tv New Day With Alisyn Camerota and John Berman CNN March 11, 2019 5:00am-6:01am PDT
"new day" continues right now. >> this is cnn breaking news. >> good morning, everyone. welcome to your new day. monday, march 11th. 8:00 in the east. investigators have now recovered the cockpit voice and data recorders of the ethiopian airlines plane that crashed killing all 157 people on board, including eight americans. boeing facing intense scrutiny this morning. several countries and airlines around the world are grounding the company's 737 max 8 aircraft. >> pressure is growing on u.s. carriers to decide whether they're going to ground this fleet. and it isn't just any aircraft. this is boeing's best-selling passenger jet with hundreds in service in the u.s. and thousands in service around the world. cnn is the only network that's live at the crash site in ethiopia. david mckenzie is there with all the breaking details. tell us what you're seeing happening around you, david. >> good morning. it's a terrible scene behind me. the digger has just started up
again trying to move the earth in this crater where the airline crashed into this hillside on sunday here in ethiopia. this brand-new boeing 737 8 max. the flight data recorder, the audio cockpit recover were recovered just a short time ago from the scene. there was a lot of commotion around those crucial devices that could provide clues as to why this brand-new plane just a few minutes after takeoff then crashed into the side of the mountain where i'm standing. we briefly spoke to the u.s. ambassador on the scene here looking to make sure that everything was secured. there is an ntsb team coming in overnight, he said. he said that interpol is working with the u.s. officials and ethiopians to try and identify the bodies that are being brought out over time through this day that we've been watching this recovery effort. just tragic scene.
they're also trying to take the personal effects they find, particularly handbags or backpacks off people to see if they can find any i.d.s to give solace to the loved ones. right now it will be shock. across the world, there's an impact of this crash because china has grounded all of its similar airlines, as well as an indonesian airline and here, of course, in ethiopia. this airline has an excellent safety record. it's also -- has one of the newest fleets on the continent. so the questions will be mounting about boeing and whether there is any issue with this plane. no evidence yet of that, and no clear indication of just what happened here and what has caused all these horrible scenes to be playing out behind me. >> david mckenzie, so good have you on the ground to see those efforts behind you. thank you for your reporting. let's bring in aviation analyst for pbs newshour, miles o'brien
and richard quest. richard, two crashes, brand-new aircraft, same exact model in less than five months. perfect weather in both cases. you say this is a full-blown crisis for boeing. >> oh, yes. oh, yeah. there's no doubt about that. it's not there just were two new -- brand-new planes. it was the phase of flight when it took place, within the first 10, 12 minutes. there are similarities in the fluctuations in altitude in both cases. the pilots asked to turn back and declared they were having problems. now i automatic i'm very well aware before you can't just say one and one and, therefore, it's -- it makes two. you know, you've got to sort of have more to it than that. but now the chinese have decided to ground the max fleet. and the ethiopians and indonesians. for the traveling public, this is an almost impossible situation because you've got
u.s. carriers and european carriers saying we have confidence in the fleet, and the chinese regulator saying, well, maybe you do. maybe you don't but frankly, we're grounding them until we know. >> after the lion air crash which was just eight months ago in very similar circumstances, boeing sent out an emergency bulletin. basically saying pilots needed to retrain to use this new equipment. does that seem to you to be a likely cause of this? >> well, i will say this, john. every pilot who put his or her hands on the controls of a 737 max 8 would have been very familiar with what happened to lion air and would have thought about what they would do in that situation. what's interesting about this scenario, hauntingly parallel to the lion air crash, is that things happen so quickly and in such a dynamic fashion, so close to the ground. so even a pilot who had taken the time to read that air worthiness directive, and any good pilot would, of course,
when the chips are down, when you're in that moment fighting this automated system designed to improve safety but perhaps actually making things worse, when you're in that moment if you do the right thing in short order is a difficult thing. >> explain to me what the automated system, that automatic control would do and why pilots need special training to know how to counteract it. >> so when they built this new model of the 737, they put bigger engines on. more fuel efficient engines and moved them forward. what that did is changed the control properties of the aircraft. it made it tend to pitch up more. so what they did was they basically put some software into the system to make it harder for that situation to occur. it's called angle of attack. nose-high attitude. if you get too high there's an aerodynamic stall. that was the system put in place. pilots were really unaware of
it, and that's a source of some contention and concern inside the airline industry. but the fact is there is a procedure to disable that system in a pinch. but if you are in a situation where the aircraft is violently headed toward the ground at high speed, you don't have a lot of time to deal with it. >> and if you don't have the training and are ready for it, it can get you by surprise. anecdotally we're hearing, does the plane i'm flying on today, does my american plane, is it a 737 max 8? we're hearing about people going to websites to check it out. mary scavo on with us before said it may be reasonable. it would be reasonable to ground this type of aircraft until they know for sure what's going on. >> whenever the reasonableness of the position, the traveling public's confusion will only be enhanced by this discrepancy. you cannot have the chinese, which has got a huge fleet of
aircraft and 95 max 8 in the flat, you cannot have the chinese regulator saying we're going to ground them, meanwhile, every u.s. airline is putting out statements saying we have confidence in the plane and confidence in everything. the two are inconsistent. the aviation industry should speak with one voice twhen comes to safety and security. it doesn't always, but the traveling public shouldn't be caught in the middle. that's why i think by tonight you'll see some clarity one way or another because you cannot or should not maybe have this discrepancy of authorities determining the safety or reliability of an aircraft. >> miles to put a fine point on it. in perfect weather like this with a brand-new aircraft, this shouldn't happen. >> modern aircraft like this simply should not fall out of the clear blue sky. and the fact that it's happened in a hauntingly parallel fashion in a matter of months, i think
puts the burden of proof on boeing to prove this is a safe aircraft and the prudent thing to do is to ground these aircraft. now that they've discovered the black boxes, we should have an insight into what happened fairly quickly and fast action should be taken. >> richard, you want a quick last word? >> i mean, i -- i fully agree. he said it more clearly than i could. it's time to seriously think about grounding the fleet as an abundance of caution. >> two major crashes in less than five months. 157 killed in this one. 189 in the first. thanks for helping us understand what's happening this morning. so my family and i are flying this weekend. i've already been online trying to figure out if this is the plane. it would make it a lot more calming for me and everybody who is flying right now and this week if they would just ground this fleet until they figure it out. they'll have the answer by the end of this week.
it's not that long. >> american, united and southwest all fly this plane. there are dozens in service. i will say chances are american pilots have gone through -- u.s. pilots have gone through the training that might be the issue here. >> i agree, but i don't even like the idea of the pilot having to override the automated system while it's bucking, while the plane is bucking. even that's nerve-racking. >> they have to investigate. now to politics. president trump will ask congress for an additional $8.6 billion for his proposed border wall. setting up a new budget battle with democrats. this amount is much more than the president's initial ask last year which congress rejected. joining us is david gregory, a cnn political analyst. jackie kucinich, washington bureau chief at the daily beast and a cnn political analyst and laura barron lopez, national political reporter at politico. david gregory, this is just political theater, right? this is just a messaging exercise because congress has already rejected this as we all
remember just a few weeks ago. >> right. it's definitely theater. it's a hedge for the president who is going to be defeated on this emergency declaration and may hope for some support in the courts. but if he doesn't do that, he still wants to assert his priorities. budget documents are no more than wish lists now. we haven't passed a budget in a long time around here. as a result, this is a president saying he's still something that i care about. defeat or no defeat. this is what i stand for and the wall is campaigning by metaphor. it's just a way of saying i'm going to be tough on the border. make sure my voters understand they should be afraid of people coming from the southern border and that's what i'll campaign on, fear, as i did in 2016. he'll do it again in 2020. at the same time it's worth noting two things. he could have had this wall if he had done a larger agreement on immigration. two, he's telling some of these same supporters, oh, the wall is already being built. i'm already succeeding, at the same time he's asking for so
much more to complete it. he's got a lot of different messages here all part of the theater. >> jackie, it's interesting. before the midterm elections there were republicans surprised and unhappy that the president was leaning in to immigration when he had other issues that republicans wanted to run on. those same republicans were surprised when he leaned in to the shutdown, when there were other things republicans wanted to deal with. now he's saying i'm going to lean in to immigration all the way until november 2020. >> yep, and they better snuggle in and not be surprised this time. the president has seen this has been a winning issue for him in the past. we'll see if he can replicate that again in 2020. this isn't going anywhere, regardless. and that's the x-factor when you look at how the president is building this massive campaign structure going into 2020. what the president is going to focus on because his campaign and republicans writ large are going to have to follow that messaging, whether they like it or not.
either rejecting it or embracing it. so we can just expect more and more of this and the more he kind of goes up against congress, he hopes he will reap the political benefit of that from his base who, you know, this issue matters the most to. >> laura, the deficit and debt, meanwhile, are exploding. do you remember when republicans were very concerned about this? i remember the talking point of the debt that you would be crushing your grandchildren with, that it would be ruining the country. these are some of the same people who are now the president's top advisers and the idea that the deficit has ballooned under him doesn't seem to be spoken about now. >> right. no, it hasn't phased republicans. they've completely thrown out that talking point and they fully embrace the president's agenda and they haven't embraced his talking points about the border wall. you can expect republicans to say that they are behind these $8.6 billion that the president
is now requesting but we have to remember that democrats control the house now. it's not one party rule anymore the way it was when last year trump was trying to get some $25 billion for the wall last january. and that didn't even work when all of republicans controlled all of congress. so now with democrats in charge, you can expect nancy pelosi and chuck schumer to say no to this money. >> so democrats control the house. they want to control more than that. they want to control the white house as well. and we have a poll out with the des moines register about what iowa voters want to see in the democratic primary. and joe biden is leading that field right now. 27%. 25% for bernie sanders. now joe biden continues to top these polls, laura. and people say, oh, it's just name recognition, name i.d. i'm old enough to remember, not just deficits but also the 2016 race where donald trump led in republican primary polling and people just dismissed it as, oh,
they know him from "the apprentice." sooner or later that bubble will burst. maybe the biden bubble won't burst. >> you're right. maybe it won't. biden is a formidable candidate, and that is why, as soon as he jumps in, which many expect that he will, he's going to shake up the entire field. he's going to be right up at the front with sanders, but i think there's two interesting points in the poll that came out this weekend which if you're a rival democratic candidate, kamala harris or booker or elizabeth warren, you'll be looking at. and that's that 31% of iowa democrats said that biden's time has passed and 41% said that sanders' has passed. that's why -- that's what rival democrats are going to be looking at, and they are hoping that there's room enough in those numbers for stuff to change as the caucuses approach. >> i agree with that. but i also think that biden occupies his own lane right now, which is a more establishment,
older democrat. not just age but older in terms of longevity within the party. and among older caucusgoers where you see he's got an advantage. bernie sanders has the advantage among younger caucusgoers and now shares a lane with a lot of candidates running for the first time trying to take that progressive mantel away from him. and that is going to be the big challenge for biden which is he's not going to be known as a progressive. no doubt the party would have to pull him left quite a bit. but he is still going to occupy not just the name recognition but the person that democrats look up and say, oh, yeah, he could be president. he could restore america's standing in the world. he could take on trump. he could speak to working class voters. there's a level of certainty people project on to him while there are still questions about others who are more progressive in the party. >> but you know that longevity is -- could be a blessing and a curse for joe biden. he hasn't been vetted in a climate where his words could come back to haunt him. we're talking about the crime bill. we're talking about that anita
hill video which is really shocking when you watch that now knowing with the kavanaugh hearing so fresh in everyone's mind. so how joe biden will stand up to that sort of vetting, that is an open question at this point. >> and then laura, beto o'rourke is deciding this week, we think. >> we think. >> yeah, that's right. beto could also shake up the race. i know from a number of members of congress that are from states where other 2020 candidates are running from california and new york, but they are waiting on beto. he has a lot of strong relationships within the house and that could help him as he gets his campaign running. it's the same with biden, though. there are a number of house members who have known him for a long time, and they are going to be excited when he jumps in. >> that goes to your point, john, which is one of the reasons trump survived that field is it was such a huge field and you wonder whether
biden can enjoy something similar, which is how fractured the field could be. >> i heard from biden people back in january, which either feels like 100 years ago or not that long ago, that one of the things that kept making the race more attractive was that there were so many people in because what you need to win in a 20-person race may be 19 or 20% which is achievable. david gregory, laura, jackie, thank you very much. president trump is asking a now-divided congress for billions of dollars in border wall money. how will that go over? democratic member of congress, a senator, joins us next. pardon the interruption but this is big! now with t-mobile get the samsung galaxy s10e included with unlimited data for just $40 a month.
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president trump shows no signs of giving up on his border wall. today the president will ask congress for another $8.6 billion to pay for it. as part of his new budget request. joining me is democratic senator doug jones from alabama. he's also the author of "bending toward justice" about the decades-long struggle to bring justice, or deliver justice for the victims of the 1963 birmingham church bombing. thanks for being with us. >> my pleasure. >> before i ask you questions about today, this terrible tornado that struck alabama, your home state last week. how is the recovery effort? >> i think it's going great. i was down there three or four days afterwards. amazing what the first responders had done, how they were cleaning up. everyone has stepped up. ema, the faith churches, the community. the hospital did an extraordinary job in a matter of hours dealing with all of this. and our -- they are paying for
all of the funerals. it's a very poor area of alabama. everyone has stepped up in an amazing way. >> it's going to take a big effort to recover. i'm glad we had a chance to ask you about that. let me ask you about the president's request for $8 billion for the border wall funding. is this real or just washington theater at this point? he's begging for a fight? >> i hope it will do this. his budget has been kind of a moving target on the border. what i'm hoping is he'll submit this and we can have some hearings on. let's get it out in the open. one of the biggest criticisms of the president's ask is we haven't seen what he really wants and let the experts talk about it in a hearing. so we'll see how it goes. i think it's part of the budgetary process where you ask and then negotiate. what i'd really like to see is regular order with senator shelby and leahy with a hearing and let's talk about it. >> this may be regular order. but you're not one of the democrats that's going to say no new money for the border wall? >> every time i talk to people
about a border wall, they really want border security. they want better border security. if we can do hearings and get the experts in, i think we can come up with whatever is necessary to secure that border. >> you are a working lawyer. you've been a lawyer for a long, long time, and a successful one. i want to get your take on what house intelligence chair adam schiff says that he wishes robert mueller did. he wishes robert mueller actually had gone the distance and tried to put the president before a grand jury. listen to this. >> yes, i think it is a mistake, and i've said all along that i don't think bob mueller should rely on written answers. the constraint he's operating under, he had an acting attorney general who was appointed because he would be hostile to a subpoena on the president, and now has a permient attorney general who was chosen for the same hostility and would likely oppose that step. >> was it a mistake for robert
mueller not to get the president under oath to testify before a grand jury? >> i can't say it was a mistake. i'm sure he tried and wanted to. but i've been a prosecutor before. i was a u.s. attorney. you can't always get potential targets or subjects in front of a grand jury and get them under oath. the president's legal team is going to resist that mightily and would have just delayed the process. i have a lot of confidence in mueller and the special counsel and their team to understand where they are, what they need to do and what can be completed for his investigation. >> enough confidence that if -- and it's a hypothetical. if this report comes back and says there's no collusion that we found between the president or his associates with russia, we didn't find it, will then you say, okay, time to move on? >> well, i'll say on that particular port, for sure. i've said from the beginning. we need to go where the evidence leads it and accept the conclusions. i think most folks that know bob mueller know that he is going to do an incredibly thorough job. if there are things there that can be uncovered, he's going to uncover them. that doesn't always lead to
where a lot of people in the political world want it to lead. we'll see how that goes. i'm going to accept those conclusions because i believe he will have had the opportunity to do a very, very thorough job. >> do you worry that all republicans -- sorry, that all democrats will not accept those conclusions? >> there's always going to be people that are not going to accept the conclusion. just like if they say there is collusion, there will be a lot of republicans that are not going to accept that. we live in a political world. when you look at what mueller's done. there's much more to the mueller investigation than simply whether or not there was some collusion. what he is looking at is absolutely how the russians, communist russia have interfered in our elections. we already have two major indictments. there's going to be a lot of information that comes out of this report. judge roy moore. you beat him in a special election to take the senate seat you're in now. he's making the motions perhaps to run again. what would you say if he jumped back in. >> i'm not worried about who is running in my race in 2020.
we're focused on the same things we focused on the last time. the kitchen table issues that mean so much to people. there will be a lot of people that run for that. what's comical to me is watch the reaction of the republicans who all support ed him a couple years ago and now they're talking about he's a flawed candidate and yada, yada. it's comical to watch these days. but we'll be ready for whoever the nominee is next spring. >> i want to ask you about your book. i love the title, "bending toward justice." the arc of the moral universe is long but bends toward justice. it's about the work you did and the case stemming from the birmingham church bombing. what's the major lesson you learned from that? >> wow, that's -- there are a lot of lessons, i think, learned. as we look back now, i think the biggest lesson is to go back and re-examine yourself and where we were as a society at that point under the jim crow laws in the south and other places. this wasn't just -- segregation
was not just limited to the south during those times. and also, you know, listen to what we're doing now and we're sliding back on voting rights on civil rights. in today's world, civil rights means more than just an issue between black and white. it involves race, religion, gender. and we need to be careful. words matter, and i think there was a part of that in the book that we talked about the fact that people like governor wallace and bull connor really empowered feem do things they might not otherwise do. i'd like to make sure everybody has a discussion. i think we need to have discussions about where we are in this country on race and other issues. >> when you say words matter, obviously, there are words used now in our public discourse and language that is used that really hasn't been used ever. >> that's correct. and it's -- you know, we talk about the president and some of his words. but i think we have to be very careful on both sides of the political aisle. because it really makes a difference. people are listening. in today's world in our social media world, what more people
have their phones and are watching and listening in the privacy in their own home and we stay in these silos. we really need to have more dialogue and discussions and to be a lot more civil to each other and to work across the aisles to get things done. i think that's what the american people really want. >> senator doug jones. the book is "bending toward justice." thanks for being with us. >> my pleasure. president trump's friendship with kim jong-un is possibly a one-way street amid reports of new provocations by north korea. we discuss, next. r, like, three weeks at a time. even if i'm 3,000 miles away, i'm connected with my boys. just pull on over, see my son's game, and i'm having a ball. (vo) there when it matters. buy the new galaxy s10 and get a galaxy s10e on us. looking to lose weight this year? try fda-approved alli®. for every 5 lbs you lose, alli® can help you lose two to three more by preventing about 25% of the fat you eat from being absorbed. for the only fda-approved otc weight loss aid, try alli®.
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would be, quote, pretty disappointed should north korea carry out a nuclear test or missile launch. bolton says the president is prepared to engage north korea again. let's bring in ian bremer, the president and founder of the eurasia group and author of "us versus them -- the failure of globalism." so ian, this -- president trump has been on the record with how much he likes kim jong-un, how great their personal chemistry is. how they had a love affair or fell in love. maub i'm misstating it. now there's evidence kim jong-un is behaving badly. so now what? >> he's also historically on the record saying that he would unleash fire and fury against the north koreans. we've come full circle. it is -- even if they still engage, the fact is that that meeting was not baked. there was no agreement that was going to come out of it unless trump fully accepted, you know, getting rid of sanctions for very little in return. now the one thing that trump has been trumpeting for quite awhile
now which is that the north koreans have stopped their testing of nukes and stopped the testing of ballistic missiles. he'll no longer be able to announce as an accomplishment. that's going to really put a damper on the bilateral relationship. but we do now have real relations between north korea and china. north korea and south korea. at the foreign ministry level, even north korea and japan. those are the countries that most directly threatened by the north korean nuclear program. it's also the country china has the most influence offer north korea. that's much more stable now. if we take a -- >> that's progress? >> there's progress. just not for the americans. >> not for the americans because the goal is denuclearization, that hasn't happened. in some ways, north korea is now a de facto nuclear state and there seems to be an international acceptance of it at this point. it just is. and also the u.n. coming out with a report this week which is going to show that north korea is skirting the sanctions which the president is declaring are staying in place.
>> we've been accepting a north korean nuclear program that's been expanding for decades now, and we can't do anything about that. i can't imagine the americans would suddenly say we're going to recognize you as a nuclear power. but it was a couple decades ago, the americans put sanctions against the indians and pakistanis because we weren't prepared to accept them as nuclear powers. we got rid of those sanctions because we recognized they didn't work. the fact is we're never going to get rid of north korea's nuclear program. whether we can stop them from hitting the lower 48 with a missile, that's something we could negotiate on. looks farther away today than two weeks ago. >> if kim jong-un tests a missile, what is president trump going to do? >> i think he'll talk about tougher sanctions, but what america's influence over north korea today, given that the chinese and south koreans and japanese are truly engaging is at the margins. it was at the margins at the beginning of the obama
administration. trump actually was able to influence north korea more by threatening and getting the chinese on board with tougher sanctions, but that was before china and north korea started talking to each other at a high level. those relations now work. american leverage here, i wouldn't say it's as low as american leverage over assad in syria, but it's really at the margins. we'll not be the ones driving the outcomes here. if the north koreans do test a missile, the first thing we should be looking at is not what trump says. the first thing is how do the south koreans react and how do the chinese react? if it turns out they're still willing to engage with kim jong-un, that's all you really need to know. >> you brought up china which is a good segue into the u.s./china trade negotiations right now. larry kudlow, the economic adviser, he seems to be optimistic still that a deal is coming. let's listen. >> simple question. will there be a signing ceremony between the two leaders either in march or april? >> i will play that from the
optimistic side. i will take the over on that. economic growth. >> over mean -- >> over meaning good, yes, positive. >> some time this month or next. >> bullish. >> are you as bullish? >> i might even be more bullish. the chinese need a deal. their economy has been softer. this has been handled so differently from the north korean meeting where trump just powered ahead and said i'm going to do it no matter what, even though you had secretary of state pompeo saying we're not getting anything from these guys. hold off. let's not have the summit until we're ready. trump said, i can do it myself. we delayed it but all the way through there's been a senior team from the united states side. a senior side from the chinese side and they're working out details. not just of the chinese buying soybeans and lng from the u.s., letting us sell some seeds but also in coming up with an enforcement mechanism where if it turns out that they continue with forced technology transfers against american companies, continue with ip theft that we'd
have the ability to snap tariffs back and the chinese would not. that would be -- that's the agreement they're now working on. it would be a significant breakthrough agreement. wouldn't make us friends. wouldn't create trust, but would actually be the biggest foreign policy success that trump would have in 2 1/2 years of his presidency. and i actually think that's set up to happen when xi jinping comes to mar-a-lago looking like now in april. >> really interesting. ian bremer, thank you for previewing all of this. >> more bullish than larry kudlow. >> more bullish than larry kudlow on this issue. new questions about the former owner of a massage parlor linked to patriots boss robert kraft a recent arrest. what the "miami herald" says about her appearance at a trump fund-raiser coming up.
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cockpit voice and data recorders of the ethiopian plane that crashed killing all 157 on board. boeing is facing pressure to ground its entire fleet of 737 max 8s after several countries and airlines around the world pulled the aircraft from service. president trump will ask congress for $8.6 billion to fund his border wall which is a lot more than he previously has asked for and already been rejected. >> venezuela opposition leader juan guaido will call for a state of national emergency in a special session of parliament. he claims 17 people dead in a widespread were murdered by nicolas maduro's regime. fox news condemning remarks by jeannine pirro questioning whether ilhan omar's religious beliefs run counter to the u.s. constitution ap. a new cnn poll shows former vice president joe biden leading the democratic field with 27% and bernie sanders at 25%. no other democrat cracks 10%. for more on the 5 things to know go to cnn.com/newday for the
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yang arranged for chinese investors to attend a fund-raiser for president trump. kaylee hartung is live in jupiter, florida, with the latest on this strange twist. >> yeah, john. lee or cindy yang has not been accused of doing anything legal. she's no longer the owner of this day spa that is at the center of a human trafficking investigation. in fact, she tells the "miami herald" she's no longer in the spa business. but it's her new business that's raising new questions. the herald reports that she is now running a consulting firm based in florida. a firm that advertises to chinese businessmen saying she can grant them access to events at the white house, a chance to meet president trump. vip events at mar-a-lago and the herald is pointing to an event in december of 2017 where she did what she advertises. they say she arranged for a group of chinese businessmen to attend a paid fund-raiser for president trump. now there are campaign finance laws in this country to protect the integrity of our elections
and who can influence them. foreign investors are allowed to attend political fund raisers but kants pay their way in because only u.s. citizens can contribute to political campaigns. we've learned in the days leading up to that december 2017 event for trump, yang herself donated nearly $30,000 to various funds that support president trump. what would be illegal, alisyn, is if a foreign national were to reimburse yang or any other u.s. citizen for any fee they paid on their behalf to attend a political event. we've reached out to the white house, the rnc who sponsored that fund-raise ethe trump campaign and yang but all of our requests for comment have not been returned. >> kaylee, thank you very much. we'll discuss this with nicholas, the investigative reporter for the "miami herald" that got this story and sam, a former national adviser to the national security adviser and our national security analyst. nick la, so this -- what started this or got a lot of people's
attention is this photo at the super bowl between president trump and the former owner of this massage parlor/alleged sex shop. what did you learn about their relationship? >> well, you know, my colleague sarah blasky who was digging through the corporate ownership of this day spa at the center of the human trafficking investigation and she stumbled upon these pictures of ms. yang with president trump. now -- and a lot of other top florida republicans. miss yang says that she is simply a volunteer and a donor. she has no personal relationship with any of these people. but the level of access she's been granted is extraordinary in some sense for a small business owner from florida in the day spa industry. and she certainly seems to have come out of nowhere. >> sam, this is where the scandal might start, if there is one, which is that in december of 2017, cindy yang, there
pictured with the president, brought a group of chinese businessmen to a trump fund-raiser and does that raise alarm bells for you? >> this raises major counterintelligence red flags to me. we don't yet know yang's motivations but we know a lot about chinese intelligence. according to our own intelligence community, they are one of the leading counterintelligence threats to our country. we know that china keeps very close tabs on naturalized chinese americans. they've actually used them as assets in the past, which has resulted in major espionage charges. and we also know that there's no such thing as a private sector in china. it just doesn't really exist. the idea that yang was bringing chinese investors to the united states and introducing them to the trumps doesn't mean the same thing if american investors were going over to china. the chinese government would have had to be uncharacteristically asleep at the wheel if they didn't benefit from yang's access or in some
way direct it. >> one of the ironies is that we've all been focused on finding fought there was any russian influence, russian interference in the election but here she is bringing this group of chinese businessmen to a fund-raiser and so maybe there's chinese influence that needs to be looked at. >> the intelligence community has been screaming from the rooftops about the counterintelligence threat from china. the trumps, as well as any other government official, would have gotten a counterintelligence briefing and would have been told they didn't just quince dentally become very popular with foreigners when they became more powerful and got a political position. they would have been told sophisticated intelligence services like the intelligence service in china would play to their preferences, like in the trump's case, business. so the trump team and any other operatives -- conservative operatives or gop lawmakers approached by miss yang or the investors she was bringing to meet them should have had their antenna raised. >> nicholas, it sounds like she
has publicly parlayed her relationship with donald trump into a lobbying, basically, firm. she's not secret about this. she has this, as you've pointed out, this florida-based consulting business that promises to introduce chinese investors into the president's orbit. that's what cindy yang is trying to do. >> that's absolutely correct. and her website for this consulting business which has since been taken down is just completely full of pictures of her at white house events with the president, at mar-a-lago, with florida governor ron de santis, with trump children, the transportation secretary, elaine chao, and many other trump officials. so she transitioned some time in 2016 when she became politically active from running this day spa chain to selling access to the white house and the president and his private clubs and
businesses. that was the business model. >> this is interesting. in terms of selling that access, if these chinese businessmen paid for their tickets to the fund-raiser in december 2017, is that illegal? >> if they are not permanent residents or u.s. citizens, yes. foreign nationals cannot contribute to u.s. political campaigns. >> so, sam, she would have had -- she brought a large group as we understand. do you know how many people, nicholas? >> we don't know how many she brought. there were nearly 100 chinese people at this fund-raiser, according to chinese language media. she told one guest that these are all my guests, kind of gesturing widely to this group of businessmen. >> okay. so this costs -- do you know how much money each ticket cost, nicholas? >> admissions started at $2,700. pictures were going for $10,000,
according to our source, and ms. yang gave nearly $29,000 in the days before the fund-raiser in new york. >> okay. so, sam, if she paid for these $2,700 per pop for 100 people, that would have been very generous of her. if they reimbursed her for those tickets or if they paid, that's illegal. what happens next? >> so we could see ms. yang investigated for campaign finance violation as you just mentioned. we could also see her investigated for being a foreign agent of the government of china. we don't know if either of those investigations are under way by authorities. but based upon all the red flags we laid out, it seems more than likely that the department of justice is looking into these allegations. >> nicholas, thank you for your great reporting that's alerted everybody to this. sam, thank you for your expertise in this field. oshl obviously, we'll continue to watch this story. breaking news in the deadly plane crash in ethiopia.
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and me, fly every day. pressure mounting this morning for the u.s. to ground all boeing 737 max 8 aircraft. this after a second deadly crash in just five months. countries around the world already grounding this plane. 157 people on board. the ethiopian airways flight, including eight americans. investigators and crew scouring the debris today. david mckenzie joins us from the site of that crash there. david, crews on the scene. they recovered those crucial flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorders this morning. what are you learning about the investigation? the real key question here, are similar crashes in a short period of time in those early minutes of flight. what do we know at this point? >> well, what we know is that the troubling crash, just tragic incident behind me. you can see those big diggers. they