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tv   CNN Newsroom with Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto  CNN  December 25, 2018 7:00am-8:00am PST

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kayla: our dad was in the hospital. josh: because of smoking. but we still had to have a cigarette. had to. kayla: do you know how hard it is to smoke in a hospital? by the time we could, we were like... what are we doing? kayla: it was time for nicodermcq. the nicodermcq patch with unique extended release technology helps prevent your urge to smoke all day. and doubles your chances of quitting. nicodermcq. you know why, we know how. a very good morning to you. and of course a very merry christmas as well. i'm jim sciutto in washington. poppy harlow has this morning off. president trump spending the morning at the white house and speaking out. he just took questions from reporters moments ago. we'll get the tape feed of that any minute now and bring it
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right to you. abby phillip is at the white house today. it sounds like the president had some sharp woods today for a number of targets. >> reporter: that's exactly right, the president not really holding back on a number of different topics. he talked fed chairman jerome powell who he's been attacking in recent days for his decision to raise interest rates. he's also talking about the government shutdown and the border wall, reiterating he's not going to settle for border security, he still wants his wall. he talked about a number of other topics, from james comey to his favorite words, "no collusion." this is a president, even on christmas morning, not letting go of a number of different topics that have been in the news in recent days. here he is now, you can listen to him yourself.
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>> very talented guy, very smart. >> reporter: what about the fed chairman? >> we'll see. they're raising interest rates too fast, that's my opinion. i shouldn't have confidence. they're raising rates too fast because they think the economy is so good. but i think they will get it pretty soon. i really do. i mean, the fact is that the economy is doing so well that they raised interest rates a. president obama had a very low interest rate. we have a normalized interest rate. a normalized interest rate, it's good for a lot of people. they have money in the bank, they get interest on their money. for many years nobody got interest on their money. but i have great confidence in them. i have great confidence in our companies. we have companies, the greatest in the world, and they're doing really well. they have record kinds of numbers. i think it's a tremendous opportunity to buy.
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really a great opportunity to buy. [ inaudible question ] i can't tell you when the government is going to be open. i can tell you it's not going to be open until we have a wall, a fence, whatever they would like to call it. i'll call it whatever they want. but it's all the same thing. it's a barrier from people pouring into our company -- into our country from drugs. it's a barrier from drugs. there's a problem in this world today, it's called human trafficking. human trafficking is one of the hard to believe problems. we're working so hard to catch these traffickers. they're bad people. we can't do it without a barrier. we can't do it without a wall. you have drugs, you have human trafficking, you have illegal people coming into the country, you can't do that. we don't know who they are. in the caravan, people were very
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bad, criminals. you saw the one man, he said he was wanted for murder. i don't want them in the country. the only way you're going to do it ask if you have a physical barrier, meaning a wall. and if you don't have that, then we're just not opening. yesterday i gave out 115 miles worth of wall. 115 miles in texas. it's going to be built, hopefully rapidly. i'm going there at the end of january for the start of construction. that's a big stretch. because we're talking about 500 to 550 miles. it's a 2,000-mile border but much of it has mountains and region where you can't get across. we're looking at between 500 and 550. we gave out 115 yesterday. we gave it out at a great price. so we're going to have a great wall there. we'll have other sections to give out. one other thing people don't understand or know or whatever but they might as well because they're not really told, we've
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renovated massive amounts of very good wall, wall that was good but was in bad shape. so you don't have to replace it but you have to renovate it. and we've renovated a massive amount of wall. and in addition to that, and i think very, very importantly, we've built a lot of new wall. so it's all being built. the new piece, the new section is very, very exciting, what's going on there. and you'll see it, because in january i'm going to there. we're almost having a groundbreaking, it's such a big section. it's probably the biggest section we'll get out. so while we're fighting over funding, we're also building. and it's my hope to have this done, completed, all 500 to 550 miles, to have it either renovated or brand-new, by election day. [ inaudible question ] different people. different people. highly bid.
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[ inaudible question ] you have to understand, it's complicated. because we're getting $25 billion. it's already approved. but that's for everything. that's for homeland security. that includes, as we say, the bells and whistles. we have a lot of drones, a lot of everything. plus we have some wall money in there. but we want the wall money to be increased, because i want to finish it. but what people have to understand, it has been strongly started, a lot of areas, if you look at san diego, it's now almost complete. and interestingly, it's california, which has been difficult to deal with because of the governor, very, very difficult to deal with. but the people of san diego came and they wanted the wall built. in fact i was going to build it last but then i determined let's build it. they really wanted it built. if i built it last, they would all be screaming for a wall and you don't hear that. but the wall is beautiful. the job they've done is
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fantastic. so san diego is largely built. it will be completed very shortly. but they came to us. the people. and they were asking, they needed border protection. people were walking through mexico right into san diego, right over people's front lawns, by the hundreds and by the thousands. and they came to us, they asked for a wall. the only thing that's going to stop that, a drone isn't going to stop it. high technology's not going to stop it. the only thing that stops it's a wall. when the democrats talk about a wall doesn't mean anything, well, in israel, they had a big problem. they put up a wall. 99.99% of the people were stopped from coming in. and we'll have the exact same thing. and we have a long, long border. but we'll have the exact same thing. now, there may be the case of an olympic champion who can get over the wall. but for the most part, you're not able to do it.
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very high, it's going to be 30 feet. much of it is 30 feet high, some of it's lower. in some areas we have it as high as 30 feet. that's as high as a three-story building. so we're making a great progress on renovation, on fixing, and we're making great progress on building new wall. most excitingly, we gave out our largest section yesterday and that work is starting next week and we'll have it completed fairly quickly. [ inaudible question ] well, i think they understand what's happening. they want border security. the people of this country want border security. it's not a question of me. i would rather not be doing shutdowns. i've been at the white house, i love the white house, but i wasn't able to be with my family. i thought it would be wrong for me to be with my family, my family is in florida, palm beach, and i just didn't want to go down and be there when other people are hurting.
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but it's going to all work out. but many of those workers have said to me and communicated, stay out until you get the funding for the wall. these federal workers want the wall. the only one that doesn't want the wall are the democrats, because they don't mind open borders, but open borders mean massive amounts of crime. i mean, the democrats don't want it because they don't want open borders, and yet every one of those democrats approved the wall or a fence or very, very substantial barriers. every single one. i don't think there's one, but let's assume, let's use the word almost every one approved a wall or a fence or exactly what we're talking about. as little as three years ago. but over the years, every one of of them -- the only time they went against it, the only time they went against it, there was only one time, when donald trump said i want to build a wall.
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as soon as i said i want to build a wall, they were all against it. it's like, take another example. take comey. everybody hated comey, they thought he did a horrible job. the democrats hated him. they were calling for his resignation. they were calling for his firing, including schumer, including nancy pelosi, until i fired him. and once i fired him, everybody said, oh, why did you fire him, why did you fire him? take a look at some of these people. this is what we're doing now. take a look at some of these people. literally the day before i fired him they were saying he should be fired. as soon as i fired him they said, oh, what did you fire him for, that was a terrible thing to do. it's a disgrace, what's happening in our country. but other than that, i wish everybody a very merry christmas. thank you very much. thank you. thank you. >> well, the president's christmas message there, it's a disgrace what's happening in the country, he says, but other than
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that, he wishes all of us a very merry christmas. i'm back now with abby phillip at the white house, also joining us ron brownstein and "new york times" politics editor patrick healy. abby, help me out here, the president had what appeared to me to be a contradictory message, saying, one, the wall must be built, the government will not open until he gets the money open for it, but then saying the wall is already being built and that somehow yesterday singlehandedly he approved a new section of wall being built. >> we've been hearing this from president trump for several days now, he's been saying, there is no crisis at the border but there is a crisis at the border, he's dealt with the caravan but he needs a wall at the southern
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border, the wall is being built but he needs $5 billion to start building it. he can't decide what is the state of the border right now. he says he wants this built before the next election. that really underscores why this is so important to president trump. he wants it done before he is up for reelection in 2020. and that's why we're having this big fight. this is his last, best chance to get border wall funding. but it might not even be his best chance. he might have missed his chance eight months ago when he had the opportunity to get $25 billion for the border wall in exchange for daca. now it would be a surprise if he even got that $5 billion he's demanding. but clearly he's making it clear this is a political consideration. he wants it done for his base by the time he's up for reelection. >> patrick healy, did the president just redefine the length of the wall there? because as he noted, the border is 2,000 miles long but as many national security analysts and officials have said for months
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and years, much of that border is uncrossable, mountains, et cetera, you don't really need a wall in all those places. the is the peoplpresident seeme now only wants a 550-mile wall. did i hear that correctly? >> a lot is changing. he called it at one point the wall or the fence, a strong wall, he was using a lot of different words. at one point he said, you know, they can call it whatever they want, i'll go along with it, which is certainly not what his political base wants. but yes, he was sort of redefining his wall down to basically 500 miles and change. and he's doing something in recognition of the very dangerous political territory he's in right now. he has gone all in so strongly, again, on rallying his base. the midterms showed him that independent voters, that suburban voters, that a lot of women who voted for him in 2016 because they hated hillary
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clinton, you know, basically turned on him and on the republican party in the midterms, and that trump is now seeing a lot of those voters so disaffected with him that he's now going back to his base and basically suggesting it's the wall or nothing. today what was so strange was, again, he realizes, it's day three of a shutdown that he owns, and he seemed to be sort of suggesting that he would settle for 500 miles here or, you know, a fence there. and this can't be sort of good words for, again, his political base that kept rallying to him during the campaign because he said he was going to build a big, beautiful wall that would extend the whole border. and this is by the way, mexico was going to pay for it, long ago debunked. ron brownstein, as abby said, ultimately it's a political question, the president is trying to win political points,
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democrats calculating they have this right. who is right? because polling does show americans want and support better border security. does that mean they see the wall as the equivalent of that? i mean, the key question here is, who has the politics right? >> that's the key distinction, right? i've written about polling on immigration for 25 years. the public has always supported strong border security as part of a comprehensive approach to immigration that includes majority support for a pathway to legal status for the undocumented. those two pillars have always been there. but they do not translate border security into a wall. the wall itself has never had majority support in public opinion. the highest support i've seen for it in a poll under trump is 43%. in the last cnn poll, only 38% of the country said they supported the border wall. jim, that dropped to 33% if they were told that mexico is not paying for it. only -- >> which is a fact.
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>> yes. right. and to patrick's point, you know, this is really indicative of the trump -- and not only trump, but the entire republican congress essentially shrugging off the message of the midterm and focusing solely on speaking to their base. all of the groups that turned against republicans and delivered the democrats a 40-seat gain in the house, the biggest majority in the history of the country, all of those groups are at 60% or more opposition to the wall. so what you're doing is taking a tactic that's unpopular, which is shutting down the government, and applying it to a cause that's probably even more unpopular at this point, building a wall, all in the name of energizing what is this minority of the country that he defines as his base. >> those percentages there, 43%, 39%, it drops off, what's interesting is that's about in line with how trump's base is quantified, right? >> yes.
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>> certainly not a majority. abby, the other headline from this is the president's comments about the federal reserve chairman jerome powell. asked if he has confidence in him, his answer, noncommittal, "well, we'll see." the markets clearly, based on their reaction yesterday, do not like the uncertainty about the fed chairman's future, the perception of interference from the president. listening to the president there doesn't seem like he got that message. >> no, not at all. and it seems very much that president trump is unwilling to do what might be necessary in order to settle the markets. in fact when over the weekend steve mnuchin tweeted out a quote that was supposed to be attributable to president trump, most people seemed to think it was hard to believe, because if the president wants to say something, like for example that he doesn't believe he has the power to fire jerome powell, he would say it himself. the fact that president trump has unwilling to do that is extremely telling. and i think this is a dangerous
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time for this administration when it comes to the economy. some of the confidence that the markets have had in the administration, they supported pro-growth policies, is wearing off, because it seems that president trump is going his own way. he's pursuing a trade war with china that is dangerous, that is potentially damaging to the global economy. and he doesn't seem to be willing to pull back from some of his instincts, his gut, which he tried to claim was better than the data that economists might have about what's actually going on in the economy. that's not settling to the markets. president trump today was clearly unwilling to do even a little bit of what it might take to give them a little more confidence that in the new year this would not be more of the same, more of the constant gyrations up and down of his moods and of his gut trying to rule the economy. >> ron and patrick, before we go, just in a word, your best guess as to how long the shutdown lasts. patrick healy, then ron. >> you know, i think the
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democrats are dug in, jim, sorry to not be one word, but i don't think they want to give assent to the wall. i think we saw president trump being willing to shift ground and name new numbers this morning. if he caves, it could be over relatively soon. >> ron brownstein? >> i don't think democrats feel a lot of pressure, given the numbers i just described. it's striking that the final act of the republican house was to enable a strategy of shutdown that they knew had no chance of success, really just a fitting cap to the way they've approached trump over the past two years. >> abby, ron, patrick, i hope you get some time off today. i'll try to get some too. i wish you a very merry christmas, happy holidays and happy new year. coming up, outgoing defense secretary james mattis has a christmas message for troops deployed abroad. we'll play that for you. not just "airline purchases." (loud) holy moley that's a lot of miles!!!
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since washington crossed the delaware at christmas of 1776, american troops have missed holidays at home to defend our experiment in democracy. to all you lads and lasses hogged the holding the line in 2018, at land, at sea, and in the air, thanks for keeping the faith. merry christmas and may god hold you safe. >> there he is, outgoing defense secretary james mattis, sharing a holiday message with troops in his final days as a member of the trump administration. he recorded that last week just hours before handing in his resignation to president trump. let's bring in pentagon correspondent barbara starr. barbara, not the only message to
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troops deployed these holidays. >> reporter: that's right, he sent out a worldwide cable to the troops thanking them for their service, telling them to hold the line, keep safe. when he sent that cable out, there was a pretty good chance james mattis knew what would come in the coming hours. officials are indicating that, you know, it really was the president's decision to precipitously withdraw troops from syria that led the secretary to come to the final conclusion after months of thinking about it, trying to deal with the white house, that he would have to retire, that he would have to resign, essentially, and go. so, you know, now we know that the deputy secretary of state, patrick shanahan, who will becoming acting on january 1st, cutting his holiday short, coming back to washington to at least try and have a few days of transition with secretary mattis, jim. >> now, i understand your sources have been telling you
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mattis had very strongly-held views. how might those views have led to this final clash with the president? >> reporter: well, i mean, it goes to some of the reporting i know you're hearing as well. what is the national security decisionmaking process in this administration? there had been a sense that mr. trump had wanted to get troops out of syria, they knew that. but they had been talking to him about it and suddenly they essentially get a tweet that he's going to do it. there's a sense it was very precipitous, because,000 they are scrambling with a withdrawal plan to try and figure out how to do it and how to keep u.s. troops safe as they pull them out of syria. you know, when you get down to those last few, it becomes a very dicey business for just a small number to be in the middle of a combat zone. so it's that kind of thing that by all accounts led mattis to just finally decide he had to go. >> barbara starr, thanks very much. >> reporter: sure. still to come this hour, a senior administration official telling cnn that when it comes to national security
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♪ yippiekiyay. ♪ mom. ♪ we're learning new information about what u.s. officials told their coalition partners in the weeks leading up to the president's decision to withdraw troops from syria.
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two sources tell cnn that national security adviser john bolton ordered senior officials to meet directly with those partners to assure them that the u.s. is, quote, staying in syria until iran is out of syria. joining me now, former director of communications for the u.s. national -- the director of national intelligence, sean turner. thanks for joining us. >> thanks, jim, merry christmas. >> so you heard the reporting there about really a 180. the president's national security adviser instructing his officials to go out and say, listen, we're in syria until this fight is over, as long as iran is there, then the president up endiending that re in a day with a tweet. how upsetting is that, not only for u.s. partners on the ground but u.s. soldiers on the ground and the intelligence officials who were backing them in this fight? >> yeah, jim, i mean, this is the kind of thing that's terribly disruptive to our partners and allies and our
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service members serving overseas. your report on this validates what i'm hearing from former colleagues, and that is that there are hundreds of career professionals in the intelligence community, at the state department, at the defense department, who have spent an entire career studying the challenges that we face and learning how to bring the president decision advantage with regard to all the challenges we face around the world. and basically those people have been sidelined. that's what i've heard repeatedly over the last six months. when you see bolton making this call with this kind of disconnect between the national security adviser and the president, when you see this chaos that didn't exist in previous administrations, when there was a solid process for making national security decisions. >> this is the point this senior administration official made to me, this is not isolated to the syria decision but this is across the board for national security decisions, that the process in effect is nonexist
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ent whereinent. how does that affect america's national security priorities beyond syria and afghanistan, but challenging russia, challenging china? what happens to a country's national security i guess messaging, you could say, around the world, but also its strategy, when things are decided like this? >> you know, jim, i served in the previous administration, both on the nsc side and the white house, in the national security space. i can tell you that there was a process there that while at some times there was a great amount of frustration with the process because it was so detailed and involved, but there was a process that gave our partners and allies around the world confidence that the united states was looking at these challenges and looking at these issues from every possible angle, and that we would ultimately come up with a decision that was not only in the best interests of national security but took into consideration all the interests of our partners and allies around the world. so when there is no process,
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when there is this kind of uncertainty over what the president is going to do over what the national security decisions will be here in the united states, what that does for our partners and allies is it basically tells them they need to go it alone. it creates a situation where the united states is somewhat sidelined as our partners and allies come together to make decisions, come to it to decide what's in their own best interests without the united states being at the table to have a voice in this, or with the united states having a voice that our partners and allies simply can't rely on. >> and those are statements that you've heard from some of the leaders of america's closest allies, not just in the wake of the syria decision but more broadly. angela merkel has said that, french president emmanuel macron has said they can't count on america. i wonder this, because of course the question is what happens as a result of this, russia and china we know are watching very closely. are you concerned that they seek
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to take advantage of this, knowing that the u.s. is pulling back? china has its eyes on taiwan, russia has its eyes on nato allies in eastern europe. do they look to take advantage of this by taking aggressive action? >> look, jim, i'm beyond concerned, because we're already seeing the kind of seeds of this kind of new world order being laid with regard to not only our partners and allies having this sense that they need to go it alone, but what we're seeing in russia and china is, we're seeing them look at the different areas in which the united states is projecting uncertainty, looking at different areas where we're having trouble in our relationships with partners and allies, and they're finding those gaps there. you can rest assured that no country is more willing to fill those gaps than china when it comes to everything from economics to military to, you know, a wide range of issues that we're dealing with, particularly in the south china sea as well. it does cause me some concern that we're not seeing this for what it is and that the current
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administration is making decisions that are not necessarily taking the long view of what china, russia, and others around the world are thinking. >> it's a sobering landscape. shawn turner, thanks very much, and a very merry christmas to you and your family. >> thanks, jim, merry christmas to you too. a federal judge here in the u.s. has ordered north korea to pay half a billion dollars to the family of on ttto warmbier. a judge found north korea is liable for the door totorture a killing of an american student. he died shortly after he was returned to the u.s. north korea has not responded to the ruling. we're going to keep on top of the story and we'll be right back. brighthouse financial
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from a spectacular winter olympics to a big year for serena williams, here now the top eight sports stories of 2018 from cnn's andy scholes. >> 2018 was another memorable year in the sports world. serena returned with controversy. tiger was back on top. and hundreds of women bravely
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came forward to confront their abusers. march madness had its usual drama with buzzer beaters and upsets. but it was sister jean, a nun in her 90s, who shocked everyone by making it to the final four. >> oh, don't be nervous. >> you're a celebrity. >> i know. >> the ramblers would fall short as villanova claimed their second title in three years. at number 7, two first time champions. the las vegas golden knights becoming the first expansion team to win a division in their first year. golden knights making the finals before losing to the washington capitals in five games. >> we're champions, yeah!
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>> this was the first time title for the capitals after years of disappointing seasons. for superstar alex ovechkin, he finally got to hoist the stanley cup after being considered the best player to never win a title. in the nfl, the eagles to the super bowl gems tom brady and the mighty patriots, wing 41-33. he was the game's mvp. in 2018, tiger woods finally climbed back on top of the golf world. after nearly winning the pga championship, tiger was triumphant at the tour championship in september. in an incredible scene, thousands of fans chasing tiger up the final hole of the tournament. the first time in five years tying her won a pga event. >> this is my 80th win. after all i've gone through to get to this point, it's pretty
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special. >> welcome to south korea. >> the 2018 winter olympics in pyeongchang saw north and south korea marching together under a unified flag for the first time since 2006. the two countries fielded a joint women's hockey team. >> what a night it was. >> at the dramatic finish, american women capture olympic gold for the first time in 20 years. >> brings tears to my eyes. it's been an incredible last 24 hours. >> the world cup is officially up and running in moscow. >> sports' biggest spectacle lived up to the hype with thrilling games from start to finish. [ cheering ] >> it is absolute pandemonium in paris. >> it's been an amazing world
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cup, the champions in an exciting finale. >> at number 3, athletes using their voice. in august the nfl season once again started with president trump attacking players who need during the national anthem. and the player who started the movement, colin kaepernick, remained out of football. but he did pick up a new sponsorship deal with nike. >> don't ask if your dreams are crazy. ask if they're crazy enough. >> lebron has always spoken up about social issues but in february he was told to shut up and dribble by a fox news host. >> we will not shut up and dribble. so many kids feel like they don't have a way out. >> lebron announced he was taking his talents to hollywood to play for the lakers. but it was what lebron did off the court this year that he calls the most important thing he's ever done. >> when i was younger, i said if i ever had the means or became a success for anything, i wanted to give back.
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>> lebron opening an elementary school for at risk youth in his hometown of akron, ohio. nine months after giving birth had her teadaughter, serena williams was controversially unseated after her maternity leave. she began made the finals at the u.s. open. her match against 20-year-old naomi osaka turned into one of the most controversial in tennis history. >> you stole a point from me. you're a thief too. >> the ref penalized her for breaking her racquet and for verbal abuse. she argued with officials that she was being treated more harshly than male players. the number one sports moment of 2018 is the courage and bravery of the hundreds of women who confronted their sexual abuser, former u.s. and michigan state gymnastics doctor larry nasser.
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>> larry nasser is in another michigan courtroom for another sentencing. >> michigan state university is being investigated by the attorney general's office. >> larry nasser will likely be spending the rest of his life behind bars. >> more than 150 women gave impact statements at a marathon sentencing hearing for nasser. in june, many of those women took the stage at the espys at they were honored with the arthur ashe courage award. aly raisman was one of them. >> if just one adult had listened, believed, and acted, the people standing before you on this stage would have never met him. >> sports in 2018 will be remembered for empowerment and perseverance from serena to gymnasts. inspiring women making their voices heard, building a foundation for years to come. >> announcer: 8 in 2018 brought to you by farmers insurance.
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and yes, it's all at one low price. td ameritrade. ♪ a very merry christmas to you, your family, all our servicemen and women serving here in the u.s. and far from home. christmas celebrations happening around the world this hour. it's a time of peace, reflection
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for christians honoring the birth of jesus. ♪ this morning, pope francis hosted a christmas mass at the vatican. later, his message delivered to st. peter's square, he encouraged the faithful to denounce materialism and selfishness and wished for this, quote, fraternity among individuals of every nation and culture. there were smiles on the faces of migrant children off the coast of libya. these children rescued in the mediterranean sea. rescuers provided the children with toys and games and even santa hats there, as you can see. in china, the small catholic population there celebrating mass. tibetan catholics also marking the day with traditional dancing and cakes. and a festive but very chilly celebration in germany. the berlin seal swimmers took their traditional dip in a lake. the temperature, a cool 39
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degrees fahrenheit, ouch. but the christmas cheer is surely keeping them warm this winter. much more ahead on cnn. a very merry christmas to you. thanks for joining us. i'm jim sciutto. "at this hour with kate bolduan" will be right back after a break. if additional offers are what you desire, visit your john deere dealer before they expire. now, start up your engines and drive out of sight. new john deere equipment for all and to all a good night. see your john deere dealer today to discover more great deals and special financing offers. new year, new deere. new listerine® ready! tabs™ aren't gum, mints, or marbles. seriously, what is this? if you guessed they're tabs that turn into liquid as you chew, so you can swish and clean your whole mouth instantly, then you were correct. and that was a really good guess. nice job.
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hello, everyone, i'm cath bolduan. welcome to this special edition of "at this hour." we should keep this music going, it might make us feel better about the world. federal workers may be celebrating the 12 days of christmas but they're facing the reality of a fourth day of a partial government shutdown. negotiations between the president and members of congress have hit a wall, specifically a border wall. how close is the government now to reopening?

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