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Trump's Twitter Account Goes Down & Company Blames Employee; GOP Releases Tax Bill; Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl Sentenced. Aired 11:30- 12p ET

Aired November 3, 2017 - 11:30   ET


[11:30:00] LAURIE SEGALL, CNN SENIOR TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT: He sent out another e-mail a couple hours later that said, you know, we have some work to do.

I think that's an understatement. This is an incredibly big deal a rogue employee was able to basically take off a world leader from their platform for 11 minutes.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: It raises more questions, I think, are very serious. What does this mean for the security of the president's account? I mean, could some rogue employee on their last day not just take the account down but post something in the president's name?

SEGALL: You know I've been asking that question to folks inside the company and what they said it's very -- you can have high level access and suspend an account and take it down, but it's very difficult. You can't tweet from an account. That being said another one of our writers talked to a source that said it might be highly unlikely. What I will mention --


BOLDUAN: Doesn't mean impossible, right?

SEGALL: What I will mention is there's been internal debate at Twitter for a very long time over the president's Twitter account. I spoke to one employee who said, after he tweeted about North Korea, a lot of folks were saying, he's trying to incite violence, take it off- line. Another employee said, no, we think this is worth having on there. So these internal debates happening are shaping, you know -- are shaping the country and what happens to users, and not even the president is immune.

BOLDUAN: I think it's fascinating there isn't a definitive answer which there should be coming from Twitter, no, no one should be able to. But I guess that's the blessing and very much the curse of using the social media platforms.

SEGALL: The biggest question, now as you have the tech companies on Capitol Hill, is transparency. How are these decisions being made?

BOLDUAN: Well, that's true.

SEGALL: Who's making them? One employee saying one thing, another saying another thing, and then you have an employee who takes down this account. I think transparency is what we all want from the company, and they're trying to convince leaders they have control of the platform on this week. And doesn't that show that they very much don't in a pretty big way.

BOLDUAN: Lawmakers leaving those hearings this week were not happy with what they heard and not satisfied with what they heard in terms of control, transparency and responsibility, and this definitely doesn't.

Great to see you, Laurie. See what happens next.

President Trump, applauding the new Republican tax plan, but some lawmakers in his own party are already a "no" on the bill. Could this tax bill be headed the way of the health bill.

But first, CNN is fraud announce the top -- I proud to announce the top-10 heroes of 2017, and you get to decide who will be this year's winner.

Anderson Cooper shows you how.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, A.C. 360: Now that we've announced the top-10 CNN Heroes of 2017, it's time to show you how you can help decide who should be CNN Hero of the Year and receive $100,000 to help them continue their work. Go to where you can learn more about each hero and when you are ready, click on vote. Log in using either your e-mail address or Facebook account and choose your favorite and confirm your selection and you're all set. And this year, you can also vote through Facebook Messenger. You can vote up to 10 times a day per method every day through December 12th. Then rally your friends by sharing your vote on social media.

My friend and co-host, Kelly Kippa, joins me to reveal the 2017 Hero of the Year, live during our 11th annual CNN Heroes and All-Star Tribute, Sunday, December 17th.


BOLDUAN: Help decide and learn much more about it. Who should be CNN's Hero of the Year? Go to


[11:37:56] BOLDUAN: No more speculation, no more rumors or guessing games. Republicans have finally released the much discussed and highly anticipated massive overhaul to the nation's tax system. Who are the winners and losers so far, and how much of this is likely to change, and where are the battle lines? President Trump wants a bill by the year's end. That gives lawmakers eight weeks and two days to get this over the finish line.

CNN's Phil Mattingly is on Capitol Hill and has all of the answers for you. So, Phil, what are you hearing there right now.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Every single answer. I want to focus on Title I, Subtitle D, Section 1302. I know you memorized all 429 pages of the bill and we will dive right into the weeds.

No, look, you joke but that's actually really important facts here. These are the important details that will matter. This is a broad overhaul of the tax system. A reason this hasn't been done in 31 years because it's extremely difficult and requires major tradeoffs. Those major tradeoffs, the elimination of the deductions people like. That section I was talking about, that's limiting the mortgage interest rate deduction for new home buyers from $1 million to $500,000. Something very popular with people. Other deductions that are important to certain Republican lawmakers, those in the northeast, state and local tax deduction. The majority will be repealed. On property, limited to $10,000 as a cutoff. You have lawmakers from those states saying that's not enough. I come from a high tax state, you can't punish my constituents.

The question right now is, can Republican leaders convince their lawmakers or make enough changes to convince their conference, at least 218 of them, that the overall economic picture, what this bill will do, is more important than those individual provision, those individual provisions home builders will be fighting for tooth and nail, realtors fighting for tooth and nail, mortgage and bankers fighting tooth and nail. That's what they have to figure out.

It's important to note, on the top line of the bill, there's no question about it, a major cut on the corporate side of things, dropping things from 35 to 20 percent. The small business side of things, having the rate go from 39.6 percent to 29 percent. There is a reason they're doing that, and a reason that $1 trillion of the tax cuts here are towards corporations. And how Republicans sell that is probably going to decide whether or not this actually moves through on the individual side of things -- Kate?

[11:40:12] BOLDUAN: Let me just jump in one second. We are going to get back to taxes. Breaking news I have to jump to.

Phil, thank you so much.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BOLDUAN: This is just coming into CNN right now. A judge has reached a decision in the sentencing phase of the case against Bowe Bergdahl. Bergdahl, of course, the Army sergeant who pleaded guilty last month to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. Bergdahl deserted his post in Afghanistan in 2009. He was captured by the Taliban a short time later. He was held for five years. In a controversial swap with Guantanamo Bay detainees five years later, he was brought back to the United States.

Prosecutors had asked the judge to give Bergdahl 14 years in prison.

Let's get over to Fort Bragg. Let's get over to Fort Bragg right now. Nick Valencia has been there where all of this has been playing out.

What has happened?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Kate. No jail time for U.S. Army Bowe Bergdahl. He has been given a sentence, reduced his rank to E-1. The judge ruled that he has to give $1,000 of his salary for the next 10 months as part of the fine. He's also been given a dishonorable discharge. The prosecution was recommending up to 14 years in prison for Bergdahl. The defenses desperate to try to keep Bergdahl out of another day of confinement, suggested this dishonorable discharge.

This week in testimony started with the surprise plea from Bergdahl himself, asking for forgiveness, apologizing to those servicemen who were injured while on the hasty search-and-rescue operations, trying to recover him in Afghanistan.

A lot of this testimony this week also focused on his mental health, medical health experts testifying that he suffers a schizophrenic-like illness that distorts his ability to see the various consequences of his actions.

Bowe Bergdahl did admit deserting his post on June 30th, 2009, was a mistake. The defense argued not only a mistake, but a crime and he should be punished for.

Again, the judge ruling Bergdahl be reduced to the rank of E-1 from his rank of sergeant, given a dishonorable discharge, and will have to pay over the course of 10 months about $10,000 in fines -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: Nick, did the judge give any indication what went all in to this decision? Because there's such a discrepancy here between what obviously what prosecutors wanted. And this has been so -- this has all been watched so closely over every -- you know, from when he pleaded guilty to where they are right now. Did he give some indication of what got him to no jail time?

VALENCIA: There was no explanation from the judge. It was a very short announcement. Just straight business really, Kate. He entered the courtroom. It took just a couple minutes to read his sentence. He resumed his deliberations at about 9:00 a.m. this morning, so it took about two hours or so before he got back into the courtroom to deliver his sentence. It was at midday yesterday he began his deliberations. But we don't know exactly when this all takes effect either. We are under the assumption this takes effect immediately, but no details given to the reasoning the judge reached this verdict -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: And any reaction in the -- was there -- what was Bergdahl's reaction? I assume he was in there, yes?

VALENCIA: The reporters that were in the gallery report that Bergdahl was visibly shaken on the way into court. As that announcement was read from the judge, he was flanked by two of his defense attorneys. They had their hand on his back, according to reporters in the courtroom. They smiled at each other as that announcement was read. As I mentioned, they were desperate to keep him out of another day of confinement after he essentially lived in a cage, four of his five years in captivity. Bergdahl didn't really show any other emotion. He was shaken going into the courtroom, and visibly leaving it as well -- Kate?

[11:43:58] BOLDUAN: All right. Nick, stand by with us.

Much more on the breaking news ahead. Bowe Bergdahl finally, sentencing coming from Fort Bragg from the trial -- from the -- from all of the hearings. This has been the sentencing phase for the Army sergeant. No jail time. A dishonorable discharge for Bowe Bergdahl.

We're going to have much more of this breaking news right after the break.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BOLDUAN: We're following breaking news. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl has received his sentence, a dishonorable discharge, but will face no jail time, after pleading guilty last month to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. Bergdahl, you will remember, deserted his post in Afghanistan in 2009, captured by the Taliban, held for five years. He was brought back to the United States then in a controversial exchange for Guantanamo Bay detainees during the Obama administration. And today, he has learned his fate after all of that. He will serve no jail time.

Joining me right now to discuss and for more -- for some reaction is retired Admiral John Kirby, a former spokesman for the Pentagon and State Department and under the Obama administration.

John, are you with me?


BOLDUAN: Great to see you.

What's your reaction to this?

[11:49:37] KIRBY: Yes, look I think there's going to be people on both sides of this, Kate, that feel very strongly. Those that didn't think he didn't get enough, those that he did.

I would tell you that you shouldn't look at this sentence as no jail time. I mean he spent five years in captivity with the Taliban. That wasn't just jail. All accounts were that he was tortured and treated extremely badly.

The other thing to keep in mind is, since he was recovered, he cooperated with authorities and with the investigating officer all throughout that. The general who investigated this said he couldn't have been more pleased with the way Bergdahl was forthcoming with information. He did provide good information to the intelligence authorities about his in captivity and life inside the Taliban, and we learned and gleaned information from that.

The other thing we need to remember, Kate, is this is dishonorable discharge. This stays with him for the rest of his life. He will never be able to recovery from that. Every time he goes to apply for a job and seeks further employment or goes to live somewhere, that dishonorable discharge will stay with him and be a stain he has to live with. He will be carrying this for the rest of his life. And he did do jail time.

BOLDUAN: People feel very strongly about this.


BOLDUAN: They have ever since his recovery and since he deserted his post. Are you surprised by this sentencing?

KIRBY: No. As a matter of fact, Kate, I was glad to hear it to be honest. My personal view is he suffered enough under the Taliban and knows he made a grave error and owned up to that. This is a harsh sentence. Maybe not harsh as someone -- and I understand that. But he did suffer greatly for his misjudgment that day. And he was man enough to own up to it when he had a chance and to help investigators get to the bottom of it. I don't know that I was surprised by it, but I was glad to see it.

BOLDUAN: John, hold on.

I will bring in another voice here, Anita Gorecki-Robbins. She's a former federal prosecutor and Army senior defense counsel.

Anita, can you hear me?


BOLDUAN: Thank you very much for jumping on the phone for the breaking news.

Give me your reaction to the sentencing of Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl.

GORECKI-ROBBINS: I agree with your Admiral Kirby. I thought before this that there was a good possibility that the judge was basically going to take into consideration his five years spent with the Taliban as a quasi-pretrial confinement in essence. Some judges, if you can get a confinement under normal circumstances, it's would be two-for- one days, two-fors, as we call them. My guess is Colonel Nance took that into consideration. Plus, the situation he was held under versus as Rear Admiral Kirby mentioned, the intel, which I think there was testimony saying he was a gold mine. And Colonel Nance had to make a difficult decision. But I agree. I am not surprised. It was a question of, will it be a dishonorable discharge, or will he be allowed to remain and have a medical discharge.

BOLDUAN: Fascinating. What element of this is highly unusual? Was the way that President Trump, then Candidate Trump, spoke out about Bowe Bergdahl, calling him a traitor on multiple occasions. I remember during one rally in 2016, he even suggested something like, remember the old days what happened to deserters, and kind of implying that he should have been executed. This was all according to Colonel Nance was going to be taken under consideration, the president's comments as mitigation evidence, as I arrive in an appropriate sentence. That's what the judge, Colonel Nance, said during a hearing in Fort Bragg. What do you think that means? How did that play into this?

GORECKI-ROBBINS: It honestly played into the defense's hand. I have no doubt that the trial counsel, the prosecutors would have rather have had the statements not made. It's a possibility that the military judge took those comments into consideration and may have broke in Bergdahl's favor. As Nick Valencia said, the judge never comes out and says, this is why I made the decision I did. That never happens. If I guess, I think it somehow benefitted the defense.

BOLDUAN: Admiral Kirby, are you with me as well?

KIRBY: I am, yes.

BOLDUAN: I wanted to get your take. As the prosecution made their case, they said, here's the deal, they asked for 14 years in prison because, they say, soldiers were put in danger by Bowe Bergdahl's actions. How do they answer to that with this sentence?

KIRBY: They are not wrong. Soldiers that searched for him did incur dangers and risks, when you go on a search-and-rescue mission. That's something that we train for and are ready for, and there are additional risks there. No question about it. He did by deserting the way he did, he did put troops in danger. That was a harsh punishment and was appropriate.

[11:54:50] BOLDUAN: Admiral Kirby, thank you so much for jumping on.

Anita, thank you as well. I really appreciate it.

Bowe Bergdahl, Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, he has been -- received a dishonorable discharge, avoiding prison time for desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. That's the breaking news we are following right now.

We'll continue on. Still ahead, we also have this. President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions both seemingly not remembering certain details when it comes to the Trump campaign and contacts and meetings that went on with regard to Russia. What does it mean for the next chapter of the Russia investigation? That's coming up.


JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Welcome to INSIDE POLITICS. I'm John King. Thank you for sharing your Friday.

Another very busy news day here at the nation's capital. The president is wheels-up for Asia with a stop in Hawaii first as he embarks on a 12-day, five-nation trip dominated by the China challenge and the North Korean missile and nuclear threat. Yes, there are some international administration policy debates about this trip, but the president says they don't matter.


[12:00:04] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The one that matters is me. I'm the only that matters, because when it comes to it, that's what the policy is going to be.


KING: Plus, economic news as the president hits the road.