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tv   CNN Tonight With Don Lemon  CNN  December 28, 2016 7:00pm-8:01pm PST

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this is cnn breaking news. . >> sadly, we begin with some breaking news. the tragic death of hollywood legend, debbie reynolds, just one day after her daughter, carrie fisher, died. this is "cnn tonight." i'm don lemon. debbie reynolds died in a los angeles hospital tonight at the age of 84. her son confirmed his mother's death saying, "it's true, she's with carrie." he also told cnn that just this morning, a grief-stricken reynolds said she missed her daughter. debbie reynolds was a superstar in the 1950s and '60s. singing and dancing in classics like "singing in the rain" but her personal life made at least
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as many headlines as her boundless talent. cnn's laila santiago is in los angeles for us tonight with more on this very tragic story. laila, thank you for joining us. what do we know of the circumstances surrounding miss reynolds' death? >> don, so much has happened in just the last six hours. we started following this around 1:00 local time when we were told that the fire department was transporting her from the family's home to the hospital in fair to serious condition. she had been complaining about some sort of a breathing problem. at the time when we reached out to her son, he simply said, pray for her. in the last hour or so, we've seen quite the development with her son, as you mentioned, now confirming her death. as far as exactly what led up to it, all we know is that she had been complaining about that breathing problem when she was immediately transported to the hospital. >> her son also released a statement saying that he had spoken to debbie this morning.
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what else did he say? >> right, he actually, again, today, asked for prayers for her health and then later on, this is a direct quote, he said, "she spoke to me this morning and she said she missed carrie. she's with carrie now." and he's not the only one who has said -- has commented from the family, even her stepdaughter, also took to twitter to say, "godspeed, mama." so we're certainly seeing a family that has been through quite a bit in the last few days in coping with tragedy. >> yeah, we're hearing an outpouring from hollywood, also hearing from debra messing who played her daughter in "will and grace." leyla santiago, i appreciate that. thanks for joining us this evening on cnn. sad story, passing of debbie reynolds one day after the death of her daughter, carrie fisher, marks the loss of one of the biggest and brightest lights of hollywood's golden age. kr cnn's stephanie elam has more
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now. ♪ >> reporter: singer, dancer, actress. debbie reynolds was a hollywood triple threat, and america's sweetheart. her film career began at the age of 16 after being spotted in a beauty pageant. ♪ her star officially launched just a few years later after a spirited performance, jean kelly and donald o'connor, in 1952's "singing in the rain." >> they picked me to put me in "singing in rain" and locked me in a big old studio, three months i had five different teachers, one for tap, ballet, jazz, modern, just worked, worked,worked until i just fell apart. ♪ tammy, tammy >> reporter: other notable rolls, 1956's "tammy and the bachelor" resulted in her number one hit some, "tammy." played opposite gregory peck in "how the west was won" and performance in "the unsinkable
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molly brown" earned her an oscar nomination. ♪ i'm going to learn to read and write ♪ >> reporter: beloved on screen, at times reynolds' life off screen overshadowed her success. had two children with her first husband, crooner eddie fisher. actress and author, carrie fisher. in 1959, the marriage ended in a highly publicized divorce when fisher left reynolds to marry her close friend, elizabeth taylor, a painful betrayal, reynolds was able to joke about the standi inscandal years late >> i was a girl scout, really a schism little girl. that's what i was. he fell madly in love with elizabeth. now i understand, you know, so many years later, it's in the past. >> reporter: her second and third marriages also ended in divorce, each time causing reynolds financial pain. however, she had been quietly collecting hollywood memorabilia over the years that would prove a wise investlement. in 2011, reynolds sold marilyn monroe's white subway dress at
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auction for $4.6 million. ♪ singing is my celebration she also never quit performing though she stepped away from film for much of her career, reynolds continued to entertain on broadway stages and in las vegas nightclubs. >> all i need -- >> reporter: in addition, reynolds had several tv roles over the years notably playing liberace's mother in the 2013 emmy winning tv movie "behind the candelabra." her wide array of work recognized in 2015 when the screen actors gild honored reynolds with the lifetime achievement award. reynolds said she loved every minute she spent in show business in her 2013 autobiography "unsinkable." credited her love for her friends and family for her personal and professional resiliency. >> i paid 20,000 bucks for this sucker. >> reporter: it is that spark and sense of humor along with her talent that reynolds will be remembered for. >> i love you. good night, everybody. thank you.
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>> how could you not love her? debbie reynolds' death is shocking coming so soon after the death of her daughter, carrie fisher. stars are pouring out tonight and speaking out on social media. the first one i want to read is from ellen degeneres. she says "debbie reynolds was one of the last of hollywood royalty. it breaks my heart that she is gone. i hope that my grieving was done on 2016." there it is up on the screen. then debby allen, the choreographer and actress, says "i can't imagine that carrie fisher and debbie reynolds' family what they're going through this week. i send all my love." and then albert brooks also says, "debbie reynolds, god is holding you with carrie in his hands. we will always speak your name." that was debbie allen. those may have been out of order. you get the sentiment coming from members of the hollywood
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community this evening. again, we're going to continue to discuss this. debbie reynolds died 24 hours after losing her daughter. joining me, from nyu school of medicine, and matthew bellamy, executive editor of the "hollywood reporter." how would you not love debbie reynolds, bubbly, beautiful, smart. we were just remembering carrie fisher 24 hours ago, now we have her mother, debbie reynolds, passed away. what's your reaction? >> i mean, it's obviously tragic development, but, you know, it's hard not to think that the two are related. she's been through -- she was already not in great health. last year, the academy gave debbie reynolds the humanitarian oscar, and she was unable to attend the ceremony to accept it. so she hasn't been in the best health in recent years. however, what she's gone through in the past week had to just be overwhelming and today they were apparently talking about funeral arrangements for carrie fisher when she started to get ill and
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ended up having to go to the hospital and passed way. >> her son spoke to her this morning, released a statement, matt, saying "debbie spoke to me this morning and said she missed carrie. she's with carrie now." i mean, this really says a lot about debbie, how she was feeling and how close she was to carrie. >> right. now, keep in mind, the relationship between debbie reynolds and carrie fisher has been a tumultuous relationship throughout their lives. remember, carrie fisher wrote a memoir "postcards from the edge" specifically about this relationship with her mother. and that was then dramatized in the film version. so it hand hasn't always been a pleasant relationship, but in recent years they apparently had reconciled and participated in a documentary that played at the cannes film festival this year and will be on hbo next year specifically about the relationship between carrie fisher and debbie reynolds. >> doctor, i want to go with you, given the circumstances, can this bring on a stroke? i mean, no parent wants to lose
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a child. you don't expect it. i'll ask you what i asked you earlier, is it possible she died of a broken heart? >> yeah, i mean, it seems like with the timing, right? there are a couple different ways that than happen. when you're under extreme stress, your stress hormones go up and that actually causes a lot of changes where your heart rate goes up, your blood pressure goes up, your breathing becomes faster and if you have underlying medical problems, they may come out, heart disease, neurological disease. you can die of a broken heart, itself, even if you had no other medical problems. we don't know why it's called broken heart syndrome, but seems to be when that happens your heart, part of it, it's a pump, right, it die late dialates and isn't able to pump anymore. you actually have symptoms of heart failure. >> we know carrie fisher died of
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a heart attack, at the age of0. she was on an airplane when she suffered the heart attack. from a medical perspective, what are the questions you have? if she had been closer to a medical facility, probably would have been better for her? >> of course. being on the plane at the time, she seemed lucky at least it in the process of landing and could get to a medical center quickly. in general, if something happens like that on the plane, you may not have access to the same sometime of medical personnel. heart problems, two types of problems, mechanical problems where the heart is not pumping properly and electrical problems where essentially the power is not turning on properly, right, like, if that electrical system isn't working then that's why you need cpr. give you a little bit of a shock to get the heart going again. seems like she had both problems going on on the plane. >> matt said they reconciled. many people have turbulent
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relationships with your parents but doesn't diminish the love you have for them. here she is back in 2010 talking about the bond with her daughter, carrie. >> are you proud of your daughter? >> i'm very proud of my daughter. she is wonderfully gifted and a very special daughter. >> what's your reaction? >> debbie reynolds also tweeted when her daughter was in the hospital, right, that she thought carrie was stable, so just the amount of love that she had for her daughter and, perhaps, her feeling that her daughter was going to be okay, then to have this sudden downturn, it's a tragedy all around. >> matt, debbie just finished a documentary she filmed with carrie fisher which will be released next year on hbo. what more can you tell us about that? >> the film has actually been shown. it was reviewed at the cannes film festival this year and got very good reviews. it delves into their relationship and the storied
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history both of these actors and performers and writers have had throughout hollywood. it really is a special film from our critics' perspective and i think it's going to get a lot of attention considering both subjects are now not with us. >> i want you guys to take a listen to debbie reynolds talking about the entertainment industry. >> so competitive and, you know, you're rejected so much when you go in unless you're on the top of the list and i've been everywhere. i've been at the top, i've had the fans tear me to pieces. all the different phases that happen to you as a star, young, middle age, now i'm going to be 60, april. so i've been in the business now, started at 16, 44 years. >> you were once the top box office draw. you've had every up and down you could possibly have, you've been on the front page of the newspaper. what do you think has been the resiliency factor, what do you think keeps debbie going? >> the love of entertaining.
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you just love what you do. there's more fun in this business than anywhere. you have to be very strong. you have to be religious, or have your own faith of some kind because you can't let it get you down. you can't -- the failure that happens to you, you know, the rejection is pretty tough sometimes so you have to stay really strong and hang in there. believe in yourself. and you know that you're really good and you know -- you have to know that your fans love you. >> i mean, timeless, matt, she had a great attitude. what was her reputation in hollywood? >> she was known as a survivor. she had gone through one of the great tabloid scandals of all-time in hollywood at a time before the internet and the culture as we know it today and she survived, made her way, she still worked. she also had another business as a memorabilia collector. she spent years and years and years collecting a lot of the old mgm music memorabilia, marilyn monroe's dress and a lot of other things, she actually
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had a museum in las vegas at one point that was a home for a lot of this stuff and she just kept trudging along and she was a survivor. >> hey, matt, correct me if i'm wrong, i find it kind of ironic and maybe poetic justice in a way, she had the dress that liz taylor had from "cleopatra" or the costume, that was part of her collection that debbie reynolds had, right? >> i believe that is correct. i believe it was one of the costumes. but she had a lot of things. she, you know, she spent years and years, at a time when a lot of the old hollywood studio memorabilia was being thrown out and discarded, she saw value in this stuff and started collecting it, in part as homage to the past and the time she grew up in, but also as, i think, a smart business that she knew there would be value to this stuff and she amassed a pretty good collection. >> yeah. another clip of debbie reynolds. watch. >> when you call her up, do you really say, hi, this is debbie
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reynolds, your mother? >> i'm just so used to saying it, you know, i say, instead of saying hi, i don't know why i say hi. of course, she knows -- >> hello, dear, this is your mother. >> hello, dear, this is debbie. instead i forget -- >> no, your mother, debbie. >> this is your mommy. >> you can see where carrie fisher got that personality, why she was so outspoken and had so much moxy, matt. >> absolutely. one of the things that people noted when carrie fisher passed away yesterday was her candor, ability to talk openly about the struggles she encountered in her life, turn those into art and memoirs and her one-woman show and a lot of what made up her personality and public persona. that directly came from debbie reynolds. there's a lot of things in her history she's been very outspoken about and she went through a lot of personal issues at a very young age and lived
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through them all. this was transferred on to carrie. >> people who have addictions all the time and even who suffer from mental health illness but what she did for those two causes really invaluable. >> of course. it's incredible. taking her own personal struggles, already hard to deal with it. >> because of the stigma especially with mental health issues. >> exactly. to take all that and put it forward and help all these people is incredible work. >> matt, how do you think debbie reynolds will be remembered and honored? >> she's one of the great hollywood stars. she is a link to the -- and she worked in every medium. she was -- you know, she could sing and dance. she also had a television show on nbc. she was, of course, a movie star. she did radio. she had a top number-one hit on the billboard -- >> she worked right up until the end. remember, she was, debra
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messing, she was grace's mother on "will and grace. "right? >> absolutely. she would pop up in different shows and different things over the years. she slowed down in recent years, and as i mentioned, she wasn't able to accept her honorary oscar last year which was a signifier that she wasn't doing very well. but she did work up till, you know, her 70s and 80s. >> let's talk about, again, the mother/daughter relationship. sometimes when you have kids who are movie stars and also go into acting, they're overshadowed by their parents. these two seemed to work in tandem, matt, and seemed to love each other. every role that they were in. carrie fisher wasn't concerned about being sort of typecast as princess leia and debbie reynolds wasn't concerned about being typecast as america's sweetheart. >> no, absolutely not. if you look at the roles that carrie fisher took, obviously she was cast in "star wars" when
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she was 19 years old but she didn't let that role define her. she really branched out into other areas, becoming a top author and becoming a screenwriter, and i think the influence of her mother probably played a big role because she -- she was born into celebrity. she was born into stardom. so that wasn't the end all for her. it was always the jumping point for doing other things. and, you know, if you look at what hatched with "postcards from the edge" which was carrie fisher's memoir about her relationship with her mother, that was adapted into a film and if you look at the actors who played them, shirley maclaine played a loose version of debbie reynolds and meryl streep played a loose version of carrie fisher. that's pretty amazing actresses to play these two women. >> yeah. and this was definitely, they say -- heart between a mother and daughter. yeah. thank you. thank you very much, matt, thank you, dr. devi. now i want to bring in now a lend, actor, director and producer, carl riner.
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he's on the phone. he starred with debbie reynolds in the film "gazebo." thank you for coming on this evening. my condolences. how are you going to remember her? >> it's fair. it's just not fair. >> what are you going to remember most? you worked with her, as i said, in the film "gazebo." >> "gazebo," her and glen ford. found her just the most delightful human being. i remember first seeing her in the, you know, what do you call it, gene kelly. >> "singing in the rain." >> "singing in the rain." i just watched it the other fight. two nights ago i just decided to watch it because it makes me smile. i kept remembering that she learned to dance in six weeks.
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she never danced before. she danced so well. and i remember applauding -- look at that girl. i never forgot that. kathy seldon. anyway, later on, she did a tv star show. she asked me to write, produce and act in it with her and i did one called -- with ed morrow, i interviewed her as zsa zsa gabor, she was spot on, unbelievable her impressions of zsa zsa and every character she did, was unbelievable. her talent was immense. maybe one of the most unforgettable evenings i ever spent. i put them on one hand the great
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ones i've seen. evelyn williams -- "wishful drinking" on stage and did two hours of just doing her life and i sat there and i said, this is one of the best things i've ever seen in the theater, a one-man show. the only one that could come close to it is billy crystal's "700 sundays." i remember going backstage to say this is one of the best things i've ever seen in my life. i've been in theater for a long, long time. two tremendous talents passed away within a day of each other. it's unspeakable. unheard of. >> and, you knowknow, you know mentioned that. we just lost zsa zsa gabor maybe two weeks ago an december 18th. i really appreciate you joining
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us. thank you so much. again, our thought and prays an are with you having worked with debbie reynolds and knowing her very well. we'll be right back. ok, let me explain. this is your tax return. ok. now, there are many right ways to fill out this tax return. and the irs will accept them all. one of them gets you the most money back. isn't that the one you want? that's the one i want. that's the one you want. mmm... you touched all these. don't just get your taxes done, amy. get your taxes won.
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the president-elect starting his day tweeting, of course, he said "thought it was going to be a smooth transition, not." but tonight, at his florida resort, he says he is getting along well with president barack obama, so which is it? cnn's sunlen serfaty is live for us in florida tonight. sunlen, donald trump took a few questions tonight outside of mar-a-lago. what did he have to say? >> reporter: yeah, this was really a rare moment for president-elect donald trump, don. mostly he's been spending his time here at his resort behind closed doors, holding meetings and spending time with his family, of course, over the holiday, but today he emerged a few times in front of the reporters assembled here at his resort. you know, giving thumbs up at times. other times talking to press, answering a few questions. but notably, it was his last appearance before press just a few hours ago where he came out and took questions from reporters for over six minutes. really a grab bag of topics, talking about the questions about his charitable foundation,
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and what might become of that. also notably talking about secretary of state john kerry's speech on the middle east today at the state department and also touching on this kind of public spat has has emerged between him and president obama over the last few days that really has boiled over today and that phone call that the two of them had together, which it seems from both sides, was an attempt to lower the temperature. >> called me. he called me, we had a very, very good talk about, generally about things. he was in hawaii and was a very, very nice call and i actually thought we covered a lot of territory. lot of good territory. >> are you satisfied with the transition thus far? >> well, our staffs are getting along very well and i'm getting along very well with him. other than a couple statements that i responded to and we talked about it and smiled about it. and nobody's ever going to know because we're never going to be going against each other in that
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way. i'm very, very strong on israel. i think israel's been treated very, very unfairly by a lot of different people. you look at resolutions in the united nations, you take a look at what's happened, they're up for 20 reprimands and other nations that are horrible places, horrible places, that treat people horribly, haven't even been reprimanded. so there's something going on and i think it's very unfair to israel. >> reporter: so trump there taking very few questions from the small group of the pool reporters there assembled on the estate. notably, don, as you very well know, donald trump has broken with tradition of past president-elects. he has not held a full-scale press conference since being elected and tonight he gave us a little more clues into when that potentially might happen. he said he will be holding a press conference in early january. don? >> six minutes is something, though, sunlen. by the way, i saw something interesting, boxing promoter don king was standing next to donald trump and he was holding up a few signs including an american
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and israeli flags. what was that all about? >> reporter: you know, this was an interesting moment for sure, especially someone we do not expect to be with donald trump today, but we do know that trump is hosting a large dinner, 300 invited guests over at his resort here tonight. we're not sure the other guests capacity, who the other guests are. don king likely one of them. he did come out with donald trump when he talked to reporters, carrying both israeli and the u.s. flag. and he was asked by reporters, is this a message you're trying to send to the president-elect? of course, on the same day that you have the current administration, secretary kerry giving this big speech on the middle east peace process and don king responded back, he said the israeli flag is about peace, we want everyone to come together, this leader pointing to donald trump that can make that happen. notably donald trump, himself, today, was really critical of the obama administration before secretary gave that big speech saying, indicating that the obama administration, he thinks,
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has done damage to the friendship and the relationship between israel and the united states. don? >> sunlen, i probably could have answered my own question. the answer to that question is, it's don king, what do you expe expect? thank you very much, sunlen. we appreciate it. i want to bring in cnn presidential historian douglas brinkley, analyst rebecca berg and political commentator, david swerdlick. my goodness, does the news ever stop? we have debbie reynolds, israel today, carrie fisher. so, let's talk about this, douglas. interesting that you met with the president-elect today at mar-a-lago. so fill us in on the details. what did donald trump want to talk about? >> well, i just got to talk to him about presidential history. i'm going to be covering the inauguration for us here at cnn, and asked him a little about the inauguration. he said he's going to write his own and that he wants to keep it kind of short. people don't have to freeze out there list tong a longwinded
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speech. i talked to him about why he likes ronald reagan, stories about nixon. i pretty much kept things on a presidential studies front. i was a little l bit surprised how much he was talking about helping the veterans. i think today he had heads of people like from mayo clinic and cleveland clinic, johns hopkins coming, looking on how major medical institutions can do more to help veterans affairs and that seemed to be something he was very engaged about. >> so you said he's going to write his own speech, is that what he said? >> yes. >> i thought steven miller was writing -- >> well, that's when -- i don't know, that's what -- he said he'd like to do his own speech, that he's done, written bestselling books and knows how to frame things and he sees the importance of making a speech. you know, we've had high ratings for the debates. i think he's starting to get in the zone that we're looking at how this inaugural is going to be watched and he's going to put a lot of effort into it. i was also surprised, don,
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interested in helping national historic sites like the white house or lincoln memorial repair things, the deferred maintenance of the national park service, his interest in nasa. it was a wide-ranging bits and pieces we talked about. >> okay. david, let's talk about the obama/trump transition, okay? remember, this is a month ago. these two guys appeared to be on friendly terms, trump even calling obama, "very good man" and then fast forward to today, trump tweets "doing my best to disregard the many inflammatory president o. statements and road blocks, thought it was going to be a smooth transition. not." so, this is for david swerdlick, by the way. a few hours after that tweet, trump told reporters the transition is going smoothly and they talked today. so what is really going on here? >> so, don, start with that press conference just a couple of hours ago and i think the conciliatory words that you heard coming from president-elect trump reflect the fact that maybe a
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recognition throughout the course of just today that he's in a fraternity of six. clinton, carter, bush, bush, obama, and now him. it's a small group. he's got to sort of understand that he's one of this group of presidents and future presidents now. and that, you know, if he's going to ratchet up the tension with president obama, he's got to do it sort of guardedly. if you go back to a couple days after the election, that clip you played of president obama did his job, he sort of signaled to americans and to the world that we would, as always, have this peaceful transfer of power and orderly transition of administrations but in between these two events, these are guys who clearly disagree fundamentally on a lot of public policy issues. they disagree strongly and they're not obligated to agree. they're obligated to hand the baton off to one another. they're going to have these disagreements. we've seen them in the last couple days with the u.n., with the arctic drilling. they probably will continue to.
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there's a difference level of conversation i see, i defer to david on the historical precedent, but i think i see between these two guys knowing they're both presidents of the united states. >> rebecca, i want to know what your take is, what do you think prompted this turf war? i spoke with david axelrod. he did the podcast, the interview with the current president. i spoke with him this morning. david axelrod. he said, well, you know, it wasn't a swipe at him, at least he doesn't believe, at donald trump when the president said if he had run against trump, he would have won. what do you think? >> the timing, don, did seem to suggest that remark was at the heart of this disagreement and at the heart of donald trump's response on twitter today, but, you know, it's interesting to me that actually now they're just letting this go to the past and moving on and letting bygones be bygones here. donald trump has said in the past that when provoked, he will punch back, and he did that in this case certainly, but now that they've had this conversation, i think it's fascinating that they are moving forward. seemingly with a positive tone
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in their relationship and focusing on the transition once again. there's always going to be a political component to this, especially because they're from opposing parties, and certainly president obama has made comments about george w. bush's administration that have not been flattering, even though they had a very peaceful transition between them. and so i think we can expect, still, there to be this rivalry politically, but i think it's fascinating that donald trump, someone we think of as sometimes being pretty thin-skinned and personally thin-skinned can be strategic and decide that he needs to work with the president on this transition for the betterment of himself and the country. >> douglas, i want to ask you about this one president at a time thing that we normally have, when president bush was asked a question when he was president-elect, he said i'll defer you to the president who's in the white house. clinton did the same thing. president obama did the same thing as well. donald trump has not done that.
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what kind of precedent does that set? >> you know how we keep talking about unprecedented here at cnn, and it is unprecedented, but it's a combination, don, of two things. one, donald trump is who he is and he's not following all the rules. he likes to shake things up a little bit and the other part of it is, you know, the nemedia cycle. every day we're covering everything in the transition, i think things get magnified a little bit. in foreign affairs it gets very dangerous as we're seeing in israel, wie in seeing with russ. putin, netanyahu saying i don't care what the u.s. government says now, i'm waiting it out until january 20th. that's very problematic in a dangerous world. i think trump should try to tone down some of this foreign affairs talk until after he gets sworn in. but alas, he doesn't play it that way. >> rebecca, speaking of foreign affairs, the current president,
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barack obama, preparing to announce sanctions and covert actions against russia as early as tomorrow as retaliation for meddling in the u.s. election. we know donald trump doesn't believe russia was involved, so to use trump's language, is this a road block? >> well, it's very interesting, don, because donald trump was actually asked about this this evening at mar-a-lago and according to the pool report, he basically shrugged it off. he said, regarding the potential for russian sanctions, that we should just move on from this issue of russia hacking the united states, hacking our political process, essentially, and he also said that he sort of blamed computers, said that computers and cyber security were really the problem here, that it wasn't russia at fault. this really puts him at odds, john, with congress moving forward. republicans and democrats in congress, you essentially have 99 senators right now who are all on the same page on this issue, pretty much, and think that something needs to be done to address what russia did and so it's going to be very interesting once donald trump is sworn in next month to see how
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he addresses this issue with congress, with people in his own party disagreeing with him, and saying that we should take a stand against russia on this. >> don, slightly -- president-elect trump slightly boxed himself in a couple weeks ago when he went out on that sunday show and said that he didn't really put much credence in this cia reporting when he could have simply just said, look, let's wait for all the facts to come in rather than trying to sort of disavow. >> okay. >> he woubd up with a little bit of a problem. >> that's got to be the last word. thank you, panel. david, see you later on in the broadcast. when we come back, tough talk from secretary of state john kerry aimed at israel and benjamin netanyahu. why now just weeks before donald trump takes office? known for its perfect storm of tiny bubbles,
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is what we're looking for. did i mention he can save people nearly $600? you haven't even heard my catchphrase. i'm all done with this guy. box him up. that's terrible.
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with less than a month left in president obama's presidency, america's top diplomat, john kerry, making a speech today, with some tough talk for israel and prime minister benjamin netanyahu. netanyahu calling the speech deeply disappointing. so let's discuss now with ambassador danny denon, israel's permanent representative to the u.n. welcome back. we saw each other, we spoke this morning before secretary of state john kerry gave his speech essentially saying that the israeli settlements put the two-state solution really in serious jeopardy. let's listen a bit then we'll discuss. >> the israeli prime minister publicly supports a two-state solution, but his current coalition is the most right wing in israeli history with an agenda driven by the most ex-teeteem respe extreme elements. policies of this which the prime minister, himself, just described has more committed to
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settlements than any of israel's history, leading in the opposite direction, leading toward one state. >> what's your reaction, did this speech change anything for you? >> no, it was a failed attempt to defend the indefensible. secretary kerry tried for 72 minutes to explain that one-sided resolution passed at the security council last friday and we are still not convinced. >> what would you like to have heard him say? >> there was a major contradiction in his words, he said he was urging both sides to negotiate but at the same time while accepting the resolution of the security council, he encouraged the palestinians not to negotiate with israel so the u.s. policy was both sides should negotiate directly. by accepting a resolution of the security council, the u.s. changed its policy and obama in 2011 came to the u.n. and said to all the nations to promote peace between the israelis and palestinians, they should do it by themselves, not one side of
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the security council. i was not convinced by secretary kerry what changed. why now? >> the settlements were one part of the speech. that's the sticking point. how does building permanent buildings, how does that help israel achieve a two-state solution? >> it is not about the settlement. for the palestinians, everything, israel is one big settlement. not willing to recognize israel, period. talking about tel aviv, talk about east jerusalem or west jerusalem. gaza, we evacuated in 2005 all the jewish communities, settlements, from gaza. what happened after that? hamas took over and sent 20,000 rockets from gaza into israel. >> explain to me and the audience when you say it's not about the settlements. what do you mean it's not about the settlements? >> i will explain to you. >> that's a whole sticking point. >> when you speak about the palestinian organization, founded, it was founded in 1964. before israel occupied, in quotes, the west bank.
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it was in order to liberate israel. so the resistance is -- with the existence of israel, period. ask the palestinians today -- >> mr. ambassador, with all due respect -- >> the jewish state. >> with all due respect, the secretary of state also pointed out the wrongdoings of the palestinians as well and said that both sides had to work together. so, again, i'll ask you, how does building -- >> i would appreciate if someone would analyze the 72 minutes and see how much time the secretary spent on the issue of the settlements and how much time he spent on the issue of radical islam, terrorism, hamas in gas za. you cannot ignore the reality of the middle east and blame israel for everything. by the way, the u.n., we are used to it, but the fact that the u.s. teamed up with venezuela, malaysia, synagogue, to pass a one-sided resolution, that's unprecedented. >> given such an uproar, though, especially by prime minister
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benjamin netanyahu, wouldn't you expect him to spend more time trying to explain the u.s. actions and the united nations actions? >> the policy of the u.s. was always to support constructive resolutions. what will happen after this long speech? whether we are actually going to have to engage with the palestinians now, we want to engage with them, but after the speech, after the resolution at the u.n., the palestinians will not come back to the negotiation table. >> i'm going to play what prime minister netanyahu said today specifically on the u.n. resolution. >> we have absolutely uncontestable evidence that the united states organized, advanced and brought this resolution to the united nations security council. we'll share that information with the incoming administration. some of it is sensitive. it's all true. you saw some of it in the protocol released in the egyptian paper.
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there's plenty more. it's the tip of the iceberg. >> now, again, ambassador, the united states completely denies that the u.s. was behind this resolution, so why not release the information now to the current administration? >> first of all, let's look at the facts. in 2011, there was a very similar resolution coming to the security council. the u.s. decided to block it and vetoed that resolution. 2014, there was another resolution. the u.s. blocked the resolution without vetoing. they convinced the member states not to support this resolution. when the u.s. wants to stop a resolution, they know how to do it. and fortunately, what happened last friday, it was a different ball game. the u.s. actually walked on this resolution. we know it for a fact. >> you keep saying it, you and other representatives keep saying we know it for a fact but have not presented any concrete evidence. >> when the prime minister of israel, when he's saying that we have the evidence, you better believe him. we will share it with ft
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president-elect, the new administration and hope to see a change. the fact that u.s. is protecting israel, umbrella in the security council, but unfortunately, it wasn't the case last week. in the security council, the pen holder on every resolution regarding the middle east and israel, particularly, is the u.s. >> so what difference does it make now to present the information now or later? what's the difference? >> because we are not in a position now to start to argue with the world when in d.c., toward the palestinians, we have the capabilities to know what happened in those meetings and unfortunately, unfortunately we know for a fact that the u.s. not only supported the resolution, they encouraged the plalestinians to move forward t the security council. >> thank you, am bass door. >> thank you very much. when we come right back, a little over three weeks donald trump will take the oath of office and the obama administration will be history. so why wage a war of words with israel right now?
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secretary of state john kerry taking on israel today, on the issue of settlements, in the ti final weeks of the obama administration angering israel's prime minister and provoking president-elect donald trump. let's discuss with humidity rights attorney, and cnn global affairs analyst aaron david miller who served both republican and democratic secretaries of state on the middle east. middle east affairs. thank you, both, for joining us this evening.
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aaron, i'm going to start with you, it's december 28th. they're packing boxes at the white house. why would john kerry make a major middle east policy speech right now? >> i think the u.n. security council abstention, don, and the speech were designed because i think the administration knows what's coming which is basically the demise of what's left of the two-state solution and i think they felt compelled at least to put their fingerprints on it to create a frame of reference in which they demonstrated they've done everything they possibly could and single out the enterprise even though john kerry admitted it's not the only or the primary obstacle to why we don't have a two -state solution to basically set the parameters and the -- >> and it's going -- >> and in the end, if i can, it's likely to produce the opposite of what the administration intended. >> sol, listen, let me ask you then, you served both democrat and republican secretaries of state.
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then why the uproar, why so -- why are beam from the israeli side, especially benjamin netanyahu, so upset when it appears this resolution is no different than other resolutions that have been, you know, put together, brought to the table in the past? >> i mean, it's a very good question given the fact the united states voted many times for security council resolutions far more critical of israel and abstained on them as well. i think in the end, the prime minister, i suspect, feels very frustrated. he tried to mobilize the president-elect and president sisi of egypt to turn this off and he couldn't, and second, i think the prime minister also knows despite the fact that the incoming administration is going to be much more positive for him, that he's increasingly going to be caught in a very tough place. hammered between international community that will look upon this resolution as a way to build momentum against settlements and by his own right wing who may use the incoming trump administration to advance
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their own agenda on the ground. so we're entering a very fraught period. >> is it a losing battle for the prime minister? >> is it a losing battle? in 2018, a year or so from now, benjamin netanyahu will become the longest governing prime minister in the history of the state of israel. surpassing even david bengorian, arguably israel's greatest prime minister. so the reality is staying in power as a reflection of a prime minister that most israelis will either tolerate and/or support is a key objective. so is it a losing battle? >> i meant that in terms of because he's isolating -- he seems to be isolating israel. >> i mean, yeah, i mean, i think the louder the israelis yell about this, the more inspiration and power they can give to the palestinians. >> all right. thank you for being patient. i want to get your reaction to what the ambassador told me in the last segment.
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>> the ambassador was pointing out that palestinians haven't recognized israel. it's not clear exactly what he demands of palestinians when they recognized israel twice in 1988, again in 1993, recognize the status of israel. israel has been in existence since 1948, became a member of the united nations since 1949. what exactly is being asked of palestinians beyond that recognition? what we've been hearing is they want israel recognized as a jewish state. what we're not interrogating is that 25% of israel's population is christian and muslim palestinians who have native to that land. asking israel to be recognized as a jewish state is like saying the u.s. is not for americans, the u.s. is for white folks, so everybody else will be secondary in status, a status that palestinian citizens of israel already experience as a fifth column. but now if the palestinians recognize it as such, they're basically going to say, we're okay with an explicit racist
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apartheid regime and we should be condemning israel for that request, rather than berating palestinians for failing to fall into line with that. all palestinians have asked for are basic rights. the right to movement, the right to family, the right to dignity, the right to work, the right to education. and we're here debating whether or not that's a valid demand. and plalestinians are not waitig for anybody to tell them that it is because we know that's a moral, political, legal right. >> aaron, i want to put up this, o's response to the secretary's speech. said the minute the israeli government agrees to cease all settlement activities including in and around occupied east jerusalem, the palestinian leadership stands ready to resume permanent status negotiations. i mean, that sounds like an opportunity, renewed peace negotiations in exchange for a settlement ban. should israel take it seriously? >> i mean, don, it's fortunate, frankly, for all of us that we don't have direct negotiations
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between the israelis and palestinians because given the fundamental mistrust and lack of confidence between the two sides, and the galactic, truly galactic gaps that exist on issues relating to border security, refugees in jerusalem, another negotiating process is going to end in failure and that is, in fact, the real tragedy here. we're going to remain trapped, i fear, don, between two-state solution that's too important to abandon and one that's too difficult to implement. >> aaron, noura, i wish we had more time. i'm sorry. i have to get to the top of the hour. we'll have you back. thank you so much. i appreciate it. when we come right back, out breaking news tonight, the passing of a hollywood legend, debbie reynolds passes just one day after her daughter, carrie fisher. ste. that's true, but sweet ain't enough anymore. it's that splenda naturals gal, isn't it? yeah. i knew it! look, not only is she sweet, she's got natural stevia, no bitter aftertaste, and of course, zero calories. ohh, not the calories again. sugar, you're full of calories.
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i know! ugh! so all the partners agree? even iced tea? especially iced tea. goodbye, sugar. hello, new splenda naturals.
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breaking news. a tragic death of hollywood legend debbie reynolds just one day after her daughter, carrie fisher, died. this is "cnn tonight." i'm don lemon. welcome to our viewers here in the united states and around the world. our sad news out of hollywood tonight, debbie reynolds died in a los angeles hospital tonight at the age of 84. you're looking at her star on the hollywood walk of fame right no


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