Return to Transcripts main page
Fake Black Activist Accounts Linked to Russia; Packers, Bears Lock Arms During Anthem; Puerto Rican Couple Returns Home to Ruins. Aired 6:30-7a ET
Aired September 29, 2017 - 06:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[06:31:08] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: OK. Now to a CNN exclusive: there is a social media campaign calling itself blacktivists. It was designed to look like an American grassroots effort. But in fact, it was orchestrated by the Russian government to amplify racial tensions during the U.S. presidential election.
According to sources, the fake accounts on Twitter and Facebook used message office police violence against African-Americans to divide the country.
Our political panel is back with us, A.B. Stoddard, Alex Burns and Karoun Demirjian.
This is CNN exclusive reporting. And just so everybody understands what we're talking about what these Russian accounts did, let me just read some of them for everyone. We will put them on the screen.
Here are the messages in tweets that people got. And you'll see they're strange, OK? So here it is.
For the entire history of the United States, black -- that's a typo, black have faced a legal system that treats them worst than an enemy. Next, black people should wake up as soon as possible. Blacks families are divided and destroyed by mass incarceration and death of black men.
Next, United States of American continues to show that it's not for black people even though America was built on our backs. Meet this upstanding young man doing big things. Blacks still are talking back seats to the white America but he broke it through.
A.B., the syntax is strange. And that I guess should be a tipoff, however, it wasn't, because nobody knew Russia was doing this to this scale.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: And it is Twitter and we are in the age of covfefe. People's standards have dropped, you know?
A.B. STODDARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, REALCLEARPOLITICS: Who's going to read that and say this must be written by a Russian somewhere. It's -- this is the kind of thing that Trump supporters and maybe the president himself will read and say, see, this really was -- this was designed to help Hillary Clinton, not me. None of this matters. We have no way I think to measure the outcomes
that came from this influence. But the influence is there.
The sophistication is actually, if I may use the word exceptional, how much they dug into this process. How -- we're going to learn more and more -- actually how widespread it was. And it shows that right now, we have an administration and a Congress that is refusing to address this sophistication that how much are perfecting their active measures --
CAMEROTA: But Congress is having hearings. What do you mean Congress is refusing to accept? I mean --
STODDARD: I don't -- well, they are and it is a bipartisan effort and they're making an effort to expose this. But I don't see for an election year away or another presidential election three years away any effort to begin to mitigate this threat and protect our elections going forward. That pressure really has to come to bear soon.
CUOMO: Well, here's the hope, Alex, is that as we now see the meat on the bones of what they did do, the president's hollow resistance of there was no real interference. Nothing really made a different. They didn't really do anything. This is all fake news. Hopefully, he stops that, because now, it will really look at a minimum wrong and a maximum like doth protest too much if he keeps denying this obvious reality.
The question is, well, what do you do about it? And who helped them do this?
So, A.B. is right about one part. The other part is, how did they know to do blacktivist? How did they know where to put these ads? How did they know what states to put it in? Is that just Russian sophistication?
Or does that get you into the phone call that you got where someone said, where would you put ads if you could and you gave them information? That's a big part of this investigation as well.
ALEX BURNS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: And are these tweets going to people who might be seen as is sympathetic to a Black Lives Matter message or going to white people to get them upset about Black Lives Matter message? There are a lot of on questions to be answered here. And from what we've heard so far, Twitter has not been super forthcoming with congressional investigators about what exactly appears to have gone on.
[06:35:07] I do think just for starters, a really important thing for all of us to do and really all Americans to do is to just sort of kind of get this let the buyer beware message out there, that, you know, this sense during the campaign that some people apparently had, that we know from just our lives that people have about engaging on Internet, the things that you see are usually what they seem to be. That's just clearly --
CUOMO: It's not just the Russians. You have a lot of agenda that play there with fake accounts and people who say things that are patently false, just to drive --
CAMEROTA: Oh, absolutely. We learned this from the Oxford study that we showed on the program yesterday, Karoun. I mean, that people who were going to Twitter or Facebook for their news, that is -- Twitter and Facebook, they're not journalists. And, by the way, they have also been woefully late to be transparent and to try to fix this.
Senator Mark Warner commented on how disappointed he has been yesterday. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MARK WARNER (D), VIRGINIA: The presentation that the Twitter team made to the Senate Intel staff today was deeply disappointing. The notion that their work was basically derivative based upon accounts that Facebook had identified show that enormous lack of understanding from the Twitter team of how serious this issue is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: Karoun, it sounds like they're not on board yet with really fixing this.
KAROUN DEMIRJIAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: No. And I think you have Warner is saying it's deeply disappointing. You have Adam Schiff, the House Intelligence Committee staffers talked to Twitter yesterday too saying he's questioning whether Twitter has the capacity to be able to look at these things if they are only going after the accounts that Facebook already linked as being suspect. And that just kind of puts this all into perspective of there is not an easy fix. It's not clear that these companies were built as platforms really necessarily know exactly what they're doing, especially if they're in the business like Twitter of not vetting things.
And generally speaking, the country is kind of going through this interesting education right now seeing how Russia sees us. I mean, I was living in Russia when Ferguson was happening. They were obsessed with it. It was on the news all the time in Russia. They were really tuned in, as they have been through their entire story of the Soviet Union, to any sort of thing that divides the American population.
And racial issues have been a real, difficult, stumbling block for the United States in many different generations. And so, you know, Russia was watching that for a long time. We weren't watching how they were watching us, and now, we're in a situation where we're saying, OK, well, who is advising them about exactly how specifically to get these accounts and wasn't it too close?
I mean, there have Americans going to Russia for years with a political background. It's not like a closed off society that doesn't have experts they can pay and exploit to figure things out over time. And yes, maybe it was much more acutely well-orchestrated effort in the last several months, but it is something we are just waking up to and Russia has been paying attention to for a very long time.
CUOMO: Well, look, you had some in the Intel Committee not jumped on this as urgent because this has been going on for a long time, right? That's one aspect. But the last part of what you said, Karoun, is going to be the biggest part I believe with the fruit of this investigation who helped them? Who knew?
Who knew what they were doing? Who knew what they were trying to do? You know, who was in that loop? That's going to be a big part of the investigation.
CAMEROTA: But that's really good context that Karoun gave us, that they have been focused on all of the discord in America for a long time.
Panel, thank you very much on for all that insight.
CUOMO: All right. So, big night last night in sports and in this evolving culture situation. The Bears and Packers went at it. What did the players do before that game started?
You're looking at it. They stood, they locked arms during the national anthem last night. And some Green Bay fans did the same thing.
We have details of the game before the game in "Bleacher Report", next.
[06:43:00] CAMEROTA: NFL teams continue to go show unity. Bears and Packers locking arms during the anthem before last night's game.
Andy Scholes has more for us in this morning's "Bleacher Report".
ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, good morning, Alisyn.
Aaron Rodgers invited fans to also lock arms during the national anthem last night in the stands but didn't get very good participation. The broadcast showed just a very small number of fans locking arms. But nearly all the Bears and Packers did so on the sideline. Rodgers said what they are doing has started some great conversations.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AARON RODGERS, GREEN BAY PACKERS QUARTERBACK: As much as some people want us to just shut up and play football, sports and politics have always intersected. And if we can help continue the conversation through demonstration of unity like tonight, I think that's a good thing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHOLES: Probably for the first time ever, three former presidents on the opening hand of the President's Cup. And check it out, Phil Mickelson getting the greatest selfie of all
time right there with former Presidents Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.
The only thing he could have done better there, Chris, I guess was just to frame it a little bit better --
CUOMO: You've got to take opportunity where you find out. But I don't know that he beats Ellen. Do you remember at the Oscars where she had like every star in the existence of humanity behind her in one selfie?
SCHOLES: But three former presidents, they're not together very often. So, I think that one was pretty solid.
CUOMO: All right, my man. Thank you very much.
SCHOLES: Have a good one.
CUOMO: A heartbreaking scene is unfolding in Puerto Rico. That's just the truth. One aspect of it is people returning now to find their homes, to find family, and often finding nothing. We have a couple's emotional journey that you need to see to connect with what's happening on that island. Please join us, next.
[06:48:42] CUOMO: A little shot of truth and perspective for you. Why isn't the media being more congratulatory about the efforts to help rebuild Puerto Rico? Well, one reason is about what you're about to see. Unquestionable humanitarian crisis is gripping that island.
One aspect of it is the return, people who got out or people who are flooding in to find families, find homes, and to see firsthand what the aftermath has brought in their lives.
CNN's Brynn Gingras followed one couple as they made this really hard journey home. She joins us now in San Juan.
Tough for them, tough for you, tough for everybody.
BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, it really was, Chris. It was emotional on many levels.
I mean, this is a couple who was visiting family in New Jersey when this storm hit. So, they had a little understanding of what was going on with their family back here, with their home.
And I can tell you, we followed them. And when we witnessed what we saw, I mean, at one point, it literally took this woman's breath away.
GINGRAS (voice-over): Carmen Delgado wiped away tears, while from the middle seat, she desperately tried to get a look at what they calls her island. She hasn't been home to Puerto Rico in three weeks. A lot has changed since then.
CARMEN DELGADO, HOUSE DESTROYED BY HURRICANE MARIA: Right now, I don't have a home. It is totally destroyed.
[06:50:00] GINGRAS: We first met Carmen and her husband Edgardo in the Philadelphia airport. Their eyes were glued to the gate. Carmen called the flight a miracle because the other three she booked all canceled.
DELGADO: I have my kids back over there and we're very worried about them.
GINGRAS: Her family lives in Humacao, one of the first towns wiped out by Maria when it made landfall more than a week ago. All she knows about her home is these pictures sent by her daughter.
DELGADO: We went through panic zone. We went to crying. We went desperate, frustrated. Now, the idea that we're going home, it's a relief.
GINGRAS: On the ground, the couple looked for a red car. Their children were supposed to meet them. But with no cell phone service, they were unreachable.
So, Carmen and Edgardo drove with us an hour outside San Juan to their home. The relief Carmen felt on the plane turned to shock.
DELGADO: This is like fire just came through here and just burned everything out.
GINGRAS: At her home, those feelings intensified.
DELGADO: I think I have to sit down.
GINGRAS: The roof, gone. Bedrooms, wiped out. Their garage crumbled. And their backyard, Carmen told me, is a skeleton of what it once was.
(on camera): This is your living room?
DELGADO: This is the living room. That's the kitchen. We used to have three bedrooms. I'm shocked.
GINGRAS: You had pictures. How does it compare?
DELGADO: This is nothing compared to my house. Everything was so nice.
GINGRAS (voice-over): But all of this, Carmen said, is replaceable. She has her husband and kids. Hours after landing, who she still hasn't seen.
Then, Carmen finally spotted that red car.
The family back together again. Now for the first time together in their shell of a home, each well aware of what lies ahead. (on camera): What is your biggest fear?
DELGADO: My biggest fear, how much time it will take us to get this together again. When is help going to get here? Most importantly, even though we don't have a house, a home is not a house. I think home is family.
GINGRAS: Incredibly, incredibly emotional.
And, Alisyn, I asked Carmen, what now? She gave me three words. Pray, wait, and hope -- Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh, Brynn, that is so emotional. That's what so many people are doing on that island. Thank you very much for reporting that reunion for us.
And here's another story. Yesterday we introduced you to a Good Samaritan in Puerto Rico who is helping families find their loved ones through social media. Here is just one of the emotional moments that he shot.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
CAMEROTA: We're happy to report they did find Cristina and Cristina did see her parents were alive.
And, Anthony Gonzalez Pena, the man behind those videos is here with us now.
Anthony, it's great to see you again. I can't tell you how many people approached me, viewers, to tell me they were touched by the videos you're shooting, connecting families, and by the work that you're doing. We know this is not easy for you.
Tell us about the day that you had yesterday after you were on our program.
ANTHONY GONZALEZ PENA, HURRICANE MARIA SURVIVOR: Good morning. Thank you for having us. This is based on a group effort. I'm not the only one doing this. I just want to get that out of the way.
This is based on a team effort. Everyone is coming in together. I have friends from the States sending us information also.
So, when it comes to the day yesterday, it was a very interesting day. I went to visit my father. And on the way back, I ran out of fuel. So I had to walk home.
And one of the reasons why I ran out of fuel is because I misjudged my car. Plus, there were lines everywhere even all the way to Canovanas which is where I'm from.
CAMEROTA: Yes. GONZALEZ PENA: It is really frustrating right now because there is a certain restriction that according to the news yesterday, a local organization that controls policies here actually stopped that from gas stations restricting certain people to get a certain amount of fuel.
[06:55:05] Because they had them at $10. They had them at some gas stations had them at $20.
CAMEROTA: That was the limit. Yes, we heard that too, Anthony.
GONZALEZ PENA: Yes, ma'am.
CAMEROTA: We heard different gas stations have different limits for how to get fuel. So, you, to do your work obviously need fuel to drive around. You ran out, as you say. I understand you walked seven miles to get home. And just what is the situation --
GONZALEZ PENA: Close to it.
CAMEROTA: OK. What's the situation at the gas stations? You're given a number when you show up? And how long do you wait to get a little bit, $10 worth of gas?
GONZALEZ PENA: On average, you'll probably be there anywhere from 8 to 12 hours. That is the average right now. And some gas stations have an organized system to the point that they're giving out numbers so we can prevent any people to get frustrated, or you can actually plan to come back the very next day.
So, I think that's a great format in order to keep things in order. So, but the thing is, I don't understand how certain spots are not open 24 hours a day right now. And that is the only thing that I'm really -- I mean, go ahead.
CAMEROTA: Listen, I mean, I wanted to let everybody know that while you're doing all of this to connect other families, your own house was destroyed. We have pictures of your own roof having been torn off. You are sleeping on the floor of your house now.
GONZALEZ PENA: Right.
CAMEROTA: We understand you don't have enough food. What are you eating, Anthony?
GONZALEZ PENA: Honestly, whatever I see open and there's certain things like -- I don't want to mention company names but Ritz Crackers are my new best friend. So, I survive. Ritz Crackers and there are certain areas are open in the metro area and around certain communities.
GONZALEZ PENA: So, when it comes to food, if you want to walk a couple miles, you will be able to find some food here.
CAMEROTA: Oh my gosh, Anthony, I mean, you are not going to survive long on just Ritz Crackers.
But, listen, thank you for the work you're doing to connect families. We know they are appreciative here states. And, obviously, we will get answers for you as soon as we can. Thanks for sharing it with us.
Anthony Gonzalez Pena, thank you for being on.
GONZALEZ PENA: Thank you so much.
CUOMO: Big numbers of resources but obvious and huge examples of need. It raises a very obvious question. Is enough being done? Are the supplies getting where they need to be? Are the logistics right? Is the manpower right?
We're going to talk with Puerto Rico's governor, next.