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Zuckerberg Speaks Out On Cambridge Analytica; Lawmakers Near Spending Deal; White House Looking For Leakers. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired March 22, 2018 - 05:30   ET


[05:30:00] DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: 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's in it, what's not, and which key senators are voicing concerns?

BRIGGS: The president on the defensive after congratulating Vladimir Putin. He's furious about that leak. How do we know? Someone leaked it, of course.

Welcome back to EARLY START, everybody. I'm Dave Briggs.

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. Thirty minutes past the hour this Thursday morning.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaking out, breaking his silence about Russian meddling and about the Cambridge Analytica mess, and it may not be the last time we hear from him.

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 CNN's Laurie Segall, Zuckerberg pledges to further tighten app developers' access to your information, and he says Facebook will investigate all apps with access to large amounts of user data.


MARK ZUCKERBERG, CEO, FACEBOOK: ZUCKERBERG: It's hard to know what we'll find but we're going to review thousands of apps. So, I think 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.


BRIGGS: Zuckerberg also believes bad actors are still 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'd 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 I wouldn't have really believed that that was going to be something that I -- that I would have to work on 14 years later.

SEGALL: I'm going to challenge you.

ZUCKERBERG: But 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 a number of issues as we should have.


BRIGGS: Not clear if that's going far enough for lawmakers or American people, either.

Zuckerberg said Facebook plans to alert everyone whose data was accessed by Cambridge Analytica.

Laurie Segall with more now of her exclusive interview from Facebook headquarters in Silicon Valley.


SEGALL: Hey, Dave. Hey, Christine.

Well, if I know anything about Mark Zuckerberg it's 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 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's 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 had been wondering when he's going to speak out.

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

ROMANS: All right, Laurie. Thank you so much for that.

So, Zuckerberg breaking his silence to say I'm sorry, but is it enough? Many lawmakers are demanding 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, who does an 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.


ROMANS: Facebook faces tough questions from regulators in both the U.S. and Europe and that's hurting its stock price. The company shed $50 billion in market value over just two days before rebounding slightly yesterday.

BRIGGS: 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.

[05:35:01] BRIGGS: Despite last-minute negotiations with the White House no protections for Dreamers are in this bill. President Trump blaming Democrats who he tweeted "refused to take care DACA. 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 but Democrats, as you might imagine, want a permanent solution for Dreamers. Also omitted from the spending bill, health care stabilization. Republican Sen. Susan Collins calling that extremely disappointing.

ROMANS: You'll recall 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 also on Sen. Rand Paul, who forced a brief government shutdown last month. Paul won't say whether he plans to hold up the spending bill.

Of course, nothing motivates Congress to do something like a vacation. A 2-week recess is supposed to begin on Friday night.

All right.

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

There are 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.

These tariffs are a 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 warn they will retaliate, slapping tariffs on U.S. exports, particularly agriculture. That's bad news for farmers and maybe not for consumers -- good news for consumers, either. Americans buy lots of cheap imported Chinese goods.

But, Trump's recent tariffs on aluminum and steel imports, it signals rising protectionism in the U.S. That worries investors, economists, and policymakers. Trade war, of course, bad for the economy but administration officials insist those fears are overblown.


Special counsel Robert Mueller's team has apparently zeroed in on four key topics they want to ask President Trump about.

Two sources say the areas include that 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 an interview. In the coming 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 a response to an "ABC NEWS" report saying the now- dismissed FBI 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 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 that President Trump was told not to congratulate Vladimir Putin on his election win, but he 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: President Trump said to be infuriated by the latest leak and he's 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 and 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 criticizes his predecessors. He 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 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 -- had 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 there at the White House. Thank you, Jeff.

[05:40:00] "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. Now, they were accused -- and you might remember this video -- 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 for meetings with Erdogan.

U.S. officials tell the "Journal" no one pressured prosecutors to drop any of the charges for political purposes. But it sure is hard to believe when we are reminded of that brutal --

ROMANS: Right.

BRIGGS: -- bloody video.

All right. Ahead, the Austin serial bomber with a recorded confession just minutes before police got to him.


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


BRIGGS: But the bomber's motive still remains a mystery. We'll have the latest for you, next.


[05:45:08] 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 that he constructed with a level of specificity that he identified the differences among those six bombs.


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 but it shed new light -- no light on a motive. ROMANS: Authorities detained two of the bomber's roommates. One was questioned and released. The other -- the status of the other is not clear here.

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: Nor'easter number four or four'easter, as Twitter labeled it, is gone. 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 over so long was back in the 1880's -- the 1880's.


BRIGGS: In Washington, folks got after it with a snowball fight there with the Capitol in the background.


BRIGGS: The monument.

ROMANS: Plenty of time to have a snowball fight because flights are canceled. 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. The northeast and mid-Atlantic return to normal today as a big threat emerges on the west coast.

For the latest forecast let's bring in 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, and 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, especially from Cape Cod into the eastern sections of Long Island.

Check out the temperatures as we head through the course of the weekend. I can see middle and upper forties 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 fall 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 burn 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.


ROMANS: All right, that's your weather, here's your money. Let's get a check on "CNN Money" this morning.

Global stocks and U.S. futures both down overnight after Wall Street fell when the Federal Reserve raised interest rates. It was the Fed's first meeting under new chair Jerome Powell. Rate hike number six since 2015. It was expected.

The concern here looking forward, if the Fed would raise interest rates faster than planned. Not this year. It looks like it's still on track for three rate hikes. But they may speed things up next year because the economy is so strong and investors didn't like that.

What do higher rates mean for you? Well, interest rates affect borrowing costs so some credit cards, mortgages, auto loans will be more expensive.

It's not all bad news. Rates for savings accounts also get a little bit of a boost.

Meanwhile, AT&T's antitrust 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.

Its shares fell nine percent after it lowered its earnings outlook for the year. That's a big one-day move.

General Mills is looking into cheaper shipping costs but it may also have to raise prices on its snacks.

And, Starbucks wants a more environmentally friendly coffee cup and it's willing to pay you $10 million for it. Starbucks is asking for designs for a cup that's easier to recycle. It has 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, an environmental nightmare.

Dave, Starbucks uses six billion coffee cups each year and this has been sort of like the Holy Grail for environmentally astute investors --


ROMANS: -- in Starbucks. They've been asking for years to clean up the situation and so now, Starbucks is going to you to ask for help.

BRIGGS: They alone account for one percent of the paper and plastic because Dunkin' Donuts recently said they are going to stop using those Styrofoam --

[05:50:04] ROMANS: Right.

BRIGGS: -- cups in the future, too. So, good luck. That $10 million is quite an incentive.

Ahead, a big change for YouTube on videos featuring guns. We'll tell you what that news is, next.


ROMANS: President Trump's congratulatory call to Vladimir Putin ignoring clear, all-caps instructions not to do so in his briefing material gave late-night some funny material.

[05:55:05] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SETH MEYERS, HOST, NBC "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."

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.

JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, ABC "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.

But the part of the story I love, and I don't know if he even realizes it, is the fact that we know he's mad about the leak is because someone leaked his reaction to the leak. That's a lot of leaks. It might be time for this White House to start wearing Depends because --


BRIGGS: Oh, we didn't need that part of it.

You know, you have to put his name in it if you want him to read it. That's what the leaks have said. If you put his name in it he will read it.

What would your sign be?

ROMANS: There's also the very funny picture of "FOX & FRIENDS IN THE MORNING" that says do not congratulate. That the president listens to -- BRIGGS: That they should have done it that way.

ROMANS: -- chyrons, not to security briefings.

BRIGGS: That was from "THE DAILY SHOW" --

ROMANS: Was it?

BRIGGS: -- and Trevor Noah. Good stuff.

All right.

Eight days after a 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 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 on Tuesday night with that freewheeling speech. Who knows what's going to happen?

ROMANS: Right.

In Florida, authorities are 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. It bars him from possessing or purchasing guns or ammunition following his arrest for trespassing at Stoneman Douglas High School last week.

A hearing is set for April third. The judge required a psych evaluation and set his bail at $500,000 in this misdemeanor trespassing case. That charge usually carried a bond of just $25,000.


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 lax policies on content users can post.

A spokesman says the change is just a routine update to YouTube's enforcement guidelines. The platform will start enforcing the new rules in April.

And then there's this. A crew member of Fly Jamaica Airways is facing narcotics charges.

Authorities say Hugh Hall arrived at JFK in New York 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 nine pounds of powder tested positive for cocaine. Street value, $160,000.

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 Lt. Gen. Ralph Peters denouncing the network as a propaganda machine for President Trump.

Sources tell CNN Fox News execs were rattled by the leak since Peters is a fierce conservative with an awful lot of credibility.

ROMANS: People familiar with the matter say many Fox News employees agree the network's opinion personalities are quote "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 am ashamed."

Fox says Ralph Peters is entitled to his opinion.

You had worked with him.

BRIGGS: Yes, and at times when I worked with him he was a fierce -- even for the executives, too fierce a critic of Barack Obama. So this isn't the man who's a lefty as some of you are calling him now.


BRIGGS: He's concerned with his country's future.

ROMANS: All right, just about the top of the hour. Thanks for joining us. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. "NEW DAY" starts right now. We'll see you tomorrow.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Facebook knew about this in December 2015.

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

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is a moment of crisis.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have learned that Robert Mueller's team has indicated four main areas that investigators would like to speak with the president about.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These questions all focus on whether Donald Trump himself obstructed justice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is a saying the cover-up is worse than the crime. MANLEY: We have located a 25-minute recording where he talks about what he has done.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At this point, we don't know what the motive was.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our biggest concern was to make sure that nobody else gets hurt.