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Deadly Crush; Busy Airports; Most Unforgettable Election Moments Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired December 26, 2016 - 12:30   ET


[12:30:02] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: ... tweeting about nuclear arms race, but also about betting a nice letter from Vladimir Putin. Those two things contradictory. We're going to talk about it, coming up.


BOLDUAN: More bodies have been discovered from the Black Sea after a Russian plane crashed there Sunday. A military jet carrying 92 people went down near the Olympic town of Sochi. It's believed everyone onboard was killed. So far, 13 bodies reported who've had been found in the massive recovery operation that is under way right now. Russian authorities say pilot error or a mechanical problem could be to blame for the crash.

Obviously, they're still investigating, but they are, as of now -- right now ruling out terrorism as the cause. Russia's observing a national day of mourning today. More than 60 of the victims were members of a very popular army choir.

Meantime, President-elect Donald Trump, his comments about his relationship with Russia and specifically building up the U.S. nuclear capability and his use of that old cold war term arms race are raising eyebrows. Let's talk more about this with Evelyn Farkas. She's a Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia.

Evelyn it's great to see you, thank you so much for coming in.


BOLDUAN: You're a longtime expert in this field inside government, outside government. When you saw Donald Trump tweet this, I want to know what you thought. He tweeted this, "The united states must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capacity until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes."

What did you think when you saw that?

[12:34:59] FARKAS: So, I thought he has some information. He knows we have nuclear weapons. He knows that there is a nuclear issue at stake in our relationships with other countries in the world. But I think that he still has incomplete information. So it's possible that he was briefed by his generals and admirals. He's been getting a lot of briefings. Some of them were discussed already in the media.

So, maybe he's aware that, you know, we clearly have a nuclear arsenal, we're working to lower it down to levels that we agreed with Russia. Remember, while there are nine nuclear weapons countries, unfortunately the ninth one is North Korea, but the first two are the United States and Russia, and 93% of the world's nuclear weapons are held by us. So, what we do, what we negotiate, is very important. We negotiated it to lower the limits.


FARKAS: To about 1,500 deployed, strategic warheads, and we're getting there. The Russians are behind us, but they'll get there as well ...

BOLDUAN: But could this turn on this on its head?

FARKAS: It could turn it on its head. Because that tree actually first of all, it doesn't come into -- you don't have to actually fulfill the requirements of the treaty until February of 2018. So there's a little bit of time for both sides, although the United States where right on track, so the Russians could fall behind. The other issue is that they have violated something called the intermediate nuclear forces treaty. That's the treaty that was negotiated and agreed to by Ronald Reagan and by Mikhail Gorbachev.

So the leaders at the time in 1987 when they signed it, the treaty got rid of this whole class of nuclear weapons that frankly just shorthand could threaten our European allies. The Russians went ahead and violated the treaty, they created a new missile that could, again, fall within that range of 500 to 1,000 kilometers and thereby threaten our allies in Europe. Donald Trrump, he's going to have to deal with that, because President Obama has not succeeded in basically getting the Russians, first, to publicly admit they violated the treaty and then to actually get rid of those missiles.

BOLDUAN: On that point, I want to get your take on the approach that Donald Trump is taking before he's gotten into office with regard to Russia. If you're right -- they seem to be on two opposite ends of the spectrum with regard to how to approach Vladimir Putin. If Donald Trump is on one end of the spectrum, Barack Obama may be on the other end of the spectrum. Who do you think is right?


BOLDUAN: Your opinion?

FARKAS: Well, I think they are both right. I mean well let's -- how do we put it. I mean they are both recognizing that Russia is a power that we need to deal with especially in the nuclear realm. So, President Obama, although he deeply upset Vladimir Putin by calling Russia a regional power, he recognized when it came to nuclear weapons, you know, we are the only two big dogs on the block if you will.

BOLDUAN: Right. FARKAS: So President-elect Trump, I think he's recognizing that. I believe he's recognizing that. We don't know really what motivated his tweet. The day before, Vladimir Putin, President Putin, was giving a pep talk but it was very public, very public in Russia and there were media reports but here and the pep talk was to his highest defense officials and he was we've modernized our nuclear weapons 60%, you know, and he was bragging about everything that done in Syria, et cetera. So it's possible that Trump was responding to that, or he was responding again to the briefings that he got from military -- U.S. military officials telling him, you've got a problem, you might want to cooperate with Vladimir Putin in Syria, and on a whole host of other issues, but when it comes to the nuclear issue, you've got to negotiate with him and frankly speaking I think Donald Trump would understand. He's got to negotiate from a position of strength.

BOLDUAN: And that is a position that Donald Trump likes to be in, and at least show.


BOLDUAN: Great to see you, Evelyn.

FARKAS: Thank you very much Kate.

BOLDUAN: Thank you so much for coming in. I appreciate it.

Coming up for us, blizzard conditions create a dangerous situation for some holiday travelers. And since obviously a, huge holiday travel days, roads are closed, power is out. When will it clear up and what does it mean if you're trying to get from point A to point B. Today, details on that, straight ahead.


[12:42:12] BOLDUAN: Sounds so nice in the graphic. Everyone sings about a White Christmas, but very few people are probably hoping for the weather that they are looking at right now. In North Dakota, a foot, give or take of snow, a layer of ice, 60 mile-an-hour winds making travel there dangerous is not impossible. Those are the words of the National Weather Service. Meteorologist Tom Sater is watching all of this right now.

So, Tom, how is that looking right now, and when's it all going to clear up?

TOM SATER, METEOROLOGIST: Well, for those families that have had guests in town, Kate, for days, they're waiting for them to leave today. It's not looking great. Just don't talk politics, right? The heavier snow is moved into Ontario. There are still bands of snow, but parts of I-90 are shut down. Like you mentioned, the two, three-foot snow drips, power lines are down too. So this is a big concern. Now, the winds are still strong enough to have blizzard warnings. Light rain in Saint Louis is ending, the rain in Chicago is moving to the east. Light rain from Louisville moving in, Indianapolis to Cleveland, and Detroit. And towards New England, it's sleet and freezing rain. It's spotty, but it's moving through upstate New York from at New Hampshire's snow in rain. But not to worry this is not big deal, warm air is fast approaching and it's going to change it to rain.

All the warning of the northern tier states, but it's in the colors of orange, where still a blizzard warning. And this is critical here. So just do not venture out as the winds are still strong enough. Now, Minneapolis could see wind gust up to near 40, maybe a half inch of snowfall. So it's still going to come down and make the roads quite treacherous.

But, again, Chicago, 51, is not bad. Windchill of 3 in Minneapolis, the warmth into the southeast, Christmas in Dixie, Kate, did not have snow in the pines. A number of record highs on Christmas Day from the upper 70's and low 80's, from Tallahassee to Birmingham Huntsville, even Paducah Kentucky and maybe another 32 record temperatures today, mainly its rain New York to Boston, to Philadelphia as well, big concern, just the northern tier states.

Safe travels.

BOLDUAN: Yeah, exactly. I mean what a tale of your stories. Up north, you got a blizzard, down south you're looking at 32 records broken where high ...

SATER: Yeah, because it seem like the holidays.

BOLDUAN: And oh, that's pretty amazing. Tom, great to see you. Thank you so much.

So, 2016 is expected to end up being -- as expected end of being a busiest ever, busiest year ever for U.S. Air Travel. That combined with some of the weather that we were just talking about with Tom. What does it mean for you? Ryan Young is thrown into the front lines, that O'Hare Airport in Chicago.

I have seen that line behind you, Ryan, Ebb and Flow, and it looks pretty good right now. What are you hearing from people?

RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, actually the first expression, Tom said, it's not bad in Chicago, with 51-degree weather. Let me tell you something that is like summer sometimes here. So I'll take that 51 degrees.

In fact, the Uber driver and I high fived over the idea that it was so warm here today. You got to take this and the people coming in these smiles. They can't believe it is this warm here. And this is expected to drop later on.

[12:45:02] But look, let's talk about this line, because so far this is what we've seen today. This line behind us, hey, it's like Odell Beckham, Jr., it's always open right now. It's been flowing all day long. We haven't seen its back since about 6:00 this morning when there was a brief shutdown with security lines but since then everybody is just been flowing through. The conversation really has been abut people that are walking on the doors just surprised got a breach of security.

In fact, these are one those moments that you wish you could hold the security line at this point. You can understand what folks we're talking about now. Let's take you back to the board over here. We've been looking at boards for cancellations. There has been delays, but no severe cancellations about four that we've seen on the board here. Fifteen total for the airport, the story go to the roadways, people were talking about that. 93 million people hitting the roads, but so far a lot of smiles as people head to the TSA line, and that's a big surprise on a day like this. Kate.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. Good to see you smiling. Good to see the faces in Chicago O'Hare Airport smiling, too. Thanks, Ryan.

YOUNG: No doubt.

BOLDUAN: All right, so what do you think for the top 10 moments in this Presidential Election? How could we narrow it down to just 10? Oh, we tried and we succeeded. In a race for the White House filled with twists and turns, where the count down of those top 10 for you, just ahead.


BOLDUAN: The 2016 Presidential Election offered no shortage of twists, turns and jaw-dropping moments. I mean, how many times did you actually find yourself saying, you just can't make this stuff up -- like all the time. CNN's Dana Bash takes us on a brief walk down memory lane, the top 10 moments from the Campaign.


DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Controversial, unprecedented, and unexpected. 2016 was an election year for the ages with an ending meant to disrupt Washington. And that it did.

[12:50:05] The fight for the GOP Presidential Nomination hit new loads in 2016 as Republicans scrambled to be front runner Donald Trump at his own game.

MARCO RUBIO, (R) FLORIDA: And you know what they say about men with small hands? You can't trust them. You can't trust them. You can't trust them.

BASH: The insults got under Trump's skin.

TRUMP: He referred to my hands. If they're small, something else must be small. I guarantee you, there's no problem. I guarantee you.

BASH: But nothing could knock the billionaire from the stop spot.

PAUL RYAN, (R) HOUSE SPEAKER: All right, everybody, welcome ...

BASH: In a remarkable display of GOP's hesitation and consternation about Donald Trump, House Speaker Paul Ryan, the top Republican in government refused to endorse the presumptive GOP nominee.