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CNN NEWSROOM

U.S. to Move Military into Eastern Syria; New 2020 Polls; Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA) is Interviewed about Facebook Hearing; Aired 9:30- 10a ET

Aired October 24, 2019 - 09:30   ET

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


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[09:33:14]

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: All right, we do have some important breaking news just in.

CNN has learned the U.S. may start moving battle tanks and troops into eastern Syria soon to protect the American forces already stationed there. This is according to a defense official that is familiar with the plan.

Let's go to the Pentagon. Barbara Starr joins me.

What else do we know, Barbara?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning, Poppy.

What we know now is that there is a plan for specific number of U.S. battle tanks, very heavy weapons and troops to man and support them to move into eastern Syria, potentially relatively soon. That's what we're being told.

We are not being given the details because if this really takes place it will be, of course, very sensitive for them to move in there to maintain security for them as they are on the move.

The issue at hand right now is there are already troops in this eastern Syria area. This is in and around the Kurdish oil fields that the president has talked so much about, either protecting or controlling. Right now the troops that are there are not scheduled yet to come out as part of the withdrawal. So those tanks, these additional troops will go in and protect them.

But this would be very high profile because who else would have armored tanks in the region? Well, that would be the Syrian regime, the Russians and possibly the Turks. Would the U.S. really fire against them?

Poppy.

HARLOW: A key question.

Barbara, thank you very much for that reporting.

We have a brand new CNN poll this morning. It shows three quarters of Americans are very concerned about the ongoing situation in Syria. And despite the president's claim that ISIS is defeated, almost 70 percent of Americans are worried that our policy in Syria will lead to a re- emergence of that terrorist group.

[09:35:00]

Meanwhile, the majority of people don't approve of how the president is handling his job as commander in chief. While just 31 percent say leaders from other countries have respect for the president.

Who is the Democratic presidential frontrunner right now? That depends on who you ask.

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[09:40:07]

HARLOW: All right, another day, another poll. A new Quinnipiac poll out this morning finds Senator Elizabeth Warren leading the Democratic presidential pack with 28 percent of voter support.

Former Vice President Joe Biden has 21 percent in that poll, followed by Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg and Kamala Harris. This poll differs from our CNN poll yesterday which found Biden with a wide margin, in the lead of 34 percent.

It's also different in the groups that have made up Biden's core backing so far in this campaign.

Harry Enten, our senior political analyst, is with me. No one better to break down the numbers.

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICS WRITER AND ANALYST: Oy vey.

HARLOW: We were just talking about when the Popeye's chicken sandwich is going to come back.

ENTEN: That's --

HARLOW: So that's all I'm thinking about right now.

ENTEN: That's a lot of luck. I wish we were just talking fried chicken. It would be much simpler.

HARLOW: That's true.

ENTEN: Look, you're exactly right, Poppy, these two polls very much differ, but I think it's just important to put the polls up side by side.

And there was a Fox News poll that was done earlier this month as well. And what we basically see in the Fox News poll and the CNN poll, Joe Biden's in the 30s, versus the Quinnipiac University poll in which Biden's obviously in the low 20s and Elizabeth Warren's out in front.

HARLOW: Right.

ENTEN: But here's the key thing. If you were to take a look at the average of all of the polls right now, I took them a complete October average, as well as taking an average just post-debate.

And what do we see? We see that Joe Biden is at about 28 percent in the post-debate average versus 29 percent in the average of all the actual polls and Elizabeth Warren in in the low 20s. So, to me, it's pretty clear, if you look at all of the data, I think it's still fairly safe to say that Joe Biden is out in front but Elizabeth Warren is in the top tier with him.

HARLOW: OK. Some news from Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar. She raised a lot of money following the last debate. Now how's it looking for her for the November debate?

ENTEN: Right. I think this is rather key. Both the CNN poll that came out yesterday and the Quinnipiac University poll that came out today have Amy Klobuchar hitting 3 percent, which means that she qualifies for that November debate. So it seems to me that a lot of people were reviewing her debate performance, thought it was pretty good. The reviewers, as in the voters, also tended to agree because now she will appear on that debate stage. And then from there we'll see what happens.

HARLOW: Do we know anything about why her numbers are going up? I mean she -- more moderate? More centrist? Could be an alternate path for people that for whatever reason don't like Joe Biden, right?

And I thought it was interesting -- what struck me most in what she has said recently, is she said about Elizabeth Warren, to her on the debate stage, your plan isn't the only plan, right? There are other ways to accomplish these things.

ENTEN: I think that's exactly right. That is her path. She wants to try and win over those more moderate, centrist voters. And we do see her numbers climbing a little bit with those.

And we know when we look at the post-debate polls, when they ask, who do you think won the debate, so on and so forth, Klobuchar's numbers were higher on those than they were for her prior debates.

And so it's pretty clear to me that she was able to sell that message. And what we should keep in mind is that about 50 percent of the Democratic electorate identifies as either moderate or conservative. And if Joe Biden's kind of just stagnant around 30 percent overall, that leaves some room with those moderate conservatives that she can grow that.

And then you go into Iowa and, remember, she's from right next door. There's a history of candidates from right next door to Iowa doing well in that state. You know, if you can go back and you think Bob Dole, you think Paul Simon, you can think Dick Gephardt. So on and so forth. Barack Obama, Illinois, right there, right? HARLOW: There you go.

ENTEN: So, to me, she can kind of sell this message, hey, I'm from right next door. Hey, maybe you're not necessarily sure about Joe Biden. I'm the candidate for you.

HARLOW: Thank you, Harry.

ENTEN: Thank you. It was nice seeing you. Fried chicken.

HARLOW: You go get some Popeye's.

ENTEN: The sandwich is out in like two weeks. I'm so looking forward to it.

HARLOW: Can't wait. Thank you.

ENTEN: Thank you.

HARLOW: That will be breaking news for sure.

All right, House Republicans are demanding the impeachment inquiry be made public right now. They created quite a spectacle, trying to break into a meeting.

And, by the way, half of them were, you know, allowed to be in anyways. What does that mean the Democrats are going to do? We'll discuss.

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HARLOW: All right, quite a day for Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Capitol Hill yesterday facing a flurry of important and challenging questions, including this line of questioning about privacy and hypocrisy from California Congresswoman Katie Porter.

Here it was.

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REP. KATIE PORTER (D-CA): Said, quote, we have a responsibility to protect our data. And if we can't, then we don't deserve to serve you.

Can you affirm that Facebook cares about user privacy and still holds itself to the standards it articulates in its public policies?

MARK ZUCKERBERG, CEO, FACEBOOK: Congresswoman, I -- we certainly care about privacy.

PORTER: OK.

ZUCKERBERG: It's incredibly important to people.

PORTER: Great. ZUCKERBERG: And -- and --

PORTER: Super.

If that's true that you care about privacy and you're adhering to these principles, why are you arguing, Facebook in federal court, that consumers can't hold you liable for any of these promises because, quote, as plaintiffs admit, they and every Facebook user are bound by Facebook's terms of service which release Facebook from liability for users contract and common law claims.

ZUCKERBERG: Congresswoman, I'm not familiar with that specific legal argument.

PORTER: As CEO and the tremendously proportional shareholder of Facebook, you are responsible for the legal arguments that your company makes. You hire these lawyers. Will you commit to withdrawing this argument and this pleading and never again plead that there is no liability on Facebook when data breaches occur?

[09:50:06]

ZUCKERBERG: Congresswoman, you're certainly right that I'm CEO and I'm responsible for everything that happens in the company. All that I'm saying is that I imagine that there are more pages to this document and --

PORTER: OK, I'm going to take that as a no for right now.

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HARLOW: Congresswoman Katie Porter is here.

I should note she's the first Democrat elected ever to represent California's 45th district.

Thank you for being here, Congressman.

What did you learn yesterday?

REP. KATIE PORTER (D-CA): I think the main takeaway was that Mr. Zuckerberg is struggling to manage Facebook given its tremendous size and tremendous influence. He was unable to answer the question I asked him about why he's coming to Congress with one message, which is that Facebook values privacy, and yet his lawyers are arguing in federal court in a high-dollar lawsuit that Facebook has no responsibility and no liability for violating consumer privacy.

And we saw that theme again and again. He's unaccountable for Facebook, even though he is the largest shareholder, the controlling shareholder.

HARLOW: Hearing that and watching your testimony yesterday, it sounds to me like you may be saying that you think Mark Zuckerberg is not capable at this point of running Facebook in a way that is beneficial to the majority of American society. Is that what you're saying? PORTER: Well, Poppy, what's interesting is that actually Facebook

shareholders have said that. So 68 percent of Facebook shareholders voted that Mr. Zuckerberg should step down as CEO. But because of the corporate structure of Facebook that Mr. Zuckerberg himself set up, he overrode their decision.

So I absolutely think that Mr. Zuckerberg showed yesterday that he doesn't have the knowledge or the level of responsibility and maturity to manage Facebook. Not only did he not know how many lobbyists Facebook employs, the answer is 60, he also couldn't answer one of my colleagues' questions about how many users Facebook has in the United States. So if you're coming to Congress and you're running a huge company and you don't even know how many customers you have, what promises you're making to those customers, what you're being sued for, you're not -- you're not capable of running a company with this kind of influence in our society.

HARLOW: Congresswoman, the focus of the hearing was meant to be digital currencies, namely Libra and the Libra Association. It's an importance topic. He was asked about that and other important issues.

But I'd like you to listen to the argument he made about why he believe the U.S. should permit Facebook to be part of Libra Association and help lead on this.

Here's his warning.

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MARK ZUCKERBERG, CEO, FACEBOOK: China is moving quickly to launch a similar idea in the coming months. Libra's going to be backed mostly by dollars. And I believe that it will extend America's financial leadership around the world, as well as our democratic values and oversight. But if America doesn't innovate, our financial leadership is not guaranteed.

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HARLOW: Does he have a point?

PORTER: Well, first, if I would just say it's rich for Mr. Zuckerberg to talk about (INAUDIBLE) that's something that he himself is struggling with as false ads are up on Facebook as we speak. But I also think, you know, it's true that we need to develop new banking products, but we need do them in a way that we're going to be responsible for the people who are going to use them.

One of the problems that Mr. Zuckerberg has himself created is such a monopoly power in Facebook that there aren't alternative companies that could be competing so we can have a number of different products and truly be competitive with China and other countries in this space.

HARLOW: It sounds like you are in agreement with Republican Senator Josh Hawley, who asked Mark Zuckerberg when he visited Washington last time to spin off WhatsApp and Instagram. PORTER: I think there's a strong argument for breaking up some of

these companies. The way that they control power is really limiting competition. And as a proud capitalist and someone who's really a champion for competition and for transparency, for putting businesses on a level playing field, the way Facebook has consolidated market power and the way Mr. Zuckerberg is running the company is stifling American innovation, not encouraging it.

HARLOW: OK. I want to ask you a few other political questions while I've got your time.

On presidential politics. We know that you've been considering endorsing Senator Elizabeth Warren. Obviously she was your professor when you were at Harvard. Or Senator Kamala Harris. Have you chosen one?

PORTER: I will be making an announcement soon about my endorsement. But in the meantime, I am just very encouraged that these candidates continue to treat each other with respect.

HARLOW: Is --

PORTER: I have a tremendous admiration not only for Senator Warren and Senator Harris --

PORTER: OK. Is --

PORTER: But for Senator Booker, for Senator Klobuchar. We have a great field of candidates, and the job of the voters is to make up their own mind. It's not to listen to what I tell them to do. It's to get out there and listen to these candidates, shake hands, get in the selfie line, make up their own minds.

HARLOW: All right, is it fair to say, though, that your -- will your endorsement be one of those two candidates, Elizabeth Warren or Senator Harris, that I just named?

PORTER: Nice try, Poppy.

HARLOW: It's my job, right?

[09:55:00]

Final question.

PORTER: It's your job.

HARLOW: Final question to you. Yes, you've been close to Elizabeth Warren. As I said, she was your professor at Harvard. Are you concerned at all, though, Congresswoman, that she has not yet put forth a plan to pay for her Medicare for all proposal?

PORTER: I have every confidence that Senator Warren will come forward with a well thought out, well crafted, and most importantly well written, easy to communicate plan. She absolutely needs to do that. She knows that and she's said that. And I agree with Senator Klobuchar that Elizabeth Warren isn't the

only one with a plan or that there isn't just one plan. But I do really think that Senator Warren has led the way in pushing other candidates to take up some of these substantive policy issues, to get beyond bashing the president, and explain how are they going to govern, how are they going to lead, how are they going to create opportunity for every single American.

So I look forward to seeing the senator's plan. And I think the American public should look forward to reading it and examining it and questioning her about it.

HARLOW: Congressman Katie Porter, thank you for the time. Come back. Come make that endorsement on this show. You're welcome any time.

PORTER: Thank you so much.

HARLOW: Talk to you very, very soon.

A quick break. We'll be right back.

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