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AT THIS HOUR

Police News Briefing after Maryland School Shooting; Ryan Pushes Back on Accusations Trump Pushing for Mueller Firing; 1st Meeting of Trump Lawyers and Mueller Investigator over Trump Interview; Trump Shakes Up Legal Team; Lawmakers, Company Insiders Call Out Mark Zuckerberg Over Data Breach; Data Researcher Talked Up Controversial Techniques. Aired 11:30-12p ET

Aired March 20, 2018 - 11:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[11:30:00] TIM CAMERON, SHERIFF, ST. MARY'S COUNTY, MARYLAND, SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT: At this time, we can't confirm any of that. That is what this investigation will do.

And at 1:00, I will anticipate being able to release the identities of perhaps the shooter and the victims as well. And we would know by then that notification is being made. So, again, I wanted to lay the ground work for what's to come at 1:00.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Can you confirm the identity of the school resource officer?

CAMERON: No, I can't. Not at this time.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Have there been threats posted on social media a month or two ago at school? Did you say you're of the opinion what happened today, is related to that?

CAMERON: So that's part and parcel to the investigation. We'll go on to determine if anything on social media was relevant to this day. I'm not aware of anything. But we're going to go back and comb through that as well as anybody involved in their social media posts.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: How many school resource officers are there for this school?

CAMERON: We have a school resource officer assigned to each of our high schools.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: One?

CAMERON: Yes. Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Again, we're not taking questions right now. At 1:00.

I appreciate it. Thank you.

CAMERON: I would like to mention that the FBI has set up a 1-800 line. It's 1-800-call-FBI. If you have additional information that you would like to share with us, we set that 800 line up. So please give us a call there.

I'll see you all again at 1:00. Thank you, all, very much.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Sheriff's --

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: All right, that is a press conference that we just monitored from Great Mills, Maryland, where there has been a school shooting.

Actually, let's go back to that press conference.

CAMERON: This is what we prepare for. And this is what we pray we never have to do. And on this day, we realized our worst nightmare, that our greatest asset, our children, were attacked in one of our places of -- a bastion of safety and security, one of our schools. That's what we're talking about right now across the country. And you know, the notion of it can't happen here is no longer a notion. So despite training, you hope that you never have to do this, ever. And so now -- we're a very tight-knit community. And so now what I would ask our community to do is pray for those victims, and hope that we can return to some type of normalcy in our schools and in our community.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: When was your last active-training exercise?

CAMERON: We train on that all the time. And in the schools, the last calendar year, in fact. Unfortunately, we had incidents that were -- people with guns in some of the schools and bomb threats, which we treat similarly. So we talk about school safety, school response weekly. In fact, we have done a number of parent meetings, community meetings on this within the last couple of months.

That's all the questions I'm going to take. I'll see you at 1:00. Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You guys, please don't stand out in the hallways --

KEILAR: All right, so we just monitored the press conference about the school shooting that we have seen in Maryland. And here are some of the headlines coming out of this. A male student produced a handgun. This is what authorities there just told us. Wounded a female student and a male student in the hallway before classes there began. The male student who was shot is in the hospital. The female student is at another hospital. She's, we're told there, in critical condition. The shooter is dead. The shooter was confirmed dead when the shooting took place. There was a school resource officer, so a police officer stationed there at the school, an SRO, who was armed and shot at -- shot at the shooter. Both of them having fired a round, is what we learned from officials. How did the shooter die? That's something still being investigated, we're told there, by facilities. They're trying to determine if it was the student resource officer firing that killed the shooter.

I want to bring Art Broderick back in with us. Art, we learned some information there, obviously. A student resource officer stepping in, putting himself in harm's way. We heard -- we heard the police chief there saying this is what you hope never happens, but this is what you prepare for.

ART BRODERICK, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Yes. This is the scariest thing for law enforcement. Because of the training that DOJ and the Department of Homeland Security put first responders through, right there on the front page, it says you have to put yourself in harm's way. And we didn't see that in Parkland, but we saw that here. It is yet to be determined if this school resource officer actually shot and killed the individual, was a suicide by cop, or was this suicide. So there was a little exchange there that kind of was confusing as to how this individual was neutralized. He could have neutralized himself. And usually --

(CROSSTALK)

KEILAR: He was -- is it clear he was engaged by the resource officer?

BRODERICK: Absolutely. Absolutely. I think they're going to find that probably simultaneously, if this individual shot himself, the school resource officer also responded. So this is exactly how these scenarios should be laid out. But I think we also have to understand that if somebody is willing to die to commit this particular crime, it is very, very difficult to stop it.

[11:35:15] KEILAR: So we -- it is important to note, here we are at 11:30 eastern time, we're expecting to get here in less than 90 minutes another update. We'll be keeping our eye on that.

The remainder of the students at this point at school are being removed so that they can be reunified with their parents. That's what you expect.

So this shooter is a male, as we understand it. Shoots a female, shoots a male, both of them in the hospital. The female is in critical condition. We don't know the relationship. That's what was also clear coming out of this.

BRODERICK: Right.

KEILAR: Did this shooter specifically target these two individuals? Did the shooter have something more in mind than just these two individuals? We do not know. Did the student resource officer engaging the shooter at that point in time stop this? Was this -- or was this something that the shooter was engaging in that was very targeted? We do not know at this point.

BRODERICK: Right. Usually, in our experience, when you see just a couple of casualties, and generally it means it is more of a domestic situation, where the shooter actually knew the individuals that he shot. But, again, in the next 24 hours, we should be able to sort this out. If this school resource officer engaged immediately, then it is clearly evident that he saved a lot of lives here. You know, who knows how many people could have been shot if the school resource officer did not engage him as he did right away.

KEILAR: All right.

And, again, you were looking at some pictures from Great Mills, Maryland, where the shooting has taken place. The shooter is dead at this point in time. Two students in critical condition. We're expecting another presser here shortly where we could learn potentially the identification of the shooter and more about the victims as well. We'll be keeping an eye on that.

Art Broderick, thanks so much to you.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:41:15] KEILAR: We have new developments in the Russia investigation. Just minutes ago, House Speaker Paul Ryan pushed back against concerns that an increasingly frustrated President Trump could push for the firing of Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Here is what Ryan said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Do you agree with some of your Republican colleagues that the president needs to stop attacking the special counsel? Do you support them to protect the investigation?

REP. PAUL RYAN, (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Look, first of all, the special counsel should be free to follow through his investigation to its completion without interference, absolutely. I am confident that he'll be able to do that.

I received assurances that his firing is not even under consideration. We have a -- (INAUDIBLE) -- justice system and no one is above that justice system.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KEILAR: Well, that reassurance coming after Mueller's investigators have held their first face-to-face talks with the president's legal team. Sources say that this could pave the way for scheduling an interview with President Trump himself within a few weeks. And all of this as the president shuffles his legal team at this late hour.

CNN's Kaitlan Collins at the White House for us.

Kaitlan, how is the president reacting to the latest developments?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, Brianna, we're seeing the president grow increasingly frustrated. We're told by sources that privately he's been fuming about the special counsel's investigation, but also we have seen that publicly because the president went after Robert Mueller for the first time by name on Twitter over the weekend. Certainly, a lot of hostility coming from the president. And this comes after a lot of developments in this latest

investigation. As we know, for the first time, the president's legal team has sat

down with investigators from the special counsel's office, not the special counsel himself, but investigators, to discuss what they would like to speak with the president about. And it also comes after the Trump Organization was subpoenaed by the special counsel. Several developments in this. And we have seen the president grow increasingly frustrated here, Brianna, because, as we reported, his legal team has told him for some time this investigation was wrapping up only to have that deadline pushed further and further back. And with these latest developments, the president can clearly see that it is accelerating, not tamping down, by any means -- Brianna?

KEILAR: Kaitlan, it seems like the president is also looking to shake up his legal team?

COLLINS: Yes, the president clearly seems unhappy. Just a little over a week ago, he tweeted that it was untrue when the "New York Times" reported that he was considering bringing in other lawyers to add to his legal team. But clearly, that tweet did not age well. "The Washington Post" just reported a few minutes ago that the president has reached out to Ted Olson, a very experienced high- profile lawyer, to speak to him about coming on and joining his legal team. We should note that "The Washington Post" does not say that Olson accepted this yet, but he's only been reached out to. And that it clearly shows that the president is considering adding more people, especially with the news yesterday that he has hired Joe DiGenova, that lawyer who has said he believes the president is a target of an FBI conspiracy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE DIGENOVA, TRUMP PERSONAL ATTORNEY: It was a brazen plot to illegally exonerate Hillary Clinton, and if she didn't win the election, to then frame Donald Trump with a falsely created crime.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: Now, Joe DiGenova is a former federal prosecutor who has been described to me as tough, described as a pit bull. And it clearly shows here, Brianna, that the president wants to take a more aggressive approach to the special counsel's investigation, especially as he sees that it is not coming to an end anytime soon as his current legal team has promised him time and time again.

[11:44:47] KEILAR: Kaitlan Collins, at the White House, thank you so much.

Coming up, pressure mounting for Facebook to do more to protect its users after a massive data scandal rocks the company. Lawmakers and company insiders are now calling out founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. We'll have that next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KEILAR: New this morning, the Federal Trade Commission has opened up an investigation into Facebook. This comes after we learned a data firm linked to President Trump, called Cambridge Analytica, secretly collected information from 50 million Facebook users. CNN has also learned that Facebook will hold a staff-wide meeting at its home base in Menlo Park, California, today to discuss issues of data protection.

The co-founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, is under increasing pressure to testify before Congress about the controversy. Members of both parties are asking the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee to hold a hearing to get some answers.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[11:50:04] SEN. ARMY KLOBUCHAR, (D), MINNESOTA: I think he should explain to the American people how this happened, how many people were hurt and, most importantly, how they're going to fix it. Because you can't just have 50 million Americans have their private data exposed without their permission.

SEN. JOHN NEELY KENNEDY, (R), LOUISIANA: His behavior lately has kind of been getting into the foothills of creepy. My interests are larger than Cambridge Analytica. I want to know to what extent, if any, those of us on Facebook lived in a contrived universe.

I'd like Mr. Zuckerberg to come. Last time, he sent his lawyers. I don't know what he paid them, but they did a damn good job because they didn't say anything.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KEILAR: Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley says he's taking the request for a hearing under advisement.

Meantime, top Facebook executives are telling CNN that frustration for Zuckerberg is growing inside the company.

CNN's senior technology reporter, Laurie Segall, has this exclusive story for us.

Laurie, tell us what they're saying.

LAURIE SEGALL, CNN SENIOR TECHNOLOGY REPORTER: Interesting. We're all asking where in the world is Mark Zuckerberg in this moment of crisis, but talking to top executives, they're asking the same question. There's frustration.

I spoke to one executive who essentially said the consensus is that Mark Zuckerberg really isn't getting his hands dirty when it comes to being a public face of this. He said there is a consensus that they're not open enough quick enough when it comes to these types of issues. That's something I'm hearing all over the company.

It's interesting. Last year, Brianna, we saw Mark Zuckerberg go on a whole tour of the United States and really try to get out of his filter bubble and get to know people. That was his goal. There was a consensus inside Facebook, he had his own filter bubble, his own comm team. One executive I spoke to said, you know, they're looking out for Mark Zuckerberg, the brand, and not necessarily the company and what's in the best interest, wanting to put him out there. You know, why Mark -- a lot of different tech companies go through a different crisis and you don't necessarily see the CEO out in front of it. The thing is Mark Zuckerberg is Facebook. Facebook is Mark Zuckerberg, the brand. Same with Sheryl Sandberg. This moment in time, people want to see them and there is that growing frustration inside.

One other thing I'll say, as the conversations are happening behind closed doors, these are ethical debates that will impact two billion people about user data, about the spread of fake news, about the weaponization of the platform, and they don't have easy answers. What one executive said to me was there are trade-offs with the conversations we're having, and there should be a public discussion of them. This isn't just the field to a very carefully crafted blog poster on Facebook Live after the fact.

I think now we're reaching peak frustration where we wonder what's happening to our data? Do we have privacy? What is this company doing? And do they have control over us? It doesn't even really seem like they have control over their own narrative right now -- Brianna?

KEILAR: They do not.

Laurie Segall, thank you so much for that.

We'll have some breaking details about a professor at the center of this entire controversy. We'll have that next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:57:31] KEILAR: CNN is learning new information about the man who Facebook says violated its policies by providing Cambridge Analytica with data on tens of millions of Americans.

CNN's Fred Pleitgen is in Moscow with the news.

So, Fred, this researcher was actually talked up his controversial data-gathering techniques at a lecture and this was just a few years ago.

FRED PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. You're exactly right, Brianna. This is Aleksandr Kogan, who is not only under public scrutiny in the U.S., he's basically downplaying some of his research, saying things like data harvesting isn't something -- that it's not as reliable as people think, saying possibly you cannot really find out what trends are using data harvesting.

Well, our research and investigation team here in Moscow dug into some of the things he said here in Russia in the past, and that seems to paint a very, very different picture. He was at St. Petersburg State University, which is the biggest and most prestigious here in this country, for three lectures and part of a data harvesting project there. In that project, he gave some lectures where he said very different things. This is something that seems remarkable. I want to read a quick quote

from him. He said, "The level of what can be predicted about you based on what you like on Facebook is higher than what your wife would say about you, what your parents and friends could say about you. Even if we took your 10 best friends and they all gave a description of who you are as a person, and we combined it all together, this analysis, this method still is better." He went on to say, "Your Facebook knows more about you than any other person in your life."

So clearly, talking all that research up back then. Also saying it was a quick and cheap way of gathering a lot of data.

What we've learned is he, apparently, not only gathered data on your likes and things like that, but also personal messages in some cases. So it certainly seems as though he was trumping the research up, that he was doing the method up, that he's doing a lot more than he's saying now. He wrote an e-mail to colleagues recently saying that all the research was not as good as people would have said -- Brianna?

KEILAR: That is quite different from what you said where he's touting the predictive abilities of data information.

Fred Pleitgen, thank you so much for that.

And thank you so much for joining me.

"INSIDE POLITICS" with John King starts right now.

[11:59:55] JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Welcome to INSIDE POLITICS. I'm John King. Thank you for sharing your day with us.

A lot of moving parts in the hour ahead. The president about to welcome the crown prince of Saudi Arabia to the White House and into the Oval Office. When reporters get in there, expect questions about new attacks on the Russian meddling special council.

Plus, new ideas about how to counter Russian meddling this year.