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Mark Zuckerberg Speaks Out on Facebook Breach; Trump Defends Congratulating Putin; Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired March 22, 2018 - 04:00   ET



[04:00:12] MARK ZUCKERBERG, FACEBOOK CEO: This was a major breach of trust and I'm really sorry that this happened.


DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Sorry and ready to testify. Mark Zuckerberg breaking his silence in a CNN exclusive.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: A $1.3 trillion spending plan is all but a done deal. What is in it, what's not, and which key senators are voicing concerns?

BRIGGS: The president on the defensive after congratulating Vladimir Putin and he is furious about that leak. How do we know? Someone leaked that.


BRIGGS: Good morning, everyone. And welcome to EARLY START. You can't make that stuff up. I'm Dave Briggs.

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. It is Thursday, March 22nd. It is 4:00 a.m. in the East.

Let's start here with the Facebook Mark Zuckerberg finally speaking out about the Cambridge Analytica mess. And it may not be the last time we hear from him. Now the data firm with ties to President Trump's campaign accessed the information of 50 million Facebook users without their knowledge.

In an exclusive interview with our Laurie Segall, Zuckerberg pledges to further tighten app developers' access to user information and he says Facebook will investigate all apps with access to large amounts of user data.


ZUCKERBERG: It's hard to know what we'll find. But we're going to review thousands of apps. So this is going to be an intensive process. But this is important. I mean, this is something that in retrospect we clearly should have done up front with Cambridge Analytica. We should not have trusted the certification that they gave us. And we're not going to make that mistake again. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: Zuckerberg also believes bad actors are still trying to use Facebook to influence the midterm elections.


ZUCKERBERG: I'm sure someone is trying, right? And I'm sure there's, you know, me too of -- a 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 tactics that we need to make sure that we observe and get in front of.

Security isn't a problem that you ever fully solve, right? You can get to a level where you're better than your adversaries and then they continue evolving so we're going to be working on this forever.


BRIGGS: Laurie Segall has more for us exclusive from Facebook headquarters in Silicon Valley.

LAURIE SEGALL, CNN SENIOR TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Dave. Hey, Christine. Well, if I know anything about Mark Zuckerberg is that doesn't like to do press interviews. He does them very rarely and only when he really needs to do them. And I think, you know, this has been a very big week for Facebook. A lot of folks were asking where in the world is Mark Zuckerberg? Why is he not speaking out?

He ended up speaking out with me here in Menlo Park at Facebook campus. And he started out by just saying, I'm sorry. Take a listen.


ZUCKERBERG: This was a major breach of trust and I'm really sorry that this happened. You know, we have a basic responsibility to protect people's data. And if we can't do that, then we don't deserve to have the opportunity to serve people.


SEGALL: And guys, Cambridge Analytica was just part of the interview. We spoke about Russian influence on the platform and what Mark Zuckerberg says he can do to protect us as we head towards the midterm elections.

You know, this was a wide-ranging interview. Mark really doesn't like to talk about a lot of these things but we're at this really pivotal point where he feels a responsibility, feels like he has to come forward. People have been wondering when he's going to speak out. So you can check out the interview at -- Dave, Christine.

ROMANS: All right, Laurie Segall for us. Thank you for that, Laurie.

So Zuckerberg breaking his silence, but many lawmakers are demanding more. Senators Ed Markey and Amy Klobuchar want him to testify before Congress. Zuckerberg says he's open to it.


ZUCKERBERG: The short answer is I'm happy to if it's the right thing to do. You know, Facebook testifies in Congress regularly on a number of topics. Some high-profile and some not. And our objective is always to provide Congress with this extremely important job to have the most information that they can so what we try to do is send the person at Facebook who will have the most knowledge about what Congress is trying to learn. So if that's me, then I am happy to go.

SEGALL: You are the brand of Facebook. You are the name of Facebook. People want to hear from you.

ZUCKERBERG: And that's why I'm doing this interview. The question in a -- question of congressional testimony is what is the goal? Right? And that's not a media opportunity. Right? Or at least it's not supposed to be. The goal there I think is to get Congress all the information that they need to do their extremely important job. And we just want to make sure that we send whoever is best informed of doing that.


ROMANS: Facebook faces tough questions from regulators in both the U.S. and Europe. And that's hurting its stock price losing nearly $50 billion in value, market value, over two days. Rebounding slightly yesterday. But expect some volatility.

BRIGGS: The House poised to vote on a $1.3 trillion spending bill today to keep the government funded through September.

[04:05:06] The measure has President Trump's support, but it's not clear whether it will pass in time to prevent a government shutdown at midnight Friday.

ROMANS: The bill includes $1.6 billion for border security including technology, but not a concrete wall. It also carves out $2.3 billion for school safety and formalizes the so-called "Fix NICS" legislation. That would incentivize states and federal agencies to enter data into the federal background check system for gun purchases.

BRIGGS: Despite the last minute negotiations with the White House, no protections for Dreamers are in the bill. President Trump blamed Democrats who he tweeted refused to take care of DACA. Would have been so easy, but they just didn't care.

Also omitted from the spending bill health care stabilization. Republican Senator Susan Collins calls that extremely disappointing. Collins voted last year to repeal the individual mandate in Obamacare only after receiving a commitment lawmakers would try to stabilize health care markets.

ROMANS: Keep an eye on her and Senator Rand Paul who forced a brief government shutdown last month. Paul won't say whether he plans to hold up the spending deal. Of course nothing motivates Congress to get something done like a vacation. A two-week recess is supposed to begin Friday night.

BRIGGS: And the March for Our Lives is on Saturday.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team has apparently zeroed in on four key topics they want to question President Trump about. Two sources say the areas include the Trump Tower meeting between Russians and top Trump campaign officials, including Donald Junior. The president's role in crafting a misleading statement aboard Air Force One, about that Trump Tower meeting.

ROMANS: Also on the Mueller's agenda, we are told, the firings of FBI director James Comey and National Security adviser Michael Flynn. The Trump legal team has prepared dozens of potential questions Mueller's investigators could ask in an interview. In the upcoming weeks, both sides may come to terms on whether there will be a sit-down.

BRIGGS: Attorney General Jeff sessions' personal lawyer says the special counsel is not investigating Sessions for perjury. The disclosure came in response to an ABC News report saying now dismissed deputy director Andrew McCabe had authorized an investigation into whether Sessions lied to Congress.

ROMANS: During his confirmation hearings, Sessions said he did not communicate with Russians during the Trump campaign, even though -- even though, yes, he had met twice with the Russian ambassador. Sessions has said repeatedly he did not mislead or lie to senators. A source close to Sessions says he was unaware of a possible perjury probe when he fired McCabe last week. The special counsel's office declined to comment.

BRIGGS: Frustration building in the West Wing over the embarrassing revelation President Trump was told not to congratulate Vladimir Putin on his election win, but they did it anyway. CNN learned Chief of Staff John Kelly launching an investigation into the leak. Only a small group of staffers have access to that type of information.

ROMANS: CNN has also learned the president asked White House senior staff to sign nondisclosure agreements. He was advised it wasn't feasible. But as leaks kept coming early in the administration White House lawyers relented. President Trump said to be infuriated by this latest leak and he is lashing out on Twitter.

CNN's Jeff Zeleny has that for us.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Christine and Dave, President Trump pushing back against the criticism that he was too soft against Russian President Vladimir Putin. Of course after his call earlier this week when he congratulated President Putin on that victory, being criticized for not raising other issues about election meddling, other matters with Russia.

Also of course at issue here inside the White House. Who leaked the information that the president was given a briefing paper to not congratulate Vladimir Putin? But the president holding firm, pushing back on the criticism that he was too soft with Vladimir Putin. He sent a tweet late Wednesday saying this, "They wanted me to excoriate him. They are wrong. Getting along with Russia and others is a good thing. Not a bad thing."

Then he criticized his predecessors, said Bush tried to get along, but did not have the smarts. Obama and Clinton tried but did not have the energy or chemistry. Certainly unusual there the president going after people who occupied that office so President Trump clearly spending a snow day in Washington on Wednesday watching cable television and also tweeting as well.

So as we start this Thursday here at the White House, certainly meetings on the schedule that were -- have to be added from yesterday's snow day. So many things still hanging over this White House again today -- Christine and Dave.

BRIGGS: Jeff Zeleny, thank you, sir.

"The Wall Street Journal" reporting this morning U.S. prosecutors have quietly dropped charges against most of Turkish President Recep Erdogan's security team. Now you remember, they were accused of beating protesters during a visit to Washington last year. Some charges were dismissed last year, others dropped last month right before Secretary of State Rex Tillerson flew to Ankara with meetings with Erdogan. U.S. officials told the "Journal" no one pressured prosecutors to drop any of the charges for political purposes.

[04:10:06] Boy, hard to believe that.


BRIGGS: That was bloody mess.

ROMANS: Sure was.

All right. The Austin serial bomber with a recorded confession minutes before police got to him.


BRIAN MANLEY, INTERIM CHIEF, AUSTIN POLICE DEPARTMENT: He talks about what he has done. I would classify this as a confession.


ROMANS: But the bomber's motive is still remains a mystery.


BRIGGS: Austin bomber Mark Conditt recorded a 25-minute long confession on his cell phone before blowing himself up. Police say he likely recorded the statement between 9:00 and 11:00 Tuesday night as law enforcement was closing in.


MANLEY: He talks about what he has done. The suspect describes the six bombs he constructed with a level of specificity that he identified the differences among those six bombs. (END VIDEO CLIP)

[04:15:05] BRIGGS: Austin Police Chief Brian Manley says Conditt made no reference to terror or hate groups. Manley called the recording the outcry of a very challenged young man.

ROMANS: Authorities detained two of the bomber's roommates. One was questioned and released. The status of the other is unclear. Mark Conditt's family saying this, "We are devastated and broken at the news that our family could be involved in such an awful way. We had no idea of the darkness that Mark must have been in."

BRIGGS: All right. Nor'easter number four moving out this morning. A historic storm for New York City. The fifth consecutive season with at least 30 inches of snow. The only other time on record it snowed this much back in the 1880s.

ROMANS: Really?

BRIGGS: In Washington, folks making the best of bad weather with a huge snowball fight. Look at that. Outstanding.

ROMANS: Yes. And you can have a snowball fight because your flight was canceled. More than 5,000 U.S. flights cancelled between yesterday and today. Amtrak still on modified service from Boston all the way down to North Carolina. Now the northeast and mid-Atlantic start to return to normal.

For the latest forecast, let's bring in meteorologist Derek Van Dam.

DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, Dave and Christine. Not a blockbuster nor'easter in terms of snowfall totals but still some impressive amounts. In fact Daily records set at both Philadelphia and Dulles Airport.

Look at LaGuardia at 8.7 inches from the system. It is quickly winding down from New York into Connecticut and Rhode Island region. In fact another six to 12 hours of snowflakes expected in Boston before this system is really completely over with today. We have another two to four inches of snowfall for perhaps Cape Cod and the eastern sections of Long Island. Another inch or two for New York City.

In fact the National Weather Service is quickly allowing the winter storm warnings and winter advisories to expire between 6:00 and 8:00 this morning. Temperatures warm up all the way to 45 for the Big Apple. So any snow that did fall will quickly melt on the pavement.

Now heading to the left coast, we have another storm system that's bringing in an atmospheric river water into central and southern California. In fact, rainfall totals there will be measured in several inches where they've had recent fires of course that leads to the potential of mudslides. Two to four inches for Ventura and into Santa Barbara Counties where there are mandatory evacuations.

Back to you. ROMANS: Yes. That's tough. They have had quite a year there in


BRIGGS: Indeed. Enough.

ROMANS: All right. Yes. New gun laws in Florida quickly put to use. The brother of the Parkland gunman is kept from getting a gun.


[04:22:03] BRIGGS: Authorities in Florida are using the state's newly passed gun laws to keep guns away from the younger brother of Parkland school shooter. A Broward County judge granting a temporary risk protection order against 18-year-old Zachary Cruz. It bars him from possessing or purchasing guns or ammunition following his arrest for trespassing at Stoneman Douglas High School this week.

A hearing is set for April 3rd. That's when a judge will decide whether to extend Cruz's gun ban. The judge required a psyche evaluation and set his bail at $500,000 in the misdemeanor trespassing case. That charge usually carries a bond of just $25.

ROMANS: YouTube is getting tough on gun videos. New guidelines ban videos showing how to assemble a firearm or install certain accessories such high capacity magazines. The Google owned video platform has come under criticism for lax policies on the content users composed. A spokesperson says the change is just a routine update to YouTube's enforcement guidelines. The platform will start enforcing these new rules in April.

BRIGGS: A former Minneapolis police officer facing murder and manslaughter charges. Free on bond this had morning. Mohamed Noor was released last night just hours after his first court appearance when he posted the $400,0000 bond the judge had set for him. Noor is accused of fatally shooting Justine Ruszczyk last summer after responding to her 911 call about a possible sexual assault near her home. Prosecutors told the judge they don't believe Noor is a flight risk.

ROMANS: A crew member of Fly Jamaica Airways is facing narcotics smuggling charges after he was busted at New York's JFK Airport carrying nearly nine pounds of cocaine. Authorities say Hugh Hall arrived on a flight from Jamaica on Tuesday. During a security inspection, customs officers found four packages containing a white powder taped to his legs. Officials say the powder tested positive for cocaine with a street value of 160 grand. No comment so far from Hall's attorney.

BRIGGS: CNN has learned the high profile resignation of a respected military analyst at FOX News has hit the network, quote, "like a bombshell." Retired Lieutenant General Ralph Peters denouncing the network as a propaganda machine for President Trump. Sources tell CNN FOX News executives were rattled by the leak, fearing the story could have legs since Peters is a fierce conservative with a lot of credibility. People familiar with the matter say many FOX News employees agree the

network's opinion personalities are out of control with their devotion to the president. In his resignation note, Peters writes, "Four decades ago I took an oath as a newly commissioned officer. I swore to support and defend the Constitution. And that oath did not expire when I took off my uniform. Over my decade with FOX, I long was proud of the association. Now I'm ashamed."

FOX, for its part, says Ralph Peters is entitled to his opinion, though they say he's using it to get attention.

It's interesting because Ralph Peters who I worked with for several years was a fierce critic of President Obama/

[04:25:03] In fact going over the line in FOX's eyes. So this is not a guy who, you know, is overly partisan in one direction. Just concerned about this country.

ROMANS: Interesting. All right, 25 minutes past the hour.

Is Facebook doing enough to protect elections from foreign interference?


SEGALL: Have you done a good enough job yet?

ZUCKERBERG: Well, I think --


ROMANS: Hear what Zuckerberg says about that, about Cambridge Analytica and the possibility of testifying before Congress.



ZUCKERBERG: This was a major breach of trust and I'm really sorry that this happened.


ROMANS: Sorry and ready to testify. Mark Zuckerberg breaks his silence in a CNN exclusive.

BRIGGS: And a $1.3 trillion spending plan all but a done deal.