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Facebook Troubles; Trump Fuming over White House Leak; U.S. Set to Announce New Tariffs on China; Police: Bomber Left 25-Minute Confession Video On Phone; Most Dapchi Schoolgirls Kidnapped By Boko Haram Freed; France Prepares For Nationwide Strike; Tiny Krill Help Move Carbon To Ocean Depths. Aired 1-2a ET
Aired March 22, 2018 - 01:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. Ahead this hour, with his company facing a crisis of trust and a stock selloff costing billions, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg appears on CNN to apologize for that massive breach of trust and says he's open to government regulations to protect personal data from misuse.
Plus from Russia with love: the U.S. president faces outrage at home after congratulating Vladimir Putin for election win. On Russian television they're talking about the kind words and praise for Donald Trump.
And in Austin, Texas, an end to the terror after a serial bomber blows himself up as police move in. We'll have a closer look at how investigators tracked him down.
Hello, everybody, Thanks for joining us. This is NEWSROOM L.A. I'm John Vause. Thanks for being with us.
VAUSE: In an exclusive interview with CNN, Facebook's CEO has made a rare public apology for what he calls a major breach of trust. Mark Zuckerberg broke his silence five days after it was first reported that the personal data of 50 million Facebook users was breached and used without their permission.
The scandal involves Cambridge Analytica. Christopher Wiley (ph), a former contractor at Cambridge Analytica says that company accessed Facebook data to build voter profiles to help Donald Trump's presidential campaign. Lawmakers in the U.S. and U.K., where Cambridge Analytica is based, are demanding Zuckerberg appear in person to testify and new social media regulations are now under consideration.
Cambridge Analytica suspended its CEO, Alexander Nix (ph), after he was heard on secret recordings boasting about the firm's role in the 2016 election. Now here's part of Laurie Segall's exclusive interview with Mark Zuckerberg.
MARK ZUCKERBERG, COFOUNDER AND CEO, FACEBOOK: If you told me in 2004, when I was getting started with Facebook, that a big part of my responsibility today would be to help protect the integrity of elections against interference by other governments, you know, I wouldn't have really believed that that was going to be something that I would have to work on 14 years later.
LAURIE SEGALL, CNNMONEY TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT: I'm going to challenge you --
ZUCKERBERG: But we're here now. I want to make sure we do a good job at it.
SEGALL: Have you done a good enough job yet?
ZUCKERBERG: Well, I think we will see. But, you know, I think what's clear is that in 2016, we were not as on top of a number of issues as we should have, whether it was Russian interference or fake news.
But what we have seen since then is, you know, a number of months later there was a major French election and there we deployed some A.I. tools that did a much better job of identifying Russian bots and basically Russian potential interference and weeding that out of the platform ahead of the election. And we were much happier with how that went.
In 2017, last year, during a special election in the Senate seat in Alabama, we deployed some new A.I. tools that we built to detect fake accounts that were trying to spread false news and we found a lot of different accounts coming from Macedonia.
So I think the reality here is that this isn't rocket science, right?
And there's a lot of hard work that we need to do to make it harder for nation states like Russia to do election interference, to make it so that trolls and other folks can't spread fake news.
But we can get in front of this and we have a responsibility to do this not only for the 2018 midterms in the U.S., which are going to be a huge deal this year and that's just a huge focus of us.
But there's a big election in India this year. There's a big election in Brazil. There are big elections around the world and you can bet that we are really committed to doing everything that we need to, to make sure that the integrity of those elections on Facebook is secured.
SEGALL: I can hear the commitment. But since I got you here, do you think that bad actors are using Facebook at this moment to meddle with the U.S. midterm elections?
ZUCKERBERG: Um, I'm sure someone's trying, right? I'm sure there's, you know, V. two, version two of whatever the Russian effort was in 2016. I'm sure they're working on that and there are going to be some new tactics that we make sure we observe and get in front of them.
SEGALL: Do you what the -- speaking and getting in front of them. Do you know what they are? Do you have any idea?
ZUCKERBERG: I mean, yes. And I think we have some sense of the different things that we need to get in front of.
SEGALL: Are you specifically seeing bad actors trying to meddle with the U.S. election now?
ZUCKERBERG: I'm not 100 percent sure what that means because it's not -- I think the candidates aren't all --
SEGALL: Are you seeing something new or interesting?
ZUCKERBERG: What we see are a lot of folks trying to sow division. Right, so that was a major tactic that we saw Russia try to use in the 2016 election. Actually most of what they did was not directly --
ZUCKERBERG: -- as far as we can tell from the data that we've seen. It was not directly about the election but was more about just dividing people.
And, you know, so they run a group on, you know, for pro-immigration reform and then they'd run another group against immigration reform and just try to pit people against each other. And a lot of this was done with fake accounts that we can do a better job of tracing and using A.I. tools to be able to scan and observe a lot of what is going on. And I'm confident that we're going to do a much better job.
VAUSE: OK, who was that man and what has he done to Mark Zuckerberg?
Joining us now from San Francisco is Kurt Wagner, senior editor for social media for the technology news website Recode and Oakland, California, Jacob Ward, a fellow at the Center for Advanced (INAUDIBLE) in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University.
Kurt, I guess there are a lot of headlines out of that interview but the biggest of all I guess, Zuckerberg, essentially saying there is a need for some kind of government regulation. That was quite a turnaround.
KURT WAGNER, RECODE: Yes, it's a very big turnaround and it's surprising, right, because I'm an investor in Facebook, the last thing I want is for the government to come in and regulate the amount of data that Facebook can collect. That is the entire business for Facebook is collecting user data and showing them targeted ads.
so I am not super convinced that, you know, Facebook is really standing there with arms wide open, saying, please, come regulate us. But it was interesting to hear him say that on the record today.
VAUSE: Jacob, what would those regulations actually look like?
Is this even possible to have effective regulations?
And what are the unintended consequences?
JACOB WARD, STANFORD UNIVERSITY: Yes, it's a great question. The regulation of what? What are we talking about?
Are we talking about the regulation of how people interact with one another?
Is it putting the kibosh on the secret sauce of all social media, which is pushing people's emotional buttons such that we don't make good, clear decisions about our futures?
There is so much to be regulated. And the thing, John, that strikes me about Zuckerberg's comments throughout the day -- and you hear this echoed in his talking points, not just here on CNN but in his chats with "The New York Times" and elsewhere, he says the same sort of thing over and over again, that the fundamental assumption in his discussions with everybody is there has to be a Facebook.
And we need to be sort of -- we owe it to our community, as if that is something separate and outside of what Facebook has built. Facebook is selling a product here, which is -- or dealing in a product here, which is our attention.
So regulating how they sell our attention to advertisers, I don't know, that's a whole new world.
VAUSE: Zuckerberg also promised that there would be a number of changes regardless of this. He said some of those changes will include investigation of all apps which had access to large amounts of data before 2014.
Developers who refuse an order will be banned. There will also be a tool placed in the news feed which will show which apps are using personal data and importantly for people like me, there will be an easy way to use this actually to block a specific app which is using data.
But, Kurt, from what you've heard today from the motors (ph) which Zuckerberg laid out on his Facebook page, is this response from Facebook, has it gone far enough?
WAGNER: Actually was kind of impressed with what they came out with -- and impress might be the wrong word. But I thought that they did hit a lot of the concerns that people had.
I think the big thing was coming out and saying hey, we're going to go back and try and figure out if there were other incidents like this, where a -- either an app or a firm got Facebook data that we are unaware of.
I think that is going to be incredibly hard to do. I actually spoke with Mark Zuckerberg today and he did say, you know, some of that data could be retrievable but not necessarily all of it. And it's going to be a process that costs many millions of dollars and takes many months.
So this is the kind of thing where once the genie is out of the bottle, once this data has left Facebook servers and has gone over to another third-party developer or another business, it is really hard to bring that back and to go catch that.
So Facebook is going to attempt to do that and we're going to find out where all of Facebook's user data is in the world. But it is going to be a really interesting and challenging process for them.
VAUSE: The other newsmaking headline was Zuckerberg actually agreeing to testify before lawmakers but then he added that, if it is the right thing to do, which seems like kind of a weasel word -- words -- that drew a lot -- a quick response from a lot of lawmakers and a lot of people in Congress, including Senator Amy Klobuchar, who tweeted this, "The steps Facebook has laid out to protect its users are a start. But Zuckerberg still needs to come testify. Facebook should show good faith and support the Honest Ads Act to truly regain the public's trust. Facebook must make (INAUDIBLE) changes so this doesn't happen again."
Which seems to be fair enough but, Jacob, it's not just here in the U.S.; a point lawmakers point here directly from Zuckerberg.
WARD: That's right. All over the world, you're seeing it in the U.K. and in other places. Facebook, its reach of over 2 billion people, means that it is responsible for the clear communication between peoples in not just elections --
WARD: -- but all sort of things all over the world.
And so for me I think one of the most disturbing things about this story and every story in which you discover that Facebook just didn't see something big coming is that these are people learning as they go. They've invented a thing that no one has really done before and they're refining it on the job.
And the problem is, when you have people learning on the job and yet they are in charge of the major form of communication between 2 billion people, it feels like this is a -- you know, he said many times, Zuckerberg today, that he'd never thought he would be in the position of doing this and that he doesn't feel like he wants to sit in a chair in California and make content decisions about the rest of the world.
Well, buddy, you're doing it. You are in charge of how 2 billion people communicate with one another. And so that part of it, it just drives me crazy, the reach of this problem.
VAUSE: And Jake, the other thing, too, is that when you listen to Zuckerberg in a lot of interviews, especially the CNN one, it was like -- it was almost like he was a victim as well. We -- (CROSSTALK)
VAUSE: -- Cambridge Analytica and that was the narrative. But that's not true because they knew about this years ago and essentially tried to cover it up.
WARD: That's right. And as Kurt points out, that is the essence of their business. They take our data and they use it to sell ads to people. That is the whole thing that they do. And so their tools make it possible for political campaigns and marketers to get into our heads, to build psychographic profiles of 50,000 types of people in the United States and essentially predict what buttons to push to make us do a certain thing.
Whether you're a young MBA right now or the top social media VP at a major multinational, your job is persuasion and the tools of persuasion is what Facebook does.
So, yes, Cambridge Analytica, bad actor. Shouldn't have gotten in bed with them. But there's lots and lots and lots more people who also have these tools at their disposal and so I think the buck has to stop with Facebook and not just talking about it as if this is some sort of weather front that has come in and drenched the company without their really having to prepare for it.
VAUSE: Kurt, last word to you because you interviewed Zuckerberg (INAUDIBLE) just like CNN did, a few other media outlets as well. And what was really significant though is that he apologized.
And I guess to me, that was an indication that he realizes that this is serious.
WAGNER: Yes, and it's kind of sad that we have to go, wow, he said, "sorry" and we're all impressed, right?
WAGNER: -- he did. He did and, you know, it was one of the very last questions that we asked him was, hey, this feels like a really big deal to both your reputation and Facebook's reputation.
Do you agree?
And he basically said yes, you know, we're aware that that people are very upset right now and that this is a pivotal moment for the company, right, some kind of earn the trust back of their users.
So I think he's taking it seriously. I think Facebook is taking it seriously which is a good thing. The question is you know, has too much damage already been done or can they kind of regain that trust from users and show people, you can give us your personal data and we're not going to let it you walk out the building.
VAUSE: Well, the headline of the "USA Today," I think on Tuesday, was "Is Facebook the Uber of 2018?"
I guess that is an unanswered question at this point.
Kurt and Jacob, thank you so much. Great to have you both with us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, John.
VAUSE: And we'll have Laurie's entire interview with Mark Zuckerberg next hour, right here on NEWSROOM L.A. It's a CNN exclusive.
Still to come now, dozens of schoolgirls kidnapped in Nigeria last month have been freed and now they are speaking out about their ordeal. Their emotional stories later this hour.
Also, Russia has its own theory about who poisoned the former spy and his daughter on British soil. The Kremlin says, hey, maybe it was the Americans.
VAUSE: Donald Trump is not backing away from his much criticized congratulatory phone call to Vladimir Putin. He's justified it by saying Russia can help solve many of the world's biggest problems.
But the gesture is not scoring any points with the Kremlin although on state-run television in Russia they're loving it. CNN's Fred Pleitgen reports now from Moscow.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): Only hours after President Trump called Vladimir Putin, congratulating him on his election victory...
TRUMP: I had a call with President Putin and congratulated him on the victory.
PLEITGEN (voice-over): -- Moscow throwing up bizarre accusation at America, apparently hinting that a former Russian spy and his daughter, poisoned by a nerve agent in England two weeks ago, may have been targeted by the United States.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking Russian).
"If you fantasize a little bit," this official said, "it's likely that all this could've been orchestrated from across the pond. It's no secret to anyone that the U.K.'s closest partner is the only state officially keeping the largest arsenals of chemical weapons in the world." But the Brits insist, based in part on the nerve agent used, it's
likely that Russia was behind the attack and that it may have been ordered by Putin himself.
The U.S. says it stands by the U.K. Vladimir Putin won a landslide election victory on Sunday against the backdrop of wall-to-wall support from state media and with no serious challenger. A monitoring group says there were irregularities.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders, struggling when asked whether the president considered the election to be free and fair.
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Putin has been elected in their country and that's not something that we can dictate to them how they operate.
PLEITGEN (voice-over): With the president apparently fuming that guidance he apparently ignored from his national security team urging him not to congratulate Putin was leaked, Russian state media is having a field day.
Guests on this show ripping into the United States but defending President Trump.
"Trump not only congratulated," this guest said, "that would have been just a protocol move. Trump offered a high-level meeting, drew up three topics that is Syria, Ukraine and disarmament. I repeat, again, that his hands are untied."
PLEITGEN: The Kremlin says it does not want to officially comment on President Trump allegedly being advised to not congratulate Vladimir Putin but said it did welcome the call from Washington and wants to cooperate with the U.S. on a range of international issues -- Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Moscow.
VAUSE: Joining me now CNN political commentators Democratic strategist Dave Jacobson and Republican consultant John Thomas.
John, just to pick up on Fred's report there, as a Republican, as an American, how comfortable are you with the U.S. being criticized on Russian television, which is essentially state-run television while at the same time praising Donald Trump?
JOHN THOMAS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think it's all a play for Putin to seem more powerful than he is and they can -- they can spin their propaganda machine however they want. It really doesn't affect me either way. I'm not going to pay attention to the news outlets.
DAVE JACOBSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I mean, I think it is reflective of the fact which is Vladimir Putin is getting his way. Donald Trump is not holding him accountable for Ukraine. He is not holding them accountable for Syria. He is not holding him accountable for poisoning a spy in the U.K. on a territory that is among our closest allies in the world.
Donald Trump is letting Vladimir Putin walk all over him and he loves getting any free positive press and so that is reflected in that news clip.
VAUSE: OK. Well, here's how the Republican senator, Ben Sasse, saw the president's phone call to Vladimir Putin.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BEN SASSE (R), NEBRASKA: As to this decision to fail to condemn Putin's sham reelection, it's very foolhardy. Vladimir Putin is not a friend. Vladimir Putin is a despot.
The President of the United States was wrong to congratulate him and the White House press secretary was wrong to duck a simple question about whether or not Putin's reelection was free and fair. It was not. The American people know that. The Russian people know that --
SASSE: -- and the world knows that.
And yesterday, when the White House refused to speak directly and clearly about this matter, we were weakened as a nation and a tyrant was strengthened.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Sasse also went on to condemn whoever leaked the story and we'll get to that in a moment.
John, isn't that something you would like to hear from Donald Trump, from the President of the United States?
THOMAS: I wouldn't mind it but I understand --
JACOBSON: Come on --
THOMAS: -- but, no, that's not Trump's perspective because Trump's perspective is he thinks he can get along and negotiate with everybody and quite frankly no matter what. And we're seeing that as evidence with perhaps sitting down with the leader of North Korea. That is the success that others leaders have not.
And it starts with Donald Trump's mindset. So that's what he's looking at here. He sees no need to just slap Putin for -- just to slap him because he thinks he can get something from him. JACOBSON: I think maybe there's something to he sees no point to slap Putin just to slap him, sure. But this is Donald Trump we are talking about. This is the guy who eviscerated his attorney general, who calls his chief political strategist "Sloppy Steve."
I mean, this guy criticizes everyone --
VAUSE: -- fight with the mayor of London. He's (INAUDIBLE) Theresa May, the British prime minister --
JACOBSON: -- come on, just like lob one criticism at Vladimir Putin. One time. I mean, that's the issue, right, he hasn't done it. So the question is, what does Vladimir Putin have on Donald Trump?
VAUSE: OK, well, we went looking to try and find if there was any example of Donald Trump saying anything about Vladimir Putin and here's what we found.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I spoke indirectly and directly with President Putin, who could not have been nicer.
He is really very much of a leader.
He said nice things about me.
I have nothing to do with put. I've never spoken to him. I don't know anything about him other than he will respect me.
If he says great things about me, I'm going to say great things about him.
Be nice if we got along. We don't. We don't. But it would be nice.
He could not have been nicer. He was so nice.
If Putin likes Donald Trump, guess what, folks?
That's called an asset, not a liability.
I hope we have a fantastic relationship.
I don't love, I don't hate. We'll see how it works. We'll see.
I like him because he called me a genius.
Putin did call me a genius and he said I'm the future of the Republican Party. He's off to a good start.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
THOMAS: Well, it wasn't wrong.
I think Trump --
THOMAS: -- Trump was the future of the Republican Party.
VAUSE: Is this not just like a little bitty odd, weird to you?
THOMAS: No, I -- he stated his philosophy on Putin. He said there's no reason to strike up a bad relationship with the guy if he's being friendly and polite to me. I'm not --
VAUSE: He's not being friendly and polite. He's meddling in the elections. He's killing Russian agents. He's invading countries. He's supplying arms to (INAUDIBLE) --
THOMAS: And the U.S. is strengthening sanctions against Russia. They are slowly, bit by bit, responding --
VAUSE: Only just.
THOMAS: -- I think -- I think --
THOMAS: -- the second Putin attacks Donald Trump, the man, then you'll see the president slap back. But until then, I think he is figuring maybe I can get something out of the guy.
VAUSE: OK, well, a part of this story has been the leak, like who leaked the advice from the national security team not to congratulations Putin. It's a serious leak not in the substance but in what it say about the White House.
And this is Senator Marco Rubio.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: No, I don't like he did it. But you know what I like even less, there's somebody close to him leaking this stuff out.
If you don't like the guy, quit. But to be this duplicitous and continue to leak things out, it's dangerous. And -- so I don't like what he did, but I really hate that there's someone in his inner circle that's willing to leak this stuff.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Dave, the president has every right to be outraged by whoever leaked this. But what does this say about the White House, when probably someone in a very senior position felt the need to get this story out there because either the president was ignoring their advice or they were just concerned about what's happening?
JACOBSON: I think it should be a bipartisan issue that like the -- leaks like this, presidential memos or briefing memos with high-level conversations with the president and a leader of another nation, like that's information that shouldn't be leaked.
But I think what it does do is it speaks volumes about some perhaps people in his inner circle, who are trying to put country first, who want to put America first, not Russia first. And I think they're sending a signal.
As I understand it, John, the documentation that President Trump had in front of him was in all caps, it was bold and it said, "Do not congratulate him," right.
So like I think that raises a red flag to people like Bob Mueller, like it just begs the question like, what is Donald Trump hiding?
Why does he love Vladimir Putin so much?
VAUSE: OK. Well, with regard to the attitude going on in the White House among the senior staff, here's the former CIA director, John Brennan. This is what he believes is happening at the White House.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN BRENNAN, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: I do believe that there are individuals within the White House and the security staff and also within the Congress that are looking at --
BRENNAN: -- Mr. Trump, seeing that he is acting more and more like a cornered animal and lashing out whatever way he can.
And who knows what that cornered animal will do once they're -- really see the threat to their survival.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: So I guess, John, what he's saying is that there is a security concern here about how far Donald Trump is prepared to go.
THOMAS: A cornered animal? Brennan has gone so far off the partisan ledge it's disconcerting for me to even listen to him at this point. But it's understandable. Trump has leakers undermining his authority and potentially our national security and has been that way since day one.
And every time he sticks a finger in a leak, another one springs out. So it's a problem and I don't buy for a second that the leak was putting country first. It was a deliberate attempt to undermine Donald Trump. And just because a national security expert says don't do something,
to me the president has to follow it, if the president -- if the president followed the advice of the State Department he would never have a meeting with North Korea.
JACOBSON: The president is the leader of our country.
THOMAS: He should be able to call the shots.
JACOBSON: He called the shots. I totally agree with you. But at the same time, it is interesting that Donald Trump goes on the attack against Mitch McConnell, Jeff Sessions, all these people who were of his same political party, his own form of senior political chief advisor. But he hasn't said anything negative or critical of Vladimir Putin.
It's almost as if Vladimir Putin is like the kryptonite to Donald Trump because it's very odd.
VAUSE: I guess the other thing, too, similar to this disclosure agreement that he made everyone sign at the White House, right, so people's --
THOMAS: -- NDAs have never been worth the paper they're written on. Enforcing those things is hard, especially if you have a looming book deal or other things that might be more lucrative.
VAUSE: (INAUDIBLE) Stormy Daniels. Oh, we'll find out --
VAUSE: -- when she appears on "60 Minutes" with Anderson Cooper.
Dave, John, thank you, as always.
Well, despite all the swirling legal drama at the White House, the Trump administration has found time to announce new tariffs on Chinese imports. That's on top of the steel and aluminum tariffs, which go into effect this Friday.
Andrew Stevens joins us now live from Hong Kong.
So what are the details here?
And what is the reaction which can be expected from Beijing?
ANDREW STEVENS, CNN ASIA PACIFIC EDITOR: We're still waiting for the details. We're actually still waiting for the official announcement though it certainly is being flagged very clearly that coming up very soon, the administration is going to announce sanctions -- tariffs which could be around $50 billion; some are saying $60 billion worth of tariffs. Just to give you an idea of the size of this, John, and it is certainly much more significant than the tariffs we've seen on steel and aluminum. We shouldn't be surprised by this. This has been a long-time thorn in the side of U.S. business when they're doing business in China. They have to go into joint ventures. There is a big technology transfer from the U.S. to China.
There is also obviously the cyber theft which has been going on and on. And now we have this situation where there are U.S. companies which are being bought by China, using state money, Chinese money. And obviously the relationship between business and government in China is much closer than it is in the west.
So you tie all those together, this is the Trump administration acting against that age protects its intellectual property because that sort of intellectual property is also used to develop America, to develop American military, et cetera, et cetera.
So it doesn't want it leaking to China.
What would China's reaction be?
Well, we saw a couple of days ago Lee Ki Chung (ph), who is the premier, nominally the number two, if you like, in China, saying that we don't want a trade war with the U.S.
And he also pointedly says that we're opening up our economy. We're not going to be demanding these technology transfers. However, that hasn't happened yet. They're making promises.
The reaction, much more realistically, is likely that China will retaliate in some sort of tariffs. They don't rightly want a trade war. They have been saying all along they want to see these sorts of issues resolved in places like the World Trade Organization.
But to think that China is going to sit back and let $50-60 billion worth of tariffs on their goods going to the U.S. and do nothing about it is unlikely. What they do, a lot of people mentioned soybeans. There are billions of dollars' worth of U.S. soybeans that go to China. It's an easy target. Perhaps they may target that -- John.
VAUSE: It's an open question. I guess we will find out in the coming days. Andrew, thank you, Andrew Stevens live in Hong Kong.
Next up here on NEWSROOM L.A., the Austin bomber takes his own life as police close in. Just ahead, how investigators tracked him down through his cell phone.
[01:32:03] VAUSE: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles, I'm John Vause with the headlines this hour. In an exclusive interview with CNN, Facebook's CEO has apologized for the reported misuse of user's data, calling it a breach of trust. Mark Zuckerberg said he's open to the idea of social media regulation and will testify before Congress, adding if it's the right thing to do. Donald Trump is defending that congratulatory phone call to Vladimir
Putin saying Russia can help the U.S. solve many of the world's major problems. But sources tell CNN the President was also infuriated by a leak that he ignored and all caps, do not congratulate warning from his national security advisers.
Police in Austin, Texas say the serial bomber recorded a 25-minute video describing the devices he made before blowing himself up. The package bombs killed two people, wounded five others over the past three weeks. Police say security video from a FedEx store helped track him down. CNN's Randi Kaye has more now on what led up to the deadly confrontation between the bomber and police.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Before dawn in Round Rock, Texas, about 20 miles outside Austin, authorities are closing in. This is where the string of bombings began and soon this is where it will end. Investigators are working on a tip they've received about a person who by now had officially become a suspect.
BRIAN MANLEY, CHIEF, AUSTIN POLICE DEPARTMENT: We ultimately located the vehicle that this suspect was known to be driving. We found that at a hotel right up the road here in Round Rock.
KAYE: Law enforcement surrounds the hotel while they wait for back up from ballistics and tactical units. They don't contact the suspect but suddenly around 4:00 a.m., he drives away. Though it's unclear if he noticed he was being watched. Police follow him, his car goes into a ditch.
MANLEY: The vehicle ended up stopping in the bar ditch on the side of the road behind us.
KAYE: At about 4:45 a.m., a showdown is underway.
MANLEY: As members of the Austin Police Department SWAT team approached the vehicle, the suspect detonated a bomb inside the vehicle.
KAYE: A bomb inside his own vehicle, taking his life. During the confrontation with the suspect, a SWAT officer was knocked back from the blast and another fired on the suspect. By 6:00 a.m., the official announcement, the suspect is dead. Authorities later identified the suspect as Mark Anthony Conditt. A 23-year-old white male from Pflugerville, Texas, just outside Austin. They believe he's responsible for all the bombings in the area since March 2nd. Still, whatever motivated the suspect to terrorize his community is still a mystery.
MANLEY: That's the one thing we don't have right now is a motive behind this.
KAYE: Police are trying to figure out if he was working alone, interviewing his family and roommates. The suspect was home schooled and briefly attended Austin Community College but did not graduate. His grandmother described him to CNN as very quiet, low key, and peaceful. On his record, a single traffic violation. Nothing that ever would have indicated something as terrifying as this. Randi Kaye, CNN New York.
[01:35:14] VAUSE: CNN Law Enforcement Contributor and retired FBI Special Agent, Steve Moore, is with us now. OK, Steve, so we now know that by Tuesday afternoon, there was an arrest warrant which had been issued for Conditt. At that point, though, I guess there was no point going public with that information?
STEVE MOORE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT CONTRIBUTOR: No, you don't want to tell him that, oh, now, we know who you are. We're coming for you. So, that's going to be held pretty closely.
VAUSE: OK. So, no point warning the public that, you know, we got this guy, everything is good? No?
MOORE: Likely, they had -- they were working on surveillance on him and might have -- they didn't know where he was, but they didn't think that he was a clear and present danger.
VAUSE: OK. It seems that one of the -- one of the breaks, or the big breaks came with the surveillance video, which showed Conditt at the FedEx store. What's interesting about this is if you look at this video, he's wearing a wig and he's wearing gloves.
MOORE: That should be a test.
VAUSE: It should have been -- yes, kind of a tip or, you know, a trip for somebody to say, hang on, this isn't right?
MOORE: Yes. You and I both agree on, that should be a FedEx test, would you accept a package --
VAUSE: Yes, from a guy wearing gloves.
VAUSE: And a wig.
MOORE: The other thing is that I do believe that the FBI was on to this guy, well before the FedEx picture came up.
VAUSE: Because what was the point of -- what was the value of the FedEx picture then?
MOORE: I think the FedEx picture was simply to at least confirm in large swaths, how tall he was, that he was a male, that he was all these kind of things. But, really, the FBI was tracking cell phones through the bomb areas and picked him up every time. I think they had him well before this happened.
VAUSE: OK. Because this is the interesting part because every time an explosion went off, they track the cell phone signals back to the users of those phones which were being used at the time of the explosion, right?
MOORE: Yes. Not even -- not even used, just present and pinging off a cell tower.
VAUSE: So, that essentially led to this process of elimination?
VAUSE: So, was -- he must have been at the scene even though he was sending these bombs out, that he was at the scene of these --
MOORE: He didn't start sending them.
VAUSE: And he delivered them.
MOORE: Yes, he delivered them, and so what the FBI was doing is coming up with a timeframe where that bomb was delivered and then looking at the cell towers in that area, querying those cell towers and saying what phones were in your area at this time. And they did this for all the bomb sites, and guess what, there was one phone that was at all bombsites. That's a clue.
VAUSE: Wow. It's the clue, and (INAUDIBLE) clearly, you know, labor intensive. So, you have the situation on Tuesday, he turns his cell phone on and they know exactly where he is?
MOORE: Yes. Yes. And I think they were waiting for that. I don't think he turned it on as some might suggest that it was his time to die, he was -- he was saying, come get me, because I don't think he knew they were doing that. But once he -- once he came up on the air, they probably knew within 30 seconds.
VAUSE: OK. Initially, there were fears that there could be other explosive devices out there. And have this 25-minute long confession video from Conditt and that it doesn't seem to be the same level of concern. This is what the Austin Police Chief said a short time ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MANLEY: We still want our community to remain vigilant as we always should, given the day and time in which we live now. But I also want to let the community know that he described seven explosive devices and we have identified and are no longer in play those seven devices.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: So, there were five that exploded, there was the sixth bomb which did not, which gave them a lot of clues, the seventh one, he used to blow himself up in the car.
VAUSE: No more explosive devices. Does that actually mean that there is no one else actually out there who was involved in this in any significant way, or -- MOORE: I think that's what they believe. And one of the other ways that they probably have some confidence that they've got him, first of all, they're going to look at the containers of the explosives and the amount that he purchased and they'll get that from receipts. And you'll know how many bombs could be made from that. The other thing is they're going to make a map of wherever he went during that time, and if he didn't travel anywhere else. I mean, they're going to check the locations where he stopped, and if those are clean, they probably got it all.
VAUSE: Wow. The cell phone investigation -- the cell phone part of this investigation is pretty impressive in my book, and they're doing this while all these other stuff is going on in Washington?
MOORE: Absolutely. And that's, I guess, the one thing I would like the people to know, while this whole ruckus is going on in Washington and the President is criticizing the FBI, the agents in the field are just going ahead and doing their job.
VAUSE: Doing what they do. Steve, thank you.
MOORE: Thanks, John.
VAUSE: Well, relief for dozens of families in Nigeria, their daughters held captive by Boko Haram for more than a month are finally back home. More on that, just ahead.
[01:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
VAUSE: More than 100 schoolgirls kidnapped by the terror group Boko Haram have been released in Nigeria and they're now speaking about their terrifying month-long ordeal. Lynda Kinkade has their story.
LYNDA KINKADE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Crowds gather in a small Nigerian village as they hear the news. Nearly all of the 110 schoolgirls kidnapped in Dapchi, Nigeria have been returned. Tears rolling down the girls' faces as they're surrounded by friends and family once more. The students were kidnapped from the government girls science and technological college on February 19th. Several of the girls said some of their friends died in captivity. One of the girls described how they were taken by a Bubba Gita, a member of terror group Boko Haram.
KHADIJA GREMA, KIDNAPPING VICTIM (through translator): When they took us from the school, we were seated thinking about what we could eat. Then we heard a gunshot, everybody was confused, running Helter Skelter. They then called to us and asked us to come to the school gate. We went to the gate. They then called Bubba Gita to bring a vehicle, and they packed us into the car.
KINKADE: There was no reason given for the girls' return. The Nigerian government denies paying a ransom. They said in a statement that backchannel efforts led to their release and that it was unconditional. The girls were seen walking into Dapchi after simply being dropped off early Wednesday morning.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I saw with my own eyes, 11 Boko Haram vehicles. They were with the children. When they got to the tarred road, they stopped and blocked the road, they didn't talk to anybody, they didn't greet anybody, they were just shouting, Allahu Akbar. They dropped the children at one corner, everybody came to see the children.
KINKADE: Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari have vowed to bring the girls home, deploying troops and surveillance aircraft to find them. But according to a New Amnesty International report, the Nigerian government failed to act on advanced warnings of the Boko Haram raid on the school. Nigerian Army spokesman, John Agim, tells CNN the allegations are false and that the army was not informed. The kidnapping of these girls is the biggest mass abduction since Boko Haram took more than 270 schoolgirls in the town of Chibok in 2014, a case that triggered international outrage. Over 100 of those girls remain missing. Lynda Kinkade, CNN.
VAUSE: Well, sometimes objection (INAUDIBLE) doesn't cut it. The Kosovo Parliament was just about to ratify a border agreement with neighboring Montenegro when members of the opposition party released tear gas in the chamber in an effort to stop the vote. They've actually done this before. Ratifying the border is seen as a crucial step towards Kosovo joining the European Union. Despite the smoky delay, parliament passed the measure with overwhelming support.
[01:45:02] Several labor unions in France are vowing to walk off the job on Thursday in a nationwide strike to protest economic reforms. Among those in the pit lines, rail workers, air traffic controllers, even school and hospital workers. Jim Bittermann reports now from Paris.
JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: For decades, French leaders have tried to reform the nation's economy and while they've had some successes, there have been some spectacular failures, as unions, especially in the public sector have pushed back against attempts to change workplace rules.
In this case, the protest against Jacques Chirac's plans in 1995 went on for weeks, brought the country to a halt and contributed to the downfall of Prime Minister Alain Juppe. There's been one attempt after another since and now French President Emmanuel Macron who was elected on a promise to enact reforms and would began the process shortly after Election Day is taking on the most difficult one yet, modifying the work rules in the public transportation sector. For economists like Pascal Perri, it's long overdue. If for no other reason, then France is facing a deadline at the end of the year when European Railway Systems must open up the competition, meaning that there could soon be German and Italian trains running on French tracks. PASCAL PERRI, ECONOMIST: It's a question of competitiveness, of, you know, profitability. So today, the government has decided to play its role.
BITTERMANN: Perri points out that the French Rail System runs at a loss each year and it's currently 50 billion Euros in debt. But French railway workers, some of whom, are unemployed under work rules that go back to World War II in the days of coal-fired locomotives are resisting any attempt to tamper with their pay, pension, or benefits. Once more, they fear the government as is done in other sector is heading towards privatizing the rail system, a system some union leaders think should be entirely free.
BRUNO PONCET, GOVERNING COUNCIL, SUD RAIL (through translator): We want to explain everyone that like medical costs, healthcare costs, and education, transportation should be free in order to have true social equality in France.
BITTERMANN: Even among the other unions involved, not everyone would agree with that. But the union leader says that he believes that public service employees and other sectors like the ones he mentioned will join the railway workers on Thursday for strikes that could continue well beyond this week.
In fact, the leadership of one rail union is calling for a labor action from April through June at a pace of two strike days for every three days' work, an innovative protest that could infuriate rail users and bedevil the government. Whatever the outcome, barring a last minute compromise, the government and passengers could be in for some trying times ahead. Jim Bittermann, CNN Paris.
VAUSE: Well, there are employee bonuses and then there are employee bonus packages for Elon Musk. Tesla shareholders have approved an incentive package which could make him the richest man in the world. It's in milestones which would drive Tesla's market by 12 times higher, the payoff Musk could be at least $176 billion, yes, billion. That's not including his other business which he does on the side and which he sends rockets into space. Well, OK.
Next here on NEWSROOM L.A., another round of snowstorms in the Eastern part of United States and another round of heavy rain in the West. And the very latest in a moment.
[01:50:04] VAUSE: Snowballs were flying on the national mall in Washington D.C. on Wednesday as another major storm blankets the U.S. Northeast. But it's not all fun and games, the snowplows have been working their way through the streets of Baltimore, and the bad weather has closed schools and cancelled thousands of flights. You know, the West Coast, there's been lots of rain and lots more still to come, and with that rain, comes fears of mudslides. Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri joins us now. We've got, what, mandatory evacuations in, what, Santa Barbara and other places because of the fear of these mudslides.
PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: They have to. As you said, too, it's getting started. So, this is really the night here going into the early morning hours when I think things really could ramp up, and across Monterey County, San Luis Obispo County, that's where all the heavy rainfall is, but really, much of Santa Barbara County. Quieter conditions relatively speaking to what is in store over the next several hours, upwards of 17 million people underneath the flood watches that are in place. And Santa Barbara along, you know, daily record has already set on Wednesday, over 40 millimeters came down. The March normal is about 60, they've nearly doubled that so far in the month of March. So, the soil is already saturated as it is on top of this, put 50 to 100 millimeters, area outlined in white. Kind of difficult to see but right over that region underneath the 50 to 100 millimeters, that's the burn scar for the Thomas Fire.
Notice the bull's eye of this rainfall is directed over that region. That's really a major concern across this region. The moisture source, we've talked about this being subtropical in nature, and notice, how it's parked right over portions of Central and Southern California. This is going until Thursday, it will begin shifting by Thursday morning into the afternoon, directly towards Southern California. This is as impressive as the moisture fetches you'll ever want to see if you want tremendous rainfall. That's the most concerning, and this really picks up between 6:00 a.m. local time in Southern California. After on noon, 1:00 p.m. when we see some heavy rains begin to come down.
With that said, really, the dangers go beyond the landslides and mudslides. On the roadways, we know when it comes to wet roads, the stopping distance goes from, say, 30 meters at 50 kilometers per hour up to 26 meters on wet roads, that's a concern right there. And with oil on the roadways, you know, well known for heavy traffic in Los Angeles, you get the first heavy rainfall across some of these regions well to the south, the oil being less dense comes up to the surface, that makes for a slick go as well. So, that's certainly all playing a role across portions of California.
Opposite end of the spectrum, it is all a wintery set up, still snowing at this hour over portions of the Northeastern United States. In fact, over 4,000 flights impacted, 74 percent of flights out of LaGuardia, over 70 percent out of Newark, half out of JFK, all impacted on Wednesday as a result of the wintery weather. 30, 40 centimeters will all do damage. And of course, you noticed, still sun in store into the overnight hours, also expected to taper off as we head on in towards the morning hours. So, pretty impressive set up for really the first and second most populated corners of the United States, John.
VAUSE: I can tell you now, wet roads in this town are a sign for everyone to drive like a lunatic.
VAUSE: Pedram, thank you for that. It's good to know no one bought (INAUDIBLE) but it's good to know. Appreciate it. OK. Well, deep in the cold waters of Antarctica is a tiny creature with a very big secret. Scientists say it's one of the most amazing and important ocean organism you've probably never heard of. CNN's Arwa Damon explains.
ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There are whales just about everywhere, feeding on krill. Krill are tiny shrimp-like crustaceans that are about the size of your pinkie. And they form this massive swarms that can stretch for tens of kilometers. Krill are one of the main reasons why these Antarctic waters were in a part of a proposed conservation zone, and its balance is essential to our very existence. These waters and wildlife are a carbon sink, moving carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to the bottom of the ocean. And that though it is still being studied is the Antarctic's potential to act as a buffer to climate change. I didn't know much about krill before we came here. Certainly not that they were a keystone species holding the Antarctic food web together or that they themselves move carbon, ultimately to the ocean floor where it can be sequestered for millennia. The journey of carbon starts with algae which photosynthesizes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
THILO MAACK, MARINE BIOLOGIST AND GREENPEACE CAMPAIGNER: Krill feeds on algae like kids in a McDonald's restaurant. It's sloppy feeding the remains of the algae, just things to the -- to the -- to the deeper water, and the same is true for the krill poo.
DAMON: Yes, it's a conversion about poo, carbon-rich krill poo that ends up at the bottom of these dense cold waters. And krill swarms can move down to depths of 2,000 meters. And it's not just the krill that play that role, so to do the whales that feed on the carbon-rich krill, masses of it. But these are also the main krill fishing grounds. It is a regulated industry but it's one that Greenpeace and others want to see restricted to outside of the main wildlife feeding grounds.
[01:55:07] MAACK: The krill-catching vessels, they're catching krills 24 hours a day for the whole of the Antarctic summer.
Long Tang, Long Tang, Arctic Sunrise, Arctic Sunrise, over.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good morning, Sir, this is Long Tang.
DAMON: Back on Greenpeace's Arctic Sunrise, marine biologist and Greenpeace campaigner, Thilo, is radioing the fishing vessel for details of their catch.
MAACK: Can you tell something about the volume of the catch that you delivered to (INAUDIBLE) the volume of the catch, the weight?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In this (INAUDIBLE) we have catched 3,600 pounds.
DAMON: That may sound like a massive amount and it is. Krill do have the largest biomass of any species on earth, but its numbers have decreased, though it's unclear whether it's from climate change or other factors. And Greenpeace is pushing for action before we reach a crisis point especially in a region as vital to our survival as this one. Greenpeace's mission is also aimed at documenting the fast and wild beauty of this enthralling ecosystem to show just what's at stake of being lost.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It feels really intense.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The tense (INAUDIBLE)
DAMON: This is a view as dawn breaks. I never even imagined anything like this. I don't have words. I'm honestly lost. It's just -- it's literally taken my breath away. It's such an extreme beauty, my brain doesn't even know how to process it.
ANDREAS SOTO, MECHANIC, ARCTIC SUNRISE: It's beautiful, huh?
DAMON: Andreas Soto, a mechanic on the Arctic Sunrise first came to the Antarctic eight years ago and has returned numerous times as a tour guide.
Do you love this place?
SOTO: I really do. I'm missing -- when I'm at home, I see the picture, I'm really missing this place. As you can see, it's beautiful, really calm and really amazing place. I think it should be protected.
DAMON: Man has been unable to dominate this unforgiving region, but that does not mean that it's immune to human destruction. Arwa Damon, CNN, the Antarctic.
VAUSE: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM L.A., I'm John Vause. Stay with us. A lot more news right after this.