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tv   CNN Newsroom With Fredricka Whitfield  CNN  December 17, 2016 8:00am-9:01am PST

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i like what you're doing says this cleaner but not the way you're doing it. she dismissed them with a laugh as she does to most of her critics. as she's about to call it a day, she spots a big one across the street. nazi neighborhood. she whipped out her can of spray paint and gets to work. the graffiti war is a never ending battle. she seems happy to continue the fight one heart at a time. atika shubert, cnn, berlin. >> that's some productive work there. hey, thank you so much for spending your time with us. we hope you make great memories. >> we'll turn it over to boris sanchez. >> how's it going? >> great, not so great for the people on the roads. >> we'll talk all about it in just a moment. it's 11:00 on the east coast. i'm boris sanchez in for fredricka whitfield. news room starts right now. just in, snow and ice creating a deadly situation in maryland.
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you're looking at pictures of i-95 in baltimore. two people were killed in a 55 car pile up. another person was killed in an accident in virginia. that brings the total to three people dead because of the weather just today. freezing rain as much of the area is at a standstill there. this is a live picture near i 395. you can see on the bottom left corner of your screen, extremely poor visibility. in indiana there were nearly 200 accidents due to icy conditions. indianapolis firefighters had to rescue people from i-465 via ladder because the road was so slick. you see the images there. nationwide right now, 157 million people are under winter weather alerts. right now we have the mayor of baltimore, catherine pugh joining us over the phone. mayor, any updates you can provide us with with the situation there right now? >> i think you're absolutely correct on the numbers, the 55
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car pile up. we've had 15 people transported to hospitals, you mentioned the two fatalities. a fuel truck did overturn and explode helping to create this pile up. but more importantly, i'm proud of our first responders here in baltimore and in the state of maryland, the governor has made available to us all of the state units that could be from assistance. i'm proud of the surrounding counties that have responded so quickly. this is the worst accident we've seen, thank god, that some of the people are in the hospital and we are looking forward to them being released from the hospital. but i think it was also some good samaritans out there to help to relieve some of what could have possibly happened to the individuals, people reaching in and helping to pull people out of cars. i think that the response has been excellent. what we're warning people to do is stay off the streets. i'm not talking about the cars, i'm talking about people walking out of their house.
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i almost fem doll down the step this morning coming out of my own home. i'm encouraging people please stay off the roads, stay off the streets. be careful if you have to go out. be conscious of the fact this is not snow, this is ice. and we've not risen above the freezing, so we're very, very concerned about all of our residen residents. thank you for being concerned, america, about our city. we're moving forward but we're so grateful to all the people who pitched in. >> mayor, speaking of moving forward, how is the city planning to clear the ohhighwayo make sure there's no more accidents or injuries? it seems like a tough task. >> yes, let me just say this was not just because of the ice, the responders responded very quickly and we still are. the surrounding jurisdictions, the streets are salted. we used over 2000 pounds of salt in baltimore city alone just to make sure our roads are clear. understand, this area that we're talking about is coming in and
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out of the highway. this is just not about what people in baltimore are doing. it's about people traveling in and out of our city. again, that's why we're so grateful to the surrounding counties, the governor for his support. and our first responders in baltimore city. i talked to our fire chief and i've talked to our police department and the transit, you know, we have what we call a war room when these kinds of situations -- they've been in here since 3:00 a.m. this morning making sure the streets were appropriately salted. so they've done their part. we need our citizens to do their part to stay off the roads. >> certainly the message from mayor catherine pugh of the city of baltimore to everyone, stay at home. don't even open your doors and stay safe. mayor pugh, thank you for the time. >> thank you so much. turning now to international news, the escalating tensions between china and the united states, it all started on thursday when china seized an underwater u.s. navy research drone from international waters
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in the south china sea. the u.s. is demanding its immediate return. now the chinese government released a statement saying that the u.s. is quote, hyping up the drone issue and that they will return the drone in an appropriate manner. president elect donald trump is weighing in this morning. he sent out this tweet writing, quote, china's steals united states navy research drone in international waters rips it out of water and takes it to china in unprecedented act. i want to bring in matt river whose is following the story from beijing. matt, what's the latest that we're hearing? >> reporter: well, the ministry of defense as you mentioned finally came out late saturday evening here local time with this statement saying that it confirmed that it did take this drone and that it took the drone out of the water because as they put it, they wanted to prevent
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the device from harming navigational and personnel safety of passing ships. once they realized what they had taken out of the water they then said we have something that belongs to the united states and now we're going to contact them which they say they have and they're planning on returning it. it's inappropriate for a resolution the u.s. has unilaterally hyped the issue. it happened on thursday when this u.s. bowditch was conducting research with these two drones. when they went to pick them out of the water a chinese naval ship dismatched a smaller boat and picked one of the two drones out of the water before the u.s. ship could get it back. while this might seem like not that big of a deal, the fact of the matter is these close encounters between the u.s. and chinese navies are rare. the fact that china seized u.s. property is rarer still. it might seem like they're only
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doing this because of navigational safety issues, most experts will say when china picked that drone out of the water they knew they were going to be sending a message to the united states. >> one of many messages, thank you so much. gordon, as i said, this is only the latest point of friction between the u.s. and china. we've clearly seen an escalation first of a discovery of anti-aircraft weapons on the man made weapons in the south china sea. that's something president ping promised he wouldn't do. we saw nuclear armed planes flying over the areas. now the seizure of the drone, why is the escalation happening? >> we really don't know why the chinese are doing this. many people have speculated, and this could be correct that this is in reaction to donald trump's call with the taiwan president on december 2nd. and also his interview where he
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said he was not bound by the one china policy. but, you know, we don't know. we also know that over the course of decades china has been interfering with sovereign u.s. navy and u.s. air force assets in the region. this is just only the latest in a serious of very provocative events. >> i want to show you a statement that senator john mccain put out. it says in part, quote, china had no right to seize this vehicle and the united states must not stand for such outrageous conduct. this brazen provocation fits a pattern of increasingly destabilizing chinese behavior, including bullying its neighbor and militarizing the south china sea. this behavior will continue until it's met with a strong and determined u.s. response. which until now the obama administration has failed to provide. is this just more posturing, or do you think a donald trump presidency could potentially
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respond to these escalating incidents in a way that could make things much worse? >> well, first of all on senator mccain's statement. he's correct. he should have also stated there was a weak response on the part of president obama's predecessor, george w. bush, because in september 2002 the chinese challenged the bowditch and they said they rammed it. i don't think they did. but this is a series of events that goes back over the course of two administrations. you know, with regard to donald trump, of course he could make the situation worse. but we need to change our policy. because as senator mccain implies, what we're doing now is not working. the chinese don't see any push back, so they've continued a series of acts. this act is an act of piracy. and it's -- china maintains the nine dash line claim to the south china sea which was invalidated on july 12th. the seizure was outside that
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line area which means it was contemptuous of the united states and the international system in general. >> we'll see what the president elect's response is moving forward. thank you so much for spending some time with us this weekend. up next, president obama all but names vladmir putin as the man behind russia's alleged attempts to mettle in the united states election. we'll take you live to moscow with the latest details after this quick break.
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president obama in his final news conference of the year called out russia. cnn's chief national security correspondent jim sciutto has more. >> reporter: the cia director seeking to dismiss accusations from gop lawmakers and the president elect himself that the agency is somehow politicizing the intelligence on russian hacking of the u.s. election writing the entire cia work force that the u.s. intelligence community and law enforcement are in full agreement on the seriousness and intent of the cyberattacks. this as president obama accusing it seems, vladmir putin directly for the first time of ordering the cyberattack. >> i told russia to stop it. >> reporter: president obama for the first time publicly blaming russian president vladmir putin. for hacking the 2016 u.s. election. >> the intelligence that i've
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seen gives me great confidence in their assessment that the russians carried out this hack. the hack of the dnc. and the hack of the john podesta. not much happens in russia without vladmir putin. >> reporter: the cia and fbi agree as to why. director john brennan telling the cia work force that quote, there is strong consensus among us on the scope nature and intent of russian interference in our presidential election. u.s. intelligence and law enforcement assess that moscow had multiple possible motives. undermine confidence in the vote. weaken hillary clinton. and help donald trump. the president said he delivered a stern warning to putin at the g-20 summit in china in sgl september. >> i felt the most effective way to insure that that didn't happen was to talk to him directly. and tell him to cut it out and
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there were going to be serious consequences if he didn't. >> reporter: u.s. officials say that russia's hacking of u.s. political organizations continues unabated. since the election, one attempted breach targeted the clinton campaign, though unsuccessfully. president elect trump continues to dismiss the u.s. assessment that russia is responsible. >> we had a meeting -- >> reporter: despite the fact he's being provided the intelligence behind that assessment in his classified briefings. he sought to divert attention back to one of the revelations gleaned from the e-mails stolen by russia. tweeting, are we talking about the same cyberattack where it was revealed that the head of the dnc illegally gave hillary the questions to the debate? i'm told the cia director's message comes as many cia staffers are angry and frustrated to be accused of partisanship in their response to the russian hacking. that gop chairman of the senate intelligence committee also coming to the defense of intelligence staff saying that
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they leave their politics at the door. boris? >> all right, thank you. you just heard president obama's response to russia's mettle in the election. what does russia have to say about all of this? essentially prove it. either stop talking about it or produce some proof at last. otherwise it begins to look unseemly. for more of this i'm joined by clarissa ward, she's live in moscow. the president yesterday said that nothing happens in russia without vladmir putin's approval. kind of an indirect way of blaming him. how is that accusation being received there? >> reporter: well, to be honest there hasn't been a lot of reaction to the accusation at all. because essentially everything we heard in president obama's press conference yesterday still allows the russians this plausible deniability. essentially, what you heard from the president was let's wait to
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see what the investigation brings to bear. but he stopped short of providing any direct physical tangible evidence. and the russians all along have been saying this is outrageous, this is quote, ludicrous nonsense. they called the accusations indecent. they have been denying them. in the face of really what we're seeing as more declarations from u.s. officials rather than physically tangible evidence, i think they'll continue to say that it's an outrageous attempt to besmirch russia's good name. it's an attempt to poison the well between president putin and future president trump. people here are not paying too much attention to be honest. but they are also almost enjoying this as it plays out, this entire scandal and all these accusations. i think not so secretly they kind of relish all the attention. and they relish the idea that russia could be capable of
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pulling off something as audacious as swinging a u.s. election. >> right. president obama has pledged a spanse -- response to the hacking. president elect trump has been less than emphatic about a response. could this damage the relationship they might have with donald trump, especially if president obama moves forward with retaliation? >> reporter: well, i think it depends on the kind of retaliation that we might see from president obama. keep in mind, he has a very finite period of time to achieve whatever his objective might be. there are several options available to him. he might try to go for tougher sanctions. that will be pretty hard for him to do because it's likely that president elect donald trump might repeal them within the next couple of months. he could try to engage in a tit for tat and name and shame
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russian officials, embarrass them with leaked e-mails, embarrass them possibly about money that they might have stashed away in offshore accounts or something to that effect. he said shaming publicly doesn't work with the russians. the third option that is available to him is something a little more drastic, which would be a sort of direct cyberattack. and like turning out the lights in the whole of moscow or turning off the grid or whatever it may be. but the problem you have there is that you really run the risk of escalating the situation significantly. not clear yet what course president obama will take, and what, if anything, president elect donald trump will do to back him up once he takes office next months boris. >> one of the things we've heard from the administration is the potential for some kind of covert retaliation, that the public may not even find out about. should be interesting to see what happens moving forward. thank you. up next, in just a few hours
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the president elect is making the final stop on his thank you tour. we'll take you live to
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cnn is learning that russian cyber hacking activity has continued since the november u.s. election, including against u.s. political organizations. the president is vowing to retaliate against russia and vladmir putin whether that's in the form of more sanctions or not. he has just over a month to enforce that. at his final news conference of the year the president said he felt confident in the way the hack was investigated. he criticized the media for how
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they reported it. >> when i look back in terms of how we handled it. we handled it the way it should have been handled. we allow law enforcement and the intelligence community to do its job. without political influence. the truth is, that there was nobody here who didn't have some sense of what effect it might have. i'm finding it a little curious everybody is suddenly acting surprised this looked like it was disadvantaging hillary clinton, because you guys wrote about it every day. about every little juicy tidbit gossip. >> let's talk more about this with the assistant editor at "the washington post," also joining us a presidential historian. thank you so much for joining
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us. you just heard president obama say that he believes the administration's response to the hacking was adequate, is that really the way that potential mettling in american democracy should be handled? >> president obama gave a clear explanation of his thought process. it would be fair to say that he was walking a fine line in the administration and the intelligence community were walking a fine line to the degree they did not want to see seen as putting their thumb on the scale in the election prior to election day and suggesting that the fix was in for one candidate or the other via russian hacking. and so director clapper gave that statement, made public the intelligence saw russians meddling in the election. on the other hand it would be
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fair to say that if they indeed thought they the indication, my colleagues reported this out yesterday, that the fbi and cia saw it this way, you could see where critics of the administration are saying they should have taken swift answer harsher and vocal action. >> critics are saying it would just be politicized anyway. tim, to you, the obama confrontation at the g 20 with vladmir putin, rather, not a strong confrontation, he said he told vladmir putin to cut it out. is that a strong enough response? >> again, one moefst difficult thing for us to know, we used covert action to send strong secret signals to the russian government. one of the things president obama said in his press conference was that the u.s. government noticed a change in russian hacking behavior after september. but i think the key right now is
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to focus on the fact that the president elect did something highly irresponsible. because he sent a signal to the russians that all is forgiven. when he said without looking at the material, the intelligence, i don't believe it. that's what effectively mr. trump said. he was sending a signal to moscow that president elect trump would choose the word of the kremlin over that of the non-partisan intelligence community. what we need to do is restore trust in the intelligence community. i would hope that president obama before he left office, would put together a special briefing for president elect trump and vice president elect pence where they would be shown the high level material and information about how we know about hacking. some of that can't be released because that would allow the russians to continue this in the future. somebody has to basically show the president elect exactly why the fbi, the cia, the nsa and
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others believe this to be the case. he can't keep denying it while not getting his intelligence briefings. >> you think he's denying it because he doesn't necessarily believe the information? he talked -- he practically asked russia to hack the democrats during the election. >> boris, we are in a very dangerous moment with regard to our belief in anything produced by the federal government. after the election of '68, lindlin linden johnson chose not to release actions by a foreign power. i believe that was a mistake. president obama has an opportunity to share with the american people why our intelligence community believes that the russians were trying to influence our election. i hope obama -- president obama will make a different decision from president johnson and will share a lot of that with us before he leaves office. >> david, back to you, you touched on something in your
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previous remarks about the fine line that the president had to walk in this situation. but there is some criticism going out to the clinton campaign, apparently they were warned almost a dozen times that they had been hacked but they refused to let federal investigators in. why do you think that is? >> well, it's hard to read their minds on that. if you go to that in depth tick talk that "the new york times" put out the other day, it's clearly seems like there was a whole series of errors or sort of ignoring of warning signs by both folks at the dnc and to some extent there were slow walking if you go based on that report from within the fbi. i think from the political standpoint, you see the obama administration, if you look at what president obama said in his press conference yesterday they were trying to address this while at the same time not ov
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overhyping. it you read between the lines of what president obama said yesterday, you can see he thinks there was this change after they made it public but they thought the russians were meddling and meddling was de-escalated. we don't know if that means it was based on president obama speaking to vladmir putin, if that was based on something that we did covertly, i don't have that reporting right now. but i think, you know, another concern in this is as tim said, the idea that the incoming administration, president elect trump, is sort of dismissing this out of hand, at least to this point. he could have come out last week and said let's see if we get more facts in. instead what he said i don't believe this. and that i think is -- sets an interesting or potentially troubling precedent. >> certainly, still a lot of more questions to get to. we'll see you guys later this afternoon and continue this discussion. thank you. russia's alleged meddling in the u.s. election will be in
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focus tomorrow when jake tapper sits down with an interview with senator john mccain. don't miss that at 9:00 a.m. eastern tomorrow on cnn. we'll be right back.
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president obama is making it clear he believes russia hacked the u.s. election, even going as far as to call out russia president vladmir putin. >> based on uniform intelligence assessments, the russians were responsible for hacking the dnc. and that as a consequence, it is important for us to review all elements of that and make sure that we are preventing that kind of interference throughout cyberattacks in the future. >> the president vowed retaliation for the hacks, for its part the kremlin has denied those accusations. for more i'm joined by an
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investigative journalist and the altogetherer of the red web, the struggle between russia's digital dictators. if the goal was to create political chaos in the united states, the russians certainly achieved that. but do you think they expected this level of fallout? >> i think that primarily the goal was purely tactical. lots of experts and people in russia believe the very first goal was to try to respond to panama papers. that investigation was seen in moscow as a personal attack on putin. and lots of people wanted to do something. and that was maybe a response. but then, because the operation became more successful than people anticipated, people might
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believe it's such great thing why not try to do something else. >> obama has pledged a response to these hacks, potentially covert actions that the public pieces won't find out about. doesn't that play into vladmir putin's hands at home to say that we are kind of a fortress being sieged in the sense that the u.s. is attacking us without merit or evidence. >> yes, unfortunately it is the case. the problem is that the kremlin nothing is what it seems. security agencies and intelligence communities are who have nothing to do with the attacks. you might get lots of informal actors, because out sourcing is something russia has used extensively for lowering the cost increase of controversial operations. and that is the case in these
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situations. the problem is obama's response is that this is all said officially. you have informal actors backed by the state launching an attack on the united states, while the operation seems to be from the very high level. that might havepu putin to say have nothing to do with the attacks but we are under the attack of the united states. that might provoke them to think, look, maybe we need to introduce more legislation and install more control of the internet in the country. >> and it also gives them as you mentioned plausible deniabiabil we weren't behind this. the kremlin essentially told the u.s. show us the evidence or show up. they're not expecting the u.s. to put any evidence forward, right? >> absolutely. and that was the case for many years. actually, we saw these tactics since maybe 2007 on a lot of
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informal actors inspired by the kremlin, attack many countries. starting with estonia and ended up being the united states. usually it was extremely difficult to find any real evidence and to put on the table. that was extremely successful tactic for the kremlin for years. >> so you mentioned that effort dating back to 2007. they're accuse of interfering here in the united states this year. france, germany, italy and the netherlands have elections next year, do you expect more meddling from the kremlin? >> when you're dealing with informal hackers whose have direct access to the kremlin but at the same time are not part of any government institution, that might make people extremely dangerous. there is a possibility for that. they might think, look, it's
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such great area, you have a low cost of conducting any kind of offensive. because to be honest, in these area of cyber, everybody gets confused. nobody knows how to respond to these kind of attacks. how to defend these attacks. is it a real cyber offensive or something to do with propaganda, which is a blurry area for everybody. once again, it might be played back by the kremlin inside of russia because, well, you start talking about thinking of russian disinformation in your space, now we can talk about the same things in our space and can start censoring, controlling social media in our countries. >> all right. interesting perspective. thank you so much for the time. the u.n. secretary general says aleppo is now a synonym for
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hell. what's happening to the cease fire and the fate of thousands of civilians trapped inside that city.
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the u.s. is offering a $25 million reward for the capture of abu bakr al baghdadi. that's more than double the $11 million the state department offered in 2007. he has been rarely seen in public. he shows up occasionally in videos. just this week, u.s. officials told cnn that the number of battle ready isis fighters has been whittled down to between 12 thousand and 15,000. adding that some 50,000 fighters have been killed. the uk disputes that number, saying that only about half that many were killed in the fighting. the on again off again cease fire in aleppo is back on this morning. there have been multiple attempts at holding a cease fire this week.
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if it holds this time, it could allow thousands of civilian and rebels to flee the area around east aleppo as syrian regime troops move in. the you know says hundreds of children are trapped in the area and face death if they aren't rescued. the out going secretary general ban ki moon made a statement. >> the carnage in syria remains a gaping hole. it's now a synonym for hell. as i told the security council three days ago. we have failed the people of syria. >> i want to bring in the co-arter of isis, and a former military attache.
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will this help the people that are still there get out? >> i think so. i think eventually this is going to take place. they'll make it happen. they'll be these glitches along the way. i think everybody wants this to happen. it's the only way forward for the city of aleppo. i think the rebels have gotten the best deal they can of being able to leave the city when i think the russians iranians were intent of crushing them, pounding them into eradication. i think is a good thing for the rebels. they should take what they can and get out. and throwing road blocks in the way is not going to make this any better: i think that the hand writing's on the wall. aleppo was lost to them and they need to make the best play they can. that's the next battle. it's going to be the battle of idlib. >> how do you see this playing out in the big picture? the president said that basher al assad can't cause a massacre, slaughter his way to legitimacy.
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isn't that what's happening here? >> it is. the president of the united states got up in 2011 and said that the time has come for basher al assad to step aside. barack obama will step aside before basher al assad. i shouldn't shay that. the u.s. intervened in a half cocked manner. the cia were giving support to 80 or some odd free syrian army groups, provide ing with anti-tank missiles and instilling a sense of false hope that the u.s. was on their side. the u.s. was using the rebels to get assad to the negotiating table. assad negotiated to pursue what he's doing now. which is the ever elusive military solution for syria. this is something the state department said was an impossibility. it's quite a possibility. and rick is right. the next stop is idlib. the reason that the regime -- when i say the regime is russia and iran which are calling the
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shots. most of the atrocities being committed with being done by iranian militimilitias. they want to go to idlib because it justified turning idlib into a kill box. they can drop all the bombs they want. this is the next province they have to liberate. that's the game plan. they're hoping to do this in the period between barack obama leaning office and donald trump entering office and finding his bearings. i must say the trump campaign and the trump administration such as it is shaping up to be does not seem to want to pick any fight with putin or assad. quite the opposite they want to work with them to eliminate isis. >> how do you see the trump administration handling this yesterday. trump said yesterday about
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establishing safe zones, is that possible? >> it is than in the past. you have the turks moving toward raqqah, they set up an enclave up there with the free syrian army. that could be the free zone. that had been talked about for the past year. the turks said this would be the perfect place to do it. many of us have said that's great somebody has to go down there and force isis out of the area the turks have done that. there is a possibility for that. i think that we're going to stand back and concentrate on isis and basically throw the syrian army under the bus. >> the u.s. now offering a $25 million reward for abu bakr al baghdadi for the capture of thelysis -- isis leader.
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there was a report they were close. >> he was injured in an air strike 18 months ago. he wasn't being targeted but it took him out of commission for quite a while. power struggles within the upper echelons. there is a complete paranoia of infiltration, coalition spies. some of it i think quite justified at this point. he still remains the leader of the organization. there's a $25 million bounty as opposed to a $10 million, or $11 million make a difference? no. it's not about the money. i don't think he's going to be captured. he will be killed in a raid or air strike, much like 2006. but the real question now is who
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is going to take over? and they're running out of viable successors. it requires a curriculum vitae to be the head of the organization. you have to be arab, you can't be turbman and a descendant of the house of the prophet of muhammad. much like baghdadi was in 2010 when he was appointed will emerge to the forand be anointed. >> thank you so much for joining me on the kd with. we appreciate your perspective and expertise. we have much more just ahead in the newsroom, please stay with us. and you're talking to youro doctor about your medication... this is humira. this is humira helping to relieve my pain and protect my joints from further damage. this is humira helping me go further. humira works for many adults. it targets and helps to block a specific source
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>> it's just about noon. you are about to look at pictures from baltimore, maryland, where i-95 is shut down because of i ice. one of the most packed highways typically across the country is empty. we'll have more on the icy conditions affecting more than 150 million people today in just a moment. but first, the president-elect is continuing his thank you tour today in alabama. he is returning to the same stadium where 30,000 supporters came out to see him during the primaries, last night in florida, making a campaign succession, his supports fought dirty. >> you people were vicious, violence, screaming, where is the wall, we want the wall. but now you are mellow and you are cool. and you are not nearly as vicious or


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