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Russia Boosts Operations Against West; FaceBook User Data Accessed from Russia; Obama Speaks Out. Aired 9:30-10:00a

Aired July 18, 2018 - 09:30   ET



[09:31:45] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back.

Sources with access to intelligence in the U.S. and the U.K. tell CNN that now that the Helsinki summit and the World Cup are over, Russian intelligence agencies are stepping up plans to target western countries.

Our crime and justice reporter Shimon Prokupecz joins me from Washington.

This is very significant and this is not just U.S. intelligence, this is U.S. intelligence, U.K. intelligence. What -- what is the indication that Russia is trying to do here, though, Shimon.

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Well, certainly more aggressive actions perhaps. You know, intelligence officials we've been talking to have seen an increase in chatter, perhaps, and in intelligence that indicates that there was a lull. There was a lull during the World Cup, during the summit. They didn't want -- Russians didn't want to do anything to upstage the World Cup. They wanted everything to be positive. And now that the World Cup is over, there are indications that the Russians are going to begin some of their operations again.

And it could be very aggressive. Anything from what we saw in the U.K. where that former British spy was poisoned by a nerve agent. Certainly U.S. officials, U.K. officials, expect an increase in cyber activity, more hacks, more intrusions perhaps, you know, than this continued effort to try and cause discourse, to sew discourse. Certainly in our political environment, we have the midterms coming up. That, as we know, is a major concern for U.S. officials.

But this concern right now, Poppy, is really worldwide and really since what happened in the U.K. with the poisoning of that former British spy, there's been an increase in stepping up intelligence efforts to try and figure out sort of what's going on and what Russia is planning next because that was really a game changer and seemed to catch a lot of people by surprise. And with the increase in the intelligence gathering, there's now obviously concern that the Russians are going to step up some of their efforts to sort of more aggressive action. And we'll see what happens. But there certainly are a lot of efforts underway really worldwide to try and prevent anything from happening.

HARLOW: Of course.

Shimon, thank you for their reporting. Appreciate it.

Meantime, a U.S. official now says the first set of remains of U.S. service members killed in North Korea could return home as soon as this week. Their bodies could be sent to the United States, we're learning, by July 27, that is the anniversary of an agreement, of course, between North Korea, China and the United Nations that split Korea into two countries. It would take a month to bring all 200 sets of remains home. Of course, this is something that the president touted after his summit with Kim Jong-un as a win for the United States. We'll keep you posted.

Meantime, a British lawmaker tells CNN that millions of FaceBook users' information may have actually landed in Russian hands without the users' knowledge. We'll explain, next.


[09:38:35] HARLOW: Welcome back.

A British lawmaker tells CNN that he thinks the FaceBook data of millions of American users that was gathered by Cambridge Analytica without their knowledge may have been accessed from Russia. After an investigation by Britain's data protection authorities, some of the systems have been accessed by IP addresses linked to several countries, one of them being Russia. So, what was in that data? How is it used?

Our senior investigative correspondent Drew Griffin reports.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It was marketed as a breakthrough to how to motivate, change people's minds and manipulate them to vote or not vote in an election. Using the personal FaceBook data of tens of millions of Americans, Cambridge Analytica developed a voter-targeted technique aimed at specifically targeting individual voters who would receive messages on their FaceBook feeds, group chats, and even personal communications. And it turns out the Russians were paying attention.

DAMIAN COLLINS, BRITISH PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEE CHAIR: The information commissioner in the U.K. is saying that she believes that the Cambridge Analytica FaceBook data was accessed by people in Russia. Now we don't yet know --

GRIFFIN (on camera): In Russia?

COLLINS: In Russia.

GRIFFIN: Not just Russians, in Russia?

COLLINS: In Russia. In Russia. We don't yet know who they were and what they accessed and whether they took that data or what they did with it, but that link has been established through the ICO's (ph) investigation. So clearly it will be really important to understand exactly what the level of access was of people in Russia to this FaceBook data and what they did with it.

[09:40:00] GRIFFIN (voice over): Damian Collins is a British member of parliament for the conservative party, whose committee is running an almost identical investigation as his U.S. counterparts looking at Russian meddling in the 2016 Brexit referendum. It has focused largely on controversial FaceBook user data, the data analytics firm of Cambridge Analytica and a data scientist named Aleksandr Kogan.

COLLINS: Who created the tools and the apps that allowed Cambridge Analytica to receive a large amount of FaceBook user data.

GRIFFIN: Aleksandr Kogan delivered the data to Cambridge Analytica and now CNN has learned he may have perhaps unwittingly allowed access to that same FaceBook data to Russian actors.

Kogan began working four years ago on a joint project at Russia's St. Petersburg University sponsored by the Russian government. Kogan, who is a U.S. citizen, did not want to do an on camera interview but told CNN, on my side, I'm not aware of any Russian entity with access to my data.

He questioned anyone's conclusion that someone accessing his data in Russia means actual Russian agents were involved. It could have nothing to do with the Russian authorities, he told us, it could just be someone checking their mailbox.

To British investigators, it's just one more unexplained link between the Russians, Cambridge Analytica and the targeting of voters by Russians in both the U.S. and the U.K.

COLLINS: So, is it possible indirectly that the Russians learned from Cambridge Analytica and used that knowledge to run ads in America during the presidential election as well? That is something clearly that would be of huge interest and -- but is still the subject of an ongoing investigation.


HARLOW: Remarkable. Drew, thank you for the reporting.

Ahead for us, do you want to know who is really getting on President Obama's nerves? I'll tell you, next.


[09:46:15] HARLOW: This morning, in a rare, public appearance, President Obama says he's tired of the way that some men in power are acting. Listen.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Women in particular, by the way, I want you to get more involved because -- because men have -- me have been getting on my nerves lately. I mean I -- I just -- every day I read the newspaper and I just think, my brothers, what's wrong with you guys? I mean, what's wrong with us? All right, I mean, we're -- we're violent, we're bullying, we -- you know, just not handling our business.


HARLOW: That's the president speaking to students in South Africa.

Joining me now is Karine Jean-Pierre, a former regional political director in the Obama White House.

Thanks for being here.


HARLOW: So I wonder, you know, President Obama does not go out and speak on the public stage a lot and he has not, to my knowledge, criticized President Trump by name once since leaving office. But he's out there and he's talking about strange and uncertain times following the press conference with Putin and Trump in Helsinki.

And he knows his popularity. There's a new Pew research poll, let's pull it up, and it shows that he was the public's choice for the greatest U.S. president in their time, so currently on the top there he is, on the bottom is Trump. Is he the voice that Democrats really need right now?

JEAN-PIERRE: I think so. I mean he's the -- like you just stated, he's incredibly popular. He is the most popular, if you will, Democrat, but person, politician out there that we have right now. And I'm glad he's speaking out. We actually need his voice more than ever.

But, Poppy, you said something in asking me the question, which is, like, he never comes out and speaks. And he's been pretty quiet the last almost two years. And I think that he feels the sense of urgency to speak out now. And I think that's why he took the moment yesterday. He first started kind of -- he was speaking his mind -- not just today but yesterday -- and at a -- at a -- really very critical apropos time which is celebrating Nelson Mandela's -- if he were still alive -- his 100th birthday.

HARLOW: Right.

JEAN-PIERRE: Someone who fought for inclusive democracy, equal rights, human rights. Someone who was out there and he used that, the path that Mandela took, to highlight what we can overcome, how he did it and how we can continue to do that and how we have to continue to fight that. He did that to inspire us, to call out the citizens, not just here in the United States, but across the world, because there is a global trend that's happening and it's up to us as citizens to speak up and speak out to what we're seeing.

HARLOW: I wonder, though, Karine, you say he's the most popular Democrat right now. He can't run for the White House in 2020. Is that a problem --

JEAN-PIERRE: No. No, he can't.

HARLOW: Is that a problem for your party, that the most popular person in the party can't run against President Trump?

JEAN-PIERRE: But I think he can inspire. And it's not really the first time. He's using clearly a different medium, a different platform to speak out when we were -- when health care was under attack and 32 million people were about to lose their health care, this was just a year ago, he spoke out. He did it through FaceBook. He used his social media and he inspired people to do that.

HARLOW: I know, but to my question, does it worry you, honestly, be totally honest, that the most popular person in your party right now cannot run against President Trump.

JEAN-PIERRE: Right. I mean I think what he can do is do exactly what he's doing right now, which is inspire people, which is to remind us what our principles are, is to remind us what this country is supposed to be. And I think that's really important for Obama to be out there. And I hope he continues to be out there.

HARLOW: So, let's listen to something else he said.

[09:50:04] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Strong man politics are ascendant suddenly, whereby elections and some pretense of democracy are maintained, the form of it, but those in power seek to undermine every institution or norm that gives democracy meaning.


HARLOW: So he is saying strongman politics are ascendant. And he's right. He's criticizing it, but isn't that what voters voted for in electing President Trump? I mean they knew what they were getting. They knew they were getting a strongman, they knew they were getting someone who would bully.

JEAN-PIERRE: Yes, but look what Donald Trump's done this past two years. He has constantly undermining our democracy, attacking our institutions. Voters didn't ask for that. And he's clearly unpopular. He's -- he is a president for a very small part of the --

HARLOW: But not in his --

JEAN-PIERRE: Yes, no, no, you're right. You're right.

HARLOW: Hold on, though, Karine, he's got 87 percent approval in his party.

JEAN-PIERRE: I agree. I agree. I agree. It's 87 percent. His Republican Party are sticking with him. But he has lost independents by double digits and that's important. And we are the majority. Yes, 87 percent of his party support him, but he has less than 40 percent of support. So who doesn't support him? Majority of Americans don't support him.

And, guess what, the energy is on the Democratic side. We just have to make sure that we get people out there to vote in November, to hold this runaway administration accountable.

HARLOW: Yes. It -- right.

JEAN-PIERRE: And that's incredibly important to do.

HARLOW: As you know, even if you win the popular vote, you don't necessarily win the presidency.


HARLOW: Karine --

JEAN-PIERRE: But we have to hold -- but we have to hold him accountable, as well, too.

HARLOW: Thank -- thank you for being with me this morning.

JEAN-PIERRE: Thank you, Poppy.

HARLOW: Wait until you hear this story. Favorite story of the morning, of the week. A man walks 20 miles for his first day of work, twenty miles, after his car breaks down. What would you do? You wouldn't go to work. He did. This story has a happier ending.


[09:56:26] HARLOW: This week on my "Boss Files" podcast, the CEO who openly admits she was contributing to income equality in America. It's a stunning admission and it sparked a dramatic change in her company. Jen Hyman, the founder of Rent the Runway, tells me why she mandated equal benefits for every single employee. In reality, many hourly workers in America -- millions of them -- don't get the same benefits that a lot of us do. They don't get parental leave, sick leave, bereavement leave. They didn't at her company until a few months ago she made a change that costs millions of dollars and now she's calling out corporate America.


JENNIFER HYMAN, CO-FOUNDER AND CEO, RENT THE RUNWAY: Our company wouldn't exist and wouldn't be around without our warehouse employees and our call center employees. These employees, not just at Rent the Runway, but at tens of thousands of other companies throughout the company are treated unequally.

HARLOW: You write in this opinion piece, I inadvertently created classes of employees, and by doing so had done my part to contribute to America's inequality problem.

I have interviewed a lot of CEOs and a lot of founders, and very few would ever write that, or their PR folks wouldn't let that get past them and get published in "The New York Times." Why do you say that so bluntly?

HYMAN: It is incumbent that business leaders have to start acting like moral leaders. Business leaders have responsibility over hundreds of millions of people's lives, and their families. And if the government isn't going to provide the safety net that people need in order to live, then business leaders have to contribute, especially when it's your full employee base that's helping to create the profits that are putting you in the position that you're in.

HARLOW: You say it's incumbent on businesses to do this and there is, in your words, a moral duty to treat every worker equally. But Wall Street doesn't have a morality index. Wall Street looks at quarter to quarter numbers. They look at the --

HYMAN: Well, they need to. I have to interrupt you. Wall Street has to start having a morality index because 70 percent of millennials will not work for an employer unless that employer represents their values.


HARLOW: Pretty fascinating. You can hear my full conversation with her on our podcast, "Boss Files." Subscribe today on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts.

All right, now, picture this. It is your first day on your new job. You hop in your car. You head to work and your car breaks down. What would you do? One man in Alabama, Walter Carr, decided to walk 20 miles to get to his job at a moving company. GPS said it would take him seven hours to reach his destination, so he started at midnight. Along the way, a police officer stopped him on the side of the road, decided to take him to breakfast and drop him off. He told his story to a woman he was helping to move that day. She decided to post it to FaceBook. This message then reached his boss, who responded by giving his personal car to his employee.


LUKE MARKLIN, CEO, BELLHOPS MOVING COMPANY: There's decisions in your life that are sometimes big that you make pretty quickly because they're the right thing to do. And this was one of them.

WALTER CARR, WALKING 20 MILES OVERNIGHT TO GET TO WORK: Walking (INAUDIBLE) my shoe, I swear, that phrase means a lot to me. (INAUDIBLE) people that think something's too far, I'm just saying, just look at this story and be like, hey, if Walter can do it, I know I can do it.


HARLOW: My goodness. A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to raise money for Carr. It's raised nearly $85,000 in one day. Remarkable.

All right, our next hour starts now.

[10:00:05] Top of the hour. Good morning, everyone. I'm Poppy Harlow in New York. And next hour we expect to see the president for the first time since

his post-Helsinki do over that came off more like a gloss over