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tv   Wolf  CNN  December 16, 2016 10:00am-11:01am PST

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of journalists. thank you for watching "newsroom" with us today. "wolf" starts right now. hello. i'm wolf blitzer. it's 1:00 p.m. here in washington. 9:00 p.m. in moscow. wherever you're watching from around the world, thanks very much for joining us. up first -- rising tensions over russia's hacking of the u.s. presidential election. we're following several developments this hour. on the intelligence front. and analysis points to russian president vladimir putin's involvement. a senior administration official says the hacking "could not have been done without the highest levels of the government, including the president himself." officials also say that the hacking has continued since the november election. on the global front -- president obama promises the u.s. will retaliate against
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russia. we'll hear from the president's feeling in a news conference within the hour. and the president says he confronted president vladimir putin about the cyber attacks. >> i think there is no doubt that when any foreign government tries to impact the integrity of our elections, that we need to take action, and we will at a time and place of our own choosing. some of it may be explicit and publiciz publicized. some of it may not be, but mr. putin is well aware of my feelings about this, because i spoke to him directly about it. >> on the political front, hillary clinton weighs in on the hacking. she says it was part of vladimir putin's grudge against her. and russia's election interference racreated rift between the imcoming and
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outgoing president relations. and president-elect trump is skepticing. get more from our reporters. michelle kaczynski, and nic robertson from london and our chief national security correspondent jim sciutto is here with us in washington. michelle, president obama vows to retaliate against russia. what more do we expect to hear from the president about all of this in his news conference next hour? >> reporter: yeah. this is bound to be extremely interesting. i mean, not only is it going to be about an hour-long press conference but could well be his last press conference's this kind during his time in office. heavy on news of the day, especially since there is so much news of the day. we're going to ask about russia's hacking, people will ask about the transition. questions about syria in there. looking for more detail. he's not likely to go into a lot of detail beyond what we've heard already on what the
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response to russia will be. i think he'll talk more conceptually about that. we're probably going hear some movement is on the transition, and aligning himself more with the kinds of statements we've heard from his press secretary day to day in the briefing room. i mean, much has been said now about the combativeness, the responses to donald trump. we no that president has to be onboard with some of those comments that have raised questions and we know that what precipitated those were the administration's anger at the kinds of questions and denials donald trump has been making over whether russia was even involved in this hacking. we know that got the administration's back up and that president will be eager to respond to that and we expect to hear much more, wolf. >> i'm sure we will. stand by. nic, russia fired back basically telling the u.s. to put up or shut up about the hacking.
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update us on russia's reaction. >> reporter: it's clear russia wants the statements to go away and certainly is challenging them in a strong way. the spokesman for president putin said precisely this -- is stop talking about it or produce some proof at last, otherwise it all begins to look unseemly. that's the spokesman for president putin. but also we've had other spokesman at the kremlin weigh in today as well saying that, you know, when president obama at the g20 had a pull aside with president putin, spoke about a number of things, also talked about cyber hacking and the russians are saying now that they made -- president putin made his position very clear, and this kremlin spokesman saying if that didn't fit into president obama's message, that's not their fault and they're strongly pushing back against this. of course, we remember the press conference president obama gave at the good-20 there in china
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back in september saying that the united states capability in terms of dealing with cyber issues was better offensively and defensively than russia's, but he said he didn't want to get into a tit for tat escalation. what he wanted to do, sort of stop a wild, wild west attitude, if you will, for the use of this sort of cyber hacking. so the russians, clearly saying that that's it. draw a line under this. either show your evidence or be quiet. wolf? >> interesting. jim, we're also learning more from the intelligence community about putin's level of involvement. involvement. you've been doing a lot of reporting on this. update our viewers. >> reporter: right. remember the october statement a month before the election said russia was behind the hacks and most likely needed senior-most russian officials to have okayed this. already at that time the view of the intelligence community was that vladimir putin either knew about it or ordered it. just too top-heavy a country to have about attack of this
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magnitude happen without this okay. since then, more intelligence to back that up. specifically sophisticated cyber tools, call them what they are, cyber weapons, used in this attack, that the use of those tools would require vladimir putin to okay the use of those tools. why they have increasing confidence on something really they believed for some time, but, wolf, i think we can't put too fine a point on it to say that we are entering crisis territory here. you have an outgoing administration that identified russia as the perp operate russia as the perp operattratop talking retaliatory action. an incoming president denying at least in bub lipublic russia is behind this. how does this incoming president respond going forward? as measure of that. senator richard burr, chairman of the senate committee a republican, put out a statement announcing they will be probing
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this. in this statement he felt the need to defend the intelligence community saying they care deeply about their country. they work every day to keep us safe. come from all walks of life. unlike many in washington. this is clear, this is key, though, though they check their politics at the office door. keep in mind, members of his own party, in fact, the president-elect of his own party, is accusing the intelligence community of politicizing this intelligence, as the president-elect dismisses their assessment that russia is behind the attack. you have the republican chairman of the symbintelligence's commu feeling he has to defend the president and his own party. we are entering a crisis phase here in this clash between the highest office of the land and the intelligence agencies that work for the highest office in the land. it's going to be momentous to watch. >> certainly will be. thanks very much, jim sciutto, nic robertson, michelle kaczynski.
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appreciate it. a trump transition source, by the way, saying the president-elect is concerned about the russia hacking report, but transition officials think the issue is being used to try and delegitimize his election victory. earlier today the president-elect tweeted this, i'm quoting. "are we talking about the same cyber attack it was revealed the head of the dnc illegally gave hillary clinton the questions to the debate." and meeting with jeh johnson, one of the key agencies responsible for cyber security in the united states. congressman chris collison of new york is a member of the trump presidential transition team. joining us now from lancaster, new york, just outside of buffalo. thanks so much, congressman for joining us. >> always good to be with you, wolf. >> so president obama says it's u.s. will retaliate against russia over the cyber attacks against the u.s. during the election. do you support that? >> well, i have no comment on what president obama is going to
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do or not do. what i will say, it's time for the president, time for hillary clinton and the country, to move beyond some of this nonsense and let's get behind donald trump, unite behind donald trump. >> congressman, let me interrupt, congressman. what is the nonsense? what nonsense are you talking jab because we've heard from so many of your republican colleagues, chairmen of intelligence committees, armed services committees who have seen the same evidence, and they dispute what you're suggesting, this is nonsense? >> what i'm saying, no. stipulate a minute rush did hack do you believe the russians were involved in cyber warfare against the u.s. during the election? >> we'll never know with 100% assurance, but i would say let's stipulate they did. the e lection is over. donald trump did win, he is our president and to call him the electoral president, where president obama did not
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recognize this election was repudiation of his eight years in office and hillary clinton are -- >> but congressman, president obama obviously recognized that donald trump will be the next president of the united states. he won the election. he received him the next day at the white house. president-elect trump was very gracious and thanking the president of the united states. they've opened up all doors to try have is a smooth transition. why are you suggesting he doesn't recognize the results of the election? >> well that was kind of a press opportunity that the president did. and i think, again, they are -- the democrats are trying, whether jill stein with the recount or what we're seeing now. they are trying every which way they can to try to claim this election was rigged or somehow donald trump didn't win fair and square. >> no. i think you're wrong. congressman, i've known you for a while now. they're not trying to suggest that. they're trying to get to the bottom of whether or not the russians did it, why they did it, and learn from this
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experience to make sure the american election process is not undermined down the road. the same kind of attacks as you know they could be launched the against republican candidates. this time they were launched against democratic candidates, but they could be launched against you down the road, congressman. don't want to learn from what just happened? >> well, we all know that cyber hacking is part of our life from this day going forward. i'm sure the united states is involved in it. all nations are. and it's something we all have to be aware of, and do what we can to protect our, our e-mails and other security, but i would also suggest that people who are lying and are deceitful and the e-mails then point out the truth, what you're hearing now is the democrats to the extent this did happen, it's the truth that came out that may have had an impact on this election instead of the lies and deceit. so if the truth had an impact, then so be it. i don't think anyone should complain that the truth did come
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out and stimulate russia did kribeler hacking. we don't like to or condone it. all countries are doing it. lies and deceit have no part in our election either. >> if the russians did it, do you agree with the president, president obama, that the u.s. should retaliate? >> well i don't know what retaliate actually means. i'm sure that there's thing wes do on the cyber security area as well. do i think that we should somehow disrupt their power systems or anything like that? their grid, their electric grid? absolutely not. i think we should, and the president, if he believes what he believes, should lodge his protest, and i'm sure part of the comment coming back would be, you're doing it as well. i leave that up to president obama. that's not my decision. he's got about four weeks left in office. and he'll do what he will do. he is still the president of the united states, but i'm suggesting, let's all get united behind donald trump and let's move this country forward, and
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not continue finger pointing, suggesting somehow this election was rigged, when at worst it was the truth that came out that had an impact on the election. >> yeah. i don't think they're suggesting the election was rigged. the election clearly was not rigged but clearly the russians played a role. take a listen to hillary clinton what she told a gathers of donors last night about the russian hacking, she said, the result of vladimir putin's grudge against her. listen to what she said. here's the audio obtained by the "new york times." >> vladimir putin himself directed the covert cyber attacks against our electoral system, against our democracy. apparently because he has a personal beef against me. putin publicly blamed me for the outpouring of outrage by his own people. and that is the direct line between what he said back then
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and what he did in this election. this is not just an attack against me and my campaign, although that may have added fuel to it. this is an attack against our country. we are well beyond normal political concerns here. this is about the integrity of our democracy and the security of our nation. >> so congressman, want to respond to hillary clinton's comments? >> well, hillary clinton just doesn't want to add nate her shortcomings are the reason she lost the election. she is a fingerpoint, and i think those statements speak for itself. she does not want to take any blame for losing wisconsin, michigan and pennsylvania. so there you go. that's not surprising with hillary clinton. she lost the election. it's time for her to move on as well. she's an afterthought at this point in time with donald trump as our next president. >> congressman chris collins of
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new york, thanks for joining us. >> always good to be whip you, wolf. have a great day. >> thank you. coming up, will russia retaliate if president obama carries through on his throats take action against moss gao the ranking member of the senate foreign relations committee standing by to join us. there you see him. ben cardin's maryland. we'll be right back. with 9 grams of protein and 26 vitamins and minerals. for the strength and energy to get back to doing... ...what you love. ensure. always be you. attention homeowners age sixty-two and older. one reverse mortgage has a great way for you to live a better retirement... it's called a reverse mortgage.
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former democratic presidential candidate hillary clinton attributes her loss in the presidential election to two factors. the release of a letter from the fbi director james comey about her private e-mail server nap letter released 11 days before the election, and the second issue, russia's cyber attacks. and now she wants an investigation. listen to what hillary clinton told a gathering of donors in
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this audio obtained by the "new york times." >> now, i'm pleased that a bipartisan group of senators is calling for a robust investigation, and i agree and i hope you do, too, and it should be -- [ applause ] -- it should be modeled on the 9/11 commission, and do everything possible to get to the bottom of what happened. the public deserve to know exactly what happened and why in order for us to prevent future attacks on our systems including our electric system. >> the ranking democrat of the senate foreign relations committee is also calling for an independent investigation modeled on the 9/11 commission. there you see democratic senator ben cardin of maryland joining us now from baltimore. senator, thanks so much for joining us. >> wolf, good to be with you. thank you. >> so president obama vowed there will be action against
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russia for the hacking. what do you believe would be appropriate action in retaliation? >> well, i was listening to the president. i think he's exactly right. some of it you'll see. it will demonstrate our ability to use kriber cyber to deal wit who perpetrated an attack against us, some not so obvious. secretary of state clinton is absolutely right saying we need a commission to investigate this. we were attacked after 9/11 and had a dmags gave credibility to the american people we were taking appropriate steps to protect this country and take action against those that attacked us. we need a similar commission, investigation into what russia has done in attacking us during this past election. >> so -- >> i think the obvious way. >> some of the options, senator, include increased sanctions. let's go through some options. would you support increased sanctions? >> absolutely. and i have prepared legislation
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working with republicans that will give the president additional tools to use as sanctions against russia for their attack against us. there's things we can do with additional sanctions and also prevent, by the way, american companies from helping finance these type of activities in russia. >> would you support a cyber attack by the u.s. against russia in order to publicize some embarrassing or damping informati damages evidence about the russian president putin? >> i think we should have a measured response. i can't tell you expect details how that should take place, but, yes, willing to use our capacity to show russia there's a consequence to their action against us. it's got to be measured. i think what we really need to make sure that we do is make it clear to russia that we won't stand still for this type of activity. >> are you upset that the u.s. did not respond earlier? that the obama administration
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really except for maybe raisin an issue with putin, the president did so in september when they met, they really didn't do much in terms of threatening the russians over the past year. was that a blunder? >> well, i think it's become clear as more intelligence information has been made available that this was directed by president putin, and that it was at the highest levels of the russian government involved in the attack on our country. >> let me interrupt, senator. the obama administration has known that for quite a while. >> well, we're not sure. that's one of the reasons why the president called upon the intelligence community to give him a full report during his term. so he knows exactly all the details. we're hoping that part of that report will be made public so the american people will understand the depth of russia's involvement against the united states and who directed it, and how we can respond to protect our country. so, look, i don't want to prejudge what the president, the timing of his actions.
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i knee he was super sensitive that we in the midst of a campaign. whether it was the right decision or not, i think we'll have to wait to see. >> the argument that some insiders are pointing to, they are saying the administration, the obama administration really didn't do much because they were trying to work with the russians on the iran nuclear deal, trying to work with the russians to try to get some sort of cease-fire in syriaened other issues they needed russia's assistant on and as a result the president held back in terms of dealing with this issue? was that okay from your perspective? >> i don't think that was the case. i think the iran nuclear agreement was well over before the cyber activities against us. in regards to syria, we have not had -- >> they needed the russians to continue to cooperate even after the agreement was signed and announced. >> i'm not sow she sure that's accurate. we can take unilateral action if
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they don't comply to the agreements. >> if you have the russians cooperation, senator, it's more forceful, more effective, right? >> you're absolutely correct, but russia -- before this attack, russia is not a reliable partner. they make commitments to us in ukraine and violated those commitments. made commitments to us in syria. they violated those commitments. so we can't trust russia. they're not a partner. they're working against our interests. so i don't think it was a matter of being nice to russia. we know we can't rely upon russia as a trustworthy partner. >> the other point they make, they just assume hillary clinton would win and why disrupt the u.s./russian relationship even further, if hillary clinton was going to win and take over? obviously, she did not win. senator cardin, thanks for joining us. >> thank you, wolf. it's always good to be on your show. thanks. thank you. president-elect trump is tapping his bankruptcy lawyer to become the next u.s. ambassador to israel.
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how his controversial position could change decades of u.s. policy.
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all right. look at this. a live picture coming in from the white house will president obama will taked podium taking questions from reporters following an opening statement before he and his family head off to hawaii for the holidays. like lly take comments about hi reaction to russia's meddling and meanwhile, in damascus a young girl wearing an explosive
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belt walked into a police station and detonated it. syrian state-run television reports one person injured and the building damaged. in aleppo, conflicting reports on the urgent evacuation of thousands of refugees out of the besieged syrian city. syrian state television saying evacuations suspended because, quoting now, "terrorists breached the evacuation agreement." u.n. saying hundreds of children are trapped in east aleppo and face death if not evacuated, but russian state-run media says the evacuation of the area is complete and the only people remaining are armed militants. our senior international correspondent fred pleitgen coving all of this, now in beirut. fred, where do things stand right now in aleppo? >> reporter: you're right, wolf, it is confusing and conflicting information coming out of aleppo. you said the russians say they believe that the evacuations are already complete and there is
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only "armed terrorists still inside east of aleppo." certainly the turks also part of that agreement, helping broker that agreement to evacuate people say that simply isn't true saying there are tens of thousands of people still inside there, badly in need of evacuation. you mentioned it. many are children, but many other people who are simply sick, who are wounded, who are weak and who need to be evacuated. otherwise, they, too, could die very soon. now, apparently what happened earlier today, wolf, was that a convoy that was supposed to evacuate people from east aleppo towards other areas coaled by the opposition was stopped, and all of this happened after the own tire day and entire night convoys had gone through but this convoy was stopped. several people taken off. some shot and killed and then that coy r convoy was turned around. there's differing accounts why that happened. the opposition believes it was a shiite militia fighting on the side of bashar al assad that didn't want the convoy to go through, unhappy about the
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evacuation deal. the government for its part said people on the convoy were carries weapons they weren't supposed to carry. bottom line, the deal in big trouble, evacuations in big trouble and unclear werthhethe y will rezoosume. with every moment that goes by, there is a threat of violence starting again, are firefight starting again in aleppo pap bad situation at this point. >> horrendous situation. fred pleitgen in beirut, thank you very much. and president-elect trump named to serve as ambassador to israel, david friedman, longtime friend of donald trump, a bankruptcy lawyer raised about a solution between the palestinians and egyptians.
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strongly supported moving the u.s. embassy from tel aviv to jerusalem. global affairs correspondent elise labott is taking a closer look at david friedman's record on all of this. so let's talk about some of these issues. moving the embassy from tell stroo vooev totell -- tel aviv to jerusalem. donald trump said before the election had would do so. the u.s. embassy has always been in tel aviv. >> reporter: donald trump and most candidates said on the campaign trail they would move the embassy. they realized this would complicate things and the u.s. as an honest broker in the mideast peace sprauprocess is a elements. jerusalem, the fate of the capital is something for final status negotiations, but you
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know, donald trump has been more explicit what he would do and in a statement last night by david friedman accepting his nominati nomination, he hoped to serve the american interests in israel from the eternal capital of jerusalem. it raises questions whether he would actual dlly do that. some have told the arab baeb ambassadors you part of a longer process that may not happen right away but a lot of concerns president-elect trump once in office would take the steps. s you know, wolf it would take a really long time to make such a move and play into the dynamics in the region. >> people have suggested it wouldn't necessarily take a long time. there is a u.s. consulate in west jerusalem, as you well know, and it would only mean putting a sign on there instead of of conlet leconsulate, a si saying embassy of the united states on that building and that
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would be the u.s. embassy in jerusalem. it wouldn't necessarily take a long time to change the sign. >> you've been there many times. the u.s. embassy in tel aviv is huge. it's a fortress hars hundreds i not thousands of people coming in and working in and out there. yes, you could technic dloi that, logistically very difficult and also signal that the u.s. is accepting jerusalem as the capital of israel and that would mean that the whole idea of jerusalem as a final status issue in negotiations would be dead. >> in 1995, congress passed legislation signed into law by then president bill clinton recognizing jerusalem as the capital but a waiver in there. every six months a president can sign a waiver delaying that implementation of that law. >> every president does do. >> republican presidents waived it, democrat presidents waived it for 20-plus years.
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see if the next president, president trump, decides to do that as well. see what he says. thanks, elise, for that report. live pictures from the white house briefing room where president obama will give a news conference at the top of the hour expected to take serious questions on russia and about president-elect trump. a preview, right after this. you. whoa, whoa, i got this. just gotta get the check. almost there. i can't reach it. if you have alligator arms, you avoid picking up the check. what? it's what you do. i got this. thanks, dennis! if you want to save fifteen percent or more on car insurance, you switch to geico. growwwlph. it's what you do. oh that is good crispy duck.
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these are live pictures from the white house. president obama soon will take the podium and head to the le
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lecturn, asked about retaliatory reaction from the russians hacking into the internet and that's in one hour. the section company that row, meantime, protests aru s erupte north carolina. >> the guests in the gallery, you are interfering with the duties of this house. >> many upset about what's calmed an unprecedented power grab. north carolina republicans held a surprise session this week to introduce legislation to limit the power of the governor-elect, roy cooper is a democrat. he near ohly won the governor seat and republicans are trying to strip away some of his authority and influence. go to cnn's correspondent to explain. polo, can state republicans really do this to this incoming democratic governor? >> reporter: good question, wolf. we have a republican-led effort
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put together by republicans under a still republican governor. yes, highly likely here as you mentioned. it started this week, a special session called among lawmakers there in north carolina, as republican legislators introduced long lineup of bills essentially limiting the powers of incoming governor roy cooper. one of the ones highly discussed right now and highly debated is the requirement for any of the incoming governors cabinet positions to be approved by state senators. this would also cut the number of appointments by the governor from 1,500 down to 300. a significant dedecrease. causing plenty of criticism you mentioned there and plenty of some chaos taking place in the gallery. officials there even forced to escort some of those members of the public and even make several arrest there's in raleigh while the bills were debated and discussed. at this point, again, republicans control both chambers no reason to doubt these billess be signed into law
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before the end of the week. now the question becomes what will pat mckror dcrory do, outg governor, left of his administration? sign them? if he does, wolf, causing a turbulent transition. that context you mentions at the top is very important. all coming after a highly contested, a very bitter governor's race in north carolina, wolf. >> polo, we'll watch it together with pyou. and watching for president obama to take to the podium any moment, near the top of the next hour. be we'll have his last press conference of this year, maybe his last press conference, period. we'll go there live when we come back. we need to be ready for whatever weather may come our way.
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against russia for hacking political operatives and trying to influence the u.s. presidential election," but he doesn't seem to know if his successor, president-elect donald trump, plans to follow through with his threats. watch this. >> i can't look into my crystal ball and that's probably a question better directed to the president-elect. i can tell you i had a conversation with the president elect about our foreign policy generally and the importance of us making sure that in how we approach intelligence gathering, and how we think about fighting terrorism and keeping the country secure. >> let's bring in our panel to discuss. matea gold, martial political reporter for the "washington post." mark preston, and molly ball political writer for "the atlantic." molly, how serious is the threat
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from the president to retaliate against russia for the hacking if he doesn't know that the incoming president, and that president is going to take office on january 20th a month away or so is going to follow through? >> president obama is still the president. still the president for a month, and there's a lot that can be done in that time. one thing that seems clear. a lot of democrats especially feel that the white house has been too slow to react to this russian cyber attacking throughout the process, and so there's some question about, is there the urgency there? will it be too little too late? and then the question bother the next administration followings through. what you heard the president saying there, which is i think is correct, donald trump is unpredictable and dismissive of this threat, we have no idea how and whether he would respond to it. >> as you know, mark, on october 7th, a month before the election, director of natural intelligence, secretary of
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homeland security issue add statement saying the russians did this and were confident the russian government directored the recent compromise of e-mail we believe based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, only russia's senior-most officials could have authorized these actions but i didn't see any retaliatory reaction following the release of that statement? >> that we know of. the fact of the matter, this goes on all the time and the facts the russians got in, told by intelligence sources russia has tried to tweak our system and gotten involved and got those e-mails, we're doing the same to russia. could be going on now. key of what president obama said, not tell you when and where but it going to happen. so to the extent we'll see what it is. but there is very volatile issues now on the table. number one being aleppo and syria. >> and the u.s. needs russia's assistance in those areas. one of the reasons why some thought the u.s. was sort of cool in its initial response before the election.
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how forceful do you think the president will be in his news conference? >> he seems to be wanting to send the message he's taking this issue incredibly seriously. one issue molly mentioned, democrats feel incredibly alarmed there wasn't a louder outcry about this before the election, but i think there is a bottom line in which he wants to make it clear to the russians where america stands on this and it seems evident that president-elect the response is causing a lot of concerns within the intelligence community that he will not have the same sort of approach towards what this administration has had and will not take seriously the threats reported so far. >> this is probably going to be his last major full-scale news conference as president of the united states. certainly his last one this year. we'll see if he does one more before january 20th. but i want to take a step back and look at his legacy over the past years and play some clips. reminding us of some of the issues he's faced. listen to this -- >> starting today, we must pick
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ourselves up, dust ourselves off and begin again the work of remaking america. guantanamo wi lather than one year from now. >> this is a being [ bleep ]ing deal. >> our hearts are broken for the parents of the survivors as well. for as blessed as they are to have their children home tonight, they know that their children's innocence has been torn away from them too early. and i know well that we are weary of war. we've ended one war in iraq, we're ending another in afghanistan and the american people have the good sense to know we cannot resolve the underlying conflict in syria with our military. >> mark, what what do you think will be the legacy of this two-term president? >> it's going to be obamacare and we'll see if it survives the donald trump presidency but you have to step back and look at the totality of his eight years
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in office. he came in at a time when we were in economic freefall. at one point we had an unemployment rate at 10%. people forget those times so, look, he had a very difficult presidency in some ways but he's gone out on a high note and the american people apparently think so, too, his approval rating is comfortably over 50%. >> mattea, you thought this moment -- and i'm going to play the clip -- was very, very telling going back to 2015, dylann roof who was convicted yesterday, killing nine african-americans at a historic church in charleston, south carolina, let me play the clip of the president. >> ♪ amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch
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♪ like me >> that was a powerful moment, indeed. all of us remember it. tell us why it stood out so much for you. >> i think that moment encapsula encapsulates the role that obama had thrust upon him in this administration, one he did not ask for, but i think even his critics would say he rose to the occasion which is of mourner in chief and he had to provide over and over again with eulogies for victims of violence in this country. and that charleston eulogy spoke to how he attempted to comfort the nation which i think really speaks to his larger view point of his role in the presidency which putting in the the context of history and religious traditions, trying to have some perspective and retain optimism in these very difficult times. that was something he did well. >> a very powerful moment, indeed. i want to play a clip because you reminded us of this. this is a speech he gave in kansas, december, 2011, let me play the clip and we'll discuss.
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>> this is a make or break moment for the middle-class and for all those fighting to get into the middle-class. because what's at stake is whether this will be a country where working people can earn enough to raise a family, build a modest savings, own a home, secure their retirement. >> tell me why that moment, that message, stood out in your mind. >> so much of the thinking and talking i've been doing since the election has been about those working class voters in the rust belt who swung this election for donald trump. how did the democrats lose them? how did trump win them over? a lot of them voted for obama in 2012. this was his big turn to economic populism, right? an attempt to grasp the mantle of the party of the little guy. he went to the place where teddy roosevelt had announced the square deal and what i think we saw in this election was that that attempt to turn the democrats into the party of the little guy didn't work or didn't convince a lot of people.
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and there were enough people out there who certainly didn't believe that hillary clinton was the candidate who represented that message and may have turned their backs on obama as well and that is what really has decided our politics going forward. >> and the next president of the united states is not going to be hillary clinton, it's going to be donald trump, obviously. the relationship over this past, what, five weeks since trump won the election between the president and the incoming president, it's been pretty good, but there was a shaky turn yesterday. >> it's been hot and it suddenly got very, very cold. having josh earnest, who is the press secretary, go to the podium and have very harsh words for donald trump i think sets it up for what we're going to see in the next hour and i believe we're going to hear from barack obama some very -- a very sobering assessment about the situation that our nation, that countries around the world are facing right now and that i think he'll have some advice in a very stern way for donald
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trump. but it will be interesting to see how he delivers. >> it the president usually, as you know, mattea, has a full scale news conference at the end of the year before going on the holiday, vacation with his family. but this one seems a little bit more significant given the stakes. what's going on right now. >> well, everything is at stake for him. it's his legacy, how much he can persuade the incoming president to embrace portions of it while also having to feel like he needs to send a message to them about what he thinks the risks are and we have to remember this is going to be a really unique dynamic. president obama is going to come back to washington and still be working here and be a presence and i'm sure he's hoping will be an influence on the new president but what that dynamic is going to be remains to be seen. >> it will be fascinating. what will you be listening for at this news conference? >> i'm listening for this change in tone we're talking about. in all of his interactions with donald trump or in speaking about donald trump so far, president obama has really made his emphasis on ensuring the legitimacy and the smoothness of
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the transition really on supporting america by supporting donald trump is with so many especially democrats out there being so anguished about the results of the election obama has been very forceful in ensuring people have confidence in it. does that change with this new tone? >> molly ball, thank you. mark preston, mattea gold, guys, thanks very much. our special coverage continues of president obama's year and news conference. once again expected to take the podium, head over to the lectern soon, take questions from reporters before he heads to hawaii for the holidays. i'll be joined by jake tapper when our special coverage continues right after this quick break. take one.
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you totally nailed that buddy. simple. don't let directv now limit your entertainment. only xfinity gives you more to stream to any screen. hello, i'm wolf blitzer in washington. i want to welcome our viewers in united states and around the world. this is cnn's special live coverage of president obama's final news conference of his final full year in the white house. and it comes just hours after the president promised retaliation against russia for its interference in the u.s. presidential election. russia, by the way, is telling the u.s. "prove we were involved in the hacks on the democratic party and hillary clinton's campaign or stop talking." and in the middle of all of this, president obama's