Return to Transcripts main page


Trump Hires Conspiracy Theorist for His Legal Team; Three Injured in Maryland School Shooting; Tension Mounting Inside Facebook Over Data Scandal. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired March 20, 2018 - 10:30   ET


[10:30:00] SYMONE SANDERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: That's not true. And so I think we should all take caution to make declarative statements such as no collusion has taken place. We don't know that.


SANDERS: We have not seen the evidence. What we know -- we only know what we know and a lot of us don't know a lot. We haven't seen the information from the Mueller investigation.

LANZA: What we do know is that Mueller has requested to do an interview with President Trump on very specific issues. And under those issues, it had to do with Russia collusion. So we actually do have some facts going forward on this, based on what the special prosecutor has done. So we can't say we don't know. We actually do know and we do know by his actions of bringing on charges against Flynn, against Gates, against Manafort, who actually have established Russia relationships and they didn't charge him for any collusion during the campaign.

So this whole theory that you don't know if you look at what Mueller has done, we can actually come to a conclusion and say we do know. It just doesn't fit the narrative that we want out there right now.

SANDERS: No, I think what -- all I'd like to note is what we do know is what Robert Mueller wants us to know. What really good journalists have been able to deduce and find out outside of what he wants us to know. We do not have the full picture, so I am not going to sit here and underscore the fact that there is no collusion, we don't know.

So we have to wait for the investigation to play out and every single day someone on national television undermines this investigation by asserting that there is no collusion. They're aiding and abetting Donald Trump and his effort to underline.

LANZA: That's silly. That is just silly.

SANDERS: It's not silly. You're being silly.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Let's leave it there.


ROMANS: Let's leave it there and say that passions run high over the issue of this investigation. No question.

Amber Phillip, Bryan Lanza, and Symone Sanders, thank you, guys. Thank you so much.

Thank you.

ROMANS: We do have this breaking news out of Maryland we're following. The county confirms three are injured, three are injured in that school. We're told the incident is contained. You can see first responders on the scene. More details right after the break.


[10:36:15] BRIGGS: All right, an update now on the breaking news out of Maryland. A school shooting at Great Mills High School in Great Mills, Maryland, a school of about 1500.

Let's bring in Jean Casarez with any breaking details.

Jean, good morning to you. Are we learning anything new?

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We are. We're finally getting some numbers in. We are hearing and this is according to the St. Mary County's Public Information Officer, three people are injured from the school shooting this morning.

We also have confirmed at this point in time there are no fatalities, but three are injured. We also note that the students have been evacuated to a local high school, another one, Leonard Town High School, and they are asking parents to go there for reunification. But at this point, the FBI, the ATF, all on scene, assessing exactly what happened here. But three people injured in the shooting this morning. At this point, Dave and Christine, no fatalities.

ROMANS: All right. Jean Casarez, thank you so much for that.

And again just about five weeks after Parkland and then this weekend there will be marches.

BRIGGS: March for Our Lives.

ROMANS: In Washington, D.C. for school safety.

BRIGGS: Not just D.C., but L.A., Chicago, Boston, and across the world really. Meanwhile, a growing fallout from Facebook this morning. The social media company facing problems both internally and externally following a report that Cambridge Analytica, the data firm used by the Trump campaign, accessed data on 50 million Facebook users.

ROMANS: And today Facebook is expected to address questions about the scandal and a staff wide meeting as the stock continues to take a hit on Wall Street, down 3 percent this morning.

CNN senior media correspondent Brian Stelter joins us.

The stock is down because, you know, investors are saying there is no way Facebook is out of this unscathed.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Yes, second day of losses. Tens of billions of dollars of value being wiped off of Facebook's stock. And amid all of this, we haven't heard from Mark Zuckerberg, the company's CEO, or the COO, Sheryl Sandberg. It's a bit of mystery why they've left this to other executives who've released, you know, anodyne statements to say we're going to make sure things are better in the future.

Facebook has suffered a series of these kinds of self-inflicted wounds in recent years with regard to how its site was misused during the U.S. presidential election, and now more broadly about how much privacy we all give up when we use Facebook.

Look, I think we all use Facebook. We all know we're making a trade- off when you use a free product. You know that ads are going to be targeted to you. That's not necessarily a scandal. What is a scandal is the idea that this professor in the UK was taking data, transferring it over to political consulting firm, which violated Facebook's policies, and this data apparently sat on the servers for years even though they said they deleted it, maybe they didn't delete it. That's at the heart of this scandal right now. What did this consulting firm do with Facebook data and how did they use it to target voters?

BRIGGS: And they said it was in the name of academic research, which we know is not --


BRIGGS: Indeed the case.


BRIGGS: So Facebook did what nothing can do, they brought together Republicans and Democrats. Amy Klobuchar, John Kennedy, they want to hear from Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook. What about Congress? What about the FCC? Where is this headed now?

STELTER: Yes. We've heard from other senators this morning who are saying there could be hearings on Capitol Hill. I think there is a growing sense that Zuckerberg should come and testify and address this.


STELTER: Not send one of his deputies but actually come and speak about this. Notably, the FTC, that's the Federal Trade Commission, we don't hear about them very often, but Bloomberg is reporting this morning the FTC has opened an investigation into this data scandal to find out what actually happened. The FTC won't confirm that, but they say we're aware of the issues. They say they're taking it seriously. So we'll see how much appetite there is for government action, government regulation, or investigation of Facebook.

ROMANS: It's user beware because you are not a person or citizen to Facebook and social media. You are a product.


ROMANS: That they are selling, that others are trying to glean information from and use. And that is the bottom line. That might be legal, it might be within company policies, but it also might be not good for democracy.

STELTER: And it's long past time for us to recognize that. I think when I signed up for Facebook as a college student, I didn't recognize how my data was being used.

BRIGGS: Right.

[10:40:03] STELTER: Now a bright light is being shine -- shone on this dark world.

ROMANS: All right.

BRIGGS: And the #deletefacebook is starting to get a little traction. But I can't imagine many are going to get off the platform.

Brian Stelter, good to see you, my friend.

ROMANS: All right. House Speaker Paul Ryan says that he has been assured the Special Counsel Robert Mueller is staying put. More on that after the break.


BRIGGS: All right. Welcome back. 10:44 Eastern Time. Just a short time ago, House Speaker Paul Ryan saying Robert Mueller is not going anywhere, but the president's legal team, well, future of that is a little less certain.

ROMANS: Joining us now is CNN chief political correspondent, Dana Bash and CNN senior political analyst, Mark Preston.

Dana, let me start with you. We just heard from Speaker Ryan moments ago. He should be -- the special counselor should be free to pursue to follow through without interference. He has -- he's been told that there will not -- he will not be fired. Is that enough from Republican leadership, Dana?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, I think the answer is it's going to have to be because the Republican leaders are the ones who control the House floor, the legislative flow.

[10:45:06] And, of course, in the Senate, same thing. So unless Democrats really force the issue and right now their only leverage, which is a pretty big leverage, is trying to keep the Congress from passing a must pass bill that will keep the government running, a government funding bill, which has to happen by the end of the week, then if they don't use that leverage, then they're not going to be able to force this issue. And I have not gotten the sense that Democrats are willing to force that issue. I interviewed Congressman Jim Himes of Connecticut who's on the Intel

Committee who very much wants this Mueller investigation to be statutory, to be put into law, and even he said he's not willing to, you know, go that far. And so it's unlikely they're going to take the president and his team's word for it. When I say they, I mean the Republican leadership, and if they have egg on their face, then they're going to have a very, very, very big problem in a potential constitutional crisis.

BRIGGS: For the most part, the Republicans speaking out on this are those not up for re-election, with the notable exception of Lindsey Graham who was drawing a pretty clear line. If he's not moving to fire the special counsel, he's clearly trying to poison the well.

What do you make of bringing on this new lawyer, a combative flame- thrower who says there is a brazen plot to frame the president? What do you see the change of direction from the Trump legal team?

MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, certainly seems like the perfect wing man for President Trump, right?


PRESTON: I mean, he likes to be surrounded by people who act the way that he acts, who support what he supports. And certainly this new lawyer that we've seen come on is going to be going in a new direction. A more argumentative, a more conspiratorial type of person.

What we've seen so far is President Trump's lawyers being very careful, very careful not to upset Robert Mueller, very careful not to upset the Congress, very careful about everything. The only problem with being very careful all the time when you're the lawyer is that when your client is not careful. It kind of just throws that all out the window. So we don't know necessarily what's going to happen over the next couple of months. Except for the fact that I think it's fair to say that we're going to see a more combative legal team or response to some of their questions we've seen so far.

BASH: And that's clearly coming from the boss. I mean, we saw the shift in strategy. It was very transparent, very clear over the weekend with the president's tweets. And, you know, from the sources that I'm talking to and I know Mark is as well, it is because the president himself is fed up.


BASH: He is ready to play base politics, he's ready to muddy the waters when it comes to, you know, sort of the idea of a witch-hunt and to continue to keep his base on his side. And hiring Joe DiGenova, who, boy, does he know the way this rodeo -- this kind of rodeo works is a great way for him to do that.

ROMANS: Let's listen -- so Manu Raju, our very own Manu Raju just ran into Chuck Grassley, the powerful chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and asked him about this Facebook drama that is happening here, this debacle about Facebook and private information of its users being used really, you know, in ways that are kind of gross in terms of influencing voters. Let's listen.


SEN. CHARLES GRASSLEY (R), CHAIRMAN, JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: It is very serious with what Facebook has done. And it violates privacy. We ought to be looking into it, but I can't promise a hearing at this point.


ROMANS: Mark, do you think there's going to be some sort of a hearing, legislative response at all to this?

PRESTON: Yes. No question. There absolutely will be a legislative response. We don't necessarily know what that response will be, but basically we have known this all along. We have known that they have been collecting our data. We know that they've been using our data. We're really now just starting to see the seedy side of it all.

BRIGGS: Facebook execs at the White House, talking about Melania's cyberbullying effort, perhaps someone could get a word in there with those tech executives.

Dana Bash, Mark Preston, thank you, both.

ROMANS: Mark Zuckerberg can call us right now if he'd like to call in, you know.

BRIGGS: We'll make time.

ROMANS: We'll make time. We have not seen Mark Zuckerberg on this yet.

BRIGGS: All right. Any moment now we're expecting to hear from the major and police chief of Schertz, Texas, where there was another explosions at a FedEx facility overnight. The feds will be there as well. We'll bring you that live as it happens.


[10:53:57] BRIGGS: Talk a little sports now. After a health scare, Cavs left coach Ty Lou stepping away from the team.

ROMANS: Andy Scholes has more in the "Bleacher Report."

Hey, Andy.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, guys. You know, Ty Lou said he had chest pains, loss of sleep and other troubling symptoms throughout the season. And despite having a bunch of tests doctors still can't find out what's wrong. So Lou is stepping away for the time being. And LeBron says Lou has been a warrior for trying to fight through his issues. But his health is the most important thing right now. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEBRON JAMES, CLEVELAND CAVALIERS: It is tough, it's like losing one of your best players absolutely. A guy that's the -- you know, pretty much the captain of our ship.


SCHOLES: All right. Sentimental favorite left in this year's NCAA tournament is 11th seed Loyola Chicago. Their secret weapon may be their 98-year-old team chaplain Sister Jean. She leads the team in prayer before every game, and doing it for years. Sister Jean actually picked the Ramblers to make it to the Sweet 16 in her bracket, but she has them losing their next game. And the team thinks she's going to get that pick wrong.


LUCAS WILLIAMSON, LOYOLA CHICAGO GUARD: You know, Sister Jean, she's been our biggest supporter and she's definitely going to be our biggest supporter, but we're going to have to prove -- we're going to have to bust her bracket on this one.


[10:55:08] SCHOLES: And guys, I'm guessing Sister Jean would trade a busted bracket if the Ramblers can keep winning some games here.


BRIGGS: Thursday night against Nevada on CBS.

ROMANS: Sister Jean, MVP. Andy Scholes, thank you. 3

All right. We're standing by for an update on the explosion at a Texas FedEx facility, stay tuned for that.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Hi there. I'm Brianna Keilar in for Kate Bolduan.