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Northwestern Professor Arrested In Fatal Stabbing; FBI Tracked "Fake News" Believed To Be From Russia On Election Day; Sessions Vows To Crack Down On Intel Leaks; Trump Administration Struggles To Combat Leaks. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired August 5, 2017 - 06:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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[06:00:09]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have learned that some FBI counterintelligence agents spent election day huddling in a war room, looking for fake news.

KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: These types of endeavors end up being fishing expeditions.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The Russia story is a total fabrication.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is under investigation is Trump campaign conspiracy with the Russian meddling and possible obstruction of justice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Investigators working for Special Counsel Robert Mueller have asked the White House for documents related to former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With this much smoke, there is a fire somewhere.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's had a lapse in judgement here and it's going to get him in some serious trouble.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have this morning for would-be leakers, don't do it.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: The leaks are real. You know what they say. You saw it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Leaks are a bad thing. Leaks are concerning because leaks can often compromise national security.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This must end this culture of leaks.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Always so grateful to have you with us. We want to begin with breaking news this hour. After that national manhunt, a Northwestern University professor and an Oxford University employee have been arrested in California across the country here.

Professor Wyndham Lathem and Andrew Warren, suspects in the stabbing death of a Chicago cosmetologist.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: The 26-year-old Trenton Cornell- Duranleau was found dead in Lathem's Chicago apartment with multiple stab wounds that was July 27th. Just before his arrest, Lathem sent a video to his friends and family, which police say appeared like he was, quote, "apologizing for his involvement in the murder." Now the suspects are awaiting extradition to Illinois.

Now to a CNN exclusive, the FBI enters what it calls uncomfortable territory. Sources tell us that dozens of analysts monitored social media accounts on election day, tracking the suspected spread of fake news believed to be pedaled by Russia in an effort to harm Hillary Clinton. But they risked freedom of speech protections in the process.

PAUL: This as the special counsel for the first time asked the White House to turn over information related to the Russia hacking of the 2016 election. Now Robert Mueller is reportedly looking into secret payments ousted National Security Adviser Michael Flynn took from a foreign government while part of the Trump campaign.

BLACKWELL: Meanwhile, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is promising to shut down leaks by targeting, in part, reporters.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEFF SESSIONS, ATTORNEY GENERAL: They cannot place lives at risk with impunity. We must balance the press's role with protecting our national security.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: AG Sessions is reviewing policies on subpoenaing journalists. It prompted questions if he is considering taking legal action to appease the anger of the president after a couple of really tense weeks.

PAUL: FBI cyber and counterintelligence analysts will, quote, "write on the edge of constitutional legality," unquote, when they monitored Facebook and Twitter accounts for suspected Russia propaganda.

Our Pamela brown is here with CNN's exclusive reporting.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning, Victor and Christi. Our team has learned that some FBI counterintelligence agents spent election day huddled in a war room, looking for fake news.

And what they could see was negative stories posted about Hillary Clinton. Some having to do with her health that were fake stories generated from accounts with suspected Russian links. This is according to multiple sources we've spoken with.

In fact, the FBI agents could see how the fake news was impacting the conversation online. The idea of monitoring for fake news was certainly uncomfortable and somewhat new territory for the FBI.

As one official told me, quote, "We were right on the edge of constitutionality" because of, of course, first amendment protections. But it was something they believe they needed to do because it was important and better understanding how fake news played into this.

What role it had and whether or not anyone in the Trump campaign, in the Trump world, worked with the Russians in this disinformation campaign. Amid all of this, we learned there was constant coordination between the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, as well as DNI, holding conference calls every three hours with the team in the White House to discuss any possible problems.

At that time though, during these conference calls, the big focus was, of course, this notion that the vote could be tampered with, the machines could be tampered with by hackers.

And while the FBI says that didn't happen, there is still this open question of whether the disinformation campaign by the Russians, according to the intelligence community, impacted the outcome of the election. It is something we frankly may never really know -- Victor and Christi.

BLACKWELL: All right, Pamela, thanks so much. Here to discuss, Errol Louis, CNN political commentator and political anchor for Spectrum News, and Kelly Jane Torrance, deputy editor for the "Weekly Standard." Good morning to you.

[06:05:10] KELLY JANE TORRANCE, DEPUTY EDITOR, "THE WEEKLY STANDARD": Good morning.

BLACKWELL: So let's start, Errol first, with this "New York Times" reporting, that the special counsel here, Bob Mueller, is now requesting from the White House documents pertaining to former NSA Michael Flynn specifically going to find out if he received secret payments from the Turkish government. What's the significance here?

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, the significance here is if you go back -- and we have to keep in mind, Victor, it is less than 90 days since the order of creating this special counsel went into effect -- if you read it though, he's authorized, the special counsel, to look into any violation of any federal crime.

It so happens that certain forms of financial dealings overseas, even though it may not directly affect the U.S. government, are federal crimes. The broad mandate that the special prosecutor has to look into this, to figure out what other crimes may have been committed along the way, what it means is that they're going to keep pulling on this string.

They'll find out more and more about possible kickback, possible money laundering and other federal offenses that really will push this investigation forward.

BLACKWELL: So, Kelly, you've heard the criticisms from some Republicans, saying that Bob Mueller is going beyond his charge here, going beyond the mandate of this investigation.

TORRANCE: Yes. You know, maybe he is. It is quite possible. You know, to that, I would say, well, if nobody did anything wrong, they wouldn't have anything to worry about. That's the problem.

When you have a special counsel appointed, that person has a pretty, you know, wide berth to take a look at things. He can look at any evidence of any crimes he finds in the course of his investigation.

If while investigating possible ties between Russia and the Trump campaign he finds evidence of other crimes, he can't ignore those. We wouldn't want him to ignore those.

So, you know, if Michael Flynn has done nothing wrong, then he has nothing to worry about. If he has done something wrong, I certainly hope that law enforcement is going to take a serious look at that and investigate it and find out if there was a crime. If so, indict him for it.

BLACKWELL: All right. So, Errol, let's go to the CNN exclusive reporting. The FBI on election night monitoring social media in efforts of tamping down at least, as best they can, disinformation and fake news.

The FBI called this a success. One White House source tells CNN that this was a failure of imagination, and what the Russians did worked. Was this potentially one and done, considering that the current president has really not been committal -- let's call him non- committal at best on if Russia really was involved in meddling with the election?

LOUIS: Well, let's put it this way, my sense of it, Victor, my academic background is in political science. I think that this report and this incident is going to go down in the books, the history books. I think we're at a watershed moment.

You'll see in the future national campaigns having their own war rooms that do this kind of monitoring. I think Congress is going to have to get into this and try to figure out where to put the limits on it.

It is a little disturbing, that the FBI headquarters was full of dozens, not hundreds of people monitoring news reports and trying to figure out what impact it was having on election day.

They appear to have done it with the best of attentions, according to CNN's reporting, but that's not necessarily good enough. So, I think we're at the dawn of the new age, about what is possible and what steps have to be taken to safeguard our democracy.

BLACKWELL: All right. Let's bring in Joey Jackson, CNN legal analyst, to this conversation. Because what we heard from our reporters who were on this exclusive report -- Joey, good morning to you -- was that the FBI was uncomfortable with this territory because they were on the edge of First Amendment protections, which even protect fake news. Did they cross that line? And highlight the line for us.

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: You know, good morning to you, Victor. Good morning to the panel. I don't believe they did. Let's talk and first address the issues of the First Amendment. Obviously, that's compelling here because you don't want to chill speech in any way.

Furthermore, the Constitution protects that. Even fake news, believe it or not, is protected. We are allowed to espouse opinions and deliver information and dialogue in general. To those who say that that's dangerous, I would agree.

The issue then becomes, how do you counteract that or what can you do? Should we start placing, for example, a court to determine what's fake and what's not? Should we have a court to determine, you know, what opinions are just and what opinions are unjust, et cetera?

So, it is a line, but I think what they were attempting to do, Victor, is to see how far the Russian government was going in the intermeddling. What kind of impact it was having.

[06:10:05] What information was being disseminated out there and who, if anyone, was coordinating with them to release that information, which the release in and of itself isn't illegal, but the other collusion issues are.

And I think that that potentially helps wrap up and tie in that information, which could be helpful to show a motive or otherwise intent to any other interference.

BLACKWELL: Well, uncomfortable or not, the FBI may find themselves in this territory again as we go to 2018 and 2020. All right, Joey, Kelly Jane and Errol, stay with us. We've got more to talk about.

PAUL: Tough talk from Attorney General Jeff Sessions in fact as the Trump administration vows to crack down on leaks. Will it be enough to get the attorney general back in the president's good graces?

BLACKWELL: Plus, two terror plots foiled in Australia, including a plan to blow up passenger planes. How officials say ISIS planned to carry out those attacks?

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[06:15:01]

BLACKWELL: The lights are on at the White House, but the president is not there. He is at his resort in New Jersey. We see here, a White House that's undergoing major renovations during his 17-day vacation. The president will be working from his golf resort. We'll talk about that a little later this morning.

PAUL: But just a day after the "Washington Post" published transcripts of President Trump's phone calls with foreign leaders, Jeff Sessions, ramping up the Justice Department's efforts now to stop intel leaks.

BLACKWELL: Sessions' announcement comes as the attorney general faces some pretty sharp criticism from the president for his job performance, including Sessions' ability or inability to prevent classified information from being made public. Andy Rose has the story.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SESSIONS: Here is what I want to tell every American today. This nation must end this culture of leaks.

ANDY ROSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In an announcement Friday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions laid out some potentially bold steps to crack down on leaks of classified information to the media. Its first step, targeting the media and how subpoenas are issued to them.

SESSIONS: We respect the important role that the press plays and we'll give them respect but it is not unlimited.

ROSE: While leaks of classified information are nothing new, they have been a source of much aggravation for President Donald Trump and his administration since he took office. Trump has repeatedly threatened action against those behind the leaks.

Reality Winner, a federal contractor, is the only one so far who has been arrested and accused of doing just that, and Friday's announcement shows the Justice Department is just getting started.

SESSIONS: It is important for the American people and those who might be thinking about leaking classified or sensitive information, to know that criminals who would illegally use their access to our most sensitive information to endanger our national security are, in fact, being investigated and will be prosecuted.

ROSE: I'm Andy Rose reporting.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: All right. Back with us here, Errol Louis, Kelly Jane Torrance, Joey Jackson, thank you all for sticking around. Errol, I want to start with you here.

Sessions has been called very weak by the president, as of late, in a tweet, regarding intel. Do you get the sense that yesterday, his press conference was speaking to an audience of one, or was it speaking to DOJ protocol?

LOUIS: It was very much speaking to an audience of one. Very noteworthy of all the officials that were standing next to the attorney general, did not include the FBI, of 16-year leadership.

That's in part because if you're serious about it, the FBI is the bureau that has the authority to issue subpoenas not the kind of investigations that the attorney general was talking about.

Most of the other officials there cannot do the sorts of things that Sessions was warning he might do. So it sounded to me as if he was speaking to the president, trying to sort of threaten and (inaudible) beat the press and sort of warn people that they're really, really serious and they might come after you, which is very much a tactic that politicians use.

Certainly, Donald Trump in his commercial life did the same. They would threaten reporters to go to your boss, threaten to get you fired, and that sort of thing. Much of that, of course, is really not how this is going to play out. There is a very limited ability that they have to stop people from sharing information.

PAUL: Speaker Paul Ryan spoke to this speech after it was done yesterday. Let's listen to what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPRESENTATIVE PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Leaks are a bad thing. Leaks are concerning because leaks can often compromise national security. But that's the problem of the leaker, not the journalist.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: That's a little different from what we were hearing, obviously, from AG Sessions. Joey to you, who does the legal risk fall on? Does it fall on the person who leaks or the journalist who reports?

JACKSON: Good morning, Christi. It really, a precedent of any value and, of course, in law, it is, it falls upon the person who gets the classified information and otherwise leaks it. The press has an obligation, and that obligation is to inform the public.

So historically, there have not been prosecutions in that regard. I'll say this, the best way to go and deter leakers is to prosecute them. To Errol's point, certainly, this was speaking to an audience of one, but I also think it could speak to a broader audience. That is the leakers themselves.

So, in fact, when you make the statement, we're going to come get you, it could have some deterrent value in people, Christi, who otherwise would get that information and release it might say, let me think again.

In as much as I know the president hates this, and I know with that attorney general interview, he wants to appease his boss, and they may come after me. The deterrent value is substantial.

But I think it mostly deters the people getting and releasing that information, not the fine journalists who have an obligation to give the public information as to what's going on.

PAUL: OK. Kelly Jane, Kellyanne Conway in an interview this week said it is easier to figure out who is leaking than the leakers may realize.

[06:20:09] And then when she was asked if lie detectors will be used to try to determine that in the White House, she said, well, they may. They may not. How likely is that tactic to be employed?

TORRANCE: Yes, this is pretty outrageous, isn't it? If they have to go to that extent, it really says something. I have to say, I find Jeff Sessions' comments outrageous. The veiled threat against journalists and the idea that he might go after them is just completely outrageous to me.

If they're worried about leaks, maybe they should think about what the source of the problem is. I think Anthony Scaramucci, the brief- tenured White House communications director said it right himself.

He said there are people in this White House that think their job is to save America from this president and I think perhaps he's right. They might think, why are people leaking? Maybe it's because they are worried about some of the things going on in the White House.

You know, if the president doesn't want this information to be leaked, he might think about, why are people leaking it? Why do they think it is important for America to know, for example, just how he spoke to foreign leaders and what he said to foreign leaders?

And you know, they might start looking at themselves a little bit before, you know, giving the entire staff of the White House a lie detector test.

PAUL: Errol, to that point, when they talk about, where are these leaks coming from, we're only six months in. The leaks have certainly been prevalent. Is there any indication if the White House is looking within its walls, within the west wing, at any one department, at any one person? What do we know in that regard?

LOUIS: Completely unclear at this point. We'll see if the Justice Department makes good on the threats that the attorney general was making publicly yesterday. I mean, look, the reality is, there are many, many -- I mean, we all know a lot of folks in the White House press corps and they have a lot of contacts within that White House.

There's a certain amount of hypocrisy involved here, I have to say, because there are senior officials, including some of the ones that you've mentioned, who are in the habit of talking with reporters. They talk on background. They talk off the record.

They point you in certain directions. They provide you with certain documents or inform you of the existence of certain documents, and then turn around and look, is that a leak? Maybe it is. Maybe it isn't.

There's a lot going on here. Donald Trump himself, of course, even before being elected president, made extensive use of off the record conversations with reporters, sort of provided all kinds of confidential information, not under his own name. So if they want to try to shut all of that down, they are going to repeat what many other administrations have attempted and all have failed.

PAUL: Errol Louis, Kelly Jane Torrance, Joey Jackson, always appreciate your insight. Thank you for being here, folks.

BLACKWELL: Well, police are getting some disturbing details out of Australia and terrorist plans to kill. A plot to blow up a passenger plane. Plans to release deadly gas at a public place. Up next, details on the foiled terror plot in Australia and the new ways investigators say ISIS is planning to attack.

PAUL: Also, we're now learning that the FBI monitored social media sites on election day last year. What they were looking for and why the Trump campaign is facing questions about it.

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[06:27:42]

PAUL: We are so grateful to have your company, as always. It's just about 6:30. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good morning to you. We've got new details for you on the breaking news this morning. A Northwestern University professor and an Oxford University employee are in custody in California. Police really searched across the country for Wyndham Lathem and Andrew Warren. They surrendered last night.

PAUL: They're suspects in the stabbing death of a Chicago cosmetologist, Trenton Cornell-Duranleau. He was found dead last week with multiple stab wounds at Lathem's Chicago apartment.

Now on the day of his death, one of the suspects walked into this public library near Chicago and made $1,000 cash donation in Duranleau's name. Police are not talking about a possible motive in this case just yet.

BLACKWELL: Let's take you to Ohio where police are searching for Brandon Powell, 32 years old, accused rapist. We are told he overpowered a deputy and then took his gun. This happened while he was being moved from a psychiatric hospital in Toledo to the (inaudible) County jail.

The sheriff said that Powell scaled a row of seats in the vehicle while he was shackled and handcuffed. He put the deputy who was driving in a headlock. The vehicle then crashed into a ditch and that's when Powell stole the deputy's gun and the handcuff key and got away. The sheriff is warning people that Powell is very dangerous.

PAUL: All right. Let's get you to this exclusive CNN report. The FBI monitored social media on election day, tracking a suspected Russian disinformation campaign, pushing Hillary Clinton's conspiracy theories. Analysts identified specific social media user accounts some they say from overseas. This was uncomfortable territory, as it was characterized, as they risked freedom of speech protections in the process for the FBI.

BLACKWELL: The special counsel in the Russia probe is asking the White House for critical information related to the former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. The "New York Times" is reporting that Robert Mueller is looking into secret payments, potentially, Flynn might have taken from a foreign government while part of the Trump campaign.

PAUL: Meanwhile, Attorney General Jeff Sessions promising to shut down leaks by targeting reporters. Sessions is now reviewing policies on subpoenaing journalists, prompting questions as to whether he's considering taking legal action to stop the personal attacks from the president.

BLACKWELL: So we are learning some really disturbing details about new techniques that ISIS might be using to target the West.

Now investigators learned of these from two men in Sydney, Australia, after they were arrested for plotting a pair of terror attacks.

PAUL: According to police, a senior ISIS commander sent the two men a, quote, "do-it-yourself bomb kit," which they used to build a fully operational IED. And they were going to use it to blow up a passenger plane.

Here's CNN's Brian Todd.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Two terror plots in Australia connected to one another show ISIS' growing ambition to strike Western targets. Two men living in Sydney have been arrested for trying to bring down a passenger plane with an IED.

DEPUTY COMMISSIONER MICHAEL PHELAN, AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL POLICE: This is one of the most sophisticated plots that has ever been attempted on Australian soil.

TODD: Australian officials say the plan was to place a bomb in checked luggage aboard an (INAUDIBLE) Airways plane. But the plotters, after getting to the airport, aborted the plan. Authorities aren't sure why. Police only got wind of the plan 11 days later.

What's new and frightening about this plot is that according to Australian officials, this was a do-it-yourself bomb. They say a senior ISIS commander sent part of the bomb assembled, along with other loose parts, including weapons grade explosives, from Turkey to his contacts in Sydney via air cargo.

PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: This is an IKEA model of terrorism. The fact that they were in touch directly to provide guidance with these plotters in Australia. The complex logistics of the plot. The supply of explosives. The imagination and ingenuity that went into it take ISIS into whole new ball game when it comes to international terrorism.

TODD: Officials say one of the suspects was going to plant the IED on his own brother, who was to be an unsuspecting mule in the attack.

CRUICKSHANK: His plan was for his own brother to bring this device on board, not knowing what it was. The idea being that his brother would have been killed in this attack, sacrificed.

TODD: When the bomb plot didn't work, Australian officials say the alleged terrorists tried to make a device that would release a dangerous chemical in closed spaces, possibly public transportation facilities. The chemical, hydrogen sulfide, a toxic industrial substance that smells like rotten eggs. Hard to make, experts say, and difficult to deploy as a weapon, but potentially deadly.

(On camera): What does it do to the body when you breathe it in?

PAUL WALKER, WMD EXPERT, GREEN CROSS INTERNATIONAL: It attacks the respiratory system and eventually the nervous system. In a very small amount, 20, 30, 40 parts per million, would kill you in a few minutes.

TODD (voice-over): Officials say there is no evidence the device was completed but a U.S. Homeland Security official tells CNN the Australia plots highlight the need to ramp up aviation security in America and not play whack-a-mole with each new threat.

(On camera): Terrorism experts say look for ISIS to continue these types of plots as the group loses territory on the battlefield. They say ISIS will continue to use IEDs and laptop bombs, chemicals and other weapons on Western targets. And they say ISIS will probably get better at evading security.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PAUL: Terrorism has gripped headlines in the United States and around the world since 2001, but a lot of people forget the horror and the rampant carnage of terrorist attacks in the 1980s.

For example, here on November 23rd, 1985, Egypt Air Flight 648 left off Greece bound for Cairo, Egypt, never reached its destination.

On tonight's episode of "DECLASSIFIED: HIJACKED, TERROR IN THE SKY" we take a look at how FBI agents launched an international manhunt for the terrorist responsible for that hijacking.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Even within the FBI, the terrorism section was kind of a small group within the criminal investigative division. It had nothing to do with intelligence. Nothing to do with security.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That CIA, the early days of the Reagan administration, there was a position called the national intelligence officer for counterterrorism. One man. But he was not in a position to get any intelligence from anybody but where the next attack is going to occur. It was all on the defensive side.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Terrorism was going virtually unchecked.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In those days, there was never a heads up. Now, we have the National Security Agency out vacuuming the sky. And they're able to tell you that, gee, we think something is happening. In 1985, this came, this was a bolt out of the sky. Literally.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: Watch "DECLASSIFIED: HIJACKED TERROR IN THE SKY," tonight at 9:00 Eastern, right here on CNN.

BLACKWELL: And the CNN exclusive this morning, we're learning the FBI watched Twitter and Facebook on Election Day 2016.

[06:35:08] They were tracking Russian fake news campaigns. We'll tell you why and what they found next.

PAUL: Also, one million jobs in six months. The July jobs report marking a milestone for President Trump. Where the job market is seeing growth and where it could use some help. That's ahead.

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PAUL: Well, CNN has learned the FBI monitored Facebook and Twitter on Election Day last November, and they did so in order to track a Russian-backed fake news campaign.

BLACKWELL: Well, the question now that many have is, did the Trump campaign have anything to do with promoting those fake stories?

Here's CNN's senior investigative correspondent Drew Griffin.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There's no question, according to the FBI, that Russia used fake news to try to influence the 2016 election.

BILL PRIESTAP, FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR OF COUNTERINTELLIGENCE: They also push fake news and propaganda. And they used online amplifiers to spread the information to as many people as possible.

[06:40:09] GRIFFIN: What Democratic congressional investigators want to know is whether Russia colluded with the Trump campaign to spread false information about Hillary Clinton through Facebook.

SEN. MARK WARNER, (D-VA), RANKING MEMBER, SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: I commend them because --

GRIFFIN: Senator Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, has traveled to Facebook headquarters in California. While he won't discuss specifics of the meeting, he tells CNN he wants to know whether the Trump campaign helped Russians to target fake news to specific Facebook users.

WARNER: I'd like to look into the activities of the Trump digital campaign. I will point out this, Facebook, which basically denied any responsibility around our elections, by the time the French elections took place this spring, they actually took down 30,000 fake sites.

GRIFFIN: Fake sites spreading fake news, mostly negative about Hillary Clinton. The Democratic theory? Somehow, the Trump campaign and Russians colluded to do it.

(On camera): So go ahead and tell me what we see right here.

(Voice-over): This is why it matters. Look at this program that tracks social media. You can clearly see the explosion of completely fabricated stories, fake news, in the months just before November's election.

GABRIELE BOLAND, CONTENT STRATEGIST, NEWSWHIP: In the fall, it just became so much of a problem.

GRIFFIN: Gabriele Boland, a content strategist with NewsWhip, a social media analytics firm, says fake news spiked astronomically in the months before the election, mostly fabricated stories about Hillary Clinton or Democrats, with headlines like "Donald Trump Protester Speaks Out: I was paid $3500 to protest Trump's rally."

The story is from a fake news site that is made to appear like the real ABC News. It was created by Paul Warner, who told CNN he writes fake news to make money, but that didn't stop his completely fake story from spreading through conservative media.

And there's this story, "FBI agent suspected in Hillary e-mail leaks found dead in an apparent murder-suicide." This story was 100 percent made-up, released on a made-up news site called the "Denver Guardian." Nothing about it was true. The author admits that to CNN. Yet it had nearly 570,000 shares, likes or comments on Facebook and was published just four days before the election.

The questions Democrats want answered are, how did fake stories from fake Web sites become so popular so quickly and did someone pay to boost fake news?

ANNOUNCER: Decades of lies, cover-ups, and scandals.

GRIFFIN: Facebook was a massive part of the Trump campaign's online advertising efforts.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I went to Wall Street.

GRIFFIN: 95 percent of Trump's fundraising ads were placed on the platform, according to campaign officials.

(On camera): But the Trump campaign flatly denied any Russian collusion whatsoever. And though, not appearing on camera, the Trump campaign official who oversaw all of the Trump campaign's digital advertising is going on record at CNN to say it simply didn't happen.

GARY COBY, DIRECTOR OF ADVERTISING, TRUMP PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: Trump followers had an amazing kind of engagement.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Gary Coby, the former director of advertising for the Republican National Committee and the Trump for President campaign, told CNN by phone, "We'd never put money behind someone else's Facebook page or source." And added, "We did not back anyone's Hillary's stories, had nothing to do with fake Hillary stories, or any Hillary stories that weren't our own."

BRAD PARSCALE, DIGITAL DIRECTOR, TRUMP PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: We would produce content.

GRIFFIN: Brad Parscale, a lead contractor on Trump's digital campaign, has also denied any involvement with Russia. Parscale has been called to testify before the House Intelligence Committee to swear to that under oath.

Facebook has done its own internal review and has reported it did find malicious actors with fake accounts spreading misinformation during the campaign, but says in a statement to CNN, "We've been in touch with a number of government officials, including Senator Warner, who are looking into the 2016 U.S. presidential election. We will continue to cooperate with the officials as their investigations continues. As we have said, we have seen no evidence that Russian actors bought ads on Facebook in connection with the election."

Drew Griffin, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PAUL: Drew, thank you.

Now still to come, a jobs report that exceeded expectations. And President Trump claiming the strong economic data is because of his policies. We'll talk about it. Stay close.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLACKWELL: Coming up on 11 minutes until the top of the hour. And some economists say that the U.S. is near or possibly at full employment. After the latest figures show the nation added more than a million jobs since President Trump took office. The data marking a milestone for the president.

PAUL: And it didn't take long before he basked in the glory. He tweeted this.

"Excellent jobs numbers just released, and I've only just begun. Many job-stifling regulations continue to fall. Movement back to USA."

CNN's business correspondent Alison Kosik has more for us.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Employers added 209,000 jobs in July. So with July's gains, more than 1 million jobs have been created while President Trump has been in office. We also saw that maze numbers were revised a bit lower. June's numbers were revised a bit higher.

And if you look at the overall trend of job additions it's not enough yet to reflect 25 million jobs goal that the president had promised would be created in 10 years. To get to that, we'd need to see 208,000 jobs added each month.

Some of the other takeaways from the July's jobs report, unemployment falling to 4.3 percent. That's actually a 16-year low and getting to a level of what economists call full employment.

[06:50:02] The downside to that is we're seeing stagnant wages, despite seeing this higher demand for more workers. Right now we're seeing a ton of job openings. More than 6 million job openings in the U.S. The thing is, employers can't fill them. And we're not seeing wages accelerate either. Usually you'd see the wages accelerate to try to get those people in those jobs.

We only saw wages rise 2.5 percent from last year. And we've seen that number kind of hovering at that level for a while. So this is a conundrum that the Fed has been trying to figure out.

All right. So where did employers add jobs? We saw job additions in health care, 39,000 of them. Those are higher paying jobs. Food services saw a big jump. 53,000 job additions there. Business services saw 49,000 jobs. And manufacturing saw 16,000 job bump for July. And that can be credited to a lot of fundamental happening in the economy.

So overall July's job report is strong. And it shows the labor market continues to charge forward.

I'm Alison Kosik in New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLACKWELL: Alison, thank you very much.

Warriors star Steph Curry proving he's not just a single sport athlete. Andy Scholes here with details.

He's trying to do the Bo Jackson or is that -- that's a dated reference I think.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: He is trying to do the Bo Jackson, Victor, just not the same sports.

BLACKWELL: Yes.

SCHOLES: Curry, of course, two-time NBA MVP. And he's showing he's got game when it comes to teeing it up. We'll show you how he did in his first ever professional golf tournament. That's up next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:55:23] PAUL: So the White House continues to roll out these new theme weeks, but the headlines from those weeks keep overshadowing other things that are coming out of the White House.

BLACKWELL: Yes. Tom Foreman has the story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The White House clearly wanted American dream week to underscore all the things it feels it is doing for the economy. They wanted to point out how they were cutting red tape and regulation for businesses out there, how they were working on better trade deals, how they were supporting small businesses, how they hoped to rewrite the tax code and ultimately how they hoped that this would produce millions of jobs for regular people.

But look what happened. Once again, they were derailed by their own problems. Monday, all the news was about how the new communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, was fired after 10 tumultuous days. Tuesday, the news was dominated by the fact that Donald Trump Sr., the president, had helped his son, Donald Trump Jr., craft a statement about that meeting with the Russians at Trump Tower, the White House previously that hadn't happened.

Wednesday, the White House rolls out its new immigration plan, and immediately comes under attack, with many people saying that's very much not in the spirit of the American dream. On Thursday, the news was about how the president had those phone calls, the transcripts released with the presidents of Mexico and of Australia. And of course going into the weekend, the news is about how the special counsel, Robert Mueller, was now looking at President Trump's finances and issued subpoenas for a grand jury.

None of the things the president wanted to focus on -- the American Dream Week. And this sort of things happened before. Since early June, the White House has tried all sorts of themes here. And time and again, they've been derailed. Infrastructure Week over here. They rolled that one out. Same week James Comey, the former FBI director, was in Congress testifying about how the president had fired him.

Energy Week, that's when the president tweeted about those MSNBC hosts. And that story took over the headlines. And over here in Made in America Week, the Trump family businesses immediately came under fire because they outsource work and they get supplies from other countries over there.

So the bottom line is, the president and the White House have tried over and over to say, let's talk about something else. Let's set the agenda. And their own actions and problems have derailed it over and over again.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PAUL: All right. Tom, thank you.

Listen, Tom Brady spoke with the media yesterday. Didn't deny suffering a concussion last season.

BLACKWELL: Andy Scholes here with the "Bleacher Report."

SCHOLES: Hey, good morning, guys. Yes. And so earlier this off season, Brady's wife Gisele told CBS this morning that he suffered a concussion last season. Now this was only news because the Patriots never listed Brady as having any type of head injury during last season. Now Brady was asked yesterday to kind of clear the air on whether or not he did, in fact, have a concussion.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TOM BRADY, NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS QUARTERBACK: I don't want to get into, you know, things that happened in my past. Certainly medical history and so forth. I really don't think that's anybody's business. But it's a contact sport, and I think we all understand that. And there's a lot of great benefits that football brings you. Certainly you can be put in harm's way.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHOLES: Now Brady turned 40 years old on Thursday. And he was also asked about a recent study that found that 110 of 111 former NFL players' brains that were studied were found to have a degenerative disease CTE and Brady said, quote, of the study, "I think you're not blind to it as a player." Adding he is confident in his health regimen. And he learned from the struggles of retired players who are dealing with health issues.

Warriors superstar Steph Curry proving for the second straight day that he can hang on the course. Curry playing in the Ellie Mae Classic this week at the Web.com Tour event which is basically the minor league of golf. He shot a 4 over 74 for the second straight day. And Curry didn't end up making the cut but it's a very impressive showing for his first ever pro tournament.

And veteran golfer Dawie van der Walt told ESPN that he would eat his own golf bag if Curry broke 82 days in a row. And now he tweeted out this pic of himself with a steak knife and a fork after Curry's round, adding, hashtag, "It tastes terrible."

Good luck eating that.

Finally today we say good-bye to the greatest sprinter of all time. Usain Bolt set to compete in his final race this afternoon at the world championships. The 30-year-old Jamaican qualified for the final in the 100-meter yesterday winning his seat despite describing his performance as very bad. Bolt, eight-time Olympic gold medalist, the first man to hold the world record in both the 100 and 200 meter races.

And guys, I've got to tell you, not looking forward to the 2020 Summer Olympics. No Bolt. No Michael Phelps. I mean, losing two once-in-a- generation type athletes at the same time.

PAUL: Thirty years old and has to retire.

BLACKWELL: Rough.

PAUL: Thirty. That's rough.

SCHOLES: Yes.

BLACKWELL: Rough life.

Thank you, Andy.

(CROSSTALK)

SCHOLES: Have a good one.

PAUL: Thank you so much.

We have learned that some FBI counterintelligence agents spent Election Day huddled in a war room looking for fake news.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KELLYANNE CONWAY, WHITE HOUSE COUNSELOR: These types of endeavors end up being fishing expedition.