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Zuckerberg "Really Sorry" About Breach; Lawmakers Near Spending Deal; White House Looking for Leakers. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired March 22, 2018 - 05:00   ET



[05:00:02] MARK ZUCKERBERG, FACEBOOK CEO: This was a major breach of trust and I'm really sorry this happened.


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

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

ROMANS: The president on defensive seat after congratulating Vladimir Putin. He is furious about that leak. How do we know? Someone leaks it.

Good morning and welcome to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. That's how this White House works.

It's Thursday, March 22nd. It's 5:00 a.m. in the East.

I think you said it best early this week when the Facebook issues started to snowball, you said you are the product. You are not their customer.


BRIGGS: I think you were well ahead of the curve.

ROMANS: You are their product. And never forget it, selling your information is how they make money. That is the business model.

BRIGGS: Advertisers are their customer. We are their product, right?

All right. So, Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, finally speaking out about Russian meddling and this Cambridge Analytica mess. It may not be the last time we hear from him. So, Cambridge, the data firm with ties to President Trump's campaign, accessed information of some 50 million Facebook users without their knowledge.

An exclusive interview with CNN's 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, I -- 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 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, V2 of all -- a version two of whatever the Russian effort was in 2016. I'm sure they are working on that and there are going to be new tactics that we need to 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 are better than your adversaries and they continue evolving. So, we're going to be working on this forever.


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


LAURIE SEGALL, CNN SENIOR TECH CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Dave. Hey, Christine. Well, if I know anything about Mark Zuckerberg, is that he doesn't like to do interviews. He does them rarely and only when he really needs to them and I think, you know, this has been a very big week for Facebook.

A lot of folks are asking, where in the world is Mark Zuckerberg? Why is he not speaking out?

He ended out speaking with me here in Menlo Park at Facebook campus.

And he started by just saying, I'm sorry. Take a listen.

ZUCKERBERG: This is 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 are at a pivotal point where he feels a responsibility. He feels like he has to come forward. People had been wondering when he's going to speak out.

So, you can check out the interview at -- David, Christine.


ROMANS: All right, Laurie. Good stuff. Thank you.

Zuckerberg breaking his silence to say I'm sorry, is that enough? Well, 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 do so 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. If that is me, then I'm happy to go.

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

ZUCKERBERG: That's why I'm doing this interview.

The question in a question of congressional testimony, 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: Yes. Well, here come the regulators. There will be tough questions from regulators in both the U.S. and Europe. And that's hurting its stock price, losing nearly $50 billion in market value over two days, rebounding slightly yesterday, but a $50 billion hit to market cap.

[05:05:03] Mark Zuckerberg personally lost billions on paper as well.

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 is not clear if it will pass in time to prevent a government shutdown at midnight Friday.

ROMANS: All right. 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 this bill. The President Trump blaming Democrats who he refused to take care of DACA, would have been easy, but they just didn't care.

Now, it is 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. But Democrats as you might imagine, want a more permanent solution there.

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: So, keep an eye on her and on 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: Special counsel Robert Mueller's team is 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 Jr., also the president's role in crafting a misleading statement aboard Air Force One about that Trump Tower meeting.

ROMANS: Also on 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 the 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 that 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 very small group of staffers, though, have access to that information.

ROMANS: President Trump said to be infuriated by the 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 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, that 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 criticized his predecessors, said Bush tried to get along, but didn't have the smarts. Obama and Clinton tried but didn't have the energy or chemistry.

Certainly unusual there, the president going after the 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 added from yesterday's snow day. So many things hanging over this White House again today -- Christine and Dave.


ROMANS: All right. Jeff, thank you so much.

"The Wall Street Journal" reporting this morning U.S. prosecutors have quietly dropped against most of Turkish President Recep Erdogan's security team. They were accused of beating protesters during a visit to Washington last year. That's right. Another country's security manhandling protesters in Washington, D.C. Some charges were dismissed last year and others 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: Really hard to forget that incident.

All right. Eight days after the special election, Republican Rick Saccone 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. He'll have to run again though 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 at an event Tuesday night, which caught a lot of people off guard, because there had been no concession and President Trump talked about him losing.

[05:10:00] ROMANS: All right. More on the Austin serial bomber this morning, a recorded confession minutes before police closed in on him.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He talks about what he has done. I would classify this as a confession.


ROMANS: The bomber's motive still remains a mystery.


ROMANS: Austin bomber Mark Conditt recorded a 25-minute long confession on a cellphone 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.


BRIAN MANLEY, INTERIM CHIEF, AUSTIN POLICE DEPARTMENT: 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 says Conditt made no reference to terror or hate groups. Manley called the recording the outcry of a very challenged young man.

[05:15:04]BRIGGS: Authorities detained two of the bomber's roommates. One questioned and released. The other's status 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 the darkness that Mark must have been in.

ROMANS: Five-fifteen in the East. 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 that snowed this much in the 1880s. In Washington, folks making the best of bad weather with a huge snowball fight.

BRIGGS: We didn't have enough snow to do a fight. We should have done that here in New York.

More than 5,000 U.S. flights canceled 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 as a threat is moving in on the West Coast.

For the latest, let's check in with 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 the 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 2 to 4 inches of snowfall for perhaps Cape Cod and eastern section 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 to 45 for the Big Apple. So, any snow that did fall will melt on the pavement.

Now, heading to the left coast, we have another storm system bringing in atmospheric river of water into central and southern California. In fact, rainfall totals there will be measured in several inches where they 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: All right, Derek. Thank you for that.

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

BRIGGS: All right. An unseeded Serena Williams making a quick exit from a tournament she's won eight times. Coy Wire has the "Bleacher Report", next.


[05:22:16] BRIGGS: Let's talk some sports. Serena Williams suffered a rare first-round defeat in a come back in Venice.

ROMANS: Coy Wire has more in this morning's bleacher report. Hey, Coy.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christine and Dave.

Serena was ranked number one in the world when she stopped playing to have her first child. But 14 months later, because of the rules of tennis, she's dropped to 491 in the world. That means she didn't have a bye in the Miami Open yesterday. She was unseeded and had to play one heck of an opponent, Naomi Osaka in the very first round.

She's just 20 years old. She's just won at Indian Wells last week. Serena Williams is here idol.

Osaka said that she wanted to go out there and impress Serena. Well, she did exactly that, and a whole bunch of other people, shutting Williams down in dominating fashion, winning in straight sets. After the match, Osaka says Serena is her favorite player and tweeted this picture of her shaking Serena's hand with the caption simply saying OMG.

The Cavaliers missing five players and Coach Tyrone Lue against the Eastern Conference leading Toronto Raptors last night. That doesn't matter when you have King James on the court. Cleveland gave up a lot, 79 points in the first half, but still somehow managed to win the game, 132-129.

The sweet 16 of March Madness tips off tonight with a match nobody predicted. Cinderella 11th seed Loyola-Chicago against the 7th seed comeback kids of Nevada. I caught up with the kids yesterday from Loyola asking what it is like to be Cinderella in a very unique way.


WIRE: You are the Cinderella team. Let's have some fun. What's your favorite Disney movie?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, man. I always love "Hercules."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My go-to Disney movie, "Lilo & Stitch."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "Air Bud", man, when he had a basketball, that one.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to go with "Frozen." I'm a big fan of Queen Elsa. I got the whole soundtrack on the phone.

WIRE: If you were single and cartoon, who would be your Disney sweetheart?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I guess I got to go with Kate from Hercules.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Going back to "Frozen", it would be Queen Elsa. She is the smoke show of Disney. I think she is big time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kim Possible, was that all right?

WIRE: I messed up, (INAUDIBLE) You better apologize to Kate?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm sorry, Kate, whoever Kate is.


WIRE: The guys from Loyola were so humble. They say please. They say thank you. They are a small school and they just have this great personality. We wanted to show that and highlight that. We'll see if it will be them or Nevada advancing to take on the winner of Kentucky or Kansas State.

BRIGGS: But, Coy, Elsa is the smoke show of Disney. Who is your favorite Disney princess? WIRE: It has to be Ariel, you know?

[05:25:00] BRIGGS: You like the mermaids.

WIRE: Yes, I would love to be a merman. I don't know. I'm a water guy.


BRIGGS: Someone has got to make up Coy as a merman.

Favorite Disney movie? You are not off the hook either. "Lion King."

ROMANS: I'm with you, "Lion King".

Thanks, Coy.


ROMANS: Dave's got a ranking. He's thought about this deeply.

BRIGGS: I know every Disney princess movie by heart. All of it.

ROMANS: All right. Twenty-five 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: Well, I think -- hear what Zuckerberg says about that and Cambridge Analytica and the possibility of testifying before Congress.



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


BRIGGS: Sorry and ready to testify.

Mark Zuckerberg breaking his silence in a CNN exclusive.

ROMANS: A $1.3 trillion spending plan is all but a done deal.