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Interview with Representative Ted Lieu; House Intel Committee Releases 3,000 Facebook Ads Funded by Russian Troll Group; Trump's North Korea Summit to Take Place June 12th in Singapore. Aired 10:30- 11a ET
Aired May 10, 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] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: And to this company that has ties to a Russian oligarch.
First of all, what do you make of that?
REP. TED LIEU (D), FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE: Well, this shows that at the very least it is pay-to-play on steroids. And it shows that the Trump administration is really involved in a culture of corruption. You already have a Cabinet of corruption with Cabinet officials wasting taxpayers' money, and doing things for lobbyists, and now you have the president's own attorney who is involved in this pay-to-play scheme.
Part of that money was at least half a million dollars from a Putin aligned Russian oligarch. That is deeply suspicious and we need to see if that money went anywhere else other than Michael Cohen.
BERMAN: We don't know, though, and Rudy Giuliani who is working as the president's counsel just spoke to our Dana Bash. We don't know if the president knew anything about this. Mayor Giuliani told Dana that he had -- he spoke to the president about this fact and the president said he wasn't aware of that situation until now. In the developments about AT&T and Novartis, Rudy Giuliani said he doubts that the president knew about it.
LIEU: You're right, we don't know what the president knew. We do know that Rudy Giuliani has gone on national TV, and then 48 hours later had to correct his statements so it's not clear what Rudy Giuliani is saying is true.
I also find it interesting that the White House, specifically the White House Press Corps, when they asked Sarah Huckabee Sanders questions on this they refused to answer, they simply keep deflecting to Rudy Giuliani. So I think that is also suspicious.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: There is no question that it is, you know, the swampiest of swampy things to do in the history of the swamp administration, but do you think it was illegal?
LIEU: There is nothing particularly illegal about companies paying a lot of money for access. That's what happens. And that's what we're trying to stop, those of us who do really want to drain the swamp for real. But what you're seeing is a huge amount of money to one individual, Michael Cohen, and that is troubling and then when some of it is coming from a Putin aligned Russian oligarch, that's even more troubling.
Donald Trump could actually clear up a lot of this by making statements on the record or simply releasing his tax returns.
BERMAN: I would not hold your breath for the tax returns, Congressman.
The CNN poll, the generic congressional ballot test, the Democratic edge has shrunk considerably over the last few months. It was 16 points. Now it is down to three points. A three-point advantage for Democrats. Why do you think it has shrunk so much?
LIEU: I don't know the reason for that. I know that polls go up and down, but what is more concerning to me are there are individual districts that we need to flip and CNN just reported today that they shifted four House races towards Democrats. So what we need to focus on are the swing districts, districts like the district that Conor Lamb won in Western Pennsylvania and Democrats are running on a message of a better deal, better wages, better jobs.
HARLOW: Yes. Except on the economy the president is doing remarkably well, really no matter who you ask. We got 84 percent of folks in the new CNN poll saying the economy will be extremely or very important to their vote. You've got unemployment below 4 percent and you've also the graphic we have up here is also important because you've also got one in three Republicans saying that they're very enthusiastic, it's something different, but they're very enthusiastic about the midterms, that was back in March.
Now 44 almost half of Republicans are very enthusiastic about the midterms. So what does that tell you about how your Democratic colleagues need to run to win?
LIEU: So that's why we're running on a better deal. We're not saying the economy is not doing particularly well. What we're saying is the top 1 percent in massive corporations are getting all these benefits. The GOP tax law, under analysis by the "Washington Post," 83 percent of the benefits go to the top 1 percent in large corporations. So your ordinary American is not seeing their fruits of the economy.
BERMAN: Congressman Ted Lieu of California, thanks so much for being with us.
LIEU: Thank you.
HARLOW: Thank you.
This just in to CNN, we have learned that the president has indeed spoken to the families of the freed detainees and also the family of Otto Warmbier. He called the families on Wednesday. And he also called the parents of Otto Warmbier a few days ago as he spoke about last night. Of course, Otto Warmbier returned to this country after being detained in North Korea and passed away shortly after returning home. After the release of the three Americans was announced, Vice President
Pence also called the Warmbier family.
BERMAN: Thousands of Facebook ads from a troll group linked to the Russian government have just been released. And it looks like these ads targeted more parts of the American population than previously reported. We have new details next.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.
[10:39:01] HARLOW: Breaking news we now know when President Trump will sit down with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. The president just tweeting, "The highly anticipated meeting between Kim Jong-un and myself will take place in Singapore on June 12th." He went on to say, "We will both try to make it a very special moment for world peace."
We had known the location for a few days. We had not known the date. Now it is June 12th.
BERMAN: Again, the president putting this out in his official medium to communicate with the world, on Twitter.
For the first time we're getting the full scope of how Russians tried to influence and divide Americans through social media. The House Intelligence Committee released all 3,000 Facebook ads funded by the Internet Research Agency. This is the Russian troll group that has been tied to the Kremlin.
HARLOW: Our senior investigative correspondent Drew Griffin is with us.
And Drew, you and your team have gone through many of these -- many of these ads. We've previously seen some, but this is 3,000. What do they tell us?
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: What's amazing about the trove of this stuff is the sheer breadth and scope of the posts. The Twitter posts the Russian were involved with, Poppy.
[10:40:03] All very detailed, most of them looked like they were posted by regular Americans with very strong opinions. And those opinions covered just about every political viewpoint that was going on in 2015, '16, and even into 2017. More than 3,000 of these posts over that three-year period.
Facebook calls them ads because the Russians paid for them $167,000 to boost the post and then targeted certain groups and making them appear at the top of people's Facebook feeds.
And we're just giving you a sample of what they are. With the release, the Russians are really all over the place here, guys. Not really supporting one candidate over the other. I was surprised to see this one because I had not seen any support of Hillary. We'd seen a lot of anti-Hillary, but this support of Hillary, "Save American Muslims," you might argue could really both help and hurt her, right? I mean, if we're going to be honest.
The Russians' aim, though, seem to be to divide any way they could, race, religion, political party, and they organized events, even duped Americans into launching support groups. A new one we found out about, North Carolina, the Russians reached out and set up free legal help for immigrants in that state while also organizing anti-immigrant protests. They organized free self-defense classes for African- Americans. I talked to an instructor in New York who was paid by the Russians to have these.
Also held rallies for and rallies against Donald Trump. They were with Americans who were duped into believing they were following some kind of a grassroots groups. So basically they took advantage of any issue in America, tried to stoke division and even in some cases were calling for violence.
Let me point out one group that struck out. One of the most intricate projects they had was a page called Williamson and Calvin. 200 posts from two African-American guys who were supporting Donald Trump and bashing Hillary Clinton. 200 of these posts. We haven't been able to find out who these guys are or where they are. This was all set up by the Internet Research Agency in Russia in St. Petersburg.
Also interesting, the Russians were able to follow American news, react almost the same day with posts that got tens of thousands of likes, comments and shares, like right after that shooting of Philando Castile, they were right on the Internet putting up ads like these.
HARLOW: And this was going on, Drew, for a really long period of time.
GRIFFIN: It really was and continued. It started in 2015. Then it doesn't stop. Right after the election, after having a bunch of pro- Trump rallies, they had anti-Trump rallies, and then they turned to something interesting. Pro-Mexican or United Brown Front in 2017, when there was all that discussion about building the wall.
So I mean it's just incredible the amount of detail that they put into it. The amount of time they put into knowing what the strategies were. And really, you know, as Adam Schiff who released this information today just said, the breadth of scope of how they actually divided us, tried to divide us through this election was incredible.
BERMAN: So what's Facebook doing about all of this, Drew?
GRIFFIN: Well, Facebook, John, announced a 10-part plan to kind of combat this in the future. Kind of make sure that they can detect where this information is coming from. Certainly they wiped these -- all these Internet accounts off of their page. But I want to tell you what they said, which was somewhat humbling.
"We've made important changes to prevent bad actors from using misinformation to undermine the democratic process. But this will never be a solved problem because we're up against determined, creative and well-funded adversaries, but we are making steady progress." What that tells me, Poppy and John, you know, we're just going to have
to be dealing with this kind of junk all through elections from here on out. This is now part of elections.
HARLOW: This is a new reality. Drew Griffin, important reporting. Thank you. You and your team for all of that.
All right. The breaking news, there is a date, June 12th, the day President Trump will sit down for this summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. More on that next.
[10:48:45] HARLOW: All right. The breaking news, we have a day and a place, the president's historic summit with North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un.
BERMAN: All right. Kaitlan Collins joins us now from the White House, our political director David Chalian joining us as well.
Kaitlan, what have you learned?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, it's official now, the president confirming what CNN reported last night that that historic meeting between him and the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un is going to take place in Singapore. The president giving us an official date saying it is going to happen on June 12th. He says, "We will both try to make it a very special moment for world peace." So this is official, we do have a date, we do have a location coming from the president.
Of course, last night, after the release of those three Americans, the president saying that he did not think that would affect the way he negotiated with Kim Jong-un during that meeting. But he did say he appreciated him releasing them before that upcoming summit -- John and Poppy.
HARLOW: Kaitlan, thank you.
David Chalian, to you. This is historic any way you slice it. However, there have been some even in the president's own party, like Senator Jeff Flake, Senator Thune on this show last hour who are warning the president that he needs to go into this summit clear eyed after the president used language last night calling the treatment of these detainees by Kim Jong-un excellent.
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yes, and previously calling him honorable.
[10:50:02] That was all after calling him a mad man and rocket man. Things have moved very rapidly here. President Trump himself I think, has acknowledged time and again the precarious nature of the talks and he says very often as a caveat, if indeed this is not going well, he will as he says respectfully walk away, even in that meeting in Singapore on June 12th if he feels that way. You're right, eyes wide open, going in. But, guys, we cannot stress
enough, not only is it historic, as you say, politically this is hugely advantageous to President Trump right now. The images of last night added to this motion of the meeting, our latest poll numbers out show 77 percent of Americans approve of him sitting down and meeting with Kim Jong-un. That's grown 15 points just in the last month.
His overall approval rating on handling North Korea is for the first time in majority support territory, 53 percent of Americans. And, you know what, I say all the time that I'm always looking for an example of where Donald Trump is doing something growing beyond his base. How about this stat from our poll. Among Democrats, Donald Trump's approval on how he handles North Korea has gone up 20 points in the last month. From 6 percent approval among Democrats to now 26 percent approval, a quarter of Democrats support and approve what he's doing on North Korea.
A quarter of Democrats don't ever support or approve anything Donald Trump is doing. So this is working broadly, politically, as well as we'll see if he can actually get a result that, as he says, would be one towards world peace.
BERMAN: Congressman Ted Lieu, Democrat from California, who doesn't like anything.
HARLOW: Yes, anything.
BERMAN: That President Trump does, was just on the show a few minutes ago, saying he supports this meeting. Just what you're saying, David.
June 12th is really soon. It is really soon for an historic summit like this, David.
CHALIAN: It is. We're now just over four weeks from that. And the preparation for Donald Trump to go in, he's going to need to use every one of these days to go in to prepare and go into those talks. Obviously there are so many competing factors and we've seen the buildup going, right? We've seen the images with Pompeo, with Kim Jong-un. We've gotten readouts of the conversations that President Trump has had with the Chinese leader, with the South Korean leader.
So all the players in the region have been clearly and methodically and, again, quite quickly building toward this moment. But there is a lot of work to do for this president between now and June 12th when he heads into that meeting.
BERMAN: All right. David Chalian, thanks so much for being with us. Appreciate it.
CHALIAN: Thanks, guys.
BERMAN: The Celtics punch their ticket to the Eastern Conference Finals in a rematch this time which will be successful with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [10:57:22] HARLOW: The Celtics finished off the process, knocking out the 76ers to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals for a second straight year.
Lindsay Czarniak has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report." And I just learned what the process is.
LINDSAY CZARNIAK, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes. It's a big deal. You know very well, right? The process buildup and see if it works and it worked for a while. So now the Celtics, though, will meet a very well rested LeBron James and the Cavaliers.
This "Bleacher Report" brought to you by Ford, going further so you can.
The Celtics with their injury rose, they surpassed expectations because they put an end to their series with the Sixers in five games. In large part because of this guy, this is head coach Brad Stevens who many thought should have been coach of the year.
CZARNIAK: Yes. Might agree. He has told his team to rest up now after the grind of the series. The Sixers kept it close until the very end. But Boston's combination of Al Horford and rookie Jayson Tatum, it was just too much. Tatum led his team with 25 points, he had that go ahead basket with just over 22 seconds left. He talked about the joy and proving critics wrong after the win.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAYSON TATUM, BOSTON CELTICS: Nobody expected us to win the northeastern conference finals. So we just continue to prove people wrong and you know have fun while we're doing it.
AL HORFORD, BOSTON CELTICS: They want to be great. And they understand that it is bigger than them. It is about the team. We're playing for each other. We're trying to do things the right way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CZARNIAK: We're talking about that team chemistry, but look at this. This is such a great story, you guys. This is Jayson Tatum, when he was 14 years old with LeBron James. He tweeted this to LeBron James when he was 14 because he was trying to get him to follow him basically or tweet him back. OK. So now consider the fact that he is about to go up against his idol, so to speak, in the series. It's going to be incredible to watch.
The Yankees, by the way, sorry, are sure keeping their fans on their toes. How about the late game theatrics? It continued last night. This is the eighth inning. Brett Gardner's two-run triple off of Red Sox's Craig Kimball gave the Yankees a 7-6 lead. And then Aaron Judge effectively dismissing the chances of a Red Sox comeback, sorry, John, with his two-run homerun. The Yankees win 9-6, they take sole possession of first place in the AL East. They have now won 17 of their last 18, the best stretch in that span of time in more than half a century.
BERMAN: The important thing was the Celtics won. This is why I can't talk anymore. I'm all choked up. The Celtics advances.
CZARNIAK: I was just going to ask, it must have been, right?
CZARNIAK: Baseball, it just matters if you're hot in September, right?
HARLOW: Lindsay, thank you. Appreciate it.
Thank you all for being with us today. I'm Poppy Harlow.
BERMAN: I'm John Berman. "AT THIS HOUR" with Kate Bolduan starts now.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan. We are following breaking news. We now know when and where President Trump will be meeting --