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Fourth Storm Hits Northeast; Fifth Explosion Rocks Texas; Lou Leaving Cavs; Cambridge Analytica's Dirty Tactics. Aired 6:30-7:00a ET

Aired March 20, 2018 - 06:30   ET



[06:31:43] ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: The Supreme Court rejecting a request by Pennsylvania Republicans to block new congressional maps that could tilt several key midterm races in the Democrat's favor. The new maps were unveiled last month by the state's supreme court which ruled previous maps had been gerrymandered by the GOP in violation of the Constitution. President Trump is urging Pennsylvania Republicans to appeal.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Spring officially arrives in a matter of hours, but winter not letting go easily. The northeast is bracing for its fourth nor'easter in less than three weeks. This as the southeast cleans up from possible tornados. This violent storm system expecting to threaten the northeast next, as we said.

Our meteorologist, Chad Myers, has really our forecast.

Chad, lay it out for us.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I'll tell you what, John, yesterday was an ugly day, hail bigger than baseballs, three tornadoes confirmed. Now that storm is going to turn to the left and head up to the northeast.

There's the storm right now over the Carolinas. It will turn into a coastal storm, a coastal nor'easter. On the south side there will be severe weather. On the north side there will be significant snow.

Now, for big cities, D.C., Philadelphia, New York and Boston, it's a slop. It's a 33 degree snow when it comes down. A lot of it will melt. But if you have 300 feet of elevation above sea level, you'll get all snow. So what could turn into just a mess in Manhattan could be ten or 12 inches in Franklin Lakes or Wyckoff or Wayne or Danbury, or Waterbury because of your elevation difference will be just enough to make one or two degrees colder as the storm goes by.

Now, tomorrow night, it's still snowing, 8:00 p.m. This (INAUDIBLE) when it's really wrapping up. Boston doesn't get as much this time, but certainly even Philadelphia and south Jersey will get snow. And then it finally does move away. Every progressive snow event so far is getting warmer and warmer,

Erica, so we're not seeing the amount of snow that we would have seen let's say back in January, but still somewhere around eight inches possible around New York City. Both the American and the European model agreeing on that. More in the mountains. Hagerstown, just west of Timonium, that's where the snow will be the heaviest for sure this time.

HILL: Was the fact that these storms are getting warmer supposed to be our silver lining there, Chad?

MYERS: That means they go away faster.

HILL: It's spring. Look, they're getting warmer. The snow is warmer. Thank you.

MYERS: That's right. That's right. You're welcome.

HILL: We are closely following this breaking news out of Texas, another explosion, this time at a FedEx facility south of Austin. So is it connected to a series of bombings? We have the breaking details, next.


[06:38:07] HILL: A fifth explosion rocks Texas. This time a package inside a FedEx facility about an hour south of Austin. The FBI telling CNN, they suspect it is connected to the other four bombings in the area this month.

Let's discuss with CNN law enforcement analyst, retired FBI supervisory special agent James Gagliano.

So as we look at this, as you were just pointing out to me in the break, this is the first time that we've had acknowledgment from law enforcement of shrapnel. What does that change here? How does it change what we're looking at?

JAMES GAGLIANO, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Sure. So there's the -- the lethality of a bomb is based on three things. First of all, most people that are hurt, injured, casualties from a bomb are from the overpressure. That's where the explosion happens and essentially crushes organs. And that's the most dangerous aspect of a bomb.

The second piece of that is the shrapnel that's introduced. And that means somebody that puts nails, or nuts or bolts, debris, rocks, whatever they want to. And that's where people have things that penetrate their body, the fragmentation.

And the third is the thermal effect, Erica. And what that essentially means is, the fires that are caused. And when people get injured, they could -- smoke inhalation, they could get burned and those things. The fact that they're now acknowledging that there was shrapnel inside of it, that this was an additional component of this, that's a further detail. HILL: This was also in a FedEx facility. Now, obviously, when there's

a bomb, there is not a lot left, but there is still evidence there for investigators. You've told me on a number of occasions each bombmaker has a signature. So they can put certain things together. But the fact that this was shipped from somewhere, was set to go to somewhere, those are important clues now.

GAGLIANO: Right. Crime scenes for bombings are so difficult. The post blast analysis is hampered by this. When the explosion happens, it destroys a lot of the evidence. So any kind of latent fingerprints, DNA evidence, anything that you would want to help you piece together who did this, it makes it more difficult. Not -- it's not too daunting. The investors will get to the bottom of this.

This -- what this tells me is that this bomber is showing us the full portfolio. He started out with packages that were addressed to particular people in Austin. And he dropped them off on their porch. They weren't shipped.

[06:40:20] Now he knew that people were going to be aware of this and looking at video cameras to see, who is coming up to a porch and dropping a package off. He moves into the next realm, which is a trip wire, which is the switch device that is a target of opportunity. You don't know who's going to be there. It's not addressed to a specific person and it creates fear and terror.

If this is related to this same bomber, and I think there's some suspicion amongst law enforcement that it is --

HILL: Yes.

GAGLIANO: He has now shown a different methodology, shipping something to a FedEx facility, sending it on to an address in Austin.

HILL: So, we've been hearing from authorities -- so the first time we heard this was just before that trip wire bomb was tripped, was triggered on Sunday night. Authorities saying, hey, talk to us. We want to hear from you. We want to know what your message is.

As we're looking at these, you're saying he's showing the full -- or she, but showing the full arsenal here. Does this appear in any way random to you? Is this part of the message, I can do it this way, this way, this way? And if so, what does that tell you about the background of this person? Could there be a law enforcement background, a military background?

GAGLIANO: Quite possibly. And I think what law enforcement's biggest concern is, is the frequency and repetitively of these attacks. Let's look at this in context. The longest investigation, the most costliest investigation in FBI history, the Unabomber case. Ted Kaczynski began his bombings in 1978. He continued them until 1995. He was arrested in 1996. Only three people killed, 23 injured over the course of that 17 year period. Only 16 devices. We now have five devices in the span of two weeks and we see three different methods of delivery. That's concerning.

HILL: That's concerning. But is there anything in there that has telltale signs of the possible background of this person?

GAGLIANO: Sure. And as bombmakers -- what we've learned about bombmakers as this, as they move on and begin to do more and more, they get better at it. Some of these folks start out with something as simple as the anarchist cook book. And as long as a bombmaker walks away with ten fingers and ten toes, that's successful to them.

But the method, the delivery system and the different means that he is having these things in place shows that he's trying to show, if it's the same person on all five of these --

HILL: Yes.

GAGLIANO: A full panoply of different ways of doing this, and that's frightening.

HILL: Always appreciate it, James. Thank you.

BERMAN: All right, thanks, Erica.

A hidden camera report on British TV captures Cambridge Analytica executives bragging about dirty tricks and honey traps to catch politicians. One of the reporters behind the story joins us next. That's just ahead.


[06:46:44] BERMAN: All right, after a health scare, Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Ty Lue stepping away from the team.

Andy Scholes has the very latest in the "Bleacher Report."

Hey, Andy.


Yes, Ty Lue said he's 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 with him. So he's going to step away for a while. And LeBron says Lue's been a warrior for trying to fight through his issues, but his health is the most important thing right now.


LEBRON JAMES, CLEVELAND CAVALIERS: It's a tough loss. It's like losing one of your best players, obviously. You know, a guy that's the -- you know, pretty much, you know, the captain of our ship.


SCHOLES: Now, Larry Drew's is going to coach the Cavs in Lue's absence. The team getting Kevin Love back last night from injury. And LeBron scored 40 points to lead Cleveland to a 124-117 win over the Bucks. All right, the sentimental favorite left in this year's NCAA tournament is 11th seed Loyola-Chicago. And their secret weapon may very well be 98-year-old team chaplain Sister Jean. She leads the team in prayer before every game. And Sister Jean, she picked the Ramblers to make it to the Sweet 16 in her bracket, but she has them losing the next game, and the team thinks that she's going to get that pick wrong.


LUCAS WILLIAMSON, LOYOLA-CHICAGO: 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 bust -- we're going to have to bust her bracket on this one.


SCHOLES: And, Erica, I'm assuming that Sister Jean will take a busted bracket if that means Loyola is going to keep on winning in the tournament.

HILL: I think that she probably would. Andy, thanks.

SCHOLES: All right.

HILL: Cambridge Analytical executives caught on hidden camera appearing to discuss ways to entrap politicians. We'll speak with a member of the team behind that reporting, next.


[06:52:37] BERMAN: Cambridge Analytica, the data mining firm hired by the Trump campaign, is defending itself after British broadcaster Channel 4 aired undercover videos showing executives from the firm discussing ways to entrap candidates.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, they will, after a large amount of money to the candidates, to finance his campaign, in exchange for land, for instance, we'll (INAUDIBLE) on cameras. (INAUDIBLE) and FaceBook (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) on FaceBook or YouTube or something like this (INAUDIBLE)?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Send some girls around to the candidate's house. We have lots of history (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For example, you're saying when you're using the girls to introduce to the -- to the local fellow, and you're using the girls for this like seduction? They're not local girls? Not (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wouldn't have thought so (INAUDIBLE).


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That was -- that was just an idea. I'm just saying --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) on holiday with us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is perfect (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't (ph) say (ph).


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are very beautiful.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I find that (INAUDIBLE) very well.


BERMAN: In other parts of the video, the executives are seen talking about exploiting deep seeded and underlying fears to motivate voters. Cambridge Analytica sent CNN a statement rejecting the allegations made in Channel 4's reporting and says the report is edited and scripted to grossly misrepresent the nature of the conversations that took place. They say their executives entertained a series of ludicrous, hypothetical scenarios.

CEO Alexander Nix said he is aware of how this looks, but it is simply not the case when the reporter posing as a perspective client turned the conversation to entrapment and corruption, the executives left with grave concerns and did not meet him again. Nix added, I must emphatically state that Cambridge Analytica does not condone or engage in entrapment, bribes or so-called honey traps and nor does it use untrue material for any purpose. I should have recognized where the prospective client was taking our conversations and ended the relationship sooner.

Now, joining me now to discuss all of this is Kylie Morris, Washington correspondent for Channel 4, a member of the team responsible for this reporting.

I have to say, this reporting having quite an impact on both sides of the Atlantic today. So thank you so much for joining us.

Just walk us through how your team got into these meetings. How did this happen?


So we had a number of people who posed as operatives from -- political operatives from Sri Lanka. They said that they were working for a wealthy family. They wanted some advice on how they might be able to influence and make sure that their candidates, the candidates they favored, won in the next round of elections on Sri Lanka.

So, on that basis, Cambridge Analytica agreed to meet with us. We secretly filmed those meetings, as you saw. There were four meetings in kind of posh hotels in London. That was across a period of about four months. It was only at the final meeting, actually, that Alexander Nix, the CEO, who you saw in that clip, joined -- he did engage in those conversations. They say it was a tactic. But as you heard, they explained in some detail how it might work if the Sri Lankans were looking for any dirt on their opponents.

It's interesting the us. I mean the claim from Alexander Nix and from Cambridge Analytica has been that this was purely that they were kind of, if you like, teasing out the clients to see whether, you know, what their bonafides (ph) might have been. But even seven weeks after our final meeting -- I think the final meeting was in January, seven weeks beyond that we were still getting e-mails -- or our undercover team was still getting e-mails from the company wondering whether or not this deal was going to go ahead.

BERMAN: Oh. So when Alexander Nix says in the statement that we just received, and they realized immediately something was amiss, you're saying that for seven weeks after that they were still trying to get the business. That's interesting.

MORRIS: Yes, it is.

BERMAN: And it was these previous meetings, I understand, were fairly innocuous. There were three meetings that you say were sort of ordinary and it was this fourth one where this claim and these offers came out. His claim is that they were just discussing hypotheticals. These are the types of things that occasionally happen in this business. Did it read like that to you?

MORRIS: Well, I think the interesting thing is even -- even before that meeting, I mean there were other moments where Mike Turnbull (ph), who's the managing director of the company, rejected the idea that they would engage in any kind of dirty tricks. However, the mood did seem to change when Alexander Nix joined that conversation and he directly contradicted things that Mark Turnbull had said before. So there are inconsistencies.

But even when we say that the earlier meetings were innocuous, we still learn a lot about the approach of Cambridge Analytica and the way that they like to work. Things like, you know, they're saying that they were advising these prospective clients that it's absolutely no good when it comes to political campaigning to, you know, fight on facts. That it's all about emotions. That it's digging into people's fears. They also talk about using the Internet in a way where they are untrackable and untraceable, where they use kind of front companies and, you know, send in people who aren't directly linked to the company. So their work isn't easily monitored. So --

BERMAN: So -- so, Kylie, what's of huge interest here in the United States, obviously, is that Cambridge Analytica gets a huge chunk of its funding from the Mercer family, which is a big Republican donor family here. Steve Bannon, one of the founders of Cambridge Analytica, direct connections there. And the Trump campaign hired Cambridge Analytica.

Did you talk to anyone in the Trump campaign in your reporting?

MORRIS: No. We've reached out to a number of people from the Trump campaign to talk to them about the role that Cambridge Analytica played. I mean we will have another film tonight and talking more specifically about that.

But I think that Cambridge Analytica has been very quick to say, look, the FaceBook data, which, of course, they're in a lot of hot water over, that's not something that they used during the Trump campaign. We do know that they were working very closely with Brad Parscale, who was the digital -- the director of the digital campaign within the Trump effort. And we know that in the final few months of the campaign, he was pushing out a lot of FaceBook ads. I mean they were relying on Cambridge Analytica in a way to help them with the micro targeting of that. I mean that's what Cambridge Analytica does. It kind of identifies the kinds of voters who might be vulnerable to persuasion. Some might say manipulation. And that's where those efforts were directed.

BERMAN: Very quickly, because we're almost out of time here, I don't want you to scoop your own report tonight, but our American viewers won't be able to see it live the same way that people will in the U.K. What do you think will surprise people most about what they learn between the Trump team's ties to Cambridge Analytica?

MORRIS: I mean I think it's important to remember that this was Cambridge Analytica pitching for business. So Cambridge Analytica has made some very strong statements and claims about the kind of work it did on the U.S. elections. That story will be available online from about 3:00 p.m. Eastern. So I'd encourage people to look out for it. But it builds on the sense that we already have of the way that they operated, which, of course, they deny.

BERMAN: It's very interesting to see. And, of course, you can see the Trump campaign trying to distance itself as best it can from Cambridge Analytica, which is trying to distance itself from FaceBook all at the same time. There's a whole lot of international distancing going on.

[07:00:06] All right, Kylie, thank you so much for being with us. Really appreciate it. Terrific reporting.

MORRIS: Thanks, John. Thank you. Cheers.

BERMAN: Thank you so much to our international viewers for watching.