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Deadline Day for Iran Nuclear Talks; Flight 9525 Co-Pilot Had 'Suicidal Tendencies'; Indiana Governor: New Law 'Grossly Misconstrued'. Aired 6-6:30a ET
Aired March 31, 2015 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You think you'll be able to get a deal by the deadline?
[05:58:36] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good question.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know if we'll get there.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: These negotiations have been going on for 18 months.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Even military action would not be as successful.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Severe mental problems this co-pilot had been dealing with.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Was he continuing to be treated?
RICHARD QUEST, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: This assumes the doctors knew he was a pilot. Did they know?
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Ongoing war over law and culture.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Look, this law is not intended to discriminate.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Repealing the bill is not going to happen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No more time for clarifications. Fix it.
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY, with Chris Cuomo, Alisyn Camerota and Michaela Pereira.
CUOMO: Good morning, and welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Tuesday, March 31, 6 a.m. in the east, and right now Iran hangs in the balance. Diplomats from the P5+1 are scrambling to reach a preliminary deal to limit the country's nuclear program. About 12 hours to go before the self-imposed deadline expires. Not quite clear what happens after that, but to be sure, negotiators have their work cut out for them. ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Secretary of State John Kerry telling
CNN that, quote, "tricky issues remain." And Russia's foreign minister says he' s heading back to Switzerland to rejoin these marathon talks. So with the eyes of the world on these critical negotiations, will we see a deal in the next hours? And what if months of talks end in an impasse?
Let's get the very latest from CNN's global affairs correspondent, Elise Labott. She is live for us from Switzerland.
What do we know at this hour, Elise?
ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Alisyn, the fact that the Russian foreign minister is coming back could be a signal that the parties are close.
Secretary of State John Kerry told me yesterday there was some light in the negotiations. But as you said, he said there were some tricky issues that need to be resolved. And we've been talking about them for the past few days.
On research and development, Iran wants to be able to resume advanced nuclear research in the final years of the deal. The international community wants to keep restrictions in place for at least 15 years.
And those U.N. sanctions, Iran wants them lifted right away. The international community wants to phase them out as Iran complies with the deal and also wants the flexibility to put them back in place -- they call it a snap-back -- if Iran violates the deal.
Now Secretary Kerry said negotiators will be working throughout the day, with an aim towards a deal. They all know the importance of today, Alisyn, because if there's no deal, Congress is threatening to impose sanctions against Iran, and that would scuttle any chances for a comprehensive deal in June -- Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: OK, Elise. You have laid out the stakes perfectly for us. And we want to talk more about it now, so let's bring in Peter Beinart. He's our CNN political commentator and contributing editor with "Atlantic" media. And Hillary Mann Leverett. She's a former member of the National Security Council and State Department Middle East expert under presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, who has previously negotiated with Iran. She is also the co-author of "Going to Tehran: Why America Must Accept the Islamic Republic of Iran." Great to see both of you this morning.
Hillary, I want to start with you...
HILLARY MANN LEVERETT, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL MEMBER: Sure.
CAMEROTA: ... about the ramifications of this deal. You say that what we're seeing unfold right now and what ends up happening today is as big a deal as when Nixon dealt with China. Tell us what you mean.
MANN LEVERETT: Yes. Well, you know, we were in the 1960s. The U.S. was in strategic quagmire, with wars in Korea and Vietnam, tens of thousands of Americans killed, millions of Asians killed. We were on a downward spiral, domestically, economically in terms of war.
We are hopefully not in such a bad position, but we are somewhat close to that in the Middle East. Our policy there is in freefall. We have huge fires in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Yemen, all over the place.
The only way the United States can rescue its position, can recover from this is, as Nixon and Kissinger made friends with China, we need to strike a deal with Iran and have another essential friend in the region. So we can have a more stable balance of power and start to recover our strategic position. If we don't do that, our policies will continue to go -- to be in freefall, making us more and more strategically irrelevant in the Middle East and undermining our ability to be a global superpower.
CAMEROTA: Peter, do you see it in such imperative terms?
PETER BEINART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think it would be an earthquake if the United States ended its Cold War with Iran. We don't know whether that will happen or not.
But it would allow the United States and Iran to potentially think about negotiating in a different way, an end to the war in Syria, for instance, which has been so disastrous.
Now the down side is that, as America gets closer to potentially a rapprochement with Iran, some of our traditional allies like the Saudis are becoming more and more nervous and are distancing themselves with the United States. So it's a very typical balancing act the Obama administration is trying to do: develop a better relation with Iran without weakening our relationships with our traditional Sunni allies.
CAMEROTA: Gosh, the landscape is shifting, I mean, as we speak. Hillary, because of all of this, because of the history-making potential, are you one of the people who fears, as President Obama's critics do, that we will accept any deal over a good deal here?
MANN LEVERETT: Well, you know, the only good deal to be had is one that is negotiated. One cannot be imposed on Iran. You know, the Bush administration, for whom I worked, thought that they could impose a settlement on Iraq by invading the country, overthrowing the government and imposing its own version of a deal on Iraq. That was a disaster, a disaster for the people of Iraq. Much more importantly for me as an American, was strategically disastrous for the United States, politically, militarily, economically.
The only good deal to be had with Iran is one that is negotiated, one that brings Iran into a balance of power in the region, where the United States can work with it where we can. And like with China, we bracket the differences that we have.
And also, a deal with Iran, in -- my colleague Peter, I agree with a lot of what he said. But in terms of our allies, our traditional allies, like the Saudis, like the Israelis, sometimes pursue policies that are pretty reckless and damaging to the United States. If we had a better relationship with Iran, I think that would check some of their reckless impulses and help the United States get on a much more stable trajectory in the Middle East.
[06:05:04] CAMEROTA: Peter, a couple of interesting poll findings to take the pulse of how Americans are feeling about this deal right now. Let me show you two in a row. This is from the "Washington Post"/ABC poll.
The first one says, "Would you support an agreement with -- in which the United States and other countries would lift major economic sanctions against Iran in exchange for Iran restricting its nuclear program?" Fifty-nine percent of people do support that deal as it appears to stand. Thirty-one percent disagree.
However, here's where it really gets interesting. The next poll asks respondents, "How confident are you that such a deal will keep Iran from developing nuclear weapons?" Fifty-nine percent are not confident. So we're going through all of these paces, though Americans don't believe it will necessarily work.
BEINART: Right. The truth is that those poll numbers don't really make a lot of sense, really, if you think about it. Americans want a deal that they think won't work.
CAMEROTA: Well, I mean, but they -- I think that what it speaks to is that, at heart, we don't really know that we can trust Iran.
BEINART: Right, and to be fair, I don't think this deal is based primarily on trusting Iran. One of the reasons you want this deal is that it gives the United States and the world better -- better -- more intrusive inspections so we have a better understanding of what's going on. If we don't have a deal, then we have less knowledge about what's going on.
I think there will be a huge political battle if there is a deal that's gotten today and then in June. I think Barack Obama's best chance of maintaining his support is that this issue has become so partisan that I think it's going to be hard for Democrats to defy him.
CAMEROTA: You speak perfectly to the next poll that I want to show. Hillary, take a look at this, because people -- this is a Pew Research poll. People were asked, "Should the U.S. president or Congress have final authority over a nuclear deal with Iran?" Sixty-two percent of respondents believe it should be Congress. I mean, that's what Republicans in Congress are saying, Hillary.
MANN LEVERETT: Yes. You know that all the poll numbers are fascinating. I think what they show clearly as -- is that the American people want a different approach to the Middle East, which includes a much more constructive approach and relationship with the Islamic Republic of Iran as it is.
The problem is what the Obama administration is selling, what they're explaining. What they're trying to say is that we can have some narrow technical scientific agreement where we're going to build in these scientific safeguards against Iran pursuing -- or acquiring nuclear weapons. That's the same tactic and strategy that President Carter tried with SALT II in the late 1970s, vis-a-vis the Soviet Union. He lost that battle badly. SALT II failed. It went to Congress, and it failed.
That's the real risk here, is that the American people want a different relationship with the Middle East and Iran, but what President Obama is telling them is they can get some narrow scientific agreement. They're going to lose that battle just as President Carter did in the late 1970s with the Soviet Union.
CAMEROTA: Hillary, Peter, it is great to have you both standing by as we watch the clock tick down on this deal.
BEINART: Thank you.
CAMEROTA: Thanks so much. Let's go over to Chris.
CUOMO: All right, Alisyn.
We have new information on Flight 9525, a possible motive offered. An investigator says Andreas Lubitz feared his medical issues may have prevented him from flying, and that may have led him to desperately crash the plane into a mountainside.
Now this comes from the German tabloid "Bild." There's also word Lubitz may have lied on a form he submitted before being deemed fit to fly. So how does this all fit together into the picture of what happened?
Let's get right to CNN senior international correspondent Fred Pleitgen, live in Dusseldorf, Germany.
Fred, where are we on this?
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Chris. And we've spoken to a source close to the investigation. That source tells us that, indeed, one of the main theories that investigators are working from right now is that the motive for Andreas Lubitz could very well have been his fear of losing his certification of being fit to fly because of the medical condition that he had.
Now, they say that they're getting this, first of all, of course, from listening to the cockpit voice recorder but also, of course, from looking into his background, looking into his medical history, looking into a lot of the things that we heard yesterday from the state prosecutor, who was saying that he did have suicidal tendencies in the past; that he was being treated for mental problems, as well; and that also his vision problems were apparently psychosomatic.
Keep in mind, one of the things that we've also been able to find out that those sick notes that he got, that he tore up, that he tried to hide from his employer, that those deemed him unfit to fly, because his vision problems were of psychosomatic nature.
So those are some of the things that we're hearing this morning. However, the source that we're speaking to also cautions us. They say that, at this point in time, it's most probably impossible to determine with 100 percent certainty what exactly drove Andreas Lubitz to do what he did, simply because there's nothing evident. There's no good-bye note; there's nothing of that nature. What they have to work with is only looking into his background, looking at the cockpit voice recorder, speaking to people that he's known in the past.
And all of this also comes, Chris, as this morning the French investigating authority, the BEA, has come out and said that it's also looking at the cockpit voice recorder again and is looking at possible what they say systemic weaknesses that might have contributed to this crash. One of them is the fact that the captain was not able to get back into the cockpit because of the cockpit door. But also, of course, they say the psychological patterns that weren't detected -- Michaela.
PEREIRA: Fred, we're going to look at this a little further coming up with several experts on our program, so stick with us. Thanks so much.
Opposing sides in Indiana's religious freedom law, meanwhile, are now digging in their heels. Indiana Governor Mike Pence taking to "the Wall Street Journal" to try and clarify his position, writing in an op-ed that the law has been, quote, "grossly misconstrued as a license to discriminate."
Meanwhile, residents of the state's capital waking up to this: powerful front-page editorial -- hopefully we have it -- in "The Indianapolis Star" calling on the governor to fix this now. I have a cover of it right here to show you.
CNN's Rosa Flores is live in Indianapolis with the very latest for us.
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Michaela.
Well, Indiana, a house divided, with Democrats asking for a repeal and Republicans working feverishly to change the language of the actual law. As for the backlash coming from around the nation, oh, that is still pouring in.
LT. GOV. SUE ELLSPERMANN, INDIANA: This law is not intended to discriminate. We have great respect for the LGBT community.
FLORES (voice-over): This morning, no revisions yet to Indiana's polarizing SB 101, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No hate in our state.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No hate in our state.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No hate in our state.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whose state?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Our state!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Our state!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Our state!
FLORES: Outrage growing across the country to what gay rights advocates call the latest attack to legalize discrimination. Protesters, corporations, and fellow governors condemning the state's action. Connecticut and Washington states now banning state-funded travel to Indiana. Even the Indianapolis City Council passed a resolution opposing SB 101.
MAYOR GREG BALLARD, INDIANAPOLIS: Fix this law. And do so, immediately.
FLORES: Opponents concerned that the law could give businesses a license to deny LGBT individuals services, including for their weddings. The Indiana governor's office promising to clarify.
ELLSPERMANN: I've been up close to discrimination. I don't want that. We don't want that. The governor has said he doesn't want that.
FLORES: In a "Wall Street Journal" op-ed, governor Mike Pence wrote, quote, "I abhor discrimination. If I saw a restaurant owner refuse to serve a gay couple, I wouldn't eat there anymore." He goes on to say, "RFRA only provides a mechanism to address claims, not a license for private parties to deny services."
The governor told ABC's "This Week Sunday" he personally wouldn't change the law, but is open to the general assembly proposing revisions.
BRIAN C. BOSMA (R), INDIANA HOUSE SPEAKER: What we're going to do is specifically state that it cannot -- the RFRA standard cannot be raised as a defense in those circumstances.
FLORES: A Democratic leader in the Hoosier house says this should have happened from the beginning.
TIM LANANE (D), INDIANA SENATE DEMOCRATIC LEADER: We said, "Look, if it's not about discrimination, prove it by adopting this amendment or adopting that amendment. Make it clear it's not about discrimination."
FLORES: And today, the Arkansas house also expected to vote on their own version of the RFRA law. As you might imagine, Twitter already lighting up. Some of the same big names speaking out against that bill.
Now the governor there talking to some of our affiliates and telling them that if this bill crosses his desk, and it looks close to what the other 20 bills around the country look like, he plans to sign it -- Alisyn. CAMEROTA: OK, Rosa, thanks so much for all of that background. We'll
talk more about that bill coming up.
We do have some breaking news, though, to tell you about right now. This is a live shot coming from WJLA. This is -- there is a massive police search on the ground and in the air for an armed prisoner who staged an escape from a Virginia hospital. Here's what we know.
An inmate being transferred from a local jail to a hospital in Falls Church, Virginia, overpowering a private security guard and escaping with the officer's gun. The inmate, identified by Fairfax police as Wossen Assaye, was last seen wearing a hospital gown. He is considered armed and dangerous. We have a team on the way to the scene, so we will bring you any updates as we get them. If you see anything suspicious, call 911.
CUOMO: A deadly incident at the National Security Agency does not appear to be an act of terrorism, according to authorities. So what happened? Well, two men dressed as women smashed a stolen car into a police cruiser Monday at the agency's headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland. One of the suspects was fatally shot, the other wounded. A police officer was also injured, and there is no word yet on a motive.
MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: House Speaker John Boehner leading a Republican congressional delegation to Israel, where he'll meet with newly re-elected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. This week Boehner called the White House's treatment of Netanyahu over the years reprehensible. On Monday, Boehner and his delegation met with Iraq's prime minister, talking politics and regional security.
CAMEROTA: So that tension is not going away...
CAMEROTA: ... with the White House. And between Congress and Netanyahu and...
PEREIRA: I feel like it will step up a little bit.
CUOMO: Tactics -- tactics questionable in this situation in terms of politics of both sides, but you get it. The more we're covering this deal and Iran's reach into all these different situations that matter. You get the urgency.
CUOMO: It's just how they deal with it. And this is, unfortunately, the byproduct of them not getting along on all these domestic issues all this time.
CAMEROTA: Yes. You certainly feel the stakes.
So more -- an update now on that -- the crash of the flight, because we know more now about the co-pilot of Flight 9525. He was being treated for suicidal tendencies. And even though he sought help, he never told the airline about his struggles. Should pilots be required to self-report? How do you make them self-report? We'll take a closer look.
CUOMO: And should be it about self-reporting in the first place?
All right. And we finally got some answers from an Indiana lawmaker about its controversial religious freedom law. Not the governor, the man on your screen, but the lieutenant governor stepped up. The question: Will there be a change? Answer ahead.
[06:15:05] CUOMO: We have new information for you this morning, word of a motive in the Flight 9525 crash.
The German tabloid "Bild" quotes an investigator saying co-pilot Andreas Lubitz feared his medical issues would have grounded him. Prosecutors also revealing Lubitz suffered from, quote, "suicidal tendencies" before his aviation career but never told anybody. So the question is, this policy of self-reporting, is it getting it done?
Let's bring in CNN aviation analyst and former inspector general for the U.S. Department of Transportation, Mary Schiavo; also CNN safety analyst and former FAA inspector, David Soucie. Thank you for being here.
David, I start with you. I am not as moved -- help me with this -- about the fearing that he would be grounded by the vision, the medical issue of the vision, because we're told that he didn't have a vision issue. So do you see this as the substance in and of itself? Or is this proof of him being motivated by some kind of madness?
DAVID SOUCIE, CNN SAFETY ANALYST: I think it's obviously a madness. It's starting to -- that we can't detect. See, this is where the problem is. He's trying to reach out and do something, becomes a murderer to be famous. And this is a stretch. This whole idea of the sight in the first place is just another indicator, a symptom, of where he was headed with this.
CUOMO: And that's the right word. We're looking for symptoms here, because we understand why he did it but more importantly, Mary, it's about making sure it can't happen again. This self-reporting thing, it seems beyond the pale.
MARY SCHIAVO, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Yes.
CUOMO: That you just can't have self-reporting in a situation like this, because every motivation is to lie and conceal, isn't it?
SCHIAVO: Absolutely. And it's been going on for years. And it goes on in the United States. And, you know, everyone wants to keep their job. And it's fudging on things, everything from taking an over-the- counter medicine, to having been on drugs for psychiatric conditions. And then simply not telling the examiner.
Remember, even in the U.S., it's self-reporting. There's a question, 47 on the medical exam, where pilots have to answer the question of have they been treated or seen any physician for any psychiatric or psychological condition. And then if they report yes, what happens, even in the United States, is the examiner, the medical examiner just asks them about it. There's still no independent testing. And the drug testing at the airlines is only for illegal substances, like cocaine and marijuana.
CUOMO: So how do you explain this? Is this just a culture of ignorance? Is this having to wake up to the realities of mental health and other medical problems? What is it?
SCHIAVO: Well, I think that's right. And wake up to the realities that people are going to do what's necessary to keep their job. And the realities are the same way we address the realities with drug and alcohol. We're going to have -- we're going to require the airlines to have an entrance psychological exam and then periodic exams, just as we do the medical exam.
Given the statistics of the persons who are on some sort of psychological or psychiatric drug, it's reasonable. And then we would add, I would suggest we add, when you do the random drug screens and the initial employment drug screens, you do a full drug array, so you can see if they're on any kinds of medications that they have not reported. Because lying on the form, don't forget, is a felony; it's already a crime. But no one enforces it.
CUOMO: Nobody enforces it; nobody is looking. You check yes, they do a little bit. You check no, the question is, David, do they do anything? What if I check all nos on my sheet? Do they do any digging into my background the way, like, a health insurance company would before they, you know, decide to insure me? Or do -- is there nothing done?
SOUCIE: Why would you dig anymore? Once they said no, the transfer of liability has happened. The airline has done their job. They satisfied all the regulations. They've asked the questions; they've put it in there. The medical examiner has done what he or she is supposed to do. So that's the end of it. And that's where we can't stop. In fact, I agree with Mary, except we need to go even deeper than that.
When you want to be a pilot and you want to take the lives of that many people -- and remember, this isn't just one flight. When you take a flight as a pilot, you're carrying not just those 150 people, but maybe two or three times during the day you were doing that same thing. So this is a very risky situation.
SOUCIE: It's a public hazard. There's no reason we should be digging into the records and make those records exposed. You can't hide behind HIPAA in this situation.
CUOMO: Well, they are hiding behind HIPAA. And it's not about stigmatizing mental health. People can be mentally ill, and they're fine. They treat it, and they move along. They're very productive.
But you have to check. And Mary, I saw your eyebrows go up when he says -- David says once they check the nos, there's been a transfer of liability. No there hasn't.
SCHIAVO: Right. Right.
CUOMO: This airline has to have a higher level of culpability and responsibility here. And it could happen right here in the United States, too. That's why we bring up the issue, Mary. What's the next step, do you think?
SCHIAVO: Well, I think the next step is for some country, and it should be ours, going back and saying, "Look, the system doesn't work, the self-reporting." And I can tell you, all you have to do is go to the NTSB safety databases and look up crashes and the tox reports on the pilots, to get a feel of how many cases the tox reports reveal that many people are taking substances they aren't reporting to the FAA.
And we start in the United States with the FAA, who says right on this medical form that they do not want the medical examiners to be conducting psychological exams, and they don't want the information to be sent to federal agencies. But in fact, they're going to have to do that.
And it's one more step that a pilot is going to have to go through. But I think it's very much justified.
And then, the liability, by the way, I do have to disagree, because I'm a lawyer. The liability stays with the airline, because the airline's responsible for its employees. So whether or not the employee lies on the form, the airline is still responsible for its pilots. So this should help the airline weed out any problems in the future. They have to do periodic psychological exams.
CUOMO: David, I'll let you button it up, because both Mary and I are accusing you of the liability statement, so clean it up for me.
SOUCIE: Right. Well, what I'm talking about the liability is they've done what is required by the regulation.
SOUCIE: I'm not saying that they've shifted any kind of liability at all. I just mean they've done what's required by the FAR, implying that the FAR is what needs to change, the regulation.
CUOMO: Right. And what Mary and I would say -- we've got our lawyer hats on. We're saying there's a duty involved here. And just reading that the guy checked no on every box when he has every motive to lie, right, because that would be the psychosis at play, that's the problem.
I'll tell you that bothers us the most here right now. This happened in Germany. It is regrettable. But is the fact that it didn't happen in the United States playing into the lack of action and discussion we're hearing among the administrative agencies who are in charge of this in the United States? Nobody has come out and said anything yet about any changes in light of this. Why not? Mary Schiavo, David Soucie, thank you very much -- Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: Thanks, Chris.
Well, the state of Indiana under fire this morning for its controversial new religious freedom law, lawmakers scrambling today to clarify the measure. So what will that look like?
PEREIRA: Prosecution rests in the Boston Marathon bombing trial. Now the defense will get its turn. But did the final prosecution witness already seal Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's fate?