tv Andrea Mitchell Reports MSNBC December 20, 2016 9:00am-10:01am PST
relative ease. they don't need a lot of training. they don't need the ability to use a sophisticated weapon. they can support the cause by using relatively simple tactics. >> assassination. a man guns down russia's ambassador to turkey in cold blood. shouting his anger over russia's bombing of aleppo. >> a team of investigators from moscow has arrived here in turkey. what they are trying to figure out is did this militant have help? was he working with other people? >> and the hangover. the election is over but donald trump and bill clinton are still sniping at each other while michelle obama shuts the door on another first lady getting into politics. >> would you run for office? >> no, no. >> no kind of office? >> no. that's one thing i don't do. i don't make stuff up. i'm not coy. i'm pretty direct. >> yeah. >> if i were interested in it, i would say it. i don't believe in playing
games. >> mm-hmm. >> it's not something i would do. but it also speaks to the fact that people don't really understand how hard this is. it's not something that you cavalierly just sort of ask a family to do again. good day. i'm andrea mitchell in washington. with new developments in two deadly attacks overseas this as security is tightened here at home and also abroad in berlin. police have new doubts today about whether the man they arrested for the christmas market truck attack is the right man. or whether the real killer is still on the run. this morning german chancellor angela merkel said the crash is believed to be a terrorist attack as she laid flowers at a makeshift memorial near the site. in turkey, a ceremony was held today to honor the russian ambassador who was assassinated monday while speaking at the
opening of an art exhibit. we are following both breaking stories for you. anne thompson in berlin, richard engel inistanbul. what do they know? are they now getting closer to the conclusion that the man who was arrested is not the right man? >> reporter: well, they certainly have doubts about the man that is in custody, andrea, as to whether or not he is the man who drove the truck into that christmas market last night, killing 12 people and injuring 48. the man in custody is a 23-year-old pakistani refugee. he came to germany on december 31 of last year. he went to berlin in february. he's actually applied for asylum. his request has not been processed. he has told authorities that he didn't do it. now this happened -- they arrested him last night and about noon today, a little later, authorities started to express publically doubts that they had the right man.
what is going on? we know they are looking at cctv footage, video footage around the area, to see what the truck did, to see who got out of the truck. perhaps that's leading to these doubts. they have also had a chance to go over the truck. they moved it from the market site today. they brought it somewhere else and they are doing a forensic examination. perhaps that's why they have doubts. tonight, certainly here in berlin there are questions about whether or not they have the right man. as for what's happening here in the city, we are hearing the sounds and sites of mourning. just seconds before i came on the air, the bells here at the kaiser wilhelm memorial church paled f pealed for five minutes in remembrance of the victims and tonight the brandenburg is draped in the national colors, black, red and gold. it is true germany is mourning
in its national colors tonight. this nation's heart broken at christmas time. andrea? >> anne thompson, extraordinary images indeed. meanwhile in turkey, andrey karlov, the russian ambassador is being mourned. the united states has offered help. richard engel is there. what is the erdogan reaction so far? do we think this man was a rogue, an inspired terrorist or do they think he is part of some plot? >> reporter: well, typical of erdogan we have been hearing a variety of different theories coming from him and his inner circle. some of them suggesting that the gunman didn't work alone, that it was too professional, that it could not have been someone who didn't have help and an organization behind him. there have been officials who blame it on the gulinists, the movement that according to turkey tried to carry out the coup in this country just about
a year ago. less than a year ago. so even though that doesn't seem to fit with what the militant himself was saying in his -- as he was carrying out the assassination. he was saying he was a jihadi and wanted to do this to punish russia for the attack on aleppo. frankly, we are not hearing a consistent message from the turkish authorities. but they seem to be pushing this conspiracy theory. there are suggestions the united states had a role in this, the cia was involved, the gulinists are backed by the united states. that's causing anger on the streets and there is some suggestion that because of this propaganda campaign that the elderly gentleman last night at 3:00 in the morning took a shotgun and fired off eight round sz trying to get into the
american embassy. no explanation has been given to what happened to him. he was arrested by turkish police. he was not shot. the gunman who killed the russian ambassador was killed in a gunfight. >> richard, let's be clear. the ex-patriot turkish cleric gulan who is living in pennsylvania and applied for asylum. he and his attorney say he had nothing to do with the coup or with this. it is a separate issue. >> reporter: it seems turkey and the united states are starting to live in different mental spaces. if you listen to the gunman and believe that he's explaining his true motivations, it is clear he's from a jihadi group speaking first in arabic yelling "allahu akbar" and then
professing his sympathy for the syrian cause. here in turkey, tens of thousands of people have been arrested or fired because this country is in a national campaign to purge itself, government-led campaign of the supporters of fatulla gulan who denied a role in carrying out a coup attempt here is in the united states. these issues are being confused and mixed together in people's minds. some say any time something goes wrong in this country, the weather is bad, the crops are bad the gulen movement is blamed and we see that mentality inching into this. it is possible they have intelligence they are not sharing but a confusing picture coming from official authorities. >> indeed. just to put a punctuation point
on this erdogan confronted joe biden personally in a meeting demanding the return of gulen and biden said we have due process here, he deserves a hearing. there is a lot of tension there. this is all against the backdrop of the incoming administration with a lot of prize for erdogan initially from donald trump. richard, thank you very much for that. of course anne thompson in berlin. for more on these likely terror attacks and who could be behind them we bring in sean henry, former assistant director of the fbi and msnbc cyber security and counter terrorism analyst. sean, let's first talk about turkey and then berlin. these could be inspired, could not be -- it's possible they are not part of a larger organization but i assume the counter terror experts here and there are looking at all possibilities. >> talking about turkey? >> first. >> richard hit it. it's not clear at this point.
is it something related to the coup or, as the attacker said, some of the things he said talking about remember aleppo. clearly there's been some divide between turkey and russia on this. russia supporting president assad. turkey supporting some of the rebels. and the russian offensive that has killed a lot of innocent civilians and created this humanitarian crisis there. it appears based from what we heard that's what it's related to. of course there will be a long investigation. are there others involved? is this a larger conspiracy? what's the true motivation here? >> in berlin, trucks have been used before. we see nice, saw what happened in ohio. but despite the fact that isis has to inspire magazines suggested using semis this could be a loan actor. it could be someone operationally directed. we don't know. >> that's right. both al qaeda and isis called for these types of attacks going back six or seven years. we have seen a lot of these
types of attacks in europe and hear in the united states recently at ohio state university. one of the concerns is all of the refugees that are streaming out of syria, millions of people who left, many of whom are civilians looking for a better way of life. but we know isis and other extremist groups looked to infiltrate the streams to get in and build a platform. those are people who might be operationally directed by the larger organization. we also have the concern about those who are radicalized. people who come to western countries. they settle in. they are disenfranchised, susceptible to the rhetoric of the extremists. they have become operational themselves. is this a conspiracy or an individual acting on their own. >> let's talk about russia and the hacking. you were involved in investigating for the dnc when they were first notified by the
fbi. it didn't take long for you to figure out the cyber tracks, the signature of russian hacking. what was then determined was reported by cynthia mcfadden exclusively that it was at, quote, the highest levels determined by the dni on december 7 and later by the fbi and in fact the highest levels means vladimir putin. directing the transmission of the hacked materials including john podesta's e-mails to wikileaks, perhaps through a cut out, a third party. what does this tell us about vladimir putin and about the relationship between our two countries now? >> we know for many years different nations have worked to collect intelligence to help their national security. it's traditional espionage. in this particular case, what we saw was an operationalzation of the intelligence to try to impact the election. the u.s. government has taken that a step forward and said specifically it was to get
donald trump elected through both the cia and fbi. what we saw at crowd strike was the theft of information. we were able to tie it back to russian intelligence services based on looking at hundreds of attacks and hacks over many years. >> two separate services. it was two wings working together. peaps not. >> the fsb which we called cozy bear and the gsu we called fancy bear, two different organizati n organizations that didn't appear to be aware they were targeting the same agency. >> there is some confusion about how the dnc was notified. in the "new york times" it was that it took seven months for the fbi to ramp it up to a higher level and notify. loretta lynch suggested that's not the case. can you clarify? >> i think the fbi made notification to the dnc. they spoke to a contractor who worked at the dnc who was responsible for i.t.
administration. that person, a phone call came in. they didn't see somebody come in and knock on the door. there was concern whether it was a legitimate notification or not. i think in these cases it is important to understand who the target is, who the actors are. and what does the government need to do to ensure that the private sector is in the best position to be able to fight these types of attacks off. >> the fbi should have been more proactive. i know you worked there. you understand all sides of this. the dnc should have been shaken more by this. they should have reacted more affirmatively perhaps. should there have been a red alarm bell going off? >> in this case, understanding who the target is and who the actors are, if you don't see that there is an appropriate response, that they are not taking steps that you need to ramp it up, there needs to be a sense of urgency. we as a country, as a government have to understand that attackers, adversaries, nation
states are taking more aggressive postures and much more aggressive attacks and there needs to be an appropriate response. both from the private sector as well as from the government. >> what is the potential damage for the president-elect discounting this initially saying it was an attempt to delegitimize him, responding in a political sense but dismissing the intelligence? >> when we talk about a national security issue and this clearly was a national security issue with an attempt to disrupt at least the electoral process in the united states. national security is nonpartisan. it cannot be partisan. it has to be the united states protecting its interest and you have to have confidence in your intelligence services. thank you very much, sean henry. coming up, more on the breaking news. the attacks in berlin. potential threats to american citizens traveling in europe and turkey. state department spokesperson
john kirby joins me next. over k onto the shag carpeting... ...and his pants ignited into flames, causing him to stop, drop and roll. luckily jack recently had geico help him with renters insurance. because all his belongings went up in flames. jack got full replacement and now has new pants he ordered from banana republic. visit geico.com and see how affordable renters insurance can be.
the suspected terrorist attacks in berlin and turkey are sparking fears for americans traveling abroad. joining me now is the state department spokesperson john kirby. thank you very much for being with us. >> you bet. >> john, let's talk about the state department warning against the possible risks to americans traveling in europe, around the holiday season, at christmas markets. so you were right on point in this case. >> this is not the kind of thing you want to be right about, andrea. but in november before thanksgiving we issued a europe travel alert that just advised people to be vigilant overseas particularly in europe and at public events like festivals and
markets. we want people to be self-aware. we did the same thing in may before the summer travel season. there wasn't any specific threat stream that directed that message. it was a general awareness in talking with intelligence communities and others in the agency that we wanted americans to really be vigilant if they were going to travel over the holiday season. >> as far as you know at this point were there any americans at all or dual citizens involved as victims here? >> as of now, andrea, we have no indications that any american citizens, whether dual nationality or otherwise were wrapped up in this. we are in touch with german authorities as you would expect we would be. we'll watch this closely. as of now we are not aware of americans. >> richard engel has been reporting out of istanbul that the erdogan media and erdogan officials are all pointing to the united states. there was an attempted shooting outside the u.s. embassy. there is a lot of anti-american
and anti-gulen sentiment being ginned up and conspiracy theories against the cleric in pennsylvania seeking asylum. he's been living here. >> yeah. >> what's your message to turkey? terms of trying to blame america for this arab-speaking man who heinously killed the russian ambassador and shouted about the russian involvement in aleppo? >> first we want to offer our thoughts and condolences to the ambassador's family, the russian people. in fact, the secretary spoke with foreign minister lavrov and offered condolences on the phone. our thoughts and prayers are with them. anying suggestion that the united states was behind this directly or indirectly is false. we take great exception to that. clearly not constructive to try to really solve what happened here. there is an investigation going on. the joint russian/turkey
investigation. we think it is important to let that investigation run its course. secretary kerry also offered to foreign minister lavrov if there was u.s. assistance required we would provide it. we want investigators to work through this before we jump to conclusions. any idea or assertion that the united states was in any way involved or behind this absolutely flies in the face of facts. >> there is reporting today that the trump transition team has inquired of the state department who was involved in the paris climate talks similar to questions that went to the epa and were pulled back because there was so much criticism about them. is there a witch hunt going on here? i know there is a democratic letter asking that foreign service officers be protected. >> right. a couple of things here. obviously we are not going to talk about the communications we are having with the transition team and the landing team here
at the state department. we are talking to them every day. we are not going to read the meetings and discussions. we continue to provide them information and context as required and as they deem fit to make sure they are ready to take over on the 20th of january. we want them ready. we want them to succeed. >> is that an appropriate request? would it be inappropriate to ask for the names of people who worked on a particular issue? >> so here's how i think i would put this. some of this is getting confused. they are about to inherit a very big bureaucracy. so you would think that it would be absolutely normal, and it is, for them to want to get a better sense of how this place is organized, resourced and manned. we are providing them information to help them get a better grip on the organization they are about to lead and take over. now i have seen a letter from members of congress with specific names. following up on what was a
request of the department of energy or at least an alleged request to the department of energy. i'm not aware of any such requests for names of people that worked on environmental issues at the state department. and in the context of just providing lists of names of who is working on a given issue we wouldn't do that. that would not be something we would support. in terms of just providing information about how we are organized, manned, resourced, all of that obviously is legitimately their right to know and our responsibility to provide. >> now last june you criticized the participation of exxon mobil in a st. petersburg energy conference given the ukraine sanctions and the fact that other companies did not participate. of course that participation was by rex tillerson who was designated to be the secretary of state. >> yeah. >> or at least if he's confirmed. >> right. >> what comments do you have now about that? any concerns? >> well, listen. we stand by those concerns.
we stand by those comments. we still don't believe it is time for business as usual with russia, particularly with respect to ukraine. we still believe that sanctions and having the sanctions roll over is important until we see the minesisk agreement complied with. we need to remember the annexation of crimea which we are not going to recognize. our tensions with respect to russia on those issues remain and they remain valid. the next administration has to make these decisions as they take office and determine what priorities they want to place on sanctions with russia. we believe they have been important. we believe that they have hurt, that the russian economy has felt the impact of these. we believe that that was an appropriate response and continues to be an appropriate response to the tensions we still see there. >> and tensions also that relate to russian hacking. reports by our own cynthia mcfadden that the hotline, red phone, however you categorize
that direct communication line was used in fact before the election to warn vladimir putin and russia not to interfere -- literally interfere -- with the processing of the american election, the vote counting. >> i can't speak to the use of the red line. that's something we wouldn't necessarily have visibility on here at the state department. i think you recall, andrea, even as far back as october the u.s. government was talking publically about our concerns over russian cyber activity with respect to confidence and/or trying to shake confidence in our electoral process. we have been vocal and honest about our concerns. i think that continues. now the president has a review going on. he wants it on his desk before he leaves office. i know the intelligence community is working on that. we need to let the review work its way through as well before we jump to final specific conclusions. >> finally, there are reports that the man designated to be the ambassador to israel --
well, more than repos. he was critical of americans he supported some of the far rights in israels. this goes back to camp david. it covers republican and democratic administrations. how do you foresee this working with the u.s. ambassador to israel being someone who takes a position contradicting generations of u.s. policy on settlements. >> you're right. this does cover generations on both sides of the aisle with respect to settlements. our view, our policy is consistent with that long standing view about settlements.
that they are not helping us get to a two state solution. everyone says they want a two state solution. we are still committed to that. secretary kerry is committed to that. for the whole region. the next administration will have to make decisions. that's for them to speak to and to decide and for their ambassador designate to work through the confiation process. i certainly wouldn't speak for the senate with respect to that. all i can tell you is our policy is consistent with that of so many previous administrations. we believe a viable two state solution is possible but requires leadership. it requires compromise. it requires solid decisions by leaders in the region. thus far it's a struggle to see those leaders make those tough decisions. >> john kirby, thank you very much. thanks for joining us from the state department. >> my pleasure. thank you. >> coming up, round two of the
with my moderate to severe ulcerative colitis, the possibility of a flare was almost always on my mind. thinking about what to avoid, where to go... and how to deal with my uc. to me, that was normal. until i talked to my doctor. she told me that humira helps people like me get uc under control and keep it under control when certain medications haven't worked well enough. humira can lower your ability to fight infections, including tuberculosis. serious, sometimes fatal infections and cancers, including lymphoma, have happened; as have blood, liver, and nervous system problems, serious allergic reactions, and new or worsening heart failure. before treatment, get tested for tb. tell your doctor if you've been to areas where certain fungal infections are common, and if you've had tb, hepatitis b, are prone to infections, or have flu-like symptoms or sores. don't start humira if you have an infection. raise your expectations. ask your gastroenterologist about humira.
with humira, control is possible. and now it's trump versus clinton take two. this time former president bill clinton chatting with reporters about his wife's loss after casting his vote in albany after an elector. >> she fought through that. she fought through everything and prevailed against it all. you know, at the end we had the russians and the fbi deal. she couldn't prevail against that. she did against everything else and still won. >> this after belittling trump at a bookstore near his home. according to a local paper he said trump doesn't know much. one thing he does know is how to get angry white men to vote for him. rising to the challenge on twitter the president-elect fired back writing bill clinton stated that i called him after the election, wrong. he called me with a very nice congratulations.
he doesn't know much, especially how to get people even with an unlimited budget out to vote in the vital swing states. and more, they focused on wrong states. kristen welker is in palm beach covering the president-elect. they have been busy on twitter, chatting at bookstores. there is obviously a lot of hurt on one side and resentment on the other. this isn't going to be patched over quickly. the fact is that donald trump is still responding by twitter. we have still not heard him responding to questions. >> that's right. it under scores a couple of points here. the fact that president-elect donald trump is still waging battles on twitter, taking his frustrations out. no surprise. he had a strong reaction to former president bill clinton saying he's good at getting angry white men out to vote. i think it under scores other points. the fact that things got so
bitter between these two families that were one-time social friends, bill clinton, donald trump used to golf together. of course things right now even after the campaign still so incredibly heated between the two families. and you still have bill clinton fingerpointing saying it was fbi director james comey who cost his wife the election. the fact that donald trump didn't strategically win the race and you have democrats privately saying, look, they want to see the clinton campaign democrats more broadly taking a hard look at what went wrong and figure out how to reach some of the voters in states like michigan, pennsylvania, the key states that flipped for donald trump. so i think it highlights the fact that there are a lot of hard questions democrats are asking and it comes against the backdrop of the current commander in chief. president obama saying it is time to lower the temperature on this. he's trying to foster a smooth transition. if you look at this bitter back and forth, not going to happen
between the clintons and the trumps now. >> michelle obama with oprah in an exit interview talking about some of the things that happened to her. it was a wide ranging interview. this is one moment that struck me. >> it is important for the health of this nation that we support the commander in chief. wasn't done when my husband took office, but we are going high. >> when you say it wasn't done for your husband for his presidency, what do you mean by that? >> there were people who didn't support his presidency. there were people in congress. there were leade in congress who didn't support his presidency which was not something that was good for the country. it was good for politics. >> kristen, clearly she's not talking about the bushes who were incredibly gracious, she said. she's talking about republican leaders in congress who decided not to cooperate with barack obama. >> you can still it is still
incredibly personal for her that you had leaders like mitch mcconnell saying their goal was to essentially prevent president obama from getting anything done. this is something that she still carries around with her. but you're hearing her echo what the president is saying. now we have to look forward, focus on a smooth transition. this was one of the most reflective interviews we have heard from first lady michelle obama. she talked about the fact that this was painful for her. oprah pressed her. will she run for office. she said absolutely not. she doesn't play games. she insisted she will not throw her hat into the political ring. we'll have to see. coming up, cyber attack. what we still don't know about the russian hacking. this is "andrea mitchell reports" on msnbc.
my business was built with passion... but i keep it growing by making every dollar count. that's why i have the spark cash card from capital one. with it, i earn unlimited 2% cash back on all of my purchasing. and that unlimited 2% cash back from spark means thousands of dollars each year going back into my business... which adds fuel to my bottom line. what's in your wallet?
at the marine mammal center, the environment is everything. we want to do our very best for each and every animal, and we want to operate a sustainable facility. and pg&e has been a partner helping us to achieve that. we've helped the marine mammal center go solar, install electric vehicle charging stations,
and become more energy efficient. pg&e has allowed us to be the most sustainable organization we can be. any time you help a customer, it's a really good feeling. it's especially so when it's a customer that's doing such good and important work for the environment. together, we're building a better california. i think the feeling many germans have had and are reluctant to say out loud given
germany's history is they feel they have lost control of their country. by her unilateral action in allowing this wave of refugees to come in, she definitely exposed germany and others to the risk of terrorism. >> john bolton is still under consideration to be deputy secretary of state today with a blunt assessment of german chancellor angela merkel's policies toward migration and the possible connection he's trying to make between what happened in berlin last night. california congressman adam schiff, top democrat on the house intelligence committee joins me now. i know you have to be careful about what you say but do they have -- first of all, they don't know if they have the right man but whether it was inspired by isis or al qaeda? both have recommended using trucks in a lethal way, whether this is a lone actor? >> we don't know yet. there hasn't been a claim of responsibility, no claim that this was a soldier of the caliphate. we don't know yet.
what i can tell you is we have had intelligence for quite some time about potential terrorist attacks in europe. germany was certainly one of the foremost targets and as recently as november the state department put out a warning that looks prescient saying americans ought to be careful in holiday street festivals, that terrorists may use unconventional means like vehicles like we saw in nice. a warning which was based on intelligence and turned out to be accurate. we have seen this tragedy. it certainly looks like it may have been in response or at least inspired by those caused by isis and al qaeda. >> so far the incoming transition, michael flynn at the nsc, they have not allowanced a replacement for the assistant on terror and homeland security. it is now held by lisa monaco,
previously by fran townsend. there are reports that there is a consideration of having michael flynn do it all and not replacing that person. is it possible to be national security adviser and also be in charge of the counter terror effort? what would be your takeaway. >> it's possible. i don't think it is -- >> advisable? >> no. i don't think it is a good idea. it is a big job to have a focus on counter terrorism and i think that ought to occupy someone's every waking moment. that's in a high position within the white house. the national security adviser will have enough on their plate with everything going on around the world. that would concern me. but there are a lot of rumors going around that they may want to do away with the whole director of national intelligence. and that may be why they have taken time to find a candidate for the office if they don't think the office will be around that long. that would be a mistake. right now we are operating on rumor and tweet. >> rumor and tweet at the same
time as the russian hacking is a serious issue. being reported exclusively by nbc news. my colleague cynthia mcfadden tying it to vladimir putin. now there is confirmation at the highest level. president obama making that clear at his news conference. still, no true acknowledgment from the incoming administration of putin's role. >> no. that's true. it's disturbing because the evidence is overwhelming. i don't know anyone -- democrat or republican -- that's seen the intelligence that has any doubt about russian involvement in the hacking of our institutions and the dumping of information and meddling in elections. there may be debate about russian motives. i don't think there is among our agencies but there might be among members. but for the president-elect to continue to deny the obvious, i think that does himself damage, does damage to the intelligence community. we'll count on him when he the president when there is a crisis. when he wants to take action
regarding iran, china and he has to say this is on the basis of intelligence. we need to believe him. he's making it very difficult. >> can this be investigated by bipartisan committees or does it need to be an outside commission like the 9/11 commission? >> think the idea of a commission is a good idea. i don't think the two have to be incompatible though. i have been urging our chairman and others that we do something jointly with the senate so the agencies don't have to come in before multiple bodies and so that we don't have to get potentially different takes and that we can come to a united conclusion on what happened. that's the only way it will be valuable if at the end of the day the american people have faith we arrived at our conclusions objectively. with respect to the political dynamic here, there is responsibility here both parties need to accept. on the republicans' side, donald
trump's embrace of russia, his willingness to basically give the russians deniability for hacking made it lethal, dangerous, destructive. democrats have to own the fact that a lot of this was public during the election and we didn't succeed in telling the american people why they should care about russian meddling in their election. that's on us. so there is plenty of responsibility to go around. going forward we need to have a bipartisan thoroughly objective effort to tell the american people just what happened, why it happened and what we are doing to prevent it in the future. >> adam schiff, thank you very much. >> thank you. >> happy holidays to you and merry christmas. >> thank you. >> coming up, a report from msnbc's bill nealy inside aleppo next.
will your business be ready when growth presents itself? american express open cards can help you take on a new job, or fill a big order or expand your office and take on whatever comes next. find out how american express cards and services can help prepare you for growth at open.com. find out how american express cards and services ♪ everything your family touches sticks with them. find out how american express cards and services make sure the germs they bring home don't stick around. use clorox disinfecting products. because no one kills germs better than clorox.
the bombed out city. bill nealy is there as well and filed this report. >> reporter: hello from the ruins of eastern aleppo. look at the devastation here. this was rebel held until a week ago. now in the hands of president assad's forces. from the carnage here, the convoys of people have been continuing through the night and today. thousands of people being evacuated from the final rebel-held area of this city. the temperatures here have been below freezing. so those people are not only cold and hungry, they are traumatized and exhausted. they have lived through six months of siege here and through four years of war. remember, president assad's forces' tactics were surrender or starve. many of the people very hungry indeed. today in moscow, russia, iran and turkey will hold talks aimed at restarting the peace process.
the u.s. on the sidelines but the prospects for peace poor indeed. in the last 24 hours president assad's forces have targeted areas around damascus and it is thought the next -- gun fire in the background there -- the next target is likely to be idlib province, the province where most of the tens of thousands of people evacuated from areas like this have fled to. so they are safe there for now. but that could change in the future. so from these devastated streets, back to you. >> bill nealy, an eyewitness to what's going on in aleppo. coming up, mounting controversy over donald trump's ambassador -- nominee to be ambassador to israel.
donald trump's controversial choice david friedman is facing criticism. he's allied with the extreme right wing of israeli politics. according to reports during a conference in washington last month he said he would not meet with j-street which he's referred to as kapos, a derogatory form for jews who cooperated with nazis. jere jeremy, thank you very much for joining me. >> this is a perilous time in the middle east and for politics going forward. tell me what concerns, if any, you have about david friedman, whether he will or won't meet with you. and his role given what's going on right now with israelis and palestinians. >> there are concerns like the views even to the far right of the far right when it comes to the israeli-palestinian
conflict. a president has the right to appoint someone who represents his views as misguided as they might be. that's problem one. opposition to a two state solution. secondly, complete lack of experience. diplomatic novice in one of the spots on the globe. >> usually held by an experienced person. >> ambassadors can be friends of the president and donors and supporters. you could justify that as a second problem. >> that's usually in places where they are doing a lot of socializing, hosting or business communications, not israel. >> which brings you to the third demeanor of the man. does he have the ability to actually be a diplomat in one of the world's most sensitive spots. the region is burning. jerusalem is the trigger for the potential for massive conflict. not just what we are seeing now but to trigger an international religious war and to put someone
with no control over his mouth, over the way in which he refers to people he doesn't like or agree with is simply -- should not pass the test for the senate of advice and consent. it should be a nomination that's rejected. >> jared kushner, the influential son-in-law of donald trump has also been a supporter for some of the groups with david friedman. >> right. friedman is the chair of the most extreme settlement on the west banks, a town called batel. he's raised millions over the year to support the institutions of the settlement. the founding families of the friend group were the friedman family and the kushner family and others who were among the more extreme american funders of these enterprises. it is of no comfort that jared kushner would be part of the mix in seeking a solution to the conflict. >> which the president-elect
said jared kushner might be one of his negotiators or a mediator. >> he's said that. the president-elect also has been a donor to this settlement through the american friends group. that came out in his trump foundation tax returns from about ten years ago. there is grave concern for those of us who believe in a two-state solution and don't think the settlement enterprise is furtherering the cause of peace and lowering the temperatures this is of grave concern. >> to be continued. thank you very much. >> thank you. >> more ahead. we'll be right back. ugly and me. they are the natural born enemy of the way things are. yes, ideas are scary, and messy and fragile. but under the proper care, they become something beautiful.
that's it for this edition of "andrea mitchell reports." remember, follow us online on facebook and twitter. hallie jackson is next on msnbc. >> hi, andrea. thank you very much. i'm hallie jackson coming to you live from washington where we are following a lot of developments in the investigations of two attacks in germany and turkey. a memorial ceremony wrapping up a couple of minutes ago in berlin after a truck drove into a crowd of holiday shoppers on
monday. that driver may still be on the loose with the man hunt intensifying. in turkey, russian investigators are now on the ground working with turkish officials after the assassination of a russian ambassador. we'll talk about why the u.s. embassy there is also on high alert. more security in big cities with christmas a few days away. now what the german chancellor is calling a terror attack. talk about what you are hearing from investigators on the ground about the man hunt. >> in the much. we were told there would be something of an update for the man hunt. it's been hours and we haven't seen anything. moments after the attack, some 550 police officers descended on the square behind me. they arrested a pakistani national who arrived in germany a year ago almost to the day and applied for asylum. he didn't attend