Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

EPA Chief Faces Multiple Questions on Ethics and Staffers' Pay Raise; Facebook Says 87 Million People May Be Affected by Data Scandal; NYPD Officers Kill Man After Mistaking Metal Pipe for Gun; Ex-Attorney for Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal Speaking Out. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired April 5, 2018 - 10:30   ET

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


[10:30:00] MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: And, you know, Jack mentioned supposedly that the ethics officials knew about this. From what I've read, they didn't know about this until this was reported in the news and then EPA officials hastily put this in front of the ethics officials to get them to make a quick determination.

And we heard today that the ethics officials didn't actually know all of the details about the arrangement, and so I don't think anybody is comfortable with this from the Trump administration on down and what is so ironic, though, is that the administration, the tone is set from the top, and when you have a president of the United States who is going against the emoluments clause from the moment that he stepped into office, it doesn't surprise me that his Cabinet officials most every one of them are embroiled in these kinds of ethics scandals because the tone is set from the top. And the tone from this president is not a good one and not an ethical one.

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: I want to play a little bit more here of what he talked about in that interview because he was defending the fact that two aides, these $80,000 in raises for two aides, and we learned a little bit more about that. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SCOTT PRUITT, EPA ADMINISTRATOR: I did not know that they got the pay raises until yesterday.

ED HENRY, FOX NEWS CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: OK. One of them got a pay raise of, let's see, $28,000. The other was $56,000. Do you know what the median income in this country is?

PRUITT: No. What --

HENRY: $57,000 a year.

PRUITT: OK.

HENRY: So one of your friends in Oklahoma got a pay raise that's the medium income --

PRUITT: They did not get a pay raise. They did not get a pay raise.

HENRY: They did.

PRUITT: They did not. They did not. I stopped that yesterday.

HENRY: So you stopped it.

PRUITT: Yes.

HENRY: But are you embarrassed that --

PRUITT: It should not have happened. And the officials that were involved in that process should not have done what they did.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: So Scott Pruitt is admitting, look, it shouldn't have happened. He said he stopped it. But as we look at this laundry list, to your point, Jack, there are a lot of people who are happy with what they see in terms of the policy and the deregulation changes coming out of the EPA. But when we continue to overshadow with all of these issues, did Scott Pruitt survive here?

JACK KINGSTON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think he survives. I think he has to have some real answers on this. I want to say this about the federal government employee salaries. They do lag behind the private sector in terms of executive branch and tip-top jobs. It is a big problem for Democrats and Republicans wanting to go into the administration, taking big salary cuts. So I understand how somebody below Pruitt would want to address that.

But I think he'll answer it and I think he did answer it yesterday. But what I do know he has is he's rolled back 22 regulatory burdens on the private sector, which have been harm and job creation, save taxpayers over a billion dollars, he's pushed back on waters of the USA, corporate average fuel efficiency standards, CAFE, he pushed back on the Paris accord. The clean power plan.

All these programs that were enormous burdens on the private sector and hurting American competitiveness and killing jobs. I think he's got a very, very good track record and he's going to have to say, listen, I've been an activist and I will mind the shot better. I will watch our expenses, but I have pushed through a very good agenda which the American people want and he's going to have to make that case very solidly in front of Congress and in front of the administration.

CARDONA: I think the agenda is actually questionable. Yes, conservatives love it, the business community loves it, but the majority of the American people would love to be able to give their children clean water and would love to have their children be able to take a breath of fresh air without dying, and so I think that the majority of the American people actually like that the fact that the EPA should be there to protect the environment, and while conservatives tout all of these rollbacks, especially getting out of the Paris climate accord, the majority of American people believe that the United States should be part of this climate accord, and should be a part of the solution that focuses on climate change, and when you have an administration and have an EPA that doesn't even believe in the science of climate change, that speaks volumes about where we are and where the future of this planet is going and a lot of the American people are not happy with that.

KINGSTON: But that was settled in the election. He has met with 350 stake holder groups on all of these deregulatory efforts. He's met with 34 different state governors. He's been very active in terms of hearing people and having public notices and so forth, so, you know, I do understand how liberals are more comfortable with the bigger government role. But as conservatives, we do like federalism and the states all now have EPA type departments of their own and what he says is let's let the states do their own thing, and Maria, I don't --

CARDONA: Well, and a lot of states --

(CROSSTALK)

CARDONA: Actually a lot of states are going against what this administration has put out. A lot of states are trying to work with the global organizations that are working with the Paris climate accord. Why? Because they understand that they want their children to be able to breathe clean air and drink clean water.

[10:35:08] HILL: Maria, Jack, appreciate you both joining us as always. Thank you.

KINGSTON: Thanks so much, Erica.

CARDONA: Thanks so much, Erica.

HILL: Facebook under fire for the data grab of some 50 million users' information. Turns out, though, that number now sounds kind of small because there is a new one and it's a lot bigger.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HILL: Embattled Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg set to testify before Congress next week about his company's handling of users personal information. In an hour long call with the media, Zuckerberg took responsibility for Cambridge Analytica's data collection, revealing the problem was also far more extensive than previously thought, affecting not just 50 million, as many as 87 million people.

CNN senior tech correspondent Laurie Segall joins me now.

You were on that call. What else was said? We're hearing a lot now where, I mean, boy, they're trying to make up for lost time?

[10:40:03] LAURIE SEGALL, CNN SENIOR TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT: Well, I wouldn't say sure. Probably yes. You know, he -- they didn't talk for a long time and then you have this pivotal moment in the company's history where we're all wondering what's happening to our data. And now they're talking a lot. This coming ahead of Mark's testimony next week on Capitol Hill. So we're hearing quite a bit. A lot of journalists, it's interesting, ask would you step down? He said, no. He said life is about learning from our mistakes. He also said they didn't do a good enough job with transparency and talking about data. And he did accept responsibility, he did that at the beginning of the call. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK ZUCKERBERG, CEO, FACEBOOK: We're an idealistic and optimistic company. For the first decade, we really focused on all the good that connecting people brings. But it's clear now that we didn't do enough. We didn't focus enough on preventing abuse and thinking through how people could use these tools to do harm as well.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SEGALL: It's just interesting, covering Silicon Valley for many, many years, I remember going into Facebook's campus many times, and you had the signs that say move fast and break things. There was this idealism. There's almost, you know, a certain amount of pride, but, you know, a little bit of vanity, too. We're changing the world.

Now this is a moment where Mark Zuckerberg has to answer to a lot of folks about the power and impact of this platform. One very interesting thing that was said in a blog post by the Facebook CTO, said most people on Facebook may have had their public profile information scraped by malicious actors. That's part of this audit of them trying to do more information.

So they've also put out there that, you know, we all might have had our information impacted in other ways, too. So we're just beginning to hear the impact of what's happened to our data. And what we signed up for when we signed up for this platform.

HILL: It's amazing, because even though we all signed up for it, you could have never imagined the extent. I guess, that's sort of the excuse from Facebook.

SEGALL: Yes .

HILL: But you would expect that they would do that. It's also fascinating to see this apology tour that they're on now.

SEGALL: Yes.

HILL: Next week will be something. Appreciate it, Laurie.

SEGALL: It sure will. Thank you.

HILL: Many questions remain unanswered this morning after New York City police officers shot and killed a black man after he pointed what they believed to be a gun at them. Well, after that shooting, officers discovered the man was in fact holding a pipe.

CNN's Brynn Gingras is following the story for us.

So, Brynn, what more do we know?

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erica, let's take viewers all the way back to the beginning. This was yesterday afternoon when we're told by the NYPD that they were receiving numerous calls about a man who was pointing a gun at people on the street in Brooklyn.

Now we have not independently heard those 911 calls, but I can tell you that a police source described to me that at least three people on those calls sounded completely terrified. One woman was actually telling someone nearby her to get down. So it did seem like an ominous situation according to this police source regarding those 911 calls.

But I also want you to hear sort of the dispatch versus the police. What the communications they were hearing as they were arriving to this scene yesterday. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A description here for a perp who's male black wearing a brown jacket, blue jeans and black and white sneakers with a black hat. Fire arm (INAUDIBLE) at Utica and Empire Boulevard -- caller states a male was pointing a gun at people. Caller have a description for a male black with a brown jacket, blue jeans, black and white sneakers, black hat.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GINGRAS: So again that's the information that police were hearing as they were arriving to the scene in Brooklyn around 5:00 p.m. yesterday. And when they got there, four officers encountered 35- year-old Saheed Vassell. He matched the description of those callers. And they believed he was holding a weapon. And actually police released some surveillance -- an image from an surveillance video showing Saheed at that moment when he encountered police. And that's actually what he was holding, but there is a picture of him taking what police described as a shooter's stance which seemed as a threat, according to authorities. And that's why officers say they fired their weapons.

Four officers fired a total of 10 shots. That's that shooter stance that I'm talking about right there. And from that, the victim rather, Saheed, he fell down and he was killed from this interaction with police.

Now the thing is, police say that this was justified. But you can imagine, Erica, that the community is completely up in arms. They said Vassell was 35 years old, he actually would do odd jobs in the community. They said that he never owned a weapon and actually suffered from bipolar disorder. So there is really a big question here, was this shooting justified? At this point, we know that the attorney general here in New York is opening an investigation, which is something that was commended really -- executive order signed by Governor Cuomo back in 2015 to do when these shootings happened. So certainly we'll hear more as this story unfolds -- Erica.

HILL: We will, Brynn. Appreciate it, thank you.

We are hearing for the first time from the attorney who used to represent both the porn star and the former Playmate who said that they had affairs or sexual relationships with the president. He says we haven't even heard the whole truth yet.

[10:45:02]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HILL: The lawyer who first represented porn star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal is now speaking out in a CNN exclusive. Both women have accused Keith Davidson of making deals that bury their allegations of sexual encounters with President Trump. Davidson, however, says there are details about those deals that haven't come out.

CNN's Sara Sidner spoke to Davidson. It was a fascinating conversation to say the least, Sara.

SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It was, Erica. You know, Keith Davidson talked to us about whether he believed his clients. You'll remember that the White House has repeatedly denied that there ever was an affair between Donald Trump and Stormy Daniels, the porn star and director, and Donald Trump and Karen McDougal, the former Playboy model.

[10:50:10] Keith Davidson, when we asked him, do you believe your clients had affairs with Donald Trump? He said, I believe my clients. We asked him about both women, and he affirmatively said he believed them when it comes to that. But he said the whole truth isn't out.

We also talked to him about the numerous phone calls that he made to Michael Cohen and the calls that Michael Cohen made to him. Now you'll remember that Michael Cohen is Donald Trump's personal attorney. But those phone calls didn't just happen while he was doing these deals with these two women. They actually began and continued until after he was no longer the attorney for these two women. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KEVIN DAVIDSON, EX-ATTORNEY FOR STORMY DANIELS AND KAREN MCDOUGAL: And he was encouraging me and informing me as to his opinion that they in fact had waved the attorney/client privilege and he suggested that it would be appropriate for me to go out into the media and spill my guts.

SIDNER: Are you here at the behest of Michael Cohen?

DAVIDSON: No, no. No. Not in any way, shape or form.

SIDNER: Why are you here?

DAVIDSON: You know there's been certain things that have been, you know, written and said. I would like the truth to come out and to the extent that I can assist in that endeavor, that's really why I'm here.

SIDNER: Is the whole truth out yet?

DAVIDSON: I don't believe so. I think most of it. Not the whole truth.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SIDNER: Now you'll notice he's sort of being halting and kind of waiting to answer questions. And that is because he is definitely aware that what he shares could violate attorney-client privilege. And he was being very careful trying to not to do that. He said that to us. But when he talks about the whole truth not coming out, remember then that he was the person in the middle of these two separate deals right before the election that effectively ended up stopping these women's stories of their alleged affair with Donald Trump from coming out into the press just before the election. He knows details. Some of which he can't share, but made clear he didn't feel like the whole truth had come out -- Erica.

HILL: All right. Sara Sidner, thank you.

Still ahead, the skills run deep in the Nicklaus family. The grandson of the golf legend has his own Masters moment at Augusta. "Bleacher Report" is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:57:12] HILL: Of all the traditions of the Masters, a few compare with the fun and the excitement of the annual Par 3 contest.

Coy Wire has more in today's "Bleacher Report." Good morning.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Miss Erica.

Tiger just teed off. One of the most highly anticipated Masters tournaments in years. But yesterday, the traditional Par 3 competition still giving us the top trending stories on BleacherReport.com this morning.

Kevin Chapel and his wife Elizabeth was his caddie, so is 15-month-old daughter Collins and his son Wyatt, right? But watch Wyatt celebrate after making a putt. Get in the water, Wyatt says. Throws the ball into the lake. Maybe it's a case of the terrible 2's as he runs past his sister and his mom and end just goes and lays down. He just turns 3 next week. He's like, dad, I just want to go play on my birthday.

How about this moment? Jack Nicklaus letting his 15-year-old grandson GT take his last tee shot. And this provides perhaps the sweetest moment, we'll see out of this year's Masters. Grandpa, the six-time Masters champ, hit the ceremonial first tee earlier this morning with Gary (INAUDIBLE) and he told his grandson you're going to hit a hole in one. Guess what? He did just that. Nicklaus was brought to tears, calling this the most memorable moment for him ever at Augusta National. It was his grandson's first ever hole in one.

Tony Finau, ranked number 32 in the world may be the number one toughest athlete on the planet. With his family around him, he hits a hole in one in the Par 3 competition. Then this great moment turns scary, freaky, and even unbelievable. A warning for you, Erica. Turn your head. Anyone that gets queasy,

graphic material coming. Finau sprints down the fairway celebrating, he turns to run backwards and while looking back at his family, he rolls and dislocates his ankle, but then he pops it back into place and starts limping back towards his family, he waves at the crowd, he continued to play. X-rays were negative, so he's reportedly expected to tee off in his first ever Masters at 12:43 Eastern.

Keep your eye own that.

Now watch this. We want to show you the wildest three-foot putt you ever did see. Bubba Watson not even using a putter, using the heel of a wedge hits the ball past the hole. Goes up a slope of the green, he hands the club to someone, he takes his hat off, shakes some hands, puts his hat back on and then about 19 seconds later, the 19th ranked golfer in the world, Hubba Bubba, what a shot for Watson.

There you have it, Erica. Those were some of the top stories this morning on BleacherReport.com, all eyes on Tiger Woods. He's co- favored along with Jordan Spieth. He's currently at even par on the second hole.

HILL: All right. Coy, thank you.

Thanks to all of you for joining me today. I'm Erica Hill. "AT THIS HOUR" starts now.