tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN December 30, 2016 2:00pm-3:01pm PST
and tune in for a special edition of "state of the union" this sunday at 9:00 a.m. eastern. that's it for "the lead." i'm jim acosta in for jake tapper. i now turn you over to jim sciutto in for wolf blitzer in the "the situation room." happy new year. happening now, breaking news. great move. donald trump praises vladimir putin for putting off any payback for newly imposed u.s. sanction, punishing russia for meddling in the presidential election. putin says his response will depend on what happens after trump is sworn in. spy games. the expulsion of russian spies ratchets up tensions between moscow and washington as russian intelligence operatives pack up to lead the u.s. are more spies hiding here in plain sight? on alert. cities around the world beefing up security ahead of new year's eve. in new york, officials say the security operations around times square will be the most
extensive ever. is it enough to keep trouble away? and conviction reinstated. a judge's order writes a shocking new chapter in the saga of the kennedy family. will michael skakel have to go back to prison for a murder that happened some 41 years ago? wolf blitzer is off today. i'm jim sciutto and you are in "the situation room." donald trump praising vladimir putin for delaying russia's response to the new round of u.s. sanctions. putin says it depend on what trump does once he becomes from the. trump tweeted, "great move on delay by vladimir putin. i always knew he was very smart." we've seen vans leaving the russian compound outside washington, d.c. president obama ordered its
closing and expelled nearly three dozen russians claiming they were spies, part of the payback for russia's cyberattacks and meddling in the presidential election. we're also keep ourg eyes on the extraordinary security setting up around new york's times square where millions are expected to celebrate the start of the new year. cities around the world are beefing up security to head off any terrorist attacks. our kor responsibility debits, analysts, and guests have full coverage of the day's top stories. let's begin with the breaking news and cnn's athena jones in hawaii with the president. any reaction yet to trump's praise of vladimir putin? >> hi, jim. no reaction. in fact, the white house isn't responding to that or to this nonresponse from the russian president. but those russian om ra tifs, the intelligence operatives ordered out appear to be complying with that order.perat the intelligence operatives ordered out appear to be complying with that order. a caravan of vehicles spotted leaving this maryland compound used by russian dimts headed for the russian embassy in washington. the evacuation comes after the
obama administration ordered the shuttering of the site along with a similar compound in new york and told 35 alleged russian spies to leave the country within 72 hours. in a surprise move, russian president vladimir putin appear sod this rug off the administration's action after russian officials promised a series of, quote, countermeasures would be nouned today, putin changed course saying in a statement, "we will not create problems for american diplomats. we will not send anyone away," even extending this unusual invitation to the children of u.s. diplomats there, saying in a tweet, "i invite all children of the u.s. diplomats to the new year and christmas children's show at the kremlin," signed yours sincerely, vladimir putin." the russian president's decision not to retaliate contradicting his foreign minister, who proposed expelling u.s. diplomats in response.
>> the u.s. administration without any facts, without any proof, declared a new wave of sanctions against the russian federation. we cannot let such escapades happen without a response. >> reporter: putin appears to be waiting for president-elect trump to take office, signaling once again that he expects to have warmer relations with president obama's successor. meanwhile, the white house is defending and explaining its moves. what these individuals wering to were basically collecting intelligence. they were intelligence officers operating here and using these compounds putting forward a set of actions designed to respond to and impose consequences for russia's aggressive activity. so included in that is this expulsion of these intelligence officers. >> reporter: as for the operatives being kicked out of the u.s., the russian embassy said russia was sending a plane to bring them back home. and among those being expelled, some based on the west coast.
the russian consulate in san francisco tweeting a statement condemning what they call an unfriendly and completely unjustified step being taken by the outgoing administration. and speaking of the outgoing administration, president obama's critics on capitol hill have been slamming him for what they call years of failed policy toward russia starting with his attempt at a reset of relations between the two countries. meanwhi meanwhile, you have president putin who appears to be pushing for another reset with the incoming trump administration. all of this presenting a foreign policy challenge for obama's successor even before day one. jim? >> athena jones with the president in hawaii, thank you. even before donald trump's tweet praising putin, one of his top aides suggested it was a domestic political ajep da behind the obama administration's decision to sanction russia now. cnn international correspondent suzanne malveaux has more on that. they're really saying this is all democratic politics. >> trump and his transition team are in lock stem with the
talking points, the main one being u.s. blaming russia, president obama specifically, faulty and incomplete. despite the intelligence briefings trump has received, he continues to express skepticism over russia's involvement and at the same time lavishing praise on putin. >> thank you very much. >> reporter: donald trump tonight praising russia's vladimir putin, tweeting, "great move on delay by v. putin. i always knew he was very smart." trump applauding putin's remarkable move the wait for trump to take office before responding to president obama's decision to expel russian diplomats and new sanctions. >> i think we ought to get on with our lives. >> reporter:? a statement thursday trump urged the country to move on to bigger and better things as president obama announced sanctions against russia. >> i just want to thank everybody. >> reporter: the president-elect and his team characterizing the current white house's showdown with russia as politically motivated. >> even those who are sympathetic to president obama on most issues are saying that
part of the reason he did this today was to, quote, box in president-elect trump. that would be very unfortunate if that were -- if politics were the motivating factor here. >> reporter: trump's team continuing to dishis the u.s. intelligence assessment on russian cyberattacks. >> we've been talking about this for a while. all we heard through the election was russia, russia, russia. whenever it came to anything donald trump said or did most days p since the election it's this fever pitch of accusations and insinuations. >> reporter: trump says he'll meet with leaders of the intelligence community next week for a briefing on the hacking matter. but trump supporter former new york mayor rudy giuliani suggesting the president-elect not bother. >> i would urge president trump, when he becomes president trump, have his own intelligence people do their own report, let's find out who did it and let's bang them back really hard. >> reporter: trump is now set for a direct confrontation with
his own party. as top senate republicans john mccain and lindsey graham prepare to hold hearings and consider harsher sanctions against russia when the new congress returns. but trump's incoming chief of stab reince priebus warning the american people maptd have the appetite for another conflict. >> they may be privy to information we don't know, but i also know we're not interested in going to war all over the world either. >> reporter: meanwhile, the political theater continues to play out over twitter. trump immediately pinning his tweet, praising putin to the top of his profile so it's the first thing people see visiting his page. the official account of the russian embassy hatz retweeted trump's tweet. jim? >> officially on talking points. suzanne malveaux, thanks very much. with us is former u.s. congressman pete hoekstra, a republican, the past chairman of the house intelligence committee. nice to have you back. >> very good to be with you.
>> let me begin with trump's tweet. great move on delay by v. putin, i always knew he was very smart. why does the president-elect insist on praising a leader who we know has committed atrocities within his own country and across the world? >> well, i think he's just making a very clear statement and distinguishing between the behavior of the united states, of the president of the united states, that made a petty decision yesterday with the decision to expel 35 russians from the united states. he's saying the better behavior was modeled by president putin. >> what better behavior by hacking the u.s. election, annexing crimea, backing a stealth invasion of ukraine, violating negotiated u.s./russian nuclear weapons
treaties? how is that model behavior? >> that's not model behavior but donald trump was talking specifically about the decision that putin made last night, this morninging, not to get into a tit for tat with president obama. he recognizes is bad behavior of putin, crimea, ukraine, all these types of things. he also understands the wild west of cybersecurity, this new cyber warfare, this new cyberspace or battlefield better than president obama. he recognizes -- >> does he? how does he know it better? what's interesting here, congressman hoekstra, is that donald trump and his closest circle of advisers are isolated not opposed just to the democrats and the obama administration but virtually the leadership of their entire party. the house speaker, republican, the how else majority leader,
republican, senior senate republicans pushing for even stronger sanctions against russia. they all say russia hacked the election and the uls needs even stronger responses. off president-elect who is not even granted the premise that russia was behind this cyber attack. >> well, let's start at the beginning here. we all know that espionage is something the united states engages in versus russia, china, iran, north korea. snow den even demonstrated that we do this against people like the germans and the french. they do it back to us. this is going on each and every day. it's the espionage business. it's no different than what it's been for the last 40 or 50 years. in cyber, it's a whole new
battlefield. the rules are not well written. it's easier to go in with a lower risk profile in cyber than what you ever saw in the old james bond films and movies. so donald trump understands t t that, and when he comes into office, he'll sit down with the democrats and republicans in the house and senate and develop a cyber strategy that will keep america safe and secure, a battlefield that president obama has ignored the last eight years. >> i wondered because as you know there are many countries that have tremendous cyber capabilities, not just russia, china, we've seen it with china, north korea, iran. why would those countries look at what russia's interference in this election see a president-elect who is saying we should let by gones be bygones, move on to bigger and better things? he's given no indication of punishment for russia. why would the other nations including russia look at that and be deterred at all from attacking the u.s. via cyber
means again? >> what the russians did with the political campaign, the report that came out from the department of homeland security and the fbi this week is pathetic in trying to create a compelling case that the russians' ip influence -- all it said is the russians most likely hacked in to a political party's database, into their cyber space, they most likely extracted or took tremendous amounts of information and most likely they leaked it to media for public disclosure. that's it. they didn't get into voting. they didn't get into intent or anything else. >> quite a throw-away line there, congressman hoekstra, because i'm an american and i listen to that, i hear foreign actor hacked into political organizations in the u.s. and they strategically leaked it out during an election campaign.
whether that's republican or democrat or any other party, that sounds serious. are you saying heck it's another part of the wild west in the cyber space and we as a country should let that pass? >> i'm not saying we should let it pass. snowden clearly demonstrated the united states hacked into angela merkel and we were listening to her conversations. what happens in seiber is very, very important. we need cob conscious of that. >> but leak those conversations every day leading up to a crucial german election. this is the difference here. it's odd for an american to be equating its own actions with the actions of a foreign adversary. to justify them.
>> jim, if you don't believe we have gathered information from the russians in cyberspace. >> i'm not talking about gathering. i'm talking about the selective use of it in the context of a campaign and targeting, let's be frank, targeting one party during that campaign. that's the difference. here's the thing. there are distinctions in the cyber space. look at china. the u.s. i'm sure hacks china, china hacks the u.s., but china hacks u.s. companies, steams intellectual property, and uses it for economic combine. the u.s. does not do that. okay? i'm sure the u.s. hacks russia and yes, it's true the u.s. was eavesdropping on foreign allies but it doesn't take the stem that the u.s. intelligence community says russia takes and that your republican colleagues, such as the grahams and mccains of the world and paul ryan and mcconnells of the world say that russia did. is that not a different
question? >> jim, the american public, you and i do not know what the american intelligence community has done with information that we may have successfully exfiltrated from the russians and where we may have used that to damage their national interests, whether it's in their homeland, whether it's in syria, or whether it's at some of their relationships with their allies. >> is that the president's job to say we're just as bad as all the other folks? isn't it the president's job to put u.s. and national security including its elections systems at the forefront? >> absolutely, and this is where president obama has absolutely failed. he has not made cybersecurity of our government institution, of the private sector, he has not made it a priority of his administration, and i've talked with people on the transition
team and i'm fairly confident, i'm very confident that donald trump is going to make cybersecurity very much a priority for our military, for our political system, and for our private sector because he understands the vulnerabilities. that is something that president obama has never understood or not even put a strategy in place to try to protect america's national security and americans' national interests in cyberspace. this is exactly where the obama administration has failed. you're exactly making my point. >> congressman hoekstra, it's a fair point. we appreciate you taking the time for a second time this week. thanks for coming on. >> yes. great. thank you. >> happy new year to you. coming up next, more reaction to donald trump's praise of vladimir putin. are u.s./russian relations heading for better days instead of a new cold war? we're also following breaking news affecting the kennedy family. a court today reinstating michael skakel's murder
putin for putting off retaliation for sanctions slapped op russia by the obama administration, sanctions meant to pupish russia for meddling in the presidential election. with us now is republican congressman clinzinger from illinois. you were listening to the interview with peter hoekstra where he in fact in effect it seems equated u.s. actions abroad with russia med nlg the election. >> first thing, thank god he's a former congressman. i listened to that and my blood was boiling. i couldn't imagine a republican or democrat for that matter saying that our actions have been worse or an action against our country is justified by things we have done. edward snowden in essence he called him a hero revealing all this stuff.
here's the basis of that. i'm going to swear in again in a few more days. i've sworn to protect and defend the constitution of the united states. russia is attempting to undermine the very base of what makes the constitution work, which is the belief in a free and fair election system. we are compelled by our oath to protect and defend the constitution, to defend it right now, and to justify any attack on our political system is unbelievably beyond the pale and i have no more words for it besides i was dumbfounded. >> you can argue that donald trump has made a similar argument by dismissing this interference in the election. this is a difficult question. i'll ask you, in 21 days sh donald trump is going to put his hand on a bible and vow to protect and defend the constitution. do you have doubt he will do that in relation to the threat from russia? >> so, however anybody perceives
defending the constitution sl -- like i said, i see this as an issue. some people will not agree with me on that. i think donald trump means and intends well. there's foi going to be a lot m that i agree with donald trump on than i disagree with, but this is a big one, the russian issue. he's new to politics and international affairs. my hope is as he's getting his sea legs under him and when he's sworn in, the weight of the world sobers him up to this reality. there's nothing wrong with donald trump saying i want a new relationship with russia, i want to reach out, i want to have conversation. each administration in the past has tried to do it and failed, by the way. there's nothing wrong with that. then to praise putin, to come out and say, a, this never happened and if it did it's not a big deal and we've done way worse, is a totally different thing. and i hope that tone changes because i look forward to working with the new president. i'm a republican. there's a lot of great things we're going to achieve domestically. this is a big concern. >> it appears donald trump was
watching our interview earlier with congressman hoekstra because he tweeted moments ago, russians are playing cnn and nbc news for such fools. funny to watch. they don't have a clue. fox news totally gets it. if donald trump is still watching, adam kinzinger, i wonder if you have a message to him on how you see the seriousness of russia meddling in the election. >> look, i've been a military pilot for a while. congressman now for i'll be starting my seventh year. ever since i've been in office, we've seen the russians pushing back against america. donald trump has made strong statements and i think he means it about america reclaiming its role in the world but the russians have been our chief adversary in pushing us out in those areas. there are dead innocent civilians in syria, children, there are chirp dead in syria today because of russia propping up an evil dictator with iran,
with iran. to say somehow russia is our friend -- i hope the president trump -- i look forward to working with him domestically and internationally but i hope he sees this russia is a real thing and not something to take lightly or trivially. >> adam kinzinger, thanks very much. coming up, donald trump praises vladimir putin. it's the start of a new era in u.s./russian relations or a dangerous precedent that will embolden the russian leader? later, a court reinstating the murder conviction of a kennedy family relative. will michael skakel have to go back to prison?
donald trump praising vladimir putin for putting off retaliation for sanctions meant to punish russia for meddling in the u.s. election. putin says his response will depend on what trump does after he is sworn in. the trump tweet says, "great move on delay by v. putin. i always knew he was very smart." our experts, evin farkvelyn far
you've covered russia a long time. i'd like your reaction to this tweet phrasing putin. >> i'm laughing because he's grading the russian leader's diplomat homework. really weird. we haven't ever really seen that. second i'm befuddled because i vacillate between thinking he's got this great plan where he's going to butter up vladimir putin, you know, but he's going to hold the line somehow. two the other side where i get scared, i think does he have an arrangement with vladimir putin where we dismiss to the united states what he did meddling in our elections, how he treated our diplomats, you know, the cyber crimes that these two gentlemen in particular committed against our banks and our financial industry? so i don't really know -- i honestly am continue futzed about what this is all headed. >> flabbergasted. ron brownscreen. >> it's fair to say that trump's going to take a friendlier position against russia, but it's also clear he's becoming increase lig isolated. forget the democrats and the
obama administration. i'm talking about congressional republicans, leadership on down. how does that play out when he take office? >> i think you're heading for a collision. there are at the far borders of the populist, the nativist right, in the u.s. and europe, there are voices who praise putin, see him as a bulwark of traditional cultural values against a mus lick islamist threat from outside and a liberal threat inside. you can hear that at the 2014 speech steve bannon gave at the vatican or some of the writing of pat buchanan, who in many ways was a precursor of donald trump. once you get beyond that into the mainstream of the republican party, there is no audience for a radically different relationship with russia. we heard from paul ryan this week that russia is a geopolitical threat. and, you know, not only here of course but the meddling that was effective for russia in the u.s.
in 2016 could be the model for them in important elections in france and germany in 2017. if the goal of vladimir putin is to kind of pull up the moorings of the western alliance from both sides of the atlantic, it's hard to see how you can discourage them from doing that except if there is a price to be paid. and i think there are going to be a lot of republicans who are uneasy with the kind of sentiment donald trump expressed today. >> this is a strategy russia has followed in multiple country, multiple times. jeffrey toobin, this would be an outlandish skwe except for the track record. donald trump has a history of propagating conspiracy theories like the birther movement. m is it possible that trump perhaps relying on alternative sources of information, doesn't believe that russia's behind this hack? >> oh, i think it's entirely
possible. he said as much. he has said he doesn't believe the intelligence communities about russia. we do so much analyzing of what trump czyz, i think we should listen to what he says. this is someone who is a supporter and admirer of vladimir putin. i mean, period. he's been saying it for a year. we try to say maybe he's strategizing, maybe he's planning something. he keeps saying it over and over again, and i think it's time that we believe what he says, which is he is a sum porter and admirer of the president of russia, who has nuclear missiles pointed at us, who is an adversary of ours around the world, and whose values are appalling. >> rebecca berg, there's a lot of talk from the trump camp and even trump himself, you hear this concern that this is being used to delegitimize him. in your view, is that a major driving force of this sort of
constant expression of skepticism and doubt? >> on their side, absolutely that's part of this for for donald trump, i agree with jeffrey this is perhaps his world view. there's more at play than political motivations. i think the real test of that will come later whenever russia makes its next move and based on recent history there will be a next move for them and they will provoke the united states in some way further. the question is what does donald trump do then when we're separate frad the context of this presidential election and he's no longer looking that the through that lens? does he act in the same way toward them? >> evelyn, when i speak to folks in the intelligence community not just about the election hacking but a whole host of threats from russia but also the u.s. military, violations of missile treaties, the behavior of russian nuclear armed submarines off the coast, a whole host of threats from russia, they say it's very real,
not a party issue. are you concerned that donald trump as president of the united states, the most powerful leader in the land, will because of this afin tirr for vladimir putin take steps and make decisions that will be a danger? >> yes, i am. we all should be. as i said i have a part of me that's hopeful but the other part of me, the part that grew up in the defense community, i've been in that world for 20 years now, and we are trained to look at the worst-case scenario, so looking f ing through that p i'm quite afraid. because everything that donald trump does is not just about american interests, which are considerable as you mentioned but also about the world order and the rest of the countries that rely on us to stand up to russia and to tell them cut it out but with a little more oomph behind it. >> ron brownstein, it's a remarkable statement. evelyn knows her stuff. she served in the defense department. she's seen the intelligence on
russia. what happens in that situation? we talked a lot about, well, mattis is a reliable guy, tillerson has these ties but he has a lot of experience. you talk about people around donald trump, he made some good hires there, but at the end of the day, trump is the decisionmaker. are american checks and balances enough to balance decisions that could endanger the country? >> well, you know, potentially we will find out. i don't know if we're at the point of ep dangering the country yet, but there's no question as jeffrey said that donald trump has told us over and over again -- and this is such a provocative moment to do this after the obama administration has taken probably the sternest steps even if they were not as strong as some would have liked that we've seen in response to cyber intrusions to immediately praise putin is provocative. look at the populist, nativist movements that are emerging in europe and many of those strains are in the donald trump
campaign, they see three big overriding threats to the west. they see islamic radicalism, kind of secular cultural liberalism undermining the values of the society, and they see globalization economically. on the last one they view putin as kind of irrelevant. on the first two they view him as more ally than adversary. it completely shifts the access of foreign policy away from the traditional issues we have been focusing on and it leads them toward a very different place than most people in both parties today are, and i think you'll have some serious conflicts and we can't predict exactly how they're going to play out. >> you cannot predict. we have to leave it there. thanks to all of you. up next, a shocking change of fortune for a member of the kennedy family. three years after getting out of prison, will michael skakel be going back behind bars for murder?
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breaking news. connecticut supreme court today reinstated the murder conviction of a member of the politically prominent kennedy family. michael skakel is a relative of the widow of the late senator robert f. kennedy. in 2002 you may remember skakel was convicted in the 1975 murder of a teenager named martha moxley. the conviction was thrown out in
2013 when skakel was then released on bond. but that conviction was reinstated today. >> there were two -- >> legal analyst jeffrey toobin who covered this case as it was under way. jeffrey, give us the nuts and bolts of this reversal. why now? >> well, this is really just such an astonishing long-term saga. the short version is that michael skakel was convicted in 2002 then many years later, just earlier in 2016, the intermediate appeals court in connecticut overturned the conviction on the very unusual ground that skakel had been denied effective assistance of counsel, that his lawyer, mickey sherman, was so incompetent that skakel didn't get a fair trial. the supreme court of connecticut today said that conclusion was wrong, his defense was adequate, so the conviction is reinstated.
i think, having sat through that whole trial, the connecticut supreme court today was correct. mickey sherman made some difficult, perhaps incorrect decisions about how to defend michael skakel, but the reason michael skakel was convicted is because he actually was guilty, in my opinion, and i think that's the correct result in this case. >> so you sitting in that trial room, you believe that the evidence was convincing. >> i do. i absolutely do. and in the idea that mickey sherman, who was a well-known lawyer in connecticut and a frequent guest on cnn and other talk shows, was constitutionally inadequate, if you look at the quality of defense in the united states, mickey sherman was far from the worst that someone would get. cheerily what i thought was going on was that the intermediate appeals court thought skakel was innocent and
they used the ineffective assistance of counsel argument as a way to get michael skakel out of prison. but i don't think michael skakel was innocent. neither did the jury and neither did i think the connecticut supreme court today. >> does he have another chance for appeal now? >> he does. i mean, he can now take this to the united states supreme court. it is extremely unlikely in my opinion that the united states supreme court will agree to review this case, but the interesting question now is whether his bond will be revoked and he'll be forced back to prison after almost a year. i really wouldn't venture a guess. i think that's a tough call right now. >> fascinating and a sad case as well. jeffrey toobin, thanks very much. coming up, the extraordinary security precautions as new york city gears up for more than a million revelers in times square. will dump trucks and police keep would-be terrorists away? and as the russians follow president obama's orders to empty out two compounds in the
tonight, new york police are putting the final touches on the extraordinary security around new york's times square where more than a million people are expected to celebrate the start of the new year. cnn is there. so as you watch that get set up, any known threats about tomorrow night? >> reporter: well, jim, the nypd says no credible threats for the celebration tomorrow night. as the police commissioner said, everyone at the department is going to be on their toes. the security plan they have in place, this is something that they started conceptualizing when the ball dropped earlier this year. it's a plan with multi layers that are constantly evolving as new terror threats pop up around the world. >> ten, nine -- >> reporter: new york city is on high alert in anticipation of one of the biggest new year's eve celebrations in the world. securing it takes an army. 7,000 nypd officers are just one part of the enhanced measures
being take on the protect the city. >> this is where everybody has to be on their toes. i know complacency can set in at times, but not in an event like this. >> reporter: in the wake of the attacks in berlin and nice, 6500 sand trucks and 100 blockers will be stationed around the city, most as a protective barrier around the perimeter of times square to ward off a truck-style attack. >> we live in a changing world now. again, it can't just be about what happens in new york. >> reporter: the nypd is in constant communication with foreign departments, gaining intelligence and sharing police strategy with cities abroad. in london, there's added security at the changing of the guards. heavily armed police were unavoidable in berlin as they stood post behind concrete barriers at a christmas concert. czech holiday markets were heavily patrolled and in france, a boost of 10,000 soldiers on the parisian streets over the holiday period, adding to the officers working around the
clock. >> translator: we are really giving of ourselves, our time, at a cost of us and to our families. >> reporter: nearly 2 million people are expected in times square. the extra police presence, a noticeable addition to keep new york city safe. >> if you're coming down to times square, rest assured it will be a safe venue. >> reporter: and most recently, i'm told members of the police department are fausecuring park areas and visiting truck rental systems. there's a manhole next to me and has been welded shut. all of them will be. jim? >> brynn, thank you very much. we're watching as russia follows president obama's orders to close down two compounds and 35 russian diplomats being expelled. but they're likely are more that are being left behind. let's bring in barbara starr.
so both nations have certainly in the past kicked out each other's spies before. >> reporter: absolutely. this has been a cat and mouse game going on really for decades. it's been immortalized in television and movies. but the reality can be quite vicious and dangerous. fbi cameras captured russian operative anna chapman and an undercover agent meeting in a new york coffee shop in june 2010. 17 days later, chapman and nine other russian sleeper agents were arrested in new york, new jersey, and virginia, charged with conspiracy to act as unlawful agents of russia, spies who had burrowed deep into american society for years, trying to steal secrets and recruit agents. the fbi had watched chapman at the others for months, recording dropoffs of packages, meetings on staircases, even one meeting
just yards from cnn's offices in new york. the u.s. believes the group never got its hands on classified information. but the russian infiltration into the u.s., a classic moscow move. what is they do is more than just collect. they actually try to influence events to the benefit of russia, all over the world. and this is something that they have done for decades. >> reporter: within days, at the airport in vienna, an elabora elaborately choreographed -- now the state department is expelling 35 russian officials it says violated their diplomatic status. this, after the u.s. claim of interference in the presidential election and harassment of u.s. diplomats overseas. vladamir putin, of course, a former russian intelligence officer, well acquainted with
the so-called illegals program, putting agents into u.s. society. >> the fact that they would continue to do that, to establish these american legends and cover stories for these people trying to pose as americans in the united states shows how serious they are. >> reporter: but the u.s. has also been caught in the act. in 2013, ryan fogle, a political secretary at the u.s. embassy in moscow, was arrested. the russians claim they caught him with wigs, dark glasses, and cash trying to recruit a russian agent. fogle was expelled. it was never clear if he was set up by the russians. earlier this year, a u.s. diplomat was tackled and beaten by a uniformed russian police officer as he tried to enter the american embassy in moscow. >> it was unpro-poked and endangered the safety of our employee. >> reporter: and jim, that latest incident, the u.s. wound up expelling two russian
diplomats. jim? >> that's one of the incidents that they mentioned as they carried out these sanctions. thank you very much. coming up, more on the breaking news. donald trump praising vladamir putin saying he always knew putin was "very smart." but what's behind putin's decision to put off retaliation for election related sanctions? . ooh boy. but, you've got hum. so you can set this. and if she drives like this, you can tell her to drive more like this. because you'll get this. you can even set boundaries for so if she should be here, but instead goes here, here, or here. you'll know. so don't worry, mom. because you put this, in here. hum by verizon. the technology designed to make your car smarter, safer and more connected. put some smarts in your car.
news. very smart. donald trump is singing vladamir putin's praises after the russian leader said that he won't order tit for tat expulsions of american diplomats. tonight, he seems to be counting on the president-elect to reverse the new u.s. sanctions. forced out. russians who got the boot from president obama are on the move, as the sanctions sink in. why is putin refusing to respond in kind? we'll have a live report from moscow. boxed in. a top trump aide suggests president obama ordered sanctions to try to force the hand of his successor. the president-elect has been huddling with high level advisers as he faces a big decision on russia once he's sworn in. also, convicted again. a cousin of the kennedy political dynasty may be heading back to prison after a new ruling that his murder trial was fair after all. this hour, another dramatic twist in a sensational case that's been on and off for some four decades.