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tv   The Lead With Jake Tapper  CNN  April 3, 2015 1:00pm-2:01pm PDT

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venice and still go into the future with so many more people joining us on this planet. >> i just went to africa for the first time in my life and i'm 35. i have a feeling you will see the elephants a lot earlier than i did. so nice to meet you. thank you so much. thank you, bill. you can watch the wonder list sunday night 10:00 eastern right here on cnn. i'm brooke baldwin. thank you for being with me. "the lead" with jake tapper starts now. the pending iran deal hope and fear and now, the hard sell. i'm jake tapper. this is "the lead." the world lead. one day after world powers announce a historic framework aimed at stopping iran from developing a nuclear weapon president obama is tasked with selling the deal not only to israeli and arab leaders who seem to oppose it but to his fellow americans and a skeptical congress. we will talk to one of the negotiators from the obama cabinet and also with the deal's most vociferous critic in the senate. also in world news the plane was obliterated and now we know that the suicidal co-pilot
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sped the plane up before slamming into a mountain with 149 innocent lives on board. what other secrets are in this newly discovered black box? and the national lead. he says his boat was dead in the water and flipped three times, but he held on broken shoulder and all. the amazing story of a fisherman found after 66 days lost at sea. but some skeptics out there wonder if this is a fishtale. good afternoon. welcome to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. we begin today with the world lead. depending upon whom you ask in washington, d.c. right now, this is either an off-ramp from a path to war or it's the hov lane. one day after negotiators in switzerland announced a preliminary agreement between the u.s. and other major world powers with iran over its nuclear program, iran's president vowed that iran can quote, cooperate with the world despite what many would say is a decades-long track record of
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doing the exact opposite. of course the country with perhaps the most to lose if it turns out that iran has played the world is israel. prime minister benjamin netanyahu repeating today the concern he expressed in front of the u.s. congress not long ago, saying this framework would quote, threaten the very survival of his country. let's talk about this. joining me is the u.s. energy secretary, earnest monice one of the high level negotiators at the table with iran. mr. secretary, it's an honor. thank you for being here. here is president obama at a debate in 2012. >> the deal we'll accept is they end their nuclear program. it's very straightforward. >> now, this deal does not end their nuclear program. they get to keep thousands of centrifuges, some of their stock pile of uranium fuel and they continue to enrich uranium so this isn't ending the nuclear program as he promised. >> what it ends is all the pathways the a bomb. there are multiple pathways uranium pathways plutonium
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pathways covert pathways. what we have agreed to we are very confident will let us see any violation quickly, give us plenty of time to respond and effectively close off those pathways. we are much better off with this deal than we would be without it. >> i want to also play this clip from that same debate. >> our goal is to get iran to recognize it needs to give up its nuclear program and abide by the u.n. resolutions that have been in place. >> the u.n. resolutions. here's one of them. from 2006 adopted by vote 14-1 demanded that iran suspend all enrichment related and reprocessing activities including research and development. this framework doesn't honor the promises that the president made to the american people. >> first of all, the processing pathway is in effect closed off. >> not the research and
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development. >> there will be ongoing r & d, substantially modified from their plans, and quite significant caps on what they are doing. again, the key is that the four pathways identified to a bomb we have blocked all of those pathways for a considerable period of time. this is going to be a time of building up we hope of building up some level of confidence in the world community that iran is in fact committed to only peaceful uses of nuclear energy. >> we don't have to spend the whole time talking about the fact that this deal doesn't meet the promises the president made but can you explain why you were not able to reach them? it was just impossible? the iranians wouldn't go along with what the president promised an end to the nuclear program? >> the iranians again have building up a program with nuclear power. they are committed to nuclear energy in their view. the goal here is in the very long term and it will be quite awhile if they demonstrate and earn the trust and confidence of the international community, then they can behave as what you
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might call a normal nuclear energy country within the framework of the nuclear nonproliferation treaty enhanced by the additional protocol which means additional transparency in what they are doing. >> the iranians put out their own talking points. the white house put out theirs. iran has put out theirs in farsi. here's a translation. one part says quote, none of the nuclear facilities or related activities will be stopped, shut down or suspended and iran's nuclear activities in all of its facilities will continue guaranteeing the continuation of the enrichment program. guaranteeing that the iranians will continue to enrich uranium. can you not see why israel and saudi arabia and other countries that don't want iran to have uranium enrichment program permitted would not like this deal? >> again, the issue of their having some level of enrichment has been decided for quite some time. the issue here is we have had a two-thirds reduction, a 97%
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reduction in the stock pile of uranium. it's a huge issue. in addition to minimizing enrichment levels. so again, we committed to having essentially an instantaneous shift from a current two-month breakout time two to three months perhaps, to at least a year for at least ten years. this is providing security for us and we believe for sure our friends and allies. >> but if this was the deal that could be achieved why was president obama in 2012 promising such a stronger deal for the west than what was able to be achieved? >> the issue is where we are today and what we can do to assure our security and that of or friends and allies. this deal i think so far, the reactions to it have been that it is really passed any expectations in terms of its specificity. this is not leaving big loopholes. it's a specific set of commitments that will be enshrined in the next three months leading to the agreement and it enhances all of our security. >> the framework of the deal was
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silent on the fate of some americans being held prisoner in iran. a journalist a christian pastor former u.s. marine plus of course missing fbi agent robert levenson. what's your message to their families? i realize you are the energy secretary, not secretary of state, but you are part of the negotiating team. nou you know this came up. what is your message to the families who were hoping that this was the last chance that they could get their loved ones home? >> first of all, secretary kerry did indeed i can assure you, carried through on that commitment. what i want to emphasize is this negotiation was intentionally restricted to the nuclear issue. get the nuclear bomb issue off the table, we hope for a long time. that has other implications. for example, things like arms embargoes, ballistic missile sanctions, those stay in place. strictly focused on the nuclear issues. >> secretary, we appreciate your coming. thank you so much. let's hear from the other side of this. republican senator tom cotton of
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arkansas from the armed services committee, veteran of the wars in iraq and afghanistan, one of the strongest critics of this framework deal, joins me now. senator cotton your reaction to what the secretary just said. >> jake he is an imminent nuclear physicist, one of the leading nuclear physicists in our country but this is not his deal. this was president obama's deal. he was acting on president obama's direction. what we saw yesterday was not a deal, not a framework, just a detailed list of american concessions that puts iran on the path to a nuclear weapon. whether they follow the terms announced yesterday or whether they violate the terms announced yesterday. that's dangerous for america, dangerous for the world. >> you heard president obama say yesterday that the options are this deal or the status quo or war. what's your take? >> the president likes to accuse his opponents of making false choices but that's the ultimate false choice. >> what is the option here? this is the deal on the table. >> first we have to remember how we got here. the president let iran off its knees after sanctions had driven
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them to the negotiating table to begin with in 2013. one of the very key deals or key points not announced yesterday is when sanctions will be relaxed. the president and secretary kerry said it will be phased but iran's leaders say it will be immediate. that's why this deal may still not be consummated by june. but the alternatives to this deal is a better deal with continued pressure through the credible threat of military force. and more sanctions. and if necessary, having to take military action. >> so you think war, military action would be preferable to this deal? >> jake the president again likes to present a false choice. >> you just talked about military action though. >> there's lots of kinds of military action. december 1998 bill clinton waged four days of aerial and naval bombardment of iraq specifically against their weapons of mass destruction program, because they weren't following u.n. security council resolutions and they were interfering with u.n. weapons inspectors. exactly what iran has been doing, and much worse. there's a big difference from
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what you saw -- >> so you would support theoretically air strikes against their nuclear facilities over taking this deal? >> that's exactly what samantha powers said a couple weeks ago. that's what the president has said all along. the difference is that we need to be serious about the credible threat of military force. again, there's a big difference between what say i saw in iraq in 2006 100,000 troops with heavy mechanized armor and targeted aerial and naval bombing. that has to be a credible threat that's still on the table. otherwise our diplomacy will not be effective. like all americans, i want to see a negotiated settlement but i want to see a negotiated settlement that stops iran from getting a nuclear weapon not just today and tomorrow or during this administration but 10 and 15 years from now. >> what's your argument to those who say look we tried it your way during the bush administration there was no agreement ever reached, there were sanctions, iran was ostracized and guess what that happened during the bush years, they developed most of this nuclear program. and your approach only leads to
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them continuing this development. >> it's actually accelerated over the last six years in the obama administration. in part because president obama as the secretary said has separated their nuclear program from their behavior. remember, the president's own state department says iran is the world's leading sponsor of state terrorism. as you pointed out as the editor of the "washington post" pointed out, they are holding hostage a "washington post" reporter and an american preacher for spreading the gospel of jesus christ an american marine. they are not a normal nation. we cannot treat them as a normal nation. we certainly cannot allow them to be a nuclear threshold state. >> the president has said that if congress stops this deal congress and the united states will be the ones who lead to a path other than a peaceful negotiation of this problem. >> i would disagree. i would say that we are trying to stop iran from getting a nuclear weapon. there are grave reservations about the path the president has taken us down on both sides of the aisle. just 18 months ago, when i was still in the house of representatives i voted with 400
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other members of congress to impose new sanctions on iran. the president strong-armed the senate not to implement those sanctions. moreover, just a couple weeks ago, the house of representatives said any deal must block all paths to a nuclear weapon. 370 members of the house of representatives signed that. >> senator, i'm sure you agree that intelligence estimates say that the breakthrough period breakout period between iran deciding they are going to build a nuclear bomb and them having a nuclear bomb, is two to three months. what can be done in two to three months? isn't this better isn't creating a breakout period of a year as this deal supposedly would do better than allowing them to have this two to three month breakout period which exists right now? nothing much can be achieved in two to three months of sanctions. >> again, that's one reason why we shouldn't have been negotiating from a position of weakness. we shouldn't have relaxed the sanctions. we should have increased them as the house tried to do 18 months ago so we could negotiate from strength. >> president obama has imposed harsher sanctions on iran than anyone else in the history.
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>> sanctions against which he lobbied before the senate implemented them 99-0. what i'm saying is the president lobbied hard against new sanctions in 2013 and 2014 that would have only increased his bargaining leverage. but in any event, the terms announced yesterday, the former deputy director of the u.n. nuclear watch dog, one of the world's most respected experts in nuclear proliferation and arms control and inspection has said it wouldn't allow iran to get nuclear materials sufficient for a bomb in a matter of months if not weeks. so these terms are not improving anything. they are only cementing the status quo or making it even worse and therefore more dangerous. >> what's next for the senate? what are you going to do? >> i'm going to do everything i can to stop these terms from becoming a final deal. iran may not accept them in the first place because iran has continued to string along our negotiators because in the end, the supreme leader of iran may not want to accept any deal with the united states. iran is committed to the death of america. he was just chanting that publicly in tehran a couple weekends ago. but i am going to work with my
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colleagues in the senate and house of representatives to do everything i can to ensure there is no final deal along these terms. >> such as what? take away the president's ability to waive the sanctions which is in the law? >> and impose new sanctions and ensure that congress has a final up or down vote as a clear majority of the american people believe we should have. >> senator tom cotton republican of arkansas hope you have a good peaceful easter with your family. we wish the same to the secretary. in other world news it's amazing investigators were able to find it in the first place. now the second black box from the germanwings crash is providing valuable clues. what officials are saying about the co-pilot's actions in the final minutes of the flight and what passengers would have known. why do we do it? why do we spend every waking moment, thinking about people? why are we so committed to keeping you connected? why combine performance with a conscience? why innovate for a future without accidents?
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detail about what 149 passengers and crew members experienced moments before their plane crashed into a mountain in the southern french alps killing them all. investigators now say that tests on the flight data recorder from germanwings flight 9525 the black box that investigators have been searching for for more than a week which finally turned up yesterday, show that co-pilot andreas lubitz repeatedly repeatedly sped up the plane during its descent, ignoring the blaring cockpit alarms warning that the plane was going to go down too quickly. let's go live to cnn's pamela brown in dusseldorf germany. this is not the only new indication this pilot knew exactly what he was doing. >> reporter: that's absolutely right. in fact this new data also shows that he used auto pilot to bring the plane down in those final moments. the flight data recorder providing crucial clues backing up what officials have been saying that lubitz's actions were voluntary and deliberate.
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today, this charred flight data recorder found buried in the mountain shows co-pilot andreas lubitz changed the driver setting multiple times to speed up the plane as it headed straight into the french alps, according to french investigators. the first reading of the recorder shows lubitz used auto pilot to engage the aircraft down to 100 feet as he manually increased the plane's speed. investigators say lubitz also tried to shut down the plane's alarms. >> it would have been fairly apparent to the passengers that something was wrong, that sense of speed building up increased wind noise would have definitely given the sense that something was wrong in addition to the descent. >> reporter: the german prosecutor says a tablet found in lieuthe co-pilot's apartment says he made searches on cockpit doors, the findings bolstering
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investigators' belief the crash was premeditated. investigators have also interviewed a pilot who flew with him the day before the crash. he said he didn't suspect anything was wrong. >> it was probably planned on some particular flight. i don't believe that it was necessarily this flight. it sounds to me like there was some urging with reference to the captain's lavatory usage on this one. >> reporter: inside lubitz's apartment, memos were found regarding stress and his pilot's license. he was prescribed medication for depression in the months leading up to the crash and a source says he told at least one of his doctor he was afraid his medical issues could jeopardize his ability to fly. law enforcement source says that investigators have been looking through the notes from the doctors, talking with the doctors they haven't found any
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wrongdoing. the doctors gave him the unfit to work notice that he was required to give to his employer and now we know that did not happen. >> pamela brown, thank you so much. for more on what these flight data recorder findings mean i want to bring in paul ginsberg a forensic audio expert. first i want to show our viewers what exactly we are talking about here. this is a flight data recorder similar to the one that investigators are testing right now. of course the one pulled from the crash site was in much worse condition than this. sir, if you could, walk us through the type of information that investigators can get from a device like this. >> that's right. this flight data recorder complements the cockpit voice recorder and tells us all about the settings of the controls the input that the pilot and co-pilot have access to in the cockpit with all of their controls and also it tells us about how the plane is flying the attitude the speed, the
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direction, the altitude and all of the alarms all of the inputs from every piece of equipment on that plane from brakes to alerts to the engines themselves. in other words, it really tells you everything you need to know about what's going on in that airplane and that coupled with the cockpit voice recorder gives us a real complete picture of what happened and why. >> in your expert view based on what we know what are some of the reasons why mr. lubitz may have sped up the plane during the descent. >> well the only thing that really comes to mind is that he was anxious that perhaps the pilot would be able to kick down the door and enter and overpower him. so i think he just wanted to speed up the scenario to make sure that he got to where he
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wanted to go unfortunately. >> tests also show lubitz used the auto pilot to change the plane's altitude to under 100 feet. why would there even be a setting of 96 feet for auto pilot? >> i think that was just the lowest increment other than zero that they could set to. perhaps it was to give the pilot a way to get down close enough to the ground to see where he was going positively almost right to the tarmac on most airports. >> what can the flight data recorder tell us about the cockpit door? >> at present, i don't know that the cockpit door nor the switch controlling the door is an input to the flight data recorder. i have a feeling that from this point on it will be along with other instrumentation, but this clearly is the first time we
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have had to deal with this. from now on they can use that as a trigger, a sensor and also an input to the flight data recorder in addition to everything else it measures. >> thank you so much. hope you have a happy, healthy passover with your family. >> thank you. coming up they were allegedly inspired by the boston marathon bombers and wanted to make pressure cooker bombs of their own. now the husband of one of the american women accused of plotting a terror attack here in the u.s. is speaking out. what he's saying next. plus tornado watches over several states after a severe storm that caused flooding last night moves across the u.s. the areas that could get hit.
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welcome back to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. happening now in our national lead another american woman charged with trying to join isis and fight in its jihad. according to federal prosecutors in philadelphia kiona thomas was communicating with isis terrorists in syria when asked if she wanted to be a quote, martyr thomas allegedly responded quote, that would be amazing.
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a girl can only wish. this comes as we learn disturbing new details on the two new york women officials claim were hell-bent on unleashing a wave of terror here at home. noelle velentzas and asia siddiqui are accused of trying to build pressure cooker bombs like the ones used in the boston marathon terrorist attack. i want to get to cnn's jason carroll live in new york with the latest. what can you tell us about thomas? >> reporter: well she went by the alias the young lioness. she is 30 years old, she's from philadelphia according to the criminal complaint. this criminal complaint lays out all the details and the allegations, basically federal authorities accusing this woman of attempting to provide material support to a terrorist organization. one of the quotes here from the complaint reads that she attempted to travel overseas in order to join fight with and martyr herself on behalf of isil. federal investigators began looking at some of her twitter posts where she posted jihadist
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types of comments one in particular if we truly knew the realities we all would be rushing to join our brothers in the front lines. pray allah accept us as shuhada meaning martyrs. in 2013 she allegedly sent an electronic e-mail to a known somali terrorist. last year again according to the complaint she also communicated several times with another known terrorist in syria. federal investigators began looking at her travel plans, saw that she was trying to get over to spain and then over into turkey with the hopes of crossing into syria. so this is a young woman who now faces a lot of trouble with the legal authorities. >> let's turn to the case up in new york those two women from queens wanted to attack members of the nypd and the military the federal government says. have we received any reaction from their families? >> reporter: we do have a reaction coming in from velentzas' husband. she is married, she is the
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mother of a young child. he is speaking out defending his wife and also defending siddiqui. take a listen. >> i'm surprised. just like it was a knock at the door and everything changed. i didn't see anything like this happening. didn't see anything like this coming. just right now lost for words. >> reporter: he also went on to say that there was no sign at all that his wife had any jihadist leanings. he says that he knew siddiqui for a long period of time. he said he saw no sign there, either. that's why he's so confused so hurt by all of this. also we should point out again that siddiqui's attorney spoke out yesterday saying that she is not guilty. >> jason carroll, thank you so much. in other national news several people dramatically rescued after a severe storm triggers flash floods. now, that same storm is moving
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welcome back to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. in other national news right now possible tornadoes are threatening large swaths of the southern united states including cities such as nashville. heavy thunderstorms, strong gusty winds and large hail have been pummelling the south all day long and threatening to grow stronger. tornado warnings are in effect for parts of kentucky tennessee, indiana and virginia into this evening. let's get to meteorologist karen mcguinness in the cnn weather center. what can we expect in the next 12 hours from this system? >> over the last two hours, we have seen fierce thunderstorms fire up and about nine million people under the gun for an enhanced risk of severe weather. what will that severe weather entail. looks like we could see some strong thunderstorms with the potential for tornadoes, large hail also we can expect some
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very heavy downpours. right now much of the state of kentucky and tennessee are under tornado watches. they go until later on this evening. we have already seen some outbreaks of thunderstorms across louisville and lexington towards paducah and towards campbellsville in tennessee as well. this is just not the only area that we are watching. all across the deep south, very typical springtime scenario with tornado watches out for much of kentucky and tennessee until 9:00 about three and a half million people and going until midnight a little bit further towards the east. tornadic activity certainly is a possibility but we have already seen large size hail associated with these thunderstorms that have broken out. but all the way down towards jackson, mississippi, birmingham alabama and towards atlanta, georgia, the threat of severe weather exists there. we will be in the cnn weather center to continue updates. >> thank you so much.
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that same storm system deluged parts of kentucky with up to eight inches of rain overnight and into today, causing severe flash flooding, stranding people in their cars. nearly 200 people had to be rescued from the rising water levels in louisville and the forecast is calling for even more dangerous weather this evening. joining me on the phone to talk about this all and the flooding is jodi duncan with louisville emergency management. these pictures from the rescues are remarkable. your emergency teams working so hard. tell us about some of their efforts. >> well they have been working since 1:00 this morning with rescue efforts, from vehicles as well as dwellings, apartment complexes. they have had about 185 water rescues. that is between noon and 3:00 they have only had three of those, so the water is receding. people are heeding warnings to turn around, don't drown. the fire department had to manage an evacuation from an
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apartment this morning. they used boats to evacuate the residents and they evacuated 143 individuals. so the red cross has a shelter open and have been assisting our firefighters at the scene of a general electric fire that we have so they have been wonderful. in conjunction with all of this inclement weather that we have we have firefighters that have been on the scene since 7:00 this morning at general electric on a six alarm fire that escalated that far. and we have over 200 individuals out there working that fire. we have had a lot of things going on today. >> looking ahead to tonight as more severe weather is possible what steps are being taken to protect residents? >> well you know we have notified the residents of the community already there is a tornado watch in effect until 10:00, 10:30 tonight, and we like to kind of remind them what to do in the event of a tornado.
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we have our warning sirens we have our community notification system like a reverse 911, and we are always in the community throughout the year no matter what time of year teaching them how to be prepared and talking about preparedness, how to do that. i think we give great effort as emergency management in doing that. >> what's awaiting these residents when they are able to return to their cars and homes? how bad is the damage? >> well you know because of things like this happening in the past we were talking about that today, it's been about since 2008 that we have had this type of flooding and there could be a lot of water damage if they're returning to their homes or their apartment complexes. sometimes the vehicles having that much damage won't ever start again. there might be detrimental things but the great thing about this is we have not had one injury or any kind of fatality or anything like that. so we are really counting our blessings that we have had
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nothing like that happen. >> knocking on wood for that to continue. jodi duncan with louisville emergency management thank you so much. next an unbelievable story of survival. a man missing for 66 days found 200 miles off the u.s. coast, clinging to his capsized boat. how was this inexperienced sailor able to survive this ordeal? plus how does a megatv producer mark burnett, say i told you so. he pulls in 100 million viewers on a series that all but one television producer rejected. now he's back with his sequel.
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welcome back to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. the national lead now. most of us probably couldn't survive without our starbucks lattes for 66 days much less on the open sea with nothing but rain water and however many raw fish we are lucky enough to catch. which makes the story of 37-year-old louis jordan so curious. jordan was spotted by a vessel yesterday clinging to his damaged sailboat in the atlantic ocean about 200 miles off the coast of north carolina and nowhere near the area he set sail from more than two months ago. he was rescued by coast guard
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helicopter and walked on his own from the chopper to the hospital in virginia. cnn's nick valencia is live in norfolk, virginia. what are investigators saying about this incredible story? >> reporter: well they are saying that they believe his story and at this point, they have no reason to be suspicious about what louis jordan is saying. they did say, though the u.s. coast guard officials who i spoke to that louis jordan's physical condition is br than expected for somebody who would have been stranded at sea for 66 days. even still, they believe what he's saying. louis jordan and his parents, they say that god has answered their prayers to bring him home safe. louis jordan and his 35 foot sailboat "angel," an often posted facebook pictures like these from her deck now bearded and red-nosed after what he says was 66 days stranded at sea. he credits that angel and his bible with helping him survive. >> when you hear of people surviving for a long time in hard conditions they always have a bible. that's like the main thing.
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there's power in that like nothing else. >> reporter: according to the 37-year-old, he left the south carolina coast for a solo fishing trip in january and capsized three times in rough weather. >> somewhere along that time frame, his mast was broken and his gear all his electronics were damaged. >> reporter: this german container ship spotted jordan thursday nearly 200 miles off the coast. within hours, the u.s. coast guard airlifted him into a chopper and brought him to norfolk, virginia to be reunited with his family. showing them his broken collarbone -- >> here we go. >> reporter: -- and even posing for selfies. >> you would expect sunburn, severe sunburn, blisters maybe, a bunch of medical issues that could possibly be wrong with him for not eating for so long or hydrated but for him to be in his current state was pretty amazing. >> reporter: jordan says he survived on rain water and sea life. even trying jellyfish.
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>> i just put a little on my tongue. pow! that hurt a long time. >> reporter: jordan attributes his survival skills to months of living on the boat after losing his job. >> i have been struggling with work. i have been living in a sailboat which is rent-free and catching my food from the river with a net. >> reporter: is this miracle on a ship named "angel" too good to be true? do you doubt his story? >> i can't really say i doubt his story at all. as soon as we flew over land and i saw the smile on his face, that pretty much secured it for me. >> reporter: one of louis jordan's first orders of business when he got on land was to get something to eat. he told me that meal was some barbecued ribs. we are told that earlier today, he made his way back home. jake? >> we hope he has a good holiday. nick valencia thank you. coming up he's the master mind behind hit television shows such as survivor and shark tank and the apprentice but there was
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one project almost nobody wanted to make. mark burnett proved them all wrong. he joins me next.
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this weekend hundreds of millions of christians around the world will celebrate the holiday of easter. in this country, thanks to the leadership of one man after all the ham and peeps you can gather around the tv and watch nbc's "a.d." which looks at early christian life after the biblical story of jesus's resurrection. it wasn't so long ago that mark burnett and his wife were shown the exit from myriad television executives' offices when they pitched "the bible" mini series. burnett is hoping the sequel will be just as miraculous with audiences. if you're one of the millions of people who likes it when people
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get voted off the island -- >> you guys ready to submit to this challenge? >> fired by the donald -- >> you're fired. >> -- or swim in the shark tank -- >> you're standing there asking for money. >> -- you have this british reality tv producer to thank. mark burnett is the man behind all of those shows. he is rich and successful beyond measure. but three years ago, he and his wife actress roma downey took the risky step of jumping genres and producing a scripted drama that no major broadcast network wanted to air. "the bible" mini series which ran on the history channel. >> survivor the apprentice the voice, shark tank what was the moment where you went from those shows to bringing "the bible" into people's homes? >> if you look at all those shows you mentioned, also are you smarter than a fifth grader
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they are all family friendly. i have to tell you when we went around pitching "the bible" so many people said have you lost your mind. >> right. >> nobody is going to watch "the bible" on prime time american tv. stick to sundays in church. roma and i said we think you're wrong. >> reporter: were they ever. the success of "the bible" stunned the entertainment industry as 100 million people tuned in over the course of the series. >> his name is jesus. >> it's become mainstream. that's what's amazing. in three short years it's gone from niche, i don't think so to bring me some of that. >> are you the messiah? >> i am. >> reporter: this sunday his follow-up to the series called "a.d." is going from basic cable to broadcast, airing on nbc. are you at all concerned that this story, the new testament stories, might not be as familiar to people as the old
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testament plus the moments leading up to the resurrection? >> "a.d." really starts crucifixion, resurrection and goes on about the birth of the early church those dangerous times when it was 12 men against the might of rome. more americans know the new testament than would ever know the old testament. the 150 million people sit in church every month in a christian church of some denomination denomination they know these stories. they recognize these stories. this is the time that changed the world. think of it. the date changed, a.d. was the beginning of year one. everything changed. >> forbes estimated that you made $86 million last year. >> that's it? >> you are obviously not wanting for anything. what drives you? it's obviously you don't need more money. >> we're just loving what we do. you know especially around this
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biblical programming it's a calling. >> any compunctions at all about profiting off faith? >> with affluence which we have gained affluence in this nation comes influence and how you can influence goodness and charity and influence what the world does is important. one of the huge things we have been doing is dealing with the persecution of christians in syria and iraq. isis didn't manage to kill all the christians. 500,000 of them escaped into the winter about to freeze to death. roma and i have helped 72,000 of those get through this winter and we wish we could help someone else. >> they created the cradle fund working with the institute for global engagement. the group is distributing the couple's monies through established charities in syria and iraq providing everything
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from temporary shelters to food and clothing. so far, the fund administrators say they have helped 57,000 people and expect to help at least another 30,000 according to an internal report provided to cnn. >> you have talked about this being a spiritual experience and a calling. what do you mean? >> many people get called to take action spread the word of their faith, but a lot of it is getting the butt off the couch and doing something about it. me and roma got off the coach and took action and put ourselves on the line money on the line, our careers on the line with "the bible" and again now in making "a.d." >> the 12 disciples walking to the board room with donald trump, who does he fire first? >> first of all, i'm sure donald would have to fire judas first, right? assuming judas is gone donald might be mad at peter for denying jesus three times and not having his back.
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>> who is the last one standing? >> john the beloved because he was the only one who showed up at the crucifixion. >> good news for john the beloved. that's it for "the lead." i'm jake tapper. i turn you over to brianna keilar in "the situation room." have a wonderful peaceful passover and easter. happening now, terror tailspin. al qaeda empties a prison freeing dozens of known terrorists. are bomb makers among those on the loose and will americans be more at risk? american isis. the feds say a woman who calls herself young lioness knowingly helped terrorists and even bought an airline ticket to go join them. this makes three terror cases against american women in just two days. what is the attraction? intentional acceleration. the newly discovered flight data recorder shows the germanwings co-pilot sped up his airliner's deadly plunge into a mountainside. what else