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CNN NEWSROOM

Tropical Storm Maria Following Irma's Path; protests in St. Louis After Former Officer's Acquittal; Facebook Hands Over Russia- Linked Ads; Sean Spicer Jokes About Crowd Size At Emmys. Aired 10:30- 11a ET

Aired September 18, 2017 - 10:30   ET

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


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[10:31:16] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: This morning, three named storms are churning in the Atlantic. Much of the attention, though, is going to the one you see in the middle there, Hurricane Maria. It's a category 2 hurricane following the same destructive path that Irma took just a week ago and quickly picking up strength.

Meteorologist Chad Myers is tracking it all.

You cannot have a day off, sir, because these storms are one after the next after the next.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I don't. I know. I just -- I have my cot right there. Just my little coffee pot and my little cot, it's right there.

Here is Maria. It is now a category 2 storm, 110 miles per hour. Earlier today it was like 85 or 90. So it got strong quickly.

Now Lee is going to get in the middle of the Atlantic and die. Jose is doing nothing good today. That's the great news. It is just sucking in dry air off the east coast of the U.S. and losing an eye. That would still will make a lot of waves, a lot of wind and all that, but it's not going to regain a big category in a hurricane strength.

But look at this. 140-mile-per-hour storm, category 4, expected near St. Croix, Fort Vieques and Culebra, and even into Puerto Rico. That will be the biggest storm this area has seen in 85 years.

You talked about how this is near Irma, but in fact it's about 200 miles farther south than Irma. Here's what the hurricane models are saying into the Atlantic Ocean, staying off shore, but you know what, by the time we're out this far, this is eight days, it can do just about anything it wants to.

So let's get to the floor here. We'll talk about where Irma went. It went over Barbuda. This is going over Dominica, significantly farther to the south, but there is a cross. There is a cross where this storm will go right over the top of where Irma went. That is somewhere just north of Puerto Rico. Again in the Turks and Caicos.

This is an area that was hit so very hard. Now this is not forecast to be a category 5 hurricane yet. But it is still gaining strength. You're looking for pressure, 964 was the last pressure that the Hurricane Hunter flew over. That is the last pressure that we know of right now.

So the storm is still gaining strength. It's still moving to the northeast. We still and already have warnings posted here for the Leeward Islands. The big story here about Jose, it's a wind and wave maker and for now, that's all -- Poppy.

HARLOW: All right. Chad, thank you for working overtime tracking all those three storms for us as they churn in the Atlantic.

Meantime, protesters gathering again this morning in St. Louis. This was the scene just moments ago as marchers blocked traffic there. More than 80 people were arrested overnight in a third night of demonstrations in St. Louis. These protesters continuing after the acquittal of a former police officer who had been charged with first- degree murder.

Dan Simon joins us live.

And, Dan, if you would, give us the latest on the protest but also a little bit of background on this case if people missed the verdict that came down Friday.

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Poppy. I want to be really clear about what's happening in St. Louis. During the day, you have peaceful organized protests and then at night things turn into chaos. That has been the overall trend for the past three days. And there's no reason to think that tonight will be any different.

I want to explain where we are. We are in downtown St. Louis. This is some of the remnants of the damage from last night. You can see these boarded up windows. This is the Marriott Convention Center downtown, across the street where you have the hotel. You have more windows smashed.

And the scenario goes something like this. Once the peaceful protests ends, you have a small band of protesters, around two dozen or so. They face off with police, they throw bottles at officers, they throw rocks. Businesses get vandalized, windows get smashed, arrests are made. Over the weekend about 100 people were arrested, just 80 last night.

[10:35:03] And in terms of the case, Poppy, this is a situation that goes back to December of 2011. Former officer Jason Stockley was in the midst of a car chase. This was a drug suspect. And he ended up shooting this suspect claiming that his life was in danger. He says he saw a gun. Prosecutors thought that the gun was planted. They said they had evidence of that.

But the judge was not convinced. The verdict was handed down on Friday and then ever since then you had all of these protests pop up -- Poppy.

HARLOW: Yes. All right. Dan Simon, thank you for watching them and differentiating importantly between what we're seeing during the day and what has been transpiring overnight there. We appreciate the reporting. Thank you.

Facebook finds itself in the middle of the probe into the Russian election meddling. The social media giant handing over ads and data to Special Counsel Bob Mueller's office. The significance is next. But first the markets, the records keep rolling in for Wall Street. U.S. stocks opened higher about an hour ago.

All three major averages hitting fresh all time highs. Today's push builds on some pretty strong gains from last week when we saw the Dow increased 2 percent for its best week in nine months. You've got big tech names, like Apple and Microsoft, leading the charge.

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[10:40:53] HARLOW: This morning Special Counsel Bob Mueller's office is now in possession of Facebook ads that are linked back to Russia that ran during the presidential campaign. Mueller's office obtained a search warrant for all that information and it could take a significant turn in the investigation into Russia's election meddling.

Joining us now CNN senior reporter for Media and Politics, Dylan Byers, who has a deep dive on this, and also with me CNN legal and national security analyst, Asha Rangappa, who went on a tweet spree about this yesterday. She's also former FBI special agent.

So, Asha, we'll get to your tweets in a moment. But, Dylan, to you first, big picture here. This is Facebook sort of in the crosshairs of this, turning over ads, turning over data, turning over a lot it seems to Mueller's office, stuff that these congressional committees on the Hill don't even have.

DYLAN BYERS, CNN SENIOR MEDIA AND POLITICAL REPORTER: Right. And that's very significant, Poppy, the difference between the two. Facebook right now, based on my conversations with sources there, they are much more comfortable working with the special counsel on this. They know that he has a clear, defined mission here in terms of assessing Russia's meddling in the election.

They look at Congress, they see a lot of political elements at play. They see political posturing.

HARLOW: Yes.

BYERS: They also believe that many of the members of both the Senate and House Intelligence Committee might be in over their head in terms of trying to sort of demonize Facebook and go after what's going on here. But no, the key element in terms of what's happening here, Mueller is now in possession of the ads. He also is in possession of all of the detailed records about the accounts that bought those ads and how those ads were targeted.

He can use all of that to sort of factor that in to his ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the election. HARLOW: Asha, some of what you tweeted yesterday includes this, "The

key here, though, is that Mueller clearly already has enough information on these accounts, you write, and their linked to a potential crime to justify forcing Facebook to give up the info. That means he has uncovered a great deal of evidence through other avenues." Explain?

ASHA RANGAPPA, CNN LEGAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Yes. So part of the reason that I think Facebook is more comfortable, though, perhaps not entirely happy about working with Mueller, is he had to go through a judicial process. So he apparently had a search warrant which means that he had to go in front of a federal judge and show them that he believes that a crime has been committed and that evidence of that crime exists in Facebook's records.

So he has to come and say look, I've gathered all of this, I believe that X number of individuals, so he has to go after specific accounts. It just can't be like a broad Facebook warrant. He has to make the case to a judge that these people perhaps illegally contributed to a federal election. So once the judge signs off on this he can then get the information that was just prescribed to then help build his case.

And what's really notable about this, Poppy, is that, you know, there's a saying in investigations follow the money and here he's following the digital footprint and it does say a lot that for all of the -- for all of Russia's active measures they have left a digital trail and that's one that Mueller is pursuing.

HARLOW: Dylan, in the midst of all of this, you have potentially Jared Kushner. Why? Not because he's the president's son-in-law, not because he's the senior adviser to the White House, because he is the guy who ran the data analytics operation for the Trump campaign.

BYERS: Right. And also --

HARLOW: What could this mean for him? What is the significance there?

BYERS: Well, ultimately one of the key things that Mueller is going to be looking for here is not just the question of how did Russia use Facebook. Obviously the question is, was there any sort of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian groups that were tied to the Kremlin or of course the Kremlin itself.

If you have Jared Kushner's data operation the way the campaign itself was targeting voters, if you have the Russian ad buyers using that data to target their Facebook ad buys all of a sudden you have a really big bombshell in this Russia investigation. So that, of course, one of the many things that Mueller is going to be looking into with this new data that he has.

[10:45:06] HARLOW: You know, Asha, when I think Facebook and the potential for some of these Facebook executives to testify in front of Congress, as you know we've heard a number of members of Congress talk about, wanting questions answered, when I think of Facebook I also think of privacy. I mean, there is a big privacy protection that one is granted through using Facebook. How does that complicate things in terms of what Facebook can actually turn over?

RANGAPPA: Sure. This is why Facebook relies so much on these court orders because they've made representations to the people who use their service that they are going to protect their privacy and they lay out the -- these circumstances under which they will turn this information over. So basically the people who are using their service have relied on those representations in putting all kinds of things on Facebook. So Facebook, I think, legitimately has some reluctance to, you know, throwing things out there without the proper procedure.

It's worth noting that, you know, their policies are in place because of the disclosures made by Edward Snowden which kind of blew open that they had been complying very freely for a while with law enforcement and it kind of ended up blowing up in their face. So now they're offering a lot more protections to their customers but it does complicate the current situation.

HARLOW: So -- and, Dylan, you know, we -- Facebook has not at least has not yet made these ads, these ad buys that were made by what is deemed to be Russian troll farms public. So you and I can't see them. I mean, maybe you can. You have really good sourcing, maybe you'll get them and bring them here.

(LAUGHTER)

BYERS: No.

HARLOW: But I mean, there is this question about what the public should be granted.

BYERS: Right.

HARLOW: And what the public should be able to see.

BYERS: Right. And this is really the big concern and when we sort of pull back and look at the big picture here what we're talking about is the question about transparency and accountability. What level of accountability should companies like, not just Facebook, Twitter, Google, even Apple. What sort of transparency and accountability should these companies have?

Up to date, the public has allowed these companies to think of themselves effectively as just platforms, diagnostic platforms where anything can happen and it's, you know, our hands are clean, really not our responsibility.

Now those companies are facing public backlash and they're coming to terms with the fact that they have to start thinking about themselves as public utilities and even as media companies and that requires greater -- a greater sense of editorial and even moral standards.

HARLOW: That's why we're glad that you work for CNN and help bring it all to us because there's the tech aspect of it, seriously, and there's the media aspect as well and it all converges here of all places.

BYERS: Sure.

HARLOW: Dylan Byers, thank you very much. Asha Rangappa, thank you as well.

BYERS: Thank you.

HARLOW: Still ahead for us, the Emmys got way political last night. One moment shocking the audience and causing stunning reaction. We will reveal it next.

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[10:52:22] HARLOW: If you watched them last night you saw the Emmys were not all about TV. Politics took a leading role, even stole the show. And while the president was not in the room last night he may well have been because his presence loomed large. Watch this.

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STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, EMMY AWARDS 2017: Unfortunately, at this point, we have no way of knowing how big our audience is. I mean, is there anyone who could say how big the audience is?

Sean, do you know?

SEAN SPICER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: This will be the largest audience to witness an Emmys, period, both in person and around the world.

COLBERT: Wow. That really soothes my fragile ego. I can understand why you'd want one of these guys around. Melissa McCarthy, everybody. Give it up.

(LAUGHTER)

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HARLOW: Jaws dropped at Sean Spicer's cameo as he mocked his own words from back in January when he defended the size of the president's inauguration crowd. Also taking a swipe at the president there with that, but this was back in January.

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SPICER: This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe.

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HARLOW: The lovely Stephanie Elam joins me from Los Angeles and, look, a lot of jaws dropped there, a lot of laughs, but this was essentially conceding at least a tacit admission that when he said that in January, you know, misleading the American people. What was the reaction? What is the buzz this morning?

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, maybe Sean Spicer, Poppy, is just in a different world all to himself now because he has left the administration. Maybe that's what this is. Maybe that's why he thought it was OK.

A lot of people were shocked to see him. I think Melissa McCarthy looked genuinely shocked to see him there.

HARLOW: Yes.

ELAM: Behind his podium. But, you know, it was interesting to look at how people were responding and you could see a lot of people on Twitter saying -- and using the word normalize, do not normalize Sean Spicer, he lied to the American people. Some people thought that this may have just been pandering to the right because, as you know, Hollywood is so left leaning, that that may have been part of the reason he was there. But a lot of people just shocked that he was there and frankly didn't feel it was necessary to be there.

I mean, if you look at it, Poppy, there were so many political jokes from the get-go. I mean, Stephen Colbert has made -- has had a lovely year because of Donald Trump and that was evident from the beginning of his monologue and all the way through the show. At one point he was doing a Westwood segment and he said like -- he was asking how often do you question reality, he's like every day since November 8th.

[10:55:02] So you saw it throughout the show. A lot of people were speaking about it. You even heard Julia Louis-Dreyfus when she won talking about they're looking at impeachment.

HARLOW: Right.

ELAM: But they decided to let that go because they thought someone would beat them to the punch. So it was throughout the show, no doubt about it. And obviously Alec Baldwin winning for "Saturday Night Live" portraying Donald Trump was a huge statement in that way. He said, "At long last, Mr. President, here is your Emmy." Because he was nominated for "The Apprentice" but he never won.

HARLOW: Quickly, Stephanie, before we go, that is sort of -- a shadow is being cast over it this morning because of the Sean Spicer and all the President Trump stuff, diversity. It was a big night for diversity and we saw, you know, a showing a lot of people have been waiting for, for a long time.

ELAM: You did. And you saw it in a lot of different ways. It wasn't just black folks who are winning. You saw Aziz Ansari winning as well. You saw diversity in the shape of LBGTQ as well with his co- writer Lena Waithe willing as well with him. So you saw it in multiple places here in the show. The one sad part, though, is that Sterling K. Brown didn't get to finish his speech because it was the best one of the night. So that was the one thing that was a little sad.

HARLOW: Indeed. I'm sure people can see all of it online.

Stephanie Elam, thank you very much. We'll be right back.

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