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tv   CNN Newsroom With Fredricka Whitfield  CNN  December 21, 2019 10:00am-11:00am PST

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yment. most people think as a reliable phone company. but to businesses, we're a reliable partner. we keep companies ready for what's next. (man) we weave security into their business. (second man) virtualize their operations. (woman) and build ai customer experiences. (second woman) we also keep them ready for the next big opportunity. like 5g. almost all of the fortune 500 partner with us. (woman) when it comes to digital transformation... verizon keeps business ready. i'm a v.i.p, a very important pilot. folks, when i drop off my cargo at 30,000 feet, i use v.i.p unlike aerosols that take on odors in the air, i spray v.i.p and trap them... they never take off.
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hello again, thank you for being with me. a tsa whistle-blower is sounding the alarm about loosened security standards at airports across the country. that kwhwhistle-blower says topa officials prioritized speed over safety by taking steps like makemake ing metal detectors less sensitive. he say it's is putting airline passengers at risk. >> fred, this whistle-blower is coming forward saying their putting speed other security. the officers on front lines are not to blame. these are screening changes that have come from tsa leadership. >> more than 40 million u.s. airline passengers are expected to go through airport security check points this holiday, but
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this security director says you may not be as safe as you think. >> what they're doing is injecting danger into the system. >> the top tsa official in his state has been with the agency for 17 years. he says that tsa is cutting corners on the screening process to shorten wait times. one example, hay reduced the sensitive on all walk through metal detectors at airports across america. >> they're reducing the concentration of metal it takes to set off that alarm so you can have fewer pat downs. >> how do you know that? >> there is a memo that supports it. >> the memo came in 2013 changing all walk through metal detector settings to the precheck setting. he says the practice continues today and he worries ta bomb making components could go undetect undetected. >> you could have a 30 minute
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wait time and they create it like a national emergency if is such a unhealthy of session of speed over security. they say that obsession also lead to disable technology on x-ray machines that scan carry on bags. last month those x-ray machines should be operated without the auto detection algorithm enabled. it says stop and take a look at this, that box is no longer on the screen. they made changes to the settings that really hamper the ability of the x-ray operator to detect explosives. >> they will say this is precheck. >> they're putting millions of passengers into precheck that are not precheck. you don't have an entire population in precheck that are vetted. >> cnn put this to the administrator. he say they're not prioritizing
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wait times over procedure, but rest assured that we provide the level of security we think is appropriate based on the risk of the passenger. >> bray nanard says the issues with a agency that has an 95% failure rate at detecting dangerous items. >> when you sit back and you watch these things happen, it is the most frustrating thing you can imagine. >> going public is his last resort. he filed an official whistle-blower complaint and he sent letters to congress, not just about the meal tametal de but allowing them to do a self-pat down and a policy called blended lanes where precheck and standard passengers are mixed in one line, something
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that could confuse screeners. >> they have to mentally switch themselves on and off about what is permitted and not permitted. the last time i checked our detection rates were not stellar. and it does not make any sense to introduce this scenario. >> and they write there is a substantial likelihood that the information provided to osc discloses gross mismanagement and specific danger to public safety. >> my biggest fear is having something happen that costs american lives, and i didn't step up and put a stop to it or at least try to. it will happen. it's not a yes of if, but a question of when. we're long overdue for an attack. the tsa did take action on one concern, the test that
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disqualifies someone who is color blind. they would not see the bomb if it was the only thing in the bag. >> they are using a new test for new hires, but according to this memo they will not refinish testing the existing work force unless the end of next year. he knows despite protections and consistent top ratings on his performance evaluations speaking out could cost him his job. >> i fully expect that the first discussion they're going to have it how they can fire me. but he believes the issues are too urgent to keep kwquiet. >> cnn has reached out to both allegations investigating his complaints, fwhou comment from either. he has secured a whistle-blower attorney, and in response to the complaints raised in our story, the head of the tsa told anyway whistle-blowers provide a very
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valuable service and it's our responsibility to fully investigate those concerns to see if they represent a valley security risk or not, but the tsa says they have not completed their assessment. >> joining me now to discuss that reporting further, the former expecter general, good to see you and happy holidays, the whistle-blower says it is not a question of if but when an attack would happen, do you agree with that? >> yes, sadly the statistics in the history of avenuuation and the attacks on aviation back him up. major attacks happen every 15 to 20 years. i can narrow that down to 18 something, but we're definitely in that time frame based on history, that we can expect an
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attempt to be made probably within a very short period of time. >> given the kind of information that he just talked about, do you believe airline posz jers are at risk? >> certainly when ever you dumb down safety you're increasing the risk to passengers, americans, and anyone whose head airlines fly, and it is important to note those settings on the bag screening equipment and more, they weren't set by accident. it's not like somebody decided to set them on this. they are designed to set up certain things like box cutters, knives, bullets, timing devices, and they correlate with what they're supposed to be. so when they turn the sensitivity down, they're acknowledging they will let certain items go through. the tsa says you have a tripling
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of the number of passengers that pay for precheck. they also reduce wait times by appropriately relaxes security measures. who do you believe? >> well, unfortunately -- unfortunately i'm sorry i'm sadly the whistle-blower because we all know that aviation passengers is on the increase around the world, that should come as no surprise to anyone. and they continue to increase. the sensitive and the sensitivity is really, it is really a diralection of duty. you earn the right to have a precheck by agreeing to have a
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background check. that fitting in line with our security. and so once you go through precheck and you have your mug shot and your background check, you're a reduced threat. the other people in the line who have not had that are not a reduced threat. it basically shoots a hole in the multilayer security. >> thank you so much, have a great holiday season. >> thank you. >> still ahead, president trump accepts an invitation by house speaker nancy pelosi to deliver the state of the union address in february. could it be over shadowed? and more than two dozen jewish lawmakers call for the firing of steven miller blasting his support of white supremists groups.
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welcome back, today president trump is in mar-a-lago resort. he has accepted an invitation by nancy pelosi to give his hand yul sta -- annual state of the union address. the president wants an immediate trial in the u.s. senate, but the times is up in the air as
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democratic and republican leaders clash over the rules in the senate. some departments are urging pelosi to indefinitely hold the articles until they agree to hold a fair trial. joining me right now, marshall cohen, good to see you again, where do we stand on the setting of a date in the u.s. senate for a trial? >> we know it will definite i will be next year, so there is that, but you know, it is stuck right now, you know, democrats, republicans, they just can't get together on this. not even talking about the merits of the case, but they're fighting about the rules, how many witnesses there will be, will there be any witnesses? can they make a last ditch attempt to get some records under the subpoena. mitch mcconnell has been holding steady and he said the time for the investigation is past and the time for a quick trial and
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dealing with this issue is now -- nancy pelosi over in the house, she has maybe one or two cards left to play. they still need to name those house managers, those are the democratic lawmakers that will be selected to act as prosecutors, but they have not done it yet and they're trying to see if they can work that last angle, get some leverage and have a fair trial. >> if this generally takes a few weeks after an impeachment vote takes place, at what point will the u.s. senate feel like long is too long. what is the breaking point, if at all? >> i think it is kind of a game of chicken, right? mitch mcconnell was very clear when he said look, if you don't
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want to send him over, fine, we don't think he is guilty. be my guest, but we'll see with the negotiationing continuing it might run up into the state of the union in early february with possibly a senator still deliberating. >> thank you, we'll leave it there for now, thank you so much. >> thanks, fred. >> a group of democratic jewish members are calling for one of the top lawmakers. they have sent a letter to the white house urging them to remove steven miller from the administration. the lawmakers cite leaked e-mails back to 2015 that show he promoted stories from white nationalist and fringe media organizations. sarah westwood, what more do we know about these accusations and the white house's response and, is steven miller, you know, anywhere in the vicinity while
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the trump family vacations there for the holiday? >> well these 25 democratic lawmakers are calling on the white house to remove steven miller over the e-mails that came out last month, and they were leaked by a former bri eer breitbart editor. and also the fact that he was sharing content from white nationist websites. at the time he was working for jeff sessions and this was before the election, but congressman jim clyburn is applauded the effort by more than two dozen democrats to put pressure on the white house over miller. he called miller, who is a top aide to president trump, a cancer on this country. take a listen. >> i'm so glad that so many people from the jewish community are speaking up about him.
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she a cancer on this country. not just this presidency. and the same thing is happening now with the evangelical community, the christian community, i should call it. >> he is the house democratic whip and the 25 lawmakers that wrote the letter to the white house this week also slammed the white house for their initial response to the leaked e-mails. in november the white house accused those attacking anti-semitic views. they say they accused the white house of weaponizing the white house for political gain. now he has been involved in a lot of the president's most controversial policies. he has long been a target of ire, but he is not going anywhere as part of this latest attempt to push limit out of the administration. >> still ahead, democrats lead
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over a potential 2020 match up is narrowing. is impeachment weakening democrats plans to take back the white house? see the difference. the wait is over.
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welcome back, just 44 days out from the democratic contest in hawaii. the threlead that democrats hav over trump is narrowing. senator bernie sanders is tied in beating trump in a head to head match up but not by much. it comes as the u.s. economy earns their highest ratings in more than two decades. joining me now is scott jennings, goo to see you both, happy holidays. >> merry christmas. >> cnn has another poll out this weekend that shows that margins have tightened. do you think this case is solely
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because of the economy or something else? >> well, i think a lot of things are going on. number one i think the democratic primary has not really helped create a coherent case. number two the economic news has been really good across the board. you have indicators showing up and down the economy showing they're doing great, so i think a combination of those things are starting to show up in the polling. gender gap is still a huge thing, but he has a lot of at try abused that you would want. the economy, a fractured on silt, and frankly politically all of the money and resources you need to win a reelection campaign. >> is there a fractured
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opposition? >>. >> the economy may be pretty tough to beat for the democrats, but is it a fracturing of the party? >>. >> there is differences on the democratic side. and it is regarding how you respond to the economy. trump should be at 80% a proefl. even in the incremental increase that he has seen, but he is still under water. even though the stock market is doing great, we have 45% of americans do no own a single stock. they're not feeling it. you have a whole unseen america. someone working full-time making
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minimum wage in not a single county in america can afford to rent a two-bedroom apartment. there are two americas, there really is an unseen america and this week when the decision came out from the text court of appeals that gutted obama care, that is another 30 million people that will be affected and the issue of health care, combined with the economy that is not being helped, those issued for democrats have to be front and center. >> is there any worry that even though the economy is doing well with the president they have a hard time being disciplined enough to stick to that economy and not, you know, injecting himself into other distracting things? or stirring things up, ie, being very critical of the late john dingle this week.
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>> sure, i worry about everything and i worry about how the kinds of comments effect the plaszest where he is the weakness. he does fine among men, but he doesn't do well among i win and that is among white women, his spanic sp -- hispanics, older, younger -- >> does he need them to win reelection -- >> i sort of look at it, i think she in a competitive race. i think he has a better chance of being reelected. it is a really ig advises thing to do, but that gives me
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concern, there is a lot of things like resources, party unity, and overall i think his reelection is in really good shape. there is a softness there with women they need to work on. i'm not overly concerned about what i'm seeing by democrats right now. >> women are exhausted with this, women and men, too, but a lot of independents are fed up, they just want normalcy. people are reporting on what president has said or done, it is too much. give us an ability to sleep at night. that is why i think once we get to a general election, a candidate who will be able to provide a sense of normalcy and recency. >> how do you explain that narrowing gap?
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the potential pieces of a trump and a bernie sanders. or a trump and a biden? >> i think, i do think that the narrowing of the gap, the president moves up a touch, democrats moves down a touch. in that one poll, right? i think that it is the issues of the health care, it will be front and center 2020 issue, and if the president and his team continue to gut things that real people car about like cutting five million people off of food stamps, the cutting of off and insulting them, the next day u.s. steel aid they wesaid they
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closing a plant. >>. >> still ahead, the wife of a u.s. diplomat has now been charged in the death of a young man in britain. she is claiming diplomatic immunity, but could she be indicted to the uk? the legal battle coming up, next.
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i'm a v.i.p, a very important pilot. folks, when i drop off my cargo at 30,000 feet, i use v.i.p unlike aerosols that take on odors in the air, i spray v.i.p and trap them... they never take off. a tense disagreement now between two allies over immunity in a criminal matter, authorities have chards the wife of a diplomat with charges the death of a teenager in august us a, she admits she was on the wrong side of the road when she hit harry dunn's motorcycle, but
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she claimed diplomatic immunity and lef the country and now authorities are taking action to get her back. >> the wife of a man being described as an american diplomat is being charged with death by dangerous driving after a head on collision that killed ha harry dunn. authorities say that ann was driving on the wrong side of the road. dunn's parents are relieved with the new charges. >> we sut out for this to happen, and today we got what we set out to get. >> we feel we took a hard start at the achieving of the promsis to harry that we made.
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>> then she lawyered up, claims diplomatic immunity, and then she bolted. prosecutors say they will try to get her extradited, but they're disappointed with the decision to charge ann socoulus. the lawyer says this was an accident with a potential of 14 years imprisonment is not a proportionate response. now is ann being protected by the u.s. government and could that be because of her husband's job. despite the claim of her husband being a diplomat, there is no claim that he is a diplomat. it is not an intention balligen but it handles the
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communications of intelligence indications to other parts of the world. it is a main switching center from communications to continental united states to europe and the middle east. >> the dunn family spokes person has been told what jonathan sacoulas does. >> aside from statements from their lawyer, cnn has not been able to get comment from ann or jonathan sacoulas. the nsa told the washington examiner he doesn't work for that allegation. >> this case may end up before a u.s. federal judge to decide if ann will be extradited. they say that u.s. and britain had a treaty for more than 100 years and they say it is rayer -- rare to deny an extra
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decision request. let's bring in our legal guys. >> hi. >> and a criminal defense torn. to you further, they are starteding the proceedings but the u.s. and the state department release, it is very unlikely they will extradite her. what are the circumstances here? how is it how is this that they can protect her? >> i think you have a situation here where the united states and the uk and parties are parties to the convention. they are obligated to comply with extradition. the difficulty here is that there is a process, protective
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services, prosecution services, the home office, goes to the prime minister, and robert o'neil who is head of the national security agency said that it is not going to be cooperating, so at the end of the day, diplomacy should be required and the way the original deal was put is they actually put her in another room at the white house and basically said to the bereaved parents of harry dunn, guess who we have behind door two? the killer of your son. you use diplomacy and you try to cut a deal and i think that is the only way that justice will prevail here. >> so responding to the charges saying in part that we will continue to look for options for moving forward. we're disappointed by today's announcement and fear it will not bring a resolution closer.
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>>. >> fred, diplomatic immunity means that you cannot prosecution it trillionly. it is uncall if ied, it is absolute, and they can do all of the things they want, but there is no way that the united states will weigh extradition and return this woman to go to criminal prosecution it is sthoking to the system, and it exists, and look in norm city they run up hundreds of thousands of parking tickets, it's not on the same level. >> you're saying they cover any and all things? >> right. >> it covers everything. there is no prosecution here and trump said i'm not sending her
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back, it will never happen, i'm in vegas here. it is never happening. they're not sending her back, fred. and the issue of closure. what about whether or not jonathan is, if he is a diplomat and if he -- >> that is a very important issue. you know, do start with, etc. >>. >> yeah, but there is an exception, coming up rather than a pligs, they are issues that have to be faced off two, and if i'm the family and i have any sense of doing the righteous thing, you know what she did and she has to be accountable for it. that is what options mean. the idea of deploying diplomacy and you don't have to have hard
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and fast rules. the family needs closure, they need her to say i'm so sorry. it is not going to be more than that. >> should be. should be. >> all right, we'll leave it there. have a great day. >> happy holidays. >> thank you so much. >> you too. >> and on that footnote -- all right, next, a washington state republican lawmaker accused of domestic terrorism and now he is refusing to resign. mike bloomberg's never been afraid of tough fights,
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welcome back, a former police officer is invidited on murder charge. aaron dean is seen firing his gun through a window while responding to a welfare check back in october. >> put your hands up, show me
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your hands. >> tatiana jefferson was playing with her nephew, a neighbor called for a welfare check after noticing the door open late at night. they remain cautious that a appropriate sentence and conviction are still a long way away. >> one lawmaker is refusing to leave office after taking part in domestic prterrorism. now he is using president trump's impeachment to defend himself. here is sarah sidener. >> this seeks to put this to a vote of the people. >> this washington state republican lawmaker facing accusations of domestic
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terrorism against the country he swore to serve. that is according to a commission by the washington state legislature. >> the state represent is using president trump's impeachment as part of the defense. the state has forwarded to the fbi and u.s. attorney. the 5 mo long probe found he participated in an act of domestic terrorism against the united states engaged in and supporting the youth to fight a holy war and advocated the replacement of democracy with a thee okracy and the killing of all males who do not agree. they found this video posted on his facebook page. >> live. >> team rugged is basically a school of learning for young men to give them all the foundational learning and skills that they need to be effective in christian warfare. >> the group of young men seen in the clip explained how they were training with guns but did
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not say what they meant by christman warfare. it sited engagements with the bundy family. the report lists shay's actions across three state, in 2014 in nevada, in 2015 in idaho and in 2016 in oregon, he engaged with militia members in the planning of the armed takeover of the wildlife refuge. that ended with state law enforcement moving in and ultimately killing a militia member after a police chase. last night shay defended himself on facebook saying, like we are seeing with our president, this is a sham investigation. he added, i will not back down. i will not give in. i will not resign. >> the house republican leadership has removed shay from the caucuses and from his ranking positions.
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they note that he did not take part in the investigation, did not respond to investigators or the report. he also did not return calls from cnn. sarasidener, cnn, los angeles. >> still ahead, growing scrutiny after an fbi attorney altered documents leading to wiretapping a key trump campaign aide. what the courts are demanding from the justice department next. grandpa,
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welcome back. an fbi could be in hot water for making -- watchdog report into what started the russian investigation in 2016. evan perez has more on the controversy. >> the foreign intelligence surveillance court wants to take a second look at all foreign wire taps from -- who is now under investigation in the case of carter page. a recent inspector general report found that kevin clinesmith altered a key document that was used. the court which largely operates in secret is asking that the fbi and the justice department
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explain what they're doing to verify the accuracy of surveillance reiests that clinesmith was involved in. a lawyer did not respond to a request for comment from, you know know,. >> there were 17 instances of inaccuracies or omissions. attorney general bill barr says he thinks the fbi is making the appropriate changes to fix these issues. but some republican lawmakers including senator lanes gaindsem wants changes. the court may have to be shut down. barr says the surveillance law is important to national security and is open to making changes law marks may want. evan perez, cnn, washington. president trump demands an immediate trial as lawmakers head home for the holiday. but a standoff between nancy pelosi and mitch mcconnell could
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