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tv   At This Hour With Berman and Bolduan  CNN  December 22, 2016 8:00am-9:01am PST

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john berman here. kate bolduan is off today. disturbing new details in the berlin terror suspect. what officials did know about him and what they didn't do about it. according to investigative files, german authorities not only knew who anis amri was, not
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only knew he had contacts with pro-isis operatives, but they knew he had spoken several times about launching attacks in germany. they also believe members of a pro-isis network to which he was linked had offered him a place to hide. a huge man hunt is under way for this 24-year-old tunisian man suspected of driving a truck no a berlin christmas market. that attack killed 12 people and injured 48 more. the list of those injured now includes two americans. want to go live to berlin and bring in cnn's erin mcloughlin for the latest on the man hunt. german chancellor angela merkel just spoke about this a few moments ago. >> reporter: that's right. and chancellor merkel said they are growing increasingly confident that the main suspect at the heart of this man hunt, 24-year-old tunisian anis amri is in fact the man that was behind the wheel of that 25-ton truck that drove through the market killing 12 people and injuring dozens others. she said his fingerprints were
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found inside the cabin. angela merkel also talking about how she was praising people here in germany for the calm nature, the calm way in which they have handled the aftermath of this attack as well as the manhunt, calm nature perhaps exemplified in the scene you see just behind me. that is the christmas market. that's where the attack took place. it opened up for the first time since the attack this morning and as you can see, people are gathering at a makeshift memorial just at the main entrance there. they are laying flowers. they are also lighting candles. the kiosks are also open. they have resumed selling wine, sweets and small gifts. i spoke to one customer who told me she's here because she believes in hope. at the same time we are also seeing an increased security presence. plenty of police officers. they have also installed concrete barricades to prevent
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this from happening again. after all, this man hunt is well under way. john? >> erin mcloughlin outside the christmas market in berlin which has now reopened. thanks so much. joining me with new details on the suspect and really the alarming amount the german authorities knew about him before the attack, here with us, cnn terrorism analyst and editor in chief of the ctc sentinel, paul cruickshank. also, cnn national security analyst, peter bergen. paul, first to you. not only was amri on the radar of german officials but he was on the radar because he had been discussing terror attacks? >> that's right. cnn has obtained a 345 page investigative file, i have been poring through it over the last few hours and it turns out that german security services had a police informant inside this isis recruiting network that amri was part of. somebody who was able to partake
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in conversations and report back that amri had discussed the possibility of launching attacks and that those attacks had been sanctioned by soon ormembers en this isis recruiting network in german, including a serbian german figure who was arrested back in november and that other members of the circle were discussing launching truck attacks in germany, including by loading up the trucks with bombs and a lot of gasoline. they were aware of all of this weeks and weeks and weeks ago, but they failed to apprehend this individual despite the fact they were well aware that he was involved in all of this. they did move against the senior members of the network about five figures in november, charging them with terrorism offenses after bringing them into custody. one of those figures was this
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german serbian who the alleged attacker in berlin was very very close to, and it's possible he was angry about this arrest and perhaps that was one of the reasons that he kind of moved forward. but we have a situation here where it's sort of glass half full, glass half empty. glass half full is they are well aware of this network, they have a lot of names, addresses, phone numbers and so on, so they know the kind of places they need to look. glass half empty, he was part of a network and they could help hide him. >> the glass half empty part is truly alarming. we should say by the way german officials say they found a fingerprint of amri in the cab of that truck as well. they really have like a great deal of data with him before they even began this man hunt. peter, i do understand you can't surveil everybody. it takes an enormous amount of manpower to watch every person you fear may be a threat to the country. but the amount of data they had
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on anis amri really feels like beyond critical mass to make sure you don't let him slip through his fingers. do german authorities have a lot to answer for here? >> i think so. part of this is probably a resource challenge and the numbers of people they have to track and part of it may be a legal problem. i'm not familiar with german laws around this. but we see this repeatedly in the united states. major hassan killed 14 people at fort hood, was exchanging e-mails with a well he-known al qaeda cleric seeking permission for a suicide attack. that was known to the fbi. he exchanged 18 e-mails with this al qaeda cleric. omar mateen was repeatedly telling -- who killed 49 people in orlando, told his colleagues he was an al qaeda fan and isis fan and was interviewed twice by the fbi. let's not pretend this is unique to germany. what is exceptional is when somebody comes out of the blue completely and has had absolutely no contact with law
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enforcement. that's the unusual case. i would add one other thing which is interesting to me here. so many of these cases in europe, the perpetrator's coming out of the criminal milieu. the alleged suspect in the berlin attack spent four years in jail, pretty much everybody involved in the paris and brussels attacks had spent time in the french or belgian prison systems. we don't have that problem so much in this country, where people are radicalizing in jail, often coming out of criminal background. >> paul cruickshank, you mentioned glass half empty, the fact they let him slip through the cracks of the system. the glass half full, they have a lot of data on people that he may be connected to. any update in the search for him right now and are they going to some of these sources perhaps that they haven't arrested just yet, people he may have been in contact with beforehand? >> absolutely. they are doing all of that. this is an investigation which is proceeding with great velocity.
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chancellor angela merkel just speaking about that. this is the highest priority right now of the german government. this is a man hunt now right across europe, because in the hours after the attack it's possible that he could have fled elsewhere, i think most likely he's still in german because that's where this logistical support network linked to isis were based. that's where they will have potentially safe houses, places where he can hide, and we saw after the paris attacks with saleh abdeslam, that attacker who ducked out of the attack, he was provided shelter in brussels for four months after that before authorities were able to find him. so we could see a similar situation here play out where if they hide him somewhere, the germans may not be able to find him for many weeks. >> this man from tunisia, apparently spent time in italy before making his way to germany. we know tunisia, by the way,
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which is one of the very few countries, maybe the only country that emerged from the so-called arab spring with anything resembling the reforms that were set out at the outset, tunisia is the source of so many soldiers for isis. the question is why? >> it's a paradox because it's the only country that somewhat weathered the arab spring and has sort of a democratically elected government that is somewhat representative and so why is it that thousands of tunisians have gone to fight with isis. it's a relatively small country. we have seen something like 6,000 tunisians who have fought for isis in syria. i don't really have a good answer to that. one answer that often these people come from a particular region. when you dig into the kind of country specific, you often find there's a particular region, whether saudi arabia or tunisia or any of these other countries, that they come from that tends to be ignored by the central
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government and often these are groups of friends and family members who are kind of creating a group that goes and a snowball effect happens. >> all right. thanks so much. again, we keep showing the picture of this man because right now, german officials want you to take a look at his face and help. if you can. 24 years old, 5'8," 165 pounds. there's a 100,000 euro reward for any information that might help lead to his capture right now. but this huge man hunt under way all across europe. also this morning, news that the trump team is discussing the possibility of a tariff on imports. could you end up paying more for your car and other goods because of that? we will discuss. plus, donald trump says he's taking a few days off but not before appointing campaign manager kellyanne conway to a position in the white house. we will tell you what she will be doing in the west wing next.
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new this morning, kellyanne conway steered donald trump's campaign to presidential victory, a first for a woman running a presidential campaign. now she will have a job in the west wing. conway's new role will be counselor to the president. she will work with the white house leadership on shaping the president's messaging on legislation. let's speak to cnn national washington correspondent jeff zeleny live near trump's mar-a-lago resort in palm beach, florida. good morning. >> reporter: good morning. kellyanne conway is going to be a central player in the west wing as she was in the campaign, as winning campaign manager. one of her tasks i'm told is to sort of minimize and control any in-fighting that may happen,
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totally typical for any presidential administration, certainly when you bring other people in. but she's known as someone obviously who has donald trump's trust. she's very loyal to him. and she defends and protects him perhaps like no one else. she was already busy at work on that this morning on cnn's "new day" talking about the conflicts of interest among donald trump's children. let's listen. >> they support their father and they know they will never get a fair shake in the trump administration and that's unfortunate. i think this conversation shows that. to actually compare the two, the idea that these folks are trying to help people in need and those people are going to suffer now because folks are pointing out what they think to be improprieties. >> reporter: now, if that sounds familiar, she said those folks are going to suffer now because they won't receive the help of the charities of the trump children, that sounds very similar to what the clinton campaign and the foundation used as rationale at the time when
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saying if bill clinton and the foundation stop raising money for charities in africa and other places, people would suffer because of it. so a lot of similarities here between this. some other transition news today. we just got off the daily call with some transition officials and they said the president-elect has received an intelligence briefing for the second day in a row here at mar-a-lago. this is important because earlier this month donald trump of course said he doesn't need to receive that daily intelligence briefing. he said it's largely the same information day to day to day. but the optics of that they know, particularly in the wake of the attacks in berlin, not good, so for the second day in a row, donald trump we are told has received his daily intelligence briefing here in mar-a-lago. he is also holding meetings here today and potentially may make a few staff level announcements before beginning his christmas holiday officially tomorrow. john? >> jeff zeleny at mar-a-lago,
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thanks so much. here to discuss with me, cnn chief business correspondent christine romans. also, donald trump supporter harlan hill and cnn political commentator, former hillary clinton campaign manager in 2008, patti solis-doyle. kellyanne conway going to the west wing in a senior adviser role. this is something we have seen for the last several campaigns. david axelrod went into the white house with barack obama. before that, karl rove went into the white house with george w. bush. you can go back even further than that. it's important for a couple reasons. number one, the president needs to have people around him or her that he trusts implicitly with all things. number two, the west wing is and has become a truly political operation and you do need someone in there to manage the politics as well. >> first, let me say i'm in favor of this decision. i think having strong women in powerful positions is a really good thing for everybody
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concerned, and also, kellyanne conway came in after paul manafort and she really lent some calm and some organization into a campaign that was very much in disarray and whenever donald trump seemed to be on message or really reading from the teleprompter, kellyanne -- people saw kellyanne's footprints on that or fingerprints on that. i think it's a good thing. yes, because of all of the reasons you mentioned, i think it's very important to have some campaign staff in the white house doing some governing, but another reason it's important is for that institutional knowledge. someone who has a very clear memory of the promises made on the campaign so that they can sort of make sure those promises are kept. >> i want to talk about not the person who ended up running donald trump's campaign but his first campaign manager, corey lewandowski. we learned yesterday, corey
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hosh is opening up a consulting firm in washington, d.c. along with barry bennett. they will be hired by people to offer advice on government and offer advice on the incoming trump administration as well. corey was asked how does this fit in with donald trump's promise to drain the swamp of political influencers. this is what he said this morning. >> i think if you had to put them in a chronological order, drain the swamp is probably somewhere down the bottom as opposed to getting tax reform done, making sure middle class people have more jobs. >> so harlan, i don't know if you heard that. corey says drain the swamp is at the bottom of the list of things he wants to do. corey lewandowski whose consulting office is in the same building as the trump transition office which has the faint whiff of swampiness. >> well, this is frankly, i will acknowledge this is how washington works. if you look back at president obama's campaign in 2008 and
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2012, people came out of it not making any money. their plan was to cash in after the fact. they have consulting firms and this is how it works. >> but this is what donald trump said he would change when he was talking about draining the swamp. >> i think having people that have surrounded and advised trump going and starting consulting firms does not preclude trump from draining the swamp. changing things -- no, i think he can still change business as usual in washington and still have people trying to cash in on his reputation. it concerns me that they are. >> this is how washington works. donald trump ran on changing the way washington works. >> but donald trump is not out there starting consulting firms. corey lewandowski is. he can't control what corey is doing and is working within the reality much how washington works. this is it. he's trying to change it but he can't control their behavior. >> he can't say corey, don't set up a consulting firm right now? >> i can't blame corey. he's got to make money, got to put food on the table. >> so it's a reasonable thing to do for people who worked for donald trump to try to set up some kind of operation that benefits you financially? >> look, absolutely. absolutely.
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this is how politics works. i hate to be -- beat a dead horse here but the action of starting a consulting firm isn't bad. if there is some sort of nefarious activity or coordination between the white house and the consulting firm, then we have reason to discuss. >> christine, let's talk about the business of governance right now. >> they say they are going to change that. >> they are going to change that. there's a lot of people in the financial community right now who are concerned because some are reporting, john king is reporting one of the things that is being discussed inside trump world is the idea of a 5% tariff on imports. we don't know if this will be policy and we don't know exactly how it would be implemented. but a tariff would be a big change. >> it would be a big change and this i think is sending a signal to the business community that wilbur ross and peter navarro, who has been named to run the white house trade council and the protectionist wing of some of these advisers, and i don't say protectionism as a bad word, necessarily. protectionism is one of the
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reasons why he got elected to be president to protect american workers. they are trying to send a message we mean business, we want to upset the apple cart on purpose so you know we are -- what would that mean for 5% tariff across the board? most economists say that would mean higher prices for u.s. consumers. a lot of the business community today very very upset and pushing back and saying hey, hey, are you just floating this because 5% across the board, not a good idea. that is a bludgeon of trade policy. i will say the trump campaign has said many times, first and foremost they want to renegotiate bad trade deals. they want to cut stupid regulations as carl icahn would say. just the fact it's floated around i think tells you it's not business as usual. >> look, on the political side it is america first. on the economic side, economic 101 tells you there will be reverberations. patti, on the subject of politics, when you talk about trade and when do you talk about america first, that is an area where president-elect trump can
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pick up some democratic support. >> i agree. yes. i think trade is something where democrats and republicans may be able to work together, although what i find interesting about the appointment of peter navarro, he's not going to be the u.s. trade rep or he wouldn't be nominated as u.s. trade rep, but rather an adviser on trade within the white house. my only -- the only thing i can think of, the reason to do that, is to avoid the sort of confirmation hearing because many republicans on the hill, the republican establishment, are for trade. so he might not have gotten the confirmation if he had been nominated as u.s. trade rep. i think while democrats will be willing to work with trade, it's going to be harder than donald trump imagines. >> let me just say, everything's a negotiation with donald trump. i don't believe the end policy will be a blanket 5% tariff on all imports, okay? but he's standing up and following through with campaign
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promises to say that the american middle class cannot compete with slave labor in china and mexico city. he's saying we are going to tackle currency manipulation, we are going to tackle, you know, different sort of ways that foreign countries disadvantage the american middle class by flooding our market with cheap goods. obama did this, too, actually, with the tire tariffs towards the front of his presidency. this is not unpreunprecedented. >> how many jobs did it create. that's the question. it raised prices for american consumers. can donald trump do it in a way that brings large scale numbers of jobs back or is it better to do it in corporate tax reform, where you are giving companies other incentives like lower taxes and -- >> these are not mutually exclusive. he will do both. >> we will see after january 20th. we will see with the republican congress. many of those members who have been oppose td to this type of thing. i want to give a clarification. i said corey lewandowski's new consulting office is in the same
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building as the trump transition team. that is no longer the case. i was the case, but the transition team did move out of that building last month. corey still in close touch with both the transition and people who will be in the white house. next, president-elect donald trump writing this morning about a big vote that was set to happen at the united nations today. what he said and could there be fallout from his statement? that's next. plus, vladimir putin says this morning he wants to strengthen russia's nuclear capability. what does this mean? generosity is its own form of power.
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fast-mvoving developments. the u.n. security council considering a resolution on israeli settlements and what they are considering keeps on moving right now. want to bring in cnn global affairs correspondent elise labatt for the details. >> the u.n. security council was supposed to vote today at 3:00 on a resolution condemning all israeli settlement activity, calling on israel to stop it, calling it illegal. very tough resolution that after years of using its u.s. veto to protect israel at the united nations, we understand the u.s. was going to abstain and not use its veto or let it pass. secretary of state john kerry was expected to lay out his vision for mideast peace in a speech before the vote. you know secretary kerry very involved in trying to bring peace to israelis and palestinians when he first came to office, wasn't able to do that. we understand that vote has been
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postponed and why western officials telling me that's because the egyptian government, who proposed this resolution in the first place, has been under pressure from the israelis. so obviously a flurry of diplomatic activity going on behind the scenes. now that vote has been put on hold. the arab league, all arab states meeting today to go over that text and so that vote and secretary kerry's speech on hold for now until everybody sees a new text. >> just to be clear, the reason this was significant is people thought this might be virtually unprecedented stuff where the united states would split from israel inside the united nations which is really something we have sneenot seen before, corre? >> it would have been a huge development by the obama administration as they are walking out the door. you know the relationship between the leaders, president obama and prime minister netanyahu has been fraught. now you have president-elect trump putting his finger on the
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scale. he was tweeting earlier today putting out a statement that the u.s. should veto this resolution, he has said, that he would veto any action at the united states against israel. so you have to put this all in context. u.s. officials tell me this has nothing to do with president-elect trump, nothing to do with his very controversial ambassador he's appointed, david friedman, who is vehemently opposed to settlements but clearly there's a lot of diplomatic activity behind the scenes between israel, the israelis and we have to see whether the trump transition is reaching out to these parties to see, make their views known. >> david friedman supportive of settlements and the right to build settlements in the west bank. thanks so much. we will get back to you on this, i'm sure, because there are so many developments on this continuing today. we also have new developments out of russia. a very somber president vladimir putin joined mourners a short time ago at funeral services for his ambassador to turkey, andrey
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karlov who was assassinated in the turkish capital by a turkish police officer shouting about russian involvement in aleppo. president putin today praised his country's military performance in syria and he also said russia's military nuclear capabilities need to be bolstered. this comes as moscow blames the united states for frozen contacts between the two nations. the kremlin told cnn any dialogue between the two nations is minimal. want to go live to cnn senior international correspondent matthew chance in moscow. a number of developments on this with the kremlin speaking today. >> reporter: yeah. that's right. first of all, the funeral that took place today. president putin attending that, paying his last respects to the slain ambassador who was in place in turkey when he was assassinated so dramatically on television. that's horrified many russians and sent a very strong message to them that russia's involvement in the syrian
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conflict, since it's believed to have been connected with the syrian war, is not without its consequences and costs. the president of russia, putin, didn't speak at the funeral but did speak later to a meeting of defense personnel, at which the following incredible statistics were disclosed by his defense minister. they say since they started their involvement in the syrian campaign in september 2015, 35,000 terrorists as they call them have been killed, a total of 71,000 air strikes conducted by the russian forces. these are incredible figures. of course, we have to treat them with a high degree of skepticism. not the number of dead, but the number of dead who are terrorists because the russians don't acknowledge that any civilians, not even one civilian, has been killed by russian air strikes and that obviously is in contradiction to the dramatic and terrible testimony we have seen from the ground inside syria. >> matthew chance in moscow
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where i should note we will hear at length from president vladimir putin tomorrow when he delivers his annual hours-long news conference. very interest ting to hear whate says. want to bring in jill dougherty, fellow for the woodrow wilson center. i want to start with statements made by putin on nuclear capabilities of russia, where all of a sudden it seems to me he's talking about bolstering the nuclear capabilities of russia. that feels cold war-ish all of a sudden. >> well, nuclear weapons are cold war-ish, that's true. but i think what he's doing is he's answering the installation of an anti-missile shield by the united states in europe and saying we are going to develop weapons that can penetrate that shield. so if you look at it big picture, i think what he's saying is we have done a good job in syria because if you look
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at the way the russian army looked say -- or the air force, the military in general, looked in 2008 when they were in georgia, they were in bad shape. he has reformed the military, he's poured a lot of money into it. they have new weapons and part of why russia wanted to do syria and this operation was to be like a big advertisement for their weapons, and the efficacy of those weapons and also to show their military is back and able to really be disciplined, and it is true, they are in much better shape. but he's also kind of warning the united states that anything you develop, we can overcome. so that's again, all of this i think you have to look at it in terms of the incoming administration. just a few weeks from now, these are all messages directed at the trump administration, with criticism of president obama. president obama now is the bad guy and russia is saying look,
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we can start over, we can talk, et cetera, with the new guy. >> it certainly seems as if that message has been received and has been for several months now with the way president-elect donald trump has been speaking about russia and speaking about vladimir putin. you brought up the statements the kremlin had made about this administration, the obama administration, and the idea that the relationship was essentially frozen with only minimal contacts. in a way, they are only stating what is at one level the case. the united states and russia have relationships that are chilly. i don't know if that's the translation for frozen but it's clear the relationship isn't good right now. >> i think what he's referring to, that was a spokesperson for putin, i think what he was referring to is after russia annexed crimea and moved some troops into ukraine, the united states decided to punish them essentially with the cold treatment, the cold shoulder, don't talk, and the u.s., the
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state department ended at least temporarily put on hold this presidential commission, the u.s./russia bilateral presidential commission, which has been in existence for a long time. there are a lot of different baskets in that. they talk about agriculture, space, health and nukes. so they put that on hold and the russians have been saying essentially look, we want to talk, it's your fault. for awhile they were saying it's your fault, america. now they are saying it's your fault, president obama. again, with the new president, they are sending messages well, we can talk but we're strong. >> the subject of talking, vladimir putin tomorrow will talk in extraordinary lengthy terms when he delivers the sort of annual sit-down news conference that goes on and on and on and on. it's like nothing we see here in the united states. do you imagine he will address the issue of president-elect
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trump and the incoming administration during this period? >> oh, no question. as you said, it goes on sometimes three hours, four hours, and there's no way that he's not going to get questions about that. we'll have to see what he says. in the beginning, in a simplified form, everyone says trump wants to be friends with putin. that is true. but they don't necessarily trust that trump will be able to follow through on all of this. so how he plays it would be very interesting. >> jill, always great to talk to you. thanks for your help. up next, we are just learning this morning that two americans were injured in the attack on the christmas market in berlin. we have details ahead. then the huge man hunt for the suspect moving into another day. so many people are wondering why we haven't heard about surveillance cameras that capture footage of the incident. why isn't there more footage?
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germany's federal prosecutor says fingerprints of the tunisian suspect anis amri were found on the door of the truck used in the berlin attack. this as the investigate continues largely without one resource that has been helpful in u.s. investigations and other european nations as well, mountains of footage and data from surveillance cameras. it just doesn't exist in germany. here's brynn gingras. >> reporter: when a bomb exploded during the 2013 boston marathon, surveillance cameras showed the smoke rising over the finish line. but that wasn't all they revealed. for investigators, footage from street cameras exposed critical information. the faces of the tsarnaev
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brothers who set off the explosion and the backpack they used to carry the bomb. those pictures eventually wallpapered the city and aided in the capture of the brothers, one of whom was killed in a gun battle with police. while footage obtained sometimes depicts difficult moments to watch, each frame can prove to be invaluable to investigators, often leading authorities to the suspects as it did in boston. in brussels, twin explosions at the airport and a train station in march were documented by passengers. cell phone video revealed devastating wreckage through thick smoke but the investigation quickly centered around this image taken from the airport surveillance cameras. three men pushing luggage carts, two of them suicide bombers who police believe wore gloves to conceal the detonators. authorities arrested the third man in the hat. more recently on a new york city street in september, closed circuit television showed window
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storefronts shattering and people running for their lives. nypd investigators were able to rewind the footage from street cameras and spotted rahami where a pressure cooker bomb was found. officials say surveillance video helps create a time line of suspects' movements before they take action. terrorists buying supplies in london before committing a series of attacks on the transit system in 2005. camera footage obtained by the daily shows terrorists taking control of a paris cafe during a series of attacks in 2015. one of those cameras revealing a dramatic moment when a woman's life was spared because a suspect's gun seemingly jams. brynn gingras, cnn, new york. joining me, cnn national security analyst, julian kayam. the reason there aren't as many surveillance cameras in germany is because of its history,
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right? with totalitarian regimes. there are laws or had been laws on the books against constant surveillance. that appears to be changing a little bit. but the absence of all these cameras really does set back an investigation at its early stages. there's a lot of information you don't know that we did know here. >> exactly right. so look, germany is -- has a long history of fears of a central state and surveillance state so their decisions are based on their own history in the same way our decisions are based on our constitution and history. that will change. it needs to change, because when these attacks happen, very rare, almost no instance in which you can stop something from happening because of a camera, but after the fact putting the pieces together after the fact, in particular, was he with anyone beforehand, what direction might he have gone whash, what was he carrying and wearing. always as you piece together the
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investigation, was he looking at the area, was he staking it out, did he try to grab another truck at some other stage. all of those things could be answered if you had a lot of images. we don't have them in this case. >> don't forget, within the first 24 hours of this investigation, they had a suspect in custody, apparently just the wrong guy. that in and of itself -- >> the camera would have shown that that guy was actually four blocks away at that moment. in fact, it took 20 hours of sort of essential time for them to figure out he was not at the market at the moment that the truck came through. >> want to talk now about a completely different issue here in the united states. it has to do with the issue of immigrants coming to the united states and how they are monitored once here, because there was a law on the book, this program in place that did monitor people from certain countries for certain periods of time. there were points of contact with officials and government agencies and these people once they were here. when you were working at homeland security, you essentially made the program dormant. now we are learning today the
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obama administration is going to eliminate it all together. explain what the program was and what this means. >> the program was a post-9/11 program and it was a country-based designation program that men of a certain age would be given sort of higher review. it wasn't a ban. it was just a higher review. over time when the obama administration came into place, i should say all of those countries were muslim countries except for i think we put north korea in there for good measure. so when the obama administration came in, it wasn't that they weren't tracking people or people who might be on lists. it was that technology had made a country designation obsolete. in fact, as we are seeing now, someone coming in from germany might be a harm. you don't want to base it on country. you want to base it on specific issues where they traveled, are they part of a terrorist organization. so we essentially suspended it. in other words, took all the countries off the list. we didn't repeal it because we never thought anyone would think this was a good idea again. now the trump administration
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making i would say coy but not yet direct references to a new registry. now the president rightfully said it's obsolete, it makes everyone angry, it doesn't work. the threat environment has changed. we need to focus our efforts on specific individuals rather than giving a broad sort of muslim brush. i should also say, religion is not on people's passports. >> no, but this is something people are looking at saying the obama administration is trying to slow down something that the trump administration will want to do because he has said he does want to keep an eye on people coming in from certain countries. we will continue to watch this. always great to have you with us. thanks so much. up next for us, the death toll rising in the tragic fireworks explosion in mexico. people there still searching for missing family members. we take you will live. .
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the death toll is rising from huge explosions at the
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fireworks market north of mexico city. authorities confirm 33 people were killed. forensic teams and desperate family members are still searching for more victims. cnn's sara sidner joins us from the site of the explosions. i understand you've spoken to some family members there. >> yes, i mean, there are families still looking for their loved one, because some of the people who were so devastated by this blast were charred so badly authorities couldn't figure out who they were and are having to do dna testing. i want to let you listen to a gentleman who came up to us. he had a picture of his mother, looking for her. where have you been looking for her? >> yes. [ speaking foreign language ] >> translator: i have been looking for her in hospitals. i can't find her there. she is not registered anywhere. we've talked to ambulances. they don't have her there. we've checked morgues. they haven't found anyone with her characteristics.
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>> and that's the story for quite a lot of people. some people still standing outside the morgue. some at hospitals waiting to see the -- what has happened to their loved ones and if they're going to make it. we've also learned, john, at least eight children have been confirmed dead in this terrible blast. and i know you're probably looking at the pictures of that blast. we've also learned something new. i want to give you a look at the scene here this morning. we've been talking to a stall owner as well as looking at some great reporting by the newspaper here and what they said was the reason this may have happened, not because, but the reason why it was so bad and there was a chain reaction is they have tried to change this market. in 2005, after a fire there. and then the vendors broke some of the rules and put their fireworks in places where they could catch fire if another firework stall caught fire. so that may be one of the reasons why you saw this huge chain reaction, john. >> those pictures are
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astounding. thank you so much, sara. up next, a jeopardy contestant who died from cancer before she could see her appearances on tv. her final episode aired last night. alex trebek gave a touching tribute and details on her final wish. that's next. your insurance company won't replace the full value of your totaled new car. the guy says you picked the wrong insurance plan. no, i picked the wrong insurance company. with liberty mutual new car replacement™, you won't have to worry about replacing your car because you'll get the full value back including depreciation. and if you have more than one liberty mutual policy, you qualify for a multi-policy discount, saving you money on your car and home coverage. call for a free quote today. liberty stands with you™. liberty mutual insurance.
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and our returning champion, a science content developer from austin, texas, cindy stowell, whose six-day cash winnings total 103,0$103,000. >> champion until the end. cindy passed away earlier this month after a fight with cancer. but not before she put up quite a fight on jeopardy. ended up with a six-game winning streak as jeopardy champ. her final episode on the show
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aired last night. host alex treb bek shared how cindy dreamed of competing on the show. >> for the past six jeopardy programs, you folks have been getting to know the talented champion cindy stowell. appear on our show was the fulfillment a lifelong ambition for that lady. what you did not know is when we taped these programs fr s with few weeks ago, she was suffering is from stage 4 cancer. sadly on december 5th, cindy passed away. from all of us here at jeopardy, our sincere condolences to her family and her friends. >> that was alex trebek. cindy, she didn't tell people about her illness. >> no, it's really inspiring her. she had a fever, was on pain pills during those tapings. she didn't tell any of her competitors, only a handful of producers and jeopardy host alex
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trebek. the show paid tribute to her last night as you just heard. also they revealed and released a behind the scenes video in which cindy, rather emotionally, spoke about her condition and where she would be donating the money. >> it was kind of just a line in the sand that i drew. i wanted to donate a lot of the money to cancer research. partly because -- this is hard and i'm sorry, maybe i should pause or something like that, but i'm dying cancer and i really would like the money that i win to be used to help others and so this seems like a good opportunity. >> so touching hearing her words there. her legacy is going to include a sizable donation. i mean, she won over $100,000 on jeopardy during her six-day winning streak. and this really was the
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fulfillment of a lifelong goal. she described how in ninth grade she auditioned for a junior tournament and didn't make it so really making it on to jeopardy before she passed was a lifelong dream. >> rachel crane, thanks so much for being with us. >> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. >> top of the hour. john berman here. we have new and alarming developments in the berlin terror attack. what officials did know about the suspect before the attack. and what they didn't do about it. cnn has learned that german authorities not only knew who he was, not only knew they had contacts, but they knew he had spoken several times about launching attacks in germany. also believed members of the pro-isis network to which he was linked offered him a place to hide. officials now say they've recovered fingerprints from amri from the truck usedo


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