Return to Transcripts main page


Russian Spy Poisoning; Trump White House; Trump Silent on Stormy Daniels; Putin Blames Mall Fire on Criminal Negligence; Facebook under Fire; Russian Mall Fire Kills 64, Fire Exits Were Blocked; U.S. Expels 60 Russian Diplomats, Closes Consulate; Ex-Obama Official Could Have Stopped Russian Trolls; Convoy Fuels Speculation About Possible Kim Jong-un Visit To China; Parkland Shooting Survivor Emma Gonzalez Criticized. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired March 27, 2018 - 01:00   ET




ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles.

JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Ahead this hour, it's being called the largest collective expulsion of Russian diplomats ever. A unified show of support from British allies in protest and outrage at the attempted murder of a former Russian spy on English soil.

SESAY (voice-over): Plus adult film star Stormy Daniels detailed her alleged affair with Donald Trump before he became president and her lawyer warns there may be still more details to come.

VAUSE (voice-over): And Facebook, it seems, still doesn't get it, saying Android users are to blame after revelations the company has been tracking every phone call and every text they ever made for years. He asks to say, "Sorry."

SESAY (voice-over): Hello and thank you for joining us. I'm Isha Sesay.

VAUSE (voice-over): I'm John Vause. We're now to the second hour of NEWSROOM L.A.


VAUSE: A great number of countries have ushered the expulsion of Russian diplomats, a coordinated international response after a former Russian spy was attacked with a nerve agent in the U.K.

Among the allies supporting Britain, the United States, Canada, Australia, Ukraine, Norway (INAUDIBLE) 16 countries in the European Union.

SESAY: The U.K. was the first to force Russian diplomats out after Sergei Skripal and his daughter were poisoned. Now British Prime Minister Theresa May is welcoming the show of solidarity. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Together we have sent a message that we will not tolerate Russia's continued attempts to fallout international law and undermine our values.


VAUSE: Russia denies any involvement in the nerve agent attack.

SESAY: It's also been trolling the Trump administration on Twitter, asking followers to vote for which U.S. consulate they'd like to see shuttered. CNN's Matthew Chance has more reaction now from Moscow.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The Kremlin has issued a predictable response to the latest expulsions, saying they're provocative and Russia will mirror the actions taken by the United States and its allies.

The final decision, the Kremlin says, will be taken by the Russian president, who is now weighing how to retaliate but we are expecting to see a wave of diplomatic expulsions from Russia in return.

Russia has been engaged in a tit-for-tat diplomatic row with Britain over the nerve agent attack against Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury. But the crisis has now moved to an entirely different level.

Sixty Russians expelled from United States, in conjunction with numerous diplomats ordered to leave European Union and other Western countries. Russia, of course, denies any involvement in the nerve agent attack.

The expulsions were also intended to send a powerful message to Moscow that its numerous violations of international laws in Syria, in Ukraine, over Olympic doping, hacking or election meddling will not go unanswered by the West.

What is unclear is whether this kind of concerted international action will be enough to force Russia to change its behavior -- Matthew Chance, CNN, Moscow.


VAUSE: Jessica Levinson is a professor of law and governance at Loyola Law School and Michael Genovese is president of the Global Policy Institute at Loyola Marymount University.

Welcome back for another hour. OK, the White House deputy press secretary explained what was to be gained by expelling these Russian diplomats, most of whom were apparently intelligence operatives. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RAJ SHAH, PRINCIPAL DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE SECRETARY: With these steps, the U.S. and our allies and partners around the world make clear to Russia that actions have consequences.

We stand ready to cooperate, to build a better relationship with Russia, but this can only happen with a change in the Russian government's behavior.


VAUSE: Michael, it's a very odd statement for this White House to say, that actions have consequences because so far, the actions of Vladimir Putin and Russia, with meddling in the election, have had very little consequences, if any.

MICHAEL GENOVESE, PRESIDENT, GLOBAL POLICY INSTITUTE AT LOYOLA MARTMOUNT UNIVERSITY: Well, up to today he has pretty much had a free pass and we can argue about why that is. It is one of those great mysteries. But you have to say -- use air quotes whenever you say "diplomats," Russian diplomats.

About 13 percent of the 450-some odd diplomats are being expelled. It has a little bit of a bite to it. I think it is a very positive thing for the president. He is working with allies, really looks unusual. He has been dissing allies for most of his presidency.

So the question is, is this going to be the start of something?

Or is this going to be just a one-off?

Will this be Trump's endgame or is he going --


GENOVESE: -- to help be part of a sequence of activities, decisions and actions against the Russians?

VAUSE: The action was taken in unison with U.K. allies, other countries around the world, including Canada. Here's a readout of the phone call between President Trump and Prime Minister Trudeau.

"President Donald Trump spoke today with the prime minister, Justin Trudeau of Canada, to confirm the solidarity of both countries with the United Kingdom, discussed the joint expulsions of Russian intelligence officers in response to the military grade chemical weapon attack on U.K. soil."

It goes on, "This behavior from Russia is the latest in its ongoing pattern of destabilizing activities around the world."

What is notable here, though, Jessica, is it's a written statement. We actually haven't heard anything come out of the president's mouth, any words spoken by Donald Trump about this.

And even that statement, it doesn't -- the president is not quoted directly (INAUDIBLE) third person. So unless you have that voice from the president, from the podium, not necessarily alpha action, the question then comes through, is this kind of kabuki theater?

Because those diplomats get expelled; American diplomats get expelled and then eventually they all kind of filter back.

JESSICA LEVINSON, PROFESSOR, LOYOLA LAW SCHOOL: So I guess yes and no, so we are taking an action and we are showing that we are part of the international community. And I do not think that we should take that for granted because, frankly, I do not think it was a fait accompli that that would happen with this president.

But everything you point to is exactly right. So the president is certainly not short on thoughts, feelings and ideas on a wide variety of issues. And yet we have not heard from him on this topic. And we may not hear from him.

And his deputy press secretary, frankly, I think, gave the most kind of begrudging, yes, we're with the international community that you can possibly give.

And you know, it is it is kind of a bloodless statement of like, well, I guess we have to do this. And to your point of the kabuki theater, this is -- I'm thinking about that "West Wing" episode, "A Proportional Response."

So we have all played this out. We will expel these three people. They will expel these three people. Then when nobody's looking and everything's died down, they will return and then we'll all go back to the status quo.

And I think that that may be what we're looking at here.

VAUSE: OK, well, a CNN poll found 47 percent believe Donald Trump has been too easy on Russia; 41 percent believe it is about right. Those others seem to be in line with his recent job approval numbers; the 42 percent approve, 54 percent disapprove..

Michael, what do you make of that number, in particular that 41 percent believe that he has been about right here when it comes to Russia?

GENOVESE: Who are those 41 percent?

VAUSE: Good question.

GENOVESE: It is amazing. But, you know, the president and the White House have been celebrating that he is up to 42 percent, which is kind of pathetic. It is like when the kid comes into her home with a C- and says, "Look, Dad, I got a C-."

Well, if all the kids is getting those D's, that is an improvement. And that is where Trump is on this. He has been getting D's and F's and now he gets a C- and they're celebrating. But if you compare President Trump to all of the modern presidents at

this stage, he is the lowest. Both Bushes were in the 70 percent range. Most presidents in the 50 percent range. He still very, very low. And that is because he refuses to go beyond his base. He will not be President of the United States. He won't be president of the nation. He only plays to his base and you cannot get much higher 42 percent if that's going to be your strategy.

VAUSE: And Jessica, very quickly, that 40-odd percent who think he's been OK with Russia, how do you explain that?

LEVINSON: Well, I hate to say this but I think that we have become largely disengaged as a nation when it comes to the specifics of what is happening.

VAUSE: It is complicated.

LEVINSON: It is complicated and I think a lot of us tend to read headlines and with respect to the overall approval number, I would say that the strongly opposed and strongly in favor are basically staying about the same.

So what we're seeing is the people who aren't really committed either way, which I frankly think the people were less engaged, maybe part of the 41 percent who are looking and saying, well, we're not at war with Russia. Maybe that's a good thing.

And --


LEVINSON: -- and the movement is really based on the economy, it is not based on other issues.

VAUSE: Stay with us because (INAUDIBLE) more about Stormy Daniels. Which on Sunday night here in the United States, more than 20 million people watched Stormy Daniels and her exclusive interview with Anderson Cooper on "60 Minutes." The adult film star, who is suing the president to void a nondisclosure agreement, made headlines with allegations she was threatened to keep quiet.

And as Sara Sidner reports, her story has striking similarities to another Trump accuser.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Did you want to have sex with him?

STORMY DANIELS, PORN STAR: No. But I didn't -- I didn't say no. I am not a victim. I am not.

COOPER: The sex was consensual?


COOPER: Just to be clear? SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Adult film director and actor, Stormy Daniels, and former "Playboy" model, Karen McDougal, have a lot in common when it comes to Donald Trump.

Daniels broke her silence to Anderson Cooper for "60 Minutes." McDougal also talked to Cooper for CNN.

DANIELS: He was like, wow, you are special. You remind me of my daughter.

KAREN MCDOUGAL, FORMER "PLAYBOY" MODEL: He said I was beautiful like her and, you know, you're a smart girl and...

SIDNER (voice-over): Some details their stories have in common are noteworthy because they show a pattern of alleged behavior, including intimidation, payoffs and media influence by Trump's allies as he ran for president. Both of them say they had sexual relationships with --


SIDNER (voice-over): -- Donald Trump From between 2006 and 2007.

COOPER: Did he use a condom?


COOPER: Did he ever use protection?


SIDNER (voice-over): Both say they spent time with Trump when he attended this Lake Tahoe golf tournament. McDougal said she has been dating him and Daniels says she met him there.

MCDOUGAL: He came and one day and said, oh, there were a bunch of porn stars out there.

SIDNER (voice-over): Both women were paid for their stories before the 2016 election, Clifford paid $130,000 by Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, to keep quiet. McDougal paid $150,000 to sell her story to AMI, the parent company of the "Enquirer," which never ran it.

And the women say they were intimidated at different points to keep them silent, Clifford in 2011 and McDougal in 2016.

COOPER: AMI has put out a statement, saying that you can talk to the media, that you're free.

MCDOUGAL: But according to their attorney, I can't. There will be financial ruin.

DANIELS: I was in a parking lot, going to a fitness class with my infant daughter. And a guy walked up on me and said to me, "Leave Trump alone. Forget the story." And then he leaned around and looked at my daughter and said, "A

beautiful little girl. It would be a shame if something happened to her mom," and then he was gone.

SIDNER (voice-over): Cohen's attorney is accusing Clifford of defamation and demanding a retraction.

In a letter immediately following the "60 Minutes" interview, insisting Cohen had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with any such person or incident and does not even believe that such a person exists or that such an incident ever occurred.

Cohen has long said Donald Trump has denied the affairs ever took place and knew nothing of the deals. AMI said they deny any coordinated campaign to convince McDougal that she would be sued or her reputation ruined if she told the truth.

MCDOUGAL: Like I think somebody's lying. And I can tell you it's not me.

DANIELS: He knows I'm telling the truth.

SIDNER: There is at least one stark difference between the stories these two women have told about Donald Trump. Stormy Daniels says she was not at all attracted to him and certainly did not love him. But Karen McDougal said she did love Donald Trump and, indeed, she said, he told her that he loved her, too -- Sara Sidner, CNN, Los Angeles.


VAUSE: OK, back now to our panel.

So on that last issue of who is actually telling the truth, another CNN poll came out. An overwhelming number of Americans believe the women over the president. But what is interesting is that when you look at these numbers, based on party affiliation, it kind of flips over. You have the Republicans there who are clearly skeptical here. It's now like 60 percent or something believing the women.

So, Jessica, it was a similar situation like 20 years ago with Bill Clinton and the Monica Lewinsky affair, the vast majority of Democrats were not willing to believe Monica Lewinsky.

LEVINSON: Yes, and I think that part of that is, sadly, is that we bring so much partisan baggage into every new incident. And so we tend to view things, unfortunately, as people who oppose the -- oppose the president and think that people who accuse him of wrongdoing must be telling the truth or people who support the president and think that there is -- to use Hillary Clinton's famous word -- a vast conspiracy against him.

So it is not that we're just looking at these women and a man and saying, is this credible, we're bringing in all of our baggage about, do we like him, do we think he is believable or do we think he is just under assault by a conspiracy? VAUSE: Or do we like the women, do we think they're credible and all the rest, I guess. That's a good point.

The White House would not say if the president actually sat down to watch that interview but "The Washington Post: reports that the president actually did. He apparently thought Daniels was not credible, adding this to the story.

"Privately the president has lobbed sharp attacks at Daniels and her media tour, calling her allegations 'a hoax' and asking confidants if the episode was hurting his poll numbers. The president even has griped to several people that Daniels is not the type of woman he finds attractive."

And, Michael, that's pretty similar to what he has said about other accusers, that they just weren't pretty enough for him to have sexually assaulted.

GENOVESE: Was she breathing?

And if so, then she was attractive for Donald Trump.

I thought Stormy's commentary was credible but now overwhelmingly convincing. I mean, it -- but what it did was it reinforces a lot of the other stories we have heard. The story about unprotected sex, the story by comparing these young women to his daughter, which -- the yuck factor on that is just --


GENOVESE: -- through the roof. And so is the question of corroborating evidence or testimony or reporting, a lot seems to corroborate what the women are saying. I mean, the story on the ground seems to support their case.

VAUSE: And just the way she was very confident and answered those questions, She seemed very convincing. I don't know if she's telling the truth. But it seemed that way, right?

GENOVESE: Again, she was very credible -- maybe not completely convincing because it is a pretty serious charge and it's a story that is -- how -- where do you --


GENOVESE: -- get the proof. And so the question of who do you believe, we are very tribal. We think tribally. Neuroscience tells us that the first thing that hits us is our tribal connection. And if our tribe is attacked, we circle the wagons.

And I think that is the partisan dimension that Jessica was talking about.

VAUSE: Her lawyer has run a very spotless campaign against the president, if you like, at least in terms of PR. It seems he may have slipped up with this one because he overpromised and there's a lot of criticism that this interview didn't quite deliver the big reveal, that there's not a lot in there that we hadn't already heard.

There was a bit about the assault. But he again was doing the television rounds and he did promise that there could be a lot more salacious and convincing details and revelations to come. This is what he said.


MICHAEL AVENATTI, STORMY DANIELS' ATTORNEY: Not that I'm prepared to share now but what I will say is that she was prepared to discuss intimate details relating to Mr. Trump. She can describe his genitalia. She can describe various conversations that they had, that leave no doubt as to whether this woman is telling the truth.

And if she is not telling the truth, let the president take to the podium and call her a liar. Let the president come forward and say it never happened. There is a reason why this $130,000 was paid. And it was not paid because she made this story up. It is absurd.


VAUSE: Jessica?

LEVINSON: No, thank you.

I mean, what a shame and humiliation that this is what we're talking about and this truly is news and that we have a porn star, who's represented by a lawyer, who is talking about the fact that she can identify the president's genitalia.

I mean this is a sentence that I hoped never to utter.


LEVINSON: And I will say how -- I mean, we're skipping over this a little bit, how terrifically demeaning towards women that President Trump's response is; basically she does not look a certain way and, therefore --


LEVINSON: -- and for her lawyer, I would say, look, he is a well- known trial attorney. That means he is a bit of a showman. There is nothing impermissible about that. And I do think that he knows that he needs to keep his story in the news because, sadly, just the sentence, " A porn star has accused the president of an affair," is not going to stay in the news in our current cycle.

So he has to keep this alive because there are real legal issues that we can talk about behind all this salacious hideousness.

VAUSE: Hideousness is right, salaciousness is right and it is not going to end anytime soon. Jessica and Michael, thank you so much.

SESAY: That is a deluge of TMI.


SESAY: Too much information.

Quick break here. Fire exits were blocked and children trapped inside a burning mall in Russia called their parents pleading for help, some saying their final goodbyes. That tragic story ahead.

VAUSE: Also Facebook now under government investigation, $70 billion wiped off the value of the company and the social media giant continues to face of crisis of trust and continues to get it wrong.





SESAY: As a fire broke through a mall in South Central Russia, children trapped inside called their families to say their final goodbyes. Most of the exits were blocked and the fire alarm system had been turned off.

VAUSE: Within the past few hours, Russian president Vladimir Putin has placed flowers near the mall in honor of those who died and he said criminal negligence and carelessness is to blame for the blaze. Max Foster has details.


MAX FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The fire ripped through the shopping center as it was packed with people, billowing smoke across the Siberian city of Kemerovo.

Hundreds of people were inside the Winter Cherry Entertainment Complex on Sunday afternoon as the emergency services were called to reports of smoke.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Before 10:00 in the afternoon, we received information about smoke in the shopping mall on the fourth floor where children's playing rooms and cinemas were situated.

FOSTER (voice-over): As around 100 people were evacuated, others were trapped by the fire inside. Witnesses say they people jumping from the windows in a desperate attempt to escape.

At first, emergency workers could not get to the upper floors of the building because of the strength of the fire, which caused part of the fourth floor to collapse, rescuing people instead on the roof with cranes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Investigators have been working around-the-clock. Eyewitnesses and victims, including tenants and owners of shops, are being questioned. Four suspected people were detained and also questioned.

FOSTER (voice-over): The mall contained a cinema, bowling alley, children's center and a petting zoo. Dozens of people, including at least four children, have been killed and many others were in hospital or are missing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Currently 20 psychologists are working with 17 relatives. I mean, those who have called us and said that they cannot contact their children or some adults, who, according to their information, were in the shopping mall.

FOSTER (voice-over): An investigation has been launched and the governor of the Kemerovo region has announced the victims' families will receive around $18,000 for each relative killed in the fire.

But as rescue crews still search the site and as the death toll rises, the families of those killed will have questions as to why the fire in this coal mining town turned out to be so deadly -- Max Foster, CNN.


VAUSE: The U.S. government is investigating Facebook. The Federal Trade Commission is looking into how the company handles personal information from its users.

SESAY: This following revelations that the data firm Cambridge Analytica accessed information from 50 million Facebook users without their knowledge. If you want to know exactly what information Facebook has on you, there is a way to find out. Samuel Burke explains.


SAMUEL BURKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Facebook is keeping records of every phone call and text message you've sent. That's the surprise some Android users are disc g as people across the globe start taking a closer look at the data tech companies are collecting about all of us.

BURKE: If you want to see everything that Facebook knows about you, just go to the upper right hand corner and scroll down to settings. That'll take you to this page, where you'll click, "download a copy of your Facebook data," then click "start my archive" and Facebook will email you a copy of all the intimate details the social network knows about you.

BURKE (voice-over): Inside that file, Android users are seeing Facebook has been collecting logs of all their phone calls and text messages for years. Android maker Google hasn't responded to our requests for comment but Facebook says Android users explicitly opt in for this feature when they download its Messenger app or a slimmed down version of the social network, an app called Facebook Lite.

Facebook says they do this so Android users can find people more easily but they don't explain why they take the extra step of saving the data on their servers. Users who don't realize they've been sharing this data are getting a rude awakening when they delete their Facebook accounts and look through this archive data for the first time.

"Oh, wow, my deleted Facebook zip file contains info on every single cell phone call and text I made for about a year. Cool. Totally not creepy."

Even users who don't have the main Facebook app on their phone are finding out they've given over their call and text message logs, too.

"Don't have Facebook installed but I do use Messenger and Instagram. Interestingly they only tracked when I rang my parents and girlfriend. I've never used Messenger in regards to my parents. Weird."

A new Reuters Ipsos polls shows that only 41 percent of Americans trust Facebook to obey U.S. privacy laws.

BURKE: Facebook says you can opt out of this feature at any time and they'll delete all the call and text message logs they have saved about you. To do that, Android users will have to go to home, tap on their profile picture, then tap People and under "synced contacts," that setting can be turned on or off.


BURKE (voice-over): And with the tech giant under scrutiny, every piece of data we share with the company knowingly or not is getting a second look -- Samuel Burke, CNN, London.


VAUSE: Kurt Wagner joins us now from San Francisco. He is the senior editor for social media at Recode.

Kurt, thanks for coming back. Facebook, it's admitted it has actually been logging phone calls and texts but denies this was done without permission, posting this on its website: "Call and text history logging is part of an opt-in feature for people using Messenger or Facebook Lite on Android. This helps you find and stay connected with the people you care about," and fly to was a better experience across Facebook. People have to expressly agree to use this feature, which doesn't actually seem to be entirely the case here, right, because when you log in, when you're using Android, it actually requests access to your contacts and all your call history on Android devices. Not exactly opt-in; it doesn't seem Facebook is actually being straight up and honest.

KURT WAGNER, SENIOR EDITOR FOR SOCIAL MEDIA, RECODE: Right, you're giving Facebook permission but they're asking for it very upfront in a kind of the way that these things sometimes work, is it looks like you almost have to say yes in order for the app to work.

So yes, technically people gave Facebook permission to do this. But I think that there is a lot of people who would say, hey, this did not really feel like they asked in the appropriate way. VAUSE: And this seems to be the problem right now for Facebook.

There is this real lack of trust so everything feels kind of sinister because of the statements which (INAUDIBLE). Technically true but in reality it is quite different.

WAGNER: Right and I think something like this, on a given week, let's rewind a couple of years of something like this it happened. I think people would have been upset and I think we would have moved past this very quickly.

But in the light of all of the Cambridge Analytica stuff, given everything we have learned since the 2016 presidential election here in the U.S., I just think that Facebook has kind of run out of runway for anyone giving them the benefit of the doubt.

And when you have this on top of all of the other things that have happened recently, it just makes it really difficult to feel bad for Facebook and there is reasons that so many people are upset about this new finding when you add it to everything else.

VAUSE: OK, part of the strategy to win back trust here, Facebook founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, took out full-page newspaper ads -- old media -- across the U.S. and Britain, apologizing for the Cambridge Analytica scandal -- this is part of the ad.

"This was a breach of trust," Zuckerberg said, "and I am sorry we didn't do more at the time. We're now taking steps to make sure this doesn't happen again."

He finishes with a promise to do better. But I guess the question now, though, for Facebook is just how transparent it wants to be when it comes to personal data and how it's shared and how it's modified and what impact that can actually have on its revenue.

WAGNER: I was thinking about this. There haven't been a lot of advertisers so far that have come out and said, hey, we're going to pull back from Facebook and I would be shocked if there were.

Up until about 10 days ago, the best thing about Facebook as an advertiser was that it had all of this data, right, you could go to Facebook and you could reach anybody that you really needed to because they have all of this information.

So the fact that you know consumers and Facebook users are finally maybe realizing this and coming to grips with it, advertisers should have and have known this for some time, so I don't necessarily see this hurting Facebook's revenue right now because, again, if you are spending money on Facebook before, you kind of went and spent money there because of this exact reason that they have all of this data.

VAUSE: Facebook seems to be paying the price for not having to be a decent disclosure policy when it came to how data was used and how it's collected. But Facebook isn't the only social media platform that does that.

So when you actually see other giants in social media come forward with some kind of disclosure policy.

WAGNER: Well, you know I think Google is the other big one right, it is not necessarily social media but everyone uses Google Search and they have a ton of information about you if you use their Gmail or you know Google Maps or anything like that.

Obviously there's Twitter that's another a social platform that has a lot of information about people. And I think what you are seeing with U.S. government now, with politicians asking Mark Zuckerberg to come to Washington and testify, is that they're starting to lump Google and Twitter into those conversations.

I think there was a story in "The Washington Post" today, that politicians invited all three companies to come to Capitol Hill. So I think when you -- when you realize that, hey, this is Facebook, is kind of the scapegoat right now or is -- they're certainly the leader in this, there is going to be other companies that do very similar things that are going to get corralled into this conversation.

And I think we're already starting to see that happen.

VAUSE: It seems the scandal has now moved into its second week, which is quite a lot of time in the 24-hour news cycle.

Do you think it's moved beyond the original controversy over Cambridge Analytica and the misuse of the data of 50 million Facebook users?

And it seems to be heading toward this big tech backlash, people really want to know how their information is being used.

WAGNER: I think this really opened everyone's eyes up to how much power Facebook has, how much data and information that Facebook has.

[01:30:00] And I think, you know, you saw it in the New York Times ad that Facebook took out over the weekend. They basically said, hey, we're going to investigate if there are more companies out there that did something similar to Cambridge Analytica. And we believe that there might be, right? There is probably a very good bet that there are other companies that have a lot of personal data from Facebook users that we do not know about. And I think Cambridge Analytica obviously was what started this whole thing. I do agree with you, I think this has moved well beyond just that scenario. This has become a, hey, how are we as consumers protecting our data and what is Facebook and Google and others, what are they doing to protect our data as well?

JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Yes. It feels like that it's kind of a tipping point and this isn't over for a long shot and not for a long time. Kurt, thanks for being with us. Appreciate it.

WAGNER: Yes, thank you.

ISHA SESAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: It's not over for a long shot.

VAUSE: Don't trust social media. It's evil. SESAY: Twitter (INAUDIBLE) we'll take a quick break. The Trump administration with a rare rebuke of Russia. Just ahead, how the U.S. is responding to the attack on a former Russian spy.


SESAY: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles, I'm Isha Sesay.

VAUSE: And I'm John Vause. We'll check the headlines this hour, the U.S. is giving 60 Russian diplomats and their families a week to leave. They're being expelled over the nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy in England. In all, nearly two dozen countries have ordered Russian diplomats back to Moscow.

SESAY: Emergency exits were blocked and the alarm system was turned off in the Russian mall where a fire killed 64 people on Sunday. Many of the victims were children. A few hours ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin placed flowers near the mall in honor of those of died. He said criminal negligence and carelessness is to blame for the fire.

VAUSE: The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has confirmed it's investigating how Facebook collected and distributed its users' data. This follows reports that data firm links to President Donald Trump's campaign, Cambridge Analytica got access to the personal information of millions of Facebook users without their knowledge. Facebook is apologizing for the breach.

SESAY: While we're waiting to see how Russia will respond to the U.S. decision to expel dozens of diplomats of the poisoning of a former spy in the U.K., Markos Kounalakis is Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. He joins us now from San Francisco. Markos, good to see you.


SESAY: So, dozens of diplomats expelled but was this the most impactful move the U.S. and European allies could have taken?

KOUNALAKIS: Well, remember, as soon as the poisoning had happened and the United States Secretary of State suggested that in fact it was the Russians behind this attack, there was an immediate expulsion. But that expulsion was the Secretary of State and the Undersecretary of State from the United States.

[01:35:02] Now, with this collective and coordinated effort, this really is a very strong message to the Russians that the Western community and NATO and European community and the United States have really figured out that this is the best way under the circumstances to send them a message. They're already -- there's already a number of limits to Russia's abilities to trade and there are sanctions already on them, but now, this is the most bold move that can be made at this time.

SESAY: You know, a point was made earlier by another analyst that, you know, it's well and good sending messages those are necessary given, you know, diplomacy and the way these things have to be carried out, but they're using oldschool tactics to fight a new generation of Russian aggression. I mean, there is that point, right? That -- we're talking about cyber aggression, you know, today. And we're still talking about an old time dance routine of I'll expel yours and you can expel mine.

KOUNALAKIS: Right. I mean, there are limited number of tools, right? And the tools that we know about are the ones that are oldschool, in fact. We don't have a doctrine today that says if you attack the United States with a cyber-weapon or on a cyberattack, stealing our information, we don't have a doctrine that says, what a proportional response will be. So, until we develop the same way that we have a nuclear doctrine that says when you do something, we will respond in a very decided way. Until we have those tools or have develop those theories, we're limited to oldschool actions like expelling diplomats or spies, depending on who you listen to.

SESAY: Exactly, depending on which side of the -- of the dance you're on. You know, until now, as you well know, Markos, this administration has been unwilling to take any countermeasures or in fact make any statements, you know, critical of Russia, any meaningful ones at least. Does this move signal a break in the road in your view between President Trump and Russia?

KOUNALAKIS: Well, you know, it's funny because he personally has not yet really come out forcefully regarding this attack. I mean, members of his administration have, his spokesperson has, but he personally is still keeping his powder dry in terms of attacking or being critical, and then forcefully, as I say, of Russia or of Putin, really, because this is a Putin-led Kremlin. You know, Putin is coming off of this resounding victory where he's defeated soundly the dead and the -- those who weren't allowed -- who were disqualified. So, Putin is feeling rather strong, although, he should be feeling rather weak at this point, because what has just happened is really has just been called. And he's been getting away with it for quite a while, but now, you're seeing that outside of President Trump, personally, the rest of the Western community are willing to take action.

SESAY: But there is a cost here, right, for the -- for the West? I mean, again, back to the point of are they diplomat, are they spies, you know, you expel as they expel yours ultimately, you know, if you're the U.K. or the U.S. Your ability to -- in terms of gather intelligence is hampered. I mean, there is a cost here.

KOUNALAKIS: Yes, the cost exists, and that cost does not yet fully manifest. I mean, we're already hearing from Prime Minister Theresa May that there may be more higher cost to pay or higher price to pay. There are those who are saying, look, if you consider London grad which means some people referred to London -- parts of London as being owned by Russian oligarchs where real estate is now an important asset for those who have laundered money. When you think about the potential that can be used in non-traditional tools to actually exact the higher price on those who have -- who are related to Putin and his Kremlin cronies, well, then there is a possibility that you can see something that is a non-military response but is quite effective and expensive from the point of view of those in the Kremlin or near the Kremlin.

SESAY: Yes, absolutely. I mean, for Theresa May, obviously, this is a massive, massive shot in the arm given everything that's going on with Brexit, have the Europeans come to her aid or stand by her side, given the somewhat shaky relations if you will, between the U.K. and the U.S. in recent times. I mean, this is a -- this is a good moment, I mean, they're standing by her side, but when it comes to the U.S. specifically and President Trump and Russia, how much comfort can she take from this acting of expelling these 60?

[01:39:57] KOUNALAKIS: Well, I think President Putin has actually achieved something that we never thought possible. He has become a uniter, not a divider, and he is uniting the Western community, he is showing -- he is creating backbone in the NATO alliance. I mean, what we saw was his efforts were to divide the west, but what we're seeing is he's actually uniting the West. Now, whether President Trump personally is able to finally join the rest of the Western community and forcefully agree not only with the actions that the United States have taken but with the words that are being expressed by the other leaders of the Western community. That, we have to wait and see.

SESAY: Yes, we shall see whether this is just a dalliance or whether it is something that will last. We appreciate it. Thank you so much.

KOUNALAKIS: Thank you.

VAUSE: A dalliance.

SESAY: He's saying.

VAUSE: OK. A former U.S. national security staffer says the Obama administration dropped the ball on Russian meddling in the 2016 election. He says he actually warned the State Department about potential interference two years earlier. We have details now from CNN's Drew Griffin.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Russia still denies it but the Twitter war, the fake news, the social media attacks, Putin's new weapon of war as some call it was launched against Ukraine in 2014 during its election. And just like a Cold War battle, a counteroffensive set up by the U.S. State Department pushed back. The Russians backed off but they didn't go away. They just got better. And one former U.S. official said he tried to sound the alarm that the Russians would try the same tactics in the U.S.

BRETT BRUEN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE DIRECTOR OF GLOBAL ENGAGEMENT: During the 2016 elections, they came at us with exactly the same kinds of techniques that they were using back in Ukraine.

GRIFFIN: According to Brett Bruen, then-Director of Global Engagement on the U.S. National Security Council, it was a sign of what was to come. The Russian's new weapon of war. And he says in 2014, two years before the U.S. election, he urged the State Department to keep the task force up and running and build on it. BRUEN: I was sitting at the White House telling the State Department,

for the love of God, keep this up. We have a threat, a new threat that we have recognized, that we have been successful in many respects in pushing back against. This is not the moment for us to stand down.

GRIFFIN: Bruen pitched a command center that would track and counter Russian misinformation but he says the State Department dismissed the idea. Precisely why isn't clear.

CNN spoke to a half a dozen former State Department and National Security Council officials, some of whom tell us the State Department was focused on diplomacy with Russia. Others blamed bureaucracy for getting in the way. Still others say no one, including Brett Bruen, accurately assessed the damage, a potential damage to a U.S. election.

Victoria Nuland then-head of the State Department's bureau of Europe and Eurasian affairs, told CNN by phone, there was just no money for what Bruen was proposing. "We were operating on a shoe-string budget as it was," she said. Whatever the reason, the warning of the looming Russian threat was not shared across the Obama administration. By the time of the Republican and Democratic conventions in July 2016, more than 80 people at the Kremlin-backed internet research agency were already assigned to meddling in American life. Yet in the U.S., multiple sources who dealt with national security at the time, tells CNN they had no idea the extent of the Russians activities. In other words, they missed it.

On October 7th, a joint statement from Department of Homeland Security and the office of the Director of National Intelligence warned of Russians attempting to interfere with the U.S. election process but mentioned nothing of fake news, social media, or infiltrating American social groups. Bruen says they all should have known it because he and others warned them.

You knew enough that you would have been able to foresee the whole fake news, fake grassroots support, fake Twitters coming in this -- in the election?

BRUEN: Not only did I feel like I knew enough at that moment, I was sitting in "THE SITUATION ROOM" saying this is something that is going to march across Western Europe, it's something that's going to march over to our shores, and we need to be ready.

GRIFFIN: Bruen says his biggest concern now is what Russia is going to do next. His warning was ignored by the Obama administration, but he is puzzled, now that his warnings prove true, why do Trump administration appears to continue to ignore the Russian threat. He says, if anything, Putin's newest weapons of this cyber-style war have only improved and he doesn't believe the Trump administration is doing much to counter that attack. Drew Griffin, CNN, Atlanta.


[01:45:06] VAUSE: OK. Next on NEWSROOM L.A., the blaring sirens, the flashing lights, the high-security convoy speeding through the Chinese capital. Nothing to see here according to officials so who could this mystery VIP be who's in Beijing right now? A Scooby-doo mystery when we come back.


SESAY: One of the series train from North Korea are pulled in to Beijing Monday, fueling speculation it was carrying Kim Jong-un.

VAUSE: There is no confirmation, but there is increased security around the official guesthouse where high-level foreign visitors usually stay. If the mystery man is the North Korean leader, it's likely his first international trip since taking power in 2011. Andrew Stevens joins us now from Beijing. So, Andrew, is this or is this not Kim Jong-un's train, the same train his father and grandfather used? The South Korean newspaper reports that Kim's train is armored and also contains conference rooms and audience chamber and bedrooms, satellite phone connections, and flat screen T.V.s. have been installed so that the North Korean leader can be briefed and issue orders. It's kind of like Air Force One but on tracks. It seems a train like that would be hard to hide.

ANDREW STEVENS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. It goes slightly slower than Air Force One. 37 miles an hour was recorded speed of -- the average speed of that train. We don't know for a fact whether it is the same train, John, because pictures of the train when it rolled into Beijing have been taken down from social media. But there is an awful lot of speculations, and CNN is actually been talking to contacts with a deep knowledge of North Korea, and they say that there is a strong possibility that it is indeed Kim Jong-un. Security as you say very tight at the moment. Chang'an Avenue which is the main thorough fare in Beijing, between Tian'anmen Square and (INAUDIBLE) which is where the -- where the (INAUDIBLE) there's a heavy, heavy police presence, security presence. It looks according to our people down there like they're ready to block that road off right down to the station for when whoever is visiting the dignitaries or the senior level people in China, finish that meeting and then head back to the station.

So, if it is Kim, why is it Kim? Well, even though there has been a -- what would you'd have to describe as a pretty frosty relationship between China and North Korea since Kim took power in 2011. China still remains far and away, the most important ally that North Korea has. It's responsible for its economic well-being even though China is following sanctions laid on by the U.N. China remains the key player, the key ally for China -- for North Korea, excuse me. So, consider that against the fact that it's been heavily publicized that Kim Jong-un is now going to meet the South and more importantly, he's going to meet Donald Trump. Kim Jong-un would most likely wanted to square that all away with China, make sure China is on its side in these negotiations.

The China, of course, it puts it front and center back onto the main table with these negotiations. So, these two allies from the North Korean point of view and both the Chinese point of view as well, you know, that there's too much at stake here for them not to be talking. At least, that's what we're hearing from multiple sources now here in Beijing, John.

[01:50:16] VAUSE: If it is Kim Jong-un, he has some explaining to do because things haven't been good between Beijing and Pyongyang for a while. Andrew, good to see you. Thank you.

SESAY: (INAUDIBLE) can't really hide it, can you?

VAUSE: Yes. Got to put the train over here.

SESAY: Don't look over here. Quick break


SESAY: Surviving the Parkland School Shooting and inspiring millions with their activism, student Emma Gonzalez is being criticized for wearing a patch with a Cuban flag. We'll talk with another Parkland survivor about that, coming up



VAUSE: On Saturday's massive gun control rallies across the U.S., one student survivor of the Parkland School Shooting delivered a powerful message and she did it with silence. On the podium, Emma Gonzalez marked the time it took the shooter to kill 14 of her classmates and three adults.

SESAY: Teen Vogue video featured her ripping a posture of a gun target but a fake version was posted online which she rips apart a copy of the U.S. constitution. Separately in a Facebook post, the campaign of U.S. Republican Representative Steve King criticizes Emma for wearing a patch with the Cuban flag (INAUDIBLE) quote, this is how you look when you claim Cuban heritage yet don't speak Spanish.

Well, our next guest is Maddy King. No relation to Congressman King. Maddy survived the Parkland school shooting. She's a junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and joins us now from Denver, Colorado. Maddy, thank you for being with us. I want to start with the fact that you actually spoke at the march at the weekend there in Denver. What was that like for you?

MADDY KING, PARKLAND SCHOOL SHOOTING SURVIVOR: It was extremely intimidating at first having so many people there to talk to but it was -- I felt it was very important and it was something that I thought I needed to do, not just for myself but for the whole movement and for every other student and anyone who has ever been affected by gun violence and to protect anyone else from being affected by gun violence in the future.

SESAY: Incredible pictures, people all ages, all races, everybody out there across different locations, different parts of the country and elsewhere, and people are asking though for all those powerful scenes and speeches what did the marches accomplish?

KING: I think, first and foremost, it accomplished getting everyone together and kind of grouping everyone who's part of this movement together for the first time. We've been together through online communities, but we haven't been able to get so many people together in person and now we have marches that have gotten people together, and we've had people discuss their ideas out loud to all of these crowds and on television, and it's really -- for me, at least, it's gotten together a sense of community and a sense that there are people behind us in this movement and that we do have a voice moving forward to make a change.

SESAY: What do you say, Maddy, to those who say as you're building a community, as you are coming together to put your ideas for change out there that you as young people are being manipulated and being used by others on the left, you're being used to push adult agendas. What do you say to that?

[01:54:57] KING: Just that we're not being used by anyone. We -- yes, we're not, you know, 30-year-olds who've been through college and who have been in the workforce for the past five years, but we are old enough to be making our own decisions and to be forming our own opinions, especially those of us who have been through things like this and who have done our research to find ways to fix this. We have our own opinions and we're not being told what to do by someone else. We're telling other people what we want to do.

SESAY: And Emma, your friend Emma Gonzalez, who has become, you know, like all of you, part of the, you know, the front line in this movement, she has been coming in for particular attention and criticisms, attacks, misinformation. Most recently at the weekend, her jacket had a Cuban flag on it, and you know, many things were said criticizing her. What do you make of that and is this stuff getting under her skin?

KING: I don't think any of us getting under her skin. She's just kind of powering through and more riding upon the support of everyone else. And the fact that she cares so passionately for this movement and for making our world a safer place for everyone. And all of these comments just -- we can't let them bring us down, and she doesn't let them bring her down, and it's kind of like, yes, we have people telling us all of these negative things, but for every negative comment, there's a thousand positive ones, and we just have to concentrate on the positive rather than the negative.

SESAY: Well, Maddy, thank you for joining us and just giving us your thoughts and insights and wishing you the very, very best as this movement goes on. Thank you, Maddy.

KING: Thank you.

SESAY: Well, we asked Grammy Award-winning musician Ben Harper for his reaction to Emma Gonzalez' speech at March For Our Lives this weekend, and this is what he have to say.


BEN HARPER, MUSICIAN: In honor of that silence, I'm going to take my hat off to Emma in thanks and appreciation directly into the camera. Thank you, Emma Gonzalez, and you would make such a better President than Donald Trump. I'm voting for you.


SESAY: She moved a lot of people.


SESAY: She moved a lot of people.

VAUSE: Not often do you use silence like that.

SESAY: No. No, you don't. Our full interview with Ben Harper, that's coming up later on this week.

VAUSE: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles, I'm John Vause.

SESAY: And I'm Isha Sesay. Be sure to join us on Twitter @cnnnewsroomla for highlights and clips from our show. And we're going to be right back with another hour after this.

VAUSE: One more hour. Stay with us.


VAUSE: Well, this is CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. Ahead this hour:

SESAY: A powerful message to Moscowm, U.S. President Trump kicks out 60 Russians after the poisoning of a former spy on U.K. soil. Other countries have followed suit and now Vladimir Putin is vowing to strike back.

VAUSE: Also ahead, two unarmed African-American men shot dead by police within days barking protests and renewed demands for change.

SESAY: And devastating string of earthquakes, aftershocks, and landslides in Papua New Guinea. They've destroyed homes and so many lives in the island nation.