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Trump Calls For End To Diversity Visa Program; Radicalization: War Abroad Versus War At Home; House Intel Committee Releases Russian- Linked Facebook Ads; Senator Feinstein On Russian Ads: Fix It Or Congress Will. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired November 2, 2017 - 06:30   ET



[06:33:00] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Finally, some history to report that is positive. It took seven games. What a series? The Houston Astros had their first World Series champs, 55-year history, first championship. Andy Scholes, lifelong Astros fan hasn't slept. Wow, what a blessing for you to get to cover your team and history.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Dream come true, Chris. I literally became a sports reporter for a moment like this and it happened. I literally started crying when the Astros won. As a lifelong Astros fan, it was the best night ever.

This "Bleacher Report" presented by the new 2018 Ford F-150. George Springer once again the hero for the Astros. He homered in the second to give the Astros 5-0 lead. First player ever to hit a homerun in four straight World Series games. He is the MVP of the series.

Astros star shortstop, Carlos Correa surprising everyone after the game proposing to his girlfriend during his interview. She, of course, said yes. I was in the clubhouse for the celebration. All the players could not be happier to bring a title to the city, especially after what it went through with Hurricane Harvey.


ALEX BREGMAN, ASTROS THIRD BASEMAN: Are you kidding me? It's what you dream about as a kid. We did it for the city of Houston. So proud to call Houston home. It's unbelievable.

JOSH REDDICK, ASTROS OUTFIELDER: We wanted to pick up our city going through all the strategy and really try to pick the city up. To bring a championship was goal from day one and if we can do it after a tragedy, even better.

LANCE MCCULLERS JR., ASTROS PITCHER: Times weren't easy and they're pretty impossible for a lot of people. The fact that we got to be like a small part of getting away from it and enjoy some moments is special.

GEORGE SPRINGER, WORLD SERIES MVP: It means the world. It is incredible. I'm at a loss for words.


SCHOLES: And, guys, this World Series championship is extra special because "Sports Illustrated" predicted it in 2014. They had it on the cover of their magazine. What do you know? Three years later it actually came true.

[06:35:04] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: There you go. And on the best year because of what they went through with Harvey, Houston needs this.

CUOMO: What a great sense of perspective from the players. First of all, congrats on your team and respect that you didn't have the goggles on. But you know, Hurricane Harvey, these people are still suffering.

If the sports people in a moment that could be all about them, right, it could be completely selfish. They said, no, no, no. Let's remember these other people and the time perfect, not just for your franchise, but they are playing with the money for recovery in Texas, in Congress.

Everybody said it wouldn't happen and it is. We are going to cover it, but a beautiful way for the Astros to keep that in our mind. Congrats, Andy.

HARLOW: Congrats, my friend.

All right. So ahead for us, President Trump blaming Democrats and the Diversity Visa Lottery for allowing the terrorist in the New York attack into this country. We are going to look at the facts first next.


CUOMO: All right. Look, there are a lot of hot and passionate feelings right now when it comes to terror and what happened in New York City, and believe me, they are justified, but you have to lead with the facts.

President Trump came down hard on the Diversity Visa Program. This isn't about justifying the visa program or not. It is just about the facts about them. He blamed the Democrats. He called it a Chuck Schumer beauty. He talked about the advantages of a merit-based system instead, and then his press secretary went even further. Listen to this.


[06:40:07] SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Everybody wants to be here. To give that away randomly, to have no the vetting system, no way to determine who comes, why they're here, and if they want to contribute to society is a problem.


CUOMO: Now once again we see something that is just plain on its face. Sanders is just an echo of the erroneous. Both Trump and Sanders are demonstrably wrong here. It is not true that the Diversity Visa Lottery Program has no vetting. Read the law.

It's vetting is the same as any other immigration program. In fact, because of its work experience and job training requirements, it is arguably more astringent. So, she just said something that is just not true.

Next, we get to the political blame. Chuck Schumer, is he at fault? Fair point. He did introduce this program in 1990, but he didn't make it happen. He was the Senate honcho that he is now. He was a congressman from Brooklyn. There were 31 co-sponsors of the overall bill.

It passed overwhelmingly on a bipartisan basis. It was signed into law by a Republican president, George H.W. Bush. Those are just the facts. Now, an additional fact brought up by Senator Jeff Flake, Schumer himself offered to sacrifice the program 23 years later as part of the Gang of Eight.

The immigration compromise bill, something that Jeff Flake was happy to remind everybody about. It never passed, OK. It was stopped cold and allowed to expire by Republican speaker of the House, John Boehner.

So, the bill that would have taken this away was stopped by a Republican. So, the real fact problem with the president's argument is what this is supposedly all about. If you didn't have this, you wouldn't have had this guy here.

All of the evidence shows that the New York City attacker was radicalized after arriving here. That's what he says. In a recent report, we see this, quote, "Most foreign-born U.S.-based violent extremists likely radicalized several years after their entry to the United States."

What does that mean? That means it's not about what they bring with them as they come in. It's about what happened to them here that we have to think about. A March 2017 assessment from President Trump's own Department of Homeland Security overseen by then Secretary-General John Kelly. That's what he came up with that it happens here.

That's the problem. That's what we need to address. It wasn't about the diversity visa program. The vetting is stringent by la. So, it is untrue and unproductive.

Let's dig deeper now. We have Haroon Ullah, chief strategy officer for the Broadcasting Board of Governors and the author of "Digital World War: Islamists, Extremists and the Fight for Cyber Supremacy.

Also with us, CNN national security analyst, Samantha Vinograd. She's a former senior aide to the national security adviser. It's good to have you both. Let's do this a little bit more supratically.

Haroon, you know what the argument is coming at you. You're soft, you guys. You let this in under the diversity visa program. Diversity is a dirty word these days. You're spreading around entry to this country willy-nilly. Now you have brought this man upon us here. Is there a basis in fact for that in your opinion?

HAROON ULLAH, CHIEF STRATEGY OFFICER, BROADCASTING BOARD OF GOVERNORS: Chris, the thing is that, you're exactly right, we have to define the problem. The problem here is that, you know, last week, we saw pictures of the end is near. Everyone is saying that ISIS is finished. In Raqqa, we saw those pictures.

In reality, it was very premature. ISIS is actually in many ways winning and a lot of my research and work that I've done shows that they're winning on the battlefield they care most about. That's not borders. That's the information battlefield, the arena of social media, of the deep and dark web, you know, Bitcoin.

So, what we have here is a content war. We have a content war. If you look at Saipov and other, whether foreign fighters or other ISIS fan boys, you look at the content they're consuming, which then changes their attitudes and behavior.

And to me that is the real crux. The idea of how do you mobilize the counter narratives, the thousands of young Malalas all over the world so to counteract this sort of hateful rhetoric.

CUOMO: Too PC, too in the weeds, I'm winning and here's why, Samantha, because all I just heard there is one more reason to keep these people out. I don't care how they are consuming their content.

Whether it's digitally, somebody is telling it to them by mouth, whether they are there. Don't let them in the country, we'll be safer. This diversity program, it was an easy ticket to the United States and now you have brought death to us because of your insistence that you just let in anybody.

SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: This is a red herring. We have national security work to do and instead we're talking about visa categories. If this individual is radicalized from within the United States, how he legally entered the country is a red herring.

[06:45:07] We need to be talking about how the access content online that inspired him to conduct an attack and then how he was able to operationalize that attack without detection. Those are the real issues that we need to focus on, not his visa category.

CUOMO: Follow to you. He is a bad guy. Bad guy is always a bad guy, came from a bad place, came in here, spent seven years. He was a sleeper. First chance he got and he killed us. Keep them out, this doesn't happen. Borders, be absolute about it, merit based. If you're not some kind of engineer or high-tech guy that we need, stay out. What's wrong with that?

VINOGRAD: This is a distraction. We need to be focusing on the fact that the internet is a battlefield. This is evident from the fact that the Russians launched a massive misinformation campaign. And extremists are getting around the fact that they have less physical access to recruits by spreading content online where there are no borders. And the truth is we are losing this battle. The internet is getting bigger every second, which just gives extremists more room to grow.

CUOMO: Haroon, when you say ISIS is winning, people will not like you in America, right? Because you are saying something that plays to insecurity and the feelings, they don't want to hear that. That ISIS is winning. We're kicking their butts all over the battlefield.

That's what we keep being told by the generals. You say we are winning makes us feel weak. We don't like it. So, when you say that we are not winning, the real battle really is here at home, right? This guy came here with one set of expectations presumably and then became a monster. How are we doing on that front in the context of this report that General Kelly put out, that the radicalization is happening here. Why is it happening here?

ULLAH: Well, I'll tell you what's happening here. What we know actually is that poverty (inaudible). So, it's not young people that are joining groups or doing things in the name of ISIS. The other thing we know from the facts is that, you know, like Samantha said, there is this information battlefield. That is the war.

Chris, oftentimes we talk about what's going on in the Middle East, but If I asked folks who is the number one person on Twitter in the Middle East, we might guess King Abdullah, or an actor or an actress.

But the number one person is Mohamad al-Arefe, a religious cleric. He has 19.5 million followers on Twitter. He is an extremist cleric. By the way, he is probably the single biggest reason why young people like Saipov downloading material like his, you know, do these acts.

CUOMO: Now you're playing into something else, though, Haroon, that I want you to address before we go away. I don't want to talk too much about the platform and miss the largest idea of purpose. You are making, not intentionally, I'm sure, you are making a constructive case for why xenophobia is on the rise in this country. This Muslim guy has 19 million followers. More proof that that is no faith of peace. Islam is out to get us, and you just proved it with those numbers. What's the response?

ULLAH: Well, my argument is actually opposite that. That to me is a counterinsurgency approach to immigration and that's failed us. Billions of dollars we have spent on ISIS, billions of dollars, American lives, many other lives lost. We need I think a public health approach.

So, if you think of ISIS more like -- not every brown person is a potential extremist, certainly not. I mean, we have so many American- Muslim heroes. We have a community here that is fighting, many Americans of all stripes and colors. We want to make this country safe.

We don't think of ISIS more akin to like an STD or herpes and the idea is it's spread through intimate contact. We have very smart, you know, public health folks that is much more targeted. So, it's narrower the audience, the bigger the impact. Not every single person is a potential problem. I think that is a fallacy, right. That's not based on the facts.

The idea is we need to be more targeted, think about hot spots. I'm advocating for a much more smarter approach, working with community leaders, with law enforcement, because at the end of the day, you know, that is a needle in the haystack, and we're just going to be on a full baron.

CUOMO: I'm going to end it there because you threw me with the STD thing, Haroon. I'm going to be honest with you. You kind of scrambled my mind.

ULLAH: It's true.

CUOMO: We'll leave it there. Haroon, Samantha, thank you very much. Appreciate you rebutting the arguments -- Poppy.

HARLOW: It is an effective analogy, one I will not forget at 6:49 in the morning. Thank you all very much.

Ahead for us, Facebook, Google and Twitter's top lawyers grilled by Congress over Russia social media meddling and election influence, and a threat from one senator to the tech giants, you fix this or we will, next.



HARLOW: Tech giants from Facebook, Twitter, Google are publicly acknowledging their role in Russia's influence in the presidential election, but they are offering little promise to do better. This after Facebook released about 30 of 3,000 Russian-bought ads and that came to the Senate and House Intel Committees.

Let's discuss with CNN senior media correspondent, Brian Stelter. Brian, I am fascinated by all of this and kind of left wanting to see more ads, wanting more answers. Overall, we got 30 of the 3,000 ads yesterday. What's your takeaway from these two days of hearings?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: There's still a lot of distrust between Silicon Valley and Washington. Everybody agrees there is a big problem here because there is a lack of agreement in what the solutions are, and the solutions are very difficult.

You know, we're a year after election day and yet we still don't fully have a picture of what went wrong, of how these social networks were used by Russian agents to spread propaganda. This is ongoing today. It will happen in the midterms and the next presidential election. Yet we still don't know what went wrong last year. That's a sense of how big the problem is.

HARLOW: Let's look at some of these ads. This is one that stood out to me. One of these ads from the Russian troll farms reads, "Satan if Clinton wins. Jesus. Not if I can help it." Now they went both ways, I mean, and they even used the NFL a lot as Senator Angus King brought up. You know, going on both sides of the NFL, kneeling an anthem argument. But it wasn't the CEOs that testified, they didn't come to the Hill. It was the top lawyers.

STELTER: Just the top lawyers. I think partly because seeing Mark Zuckerberg or Sheryl Sandberg on the stand would have given us even more attention. The companies didn't want that.

HARLOW: Those are the decisionmakers.

STELTER: I sure think it is. I think until Zuckerberg and other CEOs address this more directly, it's going to continue to be a challenge for these companies. There is increasing public distrust of these companies, which we all rely on. I don't know what life would be like at this point without Facebook, Google and Twitter.

HARLOW: You would sleep a lot more.

STELTER: I probably would. I would probably sleep better, but it's unimaginable. These companies have changed our lives forever. Yet, there is an increasing sense that we can't trust what we are seeing. All of these bots are influencing our conversations. We have to go back to first principles, not being able to believe everything that you see, seeking verification and define confirmation of what you're seeing. Some of this is on the user responsibilities, but these companies also have a lot of responsibilities.

[06:55:04] HARLOW: Senator Diane Feinstein brought it to them yesterday. Listen to this.


SEN. DIANE FEINSTEIN (D-CA), INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: I don't think you get it. You have a huge problem on your hands. You bear this responsibility. You've created these platforms. Now they are being misused and you have to be the ones to do something about it or we will.


HARLOW: You fix it or we will. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, says we are spending so much on fixing this. It's biting into our profits but that's OK. But that's a clear threat.

STELTER: And this is what mostly what we are hearing from Democrats, to some degree also from Republicans on Capitol Hill. There was sort of a bipartisan sense that there is a problem here. These companies have to do more, but there is very few answers or solutions that we are seeing other than let's have a new bill that regulates online political ads.

That is just a small piece of this problem. The bigger issue here is not the ads, yes, there were 3,000 ads. The bigger issue is from those ads, we are seeing millions of people exposed to actually fake news stories. HARLOW: And that's the point that Apple CEO Tim Cook brings up. He is not really in this debate, but obviously, he is a huge voice in tech and corporate America. His point is?

STELTER: I think he got it spot on in a new interview. He said these ads they are 1 percent of the problem. The bigger problem is that these social networks exploit people's divisions and tendencies to go off in their corners.

That's based on what algorithmically shows up in your news feed. If there is a sensational crazy story, a hoax that tells you something horrible about President Trump or something horrible about Hillary Clinton, it's probably not true.

And there are reasons why Facebook should make that article show up with a fact check. Companies are making changes around the edges, but it's not enough and I think there is a growing awareness that it is not just going to be legislative. It is not just going to be corporate. There's partly a user responsibility. This is a problem all of us together have to address.

HARLOW: I don't know that a lot more regulation here fixes it entirely. I mean, that is yet to be proven surely. We'll see. Thank you, Brian.

STELTER: Thanks.

CUOMO: And the disadvantage of the way our system is set up to allow inclusion. We make the error on the side of inclusion. We'll see.

All right. So, President Trump is calling for the New York terror suspect to be executed. That is not exactly an unpopular position, but what does it mean legally for prosecutors? We're going to discuss the political and legal implications next.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We also have to come up with punishment far greater than the punishment these animals are getting right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All President Trump does is take horrible advantage of a tragedy and try to politicize.

SANDERS: The fact that we have a lottery system, to have no vetting is a problem.