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CNN NEWSROOM

Trump 'Stands With' Saudi Arabia and Defends Crown Prince Over Khashoggi; Zuckerberg On His Role And Future At Facebook; South Korea's Kim Jong-Yang Named New Head Of Interpol; Suicide Bombing In Kabul Kills At Least 50 People; Kim Jong Yang of South Korea Elected New President of Interpol. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired November 21, 2018 - 02:00   ET

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


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BIANCA NOBILO, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. I'm Bianca Nobilo live in London. This is CNN NEWSROOM.

Ahead this hour: is Saudi Arabia getting away with murder?

Trump says the kingdom won't be punished for the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Plus here today and gone tomorrow. The gains made on Wall Street this year have been wiped out.

And crews are finally getting the upper hand on the wildfires in California. But a new threat could be just hours away.

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NOBILO: We begin with new details about Trump's efforts to go after his presidential opponent, Hillary Clinton. "The New York Times" says that Trump wanted the Justice Department to prosecute Clinton and former FBI director James Comey.

But the White House counsel warned against it, telling the president it could lead to his impeachment. A source tells CNN Mr. Trump had repeatedly asked for updates on investigations into Clinton.

The U.S. president is under fire even from members of his own party about his latest statement on the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. CNN's Jim Acosta reports.

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JIM ACOSTA, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Just moments before a ceremonial pardoning of the Thanksgiving turkey at the White House ...

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I will be issuing both Peas and Carrots a presidential pardon.

ACOSTA: -- President Trump delivered a chilling message on the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

In a statement that begins with "America first," the president seemed to dismiss a CIA assessment that found Saudi Arabia's crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, ordered Khashoggi's killing, saying, "It could very well be that the crown prince had knowledge of this tragic event. Maybe he did and maybe he didn't."

Leaving for Thanksgiving, the president defended his decision to side with the Saudis.

ACOSTA: Are you letting the Saudis get away with murder?

TRUMP: No.

ACOSTA: Murdering a journalist?

TRUMP: No, no. This is about America first. They're paying us $400 billion-plus to purchase and invest in our country. That's probably the biggest amount ever paid to the United States.

ACOSTA: Don't you believe the CIA?

TRUMP: They didn't make a determination. And it's just like I said. I think it was -- maybe he did, maybe he didn't. They did not make that assessment. The CIA has looked at it; they've studied it a lot. They have nothing definitive.

ACOSTA (voice-over): In a statement, the president also appeared to buy into a Saudi smear of Khashoggi, adding, "Representatives of Saudi Arabia say that Jamal Khashoggi was an enemy of the state and a member of the Muslim Brotherhood."

Khashoggi's family has blasted those claims as ridiculous. Secretary of state Mike Pompeo backed up the president's statement.

MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: This is a long, historic commitment and one that is absolutely vital to America's national security. It's a mean, nasty world out there.

ACOSTA: But not all Republicans are on board.

REP. FRANCIS ROONEY (R-FLA.), FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE: I'm concerned about our standing in the world and what it says about the United States.

ACOSTA: The president's willingness to believe Saudi denials is consistent with his posture toward other undemocratic countries like Russia and its meddling in the 2016 election.

TRUMP: Maybe it was. I mean, it could be Russia but it could also be China. It could also be lots of other people. It also could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds, OK? ACOSTA: The president's explosive statement comes less than a day after his own daughter, Ivanka Trump, came under scrutiny for her use of private e-mails to do government business.

MARC SHORT, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's hypocritical and certainly, it looks bad. And I'm sure that the media will have a field day with it today.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lock her up! Lock her up!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lock her up! Lock her up!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lock her up! Lock her up!

TRUMP: Tell you what. For what she's done, they should lock her up.

ACOSTA: Hypocritical, because it's a reminder that her father savaged Hillary Clinton for her private e-mail use.

TRUMP: If I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation. Because there has never been so many lies, so much deception.

ACOSTA: A source close to Ivanka brushed off the story in a statement saying, "This is a 14-month-old story. There was nothing there then and there is nothing there now."

The president insists his daughter did nothing wrong.

TRUMP: They weren't deleted like Hillary Clinton, who deleted 33 -- she wasn't hiring -- she wasn't doing anything to hide her e-mails. There was no deletion; there was no nothing. What it is, is a false story.

ACOSTA: As for Ivanka's e-mail use, a source close to the White House and the Trump family says the president's daughter obviously knows better. She watched the 2016 campaign like the rest of us. As the source said, quote, "Ivanka deserves to get hit over the issue" -- Jim Acosta, CNN, the White House.

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NOBILO: Richard Johnson is a lecturer in U.S. politics and international relations at Lancaster University here in the U.K. and he joins me to discuss this.

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NOBILO: Plenty going on in U.S. politics. I guess that's a Wednesday.

What do you make of the president's assessment that maybe it was or maybe it wasn't Mohammed bin Salman that ordered this extrajudicial killing of Jamal Khashoggi?

How unusual is it for a president being so explicit about this kind of tradeoff between the countries U.S. associates with and also the economic damage it might cause?

RICHARD JOHNSON, LANCASTER UNIVERSITY: I think you hit the nail on the head. Donald Trump is a transactional president. He's going to weigh up what he views as the bigger and better part of the deal, which is arms from -- arms deals with Saudi Arabia.

You know, presidents in the past have not had a great record on this, either. President Obama, one of the few vetoes that he exercised and was overruled by Congress was legislation by Congress to allow victims of 9/11 to engage in civil suits against the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. And President Obama vetoed that in part because of a concern about the damage it was due to U.S.-Saudi relations.

Now this is not on the same level as the president effectively ignoring the CIA report about the allocation of blame. But it does show the United States, for a long time, U.S. presidents have prioritized the U.S.-Saudi relationship over individuals who might have serious claims against the Saudi government.

NOBILO: Richard, moving onto another big story, coming out of the White House and the Trump administration, what do you understand about the prosecutions which President Trump was trying to pursue with his Justice Department around Hillary Clinton and James Comey?

JOHNSON: The thing that is most concerning is the way in which the president is possibly attempting to use the Justice Department for his own personal ends. Since the Watergate era, presidents have had to be careful about the extent to which they issue instructions to Justice Department officials.

There was an interesting report that came out this week, which reflected on Richard Nixon's close relationship with Henry Peterson, who had been an assistant to the attorney general and the Justice Department.

It was one of the reasons -- one of the articles of impeachment against Richard Nixon was that he opened up these back channels with the Justice Department for his own protection and for his own information.

So President Trump has to be very cautious about the ways in which he may be directing Justice Department officials to either provide him information or to adjust ongoing investigations which may implicate him personally.

NOBILO: Speaking of the behavior of the administration, Donald Trump's daughter, Ivanka, reportedly using her personal e-mail account. Explain to us why that is an issue for somebody in her position and what the Democrats plan to do about it.

JOHNSON: The first charge that gets raised against the president is one of hypocrisy, given that Hillary Clinton's use of a private e-mail server was one of the centerpieces of his campaign against her and the source of the "lock her up" rallying cry.

He argues that his daughter is in a different position because she hasn't deleted her emails and for whatever reason was simply unaware that this wasn't allowed, which seems somewhat implausible, given the content of the election campaign.

I think there's a bigger issue about whether Ivanka Trump should be having this job in the first place. Congress in 1967 passed an anti- nepotism law, which was intended to prevent family members from working in a presidential administration.

This law in the past, the Justice Department has advised presidents that they couldn't do so much as appoint members of their family to be the chair of -- appoint his wife to be the chair of a commission on mental health because it would violate this law.

So you know, I know the Trump administration said they got around this because she doesn't take a salary. But I think it violates the -- the spirit of this law. I think it is pretty, you know, the fundamental point that she's even working for her father in the White House is a cause for concern in itself, given the context of the '67 law.

NOBILO: Richard Johnson, thank you so much for bringing us your insights. Thank you.

JOHNSON: Thank you.

NOBILO: And now another sell-off on Wall Street has spread to financial markets in the Asia Pacific. Stocks --

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NOBILO: -- in Tokyo and Seoul have been down most of the day. Chinese markets in Hong Kong and Shanghai have been in and out of positive territory.

The Dow dropped more than 550 points Tuesday, wiping out all the gains for the year. Plunging oil prices pulled down energy stocks and analysts say investors are worried about rising interest rates and the ongoing trade war between U.S. and China. CNN's Alison Kosik has more on what is behind the stock slide.

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ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: All of the major indices have wiped out their gains for the year. It's a headline that's undercut investor confidence and set the negative tone in the market.

Tech stocks dragged the market lower. Ironic since it was tech shares like Facebook, Apple and Google that powered the market to record highs over the last few years. Now it looks like the darlings of yesterday have turned into the dogs of today.

Facebook and Apple shares getting crushed. Both stocks are down more than 20 percent from recent highs. Investors can't seem to sell tech shares fast enough. Facebook is dealing with the fallout from how it handled foreign influence in the 2016 presidential election. And Apple is facing slowing demand for its marquee product, the iPhone. Investors are also spooked because there's a possibility for a

regulatory crackdown that could change the way certain tech companies do business and cost them more money. Also weighing on sentiment, trade tensions ramping up.

Over the weekend there was a collapse of preliminary meetings between the U.S. and China two weeks before President Xi and President Trump are expected to meet. The thinking is, the issue won't be resolved unless, as President Trump has threatened to impose a third round of tariffs on $267 billion worth of Chinese goods.

Some tariffs already in place are set to increase from 10 percent to 25 percent on January 1st. If those go into effect, that could eat into company profit and possibly rattle the markets even more. Back to you.

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NOBILO: Thanks to Alison for her reporting.

Vicky Pryce is an economist at the Centre for Economic and Business Research and author of the book, "Greekonomics." And she joins me now to discuss all things markets this morning.

Markets measure much lower on Wednesday. This is after the president's comments that Beijing hasn't addressed its unfair trade practices.

Is that what's driving that shaky, nervous investor sentiment?

VICKY PRYCE, CENTRE FOR ECONOMIC AND BUSINESS RESEARCH: I think up to a point. We asked him to slow down in global growth. But the trade disputes are at the center of what's going on right now, affecting all markets. And China have been hoping -- there's a number of meetings and we have all hoped that some of the issues would be resolved.

But of course, the mood from the White House is still pretty aggressive, I would say, in terms of what Trump has been saying, which would suggest that we are going to see a further imposition of tariffs on Chinese exports to the U.S.

That's worrying everybody. It worries the Europeans and other Asia markets. Up to a point, the concern is quite a lot of what China now exports to the U.S. is going to be diverted somewhere else. That will actually cause difficulties for a host of other countries that also export the same type of stuff and competing with China. So that's one of the elements that's out there.

But if the world really slows down, as a number of people predict, and if we're about to enter another serious crash possibly -- and there's quite a lot of speculation of that -- it is not just Asia we need to worry about, it is the developed world and everyone in the West who have been relying on the U.S. leading us out of what had been a very slow recovery from the financial crisis.

NOBILO: The fact there's a global growth slowdown, is that one of the key factors contributing to the fact that we have seen all the gains from the stock market in the U.S. be wiped out?

PRYCE: One thing that's happening is the oil price, that looked like it would strengthen, is now falling again. It is still quite high, just in comparison to where it was a while ago. But there it is.

Signs of concern about whether there's an oversupply, whether the economy slowdown means we don't need as much oil as we produce right now. So that's another indicator of that.

So if you look at the stock markets in the U.S., oil stocks suffered and we've seen a much wider decline, which is also affecting tech stocks in particular. Worried about regulation perhaps coming and everyone been talking about taxing some of the profits a lot more internationally for the service companies making.

And the second thing is whether there should be more regulation in terms of what they do and have they become too big, will they be broken up?

Makes people think of back to the days of the oil companies, where there was a lot of intervention and they split them up. So it may happen. I think --

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PRYCE: -- there's an underlying worry that perhaps the best days in terms of the stock markets are over. We've seen -- as you know, the gains of the last year in the U.S. wiped out.

NOBILO: You mentioned tech stocks, which did pretty badly yesterday in Europe. In fact, the markets in Europe closed sharply lower on Tuesday overall.

What is driving that?

PRYCE: There may have been an overvaluation, I think that's what they're worried about. They've become far too big and therefore they're ripe for some change there. And a lot of the control of what they do, there's all sorts of suggestions for a digital tax as well for all the international companies becoming very big.

There's concerns about competition.

How can we allow a lot of those firms to move into an Amazon retailer and so on?

That will worry markets. A number of concerns about whether they're doing things properly.

Are they respecting the data of people?

Are they allowing others to use data in a competitive way that some of us are asking for?

So there's I think quite a lot there that's probably going to come. But I think there's a general concern about whether the growth in the U.S. this year is going to continue next year. Forecast now for a slowdown after the fiscal boost has gone and monetary policies tightening.

That's making life much more difficult for everyone, including actually in the emerging markets because many of them have borrowed or hold U.S. assets and borrowed in U.S. dollars. And that I think is a big issue.

So Europe itself has got problems with the Italian budget and we think how Europe will be checked in the future without the U.K. So there's loads of problems. And a slowdown in Europe, too; look at Germany, which hardly -- given the fact that the figures suggest a fall in the last quarter in GDP because they're not selling as many cars to places like China. And that's an issue.

NOBILO: Vicky Pryce, thank you so much for joining us.

Up next on CNN NEWSROOM, parts of California, already scorched by wildfires, may now face heavy rain and that could mean more disaster for the state.

And on the defensive, an exclusive with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who insists his company is moving in the right direction after a year of scandals.

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NOBILO: Welcome back.

Fire crews in California made significant progress containing the state's most destructive and deadliest wildfires. But even so, the death toll continues to rise; 84 people are now confirmed dead. Many more are still unaccounted for.

And in the coming hours, heavy rain could also bring mudslides, making conditions even worse for the firefighters and the thousands that are left homeless. CNN's Nick Watt has more from Northern California.

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NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): This deadly, destructive blaze now 70 percent contained but these people, many who have already lost everything, not out of danger.

Torrential rain is coming. A flash flood watch in effect from tomorrow afternoon through Thanksgiving into Friday morning. And this tent city in the Chico Walmart parking lot is in a flood zone.

CASEY HATCHER: What we really want people to do as the rain approaches and the weather starts to shift is get inside. WATT: There is plenty of space in evacuation shelters.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to be here as long as we need to be here. We could be in the sheltering business through Christmas.

WATT: Some are scared to go.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's the germs -- the norovirus going around?

I'm scared because we already got that one. So we got over it.

WATT: More than a hundred had been hospitalized by the gastrointestinal bug. Others were moved to isolation blocks within the shelters. Many evacuees plan to ride out the rain out here in the open.

CYNTHIA SMITH, EVACUEE: So we're getting tarps and stuff like that. It is rough but we're making do.

WATT: Down in Los Angeles and Ventura County where the Woolsey Fire burned authorities also warning of mudslides on hillsides stripped bare by that blaze and potential debris flow as rains approach.

Free sandbags now available from forest stations. Some people will likely be evacuated from their homes once again. There is also concern up here at the Camp Fire site that rains could hamper the search for the dead, even wash away human remains or make them indistinguishable from the mud.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to go as hard as we can, long as we can until we can't go anymore. That's what's going to happen

WATT (on camera): And the official tally of the number of homes destroyed -- that left about 1,000 in just the past 24 hours. That number is going up as search teams make it into more and more neighborhoods. You can tell that they were in this neighborhood today, that's today's date 11/20 spray-painted on the driveway.

When they come through a neighborhood, they will often first go to homes with a car in the driveway because that's a sign that maybe someone didn't make it out alive. Nick Watt, CNN, Paradise, California.

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NOBILO: Bringing you some breaking news now. We heard in the last few minutes that a South Korean has been elected the new head of Interpol, Kim Jong Yang of the Republic of Korea, has been elected the new president of Interpol after a vote in Dubai. That's according to a tweet on the official Interpol Twitter account on Wednesday.

This comes as somewhat of a surprise. It was a former Russian interior ministry official, which has been tipped to be the next head, despite concerns that Moscow had been using the international policing agency to target political opponents. I will bring you much more on that later in the show and have a live report for you next hour as well.

President Trump announces he will side with Saudi Arabia. Coming up, his reaction to his unwillingness to sanction Riyadh for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

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[02:30:44] NOBILO: Welcome back to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Bianca Nobilo live in London with the check of headlines this hour. Another brutal day on Wall Street has wiped out U.S. stock markets gains for the year. The Dow fell more than 550 points or 2.2 percent. Retailers including Target and Kohl's drag down the S&P and tech stocks like Apple, Amazon, and Facebook sent the NASDAQ lower.

Donald Trump apparently wanted the U.S. Justice Department to prosecute Hillary Clinton but was warned against it by the White House counsel. A source tells CNN the president has also repeatedly asked progress reports on investigations into his former presidential opponent. U.S. lawmakers are shock critical of President Donald Trump's loyalty to Saudi Arabia in the aftermath of Jamal Khashoggi's death. The CIA believes the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman ordered the killing.

But Mr. Trump says maybe the crown prince knew about it, maybe he didn't. Jomana Karadsheh is in Istanbul with more for us now. Jomana, thank you for being with us. So what is the reaction been in Turkey to President Trump's statement of maybe he did, maybe he didn't referring to whether or not to the crown prince's knew about this killing?

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Bianca, there's been no official reaction just yet. The foreign minister of Turkey was in Washington, D.C. around the same time that that statement was released to this meeting with his American counterpart, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. And he was asked by the media about President Trump's statement. He said he hadn't seen it yet, you know, the feeling in Turkey's, they have been quite diplomatic to an extent in dealing with this crisis when it comes to confronting Saudi Arabia.

They have been very cautious to not end up in a situation where these two countries that are regional rival to an extent they've had an rocky relationship between President Erdogan and the de factor ruler of Saudi Arabia, Mohammad bin Salman, in recent years. And, you know, they've waited to an extent. They've tried to get the international community especially the United States to backed Turkey up in this current crisis and, you know, we've seen Turkey basically sharing some of the evidence that's got drip feeding this information and this leak of evidence over recent weeks to try and put pressure on the United States and other countries to really take the lead when it comes to upholding the Saudi's accountable. So we're going to have to wait and see what happens now since this is

really not what Turkey was hoping for, you know, they've made their position clear that Turkey does not believe the Saudi narrative that this was some sort of a rouge operation that went wrong. They say this was premeditated killing, that this was ordered at the highest levels of the Saudi government. Well, they haven't specifically mentioned the crown prince.

President Erdogan did say that it came from the highest levels but it was not King Salman. So people took this to mean that he is pointing the finger directly at the crown prince. So we'll have to wait and see. Does Turkey have more evidence that it's going to be releasing? We'll have to wait and see, Bianca, because after, you know, looking at it last week, it seemed like they put the bond on the court of the United States and other western allies after sharing that evidence.

The ball is back in the court of Turkey right now. We'll have to see what their next move is. But they've also made the point clear that they will not allow a cover-up. At least, this is a public statement from Turkey throughout that they say they want to get to the bottom of this and find out who ordered the killing of Jamal Khashoggi. But also, it's part of this frustration with the lack of cooperation they say from the Saudi's. They feel that the time maybe have come out for an independent international investigation.

NOBILO: Thank you for your reporting, Jomana. Jomana Karadsheh for us in Istanbul, Turkey. Now, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg says he's responsible for what happened at the company which he founded. So does he think he should have done more to stop Russia's attempt to interfere in the U.S. elections? What he tell CNN about that in an exclusive interview next.

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[02:38:14] NOBILO: Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has faced heavy criticism for how he handled Russia's efforts to spread misinformation online and divide Americans during the 2016 election. Now, critics say he could and should have done more to stop it. And now, a bombshell New York Times report says Facebook wage an aggressive lobbying campaign to deflect blame. CNN's Laurie Segall spoke exclusively with Zuckerberg at Facebook's headquarters in Menlo Park, California.

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LAURIE SEGALL, CNN SENIOR TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT: I want to start with some of the revelations that came from the New York Times' piece.

MARK ZUCKERBERG, CEO AND FOUNDER, FACEBOOK: Sure.

SEGALL: Let's look at Russia. Did you and other leaders try to minimize Russia's role in spreading propaganda on the platform?

ZUCKERBERG: No. Look, here's what happened. In 2016, there's no doubt that we missed something really important, right. The Russian effort to try to have these coordinated information operations on Facebook and also the internet more broadly was not something that we were expecting. Elections are always a very high security event and we were expecting certain kinds of cyberattacks and we found them, right.

The Russian's were trying to hack into specific accounts and we told the people and we told the FBI, and all that. But we weren't on top of these coordinated information operations. So we just spent a lot of the last couple of years now basically building up our systems and strengthening them to be able to address this. But we've been very focus on this and invested a lot in it.

SEGALL: I think that folks talked about transparency though, you know, this idea that the former chief security officer wanted to publish a transparency paper and ever mention of Russia was taken out. It was encouraged not to put Russia in that transparency paper. Do you regret not being more transparent at the time or not getting, you know, nothing more vocal about it at the time?

[02:40:08] ZUCKERBERG: You know, I wish that we understood the issue sooner, right. I wish we understood it before 2016 before the Russians to have do this information operations in the first place. Now, I do think sometimes people say, well, how did you not know this? And I think in some of these cases, you know, it's a really big deal to come out and say that a nation state is behind something and before our company puts a stamp on something saying that I want to be really sure that that's the case.

SEGALL: Quite a few revelations in this piece. One reference (INAUDIBLE) Trump host that many considered fell under the hate speech category. And part of this revelation say that one of the reasons your team decided to keep it up was because they're worried about a conservative backlash. I know Facebook (INAUDIBLE) from the Democrats and Republicans, the government in general, are leaders making (INAUDIBLE) political leaders?

ZUCKERBERG: No. Look, in a lot of these cases --

(CROSSTALK)

SEGALL: (INAUDIBLE) in that situation?

ZUCKERBERG: No, they didn't. And I was involved in those conversations and I think it's very important that people have the opportunity to hear from what political leaders are saying. So, you know, in those cases, I don't think that a lot of the content violated our policies. We also have a specific point in our policies where news worthy content. We give a special difference too which certainly some of these prominent politicians going out and making a point. It fits into that. So, no, I think we did the right thing there.

SEGALL: So it wasn't accurate though that part of the reason they didn't take down that post was because of 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, can you state it for the record? Did you know anything about this?

ZUCKERBERG: Well, I -- like I said in the call, you know, I learned about this when I -- 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 specific P.R. firm that was about (INAUDIBLE) right. And that's why it's -- I think it's important not just, you know, what we're doing in relation to this one firm that we go through, and look at all of the different P.R. firms.

And folks who we worked with and make sure that we're operating in the way that we want to.

SEGALL: You know, the P.R. firm was founded 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 the 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 certainly a big part of 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 (INAUDIBLE) is 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: It's not common for tech companies to necessarily hire these types of firms and then you would argue to a way spreading the same type of conspiracy theories that Facebook has worked so hard in the last couple of years to get on top of.

ZUCKERBERG: Yes. Look, from the review that I've done so far, it doesn't appear that anything about the -- that the group said was untrue as far as we can tell. But again, 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 worked with and we worked with a lot of different P.R. firms and a lot of different contractors and vendors with the company and we need to make sure that there -- that we're comfortable and that all the folks that we worked 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 George Soros has been the target of a

lot of really horrendous attacks and I think that is terrible and I certainly wouldn't want anyone who is associated with our company to be a part of that.

SEGALL: There are a lot of questions now about Sheryl Sandberg's role in the latest controversy. Can you definitively say Sheryl will stay in her same role?

ZUCKERBERG: Yes. Look, Sheryl is a really important part of this company and is leading a lot of the efforts to address a lot of the biggest efforts that -- the biggest issues that we have and she's been an important partner for me for 10 years and, you know, I'm really proud of the work that we've done together and I hope that we worked together for decades more to come.

[02:44:59] SEGALL: You are CEO and chairman of Facebook. That's an extraordinary amount of power. Given that you rule a kingdom of 2 billion people digitally, essentially. Shouldn't your power be checked?

ZUCKERBERG: You know, I always talk about how we need to partner with governments around the world, and other companies, and nonprofits and other sectors. So, yes. I don't think fundamentally that we're going to be able to address all of these issues by ourselves.

SEGALL: So, you're not stepping down as chairman?

ZUCKERBERG: That's not the plan.

SEGALL: That's not the plan. Would anything change that?

ZUCKERBERG: I mean, take eventually over time, I'm not going to -- I'm not going to be doing this forever. But I certainly I'm not currently thinking that, that makes sense.

SEGALL: This idea of transparency is important, we keep hearing it. But then, you have these reports coming out that say something otherwise. So, how do you ensure that you do win back public trust? I think this is an incredibly pivotal point for the company and for you as a leader. Because it certainly seems over the last year, we haven't stopped hearing about -- you know, one thing after the next that shows otherwise that the company hasn't been as transparent.

ZUCKERBERG: Yes. Well, look, there are always going to be issues. But if you're -- if you're serving a community of more than 2 billion people, there's going to be someone who is posting something that is -- that is problematic. That gets through the systems that we have in place no matter how advanced the systems are.

And I think, by and large, a lot of the criticism around the biggest issues has been fair. But I do think that if we're going to be real, there is this bigger picture as well which is that we have a different world view than some of the folks who are covering this. And --

SEGALL: But if we've given the world a voice, look at what's happened in the last year, you've had elections in the last year, elections manipulated. Hate speech that's gone viral and turned offline.

It certainly seems like this mission has been accomplished in many ways and there's a whole new set of problems that perhaps, you guys didn't foresee. And now we're on a very complicated place where there's not an easy solution.

ZUCKERBERG: Yes, there's -- these are complex issues that you can't fix. You manage them on an ongoing basis.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

NOBILO: Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, talking exclusively with our Laurie Segall, there.

Now, Interpol has elected South Korea's Kim Jong-yang as its new president after a vote in Dubai. He's replaced the organization's former leader, Meng Hongwei, who left under mysterious circumstances. Our Sam Kiley joins us from Dubai with the details.

Sam, you're in Dubai where the annual Congress is happening. Tell us how unexpected was this a selection. And what do we know about this man?

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, he is the deputy president alongside Alexander Prokopchuk, who was the preferred candidate certainly for Russia. And there had been an assumption that the Russian candidate was going to prevail in the voting that was held in the building behind me this morning, Bianca, but he did not.

And that I think has rescued the reputation in large part of Interpol. Rightly or wrongly, it was being perceived that the election of a general in a Russian Interior Minister -- a ministry to the most senior position within Interpol. Particularly, following the arrest of Mr. Meng, when he went back to China.

He was, of course, a former Minister of the Interior in China. He now faces corruption charges. But in the context of a degree of chaos, and perhaps political interference from headquarters. There isn't was a sense that the election of a Russian official in the context to say the Skripal poisonings that have been resulted in a death in the United Kingdom by the use of novichock nerve agent by Russia.

Russia's attempt to use Interpol in the past through Red Notices and other acts called the dispersal notices could have been used -- or he could have been using this position to chase after dissidents that were opposed to the Putin regime.

He remains though, the Russian delegates inside Interpol. He retains his position as one of the vice presidents. But he is no longer expected, well, he won't be as expected being presiding over the whole operation that now goes to South Korean.

I think that has been met, Bianca, with universal relief among Interpol members.

NOBILO: Sam Kiley in Dubai. Thanks for bringing us the very latest. We'll check back in you -- with you next hour as well.

Now, we're going to take a short break. We'll be back with more news after this.

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[02:53:47] NOBILO: Welcome back. A suicide bombing in Kabul has killed at least 50 people, in one of the deadliest attacks to hit the Afghan capital this year.

The bomber targeted religious scholars who had gathered to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammed. It's still unclear who was responsible. CNN's Nick Paton Walsh has more from London.

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NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What does appear for the suicide bomber struck in the heart of this crowded wedding hall? One of a number of startlingly lavish buildings on the outskirts of Kabul. Gody, some might almost say but used for other purposes.

Today, on the birth of the Prophet Mohammed Omar, leads a gathering of Afghan religious scholars. They're to celebrate that particular holy day and struck as I say by this suicide bomber. A death toll that continues to rise and number of injured there as well, certainly, in the dozens leaving many deeply concerned again of the security.

There's supposed to be at the heart of Afghans capital city that has been repeatedly punctured in the past years or so by Taliban that feel increasingly in the ascendants. In fact, the U.S. Chief of Staff General Joseph Dunford, recently admitted that "The Taliban were not losing." And it's clear from the U.S. Inspector General's on account of territory they control Afghanistan.

That sense that count first began, they are doing the best it seems they have so far. The Afghan government controlling or influencing only 55 percent of Afghanistan.

So, under this startling mix, we have mass casualty incidents like this which shake people, in what supposed to be the safe bubble of a capital city right down to their bones.

Some will perhaps, suggest this may be the work of ISIS, the far more extreme element to the insurgency raging in Afghanistan. Some may say that perhaps given extremists as part as the Islamist faith, potentially view celebrating the Prophet Mohammed is something that shouldn't necessarily be done. That, that may be a motivation for this attack it's unclear.

The broader question, though, is exactly what this means for the peace process which strangely under all the crowd of this record violence is underway. The U.S. envoy, Zalmay Khalilzad having met some Taliban officials in Qatar, in Doha, of late to try and discuss a way forwards. The Taliban though, 17 years waiting for this moment, where it appears Donald Trump promised to win at all costs isn't necessarily going to be followed through with an increase in troop numbers and that also, the Afghan government perhaps sees the need for some sort of political reconciliation here. As indeed, does Washington.

But none of this backdrop, any consolation for the relatives of those who lost loved ones amongst the dozens dying in this shocking attack, again, today. Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

[02:56:23] NOBILO: Our thanks to Nick for his reporting. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Bianca Nobilo, and I'll be back with another hour of news right after this.

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