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tv   Wolf  CNN  December 8, 2016 10:00am-11:01am PST

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his portrait is going to be unveiled on capitol hill. he officially end his hs his can the senate this january when the next senate comes in. thank you for watching. "wolf" starts right now. hello, i'm wolf blitzer. it's 1:00 p.m. in washington, 8:00 p.m. in aleppo, syria, 2:00 a.m., friday, in beijing. wherever you're watching from around the world, thanks very much for joining us. up first, like the fox guarding the henhouse. that's how critics are describing one of president-elect's donald trump's latest cabinet picks. trump is charging oklahoma attorney general scott pruitt for administrator of the environmental protection agency. pruitt is a critic of climate change science and has sued the very agency he's been picked to run. trump has chosen a third general for a key position. retired u.s. marine corps general john kelly is his pick
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to lead the department of homeland security. and a vote by the way expected in the house this hour could help trump's choice for defense secretary, general james mattis needs a waiver from both chambers to be eligible for the position. so far, president-elect trump has filled more than half of his cabinet and top level positions. today, he's on the road once again. he continues what's called his thank you tour with a rally later tonight in des moines, iowa, and in grand rapids, michigan, tomorrow. you're looking at live pictures of donald trump's plane in new york city. will soon leave for columbus, ohio. cnn political reporter sara murray is in new york for us. our senior political reporter manu raju is up on capitol hill. sara, tell our viewers, first of all, why the president-elect is visiting columbus, ohio. >> well, wolf, most of the stops on donald trump's agenda, as you pointed out, are part of this victory tour. they're uplifting events, ways
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for him to thank the people who delivered him the presidency. his stop here in columbus is going to be a different kind. it's going to be a more somber stop for hip m to meet with fir respo responders as well as victims of the attack. you're going to see a different side potentially of donald trump not just sort of the candidate we saw in the campaign trail and the president-elect we see at rallies but more essentially the comforter and chief kind of role we expect to see from our presidents, wolf. >> it's a very important role indeed. i assume over the next four years he'll be doing unfortunately a lot of that kind of comforting. sara, the president-elect also held more important transition meetings before leaving for columbus, ohio. who are some of the people he's been meeting with today? >> that's right. the effort to build his white house team carries on. before he heads here to columbus. then a couple of interesting meetings on that agenda. in addition to congressman raul labrador, he's meeting with the
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former ford ceo alan muaoie. so that's an interesting meeting. the other one is another potential candidate for secretary of state, retired at michelle james strevitis. the secretary of state job is a highly coveted position. he continues to interview candidates. i think that's what we saw today. strevitis was not giving any indication of where he thought he stood on that list. he cracked a joke about the short list as he was on his way out. no indication as to whether donald trump may be any closer to filling this position. we know there are other candidates in the running including mitt romney, as well as rudy giuliani. >> yes, he's a former nato supreme allied commander, now a dean at the fletcher school of law and diplomacy at tufts university. manu, explain how a vote on
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emergency government funding coming up in the house of representatives right now could actually wind up helping the president-elect's nominee for defense secretary. >> yes, that's right. james mattis retired from the marine corps in 2013 but urn nd the law, he cannot serve in that top civilian post at the pentagon unless congress grants him a waiver because there's a seven-year prohibition from the time someone served until the time they can take that post. that waiver, a process to expedite that waiver is included in this must pass spending bill. the must pass spending bill is about to pass the house of representatives. but the senate is running into some issues. sort of unrelated topic. democrats pushing from coal states like joe manchin of west virginia, ohio, to get money to help with coal miner's health programs, to help their health insurance needs. we'll see how that plays out in the senate. at the same time, wolf, senators are also considering and
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weighing in all these cabinet picks coming out day after day, donald trump, some democrats raised some sharp concerns. i had a chance to talk to tim kaine, hillary clinton's running mate, about these picks. the senator from virginia, he was sharply critical about a couple of donald trump's picks, take a listen. >> i don't mind having an epa critic. that is not my concern. he's a climate science denier. and that causes me great concern because if there's any agency of the federal government that virtually every decision they make is a decision that's based on science -- >> what about, you're on the armed serviceses committee. what about the idea of putting three generals in the cabinet? >> general flynn's trafficking in conspiracy stories, that a fourth grader would find incredible, suggests either that he's highly gullible or that he's so consumed with malice that he loses his ability to judge what is fact and what is
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fiction. >> now, the senate does not have any authority to confirm that national security adviser position that michael flynn has been appointed to by donald trump. but kaine suggesting he should step aside from that position because he does not have the judgment. tim kaine also has taken himself out of the running to run for president again, run for president in 2020. i asked him why. he said he wants to serve in the senate for a very long time. >> all right, thank you very much. as president-elect trump taps a third general to serve in the highest levels of his administration, national security and homeland security, he's also in discussions with three more generals and admirals for other posts. former cia director, retired u.s. army general david petraeus. he's being considered for secretary of state as we just heard admiral james severiti was added to the growing list of possible secretaries of state and for director of the national intelligence, retired lieutenant
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general keith kellogg among those being considered. let's discuss all of this and more with illinois republican congressman adam kinsinger. he's joining us. he's a u.s. air force pilot. he served in both iraq and afghanistan. he served in both the house and energy commerce committee. thanks for joining us. so we all remember this very famous donald trump quote from the campaign trail. >> i know all about isis, more than the generals do, believe me. i would bomb the [ bleep ] out of them. >> why the switch? why do you think he's filling his key government posts, several of them, with retired generals and admirals potentially? >> el with, i think what you see is the difference between campaign. obviously donald trump ran a very unique campaign, some of the things he said and the ways he did it, versus governing. when the weight the presidency is on your shoulders. you realize, i'm
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president-elect, i've got to put together a team. then you start, in a very serious way, looking, you know, who's the best for this position. there's a lot of hysteria over the number of generals he's putting in there. i think it's important to remember that, you know, they're not in the military currently. they're retired. but somebody like in the case of mattis that can come in with a perspective of knowing where, you know, there's waste in the pentagon, knowing how the process of buying new planes and everything else workings as and it fails is basically the right person we need in that. a lot of hysteria made about the number of generals. it's important to know we're not taking talks directly out of the military in uniform and putting them in the position. they're retired. >> what do you think the greatest concern is about having these retired military commanders in these top cabinet civilian posts? >> we, well, i don't have a great concern about them but what i've heard from colleagues is there has to be a difference
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between military leadership and civilian leadership. if he was taking somebody that's a currently serving general and placing them in the role of secretary of defense, for instance, there would be widespread opposition to that. instead, you have a guy that, you know, has really been dedicate to the cause of the nation, to the defense of the nation, and has been retired for three years, and you're putting them in a position where he can shake up the pentagon. as we've read about the waste that was buried in the pentagon. and understands what we need to do to prosecute the war against, you know, isis and whatever comes after isis. >> do you have any concerns about his picks so far? >> i don't. you know, the only one slight concern, slight interest in is obviously general flynn and for the reasons you just lined a little bit earlier, some of the things i've heard potentially about russia and his i guess affection to it. but he's been very good about what we need to do to destroy terror. what we need to do to destroy al qaeda, isis and all these.
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you know, nsa, donald trump's pick, and that was the concern there. >> the concern expressed from tim kaine, the senator from virginia. john kelly, the man tapped to become next secretary of homeland security. retired u.s. marine corps general. he led the u.s. southern command under president obama. he's a former senior military assistant to defense secretary leon panetta. one other very important point, he is a gold star dad. his son, second lieutenant robert kelly, was killed while serving in afghanistan. let's listen to a clip of a speech, a very powerful speech general kelly gave back in 2014 at a california gold star parents event. listen to this. >> when future generations ask why america is still free in the heyday of these terrorists and their allies, was counted in days rather than centuries, as they said, as they proclaimed
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would work or would happen, that our hometown heroes, our soldiers, our sailors, our airmen, our coasts guardsmen, our marines, that they can say, because of me and people like me who risked all to protect millions, millions who will never know my name, that's why we still have an america. for those of you tonight, all the families that were lost, the light of their lives, they can say to every american that it was my boy or it was my girl who stood their post and did their duty into eternity. >> very emotional, powerful words from general kelly. do you think, congressman, that having a gold star father as the secretary of homeland security will make a difference? >> yeah, i think so. that was the first time i ever heard that and it choked me up
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to be honest with you. i think it does make a difference. it's one thing to be in the military command. it's one thing to talk about defending the homeland. it's a totally nother thing to have felt that sacrifice personally. you see that. weight of a president is he has to order troops into combat, but you especially see that in the weight of somebody that lost somebody serving. and puts a different perspective on, you know, what sacrifice is, put ace different perspective on what freedom and what america means. i think that's a good perspective to come. >> you should listen to the whole speech he delivered. it's a powerful speech, congressman. you served in afghanistan. you served in iraq. i'm sure you lost friends fighting for the united states in iraq and afghanistan. to hear general kelly speak as a gold star dad, as a gold star father, remembering obviously his own son who was killed in action in afghanistan and so many others who died in iraq and afghanistan and elsewhere, very powerful. i recommend it to our viewers as
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well. congressman, thanks very much for your service, thanks for joining us. >> you bet, wolf, god bless the troops, thank you. coming up, new signs that eye vo eye vonk ka trump may play a big role in her father's administration. plus, donald trump says he sought advice from president obama on several cabinet picks. what are we learning about those phone conversations and their personal relationship. we'll be right back. [engine revving] ♪ ♪ is it a force of nature? or a sales event? the season of audi sales event is here. audi will cover your first month's lease payment on select models during the season of audi sales event. i've got a nice long life ahead. big plans. so when i found out medicare doesn't pay all my medical expenses,
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president-elect donald trump says he sold all his stocks back in june to avoid any possible conflict of interest, but what about his business empire? "the new york times" is reporting that he's not ready to sever all his ties. he's going to announce what he's going to do on december 15th. our money correspondent cristina alesci is joining us from new york. what do we know about donald trump's plan to address this potential conflict? >> "the new york times" is reporting that he plans -- he may hand operations over to his children, but not ownership. an important distirnnction becae that puts him at risk for violating the constitution on day one of his presidency. what do we know so far exactly? trump plans to keep ownership. don and eric potentially may be running the operations on a
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daily basis. and ivanka actually might leave the trump organization to take some kind of role in the administration. unclear what that is right now. it's also unclear how this jives with anti-nepotism laws. also trump supposedly, allegedly, according to "the times" reporting, will not sell or does not want to sell his business outright to his children or anyone else because he would take a large tax hit, wolf. so there's a consideration there. >> what do the ethics experts say about this? >> they don't like it. i'm been speaking to them all along about the potential for this kind of arrangement. and one by one, both sides of the aisle have renounced this kib kind of plan, saying it does not -- it's not really above board, and also, the office of government ethics has urged trump to go ahead and divest his holdings. suggesting that is the best way to really put this issue to bed,
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wolf. >> it's going to be an issue. we'll see what he says specifically on december 15th. the dow jones really going up, another huge day for the dow jones for stock investors today. i suspect trump might regret having sold all his stock back in june. it's gone up more than 1,000 points, the dow jones industrials, since he won the election a little bit more than a month ago. i guess investors are very upbeat about what he might be planning on doing for business. is that right? >> well, there are a couple things at play, wolf. number one, investors and analysts were very uneasy with not knowing who the president would be. now they have an answer. they can kind of guess and make investment decisions based on what they think donald trump will do. so an element uncertainty was removed from the market. also, they're seeing a pretty orderly transition process happen. so they're not freaked out by the way donald trump is handling things so far. you're right, in the long term,
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they see the prospect for lower taxes, less regulation and a very intense focus on boosting growth. if you look at the people who he is appointing in very key positions in terms generating that economic activity, the mark se market seems to like those decisions as well. >> lower tax, rless regulation, they like those. the dow jones again, record high, 19,600-plus, dow jones up, what, another 80 points today, 19,629 right now. we'll continue to watch the market. cristina, thank you. there are early signs that donald trump's controversial choice for epa administrator, the environmental protection agency, may hit a roadblock in senate confirmation hearings. we'll discuss that and more when we come back. david. what's going on? oh hey! ♪ that's it? yeah.
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environmentalists and some democrats also sounding the alarm over one of president-elect's latest cabinet picks. the fossil fuel industry is applauding the choice of scott pruitt. we have "time" magazine political reporter zeke miller with us. a.b. stoddard and david chalian. how much of a fight will there be? >> you have to remember, these fights aren't going to end up necessarily with derailing nominations. democrats don't really have the power to do. >> it's a simple majority in the senate to confirm. >> that's right. >> the democrats are the simple majority.
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>> clearly, this is going to be a fight. this has democrats and environmentals, as you said, sort of up in arms. i would add this to tom price at hhs, maybe ben carson at hud. betsy devoss in the education department. these are some where the liberals and the democrats will try to focus and make a fight of it, even if they know they don't have the power to stop it. >> i assume they know, the democrats, they'll probably not get enough to come to their side to derail the nominations. >> they know these are losing battles they have to wage nonetheless. >> some democrats might vote to confirm manchin and others. >> if you're in 2018 in a state that trump won in montana or missouri or other places where you have a hard fight on your hand, you'll think twice about how many of these you'll vote against. everyone's going to vote for mattis for secretary of defense. he's very popular. they realize that was not a fight to waniwage over whether to pass a waiver to allow him to serve. they'll look at sort of where is the pressure coming from the left, from environmentalists,
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from, you know, civil rights, democrats who are upset about the pick of carson and concerns over urban poll icy under him. jeff sessions, voting rights at the department of justice, what's going to happen to voting rights. they're going to sort of assess in the coming weeks where they'll pick their battles. a few pickoff senators will have to defy their party and vote for trump's picks. >> the president-elect as a candidate gave some mixed signals about his attitude toward the environmental protection agency and some other cabinet slots. listen to this. >> would you cut departments? >> no, i'm not cutting services but i'm cutting spending. i may cut department of education. environmental protection. what they do is a disgrace. every week, they come out with new regulations. >> who's going to protect the environment? >> we'll be fine with the environment. we can leave a little bit but you can't destroy businesses. >> i will refocus the epa on its core mission of ensuring clean air and clean safe drinking water for all americans.
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>> that last clip we saw, only from september. so his position on the epa has evolved from getting rid of it to refocussing the epa on its core mission, clean air, clean water. >> the obama administration would contend that some of those regulations that donald trump doesn't like are there to do just that. so, you know, it's going to be a matter of interpretation, what does donald trump have to do in order to prove to his supporters that he was serious about cutting regulations, about doing those things. at the same time, he doesn't want to be the president that is responsible for more water -- sort of, you know, contaminated water or contaminated air. that's not what -- he doesn't want that pr disaster. also, of course, you know, his daughter, and he met with former vice president al gore, noted environmental it's environmentalist. so an element for him really in all of these cabinet posts. he wants to take symbolic steps, get a lot of attention for fulfilling those promises but does he really want to upset the
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ship too much? he wants to be liked by a lot people and rocking the ship too much doesn't do that. >> i think it's an important point that zeke is making. we have to remember, he's going to make all these appointments, but donald trump is going to dictate policy. these people who, many of whom are used to being the boss, former ceos or whatever, are no longer going to be the boss. you have to watch both signals. it is what donald trump, you know, cares about the optics, wants to meet with al gore, doesn't want to be the guy that is dirtying the environment, but is really putting somebody in who will placate his base. we'll have to watch what the policies are. these cabinet selections only tell us so much about sort of checking a box in many ways. i don't know fully that it tells us how the agenda's going to roll out. >> when al gore was at trump tower earlier in the week, he emerged from that meeting, he seemed pretty upbeat about the conversation he had with the
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president-elect. then this epa selection, he goes in the opposite direction. >> i think david's right. first of all, with donald trump, his hallmark is to be consistently inconsistent and to sort of be really animated by the last conversation that he had or the last sort of debate that took place. and so he obviously made a point to have al gore there. he was apparently on that letter to "the new york times" a few years ago, talking about -- i mean, to the obama administration, excuse me, about the need to act on climate change from 2009. he's been inconsistent on this issue. but it is true that he really needs to placate conservatives. he wants these symbolic box checking appointments that makes everybody happy. conservatives brought him to town, they have to keep him in town. at the same time, it is true, he's hiring several people to jobs who are in favor of the tpp trade deal who he wants to -- who aren't in favor, who he
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wants to rip up. >> in "the new york times" interview the other day, he said humans do have a role, some role in climate change, if you will. all right, everybody, stay with us. there's a lot more. we're also learning new details about the growing relationship between president obama and president-elect trump. we'll discuss that and much more right after this. a post using the hashtag "#justrobbedthesafe" so, what are we supposed to think? switching to geico could save you a bunch of money on car insurance. excellent point. case dismissed. geico. because saving fifteen percent or more on car insurance woo! because saving fifteen percent or more on car insurance is always a great answer.
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sometimes severe. if it's severe stop taking linzess and call your doctor right away. other side effects include gas, stomach-area pain and swelling. talk to your doctor about managing your symptoms proactively with linzess. surprising development in the trump transition has been trump t trump's admiration of president obama. let's bring back our panel, zeke miller, david chalian, a.d. stoddard. donald trump has been very effusive in his praise of the president. >> he likes him a lot. we learned from m.j. lee, had done some reporting about what
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went inside a closed doord fund-raiser trump was at. not for purposes of cameras. how much affection he has for president obama these days. and president obama of course is making use of the relationship for really trying to protect some of the things that he feels most attached to for his legacy. to just try to make sure, as he described it, that donald trump understands what these items do and that if you roll it back what the implications of that will be. >> a.b., dana bash, our chee political correspondent, says that the president also sees himself as an educator in chief as far as these conversations with the president-elect are concerned. one of his most important issues, climate change. listen to what the president told fareed zakaria in our cnn special report last night. >> if 20, 30, 50 years from now, we look back and we say we dealt with this in a serious way, i'll be happy to say that was one of
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my proudest achievements, even though i didn't do it by myself. >> he clearly wants the incoming president to continue part of that legacy. >> there are indications that president obama is going to be a climate leader once he leaves the presidency. think he's probably let trump know that. and obviously donald trump has his own interest from his daughter on this issue. but with regards to other issues, you know, it was clear in the first meeting that he talked about obamacare in a way that really made it more compelling to donald trump and made him come out of that meeting saying he was ready and everything else. he also reportedly frightened him about north korea. so an opportunity for him not only to protect his own legacy but to really help someone who needs information. about this very single experience. and the very interesting thing is to see how much donald trump appreciates it. the way he's being so effusive about obama. the only person in the world that donald trump really needs is president obama. and obama's been gracious and
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helpful. you can just see how appreciative donald trump is by all these nice things he's saying. >> the president has been very gracious in making sure that the outgoing administration provides all the help possible to the incoming administration. one sensitive issue that came up in the "time" magazine interview is donald trump still refusing to accent the notion that russia interfered in the u.s. presidential election by hacking the dnc or john podesta, the chairman of the hillary clinton campaign, e-mail. he said this, didn't believe they interviewed. that became a laughing point, not a talking point, a laughing point any time i do something, they say, oh, russia interfered. it could be russia. it could be china. it could be some guyne in his he in new jersey. democrats pushing for an investigation. that was the quote from donald trump, the interview with you guys at "time" magazine. democrats pushing for the investigation. i have a very different analysis. listen to this. >> experts agree that there is
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overwhelming evidence that russia interfered with the 2016 presidential election. overwhelming. it's not disputed. it's overwhelming. >> our intelligence community has publicly stated with high confidence russia was responsible. you know, i think, you know, donald trump should take his intelligence briefings. >> so why do you think the president-elect is still skeptical? >> not only did he not think russia was behind it, he also, when we asked him, was the assessment of the intelligence agency politically motivated, he said he thinks so. they're making assessments for political reasons. i think with donald trump often there's the reality and the perception. with donald trump often perception is more important than reality. he doesn't want it to be true. even if it is true, he doesn't want to have to deal with it
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that way. he wants to maintain a closer working relationship with vladimir putin. he's made that clear over and over again. if this would get in the way of that, he doesn't want to acknowledge that, that it's factually true. so he's willing to even put blame on the hard-working professionals in th intelligence community who their intelligence briefings he's supposed to have every day. >> and rely on to make decisions. this raises a serious question. if you are questioning political motivations of the information providers that you need desperately, not just that he's going to lead them, but he has to rely on that information to make decisions. >> this is going to be a big issue in the days, weeks, months ahead. guys, thank you. coming up, a look at the growing humanitarian crisis in aleppo, syria. as government forces push further into the besieged city. what's being done to help the hundreds of thousands of civilians including so many children who are trapped inside? we're going live to aleppo when we come back. mom started searching for her words.
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the russian foreign minister sergey lavrov called it the largest ever evacuation of eastern aleppo residents. cnn's frederik pleitgen is in aleppo with the very latest. >> reporter: this is what it looks like during the aleppo nights, firing at jets in the skies, unable to stop them from dropping their deadly load. this is what the rebel's defeat looks like when daylight comes. thousands of civilians fleeing the old town of aleppo, only hours after government forces took most of it back. among them, this person with her seven children, one of them, her baby. when we left, there was a lot of shelling behind us, a lot of shooting in front of us and the airplanes above us, she says. we barely managed to get out. most seem weak and malnourished. some receipting, finally in safety in this former school. the smallest, a baby girl, is
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only 7 days old. born right as the battles were at their worst. >> it's remarkable, some of the scenes we're witnessing here. hundreds of people have already come across the border crossing between eastern and western aleppo. many of them are taking shoulder in buildings like this one, carrying only the very few possessions they could take as they fled. soldiers take us to the places they recaptured from opposition forces only hours before. we see syrian troops evacuating weak and elderly. and rebel barricades showing just how intense the fighting was. just look at all the destruction here. we're actually in the old town of aleppo now. this entire area until a few days ago was right on the front line. while this may not be the end of the opposition's fight in aleppo, many of those fleeing describe the rebel's morale sinking and the harrowing conditions in the besieged areas. we didn't have food and barely any bread, this man says. we were eight people.
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they would only give us two loafs of bread every two days. that was it for all of us. while much of eastern aleppo has been reduced to rebel, the one thing expanding was the cemeteries. this one ran out of space as the bodies kept coming. now that much of eastern aleppo has changed hands, syrian soldiers plant their flag on the ruins, the place they just conquered. >> fred's joining us live now from aleppo. this humanitarian crisis is so, so awful, fred, update our viewers. is anything getting through to those hundreds of thousands of people who are trapped, including so many children? >> well, that's the thing, wolf, is absolutely nothing is going into those besieged areas of eastern aleppo. it was really absolutely tragic to see some of those people coming out of eastern aleppo. you can tell how defeated they were. you can tell they hadn't been able to change their clothes, to
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wash, to get any real food. the syrian soldiers gave them a couple of pieces of bread and even those they absolutely devoured, dry bread, simply because they hadn't had anything real to eat over the past couple of weeks, over the past couple of months. at the same time of course it's very cold here right now so they were suffering from that as well. it was really some tragic scenes. when they get out, they do get a little bit of help. it isn't enough for all the needs that those people have. they do get a little bit of help. but going in, there is absolutely nothing at this point. you know, the russians have just announced that they say they've halted -- or the syrian military has halted its air strikes on eastern aleppo and its strikes in general. we are, however, hearing still some mortars going off here in aleppo, even though the russianings have said that has now stopped, wolf. >> those shells, then blown-up buildings, so, so awful to think people were inside. fred pleitgen is on the ground in aleppo for us.
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the british foreign secretary is headed to saudi arabia. boris johnston may receive a chilly reception following rather undiplomatic remarks he made about the uk ally. >> that's why you've got international -- you've got the saudis, iran, everybody, moving in and puppeteering and playing proxy wars and it is a tragedy to watch it. we need to have some way of encouraging visionary leadership in that area, people who can tell a story, that brings people together, from different factions and different religious groups, into one nation. >> for more on this, let's bring in our international diplomatic editor nic robertson who's joining us. nic, this was a bit awkward
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since theresa may has just returned from her own visit. how have they responded to boris johnson's comments? >> pretty harshly, wolf, they said this was not the view of number 10 downing street, british prime minister's theresa may's office. they say this is boris johnson's own view. theresa may was only in a couple days ago having dinner with the saudi king in bahrain praising him on his leader shship. britain does a huge amount of trade in terms of military trade, billions of dollars worth of trade with saudi arabia. that's what theresa may was in the golf shoring up those relationships because britain is leading the european union and it needs those links. so boris johnson saying this is very untoward for the british government at the wrong time. he is just about to go to saudi arabia. i was talking to a saudi source
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a few minutes ago and he tells me the saudis have already sent boris johnson's office a very are strongly worded letter, wolf. >> and he's still planning on going. what was really irritating, i take it, to the saudis, is that the british foreign secretaries lump it had saudis and the iranians in the same basket, admonishing them equally, if you will, and the saudis see themselves totally different than their rival the iranians, is that right? >> absolutely. the saudis see iran as an expansionist persian empire moving into iraq, moving into syria. they see themselves as a stable monarchy that is sort of a key player on the global stage, attends the g20, helps set -- a major leader in setting the global oil price. the view on boris johnson is that this is a man who when he came to office many people wondered how long he could hold the job because of the gaffes
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that he makes. a few weeks ago after donald trump was elected in the united states he accused other european leaders of winching, he refused to attend a foreign ministers dinner to meet about it. he later when meeting with those foreign ministers said that the european union should allow turkey to join when only weeks or months ago in the summer he'd been campaigning against that. putting the european union's foreign ministers, particularly the german foreign ministers, nose right out of joint at a time when britain is going to have to go and negotiate very delicate diplomatic terms over brexit, over negotiating brexit. boris johnson really here again has perhaps made his most significant gaffe. it's not his first one. people wonder how many more of those he can endure and still keep his job. >> nic robertson joining us live from amsterdam in the netherlands, nic, thank you very
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much. still to come, the president taps the ambassador to china but despite being thousands of miles aparty is graphically, the governor shares ties with the chinese president. a special report from beijing when we come back.
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. president-elect donald trump's pick for u.s. ambassador to china, the iowa governor terry brand dstad is meeting wi approval, lots of it, from china. branstad had a long-time relationship with china's president and other chinese leaders and will appear with donald trump later tonight in a thank you tour. that appearance taking place in des moines, iowa, his state. cnn's matt rivers is joining us live from beijing. matt, what can you tell us about the chinese, the reaction to the choice of terry branstad, the governor of iowa, as the next u.s. ambassador to china, assuming he's approved, confirmed by the u.s. senate?
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>> well, the reaction here in beijing has kind of been a 180 from what we saw in the last couple of days. it's safe to say that relations between the u.s. and china under the incoming administration perhaps haven't gotten off on the best footing given the phone call president-elect trump took from the president of taiwan and some of the anti-china rhetoric we heard from him throughout the campaign. but this particular appointment of this governor is being met with really, really high praise here in beijing. it's not something we hear from top officials calling out specific american officials regularly with this kind of laudatory words, let's show you a little bit of what was said at a ministry of foreign affairs press conference earlier today by that ministry spokesman. >> translator: as iowa governor terry branstad has made great
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efforts in pushing forward cooperations between the united states and china we hope he'll make a greater contribution to the development of u.s./china relations. the u.s. ambassador to china serves as an important bridge linking the governments of the u.s. and china. we're willing to work with whomever takes this position and strive for the continued sound and steady development of bilateral ties. >> it's no surprise you're hearing that statement from beijing officials because of the relationship between president xi and governor branstad. it goes to 1985. 31-year-old xi made his first visit to the united states as part of a delegates goiion to s agricultural policy. in 2012 xi goes back to iowa and says part of his vision of america is because of what he saw during his visit in iowa.
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so this appointment of governor branstad, assuming it goes through, certainly an olive branch towards the chinese from the incoming administration. >> very important relationship indeed. matt rivers in beijing, thanks for joining us. that's it for me. the news continues right now on cnn. all right, wolf, thank you so much. hi, everyone, i'm brooke baldwin. thank you for being with me on this thursday, you're watching cnn. for the first time since he won a presidential election, donald trump is fulfilling one role as leader of the free world. he's acting as consoler in chief today. very shortly we will see president-elect trump meeting with survivors of last month's attack in columbus at ohio state university. law enforcement officials say the student who hurt 11 people was inspired by isis so paying a visit in the wake of a tragedy was