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Turkey Night Club Attack; North Korea Threat; Russian Hacking Controversy; Republicans Plan Ambitious Agenda for 2017; Long History of U.S.-Russian Espionage; Queen Misses New Year's Service Due to Heavy Cold. Aired 12-1a ET
Aired January 2, 2017 - 00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): A shooter on the run. Police in Turkey hunt for the suspect who killed nearly 40 people during New Year's celebrations at a night club.
North Korea opens 2017 with a grim resolution. What Kim Jong-un is saying about new missile tests.
Plus: Donald Trump says Russia may not be the culprit behind U.S. election meddling and is promising to reveal information others don't have.
Hello and welcome to our viewers all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church. And this is CNN NEWSROOM.
CHURCH: Turkey is promising to find the shooter who killed at least 39 people shortly after they welcomed in the New Year. This security footage appears to show the attacker, shooting his way inside a popular night club in Istanbul.
The gunman has not been identified and we are looking at live pictures right now. There are no claims of responsibility in this attack. Most of the victims were foreign nationals. And CNN's Ian Lee joins us now from Istanbul with more on this.
So, Ian, do authorities in Turkey have any leads that could result in the possible capture of this gunman?
And do they believe he worked alone or do they think he might be connected to a larger network?
IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rosemary, right now the manhunt is the number one priority, trying to find him. They believe that he did, at least with the shooting, acted alone. We're hearing reports that he changed clothes and then fled the scene. We're hearing from the prime minister, Binali Yildirim, saying that
him being found is their number one priority and that there's strong coordination with the different security services.
But also right now they're going to be looking into seeing if anyone helped them. And if someone else did help him, they're going to be looking for him as well. No one has claimed responsibility. The Turkish authorities haven't put responsibility on anyone yet.
But usually after attacks like this, after a while, we do get someone claiming responsibility.
CHURCH: And, Ian, what impact might this attack have on security measures in Turkey going forward?
LEE: The thing about this, Rosemary, is, before this attack happened on New Year's Eve, there was already tight security. We were searched multiple times just around Istanbul. Our bags were searched. There was a heavy police presence.
There's a police station just 250 meters away from the Reina night club, which is just right behind me. And even on the Facebook page of the owner of the night club, he said that there were tents, police surveillance 24 hours; there was even the coast guard taking extra measures, too.
So you did have all this extra security and yet something like this was still able to happen. A police officer was shot in front of the night club. A security officer was shot and killed in front of the night club as well.
So these attacks are attacks of opportunity. They go after soft targets. And so it is very difficult to secure an entire country from someone who can look and try to find out where there are holes or where there's soft targets.
CHURCH: Yes, certainly these soft targets are so very vulnerable at this time. Ian Lee, joining us live from Istanbul, Turkey, just after 8 o'clock in the morning. Many thanks.
All right. Intelligence and security analyst Bob Baer joins us now from Colorado via Skype.
Bob, a very good and happy New Year to you. Always great to get your analysis and perspective on these matters.
The manhunt is still underway for this gunman but no claim of responsibility as yet.
Knowing what we do so far, what's your sense of who might be behind this?
Or do you think it has all the hallmarks of a lone wolf attack?
BOB BAER, CNN INTELLIGENCE AND SECURITY ANALYST: Hi, Rosemary, I think it's probably the Islamic State, somebody affiliated, at the very least. It was a night club. It was New Year's. Highly symbolic for the philosophy, the ideology that drives the Islamic State.
I think that it were it the PKK, the Kurdish Workers' Party, they would have gone after a military target. That's traditionally what they do.
You look at the tactics of the attack: coming in with speed, surprise, maximum violence, shooting the police at the door, tells me -- this is a guess -- it's --
BAER: -- somebody who's fought maybe in Syria or Iraq and has turned his guns on Turkey now.
CHURCH: So do you think he's a lone wolf attacker with some sort of connection to ISIS?
Or you feel that this has been planned by the bigger group?
BAER: It's another guess -- I'd say planned, simply because the guy, this wasn't an act of martyrdom. He got away. He killed 39 people and managed to get out of the area. And it was right next to a police station.
Did he have some sort of help?
He very well could have. This was, in their terms, a very well- planned, tactically smart attack. And it's unnerving for the Turks as well that he did get away. I mean, that entire city, Istanbul, was locked down on the 1st. And yet he disappeared.
CHURCH: So when you look at the security footage from this, it appears to show that gunman, blasting his way inside.
What all can be learned when you look at that sort of footage and, of course, when you combine that with the various witness accounts?
BAER: Trigger control: amateurs that haven't spent a lot of time around automatic weapons tend to spray the whole building. This guy went after the police. He gets in. He, you know, reloaded. A lot of times, if people have had no battlefield experience, they can't get the magazine back in the gun.
Very cold-blooded, probably experienced. But I hope we catch the guy soon. At least I hope the guy's caught and we can figure out what was in this.
Frankly, Rosemary, I worried about Turkey these days. I'm in touch with the presidency there. They are panicking in general about the violence, whether it's PKK or the Islamic State or, of course, they're blaming Gulen, the dissident. It doesn't really matter. This isn't the Turkey we knew a couple years ago.
CHURCH: Yes, and I did want to talk to you about that.
Because when you're talking about at least 39 people killed, almost 70 others wounded, what does this say about security measures in place at soft targets like this following this and, of course, other attacks in Turkey?
What needs to happen now to protect people there?
BAER: Well, the Turks are doing the best they can to get a cease- fire. That's a start. Stop the flow of refugees, seal the border. But that border between Syria and Turkey is not sealable.
And that's really the problem. There are so many loose weapons. There are so many people fighting with the cause. There are so many people, there's so many Syrians in particular and jihadists that are angry at Erdogan for going after the Islamic State.
And it's -- that -- you know, sharing a border is catastrophic for Turkey. And I can't emphasize that enough, what it's doing to this regime.
CHURCH: All right. Bob Baer, always good to talk with you. Appreciate your perspective on this.
And we are learning more about some of the night club victims. At least 27 of the 39 people killed were foreign nationals, including, from the top left, a film producer from India; a 19-year-old woman from Israel; a dual Belgium-Turkish citizen, who was 23 years old, and a woman and a man from Lebanon. At least 11 Turks were also killed, including the young man on the lower right.
Well, the United States is cautioning North Korea to refrain from provocative actions and inflammatory rhetoric after leader Kim Jong-un claimed the country is close to testing an intercontinental ballistic missile. CNN's Saima Mohsin is following the story from South Korea. She joins us now live.
Good to see you, Saima.
So just how close is North Korea to testing an intercontinental ballistic missile?
And who's at risk here?
SAIMA MOHSIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Rosemary.
It's incredibly worrying, isn't it?
When you hear in the 21st century the only country to have conducted a nuclear test in this century, North Korea saying they have an intercontinental ballistic missile and, I quote, they're very close to successfully testing it.
We don't know, of course. We can't independently verify even if Kim Jong-un does have an ICBM. As we didn't know previously, when he said that they carried out a hydrogen bomb test as well.
What we do know is that, back in February 2016, they launched a satellite. Now, they would have had to have the technology to launch a long-range rocket of some sort. And that of course --
MOHSIN: -- that technology can then be applied to making a long-range missile, Rosemary. And that is the huge concern. We know they have some part of that technology. We know they have nuclear weapons as well.
But do they have the technology to reduce that nuclear warhead to put it onto a long-range missile?
We don't know. Kim Jong-un promising a test sometimes in the next year.
Of course it's one thing to say you have the missile, another to test it and then another to actually use it against someone. And people are saying that that's not necessarily likely in the immediate future -- Rosemary.
CHURCH: And, Saima, history has shown that the U.S. cautioning North Korea in any way is not going to stop Pyongyang from going ahead with its plans.
So what could be the consequences if North Korea persists with what the U.S. calls provocative actions and inflammatory rhetoric?
MOHSIN: Yes, it seems a bit of a futile exercise, doesn't it, when we've seen sanctions after sanctions slapped on North Korea. And irrespective of those, we see continued nuclear tests.
The fifth and largest nuclear test under Kim Jong-un carried out just in September 2016; the response, Natalie -- sorry, Rosemary, of course -- sanctions. But they won't work.
According to a defector, Tae Young Ho (ph), a few days ago, speaking to -- sorry, the press here in Seoul, he said that Kim Jong-un is going to carry on with his nuclear ambition and he will, regardless of any kind of sanctions and regardless of any economic incentives.
A lot of the experts that I've spoken to here in Seoul have said, look, maybe you can bring him to the table, maybe you can offer economic incentives to stop him progressing.
Well, he's saying you could offer Kim Jong-un $10 trillion. He will not stop. And in this speech on New Year's Day, he said that North Korea is now a military and nuclear power in the East. That's what he wants. He wants to be seen as an equal partner for other nuclear states in the world -- Rosemary.
CHURCH: All right, Saima Mohsin, reporting there from Seoul in South Korea just after 2:10 in the afternoon. Many thanks to you. We will talk again next hour.
Police have detained the captain of a ferry that caught fire off the coast of Jakarta, Indonesia, killing at least 23 people. Now this comes amid allegations that he was the first to jump ship. The boat reportedly caught fire because of a short circuit in a power
generator. Hundreds of people were heading to islands north of Jakarta at the time. Rescue workers saved most of the passengers on board and here's how one survivor described the chaos.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Thick smoke suddenly emerged, blanketing the cabin. All passengers panicked and ran up to the deck to throw floats in the water. In a split second, the fire became bigger. It was coming from where the fuel was stored.
CHURCH (voice-over): Authorities say at least 17 people are still missing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: South Korea's president is denying any wrongdoing in a corruption scandal that has put her position in jeopardy.
Park Geun-hye met with reporters on New Year's Day, almost a month after parliament impeached her. A constitutional court will decide whether to uphold that vote. Ms. Park says the accusations against her are, quote, "distorted and false."
Thousands of protesters in Hong Kong are demanding democratic reform. They're also defending four pro-democracy lawmakers, who were popularly elected. Government officials are trying to disqualify them, saying they gave invalid oaths.
Critics are accusing Beijing of a political crackdown. Activists say disqualifying the lawmakers would undermine the "one country, two systems" agreement.
Well, the U.S. president-elect remains skeptical about the hacking controversy but Donald Trump promises to reveal more about it.
Plus: President Obama's signature achievement will likely come under fire as soon as Donald Trump takes office. We will take a look at the agenda of the new Republican-led Congress. That's coming up.
CHURCH: Thirty-five Russian diplomats and their families are back in Russia now. U.S. President Barack Obama expelled them and imposed sanctions on Russia for the hacking of political groups during the presidential campaign.
U.S. intelligence officials say Moscow was behind the hacking. But Russia denies it. Russian president Vladimir Putin is not taking any action just yet, instead waiting to see what will happen when President-Elect Donald Trump takes office.
Well, Mr. Trump meanwhile is not fully on board with the intelligence community's conclusion. The hacking will be the focus of a briefing he's set to receive as well as a congressional committee hearing later this week. Ryan Nobles has more on the week ahead.
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: President-elect Donald Trump will have a busy start to the new year. This week will be filled with meetings at Trump Tower, including a high-level intelligence briefing, where the president-elect is expected to learn more about the alleged Russian hack of U.S. interests.
Now Trump continues to downplay the significance of the intelligence community's conclusion that the Russian government is behind the hack. This, despite statements from members of Congress, both Republican and Democrat, who've been briefed on the matter and described the evidence as overwhelming.
During his posh New Year's Eve gathering at his Mar-a-Lago estate, the president-elect told reporters that he remains skeptical of their overall assessment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: I just want them to be sure because it's a pretty serious charge. And I want them to be sure and if you look at the weapons of mass destruction, that was a disaster and they were wrong. And so I want them to be sure.
I think it's unfair if they don't know. And I know a lot about hacking. And hacking is a very hard thing to prove.
TRUMP: So it could be somebody else. And I also know things that other people don't know. And so they cannot be sure of the situation.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Like what?
What do you know that other people don't know?
TRUMP: You'll find out on Tuesday or Wednesday.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBLES: Now in addition to Trump's private intelligence briefing, we could learn more about this alleged hack during a highly anticipated hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Republican John McCain, who has a much different view than the president-elect of the alleged hack, called for the briefing.
Meanwhile, Trump has just three weeks to go to round out his staff before taking office; a few major Cabinet positions are still open, including the Secretary of Veterans Affairs and the Secretary of Agriculture -- Ryan Nobles, CNN, Washington.
CHURCH: A top aide says Mr. Trump will repeal a lot of President Obama's executive actions on his first day in office. It's not clear which policies the president-elect will change. But Mr. Trump has been critical of Mr. Obama's moves on immigration, energy regulation and foreign policy.
Here's what the incoming White House press secretary told ABC.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JONATHAN KARL, ABC NEWS CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: What is the one big thing we are going to see after he takes the oath of office?
SEAN SPICER, RNC SPOKESPERSON: It's not going to be one big thing. It's going to be many big things. On day one, he's going to sign a series of executive orders to do two things.
One to repeal a lot of the regulations and actions that have been taken by this administration over the last eight years that have hampered both economic growth and job creation and then secondly do the same on a forward-thinking thing.
He's going to start implementing things. He's going to bring a new brand to Washington. He's going to institute a lobbying ban five years; it's very forward thinking. What we've had in the past is people who've looked in the rearview mirror. This time we're thinking forward.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: After Mr. Trump takes office, Republicans will start to put in motion an agenda to scrap President Barack Obama's greatest legacy. But it's going to be a long-fought battle on Capitol Hill. CNN's Manu Raju has the details.
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER (voice-over): For the first time in nearly a dozen years, Republicans will control all of Washington and they are plotting an ambitious agenda on Capitol Hill: a sweeping rewrite of the tax code, new infrastructure projects, a ninth Supreme Court justice and their top goal, a repeal of President Barack Obama's signature legacy item, ObamaCare.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), MAJORITY LEADER: The ObamaCare repeal resolution will be the first item up in the New Year.
RAJU (voice-over): But Republican leaders privately acknowledge it won't be easy, especially repealing the health care law without a clear plan to replace it and in the aftermath of surging enrollment numbers for ObamaCare.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What happens to those 20 million people who have health insurance?
Are you going to just kick them off and, suddenly, they don't have health insurance?
RAJU (voice-over): Next month, Republicans will immediately try to pass a budget, a process that will allow them to repeal much of ObamaCare, including subsidies to buy health insurance and an expansion of Medicaid, all on a party line vote in the Senate.
But some key aspects of the law cannot be repealed through the budget process, including prohibiting insurers from denying coverage to those with pre-existing conditions and the mandate requiring people to purchase health insurance.
Conservatives determined to scrap the law are already warning of a revolt if President-elect Donald Trump accepts anything short of a full repeal.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If he pursues just amending ObamaCare, how would you respond?
REP. RAUL LABRADOR (R), IDAHO: I'm not going to agree with that.
RAJU (voice-over): The process to replace ObamaCare will be even tougher because Republicans will need to overcome a Senate filibuster, meaning they will need the support of at least eight Democrats to enact a new health care law.
But the new Senate Democratic leader, Chuck Schumer, is already warning that his party won't help the GOP replace the law.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), INCOMING MAJORITY LEADER: Just repealing ObamaCare, even though they have nothing to put in its place and saying they will do it sometime down the road, will cause huge calamity from one end of America to the other. They don't know what to do. They are like the dog that caught the bus.
RAJU (voice-over): To ensure people don't lose their coverage, GOP leaders say Congress will effectively delay the repeal from taking effect until legislation is approved to replace the law, a process that could take years.
REP. PAUL RYAN (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: There needs to be a reasonable transition period so that people don't have the rug pulled out from under them.
RAJU (voice-over): But that approach is only bound to cause tension with top conservatives, who want immediate action.
REP. JIM JORDAN (R), OHIO: Look, I think health care will be better and cost less when ObamaCare is gone.
So why would we want to take three years to get rid of it?
RAJU: Now, Republican officials tell me that rather than a comprehensive ObamaCare replacement, they are looking at a path and a series of smaller health care bills they hope can win sine Democratic support. And aside from that, there is a huge fight looming over reforming the --
RAJU: -- tax code for corporations and individuals. And that issue is expected to dominate action on the Hill for much of next year.
Adding to that though, a slew of major confirmation fights, including Trump's pick for the Supreme Court. And you can see that Trump's agenda next year could be filled with huge accomplishments or it could get bogged down quickly in Capitol gridlock -- Manu Raju, CNN, Washington.
CHURCH: With less than three weeks left in his term, U.S. President Barack Obama took to Twitter Sunday to reflect on his legacy.
He wrote, "From realizing marriage equality to removing barriers to opportunity, we've made history in our work to reaffirm that all are created equal."
He continued, "It's been the privilege of my life to serve as your president. I look forward to standing with you as a citizen. Happy New Year, everybody."
Well, Queen Elizabeth was forced to sit out a second holiday church service due to a lingering severe cold. The latest on the British monarch's health. That's coming your way very soon.
Plus decades of espionage: we will look at the long history of spying between the United States and Russia. We're back in a moment.
[00:31:24] CHURCH: The attacker seen here also injured 69 people. Most of whom were celebrating the New Year. So far there's been no claim of responsibility.
The U.S. is urging North Korea to refrain from provocative actions after leader Kim Jong-un claimed the country is close to testing an intercontinental ballistic missile. He referred to North Korea as a nuclear and military power and said it would continue strengthening its nuclear capabilities.
The captain of a ferry that caught fire and killed almost two dozen people near Jakarta, Indonesia has been detained. His arrest comes amid reports that he was the first to jump ship. The boat was carrying more than 200 people when it reportedly caught fire because of a short circuit in its power generator. 17 people are still missing.
35 Russian diplomats and their families are back in Moscow. Russian state media reports the plane carrying them landed Sunday. U.S. President Barack Obama expelled the diplomats and imposed sanctions on Russia in retaliation for the hacking of U.S. political groups. Russia denies the accusation.
Well, this is not the first time Washington has expelled Russian operatives from the United States. Barbara Starr has more on the long history of both countries' espionage.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): FBI cameras captured Russian operative Anna Chapman and a federal undercover agent meeting in a New York coffee shop in June 2010. 17 days later, Chapman and nine other Russian sleeper agents were arrested in New York, New Jersey, and Virginia charged with conspiracy to act as unlawful agents of Russia.
Spies who had burrowed deep into American society for years trying to steal secrets and recruit agents.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
STARR: The FBI had watched Chapman and the others for months, recording drop offs of packages, meetings on staircases even one meeting just yards from CNN's offices in New York.
The U.S. believes the group never got its hands on classified information, but the Russian infiltration into the U.S., a classic Moscow move.
STEVE HALL, FORMER CIA OFFICER: What they do is more than just collect. They actually try to influence events to the benefit of Russia all over the world. And this is something that they have done for decades.
Within days at the airport in Vienna, an elaborately choreographed transfer. The 10 Russians traded back for four other Russians charged with being in touch with western intelligence services.
Now the State Department is expelling 35 Russian officials it says violated their diplomatic status. This, after the U.S. claim of interference in the presidential election and harassment of U.S. diplomats overseas.
Vladimir Putin, of course, a former Russian intelligence officer well acquainted with the so-called illegals program putting agents into U.S. society.
HALL: And the fact that they would continue to do that to establish these American legends and cover stories for these people who are trying to pose as Americans in the United States shows how serious they are.
STARR: But the U.S. has also been caught in the act. In 2013, Ryan Fogle a political secretary at the U.S. embassy in Moscow was arrested. The Russians claimed they caught him with wigs, dark glasses and cash trying to recruit a Russian agent. Fogle was expelled. It was never clear if he was set up by the Russians. Earlier this year, a U.S. diplomat was tackled and beaten by a uniformed Russian police officer as he tried to enter the American embassy in Moscow.
JOHN KIRBY, SPOKESMAN, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT: The action was unprovoked and it endangered the safety of our employee.
STARR: And in that way, this incident, the U.S. wound up expelling two Russian diplomats. This type of cat and mouse spy activity has been immortalized in TV and movies for years. But the reality can be vicious and very dangerous.
Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.
CHURCH: Britain's Queen Elizabeth did not attend a New Year's church service due to a heavy cold. It's the same illness that kept the 90- year-old monarch from Christmas services last week.
Phil Black has the latest on the queen's health.
PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A nasty persistent cold, but nothing to worry about. That's what we're being told about the Queen's health after she missed the traditional New Year's Day church service. Other royals did attend including Prince Philip, her husband.
He was also struck down by a cold around the same time. But he appears to have bounced back, while the queen is still recovering after almost two weeks indoors, out of sight. The same cold, of course, forced her to miss the Christmas Day church service.
[00:35:08] These absences are not insignificant. She is the head, the titular head at least of the Church of England, something she takes very seriously. So we can only assume she has been feeling terrible. But her advisers at Buckingham palace are going out of their way to tell journalists that the 90-year-old monarch is doing OK. They're stressing that she is still in residence at the Sandringham estate.
She hasn't been moved for medical or any other reason. And they say she is up and about, and they stress she's working and still receiving the documents, the briefing papers that she has to stay on top of as part of her official role as Britain's head of state.
Now they're doing this to ensure there isn't any unnecessary speculation or perhaps exaggerated concern about the Queen's health. They want everyone to know that it's just an awful cold, but she is battling through it.
Phil Black, CNN, London.
Church: All right. We want to check the weather now, and Pedram Javaheri joins us to get an idea of the weather across the globe in 2017. How's it looking?
CHURCH: Wow, unbelievable. So many extremes.
PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, yes, absolutely.
CHURCH: It's crazy, isn't it?
Amazing start to 2017. Thanks so much. Happy New Year to you.
JAVAHERI: Thank you.
CHURCH: Good to talk to you.
Well, you're watching CNN NEWSROOM. Pop Diva Mariah Carey had a showstopping New Year's Eve performance, but not the usual kind. Ahead, the act that's gone viral and how she's shaking it off.
Back in a moment with that and more.
[00:41:30] CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone.
Well, singer Mariah Carey is probably ready to just move on with 2017. Technical difficulties appeared to throw her off in the middle of a New Year's Eve show in New York's Times Square.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(MARIAH CAREY'S NEW YEARS EVE SHOW PERFORMANCE CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Now, her dancers kept going, but the pop star apparently couldn't hear the track. At one point she called out for help and asked the audience to sing along with her. Carey later tweeted about it. "Blank happens. Have a happy and healthy New Year, everybody. Here's to making more headlines in 2017."
All right. We're now to Los Angeles, which woke up to a new view for the New Year. A prank targeted the city's most famous landmark. The Hollywood sign. Police say a man seen in security footage apparently put up tarps to change the Os into Es. So it ended up reading "Hollyweed."
Californians voted in November to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. Crews have since taken down the tarps and the sign reads "Hollywood" once again.
It's a lot of effort for that, isn't it? Now, that wraps up this hour of CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Rosemary Church. Remember to connect with me anytime on Twitter @RosemaryCNN. We'd love to hear from you. "World Sport" is next. Then I'll be back with another hour of news from around the world at the top of the hour. Do join me then. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)