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Zachary Parish, Police Officer, Killed in Ambush in Denver. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired December 31, 2017 - 17:00   ET


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: About an hour later the plane took off again and made it to Atlanta minus one wayward bird.

ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: It is now 5 o'clock Eastern, two in the afternoon out west. Happy last day of 2017. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. Glad you're with us. You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

And on this, our final weekend program of 2017, we begin with a young police officer killed in an ambush-style attack in a Denver suburb. In all, five sheriff's deputies were shot today. One lost his life.

This is 29-year-old deputy Zachary Parish. He was a father of two. He died today in a hail of gun fire.

Authorities say the shooter fired more than 100 rounds. The sheriff describes having to tell the tragic news to deputy Parish's wife.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I spent time with his wife. I can't tell you how difficult it is for a leader to sit down with the spouse of an officer who was killed in the line of duty. They had many hopes and dreams and he was doing his job and was doing his job well and his life was taken from us this morning.

CABRERA: Parish and his fellow deputies were responding to an early morning disturbance finding the gunman and his roommate inside their apartment. Investigators have not identified he shooter but we have one of the bit about the weapon.

An assault rifle, they say, that fired more than 100 rounds. The shooter was shot and killed as well.

Joining us now, cnn Scott Mcclain in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, and former Secret Service agent, Jonathan Wackrow.

I want to start with you, Scott, what more are you learning?

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Ana. We're learning that this was one part ambush, one part standoff because it lasted for quite some time. We know that deputies, according to the sheriff, ended up at that apartment complex at 1:30 in the morning for a noise complaint but they didn't find anything so they left.

It wasn't until shortly after 5:00 that they were called back. Four deputies all arrived at the same time, were let in either by the suspect or by that suspect's male roommate and they spoke to the suspect. They had a dialogue with him for some time until something caused him to go into one of the bed rooms and barricade himself inside.

At some point after that, they started firing. Four deputies were shot. Three of them were able to escape to safety. The one who wasn't, obviously, was 29-year-old Zachary Parish.

As those three were escaping to safety, the suspect continued to fire. Here's how the sheriff described it. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When he was shot and went down, the other officers went down right around him and they tried to pull him out but they were unable to due to their injuries. And so, they were able to crawl to safety. He was not conscious. And so, they weren't able to talk to him or to get him out. The suspect continued shooting at the officers over Zach.


MCLEAN: So, Ana, according to the sheriff, the first shots were fired around 5:45 in the morning. This didn't end until 7:30 in the morning.

So, Zachary Parish was down for about one hour and 45 minutes before a SWAT team was able to go in and get him. One of the officers on that SWAT team who is actually from a nearby force, was among those who were shot in the leg.

He has been released from the hospital. The sheriff also saying that these injuries suffered by parish were not something that would be survivable. I should also mention there were two civilians, not inside, at least according to the sheriff inside that apartment suite. They were in other suites. They were injured but they have been released from the hospital, Ana.

CABRERA: OK. Scott McLean, standby. Stay with us as I bring in Jonathan Wackrow. I'm curious to get your take on this event, to hear five police officers were shot plus two civilians, what does this tell you about the situation?

JONATHAN WACKROW, FORMER AGENT, U.S. SECRET SERVICE: It speaks to the fact that, you know, these domestic disturbance, calls that law enforcement officers throughout the United States respond to on a daily basis are, you know, some of the most dangerous policing that any officer can face.

You know, walking into unknown situations that are in confined locations that, you know, have propensity for, you know, violence to erupt at any moment. We saw this.

We saw the officers respond. You know, they confronted the suspect. There was some sort of dialogue and then they had a barricaded suspect situation going on. These are very dynamic incidents that occur and then when you start adding gun fire to the incident in a confined space, it makes, you know, just an astronomically tough situation for law enforcement to be in.

CABRERA: Is it unusual to have this be the result of a domestic violence call?

WACKROW: No. Actually, unfortunately, this is the sad state of affairs for policing in America right now. The statistics that are out there that, you know, almost 22 percent of deaths in the line of duty are caused by responding to these exact types of incidents.

So, it just speaks as we close out 2017 to the dangers that law enforcement officers face every single day whether it's, you know, early in the morning or late at night, every confrontation that a law enforcement officer has, you know, can end their life instantaneously while they're protecting the citizens.

CABRERA: Scott, very quickly, you mentioned that one of the officers shot has been released from the hospital. Any update on the condition of the others?

MCLEAN: Yes. We know that one of them is actually the son of the sheriff in a nearby county, Boulder County. He actually had surgery today. He is in stable condition as are the other two officers, two men and one female officer as well.

So, they are in stable condition. That is good news. It looks like there will be one fatality in this incident. But keep in mind that Parish has wife and two small kids. That is the real tragedy here, Ana.

CABRERA: No doubt about it. Thank you, Scott McLean. Jonathan Wackrow, our thanks to you as well.

Meanwhile, in Washington, Democrats are warning that the House Intelligence Committee's Russia investigation could be undermined or even cut short in the New Year. According to "The Washington Post," Democrats believe the committee's chairman, Congressman Devin Nunes, is trying to shut down this investigation.

They say he has vetoed dozens of requests for interviews and documents even after recusing himself. The paper says Nunez is, quote, "convening a group of Intelligence Committee Republicans to draft a likely report on corruption among the investigators working for the special counsel." And it's not just Democrats that are concerned. Nunez's tactics are even starting to worry some Republicans who are concerned that he could seriously damage the justice department and law enforcement.

Joining us to discuss a former attorney at the National Security Agency, Susan Hennessy, and former U.S. Attorney, Michael Moore.

So, Susan, does the House Intelligence Committee's investigation have any credibility left? SUSAN HENNESSEY, FELLOW, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION NATIONAL SECURITY LAW:

It's a sort of from the outset, we've had two investigations. One in the Senate, one in the House. Certainly, the Senate appears to have been undertaking the more sort of serious investigation.

That said, you know, on the House side, Vice Chairman Adam Schiff, has been raising the alarm for quite some time. There's been a lot of evidence of sort of partisan dysfunction.

You know, Chairman Nunez, was cleared by the House Judiciary Ethics Committee about revealing classified information. And actually, the reason he recused or sort of recused was because of the sort of the somewhat bizarre press conference that he'd given in which he said that a whistle blower had come to him with evidence that the Obama Administration had collected or surveilled President Trump.

That turned out to, actually, the information of the White House had provided to him. So, he was from the outside of the position that was sort of so hopelessly partisan or politically compromised his views. He really can't sort of lead a credible investigation.

You know, now, all these months, later, we're sort of right back where we started. You know, once again, sort of partisan bickering appearing to threaten kind of the basic integrity here.

CABRERA: Michael, is there a reason for both Democrats and Republicans to be concerned about this idea of publishing a report to tarnish the reputation of the FBI suggesting that they are corrupt?

MICHAEL MOORE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY, MIDDLE DISTRICT OF GEORGIA: You know, I think there's nothing really new about this and there was a movie called "The Godfather" and Don Corleone had been the main character. Now, you've sort of got Don Trumpleone leading this thing and he's doing just like a crime boss would do and that is he's sending out his sons and his lieutenants to do this kind of thing to bring discredit on the investigators and the investigation. It's a challenge in credibility before we get the findings.

Only, what you see here as you've got Nunes who -- this is the same guy who went running to the president with information, got caught up in an ethics inquiry, now we understand that he's been delaying subpoena requests and apparently, wants to come and attack the investigators, the investigation, the prosecutor and raise things just to knock down the end result.

I think it is interesting that the president has kept himself removed much like any good godfather would and he's left his underling to sort of do his dirty work. So, I'm not surprised by it. It is nothing really new in this thing. Everybody who has been investigated as a leader of a criminal enterprise organization or street gang does this kind of stuff where they let some of the underlings do the dirty work and I think that's what you see from Nunes.

CABRERA: Susan, veteran journalist Carl Bernstein of the Watergate years, of course said on "CNN TODAY" that President Trump's attorneys, he's learning are doing everything they can to stop him from firing FBI officials and to issue pardons. Listen.


CARL BERNSTEIN, AMERICAN JOURNALIST: One of the things that's going on now is that his lawyers are telling him what he wants to hear and that's what I'm told by lawyers in the White House. They're telling him what he wants to hear to keep him from acting precipitously and to go off and fire Mueller in a rage or fire Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general in a rage.

They have an out of control client. The President of the United States, in their view, is out of control, a good deal of the time especially when it comes to this investigation.


CABRERA: Susan, what goes through your mind when you hear that?

HENNESSEY: Well, put yourself, sort of, in the position of the President's attorneys or sort of advisers, you know, who presumably believe in his innocence, believe in sort of his story here.

You know, I think that they understand that he is actually best served by a credible investigation that is credible before the public, comes through a conclusion, and exonerates him. And so, a lot of, sort of, the activity that we've seen coming out, the White House trying to, sort of, undermine that legitimacy, attack the FBI, really, is not doing the president any kind of service unless his expectation or belief is that ultimately there is going to be sort of incriminating information coming out of this.

Now, the white house certainly learned or should have learned following the firing of FBI director Jim Comey that some of those sort of hasty decisions can actually lead to the very conclusions or consequences that they wanted to avoid. Of course, firing Comey led to the hiring of special counsel Robert Mueller. You know, whether or not they're actually able to learn this lesson in this case and refrain from the kind of blowback that they would get if the president decided to fire Robert Mueller, unclear.

It is one reason why, sort of, looking individuals like Nunes or other individuals in the congressional Republicans sort of to give that signal back to him of, hey, if you cross this line, this is a line for us, there will be consequences. I think that is why, sort of, that messaging coming out of Congress, the House and Senate aren't going to be just so critical to shaping Trump's mindset.

CABRERA: It sounds like a --


MOORE: Let me throw in here.

CABRERA: -- that Michael is saying. Go ahead, Michael:

MOORE: Yes. Let me throw in, you know, Trump's got good lawyers and, really, they're having to battle all of these facts that are coming out day to day in this investigation and from the testament provided by the witnesses but they haven't tried to battle their own client.

And my experience has been when you have a defendant or you have somebody who's under investigation and they keep telling you that they are innocent, they're innocent, they're innocent, they're innocent, that typically means they've got something to hide or they know they are fixing to get caught. And so, you've got his lawyers over here sort of having to control him and maybe help manage his expectations and manage him and manage his Twitter hands, while at the same time, they're dealing with the fact that this investigation every day that it moves forward, we're learning new evidence just like we did about the whole dossier and the Papadopoulos story, that there was information well beyond what they had anticipated before. So, they've certainly got their hands full as they move forward over the last few months.

HENNESSEY: But remember on Thursday with that "New York Times" interview, President Trump said at least three times, he thinks Special Counsel Mueller is going to be fair.

MOORE: Well, he's made that comment before. My suggestion to you is that much like I was trying to explain about the godfather, he can sit up at the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue and tell everybody that he thinks Bob Mueller is doing a good job. In the meantime, he's got his people down in Congress who he's now letting attack both the investigators, the FBI agents and Bob Mueller, and basically the credibility of the investigation.

And that's what people do when they are sort of the king pin and they sit back, like, keep themselves removed, they talk good things and they - and they let somebody else do the dirty work. And I think that's what you see and I don't think there's anybody out there who thinks this isn't a good cop, bad cop routine and Trump's is trying to play the good cop.

CABRERA: Gotcha.

MOORE: That way, at the end of the day, he could - he can lean back and say, well, you know, the Congress made their decision. They've decide to shut their investigation. They know there's nothing there and he can, again, tell us about 16 times that there is no collusion.

CABRERA: Right. Michael Moore, Susan Hennessey, thank you both and an early happy new year.

MOORE: Happy New Year, too. Good to see you.

CABRERA: Good to see you, too.

Still ahead this hour, it is almost New Year's Eve here in the U.S. We will take -- well, it is New Year's Eve. It's almost the time where we ring in the new year in Times Square. We're going to head to Key West, Music City, the Las Vegas Strip. So, don't go anywhere. You're live with CNN NEWSROOM. CABRERA: Iran's government with a warning. Protesters causing

trouble may pay the price. Authorities are shutting off most access to social media apps like Instagram in that country. This is day four now of unprecedented demonstrations.

Protesters chanting that the regime must fall. About 200 protesters were arrested yesterday in Tehran. Now, these protests are striking.

They're different from what we have seen before, erupting outside the capital of Tehran in small towns and villages and protesters are openly calling for the overthrow of Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Now, moments ago, President Trump accused Iran of shutting down the internet. Earlier, the president also warned via tweet the USA is watching very closely for human rights violations. Let's bring in senior international correspondent, Matthew Chance, who is monitoring the situation.

Matthew, could these protests actually be a game changer for Iran?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SR. INTL. CORRESPONDENT: I think that's the concern and that's why they're being watched so closely because Iran is a country where public protests like this are not very common at all. I mean, the last big ones that we saw were back in 2009. The so-called Green Movement which brought more than a million people out on to the streets in the Iranian capital, Tehran, alone.

These are much smaller in scale in terms of the individual protests but they are very widespread in towns and cities across the country whereas the previous protests in 2009 were aimed at protesting against the outcome of the presidential election result there.

These are much broader. They started as economic protests against the rising price of living. But they've become sort of anti-regime protests with calls for the end of the clerical regime and enter the rule of the (inaudible) in Iran.

And so, for that reason, they're much more concerning to the authorities there and it is the reason why the United States president and other leaders around the world, frankly, have said they are watching the situation very closely. This is why Hassan Rouhani, who's the president of Iran, has moved to try and curtail the protests. As you mentioned, he's already restricted access to social media platforms like Instagram and Telegram that have been by the protesters to organize themselves and to coordinate.

He also said to Iranians speaking in a sort of national broadcast that even though they have the right to protest, public disorder would not be tolerated. Take a listen.

HASSAN ROUHANI (through translator): We are a free nation. And according to the constitution and citizen rights, the people are free to express their criticism and their protests. They are completely free. At the same time, we should be careful. We should pay attention to

the way these criticisms and protests are made. They should be in a way that can culminate to reform and betterment of the conditions for the country.

CHANCE: So, the Iranian president saying that people are free to criticizing the country but from the revolution regard, a much blunter message that military outfit says that the protesters will face an iron fist if the unrest continues. So, there's potential for a lot of violence here on (ph).

CABRERA: OK. We're going to continue to monitor the situation, obviously.

Matthew Chance, thank you. I want to talk more about what are unprecedented protests that have now turned deadly in Iran and President Trump's reaction firing up multiple tweets in recent days all filled with harsh warnings to Iran's government, supporting the protesters there.

Joining us now Ambassador Nicholas Burns, former U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs. And Ambassador, thank you for joining us after the Iran nuclear deal, a lot of Iranians, they felt their lives would improve, more money into the economy, embargos lifted. What is the reality on the ground?

NICHOLAS BURNS, FORMER UNDERSECRETARY OF STATE FOR POLITICAL AFFAIRS: Well, the reality is that the economy is in very tough shape. Some of the sanctions were lifted after 2015 but some sanctions remain including from the United States because Iran, for instance, has been testing ballistic missiles.

Iran has been supporting terrorist groups in the Middle East. So, some of the other sanctions have remained and the Iranians have not received the kind of international investment that would stimulate a true resurgence in their economy and people are taken to the streets to protest living conditions.

Reminiscent of the Arab Spring of 2011, these are young people, these are workers, these are people who are looking for hope and a better economic future.

CABRERA: Do you see this situation being a result of a flawed nuclear agreement like some of these congressional members have suggested?

BURNS: Not at all. I think the nuclear agreement was the right step for the United States. I certainly still support it. I don't this go the nuclear agreement has much to do with this except indirectly. The spirits and the hopes of the people of Iran were lifted, that there would be more integration with other countries and economies around the world.

But this is really an Iranian story and I think it is important for westerners, like myself and others, to understand that what we say is not going to have much of an impact here. I do think President Trump is right to say what he did this weekend, that the Iranian people have a right to peaceful protests. I think he is right to criticize the Iranian regime but I think the president needs to be restrained at a number of times he tweets because he is not popular in Iran and this is really a story for the Iranians themselves.

It would be helpful if others spoke up. We haven't heard from the European Union, from Federica Mogherini, the high representative, silent today on social media. I think if others around the world who also come from democratic countries spoke up, that would put some pressure on the Iranian regime, perhaps not to crack down as hard as they may plan to do if these protests continue.

CABRERA: Former U.S. Ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, he tweeted, "I support the Iran nuclear deal and democratic change in Iran."

Meantime, we have Senator Lindsey Graham saying that there needs to be a new deal in order for change to happen. What's your take?

BURNS: I just think it would be wrong for Americans or Europeans to say that somehow the nuclear deal is at the root of all of this. The nuclear deal makes sense to the United States and Europe, for Russia, and China.

For obvious reasons, it freezes Iran's nuclear program. What appears to be happening, and I'm really looking at Iranian journalists here, Iranian observers, some of the smart people of my own society, more expert than myself, what appears to be is not a traditional set of protests led from Tehran but from regional series like Mashhad where they started a couple of days ago.

So, you're seeing a ground up explosion as Ali Vaez (ph) said on CNN, really explosion to send them in against the regime because of economic conditions and because of the heavy hand of the state. And now, in recent days, you're seeing protests against the Revolutionary Guard and its oppressive impact on Iranian society.

So, I think American politicians should not link this to the nuclear deal. I think that's just convenience that they are doing that but they'd be wrong to do it analytically.

CABRERA: Well, Ambassador Nicholas Burns, I have so many more questions because this is not a simple situation nor a simple solution but we'll have to save those for another day. Happy New Year's to you. Thank you for spending part of your New Year's Eve with us.

BURNS: Thank you very much.

CABRERA: Thank you. As millions of people gather across the world to ring in the New Year, major cities are stepping up security to prevent extremist attacks and other violence in New York City. We know officers are employing everything from snipers on rooftops to reflective markers on buildings so that in the event of an attack, officers can quickly figure out what floor a gunman is on, for example.

For more on the security measures in place, I want to turn to CNN's Polo Sandoval, live, in Times Square. Polo, take it away.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ana, if you ask our friends at CNN Weather, they'll tell you this is like going to be one of the coldest New Year's Eves where you hear from the men and women of NYPD who are working hard to make this one of the safest New Year's Eves as well. A massive operation that is led by several, several people including some of the men that I am joined with - joined by here at Times Square.

I'll start with you, Commissioner James O'Neill, before we dig a little deeper here.

Commissioner, I heard you say that planning for this massive security effort started when the last bit of confetti fell here almost a year ago.

JAMES O'NEILL, COMMISSIONER, NEW YORK CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT: Yes, I did. Started, you know, January 2, 2017. We have to pay attention to what not only goes on in New York City but what goes on around the world, you know.

And leading up to tonight, we've had counter terrorism. We've had people from Patrol Services, Terry's people, Bill Morris' people from Manhattan South, John Miller's people from Intel, and the FBI, Bill Sweeney's people. And we actually have people working with us from, Dave Beach's people from the Secret Service tonight.

So, a lot goes into tonight. There's a lot that you're going to see. A lot that you're not going to see.

I think Terry's really going to talk about the nuts and bolts. But if you come down here tonight and you should come down here tonight because it's going to be a wonderful safe night, just make sure you're properly attired. Make sure you have gloves, hats, scarves, and keep yourself warm.

And if you see something out here that makes you uncomfortable, tell a cop, because there's going to be thousands around.

SANDOVAL: Thank you, Commissioner. One of the many people that are helping you out, Commissioner, is Chief Monahan.

Sir, tell us a little bit about what folks can expect here? At least 2 million people. How do you keep them safe?

TERRY MONAHAN, BUREAU CHIEF, NYPD CHIEF OF PATROL: This is what we do. This is what the NYPD does. We keep people safe.

If you come here tonight, you're going to walk through a checkpoint, you're going to walk past Vapor Wake dogs, through a magnetometer. If you head up on to the Penn, you're going to get checked again through another magnetometer.

Through the entire Bow Tie area, we have observation posts on high ground, covered every inch of it. Every hotel in this area. We have cops assigned working hand in hand with hotel security. These

are the things that we came up with meeting on a regular basis and looking what's happening around the world.

A million people here tonight. We say this all the time. It's a shared responsibility. If you see something say something.

Those are millions of eyes out there. Everywhere you turn, there's going to be a cop. Grab a cop if anything at all make you feel uncomfortable.

SANDOVAL: Chief, as we've learned in the last two months, at least two times, New York could still be a target. So, what has changed this year compared to other years especially after the October 31 incident and especially after the attempted attack as well, not far from where we are standing right now.

MONAHAN: If you look around, you can't get a vehicle into this area. We have blocker cars, sand trucks, all over the place.

We looked at what happened in Vegas. We have teams working in every hotel. We have taken into account every attack that has happened elsewhere and tried to come up with a response to it.

SANDOVAL: And finally, if you could, Deputy Commissioner Tucker, you're going to (inaudible) for all these people who will be heading out of here after 12 o'clock.

BENJAMIN TUCKER, FIRST DEPUTY COMMISSIONER, NEW YORK POLICE DEPARTMENT: Sure. We've got a plan to get them out, to get them out in an orderly fashion. We're heading to the subway system, so we make sure that those trains are aligned with coming in to the stations and leaving rapidly and so forth.

So, all of that will -- it's coordinated, it will work very well. And just as - as we have bag checks and people with long guns coming in to the system and people bringing people here, same thing in reverse going out.

SANDOVAL: Thank you so much, gentlemen.

TUCKER: Thank you.

SANDOVAL: Happy New Year to you all and please be safe. Again, just three of the many people who are going to be working overtime to make sure that this is one of the safest New Year's here in the heart of New York. Ana?

CABRERA: Definitely hope and pray. Thank you very much, Polo Sandoval, for that. It looks so cold. Stay warm, my friend.

Coming up, how will have Las Vegas is getting ready for the New Year. Mr. Las Vegas himself, Wayne Newton, will be our special guest.

And as we go to break, here is a look at Athens, Greece, ringing in the New Year with a massive fireworks display. Stay right there. I'm going to take you to Las Vegas now. Also increasing security for

tonight's celebration. More than 300,000 people are expected to ring in the New Year there with their huge celebration.

We know at least two of those revelers that will be there, CNN's Gary Tuchman and we showed you right before the break, Mr. Las Vegas himself, Wayne Newton. Gary, you have a fun assignment.

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I have a great assignment. Throughout the decades and throughout the generations, the biggest, the grandest, the most glamorous celebrities have something in common and that something in common is Las Vegas, Nevada.

This is the entertainment capital of the world. This is where people gravitate to from around the world and, yes, we're expecting at least 300,000 people for a Times Square style celebration but with good weather.

So, therefore, maybe more than 300,000. They may end up being 400,000 people on the strip, which will be closed down in a little while. There will be lots of security here. There are sharpshooters. There are national guardsmen, police. But it will be a very safe evening. They are guaranteeing that.

And with us right now is Mr. Las Vegas, Wayne Newton himself. Wayne, thank you for talking with us.


TUCHMAN: One thing you should know about Wayne is when you go into or out of the airport here, you are on Wayne Newton Boulevard and that's how much Mr. Las Vegas is (inaudible). He's been performing here for almost six decades. Tell me what this city means to you, Las Vegas, Nevada.

NEWTON: This city --

TUCHMAN: Everyone is yelling for Wayne right now. He's a hero here.

NEWTON: This city raised me literally. I came here at the age of 15 and I was not allowed in these places. They had to get a special permit that said I could work in the place but I was not allowed to be in the place I was working.

And so, I finally figured out what that meant was between shows, I had to come out and stand on the street and --

TUCHMAN: Is this true?

NEWTON: --which was not a bad idea because I met a lot of wonderful ladies standing on the street.

TUCHMAN: When you were 15 years old.

NEWTON: When I was 15 years old. TUCHMAN: OK.

NEWTON: And I didn't have time to get in trouble because I had to go back and do another show.

TUCHMAN: Speaking of shows, right across the street from us is where you're doing your show right now, Bally's.

NEWTON: That's it.

TUCHMAN: Right behind the corner. We're at Caesars Palace right now. It's right across the street. The show resumes when?

NEWTON: The show resumes January 15th and we're going into our second year at Bally's. They asked me to write a special show for a special show room. And so I wrote a show that was kind of reminiscent of what Vegas was like when I came here at the age of 15.

And you had Frank and Dean, Sam and Bobby Darin and Elvis and on and on and on up and down the strip. So, it was quite a town. It's still a most incredible town.

TUCHMAN: Do you like this city as much today as you did back in the 1960s or early '60s when you started?

NEWTON: I like it more today because I'm allowed in places I wasn't allowed in before but it has changed tremendously. I mean, we've gone -- when I came here, we were a city of 70,000 people. Right now, we're about 2.5 million.

And it truly is one of the safest regardless of the horrendous things that went on in October.

TUCHMAN: And we still remember all 58 of those people.

NEWTON: Yes, we do.

TUCHMAN: But no one will keep this city or any city in America doomed.

NEWTON: No. And particularly this city. I was sure that it could never -- anything like that could never quantify what Las Vegas is to most people. And thank God it hasn't.

TUCHMAN: Wayne Newton has told me that he estimates he's done 60,000 shows. Is that an accurate number?

NEWTON: That is an accurate number. I started downtown at the Fremont Hotel doing six shows a night, six nights a week. That went on for five years. Then when I started to headline these hotels in Las Vegas, we did two shows a night, seven nights a week. And I did -- at one run, I did 35 weeks without a day off.

TUCHMAN: It's amazing. One thing I want to tell you before we say goodbye is title of one of your songs, Danke Schoen for talking to us.

NEWTON: Bitte schon. God bless you. Happy New Year.

TUCHMAN: Ana and all our viewers, Happy New Year, happy 2018 to all of you. Back to you.

CABRERA: Just how old is Wayne Newton now? When you talked about how long he's been doing this, the guy doesn't age.

TUCHMAN: Ana, say that again. It was a little hard for me to hear you with the noise behind me.

CABRERA: Will Wayne Newton reveal his age to us all?

TUCHMAN: Let me ask you a question.


TUCHMAN: This could be a sensitive question.


TUCHMAN: Ana wants to know and it's coming from Ana, not from me but --

CABRERA: It's from me --


TUCHMAN: It's from Ana. Can you reveal your age to all our viewers?

NEWTON: I came here at 15 and I will turn 74 this coming April. And I told my daughter I was 14, she's 15 and wants to -- it was a big thing to her at six. "Daddy, how old are you?" "I'm 14."

So, finally, one day she said to me, "Daddy, you're not telling me the truth." And I said, "Shy?" She said, "You have to be older than 14." "Why?" "Because you drive a car. I said, "OK. I'm 16."

TUCHMAN: You drove car at 16. He's 74 and he still looks a lot younger. Ana, back to you.

CABRERA: Yes. No kidding. Going strong. Thank you, guys. So fun to see that -- to see him and thanks, Gary, for that that report.

Well, we have you covered tonight this New Year's Eve here on CNN. Two best friends, one epic night ringing in the New Year with Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen, New Year's Eve live begins at 8:00 pm Eastern here on CNN.

Happy New Year, Greece. It's already 2018 in a lot of the world. Greece ringing in the New Year just this past hour with fireworks lighting up the midnight sky. You can see also a nice musical ensemble there.

We'll be watching for Germany as well. There'll be, of course, at the top of the hour followed by United Kingdom at 7 pm Eastern. Well, get your guitar-shaped glasses because New Year's Eve in Music

City USA is almost here as well. Tonight's biggest show in Nashville will be headlined by Keith Urban and CNN's Sara Sidner is there to take it all in.

Sara, how are the people in Nashville doing on this New Year's Eve?

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: People are already showing up and they're hours early. But they have this amazing DJ who has been rocking the mike if you will asking for people to give him anything they want. The note will lift up.

This is where they drop the note here in Nashville because it's Music City. And so, the note is going to lift up around 6 o'clock Central Time and then they'll drop it at midnight and this place will go crazy. Expecting more than 100,000 people all crammed in here at Bicentennial park.

But you can hear this music kind of outside the venue as well. It's kind of awesome. And then on Broadway, which is where all the honky- tonks are and where I was earlier today just hanging out, no cover charge ever.

So, you can just go in there and listen to amazing music. A lot of it is cover bands but there are rock and rollers that are here. You can pretty much listen to any kind of music you want here in Nashville.

It's awesome. I can't stop dancing. Also, because it's going to be freezing like 11 degrees. I think similar to New York here in Nashville. That's cold for this place.

So we're going to try and warm it up by dancing around. So, you should come visit us because this is the place to be actually. I know Anderson and Andy are really cool guys but this is the kind of the place to be in my opinion. Just in my opinion.

CABRERA: I'm with you. I'm a huge country music fan and that Keith Urban show, hello, I'm there if only I could be.

SIDNER: I know.

CABRERA: Sara Sidner, enjoy. Enjoy. It looks like it's a little chilly there, too --


CABRERA: --as it is in much of the country right now. We'll talk to you --


CABRERA: --again soon. See you, my friend.

Coming up, we're going to head to Bill Weir. He is in the Florida Keys where, of course, hurricane victims are looking forward to a new year and a new beginning. Bill. BILL WEIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ana, here it is, the last sunsets of

2017 in the southern most neighborhood of the United States after a year of so many brutal storms and so much destruction. We're talking about recovery and hope for the new year and we're going to talk to the pirate wench who drops at midnight.

Stay with us, everybody. We'll be right back.

CABRERA: It has been a long few months of very hard work for people who live in the Florida Keys. They took a direct hit from Hurricane Irma. It was the strongest Atlantic Basin hurricane ever recorded outside the Gulf of Mexico.

But Key West, one of the most festive places to be anytime of the year especially New Year's, has come back the life. Still, many challenges ahead but CNN's Bill Weir is in KEY West right now.

And, Bill, we were looking earlier at some of the video that you shot in Key West immediately after the storm. Clearly, people behind you are at least celebrating this moment now three and a half months later.

WEIR: You just -- you couldn't have timed it better. The sunset just happened here in Mallory Square. You just heard a little smattering of applause.

Unfortunately, we don't have this palette of colorful clouds that draw so many people down here for these pastel sunsets. But as you can see, this is a party spot, 365 days a year.

Look at the crowds here and who thought this would have been possible in the hours after Irma when we thought the Keys were devastated beyond recognition. Ninety-five percent of the hotel rooms are open in Key West. About 70 percent in the Keys, places like Big Pine Key further up about 30 miles north here, they're still cleaning up. They're still hurting.

But I wanted to introduce you to the pirate wench of Key West. This is Evalena Worthington.


WEIR: You have been lowered from the mast of a tall schooner --


WEIR: --since the millennium and tonight you will do it again.

WORTHINGTON: Tonight, I will do it again right at Schooner Wharf Bar in Historic Seaport. We have all these beautiful schooners docked --

WEIR: Yes.

WORTHINGTON: --right around the bar. And, yes, we have the numbers ready to go. WEIR: We shot with our drone last night the rehearsal and it's very

-- it's so Key West, you know? Little girls want to dream to grow up to be a pirate wench.

WORTHINGTON: Exactly. Everybody wants to be a pirate wench. And it's so appropriate for Key West--

WEIR: Yes.

WORTHINGTON: -- to acknowledge our seafaring heritage and maritime heritage.

WEIR: You're telling me that some of the people you know, some employees who live on boats, bartenders who live on boats, their homes sank.


WEIR: Some people lost their homes.


WEIR: But overall, how would you rate this? You've been living down here a long time.

WORTHINGTON: Yes. I've -- my husband and I sailed into town about 30 years ago owned a schooner and then started a bar on the schooner.

WEIR: Yes.

WORTHINGTON: But I would say, overall, Key West is really doing well. Key West is really lucky compared to maybe 20, 30 miles north of us and we were blessed.

WEIR: Yes.

WORTHINGTON: Minimal damage, mainly the financial impact. But the word is getting out there. Everybody's finding out --

WEIR: Yes.

WORTHINGTON: --Key West is here. Come on down and have fun with us.

WEIR: Happy New Year to you, pirate wench. Yes. Happy better, healthier 2018. Yes. I mean, when it comes to how bad it could be, Ana, when you think about what's happening in Puerto Rico tonight --

CABRERA: Yes. Yes. Yes.

WEIR: --even on the Texas (ph) Gulf Coast, places like Rockport tourist towns there--


WEIR: --where most of their attractions were wiped out, it could be so much worse. So, it's nice to aptly say goodbye to a brutal '17 with a lovely sunset and a lot of joy. Happy New Year to you.

CABRERA: Happy New Year to you. I got to say, Bill, I know you covered Katrina and I recall the spirit we saw and the people there. It certainly seems like you're finding much of that same spirit there in Key West.

WEIR: Right. Yes. Very similar cultures. You know, people who are drawn down here to this town at the end of the road are special breed of cat.

You know, they're dreamers and they're dropouts and they're treasure hunters and they love the sea and the sky. So, hurricane is sort of the price of admission. People lost a lot. Those who were uninsured lost a lot.

The recovery will take years for some but there's something about the spirit of people down here and if the oceans rise another foot, they'll still be partying and they always dream.

CABRERA: Well, you earned a little bit of partying, too, after spending some time what happened there, Bill. It's a beautiful night. Our best to the people in Key West. Enjoy. Thanks so much.

I want to take you all now to California. It is crunch time for one of the biggest parades in the country, the Rose Parade. Volunteers are rushing to add their finishing touches to the floats that will make their debut tomorrow morning.

Hundreds of volunteers working for weeks to assemble and decorate these floats. Now, the parade is famous for the floats themselves. They are massive and intricate.

These are some from last year. Every inch of these floats must be covered with flowers or other natural materials like leaves or bark. They will all be on display in the grand parade tomorrow morning in Pasadena, California.

By the way, while we're freezing here in the northeast, the weather for that parade, sunny and 75. We're back in a moment.

A barber in Philadelphia decided the best way to help homeless people is -- his city would -- and in his city would be to do what he does best, cut hair. Watch his story in today's inspiring people.


BRENNON JONES, BARBER, PHILADELPHIA: My name is Brennon Jones and I created haircuts for homeless.

SEAN JOHNSON, OWNER, TAPER'S BARBER SHOP: Hi, I'm Sean Johnson, the owner of Taper's Barber Shop.