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tv   New Day With Alisyn Camerota and John Berman  CNN  January 7, 2020 5:00am-6:01am PST

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there battling these fires now for months. so, really, even though things have calmed down, john, we know that this threat is far from over. >> they'll need that resilience going forward because the fire season not over. not even close. thanks for being with us. thank you to our international viewers. for you, cnn international with max foster is next. for u.s. viewers, we have breaking news. the defense department and pentagon on high alert overnight. we'll tell you why. "new day" continues now. >> this is cnn breaking news. >> good morning. welcome to your "new day," tuesday, january 7th, 8:00 in the east. we begin with breaking news. let's get to cnn's barbara star. she's been live at the pentagon all morning for us. she's getting these breaking details. barbara, what are you being told? >> good morning. what we are learning is it what attempts overnight for the united states military in the
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middle east. they had intelligence that they believe pointed to the possibility of an imminent -- there is that word again -- imminent word of an attack by iranian drones in several areas across the region where u.s. troops are located. we're told those locations included iraq where, obviously, there are about 5,000 u.s. troops, kuwait, saudi arabia, the united arab emirates and jordan. the intelligence showed that iran was planning perhaps, you never know unless and until it happens, to launch drone attacks, iranian drones now equipped with precise missiles that have been used in other attacks, especially last year against saudi oil facilities. they are devastating. what u.s. officials, multiple u.s. officials are telling us is that u.s. forces, including patriot missile batteries which can shoot down these drones were on the highest state of readiness throughout the night that they had warning to be
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extra vigilant, extra watchful. the window could still be open for these kinds of potential attacks. now what we do know is the intelligence is showing that iran has moved its -- some of its ballistic missiles, some of its drones around in recent days. this could indicate neither an attack or indicate the iranians are moving their weapons into position to preserve them, believing the trump administration might launch an attack against them. so that's why the intelligence is a point of analysis, if you will. they analyze, they assess that this was a real threat overnight, that they were in a position to launch an imminent attack. do they know absolutely that it was going to happen? no. of course, nothing has happened yet. but this is the kind of thing that they are tracking. it led to very tense overnight hours. alisyn, john? >> barbara, a much more context than what was going on overnight
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and this morning. please keep us posted as you watch these developments. also, cnn has a brand-new interview with iran's foreign minister who did issue new threats to the united states. let's get right to cnn's frederik pleitgen live in tehran. you've been there for days. interesting to hear how javad zarif is now framing this. >> absolutely. so interesting to hear the details from barbara starr about the u.s. military, on high alert. one of the things javad zarif talked about was the iranians saying they certainly are going to retaliate against the united states and most probably against american military in the region after the killing of qassem soleimani. it was interesting on all levels to speak to javad zarif. he called the trump administration, the trump regime. he called what the trump administration is doing state terrorism. so certainly really lashing out at president trump and the administration. first question, however, that i
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put to him is how is war going to be avoided here in a region that's so tense right now. let's listen in. you have said that iran will retaliate for the targeted killing of general qassem soleimani. president trump has said there would be a disproportionate response if you do that. what do you make of president trump's threats? >> his threats will not frighten us. but what he's showing something. he's showing to the international community that he has no respect for international law. that he's prepared to commit war crimes because attacking cultural sites is a war crime. in disproportionate response is a war crime. but he doesn't care, it seems, about international law. but has he made u.s. more secure? do americans feel more secure? are americans welcome today in this region? do they feel welcome? >> your government and your leadership and the military has vowed to take action against the
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united states. >> the united states violated three principles. the iraqi sovereignty and the agreement that they had with iraq. they got a response from the iraqi parliament. they violated the emotions of the people. they will get a response from the people. they killed one of our most revered commanders and most senior commanders. and they took responsibility for it. this is state terrorism. this is an act of aggression against iraq. and it amounts to an armed attack against iran, and we will respond. but we will respond proportionately, not disproportionately because we are committed to law. we are law-abiding people, not lawless like president trump. >> so you think you can strike at any point? you obviously -- it's no secret you control militias in this region and have forces on your side in this region in many countries. >> no, we have people on our side in this region. that's much more important. the united states believes that
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this beautiful military equipment, according to president trump that you spent $2 trillion on these beautiful military equipment, beautiful military equipment don't rule the world. people rule the world. people. the united states has to wake up to the reality that the people of this region are enraged. that the people of this region want the united states out. and the united states cannot stay in this region. the people of the region, not wanting it anymore. >> would it be worth speaking to him? >> it doesn't need speaking. he has to realize he has been fed misinformation. and he needs to wake up and apologize. he has to apologize. he has to change course. he cannot add mistake upon another mistake. he is just making it worse for america. he is destroying the u.s.
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constitution. he's destroying the u.s. political process. he's destroying the rule of law in the united states, but that's not for me to say. that's a domestic affair of the united states. he has enraged the people of our region. he has killed people of this region. he has spent a trillion dollars. he said the u.s. has wasted $7 trillion in our region. he has added another trillion. is the united states more secure today because of that? >> so, guys, you can see there the tensions, obviously, running high here in the region. aushl also, by the way, running high on the diplomatic channels between the u.s. and iran. iran's foreign minister whom i just talked to there, has confirmed on his twitter account he's been denied a visa by the united states to take part in a u.n. security council session where he was supposed to speak there. he is obviously criticizing that move. after our interview, i asked him about that.
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i said what do you make of the fact you've been denied this visa and all he said is, what are they afraid of? i asked him whether he was concerned about this fact and he simply said no. he was trying to make it seem as though he didn't really care about it but you do see that there is heightened tension, not just here in this region but, of course, on the diplomatic channels as well, guys. >> fred, it's so helpful to have your sit-down interview with zarif to just hear what he says they are planning to do next and how they're processing all of this. thank you for your reporting. joining us now, senator bob menendez, the top democrat on the senate foreign relations committee. obviously, a lot of breaking news this morning. i don't know if you had an opportunity to hear barbara starr's reporting from the pentagon, but just to recap, they have been on something of high alert overnight because they say that they got intelligence that iran was moving around equipment. it made the pentagon believe that they would be targeting
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u.s. forces, perhaps in iraq, perhaps in kuwait, perhaps with drones equipped with missiles as we had seen in the saudi oil attack. what can you tell us about this? >> well, i don't have independent information about it but i will say it's to be expected. we have seen an escalation by president trump, particularly with iran that is unfolding in a way that creates an alarm for many of us that we are on a march to an unauthorized war. which is why senator schumer and i asked for the president to declassify fully his war powers notification to the congress. i think the american people need to know the essence of what that says so that they can make their independent judgment. the last thing we need is another weapons of mass destruction moment in american history, and i haven't seen anything that ultimately
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indicates that killing qassem soleimani at this point in time stopped an imminent threat and/or made america more secure without the planning for the aftermath of this. so those actions that barbara starr talked about ultimately are clearly to be expected. >> so you've not seen any intelligence that suggests to you that soleimani was planning an imminent attack. but you haven't been briefed yet? >> well, the war powers notification has some elements of that. i would simply say tomorrow there's an all-members briefing, and we'll get further details. i intend to press, as i did when i was in the house on the iraq war and voted against it i intend to press them on the intelligence to understand the nature of it because the key here is what was the imminency of the threat? and why did taking soleimani out
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specifically deal with that imminency? obviously to the extent there was anything being planned, others had to be involved. you'd think that you would be dealing with others and the way to carry out that attack, that one individual alone maybe postpones it but doesn't eliminate the threat. so the immediacy of the nature has to be defined for congress so we understand why the president took this action. in the absence of facts and intelligence to establish that, then i think the president's actions would have been unlawful. >> well, the national security adviser robert o'brien was on television this morning giving a little bit more information about that underlying intelligence. let me play that for you. >> i can tell you that there were plans being made and soleimani was in the midst of that plotting. that's why he was traveling in damascus and beirut and baghdad to conspire with people to attack american facilities that contain diplomats, soldiers,
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sailors, airmen, marines, coast guardsmen. so the president was very concerned about that activity. soleimani and the iranian regime knew exactly what they were doing. >> okay. so there were facilities being targeted, he says, that contained american diplomats and soldiers. what's your response? >> well, we'll have to see exactly what was the essence of the intelligence and the integrity of that intelligence to establish that. but that in and of itself isn't something new as it relates to iran or soleimani. and, obviously, he wasn't working -- he himself wasn't going to carry out these attacks if those attacks were imminent. so the question is, why didn't you target the military groups within iran that could have carried out any such attack, and how strong was that intelligence, and how imminent was it? and so i need to see the intelligence to be convinced because we have history already that establishes that sometimes
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this intelligence is aggressively looked at one side to promote a purpose, but doesn't substantiate itself on the garish light. >> so what if the intel doesn't satisfy you sntomorrow? what if you conclude the president acted unlawfully as you have suggested is possible? then what? >> this is why i'll be sitting today with senator kaine who introduced a war powers resolution. it seems to me that we need to constrain the president while making sure the language protects our troops in the region but constrain the president from being able to act in the absence of any threat immediately to our troops in the region in a broader conflict without an authorization from congress or the authorization for the use of military force that comes in the first instance before the senate foreign relations committee has jurisdiction on that issue. we cannot have a march to an unauthorized war.
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and the escalation from the missile attacks inside of iraq and syria to the ultimate targeting of qassem soleimani to the sending of thousands of troops, all of this without authorization is a march that has to be stopped, and the congress has to be engaged in deciding whether or not it's in the national security interest of the united states to authorize any military force. >> but in terms of the bottom line of having killed soleimani, you've been a frequent critic of the regime and soleimani is universally seen, well, in the united states at least, as a terror mastermind. when you heard that president trump gave the order to have him taken out, were you relieved? >> well, look, soleimani was a terrorist. he is the cause directly and indirectly for the loss of hundreds of american troops
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through their surrogates and through the development of ieds that killed americans, soldiers in iraq. i'll shed no tear for him. but the question that two previous administrations, republican and democrat both faced is targeting soleimani and taking him off the battlefield more valuable than the consequences that flow from that decision? and both president bush and president obama came to a different conclusion. so the question isn't whether or not we weep for soleimani. we don't. the question is, what unfolds now is in the national interest and security of the united states. >> do you know what secretary of state mike pompeo plans to say at 10:00 a.m.? >> i don't. i don't. i have not talked to the secretary. we've reached out for the state department, but i have not talked to the secretary. i don't know if it's about his political ambitions or whether it's about iraq. >> that would be interesting if he had just called the press conference to talk about his political ambitions.
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but in any event, none of us know. senator bob menendez, thank you for coming on "new day." >> our reporting on his political ambitions is that he's told mitch mcconnell he is not running for senate. he's staying as secretary of state. so unlikely it's about that, but we'll see. in the meantime, we heard from the national security adviser suggesting his claims that there was an imminent threat. what that was that led from president trump to order the attack on iran's top general. we're going to speak to another lawmaker about the intelligence that he has seen and the questions he has, next. irement , i don't want to retire? then let's not create a retirement plan, let's create a plan for what's next. i like that. get a plan that's right for you. td ameritrade.
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on the sleep number 360 special edition smart bed, now only $1,799. only for a limited time breaking news. cnn has learned u.s. forces have been on high alert to possibly shoot down iranian drones as the administration claims there is intelligence there was an imminent threat from iran on the united states. that is according to two u.s. officials. barbara starr reports that u.s. intelligence observed iran moving military equipment, including drones and ballistic missiles over the last several days. that is since the u.s. attack that killed general soleimani. joining me is congressman will hurd, a former cia officer. thank you for being with us. notion that reporting, robert o'brien just spoke to the press and was talking about the administration claims there was an imminent threat posed by
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general soleimani, that killing him thwarted an imminent attack. he claimed that there is strong evidence and strong intelligence that soleimani was plotting to kill, to attack american facilities and soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines located at certain facilities. my question to you as a member of the intelligence committee, have you seen evidence yet that there was a specific plan to hit a specific target? because general soleimani, he made those -- had discussions about those things on days that end with "y." the question is, was there a specific attack thwarted by killing him? >> well, john, it's a good question, and i just got back to washington, d.c., so i haven't been into a secure spaces to read some of the intelligence, but whether or not it was imminent, we know there's been a general threat. the iranians have been trying to kill americans for 41 years. so this is not something that is
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new. and why were we seeing an increase in iranian activity in iraq specifically? you have to -- we have to remember that the iraqi prime minister is in essence an iranian puppet which has fomented discord within iraq. and you've had a lot of iraqis protesting, which is why the iraqi prime minister said he was going to step down and be a caretaker prime minister until parliament can decide when next elections are. the iranians were losing a foothold in iraq. they were using their proxies, these shia militia groups in order to infiltrate some of these people that were protesting. so we know that the iranians were afraid of what was happening. and so whether it was an imminent threat, we know there's a general threat. qassem soleimani was the head of the top terrorist organization in the world. and you can't hide behind a
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uniform of your government to prevent you from being called a terrorist. you're still a terrorist. but he was in iraq, not because he was transiting the baghdad airport. he was in iraq because he was working with proxies to increase attacks on the u.s., on our allies, and him being off the battlefield is a good thing. >> as a legal matter, it might matter if there was a specific threat he was involved in. and then there's the question and we heard from several members of congress over the last few days, does killing soleimani make americans safer? i've heard you say, yes. you say it's a pos touitive thio take him off the battlefield. what's happened over the last few days, it seems that iranian public opinion, which had been fractious, is now galvanized in support of the regime. you've had iraq vote to remove u.s. troops from that country. you've had the united states have to suspend activities
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against isis. those three things -- does that make the united states safer? >> what would make the u.s. safer is if the iranian government stopped killing americans. stopped killing our allies. stop lying about their nuclear program. stopped killing their own people. i'm saying there was a galvanization of iranian support at the death of soleimani. they just had protests in november where the government killed their own folks. the iraqi parliament. this was a resolution, not binding legislation, they barely had a quorum because almost half of the iraqi parliament decided not to go there because they were protesting what this iranian-backed caretaker prime minister was trying to do. and so saying that this -- we have to understand the nuance of what's happening in iraq in order to understand these larger things. so this is about -- if the
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iranians want to become part of the world community again, they know what they need to do. iran is not the victim in this situation. >> but can i ask you, and i hear what you're saying. and i've heard this argument. does killing general soleimani make them becoming part of the world community more likely? >> so here's what we do know. the raerm war college did a review of the iraq war. i believe end of 2018, beginning of 2019. here's what they found. when the iranians suffer no consequences, they increase their level of activity in iraq. when they saw consequences, their assets being killed, their folks being arrested, they curbed and curtailed some of their operations. when you do -- when there is absolutely no consequence to your behavior, you'll continue doing it. one thing i do know now. the new head of the quds force is looking over his shoulder.
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they are loorking at, hey, this is the new calculation we have to think about. and so, again, this is the iranians' decision to change. and what's frustrating to me is a lot of folks in western media is portraying this like iran is a victim. they are not. they have been doing this for 40 years. and so when we portray them as a victim, we are playing into their hands, and allowing them to have a covert action activity. >> all i will say is talking about the u.s. motivation and the strategy for this attack, that isn't claiming the iranians are victim. that's questioning, as i think, is the duty of the free press in the united states to question the action of the -- >> i'm a big supporter of the press. >> i do want to ask you a question on -- you were on the committee that did the impeachment inquiry in the house of representatives. you voted against impeaching the president. john bolton now says he would be willing to testify to the
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senate. one of the criticisms from republicans has been the lack soef-called direct witnesses, people in certain rooms. john bolton was in a lot of rooms where things happened. do you think the senate should hear his testimony? >> well, that's up for mitch mcconnell. i would have loved to see john bolton in the house hearing and rudy giuliani. i would have loved to see mick mulvaney. it's the responsibility of speaker pelosi -- >> but where we are today. this is in the senate. should mitch mcconnell allow john bolton to testify? >> that's a decision for mitch mcconnell. having more people's perspective is better, and that's why this should have been done in the house during this impeachment vote. and speaker pelosi should have pushed for the house to see and try to enforce the subpoenas. hearing from more people would have been better in the house. i'm not familiar with the senate procedure so you'll have to ask them. but again, i am supportive of more people coming and
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testifying when this was in the house. >> should he come to the house now? if adam schiff chooses to subpoena now, do you think john bolton should come testify? >> i'm sure adam schiff will press for that. and they'll work for figuring this out with the senate. >> and you would support it? >> i'd participate in the hearing for sure. i don't have control over who testifies anymore. >> congressman will hurd, it's a pleasure to have you on. thanks for your perspective. >> john, thank you, and happy new year. president trump says he is satisfied the war powers act with a tweet that notified congress. but some experts say that's breaking the law. that's next. adventure.
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house speaker nancy pelosi says they'll vote on a war powers resolution this week. but president trump already tweeted what he called legal notice to congress that the u.s. will strike back if iran retaliates. joining us now is ona hathaway,
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a professor at yale law school and special counsel to defense department. former special counsel. thank you for being here because you have a very interesting take on this. particularly the tweet that president trump sent out. let me read this tweet. you say he's threatening to do something illegal. let me just read exactly what it is it says and what you think is wrong with it. this is from january 5th. 3:25 p.m. these media posts will serve as notification to the united states congress that should iran strike any u.s. person or target, the united states will quickly and fully strike back and perhaps in a disproportionate manner. such legal notice is not required, but is given nevertheless. exclamation point. what part of that is illegal? >> well, just about all of it is illegal. so first of all, the president can't notify congress via tweet on his personal twitter account.
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that's passing absurd. >> hold on. let me stop you right there. i'm curious. in this day and age, aren't those official presidential statements? >> they're really not. the president can't give orders via twitter. it is actually his own personal account. in fact, he has litigated to allow himself to block users on the grounds that it's his own personal account and not an official account of the united states government. but there are procedures that one has to follow to actually notify congress under the war powers resolution. and a tweet just doesn't do that. >> so let's talk about that. so him issuing this decree, it's funny, frankly, that he says these media posts. he's not even using the term tweets which is the normal term for that. he's giving it a different name as though he knows that saying a tweet would not kind of cut it. but you're saying that
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officially, how does -- how must he notify congress? >> well, there's an official process for notifying congress. after a strike has taken place, part of what's strange about this is he's notifying congress in advance that at some point he may strike and that this is an advance notice in some form. so that's just strange. in addition to the fact it's strange that it's happening via tweet. what he really should be doing is going to congress and seeking consent from congress to take military action against iran. he shouldn't be sort of declaring on twitter that he's going to be taking significant military strikes. it's congress that has the constitutional right to declare war in the first place. so he really needs to be going to congress to seek its consent, not blasting something out on twitter. >> in fact, that is part of the war powers resolution, section three, just so that everybody knows. i'll read a portion of this. the president in every possible instance shall consult with
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congress before introducing united states armed forces into hostilities or into situations where it is clearly indicated by the circumstances and after such int introduction should consult regularly with congress. he's promising a, quote, perhaps disproportionate attack. what's wrong with that? >> in many ways, that's the most troubling part of the tweet. he uses the word disproportionate. which is suggesting that he's not simply going to respond to any attack by the iranians with a proportionate response as is required by international law, but he's threatening a disproportionate response. that suggests he intends to respond with a much bigger hit back than is legally permissible. and we don't know exactly what he means, of course, because this is a tweet. it's not a war powers report. we don't have a lot deaf taof d.
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but the fact he's using a term that would be in violation of international law if he carried it out has a lot of us quite worried. >> just very quickly, you know all of this. you are a yale law professor. surely the lawyers at the department of defense know this. are they concerned, do you imagine? why aren't they stopping him from saying things that could be illegal? >> in some ways, that's the most concerning part of all of this is, clearly, the lawyers have not been involved. they were not consulted. i'm sure about this tweet. anyone who works in the u.s. government who has a law degree could have told the president that there were many things wrong with this tweet. and, in fact, the whole administration has been sort of all over the place about what the legal justification is for the strike. there have been suggestions the 2002 authorization for use of military force. some suggestions that connect it to isis. some suggestion that there's
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self-defense justification. there's other suggestions that, well, they've been dangerous for a long time and it was about time we struck soleimani. these are all very inconsistent explanations for the legal basis of this. that suggests the lawyers really haven't been significantly involved. and i have to say that really worries me because ordinarily, you would have the lawyers from all the agencies involved here coordinating and coming up with a joint view about what the law requires. and then any option would have been run through them and they would have said, yes, this is perfectly legal or they would have explained there were concerns with that particular proposal. and the fact we see all of this running around has me worried that lawyers are not part of the picture. >> we appreciate you alerting us to all of these concerns. thank you very much for being on "new day." >> thank you so much. we have breaking news. we just learned that several powerful earthquakes in puerto rico overnight have now turned deadly.
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breaking news. one man has been killed after several powerful earthquakes hit
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puerto rico overnight. nearly 50 earthquakes and aftershocks have struck the island since christmas. the strongest, a 6.4 magnitude quake off the southwest coast caused buildings to collapse, including this church. you can see right there. leylsantiago is live in san juan with all the breaking details. as we get more light, we're getting a sense of the damage on the island. >> now the assessment begins as we learn of one trauma. one tragedy there with one death in the southern part of the island hit hard by this earthquake and trying to figure out exactly what is next with uncertainty looming because a lot of folks are really worried about the aftershocks. the last time that we spoke, it was just ten minutes later we felt a really strong aftershock here on the island. of course, the power grid which has always been vulnerable, given lack of maintenance and then hurricane maria, remains a big issue. a lot of people without power. you step outside you can hear the generators. what you hear the most is the
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fear in the voices of the people of puerto rico for concern of what is to come given that we've had one death. there's been a school that collapsed. there's been a church you just showed and a lot of homes already in vulnerable positions have also collapsed. so people are trying to get out today. see exactly what the damage is. assess it and try to make sure that they can get people in the right areas so that they are safe moving forward. >> leyla santiago in san juan. we're getting more information throughout the morning. please keep us posted as this develops. >> you bet. now to another developing story. a 13-year-old boy returning to the u.s. from mexico with his family was killed in an ambush attack south of the texas border. this comes two months after a similar roadside ambush in mexico that you'll remember left nine americans dead. cnn's ed lavandera joins us with details. what have you learned? >> well, it's a tragic story.
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13-year-old oscar lopez traveling back from the christmas holidays in northern mexico with his mother, uncle and brother were ambushed along a remote mexican highway just south of the border. this is very typical this time of year where families are crossing back and forth to visit relatives on both sides of the border. those roadways are used to seeing this traffic where people are making the driver. this family was from oklahoma. according to state authorities in mexico, they were ambushed along the road. men jumped out of the car and started firing at them. the 13-year-old boy was killed, and the gunmen fled from the scene in a separate vehicle. >> ed, please stay on that for us. what a tragedy there. new details from the administration on their claims behind what they say was an imminent threat that led president trump to order the killing of general qassem
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soleimani. crihristiane amanpour joins us next. is found in more fridges than anyone else, because it's the taste you count on. make every sandwich count. ♪ ♪ ♪ everything your trip needs for everyone you love. expedia.
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new claims this morning from the administration on what they say led president trump to order the killing of general qassem soleimani. moments ago, president trump'r t o'brien alleged soleimani was plotting attacks against u.s. personnel overseas. >> you did say that he was planning on killing american diplomats -- >> he was plotting to kill -- to attack american facilities and diplomats, soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines located at those facilities. >> what we don't know is if the administration is alleging there was a specific attack on specific facilities. he would not answer that question. and once again, they haven't offered the proof or evidence behind the intelligence. joining us now, christiane amanpour. obviously, there are questions here. there are questions here after what happened with the iraq
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invasion in 2003. people want to know if the intelligence or the proof is reliable, and there are questions when it comes to this administration and their record with the truth. >> well, clearly that is the major question. the two questions, as you say. one is, what is the actual evidence? we understand the so-called gang of eight in congress will be briefed and a bigger congressional briefing later on this week. the other big question is, how does iran retaliate? and i think this is something that certainly a huge show of emotional force and street power has been demonstrated in iran over the last four years that may have taken people in america, people around the world by surprise. someone who has covered iran for the last more than 25 years, the very first gulf war, i've never seen crowds of this size and the last time there were in 1989 for the are aboutiburial, the found ayatollah khomeini. so this is much more than just a
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funeral. it's a huge message. it's a message of resistance. it's a message about the cult status of qassem soleimani. even to the point that those who do not agree with the islamic regime in iran, there's a jailed house arrest reformist cleric. there are writers who have been disenfranchised by the regime who have all come out and condemned this killing of soleimani. so that's a huge point that i think a message is being sent to the rest of the world and to the united states. and then, of course, the foreign minister in the reform camp has said to our cnn's fred pleitgen that despitewhatthe united states is saying, despite what president trump said about 52 cultural site targets, iran will respond proportionately. let's just have a listen. >> this is state terrorism. this is an act of aggression against iraq. and it amounts to an armed attack against iran, and we will
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respond. but we'll respond proportionately, not disproportionately because we are committed to law.biding peo. we're not lawless like president trump. >> so as you know, defense secretary mike esper has walked back the cultural sites without saying that. he said we'll only act according to the rules of law. and there is a huge amount of attempted mediation going on from u.s. allies in europe and in the region to the saudi senior deputy defense minister who has been at the white house trying to de-escalate the situation and find a way how not to create a uncontrollable cycle of attack, counterattack and spilling into a deliberate war or accidental, full-scale war. >> earlier in the program we had former under secretary of defense michelle flournoy on and she said in her experience with the obama administration, the iranians telegraph what they're going to do.
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and so from your reporting of over 25 years, what do you hear in what zarif says happens next? >> well, i think they're telegraphing it clearly and they are saying it will be a proportionate strike. but you can hear them all say, whether it was the ambassador at the u.n. to erin burnett on the early hours after the assassination to the foreign minister zarif to the other officials coming out of iran, we cannot stay silent. we have to respond. they are being told by the street that no matter what they might want to do or not want to do to escalate or to retaliate, they have no choice. and indeed, it actually matters for the survival, i think, of the regime, certainly with its people, that somehow this cult-like figure, because that is what he was. he wasn't just some militia leader and he wasn't just as the united states portrays him. he was their, for want of a
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better word, stood between them and outside aggression. the united states has conducted economic warfare against iran for the last 40 years. and there's consistently sought regime staged in destabilization. from their point of view, they've been under attack from the united states for all these years. so it's all coming to a head right now. >> crihristiane amanpour, thank you. we'll hear from the u.s. secretary of state at 10:00 this morning. mike pompeo. we don't know what he's going to say. is he going to produce evidence of this alleged imminent attack. will he talk about if the united states is safer today? we're waiting to see. >> more of cnn's breaking news coverage on iran after this very quick break. severe cold or f? take control with theraflu. powerful, soothing relief to defeat your worst cold and flu symptoms fast. device: (sneezes) theraflu. the power is in your hands. i need all the breaks, that i can get.
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good morning. i'm poppy harlow. >> i'm jim sciutto. we're following the breaking news this morning. one hour from now, secretary of state mike pompeo is set to speak as tensions with iran are growing. u.s. forces across the middle east are on high alert overnight for the possibility, possible necessity to shoot down iranian drones. according to two u.s. officials, mounting intelligence shows what could be the imminent threat of attack from drones against u.s. targets in the region. u.s. intelligence is observing iran moving military equipment around over the last several days. that could mean it is either securing those weapons for the potential u.s. air strike or putting them in positions to launch the own attacks. >> also president trump's national security adviser robert o'brien says what led to the killing of iran's top general responsible for hundreds of american deaths. >> he did say it was about


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