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Facebook Papers Paint Damning Picture Of Role In Insurrection; Documents: Facebook Executives Knew Of Human Trafficking, Extremism; "Rust" Assistant Director Subject Of Previous Complaints On Safety; Tomorrow, FDA Panel To Rule On Pfizer Vaccine For Ages 5-11; Moderna: COVID Vaccine Shows Strong Immune Response In Kids 6-12; DeSantis Now Says $5K Offer To Out-Of-State Police Relocating To Florida Is Not Related To Vaccine Mandates. Aired 2:30-3p ET
Aired October 25, 2021 - 14:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: Thousands of newly leaked Facebook internal documents, given to Congress and obtained by CNN, reveal that the social media giant was aware of the hateful content and misinformation spreading on its platform but failed to act.
Case in point, the pro-Trump rally that devolved into a deadly insurrection. Internal documents reveal that Facebook executives dismissed concerns expressed by their employees about the misinformation and lies from Trump supporters surrounding the 2020 election.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg even acknowledged that Facebook would not fact- check politicians' lies.
CNN's Donie O'Sullivan has been going through thousands and thousands of documents.
Donie, I see the stack you've brought there. What have you learned from that stack?
DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN REPORTER: Yes, this is only a very, very small amount. A lot of reading.
CAMEROTA: Well, start with January 6th.
O'SULLIVAN: OK. So there are tens of thousands of pages here when it comes to January 6th.
What we have learned from these documents is that, even though Sheryl Sandberg was out there the days after the insurrection downplaying the role of Facebook had in all of this.
Her own employees, from analysis that the company did after the insurrection internally, they pointed out, well, actually, we were too slow to Stop the Steal -- our response was piecemeal.
And that was played out in the streets. We were speaking with people at the events and they told us they heard about it from Facebook.
The reason we have the files is from Francis Haugen, the Facebook whistleblower. And she's in London today where she has been testifying.
And I think we have some of that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRANCIS HAUGEN, FACEBOOK WHISTLEBLOWER: I have no doubt that the January 6th events seen around the world, from Myanmar to Ethiopia, those are open chapters.
Because engagement does two things. One, it prioritizes and amplifies divisive polarizing extreme content. And, two, it concentrates it.
So Facebook comes back and says, only a tiny sliver of content on our platform is hate, only a tiny sliver is violence. And they can't detect it very well. So I don't know if I trust those numbers.
But, two, it is hyper-concentrated in five percent of the population. And you only need 3 percent of population on the streets to have a revolution. And that is dangerous.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'SULLIVAN: What is worrying and concerning, I think, for Facebook there is how articulate Francis Haugen is. Because she really breaks down the history. She breaks down a lot of the Facebook spin.
What she's saying there, and what a lot of us know to have been proved true, is it doesn't matter necessarily if mine or your Facebook is not covered in hate. Right?
O'SULLIVAN: But for the people who might end up going to the capitol, their feeds can be total rabbit holes.
And what she is saying there is only matters really -- it could just go to a small percentage of the population and still cause tremendous damage.
CAMEROTA: On a separate issue, what have you learned about posts on human trafficking?
O'SULLIVAN: So there's a lot in the documents. So much beyond the U.S. Really highlighting how many big problems Facebook has outside of the United States.
They've known for years, according to those documents, they have a problem with human trafficking, essentially human beings for sale on their platform.
We have, I think, a picture of some of those accounts that -- from Facebook's internal research.
But our own Clare Duffy, a reporter here at CNN, who was going through the documents around last week and poking around on Instagram, actually came across accounts that appeared, purported, selling women, selling domestic servants.
I think they were described as revealing their age, their weights, when they would be available, how tall they are.
And Facebook only took down the pages after CNN, after Clare Duffy brought that to their attention?
CAMEROTA: And they knew about it?
O'SULLIVAN: They know it is a problem. Here's the issue. They know there's a problem. But the problem, seemingly, when it comes to human trafficking or political misinformation, is they say they have all of these resources trying to catch it.
But then a journalist, a researcher or anyone could go on to the platform and find all of this content that is supposedly breaking their rules that they should be catching.
But if they're doing that good of a job, Clare Duffy and other people shouldn't be able to find it so easy.
CAMEROTA: What has been their response?
O'SULLIVAN: Facebook had a lot to respond to today. Essentially, what they have been saying is they're saying this -- the entire premise of what Francis Haugen is pointing out here is false.
Nick Clegg, the former deputy prime minister of the United Kingdom, posted internally at the weekend, warning his colleagues that there could be some bad headlines to come.
And he sort of pointed out -- as you see in the statement -- that, "Social media turns traditional top-down control of the information on its head. In the past, public disclosure is largely curated by established gatekeepers in the media who decide what people could read, see and digest."
And he said, "This is empowering for individuals but destructive for those who hanker after the top-down controls of the past, especially if they are finding a transition to the online world a struggle for their own business."
Essentially, what he's not so subtly saying there is that the media's interest in this, the journalist' interest a lot of this is partially being encouraged because we're jealous of Facebook.
CAMEROTA: That is the -- that is not -- that sounds to me like a tone- deaf response after an insurrection and human traffics are found. That is not jealousy. We don't want that on our platforms. Just pointing out.
Donie O'Sullivan, thank you very much.
O'SULLIVAN: Thank you very much.
CAMEROTA: OK. New reports about the assistant director on Alec Baldwin's film "Rust" and a history of safety complaints against him. The possible legal fallout, next.
And Moderna makes a big announcement on the coronavirus vaccine effectiveness for children.
CAMEROTA: OK just in, Hilaria Baldwin has just addressed the shooting on the set of "Rust" that involved her husband, Alec Baldwin.
She just wrote in an Instagram post, "My heart is with Halyna, her husband, her son, their family and loved ones, and my Alec. It is said there are no words because it is impossible to express shock and heartache of such a tragic accident."
Meanwhile, we are learning new details about what happened. We know the actor discharged a weapon killing the film cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins.
The movie's director, who was also injured in the incident, told investigators that Baldwin was in a church pew practicing drawing his gun and aiming it at the camera when the gun went off.
He added, "When the assistant director handed over the gun, he announced, quote, 'cold gun.'" Meaning it was empty. But that was tragically wrong.
There's also new focus on the armorer named Hannah Gutierrez, who is responsible for the weapons and their safety on set.
CNN's Stephanie Elam joins me now from Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Stephanie, we're hearing about the safety concerns from the crew and the relative lack of experience of this armorer. What have you learned?
STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. You're talking about Hannah Gutierrez, Alisyn, who is 24 years old. We also know that she was relatively new to being a head armorer.
In fact, her first time was the assignment that she had before this movie. And we heard they are talk about that in a podcast just last month.
Take a listen to Gutierrez in her own words.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HANNAH GUTIERREZ, SET ARMORER (voice-over): I was really nervous about it at first and I almost didn't take the job because I wasn't sure if I was ready. But doing it, like, it went really smoothly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ELAM: So that is her talking about her first time being head armorer.
We know there were three prop guns on a cart that the assistant director, David Halls, pulled from and yelled "cold gun" when handing that prop to Alec Baldwin.
So there are questions her.
And we know that some of the people working on the film questioned whether or not she was ready to be the head armorer on this type of project.
So many questions about her. But also some concerns about Halls as well -- Alisyn?
CAMEROTA: Let's talk about that. That is the movie's assistant director. And we have heard from some former colleagues who -- he's the person who told Baldwin that the gun was safe, basically said cold gun before handing it over.
But he was, what, the subject of some safety complaints a couple of years ago?
ELAM: Exactly. And I was in 2019 for two separate productions where there were concerns that he was not following all of the safety guidelines that he should, when it came to pyrotechnics and weapons safety as well as just general safety overall.
We have reached out -- CNN has reached out to Halls to get his comment on this but we have not heard back.
As far as the production is concerned, the production behind the movie "Rust" that was being made here, they're saying they have had no complaints about safety before this tragic event happened.
But if you take a listen to people who gathered for a vigil here in Santa Fe to talk about what happened, there clearly were some concerns about safety.
Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REBECCA STAR, FILM LOCATION MANAGER: We were about to strike this past Monday for safer conditions. And if the world didn't believe us about what is going on, maybe they believe us now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ELAM: All of this, Alisyn, leading many people to say, in this time, with the technology that we have, there's no reason to have real firearms on set, when you could do so much of it with CGI to make it look like an explosion out of a gun.
And all of those things now really hot in the debate at this point.
CAMEROTA: Maybe this will change things. We just don't know yet.
Stephanie Elam, thank you for the reporting.
CNN senior legal analyst and former U.S. assistant attorney for the Southern District of New York, Elie Honig, joins me now.
Elie, even if this is a horrible tragic accident, which sounds like so many people believe it is, could there be criminal charges against people involved?
ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, there could, Alisyn. Even if there was no intentionality, the relevant law is involuntary manslaughter. That is a law in New Mexico.
And the key concept is recklessness. In plain English, did somebody act wildly, irresponsibly and dangerously?
And I think the people that you have to look at here are the people responsible for the safe handling of the firearm.
And as we see more facts come out, like Stephanie just reported, there's more and more questions. Why was there an operable firearm on set? How did live ammunition get in there?
And we've seen firearm experts here on air, on CNN, explaining over the last several days why that was so out of the ordinary and so dangerous.
And I think those are the questions that prosecutors are going to ask.
CAMEROTA: It was interesting to read this portion of the affidavit that's been provided to investigators.
I'll read it to you.
"During the filming of the movie, the assistant director, Dave Halls, grabbed one of three prop guns. It was set up by the armorer, Hannah Gutierrez, and was on a cart and was left outside of the structure due to COVID-19 restrictions."
"One of the prop guns was then handed by the assistant director and he took it to the actor, identified as Alec Baldwin, who was inside of the structure."
"As the assistant director handed the gun to the actor, Alec Baldwin, he yelled, quote, 'cold gun,' indicating the prop gun did not have any live rounds. The assistant director did not know live rounds were in the prop gun."
So as an investigator or a prosecutor, are those the people that you would look at, the assistant director, who didn't know there were live rounds, and the armorer? HONIG: I think those are exactly the two people.
First of all, I think if that is true that Baldwin was handed the gun and told, "cold gun," I don't think he's in any criminal danger, if that's true.
But, yes, those are the people who are responsible.
One of things that we ask, as lawyers as prosecutors, is, what was the duty of care that this person owed? Obviously, the armorer is the person responsible for the safety of the gun.
And that is different than the responsibility that a camera person or an audio person would have. Much more serious.
And I think there's real questions about the qualifications of the armorer and about the way the assistant director handled those firearms.
CAMEROTA: About Alec Baldwin. As an actor, it sounds like, from all we know at this moment, that he is not responsible. He was handed what was told to be a cold gun and just practicing his part in this movie.
But he was also a producer on this film. So does that expose him to any legal consequences as a producer. Should he have known everything that was happening on the movie?
HONIG: Yes, so I think Alec Baldwin's key concerns are civil liability, getting sued in his capacity as a producer.
You are responsible for the people you hire. And if there are problems with a person's qualifications or technical abilities, that could be visited on the producer.
And so I think one of the questions people are going to ask is, what diligence was done before the assistant director and the armorer, in particular, given that podcast clip that we just heard, what diligence was done? How did they get this job?
And I want to know why were the people ready to walk out and protest? What were the conditions that gave rise to that?
But that all could come into play against Alec Baldwin on a civil lawsuit for legislature.
CAMEROTA: It sounds like from what we know is that they were unhappy about where their hotel was and how far they had to drive back and forth. They were exhausted, they said, after a long day. They didn't want to drive an hour or more back to their hotel.
So we don't know if had to do with the weapons on set. But we'll find out more by the day here.
Elie Honig, thank you. HONIG: Thanks, Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: Protesters in New York take to the streets against the city's new vaccine mandates, with firefighters and sanitation workers in the crowd.
CAMEROTA: By early November, millions of children in the U.S. could be eligible for COVID vaccines.
Tomorrow, FDA advisers will meet specifically on Pfizer to weigh an emergency use authorization of its vaccine for children aged 5 to 11.
CNN's Alexandra Field has more.
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Smaller dose vaccines for younger children. Moderna releasing new data showing its shots for children 6 to 11 are safe and effective while saying they'll seek emergency use authorization from the FDA soon.
DR. MEGAN RANNEY, EMERGENCY PHYSICIAN & ASSOCIATE DEAN OF PUBLIC HEALTH, BROWN UNIVERSITY: It shows that that smaller dose is still sufficient for younger kids, that it creates just as strong, if not stronger, of an antibody response with potentially fewer side effects because your body is being exposed to less of that immunogenic material.
FIELD: This as the FDA prepares to review Pfizer's smaller-dose vaccines for children as young as 5 tomorrow. Shots in arms could come early next month.
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY & INFECTIOUS DISEASES: It's entirely possible if not very likely that vaccines will be available for children for 5 to 11 within the first week or two of November.
FIELD: Halloween comes even sooner. That's not causing much concern for health officials.
DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, CDC DIRECTOR: I would say put on those costumes. Stay outside and enjoy your trick or treating.
FIELD: Across the country, new COVID-19 cases and COVID-related hospitalizations are down to about half the level seen weeks ago amid the delta surge.
Passionate pleas for more people to get vaccinated continues.
NEIL CAVUTO, FOX NEWS HOST, "CAVUTO:" Nobody likes to get ordered to. But in the end, if you can get vaccinated and think of someone else and what that could mean for them and their survivability from something like this, we'll all be better off.
FIELD: FOX News's Neil Cavuto is immunocompromised. He tested positive for COVID and credits vaccine for saving his life.
Nets basketball star, Kyrie Irving, is still refusing to get his shot.
FIELD: Anti-vaxxers protesting the team keeping him off the court.
ALEX SCHIFFER, BROOKLY NETS BEAT WRITER, "THE ATHLETE": As an organization that is pro-vaccine, I think they're going to try and keep their stance on this despite the distraction this could become.
FIELD: The opposite stance from Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a vocal opponent of COVID related mandates.
Over the weekend, he made a pitch to attract police from places with vaccine mandates.
GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): I'm going to hopefully sign legislation that gives a $5,000 bonus to any out of state law enforcement that relocates in Florida.
So NYPD, Minneapolis, Seattle, if you're not being treated well, we'll treat you better here. You can fill important needs for us and we'll compensate you as a result.
FIELD: He now denies it has anything to do with vaccines.
DESANTIS: It will be available to anyone people who comes. So if people are trying to say it's a vaccine issue, it's not. It has nothing to do with that. They have been mistreated for a long time!
FIELD: And, Alisyn, speaking of push back to vaccine mandates, that is what we're seeing here today in New York City. Hundreds of people on the Brooklyn Bridge, shutting down traffic on part of the bridge.
They were protesting the city's vaccine mandate. You can see firefighters and sanitation workers who are out there in that crowd.
They're against the mandate, which will require all city workers to get at least their first shot of the vaccine by the end of the day on Friday.
CAMEROTA: OK. Alexandra Field, thank you so much for the reporting.
OK, new damning internal documents from Facebook raise the question of how much the company knew about the January 6th insurrection. That's next.