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President-Elect Trump's Social Media Diplomacy; Berlin Suspect Pledged Allegiance to ISIS in Video; Syrian Government Says It Now Has Control of Aleppo; Outrage Grows Over Texas Arrest Video; Who Will Perform at Presidential Inauguration; Aired 9:30-10a ET
Aired December 23, 2016 - 09:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[09:30:00] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: And perhaps Saudi Arabia, perhaps South Korea, had nuclear weapons themselves, that we didn't have to defend them, but at other points saying, you know, I don't want to see more nuclear weapons.
This is also the issue, Reid, of he's not the sitting president yet. I mean, there is a sitting president. And you essentially now have two different people talking at the same time about nuclear policy. You've got obviously the sitting president and the president-elect. Isn't that confusing to foreign allies and adversaries?
REID WILSON, NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, THE HILL: It should be. And look, Donald Trump has talked a lot about how he wants to be more unpredictable as he takes office. Well, unpredictability is not necessarily a good thing on the world stage in global diplomacy as Ambassador Burns knows. Every single word is parsed and examined for every tiny little bit of meaning.
And this is not necessarily a good thing that -- if the United States of America is offering two different takes at the same time. We've seen a foreign power now, Israel, intervene and ask the president- elect to essentially pressure the sitting president over a U.N. Security Council resolution.
WILSON: You know, President Obama, when he was President-elect Obama, was very careful to note that America has only one president at a time. Then-president-elect George W. Bush back in 2000 treaded the same very careful line until he took over for Bill Clinton. So there are traditions that a President-elect Trump or a President Trump is certainly going to break and maybe that's a good thing in the longer sense. There are other traditions, though, that are not good to break and I think this is one of them.
HARLOW: It's clear that he is not guided by tradition. This is going to be an unprecedented and perhaps unorthodox presidency. But you bring up an interesting point, Nick, that is sort of the 24 hours it was, yesterday, of really social media diplomacy. Here he is tweeting about the settlement vote at the United Nations, and you know, intervening in that right now. You've got the tweet about nuclear weapons and then later in the day you've got the tweet about Lockheed Martin and Boeing sort of pitting those two companies against each other when it comes to fighter jets, sending Lockheed stocks down after hours trading, and this is having a real impact.
NICHOLAS BURNS, FORMER U.S. UNDER SECRETARY FOR POLITICAL AFFAIRS: Well, I think that there's a need for discipline here obviously. And transitions can be useful to president-elects. It's a time to dig into the intelligence, to get briefed on issues. Form your team. Get a sense of what the strategy of that team and then hit the ground running at noon on January 20th.
Our tradition, but also I think reason would dictate that that's the best way to do it. And this issue with nuclear weapons is so important, it's an existential issue for the United States, for Russia, or for China. You don't want to slip up. You don't want to say things that can be misunderstood. You want to have nuclear stability.
This is not a race that anyone's going to win or lose. We don't want to have to use nuclear weapons but we want to deter our adversaries and that's a serious business that every president from Harry Truman on has done successfully. So listen to General Mattis. Listen to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Listen to the career foreign service on this issue before you tweet out in 140 characters. It's not mature. It's not reasonable.
HARLOW: Ambassador Nicolas Burns, thank you. Errol Louis, Reid Wilson, we appreciate it. Thank you all.
Still to come, the suspect in the Berlin market attack shot and killed overnight. We have the latest on all of that, how it went down.
Also the Syrian government says it now has control of Aleppo after more than four years of civil war there. So what happens now?
[09:37:02] HARLOW: Breaking news on the main suspect in the Berlin truck attack this week. Just hours after Anis Amri was killed in a police shoot-out last night just outside of Milan ISIS has released a new video. This video appears to show the 24-year-old Tunisian man pledging allegiance to ISIS' leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. There is no mention in that video, though, of the attack on Monday. It's not clear when this pledge of allegiance to ISIS in this video -- when this was all shot.
Let's go to journalist Chris Burns. He joins me now from Berlin with more on the investigation and obviously the shoot-out that led to Amri's death.
Walk us through what happened. And I know we do have some breaking news on frankly how much German intelligence knew about what a threat Amri was before the attack.
CHRIS BURNS, JOURNALIST: Right, Poppy. Yes. Let's just go quickly to what happened here. After crashing that truck, 25-ton truck into this market back on Monday, Anis Amri left his fingerprints on that truck and fled. He hid out in Berlin for awhile. He went to France. He took a train from Chambery in eastern France to Milan, arrived there this morning about 1:00 a.m. Took a train to a suburban part of -- outside of Milan, where police confronted him just for a regular I.D. check. Instead of pulling out an I.D., he pulled out a .22 caliber pistol and started firing. He shot in the shoulder one of the Italian policemen. Another policeman opened fire and shot him in the chest and killed Anis Amri.
Now where does that go from here? Angela Merkel saying just moments ago, the German chancellor, that it is -- she is welcoming, of course, the news but saying this is not over. We will stay on this case. There could be many, many others. Her Interior Ministry said they're going to have hundreds of people -- police continuing to investigate trying to track down those who were linked and provided support to Anis Amri.
And keep in mind, too, Anis Amri was on a terror threat list among about 500 other people like that in Germany. So they do have a lot to do over the holidays to keep an eye on -- Poppy.
HARLOW: Chris Burns reporting for us in Berlin. Thank you very much, Chris.
Also the Syrian government saying that the battle for Aleppo has come to an end.
You're looking at pro-regime celebrations breaking out in the streets after the government, the Assad regime, took full control, they say, of the last rebel stronghold in Syria, that is Aleppo. This as the final 35,000 civilians were evacuated from eastern Aleppo on Thursday.
Syrian president Bashar al-Assad calling the takeover a, quote, "liberation from terrorists." That's his take. What happens next?
Our Muhammad Lila has all the details -- Muhammad.
MUHAMMAD LILA, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning, Poppy. You know, we got to be careful when we talk about what happens next. I know from covering this conflict just when you think you know what's going to happen, someone throws a wrench into the game and the goalposts change.
[09:40:08] But at least for now we can confirm both the Syrian side and the armed opposition saying that eastern Aleppo is now fully in control of government forces. They're portraying it as a victory. As you said a liberation showing people celebrating in the streets and dancing and calling this a major turning point, which, in fact, it may turn out to be.
Now here's the question, what happens next? Well, we know that the rebels are now regrouping in the countryside of Aleppo. The problem with that is there's been a lot of infighting amongst these rebel groups for years and they now happen to be in an area where there's a heavy ISIS presence and al Qaeda presence and all of those groups in this weird way the Syrian conflict has unraveled. They're all fighting each other. So the question is, will they somehow be able to unite and continue to fight the Assad regime. Now as far as the Assad regime goes, some people are saying they're
almost putting out an olive branch but another way of interpreting it as they're almost taunting the rebels. Syrian military commander basically pointing out to the rebels, look, all of you should drop your weapons and figure out how to rejoin the rest of Syrian society because you've already lost Aleppo and there isn't a whole lot left you can do.
So that's kind of where things are on the ground right now. And of course those people that might want to go back to eastern Aleppo and live there, well, it's been bombed almost relentlessly daily now for several months, if not years. There's very little for them to go back to.
HARLOW: Muhammad Lila reporting for us in Istanbul. Thank you very much.
Still to come, outrage is growing today over this viral video out of Fort Worth, Texas. How a woman and her daughter were arrested after she called police to tell them that her son had been choked by an adult neighbor.
[09:45:10] HARLOW: Outrage is growing over several arrests in Fort Worth, Texas. A woman calls the police to tell them that her neighbor -- her adult neighbor has choked her young son. But then she and her daughter end up in custody when an officer responds.
This is the video of the confrontation. This is video that has gone viral. That officer in Fort Worth, Texas, now on restricted duty status as the department investigates. And the man she said choked her son, what is the latest on him?
Let's bring CNN correspondent Polo Sandoval. He joins us now.
Walk us through this video. It is a six-minute video. What does it show us and what has the response been from the police?
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, at this point there seems to be this growing call for this officer to be held accountable. And investigators saying or at least pleading with the public to be patient as the investigation runs its course. And as we set up this video for our viewers, it's important to remind what led up to this, Poppy. A little bit of what you just touched on here.
This north Texas woman reached out to police, called them claiming that apparently one of her neighbors had choked her son when he reportedly littered. Well, a police officer did show up, but it was not what Jackie Craig expected.
JACQUELINE CRAIG, MOTHER: My son is 7 years old. You don't have the right to grab him to grab him, choke him behind no paper that he threw. SANDOVAL (voice-over): Jacqueline Craig heard stating her case to a
police officer she called to her community in Fort Worth alleging that this man in the blue shirt, a neighbor, choked her young son for supposedly littering on his lawn. But the officer's response to the charge was not what she expected.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why don't you teach your son not to litter?
CRAIG: I didn't -- he can't prove to me that my son littered but it doesn't matter if he did or didn't. It doesn't give him the right to put his hands on him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why not?
CRAIG: Because he don't.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's that?
CRAIG: Because he don't.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This man just asked my mama why does this white man not have the --
CRAIG: Why would you ask me -- why don't I teach him -- you don't know what I teach him. And you know, whatever you teach your kids don't mean that they go by your rules when they're out in your sight.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why are you yelling?
CRAIG: Because you just pissed me off telling me what I teach my kids and what I don't.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you keep yelling me at you're going to piss me off and you're going to jail.
SANDOVAL: At that moment Craig's daughter steps in facing her mother. The officer then grabbing Craig's daughter from behind.
CRAIG: Do not grab her. Do not grab her.
SANDOVAL: The youth jumping the video and the next thing you see is Craig on the ground, being arrested. The officer pointing what looks like a taser at witnesses. Another jump in the video and the officer is wrestling Craig's daughter to the ground, arresting her, too.
The community is outraged. Crowds gathering outside the Fort Worth courthouse Thursday night. Craig's attorney telling CNN he and his client believe race played a role in the incident.
S. LEE MERRITT, ATTORNEY: The officer came to that scene and he saw a white man and a black woman and he made up his mind before really asking any real questions that the white man was not going to be guilty of any -- anything and that he was going to find a reason to be upset with the complaining witness, the black mother.
SANDOVAL: Fort Worth Police Department saying in a statement, "We acknowledge that the initial appearance of the video may raise serious questions. We ask that our investigators are given the time, and opportunity, to thoroughly examine this incident, and to submit their findings. The officers now on restricted duty as the department's internal affairs unit investigates the case.
SANDOVAL: So back to that initial assault claim that started everything. Fort Worth Police telling CNN that a report was taken, witnesses were interviewed. They went over some evidence but at this point no charges have been filed, nobody has been arrested regarding that case. But back to this particular incident here, between that still unidentified officer, and Jacqueline Craig, Poppy, investigators are still going over some of that -- some of the witnesses say and also some of the body cam footage as well that could potentially answer some of the questions that police officers, investigators, and the public have at this hour.
HARLOW: Right. Polo, thank you for the reporting very much. We appreciate it.
Next hour I will be speaking with the mother, Jacqueline Craig, who was arrested and her attorney. We'll have that straight ahead.
Quick break. We're back in a moment.
[09:32:31] HARLOW: Less than a month now until President-elect Donald Trump is inaugurated. Perhaps not with the star power some of his predecessors had at their inaugurations but the president-elect this morning tweeting he doesn't want them. He just wants the people.
CNN's Stephanie Elam has more on who else we can expect to hit the stage come January.
STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Beyonce. James Taylor. Brad Paisley. Those are just a few of the A-list entertainers who sang at President Obama's last inauguration.
Over the years, presidential inaugurations have become celeb-studded celebrations. Hollywood heavyweights deeming it an honor to be asked to perform for the new president. But now less than a month away from the president-elect's inauguration and sources tell CNN that Donald Trump's transition team is having a hard time booking talent.
TED JOHNSON, SENIOR EDITOR, VARIETY: This was an incredibly divisive campaign. There is a lot of hurt feelings out there and even if you supported Donald Trump, you may have some hesitation over what kind of a response you're going get from your fan base that did not vote for him.
ELAM: While a vice chair for Trump's inaugural committee has said in November Elton John was set to perform on the National Mall, John's spokeswoman wrote in an e-mail to CNN, quote, "He will not be performing at Trump's inauguration." Capitalization hers.
It would have been a change for John who headlined a Hillary Clinton fundraiser during the campaign.
JOHNSON: I think the view among many in the music industry is Donald Trump is not an ordinary Republican in his rhetoric and they are very put off by that. And it follows through with the inauguration that they don't want to touch it, I guess, with a 10-foot pole.
ELAM: Entertainment news Web site "The Wrap" reports Garth Brooks will not perform. No doubt, however, Trump will have performances, just perhaps with a lot less pop.
JOHNSON: I actually don't doubt that there will be people there at the inauguration. I don't think, though, that they are going to get people who are out there on the campaign trail for Hillary Clinton. I also don't think that they're going to get the level of celebrity star power that you saw for Barack Obama's first inauguration. Hollywood leans left and Donald Trump has to work against that.
ELAM: The Trump team is downplaying any difficulties getting A- listers, confirming to CNN that they booked the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Also saying yes, Jackie Evancho of "America's Got Talent" fame. She will sing the national anthem at Trump's swearing in.
[09:55:07] Other possible inaugural performers? Musicians who have stumped for Trump like Ted Nugent and Kid Rock.
Stephanie Elam, CNN, Los Angeles.
HARLOW: The next hour of NEWSROOM begins after a quick break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDREA VERMEULEN, ACTRESS: Hey. I'm Andrea Vermeulen, comedian and actress, and I'm about to show you some of my must-see spots in L.A. So welcome to Amir's Garden, an oasis in the middle of the city. So in 1971, a massive brush fire kind of wiped out all of the trees, the vegetation and Amir decided to plant this garden oasis by hand.
We are here at Crossroads, one of my favorite restaurants. It is L.A.'s premier hot spot for gourmet plant-based cuisine.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Signature dish, our artichoke oysters. And this is our take on the carbonara. The egg is made out of a yellow tomato bearnaise sauce.
VERMEULEN: Welcome to beautiful Malibu Pier. Such an amazing place. Just a little over 25 miles from downtown L.A., you can fish, you can surf, you can paddle board and you can enjoy two farm-to-table restaurants all here on the pier with a little gift shop at the end.
This is the perfect way to end a wonderful day looking out at the ocean, sipping a fresh squeezed juice. I mean, come on. I hope you enjoyed this trip with me through L.A. I hope to see you here soon.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.