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Israeli Benjamin Netanyahu says he's summoning the U.S. Ambassador Daniel Shapiro after the U.S. allowed a U.N. resolution condemning Israeli settlements and if they allowed it to pass; President-elect Donald Trump is dissolving the Trump Foundation; New York Attorney General's office is still investigating the Trump Foundation for a variety of reasons; A presidential election that challenged the media like never before; Top 10 media stories of 2016; Aired 2-3p ET

Aired December 25, 2016 - 14:00   ET


[14:00:00] DANA BASH, CNN ANCHOR: The two are meeting, we just learned, tonight.

Israel also summoned the ambassadors of 10 other countries that voted for the resolution. A foreign ministry spokesman said the meetings are, quote, "To express deep anger and dissatisfaction as a result of the vote of countries that consider themselves friends of Israel."

The vote sparked a bipartisan backlash from many here in the U.S. who thought the United States should have backed Israel and voted against the measure which would have killed it. CNN correspondent Oren Liebermann is joining me now from Jerusalem.

And Oren, tell us about this new development, this meeting that we now know is going to happen tonight with the U.S. Ambassador to Israel and the Israeli Prime Minister, obviously underscores the urgency.

OREN LIBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had promised a series of diplomatic steps and they are harsh steps. Worth noting that of the 11 ambassadors calling for meetings -- for reprimanding meetings to the Israeli Government to those ambassadors from those countries that voted for the Security Council Resolution, it is only the U.S. Ambassador that will meet with Netanyahu. The others will meet with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

That shows you the extent of the anger to which Netanyahu has directed at Secretary of State Kerry and at President Barack Obama for this resolution. He said it before, I wouldn't be surprised to hear him say it again. He holds them responsible for what he calls this anti-Israel resolution for not casting a veto, as he says, has been precedent from Americans for previous decades.

So he's called Ambassador Dan Shapiro, the U.S. Ambassador, to Israel to this meeting to express his displeasure at it, and there have been a number of other steps not only against other countries that voted for it, but also against the United Nations. This is very much Netanyahu expressing his fury at this resolution and there may be more steps in the days and weeks ahead. Dana, what's worth pointing out is that Netanyahu could have easily waited just a few weeks to -- so he didn't have to work with President Obama. He would have had President-elect Trump in. He's made it clear he's very excited to work with the new president, and he would have had an ambassador -- a new ambassador, Trump's appointment, to the Israeli ambassador who's far more in line with his own views. All he had to do was wait a few weeks.

Instead, as a measure to express his anger, he's called in the current ambassador, a President Barack Obama appointee, and told him how angry he is at this vote.

BASH: You know, that is so interesting. You make a really important point that he's calling in an ambassador who is the lamest of lame ducks. Everybody who works for President Obama, including the President himself, are right now.

So again, is this kind of a show of force, a -- kind of a power play here? Or how would you describe it, knowing the way the prime minister works the way you do, since you've been covering him?

LIEBERMANN: I would say it's a show of force. He wants to make it very clear, not only to President Obama, but to the rest of the world how angry he is at this resolution.

He did something that's very unusual at the cabinet meeting earlier on today. He spoke in English. That cabinet meeting is specifically directed to Israel, to Israeli. So to speak in English is to directly address the rest of the world, but I think it's safe to say in this case, directly addressed to U.S. to express his anger.

He knows he gets a clean slate so soon, so this is very intentional. He's -- nothing here is accidental. This is all very carefully calculated and decided upon by Netanyahu.

BASH: Fascinating. What a great point. Thank you Oren Liebermann for that report.

And joining me now live is Congressman Eliot Engel, a democrat from New York who is also the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Congressman, thank you so much for coming in on this holiday to be with me.

I want to start right away with what Oren was just reporting about the fact that the U.S. Ambassador to Israel is going to meet with the Israeli Prime Minister tonight. What does that tell you especially in light of the fact that this ambassador is not going to be there for very long and it's going to be a whole new diplomatic world in just a couple of weeks?

REP. ELIOT ENGEL (D), N.Y.: Well you know, I just got back from Israel and I had a meeting with the Prime Minister. I have of course had a meeting with our ambassador, and this is something that's very tense and I think the prime minister wants to show his anger at what he regards as a betrayal by the United States. You know Dana, the problem in the United Nations is that Israel can never get a fair shake. There are always a vast majority of countries lining up against it no matter what it does. And the Palestinians know this and they play the game.

And Israel relies on the United States to protect them and to veto resolutions that are one-sided and ridiculous. And this resolution, regardless of how anyone feels about settlements, was so one-sided and so ridiculous, leaving the entire onus -- placing the entire onus on Israel and not saying anything about the Palestinians.

It's just ridiculous and I think the United States made a mistake. We should have vetoed that resolution. We have vetoed similar resolutions in the past and I think that the administration going out the door to do this sends a terrible message to the rest of the world.

BASH: Do you think it was a betrayal by President Obama and his administration?

ENGEL: I don't know if I would use the word betrayal, but I would certainly say it was the wrong move. I think it was a mistake. I think that the Obama administration is ending and I think this is a -- sort of a one parting shot to the bow and I don't think that that really was appropriate. I think it was not --

BASH: So why do you think they did it?

ENGEL: I don't know. I can't get into anybody's mind. Obviously, there is a --

BASH: Have you asked them? I mean, I'm guessing that you're -- the phone lines are burning up with you trying to reach them, since you have made your displeasure pretty clear.

ENGEL: Yes, well, you know, they say that they are opposed to settlements and that's the reason why they didn't veto the resolution. But you know what? A resolution could have mentioned settlements and could have been more balanced or even-handed. This was the worst.

And this was similar to another resolution several years ago that the United States vetoed. So I know there's been a little change in language here and there, but basically, it's the same resolution. And it just seems to me that this whole situation is just ridiculous and a mistake made by the United States.

You know, Abba Eban, when I was a kid, was the -- one of the Ministers of Israel, used to say at the United Nations that one of the Arab nations could put forth a resolution saying the Earth is flat and it would automatically get 70 votes. And I think that anything having to deal with Israel in the United Nations, it's so biased and one-sided against Israel that I think it just, you know, brings discredit on the United Nations. I think it just shows that the United Nations is not even handing -- that Israel can do no right.

And what's really ridiculous is that a time when hundreds of thousands of people are dying in Syria, you have a genocide in South Sudan, you have people being killed all over the country and the United Nations does nothing about any of that, and I would say that the United States has done nothing about a lot of things in Syria over the past several years.

BASH: Well, you know, I --

ENGEL: And so what do they do? They condemn Israel for settlements. Prime Minister Netanyahu said to me just a few days ago that he is for a two state solution and that he believes there should be two states for two people, meaning that the Palestinians have a right to their state, but so do -- the Jews have a right to their state. And he said --

BASH: Congressman --

ENGEL: -- that he would meet with the Palestinians at any time, at any place with no preconditions, but the Palestinians, unfortunately, have decided they don't want to meet, they just want to use the United Nations to whip Israel and to embarrass Israel, and I think that for us to fall into that trap was a really grievous error.

BASH: Well, I want to bring in a Palestinian voice. I spoke a few minutes ago to a senior Palestinian diplomat. Here's his take on this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a victory for the cause of peace because if Mr. Netanyahu means the two state solution, he should be happy and celebrating this resolution. It's a victory for internationalism and the international responsibility to bring about peace and security worldwide. And this is not a resolution against Israel, this is a resolution against Israel's expansion.


BASH: Your reaction?

ENGEL: Well you know, every time the Palestinians talk about settlements, it really makes me laugh, and hypocrisy is just unbelievable.

In 1948 -- and you got to go back in history, the United Nations passed a security council resolution dividing historic Palestine into two states and they called it a Jewish state and Arab state. The Jews accepted the partition and the Palestinians did not. Instead, they attacked Israel and tried to drive into the sea.

And for 19 years after that through 1967, there were no settlements. Settlements didn't exist and the Palestinians and the Arabs did not make peace with Israel. So this nonsense about how settlements are an obstacles to peace -- if you want to make peace, you make peace. And if you want to have excuses as to why you won't make peace, then you can find a million excuses.

And that's what the Palestinian authority is doing with its incitement against Israel, with its incitement against Jews, with all kinds of reasons. The two parties need to sit down and hammer out a two state solution, which I support, not use the United Nations trying to embarrass Israel.

BASH: I want to talk about --

ENGEL: And the United States shouldn't go along.

BASH: I want to talk about the sitting down in the future, because it is going to be a different world pretty soon. But before that, I want to put up -- if our control room can put up a tweet from Ted Cruz, certainly not somebody you generally agree with on most issues, but he said that -- he said -- there you see, spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu tonight to wish him Happy Hanukkah and assure him of strong support in congress. No U.S. money for U.N. until reversed.

Is that bipartisan? Is that a bipartisan sentiment? He has said it, Lindsey Graham, a Republican, has said it. Will you, as a leading Democrat on foreign affairs, go along with Republicans in cutting funding to the United Nations and maybe even aid to Palestinians because of this?

ENGEL: Well, I'd certainly take a good look at it. I certainly would. I think it's a time for us to get together in a bipartisan move to just say that we're not going to stand for this nonsense. I mean, all we want is even-handedness and fairness, and that resolution was so disgusting and so biased that the thought that the United States could ever not veto it just sort of makes me sick to my stomach.

So I do think there will be a lot of talking across lines because people are just disgusted. We want to see -- again, I believe in a two state solution, but two states for two people and the Palestinians have not embraced that.

BASH: You are no political ally of Donald Trump. However, do you, in all candor, have hope that perhaps he, because he's -- for a million reasons could come at this two state solution, at Middle East peace in a way that could have success that Barack Obama and his predecessors just didn't?

ENGEL: Well, I would hope so. I would hope so.

BASH: Will you help him do that?

ENGEL: I think when it comes to U.S. support for Israel, that support has always been bipartisan and should be bipartisan. And I'll do everything I can to keep it bipartisan, working with the new president, working with the congress.

We are concerned about Israel's well-being and I will work with anyone to make sure our only -- the only democracy in the Middle East, our only true friend in the Middle East, and I think it's very important that we work with our friends instead of kicking them in the teeth.

BASH: So congressman, I want to end on a lighter note. You are very well-known for your policy work in your decades in congress. But you have told me on more than one occasion that more than anything else, your constituents in New York stopped you and talked to you about seeing you at the State of the Union address. That's because you famously set up shop in a seat on the aisle in the House Chamber in the early, early morning of that big address so that you can shake the president's hand. You did it for obama and you did it for many past presidents. Will you do that for Donald Trump?

ENGEL: Well, I knew you were going to ask that question.

BASH: You did?

ENGEL: Look, the President of the United States is the President of the United States. And he becomes or she becomes all of our presidents. And I believe that -- I was a Hillary Clinton supporter, but Donald Trump was elected president and I think that greeting the president, I did it during the Bush years with both Bushes, the father and the son. I did it, of course, with Bill Clinton and I see no reason not to do it with the President of the United States and the president's going to be Donald Trump.

And I think, again, the President of the United States is not just the president of the people who voted for him. He's all of our presidents. And Donald Trump will be our president. And so I would expect to, as I have for almost 30 years, shaking the president's hand at the State of the Union.

BASH: Congressman, I will see you at, what, 7:00 or 8:00 in the morning with your stack of files, stack of papers, making the house floor, that aisle seat your office on the first address, which will not be the State of the Union. It will be addressed to the nation but it'll happen in short order.

Thank you so much for coming in. Have a happy, happy holiday.

ENGEL: Thank you, Dana. This is what happens when you get interviewed by someone who knows you so well. You have a happy holiday too.

BASH: Thanks, congressman.

ENGEL: Thank you.

BASH: And up next, Donald Trump says he is starting to untangle himself from potential conflicts of interest ahead of Inauguration Day. The President-elect announces plans to shut down the Trump Foundation, but it turns out dissolving the charity may not be an option. We'll explain why after a quick break.


BASH: President-elect Donald Trump is dissolving the Trump Foundation, the charity that bears his name, and the reason, Trump said in a statement, is quote, "To avoid even the appearance of any conflict with my role as president, I've decided to pursue my strong interest in philanthropy in different ways."

The Trump Foundation was a prime target for Democrats during the campaign amid allegations that Trump used it to settle private legal disputes. CNN'S Jeremy Diamond is following the story and joins me live from West Palm Beach, Florida. I'm sorry, it's so hard for me to look at you at not be so jealous, Jeremy. But let's move on to the matter at hand.

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Come join us, Dana. Come join us.

BASH: Yes, I'll be there. Let's move on to the matter at hand, in dissolving this foundation. Describe and explain to our viewers why it may be easier said than done?

DIAMOND: That's right, Dana. Well, you know, the Trump Foundation should be pretty easy to shut down. It's got no employees, it's got no real fundraising operation to speak of and it has just over $1 million in the bank.

But the problem is, the New York Attorney General's office is still investigating the Trump Foundation for a variety of reasons. And I got this statement yesterday from the New York Attorney General's office which says "The Trump Foundation is still under investigation by this office and cannot legally dissolve until that investigation is complete."

Now, the Trump Foundation is under investigation for, among other reasons, accusations of self-dealing. That is, accusations that Donald Trump used the foundation's money, which is primarily other people's money, not his own, to settle private legal disputes by making charitable donations through the foundation.

And so of course, this is the way that Donald Trump said that he is trying to start to settle some of these potential conflicts of interest he may face as President of the United States, but democrats are pouncing on that and saying this is really just for show. The democratic national committee said in a statement yesterday, "Trump's announcement today is a wilted fig leaf to cover up his remaining conflicts of interest and his pitiful record of charitable giving."

That, of course, is a reference to the fact that Donald Trump has not released his tax returns so we do not know how much he has donated to charity himself. We do know through tax records that he has not given to the Trump Foundation since 2008.

But over the coming weeks, we're going to see a lot more of this. Donald Trump trying to show the American people the ways in which he's going to try and disentangle himself from the myriad of potential conflicts of interest, particularly tied to his multi-billon dollar business, the Trump Organization. We're expecting him to make an announcement on that some time next month. Dana.

BASH: Jeremy, thank you. And as they say in "Love Actually", it's Christmas and on Christmas, we tell the truth. So I will tell our viewers that you have been a remarkable asset for CNN, covering Donald Trump since day one for a year and a half, and so thank you for that. Appreciate it. Great working with you.

DIAMOND: Thank you, Dana. Happy holidays. BASH: And -- you too. And coming up, one of Trump's targets in 2016, us, the press. UP next, CNN's rundown of the top 10 media moments of the year.


BASH: It was one of Donald Trump's favorite targets of the year, I should say, we were one of Donald Trump's favorite targets of the year, the press. CNN's Brian Stelter has our look at the top 10 media stories of 2016.


BRIAN STELTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Debates, downfalls, feuds and failures. A presidential election that challenged the media like never before. Culminating in an unprecedented outcome. Here are the top 10 media stories of 2016.

Number 10, an emotional homecoming. "Washington Post" reporter Jason Rezaian freed in January after 545 days in an Iranian prison.


JASON REZAIAN, WASHINGTON POST CORRESPONDENT: To my colleagues at the Post, you guys are all awesome.


STELTER: His imprisonment, a stark reminder of the dangers journalists face every day around the globe.

Number nine, the Kelly Ripa-Michael Strahan feud. Blindsided by news her Live! co-host was leaving for GMA, Ripa skipped work for four days.


KELLY RIPA, LIVE! WITH KELLEY HOST: Guys, guys. Our long, national nightmare is over.


STELTER: She returned after a personal apology from Disney and ABC (inaudible). And Strahan left the show weeks earlier than planned.

Number eight, corporate media maneuvers. Long-time Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman squeezed out by Shari Redstone, the daughter of 93-year-old Sumner, the ailing patriarch and controlling shareholder. The two were estranged for a while, but Shari is again heir to the corporate throne.

And the biggest media merger of the decade, AT&T seeking to buy Time Warner, the parent of CNN, in an $80 billion marriage of content and distribution. Donald Trump slammed the deal all on the campaign trail. Whether he tries to block it now remains to be seen.

Number seven, the role leaks. From WikiLeaks exposing hacked Clinton campaign emails to the bombshell Access Hollywood tape.




STELTER: Secret spooks rocked political journalism this year. Someone even mailed Trump's 1995 tax return to the "New York Times." But what never leaked? Raw footage from "The Apprentice".

Number six, goodbye Gawker. A jury ruling that the gossip site invaded Hulk Hogan's privacy when it published parts of a sex tape featuring the former wrestler.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The $140 million sex tape.


STELTER: A multimillion dollar judgment forced Gawker into bankruptcy and the flagship site was later shut down, a warning to journalists everywhere. In a surprise twist, Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel revealed he had been secretly bankrolling the lawsuit. His revenge for what he believed was Gawker outing him in 2007.

Number five, fake news stories, hoaxes on the web, polluting Facebook timelines and Twitter streams. Some now wondering if it helped tip the election for Trump, although Facebook says no.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don't think it swayed the election, but we take that responsibility really seriously.


STELTER: Facebook and Google did announce steps to halt the flow of ad dollars to the creators of these totally fake sites. But this new age of information warfare is just beginning.

Number four, OutRight media out of the shadows. When Trump named Steve Bannon, the Head of Breitbart News, as his campaign CEO, critics say it brought fringe conspiracy ideas into the mainstream of politics.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is Trump art. Bannon and Breitbart were real champions of Trump.


STELTER: Bannon once called Breitbart the platform for the OutRight, a movement linked to white nationalism, racism and misogyny. Now, Bannon will be the president's chief strategist, stoking fears the OutRight will have a more powerful platform right inside the White House, a charge Bannon denies.

Number three, the stunning downfall of Fox News CEO, Roger Ailes.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In breaking news.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're back with some breaking news, a media bombshell.


STELTER: In July, former Fox Host Gretchen Carlson filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Ailes. Two weeks later, he was out. Although Ailes strongly denied the allegations, multiple women inside Fox, including Megyn Kelly, came forward with similar stories. It was a shocking end for the controversial GOP kingmaker and mastermind of the country's highest-rated cable news channel.

Number two, one of the biggest media miscues in decades. Donald Trump winning the presidency. Something most of the press never believed would actually happen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We didn't do our job as well as we could have and should have.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is a complete failure at every step of the process.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think polling has to get better about describing the uncertainties.


STELTER: Trump's win was a thundering wake-up call, but the limits of polling, the limits of data, and a reminder that national news outlets need to do a better job covering race, class and inequality or else risk losing even more public confidence.

Number one, running against the press. The most anti-media campaign in modern history. It started in 2015, but Trump doubled down in 2016.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm running against the crooked media. You have to put up with some of the most dishonest people in the world, the media.


STELTER: His very personal feud with Megyn Kelly simmered down by mid-year, but Trump still called out other journalists by name. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: Katie, you're not reporting it, Katie. But there's something happening Katie. This sleazy guy right over here from ABC, he's a sleaze in my book.


STELTER: He fired off angry tweets at news outlets, treating them like enemies, and got his crowds chanting. Trump declared war on the press and the campaign was just the first battle. That sets up a colossal challenge for the media in 2017, covering President Trump.


BASH: And senior media correspondent and host of CNN's "Reliable Sources" Brian Stelter joins me now. Yes, he is in his mother's house in Maryland.

STELTER: Of course.

BASH: I just want to say before we start that -- thank you, because now my mother is going to be mad at me, saying, "If he can do it, why can't you? Why are you not reporting from my living room?"

STELTER: Straight-off (inaudible)

BASH: I'm going to give my mother your phone number. That's all I'm -- oh hey, hi Brian's mom.

STELTER: We're not opening Christmas presents, we're waiting until after we talk to you.

BASH: I'm trying to talk to your mother. Hi Brian's mom.


BASH: Nice cameo. That was awesome. OK.

STELTER: There you go.

BASH: Let's focus on that great piece that you did on this incredible year. Good and bad for the media. What is your take on, kind of, the -- what you played at the end there, on the CNN sucks chants, and not just CNN, but Donald Trump going after -- during the campaign, and even now about the press? We know we're a really easy target in politics.

But when it comes to governing, it's a little bit more -- I would even use the word dangerous because the United States is supposed to be an example of a free press for countries around the world.

DANA BASH, CNN GUEST ANCHOR: -- we know we're really easy targets in politics. But when it comes to governing, I would even use the word dangerous because the United States is supposed to be an example of a free press for countries around the world. BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: We're living through a media revolution right now. The fact that I'm able to join you on Skype, maybe in a few years you will be doing your report from home. This new technology has enabled incredible benefits.

President Obama took advantage of YouTube in late night, Twitter and Facebook and now Donald Trump is doing the same thing, where he is using the same technologies that we all benefit from in order to bypass the press in new ways.

Not all of that is bad and a lot of that is very good. But what we're also seeing Donald Trump do is try to delegitimize the press and I think that is going to be the big story of 2017. That's in terms of my beat, in terms of my world covering media.

That's why we ended this year's list with Trump and with his election because it's really the first chapter in what is going to be a series of chapters about how he tries to go around the press, but he also loves the attention, he courts the media, he wants the attention when it's positive.

So it's the ultimate love-hate relationship. Even when he's trying to delegitimize negative coverage and inoculate himself from negative coverage, he's also courting positive coverage. In fact, he's probably watching right now down in Mar-a-Lago.

BASH: OK, well, if you are watching, Mr. Trump, we will actually take you from your living room as well any time, Christmas tree or not, and you can even bring Brian's mom. Brian, thank you. Merry Christmas and Merry Christmas to your mom.

And of course, you can watch Brian each Sunday morning at 11 a.m. Eastern on "RELIABLE SOURCES" only on CNN. We'll be right back.


BASH: I want to get back to our top story this hour. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he is summoning U.S. Ambassador Daniel Shapiro after the U.S. allowed a United Nations resolution condemning Israeli settlements to pass.

[14:35:12]The two have had meetings scheduled and it is now going to happen this evening. Israel also summoned the ambassadors of ten countries that voted for the resolution. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made his concern clear earlier today.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL: For decades, American administrations and Israeli governments have disagreed about settlements, but we agreed the Security Council was not the place to resolve this issue. We knew that going there would make negotiations harder and drive peace further away.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BASH: I want to bring in David Keyes, he is spokesman for the Israeli prime minister. David, thank you so much for joining me. Obviously the prime minister and many people in your country are very upset. Tell us first and foremost about what he plans to say to the U.S. ambassador in their meeting this evening there?

DAVID KEYES, SPOKESMAN FOR BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: Well, I'll leave that to the prime minister and the American ambassador. But what I can say is that Israelis collectively and the government in particular was deeply, deeply disappointed at the Security Council vote.

You know, according to this Security Council resolution, the western wall, one of the holiest places to Jewish people, a place where Jews have lived and prayed to and turn to for literally thousands of years is deemed illegally occupied.

That's ahistorical, immoral and just plain wrong. And therefore, the government I think very rightly saw this resolution as actually a step not towards peace, but away from peace. It actually makes peace harder to attain.

What this resolution says is that the presence of Jews living in Judea is really the barrier to peace. It's not that fact that the Palestinians refused to recognize the Jewish state in any boundaries whatsoever.

It's not the fact that the Palestinian leadership and authority is constantly indoctrinating young children with the ideal that it is better to kill an Israeli than to live in peace with them.

The really barrier to peace are policies like the Palestinian leadership has enacted to actually pay salaries to people who murder Israelis. So this resolution is shameful and it actually pushes peace farther away.

BASH: Given all of that, why do you, why does your boss, the prime minister think that the Obama administration did what it did?

KEYES: Well, we have ironclad information, frankly, that the Obama administration really helped push this resolution and helped craft it from sources internationally and from sources in the Arab world. And it's really an unfortunate legacy, kind of a last-minute jab at Israel that actually distances peace.

And I applaud leaders of both the Democratic and Republican parties that have come out and blasted that deeply anti-Israel resolution, this resolution that unfairly targets Israel from a body which to say was biased would be truly be an understatement.

BASH: David, let me just stop you right there. You are saying you have ironclad information effectively that the U.S. engaged in collusion with the Palestinians to get this resolution passed. Can you give that to the public? Can you make it public to prove that what you're saying is true?

KEYES: Unfortunately, I can't not here on CNN, but I can tell you that we have full confidence that the information is accurate and it's really unfortunate, because Israel's hand has been and is extended for peace, the prime minister has called on President Abbas literally hundreds of times to meet with him anytime, anywhere and without preconditions.

And the fact that the Palestinian leadership has said no to that invitation so many times really tells you everything you need to know about why peace is stalled.

BASH: Just for the record, I had a Palestinian official on in the last hour who I asked this very question, who denied it and insisted that didn't happen. So obviously two different points of view, but you can be sure we'll be digging down, trying to get the truth to that allegation because it's a pretty explosive one given the history of these two countries.

Now let's look forward, actually before we do that, I do want to ask you one question about this meeting tonight. The fact that he, the prime minister, is meeting with President Obama's ambassador, somebody who's not going to be there in 20 plus days.

I mean, diplomatically, isn't that a waste of time, considering the fact that he's going have a whole new administration, a whole new cast of characters to work with? Does he just want to have a chance to basically slap him on the wrist in person in private?

KEYES: I don't think it's a waste of time at all. I think it's a very important message to send to those who claim that the western wall is illegally occupied territory.

[14:40:03]Those who allow such deeply anti-Israel and one sided resolutions to pass need to be told the truth, and the truth is we're not illegally occupying places like the western wall.

The truth is that our hand is always extended to peace and the real barrier to peace here is not the presence of Jewish communities in Judea. The real barrier to peace here is the fact that the Palestinian leadership refuses to recognize a Jewish state in any boundaries whatsoever.

So frankly I'm very glad that this message is being sent to the world about the truth of this deeply anti-Israel resolution, and I would like to point out that President Obama himself said in 2011 that peace wasn't going to come through resolutions or statements at the United Nations. He was right then and unfortunate to see the Obama administration allowing such a vote to pass.

BASH: So let's look ahead and perhaps we can do so on a hopeful note. I want to play for you something that a Palestinian leader and advisor to Mahmoud Abbas about looking forward to the Trump administration and the possibilities there. Take a listen.


HUSAM ZOMLOT, SENIOR ADVISER TO PALESTINIAN PRESIDENT MAHMOUD ABBAS: Do you hope that the President-elect Trump would really start focusing on us and our hands are extended, our hearts are open, our hopes are high and our prayers in the Christmas' eve is that he is going to be the one to make the deal.

Absolutely we are willing, we are ready to move with him toward the journey to peace. The Palestinian people need it, the Israelis need it. The region needs it and U.S. needs it.

We just need to really focus on how do we tell Netanyahu that you can no longer have the cake and eat it too.


BASH: OK, so the Prime Minister Netanyahu has made it very clear is that he is looking forward to a Trump administration too. Does that give you hope what you just heard, perhaps a new administration in the U.S., with a very different approach and a different history, maybe a lack thereof could be what's needed?

KEYES: I am indeed hopeful about the future and so is the prime minister. He looks forward to working with the president-elect and it's our sincere desire that at long last that Palestinians come to accept the presence of a Jewish state here.

And there's a number of things that could be done, from stopping this horrific culture of hate where Palestinians are teaching young children to lust for death and to want to try to kill Israelis by paying them a monthly salary.

And that's the case today, anybody who kills an Israeli actually gets a month's salary. So Israel is hopeful despite those challenges, but real peace is based off mutual recognition and mutual dignity.

And we stand ready to make peace with any partner that's willing to have peace with us so long as they both recognize our right to exist and don't -- aren't a threat to our very existence.

BASH: Well, I'm glad that we could end on a hopeful note. Thank you very much for joining me. Happy Hanukkah to you, David Keyes. Thank you.

KEYES: Merry Christmas and happy Hanukkah. Thank you.

BASH: And we'll be back in a moment.



BASH: There are just 26 days until Donald Trump takes the oath of office as president of the United States and he's been really busy building his cabinet. Just look at that screen, leaving only a handful of key positions unfilled going into the New Year.

So what do his picks tell us about Trump's administration and more importantly what his policies are going to look like? For more on that, I'm joined now by Republican strategist, Brian Morgenstern, and political analyst, Ellis Henican.

So let's start with you, Brian, when you look at that array of faces and much more importantly, who and what they represent, in a nutshell, does it tell people anything about where he's going to go?

Because we don't need to say this to our viewers, he is unconventional as a Republican, he's got varied views vis-a-vis what you see as the norm inside the Republican Party.

BRIAN MORGENSTERN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Sure. And you know, we've seen him appoint not just people necessarily have been loyal to his campaign, but he's gone outside the traditional political sphere to find people to help him run the country because he's campaigned on this businessman persona, on competence and everything.

And now he's got both houses of Congress on his side to help him get his agenda passed. And he's got 25 Democratic senators up for re- election and many of them in states that he carried in this election. So he may actually build an even broader unconventional coalition that we're not used to seeing in the past of several administrations.

BASH: Yes, no question about it. Let me just ask you about that, Ellis. The idea of having Jeff Sessions for example as his nominee to be attorney general, he's obviously as traditional as they come when it comes to Republicans on pretty much all issues.

But then again, he has Rex Tillerson, somebody with no political experience, official political experience, much like himself to be secretary of state. So does that give -- does that sort of scramble the notion of what they can expect when it comes to Democrats?

ELLIS HENICAN, POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, Dana, it's not quite as scrambled as it looks like. I mean, the Heritage Foundation has a big grin. The Freedom Caucus thinks this is wonderful. There's a couple of generals and billionaires in there (inaudible).

But in the end, we have really much of a movement conservative Republican gang here and frankly, I think they're going to be a whole lot more consistent than Donald Trump was on the campaign trail.

BASH: But to that point, you know, the thing about Donald Trump and he's made this very, very clear is that he wants wins, he wants victories, and he wants to get things done. And for the people in Congress who I have spoken to and a lot of them have said this publicly.

On the Republican side, they're so excited, even though he was the last person they wanted to be their nominee, never mind the president because they feel like he's malleable, frankly, and they feel they can create their agenda, and get him to market it, never mind sign it into legislation. Is that fair, Brian?

MORGENSTERN: Sorry. Yes, I think it is, because he's a deal maker. He's even said as much with some of his proposals, for instance his tax package. He said it's going to be tough to get done, but it's an opening bid. And to that point, the Republican members of Congress, are of course

are excited, because they're the ones in the majority. They are the ones chairing the committees that are going to usher through this legislation.

So they're going to have a lot of say in what the agenda actually looks like, but as I said, there are a number of states with Democratic members and it's going to behoove them to work with Trump as well.

[14:50:08]And so I think a lot of members of Congress, Democrats and Republicans alike are excited about the idea that they'll be able to make some deals because in the last administration, it was very much party line, it was very much my way or the highway, and that's just not Trump's attitude.

BASH: Ellis, final word real quick, Republicans have talked to call that a squeeze play for the Democrats.

HENICAN: It is. Republicans ought to be thrilled. They have an education secretary, who spent a whole lot of time opposing public education, a labor secretary who seems skeptical about the minimum wage, an EPA boss who spent his career suing the EPA. I mean, this is good news for the conservatives. It makes me nervous, but I think they have a lot of reasons to cheer.

MORGENSTERN: It's going to be a Merry Christmas for conservatives.

BASH: Brian Morgenstern, Ellis Henican, merry Christmas, thank you for joining me.

HENICAN: Merry Christmas, happy holidays.

MORGENSTERN: And a whole lot of freedom in our stockings.

BASH: We'll be right back.


BASH: For many families goings to the movies on Christmas day is just as traditional as opening presents, but which film are worth your box office bucks. Right now, "Rogue One, A Star Wars Story," is the biggest draw.


BASH: Tons of action, plenty of special effects, but did it meet expectations? Film critic, Gil Robertson joins me now with the reviews of the hottest holiday movies. Thanks for joining me. Gil, let's start with that, "Star Wars," thumbs up or thumbs down?

GIL ROBERTSON, PRESIDENT, AFRICAN-AMERICAN FILM CRITICS ASSOCIATION: Totally thumbs up, the movie has not only been reviewed favorably, but it's also earning lots of box office, big money at the box office.

BASH: So should we take our kids or no? That's one of my questions. ROBERTSON: Definitely, certainly for the parents who are familiar with the "Star Wars" franchise, as well as younger children who are being introduced to it, the characters, it's definitely a film to see.

[14:55:06]BASH: OK, all right, so let's turn to something to very, very different, which I know that you are interested and you found fascinating, "Fences," this is Denzel Washington movie getting a lot of attention for his work. Why do you think this is so special?

ROBERTSON: As it should be, the film is based on a play by August Wilson that earned a Pulitzer prize and it stars the cast, much of the original cast from that play which earned both Denzel Washington and his co-star Viola Davis Tony Awards. And it's certainly in the conversation for, you know, Oscars, and big awards come award season.

BASH: OK, people who have just opened their presents, trying to figure out what movie to see, what else is on your list? If you have to go spend money to go see a movie, what would you say?

ROBERTSON: You know, there are a lot of films, Dana, that are out there that I think families will enjoy, of course, you have "Sing," which is a big 3-d animated flip from Universal, which features Matthew McConahay as the lead character and that is certainly a film that families will enjoy.

And you also have "Hidden Figures," which is about three African- American women who contributed greatly to the NASA space program and that stars (inaudible) and Octavia Sensor as well as Janell Monei.

Martin Scorsese has a film that he took 25 years to make, called "Silence" that stars Liam Neesan. That's been a critical favorite.

BASH: Well, 25 years I would hope for his sake it's good. It's Martin Scorsese chances are it's more than good.

ROBERTSON: I've seen it and it's very good.

BASH: Good. Thank you so much. I just want to add, I saw "Lala Land" last week and loved it as well. I know it's maybe a little bit different but it's a feel good movie as well. Gil Robertson, thank you so much for your advice to people looking to see where to go to, check out for a couple of hours.

And that's it for me. Thank you so much for watching. Merry Christmas and have a wonderful holiday.