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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA
FBI Releases Weiner Search Warrant for Clinton E-mails; Trump: Berlin, Ankara Attacks are Islamic Terror; First Lady: Members Of Congress Didn't Support Us; Investigators: MH370 "Not Likely" To Be In Search Area; Suspect In Berlin Market Attack May Be At Large; Device Explodes At Aleppo Christmas Tree Lightning; Moscow Orders Extra Security After Assassination. Aired 12:30-1p ET
Aired December 20, 2016 - 12:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[12:33:23] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Just in to CNN, a federal court has released redacted copies of the search warrant that gave the FBI new license to dig into Hillary Clinton's e-mails.
You may remember that this move came just a week or so before the presidential election. The e-mails were found on a computer belonging to Anthony Weiner, the estranged husband of top Clinton aide, Huma Abedin.
Joining us now, CNN Justice Correspondent Evan Perez. Evan, this just happen a few minutes ago. I haven't had a chance to look at it yet, what's in this?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, this is the affidavit that the FBI and the Justice Department submitted to the court in order to get permission to be able to search the laptop that they had taken possession off from Anthony Weiner who was -- we've now learned that this was a Dell Inspiron computer that they had -- a laptop computer that they had in their possession.
And when they were doing the search of that computer for -- on the Weiner case, a separate case into Anthony Weiner, they stumbled upon these e-mails that they clearly indicated were from the server, the Hillary Clinton private e-mail server.
This is the reason why according to this warrant, according to this affidavit, why they decided that they needed to get a separate warrant, and this is what precipitated all of those letters. The letter from the FBI director on October 28th, the members of Congress saying we found these new e-mails and we want to do a new investigation to see what is in this.
According to this affidavit, John, it says that based on previous investigation they'd found 4,000 e-mails between Huma Abedin, the estranged wife of Anthony Weiner and Hillary Clinton. And that's one reason why they presumed, it was safe to assume that there would be additional e-mails on this laptop. [12:35:04] We do not know from these documents what in the end they found, but we do know that a couple days before the election they did come back. The FBI director came back and said, "Never mind, we've gone through this. It's not something that we hadn't seen before, and it was not relevant." So we don't know much more about what exactly they found, but we do know a little more what they were looking for.
According to the affidavit, what they said was they were looking to identify any person or persons who accessed classified information present on the laptop. And it also says that they were also looking to identify activity related to computer intrusions.
They were looking to see if there were any hackers who might have gotten access to this Dell computer that was in their possession. Again, this belongs to -- this is a computer that belonged to Anthony Weiner. And somehow these e-mails belonging to Huma Abedin and Hillary Clinton ended up on this laptop. John?
BERMAN: Yeah, (inaudible) story as they go over to look for many more answers in this over the coming weeks, months and years. Evan Perez, thanks so much for that. Appreciate it.
BERMAN: The attacks on Germany and the Russian Ambassador to Turkey triggered strong words in the incoming U.S. president. Donald Trump, the president-elect releasing statements on both from his Mar-a-Lago state in Palm Beach. CNN's Sara Murray is there. Sara, what did he said?
SARA MURRAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, the president-elect didn't waste any time in tieing not only the assassination of the Russian Ambassador to Turkey to Islamic terrorism, but also the attack in Berlin. These as investigators were still digging into these instances to find out what was going on.
I want to read you a portion of the statement he put out in response to Berlin saying, "Innocent civilians were murdered in the streets as they prepared to celebrate the Christmas holiday. ISIS and other Islamist terrorists continually slaughter Christians in their communities and places of worship as part of their global jihad. These terrorists and their regional and worldwide networks must be eradicated from the face of the earth, a mission we will carry out with all freedom-loving partners."
Now, Donald Trump's transition effort is giving a very limited information on how he is getting the news of these events. They told us only this morning on a call that he sent briefs on them by his national security advisers. We do not know if he received the presidential daily brief today. Although we do know that his Vice President-elect Mike Pence received his brief. We'll see if he gets more information or has anything else to say about these instances throughout the day, John.
BERMAN: And, Sara, the president-elect did find time to engage in a sort of back and forth with the former president of the United States, Bill Clinton. What's going on there?
MURRAY: Well, that's absolutely right. There has been a little bit of a war of words. Some sore feelings between Bill Clinton and Donald Trump. I think we have the sound of what Bill Clinton had to say to reporters yesterday about his wife's loss and her bid for the presidency. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL CLINTON, (D) FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: I've never cast a vote I was prouder of. You know, I watched her work for two years. I watched her battle through that bogus e-mail deal, being vindicated at the end when Secretary Powell came out. She fought through that. She fought through everything and she prevailed against it all.
But, you know, then at the end we had the Russians and the FBI deal which she couldn't prevail against that, but she did everything else and still won that 2.8 million votes. I'm very proud of her.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thanks, guys. We've got to run.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MURRAY: So you see that this is still very much an open wound for the Clintons, Hillary's loss. And we also saw Bill Clinton speak to a local newspaper in New York and essentially he's indicated that he doesn't believe that Donald Trump knows much well.
Donald Trump shot back on twitter. "Bill Clinton stated that I called him after the election. Wrong, he called me with a very nice congratulation." He quote, "doesn't know much." So, still time for some political battles waging, even as more important policy issues maybe pressing, John.
BERMAN: All right, Sara Murray for us in Mar-a-Lago. Thanks a lot Sara.
I want to bring in Former Republican Senator Rick Santurom, he is now the president of faith-based film company called EchoLight Studios. Senator, always a pleasure to have you with us.
I want to ask you about Donald Trump's response to the attack in Berlin, specifically. He issued responses, paper statements on both what happened inside Turkey and what happened in Berlin.
And on the Berlin attack he said, "Innocent civilians were murdered in the streets as they prepared to celebrate the Christmas holidays. ISIS and other Islamist terrorists continually slaughter Christians in their communities and places of worship as part of their global jihad."
Now, it may very well be that this turns out to be an ISIS attack. It may very well be this is an act of radical Islamic terror, which is a term that the president-elect likes to use. But the fact of the matter is overnight what happened was the person they had in custody, a man from Afghanistan or the Pakistan region. German officials now say they do not believe he was the driver. So, there's a manhunt for the person who did do it. They don't know who drove this truck.
[12:40:04] So, again, is the president-elect out in front of the facts here?
RICK SANTUROM, FORMER SENATOR, (R) PENNSYLVANIA: Well, I think if they don't know, they don't know. But I don't think to suggest that this has anything to do with the Islamic terrorism is somehow out of bounds. I think it's -- it looks pretty logical that that's -- if you see an attack, similar to attacks that have been used in the past by ISIS that they've encouraged varied attacking just likes this.
And an attack on Christians at a Christmas celebration, I mean, it, you know, if it sort of look, you know, but walks like a duck, talks like a duck, it's probably a duck. And so I don't think he's way out in front here. I think he's just looking at the facts and the facts point pretty clearly is to what we have.
BERMAN I didn't say, way, by the way. And I would noted -- I have noted over the last 24 hours, the language used in these statements is very, very different than the types of statements he came out with during the campaign where he said, "You know, I should be congratulating for saying that's what happened or tieing it to political things."
This was not a political statement he was making. He was making a security statement, here. Again, the question is, as the man who will be president of the United States in 31 days, do you need to be even more circumspect? Do you need to be even more careful to wait for the specific facts here?
SANTUROM: Well, I mean, I think we had a president who has not waited for a lot of facts. This current president on a lot of issues dealing with criminal activity, and that's burned him in some cases.
So, I think there's a lesson. I would agree that there's a lesson to be a little more circumspect when you're president, because the impact of those statements have more weight.
And so -- so I guess to answer your question, yeah. I probably would have been a little bit more circumspect. But I'm pretty sure that he's not going to be too far off when it comes to this one?
BERMAN: No, no. The pattern here is certainly the type of thing we have seen before, specifically in Nice, not to mention other locations around the world.
BERMAN: On the specific of where he is getting his information, the specifics of where he's getting his information, Sara Murray just reported, it's not clear whether he personally received his daily, you know, classified intelligence briefing that he now is privy to. But the Vice President-elect Mike Pence did. Is national security, these security briefings, are these the types of things that you should properly delegate, Senator? SANTUROM: No. I would recommend that Donald Trump take his security briefs. I don't know why he's not. I didn't talk to him about it. I haven't talked to him about it. But this is a very important part of being the president of the United States and hopefully at some point he'll begin to get into that routine and understand how important it is for him to understand all of the threats that are confronting this country and understand the nuances that come with a daily brief. And to get the, the inside, you know, information as to what these organizations and individuals are doing around the world that threatens the United States. So I would very much encourage him to take those briefs and take them very seriously.
BERMAN: And, again, you say this is the advice coming from someone whose world view is more in align with Donald Trump or at least I think has the same view of these types of attacks or these types of incidents or similar view than perhaps some others who have been critical of Donald Trump there.
If I can shift gears and talk about the outgoing president, President Obama and we are getting this word that he may act today to ban some offshore drilling in certain locations. He's going to base this on a 1953 law, which might make it difficult for Donald Trump when he comes in to reverse it. What do you think do the president's actions?
SANTUROM: Well, I mean any executive action taken by the president can be reversed by the next president. I mean, you can base it on a law. That doesn't necessarily restrict the next president from reviewing that executive order, regulation, administrative interpretation, whatever you want to call it.
I don't know what specifically he's doing, but the president -- and, you know, this is really the downfall over time of this administration. The current administration has really never been able to master a lot of political support to get anything permanently passed in law, other than ObamaCare, which seems to be destined for reversal.
And as a result of that, President Trump is going to have is a tremendous opportunity to reverse course on a lot of things, because President Obama wasn't able to build consensus and get any permanent fixes done. So all of these executive orders, all of these regulations can be reversed, suspended, and changed.
BERMAN: Again, and there are nuances here which get into the weeds, but when it's not an executive order when you're making an action that a law granted you the power to do, it would require a law probably or a court ruling to reverse. Not necessarily ...
SANTUROM: No, no. Hold on.
BERMAN: But, Senator, in way it's not worth arguing here, but it's not just a stroke of a pen that will guarantee the reversal of this specific action from the president.
SANTUROM: There's a process that a president has to go through to promulgate a regulation that a new president will have to go through a similar process to promulgate a new regulation. So in that respect, you're correct that he can't walk in, and with a stroke of a pen like an executive order and change policy.
[12:45:14] But he can suspend the regulation. He can -- and he can begin the process of redoing that regulation and all can be done within the confines of the president. So, again, there are certain things to be done immediately. Other things that will take more time to do, but neither of them are going to require any kind of cooperation with the Congress, and that's the problem. Is the president hasn't affixed anything permanently?
BERMAN: And I do appreciate your expertise on this. This is obviously an area you know quite a bit about. So thank you for that.
I do want to want to ask you about the interview that Michelle Obama, the outgoing first lady had with Oprah Winfrey. And she was talking about the cooperation that President Obama and also the first lady have given to the incoming administration as we are in this transition period.
And she also said if she looked back on eight years ago that in some instances that she wasn't talking, I believe, about the Bush family in particular, but she was talking about Republicans in Congress. She doesn't feel like they received the same cooperation. Let's listen to what she said.
(BEGIN VIDE CLIP)
MICHELLE OBAMA, U.S. FIRST LADY: There were people who did not support his presidency. There were people in Congress. There were leaders in Congress who did not support his presidency, which was not something that was good for the country. It was good for politics, but it wasn't good for the country. And that wasn't the right way to approach it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: There was a whole lot of no eight years ago when they took office from people on your side of the aisle when it came to President Obama and a lot of the things that he was proposing. Is that historically accurate?
SANTORUM: Well, its little startling to hear something like this when we just finished yesterday where Democrats and people who opposed Donald Trump tried to switch the Electoral College. I don't recall any movement on the part of Republicans or conservatives eight years ago trying to convince electors not to support Barack Obama in the Electoral College.
So, that's about as strident a -- an opposition to a president as you will see. I really don't recall ever in my lifetime seeing that kind of activity. So to compare some people who might have been uncomfortable or certainly not supportive of President Obama who may not have been as friendly as they should have been to people who are outright trying to take the election away from Donald Trump, I think is a little disproportionate. BERMAN: And indeed, you are correct. And there is irony that more Democratic electors flipped than Republican electors here.
BERMAN: That's for sure. But I think what she was talking about is the idea that members of Congress were shouting, "you lie" from the well of the Congress when President Obama was speaking there. I think that is specifically when she ...
SANTORUM: That was years later. Number one, that wasn't at that time. That was years later and ...
BERMAN: With the health care of the year later, but, yes.
SANTORUM: Yeah. Well, it was later and it was in response to a specific in the president said, and -- that Joe Wilson spoke out. But to suggest that there was -- and, again, I wasn't there at the time but I certainly wasn't far removed. Certainly there were people who were not happy with the election ...
SANTORUM: ... but I don't recall anything at the time nor talking to people at the time, there was anything but an orderly transition and support for that transition, and certainly the Bushes were very, very gracious in that regard.
SANTORUM: And contrary to maybe some of the reception that the Bushes got when they first came into the White House. So, look, I think the Obamas have been very gracious. I think we need to state that very publicly. And in this transition I'm sure that they'll continue to do so and hopefully we'll get off to a good start as a result.
BERMAN: Senator Rick Santorum, always a pleasure to talk to you. Appreciate it, sir.
SANTORUM: My pleasure, John, thank you.
BERMAN: All right next, a disturbing revelation in the disappearance of Flight 370. Investigators now say where the missing plane is not.
Plus, some of the families and the victims in the Pulse Nightclub massacre are now suing Twitter, Facebook and Google. Hear why.
[12:52:08] BERMAN: The mystery over missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 takes another twist, a new twist. A new report has revealed that searchers along was certainly been looking in the wrong place.
Experts are recommending a new area they examined just northeast of the current search area. They believe extending the area another 25,000 kilometers would give a better chance of finding MH370. All of this falls to recent discoveries of debris. A number of pieces likely to have been from the plane, these pieces washed up mostly in African beaches and islands.
I want to discuss this with Sea Operations Specialist Tim Taylor. Tim, they say they were looking in the wrong place. You know, why did they think this? Is this because they have looked in this one area and exhausted all possibility?
TIM TAYLOR, PRESIDENT AND CEO, TIBURON SUBSEA: Pretty much negative information. They've covered it the best they can. They feel that there's nothing more they can find there and that it's not there. They've ruled it out. But now -- I mean, it's a big ocean. I said years ago when they started this quest that it is -- it's a big planet, it's a big ocean, and to find this is going to be near impossible.
BERMAN: So how do you pick the new area? Is that based on anything over -- other than, you know, we haven't looked there yet might as well or ...
TAYLOR: New data, they found objects. They can try to -- according to the panel, they've re-evaluated the data and they feel plugging in what they've already done that it might have came down a little earlier than suspected and that's where they're going to look. Again, that's cost. It's money. It's time. And they're still not sure. Not 100 percent sure.
BERMAN: If we can throw up to map again, again, show where they have been looking and where they will be looking there and notable is all of these pieces of debris, which has washed up. There have washed up on African shores and island there. Can you plot backwards where this debris is loaded up or there's just too many factors involved there?
TAYLOR: Too many factors. I mean, it's the more time goes by and the more time debris separates it is -- it makes it much more difficult. There are historical wrecks. The first U.S. Navy ship the "Bonhomme Richard" sank off of England in a battle, the first in the revolutionary war. And it was -- there were witnesses. There's people that testified. They know when it went down and it still hasn't been found. That's 237 years later. And it's the North Sea. It's plugged with the scientists and robots and there's only, you know, a couple hundred feet of water. This is miles deep and you got a whole ocean to look for.
BERMAN: And to be clear, you're not suggesting they're doing a bad job of searching?
TAYLOR: No. No, no, no. They're just -- they're covering the boxes. You're finding what you can -- you're mapping, and it's not there. You got to move on to the next thing. It's just -- it's huge. You don't understand how big the surface area that you're looking is and people just have to give wrap their minds ...
BERMAN: What the mystery here was so many lives lost. No one wants to say, you know, we give up, but at what point? [12:55:05] TAYLOW: Right. I mean, I hear the argument that you want to find out what happen so you can learn from it. Giving up is -- people lost at sea all the time, fishing boats, you know, things about nature. So this is not an unprecedented thing.
But finding it to learn from it, they may not be the value of learning. What you're going to learn that it crashed. Planes like this, similar planes, are still flying. There's no real mechanical problem. This is a one-off as far as you're concerned.
So, it's a -- it maybe relegated to the history. It maybe one of those mysteries that will be solved 100 years from now, you know. It's one of those -- Amelia Earhart type of thing.
BERMAN: And releasing the time being in the search is not getting any easier. Tim Taylor, thanks so much for being with us. Appreciate it.
We're going to have much more on our breaking news. The person who drove the truck into a Berlin Christmas market killing at least 12 people, he may still be at large. You're looking at live pictures from that market right now where so many people have come to pay their respects.
Again, remember, there's a manhunt under way right now for the person who carried out this attack as these people are here. Plus, we're getting word of an explosion at Christmas tree lighting in Aleppo in Syria. Stand by for details on that.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, there. I'm Brianna Keilar in for Wolf Blitzer. It is 1:00 p.m. here in Washington, 7:00 p.m. in Berlin and 9:00 p.m. in Mosul, wherever you are watching from around the world, thank you so much for joining us.
We're going to start with the fall out from several terror attacks in and around Europe. Officials in Berlin are warning people there to be on alert in the wake of a deadly attack on a crowded Christmas market. 12 people were killed. Dozens more injured when a large truck plowed through the crowd, and this alert is coming as police admit that the suspect they have in custody may not be the man responsible for the attack.
There's also been a call for increased security out of Moscow. It is reaction to the very public assassination of the Russian ambassador to Turkey who has gone down at a gallery opening in the Turkish capital.