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Cryptocurrency Profits To Be Taxed; Record Breaking Snow Falls In Pennsylvania; Minnesota Man Goes Horse And Buggy Skiing; The Meghan Markle Effect Driving Fashion. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired December 27, 2017 - 02:00   ET


ISHA SESAY,CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: U.S. President Donald Trump is ending the year as he started, unleashing on Twitter. He slammed the FBI again, saying the Russian Dossier is a bogus one, and a quote, Crooked Hillary, pile of garbage. More on that ahead. Plus Russia's aggressive military maneuvers with an upsurge of warships coming too close to the United Kingdom's coast line.

The move comes as relationship between the two nations turns sour. Then the marvel (ph) effect, how the sky (ph) offense (ph) of the royal to be could boost retail sales. For their Christmas Day outfit already selling out. That's all just ahead.

Hello and welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Isha Sesay, this is news from L.A. Well it's been more than a year since Donald Trump won the U.S. presidency over Hillary Clinton, but he still can't stop attacking her.

Blaming her campaign for that now infamous Russian Dossier that he claims is the basis for the justice department investigation. The president fired off some more tweets about healthcare reform and the new Republican tax bill. CNN's Ryan Nobles reports.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We only had one glimpse of the president on Tuesday and that's when CNN's cameras caught him very briefly on the golf course at one of his Trump owned properties here, the Trump International Golf Course in West Palm Beach.

This is the 110th day that the president spent at one of this Trump owned properties. That's one third of his presidency. And the president had no other public events on his schedule. But his Twitter feed was pretty busy. He was talking about taxes, he was talking about healthcare.

And he was also talking about the Robert Mueller investigation, trying to use that Twitter feed as a way to discredit Mueller and his team. This is what he said, wow Fox and Friends, -- talking to Fox and Friends after a report he saw there on that show. Dossier is bogus, Clinton Campaign, DNC funded dossier, FBI cannot after all this time verify claims in the dossier of the Russia Trump collusion.

The FBI tainted and they used this crooked Hillary pile of garbage as the basis of going after the Trump campaign. That tweet not 100 percent accurate, while the FBI has confirmed that there are aspects of that dossier that actually were true, it was by no means the basis of the entire special counsel investigation and we should point out that two associates directly connected to the president and his campaign have already pleaded guilty as a result of that investigation.

The president also taking another victory lap when it comes to his tax reform bill, this is a bill he signed into law just before coming to Mar-a-Lago. And that's where he said, quote, all signs are that business is looking really good for next year only to be helped further by our tax cut bill, will be a great year for companies and jobs, the stock market is poise for another year of success.

And the president hoping to end 2017 on a positive note as he heads into 2018 with a number of big topics potentially on the roster, including infrastructure reform, perhaps coming up with a spending bill and maybe even tackling entitlement reform. Ryan Nobles, CNN, West Palm Beach, Florida.

SESAY: So with the latest tweets about the Russian dossier, we wanted to take a closer look into what is fact and what is fiction. CNN's Jessica Snyder reports.

JESSICA SNYDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The president has tweeted that the Russian dossier, is quote, bogus. But really that's not entire accurate. So it is true that the most salacious allegations contained in the dossier have not been verified. But the broader search in the dossier that Russia waged a campaign to interfere in the U.S. election in 2016, that is now accepted as fact by the U.S. intelligence community.

And it is important to note that U.S. law enforcement and intelligence officials, they did their work separate and apart from the dossier has supported their findings that Russia tried to meddle in favor of President Trump. Plus CNN reported earlier this year that other aspects of the dossier like communications between senior Russia officials and other Russians mentioned in memos, those actually did take place as well.

And sources do say that the FBI last year used the dossier as part of a justification to win approval to secretly monitor former Trump campaign associate, Carter Page. Now the president also claimed on Twitter that the dossier was the basis for investigating the Trump campaign, now that again, is not entirely accurate.

In fact, the FBI and Special Counsel Robert Mueller, they have used the dossier as part of the investigation but it is not the entire basis for Mueller's inquiry. And he has his team -- it has its own investigation.

In fact in the four people that have been charged so far, there has been no reference to the dossier or its findings in any of those indictments. So Mueller's team though, it did meet this past summer with the author of the dossier, former British spy Christopher Steele, that's according to sources and it is possible that information from Christopher Steele could help investigators determine whether contacts between people associated with the Trump campaign and suspected Russian operatives, whether they broke any laws.

Well never the less, this dossier is as we can tell, it continues to be a subject of debate and criticism and parts of it in fact have been cooperated but this dossier will likely to continue to be a talking point as we head into 2017. Jessica Schneider, CNN, Washington.

ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: Well, joining me now, Michael Genovese is the President of the Global Policy Institute at Loyola Marymount University. Michael, good to see you once again.


SESAY: So the President putting the story again front and center and trying to discount it as a heap of garbage. I mean, it's kind of undercut by the fact. Some of it has been cooperated. Does he care about that fact or is this mainly about speaking to his base?

GENOVESE: Well, they're well known for talking of an alternative universe, alternative facts. Mostly the President speaks as most comfily speaking to his base and his job is to rally that base, to keep feeding them red meat. He's never been able to expand beyond that base and the base is shrinking a bit.

And so the President wants to give them as much red meat as he can because they're the ones that are loyalists, they're the ones that if something is uncovered by Mueller and it really is devastation, they're the ones who'll have to go to for his strength in Congress.

Remember, republicans control both houses, to impeach a president, all you need is the majority, you need to keep that majority and then the Senate two thirds of a vote to convict. And so the President is counting votes, I don't mean that literally -


GENOVESE: But I mean, he knows where his strength is, he knows where his base is and he keeps speaking to them. But the rest of us who keep hearing his charges and his actuations about the dossier which are absurd on the face of it think, what's wrong? What's he talking about? This is not rational, this is not what's going on.

It's not based on the dossier, it's based - the accusations are based on all kinds of other information that have been built up by the House, the Senate investigators, Mueller and others. Trump is talking about this, Mueller and everyone else is over here.

SESAY: A classic case of distraction, some might say. Similarly, the attacks on the FBI. The attacks kept coming all holiday weekend, he didn't let up and we hear him on Tuesday talking about the FBI being tainted. I mean, it seems like a clear case of - it would appear trying to undermined the credibility so whatever comes out later isn't taken seriously.

I guess my question is, what does it mean for this premier agency - Tillerson agency to seemingly be at war, at least from the President's perspective with the man sitting in the oval office?

GENOVESE: The man who controls the FBI, technically speaking. And so what you're doing is you're attacking yourself, you're on institution, the institution over which you have authority and control. But, as you know, the holiday season is a time when terrorist threats rise, when fears rise, when the FBI and others, homeland security are at the highest alert.

And to have to face this kind of beating that you take or verbal beating from your boss, from the president demeaning you, diminishing your importance, questioning your loyalty, I mean that's got to hurt. These are people who put their lives on the line everyday and is there a few partisans here and there on both sides but for the most part, these are professionals who do a professional job who take great pride in their work who do a great service to our country who are being trashed by their boss.

SESAY: I want you to take a listen to Michael Caputo who was part of the Trump campaign. he gave his take on the President's tweets on Tuesday to CNN, take a listen.

MICHAEL CAPUTO, REPUBLICAN POLITICIAN: I know that's disappointing for some people but the president is highlighting this bias to the American people for a good reason. If there's going to be an investigation, it must be unbiased.

SESAY: He says the tweets are an insurance policy. Caputo talking about there being a bias in this country. I mean, big picture, Macro, the statements made by the President attacking the FB, the judiciary, as we've seen in the past. What does this mean for these institutions, what does it mean for the fabric of America, the bedrock of this country?

GENOVESE: Well, Mr. Caputo had it partly right, that he's a attacking these organizations for a reason. The reason though is not what Mr. Caputo said, the reason he's attacking them is because they're the ones who are accumulating the case and building the case against the President and his family ad him team.

And so I think, what this means for the American institutions, what it means for the American system is that the system is under assault from the man who sits at the top of the entire institution and so there's this kind of clash that's an internal clash with the President against the course.

SESAY: Can they survive this?

GENOVESE: We survived a lot of...

SESAY: In tact I guess, can they emerge from this in tact?

GENOVESE: There's no question that there could be damage done. There's also no question that they'll survive it. I think the institutions are stronger than the individual. And that's the way the American system is built. It's build on the strength of its rule of law, of it's institutions, of it's integrity. And there are flaws in that system no doubt, but that's what the strength is.

And then you put all of those institutions against one individual, the institutions win.

SESAY: Michael Genovese, fascinating. Always appreciate the insight, thank you, thank you so much.

GENOVESE: Thank you.

SESAY: All right, well still to come on CNN Newsroom. The Kremlin tells the U.S. it's ready to act as a mediator on North Korea and wants the U.S. to get the ball rolling. Is Russia playing peace maker really a solution? Then, the Russian military setting itself up a force to be reckoned with in 2018, but how much will President Trump (wreck), our reports straight ahead.


SESAY: Hello everyone, the International Red Cross has began evacuating critical patients from a rural health suburb of Syria's capital Damascus. They transported four people from eastern Dorsett Tuesday another 25 will be evacuated in the coming days. The U.N. has warned that children in the area are severely malnourished; it says these are the worst cases since Syria's civil war started in 2011.

Now Russia has offered to mediate talks between the U.S. and North Korea if both sides agree. Moscow is urging the U.S. to make the first move and start negotiations as soon as possible. The U.S. has said it first wants Pyongyang to show it wants to return to the negotiating table. Meanwhile the U.S. is trying to put more pressure on Pyongyang, Washington is imposing new sanctions on two officials believed to be crucial in improving North Korea's nuclear weapons.

Well I spoke earlier with Foreign Policy Analyst Ari Aramesh about these sanctions. Here's part of my interview.


SESAY: So for years, the North Korean regime has defied multi-lateral and bilateral sanctions so do you expect that the targeting of two high ranking North Korean officials will bring about a change in North Korean behavior now?

ARI ARAMESH: It's the right move but it's not going to change much. It seems like the leadership in North Korea has gotten accustomed to getting concessions from the international community and the U.S. through two methods, A testing more ballistic missiles and nuclear sort of weapons or cyber attacks; holding companies, private businesses and at times, military installations as hostage to take ransom.

I would say in the year to come in 2018 we will see an intensification and an increase in the number of tests and its intensity and it doesn't seem like it that the North Korean leadership at this point will back off. Having said that; it is the right move, we have to sanction key individuals; we have to bring more pressure on the North Koreans but we should also know that our options coming to a limited -- are coming to nuclear armed North Korea are very limited.

SESAY: Yes I mean because we need to give our viewers some context, these sanctions announced today against these two high-ranking officials follow the U.N. sanctions adopted this past Friday which are all about closing down North Korea's ability to access foreign currency. This is the most sanctioned state on earth and they keep on moving, I know you say this is the right measure for this moment in time, what's left, what's left to sanction?

ARAMESH: Not much, next move will probably be a sanction on certain kinds of luxury goods. Back in the late 90's a little, sort of unofficial embargo not allowing Hennessey and Marlboro Reds into North Korea brought Kim Jong-un's dad, Kim Jong-il, to the table. We all know that he was a big fan of Johnnie Walker Black Label Hennessey, the gold old Scotch (ph) now. Again I'm not sure if even hitting luxury goods would tighten the noose around the North Korean economy; the non-existent North Korean economy is going to do much good. Knowing that we also don't have much of a military option now it's time for the Chinese to show some leadership and it's also time for the president to lean on the Chinese so finally they can actually rise to the occasion and bring the North Koreans to a rational and reasonable conclusion that this is not the way to deal with the international community.

But they know A, military options for the most part is off the table because they have nuclear capability and B, aside from the nuclear capabilities, they're conventional military might can do enough damage to our ally South Korea that for any sort of reasonable president will put or will eliminate a military option against the Koreans. So let's hope our Chinese friends will be more proactive here. But again even they know that they have limited leverage when it comes to dealing with the government of Kim Jong-un and company.

SESAY: I mean isn't that just the reality here? We have been talking about North Korea for years; you know the country, you know the way it has operated in the past, it's notable that you said when it comes to China, let's hope that Beijing puts pressure on them. That really is all Washington can do really effectively at this stage, bearing in mind that China's also part of the Security Council. All they can do is really hope that they change and put more pressure on Pyongyang so I guess that brings us to the Russia situation, we've been hearing from Russia in the last two days saying more and more loudly that the U.S. needs to take the first move; they need to be open to sitting down to talk, they need to tone down the rhetoric. I mean is Russia onto something here, bearing in mind the way the U.S. has been operating to date has not yielded a change in Pyongyang's behavior.

ARAMESH: You know in the old days of the Wild, Wild West, even the old criminals from the south and the east coast could become sheriffs in the Wild, Wild West. If Russia becomes a mediator in this ongoing, sort of fiasco between (ph), not just the U.S., but the rest of the world, I don't see a good outcome here. Let's keep in mind that North Korea is not violating U.S. law or U.S. sanctions or U.S. demands.

North Korea is in violation of multiple international resolutions by the U.N. Security Counsel, it's in violation of international law, and the world almost unanimously has asked the North Koreans to stop what they're doing. There are a few pariahs that have been yet to condemn North Korea, but if you put those pariahs aside, everyone on the U.N. Security Counsel, that includes Russia, China and the United Kingdom. France, the United States, all of the international community, including India and brazil and south Africa - the list goes on and on and on and on, have asked the north Koreans to stop.

The world is fed up now - if the Russians try to act like the mediators where, they can also try to throw the ball in our court and they would up the ante for the Americans, saying listen, you are also to blame to some extent for what these madmen, that Kim's family has done to north Korea for the past 60-something odd years. That is not a good outcome. The U.S. should stand firm, should be stern and try to use the international communities, especially China, to try to slow down the rogue regime of Kim Jong-un. And Russia's role could not be a positive one.

SESAY: North Korea said that they consider the last U.N. sanctions an act of war, so we shall see what happens in the days ahead. All right, Arash, always a pleasure to speak to you. Thank you so much.

Well, the British government says Russian naval units have been getting increasingly bold, steaming (ph) too close to U.K. waters. On Christmas Day, a British frigate escorted a Russian warship through the North Sea and a day earlier, another British ship shattered a Russian intelligence gathering ship in the same general area. As Barbara Starr reports Washington is watching closely.

BARBARA STARR, CNN INTERNATIONAL REPORTER: A British Royal Navy helicopter's infrared camera tracks a Russian warship Christmas Day as it sailed close to U.K. territorial waters. The latest in what the British government is calling an upsurge in Russian warships too close to its coastline. It's all part of the message from Moscow to Washington; the Russian military will be a force to be reckoned with in 2018.

MICHAEL ALLEN, SECURITY COUNSEL OFFICIAL: the Russians are certainly pushing the envelope. A lot of their activities in the naval and aerial arena are certainly hard-edged in their design to push us to the limits.

STARR: The question now, how much confrontation will President Trump risk? He has taken an unexpected step, allowing the export of antitank weapons to Ukraine to fight Russian-backed rebels in a country where pro-Russia rebels frequently clash with Ukrainian Armed Forces.

BEN CARDIN, D-MD: It is important for the United States to tell the Russians that we will support Ukraine's ability to defend itself.

STARR: But it's also a risky step.

ALLEN: If Putin decides that this is sort of all hostile act in a new U.S. policy to push back on Russia, Russia has everything from covert operatives across the region in Ukraine and they're able to push back and escalate very significantly. STARR: Vladimir Putin's military has also flown aggressively against

U.S. pilots in Syria. The pentagon openingly calling it a deliberate violation of an agreement to prevent accidents. After that, Moscow appears to back off of it. Putin personally challenging the president's new national security strategy.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: We also face rival powers, Russia and china that seek to challenge American influenced values and wealth. We will attempt to build a great partnership with those and other countries, but in a manner that always protects our national interests.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA: Diplomatically speaking, if I can put it in two words, it is of an attacking nature, and if we use military terms, it's no doubt aggressive. We need to take that into account in our practical work.

STARR: There is some U.S. leverage. Moscow may be nervous that new congressionally back sanctions could be strengthened even further. Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.

SESAY: Well, accountability with word (ph) of 2017 from reporters confronting U.S. President Trump about his fake news comments, to (ph) investigative scoops taking down political leaders to Hollywood royalty.

2017 was a year for media, our top seven stories just ahead.


SESAY: Good morning, CNN News Room live from Los Angelis, I am Isha Sesay, the headlines this hour. The Earth's chosen (ph) Donald Trump is taking new shots, so the FBI and the Russia investigation.

He spent part of the day golfing, but on Twitter, he blamed Hillary Clinton for the now infamous Russia dossier, calling it bogus and a pile of garbage. He also said the FBI is tainted.

And his tried (ph) Magnolia tree on the White House grounds is being cut down, too damaged and decayed to remain. The huge tree has been in place since the 1800's and Andrew Jackson's presidency.

Former First Daughter Chelsea Clinton tweeted her thanks to the horticulturists and national park service for taking care of the White House grounds, and she thanked both Lady Melania Trump for preserving part of the tree that will be replanted.

And all different (ph) airways flying (ph) from Los Angeles to Tokyo turned back to LAX four hours into the flight, due to an administrative mix up according to an aviation source.

Model Chrissy Teigen and her husband musician John Legend were among those on board. She tweeted the plane turned around because an unauthorized passenger was on the aircraft, and it's not clear how that happened.

At least this passenger had a good time with it, posing for a selfie with the two stars on their way back to L.A. You've got to make the most of it.

Donald Trump's tweets have played a crucial role in the first year of his presidency. His version of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's fireside chats, a way to connect directly to the...


[02:30:00] ISHA SESAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Back to L.A. You're going to make the most of that. Donald Trump's tweets have played a crucial role in the first year of his presidency. They're his version of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's fireside chats, a way to connect directly to the country and his base. But the Trump penalty is the platform to slam journalists. The president's relationship with the press is one of the top seven media stories of 2017. Here's Brian Stelter.


BRIAN STETLER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Scoops, falsehoods, feuds, firings, and a cultural reckoning. Here are the top seven media stories in 2017. Number seven, late night in the age of Trump. From Jimmy Kimmel's emotional Obamacare appeal --

JIMMY KIMMEL, AMERICAN TELEVISION HOST: If your baby is going to die and it doesn't have to, it shouldn't matter how much money you make.

STELTER: To the outcry after Charlottesville.

JIMMY FALLON, AMERICAN COMEDIAN: The fact that it took the president two days to come out and clearly denounce racists and waste premises is shameful.

STELTER: To NFL's series satire.


STELTER: Late nights became an anti-Trump force, channeling the frustration and fear of many viewers. Number six, the anti-trust battle of the decade.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Breaking news, the justice department is suing to block AT&T's takeover of Time Warner, the parent company of CNN.

STELTER: The DOJ argues that the deal would harm competition but some wonder this is really about President Trump's vendetta against CNN. After all, there's another deal this one involving conservative- leaning Sinclair that's making far less noise. Sinclair purchasing Tribune media. And now Disney bidding for a big chunk of Rupert Murdoch's empire. Will that deal face the same scrutiny? This DOJ lawsuit brings a lot of uncertainty to the media landscape. At a time when Facebook and Google's domination of the ad market is already causing anxiety. That brings us to number five, Russian ads on social media. Tech giants finally admitting that Russia used their platforms to meddle in the 2016 election.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Facebook told Congressional investigators today that it sold about $100,000 worth of political ads to a so-called Russia-troll farm targeting American voters.

STELTER: Similar disclosures from Twitter and Google followed. Hauled before Congress, the companies were shamed for missing Russian interference.

SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN, (D) CALIFORNIA: I must say I don't think you get it. You've created these platforms, and now they are being misused.

STELTER: Facebook, Google, and Twitter of all pledged changes. But can they be trusted to police their platforms? Number four, the White House credibility crisis. It started with Sean Spicer's very first statement from the podium.

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period.

KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Sean Spicer, our Press Secretary, gave alternative facts.

STELTER: As the press secretary's credibility crumbled, the ridicule ramped up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I came out here to punch you.

STELTER: Spicer left, but his replacement didn't exactly inspire confidence.

COOPER: Sarah Huckabee-Sanders knows what the president said. She just is pretending he said something else.

STELTER: Fact checkers have been in overdrive this year, and every false statement is another stain on the White House's credibility. But at the same time, there is more pressure than ever on us in the press to be careful and get it right. Number three, the tower of investigative reporting. It created the conditions for Michael Flynn's firing as National Security Adviser. It led to the ouster of Health and Human Services Secretary, Tom Price. Following the story about his use of private plane. And the drove to the withdrawal of President Trump's drug czar nominee.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is something that there was an explosive report by 60 minutes in the Washington Post.

STELTER: Readership, viewership, transcriptions all way up in 2017, as investigative reporting held the powerful to account. And we saw that again in our top media story of the year coming up. Number two is Donald Trump versus the media still. You know, this time last year, we wondered if the new president would tone down his attacks on the fourth estate. But no.

TRUMP: You are fake news.

STELTER: Soon after taking office, Trump called the media the enemy of the people and he tried to redefine the term fake news to any coverage he didn't like.

TRUMP: All I can say is it's totally fake news just fake.

STELTER: Trump has lashed out with verbal attacks and empty threats.

TRUMP: It's frankly disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write, and people should look into it.

[02:35:00] STELTER: Trump's media bashing has sent a chill through newsrooms across the country. But the press and other champions of the first amendments are not backing down. And the number one story in media this year, the sexual harassment reckoning. It was a moment foreshadowed by the April ouster of fox news star Bill O'Reilly, following secret harassment settlements. It exploded by the publication of two stories about movie producer Harvey Weinstein. Exposes by The New York Times and the New Yorker sparks a MeToo movement. They reverberated through every corner of industry and politics.


STELTER: As the floodgates opened, heightened the media tumbled.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Veteran journalist and political analyst Mark Halperin is leaving NBC News after CNN uncovered accusations of sexual harassment by five women.

ERIN BURNETT, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Breaking news Charlie Rose fired and now three more women are coming forward with sexual harassment allegations against the veteran journalist.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Shocking new details about the sexual harassment allegations against Matt Lauer who is fired by NBC today.

STELTER: The why seen effect is a watershed moment in American culture. But will it usher in real, systematic changes? Let's see how the media covers that story in 2018.


SESAY: What a year it has been. But it seems a turbulent run for Bitcoin. The currency reached a staggering high this year. Ahead, why an expert said it's still in its infancy, despite a recent slump.


SESAY: It's been a monster year for Bitcoin. The peer-to-peer currency has been around since 2009, but is really just now starting to take off. So what is it? First of all, no central authority issues the money or tracks transactions. [02:40:01] The system was invented by a person named Satoshi Nakamoto, about who very little is known the fact that may will be student and that's the assumption. Bitcoins can be bought and sold for dollars in other currencies on various online exchanges and traded for various products. If you buy one, you buy this cryptocurrency, you won't get something tangible, but rather a lengthy encrypted alphanumeric address. That you store in a digital wallet or your computer or you can put it on your smartphone. Joining us now to help us make sense of all of what I just said is David Wachsman, he's CEO of Wachsman and a Bitcoin and digital currency expert. He's joining us from New York. Thank you so much for being with us.


SESAY: You're almost welcome. So help us understand why 2017 was the year we saw Bitcoin seemingly become ubiquitous, at least shoot up in value.

WACHSMAN: Well, the thing is, Bitcoin has been around for a very long time. So it was invented in 2007-2008 in some white papers. And in 2009 it started trading. Not many people knew about it, and it was almost worthless for quite a long time. But around 2011, 2012, it started taking off. In 2013, it hit a record peak, and CNN was reporting about it at the time when it hit near $1,200 per Bitcoin that was back in 2013. It then kind of took a bit of a dive and taking some time but the technology has caught up. And enough people now know about it and understand and trust the underlying technology called blockchain, where Bitcoin this year went from about $950 beginning of the year to more than $16,500 today.

SESAY: Wow. So I guess my question is, as you talk about its birth back in, you know, 2008, it becoming, you know, better known in the years that followed to where we are in 2017. Where is it in its evolution as far as you're concerned, where is Bitcoin in this evolution and importantly, why is it still not available to the masses as we talk about its evolution and growth?

WACHSMAN: Bitcoin is still really hard to use. That's one big problem with it. The truth is, you kind of need to be a computer expert to understand how Bitcoin works. And people like to understand how technology works. Even though, of course, very few people actually understand how TCPIP and other internet protocols works. The truth is, Bitcoin is a type of digital money that gets value from A to B, that's what it does and it does it incredibly well. And it's never been snapped because the network that underlies Bitcoin, the Bitcoin blockchain is incredibly powerful. It's the most powerful computer network ever developed, with more computing power going against it to back it up than any network ever before. And so the truth is, Bitcoin, we're in the infancy still. We're only ten years since its invention. I would say that we are equivalent to the internet in 1991, and if you remember, it took years until the internet really took off.

SESAY: You have mentioned the block chain a couple of times as a fundamental technology, the bedrock to Bitcoin, if you will. I guess my question, as you talk about the technology being really, really, you know, advanced, if you will, is this issue of security that I keep coming up against it, as I read about Bitcoin. This truth, if you will, that having several high profile hacks. So I guess my question, how secure is it?

WACHSMAN: Bitcoin is incredibly secure. So to send value from A to B, Bitcoin can't be beat. It would be like the equivalent of wiring money from one bank to another or from a bank to you. Bitcoin cannot be beat when it comes to that. The problem is at the edges, that's where the issues lie. So for instance, your wallet could conceivably be hacked if someone got a hold of what is called your private key which is more or less your password to your money. It's possible the exchange if you're buying Bitcoin from could have their wallet hacked or socially compromised as well. This is the challenge that Bitcoin is facing today, but it's no different than any other type of crime. The truth is the Bitcoin network itself and Bitcoin, that's basically impossible to penetrate.

SESAY: OK. Now as I looked into Bitcoin and I'm grateful that I have you here to make sense of it, I came across the Winklevoss twins better known perhaps the most of our viewers for suing Mark Zuckerberg, the owner of Facebook. And it seems that they use million from their Facebook settlement invest in Bitcoin a couple of years ago. And now they're reported the virtual currency billionaires. I guess because if you want to get into the game of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies today, are the odds still in your favor to make the kind of returns that Cameron and Tyler have made or has that ship sailed?

WACHSMAN: That's a great question. The Bitcoin billionaires so to speak are just beginning to take off. I work with a number of them already today. And Bitcoin itself may not grow another 500 times or 1,000 times.

[02:45:02] But there's a lot of other digital currencies out there that the world is beginning to take note of as well. And I'm lucky to work with a lot of them. And what you've seen is some of these have stratospheric growth. One of my clients called list went 100 times up this year, actually more than that now. And that's because people finally understand that technology underpinning Bitcoin, the blockchain has extraordinary use cases and what we're starting to see if those use cases being applied in real life.

It's just beginning but that's what speculators are investing it and so I do think we're going to see more and more Bitcoin billionaires in the future.

[02:45:34] SESAY: You talked about speculation so that inevitably needs me to the question of bubbles and bubbles bursting.


SESAY: Because that is also part of chat of those the sitting on the edges do kind of look and say, could this bubble burst? And this specifically Bitcoin is sold this economical growth in 2017. Should the bubble burst? WACHSMAN: Well --

SESAY: Would there be collateral damage? I mean -- I mean, what's your take on that? I mean, we see it right, you see 16,000, as high as 16,000 in 2017. What happens is that -- if the market slumped soul plummet?

WACHSMAN: Well, Bitcoin had actually almost $20,000-2017.


WACHSMAN: But if Bitcoin were to plummet, if it were, the truth is it's not really tied to the existing financial system. So, what you're not going to see is some sort of cataclysmic effect, for instance, the way you saw with the real estate bubble economically to thousands, that's the way it is today. But I don't think Bitcoin is going to stop at 20,000, I think Bitcoins is going to go up far beyond the other cryptocurrencies.

SESAY: Why, why, why do you think that?

WACHSMAN: Because the truth is, this is basically the underpinnings of the new internet and people for the first time have the ability to invest in what is essentially an entirely revolutionary type of technology that's going to be everywhere, it's going to be ubiquitous. Bitcoin just the first of them.

Is Bitcoin itself going to be always valued at around $20,000 per? I do know, I don't think anyone can tell you that. But I do believe that Bitcoin and currencies like digital currencies are going to be a gigantic asset class that were only now beginning to understand. Today, were at something like $600 billion is a total asset class, I think we're going to cliff's multitrillion next year.

SESAY: Wow, OK. Final question to you as you talked about such astronomical and growth and value, there's no institution oversight of Bitcoin, right? So, there's no kind of Federal Reserve or Bank of England type of institution controlling value and amount of currency and speculation. Are there any downsides to this setup as you see it not just today but as we go forward?

WACHSMAN: No, Bitcoin is actually valuable because no one controls it, it controlled by math and proofs, mathematical proofs guarantee that only X amount of Bitcoin are going to be created, and that prevents overinflation of the actual currency. But interestingly enough, Bitcoin technology that flock chain, is now being used by Central Banks all over the world.

We're piloting their own versions of cryptocurrency so it may be in the near future you see a US dollar that's like a Bitcoin, or perhaps from the People's Bank of China.

SESAY: Now, well, I said it was all a question but I lie because you actually brought up the question of, you know, global take-up. Are there part of the world that adopting cryptocurrencies is faster than others? I mean, what do you seeing as you look across the world? WACHSMAN: Oh, absolutely, I see this every single day with my clients. We're seeing in Southeast Asia, we're seeing in Africa and South America most, extraordinary adoption of Bitcoin. This if you live in a country today with this extraordinary inflation for your regular currency, Bitcoin is a much better alternative. It means that you don't necessarily have to get paid in the morning and spend it on groceries in the afternoon or you have nothing left.

You can actually store your -- store your wealth and that's something the Bitcoin can do perhaps as well as any other asset in the world.

SESAY: Absolutely fascinating, David Wachsman, and then I will going to get you back to talk more about cryptocurrencies in the days ahead. But, thank you so much.

WACHSMAN: Thanks so much for having me.

SESAY: Well, will be talking about that much more in 2018, I'm sure. This seems to be Royal Meghan Markle is causing a fashion frenzy, how her Markle-sparkle is lighting up the retail scene, next.


[02:53:07] Well, right now air in Pennsylvania is taking now a record- breaking snowfall, look at those pictures it is just three days and just three days, the city has gone more than five feet of snow. That is more than one and a half meters.

And check out this video, from a woman driving to a snowstorm in Minnesota. Yes, that's a horse and buggy on the side of the road towing a man on ski. The driver said, a ski, appear to be having the time of his life, just looks mighty call to me.

Well, social media is lit up on Tuesday evening with report of a possible meteor flying over the northeastern United States. A webcam in Maine captures the street of light zipping, do you see that? Zipping across the sky. The American Media Society, says it's investigating reports of 89 citing in more than a dozen States.

While researcher say bucks and they sell in the U.K will way down shopping malls this year. But there still one thing flying off the shelves, call it the Meghan Markle effect. Like many royals before her, every piece of every outfit she wears becomes an instant must- have. On around the holidays, has forced the fashion was on full display. Ana Stewart has more now from London.

ANNA STEWART, CNN BUSINESS PLANNING EDITOR: For today is a day off for the Royal Family. They were seeing familiar moments as they arrive at church. Many fashionistas on the Twitter spare meanwhile got to work. Racing to find out what Harry's fiancee was wearing.

Meghan Markle wear camel colored coat by Canadian brand Sentaler, The Pixie bag by Chloe, and boots that lots have identified as Stuart Weitzman. Online, the coat is sold out, the boots has sold out, the bag haven't quite sold out today but perhaps that's got something to do with the price tag, $1,400. Well, not to Meghan Markle app that may be sold out online, some shopper here today are hoping that it might be available in store but only is this way.

This girl is taught us they were inspired to buy a Chloe Bag today as their see wearing hers.


[02:55:09] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Obvious she's an icon now, so, that's an obvious thing so, everyone going to want to buy it, I like once you wear it, you like, Oh, yes, I have it a bag that Meghan Markle wear, or I have says that Megan Markle wear, but I think even though if Meghan Markle not wearing that thing is still like look good as well.

STEWART: The royal engagement has top even more interest in Meghan Markle, he already had a big fan based from her acting career. Meghan's Mirror is one of several blogs, dedicated to Meghan Markle style.

CHRISTINE FLOSS, BLOGGER, MEGHANMIRROR.COM: We had a lot of people asking where can I buy this? Where can I get this? So, we created a database for people could go on to the website and find the free match anything she's worn and click to purchase it. It turned into a great business for us.


STEWART: And great business to the brands that Meghan Markle wear's in the months ahead. Anna Stewart, CNN, London.

SESAY: By the way, if you like the coat, Meghan wore, you can order it now, and it ship in month of 2018. And the first, that is available in a variety of colors, I'm here for you ladies. Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM Live from Los Angeles, I'm Isha Sesay. Richard Quest, fix things up after a very short break, stay with us.