hello. i'm jake tapper in for wolf blitzer. 1:00 p.m. here in washington, d.c. wherever you're watching from around the world, thanks for joining us. we start with anger from israel aimed at the united states, more specifically at president obama. at issue is that united nations security council resolution condemning the construction of israeli settlements in those disputed territories. israel wanted the u.s. to block
the resolution. the obama administration decided to about stain, meaning that the resolution could continue going forward. in response, israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu summoned the u.s. ambassador to his office, and the israeli prime minister has gone so far as to accuse the united states of conspiring with palestinians to harass israel. israeli ambassador to the united nations ron dermer tried to explain israel's anger on cnn "new day" today. >> it's an old story that the united nations gangs up against israel. what is new is that the united states did not stand up and oppose that gang up and what is outrageous is that the united states was actually behind that gang up, to bring a resolution to the security council is not just something that israel opposes. it's something that barack obama opposed, in september 2011 he stood at the united nations and he said, these issues should not be handled at the u.n. security council. they should be handled through negotiations. we agree on that. we have a disagreement with the
administration over settlements. but you don't take, as the prime minister just said, you don't take your friends to the security council. as biased as the u.n. is, we are a member of the community of nations and will fight for our rights there, but i hope that the new administration will have a comprehensive review of policies at the u.n. not just towards israel also towards the united states. the u.n. is a cesspool of anti-american inch and anti-israel activity. i hope the new administration with bipartisan support in congress will look at those programs and not simply give a blank check to all of this anti-american and anti-israel hostility. >> this is the first u.n. security council resolution criticizing israel that has passed during the obama administration. one, that compares to the president george w. bush years where six passed. ronald reagan, 21 passed. obama's vicritics saying this w daf defining the settlements as
illegal, which could have ramifications. we have a panel with us. in the studio, elise labott. oren, start with you. oren lieberman before might this fight go from here? >> reporter: prime minister benjamin netanyahu hasn't backed off any language he's used. without question, hashest criticism we've seen from the netanyahu government directed right at president obama. netanyahu has made it very clear he thinks this actions, lashing out at obama was in his words measured, responsible and vigorous and he says that this won't hurt israel's standing in the long run. that country will come to respect israel for standing up to itself. what netanyahu made clear, he's done working with president obama, as ron dermer, israeli ambassador to the u.n., looking forward to president-elect trump
who promises to be much friendlier to israel. >> and evidence the u.s. was working on this resolution but have not revealed that evidence publicly kbhap a publicly. what are you hearing? >> reporter: look a palestinian delegation was here a few weeks ago talking with secretary of state john kerry. i think it has something to do with information they have about that. they've been very kind of coy what evidence they have, but, look, this administration has known about this resolution for some time. it's been in the works for about a year and secretary kerry was in new zealand, talked to the foreign minister there who voted for the resolution. they needed to know whether or not it would be able to vote for something. what the israelis are charging is that president obama, secretary kerry orchestrated this. that they were involved in kind of drafting this and pushing this along. i think somewhere in the middle is probably the truth. the administration says, oh, we didn't draft it. we didn't put it forward, but
they certainly were involved making sure it was a certain text in getting it to the security council. >> thank you. athena, is president obama sending a message to benjamin netanyahu after a very contentious eight years and no lost love between them? >> reporter: hi, jake. i think it's fair to say he is sending a message and that message is that the white house, the obama administration, agrees with much of the international community that the continued building, the continued construction of thesettlements disputed lands is not helpful to the peace process or helpful to any eventual two-state solution. the white house argues this position on this has been clear for years. this may about new low in the contentious relationship between the two leaders, another low, last year. march of 2015 when congressional republicans without consulting the white house invited the prime minister to address a joint session of congress to express his opposition to the iran nuclear deal.
he said that deal not only wouldn't work, but it could lead to the destruction of the jewish state of israel. so this has ban difficult relationship for some time. netanyahu believes that president obama is naive when it comes to issues, involving the middle east and, of course, president obama has been talking since his campaign in 2008 about his willingness to engage with iran. a lot of disagreement between these two men. this may be the latest example how difficult that relationship has been, and as you said, as we heard from oren, prime minister netanyahu very much looking forward to the next administration. jake? >> all right. athena jones, elise labott, oren lieberman, thanks very much. and bringing in the former israeli ambassador to the united states, he's now a member of the parliament in israel. the knesset and deputy minister of ddiplomacy. thank you for joining us. appreciate it. >> thank you, jake. >> talk to me about the evidence your government claims to have that the u.s. actually drafted
this resolution conspired to put it forward at the security council? what kind of evidence are we talking about? >> well, what they've received from other governments around the world who have been involved in this and i think that we're not disclosing those sources. i think that the prime minister's made it very clear that he believes that the -- that president obama's administration has been instrument until formulating this resolution and advancing it. it's a pretty serious charge. i think the overwhelming sense in the state of israel and talking from the states of jerusalem, a sense of hurt, a sense of abandonment, outrage. i'm talking to you here, where i am, about a 200 mile drive from where 400,000 syrians have been massacred. 400 miles where massacres in iraq from a civil war in sinai,
about three hours and the united states and the security council are beating up on the only democracy. it's very, very outrageous for us. >> one of the questions the obama administration would put to you is, how much longer can israel call itself a democracy if you control vast swaths of territory in which palestinians don't have the right of travel, the right to vote. are you not putting yourself with all of these settlements and without any sort of peace process actually going on, on a course to no longer be a democracy? >> we hear the question quite off. here's one answer. first of all, palestinians have a right to travel. 100,000 palestinians enter israel every day. about five minutes to cross the border in most cases. palestinians can vote. they can vote for their own leadership. their leadership decided for ten years now not to hold an election, because they know that president mahmoud abbas will be
defeated by hamas. we haven't stopped their election. we have to deal with these untruths all the time, jake, but the fact of the matter is, we have been waiting for eight years at a negotiating table for the palestinians to show up. prime minister netanyahu said it again and again he's willing to negotiate directly with the palestinian leadership without preconditions to reach a solution based and two states for two peoples and every time he has stuck out his hand in peace to president abbas it has been swatted away, and now this resolution comes, which enables the palestinians not only to overrun the peace process not to sit down at the peace table but to take israel to court and brand israel as an international criminal and sanction and boycott us and they're going to do that not to get a better two-state solution but to take us down. >> do you think that, is that why israel seems to be making a much bigger deal out of this abstention by the united states and the u.n. security council?
the one resolution, critical of israel that obama has permitteded to happen, as opposed to the six that happened during george w. bush's administration or the three during clinton or the 21 during reagan? is that the distinction? the idea that because of this resolution, now israeli soldiers will be able to be taken to, the international criminal court? >> it's not only israeli soldiers. it's 600,000 citizens of the state of israel. who live in areas which more than 50 years ago were part of jordan, which nobody even remembers where these lines are in the city of jerusalem anymore. my own kinsmen wouldn't know. it is taking the western wall, coattail, the holiest site in jerusalem and categorizing it as a legally occupied land. any jew who prays in the holiest place in judaism is going to be branded an international criminal. now, think about that. that does not -- the reagan administration denouncing us for blowing up the iraqi nuclear
reactor in 1981, by wait they thanked us for a later, but it is -- it is a resolution which can have profoundly, profoundly harmful effects to this state. and what can we say? after eight years we have had now two major blows to our security. first, iran nuclear deal and the second, this resolution, we've dealt with many blows in past but never dealt with blows that have been dealt by our number one ally in the world, by the united states of america. and that is why this state has been reacting the way it has and why it feels a sense of outrage and hurt. >> former israeli ambassador to the united states, michael oren, thank you so much. happy hanukkah. coming up, president-elect trump will shut down his charity. it's not as easy as shutting off the lights. we'll explain. and fans come to pay homage
to musician george michael. >> it's like losing our brother. >> like losing a family member. . almost there. i can't reach it. if you have alligator arms, you avoid picking up the check. what? it's what you do. i got this. thanks, dennis! if you want to save fifteen percent or more on car insurance, you switch to geico. growwwlph. it's what you do. oh that is good crispy duck.
the presidential inauguration is a mere 25 days away and president elebllect tr is pulling the plug on his foundation. does little to resolve conflicts of interests to say nothing about questions raised by the new york attorney general and others. the president-elect is in florida for the holidays. correspondent jessica schneider joins us particular palm beach with the latest. tell us about the complications that might affect the president-elect's decision to try to dissolve the trump foundation? >> reporter: well, jake, new york's attorney general is saying simply it won't be that easy. they're saying that the
president-elect cannot simply end the trump foundation. in particular because of the legal entanglements it's in. the spokesperson putting it succinctly in a statement saying, the trump foundation is still under investigation by this office, and cannot legally dissolve until that investigation is complete. now, attorney general schneiderman, who was a hillary clinton supporter during the campaign actually launched this investigation in the midst of the campaign, amid allegations that donald trump had used the foundation funds to settle some of his personal business dealings. donald trump did release a statement, not referring at all to the investnvestigation, sayi would dissolve the foundation and looked to continue his philanthropy in other ways. despite the fact donald trump has not tributed since 2008 and the foundation has no employees. >> and about a much larger
issue, how he might try separate himself from his larger global business empire. when do we expect to learn more about that and what steps the president-elect is likely to take? >> reporter: jake, we're expecting an announcement, possible press conference at some point in the next few weeks telling us it will happen in january. after a postponed december 15th press conference. of course, this is all quite a cumbersome process. the general counsel for the trump organization telling cnn this weekend they're looking at ways to actually re-evaluate various transactions around the world. they're also looking at ways to comply with various conflicts laws. now, of course, donald trump has said it. he is immune from those conflicts laws and is, in fact, right, but, of course, there is that emoluments clause not 2e69ed barring public officials from accepting money from foreign governments. donald trump, of course, business dealings all over the world and it is still to be determinaled how exactly he will
deal with dissolving perhaps parts of his vast empire across the world, but we are expecting more information in the next few weeks in a january press conference. jake? >> all right, jessica schneider live from palm beach, thank you. democrats are dismissing president-elect trump's decision to shut down the foundation. dnc saying, shutting a charity is not substitute for divesting from his for-profit business and putting assets in a blind trust, the only way to guarantee separation between the trump administration and the trump business. quote/unquote. and senior editor for the federalist, and a commentator for "the new yorker" and dana dash from cnn. dana, start with you. what's your take on the news he'll try to dissolve the trump 230ugs? foundation? >> look, the fact -- you don't release something that you really think is going to be very good news without a lot of
repercussions on christmas eve, if you don't think there's going to be repercussions. that's what it is. look, it's a good first step, if, in fact, this is the beginning, as jessica was talking about, trying to separate himself from his vast for-profit holdings, but, you know, he knew and knows that he's under investigation, and it's not so easy. the other thing he said they're going to stop operations. jessica pointed out he personally hasn't donated in, since 2008. >> and the bigger issue, obviously, ryan, the trump global business empire. we still don't know what he's going to do with that. the suggestion so far seemed to be that eric and don jr., his sons, his adult sons, are going to run the family business, and he will, like, wall himself off in some sort of way. >> yes. >> that's probably not going to be enough to satisfy critics including conservatives. >> the two leading ethical
former government officials, painter from the bush administration andizeman fr izc the obama administration, laid out what's normful you're not the president, most government officials have to divest. and figuring out what the for-profit will be, why does he want to deal with the political ramifications of this that will just -- it could overwhelm his administration. every time there is a relationship, a policy statement with respect to a foreign country where he has any business, the headline is going to be, what's the ath ngle for business? how are his sons benefitting from this? even if not actually that way, but the appearance. what he may realize, politically, if he wants to be a
successful president he should put this behind him. >> and we've talked about this a great deal on "the lead" with you on. it's actually in his best interests to try to wall off as much of this as possible for his own, for the sake of his own presidency. >> it's true. but also true he gets a lot of his self-esteem from his business dealings. he enjoys running his business, the thing he enjoying more than anything else. it's hard for him to get to the step realizing the trouble involved in running these pap good first step with the foundation. fairly inconsequential but a good first step. people should try to help him, encourage transparency, accountability and come up with good solutions because it is a very complicated process. >> and can i just say you're totally right about donald trump in that this is his whole persona, ego, who he is, his businesses, but doesn't get better than being president of the united states.
so he can adopt that, and put these others aside for four to eight years. >> her diagnosis is correct. speakingdiagnoses, president obama in an interview with david aal rod talked about the challenges democrats face moving forward. this is from "the ax files." take a listen. >> if we can't find some way to break through what is a complicated history in the south and start winning races there and winning back the southern white voters without betraying our commitment to civil rights, and diversity, if we can't do those things then we can win electi electio elections, but we will see the same kinds of patterns we saw during my presidency. a progressive president, but a gridlocked congress that can't move an agenda forward. >> i'm not sure what progressive president he's talking about, but he's talking about the need
for congress to become more politically diverse than it is now. >> okay. so the -- the black republican in the senate is from south carolina and hillary clinton lost midwest states, northern states, that had been historically the place for the most, the most open to diversity. so i'm not exactly sure where he was going with that. if he was really trying to kind of paint the kind of diagnosis that he wanted to paint about the election, and about his presidency as opposed to the reality of what it looks like. >> a fascinating interview but it really confirms a lot of critics worst fears. he lives in bauble, unable to take responsibility for his actions and doesn't see criticism of himself as legitimate. in 2008 elected president, democrats controlled all three branches of government. during his time democrats lost more than 1,000 seats, lost control of congress and in large part because his agenda was
unpopular, not communicated well, also and fascinating to read this review and see him not coming to terms with the unpopularity of his pone plans, obama care. no. unpopular. massachusetts voters elected scott brown to replace ted kennedy because of how much they didn't like obama care and got more unpopular the more people lost health insurance after promises they wouldn't. nice to see a little accountability from the president who oversaw this much loss for the democratic party. >> all right. we're going to come back to you. take a quick break. stick around. back to you in a few minutes, in what has become the first family's christmas tradition. president obama and the first lady spent part of the day with troops and their families at marine corps base hawaii. the president talked about it being his last christmas there as president but promised to be back. he thanked the marines and their families for their service. >> it's impossible for us to fully repay what you've done and
the sacrifices that you make, but at least it's important to hear from us that what do you matters, and that we know about it. and that we're grateful, and that we'll stay grateful even when many of you end up being out of uniform. >> up next, our panel breaks down their top political stories of 2016, and, no, they're not all ten about donald trump. stay with us.
unprecedented, unpresidented, some of the words used to describe this year in politics as one administration ends and another is about to begin. here is is a cnn look at the top ten political stories of 2016. >> number ten -- conservative supreme court justice antonin scalia died suddenly in february. >> everyone is on the line. >> annan unprecedented move, republicans vowed to block any high court appointments until after the 2016 election. >> simply to turn your back before a president even names a nominee is not an option the constitution leaves open. >> reporter: judge mark garland nominated in march but never even had a hearing. number nine. >> want to give me a good sendoff? go vote. >> reporter: in the final presidential year, the obama hit the trail. >> when they go low, we go high. >> reporter: with more catch
phrases and less restraints, but a different tone after the democratic defeat. >> if you succeed, then the country succeeds. >> reporter: number eight. >> i beat everybody. i beat the hell out of them. >> reporter: donald trump won the republican nomination but struggled to win over the party. republican leaders distanced themselves. >> will you support him? >> i'm just not ready to do that. >> reporter: will the party now unify around president trump? >> we're going to hit the ground running. >> reporter: number seven, trump's unvarnished campaign attracted extremist support. >> i don't know anything about what you're even talking about with white supremacy. >> reporter: he was slow to denounce white supremacists. >> david duke endorgss me? okay. i disavow. okay? >> reporter: and controversial rhetoric on race -- >> mexican heritage, i'm building a wall. >> reporter: and targeting a judge in a fraud case. >> saying he can't do his job because of his race, is that not the definition of racism?
>> no. i don't think so at all. >> reporter: number six, the conventions. >> the first time that a major party has nominated a woman for president. >> reporter: hillary clinton made history in philadelphia, and a gold star family made trump an offer. >> have you even read the united states constitution? i will gladly lend you my copy. >> reporter: in cleveland, melania trump's speech was -- familiar. >> you work hard for what you want in life. >> that you work hard for what you want in life. >> reporter: and senator ted cruz refused to endorse the nominee. >> vote for conscience. >> reporter: number five, trump's past went public. there was a former miss universe feud. >> called her miss piggy. >> reporter: responding to a link to her past. >> tweets including one to check out a sex tape. >> reporter: then a crude video of trump. >> grab them by the [ bleep ]
rrnt . >> reporter: he brushed it aside. >> his hands started going towards my knee and up my skirt. >> reporter: trump denied the allegations and said he would sue. number four, senator bernie sanders built a huge movement. >> we are actually listening to the american people. not the 1%. >> reporter: but was the system rigged against outsiders? >> secretary clinton received about 450 super delegates before anybody else was in the race. >> reporter: bernie or bust protestors crowded the convention. >> you're being ridiculous. >> reporter: and refused to vote for clinton. number three -- democrats were hacked. >> they're under attack. >> reporter: stolen e-mails from the dnc revealed bias against sanders forcing the party chair to resign. >> no question to my mind the dnc was at opposition to our campaign. >> reporter: u.s. intelligence points to russian cyber attacks.
>> our goal continues to be to send a clear message to russia or others not to do this to us, because we can do stuff to you. >> reporter: number two. >> there is evidence they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive highly classified information. >> reporter: the fbi recommended no charges for clinton's use of a private e-mail server. still, the issue was gold for republicans. >> she's guilty as hell. >> lock her up! >> reporter: she tried to quell concerns. >> my e-mails are so boring. >> reporter: the fbi announced they discovered new ones just before election day. >> it's imperative the bureau explain this issue. >> reporter: the trove contained nothing new but the damage was done. number one -- >> hillary clinton has called donald trump to concede the race. >> reporter: donald trump won the white house. >> the campaign unlike anything we've seen in our lifetime. >> i love this country.
>> reporter: as protestors took to the streets, secretary clinton bowed out. >> we have seen that our nation is more deeply divided than we thought. >> reporter: now, a cabinet of billionaires outsiders and military men will join trump for an era of, who knows what. >> let's bring back our panel and get their views on the top political stories of 2016. with us still molly hemingway, and ryan lizza, and cnn correspondent dana bash. molly, start with you. i confess, others, i want to go back and take that out, put this one in. hit me with your best shot. >> agree with some of yours. scalia's death, huge for people. galvanized to get behind trump, thought the stakes were so high. launched a strategy working to keep republicans together along the ticket. hillary clinton's e-mail scandal number two. not just because she did a bad
job answering questions but confirmed suspicions about her bad judgment, proximity in the scandal and wasn't replaced by anything else. you don't remember her talking what she would do in terms of foreign, economic policy. dominated her entire campaign. of course, trump winning is definitely the big one, and not just winning but reshaping the republican party as he did it. really brought in total different views on foreign and trade policy, reshaping conservatism. remains to be seen how much real reshape the republican party but some realignment. that's fascinating. >> and political norms violated and broken in 2016, the big story really of this year. a lot of rules went out of the window. why i put the supreme court vak saens vacancy at the top of the list. unprecedented to say we're
waiting until after election and not going to fill that spot. no doubt, once a norm is broken, the other side pockets it and will do the same in position. watch for democrats to push it further when they're in charge of the senate. two, trump's conflicts of interest. an issue i think didn't get enough attention during the campaign. frankly ball a lot of people felt trump wouldn't win and we in the media didn't focus on it as much. the fact you have a billionaire businessman who hasn't yet decided, less than a month before sworn into office, what he's going to do with his for-profit business empire, an enormous, very important story. and finally, the russian hacking and the meddling in our election, frankly, trump's own lack of outrage about it and a lot of republicans see it as a partisan issue and not condemned putin or been on the side of democrats in a united front against what russia did. i think it's a big mistake, and another norm violated and there used to be a saying, politics stopped at the water's edge,
hasn't always been true. this is a situation it should have been true. >> salve salute absolutely. dana? >> bill clinton for me, boarding loretta lynch's plane. >> absolutely. >> because it just -- a symbol of so much. number one, of bill clinton either not getting it or maybe more accurately getting it, but thinking that because he's bill clinton he can put his charm on and get on her plane and have a conversation, maybe about nothing pertaining to the investigation, but still -- you know. >> what we're told. >> what we're told. still it reminded people who remember the '90s that the clintons sometimes think they're above it and they're separate from what you're supposed to do. never mind the fact that moment also meant she had to separate herself from the investigation. >> loretta lynch, the attorney general. >> and jim comey fbi director much more in charge. that's number three. two the debates. not just because they were
must-see tv, also because looking back with hindsight, hillary clinton did so well. she seemed at the time to play him, to bait him on so many issues. she was so prepared. but she was focusing on the wrong thing. we now know. she was focusing on his temperament and character, not his policies. and number one, you and i talked about this in the break. for sure, hillary clinton's defloorables comment. >> basket of deplorables, yeah. >> baskets of deplorables. not caught on tape. >> saying it with a camera at a fund-raiser, talking about donald trump supporters accusing them of, at least half of them, they said, being -- >> irredeemable. >> and sort of apologized but not really properly, and correct me if i'm wrong. i think it was -- your interview with robby mook, campaign manager, he said that was sort of the under-reported thing that really changed their polling internally and made them realize, you know what?
it wasn't necessarily just comey. it was that issue. it made the traditional democratic base, the people who ended up going to donald trump think she really doesn't get us. >> i don't think there's any story that demonstrates the divide between the people who report on politicians and the voters, than that story. because a lot of us, our reaction was, okay, she got the number right. a lot of deplorable, racist and what a lot -- >> wrong. >> where she landed it. got the number wrong, not the fact they're deplorable and a lot of voters, you're talking about my husband. talking about my brother. >> exactly. >> where i might vote and a woman who worked for the clinton campaign, her entire job just talk to undecided voters in swing states, entire election. published something saying that was the moment they all started moving away from hillary clinton. fascinating. >> lessons, attack your opponent. the politician. don't attack the voters, no matter what. >> attack the voters. bad idea. general rule of thumb. >> yeah.
>> all right. >> shamed for supporting someone, no matter how bad they are. happy new year to one and all. still only day two of the 12 days of christmas. big issue for you, molly. >> and day three of hanukkah. >> and day three of whatever you are, ryan. >> and thank you all. he helped define a decade, both a musical and cultural icon. up next. ♪ sun going down on me imy moderate to severeng crohn's disease. 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
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♪ yes, i've got to have faith, hmm, i've got to have faith ♪ because i've got-to-have faith, faith, faith ♪ i've got have faith, faith, faith ♪ millions of fans around the world are mourning the death of a pop music icon, george michael died in his home yesterday near london. the manager says the suspected cause of death was heart failure. george michael's contrary spanned 30 years, a number of huge hits and a number of personal highs and lows. many of them playing out in front of the public. cnn ian lee is in london for us today. ian, start with the fans. george michael sold tens of millions of records. how is he being remembered by fans today? >> reporter: well, jake when i was out there talking to them, a lot of them just had love in their hearts, and also deeply shocked he died at a young age of 53. he was gearing up for another album. fans were looking forward to that. and so when you talk to them,
you saw them come here, a lot of them bringing flowers, candles, personal notes, and when you read those notes, you could get a sense for what he meant to these people. you know, spanning a few decades, and coming out with a number of hits. winning two grammys. this is somewhat who lift her mark -- left his mark on society, on his fans. i talked to three sisters who had this to say. >> it was just shock. >> it's like losing our brother. >> yeah. >> it's like losing a family member. >> yeah. >> but he meant everything to us. >> we connected. >> reporter: and, jake when i was talking to people there, some of them actually knew him from the community and said he was approachable, you could go up, talk to him. he was just like an average guy on the street, and that's what a lot of people are remembering, too, right now. >> ian lee in london. thank you so much. russia declare as national day of mourning after one of its
military planes crashed into the black sea with dozens of passenger and crew onboard, all believe to have been lost. when we come back, why moscow is ruling out terrorism as the cause. rodney and his new business. he teaches lessons to stanley... and that's kind of it right now. but rodney knew just what to do...he got quickbooks. it organizes all his accounts, so he knows where he stands in an instant. ahhh...that's a profit. which gave him the idea to spend a little cash on some brilliant marketing! ha, clever. wow, look at all these new students! way to grow, rodney! know where you stand instantly. visit quickbooks.com.
a russian military plane crashed into the black seas killing all 92 onboard. aviation officials in russia say pilot error or a technical issue may be to blame. they are rooming out tear ridrr as a possible cause. a national daying mourning remember those lost in the accident. meanwhile, russia's official news agency says divers have been able to locate a large piece of the plane's hull. roughly 90 feet deep in the black sea. cnn senior international correspondent matthew chance slis live in moscow. how were officials able to quickly rule our terrorism given they just found parts of the
plane? >> reporter: i know. that's a great question. in fact, they were ruling out terrorism in the hours after the plane was lost before they found any wreckage at all. they've been saying from the outset and the kremlin emphasized it again, this is probably not terrorism, saying. most likely not terrorism. pilot error, mechanical failure. these >> they haven't even found the black box recorders yet. divers are looking for that. they have a huge search for human remains and fuselage. it's very deep at the bottom of the black sea. you get the impression they don't want to confront the idea this could have been terrorism because this was a military plane. it was operated by the russian defense ministry. it left from a military. it was en route to syria. it was carrying on board not just ordinary russian soldiers but members of the russian choir. they were meant to give a new
year's performance, a concert to russian troops. of course, there are no survivors. this is a huge embarrassment to the russians as well as a huge tragedy nationally. it's been a day of mourning today. we're still not at a point we can say with any international what the outcome of this crash investigation is going to be. russian officials saying it's likely to be pilot error or mechanical failure but i don't think we can rule out terrorism at this point. >> matthew, you just mentioned the achoir. they were flying to syria why? they were going to perform for russian soldiers there? >> that's right. they were en route to latakia, the town where there's a big russian military base. they've been carrying out air strikes from that military base. there were lots of russian troops there, lots of pilots, support staff that are based
there. this is one of those make the troops feel good. new year is a huge celebration across russia. they celebrate new year. it's a big celebration. this was meant to be a huge, perhaps, celebration of the russian victory in syria. remember, it's only been a few days ago the russians announced an end to their operation inside aleppo and brought that back under control of bashar al assad. this was meant to be a time of celebration for the military inside syria. members of the choir, members of the orchestra as well, it's a huge blow. >> that's also one of the reasons it's so curious they would rule out terrorism so quickly because among the many groups the russians and bashar al assad's forces were fighting in aleppo, along with moderate rebels and innocent civilians and the like are some groups allied with terrorists like al nusra and the like. that's why the discounting of
terrorism seems to curious. >> i agree with that. funny enough, this has happened before. just over a year ago there was a russian civilian airliner shot down that at first the russians said no way this is terrorism. a few days later it emerged terrorism was responsible for that. >> matthew chance in moscow, thank you so much. one christian town in iraq celebrating christmas for the first time in years. we'll show you how they're marking this holiday after being liberated from isis control next. take one.
directv now. stream all your entertainment! anywhere! anytime! can we lose the 'all'. there's no cbs and we don't have a ton of sports. anywhere, any... let's lose the 'anywhere, anytime' too. you can't download on-the-go, there's no dvr, yada yada yada. stream some stuff! somewhere! sometimes! you totally nailed that buddy. simple. don't let directv now limit your entertainment. only xfinity gives you more to stream to any screen. an illustration of the dangers of fake news, these fick tashs concocted news accounts on strange websites. pakistan's defense minister fired off a threatening tweet
aimed at israel over the weekend. quote, israeli defense minister threatens nuclear retaliation, presuming pakistan role in syria against isis. israel forgets pakistan is a nuclear state, too, unquote. a nuclear reminder. he was responding to a supposed quote from a former israeli defense minister saying israel would destroy pakistan with a nuclear attack if pakistan sent troops to syria. a standoff, it seems, with cataclysmically high stakes yet the israeli part of the story was fake, it never happened. the former defense minister never issued that threat, but another example of how this fake news phenomenon is no joke. pakistan's dwins defense minister changed his message to one of peace. happy holidays. iraq's joint military says coalition forces have killed 97 isis terrorists in areas around mosul. the militants were killed in three separate incidents. iraqi forces have been trying to
retake mosul from isis control since early november. ed in nearby christian town of bartella, residents are celebrating christmas for the first time in years. the town was liberated from isis control in october. cnn's mohammed lila was more on the celebrations. >> reporter: it's a moment that many at this historic church thought they'd never see. ♪ >> reporter: celebrating the birth of christ in a place once desecrated by isis. >> translator: even if it's isis, the lord taught us to love and forgive our enemies and to pray for them. the most important thing is for us to live in harmony and peace. >> reporter: isis overran this town more than two years ago. everyone fled. look closely. bullet holes on the walls are scars that remain. isis broke the church's glass but not its heart. >> translator: happiness and
sadness at the same time. this town used to be full of life, but now look at it, such a desolate place. we can't live here now. >> reporter: the town was recaptured by iraqi forces in october this year. thousands of isis fighters are just a few kilometers away. this is now a place of razor wire, broken buildings and the reality of war. >> translator: i could never imagine this has happened. we have lived here for more than 1,000 years. we never thought we would be displaced. our houses are destroyed. we won't be able to come back. >> reporter: in town, the green of a single plastic christmas tree breaks up the misery surrounding it. this is a place guarded by the army now, just holding this mass requires armed soldiers at the door. >> translator: we need to get international protection. there is no southeast, we cannot live in this area. today we have no dignity. we are displaced in our own country.
>> reporter: displaced but not disheartened. >> translator: we have to have hope in this life. if we don't have hope, then we are finished. >> reporter: the ancient hymns of one of the world's oldest christian communities are being sung here once again. a small act of life in a country that's seen so much death. cnn. that's it for me. the news continues next. happy holidays. i'm martd tin savidge in for bre baldwin. today israeli prime minister netanyahu defended his outrage over the friday's vote at the united nations. >> the result of the voting is as