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Trump's New Remarks on Russia Sanctions; Lawmakers Take First Steps to Repeal Obamacare; U.S. and Europe Hit By Frigid Temperatures; FBI Chief Comey Faces Political Firestorm; Rep. Lewis: Trump Is Not "A Legitimate President"; Kremlin; U.S. Deployments s "Threat to Russia"; Trump's Message to China. Aired 4-5a ET

Aired January 14, 2017 - 04:00   ET



NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Natalie Allen. This is CNN.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN INTERNATIOANL ANCHOR: Donald Trump weighs in on sanctions against Russia. But the U.S. President-elect is saying now about how he might respond to alleged election meddling. Taking the night, one of Barack Obama's key achievements. Republican lawmakers move to dismantle the Affordable Care Act.

Plus, frigid temperatures strike the United States and the Europe, take a look there in Budapest. How long this deadly cold weather is expected to last? Live from CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta. Welcome to our viewers here and around the United States and around the world. I'm George Howell. CNN Newsroom starts right now. We are less than a week away from the transition of power in the United States making Donald Trump the nation's 45th president.

But now, we are learning much more about his possible plans for Russia. Trump suggested through the Wall Street Journal he is open to lifting sanctions on Russia and he also said that he would keep them in place after taking the oath of office, at least for a period of time. The U.S. placed additional sanctions Russia last month over alleged hacking. Interference with the U.S. Presidential election. The U.S. Intelligence Agency saying Russia ordered the hacks to help Donald Trump win.

In the meantime the Senate Intelligence Community is planning to hold hearings to investigate those claims. We get more now from CNN's Phil Mattingly.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There have been a lot of questions, not just on Capitol Hill but really across Washington. What's the next step in the wake of that explosive U.S. Intelligence assessment that Russia and its intelligence services meddled in the U.S. Election. Well, now we have an answer. At least one version of the answer. The U.S. Select Committee on Intelligence, one of the most powerful committees on Capitol Hill will be holding a bipartisan investigation into the Russian intelligence activities.

And it's important the scope of this investigate because it's now narrow, it's not just looking into the U.S. Intelligence assessment, a declassified version. We have seen it is also delving deep into potential ties between Russian Intelligence Services and the campaigns, specifically while the committee isn't saying this, it's very clear the Trump campaign. The President-elect's team will be under review for any potential contacts between them and Russians or Russian middlemen. Why does the matter?

Obviously, a powerful committee looking into the campaign could produce answers that we simply haven't gotten up to this point. Now, lawmakers that have been briefed over the course of the last 48 hours, about declassified version of this report have repeatedly come out and say there are more questions that need to be answered, questions that weren't answered in that declassified report. That could be what this investigation ends up bringing to the forefront.

And why? This committee has real power. While they will be looking into potential campaign activities, they will be holding hearings, they will also be interviewing key members of the campaigns of the incoming administration and the outgoing administration. If those interview requests are not complied with, this committee has subpoena power. Again, a bipartisan with subpoena power to compel individuals to sit down for interviews. They will be talking to people from the intelligence community.

For people wondering what's the next step is, where this goes from here. This is an answer, and a potentially explosive and powerful one, demanding on how this investigation is held. We will get answers to that soon. Answers that just about everybody is looking for in the wake of the last couple weeks. Phil Mattingly, CNN, Capitol Hill.

HOWELL: Phil Mattingly talking about answers, very important answers that many people are looking for, in fact that could help determine how Trump handles Russia as president. In that Wall Street Journal article that I just mentioned, Trump said that he wanted some flexibility. He said this this, "If you get along and if Russia is really helping us, why would anybody have sanctions if somebody is doing some really great things?"

Many in congress want the United States to continue its tough stance again Russia at the same. Donald Trump is also saying that he is prepared to meet with the Russian President Vladimir Putin. Let's go live to Moscow. CNN's Fred Pleitgen is following the story this hour with us, Fred. A pleasure to have you with us. Some really mixed messages here, coming from Washington. How is all of this being perceived in Russia?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, of course the Russians are trying to read out what exactly the new incoming administration, the Trump administration is going to do. And it's really interesting to see how a lot of this is being debated here in Moscow. How they are wondering whether or not sanctions relief could be something that could happen in the very near future.

And, you know, one of the things that they have been following here is the fact that they believe that Donald Trump has actually been fairly consistent that in his messaging on Russia, you recall that while the he was campaigning to become president, he held a major foreign policy speech, where he said, wouldn't it be much better if the U.S. got along with Russia. However he also said that he would wait and see, he would negotiate with Vladimir Putin and then if they -- the two could make what obviously he called a deal, it would improve Russian- U.S. relations.

However, if they couldn't, then so be it. That's something he said on the campaign trail. It was really similar words from Donald Trump when he held his first press conference earlier this week, where he also said, look, he believes that if Vladimir Putin likes him, that can potentially be an asset. But he also said if the two don't get along, then he would be tougher on Russia than anybody else could have been.

So that's sort of the messaging that the Russians are getting. And one of the things that you can really see here is that the Russians are trying to do everything to make sure the mood isn't soured from the get-go. For instance, one of the things that was said by Dmitry Peskov, that a spokesman for Vladimir Putin, he said -- he was asked whether or not the U.S. would have to get rid of sanction before the Russians would be willing to go into negotiations on a better relationship? He said, absolutely not, we're willing to talk on any sort of terms.

However, they do expect that the relations could get better and they're happy that Donald Trump is actually talking about wanting to improve the relations, George.

HOWELL: I want to push further on the topic of sanctions there. These sanctions that have been levied not just recently though to the alleged hacking but also due to that nation's annexation of Crimea, Russia, hoping for a major policy shift with Donald Trump. But the question that I want to ask you, Fred, you're there, how crippling have these sanctions been to Russia? To every day Russians?

PLEITGEN: Uh-hmm. Well, you know, they've been very differently for a large part of the Russian population. It's been difficult to get some of the goods that were easily imported for instance from Europe in the past. Obviously, a lot of things have gotten more expensive as well. Everything from German cars to Italian pasta has certainly risen in prices. And some things have become unavailable at all. So it certainly made it very difficult for Russians.

One of the things, however, that it seemingly hasn't done is it certainly hasn't done or put a dent in the popularity of the Kremlin and Vladimir Putin, his approval ratings are still very high. The vast majority of Russians still approve, for instance, of Russia's actions in Syria and also some of the things that are going on in Ukraine, which, obviously, are a little more shady and murky than the over the military engagement that you have in Syria.

So far it's didn't little to change the Russian politics. However, they have been difficult on a lot of people here in this country. And it really is the main overarching topic when you speak to a lot of Russians when you look at Russian media, also on a lot these calls with members of the Kremlin. As they say they want these sanctions to go away. And you are right, it's obviously not only the ones that were recently levied on Russia with those 35 diplomats being spelled, some other people being sanctioned.

It's first and foremost those around the Ukraine crisis that were put in place by the European Union and the United States and the Russians certainly believe that if the U.S. takes a different course that many European nations will get rid of sanctions as well, George.

HOWELL: Will the U.S. go on this? Fred Pleitgen live for us in Moscow. Fred, thank you for the reporting.

A member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee says that Mike Flynn's call with Russia's ambassador to the United States is suspicious. Flynn is Trump's pick for national security adviser. That phone call happened the same day that the President of the United States Barack Obama announced the new sanctions. The President also expelled dozens of Russian diplomats that day. Trump's spokesman says that Flynn and the ambassador aren't in frequent contact but been in touch on a number of issues.

Democrats are demanding answers from FBI Director James Comey about Russia's alleged hacking and they say so far, they're not getting the answers that they are looking for. They're not getting what they want. This even though Comey held a confidential briefing with house lawmakers on Friday. More now from CNN Justice Correspondent Pamela Brown.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: FBI Director James Comey is facing renewed scrutiny on both sides of the aisle. House democrats left a confidential briefing with Comey on Russian hacking fuming.

MAXINE WALTERS, U.S. HOUSE DEMOCRAT: It's classified and we can't tell you anything. All I can tell you is the FBI Director has no credibility.

BROWN: The republican leaning Wall Street Journal editorial board says, "The best service Mr. Comey can render his country now is to resign," calling him too political for a position that's supposed to be apolitical. This while the Department of Justice Inspector General investigates Comey's actions before the election. His decision to hold an unprecedented press conference last July closing the investigation into Hillary Clinton's e-mails.

And then breaking with DOJ policy, by sending a letter just before the election, alerting congress he was renewing a probe into her private server. Democrats mad about his decision not to sign on to an October letter from the intelligence community saying Russia was behind the election hacks and refusal to speak publicly about ongoing investigations and the people formerly connected to the Trump campaign and Russia.

SEN. ANGUS KING, JUNIOR UNITED STATES SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF MAINE: He didn't say one way or another whether even there's an investigation under way.

JAMES COMEY, FBI DIRECTOR: Correct. I don't -- especially in a public forum we never confirm or deny a pending investigation. I'm not saying -- KING: The irony of -- the irony of your making that statement here, I

cannot avoid but I'll move on.

BROWN: Other democrats who recently had a briefing with Comey a registered republican appointed by President Obama, are coming to his defense.

SEN. TOM CARPER, (D) DELAWARE: Jim Comey is an honorable person who I think made a bad decision.

BROWN: Comey is at the center of another political firestorm for briefing the President-elect on unsubstantiated allegations against him last week. CNN has learned Comey had a one-on-one conversation with Trump after the Intel meeting to brief him on the allegations. And a November interview with 60 minutes, Trump left Comey's future hanging in the balance.

LESLEY STAHL, AMERICAN TELEVISION JOURNALIST: FBI Director James Comey, are you going to ask for his resignation?

DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT-ELECT: I think that I would rather not comment on that yet. I don't -- I haven't made up my mind.

BROWN: Well, as of now, Direction Comey is only three and a half years into the tenure -- FBI Director tenure and people familiar with the matter say he has no regrets about the decisions he has made surrounding the recent investigations and has no plans to step down. He also released a statement saying he's grateful for the inspector general investigation and hopes the results will be shared with the public. Pamela Brown, CNN Washington.

HOWELL: Pamela, thank you. A lot of political topics certainly to cover. We'll get more insight just after the break from CNN Politics Reporter Eugene Scott. Still ahead here on CNN, President Obama leaves a parting vote of confidence to his NATO allies. How Russia is responding to the biggest U.S. deployment to Europe since the cold war? Next. Plus, Poland's neighbors are also getting some backup from American troops. Their mission to protect the Baltic States from Russian aggression.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN NEWSROOM WEEKEND ANCHOR: I'm Poppy Harlow. This is your top business headline. The CEO of JPMorgan Chase, Jamie Dimon says he's optimistic about the U.S. economy under Donald Trump. It comes as the bank reported it 24 percent increased in profits for fourth quarter. Mr. Dimon says, "There is an opportunity for good, rational, and thoughtful policy discussion." Bank of America announced its biggest annual profits in a decade Friday, boosted by hopes of less regulation and higher interest rates.

Wells Fargo stock also finished one and a half percent higher on the day despite its fake account scandal and disappointing revenue. Meanwhile the Nasdaq once again finished at a record closing high. The FB500 also rose slightly. The Dow however five points lower the fourth time that it fell this week. U.S. Market are closed on Monday in honor of Martin Luther King Day. Meantime, Renault is the latest auto maker to be caught up in the diesel emissions probe. French prosecutors are investigating Renault's alleged use of software to cheat on diesel emission tests t. The company says it did nothing wrong.

And Japanese airbag maker Takata has agreed to pay one billion dollar fine in the United States over its faulty airbags. Takata has also pled guilty to criminal charges. Three of its former executives have been indicted. Those are your top business headlines. I'm Poppy Harlow in New York.

HOWELL: Welcome back. We were talking a moment ago about the anger among democrats about FBI Director James Comey and Russian hacking and also questions about Donald Trump's pick for -- picks for cabinet and their conflicting views on Russia. We get more now on CNN politics reporter Eugene Scott joining us now via Skype from Washington. Eugene, always a pleasure to have you with us on the show. A lot of topics that we've covered here.

Let's start with Donald Trump's response to the democrats over their frustrations with the FBI, the FBI Director. Trump tweeting the following, "What are Hillary Clinton people complaining ability with respect to the FBI? Based on the information they had, she should never has been allowed to run." Guilty as hell, he says, they were very nice to her. She lost because she campaigned in the wrong states. Donald Trump still pointing back to the election though he will be president of the United States in less than a week. Eugene, your take here.

EUGENE SCOTT, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: The challenge with how the President-elect is framing this situation is that it is not only democrats who are complaining about Russia's involvement in the 2016 election. Quite a few republicans, led by Lindsey Graham and John McCain have also expressed their frustration and disappointment regarding this interference. And so engaging and as this partisan issue opposed to this American issue versus a foreign policy, a foreign intrusion issue, I think the President-elect is missing the major concern not just democrats but his fellow party members and many Americans as well.

HOWELL: With regard to Trump's cabinet picks, many of them during the hearings, they've indicated different views than the Commander-in- Chief that they will soon serve, different views on Russia on several different topics. The President-elect though have this to say about those clear divisions in the ranks. Let's listen.

TRUMP: We want them to be themselves and I told them, to be yourself and say what you want to say, don't worry about me and I'm going to do the right thing whatever it is, I may be right and they may be right but I said be yourselves. When you say let them do it, I could have said, do this, say that, I don't want that, I want them all to be themselves.

HOWELL: The President-elect indicating there, Eugene that he is looking forward to having the difference of opinion, the difference when it comes to debating and deciding these issues. SCOTT: It is clear that the President-elect does not have much of a challenge or problem with some of his nominees disagreeing with him on core issues. The question is, do the American people and quite a bit of attention when Secretary of State Nominee Rex Tillerson said that despite being nominated to be the country's top diplomat, he and Donald Trump cannot have significant conversations about global affairs, including Russia. Whether or not the American people will be as okay with these individuals being themselves, as Donald Trump remains to be seen.

HOWELL: One very delicate topic for the President-elect seems to continues to be whether he won fair and square or whether the alleged Russian meddling did, in fact, help him to win the election in 2016. It's a question that drives to the issue of his legitimacy as president. Listen to what Congressman John Lewis had to say about that on Meet The Press.


REP. JOHN LEWIS, U.S. HOUSE DEMOCRAT: I don't see the President- elect Trump as a legitimate president.

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC ANCHOR: You do not consider him a legitimate president. Why is that?

LEWIS: I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected and they have destroyed the candidacy of Hillary Clinton.


BHOWELL: Eugene, is that any indication as to how Lewis, potentially other democrats may move forward with the new President-elect?

SCOTT: It certainly is. John Lewis is at least the third lawmaker who will not be attending the inauguration out of concern and frustration regarding this election and Russia's involvement in it. Whether or not, these two parties will be able come together over something so divisive as this election is not yet clear. But what we do need to see is them come up with plans if terms of how to prevent this from happening again. Because Russia and throughout these intelligence briefings has made it clear that this will not be their last time meddling in an election.

HOWELL: The outgoing president also, he has taken some time to reflect on his own presidency. He's also looking forward to the incoming president. Take a listen to what he had to say earlier about Donald Trump. Maybe a change in Trump when he becomes president. Let's listen.


BARACK OBAMA, U.S. PRESIDENT: Look. He's an unconventional candidate. I don't think there is anybody who's run a campaign like his successfully in modern history, not that I can think of, and as a consequence, because he didn't have the supports of many of the establishment in his own party, because he ran sort of a improvisational campaign.

STEVE KROFT, AMERICAN JOURNALIST: Can you run an improvisational presidency?

OBAMA: I don't think so. And -- so now he is in the process of building up an organization and we'll have to see how that works and it will be a test.


HOWELL: That is the question, though. You know, during the campaign, there was always that word pivot. People always would say pivot. Pivot never happened. Trump continued to be Trump. So the question here is, will candidate Trump be different than President Trump? Will the process of governing force a difference, Eugene? That's the question the president is raising.

SCOTT: Well, President-elect Trump looks very similar to candidate Trump. And that's intentional on his part. It was effective in helping him get to the point where he is now. But many of his critics, even those within his own party, are looking forward to seeing him pivot in the way that his campaign promised months ago into being a leader that is more concerned with unifying the party opposed to slamming Hillary Clinton and people left of him.

HOWELL: CNN Politics Reporter Eugene Scott live for us in Washington, via Skype. Eugene, thanks for your insights. We'll see you again, thank you.

SCOTT: Sure.

HOWELL: Poland is set to formally welcome the biggest deployment European deployment of American troops in decades. The United States says it's meant to reinforce its ties with NATO allies, but Russia is loudly disapproving of this gesture. With get more from CNN Atika Shubert live for us in Poland this hour. Atika, it's great to have you. This buildup, it is a move that is being made by the current president described as defensive in nature in support of the NATO alliance, but Russia sees this very differently.

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. The Kremlin spokesperson Dimitri Peskov described this as a threat, a military boarders near to Russia's borders. Just to be clear, where I am standing here in Zagan , we're more than a thousand kilometers from the Russian border. Belarus, Lithuania and Ukraine all stand between Poland and Russia.

But there has been deep concern here in the Eastern European allies of NATO, especially when they viewed Russia's not so covert aggression into Ukraine, the annexation of Crimea, ever sense then they have been calling for to bolster troop -- NATO troops in the region. And this is the response. What we're looking at is four battalions of about a thousand soldiers each including more than 2,000 pieces of military hardware, tanks, armored vehicles coming in, these are all from the third armored brigade combat team of the Fourth Infantry Division normally based out of Ft. Carson, Colorado. Now they have arrived here Zagan. There will be a ceremony later today. The Polish Prime Minister will be officially, officially welcoming those troops. They won't all be based here, they will fan out to different locations in Poland and then in nine months, they will be rotated to other eastern European allies. Some of those countries include Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Lithuania.

So all of this again is about bolstering that collective defense against Russian aggression. But the timing is important. This all happens just a week before Trump's inauguration. And of course, Russia is looking to change the relationship with the new President- elect, George.

HOWELL: That is the big question, Atika, is there a concern there about whether this buildup could in fact turn into troops being scaled back when the new president takes the oath of office?

SHUBERT: I think that's part of the reason why we are seeing the ceremony here today. Poland wants to make it very clear that it supports having these troops here. It asked to have these troops here, along with other NATO allies and wants to make sure these troops stay here. Now, it's important to note that the Polish Foreign Minister did have a conference call with Trump's advisers, making Poland's pointed clear, that yes, it understands the United States and the Trump administration wants to have better relations with Russia.

But that it cannot come at Poland's expense. So it could be a case here where the Obama administration has moved in these troops in order to ensure the U.S. Commitment to NATO and the troop buildup here. But whether or not the Trump administration continues that is still a question.

HOWELL: Atika Shubert live for us in Poland. Atika, thank you for the reporting. We'll stay in touch with you.

Still ahead here on the CNN Newsroom. Donald Trump puts Beijing on notice signaling that he is open to changing the United States decades old policy, the one China policy and Taiwan, details on that ahead. Plus, Obamacare's days could be numbered. With Donald Trump set to enter the White House, how republicans are trying to fulfill a pledge to repeal and the question, will they be able replace? We are live from Atlanta, broadcasting across the United States and around the world, you are watching CNN Newsroom.


HOWELL: A warm welcome back to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. You are watching CNN Newsroom. It is good to have you with us. I'm George Howell with the headlines we are following for you. This hour, Poland is set to formally welcome the biggest European deployment of American troops since the Cold War. The reinforcements are seen as an affirmation of the NATO alliances, but the Kremlin is calling the deployment a threat to Russia.

The Senate Intelligence Committee is looking into whether or not Russia meddled into the U.S. Presidential Elections. The hearings will also investigate any ties between Russia and political campaigns.

[04:30:02] U.S. Intelligence agencies say that Russia ordered the hacks in order to help the President-elect Donald Trump win the presidency. In the meantime, Trump suggested he is keeping an open mind about U.S. sanctions on Russia.

In a Wall Street Journal article, he says that he is willing to consider lifting those sanctions, but that he will keep them in place for some time for society. The U.S. put those most recent sanctions in place last month, as you will remember to punish Russia for its alleged meddling. Donald Trump has promised big changes once he is in the White House. That could include the U.S., that decades old one China policy, under it, Washington has formal diplomatic ties with Beijing and not with Taiwan. But the President-elect told the Wall Street Journal that that's up for negotiation. China says no negotiations. We get more from Steven Jong in Beijing.

STEVEN JANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: If business tycoon Donald Trump thinks everything the world is negotiable, he may be sooner minded as the next U.S. President but at least in the eyes of the Beijing government, one issue is absolutely non-negotiable that is the One China Policy. Officials here have reminded him and his team time and again in the past few week that Taiwan is China's core interest and the One Chine Principle is the cornerstone of the bilateral relationship between Beijing and Washington.

They'd like to say that every U.S. President since Jimmy Carter has committed to this policy and stuck to it and they certainly hope the Trump White House would do the same instead of derailing four decades of development and achievements. But Mr. Trump does have a point about that the U.S. does sell billions of arms to Taiwan to allow it to defend itself against the potential Chinese attacks. But it's exactly this kind of strategic ambiguity in the One China Policy that's allow Beijing, Washington, as well Taipei to maintain relative peace and stability in the decades past.

So at least on this sensitive issue what's being said matters as much as what's being done. Now, on other issues, Chinese officials have been quite restrained and measured in their response to Mr. Trump's remarks, including issues like trade the South China Sea and cyber security. What they have been saying here is this relationship has so much going tore for it, if less more cooperation, less confrontation is the attitude both sides adopt.

They also like to point out the phone conversation Mr. Trump had with China's President Xi Jinping after the Trump's election that both leaders have said mutual respect is important in with dealing with each other. One other thing they like to bring up is that is Mr. Trump is not president yet, so what he has been saying so far is not official U.S. Policy and the Chinese government pays more attention to official policies instead of a leader's style and personalities.

But privately, many officials have expressed to me that they're unsure how to deal with this U.S. President, who likes to conduct foreign policy online, some have even asked me for suggestions. My response, follow him on Twitter. Read his tweets and have an answer ready for reporters like us. Steven Jang, CNN Beijing.

HOWELL: Steven Jang, thank you so much for your reporting. As for the current U.S. President Barack Obama as he moves into his final days of office, republicans in the U.S. House and Senate seek to dismantle a landmark of his administration. They have voted to begin gutting the Affordable Care Act better foreign as Obamacare. We get more now from CNN's Manu Raju.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The current resolution is agreed to.

MANU RAJU, CNN REPORTER: The House taking the first step to repeal Obamacare.

PAUL RYAN, U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: This law is collapsing while we speak.

RAJU: Congress approving a budget that will now give republicans the authority to repeal much of the Affordable Care Act on a party line vote.


RAJU: The move is intended to fulfill one of the main campaign promises of President-elect Donald Trump, who wants to replace the law at the same time as repealing it.

TRUMP: It will be essentially simultaneously. It will be various segments, you understand, but will most likely be on the same day or the same week but probably the same day. It could be the same hour. So we're going to do repeal and replace.

RAJU: But Trump's comments undercut the plans of GOP leaders, who want to take their time developing a new health care law. House Speaker Paul Ryan even said last month, that a replacement would not be ready by the next football season. At CNN's Town Hall, a shift, Ryan now promises to move quickly.

RYAN: So we want to advance repealing this law with its replacement at the same, along the lines of I -- what I just described as something definitely a plan within the first 100 days to get moving on this legislation.

RAJU: But they are already running into problems. The party is divided of how to replace the law. And some influential voices are asking party leaders to hit the brakes.

CHARLIE DENT, U.S. HOUSE REPUBLICAN: Yes. I think the repeal plan need to be fully, fully developed and better articulated prior to moving forward. I have some reservations about moving as quickly as we are.

RAJU: Do you have concerns at all about the time table then in.

MIKE COFFMAN, U.S. HOUSE REPUBLICAN: I -- it's going to be a very -- I think it's going to be a very long process. RAJU: You don't think it's going to happen right away?


RAJU: Some conservatives are demanding quick action on plans allowing individuals to buy insurance across state lines and to receive tax breaks for getting coverage.

THOMAS MASSIE, U.S. HOUSE REPUBLICAN: Why don't we do replace and repeal? You nkwo, we can do these things as -- we could be putting those things on the floor this week.

RAJU: Democrats are warning the GOP will pay a political price for scrapping a law that helped insure an additional 20 million people.

NANCY PELOSI, U.S. HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: What are they doing in this bill? Overturning the Affordable Care Act, undermining the health security and financial stability of America's working families, and defunding Planned Parenthood. That's their - that's their manhood thing.

RAJU: Manu Raju, CNN Capitol Hill.

HOWELL: Certainly a chill there with lawmakers in Washington. And let's talk now about the cold also across much of the eastern part of Europe. It is cold. In fact, it is deadly in some places, and we have a lot more to talk about with our Meteorologist Allison Chinchar. You know, online someone just told me it's really cold in California, too cold weather is just the thing to talk about.

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: That's right. We now have over 40 million people under some type of ice storm warning, winter storm watch, in portions of the United States. And that's where we're going to start because we have the potential for a very dangerous ice storm that is taking shape, stretching all the way from Texas over towards Washington, D.C. Now, the threat under this is a multitude, we're talking widespread power outages, we're also talking travel disruptions as well.

Basically what we have is very shallow cold air, it's being overrun by a warm moist air and what that means is when the precipitation falls from cloud, it's going to be in a form of rain and then just as it reaches the surface it will free on contact and that makes it very dangerous if you're driving along the roads. It appears it's coming down as rain and hit your windshield as rain but it freezes on the road or any type of cold surface, mailboxes, sidewalks, power lines for example.

This is where we have the greatest threat for the freezing rain at least in a short term but that system begins to push east as we go into the coming day. That's why it has such as huge swamp and area to cover, it's a very slow-moving system. Now, widespread, we're talking about a quarter of an inch of ice accumulations but you'll notice out towards the especially Oklahoma City stretching along Interstate 40 and 35m we could be looking at three quarters up to an inch of ice accumulations. Again, that's incredibly dangerous. On the other side of Atlantic,

we're also talking very cold temperatures and a winter storm. Now, this is a look at Albania where villagers are trying to have for food and water. They've been kind of trapped in the region because of the incredibly heavy snowfall that they had in this region. Here you can see one of those emergency helicopters trying to drop some of supplies.

Now, that brought snow to London cancelling at least 80 flights at Heathrow Airport in the last couple of days. That is now traversing off towards the east bringing snow to places like Germany, Poland, stretching all the way down towards Albania in the coming days. Widespread, we're talking snow accumulations about 10 centimeters but there will be some spots especially on those higher elevations or maybe not so many complains because the ski reports like to have it, we could be looking at 20 even possibly 30 centimeters of snow.

And then we're also talking the next cold snap that's going to come in. Notice those pink and purple colors there, that's what we're talking the really incredibly cold air. Take a look for example (INAUDIBLE) the average high temperature, one right now but as we go to the coming days, we're going to see those temperatures plummet many areas, we're talking five, if not, ten-degree Celsius below the average in the coming days.

So, again, that causes problems not only for the folks that are native to those areas but a lot of the immigrants as well, George, that maybe aren't used to those type of conditions, as well as the power grids, remember the power grids are kind of based off on what the average temperatures would be, so a lot of them could get strained in the coming days as well.

HOWELL: Wow, I remember looking back the image from Budapest, and just frigid temperatures.


HOWELL: Thank you so much, Allison.

CHINCHAR: You're welcome, thank you.

HOWELL: Still ahead here on Newsroom. The fight against ISIS, fight troops could be closing in on the terror group's leader. Also how Mosul University became a front line in the battle to retake Iraq's second largest city. Stay with us. We'll be back in just a moment.


HOWELL: Welcome back. The fight against ISIS, Iraqi forces have stormed the university complex a community complex in Mosul the terror group seized more than two years ago.


HOWELL: That's a scene there of some of the heavy clashes that broke out inside Mosul University. This after bulldozers knocked out a wall surrounding the campus. Iraqi force say they reached two bridges that cross the Tigris River. The U.S. says the Iraqi troops retook a government complex and raised the Iraqi flag there.


HOWELL: The United States wants to capture the leader of ISIS so badly, they're now offering a $25 million reward for his capture. Our Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr looks at why the troops may be hot on his trail.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: The hunt for ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi may be intensifying. Defense Secretary of state Ash Carter offering uncharacteristic detail.

ASHTON CARTER, U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: He moves around. We -- I'm just confident almost any more than that.

STARR: Carter says the U.S. doesn't know exactly where Baghdadi is. But he is making clear there's fresh intelligence. Military and intelligence officials will not say if the new information comes from overhead surveillance by drones or aircraft, intercepting communications or detainees who have been willing to talk.

PETER COOK, PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: We anticipate that Baghdadi and other senior ISL leaders have been moving around.

STARR: Iraqi Shia Militias now insist he is hiding west of Mosul not far from the Syrian border. U.S. Special operations forces who've been looking for Baghdadi from the air and on the ground have gotten clues from raids against top ISIS operatives.

COOK: As we continue to recover sensitive intelligence and locations in Iraq and Syria, we're going to continue to use that intelligence and use what we learn about their movements.

STARR: The top U.S. Commander noting Baghdadi is increasingly isolated by the killing of those around him making him vulnerable.

LT. GEN. STEPHEN J. TOWNSEND, COMMANDING GENERAL OF THE XVIII AIRBORNE CORPS: Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi probably wishes he had more direct command and control over his formation than he does right now.

STARR: And according to defense secretary, it's only a matter of time.

CARTER: His days are numbered and that's true of all the rest of the leadership.

STARR: And then yet another clue, a U.S. Official says the Obama administration is aware of some of Baghdadi's movements in recent weeks. Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.

HOWELL: Barbara, thank you. In Syria, amid severe water shortages there, the government says repairs have begun at a key pumping station, fighting damaged the infrastructure around critical springs near Damascus in December. The U.N. says that left around four million people if Damascus with acute water shortages. But now, state media report, a deal has been reached between the government and the militias, engineers have been now been allowed to access that area and to get the water flowing back through that nation's capital.

In West Africa, we are getting word, Ivory Coast's government has reached an agreement with mutiny soldiers. This is according to Defense Ministry, although, CNN has not been able confirm the troops have accepted the deal. The agreement would end the dispute over bonus payments. Some soldiers say that they were promised about $8,000 and a house for helping to bring the current president to power after the disputed elections in 2010.

This is CNN Newsroom. And still ahead the Obama girls, they grew up in the White House, the whole world was watching them and under a microscope in fact, and now they're getting advice about moving on from another pair of presidential daughters. It is 4:47 on the U.S. East East Coast. This is CNN Newsroom and we are glad to have you with us.


DON RIDDELL, CNN WORLD SPORT ANCHOR: Hi, I'm Don Riddell with your CNN World Sport Headlines. The rumors coming out of Chelsea on Friday night, could represent a seismic change for world Football. The Blues striker Diego Acosta is missing from the lineup to play Leicester on Saturday . And there are reports that he's received an offer to join the Chinese Super League.

If so, and if he Chelsea sell him, he could make cost of the most highly paid player in the world but he did take social media later on Friday with the hearts next to the words, "Come on, Chelsea." Meanwhile, the biggest rivals will be thrilled, two of them go head- to-head on Sunday. It's Manchester Knight against Liverpool (INAUDIBLE) Jose Mourinho's United of the hottest team in the league with nine wins in all competitions, Liverpool should give them a game low and their manager Jurgen Klopp certainly knows how to do it.

Out of the six times Mourinho and Klopp have played, Klopp has won three of them and lost just once, that gives Klopp the highest percentage of all managers against Mourinho. Now, the Cup of Nations gets underway on Saturday as the tournament celebrates its 60th anniversary. The competition will be played in Gabon, who co-hosted it five years ago when they made a run to the (INAUDIBLE) Ivory Coast the defending champions and they're amongst the favorites again, although Senegal, Ghana, Algeria and Egypt will be looking to steal their crown. That's a quick look at your sport headlines. I'm Don Riddell.

HOWELL: The search for a child abducted nearly two decades ago has come to an end. Kamiyah Mobley went missing from a Florida hospital shortly after she was born in 1998. Now police say DNA from an 18- year-old woman in South Carolina that it matches a sample taken from Kamiyah. The woman thought -- that she was her mother. That woman you see here has been arrested. 51-year-old Gloria Williams is charged with kidnapping. Police say that she posed as a nurse in order to abduct the child. The famous British photographer playboy and former husband Lloyd Snowden died peacefully at home at the age 86-years-old. Born Anthony Armstrong Jones, he married Queen Elizabeth's sister in 1960 and they had two children together. But his divorce from Princess Margaret in 1978, that was scandalous, Snowden was a respected photographer with fashion shots that were published for decades in Vogue Magazine.

Less than a week away from the transition of power. One family moving into the White House. Another moving out specifically though focus on Sasha and Malia Obama, members of a very exclusive club. Presidential daughters who grew up in the White House. And as they get ready to move out, they are getting some advice from two other sisters who know what exactly what they're going through. CNN's Randi Kaye has this report.

BARBARA BUSH, FORMER FIRST DAUGHTER: Eight years ago, on a cold November day, we greeted you on the steps at the White House.

RANDI KAYE, CNN REPORTER: Barbara Bush on the Today show sharing the new letter she had and her sister Jenna Bush have written to the Obama girls. A lot has changed in the eight years since the Bush twins first met Sasha and Malia. Back then the Obama girls were seven and ten.

BUSH: The four of us wandered the majestic walls of the House. You had no choice but to move in to. We slid down the bannister of the solarium just as we had done as an eight-year old and again, 20-year- olds chasing our youth. Your joy and laughter were contagious.

JENNA BUSH, FORMER FIRST DAUGHTER: In eight years, have you done so much, seen so much. You stood at the gates of the Robben Island cell where South African Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for decades, your arms around your father.

KAYE: The Bush twins had also penned a letter to Sasha and Malia back in 2009, titled Playing House in the White House. Then 27, Jenna and Barbara Bush offered this advice. Surround yourself with loyal friends. They'll protect and calm you and join in on some of the fun and appreciate the history. And this, cherish your animals, because sometimes you'll need the quiet comfort that only animals can provide.

Their most important piece of advice years ago, our dad, like yours, is a man of great integrity and love. Remember who your dad really is.

KATE ANDERSEN BROWER, AUTHOR: It's really an exclusive club among presidential children and they do keep in touch. There's an empathy there because they've all been through it. And no one knows what that's like to be in that kind of public spotlight when you are so young.

KAYE: In there new letter, Jenna and Barbara Bush told Sasha and Malia how they watched them grow into impressive young women with grace and ease. They remarked how they were glad the Obama girls had each other just like the Bush twins did. Their letter encouraged the Obama girls to hold onto the memories, but also emboldened them to chart their own path.

BUSH: Explore your passions. Learn who you are. Make mistakes. You are allowed to. Continue to surround yourself with loyal friends who know you, adore you and will fiercely protect you.

BUSH: Take all you have seen, the people you have met, the lessons you have learned and let those help guide you in making positive change.

KAYE: In closing, a sense of solidarity.

BUSH: You have lived through the unbelievable pressure of the White House. You have listened to harsh criticism of your parents by people who have never even met them. You stood by as your precious parents were reduced to headlines. Your parents put you first and not only showed you but gave you the wealth. As always, they will be rooting for you as you begin this next chapter, so will we.

KAYE: Randi Kaye, CNN New York.

HOWELL: Randi Kaye, thank you. We close this show with this to show you. It is quite a sight. A Ruby sea dragon. Take a look at that. The first known video of the creature alive in the wild. It was captured off the coast of South-western Australia last April by researchers from the Scripps oceanography -- Oceanographic I should say, Institute and the Western Australian Museum. The Ruby is the third type of what you see here, this sea dragon. It's commonly a leafy species and they are related to sea horses. Pretty cool there. Thanks for being with us for this hour of CNN Newsroom. Hour number two of Newsroom is right after the break. Stay with us.