistorius ignores him totally and directs all of his answers to the judge. I can honestly say he probably hasn't looked at him or that part of the court in the whole three days of cross-examination. That prosecutor going on and on and on, crucially from a legal standpoint, he said that Oscar Pistorius had changed his defense.
CURNOW: Another grueling week of cross-examination begins for Oscar Pistorius.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You fired at Reeva. The other versions cannot --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not true, my lady.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You fired at her. Why are you getting emotional now?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I did not fire at Reeva.
CURNOW: Forcing him to continually recount the night he shot and killed his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp who he alleged thought was a burglar.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I screamed I said get the -- out of my house. Get the -- out of my house.
CURNOW: Challenging the Olympians version of events, the prosecution said according to a pathologist Steenkamp must have eaten six hours before she was shot and killed around 3:00 a.m. Pistorius said he and his girlfriend last ate eight hours before he accidently shot her. The prosecution further detailing that narrative of that fateful night, concluding Steenkamp's jeans found on the floor in the athlete's bedroom must have been left after they were arguing as she tried to escape an angry Pistorius.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She wanted to leave and get dressed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My lady, the denims were inside out. So that would make sense that that's when she took them off.
CURNOW: The prosecution also asking the athlete a crucial question, if Steenkamp was awake when he got out of bed to bring in the fans and close the curtains, why didn't she ask Pistorius where he was going?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Normal people would say -- when you get up, she would say, where are you going? And so you say you don't expect to be there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My lady, I'm not even sure it would be a probability that if someone gets up in the night that their partner would even ask them what they're doing or if they can't sleep.
CURNOW: Now, all morning the prosecutor has been probing, challenging on those very small details, going around and around in circle, predator-like, I think, trying to establish a track record of inconsistency. At times it's been a battle of wills. Sometimes Oscar Pistorius seems like he's getting annoyed with the questions. Both of them will continue like this, no doubt, after the lunch break. Kate, back to you.
BOLDUAN: Robyn, thank you very much.
So back to another big story we've been covering this morning, a man who alleged opened fire at two Kansas City area Jewish centers killing three people. He is expected to appear in court today. The shooting has stunned the community, most of all, this woman, we want to show you. The mother -- the mother of -- the mother and son of two of the victims who bravely spoke at a vigil just hours after the shooting happened. Listen to this emotional sound.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am the daughter of the gentleman who was killed. And I'm the mother of the son who was killed. And I want to tell you how much I appreciate you all being here. We all different ways and I just wanted to tell you thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: We're joined now by Congressman Kevin Yoder of Kansas, the grandfather and grandson who were victims here, remember, of Yoder's church where that vigil was held just yesterday. Congressman, thank you very much for your time this morning. I hope you could hear that. That was Mindy Corporon, who was so strong speaking at that vigil, talking about her father, talking about her son. They were members of your same church, did you know them?
REP. KEVIN YODER, (R) KANSAS: I didn't know them personally, but our entire community feels connected to this family. This is a suburban area of Kansas City. This is an area of lots of schools and families. And yesterday afternoon when this news came out that this killing had occurred right here in overland park just about 12 blocks from my house, it struck all of us personally. I attended church services later in the day, about 5:00 where our Pastor Adam Hamilton at the United Methodist Church of Resurrection informed us that the people who had been killed had not been identified at that time were members of the courage, usually attend that service, were volunteers in the church and were really just upstanding community members.
And so I think we're all very stunned that this could happen right here in our community. As we all do, we watch these news stories about these horrific acts across the country, and yesterday's act occurred very close to home, obviously. And so I think we've just got a very stunned community right now. And these victims and their families, our hearts are breaking for them today in Kansas.
BOLDUAN: And you always think when you see these stories that this couldn't happen to your neighborhood. Your heart always breaks, but you think it couldn't happen to you. And it did hit so close to home. There was a third victim who has yet to be identified who was killed at another Jewish center nearby. Do you know anything about her?
YODER: We don't know much about her at this point. I will say, standing in front of the Jewish community center, which is a center that serves the entire community. We've got a very active Jewish community here with a very active community that attends the center and is involved. The first shooting occurred here, but the second shooting occurred almost eight blocks away at a village for a retirement community that also serves people of many denominations. And so we don't know much about the victim there yet, but we do know that the rampage started here and moved on down the road and took another victim. We're still trying to learn about what occurred there. But, obviously, it's something that stunned a lot of us.
BOLDUAN: Congressman, I don't think any of us can fully understand why something as horrific like this could happen. This is being investigated as a hate crime. Can you tell us anything about what authorities think happened and why this man went on this deadly rampage?
YODER: Well, we don't know enough about what his motives are but, boy, his history tells us a lot about what his motives probably were. This is an individual that we're learning this morning had a long history of anti-Semitism, racism, had been the head of several white supremacy groups. He is a Missouri resident, we understand, from several hours away that, as far as we can tell, have no connection to our community here in suburban Kansas City, who drove, apparently, into our community yesterday to commit these acts.
Now, to pick the Jewish community center and to pick the village Shalom given his background really tells us these are probably targeted killings and that he had anti-Semitism as his driving force as he arrived here yesterday.
As we said earlier, two of the members that were killed were members of my church, the United Methodist Church of Resurrection. And so, his anti-Semitism hit home to our entire community, no matter what religion you're from.
But it appears to be driven by hate. And I know the FBI is investigating this today. And the man is to be arraigned, I believe, this morning in our district court. And so we'll hopefully learn much more in the hours and days to come.
BOLDUAN: All happening just before we were about to mark the Passover holiday. Could not hit at a worse time for that community and for the country, of course. Congressman, thank you very much. I wish we were speaking on very different circumstances. But thank you so much for your time this morning.
YODER: As do I. Thanks for having me on.
BOLDUAN: Thanks so much.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Kate, let's take a break on NEW DAY. When we come back, right now, a mini sub is making its way to the bottom of the Indian Ocean to find flight 370. How long will it take to find the plane? We'll take you inside this amazing technology.
We also have inside politics this morning with Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary who just left. She's saying bye-bye to the administration. The question is, was it her choice?
CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY. We're following breaking news in the search for flight 370. Why? Well, just moments ago officials launched Bluefin 21. That's what you're looking at right there. It's an unmanned submarine. It's supposed to look for wreckage on the ocean floor, a hopeful new stage, but also a slow one. The vehicle only covers about 15 square miles in a day on the speed that it's set on right now.
Let's bring in CNN's analyst David Gallo, a co-leader in the search for Air France 447 and director of special projects in Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
DAVID GALLO, CNN ANALYST: Hey, Chris.
CUOMO: David, always a pleasure.
Now, first thing we should point out here, is that this is actually a good representation of how not simple the bottom is, right?
CUOMO: This is flat. The black box is obvious. The water is clear.
CUOMO: Now, in the real scenario of the Indian Ocean, the differences are material, right? You're dealing with silt, different topography. Take us through with the variables are.
CUOMO: You can't see your hand in front of your face. The seawater is 3 1/2 to 4 miles deep. This could be sitting surrounded by boulders that look just like, not in the same color but in shape. You know, in sonar, it's all black, shades of gray. So this could blend easily into the background, or it could be down inside of a gully. So you're right. This would be ideal but unlikely.
CUOMO: If it were this obvious, you would have been home watching the Masters this weekend instead of helping us here.
All right, so let's review here how we got to this stage that we're in right now. The first one was the pinger being towed, right? What were they trying to get through here?
GALLO: Just sitting there listening, trying to locate these pings coming out. And as you -- we all know now that battery is probably dead. So that's just sitting there on the sea floor not doing thing in that.
CUOMO: And in truth, though, this was the most effective evidence we have to date, because it picked up the pings, gave us some cross locations where we could get to, somewhere in that proximity, right?
GALLO: Yeah, if this works well, you can go right to the spot, no need for a need to have a big haystack for the needle, just go right to the spot.
CUOMO: So that really did the best. Because then they wind up dropping the sonobuoys. They're hoping they get a little bit of a deeper thing. There was only one ping picked up, wound up being unrelated. This is somewhat unproductive, yeah?
GALLO: Unproductive, yeah, but, you know, you've gotta try everything. You never know. And the planes have an opportunity to move faster in a wider area. These things are -- work in very quiet water. So they had to give it a shot.
CUOMO: So that was just about spreading the net.
All right, and that takes us to this. They've picked up their pings. They don't think they're going to get anymore. So they think they're as close to finding where the actual box is as possible. They're going to cut back on searching for debris. They're not going to listen for pings anymore. Now we've got the Bluefin. This is a slow process. How slow and why?
GALLO: It's slow. It's as fast as you can walk a little bit slower, actually, than you can walk. And it's got to be that way because the bottom of the sea, nothing happens fast. You want to avoid obstacles. You want to conserve battery power. That's really important. There's a tradeoff there in how fast you go and how rapidly you use it for power.
So that's the ideal, about as fast as you can walk. And, you know, this would be mapping to either side of it with sonar, looking for anything that stands out against the natural background.
CUOMO: So it's using sonar. How good is that?
GALLO: It's great. I mean, it's what allowed us find Air France 447. We had three similar vehicles to this, that particular mission.
CUOMO: Three. Why don't we have three?
GALLO: Well, you know, this is operated by Phoenix International. They were a partner in Air France 447 and the Titanic. They're very capable, but they've only got the one out here for this particular trip. I'm sure they can get their -- they'll try to get more if they need them.
CUOMO: Do you think that's an indication of how close they think they are to it?
GALLO: I think part of that is knowing that if this TPL (ph) did its job and that pinger was working, that they could just put this right -- one dart right in the bull's-eye.
CUOMO: All right, so, then again in the cause of optimism, if Bluefin picks something up, the next stage would be the coolest thing named Alvin since the Chipmunks. This thing can get farther down, right, and be a little bit more accurate?
GALLO: Yeah, Alvin is our research sub at Woods Hole National Deep Submergence Facility working in the Pacific, as we speak, on science missions. So it's a long way away. Alvin could certainly do this mission, as well as some other vehicles.
CUOMO: What we want to hear is that the sucker fish has been sent down, the remora. Obviously, it's an acronym, but when you hear that they're using the remora, that means they have now put something in there that can pick something up?
GALLO: Yeah, remora's got great cameras on it. It's designed -- it's operated from the surface like the coolest video game on earth. But it's designed to locate and reach out and grab whatever you want to grab and bring it up to the surface.
CUOMO: So that's what we're looking for. When you hear remora, you know now that they're not joking around.
GALLO: Did the job for us on Titanic a couple times, did the job for us on Air France 447 -- fantastic vehicle.
CUOMO: And interesting. Here we are searching the bottom of the ocean once again on the 101st anniversary of the Titanic going down.
GALLO: That's right.
CUOMO: David Gallo, thank you for the perspective, as always.
BOLDUAN: Coming up next on NEW DAY, a CNN exclusive. Officials trying to contain a deadly Ebola outbreak in west Africa. Chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta is live in the hot zone on the efforts to keep that outbreak at bay.
And also, on Inside Politics, we're going to go to New Hampshire where potentially presidential candidates all gathered this weekend. We'll find out who is winning the early tea party primary.
PEREIRA: Welcome back. Let's take a look at our headlines at this hour.
Crews are deploying the Bluefin 21 autonomous sub for the first time in the search for flight 370, sending it to the bottom of the ocean to map the area for plane wreckage or debris.
Officials have given up trying to detect any more signals from the black boxes. In the meantime, an oil slick has been spotted in the search zone. The source is not known yet. Officials say it will be analyzed to determine if there's any connection to the plane.
Now, to the crisis in Ukraine and growing concerns that a civil war may be brewing. This morning, pro-Russian activists forced police out of a building in eastern Ukraine. Windows were blown out. A small fire could be seen inside. All of this happening after a deadline set by Ukraine's acting president expired. It called for pro-Russian activists to lay down their arms and leave occupied buildings.
Police in Kansas have identified the man they say opened fire on two Jewish facilities Sunday on the eve of Passover: 73-year-old Frazier Glenn Cross is due in court today. He's suspected of killing three people, including a doctor and his 14-year-old grandson. Officials says he has long-held ties to white supremacist groups. Cross faces charges of premeditated murder.
Oscar Pistorius, facing relentless cross-examination from the prosecution, which is focused on Pistorius's account of the night he shot and killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. The prosecutor bluntly telling Pistorius that he was tailoring his evidence. Pistorius insists that he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder. But prosecutors argue that he intentionally shot Steenkamp after a heated argument. Sixth day of cross-examination there.
CUOMO: Pistorius is having a hard time weathering the questioning, both in terms of his answers and his demeanor. He keeps breaking down.
All right, thanks, Mick.
Let's head over to Mr. John King with Inside Politics on NEW DAY.
John, you got a lot going on, boy. You've got the Ukraine. You've got Sebelius. Can you handle it all?
JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we'll give it a shot, Chris, Kate, Michaela. Happy Monday to you. We'll be back to you in just a few minutes.
A lot to cover, so let's go Inside Politics, and with me this morning to share their reporting and their insights, Molly Ball of "The Atlantic", Juana Summers of "Politico."