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ISIS Claims Responsibility for Istanbul Attack; Trump Still Skeptical of Russia Election Hack; Trump Lashes Out at North Korea; Chicago Murder Rate Soars; Severe Weather Hits Southern U.S. Aired 2- 3a ET

Aired January 3, 2017 - 02:00   ET



[02:00:10] MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: This is CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles.

Ahead this hour --


HOLMES: Hello, and welcome to viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Michael Holmes. And this is NEWSROOM L.A.

Thanks for your company, everyone.

The manhunt is intensifying in Turkey for the shooter who killed 39 people at a crowded nightclub in Istanbul. Got video to show you that matches the suspect's photo that police gave to Turkish media. Unclear when this video was taken.

Meanwhile, ISIS claiming responsibility for the attack. Turkey believes it was retaliation for going after the terror group in Syria.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translation): Information about the fingerprints and basic appearance of the terrorist have been found. In the process after this, work to identify him will be carried out quickly. We hope we will find not only the terrorist but also his connections and those who gave him support inside and outside the club.


HOLMES: The victims of the attack began the New Year celebrating, but for 39 people, the first hour of 2017 was their last.

CNN's Sara Sidner with more from Istanbul.


SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Michael, Turkish officials have now detained eight people in order to question them in connection with this massacre at the Reina Nightclub. We're also seeing new images of the attacker that police are looking for. But they still do not know his whereabouts or his name.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three, two, one.

SIDNER (voice-over): Video from a party inside the upscale Raina Nightclub, the moment Istanbul entered 2017. 75 minutes later, mayhem. Flashes from a gun held by a man as he begins his killing spree first outside shooting a police officer and security guard. Then he opens fire inside. 39 people are killed. 69 injured. The victims from all over the world, including the United States.



RAAK: These crazy people came in shooting everything.

SIDNER: William Jacob Raak survived the night of terror. Seven of the nine people he entered the club with left with bullet wounds. Raak now heading home.

RAAK: For me, I wake up in the United States, I eat breakfast. You guys wake up and have to think of this. It's so sad, and I really wish everybody here the best.

SIDNER: The worst was yet to come for the victims' families. 24 hours after the massacre, the funerals began. This one for Fatta Chakma (ph), another security guard. His mother's moans pierced the silence. His father in shock. His son survived this car bomb attack three weeks ago, at an Istanbul stadium, but not the nightclub massacre. He was one in a million.

"He was one in a million. If he wasn't special, hundreds of people would not have bothered show up here," he says.

(on camera): This sorrow will be multiplied 39 times. This is just one of the families forced to say good-bye to their young loved ones after the Reina Nightclub attack.

(voice-over): 27 of the 39 victims were foreign nationals, including a film producer, and a fashion designer from India, A beautiful 19- year-old Israeli citizen with a full life waiting her.

A massive manhunt is now under way for the man believed to be the lone attacker. Turkish authorities say they have his fingerprints and image but still have not caught him.

The aim of the attack though has come into focus as ISIS claimed responsibility using social media, saying, in part, "A soldier of the brave caliphate attacks one of the most popular nightclubs while Christians were celebrating their holiday."

But the majority killed were Muslim, many from Saudi Arabia.

The killer's ideology against Western ideals failing to change minds but you can see he succeeded in sowing sorrow. (on camera): And we also spoke to some of the survivors who told us

people were so frightened that some jumped into the frigid dark waters of the Bosporus trying to save their own lives -- Michael?


HOLMES: Our thanks to Sara Sidner there.

ISIS also claiming responsibility for a series of attacks that killed dozens of people in Iraq. It was in the neighborhood of Sadr City, a predominantly Shia neighborhood of Baghdad. A car bomb exploding killing 35 people, wounding 60 others. North of the capital, suicide bombers attacked two police stations in Samar. At least six people were killed, including three police officers. During a one-day visit to Iraq, Francoise Hollande said fighting terrorism in France helps prevent terror attacks on French soil.

[02:05:38] Donald Trump lashing out at North Korea after the country's leader made a somewhat threatening announcement on New Year's Day. Kim Jong-Un says he's on the verge of testing a ballistic missile that could hit the U.S. Trump's response? It won't happen.

Meanwhile, Trump says he is still skeptical about Russia's involvement in the U.S. election cyberattack. But intelligence officials are more confident than ever that Russia actually did orchestrate that attack.

CNN's Jessica Schneider reports.


JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Donald Trump is ringing in the New Year continuing to cast doubt on U.S. intelligence pointing to Russia as the culprit of campaign hacks during the election.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: I know a lot about hacking and hacking is a very hard thing to prove. It could be somebody else and I also know things that other people don't know. And so, they cannot be sure of the situation.

SCHNEIDER: Trump refusing to elaborate on what insider information he has promising to reveal more after his meeting later this week with officials. Incoming press secretary, Sean Spicer, though tempering expectations what the president-elect might make public.

SEAN SPICER, CHIEF STRATEGIST, RNC & INCOMING WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: He's going to talk about his conclusions where he thinks things stand. He's not going to reveal anything that was privileged or share classified. One thing missing from this discussion is this report that everyone keeps talking about is not final. The current president of the United States hasn't seen a final report. The intelligence community is talking about wrapping it up later this week.

SCHNEIDER: Spicer also questioning whether the sanctions the Trump team called symbolic were overblown about the Obama administration expelled 35 Russian diplomats and shuttered two Russian compounds on Long Island and Maryland to retaliate against alleged Russian interference in the election.

SPICER: The question is, is the response of this administration, the sanctions proportional with the activities that happened, and number two, is it a political response to Russia or a diplomatic response.

SCHNEIDER: Candidate Trump seemed to egg on Russian hackers during the election, inviting them to break in to Hillary Clinton's computers.

TRUMP: Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press. Let's see if that happens. That will be next.

SCHNEIDER: Hacked e-mails from the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign chair, John Podesta, trickled out throughout the campaign exposing criticism about Clinton by paid staff.

Many Democrats blame Russian hacking, in part, for Clinton's loss. Donald Trump once again evoking the election closing out 2016 with this contentious tweet, "Happy New Year to all including to my many enemies and those who have fought me and lost so badly they just don't know what to do. Love."

But today, Trump hardly turned off a new leaf starting the New Year with new boast about the November election. Tweeting, "Various media outlets say I thought I was going to lose the election. Wrong. It all came together in the last week and I thought and felt I would win big easily over the fabled 270 when they canceled fireworks, they knew, and so did I."

(on camera): Trump insisting over Twitter he always knew he was going to win. But it was a different story when he addressed the crowd at a "Thank You" rally in Wisconsin, December 13th. There, he recounted the story of how he rented out a small ballroom on election night because he was not sure he was going to win. And he recounted how he told Melania he had worked hard but told his wife, if we lose, we lose.

Jessica Schneider, CNN, New York.


HOLMES: And joining me now, Kurtis Lee, national reporter for the "Los Angeles Times."

Let's start with North Korea because it's the freshest of the tweets.


HOLMES: It's this sort of foreign policy in 140 characters. By saying it won't happen, is the president-elect backing himself into a corner, painting a red line? LEE: This is something we saw Donald Trump do throughout the primary,

he made a number of promises, you know, that he would win races, that he would make America great again. Now we're seeing this. It's taken to another level now that he's the president-elect and we're a couple weeks from him being inaugurated. In a way, he's tweeting this out and the American people now look to their president and expect results from him. So, they see him saying, hey, it's not going to happen on his watch. See him saying this. The American electorate will expect this. He's kind of cornering himself in some ways by using Twitter and making promises because we saw in the primary and in the general election, he made a number of promises that didn't work out the way that he tweeted.

[02:10:28] HOLMES: We keep saying with Donald Trump, this is not an ordinary president-elect.

LEE: Yes.

HOLMES: This is also the time of social media. But what are the risks of basically conducting foreign policy or making foreign policy pro announcements via Twitter.

LEE: There could be a chance where he may reveal classified information with the Russian hacking. He said this week he'll reveal some additional information. We don't know. Obviously, we would not expect it to be classified. He's saying know more than the electorate does. Could he have a slip-up.

HOLMES: What about the hacking? He keeps saying, the latest thing is I've got information that nobody else has. What could it be?

LEE: He clearly, definitely, does have information other people don't have. He's receiving briefings as well as Vice President-elect Mike Pence. It's kind of him throwing things out there saying I have more information. I know more than the public knows. Obviously, a number of people expect him to know more. It's the teasing he's doing with the electorate.

HOLMES: Last week, when he said, I'm going to get a briefing next week to find out what's going on with this, a lot of people's initial reaction was, you don't know already? Why not have the briefing last week?

LEE: Yeah. You see a lot of Donald Trump sometimes talking off-the- cuff. But now as he's president-elect, he doesn't have other candidates to go after him. It's really just him and his words and him saying certain things as the president-elect. I mean, he's really going to be challenged on this.

HOLMES: You've got still the skepticism in the face of 17 intelligence agencies who do believe it. And in fact, most Republicans, senior Republicans believe it. What are the dangers once he is president and he is dealing, he's in charge of these intelligence agencies, has he sort of created doubt about their abilities? He's got to work with them. LEE: He is kind of casting doubt on intelligence that is key to this

country. And he's casting doubt on them. You see senior Republicans John McCain, Lindsey Graham, those folks essentially out there saying hey, we want to continue investigating this Russian hacking that's gone on. The Obama administration has called on the incoming administration to continue on. Trump has pushed back on this notion that hacking had anything to do with the election.

HOLMES: A lot of people thought he would temper himself, you know, from the campaign to the office of president-elect to the office of president. He's not tempering, is he?

LEE: Not right now, no. We still I have a couple of weeks until inauguration. Once he goes into the White House, we'll see if he continues on. President-elect Trump has said he'll continue to tweet. That's something he's not going to give up. He has millions of followers and can get his message out to them. We'll see after January 20th how he acts in the Oval Office by himself and he is the leader of the free world.

HOLMES: Kurtis Lee, national reporter for the "Los Angeles Times," great to have you here.

LEE: Thank you so much, Michael.

HOLMES: The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu under investigation for possible corruption. Police looking into whether he illegally received gifts and benefits from businessmen. They questioned him for three hours on Monday. Mr. Netanyahu repeatedly denying these allegations, saying they are politically motivated.

2016 was a record-setting year for bloodshed in Chicago. We're going to hear from a child who escaped the gunfire, now so common on that city's streets.

Plus, sentencing for convicted church shooter, Dylann Roof, begins on Wednesday. Why he's facing the death penalty without help from a lawyer.

We'll be right back.


[02:17:19] HOLMES: 2016 was Chicago's deadliest year in nearly two decades. The city is the third largest in the U.S., but its murder rate tops bigger cities like Los Angeles and New York. President- elect Donald Trump tweeting about the issue, quote, "Chicago murder rate is record setting. 4,331 shooting victims with 762 murders in 2016. If mayor can't do it, he must ask for federal help."

CNN's Rosa Flores tells us what is behind the surge of killings.


ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Michael, this is a tough and complicated issue. The local police superintendent says that, in part, emboldened criminals and anti-police environment are to blame, but you can't forget about the people caught in the crossfire, and all too often in Chicago those are children.

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: I knew it was gunshots. When I hear it, I know it wasn't fire crackers, and that's why I know it was gunshots.

FLORES (voice-over): She 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.

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: I heard a lot, a lot of boom and stuff and saw all the blood on his shirt. I thought I wouldn't see him again.

FLORES: Her down-stairs neighbor, Devon Henderson, was playing video games by a window.

DEVON 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: The two were lucky to survive the hail of bullets, 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" Garry McCarthy, former Chicago police superintendent, 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 are reaching a state of lawlessness.

FLORES: Of the 762 murders in 2016, 65 percent of the killings are happening in five districts on is the south and west sides of the city where 59 rival gangs fight for territory, police say. To curb the violence, more officers are being hired and gunshot detection technology allowing a faster response is being purchased.

But until the killings stop --

[02:20:12] HENDERSON: I feel scared in Chicago. I want to move from Chicago.

FLORES: -- children caught in the crosshairs are left dodging bullets since the two most likely places to be shot in Chicago are in the street or even the home.

HENDERSON: I feel sad and scared. I don't want to be shot. FLORES (on camera): About the president-elect's tweet, the city of

Chicago did respond with a statement saying, in part, "We are heartened he is taking the issue seriously and look forward to working with the administration on these important efforts" -- Michael?


HOLMES: Our thanks to Rosa Flores in Chicago.

And Cheryl Dorsey joins me. She's a retired sergeant with the Los Angeles Police Department, and author of "The Creation of a Manifesto, Black and Blue."

Cheryl, great to have you with us.

I want to start with a graphic that shows something important in terms of context. Per capita of Chicago is not the deadliest capital. But it comes out to places like St. Louis, Detroit and New Orleans. That's not really the point of this story. It's the massive increase. 50 percent jump. I mean, that's staggering. Why Chicago? Why now.

CHERYL DORSEY, RETIRED SERGEANT, LOS ANGELES POLICE DEPARTMENT & AUTHOR: I think the police department needs to be more proactive in the way in which they deal with the criminal element that's occurring. If this were going on in a different part of town, it would not be tolerated. How is it this can happen in this concentrated area and nowhere else.

HOLMES: Why do you think that is?

DORSEY: Listen, I don't want to second-guess the chief and make it a black and whitish. I know, I feel that most police departments have two departments within a department. You have officers who comport themselves one way in affluent areas and officers who comport themselves differently where there are black and Brown people. To think you could have 42 shootings every weekend and they not come up with a mechanism, a thing to do not reach out to maybe larger departments and talk to other police chiefs and find out what are they doing, how are they being proactive? What do we need to do to train our officers and then to hear the gentleman say that officers are not enforcing the laws they're not doing their job because they're afraid is a cop-out.

HOLMES: That's been said before. The advent of video cameras everywhere some cops are holding back because they don't want to end up on the internet.

DORSEY: If you're doing the right thing, you don't have worry about being videotaped. If you don't want to do that job, find something more suitable to your skill set because the kinds of things that police officers encounter are inherent to police work. Train them better, provide them with the tools and equipment oh they're save. Give them psychological evaluations regularly and if you find someone who doesn't want to do the job because he or she is afraid or they're using deadly force because black and Brown people scare them, we need to get them out of that profession. HOLMES: Donald Trump saying, if the mayor can't handle it, bring the

feds in. What might that look like, federal help? And the other thing too about Donald Trump, he was on record as saying let's Stop and Frist.

DORSEY: He scares me because it sounds like almost a justification for more of that thing we don't want. We don't want more militarization of the police department, more overzealous police officers acting in a way that's inappropriate when you're dealing with minority communities. To say ask for federal help, what does he mean? Are you talking about resources or training? Are you talking about money to hire more police officers? Is that what you're talking about federal government ask for help.

HOLMES: Do you worry about Stop and Frist?

DORSEY: Absolutely. We understand it's not constitutional. He seems to like it, and probably other things that are in complete contradiction to my beliefs. So, I'm frightened by that kind of language.

HOLMES: Cheryl, thanks for coming in. Cheryl Dorsey, thanks.

DORSEY: Thanks for having me.

HOLMES: The white supremacist who shot and killed nine African- Americans in a Charleston church will represent himself at his sentencing hearing. A jury in South Carolina convicted Dylann Roof for the 2015 mass shooting last month after watching his video confession. He requested to represent himself for his sentencing. A federal judge on Monday said he is mentally competent to do so. That phase of his trial starts on Wednesday. Roof could face the death penalty.

Danish authorities have arrested the daughter of the woman at the center of South Korea's presidential corruption scandal. She's a medal-winning equestrian and trains in Germany. She was wanted for alleged interference of business after months of hiding. Her mother, Choi Soon-Sil (ph) is on trial accused of abusing her friendship with the South Korea President Park Guen-hye for financial gain. The parliament voted to impeach the President Park in December.

Four people died after a tornado tore through a home in rural Alabama. The severe weather has hit several states in the southeastern U.S,. causing damage to homes, flash flooding and power outages.

Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri joins us now with more.

Pedram, this is pretty nasty in places.

[02:25:27] PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It is. It's rather unusual when you look at the calendar. Michael, it's always a pleasure working with you.

When you look at what's going on right now, the temperature variation between the northern plains and towards Louisville, towards Nashville, almost a 60-degree variance in place. You talk disparity of air masses what sets the stage for severe weather. Lightning strikes left and right across the area, as well. This area of southeastern Alabama where fatal tornadoes touched down, slightly to the left as a tree came down on top of a mobile home and several reports of tornadoes again around the state of Georgia, as well. But an incredible number when you think about four fatalities so early in the season considering we're coming off of 2016. 17 fatalities was the lowest number for the entire year in over 30 years. Four in the first couple of days of the calendar year. The sheer number of these tornadoes, intensity over the past 24 hours, as well. The last several hours, in particular. Upwards of 130 reports of severe weather. 126 which were related to tornadoes that number is rather significant because, this early into the season, as we were talking with Michael, it is rather unusual to see this many tornadoes. In fact, it's about one-fourth of the entire month's number of tornadoes. One of the quietest times of the year when it comes to tornados. 25 to 30 is what you expect in the cold season. You see what happens in the warm season, Michael. The severe weather aspect very early in the year to get started like this.

HOLMES: Pedram, thanks so much. A worrying start. I hope that won't continue.

Pedram Javaheri, there.

Good to see you, my friend.


HOLMES: Donald Trump warning North Korea about its nuclear ambitions. We'll tell you which country he thinks should handle the threat. Coming up.

Also, battle lines are being drawn. Republican and Democratic lawmakers return to Washington with opposing agendas.

27 minutes past the hour. We'll be right back with more of CNN L.A., live.



[02:30:39] MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, everyone. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm Michael Holmes.

And the headlines this hour.


HOLMES: U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has a rather pointed response to Kim Jong-Un following the North Korean leader's threatening New Year announcement, tweeting, "North Korea just stated it is in the final stages of developing a nuclear weapon capable of reaching parts of the U.S. It won't happen." U.S. officials and military experts doubt many of the North Korean

leader's boasts, but Trump may have to deal with the nuclear threat, sooner rather than later.

Here's CNN's Barbara Starr.



BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): North Korea Leader Kim Jong-Un's New Year's Day message? He's almost ready to launch an intercontinental ballistic missile, an ICBM, that someday could hit the U.S.

JONG-UN (through translation): Research and development of cutting edge arms equipment is actively progressing and intercontinental test launch preparation is in its last stage.

STARR: A security challenge Donald Trump could face very early on. Trump has made clear on the campaign trail he wants China to deal with Kim.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have to be very vigilant on North Korea. We cannot let this guy go much further. And China should handle that problem.

STARR: And offering his own blunt assessment of the North Korean leader.

TRUMP: You have the guy in North Korea. He's probably crazy.

STARR: Something Donald Trump and the current director of the CIA appear to agree on. John Brennan telling Erin Burnett this about Kim Jong-Un.

JOHN BRENNAN, CIA DIRECTOR: He is delusional because he believes that the world is going to accept a nuclear North Korea and allow it to maintain that arsenal.

STARR: U.S. warplanes have long detailed a strike option, bombing the regime if it poses an immediate nuclear threat. But the intelligence community warns the U.S. may have few cards to play.

JAMES CLAPPER, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: i think the notion of getting the North Koreas to denuclearize is probably a lost cause.

STARR: There is intelligence showing how far Kim has moved ahead.

GORDON CHANG, AUTHOR: The North Koreans are very close to being able to make a nuclear weapon to their longest-range missiles and hit the United States.

STARR: The North Koreans have already tested an intercontinental long-range missile, but it had a satellite on the front end, not a war head. And North Korea claims it's already tested a miniaturized war head for

a ICBM. U.S. officials can't verify that, but have to work under the assumption it's true.

North Korea has conducted five underground nuclear tests. Another could happen at any time with little or no warning, U.S. investigation officials say.

But North Korea still has to master the technology to assure the ICBM can hit a spec target.

(on camera): One traditional strategy, sanctions relief in exchange for pressuring Kim to give up portions of his nuclear program. The sanctions put more money in his pocket. But a North Korean defector recently said Kim is not interested in money. He wants the world to recognize him as a nuclear superpower.

Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.


[02:35:08] HOLMES: On the eve of a new session of Congress, U.S. House Republicans voted to gut the independent Ethics Office. Lawmakers ignored the House speaker and other Republican leaders' opposition and approved a plan to place the office of Congressional ethics under their own oversight. The office was created in 2008 in response to corruption scandals. Backers of the move say the panel is out of control, making accusations lawmakers have to defend themselves against. The full House will vote on this controversial proposal on Tuesday.

And when they come back into session, Republican lawmakers are ready to roll back many of President Obama's initiatives, on things like health care and the environment.

CNN's Dana Bash reports Democrats will fight back with careful scrutiny of President-elect Trump's cabinet picks.


DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Democrats may not have the votes to defeat Donald Trump's nominees but can delay their confirmation.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, (D-NY), INCOMING SENATE MINORITY LEADER: I am concerned about a bunch of the nominees.

BASH: And incoming Democratic leader, Chuck Schumer, is warning Democrats will slow walk eight of Trump's picks unless they turn over additional financial information to the Senate, saying in a statement, "If Republicans think they can quickly jam through a whole slate of nominees without a fair hearing process, they're sorely mistaken."

Democrats say these eight Trump nominees have yet to provide key committees and the office of government ethics enough records for Senators to make informed decisions about potential conflicts of interest. For example, Rex Tillerson, Trump's nominee for secretary of state, handed over information about his taxes. He is not required to turn over his full tax returns, but Democrats want to change that.

DEBBIE STABENOW, (D), MICHIGAN: Without seeing their tax returns, it's impossible to know if his nominees have conflicts of interest from their financial dealings that would influence their decisions aching the American people.

BASH: Tom Price, Trump's nominee for Health and Human Services, is also on the Democrats' target list. This year, he bought and sold 12 health care stocks. Democrats are pushing for more information to investigate whether Congressman Price violated a 2013 insider trading law. But the reality is beyond his business dealings, Democrats strongly oppose Price on policy.

SCHUMER: When it comes to issues like Medicare, the Affordable Care Act and Planned Parenthood Congressman price and the average American couldn't be farther apart.

BASH: In fact, these eight Trump nominees are being singled out by Democrats because of what they believe as much as where they invest.

Like Hardees CEO Andrew Puzder, Trump's picked for Labor secretary.

SCHUMER: Mr. Puzder, supposed to be for labor, has been pretty anti- worker when he was the head of Hardees.

BASH: Incoming press secretary, Sean Spicer, says Democrats should act as the GOP did eight years ago, allowing Democrats to confirm seven of Obama's nominees on the day he took office.

SEAN SPICER, CHIEF STRATEGIST, RNC & INCOMING WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Each of these individuals is an unbelievable agent of success and change who help the country move forward. The idea that the Democrats choice is to figure out how to oppose every one of these individuals is frankly sad.

BASH: Democrats argue the difference now is that Trump is filling his cabinet with billionaires who haven't handed over enough information to be properly vetted.

Still, Democrats aren't just doing this to scrutinize Trump's nominees. This is also a way to try to mess up the GOP legislative agenda, like repealing Obamacare, by burying the Senate floor with lengthy debates on nominees, which could take weeks or months.

(on camera): The Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is planning to confirm several Trump nominees on Inauguration Day, just like the Senate did the day Obama took office. That could be in jeopardy if the eight nominees Democrats are targeting don't relent and hand over more information that shows no conflicts of interest.

Dana Bash, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE) [02:39:15] HOLMES: Donald Trump says he doubts Russia's involvement in that U.S. election hack, but this isn't the first time Russia has been accused of cyber warfare. We'll have the details coming up next on NEWSROOM L.A.


HOLMES: 42 minutes past the hour here on NEWSROOM L.A., coming to you live.

Intelligence officials say they have found digital fingerprints showing that Russia orchestrated the U.S. election cyberattack. But Donald Trump is still not convinced. The president-elect claiming he knows things about the hacking that others do not. And he will reveal his inside information sometime this week.

Now, Trump's senior advisor, Kellyanne Conway, is defending his comments.


KELLYANNE CONWAY, SENIOR TRUMP ADVISOR: The president-elect receives intelligence briefings that you and i are not privy to. He is noting there are unnamed sources people talking to the press instead of attending House intelligence committee briefings where they've been invited. The president-elect agreed to receive a briefing here at the Trump tower this week.


HOLMES: Trump may hesitate to blame Russia but Moscow has been accused of cyberattacks on neighbors in the past.

Ivan Watson with that.



IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The war in eastern Ukraine. For more than two years, Ukraine has been fighting separatists supported by its eastern neighbor Russia in a conflict that has claim more than 10,000 lives and displaced some two million people. A shaky cease-fire is barely holding.


WATSON (on camera): But this isn't just a conflict being fought with bullets and bombs. Ukraine says it's recently survived at least ten major cyberattacks that have targeted organizations like the state railroad company, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Infrastructure, agencies that a society needs to function normally.

(voice-over): So far Ukrainian officials aren't publicly blaming the latest assault on anyone but Ukrainian and American investigators did blame Russian hackers for a separate attack on an electric company in December 2015. It cut power completely in more than 100 cities across the country.

Officials in other former Soviet republics, like Latvia, say they too are frequently targets of their Russian neighbor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translation): We're facing those challenges on whole front. Information warfare goes on, on a daily basis. We're facing Russian propaganda information warfare and even psychological warfare.

[02:45:17] WATSON: It's not easy to pinpoint the source of a cyberattack but experts here argue they appear to be state sponsored.

UNIDENIFIED MALE: Some of the programs that we've seen, it is very evident that no commercial criminal sector or hacktivist would be ready to invest time and resources to such an elaborate program.

WATSON: When Georgia went to war with Russia in 2008, the deadly battles were accompanied by hackers attacking Georgian government websites.

Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili accuses of Moscow further meddling during elections four years later.

MIKHEIL SAAKASHVILI, FORMER PRESIDENT OF GEORGIA: They have done cyberattacks, different time periods. They have done all kind of media provocations. They spread rumors. They sent operatives to do all kind of dirty tricks.

WATSON: Russia does not have the monopoly on cyber warfare tactics. A computer virus called Stuxnet was discovered in Iran's nuclear facility in 2010. It caused centrifuges to spin out of control and destroy themselves. Though no government officially claimed responsibility, many experts accuse the U.S. and Israel of carrying out the attack.

Now with the outgoing Obama administration announcing new sanctions and the expulsion of Russian diplomats, the threat of further retaliation has some worried.

MATT TAIT, CYBERSECURITY EXPERT: Cyber warfare is something that is very worrying because of its danger of escalation. This is not a domain in which only governments and the military play. This is you know, we've seen it with things like attacks on the NSF is causing mass outage. Attacks on banks. These are parts of civilian infrastructure that we all rely on day to day.

WATSON: The threat of a possible cyber war could take our interconnected, highly computerized society into uncharted territory.

Ivan Watson, CNN, Kiev.


HOLMES: When you get an e-mail from work after hours, do you feel like you have to respond to it right away? A new law in france gives workers the right to ignore business e-mails until the next workday. Wouldn't that be nice? The Labor Ministry says it is meant to give people a good balance between work and their personal lives, but views on the law are mixed.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translation): i think it's a good law and a necessary one. We are constantly bombarded with information and also under pressure to urge people to react immediately. So i think it is essential in order to preserve the health of employees and also for a better balance between private and professional life.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translation): france is always you know, always wants to have laws that will help people to have a better life or such a life. It's totally ridiculous. When you feel you need to check e-mails and when I'm with my children, i don't do this. When i have time, i do it. It's just to check. And that does not prevent me from enjoying my weekends or enjoying my personal lieu of.


HOLMES: Many experts do agree that e-mail is a major time drain on workers. A report from the McKenzie Global Institute found average employee spends 13 hours a week reading and responding to e-mail. That's by far the most time-consuming work. 28 percent or more than a quarter of work time. Add it all up, 650 hours a year spent on e- mail.

At least, in my view.

Mariah Carey's team is pointing fingers now after the star's New Year's Eve performance didn't quite sparkle as expected. We've got that story coming up.

We'll be right back.


[02:52:39] HOLMES: Welcome back. Pop diva, Mariah Carey, said bye- bye to 2016 with a rather awkward New Year's Eve performance. Now her team is blaming Dick Clark Productions for the malfunction.

Here's a little bit of what happened if you missed it.



MARIAH CAREY, SINGER: Well, happy New Year. I can't hear.



HOLMES: Carey's team claims her earpiece wasn't working and the production company set her up to fail. Dick Clark Productions, firing back, calling those claims absurd and defamatory. For more on all of this, Segun Oduolowu, joins us, entertainment

journalist and pop culture contributor for "Access Hollywood Live."

What do you make of the blame game? You buy it?

SEGUN ODUOLOWU, ENTERTAINMENT JOURNALIST & POP CULTURE CONTRIBUTOR, ACCESS HOLLYWOOD LIVE: No, I don't buy it. It's nonsense. It's absolutely nonsense. You know, she's a professional. And the people at Dick Clark Productions are professionals. What motive, what possible reason could they have to want to sabotage one of the top selling is artists of all time. There is none. It's a complete smoke and mirrors for the fact she can't hit no, sir those notes anymore not at all.

HOLMES: Now we get to it. Tell us about this, the lip syncing is to cover up?

ODUOLOWU: The fact she is not the vocalist she used to. We won't touch her number ones or millions of records sold but when you are not a dancer, she's not Madonna, who has got lights and cameras and this and that, and controversy. She's a singer, a vocalist. She can't hit the notes anymore.

HOLMES: She's been better known for sort of making the news and paramours.

ODUOLOWU: Divorces and scandal. It's sad because you know, she's basically turning into a talentless Mariah. Who would want to see David Blaine if he didn't perform magic? Go see a vocalist who can't hit the notes. She's been known for that scandal and who she's dating and for her reality TV show and her music career in my estimation she's not --'s done. She's a prisoner of all of her old hits and she can't hit the notes anymore.

HOLMES: We were discussing this earlier in our little team. One of our team members said, oh, that's it, that's her career. I was like, come on, surely not. But do you think --


[02:55:09] ODUOLOWU: I believe 2016 claimed its last victim than victim was Mariah Carey's singing career. Because when we see them play that track, when you're watching it on TV live and you see they're piping in high notes where she's going to hold the mic and pretend she's singing but it's being piped in, you realize she isn't the vocalist she used to be. Unfortunately, if you were to go see her in concert and you know now she's lip syncing, I'll save that $100 and play her C.D. on my iPod or in the house.

HOLMES: If you think she still had the goods and the earpiece went out, she should just sing the song.

ODUOLOWU: Right, real singers real talented musicians and singers, especially a song she's been singing for a thousand times. This song is not a new song. This is a decade old at least. You know the words, don't you? Sing the song. When you tell the audience to sing the song because you can't, that's just bad business. Then her crew or her team coming out and blaming Dick Clark Productions and then her weak Twitter comment that stuff happens. That's not what she said. Things happen and more headlines in 2017, what, because he's going on tour with Lionel.

ODUOLOWU: Lionel today sings better than she does.

HOLMES: It seems to be odd.

ODUOLOWU: Yeah. Again, Lionel Richie has hits. You know what? This would be the great thing. Lionel Richie who is a completely talented songwriter, he writes a song. They do a duet together and people want to go to the concert to see that duet because now on your own, now that we know Mariah Carey is lip syncing her way through performances, good luck convincing people to buy tickets to go see a fading star. That sound, that high note was the air going out of her career.

HOLMES: Oh. Tough, tough audience.

Segun, thanks so much for coming in.

ODUOLOWU: What was that you said?


ODUOLOWU: I can't hear you. My earpiece is bad.

HOLMES: I'll loan you mine, because they're yelling at me to shut up.


You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm Michael Holmes. We're done here.


The news continues with Rosemary Church.