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CNN NEWSROOM

New Details on Russia Investigation; Protests Over Shooting of Unarmed Citizen Stephon Clark; Big Changes For Facebook Privacy Settings. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired March 28, 2018 - 10:30   ET

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


JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: This morning, some new details in the Russia investigation. Court documents show that former Trump Deputy Campaign Chair Rick Gates was in touch with a person who had ties to Russian intelligence and he was in touch with this person during the campaign. Joining me now Asha Rangappa, CNN legal and national security analyst. Asha, what do you see as significant about this discovery?

ASHA RANGAPPA, CNN LEGAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: The big take away for me, John, is that you had the campaign - head of the campaign, the deputy campaign manager not only in touch with someone and in contact with a member of Russian intelligence but that they knew it. They knew this person -

BERMAN: Right.

RANGAPPA: -- was connected to Russian intelligence and they were part of the campaign at this time. So, people have been asking where's the collusion, this is what collusion starts to look like. And I think when we take it in the broad context of the number of people involved in this campaign, we have Carter Page who was later under FISA surveillance which means that he also was knowingly in contact with foreign intelligence.

Papadopoulos who kicked started this entire investigation. Michael Flynn, you know, there are a lot of problematic issues here and I think the president's response that this is still a hoax, there was no collusion, you have to wonder even if he knew nothing about this where is the concern -

BERMAN: You're right.

RANGAPPA: -- on what was happening in my campaign and we need to get to the bottom of it.

BERMAN: You would think you would not want your deputy campaign start talking to Russian intelligence during the campaign.

RANGAPPA: No.

BERMAN: You say this is beginning to look what collusion looks like. However, we don't know what Rick Gates was speaking to this person connected to Russian intelligence about. It's possible and maybe even likely that it had to do with many of those issues that Rick Gates and Paul Manafort were tied up with years before they even joined the campaign.

RANGAPPA: I think that's possible, John, but when we start to add up the different facts here, remember that Paul Manafort appeared in this campaign and agreed to work for free. It seems to me that if they were in contact with Russian intelligence and doing work completely unrelated to the campaign, why would they be involved in the campaign?

They're - I think that Mueller is going to want to get to the bottom of what were there contacts about and how did they relate and perhaps they weren't connected but I think it is incredibly problematic and something that everyone should be concerned about given that we are talking about a campaign for one of our elections.

BERMAN: Asha, Reuters and others are reporting that the Trump legal team on the Russian investigation is getting bigger albeit with people that we don't really know that much about. One of whom is a little known former prosecutor with a doctorate in medieval history. That would be Andrew Economou from Atlanta. Do you know anything about him and what does this move tell you?

RANGAPPA: I don't know much about him, John. I did read his bio. He does have prosecutorial experience. I think that this could still be a problem for the president. We need to remember that Mueller has the dream team. He has the best prosecutors from the - all over the country put together.

These are people who went to the best law schools, were Supreme Court clerks and I think that for Trump to not get the absolute top of the line Washington D.C. attorney who knows how to do complex sprawling federal investigations it's not going to serve him well in the long run.

BERMAN: Asha Rangappa, thank you very much. The president says he went to the best school so maybe that will mitigate the situation there. Asha, thanks so much for being with us.

RANGAPPA: OK.

BERMAN: Sacramento City council meeting cut short overnight after protests erupt following the shooting death of Stephon Clark. Now the state of California getting involved in the investigation of the Sacramento police.

(COMMERICAL BREAK)

BERMAN: This was the scene in Sacramento City Hall over night as protestors, they walked right into the Special City Council meetings. Stephon Clark, and unarmed black man, 22-year old father of two was shot and killed by Sacramento police last week after they say - police say they thought he had a gun during a police chase. All he had was a cell phone. Our Dan Simon is in Sacramento. Dan, what's the latest?

DAN SIMON: CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well hi, John. That was really the most lively and chaotic city council meeting you will ever see. I don't think I've ever seen anything like it, and I guess it was to be expected when you had so much raw emotion and anger in that room. Let me sort of explain what it looked like. You had several hundred people inside that room and then you had another few hundred more outside, trying to get in, and really the only thing that was keeping them back were police officers in full riot gear. And I guess the most impactful moment of the evening came when you had the Sacramento activist named Barry Accius, and he held up his cell phone to all the City Council members, had the rest of the crowd do it as well and said, "does this look like a cell phone?" Have a look at that moment.

(BEGIN VIDEOCLIP)

BARRY ACCIUS: Take our your cell phone. Let's take out our cell phones. Take out our cell phones, direct the cell phone to the council. Point it at the council. Everyone, point it at the council. Point it at the council. Call your police now (ph). Point it at them, point it at them. I need people. Now, does this look -- hold on a second, family. Family, this is my moment. It's our moment. Does this look, as you point this to our council; does this look like a gun?

(VIDEO ENDS)

SIMON: Well the meeting was supposed to go to 11:00, but the mayor actually had to end things early when he had a couple of testers pounding on windows outside of the city council chambers. And so for public safety reasons, he actually ended the meeting early. John?

BERMAN: Dan, I understand the California attorney general is now calling for a launching an independent investigation?

SIMON: He is and this was based on the recommendation actually from the Police Chief Daniel Hahn. Daniel Hahn is the first African- American police chief for Sacramento. He grew up in this community, he was a police officer here for many years and he is trying to lead this department through this crisis, really by calling for transparency.

And that is one of the things he's doing by asking the California Department of Justice to really come in and provide oversight. I had a lengthy sit-down interview with him and one of the questions I asked is, what would you say to the Clark family and this is part of the response.

(VIDEO BEINGS)

CHIEF DANIEL HAHN: It's a tragedy for sure for the family and I couldn't imagine what -- what the family is going through for this to happen in the way it happened. But it's also a tragedy for our community. As we've seen through the protest, this is a very emotional, highly charged thing for our entire community. And in addition to that, it's -- it's a tragedy for our department.

(VIDEO ENDS)

SIMONS: And Hahn said part of the investigation will include a thorough examination of all of the policies and procedures that were used that night, including the muting of the audio. That has become a real issue with what happened, John. As you saw the officers turned off microphones shortly after the shooting and so that policy is going to be reviewed as well. John?

BERMAN: All right, Dan Simon for us in Sacramento. Dan, thank you very much.

Big changes from Facebook on your privacy settings and a big concession from the Facebook CEO on whether or not he will testify before Congress.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MARK ZUCKERBERG, CEO Facebook: Our objective is always to provide Congress to have the most information that they can. So what we try to do is send the person at Facebook who will have the most knowledge about what Congress is trying to learn. So if that's me, than I am happy to go point (ph).

LAURIE SEGALL, CNN SENIOR TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT: You are the brand of Facebook. You are the name of Facebook. People want to hear from you.

ZUCKERBERG: The goal there, I think, is to get Congress all the information that they need to do their extremely important job, and we just want to make sure that we send whoever is best informed at doing that.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SEGALL: I think this is a really big moment for Mark Zuckerberg as not just a tech CEO, but as a world leader. He is far beyond a tech CEO. He has created a platform that has implications for a democracy for the mental health of its users with two billion constituents. And for so long, John, he's been very comfortable behind the scene, talking to people through Facebook Live. He likes to be with the engineers, so this is a big moment for him to step forward and provide transparency and accountability as we look to the future of tech and what this platform means for all of us users and for society.

BERMAN: I've got to say, Laurie, it was incredibly striking that he left that wiggle room (ph) last week that he was hedging on that answer. Not surprising at all now that he's, in fact, caved to the pressure and now flat out will testify before Congres. Laurie Segall, thank you so much for being with us.

Happening now, AT&T and Time Warner back in federal court against the Justice Department. A new day in this dramatic merger battle, our Jessica Schneider is there. Jessica, what's the latest?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well you know, John, AT&T in this case is being forced to make a very ironic argument here. They're being forced to downplay, really, the importance of Time Warner programs -- programming to directly refute what the government's position in this case. The government says in this case that Time Warner programming is just too vital for AT&T to control.

Of course Time Warner consists of HBO as well as the Turner networks like TBS, TNT and CNN. So to that end, the government is still making it's case. And on the witness stand right now -- arguments began just a little while ago. On the witness stand is John Martin. He's the CEO of Turner. Of course Turner does control TBS, TNT and CNN.

Now, John Martin has been called by the government as an adverse party witness. That's because the government needs him to make their case. They're doing this in a bit of an adversarial question and answer. But of course John Martin is essentially on the side of AT&T. So in testimony, John Martin has talked about the fact that TBS and TNT are among the top 10 most profitable networks in the country, also talked about the fact that CNN saw a 20 percent growth in audience in the first quarter of 2017.

But on the stand, John Martin is also pushing back, saying that Turner is not the only game in town when it comes to live sports and live news. He pointed to the fact that really, Turner only controls about eight percent of NBA programming, airing about eight percent of total NBA games. You know, this really is the anti-trust case of the century here. There has been a lot of interest in this case.

We've seen people lining up for hours just to get in the courtroom. It is a very small courtroom, John. But of course, being the anti- trust case of the century because the government hasn't tried a case like this in at least 40 years. So a lot of eyes on this case and it could mean a lot for the future of the media industry, as well as mergers in general here. So we continue to watch it day by day. John.

BERMAN: Jessica Schneider for us in Washington. Jessica, thank you very much. A Dodgers spring training game called on account of something foul. Really foul. (Inaudible) report is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: A new effort to try to make football more safe from the NFL, Andy Scholes has more on the rule change in this morning's Bleacher Report. He, Andy.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, John. This week is brought to you by Ford, going further so you can. This is the time of year where the NFL owners get together and tweak the rule book. Well next season, it will be illegal for a player to lower his head and lead with his helmet when making a tackle. If they do it, it's going to be a 15-yard penalty and possibly ejection from the game. Now, the NFL hopes this is going to decrease the kind of injuries like we saw last season when Steelers linebacker, Ryan Shazier, lowered his helmet and then suffered that severe spinal injury. Now, not everyone was happy with the new rule. 49ers quarterback, Richard Sherman, telling USA Today, "it's ridiculous, like telling a driver if you touch the line lines, you're getting a ticket. It's going to lead to more lower extremity injury."

All right, LeBron James taking his town of (ph) South Beach last night to take on his buddy Dwyane Wade, and the Heat and Wade, he even (ph) owned the night. Second quarter, check this out. LeBron going baseline and Wade with the monster block. LeBron called for a foul, but as you could see, that was all ball. The Heat snapped (ph) the Cav's four-game winning streak in this one with the 98-79 win.

All right, opening day in Major League Baseball is tomorrow. Teams all around the league wrapping up Spring training yesterday, and a really cool moment in Montreal. Vlad Guerrero Jr. of the Blue Jays playing where his Hall of Fame dad became a legend, this game was tied at zero in the ninth when Jr. crushes this one for a walk-off home run, all the fans there going nuts. Guerrero Jr. was born in Montreal and was a regular at Olympic Stadium as a toddler when his dad was on the Expos. Now, 19-years old and the Blue Jays top prospect, Vlad Jr. He actually wore his dad's number 27, especially for this game as well. Really cool. The Expos, they did move to Washington D.C. to become the Nationals back in 2005.

And finally, the Spring training finally did not go as well at Dodgers Stadium. A sewage leak on the field in firstly arose (ph) by the Dodgers dugout caused a 32 minute delay in the fifth inning before the game was finally cancelled. And as you can see, the poor groundskeepers were out there trying to mop it all up during the stoppage in play. The Angels, who were their opponents, having some fun with it, tweeting, "smell ya' later, Dodgers." John, my question is you know opening day is tomorrow for the Dodgers. They're hosting the Giants. Do you think 48 hours is enough time for that smell to go away?

BERMAN: It's the bubbling that gets to me and I just didn't need to see it quite like that. Let's move on from that and resist every urge I have to make more jokes about it. Who do you like in baseball with opening day tomorrow?

SCHOLES: Astros, who else am I going to pick? I think they repeat as champions, but I'm from Houston, so -

BERMAN: Unfair, unfair.

SCHOLES: - completely biased.

BERMAN: Obviosuly the Red Sox is the right answer. All right, Andy Scholes, thank you very much for being with us. Really appreciate it. Good luck to the Astros, but not too good. Thank you all for joining us today. I'm John Berman, At This Hour starts right now.