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Mark Zuckerberg Says He's Sorry About Facebook Breach; Trump Blames Predecessors for Failed Russian Policies. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired March 22, 2018 - 04:30   ET


[04:30:02] CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Sorry and ready to testify. Mark Zuckerberg breaks his silence in a CNN exclusive.

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

ROMANS: The president on the defensive after he congratulated Vladimir Putin. He's furious about that leak. How do we know he's still mad? Somebody leaked that.

Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. It is 30 minutes past the hour. Interesting on that spending bill. These are the types of bills Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell used to rail against.

ROMANS: That's right.

BRIGGS: And rail against cramming them through in 24 to 48 hours. And now they're in control and here we go again. But we start with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg finally speaking out and speaking out about the Cambridge Analytica mess and it may not be the last time we hear from him.

The data firm with ties to the President Trump's campaign accessed the information of 50 million Facebook users without their knowledge. In an exclusive interview with CNN's Laurie Segall, Zuckerberg pledges to further tighten app developers' access to user information. 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.


ROMANS: Zuckerberg also believes bad actors are still right now trying to use Facebook to influence the midterm elections. And he acknowledges he never thought this would be something he'd be dealing with.


ZUCKERBERG: 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 government, you know, I wouldn't have really believe that that was going to be something that I would have to work on 14 years later. We're here now.


ZUCKERBERG: And we're going to make sure that 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 the number of issues as we should have.


ROMANS: That is -- to say the least. To say the least.

Our Laurie Segall has more of her exclusive from Facebook headquarters in Silicon Valley.

SEGALL: Hey, Dave. Hey, Christine. Well, if I know anything about Mark Zuckerberg is that he 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: Yes. It's great. Laurie Segall, thank you.

Zuckerberg breaking his silence to say I'm sorry, but is it enough? Many lawmakers demand more. Senators Ed Markey and Amy Klobuchar want him to testify before Congress. Zuckerberg says he's open to that.


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: There's been a lot of criticism that they are just way behind the ball on this and that for too long they saw themselves as simply a platform and allowed this stuff to fester. Facebook faces tough questions just like that from the regulators in both the U.S. and Europe.

[04:35:02] And it's hurting its stock price. Losing nearly $50 billion in market value over two days before rebounding slightly yesterday. $50 billion, that's a huge chunk of market cuts.

BRIGGS: All right. The House poised to vote today on a bipartisan $1.3 trillion spending bill to keep the government funded through September. 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. But would have been so easy, but they just didn't care."

Worth noting here, the White House offered to continue the program for two and a half years in exchange for $25 billion in border security. Democrats, as you might imagine, wanted a more permanent solution for Dreamers.

Also omitted from the spending bill health care stabilization. Republican Senator Susan Collins calls that extremely disappointing.

ROMANS: Collins voted last year to repeal the individual mandate in Obamacare only after receiving a commitment lawmakers would try to stabilize health care markets. Keep an eye on her and on Senator Rand Paul who forced a brief government shutdown last month. Paul will not 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.

President Trump turning tough trade talk into action. He is said to announce steep tariffs on China today. The administration says it will curb China's theft of U.S. trade secrets. Many fear that could spark a trade war.

No details yet but Trump is expected to hit $50 billion worth of Chinese goods. Trade officials say it could target tech and Chinese investment in the U.S. The tariffs are punishment, the result of an investigation into improper Chinese trade practices. But they also fulfill a promise of Candidate Trump cracking down on China to help U.S. companies and workers.

Chinese officials warned they will retaliate, too, slapping tariffs on U.S. exports particularly agriculture. That's bad news for farmers but it's not good news for consumers either. Americans buy lots of cheap imported Chinese goods.

With Trump's recent tariffs on aluminum and steel of course this signals a rising protectionism in the U.S. and that worries investors, economists, and policy makers. A trade war would be bad for the U.S. economy. But administration officials say fears are overblown.

BRIGGS: 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 Don Junior. Also 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, 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 coming weeks, both sides may come to terms on whether there will be a sit-down.

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 did it anyway. CNN has learned Chief of Staff John Kelly is launching an investigation into the leak. Only a small group of staffers have access to that information.

ROMANS: Yes. That's a small inner circle where that leak came from. CNN has also learned that 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 more.

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 President 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 criticizes 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.

[04:40:01] 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.

ROMANS: All right. Jeff Zeleny, thank you.

"The Wall Street Journal" reporting this morning U.S. prosecutors have quietly dropped charges against most of the Turkish President Recep Erdogan's security team. They were accused of beating protesters during a visit to Washington last year. You remember this video, right?

Some charges were dismissed last year, others were dropped last month right before Secretary of State Rex Tillerson flew to Ankara for meetings with Erdogan. U.S. officials tell the "Journal" no one pressured prosecutors to drop any of the charges for political purposes.

BRIGGS: Ugly incident.

All right. Eight days after a special election, Republican Rick Saccone is conceding the race in Pennsylvania's 18th Congressional District. Democrat Conor Lamb says he's ready to be sworn in so he can get to work. Perhaps run again in November in a redrawn district.

Lamb led Saccone by more than 600 votes in the latest count. Saccone considered asking for a recount but President Trump effectively conceded on his behalf in an event Tuesday night in D.C. when he talked about Saccone having lost before he actually conceded.

ROMANS: Yes. All right.

BRIGGS: It's good to get it out of the way.

ROMANS: Yes. 41 minutes past the hour. 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 still remains a mystery.


[04:45:50] Austin bomber Mark Conditt recorded a 25-minute long confession on his cell phone before he blew 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.


ROMANS: Austin Police Chief Brian Manley says Conditt made no reference to terror or hate groups. Manley called the recording the, quote, "outcry of a very challenged young man."

BRIGGS: 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 in part, "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."

ROMANS: 46 minutes past the hour. Nor'easter number four moving out this morning. 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 over this long back in the 1880s. In Washington, folks making the best of the bad weather with a huge snowball fight.

BRIGGS: Getting on that. 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 let's check in with meteorologist Derek Van Dam.

DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good Thursday morning, Dave and Christine. Heavy, wet snow from this latest nor'easter. In fact, some daily records were set for Philadelphia and Dulles Airport. Temperatures are going to warm quickly this afternoon. That allows for melting to occur. A very slushy day expected from New York all the way to Hartford and Boston. Maybe another six or so hours of snowflakes in the greater Boston region before this system is all said and done.

Another two to locally four inches of snow expected pushing from Cape Cod into the eastern sections of Long Island.

Check out the temperatures as we head through the course of the weekend. You can see middle and upper 40s expected from the nation's capital all the way to the Big Apple. Now on the West Coast, we do have an atmospheric river event that's allowing for a significant amount of moisture to funnel into the central and southern sections of California. Measuring snowfall in feet across the Sierra Nevada range. But look out, heavy rain into Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties where they have mandatory evacuations in and around the recent burned areas. Two to four inches locally higher amounts expected there as the heaviest of rainfall is still yet to come for this region.

Back to you.

BRIGGS: Still won't solve their drought problems unfortunately.

All right. Authorities in Florida using the state's newly passed gun laws to keep guns away from the younger brother of the Parkland school shooter. A Broward County judge granting a temporary risk protection order against 18-year-old Zachary Cruz. This bars him from possessing or purchasing guns or ammunition following his arrest for trespassing at Stoneman Douglas High School this past 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 psych 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 how to 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.

You know, after the massacre in Las Vegas, there were a lot of these videos started showing up -- showing people how they could make their own bump-stocks. BRIGGS: Sure.

ROMANS: And firing bump-stocks. And it was a little nerve-wracking for many of the victims that this was such sought-after content.

BRIGGS: It's one of the most popular videos on Instagram, too, are gun videos.


BRIGGS: We shall see.

[04:50:00] ROMANS: All right. Starbucks wants more environmentally friendly coffee cups. It's willing to pay you $10 million for it. Details on "CNN Money" next.


BRIGGS: President Trump's congratulatory phone call to Vladimir Putin ignoring clear all-caps instructions not to do so gave late-night some great material.


[04:55:01] SETH MEYERS, HOST, "LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MEYERS": President Trump congratulated Vladimir Putin on his reelection yesterday despite being given briefing materials prior to the call that stated specifically, in all caps, do not congratulate.


MEYERS: Trump then sat down to a delicious lunch of Silica gel packets. Man, they even put it in all caps. That's Donald Trump's native tongue. But what's amazing --


MEYERS: What is amazing is not only did Trump ignore the advice, he went 180 degrees in the other direction. They told him not to congratulate Putin. And instead he invited Putin to a get-together. It's like if your wife says, your buddy Carl creeps me out, I don't want him hanging around him anymore, and you said, OK, totally got it, did it, problem solved, asked him to move in with us.

JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE": Some White House staffers believe the leak was a deliberate attempt to embarrass the president as if he needs any help with that.


KIMMEL: But the part of this I love, and I don't know if he realizes it, the fact that we know he is mad about the leak is because someone leaked his reaction to the leak, which --


KIMMEL: It's a lot of leaks. It might be time for this White House to start wearing Depends because --



BRIGGS: That's quite an image. But wouldn't you like to know, did he ignore the advice or did he ever even read it?

ROMANS: Or did not see it? How does he consume his briefing materials?

BRIGGS: Right.

ROMANS: You know, and to see -- you know ,there are those around him who said that he gets irritated with long briefings or overly detailed briefings. He's somebody -- you know, legislates by chyron, you know, the --

BRIGGS: Yes, absolutely.

ROMANS: The phrase in the bottom of the TV screen.

BRIGGS: It's starting to feel like another indication that HR McMaster is not long for this White House.

ROMANS: We'll see. We will see.

All right. CNN has learned the high profile resignation of a respected military analyst at FOX News has hit that 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 execs were rattled by the leak, fearing the story could have legs since Peters is a fierce conservative with a lot of credibility.

BRIGGS: 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.

ROMANS: All right. Let's get a check on "CNN Money" this morning. Global stocks and U.S. futures down overnight after Wall Street dropped when the Federal Reserve raised interest rates. It was the Fed's first meeting under new chair Jerome Powell. The Central Bank hike rates for the sixth time since 2015. The bump was expected. The real concern, if the Fed would hike future rates faster than planned. Not this year, still on track here for three.

But may speed things up next year. And investors did not like that. But what do higher rates mean for you? Interest rates affect borrowing costs. Meaning some credit cards, mortgages and auto loans. It's not all bad news rates for savings accounts also get a boost.

Meanwhile AT&T's anti-trust trial kicks off today. The DOJ is suing to block AT&T's $85 billion purchase of Time Warner, the parent of CNN.

Your Cheerios and Yoplait yogurt may get more expensive. You can blame rising inflation. It's bumping prices for things like shipping and that's cutting into profits for General Mills. General Mills shares fell 9 percent after lowering its earnings outlook for the year. That's a big one-day move. General Mills is looking into cheaper shipping costs, but also may raise prices on its snacks.

Starbucks wants a more environmentally friendly coffee cup and it's willing to pay you $10 million for it. Starbucks is soliciting designs for a cup that's easier to recycle. It's been working on this issue for years without much luck. Now it's offering a $10 million grant for the winning design. Most coffee cups are made from cardboard with a thin layer of plastic. It is an environmental nightmare. Starbucks uses six billion coffee cups each year. And for Starbucks -- activists shareholders in Starbucks for years have said this company is a major polluter. It has got to figure out how to --

BRIGGS: I never knew those were a problem.

ROMANS: It has got to figure out --

BRIGGS: I thought they were easily recyclable.

ROMANS: Got to figure out how to make a better cup.

BRIGGS: The same goes for these?

ROMANS: I'm not sure. I mean, we should be using reusable cups, Dave, basically.

BRIGGS: That's what they should do is give everyone of their loyalty customers that have a card.

ROMANS: They sell them.

BRIGGS: Give them one.

ROMANS: Americans like their throw-away cups.

BRIGGS: Give them a reasonable --

ROMANS: You know, it's just -- it's just a real problem. 10 million bucks if you can solve it.

BRIGGS: All right. I'm on it.

EARLY START continues right now with the latest from Mark Zuckerberg finally speaking out about Facebook's issues.


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


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

BRIGGS: And a $1.3 trillion --