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Interview With Oklahoma Senator James Lankford; Trump's Labor Feud; Controversial EPA Pick; Spy Chief Opens Up About James Bond & Real-Life MI6; John Glenn, Former Senator & Astronaut, Dies at 95; Union Boss Gets Death Threats after Trump Twitter Attack; Clinton Speaks to Pizza Shop Owners Threatened by False News. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired December 8, 2016 - 18:00   ET



WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Will Donald Trump's choice to head the Environmental Protection Agency improve the organization or try to dismantle it?

Death threats. A union boss says he's being targeted by Trump supporters after the president-elect bashed him on Twitter for criticizing the Carrier deal. We will take a closer look at the fallout from the tweeter in chief's latest counterattack.

Launch potential. We're getting new information about North Korea's ability to launch a nuclear weapon. One U.S. official revealing to CNN why the threat from Kim Jong-un is -- quote -- "keeping me awake at night."

And James Bond's boast -- boss, I should say -- the real-life MI6 chief comes out of the shadows to offer a rare glimpse into the Britain spy agency, global threats, and whether he would ever hire an agent like 007.

We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

We heard from the president-elect just moments ago, calling it an honor to meet with victims of the ISIS-inspired attack at Ohio State University. This hour, he's heading to Iowa, taking another lap in his thank you tour as he keeps working to build his Cabinet.

A source tells CNN he selected fast food magnate Andy Puzder as labor secretary.

Also tonight, Hillary Clinton is diving into a sensitive issue for the Trump team. She's warning about the dangers of so-called fake news. She called it an epidemic that's putting lives at risk beyond any influence it may have had on the election.

Also this hour, we're learning that the U.S. is stepping up contingency planning to deal with the threat from North Korea, this amid growing concern that Kim Jong-un's regime is edging closer and closer to being able to deploy a nuclear weapon. And the head of Britain's spy agency is now publicly criticizing

Russia for supporting the Syrian regime in its brutal and bloody Syrian war. The MI6 chief making a rare appearance and breaking his silence about his secretive organization.

A key member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Republican James Lankford, is standing by, along with our correspondents and analysts, as we bring you full coverage of the day's top stories.

First, let's go to CNN political reporter Sara Murray. She is in Columbus, Ohio.

Tell us more about the president-elect's visit there and his remarks just moments ago, Sara.

SARA MURRAY, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, Donald Trump just wrapped up a relatively brief visit here in Columbus, Ohio. He met privately with first-responders and victims of this attack here, and he spoke briefly to the pool of reporters afterwards, expressing his feelings about the bravery of not only the first-responders, but also the victims and the heroics of the families that have come through this.

Now, of course, all of this is happening against the backdrop of Donald Trump building out his White House team, and this afternoon, the Trump team made it official, putting out a press release saying Andy Puzder will be their pick to be labor secretary.


MURRAY (voice-over): Just because Donald Trump is president-elect doesn't mean he is shying away from Twitter showdowns. After touting his deal with Carrier to keep jobs in the U.S. just a week ago:

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT: I will tell you that United Technologies and Carrier stepped it up, and now they're keeping actually -- the number is over 1,100 people, which is so great, which is so great.

MURRAY: Now he is unloading on the president of the union that represents the Indianapolis Carrier plant. Chuck Jones, the president of the United Steel Workers Local 1999, said Trump lied by overstating the number of jobs he convinced Carrier to keep in the U.S. The actual number is 800, not 1,100.

Trump unleashed on Twitter, saying: "Chuck Jones, who is president of United Steel Workers 1999, has done a terrible job representing workers. No wonder companies flee country."

Jones says, even though he has been receiving threats after Trump's tweets:

CHUCK JONES, UNION LEADER: I have been doing this job 30 years. And I have had a lot more serious threats than what people are making right now. I have got a little more thicker skin maybe than I did many years ago. MURRAY: He doesn't regret his remarks.

JONES: He didn't tell the truth. He inflated the numbers. And I called him out on it.

MURRAY: The Twitter sideshow playing out as Trump continues building out his Cabinet. A source tells CNN Trump has chosen fast food executive Andy Puzder to serve as labor secretary. The chief executive of CKE Restaurants is both an advocate for scaling back regulation and a critic of efforts to raise the minimum wage, even as he acknowledges states have a right to do So.

ANDREW PUZDER, PRESIDENT & CEO, CKE RESTAURANTS: There's really nothing you could to do stop states from raising the minimum wage. They want to do that. You could use the bully pulpit to encourage them to do what's best for American workers, what's best for wages, what's best for economic growth.

MURRAY: Trump meeting today with Alan Mulally, the former CEO of Ford, as well as retired Admiral James Stavridis, a potential candidate for the coveted secretary of state slot. Stavridis was once vetted as a possible running mate for Hillary Clinton.


ADM. JAMES STAVRIDIS (RET.), FORMER NATO SUPREME ALLIED COMMANDER: Terrific. Had a wonderful meeting with the president-elect. We talked about the world. We talked about defense.

MURRAY: All of this as the billionaire businessman continues to revisit the battleground states that delivered him the presidency, making a somber stop in Ohio to meet with first-responders and victims of the attack at Ohio State University.

TRUMP: These were really brave people, amazing people.

MURRAY: Before heading to Iowa for a victory rally.

But even as Trump turns his gaze to the White House, questions linger about how far he is willing to go in separating himself from his business. So far, there is little indication Trump will fully divest from his company. But a source tells CNN Trump may add an additional person to the leadership structure, someone outside his family, a move not only to bat back conflict of interest concerns, but also to protect his children.


MURRAY: Now, while Trump was here, he also expressed his condolences for the passing of John Glenn, who was born right here in Ohio. Trump said he actually met Glenn twice -- back to you, Wolf.

BLITZER: Sara, thanks very much.

Now to the controversy over Donald Trump's choice to lead the Environmental Protection Agency. Some Democrats in Congress already are promising to fight Scott Pruitt's nomination, slamming the Oklahoma attorney general as a climate change denier.

Let's go to our aviation and government regulation correspondent, Rene Marsh.

Rene, Pruitt is a vocal critic of the agency he's now slated to run.


He's a lightning rod pick. The announcement has generated passionate responses on both sides. Republicans have long looked at the EPA as a wasteful agency that over-regulates, and they say Pruitt will cut wasteful spending and useless laws.

But, on the other side, environmentalists call Pruitt dangerous, both to Americans' health and the environment.


MARSH (voice-over): Scott Pruitt, the man Donald Trump wants to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, has spent most of his career trying to dismantle the agency he could soon lead.

SCOTT PRUITT (R), OKLAHOMA ATTORNEY GENERAL: We have an EPA and a federal government that's actively involved in picking winners and losers, and using regulatory power to penalize fossil fuels.

MARSH: As attorney general of Oklahoma, the biggest oil- and natural gas-producing state in the nation, Pruitt launched multiple legal battles against the Obama administration's key climate change laws, regulations his soon-to-be new boss made clear he opposes.

TRUMP: Department of Environmental Protection, we're going to get rid of it in almost every form. We're going to have little tidbits left.

The Trump transition team says Pruitt -- quote -- "brings a deep understanding of the impact of regulations on both the environment and the economy."

NICK LORIS, HERITAGE FOUNDATION: Attorney General Pruitt has been a leader in fighting against excessive regulations from the EPA that have driven up costs for American families and businesses and have been devoid of any real meaningful environmental benefits.

MARSH: But, tonight, critics are pushing back hard, saying Pruitt is a climate change denier. The 48-year-old once said -- quote -- "Scientists continue to disagree about the degree and extent of global warming and its connections to actions of mankind."

And in a November radio interview, he gave insight on how he would run the agency.

QUESTION: Tell us, under a Trump administration, what are you looking forward to?

PRUITT: Regulatory rollback. Washington has become way too consequential to the lives of citizens across the country. They have been dictating to the states, dictating to business, dictating to industry, sometimes outside of the Constitution.

MARSH: The fasted and easiest action Pruitt can take on day one without help from Congress is to simply not enforce the laws on the books, like the Clean Air Act and the Clean Power Plan.

Trump has said his administration will value clean water and air, but his EPA pick has sued the agency at least 12 times, challenging its Clean Power Plan, which seeks to curb carbon emissions from power plants. He's also sued the EPA for trying to curb methane emissions from the oil and gas industry.

FRED KRUPP, PRESIDENT, ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENSE FUND: As head of the EPA, it would be like letting the fox in the henhouse.

MARSH: Pruitt is a strong supporter of the energy agency. And they support him too. In 2014, his campaign committee received more than $700,000 in contributions. More than 17 percent of that came from energy donors.

A 2014 "New York Times" investigation found he collaborated secretly with the energy industry, sending letters lobbyists wrote for him to the U.S. government attacking the EPA.

In a statement today, Pruitt said -- quote -- "I intend to run this agency in a way that fosters both responsible protection of the environment and freedom for American businesses."


MARSH: Democrats don't have the power to block his confirmation, but lawmakers CNN spoke to said the game plan is to reach across the aisle, have discussions about what is at stake.

The big picture here for the Trump administration, this really goes beyond the environment. The philosophy of fewer environmental regulations speaks to president-elect Trump's larger goal of economic growth. The thinking, Wolf, if you get rid of those regulations, get them out of the way, businesses will flourish.


BLITZER: Rene Marsh reporting for us, thanks very much.

Let's bring in Republican Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma. He's a member of the Senate Intelligence and Homeland Security Committees.

And you're from Oklahoma.


BLITZER: This is the Oklahoma attorney general who is now going to be nominated by the president-elect to take over the EPA. His critics point out he's a climate change denier. What do you see as his vision for the EPA?

LANKFORD: Let me start by saying Scott Pruitt is not only a good guy. He's a friend. And I listened to the report and get a chance to watch it.

He's sued the EPA 12 times because they weren't following the law. That was the issue. The main focus that I have heard from Scott over and over again is not an issue of trying to tear down the environment or not being environmentally conscious, is the EPA has a responsibility that's outlined in the law.

And where EPA has exceeded that law and gone beyond it to create regulations that violate the law, they should be held to account on it. Most of the laws that we deal with, deal with clean water and clean air, have a state requirement, that state is responsible to do a portion, the federal government is responsible to do a portion.

What the EPA has tried to do the last eight years is to do the state's job. And where Scott has pushed back over and over again is not to get rid of environmental regulations. It's is to say the federal government should do its job, the states should do their job. And when they cooperate together, it's works.

Quite frankly, Oklahoma has one of the highest portfolios in the country of renewable energy. And that report talks about how much oil and gas we produced. That's true; 20 percent of our energy is wind power. Now, we have much higher wind distribution in our state than most any other state in the country.

So we are truly an all-of-the-above state, and that's happened in just the last eight years as well.

BLITZER: You know him well, obviously.

LANKFORD: I do know him well.

BLITZER: You're both from Oklahoma. You have worked with him.

Do you believe he doesn't believe in climate change, that humans have a role in the climate?

LANKFORD: I think his statement that came out there, it was pretty clear, to say there's a lot of dispute on what the effect of man is and how great that is, and that is true.

And even what happens now and what we do in America, there's all this great conversation about if we do all these limits in all these different ways, if we try to abide by this pact or this pact, what effect will that have? Because America is not the leading producer of that. Obviously, China, India, all those others are

He's said over and over again, this is a policy issue that should be determined by Congress, not by the EPA.

BLITZER: The other charge against him, and you're hearing it all day today, he's really way too close with the oil industry, the energy industry, takes money from them for his campaigns. You saw that "New York Times" report that basically he forwarded a letter that a lobbyist for the oil industry wrote to the EPA challenging some issues. LANKFORD: Well, if he agreed with the letter and they sent it over, I

just don't see the issue with that. To say this is a letter, he agreed with it, can send it on.


BLITZER: When they get a letter, it looks like it's coming from the attorney general of Oklahoma, as to opposed where it originated, the oil lobby, if you will.

LANKFORD: Sure. And as that report even said, about 17 percent of his donations came in his last campaign from oil and natural gas.

Quite frankly, if you came to Oklahoma, you would find a tremendous number of companies, both very small and large, that are oil and natural gas. So, 17 percent of his campaign based on companies which is a major employer in Oklahoma doesn't surprise me.

BLITZER: Do you think he will try to dismantle almost all of the EPA? You heard the sound bite from the president-elect during the campaign. He would like to dismantle almost all of the EPA.

LANKFORD: Here's what I would think Scott is going to do.

Scott is going to follow the law. And where I think there are a lot of Democrat colleagues that are frustrated is the last eight years, the EPA has not followed the law. That's how they have been in so many lawsuits, and lost those lawsuits. Many of those suits have gone all the way to the Supreme Court, and the Supreme Court has said to the administration, you have overstepped your boundary. EPA does not have the right to--


BLITZER: Senator, your understanding is, he will follow the law, he will implement the law and all the regulations that are part of the laws that are currently in place?

LANKFORD: I have no doubt Scott will follow the law. And he will actually practice and follow there.

But what I don't expect him to do is to exceed the law. And that's what the EPA has done in the last several years.

BLITZER: Let's talk about John Kelly, who has been nominated, general, retired general, to be secretary of homeland security. Third general now in a sensitive national security, homeland security position in the incoming Trump administration.

Are you OK with all these generals coming in? Does that bother you at all?

LANKFORD: No, it doesn't bother me to have leadership.

Obviously, they're stepping in not as a general. They're stepping in as a civilian position. They have had great military experience. Our country has tremendous respect for these leaders and what they have done in leading people, in leading large organizations. That doesn't bother me for them to be able to step in.

And General Kelly was a tremendous leader for SOUTHCOM. In fact, in his leadership, just in drug interdictions and what happened in the Atlantic and the Gulf area, he literally in his work there was chasing the drug interdiction to the Pacific side.

Now most of the drugs that are moved in the United States move in the Pacific, rather than the Atlantic, because of his leadership and for what he did to protect the nation and our security.

BLITZER: But it doesn't bother you that the president-elect is interviewing an admiral, Admiral Stavridis, the former NATO supreme allied commander, maybe for secretary of state, General Petraeus also maybe for secretary of state? That doesn't bother you?


LANKFORD: It doesn't bother me. Again, our nation always looks for good leaders.

And our military leaders, if they were a good leader and they did well there, they have retired and they're in a civilian position, they're civilians now.

BLITZER: You want to tell us who you want to be secretary of state?

LANKFORD: Oh, there's about, I think, 300 people in the running now. I don't have a pick on it, but there are a lot of folks that are being floated and discussed on that.

I will let the president-elect be able to tap his Cabinet.

BLITZER: All right, Senator, we have more to discuss, including North Korea. There are new threats emerging even as we speak right now. Much more with the senator right after this.



BLITZER: We're back with Senator James Lankford.

Senator, please stand by for a moment.

We're getting some new information about the North Korean nuclear threat.

Our Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr, has been working her sources.

Barbara, what are you learning?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, a senior U.S. military official tonight says North Korea has the capability, key word, to marry up, to mate together everything that's needed, a nuclear warhead, a missile, and a delivery system.

What is holding the North Koreans up right now may be reentry technology. That's what it takes to put that weapon back into the atmosphere after you fire it and have it able to hit the target that you're designating, complicated stuff, but the North Koreans are working towards all of that.

Now what the U.S. worries about is, you know, what do you do about all of this? The officials say U.S. special operations are upping their contingency planning if they were to be ordered in the future to take action against North Korea's program, this senior U.S. military officer saying it is North Korea that keeps him up at night, Wolf.

BLITZER: You're also hearing, Barbara, more about the Russian threat, this coming a day after "TIME" magazine published an interview where Donald Trump said he doesn't believe the U.S. intelligence community is right when they point to Russia's interference in the U.S. election.

Let me read to you what he told "TIME" magazine: "I don't believe they interfered. Why not get along with Russia? They can help us fight ISIS. It could be Russia. It could be China. It could be some guy in his home in New Jersey. I believe that it could have been Russia and it could have been any one of many other people, sources, or even individuals."

What are your sources -- I know you have some high-level sources -- talking to you today, telling you about the Russian threat?

STARR: For the last several days, actually, U.S. officials privately have been very clear that they do believe Mr. Trump is wrong, that they have very solid intelligence that Russia was behind some of these disturbances, the cyber-hacking that has taken place.

Whether it's the official Russian government or Russian entities perhaps remains to be seen, but it comes from Russia. That is a very solid view. The U.S. military believes that Russia remains a very dire threat to U.S. national security, from its actions in Syria throughout the Middle East and even in Eastern Europe.

As we stand here tonight, Wolf, Secretary of State John Kerry, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met earlier today in Germany to talk about Syria, the U.S. pressing the case under the Obama administration that it is Russia who has facilitated Syria's ability to literally kill off thousands of people in Syria and to right now be killing off Aleppo.

If you are going to do business with Moscow, you somehow have to come to some way of dealing with that, dealing with the Russian support for Bashar al-Assad and what that has meant to the women, children, men, the civilians of Syria -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Hundreds of thousands of them in Aleppo right now endangered dramatically.

Barbara Starr at the Pentagon, thank you very much. Let's get back to Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma, key member of

the Intelligence and Homeland Security Committees.

I want to talk about Russia, North Korea. North Korea first. How close is North Korea to actually deploying a nuclear weapon?

LANKFORD: North Korea has been testing over and over again for the last several years, not only underground testing, missile testing, and we know the focus for North Korea has been to be able to launch an intercontinental ballistic missile.

Whether they can get to the United States, obviously try to get to South Korea, to Japan, and try to broaden their range on there. There's been no secret on that and they have made that very clear.

BLITZER: Because I have heard from some experts who are deeply worried about North Korea that, within a few years, they could have maybe 50 or even 100 nuclear bombs. What are you hearing?

LANKFORD: They have continued to be able to push their proliferation. There's been, again, no secret to this. As they do their testing, they're also advancing how they're getting a chance to gather nuclear material.

So for North Korea, and what they have actually now and for their testing capability, we can tell from their testing what they're able to do. But we don't know what they're able to do next, because that will be the next test that is actually coming out.

BLITZER: South Korea right now, a key U.S. ally, I understand they're extremely nervous about this potential threat from North Korea, and they see some North Korean cyber-attacks against South Korea that are very alarming. What are you hearing?

LANKFORD: So, you have testing from North Korea for nuclear testing.

You have advanced actions that are happening above on the ground in military and their own display of their military power. North Korea reaching into South Korea with a cyber-attack to be able to attack the cyber-command in South Korea.

You have instability in South Korea right now with President Park going through a massive corruption scandal. And they're being challenged by their own parliament on impeachment right now, actually, real conversations, if not impeach, to resign in April.

Transition with the prime minister, that would be next after the president and dispute about who that prime minister would be, if they have to trade that off. This is a very unstable time in that peninsula. And it's a time for America to continue to express to the South Korean people that we are your ally and we will continue to be able to stand with you and North Korea should not make advances.


BLITZER: Yes. We spend a lot of time here in THE SITUATION ROOM reporting on this North Korean threat.

Let's talk about Russia. Do you accept the U.S. intelligence community's assessment that Russia did, in fact, through cyber- warfare, cyber-attacks, interfere in the U.S. election process?


This is very indicative of Russia and what they have done to multiple elections across Europe, across the Balkans, all through the area all around Russia. This has been an issue for them and it's been very consistent with what they typically do.

They try to destabilize every other country around them by making those countries believe that their election is not real.

BLITZER: Because the president-elect, he has been briefed by U.S. national security experts. He gets these presidential daily briefings, if you will. I think he's had three or four or five of them by now.

You saw in the "TIME" magazine interview he doesn't buy it, he doesn't necessarily think Russia has interfered.

LANKFORD: There's two different sets of information right now and different rumors that are out there. Whether Russia is reaching in, I have no question about trying to find ways to be able to interfere.

There's also this rumor that is out there that Russia was hacking into our election systems and trying to manipulate machines. Absolutely no evidence for that. There's this whole line that continues to go out there saying Russia hacked into our elections, they affected the voting. There is no evidence for that, but that line keeps being repeated.

Whether that's what Trump is talking about or whether he's talking about trying to interfere in the election, I don't know.

BLITZER: Because you do believe the Russians were responsible for the hacking of the Democratic National Committee, the Gmail account of the Hillary Clinton campaign chairman, John Podesta, all those WikiLeaks e-mails that were released? You believe all that originated with Russian cyber-warfare experts?


And whether those were individuals within Russia or it was officially in their government, we don't know.


BLITZER: General Clapper, the director of national intelligence, says only at the highest levels of the Russian government could this have been authorized.

LANKFORD: Right. And so what we're trying to figure out is, who is that highest level

and how did that function? Again, you're still determining some unknowns in that future, but I would say I have no question the Russians were engaged in this and trying to release data, and I have no question they were trying to create chaos in our election, because they do in every other nation.

BLITZER: But were they trying to help Donald Trump get elected president?

LANKFORD: That's the unknown.

BLITZER: Because really all the hacks went against the Democrats, not the Republicans.

LANKFORD: Right. But we still know.

Again, in many other elections, they're just trying to create chaos and instability. What they want to do is be able to promote themselves and to make everyone else unstable. Whether they were trying to elect Trump, or whether they were trying to just create instability, we don't know that motivation. But I have no question that they were trying to engage.

BLITZER: Senator Lankford from Oklahoma, thanks very much for coming in.


BLITZER: Appreciate it.

Just ahead, we will have more on president-elect Trump's Twitter war with a local union boss. Is it just a taste of what we can expect when he's in the White House?

And you have seen Britain's spy agency depicted in the James Bond movies. Now the real-life head of MI6 is speaking out about his fictional counterpart and whether the Bond series is believable.


BLITZER: Donald Trump's latest Twitter target says he's now getting death threats.

[18:33:01] Let's talk about this and more with our political experts. And David Chalian, I want to start with you.

All involving Carrier, exactly how many jobs were saved in Indiana. Donald Trump said 1,100. The local union chief said closer to 800 jobs. Trump tweeted last night, "Chuck Jones, who is president of the United Steelworkers 1999, has done a terrible job representing workers. No wonder companies flee country."

And then he tweeted, "If United Steelworkers 1999 was any good, they would have kept those jobs in Indiana. Spend more time working, less time talking, reduce dues." Now he's receiving -- Chuck Jones is receiving some threats. What's

your analysis of all of this? Remember, this is the president-elect of the United States.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICS DIRECTOR: Right, so a couple things here.

One, I know that to some people at home, it may be why are we quibbling over 300 jobs? But of course, to those people, that's real. That's 300 families around kitchen tables who are experiencing layoffs. That's why I think we see the union officials so worked up about this.

Donald Trump is going to find himself in a very precarious daily situation as president if he is going to single out single companies or single individuals each and every day on his Twitter feed. It's going to be very hard to govern for the nation overall. He's going to get mired in these individual controversies instead of trying to make the larger point, creating legislation or policy goals that will help him make his larger point, rather than get mired into one-on-one controversies.

BLITZER: Chuck Jones, the local union leader, he was on CNN criticizing Donald Trump, saying he had lied about the number of jobs that were actually saved. Obviously, Donald Trump didn't like what he was watching, apparently, on CNN, started to tweet.

What does that say about him? Because a lot of people say he has a thin skin. And it's one thing to reply if you're just a private citizen, but you're president-elect of the United States.

DAVID SWERDLICK, ASSISTANT EDITOR, "THE WASHINGTON POST": A couple things, Wolf. It suggests thin-skinness as you say. Also, to David's point, you know, a dispute about 300 jobs, he is basically pushing back on the number that Donald Trump announced himself. If the Trump campaign has a problem with his math, they should push back on that math.

But as David said, it's a real situation if he's going to start pushing back on individuals' personalities.

Just one more quick point, Wolf, if I can. Is that in that second tweet that you read, President-elect Trump talked about the fact that the union chief was doing a bad job, I guess implying somehow that that's why jobs are going overseas, even though 18 -- for 18 months we were hearing it's the Washington insiders and that it's the corrupt system that's causing the jobs to go overseas. Now apparently, the blame is on the unions.

BLITZER: I want to bring in retired General Mark Hertling, CNN military analyst.

What's your take on Russia interfering in the U.S. election? You heard Donald Trump in the "TIME" magazine say he doesn't buy it necessarily. You heard all sorts of U.S. intelligence experts, including General Clapper, the director of national intelligence, saying at the highest levels of the Russian government they were hacking into Democratic National Committee computers and other Democratic party institutions, if you will.

GEN. MARK HERTLING (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Yes, Wolf. I can't understand it. In the intel community, there are literally hundreds of analysts who have made their career over decades looking at the Russians, monitoring the Russians, analyzing their every move. Experts, Wolf. These are real live experts who've spent their lives doing this.

I can't imagine why Mr. Trump, A, could not ask them their opinion, even if he has an opinion of his own, but also not listen to them when he might tell -- they might tell him something he doesn't know.

You know, as a commander of U.S. forces in Europe, my last job in the Army, I used to get an intel briefing every morning, Wolf, and I thought I knew the Russians pretty well. But every day they would be doing something that would surprise me. And I think in these dangerous times, we certainly need to be looking at them a lot closer and actually looking in and investigating some of their actions.

BLITZER: So you want the president-elect to be taking these daily presidential intelligence briefings. He's taking four or five, I think. We don't know how many, but he doesn't do it every day. You think it's critically important that he does?

HERTLING: I think it's critically important that he takes the intelligence briefings, as much as he -- as many as he can and as much as he can before he's elected so he's prepared for day one. But I'd also go one step further and say the Congress of the United States would be irresponsible, irresponsible, Wolf, if they did not investigate Russian actions in our elections and what's going on in terms of them hacking not only us but European countries.

BLITZER: All right. Everybody, stand by. We have more coming up. We're actually learning a little bit more about Hillary Clinton's new warning about the consequences of fake news. What inspired her to speak out here in Washington today?

And could James Bond get a job as a real-life spy? The head of the British intelligence agency is now spilling secrets about MI-6 and whether the iconic movie series gets it right.


JUDY DENCH ACTRESS: I have no compunction about sending you to your death, but I won't do it on a whim. Even with your cavalier attitude towards life.

I want you to find Goldeneye, find who took it, what they plan to do with it and stop it.



[18;42:47] BLITZER: We're back with our political team. We're getting some new insights into Hillary Clinton's warning today about the dangers of fake news.

We just learned that Hillary Clinton spoke with the owners of a pizza restaurant here in Washington called Comet Ping-Pong. An armed man stormed into the shop Sunday to investigate very false claims online that it was the center of a child sex slave ring that apparently included Hillary Clinton and John Podesta.

A Clinton aide tells CNN the story of Comet Ping-Pong prompted her remarks today. David Chalian, let's listen to the comments that Hillary Clinton made today on this issue.


HILLARY CLINTON (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: The epidemic of malicious, fake news and false propaganda that flooded social media over the past year, it's now clear that so-called fake news can have real-world consequences. This isn't about politics or partisanship. Lives are at risk. Lives of ordinary people just trying to go about their days, to do their jobs, contribute to their communities. It's a danger that must be addressed, and addressed quickly.


BLITZER: She was speaking at an event honoring Harry Reid, the outgoing Democratic leader in the Senate. This is important what she's saying right now, the consequences of fake news.

CHALIAN: Yes, and she -- when she said "addressed," she was talking to a bunch of legislators. She wants them to look into this. She also was talking about Silicon Valley doing its part, all the tech companies, of getting involved in a way of how to handle fake news and how to make sure that the real-world consequences are not as dangerous as they've proven to be.

She also was there, remember, with John Podesta. And she and John Podesta were at the center of this completely absurd conspiracy that led to this whole Comet Ping-Pong disaster and a gunman walking in there. So she obviously feels it personally, because these were her supporters, and she and Podesta were tied into this.

And so I think that, if you're looking for what Hillary Clinton's post-election life is going to be about, obviously, this shows that she still wants to remain in the public dialogue.

BLITZER: Jake Tapper had a sit-down interview today with the outgoing vice president of the United States, Joe Biden, Ana, and asked him what went wrong for the Democrats. Listen to this.


JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm really proud of what Barack and I -- the president and I were able to do on the economy. But if you notice, the last two years in the president's State of the Union, there's been shift and a focus now that we got the car out of the ditch and on the road and running, on really focusing on the real inequities that exist for working class, middle class people that were left behind. And what happened was, that wasn't the central part of the campaign moving forward, in my view.


BLITZER: That's Joe Biden. What's your view?

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, at least he didn't say what went wrong is I didn't wrong and I wasn't the nominee. I could have won.

Look, I think -- I think there's so much right now, 20/20 revision of Monday night quarterbacking of what happened and what went wrong. I think Joe Biden makes a good point. There was a lot of things that went wrong, right? I mean, the FBI director's letter, the timing, the WikiLeaks, you could go on and on and all these ifs, ifs, and ifs.

And -- but I think you're seeing a man who would have liked Hillary Clinton to probably tout their successes, their administration's successes much more than she did, tie them to her agenda much more than she did. And also a man who for the last couple of days has been toying and teasing us with the idea that in four years, we might see him run again.

BLITZER: Yes, he's going to be 77 years old. But he says he'll be a healthier 77 years old than Donald Trump will be at 74. Donald Trump is currently 70 years old.

NAVARRO: It's all a mental, Wolf. You know, age is just a number right now. I have a birthday in a couple of weeks. Age means nothing.

BLITZER: David Swerdlick, let's get back to Russia for a moment, because clearly, there's a disagreement between Donald Trump, the U.S. intelligence community on Russian involvement in the cyber attacks, if you will. But other Republicans seem to be aligning themselves, defending Russia, if you will.

I want you to listen to a Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher of California, the exchange he had on Yahoo News. Listen to this.


REP. DANA ROHRABACHER (R), CALIFORNIA: When I worked with Ronald Reagan, I wrote most of his speeches.

YAHOO NEWS: What would Ronald Reagan think about your thoughts about Vladimir Putin?

ROHRABACHER: He would love it. Maybe you forgot that Ronald Reagan was the oe who reached out to Gorbachev --

YAHOO NEWS: Are you comparing Gorbachev and Vladimir Putin?

ROHRABACHER: Absolutely I am.

YAHOO NEWS: You are.

ROHRABACHER: Yes. Do you know why?


ROHRABACHER: Because they're both leaders of a very powerful country that we need to be friends if we're going to have peace in the world.


BLITZER: Are we going to be seeing more Republicans like Dana Rohrabacher joining Donald Trump in refusing to blame Russia for this kind of interference, the cyberattacks if you will?

SWERDLICK: So, for right now, Wolf, it looks like Republicans in Congress are just picking their spots where they're going to challenge President-elect Trump, because President-elect Trump is popular with their base. I think it's good that Bianna Golodryga challenged Congressman Rohrabacher just because you have the intelligence establishment saying they're pretty confident that Russia was involved in the election, and that, you know, it seems to me that Congress should at least give that credence absent some other evidence to the contrary.

BLITZER: It's a really serious dispute.

General Hertling, we spoke about Russia just a few moments ago, but in the scheme of things, what's the biggest threat facing the U.S. right now? Would it be Russia? Would it be ISIS? Would it be North Korea?

You get a lot of these briefings, as well.

HERTLING: Yes, I haven't in a while, Wolf. But I'll tell you right now, there are five major ones. You named three of them. And they're not in the order that a lot of Americans think. The disruptions by Russia in Europe to not only NATO but all the countries in Europe, is critically important.

And I think that's why 27 senators today signed a letter saying we needed to support Ukraine a little bit, harder than we have in the past. So, yes, Russia is up there, North Korea is certainly there. ISIS is on the list, and there are several others.

But that's the thing. This is a quiver full of a bunch of different arrows of all different dimensions. And you can't paint them all in the same light. Each one is extremely complex and affecting a different area of the globe. And all of them are critically important going back to Mr. Trump not getting security briefings or intelligence briefings, it's radically important that he gets these things so he's ready on day one.

BLITZER: David Chalian, on a very different note, there's now indications that Donald Trump is going to remain as executive producer of the program, "The Apprentice"?

CHALIAN: A very different note, indeed.

Yes. We're now learning, Dylan Byers is reporting what "Variety" had reported earlier, which is that he's not going to give up his stake in the show. His spokeswoman Hope Hick says he has a stake, he help create this, he's going to benefit from this. He's going to remain executive producer. He's going to earn money while he's the sitting president of the United States from "The Apprentice", which now I guess the former governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, will be hosting.

NAVARRO: If you ask me, the way we're going about selecting a secretary of state feels like the season finale of "The Apprentice." He's building up the ratings.

BLITZER: He's going to announce on December 15 at a news conference he says. All of the decisions he's made to try to eliminate as much of that conflict of interest as possible.

Everybody, stick around.

To our viewers: you can see by the way, Jake Tapper's entire exclusive interview with the Vice President Joe Biden on "STATE OF THE UNION".

[18:50:06] That's Sunday morning, 9:00 a.m. Eastern, once again at noon, only here on CNN.

Just ahead, if you are a James Bond fan, you may think you know something about the British spy agency MI-6. But wait until you hear what the real life version of the top spy known as M has to say. That's next.


[18:55:50] BLITZER: Tonight, we're getting a rare glimpse into one of the most powerful spy agencies in the world, the head of Britain's MI- 6 intelligence service is opening up about a secret organization and whether it's anything like the version we've all seen in the James Bond movies.

Let's bring in our global affairs correspondent Elise Labott.

It's very unusual for the MI-6 chief, Elise, to be speaking out at all.

ELISE LAOBTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's really unprecedented, Wolf. You know, James Bond made MI-6 one of the best known intelligence agencies, and M, the world's intelligence boss. But the real MI-6 chief goes by a different code, writes in only green ink and today came out of the shadows to talk about the new frontier of threats, the real 007s are chasing.


LABOTT (voice-over): And in a world of James Bond, the head of Britain's super secret intelligence service MI-6 is known by a single letter, "M". And the agency M leads is so secret, it doesn't officially exist. Its agents known by those three memorable numbers.


pleased to welcome you here to Vauxhall Cross.

LABOTT: But today, big screen fiction and real world fact collided in London, as the chief of the real MI-6 whose real codename is "C" made a rare appearance on camera.

YOUNGER: Our value depends on our ability to keep secret, that which we must.

LABOTT: Alex Younger, the head of MI-6, came out of the shadows to talk about the global fight against terrorism and to dispel myths about his agency.

YOUNGER: I'm conflicted about James Bond. He's created a powerful brand for MI-6. See the real life version of M. There are a few people who will not come to lunch if I invite them.

LABOTT: For the first time, Younger allowed cameras inside Vauxhall Cross, the agency's fortress-like complex on the south bank of the River Thames, blown up on screen in the Bond film "Skyfall", and attacked in real life with the Russian-made rocket by the IRA in 2000.

YOUNGER: Disrupt immediate threats.

LABOTT: During his speech, the spy chief said Britain is facing, quote, "high breed warfare" from cyberattacks, propaganda, and attacks on democracy. Younger, who first joined MI-6 just as the Soviet Union was crumbling also pointed to Russian President Vladimir Putin support of Syria's civil war of one of his country's biggest threats.

YOUNGER: We cannot be safe from the threats that emanate from that land, unless the civil war is brought to an end.

LABOTT: And while Younger said the hard-charging 007 of the big screen is not the model of his actual agents.

YOUNGER: Were Mr. Bond to apply to join MI-6 now, he would have to change his ways.

LABOTT: He also admitted that at least some of that Bond movie magic and all of those gadgets are rooted in a little bit of truth.

YOUNGER: The real life Q, would want me to say, that we do enjoy and indeed need a deep grasp of the gadgetry. But that is a pretty much where the similarity ends.


LABOTT: Now, the U.S. and Britain are the closest intelligence partners. And Younger predicted that partnership would continue, saying given the threats out there, the need for intelligence sharing and cooperation is only going to grow, Wolf.

BLITZER: Amazing stuff. Thanks very much, Elise, for that report. Finally, tonight, the former U.S. senator and astronaut John Glenn

died today at the age of 95. John Glenn was the last survivor among the original seven U.S. astronauts. Back in 1962, he became the first American to orbit the earth. In 1974, Ohio voters elected him to the U.S. Senate where he served four consecutive terms. Senator Glenn flew in space one more time at the age of 77 aboard the space shuttle in 1988.

Finally, President Obama says America lost an icon. President-elect Trump called John Glenn a great pioneer of air and space.

I was privileged to have interviewed him on many occasions. He was a giant of a man. Our deepest condolences to his family and friends.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.