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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT

New Year's Security Heightened in Cities Across the World; Debbie Reynolds Dies One Day After Carrie Fisher; Obama Retaliates against Russia over Election Hacking; Trump Meeting with Team Tonight to Discuss Speech Prep. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired December 29, 2016 - 19:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[19:00:22]

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next. President Obama hits Russia hard, expelling 35 Russian diplomats and shuttering spy compounds in the U.S. How will Russia now respond? Plus Donald Trump has long doubted Russia was ever behind the hacks at all. Did this change his mind? I'll ask Senior Trump Adviser Kellyanne Conway. And Hollywood legend Debbie Reynolds dies just one day after her daughter Carrie Fisher. Did she die of a broken heart? Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan in for Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight we have breaking news. President Obama fires back at Russia, slapping unprecedented new measures against Moscow for hacking the 2016 Presidential Election. Today, kicking out 35 Russian operatives with diplomatic status here, giving them just 72 hours to get out of the country. The president also, shutting down two Russian intelligence facilities in Maryland and New York. And imposing new sanctions on Russians believed to be behind the cyberattacks.

President Obama said in his statement, that the hacking is this, "Could only have been directed by the highest levels of the Russian government." And just moments ago, President-elect Donald Trump reacted, saying this, "It's time for our country to move on to bigger and better things." President-elect also said that he is going to meet with the Intelligence Community to get an update on the facts next week. Athena Jones is OUTFRONT in Honolulu -- where President Obama is vacationing right now. Athena, what more are you learning tonight about this major move by the president?

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the White House says that Russia shouldn't be surprised by these actions and they are stressing that the announced moves do not amount to the "sum total of our response." The administration is also planning convert measures. All of this aimed at delivering one message to Russia. There are costs and consequences for their actions.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JONES (voice-over): In a statement, the Treasury Department named nine entities and individuals now subject to expanded sanctions, including Russia's military intelligence unit and its head, as well as the domestic security service. The State Department, following suit, declaring 35 Russian intelligence operatives "persona non grata" and giving these spies just 72 hours to leave the country.

The government also, shutting down two Russian government-owned compounds, one in New York and this one on the eastern shore of Maryland. In a White House statement, the president said, "All Americans should be alarmed by Russia's actions" and repeated that, "The activities could only have been directed by the highest levels of the Russian government." These moves come as President-elect Donald Trump continues to dismiss the U.S. Intelligence assessment of Russian interference in the presidential election.

DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL-ELECT: I think we ought to get on with our lives. I think that computers have complicated lives very greatly. The whole age of computer has made it where nobody knows exactly what's going on.

JONES (voice-over): While Trump has resisted blaming Russia members of his own party are standing behind the Obama administration, promising to impose additional sanctions in Congress. Sen. Lindsey Graham on a congressional delegation to Russia's neighboring seats took on Trump's comments.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: I think most of us Democrats and Republicans really believe that Russia is up to no good all over the world. They are trying to break the back of democracies and if we don't push back against Putin, Iran and China, they could hack into our systems.

JONES (voice-over): Intelligence officials have publicly issued that the cyberattacks on U.S. political groups and individuals including the Democratic National Committee to Russia. Even before the announcement of the U.S. retaliation, Russia promised a response. A spokeswoman for the Foreign Ministry saying in a statement, "Frankly speaking, we are tired of lies about Russian hackers that continue to be spread in the United States from the very top. And we can only add that if Washington takes new hostile steps, it will receive an answer." The White House is ready to respond, whatever actions Russia takes.

ERIC SCHULTZ, WHITE HOUSE SPOKESMAN: We can anticipate a response of some kind. But the truth is that, we enjoy the greatest capability as many country on earth. That's offensive and defensive. That applies to cyber space. But it also applies to diplomatic resources, intelligence resources and tools we have in our tool box to hold countries accountable like sanctions.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JONES: And that response from Russia is already beginning. Russian authorities have ordered the American school in Moscow to close. According to a U.S. official briefed on the matter and more measures are coming. Russian's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said in a statement on Facebook that Russian will announce retaliation measures tomorrow saying, "Tomorrow will be the official statements, countermeasures and a lot of other things." Kate?

BOLDUAN: More to come. Athena, thank you very much. OUTFRONT now, with me tonight, former CIA operative, Bob Baer.

[19:05:16] Bob, in the spy world what does this all mean?

ROBERT BAER, CNN INTELLIGENCE AND SECURITY ANALYST AND FORMER CIA OPERATIVE: Well, Kate, it reminds me of the Cold War. I think the evidence is pretty clear that the Russians did hack. And if they did hack, the KGB or military intelligence to GRU, it was done at the top another Putin's orders. And the United States had to respond in expelling 35 diplomats is one way. It could be KGB operatives. But what you can count on is there will be countermeasures, retaliation by Putin and it will be heavy, heavy handed. So we are deep back into the Cold War. I mean, who knows what Trump is going to do once he gets in. But right now, this is what we have.