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War of Words; Conflict of Interest; Vladimir Putin Likely Approved the Hacking. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired December 15, 2016 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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[22:00:00] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Breaking news. President Obama vows the U.S. will respond to Russia's election hacking.
This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon.
The commander in chief, says NPR, this country will take action.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think there is no doubt that when any foreign government tries to impact the integrity of our election that we need to action and we will need at a time and place of our own choosing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: That as intelligence analysis show Vladimir Putin himself likely approved the hacking. The president-elect still questioning the whole thing.
Plus, we are learning more tonight about just how big the Trump organization is. One of America's top 50 private businesses involved with more than 500 companies around the world. Yet, Donald Trump says untangling his business ties is no big deal.
We get to all of that this evening. Let's get straight now though, to CNN's chief national security correspondent, Mr. Jim Sciutto. Jim in Washington for us this evening. As you can see the Capitol over his shoulder there. Jim, good evening. Why do U.S. officials believe Putin most likely gave his cyber experts broad direction in the election hacking?
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's been to believe the U.S. intelligence community since they called Russia out for this month before the election that this hacking operation would have required the senior most Russian official's approval.
And the way Russia works is to tap heavy system. That means Vladimir Putin. Since then their confidence has increased. And we've been learning today why that is the case. And that's because of the sophisticated hacking tool, cyber weapons really, that were used in this attack, really the most sophisticated which would require Vladimir Putin to OK the use of those tools.
That in addition to other intelligence including human sources leading to that conclusion today that Vladimir Putin ordered this attack on the U.S. democratic system.
LEMON: The president, President Barack Obama is vowing action. What could they do?
SCIUTTO: It's really a whole host of things kind of an escalating ladder of options, it starts with naming and shaming Russia in private which is something we know President Obama did with Vladimir Putin this summer in China. Then it's naming and shaming in public which is what the U.S. intelligence community did a month before the election.
After that you have options like economic sanctions. The Obama administration has tried that for months against Russia for its military action in Ukraine. It hasn't changed the situation on the ground. It has punished the Russian economy. If that doesn't work you can raise it by attacking back really doing the same thing they did to us, right?
And that could be releasing embarrassing information, say the financial holdings of Vladimir Putin or going after critical infrastructure in Russia. You know, quote, unquote turning the lights off in Moscow.
The trouble with that, Don, and this is a concern the Obama administration has expressed in public. That could lead to similar retaliation from Russian. We know that Russia and other countries have access to our critical infrastructure. Is that a path you want to go down? So, retaliation brings risk.
LEMON: So, since the election, the U.S. officials think that Russian cyber hacking activity has continued?
SCIUTTO: Absolutely. And the word they are using is it's continued unabated since the election on party institutions, party organizations including but not limited to the democrats. We understand that there was another attempted phishing attack as it's known, as basically where you click on a link and it takes, it allows malware to get into your computer which is the origin of the hack in the DNC more than a year ago.
A failed attack on the Clinton campaign since then. But other party organizations, like I tell you, Don, this is -- this has been expected in the U.S. intelligence community. Part of the reason being it worked. Right? They interrupted, they interfered with the U.S. election system. Whether or not they wanted Donald Trump to win it's been successful for them here. Western democracy in Europe, eastern Europe and frankly, they expect it to continue.
LEMON: All right. Jim Sciutto on Washington. Jim, thank you very much. I appreciate that. I want to bring in now CNN politics executive editor, Mr. Mark Preston, CNN political analyst, Monica Langley joins us, and CNN political director David Chalian.
Good evening to all of you. This is going to be a fascinating conversation here. This is unbelievable. This is what the president- elect tweeted, Mark. This is for you.
This is this morning, he said, "If Russia or some other entity was hacking why did the White House wait so long to act? Why did they only complain after Hillary lost? So, the question is that President-elect Donald Trump still denying Russia's involvement i the hacking. he's now pointing the fingers at the White House. What stands out to you about all of this?
MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE EDITOR: I mean, I think it's his vanity, I mean, at this point. Because how it appears is that he is viewing this through the lens that people don't think that he won this election legitimately and he only won it because there was Russian hacking, and of course the leak of the John Podesta e-mails and what have you.
So, I think Donald Trump has created basically an escalation of the war of words between Barack Obama's outgoing administration and Donald Trump's incoming administration.
[22:05:07] LEMON: How is this viewed by the president-elect and his team?
MONICA LANGLEY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: His team and the president- elect believe that they are trying to delegitimize his election, his win. So, I talked to somebody high level within the Trump organization today with the transition. And they said Donald Trump is spending zero time on worrying about the Russian hack.
He's spending all his time on getting the best cabinet possible and bringing back good-paying American jobs. So, they are acting like this is not that important to them right now and they are focused on bringing in their new administration.
LEMON: But yet he is tweeting about it.
LANGLEY: Yes, yes.
LEMON: So, he cares about it but he doesn't care about it.
LEMON: David, I have to ask you this. The White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest today said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Mr. Trump obviously knew that Russia was engaged in malicious cyber activity that was helping him and hurting Secretary Clinton's campaign.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, President Obama and President-elect Trump they seem to, David, start with a friendly relationship. Is that souring already?
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: I think that's quite clear. And Don, it's quite astonishing actually. I mean, Barack Obama came out after the election clearly trying to assuage concerns after Iraqi battle, especially among his partisan, Clinton partisan, and said he is committed to this very smooth transition.
He used how Bush handed over the White House to him as the very model of sort of drama-free good transition hand over. That is out the window now because of how seriously the White House sees this Russian hack.
Now I don't know if the podium is the best place to do this, if perhaps the Obama administration is sort of learning from what the top Trump advisers did throughout the campaign which is when they really wanted to get Donald Trump's attention they went on TV and talked to him basically directly.
Maybe that's what the Obama administration is feeling needs to be done here. But if, as Monica said, if he's really spending his zero percent of time on this that would be a concern to this White House since as you started the program, Don, the president said that the United States needs to respond.
LEMON: You head, did you want to say something, Mark?
PRESTON: Well, I think what's important is just imagine if Donald Trump, Don, just came out and said I fully back an investigation into Russia allegedly hacking into our election system and while I'm not sure if our intelligence services have it all right I'm 100 percent behind them. This wouldn't be that big of an issue now, would it?
PRESTON: But he stands his ground and he allows his own self to get in the way of himself when it comes to issues like this.
LEMON: Well, this is because of what she's -- what Monica said. They think that, you know, in some way it delegitimizes him if he says, if he comes out and says well, something did go wrong.
LANGLEY: Well, this is -- here's the problem. The democrats, according to the Trump people, are saying not just, well, if just hacking, it's an attack on the country. And they are saying and they tried to help Donald Trump. So, they're mad because they going to step further in saying they were trying to help Donald Trump.
If they just said this is an attack. This is a cyber-attack on our election process, period. Maybe Donald Trump would say something. But they are taking it the next step according to the Trump people in saying and it helped Donald Trump. Maybe he wouldn't have won but for this.
LEMON: Can I just go back to something that you said. You said that he's spending his time picking the best people he can for his administration. But he doesn't -- and as I said, he is tweeting about it.
LEMON: How much of that does he really care or, and how much is this just, you know, sort of talking points that they are putting out or of messaging, I should say is a better way of putting it that they are putting out, oh, we really don't care. But they do.
LANGLEY: Well, OK. So, the person I talked to is not a messaging person. The person I spoke with is not a messaging person.
LANGLEY: It's a senior adviser. And I also said that this senior adviser to get to one of the points you just mentioned. Well, is this close relation -- not close relation, is this nice relationship that the president and the president-elect began with like already deteriorating?
And I said, so is that already gone out? And I said, and this senior adviser to Trump said, does anybody really care? You know, if they have a good or bad relationship?
PRESTON: Yes. Yes. I mean, they don't have to be good friends, but they have to have an operational relationship. They have to be able to look at each other straight in the eye and say to themselves, you know, the bottom line is, I trust you. This is where we are. You know what, Mr. President-elect, you should really listen to the security briefings every day. I mean, there has to be some kind of understanding. They don't need to be best friends but you have to have an operational relationship.
CHALIAN: And, Don, remember, Josh's comments at the podium today. Tomorrow standing at that podium is going to be Barack Obama.
CHALIAN: In his final news conference of the year.
CHALIAN: And so, the question now the president tomorrow no doubt he's going to be pressed on this obviously. Is he going to own, sort of, how Josh Earnest was presenting this thing. Obviously Josh Earnest doesn't freelance as the White House Press Secretary. He goes out to deliver the president's approved message of day, if you will.
[22:10:02] And so, now are we going to hear from President Obama tomorrow a little chiding or scolding or instructing to Donald Trump from that podium because he's clearly much more concerned about this Russian hack than he believes Donald Trump to be at this point.
LEMON: Yes. And so, we'll continue to talk about that. But Monica, I want to bring you back in and talk about some breaking news. I know that you have regarding the Trump administration and the business--
LEMON: -- the divestment of the business or maybe not.
LANGLEY: Well, exactly. Well, there's been a lot of talk. The only way that Donald Trump can solve his conflicts of interest is if he were to liquidate all his assets. And what they have been doing right now. He was supposed to have the press conference today but they put it off. But if they were looking at if we were to liquidate the assets the first concern was it would be a fire sale.
How can we put up these hundreds of millions of dollars of property that is total in the billions at all at once? It would be a fire sell. We can't do that. That's stupid business. Didn't they -- didn't they realized now so many people are interested in his assets, it would be this foreign governments or sovereign wealth funds that they began thinking try to overpay to curry favor with the new Trump administration?
So, I spoke to a person closely involved with the Trump organization today who said we can't win. And besides the fact this is not just the financial decision. It's an emotional decision for the Trump family. They want to preserve the assets.
So, Donald Trump will be clear of them. He will not manage them. But they will -- they will be in a trust of the two sons run or some kind of entity. But they will still be the same assets.
LEMON: Thanks for that. But David, I have to ask you with all due respect to Donald Trump and his team or whatever, isn't that something you think about before you run for president?
CHALIAN: Well, remember, for a long stretch of time here I don't think Donald Trump thought he would actually end up as president, Don. So, I'm not sure you work all that out in advance. But the question to what Monica is reporting there is, so that means that Donald Trump will, indeed, profit from the Trump organization throughout the course of his presidency or whatever profit is made will be waiting for him at the end of the presidency.
Which then means in every policy decision that deals with the country where he has Trump organization business that deals with a policy that the Trump organization interacts with the federal government on, the second question, the third question from that policy decision is going to be how does that affect Donald Trump's bottom line?
LEMON: Go ahead.
LANGLEY: I should note that this is the thinking as of today. That's the reason they didn't have the press conference today. They are still going through it. But at this moment in time they are saying we can't really liquidate because of all these factors. But they are still trying to work it out. It could change this week, it could change at the first of January. I'm serious with they are trying to work it out.
LEMON: As I've been saying it's the whole--
PRESTON: The change of all platforms.
LEMON: Exactly. After -- after this--
PRESTON: Like tweet about.
LEMON: Whoever at Trump tower so for viewer's news it could change in a couple of seconds. So, watch Twitter and the broadcast. I have to -- I got to get this in, Mark. This is for you.
This is a new Fox News poll. It says 52 percent of Americans are concerned that Trump will place his business interests ahead of Americans, 47 percent aren't. Slight 52 percent to slight more. But it seems that Americans are pretty split on this. Why is that? Evenly split.
PRESTON: Because we are a very divided country. And this was a very close election. And those numbers probably pretty much mirror where the vote, you know, came down. I mean, I know Hillary Clinton had several million more raw votes.
You know where this is really going to change and this can go either way. If Donald Trump's promises of policy initiatives fall flat you're going to see that number go upside down very quick. If his policy prescriptions to turn things around start to do like really well -- Obamacare, somehow they repeal it they replace and all that, that number is going to go real high.
LEMON: Do you notice the number of people who are signing up for Obamacare now it's very interesting?
PRESTON: Getting on the train now.
LEMON: Yes. Yes. Because they think it's going to go away.
PRESTON: It's going to go away, right.
LEMON: Monica, it's a pleasure having you.
LANGLEY: Thank you.
LEMON: Thank you, Mark. Thank you, David. I appreciate it.
CHALIAN: Thanks, Don.
LEMON: When we come right back, if Vladimir Putin did in fact approve the election hacking what was his motive and what will happen when Donald Trump takes office?
[22:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Tonight, sources are telling CNN that U.S. intelligence believes Vladimir Putin likely approved the hacking of the election but so far, President-elect Trump is still on the record of dismissing as ridiculous and he's suggesting that Russia was involved in hacking. CNN's senior international correspondent is Matthew Chance. He is in
Moscow for us this evening, Moscow, I should say. Matthew, thank you for joining us.
U.S. officials now saying the intelligence suggests that Vladimir Putin was involved in the cyber-attack on the U.S. election. Is this standard operating procedure for the Kremlin to use information as a weapon?
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think it's increasingly become standard operating procedure. It's certainly become quite common the skill that they have been honing over several years, i seems. But I don't think we've seen it used on such a scale as it's been used in the United States presidential election.
We've seen a whole combination of factors being brought together. The use of information as a weapon, cyber warfare, hacking, release of that information that's been hacked for partisan purposes, in this case to support the candidate Donald Trump and to undermine the campaign of Hillary Clinton.
Also, other aspects as well. And the use of troll on reported that's been on the side of Moscow as well. The fact that the Kremlin hires whole factories of people that are employed to go online and to insert themselves into online conversations. To steer the narrative towards a more pro-Kremlin line.
Also the spreading of fake news. We have heard about that as well. Russia has a state funded English language TV news channel called Russia today which also uses to spread, I think in many -- in many instances its own propaganda.
And so, Russia has developed this kind of full spectrum display of information warfare techniques that it's employed that very dramatically it seems according to U.S. intelligence officials in the U.S. presidential election. So that's deeply disturbing to Russia watchers.
LEMON: Matthew, do you see similarities between the way Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump use the media?
CHANCE: Well, I think there are some similarities. There are some -- there are some differences as well. Notably, the fact that Donald Trump is much more communicative and the media may not give into us that much. But he uses Twitter. I mean, Vladimir Putin has a Twitter account but he doesn't use it in any -- by any means in any way the same -- the same way.
And of course Vladimir Putin has this state apparatus of media that basically is there, is geared almost entirely towards putting across his view to the world and most importantly to him, of course, to the country to the Russian people.
[22:20:08] And so, in that sense of course, him and Donald Trump are very different in the way they have the media, you know, at resources at their fingertip fingertips. You know, but obviously they both used the media in their various ways, in their different ways to try to get the message across as effectively as possible.
LEMON: President Obama tonight, Matthew, he says that the U.S. will take action. I realize it's very early there. But what kind of reaction if any do you expect to that in Moscow?
CHANCE: Well, it's difficult to say. I mean, there is a whole cyber command of course in the United States that was set up precisely for this reason to defend against cyber-attacks and to retaliate against countries that's or individuals that carry out such cyber-attacks.
And so, you know, the United States has an enormous devastating potential in terms of the cyber warfare techniques of its own that it can employ if it wants to. I think, you know, given that the United States is now warning of retaliation, if that happens and you know, with Donald Trump in the presidency it's not clear to what extent that will happen.
But if it does happen the Kremlin will easily be able to point at the United States as being responsible. And so, I've seen some criticism of these U.S. threats for retaliation.
But, I mean, look, I mean, certainly the United States has massive capability to not only defend against cyber warfare but also to carry it out as well. And you now, it would be very interesting to see if Russia becomes subject to that.
LEMON: Matthew Chance in Moscow. Matthew, thank you for that.
I want to bring in now Steven Cohen, he is a professor emeritus of Russian studies at Princeton University in New York University. Thank you, sir. I appreciate your expertise. What would Vladimir Putin's motive be to interfere with the American election? What would he get out of it?
STEPHEN COHEN, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR: I can't think of any. You said I'm emeritus, that means old. I have never in 40 years maybe longer than you've been alive studied Russian-American relations and seen anything like what we are in at the moment.
I think we are in uncharted, perilous territory. Even before this began the hacking allegations, we were in a cold war with Russia fraught with hot war from the Baltics to Ukraine to Syria. You've covered those stories. Now we are accusing Russia and this is basically what you just reported from Moscow of attacking us. Cyber attacking.
And now we have a president of the United States suggesting that he's going to counter attack. We are talking about war between nuclear powers. And over laying it all is this story of what the Russians did in our election for which we have yet to be presented a single piece of empirical evidence that you and I can say, I can say, Don, is that credible to you? And you say what is it, we don't know. Secretary Kerry, the Secretary of State.
LEMON: He didn't push back on this one. COHEN: He didn't push back; he just said he wouldn't embrace this story. Anonymous sources. The intelligence oversight committee, I believe. I don't want to misstate. Refused to brief Congress yesterday or today or tomorrow. And that's because the intelligence community itself is deeply divided.
LEMON: So, but even if they're deeply divided why did they refuse to brief even on the information, the little or a lot of information that they have. Why did they refuse?
COHEN; Well, we have, again, being older does help. We have episodes in this country going back to the Reagan years where the intelligence community was at war within itself.
LEMON: But I do have to tell you that the director of national intelligence report is not anonymous. I mean, that is.
COHEN: I understand.
COHEN: Yes, I understand. But look, I read every word I can find. I'm not an expert on this surveillance thing but we have to. I mean, what would be evidence? We have a mole in the Kremlin. We tap their cell phones. Think of Edward Snowden. We've used to intercept and we heard what they were going to do.
We are saying remember what the story is. The Russians and Putin's command intervened in our election to throw it to Trump. It may be, it may be. But without evidence we're talking about war with Russia.
LEMON: But does the information saying to throw it to Trump or is it just saying that they intervened in the election.
COHEN: That would be the first step. I mean, there are three -- there are three levels of accusation. They invaded the DNC, Democratic National Convention, they got information damaging to Hillary Clinton and they gave it to WikiLeaks, correct? WikiLeaks didn't publicized it to damage Trump. So, there's three stage.
LEMON: And also spreading the false information, fake news.
COHEN: Right. But everybody agrees that the stories that were released from the DNC weren't falsified. Even the DNC doesn't it was false. They just say it was dirty pool. But here's my point. And what I have never seen in my life. That we have ratcheted it up to a moment so dangerous at least as dangerous with Russia since the Cuban missile crisis in 1962.
Normally we have a national debate about what to do.
[22:25:01] You and I are sitting here with somebody else saying I think we should build more weapons. I think I think we should build less. But what are we talking about? It could be fiction. We don't know.
LEMON: Hillary Clinton has said tonight that it's a grudge between Putin and Clinton.
COHEN: I know the whole story. That she said something more critical about the dual elections, what was it, in 2011 and it brought protesters in the streets and he resents it. A, she violated State Department protocol. She wasn't supposed to do that. B, that's not what involved. I mean, that's to say that Russians don't have any political agency of their own. They came on their own.
LEMON: Yes. So, how big of a threat is it? You said, this is we're talking, you know, a war between two nuclear powers.
LEMON: OK. So, then how should the U.S. respond?
COHEN: Well, am I right in understanding that President Obama is giving a press conference tomorrow?
COHEN: He should walk this back. He should say this is very unclear, we need an investigation. Everybody stay calm. Now I don't think we can have such an investigation.
LEMON: And if he doesn't?
COHEN: I will wake up tomorrow morning extremely worried and here's why. The Russian leadership and the Russian people watch this. And what they hear being said in this country is just short of a declaration of war against Russia.
And they look across their west wing border to the Baltics and see this NATO massive build-up going on and Russians above and below say no western power has amassed on our border like this since the German invasion in 1941. And that's you don't want high anxiety among people who have nuclear weapons on high alert.
LEMON: Well, he just said to take action. I mean, you say that that is it sounds like a declaration of war.
COHEN: I don't know. No, no. You misunderstand.
COHEN: That's what the Russians are interpreting.
LEMON: I got it. COHEN: And by the way, Biden did say about a month ago we will
retaliate. So, it's time to walk back and fast. And I think that's what Secretary of State Kerry was trying to do today when he said he didn't embrace the story.
LEMON: Thank you. Always appreciate it.
COHEN: Are you sure it was OK?
COHEN: I didn't upset you?
LEMON: No, no, not at all. Thank you very much. Always a pleasure.
COHEN: Just kidding.
LEMON: Up next, President Obama vowing to take action as we just said on Russia's election hacking. But what are his options? With just 36 days left in his term.
[22:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
[22:30:00] LEMON: Tonight, President Barack Obama vowing to retaliate against Russia for its hacking of the U.S. elections.
Here to discuss, Jill Dougherty, a researcher at the International Center for Defense and Security, she is a former CNN Moscow bureau chief. Liz Wahl, freelance journalist and Russian media expert, and Matthew Rojansky, director of the Kennan Institute at the Wilson Center.
Good evening. Thank you all for coming on. Matthew, I'm going to start with you. President Obama responded to the Russian interference in the election in an interview with NPR. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VOICE CLIP)
OBAMA: I think there is no doubt that when any foreign government tries to impact the integrity of our elections that we need to take action and we will at a time and place of our own choosing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: What kind of action? This is the beginning of a major escalation, you believe?
MATTHEW ROJANSKY, WOODROW WILSON INTERNATIONAL CENTER DIRECTOR: Look, I think the risk here, Don, is that we are in basically uncharted waters. I don't think that that necessarily translates into some kind of march to war.
What it means is the equations that we are familiar with from the Cold War and also from post-Cold War Europe, how does one nuclear power deter another nuclear power from using conventional or nuclear weapons. We know how to do that. We've known how to do that for half a century.
When it comes to cyber, we are a lot less experienced on how to do that. And so, you have a president now, and he is still the president of the United States speaking very carefully, parsing his words, saying that there are going to be some things that we acknowledge, some things we don't acknowledge. We are going to go after infrastructure, maybe. We are going to embarrass Russian officials.
In other words, it's not clear what the ladder of escalation looks like. And when you don't know what the response will be or whether there will be a response you can't deter the other guy. The other guys has got to know exactly what's going to happen and that it will be so bad they don't take the first step.
LEMON: Liz Wahl, what's your reaction?
LIZ WAHL, FREELANCE JOURNALIST: Well, I think it's interesting that we're having this conversation right now. Because I think that this -- I think we should have been having this conversation six months ago. And I think that now we are realizing the extent of the impact that this could have had on the election and now there is a lot of blame being put on the Obama administration for not taking action sooner.
To not have deterred President Putin sooner. Because now we are seeing the impact that this had on our election.
WAHL: So, and we know that Putin he is an opportunist. He acts when he thinks -- he keeps pushing and pushing and gets away with what he can until he hits a roadblock or until he's - until he'll be deterred.
He's somebody that is -- he acts aggressively until he feels like somebody is going to push back.
WAHL: And up until now we haven't seen any kind of pushback. We haven't even seen any kind of an acknowledgment until relatively recently or at least a stern condemnation until relatively recently.
LEMON: Yes. So, Jill, I have to ask you similar question, what kind of action, and you know, I asked Matthew if it's the beginning of a major escalation. You heard Stephen Cohen on before. Is this -- I don't know, is that a bit over wrought? Or because all he's saying is that there would be retaliation.
JILL DOUGHERTY, WOODROW WILSON INTERNATIONAL CENTER FOR SCHOLARS FELLOW: You know, I think -- I think Matt is right when he says that this is uncharted territory. Because with cyber war there are no rules where they are -- the ways are with let's say, conventional war, not yet.
But I think you can say that there are certain things kind of an escalatory ladder that you could look that would say, OK, let's begin with maybe outing the people who did this. Just out their names. Then you could get these servers and the way the methods that they use for carrying out hacking.
And then you could carry it up. Then you could embarrass Russian officials as you can see this happening right now with President Putin. Or you could affect bank accounts. This gets more and more serious.
Or what Matt was talking about with the infrastructure, you could do that. But that is getting into actual concrete things that are components of war, shutting down water systems, electric systems, et cetera.
[22:35:07] So, how you respond is now being formulated. But I do think that there is a point of saying we are going to respond when we want in our own time and we may not even make it public. Because what will happen is the message will get across to the people who need to have it gotten across to them. And sometimes the public doesn't need to know about it. But the important people will know.
LEMON: Go ahead, Matthew.
ROJANSKY: If I -- yes, if I can. I think there is another wrinkle here which is the question of timing and attribution. So, unlike an overt military action escalating, you know, on the nuclear ladder. All the traditional stuff that we knew how to deter during the Cold War, it was clear who was doing it and it was clear when they were doing it.
The soviets moved missiles into Cuba. We could see it with satellites we could react to it more or less in real time.
We're talking about something that may have happened literally months ago. Information is trickling in, judgments are being made now about the motivation at what level it was being approved, just how official it was. Because remember, cyber can be done through third parties.
All of this stuff implicates the question of who exactly are we deterring and if we're deterring them when it's too late does deterrence even work? And then there is a third problem here which is the changeover of administrations.
If the Russians were acting i a context where they believed that Hillary Clinton was going to be the president they are also in a different world now where the guy who is going to be president says he wants to do a bunch of stuff that the Russians would actually like to see the United States do.
And so, now they are being punished for steps that they probably took very unwisely but that they took in what they had themselves would have acknowledge a very different world. So, there is a delink age, I guess, I would say, between the bad behavior that we want to deter in the future and the world that we are in today.
LEMON: All right Stay with me, every one. Lots to talk about. When we come right back, Putin wants the U.S. to lift economic sanctions. But is that a deal that Donald Trump can make?
[22:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Donald Trump takes the oath of office in 36 days. Will he change our relationship with Vladimir Putin's Russia?
Back with me now, Jill Dougherty, Liz Wahl, and Matthew Rojansky.
Jill, Clinton campaign manager John Podesta he posted a piece in the Washington Post today. And I'm going to read the part. He said, "As the former chair of the Clinton campaign and direct target of Russian hacking, I understand just how serious this is. So, I was surprised to read in the New York Times that when the FBI discovered the attack in September 2015, it failed to send even a single agent to warn senior Democratic National Committee officials, instead messages were left with the DNC. I.T. helped us comparing the FBI's massive response to the overblown e-mail scandal with the seemingly lackadaisical response to the very real Russian plot to subvert a national election, shows that something is deeply broken at the FBI."
You know, earlier Liz said that the Obama administration probably should have acted early. But what do you think, should the FBI have launch a more aggressive investigation?
DOUGHERTY: I think they should have gone over there in person instead of calling the help desk. I mean, I read the story that the New York Times had. And that the man that they talked to apparently was a subcontractor who didn't really deal with this anyway and didn't believe it was an FBI agent.
I mean, it's a comedy of errors if it were not so serious. And I think if anything comes out of this, they have to really look at how all of this, number one, is taken seriously or not, and how you can repair some of the ways we deal with hacking.
This hacking really is happening. Whether, you know, just even forget about what we are talking about now with Donald Trump. But we are being hacked all the time. And we are being hacked. But I think it's very important right now to look at structurally what do we have and to realize that this is a future and it's going to get much worse. and we have to get serious about it.
LEMON: Some folks are saying this is about ideology, Liz, democrats, and some republicans say there should be an independent public investigation in the Russian interference in the U.S. election.
The Trump campaign, and many of their republican supporters say this is all just an attempt to delegitimize Donald Trump's victory. What do you think about that, is the media doing Russia's job for them?
WAHL: Yes. And it's unfortunate. Because here we have an unprecedented situation where a foreign government has hacked our election to intervene to get a particular candidate in office. And so this is a not -- this is a bipartisan issue, this is not a republican issue, this is not a democrat issue. This is an American issue. This is -- we're talking about a foreign adversary hacking and
influencing and meddling in our election. So, there should be outrage on both sides. And, I mean, I think the response that we're getting from the president-elect after he was presented with this information, you know, from the CIA, the intelligence agency with their vast resources and their vast spying capabilities came up with this conclusion, presented it to the public. Presented it before the president-elect and he just said, nope, I don't believe it.
WAHL: So, and so, he himself now has politicized it and said this is all just, you know, Hillary Clinton, sour grapes. I mean, and it's not a political issue. We should all be concerned about this.
And unfortunately, in hacking we have to understand that just part of a greater Russian disinformation strategy. It's about hacking, it's about disinformation, it's about the legions of trolls that they have spreading pro-Kremlin messaging.
I mean, this is something that is a multi-faceted effort to influence the way that the American conscience -- and this is -- and it's been at work now for a couple of years. I think Ukraine was really the turning point in which we saw Russia get more aggressive and more bold in their propaganda -- in their propaganda campaigns.
And I think one thing that's really important to understand about the way that Russian disinformation operates is that it's meant to divide societies. It's meant to make angry people angrier. It's meant to make paranoid people more paranoid.
[22:45:00] And so, Russian media and Russian disinformation amplified thee divisions. And so we see president-elect throughout his campaign and still using that same tactic of division, of dividing people, of inflaming existing grievances. And so, we say this thing -- so, there we see, I see kind of the mission of Russian media and the way that Donald Trump's campaign has operated.
LEMON: Well, this is, Matthew, remember our conversation the other night when you and I were both in Washington. You said that this, you know, it has now become a partisan fight that's exactly what Vladimir Putin is going for, correct?
ROJANSKY: Exactly. So, I actually think that there is a very explicit political and partisan component to this. You could think of this as the Kremlin laying a clever trap. Because one pack out of the dilemma that we find ourselves is what has been argued by, for example, a number of congressional democrats.
Some republicans, by the way, who are willing to open a door that may lead to questioning the legitimacy of an election in which the president is going to be sworn in in a month's time. That's a big win for the Russians if they then get an administration whose legitimacy has been tarnished, that's weaker that has less political capital.
All right. What's another way out of it? Don't investigate or limit the investigation. Don't take the threat seriously. Don't deal with it and don't come up with a deterrent so this sort of thing doesn't happen in the future.
There is a really narrow window in the middle there where it's bipartisan, where both sides agree to deal with this in some productive way. But so far sitting here in Washington I don't know how it looks from New York. We're not seeing any signs that's going to happen.
LEMON: Yes. Thank you, Matthew. Thank you, Liz. Thank you, Jill. I appreciate it.
When we come right back, an emotional day in court as a jury finds Dylann Roof guilty in the massacre at a historically church in Charleston. But what comes next, will Roof get the death penalty?
[22:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: A jury has found Dylann Roof guilty of all 33 federal charges he face in the massacre at a historically black church in Charleston. The jury deliberating for only about two hours. The next phase of the trial scheduled to begin next month. Jurors will decide whether Roof should be sentenced to death or spend the rest of his life in prison.
Let's discuss flow with forensic psychologist Xavier Amador, founder of the Leaf Institute. Good evening, Dr. Amador. What's your reaction to how quickly the jury came back with their guilty verdict?
XAVIER AMADOR, FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGIST: I'm not surprised in any way. I mean, the defense really had no defense on the guilt part of the -- of the trial. I mean, the confession, the witnesses, the forensic evidence is overwhelming.
LEMON: The jury -- while the jury was deliberating, they requested to review this specific part of Roof's confession. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You pulled out the gun and you shot them? Started shooting people? Or, I mean, how?
DYLANN ROOF, CONVICTED CRIMINAL: Yes, that's it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, so -- you know how many people you shot?
ROOF: If I was going to guess, five.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Five.
ROOF: Maybe. I'm really not sure exactly. Well, four, five--
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you say anything to them before or after or during?
ROOF: No, I didn't say anything to them before or anything.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If I told you nine people died last night, how would that make you feel?
ROOF: I wouldn't really believe you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was nine.
ROOF: There wasn't even nine people there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, he had no idea, at least he said there, how many people he had killed. From a psychologist's perspective, what does that tell you about Roof?
AMADOR: It tells me that at some level there's some disorganization going on there. That this wasn't as quite as calculated and it was not quite as much clarity of thought as the prosecution might have us believe that this was a racist attack that he was trying to inflict as much damage as possible. It sounds a bit disorganized, frankly.
LEMON: Yes. The judge denied that the lawyers -- judge denied the lawyer's attempt to bring in two mental health experts who evaluated Roof. I know you have a lot to say about this. What's your reaction?
AMADOR: Well, you know, Dr. Medixon (Ph) and Dr. Lanza (Ph) if you Google them you'll see what their areas do expertise are, neurodevelopmental disorders. So that suggesting that their doctors found something that was going on since early childhood in this -- in this young man.
You can have a high I.Q. and have very serious problems with your brain. Also in the closing arguments and if you look at these two doctors, I just looked them up online, schizophrenia is another area of expertise.
And in fact, if you look at capital cases, the majority of people where the defense attorneys, like David Bruck and his colleagues tried to present here, who present mental health evidence, usually it's about schizophrenia.
So I think that the, you know, their hands were tied and I've talked about this symptom before in schizophrenia, if, indeed, Dylann Roof has it, and everything keeps pointing towards that. But unfortunately the symptom of anosognosia not knowing that you're mentally ill, creates adversaries out of allies, so that Dylann Roof is firing his attorneys, he's not letting them present--
LEMON: So, you don't think he believes he's mentally ill?
AMADOR: Absolutely not.
LEMON: You look himself. You don't. AMADOR: I think -- I think January 3rd we're going to see a prosecutor's dream of a penalty phase. And I've seen this before in defendants with schizophrenia and other neurodevelopment disorders who don't understand they're ill, get up and do the prosecutor's work for them.
They said there's nothing wrong with me, I was in my right mind. And in fact, they're delusional, perhaps even hearing voices. We know his attorney tried to introduce delusions in the closing arguments. The judge said, you know, strike that, don't consider that to the jurors but we can consider that.
You know, I think as a society, we have a right to know what's going on and at some level, at some point, we will during the appeal process. Because there's an evolving standard of decency in this country when it comes to executing people with serious with mental illness.
[22:55:05] Clearly there's some big question about mental illness here. And I see things as well, just independently as a psychologist that I've commented on in your program previously.
The American Bar Association, American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association and the National Alliance on Mental Illness, all four national organizations of professionals and consumers and family caregivers agree that we should not be executing people with serious mental illnesses just like schizophrenia when it impairs their judgment.
None of this is coming to light. Clearly his attorneys think this is an issue. They gave notice, in the closing argument, they tried to introduce it, they tried to bring doctors in and it looks very much like something I've encountered when I was working on the Ted Kaczynski the "Unabomber" case, and other cases like it, somebody who also has a symptom of unawareness of his illness and so he says to his attorneys, no way, you're not calling any doctors.
LEMON: Dr. Amador.
AMADOR: I'm a racist.
LEMON: Thank you, thank you very much. I appreciate it.
AMADOR: You're very welcome.
LEMON: When we come back, Hillary Clinton back in the spotlight and speaking out tonight. We'll tell you what she says about Vladimir Putin.
LEMON: President Barack Obama vowing that the U.S. will respond to Russia's election hacking.
This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon.
[22:59:59] What will happen to our relationship with Russia when President-elect Donald Trump takes office in just 36 days?