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HALA GORANI TONIGHT

Cambridge Analytica CEO Suspended; A Look At Previous Alleged Russian Poisoning; Sarkozy Responds To Campaign Finance Allegations; Aired 4-5p ET

Aired March 20, 2018 - 16:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[16:00:15]

HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. Live from CNN London, I'm Hala Gorani.

Tonight, Cambridge Analytica suspend its CEO, Alexander Nix, amid Facebook data collection allegations.

Also, ahead, a string package bomb explosions has shaken the Texas city of Austin and officials are worried a serial bomber is on the loose. We are

live in Texas.

And the last male northern white rhino in the world has died leaving only females to save the species from total extinction. We're also be going to

live to the site of the conservation park where that rhino passed away today.

Breaking news in the last hour, the CEO of data company, Cambridge Analytica, Alexander Nix has been suspended by the company's board pending

a full investigation. That's in a response to a report last night by Britain's Channel 4 news that featured covert video of him saying that the

company could entrap politicians in compromising situations.

This is a story that extends well beyond the small data firm to one of the biggest in the world talking, of course, about Facebook. The spokesperson

for the social media giant has told CNN that it will brief multiple congressional committees this week on issues related to Cambridge Analytica

and the use of user's data.

The question, though, many are asking is tonight where is Mark Zuckerberg? Facebook held a full staff meeting today, but no official comment yet from

the CEO. Alexander Nix's suspension comes after news report by the U.K.'s Channel 4 airing in three parts.

Here is the latest portion of the secret footage in question. Take a look.

(VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: Well, as we just reported, Cambridge Analytica announced on Tuesday that it has suspended its CEO, Alexander Nix, you saw him there in

that covert video and that the suspension comes with immediate effects and has ordered a full and independent investigation that it says that Mr.

Nix's recent comment secretly reported by Channel 4 and other allegations do not represent the values or operations of the firm. And his suspension

reflects the seriousness with which we view this violation.

In response to the undercover footage showing Nix boasting about the firm's role in Trump's success in 2016, Cambridge Analytica told Channel 4 it has,

quote, "never claimed that it won the election for the president. We are proud of the work we did on that campaign and have spoken in many public

forums about what we consider to be our contribution to that campaign."

Many moving parts in the story that was complicated to begin with. Let's bring in Nick Paton Walsh who is with me in London, and Laurie Segall in

New York. Nick, so Nix is suspended, who controls this company, Cambridge Analytica? The Board of Directors, who are we talking about here?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, at this point, we know that he temporarily replaced as they have an independent

investigation into his conduct while Alexander Taylor (ph), who is currently also part of that board there.

But at this stage too that news broke almost exactly the same time as Channel 4 News broadcast the third part of their report as you are sure

that with further undercover footage of Mr. Nix and Mr. (inaudible) talking to the undercover reporter.

Now the key issue that Channel 4 seems to lean upon here is whether or not these other groups perhaps the use of foreign citizens here is advising the

Trump campaign may somehow be a violation of campaign-finance law.

Cambridge Analytica said that it is not the case because they put an adequate firewall and put a distance between themselves to be sure that

they complied with Federal Election Commission Law.

But certainly. the report itself gave a relatively colorful description of exactly how messages will pump in. So, what I think their approach is the

bloodstream of American body politics to in fact to influence that campaign.

In fact, Mr. Nix saying he'd met Mr. Trump many times and they ran addition campaign, the tv campaign and they said they had harvested in fact

(inaudible). So, a lot there to digest, but more broadly Mr. Nix's departure, I think frankly overshadowing that last report.

[16:05:13] GORANI: And Laurie, how damaging is this to Facebook?

LAURIE SEGALL, CNN SENIOR TECH CORRESPONDENT: I mean, I think is a monumental moment for Facebook. It's been a bad year for Facebook. I

mean, how many times we've been talking about the imitation of the platform and unintended consequences that have come along with, you know, you look

at Mark Zuckerberg, who has always been out there pushing this narrative of bringing the world together, creating a better place.

And by the way, I think it's a great question you asked at the beginning where is Mark Zuckerberg? I mean, you know, often times when tech

companies go through these terminal, you don't necessarily see the CEO step in front of it.

But I think this is different, Hala. I think people really want Mark Zuckerberg or Sherly Sandberg who defined the brand of Facebook, who have

been out there as a brand of Facebook to step forward and help answer some of these really challenging questions that impacted more than 2 billion

people.

I'll tell you I have been talking to executives within the company. It's not just us in the press or the public that want to hear from these

leaders, you know, it's also senior top-level executives at Facebook who have said to me, you know, we want Mark Zuckerberg to speak more openly

about this.

He is very involved behind the scenes. He is in all the meetings. He's a very well-respected leader, which is why there is pressure within for him

to be more of a face of this and also, you know, these conversations, I should say, are really difficult conversations to have.

They do not really speak in soundbites. You know, they are not easily distilled into blog post that Facebook is putting out. These are ethical

issues about our future and executives are having these conversations behind closed doors and we are not really getting to hear any of that.

GORANI: And Nick, back to Cambridge Analytica, authorities in this country are trying to gain access to the office of this Cambridge Analytica in the

U.K. Have they been able to do so?

WALSH: We don't know at this point. Has it occurred? We do know the information commissioner had been hoping to try and get some kind of

access, and in fact, asked Facebook's own auditors to stop their work inside that building going from the files that Facebook wanted to check.

But it has been a remarkable day, Hala, of developments in the story here. I mean, frankly, from Christopher Wiley, one of the key whistleblowers who

began this saying he will get documents and interviews to the Democrats, the House Intelligence Committee.

In the United States Facebook potentially being called to brief both the intelligence, judiciary and commerce committees there as well. The U.K.

parliament saying Mark Zuckerberg has to appear in front of them.

Frankly, it has blown out of substantially exactly what initially was the cover tapes themselves is now causing a much broader question of influence

of social media in politics per se.

GORANI: Laurie, lastly to you, the perception now is out there following this story and others that people's data on social media platform just is

not safe. Not only that that third-party apps can use personality questionnaires to harvest the data of millions and millions of unsuspecting

users. Should people be concerned?

SEGALL: Yes, I think we should all be concerned. I think there's going to be this more fundamental question of is privacy dead, but I do want to be

too alarmist right now, but I will say in 2014 Facebook did change their policies.

But executives inside have admitted to me that they were too loose. They put too much trust in developers and that's how, you know, a lot of this

information was being taken at that time.

People did not realize they were filling out the survey, which was supposedly a personality quiz for research purposes, you know, that was

transferred over to Cambridge Analytica, which is against Facebook's policy.

An executive said we put too much trust in these developers, that has since changed, but this brings all sorts of questions about what kind of data the

company is collecting, and also all the data we leave behind, every like you put, every Facebook status you like, you know, you are creating a very

personalized version of who you are that people can target in very specific ways.

And it's not just about targeting you based on demographics, but it could be targeting you on a psychological profile. Behind closed doors, I will

say they are talking about this idea of micro-targeting versus manipulations. So, all sorts of ideas that are coming out now in light of

all this news.

GORANI: Laurie Segall, thanks very much. Nick Paton Walsh as well following the story and one that last night you'll remember I conducted an

extensive interview with the whistleblower at the center of this story, Christopher Wiley.

In it, the former Cambridge Analytica contractor spoke about the firm's alleged links to Russia.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTOPHER WILEY, CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA WHISTLEBLOWER: We were amassing mass amounts of data. Meanwhile, we are interfacing with a company that

has no link to the FSB, which is the Russian security and intelligence service, and the professor who is managing this app and the targeting

program was going to Russia and working for the Russians. And in addition to this, the company literally pitched Coogan's work for the Russians to

other clients in other countries.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: So, that was Christopher Wiley. Let's bring in Liam Byrne, a Labour MP and a shadow digital minister. Thanks for being with us.

[16:10:03] Parliament here wants to question Mark Zuckerberg. What do you want Mark Zuckerberg to tell you? What questions you have for him?

LIAM BYRNE, BRITISH LABOUR MP: We want to know the truth. We want to know how we could get into a situation where something like 50 million records

were collected from individuals for one purpose and then used for another. I mean, over the last year, there has been a real concern of an unholy

alliance coming together, bad companies and bad countries working together to jeopardize free and fair elections.

GORANI: When you say bad companies, who are you referring to?

BYRNE: Well, we think that if the allegations made against Cambridge Analytica were true, they are incredibly serious because you are talking

about the misuse of data. Now the real concern and this is why parliamentarians are so focused on this now is that we also know that

countries like Russia interfering in American elections, elections in France, Germany.

There are concerns they interfered in the Brexit referendum too. We cannot have the possibility of a company like Cambridge Analytica misusing

targeting data tying together with bad countries like Russia --

GORANI: But how do we know it was effective? I mean, in the end, it's a small, you know, allegedly shady group that promised entrapment and honey

traps and the rest of it. You saw it in that Channel 4 clip, I am sure, like the rest of us. Every small company that operates as a political

consultancy will want to use some of these methods.

BYRNE: Very few small companies lay hands on 50 million worth of data records. That's why it's unusual, very few small companies were employed

by the Trump campaign in order to organize a run for the White House.

So, Cambridge Analytica was in a different class of its own and the way in which data was allegedly misused creates a serious risk to the (inaudible)

at a time where we know that there are countries like Russia that are using digital democracy as part of a new generation of --

GORANI: How do you control --

BYRNE: -- to try to rule their enemies.

GORANI: But how do you control the internet? I mean, Facebook essentially is a platform on which a lot of fake news was spread and 2 billion users.

How do you even begin controlling that?

BYRNE: Through the trust for truth and transparency. So, on the one hand, what you do is equip (inaudible) information commissioner with a much

stronger set of powers. All the people describe social media land is like the wild west at the moment.

We have a sheriff on the block who does not have the powers to the job effectively, which is why it's taken us so long to get the digital search

warrant that she needed for Cambridge Analytica.

GORANI: And that's not out yet. That's not the --

BYRNE: They don't believe she's got the data and she's (inaudible) tell Facebook executives stand down since before her advice. But the other

challenge that we've got is we do not have a little transparency in this country around the way in which (inaudible) was used in elections.

So, we are taking in parliament now kind of the British version of the U.S. (inaudible) Act that will give our election regulators much greater power

to extract information about who is targeting you with what information and crucially, who is writing the checks?

GORANI: Right.

BYRNE: Right now, we do not have those rules in place.

GORANI: But the risk there is always is that if you have government authorities interfering in what messages are spread online and deciding

what is fake and what is not fake, then you have accusations of censorship --

BYRNE: That's not what's being proposed. What we believe and a little bit like the first line of U.S. on the sidelines actually is that citizens have

the right to be fully informed. At the moment, you can talk (inaudible) you owe me. No one else can necessarily see them.

And you and I wouldn't know who's paid for them, where they come from or what data they are using in order to talk with us. Now you might not

change your mind if you know the backgrounds that particular ad, but I just happened to think that you've got the right to know what is going on.

GORANI: But in the U.S., especially in the last election cycle, there were so many negative ad and so much misinformation despite the fact that there

is legislation that is intended to protect voters against --

BYRNE: It's nice substitute to a fully informed voter and you know, if people believe in democracy ultimately, they've got to run with the

decision that a majority takes, but what you can insist on is that voters go to the polling booth fully informed about where their information came

from.

And so, we are going into this new era now where the old rules I'm afraid are now going to have to change -- and crucially where voters and consumers

need to be more critical consumers of information.

GORANI: What is Facebook's job here? Was is its responsibility in your opinion and is there anything that can be done legislatively?

BYRNE: And old ear is now passing. There is going to be a new era of regulation rules and what Facebook now needs to do is to lean into that era

where (inaudible) legislators to fix the rules for the next five or six years' worth of data regulation.

You know, in the 19th Century here in Britain, there wasn't one factory acts over the course of the 19th Century. There was 17. We have to change

that laws as technology and economics changed and that is the period that we are just now starting in the 21st Century.

GORANI: What about someone like Alexander Nix, the now suspended head of Cambridge Analytica.

[16:15:05] He testified before parliamentarians in February, was asked very directly did you use Facebook data, he said, no. Did you have Russian

clients. He said no.

BYRNE: Well, (inaudible) if he's in breach of parliament, there are pretty serious sanctions for that, but, you know, right now, our information

commissioner does not have the right to seek a custodial sentence if someone has interfered in one of her investigations.

So, that's another area where we think the law is going to change so that people don't just get fine. Actually, they face the risk of jail time if

they are interfering in some of these inquiries.

And you have no power to or parliament here in the U.K. wants to hear from Mark Zuckerberg, summon Mark Zuckerberg, but there is nothing that can be

done to compel Mark Zuckerberg --

BYRNE: (Inaudible). But I think Mark realizes that the U.K. is one of Facebook's most important global markets and we are a big market where

Facebook generates huge profits here in the United Kingdom.

And if Facebook does not want to, you know, regulation written in a way that is very bad for Facebook, then he will lean in to this new debate and

he will pitch up and make his case.

GORANI: I see what you did there. Thanks very much, Liam Byrne, Labour MP, shadow digital minister, thanks so much for joining us on CNN.

A lot more to more, expelled Russian diplomats leave Britain. Tensions between the two countries showing no sign of letting up. We'll be right

back.

And the former president of France is being questioned by police. The investigation into Nicholas Sarkozy's campaign finances, do they have

something to do with Libya. We will have that next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GORANI: Russian diplomats who are expelled from the U.K. have just arrived back in Moscow. The British prime minister ordered the 23 officials and

their families to leave in a matter of days. It was a punishment for the poisoning of former Russian spy, Sergei Skripal in the U.K., which Britain

blamed on Russia. Its ambassador to the U.K. has called the expulsion of violation of international law.

Certainly not the first time Russia has been accused of poisoning its rivals abroad. Matthew Chance takes a look at some other notable

incidents.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He was one of the Kremlin's most ruthless enemies, an Arab jihadist called

Qatar (ph), notorious for executing Russian troops during the brutal Chechen war. Russia security services finally enacts his assassination in

a special operation in March 2002. They released this video to prove it.

Showing Qatar (ph) played out dead (inaudible). Russian state media and the rebels both said, he died after (inaudible) -- a message from the

Kremlin. There have been other alleged messages from Moscow too.

[16:20:11] In 2004 pro-Western Ukrainian presidential hopeful, Viktor Yushchenko, he went on to leave the country was badly disfigured after

severe dioxin poisoning. He told me back then he's pushed for Ukraine to join the European Union and later made enemies at home and in Moscow.

VIKTOR YUSHCHENKO, FORMER UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): We started dinner at about 10:00 and finished around 3:30 in the morning,

which, while driving back home the first thing I felt was a terrible headache. I have never felt anything like it before.

When I got home my wife kissed my lips. She said she could taste something metallic. I asked her for some medication, but the pain was aggravated.

Only then I said to myself, "Viktor, you are in trouble."

For others that trouble proved deadly. The radioactive killing of former KGB Agent Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006 foreshadowed the recent

Skripal nerve agents attack, both were former members of the Russian Secret Services were poisoned with chemicals said by Britain to be Russian and

seen as traitors by the Kremlin.

(on camera): There has been in other words, a growing list of people. This Kremlin sees his opponents and long before the poisoning of the

Skripals in Britain were painful and untimely deaths. Not all, of course, were poisoned.

One of Russia's main opposition figures, (inaudible), were shot dead in 2015 right here on this bridge. Of course, the Kremlin denies any

involvement and rejects the allegation it could have ordered the Skripal nerve agents attack as unthinkable.

(voice-over): And this poisoned father and daughter, Sergei and Yulia Skripal fight for their lives in intensive care, the Kremlin insists

Britain should apologize for the serious allegations it has made or present proof of Russia's hand. Matthew Chance, CNN, Moscow.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GORANI: French police are questioning former President Nikolas Sarkozy over his campaign finances. Now Mr. Sarkozy voluntarily appeared today to

respond to allegations that he accepted money from Libya's Muammar Gaddafi to finance his election campaign in 2007. These are new allegations, but

Sarkozy has long been dogged by accusations of financial wrongdoing.

Thierry Arnaud is chief political correspondent for BFM TV and he's in Paris. Is he still in custody?

THEIRRY ARNAUD, BFMTV ANCHOR: As far as I know, yes, Hala, he has been there since 8 a.m. this morning so for over 13 hours now is being

questioned by police officers and they have to decide whether they can let him go or whether they will present him to three investigating judges later

on tonight or if they can ask him as well to continue and come back tomorrow because this custody thing can last for up to two full days, 48

hours.

GORANI: But he hasn't been charged with anything yet?

ARNAUD: No, he hasn't. For that to happen, he has to be presented to those three investigating judges then they have to decide whether they'll

let him go, option one, whether they make him what he's called an assisted witness (inaudible) which is sort of intermediary stage or whether they

charge him in which case indicted (inaudible) which under examination as we say in French.

GORANI: Precisely what are the allegation that he accepted Libyan money for 2007 campaign?

ARNAUD: Yes, pretty much. The investigation started five years ago with the news report from a website called (inaudible) and in those subsequent

reports amongst other things an intermediary of Franco-Lebanese businessmen called (inaudible). He claimed he acted as an intermediary between

(inaudible) regime.

That he personally delivered 5 million euros in cash to Sarkozy himself into his chief of staff, a guy called (inaudible). That started a flood of

allegations of corruption and abuse of public funds, money laundering, you name it, tens of millions of euros potentially.

And all of these allegations have come from (inaudible) and others. A lot of the former Libyan officials and even Muammar Gaddafi himself who went on

the record saying that he gave money to Nicolas Sarkozy for his campaign.

GORANI: But why did it take so long to question him? These allegations, accusations and reports have been floating around for years.

ARNAUD: For more than five years, you're absolutely right. That is a very good question. That's one we've been asking all day many times to various

experts and judges.

[16:25:05] (Inaudible), the answer is it is a very wide-ranging and complex investigation. It has many international ramifications as well and the

judge was telling us today as an example that he took a very long time, literally months, for example, to secure documents that he needed from

Switzerland. So, there's been all sorts of ramifications. It's very huge and complex investigation.

GORANI: And last, I think his political career as well truly over then?

ARNAUD: Well, it was supposed to be so anyway, but all those who know Nicholas Sarkozy and Perhaps those who know him best would tell you that as

long as he is alive there is hope for him of a political comeback. He would officially say it is out of the question, that is done, that he has

other things to do.

But if he can make it through these case and others because there are other cases pending for him as well, you know, I would not put it past him to

think if the context is right of another attempt at coming back into French politics.

GORANI: Well, one thing he certainly has, determination. Thanks very much, Thierry Arnaud for joining us. Always a pleasure talking to you.

The Facebook crisis is deepening as the head of the firm that misused this data is suspended. We'll have the latest on the fallout, but how a new

E.U. privacy rule could better protect consumers.

Also, Donald Trump has been railing again against Special Counsel Robert Mueller and now the president is shaking up his own legal team. We'll be

live at the White House.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GORANI: The disgraced data firm, Cambridge Analytica, with ties to the Trump campaign has suspended its CEO after undercover reports showed

Alexander Nix discussing potential bribery and entrapment. Cambridge Analytica that it is investigating.

A whistleblower from the company who I interviewed yesterday has now agreed to give evidence and an interview to American lawmakers. Facebook says it

will also brief congressional committees this week. But CEO Mark Zuckerberg still isn't talking.

Meanwhile, the European Union is getting ready to usher in a new data privacy law. Our next guest writes, that come May 25th, quote, "The power

balance will shift towards the consumer."

Nitasha Tiku is a senior writer at "Wired" and she comes to us from San Francisco. So how could things change do you think?

NITASHA TIKU, SENIOR WRITER, "WIRED": Well, people change significantly because the regulation comes with a potential fine of up to 4 percent of

global revenue. So, for Facebook based on their 2017 numbers, that would be 1.6 billion and it will be 4.4 billion. So they have an incentive to

follow the rules and regulators have the ability to enforce them.

HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: And what would the new rules be?

TIKU: Oh, yes. So the news rules have to do with how you can process personal information about people. And in particular there are

restrictions about sensitive data like political information, religious information, sexual orientation, some of the same kinds of information

that's came up in the Cambridge Analytica discussion.

GORANI: And how would authorities be able to monitor whether or not a social media platform misuses personal data?

TIKU: Well, under GDPR, each companies would have to have their own data protection officer, and they to document some of these things in terms of,

for example, like you have to ask for a consent. Consent has to be informed and freely given. So you have to have a record if the

investigators came calling. And actually, the EU's commissioner in charge of data protection, she said just this seek that she will use GDPR to

address concerns about Cambridge Analytica.

GORANI: But where do you draw the line? Because obviously you have a Facebook account, you get targeted ads, they are harvesting data from your

shopping history, what you clicked on, what you liked. I never consented to any of that, but I accept that it's kind of part of a Facebook contract

but then I get bombarded with personalized and targeted ads based on where I've searched online. So, where do you draw the line here?

TIKU: Well, I think the -- it's not so much drawing of a line as shining a light on those practice. And you probably did legally consent to that just

by clicking -- scrolling to the bottom of the terms of service and clicking yes. Under GDPR, if they want to process your personal information,

they're going to have to explain. We took these particular bits of personal data in order to do this, in order to sell you -- in order to

provide you a better service. If they're sending your information to third party, you have the ability to know what's actually happening.

GORANI: What is GDPR stand for?

TIKU: General Data Protection Regulation.

GORANI: And those come into effect the 25th of May in the EU?

TIKU: May 25th, yes.

GORANI: So, how does -- what if you're not in the EU and you used Facebook or Instagram or other social media platforms and websites?

TIKU: Well, actually, first of all, the big tech companies, Facebook and Google, they're rolling out some of the same privacy protections to their

consumers around the globe, but we've already seen that in the UK, Americans have been given the OK by UK data commissioner to use -- to ask

for information about Cambridge Analytica and find out what has been processed about them. So even the existing laws that are already there are

being used by people here.

GORANI: How damaging is this to Facebook, I wonder? Anecdotally, obviously we're not mentioning it in real-time. But anecdotally, there's

the -- there are trending hashtags calling on people to delete their Facebook page. More and more around me. I'm here and people sound kind of

sick of Facebook. I don't spend that much time on it anymore. I've logged out or I'm going to -- how bad is this for Facebook? Because it was years

and years of uninterrupted media recruit. Now, are we seeing -- is this a new chapter for the company?

TIKU: It certainly seems like it's mean and all the time that I've been covering tech. Last year when U.S. senators first said, hey, Facebook and

Google, Twitter, we'd like your executives to come testify before Congress. At that time, it still seem like they really be able to get out of it.

There wasn't -- there's no really -- there wasn't that much oversight. They've always managed to sneak their way out. And this week, for the

first time, I really feel like they're -- we might actually see Mark Zuckerberg at a congressional hearing.

GORANI: Well, we haven't seen him yet. We know there was a meeting at Facebook, but we haven't heard from him. And I wonder, why not? I mean,

isn't it -- at some point, you have to come out, right? You have to kind of address the issue.

TIKU: I think they're really scared and they don't know how to proceed. Facebook likes to be very controlling about how information is put out.

I've been trying to think about what they could possibly say. He won't have the benefit of the doubt. He might not have the same level of

acceptance and admiration that he's had in the past. So I imagine they don't know exactly how to proceed, especially if the demands are going to

be like give it to a straight. You can't give us like a press release. You actually have to tell us what happened.

[16:35:04] GORANI: Nitasha Tiku, thanks very much, a senior writer at WIRED, joining us from San Francisco. We appreciate having you on the

program.

Another issue that will not just go away for President Trump, Russia and Robert Mueller. Sources tell CNN the president is growing agitated, as the

investigation shows no sign of winding down. The president is shaking up his legal team, even as the special counsel tem tries to agree on the terms

for potential sit down interview, it goes as House Speaker Paul Ryan says he has been assured that Mr. Trump is not planning to fire Mueller.

Let's get you live to the White House. Dan Merica is there with all the very latest. So these assurances that Paul Ran says he's gotten. Who has

he gotten them from, the president himself?

DAN MERICA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It doesn't appear to be that. It was left out there about where he got that assurance from. But it is worth noting

that while he's getting his assurances or said he's getting these assurances, President Trump is shaking up his legal team and hiring a

lawyer that is known as a pit bull. Somebody who has in the past gone after Robert Mueller. And really spread this conspiracy theory that people

in the DOJ and FBI are trying to frame President Trump with this Russia probe. Now that person is Joe DiGenova. He's a former U.S. attorney here

in the District of Columbia. But more recently, he's been in a lot of cable news shows, particularly concerned about outlets like Fox News. He's

been brought on, we're told, according to a source, to deal directly with the media. So you can expect us to see him more on TV.

And what that says to most watchers is that the fact that he'll be on TV talking for the president's legal as President Trump is going to take far

more harsh dance with Mueller in the coming weeks and months. Now, this is going to be frustrating for him that he's going to have to do this at all,

because President Trump was told last year that this probe would be done possibly by the new year, if not earlier and that clearly, Hala, isn't

happening, and that's why this is such a significant hiring.

GORANI: But is -- you see just a handful of Republican senators not running for reelection who are saying it would be a great, great mistake to

fire Bob Mueller and it would be a constitutional crisis and we absolutely urge the president not to do this. The vast majority of Republicans

though, we haven't really heard from.

MERICA: Yes. It seems like a lot of people are giving President Trump his little leeway on this and chalking it up to him, venting from the White

House while they hope facing it done on Capitol Hill. You were exactly right in your lead. A lot of this is overshadowing and President Trump's

message he's trying to get out. For example today, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia comes to the White House for a critical meeting, but it's

President Trump's answer on Russia and the reelection of Vladimir Putin that really made the news. And that's newsworthy because of President

Trump's relationship with Russia and the cloud hanging over this White House that is spurge by Robert Mueller's ongoing investigation. President

Trump congratulated President Putin a phone call this morning. He then said a few things to reporters later in the day and that became big news

overshadowing. What the president and the White House had hoped would be the big meeting today with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia.

So what Republicans are giving the president leeway, what you're seeing is, is that this Russia probe and news about Russia, in general, it's really

overshadowing much of what the president is trying to do. And that's going to frustrate leaders on Capitol Hill. This is going to make it more

difficult for them to get things done, if all of the focus continues to be on Russia, Hala.

GORANI: And there's focus as well on another story that the president certainly would like to go away, but it isn't, and that is the Stormy

Daniels situation. A report of a polygraph test taken by the porn star has been released and there's a picture of it. It says she was, "truthful

about having unprotected vaginal intercourse with Donald Trump in July 2006 and this is certainly a sense I thought I would never say on CNN, but there

you have it.

The report states that the, "Probability of deception was measured to be less than one percent." It was given to CNN by Michael Avenatti, Daniels'

attorney. Obviously, polygraph tests are not admissible in U.S. courts, but people will take them to prove to see if they were telling the truth.

How will this play out?

MERICA: This is all part of the ongoing really public relations campaign to get Stormy Daniels story out there. And so far, it has been incredibly

successful. President trump has tried to ignore this, his White House has tried to ignore this. But what you're seeing is even though this polygraph

test may not be admissible in court, it's huge news because it's coming out, it's re-up in the story about a relationship that President Trump had

with a porn actress in Lake Tahoe in 2006. And while the White House is going to try and dismiss it, they're going to try and say that this has

been answer during the campaign which is something that they have done in the past. This latest polygraph test makes this more of a story.

And you'll remember that Sarah Sanders earlier this month really stepped in the way of their attempts to dismiss the story by acknowledging that

President Trump was party to a lawsuit between Stormy Daniels trying to get Stormy Daniels stop telling her story. So what this is going to do is

Sarah Sanders would likely be asked about this again. She'll have to give an answer and it just makes it more possible at the White House that

President Trump is wrapped into this story more than he was previously.

[16:40:25] GORANI: All right. Dan Merica, thanks very much.

Still to come tonight, fear in Texas worries about what investigators are calling a serial bomber there. We are live in Austin.

And extinction looms as an iconic species of rhinoceros loses its last male. We will be live at a canyon conservancy where just two females

remain. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GORANI: Now to Texas in the United States in a situation one official is describing as absolute panic. A package exploded at a FedEx facility and

police say that it was not the only parcel there that they believe contained explosives. It's just a latest in a spate of explosions in that

state. Ed Lavandera has the latest from Austin.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Authorities in Texas are on high alert tonight after a bomb blew up in a FedEx facility overnight. In

Schertz, Texas, 64 miles south of Austin, the one that blew up overnight was moving along an automatic conveyor belt. A worker nearby suffered

minor injuries. FedEx says they turned over extensive evidence relating to the package including information about the person who shipped them.

Speaking outside the building, Schertz chief of police, Michael Hanson believes the distribution facility was not the intended target, but would

not explain why.

MICHAEL HANSON, SCHERTZ POLICE CHIEF: It's very early in the investigation, obviously. But we're confident that neither this facility,

nor any location in the Schertz area was the target.

LAVANDERA: As investigators try to determine if there is a connection to the four Austin bombings and the package found at Schertz FedEx location,

they are also combing through a FedEx drop off point in Austin where they believe the Schertz package was mailed from.

And at the White House during a meeting with the Saudi Arabian Crown Prince, President Trump made his first remarks about the recent bombings

this afternoon.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are the bombings in Austin an act of domestic terror or hate crime? Any comments on the bombings in Austin, Mr. President?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The bombings in Austin are terrible. Local, state and federal are working hand in hand to get to the

bottom of it. This is obviously a very, very sick individual or maybe individuals.

LAVANDERA: Police are also calling on the public to remain vigilant.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you didn't order something, if you are not expecting a package, if it's something that doesn't have an official label

on it, or really just not -- just a package itself, if there's anything out of the ordinary, we are asking the community to please call 911, let our

officers come out. Let us handle it.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

[16:45:06] GORANI: And Ed Lavandera joins us now live from Austin. So, we were talking earlier, Ed, and authorities believe this is a serial bomber,

a single individual, or are they not sure? What's the very latest on who they think is behind this?

LAVANDERA: They're not sure if it's one person or more than one at this point. But what is interesting, Hala, is that they've actually made a

concerted effort over the last couple of days to speak directly, when they do press conference, speak directly to whoever might be behind these

attacks. And they're actually hoping that whoever is behind this will call the emergency hotline here in the United States, in the city of Austin and

reach out to them.

Investigators are basically saying they want to hear from this person that they believe that there is some sort of message -- the culprit or culprits

is trying to send. And that they're interested in hearing that and that they hope that it'd be something that would help crack this case and bring

an end to the death and people who have been injured so violently here in the last several weeks.

GORANI: All right. Thanks very much. Ed Lavandera live in Austin.

Now to a completely different part of the world, a beloved subspecies is on the verge of extinction after its last, very last male has died. There are

now only two northern white rhinos left on this planet and both are female.

Farai Sevenzo joins us from Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya where the rhino named Sudan spent his final years. So talk to us a little -- I saw

pictures of the people who took care of Sudan and they seemed very close to him and they were petting him in his final moments. There must be a sad

kind of atmosphere there at the conservancy today.

FARAI SEVENZO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Hala. We've talked to a couple of rangers who'd known Sudan for the last four years. And a man

from Czech zoo -- and they were absolutely stricken with grief over the death. Natural death, of course, we must remember to say. At 45 years old

of Sudan. And of course, this is how the story unfolded this afternoon.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SEVENZO (voice-over): The world's last male northern white rhino known as Sudan because he was born there, had to be put down. In the end, Sudan

succumbed to old age. At 45, his muscles and bones have begun to degenerate and he could hardly carry his own weight. Those who have looked

after him felt his passing painfully.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The last moment of his life, at that time, it was raining. Heavy rain. And it was raining down where he was lying. Rain

stopped. From here, he slept completely. He pulled a hand down, after that the rain stopped. So death came.

SEVENZO: It is almost impossible to imagine that when Sudan was born in the wild in 1973, hundreds of his kind roam the grasslands of east and

central Africa.

Now, these two females Najin and Fatu, Sudan's daughter and granddaughter are the only remaining northern white rhinos in the world.

How did we get this? For decades now all species of rhino had been poached for their horn. The value (INAUDIBLE) is in the Far East. Demand for

rhino horn and the profits from sale made that the rhino was always on the threat.

The Northern whites population became extinct in the wild in 2008, unlike another subspecies the southern white whose numbers have rebounded.

Wildlife vet, Dr. Stephen Ngulu (INAUDIBLE) down.

STEPHEN NGULU, HEAD, VET AT OL PEJETA CONSERVANCY: Euthanasia was the best option at that moment, because then he was in a lot of pan. We've got into

this stage because of various catastrophes that have been created by mankind. When you look at poaching, when you look at illegal

deforestation, and look at waste habitat clearing, all these things have led to where we are. We can't make another Sudan. But we believe and we

are hopeful that we can't propagate these species.

SEVENZO: Sudan spent much of his life in a Czech zoo. A move that almost certainly saved his life, as poaching in African wars took their toll on

the remaining numbers. Czech conversation is (INAUDIBLE) flew in on the eve of Sudan's death. He had known the northern white rhino for over a

decade.

So this is exciting prospect that even in death Sudan can still children.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It may sound unbelievable, but even Sudan still could have an offspring. And the way is that actually, because they are wiped

out in the wild, we have to help them or ask them with the artificial techniques of reproduction. One way is that we would be able to harvest

eggs from the females that we see behind me. These eggs will be fertilized in the laboratory. And the embryo that would be produced with this

procedure will be put into a surrogate mother of a southern white rhino origin. The baby that would be born will be a rhino.

[16:50:14] SEVENZO: Cutting edge technology and advances in cellular biology made the scientists are no working hand in hand with

conservationists to keep critically endangered species from dying out completely. After 50 million years on earth, it took mankind a couple of

centuries to wipe out an entire subspecies of rhino. Even if the scientists managed to recreate Sudan's kind, will mankind stop killing

them?

Farai Sevenzo, CNN, Northern Kenya.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GORANI: In India, handmade textile have a long and rich history. Destination India explores the craft of silk weaving there.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The city of Banaras has a sense of timelessness. I would call the city of (INAUDIBLE) Banaras, because that's how the local

people call us.

If there's one thing that is unique of Banaras is their sense of time. And the city and the people (INAUDIBLE) craft. Banaras is known for the

handmade crafting. And the reason for that also happens to be that it's on the crossroad of two of the big trade routes in India. Various fabrics,

various traditions came here and the rivers here adapted themselves. We are in the north part of Banaras and this is where the magic of the Banaras

textile happens. And the people are predominantly Muslim. They produce the finest fabrics out of Banaras in this region.

This is last stage of the weaving. We have the yarn stretched and it's checked. And after this, the (INAUDIBLE) is rolled onto a beam, so they

are checking each (INAUDIBLE) it's the last stage before the goes onto the loom.

(INAUDIBLE) majority of the looms are pick loom. One of the reasons for that is that you need the humidity. When it becomes very dry then the yarn

becomes very difficult to handle.

There are different techniques of weaving. One would be embroidery technique and the other is a (INAUDIBLE) technique. So very useful from

end to end of the salvage of the fabric. You throw the rest.

I think the key factor in fine weaving is that the weaver has to have patients. It's a very meditative practice because, firstly, you're not

looking at the front of the fabric, they're looking at the back of the fabric. So you never know how the front is happening. And you are weaving

in such a slow feed, because hand loom. So to be a good weaver, is to be good at meditations.

The most important thing we have to remember is from the moment we are bond to the moment we die, we interact the fabric. We are always in constant

contact with the piece of fabric. That is the importance of the fabric in our life.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GORANI: CNN is telling the stories of young scientists and entrepreneurs, also investors in our new special series we've been running over the last

several weeks. My colleague, Dr. Sanjay Gupta introduces us to one of tomorrow's heroes who's trying to make science fiction a reality when it

comes too prosthetic limbs. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

[16:55:02] DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Human skin keeps the body warm when t's cold and cool when it's hot. It's one of the

most vital organs in our body. But when you lose a limb, like an arm, for example, you also lose all of its sensory features, right? Well, perhaps

not anymore. After our tomorrow's hero, Benjamin Tee's discovery prosthetic limbs may soon be able to experience that real human touch.

BENJAMIM TEE, SCIENTIST: My name is Benjamin Tee. I'm from Singapore. And I'm 35 years old. And I am a scientist, an innovator in the field of

electronic skins.

Electronic skins really a recreation of some of the amazing capabilities that human skin offers us. Basically it's a substrate that can sense the

environment really well, just like your own skin. And the whole idea is to be able to advance robotics and provide them into sense of touch. It

allows us to be so dextrose and creative.

When I was a kid for about seven years old, I was really inspired when I watch the Star Wars trilogy and they had a robotic assistant Luke

Skywalker's hand that he lost in a Jedi fight. And the hand had complete sensation and -- the robot pokes it, he's able to react. At least it's

something that today's prosthetic hand is enable to accumulate.

The constant rotations of people that have unfortunately lost their hands or even their legs. When they use a normal prosthetic, they are unable to

feel and this really affects the (INAUDIBLE) I've spent a decade, actually thinking about this problem. And this is not so easy (INAUDIBLE) something

that was in 2008. A few (INAUDIBLE) I think people just started to think about how we can solve this problem and we have to work to very new

materials. We have to develop new materials.

The (INAUDIBLE) challenge is can we create an artificial skin? And we have months of brainstorming sessions to see how we can achieve that.

I really think we are very close. We have now developed platform technology that can enable sensors to be built on any skill you want. So

it could be over the entire body of a robot or it could be as small as an area of your fingertip.

(INAUDIBLE) to change scientific -- science fiction into scientific reality. Quite frankly, kudos to the science fiction writers. They've

done an excellent job of envisioning a future. But we are the ones putting that how to make that a reality.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GORANI: I'm Hala Gorani, I'll see you next time. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

END