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Turkish Cargo Jet Crashes Near Village; Trump Slams CIA Director, Blames Intelligence for Leaks; Trump Criticizes Long-Time Allies; South Korea Issues Warrant for Samsung Chairman; Democrats Fight Trump's Plan to Repeal Obamacare; Growing List of Democrats Boycotting Inauguration. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired January 16, 2017 - 02:00   ET




[02:00:43] ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, and welcome to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm George Howell. From CNN world headquarters, NEWSROOM starts right now.

It is 2:00 a.m. on the U.S. east coast. We begin in Kurdistan. A Turkish cargo jet crashed into a village. It killed at least 37 people and children were killed as well. The Boeing 747 crashed near the country's main airport north of the capital city.

CHURCH: This video shows the crash site. You can see some of the debris there as well as rescuers on the scene.

HOWELL: Following this story, CNN's Ian Lee is live in Istanbul gathering information.

Ian, thanks for being with us.

What more do we know about this plane and what might have caused this crash?

IAN LEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: George, when you look at the pictures you can see there was a heavy fog. That could have played a role in the crash, something investigators are going on looking into.

This was a Boeing 747, operated by A.C.T., a Turkish cargo company. Crashing roughly two kilometers away from that main airport. 15 homes were destroyed. That is the main focus of this search crew, trying to find anyone else who may have survived. We know at least 37 people were killed. The number of people injured, sustaining burns. Those people being taken to area hospitals. Also, they will be looking for the black boxes, which will definitively say what was the cause of this crash.

HOWELL: Ian, I know you're gathering information. Pardon me if I'm putting you on the spot. Do we know anything more about who they were?

LEE: What we are hearing from Turkish state media is there were five people on this plane. There are reports that one of the people on the plane may have survived this crash. But really not much information has been released.

Also, investigators will be looking into what this cargo plane was carrying. Could that have maybe played a role in this. All of these questions investigators will be trying to get answered at this hour.

HOWELL: CNN international correspondent, Ian Lee, is live in Turkey following the details of this plane crash. Ian, thank you. We'll keep in touch.

CHURCH: U.S. President Barack Obama calls the man who will succeed him in the White House "unconventional."

HOWELL: And, so far, Donald Trump is proving him right. Just four days before his inauguration, the president-elect went after the head of the CIA on Twitter, sparking anger. His comments about John Brennan -- Brennan made to FOX News. Brennan cautioned Trump about Russia, saying he doesn't think Trump has a full appreciation of the country's capabilities and intentions. He also slammed that the intelligence community is to blame for leaks. Listen.


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


CHURCH: The CIA chief's comments brought a swift response from Trump. He tweeted this, apparent ally using Brennan's words, quote, "Outgoing CIA Chief John Brennan blasts President-elect Trump on Russia threat, does not fully understand." Trump added, "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," he added.

HOWELL: That last line refers to a dossier of unverified claims that Russia allegedly has compromising information on Trump. The CIA tells CNN about the tweets, "No comment."

CHURCH: The president-elect is also talking about tightening U.S. borders. In an interview with "The Times of London" and German's "Bild" newspaper, Trump said he will implement extreme security vetting of immigrants. He suggested German Chancellor Angela Merkel should have done that.


[02:05:20] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think she made one catastrophic mistake and that was taking all of these illegals, you know, taking all the people from wherever they come from. Nobody really knows where they come from. You'll find out.


HOWELL: It was a wide-ranging interview. Britain's decision to leave the European Union was another talking point for the president-elect. Here is what he had to say. Take a listen.


TRUMP: I thought the U.K. was so smart in getting out. And countries want their own identity. 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 entails, I think that you wouldn't have a Brexit and probably you could have worked it out.


CHURCH: And CNN London correspondent, Max Foster, joins me now.

Max, what's been the reaction across Europe to Donald Trump's comments to Germany's newspaper criticizing Chancellor Angela Merkel on immigration matters and attacking NATO and praising Brexit.

MAX FOSTER, CNN LONDON CORRESPONDENT: So wide-ranging as you say. We are waiting to hear from Merkel's office. At the same time, he said he had great respect for Angela Merkel and said he accepted she was the most powerful politician in Europe. We're waiting to hear from her. She's faced all of that criticism already. So, this is something she will have her standard response to. But this is the world's most powerful leader making all sorts of comments about issues which affect the whole continent.

I think we should assume it will be very welcome in terms of what he said on Brexit for the Prime Minister Theresa May because she has a very big speech tomorrow where she has to outline her plans for Brexit. It does look as to the idea of a hard Brexit, which leaving the single European market, which could have a huge impact on the British economy. What she would need is other trade deals to compensate for that. Absolutely at the top of her list would be a trade deal with the U.S. And in that interview, Donald Trump did talk about a quick trade deal with the United Kingdom, supporting the idea of Brexit. So, this could not have come at a better time for Theresa May and the British government. We'll have to wait to see what the Germans have to say about this. But these are criticisms they've had before.

CHURCH: Yeah. Most definitely.

Max, Trump went so far as to put Merkel on equal footing with Russian President Vladimir Putin, telling both newspapers he trusts them both the same, an extraordinary break from U.S. foreign policy. What's being said about that?

FOSTER: It's interesting, he's big on relationships. Doesn't have a relationship with Angela Merkel yet or with President Putin either, a personal relationship. Maybe he's waiting to see. Really the headline coming out of the Russian story is an idea that sanctions could be a deal maker when it comes to reducing nuclear weapons around the world, so Russia's nuclear weapons. So, he's looking potentially at reducing sanctions on Russia if they can reach a deal on nuclear weapons. That is what most people are talking about here. Quite a profound change in policy for the United States and it would affect the entire world. We're beginning to get a better sense of foreign policy, at least more than we're getting from his Twitter. We have got an interview. He's fleshing it out at last.

CHURCH: Yeah. And another thing he talked about was NATO. He attacked NATO. We have heard that before. But it would make many feel very uneasy.

FOSTER: Yeah, particularly in Scandinavia, for example, in Eastern Europe where there is a huge concern that Russia is encroaching on borders there and air space and sea space as well. Even if Scandinavia isn't members with NATO, they feel it is what protects them. But Trump made it clear again that he thinks the concept is outdated. He gets very frustrated that other members of NATO, apart from the U.S., aren't contributing as much as they should. So, that's going to be a big pressure when it comes to doing deals in Europe in the future probably. It they want to keep NATO, they'll have to contribute more. But, again, I think we're getting a sense of that. It does help at least governments here, work out their policy when it comes to the United States.

CHURCH: Yeah, just days away from the inauguration. A lot of people easy, certainly across Europe. We'll wait to see more details on this.

Max Foster, many thanks to you.

[02:10:01] South Korea prosecutors are seeking to arrest the heir to Samsung's empire. They have named Jay Y. Lee as a suspect in the corruption scandal that led to the president's impeachment.

CNN's Paula Hancocks joins me Seoul, South Korea, with more details on this.

Paula, what all is this Samsung heir accused of doing and what's the likely outcome if history is our guide?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Rosemary, he has had an arrest warrant for three charges, bribery, perjury and embezzlement. It is all part of the ever-widening scandal in south Korea that led to the impeach of President Park Geun-hye by lawmakers. She is waiting to hear what the constitutional court says.

But now it appears it is embroiling the heir apparent South Korea's biggest conglomerate. It is the richest in the country. Lee is considered one of the most powerful men in this country.

What we will see now is Wednesday morning he will have to appear before a judge. They will decide whether or not he should be taken in. If they decide whether he should be arrested and taken into detention. If they decided that, it shows that prosecutors decide they have enough evidence against him and they fear he may be a flight risk or he may try to destroy evidence before any potential court case -- Rosemary?

CHURCH: And, Paula, what has been a reaction on the streets to news of this arrest warrant for a member of the richest and most powerful families in South Korea?

HANCOCKS: Well, when you go out onto the streets, when these massive candle light vigils are being held, the anger isn't just against President Park Geun-Hye, but also against the heads of these companies. They are perceived as following a different rule of law in this country. In recent years, we have seen a number of these being charged, being indicted, being found guilty, and having a presidential pardon months or years later. There is a frustration that some of the heads of these companies, some of the rich and influential in this country have a different law than those on the streets. I don't think they will be a huge amount of sympathy for Jay Y. Lee.

We have had a comment from Samsung and they said it is difficult to understand the decision made by the special prosecutors. Saying they never provided support because they never expected any reward. This refer to why Jay Y. Lee may be arrested, the fact that Samsung gave millions of dollars to a close confident of the president. She is at the heart of this whole corruption scandal. And it is perceived or alleged there were favors given back in return -- Rosemary?

CHURCH: All right. CNN's Paul Hancocks, in Seoul, South Korea, many thanks.

HOWELL: Also, in South Korea, they say the plans to deploy the missile system provided by the United States could be delayed. The Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD system, is designed to shoot down short, medium and intermediate ballistic missiles from North Korea. Russia and China oppose the deployment. A defense ministry officials says the delay is not due to policy matters but rather related to procedures with the contracts.

Still ahead on CNN NEWSROOM, we are days away from the presidential inauguration. But hear why a number of lawmakers plan to stay away from this inauguration.

Live around the world this hour, you're watching CNN NEWSROOM.


[02:17:56] HOWELL: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. As republicans in Congress move to repeal Obamacare, Donald Trump says he is wrapping up a plan to give everybody health insurance.

CHURCH: In an interview with "The Washington Post," the president- elect said his replacement for the Affordable Care Act would also target drug companies to bring down prices. He warned lawmakers to get on board saying that Congress can't get cold feet because that people would not let that happen. HOWELL: As Trump outlines his plan to end Obamacare, Democrats are

desperate to try to save it.

CHURCH: They are launching rallies across the country in support of the health care law.

Here is Jessica Schneider with more.


JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We see rallies taking center stage throughout the campaign. Now it appears they are expending into Donald Trump's presidency. 40 rallies throughout the country today, extending from Maine to California. Hundreds gathering to tell Republicans they should not repeal and replace Obamacare. My people sharing their stories about the Affordable Care Act, how it saved their lives, also saved them massive amounts of money.

Here in Michigan, Bernie Sanders is leading the charge here. It is a state Democrats have not lost since 1988. This year, it went to Donald Trump.

I asked Senator Sanders why come back and talk to the people, the working-class people here as well when he could have been in Vermont holding a rally.

BERNIE SANDERS, (I), VERMONT & FORMER DEMOCRATIC PERSIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Mr. Trump, when he ran for president, promised the people of America that he was a different type of Republican. He was not going to cut Social Security and Medicare or Medicaid. Part of this is reminding Mr. Trump that he better keep his promises.

SCHNEIDER: President-elect Donald Trump has said he wants immediate repeal and replace of Obamacare. House Speaker Paul Ryan says it will be a simultaneous replace and replace. But Democrats are skeptical, saying they have not seen any sort of plan through Republicans.

Jessica Schneider, CNN, Michigan.


[02:20:06] CHURCH: And a growing number of Democrats plan to skip Donald Trump's inauguration. Some decided to boycott after a feud broke out between the president-elect and civil rights icon, John Lewis.

HOWELL: All of this started after the congressman said he didn't see Donald Trump as a legitimate president because of Russia's alleged meddling in the U.S. election. Trump tweeted Lewis is, quote, "all talk and no action."

On Sunday, Vice President-elect Mike Pence and Republican Senator Rand Paul came to Donald Trump's defense. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: Donald Trump won this fair and square, 30 out of 50 states, including Georgia, more than any president since Ronald Reagan. To hear John Lewis, a man I served with, that I respect, question the legitimacy and say Donald Trump would not be a legitimate president and to hear he was not going to attend the inauguration, I hope he reconsiders both statements.

SEN. RAND PAUL, (R), KENTUCKY: And I do appreciate what him being a civil rights icon, but I would also say it doesn't make him immune from criticism or debate. So, John Lewis isn't in a position where there can't be a healthy decision back and forth. Because he's a civil rights icon shouldn't make him immune.


CHURCH: And earlier, I spoke with Democratic strategist, Tharon Johnson, about lawmakers boycotting Trump's inauguration.


THARON JOHNSON, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: You may remember, Rosemary, back when President Bush was being inaugurated there were Democrats. There were also Republicans who refused to attend President Obama's inauguration. We are up to 22 people that said they are not going to attend the inauguration. What's fair is that number was lower than that until Donald Trump decided to really push back and respond in a very disgraceful way to Congressman Lewis after he had an interview and questioned the legitimacy of the president. I think what's very unfortunate is that, yes, Congressman Lewis did make a statement. And I've spoken with him and he stands by that statement and he says, oh, man. But really it was really a very un-statesmanlike response from Donald Trump that made it personal and began to really question the actions of this world leader, this civil rights icon. To me that's what made other members of Congress join Congressman Lewis in this boycott.

CHURCH: Let's go over some of those comments. Donald Trump responded to the attacks by John Lewis as saying Atlanta was crime infested and falling apart. We all live in Atlanta.

JOHNSON: Absolutely.

CHURCH: So it's difficult for a lot of us to accept that. Talk about the response you're hearing from people. And the "Atlanta Constitution" wasn't happy with it either.

JOHNSON: Oh, my god, the front page of the paper, it was Atlanta responds to defend Congressman John Lewis. I don't know what Atlanta Donald Trump is talking about. We live in a very diverse city, a place everyone wants to live and work and raise their kids. It is one of the fastest-growing cities in the country. I think it was another personal attack. This is what Donald Trump has done through his election and what he continued to do after the election. So, you have seen an enormous amount of outpouring from all over the world but especially in Atlanta. I think it has fired up everyone to get involved and organize. CHURCH: And we are only days away from the inauguration. The country

has never been quite as divided. There's a great chasm between the sides. And many comedies, the comedy blackish, there was incredible social commentary about that. Is it possible? They are so far apart.

JOHNSON: That is what is so bizarre. Here we are on the eve of celebrating MLK Day and this is the time when we really are supposed to come together. That's his dream and vision. That's Congressman Lewis' vision. But to do that and further divide the country was something that was very disappointing by Trump.

Let's be fair, Democrats, we also have a responsibility to follow what President Obama told us, and that's let's give him a chance, he won the election, let's be fair. But I can't tell you how many people are really disappointed in the temperament and tone in which this president-elect continues to attack people on Twitter.

I think what you saw in this case is he has attacked people from Grammy award-winning actors and singers and even people now deciding to pull out of the inauguration and he is attacking them. I think the American people are really fed up with that. It is really disappointing because we have to continue to live in this country and he has got the votes, the Electoral votes, not the popular votes, to go on to be our next president. I hope he takes this time to embrace Congressman Lewis and apologizes for what he said about him.

[02:25:30] CHURCH: Tharon Johnson, thank you for joining us --

JOHNSON: Thank you, Rosemary.

CHURCH: -- and sharing your perspective with us. Appreciate it.


HOWELL: In most of the United States right now, 2:25 a.m., it is Martin Luther King Day.

CHURCH: It is. Very significant.

HOWELL: Moving on now to South America, 28 inmates escaped after apparently blasted a hole in a prison wall in southern Brazil. A gunfight followed. At least two inmates are dead.

In northeastern Brazil, at least 26 killed in prison riot on Saturday. They have seen six prison battles since the year started.

CHURCH: Venezuela will now let people us the 100 Bolivar note until February 20 amid a cash crisis. President Nicolas Maduro announced the extension at his State of the Union address. The note was set to be replaced last month but protests broke out when the new currency failed to arrive at many banks and ATM's.

HOWELL: Glad to have you this hour, here in the United States and around the world. Still ahead here on NEWSROOM, China fires back at Donald Trump after the president-elect suggested a long-standing policy is open to negotiation. The latest from Beijing still ahead. CHURCH: Facebook takes measures to stop the spread of fake news.

Ahead, details on the social network's fact-checking feature. We'll explain.


[02:30:10] CHURCH: A warm welcome back to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church.