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Reporters To See Dismantling Of North Korean Nuclear Site; Trump: Kim Jong-Un's Attitude Changed After A Meeting; Trump, Kim Jong-un Meeting May Not Happen In June; NYT: Trump Attorney's Business Partner To Cooperate. Aired 12-1a ET
Aired May 23, 2018 - 00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: This is CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. Ahead this hour, maybe it will happen, maybe it won't. Donald Trump says the summit with Kim Jong-un might be in jeopardy at the same time the rogue regime is going to put on a show for the world.
A master class innovation, how Facebook's founder dodged the tough questions in Brussels.
And explosive lava erupting unleashing toxic clouds and forcing evacuations on Hawaii's big island.
Hello and welcome to our viewers all around the world. I'm John Vause. The first hour of NEWSROOM L.A. starts right now.
Donald Trump is now casting doubt over his much-hyped summit with the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un. The clearest sign yet the meeting could be in trouble. The U.S. president says there is a very substantial chance the summit might not happen in three weeks as planned.
While the fate of the summit hangs in the balance, a handful of journalists including CNN's Will Ripley are in North Korea to witness the dismantling of its main nuclear test site. However, no weapons inspectors or outside nuclear experts are expected to attend, meaning it will be tough to verify if the site is truly shut down for good.
Here is Will Ripley with more on his journey to the site and details about the Trump-Kim meeting.
WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We learned overnight here that President Trump made remarks that there's a chance, a substantial chance, that the summit that is planned for June 12th in Singapore between the president and the North Korean leader, Kim Jong- un may not happen.
He's not saying for sure but certainly a very different tone from what we had heard from South Korean officials including their national security chief, who said there was a 99.9 percent chance that the summit would take place as scheduled but that they were preparing contingency plans just in case it didn't happen.
Obviously, the South Koreans want these talks to happen. They want North Korea and the United States to have a conversation and try to strike some sort of a deal but that does look increasingly difficult for a lot of different factors.
Here in North Korea, they are really not happy about what they're seeing in the South and also what they're hearing from the United States. There are those joint military exercises taking place including fighter jets and bombing runs.
The kind of thing that North Korea considers as a dress rehearsal for invasion of this country and they are also not happy about the rhetoric that's coming out of Washington. President Trump's national security advisor, John Bolton, saying that they are looking at North Korea and the Libya model.
Of course, Moammar Gadhafi gave up his nuclear weapons and was dead just a few years later, overthrown by U.S.-backed forces. The North Koreans say they would never accept anything like that here in this country.
And they are also looking at the joint military exercises happening between the U.S. and South Korea. As I mentioned as a sign of a potential dress rehearsal for an invasion of this country.
They have said that they will walk away from the summit as well if they don't like what they're seeing and hearing from the U.S. and right now, with the rhetoric and the tensions heating up and these new remarks from President Trump, it's really an open question what's going to happen.
But as of now, we are still planning to travel nearly 20 hours by train and car, and by hiking to one of the most remote areas inside North Korea, the nuclear test site at Punggyeri where we along with a very small group of fewer than two dozen international journalists expect to witness when North Korea says is the dismantlement of their nuclear test site.
Now, there are no experts in our group that we are aware of, so they won't be conducting any substantial inspections of the site. We don't know how long we are going to be there. We don't know what distance we are going to be kept from the site itself.
But we will do our best to be the eyes and ears here on the ground inside North Korea. I'm Will Ripley, CNN, Wonsan.
VAUSE: Now for the very latest, CNN's Ivan Watson is with us from Seoul, South Korea and Matt Rivers is also standing by in Beijing. Ivan, first to you, the blog site (inaudible), which closely monitors North Korea has published satellite photos which show preparation still on the way for the closure of the nuclear test site.
There's an observation platform for journalists. The area has been recently landscaped they say and you just heard from Will a select handful of international journalists is still on their way to the site.
Assuming that it is actually permanently closes, if all goes ahead, that doesn't necessarily mean next month's summit will go ahead as well. One event doesn't guarantee the other, does it?
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No, it doesn't seem that they are linked, though, this does seem to be a confidence building measure from Pyongyang and it's been welcomed certainly by the South Korean government. It's worth noting that we've learned in the last couple of hours that after initially refusing to accept the applications from South Korean journalists.
And South Korea was one of five countries who was going to have representatives invited to this decommissioning ceremony in North Korea. We've now learned from the South Korean government that North Korea has now accepted a list of eight South Korean journalists to attend.
[00:05:10] And now the South Koreans are scrambling to somehow fly them to North Korea, but that's indicated of the new tensions between Pyongyang and Seoul where Pyongyang has been beating South Korea in state media and even after the South Korean president met face to face with the North Korean leader in the end of April.
And even after President Moon Jae-in was just in the White House trying to convince the Trump administration to stay the course, keep working towards this summit planned in June in Singapore with Moon Jae-in flattering the U.S. president saying he's the only man who could perhaps turn around, you know, decades of tension and make history here.
Even though, the South Korean government has had friction with the North Korean government in just the last couple of days -- John.
VAUSE: Ivan, thank you. Matt, to you now, almost from the moment of place and a time was set for the summit, it seems the problems began, and the U.S. president seems to be putting a lot of the blame for that on China's president, Xi Jinping. This is what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: President Xi is a world class poker player. There was a different attitude by the North Korean folks when after that meeting. All of a sudden it was reported that he was in China second time. The first time everybody knew about. The second time was like a surprise and I think things change after that meeting. So, I can't say that I'm happy about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: OK, so, if what the president saying is true, and we don't know, why would Beijing want to undermine these talks and secondly, doesn't have that sort of influence over North Korea. Many were saying just a few weeks ago, China had been essentially sidelined during all of this diplomacy.
MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, John, I mean, it's also worth noting just right at the top here that both visits that Kim Jong-un made here to China were complete surprises and you can argue that the first visit was way more of a surprise than the second one.
But to your first question there, I don't know that China so much wants to undermine this meeting as the president might be suggesting there because what's the other option, they certainly don't want to see the situation on the Korean Peninsula deteriorate further where they could see military action perhaps by the Trump administration.
But at the same time, they don't want a situation, their worse nightmare would be North Korea somehow gravitating towards the sphere of influence dominated by the United States, Japan and South Korea.
So, what you've seen from China over the last several weeks and over the last two months or so really is a concerted diplomatic push to make sure that it does not being left out, that they will have a role in these diplomatic negotiations moving forward.
And that their interests are being represented by their traditional ally, North Korea. But I think that we would be underestimating the North Korean's here to suggest that what they are doing is somehow based on what Xi Jinping is saying.
Think about what's happened over the last several years, North Korea has conducted a foreign policy that had angered China. That's why they've signed on for all of these sanctions. They routinely have embarrassed China, Kim Jong-un has.
And so, to suggest that after just a couple of meetings that all of sudden Kim Jong-un and his regime are going to do whatever China says I think is not taking the fuller context here of a North Korea that has consistently operated independently of China even as they rely on them for economic support.
VAUSE: OK. Matt, thank you. Matt Rivers in Beijing and also Ivan Watson before you in Seoul. Thanks.
Paul Carroll is the senior advisor for N Square Group committed to nuclear disarmament who joins us now from San Francisco. Paul, thanks for being with us.
PAUL CARROLL, SENIOR ADVISOR, N SQUARE: My pleasure, John. Thanks for having me.
VAUSE: OK. Well, this is a U.S. president who on the one hand has threatened a trade war with China and has been demanding significant concessions. While on the other hand, pushing for Beijing to ramp up the pressure, asking for its help, if you like, to force North Korea into these counter negotiations, and to try and end its nuclear program. Do these seemed to have an isolation or does one possibly have a bearing on the other?
CARROLL: Well, they absolutely have a bearing on one another because after all the Chinese and North Korea share a border. They share a history. They're sort of frenemies, if you will. They at times have said they're as close as lips and teeth and other times North Korea sort of hates being told by China what to do, as your colleague stated.
So, yes, of course, they're related. Is it cohesive, is there a coherent strategy from the U.S. administration? I don't see any evidence of that. I see a trade negotiation that is in absolute disarray with different elements of our administration wanting and saying different things.
[00:10:04] Ditto that with respect to the North Korean summit, with the planned summit between Trump and Kim. There is daylight between senior administration officials, and the president himself seems to wing it, seems to be doing this off the cuff.
VAUSE: So, while the Chinese president may not be actively undermining it, he may not be too enthusiastic to help the president with North Korea if he's being threatened with a trade war at the same time?
CARROLL: Absolutely. I would say the Chinese have always played, you know -- we talk about the long game. They are masters. Their history is quite extensive. Their view of their society, the middle kingdom, as they call it, they play the long game.
And North Korea likewise as a dynasty, not just a dictatorship, but a dynasty, is thinking decades ahead, not months and years ahead, and so China, while they certainly, as your colleague said, don't want to see the security situation on the peninsula deteriorate, I have a hard time seeing how they would want to undermine this either.
And they may actually see some value in taking a back seat and letting this almost tragic comedy of what Seoul wants and Washington wants, which is more the theater of a summit. And Kim, seeming to be the adult negotiator and diplomat in the room, I don't see China seeing any risk in that.
VAUSE: OK. Again, on Tuesday, Donald Trump made what seemed to be an extraordinary prose to the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un. This is what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I will guarantee his safety, yes, we will guarantee his safety and we've talked about that from the beginning. He will be safe. He will be happy. His country will be rich. His country will be hard working and very prosperous. They are very great people. They are hardworking, great people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: OK. Add into that comment, it seemed bizarre in itself, but some reporting from the "Washington Post," the North Koreans have sent signals to U.S. officials that Kim is skittish about logistical concerns including and showing that his plane will be able to access enough fuel for the 6000-mile round trip flight and safeguarding his security while on the ground in Singapore, according to people familiar with the deliberations.
Among other things Kim purportedly is concerned a trip so far from home could expose him to a military coup or other internal attempts to unseat him. OK, so this seems make a little bit of sense. The North Koreans is just turning out for a handshake and a photo op with the U.S. president and not negotiations, would concerns over Kim's safety be about the only thing which would prevent that from happening?
CARROLL: Well, there's a lot in what you said. There's a lot in what the president just said as well. I think a couple of key takeaways. It's a lot of speculation about whether Kim is nervous or not about getting on an airplane and flying so far from home. I'm not saying it's wrong, but it's very, very hard to really know that.
He took an airplane ride on one of the trips to Beijing. He took a train the first time, but he flew the second time. So, this idea of a military coup, I think -- you can absolutely dismiss it, but I would find it difficult to believe that that's a real reason to delay or walk away from a summit.
With respect to Kim not being serious about negotiations, it may not be as concrete as what the American or the South Korean side want, but simply meeting with the sitting president of the United states of America is a big get for a North Korean leader.
This is about their national prestige, it's about bragging rights and frankly, it's something he can refer to year in and year out in the future to his own people and his own base as well as externally. Remember when I met with the president of the U.S.? So, there is a real value in that shouldn't be dismissed.
VAUSE: We're almost out of time. The secretary of state actually made an appearance in the briefing room on Tuesday. He's having a very optimistic tone. Have a quick listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: It is clear we are working to make sure that there is a common understanding about what the contents of what will be discussed, but I'm optimistic, but again, this again could be something that comes right to the end and doesn't happen. As the president said, we'll see, and I think that's the place that we find ourselves.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: He said they're still trying to make sure there's a common understanding. I mean, at this point, to publicly negotiate with the North Koreans three weeks before nuclear talks is mind boggling.
CARROLL: Well, yes and no. I mean, as I said when we spoke last, there is still some runway here. It is important to get the details right, but there's two sets of details here. The one set is the meeting itself, the summit itself. And the script and the broad outlines of what the conversation is about at this stage of game is the most important thing. Details about schedules of inspection, what sanctions will be removed, when, what the North Koreans have to do when, that's really a working level series of meetings.
[00:15:07] And that is something the president did say today that I was encouraged by, if June 12th doesn't happen, it may be later on the calendar. That's actually a ray of sunlight.
VAUSE: OK. As always, Paul, thank you. Appreciate you being with us.
CARROLL: You're welcome.
VAUSE: Still to come here on NEWSROOM L.A., Michael Cohen's business partner agrees to a plea deal. He'll reportedly cooperate with government prosecutors. Does that now spell a lot of trouble for Cohen, the personal lawyer to the president and trouble as well for the president himself?
VAUSE: A close business partner of President Trump's personal lawyer reportedly will avoid jail time after striking a deal with prosecutors. Evgeny Friedman is a Russian immigrant known as New York's "taxi king."
Friedman pleaded guilty to tax evasion on Tuesday and the "New York Times" reports his testimony could be used to pressure Michael Cohen into helping the special counsel's Russia investigation.
Last month federal agents raided Cohen's office, home and hotel room. (Inaudible) as Mr. Trump attorney paying hush money for the adult film star, Stormy Daniels, has come under increasing scrutiny.
Well, for more on this, we are joined by CNN legal analyst, Areva Martin, and CNN's former senior political analyst, Bill Snyder. And Mr. Snyder, welcome. It is good to have you with us.
I want to start obviously with the issue regarding Cohen. Friedman, his close business contact, described as shady business contact in many reports, pleaded guilty as part of a deal.
But it is unclear if part of that deal involves flipping on Cohen. There was a report a few hours ago in the "New York Daily News" that Friedman had told them he wasn't actually flipping on Cohen.
Here's the tweet from the reporter, "Taxi king" Gene Friedman texted Michael is a dear, dear personal friend and a passive client that's it. This is me taking responsibility for my actions and has nothing to do with M.C., Michael Cohen."
So, Areva, he could be covering up. He could be protecting himself. He could be telling the truth. If there was a deal for him to flip and testify and put pressure on Cohen, would prosecutors advise him not to say anything about that to keep him quiet?
AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: No, absolutely. It wouldn't be something they would want him to broadcast. What we do know is there is no way he would have gotten the kind of deal that he got. He was facing serious jail time for several felonies and for him to have only pled to tax evasion as it relates to $50,000.
[00:20:10] He's got to pay back, I guess, 5 million or so dollars, so he basically stole from the city of New York and face probation instead of jail time. You don't get that kind of sweetheart deal unless you have some very valuable information to give to -- what we know in this case is both federal and state prosecutors.
So, they say his deal requires him to cooperate in both federal and state cases. So, you know, he can say what he wants to say in that tweet, but I don't think we should read too much into that because he got a sweetheart deal and he had to be able to not just he was going to give them information, but actually proffer the information.
They had to have a clear understanding of what it is this information that you're going to give us to determine if it was valuable enough for them to give him the deal.
VAUSE: So, Bill, if you're Michael Cohen and President Trump this evening, regardless of the report, quoting Friedman, you would be wise to assume that Friedman has in fact flipped regardless.
BILL SCHNEIDER, POLITICAL ANALYST: I that would be a smart conclusion to make. And Friedman and Cohen are both facing some serious charges. Clearly as Areva just said, Friedman made a plea deal. He pled guilty to fairly small count of tax evasion. He has something to give.
Michael Cohen, very close to the president, knows where all the bodies are buried, and he could be very dangerous for President Trump. I've always said that the Stormy Daniels issue will probably be more dangerous for President Trump than the Russia investigation.
VAUSE: It's interesting, because, you know, this is how Michael Cohen has talked out Donald Trump and their relationship in the past.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL COHEN, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S ATTORNEY: I'd protect Mr. Trump. That's what it is. If there is an issue that relates to Mr. Trump that is of concern to him, it's of course, concern to me and I will use my legal skills within which to protect Mr. Trump to the best of ability.
Donald Trump is in fact, a great unifier. He's a man of great intellect and great intuition and abilities.
The next president of the United States of America, Donald Trump.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Yes, obviously, there is this very close relationship there between these two men. But, you know, if Cohen does flip, Bill, is it possible to know how much trouble that could actually mean for the president?
SCHNEIDER: Well, look, the payoff to Stormy Daniels, $130,000, that could be an illegal campaign contribution and that could be a felony. That could be impeachable. We don't know. We know something about where the money came from. It was done shortly before the election. There was a widespread assumption it was done for political purposes to protect the president. And Michael Cohen just said he's the president's fixer. That's his job.
VAUSE: You know, it's interesting, because while this is happening, the president and his allies continue to push this allegation that the FBI planted a spy in the Trump campaign for political purposes. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Major development tonight on the deep 3state, spying on the Trump campaign.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Possibly paid informants to spy on the Trump campaign?
LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: May indicate that the Obama administration, did, in fact, spy on the Trump campaign.
HANNITY: The spying they did on the Trump campaign.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am shocked to hear that they put a spy in the campaign.
HANNITY: FBI spies.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Or maybe two spies.
HANNITY: The spy revelations.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To spy on the Republican candidate for president.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a spy, they have nothing from it. If they ran a spy ring, that is an absolute red line.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Ariva, there is a big difference between a spy and a source and where that person would stand for political purposes or whether to gather information on, say, you know, Russian interference. Words matter.
MARTIN: Yes, and those clips there, one spy, two spies, and then a spy ring.
VAUSE: Spy ring. Keeps getting bigger.
MARTIN: So, words absolutely matter, and facts do matter. This whole notion of a spy is antithetical to the facts that have been disclosed to date. There is no evidence that a spy was implanted in the Trump campaign.
We know that there may have been someone that was -- the more technical term, being an informant, that might have been providing information, but again, it was related to these meetings now which we know have been multiple, multiple meetings between members of the Trump campaign and individuals associated with the Russian government. Nothing improper about it.
This is all about changing the narrative, deflecting from what the real issues are here, trying to get as we've seen some Republicans call for a second special prosecutor to investigate the investigators, to cast aspersions on the FBI, cast aspersions on Robert Mueller and his investigation.
You know, the whole goal here is let's discredit this entire investigation. So, in case they reveal something that's damning or damaging to Trump and his team, they've done such a hit job on everyone involved that the American public doesn't have any faith or trust in what the special prosecutor may find.
VAUSE: And, Bill, all this talk about spies and spy ring from the president and his allies, it's a new aggressive approach that they've come up with this group of, you know, advisers outside the White House. Essentially to go after Robert Mueller, the special counsel in the Russia investigation, and also the man who can fire him, Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general.
Listen to what the president said on Tuesday when he was asked specifically about Rosenstein.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you have confidence in Rod Rosenstein?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: What's your next question please?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm a reporter --
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Excuse me, I have the president of South Korea here. He doesn't want to hear these questions, if you don't mind.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: So, Bill, that answer had nothing to do with the South Korean president sitting in the room.
SCHNEIDER: That's right. It had nothing to do with him. Trump's whole method is attack. Always go on the attack, always go on the offensive. You're investigating me, I'm going to investigate you. How do you like that? It's an old technique.
VAUSE: Also, at the same time, there are reports that the source, the spy, informant, whatever you want to call him, received payment from the Department of Defense, about a million dollars. That is being conflated to, he was paid by the FBI, but there's no evidence of that. Again, this is part of the tactic to muddy the waters.
SCHNEIDER: That's right. The only thing we know about is that he did interview a couple of people involved in the Trump campaign about the connections to Russia, which is what Mueller is supposed to be investigating, that's all we know for a fact right now.
VAUSE: OK. Let's finish up here with the never-ending negotiations it seems for the president to sit down for an interview with Robert Mueller, CNN is reporting that Trump's lawyers, who are urging Mueller to wrap up his investigation, looking for a way to get him to agree to limit or eliminate questions regarding Trump's conduct after he won the presidency especially those related to where he might have obstructed justice while in office.
Their goal is to move pass the standoff that threatens to drag out Mueller's investigation and appears to be a part of a larger strategy to negotiate with the special counsel through the media. Ultimately their success depends on Mueller's willingness to cut a deal. There is no indication so far that he would be open to such a proposal.
Areva, firstly, why eliminate (inaudible)? What is the relevancy pertaining to Trump's time in office? What does that say to you?
MARTIN: Well, what Rudy Giuliani has been floating, his theory is that Trump had unfettered authority to fire Comey and to make any decisions as it relates to the executive branch and that it is not the business of the special counsel to question him or to challenge him on any of his firing decisions.
So, therefore, he's saying he shouldn't even be questioned about anything that he's done in office. To the extent he's -- you're even allow to talk to him, it should be on a limited basis about the Russian investigation.
And Giuliani himself has said if Trump had to answer questions about obstruction of justice, he could make himself a target. There is this real fear that Trump doesn't have the ability to tell the truth.
That he cannot go into a meeting with federal prosecutors without perjuring himself or somehow creating a bigger legal liability for himself. So, they are trying to do everything within their power to limit the questioning.
While at the same time saying he's willing to participate. If you would just be reasonable and limit the questions, he would sit down and allow himself to participate in the investigation.
VAUSE: And Bill, they're negotiating this through the media. That clearly would have very limited impact on Robert Mueller --
SCHNEIDER: That's right.
VAUSE: The strategy here is obviously what the Trump base? SCHNEIDER: Yes, he's playing to his base. He's declaring open warfare on Robert Mueller and the whole investigation. He's rallying his constituency. He's expecting a fight. And if he has to -- if he has a fight with Mueller, it's going to be a political fight, not just a legal fight. That's what Trump is really aiming at.
MARTIN: And it looks like, John, based on some polling that even mainstream Republicans and independents are starting to tire of this investigation and are souring on Robert Mueller. So, his strategy of attacking Mueller and attacking the investigation is getting traction.
VAUSE: Bill, when you get more than dozen, almost two dozen Republicans in the House willing to or wanting to appoint a special counsel to investigate the investigators, clearly there is an impact.
SCHNEIDER: Yes, look, Trump only knows one way to operate, on the offensive at all times. Robert Mueller can investigate anything he wants. Remember Ken Starr's investigation? It didn't start off with Monica Lewinsky. It can go in any direction. Rudy Giuliani said he's willing to conclude the investigation by September 1st. That can't be true. Any lead he finds he can investigate.
MARTIN: He said first it was two weeks after he got on the team. So, they keep moving the goal post --
VAUSE: They could say what they want. The person that matters in all of this is Robert Mueller. Areva and Bill, thank you. Appreciate it. Thanks.
We'll go to a short break. When we come back, Facebook's founder apologizes again for data leaks. But European lawmakers say it is answers they want from Mark Zuckerberg and they're not getting them. Details in a moment.
JOHN VAUSE: Welcome back everybody you're watching CNN Newsroom live from Los Angeles, I'm John Vause with the headlines this hour. U.S. President Donald Trump says the summit North Korean leader, Kim Jong- un may not happen next month, it's the strongest indication yet the meeting is at risk after North Korea's recent to pull out. South Korea's president was at the White House on Tuesday trying to keep the summit on track.
Pope Francis will meet with more victims of the massive clerical sex abuse scandal in Chili; they include five priests who were also abused. All of Chili's 34 bishops have said they'll resign after a Vatican investigation found they were negligent in handling the abuse cases.
The funeral for a Pakistani teenager killed during last week's school shooting in Texas is happening right now in Karachi; 17-year-old Sabika Sheikh was one of ten people killed at Santa Fe High. She had received a scholarship to visit Texas on a program honored by the U.S. State Department. French president Emanuel Macron has made technology and start-ups the centerpiece of his presidency so he now plans to meet with Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg in Paris on Wednesday. And that may be a welcome reprieve for Zuckerberg after he was grilled by members of the European parliament in Brussels. Well Zuckerberg began the session by apologizing, again for data leaks and insisting that hate speech has no place on Facebook, the session ended with law makers accusing him of dodging some questions and ignoring others.
With me now for more on this, Scott Perry is the founder of LA Tech Digest and author of Snapchat 101. OK, if nothing else from this session before the European parliament, we now have an answer to that question, is there any other institution as dysfunctional and incompetent as the U.S. Congress? And that is the European parliament. The - - because some genius decided that this was the best way, this format they came up with was the best to question Zuckerberg. They had all the questions at the beginning and then Zuckerberg was going to answer at the end. What it meant was, all the time was taken up with questions so by the time they got to Zuckerberg, there was literally no time left and he was allowed to sort of recycled cliched answers like the ones in talking points; like the ones he gave to Congress, listen to this.
MARK ZUCKERBERG: We're doubling the number of people working on safety and security at our company to more than 20,000 by the end of this year. On top of the investments that we're making in other areas, I expect that these increased investments in security will significantly impact our profitability. But I want to be clear, keeping people safe will always be more important than maximizing our profits.
VAUSE: You know it also gave him the chance to simply ignore the questions he didn't want to answer.
SCOTT PERRY: Yes pretty much, I mean the one term that came up over and over was shadow profiles, shadow profiles, shadow profiles. Why are you tracking people that are not on Facebook and they say that you can clear your browser data if you sign up to Facebook and his answer was, well we're doing this for security purposes, but he didn't go into any detail beyond that, that's not an acceptable answer when people are asking about shadow profiles.
VAUSE: And when we say not on Facebook, we're saying not even members of Facebook.
VAUSE: OK what was noticeable though in this hearing was the difference in the questions and the complexity and the understanding that we had from the Europeans compared to the questions we had from U.S. law makers in Congress when they were questioning Zuckerberg. Here's an example, listen to this. (BEGIN VIDEO)
CLAUDE MORAES (ph): We are here in terms of regulation and the United States is here, you've come here not to Congress, but to the European Union and we have expectations.
SENATOR DEB FISCHER: How many data categories do you store, does Facebook store on the categories that you collect?
ZUCKERBERG: Senator I'm not actually sure what that is referring to.
SYED KAMALL (ph): And what do you do with the non-Facebook's data? Do you commercialize it? And given that you do that, is it morally acceptable do you think, in your opinion, to collect non-Facebook users' data without them knowing what you do with it?
JOHN KENNEDY: Can somebody call you up and say I want to see John Kennedy's file?
ZUCKERBERG: Absolutely not.
KENNEDY: Could you - - if - - not, not could you - - not would you do it, could you do it?
ZUCKERBERG: In theory and we do not sell data to advertisers.
VAUSE: And it seems that this was a real missed opportunity to press Zuckerberg before the European parliament.
PERRY: Well 100 percent because when you do it round-robin style and like he's got to answer 45-minutes worth of questions in 15 minutes, that doesn't really give them an opportunity to go through everything except for recycle the same talking points. Now if everybody'd gotten together with their questions and then asked them one by one and didn't feel like he'd answered the first person's questions properly, they could have nailed him on it over and over again. What about shadow profiles? What about shadow profiles? What about shadow profiles? Instead they just kept on going back to the same points as are you going to be GDPR compliant come Friday? Are you ready for this? Are you going to obey this? Of course he is, there's a lot on the line and they've prepared for this. I mean GDPR has been enacted for the past two years, it's just going live finally this Friday so Facebook and every other Internet company on the planet has had time to prepare for this so they are ready for it.
He's made apologizes for the past inaction, he is GDPR compliant, he is stressing control - - transparency and accountability, but he's not answering the questions about the other stuff that he didn't want to answer.
VAUSE: Is the problem though that there just simply isn't an agreement among law makers, whether it's Europe or the United States to what the problem actually is. PERRY: Well yes I mean the thing is he is fixing the past issues, but we still don't know how bad the data leak was and they are going through all of their 1,000 - - thousands of past apps and they're like you know booting the bad players, but we really don't know how bad the situation is and we don't know how to prepare for the future. I mean as we move to a post-text environment, who's to say what's going to be done with the data collected in smart speakers? Who's to say that somebody doesn't send out like a sonic code that's going to be able to pull data off of your servers via a smart speaker? Nobody's prepared for that stuff yet.
VAUSE: Because it seems that one of the real concerns that we heard from one of the law makers, particularly in Europe was that you can't trust a company the size of Facebook with this kind of security; it's too important and they're just not accountable.
PERRY: I think they're getting the message and they are addressing issues as they're being presented now, but they aren't exactly going to explain just how many bad players they're going to find. Now they did boot 400 - - what 500, 600 million fake accounts in recent months, that's fantastic, but that's also because they are their own de facto Internet and so they've had a lot of fake accounts just add up and multiply and they kill them the second they come on, but that still doesn't address can they actually handle the responsibility of policing themselves unless you're going to be policed by another government.
VAUSE: Very quickly, one of the threats was to break up the company. Is that likely, is that possible?
PERRY: It's possible, not totally likely, it'll take some really damning evidence in the coming years to force that. When they ask is Facebook a monopoly, there are other options, like if you don't want Facebook Messenger, you can use Telegram you can use Kik. There are other photo apps out there; there are other social apps, they're not as good as Facebook, but there are other options.
VAUSE: But not all in one place?
PERRY: Pretty much.
VAUSE: Like Facebook. OK Scott thanks.
PERRY: All right thanks a lot John.
VAUSE: Appreciate it. OK well that volcano in Hawaii, yes it's still erupting and it's launching balls of searing lava into the sky and threatening more homes. Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri has details when we come back.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN HOST: Live pictures now from Hawaii, these images of lava and flying pieces of molten rock. This is part of the volcano that's been erupting now for almost 20 days, we have images from a helicopter over a fissure which have been inactive. This is all on top of the toxic gas and towering ash plumes that the big island has been dealing with all of this month.
Also learning that lava is flowing towards a geo thermal power plant but it's not an immediate threat, let's go to Pedram Javaheri with more on all of this. So, you know each day we keep looking at these images and they are spectacular. It's a small part of the island but it certainly isn't being contained any time soon, it just keeps growing.
PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, it really does and you were talking about the geo thermal power plant as well John. And that's initially right now doesn't seem like a concern, it very quickly can become that here over the next couple of days. And I want to show you exactly why that could be the case here, as you take a look at the lava spewing out from fissure number 22.
This particular fissure, among the most active fissure now of the 22 that we have across this region and of course it is along part of the reason we're seeing the (lays) begin to form, that particular fissure, the lava flow associated with it bringing all that lava down towards the Pacific Ocean, two kilometers away from fissure number 22. There's the east rift zone, the particular area that is really concerning right now is in between this area where the lava field is, because fissure number six and fissure number 22 in fact are now not only working their way towards the Pacific Ocean.
There are multiple places along these two fissures that are actually beginning to push that lava back towards the geo thermal power plant. And again the puna geothermal venture, that's the power plant. It does supply 25 percent of the electricity needs there for the big island, so certainly that's of a concern here as lava begins, it's kind of been working its way across this direction. In fact, here's the aerial perspective, just a few meters away from the power plant.
We know there are some underground wells here, some of these wells certainly could be in jeopardy here of being impacted and the concern with this is, if any breach does occur with this, we're talking about hydro sulfide being released into the atmosphere, another dangerous gas, another poisonous gas, a flammable gas as well. So, certainly not a good set up, this particular geothermal plant has been now evacuated, much of the flammable gas has been removed.
Of course they're underground wells, those have steel plates on top of them John here, so the lava works its way over the steel plates. You think this would a protection but with temps as much as 1,500 degrees Celsius that certainly could melt some of the plates that are protecting the underground wells. So, there's still a lot of concern to go around across this part of the world.
VAUSE: And the problem is that this has never happened before so no one knows exactly what to expect. Pedram thank you.
JAVAHERI: Exactly, yes, yes.
VAUSE: And thank you for watching CNN Newsroom live from Los Angelos, I'm John Vause, stay with us world sport with Kate Riley is up next, you're watching CNN. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
KATE RILEY, CNN ANHOR: Hello, welcome World Sport, I'm Kate Riley at CNN Central, the playoff games are coming thick and fast. Earlier in America on Tuesday night Houston Rockets were on the road, (inaudible) Golden State Warriors this was game four in the west conference.
The Californian's leading a two games to one, the Rockets desperately needed a win to avoid going down three games to one and James Harden provided plenty of offensive, including this classic dunk over Draymond Green, it was tied for all four quarters of the game and the Warriors were looking to command after a Steph Curry three, but the Rockets took the lead back for good with a Harden lay up.
Curry had the chance to tie the game in the final seconds but he misses the shot, it would not have counted anyways the time had expired. Houston win this one 95 to 96 and that now means the series is tied two to two, a very interesting come back if ever there was one, game five will now be held in Texas. All right earlier on Tuesday it appeared as though the Arsenal had concerned their new manager and then it wasn't.
Unia Emery's personal website announced the news, lets just say the ex PSG boss confirmed that we was off to the emirates(ph), it says proud to be part of the Arsenal family and then when we and countless others checked his website moments later there was to be an error page popped up instead. Make of that what you will PR teams will be earning their money this week, that's for sure.
There has been no official word from the EPL club. All right David Seaman, is a formal Arsenal great, having playing more for the times for the North Londoners than anyone else during his (inaudible). And this could pro elite trophy twice, the FA cup four times as well, CNN's Amanda Davis bumped into him ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix where he is this weekend.
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DAVID SEAMAN: As for this time, I wanted to do it a different way. I don't think they wanted money to discard as much control as we're asking to have. Although that was a good thing, so I think we're down a different route and maybe this guys the man, he's been (inaudible), I think they wouldn't have troubled there when you get offered a new contract, strange but yes it'll be interested because like I say I think us(ph) would try to do it in a different way and it'll be good hopefully, it'll be good to see a more successful Arsenal team.
AMANDA DAVIS, CNN ANCHOR: Would you want to go back there in any capacity?
SEAMAN: Oh good question. Yes I would love to actually in some sort of goal keeping role, not so much full time coach just I'm getting a little bit old now. Yes some sort of mentor or something like that, (inaudible) football and I love playing for it. And I just feel like, yes it'd be nice to give something back. RILEY: As a reminder CNN will be live from Monaco Grande Prix this weekend for update. Ana phone(ph) is our expected to discuss the leads handling of the National Anthem process which we saw last season. It'll be a subject which is discussed at the annual meeting on Wednesday, it's being held here in Atlanta.
There are reports in the American press that say new approaches are going to be looked at, Leslie(ph) one idea would be to leave it up to the home team to decide whether or not the players come out for the playing of the National Anthem. If teams appear that could be assessed 15 yard penalties for players kneeling. NFL spokes person told CNN the clubs explore every option and idea on any policy and discuss the merits and draw backs of each approach.
Well much anticipation for this weekend Champions League final it will sure to be a nerve racking occasion, one man who knows all about nerves is Bruce Scrupalom(ph) we hear from him next.