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tv   CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin  CNN  December 23, 2016 11:00am-12:01pm PST

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hi there, i'm brooke baldwin, you're watching cnn. i want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. thank you for being with me on this friday. we are following several major headline this is afternoon, including u.s. president-elect donald trump today ramping up his language over nuclear weapons, telling nbc news "let it be an arms race" and "we will outlast them all." a short time later mr. trump sharing with the world a rather personal and interesting to say the least letter that he received last week from the president of russia, vladimir putin. we'll get to that momentarily. back to our breaking news.
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the man who german officials believe plowed a speeding truck into a crowded christmas market is dead. he turned up just before dawn during what was a routine police patrol in milan, italy. more than 600 miles from the scene of that terror attack in berlin. we're told there was gunfire and 24-year-old anise amri from tunisia was shot dead. just hours after his death, isis released this, a video which appears to show amri pledging allegiance to isis leader abu bakr al-baghdadi. there is no mention of the truck attack and it's not clear when or where this video was shot. cnn's nina dos santos is live for us in milan. erin mclaughlin is live in berlin, but in italy, that's where i want to begin, nina, with you. when he was caught, the italians were saying this was kind of an accident at the time. walk me through how they got
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him. >> it was kind of a bit of a random situation, really, brooke, because what i'm standing outside is the spot where he was gunned down behind me. there's still blood on the pavement if you get to the tarmac close enough to have a look. they stopped him as a routine security check here. we're not actually inside milan, we're in a non-descript industrial section that's known as the financial capital of italy. it's not known that he had links here. so the fact he turned up here raise mrs. questions than it answered even though this manhunt has come to an end. he was stopped by police, they said "show us your papers." instead he pulled out a gun, a .22-caliber pistol and immediately began firing at them. struck one of them who still remains in hospital but the other one managed to fire back and it was upon his second bullet that he struck amri dead. they managed to confirm his identity by checking his fingerprints. when they cross checked them with fingerprints they found on
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the steering wheel of the truck in berlin, that was when they knew that that was the man in question that they'd managed to kill. now also isis, as you pointed out, saying that he was, indeed, the person who was killed here at 3:00 a.m. in the morning yesterday evening and, as you were saying there, releasing that video in which he appeared to be pledging allegiance to isis' self-declared leader al bird flu ba -- abu bakr al-baghdadi. the big question is why did he turn up here? that will be the focus for investigators. a team from germany has arrived to make sure both intelligence services have communicated with each other. he also arrived here via france so there will be questions about how he evaded security in no fewer than three countries through the train network. they'll look at cctv footage. >> thank you, nina. erin, to you in germany. there was real fear he had help evading law enforcement and making his way through france then to milan.
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what are authorities there saying now that he's been killed. >> well, that is the key concern here in berlin, brooke, the idea that he could have had accomplices that helped him perpetrate this horrific attack. we know that he had connections to a pro-isis recruitment network here in germany. senior members of that network having been arrested back in november. documents that cnn has seen, investigative documents, show that he was named multiple times as someone who wanted to carry out attacks. members of that network offering to help him do that so authorities trying to ascertain. they know they have five members of that network arrested. are there any other members out there that could have helped him carry this out? there's also the timing of the video, the isis video released on the internet timed perfectly to coincide with his death. the question, is of course, who
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posted it. german authorities trying now to trace his footsteps, to figure out how the most-wanted man in europe was able to make his way from the christmas market having killed 12 people here through france and then to italy. german chancellor angela merkel today saying they'll be looking at every single aspect of this case to figure out how a man who was on the terror watch list here in germany, a man they tried to deport, was able to carry out this attack. a real source of embarrassment for authorities here. >> massive question how that happened. erin, thank you very much. let's bring in michael weiss, cnn contributor and co-author of "isis, inside the army of terror." and juliette kayyem, former u.s. assistant secretary for homeland security. thank you both for being with me. we'll get to how the heck he got to milan in a moment but juliette, you and i have been talking each and everyday about this manhunt ever since this sick individual plowed a truck into this market in berlin. how did you respond to learning
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that they -- by happenstance law enforcement stumbled upon him because of an i.d. stop? >> right, so happenstance is actually quite common in these cases. as far back as the 1995 oklahoma city bombing, timothy mcveigh was captured by a traffic violation. we have seen other cases, most recently in the new york/new jersey attack case. outside of a bar a new jersey police officer approaches him and realizes he's got his man. so these are common in these cases. but -- and also good news so let's not forget even though there's a manhunt for him. the other thing is we talked about over the last week he was going to go places familiar. that would have been either germany or italy. it ends up being italy. whether he had networks there specifically or just was going to go back to familiar terrain we don't know but while there is
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a significant focus on what germany did wrong we have to make it clear every time we're on air this is still a very active investigation so while we might be wringing our hands about what happened, the most important thing is that nothing happens in the next couple days in europe. >> the other big question, michael weiss, and we talked about this in the wake of paris, europe's open borders, the fact that he can go all the way from berlin, we see the map, through france, on to milan. i don't know how much help he might have had but what kind of questions do you have about that? >> well, don't forget, brooke, this guy was arrested in italy four years ago and he spent, i think, three to four years in prison for -- >> torching a refugee center. >> a refugee center, right. went to lampedusa and got up to no good, thrown in jail. and once he got out of jail he was somehow able to travel all the way to germany. i find it very hard to believe that he acted alone and that he made it all the way to milan unhindered by himself.
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he was part of a network in germany run by a guy called abu walaa. abu walaa is the number one isis recruiter in all of germany. according to a man who abu walaa sent to syria, who joined isis and defected from isis then came back and fingered him as the den mother or the ringleader of the entire network in all of germany. and abu walaa's network consisted of another guy, aer e is -- serb german out of his apartment in westphalia, was running an ad hoc islamic center. and we don't know how many tens or hundreds of people migrated through that apartment center or were radicalized and indoctrinated with salafi jihadism. and we know they offered amri a choice, either you can make immigration and fight with isis on the battlefields in the middle east or you can conduct a terror operation on german soil. obviously he chose the latter and that decision was personally signed off by abu walaa.
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so this was -- we have a tendency in the media to say, oh, this looks like a lone wolf or isis-inspired attack. no, i don't think so. this is isis that released his last will and testament, that means he was in touch with isis hq in raqqah and the media apparatus there. that means somebody, probably this network in germany if not also in italy, knew where he was going and what he was planning to do. and to do a last will and testament means he was on a martyrdom operation. why did he engage in a shootout with italian police? well, for isis taking out law enforcement in europe or north america, that is the creme de la creme of victims. if he managed to kill italian cops, then he would have gone down as more of a hero, according to the isis world view, than for what he achieved in berlin several days ago. >> taking this in, talking about europe but we got breaking news and i want to ask you to stand by and get evan to report on this first here as it pertains to the u.s. apparently the fbi is issuing a new warning about
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possible isis threats days before christmas and chanukah here. evan perez is our justice correspondent who's been in touch with his law enforcement sources. what's the warning, evan? >> well, brooke, this all comes after isis supporters apparently posted on the internet a list of u.s. churches calling for attacks during the holiday season and as a result of this the fbi and homoland security department have issued this bulletin to law enforcement agencies as well as private security companies that secure some of these places of worship warning about this publicly-posted list of churches and the threats that have been ma made. i'll read you a part of the bulletin. "isis sympathizers ask for calls for attacks on holiday gatherings including targeting of churches." so that's what the fbi is concerned about. they want to make sure law enforcement is vigilant about this possibility. obviously this is the time of
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year where we see these types of threats and in the past we've seen a lot of isis threats that are mostly focused on law enforcement, on the military. we've seen more recently focusing on churches and gatherings like what happened in berlin, obviously, as well as the attack in nice and in columbus, ohio. >> is this directly related to berlin, evan, just quickly, or an entirely separate warning? >> absolutely. it's definitely in light of what happened in berlin. definitely influenced what the fbi did here and it's mostly, again, the fact that they don't have any specific credible threats in this country. they still out of an abundance of caution have to issue these warnings. >> evan, thank you. juliette kayyem. an abundance of caution, churches, holiday events. what's your response? >> a couple things having been part of the department's process of doing this. what's interesting for viewers is that this is a bulletin not an advisory. that may seem like words but this is just a statement to law
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enforcement, to private law enforcement, to malls, churches, wherever else, to be vigilant. this is not a raising of the threat level. there's no specific threat so what's -- as evan said, what's animating this is essentially three different threat streams all merging in this week. essentially you have the specific isis threat that michael and i have been on about for the last week. you have the general holiday threat because holidays are times because of people moving and airline travel there's increased threat. the third, which is just a reality, is the historic threat, the democratic threat of a transition in government. you have people leaving and people coming. that's a worrisome time so that's how to interpret what the fbi and dhs are doing right now and to sort of remind law enforcement and first responders that this is real in the sense that they do need to be vigilant even though there's no specific threat. >> michael, how should americans
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interpret this? a lot of people going to church christmas eve days away? >> as juliette was saying, this is a vague warning. i think people are on guard this time of year. they're on guard any major holiday given what's happening in the world and isis' continued vow to strike in the united states. that's the number one target thinking we're leading the coalition against isis and a church is the ultimate soft target. you don't have to be an islamic terrorist to shoot up a church as we've seen in recent years with the dylann roof massacre. so i think this is just -- this isis -- they're still losing terrain in syria and iraq. they have trained up operative and people that have been recruited through intermediaries in europe. in north america the goal is radicalization by -- remotely or by proxy. set up recruitment centers here but staffed with people who haven't necessarily been to the middle east and come back. we've seen attacks like that, orlando, san bernardino, there was one in st. cloud from a
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somali diaspora community member. this is where i'm told isis is putting an emphasis on the united states, in the somali diaspora communities of ohio and minnesota. communities that have been problems with radicalization but tending to be more loyal to al shabab, the al qaeda affiliate in somalia. now they're being lured into isis. >> michael and juliette, thank you so much. we'll stay on top of this in the next two hours on cnn. coming up, another major headline we're following today. president-elect donald trump reveals a personal intriguing letter he received a week ago from the president of russia. we will read between the lines of this correspondence which was released just as mr. trump tells nbc news, and i'm quoting, "let it be an arms race and we will outlast them all." lots to discuss. we're back in a moment. oh, that's lovely... so graceful. the corkscrew spin, flawless...
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welcome back. you're watching cnn. i'm brooke baldwin. sound health, happiness, and success. some warm greetings from russian president vladimir putin in a christmas letter directed to president-elect donald trump. the letter arrived about a week ago before the kremlin criticized the strained u.s./russia relationship and said nearly all levels of dialogue between the two countries are frozen. mr. trump released a holiday note calling it quote/unquote a very nice letter from vladimir putin, his thoughts are so correct. i hope both sides are able to live up to these thoughts and we do not have to travel an alternate path. let's begin with boris sanchez live at trump's mar-a-lago resort and home in palm beach, florida. boris, tell me more about putin's words specifically. >> reporter: the timing of them are very interesting, brooke.
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as you know overnight vladimir putin held his annual state of the union press conference with reporters from all over russia and he said specifically in that press conference when he was asked about relations with the united states that relations between the two countries could not be at their worst and now we're seeing this interesting letter from vladimir putin where he uses warm language in talking to donald trump. he goes on to say relations between the two countries "remain an important factor in ensuring stability and security of the modern world." he then goes on to write "i hope that after you assume the position of the president of the united states of america we will be able by acting in a constructive and pragmatic manner to take real steps to restore the framework of bilateral cooperation in different areas as well as bringing our level of collaboration on the international scene to a qualitatively new level." it's interesting we're getting
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these two letters, the one from vladimir putin and the one from donald trump today on the heels of so much controversial rhetoric. first that tweet from donald trump just 24 hours ago saying that the u.s. has to expand its nuclear capability and comments from vladimir putin that russia has to enhance its own. we've heard differing statements from the trump camp specifically about that tweet. yesterday jason miller saying trump was talking about non-proliferation, about controlling nuclear weapons and keeping them out of the mands of rogue actors or terrorist organizations. later on we heard from sean spicer who's now spokesman for the rnc, soon to be donald trump's press secretary in which he said that the united states has to expand its military capability in order to stand against any potential enemy. in turn back at that state of the union press conference that vladimir putin gave on his own end he said that he wanted to clarify a comment he made earlier this week saying that
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russia would stand up to any aggressor, that russia was more prepared than any potential aggressor when it came to military conflict and he specified the word "aggressor." the question, of course, now is whether or not he sees the united states and a trump presidency as a potential aggressor or challenger to russian power in that part of the world moving forward, brooke. >> this opens up a lot of questions. boris sanchez with the perfect set up, thank you so much. trump's words, "very nice" christmas letter which comes on the heels of the redux of a cold war. trump telling nbc -- and, again, to quote him -- "let it be an arms race, we will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all." this as putin addressed reporters at his annual news conference. >> translator: we need to strengthen the military
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potential of strategic nuclear forces, especially with missile complexes that can reliably penetrate any missile defense systems. >> let me bring in the editor of "world policy journal" and michael joho johan -- o'hanlon. let me begin michael with you. i want to get back to this letter and trump's statement in a moment. but on the nukes specifically and bosch riis mentioned this, sean spicer was on tv today and he denied that these words were any escalation. this is what he told allison on "new day." >> he is going to do what it takes to protect this country and if another country or countries want to threaten our safety or sovereignty he'll doll what it takes. >> but he's not waiting until another country threatens us. he's making -- >> he's making it very clear that other countries and other
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companies you've seen with carriers and others, he's going to make it clear he will be an active president that will get things done. >> meaning he will use nuclear weapons if need be? >> he won't take anything off the table. it means he's not going to sit back and let another country act. he needs to send a clear and concise message -- which he's done -- that he is going to be a president that defends america's interests and defends the american people. >> michael, i don't have to tell you that words matter, especially when you're talking about the nation's nuclear capabilities. does the language here from mr. trump specifically concern you? >> well, it concerns me a little but i was almost amused by the clip you just played because it seems like one is reading a whole lot of advanced nuclear doctrine and theology into 140 character tweet. i think trump is just being trump. i mean, i would prefer that he not do it over nuclear weapons issues but i am not overly chagrinned. this is not a specific plan for a nuclear buildup.
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there's no promise to pull out of an arms control treaty. there's no language that's just down right silly to the effect of -- >> but is that clear to americans? is that clear? >> well, americans just voted for trump. just to be clear, i didn't but americans did, they don't seem sometimes as bothered by these tweets as some of us in washington or the media and maybe they take it more with a grain of salt. that's how it should be interpreted for the moment. certainly this opens up the conversation, what are our nuclear weapons for and the broader u.s.-russia relationship as your earlier clips accurately underscored should be on the table. we should think of how we try to deconflict that but i won't overinterpret this one tweet. >> okay. david to you let's move on to this letter from putin to trump. the letter was signed "sincerely, v putin." isn't this just about posturing looking ahead? >> well, there is a lot of posturing but there's also history behind this and we have to understand that. i'll give you an example. i was in vienna in 1979 when
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carter and brezhnev signed salt two. at that point, each side had as many as 30,000 nuclear weapons. we now each side have about 7,000. that's come down dramatically over the years and steadily downward and all with the treaties that have drawn them down. we have about 1700 that are on, shall we say, fast deployment. hair-trigger, it's called. hair-trigger deployment where the president could launch them on four minutes notice. we need to get those down further and we will under the current treaties if they're still observed going forward. we'll get them down to about 1500. but mind you, that compares with the next-largest country is france with 300. even china haas only about 260 on deployment so we are way, way over any limits of being able to wipe out the entire earth if we had to. what do we need these for and why should any president or president-elect be considering even going back to anything like
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the time that it was in the '70s, the '80s or even the '90s. >> so then what does -- michael what does putin want? >> i thought david's point was very good about giving historical perspective. i would add one more detail which david knows well which is that under the new start treaty our long-range warheads will come down to about 1550. we'll still have another 3,000 or so each which just makes david's point more strongly. we have huge overkill on both sides. both sides are modernizing their forces bauds the submarines and bombers and the icbms are wearing out and vladimir putin has been trying to use nuclear weapons to create a little bit of fear and bluster in europe in these last few years. >> to your modernization point, that's been well under way under the obama administration, that's been being worked on. this is just potentially adding
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to that and from what i understand, modernizing this sort of thing, even though this may be something mr. trump is bringing up but it's not like a two-day thing. this could take years, correct? >> oh, yes, no doubt about that. and i'm all for modernizing, don't get me wrong. but this modernizing should also be the question of what is necessary to launch these weapons? that's what's very, very important i think going forward. >> michael, continue. >> well, i think naturally mr. trump, if he simply implements the obama plan he will wind up spending more money on nuclear weapons, modernization than obama because obama was at the early stage of these programs. for example, the next ballistic missile submarine. we've been researching it and developing it, under a trump presidency is when we would build it so the budgets will grow if we keep on the path that president obama has put us on so you can almost have a nuclear buildup without even making any effort. without changing any plan so
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there's a lot of room for interpretation, for maneuver, that's why i'm not excited by the one tweet. >> sure, so david back to you, beyond -- looking into specific u.s.-russian relations as we will have a president trump. when you look at putin's language, what does it indicate? does it indicate that yes he wants to work with trump or he's question whether or not trump will deliver? how do you interpret it? >> i this think he's hedging his bets. putin is very good at that. putin has always been an opportunist. he seizes the moment and he wants to leave the moment open to some kind of modernization if not a buildup. a buildup that can be disguised as modernization but he doesn't want to give up russia's apparent parallel leadership in the world in this very important field which is nuclear weapons and that's something that's always been at the very top mind of every soviet leader -- russian leader i should say now.
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they want to be at equal parity in the united states because they want to be perceived as a superpower. this is the one area where they still can be. >> and not to mention as we've heard over and over, we know putin wants the sanctions lifted. it's crippled his economy as well. david and michael, thank you so much. very smard conversation but i have to pull away because we've got breaking news here. let's go straight to the u.n. ambassador to the u.s., samantha power, speaking at the united nations. >> richard nixon, gerald ford, jimmy carter, ronald reagan, george h.w. bush, bill clinton, george w. bush, and now barack obama since 1967, the only president who didn't have one israeli palestinian related security council resolution pass during his tenure is barack obama. so our vote today is fully in line with the bipartisan history of how american presidents have
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approached both the issue and the role of this body one would think it would be a routine vote for the u.s. to allow the passage of a resolution with the elements in this one reaffirming the long-standing u.s. position on settlements, condemning violence and incitement and calling for parties to start taking steps to reduce trends on the ground. these are well articulated components of u.s. policy but in reality this vote for us was not straightforward because of where it is taking place at the united natio nations. the simple truth is that as long as israel has been a member of this institution israel has been treated differently from other nations at the united nations. and not only in decades past -- such as the resolution the
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general assembly adopted in 1975 with the support of the majority of member states officially determining that zionism is a form of racism, but also in 2016, this year, one need only one need only to look at the 12 israel-specific resolutions documented in the human rights council, more than those focused on syria, north korea iran and south sudan put together. to sina in 2016 israel continues to be treated differently from other states. like u.s. administrations before it, the obama administration has worked tirelessly to fight for israel's right to be treated just like any other country from advocating for israel to be granted membership to a u.n. regional body, something no other member state had been denied, to fighting to ensure that israeli ngos are not denied u.n. accreditation simply because they are israeli, to
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getting yom kippur recognized as a u.n. holiday to pressing this council to break its indefensible silence in response to terrorist attacks on israelis. as the united states said it not only hurts israel but undermines the ledgitimacy of the united nations itself. the practice of treating israel differently matters for votes like this one for even if one believes the resolution proposed today is justified or more necessitated by events on the ground, one cannot completely separate the vote from the venue and member states that say they are for two-state solution must ask themselves some difficult questions. for those states that are quick to promote resolutions condemning israel but refuse to recognize when innocent israelis are the victims of terrorism, what steps will you take to stop treating israel differently? for those states that
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passionately denounce the closures of crossings in gaza as exacerbating the humanitarian situation but say nothing of the resources diverted from helping gaza's residents to dig tunnels into israeli territory so the terrorists can attack israeli's in their homes, what will you do to end the double standard that undermines the legitimacy of this institution? member states should also ask themselves about the double standards when it comes to this council taking action. just this morning, we came together as a council and we were unable to muster the will to act to stop the flow of weapons going to killers in south sudan who are perpetrating mass atrocities that the u.n. has said could lead to genocide. we couldn't come together just to stem the flow of arms. earlier this month, this council could not muster the will to adopt the simplest of resolutions calling for a seven-day pause in the savage bombardment of innocent
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civilians, hospitals and schools in aleppo. yet when a resolution on israel comes before the council, members suddenly summon the will to act. it's because this forum too often continues to be biased against israel, because there are important issues that are not sufficiently addressed in this resolution and because the united states does not agree with every word in this text that the united states did not vote in favor of the resolution. but it is because this resolution reflects the facts on the ground and is consistent with u.s. policy across republican and democratic administrations throughout the history of the state of israel that the united states did not veto it. the united states has consistently said we would block any resolution that we thought would undermine israel's security or seek to impose a resolution to the conflict. we would not have let this resolution pass had it not also addressed counterproductive
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actions by the palestinians such as terrorism and incitement to violence which we've repeatedly condemned and repeatedly raised with the palestinian leadership and which, of course, must be stopped. unlike some on the u.n. security council, we do not believe that outside parties can impose a solution that has not been negotiated by the two parties. nor can we unilaterally rise a future palestinian state. but it is precisely our commitment to israel's security that makes the united states believe we cannot stand in the way of this resolution as we seek to preserve a chance of attaining our long standing objective. two states living side by side in peace and security. let me explain why. the settlement problem has gotten so much work, it's putting at terrific very viability of that two-state solution. the number of settlers in the roughly 150 authorized israeli settlements east of the 1967 lines has increased dramatically. since the 1993 signing of the
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oslo accords which launched efforts that made a comprehensive and lasting peace possible, the number of settlers has increased by 355,000. the total settler population in the west bank east and jerusalem now exceeds 590,000. nearly 90,000 settlers are living east of the separation barrier that was created by israel itself. and just since july, 2016, when the middle east quartet issued a report highlighting international concern about a systematic process of land seizures, settlement expansions and legalizations, israel has advanced plans for more than 2,600 new settlement units. yet rather than dismantling these and other settler outposts which are illegal even under israeli law, now there is new legislation advancing in the israeli knesset that would legalize most of the outposts, a factor that pro pole it had decision by this resolution sponsors to bring it for the
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council. the israeli prime minister recently described his government as "more committed to settlements than any in israel's histories" and one of his leading coalition partners recently declared "the era of the two-state solution is over." . at the same time, the prime minister has said he is still committed to pursuing a two-state solution but these statements are irreconcilable. one cannot simultaneously champion expanding israeli settlements and champion a viable two state solution that would end the conflict. one has to make a choice between settlements and separation. in 2011 the united states vetoed a resolution that focused exclusively on settlements, as if settlements were the only factor harming the prospects of a two-state solution. the circumstances have changed dramatically. since 2011, settlement growth has only accelerated. since 2011 multiple efforts to pursue peace through negotiations have failed.
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and since 2011, president obama and secretary kerry have repeatedly warned publicly and privately that the absence of progress toward peace and continued settlement expansion was going to put the two-state solution at risk and threaten israel's stated objective to remain both a jewish state and a democracy. moreover, unlike in 2011, this resolution condemns violence, terrorism and incitement which also poses an extremely grave risk to the two-state solution. this resolution reflects trends that will permanently destroy the hope of a two-state solution if they continue on their current course. the united states has not taken the step of supporting this resolution because the resolution is too narrowly focused on settlement when we all should know many other factors contribute to the tensions that perpetuate this conflict. let bus clear -- even if every single settlement were to be
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dismantled tomorrow, peace would not be attainable without both sides acknowledging uncomfortable truths and making difficult choices. that's an indisputable fact yet it's too often overlooked by members of the united nations and members of this council. for palestinian leaders that means recognizing the obvious, that in addition to taking innocent lives, the incitement to violence, the glorification of terrorists and the growth of violence extremism erodes prospects for peace as this resolution makes crystal clear. the most recent wave of palestinian violence has seen terrorists commit hundreds of attacks including drives cars into crowds of innocent civilians and stabbing mothers in front of their children yet rather than condemn these attacks, other radical factions and certain members of fatah have held up the terrorists as heroes and used social media to incite others to follow in their murderous footsteps and while president abbas and his party's leaders have made clear their opposition to violence,
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terrorism and extremism i have this too often failed to condemn specific attacks or condemn the praise heaped upon the perpetrators. our vote today does not in any way diminish the united states' steadfast and unparalleled commitment to the security of israel, the only democracy in the middle east. we would not have rhelet this p had it not also addressed counterproductive actions be i the palestinians. we have to recognize that israel faces very serious threats in a very tough neighborhood. israelis are rightfully concerned about making sure there is not a new terrorist haven next door. president obama and this administration have shown an unprecedented commitment to israel's security because that is what we believe in. our commitment to that security has never wavered and it never will. even with a financial crisis and budget deficits we repeatedly increase funding to support israel's military and in september the obama administration signed a
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memorandum of understanding to provide $38 billion in security assistance to israel over the next ten years. the largest single pledge of military assistance -- >> we've been listening to the u.s. ambassador to the u.n., samantha power, outline why the u.s. was the only u.n. security council member to abstain even though this resolution has passed which would deem it illegal for the israeli government to continue these settlements in disputed territories so u.s. being the one abstention, elise labott is with me, or ren lieberman. elise, to you, the u.s. abstention, was that a surprise? >> it wasn't a surprise, brooke, because we had known for the last day or that the obama administration was planning to do this. yesterday that vote was supposed to take place in the afternoon and we understand president obama was prepared to let it
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pass by exercising an abstention or just voting for it in favor of it. so what happened, you saw this diplomatic flurry yesterday. you had president-elect trump come out putting a statement for the u.s. to veto, there was a diplomatic flurry between prime minister netanyahu and the egyptian president whose country offered that resolution then there was a call between trump and president sisi. there was a whole diplomatic scramble to stop this from going ahead. now, what happened was egypt took the resolution off the table and other countries that were interested in putting it through -- new zealand, malaysia, senegal, venezuela -- they went forward, they re-presented it and that gave it an opportunity to pass. even though we knew they were planning on doing it, this is not only in defiance and snubbing what the israelis said that they are hoping the u.s. would continue its long standing
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protection at the u.n., this is in defiance of obama's own party. you saw the senate minority leader chuck schumer come out with a strong statement urging the u.s. to veto so i think it's a significant move which the israelis feel undermine anything that president-elect trump would do when he came in. that it would tie his hands a little bit if he were to try to negotiate middle east peace, something he said he would want to do. but from the u.s. point of view the settlement issue has dogged the u.s. in its efforts for peace. they call it an obstacle for peace over the last eight years and of course you can't neglect that this is a parting shot by president obama to prime minister netanyahu with whom he had a rocky relationship at best over the last eight years. >> yup, yup. oren lieberman, have you heard anything from the prime minister? any reaction to this? >> not from the prime minister yet and that may be because it's the sabbath and there may not be
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a response until after but we've gotten a response from the israeli ambassador to the u.n., he says neither the security council nor unesco can sever the time between the people of israel and the land of israel. it was to be expected that israel's greatest ally would react in the value wes share and they would have vetoed this resolution, i have no doubt the new u.s. administration and the income u.n. secretary general will usher in a new era in terms of the u.n.'s relationship with israel. that, too, seems to be a bit of a parting shot at the shoogs. the ambassador saying that the israeli administration is looking forward to work with president-elect trump who said he would move the embassy from tel aviv to jerusalem, recognize jerusalem as the capital of israel, that is something the israeli government and netanyahu's administration was happy to hear. as elise mentioned, the israelis worked furiously to see if they could head off the resolution, taking the unprecedented act of reaching out to the
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president-elect. that as we have learned failed. they weren't able to change that abstention to a veto. worth pointing out egypt still voted in favor of it when it was reintroduced today. >> rain david miller, hearing both of them and noting parting shots back and forth between israel and the u.s. adding in the layer that we know israel had reached out to mr. trump to jump in and denounce this, what do you make of it. >> i think the last two days may have actually created a situation, with tweets by the president-elect, calls from the israelis, calls from trump to president sisi, it may well have been that the administration had planned to vote yes on this resolution. the last two days may have altered that position to an on stengs but by and large in my judgment this was inevitable.
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it was a train that could not be stopped. for eight years the obama administration has fretted, frustrated, paralyzed in the face of what they consider to be massive increase in settlement activity undermining the prospects far two-state solution which, i might add, is at best comatose and couldn't even be attained 13 years ago, 14 years ago when they were at camp david under the clinton administration in much more ideal conditions. so frustration was mounting. the obama administration talked tough about settlements, have done very little concrete things to stop them. i think they warned mr. netanyahu if he continued the u.s. would not be nabel the face of international pressure, quote/unquote, to defend the israelis and they wanted to shape to some degree the environment going forward. i think elise's notion that this was a parting shot at the
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israelis i would argue that's right. it was a parting shot in defense of what the obama administration and secretary kerry believe to be the waning hopes of a two-state solution. my concern however is that this is going to produce the opposite impact of what the administration intensed. i can't even imagine that president-elect trump has even waited to tweet and disavow and to distance himself personally and after four weeks from today, brooke -- >> 27 days. >> four weeks from today, right president trump's policies with respect to settlement activity, that's negative impact number one, he's going to walk away from this confusing and confounding american allies as to what exactly the u.s. does stand for when it comes to stopping israeli settlement activity. i think mr. netanyahu will be under pressure from his right to
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demonstrate that they are not going to take this sitting down, so to speak. they may accelerate their activities on the ground and finally it may well be -- and this is what we do not know -- is what the putative trump administration policies on settlement activity will be but the appointment of mr. friedman suggests it's going to be a lot less muscular, to say the least, than the current administration. it's very difficult -- final point, sorry to drone on. >> no, i'm hanging on your every word. >> it's very difficult five minutes to midnight four weeks from the inauguration of another president to basically engage in an action which has not been taken probably since the bush 41 administration in terms of allowing such a resolution to pass, however balanced, whatever ingredients the administration succeeded in pushing for.
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in the end it's very difficult at the 11th thundershower do something like this because the explanation is now for sure that president-elect trump is going to walk away from this thereby in my judgment, having provided by both good and bad advice to a half dozen secretaries of state, walk away from this which is going to further undermine the credibility and integrity of the united states. so this is a migraine headache for everyone and i think it basically is not going to end will. >> well, a lot of unknowns you point out, erin. and let me -- before i let you go note the known is the response from the most powerful republican on capitol hill who, by the way, will be working in tandem, of course, with the trump administration, house speaker paul ryan, this is what he just said in reaction. "this is absolutely shameful. today's vote is a blow to peace
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that sets a dangerous precedent for further diplomatic efforts to isolate and demonize israel. our unified republican government will work to reverse the damage done by this administration and rebuild our alliance with israel." paul ryan. aaron david miller, oren lieberman, elise labott, thank you so much. coming up on cnn, we'll take you back to our breaking news. the fbi issuing this new warning about possible isis threats here in the united states days before christmas at arnold chanukah. what to know about churches. a live report on that coming up.
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christmas greetings from one
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of the world's most powerful men to someone who's about to join that club -- president-elect donald trump releasing a letter he received from russian president vladimir putin and within it putin writes this "i hope that after you assume the position of the president of the united states of america we will be able by acting in a constructive and pragmatic manner to take real steps to restore the framework of bilateral cooperation in different areas as well as bring out a level of collaboration on the international scene to a qualitatively new level. let me bring in kayleigh mcthenny and angela rye. kayleigh, let me get to you. we have trump's response to that putin letter. he writes "a very nice letter from vladimir putin, his thoughts are so correct. i hope both sides are able to live up to these thoughts and we don't have to travel an
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alternate path. that. >> that was fascinating. it was like an add monosnigs mog it would be great if we can work things out but if you decide to go an alternate path we will have to take one and what does that mean? it would probably come in the form of sanctions. we know the united states economy is 13 times the size of russia's. we know donald trump has appointed rex tillerson as secretary of state. he's obviously an expert of oil and gas being the head of exxonmobil and we know russia thrives on oil and gas so he has the perfect secretary of state where if russia goes off course and tries any funny business under the trump administration he has the secretary of state who knows how to make it hurt for russia. we hope he can make russia to some partner but if history is an indicator that hasn't worked
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out well. >> rex tillerson has this megadeal with russia and he has said in the past, as has putin, very outspoken in letting those sanctions go. angela rye, what do you think? >> it's interesting. i don't think this was the tough guy talk at all that kayleigh just brought up. i think this is a letter he released after it's been established that russians were to blame if the dnc hacks during the election. this was the letter that was released after it's been established by all of our nation's security -- national security agencies this after a kayleigh's point. this appoint. was made. this nomination, this suggestion of rex tillerson being secretary of state and a clear friend of russia. this after putin said that when none no one else believed donald trump would win the election, russia believed it would so this love fest is not funny and i'm just wondering if donald trump think this is a game.
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he continues to push out policies, he pushes government contractors on twitter and i'm wondering when he's going to take the job of president and just right now president-elect kind of serious, it's entirely problematic and it's time for him to potentially accept more intelligence briefings so he understands this is very serious and not at all a game. >> kayleigh, i want to see you jump in. >> what's fascinating is we didn't hear this kind of talk from the left eight years ago, notably after russia invaded georgia during the bush administration. we saw obama come in and obama stood in putin's house and praised the extraordinary work putin had done on behalf of the russian people and talked about how they have an excellent opportunity to partner with one another. he was very -- the russian reset. he was very light when it came to russia and democrats then were extolling him for trying to craft this new relationship. that didn't work out. trump is trying to forge this new strategic partnership.
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whether it works we will see. but i can promise you this, you won't have russia annexing crimea or invading ukraine like we've seen under the feckless leadership of barack obama. >> we have 27 days. >> that's an interesting point -- >> we don't know which way this is going to go. i wish i had more time. we don't know. we'll give mr. trump and -- some time to see how it will look with regard to russia and this talk. we have to go, ladies, so sorry. kayleigh and angela, thank you very much. we will have more on this. still ahead, we wanted to get back to our breaking news, the fbi issuing a new warning about possible threats from isis involving churches and holiday gatherings here in the u.s. we have new details on that coming up. when are they leaving? grilled cheese and campbell's tomato soup go together like grandchildren and chaos. made for real, real life. be a park ranger, i got really excited. gabe's obviously really sick.
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top of the hour. you're watching cnn, i'm brooke baldwin. thank you for being with me. breaking news from the fbi. they're issuing a new warning about possible threats from isis days before christmas and chanukah here in the united states. justice correspondent evan perez is here with the news from fbi and dhs. what is the warning? >> brooke, this comes as a result of frankly in the last couple days on pro isis weapon sites some supporters of isis have been calling for attacks on churches. they've even listed a list of thousands of churches in the united states, addresses, urging their supporters to attack and so this is the reason why the fbi has out of an abundance of caution issues this warning to law enforcement agencies around the country as well as private security companies. i'll read you a part of what the bulletin says. it ease isis sympathizers continue aspirational calls