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Cargo Plane Crashes in Kyrgyzstan; South Korean Prosecutors Seek to Arrest Samsung Heir; Trump Targets CIA Director John Brennan; President-Elect Talks Border Security, Brexit; Leaders Urge Peace Talks in Israel-Palestinian Conflict; Syrians Recount Traumatic Escape from Eastern Aleppo. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired January 16, 2017 - 00:00   ET



[00:00:16] CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks for joining us. We've got several breaking news stories this hour.

In Kyrgyzstan, at least 30 people, including children were killed when a Turkish cargo jet crashed into a village. An official tells CNN the Boeing 747 crashed due to poor visibility just near an airport north of the capital, Bishkek.

We're just getting these photos. You can see some of the debris. You can see the rescuers on the scene. The plane was supposed to make a stop in Kyrgyzstan on its way from Hong Kong to Istanbul. Of course, we'll bring you a lot more on this as soon as we get the information.

Also new this hour, South Korean prosecutors have issued an arrest warrant for the heir to the Samsung empire, they've named Lee Jae-Yong as a suspect in the country's massive corruption scandal.

CNN's Paula Hancocks joins me now from Seoul, South Korea. Paula -- of course, this feeds in to this massive story that you've been covering for weeks and months involving the South Korean president and her confidante. So what's the Samsung vice-chairman accused of in this context?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well Cyril -- this man also known as Jae Y. Lee, an arrest warrant has been issued for him. And the reason for that, according to prosecutors, is that they're alleging that he is a significant part of this ever-widening corruption scandal that led to the impeachment of President Park recently.

Now we know that the prosecutors have alleged that Samsung gave billions -- millions, excuse me, of dollars to two foundations that were run by the former confidant of President Park, Choi Soon-sil. She's at the center of this corruption scandal.

Now, the prosecutors allege that he expected favors in return. There was a merger between two Samsung affiliates which was approved, which cemented Jae Y. Lee's succession to power, if you like, and the allegations are that that was allowed because these millions of dollars were donated. Now, Samsung itself, the group we've just spoken to them. They say they don't have a comment at this point. We have seen Jae Y. Lee undergoing 22 hours of questioning last week. Just last month he was part of a nationalized televised grilling, if you like, by lawmakers as well.

So this is really quite a significant development for what is really one of the richest and arguably one of the most powerful families in South Korea -- Cyril.

VANIER: You've told us over the last few weeks of the anger that you feel and you perceive in the streets of South Korea. How do you think they feel about this?

HANCOCKS: Well, certainly that anger is not just restricted to politicians and to President Park Geun-hye when you speak to those who carry out these Saturday night candlelight vigils which are still going on about 12 weeks later.

There is also frustration with the heads of these top chevals (ph), as they're known -- these big family-run businesses that are the most powerful in South Korea. We have seen time and time again some of these heads finding themselves on the wrong side of the law being indicted on bribery, tax evasion charges and then quite often they get presidential pardons.

This has happened many times over the years and that frustration among many South Koreans has been building, a perception that there's two different laws -- there's one law for the heads of these top companies and then there's another law for South Korean people. So I don't think there will be too much sympathy really for Jae Y. Lee, certainly it's a very interesting development here.

We have a briefing ongoing at this moment from the prosecutor's spokesperson and he has said that they have considered the national economy, this is interesting, but have decided that carrying out justice is more important.

That's one of the reasons the heads of companies in the past were have been pardoned because they were believed to be so important for the national economy that they could turn a blind eye to allegations of wrongdoing -- Cyril.

VANIER: All right. Paula Hancocks reporting live from Seoul, in South Korea. Thank you very much.

The incoming president of the United States is in the spotlight with several major developments and, of course, his inauguration just four days away. Donald Trump is telling two European newspapers who he thinks is the most important leader in Europe. He's also talking about Brexit and border controls.

We'll have more on that in a moment.

But first, Trump's latest Twitter attacks are targeting none other than CIA director John Brennan. Brennan suggested on Fox News that Trump did not fully understand Russia's capabilities or intentions.

[00:04:54] So Trump tweeted this apparently using Brennan's words, "Outgoing CIA chief John Brennan blasts President-Elect Trump on Russia threat does not fully understand." Well, Trump added "Oh, really -- couldn't do much worse. Just look at Syria, the red line, Crimea, Ukraine and the build-up of Russian nukes -- not good. Was this the leaker of fake news?"

Now we have reached out to the CIA but they had no comment for us at this time. Brennan earlier had slammed Trump's suggestion that the intelligence community was responsible for leaks.


JOHN BRENNAN, CIA DIRECTOR: What I do find outrageous is equating an intelligence community with Nazi Germany. I do take great umbrage at that. There is no basis for Mr. Trump to point fingers at the intelligence community for leaking information that was already available publicly.


VANIER: Donald Trump is also telling Germany's "Bild Newspaper" and the "Times of London" that one of his first priorities as president will be strengthening U.S. borders. In a wide-ranging interview with the papers he said that there will be extreme security vetting. And he said he thinks that more countries will follow Britain's lead and leave the European Union.


DONALD TRUMP (R), U.S. PRESIDENT-ELECT: I think Brexit is going to end up being a great thing. When I predicted -- the heat I took was unbelievable. And I said because people don't want to have other people coming in and destroying their country.

And you know, this country -- we're going to have very strong borders from the day I get in, one of the first orders I'm going to sign, day one.

Countries want their own identity. And the U.K. wanted its own identity. I do believe this. If they hadn't been forced to take in all of the refugees, so many, with all the problems that it entails I think that you wouldn't have a Brexit. It probably could have worked out.


VANIER: The President-Elect also spoke about his views of both the German chancellor and Russia's president and whether he trusts either one of them.

We have more on that and what else Trump had to say in that interview from CNN international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, this was a wide-ranging interview and going into unchartered territory, it certainly seems. I mean he was asked -- Donald Trump was asked who do you trust more -- the German chancellor Angela Merkel or the Russian president Vladimir Putin. And he said, well actually I trust them both pretty much the same although that may change over time.

He said Angela Merkel had made catastrophic mistakes by allowing so many illegals into Germany here. We think he means refugees -- more than a million coming in to Germany. Indeed he said that's why he thought Britain left the European Union because Britain was opposed to having so many refugees, as he said, forced on the country that they had to take.

But in Germany, he also talked about the imbalance that he sees in the auto trade between Germany and the United States. He said look, on Fifth Avenue, you see lots of Mercedes; you don't see many Chevrolets in Germany. And he said there has to be a better balance. It has to be a two-way street and indicated that German car makers may pay significant tariffs to sell their cars into the United States.

On Vladimir Putin, he said that there was an opportunity that he felt to make a deal and that he would be trying to make a deal in the early part of his presidency. A deal that would reduce the number of nuclear weapons that both countries have and part of that deal would be the United States dropping its sanctions against Russia.

Unchartered territory here for European leaders because, of course, Europe as well has sanctions on Russia like the United States put in place here for Russia's annexing of Crimea, for going into Ukraine, for it's actions in Syria, in the United States' case, the hacking of the DNC computers in part of the electoral process.

So there's going to be a sense for European leaders, as they look at this interview, that they can really tell that this is going to be a significant departure from President Obama's leadership.

Nic Robertson, CNN -- London.


VANIER: And as we mentioned, Donald Trump spoke to both the "Times of London" and Germany's "Bild Newspaper".

Michael Gove secured the exclusive interview for the "Times" and that's significant because he co-chaired the campaign for Britain to leave the E.U.

Trump has also met with British politician Nigel Farage, the former U.K. Independence Party. He has yet to sit down face to face, however, with British Prime Minister Theresa May -- something he says he will do shortly after coming into office.

A growing number of Democrats plan to skip Trump's inauguration this week. Some decided to boycott the event after a feud broke out between Trump and civil rights icon, John Lewis. The Congressman said he didn't see Trump as a legitimate president because of Russia's alleged meddling in the election. Trump then tweeted that Lewis is all talk and no action. On Sunday Vice President-Elect Mike Pence defended Donald Trump.


MIKE PENCE (R), U.S. VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT: Look, Donald Trump won this election fair and square, 30 out of 50 states including Georgia, more counties than any Republican candidate since Ronald Reagan.

[00:09:54] And to hear John Lewis, a man that I served with, that I respect, to question the legitimacy of the election and say Donald Trump will not be a legitimate president was deeply disappointing to me and also to hear that he was not going to attend the inauguration this Friday. I hope he reconsiders both statements.


VANIER: I'm joined now by Democratic political strategist, Mac Zilber in Los Angeles, thanks for being with us.

So Mac -- it's fascinating to watch the Trump administration begin to take shape. Let's first talk about the Democrats going to boycott the inauguration, not all of them -- upwards of several dozen for the moment. Aren't the Democrats being just as narrow-minded here and obstructionist as they have accused Republicans of being in the past?

MAC ZILBER, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I think the key here is that this isn't partisanship. This is about resisting the descent into authoritarianism. When you see the press conference that Donald Trump put on this past week in which he refused to call on journalists, bullied those journalists, refused to answer questions, called legitimate news outlets like the one we're on, fake news, this is very similar to the beginnings of a lot of autocrats out there in the world.

And frankly, a lot of Democrats don't want to be a part of it, don't want to normalize or legitimize that presidency even if in the short term they'll take a political hit for it.

VANIER: If you were advising any of those Democrats as a strategist what would you advise them to do?

ZILBER: Look, there's no doubt that they're getting political benefit out of this because most of the Democrats who have said they're going to boycott the inauguration are in progressive blue districts. John Lewis represents Atlanta, a lot of the other Democrats who have said that they would boycott the inauguration represent California districts.

That being said, I think it's not just good politics it's the principled thing to do. I think decades from now we're all going to look back on this inauguration as sort of a moment that a lot of people were trying to keep their ears plugged and normalize something what could be a descent into something really ugly and a softening of our democratic norms. And I don't think that anybody should be a part of that.

VANIER: And your take on the last tweet by Donald Trump attacking the CIA director, Mr. Brennan?

ZILBER: Look, I don't think that a lot of Americans are going to have a lot of sympathy for the CIA director. That being said, it is pretty without precedent for an incoming President of the United States to say that the director of the CIA, to accuse him of leaking classified data.

I mean sure, somebody leaked that dossier which frankly was a relatively sketchy dossier of damaging information about Trump. But For him to accuse the director of the CIA of doing that without any evidence is baffling even before getting into the rest of what he said in that tweet.

VANIER: So clearly there is not going to be a great relationship, personal relationship between the next president and the director of the CIA. But having said that, do you buy into this argument that this could actually hurt U.S. national security?

ZILBER: Look, I think that having an unreliable president who's at war with his national security apparatus has to hurt national security. I mean I'm not a fan of our deep state and our national security apparatus in all of its forms.

But that being said you cannot have a president who simply doesn't speak to them and who talks to Vladimir Putin more often than he gets his intelligence briefings.

And it goes all the way down. This past week during his confirmation hearings, Donald Trump's secretary of State nominee made a statement that China has interpreted as indicating that we want to take an act of war against them in the South China Sea.

When you have amateurs and dilettantes running an administration, you're going to get into a lot of foreign policy crisis quickly especially if they won't listen to groups like the CIA for all its flaws.

VANIER: But look, the reason I asked you the question is you could also make the reverse argument that it really matters relatively little what personal relationship Donald Trump has with Mr. Brennan because the CIA is still going to continue to do its work and provide the information it needs to provide to the next president.

ZILBER: Well, absolutely. I believe Mr. Brennan is on his way out. That being said regardless of the personal relationship it's more about the question of will Donald Trump use the intelligence they've provided. He has often said that he will only get intelligence briefings if something important happens.

Now, I'm not privy to classified data, and I don't think that most of us are. But I would imagine that something important happens a lot more often than the three or four times that Donald Trump has banned to get intelligence briefings since November 8th. VANIER: All right. Democratic political strategist, Mac Zilber

joining us from L.A. Thank you very much.

ZILBER: Thanks for having me.

Still ahead on CNN NEWSROOM, some 70 world leaders are trying to restart peace talks in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and why Israel's prime minister calls the conference in Paris quote, "rigged and useless".


VANIER: Welcome back.

With its economy in free fall, Venezuela is again extending use of the 100 Bolivar note. At his state of the union address on Sunday Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro said the bills are now good until the February 20th. They were supposed to be retired in December but protests broke out when replacement currency didn't reach many banks and ATMS.

Mr. Maduro now says new and higher denominations will enter circulation on Monday. Amid spiraling inflation the 100 Bolivar note is worth -- worth less than 15 cents. It costs about 500 Bolivars just to buy a portion of bread.

A bold escape in southern Brazil is the latest in the rash of violent prison battles in the country. 28 inmates escaped after apparently blasting a hole through a wall. A gun fight followed with about 15 armed men outside the prison giving the escapees cover. At least two inmates were killed.

A day earlier at least 26 inmates were killed in a prison riot in the north east. More than 100 have been killed in six prison battles since the beginning of the year.

Diplomats from some 70 countries gathered in Paris on Sunday. They were looking to restart peace talks in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and urged both sides to support a two-state solution. However, no officials from Israel or the Palestinian Authority were there.

[00:20:01] Our Oren Liebermann has more from Jerusalem.


OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The French opened this peace conference by saying there's quote, "no time to lose towards advancing a peace process between Israelis and Palestinians and recognizing a full and final two-state solution.

They closed the conference by suggesting economic incentives to Israelis and Palestinians for achieving peace; also saying to keep in mind the security of both sides. They say the 70 countries here is a reflection of the wider international recognition of how important a two-state resolution is especially at this time. But that didn't change Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's opinion of this peace conference. He called it quote, "useless" at his Sunday morning cabinet meeting and said it's quote, "the last twitches of yesterday's world". He said "tomorrow's world will be very different and that world is very near" -- there referencing as he has before how much he's looking forward to working with President-Elect Donald Trump and how different he thinks the approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict could be under President Trump.

Netanyahu's fear is not the conference itself, his fear is that the conference could lead to a follow-on resolution at the U.N. Security Council that can try to impose parameters or terms a two-state solution, that is to say on Israelis and Palestinians. That has been his concern for a long time now, weeks if not months that that could happen in the final days of the Obama administration.

Meanwhile, Palestinian leadership has said they laud and welcome this conference and they see it as a way of advancing and upholding international law and a way forcing Israel to adhere to former U.N. Security Council resolutions.

The question is what will come of this conference? Will there be another Security Council resolution even if it's non non-binding like the one that was passed just a few weeks ago that was harshly critical of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem? Or will President-Elect Donald Trump's inauguration in just a few days mean that this conference doesn't really have any immediate practical effect on the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

Oren Liebermann, CNN -- Jerusalem.


VANIER: And now to the Syrian civil war. Fighting is intensifying north of the capital Damascus. That area has become a major battlefront after the government retook Aleppo. The Syrian army is trying to restore main water supply for Damascus.

Meanwhile Turkey and Russia have agreed to invite the U.S. to the next round of peace talks scheduled for next week. But it's unclear if the incoming Trump administration will accept that invitation.

Residents of east Aleppo fled their homes last month to save their lives. But most are still recovering from a traumatic escape.

CNN's Arwa Damon spoke to two citizen journalists, who were forced to flee and are now across the border in Turkey. One of the men asked that we blur his face to protect his identity. And just a word of warning, Arwa's report has some video that you may find disturbing.


ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTEL CORRESPONDENT: To those behind the cameras, every strike, every heartbreak, every rescue in Aleppo seared their soul and their psyche. (inaudible) was trapped under a collapsed building. UNIDENTIFIED MALE, SYRIAN JOURNALIST (through translator): This girl,

I saw she was alive and screaming, mom and dad, I started to cry. As a journalist, I wanted to leave the camera and help. But I can't forget her even now.

DAMON: Saeed (ph) and Mojahed (ph) had wanted to be the last to leave Aleppo.

MOJAHED, SYRIAN JOURNALIST (through translator): When I saw this bus, like any besieged person I felt disappointment because the international community was able to perform a miracle but this miracle was a crime. The miracle was saving 300,000 people from death but the crime was forcing them out of their homes.

DAMON: For the two close friends it would end up being the ordeal of trying to get here to Turkey that they say would prove to be the most terrifying. The pair had paid smugglers who took them dangerously close to regime territory, refused to answer their questions and taunted them.

MOJAHED: In this moment we thought of the worst possible options. They could hand us over to the regime, they could kill us, they could sell our organs, they could traffic us. The last thing we thought could happen is that we would cross to Turkey safely.

DAMON: And when they got into Turkey, the smuggling ring trying to extort even more money.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): When we entered in Turkey, the smugglers started messaging Mojahed and threatening him and saying you think that you have escaped, no, we will still get you.

DAMON: In their threadbare apartment, the two are constantly online, constantly following the news of Syria. For them this is surreal.

MOJAHED: What is normal for me is if I look at a building I imagine that it is collapsed. I look at my room, I imagine it is shelled.

DAMON: Before they smuggled here they were able to briefly reunite with their families.

That moment when you saw your parents for the first time after years, what did you say to them?

[00:25:01] MOJAHED: I told her this may be the last time I see you. We are leaving and you are staying behind.

DAMON: It was not just a goodbye to their family. It was a goodbye to the city and country they love.

Arwa Damon, CNN -- (inaudible) Turkey.


VANIER: We're going to take a short break. But when we come back, China pushes back against Donald Trump's claim that the One-China policy is negotiable. The latest from Beijing coming up.

And Facebook is taking very measures to stop the spread of fake news. Just ahead -- details on the company's new fact checking feature.


VANIER: A warm welcome back. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Cyril Vanier.

Let's look at the top stories this hour.

At least 30 people, including children, were killed when a Turkish cargo jet crashed into a village Kyrgyzstan. And official says that the Boeing 747 crashed due to poor visibility near an airport north of the capital.

We're just getting this video showing the terrible crash site. Reuters is reporting that plane was supposed to make a stop in Kyrgyzstan on its way from Hong Kong to Istanbul.

South Korean prosecutors have issued an arrest warrant for Samsung's vice chairman Lee Jae-yong on bribery charges. Lee has been named a suspect in the country's massive corruption scandal. He denied any wrongdoing when he faced lawmakers last night.

[00:29:59] CIA director Brennan is Donald Trump's latest Twitter target. On Fox News Brennan urged the President-Elect to trust the intelligence community and also suggested that Trump didn't fully understand Russia's capabilities or intentions. Well Trump answered this in a tweet.

[00:30:00] CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR: CIA Director John Brennan is Donald Trump's latest Twitter target. On "Fox News," Brennan urged the president-elect to trust the intelligence community and also suggested Trump didn't fully understand Russia's capabilities or intentions.

Well, Trump answered this in a tweet. First, he apparently used Brennan's words, quote, "Outgoing CIA Chief John Brennan blasts President-elect Trump on Russia threats does not fully understand." Well, Trump added this. "Oh really? Couldn't do much worse. Just look at Syria (red line), Crimea, Ukraine and the build-up of Russian nukes. Not good. Was this the leaker of fake news?"

The CIA has not commented on Trump's remarks.

And Trump says the immigration policies of German Chancellor Angela Merkel have been a big mistake. In interviews with two European newspapers, he said he plans to implement extreme vetting at people coming to the U.S. from Muslim nations. He also said the Obama administration missed an opportunity to prevent a human catastrophe in Syria. China is rejecting Donald Trump's suggestion that the so-called

One China policy could be changed once the president-elect takes office. Under that policy, both China and Taiwan agreed that there is only One China, which includes the island of Taiwan. They disagree which government in Beijing or Taipei is the legitimate ruler of China. As a result, Beijing views Taiwan as a breakaway province. The U.S. only has formal diplomatic relations with Beijing, not with Taipei.

China's foreign ministry says the policy is the political foundation of relations with the United States. The U.S. has acknowledged this policy since 1979.

For the very latest, let's bring in Matt Rivers in Beijing.

Matt, it looks like Donald Trump is setting up a very confrontational relationship with Beijing potentially.

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Cyril. This is not the first time that the president-elect has brought up the possibility of scrapping the One China policy. And every time he brings this up, Beijing has a forceful reaction. And over the weekend, they said the same thing they always do, which would be that the One China policy is not up for negotiations. It is not something that Beijing will talk about in negotiations over trade or anything else.

But the real question here, Trump decides to scrap the One China policy where not respected as the U.S. has done for decades. How would Beijing respond? They do have options.


RIVERS (on-camera): Here In china, the communist party holds few things more dear than the One China policy. So perhaps then no surprise when a bit of an uproar ensued after this.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: I fully understand the One China policy. But I don't know why we have to be bound by a One China policy unless we make a deal with China having to do with other things including trade.

I mean, look, we're being hurt very badly by China with devaluation, with taxing us heavy at the borders when we don't tax them.

RIVERS (voice-over): Chinese officials quickly countered saying any deviation from the policy would make U.S.-Chinese cooperation on major issues out of the question.

State-run newspapers said Trump, quote, "Is ignorant as a child in terms of foreign policy."

(on-camera): It was a strong response and here's why. For China's government, the One China policy means that if you're walking on a street in Taiwan, you're on Chinese territory, the same way you would be here on a stroll in a Beijing alleyway. (Voice-over): Taiwan is simply seen as a Chinese province. For decades, the U.S. has acknowledge that policy. But if Trump were to ignore that and cozy up to Taiwan, Beijing could take that as a signal of support for an independent Taiwan. In that lies the problem.

For Beijing, it's a question of national sovereignty. The ruling communist party doesn't concede control lightly and has always said it would never accept an independent Taiwan. So if and it's a big if the Trump administration ignores the One China policy, how would Beijing respond?

(on-camera): In short, it's any one's guest, but there is a range of possibilities. China could make life hard for big U.S. companies here like Apple and Starbucks. It could devalue its currency making exports more competitive.

(voice-over): And at the U.N. permanent Security Council member China could stand in the way of the U.S. agenda on everything from Iran to North Korea. But perhaps the most dangerous reaction could be of the military variety.

A Chinese state-run newspaper this week called for making, quote, "The use of force to retake the island of Taiwan a real option something Beijing has never officially taken off the table.

On the U.S. side, the Taiwan Relations Act mandates the U.S. ensure Taiwan has what it needs for self-defense. What that actually means is unclear. But in the meantime, the U.S. has sold Taiwan billions of dollars in arms.

(on-camera): We should emphasis that we are talking about extreme possibilities in a hypothetical post One China policy situation. Most experts that we've spoken to agree that the likelihood of the U.S. ignoring that policy and China responding in force is small.

Many also say that Trump is just talking tough in advance of future negotiations in a reset relationship.

[00:35:07] (voice-over): But the fact remains that when the president-elect speaks favorably about Taiwan and negatively about the One China policy, the Chinese government is going to take it seriously and react strongly every time.


RIVERS: And this morning here in Beijing, we woke up to some editorials and some state run media and newspapers here. And we will highlight one of these for you. This would be from "The Global Times." And in an editorial, the paper wrote in part, quote, "We were simply angry initially, but now we can't help but laugh at this U.S. leader in waiting. Maybe American voters, quote, "promoted" him too quickly. His amateur remarks and overconfident manner are equally shocking."

Now it's important for us to note here, "The Global Times" is a tabloid-style newspaper. It is something -- and it's a kind of newspaper that often prints very hawkish views on the U.S.-China relationship and frankly espouses pretty extreme opinions. But just like all media here in China, the state-run -- it's all state run, meaning nothing gets printed without the communist party say so.

So all that view point might be a bit extreme, it is something that Beijing's government is tacitly endorsing by allowing it to appear in print.


VANIER: Matt Rivers from Beijing. Fascinating report. Thank you very much.

We're going to take a short break. When we come back "Saturday Night Live" had new material after Donald Trump's latest news conference. Just ahead, the president-elect's reaction.


VANIER: Facebook is launching an effort to curve the spread of phone news for its German users. CNN Money senior media correspondent Brian Stelter explains how it will work.


BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT (on-camera): Very interesting timing for this Facebook announcement. You know, just a month ago the social network started experimenting with fact checking right on the Web site.

Here in the United States, these tests have been going on with a few partners including the Associated Press, "ABC News" and PolitiFact. The way it works is this. It is if I post a story on my personal Facebook page that is completely made up, you know that comes from some bogus Web site that's lying to its leaders, then there is going to be a flag right below the story. It still shows up on my wall, but it's not going to show up as prominently in other people's news feeds.

And if it does, there's going to be a flag, a warning label right at the bottom of the story that says this article has been disputed by third party fact checkers. And then there's a link to either the Associated Press or some other newsroom that has actually done the work and checked it out.

Now that's been going on in the U.S. for a few weeks. And now, that same idea is coming to Germany. Facebook on Sunday announcing that Germany is the second country that's going to be doing this experiment. Essentially Facebook is turning this feature on just for users in Germany and it's already on for users in the United States.

[00:40:13] The timing is noteworthy. Like I said, because of course Germany is preparing for a federal election later this year. There has been concern in the country about the rise, the plague that is fake news. There had been alarms raised even by the country's intelligence service with some pointing the finger at Russia, alleging that there is an attempt already to destabilize the country's elections even though the election itself is not scheduled until September.

Now I asked Facebook about the timing. They're not directly linking this to the elections or concerns about fake news. They say that their partners in Germany were ready and that's why Germany is the next country for this test of fake news warning labels.

Now we will see how it goes and we'll see how widely these spreads. You know, Facebook says it wants to turn this feature on in many different parts of the world as it continuous to find new fact checking partners to work with.


VANIER: The late night comedy show "Saturday Night Live" went after Donald Trump again. This time it marked the president elect's first news conference in months.

You will probably remember how Trump lashed out at both CNN and BuzzFeed for reporting about Russia operatives allegedly having compromising information about him. Well, here is "SNL's" take on that exchange.


ALEC BALDWIN, DONALD TRUMP IMPRESSIONIST: God, I'm loving this press conference. I love the press. I respect the press. Let's take another question from the press.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi, yes, I'm from BuzzFeed.

BALDWIN: No, no, no, not you, BuzzFeed. You're failing pile of garbage. And you want to know why? Because I took your quiz yesterday and I tell you right now, I am not a Joey, I'm a Rachel.


Who else has a question? I love the press.


BALDWIN: No, not CNN, either. You are overrated. It's fake news. I tried to watch your network last night and there were just some crazy blonde woman starting lies.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That was Kellyanne Conway.

TRUMP: Oh, right.



VANIER: Now Trump tweeted about the sketch saying "NBC News" is bad, but "Saturday Night Live" is the worst of NBC. Not funny. Cast is terrible. Always a complete hit job. Really bad television." BALDWIN: All right, just before we wrap up the show, take a look

at these pictures. Tourists are flocking to this winter wonderland in Beijing. They enter through an arch made from ice covered vines and even bigger cascade is on view inside.

Just make sure you bundle up in warm clothes if you do go. And that's it from us. We're back in 15 minutes after "World Sport" with Kate Riley.