tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN December 20, 2016 3:00pm-4:01pm PST
breaking news. terrorists at large. authorities say they have new leads tonight after letting their initial suspect go free. heightened alert. new york and other major industries ramping up security, fearing that holiday events may be vulnerable to terrorists. we're getting new information. russian round-up. after the assassination of moscow's ambassador to turkey, vladimir putin is putting terrorists on notice. the gunman's relatives have been detained. and under the wire. president obama is racing to advance his agenda before his time in office runs out. kit stop donald trump from undoing his legacy or at least slow him down? we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. wolf blitzer is off. i'm brianna keeler and you're in "the situation room."
isis takes credit for the christmas market attack. he killed 12 people. tonight the attacker is still at large and the terrorist manhunt is intensifying after germ an authorities apparently arrested the wrong man. he has been released. police say they didn't find any forensic evidence that he drove that truck. and tonight big cities across europe and here in the united states are stepping up security at christmas markets. and police have been moved to high profile areas around the city and we're following turkey and the assassination of the russian ambassador. new video showing him standing behind the ambassador before opening fire. state run media in turkey reporting a search of the shooter's home turned up books on al qaeda and other extremist,
another extremist group. seven people have been detained for questioning. that includes the gunman's parents as well as other relatives. and tonight a spokesman says president-elect trump is closely monitoring the aftermath of the attacks in germany and turkey but transition officials won't say how he is getting information or whether he received his official classified briefing today. i'll ask darrell issa about the attacks. and analysts are standing by as we bring you full coverage of the day's top stories. first to cnn international correspondent in berlin for us. give us the latest on this investigation. sfwl german authorities had someone. they uncovered forensic evidence inside the cab of the truck that plowed through the christmas market and found pout none of it
linked this man to that specific attack. it appears they're starting back at square one. they say they're not sure where it was an individual who perpetrated the attack or whether there might be a larger organization behind all this. at the same time, as you mentioned, isis now coming forward and saying at the very least, they feel responsible for the attack because of some of the propaganda that they put out in the past. here's what they said. >> isis now says it was inspiration behind the deadly make the berlin where the large black truck plowed through a holiday market, killing at least a dozen people and injuring nearly 50 more on monday. now german officials stay driver and others could still be on the loose. possibly armed and willing to kill. >> we do not know if there was one perpetrator or several perpetrators. we do not know if there was support given to the perpetrator. >> police have detained foreign
national who entered the country last december as a refugee. that man has been released because the investigations, quote, have not produced imminent knowledge. a person was found shot in the passenger seat. the truck company's owner fears it is his cousin, the regular driver. they did something to him. my wife could not get through to him. >> the gun is nowhere to be found. they are interviewing witnesses for more leads. the scene is reminiscent of the deadly isis attack in nice, france, last july. 86 were killed there when a truck plowed through promenade. just last month, the u.s. state department warned trapp travelers of an isis threat warning u.s. citizens should exercise caution at holiday festivals, events and outdoor
markets. >> he must as things stand now, assume it was a terrorist attack. >> german chancellor angela merkel paid a visit to the silenced holiday market today. she is facing increased criticism for germany's wide acceptance of refugees. more than 890,000 asylum seekers. >> we don't want to when i have the fear of evil terrorizing us, even if that is difficult. we will find the force to live the life we want to live in germany. free together. >> and many people that we've been speaking to here around the scene through course of the day say they feel vulnerable after this attack took place. they say there are so many peel who to go christmas markets. it is a huge gathering. they feel like it is an area where a soft target. at the same time, the authorities here giving out a public warning saying, look, the people who are behind this, the person behind this possibly still at large.
very probably still armed. they say at this point in time, people should be very vigilant. if they see anything, don't try to act on their own but contact police as soon as possible. >> thank you so much. reporting for us from a very windy berlin there. there is growing concern about security at holiday gatherings. other big events here in the united states. you heard frederick talk about it. it is a concern after what happened in berlin. i want to bring in evan perez. what precautions are we seeing being made in the u.s.? >> you've already seen the nypd and other agencies are increasing security as we're getting ready for christmas and new years celebrations. here if washington, one month from now. what's interesting, is that the intelligence and law enforcement agencies we talked on, they are not seeing the spike in threats and chatter and possible plots as we've seen around this time. for instance, last year, there were a number of threats had authorities very, very concerned
during the holiday festivities but none ended up panning out. the inauguration is always a big concern. and this one in particular because of the divisive 2016. >> what about abroad? are there worries there could be more terror attacks? >> absolutely. there's tremendous concern about the european countries in particular and intelligence showing plots, including some that have direction from syria. we often hear that isis is losing territory. and under pressure in iraq and syria. but u.s. intelligence officials say that hasn't completely shut down some of their command and control capabilities. now there's still some communications between organizers and syria and foot soldiers in europe in the past month, we've seen plots thwarted in the balkans and germany and elsewhere on the couldn't penalty in. >> i want to talk with darryl
issa. talk to us with the threat in the u.s. not just globally this holiday season. what are the concerns? >> the concern is that isis has become better at what they do. that their network may be diminished in some regions. but it has become a more capable worldwide organization. particularly one that does comparatively minor but easy to set up, easy to execute assassinations. whether it is one individual such as in turkey or a truck such nasa berlin. these so-called, sometimes lone wolves are very good at setting up terror on a regular basis. it is part of reason what we have not done for the last eight years needs to be reversed in the trump administration. >> new york has heightened security in the wake of the attack. have other cities followed suit? >> it is important to look at
homeland security as not hardening one target but looking at broadly as you can for any opportunity and then focus go on those whenever they can find a shred of evidence. if you think about it, over the last number of years, the terrorist attacks that have occurred in the last eight years have in fact always had some indications, some misstep where it could have been spotted. some mistake that was made. to a great extent, if you're sitting in new york city, you're just a cop on the beat for someone pulling a gun or driving a truck. however, if you're at the intelligence level, these agencies, you can recomb through and look for new indicators. particularly in light of these last several attacks around the world. >> you said it before you were a critic of the obama administration and how it has handled this issue domestically. what do you expect will be different about the results of donald trump's domestic counter terrorism efforts compared to
the obama administration's? not just the approach but the results. >> absolutely. i think we have to look at approach as part of the results. first of all, president trump has vowed to take fight to isis around the world. which makes the domestic job inherently easier. second will you, he's nominated a general because he thinks there needs to be an organizational reform of the department of homeland security. and i couldn't agree with him more. as much as there are good men and women at for example, tsa, it is a large organization. often found to be poorly organized and certainly not having the kind of discipline that allows them to predictably catch what should be caught and get people through in an expeditious basis. i see those as domestic command and control. and i'm not coming on this show to talk about domestic work having been poorly done. i think it could be done better. the real failure of the obama
administration was the failure of the state department to take serious the growth of terrorism. it is a failure of our military to be deployed in an efficient fashion. and those two areas, the state department and the department of defense are the major areas of taking fight to isis. both individually as our military, and coordinating with allies that we can find in this war on terror. and we'll be calling it again a war on terror. so the we can define it not as every muslim but every muslim terrorist. >> what did you make of his statement then yesterday as he talked about this? he did steam walk, some have said, dangerously close to making this look like a religious war in a way, which some say exactly what isis wants. they want to draw the u.s. into disparaging, all of islam.
so that there can be this division between the islamic world and the u.s. and allies. >> when president-elect trump made one of the most important meetings, the last one before the election with president asisi in new york, he dealt with a man who is is a muslim, a leader of the largest arab state, and who in fact is dealing with schock terrorism. several varieties. isis in the sign sxi the muslim brotherhood. and i think it was very cheer that president-elect trump wants to work islamic leaders around the world. he doesn't blame the religion but he does blame how the religion has been disported and in fact has recruited people to commit terrible crimes. and by the way, that puts him perfectly aligned with president assisti and other leaders in the region that we'll have to count on to work with us. >> you talk about donald trump is going to take the fight to isis and that's something that
will differentiate him from how president obama has approached this. how is he going to be different about that? is this an expanded military effort? this is one of the reasons that tapping retired marine general mad dog mattis makes a lot of sense. this is someone who saw how ineffective mass troops can be. we've got special forces in the region and that's the pivot that has been made. how is what donald trump going to do going to be any different than that? they're not mass forces in iraq and syria. >> there aren't enough forces in iraq and syria. they pulled all the forces out of iraq has now made it clear that we need to leave forces in iraq. but they haven't made the
changes in the treatment of sunni and kurds in iraq that will cause those people to truly rally behind fixing what's wrong in iraq. when i said there is a diplomatic component has to be reinvigorated, they need to go hand in hand. it is a big job. we are behind where we were eight years ago. i think anyone would admit that we are. we know one thing. we know we can defeat these organizations. what he we need to do is defeat them and keep them key feet. that's where i think the important meeting went on. they showed their hand that they had control of the government in egypt. obviously you and i don't have enough time on this show to talk about syria and the come mexico at this of fixing something that
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we know that dozen of people have been injured in this explosion. emergency responders are there on the scene. of course this is developing so we will bring you more details as we get them. that's a story coming to us out of mexico city. darrell is with us. right now we have an update on the terror investigation unfolding right now in turkey after the assassination of the russian ambassador in the capital. >> reporter: the russian investigators are here. they sbeenl the building behind me where the murder took place. we know from turkish authorities that he was a 22-year-old
policeman. that he had been trained as a riot ma'am in the past couple years. they have detained his family, a roommate and another friend. that's usual in turkey in situations like this. what we're learning from government media outlets is that the investigation is going back to this young policeman's home town. they're going to his high school, his high school friends, trying to learn more about that. they're saying they believe, the government believes he was connected with this large group of alleged last summer. what this dwhus the foreign minister says that, it drives a wedge between turkey and the
united states and puts turkey much closer as we've been hearing. >> all right. nic robertson. thank you for that update in turkey. we appreciate it. and we're back now with darrell issa. a member of the house foreign relations committee. i want to see what you think about how these two key players, turningy and russia when you're talking about isis and syria, how they move forward. it seems like they're saying we won't let the affect relations but there is a lot of anger here. will this change the dynamics when it comes to the fight against isis and the conflict in syria? >> you mentioned before the break, turkey was a problem in 2003 when we went into iraq. and we have continued to have a challenging relationship with this nato ally. certainly, turkey even before the russian engagement had, if
you will, bright line that's they kept putting down about what they would or wouldn't cooperate with us on in the engagement in syria. and part of the reason is that the fact is, they take a huge amount of refugees. and they are moderate islamic government. some would debate how moderate it is. clearly that's one of the challenges, that that government finds itself in a precarious position to maintain power and balance in an increasingly difficult islamic world. particularly in that region. >> yesterday we saw the president-elect really quick to point the finger of blame in better sxlin the incident in turkey before there was any information that was released. i've talked to a lot of people who said, he was probably right. but there is also a possibility he could have been wrong and that's the point.
>> i think important to look at the pivot president trump has made. he makes changes as he puts together a cabinet, a national security team and so on. so he has made that one step. obviously, he is still not the president. and every time he does something that is presidential, people tend on say, is that his right before january 20th at noon. and they have a point. in this case, he is not the president. he is still to a certain extent dealing with the reality of sending a message about how he will deal with things. i think to your point, on january 20th, after noon, there will have to be some changes in a message put out by the president. and i'm confident that president-elect trump will make that pivot just as he has made the pivot to choosing an extremely good cabinet thus far.
>> specifically, what do you look at that says to you, he is really made a pivot. he has may have had changes that more people should have faith in. when you look at both his national security team and now his cabinet appointments. he has made a decision on a superb manager to go in and deal with the state department which has been dysfunctional in its basic missions. he has made a great selection for the secretary of defense and we could go through each of them. each has been carefully chosen after a fairly exhaustive -- >> you didn't mention his national security adviser there. >> well, general flynn, these are very, very respected individuals. and they're part, they'll be part of a larger team he's putting together. he still has yet to get a dni and other positions.
and part of reason is that if he doesn't think he has, as did he with secretary of state, he had some very good examples. but he reshuffled the deck and asked to go again and again until he found somebody he really wanted that could be a real change agent. that is part of what he's been doing in the short period of time. focusing on that. does he still tweet many an almost campaign mode? absolutely. will there be some changes january 20 and beyond? of course. this is somebody who, even as he sits in florida, more than 15 hours a dave presidential type work in putting together his cabinet. getting briefs and so. on but he's also somebody who has sought to get independent information. he probably watches you and this show more than any president this history because he in fact watches and takes his material in in his very long days. this is a 20-hour a day
president. i've served with the two previous presidents during their entire term. and i don't think anybody would say that they were as business-like for 20 hours a day with very little sleep as this president will be. >> you cite him watching news and yet he has access to the presidential daily briefing and isn't taking that on the regular basis that we've seen it before. how does watching cable news, substitute for an incredible amount of information that he could be getting? >> well, he and a number of members of his team are being briefed up. but let's remember, this is an administration that has politicized national intelligence and we're dealing with that. we're dealing with, if you will, an administration that if you believe the administration -- >> do you think -- i have to stop you there. do you think donald trump has not politicized intel?
you're saying this administration has. but donald trump has cast doubt on the intelligence that is agreed across all of the intelligence agencies about, russia being behind these hackings that we've seen. how is he not politicizing intelligence? >> i appreciate what you're saying. unfortunately, what you're saying isn't supported by direct statements. >> you're staying press is saying that the fbi and the cia are not being clear in any way about who they believe is behind the hackings? >> the agencies, and we'll take all 17 for a moment, plus the fbi. apparently information for months or before, about russia's activities. they had eight years almost to
the day of running the show under the president. this president now wants to blame donald trump who has not taken any authority over those agencies, they want to blame him for the russian hacking. >> i don't think they're blaming -- i don't think they're blaming him for the hacking. but he is not even admitting that russia was behind the hacking. and point taken. i think a lot of people agree with you. they say this wasn't emphasized before and it has been after the election by the administration. but there was an intelligence community assessment that talked about this. i don't see how the facts are lining up with what you're asserting. >> a good example would be the chairman of the house select intelligence committee is outraged that what they're being told after the election bears little resemblance to the october 7 briefing. and he is calling for the
reforms to make sure congress, specially gang at the top in fact get a level of briefing. if the administration is accurate today, there was a huge failure to lead and do their job leading up to it. that's an important item. let's remember. and you've heard the before. nobody told hillary clinton to be lazy and not go to wisconsin. to conspire with the democratic national committee to disenfranchise bernie sanders. throws mistakes that have very little to do with russia and nothing to do with donald trump. >> certainly. and i think that's a point well made and many have said that. but donald trump is asserting, you have no idea if russia is behind this. and yet that briefing you talk about on october 7, talks about the responsibility of russia. he is saying who knows who it
is? maybe it is russia accident maybe it is china, maybe it is somebody at home. how is that not politicizing intelligence? and how is that leadership? >> i think you have to look at it on balance. wikileaks has said much of their information that they leaked came from a disgruntled staff member. that has as much credibility as indirect -- >> you've read the well reported "new york times" story where it talks specifically about russian hackers identified by very odd mondayicers, fuzzy bear, fancy bear. these are hackers. and they are described very well and in detail. are you saying that all of that is rubbish? that that is not true? >> not at all. what i'm saying is that "the new york times" is not a source. they are an opinion. the fact is the president can
and should get together the intelligence community and declassify information as is necessary to confront the russians. and even though necessary his waning days, he should have a real man to confront these people he's worked and trusted to keep an iran, nuclear free. to deal with assad and fight isis, rather than those who would not be happy with him to fight power. they have been hacking on us. they have been spying us on. the real surprise is that the president waited until after the tloeks accuse russia effectively of not having his chosen replacement be elected and nothing could be further from the truthful hillary clinton lost an election because she lost an election. and by the way, i am not briefed to a level where i am going to
have an opinion on everything that russia did. but i have been briefed for many years in the past and i would say that it is no surprise to me that russia is continuing to undermine our process at every possibility. and certainly takes advantage in turkey, in syria, in iraq, iran, and anywhere they can to have their smaller economies look big by making us look bad. it is one of the problems that we have. we said before the break, if we're going on fix syria, we have to have a way to have syria respect its minorities and have a say in their government. that's a very tell cat piece of diplomacy that we haven't been working on for the last, at least eight years and maybe some beyond that we need to reengage on. it is very clear that russia is not a good partner in that at
this time. and if we're going to have a partner in russia, we're going to have to change the rules of our relationship. >> all right. thank you so much. you've been incredibly generous with your time. i will say it is possible we'll continual had conversation in the future, that hillary clinton lost the loeks her merits, and also that russia did mettle. we'll continue that conversation ahead and i look forward to it. thank you so much. ahead, our terrorism experts on the christmas market rampage. and more donald trump's response, the new wave of terror. where is he getting his information? about the chevy red tag sales event. this thing is a beast. steel or aluminum? steel. why? science. it's gonna hold up over aluminum, big time. you can get special holiday pricing and when you find your red tag, you get thousands more cash back. that's two deals in one.
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isis claiming that it inspired the deadly attack many berlin. the driver of the truck that plowed into the square is still at large tonight. i want to bring in our experts. we have security commentator mike rogers, the former chairman of the house intelligence committee. and we have evelyn with us, a former deputy assistant defense secretary. we look at this attack. and i think the first thing everyone thinks is, this is so easy for someone to pull off. this could happen anywhere. >> unfortunately.
we saw back in 2015, adnani, one of the leading spokesmen for isis came out with a long litany of things that he wanted his followers to do. he said if you can't get an ied, a bullet, he listed a bunch of horrible things, including using vehicles to do this. so we saw a pattern in 2014 where they actually used it. then they doubled down in 2015 and said yes, we want people to do it. i think you're seeing the result of that conversation. >> we have one of our senior military analysts. you lived in germany for 12 years. you've actually been to this christmas market. i know a lot of people are wondering. how did this guy escape with so many people around? >> it's a very constricted space. when you put the stalls up during christmas market, it becomes even more restricted and they had quite a few barriers around there as they do most of
the markets. with the chaos of the situation, to drive a large truck through, to have a lot of damage and jump out while the trauma is going on is pretty good. i would like to make comment, too. i had a lot of dealings with the various intelligence agencies in germany, the bnd, their equivalent of the cia, the equivalent of the fbi, and even the m.a.d., their counter intelligence force in the military. they are very good. they've gotten better over the last several years and i think they've been doing quite a few things on avoid these attacks. and this is one of those things, to avoid all of them. >> you can't. that's what we hear over and over again. is there a concern that this will inspire others? >> i think this is why it is really important for to us find out exactly what the president-elect has planned when he talks about history.
policy. he said he has this great idea and it is a secret plan. there is one element, of course, that's international. he said he will bomb isis. what else will he do so people are not susceptible to the messages they're getting overseas. the climate could shift very quick will if he's not careful. >> there was a state department warning that we saw. americans traveling in europe over the holiday season. is this attack, is there any link between that? or is this just in general a threat where something like this is happening in berlin, becomes, unfortunately, expected, although unexpected? >> there is a link. they knew at the time there is a lot of chatter going on. they were picking up lots of signs from other terrorist groups saying about activities that would step up around november, december. that's why the state department came out and made a pretty
pointed warning. when you do that, that tells you that they have a level of information that concerns them, that might scare people away from going to the to have these areas. you say be careful about traveling to markets. this was a targeted market. that tells me the state department through the intelligence agencies had information. didn't know exactly when or where but they were planning activities just like this. >> isis now has in a way claimed responsibility. they called whoever did this a soldier of isis. that doesn't necessarily mean it is isis organized but that reinforces the possibility that so many people may be inspired by isis to carry out an attack like this. >> they are inspired by it. we can't connect the dots just yet. they will when they hopefully catch the person who was driving
the truck but isis will claim responsibility any time they get a chance. this is another one. to comment on what congressman rogers justed. there are markets like this in every large community and every small village throughout europe. >> so the state department had the chatter but it is hard to nail it down. and isis will say we didn't know where it would take place or who would do it. they can certainly do it. they can claim they inspired it. >> folks going about our business during the holidays. it is depressing over and over again. there has to be something, right? >> well, it is all personal awareness. i would not stop what you're doing. >> personal. >> and your own awareness. you would give your children good caution speech with being aware of your surroundings anywhere you go if you're at the
mall or off to school. every day you get up, you need to have that personal awareness space to understand, if i'm going to be in a crowded space, where do i go? and it is a sad thing to say it but most people would be better off if they think that through. >> all right. we will take our own advice. we do appreciate all of you. >> did the president-elect make rush to judgment? tonight the trump camp is defending his claim that radical terrorists are behind the attacks overseas. and we'll have an update on this. a stunning explosion at a fireworks market. ♪ music playing your insurance company
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we're dwegt new information on a breaking story. explosions tearing through a crowded fireworks market. police say at least nine people have been killed in this blast. the death count just in. and at least 70 people have been injured at this point. this is an emergency that is still unfolding right now. there are first responders at the scene so those number can possibly change and they're fearing that the number of dead and injured will rise. we'll have more details on this and bring them to you as we get them. and we're also following breaking news on the terror
attacks in germany and turkey this includes a claim by isis that it inspired the truck rampage in berlin. tonight the president-elect is closely monitoring from his home in florida. we have jessica schneider with more. trump has not spoken out publicly in person, certainly. he has been tweeting. tell us about that. >> yes. trump has been tweeting a stern condemnation of those attacks. he tweeted it right after they happened. but his transition team declined to say whether he is receiving the daily classified briefings, only saying that he is briefed every day by his pick for national security adviser, rejird general mike flynn. trump also taking a twitter on lash out at former president bill clinton. >> the president-elect spending the week in palm beach. taking to twitter to condemn the attacks in europe and ankara, turkey. today there were terror attacks in turkey, switzerland and
germany. and it is getting worse. trump calling it all terror before officials had tied the attacks to all terror group. >> he is closely monitoring and beefing briefed. >> but they are not saying whether he has received daily classified briefing since the attacks. saying isis and terrorists slaughter christians in their communities and places of worship as part of their global jihad. >> mr. trump has made it very, very clear. he understands the internet radical islamic terrorism poses to our nation and to our friends and neighbors around the globe. we have to call what it it is and root it out. we cannot be politically correct. >> trump's tweets turning on
clinton. he doesn't know much. one thing he does know is how to get angry white men to vote for him. trump retorting, bill clinton stated that i called him after the election. wrong. he called me with a very nice congratulations. he doesn't get people out to vote in vital swing states. and more. they focussed on the wrong states. and clinton tweeting, i called him after the election. here's one thing i can agree on. >> couldn't prevail against that. she did everything else and still won by 2.8 million votes. >> and more tweets from the president elect tonight, the latest about an unlikely meeting at mar-a-lago. donald trump confirm he is sat down with mexican billionaire carlo slim. previously cut ties.
that meeting of course with slim raising the question has trump's harsh stance on mexico softened at all? >> maybe he doesn't hold a grudge. we'll see. jessica think thank you. and tonight. president obama a taking new steps on the environment. athena, he's moving on several fronts before time runs out. >> reporter: hi, that's right. these new moves are part of the president's plans to run through the tape, as he puts it. to accomplish as much of his agenda as he can in the final days. of course we know that president elect trump has vowed to undo many of those policy. the president hopes to make that difficult for him. >> president obama moving to secure his legacy on the environment and beyond before he hands the presidency to donald trump. tonight new measures to bar off shore drilling indefinitely in
parts of the baltic and atlantic oceans no part to assuage concerns about drilling. it's an issue that's been front and center for president, who sees climate change as the greatest threat facing future generations. and believes the u.s. and the world must do more to combat it. >> we're not moving fast enough. and for the sake of our kids we've got to keep going. america has to lead the world in transitioning to a clean energy economy. >> president obama's last minute move is based on a 6 4-year-old year law. not an easily reversible executive order. creating a legal hurdle for the incoming president, a climate change skeptic who's vowed to pull out of the paris climate accord and increase energy production. >> every dollar of energy that isn't harvested here in america is harvested instead in a foreign country.
often foreign countries not very friendly to us. >> reporter: and the president isn't just taking action on the environment. he's also preparing to transfer an additional 17 or 18 inmates from the u.s. prison at gat moe bay cuba to other countries according to the "new york times," slashing the remaining population there by nearly a third though stopping shorpt of his 2008 campaign promise to close the prison. >> it will be judged harshly by history and i'll continue to do all i can to remove this blot on our national honor. >> reporter: obama also this week granting clemency to 230 people, mostly drug offenders t most ever in one day. bringing the total record to a new record for any presidency. the white house signaling more acts of the clemency to come. all part of a broader criminal justice reform effort.
these final moves in solidifying his agenda. >> all moves he's attempted to get action but all three are issue where is he's been extraordinarily frustrated and unable to really move congress. >> reporter: the president running through tape and presenting a series of direct challenges to trump. even as he works until the last minute to implement his agenda the president is also taking another approach to protecting his legacy, using the consultations he's been having with the president elect to try to nudge him to preserve some of his key policies. >> athena jones in honolulu, thank you so much for that report. let's talk more about the transition from obama to president elect trump with our political team now. rebecca bird to you first. this has been we've seen over the last two days just terrible stories where you have had the assassination of the russian
ambassador to turkey. the killing of so many people by a truck attack in berlin christmas market. and donald trump won't say whether he received the traditional presidential briefing today. we know mike pence has. at a time like this, maybe there is an issue. >> well donald trump has defended his decision so far not to take it every day brianna. saying he's a smart guy. he doesn't a need the same information every day and he isn't president yet. so he might be right at this stage that he doesn't need it every single day. but the reason the presidential daily briefing is so important is that you don't necessarily need that information on the data you are given it. but if there is some sort of crisis that occurs or some sort of national emergency that you have to deal with and you don't have time in that moment to get up to speed on whatever is happening, whatever issue you are dealing with, that is where the presidential daily briefing becomes very valuable. so if there is a situation where
donald trump needs to respond to some sort of crisis at a moment's notice, he needs to know as much as possible to be able to make those decisions in real time. and that is why it does become important once you are sworn in as president. >> you hear the team not answering that question. which you could take one of two ways. one maybe he hasn't had the briefing today. o are maybe his folks who are speaking to that don't know, which is also another issue. >> we don't know for sure. but really at this point in the transition it should be easier to answer. when my colleagues first reported on this last month it was easier for the trump team to defend not taking the briefing every day. they had just started the transition. there were a couple of months to go until inauguration day. now a month from inauguration and we're in the midst of all these crises and for him as rebecca said not to be able to confidently state him, being president elect trump, that he's up to speed on all of the
nuances of these issues does raise questions. no question about it. >> donald trump's spokesman sean spicer, saying manu, that the terror response by the president elect once he comes into the white house is going to be, swift and fierce. he said he is going to take the fight to isis. but you try to get in to particulars and there is nothing there. >> yeah i don't think the trump team really know what is the strategy is. they have talked in generalities and you can't just go and carpet bomb a city in the middle east and hope to deal with the isis issue. it is a much more complex, complicated war, strategic war that needs to actually happen. i think it is actually speaks to the problem with donald trump not having a press conference since late july. he's not explaining in detail to the press, to the american public exactly what he would do on such a critical issue of importance to the national security of this country.
and while he may have a few interviews here and there he's not detailed that. so his own party has a difficult time responding because they don't really know. >> they are trying to extrapolate it and keep it vague it seems. >> all the way back to april when president elect gave the first major foreign policy address. he said three things that didn't mesh together. he didn't want to tip his hand. he said he was going to get rid of isis very very quickly and he also said he knew more than the generals in that speech. so these things are now sort of working together or not working together in a way that has people -- >> one place we can make find that out as confirmation hearings on the capitol hill, general james mattis for one testifies before the senator armed services committee. they better have answers or the senate will not be satisfied. >> we're seeing an example of one, in report that the trump family now distancing themselves from a fundraising event happening in january. this is supposed to be the day aft
after. >> this group is associated with the donald trump j.r. and eric trump. they are now distancing themselves. but this is the same thing he raled against hillary clinton for. >> he attacked her for pay to play in his words with the clinton foundation and now this isn't even the first problem he and his family have had with potential conflicts of interest or blatant conflicts of interest just a week or two ago ivanka trump was participating in a fundraiser for charity. giving access to her with a luncheon offering that up as the award. and they had to take down that charitable contest because of concerns about pay to play, pay for access. and now of course there are questions about their business deals, how those will fit in with the new administration. those have not been fully
answered or even answered in short by the transition team yet so we're still really waiting for them to work out these issues. >> going to have to leave it there. thank you so much. do appreciate it. i'm brianna keilar and i thank you so much for watching. erin burnett "outfront" starts right now. next, breaking news. massive man hunt. police in a desperate race to find a driver who plowed into the christmas crowd o in berlin as isis calls him a soldier of the islamic state. and new news tonight. you are going to hear from someone inside the room with the ambassador of turkey. michele obama reveals her plans for life of the white house. let's go "outfront." good evening.