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Trump's Team Prepares for One-on-One with Mueller; Ex-Employee From Cambridge Analytica Blows The Whistle On Data Firm Connected To Trump Campaign. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired March 19, 2018 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: "CNN TONIGHT" starts now.
DON LEMON, HOST, CNN: This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.
Breaking news tonight on the Mueller investigation. CNN has learned that President Trump's lawyer sat down with Robert Mueller's team last week to discuss what topics investigators want to ask the president about. Their first face-to-face meeting after weeks of informal conversations.
But one source says the president has gone back and forth on whether he'll even agree to an interview. That as we have learned the president is more and more agitated as he realizes the investigation is nowhere close to an ending. You might have guess that from the Twitter tirade over the weekend. There it is laid out before you.
Now, two more sources tell CNN that President Trump is adding a new lawyer to his team, one who has pushed a conspiracy theory that the president is being framed by a group of FBI and Justice Department officials. So after President Trump tweeted that there are zero Republicans on Mueller's team which is not true, by the way. Mueller himself is a Republican.
Is the president now laying the groundwork to fire the special counsel Robert Mueller? A move that most senior Republican in the Senate Orrin Hatch warned would be, his words, "the stupidest thing Trump could do."
Plus, we're learning a lot more tonight about how a Facebook quiz you may have taken revealed more personal information about you and your friends than you could ever have guessed. And how that information was turned into what's being called a psychological warfare weapon.
Tonight we're going to dig into exactly what happened to data from 50 million unsuspecting people. Maybe you're one of them and how the firm that harvested that data, Cambridge Analyica, helped put Donald Trump in the White House. We're going to talk to the former research director for the firm. He's 28-year-old Christopher Wylie who blew the whistle on the whole thing.
LEMON: I want to ask you about Professor Kogan, the Cambridge University researcher who created the personality test at, that harvested this data for Cambridge Analytica and Russian American. Do you think any of the information he collected went back to Russia, Christopher?
CHRISTOPHER WYLIE, FORMER RESEARCH DIRECTOR, CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA: Well, what I do know is that Professor Kogan who managed this data harvesting scheme of 50 million Americans was going back and forth between London and Russia working at St. Petersburg University on Russian funded programs to look at psychological profiling, and indeed talking about, you know, the value of social data in political targeting.
LEMON: Trust me, you don't want to miss that. Stick around for more from Christopher Wylie in just a moment. But I want to bring in now CNN senior White House correspondent Pamela Brown. Pamela is going to give us some news about this meeting between President Trump's legal team and Mueller's team. What are you learning about it, Pamela?
PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Don, we've learned that attorneys on both sides and the president's side, the special counsel side had a face-to-face meeting last week. A rare face-to-face meeting after weeks of informal discussions and we're told by a source familiar myself, my colleague Gloria Borger that Robert Mueller's team provided more granularity on the topics that they would like to discuss with the president in a possible interview under the umbrella of the firing of James Comey as well as the firing of the former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Now the specifics include the attorney general Jeff Sessions' role in the firing of James Comey as well as what the president knew about his national security adviser Michael Flynn and his conversation he had had with former Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak about sanctions.
And so these new details shed light on what Robert Mueller's team is still looking at possible collusion, possible obstruction of justice and what the president knew.
And I'm told by a source familiar that legal team has taking these topics specificity of it and created questions possible questions that could be asked in an interview on a memo. But I'm told by another source, Don that the president is now vacillating on whether he wants to do an interview with Robert Mueller's team.
As you know he has said that he wants to sit down with him under oath. But now as it appears this Russia probe continues to go on and on despite what the president has been told by his lawyers, he sort of changing his posture as we saw over the weekend with him going after Robert Mueller directly by name, Don.
LEMON: Our Pamela Brown reporting from the White House. Pamela, thank you very much.
Here to discuss all of this, CNN senior political reporter, Nia-Malika Henderson, senior legal analyst, Michael Zeldin, who was Robert Mueller's special assistant at the Justice Department, and CNN political analyst, Patrick Healy of the New York Times.
So, hello to all of you. Michael, I want to get you in first. You know, can President Trump's lawyers control the details of what the special counsel wants to talk to Trump about?
MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: No. They cannot. And, in fact, I think that the Washington Post reporting today that they're trying to give a narrative of the White House events in an effort to circumscribe Mueller's interview is just really not probable.
[22:04:59] The reality is that Mueller is going to ask the president the questions that Mueller feels he needs to ask in order to determine whether or not there was any interference that was known by the president, any collusion or coordination that the president's campaign participated in and then the obstruction of justice, and as we saw from the subpoenas last week, possibly financial crimes by the Trump organization.
And there is no way that any self respecting prosecutor would accept the White House effort to circumscribe his interview.
LEMON: Yes. President Trump have said he was looking forward to speaking with Mueller. Until this weekend he had been able to hold off directly attacking him by name. But I have to ask you, Patrick, how does this outward hostility now affect this investigation?
PATRICK HEALY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I mean, President Trump from the get go I think saw this as a, you know, certainly a witch hunt as he says over and over again. But I think in a lot of ways he had no intention of ever speaking to Robert Mueller. I mean, he saw -- he has a long history in New York City, in litigation where he believes that you can stonewall, you can play things out for as long as you go, and ultimately, he believes he can win on his own terms.
LEMON: But let me ask you, did he see it as a witch hunt or did -- is that how he wants to?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HEALEY: Well, I think the framing -- I think the framing -- I think that -- I think he sees it as that, certainly. But it's also his frame. But I mean, think about -- think about his taxes, Don. He spent so long sort of saying, you know, I'm going to release my taxes, I'm going to release my taxes once the IRS audit was.
He just, he believes in the strategy of stringing things out for as long as possible and you can believe that he sees himself and has for decades as someone who is not going to sit down, you know, under oath and have to answer questions that he doesn't believe he should have to. I mean, that is -- that is -- goes to his mindset.
LEMON: Yes. Well, and he believes he's above the law then if he thinks he doesn't have to answer.
HEALEY: He believes that he has -- for decades has seen himself as someone who has been unfairly targeted either by the media, by enemies in court. This is his mindset. And that if you have, you know, if you have good lawyers, if you have a good team, you can, you know, you can avoid essentially having to answer those questions.
LEMON: What do you call that, Nia? I mean, would you call that delusional or would you call that -- I mean, how you would think it's a witch hunt? And how would he think that people are out to get him if you not necessarily in this but if he has lawsuits and he actually didn't pay people or he's done something wrong, how is that a witch hunt?
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes. I mean, it is Trump's way of branding the enemy, right. I mean, he's done that even in 2the political sphere when he brands Marco Rubio as little Marco or little Bob Corker. So that I think that has been his legal strategy. It is his P.R. strategy at this point as well.
He wants to prejudge this, prejudge this for the public so that whatever that Bob Mueller come out with they are prepared at least if you're a Republican or at least if you're inclined to like Donald Trump, then you would go along with this story of that he's painting.
It also, I think to Patrick's point, is on brand in terms of Trump is always the embattled one. He is embattled and against even people in his own administration, people that he's appointed. People who are Republicans. He's forever the outsider --
LEMON: That's paranoia, Nia.
HENDERSON: Well, listen, I'm not a psychiatrist. And I don't play one on TV either. You know, those are your words. But this is --
LEMON: I mean, you don't have to see that someone is paranoid, you don't have to be a psychiatrist.
HENDERSON: Yes. Yes, I mean, this is certainly -- I mean, he has, I think, believed as Patrick said that people are out to get him because he is, you know, he imagines himself as this kind of great man and this big target. If you're a great man in a big target, then guess what? At least in his mind --
HENDERSON: -- then folks want to take him down or after him.
LEMON: Again, just what I said before. So I got to ask you this one, Nia. Because this is according to the Washington Post, President Trump's legal team shared documents because they're worried the president's pension for making erroneous claims would be vulnerable in an hour's long interview. I mean, that's a serious concern by the Trump team, don't you think?
HENDERSON: It is. I mean, if you look at what this investigation has brought so far, the guilty pleas have been about what? Perjury. Making false statements to investigators. You think about Rick Gates if you think George Papadopoulos and then if you even go back to President Clinton. What was President Clinton impeached for? What were those charges? At least partly it was lying under oath about sex with Monica Lewinsky.
So that is what this team around Donald Trump is looking at and also his very well known pension for making stuff up, making erroneous claims. Some would just say outright lying. So that's why you see this team trying to circumscribe and put guardrails up on what he's going to be saying under oath for fear of that he would break into that pattern he often has of just making things up.
[22:09:58] LEMON: You're much kinder than I am. With your phrasing and your words. And not just saying lying. So listen, Michael, investigators have reportedly told the president's lawyers that when it comes to questions about Michael Flynn and James Comey, the questions Mueller have for President Trump are about what did he do? And what was he thinking when he did it? Let's remember what the president said in his own words. There is about firing Comey. Let's watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In fact, when I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said, you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made up story. It's an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So and when it comes to Michael Flynn and his previously undisclosed meeting with the Russian ambassador, the president tweeted this. He said "I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the vice president and the FBI. He pled guilty to those lies. It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide."
How damaging, Michael, will these past comments be?
ZELDIN: Well, I think that what will be the most damaging as Nia said, is if the president repeats under oath stories that Mueller does not believe to be true. So all of these tweets now may be fodder for the interview but really it is the under oath interview that matters most in terms of President Trump's legal jeopardy.
What we have now, Don, is a series of acts. The firing of Comey, the hostile workforce with McCabe, the stand down, communications with Comey vis-a-vis Flynn, the loyalty, all those things are little pieces that Mueller has to look at in terms of an obstruction of justice mosaic.
When you add on to it any lies under oath, then I think that clearly tips the scales, as Nia reported, with respect to an obstruction of justice finding or an abuse of office impeachable offense. So that's what the lawyers are most concerned about. The adding of those little pieces of mosaic plus the lie equaling obstruction or abuse of power and they're going to do everything they can to protect the president.
But in the end, the power of the grand jury will prevail and the president will have to ask be answered -- ask those -- I'm sorry, I can't say it in English, he'll have to answer questions he'll be asked under oath. And that will be outcome determinative of his legal situation.
LEMON: It's OK. It's Monday. Everyone, you know, you need to warm up. By Wednesday you'll be perfectly fine. Thank you all. I appreciate it.
When we come back, 50 million Facebook profiles access, their data harvested by the firm hired by the Trump campaign. I'm going to talk to ex employee who blew the whistle on Cambridge Analytica.
[22:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Tonight. we're hearing from Cambridge Analyica whistleblower, Christopher Wylie. In the interview you're about to watch, he tells me about his work at the company with close ties to the Trump campaign, a company now accused of using the private data of tens of millions of Facebook users to directly target potential American voters.
How closely tied to the Trump campaign is Cambridge Analytica? Well, the campaign hired the firm in June of 2016. And people at the highest levels and those closest to the president were involved in bringing the data company onboard.
OK, pay close attention to this. The president's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and Brad Parscale, the digital campaign director for the -- for President Trump who is currently leading his reelection campaign were both involved in the hiring -- in the hiring.
Cambridge Analytica was run with the help of Steve Bannon. He was of course the Trump campaign CEO who went on to become chief White House strategist, and whistleblower Christopher Wylie says Trump campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski was meeting with Cambridge Analytica even before Trump announced his candidacy.
So all of there is worth keeping in mind as you hear what whistleblower Christopher Wylie says was happening at Cambridge Analytica. Watch this.
LEMON: Joining me now Christopher Wylie, a former research director for Cambridge Analytica who blew the whistle on the firm. Christopher, thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate it. Are you doing OK?
WYLIE: Thanks for having me. It's been a long day. But I'm OK.
LEMON: So you describe what you billed as this called psycho logical warfare. A psychological warfare weapon.
LEMON: Something you say Steve Bannon wanted. The ability to play with the psychology of an entire country. How did that work? Talk to us about that.
WYLIE: Yes. So Steve came to SCL because he believes in something called the Breitbart doctrine. In which that in order to change politics you first have to change culture because politics is downstream from culture. And in order to fight a culture war, you need an arsenal of information weapons.
And who better to go to than a company like SCL which is a military contractor based in the U.K. to help set up those information weapons. And so what we worked on at SCL and then later at Cambridge Analytica was data harvesting programs where we pull data from users of apps and all of their friend networks and run that data through algorithms that could profile their personality traits and other psychological attributes so that we would know exactly what kinds of, you know, information we would need to feed onto online platforms to, you know, exploit mental vulnerabilities that are algorithms showed that they had.
LEMON: This goes -- this goes beyond just sort of programming advertisement toward a certain group. Because you told us that you can tell something about people based on things like whether they like "Game of Thrones" or country music. What can you tell?
WYLIE: Yes. So, you know, I think it's easiest to think about when you go on a date, for example. And the questions that you ask on a date, right? You ask what kind of music do you like? What kind of movies do you watch? Do you do any sports? We ask those questions because they reveal little bits about ourselves, about our personalities and who we are.
LEMON: Cambridge Analytica says none of this data pulled was used in services provided to the Trump campaign, is that true, Christopher?
[22:20:03] WYLIE: Well, let me be clear. I didn't -- I didn't work on the Trump campaign. So I can't speak to the Trump campaign. But what I do know is that this data was, you know, we spent, you know, almost a million dollars on just harvesting this data alone. And it was this data that became the foundation of the company because this is what we used to build the algorithms that then were -- you know, that actually became the basis of the company itself.
So the question that I would have is what happens to the foundation of your company if, you know, if you didn't indeed, you know, use it on the Trump campaign. What were you using then?
LEMON: Because that was the basis of your company, right? That's how the company started.
LEMON: That was the foundation of the company.
WYLIE: There was no data before that point. So we went from no data to, you know, harvesting all of this data off of Facebook and then combining it with all this, you know, consumer data sets and broader data set. LEMON: At the behest of Steve Bannon?
WYLIE: To build -- yes. Because, you know, he wanted -- the company got funded in the spring of 2014 and he wanted to be able to have, you know, functioning program in time for the midterms. So, you know, we had sort of a Steve Bannon and a billionaire breathing down our necks trying to where is the data? Where is the algorithms and where's our, you know, information weapons?
And that's where Kogan came along. Aleksandr Kogan the professor at Cambridge, you know, who offered the use of this app that had special permissions granted by Facebook to pull data not only from the app user but from all of the friends of that user and that meant that, you know, for every one user we're collecting on average, you know, 200, 300 friends data and that scaled really quickly.
LEMON: So what I'm trying to say is, so Bannon came in, Bannon wanted this information. This is -- you said at the behest of a millionaire which is Robert Mercer as well.
LEMON: Right. Breathing down your throat. And so then Bannon goes to work for the Trump campaign and so where does all this information go? Is that what you're saying it had to go somewhere because that's the basis of your company.
WYLIE: Well, yes. I mean, I don't -- how else did they build their algorithms then if they didn't use this data that they spent a million dollars on? What, you know, what did they use?
LEMON: Yes. So the Facebook data was integral. I want to get it straight. Integral to Cambridge Analytica, correct?
WYLIE: Yes. It was the first -- it was basis of the first set of algorithms that the company built.
LEMON: OK. So, listen, according to the FEC, FEC reports, the Trump campaign paid Cambridge Analytica nearly $6 million, this is between July 2016 and December of 2016. What did the Trump campaign think Cambridge could offer? What were the goal, do you know?
WYLIE: Well, very soon after I left I know that Alexander Nix was going to meet with Corey Lewandowski in the spring of 2015 before Trump had even announced that he was with running when they were still working for Ted Cruz. I don't know why they had that meeting.
But you know, you have to ask Cambridge Analytica, you know, what is it that they were pitching. Why were they talking to Donald Trump before he even announced? How did they know he was running before he'd even announced and what is it if it wasn't for this data and if it wasn't for these algorithms, you know, what is it that you're pitching and what is it that you're using?
LEMON: Those are good questions. More about Corey Lewandowski in a moment. You also say that Cambridge Analytica was testing Trump's slogans as far back as 2014, right? And this is before he started running. Terms that seemed to --
LEMON: -- but let me get the question out so you can answer. It ended up being part of the Trump mantra. These are terms like deep state and build that wall. Go ahead.
WYLIE: Yes. So we were testing all kinds of messages and all kinds of imagery that included, you know, images of walls, people scaling walls, you know, we tested draining the swamp. You know, testing ideas of the deep state and you know, the NSA watching you and the government is, you know, conspiring against you.
And a lot of these narratives which at the time would have seemed, you know, crazy for a mainstream candidate to, you know, run -- you know, run on. Those were the things that we were finding that there were pockets of Americans who this really appealed to.
And Steve Bannon knew that because we were doing the research on it. And I was surprised when I saw, you know, the Trump campaign and it started, you know, talking about, you know, building walls or draining the swamp. I remember in my head, wait, we tested this.
So, you know, you have to ask the company, you know, and Steve Bannon where they got these narratives. But I know that we were testing these narratives, you know, well before Trump had even announced.
LEMON: So you said that there was a meeting between Corey Lewandowski at Trump tower before Trump announced he was even running. Do you know anything about that?
[22:24:57] WYLIE: Well, I have it confirmed from, you know, Cambridge Analytica's lawyers in writing they had a meeting in early 2015, in the spring of 2015 before they announced. I know that which I have again documented in writing that they were talking about the algorithms that they could over and the data sets that they could offer to Corey Lewandowski before Donald Trump had even announced.
And the bizarre thing about it is that they were already working for Ted Cruz. So why is it that -- why is it that they were talking to Trump if they were already for Cruz, and what is it that they were pitching, you know? If it wasn't for these algorithms, you know, how in the span two of months did they actually build something different?
LEMON: Listen, there is also this undercover investigation from Channel 4 news in the U.K.
LEMON: Cambridge Analytica, the senior executives filmed, they're saying that they can entrap politicians in compromising situations with bribes and Ukrainian sex workers. I want you to take a look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Send some girls around to the candidate's house. We have lots of history of things.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For example, you're saying you're using the girls to introduce to the local fellow and you're using the girls for this like the seduction, they're not local girls?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think so. It was just an idea.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was saying we could bring some Ukrainians in on holiday with us, you know.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know what I'm saying they are very beautiful Ukrainian girls.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are very beautiful.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I had that works very well
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So Christopher, Analytica said that the report is edited and it's scripted to grossly misrepresent the nature of the conversation that took place. They say they are executives entertained a series of ludicrous hypothetical scenarios. The CEO Alexander Nix who you speak up says when the reporter posing as a prospective client turned the conversation to entrapment and corruption, the executives left with grave concerns and did not meet with him again.
Nix added this. Cambridge Analytica does not condone or engage in entrapment, bribes or so-called honey traps nor does it use untrue material for my purpose." So my question, I see you shaking your head there and you don't believe it. The question is what does all this all say about the techniques that they use?
WYLIE: Well, let me put it this way. I'm probably the only gay guy in London that had a membership card to a strip club with women.
WYLIE: Meaning that this was a common technique that the company used. You know, we -- I would be at strip clubs all the time.
LEMON: I need you to be more specific. You're the only gay guy in London with a membership to a strip club. What do you mean by that? Be more explicit.
WYLIE: You know, one of the things that this company does is it will do whatever it takes to get a contract and if that means entertaining a client at a strip club with women stripping, they will do that.
LEMON: Do you think, Christopher, that the Trump campaign did anything nefarious in this or were all the bad actions by Cambridge?
WYLIE: You know, I can't speculate as to what the Trump campaign was doing because I didn't work on the Trump campaign. But what I do know is that, you know, there is a perverse company culture inside with inside of Cambridge Analytica and as the undercover shows, they're willing to go to extreme lengths to service their clients. And they'll do anything that helps. Whether it's legal or not.
LEMON: I've got a question for you, Christopher. But I need to get in a break. I'm speaking now. I want to tell the audience. I'm speaking to whistleblower Christopher Wylie and I'm going to ask him if he is now a potential witness or if he's been contacted by the Mueller investigation. Don't go anywhere. We'll be right back.
[22:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Much more now from my interview with Christopher Wiley, who is blowing the whistle on Cambridge Analytica, the data firm that worked for President Trump's presidential campaign.
LEMON: Have you been contacted by the Mueller investigators?
WILEY: Not that I am aware of, although, I haven't been able to speak with my lawyer today. I can tell you...
LEMON: Did they contact you -- if Robert Mueller or investigators contact you, will you cooperate?
WILEY: I'm happy to chat, absolutely. This is why I'm coming forward.
LEMON: Well, they said they asked Cambridge Analytica and also you to agree to an audit. Have you agreed?
WILEY: An audit of what -- my phone? It's not like I have a massive server farm. I'm just a guy. Like what do they want to audit? And why -- I don't understand. Like what? They want to look at my phone? You know, they haven't explained to me what that is. And, you know, I don't -- like what is it they want to do?
LEMON: I don't know.
WILEY: I'm the person coming forward. I am the one telling people that this program has happened. So I don't understand, you know, why it is that they need to do this. We agreed last week with their lawyers that we would sit down and
collaborate on this. Facebook is only doing something now because I am coming out and speaking out. You know, it's all -- so for them to turn around and try to punish me, you know, I think, I just don't think it's right.
WILEY: This is not how whistleblowers should be treated.
LEMON: I want to get to -- I understand that you're very upset and rightfully so because you feel like, you know, personally you have been sort of violated in some way, or you're being punished for in no reason.
But listen, I want to ask you about Professor Kogan, the Cambridge researcher who created the personality test app, that harvested this data for Cambridge Analytica, and Russian-American. Do you think any of the information he collected went back to Russia, Christopher?
WILEY: Well, what I do know is that Professor Kogan who managed this data harvesting scheme of 50 million Americans was going back and forth between London, and Russia, working at St. Petersburg University on Russian funded programs to look at psychological profiling.
[22:35:06] And indeed talking about, you know, the value of social data in political targeting. You know, meanwhile, as we're talking to Lukoil about the same program, to me -- my concern is that, you know, Cambridge Analytica, whether, I'm not saying that it did it intentionally.
But I am concerned that we made Russia aware of the programs that we were working on, and that might have sparked an idea that, you know, eventually led to some of the disinformation programs that we've seen in the -- the interference that we've seen from Russia in American elections.
So for me, I'm concerned about that. And if I played some kind of role in that, I feel like it is my duty to tell people about it, which is why I'm talking to you.
LEMON: So, listen, there is also this reported pitch that Cambridge Analytica made to Lukoil. You mentioned Lukoil, which is a Russian oil producer.
It goes back in 2014, how the presentation had little to do with oil consumers, but had everything to do with election disruption techniques. That is according to documents you provided to the observer in a newspaper. Why would an oil company need to be briefed on that?
WILEY: I don't know, ask Cambridge Analytica, ask Lukoil. You know, I don't know. I was just told that I needed to give a briefing on, you know, the Ripon (ph) project, that's the data harvesting project in the algorithms that we were doing. I know that Alexander Nix -- you know, in an e-mail he said that he
sent my white paper on the program that we were doing, harvesting, you know, data of 50 million plus Americans, and sent it to the CEO of Lukoil, you know.
And the -- I don't know if you've seen the pitch that Alexander put together for Lukoil, but it has nothing to do with oil. It has nothing to do with consumers, and has everything to do with rumor campaigns, attitudinal inoculation, you know, sewing distrust in civic institutions in Nigeria, for example.
And for me I just find it -- I don't understand why it is that Alexander Nix and Cambridge Analytica would want to pitch disinformation, and rumor campaigns to Lukoil as its been also telling Lukoil, by the way, we have all these massive data assets at our disposal for an oil company in Russia. It doesn't make sense.
LEMON: Lukoil says, Christopher, that they never hired Cambridge Analytica, but don't deny severing a presentation about the data firm's capabilities. They say it was to promote their gas stations in Turkey. Do you think that's true?
WILEY: If that's true, why was he talking -- why did he create a pitch deck that was about setting up disinformation and rumor campaigns?
I mean, why is it that he sends, you know, my white paper on the data harvesting capabilities of the company, and what we were doing in America if it was to do with Turkey? I don't -- like how does that make any sense?
LEMON: When you spoke to the observer, you describe yourself as a gay Canadian vegan who somehow ended up creating this psychological warfare tool for Steve Bannon.
Do you regret -- it's all of the question that I asked you before, that I was talking about before. Do you regret what you created, and what you did, Christopher?
WILEY: Yes. Absolutely. I regret it. And that's, you know, why I'm coming forward. Because part of I feel like, you know, in part I share a lot of responsibility for setting up this company.
This company that is grossly unethical, that has, you know, operated not just in America, but around the world in ways that I think are, you know, morally egregious.
I played a significant role in setting up that company. And I feel like it is my duty to tell people, you know, what this company does. But I can't express how much regret that I have for playing a role in setting it up.
LEMON: What do you think is going on when you say you created -- that was the basis of the company you created, this information that -- this information you're talking about and disinformation, a way to disseminate disinformation, and then there is the involvement of Steve Bannon who was connected with the Trump campaign.
There is Russia's involvement. There's Trump's campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, and so on, and so forth. Listen, I'm not saying that you know anything empirically, but what do you think is going on?
WILEY: I don't know. I mean, I know -- I know what I know. And what I know is that this is a company that was talking with Russia. I know that this was a company that was using a professor going back and forth to Russia, working on Russian programs as he harvesting the data of over 50 million Americans.
[22:40:03] I know that this is a company that works in disinformation. I know that this is a company that, you know, willingly admits to pitching, you know, prostitutes and come from that as was revealed by Channel 4 Tonight.
You know, I know that this is a company that was meeting with Donald Trump's campaign team before Donald Trump had even announced despite the fact that they deny that, you know.
And I think that when you look at everything, you know, a lot of questions get raised. I have a lot of those questions myself. And what I'm trying to do is put out information, and let you guys ask those questions, and have this company answer them.
LEMON: Do you think the information that you helped create influenced the 2016 election?
WILEY: I think it must have played some role. You know, I can't say for sure is this something that wanted for Trump or a particular candidate. You know, it's sort of impossible to guess. But I think absolutely it played a role.
LEMON: Thank you.
LEMON: When we come back, the reporter who broke Wiley's story for the New York Times joins me along with our Juliette Kayyem. We're going to ask them if they can connect the dots here, and explain what Wiley's information could tell us about the 2016 election.
[22:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: The revelations from whistleblower, Christopher Wiley, on Cambridge Analytica, how closely will the special Counsel be looking at this as part of the Russia investigation?
I want to bring in our CNN National Security Analyst Juliette Kayyem and Matthew Rosenberg. So good to have both of you on. Matthew, I want to start with you. You worked on The New York Times story based on Christopher Wiley's whistleblowing. Explain how this information brings us closer to understanding what may have happened in the 2016 election? MATTHEW ROSENBERG, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: That's a big one.
I mean, look, we know from this that there was a large harvesting of social media data. We know there are people out there trying to get profiles of American voters.
What is going to move them? What is going to get the voters -- get them to stay home and not vote? You know, how that was deployed and still remains a source of immense debate.
But we do know there were a lot of kind of odd connections between Cambridge Analytica and some Russian firms like Lukoil. Dr. Kogan, the Cambridge University researcher who helped Cambridge Analytica, he's a little bit -- his connection is a little bit more nebulous here.
And I'm not entirely sure that we should say well, he was connected to Russia. But there are these unexplained moments in this. And I think, you know, that's something that the Mueller investigation will be looking into I'm sure.
LEMON: So listen, here's what Cambridge Analytica says, there is no data from GSR was used by Cambridge Analytica as part of the service provided to the Donald Trump -- to Donald Trump presidential campaign, the Donald Trump campaign.
So Wiley's point is that if the Trump campaign wasn't using the data, what happened to it? Because it was the foundation of what Cambridge Analytica did. I mean, did the Trump campaign end up with that Facebook data through Cambridge Analytica, Matthew?
ROSENBERG: I mean, I think we have to understand what Cambridge Analytica sought to do with this data. They were trying to build models to get a sense of individual voters. So this was the first large data set they had in which they could build these models.
I'm sure they brought in other data sets along the way. So specify we use this data, not that data, kind of misses the point, that you're taking large amounts of data, and building this kind of analytical model, and analytical tools that you're going to use. And so to say well we didn't use this data is a -- seems awfully disingenuous when that was the start of how you built your tools.
LEMON: So that's exactly what Christopher Wiley said. Just overall, what do you say, Juliette? I want to get your assessment of it before I ask you any specific -- more specific questions.
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, I thought overall he was credible. He is obviously very upset about the situation about his role in it. I think he may make -- he may connect dots more -- I say more tightly than maybe, Matt and I, are comfortable with right now.
Because we just simply don't know what the Trump campaign knew, and what information they got. But I think his point, you know, what was the Trump campaign buying from Cambridge Analytica, and why did such senior players in the Trump campaign, Kushner, Manafort, and others want Cambridge Analytica to be part of the campaign in June of 2016 is a fair question to ask.
This is separate from the question that, you know, having to do with fake news, and Facebook, and whether there was a breach. But nonetheless, the question about Trump and Cambridge Analytica, there are enough dots to suggest, or at least open an inquiry into what did the Trump campaign get from these people that was harvested, or stolen, or whatever verb you want to use from Facebook.
LEMON: OK. I have more questions to ask you. But I need it to do on the other side of the break. So, stay with me. When we come back, why would a data company be caught on hidden camera discussing trapping politicians in honey pot schemes, is this about data or dirty tricks?
[22:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Juliette and Matthew are both back with me now. So, Juliette, before this story came out, Cambridge Analytica had obtained -- had denied obtaining or using Facebook data. Now we know that that is not true, and they have been caught. So the question is, what else aren't they telling the truth about?
KAYYEM: Probably everything at this stage, given the tape that we just saw about them talking about Ukrainian women enticing the candidates to get information on them. At this stage I'll be honest with you, I don't believe anyone in terms if both Cambridge Analytica, and then of course Facebook.
Facebook is I think trying to put this on Cambridge Analytica, but as we've seen since at least 2016, Facebook has two problems. One is, of course, the fake news problem which they knew about for some time.
And now has this question about what did they know Cambridge Analytica had captured from not just the original couple hundred thousand, but the millions? And their failure to address that adequately and to show to regulators, or whoever else what, in fact, had been done.
It's -- well, let's just say it's harming them financially, but it's also harming them reputationally. I will say one final thing, I tweeted this out, I'm really honored to be on with, Matt, because I think what's important now is that we want to protect our democratic systems, whether you're a Republican or a Democrat.
And it seemed really hard at times to figure out what the heck was going on. You thought the whole process was manipulated in ways that we'd never be able to figure out what happened.
And I think what the reporters did in the New York Times and of course others in England was to at least show that the acquiescence of these companies to allow these platforms to be abused was actually a choice they made.
And if we can make the market have them have another choice, then maybe we will actually begin to defend our democratic processes. So that's my little, you know, ode to not fake news at The New York Times. LEMON: The Washington Post now is reporting tonight that the Obama
campaign had a similar data mining operation in 2012 that allowed them to build a database of voters.
[22:55:01] Facebook changed its rules in 2015 after concerns about misuse. Do you see a difference between these two stories, Matthew?
ROSENBERG: Absolutely. You know, the Obama data mining operation was basically, they had an app, you knew what you were signing up for with that. It was up front and very clear about what you were signing up for as a user.
The Cambridge Analytica app was not. It said it was for academic use. You know, you were going to provide this data, it was going to scrape your friends, but that was for academic use. And it wasn't.
It was to put in the hands of a very conservative billionaire in Steve Bannon who wanted to reshape American culture, political culture. So I think there's an important difference there.
And I think on Facebook's end, you know, what Cambridge Analytica was doing -- apart from the deception, but what they were doing, the data mining, was completely OK. It was completely legitimate.
Facebook allowed that up through 2014, and then 2015. How many other data sets like this are out there? And how many are kind of better and deeper? Cambridge Analytica did this quickly and relatively cheaply for under $1 million.
There were other people out there doing this for a lot longer. And it's certainly a question we're asking, which is, what else is out there?
And you know, Facebook kind of Friday night, right before our story was about to go online, and they knew it, had this post coming clean about Cambridge Analytica, or trying to get to the bottom of this.
They've known about this over two years, and they quietly tried to make sure the data was deleted. We have seen that data and we know as of last week it was definitely not deleted.
But they didn't inform any users. They made no effort to go out and tell people, hey, we've had this issue. And I think, you know, that does beg the question, what else is out there? And what else haven't we been told about?
LEMON: Matthew, Juliette, thank you very much. I appreciate it. When we come back, attorneys for the President meeting face-to-face with Robert Mueller's team for the very first time, we're going to tell you what they've talked about, that's next.