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tv   CNN Newsroom With Fredricka Whitfield  CNN  December 24, 2017 12:00pm-1:00pm PST

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hello and thanks so much for being with me. i'm fredricka whitfield. christmas celebrations are taking place right now. a look at the vatican right now
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where the pope will lead the christmas eve mass moments from now and we will take you there live in a moment. meanwhile president trump celebrating the holidays at his private resort with his family and kicking off christmas eve with twitter attacks. one of his targets, fbi director andrew mccabe who plans to retire in the coming months. another target is cnn. the president retweeted this photo shopped image. take a closer look. you saw his tweet from earlier inside. if you look closer to that image. there is an apparent splatter on the bottom of his shoe and it shows the logo of cnn. as for this afternoon, it appears the president moveed from twitter to the golf course and the team spotted him golfing and shot this video. you saoey hsee him there with t cap. that is near the president's vacation spot. sarah murray is live in west palm beach.
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sarah, significant changes unfolding at the fbi and you learned the deputy director plans to retire and one of the top lawyers, jim baker is being reassigned while the president continues to attack the institutions of the fbi and the free press. what does the white house have to say? >> that's right. this is a president who has not held back since taking office of his criticism of the department of justice as well as the fbi. he is taking aim at top officials and the white house insist that is the president has more confidence now that he hand pick picked his own word to lead it. here's what the department of legislative affairs had to say. >> he is pleased to have chris wray and pleased at the changes taking place. we put all of our faith in the department of justice knowing there should be no bias there. he is making serious concerns
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about whether there was or was not. is he telling him to clean house? >> in the meantime this is the 108th day at one of his properties and calling it a working vacation. it always seems to be for a president is not completely allowed to take time off. what do we know to be on the president's schedule while he is there. they haven't toldous us a lot about that. they are firmly in the vacation territory. the president went golfing earlier today and we expecthe will have family time and santa
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tracking. they seem much more in the christmas spirit and we will obviously get more details as we get closer to next week. we will bring those to you. >> appreciate it. let's get some opinions now from strong political minds to figure this out. you know the president is going full bore against the fbi and the media. he made this a tradition and he seems to be steping it up on this christmas eve. why does the president feel like this is advantageous for him. we are talking about the institutions in existence to help hold the president and the u.s. government accountable. >> we wrap up the year and look forward to the following year, it's the president's job to make
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sure we protect the institutions we hold so dearly. >> this is intimidation. we heard disturbing stories lately and they are taking $700,000 -- >> that figure is being dispu d disputed. there is no denying perhaps his wife who is campaigning did accept money from hillary clinton, but in washington too it's not unusual for people to be working in government or campaigning for office and they can still be somewhat a political when your job is not a political position, right? >> we also learned on friday on fixture news that a congressman said there were e-mails that said hillary clinton was going to receive an hq special as it relates to an e-mail
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investigation. you can surmise what you want from that, but that sounds like a conflict and president trump is saying we need to get rid of all of these conflicts because the fbi has to be beyond reapproach when it comes to ethics. >> isn't there a process? should it be the position of the president to send out tweets or try to intimidate people or threatening language in which to correct if that's his a.mbition or isn't it up to various agencies who have the responsibility to clean house or redirect or make sure that people are doing their jobs in an unbiassed manner. >> congress is doing their job, but one thing we learned about president trump is he weighs in and speaks his mind. the voters understood that when they put him in office and it has been nothing different. >> is this effective and is the president on the right track? >> it's awful. the president decided to
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celebrate the birth of the christ child by issuing a series of ugly sneers against a long highly credibility civil serva a ants who are working hard for us. every one has a political view and they all have relatives with political views. >> they get to vote so you may have preference on particular candidates based on political party, but they also know or can be disciplined enough to not allow that to influence them when they are executing their jobs. >> these are thinking human beings as we want them to be and we judge them by ho professionally they execute their jobs. if anyone has evidence that andrew mccape has done anything unprofessional and illegal, no one has shown it yet. they are issuing personal smears
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that occur just at the moment he is confirming the testimony that director comey has. >> but there are e-mails who said he will give hillary clinton an hq special. >> nobody suggested that there has been anything. there is no evidence that it means anything. of course these guys talk with each other. and let's not forget that this is not happening in a vacuum. they were talking about an insurance policy. >> that's what we have to look at. this is not just an isolated incident. several people are involved that all seem to have conflicts.
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it pertains to bob mueller and special counsel and what may or may not be next. >> listen. quickly. >> what mueller was asked to do and by the way before this investigation, mueller had widespread support. all across the political spectrum for the very fine work he did as fbi director. what he was asked to do was deal with a very serious issue. did the trump administration collude with the russians in the campai campaign? very important issue. that is what he is trying to do. to attack his integrity in order to protect the president is unacceptable. >> what if the president fires the special counsel? >> that will be a big problem. a big problem. i don't think that will go over well at all here in the senate. i don't think he will go there. he shouldn't go there. >> so the president himself said he is not considering removing bob mueller. the white house reiterating up
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until friday that it's not going to happen. why are they continuing to express concerns that can potentially go there? >> i have those concerns as well and it's a two track strategy. it may result in the removal of the special counsel, but short of that if you can smear the guy enough and make it seem unfair and act as if you are being picked on like any peper, your hope is when he does deliver his report it undermines the credibility of those things. there is a removal strategy and that's the separate tracks. >> do they become in the same? >> i find it amazing that we are even having this conversation because like you said the president never said he was going to remove mueller.
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it was a democratic congresswoman that talked about a rumor that she couldn't substantiate and they are trying to defend an accusation? i think this thing is blown out of proportion and if he does it which i don't think he will because he learned his lesson from the comey removal, we will talk about it. until then it's projection. >> okay. we will leave it there. hope springs eternal. john thomas, merry christmas and happy new year. that's when i will see you next. a new report said the president in the middle of the oval office claimed that all haitian immigrants have aids and nigerian immigrants won't go back to their huts after seeing the u.s.? the comments begging the question, is racism fueling trump's immigration policy. and the president is enjoying this christmas holiday with a game of golf or two, but is it indeed a working vacation?
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>> welcome back. live pictures right now where the vatican christmas celebrations are about to begin. the pope will lead the christmas eve mass as christians around the world celebrate the birth of jesus. in florida, president trump holding a video conference call with military members this morning, delivering this message. >> i just wanted to wish everybody a very merry christmas. we say christmas again very proudly. very, very merry christmas. going to have a great year. it's going to be an incredible year. i am thrilled to bring seasons
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greetings on behalf of the first lady and our entire family and most importantly on behalf of the american people. today and every day we are incredibly thankful for you and your families. the families have been tremendous. always underappreciated, the military families. the greatest people on earth. we have five deployed units, one from each branch of our armed forces. i want to welcome colonel chuck lombardo and all of the soldiers of iron brigade. deployed in kuwait to support the operation spartan shield and the iron brigade is currently serving as an active partner in the iraqi kuwaiti saudi and jordanian armies, doing an incredible job. >> meanwhile on this christmas eve in puerto rico, many are struggling to make the most of
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the holiday season as most ever still without power and continuing to rebuild as best they can after hurricane maria hit in september. in the capital of san juan, layla, what are the conditions like right now? >> reporter: that all depends on what part of the island you are in. right now we are in old san juan. there is a cruise ship dock and tourists are spending their holidays right here, although not as many as we typically see. as we go to the interior part of the island, i will put this in numbers. about 70% of the people of san juan have power. go into the interior again and the mayor there said 70% of the people do not have power. a much different story from when you talk to the u.s. army core of engineers working hard to get that back to premaria conditions, they will tell you
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for some of those remote areas, it could be may until they get power back here on the island. a very different christmas this year whether you are in san juan or in the interior in the remote areas. everyone can agree. this is not the typical christmas for puerto rico after maria. >> and then what have people been telling you, those that you have been reuniting with. you have all kinds of accounts of how today's stories differ from what you have been experiencing over a period of months. rhe >> reporter: right. families are getting creative and finding ways to celebrate christmas. one woman's name is marcella. she said maria destroyed her
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home. she had to move her family of four into the home with her father. they don't have power. they don't have water. they don't have a generator. typically they would be roasting a pig as is traditional here in puerto rico. but she said this year they don't even have a christmas tree. here's our conversation. >> there is a lot of people that still don't have water in their house. i really think if i'm this way, how are they going to pass christmas and new year's? >> what would the one thing be that you want for christmas? >> i want to be in my house. >> she just wants to be in her home. it doesn't seem like a lot to ask for.
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one quick thing, i spent time with santa claus and even as he was talking to children here in puerto rico, hurricane maria came up. children told santa they want power and water and want santa not to forget them this year. >> a lot of them have to feel very traumatized still. thank you so much for bringing those stories to us from san juan. >> a gunman targeted police in a shooting spree. why the department of homeland security is calling it terrorism. ♪ tired of wrestling with seemingly impossible cleaning tasks? using wipes in the kitchen, and sprays in the bathroom can be ineffective. try mr. clean magic eraser. simply add water, and use in your kitchen for burnt on food, in your bathroom to remove soap scum, and on walls to remove scuffs and marks. it erases 4x more permanent marker per swipe. for an effective, multi-surface clean, use mr. clean magic eraser.
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live pictures at the vatican and st. peters basilica there. mass is about to get under way. the pope will deliver his message of peace around the world. celebrating the birth of jesus. back in in country the department of homeland security is targeting pennsylvania law enforcement a terror attack. a naturalized citizen admitted from egypt on a family-based visa fired at police in three places on friday. they were fired on a capital officer and shot and injured a state trooper and fired at several other officers killing the gunman. the acting dhs secretary said it highlights the concerns with extended family chain my immigration. c cnn's dab lieberman joins us with the reported shootings. >> it happened friday afternoon in harrisburg, pennsylvania
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where 51-year-old man opened fire at enforcement officers throughout the city and the harrisburg district attorney spoke out about the attack on friday. >> this individual showed. >> they are calling this a terror attack saying he was a naturalized u.s. citizen who came to the country on a family-based immigrant visa. they released this statement yesterday saying both chain migration and the diversity program, lottery program had been exploited by terrorists to attack our country and the programs make it more difficult to keep dangerous people out of the united states to protect the safety of every american. however, fred, local authorities have not yet confirmed whether they consider this to be a terror attack. pennsylvania republican representative lou bar letta
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said they will keep monitoring the incident for potential links to terrorism. >> dan lieberman, thank you so much from new york. as we leave you to this break, more live pictures at the vatican and the pope getting ready to deliver mass service on this christmas eve. ♪
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>> an explosive "new york times" report that president trump had derogatory reports. afghan immigrants come from a terrorist haven, haitians coming to the u.s. all have aids. and he railed that once nigerians had seen the u.s., they would never go back to their huts in africa. the white house strongly denying the accuracy of that reporting. joining me to discuss this is frank cher whoa y. an toneio is a political commentator and trump supporter who i understand your family is
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from nigeria. okay. we have a lot on that. both of your papers from nigeria, the most populated nation in africa with the 20th largest economy and africa's largest economy. you have been a supporter of the president. the president reportedly saying things like this. what's your reaction to his characterization, particularly of nigerians? >> i would say first of all i didn't come on here to entertain any speculation and that's what this is. it's speculation. sarah sanders also ve emtly denied this took place. cnn reported other people at the meeting that said the comment didn't take place and they didn't recall this happening. it's important that the american people know the truth. it's all speculative until the transcript comes out and this happens. this is hearsay for right now. >> who are do you need to provide the transcript.
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the "new york times" stood behind its reporting. they have a number of anonymous sources and they from tripled and quadruple checked. they were standing by their account. their credibility and entire product would be on the line that they wouldn't stand behind their story. you are saying you don't believe it, period, flat out, not until you see a transcript coming from? >> it's not even that i believe it or not. even cnn reported that the bottom of their article is saying that there are also other people saying they did not hear that. it's going to be or not. if all the sources are based on the credibility of two people with the unnamed sources, we should also be in retrospect that we didn't hear anything of the sort. this goes out to the narrative
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perp perpetuating that donald trump is racist. the american people are sick of this when they haven't seen anything that has shown anything of the sort. >> wait a minute. is it a perpetuation when there has already been an established pattern going back to housing discrimination which there were settlements involved in that to the president's remarks about these young men in new york. they later were exonerated. to leading the birtherism movement of the first president of the united states who is african-american. there is that pattern. so there is that reference point when people look at these quotes now that seem in step with some precedence. >> i think that's the important thing. seem in step to perpeduate the narrati narrative.
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with the birther movement not because he was the first african-american president which his father is from africa and my parents are as well. it's coming down to the facts. what people need to know is the facts. what this whole security system when it comes to this ban. it's not a muslim ban and it's a travel ban. it's trying to protect america. it's about americans first. my mother is nigerian and came here because she wanted to be in a country that put their country and american citizens first. even no even show she voted for hillary clinton and will go here to the left next time, she said it's important to have a president to put their citizens first instead of focussing on other countries when it am cans to this political culture narrative and mentality. what about us and making sure that all american citizens are protected regardless and irrespective of skin color. that's what is important to talk about. not the speculation and a
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speculative report. >> sorry that what this is all about? it's about believability and it is about perpetuating a false narrative of the president of the united states and these anonymous sources and don't offer enough credence to the possibility that the president could have said any of these things. >> all you have to do is look at the public acts to know that he has a very bigoted view towards immigrants. he started the caban for 1.5 billion people for coming into the country because of the god they pray to. he is under his administration been deporting latinos and haitians and other who is are deeply rooted in american society who are heading up families and paying taxes and have been convicted of nothing. he wants to slash legal
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immigration by 50% and on top of that he told dreamers who grew up in america and gone to school here with the paperwork that they should be deported unless congress can step in and stop it. his public acts say basically let's make america white again because these immigrants are a threat. >> come on. let's be honest here. what the mexican comments, we all know he didn't say all mexicans. he said those who are coming here who have a criminal background and a lot of people agree with that. again, here we are talking about not the whole truth here. an african american woman can be a supporter of trump because of the policies that he has. that's what it comes down to. that's what affects me as an american citizen. these quotes or not even quotes on the whole sense of it, but really picking and choosing of words that are not really conducive of what his actual policies are. they are detrimental to america
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and our society and what's going to be the future. we are perpet rauating the raci that doesn't exist. >> can you support his policies and at the same time express bei being offended by any language. do they have to be in step with one another. has anything offended you regardless of the fact that you support his policies. >> nothing offended me because what's important is that i as a 27-year-old female am still trying to make sure i have important things that most americans are focused on. we have christmas and we are talking about jobs and the economy and my future as a millennial. that's what's important to me. not hearsay of whether our president said this or not. that's what americans are upset about. we are talking about offensive comments and then we are not
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really talking about the. the substantial issues that really affect everyday citizens and people regardless of whether they come from africa and a country. my parents want a better life for themselves and their kids. not for talking about this. >> and when the president himself says that he has grabbed a woman's private parts and he tuesday himself. that's not hearsay as you put it. these quotes you said you hearsay. that's not offensive to you? >> i didn't say -- i did not talk about those comments. >> i asked if the president said that is offensive even though you continue to support his policy. >> of course there are many people who have said things that are offensive, but does that directly impact me as an individual and as a person. we are in this mentality these days are talking about free speech on college campuses or
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not free speech on college campuses because people are so offended about everything. i'm going to show you as a woman and a black woman who my parents are from nigeria, they came here for the american dream. the american dream was to make sure i had a better life for myself than they had. that's what is important. that's what's important to a lot of citizens and people in this country. people even in nigeria are looking to us to make sure they have a role model. that's why people voted for trump. they can see him and see a leader who is going to impact their free world and make sure that every country in the world is going to do better as a consequence of that. >> frank, you agree there would be a separation. you can be support of his policy even if there are things or his style or word choice can be offensive. >> there is no question that a man who started his political
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career with birtherism who said there were good people in charlottesville. i'm happy to talk about the policy that is the most radical departure from recent history. he is taking a wrecking ball to the statue of liberty and saying immigrants are a threat to the country. this is a nation of immigrants. our motto is e plur bus u numb, out of many one. he is saying that's wrong. we have to protect white people and everyone else is a threat. this is not about he is standingly up for america and we are standing up for other things. we are standing up for america and he is threatening it. >> he has not said that immigrants are a threat. i'm an immigrant and many people who made this country are immigrants. we are making sure the legal immigrants who are here who did the process the right way, that they have their fair say and that's what's important. i think that's what donald trump is about. making sure that legal immigrants here are protected
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and empowered. i think most people would agree with that. >> we will leave it right there. thank you so much and merry christmas and happy new year. >> merry christmas. >> appreciate it. christmas eve services are happening around the world including at the vatican. we will take you there again, coming up. i love you, couch. you give us comfort. and we give you bare feet, backsweat, and gordo's... everything. i love you, but sometimes you stink. soft surfaces trap odors. febreze fabric refresher cleans them away for good. because the things you love the most can stink. and plug in febreze to keep your whole room fresh for up to 45 days. breathe happy with febreze.
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so be wise all take new xyzal®. ♪ christmas eve celebrations and mass underway now at the vatican there. and also taking place at bethlehem first cnn joining us
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live from bethlehem. tell us about celebrations you are seeing there. >> it's rather cold and rainy and now windy christmas here. with the decorations here it remains a festive joyous holiday. manger square, the biblical spot where jesus was born. the faithful pilgrims here have very much enjoyed this evening even if because of the weather and other reasons it has been a bit more of an empty manger square on this christmas eve midnight mass led by latin patriarch. it is a bit more of empty manger square because of how religion and politics so often mix here. president trump's recognition of
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jerusalem at capital of israel effecting. signs read jerusalem is the eternal capital of palestinian. because of expected demonstrations there was a state department travel warning and that kept away many tourists and pilgrims that would be filling hotels here and that has led to a bit of a much emptier manger square. that being said as i pointed out for those who have come out it has still been a festive and joyous holiday this christmas eve. merry christmas to you and our viewers and to my wife's family in bethlehem, pennsylvania. merry christmas. >> i want to bring into the conversation john allen joining us from rome. this is the fifth christmas for pope francis there as the leader of the catholic church there.
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what is the expectation from what his message might be this year? >> first of all, happy christmas to you. since the precedent has been set let me send a shout out to my wife. merry christmas to you, sweetheart. i think the story of christmas from the pope's point of view is the story of a poor child born to a refugee family in bethlehem. i think the expectation is that pope francis will connect the story of the christ child to all the contemporary displaced and refugee families of the world. pope francis typically is not the sort of up with people pope
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we often see. he typically is a more somber figure reflecting more on the injustices and tragedies of the world. that is probably the tone he will set this evening as he celebrates what is traditionally known as midnight mass here in the vat caneven though it starts at 9:30 in the evening. shortly we will hear the pope launch into his homily, his reflection for the pivotal point. is the expectation that he might be equally reflective as he would be hopeful for the new year upcoming? >> well, i think the tone of hope you will hear from the pope you will get tomorrow when he knows, when he does what is known as his blessing to the
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city and the world. christmas eve usually -- i have covered this man now for five years. you usually catch him in a somewhat more i guess i would say somber and in a way kind of plaintiff tone where what tends to dominate his thinking on christmas eve are the tragedies, heart aches, the pain of the contemporary world. that is what i would expect him to reflect upon tonight. as i say because the story of christmas eve so much is a story of a poor child born to a family that had been driven from its home that is in search of refuge i think all those people who are in a similar situations today, those would be the ones who are in france's mind and heart tonight. >> and i want to bring oren back
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in. as you had mentioned so many tourists would flock to bethlehem. this year might be a little different, a little more somber particularly in light of political back drops presented. have there been demonstrations or outward signs particularly those who have shown disagreement or descent with president trump's most recent moves about jerusalem and tel aviv? >> reporter: absolutely there have been demonstrations and protests. those will continue. there were fewer today especially here in bethlehem given the fact that it was a holiday. there have been demonstrations in gaza. that is where the anger remains the strongest. there have been as well as jerusalem and those will continue even if not as big today. that gives the sense of the anger that remains here at president trump's recognition of
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jerusalem as capital of israel. >> thanks to both of you. merry christmas to you and your families. thanks for being with us. we'll close out as we take you back to vatican city. and midnight mass underway. ♪ happy anniversary dinnedarlin'
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hello again. merry christmas on this christmas eve. thanks for being with me this sunday. we are taking you now live pictures to rome.

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