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Manhunt for Main Suspect in Berlin Attack; Questions over Angela Merkel's Refugee Policy; Doctor Describes Scene of Berlin Attack; Trump Steps Up Security Briefings Following Berlin Attack; 33 Dead in Mexico Fireworks Explosion. Aired 2-3a ET
Aired December 22, 2016 - 02:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[02:00:09] JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: This is CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles.
VAUSE: Hello. Welcome to our viewer in the United States and around the world. I'm John Vause. And we are now in to the third hour of NEWSROOM L.A.
Police across Europe are hunting for the main suspect in the Berlin Christmas market attack. 24-year-old Anis Amri is from Tunisia. His identity papers were found inside the truck that plowed into the crowd Monday night. Authorities say he is linked to radical Islamist groups and known to German police because he once tried to get a gun. He was also arrested in August carrying forged documents but a judge ordered his release.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED INTERIOR MINISTER (through translation): In July 2016, his asylum application was rejected by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees. The man couldn't be deported as he didn't have valid identification papers. The process was started in August. At first, Tunisia denied this person was their national.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Officials are offering a 100,000 Euro reward -- that is about 104,000 U.S. dollars -- for any information on Amri's whereabouts. Authorities are urging anyone who sees him to call police but do not put yourself in danger. They say he is armed and violent.
For more on this, Chris Burns joins us live from Berlin
Chris, we now have this Europe-wide manhunt underway. Do you know specifically where they are focusing the search not just for Amri, but for anyone else who might be with him?
CHRIS BURNS, JOURNALIST: John, I want to show you one of the headlines this morning related to that, saying, (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE), "Why was he not in jail?" A lot of people are asking why was he released? We do know because he didn't have a legal passport they couldn't send him home, but he had a lot of links. And therein, lies where the manhunt is going. The manhunt is going, not only here in Berlin, where he lived, but in Westphalia around Dusseldorf. That's where he also lived. And that's where they are looking. Hundreds of German police are looking. And it is going across Europe through Interpol and the security agencies around Europe. They are looking intensely for this man and people related to him.
He had links to some of his groups in recruiting people for attacks. So that's what they are focusing on, those kinds of circles. But it is very wide and there are hundreds of people like Anis Amri who are in Germany, and that's why it is difficult to track them all the time. But this is what they will be looking at for a long time.
Also, security very tight. The market over my shoulder, where the truck crashed three days ago is reopening today. The boulevard, as you can perhaps see, is reopening, as well. Berlin is trying to come back to normal but under tight security -- John?
VAUSE: Chris, a lot of people in Berlin and Germany want to know how someone, an asylum seeker with Amri's background, was allowed to walk the streets. A lot of questions for Chancellor Angela Merkel and her refugee policy.
BURNS: Instead, yes. That's a very big question, where is that refugee policy going to go?
Let's talk to Dominic Thomas.
You are the head of the Francophone and French department at UCLA and you are here in Berlin. You are an expert, a specialist on E.U. affairs. What impact is this going to have on Merkel? We are already seeing the CSU head, the sister party in Bavaria, saying we have to look again at this refugee policy.
DOMINIC THOMAS, CHAIR, DEPARTMENT OF FRENCH & FRANCOPHONE STUDIES, UCLA: For the past few months, Chancellor Merkel has been under pressure to acknowledge that her initial response to the refugee crisis, migrant crisis back in 2015 came out of a level of unpreparedness. She has had to backtrack on some of those initial policies by explaining to members of the party and to German society that she would like to do this a little bit differently, to have stricter regulations in place. Now the debate has shifted completely. Because 2017 is the general elections. We all know the far-right political parties, particularly the Alternative for Germany that has been demonstrating the last few days.
BURNS: Last night, right outside of her chancellery.
[02:05:14] THOMAS: Right. And right outside the Brandenburg Gate where the German flag was beamed onto it, much of the way the French flag was beamed on the this building after the Nice attack last summer. These questions are important. And within her party she is facing increasing pressure and within the coalition to speak out on these kinds of questions.
BURNS: We saw yesterday that Merkel's cabinet approved two measures, one requiring -- that would require the veil, or the face -- I'm sorry. That would ban the face covering --
BURNS: -- among public employees, and also allowing video surveillance in places like these in the square.
BURNS: How much of that do you think will help to address the issue?
THOMAS: I think, on one hand, the German society is divided about these responses. Many people have spoken out saying they don't want a state of surveillance, as imposed in France, this state of emergency that is perpetually renewed in the face of the 2015 attacks.
BURNS: The Pirate Party is strong, here, too. And they are against intrusion of privacy.
THOMAS: Right. That sort of aspect is defining it. But the bigger question of talking about and linking terrorism to refugees and asylum seekers is proving incredibly helpful to far-right parties that are working on this fear and anxiety around these questions.
BURNS: They will be playing this up. But how much will this put a dent in Merkel's coalition?
THOMAS: The coalition -- first of all, back in last July, when there were attacks and incidents in Germany, her popularity rating dropped catastrophically, and gradually made its way back up again. As people talked about security, they have watched the referendum in Italy, they are concerned about elections in France, and they realize Germany, economically is doing very well. So, the CSU has been speaking about these questions, asking her to toughen up on the question of Islam, to toughen up on the question of migration, and to move her party's politics to the right in the way that the French electorate has been going.
BURNS: There could be more infighting within this coalition between the SPD, the Social Democrats and the Christian Democrats of Angela Merkel. We saw in the last hour, in my discussion with Mr. Whittaker, of the CDU, who is saying, pointing a finger at the SPD saying because of those guys we couldn't get tougher on this.
THOMAS: This infighting will produce some winner and losers. It is highly unlikely that the outcome of the 2017 elections the coalition looks the same. And right now, the parties are working by themselves, preparing for this and we can see the cracks are there in the coalition. Merkel's future is uncertain. It's going to be interesting when polls start to come out to see how she can go about rebuilding her party in the five to six months that will precede the election next summer.
BURNS: Dominic Thomas, thank you very much. We'll talk to you later.
It will be interesting to see how the polls, how they develop and how much infighting could there be within this grand coalition, and who's going to benefit? Will it be the populous parties or can the grand coalition continue as it is?
Back to you, John.
VAUSE: Chris, thank you.
Dozens of people were hurt during the truck rampage, many with serious and horrendous injuries. Max Foster spoke to a doctor who led the emergency response at one hospital in Berlin.
UNIDENTIFIED PHYCISIAN: It was blood all over the scene. It was like a war zone.
MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Felt like a war zone?
UNIDENTIFIED PHYSICIAN: Yes. They describe it. They said they wanted to help but I couldn't help anymore. It's very difficult. It was very traumatic for them. They only tell part of the story, not the full story yet. They need strong support to overcome it.
Many of the staff who were informed by social media already were here. In this hospital, we had 250 staff members coming from their own parties, Christmas parties, they were at home. So, then the system was activated.
The injuries were really related to the mechanism of injuries. On one side -- and you have to consider the scene. A truck drove in to a crowd of people who had some drinks, a Christmas place. There were serious injuries, broken bones, and some were caught under the truck. Some of the injures they couldn't survive. If you can imagine a truck drives over your chest or abdomen, this is significant an injury. And other patients were affected by huts which collapsed. So, there were wooden poles or whatever fell on them. They had clavicle fractures and other broken bones. And this is probably the spectrum. Other ones were hit by minor things and only had contusions. And this is just the physical trauma. The ones which follow now, and we're becoming much more aware, about the psychological effect on them. They realize what happened and what kind of environment it occurred.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[02:10:36] VAUSE: We'll take a short break. When we come back, Donald Trump makes his first public comments about the Berlin terror attack, but questions linger about where he is getting his intelligence information.
Also, ahead, we don't talk anymore. That's the message from the Kremlin to the U.S. But the State Department says, what? Live to Moscow to find out what's going on.
[02:14:52] VAUSE: Donald Trump has made his first public comments about the Christmas market rampage in Germany. He spoke to reporters just before meeting with his security adviser in Florida.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: What's going on is horrible. We have intelligence here right now. What's going on is terrible.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Has it caused you to rethink or reevaluate the plan to create a Muslim register or ban Muslim immigration to the United States?
TRUMP: Hey, you've known my plans all along. It's -- I've been proven to be right, 100 percent correct. What's happening is disgraceful.
TRUMP: That's an attack on humanity. That's what it is. It's an attack on humanity. And it's got to stopped.
OK, thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: The Trump team said the president-elect is following developments in Germany closely and he's apparently stepping up his intelligence briefings, maybe one a week now.
CNN Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr, has the details.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When President-elect Trump addressed reporters today, he had his new national security adviser right behind him, retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, in Florida, to discuss world events and staffing. The meeting was on the schedule before the terror attacks in Germany and Turkey.
Trump began the day with an official president's daily brief, the first of the week. Trump's staff insists he is getting some type of intelligence briefing every day and will be on top of things from day one.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's very much up to speed in what's going on and fully ready for to be sworn in next month. And take over the role as commander-in-chief. STARR: A U.S. official tells CNN that Trump is averaging one formal
briefing a week, the same type of intelligence briefing that President Obama gets every day. Trump is also getting briefings on specific topics.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The one thing I will say is that the president- elect is receiving numerous briefings, whether it's from his national security team, with General Flynn and others, as well as the formal PDB.
STARR: The briefings come amid increasing global turmoil.
The Kremlin says that relations with the U.S. have frozen, a day after the new sanctions aimed at Russia's involvement in Crimea in Ukraine, sanctions the incoming president could reverse.
ADM. JOHN KIRBY. U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: The next administration will, obviously, have to make their own decisions about this. We hope that they will come to see the wisdom in not conducting business as usual with Russia.
STARR: All leading to the greater question, how friendly will the incoming president be to Vladimir Putin.
TRUMP: When he calls me brilliant, I'll take the compliment.
CHRISTOPHER HILL, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR: He has to be more cautious about Russia than he appears to be. He has to understand that their interest and attitude does not align with ours.
STARR: Nowhere may that be clear than the Moscow meeting of Russian, Iranian and Turkish officials on what to do next in Syria.
SERGEI LAVROV, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER (through translation): All three countries presented here are united.
STARR: But U.S. officials still believe the talks will not stop Moscow from continuing its military operations in Syria, beyond Aleppo.
(on camera): But getting some of the essential national security jobs filled are still on the to-do list. Topping the list may be a nomination for director for National Intelligence and for Mr. Trump to select his White House advisers on Homeland Security and counterterrorism, perhaps, all the more urgent given recent events -- John?
VAUSE: Barbara Starr, thank you.
The U.N. Security Council will vote on a draft resolution demanding Israel stop all settlement activity in occupied Palestinian territory. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is urging the U.S. to veto the measure. The White House declined to comment, but the U.S. has said Israeli settlement activity lacks legitimacy. Meantime, Israel's U.S. ambassador says he hopes Washington moves its
embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. President-elect Trump made the pledge during the campaign but the plan has drawn sharp criticism from Arab leaders and the Palestinians.
U.S. officials say they are a little puzzled after a Kremlin spokesman said that Washington and Moscow have stopped talking to each other. Dmitry Peskov made the remark during an interview with Russia media.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DMITRY PESKOV, KREMLIN SPOKESMAN: As you know, almost every level of dialogue with the United States is frozen. We don't communicate with one another. Or if we do, we do so minimally.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: U.S. officials deny a break in dialogue. The Defense Department points out there was a joint video conference on Wednesday between Russian and U.S. military officials. They talked about operations in Syria. And the State Department says Secretary of State John Kerry spoke by phone with the Russia Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as recently as Tuesday.
Let's go to Moscow and find out what's happening. Matthew Chance is live.
Matthew, the U.S. doesn't have a clue what the Kremlin means when it says dialogue is frozen. What do they mean?
[02:20:07] MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPODNENT: You know. I don't know anyone that would have a clue what the Kremlin means. I think what the Kremlin was trying to say, they probably exaggerated in the words they used, but they were painting a bleak characterization of the state of affairs between Moscow and Washington. The relations are not great, not good. They have been divided the past couple of years over a range of issues. What the Kremlin was basically saying is that, look, we are barely speaking to each other. We have a relationship where we don't talk. That came a few hours after the United States had extended and expanded its sanctions on Russia over its 2014 annexation of Crimea. The Kremlin is particularly angry about that, as well and we have to set it against the big political changes that are about to come upon us.
In a couple of weeks from now, Trump will be in the White House and the expectation is, here in Moscow, this cold, frozen relationship, as they have characterized, it between Moscow and Washington could start to thaw and get a lot warmer.
VAUSE: What he is saying is there was essentially lost in translation moment here. That the nuanced meaning out of the Kremlin was deliberately misinterpreted by Washington?
CHANCE: Well, I mean, the exact statement is we don't talk to each other or do so at a minimum. The exchanges that the White House has pointed out have taken place. The Pentagon also spoke to spokesman about air safety. That would fall under what the Kremlin would say is the minimum amount of contact with the White House. But, you know, a larger conversation about strategy, about the big issues facing the international community, about Syria, for instance, and what to do in that country. These are conversations the Russians are having with others at the moment. For instance, yesterday in Moscow, there was a big summit between the Russian, Iranian and Turkish foreign minister in which they agreed to put out a road map how to end the Syrian conflict. The United States was conspicuously not at that meeting and wasn't invited. So, when it comes to the big diplomatic conversations, Russians say they are not engaging with the current White House at the moment.
VAUSE: Are they having a similar problem of frozen dialogue with other Western counties, European countries for instance?
CHAN CE: Well, they haven't spoken about those specifically. But look, the relationship between Russia and the West, specifically, the United States, but other countries in the West as well, as we all know, has been dire the past couple of years. There have been not just United States sanctions against Russia, but European Union sanctions against Russia, as well. Russia retaliated and imposed countersanctions against those entities. And they have fallen out over the issue of Crimea and the expansion in to Ukraine and the fact that Russia backs Assad in the Syrian conflict and most of the other Western countries back various rebel groups opposed to Assad. You take every issue that is important in the world today and you see Russia on one side and the West on the other. There is this real tension that has come to the fore in the past couple of years.
The big question facing us geopolitically in Russia is with the change of the White House, Trump taking on the White House, and the positive things he's been saying about wouldn't it be great to do a deal with Russia, he would look at the situation and recognizing it as part of Russia, and he wants to cooperate in the fight against terrorism in which he and Russia see as the biggest threat facing us today, and then there's this extraordinary possibility for this relationship to get much, much warmer and to transform. And it could go wrong, of course. Most analyst think it will probably hit a road block. But, at the moment there are high expectations this frozen relationship is going to get a lot warmer in the months ahead.
VAUSE: Matthew, we appreciate it. Matthew Chance, live in Moscow.
And in a few hours from now, Vladimir Putin will pay his respects at the funeral of Andrei Karlov, the country's ambassador to Turkey. A police officer shot and killed Karlov at an art gallery opening on Monday in Ankara. Russia and Turkey are working together investigating the assassination. A dozen people have been detained so far, according to media reports.
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said exiled cleric, Fethullah Gulen, and the movement he leads are behind the killing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RECEP TAYYIC ERDOGAN, TURKISH PRESIDENT (through translation): There's no need to make a secret out of the fact he was a member of Feto. All of his connections, where he was educated, his links, point to Feto. I have to say this clearly. This dirty organization is still within the military, still within the police. We, of course, are continuing and will continue to carry out purges. We have to be sensitive on this issue and we will do this with sensitivity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[02:25:31] VAUSE: Gulen, who is living in self-exile in the United States, condemned the assassination and denies any involvement. The Russian government is urging Turkey not to rush to judgment.
At least 33 people are confirmed dead in a massive fireworks explosion in Mexico. The blast was so powerful, it shook the ground in neighboring towns. Forensics teams are searching through the charred rubble searching for human remains.
More details now from CNN's Leyla Santiago.
LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, there's a strong desire for not only the families searching for answers but also for law enforcement and rescue crews who have spent much of the day in this market going through the debris, trying to figure out exactly what led to this explosion. When you ask government officials here, they will tell you the focus is on the victims and providing support, but there really isn't much information as far as what caused it or what preliminary cause investigators may be looking at right now.
I know that, at this time, a lot of families are asking the government to help them find their family members. I spoke to one woman who went to the morgue, went to the hospital, and is still standing outside of that fence hoping to get more answers.
This is a market, by the way, that just nine days ago, state government officials called one of the safest in Latin America. It is massive. We are talking 10 football fields, give or take, and about 300 vendors that government officials tell me all had permits to be here as people came here to look for fireworks for Christmas and New Year's, which is something that is very, very common.
In the meantime, the investigation continues and the search for answers not only for law enforcement but also for families -- John?
VAUSE: Leyla, thank you.
With that we will take a break. When we come back, the search is on in Berlin. We will have the latest on the manhunt after this week's terror attack.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [02:30:37] JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, everybody. Just 11:30 on the west coast. You are watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause.
We will check the headlines.
VAUSE: Police are searching for this man, the main suspect in the truck attack on a Berlin Christmas market. Police say that Anis Amri is from Tunisia and has ties to radical Islamist groups. He was arrested in August with forged documents but was released by a judge. Some suspect Amri may no longer be in Germany. And authorities warn he is violent and armed.
We have details now from Hala Gorani.
HARA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR (voice-over): A massive manhunt underway across Germany as a picture and the name of the man they are urgently looking for are circulated among police forces. They say he's a Tunisian national, named Anis Amri, born in 1992. His identity papers were found in the truck used to carry out a Monday's deadly attack on a Berlin Christmas market. They say he could be armed and dangerous. Authorities say he had known links to radical Islamist groups. Revealing the suspect arrived in 2015 and claimed asylum.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translation): In July of 2016 his application was rejected by the federal office for migration and refugees. The man couldn't be deported. As he didn't have valid identification papers. The process for issuing replacement papers were started in August. At first, Tunisia denied this person was their national.
GORANI: Also released today, a picture of the truck's polish driver who completed a planned run from Italy to Germany before losing contact with his employer. Authorities believe the truck was hijacked four hours before the attack. The driver's body, shot at close range, was found in the passenger seat.
As the clean-up operation in the now-abandoned Christmas market continues, mourners gather to share their shock and sadness.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He would go here to have a good evening, to have -- they drink wine and eat something and stay here and with friends or family. And then they are dead after five minutes. It's shocking. Yes, it is.
GORANI: The German president visited a local hospital to pay his respects to the injured.
Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel's re-election bid has been complicated by the assault, as she faces growing concerns over her government's generous acceptance of nearly 900,000 asylum seekers over the past year. Despite the fact that initial reports about the driver being a refugee were wrong, far-right leaders in Europe are already casting blame on Merkel for the attack.
VAUSE: Security expert, Aaron Cohen, is with us. He's a former member of Israel's Special Operations Counterterrorism Unit.
Aaron, thank you for joining us.
We understand law enforcement can't track everyone, but a failed asylum seeker, links to known ISIS recruiter, subject to a terrorism investigation, under surveillance because they thought he was planning a burglary top get weapons. It could have been anyone. Just a face in the crowd. This guy had red flags all over him.
AARON COHEN, SECURITY EXPERT & FORMER MEMBER, ISRAEL SPECIAL OPERATIONS COUNTERRISM UNIT: This isn't just a face in the crowd. This is clearly someone who German authorities had been looking at. It is not just German authorities because Interpol is where it is the strongest because there are so many countries across Europe. So for them to centralize all of the information, Interpol is a key ingredient with that. But this guy -- where was the surveillance? Where did it stop? Why did the surveillance stop?
That surveillance is the key and first part of all of the preemptive work in order to prevent future terror attacks. So why weren't we listening to his cell phone? Why weren't we tracking his cell phone?
[02:35:10] Let me be clear, everything is done with cell phones. They tap into that cell phone, if he has been red flagged. There's a team of people that sit there and track cell phones of suspects that have been red flagged and you know where he is going. If he is an asylum seeker and someone trying to get in to another country.
Again, this is an operational failure. Something happened in the actual movement portion of the operations to allow this guy to be able to get in to a truck and then drive into this crowd of people.
VAUSE: OK. Amri's father has spoken publicly. He said he hasn't talked to his son in years but confirmed that his son spent time in jail. This is what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FATHER OF ANIS AMRI (through translation): He went illegally with friends where they burned a school. He was I jailed four years and then moved to Germany. I've not spoken to him in a long time. It's been about seven years since he left home. I have not spoken to him directly for that long. I do not even have his cell phone.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: The family went on to say they had no idea he was obviously planning anything like this, except the mother and brothers had spoken to him over a period of a couple of months, but had no idea he was planning anything like this, which is typical in a case like this?
COHEN: It is almost typical -- it feels like ISIS because, again, with the rental of the truck, with the false name. There's operational planning that these terror groups are getting better and better at. It seems they are training their operatives or would be operatives or copycats or anyone who wants to jump in to the terrorism game -- don't share things with your family members, don't tell things that will break op-sec, or op operational security. I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't know anything about him being ideologically aligned with wanting to commit acts of terror, but I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't know anything about the specifics of this particular operation because it allows the attacks to be carried out successfully.
VAUSE: They may have been suspicion that something changed in him. They become more religious, more conservative.
COHEN: I agree. I agree. The fact the father hasn't spoken for seven years. Maybe he doesn't agree with his ideologies.
VAUSE: Amri is believed to have links to Ahmed Abdulaziz Abdullah. He's known as the preacher without a face. But we actually have a photograph of him. This is the image we have. It came from Paul Cruickshank. He's one of the top ISIS leaders in Germany, if not the top ISIS leader. So, that would indicate Amri had a support network and no lone-wolf attacker if he has links to this guy.
COHEN: Abdulaziz has been watched by many governments, not just the Europeans with Interpol, not just Americans and the Brits, but there are many organizations, including Israel, who have been watching this guy for a long time because of the command in the youth he controls. He's a known spouter of hatred. He is very visible on-line and social media as well as his public image. In the news, he's very similar to Ahmed, who Israel ended up assassinating. One of these clerics, these zealots can almost command violence because of their ability to be able to lead on camera and get people to follow their ideology. Very dangerous creature, this guy. They have been watching him a long time. The hard part is where do you draw the line between free speech and inciting rhetoric that can cause death? That's the trick.
VAUSE: Here's a look at what is happening. They have this Europe- wide arrest warrant. We have a BOLO, "be on the lookout for," a public statement from the authorities. They had to do it because the name is leaked to the media and so authorities in Germany thought they had no choice but to do that. How does that jeopardize the search for this guy, that leak to the media?
COHEN: I feel I would have been done intentionally. Leaks are part of an operation. There's a time and place to give things to the media. With this outlet, you can get the word out quicker. You want the photo on cell phones, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. I say leak it. I say get it the name out there. The best society of eyes are the masses. They will catch him quicker. The same thing happened in prior terror attacks we saw in Europe. Get the information out so they can catch this guy.
He may have weapons. Very dangerous guy. He needs to be arrested immediately. So, law enforcement needs to be careful because these guys are dangerous.
[02:39:48] VAUSE: VAUSE: Aaron, good to speak to you.
COHEN: Thank you.
VAUSE: Thank you so much.
Still to come on NEWSROOM L.A., why we have not seen surveillance footage like this from the Berlin attack.
Back in a moment.
VAUSE: Welcome back, everyone. Ahead, the manhunt underway across Europe for the main suspect in the Berlin Christmas market attack. Anis Amri is a 24-year-old from Tunisia. His identity papers were found inside the truck which barreled into the crowd. He is known to German police. Amri was arrested in August carrying forged documents but authorities were unable to deport him. And they say he is linked to radical Islamist groups.
In the wake of the attack, German lawmakers have started to rethinking privacy restrictions that have, until now, limited the use of surveillance cameras. In a country with a totalitarian past, expanding the tools of the state and especially state security might be controversial.
As Brynn Gingras reports, it has worked elsewhere.
BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When a bomb exploded during the 2013 Boston Marathon --
GINGRAS: -- surveillance cameras showed the smoke rising over the finish line. But that wasn't all they revealed. For investigators, footage from street cameras exposed critical information, the faces of the Tsarnaev brothers, who set off the explosion, and the backpack they used to carry the bomb to the race. Those pictures wallpapered the city and aided the capture of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. His older brother, Tamarlan, was killed in a gun battle with police.
While footage obtained from closed-circuit television sometimes depicts difficult moments to watch, each frame can be invaluable to investigators. It often leads authorities to the suspect, as it did in Boston.
GINGRAS: In Brussels, twin explosions at the airport and a train station in March were documented by passengers.
[02:45:04] GINGRAS: Cell phone video revealed devastated wreckage through thick smoke. But it quickly centered around this image, taken by airport cameras. Three men pushing luggage carts, two of them suicide bombers who police believe wore gloves to conceal the detonators. After a manhunt, authorities arrested the third man, in the hat.
On a New York City street in September, closed-circuit television shows window store fronts shattering and people running for their lives. NYPD investigators were able to rewind the footage from street cameras and spotted Ahmed Khan Rahami (ph) in one location where a pressure-cooker bomb was found.
Law enforcement officials say surveillance video helps to create a time line of suspect's movements before they take action. Terrorists buying supplies in London before committing a series of attacks on the transit system in 2005. And camera footage obtained by thedailymail.com, shows terrorists taking control of a Paris cafe during a series of attacks in 2015. One of those cameras revealing a dramatic moment when a woman's life was spared because a suspect's gun seemingly jammed.
Brynn Gingras, CNN, New York.
VAUSE: North Carolina's so-called bathroom bill is still law in the state. Lawmakers failed to repeal it during a special session on Wednesday. The law bans people from using public bathrooms which don't correspond to the biological sex listed on their birth certificate. Some people in the gallery shouted, "Shame."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: They did that as the gavel came down.
Governor-elect Roy Cooper called the lawmakers' actions a failure.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROY COOPER, (D), GOVERNOR-ELECT OF NORTH CAROLINA: I'm disappointed that Republican legislative leaders failed to live up to their promise to fully repeal House Bill 2. I'm disappointed for the people of North Carolina, for the jobs that people won't have. I'm disappointed that we have yet to remove the stain on the reputation of our great state.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Backlash against the law has cost North Carolina an estimated $650 million in lost revenue.
A short break. When we come back, the most annoying words in the U.S. this year.
[02:51:27] VAUSE: Queen Elizabeth and her husband, Prince Philips, are putting off their holiday travel for now. Buckingham Palace says the royal couple is not well. They both have colds. They usually head to their Sandringham estate at Christmas time. The palace did not say if the trip is cancelled all together or maybe it's just been delayed
Richard Fitzwilliams is a royal commentator and a former editor of International Who's Who, a biographical reference book.
Richard, thanks for being with us.
Is Her Majesty is expected to make the trip today? There was speculation it might be on in the coming hours?
RICHARD FITZWILLIAMS, ROYAL COMMENTATOR & FORMER EDITOR, WHO'S WHO: I sincerely hope so. We are expecting an announcement this morning as to whether or not the queen and the duke, who both have heavy colds, will be traveling either perhaps today or possibly tomorrow.
Of course, this is such an important time of year for them. It's worthwhile remembering that on Tuesday the queen hosted the traditional lunch at Christmas for the extended royal family. She announced she was stepping down from 25 patronages but that still leaves almost 600. And it is a time to reflect how robust both the queen and the duke are equally. The queen is 90 and the duke at 95. And obviously, at such an age, one is naturally concerned if someone is unwell in any circumstances. But clearly, we're hoping that the traditional festivities will continue as planned.
VAUSE: Explain to our audience, who may not be entirely familiar with this tradition, that Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, they take the 10:44 train on the same day. They have been doing this as long as most people can remember and many people set their calendars by it.
FITZWILLIAMS: Yes, absolutely. Because what happens is a gathering of the royal family. This year, the duke and duchess of Cambridge will be staying with the Middletons, Kate's parents. But some 30 members of the royal family join the queen and Prince Philip at their Sandringham estate. And what we see on Christmas day is the church, at St. Mary Magdalene, and the royal family going to and from the church service. And then, of course, the pre-recorded queen's Christmas message. This is viewed by millions, some seven million in Britain, and with social media, it's impossible to estimate the audience. A very important message, particularly, one has to say. I mean, the queen is a deeply religious person. And this is a significant time of year. And it's also a time when she, as monarch, a symbol of national unity, presides over a deeply divided country after the Brexit vote.
VAUSE: Quickly there was speculation this was not a health matter and maybe a security matter.
FITZWILLIAMS: That's something that one can't comment on. It's perfectly true that the cancellation occurred moments before the royal couple were expected to board the train from King's Cross to Norfolk. But I would say that we'll hear this morning that hopefully the festivities will continue as privately and publicly. They are of such importance. And little doubt at all that in her 90th year, the queen and the duke have broken every record going. My hope is they will continue to do so for a long time to come.
[02:55:24] VAUSE: Thank you for being with us, Richard.
Well, in the U.S., one word claims the title of most annoying word of the year, "whatever," followed by, "no offense, but," and, "you know, right." This is the second year "whatever" topped the list of the most annoying words.
OK, to Spain, millions are watching the drawing of the world's biggest lottery. "The Fat One," as it's called, brings the country to a standstill every year. Children draw winning numbers from rotating drums. Last year, combined prizes totaled more than $2 billion. This year's drawing could be just as big.
If I win it, you will never see me again. But I won't win, because I never do.
You are watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause.
The news continues with Hannah Vaughan Jones. She's in London.
[03:00:13] HANNAH VAUGHAN JONES, CNN ANCHOR: Armed, dangerous --