tv CNN Newsroom With Carol Costello CNN December 20, 2016 6:00am-7:01am PST
. and good morning. i'm carol costello. thank you so much for joining me. violent attacks around the world. in per germany a truck plows through a shop killing 11 people and injuring dozens more. police have a suspect but warn that person in custody may not be the driver of the truck. and in turkey killed on camera the russian ambassador turkey gunned down, his assassin shouting don't forget aleppo. attacks in switzerland and jordan and yemen, world leaders calling for action. we're covering these stwoers our team of reporters around the world. let's begin with fred.
>> reporter: the authorities here still telling the people here in per the only be very careful when they go out on the streets because they are not sure whether the man that they have in custody, the 23-year-old man from the afghanistan-pakistan region was the same person sitting at the wheel of the truck as it plowed through the christmas market that you see right here behind me. they say if you see anything suspicious don't act on your own. call police because, course, the incident that happened here yesterday was so very violent. let's have a look at what happened. bodies strewn across the walkway christmas market stalls in pieces. this is the immediate aftermath of yesterday's deadly attack in central berlin. investigators say around 8:00 p.m. this black semitruck steered deliberately into a crowd of holiday shoppers hitting 60 people and flattening several structures without slowing down. >> nobody knew what was happening. everybody just started scurrying
and running. >> reporter: the truckload with 25 tons of steel dragging some pedestrians 50 to 80 feet before toppling a christmas tree and coming to a halt. >> there were people bleeding, there were people lying in the pavement. >> reporter: police have one man in custody. he was discovered about a mile and a half away from the scene. the suspect in custody is a reason refugee from the afghanistan-pakistan region. another man a polish national found dead in the passenger seat. the owner of the polish company to which the truck belongs telling reporters he lost contact with his driver after he arrived in berlin from their worksite about two hours away. and suggesting that truck may have been hijacked. the carnage like the july attack in nice, france. angela merkel saying we must
quote assume this is a terrorist attack faint is confirmed the suspect is a refugee it would be quote especially disgusting. and, carol, as we speak i want to get out of your way because chancellor angela merkel has just now arrived at the scene of the crime. you'll see her looking at things right now with several police officers there with her. she had announced to come here. she's under political pressure right now that this happened especially if it does turn out that the person who was behind this was possibly someone who was seeking asylum here in germany. angela merkel under fire anyway for her refugee policies here in the country and that certainly is something, a debate that's been fueled once again. at this point in time we have to stress authorities are saying they are not sure whether they have the right man in custody right now. they are still questioning and warning the population here to be very, very careful and very vigilante. we just got a new statement
from germany. here's what was said about the suspect they have in custody. i want to stay on angela merkel so we can watch her as she strolls through that christmas village and calm the fears of her citizen. here's what the president of germany's federal criminal office told reporters this afternoon. he said we're not sure if he the suspect is the perpetrator. we don't know if there was one perpetrator. we have not found the weapon. we're looking in all directions. i want to ask you about the weapon. there was a dead body found inside the cab of that truck. was that person shot? >> reporter: yeah. exactly. that's exactly what the authorities have said. that's exactly why they are so concerned right now. what happened is that when this truck finally came to a standstill, obviously the man who was behind the wheel fled. but there was a second body or a body discovered on the passenger seat of that truck and that body had gunshot wounds.
now thing is that so far the police have not been able to retrieve a weapon or that weapon that was used in all that. certainly not with the person that they have in custody right now. so they are saying if someone is still out there, the person they have in custody right now is not the person who actually this, if that person is still at large then very likely that person is not only armed but, over course, obviously very dangerous after having plowed through this christmas market with a big semitruck. so the authorities very aware of that. very concerned about that. also warning the citizens here to be very careful and if they do see someone don't try to do anything on their own. that's one of the reasons why angela merkel is here as well to also quell some of those fears, to show it's at least right and safe to go out even though do you have to be quite vigilante. she also going through this christmas market right now, taking in the scene for herself because, of course, right 0 now the germans, the german
population is demanding an explanation from her and also words that will calm them moving forward, carol. >> i want to stay on that picture. i'll bid you adieu. angela merkel under fire for allowing 800,000 plus refugees into her country, some of them not properly vetted. in fact this suspect they have in custody they know very little about him. you know, like where has he been for the last year. who exactly is he. they know he came from the afghanistan-pakistan region but don't know much more about him. was he radicalized he came into germany. was he radicalized before he came into the country. german officials don't know the answers to this. a team of russians now in turkey to fwat the deadly attack on their ambassador. in the meantime the u.s. embassy in ankara, turkey is closed after a separate incident hours after the assassination. a man was arrested by turkish
police after he fired his shotgun outside of the building. nic robertson is following this for us. he's live in turkey. >> reporter: yeah, hi there. those russian investigators arrived here a few hours ago, a group of them came to the building behind me which is where the shooting took place, where the russian ambassador was gunned down. not clear yet who was behind the attack. that's what we've heard from president putin and the president of turkey as well both saying it's important to find out who was behind it. several people held in detention so far. it was in that building where these events unfolded less than 24 hours ago. i have to warn you what we're about to see here it's very graphic. leaders of turkey and russia are calling it a provocative terrorist act. the assassination of russia's ambassador to turkey caught on video. andrei karlov shot multiple
times in the back while giving a speech at an ankara art exhibit on monday night. the gunman shouting defiantly god is greatest and do not forget aleppo. do not forget syria. according to turkey's interior minister the lone gunman is a 22-year-old police officer, born in turkey. his body taken from the scene after he was shot and killed by security forces shortly after the attack. the brazen public assassination coming as many blame russia for its part in supporting syria's president in the civil war and the ongoing humanitarian crisis in aleppo. turkey and russia often at odds over the syrian civil war, trying to put aside their differences this year. russian president vladimir putin vowing the assassination won't damage relations. pledging to step up the fight
against terror. and saying quote criminals ill fe -- will feel the heat. president of turkey called the attract a spro occasion aimed at driving a wedge between the two countries. the u.s. state department condemning the attack. >> we stand ready to offer any assistance that may be required to russia and turkey as they investigate this despicable attack. >> reporter: just hours later another frightening incident. this time outside the united states embassy. in the same neighborhood where the ambassador was assassinated. turkish police arresting a man who fired into the air with a shotgun yelling in turkish, i swear to god don't play with us. now the u.s. embassy is just a few hundred yards from here, not just the embassy that's closed today but the u.s. consulates across turkey also closed down. diplomacy continues in moscow,
the iranian, russian, turkish foreign ministers talking about the humanitarian situation in aleppo, how they can work together. both presidents russia and turkey saying this will not divide them yet we've heard from the spokesman of the kremlin today saying that it is down to turkey, turkey's responsibility to protect its diplomats here and it wants some guarantees now, carol. sign of a division. >> all right. thank you very much. nic robertson reporting live for us from turkey. i want to go back to germany to that christmas market. you see angela merkel leader of germany she's with investigators and talking to people inside that christmas market. those people died when that truck plowed through. we'll keep you posted on any developments coming out of germany of course. for donald trump the attacks and their aftermath could pose an early test of his administration. the president-elect issuing a statement and this tweet quote
today there were terror attacks in turkey, switzerland and germany. and it is only getting worse. the civilized world must change thinking. >> reporter: good morning, carol. donald trump put out a flury of statements in which he was expressing his concern but also condemning the attacks that we've seen and he tied both the incident in turkey as well as the incident in berlin to radical islamic terrorism even though investigations there are still ongoing. i want to read you a portion of a statement he put out. donald trump says assassinate bad radical islamic terrorist. we don't see that kind of language from him when he was talking about the incident in berlin as well. let me take you to that statement in which trump said isis and other islamic terrorists continue to slaughter christi christians. these terrorists and their regional and worldwide networks must be eradicated from the face
of the earth a mission we'll carry out with all freedom loving partners. we're waiting to see if donald trump will have more to say on this today. we've asked his aides whether he's being briefed on the situation in turkey as well as the situation in berlin and, of course, whether he's going to receive the presidential daily brief today and get the latest on that. so far we've not heard back. >> so let's talk about all of this. with me now mike baker former field operations officer for the cia, and a former cia counterterrorism analyst and nicholas burns former ambassador, former state democratic official and harvard professor. welcome to all of you. so, mike, mr. trump, president-elect trump is lumping all of these attacks together. the attack in switzerland was on a mosque. the attack in russia was on a russian ambassador in what appears to be retaliation for russia's involvement in syria's civil war and in germany they have a suspect, a refugee but right at this moment they don't
know if he was involved in that truck attack. should these attacks be lumped together? >> no. is the short answer to that. what i would like to see, not that it matters but what i would like to see from the president-elect's office is more discipline in the messaging. and less of these tweets. they are not really helpful. what's never helpful whether you're the current administration, the incoming administration, no matter what your position, it's never helpful in the aftermath of an attack to get out ahead of the investigations. as you pointed out, the german authorities are still trying to figure out if the suspect they picked up is in fact the perpetrator. they will figure it out and have likely figured it out in the course of the forensic investigation that's gone on. but getting out in front of these things, it's not helpful in anyway. so, again, palestinidiscipline
the word of the day from any administration. >> president-elect trump also blamed this attack at least the attack in russia on a radical islamic terrorist. many generals don't use that term they warned against it. so was that the way to go? >> that's the funny thing, not even the turkish authorities think this person salad islamic terrorist. what does that mean? what does it mean tube radical islamic terrorist. what happened in germany, we still don't really know who the perpetrator is as your other colleagues have said. the individual who shot and killed the russian ambassador, according to turkey thinks he's part of the gulen organization. but the head of this organization lives in pennsylvania. it's unclear when you use extremely vague terminology whether it's useful in fighting these actual organization.
if you want to kill and hunt down isis let's hunt down isis. if you want to hit al qaeda, let's hit al qaeda. when you use a broad brush and say it's all part of one organization it doesn't help american national security planners to help destroy them. >> ambassador burns i can hear many americans citing this attack in germany in berlin on a christmas market and saying, of course, it was islamic terrorism. what else could it be? mr. trump is just stating the obvious. >> it's logical donald trump will be focused on terrorism at large. one of his greatest responsibilities to counter it once we get to noon on january 20th. i agree you got to be straight with facts. it's a problem when you get ahead of the german government or the turkish government on these two attacks yesterday. it's normal international politics. you let the governments that are actually on the ground articulate what happened
announce the results of the investigation and in our country, carol, we've had a tradition that we have one president at a time. president obama is our president. until january 20th. and i just think it's unwise and ineffective for donald trump to be tweeting out in response to these attacks and the drone captured by the chinese last week, it's interfering with the obama administration. i think it hurts donald trump's effectiveness. he ought to really stand down and wait for january 20th. >> i want to continue on with this thread in the conversation but we have a bit of breaking news. two german intelligence officials telling cnn the latest assessment is that this suspect in custody was likely not the perpetrator. in fact they got his description from a witness that they now call or intimate that witness was unreliable. they are looking for a suspect or suspects. they believe this person is dangerous. it will be difficult for them to find him, right? >> well, yes.
in a situation like this you can imagine nobody in the square during the course of the attack is focused on getting a witness identification. and the chaos involved. it's tough enough inlis chaotic situation to get credible eyewitness accounts. this will be difficult. again, there's a process to this in terms of the forensic investigation that goes on. they may be fortunate enough perhaps if they already got information on the individual who was the perpetrator on file in the database but it's probably unlikely at this point. look, you talked earlier about the scope of this problem in terms of the number of refugees that came into the country and the inability to keep track of a large number of them. so, this is going to have widespread implications for angela merkel, of course, but in the immediate aftermath of this, the authorities there in germany have a very serious problem right now trying to actually get their hands on the perpetrator.
it's the only cold & flu caplet that has a maximum strength formula with a unique warming sensation you instantly feel. theraflu. for a powerful comeback. new expressmax caplets. just to update you on that christmas market attack in germany. investigators thought they had a suspect in custody. they still have that man in custody but now they are not so sure he's the person that they are looking for. they are now widening their search but they are no longer calling that person a suspect. of course, we'll keep you updated. police in new york city are stepping up security after a
string of attacks around the world. the department now moving highly trained teams to a number of high-profile locations around the city. many here at home feel on edge after that truck barrelled through a crowd of shoppers in berlin, germany. that incident killed 12 people. let's get right to evan perez. >> reporter: you showed pictures of one of those holiday markets in new york. that's one across the street from the cnn center, time warner center there in columbus circle. nypd says they are moving these critical response teams to places like that in order to try to give people a measure of assurance and to actually provide more security but, carol, as you've seen in berlin and in the attack in nice and even last month in columbus, ohio, at ohio state university it's really difficult for police to secure these type of locations. these are the types of soft targets that isis has urged its support towers try to carry out
attacks on and so that's one of the big issues for law enforcement around the united states right now as they try to beef up security at these types of locations. why is this happening right now? we're told that there's a lot of chatter, a lot of intelligence chatter coming in indicating efforts by isis to encourage people to carry out attacks like this. again on soft targets in western europe, in particular, but also in the united states and so that's a part of the question, part of the thing that's worrying law enforcement and intelligence officials in the united states. we've heard from officials that they believe they've stopped a number of plots across western europe in the past few months, carol, but clearly things like this are impossible to stop. the perpetrators have all of the advantages. they know where they are going strike next so that's part of the problem for law enforcement intelligence officials. >> evan perez reporting live for us this morning. i want to bring back my panel. so, how concern should americans
be? >> i think americans really should be sort of concerned but they shouldn't allow these kind of organizations and these kind of attacks to actually stop them from doing their -- behaving in their normal activities during this holiday season. you can't allow people to completely change the way you behave because you're scared because in that case then the quote unquote to use the phrase the terrorists win. i suggest people take precautions, obviously. avoid large huge crowds but continue on as things are going in this holiday season. >> ambassador burns, i think many people are quick to blame refugees from the middle east. you know, as far as who is to blame for these attacks in germany and in turkey. is this a rush to judgment in light of the fact that we don't know who the suspect is now in germany? and we just found out some intelligence sources he might not be the guy? >> that's exactly right. there is some indication over
the past year some, a few of the refugees that have come in to germany have been responsible for attacks. but in large main that's not the focus of the problem either in europe, certainly not here in the united states. two factors, carol, one is as the islamic state the pressured by the iraqi military and u.s. military, we're leakly see the islamic state resort to these terrorist attacks just to keep their organization alive in front of their supporters and second syria is disintegrating. 12 million homeless and majority sunni community is feeling aggrieved. that's another reason why terrorism may be on the uptick. we have to expect a continuation of terrorist attacks certainly in the middle east and europe as well. >> mike, there certainly has been a rush to judgment by some politicians across the globe. for example, far right populace politicians in britain and
france are speaking out. nigel tweet this, terrible news from berlin. no surprise. events like these will be merkel legacy. and france said how many mass kers and death will be necessary for our governments to stop bringing in a considerable number of migrants. are those comments fair at this point? >> well, no. look, this problem definitely pre-dates the refugee cries that hit the eu and germany in particular. this shouldn't be a surprise. for years now we've been watching, you know, this problem develop. it's not -- people need to be very careful. this is not necessarily about at the 30,000-foot level the refugee crisis. can that exacerbate the problem? yes. that's common sense. going back to the earlier discussion about getting out ahead of investigations. this is a complex problem that
does not deserve just a broad brush statement. if i could, to the point that was made and to your question about should americans be concerned. you can't stay at a heightened state of alert throughout the course of your entire day, throughout your life. you have to stay busy living. you do have to be smart about certain things. we had intelligence. we had intelligence reports from the u.s. and also from our liaison partners in germany and throughout the eu related to potential targeting of christmas festivity, christmas events in germany, including christmas markets. we had that going back a few weeks ago. and that's fine. so we have the intelligence about this. we know that these things are going to happen potentially. can we reduce the risk down to zero? no. what do you? you pay attention when you are out and about in public place. raise your alert level at appropriate times in transportation hubs. get busy living in the meantime. don't let this change your life or the fabric of your life. >> you bring up a good point and
i want to pose this. donald trump has expressed some distrust in intelligence officials. so how does that play into all of this because our intelligence officials are keeping americans safe. they have thwarted i would suspect a great number of terrorist attacks in this country. how does that play into all of this, donald trump's distrust of the cia especially. >> it's actually quite difficult for both for the incoming administration and for the intelligence community itself. i've talked to a number of people in various places in the intelligence community over the last couple of weeks about this very issue and they are all rather concerned because these individuals by and large are apolitical silent professionals and are trying to do the best thing they can do which is either collect intelligence or do analysis to give to senior policy make towers keep this country safe and when you have a president-elect who says we shouldn't trust the cia or the
intelligence community because for his own particular reasons that's actually quite distressing for both the people trying to keep this place safe and for americans at large because the intelligence community and law enforcement as well are trying to maintain sort of order and stability both here in the united states and elsewhere because these are the folks who are fighting terrorists, fighting terrorist organizations here and abroad. >> i have to leave it there. thanks to all of you. still to come the families of three orlando shooting victims suing facebook, twitter and google. also mere moments away from the opening bell. christine romans -- >> eight trading days left. dow jones industrials average knocking on the door of 20,000 but not quite there yet. futures slightly higher. frankfurt markets up. london up. paris. in asia markets closed lower. closed for the day. here's what the dow looks like. it's been a pretty stunning rally. just 22, 23 days ago you had dow
hitting 19,000. now very close 100 points away from hitting 20,000. what does that mean for the year? up 14%. since the election up 9% on hopes that donald trump will have pro growth policies, slash regulations. companies and wall street think donald trump will be very good for business. since the low on february 11th of this year the dow is up 27%. remember the first few days of the trading day last year. everything looked so glum. the fed raising interest rates. how about play with the a pro growth policies of donald trump. that's a story for 2017. >> i can't wait. christine romans, thanks so much. we'll be right back. mobility is very important to me. that's why i use e*trade mobile. it's on all my mobile devices, so it suits my mobile lifestyle. and it keeps my investments fully mobile...
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and good morning. i'm carol costello. thank you very much for joining me. three families who lost loved ones in the orlando gay nightclub targeted by a terrorist are suing facebook, twitter and google. they blame social media for the explosive growth of isis. they said without those three that growth wouldn't have been possible. deborah is following this for us. >> good morning. that's right these companies basically are being sued by families who excuse twitter, google and facebook of providing material support isis. material support usually charged
federal prosecutors bring against people that help terrorists. but pulse families allege these giants knowingly and recklessly allow terrorists to use social media in several ways. to raise money. to recruit people. the suit says without twitter, facebook and google which owns youtube or streaming videos the explosive growth of isis would not have been possible. now lawyers accuse twitter of allowing isis accounts to promote its brutal terror individual jobs elicit donations and connect with one another. they excuse google of making money from ads that run just before these horrible videos. they excuse facebook prove providing a platform to spread violence and hate. earlier this month the social media company said they are joining together to identify terrorist content and keep it from being shared. twitter has said it shut down some 360,000 accounts since
august and facebook has said in a similar lawsuit filed by these same lawyers that the company is trying to aggressively get rid of content that promotes or supports terrorism. it's a big issue. lot of families say look if it weren't for these platforms isis and its strength, its power would not be as great as it is. >> thank you. so joining me now the attorney in the case, keith altman. you're representing the three victims families who are suing these companies. you heard deborah lay it out. seems like a tough road. do you think it will be? >> good morning. my firm, we've been spending a lot of time looking at the social media issue here. it's our belief these companies provide an instrument that isis can use to conduct terrorist activities. and they do this by providing an infrastructure that allows them to create a web, to spread a web, and even when they take these people down twitter said they took down 350,000 accounts
the problems is they didn't keep them down. it's weed whacking. these companies could do far more to prevent isis from using this as an instrument to promote hate. >> you're alleging that facebook, google and twitter purposely doing this to make money. that's a serious charge. >> well we don't say that they are doing it purposely to make money but what we're saying is that you have isis postings and you have advertisements and you have these companies taking a look at a posting, taking a look at an advertisement, taking a look at their viewer and matching three of those things together. so whether they are intentionally doing it or not the fact is they are doing it. and there are things that they could be doing prevent terrorist from conductsing operations. for example, they allow a terrorist when they take them down to come right back up, changes the name, for example in the complaint a guy named was the 146th version of his account. then they take him down, comes
back the next day and immediately sends that request to all the people he was connected to in the past. very suspicious behavior. very obviously that it can be detected. these companies do nothing about it. that has to stop. >> there is something called the communications decency act and i want says providers can't be held liable for what users post. it protests our first amendment rights. how do you get around that? >> well let me give you and example. kind of a common sense example. you can take a statement from one person and a statement from another person. you can pull a sentence of one statement and a sentence from another statement and put them together and say something completely different than either one of those people have said even though you haven't written one word. in this context these companies take a posting from isis. they take it an advertisement. they look at the viewer who is looking at that particular point in time. and they decide to match up that
ad and that post, that ad and that posting for that viewer. that is creating new content and section to 30 doesn't protect companies if they are information content providers as we alleged here and we think this is sec section 230 was nev intended to protect this. these companies can act recklessly and says it's not our problem, we got this protection here. >> but these companies that handle millions of tweets, millions of facebook posts, i mean it's not -- i mean you're making it sound like it's easy and it's not to weed out this hate. >> it's not a question of weeding out the hate but remember something. every time you go and you look at twitter, facebook, google and you see an ad, that ad was
particularly picked for you. if these companies can take the time to decide on every posting i look at what ad to show to me why can't they be looking at the posting, why can't they prevent this mass reconnection that takes place. there's many, many things that these companies can do. if they put one small fraction of the money they spend on targeted -- on developing algorithms for targeted advertising towards preventing isis and others from using their instruments we wouldn't be having this problem today. >> keith altman, thank you. she helped her husband win the highest office. do you think michele obama will run for office herself? and i'm going to draw mustaches on you all. using the pen instead of fingers, it just feels more comfortable for me. be like, boop! it's gone. i like that only i can get into it and that it recognizes my fingerprint. our old tablet couldn't do that. it kind of makes you feel like you're your own person, which is a rare opportunity in my family.
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michele obama made history as the nation's first african-american first lady. with just weeks until she goes back to a somewhat private life mrs. obama is putting to rest any rumors and possible hopes she could one day return to the white house, only this time as president. >> would you ever run for office? >> no. >> no kind of office? >> no. look that's one thing i don't do. i don't make stuff up. i'm not coy. i'm pretty direct. if i was interested i would say it. i don't believe in playing games. it's not something i would do. but it also speaks to the fact that people don't really understand how hard this is. and it's not something that you cavalierly ask a family to do again. >> all right. let's talk about that and more. gillian is a princeton historian
and direct for the university of virginia. welcome to both of you. you heard what mrs. obama said. she said a campaign of her own is off the table but president obama recently told npr that they both will play a role in developing the next generation of democratic lawmakers. is that more valuable? >> certainly very valuable because the bench is almost empty for democrats and part of that is as a result of the obama administration. those mid-term elections have been disastrous for democrats. look, i believe her completely. i think michele obama does not want to run for public office which probably is the same as getting a certificate of sanity. however, i wouldn't be surprised, carol, if there were a draft movement at some time in the future, say starting around 2019. it's possible. she can shut it down with a shermanesque statement if nominated she will run for the border. but i wouldn't be surprised if
some democrats try to get her to run. >> as larry said the bench is almost empty. why wouldn't there be a push for her to run for something? >> look, there will be a push for her to stay involved in politics. the other thing that will happen is whatever president-elect trump and the republican congress do. they could take steps in terms of public policy, that motivate her in ways that she's not anticipating to say well someone is needed to take on this administration, to run for president. so, either if she's doing that or she's involved in eleanor roosevelt kind of post-presidential politics, i imagine is going to be a lot of pressure given her performance to stay in the game. >> you know, something else interesting she said and we'll play that little fwriet her interview, larry, is that running for president, being president of the united states was incredibly hardship on the president's family especially
the children. it's not going to be any easier for trump' children either, is it? >> no. no. living in a fish bowl -- look presidential children get loads of privileges, no question about it. and they get to meet, you know, princes and queens from all over the world and all the rest of it. but there's a real down side and some of the former children who have lived in the white house have noted it's not a lot of fun to go on a date followed by your secret service agents. among other things. so, on the whole i think you rather have the experience than not but i certainly understand those sentiments. >> absolutely. especially i understand why melania trump wants to protect her young son although trump as other children are kind of like inserting themselves into the public fray. >> right. i mean this is a little different other than the youngest son you have the
children who have all been actively part of the campaign and it looks like they will be active advisers in different capacities to their father in the white house as well as the son-in-law and because of the conflict of interest and the way he's hand technology business they remain central to his economic empire. so this is a case where, you know, it's one thing to talk about young children and the pressure they face but here the trumps are really inserting their kids front and center in the events of the next four years. >> i was just trying to find something that came in my earn mail box that ivanka trump tweeted out condolences for pele in berlin, germany. she's insert herself into the fray already. larry, mrs. obama said her greatest impact as a first lady was as a role model for african-american women. in your mind what was the biggest impact she had on the country? >> well, i think as part of a
highly functioning extremely successful african-american family, this was a great image for the country, not just for african-americans, for all americans. so, i think that has got to be her accomplishment which is kind of a co-accomplishment with her husband, the first african-american president. she did loads of things. she was a very active first lady. she was involved with many public issues including the health of children and adults, promoting good food and nutrition. things that a first lady can do and can accomplish with some controversy but not nearly as much controversy as a presidential husband. >> and, michele obama took an awful lot of criticism for even her, you know, her healthy eating campaign. do you think that melania trump will take such criticism for other things? >> well, often first ladies come under criticism for different
reasons. it comes with the office. melania will have criticism at some point. i'm not sure what she's going to do. there will be people who don't like her and people who use her as a way to talk about the problems with the administration. this is part of the role. i think many first ladies have used that. they continue to move forward with their efforts regardless. >> all right, i have to leave it there. still to come in the "newsroom," russian diplomats come face-to-face with their turkish counterparts to strategize over syria. they have strong words over tackling terrorism.
plan to confront the crisis in syria. the details hammered out a short time ago. russia hosted a meeting with ministers from turkey and iran. we're also learning more than 37,000 civilians have already been evacuated from the war zone in aleppo and the turkish foreign minister says all evacuations are expected to be finished by tomorrow. cnn's muhammad lila is live on the turkish/syrian border with more. hi, muhammad. >> hi, carol, in fact, that time line might be moved up accord to opposition forces as well as syrian state television. the final evacuations could take place as soon as today and by later this evening. but that would mean all of the people in eastern aleppo, the last few rebel stronghold, could be evacuated. so tomorrow morning, we could wake up to a vary new reality in syria. that would be the syrian government of bashar al assad will have full control over the city of aleppo for the first time in four years. as that is happening on the ground, you mentioned that big diplomatic push. moscow calling it the moscow
initiative. saying the people that are negotiating in moscow right now specifically turkey russia and iran are in a position to guarantee that if a cease-fire is in place, they're able to guarantee none of the groups under their control violate that cease-fire. that's very important. interestingly enough, they also took a -- what you could perceive as a shot at the united states in that declaration, saying all the previous plans that the united states and its partners have come up with to establish a cease-fire in syria never worked out. because the united states never really had any influence in the region to begin with. but clearly as we're seeing today, turkey, russia, iran all have a major stake in what's going on in syria and with this new announcement, it could lay the groundwork for some sort of future cease-fire moving forward. >> all right, muhammad lila reporting live for us this morning, thank you. checking some other top stories at 55 minutes past, an underwater drone is now back in u.s. hands after it was seized by china last week. the incident took place in international waters off the
coast of the philippines where u.s. officials say the chinese navy took the drone from an unarmed, an unnaturmed survey s. the pentagon which called the seizure unlawful says its investigation is ongoing. search teams trying to recover the wreckage of flight 370 have likely been looking in the wrong place. that's the finding of a new report from the australian government. the report does not give a specific location for the plane so the country's transportation minister says the search area will not be extended unless new evidence surfaces. the search for mh 370 is due to be completed in the next few months. two-time wimbledon champion. she says an armed robber broke into her czech republic apartment and she was hurt defending herself. she suffered injuries to the left hand which is her playing hand. she says the injury is severe and she's fortunate to be alive. the robber is still on the run. the next hour of "cnn newsroom" after a break. take one.
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good morning, i'm carol costello. in berlin, a truck plows through a crowd of shoppers at a busy christmas market killing 12 people and injuring dozens more. a german official tells cnn there's fear the attacker could still be on the loose armed and dangerous. in turkey, killed on camera. the russian ambassador to turkey gunned down, his assassin shouting don't forget aleppo. attacks in switzerland and yemen. world leaders now calling for action. we're covering these stories with our team of reporters around the world. let's begin in germany with cnn's senior international correspondent frederik pleitgen, hi, fred. >> hi, carol.