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Official: "Digital Fingerprints" Link Russia to Hacking; Trump's NYE Speech Cited Dubai Business Partner; More Than 100 Federal Court Vacancies To Be Filled; 762 Murders In Chicago In 2016. Aired 9- 10p ET.

Aired January 2, 2017 - 21:00   ET


[21:00:00] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening, top in the hour, breaking news. Digital fingerprints that intelligence officials say may make their hacking case against Russia even stronger. And weakened President-elect Trump repeated claims that we just do not know. Mr. Trump says he knows things that the public doesn't and he'll reveal them shortly.

In a moment, we look closer to his record of delivering on those kinds of statements. But first, CNN's Pamela Brown is back this hour with the breaking news. So what's the latest evidence that has investigators once again pointing to the Russians?

PAMELA BROWN: CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, there is newly identified digital fingerprints, Anderson, that is pointing the finger once again to Moscow. According to U.S. intelligence officials we've been speaking with, they were able to tie the hacks to specific keyboards with Cyrillic texts with basically, the Russian alphabet and they were able to do this by looking at the metadata and certain documents. They believe that this keyboard made up the malware code that was used in the Russian hacks.

As one official said, though, this is just one piece of evidence in the overall puzzle. There are many factors at play leading the U.S. Intelligence Community to point the finger at Russia, Anderson.

COOPER: The President-elect though has a different view on whether or not the Russians were involved, right?

BROWN: That's right. He continues to cast doubt on Russia's involvement as recently as this past weekend. He said part of the reason why he is skeptical is because of the failed intelligence leading up to the Iraqi War. He say that he knows what others don't know, which of course is true because he receives classified intelligence briefings periodically.

It's unclear though exactly why he continues to be skeptical. He said he would come out with more information. His spokesperson, Sean Spicer sort of walked that back and said he wasn't going to release new information but rather raise some of the questions he had. He didn't make the point President-elect Trump that cyber hacks are tough to prove, which is true, but in this case you have a consensus in the Intelligence Community blaming Russia as the culprit, Anderson.

COOPER: Do we have any kind of idea of what intelligence the President-elect has who point to if it's not the Russian?

BROWN: Well, we know he's received briefings from his own advisers. He has received periodic classified intelligence briefing. He's going to receive a specific briefing from leaders in the Intelligence Community soon. We don't exactly know when.

But what's interesting here is that one of his advisers, the former CIA director James Woolsey said on our air today, contradicting Trump saying that he himself believes that Russia is involved in the hack. So it's still unclear why exactly Trump is reluctant to go on board with the U.S. Intelligence Committee -- Community.

COOPER: All right. Pamela Brown. Pamela thanks again. Donald Trump over the weekend promising to reveal what he knows shortly. It's not the first time he's made a statement like that. Tom Foreman tonight looks back.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Donald Trump has suggested many times he'll make his tax returns public. He hinted he'd do it in 2011.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT ELECT OF UNITED STATES: Maybe I'm going to do the tax returns when Obama does his birth certificate.

FOREMAN: He promised he'd to it in 2014.

DONALD: If I decide to run for office I'll produce my tax returns absolutely.

FOREMAN: And he dared he'd do it just months ago as his race against Hillary Clinton ridged.

TRUMP: Let her release her e-mails and I'll release my tax returns immediately.

FOREMAN: But it has never happened. The whole Trump team repeatedly retreating behind a claim tax professionals dismissed.

TRUMP: I will absolutely give my return but I'm being audited now for two or three years, so I can't do it until the audit is finished, obviously, and I think people would understand that.

FOREMAN: Another promise in limbo. The President-elect has pledged to explain how he'll step free of his private business interests. In late November, a spokesperson said Trump would talk to reporters.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Soon, but he's just got action-packed days filled with meetings.

FOREMAN: But soon turned into nine days without a word. Then a tweet from the President-elect pushed it two more weeks down the line. I will be holding a major news conference in New York City with my children on December 15th to discuss the fact that I will be leaving my great business in total. And that did not happen either. Now team Trump is promising the elusive explanation will come this month, but they have not released details or a date. And so it goes.

TRUMP: Lying Ted. Lies, oh he lies.

FOREMAN: As a candidate, he threatened to sue challengers Ted Cruz for not being a natural born citizen. Trump promised detailed documentation about his own wife's immigration record. And he hinted the president's birth certificate even after it was produced was a fraud. Saying he'd sent a team of his own investigators to Hawaii and that he would publicly release what they had found. Yet he came up with no credible proof for any of that and finally acknowledged that Obama was born in the U.S.

TRUMP: He's a good man. Doing well. Long time. We've been friends for a long time.

FOREMAN: And now despite promises of a widely-open transparent administration, he is largely limiting his public statements to passing words and photo ops, tweets, a few interviews and his own rallies.

[21:05:10] TRUMP: Thank you very much.


FOREMAN: Of course many of his fans love the way he says what he wishes and shoves the critics aside. But pretty soon the promises he made directly to those voters will also be on the line. And then his follow through could matter a whole lot more. Anderson?

COOPER: All right. Tom, thanks very much. Tom Foreman: Senior transition adviser Kellyanne Conway will be one of the people helping with this follow through as Tom Foreman calls it. We spoke to her earlier tonight.

Do you think, does Donald Trump, once he becomes president, intend to reverse some of the actions that President Obama has taken just in these last couple days toward Russian personnel being persona non grata in this country?

KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP TRANSITION SENIOR ADVISER: What President Donald J. Trump will do, Anderson, is confer with his national security and foreign policy team certainly on a regular basis and certainly as national security team on this particular issue and make the decision then.

We're not going to talk about these policies now because we're reminded every day that there's one president at a time. And so we'll respect that, but I think that President-elect Trump has made very clear what his position is on this generally and what his position is on this specifically as goes these allegation. And, again, he is very happy and immediately jumped on the opportunity to receive the intelligence briefing here at Trump Tower. I was there when that was being discussed last week in Palm Beach, and we'll see how that goes. COOPER: Has President-elect Trump talked about going to meet Vladimir Putin or having Putin come here to meet him? Obviously, you know, they clearly seem to be trying to reset a relationship in a different way than the previous administration had. And probably a reset is a bad term to use, but is that something the president would like to do? Meet Vladimir Putin face-to-face as soon as possible?

CONWAY: There is certainly as an interest in improving relations between the two countries. And I'm -- I actually love the word reset because it reminds us all, because it reminds us all, Anderson, of the disastrous "Russian reset." With that silly little gadget that I guess Secretary of State and pass -- and again, future presidential candidate was dispatch to do in behalf of President Obama who did go ahead and try to improve Russian relations people should be reminded. We will, of course, join with different countries that want to help in such an important goal like stopping the events of ISIS which is not retreating and certainly not G.B. (ph) team.

In terms of who's inviting whom to their country, we're loathe to talk about that. for the same reason, I just mention one president at a time. I would note that with the exception of one foreign leader, that since the president, one or two foreign leaders since President- elect Trump was elected on November 8, he has talked -- he and Vice President-elect Pence have talked to most cities (ph) leaders on the phone. They have not met with them specifically to show respect for the fact that we have a president in the Oval Office right now.

COOPER: And President-elect Trump have rang in the New Year Eve's like Mar-a-Lago. In Florida he gave a speech to guests celebrating who were there. I want to play something from that speech.


TRUMP: Hussain and the whole family from the most beautiful people from Dubai are here it tonight. And they're seeing it and they're loving it.


COOPER: That was apparently reference to Hussain's -- Sajwani, his billionaire business partner in Dubai. Can you confirm that that's who he was speaking about? Because that --if it is, it's raised questions about, you know, he's obviously turning his businesses over to his adult sons, because he felt it was visually important as president to know we have a conflict of interest, some people raise questions is it's celebrating New Year's Eve with the business partner from Dubai three few weeks before the inauguration separating yourself (ph)?

CONWAY: I find that to be so completely ridiculous and suspicious. This man is allowed to have a New Year's Eve celebration with his friends and hi business partners or his acquaintances. I've spent a lot of time at Mar-a-Lago over this break. And including, I had dinner with the Hussains one night there just Hussain and his wife, absolutely lovely people. I mean, the idea that he's giving a speech recognizing a friend and beautiful his wife, and people are going to twist that around to somehow it's a business favor. I mean, we've got to get a hold of ourselves here, that this man can't be at a social event. If you took that example to its extreme, nobody would be able to be friends with anybody else. And so, I saw you on New Year's Eve having a great time with Kathy Griffin. I find much to that to be very entertaining.

And I'll leave it at that. In other words, nobody is saying but do you endorse the maker of the shirt she had on? Do you -- it's just -- let's not take things to the extreme. I think Donald Trump said it best in the on the record interview with the "New York Times" on November 21st to 22nd, Anderson, when he said that, you know, if it were up to some people he would never talk to his children again.

It's not going to happen, one can't just entangle their business interest from the fact that he's going to 100 percent committed to his job as president of these great United States, and yet still have a relationship with his children, same thing with --

[21:10:10] COOPER: And just following up on the same topic, the press conference that President-elect Trump had talked about having -- regarding his business ties, any idea about when that is going to be because -- it was already rescheduled?

CONWAY: I believe it was rescheduled for January 11th, originally. And if the lawyers and the compliance officers feel like we're ready, then we'll stick to that date. It's really up to them but I know that -- I talked to the President-elect today about press conference and I know that's the current plan. So that's next week.

COOPER: And I just want to quickly go back one thing earlier. I want to be clear about the information about the hacks that Trump that he knows. He says, "You'll find out on Tuesday or Wednesday." Will he actually announce what the information is Tuesday or Wednesday as he said he would, after being briefed?

CONWAY: Well, he didn't say -- he didn't necessarily say he'd announce it. What he's saying is that we'll find out, he'll find out. I think it's all very contingent on what these intelligence officials reveal in their briefing, Anderson.


CONWAY: And everybody should be very happy that the President-elect is open to receiving that briefing.

COOPER: So what he said you'll find out, that wasn't necessary the public will find out and he was -- you're saying -- maybe you're just speaking more we'll find out and then we'll see, is that what you're saying?

CONWAY: It could be that.

COOPER: OK. CONWAY: And we will see. As you know, it can come in a tweet. It can come in a press conference. It come in a statement. This is Donald Trump, he's going to communicate with people the way he always has.

COOPER: It could come in an interview on this broadcast.

CONWAY: Yes, it could. I totally recommend it. I had a great time myself. Thank you, Anderson.

COOPER: Kellyanne Conway, thanks always, I appreciate it.

COOPER: Not holding my breath on that one. Just ahead, what our panel national security experts make to the President-elect and his team's reluctance to point a finger to Russia. Later, what about Chicago's murder epidemic and what is Donald Trump intend to about it?


[21:15:11] COOPER: Talking tonight about new evidence. Intelligence officials say they have tying Russia to hacking of the Democrats in Hillary Clinton's campaign sheet. That and President-elect Trump steadfast efforts to cast doubt on that conclusion and on the Intelligence Community as a whole.

And over the weekend, he cited Iraq and WMD as a reason to doubt their conclusion this time. He also promised to reveal inside inform that presumably supports skepticism.

Joining us is Steven Hall, former long-time Russian operation officer at the CIA, also former CIA officer Bob Baer, and the Hudson Institute Michael Doran author of "Ike's Gamble: America's Rise to Dominance in the Middle East."

Mike, I mean, CNN's reporting tonight that the U.S. Intelligence officials have identified digital fingerprints, fingerprints pointing to the Russian government, yet President-elect Trump says the hacking could be somebody else. Is it possible Trump knows something that the President Obama, the entire intelligence community and members of congress who get intelligence briefings don't know?

MICHAEL DORAN, THE HUDSON INSTITUTE: I think this is really more question of domestic politics than it is any kind of assessment of Russia. I mean, this claim about Russian hacking or these allegations of Russian hacking are taking place within a very specific context, suggesting that somehow the Trump election wasn't legitimate.

And I think the easiest way for him to just avoid that whole discussion and shove it aside is to say that look, we don't really know what happened. The other thing is he doesn't want to be boxed in, in his relations with patin by President Obama. He wants to engage with Putin in his own team and in his own way. And this is a way of just delaying the whole thing. That's why I was it.

COOPER: Steve, what do you make of that? I mean, Trump continue to question the analysis about Russia behind it STEVEN L. HALL, FORMER CIA RUSSIAN OPERATIONS OFFICER: I think it's going to continue to complicate his initial relationship with the Intelligence Community. I mean, look, there's a lot of professionals certainly I worked for them in CIA but they used to have in Republicans, Democrats, you know, people who are pro-CIA, people who are anti-CIA. But this is a little difference because not only does he cast aspersions on the agencies and the organizations themselves but on the issue of Russian hacking, he said look, I doubt what you're telling me and then he's kind of turn around a virtual high-five with Vladimir Putin and saying, hey, good job with how you handled this whole situation. That's going to stink.

COOPER: And Bob -- I mean, the former CIA director James Woolsey who's a national security adviser to the President-elect said earlier today he does believe that the Russians hacked, but it doesn't mean other people weren't hacking as well. Is that a real possibility, that it wasn't solely the Russians?

BOB BAER, FORMER CIA OFFICER: Anderson, I think its case closed here. It's KGB code. The whole question reuse, have they used this code in the past to hack, yes, in the Ukraine. And you've also got the metadata. I mean, this is as good as it gets. This is clearly a Russian hack, yes, somebody else could have stolen the code, or they could have given it away, but there's too many factors in this to leave any doubt. It was Russian intelligence who got into the DNC and Hillary's computers. And -- I mean, there's no way he can deny this. And I think this administration is going to make that very clear for it out the door.

COOPER: You know Mike, we heard from Kellyanne Conway in the last hour that President-elect Trump is going to be getting an intelligence briefing this week in Trump Tower. The fact that he has expressed out publicly about the intelligence on Russian involvement, do you foresee him being open to what intelligence officials are going to tell him in that briefing, or as you said, he doesn't want to box himself into a corner in his future dealings with Putin?

DORAN: Yeah. I think he really just wants to play the clock out until he's in place and he's got his own team in place. He's got Mike Pompeo at CIA to run that building and he can start making decisions and actually carry out the policies that he wants to carry out.

Right now, he's in an awkward position where he's being asked to make very kind of significance statements about relations with Russia when he doesn't actually have any of the tools of power at his hand. I mean, President Obama keeps telling us, there's only one president at a time, and yet everyone is turning to Donald Trump to see what he thinks should be done about this.

COOPER: Bob, I mean, when you have a president-elect coming in who has expressed skepticism about certainly past assessments by the Intelligence Community, what kind of an impact do you think that has for once he becomes president and his relationships with the Intelligence Community?

BAER: Well, I think it's debilitating, Anderson. I mean, anything he does with Russia is going to be looked through the lens of this hacking and did the Russians help him? Did the Russians tip the election? I mean, there's a lot of people who don't like Trump that are who are calling him, you know, a Russian proxy of some sort or too close to Putin or whatever or Putin's choice.

[21:20:06] It's going to hurt him in anything he does and even Tillerson if he gets in. The fact that the he's secretary of state and he has financial ties to Russian oil which means Putin, the whole administration. This is going to be a cloud over them for a very, very long time. I don't see any way out of it.

COOPER: Steve, does it -- is it possible that by doubting the Russia's involved you're actually encouraging future hacking by sort of raising questions about in and just kind of saying, well, you know, it's a really hard thing to figure out and computers are just inherently unsafe?

HALL: I'm not sure that it necessarily discourages future hacking. You know, what has happened is in terms of encouraging and discouraging things, the president-elect has encouraged Russia to continue to invest in him, which I think is exactly what Putin is doing at this particular point. I certainly don't think it will stop the Russians from doing any additional hacking.

Whether or not there are other hackers out there, one thing that I can also say, though, is in terms of making a distinction of future hackers between, you know, some 400-pound guy in his basement some place, that's very, very different from a state actor from somebody like Russia hacking. It's -- the different is like watching T.V. football and the NFL. You can actually tell and the Intelligence Community is very good at determining who is doing this hackings.

COOPER: Mike, you agree that you can actually tell -- that it is possible to figure out identity, not just -- well, you know, it's a tricky thing.

DORAN: I think we -- I think the vectors are pointing toward Russia. We'll never know for sure, but let's assume it is. But look, President Obama, for the last eight years has had a policy of appeasing Russia, in Syria, in the Ukraine with regard to hacking. We had Edward Snowden and his very, very close relations with Russian intelligence, and Obama never took any steps against Russia until, "The 11th Hour," until three weeks before he leaves office. And then what he'd he do. He, you know, he expelled 35 diplomats, which is nothing.

So, if Donald Trump is inheriting a policy of appeasing Russia, that's Obama's policy and he's put us in this position.

COOPER: All right, Steve Hall, Michael Doran, Bob Baer, thanks for joining us, I appreciate it.

President-elect Trump spent more than the last year making his -- making clear his opinions about Vladimir Putin. He made a number of very public statements. Next Fareed Zakaria on what those good vibes could mean for America and the rest of the world when Trump takes office in 18 days.


[21:26:06] COOPER, CNN HOST: Well the breaking news tonight, U.S. intelligence officials saying that newly identified digital fingerprints indicated Moscow was behind the hacking of Democratic servers during the election. Now as we've been discussing President- elect Trump has been skeptical, to say the least, of Russian involvement and has said let us continue to praise and offer olive branches to Vladimir Putin.

Question is, what that all means for American foreign policy when Mr. Trump takes office a little more that two weeks? I wanted to talk about that tonight with Fareed Zakaria.

This embrace of Putin by Trump and Trump by Putin, do you think this is a short-lived romance?

FAREED ZAKARIA, HOST, CNN'S FAREED ZAKARIA GPS: Certainly history would suggest that. In a way this is the third attempt by an administration to do a reset. The reason these resets have failed and certainly the reason you would imagine this one will have some trouble is, Russia right now is in a very different place than many people realize. Russia is playing the role of a kind of spoiler in the international system.

It's been doing it in Europe, interfering in elections, trying to weaken the European Union, trying to weaken the kind of liberal democratic order itself. And that's of -- positionally, it's very difficult to see how America finds common interest with a country that is systematically trying to undermine America's greatest achievements over the last 70 years.

COOPER: And under the sanctions, Russia has decided not to retaliate for the sanctions of the Obama administration hit them with. Is that solely about just kind of wanting to wait out the end of the Obama term and just kind of start with a fresh slate with Trump?

ZAKARIA: I think it's in a sense a kind of preemptive concession to Trump or a gesture of goodwill. Putin also likes to surprise, and he does this quite well. I mean he's very nimble and thoughtful in this way, you know, the whole strategy in Europe has been this kind of black art of cyber warfare, black ops, special ops, not traditional uses of power. Even in the case of the United States, what he did was, you know, very inventive, very ingenious, so he's always trying to do something unusual.

COOPER: The New York Times last week, one of the articles said that Russia was an enemy on Friday morning, a friend by the afternoon. Can you ever remember a time when there were these mixed messages of this magnitude?

ZAKARIA: I don't think I've ever seen something quite like this where an outgoing administration has identified, you know, serious national security problems with a country, you know. And these, as I said these have now gone on for two administrations. And the incoming administration is signaling something quite different. Now, what's even more unusual about it is, it is really just the president, because Jim Mattis, the incoming secretary of defense seems to have a different view and a tough view on Russia. Rex Tillerson, we don't know. I mean, certainly as the head of Exxon, he did deals with Russia but we don't know what his personal views are as secretary of state of the United States.

The national security adviser had generally been a hawk though has some pro-Russia links. And the entire bureaucracy of the state department, the defense department, has been wary of Russia, partly, again, because they've been burned trying to trust Russia.

COOPER: Trump just tweeted he's out about China. China has been taking out massive amounts of money and wealth from the U.S. in totally one-sided trade but won't help with North Korea, nice.

ZAKARIA: Yeah. Trump has the kind of strange view of the world where he wants to be very confrontational with China and very accommodating to Russia. And idly he thinks that in some ways this gets him backwards, because China at the end of the day is trying to be part of this global order. Suddenly, it's done well economically but it has, whether you look at peacekeeping, whether you look at the U.N, whether you look at, you know, a whole variety of things, global warning, they have been getting more and more responsible over time.

[21:30:06] Russia on the other hand has been less and less responsible and more of a spoiler. And in a sense, it's explained by the last 25 years. China, for the last 25 years, they have grown in wealth, in power and status in this Western International order. They want to be more important but they don't want to reckon.

For Russia, as Putin has often said, it has been a disaster. He described the collapse of the Soviet Union as the greatest geopolitical catastrophe. Many Russians believed that the West has taken advantage of Russia. It has placed it in a subordinate position.

So they're the guys who see the last 25 years as being all about loss. And they're trying to, in some way, wreck the system. And why -- I mean I get why Russians might see the world that way. Why an American President would endorse that view is the puzzle.

COOPER: I appreciate that, Zakaria. Thanks.

You can watch Fareed's excellent documentary "The Legacy of Barack Obama" coming up at the tops of the next hour.

Just ahead, a huge opportunity President-elect Trump will have to reshape not just his Supreme Court but Federal Courts across the country.


COOPER: President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court with the nominee as conservative as the Justice who held on Antonin Scalia. Now beyond the Supreme Court, Donald Trump will have an even bigger opportunity to reshape the Federal Court for years.

[21:35:05] There are more than 100 vacancies in the nation's appeals and district courts waiting to be filled. Justice correspondent, Pamela Brown joins us. Now, how many vacancies will Trump have to fill when he take in office?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well as of now there are 103 vacancies and resonant 38 judicial emergencies. That means these are vacancies that had been there for an extended period of time.

So Donald Trump really has a unique opportunity here to change the face of the courts. Not just with the Supreme Court but also the lower court with these vacancies when it comes to abortion rights, when it comes to gun control, transgender rights.

Experts he has spoken to says that 103 is an unusually high number of vacancies. If you look at President Obama when he entered office, he only had 59 vacancies, Anderson.

COOPER: He can explain why there are so many vacancies for Trump to fill compared to past presidents?

BROWN: Well, one reason is judicial warfare, if you want to call it that. That friction between President Obama and Congressional Republicans are blocking those he appointed. In the end President Obama appointed more than 300 judges.

Of course it's a different situation with Trump. Congress is on his side as Republicans has the majority in the House and the Senate. And don't underestimate the power of just one judge. As you'll recall with President Obama's immigration plan it was a district judge in Texas that blocked it. It went all the way up to the Supreme Court and it is still blocked to this day. Anderson.

COOPER: Well, Pamela Brown. Pamela thanks.

Back to discuss. Joining me now, CNN Senior Legal House, the former federal prosecutor Jeffrey Toobin and Jonathan Turley, professor of law at George Washington University.

Jeffrey, how important are filling these vacancies? The number of issues that these kind of judges role on?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: It's enormously important in terms of what they do. But it is even more important for how long they serve, because all of these judges, under the constitution serve for life. So there are still many judges who were appointed by Ronald Reagan, Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court is still there appointed in 1987. So, this is an opportunity for a president to extend his influence decades after he leaves office.

COOPER: And Jonathan, given the number of vacancies, I mean it certainly seems like Trumps is going to be to shape the courts in a way that President Obama wasn't. JONATHAN TURLEY, PROFESSOR OF LAW, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: Well he will. And he controls the senate through his party. So these vacancies will be filled, which is good news for many judges, who are desperate to have colleagues.

And I do think it's important to remember that these lower court judges are subject to the rules of precedent. And so they don't have as much leeway obviously, as someone on the Supreme Court. And there's a desperate need to fill these slots. That's a very high number.

And because of that a lot of these courts are really suffering. I talk to federal judges all the time at judicial conferences and it's in every single circuit. The judges are saying they desperately need these to be filled.

TOOBIN: And that's absolutely true. But I think it's worth pointing out precisely why there are all these vacancies. You touched on it a little bit with Pam.

But, you know, Mitch McConnell, as the majority leader of the Senate simply decided he was not going to confirm judges in anywhere near the numbers that had been done historically. Now, most famously, most notoriously, he refused to hold hearings or vote on Meric Garland for the Supreme Court.

But it was also the district and circuit courts, so that's the reason -- it's not some accident that there are all these vacancies. It was intentional on the part of the Mitch McConnell.

TURLEY: I think there's a tendency in Washington -- to paraphrase Richard III to remember your friends as better than they were and your foes as worse than they are. The Democrats played the same type of politics.

In the end, President Obama currently has 329 confirmed judges. That's actually three more than Bush had in his two terms. Now, Jeffrey is absolutely right. There has been a virtual stoppage, but that is by no means unique in Washington. It was much more successful in this case, but the politics, unfortunately, is the same.

TOOBIN: No. I think that is actually not -- I mean, this is an order of magnitude different. There was something called the Thurman rule, named after Strom Thurman where judicial confirmations would stop the summer of a presidential election, and that has been the case. But this was two years. Two years of no confirmations. And that was without precedent. And that's why there are double the number of vacancies for President Trump than there were for Obama.

TURLEY: Jeffrey, I think to be fair, you should also keep in mind that in the context of this, this was a president that violated the recess appointment clause. It was absolute warfare in terms of presidential power versus Congressional power on a dozen different fronts. And so a lot of stuff stopped because of those conflicts.

COOPER: In terms of the Supreme Court, Jeff, which is obviously foremost in people's mind, is there a clear sense of who Trump may look to?

[21:40:10] TOOBIN: Well, he's done something unusual and I think actually kind of positive in that he has announced the group of people from which he will choose his candidates. So we know, unless he violates what he said, that he is going to choose from the 20 people that he's named. All of them are very conservative. And certainly the Republicans I talk to say the most likely are an Appeals Court Judge in Alabama, gosh, I'm blank, I know his name. What's his name?

COOPER: Pryor?

TOOBIN: Sorry?

COOPER: Are you talking about Pryor?

TOOBIN: Yes, Judge Pryor on the 11th Circuit and Diane Sykes on the 7th circuit in Chicago, both of whom, very respected, very conservative, likely to vote to oppose Roe v. Wade. But I think the likely votes of any of the 20 would be very similar to Justice Scalia here.

COOPER: Jeffrey Toobin, Professor Jonathan Turley, it's always great to have you. Thank you.

Coming up, it's the kind of record no city wants to break. 2016 was the deadliest in nearly two decades in Chicago. 762 murders, what the city is trying to do about it, next.


[21:45:03] COOPER: New numbers from the Chicago police department tell a very grim story. 2016 was the deadliest year in nearly two decades with 762 murders in the city, more than 4300 shooting victims. In parts of Chicago, gun violence is a sad fact of life, affecting everyone, including the city's youngest residents. Rosa Flores reports.


ETYRA RUFFIN, CHICAGO RESIDENT: I know it was gunshot because when I hear, I know it wasn't firecrackers. That's why I know it was like gunshots.

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Etyra Ruffin was sitting on her dad's lap on her grandma's front porch when all hell broke loose this summer. The 10-year-old says her dad used his body to shield her from the flying bullets.

RUFFIN: I heard like a lot, a lot of like bone and stuff. I saw all the blood on his shirt. And I thought I wouldn't see him again.

FLORES: Her downstairs neighbor Devin Henderson was playing video games by a window.

DEVIN HENDERSON, CHICAGO RESIDENT: When I heard the gunshots, I got on the floor. My mom grabbed me. She put me in the room, so to hide me.

FLORES: Etyra and Devin were lucky to survive the hail of bullet, but so many children are not. CNN analyzed the police crime data, one child is killed in Chicago every week on average. That's a figure that's been true for the past quarter century. Why is Chicago so deadly?


FLORES: In an interview with 60 minutes, former Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy says, Chicago cops are not actively policing out of fear of putting themselves and their families in jeopardy.

MCCARTHY: Police are on their heels, they're on their heels for a number of reasons. We see the results, don't we? We're reaching a state of lawlessness.

FLORES: Of the 762 murders in 2016, 65 percent of the killings are happening in five districts on the South and West side of the city where 59 rival gangs fight each other for territory police say. To curb the violence, more officers are being hired and gunshot detection technology allowing a pass to response is being purchased, but until the killings stop.

HENDERSON: I feel scared in Chicago. I want to move from Chicago.

FLORES: Children caught in the cross hairs are left dodging bullets since the two most likely places to get shot in Chicago are the street or even the home.

HENDERSON: I feel sad and scared. I don't want to be shot.


COOPER: And Rosa joins us now from Chicago. People talk to him, do they think things can be turned around then?

FLORES: You know, Anderson, people find hope in the little things that they can do to keep themselves safe. Let me explain, I talked to a lot of people, they were sitting on their front porches. If you looked around, you could see bullet holes all around them. And, you know, they looked at me and said, you know, we have to find hope somewhere and we can't wait for the government to fix this problem.

And so, what do they do? Mothers teach their children how to dodge bullets. Let me just repeat that, so we can process this. In the city in the United States of America, some mothers teach their children how to duck and dodge bullets in order for them to be safe in these communities. I met a grandmother who patrols her street to make sure that it's safe for her grandchildren to go out and play. So, again, people are finding hope in some of these communities in what they can do to keep themselves and their children safe.

COOPER: Rosa Flores, Rosa thank you very much. A lot to discuss, CNN Senior Political commentator, former Senior Obama Adviser, David Axelrod, who also has, "The Axe Files" podcast in

David, you lived in Chicago for decades. And, you know this city. It's your home, 762 murders in 2016. More than New York and Los Angeles combine. What is behind these numbers?

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, one thing that's behind them for sure is there's been a real slowdown of police action since the shooting of Laquan McDonald erupted as an issue in Chicago. That was the young man who was shot as he was walking away from the police 16 times by a police officer who's since been indicted for murder.

But all of the ramifications and reverberations from that have left the police department demoralized, and really standing down in many interactions. Arrests are way down, stops are way down, because police officers don't want to become engaged. That's certainly part of the story. The other part of the story is a long history of gang and drug activity in some of the neighborhoods of Chicago that have basically been stripped of all economic activity. You've got a lot of young men, 18 to 25 who have very little to do but go out there and work for these gangs or with these gangs.

[21:50:04] And a lot of the influx of guns into the city has been a long standing problem. Many come from Indiana but not exclusively. And so, you've got a perfect storm of problems that have confronted the city.

COOPER: Right. I mean if this was happening in a white suburb with these kind of headlines there would be more national outrage. Chicago obviously is President Obama's adopted hometown. And Chicago wasn't and it's violence more a priority for him in the administration. Should he -- could he have done more? Should he have done more?

AXELROD: Look, I think that -- I'm sure that he wanted to do more and I'm sure that he will do more once he's out of office and he's going to be spending a lot of time in Chicago here with his center, his foundation. This issue of youth violence was always one of great concern to him.

But these problems are deeply ingrained. They require huge infusions of resources and attention. And when the President took office he took office in the time of enormous economic crisis, budget tightening. So, it wasn't the optimal time to make those kinds of investments. Still, you know, there the investments in -- his investments in education, in health care and some of these other priorities were helpful to the community. They're not nearly enough.

COOPER: David Axelrod. David thanks.

Well, a quick break, when we come back, something to make you smile, the end of a long night. The first "Ridiculist" of 2017 involving Mariah Carey and the final moments of 2016.


[21:56:48] COOPER: Time now for "The Ridiculist." And we would be remiss if we didn't point out that in the waning hours of 2016 America was graced with one last moment that was volcanically callosally awkward. It happened on New Year's Eve, I didn't see it exactly while it was happening, because I had a standing date for Kathy Griffin, she verbally, physically harassment me in many, many funny different ways within an inch of my life.

But this year, as she and I were ringing in the new year, elsewhere in Times Square, right behind us a matter of fact, Mariah Carey performed "Auld Lang Syne" and then transitioned into where ahead of your emotions. Now, if you're allergic to cringing, you may want to avert your eyes and perhaps your ears in your concept of space and time.


MARIAH CAREY, ARTIST: Just drop me now.


Well, happy new year. We can't hear, but I'll just go through the motions. OK?

All right. We didn't have a check for this song, so we'll just say, it went to number one and that's what it is. OK.


COOPER: No, I'm no Colombo. But I'm going to theorize that something might have gone slightly askew. I think we need to watch a little bit more though just to be sure.


CAREY: We're missing someone.


I'm gong to say let the audience sing, OK?

We didn't have a sound check for this New Year's baby, that's OK you guys.


COOPER: Now, listen, I feel bad for Mariah Carey, but you can't even call it a lip syncing problem because there was nothing to sync. And then all of a sudden, there was this.



CAREY: It just don't get any better.


COOPER: OK. I'm really starting to think there may have been some sort of a technical problem. The thing I'm more curious about, is how someone from 2009 got into the crowd. Those glasses, they just say 2009, don't they? Is that a time traveler? If only she would have used her powers to travel into the future to fix the sound. Honestly though, do you think this is going to break the stride of Miss Mariah Carey? Not a chance as she wrote this. "Shit happens, have a happy and healthy new year everybody."

Here's to making more headlines in 2017. That's the spirit, I think. That's the spirit. That's the Mariah Carey I know and love. Well I don't actually know her, but I don't really love her but that's the Mariah Carey I've heard about. Which I think is a perfect way to end one year and to start a new on "The Riduculist" that does it for us.

Thanks for watching. The "CNN's Special Report: The Legacy of Barrack Obama" starts now.