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CNN Interviews Mark Zuckerberg; Former Ohio Judge Charged with Murder. Aired 3:30-4p ET
Aired November 21, 2018 - 15:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MARK ZUCKERBERG, CEO, FACEBOOK: We also have a -- a -- a specific point in our policies where newsworthy content we give a special deference to, which -- which certainly someone who's a prominent politician going out and making a point fits into that. So no, I think we did the right thing there.
LAURIE SEGALL, SENIOR TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT, CNN BUSINESS: But surely you'll say (ph) this idea that someone would say that if we take it down, it's poking the bear would be controversial, especially when you guys are -- were trusting Facebook to make some of these difficult content decisions. That is clearly politically motivated.
ZUCKERBERG: Yes. I -- I read the report that you're referring to. It is not clear to me at all that the report is right. You know, a lot of the things that -- that were in that report we talked to the reporters ahead of time and told them that from everything we'd seen that wasn't true and they chose to print them anyway. So I mean, all the stuff around elections and preventing interference and all the content issues and -- and finding the balance between giving people a voice and keeping people safe. These are really big things and I think a lot of the critique that folks have had about our company I read and I -- I think a lot of it is fair and in a lot of it there are things that -- that I think we need to do better and learn from.
At the same time, I don't think all of it is fair and I think not everything is accurate. So I think that that's just an important perspective to -- to keep in mind on this.
SEGALL: So it wasn't accurate that part of the reason they didn't take down that post was because there was concern over a conservative backlash?
ZUCKERBERG: No, that was certainly not any part of the conversation that I had.
SEGALL: I was on the reporter call where you repeatedly denied that you knew anything about hiring this opposition group P.R. firm. You know, I've spoken to so many people within Facebook and former employees who say, you know, this is Mark's company. Can you state it for the record? Did you know anything about this? ZUCKERBERG: Well, I -- like I said on the call, you know, I -- I
learned about this when I read the report as well. But I'm not actually sure that that's the most important point. I think your question is right, that this is -- I do run the company, I am responsible for everything that happens here. I don't think that this point was about a -- a specific P.R. firm, it was about how we act. Right? And that's why it's -- I think it's important not just what we're doing in relation to -- to this one firm, but that we go through and look at all of the different P.R. firms and folks who we work with and make sure that -- that we're operating in the way that we want to.
SEGALL: You know, the -- the P.R. firm was found by a Republican political strategist and it launched a campaign linking Facebook critics to George Soros. This is a common tactic used by anti-Semitic and alt-right groups. That's why I think people were so shocked when they found out about this. I think that was one of the parts of the report that a lot of folks had real questions about. Does that strike you as stooping low?
ZUCKERBERG: Yes, I wasn't particularly happy about that piece of it. And that's certainly a big part of what -- what I -- when I read about this, what made me want to look into this more deeply. The intention here was never to attack an individual, but I mean, there are these -- these lobbying groups and folks who are out there whose primary purpose is to -- is to, you know, attack the company. And I do think it's fine to push back on them.
SEGALL: I mean, but in this particular scenario, launching -- you know, it's not common for tech companies to necessarily hire these type of firms and many would argue it's a way of spreading the same type of conspiracy theories that Facebook has worked so hard in the last couple years to get on top of.
ZUCKERBERG: Yes. Look, from the review that I've done so far, it doesn't appear that anything that the -- that the group said was untrue. As far we can tell. But again, this -- this really isn't about one P.R. firm, this is about the standard that we want to hold all of the different folks who we work with. And we work with a lot of different P.R. firms and a lot of different contractors and vendors of the company and -- and we need to make sure that they're -- that -- that we're comfortable and -- and that all the folks that we work with uphold our values.
SEGALL: I mean, do you approve of the way they went after George Soros? Do you approve of that methodology?
ZUCKERBERG: I don't think that this is the type of thing that our company should be engaging with.
SEGALL: What would be your message to George Soros?
ZUCKERBERG: Well, I know that -- that George Soros has been the target of a lot of really horrendous attacks. And -- and I think that this is terrible. And I certainly wouldn't want anyone who's associated with -- with our company to be a part of that.
BROOKE BALDWIN, ANCHOR, CNN: She was in California, she's now with us in New York, our CNN Business Senior Technology Correspondent Laurie Segall on this exclusive interview -- again, landing the big interview with -- with Mark Zuckerberg. And so you talked to him about leadership changes. Did he say anything about Sheryl Sandberg's job? Is that safe? Is his own job safe?
SEGALL: Yes, look, I think a lot of these reports that came out didn't paint Sheryl Sandberg in the best light. And there were questions over would she lose her job, would her job change? And I asked him. And you know, he said definitely no, she wouldn't lose her job and he said, I hope to be partnering with her in 10 years. Now, I think you got to keep an eye on that one in general.
Sheryl Sandberg is very much -- has her own brand. And I can see -- you know, it could potentially -- want to see what happens in the next couple years and I think another question is, you know, is Mark Zuckerberg too powerful? He is the CEO and chairman and majority shareholder in Facebook. He makes all the decisions and he rules a kingdom of 2 billion people digitally. And I asked him would he -- would he step down as chairman. A lot of folks were wondering that. And he said definitively no. He would not. There will be other checks in power but he has no plans to step down.
BALDWIN: What about Facebook stock? You know, we've -- we've talked a lot about how it's taken a hit this year, other tech stocks have as well, Amazon and Apple, but how much does that factor into his or the company's decisions?
SEGALL: I think it's a -- it's an interesting time for the company, because in order to get on top of what they have to get on top of -- so they've got to invest billions in security, they've got to -- they've just hired 30,000 security professionals to get on top of the interference problem. And then they've also made a change to the -- to the algorithm, to the news feed, so it won't emphasize sensationalist content, which is what got them into some of the trouble with fake news in the -- in the first place.
But that means less eyeballs on screen, which -- which goes and translates to their business model, which means more eyeballs on screen, the more money they make. So it's (ph) something fundamentally wrong with the business model. And if they're able to get on top of this, the business is going to take a hit. And Mark Zuckerberg has talked how -- you know, in the meantime it might take a hit but this -- he's taking the long view. We'll see how much patience investors have. This is can this company get on top of this when it is a multi-billion dollar business and one of the most powerful companies in the world.
BALDWIN: You have told me you have spent months talking to people inside, outside of Facebook, doing a documentary on that. And also, make sure to remind all of you, make sure you check out her new series. It's called "Human Code" on CNNBusiness.com to see her interviews with all of tech's most influential leaders. Laurie Segall. Thank you very much. Just in, another anti-Pelosi Democrat now changing course, saying she will support her for speaker of the House. Why Nancy Pelosi's good week is about to get even better.
And Stormy Daniels' lawyer accused of domestic abuse? What we're now learning about what an actress says Michael Avenatti did to her. And more on the major story of the day. President Trump purportedly asked Justice Department to prosecute his political enemies or asked his lawyer to do so. Was it an abuse of power?
BALDWIN: An Ohio Congresswoman forced to respond after a former judge she once vouched for is now the main suspect in the murder of his ex- wife. Former trial court judge Lance Mason is sitting behind bars as police investigate the death of Aisha Fraser who was fatally stabbed in the driveway of Mason's home Saturday. The pair divorced in 2014 after Mason attacked Fraser in front of their young children, smashing her face into the dashboard of their car. He spent nine months locked up after agreeing to a plea deal for that attack.
But it's what happened after he was released that is raising eyebrows. Mason was hired for another job by the city of Cleveland, but only after dozens of high-profile people vouched for him, including four sitting judges, members of clergy, and Congresswoman Marcia Fudge. Fudge saying in a 2015 letter to the county prosecutor, "Lance Mason is a good man who made a very bad mistake. I can only hope that you see in lance what I and others see." CNN National Correspondent Athena Jones is here with me and we'll get more on the Congresswoman's statement in just a second.
But take me back to Saturday morning and just tell me what happened.
ATHENA JONES, NATIONAL CORRESOPNDENT, CNN: Another sad and scary story. Family members say that Aisha Fraser, Mason's ex-wife, the victim here, had came to a house that Mason's sister was living in to drop off their two young daughters. And then what happened is that we hear a 911 call from Lynn Mason, Mason's sister, saying that he was out in the driveway stabbing Aisha Fraser to death. This call is very, very difficult to listen to. Let's just play a little bit of it.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
DISPATCHER: 911. What's your emergency?
LYNN MASON: I need the police immediately. My brother is attacking his ex-wife.
DISPATCHER: Are they both still there?
MASON: They're outside. I -- I don't know. I heard her screaming. I'm inside with the daughter, so I don't want her to see anything. DISPATCHER: OK, yes, keep her in there and try to stay calm so she doesn't get upset.
DISPATCHER: Yes, ma'am. MASON: He stabbed her and he said she's dead.
DISPATCHER: Oh my gosh.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Oh my gosh.
JONES: So that's just a little bit of that call that lasted -- the audio lasts about 10 minutes and at different times you can hear the young daughters -- they're about nine and 10 -- waling and screaming and crying in the background. It brings tears to your eyes because it's just so chilling and -- and harrowing to listen to. And we should mention that attack back in 2014. It was another violent attack and he slammed her head against the -- the car door, the dash board, broke here eye socket -- the bone in her eye socket, requiring surgery and an implant, he yanked her by the hair at one point when she tried to escape from the vehicle.
That is what sent him to prison for those nine months. We should mention, though, that here he has been arrested but he hasn't been arrested for homicide, even though the -- the -- the documents say he was fleeing the scene of a homicide in which he is a suspect, he was arrested for assaulting a police officer. They say he rammed his -- his SUV into the door -- into a police car, badly injuring a police officer who was -- had to be hospitalized.
BALDWIN: So what is Congresswoman Fudge saying now? She had supported him. Now what?
JONES: Well now we have a new statement. I'll read to you all of it. It's rather short. She says, "My heart breaks for a Aisha Fraser. I pray for Aisha's family, especially her children, as they attempt to deal with this tragedy. My support of Lance in 2015 was based on the person I knew for almost 20 -- almost 30 years. The person who committed these crimes is not the Lance Mason familiar to me. They were horrific crimes and I condemn them. I and everyone who knew Aisha are mourning her loss."
So a really, really sad situation and as you know, Congresswoman Fudge had been considering challenging Nancy Pelosi --
BALDWIN: Challenging Nancy Pelosi.
JONES: -- for the speakership. She announced yesterday that she was going to be backing Pelosi. We're not sure if this had something to do with it. But certainly a very sad case. A lot of warning signs that -- that seem to have been ignored.
BALDWIN: Yes. Athena, thank you for bringing that to us on that case. Thousands still without their homes of course in California and now they're facing the threat of flooding and mudslides after weeks and weeks of wildfires. This as (ph) we get more new (ph) video of how crews are rescuing survivors.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, just so you know, just to add to it, we're
getting close to our bingo fuel (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to keep the door open, I'm going to go run out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. God speed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are we OK now?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're clear now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That was close.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, it was.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Feeling thankful. That is the sentiment for so many survivors of California's deadly wildfires. The Camp and Woolsey fires just have devastated entire communities. But in the midst of losing just about everything, there are some amazing, amazing people who are coming to the rescue. In Agoura Hills, volunteers have heeded the call to help Woolsey fire victims with nowhere to go. The outpouring of community support is tremendous. So with me, Jenn Kurtz, a volunteer leading the charge at Las Virgenes --
JENN KURTZ, ORGANIZER, LAS VIRGENES FIRE RELIEF CENTER: Hi.
BALDWIN: Hi -- Las Virgenes Fire Relief Center, where donations and good-hearted people are -- are wanting to help. And -- and they are. Jenn, thank you so much for being with me. I read about you this morning and the L.A. Times described you as one of those people you find in every community, the people who step up and lead the way. How are you doing that?
KURTZ: Oh, gosh. I have an amazing support group. This community that we live in, it's a small little big area, suburb. It's the Calabasas, Agoura Hills, Malibu, Thousand Oaks area, and everybody has just pulled together amazingly. I can't even tell you. People come out, people just want to know how they can help. And we're always directing them to our website, which is LVFireReliev.org, and letting them know that these families have needs and people can either drop off donations, but really what we're looking for right now are the monetary donations for these families.
BALDWIN: Tell me just how are you helping folks? When these fires started, what were the first couple of things you did?
KURTZ: Well, the first thing I did was start contacting all the presidents for all of the parent associations within Las Virgenes unified school district. And I said we -- guys, we need to do this together, we need to make one community for our families to turn to. Let's not divide, let's do this as one big group. And I e-mailed everyone. And that was kind of how it just started, and saying what can I do, what are they going to need, let's get donations. And we've been so blessed to get so many donations dropped off at the center that we are overwhelmed and so are the families.
And right now what we're trying to do is really get the word out to people like you. I can't believe I'm here. But let people know that aren't close by that really, the monetary value -- the monetary donations is what we're looking for. Those -- all of our families and (ph) so many different needs. Some people are already in temporary housing, some people don't know where they're going next. So the monetary donations is really what's so important right now to get to these families.
BALDWIN: What about -- let me -- let me jump in. Here's my last question, because I know you're -- you're there meeting with so many of these families, so many of these people who've lost everything. And can you tell me a story? Here we are, the day before Thanksgiving, where so many other Americans will be sitting around the table and eating tons of turkey and sitting in their homes. And -- and, you know, listen, guilty. You know, you take that for granted. Tell me one story of one family you've met.
KURTZ: One story that just really hit home is one of the moms -- she's a single mom, she lived in Calabasas. So you hear that name, you're like, oh, she has it together. She was working really hard for everything she had, and she did have a great life. Unfortunately, she was renting a home and did not have renters insurance. Everything that needs to go back into her new home will be 100 percent out of her pocket. And those are the families that we're trying to help, the families in need, not just -- we're not dividing our pot equally.
We're doing it by need basis. So a single mom without insurance who's going to have to find everything and put out every single dollar of her own money right now, that's who we're trying to help. And a woman living in Motel 6 because she just moved to the area and doesn't know where else to go, doesn't have family here, she has broke down crying, just saying how this community has become her family, even though she just moved here and doesn't have anybody. So -- yes.
BALDWIN: Sure. Sure. Good on you, Jenn Kurtz --
KURTZ: So many --
BALDWIN: -- for doing all of this and all these -- these moms and these parents of all these different school districts -- I'll put it up on my Twitter how -- how people watching can help you. KURTZ: Thank you.
BALDWIN: So I'm at @brookebcnn. Jenn, thank you.
KURTZ: Thank you, Brooke.
BALDWIN: And happy Thanksgiving to you. Thank you.
KURTZ: You too, happy Thanksgiving.
BALDWIN: Still ahead here, the chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court is speaking out in this rare rebuke of a sitting president and the president has just responded.
BALDWIN: President Trump is spending his first day of his Thanksgiving holiday golfing in Mar-a-Lago with former pro, Jack Nicklaus. Two days from now two other golf legends will face off in this epic showdown. You have Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson playing one another in Las Vegas for a $9 million prize, so do not miss the match this Friday, 3:00 Eastern on BLEACHER REPORT LIVE and pay-per- view. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thanks for being with me. Happy early Thanksgiving. We'll be back at it here tomorrow. In the meantime, THE LEAD starts right now.