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GOP Passed Tax Cut Bill in the House; Houthi Rebels Inviting a War and Worldwide Crisis; Cardinal Law Dies at 86; Billionaire Couple Found Dead in Mansion; Questions Surround Deaths Of Billionaire Couple; ANC's New Leader Promises To Unite Party; North Korea Blame For Massive Cyber Attack. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired December 20, 2017 - 03:00   ET



[03:00:00] ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: The U.S. Vice president presiding over a big victory for President Trump overnight. In just hours, he could be signing the first major piece of legislation of his presidency.

Plus, former Cardinal Bernard Law, the highest ranking official to ever leave the U.S. Roman Catholic Church in disgrace has died.

And later, the WannaCry virus that disrupted computers in almost every country earlier this year. And now there is more suspicion that North Korea was behind the cyber-attack.

Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church, and this is CNN newsroom.

U.S. President Donald Trump is on the cusp of his first major legislative victory. A few hours ago, the U.S. Senate passed the first tax overhaul in more than 30 years.

The president tweeted this. "The United States Senate just passed the biggest in history tax cut and reform bill. Terrible individual mandate Obamacare repealed. Goes to the House tomorrow morning for final vote."

If approved, there will be a news conference at the White House at approximately 1 p.m.

Phil Mattingly has the details now on what's next.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Congressional republicans, President Trump, they are now on the brink of their first major legislative victory, something that they've fallen short of repeatedly in the first 11 to 12 months of the Trump administration.

They are now just about there. The Senate by a vote of 51 to 48, along party lines, passing the $1.5 trillion tax overhaul, something the democrats said wouldn't go far enough, they attacked the bill as being skewed heavily towards corporations, heavily towards the rich. Republicans, though, more than willing to not just defend their plan

right after the vote, but in the future as well. Take a listen to how Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell responded to my question about the curb polling doesn't look great for republicans.


MATTINGLY: Do you believe there is a need for republicans to go out and sell this bill given how the Americans are currently viewing it?

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), KENTUCKY, MAJORITY LEADER: Absolutely. We're looking forward to it. My view of this, if we can't sell this to the American people, we ought to go into another line of work. I think this is an important accomplishment for the country, that people will value and appreciate, but obviously it requires us continuing this discussion with the American people and we're all going to be doing that all through the year.


MATTINGLY: Now, the Senate vote was supposed to be the final vote. It was supposed to be cleared for President Trump's signature. That ended up not being the case. The House is going to have to vote again. It doesn't mean the bill is not in danger, it just mean that the Senate budget rules ended taking hostage and essentially stripping out three minor revisions in the republican plan.

Now these do not go to the core of the bill. They do not create problems for the bill but they do add at least a couple more hours onto things.

House republicans will once again pass the bill. Sometime shortly after noon on Wednesday. And then it will head to President Trump.

The White House already preparing for that moment, preparing for a celebration of a major domestic legislative achievement. They expect to have all republicans at the White House on Wednesday afternoon.

Back to you.

CHURCH: Phil Mattingly there. And while republicans hail the bill as historic, many voters don't share their enthusiasm. A CNN poll finds more than half of all Americans oppose the tax reform plan. Only a third are in favor.

House Speaker Paul Ryan says the bill will grow in popularity after people start to feel the benefits of tax cuts. So, what are those benefits?

Well, the tax policy center found the bill would reduce taxes by an average of $1,600 next year, higher income households get the largest cuts.

Economists at the University of Pennsylvania predict the bill will add between 0.6 and 1.1 percent to American economic output over 10 years. But the nonpartisan joint committee on taxation says it will raise deficits by almost $1.5 trillion in that same time frame.

So, joining me now to talk more about this is Leslie Vinjamuri, an associate professor in international relations at the University of London. Thank you so much for being with us.


CHURCH: So, let's start with the tax bill. It just passed in the Senate. It's expected to pass in the House, and then be signed into law by President Trump in the coming hours. But most Americans oppose it.

Who are the winners under this new tax plan, and given how unpopular it is, what might be the consequence for the Trump administration in the 2018 midterms?

VINJAMURI: Well, that's the right question to ask. Of course, it's widely seen and it is clearly a very significant score for corporate.

[03:05:00] So, that corporate tax rate is really the big item that the president wanted to deliver and it looks like he certainly will. Bringing that rate all the way to 21 percent from 35 percent.

So that's very significant reduction in taxes. And also getting rid of the corporate alternative minimum tax is very significant. But a number of other provisions, bringing down the top rate of tax for individuals. With everybody benefiting in the short term, but, you know, as we are seeing, by 2027, 2025, that is going to change.

And actually a number of people will begin to see their tax rates go up unless there is some sort of change.

So, politically this has been a hard sell. Remember those 12 republicans in the House who voted against it? They're coming from New York, New Jersey, and California, the high income tax states because of the new restrictions on your ability to deduct state and local income tax.

So, I think if you look at the numbers of Americans who oppose this tax bill who see it really very much as a cut primarily for wealthy individuals and for corporates, it's going to make it difficult to win -- probably raise the barriers to winning a number of races in the midterms if the democrats are effective at mobilizing the sentiment that we're seeing against the tax cuts.

People care a lot about what comes back into their pocket, and there is certainly scope, I think, for this playing out in some ways that are not positive for the Republican Party.

CHURCH: Well, and of course, I guess people will, they'll wait and see whether they benefit or whether they don't. That will really be the test, won't it?

But given the unpopularity of this new tax plan, how much pressure might it bring to bear on the president to reveal his own tax return as he keeps insisting he won't benefit from his new tax plan? People might want to see proof of that.

VINJAMURI: Yes, well, this president has come under a lot of pressure for a very long time to reveal his own tax -- his own taxes. But, of course, he's consistently failed to do that. He's been quite effective at circumventing that pressure.

So, I suspect, in fact, that he'll do that once again. But we are going to see mobilization. You know, it's been called a suburban tax by a number of people because it does hit those who have been deducting a significant part of the interest on their mortgages, right?

A lot of people are really going to feel this in their pockets and I think that that will shift the politics in a number of districts, and really influence how people think when they go to the polls in 2018.

But, again, right now, you know, this tax plan has gone through so quickly, a lot of people aren't entirely sure what's in it. They are waiting to see how it will affect them. It's been used to make a number of changes to education policy, to the Affordable Care Act by taking away that penalty that would otherwise -- individuals would have to pay if they didn't sign up to the Affordable Care Act.

So, a number of social policies and plans are also being tackled through this tax reform.

CHURCH: All right. Leslie, do stay with us if you don't mind. I want to come back to you in just a moment. And I want to move on to another topic.

Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe testified before the House intelligence committee on Tuesday just as some top republicans are calling for his removal from the ongoing Russia probe. They say McCabe and others at the FBI are biased against President Trump and they point to a series of text messages between an FBI agent on the special counsel team and an FBI lawyer.

That agent was removed from Robert Mueller's team earlier this year, but his disparaging words about then candidate Trump and references to McCabe himself have made some skeptical of the probe's impartiality.

And the president's allies have worked to discredit the entire investigation, reaching beyond just McCabe and now Mr. Trump's son, Donald Trump, Jr., is sharing his own theory about the obstacles his dad is facing. Take a listen.


DONALD TRUMP, JR., DONALD TRUMP'S SON: My father talked about it they are existing throughout the campaign and people are, what are you talking about? But it is, and you're seeing it. There is, and there are people at the highest levels of government that don't want to let America be America.


CHURCH: And the former director of both the CIA and the NSA says he is offended by the remarks. Listen.


MICHAEL HAYDEN, FORMER CIA & NSA DIRECTOR: That is an appeal to the heart of autocracy and challenging the patriotism of those folks who work in the United States government.

Look, we've good institutions in this country. They are imperfect. They make mistakes. We have imperfect people who send messages they shouldn't send, but that no way under cuts the legitimacy of these institutions.


[03:10:05] CHURCH: All right. So, let's bring Leslie Vinjamuri back into our conversation. And Leslie, listening there, what do you think Don Junior is trying to say? And what are the ramifications of the president's son pushing this view of impartiality?

VINJAMURI: Well, I think this is, you know, this is what we've seen repeatedly by the president and those surrounding him as an effort to undermine the legitimacy, the perception that the investigations are legitimate, that those attached to them are impartial, that they are credible.

And just an ongoing attack on individuals and agencies and organizations that are supporting those investigations.

So, it's another dimension. It's the same line that we've seen now for many months, and it's -- and it's -- but it's a renewed push on this. And of course, I think this just demonstrates that, you know, the president would like to see these investigations brought to a close as soon as possible. But it's clearly -- that's not the direction that things are traveling.

CHURCH: No, not from what we are seeing. But how likely is it that the Russia probe will be damaged by these attacks from various republicans insisting that it's biased?

VINJAMURI: Well, I think we've -- what we've seen is that there is a -- there are a core of republicans, what we've referred to continually as Trump's base, that have seen these investigations as biased for a very long time. They've been seen in part through partisan lens. So, this is not new.

But, of course, the damage done by these kinds of attacks are significant. But I think in the long term, and even in the medium term, people continue to hold fast to the views that they have had, right.

If they thought that these were important and credible they're going to maintain that perspective. But unfortunately, what we won't see are people who were suspicious or suspected that the press was legitimate, this will unfortunately stay in place.

CHURCH: All right. many thanks to Leslie Vinjamuri joining us there live from London, where it's just after eight in the morning. We appreciate your perspective and analysis.

VINJAMURI: Thank you.

CHURCH: Well, Saudi Arabia says for the second time in two months, it has intercepted a Houthi missile fired at its capital Riyadh. The Houthis released this launch video from the incident. They say their attack marks 1,000 days since the start of the Saudi-led offensive in Yemen and marks a new phase in the war.

Our Ben Wedeman reports.

BEN WEDEMAN, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: The Houthi rebels posted online the launch of the missile. A Burkan or volcano 2 H, a modified scud. It was aimed at the Saudi capital Riyadh where an image of a plume of white smoke was captured moments after the missile was intercepted by a U.S.-supplied patriot antimissile system.

The target, according to the Houthis was a meeting of the Saudi leadership at Al-Yamama Palace outside Riyadh. Saudi Arabia accuses Iran of supplying the Houthis with weapons, a charge Iran denies.

In a lengthy speech broadcast on a Houthi-run TV station, the rebel's leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi declared that Riyadh and Abu Dhabi, capitals of the two largest members of the Saudi-led coalition, are now in range.

He said after a thousand days had passed since the start of the Saudi- led offensive against the Houthis, a new phase had begun in the war. They attacked our facilities and we will attack theirs, he said. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.

In early November, the Houthis fired a similar missile at Riyadh's international airport. The level of violence has increased dramatically recently. According to the United Nations, airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition have killed 115 civilians in the last 11 days.

More than eight million Yemenis are on the brink of famine while supplies of food, fuel and medicine are desperately low as a result of the Saudi embargo. The United Nations is trying to act as a peace maker, but it appears no one is listening.

Ben Wedeman, CNN, Beirut.

CHURCH: Meantime, the U.S. says the Houthi missile appears to have been supplied by Iran and threatens to drag the world into a growing regional conflict.

Our Ryan Browne reports.

RYAN BROWNE, PENTAGON REPORTER, CNN: U.S. military saying that the U.S. was working with Saudi Arabia to assess the situation that would provide Riyadh all the support it needed to defend itself against such attacks in the future.

Now, the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley made a stronger statement, saying that this missile attack was still being studied, but bear all the hallmarks of previous attacks which the U.S. says involved missiles supplied by Iran.


[03:15:05] NIKKI HALEY, UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: It is only a matter of time before one of these missiles hits the target. If we don't do something, we will miss the opportunity to prevent further violence from Iran.


BROWNE: Now, just last week, Ambassador Haley appeared at the Defense Intelligence Agency where she presented what she called evidence of Iran's military support to the Houthi rebels. That evidence included missile components from previous missiles as well as an attack boat.

Now, U.S. military official tells me a similar attack boat, a so- called shark 33, has appeared in Houthi controlled area along the Yemen Coast in recent days. What the military official called further evidence of Iran's continued support for the Houthi rebels despite Haley and other official's attempts to bring international pressure on Iran and its support for the militant group.

Back to you.

CHURCH: Thanks so much. And while Saudi-led forces have been fighting with Houthi rebels in Yemen, civilians have been paying a very high price. The U.N. says the three-year war has claimed more than 5,000 civilian lives and created one of the world's largest humanitarian and food crises.


JAMIE MCGOLDRICK, U.N. RESIDENT COORDINATOR, HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS IN YEMEN: Yemen is the largest food insecurity crisis in the world and our recent humanitarian overview identified almost 18 million people who are in need of support food wise. That's over 11 million people who are what we declare an acute need, and that's 1 million more than last year.

And there are some 400,000 children under the age of 5 who are in a very severe acute malnourished situation.


CHURCH: And to talk more about this, joining me now from Oslo is Jan Egeland, he's a former U.N. aide chief who now heads the Norwegian Refugee Council. Thank you so much for talking with us.

Let's talk more about the situation for people on the ground there in Yemen. Those numbers are shocking. What are they having to deal with day to day, and what's being done to help them at this point?

JAN EGELAND, SECRETARY-GENERAL, NORWEGIAN REFUGEE COUNCIL: Well, it is a slow-motion train wreck for 12 -- for 20 million Yemenis at the moment. Its proportions beyond belief here in Yemen. For me, it's the biggest story in the world today, is 20 million Yemenis. They lack everything. I've been to Yemen. It's the poorest place on

earth. And now there's been 1,000 days and nights of war. Air raids from the Saudi-led coalition, and then also the occasional missile going out from northern Yemen towards civilians in Saudi.

So, we need an end to this war and we need an end to this crippling blockade by the Saudi-led military coalition that is supported by western powers.

CHURCH: So, how does that happen? How do you bring this to an end? What's the process here?

EGELAND: Well, what we've done now is 350 leaders from academia from humanitarian world, from the entertainment world, et cetera, having an open letter to President Trump, to President Macron in France, to Prime Minister may in the U.K. where we are saying, due of fight you are providing military hardware to one side in this war, the Saudi side. You are actually indirectly supporting the blockade of an entire civilian people.

You need to do three things. Call for an immediate ceasefire and really push for that. Secondly, get a peace process led by the U.N. to function because that peace process is going nowhere. And thirdly, help get the whole public sector to work again in Yemen. Teachers, doctors, nurses haven't been paid for a year. So, there is a total collapse in hospitals, in schools, et cetera.

CHURCH: What response has there been so far from the U.S.? We know that they have called for an end to the blockade, but they want to see humanitarian aid get through. But beyond that, the other points you raised, what response has there been?

EGELAND: Well, it's been very welcome that President Trump and Theresa May and President Macron has called for an end to the blockade. But if they are supporting the one side with military hardware still and even military intelligence, you know, they have to do more than just call for it.

They have to -- they have to say, end it, in blunt terms to their ally, the Saudis. And then they have to say, we demand you go to the negotiating table. Stop this nonsense of, you know, you sent a missile so I have to bomb you. So, and therefore we can have blockade so that no new parts come into the rockets.

[03:20:06] Twenty million lives are at stake here. That's why these people sit in the Security Council to stop these kind of wars. And I think it's a bad word on the U.S., U.K. and France they haven't been able to stop this senseless war.

CHURCH: But why haven't they ended it yet? And why is more of the focus on Iran's possible role here?

EGELAND: Well, because I think we are all locked in this proxy war that is now gripping, you know, not only Yemen, but also in part, Syria of Iran versus Saudi, and Saudi is the sort of western favorite whereas Iran is the Russian favorite. Yemeni children deserve better than being locked in a power play among

well-fed men. Millions of lives are at stake now. So I think it will be -- it will be a stain on the conscience of these nations, all of them if they are not taking a step back and say, ceasefire tomorrow. Let's start talk to an end to this conflict and let's now invest in saving lives.

CHURCH: Jan Egeland, we appreciate you joining us and explaining the situation on the ground. And we do hope to see some help coming to those children, particularly and other men and women who need help there in Yemen. Many thanks to you.

And we talk about the proxy war tearing Yemen apart, often without being able to see the effects. But CNN's Clarissa Ward recently has been to Yemen to witness the suffering firsthand.


CLARISSA WARD, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The Saudi Arabia-led coalition has actively tried to prevent journalists from coming here because they don't want people to see the depths of the humanitarian crisis that exist here.

But we felt it was really important to try to get here to try to understand what's going on and to get a better sense of how the Yemeni people are bearing the brunt of this civil war.


CHURCH: And you can see the rest of Clarissa Ward's reporting from inside Yemen on our international web site.

We'll take a very short break here. But still to come, questions around the mysterious deaths of a billionaire couple in Toronto. Police are not calling the case a homicide, so what happened to this tycoon and his wife?

Plus, one of the most controversial figures in the Catholic Church die at the age of 86. The legacy of Cardinal Bernard Law when we return.


CHURCH: Welcome back. Bernard Law, the highest ranking official to ever leave the U.S. Roman Catholic Church in disgrace, has died at the age of 86.

[03:24:55] Law was the archbishop of Boston, a man many thought could become the first American pope. But he resigned in 2002 when the Boston Globe covered a massive sex abuse scandal in his archdiocese. Law was accused of protecting priests who were abusing children.

And Vatican correspondent Delia Gallagher joins me now from Rome. So, Delia, what's the Vatican saying about the passing of Bernard Law?

DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN VATICAN CORRESPONDENT: Rosemary, just a one line statement from the Vatican that Cardinal Law died in the early hours of this morning they say after a long illness.

Of course, he had been in Rome since 2004 when, as you say, he resigned in 2002 as archbishop of Boston. A huge fall from grace for this figure who had been so beloved in Boston and indeed at the Vatican, it was John Paul II who made him archbishop of Boston.

He was Harvard educated. He was a man who before the sex abuse scandals was known for his voice for the poor on behalf of the Civil Rights movement, on behalf of immigrants. And so, the fall from grace was made even more apparent by the fact that people really had great expectations of Cardinal Law.

And when these sex abuse scandals first came to light in Boston in 2002 and Cardinal Law was accused of knowing about some of these cases, in particular there was an egregious case of Father John Geoghan who was convicted of molesting 130 boys and had been shown that Cardinal Law moved him from parish to parish.

The cardinal did apologize, he did resign, but he was seen as a symbol of the Catholic Church's hierarchy and of refusal to understand the gravity of the situation.

And then he was brought over here in 2004 to Rome by John Paul II and given a post at one of the major basilicas in Rome. So, that sort of added to the scandal for the American Catholics who said he was given kind of an honorary position over here.

But he had been here at the Vatican in a very kind of quiet, private way since 2011, which was when had to resign from all of his, sort of Vatican roles because he turned 80.

So, the cardinal, you know, lived this sort of life before and after, but he will certainly be most remembered for the sex abuse crisis which he did not handle properly and for which he paid the consequence, although many people still calling for better accountability for bishops who did know and moved abusing priests around. Rosemary?

CHURCH: Delia Gallagher, joining us from Rome where it is nearly 9.30 in the morning. We thank you so very much.

Well, it has been nearly five days since a Toronto billionaire and his wife were found dead inside their mansion and it's still unclear what happened to them.

Officials say the circumstances surrounding the case appears suspicious, but they are not looking for any suspects right now.

Paula Newton has more details.

PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This has been such a baffling incident and startled many people in the community that were close to the Shermans.

You know, many people describing them as heroes, not just because of the time they spent in the community and all the money they gave to the community, but also because they were seen as a formidable couple, certainly connections to prime ministers and other politicians, and that there was really no explanation as to how this happened.

Police only saying that they died by strangulation, perhaps by a rope or a cord. Having said that, forensics teams are still crawling all over their $5 million mansion in Toronto where those bodies were located.

But right now many things are upsetting the family. The Shermans have four adult children, and they became very upset when a few days ago Canadian media started pointing to police sources saying that this had all the hallmarks of a murder suicide.

Now, to that point, they decided to come up with a statement they say in the statement to police that they are shocked and think it's irresponsible that police sources have reportedly advised the media of a theory which neither their family, their friends nor their colleagues believe to be true.

We urge the Toronto police service to conduct a thorough, intensive and thorough instigation. It is a criminal investigation that is, of course, very complicated. Police have already said there were no signs of forced entry. And they're not looking for a suspect.

At the same time, what happened here, the theories are that this could have been some kind of suicide pact, that this was a murder suicide, or the family, the Shermans, tend to believe that this was some kind of a hit.

Certainly in this kind of a financial empire, there were lots of litigations unfolding. Having said that, there is still no indication that police have that there was any kind of immediate threat to their lives and they had not complained that there were any.

[03:29:59] Police will continue to comb through that home for more clues, although they have not said that they expect any more tried and true leads in this investigation in the near future.

Paula Newton, CNN, Ottawa.


CHURCH: And we'll take a short break right here. But still to come, the new head of South Africa's ruling Party says the African national congress will be united under his leadership. The challenges he is facing, that is next.

Plus, North Korea is being blamed for the biggest cyberattack the world has ever seen. What tech companies and governments are doing about it? We're back with that and more in just a moment.


CHURCH: A very warm welcome back to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church. Want to update you now on the main stories we're following this hour. The U.S. Senate passes the Republicans tax reform bill just a short time ago. The 51-48 vote was along Party line, because the senate made technical changes to the measure, the house will have to vote on it again later Wednesday. Then it can go to President Trump for his signature. Cardinal Bernard law, the former archbishop of Boston, has died at the age of 86. He was a powerful figure in the Roman Catholic Church, but he resigned in disgrace in 2002 after the Boston globe uncovered a massive sex abuse scandal in his arch diocese. Law was accused of protecting priests who were abusing children.

Sir Ramaphosa will soon deliver his first address as head of South Africa's ruling Party. He will give the closing address at the conference hall at the African national congress. He replaces Jacob Zuma as Party leader and he is still but certain to take over as South Africa's President in 2019.

And Ramaphosa is promising to unite the ANC which has been mere in the corruption scandals facing Jacob Zuma. CNN's David McKenzie is in Johannesburg. He is joins us now live. So, David what does Ramaphosa bring to the table, what challenges does he face and how possible is it that he could replace Jacob Zuma earlier 2019?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ramaphosa, Rose Marie, carries the hopes of millions of South Africans who want to see the ANC take a new direction and try kick start the country's ailing economy. But throughout his career he is almost been called a nearly man, almost getting to the presidency, but now his time has come.


MCKENZIE: At the childhood home, the proud older sister waited for the vote to be announced.

[03:35:03] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very nice to meet you.

MCKENZIE: Hidden in the bathroom, too nervous to even watch.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was just praying.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We declare Ramaphosa as the new president of the African National Congress.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Then I get out, I said, oh, is that Zuma? No, Cyril, they were shouting.

MCKENZIE: Ramaphosa says this was always the goal.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Maybe one of the good days, god will bless us like this.

MCKENZIE: It just took longer than expected. A union organizer during (inaudible) and a protege of nelson Mandela, he was on the fast track to becoming President. Ramaphosa became the chief ANC negotiator with the racist regime, known as being tough but fair.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The regime is determined to block any advance to democracy.

MCKENZIE: But when it came time to step down, Mandela chose another successor. Ramaphosa left government for business becoming one of the richest men in South Africa. Those business ties came into question in 2012. When police brutally killed scores of striking miners at a Catalan mine. Ramaphosa was a board member at the company that owned the mine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The responsibility has to be collective and as a nation we should dip our heads and accept that we did fail the people of Maricana, particularly the families and the workers and those who died.

MCKENZIE: He was cleared of wrongdoing, and by the time he reentered politics as deputy President, many hoped he could drive the country forward.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think we are ready for a takeoff. You will see changes happening in South Africa soon.

MCKENZIE: Instead, under the leadership of Jacob Zuma, the country faltered, entering a recession. And it through the multiple corruption scandals, court challenges and street demonstrations, like many in the ruling ANC, the vocal Ramaphosa stayed silent. He now faces fractures in the ruling Party already losing support with the public. Here in so we to, they are convinced that Ramaphosa is the man to bridge that divide.

When you see him again, what are you going to say to him?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to hug him. I'm going to hug him.


MCKENZIE: So, he has a tough job ahead of him, Rosemary, because his top leadership is divided amongst the fractious ANC. Still there is hope in south Africa hoping that the man that is been an icon in south African politics for so long could be the right man to lead this country forward. Rosemary?

CHURCH: We will watch to see what changes may occur. David McKenzie joining us live from Johannesburg which is nearly 10:40 in the morning. Many thanks.

The U.S. is trying again to pressure North Korea to resolve the nuclear crisis peacefully. Canada and the U.S. will host a new international group in Vancouver next month with the goal of bringing Pyongyang to the negotiating table. President Donald Trump has rejected the possibility of talks before, but now the U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says diplomacy is still an option. But only if North Korea stops its nuclear provocations.


they have not rejected diplomatic talks. What the White House has merely observed is that North Korea has not exhibited a willingness to talk. But the White House position and the President's policy has always been -- and I go back to why does the pressure campaign exist, and this pressure campaign of sanctions and diplomatic pressure is the President's policy. It is the policy that came from the national Security Council that we would put in place. Sanctions is seen like never been seen before.


CHURCH: Meanwhile, the U.S. could retaliate against North Korea for the WannaCry cyberattack which blocked computers in almost every country earlier this year. Experts have widely suspected Pyongyang was behind that virus, and now Australia and other countries are following the U.S. in directly blaming North Korea for the attack. Our Brian Todd has more.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is the biggest cyberattack the world has ever seen. Hundreds of thousands of computers around the world in about 150 countries rendered useless. Businesses, homes, and hospitals were hit, holding critical systems hostage. Even parts of Britain's National Health Service were crippled putting lives at risk. Now the U.S. Government is publicly placing the blame for that cyber assault uniquely dubbed WannaCry, squarely on Kim Jong-un's army of hackers.

[03:40:15] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was directed by the government of North Korea. We are also comfortable in saying that there were actors on their behalf, intermediaries carrying out this attack and they carried out those attacks on behalf of North Korea in the past.

TODD: Sources tell CNN British intelligence officials and Microsoft had previously concluded that groups associated with the North Korean regime were responsible for the WannaCry hack which occurred in May. But this was the first time the U.S. publicly singled out the Kim regime.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: North Korea is in the extortion business. It's in the intimidation business. Frankly, it's in the larceny business.

TODD: Experts say the North Korean attack was unique for a foreign government, because it was ransomware, designed to shut down computers until users paid ransom money to unlock their screens. But officials say in the WannaCry hack, the attackers botched the ransom technology and didn't make much money.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Once word got out ping didn't unlock the computer it stopped. Still the destruction was widespread and a cyber war team that has become dangerously proficient. Kim Jong-un is believed to have an army of more than 6000 hackers, most of them from North Korea's top intelligence agency. The best of them work for an elite unit called Bureau 121, the same unit who is believed to hack Sony pictures and has infiltrated systems in many countries.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are causing disruption, banks, and ATM machines in South Korea. They are attacking the finance sector and affecting swift, one of the main ways we move money around to do financial heists.

TODD: Financial heists designed not just to disrupt the west, but generate real money for the Kim regime.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That money is then used in turn by the regime for its nefarious purposes for the nuclear program for the missile program.

TODD: Publicly White House officials say they don't have many options for retaliating against the Kim regime for the WannaCry attack.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Trump has used every lever you can use short of starving the people of North Korea to death.

TODD: But behind the scenes White House officials tell us they are taking measures to hinder North Korea's hacking capabilities, applying what one official calls max pressure. They won't discuss their options in advance, but cyber experts tell us that could mean that U.S. Cyber command is launching its own offensives to disrupt Kim Jong-un's hackers. Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


CHURCH: Facebook and Microsoft are working together against North Korean hackers among other strategies. Microsoft is increasing windows security to prevent a similar cyberattack. Facebook has deleted profiles used by hackers and is reaching out to users who may be at risk. The White House wants tech companies to work more closely with the government against cyber threats. And now Paula Hancock is following this story from Seoul, South Korea. She joins us now live. Paula, what's been the response in South Korea to this increasing pressure on Pyongyang other nations blaming North Korea for the WannaCry cyberattack?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rosemary, we and an official response from South Korea when it comes to WannaCry, we would expect one certainly. South Korea is the main target of cyberattacks which it says originate from North Korea. In recent months, recent years, you've had cyberattacks here on banks, on broadcasters, even on the South Korean military and all of those according to South Korean officials have been the work, they believe, of North Korea officials had been the work, they believe of North Korea. It is certainly an issue that South Korea feels acutely and imagine that they would welcome the fact that there has been this rally internationally to try and combat this.

So, today you had the likes of Japan, Australia, New Zealand, all agreeing with the United States saying that they believe also that North Korea was behind the WannaCry cyberattack back in May. Now, 164 countries were affected, according to the White House homeland security. So, certainly you can imagine there is a great deal of power within those companies -- countries to be able to club together. And then when you have massive companies like Microsoft and Facebook as well joining together to try and fight this, this is what homeland security is hoping for at this point, that this kind of collaboration from not just governments, but also the private sector could actually make a difference. Rosemary?

CHURCH: All right, Paula Hancocks joining us there from Seoul in South Korea. Many thanks to you as always.

Donald Trump's first year as U.S. President has been a never-ending source of comedy goal for late night hosts. Still to come, a look at some of their more memorable moments.


[03:45:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Things just started to tip over as it was going around, it ended up on the side. Everything went dark.


CHURCH: And we are hearing from passengers who were on an Amtrak train when it careened off the tracks in Washington State. We're back with that in just a moment.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, it was like being inside an exploded bomb after getting myself upright and my legs unfolded, I saw her legs. And I reached down and I shook one. She shook it back. I said, oh, are you all right? She said, I think so.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I notice some, what would feel like normal turbulence on an airplane, but for a train ride it's unusual. It wasn't until I came to and I a sense of -- I looked out the front of the train where there should be another passenger car and I just saw forest.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My personal mission was to just -- to try to lead and tell the first responders that got there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I climbed in the train -


[03:50:36] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ...having a coastline directly through towns like lake wood and over interstate 5. Anderson warned just two weeks ago that disaster could be coming.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whether it's an accident, and not putting those safety enhancement

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Maybe you did he see the exact thing, but you saw it coming.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is a certain degree of guilt associated with it. Maybe we gave up too soon.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you feel guilty?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not intellectually, but emotionally. We don't like to lose and maybe if we had won, things would be different.

KYUNG LAH, SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Investigators also want to look at the cameras aboard the train, specifically the camera inside the cab, hoping to understand what the engineer and the conducting trainee were doing in the moments before the derailment. Kyung Lah, CNN DuPont, Washington.

CHURCH: Let's take a short break here and still ahead on a much lighter note, the Disney debut of Donald Trump the robot. Back in a moment.


CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Well Disney has unveiled a new robot at its magic kingdom park in Florida Tuesday. It's Donald Trump.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From the beginning, America people. At our founding, it was the American people who rose up to defend our freedoms and win our independence.


CHURCH: The Donald Trump robot is part of the hall of Presidents attraction. Every sitting President has recorded remarks for the hall since it opened in the early 1990s. The show also features other Presidential figures including Abraham Lincoln Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.

Well, Donald Trump's presidency is giving late night television its biggest boost in years. Every tweet and gaff is being mined for jokes that audiences are tuning in to see every night. CNN's Brian Stelter has the details.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You ever stop for a moment and think to yourself it's only been ten months of you Donald Trump.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Late night comedians have been laughing all the way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wonder if you remember water this time. Do you have any water? Someone tell him he can't drink water like that.

STELTER: Everyday something new to mock.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is how a baby drinks out of a sippy cup.

STELTER: It's a new day to shop. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every day I wake up terrified at the notion he is

the President of the most powerful nation of the world, but I must admit every day I also wake up knowing he will make me laugh.

STELTER: TV ratings usually dip after a presidential elections but not this year, Trump has made late night great again. Host like Stephen Colbert and Seth Meyers channel anti-Trump feelings of their fans.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hopefully that will be a great, great beautiful Christmas present.

[03:55:05] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm sorry the last person I want to get a Christmas present from is Donald Trump.

STELTER: There are dozens of reasons why the president is stuck with historical low approval rating and late night, a contributing factor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is so unpopular pretty soon it is just going to be Fox and Friend.

STELTER: With Trump's approval in the mid-30's Jimmy Kimmel thinks that still seems too high, but he knows Trump's base is still with him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They don't care what he does. He would have to eat bucket of Kentucky fried bald eagle and wipe his mouth on the confederate flag to go forward.

STELTER: About 35 percent of Americans supporting Trump are probably not watching, but some of the 59 percent who disapprove are grateful that this comics are speaking out. Stephen Colbert has surged into first place enjoying some of his highest ratings ever.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The real loser here is Donald Trump.

STELTER: When Trump falters when he falls these shows rise, yes they joke around, but they tackle serious issues too including health care policy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Before 2014 if you were born with congenital heart disease like my son was, there was a good chance would never be able to get health care insurance because you have pre-existing condition.

STELTER: Jimmy Kimmel stand out moment of the year. Flirting healthcare access.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It should not matter how much money you make. I think that is something whether you're a Republican or Democratic or something else, we all agree on that.

STELTER: Some conservatives denounce Kimmel for confusing the facts. Trump himself has complained about the venom coming from late night. Even using it at one point saying should we get equal time, but so far no pro-Trump show has emerged.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The war on Christmas is soon over, it will soon be replaced with the war on North Korea.

STELTER: There is more to come next year. Stephen Colbert producing an animated spoof our cartoon President.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our cartoon president coming soon.

STELTER: For now eleven months in, the audience is cheering these comics on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 37 more months to go. Or less. Hey could be less. Never know.




CHURCH: And thanks to our Brian Stelter for that report and thanks to you for your company this hour. I am Rosemary Church. Remember to connect with me any time on twitter. The news continues with Isa Soares in London. You are watching CNN. Have a great day.