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12 Dead, 48 Injured In Christmas Market Attack; Russian Ambassador Shot Dead In Turkey; Electoral College Formally Elects Donald Trump; Trump Responds to Terror Attacks; Electoral College Selects Trump as President; Trucks Used More in Terror Attacks; Turkey Reacts to Assassination of Russian Ambassador. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired December 20, 2016 - 01:00   ET


[01:00:00] JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everybody, you're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. Ahead this hour, chaos and terror as a truck plows through a crowded Christmas market in Berlin. We'll speak to a witness.

Also, a police officer assassinates the Russian Ambassador to Turkey. All of it caught on video. And later, Donald Trump has officially won the vote of the U.S. Electoral College. We'll look at the significance of those electors who did not follow the script.

Great to have you with us everybody. It's just gone 10:00 here in Los Angeles. I'm John Vause. The second hour of NEWSROOM L.A. starts now.

It has been a deadly 48 hours around the globe. An ISIS attack in the city of Aden and Yemen killed more than 50 people. Three people were wounded in a shooting attack on a mosque in Zurich. There was the assassination of the Russian Ambassador in Turkey, and a horrifying crash at a Christmas market in Berlin. Police say that attack has now being investigated as an act of terrorism. This is what we know, 12 people were killed, 48 others hurt, when a tractor trailer barrelled through the market Monday evening. Witnesses say it happened in just seconds as the people were screaming and running to get out of the way.

Some of the images you're about to see are graphic. This is a cell phone video recorded moments after the crash, one man now under arrest. Authorities have questioned him. Another man found dead inside the truck cab. Police say he's Polish and was not driving the vehicle. I want to layout for you where this actually happened, the Christmas Market is in a Central Square in Western Berlin and is near a famous church of remembrance. Let's bring in CNN'S Max Foster live this hour in London. So Max, German investigators any closer to knowing for certain that this was in fact a terror attack.

MAX FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, what we've got is security sources being created by the DPA news agency in Germany is saying, so far, the information indicates may have been an Islamist terror attack. These are just sources to the news agency, also, DPA saying the driver is an Afghan or Pakistani asylum seeking -- seeker according to their sources. So, obviously, the security services are working very hard on this one trying to get what information they can. We're also hearing from the AFP News Agency that the truck did crash into the Berlin Market intentionally. That was the police according to the AFP News Agency.

So, the story is coming together. Germans, as you know, John, are very cautious in these cases. There was an attack in Munich earlier this year, a Nice attack, where initially the reports say it was a terror attack, it turned out that the perpetrator was mentally ill, so they're being very cautious on these. But you can just see from the images there how seriously they're taking it.

VAUSE: Yeah, absolutely, Max. 12 dead, 48 wounded. We know the extent of the injuries of those people who were wounded but survived?

FOSTER: Yeah, some very seriously ill in hospital and there is some concern that the number may rise, the number of deaths may rise as a result of this. So, it does, of course, have echoes with that Nice attack earlier in the year in France. Not in quite the same scale, but it really is frightening and the idea that a truck would go into a holiday market. This is, you know, a real tradition in Germany. Tourists flock to these outdoor Christmas markets just as they flock to the promenade when they're celebrating Bastille Day (INAUDIBLE) years. So, the other angle to this really is a lot of people pointing out the symbolism of attacking a Christian celebration as it were, a Christmas Market. So, a huge amount of concern in Germany and across Europe about what this may mean in terms of a threat against people living their western lives as you like here on the - here on the continent.

VAUSE: OK, Max, thank you. Max Foster there with the very latest, reporting live from London. Shandana Durrani witnessed the truck crash. She joins us now from Berlin. Shandana, it's been a few hours now. How are you doing?

SHANDANA DURRANI, EYEWITNESS: Still stunned. Still a bit stunned. It's pretty early here, so I'm getting a lot of phone calls from around the world from friends and family and obviously news crews trying to get some sort of story, but, yeah, I'm still stunned.

VAUSE: Have you had a chance to process everything that you went through, everything you experienced, everything that you saw on Monday?

DURRANI: Not really. I haven't had much sleep. Every time I try to sleep tonight it's just been thoughts about what I saw and thinking about all the people who died.

VAUSE: But when you were in the market --

DURRANI: It's pretty rough.

VAUSE: Yeah, I can imagine it must have been horrific to be there. And when you saw that truck hitting the marketplace, do you - do you remember if it appeared that the driver was deliberately trying to run people down? [01:05:06] DURRANI: No, it actually looked like he jumped the curb and was going out of control, lost control of the truck and swerved into the crowded market. It came -- it went so fast and it sort of jumped the curb and went sideways from where I was at, and people just started running and dropping their gluehwein, which is, you know, such a big Christmas tradition here at the markets, and start screaming, and running and yelling things in German and I'm an American. I've only lived here three months, I don't know much German but I knew enough to run. And I just ran in the other direction and there's not much cover in these markets, so there's really no place to run. You sort of have to hide behind the stall and -- or you know, just praying, and I heard some popping and I thought maybe there's a guy with a gun, and, you know, we see it a lot in America with these people going on a rampage with guns. So, I just tried to duck and cover and hid behind the stall with a bunch of other people until we thought it was safe to come out.

VAUSE: Do you remember seeing much security at the market before the truck went into the crowd?

DURRANI: There's always security around these markets and around Berlin. They're not as obvious as what you see in the U.S. with the guys in the army fatigues and guns, they - they're kind of a little, you know, hidden, they're not so obvious but they're always there and they're always looking around. But this is a very, very free society, it's very open society so it's not like it's in your face so people can come and go as they please which they like to do at the Christmas market because it is like your previous correspondent said, it is a tradition here in Germany and people really, really love Christmas here in Germany.

VAUSE: Do you remember how long all of this lasted before the truck actually stopped?

DURRANI: It felt like 10 -- it felt like 10 hours but it was probably like 10 seconds. I was texting on my phone and I've stopped to respond to a text, and if I hadn't responded, I probably might have - I might have been hit because it was only 20 feet away at that time. I looked up and people just started running and scurrying and screaming and I saw this big, you know, it looked like a gigantic UPS truck coming towards us and I just ran. And it was -- it probably didn't last very long, but it actually felt like I was in slow motion and trying to get away from it. Very surreal.

VAUSE: Yeah, to say the least. Shandana, thank you for being with us, and obviously, we're so glad that you're OK and that you got through this all right and for sharing your story. Thank you.

DURRANI: Thank you.

VAUSE: OK. Here with me now is Security Expert Aaron Cohen, he's a former member of Israel's counter terrorist special operations unit. You just heard Shandana there, what are your thoughts on what she told you about -- in particular about the way the truck was driven? I thought that was interesting. AARON COHEN, SECURITY EXPERT: Well, based on what she said about the truck, seeming like it was jumping the curb, that would imply that the truck could have been out of control. But I think it's too early to speculate. And the reason why is because I know that when it comes to this type of situation, the adrenal dump is so overwhelming. You heard what she said, it felt like 10 hours, probably was 10 seconds. You're not necessarily the best witness when you're in and around that type of situation. So, I feel like -- I feel like we need to be careful and not jump to conclusions, both on the terror side and on the fact that this could be an accident, but again, if it walks like a duck, it smells like a duck, it feels like a duck -

VAUSE: (INAUDIBLE) the only reason I bring that up is because last hour, we spoke with a reporter in Poland, Michael (INAUDIBLE) with the Polish Television, who basically said there is reporting that the GPS showed that the truck was stopping and starting for several hours, you know, between 3:00 and I think, you know, 4:00, an indication that they were trying to learn how to drive the vehicle. So, maybe whoever was driving this truck wasn't familiar with it, it may have been hijacked, and that's why when they hit the marketplace, you know, it wasn't like Nice where the guy was experienced in driving that vehicle and maybe, you know, he -- this could have been a lot worse if they had a much more experienced driver behind the wheel.

COHEN: I agree. I think those are all -those are all very valid points. We need to find out whether or not the truck was actually stolen. From what I remember hearing, the owner of the trucking company has been absolutely adamant that the driver is not connected with his company in any way, which means that it's a high probability that the truck was stolen, too. Based on what you just said, the GPS hit the truck was stopping-starting-stopping- starting. This could have been an attack that wasn't necessarily planned or maybe it was and he just thought it would be easier to drive the truck.

[01:10:00] And then, obviously, with this new little piece of information that just trickled in, based on what she said, the truck -- this could, in fact, have been an accident, but I'm still leaning towards the -- let's look at it as terror and then work backwards only because the target -- if it was a terror attack, is just too significant and the crowd is too significant for this not to be a coincidence.

VAUSE: And with that in mind, we know this is a big truck. It was loaded with steel, which seems to imply that they've picked, you know, a payload, which was - you know, would make the truck harder to stop, make it more deadly in a way.

COHEN: It looked like a 52-foot truck or a large transit or transport truck, and with that weight in the truck, it would - it would - it would seem to do more damage. You know, my question John is, where is the security? How are we protecting these targets? And that's the conversation that Germany is going to start having now. Because again, you know, what are we doing to make sure that even if this was an accident that on this type of day how do we keep any type of a vehicle from being weaponized and then how do we stop it, and how do we prevent these types of attacks? VAUSE: Yeah. Obviously, after Nice and now to Berlin, it's a question a lot of people will be asking. Aaron, thanks for being with us.

COHEN: Thank you.

VAUSE: And joining me now from Berlin, Dominic Thomas, he's chair of the Department of French and Francophone Studies at the UCLA. Dominic, officials in Germany, they still haven't said that this attack was, you know, linked to a Jihadi Group. And if it was, what are the political implications for Germany and Chancellor Angela Merkel?

DOMINIC THOMAS, CHAIRMAN DEPARTMENT OF FRENCH AND FRANCOPHONE STUDIES AT UCLA: The political implications are going to be, you know, absolutely overwhelming and we already see this in the response from the Interior of Ministry Thomas de Maiziere who has been very reluctant to call it an act of terror. People are being very careful and about what they say. Angela Merkel is well aware of the fact that in 2017, a general election is coming up. She's already had to make several statements concerning the treatment of the migrant and refugee crisis going back to the summer of 2015 and she also, more recently, made a statement about possibly trying to ban the full-face Muslim veil in Germany society.

So she understands very clearly that anything to do with terror, Islam, the migrants crisis refugees and alike and asylum seekers are going to define the upcoming election. Whether this is an act of terror, whether this is an inspired actor a copycat act, German society is going to be talking about this for the months to come and it's going to be a very difficult conversation.

VAUSE: Yeah. A politician with the right-wing National Party alternative for Germany, tweeted this out just minutes after the attack. This is it in German -- the translation reads, "When will the German rule of law strike back? When will this curse of hypocrisy end? It is Merkel's dead." Is that an extremist view there in Germany or, you know, could many people there, essentially be blaming the chancellor in some way for this attack?

THOMAS: Right. Yes, people are aware of the fact that Germany economically has been very stable but the question of migration, immigration and national identity has become increasingly important. And the AFD, the alternative for Germany political party has capitalized on these divisions in society. They did extremely well a few months ago in the Berlin elections and they are well aware of the fact that they are capable of shaping the electoral landscape in 2017.

The kinds of statements that you're hearing, though, are very divided in German society. You have on the hand, the desire to be open and to not have a society policed in the way that the state of security has been dealing with the response to the attacks in France over the past year, so that people can circulate freely, attend things like Christmas markets and move around in German society. However, given the fact that these attacks have happened, yet again, in a European Capital, that there was so much talk about the fact that these Christmas markets were specific targets, it's going to be extremely difficult for her to defend what happened here last night.

VAUSE: OK. Dominic, thank you for being with us and giving us some perspective on the political implications of what we could expect in the coming months. Dominic Thomas there in Berlin.

THOMAS: Thank you.

VAUE: We will take a short break. We'll have more on the other breaking news. The Russian Ambassador to Turkey has been assassinated. We'll talk about the possible ramifications around the world. You're watching CNN LIVE.


[01:15:00] DON RIDDELL, CNN WORLD SPORT ANCHOR: Hi, there. I'm Don Riddell with your CNN WORLD SPORT headlines. We'll start with a dramatic night in the Premier League, which saw Liverpool move into second and the title hunt, facing Everton away in the Merseyside Derby. It was goalless after 90 minutes, but deep into stoppage time, Daniel Sturridge, hit the post and Sadio Mane reacted first to bury it and give Liverpool a 1-0 win.

Staying in football, FIFA has fined four countries for displaying the poppies symbol on Armistice Day. During that game at Wembley Stadium on the 11th of November, England and Scotland wore armbands with the flower on it, while Wales and Northern Ireland had the image displayed on the pitch and around the stand. The English F.A., which was handed a higher fine as the host nation released a statement on Twitter saying that it intends to appeal.

It has been a bittersweet day of Cricket for the Pakistan team, re- writing the record books but still ending up on the losing side. Chasing a seemingly impossible target of 490 runs to win the first test in Brisbane against Australia, the tourist came up just 40 run short. Thanks mainly, to a battling century from (INAUDIBLE). Pakistan's 450 was their highest ever fourth innings total and it's jointly, the third highest score in the fourth inning of any test. And that is a quick look at your sports headlines, I'm Don Riddell.


[01:31:22] VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody, just gone 10:18 here in Los Angeles. Russia and Turkey say the assassination of Russia's Ambassador to Turkey will not undermine their diplomatic relations. Both countries are investigating what they call an obvious provocation, Brian Todd has more now from Washington and a warning, his report contains graphic images.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Seconds before the chaos, Russian ambassador's Andrei Karlov's killer looms behind him at the art gallery. Then, the ambassador is instantly cut down, his attacker, a young clean-shaven man in a suit yells, "Allahu Akbar", God is greatest, and do not forget Aleppo, do not forget Syria. He yells get back, and says, "only death will remove me from here. Everyone who has taken part in the oppression will one-by-one pay for it." Moments later, he's seen from the street through the buildings glass facade moving on a walkway still brandishing his handgun. This all as Karlov was rushed to a nearby hospital. Now, Russia's ambassador to Turkey is dead in what that country is calling an act of terror.

Turkey's official news agency says, the gunman has also been neutralized. And in a plot twist, straight out of a spy movie it now appears the shooter, identified by Turkey's interior minister as Mevlut Mert Altintas was an officer, assigned to Turkey's riot police who stood behind the ambassador as if he were guarding him. What remains unclear is if he was working alone or if he was part of a larger conspiracy. The assassination could up end an already fragile relationship between Russia and Turkey and it puts growing pressure on the Turkish government over an urgent security problem, what analyst told a growing number of Turkish police and other security forces who've become radicalized in recent years.

CHRISTOPHER SWIFT, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: Usually in a low-level among junior people, who are new to those organizations and sources within the Turkish government have indicated that those problems have been greatest within the air force and within the Turkish national police.

TODD: On the Russian side, analyst say, this incident along with a shoot down of a Russian passenger plane over Sinai last year were among the risks - Vladimir Putin's government has run for sending its military to prop up Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

NATE SCHENKKAN, PROJECT DIRECTOR FOR NATIONS IN TRANSIT: This is the kind of price that many people thought Russia might have to pay, for its intervention when it started. And then the second way to understand it, I think, is as the continuing destabilization of the situation inside Turkey that's been going on for several years, and that is growing and growing as the war in Syria continues.

TODD: Experts say, expect significant and immediate blow back from this assassination - especially from the Turkish government. They say, President Erdogan will likely order a crackdown on elements of his military and police forces who he suspects to have been radicalized or otherwise, turned against him. Brian Todd, CNN Washington.


VAUSE: We have CNN producer Gul Tuysuz, standing by in Istanbul, and former CNN Moscow Bureau Chief Jill Dougherty is in Seattle, Washington. Gul, first to you, with very latest on the investigation here. Are Turkish officials closer to knowing if this police officer was in fact, acting alone or if anybody else was involved?

GUL TUYSUZ, CNN PRODUCER: Well, we just don't know at this point. What we do know that is that he's been neutralized. We know some biographic information about him, we know where he went to high school, we know where he went to Police Academy, we know that he has been with the riot police for the last two and a half years. But we don't know whether or not he is linked to any of the usual suspects that are, are - that carry out terror attacks in Turkey, mainly the Kurdish separatist PKK or ISIS.

We don't any of those things, we don't know if he was acting alone. What we do know is that Turkish police have detained three members of the attacker's family, as well as his roommate. Now, that's pretty routine in Turkey after terror attacks. Police will detain - police will detain family members and people who are close for questioning. So, we don't know whether or not they were involved and whether or not any of that - if those people that are - have been detained are giving the Turkish police any more clues as whether or not this attacker had any possible links to terrorist organizations or whether or not he carried out this horrific attack, all on his own. John?

VAUSE: OK. Gul, thank you. Jill Dougherty in Seattle, within hours of the shooting, we had statements from both the Russian and Turkish Presidents, a very little daylight between the two. Listen to this.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (through translator): The committed crime is obviously a provocation designed to spoil normalization of Russia-Turkey relations and derailing peace process in Syria, which is actively promoted by Russia, Turkey, Iran, and other countries interested in reconcilement of inter-Syria conflict.

RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, PRESIDENT OF TURKEY (through translator): After the incident, during the talk with Mr. Putin, we agreed this is a provocation and there isn't any dispute.

On behalf of my country, and my nation. I stand and repeat my condolences to Mr. Putin and to all the Russian people.


VAUSE: So Jill, how long will that united front last?

JILL DOUGHERTY, FORMER CNN MOSCOW BUREAU CHIEF: Well, you know, I think Gul made a good point that both sides now are going to try to come together, show a united front. But, I think they can also use it to their own advantage. I mean, President Erdogan can use it to crackdown on enemies that he proceeds as enemies, and I think President Putin can use it to make the charge, which he's made all along that these terrorists are the worst of the worst - we have to go after them, there's no - there are no good terrorists, what the United States is trying to do in terms of saying there are, you know, the opposition fighters and rebels that President Putin now can paint them all with one brush and say they have to be eliminated.

And what that means exactly, could be continuing action - Aleppo, basically, obviously is taken but in other areas -- but I think you're going to see President Putin following through on what he said which was the killers are going to feel it. So, they're going to go after them with even more fervor.

VAUSE: So, if this was an attempt to drive a wedge between the Russians and the Turks, we don't know that yet, but that's been some of the speculation, clearly if, at least for now has backfired? DOUGHERTY: Well, at least on the official level. I mean, both governments, as you said, are taking the same approach, a united front. But among the people, especially in Turkey, that could turn out somewhat differently because after all, Turkey has been supporting the people of Aleppo and has been critical of President Assad, even with this (INAUDIBLE) They have definitely been supporting the people of Aleppo. And now, we see at least nominally, this man who attacked and killed the ambassador used that as an excuse, use that as a reason that he wanted to kill him. So, John, again, a lot of this is very delicate and it brings in other parties that you might not expect, for instance, you know, the United States could be brought in, because of the rebel leader, they -- who is in Pennsylvania, and whom the Turks have wanted extradited.

VAUSE: Yes, Fethullah Gulen, the cleric who has actually denied having anything to do with first the failed coup back in July, as well as this assassination of the Ambassador. We also heard from the Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov. He, too, stressing the unity between these two countries. This is what Mr. Lavrov had to say.


SERGEY LAVROV, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): We are sure that the main goal of those who plotted this barbaric act was to undermine the process of normalization of relations between Russia and Turkey in many ways and not allow an effective fight against terrorism in Syria.


VAUSE: And just to pick up on that last part of what Lavrov said about the effective fight against terrorism in Syria, is that the kind of retaliation which the Russians are likely to embark on now essentially ramping up the military offensive on the opposition groups within Syria?

DOUGHERTY: I would have to think that's the case, you know as Aleppo falls you have more fighters moving out into different areas - this has been the worry all along. So, where they go, how Russia continues to take that fight to the terrorists, is it metastasized throughout Syria? Is the real problem, and, you know, this is - this is not exactly the way Russia wanted it to happen. They wanted to wrap it up and destroy the terrorists, but obviously, as is happening in many areas around the world, they continue - the terrorists continue to move from place to place.

VAUSE: Yes, and we have seen that from Yemen over the weekend, as well as in Berlin and, of course, now the assassination there in Turkey. Jill, thanks for being with us, we appreciate it.

Just gone 10:27 here in Los Angeles, we'll take a short break. When we come back, it is official, the Electoral College has confirmed Donald Trump, as President-elect of the United States. We'll have trump's reaction in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [01:31:13] JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause.

We'll check the headlines this hour.


VAUSE: U.S. President-elect Donald Trump is speaking out about the latest string of attacks in Europe. He tweeted on Monday, "Today, there were terror attacks in Switzerland, Turkey and Germany. It's only getting worse. The civilized world must change its thinking."

Joining us in Los Angeles, CNN senior political analyst, Ron Brownstein.

Ron, I want to pick up on the statement Donald Trump. He said, "Innocent civilians were murdered in the street as the 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."

We have a situation, he put that tweet out, and no one is blaming ISIS or Islamic terror. It could be. But we have a situation where President-elect Donald Trump seems to be acting more like a candidate.

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: This has all the hallmarks, as you've been discussing, of Islamic terror. But Donald Trump, as he did during the campaign, has gone ahead of that conclusion. And you wonder what is the policy process going to be. It's one thing as the candidate and another thing as the president. In the U.S. government, there is an exhaustive process with committees leading to statements by the president. Donald Trump may be preempting all of that? If you're Rex Tillerson or Michael Flynn, are you see these tweets before they go out? And will he be making policy on the fly? I think it's very much an open question.

VAUSE: He also said that he will work with willing partners, peaceful partners to wipe out terrorists. That's a broad statement. You know, can -- what are the implications of a president saying those things?

BROWNSTEIN: You look at the first 20 minutes of the broadcast and you can understand why Donald Trump is president. There is a sense in which many things in the world feel out of control to many American voters -- safety-wise, the economy, changing demography and changing culture. He is promising to make the world seem orderly again. It's a big task. He is giving us every signal he will be aggressive in pursuing this fight against ISIS and terror. The question is whether more aggression produces better results or if ultimately produces more of a backlash and spreading of the ideology, even if you crush individual networks.

VAUSE: It is now official, the Electoral College voted for Donald Trump. He is president-elect. He tweeted out, "We did it. Thank you to all my great supporters. We officially won the election despite all the distorted and inaccurate media." That's one side. What's interesting about the vote, it looks like the

insurgency, this last gasp for Hillary Clinton, it all failed. Two Electoral College voters weighed against Donald Trump and five did not vote for Hillary Clinton.

BROWNSTEIN: That's a perfect metaphor for the entire election year. For all of the division within the Republican leadership, elected officials, finance, former government officials, at the base, there was unity behind Donald Trump. The Republican-leaning constituencies in the country gave every last ounce they had. On the other side, a perfect metaphor there was a bit of a waver. It wasn't a collapse. But key groups, Millennials and minority voters, college educated voters did not unify around Hillary Clinton as much as expected, and that imbalance, 80 percent of the people who approved of Obama voted for Clinton, and 90 percent of those who disapproved voted for Trump. That slight contrast was enough to elect him. You saw that today --


[01:35:27] BROWNSTEIN: Right to the very, very end.

VAUSE: We had Bill Clinton, one of the Electoral College voters. It must have been a bitter day for him. Or a bitter day.

BROWNSTEIN: Yeah, right.

VAUSE: He clearly was not happy. Listen to this.


BILL CLINTON, FORMER PERSIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: 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 be vindicated at the end when Secretary Powell came out. She fought through that and everything and prevailed against it all. But then, in the end, we had the Russians, and the FBI deal, which she couldn't prevail against that. She did everything else and still won by 2.8 million votes.


CLINTON: I'm very proud of her.



VAUSE: Is this a problem for the Democrats? There are reasons why Hillary Clinton lost. But there doesn't seem to be acknowledgement that the fault rests with them.

BROWNSTEIN: You know, that was an interesting statement. She won by 2.8 million votes. But she lost the four states they competed in the most intensely, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida and North Carolina. And the problems she faced went beyond Comey and the Russians. Yes, at the end, did the Jim Comey letter have an effect that held up at the end? Yes. She lost non-college white voters by 40 percent. She had historic deficits outside of the big urban centers. And she lost the four states they competed in most intensely on each side. So, yes, there was more to it than there. She was a flawed candidate. She had a limited message and a limited appeal. But she did win the popular vote by 2.8 million votes.

VAUSE: But if they don't recognize those problems in the Democrat Party, how do they rebuild and repair the issues?

BROWNSTEIN: They have a fundamental choice. Is the answer to be out into the non-urban areas and to those non-college voters and try to improve, and find someone like a Joe Biden, or is the answer really to unify the coalition that elected President Obama, that had a waver. It doubled down on Millennials, minorities and college educated whites in urban areas. That's a presidential strategy. In Congress, there's really one choice. You have to talk to a broader realm of the country than they are now.

VAUSE: That would be a 77-year-old Joe Biden.

BROWNSTEIN: Yes. He has left it open.

VAUSE: Yes, which is a discussion for another time.

BROWNSTEIN: Another time.

VAUSE: Thanks so much.

BROWNSTEIN: We have plenty of time for that.

VAUSE: Absolutely.

A short break here on NEWSROOM L.A. When we come back, more on the developing story out of Berlin. And we'll take a look at how trucks have become weapons for acts of terror.

You're watching CNN live all around the world.


[01:41:17] VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. One man is under arrest in the aftermath of a deadly truck attack in a Berlin Christmas market. At least 12 people were killed and 48 others wounded. Police say a polish citizen found dead in the truck was not driving.

This is a tactic we have seen before, a truck being used in a deadly attack.

Here's Tom Foreman.



TOM FOREMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORESPONDENT (voice-over): 86 people dead, more than 400 injured -- the attack in Nice, France, five months ago, proved how deadly a big vehicle can be. In that case, it was a huge rented truck traveling close to 60 miles an hour plowing through holiday revelers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I had a choice to jump to my left or right because the truck was swerving so I had to make a decision which way to jump. I decided to jump to my left, and thank god, I did. If I didn't, I would have been dead.

FOREMAN: Purposeful attacks using vehicles have happened plenty in recent years. At the University of North Carolina, in 2006, a man rams his SUV into a crowd. Luckily, no one dies.


FOREMAN: But in the Netherlands, in 2009, a car slams into a parade, and eight people are left dead.

In Canada, in 2014, a pair of soldiers are run down in a parking lot and one dies.

That same year, in Israel, a driver veers off the road and steps on the gas to hit people waiting for a train. Two were killed.

And in France, a pair of incidents, one right after another, leaves 20 people injured and one dead.


FOREMAN: In each case, questions of terrorism were raised. And the prevalence of such attacks prompted Homeland Security to issue this warning in the holiday season a half dozen years ago: "Vehicle ramming offers terrorists with limited access to explosives or weapons an opportunity to conduct an attack with minimal prior training".

Among the warning signs, vehicles with homemade metal plates on the front and large trucks at heavily traveled pedestrian areas at unusual times, especially if they are driving erratically.

Still, just last month, it happened again. At Ohio state, a young man ran into a crowd with his crowd with his car before being shot by a police officer and became the only fatality that day.

JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: There is plenty of available evidence to indicate that this individual may have been motivated by extremism and may have been motivated by a desire to carry out an act of terrorism.

FOREMAN (on camera): The simplicity of the attacks is why the terrorist groups are pushing them on the Internet, knowing that all it takes is one radical to get one started, and it requires a lot more resources to detect such a plan or stop it.


VAUSE: Our thanks to Tom Foreman for that report.

Julia Ebner joins me now from Vienna. She's a policy analyst at Quilliam, a London-based think tank focused on counterterrorism.

Julia, just to pick up on Tom Foreman's report there, when it comes to using trucks as weapons, is there a way to deal with that from a counterterrorism point of view?

JULIA EBNER, POLICY ANALYST, QUILLIAM FOUNDATION: I think from a counterterrorism point of view, it's hard to deal with. It's just so hard to preempt because anything can become a weapon, especially with trucks. In this case, there was nothing that security forces could have done.

I think they have done an amazing job this year. They have prevented --- they have foiled dozens of attacks. And some have -- some security forces thought it would be a matter of time until Germany is hit. What we can do I think we should focus on the preventive space and stop all these extremist ideologies of their appeal that would lead someone to carry out such an attack.

[01:45:18] VAUSE: And, Julia, looking around the world in the past 48 hours, a suicide bombing in Yemen that killed 53 soldiers, a shooting at a mosque in Zurich, of course, the assassination of the Russia ambassador in Turkey, and now this attack in Berlin, there does seem to be a sense of you know, something is almost out of control, that there is this violence which is gripping many parts of the world right now.

EBNER: Yeah, absolutely. I think the attack that we saw in Zurich yesterday is the best example that we're seeing extremism rising on all levels. Far right, as well as Islamist terrorist inspired is becoming more common all across the world. This is why it's important to not give in to the fears and the hatred that these terrorists want to provoke and not widen the tensions and rifts within our societies. This is what they're aiming at. This is their strategy of savagery that they're after.

VAUSE: And with that in mind, there is a lot of anger in Germany, even before the attack in Berlin, with the intake of refugees from countries like Syria and elsewhere. From a security point of view, having such a huge immigrant population from those kind of countries, does that increase the security risk? Is there any hard evidence to actually prove that is the case?

EBNER: You know, there have been studies. I think, there was a study that came out in early 2016 that showed that immigration actually decreases terrorism in statistical terms, decreases the risk of terrorism. That came out just before the Brexit referendum. And of course, there's no way to say how high the risk levels are within those refugee centers. But there is something that drives radicalization there, and that is the hatred that they encounter from Germans, from the society that is increasingly shifting to anti-Muslim hatred and xenophobia.


EBNER: Then, of course --


VAUSE: Sorry.

Sorry to interrupt. So, what we've seen with the attacks in places like Germany, who have taken in the immigrant population, the attacks are designed to generate that kind of anger towards the refugee population?

EBNER: Right. This is exactly what I think the terrorists were after. What they want to provoke is chaos and they want to provoke more hatred and incite fear so they drive the societies apart, so it leads ultimately to a collapse of Europe. So, they can see this global civil war that they want to achieve.

VAUSE: Julia, thank you. Julia Ebner, in Vienna. Thanks for being with us.

EBNER: Thank you.

VAUSE: It is 10:48 on the west coast. Time for a break. When we come back, more on the breaking news in Ankara, the assassination of the Russian ambassador to Turkey. Why one expert says that Turkey is sitting on a volcano.




[01:52:21] VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. It's gone 10:52 in Los Angeles.

Russian Investigators will be in Ankara on Tuesday after the assassination of Russia's ambassador to Turkey. A police officer shot Andrei Karlov while the ambassador was speaking at an art gallery. The 22-year-old gunman shouted, "Do not forget Aleppo and god is greatest." Turkey and Russia say the attack will not hurt their relationship.

For more on the fallout on the assassination of the Russian ambassador, we are joined by Bob Baer, CNN's intelligence and security analyst, former CIA operative.

Bob, good to have you with us.

At the highest level, the presidents of Turkey and Russia, they appear united in their response. But that's not a view shared by many Turks. In recent weeks, they have become increasingly angry at Russia for the role it's military has played in the fall of Aleppo and Syria.

BOB BAER, CNN INTELLIGENCE & SECURITY ANALYST: John, Turkey is sitting on a volcano right now, and it's about ready to go off, and it's thanks to Aleppo and the war in Syria. A lot of Turkish citizens are really upset that Erdogan is not doing more, not that he can do much. I do know that the regime -- I know people there -- very, very worried about the fallout from Mosul, Aleppo, Idlib Province, that this mess in Syria is doomed to move up into Turkey, and they don't know what to do about it. They have been begging the American administration to stop the slaughter in Aleppo. Nothing we can do about it. But nonetheless -- and the same can do for Mosul.

Whoever this guy was, the police officer who shot the ambassador, who he was motivated or in contact with the Islamic State, doesn't matter at this point, but what does is the sympathies among Turkish citizens for what is happening in Syria.

VAUSE: And the gunman shouted jihadist slogans and said, "Don't forget about Aleppo." Would you expect to see increased military operations in Syria as a form of retaliation by Moscow?

BAER: I think the Russians will retaliate. I think they will retaliate around Aleppo and Idlib and the rest of it. I don't think Putin can let this go. I think Putin is also worried about Turkey. Putin and Erdogan are getting along these days, the best they can. I think the Russian getting involved in Syria to this degree have gotten up on the back of a tiger and we're going the see a lot more of this and we're going to see an escalation of Russian involvement.

VAUSE: One thing which we're seeing in Turkey, it seems the president is not in control of domestic security, a situation that has gone from bad to worse after Erdogan locked up his own generals after the failed coup attempt in July.

[01:55:14] BAER: It's more than that. Erdogan is personally worried about an assassination himself, his own security services whether they support Gulen or the Islamic State. That coup in June came as a complete surprise to him and he got away just by chance. And he's worried about his military and police. And with this assassination now, he should be.

VAUSE: Do you see this as a pretext in Turkey for another widespread range of arrests, you know, thousands of more people being locked up, anyone who could oppose Erdogan domestically ending up in jail?

BAER: I think Erdogan is, like I said, truly frightened. Yes, he will retaliate and purge more police. But the more he purges, the more tenuous the situation gets. He will also continue go up against the Kurds. More arrests there. Turkey is -- let's put it this way, is not particularly stable at this point.

VAUSE: Bob, good to speak with you. Thanks so much.

BAER: Thank you.

VAUSE: You have been watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause.

Stay with us. A lot more on our breaking news coverage right after this.