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50 Plus People Rescued from Rubble in Mexico City; Frantic Search Still on for People buried in the Rubble; Facebook to Give 2016 Russian-Troll Ads to Congress. Aired 3:30-4p ET
Aired September 21, 2017 - 15:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[15:30:00] PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: Back live here. I want to go to these pictures we have at the scene where search efforts are under way, frantic search efforts, to rescue a little girl, a 12-year-old little girl who was trapped in the rubble understood beneath her collapsed school in the wake of that earthquake there in Mexico City. You can see there's a large crowd there of rescue workers, civilians, others just trying to help. To help some survivors actually coming back to the scene. Little girls, little students coming back to the scene to see where things stand with the rescue efforts at that collapsed school. And I want to go now to Chuck Ryan, task force leader for USAID and assistant fire chief in Fairfax County. Chuck, talk us through the biggest challenges rescue workers could be facing right now some 48 hours after the quake hit.
CHUCK RYAN, TASK FORCE LEADER, USAID (via phone): So the real challenge especially in an earthquake situation is the potential for secondary collapse, whether it's just due to the weakened structure itself or an aftershock. So, the survivability profile really starts to shrink after about 48 hours. And the risks to rescuers increase with every passing hour, really, and with every aftershock.
BROWN: How concerned are you, Chuck, that this building, this school, might suffer additional collapse?
RYAN: You know, not knowing the construction of the structure initially, it's really kind of difficult to say. But once any structures, bones if you will, have been compromised, then anything really is possible. The structural integrity is gone and it's really just being held up by its broken pieces. So, the potential for secondary collapse is very real.
BROWN: How does the weather factor into this? Because my understanding is that it rained there last night. How could that impact the rescue efforts?
RYAN: The weather is a very big factor, especially if there are heavy rains because water will seek its lowest level. It will find ways into the void spaces as such. If somebody -- a victim is trapped, a viable victim is trapped and in a voids space, but a small one and it starts to fill with water. That, obviously, can have catastrophic consequences, as well as the temperatures. It's fairly mild, but I'm sure the temperatures drop very low at night. Injured persons are very susceptible to hypothermia, even in what we would consider warmer weather conditions. [16:05:00] BROWN: I was with, Chuck, the Fairfax search and rescue
team in Haiti, I was an embed with them after the earthquake in Haiti and I was just amazed to see how the team would work really in harmony, really in symphony in their rescue efforts. Tell us about what goes into that, what goes into the training for these rescue workers when the time comes they have to get the job done?
RYAN: So, it's very specialized very intense training that's very different from standard firefighting practices or even structural collapse necessarily in the settings we may see it here in the United States and elsewhere. The earthquake is a game changer. So, the methodologies that go into making those very small spaces safe for both rescuers and the viable trapped person to, A, get to them, give them some initial medical treatment and then safely get them out. It's very intense.
BROWN: All right. Chuck Ryan, thank you so much for coming on.
RYAN: Yes, Pamela. Good to talk to you. Thanks.
BROWN: You too. And up next, more breaking news this hour. Facebook right now announcing that it will release the infamous ads linked to Russian trolls during the 2016 election after all. Standby, that's next.
BROWN: And we are following some breaking news from Facebook headquarters this hour. CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaking right now about the site's plans for protecting American election. The American election as Facebook faces severe backlash, we are told they will release the infamous ads linked to Russian trolls during the election. Listen.
MARK ZUCKERBERG, CEO, FACEBOOK: -- maybe the most important step we're taking is we're going to make political advertising more transparent. So, when someone buys political ads on tv or other media, they're required by law to disclose who paid for them. But you still don't know if you're seeing the same messages as everyone else. So, we're going to bring Facebook to an even higher standard of transparency. Not only will you have to disclose which page paid for an ad, but we will also make it so you can visit an advertiser's page and see the ads that they're currently running to any audience on Facebook.
[15:40:00] We will roll this out over the coming months. And we will work with others to create a new standard for transparency in online political ads. Fourth, we will strengthen our own ad review process for political ads. Now, to be clear, it has always been against our policies to use any of our tools in a way that breaks the law. And we have many controls already in place to prevent this. But we can do more. Most ads are bought programmatically through our apps and website without an advertiser ever speaking to someone at Facebook. And that's what happened here. But even without our employees directly involved in the sales, we can
do better. Now, I'm not going to sit here and tell you that we're going to catch all bad content in our system. We don't check what people say before they say it. And, frankly, I don't think society should want us to. Freedom means you don't have to ask for permission first. And that by default you can say what you want. And if you break our community standards or you break the law, then you're going to face consequences afterwards. We won't catch everyone immediately. But we can make it harder to try to interfere.
BROWN: All right. I'm going to bring in Paul Callan, CNN legal analyst, and Manu Raju, CNN senior congressional correspondent. Manu, it was weeks ago that Facebook alerted Congress that in fact it had discovered these 3,000 ads linked to a Russian troll farm. Why is Facebook turning over these ads now two weeks later? What's the explanation?
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is enormous pressure, pam. Really members of congress on the senate intelligence committee in particular senator Richard Burr, the chairman of that committee, Senator Mark Warner, the vice chairman of the committee had been calling for the release of these ads. Calling for more information, particularly Senator Warner, and they have not ruled out even going to the extent of actually issuing subpoenas to get that information.
And Facebook saying today they found more than 3,000 ads addressing social and political issues that ran in the U.S. between 2015 and 2017 that appears to be linked to this Russian entity known as the Internet Research Agency. That's what they disclosed to members of Congress in this classified briefing by the Senate Intelligence Committee.
But Facebook this prospect of possible subpoenas and being dragged in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee in a public hearing next month ultimately, they have made the decision, Pam, that they had to go this route, be more transparent, particularly as they've suggested they're cooperating with special counsel's investigation. Robert Mueller also seeking that information and getting some of that as well -- Pamela.
BROWN: So, Paul, what's your take? Do you think Facebook was forced to do this legally?
PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I don't necessarily think they would be faced -- required to do it legally. Although Mueller's team has made noises about subpoenaing records that may be related to this. But the larger question of course is that you have an accusation that the American presidential election was influenced by the Russians. This is what we've been talking about all day. What's going on in that investigation. And here I think Facebook internally looked at this and said the American people want to know what was in these ads. How patently false were they so that ultimately, we can determine did they influence the American election.
[15:45:01] So, I think there would be a lot of public pressure in the end on Facebook, even if legally they didn't have to disclose.
BROWN: Dylan, let me ask you. I want to bring you in, you broke this story. First off, why was Facebook hesitant on this a couple weeks ago? It seemed like it was kind of sketchy whether they would release the ads. And why are they now coming forward in your view from talking to your sources and releasing these ads to Congress?
DYLAN BYERS, CNN SENIOR MEDIA AND POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, two reasons. I mean, first of all to go back, they cited privacy concerns. What Facebook always said is, look, we are legally obliged to keep this information private. The reason they were able to give it to special counsel Robert Mueller was because he issued a search warrant for it. I think what Facebook realizes now is that the public pressure, the public scrutiny on the company just sort of the unanswered questions, and I think some of the pushback not just from the public, not just from Congress, but even from people high up inside of the own company, inside of the company.
They decided, look, we are going to have to come forward. We're going to have to be more accountable. We're going to have to step up here, not think about ourselves as sort of an agnostic platform. But as a public utility that did ultimately have some sort of influence in the election. They are taking greater responsibility for that. I also think they're working with Congress. They know that some form of regulations are going to be coming down the line. They want to work to mitigate that and have the least amount of regulations possible.
BROWN: Let me just ask you, Dylan, the announcement came today from Mark Zuckerberg that these 3,000 ads will be released to congress. What about to the public though? Will the public be able to see these ads to know if perhaps they were duped? Figuring it out, was I duped during the campaign, during the election?
BYERS: Right. And as of now the answer to that question is no. Look, I think you and I both know the way the media works. At some point, it's hard to imagine that someone's not going to get their hands on these ads, but for the moment, no. Facebook is not releasing these ads to the public based off conferring's I've had with sources there they feel that doing so might help future, you know, future foreign actors in terms of figuring out how to use platforms like Facebook and other social media platforms to interfere in future elections. But it's aggravating. It's aggravating to a lot of people who want to know, did I see an ad that caused me to think differently about an issue or differently about a candidate that happened to be coming from an account linked to a pro-kremlin troll farm. It's a serious concern.
RAJU: And, Pamela --
BROWN: Go ahead.
RAJU: -- if I can add.
RAJU: One of the things that the investigators on The Hill in particular are looking at is exactly the geographical targeting that occurred during the elections. Exactly who was targeted and how they were targeted and whether or not there was any assistance from any American individuals to try to actually move forward and target those ads in a way to sway voters. That's a question they have not answered if there were any Trump associates involved, but now it's being released to congress certainly going to be an area of investigation at least on Capitol Hill. It's going to continue to move towards to figure out if there was any U.S. involvement at all.
CALLAN: Can I add quickly, Pam, I think once these ads are turned over to Congress they will become a matter of public record. I think it will be impossible to keep this secret. It's important information about how the American public was influenced. I mean, you have to remember that Facebook has become the major source of news for a very, very large percentage of the American public, particularly younger people. They get all their news from Facebook. So, I think the American public has a right to know what ads were published, where were they published and what influence did they have. I can't imagine that they won't be ultimately released in full.
BROWN: All right. We'll have to wait and see what happens. Guys, thank you very much.
CALLAN: Thank you.
BROWN: And up next, we are keeping our eyes on Mexico as search teams race to save survivors still trapped in the rubble. Also, a dire situation unfolding right now in Puerto Rico, now getting pounded by heavy rains after hurricane Maria devastated the region. CNN is on the ground and we have a live report in just a moment.
[15:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BALDWIN: Welcome back. Right now, at this hour, there are frantic search and rescue efforts under way all over Mexico City. And particularly at this school. You're looking at the scene right now of a collapsed school in Mexico City where rescue efforts are under way to save a 12-year-old little girl, perhaps other children. The hope of course is that they are still alive. But as every minute goes by, hope is dwindling there on the scene in Mexico City. And joining me now is Sonia Heritage. Sonia Heritage, she's a search and rescue expert. So, here we are 48 hours out. What is the prognosis for any victims who might still be alive trapped under the rubble?
SONIA HERITAGE, SEARCH AND RESCUE EXPERT: Well, I mean, we do have some time. It really depends on where they're trapped. If they're up against concrete, it really pulls the warmth right out of your body. I know it's getting a little cool there. And that concrete gets cold really, really fast. So, it's -- if they're on another type of debris, a little bit better, certainly for them. But regardless the rescue folks are just going to keep pushing on because we've just got to keep trying. And, you know, there have been live finds over a week, but they'll -- the odds go down, definitely.
[15:55:00] BROWN: Yes. And how concerned are you, Sonia, that this building might suffer additional collapse? I imagine every move you make the concern is it could come a domino effect.
HERITAGE: It's very true. Absolutely. Everything is tied to everything at this point. And it kind of looks to me like they've gotten all the loose debris out, you know, as best they could with the bucket brigade and just with their hands and some tools. But, you know, what is left is reinforced concrete. And that's going to take some specialized training and some specialized equipment to get through that safely so that it doesn't create another issue.
BROWN: All right. Sonia Heritage, thank you so much.
HERITAGE: You're welcome.
BROWN: And among the victims of the deadly quake in Mexico, 12 people who were supposed to be celebrating a new life. This is truly a heart, heart-breaking story. They were all gathered to together for the baptism of a two-month-old baby, at a church near the epicenter of Tuesday's quake. As the church began to shake, the ceiling started to give way, trapping everyone inside under falling rubble. Eleven of the church goers and Alita, her little the baby being baptized did not make it out alive. Their coffins line the streets of the small town torn apart by this devastating quake. The young girl's father, priest, and the priest assistant were the only one who survived. Back in just a moment.