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U.S. Intel: Putin Had "Clear Preference" for Trump; Gunman Kills Five People at Fort Lauderdale Airport; FMR. Mexican President Attacks Trump Yet Again; Trump Asking Congress, Not Mexico, to Pay for Wall; Winter Comes South; Michelle Obama Makes Emotional Farewell Speech. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired January 7, 2017 - 03:00   ET


[03:00:14] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN Breaking News.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN "BREAKING NEWS" ANCHOR: 3:00 a.m. on the U.S. east coast, welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. We continue following major breaking news, two stories here on CNN. I'm George Howell at CNN world headquarters at Atlanta.

First the declassified report on election hacking. It was released to the public and it directly points the finger at this man, the Russian president Vladimir Putin saying the Kremlin's aim was to hurt Hillary Clinton and to help Donald Trump to take the White House. We'll have much of that story in just a moment.

We are also following that deadly shooting that happened at the Fort Lauderdale airport carried out by a U.S. citizen and an Iraqi war veteran who is in custody this hour, accused of killing five people and injuring many more. Authorities say it is too early to understand why the suspect, Esteban Santiago open fire Friday.

The FBI says, it is familiar with Santiago because he visited one of their offices in Alaska just a few months ago. He claimed he could hear voices in his head telling him to watch ISIS videos. Shortly after that, Santiago underwent a mental health evaluation. But nothing barred him from traveling to Florida, nothing barred him from apparently owning a gun. Officials say that he likely acted alone at the airport. But they are investigating every single angle.


GEORGE PIRO, SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE: With these types of incidents as where they are, we are looking at all avenues. We have not ruled out terrorism and we will be pursuing every angle to try to determine the motive behind this attack and any associates, any connections, communication, everything that you can imagine. I assure you we are pursuing every possible lead.


HOWELL: So now to talk about the scene inside that airport. It was a scene of horror, fear and confusion. There were so many people simply running for their lives. Randi Kaye takes us through the time line of events from the witnesses who saw it all. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. They want us to hold of the tango line. Guess there's firing going on in the terminal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're currently having a building evacuation at Terminal 2.

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's just before 1:00 p.m. when a gunman opens fire at Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport. He's inside baggage claim at terminal 2.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He came up right where we were and he was shooting people that were down on the ground too.

KAYE: He says, they tried to help the victims.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My wife took a sweater from my mother-in-law and applied pressure to the gentlemen right next to it. He had been shot in the head. All the people seemed to be shot in the head. We checked the man next to him, had no vital signs, he was gone.

KAYE: Another witness tells CNN his plane had just landed and some victims are his fellow passengers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All of a sudden, everybody started running. I grabbed our kids and we took off running down the ramp. Told the flight attendant let us off the tarmac. We ran onto the tarmac to hide behind some luggage carts. It looks like a war zone in here.

KAYE: The airport is immediately shut down. All passengers are evacuated. They run to the tarmac in search of safety. Authorities quickly zero in on the suspect.

SHERIFF SCOTT ISRAEL, BROWARD COUNTY, FLORIDA: We have the shooter in custody. He's unharmed. No law enforcement fired any shots.

KAYE: Apprehended but not before these horrifying moments. By now, it's 1:43 p.m. And the Broward County sheriff's office tweets that multiple people are dead. Some lucky enough to be alive are left bleeding. Someone posted video of this passenger being treated on the sidewalk. By 2:00 p.m., the official count is three dead. Minutes later, it's up to five dead. At least eight are injured. By mid afternoon, Florida's senior senator says the TSA has told him who did this.

SEN. BILL NELSON, FLORIDA (D): The shooter is Esteban Santiago. He had a military ID. We don't know if that is an accurate ID or if it is a current ID.

KAYE: But it's not over. About 2:20 p.m., word of more gunfire. Police are seen scrambling on a tarmac and near the parking garage. Once again, passengers spill on to the tarmac. Others duck behind parked cars.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody just sprinted outside again, and so just ran out again. I honestly don't know what's happening.

KAYE: At 2:33 p.m., a tweet from the TSA, active shooter at FLL shelter in place. Airport closed. Sniper teams are put on alert.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a variety of SWAT teams out and assets out clearing the entire airport.

KAYE: No other gunman is found.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At this point, it looks like he acted alone. There's no second active shooter.

KAYE: Officials won't say if the suspect was targeting someone on an arriving flight or if he's cooperating. Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.


[03:05:16] HOWELL: Randi thank you. More now on the gunman. Esteban Santiago according to law enforcement officials he did show some red flags but was never considered dangerous. Our Pamela Brown looks at the shooter's background.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: We have learned the suspect in the shooting at that Fort Lauderdale airport flew from Anchorage, Alaska to Fort Lauderdale on Friday after the passengers deplaned.

The suspect apparently got his checked bag from baggage claim and according to witnesses, came back out of the restroom and started firing in the baggage claim area killing five people. He then surrendered to authorities and was not injured. And we have been looking back at his past, he was apparently in the Alaskan National Guard and received a general discharge in August 2016 which means there had been some issues.

And we're told by officials, he had stopped showing up apparently at the National Guard and then later he went to the FBI's office in Anchorage back in November and reported that his mind was being controlled by U.S. intelligence agency and that voices were in his head pushing him to join ISIS.

But he didn't wish to do harm to anyone and officials say he appeared agitated. His statements were incoherent and disjointed. So the FBI looked into his background, saw he had been in the military, he had served the Iraq, but there was no apparent radicalization and the determination was made that this should be handled by local authorities. Local police took him to the hospital where he voluntarily checked himself in and underwent a mental health evaluation. Next thing we know, he boarded a plane to Florida and opened fire in the baggage claim. The motive, still under investigation. Pamela Brown, CNN, Washington.

HOWELL: Pamela Brown. Thank you.

One shooting survivor says that his laptop and his backpack may have saved his life. He spoke to my colleague Anderson Cooper about his terrifying experience inside that airport terminal. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEVE FRAPPIER, AIRPORT SHOOTING WITNESS: I dropped to the ground. I heard more of the popping sounds. And then falling on the floor at ground level, I'm seeing people in front of me get hit.


FRAPPIER: I saw that. There was a man probably 10 feet away from me that was shot in the head and his wife, you know, collapsed on top of him.

COOPER: Was he shot when he was standing up or was he on the floor as well?

FRAPPIER: We were all on the floor.

COOPER: So he just went over and shot somebody who is lying down on the floor?

FRAPPIER: It was some certain distance. So the shooter was not necessarily walking around the whole baggage claim area. He was still several feet away from many of us. But he, but he kind of shot into the crowd and towards the floor and hit that man.

COOPER: Was he saying anything at all before or during the shooting?

FRAPPIER: He said absolutely nothing. He said absolutely nothing. And so there was a point where the entire terminal was, or the baggage claim area was completely silent. And all we could hear was just the popping of the gun.

COOPER: And that's how you remember, people not screaming but you remember silence?

FRAPPIER: The people screaming were the people that might have been hurt or people that were next to someone or a loved one that was hit.

COOPER: I understand you had a backpack with you.


COOPER: And that actually saved you or may have saved you, what happened?

FRAPPIER: The backpack saved my life. I was wearing a backpack on both shoulders. And then when we went to the floor I just -- you know, I dropped and the backpack was still on my back and I was turned in such a way where at one point when the shooter shot towards my direction there was several other people around me. There was a bullet that ricocheted. And I did not notice until after that, until much later. I felt something hit my back and I trained around.

And I thought it was, because the luggage was still coming. So there was a luggage that was falling on top of me too. And I thought it was just luggage at that time, you know, it was only later when I go to the bathroom to check myself out that the bullet had entered my backpack, hit my laptop. And then later when I gave my bag over to the FBI for investigation, they saw the bullet in the pocket of my backpack.

COOPER: That's incredible. So your laptop saved your life? And your laptop stopped the bullet?

FRAPPIER: The laptop and I believe too the side of the backpack. And so the laptop, the plastic casing, all of that combination because it was -- since I was on the ground like a, you know, like a tortoise you know, with the backpack on me, the way it ricocheted into my bag, that would have been my back.


[03:10:05] HOWELL: Well, one of the luckier stories we've heard from so many people who were there. The gunman there described as calm and almost methodical. This investigation of course is still underway to determine the motive.

Still ahead here on CNN Newsroom, U.S. intelligence is certain Russia tried to influence the U.S. election but the president-elect Donald Trump, his reaction to that conclusion, well it has many U.S. officials scratching their heads.


HOWELL: Welcome back to CNN Newsroom. I'm George Howell. Russian hacking of the U.S. election, a declassified version of the U.S. intelligence report concludes that Vladimir Putin was behind it. The U.S. intelligence agency say that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a multi-pronged campaign including cyber attacks.

The aim was to hurt Hillary Clinton. It says that Putin was motivated by an old grudge against Clinton, and a clear preference for Donald Trump. Both the CIA and FBI said that they have high confidence in their conclusions. The report also warns "Moscow will apply lessons learned from its Putin ordered campaign aimed at the U.S. presidential election to future influence efforts worldwide including against U.S. allies and their election processes.

[03:15:07] And now to the president-elect's reaction to that report, top officials briefed Donald Trump on their findings Friday in New York. Trump had praise for them following the meeting but he never specifically acknowledged that Russia was behind it and he also insisted there is no evidence the alleged hacking had any impact on his victory over Hillary Clinton. We get more now from CNN Sarah Murray.


SARA MURRAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: After huddling with the nation's top intelligence officials, Donald Trump still isn't ready to point a finger at Russia for election-related cyber hacking. Hours after calling the U.S. intelligence community's assessment that

Russia interfered in the election, a political witch hunt, Trump was briefed by the heads of the NSA, CIA, FBI and the director of national intelligence. Trump complimented intelligence officials after the meeting, calling it constructive.

But he still refused to acknowledge their determination that Russia directed the election related-cyber attacks against political institutions, including the Democratic National Committee. Trump insisting in a statement, "There was absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election including the fact that there was no tampering whatsoever with voting machines."

Trump told "The New York Times" the only reason Democrats care about the hacking is because they got beaten very badly in the election. They are very embarrassed about it. It's true that there's no evidence of issues with voting machines. But the declassified intelligence report on Russia concludes with high confidence that Russian president Vladimir Putin ordered the efforts to influence the U.S. election.

And it finds that those efforts were in part designed to benefit Trump. The report states, "We also assess Putin and the Russian government aspired to help president-elect Trump's election chances when possible, by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him."

It also says, "When it appeared to Moscow that Secretary Clinton was likely to win the election, the Russian influenced campaign began to focus more on undermining her future presidency. In the run-up to the briefing, Trump and his advisors bristled at the idea that the focus on Russia was anything more than a political attack.

KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP SENIOR ADVISER: There are those out there who are trying to delegitimize his presidency, review the election results and you know it.

MURRAY: But Trump insisted he will vigorously battle cyber hacking once in office. After his intelligence briefing, Trump saying, we need to aggressively combat and stop cyber attacks. I will appoint a team to give me a plan within 90 days of taking office. It's not just from his opponents in the Democratic Party that are raising the alarm about Russia's cyber hacking effort. U.S. intelligence officials are openly expressing dismay.

JAMES CLAPPER, U.S. DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: I don't think that we've ever encountered a more aggressive or direct campaign to interfere in our election process and we've seen in this case.

MURRAY: And Republican leaders in Congress say there's little doubt about Russia's role in this cyber hacking.

PAUL RYAN, U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES SPEAKER: Russia clearly tried to meddle in our political system. No two ways about it.

MURRAY: Still, Trump was apparently more concerned Friday with NBC's cyber hacking coverage than with Russia's efforts to interfere in the U.S. election, Trump tweeting, "I am asking the chairs of the House and senate committees to investigate top secret intelligence shared with NBC prior to me seeing it."

The president-elect hinting he may be more willing to trust his own officials once he takes office. Members of Trump's incoming team including his pick for national security advisor Michael Flynn, and his choice to lead the CIA. Congressman Mike Pompeo accompanied him for the meeting. Trump telling "The New York Times" we have great people going into those slots. I expect to have a very, very good relationship with them.

Now, advisers and people familiar with Donald Trump's thinking tell me that privately he doesn't dispute the notion of cyber hacking did occur but what he assumes is any kind of conclusion, any kind of suggestion that Russia was doing it to benefit Donald Trump's presidency or that they are in any way responsible for his victory, one for it says real quick, that intelligence officials couldn't have said anything to Donald Trump on Friday to convince him of that. Sara Murray, CNN, New York.


HOWELL: Sara Murray, thank you. Now the U.S. vice president-elect has also attended that briefing with Donald Trump on Friday. Mike Pence says that cyber attacks will face swift and aggressive action by the Trump administration.

MIKE PENCE, U.S. VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT: It was a constructive and respectful dialogue. And the president-elect has made it very clear that we're going to take aggressive action in the early days of our new administration to combat cyber attacks and protect the security of the American people from this type of intrusion in the future. But I know the president-elect appreciated the presentation made by the leaders of our intelligence community.

[03:20:06] And I know the president-elect and I both appreciate the sacrifices that the men and women who serve in our intelligence services around the country and around the world, provide in contributing to the safety and security of the American people.

HOWELL: In contrast, the U.S President Barack Obama also spoke out about the reaction to this report that again, points the finger at Russia saying that Russia is behind these cyber attacks. The President is saying that people should remember that Russian interests are not the same as U.S interests.

BARACK OBAMA, (D), PRESIDENT, USA: I think that what is true is that the Russians intended to meddle and they meddled. I'll be honest with you George. The one of the thing that I am concerned about is the degree to which we've seen a lot of commentary lately where there were republicans or opponents or cable commentators who seemed to have more confidence in Vladimir Putin than fellow Americans because those fellow Americans are Democrats. That cannot be.

UNINDITIFIED MALE: Does that include the president-elect? OBAMA: Well, what I will say is that -- and I said this right after the election, we have to remind ourselves we're on the same team. Vladimir Putin is not on our team.

HOWELL: Let's talk more about this with Rod Beckstrom, the former director of the National Cyber Security Center at the U.S Department of Homeland and Security, also a former Senior Adviser to the U.S. director of National Intelligence. Rod, joining us live this hour from Santa Cruz, California. It's good to have you with us Rod.

Let's talk first about this declassified report. The president-elect meeting, he got a much more detailed version of this particular report. That report essentially stating that Russia was behind an influenced campaign to influence the election.

It was targeting Hillary Clinton to hurt her chances of winning, but still, his statement afterwards, Trump never acknowledged that Russia was behind it. Your thoughts on that.

ROD BECKSTROM, FORMER DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL CYBER SECURITY: It looks that President-elect Trump is a tough New York street fighter and he fights to win. He's not someone who's going to you know, easily change his position on this issue. Clearly, he feels that, you know, it relates to the credibility of his election potentially.

So, you now, he's taken a strong position and I think any president that was elected would do exactly the same thing. So we shouldn't be surprised by that.

HOWELL: The Trump administration, the incoming administration is suggesting hey, this is a partisan situation that, you know, the hacking may have happened, but at the same time, you know, that it's not undermining his legitimacy as the president.

The big story though here, is that a foreign power may have acted to influence the U.S. election. That's the big story. Do you think that that's going to be swept under the rug here?

BECKSTROM: Well, at first, this is not entirely a partisan issue. I mean, even the hearing that McCain and the armed forces committee of the senate had earlier this week was clearly a well-orchestrated bipartisan affair with general buy in from the participants and from the different the intelligence leaders that they all had concern that Russia probably was involved here.

But, again, this is not a shocking news story. As the report itself says, The Russians have been doing this for years all around the world and also with previous American elections thought to have an impact. The change is that we have towards hyper transparency that moved towards disclosure of information is a shift. It is something we want to protect from. But the most important thing is that we prepared for the future and learned from the lessons here. Because this is the new reality we're going to live in.

HOWELL: But Trump over Twitter has suggested that gross negligence by the Democratic National Committee allowed hacking to take place. The Republican National Committee had strong defense, he said. The truth is, though that both groups were hacked, but only damaging information from the Democrats was leaked and released. So the question here is, are we at a point even before the inauguration, that we can no longer expect to have an honest conversation brought about facts with the incoming president?

BECKSTROM: Look, the reports said there was hacking of both parties. It did not say that the Trump campaign servers were hacked and the campaign has maintained and there's supposed to be people who maintain that it was not hacked and that they shared their information with the FBI as well as there's been -- it's been maintained that the DNC did not share their data and servers with the FBI. I'm not 100% precise here but I've not have the data that says that the Trump campaign or the RNC was directly hacked. I'm open to receiving that, but that was not in this report. It said there was hacking on both sides. I think, it would be useful, of course, George to hear which parties were hacked. I think it's relevant. The American people can hopefully learn this through time

HOWELL: Rod Beckstrom, thank you so much for your insight on this. We appreciate you joining us.

BECKSTROM: Thank you, George.

[03:25:01] The former director of the CIA Leon Panetta says it is time for Donald Trump to start taking the Russian threats seriously and to begin working closely with the U.S intelligence community. Otherwise, he told CNN, the U.S. could be in for a rough four years.

LEON PANETTA, FORMER U.S DEFENSE SECRETARY: The bickering that we've seen going on with regards to the intelligence dealing with Russia and the questioning of the intelligence on that issue has in some ways damaged our National Security, because it sent a message to our enemies that some how, they can conduct these kinds of attacks on the United States and not paying a price for it.

And that has to be very clear that we are not going tolerate that. Secondly, it's impacted on the credibility and impacted on the morale of the men and women who served in our intelligence community. These are good patriots who are trying to do the right thing, trying to do their job in presenting the best intelligence to the president.

When that -- the quality of that intelligence is questioned, it begins to undermine the relationship between the president and intelligence community. So I hope that this president will take steps to try to mend those problems because it relates to our national security.

HOWELL: Again, intelligence officials saying with confidence that Russia did play in to the U.S election.

Coming up, we will return to other breaking news that we're following this hour. Authorities trying to figure out what made this man open fire at the Ft. Lauderdale airport. We are live in the United States and around the world at this hour. This is CNN Newsroom.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [03:30:11] HOWELL: Welcome back to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. We are following breaking news out of Florida, the deadly shooting at the Fort Lauderdale Airport. I'm George Howell. That shooting left five people dead, eight others wounded. The suspect, 26-year old Esteban Santiago legally traveled with a gun and ammunition. Police say when he landed in Florida, he took that gun out and started shooting people. Our Boris Sanchez has more now on what happened.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN RPORTER: Just before 1:00 p.m. a gunman opens fire at Fort Lauderdale International Airport. Chaos inside terminal 2, at least 13 people shot with multiple casualties. This cell phone video shows people lying on the floor, on the baggage claim area. The panic inside the terminal then spills outside as hundreds run from the gunshots flooding on to the tarmac and out on to the runways. The injured quickly evacuated to a nearby hospital.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everybody started running out of terminal 1, out of the rental car place. Some lady was yelling for help. I'm on the garage. So I just ran.

SANCHEZ: CNN has learned the suspected shooter left Alaska earlier today bound for Fort Lauderdale. He declared a fire arm when boarding, that weapon packed inside his luggage. Upon arrival after retrieving his bag, one story tells CNN he went into a bathroom and came out firing. Long after the shooting, hundreds continued to run through open areas around the airport, some are driven by false reports of additional shootings.

SHERIFF SCOTT ISRAEL, BROWARD COUNTY, FLORIDA: The shooter is in custody. He's unharmed, no law enforcement fired any shots. The subject is being interviewed by a team of FBI agents and Broward Sheriff Office's homicide detectives. At this point, it looks like he acted alone.

SANCHEZ: Multiple sources identified the alleged shooter as Esteban Santiago. He is said to have been a member of the Alaskan National Guard, leaving the guard last July. Boris Sanchez, CNN Fort Lauderdale.

HOWELL: Let's bring in now CNN Law Enforcement Analyst Matthew Horace, Matthew joining us from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Matthew it's good to have you with us. So when it comes to this suspect Esteban Santiago, what do we know if anything, has the motive?

MATTHEW HORACE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well we don't know the motive yet, but what we do know is that the suspect was having mental health challenges George. So here we go again. Mental health, guns, carnage and chaos, how many times does this have to happen before we change something?

HOWELL: Well let's talk about that just a bit because again here's a person who went to an FBI office and suggested that he heard voices in his head that he should join ISIS. Where does that leave the FBI when they run into people, they encounter people who have claims like that and then end up committing acts like this? HORACE: Well you know, as you know, the FBI and all of the remaining

federal law enforcement, we get leads like this and tips like this and people like this all of the time. We run down those leads. We look at the threat as being credible or incredible, and then we either open an investigation or close the investigation. Unfortunately, if you look at what happened in this case with Baton Rouge, with Dallas, with Nashville, with all of these other active shooter mass killings, it always comes down to the same thing. Someone saw something and then the criminal or the suspect commits a crime.

HOWELL: Let's talk about the images that we're seeing right now, these images from earlier in the day. So many people who were panicked on that airport tarmac are concerned about a second shooter and the possibility that he did not act alone. But at this point, investigators believe he was the lone gunman, correct?

HORACE: That is what they believe. But George, what you're seeing is the human fight or flight syndrome. We've all been conditioned. And when these things happen, you don't know what's coming next. The people that were in that baggage claim area felt as thought the world was coming to an end. They don't know whether there is 8 shots, 10 shots, 20 shots or more. And they are responding to what we, this condition that we live in now.

HOWELL: That explains that couple hours of a gap where there was just chaos. It seemed so chaotic there at that airport when people were concerned whether there might be a second shooter. Before, there was some sense of order. Could the airport have done more? Was this just, how things were to play out as they were to go through and examine to determine whether there was another person involved.

HORACE: Well I think it's the latter George, because remember, when these things happen, law enforcement has to determine how the shooter got there. If they drove a car, where that car is parked? Is that car booby trapped? And are there other people involved? When these things happen? And we practice. We do role plays. We do table top exercises. But the wild card is you never know what the suspect is going to do and how they do it. And that's what creates the sense of urgency and chaos.

[03:35:17] HOWELL: Well one thing that we have been seeing a lot of Matthew, when it comes to the topic of soft targets that we were talking about, baggage claim. This was a place where anyone, you know could go to pick up their bags. What can be done to protect these areas that seemed to be more prevalent to attacks?

HORACE: Well you know, George, we saw the same sorts of thing in Belgium with the attacks there. The baggage claim area and then the ticketing areas are soft targets. An absent placing barriers and doing security check points outside of the doors of the airport, then there's really not a lot you can do except for creating a presence and making sure that people understand if you see something, say something.

HOWELL: So this is a person who seemed to do everything legally. I mean he checked the bag, had a weapon in it, retrieved that weapon when he arrived to Fort Lauderdale. The main issue here that you pointed out earlier, the question of mental health, what can be done about this topic that seems to recur so often?

HORACE: Well as you know, we have legislation that precludes people that have been adjudicated mentally defective that precludes them from purchasing firearms. What has to happen is when people notice that people are having these sorts of conditions, they need to report it. They need to report it. They need to make the authorities aware. If they don't do anything, they need to continue that press because something is wrong when people keep doing the same thing. And as George as you know, the definition of insanity, no pun intended, is doing the same thing and expecting a different result.

HOWELL: CNN Law Enforcement Analyst Matthew Horace, Matthew we always appreciate your insight. Thank you for being with us. Obviously, this is an investigation that we'll be keeping a close eye on.

HORACE: Have a great night, George.

HOWELL: Still ahead here on CNN Newsroom, a former president at Mexico once again attacking the president-elect Donald Trump over his border wall, what Vicente Fox said about Donald Trump this time? Stay with us.


[03:40:20] HOWELL: Welcome back to Newsroom. I'm George Howell.

A former Mexican president is again attacking Donald Trump over his proposed border wall. Vicente Fox took to Twitter on Friday and said that he wouldn't pay for Trump's, well, a word that we can't use here, we're a family broadcast wall. But that wasn't that he had more to say to the U.S. president-elect. "Senor Trump, Fox wrote, the intelligence report is devastating. Losing election by more than 3 million votes and in addition this. Are you a legitimate president?"

So the question again, who will pay for that wall that Donald Trump promised? It was a big part of the Trump's core campaign pledges. But his transition team is now signaling it wants to pay for that wall through the U.S. Congress ultimately through taxpayer dollars. It's a move that is even drawing criticism from some Republicans. CNN's Phil Mattingly has more.


TRUMP: We are going to build a wall, don't worry about it. And wait a minute. And who's going to pay for the wall?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's the call and response that defined a winning campaign.

TRUMP: Who's going to pay for the wall?

CROWD: Mexico!

TRUMP: Who's going to pay for the wall? CROWD: Mexico!

MATTINGLY: Despite clear cut promises like this --

TRUMP: We're going to build a wall and Mexico is going to pay for the wall, believe me, 100 percent. Believe me. And that will be very easy. That will be very, very easy. Politicians think we're joking. We don't joke. We don't joke.

MATTINGLY: President-elect Trump now acknowledging that U.S. taxpayers will at least initially foot the estimated 10 billion dollar price tag for a Mexican border wall. Money Trump tweeted that will, quote, be paid back by Mexico later.

REP. TOM COLE, (R) U.S. HOUSE: I am certainly open to Congress appropriating funds for border security and that includes you know, walls and all sorts of things.

MATTINGLY: With Mexican officials from current President Enrique Pena Neito to former President Vicente Fox.

VICENTE FOX, FORMER MEXICAN PRESIDENT: I declare I'm not going to pay for that (inaudible) wall. He should pay for it. He's got the money.

MATTINGLY: Making clear they have no intention of going along with Trump's proposal. Trump's team and GOP lawmakers are strategized around an idea to use a 2006 law enacted under George W. Bush that already authorizes the construction of a, "physical barrier" on the border. All the lawmakers have to do, authorize the billions of dollars, billions of taxpayer dollars to pay for it. For deficit- conscious Republicans, there are already signals it may be a tough sell.

REP. MO BROOKS, (R) U.S. HOUSE: I can't speak as to how voters generally will react if American taxpayers are forced to pay for that wall. But I can tell you how I would react. And I would be disappointed.

MATTINGLY: And Democrats are casting doubt on whether it's a reality at all.

REP. NANCY PELOSI, (D) U.S. HOUSE: Republicans would put what, 14 billion dollars in a continuing resolution to build the wall? I don't know. That's -- I think that's a heavy sell. I think that's a tough sell.

MATTINGLY: But Trump's position started to shift late in his campaign.

TRUMP: Remember, I said Mexico is paying for the wall with the full understanding that the country of Mexico will be reimbursing the United States for the full cost of such a wall. OK?

MATTINGLY: A shift that underscores one clear fact, recovering billions of dollars from a foreign country isn't exactly easy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How is Mexico going to pay for that wall?

SEAN SPICER, INCOMING U.S. PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SECRETARY: Again, I think he's going to continue to talk about that, whether it's through higher tariffs or direct check. I mean, he will talk to them about that. That's something he has been very clear about.

MATTINGLY: Phil Mattingly, CNN, Washington.


HOWELL: Phil Mattingly, thank you so much.

Another big story we're following and still ahead, a blast of winter weather that is pushing deep into the southern United States and making for a very, very cold feeling just outside the CNN Center here in Atlanta. More on the forecast ahead. Stay with us.


[03:48:19] HOWELL: Welcome back to "CNN Newsroom. I'm George Howell. The southeastern part of the United States, it is the middle of its first winter storm of 2017. Look at that, people are trying to deal with it as best they can. This is a system that's dropping freezing rain, snow, and ice across North Georgia including Atlanta here at CNN world headquarters. Behind it though, a solid mass of frigid air that is expected to linger for days. Good times, yeah? Meteorologist Derek Van Dam is here to tell us more about it. You know Derek, what do we say here?

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: That Atlanta doesn't know how to handle the ice. It's difficult. It's -- you know, we come from the Midwest and we see it year in and year out. You get a bit of ice and snow mix, although really it is a very dangerous thing. It's just that it defies logic. You think it's a simple thing. Don't go on the roadways, listen to emergency management. No four-by-four out there can traverse icy conditions. That's just the simple fact.

And when you have images like this, coming in to CNN -- well, I took this image, just right outside of the office. Yeah, it's not looking too nice out there. So my best advice is, listen to us, don't go out there because black ice is just what it means. You cannot see it on the tar. You cannot see it on the roadways. It is invisible to you and I and that's what makes it so incredibly dangerous for vehicles. No four-by-four can traverse black ice, that is for sure.

This is an image of the freezing rain. Look at the icicles just dangling from some of the lights there in the distance. And just to give you an idea of how freezing rain actually forms. It's cold enough in the upper levels of the atmosphere for it to fall out of the clouds of snow, but there's this warm layer about 5,000 feet in the air that melts the precipitation. Temperature is near the surface of the earth or right about 32 degrees Fahrenheit or zero degrees Celsius. So that liquid equivalent water just freezes instantaneously on anything on the surface including light poles and trees.

[03:50:20] And when you start factoring in wind gusts over 20, 30 miles per hour which we're expecting at Atlanta, that's going to take down tree limbs and the potential to perhaps cause some electricity outages for this area. By the way, 79 counties in Georgia declared state of emergency. Alabama, our neighbor to the west also states of emergency in place and that is not the only area getting hammered by winter weather right now.

We do not like to see this shading of pink, setting up just south of Charlotte and into Raleigh. That is the rain-snow mix. At times with freezing rain but it's a full on blizzard in Norfolk, Virginia for instance. This storm stretches across about 13 states over the east coast. And by the way, if you're in Long Island or perhaps in the Connecticut or an island in Massachusetts including Boston, you have winter storm warnings from the same system as it traverses the entire east coast. New York, you'll get a couple of inches out of the storm system, but really, bare the brunt of the storm.

Now, check this out. On the other side of the country, we're also monitoring a major winter storm that's bringing in Pacific moisture. This is called the "pineapple express". We can trace that origin of that moisture all the way from Hawaii. This is bringing in the greatest flood threat in 10 years for the State of California which of course has had a six-year ongoing drought. So good news but maybe too much too quickly. We're talking about 10 inches of rainfall equivalent and lesser amount as you head towards the coast, but you can imagine what that means, flooding potential there.

We'll take you to the other side of the world. This is in Istanbul. A friend of mine took this photo as he was heading out the door to work this morning. And that is the Ataturk Airport. Not looking too good. They had 25 centimeters of snow causing delays on that part of the world.

HOWELL: As we look at the Ataturk Airport, you know, you're a Michigan man, I've lived in Chicago a bit. I don't think we should complain that much about the Atlanta snow but it is dangerous.

VAN DAM: It is dangerous. Absolutely, we got to take it seriously.

HOWELL: We have to take it seriously. Derek, thank you.

VAN DAM: All right.

HOWELL: Also now, the First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, she has never been one to hide how she feels at her last official speech, was certainly no exception. Ms. Obama was hosting top high school counselors from all around the country. The First Lady got very emotional. Some of the guests cried as she spoke. Michelle Kosinski has more.


MICHELLE OBAMA, U.S. FIRST LADY: As I end my time in the White House, I can think of no better message to send to our young people, something that has carried us through every moment in this White House and every moment of our lives. And that is the power of hope. The belief that something better is always possible if you're willing to work for it and fight for it.

It is our fundamental belief in the power of hope that has allowed us to rise above the voices of doubt and division, of anger and fear that we have faced in our own lives and in the life of this country.

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: In a crowd of educators, advocates, school counselors the First Lady took this opportunity to speak to America's youth about America's values. And as someone who over 8 years has emerged as one of the most powerful voices for Democrats from her emotional speech at the convention last year.

OBAMA: I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves, and I watch my daughters, two beautiful intelligent, black young women, playing with their dogs on the White House lawn.

KOSINSKI: -- to her surprising words just days ago with Oprah Winfrey.

OBAMA: You see, now we're feeling what not having hope feels like.

KOSINSKI: Here, she didn't miss the chance to once again hit out at the kind of rhetoric she said has defined the Trump campaign.

OBAMA: If you or your parents are immigrants, know that you are part of a proud American tradition. And whether you are Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Sikh, these religions are teaching our young people about justice, and compassion, and honesty. You see, our glorious diversity, are diversities of faiths, and colors, and creeds, that is not a threat to who we are, it makes us who we are.

KOSINSKI: Noting too that it comes with responsibility. Half of those young people she's speaking to didn't vote at all.

OBAMA: You cannot take your freedoms for granted. Empower yourselves with a good education. Then get out there and use that education to build a country worthy of your boundless promise.

[03:55:06] Lead by example with hope, never fear, and know that I will be with you rooting for you and working to support you for the rest of my life. And I am so grateful to all of you for your passion and your dedication and all of the hard work on behalf of our next generation, and I can't think of no better way to end my time as First Lady than celebrating with all of you.

So, I want to close today by simply saying thank you. Thank you for everything you do for our kids and for our country. Being your First Lady has been the greatest honor of my life. And I hope I have made you proud.

CROWD: Thank you.


KOSINSKI: You got the sense that that was difficult to deliver. I mean, her face was serious throughout, not smiling very much. The emotion seemed difficult to keep under control. And it was surprising just days ago to hear her words in an interview with Oprah Winfrey when she said now we're feeling what not having hope feels like.

Well, here the message was continued hope. And then afterwards, Friday night here at the White House, the Obamas hosted a star-studded farewell party. Also this weekend, President Obama is expected to work on his farewell speech that he'll deliver next week in Chicago. The White House says his goal is to keep it optimistic and forward- looking.

Michelle Kosinski, CNN, the White House.

[03:56:53] HOWELL: And thank you for being us with for this hour of "CNN Newsroom." I'm George Howell at the CNN Center in Atlanta. Our breaking news coverage continues for viewers here in the United States and around the world from London with my colleague Hannah Vaughan Jones and more on the shooting at the Fort Lauderdale Airport. Thanks for watching CNN, the world's news leader.