locked away. thank you, guys. thank you, jeffrey and joey. and thank you for watching, everyone. it is nice to have you here this noon hour. and my colleague pam brown is sitting in for wolf blitzer, and sitting in for wolf blitzer, and she is sitting in right now. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com hello, i'm pamela brown in for wolf blitzer. it is 1:00 p.m. here in atlanta, and 6:00 p.m. in london and 8:00 p.m. in cairo. wherever you are watching from around the world, thank you for joining us. >> this cnn breaking news. >> and the breaking news is the downing of a jet airliner that killed 224 passengers. officials are not sure what caused the crash. the u.s. intelligence says they are sure of one thing, there is no evidence that a missile brought down the flight.
and this from the head of the national intelligence agency. take a listen. >> we don't have any direct evidence of any terrorist involvement, yet. isil in a tweet claimed responsibility for it, and there is a very aggressive isil ch chapter in the sinai, and we don't know, and once the black boxes have been analyzed, and safely recovered, perhaps we will will know more. >> joining me now the discuss from cairo, egypt is our cnn international correspondent arwa damon and also our cnn reporter evan perez. so what is the leading of intelligence officials that there was no missile. >> well, pamela, they have the passenger manifests that has been provided to the u.s. intelligence agency to run
through the databases. they have looked through the ray ar dar and satellite image, and photographs of the crash scene, and looked at the communications, and things like the signal communications agencies who look to basically see who in the case of the terrorist activity, there is some chatter that they hear, but none of it has turned up yet. so again, it is early in the process and what we know right now, and what the intelligence agencies tell us at this point is that there is no indication of a terrorist activity to bring this down or even a missile. jim clapper also mentioned in the remarks this morning that there is no indication that isis even has the capability, the type of missile to bring down the aircraft at that altitude, pamela. >> yes, 30,000 feet, and it is interesting the disparity of the two officials, and arwa, where is the investigation standing there? >> well, both russian and e egyptian teams have been on the ground. the russians are arriving on
saturday, and then going out to the crash site on sunday. now, one of the russian state news agencies quoting a russian investigator here in the egypt saying that the as of now, all tof the parts that they have tested, none of them have tested positive for any sort of explosives, and both the russian, and the e e jgyptian authorities were pleased to come out to say that the plane was not shot down. but even the groups that operate in the area have a maximum capacity from shoulder fired missiles to bring down an aircraft that is well below the 30,000 feet that the russian airplane was flying at. a medical source who has been dealing with the recovery of the bodies said that he saw 175 of them, and 60 to 70% of them were
intact, and none of them had significant burn marks. so what we have now is a lot of the different pieces of information, and everyone really trying to put the puzzle together, but what is vital at this stage is retrieving the data from the two black boxes. when that is going to happen, we are not entirely sure at this stage, but from what we know, they have not been that severely damaged, and so hopefully the x experts can extract that information fairly quickly, but both the russians and the egyptians at this stage not entirely ruling out terrorism, but significantly down playing that may have actually been what is behind this. >> well, it is interesting though, because at least one of the officials came out to say, that we are excluding human error and technical issues, and do you know how they were able to reach that conclusion so quickly? >> and you know, a lot of the experts are quite surprised by some of the initial statements that are coming out so conclusively, because there are so many missing pieces in all of
this. the plane passed the checks before taking off. the pilot did not put out any distress call before it disappear disappeared from the radar, and the metro jet airliner is saying that our plane was safe to fly, and they are saying that it was certain influence, and whether it is technical or mechanical, but they are also saying that it is not a pilot error, and the chances that a plane just disintegrates on its own is very rare. that is what is so much of a mystery here. >> arwa damon, evan perez, thank you so much. and now more on the plane crash from our own professial experts. we have a 777 pilot, and
contributor to the "faa magazine," and paul cruikshank our cnn expert, and what are you hearing, paul, does isis have a capability to bring down a plane in flight? >> pamela, increasing denial that this is a terrorist attack. a tweet was sent out by isis saying they did it, but they don't have a good track record of telling the truth, and they don't have the missiles to hit an airplane at 30,000 feet either. the manpower ones going up to 16,000 feet. that is what ar ra a wwa was re, and very important reportig from arwa that the there was no residue from the wreckage which suggests that there was no bomb that somebody managed the to
smuggle on plane. that leaves sabotage as the only scenario, but it is much more like likely that it was some sort of catastrophic structural failure, and not terrorism at this point. >> and peter to you now, what is the condition of the bodies or the wreckage tell us about the crash, because it can be telling, i can imagine. >> well, once they have done the testing for the explosive resid residue, and a bomb or missile will leave very clear marks. then they have to look at the m metal of the aircraft to see how it separated, and what they want the to do is to go to the the first pieces off of the plane. if the tail separated and located further back along the flight path from the main wreckage field that is where they want to focus. they want to see why the tail separated. a sudden departure? fatigue cracks? they will get to the bottom of it through hard investigative work. >> and there is a lot more work
to be done, and we don't even know the results from the black boxes, but yet this morning at a news conference, the airline officials said that they have excluded technical problems, or human error, and how can they be ruling that out before examining the flight data. >> i a agree, they can't. and some things got lost in the translation, but that being said, i am a little disappointed that the investigation is not being organized such that you are disseminating the information from one source. this is a common thing, and we have experienced it in various reportings that we have done with the aviation accidents. what is disturbing to me is looking at the flight radar 24 data assuming it is accurate enough, and the company claims it is real time. there is a lot of discrepancies of the air speed, and the vertical speed and the forward ground speed the in addition to altitude that just don't make sense to me. i looked at part of the time
period that basically the airplane came out of the sky. so it is very curious the me, and i think that anything, as we have said along, it is very preliminary to determine even the fact that the airplane broke up in flight. i mean, it sure looks like that, and i think that peter is going to back us up with that with his experience, but even that, we are not totally sure about that at this point in time. but if it did break up indeed in flight, there are various things to cause it to happen. including things like exceeding the structural parameters of the aircraft. >> what else? because we keep saying external event, and what else other than surface to air missile? >> well, you know, it was alluded to possibility al thoit does not look like it at this point that some sort of explosive device within luggage perhaps a pressure bulkhead let loose.
it is hard to say or the aircraft for some reason in what we called the aerodynamic stall. that is not a radical situation to recover from, and you have to reduce the angle of the nose, and they had to take care of it and developed the spin situation. it is really hard to say that the clues most important clues are g are going to be coming from the cockpit voice recorder, and from the digital flight recorder as i am sure that peter will al agree with me. >> and peter on that note, how long before we get any information on that? >> well, we are starting to get the information right now, and it shouldn't take long, and both of the boxes are looking to be in relatively good condition. if the plane did break apart in altitude, it is not surprising. the question is if it was a s sudden catastrophic event, you might not have anything on the boxes.
the data the recorder -- the day the ta record-- the data recordd like was said possible bulkhead release. i believe that the solving of the accident is in the metal, and that is where the attention should be, but we should get the box information back within the next 24 hours. >> adding to the point, no distress calls that we have learned which also kind of adds to the mystery and the curiousness. i'm curious, les, on your perspective that this plane went down on the safest part of the flight after takeoff. usually, we know that the takeoff and the landing are the most risky, and so how unusual that the plane would go down at that the time of the flight? >> well sh, is it is a low-stre
environment with the cruise, and they could have been involved in a checklist or some abnormality or some emergency, and the axis is to aif yat and navigate and communicate and so we have to take care of the people first and then communicate what the problem is, and they may not have known what the problem was depending on the instrumentation, and whether there was an enunciation in the cockpit that said they had a problem, and various thing, and you right, it is unusual. the cruise altitude is normally enough time to handle emergencies. a lot to learn still. thank you, paul, peter and les. and of course, russia is mourning the tragedy, and we will go to st. petersburg with the latest of this disaster. >> and poll results. it seem s ths that the performaf marco rubio seems to be paying dividends in the latest debate.
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>> and the crash of the russian passenger jet in egypt that killed 224 people. russian president vladimir putin asked his own government to launch an investigation into the crash. and to join me from st. petersburg, russia. the kremlin says they cannot vote out terrorism, and what is the reaction of the russian people if this is a terrorist act. >> i think that something that the russian government would dread the idea that this is a blowback and some type of retribution for the air a strikes that russia is carrying out th out inside of syria, and they
are saying they are not ruling it out, but it is something that the investigators have to reach an conclusion about, but the idea that ordinary russians would be paying the price for that kremlin policy and the policy in syria may have political consequences for vladimir putin. he is immensely popular politician, and that may be eroded if it comes about that people have been killed because of his intervention in syria, but we are jumping the gun a littlemean, in the sense that ny is ruling out any possibility now, but the fact we are at the very start of the investigation, and teams are gathering the fuselage and to russia and other places as well, aed on the try to build a picture of what happened to the metro jet flight with 224 people on board, and you can see behind me that at the moment, the focus is very much ob grie-- on grief and mou
and people are coming here to pay respects to the lay nflower and to light candles for the dead. so it is very much in the mode of national tragedy at the mome moment. and although, i will have to say that people are starting to ask questions, was it terrorism? was it technical failure that caused so many russians to lose their lives? >> and everybody wants the questions answered so soon, but it is going to take a while as you point out. the russian government is going to be launching its own separate investigation, and what is that going to be focusing on. >> well, i mean, first and foremost they are going to be looking at carriers of the russian airbus crash, and it had two previous owners before it came in the possession of metro
jets. and back in 2001, it had the accident as well sh, and the ta hits before it takes off from the runway before it belonged to another airline, and middle eastern airlines and that is repaired. they were going to be look gingt the safety procedures on the airline, and whether the maintenance situation was up to standard. and already there is a press conference by senior management of metro jet to say, look, they don't believe it was maintenance or technical problems that could have been responsible for such a catastrophic end. catastrophic failure for the flight over the skies of sinai, and already the company, itself, is saying that we don't believe it was necessarily a maintenance problem that is to blame. >> and the question there is how to be reaching the conclusion so quickly. matthew chance in st. petersburg. and now turning to politic, the new slogan is that "jeb can fix it" but can he fix his own
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republican presidential candidate jeb bush is taking questi questions right now from the media in winter park, florida, and let's listen in. >> it is a not a cushy job. there is a lot of work to be done. >> [ speaking foreign language ] >> i am not sure what the new york times said. >> and is your dad going to be involved in. >> no, my dad is 91 years old. he loves me and he is 91. >> what does he say. >> he loves me.
and just promise you, he is not a -- >> should the rules change for debates, and are they silly in some aspect? >> whatever the rules are, keep to the them, and that is all the candidates want. the rules were established, and they lost control over the process the last time. the suggestion that this is all twoing the to be about the economy and the debt and the big challenges that americans face, they didn't fulfill it, so i hope that the next debate is going to be focused on the issues that matter to folks. >> jeb is taking questions as new poll numbers show presidential hopeful donald trump maintaining a big lead main the key primary state in new hampshire. the monmouth university poll has trump with 26% of the support, and bener carson second with 16% and marco rubio up to 13%. and maria carbonaro, what is the
reaction here to trump's ability to maintain the front rrunner status? >> well, it is not surprising, pam. last week's debate didn't do anything, i thought that to really challenge what the tiers were. we saw that certain candidates like ted cruz and marco rubio had some breakout moments, and we will see that marco rubio's numbers are higher than they were earlier, but in general, donald trump and ben carson even though they were not as front and center as they were in the last two debates didn't do anything to debilitate their front rrunner status. so it didn't change anything overall, and it is a big, big problem, and i think that challenge for the republicans who still believe they need a huge breakout moment. i don't know if that is going to be coming in the next debates, but somebody like jeb bush, his numbers did not move, and so he is in the biggest trouble >> yes, his numbers were staeg nant, but you mentioned marco rubio whose numbers have jumped
up, 9% jump from september. what do you think about this? is the debate performance behind the surge, amanda? >> clearly. marco rubio got a bump in new hampshire as a result, but the biggest story of the poll is the kcome petition between jeb bush and marco rubio. jeb bush went down considering the fact that he spent millions in the state. and now we are seeing the re-re-re-branding of jeb bush, and the new slogan is fix it. which it sounds like an advertisement for a plumber rather than somebody who is running for president. the rebranding is not going to work, and the candidate has no overarching cause for the candida candidacy, and no rebranding can help that. >> and the new slogan refers to the country's problems, and not his own campaign's problem, but we heard from him a moment ago and this is what he said to
voters earlier this morning in tampa. >> i'm running this campaign on my own terms. let me tell you something, when the dust clears, and the delegates are counted, we are o going to be winning this campaign. i will be true to myself -- the optimistic and inclusive. >> and so there you heard it, maria, we have talked about the struggling campaign, and all of the new slogans, but he is sounding like he is still in this to win it. >> well, he can't say anything else other than that, pam. you have so many donors who have invested millions into the campaign, and they are panicking right now, but i don't see the path at the moment. yes, there is time to turn it around, but i don't know how he does it. the slow sgan terrible. i don't know who thought that up, because what you think when you see is that he means his campaign, right? before the country's problems. his problem is twofold. he has double baggage, the baggage of his last two bush
presidencies which have been failures, and he shares that last name, and the last two failed republican presidential candidates who were like him, establishment, and it was their turn, and now you have angry republican voters who want to try something new, and he is not something new. >> and clearly seems to be anti-establishment year. switch switching the gears this year, amanda, the republican campaigns held an emergency meeting last night to discuss overhauling the upcoming debates after two hours, and considerable d disagreement, this is what they agreed to. two-hour time limit, and equal speaking time for each candidate, and 30 seconds for the opening and the closing statements. what is your biggest take to away from the meeting last night, and the new demands? >> well, i have a huge problem with the second demand, because you have 75% of the field not polling over 10%.
so you have too many people, and moreover, the lower tiered candidates using the excuse of bad cnbc to get more time. i understand why the candidates want opening and closing statements, but the debate is a time for questions. they can make speeches unchallenged all of the time on the stump, but we need to get to a place where most of the debating is between the candidates and not the candidates and the moderators, and that is the problem last debade, because some conservatives were happy with the way that the cnn/republican debate went, and keep that model, and not the model of the cnbc/republican debates. >> maria, your take? >> yes, i agree. you are looking at the viewers who are looking at the presidential candidates who want to be seen as leaders of the free world, and they can't handle quote, unquote difficult questions from the moderators, and they should have taken those questions unfair, and flip them and pivot to what they wanted to talk about. marco rubio was the one who did
it the best, and ted cruz mentioned it as well, as well as bashing the mainstream media which is their go-to move. this is a strategy that is going to help them coming the general election. >> and amanda, thank you for coming on and showing us your perspective. >> thank you, pam. >> and another big story. what caused a russian passenger plane out of the sky to kill everybody on board? when we come back, i will ask a terror expert if the plane was shot down, and if so, who possesses the capability to do it. we will be right back.
are swirl iing today if isis cod be to blame. the plane went down in a remote area of the sinai peninsula where isis operatives are known. and i want to bring in richard quest and michael, our aviation expert. michael, who is operate manage the region? >> well, it is isis, and making them a fellow organization, but outside of the terrain of the so-call so-called caliphate, the affiliates abroad don't have the command and the control of isis exercises with say with respect to the militants in raqqah and mosul or other places. so they are casting alliance with isis, but not the same group in the heartland. and there was at a tack in july
in sinai where they killed several people of the e ggyptia ofish army. they operated like a precision, but there is no evidence to date that they have an tie aircraft system that could down a jet at 30,000. and you would need something like the buk. >> and how do we know that? and the reason that i look at this and ask, because people are looking at the mh-18 in the ukraine, and nobody knew that the rebels had the capability, and how did we know that? >> well, the rebels didn't, but the russians did. they gave it to them, and now the evidence suggests that it was man and operated by russian technicians. again, isis does not have that
kind of capability. they have man pads, surface to air missiles, and paul cruikshank mentioned it earlier, but some of them are chinese-made, but they don't have the range to go after a plane at a 30,000 foot ceiling. it is not possible. they can attack helicopters or low-fly low-flying aircraft, but not a civilian airliner like that. >> we keep hearing that everything is on the table, and richard, we are hearing about the multiple causes of the crash, and where do they stand? >> it is confusing at the moment, because, strictly speaking this investigation belo belongs to the e egyptians, and to international law, and they are the state of occurrence, and no doubt it is an egyptian investigation, but of course the state of op erator was russia, and most of the passengers were
russian. so obviously, moscow has a huge interest and credit and paof th investigation. and so now where the black boxes are going to be downloaded and decode and read we don't know. that is slightly unusual at the moment. the egyptians i am guessing are still deciding firstly if they have the capability, and if not, whether or not russia should be given the boxes to download or do you send them to one of the other institutions such as the b.e.a. in paris. it is a strange environment that we are in with this investigation. because it is not immediately clear, pam, who is leading it. >> and we have seen already disagreements of the officials of different countries. in fact, we heard an official with the airline say that they are excluding, you know, human error and technical issues, and were you surprised by that?
>> well sh, i was and i wasn't. when we listen ed ed to the translation, and clarified the translation, he said what one would say from the airline, but the truth be told, we would have no way of knowing unless he is privy to information that nobody else is, and we have not been certainly led to believe that given that his airline is just about shutdown. he was basically talking his own book as they say. >> and you raise a good point, because sometimes the things do get lost in translation, and it can be misinterpret ed and we have seen it before -- and yes, go ahead. >> the situation, and i bow to michael's knowledge in this in terms of the terrorism aspect. we are getting to the point to take off some highly sophisticated surface to air missile, and now, could sharm el sheikh have been put on the
plane, and we don't have the evidence or forensic evidence released yet, and now we are getting to the highly politic e politicized geopolitical situation where you have isis, and you have egypt, and russia, and then that is sort of the point for mere aviation experts like myself, we start to get out of our depth. >> and quickly, michael, isis has claimed responsibility over twitter, and how much credence do you put into that? >> well, i wanted to say that if isis had managed to destroy a russian commercial air loolinerh a surface to air missile, they would not have released it on twitter, but they would have been releasing one of the operational videos of how they the did this. and i have seen no evidence that they did it. it is one of the major announcements to come out of
isis since the beginning of the founding, and again, we have to take it with a pinch of salt. you mentioned in the earlier segment, this plane, this jet 14 years ago suffered a malfunction or had some kind of damage done to the tail. the metro jet which acquired it claimed they repaired it. why is an airliner saying, no technical difficulty or malfunction, consider the insurance liability of over 200 people who just lost their live, and they want to make sure that there is a thorough investigation before the likelihood of what happened a terrible tragedy but one that was not caused by a human factor took place. but we should not claim this is terrorism, because the evidence in the last 48 hours has all but ruled it out, i would say. >> and you are hoping that there are independent investigators looking at this, too. thank you, michael and richard. >> sure. >> yes. isis has punished few groups as much as the yazidis and now that group is trying to fight back.
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are a hand ful of trained officers looking out over the isis front line. he is pointing out to us along the aria here that you can see the defensive ditches dug, and he says that they have come as close as that valley there, and they fire on us, and they eventually retreat, butt it is pretty much never ending. >> reporter: this vantage point was not in the too the distant past that isis held. [ speaking foreign language ] >> reporter: just there he said that you can see what they did to the yazidis and their houses are completely destroyed and they slaughtered the families inside ooh. it shows you how visceral it is. this man is a retired general and on of the few here with fighting experience. >> reporter: this is a fragment of a skull they found, and this whole patch of ground is mass
grave graves. says they found 150 bodies from children as young as 1-year-old all of the way up to 80. it is they say, just a reminder to them of what it is that they are fighting for. they are fighting for their very the massacre of thousands of men, women and children by isis last year resinated around the world. here in the foothills of the sinjar mountain, thousands of volunteers are joining up to fight. sinjar city and the mountain that looms over it is at the heart of the homeland of the minority. it falls along a crucial supply route linking isis strongholds in iraq and syria. when isis took the city last year, their intent was to drive them to extinction.
those who managed to escape the massacre now shelter in tents on bar rin slopes overlooking their former homes. these are the families of the fighters standing guard down below. this is what they are fight iin for. at the front, a poem is being resited. it speaks of lost honor, slaughtered wives and sisters, empty homes. it's minute to remind the soldiers of what's at stake. they tell us they know only too well this is a battle for their very existence. >> powerful report there. still to come, one of the most contentious elections in u.s. history. it was it was george bush versus al gore. it happened 15 years ago. we'll look back at the man who was calling the shots for
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tonight right here on cnn, a look back at the 2000 presidential election. it was george w. bush versus al gore. the recount and the supreme court and those in the middle of it knew however it turned out they would be accused of stealing an election. gloria borger takes a revealing look behind the scenes at a man who was calling many. of the shots, an adviser brought in by republicans to steer the ship. >> reporter: a well-respected lobbyist with ties to jeb bush and a long history in republican politics, max became katherine harris's brain. >> i explained to her you don't have any friends. we're going to be loathed by the
media for the rest of our lives and the lives of our children grand. that's not what's important here today. we're going to elect a president of the united states. >> reporter: as americans watch ed the partisans duke it out daily on live tv, behind the scenes, mac was plotting the republican path to victory. >> i called the senior staff together and said we're not going to break any laws, but i want you to forget about the intent of laws. we're going to bring this election in for a landing and fight them tooth and nail, hand to hand. we were going to hold florida unless they send in federal troops. >> he knew exactly what he had to do. stop recounting votes and preserve bush's election night lead no matter how small. >> we actually believed the result was right. george bush has won this
election and it's our job to make it so and we're going to close off any option, any path that could be followed that produces any result other than that one. people are going to be appalled. they stole the election. no, we won the election. . >> gloria borger joins me now. just a fascinating look back at this time. from all the reporting you have done about this, 15 years later, are the democrats over it? >> no, they are not over it. they lost the closest election in modern political history. surprisingly, though, they don't think that this election was stolen from them in any way, shape or form. they believe, as do many republicans actually, that more people went to the polls with the intention of voting for al gore than george w. bush, but of
the votes that were counted, more people voted for george w. bush. it's very hard in an election to count or recount intentions of voters, so when they went down to florida, they knew in a way that they were trying to fix the unfixable. and they also knew that in looking back, we brought a knife to the gunfight. the republicans were there to preserve a victory they believed they already had. the democrat cans were trying to contest a victory and that put them in a tough position and the republican team, as you just heard, was willing to do whatever it took. the democrats just couldn't match them. >> gloria borger, cannot wait to see this tonight. don't miss it. it airs tonight only on cnn.
that's it for me for our international viewers "amanpour" is next. for our american viewers, "newsroom" with brooke baldwin starts right now. >> here we gorks you're watching cnn. thank you for being with me, i'm bro brooke baldwin. we start with this passenger jet crashing all 224 people on board killed. and right now, no one can say with any sort of degree of certainty how this russian plane came down over the peninsula there in egypt just 23 minutes after takeoff. russian investigators are not ruling out terrorism. even the head of u.s. intelligence agreed after a claim of responsibility already by isis. >> we don't have any direct evidence of any terrorist involvement yet