Show: 11TH HOUR WITH BRIAN WILLIAMS Date: March 21, 2018 Guest: Jonathan Lemire, Shannon Pettypiece, Daniel Goldman, Jenna Johnson
BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: Tonight, the President on defense blaming leakers for damaging story while a former CIA director is warning Putin may have something personal on Donald Trump.
Plus "The Washington Post" reporting tonight Trump`s suggestion of a meeting with Putin came as a, you guessed it, surprise to his White House staff, just like his congratulations to Putin on winning a sham election.
And Mark Zuckerberg owns up to mistakes and seems to realize Congress is going to want to hear from him next. Kara Swisher is here tonight fresh from her interview with the founder of Facebook as THE 11TH HOUR gets under way on a Wednesday night.
Well, good evening once again from our NBC News Headquarters here in New York. Day 426, this was, of the Trump administration. And there is new reporting tonight about our President and Vladimir Putin.
As you may recall, just yesterday, President Trump tossed off the fact that he expects to meet with Russian President Putin sometime in the near future. Well, tonight Karen DeYoung, John Hudson, and Josh Dossey of "The Washington Post" are reporting that White House advisers have not been instructed to prepare for any such meeting. Further, they say there were no plans to mention anything of the sort. "Trump`s briefing materials for the Putin call did not include any reference to a meeting."
Tonight, the President is defending that congratulatory phone call to Putin, and the White House is now vowing to hunt down whoever leaked out information that led to that "Washington Post" report that Trump ignored his national security team`s advice not to congratulate him on his reelection victory because it was a sham election.
Late this afternoon, the President offered his interpretation of that conversation via Twitter. "I called President Putin of Russia to congratulate him on his election victory. In past, Obama called him also. The fake news media is crazed because they want me to excoriate him, they are wrong. Getting along with Russia and others is a good thing, not a bad thing. They can help solve problems with North Korea, Syria, Ukraine, ISIS, Iran, and even the coming arms race."
"Bush tried to get along but didn`t have the smarts. Obama and Clinton tried but didn`t have the energy or chemistry. Remember, reset. Peace through strength."
It`s been reported by the "Post" and other news outlets that there were briefing notes prepared for the President`s call with Vladimir Putin. Jonathan Lemire of "The Associated Press," who joins us in just a moment, reports it as "unclear whether Trump, who prefers oral briefings, had read the talking points prepared by his national security team before Tuesday`s call."
The White House is not happy about this leak to "The Washington Post." An official telling NBC News, "If this story is accurate, that means someone leaked the President`s briefing papers. Leaking such information is a fireable offense and likely illegal."
A source familiar with the Trump-Putin call tells NBC News White House Chief of staff John Kelly is "frustrated and deeply disappointed with the leak," sentiments that have often been expressed by his boss.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have many meetings with intelligence. And every time I meet, people are reading about it. Somebody`s leaking it out.
Papers are being leaked. Things are being leaked. It`s criminal action. Criminal act. And it`s been going on for a long time.
The leaks are absolutely real. The news is fake because so much of the news is fake.
He`s a leaker. But we want to get back to running our great country.
I want the attorney general to be much tougher on the leaks from intelligence agencies, which are leaking like rarely have they ever leaked before.
We got a leak, we got a this, we got a that, we got a horrible false story on the front page of every newspaper.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Despite the White House emphasis, as you may have heard, on leakers, the President went ahead and confirmed the substance of this leak. And the questions mount now about Donald Trump`s inability or unwillingness or both to condemn Vladimir Putin by name.
Just this morning, John Brennan, the Former Director of the CIA, who now serves as NBC News Senior National Security and Intelligence Analyst in this very studio, offered his insight on "Morning Joe."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN BRENNAN, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: I think he`s afraid of the President of the Russia. The Russians may have something on him personally that they could always roll out and make his life more difficult.
The fact that he has had this fawning attitude toward Mr. Putin has not said anything negative about him. It continues to, you know, say to me, that he does have something to fear and something very serious to fear.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Brennan`s assessment there has a lot in common with another long-time member of the Intelligence Community, Former FBI Special Agent Clint Watts who joined us on this program here last night and got our attention with this comment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINT WATTS, FORMER FBI SPECIAL AGENT: He owns the President. Putin does. Whether it`s witting or unwitting, he owns him. He`s doing everything that Vladimir Putin would want to be done, which is undermining U.S. stature around the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: With that, let`s bring in our leadoff panel on this Wednesday night. Jonathan Lemire, White House Reporter for "The Associated Press," Shannon Pettypiece, White House Correspondent for "Bloomberg" and Heidi Przybyla, NBC News National Correspondent. Welcome to you all.
Jonathan, a tendency, as you have written about, to blame the deep state, and in cases like this, what does that demonstrate?
JONATHAN LEMIRE, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, "THE ASSOCIATED PRESS": That`s right. It`s a familiar refrain from President Trump what we`re hearing today. In the last 24 hours, you know, according to our reporting, he`s been telling aides and outside advisers, privately saying to them that he believes this is yet another conspiracy to undermine his authority and diminish his credibility and that someone on his own staff is trying to embarrass him. That there is a witch hunt right now in the White House to determine who leaked the do not congratulate note that was part of his briefing papers.
It`s a very small circle of White House aides who would have access to this material, who would know what was written there. The focus is particularly on the National Security Council, which, of course, is led by National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, who might at this point, deserve the title of embattled National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster.
He has drawn the President`s ire repeatedly over recent weeks and month. They do not get along in many -- personally, there`s much chemistry there, but beyond that, they disagree with a lot of issues of policy. McMaster and Chief of Staff John Kelly have also clashed.
And, you know, as has been reported in the last week or so, McMaster is on his way out. The timing is unclear. The replacement has not been settled. But his days in the White House are numbered whether that`s talking about days, weeks, or months.
And something like this has just put that harsh spotlight on him again. We`re certainly not clear that he or his staffs are the ones who leaked this, but he is the one right now the President is angry at. And this is another example, though, of this White House talking about leaks. This time more seriously, suggesting this is a fireable offense.
This is a White House that has plenty of leaks. This is one of the few times we`ve heard suggestions that someone could lose their job over it. But it is also obscuring the bigger issue, which is this is yet another example where President Trump is refuses to criticize Russia and, certainly, refuses to personally chastise Vladimir Putin.
WILLIAMS: Shannon, were it not already extant in our language, the phrase "fear and loathing" would have to be invented for this moment. In your view, why was the reaction to this particular leak so very different?
SHANNON PETTYPIECE, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, BLOOMBERG NEWS: Well, there`s a perception within the White House that this was done to embarrass the President. Our reporting really lines up with a lot of the reporting Jonathan was laying out there. And why would someone want to embarrass the President? Well, there is a feeling that there is a big, deep divide inside the White House right now between really much of the foreign policy community that wants the U.S. to take a much stronger, more aggressive stance on Russia, and the President and a few of his allies, who you can see from that tweet, still make this argument that we need -- maybe we don`t need to be their best friend but we need a constructive relationship with Russia, we still need them on economic issues, energy issues. We need them on certain foreign policy issues as an ally to some extent.
These tensions are really coming to a head right now following this poisoning of this former Russian spy in the U.K. We see the U.K. and our allies wanting to move more aggressively. There is a real community inside the U.S. that wants to be moving more aggressively. We`re hearing it on Congress. And a lot of these tensions are coming to a head.
And I think this leak is emblematic of really the tensions and what`s at stake here right now.
WILLIAMS: So, Heidi, Tillerson gets to spend more time with his family and perhaps be followed out the door by McMaster. We still don`t know. And they`re all bricks in the wall and you can`t take but so many out of the wall. There`s a reason, I guess, is what I`m saying, that adults have been hired in previous White Houses.
HEIDI PRZYBYLA, NBC NEWS NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. Well, the question here is, why this leak epidemic, which frankly started in this administration, with this administration. An epidemic levels with the FBI, with folks inside the FBI who felt that the public`s need to know about this President`s ties to Russia was much more important than keeping that information private.
Now, you`re seeing that attitude infect the very inner sanctum of the President`s inner circle and the Oval Office and his national security team, that people are so concerned about this President`s ties to Russia that they would take that risk. Now it`s unlikely that anyone will actually be fired over this, because, you know, kind of theories about who leaked this run rampant from whether it was John Kelly himself even, or H.R. McMaster. So I doubt there`s going to be any action on this.
But I think that their concerns are legitimate, because up until now the theory has been partly that the President is just sensitive about his election victory and anything about Russia affecting his election victory, you know, he`s going to deny that. Well, his disability -- or his inability here to condemn Putin`s potentially poisoning these individuals in Russia has nothing to do with his election victory and yet, here we still see this President incapable of having any kind of repercussions with Vladimir Putin.
WILLIAMS: Hey, Jonathan, it occurred to us that this case of the phone call to Putin, that was -- we know about that initially by the fact that the Russians got it out, just as they got out reports that the President had welcomed two Sergeis in the Oval Office. Is there any internal sensitivity to the fact that we`ve been chasing Russian press and/or diplomatic reports for developments as big as these that speak to the same subject?
LEMIRE: The Kremlin`s press office seems to be a lot more efficient than the White House`s.
WILLIAMS: How about that.
LEMIRE: Yes. This is -- it`s actually a pretty common occurrence. It happened under the Obama administration as well, in fact, where the Kremlin would often provide a readout of a conversation between Vladimir Putin, then Barack Obama, now Donald Trump, before the White House would. But in this case, yes, it does point to, as was just discussed, this real divide as to what should be done with Russia.
You know, the White House, they were much delayed, they did finally lay down the sanctions against Russia and we`ve heard from the podium and from the White House briefing podium, Sarah Sanders saying like, look, that`s an example that we will be tough on them when need. Let`s also remember what happened yesterday, from that very same White House briefing room podium. Sarah Sanders suggesting that it was not the United States` place to criticize the Russian election. She was asked if the United States government believed the balloting in Russia was a free and fair, and she basically punted and said, that`s not our place to say. And that`s a striking contrast from what we have usually hear from American Presidents and their representatives who use the White House, use that podium, to try to set -- send a message to set an example for the rest of the world, for to have as free a democracy as possible.
But for this White House, they have just never done that. This continues a pattern we have seen time and time again where the President has not just not criticized Vladimir Putin but other authoritarian regimes.
Let`s recall last fall, he was in Asia, in the Philippines with Rodrigo Duterte, who is waging an extra judicial war sanctioning killings of drug dealers on the streets, outside the legal system, and Donald Trump made no mention of it. He doesn`t make mention of human rights. He doesn`t criticize other leaders. And that particularly is the case when it comes to Russia.
WILLIAMS: Hey, Heidi, we`ve seen some fairly senior people just this week come out and take a swing at the question, some form of what does Putin have on Trump? Is that question in your reporting an open question among aides in the West Wing, at least some of them?
PRZYBYLA: Absolutely. And as you`ve seen in the reports, Brian, there`s still open questions about whether there are cooperating aides in there who are actually wearing wires and recording what the President may or may not be saying on Russia. So the question here by the special counsel has vacillated from whether it`s collusion with the Russians or whether the question is collusion with the Russians or whether it`s about the President`s financial ties or whether it`s something more insidious like what was in that dossier.
Now when Brennan says personal, that personal, you know, tag could be both something like what was in the dossier or it could be related to his personal finances. Remember, it was Donald Trump Jr. who long ago said that they get a lot of their money from Russia. So it`s not that Donald Trump was invested in Russia, necessarily, that Trump Tower in Moscow never went through, but it could be the Russians never went through but it could be that the Russians were invested in him. When you look at, for example, some of the big real estate deals down in Florida and the fact that when you go around his properties there, there are Russians everywhere.
WILLIAMS: So, Shannon, we always try our best to separate news, actual developments, from shiny object distractions. I suppose we`ll have that job tomorrow when the President issues what he`s going to issue on China. Can you preview that for us?
PETTYPIECE: There`s not too much I can say about that at this point. But that is another one of these relationships, as with Russia, where within the administration there are large divides about how to handle the issue of Xi and of these term limits. When we talk about democracies and supporting democracies, is this a moment where we should come out and say something? The White House has not. Are they a friend of ours or are they an enemy when it comes to issues like trade?
It is another area where I can see a lot of tensions underneath the surface of the administration right now, and like with Russia, they are about to move to the surface because we are being pressured in a lot of these places.
WILLIAMS: We`re getting ahead of ourselves. We will cover tomorrow`s news tomorrow. But for tonight, our thanks to our leadoff panel, Jonathan Lemire, Shannon Pettypiece, Heidi Przybyla. We still appreciate you coming on for us is on a Wednesday night.
And coming up for us, a retired four-star general and former CIA and Pentagon Chief of Staff explain the national security implications of this phone conversation between Trump and Putin.
And later, in the midst of the biggest crisis in the short but spectacular life of Facebook, the CEO has granted a round of interviews tonight, including one with a journalist who is standing by to talk with us. All of it as the Wednesday edition of "The 11th Hour" continues.
WILLIAMS: While the White House, as we noted, is furious over leaks, there`s renewed concern about the content of the big leaked story of last night. And how it speaks to the President`s unwillingness or inability to criticize Putin.
In a hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee today, both Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Former Secretary Jeh Johnson stressed how important it is for the President to speak out against Russia`s election meddling.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MARTIN HEINRICH (D), NEX MEXICO, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Would it help if the President were to simply acknowledge that this happened in 2016?
KIRSTJEN NIELSEN, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: Yes, sir.
HEINRICH: Secretary Johnson, in your view, how important it is it for the President to articulate and acknowledge that this happened so people take it seriously?
JEH JOHNSON, FORMER HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: Very. The President of the United States is the most visible American, maybe the most visible person on the planet. And the things he says and does are watched very, very closely.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Perhaps noting midterm elections looming, there was pushback in the hearing from senators who don`t see enough being done by the administration to prevent future Russian hacking.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: At this point, we know for certain that the Russians were relentless in their efforts and also that those efforts are ongoing. And yet when I listen to your testimony, I hear no sense of urgency to really get on top of this issue.
NIELSEN: Not only is this of extreme urgency to the department, as you know, we`re expending not only extraordinary resources to provide any support at the request of states, but we are prioritizing election efforts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: For more on all of this, starting with the leak out of the White House, we`re joined by Jeremy Bash, Former Chief of Staff at the CIA and Pentagon, also an MSNBC National Security Analyst, and Retired Four-Star U.S. Army General, Barry McCaffrey, Decorated Combat Veteran of Vietnam, Former Battlefield Commander in the Persian Gulf, Former Drug Sabreurs, in fact, these days, an MSNBC Military Analyst.
General, I`d like to begin with you because I heard you make two different points earlier today. Number one, you do not think the leaker is a member of the U.S. military, and number two, you think at some level the leak was a good thing?
GEN. BARRY MCCAFFREY, RETIRED UNITED STATES ARMY: Well, yes. By the way, on the pattern of leaks in Washington, as a general statement, no military lieutenant colonel ever leaked anything, nor do the CIA operatives. Normally this kind of thing -- by the way, those presidential talking points would have been signed off on by the U.S./U.N. ambassador, the State Department, the Pentagon, the agency, Department of Justice and others. So, when they`re tracking down leakers you`ve got a hard row to hoe.
But, Brian, it seems to me the fundamental question here is, looking at Russian behavior, Mr. Putin`s behavior, that phone call to congratulate him on an election where the principal opposition candidates of Putin had been murdered, prosecuted, shunted aside, the press controlled, we`re dealing with a Russian intelligence and military. A couple of weeks ago, we had a battle with them in Syria and may have killed up to 200 Russian mercenaries. We did it with U.S. Army apache helicopters, U.S. Marine artillery units, U.S. Air power.
The Russians are threatening us with nuclear weapons. And by us, I mean NATO. In language that we never saw during the Cold War.
So the question goes beyond just elections and power grids and reconnaissance. This has turned into an active campaign of intimidation by Mr. Putin to his neighbors and presumably an attempt to break up the European Union and NATO.
WILLIAMS: Jeremy Bash, I note one piece of the President`s prodigious tweeting today said, in all capital letters, peace through strength. Is this strong? You`ve been contending in interviews I`ve seen with you today that this is emboldening of Putin.
JEREMY BASH, FORMER CIA CHIEF OF STAFF: I think very much so, because as General McCaffrey accurately laid out, when Putin hears a message from the President of congratulations and the President does not address some of our concerns, including the nerve gas agent attack on allied soil in Salisbury, England by Putin against an alleged ex-Russian spy, that is essentially a green light to Vladimir Putin to keep going, to keep doing these things. The only thing I point out about this leak issue, Brian, is that I think there may be a lot of people in the staff who are upset about it. I`m not sure the President is upset about it.
I mean, in his tweet today, he didn`t inveigh against the leak. He proudly embraced the policy of a pro-Russian foreign policy. He`s not covert about this. He`s quite overt. This is overt, plain sight happening in the light of day activity by the President of the United States.
WILLIAMS: Yes. In his tweet, in trolling his predecessors, he favored the leader of Russia over two past U.S. presidents.
So, General, you also recommend a course of action for this President provided it isn`t too late, that would require this President to go into his chief of staff`s office, close the door, and have a conversation with him. And what was that that was part of your recommendation?
MCCAFFREY: Well, look, we`re speculating on why President Trump has not defended U.S. national security interests. But whatever it is, if the Russians have something on him and he would know it, whether it`s video, audio, money laundering, tax returns, better that the team get it out now because Putin will stick it to him at some point, even if it`s after he left office. So I think somehow the President has been hampered in his ability to make commonsense leadership decisions to stand behind our European allies and to deter Putin from mischief.
WILLIAMS: Jeremy Bash, do you have faith in the folks you see on their way to work every day from the Virginia and Maryland suburbs, going to jobs in Washington, folks who we will never know, working on our behalf overseas, to kind of right-size U.S.-Russia policy, to think the old way which in this case is the normal way about such an adversary?
BASH: No doubt, Brian. I think these professionals in the Intelligence Community and the Department of Defense and the Department of State are clear-eyed about the threat posed by Vladimir Putin`s Russia. They are resolutely committed to pushing back. They want the leaders of our departments and agencies, ultimately our commander-in-chief, to do the same. I think they`re quite dispirited, those I`ve spoken with, that the President has thus far failed to do so.
WILLIAMS: A couple of our friends who happen to be patriots and experts in their field, Jeremy Bash, General Barry McCaffrey. Gentlemen, thank you both for coming on with us tonight.
WILLIAMS: Coming up, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg breaks his silence on the data harvesting scandal as Congress will be next to demand answers. Kara Swisher fresh from interviewing Zuckerberg standing by to join us when "The 11th Hour" continues.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAURIE SEGALL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Do you think that bad actors are using Facebook at this moment to meddle with the U.S. midterm elections?
MARK ZUCKERBERG, CEO, FACEBOOK: I`m sure someone`s trying. Right? And I`m sure that there`s V2, version two of whatever the Russian effort was in 2016, I`m sure they`re working on that and there are going to be some new tactics that we need to make sure that we observe and get in front of --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC ANCHOR: Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg took responsibility for not doing more to stop Cambridge Analytica from misusing 50 million users` personal information. He wrote this tonight, "We have a responsibility to protect your data, and if we can`t, then we don`t deserve to serve you. I started Facebook and at the end of the day I`m responsible for what happens on our platform. I`m serious about doing what it takes to protect our community."
In a separate interview tonight with journalist Kara Swisher and Kurt Wagner of Recode, Zuckerberg said he would be willing if not entirely eager to testify before Congress about the breach. "I am open to doing that. We actually do this fairly regularly. There are lots of different topics that Congress needs and wants to know about and the way that we approach it, is that our responsibility is to make sure that they have access to all of the information that they need to have."
Well, with us tonight, the aforementioned Kara Swisher, Executive Editor of Recode and an MSNBC Contributor who spoke to Mark Zuckerberg tonight. Also with us as you may noticed, our own Stephanie Ruhle, she`s the host of "THE 9:00 A.M. HOUR" on MSNBC. She`s back at 11:00 a.m. for Good measure as co-host of "VELSHI & RUHLE". Before television she came us to from the business world.
Kara, I try always to watch when I see that you`re on television. And when you`re on television and when the subject is Facebook, I have noted that your central quarrel is their insistence that they are an agnostic platform, all we did was build the back deck over the house. It`s up to you people how many people you put in it and what you do back there.
KARA SWISHER, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, RECODE: Yes.
WILLIAMS: And do you think that this episode, however painful for Zuckerberg and his company, gives lie finally to that?
SWISHER: Well, he kind of admitted that the structure of the company, especially after 2007 when they opened the platform up. And then in order to attract developers onto the platform they gave them this candy trove of data. And these people used it. And they did that for almost a decade where they were giving away this information.
And so I think he was admitting that the structure of that might have been a problem as he`s looking back on it now, and that users cared more about privacy than he thought. That said, when I started to really press him, and you`ll see it when we publish the transcript, I argued with him quite a bit. That he doesn`t want to make decisions.
He said, "I don`t want to sit at my desk in California and make decisions." And I said, "Why not? You are running a company, you`re running a media company." And they, of course, don`t like to admit that. But, you know, he has to start to make decisions about values and what they have and do not have in that platform. They cannot be neutral in a nonneutral world, essentially.
WILLIAMS: I, without knowing, I was going to be talking to you tonight. I rewatched your hoodie interview as I call it with Mark Zuckerberg which was -- look, it is torture to watch and not because either you or Walter were torturing him in the least bit, just because for him the prospect of going on television is like the idea of most of us getting down and doing 100 pushups.
WILLIAMS: It`s very difficult. And for him to realize after a couple days of silence that he had to do this must have been equally painful.
SWISHER: Yes, you know, he does do that. They always act like he doesn`t. He`s shy and everything else. He really isn`t. He is, you know, it was interesting today because everyone`s saying, Sheryl Sandberg, the COO, should come out rather than him.
He`s a CEO. He`s a billionaire. He runs one of the most powerful companies, one of the most valuable companies in history. He can come out and explain what happened here. And there`s a lot of mistakes here and he should be able to talk about them, talk about solutions and everything else.
He`s not -- there`s a real juvenilization of men in Silicon Valley, male leaders in Silicon Valley, that`s kind of interesting to watch. I thought he did a good job with our interview. I thought he gave back. He tried to answer as fully as possible. So they`re fully capable of understanding what`s happening here and taking responsibility. And that`s my quarrel with him is the responsibility has to be squarely on Mark`s shoulders.
STEPHANIE RUHLE, MSNCB HOST: Brian, that`s nuts.
WILLIAMS: In connection, the t-shirt may contribute to the juvenilization of Silicon Valley. Go ahead, Steph Ruhle.
RUHLE: That`s nuts. You`re shy? Then why did you decide to take your company public? Why did you want to make your company this mega behemoth, one of the biggest companies on the planet?
I simply don`t buy that and that argument. You know, I`m going to sit at my desk in California and not make those decisions? Really? Well, the Facebook team is out there going after the same exact advertising dollars, aggressively, that places like NBC are. And they want to say they`re not a media company. So enough with this, "I`m just a tech guy, and, you know, this interview`s tough for me." Baloney.
WILLIAMS: Let me say this. First of all, my disclosure is, I am not a Facebook customer, but I have a family member, my son-in-law works there. Secondly, I note they have lost something like --
SWISHER: $50 billion.
WILLIAMS: $50 billion in market value.
SWISHER: I think they can make rent.
WILLIAMS: Steph first, is this an existential crisis or just a bad week?
RUHLE: Listen, it`s a black eye. But at the end of the day, the biggest risk they face now really is regulation. You know, delete Facebook might be a trending hashtag, but it remains to be seen whether anyone is actually going to delete it in a significant way.
We`re not their customers. Their customers are the advertisers. We are their product. And American or people have decided, we want to put our information out there because we love looking at pictures of babies and pussycats and ex-boyfriends. And the question is, will people change their behavior? Or will regulation finally step in?
WILLIAMS: Kara, for a lay audience, what happened here? Did Facebook users get used as much as Facebook, the platform, and its creator got used?
SWISHER: Oh, you know, Facebook released a statement saying they were outraged. I was outraged by their outrage. What they did is they gave this group data which they`ve done for years, which they have done. They have cut back on that rather significantly in the last two years. They gave this data away, but then they didn`t monitor it.
They signed agreements with the people they gave the data to but then there was no enforcement. So it`s like making laws and then having no police. And right now, one of the interesting things as I ask him, can you go back and get that data, for people who abuse the system, because one of their new things is they`re going to look at suspect third-party developers who have this data.
How can they get it back from them? There`s no getting this back, this data back. And Mark acknowledged this. And I said, "Do you think you can get the data back?" And he said, "Not always." I would say not at all, almost not at all. It`s out there and it`s never coming back.
And so, that`s the problem. These huge data sets that are so valued by marketers and so valued by the Russians, everybody values them. And so that`s really the problem is this ocean of data that is now out there and not subject to scrutiny.
WILLIAMS: Kara, does Mark, do you think, does he realize how badly some people in Congress want to skewer him at a hearing?
SWISHER: Well, you know, it`s interesting. It`s a big question. He said he`s open to it, but I said, is that a yes? He had a long-winded kind of answer. And I said, "Is that a yes?" He said, "I`m open to it. I might be the right person." And, of course, you`re absolutely the right person, that`s exactly who they want.
You know, he`ll have a tough time there. But I think he`s got to face the music in Congress. I think he`s got to talk to regulators. I think he`s got to talk to consumers, because that`s -- their users really got used in this way. This data was moved around in ways that was not properly monitored by Facebook.
SWISHER: They did get taken advantage of by Cambridge Analytica, but they didn`t monitor it and that was their responsibility.
RUHLE: They keep saying, you know, Facebook staffers are on the hill. What`s a Facebook staffer? I have never heard the word staffer used in Corporate America. When the financial crisis happened, those bank CEOs with their tails between their legs crawled their way down to Washington.
Staffers aren`t who gets called down to the Hill. And to Kara`s point, while Facebook may have been taken advantage of by Cambridge Analytica, long after Facebook knew that Cambridge Analytica mined their data. Remember, Peter Thiel sits on the board of Facebook. And he gave a million bucks to a super PAC, a super PAC that paid for the Trump campaign to use Cambridge Analytica.
So there`s going to be a lot of questions that need to be asked and answered and not answered by staffers, whatever they are.
WILLIAMS: As we thank our guests, just making sure everyone at home is clear on our instructions. Please watch Steph tomorrow morning and please go to Recode and read the transcript of Kara`s interview with Mark Zuckerberg when it is posted. Our thanks to both of you, I appreciate it very much.
SWISHER: Thank you.
WILLIAMS: Coming up for our broadcast, President Trump`s legal troubles piling up from the Stormy Daniels and related sagas to the aforementioned Russia investigation. We`ll show you the president`s latest attack on Mr. Mueller, et al., when "THE 11TH HOUR" continues.
WILLIAMS: Two new legal challenges aimed at President Trump are adding to his problems. A former playboy model and a reality TV show contestant have joined the porn star, Stormy Daniels, in litigation targeting this president. Daniels and Karen McDougal say they had affairs with Mr. Trump. They`re suing to break their silence. And Summer Zervos, the former "Apprentice" contestant, says Trump groped her back in `07. Trump repeatedly called his accusers liars during the campaign. And she is suing for defamation.
The White House denies their allegations and this is now a second front for this White House to fight on top of the Russia matter. The President took to Twitter again early this morning to target the special counsel, featuring three misspellings of "counsel." "Special council is told to find crimes, whether crime exists or not. I was opposed to the selection of Mueller to special misspelled counsel. I am still opposed to it. I think President Trump was right when he said there never should have been a special misspelled counsel appointed. The president went on to paraphrase his friend, the Harvard Law School Professor Alan Dershowitz.
Now, in the meantime, NBC News is reporting discussions about potential questions from the Mueller team have been going on with the White House lawyers.
With us for more on all of this tonight, Daniel Goldman, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. And Jenna Johnson is back with us, Washington Post White House Correspondent. Good evening and welcome to you both.
Counselor, if you were White House counsel and no one`s saying you are or should be, what is the clear and present danger? This is -- These are two varied targets.
DANIEL GOLDMAN, FORMER ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: Absolutely. And you`ve got both flanks. You`ve got a lot of civil litigation now mounting. You`re related to affairs, which is probably more of a PR issue at this point. Because I think it`s embarrassing, it`s humiliating. And it may be a more political issue. The legal issue from the Mueller team continues to ratchet up.
And they appear to be closing in. They appear to be about to conclude their obstruction of justice investigation. I say that because there have been so many discussions about interviewing Donald Trump which would be the last step, ordinarily, that you would do in that sort of investigation. And as his counsel, I would be very, very wary of sending him in to answer any questions from Mueller`s team.
WILLIAMS: Janet, do you think that`s the way this is viewed, that the group of women, since the subject was -- came up a lot on the campaign trail, that`s what it is, the existential threat is Mueller?
JENNA JOHNSON WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, THE WASHINGTON POST: And I think you`re exactly right. And you can see by President`s comments kind of where he wants to focus to be publically.
He has gone after the Mueller probe in so many different ways, in public comments, in tweets, in things like that. He has been rather silent when it comes to these specific allegations and these lawsuits from these women. This is something that seems to embarrass him. It`s something that the White House does not want to answer questions about.
Typically when this president is punched, when he is attacked, when he feels like he`s being publicly questioned, he feels the need to punch back, to defend himself. And for some reason, when it comes to these women and their allegations, he`s staying quiet. And focusing on this Russian probe which he thinks is completely unfair and a witch hunt.
WILLIAMS: When you consider, Jenna, to your point, that he`s willing to go after Mueller on social media and in speeches, but on this there has been silence. It almost sets us up for how long can he show self-discipline?
JOHNSON: Well, I mean, that`s the question. As I speak, there could be a tweet landing that totally just proves what I`m saying. But even on the campaign trail, when pressed he would confront these things. He would defend himself. He would say that all of these allegations against him are false, that everyone is a liar.
You know, there`s one of the women who has accused him of groping and kissing her, and she`s now running for office in Ohio. She has gone after her on Twitter. But again, when it comes to these lawsuits, these women who are going through the legal process, a process that could force him to testify, that could force information out into the public, he`s not touching it yet.
WILLIAMS: Counselor, you wanted in on this one?
GOLDMAN: Well, I was going to say from a legal perspective, you would think he would do the reverse, that he would be quiet as to the Mueller investigation because every time he tweets something. When he says Andy McCabe has 90 days left until his pension. He`s ratcheting up his involvement in something and increasing his exposure for obstruction of justice.
On the flip side, with the civil suits, this is something that he attacked on the campaign trail regularly. There`s far less legal jeopardy for him to speak out in relation to those civil suits than the criminal probe. So he seems, for someone who`s outspoken, to have it backwards.
WILLIAMS: Yes. However painful it might be personally, the greater pain would be to the end of his presidency. Our thanks to Daniel Goldman, to Jenna Johnson., I appreciate it. I appreciate the conversation tonight.
And coming up for us, a preview of this weekend`s march on Washington, as Parkland students from Florida prepare to take their fight to our nation`s capital where they will have a whole lot of help.
EMMA GONZALEZ, STUDENT, STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL: Everybody decided, we know how this is going to end up. We know that the politicians are going to say thoughts and prayers. We`re going to see those words and that`s all they`re going to do. And that`s not what we want to happen this time around.
We want this to stop. We`ve seen this before. It`s time to break the pattern. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
WILLIAMS: That was Emma Gonzalez, a survivor of last month`s deadly shooting in Parkland, Florida. She appeared with Rachel tonight.
And this weekend, survivors of the Parkland shooting will take their fight to Washington where they have, as we said, a lot of help coming into town. There`s no way to know really how many people will descend on D.C. on Saturday. But the estimate we hear most often starts at about half a million. That`s what the city is preparing for certainly.
The anti-gun violence demonstration is being build as the "March For Our Lives". The rally was organized by the students. There will be concurrent so-called sibling marches in other major cities around the country.
We wanted to let you know this network will offer complete live coverage from the rally all day Saturday. I`ll be with you for a portion of the day from noon to 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time, and on the eve of the march, this coming Friday night, our 11TH HOUR broadcast will originate from Washington.
And if we might, another programming note. This weekend we`re taking a look back at the civil rights movement 50 years after the assassination of Dr. King, "Hope & Furry: MLK, The Movement and The Media" explores the influence each had on the other, from the struggle to the struggle that continues to this very day. You can watch this Saturday night, 8:00 p.m., 7:00 Central on your local MSNBC station.
Coming up, we`ll take you to a place far, far away place, where everyone gets along really because they have no other choice. That`s when "THE 11TH HOUR" continues.
WILLIAMS: Last thing before we go tonight is to take to you a place where any tension between Russians and Americans takes a back seat, mostly because what`s going on in the front seat is so harrowing.
Today, a Soyuz Rocket carried two Americans and a Russian into orbit where tonight they`re getting settled on board the International Space Station. Let`s leave aside for one moment that no one involved in the space race back in the day at NASA started by Kennedy, continued under Johnson. No one would ever believe our astronauts are flying on Russian hardware because we have no other way of getting them up there right now.
So setting that aside, they`ve joined a crew of an American, a Russian and a Japanese astronaut who were already up there. While there`s no effort to create a single culture in space and, for example, there`s American food on board, there`s Russian food, there`s Japanese food, astronauts sign up for close quarters and long trips away from home, that`s kind of the job. They are good at it and they tend to get along and work hard side by side.
And a reminder, go to the NASA website, look for the section called "Spot the Station". Punch in your ZIP Code where you live and you`ll get a text when the space station flies over where you live. On a cloudless night watching that thing fly over 200 miles up and at 17,000 miles an hour across the night sky is a spectacular sight, especially when you consider that the crew of six represents the only people on the planet who aren`t living here currently.
And that is our broadcast on a Wednesday night for all of us here on earth, thank you so very much for being here with us and goodnight from NBC News headquarters here in New York.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END
Copy: Content and programming copyright 2018 MSNBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2018 ASC Services II Media, LLC. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.