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tv   The Lead With Jake Tapper  CNN  December 19, 2016 1:00pm-2:01pm PST

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this target may well have been a target in a terrorist attack tonight. >> poaul crookshank, thank you o much. i'm sure jake will have this also. "the lead" with jake tapper starts now. this is cnn breaking news. welcome to our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm jake tapper. this is "the lead" and we will begin today with breaking news out of germany. a man driving a truck barrelled through a christmas market into a crowd in the heart of western berlin this evening. this incident is now being investigated as an act of terrorism, an intelligence official tells cnn. you're looking right now at horrific pictures from the aftermath. german police are reporting at least nine people have been killed, dozens more injured, perhaps as many as 50. let's get right to cnn's frederick pliken.
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he's on the board in berlin. what's happening on the ground there? >> reporter: i can tell you there is still ambulances coming in and out of that cordoned area. i'm counting maybe 25 ambulances. of course, a lot of police vehicles are on the scene here. i've been able to speak to a couple eyewitnesses, and they just described the christmas market, which is one of the biggest in the city, was absolutely jam packed with people. this happened around 8:00 p.m. local time. people would have come back from shopping, would have gone to the christmas market to enjoy themselves. this truck just barrelled through going around 40 miles an hour. didn't make any efforts to stop. they say it barrelled through several market stalls which are small, wooden shacks where things are sold. ran over a christmas tree and plowed through a lot of people. there were people trapped underneath the truck. just absolute carnage. that was described here.
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obviously a lot of shock as police try to bring things to order here. >> and fred, german police say they believe they have the driver of the truck in custody. do we know anything about him? do we know anything about the truck? >> nothing yet. we know that the truck was a fairly large truck, so it wasn't like a bigger van. it was a proper truck that weighs several tons of truck. we don't know anything yet about the man who was driving the truck from the authorities just yet. we also don't know, quite frankly, whether or not there might have been swuomeone else the truck, whether there might have been a passenger in the truck as well. the police, in the beginning of their investigation, and you mentioned they said they had captured or arrested who they believed to be the driver of the truck, so that person was arrested actually a couple of blocks away from here. so not exactly at the scene. you wonder whether that person may have run away, initially made an escape but was then
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caught. certainly the german police here definitely cord oning off the entire area. i've covered this area of the country, jake, and i've never seen police of this magnitude. >> and fred, viewers may not know the tradition in germany of christmas markets. tell us about that and tell us the significance of the square where you are. >> reporter: it's absolutely significant. first of all, christmas markets are huge in germany this time of year. it's something many international tourists would have come here as well. and especially this one. it's right in the heart of west berlin. it's right in the heart of one of west berlin's largest shopping areas. and it's also in a pedestrian zone where many, many people would have gathered. the place that this happened on is what used to be really the center of west berlin when the city was still divided. the church of rememberness is here, which is a church from world war ii restored to be a memorial. this area is one that also in the past couple of years, jake,
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has really gained in significance and drawn a lot more people. there is a lot of construction that happened here, a lot of new shops that opened, specifically to try and draw people to that specific pedestrian zone. and of course, around the christmas market time, is when that area would have been and was certainly packed when this incident happened. >> and fred, the u.s. state department put out an alert at the end of november, a europe travel alert cautioning american citizens to exercise caution when anywhere near any holida holiday-themed market or any outdoor market. we don't know what is going on. this is being investigated as an act of terrorism, but the police have not announced any clear motive. but it would seem to be those were the areas that would be -- people would be very vulnerable. >> you know what, jake, in the
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run-up to christmas, there was a lot of talk here, a lot of the fear and anxiety in germany that first of all there could be terror attacks around christmas, and second of all, they could specifically be targeting these christmas markets. in almost every city in germany you'll have a major christmas market that at this time of year is the center of that town. it's the place where everybody goes, it's the place where people meet up, where people meet friends, so there was a lot of talk of tightening security measures around christmas markets like this one. i know from this specific area around here that there is actually still some construction going on, so i'm not sure whether or not any barriers were put up. after the nice attacks, a man plowed through a place there and hit bystanders. there have been additional security measures that were put in place. i'm not sure if they were put in place here because there was still a lot of construction going on here. but yes, this is something people feared. they feared attacks around christmastime and they specifically feared attacks on
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christmas market especially, christmas markets like this one. >> fred pleitgen, stay with us. i want to bring in max foster who is also monitoring the situation. he is in london. max, there is news you're going to bring us now from the berlin police about a second individual associated with this -- what appears to be a terrorist attack. tell us what it is. >> a very fast-moving progress, very important in this incident to do that, to try to act as quickly as possible. we know one suspended driver has been apprehended by the police. we know a second person in the vehicle has been found dead. that might suggest the immediate threat has been dealt with. but we've also heard that residents in berlin have been asked to stay indoors, which suggests the police are investigating whether or not there is a wider network here or whether there are more people involved. there's certainly a huge amount of concern over there in berlin and we also just heard that
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chancellor angela merkel has just been briefed by the internal marshal about concern over this one. >> we've been hearing for a while that u.k. officials have been worried about a possible terrorist attack hitting close to home. >> i was in a briefing just last week ahead of mi-6, the head of authority in this country. he worked very closely with his german and french counterparts, but specifically the u.s. state department officials as well and the cia, of course. he described to me that the scale of the threat is unprecedented. a highly organized attack withwithi withwithin daish, isis, allies without ever leaving syria.
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it's interesting to note that just last month the state department put out a note warning u.s. tourists away from outdoor markets in this holiday season, pointing to credible information, that isis was planning attacks here. >> all right. max foster, stay with us. let's bring in cnn contributor michael weiss, terror analyst paul crookshank. paul, obviously this immediately conjures up pictures of the niece in a brutal attack last summer. in a magazine, isis called for more attacks like that, using trucks to drive into crowds. at this point do we know of anybody claiming responsibility for this. >> jake, there's been no claim or anniversary, but we actually are in hours after this. they are investigating this as a potential act of terrorism. as they see the m.o. of this
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attack, very similar to nice in terms of a truck being used. ment there were 86,000 people killed in that attack in july. that was never really lost on isis, and since then, they've been trying to get their followers. we saw a similar kind of attack in the united states just last month at ohio state. but in that case, the extremists use a car rather than a truck. isis telling supporters that the karn age can be all that greater if their supporters used larger vehicles. they're really trying to suppress this with their supporters. too toermd tell here. pretty soon the m.o. pulls you in the direction general officials are speaking of an unprecedented death against their country, 820 germans, people who live in germany skpl
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sk skpl. they're very surprised at isis-instigated attacks or isis-inspired attacks. this would be the first fatal attack in germany if, indeed, it is an act of terrorism. >> michael weiss, this is now being investigated as an act of terrorism. let me just read from the magazine that's been alluded to. it's roame and it's an article that urged jihadis to attack outside malls and markets. quote, the method of such an attack is a vehicle plows through a gathering, smashing the vehicle's outer body frame
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while slamming forward. it gets more graphic from there. michael, i've heard some people suggest that the reason isis is doing this is they no longer have the capability to carry out attacks with bombs. but they'll use anything. >> i wouldn't say they don't have the capability of carrying out bomb attacks, but this is much easier. cruder methods of killing as many people as possible is what isis links, because they cannot link up with other tads toe accept a spokesman. he said this in 2014 -- or 2013, excuse me. he said. as a muslim, you have a religious add vocationing, stab somebody in the chest, get in a
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car and drive over them. we've seen attempts to do just that. al qaeda had been suggesting low grade vehicular manslaughter, vehicular homicide attacks going back several years now. and i can tell you having talked to isis defectors, including one guy i profiled a year ago who was part of the security services, he had said to me that germany was a huge, huge target for isis. france, belgium, germany, italy and spain are the main countries in europe that isis is looking to strike in. >> and julian, last month the state department warned americans about the heightened risks of terror attacks in europe and warned specifically about holiday events and outdoor markets. that information seems to be focused in europe, not necessarily in the united states, but should americans at home here in the united states be concerned with the holidays approaching? >> i think there is a legitimate
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sort of concern for what we're about to face in the next six weeks. you have a three-part environment. the first is the holiday season. we've always sort of ramped up in terms of our threat concerns and security around the holidays. second, you have a presidential transition, and in most western dmemocracie democracies, transitions are in high volumes. they're of new concern because you have new people coming on. and third, you have a more specific isis agenda that paul and michael were just talking about. so what you will see, i have no doubt having been part of this, coming in the next couple days are talking about barriers to big events, mobile barriers to big events. i don't think you'll see cancellations of threats, but that threat environment should be higher given what we're seeing in the last couple weeks
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and specifically today, but we also have done a lot of training to get law enforcement and public safety ready for this. >> and that state department alert was based on credible information about possible isis attacks in association with the upcoming holiday season and certain events. i want to go back to reporter fred pleitgen who is there at the attack on berlin. fred, tell us what you're seeing there. >> reporter: hi, jake. as you can see behind me, there is a lot of ambulance vehicles here. you can also see that even about two hours and 15 minutes after this attack took place, there are still new ambulances coming in here. you can see there is a fire truck also coming out. so there's still a lot of movement here on the part of the authorities trying to come to grips with the association. we've been speaking with a couple eyewitnesses on the ground and they just spoke how horrible those moments were when that truck came through there.
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they said it came through at about 40 miles an hour, didn't make any effort to stop, simply plowed through market stalls. it's interesting, jake, because we just got new information that apparently someone on the passenger seat was dead on the scene, died at the scene, and that they apprehended who they believe is the driver of the truck. i spoke to one eyewitness a little earlier, and she said she saw the truck after it came to a stop and that there was a big hole in the windshield. there were some items stuck in the windshield, apparently, from hitting things, but there was also a big hole, and she wondered if somebody had fired at the truck, possibly a police officer. i'm sure in the next couple hours, we'll get more detail on that. as you can see here -- and i've covered a lot of events here in germany, jake, as i said. this is being treated as a mass casualty event. you can see the amount of ambulances coming through, fire trucks are here. i've seen search and rescue dogs here as well. police making a big effort to search for any sort of clues that might be in the area. this, of course, a very crush
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crime scene. a lot of assets very, very quickly to abdominal tm terms with the situation. certainly what many people had be fearing. you can see that building we keep talking about. it's the church of remembrance. it is arguably the most iconic sight or attraction here in west berlin. it's a church that was bombed in world war ii and was sort of preserved as a ruin. many people coming to this christmas market here is one that would have been very packed as this happened around 8:00 p.m. local time, jake. >> thank you so much. now to our other breaking news, a russian ambassador gunned down on tape, the shooter yelling, god is the holiday.
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we'll have that story next. stay with us.
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good afternoon. i'm jamie tapper. you're looking at live pictures of berlin. police trying to look at two victims of what is being investigated as a terrorist attack on a market. nine people have been killed, dozens more wounded. we'll continue to monitor the situation and bring you new details as we get them. but we are also learning more right now about a different attack and what the russian government is calling an act of terror. an assassination in onkura, the turkish capital, this afternoon. the russian ambassador, aundre carlov, was shot by an off-duty police officer. this happened at the opening of an art exhibit as which carlov had spoken. video cameras were there and they captured all of it. let me caution you at home if
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you have children watching right now. you might want to send them out of the room. the video we are about to show you is disturbing and graphic. you're about to see the moment when the assassin's gunfire hits carlov in the back. now, immediately after the ambassador drops to the floor, you can hear the assassin calling an i sslamic phrase roughly translating as god. judging by the rant after the assassin shot the ambassador, this would seem to be a politically motivated act, seemingly opposing russia's partnership with bashar assad who has been killing thousands of syrians. but has any group said the assassin did this in the group's name? >> right now, jake, there is no
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official claim of responsibility tying any group in particular to this assassin. but it may be worth reflecting. this is the kind of act of sudden violence that shakes the world, that maybe the sudden kind of act president-elect trump will have to deal with from day one. the shocking assassination of the russian ambassador to turkey caught on video. ambassador aundre carlov was shot dead while making a speech at an art exhibition in ankura. the horrifying moment when the ambassador is hit and falls to the ground after being shot to the ground with multiple rounds. as people flee to safety, he shouts, god is greatest, do not forget aleppo. do not forget syria. get back, get back. only death will remove me from
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here. everyone who has taken part in this oppression will one by one pay for it. >> reporter: he was neutralized. the gunman was a law enforcement officer, a 22-year-old member of the riot police who was born in turkey, off duty on the night of the attack. the state department condemned it. >> we stand ready to offer any assistance that may be required to russia and turkey as they investigate this despicable attack, which was, as the secretary noted, also an assault on the right of all diplomats to safely and securely advance and represent their nations around the world. >> reporter: a journalist took these stunning photographs moments after the carnage began. after the attack, as the ambassador was quickly taken to the hospital, turkish security forces swarmed the area. it is not clear what impact the killing may have now on turkey's sometimes fragile relations with russia which hit an all-time low
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after turkish forces shot down a russian war plane near the syrian border in november 2015. russia also is widely blamed by many in the region for its part in supporting syria's assad regime amid a humanitarian crisis taking place in war-torn aleppo. following the ambassador's assassination, turkey's president and president putin spoke by phone to a news agency. both countries along with iran expected to hold a summit with syria in months cow on tuesday. the slan in ambassador had serv as russian ambassador to turkey since 2013. he was married with one son, according to the russian embassy. for months cow, the evaluation may have to be made to what extent its involvement in syria has now resulted in a trend towards more violence next door in turkey.
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jake? >> all right, barbara starr at the pentagon. let's bring in muhammad lela from turkey. muhammad, what are we learning about the gunman? >> reporter: well, jake, we're starting to get a clear picture of who this assassin was. he was a 22-year-old turkish national who was a riot squad police officer, and that explains why he was able to handle a firearm in that chilling video so well, because he had that training that might also explain why he was able to infiltrate that crowd without being noticed. now, we understand from turkish officials that both his father and his mother and his sister have all been detained. investigators are now combing through the belongings in his house looking for that trail of electronics, communications devices, trying to figure out who he was in touch with. but turkish officials have gone on record to say they are investigating him for links to the golenest group. the head of that group is living in the united states.
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turkey has been asking for his extradition. turkey blames that movement for being behind the failed coup earlier this year. if it is proven he was part of that gulen group, you'll start to see a lot more action coming from turkey demanding the extradition of that leader. >> muhammad lela, thank you so much. mont moscow was quick to condemn the assassination of its ambassador. but putin was going further and blaming the west for the assassination. putin claimed wisteria that pushed the assassination. does this involve russia or just one man? >> i think to a certain extent it probably does, jake.
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it's hard to say how moscowites are going to react to this and russia at large. we did see a tweet from another lawmaker. the west is afraid of the friendship of russia and turkey, perhaps implying that the west could somehow have had some role in this, either deliberately or inadvertently. as you said, we saw that tweet saying essentially the media propaganda has riled people up, has whipped people into a fervor. i think it's true to say at the moment, if you're looking on your twitter feed or facebook feed, there is a proliferation at the moment of pro-russian media organizations that have essentially been leveling this accusation at the larger media, at the western media saying the accounts of what's happening in aleppo are exaggerated and that they are potentially whipping people up or riling them into a frenzy. from the president, though, jake, president putin, we're seeing a relatively cool, level-headed response.
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president putin says the only response we should offer to this murder is stepping up our fight against terror. he said it was an attack on the normalization of russia-turkish relationship, an attack on the syrian peace process, and of course there is a summit taking place here tomorrow. in attendance will be the turkish foreign minister, the iranian foreign minister, the russian foreign minister. the focus of that is syria. i wouldn't expect to see any hasty action from the kremlin. most likely they'll see what this investigation will bring in terms of identifying whether this perpetrator had a larger network, jake. >> clarissa ward in moscow for us. how they might need the help of intelligence officials working together. how might that work? stay with us. ork. with no surprise overages, you can use your data worry free
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welcome back to "the lead." we're following several breaking stories today including, you're looking right now at images of berlin. a truck plowed through a christmas market in west berlin that's now being investigated as terrorism. we know now that at least nine people have been killed, dozens more, perhaps as many as 50, injured. what the russian government is calling an act of terrorism, another incident, a gunman assassinating russia's ambassador to turkey. that also took place today. after killing the ambassador of russia to turkey said don't forget syria, don't forget aleppo. i want to talk about this with senior director james woolsey. thank you for joining us, i appreciate it. let's start with berlin. we know it's being investigated as an act of terrorism. we know the state department issued a warning telling
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americans to be careful over the holiday season. if you go to europe, avoid christmas markets and festivals. it certainly looks like an act of terrorism. >> it looks like nice a few years ago, and isis telling them that this was a good way of killing us. >> on a practical level, what can be done about this sort of thing? it's just intelligence, i suppose. >> there's no weapons, there's nothing you have to smuggle, there's no special skill involved. it's a tough situation. president-elect trump, together with most of the european leaders, are entering a situation of real tension and difficulty, i think, coming up here. we don't know, for example, what's going to happen to the turkey-russian relationship. it could conceivably be hostile. turkey shot down a russian aircraft a year or so ago, and this has happened. on the other hand, putin may be
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friendly and decide to try to charm turkey, and they've got a summit coming up that we're not a part of, and he, i think, would like nothing better than to damage nato as much as possible, and turkey is a key member of nato. so i don't know what's coming, but it's not going to be straightforward or easy, and president-elect trump is entering a very, very difficult situation. it would be tough for president obama, in a way tougher for him, because he has a history of caving in on not sticking to the red line. >> president obama, you're talking about. >> right, president obama not sticking to the red line he drew in the sand for syria not to cross and so forth. so he has a lot of weight, i think, to try to deal with. but for a brand new president, it's going to be a sporty course. >> and the situation in syria is
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so murky with the russians allied with assad, and assad against the world in many ways. that includes western powers, it includes mold rat arab nations. it also includes al-nisra, isis and al qaeda not in partnership with the west, but also equally against assad, and now the russians are claiming that this person who assassinated their ambassador is a terrorist and may even be affiliated with isis. >> and syria is an iranian poodle. they do what they're told, i think, by iran which has the money and the resources and the power and is growing because of this, i think, very bad agreement that we signed with iran. iran is getting closer and closer to having a nuclear capability, and before many years, hopefully years, not months, are up. so there is a great deal of tension in this part of the
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world. africa is pressing against southern europe and the near east. the near east and southern europe are in a real state of uncertainty as to where things are going to go. and europe with its refugee crisis and the way it was treated by merkel and others that made it more difficult is indirectly having some sort of effect on us here in the united states, on the degree and number of refugees that we see and the like. >> you talked about donald trump in the campaign and that these are the problems he's about to inherit in the united states. >> he's got a month. >> i guess one of the questions i have is he's made it very clear that he sees an opportunity for a partnership, a friendship with russia. where do you come down on that? i know a lot of intelligence officials are very skeptical of putin. >> well, i'm pretty skeptical of russia long term, because i
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think its history has been one of grandizing itself of taking neighbors and the neighbor's neighbors. abraham lincoln used to say about the old farmer that lived next to him growing up, the fellow used to say, i don't need much land, just need what's mine. that's kind of been russia's history. there are times you can get along with them and work well together. i was lucky enough to negotiate a treaty in '89 with them, and they were delightful to work with. they were great. for nearly a decade. and then with putin coming in, things have turned, i think, somewhat more sour. now, president-elect trump may have some way of dealing with russia that emphasizes the easy parts and not the hard parts. we'll see. i certainly wish him well and hope that that can be worked out. >> it seems to me, and perhaps i'm doing a disservice to president-elect trump's view of
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the world, but it seems he views the number one threat to the united states as being terrorism, isis, al qaeda and a partnership with putin to fight terrorism would be wise, but i've also heard, for instance, that the chairman of the joint chiefs say that russia is actually our number one geopolitical foe. >> i think i would vote for iran because they are the leading terrorist state in the world. they're in the process of becoming a nuclear power. if they do, so will saudi arabia and others, so we will have the next crisis in the mideast two, three, four, five years from now be one where there are three or four nuclear powers instead of none or one. and that's extremely troubling. i think that things could go haywire in any set of directions, but to me that's the most troubling one. >> could putin help with that problem? >> he could if he wanted to. what he wants, i think, is to expand his reach into the middle
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east, but he may be able to be worked with. i think the odds are a bit less than 50-50, but they're not zero. >> former cia director james woolsey, always a pleasure to see you. thanks for being here. we're going to continue to monitor both berlin and ankura. right now electoral voting is happening across the united states. the results are pushing donald trump even closer to officially, officially becoming our president-elect. but some results may not be smooth sailing. that story next.
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"you sold out america," hurlers throwing accusations in wisconsin as that state and every other state across the united states are going about the business of making donald trump's election as president of
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the united states official. sara marie is in palm beach, florida at president trump's mar-a-lago estate. sar sarah, has president trump commented at all on these various outbursts? >> reporter: he has not weighed in on it today, although he did have some sentiments on twitter over the weekend. when you see these outbursts, you get a sense of division that still remains in the country as donald trump prepares to take the white house. but it does appear he will cross over that 270 mark with no problems. this sort of last hurdle mostly a ceremonial one. with a dash of last-minute drama. >> the votes are 10 votes, donald j. trump. >> reporter: the electoral college is making it official today which will seal donald trump's victory as he prepares to head to the white house. trump critics making a final stand. protesters aired their grievances at state capitols.
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a few electors voted for those besides trump. they talked about the bogus e-mail deal and the hurdles secretary clinton couldn't overcome in her victory. >> she overcame it all but in the end we had the fbi deal and we couldn't rise above that. she did everything else just right. >> trump took things personally, saying, if my many supporters had done what everybody else is doing, they would have been scorned and called terrible names. on russia, some are hoping the president-elect will adopt a tougher tone. republicans, like senator john mccain, expressing alarm to jake tapper on "state of the union" about russia's attempts to meddle in the u.s. election. >> this is serious business f.
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they're able to harm the electoral process, then they destroy democracy, which is based on free and fair elections. >> reporter: trump's top aides continue shrugging aside u.s. intelligence agencies' assessment that russia interfered, insisting they need more proof. >> i think he would accept the conclusion if these intelligence professionals would get together, put out a report, show the american people that they're actually on the same page. >> li will treat vladimir putin firmly, but there is nothing i would like than getting along with him. >> trump admonished that he stole a u.s. drone in china.
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meanwhile, he has a series of meetings at his mar-a-lago estate, filling out at least one post today, announcing businessman and army infantry officer vincent viola as his pick for army secretary. he is having meetings this afternoon, though we did just catch sight of him out on tert ras -- the terrace at mar-a-lago. he is expected to continue these meetings, jake. >> sarah, it's kind of shocking we have not heard anything from president-elect trump on twitter about the apparent terrorist attack in berlin and about the assassination of the russian ambassador in turkey, both of which are being investigated as acts of terrorism. this seems like the kind of thing during the campaign that he would immediately tweet about. >> well, we've not heard from him yet, but as i just pointed out, jake, he has been in
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back-to-back meetings. they've been keeping us posted about the various candidates he's been meeting with. he just emerged in a break between these meetings, so if he's getting news of that, that's probably happening right now is my guess, and i'll be standing by to see if he is briefed on these events. i'll let you know if he is, and if he decides to make any comments, he has the ability to do that. >> all right, sarah murray, stick around and join us here with "washington post" columnist josh rogan. josh, one thing that's interesting about whether it's the terrorist attack in berlin or the attack in turkey, it's a lot easier when you're not president to say these acts of terrorism are going to stop once i become president. but then once you actually become president, it's really not that simple. >> that's right, and the reason this is such an open question is because we know so little about what the trump administration will do on all these issues. we hear donald trump is going to make a deal with russia on
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syria. he said he's talked to vladimir putin about it. before that, he's going to be tough on isis. we've heard lots of incremental tidbits about what the policy might be. until he gets his team in place, until we figure out what his overall strategy will be, it's hard to predict what the trump administration will actually do. >> one of the things we've heard out of turkey and russia today about this assassination, the terrorist attack and the view of russia, the russian ambassador attack in turkey is you have people allied with turkey saying this all has to do with this cleric in pennsylvania who the united states has refused to turn over who was accused of being part of the attempted coup. and then the russians saying this individual is all part of the terrorists that they are fighting in syria, using this attack for their own political purposes. >> right, and i think this follows from your last question. we're in a vacuum right now where we have one president on his way out and one president-elect who is not quite
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in. so countries around the world are acting accordingly and they're pursuing their own interests and their own objectives. so for the turks, this will be an opportunity if they want to to crack down further on their opposition, on civil society, that's what they've been doing over the last year. they're pointing to goulin, who is part of a movement in the turkish government. there is no word he was involved. we'll have to wait and see. for russians it's a very simple calculation. they see all terrorists as the same. this is the perfect justification for that. the irony of this situation is this attacker, this assassin, apparently wanted to drive a wedge between turkey and russia who are meeting tomorrow in moscow with the iranians to decide what to do with syria, and in effect t might bring them closer together, not farther apart. >> and sarah, let me ask you about something having more to do with politics. john podesta, the clinton campaign chair, was on "meet the
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press" yesterday, and he was asked if this was a free and fair election. take a look at what he had to say. >> i think it was distorted by the russian intervention, let's put it that way. >> no answer specifically saying this was a free and fair election. in fact, an answer suggesting he does not think it was. i'm sure the trump forces are saying if the shoe was on the other foot and if hillary clinton had won and it was kelly ann conway refusing to say it was a free and fair election, there would be hell to pay. >> reporter: that's absolutely true. we saw bill clinton making similar remarks that hillary clinton could overcome everything except the fbi and russian meddling today. and the allies made a notion that donald trump would not necessarily accept the election results. i think the difference here is that hillary clinton and her allies are not saying they don't accept the election results, but they are saying there was russian meddling. i think the worrisome thing from trump's end is he hasn't
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indicated he's concerned about russia's influence on the election or their continued influence, jake. our colleagues at cnn have been reporting that the cyber hacking attacks by russia against russian political institutions are continuing, even with the election over with. there are certainly issues here, concerns here, that are going to be a problem for donald trump when he takes the white house. so far we have not seen him speak skeptically or critically of russia at all. maybe that will change when he gets over those 270 electors and he does not see any more hurdles between the path of him and the white house. that's a big maybe, jake. >> thank you both. appreciate it. we're going back to the breaking news in turkey where the russian ambassador was killed, the gunman saying, don't forget aleppo. next we'll go to aleppo where evacuees are escaping horror of war. stay with us.
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we're back with more in our world lead. shortly after gunning down the ambassador of turkey, his killer was heard shouting, do not forget aleppo, do not forget syria, which suggests the role aleppo is playing in bombing, including innocent civilians in places like aleppo plays a role. in the meantime, the suffering continues. thousands are still trapped in the rebel-held areas.
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five buses that were supposed to carry wound to do safety were set on fire over the weekend. there is, however, some good news to report. you might remember the heart-wrenching message from an aleppo orphanage. we're told all the children have been evacuated to safety, and the 7-year-old who has been tweeting about aleppo has been evacuated from her town. she and her family can start a new life in turkey. they're the few lucky ones as the people in aleppo are facing a new uncertainty now. a special correspondent for the los angeles times has been writing great stuff from aleppo itself. thank you for joining us. what can you tell us about the evacuations right now? >> reporter: well, the fact that they're still going on, and that's a good thing. that in and of itself is an achievement. that wasn't the case for the last four days now. every time they tried to do this, it just sput ttered and
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collapsed into a total breakdown with fire, et cetera. today is the first day where it's gone without a hitch. again, so far. >> you were there when residents returned to their homes in aleppo, one man telling you he wants to commit suicide after losing everything. tell us about that. >> reporter: well, this was a person who hadn't been able to come back to his store in the old city of aleppo the last five years. you have to remember this area had been an active war zone for all this time. many of the shops there, these sort of old market places in the area there had been totally destroyed by the conflict. so this man went back and he tried to see what had happened to his place, and it was on the ground, it was leveled. as you can imagine for someone like that, and we're talking about someone who spent 35 years abroad to get the money for merchandise and to invest in his store, and now it was gone. for a person that was quite old, there is no going back. >> obviously it's so tough to predict anything in aleppo, in
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syria. are the people there convinced that the fighting in aleppo is really finally over? >> reporter: to be honest with you, i'm not sure anyone is convinced that the fighting is over. but there certainly is a sense of a certain kind of end, at least at this point. one has to remember that you still have a lot of territory outside aleppo still held by the opposition. if you consider the fact of the last point of control san area that is literally, i think, four miles to the west of aleppo, that should give you an indication of how close the rebels are. i don't think it's the end by any measure. it might be the end for the rebels inside aleppo itself, but there is still a long way to go before they can reclaim the entire area as secure. >> when this finally does end, what do you think the future holds for the people of aleppo?
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>> reporter: that's a hard question. the fact of the matter is, yes, the old city and many areas of this once beautiful, gorgeous metropolis has been destroyed, but that can be rebuilt at some level. the far greater issue, and i know this sounds cheesy perhaps, is society here. we're talking about communities that have been divided in two more the last five years now. and elsewhere it's been six years, in aleppo it's lean five years. how can they go back to each other? we're talking about blood, so much anger, so much resentment. how can they go back? it's a question i wonder about myself every day. just today i saw a family that had been divided for the last five years. two brothers went with the opposition, one brother stayed here. what do you do about that? what happens? i think there will abe lot more work to be done on the people's resolve. >> thank you for your reporting. please stay safe. >> reporter: thank you.
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i appreciate it. be sure to follow me on facebook and twitter at jake tapper. that's it for "the lead." i turn you over to brianna keeler. she is subbing for wolf blitzer and she's right next door in a place we like to call "the situation room." thanks for watching. happening now, breaking news. christmas market attack. at least nine people are killed as a truck plows through a crowded holiday market in berlin. dozens more are injured. was this an act of terror modelled on last summer's slaughter in france? brutal assassination. russia's ambassador to turkey is shot dead while speaking in an art gallery. the gunman shouts "god is greatest" and "remember aleppo." is the region headed for more turmoil. the electoral college seals the deal for donald trump. across the country electors resist protests and are making the white house win