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Deadly Blast Kill At least 40 In Afghanistan; Trump Thanks First Responders, Stretches The Truth; Roy Moore Fraud In Alabama Election; Putin Launches Bid For Fourth Term As President; Climate Change Up Close. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired December 28, 2017 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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[03:00:00] RICHARD QUEST, CNN ANCHOR: Donald Trump says he has signed more legislation in his first year in office than anyone since Harry Truman. True or false? We'll check the claim.
New military moves in North Korea, why U.S. officials worry it could be a sign Pyongyang is preparing for another test.
And CNN will take you to the center of climate change -- melting glaciers in Greenland and the impact on coastal cities everywhere.
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QUEST: Wherever you are in the world, a very good day to you. Welcoming viewers joining us in the United States and around the world, we're all together, I'm Richard Quest, and you're in the CNN Newsroom.
Let's begin with President Donald Trump, who is making, perhaps we might say questionable claims about what he's done as he heads towards his first year in office.
The president said on Wednesday, he'd signed more legislation than any other U.S. president in the same time period. It follows the passage of his tax cut plan, a bill widely recognized as the only major piece of legislation that Donald Trump signed this year. So, this is how he presented that feat while visiting first responders.
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DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have signed more legislation than anybody. We broke the record of Harry Truman and they were saying, if we get this big tax cut, because that's the legislation of all legislation. That's the biggest.
And that include to end war, as you know, and that included the repeal of the individual mandate, which was a disaster. That's why you have the privilege of paying a lot of money, so the people don't have to buy health insurance. The most unpopular thing, which most people thought should have been unconstitutional. (END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Now, here's the problem with president said -- when he talked about breaking a record. Whether he knew it or not at the time, there's no getting away from it, it's a simple fact. It's not true.
President Trump has signed 96 laws this year. Harry Truman signed around 250 bills in his first year, according to his presidential library.
In fact, Mr. Trump has signed fewer bills in his first year than any administration in decades, and you've got to go back to the Eisenhower administration at least. Well, that doesn't stop Donald Trump. It's a claim he keeps repeating. Here's what he said last Friday.
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TRUMP: Legislative approvals, for which I'm given no credit in the mainstream media. Harry Truman had more legislative approvals than any other president. We beat him on legislative approvals for which I get no credit.
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QUEST: Inderjeet Parmar is with me. He is a professor of International Politics at City University in London. Good to see you, sir.
INDERJEET PARMAR, PROFESSOR, CITY UNIVERSITY: Good morning.
QUEST: Is it true? Has he broken the record? Does Harry Truman have the -- I mean, what is the actual fact right here?
PARMAR: Well, the key factor is that President Trump has his own style. And the first thing he does every morning, I think, is throw a really big one towards the mass media, as a major claim which he knows is unsustainable.
But what does it do? It gets everybody focused on President Trump and what he's been doing. And it takes away attention from other things that he might be doing, which actually could be much more negative, and that could be appraisals of where has he got to at the end of the first year of his presidency.
QUEST: All right, So let me take that point. What you're saying is, that what we are now doing is exactly what he wants us to be doing, which is to be talking about a falsehood, rather than something that might be more germane or important?
PARMAR: Well, I think he is a very, very skilled, media-savvy individual. He's built a big career in that regard and I think he's kind of got strategy of sand in your eyes, diversionary tactics, performances that he makes, which make him look as if his appeal to a larger public.
He solved many of their problems, and for those people who support him, this actually then sort of bolsters that -- galvanizes support and diverts other people.
QUEST: OK, so let's look at the number of legislative actions, if you like, that he has done overall, not just laws into office. If you look at a totality of it, modifying existing programs, repeals rules and regulations, encourage innovations, this makes up your 96. But besides this, the presidential actions that he's signed has -- have reset an agenda, haven't they?
PARMAR: Absolutely. I think that is the key part of it. He came in as pro-corporate, pro-business candidate, extolling the virtues of businessmen, in order to create jobs and so on, and deregulating corporate behavior.
[03:05:08] And he's done that in banking, in energy areas, in terms of environmental protections, labor protections and so on. All of this is part of the philosophy which is also underlying the tax law.
PARMAR: Which is freeing corporations and his claim is, that they're going to invest a large amount in creating new jobs. It remains to be seen.
QUEST: So feel free to be brutally honest here. Are we -- am I missing the point, when I'm focusing on the amount of legislation signed, and actually the real thing is the totality of all these other things that have changed the business environment?
PARMAR: Absolutely. I think you've got to look at, if you like, the big -- the major constituencies to which this administration is directing itself, is addressing. So if you look at the indices for Dow Jones, up between 12 percent and 15 percent since last November.
If you look at the aerospace and defense industries, 33 percent up since last year, when you look at the opinion polls in regard to his approval ratings from the electorate as a whole, and the opinion polls regarding the Democratic Party, the GOP, and so on, those are at the very other end of the spectrum.
What this tells us is, that the constituency that he's most interested in is big corporations and he's freed them up and they love him. They're donating more funds to his campaign than they were before.
And I think he's bolstered that position very, very carefully. On the other hand, I think if you look at inequality -- if you look at wealth and income inequality, which he campaigned on as well, tried to reduce, I think that's going to continue to increase.
QUEST: That's incredibly significant. But is it significant that he does exaggerate the truth what -- I mean I was going to use the phrase Sir Robert Armstrong used, be economical with the truth, but he's going further. He exaggerates the truth to the point of breaking, is that significant?
PARMAR: I think it is significant. It's a more hyped-up version of a political operator. All politicians are leaders, want to suggest at the end of a sudden landmark period, that they have achieved a great deal. They want to differentiate themselves from previous leaders and so on.
He does that to the nth degree, but actually in the end, he's not as far an outlier from mainstream American presidents of both parties as much as he claims.
There have brutally been pro-Wall Street, pro-corporate and not as much oriented towards the mass electorate and its needs, and I don't think this president is any different from that.
He plays a media game which is probably more brutal and honest if you like, from his perspective, than anybody else. But I don't think he's an outlier.
QUEST: Thank you very much.
PARMAR: Thank you.
QUEST: Much appreciated, thank you.
PARMAR: Thank you.
QUEST: Now, with the New Year right around the corner, the White House is hoping for something pretty much unheard of this year -- bipartisan support by both Republicans and their rivals, the Democrats, for legislation on infrastructure.
It's something the Democrats have been trying to get through Congress for years. Only to see their efforts derailed. Now that might be about to change as Phil Mattingly explains from Washington.
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: President Trump may be coming off a 2017 that was defined bipartisan battles, whether it was over the effort to repeal and replace Obamacare, which eventually failed, or the effort to pass their $1.5 trillion tax plan, an effort that was successful.
Well, they're going to shift, maybe change gears a little bit. At least that is according to White House officials right now when it comes to 2018 -- their focus, infrastructure.
In fact, it's going to be so much of a focus that White House aides are saying that it will be a central plank of President Trump's State of the Union Address at the end of January.
Here's what they're looking at right now. They're saying a floor, not necessarily ceiling, but a floor of $200 billion in federal funding with the hope that states and local governments will kick in another $800 billion for about a trillion infrastructure package.
They believe that this is something that the Democrats might actually sign onto. There's actually been a lot of work going on behind the scenes, and this as far as I'm told with top White House officials meeting with centrist Democrats who might be willing to come on board, in both the House and the Senate.
Now, this is an issue, infrastructure, that both parties agree needs to be addressed, the roads, the bridges, the airports, the railroad tracks.
All of these things are things that pretty much everybody that can objectively tell you, need to be fixed in some way, shape, or form. But while there's bipartisan agreement on that front, there's not bipartisan agreement on how you would actually do that.
Take the $200 billion federal funding number that the president's team has laid out up to this point, Democrats say that's not nearly enough.
They've pitched ideas from 800 billion to $1 trillion dollars. Republicans, they say $200 billion in federal funding actually be too much. So, how is this actually going to work? It's an open question.
We have republican leaders in both the House and the Senate who have different ideas about what the 2018 agenda should actually look like.
But when you look right now at the U.S. Senate with Republicans holding just a 51-49 majority -- Senate Majority Mitch McConnell making clear that bipartisanship is really the only path forward in 2018 if they want to get anything done.
[03:10:06] Infrastructure is certainly the path that they think they might be able to get something major accomplished. Who are they looking at? Ten red-state Democrats -- Democrats that are up for re- election in 2018, that coming from states President Trump won handily in the 2016 election.
But those Democrats up to this point have not crossed the aisle on anything major. They've rejected the president and Republicans at every single turn, whether it was health care or the tax bill, anything that you can think of up to this point.
So the question is, how do you thread the needle for an infrastructure plan that can bring Democrats on board, not alienate too many Republicans and actually get something major done in a bipartisan fashion, and by the way, in a middle of a midterm election year?
It's a question that as of this moment, nobody has an answer to. But at least at this point, the president's team says that's the direction that they're going to try to head. Phil Mattingly, CNN, Washington.
QUEST: Well, the story -- we're following a developing story about that special election in Alabama earlier this month that was won by the Democrat, Doug Jones.
Now the loser, the Republican Roy Moore, has filed a complaint alleging potential election fraud. His campaign wants to postpone certification of the results until a thorough investigation is completed.
His complaint also includes an affidavit for Moore stating that he passed a polygraph test that he says confirmed misconduct allegations against him are completely false.
A number of women have come forward to say Moore harassed and in some cases sexually abused them when they were in their teens and Moore was in his 30s. Election results incidentally were scheduled to be certified today, on Thursday.
Some breaking news that I need to bring to your attention -- at least four people 40 people are known to have died in a suicide bombing attack in Afghanistan.
Interior authority says 30 people have been wounded. The blast targeted a cultural center in Kabul. The Taliban say they're not responsible for the attack. As we get more details, we will of course bring them immediately to your attention.
The U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has written the latest op-ed in The New York Times that was published on Wednesday. It outlines the numerous foreign policy challenges facing the United States and how he hopes to continue addressing them.
Tillerson puts the new sanctions imposed on North Korea in context. He writes, we hope that this international isolation will pressure the regime into serious negotiations on the abandonment of its nuclear and ballistic missile program.
The door to dialogue remains open, but we have made it clear that the regime must earn its way back to the negotiation table. Until denuclearization occurs, the pressure will continue.
U.S. officials think the regime may be ready preparing another missile or satellite launch. CNN's Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr has that part of the story.
BARBARA STARR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The U.S. Intelligence Community, the U.S. Military keeping a very sharp eye as always on North Korea. There are preliminary signs, CNN has been told, that the North again is moving equipment around.
What is not clear is the aim in this equipment movement. Is it aimed at another upcoming ballistic missile test? Are the North Koreans preparing to launch a satellite on top of a rocket? Too early to say -- we simply don't know.
But all eyeballs on the satellite imagery and any intelligence that they can gather about what the North may be up to. Now this comes at a very sensitive time. The Olympics in South Korea are coming up in the next several weeks.
And the U.S. military is saying it will keep a more quiet view. It will not be talking so much about any upcoming training or exercises because of the sensitivities in the region.
It's not talking about when its next exercises are scheduled for, for example. Something very different than in the past, because typically the Pentagon talks about it, it wants North Korea to know that this is training, that it is routine business that these are not upcoming military operations.
But the sensitivities in the region right now, the effort to get a diplomatic solution, is leading the Pentagon to pull back publicly on its own discussion about exercises.
But now it will be up to President Trump to decide whether he is going to take that line or he may once again engage in very aggressive, public rhetoric about the North. Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.
QUEST: Still ahead, a dangerous mission under cover of darkness. CNN rides alongside the Turkish police who are trying to shut down an ISIS cell. It's so-called in some parts of the United States, bone- chilling temperatures are setting records.
[03:15:00] And those records are on the low side. A look at the forecast is ahead. You're in the CNN Newsroom and we're in London. Good morning.
QUEST: Turkey is once again taking a very hard line against its neighbor Syria, even saying President Bashar al-Assad should have no role in Syria's future.
Mr. Assad for his part seems more assured than ever that he will stay in power after years of a devastating civil war. Yet as Russia, Iran and others seek a lasting peace, the Turkish president's harsh remarks on Wednesday took many by surprise.
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RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, PRESIDENT OF TURKEY (through a translator): Let me say it clearly, Assad is definitely a terrorist who has carried out state terrorism. We cannot say this person can do this job -- if we say that, will be unfair to nearly a million Syrians who were killed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Now Syria's foreign ministry immediately fired back, blaming Erdogan for the deaths of countless Syrians through his support for Syrian rebels.
The administer statement concludes, the free people of the world have the choice to make, their national decisions and defend their sovereignty.
[03:20:00] And they will not allow Erdogan to interfere in their affairs. Within Turkey itself, hundreds are suspected ISIS members have been arrested during the past year after a horrifying attack on a nightclub on New Year's Eve. CNN's Arwa Damon was allowed to go on one of the raids against a suspected ISIS cell.
ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: If we are ready, we are moving. The officer radio calls to his men. It's just past midnight, a few days before New Year's Eve and across Istanbul, the police force is getting ready for a massive raid.
The cell they want to bust is larger than most of their previous ISIS targets. And we are briefed is deemed to have the capacity to carry out an attack.
Turks are wary and anxious this holiday season, following the pain and shock of last year's New Year's Eve terror attack, when a gunman opened fire on revelers at the Reina Nightclub in Istanbul.
And the security apparatus cannot afford to take any chances. They're trying to move in as quietly as possible. This is part of a sweeping operation that is involving around three dozen targets and hundreds of police officers.
Residents peer down, but stay well indoors. This is as far as we're being permitted to go at this stage. There have been instances in the past over the course of the last year where the targets have actually exploded suicide vests or attacked the officers with grenades and guns.
No one is authorized to go on camera, and the information disclosed to us is scant. The unit we are with is targeting a couple, believed to be the head of the cell that is also responsible for moving and housing fighters, ideological training and recruitment.
The search is still ongoing, the couple has been apprehended and it is believed at this stage that they are the ones that are the head of the entire cell.
DAMON: There are no casualties on this night or any clashes. Video later released by the police force shows other targets, their homes searched and tossed for any grain of information.
In all, 28 people were detained and there have been regular crackdowns throughout the country. Over the last year, hundreds of ISIS suspects have been taken into custody, but the threat level remains high and casts a looming shadow over what should be a festive time. Arwa Damon, CNN, Istanbul.
QUEST: U.S. President Donald Trump is winning praise in Israel these days where a high-speed rail station in the Old City of Jerusalem will be named for him. It will take a year to prepare and about four years to build. The
decision follows Mr. Trump's decision to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem -- recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
The Israeli government hailed the decision. Most countries in the United Nations General Assembly rejected it. The project's location was already controversial.
Two sections of the line, largely underground are to run through the West Bank, which of course is land that the Palestinians want for a future state.
The power is back on at Disney Land in California after a transformer caused a problem and a five-hour black-out on Wednesday. Tourists were stranded on a dozen or so rides.
One guest said he was stuck around 25 minutes before he and others were calmly escorted to safety. The park has apologized for the power failure which happened during the height of its busy holiday season.
So, arctic air is blasting the United States with chilly temperatures and record snowfall in some places. Now, it's already covered Erie, Pennsylvania. You're seeing this, 64 inches, or the height of the average adult female.
The National Weather Service has issued extreme cold advisories and warnings for people to cover up as much skin as possible. Derek Van Dam has more.
DEREK VAN DAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Richard. You know, New Yorkers know that Mother Nature means business when Bryant Park, the fountain there actually freezes over like it has done so this week. All thanks to the arctic blast.
But believe it or not, this is not the coldest air we will feel in the Big Apple this week. We have that little thing called New Year's Eve coming up on Sunday night into Monday.
And a secondary blast of arctic air is going to drop south from Canada, and that is going to make things very interesting for the ball drop at midnight, right? Now, check this out.
International falls set a record low temperature, this is Fahrenheit, if you convert it to Celsius, it's about 38 degrees Celsius, below zero, this is notoriously the coldest part of the United States.
But when you smash in record low temperatures by five degrees, we're talking very cold air. Now, over 30 record low temperatures were set, Wednesday morning, that cold air shifts eastward.
So you're waking up to a bitter, bitter start to your Thursday morning across New England, from D.C. to New York, all the way to Boston.
[03:25:00] In fact, the National Weather Service has issued wind-chill warnings across upstate New York, all the way to Maine. This is what it feels like when you step outside. You factor in the wind and the cold temperatures.
It's only one lonely degree in the Big Apple. Twenty-five degrees below freezing for Green Bay, Duluth, negative 19. Very bone-chilling air expected today.
And again, right as we head into the holiday weekend. Here's a look at daytime highs in the afternoon, struggling to reach above the 20- degree mark in the Big Apple. Richard, can you handle that?
QUEST: Hang on, hang on, Derek, not so fast. Not so fast. I am due to be in Times Square on New Year's Eve with Anderson and Andy. What are you laughing at? How cold will my bits freeze?
VAN DAM: All I say is, good luck to you, sir.
VAN DAM: Literally thermals, every single piece of winter warm clothes that you can bring from London all the way to New York.
QUEST: I'm dreading this. Maybe not the best idea. All right, we'll continue that, thank you. Now it may be cold outside now, I'm not sure.
Derek, seems to be taking sudden pleasure in my discomfort on New Year's Eve. Well anyway, when we come back after the break, cold in New York and yet the Earth's temperature is rising.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's only from the air that you really get a sense of the scale and the enormity of this ice sheet. And what's just staggering to imagine is that in the center of the island, this ice is two miles thick.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: We'll take you to the epicenter of the climate change in a moment. And Russian President Vladimir Putin officially launches his bid for a fourth term. The grip on power that he holds.
[03:30:25] RICHARD QUEST, EDITOR AT LARGE: And a very good day wherever you are, whichever part of the world. Allow me to welcome back viewers in the United States and to those of you watching around the world. I'm Richard Quest. Let me update you on our top stories at this hour.
The breaking news coming from Afghanistan where at last 40 people are dead in a suicide bombing attack in Kabul. The interior ministry says 30 have been wounded. The blast targeted a cultural center. There's been no claim of responsibility. The Taliban say they're not behind the attack. As we get more details we will let you know. President Donald Trump visited a fire station in Florida on Wednesday
to thank first responders and repeated a claim that he is signed more legislation than any other President since Harry Truman. And he hasn't. Mr. Trump has signed 96 bills into law, the fewest of any president since Eisenhower.
In Alabama, Republican Roy Moore has filed a complaint alleges potential election fraud in that special senate election he lost earlier this month. His campaign wants to postpone the results until a thorough investigation is completed. Election results is schedule to be set by on Thursday.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has officially launched his bid for a fourth term. He submitted the paperwork necessary to register and he is expected to win handily. The opposition leader, Alexei Navalny is trying to prevent that. He is been prevented from running and urged people to boycott the election and now he is doubling down on that, adding a new twist, a nationwide protest in one month's time.
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ALEXEI NAVALNY, (TRANSLATOR): We'll start a big campaign, on one hand to persuade everyone to participate in boycott and not to take part in other election and on the other hand, to count how many people really come to the polling stations, and not to let Putin fabricate that number. Let's come out to the streets, for your rights, for your future, for the fact that we don't want to lose another six years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Even if Navalny gets his wish, Mr. Putin's tight grip on power is unlikely to change. CNN's Phil Black looked at all the factors that combined to make him who he is.
PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Some would argue Vladimir Putin could be the most powerful man in the world. What are the sources of his power?
Putin has three key tools, cyber power, military might, and a cult of personality. Together they form an often effective web of influence. While Moscow denies its highly skilled hackers interfered in the U.S. Election, they've been accused of causing big disruptions in other countries like Estonia, Ukraine, claims Russia also rejects. Russia's enormous hacking power isn't new and traces back to the USSR when its universities were designed to produce world-class engineers. Putin's power is also hugely enhanced by his personal control of Russia's vast military. So Putin has been pumping extraordinary amounts of money into its modernization. But most experts agree, Russian conventional forces have a limited ability to project military power far from the country's borders.
One of the biggest sources of Putin's power is his extraordinary popularity at home. The more his behavior attracts criticism from other world leaders, the more Russians celebrate their President. His approval figures soared with Ukraine and spiked again with Syria. The reason? Many Russians really care about their country's ability to influence world events even if it comes to sanctions and a hit to their own quality of life. Putin also benefits from a political system and a media landscape with zero tolerance for criticizing the President. So no doubt Vladimir Putin is powerful and unpredictable, but he is also limited by some pretty big problems. The Russian economy isn't going anywhere. That is why there's another popular theory about Putin and his web of influence. He is someone who plays a weak hand very well.
QUEST: You're watching CNN newsroom, we're live in London. We'll visit one of Greenland's fastest moving glaciers, and you'll see firsthand how the melting ice affects sea levels and of course eventually affects all of us.
[03:37:54] QUEST: 2017 will go into the history books as one of the warmest ever. And nowhere is climate change more evident than in Greenland where the glaciers are melting at an alarming rate. CNN Clarissa Ward has this exclusive report.
CLARISSA WARD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Imagine a world where you can sail right up to the North Pole. Where the largest ice sheet in the northern hemisphere is simply melting away.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The melt is winning this game.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've broken all-time records for three consecutive years.
WARD: As oceans continue to rise, flooding the streets of American cities half a world away.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What happens in the arctic doesn't stay in the artic.
WARD: Imagine a world where hurricanes and heat waves wreak havoc.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Breaking news as hurricane Irma continues to show no mercy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just a hell storm, the fire just whipped --
WARD: Politicians deny the problem as temperatures continue to rise.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's a hoax. It's a money-making industry, ok?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Greenland is an epicenter for climate change.
WARD: What if I told you this is already happening, right here, right now? That we are the primary cause and that only we have the power to stop it.
This is Greenland. Though you will find very little greenery here. Home to some of the most stunning wildlife on the planet. The world's largest island is more than 80 percent made up of pure ice. It's only from the air that you really get a sense of the scale and the enormity of this ice sheet. And what's just staggering to imagine is that in the center of the island, this ice is two miles thick. It looks as though time has stood still for thousands of years. But this environment reflects the big changes in our world's atmosphere. As the planet gets warmer, the arctic is heating up at double the rate and Greenland in particular is warming even faster.
[03:40:20] Jason Box is an American climate scientist who has been coming to this remote corner of the world for more than 20 years.
JASON BOX, PROFESSOR IN GLACIOLOGY, GEOLOGICAL SURVEY OF DENMARK AND GREENLAND: The amount of water that is produced all across this landscape has increased, like doubled in the last 50 years.
WARD: Doubled in the last 50 years.
Everywhere you go in Greenland, you can see and hear the ice sheet melting. Sometimes a drip, sometimes a roar. Each surface etched with fast-flowing rivers that carry the melt water deep down to the bed.
BOX: This water cascades down thousands of feet and eventually makes its way to the bed. And it's heating the bed of the ice sheet. Everything is kind of a stacking up that the ice is going faster than forecast.
WARD: And no sign of slowing down?
BOX: The melt is winning this game.
WARD: And the more Greenland melts, the more it speeds up the melting process. Take the large melt lakes that are forming on top of the ice sheet. Stunning to look at, but bad news for the ice. These lakes are deceptively beautiful, because whereas the white of the ice actually reflects the sunlight, the piercing blue of the lake actively absorbs it, heating them up and then accelerating the rate of melt.
Perhaps the clearest example of this vicious melt cycle can be seen in Greenland's many glaciers. A glacier is a mass of thick ice that moves under the force of its own weight, like a slow river into the sea. But as melt water moves through the ice, it softens it, draining to the bed where it then lubricates movement of the glacier. We got a rare close-up view of one of Greenland's fastest moving glaciers. Named Helheim after the Viking realm of the dead, it is vast and unforgiving.
BOX: This is one of the most productive glaciers in Greenland. It's about three golden gate bridge's wide, and it drains on the order of like 40 billion metric tons per year. It's like almost astronomical amount of water that this is delivering from high on the inland ice sheet down into the sea. WARD: Between August of last year and August of this year, New York
University scientists say Helheim retreated a whopping two miles, the furthest retreat inland they have season in a decade. You can see vast chunks of it crashing into the water, a process called calving. And what does that mean for the sea?
BOX: There's hundreds of glaciers like this in Greenland, and many of them have doubled in speed. So the rate that Greenland is decanting into the ocean has really gone up in ways that surprise the science community.
WARD: And it's not only scientists who have been surprised, 56-year- old Tobias has been hunting with his dogs in Greenland his whole life, just like his father and grandfather before him. And on these days, there's far less ice for dog sledding.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fifteen years ago, maybe from here to 500 miles and more is glacier. So we can start dog sledding down from sea.
WARD: Is that something you have seen with your own eyes?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, I can see it. We cannot hunt in July from dog sledding only boat.
WARD: This year, Tobias has to take his dogs off the ice and back to town for the summer. He doesn't know if his grandsons will become hunters. But if the recent past is anything to go by, the future looks leak. Warming in the last century has been faster than at any time in the past several million years.
How concerned are you by the scientific data that you've collected, by the changes that you've seen here?
BOX: What concerns me most is this concept of committed loss. So the amount of co2 excess in the atmosphere due to humans burning fossil fuels mainly, that commits us to more than one meter of sea level rise.
WARD: That is roughly three feet. And this is where the rest of the world comes in. Greenland doesn't play by Las Vegas rules. What happens here doesn't stay here. As temperatures increase and the melt accelerates, Greenland has become the largest source of sea level rise globally.
[03:45:12] This year, after decades of decline, the amount of ice lost in Greenland was roughly equal to the amount gained. But box says this is an anomaly and that even drastic cuts in carbon dioxide emissions won't be enough to stop the continued melting.
Some have said that if Greenland is the canary in the coal mine, the canary is dead.
BOX: The canary is dead in that it indicates it's time to get out of the mine. In other words, we have a problem. And now's the time to start developing that response. WARD: At summit station, weather patterns and climate change are the
focus of much of the research. A remote American outpost funded by the national science foundation, it is perched at 10,600 feet, on the very top of the Greenland ice sheet. The only way to get there is on a U.S. military plane. A two-hour flight from the nearest airport of Kangerlussuaq, it lands on a runway of snow, using giant skis. All equipment and personnel have to be flown in at great expense.
It doesn't get much more remote than this. And with the high altitude, the science that is being done here at summit station requires enormous resources and sheer physical effort. But this place is uniquely positioned to answer a crucial question. Has the arctic reached a tipping point? Engineer Zoe Korville explains that its isolation is in fact its greatest asset.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a very pristine site, free from local influences of pollution.
WARD: Do you think summit is important to the study of climate change specifically?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We've been making measurements since 1980 here. But we've also drilled to bedrock. So we have an ice core that extends back 140,000 years.
WARD: 140,000 years?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. So we're actually standing on two miles worth if ice below us. And we can use the ice core like you would use tree rings to get an idea what past conditions of climate were like. And we can use what happened in the past to try to predict what's going to happen in the future.
WARD: But summit's hefty price tag has made it a possible target for proposed budget cuts. The Trump administration wants to slash funding to the national science foundation and many fear the summit could be the first casualty.
BOX: Think it's the politics of short-term gain, long-term environmental pain.
WARD: Box says he is frustrated by the White House's lack of commitment to climate change studies and its decision to withdraw from the Paris accord.
Some people will say, listen, look back over the history of the planet, there have been ice ages, there have then been huge heat waves, there's a natural extreme fluctuation in temperatures and that is just part of living on planet earth. What do you say to that?
BOX: It's true that there are national cycles in climate, but what's happening now is, human activity has become the dominant agent of change, for about the last 150 years. The climate change we observed today is at least 80 percent due to human activities we are now a force of nature.
WARD: And not a force for good.
For millennial mankind's presence in Greenland has been dwarfed by the dramatic scenery and by the extraordinary living creatures we share this unique habitat with. But in recent history, the balance of power has shifted and with it, the responsibility to do something. Clarissa Ward, CNN, Greenland.
QUEST: Stunning pictures, and a story to be told. It's one of the most pressing questions of the year. What is covfefe? You know what I'm talking about. We'll tackle it when we come back.
[03:58:27] QUEST: Results are in and the most admired man in America is the former U.S. President Barack Obama. It's his tenth year in a row that he topped the Gallop poll. In second place, the current U.S. President Donald Trump. His third year in the running. He still lags behind his White House predecessor. And the most admired woman in United States, the former Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. She is topped the list for the 16th straight year. Twitter says President Trump was the most tweeted about world leader of the year. That is not a surprise. However, it may not be such a good thing. One of the most memorable and viral moments of his first year in the White House, that baffling late-night half tweet about covfefe. Or is it covfefe? Or covfefe? Jeanne Moos is needed to help us out
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Gibberish goes presidential, it wasn't even a complete sentence tweeted out by President Trump just after midnight. Despite the constant negative press, what's that word?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Covfefe.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Covfefe?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Covfefe.
MOOS: Professionals could only guess at how to pronounce it. And the public --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That is hilarious.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But how to you say it?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Covfefe.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Covfefe.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've been saying it covfefe.
MOOS: We're pretty sure the President meant to type negative press coverage, but the covfefe tweet stayed up for almost six hours. It was then deleted and the President tweeted, who can figure out the true meaning of covfefe?
[03:55:05] Enjoy. Which the internet did. It was turned into a wheel of fortune puzzle, a make America covfefe again, mocked-up t-shirt. Eventually the White House press secretary only confused things more.
SEAN SPICER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The President and a small group of people know exactly what he meant.
MOOS: Hillary Clinton probably wasn't part of that group.
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: I thought that was a hidden message to the Russians.
MOOS: Tweeted one joker, are you suffering from small dysfunctional hands? Ask your doctor if covfefe is right for you. Tweeted another, I thought covfefe is what you say when someone sneezes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It sounds French. Covfefe.
MOOS: Covfefe was turned into an Ivanka fragrance, a California man bought the license plate as soon as he noticed the non-word trending.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is a covfefe?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yiddish term for, I got to go to bed now.
MOOS: Franken enemy Ted Cruz tweeted, covfefe, hard to say, but I hear Al Franken's new book is full of it. Many assumed President Trump just fell sleep.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is like e, e, e, e.
MOOS: Mid tweet.
TRUMP: I know words. I have the best word.
MOOS: The best non-words too.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Covfefe.
MOOS: You say that with such assurance. Jeanne Moos, CNN.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To covfefe.
MOOS: New York.
QUEST: I'm Richard Quest in London. "Early start" is next for viewers in the United States. For everyday else, I'll be back like it or not, with more from the CNN newsroom. Around the world, around the clock, this is CNN.