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Climate Change Causing Warmth; Rape Suspect Reaches Plea Deal; Google CEO Testifies; Bill to Oversee Ads. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired December 11, 2018 - 10:30   ET


[10:30:00] JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Striking to you.

DR. MARTIN HOERLING, RESEARCH METEOROLOGIST, NOAA: So, in our report, in addition to looking at arctic changes, we've looked at weather events that occurred in the past year throughout the world, including such remote areas as Tasman Sea and a hot ocean temperature event that occurred in 2017 over the Tasman Sea. The science is finding these types of events are occurring increasingly frequently. And also -- this is really amazing -- is that these events are being found to occur only because of the increase in carbon dioxide. They could not have occurred in our grandfathers' and grandmothers' times when the carbon in the atmosphere was appreciably less. So we're hitting thresholds that have never been hit before and it is attributable to the increasing carbon dioxide due to human activities.

BERMAN: All right, there you go. So you had quite a remarkable moment. The president dispatching an official to this conference where you're discussing hard scientific data like that, and yet pushing the use of more fossil fuels, which, of course, create the bulk of those carbon emissions. I just want to play that sound for folks at home to see that moment here. A U.S. official laughed at. Have a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Under President Trump's leadership, the United States is experiencing economic growth at record levels.



SCIUTTO: I believe the laughing was not about the economic data but about the fact that he was pushing fossil fuels.

Just explain to us, if you can, Martin, you are part of this effort to address climate change. Where is the U.S. standing today, particularly in a moment like that, where you have the U.S. aligning itself with Russia, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia, three countries who are entirely dependent on fossil fuels for their economic health?

HOERLING: So I think it's important to look at the types of reports you're seeing from the scientific community as serving society as a whole, giving as much evidence basis, fact basis the truth as to what the science can say about how our environment is changing. Of course policy will take that as they need to. But the public needs to know as much facts as they can, the truth of what the situation is that's unfolding.

And these reports are containing that unvarnished truth, which may not always be as agreeable as we would like it to be, but, nonetheless, these are the facts. And whether we choose to embrace them or ignore them, they are the facts.

SCIUTTO: Yes. Yes.

I want to show these pictures just because it was so clear to me, as you look up there, we were up there in March and areas of the arctic ice that normally would be a clean, white, uninterrupted sheet were breaking up. They melt earlier. They freeze later. And the U.S. Navy, which is not exactly a wilting flower on this issue, it chronicles this, it tracks it itself. It has -- that's me freezing up there -- but it has documented this and its changing behavior and supports climate change behavioral change in response to this.

Tell us how this affects folks' lives at home because, of course, people look at that and say, well, it's up in the arctic, it's not going to bother me, but this gets to rising oceans and other issues, does it not?

HOERLING: Well, the arctic is the canary in the coal mine. There's no doubt about that and no report card speaks to the many arctic changes. Here where we live, if we're in Washington or if it's on the west coast in California, the effects of the arctic is a little bit different in what it's having an impact in the high latitudes. Basically, there's just less cold air available being generated in the arctic that would move into North America or Europe, if you will. So we have milder winters, for instance. We have less extreme cold waves on average. We may have heard about polar vortex events in the past. Those are perhaps less related to what the arctic is doing to just weather patterns.

But I think important also is that as much as the arctic is changing, climate change is also altering the weather patterns immediately in North America and other parts of Europe and Asia. Heat waves being an example. Heavy extreme rainstorms, storm surges with hurricanes. And these are the types of events, and fires, I can't emphasize fires enough in light of the recent events that we saw in California. These are being made more severe. And this is rather independent of the arctic but they're all tied together through the same phenomena, and that is, we are putting a lot of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and it traps the heat.

SCIUTTO: Well, we've got to do something about it.

Martin Hoerling, thanks very much for explaining it to us.

HOERLING: Thank you.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: So important, and no replacement for what you saw, you being up there and seeing it for yourself.

All right, we'll stay on that.

Also, outrage in Texas after a former fraternity president, accused of rape, offered a plea deal with not only no jail time, doesn't even have to register as a sex offender? Coming up, his accuser's powerful response.


[10:39:29] SCIUTTO: There is outrage in Texas after prosecutors accepted a plea agreement that means a former fraternity president from Baylor University, who was accused of rape, will not go to jail. Jacob Anderson, the former president of Baylor's Phi Delta Theta Fraternity was accused of raping a sophomore. This at an off campus party in 2016. Anderson had faced a maximum of 20 years in jail, but an agreement with prosecutors means he will serve no jail time now and he also will not have to register as a sex offender.

HARLOW: Let me just take a moment here and read you part, part of the victim impact statement from this girl who says she was raped by Anderson when she was 19 years old.

[10:40:06] And I quote her, it must be horrible to be you. To know what you did to me. To know that you are a rapist. To know that you almost killed me. To know that you ruined my life, stole my virginity, and stole many other things from me.

She goes on to say, by the grace of God, I am alive today to fight this injustice. One breath either way and Jacob Walter Anderson would be on trial for murder.

Our Ed Lavandera is all over this story. He joins us now from Texas.

Good morning, Ed.

Just walk us through what we know at this point.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Poppy and Jim.

It's also important to keep in context in all of this, this is, you know, surrounding Baylor University, which over the course of the last several years has been embroiled in these types of cases, and a huge scandal involving that, and, obviously, the role that the local prosecutor's office there in Waco played in all of this. So this kind of coming on the heels of what has already been a highly publicized scandal for that Waco area.

But, as you mentioned, this dating back to February of 2015. This off- campus fraternity party where Jacob Anderson is accused of raping this young victim. He was indicted on four counts of sexual assault. And despite all of that, he's essentially pleaded no contest to unlawful restraint, which is a third-degree felony. And the details of that include no jail time, a $400 fine, and receive counseling. That probation is supposed to last about three years. So after that three- year period is over, all of this would be expunged from his record, if there are no other problems during that -- during that three-year period. But in a highly intense and emotional moments inside that courtroom

when prosecutors and the defense attorneys and the judge all agreed to this plea deal, I'll read you a little bit more of what the victim in this case also went on to say during that court hearing yesterday. This is from our affiliates down there in Waco, saying, quote, if I had the courage to come back to Waco, she's referencing this because apparently the prosecutor and the D.A. did not appear in the courtroom yesterday, she said if I had the courage to come back to Waco and face my rapist and testify, you could at least have had enough respect for me to show up. You both will have to live with this decision to let a rapist run free in society without any warning to future victims. I wonder if you will have nightmares every night watching Jacob rape me over and over again.

According to the victim's attorneys in this case, they basically said that Jacob Anderson had left this victim to die, choking on her own vomit. And that's why this victim was describing this in such emotional terms.

SCIUTTO: Just heartbreaking.

Ed Lavandera, thanks very much for following the story.

HARLOW: All right, regulating big tech. Our next guest, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, says it must happen. This is Google's CEO -- those are live pictures -- Google's CEO right now publicly testifying for the first time on Capitol Hill. What would she ask him, next.


[10:47:40] HARLOW: All right, so underway right now, Google's CEO, Sundar Pichai, is testifying for the first time ever publicly on Capitol Hill. He is going to be grilled about accusations of political bias by the president and other Republicans. In August, President Trump blasted Google, accusing it of rigging search results against him and, quote, suppressing the voice of conservatives. That is an accusation that Google vehemently denies.

The Google CEO told lawmakers as part of his prepared testimony this morning, quote, I lead this company without political bias. To do otherwise would go against our core principles and interests.

HARLOW: Joining us now is Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota. She has been pushing on big tech for regulation and she joins me now.

Good morning. Thank you for being here.


HARLOW: Look, the Senate Judiciary Committee invited Google and other big tech CEOs to testify in April. We only saw FaceBook come forward. There was that sort of famous empty chair moment before the Senate Intel Committee where we saw Google choose not to testify. And I wonder if you were before him today asking questions of the Google CEO, what would be the first question, the most important question that you would ask him?

KLOBUCHAR: Well, first of all, thanks for the opportunity to put those questions out there. I hope my House colleagues will hear them because I think it is really important. Yes, these are great companies. But Google is one that has not supported the Honest Ads Act. And while they have done some self-reporting, they haven't even done issue ads. And this is a bill that I put forward with Senator Warner and former Senator McCain, who we miss very much.

And I would like to ask him why they would not come out and strongly support a bill that we can get done, I think eventually here in the House and Senate, that says, come on, you've got to disclose these political ads and have disclaimers. So that's number one.

The second is privacy. And the fact that they have had their own bug in their system, which Senator Cortez Masto and I sent a letter way back this fall and now it's gotten worse. I think it's an example of why you want to have notification of users when there's a breach within 72 hours.

HARLOW: Right.

KLOBUCHAR: And that's a bill I have with Senator Kennedy.

So I think while I know some of our Republican colleagues in the House want to focus on this partisan issue, which I just haven't seen proof of in terms of their search engine being biased. I think we've got to find the common ground on this, which is privacy rules that protect all Americans and then doing something about these fake political ads and ads coming in from places like Russia.

[10:50:20] HARLOW: So I spoke to a very high ranking Google executive just this morning, minutes before our show started, who told me I think they, being lawmakers, will be pleasantly surprised at how thoughtful he is and his willingness to work with D.C., roll up his sleeves and work with them.

So when it comes to your proposed legislation of the Honest Ads Act, it's basically for transparency so that all of these social media sites, big tech, has to put out there who bought this ad, who paid for it, et cetera, in the wake of Russia's election meddling in the 2016 election. You say Google is not supportive of it at this point in time. You also tweeted in March that you were surprised to hear Mark Zuckerberg's interview and FaceBook's change position on it. It sounds like FaceBook is now supportive of it. What is the last thing you heard from Google on this front? Is there no way that they're getting behind it?

KLOBUCHAR: Oh, we just simply don't have their support yet. Twitter is also supporting the bill.

And just to make this clear, when a political ad runs on CNN, or you've got something on radio, my little radio station in Thief River Falls, Minnesota, they have got to disclose those ads, and they have to have disclaimers. $1.4 billion was spent in the last presidential race in online ads. The same kind of ads you see on TV. There's absolutely no reason we should let dark money hide behind a veil and pay for ads and then we don't know who paid for them.

HARLOW: So, senator, you tweeted just yesterday, this is part of what you tweeted, quote, we must give people power over their data. Does the United States need even more than the Honest Ads Act? Does the United States need something akin to GDPR in Europe where it forces all of these big tech companies, if you or I or any American were to ask them, show me everything you have on me, they would have to hand over that data. Do we need that much?

KLOBUCHAR: We don't have to do exactly what Europe did. But we sure need to do something. And the first thing would be, as you point out, transparency in the data that's collected. The second would be making sure you can opt out of your data being collected if you want to. And the third is to have a notice if you have a breach, just like other companies do.

We love these companies. They're uniquely American companies. But they can't be on a castle in a hill, OK? They have got to realize that they are part of a major consumer force here and consumers need to be protected.

HARLOW: You wrote a letter to Mark Zuckerberg just last month, and I'll read part of it. You said, all of what we've learned from "The New York Times" exclusive reporting on FaceBook, for example, quote, raises concern that the company could improperly or illegally use its vast financial and data resources against government officials and critics seeking to protect the public and our democracy. That was a letter to Mark Zuckerberg of FaceBook.

Did you hear back from him? It's a letter that you penned with other Democratic senators.

KLOBUCHAR: We have not heard back any extensive answer here from them, and Definers (ph), the company that they had hired and then had terminated. And that was, of course, this issue that we found out that they had hired this company to do oppo research. OK, people can do research. But then we found out that charts were issued that were to journalists that basically undermined elected officials before a hearing. We found out that they had gone after their critics, like George Soros, and used their own platform to spread it as far as we can see. So we're just trying to get to the bottom of this to determine if there were any campaign financial violations or any SEC violations.

This is serious stuff. Companies can do research, but they better be careful of what they're doing if they start crossing the line legally.

HARLOW: Yes. So no extensive response from Mark Zuckerberg or FaceBook on that.

KLOBUCHAR: No, we're awaiting that.

HARLOW: Just one final point on FaceBook after "The New York Times" investigative reporting; Part of it, as you know, included what they say was a tense conversation between you and FaceBook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, who called you to complain about your attacks on FaceBook.

Did Sheryl Sandberg ask you to dial down your public criticism, senator, of FaceBook?

KLOBUCHAR: This was a discussion and -- where there were other staff people on the phone as well. I wouldn't have called it heated. But what I would say is that we had a vigorous discussion about this issue ad piece because at the time, and now I want to make clear, FaceBook since did support the bill and since supported, including issues ad, because at the time they weren't supporting it. They said it was hard to figure out what were issues ads. And I said, well, you know what, these are the kinds of ads that are really being used by other countries like Russia to divide America, whether it's in the civil liberty areas or energy. And, guess what, TV, radio, little newspapers, they're somehow able to figure it out because that's federal law.

[10:55:12] So that was our discussion. We didn't change the bill. And then, sure enough, during the hearing when Mark Zuckerberg testified, he came out in support of the bill a few months later.

And so I just think we need to have this bill passed because it's not just FaceBook and Twitter and Google. It is all these major platforms. And they're all doing different things and claiming their voluntarily disclosing, which we appreciate very much, but you have to have a law, like you do for everything else, or you're going to have a repeat of the same thing in the next presidential.

HARLOW: Senator Amy Klobuchar, please keep us posted on what you do hear back from all these big, powerful tech companies on this front.

KLOBUCHAR: I will, Poppy.

HARLOW: And thank you for your time this morning.

KLOBUCHAR: Thank you. Always good to be on a Minnesotan's show. Thank you, Poppy.

HARLOW: Thank you, senator.


SCIUTTO: Quite a big deal. Big tech companies regulated.


SCIUTTO: And it seems like it's becoming more of a possibility.

HARLOW: It's coming.


HARLOW: Yes, it's coming.

SCIUTTO: Well, in just minutes, the president is set for a big meeting with top Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. All of this as a government shutdown looms. Will they make a deal? Stay with us.