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tv   At This Hour With Berman and Bolduan  CNN  December 16, 2016 8:00am-9:01am PST

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problem. it's twitter, google, and also about user responsibility. >> ultimately bottom line, right? the media, especially me, wants to restore the faith in media and what we are telling people is true. maybe that will all play into that. i don't know. >> there's a shared responsibility here. >> thank you for stopping by. thank you for joining me today. "at this hour with berman and bolduan" starts now. hello. i'm john berman. >> i'm kate bolduan. from foes to something of friends to foes once again. i'm not just talking about the two of us. i'm talking about the fragile truce between president obama and the president-elect. it is showing signs of crumbling fast today. why? one word. russia. president obama now promising to retaliate against russia for interfering in the u.s. election. russia just responded, saying prove it. the man in the middle, donald trump. he's not only still questioning whether russia was even behind
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the hacks of the clinton campaign and democratic party, but he is now taking shots at the white house over it. >> the white house press secretary is part of this fight and now it seems so, too, is the first lady. michelle obama. we will get to that in a moment. of course, this all comes as the president himself just hours from now will hold his final news conference of the year. how does he really feel about donald trump now? about russia? and will he really tell us? let's begin with cnn justice correspondent evan perez here in new york. you have new details about the hacks and the headline is they are still going on? >> that's right. first of all, we will tell you how the intelligence agencies have come to determine that the russian spy agencies were really deploying sophisticated hacking tools, the kind that frankly were used by the nsa to break into the political organizations in the united states in the past year. u.s. officials tell cnn this is part of the reason why the intelligence officials believe russian president vladimir putin ordered the disinformation
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operation that targeted mostly democratic party groups and hillary clinton's presidential campaign. we are told that investigators haven't found any evidence directly linking back to putin, but officials believe that because of the nature of this operation, he would have had to give the orders on what to do with the stolen e-mails. in recent weeks intelligence agencies have been collecting a lot more evidence, including from human sources, to back up these assessments. meantime, as you mentioned, the hacking has not stopped. law enforcement sources tell us that the fbi is now investigating hacking attempts after the election, targeting the clinton campaign, some of their staffers are now telling us they have received security notices as recently as last week indicating that they had some attempts to get into their private e-mail accounts. officials say that despite the fact the russians are expecting better relations with the incoming trump administration, we are expecting that this russian hacking activity is going to continue largely unabated. >> all right. it continues.
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evan, thanks so much. so russia and its reported role in our election related hacking is clearly in dispute right now between the incoming and outgoing administrations, but there is only one president at a time, and president obama is vowing revenge and action against russia before he leaves office. >> what exactly that retaliation comes is the question. the president talked about it with npr. >> i think there is no doubt that when any foreign government tries to impact the integrity of our elections, that we need to take action and we will, at a time and place of our own choosing. some of it may be explicit and publicized, some of it may not be. but mr. putin is well aware of my feelings about this because i spoke to him directly about it. >> white house correspondent
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michelle kyzinski joins us from the white house. what are you hearing from the white house today on this front? >> reporter: well, you know, the president spoke about this just now in that interview so he talked about what we have known for some time. really, as soon as they named russia, even you could argue before, they talked about once they determine what exactly happened here, there would be a proportional response. but we also heard from the president early on after this hack, when russia was suspected, but the white house had not yet named russia, where the president spoke while he was in china, in fact, where cybersecurity is always a big subject of discussion. he had met with vladimir putin then, that's what he was referring to in this most recent interview, and he said he didn't want to make this like a back and forth or an escalation of cyberwarfare. he didn't want to make it like the wild, wild west. i think everyone is waiting to
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see or we may not even know when it happens, what this proportional, meaningful response will look like and how can there really be a proportional response when you are talking about vladimir putin himself being involved, and this being designed to upend the american presidential election? what could the u.s. possibly do that would be proportional to that? that's some of the many questions circulating out there. it could be something like deep financial sanctions. of course, there's plenty of argument over sanctions right now anyway, whether that works, and whether the next administration would continue that. but what we have been hearing over the last couple of days is this sort of back and forth that's been growing now between donald trump and the white house directly. listen to what donald trump said last night. >> although this foolish guy, josh earnest, i don't know if he's talking to president obama. you know, having the right press
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secretary is so important. because he is so bad, the way he delivers a message. he can deliver a positive message and it sounds bad. he could say ladies and gentlemen, today we have totally defeated isis and it wouldn't sound good. >> reporter: so he's talking there about the press secretary, josh earnest, who in response to many questions over the last several days has gotten to the point where he's directly criticizing donald trump, but he's using words that donald trump said, things like during the campaign, calling on russia to go find hillary clinton's e-mails. what we are hearing from senior administration officials is they are looking at donald trump's words now and saying there's a material difference between him calling josh earnest a foolish guy and kellyanne conway saying he's deeply irresponsible and
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the white house simply repeating facts as they put it, things that donald trump has said himself. >> thank you so much, michelle. lot of these questions will be posed to president obama later this afternoon when he has that final press conference. so hillary clinton has her own theories on why the hacks were targeting her campaign and the dnc and the role that russia played in all of this. she says it comes back to an old grudge that the russian president has with her. >> want to bring in cnn's dan merica, who covered hillary clinton throughout the campaign. there was a campaign event last night of sorts, a post-campaign event where hillary clinton talked about russia. >> exactly right. it was very clear to donors last night who met with secretary clinton at the plaza hotel she was focused on issues that she and her aides deeply feel cost her the election. in reaction to putin's connections to the hacking, clinton told donors she was proud she stood up to putin as
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secretary of state and as you said, attributed the hacking to some comments she made about russia's 2011 parliamentary elections, calling it a grudge according to one donor that was in the room. the popular opinion of clinton since she lost in november is that she's been hiking through the woods taking selfies with people at grocery stores and while she's hiking, but the comments donors said made it very clear that she is still in a way hung up on why she lost and is attributing it to things like the russian hacking and director james comey, who one donor told me came up multiple times through the night and this donor said it was clear secretary clinton had that on the front of her mind. one thing she didn't mention last night or one person she didn't mention last night, donald trump. >> all right. dan merica covering the situation. let's bring in jim sciutto, "new york times" editor and cnn political analyst patrick healey, cnn politics reporter sara murray and cnn political
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commentators kayleigh mcinenny and hilary rosen, a hillary clinton supporter. i want to talk about donald trump and trump world when it comes to the russian hacks. over the last 24 hours we have been getting the word that yeah, donald trump we are told by aides is concerned about the reports of the russian hack, yet he's still saying if it's so bad why didn't we hear about it, yet he's still going after josh earnest on this subject, yet he's stopping short of calling for congressional investigation here. what exactly is going on inside trump world? >> donald trump himself has given no indication publicly, obviously, on twitter or otherwise that he is concerned about the russian situation and what you are seeing i think from a lot of his advisers is sort of this defensive stance. they believe that we are talking about this now and that people are bringing this up now as an attempt to yurpd mine the legitimacy of his presidency. so rather than focus on the fact the russians attempted to meddle in the u.s. elections, the fact from our reporting today that cyberhacking attempts are
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continuing against u.s. political organizations, they are approaching this from the view of a political battle. the other thing i would note about his advisers insisting he may have concerns now, his advisers also insisted he believed president obama was born in the united states before donald trump was willing to come out and say it. they have a way of trying to soften his tone on issues before he actually comes out there and says it publicly. does that mean he won't ever be critical of russia? not necessarily. but we certainly have not seen any indication from him directly that he is concerned about this from a policy standpoint, beyond the political side of it. >> politics and policy, i want to ask really quick, president obama now promising repercussions against russia for the hacking. how significant is that and what is that going to look like in the last 30 plus days he's in office? >> well, it's significant because you are talking about cyberretaliation here, potentially, right? you have a whole host of p potential options ranging from
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things that have already happened, publicly naming and sha shaming the adversary for doing it is one step in that arsenal, saying we know what you're doing, here it is. that's already happened. has not deterred the behavior. you have other steps including economic sanctions, that's a path this administration has tried with russian military action in ukraine, caused economic pain to russia, didn't stop the military action in ukraine. we will see if that's applied here. then you have up the ladder, sort of escalating up this ladder of responses, the possibility of cyberintrusions in the other direction. do you go in and seek out and expose embarrassing information about the russian leadership in response. possible. or do you take even more substantive steps that might target critical infrastructure in russia. no one is talking publicly about that but that is a response. but the administration has said in the past listen, if you go that path we have to worry russia would do the same to us, right, and they don't want to spark that kind of cycle of escalation. one other point i would make.
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to say it kindly, it's not a fact-based conversation. if you are saying this is being talked about now because of politics, because remember, the month before the election, when the intelligence community, the director of national intelligence and department of homeland security fingered russia and in that same statement, said senior most russian leadership which many were already reading at that time to be putin because the way russia is built, it's very top-heavy, so this conversation about russia being behind it and putin likely ordering it was a month before the election. so it's not fact-based to say that it's politics to be talking about it now. >> no, no. trump's claim to the contrary is flat out wrong. one thing this has done is expose a rift between the obama administration and trump transition. there really had been a detente there. listen to the first lady who did
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an interview with oprah winfrey. >> your husband's administration, everything, the election, was all about hope. do you think that this administration achieved that? >> yes. i do. because we feel the difference now. see, now we are feeling what not having hope feels like, you know. hope is necessary. what else do you have if you don't have hope? what do you give your kids if you can't give them hope? >> so hilary, what exactly is the first lady saying there? we are feeling what not having hope feels like now? that's very different than the message we have been getting from president obama himself throughout this transition where he said he will work with donald trump and he thinks the future will be just fine. not having hope is a pretty extraordinary statement. >> well, it is. these are extraordinary times. let's just say i think president obama intended all along to give
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donald trump some rope to have a smooth transition, but i think when he is so dismissive of our national security agencies and the facts that are on the ground now as jim just talked about it, there is one president at a time and this president says you are not allowed to be so dismissive of america's national security interests just because you think the ends justified the means. just because you got elected president and potentially was helped by the russians doesn't make it okay that the russians did that. i think what we see the first lady doing is really echoing a much broader theme, which is for the first time in the last 40 years, a president's transition has an almost 65% disapproval from the american people by virtue of the kinds of things the president-elect is doing, the kinds of people he's appointing, what he's spending his time on and what he's saying, the obfuscation around the role his kids are going to play in the business.
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it is discouraging. and i think the first lady is expressing those views. and by the way, the views of the american people. >> kayleigh, what do you think? >> look, if you look at polling, it actually shows, depends which poll you look at, that people do have a good outlook for what is to come. it was only something like 30% are scared of -- >> polling aside, what do you make of michelle obama? >> i think she needs to give the president a chance. i have been encouraged that president obama at least up until yesterday when we saw josh earnest come out, has given president-elect trump a chance. i don't agree with michelle obama about not having hope. i think that's a very dire way to look at the future. i think when you look at the cabinet donald trump has put together, you see captains of industry. it looks a lot like president ronald reagan's cabinet. president reagan's cabinet had on average 6.8 years government experience, ten years less than president obama's. donald trump's is about on par with that. these are people from the private sector, people who are going to bring new ideas, new life and i think that to not have hope, i think it's a sad way to look at the future. i think donald trump's going to end up proving michelle obama wrong and i think the nation
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will be encouraged. >> patrick, what happened here? >> can i just say one thing? >> hang on one second. i want patrick to be part of this conversation if he can. i want to know from a reporting standpoint, what happened? because there was this detente between the obama administration and the trump transition. there really was. donald trump has been gushing about how he's getting advice now from president obama and president obama has been very careful not to criticize directly. he still hasn't yet. but a lot of people around him have. what was the tipping point? >> that's right. former presidents usually try to give wide latitude to their successors, the current president trying not to weigh in with criticism during a transition. it's especially sensitive. president obama has not commented on a lot of the appointments that donald trump, the president-elect trump has made that certainly raised hackles among his party and party leaders. what's changed is a national
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security threat to the institution of the presidency itself, to free and fair elections in america. grave questions being raised by intelligence agencies within the government which president obama is the head and he has to take that seriously. in his language, he has been at least so far relatively measured and not making judgments about donald trump and when he said, especially compared to what president-elect trump said certainly at the rally last night. i think that is a tipping point. you are going to see president obama now having to make a decision about the press conference this afternoon, about how much to hold president-elect trump to account in being a protector of free and fair elections. if he's serious about that in america, at the very least, you have got to wonder will president obama call on him to support an open investigation of what happened. >> how measured his comments are at this press conference because
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you can be sure that's pretty much every question he's going to get is going to be about this. guys, thank you so much. really appreciate it. we have new reporting this morning on just how much the president-elect is going to cut himself off from his businesses before he moves into the oval office. fear of a fire sale is driving some of the decision. what that means for his sons that he's putting in charge of it all. plus, a provocative pick for the u.s. ambassador to israel. the president-elect tapped his bankruptcy adviser who has strong views about where israel's capital should be. not just that. evacuations from aleppo suspended, now families being forced to turn back inside the war zone. hear what's behind this breaking development. 'sgliefshlgts
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we have breaking news out of syria. the evacuation of thousands of refugees in the rebel held area of aleppo has suddenly come to a halt. residents are now trapped inside. rescue workers have been ordered to leave. convoys taking innocent people out of the crossfire have been forced to turn back. >> the entire rescue operation is essentially now in a holding pattern, exactly what the people stuck there do not need as this humanitarian crisis unfolds. fred pleitgen is joining us now. he was in aleppo and is now in beirut. where's the breakdown here? why is this all stopped? >> reporter: well, you know, this situation is obviously horrible for the people who are trying to get out of eastern aleppo but it's also really dangerous because as the situation unfolds on the ground, as the trigger-happy people on both sides of the equation can't move forward, there's a real danger of this escalating and innocent people getting killed once again.
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we do know that one of the convoys that was supposed to leave eastern aleppo and many had left without incident, was held up apparently by shiite militia fighting on the side of the syrian government. they didn't let it proceed. apparently some people were killed in the process of that. eventually, that convoy had to be turned back and all the convoys were then suspended, all the international aid workers on the ground there trying to ye oversee this had to leave as well. usually as in situations like this, both sides blame each other. the government says the rebels were trying to smuggle weapons out. the rebels saying it was the shiite militia that didn't like the way this deal was being implemented. at this point in time everything is stopped. the russians are saying they believe eastern aleppo is empty anyway. however, the turks say that isn't the case and this needs to get back on track as fast as possible. kate? >> i can't even agree on that if people are in eastern aleppo at this point, that says a lot. fred, thank you so much for
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bringing us that. let's continue this. joining us now is senior fellow at the council on foreign relations and contributing editor with defense one, a publication focusing squarely on u.s. national security. great to see you. thanks for joining us. just yesterday, we spoke with state department spokesman john kirby. he had a startling assessment of the situation, essentially saying aleppo is a lost cause. aleppo has fallen. you have been speaking with people on the ground there. if that's the case, what does it mean for people there? >> this is really an overnight crisis that was five years in the making and a year of bombing we see now kind of paying off in terms of russia and the syrian regime and iran shaping the reality on the ground. for moms and dads stuck inside, what this means is convoys that are getting turned back as people continue to fight about who should be evacuated, how should they be evacuated, who gets to go, who is a fighter, who isn't part of an armed group and who is and it translates into confusion and chaos and real danger on the ground for those trying to escape this
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post-apocolyptic nightmare of a city that has been bombarded for months. >> it's cold and they can't get food and water and are not being accepted anywhere. the obama administration essentially blames the assad regime, blames the russians, blames the iranians, but isn't what we are seeing right now, you called this five years in the making, isn't this catastrophe we are watching right now, wasn't it more or less predictable? doesn't the obama administration have to accept some responsibility for it? >> obama administration officials i have spoken to for years have been waiting for this day to come and been incredibly worried about what it meant. especially people who favored greater intervention in 2013, 2014, and you know, one of them even said to me look, we have to revisit who actually won the cold war. russia is bringing the eu to its knees and it only took dropping bombs on syria to cause a refugee crisis. i think what you see from the start is one side is all in. the syrian regime, russia, iran,
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versus america and others who really did not want to get involved in this conflict and an administration that felt it was elected to end wars in the middle east, not start them, and did not want to get involved when it couldn't guarantee that getting involved wouldn't make things worse, not better, even when folks inside advocated for it. >> now this will be squarely in the lap of president-elect donald trump in 30 plus short days with major questions and the crisis will only continue to unfold because it's not over with aleppo. kirby clearly made that statement yesterday as well. thanks so much. >> great to join you. donald trump still hasn't held a news conference to tell us what he will do about his business conflicts. it was supposed to be yesterday but was postponed, canceled, who knows. new word this morning he will not divest himself completely from his empire. what does that mean legally, next. plus one veteran leader calling out the president-elect, asking why does he have time for
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meetings right now including interviewing prospective cabinet picks. want to bring in david fahrenthold from "the washington post." by not divesting, that is a far cry from the type of separation that strict ethicists are calling for. >> that's right. this is one of the things donald trump should have known would be the biggest question for himself as president and as head of his business. how is he going to separate himself from his business. it seems like he did not make any sort of plan at all before the election and doesn't seem to have that kind of plan now. on the fly he's trying to figure out some arrangement that will work for his business and the country. doesn't seem like he's found anything close to it yet. >> also, word is there are now conflicting concerns about what it would mean if he would completely divest. they were caught off guard, they were afraid if they put all the properties on the market, it would be a fire sale and also, they were concerned there would be an appearance of conflict of
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interest because maybe foreign governments would want to buy it up and no one would be happy no matter what they put out there. >> that's right. again, this is something they could have planned for and did not. trump talked about on the trail i'm going to put it in a blind trust. a blind trust means he would give the assets over to management by somebody who wouldn't tell donald trump what was happening. so that person could in theory sell the projects off in a way trump wasn't aware of over time. he seems not to have chosen to do that. he wants to put his sons in charge. he also seems to want to keep his sons in the mix for choosing how he will run the government. yeah. doesn't seem he's worked -- like he's surprised by these things that should not have been surprises. >> this is neither blind nor a trust, as we like to say, the arrangement he's reportedly leaning toward right now. again, he had said that yesterday, he was going to explain to the american people how he would do this. he canceled that news conference. allegedly there will be one in january. it does seem he's settled on some legalisms which he thinks and most lawyers do agree the
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president doesn't need to care about these conflicts of interest in the same way as other members of the government. >> well, there's two ways that's wrong. one is the legal sense. the constitution actually does have a written limit on what the president can do, called the emoluments clause. the president can't accept payments from a foreign state. if a foreign state starts renting out the ballrooms or buying up condos in trump buildings, the money goes to trump, he violated that. it's in the constitution. the other is a political calculation. for trump's own sake, his political capital, his ability to get things done, he can't work under a constant question of whether he's worried about retaliation from foreign governments against his businesses or trying to make some sort of money off of it. he can't have that and get things done in washington. it's for his own good as well. >> we are awaiting that news conference scheduled for yesterday. david fahrenthold, thanks so much. appreciate it. the president-elect has made his decision on who he wants to be the ambassador to israel. a man who has questioned the need for a two-state solution.
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we're live in jerusalem coming up. plus president obama vows revenge for russian hacks but how? and what does that mean for the president-elect when he takes over that relationship in 30 plus days? (vo) it's the holidays at verizon, and the best deals are on the best network. with no surprise overages, you can use your data worry free and even carry over the data you don't use. and right now get four lines and 20 gigs for only $40 per line. you'll even get the iphone 7, the samsung galaxy s7, the pixel phone by google, or the motoz droid for only $10 per month. no trade-in required. hurry, these offers end soon. get the best deals and the best network, only on verizon.
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donald trump has selected the man he wants to be the next ambassador to israel. this is one of the most sensitive diplomatic posts in the world. lawyer david friedman has not necessarily supported the two-state solution in the past. he wants to move the u.s. embassy to jerusalem. this is a stance many republicans, some democrats have but it runs counter to decades of u.s. policy. >> let's bring in cnn's ian lee live in jerusalem. you can be sure, it's clear that
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israel, israeli officials have been watching this pick very closely and what move the president-elect would be making here. what is the reaction there tonight? >> reporter: well, that's right. we have instantly had reaction from across the spectrum of israeli politics when this announcement was made. from the far right, you had neftali bennett who cluwelcomede idea, calling friedman a friend of israel. on the far left you had some concern that someone who would be so vocal about not having a two-state solution, about politics in israel, would say all these things while being in the united states in the comfort of their couches instead of here in israel. but this could be a seismic shift for u.s. policy regarding israel, the palestinians and the peace process, because david friedman in the past has said he is a supporter of the settlement
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project and settlements from the u.s. point of view in the past has been that these are illegitimate and obstacles to peace. he's also been a supporter of moving the u.s. embassy from tel aviv to jerusalem, again, going against previous u.s. administrations and finally, he's even questioned the need for a two-state solution. so the palestinians are watching this and i spoke with one palestinian politician of the palestinian liberation organization and he expressed a lot of concern for this, wondering where this leaves the palestinians, where this leaves the peace process, especially if there is not going to be a two-state solution, that he said this could make a very dangerous situation in israel and the palestinian territories. >> ian, thank you so very, very much. just a few hours, president obama will hold his final news
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conference of the year, just days really left in office. this could be a reflective moment about a state of the country. listen to what he told npr earlier. >> i can say that i have had a conversation with the president-elect about our foreign policy generally and the importance of us making sure that in how we approach intelligence gathering and how we think about fighting terrorism and keeping the country secure that we recognize america's exceptionalism, our indispensability in the world, in part draws from our values and our ideals. >> let's bring in npr's steven skeep who conducted that interview and cnn presidential historian douglas brinkley.
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great to see both of you. steve, you sat down with the president for a lengthy interview there. how would you describe his state of mind? you have interviewed him before. >> he's a cool guy. he has been cool every time that i have talked with him, ten of them now during the time that he's been in the white house. and he keeps essentially the same demeanor. but his passion comes through from time to time and i think you hit on one of the moments there in that bit of video you just played because the president is concerned about the rule of law, concerned about the reputation of the united states, and you hear him not saying he thinks that president-elect trump is going to go beyond the law. he's not explicitly saying that. but he's calling out that responsibility of the new president that's one of many, many things on his mind at this moment of transition. >> so a lot of the people around him are actually now increasingly critical of donald trump. josh earnest, his press secretary, michelle obama, his wife, saying basically there's
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no hope right now. do you get the sense two hours or so from now the dam will break for the president, he won't be as careful as he has been to this point? >> well, he was a little less careful or let's say a little bit more forceful in this interview, because he's being more explicit about the fact that he is concerned first about russian intervention in the election which he was very quiet about even in october when they made a statement saying russia had interfered in the u.s. election by being behind a hack of the democratic national committee and other targets. he's saying that more explicitly. he's still not fully endorsing that cia finding that you have reported on that russia had a motivation to elect president-elect trump, but he's insisting this is a problem, that it needs to be addressed and he made news in this interview by saying we will respond and it's coming out of the mouth of the president, he's committing to do that at a time and place of our own choosing. we still don't know what the president intends to do but he's putting his word on the line that he intends to retaliate in
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some manner here against moscow, which cannot be welcome news to president-elect trump, who has made a big deal of trying to have a new and better and different relationship with russia. >> doug, that leads us to his final press conference of the year this afternoon, and his legacy on the line. how does he deal, how does the president deal with his legacy on the line and the final weeks that he is in office, when you see, as he told steve, he will be moving and vowing to retaliate against russia? >> well, this is not the december he imagined. i think just a month ago he would have thought hillary clinton would be coming in, he would be able to do victory laps, talk about how we got out of the great recession, how the economy is humming and unemployment below 5% and the like. instead, he's going to be consumed with this issue of russian hacking, the whole general issue of cybersecurity, and how dangerous it is.
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in many ways, dwight eisenhower famously gave a farewell address about the industrial military complex back in 1961. we are going to see barack obama the next 30 days i think having to really awake people almost like paul revere about the problems of hacking and cybersecurity and particularly regarding putin's russia. so this is not -- then we have syria, as i'm talking, in shambles, a huge humanitarian human rights debacle going on over there. he's going to be hit by a lot of hard questions on these two fronts, cyberand syria. >> doug, he's got days left in office, really weeks, i should say. how much presidenting can you do with so little time left? >> well, you can do some if the climate was different, meaning i think he's now operating in a crisis mode dealing with the russian hacks. sometimes like jimmy carter say
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after the reagan revolution in 1980 signed all these wilderness bills saving alaska lands, he was able to get some things through. carter was also able to keep working about releasing the hostages in iran before reagan got in. you stay busy to the very last day. but this is such a diametrically different character, donald trump. here's president obama's injected climate change in both his inaugurals, made a big deal of going to paris and the accords, and trump putting people who are skeptical of climate if not outright deniers about the issue. so he's watching some of his legacy pieces starting to crumble in front of his very eyes. it cannot be a very happy december for him. >> so steve, today is a big moment for the president. from your conversation, do you think, because it's going to be at least a major focus or the major focus will be obviously russia and the president-elect.
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from your conversation with the president, do you think his target is donald trump or do you think his target is putin today? >> well, he is a politically savvy guy. i'm sure he's aware this brings down donald trump to some extent and is trying to keep him within limits. the president has insisted this is not about delegitimizing the president-elect. this is about the security of the united states, that it's about russia, about avoiding interference in elections. it's interesting to hear doug brinkley talk there because he's at a moment where he's still thinking long-term and doehe doesn't have a long-terp. there's an interesting passage where he said there's a new game here, where people have taken traditional propaganda and traditional covert operations and are intensifying them on the internet. it's a new situation that needs to be addressed by the international community with international agreements as they have done with nuclear weapons.
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that's a long-term international collaborative barack obama kind of project that he would have to leave to his successor, who has got a very different style from what we have seen so far. >> hard to play the long game when time is running out. thanks so much for being with us. appreciate it. >> great interview. an iraq war veteran is slamming the president-elect for meeting with kanye west. the veteran says why kanye but not any leaders from veterans groups that he approves of? he joins us next. plus, this is what it feels like to not have hope. that's what first lady michelle obama said about this moment in time. you can be pretty sure what she's talking about. details ahead.
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a top leader veterans organization calling out donald trump for having time to meet with, that guy, "the cafferty file file," -- kanye west but not veterans. claiming they were a top priority throughout the campaign. >> and veterans of america, joining us now, paul, dramatic reading what you put down on paper over the last month. lots of folks visiting touch tower including kanye west but not a single person from our organization invited upstairs. why did you write this? >> speaks for itself. a parade of people from all
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industries and not a single leader from a leading veteran organization. not the vfw, iava and throughout the campaign trump said veteran wos be a priority. a good thing. e want him to be a priority of his presidency as well. the v.a. secretary is one of two remaining positions 20 be nato we've heard names ranging from sarah palin to nick perry. is he listening to the veteran organization and we think we could be a resource, helping guide him in the right direction, what's really happening happen ing at v.a. and what veterans really need. >> do you think it was lip service during the campaign or do you think donald trump cares about veterans issues? >> i'm sure he cares but a lot of things are on his plate and he said they would be a priority and he has time to talk with rappers. >> talked to sarah palin. you may not approve of her, but
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meeting with people. >> a pretty wide spectrum here. they also have -- >> has spoken about it at rallies. i may understand not speaking to the groups you wants but not like he's ignored the issue or post completely? >> he hasn't knocked out candidates. a bit concerning to have a wide range. over a dozen candidates reported in the press. haven't seen that range around any other cabinet position. these are leading veteran service organizations representing tens of millions of members, helped educate you all during the v.a. scandal and educate america, do service programs, here to be a resource. if he wants to get it right, listen to them including the current v.a. secretary bob mcdonald, support from many of the organizations and at least should be in consideration. >> i wanted to ask you about that. why do you want him to stay on? >> the groups have seen the work he's done, there have been bumps but he's finally getting momentum. a big challenge, rotate leaders over and over gern. 300,000 employees, almost $200 billion in the budget allocated
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to v.a. and bob mcdonald that the tryst and former ceo, came from procter & gamble and washington outsider. wasn't at v.a. probably be on the short list of donald trump now. also meet with bob mcdonald. talk to him, find out what's going on under the hood of v.a. serious issues need tackling from the president. >> last i heard, hadn't been contacted. i don't know if that's changed. thanks for being with us. and soon we'll hear from president obama himself. final news conference of the year and comes at a fascinating pivot point in this country. he will face questions about russian hacking into the u.s. election system, alleged hacking. confess about donald trump and how he's approaching this issue. we'll bring you the news conference live. you don't let anything keep you sidelined. that's why you drink ensure. with 9 grams of protein and 26 vitamins and minerals. for the strength and energy to get back to doing... ...what you love. ensure. always be you.
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nominate something right now. thank you for joining us at this hour, everybody. >> "newsroom" with brianna keilar starts right now. have a great weekend. hi there and welcome to cnn are in. thanks for joining me. i'm brianna keilar. we are a little more than two hours away from president obama's last formal news conference's this momentous year and very possibly his last as president. the world would be watching anyway, but now there's added drama over russian interference in last month's elections and refusal of the president-elect to acknowledge it let alone condemn it. the nature of the operation, cnn is told, of the operation, leaking, trolling, such that the creme lim itself up and including vladimir putin it ho be involved. moscow, though, doesn't want to hear any of it. a putin spokesman says, they, meaning the u.s., should either stop talking about that or


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