Return to Transcripts main page


Trump Suspended from Facebook Until At Least January 2023; FBI Director Compares Growing Hacks on America to 9/11; Biden Touts May Jobs Report, Our Plan is Working. Aired 1-1:30p ET

Aired June 4, 2021 - 13:00   ET



JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: So they need to ramp up the vaccinations to do it quickly for the president to meet that big goal. But, again, the overall picture is improving.

I appreciate your time today throughout the breaking. I'll see you back here on Monday. Have a good weekend, a safe weekend. Ana Cabrera picks up right now.

ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Hello. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York.

Our breaking news this hour, Facebook says former President Donald Trump will not be allowed back on its platforms until at least January 7th, 2023. That is two years from when he was first suspended following the January 6th Capitol riot.

This decision also coming as the former president right now continues to perpetuate election lies through all kinds of mediums.

Let's get right to CNN's Donie O'Sullivan who broke this story, has more on Facebook's reasoning behind this and the significance here. Also with us is Gloria Borger CNN's Chief Political Analyst.

But, Donie, first, just tell us what exactly is Facebook saying? How did they come to this decision?

DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ana, yes. When Facebook took that unprecedented, remarkable decision of suspending the then president of the United States on January 7th, a day after the insurrection, Facebook essentially did not have a rulebook to point to for something like this. They did not expect a world leader, definitely not the president of the United States, to use its platform to incite violence in a way like this.

So, essentially, today, Facebook has now come up with a rulebook. And under that new rulebook they said, what Trump did back in the lead up to January 6th constitutes enough for a two-year ban, up until January 7th, 2023. Now, what is important there is, of course, that is after the midterm elections in 2022 but in plenty of time for the 2024 presidential election.

Look, Trump here is not only just losing his platform to communicate with voters but also very important fundraising platform too for both the Republicans and for himself.

And, finally, Ana, just one last point, Facebook said, and this is what Nick Clegg, their V.P. of global affairs, the former deputy prime minister of the United Kingdom, has said is going to happen in January, 2023.

At the end of this period, we will look to experts to assess whether the risk to public safety has receded. If we determine that there is still a serious risk to public safety, we will extend the restriction for a set period of time and continue to re-evaluate until the risk has receded, essentially saying there he is not guaranteed to come back in January 2023.

And it is really just remarkable to see Facebook acknowledging that Trump really did use its platform to create a public risk here.

CABRERA: I know this is all just breaking and you are still gathering information on this ruling, on this decision, Donie, but do we know why two years, why that was the duration that they chose?

O'SULLIVAN: As I say, they are coming up with this rulebook essentially today. They have announced it today. You'll remember a month ago at the oversight board, which was set up by Facebook to sort of help it make these big decisions, this oversight board of outside experts looked at what Facebook did on January 7th and said, yes, what Trump may have done was terrible, inciting violence, but Facebook, you have to explain better not just to Trump but to other world leaders and to politicians and to the world, you know, why you suspended him.

And Facebook at the time said they were suspending him indefinitely. So now they have come back with a rulebook, a set of circumstances that other world leaders and politicians must now go along with. And in this reasoning under this new rules, they say two years with a review then after that period.

I mean, look, obviously, Facebook is very -- was not prepared for a situation like this. We've seen how unprepared they have been for misinformation and disinformation generally but I think it was very clear they never thought they would find themselves in a position like this with a president of the United States.

CABRERA: Stay right there with me, Donie, as I turn to Gloria Borger and bring her into the conversation. Gloria, first, your reaction.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think it is quite remarkable. I think, as Donie is saying, they weren't prepared to have to deal with a former president this way. And what they are saying is, okay, you're off for two more years. 2023 comes, we're going to have to re-evaluate. Now, for those of you who believe that Donald Trump will change in any way, shape, or form, I have a bridge I'd like to sell you. Come on. So it'll be re-evaluated in 2023 but then you get into the political arena of 2024, does Donald Trump run for the presidency, will any decision they make be regarded as largely political?

We have seen the kind of things that Donald Trump has been sending out on his blog or whatever you want to call it, his email blasts, and lots of those things wouldn't be allowed on Facebook right now because they're full of lies about the election.


So, you know, the question is, have they just put off the inevitable, they'll re-evaluate again.

And what they've done, as Donie points out, is they've stopped in a way Donald Trump from raising a lot of money. And I think that --

CABRERA: But I wonder --

BORGER: -- that is a big problem.

CABRERA: And I wonder then how big of a problem it is for him more generally because his blog is also gone. We know that just happened yesterday because it was unsuccessful. So he doesn't really have any social media platform right now at his finger tips which has been his go-to for communicating with his supporters, his followers, his donors. Do you think this will have an impact?

BORGER: Yes, I do. I think it is a huge problem for him. I mean, that was his megaphone and he's lost his megaphone. And we've seen the result of losing Facebook, losing Twitter. So he tried a blog. Nobody was reading the blog. He sends out these email blasts. Nobody really pays a lot of attention to them. He goes on networks like OAN and he doesn't get the kind of reaction from that that he used to get.

And so he wants attention. He wants the oxygen. That's what he wants. And he wants the money. That is what he wants. He wants the fundraising. And if he can't do that, he is sort of in a straitjacket right now. It's a very big problem for them.

And as I was saying, when you re-evaluate two years from now, say they reinstate him, the question is, for how long? Do they look at all of his emails and say, well, you know, you were telling lies in those. Do they reinstate him for a certain period of time, say a month and then they say, wait a minute, not so much, you're still doing the same old same old and we'll yank that away from you. Donie can answer that question better than I can.

CABRERA: And they also have to think like what cut-off is there, right, where he has to have, be in the clear, have good behavior for a certain amount of time.

BORGER: Probation, Facebook probation. CABRERA: Exactly. But, Donie, I mean, to Gloria's point, he may not be able to fundraise and have that benefit of Facebook and other social media platforms but, clearly, he has found a way to keep his message, that is his priority, this big lie alive. And the message has broken through even without all of these social media platforms. He still maintains this grip over his party. He still has these very, very die hard supporters. And he has, you know, 70 percent of Republicans who currently believe that Joe Biden was not legitimately elected.

So, how has he managed to continue to communicate so effectively with these people?

O'SULLIVAN: Yes. I mean, look, the big lie certainly lives on in Facebook in a very, very big way. And, sure, there is a ton of Trump proxies essentially. Marjorie Taylor Greene is out there every day on the platform. Facebook still doesn't fact check politicians, by the way. So if you are a politician, you're still allowed to lie about the election.

To your question of if, say, he is allowed back on in January, 2023, Facebook is outlining in this blog post today, they're saying that he will be subject to rules and that if he keeps acting out as it were, he will get kicked off.

I will just say one point for Facebook here, I guess, is Facebook is trying to deal with this very difficult scenario, right? And I think with the two-year suspension, what they're trying to say is we don't want to have the ability to kick somebody off forever potentially somebody who might run for president again. And they are trying, I guess, to put in this new rulebook and say, here is our standard.

But on the other side of things, maybe they are just extending punishment for themselves. I mean, Twitter made a decision in January after the insurrection as well, they said Trump is gone. He is never again coming back to our platform. Could they walk that back? They could but for now they are saying he is permanently gone, never again coming back. Facebook on the other side is extending the conversation until January 2023.

CABRERA: Do we know what is exactly in this new rulebook that is going to apply to all global politicians?

O'SULLIVAN: Yes. So, over the past few years, and you'll remember last year after the killing of George Floyd, Trump wrote on Facebook and on Twitter, he said looting will lead to shooting. Twitter saw that as a glorification of violence and they labeled it. It was a very controversial thing at the time. Facebook on the other hand did nothing. And even staff within Facebook said, hey, wait a minute this goes against our rules of glorifying or inciting violence. Zuckerberg took a lot of heat at the time, didn't do anything about it, left it up there.

If a normal user, if you or I wrote that on Facebook, the post would probably get taken down or our account could get suspended. Facebook has been sort of operating these shadow rules for the past few years where they never really explained to politicians or to the public how they handle politicians' pages.


So even sometimes a world leader might be able to post something that could incite violence but it is allowed up because Facebook views it as being newsworthy and an important part of the public debate.

With this new rulebook today, Facebook is trying to make clear what it is going to allow and what it is not going to allow.

Now, how successful that is going to be, time will tell. But what they are saying is they are no longer going to look at these posts and automatically assume everything is newsworthy and that it should be on its platform. So they will, it seems, get a little bit stricter on how politicians talk in this way.

And, look, this is not just an issue for the United States. This really applies to world leaders across the world, to despots, dictators and tyrants around the world. So they are trying to set a standard here for bad behavior essentially from world leaders elsewhere but incredible that the precedent is set here in the United States.

CABRERA: And, Gloria, I wonder if this gives his base some red meat in that now it makes Trump look like that much a martyr to them.

BORGER: Sure. Well, and that's the case. And, you know, Facebook is part of the so-called liberal media that has been so critical of Donald Trump and they're just out to get Donald Trump. I mean, we'll hear the same old same old about this.

I think what Facebook is doing is saying, okay, we have two years here. And he's off for two years and they're buying themselves a little bit of time to figure out all those things that Donie was just talking about. And they have sort of set some standards and some guidelines here. But I think it's going to take a lot more work because what you're trying to do is set hard and fast rules about things that are sometimes not black or white, and particularly coming from politicians.

So I think it's a very difficult job they have. And in saying, okay, we're keeping Trump off because he's kind of one of the most obvious and largest offenders out there so we'll keep him off for two years, in the meantime, buying ourselves some time to try and figure out how we deal with all of this and then the problem will no doubt arise during these two years and also for Donald Trump again in 2023 particularly if he decides he wants to run for president.

But as we all know, we have a midterm election coming up in 2022 and Trump will be off of Facebook for that.

CABRERA: Yes, that's for sure. Thank you, Gloria Borger, Donie O'Sullivan, I appreciate it both. Thank you. Now to another major story we are following today. It is a sobering, very sobering assessment from FBI Director Christopher Wray, who is comparing the challenge posed by recent cyberattacks to the threat America faced after 9/11. The recent hacks disrupting critical economic sectors, from gasoline distribution to meatpacking, the Justice Department just signaled yesterday it plans to coordinate its anti-ransomware efforts with its terrorism protocols.

I want to get right to CNN Justice Correspondent Jessica Schneider, who's following these latest developments. Jessica, what more have we learned about this urgent threat as the FBI director invokes 9/11?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Ana. Director Wray is really stressing here that this recent cascade of cyber attacks, they are an urgent national security threat. And his comments come just hours after the White House pleaded with business leaders in a letter across the country to protect their own systems from what are becoming more common cyberattacks.

And Director Wray's comments are also coming at a time when these hacks are increasingly impacting and thwarting every day American life and commerce, as we've seen.


SCHNEIDER (voice over): The Biden administration sounding the alarm about the growing threat of cyberattacks that in recent weeks have resulted in gas shortages and the shutdown of meat production plants. FBI Director Christopher Wray comparing the effort needed to combat this rapid succession of ransomware attacks to how the FBI approached the response to terrorism after 9/11.

There are a lot of parallels, there's a lot of importance, and a lot of focus by us on disruption and prevention, Wray said. Director Wray told The Wall Street Journal the FBI is investigating about 100 different types of ransomware, many that trace back to hackers in Russia. One study shows the U.S. was hit by more than 15,000 ransomware attacks last year alone costing businesses and organizations between at least half a billion and $2.3 billion in 2020.

Ransomware locks up computer files and hackers demand payment to release it back to the victim.

JOHN CARLIN, PRINCIPAL ASSOCIATE DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL: A study of cryptocurrency payments, which some of the techniques that I just described to you, show a 300 percent increase in ransom payments over the prior year.

SCHNEIDER: Ransomware attacks have impacted everything, from the gas pipeline operated by Colonial that led to gas shortages all along the east coast, to individual health care networks whose computer systems have been shut down sporadically across the country and the world.

[13:15:08] JOHN HULTQUIST, DIRECTOR OF INTELLIGENCE ANALYSIS, FIREEYE: Before long, we are worried that some people will get hurt, especially when we consider all of these incidents that affecting health care. Ireland's health care system went down.

SCHNEIDER: The Department of Justice signaling this week it plans to coordinate its ransomware investigations in the same way it treats terrorism cases, mandating federal prosecutors around the country to report all investigations they're working on in a move designed to better coordinate the government's tracking of online criminals.

Former FBI Cyber Official Shawn Henry says it is going to take an international effort.

SHAWN HENRY, PRESIDENT, CROWDSTRIKE: They've got to work collaboratively with foreign law enforcement agencies to take these people off the field.

SCHNEIDER: The massive threat from cyberattacks have been looming for years. Former Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats warned about the threat three years ago.

DAN COATS, FORMER DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: Today, the digital infrastructure that serves this country is literally under attack.

SCHNEIDER: The White House this week sent business leaders nationwide a letter appealing for immediate action, saying, we urge you to take ransomware crimes seriously and ensure your corporate cyber defenses match the threat.


SCHNEIDER (on camera): And FBI Director Wray is also calling out Russia in this interview for knowingly harboring cyberattackers.

Now, we have heard from President Vladimir Putin today he is fighting back, he is calling it nonsense that Russia was ever involved in any cyberattacks, specifically on the JBS meat packing plants.

But, Ana, President Joe Biden, he will get the chance to confront Putin. That will be at a summit in Switzerland later this month. And the White House has said President Biden will address the JBS attack with Putin, as well as these increased threats of cyber attacks that we've already seen emanating from Russia. Ana?

CABRERA: Jessica Schneider, thank you for that reporting.

Back in a big way but not all the way, today's jobs report showing a huge surge in hiring, but normal is a long way off and the labor shortage is still a big problem.

Plus, the violent mob wanted to hang him and former President Trump threw him under the bus. Now, Mike Pence is speaking out.

Plus, vaccinations are stalling leaving big states at risk. Will President Biden reach his July 4th goal?



CABRERA: America is on the move again, those words from President Biden as he touts the latest U.S. employment report. The country adding nearly 560,000 jobs last month and for the first time since March of 2020, so well over a year, unemployment is below 6 percent.

But recovery isn't happening as fast as many had hoped and the economy is still short 7 million jobs compared to pre-pandemic times. President Biden says patience is needed.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: We're going to hit some bumps along the way. Of course that'll happen. We can't reboot the world's largest economy like flipping on a light switch. There're going to be ups and downs in jobs and economic reports.


CABRERA: CNN Chief White House Correspondent Kaitlan Collins is with us now. Kaitlan, Biden is seizing on this growth and is saying now is the time for congress to season some big priorities, like infrastructure, but can he really get it done?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, that is the big question that still remains here in Washington about whether that is actually going to happen in a bipartisan fashion. I think most people think it will happen. It just is a question of what the end result is going to look like.

But with this jobs report today, you heard Biden saying there some will be up and some will be down. This is certainly much higher than it was in April when it was that incredibly low jobs report. And today, while we do have this new report saying that, yes, hiring has accelerated, you are seeing the unemployment rate go down, it is still not as strong as some economists had predicted it was going to be, when they thought it was going to be closer to 650,000 new jobs added to the economy instead we are at th 560,000 number that you just showed there.

And so you heard President Biden framing this as a sign that he does believe America is on the move again is the way he put it, and it is but it's just not as fast as some had predicted, that they were going to have this vaccine boom in the summer once people started getting vaccinated, seeing the numbers that we've seen play out across the country. So I think that remains to be seen.

We are going to hear from one of the president's top economic advisers here at the briefing any moment now on what they are seeing in this data. But this does come as President Biden is scheduled to speak any minute now with the top Republican negotiator on infrastructure. That is Senator Shelley Moore Capito, who he did meet with in the Oval Office on Wednesday. We expect the meeting today to be a discussion over the phone, not necessarily in person.

And President Biden has been pretty tight-lipped about what he expects from this. He said earlier today when he was speaking on this jobs report that he will let us know if he is going to expect a counteroffer after they actually have this conversation. And, of course, that would be the natural next step given on Wednesday. Biden came down to only a trillion dollars in new spending, still a lot of money but far from where he initially was on this infrastructure proposal.

So we wait to see if Republicans are going to come up. It seems doubtful they are going to come up to a trillion dollars in new spending but the White House right now is not putting a deadline on these talks, of course, as some Democrats are saying they should.

CABRERA: Kaitlan Collins, keep us posted. We know you will.

Well, let's dig a little deeper into the jobs report. I want to bring in our expert. Diane Swonk is a Chief Economist at Grant Thornton, a leading organization of independent audit, tax, and advisory firms. Diane, I am so glad to have you with me today.

What is your biggest takeaway from today's jobs report?

DIANE SWONK, CHIEF ECONOMIST, GRANT THORNTON: Well, I think it was great news that we saw the big surge in leisure and hospitality hiring yet again.


We also saw wages pick up, and that's because as the economy opens up, we're seeing consumers spend and businesses want to reopen faster than workers are able or comfortable returning to frontline jobs, which still are pretty hazardous out there.

CABRERA: And yet wages aren't up enough for some people to be able to return to the workforce at this point. There is a big worker shortage right now. 25 states have decided to end the extra stimulus weekly unemployment boost early because of the concerns that it incentivizes people not to work. And there was a new study this week from University of Chicago that finds economists are split on whether that is actually happening. Where do you stand?

SWONK: Well, it's interesting. The San Francisco Fed just did a study on it as well and really did careful analysis. And they suggested that it is a really, really small fraction of workers that it is an actual deterrent for. So it is not insignificant but it's not the major factor.

I think the bigger issues are everything from child care. We saw women return to the labor force, men did not. That was more than offset by decline in men. But women came back as the schools reopened, education hiring picked up, and hiring at daycare centers picked up.

Really important because a game changer over the summer is return to summer camps and finally when we see schools reopen, that women, working women in low wage jobs can actually return to their jobs because they need the consistency of schools to be able to work the schedules they do.

CABRERA: For sure. Let me ask you about infrastructure and how you pay for it, because the president's latest proposal leaves the 2017 tax cuts in place. Instead though he is proposing tougher tax enforcement, he wants to close tax loopholes and he wants to enact a minimum 15 percent tax on big corporations. Realistically, how much money are we talking from that 15 percent minimum corporate tax and which companies would it apply to?

SWONK: Well, what is really important about the tax increases is a minimum tax, you have to get agreed upon across countries. And that is what Secretary Yellen is currently working on, is getting some agreement so that we don't have this sort of arbitrage that's constantly going on in terms of especially the big tech firms booking profits abroad in low tax countries and sort of all the loopholes that we do see out there.

What is really interesting is on the loophole side of it just on what is legally owed in taxes, we undercollect as much as $700 billion to $1 trillion a year that we're not collecting in taxes that are legally owed. So there is a lot of reason to do that but you need pretty sophisticated people hired up at the IRS to be able to go after the kinds of tax gimmicks that people are being able to slip through and not pay those taxes. But that goes a long way just doing that alone in paying for a lot of this.

CABRERA: Wow, up to $1 trillion from people who aren't paying taxes because of loopholes and other strategies they might use to avoid. Thank you so much, Diane Swonk, it's great to have your expertise on this.

Now, he was ushered away quickly. Remember this? As the violent mob chanted, hang Mike Pence, now the former vice president is speaking out. What he says about his conversations with former President Trump about the deadly insurrection.