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Republican Bigotry on the Ballot?; Russian Company Had Access to Facebook User Data;. Aired 4:30-5p ET

Aired July 11, 2018 - 16:30   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking in our world lead now, your personal data about you, your friends, your photographs, all of that could potentially be in the hands of the Russian government through a Facebook app.

CNN's learned that the Russian company Mail.Ru Group had access to Facebook users' data without their or your knowledge. And that Russian company has close ties with Vladimir Putin.

This news comes just hours after the British government fined Facebook 500,000 pounds, about $660,000.

CNN's Drew Griffin broke the story, and he joins me now.

Drew, what is Facebook saying about all of this?

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Listen, Facebook pushing back a bit on this, but a source briefed on the investigation into misuse of Facebook's data is telling CNN this Russian company, Jake, may have opened the door for millions of Americans' user data to have been accessible to Russian intelligence.


GRIFFIN (voice-over): Mail.Ru, a Russian Internet company, developed hundreds of apps through Facebook which up until 2015 had the ability to download personal user information and the personal information of all those users' friends.

A source tells CNN the data of millions of Americans would have been included, and that scooped-up personal information was almost assuredly scooped up by Russia's intelligence service, the FSB, according to former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Michael Carpenter.

MICHAEL CARPENTER, FORMER U.S. DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Mail.Ru is a large Russian company. It has to abide by Russia's laws. It has to do what the intelligence services demand of it. And in this case, they demand that they provide access to all of their data, as I said, all voice data, all e-mails, and including, by the way, encrypted communications. All of that has to available to the Russian intelligence services. GRIFFIN: That means if you were on Facebook before the end of 2015,

and connected to anyone who used Mail.Ru or its apps, the Russian government could have had access to your personal information, including name, gender, birth date, location, photos and page likes.

Mail.Ru denies gathering Americans' private information, saying in a statement to CNN: "We have not collected data on any Facebook users, other than for the purposes of in-game mechanics."

No matter the number, James Lewis with the Center for Strategic and International Studies says Russian intelligence would be very interested.

JAMES LEWIS, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: Big data is the secret today to intelligence. And if the Russians, who are very good at this, have access to a pot of big data, I wouldn't be surprised if they used it.

GRIFFIN: Mail.Ru had access to American users' personal information at a time when Russia was launching its disinformation campaign through Facebook and other social media and began to meddle in the 2016 U.S. election.



GRIFFIN: Jake, Mail.Ru is pushing back on CNN's reporting, claiming it has tens of thousands of users in the U.S., not millions, and that data user was neither shared with nor made accessible to any government agency.

It claims they've never harvested friends of users' data and told us despite its willingness to cooperate with Facebook on an investigation, Facebook has yet to reach out to Mail.Ru -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Drew, thank you so much.

Now to our national lead. Thousands of kids have not yet been reunited with their mothers and fathers. It's a crisis created by the Trump government and it appears that the administration is taking its time to fix it, as they managed to reunite only a fraction of migrant children under 5 by yesterday's court-mandated deadline.

CNN's Ed Lavandera picks up the story from the U.S./Mexico border.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Two fathers, one from Guatemala, the other from Honduras, are some of the few who have been reunited with their children in El Paso, Texas.

Pablo Ortiz says he was separated from his 3-year-old son on April 30 and says he was only able to speak with him three times. He says: "They were going to deport me. But since my child was here, I couldn't leave him. I wanted to take my child. How am I going to leave him? He's little."

This man who only wanted to be identified as Roger said his son was taken away in February. "They took me by the arm," he says. "They took me by the shoulder and took me to a small room. I saw when they took my child because there was really a small window."

In Arizona, Jose Rodriguez (ph) hugged and kissed his 3-year-old son after being separated for 40 days. He says his son has asked, "Daddy, where were you?" Rodriguez described the experience as a nightmare.

"We're humans. We are not animals," he says. "And not even animals are separated from their child. How are humans going to be separated from their kid?"

Trump administration officials say the process of reuniting separated families is moving slowly, in part because of efforts to verify that children are being placed with their biological parents.

The secretary of Health and Human Services says he's proud of the work the federal government has done to bring families back together.

ALEX AZAR, U.S. HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY: One of the great acts of American generosity and charity, what we're doing for these unaccompanied kids who are smuggled into our country or come across illegally. And so we don't have anything to hide about it. We just have to protect privacy.

LAVANDERA: For the lucky families who have been reunited, the trauma seems far from over.

One mother told "The New York Times" her 3-year-old son didn't know who she was. "He didn't recognize me. My joy turned temporarily to sadness."

Another mother said her 3-year-old daughter cried for the social worker and tried to escape her mother's embrace, an embrace many parents are still waiting for.


LAVANDERA: Jake, there were 102 children under that court-mandated deadline that was supposed to be in place yesterday.

The last update we got was that 38 children, far short of that 102, had been reunited. And so far, in the last 24 hours, we haven't yet -- we haven't received an update from the federal government as to how many more children have been reunited in the last 24 hours. No answers, Jake.

TAPPER: Not to mention the more than 2,000 who are over the age of 5 that are still children.

Ed Lavandera, thank you so much.

Why the GOP is so worried about some of the nominees running as Republicans, they're willing to let the seats go to Democrats. Stay with us.



TAPPER: This week, the National Republican Congressional Committee pulled its support for the Republican House nominee in New Jersey who had shared bigoted views, claiming, for instance, that diversity leads to Muslims killing Christians.

This comes on the heels of an Anti-Defamation League report stating -- quote -- "Members of the extremist right and their racist anti-Semitic views are experiencing more exposure now than at any time in recent history" -- end quote.

The ADL noting that the former head of the American Nazi Party is the Republican nominee for an Illinois House seat, and many others.

CNN's Tom Foreman now explains how mainstream Republicans have been trying to deal with all these flagrant bigots on the ballot from California to North Carolina, from Illinois to Virginia.


COREY STEWART (R), VIRGINIA SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: That flag is not -- it is not about racism, folks.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): U.S. Senate nominee Corey Stewart railing about the Confederate Flag in Virginia, New Jersey congressional contender Seth Grossman taking on multiculturalism.

SETH GROSSMAN (R), NEW JERSEY CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: The whole idea of diversity is a bunch of crap and un-American.

FOREMAN: And in Illinois, another congressional hopeful, Arthur Jones, addressing the Holocaust.

ARTHUR JONES (R), ILLINOIS CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: Yes, I deny the Holocaust. It's an extortion racket, pure and simple.

FOREMAN: They're all Republicans. All have made it on to the ballot this fall. And for groups like the Anti-Defamation League, such successes belie a deeply worrisome movement toward extremism.

OREN SEGAL, ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE: Even if those candidates are not going to win, the fact that they get any level of support, whether it's 2 percent or 20 percent in these primaries, should raise concerns in the community.

FOREMAN: President Trump's critics say his incendiary rhetoric has made racism more mainstream, while the party, which has pulled support from some of the most extreme candidates, rejects that, telling CNN: "The racist beliefs of Nazis, the KKK, white supremacists and others are repulsive, evil, and have no fruitful place in the United States." But that's not stopped the small, but troubling trend. In North Carolina, Republican Russell Walker's bid to grab a seat in the Statehouse is linked to rambling attacks on Muslims, Mormons, and Jews and rants about African-Americans and so-called white rights. Not all these people are pursuing such extreme agendas but in one particularly stark example, remember that white nationalist and Neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia? James Allsup was there. Now back home in Washington State, he's won a low-level party office where he made it clear on a white nationalist podcast he's still pushing his views.

JAMES ALLSUP, AMERICAN FAR-RIGHT POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I'm not going to tell you that knocking doors for Republican Congressman is going to save the West or save you know, your teen Americans. That's not at all what I'm saying but it is a means to an end.

FOREMAN: He also once gave an introductory speech at a rally for Donald Trump.

ALLSUP: We want to take our country back from the globalists and the corrupt politicians and put it in the hands of someone who actually knows what they're doing. There's only one choice America.

FOREMAN: A dozen years back even a whiff of racism could be political poison as Republican Senate candidate George Allen learned when he aimed a racial slur at an Indian American in Virginia. Allen apologized then lost everything.


FOREMAN: Champions of Neo-Nazism, anti-Semitism and simply those who openly stoke racial animus and white anxiety are unapologetically showing up more often and it's not so clear things that they say is some -- are things that everyone thinks are so bad even in that recent poll showing half of America thinks the President is racist Republicans overwhelmingly said no he's not. Jake?

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Tom Foreman, thanks so much. So let's talk about this. Nina Turner, let me start with you. Why you think this is happening? Is it just an aberration, a coincidence, or do you think that racism is becoming more mainstream?

NINA TURNER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: As the bubbling up of what is already clearly in America's DNA, things that we don't want to confess to. And this president emboldened that kind of behavior. A lot of those candidates probably figure it worked for him, he's president United States of America now so maybe that it can work for them. I mean, these are people who are clearly not afraid to show a white sheet under a blue suit. They're bringing it out into the open and we have to deal with that. And that poll that clearly says you know, in a lot of ways this is bigger than President Trump. He's the lightning-rod to this. But as a country, we have never ever really dealt with in a way a truth or reconciliation in the same way that South Africa did under apartheid. And all things that are not perfect but as a country, we've never had a truth and reconciliation moment in this country and president Trump has the where the fact that these folks feel emboldened to do what they're doing and to say what they're saying.

TAPPER: So you're the former Republican Congressman at the table. I'm sure you find these individuals reprehensible and their views disgusting but what's going on because I have never seen this many nominees? Now forget candidates, they're always fringe candidates here and there but these are actual nominees and you know it's gotten to the point that Senator Ted Cruz announced don't vote for the Republican in that Illinois House seat etcetera.

MIKE ROGERS, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY COMMENTATOR: No one should vote for these candidates. And the party needs to find a mechanism and those of us who despise this behavior and these beliefs trying to creep into the Republican Party. You know, the Democrats have their own set of problems but this is reprehensible. They need to find that mechanism to stop these people from using the Republican name. One of these candidates is a member of the Nazi Party. He's not a Republican but he knew that no one was paying attention to this district. It's overwhelming -- he's going to lose. It's overwhelmingly Democrat but it gives him a platform and what we don't want to do is have anyone use that platform in the Republican name. It is antithesis to everything the Republican Party stands for and they need to find a way to purge these candidates from the ballot.

TAPPER: So Tom discussed earlier that Quinnipiac Poll suggesting that 49 percent of the American people think that Donald Trump, the president is racist, 47 percent do not. I don't know that that's not part of this story to a degree.

SUSAN GLASSER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, you know, Jake, it reminds me of the debate that we had during the campaign in 2016 right when you had many fringe elements and overtly racist elements campaigning for president Trump. You showed one of them you know in the package leading up to this you know, supporting Trump saying you know, David Duke was one of President Trump's big champions during the 2016 campaign so we had this debate at that time. How much do you hold the President? Is he responsible for the racist views of his supporters or conversely do his own views on this subject and remember Paul Ryan the Speaker of the House, he said when asked about President Trump's comments at one point during the campaign, he said they're the textbook definition of racism.

TAPPER: It's when he said that the Judge Curiel --

GLASSER: Judge Curiel, exactly.

TAPPER: -- was Mexican American. What's your take, David?

[16:50:00] DAVID URBAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: So look, I got to say I push back. I don't believe the President is racist. I do think at times says racially insensitive remarks, makes racially insensitive comments but I don't believe he's racist. And I do believe that this is as Nina's earlier point, this is a bigger conversation we need to have an America, right? These handfuls of completely whack job individuals were able to weasel their way under the ballots under the Republican mantra, their label is horrific --

TAPPER: But you think it's a coincidence that all of them are doing it now?

URBAN: Well, I think that there's perhaps you know, more of a feel that they can -- they've been embolden, not necessarily by the President but by the rise of folks. You know, Ronald Reagan once said, I don't necessarily agree with them they may agree with me. I think that's the same situation here. A lot of these folks may like the President, he doesn't necessarily agree with what they're doing. I think they may feel emboldened because some of this -- some of what you're seeing across America. And look, we're giving them plenty of -- we're given plenty of television. We're giving them plenty of television.

TURNER: He said there are good people on both sides. I mean the President has maligned the integrity and value of Mexicans, of Muslims. You know, he's been even -- the blacks you know, he said that during the campaign.

URBAN: It's regretful. I think what he said is regretful. I don't disagree with you. But I don't -- I don't hold him responsible for this people on the ballot.

TURNER: But he is responsible for the temperature being this high and not taken a moral high ground to disavow these folks. They're not good people (INAUDIBLE) a racist is a bad person, period.

URBAN: Listen, people who march with hoods and torches and -- listen, the folks who are chanting death to Jews, the President has Jewish grandchildren, right? I mean to think that he thinks there's a moral equivalency there is --

TURNER: So why didn't he say it.

URBAN: Look, I don't know. I wish I could tell you. I wish I could tell you why.

TAPPER: All right let's take a quick break. Our first look at the kids rescued from that cave in Thailand as we also see our first images showing just how complicated that incredibly brave rescue really was. Stay with us.


[16:55:00] TAPPER: We have some breaking news in the "MONEY LEAD" today. The Dow closing more than 200 points lower as the Trump Administration threatens to keep up its trade war with China this time $200 billion worth of tariffs targeting everything from seafood, to baseball gloves, you can call it payback for similar tariffs from Beijing last week but that was China retaliating the President Trump's first round and it looks like this will keep going. Today China called the new U.S. tariffs unacceptable and they vowed to respond. In our "WORLD LEAD" today, powerful images of the boys rescued from that cave in Thailand, their families waving to them from behind the glass. This as we get our first look inside that incredible courageous operation that saved them. Thai Navy SEALs releasing this video capturing their journey to rescue the 12 boys and their soccer coach. CNN's Arwa Damon had an exclusive sit-down with one of the boys fathers.


ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: To imagine what these boys endured and to finally see them safe. Some signal I love you to their parents watching, waving, and weeping behind protective glass. Tetouan, as he is nicknamed, is just 11, the youngest of the rescued boys. He puts his hands together gesturing hello as he realizes his parents are there. We met Tetouan exhausted father a few hours later.

TANAWAT VIBOONRUNGRUANG, FATHER OF RESCUED BOY (through translator): I was so happy in that moment. All I wanted to do was hug him but I couldn't because of the glass. I started to cry, everybody start to cry. I feel glad to see my boy still healthy. I'm happy to see his face because I had not seen his face for 17 days.

DAMON: The last night they spent together they were watching the World Cup. The innocence of that moment now gone. To cope they drew strength from the support of those around them. (INAUDIBLE) younger brother imagined a fairy tale story of a mountain and that his brother was just on a long journey. Reality could not have been further than that. Newly released dramatic video from inside the cave helps to illustrate how complex and delicate the rescue mission was. The winding dark narrow passages, how there was no room for error. So much could have gone wrong, its success a testament to the professionalism of those involved and what unity can accomplish. Tetouan was the last boy to come out just before the coach. He was the one who wrote to his parents not to worry and that he just wanted to eat fried chicken when he comes out.

Are you worried about the psychological effect this is going to have?

VIBOONRUNGRUANG: I worried but let's just wait and see. After the boy gets back home I will see whether he can stay at home alone in the dark by himself.

DAMON: Knowing what he knows of his kind and gentle son, he thinks that Tetouan will feel guilty and apologetic and Tanawat has this pledge to everyone.

VIBOONRUNGRUANG: I will teach him to grow up a good person and help society and I will let him follow his dreams.

DAMON: Dreams that came so close to being stolen. Arwa Damon, CNN Chiang Rai, Thailand.

TAPPER: And let's take a moment to remember the former Thai Navy SEAL Sergeant Saman Guana who gave his life helping in that mission to save those boys. You can follow me on Facebook and Twitter @JAKETAPPER or you can tweet the show @THELEADCNN. Our coverage continues now with Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM."

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Happening now, Summit scolding. President Trump attends the NATO Summit castigating allies and going off on Germany in the display one Republican lawmaker calls damaging.