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Thousands of Internal Facebook Documents Leaked; The Wrap: Film Crew Engaged in "Plinking" Before Fatal Shooting; President Pushing for Spending Agreement this Week; Eastern U.S. Braces for Thunderstorms, Potential Floods; Sudanese Troops Detain Officials, Dissolve Government in Coup. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired October 26, 2021 - 04:00   ET



ISA SOARES, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and a very warm welcome to our viewers joining us in the United States and right around the world. I'm Isa Soares in London. And just ahead right here on CNN NEWSROOM.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is it a great danger to democracy and societies around the world to omit societal harm.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think it's making hate worse?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Unquestionably it's making hate worse.


SOARES: Facebook fury, Mark Zuckerberg fires back after a torrent of leaked documents. This as the company reveals it made $29 billion in revenue in the last quarter.

Plus, the "Rust" movie set "Rust" indefinitely, we're learning new details about the morning before a crew member was shot dead and how it all may have happened.

And Japan's former Princess Mako finally gets her happily ever after, but it's no royal fairytale. We're live for you in Tokyo this hour.

ANNOUNCER: Live from London, this is CNN NEWSROOM with Isa Soares.

SOARES: Hello, everyone. It is Tuesday, October 26. Now, social media power house, Facebook, has been able to weather many storms in the past, but the release of the so-called Facebook papers may be the controversy to finally take some wind out of its sails. Thousands of leaked documents show Facebook knew its international growth had spiraled dangerously out of control, but they forged ahead anyway. Whistleblower Frances Haugen appeared on U.K. Parliament on Monday testifying non-English countries were subject to hate speech and other harmful content due to flaws in Facebook's system. Take a listen to what she had to say.


FRANCES HAUGEN, FACEBOOK WHISTLEBLOWER: I'm deeply concerned about their under investment in non-English languages and how they mislead the public that they are supporting them so Facebook says things like, we support 50 languages when in reality most of those languages get a tiny fraction of the safety systems that English gets.


SOARES: Well, Haugen also revealed Facebook's inability to report issues within the company specifically critical items relating to national security as well as public safety. Haugen said she was told to accept the under staffing. But as she testified on Monday, the safety of others is one thing she wasn't going to compromise on.


HAUGEN: I think there is a view inside the company that safety is a cost, a cost center. It's not a growth center. Which I think is very short-term in thinking. Because Facebook's own research has shown that when people have worse integrity experiences on the site, they are less likely to retain. I think regulation could actually be good for Facebook's long-term success because it would force Facebook back into a place where it was more pleasant to be on Facebook.

I have no doubt like that the chats like the events we're seeing around the world, things like Myanmar and Ethiopia. Those are the opening chapters. And so, if Facebook comes back and says only a tiny sliver of content on our platform is hate, only a tiny sliver is violence, one, they can't detected very well, so I don't know if I trust those numbers. But two, it's hyper concentrated in, you know, 5 percent of the population, and you only need 3 percent of the population on the street to have a revolution.


SOARES: CNN's Anna Stewart joins me now on set here with more. And Anna, I mean these Facebook papers pretty explosive. We have heard from Mark Zuckerberg. I think he's been pretty defiant. Tell us what he said.

ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: Essentially Facebook is refuting claims that it puts profits before safety. And yesterday in the earnings call Mark Zuckerberg was very clear to refute any of these very serious allegations. Here's what he said.


MARK ZUCKERBERG, FACEBOOK CEO: Good faith criticism helps us get better. But my view is that we are seeing is coordinated effort to selectively use leaked documents paint a false picture of our company. The reality is that we have an open culture where we encourage discussion and research about our work so we can make progress on many complex issues that are not specific to just for us.

(END VIDEO CLIP) STEWART: So, as ever a statement there from Zuckerberg on the freedom of speech. But also saying later in the statement that he has repeatedly called for regulation and he doesn't think that companies like Facebook should be the ones to police it. He wants regulation. He wants someone else to do it. That was that reaction.

SOARES: Well, you know, were we expecting more revelations in the coming days? And of course, it's not just day one and day two of revelation, we are expecting many more. So, I think this won't be the last time we're hearing from Mark Zuckerberg. But interesting, he spoke as earnings came out yesterday and share prices have been upbeat from what they heard.

STEWART: This is the most extraordinary element really. We're looking at perhaps the biggest crisis Facebook has ever experienced and look at the share price, because those earnings were pretty strong.


Profits came in at over $9 billion the third quarter. That was up 17 percent on the year. We're talking about a growth in users across all their platforms. They are putting focus on Instagram wheels to compete with TikTok. They're focusing on a metaverse. They're going to stick on their hardware, for AR and VR. They're seeing a lot of growth. So, if we look at the share price over the year or we look at the reaction post earnings, you can see that, yes, regulation may loom in Facebook's future. But right now, investors see a company that is just growing at a healthy clip.

SOARES: Yes, they don't seem to be worried at all. And in fact, like you said, Anna, the growth, the growth base, its user base has actually increased. Look at the Facebook share price, up more than 1.20 percent.

STEWART: Exactly, I do think as we get more from these papers, you can see some slight volatility on the price reaction. If we look at what the EU is saying, what the U.K. is saying. Haugen has now testified to Congress, the U.K. Parliament. She's invited to appear in the EU's Parliament as well. I think regulation will loom, but of course, it will be looming across the whole segment of social media. And Facebook has a whole eco it lives off.

SOARES: It clearly hasn't dented any investor sentiment. We shall see whether that changes. Anna Stewart, great to have you on the set here.

STEWART: Good to see you.

SOARES: Now Democrat Senator Amy Klobuchar known for her support of course for more protection for children. Alliance says sweeping change and transparency is needed in platforms like Facebook to protect personal privacy. Take a listen to what she had to say.


SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN): But there is a difference between someone, let's say, in a crowded movie theater yelling "fire." that is not free speech, right. That is not protected speech. But guess what? This is the trick of their algorithms. It would be like a multiplex theater put speakers in every one of their theaters and broadcast it. They would be liable for that. So, you've got algorithms that we need to have transparency and we also need to make sure researchers can access them. And then we have to look at the liability provisions for that.

Second big bucket of things, privacy laws. The fact that we don't have a federal privacy law has very much hindered us and it's one of the reasons Facebook and other platforms make so much money off Americans compared to other countries because there is no rules of the road for privacy.

And finally, what was -- I know has been the subject before of some discussions with you and me and others, competition policy, and trying to allow the market place to develop alternatives with new bells and whistles. We're never going to know what those bells and whistles are when in the words of Mark Zuckerberg in an e-mail, he would rather buy than compete.


SOARES: Well, all important suggestions there, and key points being made. But is the U.S. really ready for those changes? Well, Jonathan Greenblatt CEO of the Anti-Defamation League posted this on Facebook. I'm going to read it out for you.

I don't think ever before a single company has ever been responsible for so much misfortune. Advertisers from Fortune 500 companies and small businesses need to ask themselves, do they want to continue to invest in a platform that is knowingly pushing out misinformation and hate and that seems designed more to divide than convene? He asks.

So, we'll stay on top of that story for you, of course, as we get more on Facebook papers and of course keep an eye on that share price.

Now to new developments in the deadly movie set tragedy. The gun Alec Baldwin accidentally fired killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was reportedly used for target practice with live ammunition earlier that day. It happened during down time on the films set, according to entertainment news outlet "The Wrap.". CNN spoke to its C.E.O. take a listen.


SHARON WAXMAN, CEO, "THE WRAP": On that Alec Baldwin used to tragically, accidentally shoot Halyna Hutchins had been used earlier in the day for target practice. When a number of crew members, you know, it's a lot of down time onsets. You probably know this. And there's this pass time that crew members sometimes do is called plinking. And they go out into the rule areas and they shoot at beer cans. This is with live ammunition. We learned that this happened the morning of the day that Halyna Hutchins was killed in the early afternoon.

So, what happened between the time those guns came back with live ammunition in them? And they should have been checked obviously. And then there has some -- there has been a lot of information in the search warrants that have been filed about what happened to the guns and then there was a break for a few minutes for lunch, and then they came back. And was the gun checked again? Unclear, before the first AD called it when he said, a cold gun. Meaning it could not fire anything. And it was handed to Alec Baldwin. And then he discharged it.

But the more concerning it really is. And while there is no bringing back Halyna Hutchins and Alec Baldwin has to live with what he tragically accidentally did, there is a real concern over liability and whether corners were cut and whether the camera crew that walked off in the morning was replaced by non-union workers.


Were the people who were being replaced as experienced, as knowledgeable and as careful as the people who were there beforehand?


SOARES: Well, CNN has not been able to confirm this reporting. Producers for Baldwin's film "Rust" say they were not aware of any official complaints concerning gun safety on set. They'll continue to cooperate with authorities investigating Hutchins' death. Meantime more focus is turning toward Dave Halls, the assistant director of the film. CNN's Josh Campbell reports.


JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We are learning new details about the person who reportedly handed actor Alec Baldwin the prop gun on the day of that fatal shooting here in Santa Fe. Assistant director Dave Halls who was on set that day had also been involved in another incident two years ago involving the accidental discharge of a weapon on a set that resulted in an employee recoiling from that weapon unexpectedly taken off. That person was taken away by a medic but brought back to the set. Halls himself was discharged and ultimately dismissed.

Now, we've reached out to Halls for comment, we have not yet received a response. This is all happening as we're learning new details about the circumstances surrounding the fatal shooting itself here in Santa Fe.

According to a search warrant affidavit from the sheriff's department, we are told Alec Baldwin was practicing what's called a cross draw rehearsal. Where a person pulls a weapon across their body whenever that fatal shot rang out. Now of course, the question remains about what was inside that weapon. I spoke to an official at the sheriff's department. They said they are awaiting for the final determination from the corner about what kind of projectile came from that gun. And then finally, the question of liability. Who will ultimately be held responsible if anyone? The district attorney's office tells us here that there are no new updates, their investigation continues. We are waiting to see whether there will be any charges filed in this case.

Josh Campbell, CNN, Santa Fe, New Mexico.


SOARES: Well, U.S. Democrats are still negotiating the details of President Joe Biden social spending and climate change plan. But he's pushing for an agreement before he heads overseas on Thursday for the COP-26 climate summit. Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you want to have a deal by the time you leave for COP?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is this something you expressed to Democrats?

BIDEN: That's my hope. Yes.


SOARES: Well, Senator Joe Manchin has insisted the cost of the social safety net package come down to $1.5 trillion from the original 3.5 trillion. He has concerns over an expansion of Medicare and exposes really a clean electricity standard to protect his state's coal industry. Despite the differences, Manchin is optimistic an agreement can be reached.


MANU RAJU, CNN: Do you think they'll be a framework agreement --

SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): The framework should be, really should be.

RAJU: Is 1.75 too much for top line? Is 1.75 too much?

MANCHIN: I'm still 1.5, guys.


SOARES: Well, no matter the final price tag, President Biden insists his plan will not lead to more debt.


BIDEN: These bills are not about left versus right or moderate versus progressive or anything that pits one American against another. These bills are about competitiveness versus complacency. You hear these numbers, 3.5 trillion or 1.75 trillion. We pay for it all. It doesn't increase the deficit one single cent.


SOARES: Well, CNN's Kaitlan Collins explains why the timing to get this legislation passed is so important to President Biden. KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's a

critical week for President Biden because he is set to leave on this trip overseas on Thursday. He is hoping to get an agreement on this social spending and climate change bill by then. Because not only does he want to have the climate change provisions in hand when he attends that major climate summit in Glasgow, he also wants to have this agreement done and over with given the momentum that you've seen among Democrats actually reach a deal over the last several days.

Since we know negotiations have been stalled for the last several weeks, and still they have a few sticking points that are major ones that they have not come to an agreement yet. And one of those, of course, is just the price tag for this bill with West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin saying yes, he is still at 1.5 trillion.

Though President Biden was speaking in New Jersey earlier on Monday, he said that the number really doesn't matter because Democrats do still want to pay for the entire bill, which has been a main talking point that they've had. Though of course we now know how they are going to pay for it is a sticking point after the Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema said she was not going to support raising taxes on corporations and high earners.

There are sticking points as well, including paid leave which we already know has been whittled down from 12 weekends to four weeks. They're still deciding whether or not those four weeks are even going to make it in the bill. Is also the claim, of course, by Senator Bernie Sanders who wants to expand Medicare coverage to include dental, vision and hearing. That is another big concern that Senator Manchin who is one of those key centrist hold outs says he has.

The other concern here, of course, is the timing of all this. Because they do feel like they're going to get to a framework potentially this week.


But the head of the progressive caucus in the House, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal says she wants those votes between this bill that they are still working on the framework of and the infrastructure bill to be back-to-back. So, not get that infrastructure bill passed this week and maybe come to an agreement once they've seen the text of the other bill later on. She wants them to be hand in hand, which, of course, had been the Democrats' plan all along. It changed later on. Whether or not that remains to be seen and whether or not the White House supports that is to be determined.

Kaitlan Collins, CNN, the White House.


SOARES: Thanks, Kaitlyn. Well, the Biden White House is once again rejecting claims of executive privilege by Donald Trump. The former U.S. president is trying to keep documents in the National Archives away from the White House committee investigating the January 6 Capitol riot. Trump's attorneys have already filed suit to try to stop the panel's first request for documents. The National Archives is scheduled to start turning over the material next month unless a court intervenes.

Now, the governors of New York and New Jersey have declared states of emergency ahead of a powerful Northeastern storm. Thunderstorms and heavy rain are expected across the east coast today, potentially causing flash floods. Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri has the latest forecast -- Pedram.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, Isa. A lot of people on alert across portions of the Northeast. Of course, we saw what remnants of Ida and tropical system Henri that impacted this region played out when it comes to the incredible amount of rainfall. This storm system another ranger of an event going into Tuesday and potentially Wednesday morning here.

As you'll notice what was left of that California storm from late last week migrated across the United States. Brought severe weather to the Midwest and now parks off the Northeastern coastline so that northern and northeasterly wind here is really going to be the primary concern with the storm. Isa, we could see winds up to 60, maybe 70 miles per hour into coastal areas of New England. That's a major concern moving forward with this. And of course, plenty of foliage still on these trees in this area. So, power outages could be widespread as a result of these persistent strong winds.

As far as rainfall, plenty of it and already coming down in earnest. Eastern areas of Pennsylvania, parts of New Jersey, parts of New York. Put them together we're talking about 40 million Americans underneath these flood risks that are in place to at least Tuesday and potentially into Wednesday. And those rainfall amounts, 4 to 6 inches widespread gets awfully close to some of those major metro cities including Philly on into New York. Possibility of 6 plus inches of rainfall across northern areas of New Jersey. So again, quite a bit of wet weather in store with the next system.

Speaking of wet weather, there's a tropical system trying to form offshore. 50 percent chance this will form over the next five days. At this point we've exhausted 20 of the 21 named storms and there is only Wanda, our W named storm that is left in place. Once this pushes through, we go into an alternate list the first time. We're not using the Greek alphabet any more, we bring in a new line of names using a, b, c, so on. So, the active season continues and expecting another tropical system possibly in the works in the coming days. National temperatures, middle 50s in Rapid City. Seattle 54, and San Francisco, Isa, around 63 degrees.

SOARES: Thank you very much, Pedram.

And still ahead right here on the show. As the FDA advisors prepares to discuss COVID vaccines for U.S. children. New numbers show just how critical that protection could be.

But first, thousands of protesters on the streets of Sudan after the military seizes power and arrests civilian political leaders. We have all the latest developments for you next. [04:20:15]


SOARES: Now, the U.N. Security Council is expected to meet today to discuss the unfolding crisis in Sudan where the military has declared a state of emergency after seizing power. Now protests erupt -- as you can see there -- on the streets after military troops arrest the civilian leaders and dissolved the power-sharing government. One group says at least four people were killed and 80 injured by gunfire during those protests. The coup has drawn international condemnation including from the U.S. which now says it's pausing $700 million in aid to Sudan following the military takeover. CNN's Nima Elbagir has more on the political crisis.


NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Sudan, once again, forced to a crossroads one month after a failed coup attempt, the military arrested Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok on Monday, along with other civilian members of the transitional government, bearing all the hallmarks of military takeover, a coup.

Since the toppling of long serving ruler Omar al-Bashir in 2019, military and civilian groups have been sharing power in the northeast African nation, intending to lead eventually to democratic elections in 2023. The transition has seen Sudan emerge from international isolation under Bashir's nearly three-decade rule. That democratic experiment now hangs in the balance.

ELBAGIR (voice-over): Via a televised address, the head of Sudan's Armed Forces, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who is also the head of the Transitional Sovereign Council, announced that the military has dissolved the government and declared a state of emergency.

GEN. ABDEL FATTAH AL-BURHAN, SUDANESE MILITARY LEADER: (through translation): The stress here that the Armed Forces intend to complete the democratic transition until the country's leadership is handed over to an elected civilian government.

ELBAGIR (voice-over): Prime Minister Hamdok's home appeared to be surrounded by Armed Forces on Monday. According to the information ministry, apparently still loyal to the country's erstwhile civilian rulers, Hamdok was told to release a statement in support of the takeover, but instead called on the people to take to the streets in protest.

Tens of thousands demonstrated in Khartoum, burning tires and barricading roads. One eyewitness told CNN three key bridges had been blocked by protesters in the capital. And the crowd could be heard chanting, the people are stronger and going back is impossible.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translation): What the military is doing is a big betrayal to all the citizens on all levels.

[04:25:00] Now it is important that every individual, Sudanese citizen acts and takes to the streets to not let any armed vehicle move.

ELBAGIR (voice-over): Military forces stormed Sudan's state broadcaster in the city of Omdurman and detained staff, according to the information ministry, which also said live bullets were fired at protesters outside Sudan's army general command.

The Sudanese Professionals Association, in part responsible for the 2019 uprising, issued a call to action, saying, quote, we urge the masses to go out on the streets and occupy them. Close all roads with barricades, stage a general labor strike, and not to cooperate with the putschists and use civil disobedience to confront them.

Flights from Khartoum International Airport have been suspended and the internet and the mobile phone network have been severely disrupted. Sudan has been in the midst of a deep economic crisis, marked by record high inflation and shortages of basic goods.

The United States Embassy in Khartoum issued a statement saying it was gravely concerned.

Saying, quote, we call on all actors who are disrupting Sudan's transition to stand down and allow the civilian-led transitional government to continue its important work to achieve the goals of the revolution.


SOARES: Nima Elbagir there with that report.

Coming up right here on the show, a critical step forward in America's fight against COVID-19 could be just hours away. We have details for you ahead.

And heartbreak fuels outbreak in Brazil as families who lost loved ones to COVID-19 demand justice, as well as accountability from the top of the government. We have both those stories after a very short break. You are watching CNN NEWSROOM.