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Barack Obama's Emotional Farewell Speech; U.S. Intelligence Briefed Outgoing and Incoming Presidents; Media's Long-awaited Trump's Press Conference; Bombing in Afghanistan; Death Penalty for Dylann Roof. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired January 11, 2017 - 03:00   ET


[03:00:00] ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: An emotional farewell. Barack Obama tries to end his eight years in office on a positive note.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: By almost every measure, America is a better stronger place than it was when we start.



CHURCH: And the challenges ahead the U.S. president sends a final message to Moscow and Beijing.

Hello and welcome to our viewers all across the globe. I'm Rosemary Church. And this is CNN Newsroom.

And we begin with a story that we brought you first on CNN involving the next U.S. president, Donald Trump.

Here is Jake Tapper with more.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: CNN has learned that the nation's top intelligence officials presented information to President-elect Donald Trump on Friday and President Barack Obama on Thursday about claims of Russian efforts to compromise President-elect Trump.

The information was provided as part of last week's classified briefings intelligence briefings regarding the Russian efforts to undermine and interfere into 2016 presidential elections.

I work on the story with Jim Sciutto, with Evan Perez, and with Carl Bernstein, all of us have been working our sources for several days. They all joined me now. Let me start with my colleague now, Jim Sciutto.

Walk us through the basic outline of what we've learned.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN'S CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: So, this was a team reporting effort at CNN and multiple officials with direct knowledge of those briefings tell CNN that classified documents on Russian interference on the 2016 U.S. election that were presented last week to President Obama and to President-elect Trump.

It included allegations that Russian operatives claimed to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump. These allegations were part of a two-page synopsis based on memos compiled by a former British intelligence operative whose past work U.S. intelligence officials credible.

The FBI is now investigating the credibility and the accuracy of those allegations which are based primarily on information from Russian sources. But the FBI has not confirmed many essential details in the memos about Mr. Trump.

The classified briefings last week, I'll remind you, were presented by four of the senior most U.S. intelligence chiefs, Director of national Intelligence, James Clapper, FBI Director James Comey, the CIA Director John Brennan, and NSA Director, Admiral Mike Rogers.

The two-page synopsis also included these allegations, that there was a continuing exchange of information during the campaign between Trump surrogates and intermediaries for the Russian government. This, according to two national security officials.

CNN has confirmed that the synopsis was included in the documents that were presented to Mr. Trump. We cannot confirm if it was also discussed in his meeting with the intelligence chiefs as well.

I note, the Trump transition team has not yet commented on this, as have not the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Jake and the FBI.

TAPPER: That's right. For several hours we told the Trump transition team about the story and they said that they would have a statement for us, they have yet to provide it. When they do we will provide it to you.

And just to underline, this information, this two-page synopsis was an addendum, it was an annex to the intelligence community report on the Russian hacking, it was not part of the report in itself.

SCIUTTO: That's right. The focus of these briefings was the intelligence and the analysis behind the intelligence briefings' assessment that it was Russia who did the hack of the election and that Russia's intent was to help Mr. Trump.

This synopsis, though, included in this briefing which shows its importance was not part of that overall assessment.

TAPPER: Now added what we have here are allegations being made by Russians.


TAPPER: That they have potentially compromising information, financial and personal about Donald Trump and information allegations that there were exchanges of information between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. But so far the intelligence community has yet to corroborate these

allegations, so why even bring it up to President-elect Trump and President Obama?

PEREZ: But, Jake, there's a couple of reasons that we're told they were give -- that why decided to do this. The senior intelligence officials included the synopsis in part to make the president-elect aware that these allegations involving him are circulating among intelligence agencies, senior members of Congress and other government officials in Washington.

The officials said that they also included it in part to demonstrate that Russia had compiled information potentially harmful to both political parties but only released the information damaging to Hillary Clinton and the democrats.

[03:04:56] Now this synopsis was not part of an official -- the official intelligence community reported about the Russian hacks but it really, you know, underscores that, you know, it augment the evidence that Moscow intended to harms -- harm Clinton's candidacy and to help Donald Trump. Several officials acknowledged these briefings to CNN.

TAPPER: It's fascinating story. Let me bring in the legendary Carl Bernstein, because, Carl, when we're all working together on the story and you brought this to us this information, the underlying memos upon which the synopsis that was included as an annex to the intelligence community report.

This ongoing memos they did not start with U.S. intelligence, they did not start with the FBI or U.S. law enforcement. Where did they come from?

CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: The underlying memos were produced by a former British MI-6 intelligence operative with great experience in Russia and a former Soviet Union.

He had been hired by a Washington Politico research firm does opposition research, and he had been doing, this firm had been doing opposition research on the Trump campaign on of Donald Trump, for both republicans and democrats opposed to the Trump presidency.

And these firm in Washington started to look at Trump's businesses in Russia, his trips to Russia, his business ties to Russians, and those of others in his family. They then took their information to this MI-6 person in London, a former MI-6 person with whom they had worked before to see where he would further developed their investigation.

And over the course of the months he began producing reports. And by August of 2016, he was sufficiently concerned by the substance of the reports to go to Rome, turn them over to an FBI colleague, a counterintelligence colleague in Rome from the FBI and it was then forwarded to the FBI in Washington these reports.

Subsequent to that, a former British ambassador to Russia contacted John McCain and said there is this information floating around produced by this MI-6 guy. And a meeting was arranged between McCain and the MI-6 someone -- the meeting was arranged between the former ambassador and McCain.

And at that point, McCain got the information shortly afterwards the underlying memos. He then turn them over the memos subsequent to the ones that have been turned over to the FBI in August. They now go through December. McCain turned those over to FBI Director Comey personally in December, on December 9th.

And now, people are awaiting to see what the FBI and other investigators produced now that they have this underlying information.

TAPPER: And what's interesting we obviously as we said earlier, reached out to the Trump transition team to get a response to the fact that these intelligence officials provided this information in a briefing to President-elect Trump and to President Obama, as well as some senior congressional leaders, suggesting that Russians were making these claims.

We've been trying to get a response from the Trump transition team for several hours now. I'm told that President-elect Donald Trump finally issued a response that I can -- I think safely assumed is about our enquiry. He wrote, quote, "Fake news, a total witch hunt." OK.

I'm not really sure what that specifically addresses that the news that we're bringing you is that these intelligence officials provided this information to President-elect Trump if he believe it's a political witch hunt that certainly his perspective.

One of the things that's interesting of course, Jim, is that a lot of these allegations that have been out there before, we haven't reported on them, we haven't discussed them.

But what changed is of course, the fact that the intelligence officials, these senior intelligence officials brought them to this level of saying, hey, President-elect Trump, you should know about this for the reasons that Evan enumerated. Who else knows about these charges and allegations?

SCIUTTO: Let's be clear here. You have U.S. intelligence agencies they've not corroborated this but they are not dismissing these allegations, right? They are not in effect treating them as fake news. You know, the FBI that has not yet corroborated this but they're not dismissing it, that they're investigating.

And you have to be clear the democratic and republican lawmakers who are pursuing this and in fact, want to talk about hearings on this both to look at allege communications between the Trump -- Trump surrogates and Russian operatives during the campaign, but also into the other personal and financial more salacious details.

So, there are multiple outfits as it were in Washington from both parties that are taking this at least seriously on the face of it, they haven't confirmed it.

In addition to that, we know on the Hill that the eight senior most congressional leaders that the four congressional leaders, plus the four majority and ranking members of the intelligence committees have also seen this.

[03:10:08] This is the so-called the gang of eight, and they have -- and we can see that based on some of the questions coming out in the hearing for attorney general nominee Sessions. They have not dismissed this out of hand either.

TAPPER: And Evan, some of this information was floated last year, Senate -- then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid sent a blistering letter in October to the FBI director saying that there -- that he possessed explosive information about communications between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

And today, Senate -- now retired Senator harry Reid said, a spokesman said that his statements speaks for themselves. What changed, why is this now elevated?

PEREZ: Well, we know that Harry Reid is saying this is exactly what he was talking about when he sent those letters. And we know that the FBI has been busy looking at these allegations including the allegations that there have been surrogates of the Donald Trump campaign who were in touch with intermediaries of --intermediaries of the Russian government.

Now, none of this has been proven, none of this has gone anywhere in part because of the election. The FBI had to put a lot of this on hold and on similar, so to speak, until after the election. And now there's a renewed interest in this, especially in light of the report from the intelligence community.

I can tell you, I mean, as early as last summer I began looking at some of these allegations. And so, it tells you something that this has been around in Washington. We, again, we haven't confirmed them but it is something that is being taken very seriously and they are going to have to get to the bottom.

TAPPER: And Carl Bernstein, let me ask you, the idea that intelligence chiefs, people at the level of the head of the CIA, the head of the -- of the director -- the director of the National Intelligence Agency that these individuals would bring this to President-elect Trump, to President Obama, why would they do it?

BERNSTEIN: They want to see that there is an investigation done that is thorough and complete about whatever is there or is not there. And they're obviously some concern that as a new administration comes in with new national security officials that perhaps there might be a disinclination to do the proper investigating.

So, they and laid down a marker, they've taken the information to the outgoing president of the United States, to the incoming president of the United States and said, here it is and we are going to make sure that this matter is investigated and it's not going to go away.

I think it's very significant. And it also does not say that they have expectations of what their findings will be but rather that they are going to run it down and determine what the findings are.

TAPPER: All right. Carl, Evan, and Jim, thank you so much.


CHURCH: All right. We'll take a short break here. But still to come, Barack Obama (TECHNICAL PROBLEM)



OBAMA: If I told you eight years ago, that America would reverse a Great Recession, reboot our auto industry, and unleashed the longest stretch of job creation in our history.


If I have told that we will open up the new chapter with the Cuban people, shut down Iran's nuclear weapons program without firing a shot.


Take out the mastermind of 9/11. If I had told you that we would win marriage equality, and secure the right to health insurance for another 20 million of our fellow citizens


You might have said our sights were set a little too high.


OBAMA: But that's what we did.


That's what you did. You were the change. You answered people's hopes, and because of you, by almost every measure, America is a better, stronger place than it was when we started.



CHURCH: Joining me now to talk more about President Barack Obama's final address to the nation, he's historian and professor at Princeton University, Julian Zelizer, and CNN senior political analyst, David Gergen.

Thank you, gentlemen for being with us.

JULIAN ZELIZER, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR: Thank you. CHURCH: So, Julian Zelizer, if I can start with you. What stood out for you in this address, and from a historical point of view, how do you think this presidential farewell speech compares to those that have gone before it?

ZELIZER: Well, I don't think it will resonate to lay some of them as famed as ones have whether it's George Washington's farewell address warning that the dangers of factionalism or a President Eisenhower's very famous warning to the country about the military industrial complex.

I think what President Obama wanted to do was both to remind his supporters that change is possible and the activism they started in 2008 meant something. And to do that he pulled a little bit of Ronald Reagan and talked about how the country is changed for the better even though many democrats don't feel that way going into 2017.

CHURCH: Now, David Gergen, in his final speech, President Obama got very emotional toward the end as he talked about those closest to him. But before that he listed his achievements over the eight years he's been in office. What will be the legacy of the Obama presidency do you think, and what might be the one thing perhaps that defines his leadership?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think his legacy is still up in the air because we have a president and Donald Trump who is coming in who wants to erase much of what he's done.

And I don't think we've -- I can't remember perhaps Julian can, a time when we've had a successful president who wants to make such a U-turn in policy and which is put at risk a lot of what President Obama achieved, whether it's in health care or in his agreement with Iran, you can go down through the list.

So, I think he's, tonight, I agree that he is -- I don't think this was a historic speech. I do think he's leaving on a way within nostalgia and he's trying to -- he tried tonight to rekindle the sense of optimism and recharge the spirits of so many democrats and young people who have been dispirited by the outcome of this election.

[03:20:06] And think that American politics he's take -- you know, has gone to hell. And he's trying to revive their hope i the future. And it's going to, I think it's -- I think he would be more successful with that than giving this admonition and warning about what the future may hold for democracy although that's clearly essential to what he is concerned about.

CHURCH: Right. And Julian Zelizer, when you look at this farewell speech, as well as the Obama achievements the criticisms about his leadership, the regrets, the legacy, how will President Obama stack up against all those presidents who have gone before him?

ZELIZER: Well, again, as of right now he's done a lot. He has a very big policy, list of policy accomplishments especially in his few years, he's used executive power as well on issues like climate change and Iran nuclear deal. But all of that hangs in the balance. The one thing he didn't do was leave the Democratic Party in better shape when he started.

And because of that and because of a president-elect is determined with the republican Congress to eliminate much of what he's done, it's hard to know what the legacy will looked like because a lot of it might not be in place in a few years.

CHURCH: Yes. And David Gergen, President Obama regrets to not putting in place common sense gun control, he regrets the divide and the bitterness between republicans and democrats and the instability in Libya. But what will be the greatest criticism of his presidency? What will be said years from now about what he should have done but failed to do in the eight years he was in charge?

GERGEN: Well, you know, people are often remembered by the historians who write about them, and in this case the historians I think in the academy in American universities are going to be very kind to President Obama. I think they have great deal of respect for him.

But I think it's -- I think it's what he represents rather than what he's accomplished. (TECHNICAL PROBLEM)


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... interrupted by protestors. Sessions took head on the race accusations that derailed his confirmation hearing for a judgeship before the same committee in 1986.


JEFF SESSIONS, ATTORNEY GENERAL NOMINEE: I didn't know how to respond and didn't respond very well. I hope my tenure in this body have shown you that the caricature that was created of me was not accurate.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In a daylong hearing, Sessions faced tough questions from democrats.


DIANNE FEINSTEIN, UNITED STATES SENATOR: You have referred to Roe v. Wade as, quote, "one of the worst colossally, erroneous Supreme Court decisions of all time."


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And praise from republicans.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's hard for me to understand why anybody be against you.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: And when you start they let you do it.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sessions was pressed on the controversial Access Hollywood tape where President-elect Donald Trump was heard bragging about grabbing women's genitals.


PATRICK LEAHY, (D) UNITED STATES SENATOR: He's grabbing a woman by her genitals without consent is that sexual assault?

SESSIONS: Clearly it would be.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And he made clear he would not be a rubber stamp for Trump, disavowing some of Trump's campaign promises such as bringing back waterboarding.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does waterboarding constitute torture?

SESSIONS: Well, there was a dispute about that when we had the torture definition in our law, the Department of Justice memorandum concluded that did not necessarily prohibit that but Congress has taken an action. Now it makes it absolutely improper, nor legal to use waterboarding.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And he said he opposes a complete ban on Muslims entering the United States.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you support a law that says you can't come to America because you're a Muslim?



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Things got tensed when Democratic Senator Al Franken accused Sessions of distorting his record.


AL FRANKEN, (D) UNITED STATES SENATOR: So, tell me did you file 20 or 30 desegregation cases or is it some other number?

SESSIONS: The record does not show that there were 20 or 30 actually filed cases, so I...


FRANKEN: What do you think would have cause you to say... (CROSSTALK)

SESSIONS: I don't know. I thought...

FRANKEN: ... that you filed 20 or 30 desegregation?

SESSIONS: Well, we had cases going throughout my district and some of them were started before I came and continued after I left.


CHURCH: And Sessions also have vowed to recuse himself from any investigation of Hillary Clinton after comments he made about her during the campaign.

And when we come back, more on Mr. Obama's goodbye speech and his list of achievements abroad. He is urging Americans to be vigilant about foreign pals.


OBAMA: Rivals like Russia or China cannot match our influence around the world unless we give up what we stand for and turn ourselves into just another big country that bullies smaller neighbors.



[03:30:00] CHURCH: A warm welcome back to our viewers all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church. I want to update you on our big stories this hour.

CNN has learned that the nation's top intelligence officials briefed President-elect Donald Trump and President Barack Obama about claims of Russian efforts to compromise the president-elect.

Multiple U.S. officials with direct knowledge of the briefings tell CNN that classified documents on Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election were presented last week to the president and president- elect. It concluded allegations that Russian operatives claimed to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump.

The allegations were part of a two-page synopsis based on memos compiled by a former British intelligence operative whose past work U.S. intelligence officials consider credible.

The FBI is investigating the credibility and accuracy of the allegations which are based primarily on information from Russian sources, but has not confirmed many essential details in the memos about Mr. Trump.

The classified briefings last week were presented by four of the senior most U.S. intelligence chiefs. The two-page synopsis also included allegations that there was a continuing exchange of information during the campaign between Trump's surrogates and intermediaries for the Russian government according to two national security officials.

Now CNN has confirmed that the synopsis was included in the documents that were presented to Mr. Trump but cannot confirm if it was discussed in his meeting with the intelligence chiefs.

The Trump transition team decline comment as did the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the FBI.

Well, U.S. President Barack Obama says America is a better and stronger place than it was eight years ago. Thanks to its citizens. In an emotional farewell, Mr. Obama talked about threats to the U.S. political system and urge Americans to protect their democracy and the principles that created it.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That order is now being challenged - first by violent fanatics who claim to speak for Islam; more recently by autocrats in foreign capitals who see free markets, and open democracies, and civil society itself as a threat to their power. The peril each poses to our democracy is more far-reaching than a car bomb or a missile.

It represents the fear of change; the fear of people who look or speak or pray differently; a contempt for the rule of law that holds leaders accountable; an intolerance of dissent and free thought; a belief that the sword or the gun or the bomb or the propaganda machine is the ultimate arbiter of what's true and what's right.


CHURCH: Well, for more on Mr. Obama's foreign policy record we are joined by international diplomatic editor, Nic RObertson in London, and CNN contributor Jill Dougherty in Moscow. Thank you both for being with us.

[03:34:59] So, Nic, President Obama started and ended his presidency with a message of hope and change. And in his farewell speech he listed all the achievements of his administration. But how far has the United States come and what is his foreign policy record here?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, his record is, you know, successful in bringing doing the diplomatic heavy lifting to bring about the COP21 that the global climate change agreement very significant long awaited by many people around the world. And he restored relations between the United States and Cuba, helping to bring deal to Columbia, and thwarted Iran's pathway to making a nuclear weapon by making that nuclear agreement with Iran that involved several of the nations, European nations as well.

So, in that account, and that was his account as well there in the speech, it had some successful accounts. We've seen him deploy his Secretaries of State, Hillary Clinton first and John Kerry afterwards around the world globe charting almost relentlessly to a degree it has helped over this eight years, in search of peace, for example, Syria, for example, in the Mideast Palestinian Israelis, without success but perhaps one of this sort of defining moments for the foreign policy watches around the world.

And they're kind of divine how intervention is or otherwise, President Obama's United States was ever going to be. The watershed came with that red line moment talking about the possible use of chemical weapons in Syria if they were used by Assad, he said, that will move around, that would be a red line.

When he didn't follow up his words with action to penalize President Assad for that, I think a lot of people around the world at that moment felt that this was -- this was a watershed where you could see under his presidency the United States was going to be as interventionist as it have been in the past.

And I think people have been sort of building to that understanding prior to that moment but that made it quite crystal for a lot of observers. Rosemary?

CHURCH: And Jill, President Obama got in a few digs at Russia, how has his farewell speech been received in Moscow, and if it's too early to tell what sort of reception will it likely get?

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, you know, there hasn't really been that much comment on that. There has been, you know, reporting on the hacking that is still going on, but the allege hacking. But I think when people here do start paying attention to that speech they are going to denigrate it and criticize it just as they have President Obama.

I mean, what you can see right now is Russia is very eager for the next 10 days to go quickly, so that move on to President Trump. And there has been a notable wave of attacks, some of it quite personal, some of it quite very demeaning about President Obama. It's coming from some of the top people in the Putin administration, the Putin government.

And so, I would tend to think that this would be just one thing that be trampled by the Russian government as an example of President Obama, who they charge destroyed relations with Russia. I mean, that's really what they are saying.

CHURCH: All right. And Nic, the U.S. president didn't mention very sensitive issues, Syria certainly not a success story for his administration. But he did take credit for progress made against terrorist groups. How well did he do in the fight against ISIS and what challenges lie ahead on that issue?

ROBERTSON: By his measure the United States has made stronger roads in taking down ISIS leaders, operatives, structures, territory in Iraq, territory in Syria. But perhaps on the terror front his biggest claim post-office and certainly the moment that will stick out for most people was the killing of Osama Bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan back in 2011.

That was a moment that the United States have been -- the people of the United States have been waiting 10 years, the promise had always been that Osama Bin Laden will be bought and held to account for the attacks against the United States.

So, that was a very clear moment of triumph, something he was very proud to announce at that time, something that no one can take away from him and something that any president would have been -- would have been proud to be commander-in-chief at that moment when key decisions were made whether or whether or not how to take care that cause of action.

ISIS, his measure of success there is going to -- is going to depend certainly as far as the historians will go as to how this effectively weakens ISIS going forward as it ramp up their ideology and make them -- make them stronger

[03:40:00] In that regard, does it -- does it, is this part of a continual roll-up that we're going to see to continue into Donald Trump's presidency. Rosemary?

CHURCH: All right. Many thanks to our Nic Robertson and Jill Dougherty. I appreciate it.

Well, Donald Trump's first press conference since July is sure to be must see TV, he's expected to meet reporters in Trump Tower in New York in less than eight hours from now.

CNN's Sara Murray has a preview.

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: After months of huddling away in Trump Tower, tonight, the president-elect is preparing to face the media and filled questions on everything from his business dealings to Russian hacking, to Obamacare.

Trump's first formal press conference since winning the presidency is slated for Wednesday. And after punting on questions in the lobby at Trump Tower this week.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President-elect, would you talk a little bit about your preparation to detangle yourself from the conflicts of interest.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: We'll talk about it on Wednesday. It's very simple.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you talk about at all today?

TRUMP: All I can say is, it's very simple.


MURRAY: The president-elect is expected to tackle a barrage of issues including how he'll separate himself from his web of business interests, and whether his son-in-law, Jared Kushner's new role as senior adviser could present new ethical issue.

But repealing Obamacare appear to top Trump's concerns. He told the New York Times, it's imperative to repeal President Obama's health care law, quote "probably sometime next week." Adding quote, "The replace will be very quickly or simultaneously, very shortly thereafter."

But that's a nearly impossible request to send congressional republicans still haven't agreed on what they will want to replace the heath care law is. Trump may also face scrutiny about his apparent decision to tap vaccine skeptics Robert Kennedy Jr. to lead a commission on vaccine safety.


ROBERT KENNEDY, JR., ACTIVIST: President-elect Trump has some doubts about the current vaccine policies that he was asked questions about it. His opinion doesn't matter and science does matter and we ought to be reading the science and we ought to be debating the science.


MURRAY: While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encourages people of all ages to stay up to date on vaccination and notes there's a zero science linking vaccine and autism. Trump has expressed skepticism of vaccination in the past.


TRUMP: Autism has become an epidemic. Twenty years ago, 35 years ago, you look at the statistics not even close. It has gotten totally out of control. I am totally in favor of vaccines but I want smaller doses over a longer period of time.


MURRAY: The other issue Trump is sure to be pressed on Wednesday, Russia's attempt to influence the election. The president-elect has stopped short of acknowledging the intelligence communities finding that Russia hacked U.S. political institutions, or that Russian President Vladimir Putin directed election meddling in part to try to benefit Trump.

But the issue is already catching up with Trump's cabinet nominees like Jeff Sessions, Trump's pick for attorney general in their confirmation hearing.


LINDSEY GRAHAM, UNIED STATES SENATOR: How do you feel about a foreign entity trying to interfere in our election, I'm not saying they change the outcome but it's pretty clear to me they did. How do feel about it and what should we do?

JEFF SESSIONS, ATTORNEY GENERAL NOMINEE: Senator Graham, I think it's insignificant event.

(END VIDEO CLIP) MURRAY: Russia's cyber hacking is sure to be an even more prominent focus Wednesday when Trump choice for secretary of state former ExxonMobil CEO, Rex Tillerson begins his confirmation hearing.

CHURCH: CNN's Sara Murray reporting there from Washington. Let's check some other news now. In a deadly day in Afghanistan, a bombing in Kandahar killed 11 people including five humanitarian workers from the Emirates. That blast also wounded the UAE's ambassador to Afghanistan.

And the Taliban is claiming responsibility for 36 deaths in Kabul. Suicide bombers struck near the Afghan parliament.

Volkswagen is negotiating a settlement with the U.S. Justice Department over the diesel emission scandal. It would require the German car giant to pay more than $4 billion in fines and plead guilty to criminal wrongdoing. The automaker admitted the fitting vehicles with software to cheat on emissions test back in 2015.

A jury in South Carolina is recommending that a convicted murderer be sentenced to death for killing nine people inside a historically black church. During closing arguments, Dylann Roof, an avowed white supremacist told the jury he felt he had to kill the worshippers back in 2015. The judge will sentence him formally in the coming hours.

In his last speech as U.S. President Barack Obama said no foreign terrorist groups successfully attack the U.S. His security legacy, that's next.



OBAMA: We've taken out tens of thousands of terrorists including Bin Laden.


The global coalition we're leading against ISIL has taken out their leaders, and taken away about half their territory. ISIL will be destroyed, and no one who threatens America will ever be safe.


CHURCH: You just heard U.S. President Barack Obama's warning to potential terrorist. In his farewell to the nation, Mr. Obama praises the fact that no foreign terrorist organization had successfully carried out an attack in the eight years he was in office.

For more, I am joined now by Ian Lee in Istanbul. So, Ian, thankfully there have been no attacks on the scale of 9/11 in the past eight years of the Obama presidency but there were attacks on soft attacks by ISIS sympathizers in the U.S. So, how much credit can he take for this do you think?

IAN LEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rosemary, President Obama has had a full corps, if you will, against terrorist groups. Just the other day we heard reports that U.S. Special Forces went into Syria to take out the ISIS' chief finance minister. And so, we have seen the U.S. government, U.S. Special Forces whether this Special Forces on the ground or air strikes systematically dismantle a lot of ISIS' top leadership.

And we also saw U.S. Special Forces take out Bin Laden, also go after Al Qaeda. They, not just here in the Middle East but in other countries in Africa, and elsewhere around the world.

So, the U.S. has done a lot to degrade the capabilities of terrorist organizations. But we have seen a shirt of sorts of too. We have seen these lone wolves who've come up with these ideas by themselves not getting instructions from abroad who done acts in the name of these terrorist organizations. So that's one thing that has been difficult for the U.S. to stop.

And we have seen, as you said, those attacks against soft targets. But it's not just the U.S. Other international partners and coalition members have had a hand in degrading the capabilities of these organizations, too. This has been a long process.

CHURCH: Yes. And Ian, you were in Cairo when President Obama made his address to the Muslim world at Cairo University, how will the Muslim world remember Mr. Obama do you think?

[03:50:01] LEE: A lot of mixed emotions I believe. You know, he was the president when the Arab Springs started. And it was really a lose- lose situation for him. Being on the ground in Cairo you had protestors blaming the United States for not taking a strong enough position right away, and then later abandoning them.

But then you had to the other side accusing the United States of throwing of President Hosni Mubarak under the bus which is a strong regional ally. Other countries saw that too as a lack of support from the United States for a long standing ally.

So, there a cold relations with other Middle Eastern countries. It was something that I don't think any U.S. president really could navigate well. They took everyone by surprise.

So, as far as it goes with the Arab world it will really depend on who you talk to. There's a lot of countries that are looking forward to the Trump presidency as they believed the United States will become a stronger ally, but there are also people who are concerned that with an upcoming Trump presidency that things like human rights, as well as just a basic rights across the board will be neglected.

CHURCH: All right. Many thanks to our Ian Lee with that live report from Istanbul in Turkey, where it is nearly noon there.

We'll take a short break here, but Barack Obama has given more than 3,000 speeches during his time as U.S. President. A look at some of his greatest tips. That's in just a moment. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CHURCH: U.S. President Barack Obama has sung Amazing Grace and he's dropped the mic at his final White House correspondent's dinner.

Here is a look at some of the most memorable moments from his presidency.




This is your victory.


Now I know you didn't do this just to win an election, and I know you didn't do it for me. You do it because you understand the enormity of the test that lies ahead.

But my main message is to the parents of Trayvon Martin. If I had a son it looked like Trayvon.

They had their entire lives ahead of them, birthdays, graduation, weddings, kids of their own. Among the fallen were also teachers, men and women who devoted their lives to helping our children fulfill their dreams. So our hearts are broken today.

[03:55:08] Their idea held by generations of citizens who believed that American is a constant work in progress, who believed that loving this country requires more than singing his praises or avoiding uncomfortable truth, it requires the occasional disruption, the willingness to speak up for what is right to shake up the status quo, that's America.


Facts, evidence, reason, logic, an understanding of science, these are good things; these are qualities you want in people making policy.

Black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, young, old, gays, straight, men, and women, folks with disabilities all pledging allegiance under the same proud flag to this big, bold country that we love. That's what I see. That's the America I know.




CHURCH: And thanks for your company. I'm Rosemary Church. More news now with Max Foster in London.

Have a great day.