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QUEST MEANS BUSINESS
UN Security Council Meets Amid Syria Attack Fallout; Federal Agents Raid Office of Trump Lawyer Michael Cohen; President Trump Promises a Major Decision on Syria in Two Days; A White House Official Says Trump is Watching Reports of Cohen Raid; Facebook CEO Apologizes on Eve of Senate Testimony; Facebook to Alert Users about Cambridge Analytica; U.S. Stocks Rise as Trade War Fears Ease; U.S. Sanctions Drive Russian Shares Lower; U.S. Authorities Indict Backpage.com Creators. Aired 4-5p ET
Aired April 9, 2018 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
STEPHANIE SY, FILL-IN ANCHOR, QUEST MEANS BUSINESS: Here it is, triple digits swings continue on Wall Street as markets rally to start a new week.
It is Monday, the 9th of April. Tonight, Mark Zuckerberg admits to a big mistake as he releases his testimony to Congress.
US stocks are surging on the hope of avoiding a trade war, but Russian stocks aren't so lucky as new sanctions start to hit home. I am Stephanie
Sy, this is "Quest Means Business."
We are going to go straight to the United Nations now where Nikki Haley is speaking. She is the Ambassador to the UN.
(START VIDEO CLIP)
NIKKI HALEY, US AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: ... is meeting in response. This time, I am not going to hold up pictures of victims. I
could. There are many and they are gruesome. Worse are the videos imprinted in our minds that no one should ever have to see.
I could hold up pictures of babies lying dead next to their mothers. Brothers and sisters, toddlers and infants still in diapers. All lying
Their skin is the ashen blue that is now tragically familiar from chemical weapon scenes. Their eyes are open and lifeless, white-foam bubbles from
their mouths and noses. Pictures of dead Syrians who are not soldiers. People who are not armed. People who are the very definition of innocence
Women and children hiding in basements from a renewed assault by Bashar al- Assad. Families that were hiding underground to escape Assad's conventional bombs and artillery, but the basements that Syrian families
thought would shelter them from conventional bombs were the worst place to be when chemical weapons fell from the sky, and Saturday evening, the
basements of Douma became their tombs.
It's impossible to know for certain how many have died because of access to Douma is cutoff by Assad's forces, but dozens are dead that we know of and
hundreds are wounded.
I could hold up pictures of survivors -- children with burning eyes, choking for breath. I could hold up pictures of first responders washing
the chemicals off of the victims, putting respirators on the children.
First responders walking through room after room of families lying motionless with babies still in the arms of their mothers and fathers. I
could show pictures of a hospital attacked by the chemical weapons. I could show pictures of hospitals struck by barrel bombs following the
chemical attack, ambulances and rescue vehicles have been repeatedly attacked, maximizing the number of dead civilians.
Civil defense centers have been attacked in order to paralyze the medical response to increase the suffering of the survivors. Who does this? Only
a monster does this. Only a monster target civilians and then ensures that there are no ambulances to transfer the wounded. No hospitals to save
their lives. No doctors or medicine to ease their pain.
I could hold up pictures of all of these killings and suffering for the council to see. But what would be the point? A monster who is responsible
for these attacks has no conscience. Not even to be shot by pictures of dead children.
The Russian regime whose hands are all covered in the blood of Syrian children cannot be ashamed by pictures of its victims. We have tried that
before. We must not overlook Russia and Iran's roles in enabling the Assad regime's murderous destruction.
Russia and Iran have military advisers at Assad's airfield and operation centers. Russian officials are on the ground helping direct the regime's
starve and surrender campaigns and Iranian allied forces do much of the dirty work.
When the Syrian military pummels civilians, they rely on the military hardware given by Russia. Russia could stop this senseless slaughter if it
wanted, but it stands with the Assad regime and supports without any hesitation.
HALEY: What's the point of trying to shame such people. After all, no civilized government would have anything to do with Assad's murderous
regime. Pictures of dead children mean little to governments like Russia who expend their own resources to prop up Assad and this Council which saw
these pictures last year has failed to act because Russia has stood in its way every single time.
For a year, we have allowed Russia to hold the lives of innocent Syrians hostage to its alliance with the Assad regime. This allowed Russia to also
weaken the credibility of the United Nations.
We are quick to condemn chemical weapons in the Security Council, but then Russia prevents any action vetoing five resolutions on this issue alone, 11
vetoes all together to save Assad, and our lives go on as usual.
The Council created the joint investigative mechanism. It found the Syrian regime responsible for the attack at Khan Shaykhun a year ago; because
Russia supported Assad and his actions, Russia killed the mechanism. We condemned it, and our lives went on as usual.
We pushed for a ceasefire. The Council unanimously agreed but it was immediately ignored by Russia and Assad. We condemned it and our lives
went on as usual and now, here we are. Confronted with the consequences of giving Russia a pass in the name of unity. A unity that Russia has shown
many times before they don't want.
Here we are in a world where chemical weapons use is becoming normalized, from an Indonesian airport to an English village to the homes and hospitals
of Syria. Since the Assad regime used chemical weapons at Khan Shaykhun one year ago, chemical weapons have been reportedly used dozens of times,
and this Council does nothing.
What we are dealing with today is not about a spat between the United States and Russia, this is about the inhumane use of chemical agents on
innocent civilians. Each and every one of the nations in this Council are on record opposing the use of chemical weapons. There can be no more
rationalizations for our failure to act.
We have already introduced and circulated to the Council a resolution demanding unrestricted humanitarian access to the people of Douma. Assad
is doing all he can to assure maximum suffering in Douma.
Our priority must be to help the starving, the sick and the injured that have been left behind. We also call on this Council to immediately
reestablish a truly professional and impartial mechanism for chemical weapons attacks in Syria including the attack this weekend. We hope our
colleagues on this Council will join us as they have before.
This is a very minimum we can do in response for the attack we just witnessed. Russia's obstructionism will not continue to hold us hostage
when we are confronted with an attack like this one. The United States is determined to see the monster who dropped chemical weapons on the Syrian
people held to account.
You have heard what the President of the United States has said about this. Meetings are ongoing. Important decisions are being weighed even as we
speak. We are on the edge of a dangerous precipice. The great evil of chemical weapons use that once unified the world in opposition is on the
verge of becoming the new normal.
The international community must not let this happen. We are beyond showing pictures of dead babies. We are beyond appeals to conscience. We
have reached the moment when the world must see justice done. History will record this as the moment when the Security Council either discharge its
duty or demonstrate its utter and complete failure to protect the people of Syria.
Either way, the United States will respond. Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thank the representative of the United States...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SY: That was the US Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley giving her statement in response to an alleged chemical attack on the Syrian city
of Douma. Not only does she finger Bashar al-Assad the leader of Syria in her statement, but she said, "We must not overlook Russia and Iran's roles
in enabling the Assad regime's murderous destruction." She also said at several points during her statement, "But what is the point..." pointing to
SY: ... 11 vetoes that Russia, a permanent member of the Security Council has issued when they UN has tried to take action during the seven years of
the Syrian Civil War.
I want to bring in our senior United Nations correspondent, Richard Roth joining me now. Richard, Ambassador Haley, just one of a number of
Ambassadors at the UN including we've heard from Russia at this point. We have heard from the special UN envoy to Syria at this point.
So, just bring us up to speed on what is being discussed of significance at the Security Council right now.
RICHARD ROTH, SENIOR UNITED NATIONS CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Stephanie, this was not your average security council meeting, but we have seen similar
when it comes to Syria and the seven years of war that have taken place with the UN seemingly helpless and unable to stop it, polarizing paralysis
between major powers -- Russia and the United States -- on full display a short time ago as seen on CNN at the Security Council table.
Russia issuing a lengthy blistering attack on the United States and western countries. The Russian Ambassador, Vasily Nebenzya saying what happened in
Douma according to Russia was staged, that people on the ground, residents who the Russians have talked to, nobody reported a chemical weapons attack.
And soil samples taken show that nothing really was contaminated. The Russian Ambassador then got personal with US Ambassador Nikki Haley saying
that Haley recently said that Russia will never be a friend to the United States and he wanted to respond to that. He said, "Friendship is something
that is reciprocal and voluntary. One cannot force a friendship. We are not particularly keen to be friends with you. We are not begging to be
friends with you. What we want from you is really nothing."
US Ambassador Nikki Haley did not adjust her prepared text, which included attacks on Russia for supporting the Assad regime. The regime that
President Trump said was led by animal Assad. Previously, other Ambassadors have said that all options are on the table, diplomatic code
speak you don't often hear at the Security Council table, except when a missile assault is nearby.
Many diplomats have long stated that the best diplomacy is one backed by the threat of force. We may see that today.
The US, Stephanie did circulate new language for a resolution to establish and reestablish an inquiry to find out what happened on the ground, who was
responsible for this latest chemical weapons attack. Russia as you mentioned, vetoing past attempts that would do such an investigative panel
which had been in place.
So, Russia versus the US, once again here on Syria as many more die inside the war-torn Middle East nation. Stephanie.
SY: Richard, what are the odds given that there is sort of this he said she said over whether there was indeed a chemical attack on the citizens of
Douma. What is the UN's role in a credible independent verification of what actually happened on the ground there given as Haley pointed out, the
city is surrounded by Assad's forces and no one else apparently accept the Russians and Syrians can get in.
ROTH: Well, it almost doesn't matter now because whatever findings are made by the Organization for Chemical Weapons Management, Russia is not
going to believe it and the west may not take seriously while they are doing their own studies what happens.
And this new panel was supposed to investigate who would have been responsible. Past conclusions have primarily pointed the finger at the
Assad regime for vicious horrible chemical weapons attacks.
It was about one year ago to the day yesterday or so that the Security Council met on a chemical weapons attack in Khan Shaykhun and guess what?
Within hours, the missiles were flying -- tomahawk missiles from US ships at sea. We are not going to probably have that within a few hours, but I
wouldn't be surprised if it happened within 48 hours.
SY: Yes, and of course, President Trump has said to expect some response. We don't know if that will be military strikes, but some response in the
next 24 to 48 hours.
Okay, Richard Roth for us at the United Nations. Thank you, Richard. It has been an intense meeting at the United Nations. The UN Special Envoy to
Syria called for de-escalation and dialogue just hours after the US President said he is considering all options in response to the attack.
Russia's Ambassador described the west strategy on Syria as confounding.
(START VIDEO CLIP)
VASILY ALEKSEEVICH NEBENZYA, RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: (Through a translator). We are deeply alarmed at the fact that in a number
of capitals, above all in Washington and those blindly following it, London and Paris, there was a deliberate policy undertaken to stoke international
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SY: CNN's international diplomatic editor, Nic Robertson is in Moscow. Nic, just give us the view of this all on the ground there in Moscow.
Obviously, we have heard...
SY: ... what the Russian Ambassador to the UN had to say, just complete denial that a chemical attack even happened.
NIC ROBERTSON, INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Yes, I think we have to also take what the Russian Ambassador to the United Nations said
in terms of tone, in terms of setting the stage for the current relationship between the United States and Russia and where he says that
essentially the United States is taking the world at the moment.
Let me quote you, he said, "Do you understand the dangerous threshold to which you are bringing the world very -- if you will, worrying language,"
and indicating the potential dangers of where Russia believes this is all headed, also saying that Russia is being unpardonably threatened with
boorishness that goes beyond the level of the Cold War.
We absolutely have parties sitting here at two extreme poles. Russia, when it comes to the OPCW, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical
Weapons, the body that would investigate whether or not chemical weapons had been used. Another body would then investigate and figure out who was
Russia has said in the recent case of Sergei Skripal, the former Russia spy who was poisoned in Britain just barely a month or so ago that they
wouldn't trust at face value what the OPCW has to say. The indications here, because Russia's narrative already, they say that they sent their own
experts into this neighborhood, their own WMD experts, their own medical experts into the neighborhood. They can't find the bodies of the dead.
They haven't been able to find anyone who has been gassed. They haven't found any evidence of gassing, they say.
They are setting the stage here to put themselves in an utterly opposite pole from the United States and its western allies here and I think it's
indicative from what we heard from Nikki Haley, the United Nations tonight has a choice and that will be very closely watched by President Trump and
his aides as he figures out the United States' next move. It's very clear what she is saying here.
SY: Nic, as you know, it was a year ago when the Trump administration did respond to what they said was a chemical attack in Syria and they did so by
launching 59 tomahawk missiles at an airstrip in Syria. I remember at the time there being a lot of conversation about whether they had engaged the
Russians in letting them know this would happen.
Of course, we don't know that this is the decision that the Trump administration will take, that there will be airstrikes, but what is the
situation on the ground right now in Syria as far as Russian military activity and whether the US would need to engage somehow to de-escalate a
potential hot war breaking out between, you know, two nuclear powers.
I don't want to be hyperbolic, but this did come up in conversation a year ago.
ROBERTSON: And a year ago, there was a mechanism. There were joint -- there were centers where Russian and American military personnel exchanged
information about whether aircraft are flying about certain military operations. We are in an entirely different place right now, it feels for
Only on Friday, a new raft of sanctions, economic sanctions that are going to be very painful -- already painful for some Russian businesses, for some
Russian oligarch and potentially for the government that was announced on Friday. The temperature is there on that issue. The temperature of an
international alliance standing up to what it sees as Russia essentially lying about the use of chemical weapons in Britain. That already exists.
That raises the temperature and when you look at what happened last night, Russia, Syria and Iran have both blamed Israel for two F-15 fighter jets
flying over Lebanese airspace, firing missiles -- eight missiles into Syria at the T-4 airbase overnight.
The Russians saying that five of those missiles were intercepted, three got through, but the Russians also saying that on this occasion, the Israelis
who they say made this attack did not give them any advance warning.
If that is where the temperature of relations are at the moment, it would be a very combustible environment should there be strikes, should there not
be a communication with Russia about imminent strikes. However, if we analyze and I am sure the military is on all sides here are doing this and
they are looking at what is being said at the UN, they are looking at what their politicians are saying, and they can very well draw conclusions that
they cannot rule out at this stage, a possibility of airstrikes.
So, whether or not...
ROBERTSON: ... there is an advance warning of minutes, of hours, there certainly does seem to be one by imminent possibly over days, so that may
be the only warning that comes because that's how strained relationships are at the moment and that as you say is potentially extremely dangerous.
SY: That's a very important context. Of course, there were just new sanctions levied against seven oligarchs close to President Putin by the US
administration and on that count, another difference between now and a year ago is the strength with which, excuse me, Nic, I am going to interrupt
We are going to go back to the United Nations where the British Ambassador to the UN is now speaking.
(START VIDEO CLIP)
KAREN PIERCE, BRITISH AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: ... that they do. As Staffan De Mistura said, this is an important Security Council session.
My government shares the outrage with other colleagues have very poignantly described today.
It is truly horrific to think of victims, families sheltering underground when the chlorine found them. Mr. President, it is the third time in five
days that the Council has convened to discuss chemical weapons.
This is dreadful in the true sense of that word. This Council should dread what we risk happening that chemical weapons become a routine part of
As a member of the P-5, the UK believes that we have a particular responsibility to uphold the worldwide prohibition of the use of WMD. We
agree with the Netherland's Ambassador that the P-5 has specific responsibilities.
Mr. President, I believe that four members of the P-5 do believe this, but there is one who does not. The Russian Ambassador referred to resurgence
of the Cold War. This is not the Cold War, Mr. President.
In the Cold War, there was not this flagrant disregard for the prohibitions that are universal on the use of WMD. Mr. President, the (inaudible) also
referred to the risks of escalation into international peace and security more broadly. We share his fears but it is the Syrian government and its
backers, Iran and Russia who are prolonging the fighting and risking regional and wider instability.
There are real questions, Mr. President about what is happening in the T-4 airbase with its foreign fighters and its mercenaries.
Mr. President, we have been challenged today by our Russian colleague to say why we believe the attack was carried by Syria and why we believe even
that chemical weapons were used.
The reasons, Mr. President are as follows: The joint investigative mechanism between 2014 and 2017 found six uses of chemical weapons. Two,
it ascribed to Deir ez for the use of mustard gas. Three, it ascribed to the regime for the use of chlorine and one further use, it ascribed to the
Syrian regime for the use of Sarin and that is the attack that we talked about in the Council just last week at Khan Shaykhun and which led to the
US strike which we support on Al Sharyat.
In addition, as the French Ambassador has said, we have had reports of Russian and Syrian warnings before the CW attack took place and of a
pattern of helicopters, MI-8 hit helicopters flying overhead and these are reports that have come from the ground, Mr. President.
I have listened carefully to the Russian Ambassador's arguments. As I have just set out, we as the United Kingdom believe that the Syrian regime is
responsible for these latest attacks, but there is one way to settle this, Mr. President and this is to have an independent, fact-finding mission
followed by an independent investigation.
As we all know, the fact-finding missions are there to determine whether chemical weapons have been used and if they have been used, what sort of
chemical weapons? But it is only an investigation, Mr. President that can determine who is responsible for their use and therefore start the path to
I was very interested to hear the Russian offer that OPCW fact-finding mission could fit it and would have the protection of Russian forces. Mr.
President, I believe that this is an offer worth pursuing, but it would of course be necessary for the OPCW mission to have complete freedom of action
and freedom of access. That still leaves us, Mr. President...
PIERCE: ... with the question of who committed these atrocities and that is why we support the US text for a resolution and we believe that there is
no legitimate reason not to support the call for this Council to set up an independent investigative mechanism.
As I have said before, Mr. President, we have nothing to hide, but it appears that Russia and Syria and their supporter, Iran do have something
Mr. President, the Russian Ambassador singled out the UK along with the US and France to some criticism, so I would like if I may to turn to that.
The responsibility for the cruelty in Syria belongs to Syria and its backers in Russia and Iran. Use of chemical weapons is an escalatory and a
What Russia is trying to do, it strikes me, Mr. President is to turn this - - the debate in this Council away from a discussion of the use of CW into a dispute between east and west presenting itself as the victim. It is far
too important, Mr. President to play games with the politics between east and west in respect of chemical weapons.
Russian's crocodile tears for the people of eastern Ghouta has an easy answer. It is to join us in a non-political attempt to get in humanitarian
and protection workers from the UN to do their job of looking after and mitigating the risk to civilians.
Russians concern and attribution for the use of CW also has an easy answer, Mr. President. It is to join us in allowing the UN to set up an
international investigative mechanism to pursue who is responsible and I repeat here the two demands of my French colleague and I hope we will be
able to make progress.
Mr. President, I have not intended to address the Skripal case in Salisbury, but because my Russian colleague has done so, I will address it
today. He asked what were the similarities between Salisbury and Syria. I think it is important as I point out that the cases are different in the
following respects. There is a thorough investigation underway in Salisbury. As we have heard, Mr. President, there is no investigation
underway in Syria.
The British government in Salisbury is seeking to protect its people as is its duty. The Syrian government on the contrary, Mr. President again as we
have heard today attacks and gases its people. What the two do have in common though and I am sorry to say is Russia's refusal to assume P-5
responsibilities to prevent the use of WMD and its reckless support for the use of WMD by its agents and by its allies.
Mr. President, it is not us who want to alienate Russia. She alienates herself by not joining in the vast majority of this Council who want to
find a non-polemical way through and to address the use of CW against civilians in Syria.
The Russian Ambassador mentioned friends of the United States. Mr. President, my government and our people are proud to be friends of the
United States. We stand with everybody on this Council who wants to find a way through the CW problem to have a proper fact finding mission and to
have a proper investigation as the first step to bringing this dreadful conflict to a close. Thank you, Mr. President.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SY: Okay, that was the United Kingdom's Ambassador to the UN, Karen Pierce giving her statement echoing some of the same things that the US
Ambassador, Nikki Haley said including calling for an independent investigative mechanism to look into the alleged chemical attack in Douma,
I want to bring back Nic Robertson in Moscow because again, a lot of mention of Russia including the Skripal case at the end of Ambassador
Pierce's statement. Nic, how do you think the statement will be received in Moscow?
ROBERTSON: I think it will very likely be dismissed because at the moment, it doesn't seem to fit with the Russian narrative. Russia has said very
clearly that it has had its experts on the ground already though there has been no chemical attack, that this is a hoax.
The British Ambassador to the United Nations clearly sticking to the belief and the understanding of Britain to France, of the United States and many
other nations that in fact there was because they believed that they've seen the evidence for it.
Evidence that Russia refutes and puts down to propaganda essentially from terrorists organizations. What she had to say on Sergei Skripal comes
after we've heard from the British foreign secretary saying, you know, the -- over the recent weeks Russia has put forward 28 different narratives of
what could have caused the chemical poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.
What we heard the British ambassador here saying and quite cool, calm, collected terms is that there are significant differences that Britain has
brought in the OPCW to perform an investigation because it wants to protect the British citizens.
This she says is a complete contrast with Syria and Russia that had so far refused to allow in the OPCW into this particular investigation in Douma
and that she said it's because they don't care for the citizens there.
STEPHANIE SY, HOST, QUEST MEANS BUSINESS: Nic Robertson from Moscow, thank you, next, we're going to have more on all these breaking stories in just a
SY: Hello, I'm Stephanie Sy, there's more QUEST MEANS BUSINESS in just a moment. But first, these are the top news headlines on Cnn this hour.
Breaking news just into Cnn, the FBI has today raided the office of President Trump's long-time lawyer Michael Cohen.
The agency's records related to multiple topics including on that payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels. The "New York Times" reports the FBI
also seized e-mails, tax documents and business records.
Dramatic and at times personal debates at the UN Security Council over that alleged chemical attack in Syria. The Russian ambassador claims it was
staged and that his country does not need friendship from the U.S.
The U.S. ambassador says the world must see justice done. President Trump is promising a major decision on Syria within the next two days and says
nothing is off the table. The president warned those responsible for the chemical attack on Syrian civilians will be held responsible.
The president did not say whether plans to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria will go ahead. OK, more now on that breaking news on Donald Trump's lawyer
[16:35:00] In a statement, Cohen's lawyer Stephen Ryan said this: "today, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York executed a
series of search warrants and seized the privilege communications between my client Michael Cohen and his clients.
I have been advised by federal prosecutors that the New York action is in part, a referral by the Office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller." I want
to get into this with Stephen Collinson who is in Washington.
Stephen, bring us up to speed on how this all came about and what it says about the scope now of Special Counsel's Mueller's investigation?
STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is all unfolded in the last half an hour or so, quite a shock actually. Michael
Cohen is the personal lawyer of the president who's been dealing with this issue of the $130,000 harsh payment paid to an adult film actress Stormy
Daniels shortly before the election and the confidentiality agreement that bound her not to talk about an alleged relationship with the president
about a decade ago.
Now the question is why Robert Mueller the special counsel who is probing alleged Russian election interference has got involved in all of this. It
appears that what the case may be is that he's uncovered what it appears to be some kind of wrongdoing.
We don't know exactly what that could be. It could be that he's uncovered evidence that there was communication between the president and Michael
Cohen about this alleged confidentiality agreement.
The president told reporters last week that he didn't know anything about the payment. Why this is important is, it's because before an election, a
payment of that kind made to buy somebody's silence could be seen as a violation of election law.
It could be seen as a campaign contribution in kind. So it could be an infringement to the law, we don't know that is the case, but that appears
to be one possible avenue that the FBI agents were looking to find evidence about when they raided Michael Cohen's offices.
SY: So, one of the questions initially when this all came out that Cohen had made this payment, was whether it was within special counsel Mueller's
purview to be able to investigate this.
Does this mean that the deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein had to authorize Mueller to expand the investigation into Cohen and the Stormy
COLLINSON: What we've seen in the past is that we have learned that some expansions of the investigation Mueller has had to get that permission from
deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
We don't know if that's the case in this particular instance. Mueller has actually quite a wide brief. He's looking into Russian election
interference. But if he sees -- if he uncovers evidence of some other kind of nefarious activity, you could read his mandate as seeing it is in his
So it's not quite clear. What this certainly will do is it will increase political pressure on Mueller himself, and we've seen in the past, the
president has angrily sort of responded to expansions of the investigation, putting pressure on people like Rosenstein and Mueller, I think this is
going to once again add to the speculation of it at some point the president could try to dismiss Mueller.
To do that, he would have to get rid of deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein. So you could see how the issue of Stormy Daniels which
appeared to be a legal problem for the president, it was someway away from the center of this whole thing could become, you know, a central piece of
interest in this whole question of the alleged wrongdoing center of the president's campaign in 2016.
SY: Stormy Daniels attorney Michael Avenatti said last week that when the president told reporters on Air Force 1 that he knew nothing about the
payment between Cohen and Daniels, that that might open up the president to some vulnerability.
Is this -- without knowing of course what the FBI agents have seized in Cohen's privileged communications with his clients, we do know that one of
his clients is the president.
Is this one step further to a potential legal exposure for the president?
COLLINSON: Well, what Michael Avenatti has been trying to do is get the president to give a deposition in a court case in which he would be at risk
of perjury if he didn't tell the truth about whether he knew anything about this alleged payment.
So evidence that's been taken by the FBI could certainly come into the discovery process for that sort of case. And that has always been the
great vulnerability for the president of the Stormy Daniels issue.
[16:40:00] The question of the morality of an alleged affair, this issue of campaign finance violation that could come up, that's sort of secondary to
the problem that if he gets into a deposition, if he gets into a position where he tells an untruth, an oath, he could get into a very serious legal
and political trouble.
After all, the Bill Clinton impeachment 20 years ago rose because the President Bill Clinton at that time told a lie about a previous
relationship, about a relationship with Monica Lewinsky in a case that related to a previous relationship with Paula Jones that took place before
he was even president.
So you see the parallels there. So any suggestion that the president could be forced to testify about this under oath takes him into very dangerous
SY: Speaking of which, we now have a White House official that's telling us that President Trump, Stephen, has been watching TV reports of the FBI
Now the official said the president has been following the coverage closely on cable TV. So apparently, the president knew about the raid before it
broke in the "New York Times" and on TV.
But it's unclear if Trump has spoken to Cohen. Stephen, talk about that development.
COLLINSON: Well, I think what we're going to see developing out of this is certainly suggestions by the president's supporters and likely perhaps the
president himself in the hours to come on Twitter that the FBI is once again abusing its powers.
This has been a constant theme for the president. Ever since he basically moved into the White House and ever since the 2016 campaign, that there's
this unfair cabal of deep state officials, the top of the FBI, the CIA and other government departments that are unfairly targeting him and people
So this is certainly going to play into that. I wouldn't expect the White House necessarily to get involved in it, but certainly after hours when the
president is alone, he's watching the TV coverage, that tends to be when you get these inflammatory criticisms of the FBI.
So that's what I was talking about when I say that I think we're going to see this -- the events today are going to introduce another sort of very
electrifying element into this whole question about the investigation surrounding the president and the political impact of that.
SY: Indeed, this is a major development, again, the "New York Times" reporting that the FBI has raided the office of President Trump's long-time
lawyer Michael Cohen. Stephen, thank you.
We're going to have more on all this breaking stories in just a moment.
SY: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has apologized to Congress on the eve of his testimony in front of a Senate committee. He arrived in Washington
today for talks with senators, and in prepared testimony on the data scandal, Zuckerberg said "it was my mistake and I am sorry."
[16:45:00] And this all comes on the day that Facebook begins notifying users whether their data could have been harvested by Cambridge Analytica.
Samuel Burke joins me now.
Samuel, first on Zuckerberg's statement, and what was unexpected or expected out of it.
SAMUEL BURKE, CNN BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY NEWS CORRESPONDENT: "It's my fault", that's basically what the statement says, these are the prepared
remarks and it's given us a window into what we're going to hear Tuesday as well as Wednesday.
And what else could Mark Zuckerberg say, it's certainly not going to go to Congress and start arguing with them, given that the company has already
fallen on its sword at least publicly.
But I think what's interesting here is it's not Mark Zuckerberg that's really going to be picked apart here, although we're going to be looking
closely at his leadership. This is really about the big business of Facebook and the bigger business of data, not just Facebook but so many
tech companies they used their data.
So Mark Zuckerberg is going to have a big focus on that, but looking at these prepared remarks, we see he's also going to be talking about the
plague of fake news, he's going to be talking about how Russians used his own social network as a propaganda machine.
These are questions that so many lawmakers, not just in the United States, Stephanie has been wanting to ask Mark Zuckerberg for ages, but he's been
able to avoid them. Now, it all comes to ahead, and it is going to be about Mark Zuckerberg's leadership.
He said he didn't think he would be testifying when he spoke to Cnn just a couple of weeks ago, he doesn't like being in front of the camera, he's
preparing now, this is really much bigger than just Cambridge Analytica.
SY: Yes, absolutely. All right, Samuel, thank you so much. I want to take a look at Wall Street right now. The Dow rose and then it fell,
diminished fears of a trade war pushed the Dow up 440 points earlier in the day when most of those gains slipped away in the final hour of trading, but
still ending up in the green.
Monday was a nasty trading day in Russia as markets responded to sanctions imposed Friday by the U.S. Moscow's MOEX index tumbled 8.3 percent, its
biggest fall in four years. The ruble weakened by around 4 percent against the dollar and the euro.
The biggest individual loser though could have been this man, oligarch Oleg Deripaska. Companies under his control saw their market value drop by 6
billion euros, that includes Rusal which produces 6 percent of the world's aluminum.
Its shares plunged 50 percent in Hong Kong. To talk more about how this could impact Russia and Europe more broadly, I am joined from London by
Valentijn van Nieuwenhuijzen; chief investment officer at NN investment Partners.
Valentijn, thank you so much for being with us. Is the market's reaction a true reflection, I mean, the Russian market reflection a reaction of how
these sanctions may impact the Russian economy overall?
VALENTIJN VAN NIEUWENHUIJZEN, CHIEF INVESTMENT OFFICER, NN INVESTMENT PARTNERS: Well, I think it clearly is a reflection that is directly linked
into the sanctions that were announced by the U.S. late last week.
And obviously, we're now seeing for the first time in quite a big shift in their overall approach from the U.S. government that they're willing to
impose real sanctions that really bites, that bites the people that benefit from the approach of the Russian government and also the companies that are
linked to those people and search of people within the government.
So I do think that is quite understandable that market price is substantially higher risk premium now for Russian assets. As a response to
the sanctions and obviously also as a response to the potential of fair escalation and fair isolation of Russia in the international -- in the
international environment --
SY: Yes --
VAN NIEUWENHUIJZEN: Basically --
SY: Especially if you've been following what's been happening at the UN Security Council in Syria and the finger being pointed --
VAN NIEUWENHUIJZEN: Exactly --
SY: At Russia as well too. I want to talk about specifically these recent sanctions leveled by the U.S. on Friday targeted at oligarchs that are
close to Putin. But Oleg Deripaska for example, he owns three publicly- traded companies that do global business.
Are there potential economic consequences to companies in Europe for example in the showdown between Russia and the west?
VAN NIEUWENHUIJZEN: Well, obviously, there are risks now because there's a lot of uncertainty what those sanctions actually also imply to other
countries or essentially other companies that do business with these Russian firms.
It's quite clear that the undertone of the message from the U.S. government now is that also potentially these types of companies could be in violation
of some of the sanctions, and therefore will be very cautious to engage in further actions or interactions with these Russian companies.
And however, yes, I do think that for specific companies in specific industries, this is a risk. Although, I think it is also important to note
that if you look how the markets are responding, it's so far mostly seen as an isolated case impacting Russia and Russian companies.
[16:50:00] Whereas as we've seen today in the markets for example, although the Russian market dropped by the biggest amount in four years, European
markets and also the U.S. markets today is actually in the green.
So overall, I think the contagion risk potentially there in Europe and other parts of the world in other parts of markets are limited at this
stage. But in the interaction with all the tension around global trade, obviously this is -- you know, there's build-up of risks now in the global
economic system, that is a risk factor for global markets as well.
SY: Yes, all right, thanks for that contacts, and we should say U.S. aluminum producers are up today on the news. Valentijn van Nieuwenhuijzen,
thank you so much.
U.S. federal authorities seize the website Backpage.com, I'm going to speak to a leader in the fight against online sex trafficking about why they
consider the closure a win and what comes next in their advocacy.
SY: In just the past few minutes, U.S. law enforcement have indicted the creators of backpage.com on prostitution and money laundering charges. On
Friday, they shut the website which was accused of facilitating prostitution and sex trafficking.
A banner appeared on the classified ad site Friday saying backpage.com and affiliated websites have been seized as part of an enforcement action.
Lawmakers and advocacy groups have alleged for several years that that site aided criminal sex trafficking of women and young girls.
Yasmeen Hassan; the global executive director of Equality now joins me to talk about the campaign against online sex trafficking. Obviously, this is
breaking news -- and not only did they shut down the site, but they're saying according to this indictment, that the creators of this website
facilitated prostitution and sex trafficking.
Does that surprise you?
YASMEEN HASSAN, GLOBAL EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, EQUALITY: Not at all. It does not surprise me, thank you for having me --
SY: Thank you --
HASSAN: And it was a huge day for anti-sex trafficking advocates. We have been off the Back Page for at least a decade. I remember protesting
outside their offices, there have been three cases at least in federal court against Back Page in the last five, six years.
And they have won each time because there was a law, the Communication Decency Act which was enacted in 1996, basically to regulate the use of
pornography online, but it had a provision that said internet providers could not be held liable.
And Back Page really hid behind that provision. So these cases, there were young girls, 93 percent of Back Page's profits, revenues come from the
adult services section.
Two out of three -- two-thirds of all children trafficked are trafficked online in the United States. And in the last five years, there has been an
843 percent increase in sex trafficking online.
All because of companies like Back Page and others that have facilitated the use of online ads to do sex trafficking.
SY: It's the others that I wonder about --
HASSAN: Yes --
SY: Because with Back Page, if the allegations are true, they sort of knew that they were facilitating this type of activity, that's what's alleged --
[16:55:00] HASSAN: They did, and last year, a Senate did, a subcommittee did an investigation and they found that Back Page people were scrubbing
ads for words like Amber, alert, rape, Lolita(ph) because they knew these ads about online child sex trafficking and they were trying to get through.
So there's a lot, Back Page is one of the worst offender --
SY: Are there others, are there many more?
HASSAN: Above, at least ten companies have taken their adult services sections offline right now, because and that just makes you see how
normalized sex trafficking had become online Craigslist, Reddit(ph), City Vice(ph) -- there's a bunch of others web all pulled their adult services
section and they're now re-examining them to see, are there knowingly facilitating sex trafficking online.
Because that's what the law is very narrowly tailored. It's not about adult services section, it is about online companies that knowingly
facilitate or support sex trafficking.
SY: That law, section 220 has gotten through Congress and there's definitely a lot of debate about it --
HASSAN: I haven't seen it --
SY: Yasmeen Hassan, thank you so much for joining us with your perspective.
HASSAN: Thank you for having me.
SY: And a reminder of our breaking news this hour. The FBI has today raided the office of President Trump's long-time lawyer Michael Cohen. The
agents seized records related to multiple topics including on that payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels.
The "New York Times" reports the FBI also seized e-mails, tax documents and business records. We'll have more on this story which is still breaking in
the hours ahead. For now, that is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS, I'm Stephanie Sy, join us again next time.