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tv   Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  December 16, 2016 3:00pm-4:01pm PST

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happening now, breaking news. obama versus putin. president obama takes vladamir putin to task in his final news conference of the year over russian interference in the u.s. election. mr. obama all but confirms putin was personally responsible. how will the u.s. retaliate? strong consensus. cia director john brennan says the fbi is on the same page when it comes to russian election cyber attacks and vows the two organizations will work together on the review ordered by president obama. but do they agree on russia's motivation? trump's tight rope. president obama walks a fine line in his news conference when it comes to the president-elect, saying he's offered suggestions that donald trump has listened to in his cordial conversations. but he also notes trump's continuing denial of russia's election hacking. will the war of words continue?
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and carolina coup? an extraordinary move by north carolina's republican controlled statehouse to drastically curtail the power of the incoming democratic governor. is it a constitutional check and balance, or is it a chaotic power grab? i'll talk about that and more with the head of the naacp cornell william brooks. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." this is cnn breaking news. >> the breaking news tonight, president obama speaking at length about russia's interference in the u.s. election and obliquely blaming the russian president, vladamir putin, in his final news conference before leaving for hawaii for the holidays. the president said, and i'm quoting him now, not much happens in russia without putin. the president also revealed he confronted putin over the cyber
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attacks on the side livlines of g-20 meeting in china, saying "cut it out or face serious consequences." also breaking tonight, the cia director is moving to dispel suggestions that there's disagreement between the cia and fbi, saying they're all on the same page when it comes to russian hacking. we're covering all of that much more this hour with our guest, including former senior adviser to the trump campaign and former congressman jack kingston and the president of the naacp cornell william brooks. our expert analysts and correspondents are also standing by. let's begin with jim sciutto. jim, there's now strong consensus on russia's election cyber attacks. >> reporter: that's right. tonight, the cia director seeking to dismiss accusations from some gop lawmakers that the
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agency is politicizing the intelligence on russian hacking of the u.s. election. the cia director writing to the entire cia workforce that the u.s. intelligence community and law enforcement are in full agreement on the seriousness and intent of the cyber attacks. >> i told russia to stop it. >> reporter: tonight, president obama for the first time publicly blaming russian president vladamir putin for hacking the 2016 u.s. election. >> the intelligence that i've seen gives me great confidence in their assessment that the russians carried out this hack. the hack of the dnc, and the hack of john podesta. not much happens without vladamir putin. >> reporter: and the cia and fbi agree as to why. director john brennan telling the cia workforce in an internal message that "there is strong consensus among us on the scope, nature, and intent of russian interference in our presidential election."
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u.s. intelligence and law enforcement assess that moscow had multiple possible motives. undermine confidence in the vote. weaken hillary clinton. and help donald trump. today, the president said he delivered a stern warning to putin in september at the g-20 summit. >> when i saw president putin in china, i felt the most effective way to ensure that that didn't happen was to talk to him directly and tell him to cut out or there would be serious consequence it is he didn't. >> reporter: still tonight, u.s. officials say that russia's hacking of u.s. political organizations continues unabated. since the election, one attempted breach targeted the clinton campaign, though unsuccessfully. president-elect trump, however, continues to dismiss the u.s. assessment that russia is responsible. despite the fact that he's being provided the intelligence behind that assessment in his classified briefings.
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today, he sought to divert attention back to one of the revelations gleaned from the e-mails stolen by russia, tweeting, are we talking about the same cyber attack where it was revealed that the head of the dnc illegally gave hillary the questions to the debate? i'm told that the cia director's message coming as many staffers are angry, frustrated to be accused of partisanship in their response to russian hacking. today, the gop chairman of the senate intelligence committee also coming to the defense of intelligence staff as well, saying "they leave their politics at the door." >> it was a strong statement from the chairman of the senate intelligence committee. thank you very much, jim sciutto, for that. let's get more on the president's remarking right now. our white house correspondent michelle kaczynski was hat that new conference earlier today. the president spoke about his successor, donald trump. update our viewers. >> reporter: as we know, many times the trump team has denied or called into question that intelligence, blaming russia for the hacking, calling into
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question then the viability of a continued investigation and response to russia. we asked the president about that, his thoughts, and does he intend to or has he spoken to trump directly about this? listen. >> reporter: the transition from election season to governance season is not always smooth. you know, it's bumpy. there's still feelings that are raw out there. there are people who are still thinking about how things unfolded, and i get all that. but when donald trump takes the oath of office and is sworn in as the 45th president of the united states, then he's got a different set of responsibilities and considerations. and i've said this before, i think there is a sobering process when you walk into the oval office.
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and i haven't shared previously private conversations i've had with the president-elect. i will say that they have been cordial, and in some cases have involved me making some pretty specific suggestions about how to ensure that, regardless of our obvious big disagreements about policy, maybe i can transmit some thoughts about maintaining the effectiveness, integrity, cohesion of the office of various democratic institutions, and he's -- he has listened. i can't say that he will end up implementing, but the conversations themselves have been cordial as opposed to defensive in any way. and i will always make myself
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available to him just as previous presidents have made them selves available to me as issues come up. >> reporter: just last night, we heard hillary clinton talk about how the fbi director's most recent letter saying they were looking into more e-mails related to that investigation was a deciding factor in the outcome of the election. then this morning, her campaign chairman took it a step further, saying something is deeply broken within the fbi calling the investigation lackadaisical. so we asked the president, isn't that calling into question the institutions in something of a similar way that donald trump's team has done, which has made this administration so furious? he didn't want to wade too deeply into that. he did defend the fbi, defend his own administration's decision making, and lamented that he said in this case of hyper partisanship, everything is called into suspicion. wolf? >> michelle, thank you. let's get some more on all of
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this with our correspondents and our analysts. the president made it clear that essentially that putin was directly responsible. he says at the highest levels of the russian government, they would never get involved in something like this. officials in the russian government would not go rogue. putin would have to authorize it. what are you hearing about that? >> that's right, wolf. there is very little doubt inside the intelligence community and with the fbi that this was directed by vladamir putin, especially the part that -- the disinformation campaign part. they have the stealing of the information, but then what to do with the stolen e-mails, which is what made this so different, wolf. there is no doubt that that was something that would have had to be ordered by the leader of the russian government by vladamir putin. and it's also clear that the cia has developed recent information, wolf, in the last few weeks, in the last few months, that indicates to them
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that once the russians saw there was some success, that they were getting success from this operation, that they doubled down and wanted more to help donald trump get elected. >> clarissa ward is joining us from moscow right now. clarissa, listen precisely to what the president said about putin, and then we'll get the russian reaction. listen to this. >> we have said, and i will confirm that this happened at the highest levels of the russian government. and i will let you make that determination as to whether there are high level russian officials who go off rogue and decide to tamper with the u.s. election process without vladamir putin knowing about it. >> so i'm sure, clarissa, they were watching closely to that news conference in moscow. what kind of reaction are the russians giving you? >> reporter: well, so far, wolf, because it's the middle of the night, no one has said anything
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officially. but i can tell you what the response is going to be. it's going to be more of what we have heard consistently since these allegations first reared their head back in october, which is this is preposterous, this is indecent was the word that was used today. this is ludicrous nonsense was another way that it's been described. but i also think what you heard from president obama today was essentially really drilling down on why it is so difficult to deal with the russians in a situation like this, and specifically where it is so difficult to deal with president putin. that's precisely because the age-old art of naming and shaming doesn't really work with the russians. you can name them, and they will simply turn around and say whether it's a bald faced lie or not, they will say we have no knowledge of this. their commitment to the facts is pretty minimal in this instance. and also we have seen that shaming doesn't work, and you heard president obama say public
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shaming does not work with president vladamir putin. we have seen the u.s. and the west try to do this many times over. i'm thinking specifically of aleppo and syria and all the carnage there, much of it at the hands of russian firepower. and we have never seen the russians moved in that instance. i think obama, it was less a message being delivered to president putin today than it was a message being delivered to the american people that essentially it's very difficult publicly to deal with a situation like the one that the u.s. has on its hand with this hacking. of course, it's very difficult to make any announcement publicly what kind of reaction there might be, because this is hybrid warfare, not a straightforward eye for a eye, tooth for a tooth. it has to be clandestine. so i felt there was almost a concession that the president's hands were a little bit tied when it comes to publicly giving an explanation how he's dealing with this, wolf.
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>> phil mudd, the president walls blunt in describing how he threatened, he warned putin when he saw him at the g-20 summit. listen to this. >> in early september when i saw president putin in china, i felt that the most effective way to ensure that that didn't happen was to talk to him directly and tell him to cut it out there there would be serious consequence it is he didn't. and, in fact, we did not see further tampering of the election process. >> he says election process, he means voting machines, stuff like that. but there has been other hacking by the russians we're told that's still going on. how much of an impact would a threat like that to putin really be? >> how close to zero can you get, wolf? let's take this out of the public domain. we've seen russian intervention in crimea and ukraine, public with the europeans involved. impact not only zero, but if you look at the russian popular opinion on these interventions,
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extremely positive. let's go to syria. a lot of pressure on the russians about bombing of the cities by russians. impact not only zero, but the russian population is backing putin on this. so you contrast that to what we saw here, a private conversation with putin saying please don't do this, i think the impact is zero. he's saying show me the money. if you didn't bring some power against me to oppose this, i would not buy it. >> but they would not be so interested in having the sanctions removed if they were completely ineffectual. >> i agree, but if you look how we tried to oppose him publicly and the lack of impact, to say a conversation privately would have an impact, unless it's backed by claws, i don't see it. >> the claws being the u.s. launching a cyber attack and releasing embarrassing information to the russians. >> which the president has said several times they will do.
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>> why are you shaking your head? >> we can't do that. you can't go against the russians with the same thing they did with us. for two reasons. first of all, if you fight with pigs, you're going to get dirty. the way you'll get dirty with this in the second instance, if you start to try to attack them privately or in public with revelations about corruption, you want to tell me what putin says with 80% support rate? look, this is the americans trying to oppose us. i think he turns it to his advantage. >> there is other cyber damage you can do too, not based on shaming. >> evan, go ahead. >> i was going to add that the view of the intelligence community is that the u.s. frankly has a lot more to lose. we have a lot more parts of our infrastructure, a lot of our economy that is dependent on the internet. so there's some danger to that. and it's also the case, and we should make this clear, that the
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russians believe that they didn't start this, we started this. they believe that the u.s. has been supporting organizations inside russia that are anti-putin, that tried to meddle with their elections and they also view the panama papers that exposed some of russia's richest people and where they were hiding their money, they think the u.s. was behind it. so they think they're acting in response to things we were doing. >> fascinating material. the president of the united states very blunt, i thought, how does he see the cyber attack wrapping up his eight-year legacy as president? you covered him from the beginning. >> i think like every outgoing president, they're very aware of how the reputation is shaping up, and i do think we saw that reflected this kind of concern that he would be wrapped in this today, and how he tried in small ways to attend to that. we saw him at multiple times weave in once he was talking about defending the handling of the that, coming out and saying
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what i did, my part in this, i thought i did well and would not do it again. no regrets there. if you're president obama going into today, he would love to be able to talk about the last eight years of progress that he thinks he's made. he knows he doesn't have that luxury. >> you know the interesting aspect of today, you think about the tension we saw yesterday between the white house press secretary and the president-elect, the president has chosen to play the good cop in this transition, the way he talked about donald trump today. he was not going into a mode of criticizing him. but this may be a case of watch what i do, not what i say. he was signaling today he may create facts on the ground that try to shape donald trump's choices, both in the information and nature of this report and in actions he takes against russia that would force donald trump if he wants to undo them, to publicly make that one of the first actions of his presidency. >> the president had a huge audience out there, not just the reporters in the room, national
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audience, international audience, but he was talking specifically to the president-elect of the united states. we know that donald trump was watching the news conference, as well. we're getting new information. more information and we'll continue our special coverage right here in "the situation room" after a quick break. look at this... a silicon valley server farm. the vault to man's greatest wonders... selfies, cat videos and winking emojis. speaking of tech wonders, with the geico app you can get roadside assistance, digital id cards... or even file a claim. do that.. yeah, yeah that should work. it's not happening... just try again. uh, i think i found your problem. thanks. hmm... the award-winning geico app. download it today. proof of less joint pain. and clearer skin. this is my body of proof that i can fight psoriatic arthritis with humira. humira works by targeting and helping to block a specific
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we're following breaking news. president obama all but confi confirming that president vladamir putin was behind cyber attacks that affected the election. clarissa ward, president obama was pretty blunt talking about the russians, pretty insulting i should also say, called russia small, weak, extremely critical of the russian economy. he says the only thing they can provide the world are oil and gas and arms. they have nothing else to show the world. how is that going to play over there where you are in moscow? >> well, i wouldn't expect to hear any real response to this other than perhaps a biting or costic remark. i think that the people inside
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the kremlin and personally president vladamir putin here feel that 2016 has been an excellent year for them. they have essentially williamsed the -- witnessed the crumbling of the establishment with the brexit, donald trump's election, other european countries. their involvement in syria, which president obama warned them would lead them go a quagmire, they see as successful. and even with this scandal while on the surface of it, russians are saying we had nothing to do with this, this is nonsense, there is a certain degree to which people are almost enjoying the suggestion that they could pull off something quite as audacious as swinging the u.s. election in favor of donald trump. so i don't think right now president vladamir putin is feeling particularly cowed by
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these types of remarks from president obama, and you heard phil mudd said earlier, it reminds me of that schoolyard taunt, sticks and stones may break my bones but word also never hurt me. that is particularly true when it comes to dealing with the russians. you can name them, you can shame them, but it doesn't stick. because at the end of the day president putin has an 80% approval rating. and people here, while they're telling the official party line this is outrageous, how can anyone insinuate this, they also enjoyed the suggestion and they liked the idea of it, wolf. so i wouldn't expect beyond perhaps a certain biting remark that you might hear officially, i wouldn't expect any feathers to be ruffled here, wolf. >> evan, you heard the president say in early september when he gave that warning to president putin, cut it out, there were no hacks of voting machines per se here in the united states, but you're learning that russian
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hacking is continuing to this day. what are you learning specifically? >> that's right, wolf. but before i get to that, i just want to add one thing. this feels a little bit like a new version of what president obama, remember when he called isis the j.v. team? this feels a little like that. he seems to be trying to say russia is not very powerful, but yet they carried out this very audacious thing, they surrounded themselves with pro-russian leaders. they feel like they're winning. as far as what you just mentioned, yeah, the fbi is now investigating indications that the russians have continued to carry out hacking attacks, including targeting political organizations. we're told that members of the hillary clinton campaign, the former hillary clinton campaign have now received security notices that there were attempts to break into their private e-mail accounts. we're talking to officials who tell us they don't expect this behavior to change, just because the russians now feel they have
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a friendlier voice or government taking power in washington, doesn't mean they're going to stop this stuff. >> i went to listen to what the president said today, that he doesn't want to judge the president-elect. listen to this. >> i think that the president-elect, you know, is still in transition mode from campaign to governance. i think he hasn't gotten his whole team together yet. he still has campaign spokespersons sort of filling in and appearing on cable shows and, you know, there's just a whole different attitude and vibe when you're not in power as when you're in power. so rather than me sort of characterizing the appropriateness or inappropriateness of what he's doing at the moment, i think what we have to see is how will the president-elect operate and
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how will his team operate when they've been fully briefed on all these issues. >> the good cop in this transition. he's not going to go down that road. he also rather pointedly later in the press conference praised josh earnest who did go down that road. it's a small club, the president's club. there are few people who have held this job, and they tend to be pretty supportive of one another. but in a lot of different ways, including his press conference where he did not rule out the suggestion he might be more active in critiquing the trump agenda than previous presidents have been, i think he's leaving himself room and wants to lay the predicate he gave donald trump every chance while he was still in office. >> everybody, stick around. there's more breaking news. president obama reveals new details about his conversations with donald trump and his suggestions to the president-elect.
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you totally nailed that buddy. simple. don't let directv now limit your entertainment. only xfinity gives you more to stream to any screen. breaking news tonight. president obama essentially laying the blame for the cyber attacks targeting the u.s. election on the russian president vladamir putin. president obama spoke about it at length in his final news conference of the year, just a little while ago. >> the intelligence that i've seen gives me great confidence in their assessment that the russians carried out this hack. the hack of the dnc, and the hack of john podesta. but again, i think this is why i want the report out so that everything can review it.
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this has been briefed, and the evidence in closed session has been provided on a bipartisan basis, not just to me, it's been provided to the leaders of the house and the senate and the chairman and ranking members of the relevant committees. and i think that what you've already seen is, at least some of the folks who have seen the evidence don't dispute, i think the basic assessment that the russians carried this out. well, martha, i think what i want to make sure of is that i give the intelligence community the chance to gather all the information, but i make a larger point, which is not much happens in russia without vladamir putin. >> the president also spoke about donald trump and the transition. >> that's right. what we saw from president obama today, wolf, is he really tried
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to down play this rift that's going on between his administration and the incoming trump administration, saying transitions are just not always smooth sometimes, that they are bumpy. this is an acknowledgement that even with the post election promise from both sides that they would work together, that this week it has turned ugly. tonight, president obama, for the first time, addressing the spat between his white house and the incoming trump administration. >> there hasn't been a lot of squabbling. what we've simply said is the facts. >> reporter: attempting to lower the temperature. >> my hope is that the president-elect is going to similarly be concerned with making sure that we don't have potential foreign influence in our election process. i don't think any american wants that. and that shouldn't be a source of an argument. >> reporter: amid an unusual public rift that's pitted the outgoing white house spokesman
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against the incoming president-elect. >> mr. trump was obviously aware of the fact that russia was engaged in malicious cyber activity. >> this foolish guy, josh earnest, i don't know if he's talking to president obama. he is so bad the way he delivers a message. >> reporter: and trump advisers taking shots directly at the president. >> if you want to shut this down and you actually love the country enough to have this peaceful transition in our great democracy between the obama administration and the trump administration. >> reporter: the war of words between the outgoing and incoming administrations, a sharp departure from the immediate post election vow to work together, that the president echoed again today. >> we have done everything we can to make sure that they are successful, as i promised. and that will continue. and it's just been a few days since i last talked to the president-elect. >> reporter: the president-elect today turning the attention back to hillary clinton's e-mails, tweeting, are we talking about the same cyber attack where it was revealed that head of the
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dnc illegally gave hillary the questions to the debate? hillary clinton telling donors in new york thursday night that the russian president's involvement in the hack was a personal beef against her, touting herself as someone who was tough on putin, a jab at the president-elect. >> so in the fall of 2011, they have "parliamentary elections," which were so fraud, so illegitimate that it was embarrassing. i was your secretary of state. at least in those years, we stood up for democracy and human rights. >> reporter: meantime, john podes podesta, scolding the fbi, writing comparing the massive fbi's response to the overblown e-mail scandal to the lackadaisical response to the
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very real russian plot to submert a national election shows that something is deeply broken at the fbi. president obama did not say whether he agrees with hillary clinton that the hacking affected the election outcome. as for the president-elect, beyond his tweet this morning, he's been pretty silent for him, by his standards. he's now headed to orlando where we see him have these campaign style rallies. so we'll see if he responds later tonight. >> thank you very much for that report. let's get more on all this. former republican congressman jack kingston is joining us. he was a senior adviser to the trump campaign. thank you very much for joining us. >> thank you, wolf. >> why do you believe the president-elect won't accept the conclusions of the intelligence community, the law enforcement community, the cia, the fbi, the president of the united states that russia is clearly behind these cyber attacks? >> well, i think that what he wants to do is tamp down the discussion, let the house of
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appropriate committees, let them do their investigation. the president today said that he had talked to putin and later he said that there was no further interference in the process. and he also said that the hacks were limited to the dnc and to john podesta. so there's still a question to me if there was any interference in the election, particularly any motivation or suggestion of a results change -- >> you believe the russians did hack the dnc and the clinton campaign chairman john podesta, they then released all those e-mails to wikileaks to embarrass hillary clinton's campaign and the democrats, you believe that, right? >> i don't know what their motivation may have been, and i don't know that it was the russians personally, because i haven't been briefed on that, wolf. but i do know this, when you hack into something, you can always make it look like there was somebody else. there's layers of false avenue s
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and it's hard to figure out who did it and certainly why they did it. but one of the things that's disturbing toe ma ining to me, narrative out there. first it was not my president. now the hollywood left is doing ads telling lectors not to vote for president trump. and that is disturbing. i think that what's really the more outrageous thing is that the cia and the fbi refused to meet with the house intelligence committee this week. that to me is very bothersome. we have to take the politics out of this, and let the proper committees look at this. but i also have to say this, wolf, where was the president and where was the outrage in october? if the intelligence community was disturbed about it, it should have been a national stugs. >> on october 7, a month before
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the election, there was a joint statement from the director of national intelligence and the secretary of homeland security which they said flatly "the u.s. intelligence community is confident that the russian government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from u.s. persons and institutions, including from u.s. political organizations," a reference to the dnc. they also said, "we believe, based on the scope of these efforts, that only russia's senior most officials could have authorized these activities." today, we heard the president say for all practical purposes, that was putin, the senior most russian official. so they did come out with a statement that the president authorized in early october. >> but the president seems to be making a very big deal right now. we hear from leaders of the democratic party that lectors should be briefed on this. that suggests politics. the president in october should have done something about it. he said earlier, and you showed
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the clip, that at the g-20, he pulled puten to the said and said cut it out. what kind of talk is that? you say listen, i want to meet with you, i want -- i'm going to come to moscow, meet you in geneva. but you're going to stop this, and we're going to do something about it and do something now. >> you heard the president say when he told putin in september, cut it out. he said after that threat to putin, because he said the u.s. could retaliate in various ways, there was no interference with the voting booth, if you will, any of the election systems, any of that. there's been other hacking going on, but none of that occurred to tamper with the actual vote. you heard the president say that. >> yes, but it seems like he wants it both ways. he wants to take credit for that conversation, stop interfering. if that's the case, the headline should say president obama stopped this in september. the second headline should say
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something he said today that was very important, he said this wasn't a complicated, sophisticated espionage, this was everyday hacking. well, everyday hacking unfortunately goes on in the world today. what about when president clinton, in july of 2015, or excuse me, president obama was shown to have angela merkel's schedule and other nations around the world apparently were spied on by the u.s. i'm not saying that's right, he just said this was everyday hacking and, you know, we've got to stop everyday hacking, but that's one of his statements today. >> you know the -- what the criticism you're going to get, congressman, that you're offering excuses for putin and the russians. i'm sure you've heard that already. but are you bracing for more when you say these kinds of things? >> what we're saying is that we need to take a politics out of this. the cia needs to do what it has to do by constitutional duty, and that's to show up in front of the u.s. congress and not
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play politics. i as a former house member, was outraged to read that the head of the cia says to the house intelligence chairman that they were unable to meet because they were too busy with the investigation on behalf of barack obama. that's absurd. you and i have been around the town long enough to know when politics are being played. that was extremely politics. we need to get the politics out of this so that we can have an intelligent conversation. >> congressman, thank you very much. >> thank you, wolf. more breaking news coming up next. the political power grab come compare to a coup unfolding in north carolina. details of an extraordinary bill that has just become law. there is no typical day. there is nothing typical about making movies. i'm victoria alonso and i'm an executive producer... ...at marvel studios. we are very much hands-on producers. if my office... ...becomes a plane or an airport the surface pro's perfect. fast and portable but also light. you don't do this 14 hours a day, 7 days a week for...
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that's because hep c can hide in your body silently for years, even decades, without symptoms and it's not tested for in routine blood work. if left untreated, hep c can cause liver damage, even liver cancer. but there's important information for us: the cdc recommends all baby boomers get tested for hep c. all it takes is a simple one-time blood test. and if you have hep c, it can be cured. be sure to ask your doctor to get tested for hep c. for us it's time to get tested. it's the only way to know for sure.
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there's breaking news. north carolina's republican governor signed a bill passed by the republican controlled legislature, drasicily reducing the power of a democrat who takes office next month. the president and ceo of the naacp cornell brooks is with us. i want to get the background first. paula, this is truly an extraordinary political power grab. >> reporter: yeah, unprecedented, and definitely something many people did not expect in north carolina. there are several bills being discussed there in north carolina. there is at least one bill that essentially limits the governor's authority over the state's election board. that was signed into law by outgoing governor pat mccorry late today. it would require cabinet appointees be approved by the senate. that one still remains on the desk, and that is what has become a highly contentious
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issue in north carolina. the latest legislative session closing with growing outrage and crowds in north carolina's capital. >> it's very difficult to hear because of the disruptive noise outside the chamber. >> reporter: demonstrators are angry over a series of bills rolled out during a special session this week, where lawmakers want to limit the incoming governor's powers. >> what is happening now is unprecedented. what's happening now is going to affect the issues that make a difference to evidence working families. >> reporter: among the restrictions requiring the republican controlled senate to approve all of governor elect cooper's cabinet appointees. also, decreasing the number of appointments allowed by the new administration from 1500 to 300.
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additionally, cooper would be blocked from appointing some members of the state board of education and all members of the board of trustees for the university of north carolina system. cooper beat out republican incumbent pat mckoiry by about 10,000 votes. mccrory claimed fraud. >> we have elections. >> reporter: leaders say they are going to continue to be relevant in the state, but democrats call it a power grab. his success or issued a statement late today reading "the court also have to clean up the mess that the legislature made. he plans to take this issue to court. this is highly divisive here in north carolina. you have some republican lawmakers who insist that this is a constitutional check and balance. the democratic counterparts say
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this is a last-minute power grab. wolf? >> polo, thank you very much. >> we have some other issues i want to review with you, cornell. we have to take a quick break and start our conversation in a moment.
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we're following the breaking news with the president and ceo of the naacp. talking about a straip standard political power grab. just signed by the legislature that dramatically reduceds the power of the next governor roy cooper. what is your reaction to what's happening in north carolina right now. >> make no mistake, this is not
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a matter of republicans stealing from democrats. this is a supermajority in the state legislature basically constraining, curtailing the power of the incoming governor. changing the election commissions in the state so that they have more power. i.e., they put the democrats in a position where they chaired these commissions in off year elections, republicans in on-year lek elections. in the same legislature that the u.s. court of appeals 4th circuit found to have engaged in intentional racial, the courts saying the states engaged in discrimination to suppress the vote. to keep people from voting. the same folks that cheated you
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at the ballot box are now cheating you in the legislature to prevent your choice from governor from having the power the constitution grants to him. this is an out and out power grab. >> the republican majority in the state legislature they want to prevent african americans from voting? is that what you are saying? >> what i'm saying the citizens of north carolina have determined who their next governor is. the republicans in the state legislature have determined they are going to curtal and constrain the power he has to conserve the people who have in fact elected him. the point being here, having suppressed votes on that side of the election, they are now constraining the power of the governor on this side of the election. this is uncon schennable. >> what can be done about it?
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>> certainly we want to explore our options with respect to the court. our north carolina state conference of the 1naacp has goe to court time and time again to insure that our democracy is vibrant and serves the people. this is very serious. russian hacking constitutes a foreign threat to our democracy. voter suppression and the suppression of a governor's authority constitutes a domestic threat to our democracy. make no mistake about it. this is not a matter of one state. one state legislature, one election or partisanship. it is literally the corrupting of our democracy. >> while we have you, i want you reaction to this clip. >> your husband's administration, everything, the election was all about hope. do you think that this administration achieved that?
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>> yes. i do. because we feel the difference now. see now we're feeling what not having hope feels like. you know. hope is necessary. it is a necessary concept. >> you agree with her when she says now we're feeling what not having hope feels like? >> the naacp doesn't do chronic depression. but we recognize reality that a great many americans all across this country are despairing. and they are despairing because of the do you see tryst, because of the escalating number of hate trials. because of the voter suppression in this country. and they are despairing because we have an incoming administration that is failing to take these matters seriously. note this, the president elect neither acknowledges voter suppression as a threat to our
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democracy or russian hacking as a threat to our democracy. make no mistake about it. >> thank you so much for joining us. please be can sure to check out the first ever book from cnn politics: unprecedented. that's it for me. thanks for watching. erin burnett "outfront" starts right now. next the breaking news. president obama on the russian hack. nothing happened without putin and his warning to the russian leader to cut it out. how will the u.s. retaliate now? and harassing calls and letters even death threats. electoral college voters told not to vote trump. and is there a trump real estate bump? you will be surprised what we found? let's go "outfront." good evening. i'm

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