Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

First Day of Hearings for Facebook CEO; Syrian Civil War; FBI Raids Cohen Domains, Trump Cancels Trip to South America; Video Shows Israel Sniper Shooting Palestinian; Interview with Father Patrick Desbois; Thirty Seconds to Mars Explores America in New Album. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired April 11, 2018 - 01:00   ET

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


[01:00:00]

(MUSIC PLAYING)

ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): This is CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. Ahead this hour: Facebook faceoff. (INAUDIBLE) grilled on Capitol Hill. Why many say the Senate failed the Zuckerberg test.

They live to tell. The Yazidi victims of ISIS expose the horror of what they were forced to endure. I'll speak to a man who's documented hundreds of harrowing stories.

And (INAUDIBLE) and lead singer for 30 Seconds to Mars is here to talk America, the good, the bad and the ugly.

Hello and thank you for joining us. I'm Isha Sesay. This is NEWSROOM L.A.

Facebook's CEO is hours away from a second day of testimony before U.S. lawmakers. Mark Zuckerberg opened his first appearance before Congress with an apology for the release of user data involving a company called Cambridge Analytica.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK ZUCKERBERG, COFOUNDER AND CEO, FACEBOOK: Take a broad enough view of our responsibility and that was a big mistake. And it was my mistake and I'm sorry.

I started Facebook, I run it and I'm responsible for what happens here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SESAY: The British firm was working on Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign. Facebook says that it accessed data from millions of users improperly. But Analytica says it didn't use that data at all drying the campaign.

Senator Lindsey Graham pressed Zuckerberg on government regulation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), S.C.: You don't think you have a monopoly?

ZUCKERBERG: It certainly doesn't feel like that to me.

GRAHAM: OK.

(LAUGHTER)

ZUCKERBERG: My position is not that there should be no regulation. I think the Internet is increasing --

(CROSSTALK)

GRAHAM: -- embrace regulation?

ZUCKERBERG: I think the real question as the Internet becomes more important in people's lives is what is the right regulation, not whether there should be or --

GRAHAM: -- You as a company welcome regulation?

ZUCKERBERG: I think if it's the right regulation then --

GRAHAM: You think the Europeans have it right?

ZUCKERBERG: I think that they get things right.

GRAHAM: Have you ever submitted --

(LAUGHTER)

GRAHAM: -- that's true.

So would you work with us in terms of what regulations you think are necessary in your industry?

ZUCKERBERG: Absolutely.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SESAY: Zuckerberg is to appear again Wednesday before the House Committee. Joining us now from Jerusalem with more on all of this is CNNMoney's technology and business correspondent Samuel Burke.

Samuel, before Zuckerberg appeared before the Senate, there had been a lot of talk about he was very uncomfortable when he's forced to defend Facebook, that he can be a little defiant, a little abrasive.

But the appearance on Tuesday was smooth and he seemed very much in control and able to hold off those senators.

SAMUEL BURKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There were some awkward moments. There were some funny moments, like the one you just saw that got some laughter, which always bodes well for anybody in front of the world stage. But I think the way that Mark Zuckerberg was really able to advance

and get ahead of the senators was because there were so many questions here. Remember Cambridge Analytica was the impetus for this testimony.

But there were actually years of pent-up frustrations and questions for what's arguably the most powerful platform on planet Earth. So they covered all types of topics, including what's arguably the question of our time, the possible connection between Donald Trump's 2016 campaign and Russia and Facebook as a possible intermediary in a way.

And this was one place where Mark Zuckerberg actually seemed a little frustrated, maybe not well prepared. Take a listen to the question that Democrat senator Patrick Leahy put to Zuckerberg about the Mueller investigation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D), VERMONT: I assume Facebook's been served subpoenas from the special counsel Mueller's office.

Is that correct?

ZUCKERBERG: Yes.

LEAHY: Have you or anyone at Facebook been interviewed by the Special Counsel's Office?

ZUCKERBERG: Yes.

LEAHY: Have you been interviewed --

ZUCKERBERG: I have not. I have not.

LEAHY: Others have?

ZUCKERBERG: I believe so. And I want to be careful here, because that -- our work with the special counsel is confidential and I want to make sure that, in an open session, I'm not revealing something that's confidential.

LEAHY: I understand. I just want to make clear that you have been contacted and you have had subpoenas.

ZUCKERBERG: Actually, let me clarify that. I actually am not aware of a subpoena. I believe that there may be, but I know we're working with them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURKE: Isha, very surprising that, on such an important question, Mark Zuckerberg clearly has one answer and then walks it back. That said, sometimes the best judge of how somebody's done in a situation like this is the stock price. Facebook stock up 4.5 percent Tuesday, adding $20 billion of value

onto the company and clearly investors thought that Zuckerberg was doing --

[01:05:00]

BURKE: -- OK and that the senators really didn't push him hard enough.

SESAY: Yes. Definitely there is the sense that they didn't push him hard enough partly because they just didn't get it. They just don't understand how Facebook actually works. And in some ways this was a wasted opportunity.

BURKE: I don't want to be ageist here but clearly you could see that age did play a factor, that some of the people, some of the senators don't use Facebook. There was an exchange between Orrin Hatch, the senator, and Mark Zuckerberg, which is very telling. Take a listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R), UTAH: How do you sustain a business model in which users don't pay for your service?

ZUCKERBERG: Senator, we run ads.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURKE: So if he doesn't know that, maybe it doesn't bode well for data reform, which is the most important thing here.

Will laws be changed so that our data will be protected?

People around the world were watching this, all the tech CEOs of the startups here in Israel to the big tech companies in the United States, and wondering will there be a big change?

And I think it was a very weak signal. A lot of people are hoping, especially tech journalists, that there is some more serious questions asked -- maybe the boxing gloves taken off, as Kara Swisher (ph) Recode said, in the House Wednesday, questions like, does Facebook track you when you're off of Facebook, as many people believe that it does and as Mark Zuckerberg indicated might do but let's get a clear answer on that in the House today.

And another question which I think is the most important personally, why would Facebook even share any of your data with these third-party companies, especially when they make little or no money doing that?

Their real money is made with their advertising.

Why give away your bread and butter when you could end up with a huge scandal like this, which, again is the impetus?

Cambridge Analytica is what got Mark Zuckerberg to Congress Tuesday and Wednesday. So we'll see if people are tougher.

SESAY: Yes, we will. There are a lot more questions to be answered. I think you're absolutely right there. Samuel Burke joining us there from Jerusalem, appreciate it. Thank you.

Joining us now from Vancouver, Canada, is Richen Patel. He's executive director of Avaaz. Avaaz is an online activist group and the group set up a troll army of fake Mark Zuckerbergs on the council lawn ahead of Tuesday's Senate hearing.

And Richen, it is good to see you. It wasn't dramatic and disturbing sight, 100 life-sized cutouts of the Facebook boss.

Dramatic it was. But what was the message you were trying to get across?

RICHEN PATEL, AVAAZ: Well, the message was democracy is getting gamed right now by fake users, fake profiles, fake movements, fake pages. We wanted to try and create something that was visual and offline that conveyed how disturbing this was because this seems to be how democracy is done these days.

And we're just awash in and social media is awash in these big profiles and movements and we wanted to just highlight that at the moment of Zuckerberg's testimony.

SESAY: Do you think that the concern that you have here about the fake news and the disinformation, do you think that was addressed in any way, shape or form sufficiently at the hearing on Tuesday?

PATEL: No, this is amidst the many embarrassments of the hearing today. There was explaining how Facebook works. But there was not a single push on Zuckerberg to commit any new commitment to protect our democracy.

We're looking at existential democratic threats. We're seeing democracy get gamed across the world and we've got crucial elections upcoming in Brazil and India and the U.S. and Mexico and Zuckerberg admits he's in an arms race with Russia and other malicious actors.

But he's moving at a snail's pace and not a single commitment was obtained today. It is really embarrassment on that front. We're praying that the House does better tomorrow.

SESAY: I think that were a couple things that were revealed and a couple of tensions and, again, they put it to Mark Zuckerberg and I don't know that he sufficiently dealt with it, this notion, is Facebook a technology company or is it a media company?

And as we talk about the notion of disinformation and all of that -- and I'm not sure that Zuckerberg sufficiently answered that.

What did you make of it?

Because that, again, is an existential question. PATEL: Well, I think from the perspective of millions of people around the world that are in our movement and that we poll all the time, they're worried about two things. They're worried about this tremendous threat from social media, information operations, information warfare. They're also worried about government stepping in too far and saying what's true and what's not and who can say what and who can't.

But even about Facebook stepping in. So the solution that we see and that is widely supported in our polling is to just delete Fakebook. There's Facebook and there's Fakebook. And Facebook has admitted that 13 percent of its accounts are fake. And those accounts are very active.

So who knows what percentage of their activity, all those likes and comments are actually fake?

Why not just delete them?

They're actually violating Facebook's --

[01:10:00]

PATEL: -- user policy. They are the swamp that these disinformation campaigns swim in. That's how the Russians get this stuff going and there's lot of bots to like things and push things and share things.

Why not delete it?

The answer's revenue. Facebook makes money selling fake likes and fake news. That's all of these advertisers. And that's where we need to push right now, is to just delete the stuff.

SESAY: You had this open letter, calling for specific action and you talked to (INAUDIBLE) calling for tell the truth, ban the bots, alert the public and fund the fact checkers.

But everything you saw on Tuesday, everything you heard, do you think these are steps that Facebook will take willingly without pressure, i.e., without the government forcing them to without regulation?

PATEL: Honestly, as an activist, it's uncommon to do -- to be charitable towards corporations. But I think the people who work at Facebook, the executives are not evil. They actually are well- intentioned but they are moving way too slowly.

They are two steps behind the disinformation warriors. And Mark Zuckerberg today, the most shocking thing he said is, look, our AI is working to ID these fake --

(CROSSTALK)

PATEL: -- but it shouldn't be 5-10 years to clean it up. And we don't have 5-10 months to do it. And this is the kind of acceleration that we need them to do. They're moving in a little direction, saying, oh, we're going to verify large pages. Well, if you can do large pages with lots of followers, why don't you verify medium size pages and small -- why not accounts at that -- like you have the capability to do it.

Why not do it?

And this is where I think they need to be pushed right now.

SESAY: Richen Patel, my friend, it is nice to see you. Thank you so much for joining us. Very much appreciate it.

PATEL: Pleasure.

SESAY: Well, the U.S. and its allies are weighing how to respond to suspected chemical attack in Syria as a team of chemical weapons experts prepare to head to the country. The U.S. and Russia squared off at the United Nations Security Council again Tuesday, effectively blocking each other's draft resolutions for investigations into last weekend's suspected attack in Douma.

The U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley accused Russia of protecting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad whom she called "a monster" instead of protecting Syria's people.

Russia's ambassador pushed back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): You are very well at threatening and the threats that you are -- that you are proffering, that you're stating vis-a-vis Syria, should make us seriously worried, all of us, because we could find ourselves on the threshold of some very sad and serious events.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SESAY: CNN military analyst retired Lt. Col. Rick Francona joins us now from Oregon.

Col. Francona, good to see you as always.

Are you surprised that we haven't heard of any action on the part of the U.S., given the forceful comments made by the president on Monday?

LT. COL. RICK FRANCONA (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Actually I'm not because if you recall what happened a year ago, the United States reacted very quickly to that provocation, that attack of Kanshakun (ph), a sarin attack.

But this time it looks like they're -- the United States and its allies are talking about a concerted action, a much bigger action. And that's going to require some time to move forces into place.

It's one thing to fire 59 Tomahawks from a couple of vessels in the Mediterranean. But if you're going to launch a longer, even a sustained attack, you're going to have to bring additional assets into the region, of course. And that's going to require a little bit of planning, a little bit of time.

SESAY: Longer, more sustained action possibly. We don't exactly know what's going to happen. But If that were the case, what would that achieve?

I guess it's two questions.

What would that achieve?

And are we clear on what the end game is here?

FRANCONA: Well, two tough questions and I hope those are ---

(CROSSTALK)

FRANCONA: -- being addressed at the Pentagon right now because what will it achieve?

And we've talked before and I've said that I don't think whatever we do is going to change the final outcome of the situation there. It is just how it plays out. I believe that no matter what we do, the Russians have pretty much guaranteed that Bashar al-Assad and his regime are going to survive.

The question is, in what capacity or what's the final situation going to look like?

Are the Syrians going to be -- have any say what happens in their country?

Or are they going to be dictated to by the Russians, the Turks and the Iranians and of course we're being frozen out of this very -- quite effectively by the Russians. So is a military action going to achieve any change on the ground?

Probably not but it is going to indicate to the -- to the Syrians and the Russians that they cannot use these weapons of mass destruction, these chemical agents on innocent people without being any price to pay.

SESAY: Yes, but this is -- they did it just a year ago. I mean if the reports ultimately which they are by the U.N. and other investigators, as you just mentioned, Kanshakun (ph), some --

[01:15:00]

SESAY: -- 80 people died there. There were 59 Tomahawk missiles fired.

And here we are, a year later, seeing --

(CROSSTALK)

SESAY: -- and what is suspected chemical attack. So again, if you're Bashar al-Assad or you're Vladimir Putin, and the finger of blame is being pointed at them, they're thinking to themselves, what of it? It doesn't change anything.

FRANCONA: Well, it's interesting though but it did take them a year to use sarin again; that we're absolutely sure of, to launch this kind of attack. The question I have is why would the Syrians do this?

They're on the verge of absolutely wiping out the resistance in those suburbs of Damascus. There's actually a deal on the ground now where many of them are being allowed to leave and go north, mostly to Idlib.

The Syrians didn't need to use chemicals. I doubt that the Russians had any role in this; they may -- they obviously turned a blind eye. But the Syrians probably didn't ask the council, the Russians to do this because the Russians would have said there is no need. Militarily it makes no sense to use chemicals when you're on the verge of that kind of victory.

So this was a real miscalculation on the part of Bashar al-Assad and I think he's going to pay a little bit of a price for it. But as I say I don't see where this changes the final outcome.

SESAY: For every action there's a reaction so if we take that, that truism and say there's a joint airstrike, a coalition airstrike, what happens next in terms of a reaction on the part of say Russia and Iran, Bashar al-Assad's backers?

FRANCONA: Yes, that's the real calculation that has to be looked at, at the Pentagon. It's just if we mount an attack and we take out some Syrian airbases, some Syrian facilities and, of course, there are Russians and Iranians at these facilities, you have to figure what if we kill some Iranian soldiers, some Russian troops?

What happens then?

Are the Russians then bound to react and do we start this tit-for-tat back and forth and pretty soon we find ourselves in a war?

SESAY: Rick Francona, it's been more than seven years. We've seen these images and it is just dreadful and heartbreaking. We always appreciate the insight, thank you.

FRANCONA: Sure thing, Isha.

SESAY: Quick break here. Donald Trump is angry about the raid on his attorney's home and office and special counsel Robert Mueller could feel the president's wrath. The latest on Mueller's possible firing -- next.

Plus we'll speak with Academy Award-winning actor Jared Leto. He says his new album with 30 Seconds to Mars is personal and provocative. Ahead, what he found when he hitchhiked across the U.S.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MUSIC PLAYING)

SESAY: U.S. President Donald Trump is facing a pair of enormous decisions, one involving events abroad; the other right here in the United States. Mr. Trump's anger is boiling over as he decides what to do about the --

[01:20:00]

SESAY: -- suspected chemical attack in Syria and what to do after the raid on his personal lawyer's office. CNN's chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Still furious but seething behind closed doors, President Trump declined to answer whether he's considering a dramatic move to try to end special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.

But the White House made it clear the president thinks he has the authority to fire Mueller.

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Certainly believes he has the power to do so. The president has been clear that he thinks that this has gone too far and, beyond that, I don't have anything to add.

ACOSTA (voice-over): The other looming question is whether the president could force out or constrain Mueller by firing attorney general Jeff Sessions or deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, who could name a different special prosecutor.

Asked about the fate of Sessions, who showed up, at all places, a celebration for the Alabama college football team...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Attorney General, have you spoken with the president today?

SEN. JEFF SESSIONS (R-ALA.), U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Hey, not today. Roll Tide!

ACOSTA (voice-over): -- the White House didn't exactly hold back the blitz of questions.

SANDERS: I think the president was pretty clear about his frustrations when he spoke about that last night.

ACOSTA (voice-over): While the raid at the office of the president's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, was ordered by the U.S. attorney's office in New York and not Mueller, Mr. Trump is outraged at the special counsel.

According to Justice Department rules, Rosenstein, a Republican, had to sign off on the Cohen raid.

TRUMP: Why don't I fire Mueller? Well, I think it's a disgrace what's going on. We'll see what happens. But I think it's really a sad situation when you look at what happened. And many people have said, "You should fire him."

ACOSTA: The president also vented his frustrations by tweeting: "The Russia investigation is a total witch hunt," adding, "attorney-client privilege is dead." A continuation of the rant he unleashed while sitting next to top military commanders.

TRUMP: And it's a disgrace. It's frankly a real disgrace. It's an attack on our country in a true sense. It's an attack on what we all stand for. So when I saw this and when I heard it -- I heard it like you did -- I said that is really now in a whole new level of unfairness.

ACOSTA: Democrats are taking issue with the comparison.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-N.Y.), MINORITY LEADER: The Japanese bombing Pearl Harbor was an attack on our country. Nine-eleven was an attack on our country. When Russia interfered with our elections, that was an attack on our country.

ACOSTA: Republicans are urging caution, some with the hope the president is simply letting off some steam.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: I don't think he's going to be removed from this office. He shouldn't be removed from the office. He should be allowed to finish the job.

ACOSTA: While other GOP senators are warning Mr. Trump to leave Mueller alone.

SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY (R-IA), JUDICIARY CHAIRMAN: I think it would be suicide for the president to fire him. I think the less the president says about this whole thing the better off he will be. And I think that Mueller is a person of stature and respected; and I respect him. Just let the thing go forward.

ACOSTA: The Cohen raid comes during another turbulent week at the White House as the president suddenly scrapped a trip to South America set for this weekend.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you disappointed not to go to South America?

TRUMP: I am, actually. I would have loved to have gone.

ACOSTA: A decision that surprised even his top economic adviser, who thought Mr. Trump was still going just this morning.

LARRY KUDLOW, CHIEF WHITE HOUSE ECONOMIC ADVISOR (via phone): I'll be traveling with him, with the group going to Latin America. This -- well, say, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Japanese summit after that in Florida. I don't think it's going to stop him. It never stops him. ACOSTA: The White House said the president is no longer going to South America, where he was to attend the Summit of the Americas, so he can focus on the U.S. response to the suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria.

But the last time the president authorized airstrikes on Syria, we should point out, was when he was at Mar-a-Lago last year -- Jim Acosta, CNN, the White House.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SESAY: Ethan Bearman is a California talk radio host and Lanhee Chen is a research fellow and lecturer at Stanford University.

Gentlemen, great to have you with us once again.

Ethan, to you, the president not going on this trip and, as you saw, taking Larry Kudlow by surprise there, which some would say that moment in and of itself is a microcosm of all the issues at the White House.

ETHAN BEARMAN, TALK SHOW RADIO HOST: Yes, really is. It's interesting how the president just does things on a whim and doesn't notify, doesn't talk to advisors. He just, I'm going to make the decision. I don't want to do that. I'm worried about Mueller thing. I'm worried about my attorney getting raided yesterday in Manhattan in a hotel room among other places as well.

So let's cancel what is actually arguably an exceptionally important trip to address what is happening in our own hemisphere with our Central American neighbors, with our South American neighbors.

If he is actually worried about things like undocumented workers coming across the border, he should be worried about working with those countries, building their economies and instilling confidence in their institutions and the rule of law because that would stop people from wanting to come here because they would be at home.

SESAY: Lanhee, what do you make of it, the president's decision not to go?

And is it a missed opportunity that geopolitical ramifications?

LANHEE CHEN, FORMER ROMNEY PUBLIC POLICY DIRECTOR: Well, certainly American leadership in the world is crucially important and --

[01:25:00]

CHEN: -- these summits are more than just sort of gatherings of leaders. They're opportunities for the United States to say these are the values and these are the things that we stand for and that are important to us.

Now he's actually sending I guess Mike Pence and Marco Rubio, who I'm sure will do a very able job. But they're not the President of the United States. It's still different. And the president needs to demonstrate that America cares. As Ethan says, the stuff that's going on in our own hemisphere is highly impactful. It matters a lot to the American people and it matters a lot frankly to our sphere of influence as well.

And so the lack of American involvement in a direct way, I do think is problematic.

SESAY: The president isn't going; he's staying. One will assume some of that time will be spent fuming over all the events of recent days.

The chatter is getting louder and louder out of the White House in terms of how upset he is, at least that's what's being reported by "The New York Times" and others.

The question is, what does he do about it?

He's clearly not happy about this raid on Michael Cohen's office.

What does he do next?

We heard Sarah Sanders, the White House press secretary, say he has the authority to fire Mueller.

BEARMAN: Well, I think that would create a constitutional crisis. I really do. I don't believe you have the authority. There's nothing clear that shows that he does. That's Rod Rosenstein's place. If somebody was going to fire Mueller, it would be Rod Rosenstein.

So it would be arguable that Rod Rosenstein is the one who would go and that he would try and find somebody who would go -- follow his desires in that position to then fire Mueller.

But I just want to say right now, I'm really glad that we have a president who doesn't have a dog for once because all presidents have dogs. And I would be really worried with the level of instability that happens with our president, I don't want him kicking a dog.

SESAY: Oh, Ethan.

BEARMAN: I'm not actually kidding you. I mean, the way he is overreacting to things right now, he throws tantrums. It's bizarre, it's unhealthy, it's unstable, it's not good for the American people, it's not good for our government, it's not good for the world when our White House is in chaos right now.

SESAY: Lanhee Chen, Sarah Sanders also refused to say that the president has confidence in the attorney general or Rod Rosenstein or Mueller.

What do you think about -- take from that and those three people who are in the presidents crosshairs?

CHEN: Well, keep them guessing. I think that's part of the idea here, is that the president has always been unpredictable and I think this is an extension of that. Now obviously, if you take those three figures and you think about them sequentially, I think they're all sort of very important in their own way.

So now Jeff Sessions is someone who came on as the original Trump loyalist but actually has resisted in a lot of ways what the president has tried to convince him to do. And obviously the biggest part of that was recusing himself in the Russia investigation, a huge decision that I think a lot of people overlook.

But in fact think gives him a little more credibility. He's really stuck with it. Rod Rosenstein, he's someone who I think has pretty faithfully executed the job he's been given as well.

Now eliminating or firing Rosenstein would be clearly a major salvo toward Robert Mueller because it's Rod Rosenstein that ultimately has control over the Mueller investigation.

So the president may not go and fire Mueller directly. I think that would be a pretty stupid thing to do. But he could fire Rod Rosenstein and that would put Mueller in jeopardy, which is why people are so focused on Rosenstein and what might happen.

SESAY: Ethan, do you want to see Congress pass legislation to insulate, protect Robert Mueller?

BEARMAN: I think that if we had a spine in Congress, that they might actually do that because Republicans, for the most part, I think also recognize the severity of what we're facing right now and the importance of the rule of law and that this process gets followed to completion.

But I don't believe that they're going to do anything about it. They're afraid for their own base and the vote that is coming up in November this midterm is huge. And the Democrats are demonstrating that they very likely will retake the House.

SESAY: Lanhee.

CHEN: Republicans are walking a very thin line here because, on the one side of it, they have to continue to emphasize at least the more reasonable ones are saying, Robert Mueller needs to be allowed to finish the job. And I think that's absolutely true.

On the other hand, they are having a difficult time wrapping their arms around legislation to protect Robert Mueller because of the reasons Ethan's outlined now. It's an election year; obviously those are issues that matter a lot.

The Republican base here in the United States is still very firmly in President Trump's corner. And I think people don't realize that a lot of times when they think about what is happening in U.S. politics.

SESAY: Last thing I'm going to throw out there, next week James Comey's book is published. I think it comes out April 16th. The press tour will start any moment now.

Anyone care to take a guess what will be in the book?

(INAUDIBLE) what the president will do when all the press starts and FOX News starts talking about said book?

BEARMAN: If I'm Mike Pence, I'd be happy to be in South America and not in the White House when this book comes out. There's going to be explosive material in it that is going to offend and upset President Trump terribly.

I just seriously, if I'm a White House staffer, I'm taking a vacation when this book comes out.

(CROSSTALK)

[01:30:00] SESAY: Lanhee -- ten seconds.

CHEN: I would imagine that this next week is going to be spent a lot -- to put it (INAUDIBLE) this trite, try to discredit James Comey. But let's not forget he did have a very good career in law enforcement for a very long time and I hope people don't lose sight of that.

SESAY: All right. We'll be checking in on you next week as all the dust flies.

Ethan Bearman, Lanhee Chen -- we appreciate it. Thank you.

BEARMAN: Thank you.

SESAY: Thank you.

We're going to take a very quick break here.

Next on NEWSROOM L.A. disturbing video taken from the scope of an Israeli sniper. We'll tell you what Israel is saying about the shooting.

Plus, Myanmar takes action against some of its soldiers after the deaths of these Rohingya men. The details are just ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm Isha Sesay. The headlines this hour.

Mark Zuckerberg faces a second day of questioning on Capitol Hill Wednesday. In Tuesday's hearing the Facebook CEO apologized for mistakes the company made in failing to protect users' data. He did not commit to any specific regulations for social media.

The U.S. and its allies are weighing how to respond to last weekend's suspected chemical attack in Douma, Syria. An international team of chemical weapons inspectors is preparing to head to Douma to assess what happened there.

A source familiar with the matter says Donald Trump and his aides have discussed firing special counsel Robert Mueller for months. Speculation is heating up once again after the FBI raided the home and the office of the President's personal attorney, Michael Cohen. Well, a disturbing video from Israel shows a sniper from the Israel Defense Forces shooting a Palestinian standing near the border fence with Gaza. The video lasts more than a minute and it led the Monday evening news in Israel and was prominent in newspapers.

Now it has -- reignited rather -- a debate about the Israeli army's principles and the actions of its soldiers. We warn you (AUDIO GAP) is graphic and disturbing.

Ian Lee reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: An Israeli sniper zeroes in on a Palestinian man near the Gaza border. He appears unarmed.

"When he steps, you take him down", the commander orders in the video.

Gunshot cracks and the man falls.

"Son of a bitch", one soldier yells, "what a legendary film". "I haven't seen this kind of thing for a long time."

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman praised the soldier while criticizing the one who recorded it through his scope.

AVIGDOR LIEBERMAN, ISRAELI DEFENSE MINISTER (through translator): The sniper deserves a medal. The other soldier should be demoted.

[01:35:00] LEE: The video and the soldiers' celebration has provoked outrage.

AHMAD TIBI, ARAB MOVEMENT FOR CHANGE: They committed a crime but not only them. Above them there is one more criminal. His name is Avigdor Lieberman. He's inciting those soldiers to kill.

LEE: Israel's military says the video was filmed in December and that it doesn't show the full picture of what happened. It says the shooting was justified but will conduct a full inquiry adding, "The cheering does not suit the degree of restraint expected of IDF soldiers."

This video comes on the heels of others from the recent violence on the Gaza-Israel border. Here an Israeli sniper shoots a protester in the back as he runs away from the border.

And this woman, waving a flag near the border drops after getting shot. Both appear unarmed and their conditions are unknown.

Tens of thousands of Palestinians have gathered near the border fence on two successive Fridays saying they want to cross over to lands lost to Israel 70 years ago. Israel says the demonstrations are led by Hamas and present a security threat.

In total, Israeli soldiers have killed 32 Palestinians since the protest started two weeks ago. No Israeli soldiers have been killed or injured. International and Israeli rights groups have accused Israel of using excessive force.

ROY YELLIN: The army shooting people outside of the normal rules of engagement and that's why my organization called soldiers to refuse those orders which are criminal orders and manifestly illegal.

LEE: Even before the latest round of protests began, Israel's military posted this video on social media. It shows what appears to be an unarmed Gazan near the fence, shot in the leg.

It warns, "Hamas is sending you to demonstrations and endangering your lives."

JONATHAN CONRICUS, IDF SPOKESMAN: We use very specific -- there are sharpshooters or snipers and specific persons who are trying to sabotage the fence. We aim for the lower part of the body or the feet and -- to make sure that those people are not able, those rioters are not able to climb or sabotage the fence and pose a significant threat to our facilities.

LEE: With Palestinians vowing to cross and Israel's military not backing down, a video like this shows peace is far away.

Ian Lee, CNN -- Jerusalem.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SESAY: Well, a judge in Myanmar is refusing to dismiss the case against two Reuters journalists who were arrested while investigating the killing of ten Rohingya men last year. The journalists were accused of having secret government papers. They had interviewed a retired a Myanmar army officer who claimed he helped dig the mass grave for the Rohingya men.

Meanwhile Myanmar has reportedly sentenced seven of its soldiers for those killings. State media reports the soldiers were found guilty after a 13-day investigation. They're now facing ten years of hard labor.

Well, a failed prison break in northern Brazil has left at least 20 people dead. Authorities say a heavily armed group used explosives to take down a prison wall. Nineteen of those killed are believed to be prisoners or those who tried to free them. One victim was a guard. It's not known if anyone escaped.

Well, a quick break here.

A French priest is documenting what he calls a modern-day genocide. Still to come his heartbreaking stories of rape and murder against the Yazidi population.

[01:38:33] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SESAY: Eight-year-old boys bought and sold to build bombs and blow up other children on command. Kidnapped women, tortured and raped, forced to watch decapitations and death by firing squad -- all in the name of ISIS. This was the fate of thousands of Yazidi people in Iraq. Broken bodies and minds, witnesses to systematic brutality and persecution likened to the Holocaust. But some escaped, many lived to tell.

Joining me, the man who has spoken to more than 200 of them -- Father Patrick Desbois, a Georgetown University professor and co-author of the about-to-be-published book "The Terrorist Factory: ISIS, the Yazidi Genocide and Exporting Terror". Father Desbois -- welcome.

FATHER PATRICK DESBOIS, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: Thank you. You're welcome.

SESAY: You know, it's so apropos that we have you here right now talking about this book about ISIS and their crimes because right now in the news, there's been all this talk about U.S. troops pulling out of Syria and ISIS being on the run.

You spoke with the people who have actually been with these people with ISIS in Iraq.

DESBOIS: Yes, I'd just come back from Iraq. That had been three weeks ago. And I'm not sure ISIS is on the run so much. They lost a lot of power but they have a long term vision. You know, the program was to unmask ISIS because officially they rape girls. That was what we show but I've tried to find what they didn't show and what they didn't show is hundreds of camps to train children.

I interviewed like 45 with my team of Yahad. I interviewed 45 children from seven years old to 11. They don't remember their name. They don't remember their father's face, their mother's face. They don't speak their language. One speaks English because they had been sold to an American ISIS family. One is speaking French because he has been sold to a French family. One speaks Arabic because he'd been sold to a Jordanian family, et cetera.

And they told them, the others told them we will die. We will die in Mosul. We'll die in Iraq. But you the children, the lion of the Caliphate, you will survive and you would have to act outside.

SESAY: How did they do it? Tell me. You spoke to children. What did they tell you about their day to day existence?

DESBOIS: First, they extract them from their family. They put them in camps. They don't see the TV. They woke up t 4:00. They pray. After they have to (INAUDIBLE) the suffering; they walk on them. They are not to cry.

And after specializing in commando (ph) -- free kind of commando; commando with Kalashnikov, commando to put bombs, commando to be beside bombers.

And after they make -- after I interviewed a child. He was putting bombs to (INAUDIBLE). Another one was putting bombs at a border of Kurdistan, et cetera.

So these children have been completely brainwashed and they feel like this. They say I am Daesh. I'm ISIS.

SESAY: And when they say I'm Daesh, I'm ISIS -- what does that mean to them? Does that mean them against the rest of the world, against non-Muslims? What does that mean to them?

DESBOIS: Even against their family -- it's why my organization we vow to talk, to try to bring them back because they are refugee, they don't know anymore who they are.

For example I interview a nine-year-old boy and he has been in ISIS three years. He has been taken at six-year-old. And at the end, he approached my camera man and said give me your bag, I will blow you. And he was yelling Allahu Akbar in the middle of the conversation. And the moment -- he doesn't know who he is.

And so we have to help these children to wake up from this nightmare of ISIS. That's why I'm afraid is that in fact ISIS has a strategy to export them because these children are not only Yazidi, they could be French --

SESAY: Yes.

DESBOIS: -- they could be German, they could be Americans, Saudi, Jordanians -- from anywhere. It's an exportation machine -- ISIS.

SESAY: It's a factory.

DESBOIS: It's a factory of children in fact.

SESAY: You talk about the mother there who doesn't recognize her child. Talk to me about the experience of the mothers, of the women who I know, in cases some bought and sold as many as 25 times. CNN has shown on our air video of slave markets of women being bought and sold.

Talk to me about where that fits in with ISIS' strategy, the abuse, the systematic abuse -- almost the factory element of how they treat women.

[01:44:57] DESBOIS: When they arrest a family of Yazidi -- a doctor enters and check every girl was virgin. If a girl is virgin, she will be taken in a group and sold by group to (INAUDIBLE) and are sold one by one.

If she's beautiful she was sold to a high authority of ISIS and it's an awful story. They will bring the girl in a hospital and they will rape her under anesthesia (ph) because they don't want her to remember she has been raped. So that's if she's sold to a high-rank.

But if she's sold to lower rank, she would be raped, sold one day, sold two days, et cetera meaning today she has been sold 25 times, 35 times and she has a new name, she has to pray everyday. She has to assure (ph) she's Muslim and she dreams to escape every day.

SESAY: Why the targeting of the Yazidi? DESBOIS: Because they classify them as evil worshipers. They say they have no vote (ph). They are not believers so we have the right -- we have the legal right to treat them as slaves.

SESAY: As we talk about you capturing these stories and you speaking to all of these people and capturing all of these stories in the book. It's even more important that books like these exist because they Yazidi haven't had justice. There's been no one held accountable.

Do you hope that these stories will one day play a part in a trial or --

DESBOIS: We work very closely with the Justice in France, Justice in Germany and other countries to bring (INAUDIBLE) because effectively for the moment, nobody, nobody has been judged for genocide. We say ISIS did a genocide. Nobody said that Baghdadi did a genocide.

I think today if we were judging Hitler, we would judge him for terrorists because it's easier to judge. But we have to unmask this genocide otherwise, it would be the first time a genocide happens with nobody guilty.

SESAY: And you, how does it affect you personally as you talk about taking care of yourself. You did all this work on the Holocaust. You're doing all this work on the Yazidi. How about you and your spirit?

DESBOIS: It's a fight. All my people, we are 29 full time -- all my people working in that say we are more lonely than before because you passed on the other side of the mirror. People like to sleep well and we don't sleep well. I will always encourage my team also to have a psychoanalyst and I would say, of course, if I didn't pray, I'm not sure I will stay in this duty.

SESAY: Father Desbois, we thank you for the work you do.

DESBOIS: Thank you.

SESAY: And congratulations on the book -- it's an important book.

DESBOIS: Merci.

SESAY: An important work.

Up next we speak with Academy award winning actor Jared Leto about his odyssey across the U.S. plus what motivated him to explore America in his new album with Thirty Seconds to Mars".

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SESAY: America -- land of the free, home of the brave. Possibility, potential dreams realized. That's the good.

Then there's the bad, even ugly -- political tension, racial and economic division, drugs, guns and war.

[01:49:50] Thirty Seconds to Mars' ambitious new project tackles it all head on.

(MUSIC)

SESAY: The albums is called "America". It is out now. Academy-award winner Jared Leto is the band's lead singer. He joins me now here in L.A. Welcome.

JARED LETO, ACTOR AND SINGER: Hi.

SESAY: Congrats.

LETO: By the way, that intro -- I want to take it and play it before every show. It's so classy and so impactful, powerful. It's great.

SESAY: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

The album sounds great. It is your first album in five years.

LETO: Yes.

SESAY: A lot of people have been waiting for it. A lot of people have been excited. You know, it's called. "America". It's a big sweeping title. This is a big sweeping album.

LETO: Yes.

SESAY: But I guess my question to you is, is this more personal or political?

LETO: It's a little bit of both. It's so sure, it's personal, it's emotional. It's creative and fun, provocative maybe at times.

(MUSIC)

LETO: This is a new chapter for Thirty Seconds to Mars and "America" is a very heavy-handed title, especially in the times we're living in now which is one of the reasons we have these crazy album covers -- these lists.

SESAY: I want to talk about that.

LETO: Yes.

SESAY: What is the thinking behind -- is it ten, ten different album covers?

LETO: I mean there are hundreds of different lists that we're using in billboards and snipes and street posters and album covers, you know.

SESAY: What's the thinking and what conversation are you trying to start?

LETO: I think individual the lists for me are -- they could be fun or funny, provocative. They're interesting. They're bizarre. But together they kind of act like a time capsule. If you were to look back on these lists -- 10, 20, 30, 50, a hundred years from now I think you get a sense of the times that we're living in, the culture that we're all a part of.

SESAY: You did this cross-country --

LETO: Yes.

SESAY: -- I don't want to put my grade -- I don't want to --

LETO: Honesty.

SESAY: There was an honesty -- that's a perfect --

LETO: A long walk.

SESAY: Yes.

LETO: Yes.

SESAY: First of all, why did you want to do that for this album?

LETO: Well, the album is called "America" --

SESAY: Yes.

LETO: -- and I thought retracing that journey that I took as a kid coming from New York, an art school kid, art school dropout, coming to California for the first time with my backpack and sleeping on Venice Beach. It was something to kind of retracing my steps.

It's a classic journey from East to West. I got a chance to visit states that we're going to be playing shows out for our tour in June and July. And I got on the streets. I got in front of people, you know, talking to a trucker in Milwaukee who's shipping Harley Davidson's across the nation and hearing about his concerns of the future.

So I don't know, it was very much in line with the album and in the spirit of what we're doing and it was an incredible trip. I met the most amazing people and I had the experience of a lifetime.

SESAY: What surprised you on the journey as you talked to all these people?

(CROSSTALK)

LETO: What surprised me -- what surprised me was the optimism that's still out there in the midst of such a conflict in times of instability and uncertainty, that people still hold on to hope.

SESAY: What are they optimistic about? About their own selves as individuals to push through or of the country as a collective?

LETO: The country as a collective. I think that the idea of the American dream, the idea of America, the possibility that we can leave this country in a better place for our children and our children's children. I think people still held on to that acknowledging that we're in really difficult times. But looking forward and hopeful that things can be different.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can we get better?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Heck, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have that hope that America can change for the better.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everything I have today is thanks to the United States.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- possibility.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: America is greater than it's ever been.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's something positive that's going to come out of the negativity.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are all related.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SESAY: Are you optimistic?

LETO: I'm optimistic. I mean I see a lot of unity out there.

I mean if you looked at the news, you obviously get a sense of the conflict in the country. You get a sense of the uncertainty, the debate, the discussion that's going on. But when you cross the country, I think you see that we have a lot more in common than maybe expected.

[01:54:59] (MUSIC)

SESAY: The song that you have on the album, "Hail to the Victor", which you know, is taking again to really big, big issues, concerns -- about war, religion, drugs. But as the song I've listened in the opening scene there, the feeling was that it's still a very hopeful song.

LETO: Yes, I think so. I think there are songs in this album that are filled with optimism and hope and songs that talk about the times that we're living in.

There's a song called "Walk on Water" --

SESAY: I love that.

LETO: Thank you. It's about freedom. It's about standing up and fighting for what you believe in. And that's important, you know, not just in this time but at any time. SESAY: When you go to these concerts, when they see you on stage and in the days ahead, do you want them to leave with a particular feeling? Do you want them to take some thing in a particular way from this album?

I mean some creatives (ph) say no, they won't be able to take what they find and what they identify with.

LETO: I mean if I had my way, yes, I would love people to feel good. I would love people to feel some sense of possibility. I think when people come to a concert and there's 10,000 or 20,000 people in a room, sharing the same idea that's very unique especially in the times that we're living in, you've got a big group of people agreeing on something.

And I hope that people leave with a sense of excitement that they had a night that they'll never forget. And you know, I work really hard every night to make sure that that happens.

SESAY: Jared -- it's such a pleasure.

LETO: Yes, nice to talk to you.

SESAY: Thank you. Thank you very much.

LETO: Yes. Appreciate it.

SESAY: Thank you.

And the news continues right after this. You're watching CNN.

(MUSIC)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[02:00:01] SESAY: This is CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. Ahead this hour --

As the U.S. military weighs its options in Syria, we'll look at the humanitarian toll of just the latest violence.

Sources tell CNN that Donald Trump is considering firing the deputy attorney general --