tv CNN Tonight With Don Lemon CNNW December 19, 2016 8:00pm-9:01pm PST
breaking news, a deadly crash in berlin being investigated as an act of terrorism. a tractor-trailer plowing into a crowded christmas market at least 12 killed, dozens more injured, suspected driver in custody tonight. it appears to be a terrorist act russia's ambassador to syria assassinated. cnn's senior international correspondent frederick plykon
is at the scene. >> reporter: they have one man in custody, however, they're not sure as to that man's nationality or whether they can be 100% certain he was the one sitting at the wheel of the truck as it plowed through this crowded christmas market. there was a second man found dead on the passenger seat. the license plates on the truck were from poland. the truck belongs to a polish trucking company. the owner of the company says he lost contact with his driver, while the driver was in berlin at some point monday. he already feared something may have happened to the driver. the truck may have been hijacked at some point and used to plow here into this christmas market. you know, some of the details we're getting from people who were there as all this unfolded are absolutely terrible. they say the truck was going
around 40 miles an hour, as it went into the christmas market in a pedestrians zone. it plowed through several market stalls made of light wood. not -- barely slowing the truck down, and obviously also hit a lot of people. there's some terrible accounts of people being trapped under the truck being dragged along. the berlin police here are on the scene. that's something that's going to continue for the text couple days, don. >> joining me now is elise lavitt. welcome to the show this hour. you have the alatest on the assassination of russia's ambassador to turkey? there was also an incident outside the u.s. embassy tonight. what do you know? >> reporter: this was just about an hour ago don, a gentleman was arrested for throwing a weapon in the area and shooting it in the air. that embassy was right near the
russian embassy and the art gallery where the russian ambassador was assassinated. you can see video of this man being taken away, the u.s. says they feel there's no more danger posed to the americans or the embassy itself. they warned americans to stay out of that area, between this and the assassination today there's a lot of police activity today. >> the images are graphic. we're going to play it for you and then we will discuss it. let's watch. [ gunfire ] >> alla akbar!
>> russian president vladimir putin is calling this a provocation. how are turkey responding tonight? >> there's been real strain and relations between moscow and turkey, they seem to be kind of working together now, trying to repair ties. they both cast this as the asail an the trying to undermine the normalization of relations they weren't going to fall for it. putin also said the criminals will pay for this, the fear is that the syrian civilians in aleppo are going to be the ones that pay for this don. obviously a lot of brutality in aleppo over the last several months. the fear is that the russians are going to really level the place. they don't know much about this person and this assassin, who he
was. just the fact that he screamed, remember aleppo, don't forget aleppo, a lot of people fearing for the residents of aleppo tonight. the white house is saying this is a terrorist attack, the president-elect is also speaking out about this, correct? >> that's right, the russians obviously called it a terror attack, just earlier this evening. president-elect donald trump issued a statement, i'll read a little bit to you. he said, today we offer our condolences to the family and loved ones ambassador to turkey, andre car love who was assassinated by a terrorist. it's the violation of all rules of civilized order and must be universally condemned. now, the white house, the russians have all said this was an act of terrorism, they haven't gone so far as to say this was an act of radical islamic terrorism. and although this person did
call out alla akbar and also talk about aleppo, they don't really know necessarily what the motives are, president-elect trump going a little further and labelling this an act of islamic terrorism, i think we'll know more in the coming hours and days about who this person was and why they did it. but certainly president-elect trump has said that it's islamic terrorism, don? >> thank you, elise lav it. i want to bring in now, michael weiss, a co author of inside the army of terror, national security analyst the author of security mom. and jill dougherty and bob baird. let's start in berlin, shall we. this looks similar to the bastille day attack in france. are we going to see more of these attacks?
>> i think absolutely, as the middle east continues to boil over from yemen to syria, even lebanon, all these countries it has a huge effect on refugees, decendants of people from the middle east and europe. it's a disaffected population, and the people still identify with their home countries, whether it's afghanistan or pakistan, it doesn't matter, and you're going to see violence spreading there. this has been predictable. european intelligence services have seen this coming, warned about it publicly over and over again. and it's arrived, and it's not a question that they're incompetent, they don't know what they're doing, they're all over these people, as i've been saying, they're getting better and better at communicating and they don't advertise their intentions on the internet. >> let's talk about the latest information we have on the investigation. this is coming from berlin police, they said the truck had
polish license plates, a polish citizen was found dead in the truck, the truck may have been hijacked. what's your read? >> this is someone who didn't want to have the paper trail leading back to the rental of a truck. if he hijacked it, it's not quite the amateur endeavor that would strike us at first plus. in 1993, the world trade center bomber attempted to get his security deposit back for that rental truck. it seems based on the polish trucking company, the hijacking, if it did take place, it took place somewhere in berlin. this is not a random act of violence. this shows premeditation. someone who as willing to plow into a crowded marketplace, and
to commit an act of murder to obtain the weapon of choice. what you're seeing is exactly what bob said, getting in a car and driving over people, that's what the former isis spokesman issued this injunction from muslims worldwide to do, it's -- there's no sophistication, it's the crudest device possible, anyone can drive it into a car. >> does this lead you to the motivation and who may be responsible for it. the evidence we have now? >> yes, i mean, isis hasn't taken credit for it yet, although there have been delays and we don't know if this is someone who had no direct relationship with isis, but was just inspired by them, obviously, we live in a time 234 which one would begin with that theory, we also have one of the assailants alive. and that gives you a name, that name gives you other names, that's where the investigation will go from here.
and from the united states perspective, i have to say, we are entering holiday season, what we're going to learn from this is to try to fortify some of these more public places in the weeks ahead. because we know this is -- you know, as michael said, this is so easy to do. the runway of radicalization for these guys is relatively short, they're not leaving long trails behind them where they can be captured before they do something like this. >> jill, the state department warned americans it was last month. i'll just read part of it, the department of state alerts u.s. citizens to the heightened risk of terrorist attacks throughout europe, particularly during the holiday season. u.s. citizens should exercise caution at outdoor markets, a travel alert expires february 20th, 2017. they go on to name the people they think may be responsible for these attacks. credible information that they had? back in november?
>> right. but did they know exactly what was going to happen? i mean, you know, let's look at the assassination of the russian ambassador, there are many different groups, it could be responsible for that. it could be as simple as someone who is so distraught about the killing in if aleppo and make a point to kill the russians who they blame as being responsible for helping the syrian government. it could be much more complicated. it could be isis, kurdish groups, there are many different people and all of these strains of information are coming into intelligence agencies, both in the united states and don't forget, you know the russians are looking at this too. president bought putin is huddling with his security agencies, trying to figure out who the man was that assassinated the ambassador, in that particular case, it's quite
complicated. >> putin is calling this a provocation. how do you see him responding, jill? >> it depends on a provocation by whom? we still don't know. right now his reaction is, to join forces with turkey, you know, they've had as we all know very fraught relationship ever since a year ago, when the turks shot down that russian plane, but then they patched it up a few months ago. so they're back on track and both saying, this is a ploy by someone who's trying to destroy the relationship between turkey and russia, we're not going to buy it, we're not going to go along with it, they don't know exactly who did it. they do want to patch up that relationship, and show that they're strong. >> lots more to discuss, everyone stay with me. when we come back, donald trump, and his team are continuing to
we're back now with our breaking news. this is the truck that plowed into the christmas market earlier today, killing 12 people, injuring dozens more. my first question to you bob earlier in the first segment was, this is similar to the bastille day truck attack in france. if you look at this, do you -- is it similar, is it coordinated. same attackers possibly because of the weapon they used and what they did? >>. >> i think almost undoubtedly, the target for christmas, symbolic.
germany's association with the united states. there's one report that an afghan driver, possibly pakistani, it all makes sense, this is the kind of weapon that is impossible to defend against soft targets, it certainly makes sense. everyone's pointing to terrorism now, it's almost certain. and as we have been talking about, they've been waiting for this for months, warning us over and over again, it's finally arrived, tragically. >> what does it say that they are using trucks now -- is that a new form of -- >> ohio state was a car, not a truck. >> oklahoma. >> heating the isis injunction to use whatever means are at your disposal. truth be told, al qaeda was calling for these attacks way back in the day. this is what i've called
invisible soldiers of al baghdadi. you don't need to go to rakka. you can't go to rakka, actually. you stay where you are in europe, and you're radicalized by an agent who's already running around the continent or you're just inspired by watching youtube videos and listening to sermons, and then the last issue of rumia. there's an entire magazine spread on exactly the kind of knife to purchase for cutting human fresh. don't get knives that are retractable, that can snap back. this is what they want to do. >> you were just in berlin as i pointed out last hour? did you see an increase in security? >> no, i didn't. i was surprised, any urban city is going to have to be somewhat open. it's the nature of urban living, why people choose to live in
cities, this is the holiday season, and so you're -- we don't talk about trying to create a city that has no risk, all cities will have risk what we try to do is minimize the risk, had berlin taken any precautions after nice to protect its streets, knowing it was a target. and it's inevitable it was a target, not simply because of the refugees that are coming in, but just when we got over our election, germany is heading into election season, we know that those are times in which terrorists who want to make a point will make a point. and so it should have been no surprise, we have to learn not just what germany did, but what are mayors going to do in the united states leading into december 25th, giving these big -- and december 31st, giving these big public meetings. you're going to want barriers, trucks, mobil barriers, whatever they are, because we do know that this threat is relatively
easy. this kind of harm is relatively easy. >> they're moving into election season there, let's talk about russia's hacking of the u.s. election. here's john mccain. >> this is serious business. if they're able to harm the electoral process, they destroy democracy which is based on free and fair elections. >> what is russia's end game? >> well, in this in the hacking, ultimately to undermine the image of democracy in america's own eyes. damage the united states around the country -- around the world what's being set up right now is this dynamic, you can see that vladimir putin and donald trump kind of look at the world in the same way. terrorism is primary, that's the
primary challenge. so you could say, and this is already kind of out there, that they might be amenable to working together, cooperation of some type to fight terrorism. but when you see john mccain saying, this is -- you know, the hacking shall not stand and this is russia trying to bring us down, you've already got the congress or at least some in congress aligning themselves against trump, because trump might want to work with vladimir putin, but john mccain and others will not have it. so this is going to be something to really watch. long term trend politically that we'll have to watch after that. >> another one for you jill, the president-elect continues to question russia's involvement, i want to play something donald trump said two years ago. here it is. >> it's disgraceful what's going
on with china, generally. i think he's 100% right, it's a big problem. we have that problem also with russia, you saw that over the weekend. russia's doing the same thing. the problem with the internet and computerization, there's always some genius that can figure it out. >> okay, so jill, that was trump says russia's hacking was a big problem then, what's changed? >> i don't know. maybe we'd have to have him explain that. the russians tend to hack for geo political reasons. intelligence, et cetera, the chinese, this is an exaggeration. the chinese do that -- maybe he knew the russians do the political side. right now, it remains kind of a
mystery why he will not accept that. what it's pushing for and you're hearing this from all sides now. is that whatever the cia has on this. they have to begin to declassify it, to convince people, otherwide, nobody's going to believe it. >> he's president-elect, he doesn't want to say, i got into office based on the good graces of hostile government. as jill said. putin always says we're not in the cold war. actually, the russian government behaves as if we are still in the cold war. a coupe in montenegro, what's known as active measures. cloud the waters of a democratic policy -- >> thank you, juliet. thank you, jill, thank you, bob. when we come back, can a president who skips daily intelligence briefings be prepared to face down global
you totally nailed that buddy. simple. don't let directv now limit your entertainment. only xfinity gives you more to stream to any screen. now that the president-elect has secured the electoral college victory, is he ready to take on violent incidents like the ones we saw across europe today? cnn contributor selena zito. editor and chief of the hill. selena, donald trump is being heavily criticized for skipping the daily intelligence briefing. it's malpractice and totally irresponsible in a post-911 world. in light of today's attacks, do
you think he should change his approach to these briefings? >> i think circumstances such as this, tragic circumstances such as this, as he gets closer to his inauguration, i think that seriousness and burden of being the president and what you face when you get into the white house, it's going to start to become a reality for him. he's going to have to make that decision, that responsible decision to read these intelligence reports, understand what's going on in the world, and understanding -- understand with his intelligence advisers how to react and how to process what all these different things mean. >> donald trump released a statement about the attack saying isis and other islamic terrorists continually slaughter christians, these terrorists and
their regional and worldwide networks must be eradicated from the face of the earth. then the shooting of the ambassador to turkey, he was assassinated by a radical isl islamic terrorist. >> it's what we saw on the campaign trail, donald trump campaigned on strength and going after isis and when an attack happens, he comes back with forceful words. sometimes he's gum out of the gate with the egyptian plane crash and said it's terrorism, right away, before the investigation had started. i think the intelligence community and donald trump seem to be the fight seems to be easing a bit. over the weekend reince priebus said, if they showed the american people the proof about russian hacking, we can do it, there does need to be some type of day tant between trump and the intelligence community. it's a community that's going to be working for him.
and remember, he's nominated mom pompeo, he's going to have an interesting confirmation hearing as head of the cia. as we get closer to inauguration, this friction is going to ease. >> what do you think his biggest challenge ahead in dealing with these kinds of attacks will be. >> the statement he made in response to the berlin bombing is quite telling if you look at it. he never referred to the people who were killed as germans, only christians, we don't know the religion as far as i know. of the people killed in the attack in berlin, they were at a christmas market. lots of people go to that. donald trump's description of that attack was basically civilization civilizational islam attacking christianity. it's a dangerous way to identify this conflict. it makes muslims in the west
seem like enemies within. >> due think it's a coordinated strategy? >> yeah, you go back to the beginning of his campaign, after the san bernardino attacks, talking about not allowing muslims in, they were cheering 9/11. flynn, referring to islam as a cancer. there's been this entire thrust to say this is a struggle between the west and islam, which is what isis wants. that's the way isis describes it as well. >> listen, bob mentioned selena about questioning the intelligence, questioning what the inning tell against advisers, russia hacked our election. in 2014, in response to the fbi director comey calling it a big problem, do you think we're going to see more of this switching positions? >> yes, absolutely. you know, i often tell people, they should read his book art of the deal, not because i'm trying
to sell his books, there's a lot of his personality and there's a lot that he reveals about himself in that he doesn't mind switching his position. he doesn't mind -- he doesn't see a problem with that, he sees that as a -- as a testament to strength, because it shows that he's willing to listen to other sides or willing to change his mind. i think we will see a lot of that with him and that is part of his personality, and part of his demeanor that is probably going to remain consistent. >> his supporters don't care if he gets 2 or 3 or 4 different answers? >> no, they don't. we're going to see what kind of staying power his supporters have, throughout 2017, and probably going into 2018, whatever he says, whatever controversy, they are with him, and that is a huge asset for donald trump, let me say, that's a similarity we've seen between president obama and donald trump, when things got tough for
obama, his supporters always kept him above 40% in approval ratings. same thing for trump, he's got this base that is very strong, and they're going to be with him through thick and thin, they were on the campaign trail. >> let's turn now to the electoral college. here's bill clinton earlier today when he cast his vote for hillary clinton in the electoral college. >> i never cast a vote i was prouder of. i watched her work for two years, i watched her battle through that bogus e-mail deal, be vindicated at the end when secretary powell fought through that. she prevailed against it all. in the end, we had the russians and the fbi. she couldn't prevail against that, she did everything else and still won by 2.8 million votes. >> was it more of what happened with russia and the fbi?
is it more an issue of voters not showing up? or is it what as president obama said, a hillary clinton issue. >> remember, very few people would have predicted she could have won by 2.8 million votes and still lost the electoral college. that was an unusual statistical reality. what most people would say is that she was ahead a week or so going in, and the comey revelations genuinely hurt her. a depressed turnout among core african-american voters. even ironically when comey said, we're not going to do the investigation because that perpetuated the story more, the vague sense of clinton surrounded by scandal. i think that it did hurt her, we know from the poling that late breaking voters went for trump. >> thank you, panel. first lady michelle obama
sits down with oprah win friday and opens up about the challenges she's faced in the white house. why is this one twice as much? this one right here has 1% more needles. why pay twice as much for only a 1% difference? we'll take this one. can you hear that? (vo) don't let a 1% difference cost you twice as much. happy holidays to you and your family. for people with hearing loss, switch to sprint today. visit sprintrelay.com explore your treatment options with specialists who treat only cancer. every stage... every day.... at cancer treatment centers of america. learn more at cancercenter.com/experts i'm all-business when i, travel... even when i travel... for leisure. so i go national, where i can choose any available upgrade in the aisle - without starting any conversations- -or paying any upcharges.
good conversation, i want to have this, no one has ever accused the first lady of having a thin skin, despite the harsh criticism she's had. watch this, mark? >> you know, i think i tend to push the challenges -- this is a defense mechanism i've had throughout my life. the bad stuff i just don't hold on to. if we were to sit here and you were to read through some of the brad stuff. i'd be like oh, yeah -- i forgot all about that. i think the way i handle things, i think we as women do it, we as black women better be able to do it. there's so much that comes at us all the time, and every day in subtle ways that could tear your soul apart if i let it. you better keep it moving, you better brush it off. i think i've grown up doing that, the challenges yeah, there
are times that frustrated me. this past election was challenging for me as a citizen to watch and experience. it was painful. >> painful. >> always take the high road. >> she always takes the high road. >> could the president-elect learn something from her? >> donald trump could learn a ton from michelle obama about dignity, grace, wisdom, maturity, patience, discipline, good hair. you were going down the list of stuff he could learn. the thin about having thin skinned is important. presidents cannot be thin skinned. i think as an administration, it somewhat was. michelle obama never worried about that stuff. that's a whole other level of thin skinness? >> which is why throughout that interview you heard her throw out some veiled references to
donald trump, without naming him about maturity and even brushing things off, learning how to let it go, to mark's point. he doesn't do that. trump does not do that, and i think that's been -- as a conservative who was not supportive of donald trump, that was one of the characteristics about him, that i felt was problematic for someone to be president of the united states. you have to be able to not pay attention to those things, they don't matter in the greater scheme of things when you have to worry about china stealing our military equipment. or isis, you're worried about what someone says on twitter. i hope he works through that about even through the transition, wen have the seen it. >> mark and i often have conversations about that, mark, why are you responding to it? >> no, no, i get it. >> the worst thing you can do when you do when someone is a
bully or bullies, is ignore them. that's what michelle obama does. just ignore them. >> even her line about when they go low, we go high. it rezen ated with a lot of people because of how low a lot of things went. i've been very critical of michelle obama throughout her tenure on certain things, but i have to say that even for someone like me who was a critic, i found a lot of her commentary about this election, being something a lot of people could relate to. >> absolutely. she did a case study of being a moderate kind of personality. i'm not talking about politics. i'm talking about a person that. >> just the -- >> most of us in the room can agree she gives us a general sense of good will. we don't feel a way about her, she's not loaded in how she communicates. and things she chooses to say. i said i wasn't going to come on and so the president-elect -- as you guys were talking about
being the adult in the room and when michelle obama brings this up, i think about raising an 11-year-old and 13-year-old boy. one of the things they do all the time is have this kind of -- you did this, no, you did this. there's no reasoning, you can't come into the space and reason them back into -- it doesn't matter, folks, you don't respond every time your brother does something. my fear with donald trump is that he's just a child in that way. he's completely incapable of not reacting. >> one thing about michelle obama really quick, i think she grew into that role. in the first term, there were things that people found to be controversial. it would hear in her. >> you think -- >> i think it was a combination of both. it was new to a lot of people, including her, some of the comments she made in the first term didn't go over very well, i think she learned how to navigate that -- >> i think it has a lot more to
do with white people. >> not necessarily. i think it had to do with what was tradition in the office, people weren't used to certain things. >> that thing they weren't used to was black people. >> what do you mean that has more to do with white people? >> there's a particular understanding of how you comport yourself. a particular understanding of what it means to be pren shalg. the template for that were 43 white men or 43 or more white women. the way black folk responded, emoat, engaged the world is different. sometimes we're engaging black people by white standards. we project anger when they're not angry. they're short tempered when they're not. michelle's response may be different than nancy reagans or laura bush's or hillary clintons. it's not necessarily the wrong one. as we understood michelle obama -- a lot of it was projecting anger and things -- >> i'm not talking about that
stuff. she made a comment about -- >> that was taken out of context. at the time i understood the -- the first time i was proud. i'm talking about comments she made when the tax cuts were going through, she said, well, $600, you can go buy a pair of earrings or sneakers. it was like what? or she was going on vacations that cost millions of dollars and people were like, wait a minute you're taking an entourage on vacation with you. that's not appropriate. i'm not talking about that, but things she got criticized for. you notice in the second term she kept a much lower profile. which is what allowed people to kind of look at her again and say, you know what, she's actually a first lady we can be proud of unlike some of the criticism in the first term. she grew into the role. >> she came from a much more humble place, at least two presidents before her.
>> i think it's a fair critique. some of that is taken out of context, you catch people at their weakest moment -- >> no, she was being hon set. >> you think everybody buys $600 earrings, there is something to that, that was part of michelle's point about the kids in the white house. these kids are complaining, you all got high class problems. there are real people in the world that have working people problems.
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we're back now with my panel here, i want to ask tara to pay close attention to this. oprah win friday asked michelle obama about the access hollywood tape. >> the context of that speech was unique. >> we saw this candidate bragging about sexually assaulting women, i can't believe i'm saying that a candidate for president of the united states has bragged about sexually assaulting women. and i have to tell you that i can't stop thinking about this.
it has shaken me to my core in a way i couldn't have predicted. >> to have a candidate for the presidency speaking in such terms about women was not a normal thing. my response in light of what i was seeing from my female staff, what i was hearing from my daughters, their reaction to it for me required a different kind of response. you know, you can't just stand before people and just give a regular political speech and i was scheduled to go out on stump right after this was happening, do i just go out there and talk -- act like that didn't happen? that's not true, that's not honest. that's something barack and i have always tried to be in this office is honest. so people feel when we say something, we do mean it. in that time there's no way that
i could be out on the campaign trail and not address how that was making me -- not just me feel. >> we felt you had been shaken to your core. >> a lot of people were shaken to their core, and still are. they're feeling the reverberations of that costic language. >> i agree with her 100%. i was on this program the night that that broke and it was -- i was horrified. and i thought more people should have been. i wrote an article for cnn.com on this, i felt as though the republican party was going to have to apologize to women for giving donald trump a pass on that. they never -- we were just talking about this, if barack obama or a democrat, anyone had said what was caught on tape saying what donald trump had said, it would have been over,
the end. the fact that donald trump was able to weather that spoke volumes to me about where this country is. and the fact that people were willing to excuse that away. michelle obama really gave poig nabt comments on that as a mother, the first lady. she represented a lot of people's opinions on that issue. she was right, along with the speech at the dnc i thought was powerful too. this is coming from someone that was a critic of hers. she was being honest about that as a woman and a mother, it resonated not with enough people. >> there were a lot of shocking moments during this campaign. the two that stood out the most was the comparison to heidi cruz and his wife. which i was -- i grew up with a single mom and all sisters. and the sexual assault thing, i just -- i had never seen anything -- >> none of us had. >> we had known that other things could have -- because of
the whole birther thing, you know that, but those two things to me were probably the most surprising. >> what i value -- >> we talked about that. >> right, i just value her emotion ail ty that speech in particular struck a cord with so many women, not just women, i think men, perhaps some men for the first time had to deal with the depth of pain and fear and concern that any woman would have when someone who is going to potentially be a president speaks in those terms. so again -- this every woman concept that michelle obama has consistently been, i never use terms like -- i won't even use it. i was going to speak to this notion that you are able to get
around race somehow, you are bigger than your blackness. what michelle has done is present a full human being, a complete woman who in her right reacted -- i have daughters, i have friends. this hurts y'all. >> she did it more effectively than hillary clinton. if hillary had done that as well as michelle obama maybe she would have done better. >> now i ask you, what is your prayer for our can't? >> it's hope. i hope -- my desire for this country is that we remain hopeful. and that we find a place in our hearts to love each other. it's really simple. you know, just opening up our
hearts to others. making room. >> making room. >> yes. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> mark? >> i like it. i like part of it, you know, the hope part especially is important hope is not optimism, hope is, we can do this despite the odds. love in public is called justice, that's what we want. >> i wanted to say to the first lady, thank you. >> i was going to say that. >> the epitome of class. thank you, good night. ♪ ♪ if you've got the time welcome to the high life.
hello, welcome to our viewers in the united states and around the world. live in los angeles, it's just gone 9:00 p.m. on the west coast. at least a dozen people are dead, after a truck plows into a crowded christmas market in berlin. also, shot in the back, turkey's russian ambassador assassinated while delivering a speech. donald trump responds toen mod's violence on a day that brought him another step closer to the white house. first, though, slaughter at a christmas market in berlin, the white house says it appears to