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Trump on Russia Sanctions: It's Time to "Move on"; Obama Orders Unprecedented Punishment for Russia Hacking; U.S. Aware of ISIS Leader's Movements; Can You Die or Heartbreak?; Syria Ceasefire in Effect, Is it Holding?; Self-Proclaimed Hitman Vs. Confessed-Killer President; 10th Anniversary of Saddam Hussein's Death; Tributes Pour in for Debbie Reynolds. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired December 29, 2016 - 21:00   ET



[21:01:48] JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening again. I'm Jim Sciutto, sitting in for Anderson. Topping the hour, President-elect Trump again downplaying the assessment of 16 U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia hacked American computers, tampered in effect with American democracy. This time, his words come just hours after the sitting President unleashed sanctions on Moscow and left open the possibility of more action to come. In a moment, what Trump said just a short time ago.

But first, CNN's Athena Jones on the sanctions. She joins us now. She's in wide traveling with the President.

So, Athena, explain these sanctions and in particular, why the President took these actions now.

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the President, Jim, is calling these actions necessary and appropriate and saying they're coming after repeated public and private warnings to the Russian government. He says that all Americans should be alarmed by Russia's actions. And he repeated his assertions that these activities could only have been directed by the highest levels of the Russian government.

And so what are the steps the U.S. is taking? Well, the Treasury Department has named nine entities and individuals who are now going to be subject to expanded sanctions, among those, Russia's military intelligence unit and its chief, also, the Domestic Security Service. The State Department, as you mentioned, is declaring 35 Russian intelligence operatives persona non grata and giving these five 72 hours to leave the country. The government is also shutting down two Russian government owned compounds, one in New York and one on the eastern shore of Maryland, not far from Washington, D.C.

The White House says Russia shouldn't be surprised by these actions and they're stressing that the announced moves are not the "sum total of our response." The U.S. is also taking covert measures. And all of this is aimed at delivering a message to Russia, that message, that there are costs and consequences to their actions. Jim? SCIUTTO: Reactions so far from the Kremlin then?

JONES: The reaction, they've vowed reciprocal measures and those measures are already beginning. Russian authorities have ordered the American School of Moscow to close according to a U.S. official briefed on the matter. Now, that school's principal tells our own Matthew Chance in Moscow that he can't confirm the closure and he's waiting for specific details. But we know that more measures are on the way. Russia's foreign minister spokeswoman said in a statement on Facebook that Russia will announce retaliation measures on Friday. Saying, "Tomorrow will be the official statements, countermeasures, and lots of other things." Jim?

SCIUTTO: It's going to continue. We'll be following it. Athena Jones, thanks very much.

Now, the Trump response, which, as we mentioned at the top, was notably brief. It said, in full, "It's time for our country to move on to bigger and better things. Nevertheless, in the interest of our country and its great people, I will meet with leaders of the intelligence community next week in order to be updated on the facts of this situation."

More now from CNN's Sunlen Serfaty who joins us from just outside Mar- a-Lago.

So Sunlen, have those around President-elect Trump been echoing what was in that sentiment? In effect, expressing doubts, continued doubts about this assessment?

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Jim. And that's why this very short statement by President-elect Donald Trump should really come at no surprise, because it really does keep in mind with the posture that he and members of his transition team have been taking in the last days and weeks about this. You know, and that is really to dismiss the claims of the Intelligence Community, the conclusions, I should say, of the Intelligence Community, and really trying to deflect blame away from the Russians on this.

[21:05:23] And really a lot of expressions of doubt that Russia was behind this. You know, we heard from Sean Spicer, who, of course, is the incoming White House Press Secretary once they take over in January. Him today say in essence, point-blank, that they need more solid proof from the Intelligence Community why they're making these conclusions and calling on the Intelligence Community to do so in a public way. Now, we know that President-elect Donald Trump will receive a private briefing at some point next week. We know that that likely is going to happen in New York City, where potentially he would be presented with some of the evidence that they found.

SCIUTTO: I mean, but he's already been getting daily briefings, right? I mean, he hasn't taken them every day. What does he expect to get in that briefing that he hasn't already seen?

SERFATY: That's absolutely a very good point. He did receive his most recent intelligence briefing. We know yesterday here at his resort here in Florida and there has been much to say, whether he's getting enough of these briefings, getting them a few times, I believe three times a week. But clearly, this is a little bit of due diligence on the President-elect's part. Although he's saying in this statement, a very stern let's move on, let's move past this. He's also saying, but look, I will take a meeting with the Intelligence Community.

I think most interesting will be to see what comes out of that meeting, what Donald Trump says afterwards. Does it change what he's saying? Does it change anything going forward? Of course, one of the biggest questions that this statement just doesn't answer is, will Trump as president once he takes over after January 20th, will he reverse these sanctions as the new president or not?

SERFATY: He'll be president, he can do it. Sunlen Serfaty, thanks very much.

Back with the panel and joining us as well this hour is Trump supporter, Jeffrey Lord.

Jeffry Lord, help me out here. We've known each other for a while. We have open and frank conversations. What's going on here? Why this continue? And again, he's isolated on this. Republican leaders, I mean, hard-core leaders, McConnell, Ryan, they say it's Russia. They say they want actually harsher penalties. Why is Donald Trump picking a fight? It's not just with the Obama administration, with his own party.

JEFFRY LORD, TRUMP SUPPORTER: Well, a couple things here. Number one, he wants the facts, that's for sure. Now, there's no question that I'm sure that's exactly --

SCIUTTO: OK, but, Jeffrey Lord, come on, that's a little -- it's a little -- I mean, it's the Intelligence Community. I mean, we all want the facts. He's been getting briefed three to four times a week, you know?

LORD: Jim, Jim, look, look. Let me just tell you here, and this is no news, whether it was President Bush and the weapons of mass destruction or President Kennedy, I have found a quote from President Kennedy in "The New York Times" in a story that "The New York Times" wrote on the CIA in 1966, and it says that after the Bay of Pigs disaster, in which JFK was so ill-advised by the CIA --

SCIUTTO: We know the Intelligence Community has made mistakes before, on the Bay of Pigs, on WMD, we know that.

LORD: All right. I'm saying to you, these people can make mistakes.

SCIUTTO: No question, but they can also -- they can also get things -- they can get things right. They got it right that China hacked the U.S. They got it right that North Korea hacked Sony. They found Bin Laden. I mean, I'm not shilling for the Intelligence Community. I'm just -- it's basically the strategy it seems to say that -- why I believe them. LORD: We need a new set of eyes on the Intelligence Community. And I think that's what the President will bring. And let's be candid here. You, yourself, just reported a little bit ago that the Obama administration was concerned about this, but didn't want to bring it up during the campaign, because they would quote/unquote hate or however you said it, that the -- a possible Hillary Clinton election. I mean, in other words, there's politics at play here. And I can assure you as somebody who's been in the White House and worked on Capitol Hill, these bureaucracies are, you know, filled with politics on occasion. So --

SCIUTTO: Well, I --

LORD: You know, let's not --

SCIUTTO: Well, that's a pretty broad charge to say, that the 16 intelligence agencies are motivated here. What the President does with the intelligence is one thing, but you're, in effect, saying that this assessment is based on politics.

LORD: What I'm saying here is, he wants to see the facts, the evidence. And by the way, by the way, no small thing here, if the story here is influence of non-citizens, Vladimir Putin and Russians or whatever on the American government in an election, then that goes to every non-citizen who may have voted in America for the last --

SCIUTTO: Jeffrey, Jeffrey -- let's -- that's a pretty dramatic turn. Jonathan -- we're not talking about that right now. We've had --

LORD: Let me first --

SCIUTTO: Actually, actually, Jeffrey, if we're talking about evidence, if we're talking about evidence, then let's see evidence of the two to three million people who supposedly fake voted in this election.

[21:10:02] But Jonathan, what's your reaction to this? What's happening here? What's your reaction to that line of argue?

LORD: So, let's have the day about it. I mean, I'm sorry he's out there.

SCIUTTO: Jeffrey, it's --


SCIUTTO: There's no basis to two or three million people who voted illegally. There's just not. Studies have been done and they found like half a dozen people.


SCIUTTO: Jonathan, what's your reaction?

JONATHAN TASINI, POLITICAL STRATEGIST: Let me, first of all, wish my friend Jeff, and Jim and Monica, Happy Holidays, Happy New Year. I haven't seen Jeff in a while.

Some of what I said in the last segment, and Jeff is going to like the first part of what I said, which is, as I said before, Jim, I don't trust the Central Intelligence Agency. I think it is wise for us to exercise a fair amount of skepticism if the facts are not presented openly to the American people. That doesn't mean that I don't think that Vladimir Putin is a thug and a xenophobe and a dangerous individual.

I just think that looking at history, the CIA, and I'm sorry, they are trained to lie. This is what they do. And if you go back to the Church Committee hearings in the 1970s, or what the CIA did in the assassination. Now, I am not defending, when I say that, Donald Trump. Let me be clear about that. Because the second point I'm going to make, which I made before, and Jeff isn't going to like this one, part of the problem is that Donald Trump is not capable of understanding either what Russia did. He's not capable of understanding the difference between our nuclear weapons triad. He does not understand that over the last 30 and 40 years, Republican and Democratic administrations have sought to reduce nuclear weapons.

Donald Trump is essentially foreshadowing an arms race. He is a dangerous ignoramus. And so when we're now confronted with the situation of trying to analyze this information, we're asking someone who is not capable of understanding this.

LORD: Respectfully, John --

SCIUTTO: Look, Monica --


SCIUTTO: Jeffrey, I do want to give you a chance --

LORD: -- these relations and now they're in tatters. That's dangerous ignoramus.

SCIUTTO: Well, Jeffrey, it's a fair point. The Obama administration started with a reset, it failed. George W. Bush started with "I can see into Putin's eye" ended with the invasion of Georgia at the end. So as the successive presidents of both parties have misread Russia dramatically.

LORD: And Ronald Reagan.

SCIUTTO: Monica, I do want to ask you what the view from inside the Trump camp is. Because is it just that they see this push to investigate as a way to delegitimatize his election, or is there also a sincere and substantive doubt that Russia is behind these attacks? Or perhaps is there both?

MONICA LANGLEY, SENIOR SPECIAL WINTER THE STREET JOURNAL: I think there's both. But I think the first is clearly the thing that gets his -- that gets Trump's goat. And, you know, he's responding, I think, to that when he says, let's move on. That's the most important thing. He's going to get an intelligence briefing next week, but come on, we know how he has responded to a lot of the intelligence briefings.

He wants to move on. His advisers tell me, we're going to go on American jobs. We're going to fight ISIS. And another adviser told me this afternoon that he is watching and they're kind of shocked that Obama is acting tougher in the last four days against the two countries that he wants -- that Trump wants to improve relations with Israel and Russia, than he's acted in the last four years against ISIS. So they're saying, we want to be tough on ISIS, and suddenly Obama in the last three weeks of his administration, is tough on Russia and Israel.


SCIUTTO: Well, Jeffrey, I'll give you the last -- well, actually, Jonathan, I'll give you the last one, Jeffrey, before we have to go. We do have to go.

LORD: Who gets the last word?

SCIUTTO: Jeffrey would never talk to me again if I didn't --

LORD: All right, I'll --

SCIUTTO: But Jonathan quick thought and then Jeffrey --

TASINI: I was just going to say. Talking about Russian hacking --

LORD: That's not, that's all Donald Trump wants.

TASINI: I'm talking about Russian hacking. It's not the same thing -- it's not the same thing as the administration taking a completely moral and principled position to abstain from a resolution on Palestine and on the settlements with the entire world that the United States supports. But now the U.S. is now with the entire international community condemning those settlements as it should.

SCIUTTO: OK, gentleman and ladies, thanks to all of you all. And I wish you all sincerely a very Happy New Year.

LANGLEY: Same to you.

TASINI: OK, Happy New Year everyone.

SCIUTTO: Coming up next, a CNN exclusive on how much U.S. intelligence may know about where to find the leader of ISIS and presumably, make him either the captured or late leader of ISIS. Later, the passing of Debbie Reynolds just a day after her daughter, Carrie Fisher died. And the question, can you really die of a broken heart? Some answers, just ahead.


[21:18:25] SCIUTTO: If Russian President Putin is seeking a bigger role on the global stage, as many Kremlin watchers believe, there was new evidence late today. He announced that Moscow had brokered a cease-fire along with Turkey between Syrian rebels and the Assad regime that went into effect just tonight. ISIS will be excluded from that truce. And there is news as well tonight on U.S. efforts to destroy the terror group namely by decapitation. CNN's Barbara Starr has the latest for us.


BARBARA STARR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fresh intelligence has emerged about ISIS leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, just days before President Obama leaves office.

A U.S. official tells CNN, "In the last few weeks we've been aware of some of Baghdadi's movements." The official would not offer additional details due to the sensitivity of the intelligence.

COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: If there's a trail, it is at least possible to begin to pick up certain things. And when you pick up those certain indications of where a person has been, it becomes far more likely that you can actually find him.

STARR: No one is saying if the terrorist leader is in Iraq or hunkered down in Raqqah, Syria. But several efforts are underway. U.S. officials tell CNN there are a number of buildings in central Raqqah under observation. The U.S. is looking for movement of any senior ISIS leaders. Communications are being intercepted. From raids in Mosul, Iraq, documents and data seized and reviewed for fresh tips. U.S. Special Operations Forces on the ground talking to whomever may know something.

[21:20:02] Last month, a rare audio recording encouraging his fighters to stand strong in Mosul. The U.S. just raised to $25 million the reward for his capture. The goal has been to take away his layers of protection and security.

LEIGHTON: These people have to communicate. Even if they don't communicate via the internet or via phone, they have to communicate in one way or the other.

STARR: U.S. Intelligence is focused on isolating Baghdadi by killing those close to him, nearly a dozen senior operatives, so far.

ASHTON CARTER, DEFENSE SECRETARY: We took out three of ISIL's key leaders in the last couple of weeks.

STARR: One of the most important ISIS leaders Abu Muhammad al-Adnani Chief of External Plotting also was killed in an air strike in Syria. And this Kuwaiti born operative killed just this week.


STARR: So what if the U.S. was able to capture or kill Baghdadi, would it change the course of the war possibly in the opening weeks of a Trump administration? U.S. officials say they believe that ISIS ideology will live on for some time long beyond Baghdadi. Jim?

SCIUTTO: No questions, sadly. Barbara Starr, thanks very much. Joining us now, CNN Intelligence and security analyst, Bob Baer, Former Longtime CIA officer, also CNN military analyst and retired Army Lieutenant General Mark Hertling, he's been in the war zone a few times himself as well.

General Hertling, if U.S. forces do in fact find and kill Baghdadi, how crippling will that be to ISIS and of course, you got Zarqawi, al- Qaeda in Iraq and then later ISIS lived on, al-Qaeda lives after Bin Laden. Where does ISIS go without Baghdadi?

MARK HERTLING, US ARMY (RET.): It's a temporary victory, Jim, you know that. You've seen so many of these kill or capture moments where people have been taken off the battlefield. And as Barbara's report just said, there are quite a few dead over some of the pictures and more operatives are being lost every day. So it's significantly affecting an organization. But the ideology is going to live on. Baghdadi will be replaced by someone else. And as the wars continue, they keep going to lower level of people who have the operational capabilities of these kinds of leaders. It will affect the organization, but there will still be a fight in front of us.

SCIUTTO: Bob, I wonder, I mean, I know that, you know, people were very premature to announce the death of al-Qaeda after a number of leaders, including, of course, Bin Laden killed, driven into hiding. But, the truth is, with that successful drone campaign and the tribal areas of Pakistan, al-Qaeda has certainly been under pressure, less active, less capable of carrying out major attacks abroad. Does this -- I mean, particularly, not just Baghdadi, but a number of other lower and mid-level leaders that have been killed, does that not affect the -- or at least have the potential to affect the capability of the organization?

ROBERT BAER, FORMER CIA OFFICER: Well, I agree with General Hertling, you know, it degrades their ability to attack, whether it's in Islamabad or Saudi Arabia, or their focus is on staying alive, which is good for us. But at the end of the day, as General Hertling said, this is a movement that it's much deeper than Baghdadi. We could kill him tomorrow and the Islamic State would continue on. These clerics are easily replaceable. It's an ideology that's widespread. It's based on an ideology in Saudi Arabia. It's old, it's going to be around for a long time.

Until there's some sort of political settlement in the Middle East, where Sunnis feel safe, you're always going to have the risks these people are going to revert to this irrational violence. So I mean, we do have to -- if we have the opportunity to assassinate Baghdadi, we have to drive the Islamic State into the ground as quickly as we can. But at the same time, we have to come up with a political solution to replace it.

SCIUTTO: General Hertling, let me ask you. We don't know the answer to this question yet, but do we have signals that give us a sense as to how if and how President Donald Trump will change the strategy to fight ISIS?

HERTLING: Yeah, the biggest challenge is going to be, what happen in each one of the theaters? And when I say that, I'm talking about the difference between what's going on in Mosul and in northern Iraq versus what's going on in Syria. The Mosul fight is been a tough one, Jim, you know that. It's gone on longer than the Iraqis said, but less time than many of the Americans said it would happen. It's going to be a long fight to recover that city and to clean it of the ISIS fighters.

But Syria's a different matter. You've heard this before. You now have the Russians and the Syrians and the Iranians and the Turks all talking about what they're going to do next and we'll be left out of that. Will Turkey, a NATO ally, go into northern Syria and then ask for NATO support? Don't know. This is going to continue for a while in Syria.

[21:20:08] SCIUTTO: General Hertling, Bob Baer, thank you, as always.

And coming up next, with the 10th Anniversary of Saddam Hussein's execution fast approaching, new details of what U.S. Intelligence learned from him just before he was hanged, as you'll see after the break, they come from the CIA analyst who grilled him.


SCIUTTO: Tonight, only on CNN, a mass murder showdown with another confessed killer. One claims to have been a member of a Philippines Death Squad. The other is president of the country. Rodrigo Duterte. He, too, claims to have personally taken several lives as part of a campaign vigilante killings that date back decades and have recently morphed into a national war on drugs that has left more than 6,000 people dead. And that's where this horror story becomes something else yet again. The purported hit man says that President Duterte was his death squad boss. And CNN's Will Ripley has the exclusive interview.


[21:30:05] WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Edgar Matobato says he and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has something in common, they both have blood on their hands.

"I want him to pay for what he did, for the many killings he ordered," he says. If we bring back the death penalty, I hope Duterte is the first to hang, and then I will follow.

Decades before the president took his bloody war on drugs nationwide, Matobato says he was part of a group known in the Philippines as the Davao Death Squad, a 2008 U.N. investigation found the shadowy band of assassins was committing hundreds of murders in Davao targeting street children and criminals all during Duterte's decades-long run as the southern city's gun-toting, crime-fighting mayor, beginning in 1988.

"I personally killed around 50 people," Matobato says. He shows us a journal with names and dates of some of his victims, written by his wife, because he can't read or write. Matobato also showed his Davao city I.D., he says he was a ghost employee, earning just $100 a month to murder on command. Who was ordering the Death Squad to kill all these people? "We got the orders from Mayor Duterte," he says.

CNN cannot verify his story but Matobato's graphic testimony in September before a Senate hearing on vigilante killings shocked the Philippines. The country's Human Rights Commission is investigating. The president's office says he changed some details in his story.

MARTIN ANDANAR, PHILIPPINES PRESS SECRETARY: Very inconsistent. So if you go through the transcript in the Senate you will see for yourself that Matobato is lying through his teeth.

RIPLEY: The President's Communications Secretary, Martin Andanar says, if the testimony was credible, police would have built a case.

ANDANAR: The Davao Death Squad that people are talking about, this is all legend. It's all legend. There's no Death Squad.

RODRIGO DUTERTE, PHILIPPINE PRESIDENT: I did kill. I was only three months mayor.

RIPLEY: Duterte told me he personally gunned down three people while mayor of Davao to set an example for his officers. But in media interviews he said he doesn't remember Matobato and denies ordering vigilante killings.

For several years, Matobato was in official witness protection, now that Duterte is president he is just in hiding. We meet at a safe house several hours from Manila. He has moved at least 10 times in the last year and he's currently facing charges of kidnapping and illegal firearms possession. "I was told to cut the body parts in pieces" he says. Matobato claims they dumped bodies in crocodile farms, in the streets, and even in mass graves, but those graves have never been found.

Why are you the only one who has come forward? He says many of them are scared. If we try to change, we're killed.

So you think, if they find you, they'll kill you? "They will kill me," he says, "because now their secrets have been revealed."

Matobato says he is eager to confess his sins to shine a light on the dark reality of the president's deadly drug war.

Will Ripely, CNN, Manila.


SCIUTTO: Now to another especially bloody chapter in recent history and the ruthless dictator behind it. Iraq's Saddam Hussein, he was hanged for crimes against humanity. It will be 10 years ago tomorrow. His nearly quarter century in power ended by the U.S.-led coalition in 2003.

Former CIA Senior Analyst John Nixon grilled Hussein after his capture and writes about it in a new book, "Debriefing the President: The Integration of Saddam Hussein". We spoke recently.


SCIUTTO: Really a fascinating profile, as you look at Saddam Hussein here. And you describe him as a man of contradictions, charming on the one hand, charismatic, but also brute -- just brutally vicious?

JOHN NIXON, FORMER CIA SENIOR ANALYST: Yes, yes. He was -- from the very beginning, our talks had a certain pattern, and in the beginning, he was very kind, very gentle, very nice, very smart, and self- deprecating and witty, but over time, another Saddam emerged, and that was a Saddam that seemed to be kind of nasty and mean-spirited and vicious and a little scary at times. In a sense, he was very human in that regard.

SCIUTTO: Yeah, well, we saw that in his actions. He filled a lot of graves.

NIXON: Yes, very true.

SCIUTTO: You said he was that great politician. I mean, certainly, we think politics are tough here. Politics in Iraq, you know, literally deadly I imagine. But you also described him as a local boy who made good.


SCIUTTO: Explain why?

[21:35:02] NIXON: Yeah. Well, he was a -- he came from Tikrit, which was nothing much of anything, it was a very small town. And one of the things that happened throughout his lifetime was that he was a poor boy who rose to the top of his profession and everybody always underestimated him. And people just thought that he was nobody and then he managed -- that was one of the ways he managed to get the better of people. And, you know, he -- his roots gave him a very good feel for Iraqi politics and the politics of the street, where his roots tripped him up was that he was uneducated, basically. And he didn't understand international politics and he didn't understand the bigger picture. And that's where he made some of his greatest mistakes.

SCIUTTO: Let's speak about one of those and that being weapons of mass destruction, right? This idea that the reason that the US brought about the invasion, and as it turns out, he didn't have weapons of mass destruction, but he, you know, was keeping that myth alive to some degree, which helped bring on the invasion.


SCIUTTO: Why? What was his thinking?

NIXON: Well, I think that he never -- Saddam was one of the most secretive men I've ever met in my life. Even in prison, he would always answer a question with a question of his own. And, you know, I think that he viewed any sort of weapons program of his as national security secret, and something that he should not be telling others. He also would have said that he had already disclosed everything that he had and he distrusted the weapons inspections process, because felt that they were infiltrated by spy services who were looking for -- not only for weapons of mass destruction, but for vulnerabilities to his security and to his regime, and he was not wrong about that.

SCIUTTO: Now, we have a president-elect here in the U.S.


SCIUTTO: Who is, in effect, taking on the US Intelligence Community, particularly the CIA, on the issue of Russia hacking the US Election and really dismissing their judgment and Donald Trump in his tweets has called out the CIA for getting it wrong on WMD in Iraq. From your perspective, 13 years in the agency, how dangerous is that? How damaging is that to have the president pitted against the Intelligence Community?

NIXON: I am deeply disturbed by that development. And I hope that somehow they're able to work things out. Both sides need each other. If you have a wall -- I don't want to use that metaphor with Donald Trump, but if you have a wall that arises between the president and his national security community, particularly his Intelligence Community, the only people that benefit are our enemies. And that is something we can't allow to have happen. So President-elect Trump needs to take his briefings and he also needs to get his briefings every day and he needs to sort of embrace the Intelligence Community. And the Intelligence Community needs to serve him well. They can help each other if they work together.

SCIUTTO: John Nixon, thanks very much.

NIXON: Thank you.

SCIUTTO: It's a fascinating book. Thank you.


SCIUTTO: And coming up, Debbie Reynolds, Carrie Fisher and broken hearts.


[21:41:55] SCIUTTO: Tributes continue pouring in for legendary actress Debbie Reynolds. The iconic star of "Singing in the Rain" died just yesterday at Los Angeles Hospital. She was 84 years old. Reynolds' daughter, Carrie Fisher, of course, had died just the day before. Dan Simon is at the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Dan, how are people reacting to all of this, so much news, really, the whole year long, but in 24 hours, two stars from one family?

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, hi, Jim. Some people say, what a terrible way to end 2016 with the loss of these two Hollywood legends, mother and daughter. We are here on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, in front of the star here, Debbie Reynolds' star. You can see the things that people have left flowers, somebody actually dropping an umbrella, which is pretty appropriate, even though it is a clear night in Hollywood. And just a short distance away, they did something pretty special. Only the 11th time in history, they dimmed the lights there at the famous Chinese theater to pay tribute to Debbie Reynolds. And there's been such an outpouring of love from celebrities.

This tweet from Ellen Degeneres I think speaks to the way many people are feeling. She says, "I can't imagine what Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds' families are going through this week. I send all of my love." And then check out this touching tweet from Fisher's brother, Todd. Mother and daughter locked in arms, representing the iconic roles they each played roles, of course that would help define the rest of their lives. Jim?

SCIUTTO: There we go, Princess Leia there and then "Singing in the Rain". Have you learned anything about next steps for the family? Word on funeral plan together? Do we know yet?

SIMON: Not yet, Jim. Of course, there's been a lot of speculation about that. Some people speculating that perhaps there would be a dual funeral. People think that perhaps that's something that both Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher would want, but no official word from the family. And there's also been no official word on Debbie Reynolds cause of death. We know that she had some kind of breathing problem following the death of her daughter, of course, that brought on a lot of stress and unfortunately, she died at the hospital, Jim.

SCIUTTO: To say the least. Dan Simon, thanks very much.

Now, to that question, can all this heartbreak actually be fatal? Joining us now is grief and loss specialist, David Kessler.

David, thank you for helping us here. You know, it's interesting, you hear this thought often with elderly couples who have been together a long time, one dies and then shortly thereafter, the other dies. With mother and child, I haven't heard that before, but what have you found in your own studies?

DAVID KESSLER, GRIEF AND LOSS SPECIALIST: Exactly what you've alluded to that we see people who have been married for 50 years, the husband dies, the wife follows. So in the world of grief, this is not surprising. To see it with a child and a mother, we don't see it quite as often, but given Debbie Reynolds' relationship with Carrie Fisher, it actually makes a lot of sense.

SCIUTTO: And isn't, I mean people say "of a broken heart," right? I mean, that's an expression, but is it -- you know, it's psychological, it's feeling, right, affecting your physical health. How does it manifest itself? Is it a stroke? Is it your heart actually failing?

[21:45:07] KESSLER: Exactly. So, in the grief world, we have known about this and we had always believed it was strictly a stress psychological factor. But now we're seeing more and more research in cardiology that really points to, this is a form of cardiomyopathy. In fact, the muscles of the heart become enlarged over the stress. And it's not unusual for that to have a ripple effect of a heart attack or even a stroke.

SCIUTTO: Wow. That's just incredible. I mean, and is there something from health professional's perspective you can do about that, I mean to prepare someone for it and to prevent it from happening?

KESSLER: Well, the current thought is that people in grief often have this, but very few die from it. So, we probably do go through -- our bodies go through a lot of stress when someone close to us dies. And for a few, it becomes deadly

SCIUTTO: Yeah, it's interesting, because you often think of the psychological consequences and effects of grief, but you don't think of the physical impact?

KESSLER: Right. This is one more mind/body tie-in we're learning about. And how can it not reside in the body that grief so profound has to impact everything about us.

SCIUTTO: And does the fact that Carrie Fisher's death so sudden, in particular, does that have an impact? Make it more likely, perhaps, or at least the body's reaction to it?

KESSLER: Absolutely. I often think about anticipatory grief. We suddenly anticipate our parents dying some day. We may even say in a relationship and a marriage, I'll die before you or you'll die before me. We don't think of our children dying before us. And when that happens, that's a devastating shock to anyone, whether your child is three years old, 21, or 60 years old.

SCIUTTO: No, no question, wouldn't wish it on anybody. David Kessler, thanks very much.

Coming up next, 10 years of Anderson and Kathy and New Year's Eve.


[21:50:58] SCUITTO: It is almost that time again folks tonight, is fast approaching, the night when Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin stand on the platform in Times Square on New Year's Eve in New York, and Anderson tries to maintain any kind of control over the broadcast. This time, Kathy has a new book out called, "Kathy Griffin's Celebrity Run-Ins". I have a feeling the book will come up a lot on New Year's Eve. As it did when Anderson and Kathy spoke recently. Have a listen.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: This is our 10th anniversary. You're selling a book. You're selling the book.

KATHY GRIFFIN, COMEDIAN: Oh, my gosh. I didn't even think, and I forgot. All right first of all --

COOPER: Not only you're selling your book now, I notice, you know, you and I just shot some commercials for New Year's Eve. GRIFFIN: Yes.

COOPER: And I noticed you put your book in one of the commercials.

GRIFFIN: I -- that does not sound like me.

COOPER: Nobody else seemed to notice it, I notice it -- I didn't even bring it up though. You know what, I said you deserve it, and good for her and you got a book, and let's start with the book.

GRIFFIN: Because you, personally, have a love letter in this book.

COOPER: Which is why I wanted to start with the book.

GRIFFIN: And I know -- of course you're -- write to your name --

COOPER: I want as many people to read it as possible.

GRIFFIN: I know. So you went right to your name, you read your section and then you read your mom's section and you were out.

COOPER: No, I have not -- I have read --

GRIFFIN: Wow. When you know somebody, you know somebody.

COOPER: I want to play just some of our moments just from last year alone. And not even 10 years, but just from last year. Let's take --

GRIFFIN: What could I have done?

COOPER: Let's take a look.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I love you Kathy.

COOPER: Not appropriate.

GRIFFIN: I can so see you with some of the "Walking Dead", you like, have you met my boyfriend? Let's go up. He is walking and he's dead right, and then I'm the weird one. That is what you don't get, America. This guy would date someone from the "Walking Dead" even though he is dead.

COOPER: How many people are trying to kill you, because --

GRIFFIN: Oh, I think you're trying to kill me, Oprah, Demi Lovato for sure, Ryan Seacrest obviously, Taylor Swift maybe, and any girl squad. I'm nervous about the squads. Anderson went to the safe place, which is he get this look whenever Poppy is talking to anyone else frankly, and he is like, oh, God, I'm so bored with my money and my pedigree and I go Nick Jonas is sing, and he went like this in case you thought that you were too pale. Ladies and gentlemen, Anderson Cooper has been spray tanned. We're live from Rio, we are live from Rio in the hot sun.

Just knowing that your entire identity is in your looks, is what makes this moment so perfect. COOPER: I'd forgotten that you did some of that.

GRIFFIN: You're welcome America and globe. Yes, well glad to me, Rudy, the end of "Rudy" slow clap, love it, I still getting the touchdown.

COOPER: You know, it's funny you mention Nick Jonas, I ran into him the other day and he gave me one those bro hugs, deeply (inaudible) --

GRIFFIN: I thought we could go three minutes without bringing up one of the Jonai. All right let's go through, who is this week, who's your fave?

COOPER: No, Nick Jonas, I'm not a big fan of Nick Jonas, I think --


COOPER: --- a very nice guy.

GRIFFIN: OK. What did Joe do, is he over (ph) --


COOPER: I just have -- I never really met him. I mean what --

GRIFFIN: And what about the other one in Jersey nobody cares about with the wife. Frank or whatever his name is. Anderson. Anderson Jonas, isn't one of those? Give me the phone. Let's call Ryan Seacrest right now.

COOPER: I don't have the number anymore.

GRIFFIN: I do. Let's call him and see what he thinks about you. OK.

COOPER: Why would Ryan Seacrest give you his number?

GRIFFIN: Great. I know, I told you. Yup, he's right here. All right, you want me to put you on speaker? OK. That's not even my phone. I can't believe you fell for it that long.

COOPER: You know, what --

GRIFFIN: But yes I actually did talk to Ryan --

COOPER: -- and I just like flop sweat just went down.

GRIFFIN: You did, that's funny you said that, because I get sweat just in the armpits and I had to put lady panty liners in there. Do you ever do this? What, I'm real. I'm not like you. I'm a real person. I have flaws, OK.

COOPER: Oh, this is like when Nancy Grace was, you know, Nancy Grace --

GRIFFIN: Oh hot.

[20:55:14] COOPER: -- when she used to keep pictures of the twins in her bra while dancing on "Dancing with the Stars."

GRIFFIN: OK, grandma, let me finish the sentence, because you are slow. The twins are John David and Lucy and, you know what, and when your going to tell the story about when you stare her in the elevator and she said, she wears her father's boxers.

COOPER: I'm not going to tell that story. That is -- one of the stories that was not to be told.

GRIFFIN: Oh, you mean when you told me in the elevator at CNN, I'm sorry, the code of silence. Put your mother on, just get your mother, is she there?

COOPER: Well, congratulations on the book.

GRIFFIN: If your mom is not there, who is feeding you?

COOPER: Who's feeding me?

GRIFFIN: It is Nick Jonas? Just tell me. Oh, God, Nick Jonas feeds you at lunch (ph)?


GRIFFIN: That is -- my tweets are going to love that.

COOPER: All right, Kathy I look forward to it as I do every year with trepidation, but it is always fun, and congratulations on the success of the book.

GRIFFIN: All right. I love you. I'll see you New Years.

COOPER: All right. I love you too. Kathy Griffin. Thanks.




SCUITTO: Make sure to tune in Saturday night for New Year's Eve with Anderson and Kathy live from Times Square. And tonight, we'll be right back.


[21:59:59] SCUITTO: That does it for us, thanks for watching this week. Coming up next, tonight the documentary that gives an extraordinary look at the lives and loses of Anderson and his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt. "NOTHING LEFT UNSAID", starts right now.