Return to Transcripts main page
Facebook CEO: 'I'm Really Sorry' About Massive Data Breach; CNN: Mueller Team Indicates 4 Main Areas of Questions for Trump. Aired 6-6:30a ET
Aired March 22, 2018 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Facebook knew about this in December 2015.
[05:59:37] MARK ZUCKERBERG, FACEBOOK CEO: 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.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: These questions all focus on whether Donald Trump himself obstructed justice.
SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D), CONNECTICUT: There is a saying the coverup is worse than the crime.
CHIEF BRIAN MANLEY, AUSTIN POLICE: We have located the 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.
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is your NEW DAY. It's Thursday, March 22, 6 a.m. here in New York. Alisyn is out on assignment. Erica Hill joins me. And what a week of news we're dealing with here. Here's our starting line.
We begin with a CNN exclusive. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg breaking his silence about their massive data breach. Millions of users had their information improperly obtained by a data firm linked to President Trump's campaign to try to sway the election.
What Zuckerberg now says that Facebook is doing to safeguard your privacy in future elections and whether he will volunteer to testify to Congress. So Congress is considering regulating social media giants like Facebook. The House is poised to vote on a $1.3 trillion spending deal today. You'll hear the word "the omnibus bill." We'll tell you what's in it and what isn't in the 2,232-page spending package that you can almost guarantee almost none of your lawmakers will have read in its entirety. But the big question is, can they avoid another shutdown tomorrow night? We'll see.
ERIC HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Well, President Trump's legal team weighs an interview with the special counsel, CNN is learning about four topics Robert Mueller wants to ask the president about. And it comes as President Trump defends his congratulatory call to Vladimir Putin while slamming his predecessors.
We are also learning new details about the Austin serial bomber. Police finding a 25-minute video confession on his cell phone. We'll tell you if officials at this point are any closer to determining his motive and also if the threat of more bombs is over.
A lot to cover this morning. We begin with CNN's Laurie Segall, who's live in San Francisco with her exclusive interview with Mark Zuckerberg.
Laurie, good morning.
LAURIE SEGALL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. I think for a while we're all wondering where is Mark Zuckerberg? The question's been answered. I came out to Encino Park to his office to talk to him to talk about what has been a rough year and also incredibly rough couple of days for the company. And you know what, you guys? He sat down with me, and he started out by saying what I think a lot of people wanted to hear him say, which was "I'm sorry." Take a listen.
SEGALL: I'm going to start with just a basic question, Mark. What happened? What went wrong?
ZUCKERBERG: So 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. So our responsibility now is to make sure that this doesn't happen again.
SEGALL: Facebook has asked is to share our data, to share our lives on this platform and has wanted us to be transparent. And people don't feel like they've received that same amount of transparency. They're wondering what's happened to their data, can they trust Facebook?
ZUCKERBERG: Yes, so one of the most important things I think we need to do here is make sure that we tell everyone whose data was affected by one of these rogue apps. And we're going to do that. We're going to build a tool where anyone can go and see if their data was a part of this.
SEGALL: So the 50 million people that were impacted, they will be able to tell if they were impacted by this?
ZUCKERBERG: Yes. We're going to be even conservative on that. So, you know, we may not have all the data in our system today. So anyone who has data might have been affected by this, we're going to make certain that we tell.
And going forward, when we -- when we identify apps that -- that are similarly doing sketchy things, we're going to make sure that we tell people, too. That's definitely something that, looking back on this, I regret that we didn't do at the time. And I think we got that wrong. And we're committed to getting that right going forward.
SEGALL: I want to ask about that. Because when this came to light, you guys knew this a long time ago, that -- that this data was out there. Why didn't you tell users, don't you think users have the right to know that their data is being used for different purposes?
ZUCKERBERG: So -- yes. And let me tell you what actions we took. So in 2015, some journalists from "The Guardian" told us that they had seen or had some evidence that data that this app developer, Aleksandr Kogan, who built this personality quiz app and a bunch of people used it and shared data with it, had sold that data to Cambridge Analytica and a few other firms. And when we heard that, that's against the policy. You can't share data in a way that -- that people don't know or don't consent to.
We immediately banned Kogan's app. And further, we made it so that Kogan and Cambridge Analytica and the other folks with whom he shared the data, we asked for a formal certification that they had none of the data from anyone in the Facebook community, that they deleted it if they had it and that they weren't using it. And they all provided that certification.
So as far as we understood around the time of that episode, there was no data out there.
[06:05:07] SEGALL: So why didn't Facebook follow up? You know, you say you certified it. I think, why wasn't there more of a follow-up? Why wasn't there an audit then? Why does it take a big media report to get that proactive approach?
ZUCKERBERG: Well, I don't know about you, but I'm used to, when people legally certify that they're going to do something, that they do it. But I think that this was clearly a mistake in retrospect.
SEGALL: Was it putting too much trust in the developers?
ZUCKERBERG: I mean, I think it did. And that's why, you know, we need to make sure that we don't make that mistake ever again.
SEGALL: Knowing what you know now, do you believe Facebook impacted the results of the 2016 election?
ZUCKERBERG: Oh, that's -- that is hard. You know, I think that it is -- it's really hard for me to have a full assessment is of that. You know, it's -- the reality is -- well, there were so many different forces at play. The organic posting that people did, the get-out-the- vote campaigns that we ran. The pages that both candidates ran, the advertising that they did. I'm sure that all of that activity had some impact.
It's hard for me to assess how much that stacked up, compared to all the campaign events and all the advertising on Facebook and all the other efforts. And I think it's also a -- hard to fully assess the impact of that. That organic activity, which we're actually quite proud of.
SEGALL: And also the bad actors.
ZUCKERBERG: And also the bad stuff. That's what I'm saying.
Yes, so I think it is hard to fully assess. 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.
SEGALL: I'm going to challenge you. Have you done --
ZUCKERBERG: But we're here now, and we're going to do a good job.
SEGALL: Have done a good enough job yet?
ZUCKERBERG: Well, I think we will see. But you know, I think what's clear in 2016 we were not as on top of a number of issues as we should have been, 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.
SEGALL: I can hear the commitment. But since I've got you here, so you think bad actors are using Facebook at this moment to meddle with the U.S. midterm elections?
ZUCKERBERG: I'm sure someone's trying. Right? And I'm sure that there is, you know, V2 of -- version 2 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 need to make sure that we observe and get in front of.
SEGALL: Speaking of 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 different things that we need to get in front of.
SEGALL: You hear him talking quite a bit about this. Now, Facebook right now is under a tremendous amount of pressure financially, also legally with lawmakers all around the world, you know, asking Mark Zuckerberg to show up, asking him to testify.
I actually asked him about this. I said, "There are calls for you to testify. Will you show up?" Listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ZUCKERBERG: The short answer is I'm happy to if it's the right thing to do. Facebook testifies in Congress regularly on a number of topics, some high-profile and some not. 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's me, then I am happy to go.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SEGALL: You know, I followed up and said I think people want it to be you. You are the brand name of Facebook. You -- Mark Zuckerberg is Facebook; Facebook is Mark Zuckerberg. And I think that's why so many people wanted to hear from him during this moment of crisis.
You know, oftentimes when there's a moment of crisis in tech companies in the tech world, maybe it's not the CEO that always comes forward. But the difference here is that Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg, these are brand names. And this platform that impacts two billion people is so incredibly personal to us. We've seen so much happen in the last year that I think people really want those leaders to step up, show up and give us a little transparency, guys.
CUOMO: Yes, I mean, I would flip the reality there and say you point me an example when you have a major corporation like Facebook, where it was called to the carpet and you didn't see the face and the head of the organization there. I think you're going to have a very short list.
All right. Laurie, stay with us. Let's also bring in CNN political analyst David Gregory.
OK. So this is an unusual position for the Zuck, and he is clearly uncomfortable with it. Took a lot of time for him to come forward. His answers leave a lot to be desired. What is his political future in terms of facing some kind of congressional testimony in your opinion, David?
DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think you're going to see him in Washington. He is going to have to face down these committees. I mean, it's frankly laughable that, you know, whoever is -- knows most about, you know, these issues is what -- sorry. He's accountable. It's Mark Zuckerberg. He's going to be dragged before Capitol Hill.
And you know what? These tech companies generally don't like this level of accountability or scrutiny. They've enjoyed a much cozier relationship with the government when -- when they felt that they were kindred spirits with more progressives who were in government. And now they're saying that things have changed. The same progressives are going to crack down on them, especially in the way that the site has been compromised and that this open platform that can bring people together all over the world can also be corrupted. So there's questions of regulation that they face, that they will
bridle against. And there's a fundamental question of what is Facebook and what is it going to be in the future? Is it a journalistic organization? Does it have a responsibility to monitor content, to fact-check content?
All of these are very difficult questions. I don't know the answer. But they've got to face down this reality and understand that they have to face questions.
You know, the -- not to boil this down to just a P.R. response, but it is telling of the culture of companies like Facebook that they took so long to respond. You know, that it took them so long to formulate a response to a huge story like this. They have been behind the fact that they have -- data has been breached, privacy has been breached. And they are responsible for it.
HILL: And what's fascinating to that point, David, and Laurie, I'll throw this one to you, this is not the first time that Facebook has had an issue and certainly not recently.
So to your point, David, the lacking P.R. response, the fact that this story broke last Friday and now he didn't sit down with you, Laurie, until last night. The statement they put out prior to your interview was lacking in many ways and criticized almost as quickly as it came out for what it was lacking. What is going on in terms of management, Laurie, when we look at not only the response but the lack of action?
SEGALL: You know, it's really interesting. Before we actually sat down, I was hearing from folks at the company. There was really some frustration within, with the high-level executives saying Mark needs to be out in front of this. There was this idea that he's not getting his hands dirty enough. That he's almost in his own filter bubble. He has his own comms people. He's being protected in his own way. And it's more people looking out for Mark and not the company.
So I think, you know, that -- we kind of reached a boiling point. He had to talk.
But I think anyone in crisis management, P.R., would say it's better to get out in front of these early. And I think it's not just this specific situation. It's looking at the last year. I think users are fed up. I think people are looking at Facebook, and they're wondering what they're looking at. Are they being manipulated by ads? Who's advertising for them?
And also, from knowing a lot of folks behind the scenes, they're working on some incredibly important issues that impact all of us, that don't have easy answers. One person said, you know, "We're not allowed to talk about this, because it's not black and white. We crack down on fake news. Then we toe the line of censorship in some ways. These are great area topics that we need to be able to talk about." And they're not sound bites.
But I will also say on my end they are also not blog posts or they're also not quick Facebook Lives. They need to be a quick public discussion. And there's a feeling behind the scenes in Facebook with senior executives, you know, that these need to be put out there a little bit more, even though they're challenging topics. This is a challenging time and what's happened to Facebook with its reach is incredibly challenging.
CUOMO: Right, but look. Let's be honest. These platforms are in the business of having big numbers. OK? If you want to now start cultivating and curating those numbers, getting rid of fake accounts, getting rid of different types of deceptions, they're worried about their numbers. This is a numbers business. But they have been free from regulation.
David, the big point is will that change? This isn't just about Facebook. They're the biggest. We're working on a documentary right now about online dating. I have a guy who has spent years trying to get Facebook, with some other people, to take down fake profiles of his face. He's in the military. And people love to steal the identities of military people and pose as them online for different types of scams. He's got a 50/50 success rate with these social media platforms. Years of dedicated effort. What does that tell you? They act out of consequence, not out of conscience. They can do a lot better. They haven't, because regulators aren't on their ass. Right? Let's be honest. That's the difference between this industry. Do you think that changes?
GREGORY: Well, I think it's going to change. And let's remember during the debate over government efforts to secure metadata and other electronic surveillance in the fight against terrorism, how a lot of these tech companies were at the forefront of saying that this was government overreach, and it was so inappropriate.
Well, that was a convenient dodge for what they do in terms of gathering up all of our private information to not only boost their numbers but to sell to advertisers, which is why, you know, you can be on a website. And you know -- last week, advertising --
[06:15:07] CUOMO: David Gregory and I were talking about the latest soft sandal for men in the summer season and next thing you know, there are all these ads for Coach and all these other places. That's not a coincidence.
GREGORY: Right, exactly. But the point is, so I think there's a lot more regulation on that. And again, this question of how you control information when in a free marketplace of information it can be compromised. That's a serious issue, as we see in our elections.
CUOMO: They cultivate information when it works for them. Will they control information when it helps everybody else? That is the big question.
Laurie Segall, thank you so much for this information at such a critical time. It was great to hear from him, especially after all of this time. And you, Laurie, David, as always.
HILL: CNN has learned Special Counsel Robert Mueller is eager to question President Trump about four main topics. This, of course, as the president is defending his congratulatory call to Vladimir Putin and slamming his predecessor. CNN's Abby Phillip is live at the White House with more.
Abby, good morning.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning, Erica.
President Trump is growing increasingly frustrated that, despite what his aides have told him, the Mueller investigation appears to be nowhere near an end. And while these details of a potential sit-down between President Trump and investigators are still being worked out, we are learning a little bit more about what Mueller might want to ask him about.
PHILLIP (voice-over): As the president's lawyers prepare for a potential sit-down between Mr. Trump and Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigators, CNN learning that the special counsel's team has shared four main topics they want to discuss, including the circumstances surrounding the Trump Tower meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and several Russians in 2016 and what role the president played in crafting the misleading initial statement aboard Air Force One that suggested the meeting was about Russian adoptions.
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president weighed in, as any father would, based on the limited information that he had.
PHILLIP: It later surfaced that Don Jr. took the meeting because he was promised dirt on Hillary Clinton.
A source tells CNN the bulk of Mueller's interview will focus on the firing of national security advisor Michael Flynn and the firing of FBI Director James Comey.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And in fact, when I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said, "You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story."
PHILLIP: Based on these topics, a source says the president's legal team has written dozens of potential questions that Mueller's team could ask.
This as "The Washington Post" reports that President Trump surprised his senior advisors when, on Tuesday, he suggested meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
TRUMP: We had a very good call. And I suspect that we'll probably be meeting in the not too distant future.
PHILLIP: According to "The Post," officials says there are no plans for Trump and Putin to even be in the same country until November. President Trump is already preparing for a potential summit in May with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. President Trump defensing his phone call with Putin to congratulate
him on his reelection, attacking his predecessors, and insisting that getting along with Russia is a good thing amid criticism from his own party.
SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY (R-IA), CHAIRMAN, JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: I wouldn't have a conversation with a criminal.
PHILLIP: A sources tells CNN the president was furious after it leaked that his briefing materials included a warning that read, in capital letters, "DO NOT CONGRATULATE." Some Republicans on the Hill echoing that frustration.
SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (R), LOUISIANA: Whoever did that ought to be fired immediately. And I think they ought to be prosecuted.
PHILLIP: Well, turning to tariffs today, the president is going to be announcing some new trade tariffs on China, this time targeting 50 billion in goods coming into the U.S. from China. Meanwhile, that country has threatened to retaliate against the United States, Chris.
CUOMO: All right, Ab, thank you very much.
Now that we know what Robert Mueller wants to ask the president about, what does that tell us about where the investigation is heading and whether or not the president will cooperate? Let's dig deeper, next.
[06:22:33] CUOMO: All right. So if you're like me, Erica, and probably, you know, most of you out there, it's early. 6:20. Kids are starting to get up, get ready for school. There will be some spats. People will say, "Well, do you know what he said to me? And you know what I'm going to do to him?"
And you say, "Whoa, hey, we don't talk like that to each other."
HILL: It's early.
CUOMO: You know, "That's not the way you talk. Even if he did say something you don't like."
Before you go dishing out that advice, listen to what the president of the United States just tweeted this morning: "Crazy Joe Biden" -- of course, referring to our former vice president -- "is trying to act like a tough guy. Actually, he is weak both mentally and physically, and yet, he threatens me for the second time with physical assault. He doesn't know me, but he would go down fast and hard, crying all the way. Don't threaten people, Joe."
That's the level of discourse that we have going on in the country right now. And we should all be telling our kids it ain't acceptable. OK?
So let's get back to news and away from "Crazy Joe" and all the crazy, period.
CNN has learned that there are four main topics that Special Counsel Bob Mueller's investigators wants to talk to the president about if they ever interview him. OK? This is what sources tell CNN they are.
The circumstances surrounding Don Jr.'s June meeting in 2016 with Russians at Trump Tower. The president's role in crafting the resulting statement about that meeting on Air Force One. And the firings of FBI director Jim Comey and national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Let's get into this with David Gregory and CNN Politics reporter and editor at large Chris Cillizza.
And the reason I'm not going to give the tweet any more, it should come out. It's embarrassing. He should be embarrassed. But he isn't. And we know the state of play politically. So let's move on.
David, of these four questions, the big question is will they encourage involvement by the executive, namely the president? Or do you think this chills the chances that we see any type of formal confrontation?
GREGORY: Well, I mean, I think the president is still, at some level, itching to have a one-on-one with Mueller and his team, because he's so confident there there is nothing that he has to hide and that he's done nothing wrong. And that he's probably the best witness on his behalf.
Now, his lawyers probably feel differently because of the legal jeopardy that he could be in.
I think what's clear from these topic areas, of course, as we've been suggesting all along, that obstruction of justice by the president himself is something that they are looking at once the investigation was under way.
[06:25:02] And I felt for the longest time that the president has done so much to bring these difficulties on himself, because he doesn't like the fact that the investigation was accelerating and where the investigation started.
But as you've pointed out many times, you know, the idea that this is heading toward a potential indictment of the president is off base. This could certainly be fodder for information in a report that is passed on to Congress for an impeachment proceeding if it ever gets to that. So it could become fodder for a political process rather than a legal process.
But it's obviously interesting. It focuses on, in this area, what the president either knew about directly or did himself with the investigation.
HILL: And to David's point, the president is sort of itching and wanting to sit down. Because we do know he wants this to move forward. He wants it wrapped up, obviously. He wanted it wrapped up months ago.
It's also fascinating, as we've seen him this week try to really take more of the reins in terms of his legal team team. Not only in swapping out, right, and bringing people in, including Joseph diGenova. But also -- diGenova. But also even these -- we're learning these overtures that were made to Ted Olson, reportedly. Where he is not joining. But watch him try to take more control. It will be interesting to see whether that actually pushes anything up in terms of getting him in front of Robert Mueller.
CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS CORRESPONDENT AND EDITOR AT LARGE: So I think, Erica, what you've seen with the legal team, what you've seen with Donald Trump's approach such as it is the last five, six days, is a move toward trying to win the post-Mueller investigation probe release, which is that Donald Trump was under the false impression for a long time, well, we'll just -- this is all going to be over soon. His lawyers had told him that.
I think he now realizes it's probably not going to be over soon. It's probably not going to be good. Now, that doesn't mean it's bad for him personally. He is working now -- Joe diGenova is a perfect example, who is really, yes, a lawyer, but more of a talking head to go out there and frame -- interesting word choice by me -- but go out and frame what this is. And Joe diGenova is on the record saying this is a frame-up job. Right? Donald Trump is being framed by the CIA and the FBI.
So I think he's prepared for the post-Mueller report, to win the P.R. battle.
Can I make one point about the tweet, Chris? I know you don't like it.
CUOMO: Please. Go ahead.
CILLIZZA: OK. I do think it is important that, amid three civil lawsuits related to groping, a sexual assault, amid the ongoing Mueller investigation, amid the leaked phone call that I think speaks to the dysfunction in the White House and the lack of respect, the lack of trust that some people that work for him have. That this, which is a comment made by Joe Biden to the Miami University Democrats which is essentially like, "We used to take bullies behind the school and punch them in the nose."
CUOMO: Not the first time he said it.
CILLIZZA: That's what --
HILL: And he was referencing, too, what people who aren't familiar with perceives as the way Donald Trump treats women.
HILL: And that's why he was saying -- yes.
CILLIZZA: That Donald Trump, out of all of those things that have happened, that this is the thing that he chooses to focus on, I think, is telling. It's not new. We know this is his personality. But I think it is telling in that it speaks to what he is focused on and what he cares about, which out of all the things I just listed, Joe Biden saying something about Donald Trump is -- shouldn't even be on that list. And yet that's where his mind is. And that, I think, should worry you if you're a Republican.
GREGORY: But here's the thing.
CUOMO: Go ahead, David.
GREGORY: Donald Trump looks at every day of his life, fair to say, as a street fight.
GREGORY: Every day is a street fight. And that goes back to well before he thought of getting into politics. Although he considered politics a street fight in the '80s when he was railing against Ronald Reagan.
So, you know, he sees that as a street fight against Mueller, against people who are suing him for sexual misconduct. And by the way, if you're Trump and you're looking at all this, you know, the fact that you can have a special counsel who's just out there investigating, and then you have to get deposed in these lawsuits, we've seen this movie before. Right? It was the Clinton impeachment story. He could get dragged into that.
So there's no question as to why I think he feels and why he's kind of flailing around so angry about the fact that this is moving forward and that other things could be drawn into this.
And you know, the piece about what's happening internally at the White House, I think, is really interesting. You know, we can't behave like these things have never happened before. There's all kinds of leaks that come -- and by the way, this leak about the Russia phone call could have come from the NSC staff. It could have come from the Hill, who were briefed on how this call was supposed to go. It could have come from the State Department. It could have even come from DOD. The government does this, you know, where there's people who have different points of view who will leak information.
But even during the Bush White House, during the -- you know, the Iraq War and some real disagreements about that, you saw -- you saw leaks. But you didn't see being undermined by staff in this way. But that speaks to the kind of White House that this president is running.
CILLIZZA: Very quickly, pressure cooker. Donald Trump under increasing pressure, increasingly isolated. Twitter is his pressure release valve. I think you'll see even -- hesitate to say, even more unpresidential behavior on Twitter --