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Trump Rising; Flight 370 Search; Outrage Over Death of Lion. Aired 3-3:30p ET
Aired July 31, 2015 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Just a short time ago, U.S. officials say that they have heard from him. I will have more on that in just a moment.
But, first, let me go to CNN's David McKenzie with Zimbabwean's call for the U.S. to extradite Palmer.
David, What do you know?
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Brooke, the killing of Cecil the lion has spared global outrage and put sharp issue on the issue of trophy hunting in Africa.
Now the American dentist who is accused of killing the lion illegally could be Zimbabwean injustice.
MCKENZIE (voice-over): An iconic African lion lured out of its sanctuary and struck down with a bow in the dead of night, it's led to global outrage at this man, Dr. Walter Palmer, the Minnesota dentist who killed Cecil.
Facing a media storm on Twitter, Facebook and even Yelp, Palmer temporarily closed his dental practice and has gone to ground. Now he could face the law, Zimbabwean officials working to extradite him.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) was properly orchestrated (INAUDIBLE) to make sure that...
MCKENZIE: Palmer's local guides go on trial next week. If guilty of poaching, they could spend 10 years in one of Zimbabwe's most notorious prisons. Their lawyers say they are innocent, and Palmer claims he is, too, blaming it all on his local guides.
But CNN has learned through court documents that a hunter with the same name, age and from the same town as Palmer admitted to lying to U.S. authorities in 2006 in the illegal killing of a black bear in Wisconsin. Palmer's lawyers could not be reached and a spokesman said he had no information on that case. Extradition proceedings can be notoriously slow, and Zimbabwe has a treaty with the United States.
And public pressure is mounting on the Obama administration to act. More than 100,000 people signed a petition calling for Palmer to be sent to Zimbabwe to face the law.
MCKENZIE: Brooke, Cecil was the dominant lion in that pride and he had more than a dozen young cubs. Now conservationists worry that a rival lion could come in and kill Cecil's cubs. We know that at this stage that they are OK, but their future could be very bleak indeed -- Brooke.
BALDWIN: David McKenzie, thank you so much.
Now to Ed Lavandera, who has following the reaction here in the United States to the killing of this lion.
I know, Ed, that there was a plea from the U.S. authorities for Palmer to contact them. We now know that that has happened in some form or fashion, what, through this representative of the dentist? What was said there?
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's interesting because when we spoke yesterday, Brooke, it was more than just a plea. It was basically the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service openly saying, wondering why it had taken the dentist so long to reach out to the Fish and Wildlife Service.
But we are now told that late yesterday afternoon a -- quote -- "representative of Dr. Walter Palmer" has reached out to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife's Department of Law Enforcement. We have gone back to clarify just exactly who this representative is. Is it a lawyer? The Fish and Wildlife Service refuses to answer and give any more details beyond this statement, only to say that the investigation is ongoing.
They told us yesterday that the Department of Justice is involved now, so very serious situation and, as you heard in David McKenzie's report, the Zimbabwean government considers the dentist just as culpable in all of this as the professional hunter that he was working with and the land owner there, so very serious charges and a situation that he finds himself in.
BALDWIN: All right, Ed, thank you.
Let me bring in Nick Pinizzotto. He is the CEO of the pro-hunting group of Sportsmen's Alliance.
Nick, thank you so much for joining me here on a hunter's perspective. Listen, from what I have read, you're a bow hunter, you're a big game hunter. So, what, elk, deer? You don't consider yourself a trophy hunter as this dentist is. But can you explain to me just, first, the appeal of this kind of hunting?
NICK PINIZZOTTO, CEO, SPORTSMEN'S ALLIANCE: Sure. And thanks for having us, Brooke.
You know, I think the term trophy hunting in general is one that, unfortunately, we have allowed as hunters or a hunting community to kind of get away from us. What happens is those people that oppose hunting have really taken hold of that term and they use it to drive a wedge between the hunting community and also just sort of the mainstream America that doesn't -- maybe they don't hunt themselves, but they also are not against hunting.
I could be described as a trophy hunter depending on how you look at it. For example, I love to hunt whitetail deer and I'm given a tag to do that each year in the state of Ohio that I live in. And it's my choice to decide what type of animal that I want to hang that tag on, if I'm lucky enough to get one. But then the very next thing I do is that animal gets processed and I eat it. So, it's not as if -- it's a very rare case where somebody is just out headhunting, so to speak, as a lot of people would have you believe.
BALDWIN: With the lion, that is the trophy, right? It's the head of the lion, from what I understand. This is not like a deer where you can actually eat deer meat. This is for pure trophy reasons.
I know this Safari International he was a member of, they score people. It's a point system back in the U.S. based upon how you kill, what you kill. How is that OK, in your opinion?
PINIZZOTTO: And I think that's a great question.
If that is the case, where the animal is not being used for food, then that's very unfortunate and that's not something that we would stand behind as an organization. We are very much for very highly regulated hunting that is managed by professionals, by biologists who set seasons, who tell us what animals can be shot and how many.
That's what we believe and we believe in these animals being used for food, if not by the hunters themselves, but by donated meat. In many cases, especially in Africa, it's even required by law that the meat from all of these animals actually be know donated to the local tribes to consume.
The act of actually just killing an animal for the head or some type of trophy, that's not what I believe in as a hunter and I can speak for our organization as well. We believe again in highly regulated hunting where the animal is consumed for the betterment of that wildlife and also for the betterment of conservation in general.
So, the reports are that, in this case, I believe they found that the head was removed from this animal. And if that is indeed true, then that's pretty unfortunate.
BALDWIN: That's right. That's right. And in addition to that, then you have these two guides, right? We have bits and pieces from this dentist ultimately blaming these guides that one can hire, for example, in Zimbabwe that apparently you are supposed to trust to take you to legal areas and make these legal kills.
But my question, too, if I had the dentist sitting next to me, I would have a lot of questions for him, but one of my questions would be, at the end of the day, as a hunter, do you not have to be responsible for your own actions?
I think it's anything -- even people that don't hunt, if you are going to go on a vacation, you're going to take a trip, or just go somewhere that you are not used to being, where you need help getting around, every one of us will look to reviews and the best information we can find before we make those decisions. Is it plausible that something could have happened completely out of a hunter's control, you know, not even Mr. Palmer's case specifically?
Sometimes, that can happen. But I know myself and any -- the other hunters that I know that go on trips, we certainly want to look and get and gather the most information that we possibly can ahead of time and that's truly the hunter's responsibility.
BALDWIN: Nick Pinizzotto, thank you so much with the pro-hunting group Sportsmen's Alliance. Thank you, sir.
PINIZZOTTO: Thank you.
BALDWIN: Next, brand-new information about the plane wreckage, this piece of debris found on an island that could belong to the missing Malaysia air Flight 370, all of this now as the U.S. intelligence community believes someone deliberately flew this 777 off course.
Also, we have chilling pictures of a man attacking parade-goers at this gay pride parade. But here's the thing we have now learned. This wasn't his first time.
And moments ago, Hillary Clinton releasing a statement about her health, detailed medical history, what was revealed ahead.
BALDWIN: You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.
The debris that could help solve one of the greatest aviation mysteries ever is on its way now to France for analysis. A CNN was there as crews were carefully wrapping this piece of evidence that is suspected to be from the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.
An Australian official leading the search for the plane says he's "increasingly confident" that the debris seen there on the right side of your screen is indeed what is called this flaperon, the missing piece of the wing from that Boeing 777. That plane was carrying 239 people when it vanished in March of last year.
So, CNN's Nima Elbagir is live on Reunion Island where that piece of debris washed ashore.
Just so we're clear, as far as this crate is headed to, what, ultimately Toulouse. When should the world know whether or not this is 370?
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, because there is a French court judiciary investigation going on, this is now very much under the auspices of the judge. And that's kind of putting the brakes slightly on that, because it has to go through the processes.
Monday, there is going to be a working group meeting with that judge. It will include the French agencies and the Malaysian investigators and then he is instructing the analysis to begin on Wednesday. But we understand that this is one of the leading labs working on this and the potential to turn this around quite quickly is very high, Brooke.
BALDWIN: That said, in watching you, you have been up for, what, the last 24 hours reporting on all of this and in some of your reporting, I caught that you said that there's a volcano erupting on that island where you're standing. Might that at all impact the investigation?
ELBAGIR: Well, it definitely is going to complicate things.
They actually have evacuated the slopes of the volcano. It's erupting as we speak. And given what we know -- well, given that -- if this is MH370, it's going to change what we know or what people believe they knew about where that search area should be. It's going to move it towards Reunion and beyond.
And if you can imagine trying to on -- even the localized search that they been having here on that Saint Andre beach stretch, imagine now having that scale of a search on Reunion, to Madagascar, along to that southeastern coast of Africa, with an erupting volcano in one of your bases. It really -- it's not helping what is already a very difficult situation here, Brooke.
BALDWIN: Nima Elbagir, thank you very much.
As investigators are getting to work ultimately in France on analyzing the debris, intelligence agencies have been working on why Flight 370 vanished. A preliminary assessment suggested that someone in the cockpit deliberately caused the aircraft to veer off course and eventually towards the Southern Indian Ocean.
But in the 500 days since that plane disappeared, no significant information has ever arisen that the captain, co-pilot or even the other 237 people on board ever posed a threat.
Joining me now to discuss that, Rob McCallum, ocean search specialist in Williamson and Associates.
Rob, welcome back to you, sir.
Just sort of first up on that assessment, if this was a deliberate crash -- by the way, you can read the word deliberate multiple ways, the question is, how would that affect the debris field and ocean search, especially now with such a promising sign of the plane?
ROB MCCALLUM, OCEAN SEARCH SPECIALIST: It's a very promising sign.
And it's the first of, I think, many to come. What we're looking at is evidence that has been in the water a long time and so there's a long time lag now as we wait for further debris to come ashore. It's not going to be of great use to us in terms of retro-navigating back to the impact site, but what it does do is it gives us clarity that the aircraft is likely to have gone into the water.
And with each part that has been recovered, a little bit more information is gleaned and these clues will come to light over the coming weeks.
BALDWIN: Can we talk about the fact that a correspondent there on Reunion Island was just reporting this volcano currently erupting and let me add to that there are reports that people in the area are also on alert for a possible cyclone. So, two variables. You have this key area. How might that affect search, ocean currents around the island?
MCCALLUM: Well, obviously, it will have a local impact in the short term.
But the debris is likely to start washing up not only in Reunion, but also Madagascar. Who knows how many times this debris will go around the gyre before it's intercepted? You know, every little part is a potential clue to what happened to MH370. So this is hugely encouraging news.
BALDWIN: We know that the debris itself is going to Toulouse, to one facility. There is also this, what appears to be a passenger suitcase found as well. That's going to a different facility. Australian officials, they are downplaying, Rob, that suitcase discovery, because there is so much, as you well know, trash in the ocean.
But how do you ever confirm that that is from a plane that had been flying close to 4,000 miles away?
MCCALLUM: Yes, it's very difficult and that's where the forensic expertise comes in.
I have to say that on face value I wouldn't connect the two simply because of the laws of physics. You're dealing with one part which is highly buoyant -- and the suitcase didn't look like it had a lot of buoyancy at all.
Depending on the makeup of any one piece of material, if it's buoyant, it's propelled more by wind and less than by current and if it's like that piece of suitcase, more by current than by wind. These have vastly different properties and would end up in quite different places.
BALDWIN: Rob McCallum, thank you very much.
Make sure you tune in tonight for our documentary. We're calling it "Vanished: The Mystery of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370." You can watch it tonight 9:00 Pacific and Eastern time here on CNN. Next, tensions rising in the West Bank after an arson attack on a Palestinian home leaves a toddler dead and three others critically wounded. What a message spray-painted on the house could reveal about who was behind this attack.
Also, just days away from the first Republican presidential debate, the window is quickly closing for several high-profile candidates who may not make the cut for the big stage. Michael Smerconish will be join me to discuss that, and, yes, Donald Trump today in Scotland.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: On Russia, you mentioned Russia yesterday. How you are going to make friends with Putin?
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No, I didn't say make friends. Putin has no respect for President Obama. He will respect me. That, I tell you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: The world may soon be saved from Ebola. That statement coming from the World Health Organization. It announced today a vaccine to stop the spread of the deadly virus has been proven 100 percent effective in clinical trials. Trials of the single-dose vaccine began in March in Guinea. This is one of the West African with the highest mortality rate from Ebola.
CNN medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen is live for me in Atlanta.
When I heard about this today, Elizabeth, this could be huge.
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely it could be huge, Brooke.
They took a group of patients, a group of people who were at really high risk for getting Ebola, their friends had it, their relative had it, a friend of a friend. You would have expected about 80 out of these 4,000 people to get Ebola. But as long as they got them the vaccine quickly and then it took about 10 days to kick in, none of those people got Ebola. That's really pretty stunning.
BALDWIN: I know that one of the biggest hurdles has been cost, right, fighting this? Would the vaccine be affordable?
COHEN: There seems to be quite a bit of money to be put behind this. A lot of money has been spent. You know, when you hear about concerns about this, cost is not
necessarily the first and biggest concern that comes up. Now, one of the bigger concerns that comes up is that this particular vaccine needs to be refrigerated and that's an issue in this part of the world. Also, it only works against the Zaire strain, which is the strain that is active now and was active last year and not all Ebola is the Zaire strain.
They would need to come up with other vaccines for other strains.
BALDWIN: This would be the beginning, though.
COHEN: That's right.
BALDWIN: Finally, I know exactly one year ago today, Emory there in Atlanta announced it would be bringing its first Ebola patient on American soil, Dr. Kent Brantly.
Did scientists expect to have such an effective virus just a year later?
COHEN: I don't think so. The kind of work that led to this virus, the research and the testing, the point that we are at now, that usually takes more than a decade and they did it in 11 months.
COHEN: That is really pretty stunning. But it's incredible what can happen when people come together.
You have got the World Health Organization, Doctors Without Borders, the Norwegian public health ministry that took a role here, the Guinean government. There are a lot of big players in this coming together saying, all right, let's figure this out.
BALDWIN: So promising. Elizabeth Cohen, thank you.
BALDWIN: The United States is calling it a vicious terrorist attack. A Palestinian toddler burned to death in his home. At least three of his family members critically injured in what is being the "price tag" attack.
That term is used by radical Israeli settlers as retaliation against Palestinians.
CNN's Ian Lee is in Jerusalem.
When you hear about the details here of this, Ian, I'm still trying to wrap my head around why. Price tag? Why?
IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right. I went to the house where the incident took place going into the room where the toddler died. And what we're being told is a Molotov cocktail, a firebomb was thrown through the window into the bedroom where they were sleeping. The mother and the father and their eldest son was able to get out of the house, but the baby, some reason in the confusion, wasn't able to get out.
And when rescuers tried to get there, they couldn't go into the building. The intensity of the heat from the fire was just too much. And when we went back in after the fire was put out and looked around, you could see the bed frame where baby, Ali, was when he died. You could also see a bottle of milk there as well and there's actually milk still inside.
I talked to one of the paramedics who took the body out and to the hospital. They said when they opened it up, there was just complete silence. The baby was completely burned from head to toe and right now the parents are in serious condition and although the 4-year-old brother, Ahmed, we are hearing now, is in stable condition, Brooke.
BALDWIN: What about Israel and how is Israel, how is Netanyahu reacting to this?
LEE: Israel came out strong calling this a terrorist attack. We also heard the Palestinians calling this a terrorist attack.
There's a unanimous opinion there about that. But the Palestinians have said in the past that Israeli settlers have acted with impunity. All eyes are going to be on the Israeli government to see if they can bring the people who carried this out to justice, if those people can actually be found. Right now, we haven't heard of any suspects being arrested.
BALDWIN: Ian Lee in Jerusalem, thank you so much.
And speaking of Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that his government will pursue justice in another gruesome attack, this one in Jerusalem during a gay pride parade. Police say an Orthodox Jew stabbed and injured people, two of them seriously. And they say the suspect is the very same man who launched a similar attack at a similar parade 10 years ago. That man, by the way, was just released from prison three weeks ago after serving time for that previous attack.
Coming up next, Hillary Clinton, new revelations released about her medical statement and the impact of that concussion she suffered, remember, back in 2012, new details there.
Also, my next guest was among many who didn't believe Donald Trump would even make it this far, let alone become the front-runner in the first Republican debate stage. Michael Smerconish joins me with one very bold prediction next.