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New Year's Eve Celebrations Around the World; Times Square Security for New Year's Eve; U.S.-Russia Relations; Britain Prime Minister Rebuke of U.S. State Department; Update on Case of Michael Skakel; Ohio Family Seeks Changes To Prescription Drug Access; Sports Update. Aired 9-10a ET

Aired December 31, 2016 - 09:00   ET


[09:00:55] CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Happy almost new year. Happy celebration, because I'm sure you're preparing for whatever it is you've got up your sleeve tonight. Good morning, I'm Christi Paul.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Martin Savidge, in for Victor Blackwell. It is 9:00 on the East Coast. It's 6:00 a.m. out West. And welcome to CNN NEWSROOM, we're glad you're here.

Cities across the globe already to ring in the new year. Celebrations have already begun in places like, say, New Zealand where, what do you know, it's next year.


CROWD: 3, 2, 1!



PAUL: Auckland, there, one of the first cities in the world to say goodbye to 2016. But, look at what happened just last hour:


CROWD: 3, 2, 1!



SAVIDGE: This is the magnificent show over Sydney Harbor in Australia. It's one of the largest fireworks show in all of the world. And I have to say, you know, they know how to do fireworks down there in that southern hemisphere.

PAUL: Have you been there for -- have you been there for one of their celebrations at New Year's?


PAUL: No. SAVIDGE: But next year.

PAUL: Is that it?

SAVIDGE: I'm committing.

PAUL: Did the bosses hear that?

SAVIDGE: If the company will send me.

PAUL: He would like to be sent to --

SAVIDGE: To Sydney for next New Year's.

PAUL: Sydney next year. Okay, well some people don't want to go quite that far, though that is a spectacular sight. A lot of people -- as many as two million of them -- expected to fill up Times Square for the big countdown tonight.

SAVIDGE: And the New York Police Department is, of course, increasing security to ensure that everyone has a very safe night. CNN Correspondent Jessica Schneider joins us now live from New York. And Jessica, what can you tell us about the preparations?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, first of all, a very exciting day and night here in Times Square, but with that excitement comes the security. And the NYPD is stepping up the security even more than in previous years. I'll break down some of the numbers for you. There will be 65 sanitation trucks on the perimeter of Times Square. Those will be filled with sand -- that's the first time that they are using that security measure because of some of those attacks overseas of ISIS-inspired truck attacks that we just saw in Berlin just a little while ago.

In addition, we'll also be seeing 100 blocker vehicles -- those are in addition to those sand trucks; 7,000 NYPD officers, 550 of whom just graduated from the police academy. And you'll also be seeing 65 viewing pens. That's where all the people will be gathered in. The NYPD expecting to fit 3,000 people in each of those pens. Now, when people come into Times Square, they'll be going through the usual security checks, the bag checks, the radiation screening. And, in addition, heavy weapons teams will be purely visible all around this area. They'll also be keeping a watch on things from the sky in helicopters.

Also, in the perimeter of Manhattan -- on the rivers around here, they'll be keeping a watch out. And, in addition, 30 representatives from city, state and federal agencies will be monitoring all of this just downtown at One Police Plaza in NYPD Headquarters. They'll be watching everything going on here on video -- on the video monitors. And, of course, we expect to see some excitement, as well. It's not just the security. We're already seeing people milling about here, getting ready for what will take place here as we approach midnight.

Christi and Martin, back to you. PAUL: The good thing is Jessica's already got her place intact. It's everybody else that's got to show up and do the same thing so early. Jessica Schneider, do take care. Safety to all of you there. Thank you.

All right, in just a few hours, Vladimir Putin is going to be giving his New Year's address to the Russian people. In a statement to world leaders earlier, though, he congratulated Donald Trump and gave President Obama the cold shoulder, let's say.

SAVIDGE: Yes, this as new allegations have surfaced now of Russian hacking, at least some U.S. systems. This time the target, apparently, is a Vermont Utility Company. Burlington Electric says that it found a company laptop with the same malware Russian hackers allegedly used to meddle in the U.S. elections.

[09:05:05] Meanwhile, Donald Trump is praising Putin's decision to not expel American diplomats in response to the U.S. sanctions against Russia, tweeting this: "Great move on delay by V. Putin. I always knew he was very smart."

PAUL: More (inaudible) the latest information on that target of Russian hacking we just mentioned that appears to be our nation's electrical power grid -- that Vermont utility company that found malware on one of its computers. Officials confirmed a code associated with the Russian hacking operation was, indeed, detected. Vermont's Senator Leahy called this "a direct threat to Vermont and we do not take it lightly."

CNN's Polo Sandoval has been looking into it. What are you learning, Polo?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christi, U.S. officials are confident that this Russian hack happened, and here's why: That company that you just mentioned, Burlington Electric, now reporting that they found malware on one of their company laptops. They believe that this is the same malware -- this was the same malicious software that was used by Russian hackers in an attempt to influence the election in November. And they've located this after an advisory -- a warning that was issued by the U.S. government -- specifically, the Department of Homeland Security.

However, as we mentioned a little while ago -- this is important to note -- that this computer was not hooked in directly to the rest of the system -- the rest of the power grid that services about 20,000 customers. Nonetheless, though, this is extremely concerning for U.S. officials, including Vermont's governor, who is already speaking out in a statement that reads, in part, "This episode should highlight the urgent need for our federal government to vigorously pursue and put to an end this sort of Russian meddling. I call upon the federal government to conduct a full and complete investigation of this incident and also undertake remedies to ensure that this never happens again."

This government warning that led to the discovery of this hack? That was actually part of a very lengthy report by the Obama administration, in which they have been warning utility companies and, also, similar entities to take a closer look at their security networks because, Christi and Martin, this is clearly a very real threat for some of the critical infrastructure here in the U.S.

PAUL: No doubt about it. Polo Sandoval, we appreciate the update. Thank you.

SANDOVAL: You bet.

SAVIDGE: To discuss the impact of the sanctions against Russia, let's bring in CNN Senior International Correspondent -- that's Matthew Chance, from Moscow, who's had a very busy past couple of days.

Matthew, I understand we now have the transcript from Putin's speech --

CHANCE: You could tell.

SAVIDGE: Yes, you can. I wonder if anything jumps out at you from that transcript of the president's speech?

CHANCE: Well, I mean, it's not a political speech, first of all. This is a congratulation message to the people of Russia. We've had a transcript because, of course, in the -- in the far east of Russia it's already 2017, and so this is a pre-recorded speech and it's played out in those areas. We can't bring you the video because it's under embargo until midnight local time -- it's just past 5:00 in the afternoon, local time, in Moscow now.

Basically, he -- he congratulates the people of Russia for what has been, in his words, a challenging 2016; says it's -- the difficulties brought us all together -- very general stuff. At the end, he says that we must all defend truth and justice and be merciful. And that struck me as being, you know, pertinent to what -- what Vladimir Putin -- Vlad the Merciful they are calling him now in Moscow -- what he did with the -- the U.S. diplomats by refusing the advice of his foreign ministry and refusing to -- to expel them in a tit-for-tat manner from the -- the U.S. expulsions of the -- of the Russian diplomats.

He used that to his advantage quite dramatically, didn't he, because it was an amazing bit of political theater. But he took a side-swipe at the Obama administration, reached out to, across to the incoming Trump administration and said, "Look, you know, the future of relations between Russia and the United States are going to be dependent on the -- on the policies of Donald Trump when he becomes president." And, as you just heard, Donald Trump appreciated that very much, tweeting his applause for that Putin move.

SAVIDGE: Yes, he did indeed, and it was very strategic on the part of -- of Putin there. I think it was somewhat unexpected. Matthew Chance, thank you very much. We'll be talking to you again soon, I imagine.

PAUL: Donald Trump, meanwhile, is going to ring in the new year, apparently in style, with a big party at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. He heads back to New York, then, tomorrow. CNN's Ryan Nobles is covering this.

So, Ryan, I understand Donald Trump already up and tweeting this morning. Go ahead -- take it away.


RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, he is, Christi. He -- setting out his new year's greetings to the American people today, but he did it in typical Trump fashion with a little bit of a hit on his enemies. And we'll show you that tweet now. Donald Trump saying "Happy New Year to all, including my enemies and those who have fought me so badly. They just don't know what to do." And then he ended it with "Love!". And, as you mentioned Christi, Donald Trump will spend the New Year's Eve holiday at his resort in Mar-a-Lago. A big party planned today, then he'll head back to New York tomorrow.

[09:10:06] And of course, on his plate is all of this new information related to the relationship with Russia. And this is something that Trump, as Matthew pointed out, has continued to work toward an effort of a warm relationship with Putin and the Russian government. And some of his top officials even accusing the Obama administration of boxing in his incoming administration with this new round of sanctions. And, in fact, in a statement just a couple of days ago, Trump suggesting that the United States needs to move on from these accusations of this alleged Russian hack and the impact that it could have had on the election.

But it's not going to be that easy for Trump's administration to move on, especially that these sanctions were just put in place. Trump could easily remove those sanctions as easily as the Obama administration put them in place. And then Trump also has to deal with the fact that there is a bipartisan chorus of members of Congress who believes that this needs to be looked into a bit more, including the very powerful John McCain, who equated Russia's actions to an act of war. Listen:


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: When you attack a country, it's an act of war. And so we have to make sure that there is a price to pay so that we can, perhaps, persuade the Russians to stop this kind of attacks on our very fundamentals of democracy.


NOBLES: Now the question is, does this complicate Donald Trump's efforts to put Rex Tillerson in as Secretary of State? Of course, the Exxon Mobile CEO very close with the Russian government. In the past, he's called for a reduction in sanctions against the country. This is clearly going to be one of the big battles for the Trump administration when they take office here in just a couple of weeks.

Christi and Martin?

PAUL: All right. Ryan Nobles, we appreciate it. Thank you.

NOBLES: Thank you.

SAVIDGE: Still to come this morning, Russian sanctions, pushing new Obamacare enrollments, withholding a vote on Israeli settlements. These are all last-minute power moves President Obama is working to solidify his legacy. More on that just ahead.


SAVIDGE: These Russian hacks we've been talking about have heightened the tension between the U.S. and Russia, making the future of diplomatic relationships uncertain, I guess, is the word that comes to mind. But as President Obama nears the end of his term, he's taken a number of steps in the last few days to make certain his legacy.

[09:15:02] Among them, the sanctions against Russia, abstaining from the U.N. vote on Israeli settlements, and making a push to boost Obamacare enrollment. These are all good talking points, so let's bring in CNN's Senior Political Analyst Ron Brownstein and Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, Michael O'Hanlon. Good morning to both of you. Thank you for joining us.


SAVIDGE: Michael, I'll start with you. What kind of impact will all of this have on President-Elect Donald Trump? It kind of stacks the deck against him as he comes to office.

MICHAEL O'HANLON, SENIOR FELLOW, BROOKINGS INSTITUTE: Well, you know, given where we've been with the U.S.-Russia relationship and with what happened in the course of the elections, I think this is, essentially, the best outcome for Mr. Trump because now Mr. Trump doesn't have to be the one to impose retribution or punishment in response to what is, inarguably -- just, you know, clearly, a major set of Russian infringements on American democratic practice.

And, so, for that job to have been left to Trump, where he would have wanted to have a good relationship with Putin -- not to stat things off on a negative footing, but presumably as, you know, the top American law enforcement executive, felt some need to respond once an investigation was complete. It's much better for Trump to have this already done before he comes into office. And I don't think the amount of damage from these sanctions is so great that it's going to cripple the Russian economy, or anything else. So I actually think it's a good outcome, even for Mr. Trump.

SAVIDGE: Okay. Ron, yesterday Senator John McCain said that Russia's meddling in the U.S. election was "an act of war." Those are about as strong of words as you can use.


SAVIDGE: Yet, the President-Elect, Donald Trump, is praising Russian president amidst all of this tension. So, you know, what is the political fallout, especially on Capitol Hill now, because we know they are going to pursue, apparently, maybe even tougher sanctions? BROWNSTEIN: Yes, I -- I have a different view than Michael. I think what President Obama is doing on all the fronts that you mentioned -- on Israel with the settlements, with what they have tried to do with Obamacare, and with relations with Russia, is establishing a set of trip-wires for Donald Trump. I mean, these are all areas where he knows that Trump wants to significantly change the direction of U.S. policy. And I think President Obama, within the limits of what he can do between now and when he leaves office, is trying to create obstacles to doing that.

I think that putting on these sanctions for Russia now, rather than being the best outcome for Trump, puts him -- does, in fact, box him in somewhat because it -- you know, clearly, Donald Trump has signaled that he wants to radically change the relationship with Russia. And now, with these sanctions in place, you know, it will be difficult for him to come in, given the tenor in Congress, and as his first act, undo the sanctions. And I think, as you -- as you noted, there are many in congress who want to go further.

So I -- I think there's going to be tension on this right from the beginning, because Trump's view about Putin is not widely shared in the party. There really isn't a big constituency for this within the Republican coalition and it will be -- it will be, I think, a tug of war right from day one.

SAVIDGE: Michael, what Ron brings up is true, but it is possible that -- that Donald Trump could come into office and reverse the actions that were taken by the Obama administration; maybe even throwing it back on Putin and sort of saying, you know, "Depending on what you do will determine what we do as far as, maybe, additional actions against you."

O'HANLON: Well, let me just say, first of all, I -- I don't disagree with Ron about the other two issues -- the Affordable Care act and the U.S.-Israel relationship -- or Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts. I think Obama is trying to either put stakes in the ground, or make it more difficult for Trump to reverse policy, especially on Obamacare. But, on the U.S.-Russia issue, something had to be done. And if Obama had done nothing, there would have been huge pressure for the next congress and the next president to do something. And these sanctions are not that big of a deal -- 35 people sent home; a couple of, you know, Russian operatives who, presumably, don't have that many assets in the United States to begin with not being given access to any such assets in the future.

This is, essentially, a modest step. It's enough to get people's attention. It's proportionate, perhaps -- or maybe a little less than proportionate to the original Russian infringement. But I think, therefore, it allows Trump to start and try to make the relationship work. Let's -- let's all be clear. We all know the U.S.-Russia relationship is very troubled and it's not going to be easy for anybody. You're not just going to waltz in and have a happy relationship.

So this initial action was necessary and it's better for Trump that Obama do it, rather than that the President-Elect feel the pressure to have to do it himself.

SAVIDGE: Right. (Inaudible) with an adversary like Russia, I suppose, is something we knew -- well, it's been around a long time. But, Ron, you know, the Mid-East peace process suddenly has -- has kind of blasted onto the scene here, and in a negative way as far as the relationship and long-time ally, Israel. Was the President's non- vote at the U.N. a deliberate way to kind of back Trump's administration into a corner here?

[09:20:06] BROWNSTEIN: I think so. My only difference with Michael, by the way, on Russia would be that I am less certain, given everything we've heard from Donald Trump, that he would have imposed sanctions without great resistance. And, look, we may see this play out anyway with Congress trying to go further and Trump, I think, being cool, if not openly hostile to that.

Yes, I think on Israel it is -- it is the same thing. I mean, I think, you know, I think the Obama administration obviously recognizes they have very limited leverage at this point with either the Netanyahu government in Israel or the Trump administration and that Trump is going to be much more deferential to Netanyahu than Obama has been, essentially accepting his vision of what is required for long- term stability in -- in the region.

And they -- and. I think, were trying to make as powerful an international statement as they could that there are risks to Israel in going down the road that Trump will accept and abet. And I think they did all they could before leaving office to try to send that message, not only with the vote, but with the, I think, almost unprecedently pointed speech from John Kerry this week, as well.

SAVIDGE: And -- and I started with Michael, but I want to finish with Ron, just to try to keep it even. What did you make of the British Prime Minister coming out and criticizing Kerry, specifically, about the speech that he made, but the U.S., in general?

BROWNSTEIN: I thought that it was striking. I mean, obviously, Britain -- more importantly, Britain voted for the resolution, you know, along with every other country on the security council -- a wide range of countries from Russia and China, to Britain and France, to Japan and New Zealand. But, yes, this was, I think, kind of an example of this kind of astounding interregnum we are in, where countries seem to be kind of talking to the U.S. in stereo, through one channel to the Obama administration, and to the other through the -- to the Trump administration. And I think she trying to thread that needle, supporting the resolution that Obama did not block, but also criticizing the Kerry remarks that Trump and Netanyahu found so objectionable.

SAVIDGE: Yes, and Michael -- yes, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this too.

O'HANLON: I think Ron summed it up well. You know, it's -- everybody's looking for just the right message or nuance. The bottom line is, the Israelis and Palestinians aren't really interested in making peace with each other right now so, at some level, the rest of us, whatever we say, is not making that much difference.

You know, I actually agree with most of what Secretary Kerry said in his speech, but I wasn't persuaded the timing or the tactics were all that useful. But, on the other hand, I can't really blame him either. You know, I'm not sure it's going to matter that much, in the end, what the British Prime Minister or the American President says in a situation where the Palestinians can't act as a single entity and the Israelis don't really seem interested in making peace at the moment. So, I'm a little fatalistic about this issue, I'm afraid.

SAVIDGE: All right, well let's hope for better things in 2017. It's not that far away. Ron Brownstein and Michael O'Hanlon, thank you very much. Happy New Year to you both.

BROWNSTEIN: Happy New Year.

PAUL: And I want to expand on that conversation there. Phil Black is live for us in London in just a couple of minutes as we talk more about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and what it is doing to the relationship between America and Britain. Stay close.


[09:25:43] SAVIDGE: The U.S. State Department caught off guard -- they weren't the only ones -- by a rebuke from one of America's closes allies.

PAUL: Yes. We're going to continue this conversation. U.K. Prime Minister, remember, scolding Secretary of State John Kerry for his speech outlining the need for a two-state solution to the Israeli- Palestinian conflict. Phil Black is in London following the -- the developments. Phil, what are you hearing this morning?

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So, Christi, what the Prime Minister's office had apparently taken exception to were Secretary Kerry's comments, firstly, describing the Israeli government as "the most extreme in the country's history; one driven by -- most right-wing, driven by an extreme agenda." And, also, accusing the U.S. administration, essentially, of going in too hard on this issue of Israeli settlements on the West Bank.

Here's part of the statement released by the Prime Minister's office. It says this: It says "We do not, therefore, believe that the way to negotiate peace is by focusing on only one issue. We do not believe that it is appropriate to attack the composition of the democratically-elected government of an ally."

Now, as you say, this has totally taken the U.S. State Department by surprise. It's statement says "We are surprised by the U.K. Prime Minister's office statement, given that Secretary Kerry's remarks, which covered the full-range of threats to a two-state solution, including terrorism, violence, incitement and settlement, were in line with the U.K.'s own long-standing policy and it's vote at the United Nations last week."

The State Department, there, is saying "We don't know where this is has come from and, especially, given we haven't done or said anything that departs in any significant way from what has been long-standing British policy." So, where has this come from? Well, it's been widely interpreted here, I think, as an attempt by Prime Minister May to ingratiate herself with President-Elect Trump. Perhaps, also, trying to appease the Israeli government, as well.

Now, this could be for purely selfish reasons. In the context of Britain planning to leave the European Union, it's relationships outside of the European block have never been more important; certainly, not in recent history. There is another view that perhaps the British government is simply trying to maintain a close influence on this issue to try and guide both of these parties toward a two- state solution further down the track. Christi?

PAUL: All right. Phil Black from London for us there. Phil, thank you so much. We appreciate it.

SAVIDGE: Moving on, after being free for three years, a Kennedy cousin may be now heading back to prison for murder. Next, why his lawyer says that Michael Skakel should remain free for good.


[09:31:31] PAUL: 9:31, and just hours away from a new year.

SAVIDGE: In some parts of the world, they're already there.

PAUL: I'm Christi Paul.

SAVIDGE: And I'm Martin Savidge, filling in for Victor Blackwell.

A Kennedy cousin could be headed back to prison for murder after a Connecticut judge overturned an earlier ruling that freed him.

PAUL: Yes, back in 2002, Michael Skakel, remember, was convicted of killing Martha Moxley, a 15-year-old neighbor, and -- and doing this back in 1975. Well, Skakel is the nephew of Ethel and Robert Kennedy. He was released in 2013 when a judge ordered a new trial under the contention that Skakel's lawyer hadn't represented him well. Now, that ruling has been overturned by a judge who disagreed with it.

Skakel has always maintained his innocence. His current lawyer sent this statement to CNN -- I'm going to read it to you, in full:

"We have not had time to fully digest the opinion at this juncture, but of course it's a setback. We're going to be dealing with other legal procedures that are available to avail Michael of any and all of his constitutional rights."

SAVIDGE: And just to remind you, Michael Skakel was sent to prison more than 20 years after the murder of Martha Moxley. And while there was plenty of forensic evidence left behind after that gruesome murder, none of it linked Skakel to the crime. Here's CNN's Randi Kaye with a look at part of what the jury saw.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE) RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: One of the first pieces of evidence police find at the scene of Martha Moxley's murder is part of a stainless-steel golf club shaft, about a foot long. Another smaller piece of the blood-stained club is also found, along with the head of the six iron, all covered in blood. Investigators also find several patches of blood in the area. The medical examiner determines Moxley sustained five to ten blows to the head and at least four stab wounds from the broken golf shaft.

DOROTHY MOXLEY, MOTHER OF MARTHA MOXLEY: They hit her so hard that the golf club broke and then they took the shaft and they stabbed her with it six or seven times.

KAYE: But if Michael Skakel murdered Martha Moxley, where is the forensic evidence linking him to the brutal crime? There isn't any. No fingerprints, no footprints, not even his blood is found at the scene. Also, there's no trace of defense wounds on Moxley. This is Skakel's defense attorney the day he was arraigned in March 2000.

MICKEY SHERMAN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: There is no scientific evidence, or anything that links Michael Skakel to this crime.

KAYE: This affidavit reveals prosecutors relied mainly on the word of witnesses; a challenge, because of the more than 20-year gap between the murder and the trial. One witness tells police Skakel brought up the murder, telling her he had been drunk at the time and might have committed the murder during a blackout. Another witness reports he broke down in tears, crying "I don't know if I did or didn't. I don't know." And, finally, a third witness claims Skakel admit murdering Moxley with the golf club when she "did not submit to the advances." The same witness said Skakel told him, because he was related to Ethel Kennedy, he could get away with murder.

TruTV reports other evidence collected at the scene includes a human hair belonging to a white male, but it doesn't match any of the suspects. The single hair, belonging to an African-American male, found on the blanket used to wrap the body is dismissed as belonging to one of the first officers at the crime scene. And there's this: A composite sketch of someone witnesses saw in the neighborhood. Skakel believes it would have convinced the jury he didn't do it, if only the jury had seen it. His defense attorney never showed it during the trial.

[09:35:06] The unused sketch is one of the key reasons Skakel argued his defense lawyer was incompetent and that he deserves a new trial. At a hearing to push for his client's freedom, Skakel's new lawyer presented the composite sketch, along with a picture of Kenneth Littleton, who worked as a tutor at the Skakel home. He had also been questioned at the time of the murder. Littleton's lawyer has told reporters he's innocent.

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. is Skakel's cousin.

ROBERT F. KENNEDY, JR.: You know, Michael was 11 miles away, with five eye witnesses at the time that the murder was committed. He has an air-tight alibi. KAYE: Randi Kaye, CNN New York.


PAUL: Earlier this morning, we spoke with Yodit Tewolde. She's a criminal defense attorney and a former prosecutor. And because she's worked on both sides of the courtroom, she was able to give us a look at the next steps for the defense and the state in this case. Take a look:


YODIT TEWOLDE, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: They've exhausted so many grounds for appeals, but there are so many other legal procedures they could look for. Right now, what the State is going to want to do is request that the trial court have Skakel remanded back to prison, and the defense attorneys, I would presume, would ask the court to let him remain out in the free (sic), because he's been out for three years and has, presumably, complied with all of the requirements that he was given on the condition of being released.

So, right now, it's the question of whether he's going to be remanded back to prison, and for how long.


SAVIDGE: In other news, breaking overnight, a massive manhunt underway in Pennsylvania after a state trooper was shot and killed in the line of duty. Authorities are searching for this man, Jason Robison. He is considered to be armed and dangerous. State Trooper Landon Weaver was responding to a domestic related incident when the suspect opened fire. Pennsylvania's governor issued a statement saying, in part, "He will be remembered for his bravery and willingness to serve."

PAUL: Well, he thought it was a simple case of the flu. Friends, though, found him dead just a couple of days later. Now two Ohio parents are on a mission to make sure what happened to Kevin Houdeshell does not happen to you. Their story is next.


[09:40:24] SAVIDGE: A young man in Ohio thought he just had the flu, but it was actually something far worse.

PAUL: Yes, the fatigue and the stomach pains were a sign that his body was literally shutting down. Now, in all transparency, I want to let you know this was my cousin -- Kevin Houdeshell is my cousin. And -- and he had no idea what was happening was actually killing him.


DAN HOUDESHELL, FATHER OF KEVIN HOUDESHELL: He just said, "Kevin died". I just screamed and couldn't believe it.

PAUL: It was Christmas 2013. Dan and Judy Houdeshell didn't realize it, but they'd just spent the very last holiday with their son, Kevin. What made it worse? They had just arrived in Florida and were hundreds of miles away when they checked their phone.

JUDY HOUDESHELL, MOTHER OF KEVIN HOUDESHELL: And there were all these voice mail messages, and text messages, and -- from all of our children -- all of our kids; just said, "call us, call us, call us."

PAUL: They tried desperately to get home. But it took three days.

J. HOUDESHELL: It was a horrible, snowy, deep frigid winter, and we couldn't get a flight out because the previous days, everything in and out of New York, Cleveland, the whole northeast was all cancelled.

PAUL: When they finally got home, Kevin's death still felt like a mystery.

J. HOUDESHELL: When they said he died of Ketoacidosis -- and I said, "what?" He said, "I have no explanation for that other than he was noncompliant -- that he wasn't taking his medication."

PAUL: You see, Kevin had diabetes, but Judy said he was faithful about taking his medication. The news made no sense to his big sister, Amy, either. Every day she says she feels a part of her died with him.

AMY HOUDESHELL, SISTER OF KEVIN HOUDESHELL: We were just so much alike. Everybody says that if they didn't know better, they would think we were twins. And he -- he -- my soul mate. He's my other half. He's -- he got it -- we got each other.

PAUL: She remembers Kevin, the runner; the kid who loved to fish.

A. HOUDESHELL: He would walk down to the end of our street, without a pole, and come back with, you know, four or five fish -- caught them all by hand.

PAUL: The truth that's so hard to reconcile is that, when Kevin got sick that day, he had no idea his body's organs were shutting down -- no idea he was dying.

J. HOUDESHELL: That's the devastating part, is that he thought he was coming down with a stomach virus because he had cramps and he was vomiting. And he was at work. And, of course, he can't be a bar manager and have this condition. And they said, "You need to go home." So, he went home thinking that he had a stomach virus. And I didn't know the symptoms of ketoacidosis, but I do now.

PAUL: Why was his body shutting down? His family said they learned he had run out of insulin, but it was the holiday season. His calls to his doctor's office weren't returned and when he went to get more of this drug he needed to survive, he was denied.

D. HOUDESHELL: I'm going absolutely insane. How can my son, or anybody, be standing in front of a pharmacy and be turned away?

PAUL: That's where Dan and Judy's mission to take on the system and save other people is just getting started.


PAUL: Now, there's more to this story that affects anyone who depends on life-sustaining drugs, such as insulin. So, next, what the Houdeshells discovered that could have saved Kevin's life, that could save other people's lives, and how they took action to get legislators in Ohio to listen, all the way to Governor Kasich's office.


[09:47:13] PAUL: Forty-seven minutes past the hour right now. And before the break, we introduced you to the Houdeshell family. They lost their son, Kevin, because he could not get a refill of his life- saving diabetes drugs. Well, after he died, they knew that they couldn't let any other family go through what they were going through, so they took action.


D. HOUDESHELL: Kevin did not want to die. Kevin took care of himself.

PAUL: Kevin Houdeshell -- a son, a brother, a diabetic -- died because he ran out of insulin and, in the midst of the holiday season, couldn't get through to his doctor to fill his prescription one more time.

D. HOUDESHELL: And it's not just insulin. It affects other people with other diseases, also. So, we did some investigating and found Ohio law, as it was at the time, was -- in an emergency situation, pharmacists could give a 72-hour emergency prescription -- up to 72 hours. Problem being is that insulin is not packaged in that small quantity.

J. HOUDESHELL: How can this be? How can someone be on a life- sustaining drug and be turned away?

PAUL: And, with that question, their mission, dubbed "Howdy's Law", was born. It's a proposal to secure that anyone suffering from diabetes would be able to get an emergency supply of insulin from a pharmacy if their doctor couldn't be reached. The worked feverishly, got connected to Senator Dave Burke, a pharmacist who, ironically, already had this problem on his mind.

D. HOUDESHELL: This had to go broader.

PAUL: Their local TV station aired Kevin's story and, seemingly overnight, the bureaucratic started turning faster.

D. HOUDESHELL: The next day, we were getting phone calls from Columbus, mostly pharmacy lobbyists that wanted to do know more and the law got fast-tracked, we think, from -- from that point. It only took 14 months to get it passed.

PAUL: When they gave their personal testimony to the legislature in Columbus, they knew Kevin's story was going to save lives.

D. HOUDESHELL: The whole legislation was leaning forward listening on every word.

PAUL: The credit Senator Burke and then newly-elected Representative Nathan Manning with putting their urgency into physical motion.

D. HOUDESHELL: On this bill, he called every other representative personally to garner support to -- to get this passed.

J. HOUDESHELL: He was a tiger and he pushed.

PAUL: Judy says it was sign from heaven the day Governor John Kasich, who was on the campaign trail, took a moment to sign the bill into law.

J. HOUDESHELL. That was December 22nd. Kevin was born on 2/22. Kevin was the sacrificial lamb. And, yet, there's still so much more that needs to be done.

[09:50:04] PAUL: Their new mission? To make sure a diabetes test is included in every child's well visit to the doctor. It's a simple blood test -- just a prick on the finger -- that could keep your child health and alive.

D. HOUDESHELL: Diabetes is -- is an epidemic. The numbers support it and it's not being treated as an epidemic, and it needs to be.

PAUL: This is what they hope will be Kevin's legacy. And they hope, somehow, he's proud of what they are doing.

What do you think he would say to you now?

J. HOUDESHELL: Keep making memories; keep living my life; and that he's always with me and he'll be my guardian angel until it's time to meet again.


PAUL: Now, "Howdy's Law" is prompting other states to look at the issue, as well. Florida passed their version of Howdy's Law last spring, Pennsylvania just submitted Senate Bill 1409, and at least a half-dozen other states are looking to enact similar legislation. For more information, you can go the family's Facebook page in memory of Kevin "Howdy" Houdeshell.

SAVIDGE: Well, it was supposed to be Rhonda Rousey's big comeback fight, but her dreams of winning back her UFC title were over very quickly -- less than a minute. Andy Scholes will have all of the highlights next.


SAVIDGE: Well, it was Rhonda Rousey's UFC comeback and did not go anywhere near as well as she would have liked.

PAUL: It wasn't quite the comeback, I guess. And is comeback even the right term for it at this point?

SAVIDGE: There's a lot of terms they're going to use now.

PAUL: I think so.


SAVIDGE: Comeback --

PAUL: I feel for her.

SAVIDGE: -- low on the list.

PAUL: There you go, yes. Andy Scholes is (inaudible) for this --

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN COMMENTATOR: She came back. And then she went again.

PAUL: She came back (inaudible). I feel for her because she didn't take the last loss well.

SCHOLES: No, and, you know, it had been a year since last November when she lost to Holly Holm, that -- that she was away from the octagon. And, you know, after last night's performance, we may never see Rhonda Rousey in a UFC fight ever again. Now, leading up to the fight, Rhonda Rousey, once again, did not speak with the media at all, instead she said she was spending all of her time training for this comeback fight. Like I said, that comeback was short-lived.

[09:55:02] Rousey got pummeled by Amanda Nunes from the start in this one, just taking multiple shots right to the face. The ref had to jump in and stop the fight after just 48 seconds. Now, Rousey was guaranteed $3 million for this fight, compared to just $200,000 for Nunes. For Rousey, that means she made about $63,000 a second to stand there and get punched in the face. And Rousey, again, did not speak with the media after the fight. UFC President Dana White did, though, and he said he doesn't know if Rousey will ever fight again.

The college football playoffs are finally here. The top four teams will square off later today. Alabama going to be taking on Washington in the Peach Bowl. The undefeated Crimson Tide -- they've won four of the last seven title games. Bama a two-touchdown favorite over the Huskies, but Nick Saban isn't looking past the Pac-12 champs.


NICK SABAN, HEAD FOOTBALL COACH, ALABAMA UNIVERSITY: Well, I think that this is, by far, the best all-around team that we've played all year long. They score 44-and-half points a game on offense, they've got a really good quarterback, they've got really good, skilled players on offense at the receiver and running back positions, they've got lots of speed, they make a lot of explosive plays.


SCHOLES: All right, in the other playoff game, we have number two Clemson against third-ranked Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl and this is one of the most anticipated bowl games of the entire season. Clemson, of course, with their explosive offense with Deshaun Watson at quarterback. They're face Ohio State's ferocious defense and both sides hungry for a shot to play for the national title.


DESHAUN WATSON, QUARTERBACK, CLEMSON UNIVERSITY: The first game -- it's a bowl game. You say you want to have fun but, at the same time, it's a -- you know, it's a business trip because you want to, you know, get yourself to the national championship. And, you know, whenever it gets to that crunch time, you know, the details and the little things really come in handy.

PAT ELFLEIN, OFFENSIVE LINEMAN, OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY: That's why you come to Ohio State, to win championships and to play for championships. So, it's just another great -- great honor to be a part of the playoff and it's going to be fun to take another swing at it with -- with my teammates.


SCHOLES: All right, Peach Bowl kicks off 3:00 Eastern, then then you've got the Fiesta Bowl as a night cap at 7:00. And, guys, if you can't wait until then to watch some football, you've got LSU taking on Heisman Trophy winner, Lamar Jackson and the Louisville Cardinals. That one kicks off at 11:00 a.m. Eastern. That's the Citrus Bowl. Big weekend of football. Always love New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.

PAUL: Yes, it one of his favorites.

SAVIDGE: Happy new year to you.

PAUL: Thank you, Andy. Yes, happy new year to you.

SCHOLES: Thank you, guys.

PAUL: All right, New Year's celebrations around the world. Are we going to Tokyo here? Is that what I heard?


PAUL: Apple's kicking off a special project too, but take a look at what's going on in Tokyo right now.


SAVIDGE: Yes, we'll keep --

PAUL: (Inaudible) -- yes.

SAVIDGE: Yes, we'll keep watching. They are going to go at the top of the hour. Meanwhile, Apple kicking off, as you said, this special project. They're deploying more than a dozen photographers for what's going to be an incredible look at the New Year's celebrations around the world. And they are capturing these events with only cameras on their iPhone 7s's.

PAUL: Look at that! The iPhone 7s. This was a pretty spectacular marketing tool, wasn't it?

SAVIDGE: I was going to say, anywhere else they would have had to pay a lot of money, but this -- but we're doing it for free. These pictures were taken by Samah el Ali, and she's just one of the many people that have traveled around the world and shown us some of this stuff. That's the iconic, of course, Sydney Harbor Bridge.

PAUL: Yes.

SAVIDGE: All right, moving on now. White House Photographer Pete Sooza (ph) or Souza -- I wasn't quite sure -- has spent the last eight years capturing nearly every moment of President Obama's life. Now he's sharing his favorite photos from 2016.


SAVIDGE: Very nice pictures there. Lots more news to tell you about this New Year's Eve.