reporting on that. nick valencia, thank you, as the story continues. thank you so much for watching "newsroom." "wolf" starts right now. hello. i'm wolf blitzer. it's 1:00 p.m. here in washington. 8:00 p.m. in aleppo, syria. 9:00 p.m. in mosul, iraq. wherever you're watching from around the world, thanks very much for joining us. >> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. we're following two major stories this hour. breaking news out of syria first. artillery shells are raining down on aleppo as regime forces are on the brink of taking the city. buses are waiting outside the evacuation point to carry civilians, men, women and children, to safety, but the cease-fire to allow them to be eva eevacuated collapsed. an estimated 50,000 people are
believed trapped in one of the last rebel-held areas, according to the united nations, regime forces are executing men, women and children. the white house weighing in as well on the worst in a situation, the humanitarian crisis. listen to what the white house press secretary said just moments ago. >> the idea that you would target a playground and bomb kids hoping that you would then convince people to give up, because you would kill their kids? what kind of a sick mind comes up with a strategy like that? >> much more on the disaster in aleppo coming up, but other stories we're following including the trump transition titans of the tech world converge on trump tower. next hour the president-elect holds a roundtable. the focus, bringing tech jobs back to the united states, but sources say trade, immigration, corporate tax reform are also
likely topics. we'll plea view that meeting, update the latest cabinet picks coming up. back to aleppo, breaking news. 24 hours ago there was a window a slight window of hope for the civilians. they thought there would be a chance to escape the bombing and the bloodshed. [ explosions ] that window slammed shut with the crash of artillery shells. our nick paton walsh takes us inside aleppo giving us a glimpse of light inside the destruction with an eye towards the biggest challenges to any kind of peace. >> reporter: the heart of the agony, where barrel bombs randomly hit doctors or children, where food became a weapon, has fallen to its persecutors. eastern aleppo in regime hands is a turning point for the war. here are three ways how. first, the rebels lost an important home. they have two choices to run to.
a turkish backed enclave to the northeast, where rebels fight mostly isis, not the regime. or the province where the syrian affiliate of al qaeda play as dominant role. this group formerly called the nusra front are being bombed and blacklisted by the united states. it would be hard for the west to give help to any rebels so physically close to al qaeda. a second big change happening, what's left now of those moderates who began this fight against assad? the russians and damascus haven't and won't care either way. this is exactly what they want. to label all rebels as terrorists. moscow tried this in chechnya to mixed success. moderate separatists were targeted, radicals committed atrocities like this hostage crisis allowing moscow to pursue and only military solution against a movement they now call terrorists. it didn't end the problem.
the radical came back nastier with isis now in southern russia. [ speaking in foreign language ] in fact, moscow must surely be concerned its savagery in aleppo may make more jihadists target it in years to come. all the same, with so many troops and so much firepower assembled now, why would the russian and syrian forces pack up and stop? the rebel stronghold, the city center seized only last year. it's just a half hour drive away. the third point is, that there isn't much of a reason to stop. the western alternative plan for syria is in collapse. trump's minimal comments on syria have been focused on targeting isis. he seems to admire putin, making a kremlin regular his secretary of state nominee. britain, france, the gulf, all seem less on syria as obama readies to leave office and look
here for leadership on syria, but it's new occupants may weringly inherent an affair comply handed to him elsewhere. >> lebanon right now, senior international correspondent clarissa ward joins us from london. the evacuation supposed to start hours ago. has anyone been bused out? what can you tell us about what's happening there in aleppo right now? >> reporter: at this point, no. no evacuation appears to have occurred. in fact, the two mean tried to broker the deal, turkish president and russian counterpart vladimir putin and agree according to turkish state media the evacuation should still go ahead. supposed to happen 12, 15 hours ago really and seems that some inconsistencies how the iranian militia perhaps on the ground, maybe the syrian regime, too, viewed this deal caused shelling
to begin that stipiraled to an imminutes amount and now using car bombs to hold back the syrian army. not the pause in fighting required to get the people out, trapped in that decreasing area held by rebel. we don't know the exact number. u.n. put out a number 50,000 last night and qualified that say, no independent means of verifying it on the ground. frankly, at this stage, thousands now, hearing from france, an aid group on the ground, sleeping in the streets, without food, water, finding shelter in cars and mosques. the most perilous moment indeed for people already in years through indiscriminate bombings, and now in a tiny area. the big difference now, the enemy trying to exterminate them is literally blocks away from them. possibly the darkest moment yet in a war often defying the imagination. the next 24 hours ahead,
crucial. >> critical indeed. clarissa, listen to the united states ambassador to the united nations, samantha power. delivered scathing remarks to the syrian regime and its allies, russians, hezbollah, those supporting bashar al assad. listen to what she said about this current humanitarian crisis. >> are you truly incapable of shame? is there literally nothing that can shame you? is there no act of barbarism against civilians? no execution of a child that gets under your skin that just creeps you out a little bit? is there nothing you will not lie about or justify? >> whereas, u.n. man, you spent a lot of time in syria. wuk walk us through the biggest concerns now for the people in
syria as this war dramatically changes. we know what, maybe 400,000 people already have been killed over these past four, five years in this civil war. those numbers will clearly increase? >> reporter: i think they are, wolf, sadly. those are very powerful words that you heard from ambassador power, but the reality is that the u.s. has been unwilling to get involved. and the russians have seized upon that impotence, they have doubled down on the regime of bashar al assad, to devastating effect in terms of the effect on civilians. i mean, you heard nic outlining whether thousand, tens you thousand, frankly, doesn't matter anymore. the reality, an eagreeigregious humanitarian outrage. no access to basic medicine and food. it's been going on for months. the international community is paralyzed by it and something of
a myopic sense we approach it as a syrian civil war a self-contained irish were y eedo anything about. what's happening is the most powerful cry to jihadists akrot the world. and many flooding into europe, syria will continue to be the major national security danger and question of our time, wolf. >> certainly will be. claris clarissa, thanks. nick paton walsh, thanks to you as well. more on this breaking story developments coming up later in the hour. let's get to the trump transition here in the united states. the president-elect meets next our with executives of major technology companies. the meeting includes the ceos from tesla and intel, cisco, oracle and ibm among others. vice president-elect mike pence, he arrived over at trump tower
in new york city a few minutes ago and spoke about the progress with the transition team. >> look forward to another productive day here at trump tower. i know the president-elect is looking forward to welcoming some of the, some of the leading tech ceos inamerica to trump to youer to talk about how we can grow jobs in high-tech across the country. yesterday a great meeting with bill greats. and of course, we're all very enthusiastic that governor rick perry has stepped forward to lead the department of energy. and that momentum and the pace of this transition will continue forward all the way into the holidays as we assemble a team that will make america great again starting january 20th. >> the meeting with the high-tech executives comes as the president-elect moves closer and closer to filling all of his major cabinet and staff positions. one major spot that hasn't been
filled yet is director of national intelligence. our political reporter sara murray is outside trump tower in new york city joining us with more on the transition. sara, what's on the agenda for the president-elect's meeting with these tech industry giants? >> reporter: well, it could be a very interesting atmosphere. donald trump wants to go into this talking about how there should be more tech jobs in america. they should be creating these jobs here in the united states, rather han in countries abroad, and, look, the folks in these meetings are not all going to be people who see eye to eye with dpnt. some very critical of him in the part and his transition officials have taken pains to highlight that, to point out that donald trump wants to get their view not just of those who agree with him, his vision and policy but those who disagree with him, to bring the different viewpoints to the table. interesting to see how they all get along, but it does give you a sense of how donald trump does want to have an open line to the business community. he's made that clear, obviously, in some of this cabinet picks
not from government but rather big business nap is sort of the agenda he wants to set going into the white house, wolf. >> sara, thanks very much. much more on this coming up. sara murray reporting from new york. also coming up, a federal agency says that president-elect must sell his stake in his washington, d.c. hotel, or potentially he'll fate conflict of interest the moment sworn into office. we have details. and show you why the u.s. is closer than ever to winning the war against isis. your insurance company won't replace the full value of your totaled new car. the guy says you picked the wrong insurance plan. no, i picked the wrong insurance company. with liberty mutual new car replacement™, you won't have to worry about replacing your car because you'll get the full value back including depreciation. and if you have more than one liberty mutual policy, you qualify for a multi-policy discount, saving you money on your car and home coverage. call for a free quote today. liberty stands with you™. liberty mutual insurance.
what is said about the incoming trump administration? discuss this and more with our panel. "washington post" reporter abby philip, cnn political analyst david gregory and gloria borger, chief political analyst. gloria, what has surprised you most about these cabinet selections? >> well, first of all, the cabinet selection that surprised the me the most was the secretary of state. rex tillerson. i thought that he was going to go with someone more convention many, either a committee chairman or mitt romney who is not somebody we would have thought of at first, but certainly qualified. and it surprised me, because i think what trump did was got some recommendations from people, they respected, like condi rice or jim baker, or bob gates, and -- >> dick cheney, too. >> came up with rex tillerson, met with him and then went with his gut, said, this is somebody i can do business with. what i really want to watch is
how the generals react to the ceos in this administration. because they have very different decision-making processes. i mean, generals see people as friends and enemies, and business people see people as, can i do business with this guy or not? can i negotiate with this guy or not? so around that table, it's not so much going to be a team of rival, but a team of people who approach life differently, and it's -- it's going to be fascinating to watch. it could work or it could be an utter failure. who knows. >> david, what does it say to you about the incoming trump administration? what surprised you, if anything? >> i think it's the absence of surprise. that his choices reflect some aspect of his personality or his approach towards leadership. having said that, steve mnuchin
surprised me. campaigned around the country, saying things he didn't like. the global order, wall street, you know, financial leads, all of those people, even his final ad with the whiff of anti-semitism and a lot of people felt more than that about a kind of global order taking over our economy. runs goldman sachs. so i think that surprised me, but the fact that he was rewarding a loyalist, something in keeping with trump, and on the rex tillerson front, it's striking who he can do business with. trump described him as somebody i were make a deal with. how he's approaching the cabinet picks to say nothing about the work they'll do. if they have the difficulty of running the country is not like running a business. >> and steve mnuchin is jewish, how does that collaborate with -- >> i'm not making -- saying a specter of anti-semitism, when
you have and ad that targets a global order, hurting our economy, harkening back to how hitler describes the jews and global earn prizes hurting germany in the run-up to the third reich. steve mnuchin is jewish, i'm not saying it's right, but that his anti-populist message is not in keeping with someone who's a senior executive of goldman sachs in that position, his jewishness not that much of a factor. saying that the populist message for trump was not consistent with putting in goldman sachs people. >> and another goldman sachs executive, president of goldman sachs, held of his national economic council at the white house. abby what, if anything, surprised you? >> in keeping with what david mentioned, a team of rivals emerging at the trump camp is something we're going to encounter a lot. he seems to like establishing
different types of people in different groups within his inner circle, but also a dynamic among his mope loyal supporters went through the toughest part of his campaign, stood by him, basically abandoned by everyone else and very distrustful of those new to the circletrump brought in a lot of new people, little history with trump and among his closest advisors. a dynamic, that trump fosters, "aprese "apprentice" like in general. >> and a rex tillerson, and not like running a company. this is different. running a national security team, those are the things can restrain a team. >> and as these are all people used to being in charge, including his chief of staff, reince priebus. no longer in charge. there's going to be a period of
adjustment for these corporate leaders, and for these military leaders to suddenly discover, guess what? they're not in charge. now, what trump often does, and has done historically, is he doesn't mind pitting people against each other. because it's darwinian to a great degree and we saw it play out on "the apprentice" of course. i'm wondering if we'll see that as the cabinet dynamics take hold? particularly in the national security area. >> and credit here, underlined. the fact he is talking to very serious people, getting very serious advice about even what a lot of people would consider to be unconventional choices. and i think there's a level of rigor that he's applying to these, and it's surprising, too, he's picked so many conservatives that are add odds with his views, you know, say about the minimum wage. for one example. >> i say one of the things that didn't actually surprise me was the choice of a lot of business leaders for traditionally political roles.
donald trump sees things in a similar way to someone like a rex tillerson. people who are on wall street and in finance, and he wants to bring that sensibility to washington. i was talking to trump voters at a recent focus group and asked what does drain the swamp mean to you? not a single person mentioned finance as being a problem for them in terms of the swamp. it's very important for them to oust political insiders from some of these -- >> yes. >> and trump understands that. he is focusing on bringing in a different sensibility from a different part of the country, from a different industry into washington, and that's what you're seeing reflected. >> and these are all people who believe that government is not the answer to our problems. >> right. >> some of the people he's appointed, notably, of course, rick perry to run energy, he wanted to get rid of the department of energy. and so these are people when he could remember what it was -- but these are people who want
smaller government, and i think they're going to be in for a surprise, because a lot of outsiders, when they come to washington and get ready to leave will tell you that they were stunned at the difficulty of getting things done in washington. >> right. >> and cutting through that bureaucratic red tape to get things done and if they can do that, more power to them, because, because it's been tried and tried again and, again, these are ceos used to saying, i want this done, and on my desk tomorrow. and let's have it done. >> these guys don't represent politics as usual. rex tillerson doesn't represent washington as usual, certainly. that, i think, accomplishes the goal of draining the swamp in a large measure for a lot of trump supporters. >> he said during the campaign at almost every rally, i want the best negotiators, people who can make deals. >> that's it. >> traditional diplomats are terrible. can't make a deal. the u.s. suffers all the time.
trying to do, get people like rex tillerson, presumably can make the deal. >> yes. >> here's a question. a president-elect not reading presidential daily brief every day. how much authority will he delegate? this is a question we don't really know the answer to. how many decisions will he say, okay. general mattis, tell me what to do and i will do that? or how much will -- you know, percolate up to his level and then he sits around a table with six people. or does he want to delegate more to his cabinet than we've seen recently? you know, we -- >> we're going to find out very, very soon. guys, thanks very much. coming up, isis fighters retake territory in syria, but why the u.s. now says they are closer than ever to ending the operation against them? we'll have an update.
in both iraq and syria, the u.s.-led coalition is making sig knt strides in the fight against isis. that, according to president obama's special envoy on this campaign to destroy isis. >> having tremendous auction against the enemy, accelerating, putting pressure on two capitals of mosul and raqqah. but it remains an unprecedented threat. this war is not over. it will be a multiyear effort. >> and tremendous success, as he calls it kwhash? what does it look like. 61% of territory in iraq that had been controlled by isis reclaimed. at least 75% of isis fighters, they say, have been killed during this campaign of u.s.-led
air strikes and believe isis only has between 12,000 to 15,000 "battle-ready fighters" adding the terror group is no longer able to replenish its ranks. for more on this fight, fwling our senior international correspondent ben wedeman joining us from erbil in iraq now. ben, you're not far away from mosul, second largest city in iraq under isis control now since 2014. what are you hearing about the battle to try to liberate the city? >> reporter: certainly initially there were quite dramatic advances by the iraqi army, but now that they are actually within the city limits of mosul itself, on the eastern side, what is proving to be quite a difficult battle, in fact. today isis taking advantage of the bad weather, the heavy rain that was going on for much of the day, a counter attack in three separate neighborhoods in eastern mosul, and what we saw
was, intense clashes, and in one area we saw, we were just on the outskirts of mosul. we saw about 600 people who had fled the areas of the city that the iraqi army managed to retake, but they saw the fighting that happened this morning, some of them were injured, and in mortar attacks. they decided they had to leave. so what we're seeing is that, yes, isis has been driven out of falluj fallujah, ramadi, other iraqi cities but not giving up easily and putting up quite a fight, and as you mentioned before, they've managed to retake palmyra in syria from syrian and russian forces. so, yes, they've taken definitely a beating within the last two years, but they're far from out when it comes to this battle. >> yeah. you heard the special u.s. envoy say, yes, there have been gains but this war against isis will continue for years. ben wedeman in erbil in northern
iraq, not far away from mosul. let's discuss the u.s.-led fight against isis. joining us, former iraqi ambassador to the united states. mr. ambassador, thanks for joining us. >> thank you for having me. >> is the war against isis moving along to your sanction as an iraqi? >> on the iraqi side, yes. it's more or less the last chapter in the book of isis. >> when will mosul be liberated? >> i think we're not talking about mosul. mosul, sooner than that. >> how long? a few weeks? >> a bit more, i would say, because the problem we have here, we have a lot of civilians. the government is very concerned about that. the destruction of inf infrastructure. the rule of engagement is different than normal wars here. we have to take street by street, inch by inch. >> you accept the numbers that the u.s. government is putting out, there are only 12,000 to 15,000 isis fighters yes? >> but they are hardened fighters. key issue here, and issues
suicide bombs. those who blow up themselves, they are reduced every day's in that sense, new fighters are not there. an atrishs war. >> it's a what? >> a war of attrition. >> yes. >> these isis fighters include the leader of isis, abubakar al baghdadi. do you believe he's hiding in mosul or in syria, the so-called capital of the caliphate? >> i don't have intelligence but i imagine not in mosul. from that, more breathing face than in city of mosul. >> the destruction, the iraqi army doing most of the -- >> the u.s. air strikes are the game-changer. intelligence gathering, targeting key officials sort of things. special operations.
to that event the u.s. has been a tremendous support. compared to last year, a major change now. >> and the government in baghdad is onboard? because, you know, there have been divisions, you well know. >> yes. >> within the iraqi government. this iraqi government is committed to retaking mosul, liberating that city and destroying isis? >> yes. we are losing a lot of good people as a result of that, unfortunately. the iraqis now know that they need this fight. need to do it. are spearheading it. the u.s. support crucial, but this is a manifest war -- >> in 2014, isis troops went into mosul, they took that city, iraqi army ran away, left behind a lot of u.s. provided materiel, mortars, other kinds of sophisticated, they just ran away. why is the iraqi arm now fighting "opposed to giving up as in 2014? >> they are no longer frightened
by isis? >> why were they frightened in isis? >> a psychological element, a lack of community in the iraqi army. the issue change, international support. psychologically people see beyond isis and it no longer frightens us. a key issue. >> the point you're making, isis is clearly losing in iraq but not necessarily in neighboring syria? what you're saying? >> i have to say i haven't yet seen a clear -- in syria, to be comfortable. the fighting of isis in syria is winnable and lasting. >> what is the difference between what's happening in iraq and happening in syria? just this week, isis took over palmyra, an ancient, beautiful city wilt a lot of archaeological treasures there. fear they will just blow it up? >> already done it in mosul and other areas of iraq. here, irreparable damage to the
history. key difference as to why, i think in iraq people know that terrorism is -- people politically, prime minister and others are working together. you don't have that in syria. people still don't know if they should have two syria or one syria. even on that extent, no clear strategy, hence the fighting will carry forward. >> the effort to destroy isis in syria, destroy their caliphate headquarters they call it, in raqqah, there's really nobody that's going to go in and do it on the ground? >> no. there are people, but the key issue is the scale of the challenge that is bigger. the partnership you have in iraqi army, you don't have it with the syrian army. more political concern. iran, syria, hezbollah, others and none of that in iraq. so you have two different rules of engagement, two different scenarios or two different battlefields, unfortunately. >> one very final question before i let you go, mr.
ambassador. what's the reaction in iraq, and you're obviously iraqi, former iraqi ambassador to the united states, to the election of donald trump? what do you expect a trump administration to do as opposed to the obama administration? >> i think it's, you have to have a longer view of this, the fight against terrorism. it needs to be more pro active rather than reactive to the situation and to the iraqis an opportunity more of a concern as others of the region do have. iraqis see it as an opportunity. >> a new president? >> to the new clabersation, different perspective. the history of that relationship is somewhat irrelevant now and we need to work on the relationship forward. >> your government is trying to have an improved relationship with the incoming trump administration? is rex terribleson, incoming secretary of state, assuming confirmed, is he well known to people in iraq? iraq is po 2estentialpotentialll
exporting country? >> we are already number two. already achieving that. yes, i have been in meetings with the prime minister, current prime minister and recommended person, the secretary of state, have been to -- >> so you've met rex tillerson? >> yes. >> what's your opinion? >> very professional person. knows geopolitics maybe too well. to that extent i think we do have a partner here. >> did exxon/mobil have a big business opportunity in iraq? >> yes, they do. >> i remember when iraq started to pump oil, chinese and others started developing the oil as opposed to the u.s. didn't get those contracts? >> exxon, and chevron and others, yes, he has experience. knows the people. he has all of that, a decade of leadership of the company engaged in iraq. with that we do have a friend. >> mr. ambassador, thanks very much for joining us. the former iraqi ambassador to the united states. a cease-fire designed to evacuation 1wi8s from aleppo
collapsed. the syrian pro-government forces resumed shelling of that city. the united nations now says the bombardment is in an area packed with civilians and is, "almost certainly a violation of international law" and most likely constitutes war crimes. i-tv news correspondent dan rivers joins us now inside aleppo. dan, in an earlier report you said you're witnessing one of the darkest chapters in the history of the civil war in syria right now, where every shred of humanity, you said, seems to have deserted aleppo. tell viewers here in the united states and around the world what you're seeing right now. >> reporter: you can hear it right now, wolf. this constant percussion of artillery, tank fire and early on air strikes pounding this
increde krei increasingly small area of aleppo. we've seen rockets streaking behind us and landing just a few hundred meters behind. so both sides exchanging fire as the cease-fire seems to have completely broken down. we were there at dawn waiting for departure of what we thought would be hundreds maybe thousands of rebels and 1wi8 civilians. that didn't happen. waited for buses and realized there was clearly a problem, a breakdown in negotiations. it appears iran, one of the key allies was unhappy with the temples of this deem and warranted to try the fate of people here in eastern aleppo with the fate of civilians surrounded by militias elsewhere in syria and that was unacceptable to the rebels in aleppo. the whole thing started to fall apart and then the shooting started. >> because the russians and the turks, the russian government, turkish government, they put
together this so-called cease-fire that lasted basically a few hours. that's it. but what you're suggesting is that iranian militia forces aligned with the syrian regime, bashar al assad, they decided the cease-fire was bad, and they broke it up? is that what you're telling us, dan? >> reporter: that's certainly seems to be the suggestion here. we had a briefing this morning from sources within the syrian military who were saying, look, actually what happened was there were many more rebels than we anticipated. twice at many, and suddenly saying they wanted to bring families out. so we dealing with 12,000 rather than the 2,000 people we thought we going to be bussing out. there are lots of rumors here, wolf, as you can understand, but we understand that the iranian, unhappiness with this deal was part of the problem and that led to this breakdown.
the syrians are saying, no. that wasn't the case. it was the rebels, in fact, changing the number of people that wanted to come out. it's all a bit academic now, because the fighting is in full swing behind me, as you can probably here. the only good thing is perhaps a call from the president and putin trying to put it back together between russia and turkey, whether that can smooth over the difference with iran, we'll have to wait and see. an evacuation happening tomorrow instead. >> dan, we heard very strong language over the past 24 hours from top obama administration officials, including samantha power, u.s. ambassador to the united nations, and from the white house press secretary saying that they are deliberately targeting, for example, playground schools, where children are right now. to scare their parents, if you will. that's why they're killing all of these children. who's doing that? and who's going after civilians,
women and children, specifically, to scare others? would that be the syrian army, iranian militia? russian air force power? others? what can you tell us about that? >> reporter: it's really difficult from my perspective to tell you with certainty who's firing which weapons at which targets. of course, the syrian military and the government here would absolutely deny they are harming civilians. they're casting this as a battle against terrorism. they have repeatedly told us the people localed up in eastern aleppo are terrorists and therefore, this is a legitimate counterterrorism operation. you know as i do, we've talked to dozens of people inside eastern aleppo through social media. they are clearly teachers, hospital workers kids, families, who are stuck there. you have these two competing accounts, and frankly, the evidence is overwhelming that there are civilians, genuine
civilians, still trapped in there. this afternoon we saw really terrible things as buildings were being hit with artillery. couldn't tell you what the buildings were. they looked like apartments, wolf. but we also saw really bright burning material over to my left, which looked like it could be something like phosphorous. no way to confirm that, but clearly, all of this would be profoundly in contravention of the norms of wore, the geneva convention and lots of other international law besides. whether it con stuconstitutes w it's impossible for us to say. if schools are specifically targeted. i can tell you the fighting is back on and it's on in a very fierce way. >> awful situation there. dan rivers, please, be careful over there, dan rivers joining us. he's inside aleppo, one of the few western journalists who's there right now. dan, thank you so much for that report. good luck over there. be careful, as i say.
tit's what's inside the person insidwho opens it. give ancestrydna, the simple dna test that can reveal their ethnic origins. order now at ancestrydna.com and save 10%. conflicts of interest. we've heard a lot about them. claiming business interests, and cross too many boundaries. the controversy found himself right on pennsylvania avenue here in washington, d.c. our senior political reporter manu raju reporting on this. manu, democrats saying his business interests in the trump hotel near the white house on pennsylvania avenue, there's a
conflict there when he becomes president? >> right. because of that agreement he signed with the general service administration, actually administers and owns the old post office building turned into the luxury trump hotel. $180 million deal signed two years ago, but in that agreement, wolf, it reads no member of congress or elected official of the government, of the united states shall be admitted to share any part of this lease or benefit that may arise therefrom. so come january 20th, donald trump will be an elected official, and there could be a conflict. one reason why democrats are saying that they have been told by the general services administration that trump does not sell his ownership stake, he's going to be in violation of that agreement, elijah cummings, top democrat in the oversight committee made that point earlier today. take a listen. >> i care about the 60-year
leasepresident-elect trump's new luxury hotel here in washington, d.c. that will be breached the moment he steps into the oval office unless he completely divests his ownership interests according to the united states general services administration. >> manu, the gsa issued a statement through the spokesperson saying they're not going to take a definitive position on this until, what? after he's sworn in? >> right. they did not go nearly as far as the democrats have gone. so they're taking a much more careful approach, and it's clear there are ongoing discussions between gsa and donald trump to reach a deal before january 20th. >> thank you for that report. take a look at this. the dow moves closer to breaking a big barrier today. will it hit 20,000? just shy right now. an update when we come back.
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the dow is poised to hit a huge milestone. 20,000. it's a little over 19,000 right now. 19,916. if you're looking to buy a house, you may want to move quickly. federal reserve chairwoman janet yellen is expected to raise its key interest rates today. christine romans takes a closer look at what this could mean.
wolf, borrowing costs are about to rise for millions of americans and businesses. janet yellen and her federal reserve expected to nudge official interest rates higher t. a year ago, the fed did the same then stopped, worried about the strength of the u.s. economy. today, wolf, those fears are long gone. here's why the economy is now ready for higher interest rates. unemployment is down to 4.6%, a level economists say is approaching full employment. on average, 180,000 new jobs added each month this year. economic growth is the strong nest two and a half years and an economy humming is starting to push prices higher, though still below the fed's 2% target for inflation. we'll get a fresh consumer price index reading on thursday. what the fed does will affect millions and here's why, wolf, borrowing costs will rise for, say, a new mortgage or a home equity line of credit or your current adjustable rate mortgage. that will cost more. same with car loans and most credit card balances. it's pretty much as expected.
what the fed has been hinting about for months. here's where it gets interesting. president-elect donald trump has blasted yellen, accusing her of keeping rates low to help president obama. for several years now, though, the fed has been begging congress and the white house to do something to boost economic growth. now just as trump takes office with his pro growth policies, higher rates are coming. trump wants to heat up the economy. the fed's job is to make sure it doesn't overheat. that will be the fed political story of 2017. wolf? >> christine roman, thanks very much. as christine just mentioned, it's the strength of 2 economy that's allowing the federal reserve to raise that key interest rate, an economy, by the way, president-elect trump is inheriting from his predecessor president barack obama. let's compare today's numbers to what president obama was facing when he took office eight years ago, a time when the u.s. economy was in deep recession. the housing market had collapsed, spiking foreclosures
by 80% in 2008. those rates have declined significantly in the years since. the unemployment rate was then 7.8% in january, 2009, when president obama took office. now it's 4.6%. real gross domestic product was on the decline around the time president obama came in by about a half percent, in the last report, gdp grew 3.2%. and let's go back to the dow. right now it's a little over 19,900 19,900. on the day president obama took office, the dow closed just under 8,000 points. clearly president-elect trump is inheriting a much stronger economy from president obama than mr. obama inherited from president bush. that's it for me. the news continues right after a quick break. nothing says "treat yourself" like red lobster's holiday
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yada yada yada. stream some stuff! somewhere! sometimes! you totally nailed that buddy. simple. don't let directv now limit your entertainment. only xfinity gives you more to stream to any screen. here we go, top of the hour. you are watching cnn, i'm brooke baldwin. thank you for being here. any moment now, a matter of seconds, in fact, the federal reserve is expected to raise its key interest rate which will bring to you as it happens. a rate hike would mark a financial milestone because the fed has only raised the federal funds rate once since 2006. officials say they wanted to see a stronger job market before boosting it again and they got their wish. right now we're keeping a close eye her