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U.S. Economy Gains 263,000 Jobs in April; DNC Announces Fundraising, Polling Requirements for Debates; Democratic Hopefuls Push Hard to Gain Support, Donors; Facebook Bans Extremists It Deems Dangerous; Mother of Stanford Student from China Said Money was Donation; "Jeopardy" Champ Makes History with 21st Win Streak. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired May 3, 2019 - 09:30   ET


[09:30:32] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Stock market is open, blockbuster jobs report, 263,000 jobs added last month, unemployment now the lowest it's been since 1969, 3.6 percent.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, it's incredible numbers. Let's get right to Alison Kosik.

And, Alison, as you know as well as me, markets are funny things. Oftentimes it'll go down on good economic news but they're worried about interest rates going up. But here's the markets going up. What's happening there?

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you are seeing the market go up because of reaction to the jobs report. 263,000 jobs added to the economy in April. This was a surprise to the upside. It really shows that employers continued this strong momentum of hiring even when there was talk just recently of a recession around the corner just because of the rough patch we went through, you know, between the months of October 2018, even through January and February, too, because we saw the paltry job numbers from February.

But getting this jobs number, even revising those February numbers higher, showing that job growth remains strong here in the U.S. It's also a sign that the economy is not overheating and that's something that Wall Street keeps an eye out for. They don't want to see inflation. Right now inflation is low. The Fed right now is holding patience as far as interest rate hikes go. They're not expected to hike anytime this year.

So it's almost like this Goldilocks moment for the market because when you don't raise those interest rates it kind of juices the market higher -- Poppy.

SCIUTTO: Alison Kosik, at the market. Thanks very much.

Right now 21 men and women are pushing to be the Democratic president -- candidate, rather, for president in 2020, but their campaign won't get far if they don't do well in the debates. And to do well in those debates they need to be in the debates.

HARLOW: That's true. New DNC rules say candidates need to have 1 percent in at least three polls conducted by a qualifying pollster or receive donations from at least 65,000 unique donors. This means some candidates are going to unique lengths to gain support, like why not play some beer pong with water or donate to charity if you donate to their campaign?

Joining us CNN senior Washington correspondent Jeff Zeleny and our political correspondent MJ Lee.

Jim says it's beer -- it's not beer pong, Zeleny, if it's with water. I think it's creative, but I digress. What's going on here?

SCIUTTO: By definition not, but anyway tell us what's happening.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I agree with Jim on that. But, look, I mean, what candidates are trying to do, Jim and Poppy, is just simply break out of this very large field of candidates. And again, those debates which start at the end of June and then there's another one on CNN in July in Detroit, that is an opportunity for Democratic candidates to, you know, have the biggest audience yet, but you have to get on that debate stage.

So most candidates, most major candidates, have qualified for the debates, but some of the newer candidates who have just jumped in more recently are still looking for those 65,000 signatures from some 20 states or so. So they are going to great lengths here. But I am here in Des Moines, Iowa, where today marks the nine-month countdown to those Iowa caucuses on February 3rd.


SCIUTTO: Indeed. MJ, so two big numbers from the CNN poll earlier this week. One, we'll put the numbers up on the screen. Just a big lead for Joe Biden, you know, a week after announcing his candidacy.


SCIUTTO: Thirty-nine percent with everybody else well behind. I think we'll put them up on the screen now. Sanders, I mean, more than double, Sanders support, and you got a lot of folks in that 1 percent range. This other number must be giving some hope to those other candidates in the singer digits and that is that 64 percent of voters, two-thirds, say that they might still change their minds.

Is that the sort of silver lining that the other Democratic candidates are looking for and to say that they still have an opportunity?

MJ LEE, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER: Well, I think this is just one more reminder that it is so early in the cycle and things are so incredibly fluid, right? Yes, it is true that Joe Biden right now, at this moment, does look like the clear front runner, but if you look at just the rest of the field and the rest of the numbers for everybody else, I mean, they're sort of in a pack right now, right?

There's Joe Biden and then there is Bernie Sanders and then there is everybody else in sort of the single digits territory and it just goes to show how much room there is for some of these candidates to potentially break out and try to set themselves apart so that they can play catch-up to a Joe Biden or a Bernie Sanders, and to bring this back to what we were just talking about earlier about the importance of the Democratic debates.

I mean, if you are a 2020 Democratic candidate, you have to make it on to the stage. Not making it to the debate is simply devastating. This is one of those moments where you get -- potentially get the kind of boost that you might want into the summer.

HARLOW: Right.

LEE: You have that opportunity to break out in some way and have that kind of a moment. If you don't make it, that really is politically devastating and that's why we are seeing these e-mails for the $1 donations because these candidates are trying to meet that 65,000 donor threshold.

HARLOW: Yes. Yes. For sure. So, Zeleny, back to you on one thing that I think is interesting that we've seen this week. Certainly Senator Kamala Harris and to a lesser extent, Senator Amy Klobuchar, fundraising off their questioning of the Attorney General Bill Barr this week. The president reacting in Kamala Harris calling her nasty, nasty woman. We've heard him use that term before. She's spinning it, playing it to her advantage.

ZELENY: No doubt about it. And this is one of the ways that senators can break through. I mean, really one of the earliest primaries here, if you will, is happening on Capitol Hill, is happening in the Senate. It is giving senators a chance during their day jobs what they're elected for to show how they are indeed different. Of course, Senator Harris a long time prosecutor, the former California attorney general.

So when she was questioning Bill Barr as the attorney general she of course had in her mind, you know, a moment. She was asking him tough questions, calling on him afterward to resign. And of course, the president seemed to get sucked into that, if you will, calling her a nasty woman. She is fundraising off of that, as you said. So that is a way for her to try and break out in a matter of substance that Democratic activists and voters are actually watching and paying attention to.

But, boy, I can tell you being out here in Iowa for most of the week, talking to a lot of voters, front runners are perhaps fleeting, they may be front runners for the moment, but this is a wide open race and that gives all these candidates a chance to still have their moment. Elizabeth Warren coming here later today. Bernie Sanders here all weekend, Amy Klobuchar, Eric Swalwell, on and on. So a lot a lot of campaigning here coming up.


ZELENY: Poppy and Jim.

HARLOW: We'll be watching. SCIUTTO: It's early.

HARLOW: Yes, it's very early. There you go.

SCIUTTO: A little early.

HARLOW: MJ, thank you. And, Jeff, do us a favor. Jeff, while you are out there, talk to some of the farmers there because the jobs numbers so good this morning, but it doesn't include farmers and the Ag sector. Right? It's nonfarm payroll.

ZELENY: Right.

HARLOW: And they've been feeling a lot of pain and yet the president is relying on them for 2020. So I'm interested to hear how they're feeling about this. There's been a lot of pain for the Ag sector.

ZELENY: And it's planting season and as you know, Poppy.


ZELENY: Right, it's planting season so that's certainly a conversation that they are thinking about.


ZELENY: But so far they've held with the president at least in these elections out here, Poppy.

HARLOW: All right. All right. Keep us posted. Thank you both.

Ahead for us, Facebook and some high-profile and controversial users now banned from the site as the social media giant says it's making this new push against hate.


[09:42:33] HARLOW: All right. It is jobs Friday and the economy is doing incredibly well and the new jobs numbers are very, very strong. The president writing about it. But the news here is the number, 263,000 jobs added last month, unemployment 3.6 percent, the lowest we've seen since 1969.

SCIUTTO: No question, and continuing a strong trend in recent months. Other news we're following this morning, Facebook is purging some high-profile names from its platform, some might say they took their time with this.

HARLOW: The social media giant has banned names you'll know like Alex Jones, Louis Farrakhan, and others calling them, in Facebook's words, quote, "dangerous individuals." The ban also applies to Instagram which of course is owned by Facebook.

Our senior media reporter Oliver Darcy joins us now.

The reaction that Jim and I had, the first reaction, and not trying to be snarky but just really like this could have happened a year or two ago. Why now and what does it actually mean?

OLIVER DARCY, CNN SENIOR MEDIA REPORTER: Well, you'll remember even a year ago Facebook was tweeting at reporters saying that they were defending their position not to remove Alex Jones when Facebook came under scrutiny for allowing him to have a Facebook page.

HARLOW: Right.

DARCY: So this is really remarkable, this 180, now they are banning these users, calling them dangerous and it's almost hard to imagine, you know, two years ago that Facebook would do this. Facebook saying that they have a lengthy process for validating a dangerous user or dangerous organization and that they follow this process. And they look at things like whether this person is identified as part of a hate group, whether they have posted content that violates Facebook's hate speech policies. Things like that. And so they took some time but they have determined that, you know, Alex Jones, Louis Farrakhan, and some people like right-wing personalities, Milo Yiannopoulos, violate these rules and are going to be banned.

SCIUTTO: How can it take so long to violate -- I mean, you know that they share, you know, racist stuff.

HARLOW: Conspiracy.

SCIUTTO: Conspiracy, fake stuff, conspiracy theories, offensive stuff. What's the -- why does it take ages to make that call? I mean, the policies are clear.


SCIUTTO: It doesn't let you do that. It's not like you need a room full of lawyers to make this determination. I don't get it.

DARCY: That's a great question from Facebook. I'll even read from the statement yesterday. Facebook said in their statement, "We've always banned individuals and organization that promote or engage in violence and hate (INAUDIBLE) ideology, the process for validating potential violators is extensive and it is what led us to our decision to remove these accounts today."

But them saying we always do this is really ringing hollow for a lot of people who are saying, hey, not only did you guys not allow these guys to -- or allow these guys to have a platform but you allowed them to thrive on the platform. People like Alex Jones really were able to build media empires from platforms like Facebook.


[09:45:06] HARLOW: I would just note, and I know we're tied and we've got to go but you've rightly pointed out in this move towards becoming more private that Facebook has made this pivot that is also going to have -- part of the consequences is going to be taking a lot of hate stuff like this less easy to track.

DARCY: Totally. HARLOW: Right, so.

SCIUTTO: And just one example of Facebook -- Alex Jones repeatedly shares the idea that the Sandy Hook shootings were made up.

HARLOW: Exactly.

SCIUTTO: The pain for the families affected, and won't stop. That's just one example.

DARCY: As well as a lot of content that is anti-Muslim and that's the stuff they kind of banned. It's not like he's close to violating these rules in a gray area.



DARCY: This is pretty fringe stuff.

SCIUTTO: Miles across it.


SCIUTTO: Oliver Darcy, thanks very much.

HARLOW: We appreciate it very much.

DARCY: Thank you.

HARLOW: So also this story, the mother of a Chinese student who was accepted into Stanford now admits she paid $6.5 million to the foundation of William Singer.


HARLOW: Singer of course is the central figure of the latest college admissions scam and people are being prosecuted here in the U.S.

SCIUTTO: That huge number, $6.5 million, to get one student into one college is the most paid to Singer.

Joining us now is CNN's Brynn Gingras.

So, Brynn, amazing story and it has expanded over time. The mother of the student saying she and her daughter are victims of the scam. Explain.

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's exactly right, Poppy and Jim. So essentially we received a letter from the attorney of a woman who says she's Mrs. Zhao, mother of this woman right here, Yusi Zhao. And she essentially said they're victims because they hired Singer to basically help with the admissions process. They're from China. They are Chinese billionaires and they were familiar with the American admissions process into colleges. Now let me point out a little bit of a timeline here. We know that

Yusi Zhao was admitted to Stanford in March of 2017. Now we know in April the family gave $6.5 million to Singer and then in July that video was posted online by Yusi Zhao herself, 90-minute video basically, essentially saying that anyone really can get into school, that you just have to have hard work.

I'm going to quote one of the things she says, she said, quote, "Some people think, didn't you get into Stanford because your family is rich? It's not like that because the admissions officers don't know who you are at all. And I have gotten scholarship. The school will pay my tuition."

So very interesting because it somewhat contradicts all of this sort of affiliation with Singer. But, again, this family says they were duped, that Singer essentially told them that the money that they were donating was for the purpose of the donations to academic staff, for scholarships, athletic programs, helping these otherwise unfortunate students getting into schools. And so to them they say this was no different than any other parents who paid large donations to these schools.

Let's also remember they are not charged in this case so we have to keep that clear and Stanford says they never received a 6.5 donation from this family. But I really want to quickly point the overall picture.


GINGRAS: This is a defense we will likely see when we see some of these people, these defendants who pleaded not guilty in this case actually go to court is that he was the con man, he was the master at this, and it's possible many of these other parents feel they were duped as well.

SCIUTTO: But he created fake records for the kids, made them into athletes that they were not, told them to donate to the athletic program. I mean, listen, it's a defense, but I don't know how well it flies. We're going to keep on it.

GINGRAS: It's not going to work maybe for everybody but we'll see. Yes.

SCIUTTO: Brynn Gingras, thanks very much.

James Holzhauer is shaking up "Jeopardy," racking up wins, a lot of cash, and a former -- and former champ thinks that he may not be stopped anytime soon.

HARLOW: Also Dr. Sanjay Gupta voyages through one of the darkest coldest countries, Norway, and finds some of the happiest people. What is their secret? "CHASING LIFE" with Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Watch it tomorrow night 9:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN.


[09:53:18] SCIUTTO: It's now become a nightly ritual on "Jeopardy." A win for James Holzhauer.

HARLOW: The professional gambler's streak of 21 wins is the second longest in "Jeopardy" history. Our Stephanie Elam has more on what is driving his remarkable success.




HOLZHAUER: What is Superbase?


HOLZHAUER: What is Bedford-Stuyvesant?

TREBEK: Correct.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): James Holzhauer may be redefining what it means to be a "Jeopardy" champ.

TREBEK: Answer, Daily Double.

HOLZHAUER: All of the chips, please.

TREBEK: All of it. All right.

ELAM: One massive wager at a time.

TREBEK: I look at James and I say oh, my gosh. Look at what he's doing. James --

HOLZHAUER: What is Peter Pan?

TREBEK: Right.

ELAM: A professional sports gambler from Las Vegas, Holzhauer's bets would make most people sick to their stomach. Here he is on ESPN.

HOLZHAUER: I'm comfortable risking a lot if I know I have a big edge. Like on "Jeopardy," you know, I'm going to get the Daily Double right a lot more often than I'm not going to so I just want to maximize that bet.

ELAM: He also attacks the board differently, going after those big value clues on the bottom.

DR. BENJAMIN SOLTOFF, COMPUTATIONAL SOCIAL SCIENTIST, UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO: He's doing it with the specific goal of trying to earn a lot of money before he finds the Daily Double.

ELAM: Data scientist Benjamin Soltoff has analyzed the stats of jeopardy winners.

SOLTOFF: He finds the Daily Doubles. He has a lot of money already in his control. He's able to bet a large amount on them. And more often than not he'll get the clue correct.

It's a variation on a technique we've seen champions in the past used. It's called the "Forrest bounce.

CHUCK FORREST, FORMER "JEOPARDY!" CONTESTANT: I was on "Jeopardy" for the first time in mid-1985. I won five games, which was the limit back then.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From Grand Blanc, Michigan, Chuck Forrest.

ELAM: Chuck Forrest originated the strategy.

FORREST: This idea of bouncing around the board. Instead of going straight down, you go someplace completely at random. And that way you remain in control of the board.

[09:55:01] ELAM: No doubt Holzhauer's variation on the "Forrest bounce" is working for him. During a record 74 consecutive games, Ken Jennings raked in for than $2.5 million, the most ever during the show's regular season play. But at the rate he's going, Holzhauer could out-earn Jennings in a lot less time.

TREBEK: You have just set a one-day record, again, $131,127.

SOLTOFF: His average bet or wager on a Daily Double, I think, is about twice as large, at least, as much as Ken Jennings was doing. He was there for a very long number of games, but his average earnings didn't come anywhere close to what James had been accruing.

FORREST: The guy's a steamroller and he's got this incredible focus and determination.

ELAM: Not to mention his vast trivia knowledge and skills with the buzzer.

TREBEK: Impressive as all get out.

ELAM: Just how far will James Holzhauer go? America will be watching to find out.


ELAM: And just so you know, this is not the first time that he tried out to get on "Jeopardy." He said he's taking the test every time it's available online. All of this a childhood dream that he promised his granny that one day he would be on the "Jeopardy" stage. Little did he know he'd be dominating like he is, guys.


HARLOW: That makes it even better.

SCIUTTO: It does. He's good. Got to give him that.

Stephanie Elam, thanks very much. Still ahead, the president says that he does not think he can let his

former White House counsel Don McGahn testify before Congress. This after McGahn gave damaging testimony about President Trump to the special counsel Robert Mueller. We'll have much more on that coming up.