tv CNN Newsroom With Fredricka Whitfield CNN December 31, 2016 8:00am-9:01am PST
♪ >> spectacular or what? that was hong kong, manila, philippines, and taipei, taiwan where they're going into 2017 with an incredible beautiful bang. and of course, we'll bring you all the new year celebrations as they happen. all right, but first we're following two major stories. a vermont electric company says it has found malware linked to russian hackers on a company
laptop. it's the same code that government officials believe was used by hackers to meddle in the u.s. elections. the vermont governor lashing out at russian president vladmir putin saying vermonters and all america should be both alarmed and outraged that one of the world's leading thugs, vladmir putin, has been attempting to hack our electric grid which we rely upon to support our quality of life, economy, health and safety. the criticism not hurting the relationship between putin and president elect donald trump. putin congratulating trump in his annual new year's statement, and trump tweeting putin was a quote, very smart man for not retaliating against the u.s. for imposing sweeping sanctions on russia for the election hack. which included expelling about three dozen russian diplomats. so these are new pictures now from dulles international
airport outside of washington, d.c. a plane which we believe will be carrying the expelled russian officials back to moscow. the officials have to leave by noon sunday. our team is covering this story from all angles. we begin with cnn's polo sandov sandoval. a spokesman for the utility company in vermont calling this an attempt to infiltrate utility systems. >> we would be dealing with a much different outcome had the power grid that's run by this utility grid been compromised. which we're told according to the company, burlington, electric did not happen. here's what we understand did happen yesterday. that utility company was told by the u.s. government, by the department of homeland security to take a closer look at their network security. they didn't in fact notice grisly step, which is a malicious software. that's the same software that was reportedly used by russian
hackers to try to influence november's elections. what's important to keep in mind here, is the laptop that contained the software was not hooked into the system that services close to 20,000 people there. so it's very important to keep in mind here, according to some lawmakers who are sounding the alarm, including at least one vermont senator, things could have been much worse. i want to read you a small released by vermont's senator s patri patrick leahy. saying this is beyond hackers having electric joy rides, this is now about trying to access utilities to potentially manipulate the grid and shut is down in the middle of winter. this is a direct threat to vermont and we do not take it lightly. so, again, while the situation could have been worse, this is still a very eye opening experience for officials in the u.s. they have known the potential of a cyber attack on the critical
infrastructure here in the united states. a year ago in ukraine, there was a massive cyber attack that crippled the power grid system and left hundreds of people in the dark. officials here in the u.s. has been advising the companies to take a closer look at the networking systems. that's what hthey did this week >> keep us posts, thank you so much. russia has not responded to the vermont hacking allegations. but vladmir putin did personally congratulate president elect trump, not president obama, in a statement to foreign heads of state yesterday. looking ahead to after trump takes office, putin writing this, quote, acting in a constructive and pragmatic manner we'll be able to take real steps to restore the mechanisms of bilateral cooperation in various areas and take their interaction in the international arena to a whole new level. putin released his annual new year's message to the nation today in which he called 2016
quote, a difficult year. cnn's senior international correspondent matthew chance has more now from moscow. >> reporter: fred, vladmir putin's new year address has already been broadcast in the far east of russia where it's already 2017. i've got the text right here. it's a pretty general congratulations to the people across this vast country. putin said it had been a very difficult year. no mention though of donald trump or president obama this time. just a call on russians to be truthful and merciful. and it is as vladmir the merciful after not ejecting american foreign ministers. he said no one would be expelled over the holiday period. he invited the children to watch
new year's performances at the kremlin. he made a direct appeal to donald trump, sidestepping the obama administration and saying the future of u.s./russian relations would depend entirely on the policies of the incoming trump administration. president elect trump at least appreciated that. sending his own tweets, applauding putin's decision not to respond to the expulsions of the russian diplomats. saying i always knew he was very smart. putin will doubtlessly be very happy with that. back to you, fred. >> all right. matthew chance, thank you so much. all right, donald trump is returning that praise from the russian president, applauding putin's decision to not expel american diplomats in response to u.s. sanctions against russia. trump tweeting, great move on delay by v. putin. i always knew he was very smart. ryan nobles joins me now from washington with more on this. how is this tweet being
received? >> well, it is shaping up to be a pretty big showdown for donald trump when he takes office in the next couple of weeks. there are several republican senators who seem to be concerned with this warm relationship the president elect has with russia. and the fact he seems not willing to take a hard look at this evidence that the intelligence community has put forward in which they believe pretty definitively that russia actively tried to get involved in the united states' election through the hacking of dnc computers and some hillary clinton official e-mails. donald trump has said that he'd like to move on, in fact he said that in a statement from a couple of days ago. he does not believe this evidence. and for the most part has rejected it. this morning he put out a tweet talking about the new year, and specifically calling out some of his enemies in that tweet. let's show it to you now. it says happy new year to all, including to my many enemies and those who have fought me and lost so badly.
they just don't know what to do. and he finished it off with love and an exclamation point. donald trump will be celebrating new year's eve at his resort in mar-a-lago in south florida. some 800 people are expected to be in attendance at this party. which does require admission. tickets are more than $500. there will be some celebrities in attendance, including sylvester stallone. initially the transition told us that quincy jones, the recording artist and producer was going to be there. jones tweeting he'll be in los angeles. he won't be in florida. fred, donald trump expected to return back to new york tomorrow evening. >> all right. thanks so much. straight ahead in the "cnn newsroom," republican john mccain says russia must pay for hacking the u.s. election. >> when you attack a country, it's an act of war. >> the political fallout and vladmir putin's message to the u.s.
y u.s. election. officials are saying there is another attack. a vermont electric company says the same malware was found on one of their laptops. senator leahy says this is beyond hackers having joy rides and calling this incident a direct threat to vermont. this comes as many republicans are backing president obama's sanctions against russia. some lawmakers including republican senator john mccain don't feel the sanctions go far enough. >> when you attack a country, it's an act of war. and so we have to make sure that there is a price to pay so that we can persuade the russians to stop these attacks on the fundamentals of our democracy. >> i want to bring in larry sabado, and cnn political
commentator ryan lizza. good to see both of you. larry, do you agree with mccain, that this is an act of war, this should be treated as such? the sanctions don't go far enough and more needs to be done. he's going to be having hearings this coming week. >> this is a warning to president trump. and i think john mccain actually is reflecting the views of a large majority of republicans in both the house and the senate. when you look at the democratic side, they strongly support for the most part, what president obama has done with regard to russia's sanctions. you can actually see a veto-proof majority for any legislation that would pass regarding russian sanctions that president trump might veto. i think, you know, the fact that this vermont utility now has been included, there by proving
the warnings of our intelligence officials going back years. it makes it much more difficult. for president trump to reverse any of the sanctions that president obama has levied. >> house intel committee member adam shift talked to jim sciutto yesterday. this is what he said. >> did president obama wait too long? >> i think he did. i think this would have been more powerful had it come earlier, had it been in combination with our allies. that would be tough to put together the last couple weeks in office. i don't think this is superficial. i'm hoping what the administration doing covertly is more significant than what's it's doing overtly. >> should it have taken place earlier for the obama administration when we know from the white house they said they didn't do it leading up to the election because it would appear as though it was putting the thumb on the scale for hillary clinton to win? >> i think they were in a bit of a bind before the election.
knowing from the intelligence community. at least as far back as october that this was russian state sponsored hacking, that was according to the intelligence community, authorized by putin. they were in a bind because if they acted overtly, which is the only way to deter this kind of activity, you have to do it -- you have have to respond publicly otherwise you won't deter it. it can't just be covert. if they had done that, i think their argument is that would have looked like they were meddling in the election. they were taking provocative action. their calculation was that hillary clinton would win. that in hind sight looks like a mistake and you have a bipartisan chorus, put aside donald trump for a second. you have a bipartisan chorus of democrats and republicans now in congress who are saying this is a little bit too little too
late. i think we have to see what the full -- you know, we know what the administration did publicly. we don't and may never know what they're doing privately. and, you know, that's one way to judge if this is enough. >> so, larry, so much at stake for so many different entities here. and now you have donald trump who is tweeting yesterday, praising putin for reacting to, you know, obama's sanctions saying great move on the delay. i always knew he was very smart. is it your feeling, larry, that donald trump might regret all of this praise just now 20 days ahead of swearing in, the first order of business just might be what more sanctions, what more penalties to impose on russia? >> my sense of donald trump is he doesn't go through life regretting very much. so i don't know. but i do think that if he cozies
up to vladmir putin too much, he is going to risk rebuke, not by the democrats because they don't have the power to rebuke him in congress. he risks a rebuke from his own party that's the real risk to trump. >> does it seem the stage is already set for that? >> well, the stage may be set, but of course he takes office january 20thot january 20th. for all we know he may change his tune. he's done that over these many years. if i can add one thing to what ryan said about the election. believe me, the clinton high command wishes bitterly that barack obama had taken those actions against putin prior to the election. they needed that roll of the dice. maybe it wouldn't have changed anything, but they would certainly have liked to have seen it. >> thanks to both of you, appreciate it. also coming up, security and
terrorism concerns making for a rather jittery backdrop to new year's eve celebrations here in this city and beyond. cnn's jessica schneider is covering this right down the street. times square. what's going on? >> reporter: well, yeah, fred, the barricades are up. police are in place. this is new year's eve in new york city. coming up i'll tell you about the enhanced security measures this year and why they're necessary. we're lettin' you go. it's that splenda naturals gal, isn't it? coffee: look, she's sweet, she's got natural stevia, no bitter aftertaste, and zero calories. all the partners agree? even iced tea? especially iced tea. goodbye, sugar. hello, new splenda naturals. goodbye, sugar. tit's what's inside the person insidwho opens it. give ancestrydna, the simple dna test that can reveal their ethnic origins. order now at ancestrydna.com
♪ another gorgeous display, ringing in the new year this time from sydney, australia. stunning celebration there on the harbor to welcome in 2017. new york city is also very busy preparing for its new year's celebration. as many as 7,000 police officers will be patrolling times square tonight. the city is ramping up security after recent terror attacks in france and germany. jessica schneider is in times square now. right now there's not a whole lot of people, you know, a few hundred there with you, jessica. what more do we know about the extra precautions being taken? >> reporter: they're trickling in, fred. it's a bit chilly out here. they're saving up their energy for the ball drop at midnight.
this is the magic of the nypd. it's a carefully corrographed endeav endeavor. you can the barricades here and the police presence back there and all around here. this is just one of the many security measures. they've upped the ante. they've put out 65 sanitation trucks filled would sand. they're all around times square. they're also putting in 1,000 block vehicles to project this area as well. there's concern -- no credible threat -- about some of the isis inspired attacks we've seen in europe. they've also got 7,000 officers stationed all over the city, including 550 new graduates from the police academy. and when it comes to these pens right here. there will be 65 of them set up here in times square. each of them filled with upwards of 3,000 people. and i've already talked with some of these people here. some of them arriving as early
as 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. to wait a number of hours until the ball dropped. i talk toded to a few young one from florida. >> we planned this trip out a year ago. we're excited. we've been looking forward to the ball drop since last new years. i looking forward to watching the ball drop with five of my really good friends. >> reporter: some hardy expectators here. they've been planning an entire year. my favorite part of new year's eve here in times square, the glasses. i get nemevery year. i'm ready for 2017. happy new year. >> i like those, too. i nearly picked up the blinking pair last night. i think i'm going to have to go back and swap some out. thanks so much. i'll be out there with you. thanks so much. jessica schneider, appreciate it. we'll be right back. ♪ the world is full of surprising moments.
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good morning, again, everyone i'm fredricka whitfield in new york. thanks so much for joining me this new year's eve. the u.s. senate is moving to take action against russia for election year hacking. that chairman of the senate armed services committee john mccain will hold a hearing on cyber threats thursday and russian hacking is likely to dominate the discussion. >> when you attack a country, it's an act of war. and so we have to make sure that there is a price to pay so that we can perhaps persuade the russians to stop this kind of attacks on our very fundamentals of democracy. >> the news comes as the clock ticks for russian diplomats, suspected spies and their families to get out of the u.s. chief national security correspondent jim sciutto has
more. >> reporter: vladmir putin sensing there will be a friendlier administration in the white house under donald trump, as well as putting together a little bit of political theater he, avoiding responding to the u.s. sanctions for russia's meddling in the u.s. election. russians vacating compounds shut down by the u.s. russian president vladmir putin, however, dismissing washington's payback. instead, wishing president obama and his family a happy new year. saying in a statement, quote, we will not stoop to the level of irresponsible diplomacy, it is a pity the president obama administration finishes its work this way. never the less i congratulate him and his family a happy new year. russian foreign minister sergei lavrov recommended putin expel 35 american diplomats from russian after the u.s. ordered 35 diplomats to leave by this weekend. >> translator: we cannot let
exe ests cubads without a response. as persona nongrata. >> reporter: president putin likely waiting for a friend fri response. he said we will not send anyone away. he issued an invitation to american children, i invite all children of the u.s. diplomats to the new year and christmas children's show at the kremlin. signed yours sincerely, vladmir putin. the u.s. shut down two russian government owned compounds, one in new york where law enforcement was seen outside, and another in maryland, a 45 acre property. vehicles were seen leaving the maryland estate and returning to
the russian embassy in washington. the white house says the russians were spying on the u.s. >> what these individuals were doing was collecting intelligence. they were intelligence officers operating here and using these compounds, one in new york, one in maryland, for intelligence collection purposes. >> reporter: russia refutes that the estates were being used for espionage. >> i think it's quite scandalous they chose to go after our kids, you know. they know full well those two facilities, which they mentioned in their notes they are vacation facilities for our kids. this is christmastime. >> four of the russians sanctioned by the u.s. are part of the russian military intelligence unit known as the gru. one of them is the unit's chief. >> it's assigning blame to russia's military intelligence service but the actual perpetrators are contractors if you like. people who have been found by the russian government. >> reporter: you have the annexation of crimea, invasion
of ukraine, bombing of civilian said s in syria. all those issues are one that donald trump will have to face as president as well. >> all right. jim sciutto, thank you so much. let's talk more about this diplomatic dual between the u.s. and russia. i'm joined by cnn contributor and editor emeritus of world policy journal david andalman. thanks for joining us. happy new year. perfect for the topic. all right. so, david, this latest exchange involving donald trump and vladmir putin and really kind of solidifying this envy of one another. you have john mccain who says this is an act of war and now the latest news this morning that a vermont utility laptop may have been infiltrated by russian hackers. how do you assess all of this and how does this affect
russian/u.s. relations? >> the most troubling aspect is without question the electrical grid and this laptop in vermont. you'll recall when i was in estonia and latvia, the headquarters at cybercommand last october. i asked them what constitutes an act of war when it comes to cyber terrorism. they said somebody would have to die and be hurt as a result of this. now attacking our way of life is certainly a terrible operation, no doubt about that. attacking the electrical grid itself, that could be considered an act of war. especially in a place like vermont, taking down the electrical grid in the middle of the winter means people are left without heat, light or any ability to warm themselves. people can die in that situation. that would be considered a real
act of war and perhaps ultimately a concrete retaliation. so that's what going forward i think that's what congress and the trump administration have to examine. what is the ultimate end of russia in all of this? is it to provoke something that could be considered an act of war? is it simply a matter of, you know -- the matter of manipulating our elections and other elections. they might not be considered an act of war, believe it or not. >> by noon tomorrow 35 of the russians who have been enjoying the united states now have to leave. they are among those being expelled by the u.s. is it your feeling that that gets to the heart of the matter of who may be facilitating or helping to orchestrate this russian hacking? or is it your belief there are contractors that, perhaps, may be receiving the directive from any number of these diplomats
who still will have the means in which to do or continue on with this business? >> oh, i think the business will continue more without any of these 35 people. i suspect a lot of the 35 people are people that the fbi was watching. the fbi is really responsible for identifying russian spy and other spies. these are the 35 people they've identified as being perhaps the most plugged in, most pernicious individuals and ones they'd like to get rid of. are they responsible? i seriously doubt that. that can be traced by the kremlin and the gru. >> thank you so much. happy new year. >> happy new year, fred. still ahead, an extraordinary rebuke from the british prime minister to u.s. secretary of state john kerry
more fallout after a u.n. security council vote condemning israel for settlement activity in the west bank. the u.s. state department now saying it is surprised by the criticism of uk prime minister theresa may's office regarding u.s. secretary of state john kerry's speech this week criticizing israel. >> the israeli prime minister publicly supports a two state solution. but his current coalition is the most right wing in israeli history with an agenda driven by the most extreme elements. the result is that policies of this government, which the prime minister himself just described, has more committed to settlements than any in israel's history. are leading in the opposite
direction, they're leaning towards one state. >> british prime minister theresa may released a response, a chiding kerry saying it's not appropriate to attack the composition of a democratically elected ally. phil black has more now from london on this. phil, what is this statement symbolic of? >> reporter: well, it's really quite extraordinary, the tone, the language, the pointed criticism. because this is not how these two countries, america and britain, traditionally speak to one another. they're usually incredibly supportive and talk about what they described time and again as their special relationship. instead, you have this statement from the british prime minister making very pointed chrriticism against the obama administration and secretary kerry and his comments in particular. we heard a response from the u.s. state department, which basically says where did this come from? let's look at the language here more closely. this is what the state department says, we are surprised by the uk prime
minister's office statement given that secretary kerry's remarks which covered the full range of threats to a two state solution including terrorism, violence, incitement and settlements were in line with the uk's own long-standing policy and its vote at the united nations last week. it's saying that secretary kerry has not said or done anything that's a significant departure from britain's own long-standing policies on this issue. britain went ahead of the united states by voting in favor of the resolution at the security council criticizing the israel settlement activity. remember, the united states merely abstained from the vote there. there is an inconsistency between theresa may's criticism and british policy for some time now. this is being noted by the state department, it's being noted by commentators here as well. which leads everyone to ask why, what is behind this? i think the best guess is this is an attempt by the british
prime minister to ingratiate herself with the incoming presidential administration, president elect trump. perhaps also an attempt to smooth things over with the israelis after voting in favor of the resolution. whatever the motivation, you can't emphasize how extraordinary this is. it is a major departure from the way that britain and the united states normally talk to each other publicly. >> all right. phil black, in london thanks so much. coming up, one of trump's targets in 2016, the press. up next, cnn's run down of the top ten media moments of the year.
challenged the media like never before. culm culminating in an unprecedented outcome. here are the top ten media stories of 2016. number ten, an emotional homecoming. washington post reporter jason reziun freed. >> to my colleagues at the post you guys are awesome. >> reporter: number nine, the kelly ripa, michael strahan feud. blindsided by news her live co-host was leaving for gma, ripa skipped work for four days. >> guys, our long national nightmare is over. >> reporter: she returned after a personal apology from disney and abc execs. and strahan left the show weeks earlier than planned. number eight corporate media maneuvers. via com ceo was ousted.
the two were estranged for a while but sherry is heir to the corporate throne. the biggest media mother-in-ler. at&t seeking to buy out time warner. the role of leaks. from wi to the bombshell access hollywood tape. secret scoops rocked political journalism this year. someone mailed trump's 1995 tax return to "the new york times." what never leaked, raw footage from the apprentice. number six, good bye gawker. a jury ruling the gossip site invaded hulk hogan's privacy when it published parts of a sex
tape. the $140 million sex tape. >> a judgment forced gawker into bankruptcy and the site was later shut down. in a surprise twist, peter teal revealed he had been bank rolling the lawsuits. his revenge for what hooee belid was gawker outing him in 2007. fake news stories, hoaxes on the web, polluting news streams. >> we don't think it swayed the election but we take that responsibility really seriously. >> reporter: facebook and google did announce steps to halt the flow of ad dollars to the creators of fake sites. the new age of information warfare is just beginning. number four, alt right media out of the shadows. when trump named steve bannon they say it took fringe ideas
into the main stream. >> breitbart were champions of trump. >> bannon once called breitbart the platform for the alt right. now, bannon will be the president's chief strategist. stoking fears the alt religious. religion. >> a charge bannon denies. number three, the stunning down fall of fox news ceo roger ailes. >> we're back with breaking news, a media bombshell. >> two weeks later, he was out. although he strongly denied the allegations, multiple women inside fox, came forward with similar stories. it was a shocking end for the controversial king maker and master mind of the country's highest rated news channel. number two, one of the biggest miscues in decade, donald trump
winning the presidency, most of the press never believed would actually happen. >> we don't do our job as well as we should have and could have. >> complete failure at every step of the process. >> i think polling has to get better about describing the uncertainties. >> trump's win was a thundering wake up call. the limits of polling and limits of data and reminder national news outlets need to do a better job covering race, class and in equality orris being losing more public confidence. >> number one, running against the press. the most anti-media campaign in modern history. it started in 2015, but trump doubled down in 2016. >> i'm running against the crooked media. we have to put up with the most dishonest people in the world. >> but trump still called out other journalists by name. >> katey, you are not reporting it, katey, there is something happening, katey.
this sleezy guy from abc, he's a sleeze, in my book. >> he fired off angry tweets at news outlets treating them like enemies and got his crowds chanting. >> build that wall. >> trump declared war on the press and the campaign was just the first battle. it sets up a challenge for the media in 2017. covering president trump. brian stelter, krrn, new york. >> with today being new year's eve we're taking a look at celebrations around the world. let's be uplifted. apple part enterner ed with ins. these imagines from australia, taken on the brand new iphone 7. wow. happy new year. ♪ sure! it's free for everyone.
with the xfinity tv app, anything with a screen is a tv. stream 130 live channels. plus 40,000 on demand tv shows and movies, all on the go. you can even download from your x1 dvr and watch it offline. only xfinity gives you more to stream to any screen. download the xfinity tv app today. >> welcome back, 20 days donald trump will be sworn in as the 45th president of the united states. donald trump moves into the white house, but he will be
moving without melania trump at first. she says she will join him later after their son's school year end. meantime still at his side. we've learned trump aides are planning for a first family's office. with ivanka assuming a prominent role. would she act as the official white house host tes. joining me is the author of the book -- good to see you. it's kind of awkward and strange and weird but maybe it's kind of the new things that we're referring to first lady roles but we're talking about his daughter, ivanka trump. so how will she kind of assume some of those roles or will she be, you know, a more powerful force in terms of policy making
or influence? i. >> i think she will be a more powerful force, senior adviser, aide, kind of beyond what we've seen with first ladies who are typically, even someone like michelle obama, very highly educated woman who was a real mom and she took on very traditional issues, was very effective doing that. but i think this is kind of redefining how we see a first lady, do we need a first lady to live in the white house. i mean, it's pretty incredible that melania will be spending the first few months in new york. she will still be involved and active first lady from new york. >> and she has said that cyberbullying is going to be something she wants to really spearhead which is interesting in this age right now, the whole russian cyber war on going. that's another topic. back to this role of being a hostess, what does that mean, really? >> i don't know if we really need someone to fulfill that
duty necessarily. if you look back at history, we've had first ladies who have not been the life of the president, when life expectancies were shorter. you had martha jefferson who filled in for her mother. so this is something that we've seen before. i do think it's important to at least have somebody there for the beginning, you know, to give -- during state dinners and events like that. i think we will see mel yan i can't coming to washington. it's important for the american public to see this position change a little bit and see a daughter who is as involved as ivanka trump is at this point. >> oftentimes i think this nation is for giving and allowing the first lady to take their time getting used to a huge role, nobody really can understand it or know it unless you've been in it yourself and
we've heard from many first ladies who talk about how gratuitous, you know, their predecessors have been in helping them make the transition. so do you see anyone that would try to help ivanka, you know, make this kind of transition? would she be receiving advice from other first ladies or is thereomebody else who would be reaching out to her because of this role hostess. >> i know that trumps and her folks were working with melania are talking to former aides to laura bush, so they are reaching out to other people who have worked in the east wing before. so i think that even though this was a really bitter, divisive campaign, there is going to be, as you say, an effort for, you know, republican administrations before them, like the bushes. we see with the obamas, they've said they will do whatever it takes to help the trumps. there is this great spirit of peaceful transition in this
country. and i think we'll continue to see that. it is just fascinating, given what we've seen in this election, to watch them move beyond some of that language and to really help each other, like you said, no one knows what it is like until you have done it. first ladies in particular have a lot of empathy for one another. >> kate anderson, it really is a special sor rorrity of sorts isn't it. next hour of the "newsroom" starts right now. >> hello again, thank you for joining me, i'm fredricka whitfield. the same malicious software used by hackers to meddle in the u.s. election has been found on a laptop belonging to a vermont company. the laptop was not connected to the power grid, but did call this an attempt to infiltrate utility systems, the