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Trump Attacks Mueller Probe; Checking Trump's Tweets; Professor Sues Data Company Tied to Trump Campaign. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired March 19, 2018 - 06:30   ET


[06:30:00] JAMES CLAPPER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: You know, in a military context, this would be an egregious case of command influence where, in this case, the commander in chief is weighing in on an investigation and kind of preordaining its outcome. So the process, regrettably, which I think probably on its own, was probably -- was credible. I think he's compromised it by these tweets. And It is it's kind of the typical mixed messages, you know, from Mr. Dowd, who's, you know, initially said he was reflect the president's views, which I -- I suspect he is. And then he kind of backtracked on that. So, I don't know, this hopefully is just so much noise. I think it would be a really, really bad thing if he did, in fact, fire the special counsel.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Jim Clapper, as always, the perspective is appreciated.

CLAPPER: Thanks, Chris.

CUOMO: All right, be well.


ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Sweden at the negotiating table with North Korea. Could the Swedes help release Americans being held captive by the reclusive regime? Details, next.


CUOMO: The remains of two U.S. troops who were killed in a helicopter crash in Iraq arrived overnight at Dover Air Force Base. The vice president, Mike Pence, was there for what we call the dignified transfer. Captain Christopher Tripp Zanetis and Master Sergeant Christopher Raguso were among seven U.S. troops killed when their helicopter went down near Syria's border. Both men were also members of the NYFD, the fire department, the first responders here. The helicopter crash is under investigation. It does not appear to be the result of enemy fire.

[06:35:33] HILL: Sources tell CNN, Sweden is negotiating the release of three Americans being held captain in North Korea. North Korea's foreign minister is in Stockholm right now for talks. According to a source, Sweden is not issuing any ultimatums to the North, but is strongly suggesting a release of the prisoners would move things in the right direction ahead of President Trump's expected face-to-face meeting with Kim Jong-un in May.

CUOMO: Well, there are only 16 teams left standing, aka the Sweet 16. But how we got here, another stunning day of upsets that made my bracket look like Swiss cheese in the NCAA tournament. Ninth-seeded Florida advancing with a shocking 75-70 upset of number one seed Xavier. The Musketeers coughing up a 12-point lead midway through the second half, 18 turnovers, 11 missed free throws. That will kill you.

Defending champ North Carolina, a two seed, going home, blown out by Texas A&M. Tyler Davis, led them into the 16. I don't know if you got to see this, but you've got to find the highlights of this kid online. Eighteen points, 86-65 route (ph).

Another two seed also knocked out, the Cincinnati Bearcats blowing a 22-point second half lead, losing to seven-seeded Nevada. 75-73. Then you had, I was waiting for this one, third-seed Michigan State eliminated early again, losing 55-53 to Syracuse, who came out of nowhere here. The Spartans failing to get out of the first weekend of March Madness for the third straight year.

I said it. I was more true than I thought I was going to be. The parody in this year's tournament, I haven't seen anything like this in a long time.

HILL: It -- my -- I ripped mine up in my office this morning.

CUOMO: I mean this was really bad. I've never gotten this bad --

HILL: I've got no one left.

CUOMO: This is the worst -- and I do badly every year. Never this bad.

HILL: Well, I do too and I'm never this bad either. But, hey, I do love a good underdog story, so that's great.

CUOMO: True.

HILL: President Trump lashing out at Special Counsel Robert Mueller on Twitter. We fact-check the president's claims, next.


[06:41:48] CUOMO: President Trump doing what he likes to do most, attacking political opponents. This time, an unusual choice, the Special Counsel Bob Mueller. Attacking him by name, the president was, in a series of tweets filled with misleading claims and inaccuracies. You can have your own opinions, you cannot have your own facts.

So let's get into what is true and what is not. CNN political analyst David Gregory and CNN legal analyst Carrie Cordero. She is former counsel to the U.S. assistant attorney general for national security.

It's good to have you both. Thank you for being here.

Let's put up the first tweet, all right? Why does the Mueller team have 13 hardened Democrats, some big, crooked Hillary supporters and zero Republicans? Another Dem recently added. Does anyone think this is fair? And yet, there is no collusion.

Let's start there. What do we know about who is on this team and what they're about, Carrie Cordero?

CARRIE CORDERO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: First of all, the special counsel himself is historically a Republican nominee. I served in the Justice Department for many years for parties -- presidents of both parties. And there was a time when the beginning of the George W. Bush administration where Bob Mueller was the acting attorney general in the Bush administration. And then he was the nominee for FBI director. He served as the head of the criminal division in the first Bush administration in the Justice Department. So he has historically been a Republican nominee for positions.

As to the rest of the special counsel team, some have served in various capacities in the FBI, in the Justice Department. These are people who are experienced prosecutors. They have non-partisan prosecutorial or Justice Department experience. And then there are other individuals who are probably detailed to the special counsel's team who are non-partisan, career Justice Department officials.

So are there a few who at some point when they went into the private sector perhaps supported Democratic candidates? I think that there are. And the press has reported on that. But to cast the entire team as Democratic hats is just false.

HILL: Go ahead, David.

DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I just think it's also worth pointing out that this is what happens when you attack our democratic institutions and lead people to believe that if somebody gave a contribution in their life that somehow they're not fair and that they don't have respect for and an allegiance to the demands of their profession and of the institution. So the fact that Bob Mueller is a Republican, should we suspect that he might go soft on a Republican president, or do we think his commitment as a prosecutor in the federal government and as head of the FBI is something that will lead him both as a matter of discipline and respect for the institution?

You know, we have tremendous examples of members of the opposite party serving in the office of parties administration. Bob Gates serving as secretary of defense for President Obama. So I think we do ourselves a disservice as citizens when we allow these kinds of arguments to run amok, that somehow somebody gave a contribution somewhere and therefore they're forever tainted. Or, by the way, that Andy McCabe was number two at the FBI, if his wife wants to pursue a political career, that therefore he's tainted because his wife has a career? Is that not the height of sexism? Is that -- is that a rule that's applied elsewhere in reverse? It's really -- it's dangerous and we ought to be better than that.

[06:45:34] CUOMO: And, remember, the president met with Bob Mueller about the FBI job. So, obviously, he thought he was fine right before this.


HILL: Right.

So, so tweet number two we want to get to here.

The Mueller probe should never have been started and that there was no collusion and there was no crime. It was based on fraudulent activities and a fake dossier paid for by crooked Hillary and the DNC and improperly used in FISA court for surveillance of my campaign. All caps, witch hunt.

There's a lot to unpack on this one.

GREGORY: Oh, oh, pick me.

HILL: OK, David, I'm going to pick you. So, first of all, let's -- let's -- let's just go through it line by line here.

In terms of no collusion, we don't know yet because, obviously, we don't have all the findings from Bob Mueller.

CUOMO: Right, but that's also -- it's just a fundamentally deceptive statement of how things work.

HILL: Right.

CUOMO: You know, you started because there were real questions. His own guy picked a special counsel, Rod Rosenstein. This is the man handpicked by Sessions and Trump to lead it. It was his decision. And, obviously, you don't say there's collusion so let's have an investigation. It works in reverse.

HILL: Right. And also in terms of the fake dossier, of course, as we know, and, David, I'll kick this one over to you, it was actually started because of that red flag that was raised by the Australian government saying, hey, there was a drunken conversation with George Papadopoulos. And here we are, David.

GREGORY: Well, also, remember, this -- the dossier that was compiled was originally the work of Republicans. And then Democrats also funded it as well, looking for opposition research on then candidate Trump. And the FISA process was not undermined. There -- they were -- there was transparently -- the transparently provided information about the sourcing of information that was part of the dossier and the surveillance court moved forward.

The idea that there was no crime, I think, you know, one question we have to raise here in all of our discussion of this is whether the president is reacting very strongly to the fact, and this was reported over the weekend, that the special counsel team is now providing questions that they want to ask the president as part of this negotiation. The substance of those questions perhaps has to do with the president's behavior after he got into office, raising the specter of potential obstruction of justice, separate from any claims of collusion in the actual campaign. That might be setting him off. And this appears to be an all-out assault on special counsel to undermine him based on questions they want to ask him, based on something that may come out of those -- that questioning. And that's something we have to keep in mind here.

CUOMO: Carrie, what's your take on that tweet? What's true? What's not true?

CORDERO: Well, the biggest problem with that tweet is that it absolutely ignores the fact that the special counsel has charged 13 individuals and Russian entities with conspiracy to defraud the United States based on their efforts to effect the U.S. election. So according to the special counsel and the grand jury, which has given that indictment, there is a crime that has been committed and they have put that forward. So, for the president, this is just another example of his unwillingness to acknowledge what has transpired with respect to Russian influence on a campaign and their efforts.

And there are more indictments to come. There also was the hack of the DNC, which according to reports, is going to be another area where I think we're going to see an indictment. So to say that there is no crime again it just defies what the investigation is demonstrating.

CUOMO: You mean the DNC hack wasn't an inside job? And I only raise that nonsense because it's amazing that the man who has the most access to truth in our society is the president of the United States. He has access to all of the intelligence if he wants it, yet he relies on these tweets, on the musings and conspiracy theories of right wing media, you know? And he could have all the truth at his fingertips.

Carrie, David, thank you very much. Appreciate it.

How about me?

All right, a New York professor suing a data firm with ties to the Trump campaign that had access to the personal information of 50 million Facebook users. What does he hope to accomplish? What is he trying to unearth? We will take you through it with him, next.


[06:53:55] HILL: Facebook under mounting pressure to answer questions about how a data firm with ties to President Trump's 2016 campaign collected private information from more than 50 million Facebook users without their permission. It follows reports Cambridge Analytica gathered that information in an effort to profile and influence individual American voters. Our next guest is now suiting that firm in a British court to find out exactly what the data firm knows about him and how they got that information.

Professor David Carroll joins me now.

It's fascinating. And you have to sue there, because that's the only way you're going to get the information.

Tell me, first of all, what have you found? What did you get?

DAVID CARROLL, PROFESSOR SUING CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA: So we got an incomplete data set that gave us at least the proof that Americans' voter data was processed in United Kingdom. It didn't stay in the country. What this gives us rights, then, to take it up with the regulators and the courts there.

What I did get was my voter registration file, historical votes in my district, and then a profile of my beliefs and my propensity to participate, the likelihood that I would participate.

[06:55:04] HILL: How accurate was that profile?

CARROLL: It's hard to assess. That's part of the problem too. Some of the issues feel right. But then there are other weird ones, like gun rights is ranked very high for me. And it's difficult to explain.

HILL: It ranked high for you in terms of a priority --


HILL: That would get you out to vote?


HILL: And why do you think that that doesn't -- that doesn't work out in terms of who you really are?

CARROLL: Well, it doesn't seem to be accurate to me, for one. It also doesn't seem to be accurate just to my demographic profile. That is, you know, a professor from New York. Gun rights is number three? That doesn't really compute very well. So we're trying to figure out why that was ranked. And the experts that have looked at the data suggest that that's evidence that it's not a complete data set. That in order to rank me that way, they would need additional data, perhaps my personality data.

HILL: And so do you believe they have that information?

CARROLL: I do believe it because the CEO, Alexander Nix, has bragged that he has 4,000 to 5,000 data points on every American. I've probably got a dozen.

HILL: What else do you think is out there? I mean how damaging do you think this is? We're talking about potentially 50 million Facebook accounts here. As we said, Facebook has said, for its part, and I'm reading here, that, look, this is -- the fact that this is a data breach is false, they've said, noting that information was requested and access was gained to it from users who chose to sign up to use an app. Everyone involved gave their consent. So people knowingly provided their information. Our hands are clean.

CARROLL: It's a real breach of confidence. It's a breach of trust. Facebook's business model is to protect our privacy in order to use it to sell us -- to sell us things through advertising. And if they don't adhere to the trust between us, then their business model is not going to work anymore. So it's a real blow to the trust that users need to have in Facebook. With regards to Cambridge Analytica, nobody consented to a company

gathering all of our data and reattaching it to our voter profile. So one of my main causes here is to figure out, can we even opt out of this?

HILL: And, so far, what are you finding?

CARROLL: It's going to take a lawsuit to opt out of Cambridge Analytica. It shouldn't be that way.

HILL: And do you believe that's realistic, that there could be a lawsuit that is going to actually make that happen?

CARROLL: We think that we have a lot of rights in the U.K. because the British laws are so much stronger than they are in the United States. And the European laws are so much stronger than they are here. And so because our data was processed there, we get rights there. And there's a whole regulator, the information commissioner, that has been conducting a huge investigation into the company and other companies. And they've determined that Americans fall under their jurisdiction in this case. So we're going to get the benefit of both the regulator and the courts looking at our cause here.

HILL: This is -- for anybody who is reading all of this as it was coming to light over the weekend, it is dense and it is a lot to get through, to sort of wrap our head around it. But I think you're doing a great job of putting it in perspective as to why this should matter to the American people.

We were also talking in the break about what Trey Gowdy had to say over the weekend, that this, in his view, is one of the reasons that we're where we are in terms of the Russia investigation. Do you agree?

CARROLL: Because I've been working on this for more than a year and I've been troubled by it, even just the basics of this idea of, we're losing our privacy in the voting booth. But then, when you hear that the company is under investigation by the House, the Senate, the special counsel, the investigators in the United Kingdom. And then you hear things when Trey Gowdy, of all people, says that an e-mail from Cambridge Analytica is one of the three reasons why there's a Russia probe without a dossier and that he held up an e-mail to Steve Bannon asking him if this was treasonous. It creates a very distressing feeling about this company, which is part of the grounds for the lawsuit. This was all before this weekend's bombshell about the whistle-blower.

HILL: There's a lot there. There's a lot there. We're going to have to leave it there for the moment. We'll continue to follow your developments, though, as well.

Thank you.

CARROLL: Thanks for having me on.

HILL: Thanks to our international viewers for watching. For you, CNN "TALK" is next. For our U.S. viewers, breaking news we want to get to from Austin, Texas. Let's get to it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We heard a loud explosion inside our house.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is very possible that this device was activated by someone coming in contact with a trip wire.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm just in a state of shock and disbelief right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If they didn't do anything wrong, why are they going to such extreme lengths to undermine this investigation?

CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), FORMER NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR: I don't think the president will fire Robert Mueller. I don't think it would be appropriate for him to do so.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president seems to be very, very frustrated that they've not connected anything on to him and he wants to be able to move on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This would undoubtedly result in a constitutional crisis.

[07:00:02] SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: We owe it to the average American to have a hearing and to give Mr. McCabe a chance to defend himself.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: Forty-eight hours to go before retirement. I would have certainly done it differently.