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Daring Defection from North Korea Caught on Camera; Tom Carper: Gary Cohn Fakes Bad Connection During Trump Call; Trump Endorses Moore Despite Ivanka's "Place in Hell" Comment; Uber Accused of Cyberattack Coverup; David Cassidy Dies at 67. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired November 22, 2017 - 14:30   ET


[14:30:00] DAVID SANGER, CNN POLITICAL & NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: And that's one of the remarkable things we're beginning to see happen, because there are a large number of North Koreans now who have cell phones, who can get video because they're near the Chinese border. So if this thing makes it around enough, it's going to make it into cell phones in North Korea and be shown there, and I think that's what the military command had in mind.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: So on that train of thought, as the news trickles in, how does Kim Jong-Un protect his reign from any kind of coup?

SANGER: The thing that Kim Jong-Un has done is eliminating most of the opposition within his own military. He executed his uncle who was supposed to be the one looking over him. He has purged most of the ranks of the military that he inherited from his father. And with the killing earlier there year of his half-brother in Malaysia, who was killed what appears to be an anthrax attack at the airport, he's gotten rid of the one natural successor who he feared the Chinese might see as somebody more pliable to put in place and still have someone within the family. So he's been pretty carefully eliminating his opposition.

I think one of the big questions now is once the president made the decision the other day to put them back on the state sponsor of terrorism list, in part, because of the killing of the brother in Malaysia, the half-brother in Malaysia, the question is, does that make it harder to start up negotiations with them or easier? I suspect it's probably going to make it harder, at least for a while.

BALDWIN: OK. David Sanger, the video is stunning to see.

SANGER: It is amazing.

BALDWIN: Thank you so much. I appreciate you coming on, on this holiday eve.

And to all of you watching who are fascinated by all things North Korea, tune tonight into this special, "Secret State Inside North Korea." This is Will Ripley's documentary. Will has been to Pyongyang multiple times for us at CNN. Please tune in, 9:00 eastern and pacific on CNN. Coming up next, one Senator raising some eyebrows by saying the

president's top economic adviser faked a bad connection to get the president off the phone. But now another Senator and also the White House with different versions of that story. We have all that for you.

And the personal information for nearly 60 million Americans exposed after hackers target Uber. The thing is, you didn't know about it. Why, you ask? Uber paid the hackers in a coverup. We'll talk to a hacker next.


[14:37:03] BALDWIN: The White House is pushing back pretty hard against this account that Gary Cohn, the president's top economic adviser, faked a bad connection to get the president off the phone. Cohn was meeting with about a dozen Democratic Senators regarding tax reform when the president dialed in from his trip in Asia. Delaware Senator Tom Carper said the call it's still going 15 minutes later, so he suggested this to Gary Cohn.


SEN. TOM CARPER, (D), DELAWARE: And I said, Gary, why don't you just take the phone -- your cell phone back and say, Mr. President, you're brilliant, but we're losing contact and I think we'll lose so good- bye, and that's what he did, and he hung up.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Are you saying Gary Cohn faked a bad connection to get the president off the phone?

CARPER: Well, I don't want to throw him under the bus, but yes.


BALDWIN: A White House spokesperson says that Senator Carper's claim is completely false.

And just a short while ago, we asked for another Senator to come on and explain what he saw and heard, and it was Senator Chris Coons, who said it was a challenge for Gary Cohn to transition off the call, but he remembers things differently.


SEN. CHRIS COONS, (D), DELAWARE: It was a long call. It was clear there was eagerness in the room for us to resume our conversation, and we heard a lot from the president. I do remember Senator Carper making that suggestion. I don't think Gary Cohn abruptly hung up on the president. But it was a challenge to transition him off the call. And I think Gary Cohn handled it appropriately.


BALDWIN: With me now, CNN White House reporter, Jeremy Diamond, and Shelby Holliday, politics and business reporter for the "Wall Street Journal."

Good to see both of you.


BALDWIN: Give me the straight from the White House. What are they saying?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: It seems like everybody except for Senator Tom Carper seems to remember this incident differently. This is what White House Spokesman Raj Shah, told me. He said "Senator Carper's claim is false. Gary Cohn took the phone off speaker and continued to speak with the president privately for several minutes before they concluded the call." Carper's spokesman is also saying while Senator Carper did encourage Gary Cohn to end the call quickly he's not sure if he did end it as abruptly as Senator Carper seems to remember.

BALDWIN: Shelby, it seems much ado about nothing to hear the different lawmakers' opinions on President Trump's presence on the call and how he feels about such a key issue.

HOLLIDAY: Right. It's interesting because we hear this, but we haven't heard the president talk about the tax plan. He's been talking about the NFL, about basketball players. We haven't heard him sell the tax plan like he allegedly did on that phone call. He hasn't given long interviews. I think you tweeted you were thankful for this long interview on CNN, wait, just kidding.


HOLLIDAY: So, it's interesting to hear, behind the scenes, he is passionate about this but, in public, we haven't heard much.

[14:40:05] BALDWIN: Who we have heard from, switching topic, is his daughter, Ivanka Trump. Let's talk about that. The president's support of Roy Moore for the Alabama Senate has put him at odds with Ivanka Trump. Her words against Roy Moore were used in an ad from Roy Moore's opponent. Here it is.


ANNOUNCER: On Roy Moore's disturbing actions, Ivanka says there is a special place in hell for people who prey on children and I have no reason to doubt the victims' accounts.


BALDWIN: Jeremy Diamond, is this evidence the president doesn't listen to his daughter?

DIAMOND: I think this is the latest instance where the president hasn't agreed with his daughter where Ivanka Trump has tried to push a certain point and has not succeed sod this goes to the question of whether or not she's as an effective adviser as she initially hoped to be and as people talked her up to be. A lot of people hoped she would be this moderating influence on the president and clearly there has been some success where she's been able to push her pet issues like child care tax credits.

BALDWIN: She was on Capitol Hill lobbying for that.

DIAMOND: And the president is behind that. But when it comes to politics, it seems a lot of the time the president will stick with his gut, and his gut is telling him he should support or all but endorse Roy Moore to keep a Democrat from getting elected in Alabama.

BALDWIN: We heard him over and over this time yesterday. He was talking to reporters, and the way he kept saying was "Roy Moore is denying it, he's denying it." So he's obviously if he's denying it, I'm going to believe Roy Moore. I'm wondering if it was his daughter, heaven forbid, where something happened and he's not believing the women in the Roy Moore case, if something happened to Ivanka Trump, would he believe her?

HOLLIDAY: My mind went there as well, maybe because we are females but every older man I've talk to who has a daughter is so bothered by these allegations. Whether or not they are true we will never 100 percent be able to prove them but almost everyone says we believe the women and this is deeply troubling so as a father it's -- it was shocking for people that he undermined Ivanka. He also undermined the RNC, he undermined the Republicans in Congress. This is something we've seen Trump do with his own administration.

BALDWIN: Playing to his base.

HOLLIDAY: Playing to his base. But I think it's interesting in this moment because not that all polls are perfectly correct. But we have seen polls take a major turn away from Roy Moore and towards Jones and in this moment the GOP does have another option. They could back a write in candidate. It would be easy for the president to get out there, the leader of the Republican Party and say he's not the guy for us, everybody rally around -- fill in the blank -- whether it's Luther Strange, maybe not Jeff Sessions. But it would be so easy for the president to do that and he chooses to go against everybody else on his team.

DIAMOND: It's also interesting that we heard the president speak out of both sides of his mouth yesterday on these allegations of sexual assault. He was talking about Roy Moore in a completely different category from all of the other allegations. When he was asked what he would say to women at this moment in our history where there's reckoning with sexual assault and sexual misconduct, he said it's a special time, it's good for society that this sexual misconduct is being exposed. It seems like that is the case for him when it comes to anybody that -- when it doesn't impact him. When it comes to allegations against him, they're not true. When it comes to allegations against Roy Moore, those aren't true, either.

BALDWIN: I know, I know.

HOLLIDAY: It reminds you of the campaign where he kept saying he cherishes women.

BALDWIN: It goes back to that.

I've got a woman, Republican from Alabama, we'll talk to her about how she's feeling with what's going on with Roy Moore, coming up at the top of the hour.

Jeremy and Shelby, thank you both so much.

HOLLIDAY: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Safe travels to Houston, Texas.

Now to this. Uber under fire over a stunning coverup. The company admitted to paying off hackers who stole the personal information, names, e-mails, phone numbers, of 57 million customers. They also stole the license numbers of 600,000 Uber drivers in the U.S. The price, $100,000. What's worse, the company kept the whole thing a secret. Never told the victims, not even state and federal regulators. The security breach happened late last year. Uber finally came clean yesterday. And the CEO, who just came on board in August, issued this statement, quote, "None of this should have happened and I will not make excuses for it. While I can't erase the past, I can commit on behalf of every Uber employee that we will learn from our mistakes."

David Kennedy is with me, a cyber security expert and former NSA adviser. He has hacked into company sites to help them find security weaknesses.

David, thank you so much for being on with me.

There's -- I bet every other person watching has taken an Uber, and you're thinking, wait, you're paying the criminals? How did this play out? Did the hackers demand the money or did the company offer it?

[14:45:04] DAVID KENNEDY, CYBERSECURITY EXPERT & FORMER NSA ADVISER: Interesting enough, it's 57 million people -- I'm an Uber -- I use Uber as well. And what is interesting is this is becoming a practice where hackers will find security vulnerabilities and e-mail the company and say, hey, we have all of this information, we have 57 million records, pay us or we'll release it to the public or give it to other hackers who will use it for fraudulent terms and this is becoming a practice for companies to pay them because it's easier than having to deal with the damages.

BALDWIN: Hold on. Let me just underscore that. Paying them. Isn't there a problem with companies negotiating with criminals?

KENNEDY: This is becoming more common than you can imagine. Think of things like ransomware where your files get encrypted. Companies have gotten hit and it's taken them to their knees, so they pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to get their files back to people that are designing this software to go and do it because they can't protect themselves from it so it's not good. If you look at what the FBI says, for ransomware specifically, if you can't get your files back you should probably pay the ransom so you're giving bad hackers, unethical hackers, black hats, the ability to make substantial amounts of money for hacking into computer systems and holding companies ransom.

BALDWIN: What falls on the company? What's the legal or moral authority for these companies to reveal that your or my personal information has been compromised?

KENNEDY: There's law in place to protect us from person identifiable information, PII. So there are things to go after Uber for not releasing this data. This isn't good practice and doesn't look good for Uber because they covered it up. We expect breaches to happen. We expect our credit card to get reissued. We expect around the holiday time frames that there will be inconveniences, or we're put under credit monitoring. Hacking is what we deal with as far as technology goes but the fact that they didn't tell anybody puts people in jeopardy and their personal information in jeopardy and that's just wrong. That's not right and there are probably legal implications for doing that. We haven't seen this large a volume of paying out and hiding things before, in the past, so it will be interesting to see if there's new legislation that comes out around punishing companies that do something like this.

BALDWIN: Ramifications, consequences.

David Kennedy, thank you so much.

KENNEDY: Thank you for having me.

BALDWIN: He lived a life full of stardom, music, and his own struggles. A look back at the life of David Cassidy.






[14:52:16] (SINGING)


BALDWIN: A pop culture icon, a '70s heartthrob, star of "The Partridge Family," David Cassidy, has died of liver failure. He was diagnosed with dementia earlier this year.

And here to look back is CNN's Stephanie Elam.


(SINGING) STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORESPONDENT (voice-over): David Cassidy was the ultimate teenage idol. Known for his role as Keith in the 1970s hit TV series "The Partridge Family," Cassidy's fresh face, wide-eyed charm captured the hearts of millions of girls worldwide.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: You're taking auto shop?



ELAM: "The Partridge Family, a musical sitcom about a family and a rock 'n' roll band, gave Cassidy a national audience for his own music.


ELAM: "I Think I Love You," the show's first single, topped the Billboard 100 in 1970 and sold over five million copies.

DAVID CASSIDY, SINGER & ACTOR: I was always a musician. I always played but I never pursued my career as a musician. It was just fate, the way the stars aligned themselves.

ELAM: Cassidy's wispy voice and wholesome persona broke out from the small screen and into sold out arenas around the globe.


ELAM: His fan club at one time reportedly had had more members than Elvis or the Beatles.

But in 1972, at the height of his "Partridge Family fame," Cassidy began to shift away from his squeaky-clean image. He appeared naked on the cover of "Rolling Stone" magazine and, in the article, admitted using drugs and alcohol. It marked a turning point in his career and his life.

Four years after "The Partridge Family" hit the air, his teenage fan base had moved on. And so had Cassidy.

CASSIDY: The hero worship was so great, I had to leave it. I couldn't sustain it any longer.


ELAM: Stardom long behind him, Cassidy turned to Broadway. In 1993, he starred in the British musical "Blood Brothers." Three years later, he moved to Vegas where he headlined the MGM Grand's EFX show, at the time, the largest theatrical production in the world.

In private though, Cassidy struggled with alcoholism, a battle that would soon take a very public turn. In his 60s, Cassidy faced multiple charges of driving under the influence and went through the rehab.

CASSIDY: It's very humbling and it's also humiliating.

ELAM: But his biggest battle was yet to come. In 2017 it, Cassidy revealed that he suffered from dementia. His mother had died of complications from Alzheimer's disease only a few years before.

[14:55:08] CASSIDY: To watch someone that raised you and was so vibrant start to lose -- lose their mind and disappear is arguably the most painful thing I've ever experienced.

ELAM: Looking back on his own life, there is one memory Cassidy hopes will never fade, his 1972 concert in Madison Square Garden.


ELAM: Cassidy leaped onto the stage in his signature white sequined jumpsuit. Thousands of adoring fans screamed his name, his own family among them.

CASSIDY: It was just so emotional for me. And I just felt so blessed to have that moment with them. I mean, it's the highlight of my life.