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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
North Korea Nuclear Warning; Chicago Reaches Grim Milestone; Trump at Republican Party at Odds?; Kim: North Korea in "Final Stages" To Test Missile; Turkish Police: Killer Seen In New Image; ISIS Claims Responsibility For Istanbul Attack. Aired 4:30-5p ET
Aired January 2, 2017 - 15:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BILL KRISTOL, EDITOR, "THE WEEKLY STANDARD": But I have been a little shocked at, with a few exceptions, how many Trump supporters, Trump advocates, Trump -- people who wish Trump well have decided they will just go down the road with him in not picking a fight with Putin, as they see it.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: That's true.
But, to be fair, you have McCain and Graham who are traveling to Eastern Europe, but not just them. Republican Mitch McConnell, right, Senate majority leader, saying it was Russia. This is serious. We need even more serious sanctions. Paul Ryan said the same thing.
RUTH MARCUS, "THE WASHINGTON POST": I think that is a very telling illustration of how strangely off the reservation Trump and his supporters are in terms of their extreme efforts to downplay, disregard, question what seems to be the unanimous conclusion of the intelligence community, that Russians were behind the hacking, and what should, it seems to me, be the unanimous conclusion of every American, that this is not a good thing in our democracy.
They did not hack directly into our voting machines, but we do not want them in there meddling. That should be the view of the person who won the election and the view of the person who lost the election.
SCIUTTO: Julie, is this the legislative battle in a way that Trump loses, right? It's not with Democrats. It could very well could be with his own party, because you have Republicans saying they want hearings and they want even more severe sanctions than Obama has imposed.
JULIE PACE, ASSOCIATED PRESS: Absolutely.
The sanctions question in particular I think will be fascinating, because I think one of the rounds of sanctions comes up in this spring. So we really just have a matter of months before Trump is going to have to make a decision on these sanctions that were in place over Crimea and Ukraine.
And the division potentially between Trump and some of these Republicans -- and prominent Republicans. We are not talking about backbench Republicans. We are talking about party leadership, senior lawmakers who have been working on this issue for years.
The idea that you could have this kind of chasm early on I think could be potentially, I don't want to say devastating to his presidency, but could really set the tone for his relationship with his party going forward.
SCIUTTO: I will give you both a final thought.
KRISTOL: I think it's something we are going to have to get used to, because I very much agree with you. You're right to cite McConnell and Ryan.
There are going to be many, many, many -- the model we have had for the last 16 years, Bush and Obama, White House in synch with its party, huge number -- amount of party-line voting, party loyalty, will not be the case I think on the Republican side this time.
Maybe that's healthy, incidentally. Maybe it's back to an older model where people make up their minds on individual issues. They don't automatically get in lockstep behind their president and there are all kinds of interesting splits. Maybe you get some Democratic-Republican coalitions on some of these issues too like Russia.
SCIUTTO: You have pretty some strong leadership on the Republican side on the Hill.
Ruth, your final word.
MARCUS: Republicans are agreed that there needs to be an investigation, but they are not agreed on who should do the investigation and therefore how serious and reliable it should be.
That is really going to be the test of their willingness to differentiate themselves from Trump and to be serious about this incursion.
SCIUTTO: You mean if it's bipartisan, specifically.
MARCUS: If it's bipartisan, if it's a special committee vs. a committee that isn't going to be as willing to go deep and get to the bottom of this.
SCIUTTO: Right. Right, like a post 9/11 Commission kind of thing.
SCIUTTO: Bill, Ruth, Julie, thanks so much, as always.
A child recounts how her dad used his body to shield her from a barrage of bullets in their own home. That little girl is one of the lucky ones, and her story not uncommon as Chicago reaches a grim milestone. That's next.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [16:36:19]
SCIUTTO: Welcome back.
And we are back with the alarming statistic in the national lead. It got even a response from Donald Trump today, and that is Chicago's homicide rate, 762 people killed in 2016. That is more than New York and Los Angeles combined.
It is also Chicago's deadliest year in nearly 20 years. The president-elect also tweeted out the stats and responded -- quote -- "If mayor can't do it he, he must ask for federal help!"
2017 and Chicago is not starting off any better. Two men were shot and killed in a bar, that just on New Year's Day.
I want to go to CNN's Rosa Flores. She is live in Chicago.
So, Rosa, when asked why there was a surge in violence, the Chicago police said that the answer is complicated. What do they mean by that?
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They do say it's very complicated and the police superintendent here saying that in part it's because of emboldened criminals and an anti-police climate here in the city.
But, Jim, we can't forget the people that are caught in the crossfire. And, unfortunately, here in Chicago, all too often, they are children.
ETYRA RUFFIN, 10 YEARS OLD: I hear the gunshots, because when I hear -- I know it wasn't firecrackers, and that's why I know it was like gunshots.
FLORES (voice-over): Etyra Ruffin was sitting on her dad's lap on her grandma's front porch when all hell broke loose this summer. The 10- year-old says her dad used his body to shield her from the flying bullets.
RUFFIN: I heard, like, a lot, a lot of like bone and stuff. I saw all the blood on his shirt. I thought I wouldn't see him again.
FLORES: Her downstairs neighbor, Devin Henderson, was playing video games by a window.
DEVIN HENDERSON, 11 YEARS OLD: When I heard the gunshots, I got on the floor. My mom grabbed me. She put me in a room, so to hide me.
FLORES: Etyra and Devin were lucky to survive the hail of bullets. But so many children are not. CNN analyzed the police crime data. One child is killed in Chicago every week, on average. That's a figure that's been true for the past quarter-century.
Why is Chicago so deadly? In an interview with "60 Minutes," former Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy says Chicago cops are not actively policing out of fear of putting themselves and their families in jeopardy.
GARRY MCCARTHY, FORMER CHICAGO POLICE SUPERINTENDENT: Police are on their heels. They're on their heels for a number of reasons. We see the results, don't we? We're reaching a state of lawlessness.
FLORES: Of the 762 murders in 2016, 65 percent of the killings are happening in five districts on the South and West Sides of the city, where 59 rival gangs fight each other for territory, police say. To curb the violence, more officers are being hired and gunshot detection technology allowing a faster response is being purchased.
But until the killings stop:
HENDERSON: I feel scared in Chicago. I want to move from Chicago.
FLORES: Children caught in the crosshairs are left dodging bullets since the two most likely places to get shot in Chicago are the street or even the home.
HENDERSON: I feel sad and scared. I don't want to be shot.
FLORES: Now, about president-elect Donald Trump's tweet regarding the violence in Chicago, here is a statement from the Chicago mayor's office reading: "As the president-elect knows from his conversation with the mayor, we agree the federal government has a strong role to play in public safety by funding summer jobs and prevention programming for at-risk youth, by holding the criminals who break our gun laws accountable for their crimes by passing meaningful gun laws, and by building on the partnerships our police have with federal law enforcement. We are heartened he is taking this issue seriously and look forward to working with the new administration on these important efforts" -- Jim.
SCIUTTO: Rosa, we know the majority of Chicago homicides coming from gun violence. So, what is the city doing to combat gun violence specifically?
FLORES: Well, you know, they are doing a multitude of things. Like, they're trying to hire more police officers. They're using technology.
But there is one specific thing that the police superintendent says that needs to happen, and he says that he is working with the state legislature to make tougher laws that hold repeat gun offenders accountable.
He says that that's the missing link. But even though they are seizing more guns, 8,300 guns in production, that's 20 percent more than in 2015, even though they are catching -- quote, unquote -- more "bad guys" in 2016 than in 2015, he says, that unless the laws get tougher, Jim, it is going to be very difficult for them to do their jobs. SCIUTTO: It's a real epidemic of violence.
Rosa Flores, thanks very much.
A new year, a new threat from Kim Jong-un. North Korea claims it's getting ready to test a missile that could hit very close to home.
[16:45:00] SCIUTTO: Welcome back to THE LEAD.
North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un ringing in the New Year with a new threat, boasting that his country is in the final stage of test launching an intercontinental ballistic missile, the recipe for a global catastrophe if the volatile communist country indeed is capable of combining ballistic missile technology with a miniaturized nuclear warhead. The weapon, if completed, could not only theoretically reach South Korea and Japan, but in a worst-case scenario, could reach the United States' West Coast.
I want to bring in CNN Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr. So, how seriously are U.S. officials taking this new claim from North Korea?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jim, the State Department was very quick to weigh in and say North Korea should not engage in provocations. But there's no sign Kim Jong-un is paying attention to that.
STARR: North Korea Leader Kim Jong-un's New Year's Day message, he's almost ready to launch an intercontinental ballistic missile, an ICBM, that someday could hit the U.S.
KIM JONG-UN, NORTH KOREAN LEADER (through translator): Research and development of cutting-edge arms equipment is actively progressing. An intercontinental ballistic missile test launch preparation is in its last stage.
STARR: A security challenge Donald Trump could face very early on. Trump has made clear on the campaign trail he wants China to deal with Kim.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have to be very vigilant on North Korea. We cannot let this guy go much further. And China should handle that problem.
STARR: And offering his own blunt assessment of the North Korean Leader.
TRUMP: You have the guy in North Korea, and he's probably crazy.
STARR: Something Donald Trump and the current Director of the CIA, appear to agree on when it comes to Kim.
JOHN BRENNAN, CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY DIRECTOR: He is delusional because he believes that the world is going to accept a nuclear North Korea and allow it to maintain that arsenal.
STARR: U.S. war planes have long detailed a strike option, bombing the regime if it poses an immediate nuclear threat. But the Intelligence Community warns, the U.S. may have few cards to play.
BRENNAN: I think the notion of getting the North Koreans to denuclearize is probably a lost cause.
STARR: There is intelligence showing how far Kim has moved ahead.
GORDON CHANG, AUTHOR OF NUCLEAR SHOWDOWN: NORTH KOREA TAKES ON THE WORLD: The North Koreans are very close to being able to make a nuclear weapon to their longest-range missiles and hit the United States.
STARR: The North Koreans have already tested an intercontinental long-range missile but it had a satellite on the front-end, not a warhead. And North Korea claims it's already tested a miniaturized warhead for an ICBM. U.S. officials say they can't verify that but they have to work under the assumption it's true. North Korea has conducted five underground nuclear tests. Another could happen at any time with little or no warning, U.S. intelligence officials say. But North Korea still has to master the technology to assure its ICBM can hit a specific target.
CHANG: They need to improve their accuracy. They need to improve their range. But they also have a pretty fearsome missile program at this particular time.
STARR: Now, one of the traditional strategies has been sanctions relief, essentially put more money in Kim's pocket and, you know, require him to back off on his nuclear program. As a condition of that (INAUDIBLE) a recent North Korean defector says Kim is no longer interested in money, financial aid or economic relief. He wants the world to acknowledge him as a nuclear superpower. Jim.
SCIUTTO: We may have to. Barbara Starr, thanks very much.
I want to bring in Bruce Bennett. He's a Senior Defense Analyst at the RAND Corporation think tank. Thank you for joining me, Bruce. So, let's start with the simplest question. Can -- in America's best judgment -- North Korea today threaten the continental U.S. with a nuclear weapon?
BRUCE BENNETT, RAND CORPORATION SENIOR DEFENSE ANALYST: Oh, probably not. North Korea has had trouble with its even shorter-range missiles this year. This last year, they've launched eight different Musudan missiles that have a about a 3,000 kilometer range, and seven of those failed, including the last two. So, Kim Jong-un has still some distance to go before he's going to have all of this working.
SCIUTTO: This former North Korean diplomat who defected, he told our Seoul affiliate that Kim Jong-un is actually becoming more dangerous, more aggressive than his plans for nuclear weapons. Even if he can't, say, reach the west coast of the U.S. is in effect first strike, to use them quickly and immediately. Do you find that credible?
BENNETT: Yes. We have historical references from the Kim family suggesting that they would be prepared to use nuclear weapons early in any conflict. So, it is a concern.
SCIUTTO: That would seem to be suicidal, I imagine, right? Because at first use, I imagine, would then bring a -- an overwhelming U.S. and western response.
[16:50:08] BENNETT: Well, but their argument is that if they threaten U.S. cities, if we respond against them, that maybe we'll back off. Maybe we'll be timid and not escalate. So, they're not sure, especially with the Obama administration, how we are going to act. We have not been clear.
SCIUTTO: There is the same defector said that Kim Jong-un is eager to take advantage of any uncertainty that might emerge from the transition period between Obama and Trump. Does that sound like a - like a typical Kim Jong-un strategy? Something he would take advantage of?
BENNETT: Oh, absolutely. He is very anxious to take advantage anywhere he can. And so, President-elect Trump has got to be very ready when he comes in to immediately take some actions.
SCIUTTO: So, what could those actions be? Because successive administrations, republican and democrat, they've tried negotiations, they've tried sanctions relief, they've tried economic sanctions, and yet the march towards a nuclear weapon has continued. What can Donald Trump do differently that would be effective?
BENNETT: Well, there are a variety of things that he could try to do. Deterrence is about convincing the other side that he's not going to get the benefits he expects. You could do that by threatening to shoot down North Korean missiles that are tested. They violate multiple U.N. Security Council Resolutions. That would be something President-elect Trump could say, "I'm not going to let you have any successes with you missile test. Don't do them or you won't a success." He could also take anti-North Korea regime information operations, telling the North Korean people the way things really are in ways that our government has not been prepared to do in the past.
SCIUTTO: Is it also possible that the U.S. or Donald Trump could order a military strike on North Korean nuclear facilities?
BENNETT: Interestingly in 2006, we had an op-ed from former Secretary of Defense William Perry and the current Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, saying that we should do exactly that if we saw an ICBM on a launch pad. So, it is conceivable but the problem is, if we were to do that, North Korea would likely open up artillery fire on Seoul or some such threat.
SCIUTTO: Right. And Seoul with millions of residents and also tens of thousands of U.S. forces there. Donald Trump on the campaign trail, at least, suggested the idea of giving nuclear arms to U.S. allies in the region, South Korea and Japan. How would that change the dynamic?
BENNETT: I don't think we want to do that. I don't think that's in U.S. interest. In fact, I seem to see him backing away from that statement. The problem is, if for them to have nuclear weapons, they would have to leave the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. If they do, that treaty is largely dead. And that treaty has been the hallmark of U.S. non-proliferation policy. Moreover, if North Korea - if South Korea and Japan had nuclear weapons, they may well start a nuclear arms race in the region with China. And that is something we don't want to have happen.
SCIUTTO: Enormous consequences. Bruce Bennett, thanks very much.
BENNETT: Thank you.
SCIUTTO: A manhunt is under way now for the gunman behind the first terror attack of 2017 -- didn't take long. A new photo just released. That's next.
[16:55:00] SCIUTTO: We're back with today's "WORLD LEAD". Authorities say a new image shows the man wanted for a nightclub attack that killed some 39 people on New Year's Day in Istanbul. Turkish police gave this image to state media. Authorities say they hope that this photo along with fingerprints can help find the terrorist and his network. Today, ISIS claimed responsibility for the brutal killings. One American was among those hurt. This is the latest in a string of recent deadly attacks in Turkey. CNN's Sara Sidner, she was live in Istanbul. Sara, do we know if any of the eight people detained have any connections to the man on the run right now?
SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That is what we are hearing from officials. They arrested - or excuse me, detained these eight people in the neighborhood where the attack happened, the Ortakoy neighbourhood, which is a place where so many people go to enjoy themselves from all different kinds of backgrounds and socioeconomic levels. There are cafes, there are little shops where you can buy items and, of course, at night there are several nightclubs. But the Reina is the most famous. People go there, especially those who have the money. It is an upscale club right on the Bosphorus. And police are going door-to-door, looking everywhere, trying to figure out where this attacker is. They have detained those eight people saying that they are questioning them in connection with this attack. Though they have not given any further details as to whether any of those people knew anything about the attack or knew who this attacker is. Jim.
SCIUTTO: This is, sadly, the latest in a string of really just brutal terror attacks in Turkey. How is the Turkish government responding to questions about its ability to prevent attacks like this?
SIDNER: Their response from the Deputy Prime Minister, not too long ago today, basically said, "Look, we have foiled 248 attacks, including potential car bombings and bombings and shootings over several, you know, years." They've been talking about all these attacks that could have happened that they say they thwarted. But, in 2016, they saw a lot of attacks, five attacks here. Now, not all of them were perpetrated, for example, by ISIS. In fact, ISIS -- this is the first time that ISIS has claimed an attack here on a sort of official level, although we cannot confirm whether or not that is from a very great source. However, it was all over Twitter and a lot of ISIS followers were retweeting that. So, the government here saying they have a lot on their hands, especially since, of course, they are on the border with Syria, they share that border, the border is porous, and there have been a lot of fighters who have come through Turkey into Syria and then back into Turkey. They have a lot to deal with ever since the Syrian government and the Syrian regime crumbles.
SCIUTTO: And there was one American injured in the attack. Is that right?
SIDNER: That's right. An American who said that he showed up with nine people, and seven of the nine people he went into that club with, ended up with bullet wounds, including he himself. He said something very poignant, talking about the fact that he's going to be able to go home and wake up and easily have breakfast in America and yet, well, everyone here has to worry about terrorism.
SCIUTTO: 39 people killed, so many of them young. Sara Sidner, thanks very much.
Thank you for joining us today. That will do it - do it for me on THE LEAD today. I'm going to turn you over now to the very capable hands of Wolf Blitzer. You'll find him in "THE SITUATION ROOM".