Return to Transcripts main page


Debbie Reynolds Dies Day After Daughter Carrie Fisher; Hollywood Pays Tribute to Debbie Reynolds; Trump's Mixed Signals On Transition; Trump And Russia; White House War Of Words With Israel; Protecting A President. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired December 28, 2016 - 23:00   ET



[23:01:03] DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Breaking news. A tragic death of Hollywood legend Debbie Reynolds just one day after her daughter, Carrie Fisher, died. This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon. Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. Our sad news out of Hollywood tonight, Debbie Reynolds died in a Los Angeles Hospital tonight at the age of 84. You're looking at her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame right now. Her son, Todd Fisher, confirmed his mother's death saying "It's true, she's with Carrie."

He also told CNN that just this morning, a grief-stricken Reynolds said she missed her daughter. Debbie Reynolds was a superstar in the '50s and '60s singing and dancing in some of the greatest movie classics ever. With her personal life made at least as many headlines as her boundless talent. We're going to get to all the news about Debbie Reynolds' death and the other news in the United States and around the world. I want to bring in CNN's Leyla Santiago, she's in Los Angeles for us tonight with more.

Leyla, good evening to you. What do you know about the circumstances surrounding Debbie Reynolds' death?

LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Don. We're still waiting to get more information on exactly what led up to it. But let's walk you through the timeline of developments today. It was just yesterday we reported Carrie Fisher's death, then this afternoon right around 1:00 local time, we understand that the fire department here responded to the family's home because of what appeared to be complaints of breathing from Debbie Reynolds. When we checked in with her son then, he told us, pray for her. That was the only statement that the family made at the time.

Then things really changed in the hours that followed. Later on we heard what you were talking about, the statement in which he confirmed that his mother had died.

LEMON: And so he released that statement. Is that all he--is that he said today?

SANTIAGO: Well, again, he earlier today said, pray for her, and then this is the exact statement. He said "She spoke to me this morning and said she missed Carrie. She's with Carrie now." Certainly speaking to sort of the tragedy, to say the least, of what this family is now dealing with. And in just the last five minutes, her stepdaughter has also taken to Twitter to tweet and she put a statement out that says, excuse me, she put out a statement on Twitter talking about how they have lost someone from their tribe. She is talking about the loss and that was Joely Fisher, her stepdaughter that is also speaking about the tragedy that this family is now dealing with.

LEMON: In an outpouring tonight, Leyla, from Hollywood, what are you hearing?

SANTIAGO: Well, in Hollywood we've not only -- and there you go, there you see Joely fisher's tweet, not only is Joely Fisher taking to twitter, we've seen Debra messing who worked with Debbie Reynolds when Debbie Reynolds played her mom on "Will and Grace" and she put "So heartsick. Debbie went to be with Carrie." It's just devastating. And she's not alone either. She goes on to say "Carrie left too soon." And then Ellen Degeneres also tweeted today, she took to twitter to say "I can't imagine what Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds' family are going through this week. I send all my love."

And that's what Hollywood is saying because she was really known to be someone who was trying to preserve Hollywood memorabilia, always really tried to protect the traditions of it.

Also on the--on the walk of fame, we have seen her fans already coming out. You're looking at a live picture here in Los Angeles where you're already starting to see the white flowers, the candles, and I suspect in the coming hours and the coming days, Don, we're going to see much more as people come out to show support. Not only for Debbie Reynolds, but also for Carrie Fisher and her family.

LEMON: All right. Leyla, thank you very much. You're absolutely right. I want to bring in now Michael Musto, a columnist for and Dr. Devi Nampiaparampil, of NYU's School of Medicine. We were just here 24 hours ago remembering Carrie Fisher. And now her mother, Debbie Reynolds. You knew both of them.

MICHAEL MUSTO, COLUMNIST, OUT.COM: I adored them both and I'm not surprised by what happened. I'm horrified but not surprised because Carrie and Debbie, though they had their ups and downs through the years had ironed them out and were closer than ever. Their bond was irrevocable and in fact they seemed like halves of the same person. They both were ingenious, who weren't ingenious, they're actually savvy people who had bad relationships with men and their bond just became so strong, day completed each other's sentences.

So you hear about, oh, so-and-so died to be with someone else, and I always think, "Oh, that's just hog wash. In this case, it's definitely true. She was--Debbie died of heartbreak.

LEMON: Yes. And you said that, when I spoke with you on the phone about this since we had spoken about it last night, I mean, it's just unbelievable that just 20 -- you said, again, you said you were just -- you're not surprised but it was -- just horrified because they had such a close bond. MUSTO: And I feel for Todd Fisher, lost his sister and his mother

within two days.

LEMON: Let's put up this what Todd said today, released a statement saying "Debbie spoke to me this morning and said she missed Carrie, she is with Carrie now." It really speaks about the feelings and the tragic death of her daughter.

MUSTO: What I loved about Debbie, she was a trooper, an old-school star. She could do it all. She had showbiz in her veins. She had pretty much stepped down from showbiz, but she couldn't really stop. She did go to receive a special SAG Award because she loved the spotlight. And Debbie was Oscar-nominated for "Unsinkable Molly Brown," she was inarguably the best movie musical ever made Singing in the Rain.

Totally nominated for Irene, I saw her cabaret act, went to her casino in Vegas where she also had sort of a museum of different movie pieces like--actually things Liz Taylor wore in "Cleopatra" which is interesting because Liz Taylor obviously was the person Eddie Fisher dumped Debbie for but they all made up in their hatred of Eddie.

LEMON: Dr. Devi, Michael said that she died of a broken heart?

DR. DEVI NAMPIAPARAMPIL, ASSOC. PROFESSOR, NYU SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: I agree that that's what happened. I mean, there are different ways that that can play out. So, the most common way when you're under a lot of stress, a significant stress like this, your body releases stress hormones to help you out so that causes changes where your heart rate goes up, your breathing goes up, your blood pressure goes up. Now if you have other medical problems, for example, so let's say if you have heart disease and your heart is -- it's a muscle, right? So it needs more oxygen, more nutrients to be able to pump.

So, if it's trying to pump even faster and you just don't have that much space let's say in the blood vessels, if there are clogs either from cholesterol or from other things and that heart disease can come out that way.

So you could have problems like that that cause shortness of breath. Now there's also something called broken heart syndrome which is much more rare but it makes you think about this the way that this sort of played itself out. In that case, what happens is you have an extreme stress and all of a sudden because of those stress hormones, your heart just isn't able to pump the right way anymore. And so you have some of these symptoms like shortness of breath or difficulty breathing and your EKG and your blood tests don't necessarily show heart disease, some of those particular issues, but nevertheless, for whatever reason, you can have this type of thing happen.

LEMON: I blame trump. I'm kidding. Look, Debbie and Carrie, let me get serious, were more like sisters toward the end, though, Carrie had become the parent to Debbie. They reversed roles. Debbie was frail, she was in her 80s and not in great health.

MUSTO: I was just going to say she's 84, she was 84 years old, doctor. I mean, it's, you know, it's young (INAUDIBLE) who's 94 but -- I mean still 84 years old is a good, long life.

NAMPIAPARAMPIL: Exactly. I mean, well, whether it's a good, long life, you know, I mean, it's hard to -- hard to say when things should come to an end, but if you're -- if you're at that age, obviously you're more at risk for heart disease, for neurological problems and for other things so depending on her underlying health, this may have been the thing that tipped it over the edge.

LEMON: Here is Debbie Reynolds back in 2010 talking about her bond with her daughter, Carrie.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you think about Carrie being so open and honest about her life, wonderful stories about you?

REYNOLDS: Aren't they funny? You--she didn't tell everything.


REYNOLDS: Now, they stopped talking to me, my family, so I won't tell. My grandmother before she passed away one day said, now I'm doing it, she said, we were so poor, we didn't have six matching glasses. And Carrie, don't you put that in your book. So I didn't. I just said it on TV. dear. Well, it's all right.

FISHER: But they start--people start to listen to themselves.

REYNOLDS: Now we were dirt poor. Nobody knows what that means. It means you get in a house.

FISHER: Don't have six matching classes.

REYNOLDS: Well that, too. We were really poor. My--Carrie's never been poor because her mother as Tammy has worked her--forever.


LEMON: What's your reaction?

MUSTO: They're the cutest. They were just so adorable together and separately. And I have a cute gossip story which was when I interviewed Debbie in the 90s, when she was making a comeback (INAUDIBLE) in which she was a revelation. I said is the urban myth true that you had a relationship with Agnes Moorhead who played Endora on Bewitch? Anybody remember Agnes Moorhead?


MUSTO: And she said, no, Agnes was very religious which I thought was an interesting answer. In other words, that's the only reason they didn't. And I then separately interviewed Carrie Fisher and said, is it true that -- here's another urban myth, you walked in on your mother with Agnes Moorhead? And she said, I never even walked in with her on men.

LEMON: So that you're--

MUSTO: Because Debbie was eternal version.

LEMON: And you're speaking of their sense of humor.

MUSTO: Their sense of humor and their unfailing ability to go to places that might seem dark or offbeat and make fun and just--that's how they carried on, that's how they got through each dark chapter in their lives. They laughed and they moved on to the next one.

LEMON: They dealt with it with a sense of humor. But they weren't always-they were estranged at one point. I mean, they had a tumultuous relationship and we had a reporter on from Hollywood reporter earlier saying, you know, speaking of Postcards from the Edge which was written about her mother, which Carrie Fisher wrote about her mother and it wasn't that that flattering.

MUSTO: It was terribly devastating. It's about a mother who's so insecure because her showbiz career is fading, played by Shirley Maclaine and she's bitterly jealous of the daughter, played by Meryl Streep and of course the daughter has rehab issues and it's all Carrie Fisher's life however I interviewed Carrie at that point and she said it's not a strict autobiography, people shouldn't look to Postcards from the Edge or details about her and Debbie because it's fiction, it's this reality that has a lot of Carrie and Debbie in there but she made it into a novel.

LEMON: It wasn't like mommy dearest, right? So, listen, Carrie Fisher died, Dr. Devi, of a heart attack at 60. The risk factors and warning signs when it comes to women and heart attacks.

NAMPIAPARAMPIL: So women may not have the same symptoms all the time as men. I mean, the risk factors are generally the same, though. So you could have high cholesterol, if you have high blood pressure, if you have a family history of early heart disease, or an early heart attack, that puts you at risk. Diabetes and obesity can also put you at risk. I mean, in her case, you know, part of the issue, we don't know what necessarily precipitated all of this, but on the plane, she actually had another problem as well where she needed CPR.

So the purpose of the CPR at that time is to help the heart pump because it's actually not working at that time. Until you can get to medical personnel and kind of get it restarted.

LEMON: This has brought on discussion about whether the airlines are equipped to deal with situations like this. Do you think that they are?

NAMPIAPARAMPIL: Well, it depends. I mean, I think they did the best they could, right? So they had -- they had somebody on board who could provide some medical guidance, but this kind of gets into, you know, they're not required to have a doctor on the flight, right? And a doctor by themselves can only get things started. You actually have to land the plane and get someone to a real medical facility. Now, I think in general, it might be more helpful if people were able to do CPR, if all people were able to do it because you could potentially save a life.

LEMON: Right. Thank you, Dr. Devi. Thank you, Michael. I appreciate it. We have much more on the breaking news tonight, the death of Hollywood legend Debbie Reynolds just one day after she lost her daughter, Carrie Fisher.


LEMON: Hollywood mourning the death of a star from the golden age tonight. Debbie Reynolds dead at the age of 84. Her passing coming just one day after she lost her daughter, Carrie Fisher. Look at this, look at the screen. And this is just--this is not everyone. These are just the big names.

We've lost so many stars this year. Everyone from David Bowie, to Prince, to Muhammad Ali, George Michael, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Alan Thicke and on and on and on. Not to mention, the others who are on the screen there. So joining me now is Matthew Belloni, he's executive editor of the Hollywood Reporter, CNN contributor Nischelle Turner, host of Entertainment Tonight. she joins us via Skype. Nischelle, I want you--both of you, look at, this is Debbie Reynolds talking about her bond with her daughter, Carrie.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you proud of your daughter?

FISHER: Are you proud of me?

REYNOLDS: I'm very proud of my daughter. She's wonderfully gifted and a very special daughter. She's a great talent. No wishful thinking here. No wishful drinking.


LEMON: So Nischelle, they ha d their ups and downs but they were really close. They got it back together in the end.

NISCHILLE TURNER, ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT HOST: They did. Which was wonderful to see. And one of the things I was talking about yesterday when we were talking about Carrie Fisher passing was the statement that Debbie Reynolds put out and in the end, she signed it, you know, Carrie's mom, Carrie's mother, Fisher's mother. And I thought that was beautiful, that's how she signed off and celebrated her daughter. And today, of course, we are talking about her, but yes, you know, they fought for each other.

They fought for a good relationship. You know, we did see Carrie Fisher write Postcards from the Edge and it was made into a movie loosely based on her life. I think at the time that it came out, Debbie Reynolds was not happy about it at all, I think she called it Carrie's embellishment. But that kind of showed the ins and outs, tug-of-war that the two of them were having. Think about this, though, I mean -- I mean, it shouldn't surprise you but they did have some of those kind of butting head moments because they were Hollywood royalty.

I mean, it was the family business. Carrie Fisher said that in an interview once, like this is the family business, this is what I'm going to do. So, when you think about that and you think about the whole family in it and kind of doing the same thing, these women, I'm sure they were going to butt heads but they did work to work their way back to one another and in at the end of the day, well you see how much they love each other.

LEMON: Matt, what do you think of their relationship?

MATTHEW BELLONI, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER: I mean, it started very early, Carrie was on stage with her mother on Broadway in the '60s. I mean, this was something that she wanted for her daughter and Carrie was ambivalent about it. She said in later interviews that this was not really a choice, it would have been a scandal had she chose not to go into showbiz. And I think that to that is that informed a lot of their relationship and Carrie being born into this life, being born into celebrity and essentially having to deal with that her entire life, that really seemed to impact her relationship with her mother.

LEMON: Let's listen, this is Debbie Reynolds talking to Larry King.


REYNOLDS: I'm her neighbor. It's one way I get to see my daughter. I moved right next door.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And where did your mother live?

FISHER: Right next door.


LEMON: OK. Well, that wasn't it. Do we have the clip with Larry King? We don't. OK. So, listen, I want to talk about, again, their relationship and also you mentioned Hollywood royalty and her upbringing, how difficult it is being the child of a star and being brought up in Hollywood, Nischelle. And she talked to--Carrie Fisher talked about that very openly, talked about her problems, talked about using drugs, talked about having mental health issues which was--she was really among the first to do that.

TURNER: Well, if you think about it, too, I mean, if you were the daughter of Debbie Reynolds, it's hard to live up to that life. I mean, Debbie Reynolds was Hollywood's It girl in the '50s and '60s and when they were making those big studio movies and think about this, she was a triple threat before we even really knew what a triple threat was. I mean, she was a singer, she was a dancer, she was an actress. And she always played America's Sweetheart role. She was always the perky one in the movies. The sunshine in the movies.

So then come along, here comes Carrie Fisher who is battling a lot of internal issues, depression, bipolar disorder, things like that, and to have to live up to that light is tough enough as it is, and then, you know, your mother being Debbie Reynolds. It's so interesting, too, the lives that these two women led in Hollywood and the things that they went through. I mean, before the days of Hollywood scandal and love triangles, Debbie Reynolds, Eddie fisher, and Elizabeth Taylor had the biggest love triangle that we've ever seen. I mean, you know, Liz Taylor stole her best friend's husband. So this, you know, they really lived lives, these women.

And, you know, it's just interesting, looking back and talking about them and you start saying, "Wow, I forgot about that and, wow, yes, they did go through that." It's really, really interesting. They really wrote a lot of chapters in Hollywood.

LEMON: Yes. I--this is -- I want to play, this is Carrie talking about her upbringing and watching her parents in the entertainment industry, which you were talking about, Nischelle. Watch.


CAMPBELL BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Did you ever think of not going into show business, of being a doctor or an engineer.

FISHER: Oh, God, yes.


FISHER: It's a bigger trick and my family was not to go into but to stay out of it. I would have had to have been a magician to stay out of show business.

BROWN: Really?

FISHER: I was put in nightclubs, put in them, when I was 13. I did not want to go into show business. It did not appeal.

BROWN: But--

FISHER: But I have a very good reason. I -- when I became a teenager, which I did so at my peril, my parents, both their careers were, you know, their bright, white hot star of celebrity was slowly dimming and fading.

BROWN: Right.

FISHER: Cooling. And it scared me. I mean, I saw what it did to them. It hurt them. You know, what I see is celebrity is just obscurity biding its time. I mean, you're not going to stay at this some fantastic level of, oh, I love your--you know. It's going to go away.


LEMON: And then that, I want you to listen to this. Here is her mother talking about surviving the entertainment industry. This is her with Larry King.

REYNOLDS: This is so competitive and, you know, you're rejected so much when you go in, unless you're on the top of the list, and I've been everywhere. So I've been on the top, I've had the fans tear me to pieces, you know, all the different phases that happens to you as a star and young and the middle age and now I'm going to be 60, April. So I've been in the business now, started at 16, 44 years.

LEMON: Now you were once the top box office draw. You've had every up and down you could possibly have.

REYNOLDS: I'd say.

LEMON: You've been on the front page of the newspaper. What do you think has been the resiliency factor? What do you think keeps Debbie going?

REYNOLDS: Well, I think the love--the love of entertaining. You just love what you do. There's more fun in this business than anywhere. You have to be very strong. You have to be religious. Or have your own faith of some kind because you can't let it get you down, you can't--the failure that happens to you, you know, what, the rejection is pretty tough sometimes so you have to stay really strong and hang in there.

Believe in yourself. And you know that you're really good and you know--you have to know that your fans love you.

LEMON: Interesting, Matt, because, you know, mother/daughter, 20 years or so apart, but they had parallel experiences in Hollywood.

BELLONI: Absolutely. And that line that Carrie Fisher said about celebrity being obscurity biding its time, I think that could almost be a philosophy that she learned from her mother and that she employed in her life because if you look at how Carrie Fisher approach her celebrity and her star factor, she was always kind of above it, yet also reveling in it a little bit as well. She knew from Star Wars that she was a giant international movie star, but she never really played that role.

She was always a little bit too cool for the room and incorporated that into her writing and her ability to look down on all of the stuff and comment on and then comment on her own life in a very candid way. And I think she learned that growing up with her mother.

LEMON: I want to found out about this, the documentaries in HBO documentary it was Debbie Reynolds just finished it film with Carrie Fisher. Did they discuss this in that documentary?

BELLONI: They do. They discussed their relationship a lot and I have not seen it but it was reviewed at the Cannes Film Festival in May. And the reviews that were very positive and Carrie Fisher in an interesting in telling act, she went to the Cannes Film Festival to promote the documentary which is a semi-unvarnished look at her relationship with her mother and she talked a lot about that and how they had reconciled in recent years in part by participating in this documentary and it's going to air on HBO next year.

LEMON: All right, Matt, Nischelle, thank you so much. I appreciate it.

BELLONI: Thank you.

LEMON: We'll be right back.

LEMON: Mixed messages tonight from Donald Trump on just how the transition is going. Let's discuss now with CNN political commentators Alice Stewart, David Swerdlick, and Andre Bauer. Also Symone Sanders, former national press secretary to Bernie Sanders. No relation.


LEMON: No relations. Good evening, everyone. Thank you for coming on. And--


LEMON:-- waiting as we had the sad news about Debbie Reynolds. Can you believe it? One day after her daughter. Awful, awful, awful. Alex, I want to start with you. I want to get your take on the Obama/Trump transition. Here's what the president-elect said about President Obama in the transition tonight.


[23:30:00] DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT-ELECT: He called me. We had a very, very good talk about generally about things. He was in Hawaii and it was a very, very nice call and I actually thought we covered a lot of territory. Lot of good territory.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you satisfied with the transition thus far?

TRUMP: Well, our staffs are getting along very well and I'm getting along very well with him other than a couple of statements that I responded to. And we talked about it and smiled about it and nobody's ever going to know because we're never going to be going against each other in that way.


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: So, Alice, but then this morning on the Twitter machine, Donald Trump said this, "Doing my best to disregard the many inflammatory President O. statements and road blocks. Thought it was going to be a smooth transition. Not!" So, which one is true?

STEWART: Well, clearly the Twitter machine was correct this morning and then things changed after the phone call was made and things are back on track. Look, it's been clear over the -- from the very first meeting that Donald Trump had with President Obama that the president made it quite clear he wants to do everything that he can to make sure there is a smooth transition.

And by all appearances up until recently, that's been the case and I do know behind the scenes the Obama administration, the team members, are doing everything they can to help the incoming team as they progress and transfer into the White House.

However, that being said, there have been some comments made by President Obama with regard to saying that he would have beaten Trump if he had been on the ballot and also taking a jab at Donald Trump yesterday talking about making sure that we treat all people, those who are different, in a more respectful manner, comments along those lines.

Kind of taking a jab at Donald Trump, knowing full well that if Donald Trump is provoked, he will act out on that. And so he was kind of taking a poke at Donald Trump, but that being said, it appears and by all indications things are back on track and we will have a smooth transition.

LEMON: David, you have a good poker face, but Symone and Andre don't. So Symone, you first.

SANDERS: Well, look, first of all, Donald Trump shouldn't be offended by someone stating that we should treat people fairly. Like those are just basic facts and there's a book I think out there that I want to send to the president-elect that's called "Everything I need to know I learned from kindergarten."

Perhaps he should go back to kindergarten. I don't think President Obama has been disrespectful to Mr. Trump, frankly, I wish President Obama would have been a little more forceful. I think what we're seeing here is Donald Trump treating this like a little reality show.

And this is real life and I just wish we would step into the role of being the president-elect. There are pressing issues at hand.

LEMON: Andre?

ANDRE BAUER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think he is actually stepping into the role, actually not what historically other president president-elects have done. He's moving forward. Stock markets reacted. This guy -- is taking the bull by the horns and not waiting on inauguration day but, in fact, he's tried to reach out to the current president. He's tried to work with him. But where he's different, he's made sure to let it be known.

LEMON: Yes. David, I've heard that a lot from people, you know, who I've interviewed here on this program and also earlier today and this week on the "NEW DAY" program saying the stock market's up, confidence is up, Donald Trump has saved the world already.

DAVID SWERDLICK, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, so on President Obama's 45th day in office, the stock market bottomed out at 6,626. Today it's somewhere around 19,900. That's almost a 300 percent increase. A line going straight up over the course of President Obama's eight years.

So obviously there's plenty of things you can criticize President Obama on, and plenty of things Donald Trump may be able to take credit for in the future, but the stock market going up at this point, I'm not sure is quite one of those. Just to the point about the tweets and the transition, I would just say that President-elect Trump is in an interesting position. The look I see on his face from the press conference earlier today in Florida is the same look I saw when he was in the oval office right after Election Day.

Which is this realization that Twitter has been a good medium for him to get his message out to show he's not a typical politician, but he's also coming to this realization that three weeks from now, he will be the president, not the president-elect, and all these decisions from the environment, to Palestine, to the economy, are going to be in his hands. President Obama will be off duty.

LEMON: All right. So the president --

BAUER: Thank goodness.

LEMON: The president-elect -- yes, you're happy about that.

BAUER: We'll see.

LEMON: As we know, the president-elect was asked about sanctions against Russia. Here's how he responded.


TRUMP: Got to get on with our lives. I think computers have complicated lives very greatly. The old age of computer has made it where nobody knows exactly what's going on. We have speed, we have a lot of other things but I'm not sure you have the kind of experience that you need. But I have not spoken with the senators and I certainly will be over a period of time.


[23:35:08]LEMON: So, Alice, this is for you, what do you make of that answer? Because as we heard from Lindsey Graham yesterday, Senate Republicans don't agree with the president-elect.

STEWART: I think clearly with regard to Obama taking action -- should have been a lame duck a long time ago flexing his muscle with Russia, but, look, it's been clear that many of those Republicans in Congress are ready to take action with regard to Russia.

And if sanctions are a way to do it, then I think they're going to do everything in their power to try and get that approved and convince Donald Trump to take action on that.

Because what's been happening for the past eight years, clearly, is not working and further sanctions might just be the trick to encourage action out of Putin because what's been done for the last several years is not working.

LEMON: Can you, just to clarify, I'm not sure if you meant to say, you said he should have been a lame duck a long time ago to take actions against Russia. Can you just clarify? I wasn't sure what you said.

STEWART: He hasn't been forceful with regard to Putin. He has been a door mat to Putin and now that he's lame duck, walking out the door, he's 5 minutes until midnight, he's taking action, and this is something that should have been done a long time ago.

SWERDLICK: But Alice --

LEMON: Go ahead, David.

SWERDLICK: Don, can I jump in real quick. Alice, after the Russians invaded Crimea, President Obama rallied Europe and together they put very strong economic sanctions on Russia that have hurt their economy and their oil industry and did it without arming rebels or without firing a shot. I think that's not being a door mat to Russia by any stretch of the imagination.

LEMON: Symone?

SANDERS: Yes, I think the only door mat to Russia here is Donald Trump. The entire intelligence community is united in saying that Russia meddled in our elections. That this is something that should be taken seriously and we need to take action and Donald Trump is still questioning the validity of --

LEMON: Symone, he actually says that we should get on with our lives when it comes to Russia.

SANDERS: You know what, this is not a partisan issue. We just can't get on with our lives when there's another country not only just meddling in our elections, but there is evidence that suggests that Russia has meddled in other elections throughout the world.

So this is a dangerous, dangerous precedent the president-elect is setting. He's the only door mat. He wants to be friends with Putin so badly, he's willing to look the other way at the expense of the American people. That's not a president I want.

LEMON: All right. Hold your thoughts, everyone. We have another segment here. When we come right back, the secretary of state, John Kerry, takes aim at Israel over settlements but Donald Trump promises things will be different when he takes office.



LEMON: A war of words between the White House and Israel heating up tonight in the final weeks of the Obama administration. Secretary of State John Kerry warning the two-state solution is at risk. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying he's looking forward to working with the president-elect.

Back now with me, Alice Stewart, David Swerdlick, Andre Bauer, and Symone Sanders. It's certainly been interesting what has been playing out on the national stage when it comes to foreign policy. So David, you first. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, head of state, America's closest allies, speaking over the head of the current president directly to the incoming president. Have you ever seen anything like this before?

SWERDLICK: Certainly not on Twitter, but, look, I think some of the way this is playing out is a tad unprecedented, but it's also in some ways just a bookend to the really bad relationship that President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu have had.

President Obama asked Prime Minister Netanyahu in 2009 for a settlement freeze, and was never able to really get that. There was a brief ten-month freeze, but it didn't last. And Prime Minister Netanyahu has really put his finger in President Obama's eye at every opportunity.

So on the one hand, it's not a surprise and you can't blame Israel for pressing their positions so hard, but they really should not be shocked that they're not getting the level of sympathy from the Obama administration at this point.

LEMON: Andre?

BAUER: Well, Secretary Kerry gave one of the most condescending speeches to a trusted ally, but this relationship --


BAUER: -- the last eight years has been rocky.

LEMON: That's actually a good question. How is it condescending, Andre?

BAUER: Well, he belittled him. I mean, it was -- the whole thing was a narrative that wasn't positive at all to an ally that we desperately need. Look, Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey, have all in the last eight years gone away from what we want in a democracy, in human rights countries, and we need all the help we can get in the Middle East.

We don't want to be sending our own folks over there. These folks we know when we send them money actually what they're doing with it. So the fact we would want to not work with these individuals but this goes back --

LEMON: Hold on, Symone. Hold on --

BAUER: -- Netanyahu within the country --

LEMON: Let's give the secretary of state, I'm just -- a given that he believes what he's saying is true. If he then does believe what he's saying is true, the truth is not always positive.

BAUER: Well, I don't know what he would be even attempting to accomplish this late in the game a few weeks to go. Why would he pick this fight when they can't follow it up? They don't have any mechanism to move forward. They're almost throwing a hot potato to the next administration instead of just gracefully exiting the stage. There's no reason to pick this fight and continue to poke their finger in the eye.

Look, we know the president has denied meeting with Netanyahu on occasion. We know he's continued to not want to work with him. He's helped the Palestinian state on numerous occasions when a lot of folks feel like he shouldn't have done that.

LEMON: This is a first (inaudible) given Israel $38 billion.

SANDERS: Ahead of schedule, mind you. President Obama signed on to give Israel $38 billion in military aid well ahead of the contract that hadn't even expired yet, but the fact of the matter is, I was in -- I was literally in Israel two weeks ago, met with all kinds of folks, met with the U.S. ambassador to Israel as well as Ambassador Dermer.

And the sentiment there is that the United States needs to continue to be a credible broker of peace in the region, but it's no secret the settlements have been something that has been frowned on by not just the Obama administration, the U.S. presidents from past, Republican and Democratic presidents, and the rest of the world.

[23:45:08]So this isn't -- this should not be a shocker to anyone. In terms of Israel being as Andre said kind of like the credible and the stable country there, exactly, which is why settlements are a real threat to peace. All Secretary Kerry did today was give his closing argument. He's well within his rights to do that. He is the current secretary of state.

LEMON: All right, I'll let you respond, Andre, but I want to get Alice in here.

STEWART: Yes, I think, of course, Symone has a fantastic perspective having just been there. I think the bottom line here is that, look, a key point that was made earlier is the simple fact that friends sometimes have to tell friends things they don't like to hear, but if they were our friends, we would have been by their side and supporting them for many years.

One of the greatest takeaways I got out of Kerry's speech today was the fact that friends sometimes have to tell people bad news, but they also have a mutual respect. That was key in the speech.

I think this current administration, the Obama administration, feels as though Netanyahu has not respected them for the past eight years, and this was a parting shot. This was their way to get back at them as they're walking out the door.

And with Israel being a democracy in a sea of dictatorships, we should be -- there should be no daylight between the United States and Israel. We should have their back and if this is something that they needed.

And Netanyahu made it clear last week, this is thing they needed us to stand by their side, we should have done that and there should not have been any second guessing, any question on that.

And as Obama walks out the door and this is something he wants to hang his hat on, on the way out the door when we have important issues like genocide in Sudan, we have the crisis in Syria, Russian hacking, China hacking, this is where he wants to make his parting shot at? I think his priorities are way off balance.

LEMON: David, is there daylight?

SWERDLICK: There is daylight, and again, to Andre's point, I understand why Israel's pushing back on this. The speech from Kerry today was a pushback. It was exposing a policy difference. I was just really -- the idea this was condescending, a 72-minute speech that outlined in detail what the Obama administration position is, or Kerry State Department position is, very clearly and methodically I don't think is condescending. They explained why they abstained on this vote.

LEMON: Andre, you want to weigh in?

BAUER: Well, I think they basically blamed everything on Israel and it wasn't quite fair. I mean, they based almost everything on occupation and we know when they sacrificed land for peace in the past, it hasn't worked.

SANDERS: I think -- today I have to disagree, Andre, I think Secretary Kerry was also equally as critical, maybe not as equally, but he was very critical of the Palestinians about the violence on the Palestinians have engaged in to get attention and make their point.

And so I definitely think that today was just an explanation of where the United States is under the Obama administration, their thoughts and nothing wrong with it. This was not new news today.

LEMON: Hey, Alice, I want to get this to you quickly because earlier today the president-elect tweeted this, "Stay strong, Israel, January 20th is fast approaching." Is he suggesting that he's going to try to reverse this U.N. Council, Security Council vote?

STEWART: It would appear that way. Clearly he's going to show with the Trump administration there will be no daylight between the United States and Israel and the talk of moving the embassy to Jerusalem certainly will be on the front burner for this administration. That is a good thing because they are an ally. We need to act as though they are.

LEMON: Thank you, panel.

When we come right back, protecting a president, the plan to keep the president-elect safe at Trump Tower.



LEMON: Donald Trump of course is poised to be a president like no other and protecting him is a job like no other as well. CNN's Brynn Gingras has more on that.


BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Trump Tower, a nearly 70-story high rise in middle of Manhattan, tourist attraction and home to President-elect Donald Trump must soon be one of the most protected buildings in the United States.

JONATHAN WACKROW, FORMER SECRET SERVICE AGENT: Every element of the White House, whether it's from a security posture, communications or emergency protocols that has to be put into place here at Trump Tower.

GINGRAS: Trump has made it clear he plans to return to New York often during his term and wife, Melania, and their 10-year-old son, Baron, will live there for at least next six months. For law enforcement a White House in the middle of the city of skyscrapers presents challenges.

(on camera): It's getting the president down from there?

WACKROW: Absolutely. That's the biggest challenge.

GINGRAS (voice-over): Jonathan Wackrow was a former Secret Service agent.

WACKROW: Washington, D.C. is very simple. The White House is on 18 acres that's fenced and it has a great big lawn in the back that we can utilize. Don't have that rate here. So those types of considerations have to be addressed.

GINGRAS: Training those address those concerns has already started. Law enforcement sources confirmed these military aircrafts and helicopters recently seen hovering above the New York City skyline are mapping out possible escape routes and taking pictures of rooftops and central parks for potential landing locations.

The city has never been analyzed this way before for U.S. presidents because the White House was opened in 1800 so never has a president resided outside of it an in a major city for extended periods of time. But Trump is full of firsts and the Secret Service along with the military and NYPD must adjust.

WACKROW: You're going to see increasing security posture around Trump Tower. You're going to see a lot of standoff distance, physical changes to the location to mitigate a lot of different threats.

GINGRAS: And if there were a threat, Wackrow says, agents would have less than a minute to bring the president and his family to safety.

WACKROW: We have to extract him from the top of this building. So how do we do that safely? How do we notify our law enforcement partners that there is this action?

GINGRAS: All questions that not only need to be addressed but put into practice by January 20th.

WACKROW: Right now, it's sort of a hurry up offense. We're trying to rush to get this done but not miss anything.

GINGRAS: Brynn Gingras, CNN, New York.


LEMON: That is it for us. Thanks you so much for watching. But before we go, we've got a special film event coming up this weekend on CNN.

[23:55:02]The band that supplied the sound track for decade after decade in America, the CNN Film, "Now More Than Ever: The History of Chicago" tells the story of their greatest hits.


LEMON: Those of us of a certain age that brings back memories. Don't miss the story behind one of America's greatest bands, "Now More Than Ever: The History of Chicago" I can't wait to see it. It's CNN Films Sunday night at 8:00 Eastern.

Our live coverage continues in a moment though with Rosemary Church and Cyril Vanier at CNN Center in Atlanta.