tv The Lead With Jake Tapper CNN December 31, 2019 1:00pm-2:00pm PST
happens in the new year. appreciate you being here. >> of course. >> and that is it for me today. "the lead" with jake tapper starts right now. if you thought 2019 was ugly, nasty, and divisive, may i introduce you to 2020. "the lead" starts right now. president trump blaming iran for protesters setting fires and smashing windows at the u.s. embassy in iraq. the latest on the siege and the safety of the americans inside. are are cracks forming in the last line of defense for the trump press presidency. a member of the gop criticizing the imagimajority leader workin closely on the impeachment trial. plus fires ripping through the australian coast sends thousands of people rushing to the ocean and threatening the region's entire population of
koalas. welcome to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. happy new year. we begin with our world lead. hundreds of protesters, some violent chanting "death to america" and storming the u.s. embassy in baghdad, smashing windows, scaling the walls, setting fires, claiming to be angry over american airstrikes on an iranian-backed militia on sunday and billowing smoke filling the air beyond the walls beyond the diplomatic compound, america's largest embassy anywhere in the world. attachy helicopters were dispatched to fly over the embassy and more american troops are on the way. the embassy currently on lockdown but right now there are no plans to evacuate any personnel. president trump pointing the finger squarely at iran and the militia leadership for fuelling the protests and for launching the original attacks on americans that prompted the
retaliation. as cnn's kaitlan collins traveling with president now reports. >> reporter: a chaotic scene as protesters storm the u.s. embassy in baghdad today. scaling the walls, forcing the gates, and setting fires inside of the heavily guarded come pound while diplomats were trapped inside. some protesters were chanting death to america while others threw rocks at embassy guards who fired back with teargas. the backlash is coming after american airstrikes on an iran-backed militia group in iraq killed dozens of its members. the u.s. said those strikes were in response to a missile attack on an iraq military base that killed an american contractor. though a spokesperson for the militia group denied they were involved. >> we'll not stand for the republic of iran to take actions to put american men and women in jeopardy. >> reporter: on twitter president blamed iran, accusing it of orchestrating the attack on the embassy and warning the
government will be held fully responsible. with tensions flaring, the president spent less than an hour at his golf course today. though he was dressed in his usual golf attire, trump said he had a meeting on the middle east and would provide updates throughout the day from his mar-a-lago club. lindsey graham who golfed with trump yesterday also said he met with the president and that trump is determined to protect american personnel and expects our iraqi partners to step up to the plate. secretary of state mike pompeo also spoke with prime minister of iraq today and a spokesperson for the state department said there were no plans to evacuate the embassy. the u.s. ambassador is on vacation and wasn't at the embassy when it was attacked. mark esper alsos announced the u.s. is sending additional forces to reinforce em basssee security. including marines seen her preparing to deploy from neighboring kuwait. one democrat member of the armed services committee said iran was
trying to ratchet up tensions with the united states. >> we know iran is no ally of us and they're going out there trying to push our buttons and see how far they could get. >> reporter: now, jake, president trump has spoken with the prime minister of iraq and according to the white house they discussed regional security issues and president trump emphasized the need to protect united states personnel and facilities in iraq. but it is still to be determined if this gets escalated further or if things start to tamp down after this, jake. >> kaitlan collins, traveling with the president, thanks so much. arwa damon has covered this extensively and joining me from the region. there were chants of "death to america" and demands the u.s. leave the country. what is the situation on the ground right now? >> reporter: well, jake, what we now know of the situation is that those fires that were set seem to have been largely put out or decreased. and iraq's counter-terrorism
units finally arrived on the scene and are securing it. it seems from images that we have been able to obtain, securing the perimeter. however, there are are tents that have been put up where the protesters do remain just on the road that runs in front of the u.s. embassy. and what hezbollah, the group that the u.s. targeted on sunday is saying, is that these are open-ended protests. until, they say, the u.s. actually agrees to leave iraq. and they say that in all of this, their message wasn't just to show anger at the strikes but to also show to the u.s. that at least in iraq, they can literally walk right up to their doorstep, jake. >> and this iranian backed militia was part of the coalition that fought against isis. tell us about this group, how powerful is it politically and
militarily? >> reporter: very powerful, jake. because prior to their role in this coalition that is something of a para-military unit established during the fights against isis, these various different militia gained their experience fighting the americans in iraq. the vast majority of them are, yes, backed by iran and they also now today, not only have a force, an armed force that is part of the para-military force that falls under the iraqi security forces but they also have significant representation in iraqi parliament which is one of the many reasons why iraq is so fragile today. because you have these forces that don't necessarily abide by the orders being issued by baghdad and to alsos have a very strong grip within the iraqi political spectrum. >> arwa damon, thank you.
stay safe. and joining me now is douglas sullivan, under president trump and obama and a sfloonchts and ambassador let me start with you. and you left your post in baghdad. if you were advising president trump today, what would you advise him? what would you tell him to do about the protests? >> i think what we're seeing now is an attempt by iran and the iranian proxies and supporters inside of iraq to change the debate inside of the country. iraq has been shaken in the past three months by hundreds of thousands of young iraqis in the streets protesting lack of good government, government corruption and iranian and militia interference in their lives and their future. what iran and some of the militia and include hezbollah are trying to do is to find the american response to the death of the u.s. military contractor as a violation of iraqi
sovereignty and to try to turn the tables and switch the debate away from the problems that iran has caused in iraq and define a set of problems they will blame on the united states. what is also interesting, and i've been hearing this on my twitter and what's app feed from iraqis all day, is that many iraqis are defining the members of the hezbollah who attacked the american embassy, not as protests but as attackers and they plan to go there and it was set out and they believe that it cheapens the meaning of the protests that have been carried on for the past three or four months by average young iraqis against iran and against the inefficiency of the iraqi government to paint them with the same brush. so i've been surprised with the number of people who told me when you are talking to the u.s. media, don't call the protesters protesters, call them attackers because that is what they are. >> and robin, that does square
with photographs of the people, the attackers if you will, and they -- a lot of them appear to be or have been identified as heads of this militia. >> absolutely. and the popular mobilization forces in some ways are are the hezbollah of iraq. they are the pro-iranian proxies who have not only their own local agenda but have iran's interest at stake as well. so i think that is one of the great problems. how do y-- how do you deal with force that the government doesn't have control over and multi-dimensional and 60 branches that fall under the forces each with their own leadership. and so the iraq today is incredibly complicated. many, many layers, whether it is the protesters taking to the streets to challenge the government or it is those who were attacking the united states. one of the big questions in the middle of all of this, 17 years after the u.s. intervention in iraq is the united states losing the ability to influence the direction or are are the
prospects of a stable democracy disappearing. a lot of the things we invested in is a country that is disints grating at different levels into chaos. >> and answer that for us. and one of the questions on social media today from americans is if they don't want us there, why are we there. and beyond whether they are attackers or protesters, there have been a great number for years and years and years of iraqi politicians expressing the desire for the u.s. to leave. >> i remember a very famous statement by the late senator john mccain from december of 2011 that every iraqi with whom he spoke wanted the u.s. to stay military in iraq at that time. i was in iraq at the same time and found that most of them wanted us to stay but none were ready to say that publicly or to vote in the parliament to permit that to happen. what happened after the defeat of isis in 2017, '18 and into '19 is a significant number of iraqis saying the united
states and coalition military force and the united nations and other institutions seek to build a sovereign iraq. we need them to stay here until that job is completed. and what i think will be interesting, there will be pressure in the coming weeks, probably in the parliament and from some of the same people you saw in front of the embassy this morning to push what they define as all foreign forces out of iraq. it is interesting to see whether those supporters of the united states who understands what we did in the fight against isis and how we are trying to build sovereign stable institutions in iraq, will continue to support us publicly and push back on that definition. >> and robin, something else you've been following for years is the conflict between united states and iran and this is a big part of that. >> absolutely. and of course they're vying for influence in the region and in many ways the iranians have greater sway in places like iraq, in syria, where the united states, again, withdrew many of the troops recently in lebanon.
there are counter strikes and challenges to iranian influence. iran is under extraordinary pressure. but despite all of the things that the united states has done, that iran is still our primary adversary and able to, whether it is attack tankers, attack saudi oil facilities, that is still a major power and major challenge to american interest. >> or kill american contractors as happened recently. ambassador and robin, thank you so much for being here. and president trump and mitch mcconnell may not want them, but one republican senator is open to hearing from witnesses at the senate impeachment trial. who is it? stay with us. ♪ ♪ everything your trip needs, for everyone you love. expedia. for everyone you love. if you listen to the political it sounds like we have a failed society. but nothing could be further from the truth. americans are compassionate and hardworking.
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alaska expressing reservations and open to having witnesses testify. cnn's phil mattingly joins me live. and both of the senators have said they don't care for how mcconnell said there will be no difference between the president's position and senate republicans' position. >> that is exactly right. raising concerns about what -- the majority leader said and how he's working hand and glove with the white house on this process and senator collin from maine raising concerns more broadly than that about people across the aisle. take a listen. >> it is inappropriate in my judgment for senators on either side of the aisle to pre-judge the evidence before they have heard what is presented to us because each of us will take an oath, an oath that i take very seriously to render impartial justice. >> jake, let me tell you the most important thing and we're
all reading tea leaves what people are saying when they are back home in their state. both collins and murkowski are behind mcconnell's idea or proposal at this point in time to just start the trial with arguments from the defense and the house managers and then kind of see what happens after that related to witnesses and whether to subpoena documents. obviously that is what democrats want in the near term right away and in an opening resolution. the bigger question at this point in time when susan collinss is open to witnesses or lisa murkowski, will they vote with democrats, that we'll have to wait and see on. >> doug, susan collins said she's open to having witnesses. she didn't name any names. is phil right that this is just for the crowd back home and when it comes down to it she'll vote the way mitch mcconnell and the way republicans in the senate vote. >> i would say that is a cynical view but not necessarily a wrong view. certainly if you look at what happened with the kavanaugh
hearing and ultimately with the vote, that is the impression that a lot of voters in her state got. i think it is right as a republican, i think we should hear from more witnesses and presumably hunter biden is not one of the witnesses to talk about. but we've gotten fast and far and maybe we've gotten too fast and too far and too soon and maybe we could have getten witnesses from the administration and more information as to whether or not we've got impeachable offenses here or not. >> and what is this about, paul, is whether or not, since senate republicans control the senate, 53, whether or not you can move a murkowski or mitt romney or suzanne collins, do you have any hope that you can. >> this is a tougher vote for susan collins and the other moderate republicans up for re-election than conviction and removal, i think. because first we know from the polling, vast majority of americans, we are divided on everything. the overwhelming majority of americans want witnesses in this trial.
64% of republicans think there should be witnesses in an impeachment trial. >> but they might be thinking hunter biden. >> they might be. but that may be part of it. but we need to hear -- we've had new reporting from "the new york times," secretary of state and secretary of defense, the budget director and what they knew about this. in that interview senator collins criticized the house and said they should have subpoenaed these officials and maybe, but if so you could fix it and you are the senate and you're holding the trial. it will be -- democrats should be running ads in maine turning up the heat on susan collins and running them in colorado -- >> why aren't you? >> i don't do that for a living any more. i work here. but they should. if it was me, i would be running ads because she feeling the heat and starting to squeal right now -- or waffle now. >> that is better. >> that was un -- >> what do you make of that. >> there are challenges to susan collins which is why she's
probably saying what she's saying. like doug i would expect that she would fall in line and vote with mcconnell. but democrats like chuck schumer is trying to size up where he can pull them. he only needs three republicans to block a motion put forward by mcconnell. he needs four in order to put forward a motion. if they want to bring witnesses. so right now they're trying to figure out who those people could be. it is unclear if schumer himself is reaching out to republicans yet. but there is talk that potentially other senate democrats are reaching out to their colleagues to potentially see if they're willing to vote with them to try to force witnesses. >> and abby, there was a big story in "the new york times" talking about the military aid being held and how it was a longer deal with these -- fairly incriminating emails from the white house chief of staff, et cetera. senator schumer, the democratic leader, said this shows they need to have witnesses. but is he going to be able to force them to do it? >> that, i don't know. i think that report highlights how much information is not
known about what actually happened. the republican argument basically is we know everything there is to know and we don't see anything here. well that report really shows that there is actually a lot of other information that could be backed up by documentation that is in the possession of the white house and of the trump administration. that could shed more light on the events that actually occurred. the problem, though, is that like doug and phil, i kind of think that susan collins and lisa murkowski using very similar language to talk about this are trying to signal to mcconnell, you need to give us more room to breathe here. don't make it so clear you're working with the white house but i don't necessarily think they are out of place yet where -- where they are willing to buck the white house and say yeah, we want mick mulvaney or the secretary of state to testify. that is going a step too far and even for a vulnerable republican it would mean pulling the rug out from under you when you are already in a tough race.
you would already lose all of the republicans in your state who are loyal to the president. >> difficult politics. stick around. we have more to talk about. what the stabbing suspect searched for on the internet before the horrific hanukkah attack. stay with us. dealing with our finances really haunted me. thankfully, i got quickbooks, and a live bookkeeper's helping customize it for our business. (live bookkeeper) you're all set up! (janine) great! hey! you got the burnt marshmallow out! (delivery man) he slimed me. (janine) tissue? (vo) get set up right with a live bookkeeper with intuit quickbooks. the easy way to a happier business.
in our national lead today, we're learning more about the suspect accused of stabbing five orthodox jews with a machete in rockland county, new york. the pentagon confirming the suspect's brief time in the marines, prosecutors also revealing the suspect's online searches and they included why did hitler hate the jews and
german jewish temples near me. federal prosecutors have charged him with hate crimes but as sara sidner reports his family insists he's mentally ill but not anti-semitic. >> an attack sending five people to the hospital feeling thankful today that it wasn't much worse. >> it is a hanukkah miracle. if you would have come in ten minutes earlier, the house would have packed and we couldn't have run. >> reporter: instead many fought including josef gluck. he was honored for his bravery and quick-thinking. this is as more details spill out about suspect grafton thomas who pleaded not guilty to the initial charges against him. he's now facing 11 counts, including attempted murder and federal hate crimes. after investigators say they found references to hitler, so-called nazi culture, the star
of david and a swastika in a handwritten journal inside of thomas' home. there is also an apparent reference to the black hebrew israelites and two people linked to the same movement were responsible for the killing of four people in and around the jersey city kosher market just a few weeks ago. in what thomas' lawyer claims is the suspect's handwritten resume there is a line listing thomas as a marine. cnn confirmed he was a marine in 2002 but was only there for less than two months. the undated resume described him as highly motivated and listed mental discipline, survival skills and team work as attributes. his attorney said his long suffered with mental illness and is disturbed, not hate-filled. the governor counts this as the 13th anti-semitic attack in new york in the last few weeks ago and the attorney general now promising action. >> and we'll establish a hate crimes task force and we will
again working with local and state elected officials to come up with some legislative fixes and some solutions to address what we have been witnessing throughout the state of new york. >> reporter: meantime, the witnesses and victims at large are now forced to overcome fear in their daily lives like never before. >> it is shock. it is terror. >> the kids were afraid to go to sleep. people were calling me frantic crying on the phone. >> reporter: we spoke with a rabbi who had gone to visit two of the victims in the hospital after they were injured. he told us that the rabbi's son actually had a huge gash on his head that had to be stapled but it is a miracle of miracles that he is okay and only has minor injuries, jake. >> today in a "new york times" op-ed the congresswoman who represented the district where the stabbing took place is asking two blaring questions. one is why are the anti-semitic
attacks which she called an epidemic and two, what could be done to stop them. anti-semitic are not found in one group and it is not a result of a single political out look. there is no one side fits all profile for the perpetrators of the attacks. joining me now is the co-author of that op-ed, anita lowy and the chair from the appropriations committee in congress. thank you for joining us. anti-semitic attacks are up and police are saying they are not being carried out by white supremacist or the alt right. are the attacks connected and what is going on? >> i think what is most important is that we all seek out forcefully as i did at this event in rockland county. i represented all of the good people, aa diverse group of people in rockland for almost ten years.
and they work together, they live together. i am so disturbed that these attacks are increasing. not just here in new york, but all throughout the country. and it is important that we speak out forcefully and take action. i organized with my colleagues, there are are about a hundred of us who are part of a coalition to address the challenges that we have both here and throughout the country. in fact, this is an epidemic throughout the world. so we each have to do our part in understanding this is real and addressing it. i have organized in washington an effort to fortify the synagogues, to fortify homes that could be attacked by vicious people who don't understand the great benefits of living together in a society. and for those of us who are in congress or those of us in
positions of authority must speak out forcefully. this epidemic has got to stop. >> let me ask you, and it is not related in the sense that you can't compare words to acts of violence, but there was a push earlier this year in the house to condemn anti-semitic tropes that two of your colleagues had engaged in -- ones that you condemned and then that resolution was changed and critics say it was watered down. and again, one can obviously not compare words that offend people with acts of violence. but did democrats fail to take on this issue directly the way that your calling for it to be right now? >> several years ago i was an organizer of the caucus to deal with anti-semitic incidents to deal with those who are perpetrating these kinds of incidents and i think it is
essential now that we all work together from this point on to increase our oversight. i have funded certainly at synagogues, at churches, all places of worship protected methods so those within the buildings can be protected and i intend to continue to do that. >> before you go, i only have another minute with you. i do want to ask you about impeachment. you're a close colleague and friend of the house speaker nancy pelosi. is she close to sending over the articles of impeachment to the senate and, if not, is there a chance, if she cannot reach an agreement with leader mcconnell, she will not send the articles of impeachment to the senate at all? >> i think nancy pelosi, our speaker, has acted appropriately and fairly, thoughtful people such as adam schiff have conducted a very in depth
investigation, impeachment was voted on by the house and i think the speaker is absolutely correct in wanting to make sure that there will be an appropriate process in the senate to deal with these serious charges. >> nia lowry, thank you. mayor pete buttigieg is going after joe biden again. the new criticism about biden's son. that is next. the zip code you'o can determine your future. your school. your job. your dreams. your problems. (indistinct shouting) but at the y, we create opportunities for everyone, no matter who you are or where you're from. for a better us, donate to your local y today.
he was working on anti-corruption efforts in the country but buttigieg suggested the republicans attacking the bidens are only trying to deflect from the issues at the center of president trump's impeachment. let's discuss. paul, what is the right answer, quote/unquote the right answer for democrats when it comes to hunter biden being on this board, which i think a lot of people behind closed doors would acknowledge, you know, was swampy and stinks. >> the right answer is hunter biden said it was a mistake. hunter biden was right. and then shut up mayor pete with all due respect. he said this is just a diversion that is why the republicans -- then why is he doing it. i don't have a favorite in the race and i don't have a candidate. but i know this. iowa democrats, they're not like me. they're really nice. i love negative campaigning. i love it. and they don't. and pete has to be careful. this is a multi-candidate race and democrats believe they have a lot of good options. i thought kamala harris clocked joe biden on busing in the first debate. and she's out of the race. it didn't help her. so this is a much less, i think,
honorable attack than what kamala was talking about. so i don't think it is wise for pete. >> do you think it is a decent message when it comes to a general election, like assuming that biden does not get the nomination. we shouldn't have this kind of thing or have family members of politicians cashing in on these connections whether it is biden or trump. >> the better way to do that is to have it all on trump and then you are having a general election message and if you want to be critical of joe biden you could go that way. one the challenges that mayor pete has is he has a whack-a-mole strategy. where there is a mole in his sights, it is warren one day and bernie and then biden the day after that. he has to focus down on a specific message which he's not doing now. >> and elizabeth warren marked one year of being a presidential candidate with a speech today. she's trying to rejolt the moment um.
politico said she's trying to avoid the same fate as howard dean in 2004. it looked like he might win iowa and he finished third and never had a comeback and with one month until iowa votes, is she following the bad track of howard deep. >> i think there are similarities. warren isn't in the lead in iowa. she's about three or four behind there as well as new hampshire. so it is about whether in the last month she can reclaim the momentum. but also her candidacy has been way ahead of the others when it comes to having a lot of people on the ground in early statesment not just there but also california and texas. she has huge amount of boots on the ground compared to other campaigns and so there is a question of whether or not if you still lose iowa and new hampshire, can you make it up with delegates, which is where it actually counts and that is where people that biden are betting up to make it up in super-tuesday states with
delegates. >> and abby, that article detailed the ways warren tried to change her campaign since the momentum seems to have stalled and she changed her stump speech and taking audience questions and drawing sharper contrast with opponents after months of trying to stay above the fray. there are more big campaign speeches and off the record chats with reporters. good advice and anything she should do. >> i think that is an accurate description of how warren started out this campaign really flying under the radar. a lot of people not really paying a whole lot of attention and they worked quietly. now they're in a position where they've been on the attack and she has to be a lot more forceful about being on the offense and not just on the defense. taking on some of her opponents like pete buttigieg in this sort of attack on the way that he fund raises and his ties to sort of corporate wealthy people. >> the wine cave. >> the wine cave attack which has become kind of quite a big thing on the warren and bernie
left. so warren is starting to be a little bit more proactive and taking her campaign a little bit bigger. some of the big speeches are about giving voters the perception she's not duking it out, kind of in the ring, she's trying to be more presidential. her campaign is bigger than these small moments in the campaign trail. >> we want to take a moment to acknowledge some sad news in the family today. the influential historian and scholar gertrude hemelford wrote a dozen books and helped shape the neo conservative movement and the mother of bill crystal who often joins us here at the table. bill and your family, we're thinking about you and may your mother's memory be a blessing. stay with us. turn. it's the next one. you always drive this slow? how did you make someone i love? that must be why you're always so late. i do not speed. and that's saving me cash with drivewise.
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raging wildfires have forced residents to seek shelter on beaches and boats across the australian state of victoria. at times the fire so powerful it blocked out the sun and turned the sky red. kangaroos were seen fleeing. another major fire in australia and this thirsty koala took a much needed drink of water from a cyclist. it is the midst of one of the worst summer fire seasons. record heat combined with strong winds and a major drought have sparked fires across the country with little to no break in sight. in our money lead, president trump tweeting today he will sign phase one of a trade deal with china at the white house on january 15th. trump has touted the deal as big news for farmers but it falls
short of the sweeping deal that was promised and lots of details still need to be ironed out. joining me now is rona faru. thank you for joining us. and phase one will be signed in two weeks. what do we know about what is in it and what is not in it. >> what we know so far is that phase one would mean the president would not impose any promised new tariffs on china. he would also cut in half the tariffs that he slapped on china in september. so that is the u.s. side of this. on the chinese side, the chinese are promising to buy a lot more u.s. agricultural goods, up to $40 billion a year. that would be quite a lot more than the most they've ever bought which is $26 billion in a year. but more importantly they're promising to really crackdown on intellectual property theft and transfer which is something that big u.s. companies have been complaining about in china for years. and that is really starting to get to the crux of the fight between the two countries which are over the high growth technologies of the future.
>> and rona, obviously phase one implies this is the first part but we should know, it is less comprehensive than the original plan that trump initially offered. do you think, as an analyst and economic analyst, is it a step in the right direction? >> it is a step in the right direction. but, jake, it is a small step. and it is really a small deal for a lot of pain. if you look at what is being agreed to and again this is just theory, this could still go awry in the coming year, these are things that the chinese would have put on the table at the beginning of last year. and some of the things are basically walking back problems that the president created. so we've had to deal with a couple of years of real economic pain for getting back to sort of the starting place. we haven't moved the needle forward and i think you could see that in the markets. they are shrugging off the deal. >> one of the main arguments trump is making in his re-election is that he's overseeing this strong economy. what effect might this phase one have more american workers and
farmers and might they start feeling it before november 2020. >> i don't think it will make a big deal for workers and farmers but if the markets feel we don't have any more trade trouble. if we're starting to move toward some kind of more permanent agreement, that is good for the president. i think that we're going to see 2% growth. the big question is is that enough for him to run and say look at what a great economy we have. it puts him in a better position to have a trade deal links. >> thank you very much. and happy new year. a new way they are securing times square as a million people are getting ready to celebrate the ball drop. [farmers bell] ♪ (burke) a "rock and wreck." seen it. covered it.
2020 with a similar display. in new york city, people are beginning to file into their pens and prepare to test the limits of their bladder for the granddaddy of all of the new year's celebrations. miguel marquez is there for us. and miguel, the new york police department said it will be the safe is place on earth to ring in 2020 and using new security for the first time. tell us about it. >> reporter: that is the promise. and they already have tens of thousands of people. are you ready for a great time? [ cheering and applause ] >> the crowds have been pouring in for hours now. new york police department saying they have everything from the skies to the water around manhattan to the streets around times square completely blocked off and secured. they're going to use drone technology, weather permitting. they were meant to use them last year but weren't able to. and they even have an anti--drone unit watching for rogue drones in case they need
to mitigate those. they also have radiation detectors and bomb-sniffing dogs and thousands of police officers both in uniform and in civilian gear. so they have it covered. they've done this many, many times. they feel this is a great show tonight. and people will just have a great time. bladders notwithstanding. >> miguel, who is the honor this year of the proverbial ball drop? >> reporter: so every year times square aligns -- honors someone and this year given what they say are the times, science teachers and science students from here in new york city. they will press the button on that main stage up there and that will bring the ball down at midnight. >> stay warm, miguel. miguel marquez in times square. if you would rather celebrate from the comfort of your own home, which to be honest is going to be safer than times square, tune in at 8:00 p.m. eastern for new year's eve live with anderson cooper and
andy cohen. anderson and andy. follow me on facebook, instagram and twitter at jake tapper and tweet the show at the lead. cnn, happy new year and i hope 2020 is a great one for you. thanks for being with us. our coverage on cnn continues right now. happening now, embassy attacks. protesters besiege the embassy and scaling walls and storming gates forcing a lockdown. and tonight a powerful response as u.s. helicopters and forces move in and there is a new threat from president trump. open to witnesses. key republican senators susan collins speaks out about the looming impeachment trial and criticized not only house democrats but also senate majority leader mitch mcconnell. game-changer. chuck schumer said new revelations about the hold on aid to ukraine are a major shift in the impeachment case against president trump. we'll talk this hour to one of the reporters who broke the story maggie