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tv   Wolf  CNN  December 12, 2016 10:00am-11:01am PST

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>> reporter: survivors were iran viewed and only then learned the gunman was waiting to ambush his s.w.a.t. team. >> i'm very, very proud the way police responded. >> reporter: deborah feyerick, cnn, florida. thank you to deb for that report and thank you for watching "newsroom." "wolf" starts right now. hello. i'm wolf blitzer. it's 1:00 p.m. here in washington. 8:00 p.m. in aleppo, syria. 9:00 p.m. in moscow. wherever you're watch from around the world, thanks very much for joining us. discussions about russia top the hour. president-elect donald trump using the word "ridiculous" as his opinion on cia reports russia's hacking was intended to influence the u.s. presidential election. he also tweeted this morning, and i'm quoting now, can you imagine if the election results can the opposite and we tried to play the russia cia card? it would be called conspiracy
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theory. a group of prominent senators from both sides of the aisle want to know much more. john mccain and lindsey graham on the republican side. chuck schumer and jack reed for democrats. the process of russian interference should "alarm every american." senate majority leader mitch mcconnell spoke about it this morning. >> it defies belief somehow republicans in the senate are reluctant to review russian tactics or ignore them. so last let me say i have the highest confidence in the intelligence community and especially the central intelligence agencies, the cia is filled with self-less patriots, many of whom anonymously risk their lives for the american people. >> the house speaker paul ryan just tweeting, quoting him, our intelligence committee has been working diligently to the cyber threats. this important work will kornt a continue and has my support. the president-elect continues
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his victory tour this week. in wisconsin tomorrow. hershey, pennsylvania, thursday. orlando, florida, on friday. he'll wrap up the tour in mobile, alabama on saturday. also this week, expecting a choice for the biggest cabinet position that hasn't yet been filled. talking about the secretary of state. the name at the top of the list right now is rex tillerson. ceo of exxon/mobil, but the trump team is emphasizing that the final decision has not yet been made. joining us now from the trump tower in new york city is ryan nobles, watching all of this for us. what are you hearing from the trump team about tillerson and do we have any idea when that announcement, secretary of state, will be made? >> reporter: wolf, the expectation as trump tower that that nomination will be made sometime this week. we don't expect it to come today but on a transition conference call with reporters officials expect it sometime in the next couple days. all signs point towards exxon/mobil ceo rex tillerson as
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that pick. the pick won't come without controversy. leading republicans concerned about tillerson's ties to russia in his role as that exxon/mobil ceo. among them, marco rubio and john mccain nap could be a tough confirmation battle, if that's who trump ends up going with. we should find that out in the next couple of days. we are learning more about how this transition is shaping up in terms of key appointments. one of the positions we're watching closely is the high-profile position of press secretary, and kellyanne conway, of course, the campaign manager of the trump campaign, she told hugh hewitt in a radio interview she's politely declined that role as press secretary. conway, of course, someone who has the ear of president-elect trump. obviously one of his most high-profile surrogates. looks as though she won't be in that role as press secretary once trump is inaugurated here in the next couple weeks. wolf? >> ryan, who else is the president-elect meeting with today? >> reporter: it's a busy day here at trump tower. already seen carly fiorina come
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through. a former presidential candidate who battled with donald trump during the campaign was here. also expected today, west virginia senator joe manchin, a democrat, of course. once thought of as someone trump might tap for a cabinet post saying he's not interested in a job with the trump team and cathy mcmorris rodgers, powerful republican congresswoman from washington a potential interior secretary. also rick perry, the former governor of texas. he potentially could be tapped the next energy secretary and of course, wolf, you remember when, during his short-lived run for president he suggested abolishing the energy committee. a very interesting group of people here at trump tower today to meet with the president-elect. >> we'll watching every step of the way. rhine thank you. the president-elect and his transition team are taking aim at the cia disputing intelligence reports on russian hacking and the role russia wanted to play in the u.s. election. bring in our justice
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correspondent evan perez. evan, both the cia and fbi have now weighed in on this. not publicly, officially, but through background conversations with reporters like you. what's the main difference you're hearing between the conclusion of the fbi versus the conclusion of the cia? >> reporter: wolf, this is a difference of nuance, really. i think one of the things that's happening is that the cia took a look at what it had, including some new information from some of the sources, and it briefed lawmakers in the last couple weeks saying essentially it was leaning in the direction that, what russia was trying to do was trying to help get donald trump elected as president. now, the fbi's not really ready to go that far. they are still looking at a variety of different motivations that they view might have prompted the russian intelligence agencies to do this. i think part of the issue for the fbi is that they are looking at it not just as intelligence but also potentially to try to bring a prosecutorable case
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against whoever might have carried this out, wolf. that's one of the things, one of the differences you see between what the cia does and what the fbi -- i think we should note, however, wolf, that they are in agreement on this one fact. which is -- they know, they believe there is enough evidence that the russians did carry out these hacks of the dnc and tried to embarrass democrats by releasing those e-mails through wikileaks. >> what are you hearing, you've been doing a lot of reporting on these reports that russians also got into, let's say, the republican national committee's computers. their system, or at least elements close to the rnc? what are you hearing than? >> reporter: it's been a persistent story, wolf. we've followed it for months, you pointed out. this weekend the "new york times" reported the russians did manage to get into the rnc. our information talking to fbi sources and other officials briefed on this is they did not directly breach the rnc and the rnc disputes the "new york
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times" report, by the way. what we have learned is that the phish fein did find a third party entity, some type of organization that is affiliated or related to republicans, and that had some access to rnc data. that entity was broken into, was hacked, as well as some pundits and other conservative organizations, and i think that might be why there is confusion about this. again, we've been following this several months and so far the fbi has not found there was a direct breach of the rnc, wolf. >> and the issue came up when i interviewed mike mccall, chairman of the house program security committee back in september. >> reporter: absolutely. >> on the program he initially said he had information that the republican national committee systems were, in fact, hacked by the russians, just like the dnc. the democratic national committee, was hacked. after the program, he issued a statement saying i misspoke by asserting that the rnc was hacked. what i had intended to say was
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that knicks in addition to the hack, republican political operatives have betty nguyenngu- have been hacked. flatly denying there is -- >> reporter: flatly denied. direct. >> those denials based on everything you're hearing are technically accurate? >> reporter: that is right. did not directly breach the rnc. obviously, we haven't seen substantial revelations from the rnc. you would think at this point maybe we would have seen some embarrassing information for the russians to put out. what the russians were trying to do. >> only releasing information embarrassing to the democrats and as a result of that, concluding trying to help donald trump as opposed to hillary clinton. that's the argument, but all circle. >> reporter: absolutely. all circumstantial. you and i can see from
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everything said, certainly in moscow, they did favor donald trump. would have preferred a donald trump presidency but certainly didn't expect him to be elected and certainly did not know, it appears, at least according to the what the fbi found so far, that it this hacking was going to be successful in swaying any votes. i think that's where the point of this agreement remains at this point, wolf. >> all right. evan, thanks very much. evan perez, good reporting for us. bring in the panel discussing russian hacking of intelligence and more. "washington post" reporter david nakamura, and jim sciutto and gloria borger. gloria, donald trump says flatly reports linking russia to the hack, ridiculous. what does it say about donald trump right now that he's so dismissive in effect of the u.s. intelligence community? >> well, if i were a member of the u.s. intelligence community, i'd be worried about my relationship with the president going forward. i mean, the white house today just at the briefing said that
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you know, the president's experience over the last eight years is to have trust in the intelligence community. these people are patriots with specialized skills. you have a president who is skeptical and dismissive of them, and this disagreement in nuance as evan puts it, between the fbi and the cia only feeds into donald trump's dismissiveness of the intelligence that's coming at him. i think what we're in danger of doing, though is conflating two different stories. one is about, there are some democrats who want to say, okay. the election, really, we should delegitimize the election because it wasn't fair because the russians were hacking. that's not the issue here. let's naught aside. that's the politics. the issue here is, the russians trying to intervene in one way or another to wreak havoc on an american electoral process. that's the real issue. i think if you are going at this and trying to disqualify donald
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trump's election, stop it. that's not going to happen. >> a good point. the white house press secretary, jim, just moments ago spoke out about all of this. let's listen to josh earnest. >> that all said, you didn't need a security clearance to figure out who benefited from malicious russian cyber activity. the president-elect didn't call it into question. he called on russia to hack his opponent. he called on russia to hack secretary clinton. so he certainly had a pretty good sense of whose side this activity was coming down on. the last several weeks of the election, were focused on a discussion of e-mails that had been hacked and leaked by the russians.
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these were e-mails from the dnc, and john podesta. >> that's the argument they're making. that the russians were aggressively trying to help trump, because all of the damaging e-mails were damaging to the democrats. >> not the first to make that argument. folks like adam schiff, symbol committee. you'd have to be willfully blind nod to think the hack was intended to harm democrats because only the democrats had this information revealed. that's a judgment to make. i mean, there are so many blurring of the lines here for political purposes. we have to break through it a bit. what no one is disputing, intelligence community, the 16 agencies of the intelligence community and fbi, is that russia hacke hacked the election. right? with confidence, they don't go out with public statements using the term "confidence," an intelligence term, unless they have the goods to back that up.
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russia hacked the election. donald trump is not just attacking the hacking was intended to help him. he's attacking the whole assessment. saying i don't believe russians hacked the election. with that is standing up against the entire u.s. sbhintelligence committee. you heard mcconnell there, who clearly -- don't trust russia or vladimir putin. >> this is, you know -- it goes into the other issue about donald trump's relationship with russia and what policies are going forward. that will mean to our policies going forward with vladimir putin and syria. ukraine and around the world, wolf. >> david, the statement jim referred to, this was the statement, let me read it. this came out in early october. october 7th, i think. it's a joint statement from the director of national intelligence, general james clapper and the secretary of state of homeland security, jeh johnson. read a couple sents encesentenc. the u.s. government is confident directed e-mails from u.s. persons and institutions s
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including from u.s. political organizations. we believe based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts that only russia's senior-most officials could have authorized these activities. that was released in early october. trump says, we don't know who did the hacking, but here in this statement, the u.s. intelligence community says they are confident it is russia. >> clear what they're saying. jim pointed out, seems to be no ambiguity of the point and trump is dismissing -- bringing up intelligence failures from 12 years ago around the iraq war is demeaning and irrelevant at this point, i think. there's been a lot of reform since then. trying to distract and impugn these agencies, which really opens up other plit simple. >> he's doing that, i didn't sit on his election system, i would
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be amazed this was not part of his briefings. the president-elect shown the goods why the intelligence community believes this and is still it going public to impugn their integrity. >> and not taking a presidential daily brief. >> here we -- >> or as needed. right? and having mike pence do it. this is just another example of the distance he is placing between himself, in the oval office, with his very own intelligence community upon which we all expect to keep us safe. >> much more. more information that's coming in as well. don't go away. coming up, also top republicans are expressing deep reservations over donald trump's top pick for secretary of state. we'll discuss that as well. and why is china "seriously concerned" over comments recently made by the president-elect? that and much more when we continue right after this. the waterspout. p
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let's get back to our panel. gloria, the statement john podesta just released, john podesta campaign manager for hillary clinton's campaign saying the electoral college should get a full briefing on these reports that russia interfered in the u.s. election process with the supposed desire to help donald trump win. before the electoral college formerly wraps up what it's supposed to do by the end of the week they want this intelligence made public? >> some electors suggested an intelligence briefing and today john podesta weighed in saying the clinton campaign supports that. again, as we talked about before, two things going on here. one is the impact that this hacking may have had on the
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election, and these electors want to kind of hear about the intelligence community's assessment of the exact interference and whether it might have affected the outcome. then there is the separate issue, which is, the cia finding credible information that says, yes, the russians tried to interfere, drawing no, you know, conclusions about how it affected the election one way or another. >> the thing is, it's actually three questions, right? did russia hack the election? second, was there intention to swing the election to trump. >> right. >> the third did it have an impact on the election? that's the unknowable to some degree, and then the middle part, this is the thing i think is part of the misunderstanding. intelligence assessments are never 100% certain. right? on anything. you know? looking back. does iraq have weapons of mass destruction? you know, are the americans going to invade at normandy? right? intelligence assessments are
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based on imperfect information, issued with confidence or left sometimes with dissenting viewpoints. they may not know. they have confidence based on the fingerprints they found, et cetera, russia was behind the hacking. can they know for sure what the intent of that is? no. >> is that why the fbi is more quiet about it? >> very much so, yes. >> let me read for you the line from the john podesta statement causing buzz out there. the bipartisan electors letter raising grave issues involving our national security. electoring from the electoral college, electors have a solemn responsibility under the constitution. he wants this intelligence released before the final vote to see who's going to get 270 electoral college votes and guarantee the presidency. >> interesting. president obama ordered a few review delivered before he leaves office in january. i don't know what -- how quick a time frame these agencies think that is, but we don't really know all of the information yet,
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and white house promised to make it public then. raising another question, too. president obama's come under some criticism at the white house for not necessarily releasing as much as we might have know before the election in the sense he didn't want to be accused of tipping the scales when it looked like hillary clinton was headed for victory. didn't want to undermine her legitimacy questioning where it was. there is doubt now he should have done more, been more forthright especially with jim comey doing more on that question, questions about her own e-mails right before the election. >> and speaker paul ryan issue as statement moments ago basically agreeing with mitch mcconnell, senate majority leader among other things saying any foreign intervention in our elections is entirely unacceptable and any intervention by russia is especially problematic, because partisan purposes does have a grave disservice to those professionals and potentially jeopardizing our national security as we work to protect our democracy from foreign
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influence, we should not cast doubt on the clear, decisive outcome of the election, but he wants the chairman of the house intelligence community, committee, congressman nunez, to go ahead and launch a full-scale investigation. >> as do leading republicans in the senate want that, and his last line was really important. he said, it shouldn't affect the outcome of the election, which donald trump won resoundingly. >> right. >> but we have, we have to investigate this, because it's nefarious. >> for the sake of democracy. >> the sake of our democracy. >> walking a fine line. >> and if rex tillerson becomes the secretary of state, chairman ceo of exxon/mobil, how much of a problem getting confirmed? needs 50 votes in the senate if a tie. the vice president will be able to break that tie. he's a republican. so he needs 50 votes. the republicans right now in the new senate have 52-48 democrats. >> you would, in theory, need to turn a couple republicans.
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saw questioned raised. marco rubio tweeting being a friend of putin he didn't identify tillerson, but tillerson is portrayed that way, is not a qualification for secretary of state. so in the rubio, the mccains, you might have enough votes there, then again, he might -- reporting now is he had backing of rice and gates. maybe answers the questions well in the confirmation hearings. >> you think a problem? >> well, interesting going forward whether if picking a fight with intelligence agencies you wonder how they might fight back and the information they might have going forward about nominees or others. not suggesting, these are professionals who do their jobs. picking out long-term conflict with these folks making it public the way donald trump did, one wonders the leaks coming forward, comes out. >> i hear you say this could get really ugly. >> it isn't all rigready? >> not necessarily want to pick a fight with the -- >> contrary to all sacred to national security professionals, for trump to be so dismissive of
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what they're saying. >> all right, guys. thanks very much. lots going on. also coming up, recent comments by the president-elect. once again concerning the chinese government. why officials are asking to be rational and respectful rather than impulsive. crohn's disease.ate to e i didn't think there was anything else to talk about. but then i realized there was. so, i finally broke the silence with my doctor about what i was experiencing. he said humira is for people like me who have tried other medications but still experience the symptoms of moderate to severe crohn's disease. in clinical studies, the majority of patients on humira saw significant symptom relief. and many achieved remission. humira can lower your ability to fight infections, including tuberculosis. serious, sometimes fatal infections and cancers, including lymphoma, have happened; as have blood, liver, and nervous system problems, serious allergic reactions, and new or worsening heart failure. before treatment, get tested for tb. tell your doctor if you've been to areas where certain fungal infections are common,
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waiting on donald trump, but to name his nominee for secretary of state rex tillerson, ceo exxon/mobil. this says a great deal about the trump foreign policy vision. and matthew chance, joining us
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live from moscow. matt rivers, joining us live from beijing, and elise labott, global affairs correspondent here with me in washington. matthew chance, let's start with you. where does this relationship between the u.s. and russia go once donald trump is sworn in on january 20th as president of the united states? what is -- what are you hearing from your sources in moscow? >> reporter: wolf, that's a great question, because here in russia, donald trump has been portrayed as the most propro-pr of the united states in living memory and there's all sorts of expectations how this is a pivotal moment at the moment between washington and moscow, a relationship rocky over the past couple of years. expectations amongst the russian public and leadership as well some kind of deal can be done first of all on syria. the obama administration talked
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to the russians about doing a deal on syria, coordinating forces. the hope trump can seal the deal. and hope, too, what donald trump said during his campaign, some kind of agreement can be reached about crimea or at least moved away from the center of the relationship between the united states and russia. of course, russia annexed crimea from ukraine and nato expansion. trump and russia appear to share similar misgivings about continued expansion of that military alines. so a lot of expectation. the problem is, of course, in reality, once trump takes up his position inside the oval office, he may not be able or willing to deliver on any of those issues, spoken from a russian point of view. could be a lot of disappointment here in moscow over the next several months is what the presidency actually means, as it becomes apparent. >> clearly hopes it will bring improvement in u.s./russian
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relation. and matt, talk about the president creating more waves with china, his phone call with the taiwanese president. first time since the late '70s that an american president or president-elect has had a direct phone conversation with the president of taiwan. listen to how donald trump is explaining that. >> i fully understand the one china policy, but i don't know why we have to be bound by one china policy, unless we make a deal with china. having to do with other things, including trade. i mean, look, we're haurt veurt badly by china, devaluation, taxes us heavily at the borders and we don't tax them, and china sea, a bored, shouldn't be doing and frankly not helping with north korea. >> so, matt, did china -- i know china reacted, but were they
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caught off guard by this? >> reporter: well, i don't necessarily think they were caught off guard, given the fact that president-elect trump had that it phone call with the taiwan president wen but thought there could be controversy stirred up in the u.s./china relationship given what we've seen over the last week or so. did hear strong words from a spokesperson at the regular daily briefing here node beijing, perhaps not surprising, strong words from them giving anything that has to do with taiwan and any perceived threats to the one china policy is very, very tensetive to china's government and let's hear a lot of what that spokesperson had to say. >> translator: adhering to the one china principle is the political bedrock to the development of u.s./china relations. it it is compromised or destructed, the bilateral relationship as well as
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bilateral corporation in major fields would be out of the question. >> reporter: and just this afternoon, we're getting reporting from cnn jim sciutto that senior u.s. defense official telling cnn china, for the first time threw nuclear capable bombers over conflicted areas in the south china sea. an area expanded aggressively. those events took place a few days ago after that phone call between that phone call and president-elect trump. can't say why those flights happened but timing, certainly very interesting. >> very interesting indeed. elise, looking into the israeli/u.s. relation. the prime minister of israel, benjamin netanyahu, on "60 minutes" last night. listen to what he said about the president-elect. >> i know donald trump. i know him very well, and i think his attitude, his support
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for israel is clear. he feels very warmly about the jewish state, about the jewish people, and about jewish people. there's no question about that. >> so what do you hear about the emerging u.s./israeli relationship? you know at times over the past eight years, occasionally friction between the prime minister and president obama? >> reporter: and relations between the u.s. and israel, while tense particularly over the iran deal, you know, still remain strong in terms of u.s. defense for israel's security. i think that will only you know, increase under donald trump. particularly things will get better over the iran deal. donald trump made no secret of the fact he doesn't think this is a very good deal. he wants to strengthen it. he may want to renegotiate it, and i think some of the acrimony between the two leaders does hamper relation. this will only, i think, get better. donald trump is expected to talk very early on with prime minister netanyahu about the iran deal.
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i think what you'll see, once donald trump's cabinet comes in, take as look, for instance, defense secretary jim mattis said he doesn't think tearing it up is a big deal. i think things will get better with israel and also, donald trump wants to move the u.s. embassy from tel aviv to jerusalem. a controversial policy. i don't know if that will actually happen. again, jim mattis might come in, say, look, that could be problematic and i think they're expecting that across the board on a lot of issues, for trump to moderate. certainly on israel, i think both leaders are expecting to have a very warm and cordial relationship. two men that have done business together and likely to do a lot more. >> rex tillerson, becomes secretary of state, may have different views about israel than donald trump, than donald trump has, but in the end, it's up to donald trump. if he wants to move the u.s. embassy from tel aviv to jerusalem, no whatter what general mattis or rex tillerson might say, he can do it if he wants do it.
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he will be the president of the united states. we'll see in fact what happened. guy, to all of you, thanks very much. coming up, congressman steve scalise, one of the house of representatives top ranking republicans's pu see him there. discussing what's shaping up to be donald trump's first confrontation potentially at least with congress over russia's involvement with the u.s. election. reports out there. we'll discuss with congressman scalise, right after this. ♪ ♪ how else do you think he gets around so fast? take the reins this holiday and get the mercedes-benz you've always wanted during the winter event. now lease the 2017 gla250 for $329 a month at your local mercedes-benz dealer.
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president-elect donald trump says nobody knows for sure who was behind the hacking during the 2016 presidential election. that puts him at odds with the u.s. intelligence community pointing the finger at russia. joining us now to talk about that and more of the house majority whip steve scalise.
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republican congressman from louisiana who just emerged from a meeting with donald trump's chief of staff, emerging without white house chief of staff, reince priebus over at trump tower. congressman, thanks for joining us. >> good to be with you, wolf. >> i want to talk about you and reince priebus discussed. what do you make of the president-elect the skepticism and the even dismissal of the u.s. intelligence committee's findings that russia was responsible for hacking the national democratic committee and other democrats like john podesta, chairman of the clinton campaign? >> you're seeing divisions within the intelligence community. the fbi is not on the same page with the cia on this. you know, so if they're going to investigate, that's a good thing. i'd like to see president obama a little more concerned about hacking that's occurred across the board by countries not just like russia, but north korea, china, going after our retailers, individual personal accounts of families across the country. pretty muff every business hacked by foreign countries.
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they should have been aggressive a long time. look, let's go find the facts. >> the fbi and the cia, i should point out, not just the cia, director of national intelligence, responsible for 16 different u.s. intelligence communities, all agree it was russia that was responsible for the hackings but the fbi and the cia apparently disay gl lly dis it was specifically designed to help donald trump or simply disruption the u.s. election system, embarrass the u.s., if you will. seems to be the only difference but agree russians were involved. donald trump isn't convinced yet. are you? >> that's why i say, let's go investigate it. get all the facts out there. that's what everybody should agree upon. it shouldn't just be russia we're concerned about, because many countries that are not our friends have been hacking into american accounts across the board. again, retailers, we've seen many stories of massive breaches. a lot of individuals have had their personal information
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compromised, and then we've seen just about every corporation in this country hacked or attempted to be hacked by foreign countries >> the sources tell us the exxon/mobil ceo rex tillerson appears to be the lead are candidate to become the next secretary of state, though no final decision has been made. final decision made only after donald trump makes that final decision. are you concerned, like some democrats and republicans, for that matter, about tillerson's close relationship, close ties with russia over the years? >> well, if you look at rex tillerson. i've met him a few times, he's testified from the committee i sit on and presents himself incredibly well. he's known for and frankly respected for around the world, his ability to negotiate international agreements. that's a good thing. something you would want in a secretary of state. some say the only person with more experience in dealing with countries like russia is henry kissinger. i don't think anybody knocks henry kissinger's credentials.
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look at tillerson's background, head of one of the largest companies in the world, an american-based company in exxon. employees tens of thousands of americans. this is the kind of person that's got very respected credentialed around the world and can negotiate tough deems with foreign countries and that would be a big asset to the incoming trump administration. >> i know you emerged from this meeting with reince priebus, incoming white house chief of staff. did you reach an agreement on the first 100 days, what are going to be the two or three most important issues, the new president wants you, the house of representatives and the senate for that matter, to enact? >> we're excited about working with the trump administration in that first 100 days. our main focus will be on jobs. rebuilding our economy. creating more jobs, and if you listen to donald trump he talks about that all the time. also strengthening our military. we've got a plan in place to number one go not only unravel job-killing regulations but go after obama care. probably one of the biggest job
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killers in this country, a premium increases that have been unbelievable. you saw families just a few months ago got billed over 25% higher. in march, already hearing that the projections are increases on health care because of obama care will be another 20-plus percent. this law is failing millions of families across the country. >> your top priority getting rid of obama care, lowering taxes? is that what i hear you say? >> what i'm saying, rebuild our economy to create jobs starting by rolling back regulations coming jobs in america. making the tax code competitive is a big part of that. we're seeing too many job leaving the country because of the highest corporate tax rate in the world. make nos sense for us to lose our competitive advantage to countries like ireland, canada. let's get those jobs back in america. we're going to be working really hard the first 100 days to get the economy moving again and build the middle class back up again and strengthen our military. >> we know that donald trump
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wants to reduce that corporate tax rate from 35% down to 15%. the speaker wants it at 20%. they're not far apart on that. congressman scalise, thanks very much for joining us. >> great being with you, wolf. coming up, the senate minority leader harry reid. what he thinks about the russian hacking controversy and why he didn't mince any words at all when it came to the fbi director james comey. the candid interview with harry reid, when we come back.
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the senate majority leader mitch mcconnell says he put the highest confidence in the u.s. intelligence community despite president-elect donald trump's calling, conclusions that russia hacked the u.s. presidential election ridiculous. mcconnell was also asked this morning if he supports congress conducting a bipartisan investigation. >> it's an important subject, and we intend to review it on a bipartisan basis. the russians are not our friends. >> our senior political reporter manu raju was there add mcconnell's news conference and also had a chance to sit down with the senate democratic leader, the minority leader, harry reid leaving the senate right now. manu joins us from capitol hill. senator reid, manu, had been pushing before the election for the fbi director james comey to release information on russia's
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hacking. what does he think about the state of the investigation right now? >> reporter: he thinks james comb canny has suppressed information about russia and donald trump in order to help donald trump. he made very clear that he believes that what james comey did in intervening late in the election about hillary clinton's e-mails actually cost democrats the senate, cost democrats the white house. now, i had a chance to ask him specifically about his very explosive charge that there was coordination between donald trump and the russian government before the elections. and i asked him about what evidence he has. this is what he had to say. >> the dnc was hacked. everybody knew that. we knew wikileaks was coming out, drip by drip by drip. they wouldn't do it all at once, of course, baz they were coordinating this with the trump folks and russians. >> reporter: just to be clear. are you saying the russian government was, in fact, trying
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to steer this election to donald trump? >> my opinion is, yes, we got no basis in fact from the fbi. they ignored it. now we're hearing that you guys are reporting all this stuff from the intelligence agencies. they clearly see it. >> reporter: so, do you think trump in any way is an illegitimate president because of the russian involvement? >> no, i never said that. i wish someone else would have won even though hillary clinton is going to get about 3 million more votes than he did and we have the college system and we accept that. >> reporter: would trump have won, in your opinion, would trump have won this race if russia did not get involved? >> all i know is russia helped a lot. those wikileaks coming out, drip, drip, drip, hurt her. and comey helped trump significantly. a week before the election, he came out and -- with this, oh, we found some more e-mails. as a result of, that we lost senate seats, and i think we
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lost the presidency. >> reporter: now, reid also said he does not think rex tillerson would get the 51 votes needed to be confirmed. he also said he thinks joe manchin, fellow democrat from west virginia, is running for a spot in the administration. >> very quickly, manu, what evidence does he have that the trump campaign was coordinating with wikileaks and the russians before the election? >> reporter: he didn't offer that. i asked him three times. he said, there are press reports, he said the dnc hack, wikileaks, but he did not say specifically what evidence he heard particularly in those classified briefings. >> manu raju reporting from capitol hill. thousands of civilians are caught in the middle of the battle for aleppo right now and the only way to flee is through the front lines. we'll take a look at this very dangerous journey for men, women and a lot of children.
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after weeks of intense air and ground assaults, it now appears the city of aleppo in syria may fall back into regime hands, although least parts of it. our senior international correspondent fred pleitgen is with us in beirut, having just left aleppo. what is happening to the civilians, first of all, in the
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neighborhoods? >> reporter: it's an awful situation for the civilians there in aleppo. you're absolutely right, this could be the final hours of the rebels having a foothold in aleppo. you know, even by the standards, the horrible standards, of the syrian civil war, the amount of firepower that was unleashed on aleppo the past couple of days was probably more intense than anything that we've seen in the past five years. of course, you have these civilians that were trapped there in the middle. and the only way for them to get out, wolf, was to go right through the front line. here's what we saw. this is as close as journalist can get to aleppo's southern line. air strikes, artillery and gun battles, the shrinking opposition enclave is getting pounded by bashar al assad's forces. for tens of thousands of civilians trapped inside, the only escape is to walk right through this front line. the situation in rebel areas is so bad that many are, an exodus
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under fire. there is a massive, almost avalanche of people trying to make it to safety. as you can see, there are people who are carrying their children, and also a lot of children who have to make the trek themselves. it's so difficult for many of them. of course, they've been under siege for such a very long time. this is what total exhaustion from starvation and war looks like. this woman wounded when her house collapsed during the fighting. it is undescribable inside, she says, hunger, suppression and everything bad you can imagine. no medicine. we have nothing. literally we couldn't get any treatment for our injuries. >> reporter: all of this, of course, as the rebels continue to lose control of those eastern districts of aleppo. and also while the fighting is going on here. we're hearing constant pa rajs of artillery, rockets being fired. it's a very dangerous trek that these people are making. it's a trek also into a very uncertain future.
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we found this family about half a mile from the front line, too tired to walk any further. i left my house in there, the father says. i don't want my house. i want to be safe. i want my children to be safe. and thousands of like them are also risking their lives, going through one of syria's most violent front lines, hoping somehow to reach a safe place. so there you can see the utter desperation that's making these people make that very dangerous journey. what they found on the other side, wolf, is a lot of uncertainty. they try to get to some of these displaced shelters but those aren't a very good standard. there are some mattresses on the floor of a warehouse and they can get some food, but it really isn't much more than that. of course, they still have that uncertain future as well. at the same time, you see the battle for aleppo and it really looks like the rebels are probably going to lose all of it within the next couple of hours. what we're hearing from sources
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inside the syrian military is they say they are in the final stage of the operation to clear all of the city, wolf. >> fred pleitgen out of aleppo now in beirut. thanks for that report. that's it for me. i'll see you at 5:00 p.m. eastern in "the situation room." the news continues right now, right here on cnn. here we go, top of the howard, i'm brooke baldwin. you're watching cnn. thank you for being with me. president-elect donald trump at odds with congress, including his own party leaders and the cia all at once. and a showdown is looming. i'm talking about the russians interfering with the 2016 presidential election. it was done, so says the cia, to help sway a trump victory. now, there are four senators. here you go. all making a bipartisan call for an investigation. the second

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