President Obama Says 'Separatists Are Removing Evidence From the Crash Site'

Officials say M17 crash site is not currently secure, leaving it open to tampering.
17:17 | 07/21/14

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Transcript for President Obama Says 'Separatists Are Removing Evidence From the Crash Site'
Can. Russian -- members who controlled the area continue to block the investigation. They've repeatedly prevented international investigators from gaining full access to the wreckage. Investigators approached they fired the weapons into the air. -- separatists are removing evidence from the crash site all of which begs the question what exactly are trying to hide. President Obama calling on the Russian separatists and Russia to -- international investigators unfettered access. Right now it's the hot spot Dona Ukraine hello Roberts. New York President Obama speaking this morning tough words. And impatience the flight seventeen victims still at or near the crash site and separatist complicating access to the site as investigators arrived. We're joined now by ABC's -- Rania in -- and ABC caricature ski -- -- here let's start with you you listen to. The president you heard what he had to say do you get a sense that there is a working cover up. There or just. Disorganization. -- rebels being defensive about anyone on the ground that they claim as their -- Well I got to see there's plenty of reason for them to to potentially trying to cover something like that there's been lots of allegations by not just the Obama administration but Ukrainian government and other western governments. The rebels of being behind the attack. Had I should say we've been here several days they have had ample opportunities to secure this site but every time we've gone out there. We've been able to go right up to the evidence -- can see that. Almost anybody could tamper with it so they have done absolutely nothing to secure the site. And I think that that's one of the major concerns and by the time any international investigators get here. Any potential evidence to be either compromised when they had plenty of time to take off the side. What are we hearing here at about. From Moscow about all of this and what's their response. What just last night shortly after midnight President Putin came out. And gave a statement on Russian television this -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- International leaders you can tell -- there was a lot of pressure on him to go further than he has because until that what he had not sit very much about this. He came out made the statement but he's still did not go as far as him -- he wants there were things he did not say. He did not -- -- -- -- Board president Obama's favorite beverages do happens. They do answer Russia Aaron let's turn -- you real quickly a similar question what are you hearing. On the ground -- -- disorganization. Or potential cover up some other source. Ukrainians are getting a lot of their information from the United States -- and -- Ukrainian prime minister today let slip that he had heard from the DOD. And I don't think he meant. The Ukrainian Defense Department when he said it. That there was evidence of that Russian training of separatist rebels who had indeed is -- believe fired the missile. Active flight seventy of course the Russians have denied -- -- and air forces said it didn't squirrel any weapons into eastern Ukraine. But the ukrainians are convinced otherwise and they're really worried along with other international. At the site has been compromised and that evidence has been taken away they played us phone calls between the rebels they say that proves it. They played as a conversation where one rebel is talking to another asking about the black box about the urgency. With which -- -- because Moscow wants to know. Let's give us the latest on the remains of the bodies and are they about to be moved and where will they be going. We heard just moments ago from the deputy prime minister -- -- who said that all but sixteen of the 290. People on board -- seventeen had been recovered. They remains head in for a couple of days languishing in -- field but finally zipped into body bag. Into refrigerated train cars did deputy prime minister told us that that train should be moving any moment now. Leaving for -- -- and from there and other mortuary operations set up by the government of Ukraine in that city. From there the bodies -- to head to Amsterdam and that's -- -- forensic work will be done. Amsterdam is where the flight originated it's where most of the passengers were from. And finally. Of the Stanley's of these victims that he will have some surety that they're coming home. Here it back to you why -- Q why cart he isn't done -- where you're -- the closer city. It is closer but it's at the city that is controlled by the rebel forces this city market is being controlled. By the Ukrainian government they've already set up mortuary services there -- they can handle the bodies from there it's a lot easier indicated out of the country has ever reported. They want to take that all the way to all. Let's get this done forensic investigations on the bodies they repatriate them to their countries -- -- -- -- whether or not investigators. Do you think after the president comes out to speak after this international pressure starts to build will have unfettered access. And will make a difference so many days after this -- Well so far today -- is those experts say arrived on the scene said that they were happy with the exes didn't give it. They say that the rebels have so far not impeded their work but there is. Is reason to be concerned just over the weekend a team of international monitors who have -- here to monitor the conflicts so that they were not happy with the -- review at the site you were a lot. From reaching the the wreckage itself it's that there is some concern that. That there could be some impediments to them but so far they see that the rebels of the. -- and let's talk about a little bit about safety not only for the investigators this -- -- war zone. Force is dangerous. What about other people arriving there are other groups as well as civilians and journalists like you. I can tell you. Fighting -- from where I am just a few miles down the road there. -- the rebels out of the city. Hi this is something that I think a lot of it puts people why they need to do this now why couldn't they wait. A few days to allow this investigation to move forward but they have said that they need to respond to provocations. And that the it's clear that people did that the rebels out of the city and they did something next. And -- just a quick step back. On this on the ground how Ukrainian government. Telling this story this tragedy to the people in Ukraine. They're casting it all as Russia. As it did the bad guy in fact the prime minister today Michelle said Russia is on the dark side in the Ukrainian -- -- is picking up that story line and running with it. Willingly publishing the imagery that's been provided in and the other evidence that's out publicly. To suggest that the Russians were the ones who gave the separatists the missiles gave them the training to to use it but this is all rooted. In a deep geopolitical conflict that's been at work here for months it's started the -- -- -- the rallies in the main square. So violent finally ushering in that pro western instead of the pro Russian government. Then the battlefront in the east that conflicts been raging. And it's all taking place against a very human drama involving 298. People who had nothing to do. With the conflict between Russia and Ukraine news. And here it back to you again give us an idea as investigators are now getting some access there. We've seen some images we've heard some. Mounting evidence that some items had been removed where does that -- Terms of the investigation and what. Has been allegedly. There have been lots of allegations about looting from personal effects from. Some of the bodies to -- -- ports -- the plane to obesity the luggage. That survived the crash. You know I can tell you I had not seen that myself but there have been people who have seen. Pictures of this and when we were there. Did he could clearly tell they had moved some of the items -- luggage result gathered -- -- -- some of the -- was hoping. But then on the other hand there was ever that we saw -- A pilot heroes some money there and nobody had tickets and that perhaps there's an -- -- This is one of the big concerns right now not just for the looting but that. It's been taken from the site it's indicative of the concerns about the condition of crimes. And here -- just one more point and with all the evidence that they will be looking for are sifting through now. Give us an idea you've been on scene there -- just that the human drama. At that scene and of course how this is the utmost importance to get these bodies back to their loved ones. I can tell you we got here on Friday just of over 24 hours. After the crash and the bodies were everywhere at that point in the smell was absolutely horrible we went back again the next morning the bodies were still there. Nearly 48 hours after the crash he was at that point. That the rebels decided that he was being humane to leave those bodies in the streets in the wreckage there they decided to remove that despite the fact that many people see that this was tampering. With the evidence he said that it was going to be hot the next day and it could not only does bodies out there. Any longer and frankly just for me. Perspective. Have to say that. Needless there on the scene that is right -- -- out there and they were going to be decomposing very soon and out of respect and dignity for those who died they needed to get on that site. And Aaron and give us an idea this wait for these loved ones many of those passengers of course -- give us an idea of the government's response the family's response it's gone from. Pure shock and sadness to anger correct. Oh for sure anger and we know that that anger and anguish -- are deepening. And the longer that this goes on in and imagine being a relative. Of one of these victims not knowing the state of your loved ones' remains. But knowing that it's caught it in between this geopolitical crisis would no guarantee of a proper burial it is a final indignity. For so many of these families and some have gathered. They in protest some have gathered in anger some of taken to social media -- been writing us hearing Ukraine. Are urging something to be done and in wondering why there isn't more pressure to get those bodies -- it seems finally. If the deputy prime ministers to be believed that the remains will finally beyond their way home but but four days is far too long. Without answers at first. The government of Ukraine had set up operations -- in Kiev to host -- he wanted to come here. To identify bodies formally and then take their their loved ones' remains in an accompany them home. -- but after things became entangled. In the controversy with the separate -- that became impossible for a safe passage to be guaranteed to the Stanley's are not here. -- -- waiting in their own countries just waiting for their for their loved ones. ABC very -- her ski and Kia. And ABC secure Friday and -- yes thank you both. For more I want to bring in former FBI investigator and ABC news consultant Brad Garrett from our bureau in Washington thank you for joining us let's start with Dutch investigators now on scene four days later. What will they be looking for knowing that this is a terribly compromise crash site. Well they're going to be looking for for -- ball plane parts. In particular. Types of plane parts and other words when a missile hits a plane vs -- plane exploding because of something internal in -- You can you can be if there's a signature basically on pieces of metal pieces on whatever -- left of the plane. In addition to that the sizes -- pieces like the tail. The front different parts of the plane also will tell you where the missile possibly struck. And what type it is you're gonna figure out what tiger was I think we already know that but to confirm it. They'll be residue. On parts of the point that we'll tell them so even if they -- are not allowed. To move the plane parts if they can swap them in certain places and photographed other aspects of this it will -- give them. Probably with our assistance and help in figuring out. Exactly how proposal went together. And that residue which many experts say that that is and will be the key to determining. You know how. This plane went down does that residue is that compromised and days that might be waiting or is that something that -- stay around. Well it it should stay. -- around I mean the idea it's going to be on a number of pieces in. And whom whomever is really who removing playing parts they're not going to be able to take away all of his -- just too -- I mean think about this it's spread out over. Over ten miles. And so as a result I think. There is some likelihood because you have the huge advantage in this case. Intercepted telephone calls. Photographs possibly of the actual missiles being launched. And there and the other missiles that -- -- possibly going back into Russia so there's a lot of corroborating information. In addition to which you me hopeful we find from the plane. You know in any sort of accident or tragedy when a plane goes down -- seen footage of we always hear about those so called black boxes that -- flight recorders here. We saw some images where it looked like those so called black boxes from the plane at least one of them. Was being taken out of that area and moved. Well. How important is it to have -- Data recorders at this point. I think a lot less important than the things you -- I've already talked about I tell you why. Is that this plane was flying at normal course 33000 feet up. You know headed to -- -- for and then all of a sudden it explosions so. The pilots I doubt even had time to react to what happened to the plane. Vs the other side of -- of a plane disappearing. And the and the pilots talk eighteen -- the pilots trying to fix things aboard the plane you're just not gonna have a -- that. Is a good to have -- of course it is you you want it all I'm suggesting is it's a lot less important based on all the facts we -- -- already know. And you know we talked about how the bodies were not moved for several days and then they were moved their finally looks like they're going to be on their way to be returned to loved ones. That is good for the families does that in any way hinder or change the investigation or make it more -- -- -- Well it did. Makes it a little more difficult and mean is -- without getting into details the where people. Have landed how they have landed in what shape they are in when they landed. Tell the investigators. And the forensic folks a number of things of the type of weapon music sector so. EE EU don't have that but if there is an ability to. Eight examine the remains and I assume there will be once they've been moved I still think some of the things I just mentioned you'll be able to recover. But not ideally. Now -- you mentioned it's such a vast area where this plane you know. Expands Howell went down give us an idea a laundry list of the importance here. Investigators on the ground now being able to determine what happened as well as other information an Intel that we are hearing. Providing possible evidence that there was some sort of -- play. I think in suspect before these investigators ever. Ride at the location. They had satellite shots drone shots of this area and probably were able to capture it. Shortly after the plane blew up. So assuming they're working an off of that phase in can -- can come up with a plan to look at particular plane parts assuming they're still there. In sort of shorten. Ox and many guests are not going to be given a lot of time to do this. But focus in on the on the things that you and I just discussed about swapping about the size -- plane parts about taking photographs of certain items on the ground. They're gonna have to be select. Ten miles granite is is a big area. But if you're able to start in particular locations let's say they grid and off three or four of those you're gonna go to those initially and -- those sites first. Then if you have more time go to the other sites. ABC's Brad Garrett thank you very much for joining us welcome. You can keep up with this story in real time by downloading the ABC news -- and starring this story for exclusive updates on the go. You've been watching international hot spot I'm Michelle Franzen in New York.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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